Everything KNITTING, including kits, yarns, patterns & accessories.

Now You See It – Finally!

I have been threatening for years to put a number of videos together showing how to do the various knitting techniques for our patterns.  But I must admit, I have been dragging my feet.  It could be because in my “other life” I WAS a video producer and know how much time and effort goes into producing a really good video.  Frankly, I just don’t have that kind of time at this stage of my life.  With running a business, a household and having to make dinner every night, there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Still, I felt video tutorials were really something I needed on our site.  A week doesn’t go by when I don’t find myself giving “virtual lessons” to customers – the one row buttonhole in our iMitt pattern being the most popular.  Enter my KNIghT in shining armor – Johnny Vasquez of  New Stitch a Day!  Johnny has put together an amazing site full of knitting & crocheting videos that are all “community share” – meaning I can post them on my site!  Brilliant and SO generous!  Now, if you have a question on how to do that one row buttonhole, the link is on my sight to one of Johnny’s videos to show you how to do it.  I’ve also put up a link on the homepage of our website (www.knitouttathebox.com) to all of Johnny’s knitting technique videos.  Can’t quite figure out how to do a 3 needle bind off?  It’s there.  Confused if you should use a ssk or k2tog decrease?  He shows you the difference between the two and the best application for each.

I strongly suggest you sign up for his daily stitch a day video.  This guy’s a genius.  I learn something new from him everyday (literally)!

 

Comments { 4 }

The Feel Good Yarn Company

You may have noticed (or at least we hope you have)  that the yarns Knit Outta the Box carries aren’t just your run of the mill beautiful yarns.   We work  hard to bring yarns to market that are unique, but also have a socially-conscious element to them.  They are yarns that not only feel good, but also make you feel good when you purchase them.

Our Sifa Silver Cotton is produced in the area of Turkey that was devastated in the 1999 earthquake and the income produced is used to support local artisans, craftswomen and small local spinners who are still suffering from the catastrophe.  Both our Cotton Tweed Twine & 100% organic Merino wool are produced in the US using fibers sourced here in the States, helping to kick-start the economy.  Our Afghanistan Cashmere though, is probably the yarn that is making the biggest impact, putting women to work in war-torn Afghanistan.  The Early-Fall edition of Vogue Knitting has a wonderful article by, Rebecca Klassen, that discusses the yarns that are helping to heal nations and uplift the spirits of those who live there and our Afghanistan Cashmere is mentioned.  We are humbled & honored to a part of this piece.

Here is the opening paragraph.

Our hope is that your curiosity will be piqued, and that you’ll want to read the article in it’s entirety.  We urge you to  go out and purchase the magazine, finish reading the article and then perhaps knit up a pair of the “above the elbow wristers” using our Afghanistan Cashmere (I think 3 skeins would just about do it)!

 

 

Comments { 1 }

Beach Knitting 101

We recently had a customer contact us asking what she could make with the 25 yard skeins of our Cotton Tweed Twine that she had just bought.  The cute, tiny bundles had her a little flummoxed as to project possibilities.  After writing her back and giving her a number of suggestions, she responded with, “Thanks!  I get the idea now.” This little exchange got me to thinking that perhaps a primer on, “What to do with 25 yards of KOTB Cotton Tweed Twine“, might be beneficial to more than just this one customer.

The whole idea behind our Cotton Tweed Twine is to promote it for “Beach Knitting.”  Fun, easy, simple projects you can take with you to the beach or on vacation. As knitters we all know that with the arrival of the warm, summer months our knitting habits change just a little. Our heavy sweater and afghan projects are swapped out for smaller ones in lighter weight yarns that can easily be tossed into a beach bag or backpack.

This is where our Cotton Tweed Twine comes in.  On the Cotton Tweed Twine page of out website we suggest 3 of our patterns:

Hugs & Kisses Bracelet, Earbud Cozy & Necklace Cowl.

The bracelet & earbud cozy require 1 skein (if you want to also make the pouch for the earbud cozy, add 2 more skeins), the cowl depends on how many strands you want.  I would suggest at least 4 skeins, using a #8 needle.  We also offer a FREE PATTERN on the FREE STUFF page of this blog for an Eyeglasses Cord which takes just one skein.

Our pattern, Flora, that was recently featured in Creative Knitting Magazine’s, “Make it this Weekend” Spring 2012 edition, would look beautiful using our Cotton Tweed Twine and embellished with some of our Turkish Oya lace. Using US #4 needles and 5-6 skeins would give you ample yardage to make a six strand necklace.  A strand in each color would make a perfect summertime accessory, don’t you think?

To us, the project possibilities are endless.  What are your ideas?  We would love to see them.  Send us a picture of something you’ve knit using our Cotton Tweed Twine and we will post it.  If it is a pattern you designed, let us know, perhaps we can work out a deal to offer it to our other customers!

Ahh, summertime, when the knitting is easy!

