This review is long overdue - and I want to apologize for the delay, as I was given this yarn to review MONTHS ago. I'm not gonna pepper this with excuses, but I did want to do this yarn justice, and I felt that until I couldn't.
Let me start with the yarn, this is Briggs and Little Country Roving - when I first got the call for reviews, I Was skeptical, as I don't normally use bulky yarns, and frankly I was expecting a scratchy wool. I took a risk, and said yes. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Here's the spec list from the Briggs and Little website:
"COUNTRY ROVING – 100% Wool, 5 Strand, 11 sts = 4″ (10cm) on 7.5mm needles, 155 yds (141m)/8 oz (227g) Roll. Put up in an 8oz. (227g) roll
This yarn is suitable for: mittens, thrums, outdoor sweaters, vests, hats and crafts
Country Roving has 16 shades available"
When I opened up the package, I was thrilled to see the burst of color! I chose the mustard yellow so I could step out of my black and grey box that I've put myself in over the last few years. First, I was intrigued by the structure of the yarn, 5 strands of pencil roving, lightly (if at all) twisted together. While this makes for a not-so-sturdy yarn, it certainly makes for a lofty yarn. Secondly, I was surprised by how soft it was!
Recently, I have stepped away from knitting and crochet design, and have been focusing heavily on weaving and sewing, so I decided that I wanted to weave this yarn. I broke out my Zoom Loom, and got to work on a swatch. By doing the first warp layer, and then using the second warp layer as a guide for needle weaving, I created a bulky Zoom Loom square. Since I had complete control over the tension of the yarn, I didn't have any problem with breakage, and it was actually quite easy to weave with. I love the textile it created, almost a basketweave! Honestly, If I could trust my cats with woven wool (they like eating holes in it) I'd weave some throw pillows to add a punch of color in my studio too!
This is where part 1 ends. I have ambitions for this yarn: A handwoven jacket or vest, but I haven't quite worked out how I will accomplish this. For a large men's vest, I'd have to weave a ton of squares, but I am not sure this yarn will hold up to the tension of a rigid heddle or floor loom. Needless to say, I need to explore this yarn further to see what it can do! Who knows, maybe a wall hanging would be better....
Late last year I was approached by Brooke at Sincere Sheep to design a collection of woven projects in the three different weights of her Cormo yarn: fingering, sport, and worsted. The other purpose of this collection was to be able to weave all of the projects on a rigid heddle loom. All three of these patterns were woven solely on a 15" Cricket Loom from Schacht Spindle Company. This collection quickly became a collaboration between me, Sincere Sheep and Jennie the Potter. I noticed a theme before I even started weaving, intersections.
I saw the intersections between me and three other American-made companies, coming together to create something wonderful. Thus was born the Intersections Woven Collection.
The first pattern is the Plaid Bib Scarf; a unique take on a simple scarf. This plaid scarf uses the Cormo Sport Weight yarn, and is a breeze to create. The crocheted details make the buttons pop, and add a bit of structure to the fabric.
The second pattern is the Double or Nothing Cowl, an oversized infinity cowl that is oh so squishy! Made by doubling the yarn in the warp and weft, the fabric created is dense yet pliable and has a ton of visual texture. Sincere Sheep Cormo Worsted adds to this texture and the loft.
If larger projects are more your speed, and shawls are your go-to accessory, then the Intersections Shawl is the project for you! Two panels woven on one warp with Cormo Fingering Weight yarn, and then seamed together, creates a large piece of fabric that drapes beautifully. This project can also be worn as a poncho, utilizing the buttons and clever button hole technique.
I hope you enjoy this collection as much I do. I am so grateful to Sincere Sheep, Jennie the Potter, and Schacht Spindle Company for creating yarn, notions, and tools that helped to make this collection pop. If you have any questions about the patterns or collection as a whole, please contact me.
If you make any of these projects, use the hashtag #benjaminkrudwig on your Instagram posts so I can be sure to see them!
Ever since I was a child, I was obsessed with the cowboy life from the mid to late 1800’s in what is now Colorado. Thoughts of cattle-drives, horse-rustling, and all the John Wayne-esque gun-slinging raced through my mind. Now as an adult, I am revisiting some of these memories. This kerchief plays with the traditional triangular shape of a kerchief, but takes a modern turn. I used Mountain Meadow Wool Powell for this project, a 100% American Grown, Milled, and Dyed yarn, made in Wyoming.
