Kniftybits's Blog

All knitting, all the time.

Moony for Mango Moon July 3, 2011

So silky and mangoey.

I am working on a simple openwork tank top for my Mom in Mango Moon Elements Recycled Silk. I love the vibrancy of this yarn! And it is ethical. Beauty and ethics make a stunning combination.

This yarn is handspun in Nepal by the Nepali Women’s Empowerment Group providing shelter, education and health care for women and their families. When we first met, the yarn reminded me of the recycled sari silk yarn, which can often feel unpleasant.

Me, “Hello, I believe we’ve met. You’re recycled sari yarn.”

Elements, “I may be, but have you touched me?”

Me, “Oh, I shouldn’t.”

Elements, “Just one little touch.”

Me, “Oh, you’re not like the others.”

Elements, “And how many skeins of me do you want?”

Working on the top has acquainted me with this yarn and there are a few things I want to pass along.

1) The thickness varies from very slubby to thread thin. I am hoping it is strong and I don’t end up with the incredible disintegrating tank top – “Watch it fall apart before your very eyes.”

2) Those little silk strands want to reach out and grab each other. Two strands hanging next to each other mate before you can say boo leaving you to try to figure out where one strand ends and another begins. Too bad they don’t produce little silk yarn babies, then it would all be worth it.

3) The yarn is softer than I expected. I anticipated sore hands and that hasn’t happened at all, the little bits of straw spun into the yarn can be scratchy, though.

4) Each colorway has a predominant color, in my case Autumn Forest has strong green and gold coloring. However, one skein will have more green and the next more gold even though they’re from the same dye lot.  Fortuitously, the yarn incorporates so many colors that I can’t really tell the color change in the top so far, let’s hope it stays that way.

I recommend getting some of this yarn if you love vibrant beauty and ethics. You get 150 yards per skein. I am knitting with a US 11 needle.


Deborah Norville Sock Yarn Review March 12, 2011

Deborah Norville may not be as glamorous as Wollmeise, but when Joann Fabric is having a yarn sale who can resist?

I think I suffer a bit from knitting ADD, because whatever yarn I bought recently I immediately want to knit with. As such, within days of bringing this yarn home I was ready to try a new sock pattern percolating in my brain.

The yarn is nice and smooth, plus it has a pretty sheen, no doubt a result of the fiber content of 50% wool, and for the eco minded of us, 25% bamboo to go with strengthening 25% nylon.

With this fiber content, I wonder how they will hold up on the long run. I imagine they’ll be fine, but I’ll try to remember to update you sometime after the 2oth washing.

The smooth texture makes it nice to work with. The self striping is crisp and well delineated.  However, there does tend to be moments of dye splash or something of the like, as there are occasional spots of a different color. Me being of a perfectionistic ilk, I am not loving that, but oh well.

Note the three stitches that are dark purple. This happens regularly.

I finished the first sock with one ball of the Deborah Norville Serenity Sock Weight yarn in Teal Tease. I didn’t encounter any knots or snags. And the resulting sock is very soft and comfy.

All in all, I recommend it. You certainly can’t beat the price!

Technical details:

50% Wool 25% Bamboo 25% Nylon, 2,25-3.5mm needles, 50 g, 230 yards

I'd show more of the sock, but I haven't blocked it yet, so that'll come in a later post.



Schoppel Wolle Flying Saucer Yarn Review December 29, 2010

“This is what we just ordered in,” the LYS owner tantalized, while waving an open catalogue in hypnotizing concentric circles before my eyes.

“Ooooh,” I murmured, mesmerized by the pictured socks. “How do they do that? The sock looks tie dyed.”

“It’s how they dye the yarn.” She snapped the book away before my ribbon of drool hit the page.

“Me want yarn.”

“I’ll call you when it comes in.”

My current sock project now seemed boring and insipid.

Days later…What was taking so long?!?!?!  It was like waiting for a phone call after a first date! I was tempted to check for a dial tone.

An eternity (one week) later and Schoppel Wolle Flying Saucer (Schoppel Wolle Fliegende Untertasse) sock yarn was in. I raced to the store, family in tow with strict instructions to run interference, convinced there would be a stampede of knitters with sock needles brandished like bulls horns. As I threw open the yarn shop door my lingering question of how a knitter achieved matching socks with such unique self striping was revealed.  Two strands of yarn wrapped around a cardboard tube, like a wide ribbon bobbin. They were hand dyed at the same time, said the tube. How clever! I thought, unaware of the hours of torture awaiting me.

Oh, what to choose? Six colorway options, but which was best? After thirty minutes of deliberation and the realization that they don’t actually tell you which color you held, you guess based on the pictures of finished socks on the bobbin, a feat not as easy as it sounds, I left with two. His and hers.

Once home I immediately set to balling the yarn into usable balls so I could abandon my lame project and start this long-awaited yarn.

“Please, will you help me,” I implored my husband.

For every pleasure there is a pain. Cake = fat thighs.  Dog petting = hair clean up.  Running = being chased by a bear. (Wait, that may just be me.)

And for Schoppel Wolle Flying Saucer sock yarn that pain is balling.