Comments { 0 }

The Knits of the Roundtable

Knitty.com holds a really great event once a month called, the Knitty Yarn Roundtable.  It is held at a LYS in Toronto called, The Purple Purl.  The idea behind the event is to allow folks to try out and comment about new yarns on the market, giving  knitters more information about yarn than just what’s on the ball band.  The comments are then posted on the knitty.com website.   It is a great way for people who aren’t lucky enough to have a LYS get an idea of what is new in the world of knitting yarn.

So, why am I telling you this?  Because our KB SIFA SILVER COTTON WAS RECENTLY REVIEWED !  So huge, for us!  Most of you probably know about knitty.com and are aware that a mention on the site is like gold.  The day the review was posted the hits to our site more than tripled.

We are incredibly excited to be the exclusive distributor in the US for KB Sifa Silver Cotton.  When looking at this yarn don’t expect to see “bling”.  You won’t see any silvery sparkles.  Really, the only indication that there is any silver in it at all, comes from the natural, soft dove gray color, that I find incredibly beautiful.   Actually, it’s more what you’ll feel than see.  Sifa, means healing in Turkish, and that is what this yarn really is – a healing or therapeutic yarn.  Silver has been known for centuries to possess healing qualities, as well as an anti-bacterial element.  In fact, the story goes that this yarn was created for the spinner’s mother who suffered from Rheumatoid arthritis and swore that every time she wore the socks she knit with the Sifa, her feet felt better.  While I can’t make any claims that this yarn will cure all that ails you, I will say that every time I wear the socks, or put on the fingerless gloves that I knit out of Sifa, my hands & feet feel better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in my head?  I don’t know, but with this new Double Twist Turban pattern I just designed using Sifa Silver Cotton, I might find out!

 

Comments { 3 }

My New Career (sort of)

Recently I was asked to be a contributing writer to the Creative Knitting Blog.  I am actually over the moon about this and a little stunned, since I had a prof in college tell me I couldn’t write.  All these years I’ve been carrying that around – thinking I wasn’t able to put down on paper, in a way people would understand, what I had to say in.  Well, those days are over!  Here is my first piece.  It’s all about beautiful Turkish Oya Lace.  Enjoy!

(republished with permission from Creative Knitting Magazine)

March 8, 2012

The Language of Oya By Laurie Gonyea

I have to admit, when Kara asked me to write a guest post about Turkish Oya lace, I was little concerned. Being married to a journalist, he always says, “write what you know,” and that, therein, was my problem.  All I really knew about Oya, was that I had fallen in love with it.  I knew I loved the intricate, handmade motifs, with some that looking more like sculpture than lace. I knew I was intrigued with the ancient technique of creating realistic flowers with just a needle and thread, and I knew I needed to know more about Igne oyasi.  So, here I go.  The post may read more like a high school research paper at times, but after doing the research for this post, I can honestly say, I now know a little bit about Igne oyasi – Turkish needle lace, and so will you.

“Igne oyasi” means “needle lace embroidery” in Turkish, and is one of the most beautiful and ancient lace forms in existence. Traditionally, the lace was made by Turkish women to adorn the linens for their daughter’s wedding trousseaus, but today it is used as an embellishment for knitwear, clothing and household goods, as well as for earrings, necklaces, and belts.

 

Historically, Igne oyasi was made using silk thread and was the lace found most often in the palaces of the Ottoman Empire.  Today still, it is very popular among the Turkish elite and is highly sought after and very collectible. Modern Oya is rarely made with silk, using instead cotton thread, but the outcome is no less stunning. Taking inspiration from the spectacular variety of flowers and fauna found in the Turkish countryside, women create this 3-D lace using only a small sewing needle.  It is made by taking the needle and thread and forming loops which are tightened into knots.  The tightness of the knots creates small square and triangular stitches.  As many as five colors of thread can be used in one motif. Traditionally, horsehair was woven in to stiffen the lace and to help form the flower petals.  Today, horsehair is rarely used, and instead thin wire or plastic thread serves the purpose.  Most times the lace is starched to help the motif keep its shape.

 

As the craft evolved, the various lace motifs began to take on certain symbolic meanings. It was almost like a secret language between the women.  Women would wear “crowns” of oya with different flowers depending upon their age. Old ladies wore tiny wild flowers symbolizing the return of ‘dust to dust”. Young women and brides wore roses, arbor roses, carnations, jasmine, hyacinths, violets, daffodils, chrysanthemums and fuchsia, each of them carrying a “secret” message through the shapes and colors of the flowers.  Yellow daffodils, for instance, signified hopeless love.  A wife whose husband had gone abroad to work would wrap wild rose oya around her head.  Young ladies who were betrothed to the man they loved wore pink hyacinths and almond blossoms, while a girl in love wore purple hyacinths.  An unhappy bride who chose Pepper Spice for her crown was declaring the marriage doomed from the start, but if she choose red pepper, she was indicating her relationship was spicy and red hot!  Who knew lace could be so communicative!