Download a PDF of the pattern
Yarn: Mountain Meadow Wool Powell - Worsted
MC: 90 yards (82m) - Natural
CC: 110 yards (100m) - Fern
Needles: US Size 7 (4.5mm)
Gauge: 18sts X 30 rows = 4” square (10cm)
Finished Measurements: 31” X 15.5” (78.75 X 39.5)cm
4 Stitch markers, button (optional) I used one from Balwen Woodworks
Sts - stitches
p - purl
k - knit
yo - yarn over
CO - cast-on
BO - bind-off
M - Place Marker
pm - pass marker
Using MC, CO 5 sts
Knit 5 rows of garter, pick-up 5 sts along one side, then 5 along your cast-on row. 15sts
Continue in MC, alternate MC and CC every 8 rows from here on.
Row 1 (WS): k3, M, p4, M, p, M, p4, M, k3
Row 2 (RS): k3, pm, yo, knit to next marker, yo, pm, k, pm, yo, knit to next marker, yo, pm, k3
Row 3: k3, purl across to 3 sts from ends of row, k3
Row 4: k3, pm, yo, knit to next marker, yo, pm, k, pm, yo, knit to next marker, yo, pm, k3
Repeat rows 3+4 for 20 more rows.
Powell Kerchief Shaping
Note: We will not be using stitch markers in the center portion of the curved panel, but each row is written out. The yarn overs will line up throughout the piece. You can put stitch markers in if it helps.
Row 1 (WS): k3, purl across to 3 sts before end of row, k3. (63sts)
Row 2 (RS): k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, yo, k, yo, k2, yo, k, yo, k3, yo, k, yo, k2, yo, k, yo, k3, yo, k, yo, k2, yo, k, yo, k3, yo, k2, yo, k, yo, k28, yo, k3
Row 3: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 4: k3, k44, k, yo, k30, yo, k3
Row 5: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 6: k3, k44, k, yo, k32, yo, k3
Row 7: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 8: k3, k44, k, yo, k34, yo, k3
Row 9: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 10: k3, k44, k, yo, k36, yo, k3
Row 11: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 12: k3, k44, k, yo, k38, yo, k3
Row 13: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 14: k3, k44, k, yo, k40, yo, k3
Row 15: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 16: k3, k44, k, yo, k42, yo, k3
Row 17: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 18 (RS): k3, yo, k4, yo, k3, yo, k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, yo, k3, yo, k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, yo, k3, yo, k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, yo, k3, yo, k4, yo, k, yo, k44, yo, k3
Row 19: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 20: k3, k60, k, yo, k46, yo, k3
Row 21: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 22: k3, k60, k, yo, k48, yo, k3
Row 23: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 24: k3, k60, k, yo, k50, yo, k3
Row 25: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 26: k3, k60, k, yo, k52, yo, k3
Row 27: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 28: k3, k60, k, yo, k54, yo, k3
Row 29: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 30: k3, k60, k, yo, k56, yo, k3
Row 31: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 32: k3, k60, k, yo, k58, yo, k3
Row 33: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 34 (RS): k3, yo, k6, yo, k3, yo, k5, yo, k2, yo, k5, yo, k3, yo, k5, yo, k2, yo, k5, yo, k3, yo, k5, yo, k2, yo, k5, yo, k3, yo, k6, yo, k, yo, k60, yo, k3
Row 35: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 36: k3, k76, k, yo, k62, yo, k3
Row 37: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 38: k3, k76, k, yo, k64, yo, k3
Row 39: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 40: k3, k76, k, yo, k66, yo, k3
Row 41: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 42: k3, k76, k, yo, k68, yo, k3
Row 43: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 44: k3, k76, k, yo, k70, yo, k3
Row 45: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 46: k3, k76, k, yo, k72, yo, k3
Row 47: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 48: k3, k76, k, yo, k74, yo, k3
Row 49: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 50 (RS): k3, yo, k8, yo, k3, yo, k7, yo, k2, yo, k7, yo, k3, yo, k7, yo, k2, yo, k7, yo, k3, yo, k7, yo, k2, yo, k7, yo, k3, yo, k8, yo, k, yo, k76, yo, k3
Row 51: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 52: k3, k92, k, yo, k78, yo, k3
Row 53: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 54: k3, k92, k, yo, k80, yo, k3
Row 55: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 56: k3, k92, k, yo, k82, yo, k3
Knit two rows even, on the second row, take out all stitch markers.
BO using a traditional but loose bind off.
Optional button closure:
On the triangular half of the shawl chain stitch button loops on the top edge to fit your chosen button.
Sew your button on the tip of the curved side.
Soak and Block to measurements.
I have been fascinated by the Victorian era ever since I was a kid. The scientific Golden Age was happening, Industrialism was taking root, and British fashion was an overall romanticized "gothiness". I remember going to an art show at the Metropolitan Museum in 2006 called Anglomania. This was a pivotal moment for me when it came to my understanding of fashion. This exhibit highlighted many eras of British fashion, but I was most drawn to the Victorian and Punk rooms. Each room had original outfits/costumes as well as "re-imagined" modern pieces that drew inspiration from the Victorian era.
