Friday, July 3, 2015

A New Flag In Front

Since shortly after I opened the shop a sandwich board sat out front so that people driving by could find us and know when we were open.  Because the store is located down from street level and our homeowner's rules have strict requirements for signage it is sometimes hard to find us.

Sadly some of my neighbors also did not like the sandwich board and it had to go.  Since the U.S. flag is federally protected and lets face it who can be have a problem with the flag?  we decided to hang one high up so people who drive by can at least spot us.  Since we are a yarn and fiber shop we had to do more than just hang any old flag.  We decided to make our own U.S. Flag.

In this post I am going to include all of the information you need to make your own!

Yarn: Cascade Eco Plus in Red (8511), White (8010) and Blue (8550).  Cascade Yarns has other names for these but I am sticking with the simple ones.
We needed about 1.5 skeins of each.

Needles: Size 10 circular 40"

Gauge: 16 stitches for 4"
Finished dimensions:
 Full flag:26"x48"
 Blue rectangle 14"x18.25"

My mother in law and I knit this together.  Her gauge is different than mine (she is normal and I knit loose).  We got our gauge in sync by each knitting a swatch and comparing.  I went down needle sizes while she hit gauge right away with the size 10's.  Because this flag is knit then felted it will shrink a lot! My goal was to get a flag approximatey 2 feet by 4 feet.  We ended up with 26"x 48" when it was all finished.  With the sewn on header for the grommits it grew anouther couple of inches in length to 50".

Long stripes under blue field:

Cast on 250 stitches in the red
  1. In stockinette stitch knit 17 rows, change white yarn by tying a knot
  2. In stockinette stitch knit 17 rows, change to red yarn by tying a knot
  3. in stockinette stitch knit 17 rows, change to white yarn by tying a knot
  4. in stockinette stitch knit 17 rows, change to red yarn by tying a knot
  5. in stockinette stitch knit 17 rows. change to white yarn by tying a knot
  6. In stockinette stitch knit 17 rows.  

Transition to short stripe section (positioned to the right of the field on finished flag)

1.Bind off 100 stitches. using a knot tie on red yarn and knit in stockinette stitch to the end of the row.
2. Continue in the stockinette stitch for 17 rows. Change to white yarn by tying knot.
3. In stockinette stitch knit 17 rows. Change to red yarn by tying a knot.
4. In stockinette stitch knit 17 rows. Change to natural yarn by tying a knot.
5.In stockinette stitch knit 17 rows. Change to red yarn by tying a knot.
6. In stockinette stitch knit 17 rows. Change to natural yarn by tying a knot.
7. In stockinette stitch knit 17 rows Change to red yarn by tying a knot.
8. in stockinette stitch knit 17 rows, Bind off.

Blue Field:
Cast on (100)
  1. In stockinette stitch knit for about 120 rows (or 30 inches inches).
  2. Bind Off

Felt your flag pieces

With rough towels or blue jeans wash your flag pieces in hot water and then dry them in a tumble dryer on hot until you can only faintly see the original knit stitches.  These pieces will shrink quite a bit and likely more in height than width.  My neighbor did this for me as I only have a front loading machine.  She said she washed and dried each one twice (full cycles)

Trim pieces
 trim a thin strip off of each side of the felted pieces (the edges will be firmer and less flexible than the remainder of the piece.  when trimmed the felted piece will stretch and lay flat more easily.

Block the flag pieces

using hot water soak the now felted trimmed pieces in the sink until they are saturated.  wring them out as much as you can and position blocking mats or thick towels onto surface that can become wet.  It is a very good idea to do this on a warm day outside.  Using lots of pins and a ruler pin pieces into as even a rectangles as you can.  
Cut your flag pieces into the felted flag dimensions (see size above)  If you want to alter your flag dimmensions you can find the U.S. govt. flag specifications here.  You can use these ratios to create a flag of any dimensions (larger than this one or smaller)

Baste the blue field into the open space on the striped section of the flag (I used a hand whip stitch). Once your piece is anchored and square use an overlock or zigzag stitch with matching blue thread to secure these pieces together.


Using a medium needle felting needle, white/natural fleece, and a 1 inch star shaped cookie cutter needle felt 50 stars on one side of your flag.  In the process shadows of your work will show on the back side of your flag.  Use these shadows to align your cookie cutter on the back side of your flag.  repeat the needle felting process.  Fuzz will appear on the first side of your flag.  You can gently felt these bits back and and trim some with extra sharp scissors to make you flag tidy.

Sew on canvas as bias binding and to reinforce the hanging edge of your flag.  Using a 1/2’ grommet kit install two grommets to the edge of your flag.

Your are ready to fly your hand-knitted and felted flag.

I plan on adding some scotch guard before it starts to rain..I think this thing will suck up the rain like crazy!  I also have a backup nylon one if needed on stormy days.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Sale, A Drawing and Another Drawing

  BlackSheep is having a garage sale!  Friday, Saturday and Sunday June 12-15 we are clearing out the old to make room for the new.  I bought a lot of stuff at TNNA and I need to make room for it.

There is a Drawing!  To celebrate our 3 year anniversary we are having two book drawings:  Come on into the shop this week (Thursday, June 11 until Thursday, June 18) and put your name in the jar.  On Thursday evening at 8:30pm we will draw out a name and the winner will get a copy of Knit Wear Love by Amy Herzog.

