Monday, 12 April 2021

A Spring Knit-Along: The Smoke & Mirrors Cowl

We are delighted to be able to start a new project with you. The Smoke & Mirrors Cowl by Milly’s Knit Designs is the perfect project for an ambitious beginner who would like to learn new knit stitches and play around with colours. It’s also the perfect project for anyone who wants to use up smaller amounts of DK or light Worsted weight yarn.

Whilst winter is fading fast here in the northern hemisphere, the temperatures are still varying a lot and a cowl is the perfect accessory for this period between the seasons. A cowl is easy to combine with a lighter jacket or a sweater, but is also lightweight, so you can move freely.

You could even wear it inside and jazz up your office outfit!

The Smoke & Mirrors Cowl is initially knit flat, similar to a triangular shawl. After you have finished the first part of the cowl, you then join it to knit it in the round.

Is this your first project to knit it in the round?

We promise that you will enjoy the process and it won’t be the last time that you pick up your circular needles.

You only need a total of 262 yd (240m) of DK (double knit) or light worsted weight yarn in three different colours. You could also just use two colours and change the striped section in the pattern.

If you choose this option, take careful notes so you don’t lose track of where you are in the pattern.

Whilst gauge isn’t crucial for this project, keep in mind that it will change the amount of yarn that you need and ultimately also changes the size of the cowl.

A smaller gauge might make your cowl sit a bit snugger around the neck but don’t forget that you will need to still be able to get it over your head. A bigger gauge would mean that the cowl sits more loosely around your neck.


Some of you might feel a bit overwhelmed when choosing colours for your project, especially as the pattern calls for three different colours.

Here are some good tips from our designer Crystal from Milly’s Knit Designs on how to choose a mix of colours that play well together.
Analogous colours – These are the colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel. They will harmonize well but the contrast can be very little to non-existent.

Complementary colours – When you are looking for a good contrast between your colours to make them stand out well, choose two colours that are opposite to each other on the colour wheel.

Split complementary colours – This is perfect for this project! Select the first colour, then go to the opposite side of the colour wheel and select two adjacent colours.

If you are still not sure if your chosen colours work well together, we have another tip for you to check if they have enough contrast.

Take a picture with your phone and use a black and white filter. If the colours that you have chosen show contrast in the greyscale, they will pop very well in the cowl.

After binding off, the designer suggests to block the cowl. This is especially important as you are using eyelet stitches that will stand out much better once they are blocked.

Whilst there is a good description in the pattern on how to blog your cowl, you might also want to check out our designated blog post on how to block your knitting and crocheting projects. Whilst this blog post is not exhaustive, you will find a lot of useful tips on how to use blocking mats and pins, and which technique works best with your choice of yarn.

So, are you ready to cast on? This cowl is such a fun project and as sizing is not really a problem, it will make a perfect gift for a beloved friend or family member. Tag us on Instagram and Facebook and use the hashtag #SmokeAndMirrorsKnitPro, so we can admire your projects.

Free Pattern for the Smoke & Mirrors Cowl


Our knit along runs for a total of three months. We will be randomly choosing a winner amongst all participants. To have a chance to win this SmartStix deluxe interchangeable needle set, post a picture of your finished Smoke & Mirrors cowl in the dedicated thread in our Ravelry group. If Ravelry is not accessible for you, you can also send us an email to knitproeu@gmail.com

 

 Please find below the terms and conditions to participate in this knit along.
- The knit along takes place from the 12/04/2021 – 12/07/2021. The knit along ends on the 12/07/2021 at 07:00pm GMT.
- To participate, please post a picture of your finished Smoke & Mirrors cowl in our KnitPro Ravelry group. If Ravelry is not accessible to you, please send us an email to knitproeu@gmail.com
- The winner will be contacted via direct message on Ravelry and or via email. If we don’t hear back within 14 days, a new winner will be drawn.
- The winner will be announced by his/her Instagram or Ravelry handle.
- Unfortunately we are unable to cover the costs of duties. Be advised that our products are being sent from the UK.
-This knit along is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram inc. or Facebook. By entering, entrants confirm they are 18+ years of age, release Instagram and Facebook of responsibility, and agree to their terms of use. No purchase necessary.

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

How to Block Your Knitting


You most likely already know some of the benefits of blocking. Today, we will give you a great overview of different blocking methods and which tools make blocking a fun part of your knitting and crocheting experience.

Blocking is not just another step in your knitting.