This particular exhibit has stuck with me for over 10 years, and continues to influence how I think about fashion. In this edition of what I am going to call "Slow Fashion", I will tackle one of my most ambitious projects yet; a victorian style topcoat made from handwoven fabric.
Over the next few weeks I will be posting various aspects of my design process with this particular garment, and will walk you through all of my successes and struggles,
A huge thanks to Blue Sky Fibers for providing yarn support for this goliath of a project. I will be using their yarn "Extra" in this project in the colorways Fedora and Marsh.
A long time ago...
in a theatre far far away,
Benjamin Krudwig viewed
one of the best movies in his time;
Star Wars IIV - The Force Awakens.
The rebel forces continued
to battle the First Order.
Meanwhile, Benjamin had
many thoughts of textiles from
the Star Wars universe....
There may be movie spoilers in this post for those people who haven't yet seen the newest installment of Star Wars.
In most movies (especially if I have seen them more than once) I am inherently drawn to the costuming and design . What does it say about the character, the time period, the setting? I find this extremely fascinating when it comes to science fiction and fantasy because the whole world is made up from scratch. I like to imagine somewhere in Middle Earth, Asgard, or the ice planet of Hoth that there are textile mills creating the fabrics of the universe.
I find movie empires like The Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars have really taken the thought behind costume design to heart, and it shows in the success of how each of those films make audiences feel.
The wealth of imagery in my head concerning the textile industry in Star Wars is as large as the Empire... I think of sturdy Tauntaun shepherds, gathering the undercoat, (I imagine it is much like yak fiber,) taking it to the village and letting the spinners make the yarn who then give the cones of yarn to the weavers, knitters, etc. to make the garments that people wear. I imagine the textile artists in Kamino use some sort of synthetically created and manufactured material for their outfits. The Gungan spinners from Naboo have been taking kelp from their vast seaweed forests and processing it into a lovely plant fiber.
On a more focused level, my head swims with the thoughts of where did this textile come from, and why does this character wear it? What does it all mean?
In Episode VII, the new 'bad guy' Kylo Ren wears the traditional black, donned by many movie baddies, including his grandfather, Darth Vader. What struck me as the most interesting aspect of his regalia, costume, whatever you might call it, was his hood. There were enough close-ups of him during the film for me to get a closer look.
The piece of his outift that was most compelling to me was his hood. This had elements of his personality scattered throughout, and whether or not the costume designer purposefully did this, much of this character is represented by this hood.
Here is a break down of the hood and what it means to me about Kylo Ren.
It's a hood - Though a few Star Wars villains have sported hoods in the past, I like to think that this one holds some significance in the fact that he still has a little Jedi in him.
It's black - He leans towards the dark side, obvious.
There are flecks of silver-grey in the threads - He has hankerings of going toward the light side.
The weave structure is a 2X2 basket weave (overlaid on top of another fabric it appears) - this shows the structured side of him, his need for order.
It's frayed at the ends - his temper frequently gets the best of him and he lashes out. Better yet "He is rough around the edges"
Having been so inspired by this garment, and that I happen to also wear a lot of black and grey, I felt the need to make one myself. So Long story short, I will be going from raw fiber to finished woven hood in a series of 3 blog posts (2 more after this one.)
If you would like to make your own along with me, you will need:
8-10 ounces of Alpaca Fiber - black. I found mine on Etsy, but you can contact a local farm or yarn shop to see what they have in stock.
I chose Alpaca due to my desire to make this project without using dyed fiber. I have wool sensitivities to medium-coarse fiber, however you may choose any fiber you like.
<1 oz of Silver Firestar - this will be used sparingly. I got this from Greenwood Fiberworks
Carding equipment, hand cards would do just fine, but I will be using my Strauch Drum Carder.
A device to spin all of this lovely fiber, I will be using my delightful Schacht Matchless.
A tool to weave the wonderful hood, I will be using a Schacht 15" Cricket Loom.
A sewing machine or a needle and thread. (Black)
Scissors or a Rotary cutter.
Join me in the next post to see the process of spinning the yarn for this project!
Is there anything else you'd like to see me tackle? Let me know in the comments below!
A few weeks ago I was asked to review the new book by Rohn Strong on Crochet Socks!
Of course I obliged and was so thrilled to delve into a world of crochet that I normally don't do. The book is comprised of a few sock patterns to fit different styles and applications. This book is meant for women's socks, so I wouldn't necessarily wear them myself, but as quickly as they all work up they'd make great gifts!
This review will follow the same formula as my other BEnjAMIN reviews.
B - If I saw this book in the store, I would definitely pick the book up, flip through it, and probably put it in my cart. There are enough projects in this book that anyone could find something to love in this book.