 

 

This ancient art of lace making is enjoying a resurgence and is becoming very popular as a way to embellish handcrafted garments. Using oya instead of beads as the trim on a scalloped edge of a handknit shawl is a way to show off these beautifully handcrafted flowers.  In my necklace, Flora, designed for Creative Knitting’s, Make It This Weekend special interest issue, I used pink oya flowers which I feel really makes the necklace “pop” and is the perfect accessory for this spring.

Flora, designed by Laurie Gonyea for Make It This Weekend, a special interest issue of Creative Knitting magazine. 

For a close-up look at Oya, please visit my website – www.knitouttathebox.com.

 

Comments { 0 }

Hugs & Kisses for a Cause

We are so fortunate to have an amazing neighborhood market here in the NW section of DC where I live.  The Broad Branch Market is that type of place where they always know what you want (not that we necessarily need it).  Take for instance, the la Salamandra Dulce de Leche and Dulce de Leche con Chocolat.  Do I need this decadent chocolate? No. But do I want it?  Oh ya!  And those salted caramels that they had by the checkout counter last summer.  Needed?  No.  Wanted?  Over & over & over again!  They do have milk, eggs & bread too, but that’s so boring and certainly not as much fun to write about.

At any rate, the owners, Tracey & John, are incredibly supportive of the endeavors of those of us living in the neighborhood.  It is not unusual to see books for sale written by a neighbor, bags of coffee produced by a resident’s father in South America, and of course knitting kits from Knit Outta the Box.  Recently Tracey learned that a dear friend’s three year old daughter was very sick and hospitalized at St. Jude Children’s Hospital.  Wanting to do something to support St. Jude’s and the amazing work they do, Tracey came up with the idea of donating all the proceeds from the sales of our Hugs & Kisses Bracelet knitting kit to the hospital.  I am incredibly touched that Tracey thought to use our product for such a worthy cause.  Thanks Tracey. xoxo

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all.

 

Comments { 0 }

Recently I had the fun experience of being interviewed on video by the editor of Creative Knitting Magazine, Kara Gott-Warner.  We recorded this in the lounge and the background noise you hear is just a busboy doing his job – setting up glasses! Enjoy!

Creative Knitting Magazine video interview

Comments { 0 }

The Real Deal

I have to let you in on a little secret.  Whenever Knit Outta the Box receives new product it is always shipped to our warehouse in Michigan.  It never comes to  my house here in DC.  So, like when our first order of ready-to-wear iMitts from Bolivia came in, Brandy, the Queen (and my hero) of our warehouse & fulfillment center was the first to see them.  I had her send me pics immediately and then ship me some, but seriously, it’s not the same as opening the box for the first time and getting giddy with excitement at what’s inside.  The exact same scenario took place with our Afghanistan cashmere.  You know that picture I posted with those cute little balls of cashmere – samples all.  I might have had 10 yards max of each color.  But,  yesterday I received 4 skeins of the cashmere in the mail!  Big, beautiful, buttery soft AND 82 yards of each!  It wasn’t quite the same as opening a box filled to the brim with cashmere, but I must admit, I did get a little giddy.

Comments { 3 }

The Ultimate in “Feel Good” Yarn

4 natural colorsIt’s funny how sometimes things just fall into your lap, right?  Like, how in the world did I get my hands on cashmere spun in Afghanistan? Afghanistan!  I didn’t even know there were cashmere goats there.  Not that I ever researched the topic.   At any rate, it started with an email from one of the owners of our local yarn store here in DC – Looped Yarn Works (I just love them. They are in Dupont Circle.  If you are ever in DC you really should make an effort to stop by and see them, the store is adorable.)  Anyway, Susan emailed to say she had a customer, Lauren,  who would like to meet me because she was going to start importing cashmere from Afghanistan and since I had experience importing yarn from Turkey, she thought I could give her some insight.  Well, I didn’t know about the insight part, but I certainly wanted to see this cashmere, so Lauren and I met for coffee.

I fell in love.  Four beautiful, natural colors – dark brown, light brown, light gray, and white.  And so soft!  But the most intriguing thing about the yarn was that it is a fair trade product.  The yarn is spun by Afghan women from their homes and they are paid a fair wage for their labor.  So, in between doing house chores, dealing with kids and getting dinner on the table, they are spinning raw cashmere into beautiful skeins of hand-knitting yarn.  Some of them are even using a drop spindle!  They spin by the kilo, which produces about 20 skeins (approx. 92 yds/skein).  It can take up to 5 days to get through one kilo.  They produce a bulky weight and a sport weight.  (I’m starting out with the bulky because it knits up faster allowing the feeling of cashmere softness around your neck (or head) that much sooner.)

This cashmere is the ultimate in “feel good” yarn.  Not only does it feel good while you are wearing it, but you can feel good knowing that your purchase is helping someone live a better life.

Available soon from Knit Outta the Box.  50g/approx. 92 yds.

 

Comments { 5 }