Really? Then what is it?

Well, let's find out together…

What is Blocking in Knitting?

Blocking is a great method to even out your stitches, let your yarn bloom and show its full potential in creating a nice, even fabric. Blocking makes your garment lovely to look at and even nicer to wear.

You might even be able to fix a few mistakes by blocking. For example, if your sweater sleeves are too short, you might be able to slightly stretch the fabric so that they fit better.

Blocking can also be used to calibrate your project. It isn't just about the needle size. You may find that after washing and blocking, the garment's final fabric can change drastically, even if you thought you used the right needles!

So, what's the answer?

It's simple. Make sure that you block your gauge swatch. Based on the results, this will allow you to select a correct needle size to account for changes in size caused by a final wash and block. Fibres nearly always change once they have been blocked.

Depending on the fibre and what you are trying to achieve, the method you use to block can make a huge difference.

Keep reading to see some great ways to block your garment.

Wet Blocking

Wet blocking is the most common method used in knitting. You soak the garment, remove excess moisture, then pin it to dry in the required size and shape. As the water dries, the fibres tighten and 'set' in their new form while being held in position on a blocking mat.

Here's how it works…

You soak the garment (or your gauge swatch) for 15-20 minutes in lukewarm water.

Obviously, not every kind of fibre is water-friendly, so check first to see if it is allowed to be wet.

Then once the fabric is soaked, we remove the excess.

Here's an important tip.

You must never wring or twist a garment to squeeze out the excess water. This can tear and damage fibres permanently…

So how do I remove the water?

The best way is to roll the garment into a dry towel and apply even pressure. You can even consider gently standing on it. You know better than anyone that a lot of love and time has gone into crafting your project, so treat it with care. Some types of yarn felt easily, so avoid manipulating it too much.

Once the excess water is removed, the piece can be spread out onto your blocking mats and pinned down in the desired shape.

Steam Blocking

Let's say that you've checked, and the fibres aren't permitted to be 'wet'…

So, I can't block my garment?

Yes, you can!

Steam blocking will still allow you to relax and shape those fibres. This method actually gives you a fair amount of flexibility too! You can steam the garment or swatch gauge first, before pinning it down. Or alternatively, pin it in shape and then apply steam.

But, be careful…

Man-made fibres can be damaged by steam and heat, so don't overdo it!

The approach you choose when steam blocking isn't just down to personal preference either.

Some fibres can't be shaped before steam or moisture is applied. Whereas others, like, say, cotton, change too drastically at the merest hint of steam. In this case, it might be better to pin your project down before steaming.

Here are some tips on how to steam block your garment.

First, get to know your fabric. Try steaming a smaller piece if possible (again, a gauge swatch is a great opportunity to perform a 'test). If your fabric is pretty durable, begin by covering it with a wet tea towel. Gently press a hot steam iron onto your project through the towel, and press the steam button.

Oh, and before we forget…

Keep the iron moving so that heat can't build up too quickly.

Once the towel starts feeling drier, your knitted piece is ready to be blocked if you haven't pinned it already.

For delicate material, consider using steam alone, without any of the 'ironing'. Here's how to do it.

Turn the steam function on your iron to 'high' and direct a jet of steam onto your knitted piece, ensuring that the iron doesn't make contact with the fabric.

 

Spray Blocking

For super delicate fibres, even steam might be too 'harsh.'

So, what's the answer?

Spray blocking is the gentlest way of blocking and suitable for very delicate fibres like cashmere.

This is how you do it….

To spray block your knitting, all you have to do is pin your item onto your blocking mats and then use a spray bottle to spritz some water onto it. Make sure the piece isn't soaking wet but damp enough to relax the fibres.

It's that simple.

If you aren't sure but think your project could benefit from just a little blocking, there are super gentle techniques… Try leaving your project hung outside on a misty or humid day. Putting your project In the bathroom after a steamy bath or shower can make a subtle difference to your fabric and fibres' behaviour.

 

Whatever your preference, it's worth talking about the tools that facilitate blocking to make your knitting look even better.

Blocking Mats



Why You Need Them

Blocking mats are very handy when you want to pin down your knitted piece. They create a consistent and even surface that makes it easy to attach pins.

And here's more…

Blocking mats help your project dry quicker by soaking up moisture. They also protect your floor. While you can block directly onto the floor, it isn't the best idea… Use a blocking mat.

Your carpet will thank you!

Can you Use Blocking Mats for any Project?