Enj - I enjoyed this book immensely. The colorful photographs and designs are fresh, modern, and completely wearable. The charts and images in this book are well-placed and very easy to understand, and are a big help in some of the more complicated designs.
A - There are 12 sock patterns in this book, ranging from the "Basic Sock" to some lace and cable techniques. This book is jam packed with new sock patterns and great crochet techniques, which could easily be translated into other patterns!
M - I plan on altering the basic sock pattern to make a few pairs of my own. I also think these would make great Christmas gifts this year.
I - The most interesting part of this book is the use of traditional lace techniques in the sock patterns. The falling pineapple sock is fascinating, and would make a great spring/summer house sock.
N - I don't make many sock, so I am not sure I NEED this book, but this guide on constructing crochet socks is a must have for anyone who wants an alternative to the knit sock.
Rohn's other books are also great innovative resources for the crocheters out there who are looking for new things to do with their hooks.
This morning (Sept. 22nd, 2015) I had the pleasure of being interviewed on the Yarn Thing Podcast by Marly Bird (show notes can be found here.)
To understand how I got here, we need to rewind a few months. Earlier this year I was contacted by the lovely folks at Stitchcraft Marketing to do a review and project using Bijou Basin Ranch Yarns, and I swiftly said yes and got to work on weaving a tartan scarf.
At Interweave YarnFest, I sauntered over to the Bijou Basin Ranch booth and showed the scarf to the folks working there, and didn't realize until after the encounter (except I knew she looked familiar) that I was talking to Marly Bird, the creative director of Bijou Basin Ranch.
Fast-forward a couple of weeks, and I get an e-mail from Stefanie at Stitchcraft saying that I should contact Marly about her designer dinner at the Summer TNNA ( a few hurried/flurried emails later I was in.) I then made the connection (along with a face-palm) that I had spoken to Marly at YarnFest.
I remember sitting at the designer dinner, looking around at the tables and noticing faces/names that I recognized, and meeting many people who were brand new to me! I realized a beautiful thing, Marly made this all happen. With the help of her friends and colleagues, she had put this dinner on in order to bring people together in a fun night of promos, giveaways, and at the end of the night all of us were friends, colleagues, and contacts.
Marly says she wants to be the Oprah of the fiber industry, and with her trajectory, she is well on her way to being that figure!
Marly wears MANY hats in her life, and one of the hats she wears the most is the cheerleader. Her support of so many people in the industry is a testament to her love for the industry, and that is why I feel so honored to know her, and help her in her quest!
Please check her podcast out as well as her many knit and crochet designs she has published!
Thank you Marly for all that you do!!
Over the next few weeks, I will be taking you on a journey of a handspun project. Keep an eye on the blog as I transform some fiber to a finished project.
Blending the fiber
I love blending fiber together. Something about taking disparate fibers and combining them to create something beautiful. This blending project took me by surprise, as it wasn't completely obvious to me at the time of purchasing all of these fibers. Inspiration struck me when I saw the fibers all together in my stash. I test-blended a small bit of this with my handcarders, spun it and immediately fell in love. A reptilian yarn emerged from my wheel, and I couldn't be happier. Recipe below!
I had 8 ounces of a 75/25 merino/silk blend, 6 ounces of bright yellow tencel (both from Spinning Straw into Gold), 2 ounces of Hand painted bombyx silk (from Eugene Textile Center), and 1/2 ounce of green flash from Fancy Tiger Crafts.
Each batt consists of 1 oz of merino/silk, 3/4 oz of tencel, 1/4 oz of bombyx silk, 1/16 oz of flash.
I blended each batt twice, once to get the fiber on the carder, and a second time to spread the fibers out a little more within the batt.
This fiber is destined to become a four ply yarn, stay tuned!
I have always been fascinated with natural forms; leaves, feathers, rocks, all forms of flora and fauna. The inspiration for this Crown of the Forest knit hat pattern came from the times spent in the forest on hikes picking up various feathers and photographing interesting leaves. While keeping the general form of the feathers, I took away their more organic shape and organized them into a crown. I used the lovely Alpaca blend yarn from Cascade Yarns - Cloud in the color-way Pumpkin. This knit takes only a few hours and is a delight to work up! Enjoy!
The last couple of weeks have been pretty intense, lots of hard work mixed with some designing of a new cardigan pattern. Based off of the Pulsar Shawl, the cardigan will be long with a hood and belt. I am currently using Caron Simply Soft to calculate gauge and make sure the fit is good.
Along with the cardigan, I started a podcast on YouTube called the Fibercast. I hope you enjoy this new venture of mine, and I always accept questions and will answer them in my Fibercast!
Enjoy the first episode below and let me know what you think!