Re-using yarn (how to)

I recently found several skeins of nice yarn at a local thrift store- it was enough for a sweater. Some of the yarn seemed un-used and some had obviously been knitted and then re-round into a ball. I wanted to get the kinks out so I made skeins on my swift (if you don’t have one you could use a chair).

As you can see in the photos I used fabric scraps to secure the skeins in two places. I then submerged each skein into cold water with a gentle detergent- I used “The Laundress” wool wash. I let the yarn sit submerged for an hour or so and then used plastic clothing hangers to hang each skein from the shower to dry. I like to weigh the skeins down a little with a hanger at the bottom. After these were dry I put them back on the swift which was made possible by the two fabric ties (very important, otherwise tangles!). They were easily wound and are now ready for their second project.


Yarn on the right in original form and on the left 3 skeins knitted and de-knit again.

After unwinding via the swift (such a good investment if you knit a lot)

After hanging from the shower- the yarn is without kinks now!

After! I will feel a lot more confident knitting with this kink-free. What to make!


Fiber Tourists

A friend and I went to the Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill in Mt. Horeb, WI this week. I had been wanting to tour the mill ever since the owner, Anne, gave a talk at one of the Madison Knitting Guild meetings last fall. It’s a short drive from Madison in a beautiful, hilly area.

They were doing their once-a-year cleaning of the equipment when we visited but we still got a good glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes. Each batch of yarn that the mill produces is custom. They have a storefront too and we purchased some super soft and affordable wool from the mill. I can’t wait to knit with mine! Project photos to follow.

This wool has been washed in one of their two washing machines (agitators have been removed) and is now drying.

Their equipment is old! Some is from 1905, others from the 1930s and the spinning frame is from the 1950s. Some of their equipment is from Lowell, MA.

“Skeiner” this machine can make 10 skeins at a time and transfers spun yarn from cones into skeins.

Love this natural color!

“Sam the Ram”


Wikstenmade hand sewn tank top

I had eyed this Wikstenmade pattern over the years and finally purchased it at the Sewcial Lounge on Lakeside Street when I saw Sara wearing it on a recent visit. A patterned woven fabric that I had purchased at Mood in New York years ago was perfect for a first sample. The instructions were easy to follow and I made the tank in a morning; not bad for a new timeless top. I rarely use pins to sew seams and iron less frequently. This does save a little time but it’s also just a personal preference. One extra step I included was topstitching the shoulders and side seams down after the french seams were completed. When sewing the pocket I basted it to the left front instead of pinning it. I find that in general basting certain areas like the pocket and neck binding is a huge time saver because it decreases chances of ripping seams later. When I make this again I will make some minor adjustments to the armhole to make it fit me better but overall the neckline and silhouette are great. .             

Striped Chunky Hat Pattern


This is a basic hat knit with bulky Brown Sheep company “Burly Spun” yarn in two different colors. To knit this hat I started with 16 inch circular needles in size 10.5 (US) and cast on 40 stitches. Place marker at the beginning of the round. Start working in the round and knit 4 courses of 1×1 Rib. Change to size 11 needles and with your second, accent color knit one course of all knit stitches. At this point you will only be using knit stitches. Switch back to your original color and knit 3 courses. Change back to your second color and knit one course. Continue knitting 3 courses of the main color followed by one course of the accent color until work measures about  5.75 inches from your cast on edge. For my gauge this is always very near to the 5th stripe. Please note that for the decreasing I still switch to the accent color every 3 courses until the very top for a total of 6 accent stripes. One course before the 5th accent stripe begin decreasing as follows: *Knit 6, knit 2 together* repeat this for one round. Next round, knit all. Before the next decrease I switch to size 11 double point needles. Next round: *Knit 5, knit 2 together*. Next round: Knit all. Next round: *Knit 4, knit 2 together*. Next round: *Knit 3, knit 2 together*. Next round: *Knit 2, knit 2 together* Next round: *Knit 1, knit 2 together*. Next round: *Knit 2 together*. Weave in all ends and you have your finished hat.

Finished measurements: 8.25 inches wide by 8 inches high

Please note that your gauge may vary slightly. This gauge is: 4 inches= 9.25 stitches wide and 13.5 stitches high