Yes indeed!

Our blocking mats come in a set of nine, and each mat measures 30cm x 30cm. They can be easily assembled and fit together so that they match your knitted piece's shape.

Are you blocking something long, like, say, a scarf?

No problem.

Just join the mats together to form a long strip.

Do you just want to block a pair of mittens?

Our blocking mats will have you covered for that too! All you need is one of the 30 cm x 30 cm squares to pin your mittens down.

You might have heard that children's play mats make a good option for blocking? While they might seem like a wise investment, many aren't colour-safe and certainly aren't designed to be wet.

What does this mean?

Simply, that wet dye from the mat could make its way into your project. Not good if you've spent the last two months knitting a beautiful bright white cashmere jumper!

 

Blocking Pins



Do I Need Specific Blocking Pins?

When it comes to pins, you have a couple of options. And whilst you might just want to use the ones that you have sitting next to your sewing machine, there are a couple of things that you might want to consider.

Such as?

A longer series of pins makes it much easier to get a big project pinned faster and more securely. As fibres shrink as they dry, there is a fair bit of tension generated. If a pin or two pulls loose, you could end up with a misshapen project! This is the opposite of what blocking is supposed to achieve!

All makes sense? Why not consider these options?

T-Pins

Our T-Pins, for example, are a bit longer than normal pins, so you can easily pin down a chunky sweater or hat. But most importantly, they are rust-free and therefore pose no risk of damaging your beloved knitted piece.

T-Pins come in particularly handy when blocking delicate work too, such as a lace shawl border,

Are you an impatient knitter? Take a look at the next option…

Knit Blockers



Yes, knit blockers are so much quicker than T-Pins, and if you have pets at home, you might want to seriously consider them!

Not only are they much harder to lose (our rainbow knit blockers are really hard to miss!), they also make it much easier to pin down pieces with straight edges like shawls and sweaters.

Each package contains 12 bigger knit blockers and eight smaller ones. And they hold another big advantage, they all come with anchor holes for the blocking wires.

Blocking wires?

Yes, have a look below.

Blocking Wires

With the blocking wires, you can take your lace knitting to the next level.

And not only lace knitting…

Even sweaters, tops and blankets can be more evenly blocked by slipping the wires through the edges of your project and pinning the wires down with either your T-Pins or your knit blockers. Do you remember that we just mentioned anchor holes on your knit blockers?

They are ideal, as you can insert the wires into the anchor holes. Who doesn't love great knitting tools that work well together?

Each tube of blocking wires contains different lengths of wires and even comes with a tape measure to make your blocking more accurate.



So, now that you understand the process… are you still not sure about blocking?

We can only recommend that you give it a go! After you have blocked your first project, we are sure that you will do it again… You'll be hooked (or maybe pinned?)

Let us know about your blocking experiences in the comments. If you have any questions regarding our blocking products, please contact us via direct message on Instagram or Facebookor via email: Knitproeu@gmail.com.


Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Winding your Yarn the Right Way

Before picking up a new knitting or crocheting project, the choice of wool can bring additional complexity. As you probably already know, how the yarn is wound up can vary and we will give you a quick overview on the differences before we explain how to wind a hank of yarn into a cake of yarn.

 

A Twisted Hank of Yarn

Many of the beautiful hand-dyed luxurious and artisanal yarns come as a twisted hank of yarn. The yarn is wound up in big circles, that is then folded into itself. This way, the yarn can be dyed easily. Additionally, it is the best way to store the yarn, as there will be no tension on it. A hank of yarn is an easy way to clearly display the colour and texture of the yarn.

Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to knit directly from a hank of yarn without it becoming tangled. Therefore, you will first have to wind it into a ball before casting on your new knitting or crocheting project.


A Ball of Yarn


The yarn is wound up to a round shaped sphere and can be either pulled from outside or inside of the ball, depending on one’s preference.

Whilst the ball of yarn is the best shape to knit or crochet from, it is important to mention that a ball is not the best way to store your yarn. As the yarn is usually under some tension, it is recommended to only wind your hank or skein into a ball when you have project in mind and are ready to cast on.

 

A Skein of Yarn


Many of the industrial yarns are wound up in skeins. The yarn is wound up in a ready-to-use oblong shaped ball and can be pulled either from outside or inside the skein.

The skeins are easy to store and are a good way for yarn companies to display their yarn.

Even though you can easily start using a skein, you eventually might end up with some tangles. Many knitters and crocheters wind up the remaining yarn to inhibit this.