Follow this blog and leave a comment and your name will go in for an online drawing for a copy of: Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads by Cirilia Rose.  Two ways to win! and of course you can enter for both. Of course you can either pop in to pick it up or I will mail it to you.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Curling and Crochet

The Crochet

I did not knit today.  Instead I unravelled the edge on the almost completed Cadfael shawl.  I started the border a few days ago but put it down.  At the time I knew I should have put in a few more rows before the border but I was read to have it done.  After a little rest I was more prepared to do the ripping and re-crochet needed to do the job correctly. After a few hours I am now back to where I was this morning but much happier and ready to get this finished.

  This is the second shawl I have completed using Kat Strieby's lovely pattern.  We have hard copies in the store but soon the pattern will launch on Ravelry.  The shawl is a somewhat challenging but definitely doable with just a few hints about the increase pattern.  I had sort of put crochet away for a while but this one rekindles my crochet desire and I am already looking for something new to do.

This one is out of an older skein of Teresa Ruch Tincel yarn.  540 yards of soft and vibrant yarn that is perfect for warmer weather.  After this evening the main body of a shawl is now ready for a bold border design on the bottom edge.

The Curling
Last year Annie Raich (a frequent knitter at BlackSheep at Orenco and a neighbor) told us about her other hobby-Curling.  This year we managed to go there for a fun field drip.  9 couples but on our warm clothes and of course knitwear and went down to Evergreen Curling Club.  Once there were split up on to two sheets (the Curling equivalent of a bowling lane) and learned the fundamentals of Curling.  The game is very much like Bocce or shuffle board only quite a bit more complicated.

Instead of throwing balls at at a starter ball you slide a 45pound hunk of Scottish granite at a bulls eye ring far far down a sheet of ice.  To help you accomplish this task two of your team mates sweep the ice to help guide the granite blob towards it goal (for us it was more a matter of getting the thing over the scratch line so it was even counted).  Yet another member of the team is stationed down at the bullseye end of the sheet to yell and signal directions at the thrower so that he/she slides the granite down in just the right way to gain the most points.  Did I mention that you are supposed to do the granite sliding while crouched down in a one legged praying mantis like glide down a sheet of ice with a rubber shoe on one foot and a pad of teflon on the other?  Thankfully they had push sticks.  I was too afraid I would get down there and never get back up.

In all I found the game to be really fun.  I am especially fond of sweeping.  I hate sweeping at home but somehow sweeping a sheet of ice as fast as you can while running sideways is much more fun.  Most of us instead of getting cold came away sweaty from the exertion.   Here are some photos that Rod Wallace, Duncan Kitchin and Linda Kitchin managed to snap for us!

All of us on the ice getting our first instructions.

Duncan pushing the Rock with finesse

 Crystal and I watching the instructions so we are ready to sweep the granite in the right direction

Lynn and David ready to sweep
A Bullseye by Linda!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Another Day and More Rows on the Silk Shawl

I did not work a whole lot on the  Gentle Dip eshawl today.  Just a hour or so during the day when I was teaching a beginners class and then again this evening for a couple of hours.  The shawl is very easy and really the yarn is the most difficult part.  It is rather fine and then has slubby bits throughout.  I like the effect and am willing to put up with whatever bother the thick and thin and silk provides.

So far I have only put in one stripe.  I think I will swap out to green a couple more times making narrow bands of green until I get to the halfway point.

I sent some of the Loom yarn home with Terri (a regular customer and fiber dyer for spinning).  She is going to use the fuchsia and purple shades to create a crochet-ed Windowpane scarf: I cannot wait to see how it turns out.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Loom Risoni Silk Yarn Project

A Bowl Full of Raw Silk Goodness

I love this yarn but I had a hard time figuring out what to knit/crochet with it.  At first I thought about a bias knit very long and thin scarf.  Then I thought about a Missoni style scarf using two shades.  I started several-and under a deadline to find something to add to the April BlackSheep at Orenco Newsletter but Alas this project had to sit and be played with until I found just the right project.  This morning in a fit of insomnia I came upon something I think will be good!  Over at Fran's blog called Wool Tribulations .  She has a crescent shaped shawl (and I do love crescent shawls best!).  She created this pattern to showcase her hand spun fingering weight yarns.  Of course it is great for this because in all of its striped goodness you can use up those shorter lengths you have spun up.  I decided to try it with the Risoni Silk because It is fairly simple in texture while being a great shape.  It is also two sided as you fold it in half.  I am looking forward to playing with the stripes as I knit.  I just started the pattern this morning:

Here is my progress so far.

I also picked Fran's pattern because her post was about Usk.  This lovely little village is just a few miles away from my Mother-in-law's village and when we visit I regularly make David drive me over for a walk around the antique stores, a stop off at the garden centre and a bit of lunch at the pub.  When I clicked on Fran's pattern from Ravelry I happily recognized the photos and her discussion about Usk and the Garden Centre.  I sent a comment off to her so I will now have to pick her brain for good yarn/fiber stores to visit the next time I am there.

Lately I have been experiencing a bit of what I call a crochet Renaissance.  Kat Streiby's Cadfael Shawl is a crochet workout.  No individual stitch is difficult but because I have been mostly a vintage pattern crochet lover There were new stitches I had never used and the four row sequence pattern was never boring!  In the last few weeks I have crocheted two of these shawls getting ready for Kat's pattern launch on Ravelry at at the upcoming TNNA convention.  We are taking photos this weekend so watch for an update-I Promise I will be blogging much more frequently from here on out.  Saturday will be photos of my progress and Cadfael photos/links etc.