  

A Yarn Cake


A yarn cake is very similar to a ball of yarn. Most ball winders will produce a cake of yarn, which can be either center-pulled or used up from the outside.

 

 How to wind your yarn

Once you have decided on your choice of yarn, it is finally time to set up your materials. If you have chosen a twisted hank of yarn, you will now need to wind up a cake or ball to start your project.

There are many different ways on how to wind up a ball or cake of yarn. The most common way to do it is to either ask a very patient friend or family member to hold the hank around their arms whilst you wind it up or to wrap the hank around two chairs. Whilst this is the most cost-efficient way to do this, it is easy to put too much tension on the yarn and therefore damage the fibers.

 An easier way to wind up your yarn is to use a swift.

 


Initially you will have to untwist the hank of yarn and place it on the swift. Then you can carefully remove the threads that keeps the hank together.

Once you have set up the swift, you then can choose whether to hand wind a ball of yarn, to use a Nostepinne, or to use a ball winder.

A Nostepinne is a carved piece of wood which is used to wind a ball. It is a very traditional method that requires quite some practice and patience to create an evenly wound ball.


A ball winder is a more modern method to wind a cake of yarn. The yarn will be evenly caked up. There are different ball winders on the market and we have a total of three different ball winders in our collection.

 The first Ball Winder is very compact and lightweight, perfect for a knit night when you are out and about. The built-in table clamp enables you to install the ball winder on any table that is thinner than 5cm.


 
Our Natural Mega Ball Winder is handcrafted to perfection. It is made out of natural birch wood and can wind up to 450g of 4Ply (fingering) weight yarn at a time. An anti-skid rubber pad prevents the winder from sliding and scratching the table. 

 

Our colourful Signature Mega Ball Winder is made out of a combination of colourful laminated birch wood and natural birch wood and will make your craft room look both stylish and highly professional.

 

We would love to know what your preferred method is to wind up a hank of yarn? Please leave us a comment. If you have any questions regarding our swift or ball winder, please contact us either via direct message on Instagram or Facebook, or via email: Knitproeu@gmail.com.

 

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Ready, Steady, Knit!

Whilst this New Year is bringing new opportunities, we would like to contribute and host a new knit along, which is starting on January 9th 2021 and runs until April 8th 2021. We are knitting the beautiful ‘Winterberry’ shawl pattern by Milly’s Knit Designs, and you can find a free download link below. We are delighted to announce that this time we have many different prizes for several winners in this knit along.

The ‘Winterberry’ shawl is knitted flat, using 4-ply yarn (also called fingering weight yarn) and is the perfect project for an adventurous beginner. As the pattern includes a lace section, a solid, or lightly variegated yarn would probably the best option to use. That way, you will be able to see the beautiful lace panel once you have washed and blocked the shawl.

There are a few different techniques used in the pattern, but all of them are easy to learn. Additionally the pattern includes a charted and written description. So no matter which way you prefer to read a pattern, you’ll have both options available.

The pattern calls for a circular needle or a single pointed needle. Both needle types have their advantages, and it is up to you as to which you prefer.

To complete the shawl, you will need just under two skeins of 4ply (fingering weight) yarn.

First prize will go to the fastest knitter that submits a picture of their finished Winterberry shawl. As we expect this to be quite a challenge, we would like to reward the first finisher with the Deluxe set of our Ginger interchangeable needles.

This set is perfect for all adventurous knitters, who like to be prepared for any kind of project. It carries eleven different sizes of interchangeable needle tips, six cables of three different lengths and a cable connector, so you can make your cables even longer. This is the perfect accessory, as it allows you to knit shawls or blankets without having to squeeze your stitches together on a short cable. Additionally, this set makes it very easy to follow your pattern as the case is also a chart keeper with magnets to secure your pattern.

Beside the first prize we will randomly pick more winners throughout the knit along and reward them with knitting accessories such as shawl pins and row ring counters. So please don’t be discouraged if you’re not a fast knitter. We want you to enjoy knitting this shawl!

We would love to see your Winterberry shawl on our social media platforms. To make it easier, please use the hashtag #KnitProWinterberryKAL so we can admire your shawls. You can always tag us with @knitproeu on Instagram or with @KnitPro on Facebook when you post pictures of any of your projects. We love to see your knitting and crocheting with our needles and frequently share your pictures on our profiles.

We are hosting this knit along on Ravelry. You will find a link in the terms and conditions to the ‘Finished’ thread, where you can post a picture of your Winterberry shawl. We have opened an additional thread where you can chat with other knitters about the KAL and everything else that you would like to share with the other participants.

Free Pattern for the "Winterberry" shawl

Please find below the terms and conditions to participate in this knit along.

  • The charity knit along takes place from the 09/01/2021 – 08/04/2021. The knit along ends on the 08/04/2021 at 07:00pm GMT.
  • To participate, please post a picture of your finished Winterberry shawl in our KnitPro Ravelry group. It is important that the shawl is visible in its full size.
    The link to the thread can be found here: https://www.ravelry.com/groups/my-knitpro
    If Ravelry is not accessible to you, please send us an email to knitproeu@gmail.com
  • All winners will be contacted via direct message and or email. If we don’t hear back within 14 days, a new winner will be drawn.
  • This knit along is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram inc. or Facebook. By entering, entrants confirm they are 18+ years of age, release Instagram and Facebook of responsibility, and agree to their terms of use. No purchase necessary.

Friday, 25 December 2020

Pattern for the lucky pig ‘Lucy’

We are delighted to be able to share the pattern for the lucky pig 'Lucy' with you. This crochet pattern by @magic.loops_ is a good luck charm for your key ring. The pig is a symbol for good fortune, wealth and prosperity in some European countries as well as in China.

We hope you enjoy crocheting this pattern. Please tag us with @knitproeu and @magic.loops_ so we can admire your little Lucys.

Click Here To Download Pattern

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Fenja, the little deer by Amalou.Designs


We are thrilled to be able to share the pattern for "Fenja, the little deer" by 'Amalou.Designs'.

Fenja is not only very beautiful, the pattern itself is intricate and easy to follow.

The pattern will be available until November, 23rd, 06:00am CST.

We hope you like it and we are looking forward to seeing your little Fenjas.


Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Are you an experienced knitter and you’re looking for the perfect gift for your knitting friends or are you looking for the best knitting needles for beginners? Maybe you just want to treat yourself?

This year we have a very special holiday gift set for you, which is the perfect gift idea for knitters of all experience levels.

Christmas preparations seem to start earlier each year. Cities are putting up their Christmas lights earlier, to cheer us up during these difficult times.With local restrictions making it more difficult to purchase gifts on the highstreets one needs to plan ahead. And due to the higher volume of online purchases we can expect more delays than normal when receiving gifts by post.

These are all reasons to start early with working on the wish lists for your loved ones. And maybe write your own personal wish list too?

Continuing the tradition, we have designed a special holiday gift set for this year. For many of us, knitting is not only a hobby, but also a way to reduce stress and improve our mental health. And because so many of you love to enjoy a cup of your favorite coffee whilst knitting, we decided to combine these two passions and make a coffee themed holiday set.





The Knit & Sip set includes eight interchangeable circular needle tips from 3.5 mm to 8.0 mm. The set is presented in a beautiful handmade plush velvet box.

The needle tips are color coordinated in shades and produced out of high-quality wood. Each needle size is colored in a unique coffee shade and carries a matching coffee name to make size identification even easier. So, whether you need the 8.0 mm needle for your warm winter blanket or the Ristretto needles, they are easy to find and you wouldn't get caught out by using the wrong size.

The gorgeous matt gold metal joins make the needles look stunning.




To make the needles even more versatile, the set includes four color matching cables in three different lengths. To safely stow away the cables, the end caps and the cable keys.

The set includes a coffee bean shaped velvet pouch. To make this set complete, we also have included two ceramic espresso cups.




The variety of needle sizes makes this set perfect for knitters of all experience levels. Beginners will get very good use out of this set, as high quality tools are important to facilitate knitting for those with little experience. The polished wood surface makes the stitches slip easily from the cable onto the needle. The cables are easy to connect and exchange. Due to the various needle and cable sizes, this set is perfect for all kind of knitting projects. You can easily work on a thick winter blanket or jumper, but you can also use the needles for small projects like hats and mittens.

And whilst this set is perfect for knitters with little experience, experienced knitters will enjoy this set just as much. The set is not only very beautiful, but the high-quality materials make it a joy to knit with. Why only give this set to your friends, maybe you can treat yourself as well?

The set is available from November onwards. You can find our retailer list here . You have the chance to win one of these sets up until November 28th 2020. All information regarding the giveaway can be found on our Instagram and Facebook profiles.