We jabbed a knitting needle through the hole in the center of the tube. The instructions said to hang it from a window handle, but my windows don’t have handles so we suspended it between stacks of books. One leg cramp, two long hours, four squinty eyes, seven yarn tangles, and twelve grumbled curses later and we were done. Both literally and figuratively.

I would like to take this moment to assure Schoppel Wolle  that I would be perfectly content to buy two bagged balls of yarn with a statement that they matched. I would gladly believe you as long as it meant I didn’t have to torture myself and my husband with balling this yarn. Ever. AGAIN!

Months later when we felt up to balling the second bobbin of Schoppel Wolle Flying Saucer my husband growled, “You are never to buy this yarn again.”

Thus Schoppel Wolle Flying Saucer is part awesome yarn, part torture device.

That said once the balling is done, knitting it is a dream.  Perfectly smooth and easy to knit, I haven’t encountered any knots that would disrupt the patterning and it is delightful to see the pattern develop.

I was jubilant when I finished my husband’s pair. They aren’t quite identical due to variations in knitting tension and figuring our where to turn the heel so that the same part of the pattern faced forward was a little challenging, but they are still fabulous! Unfortunately, I knit the second pair toe-up and while the patterning worked for the foot, it didn’t work so well for the leg.  Check out the pic to see how they each turned out.  One of my lovely readers shared a very helpful link for those who want to maximize this yarns potential.

Have you encountered this yarn? What did you think?

Technical details:

75% Wool 25% Nylon, 2-3mm needles, 100 g, 459 yards

(I used 2.5 mm needles)


Sock on the left was toe-up, sock on the right top-down.


Fanning the Flame with Fiamme October 28, 2010

Delightful to look at

Lovely to hold

And when you knit it

You’ll never be cold.

Yep, it’s that time.  Time to say just what it’s like to work with Lang Yarns Mille Fiamme yarn.  Well, let me tell you, it was pretty awesome!

Each super chunky skein is 90 meters (98ish yards).  The lovely Linen Stitch Scarf used three skeins, which is 270 meters or a little over a quarter of a mile of yarn.  But, there were no sore fingers like some yarns cause.

The colors are vibrant, but not overwhelming (at least not to me).  They coordinate well with each other, and there’s a nice subdued sheen to the yarn.



Mille Fiamme All Balled Up & Ready to Go

The finished fabric is soft and cosy; perfect scarf material.  And it’s visually interesting because of the yarn width variation and colors.

The only challenges with this yarn were A) If you pull too hard at a thicker section of the yarn, which lacks strengthening twist, the yarn easily breaks, B) It’s easy to pierce the yarn with the needle in the thicker sections C) Once knit, this yarn grabs hold and is the devil to tink or frog (see problem A).


50% New Wool 50% Acrylic

100 G 90 M

12 sts and 16 rows in 10 cm on 9 mm needles.

Machine Wash, delicate without fabric softener.  Do not bleach.  Do not tumble dry.  Low iron.  Dry clean with any dry cleaning solvent other than trichloroethylene.

Made in Italy

The yarn band includes a pattern for a scarf.


Do ya wanna Can Can? September 30, 2010

I am not generally one for novelty yarns – sure they made me giddy inside as a new knitter, but as I progressed I became interested in showing off my work more than hiding it in fringe, eyelashes, bobbly bits, etc.  However, when a friend of mine who owns a craft store brought in a tantalizing sample of Creative Can Can by Rico Design I was intrigued.

Visions of whipping out fabulous swishy scarves with a minimum of effort danced in my head.  I pictured my cold necked friends, long deprived of hand knit scarves, wondering how I managed such a complex looking scarf and nominating me for knitting sainthood, while I scuffed my shoe and humbly told them it was worth it for them.

Remember in my Don’t Take My Needles Away post I said I took a scarf to Croatia?  Well, this is the scarf I took.  So, it might have been the fact that I was freezing, hacking on second hand smoke while listening to Croatian techno music and choking on hooch from a Coke bottle foisted on me by the “tour guide” while trapped on a dilapidated boat in the middle of the Adriatic that made the sting of disappointment so keen as I realized that this wasn’t going to be the quick and easy scarf I dreamed of.

I thought it would be a simple matter of knitting the scarf and then fluffing out the ruffles.  To my chagrin, I discovered that you must open/unfurl (for lack of a better word) the yarn and carefully knit into the top edge of the yarn placing each stitch about 4 centimeters or 1.5 inches apart.  Basically, I haven’t knit this slow since my beginning days of knitting.  See pictures below:

Unfurling the yarn before knitting.

Knitting into the top edge of the yarn.

Other challenges:  Several times I had to untwist the yarn (and I’m not talking one or two twists either), but I’m not sure if that was caused by user error, I’ll let you know if/when I work up the other two balls I bought.  Also, at one point the ribbon tore, the top edge separating from the rest, so I had to break the yarn and start again, lest the whole thing unravel.  I think my talon-like thumbnail was the culprit as I tried to find a quicker way to open the yarn.

In the end it took me probably six hours to finish the scarf – my dreams of a quick scarf were dashed on the cruel rocks of reality.

Don’t get me wrong, the finished scarf is full of fun, fabulous frippery.  And if you don’t go into it with the expectations I had (which, now you won’t, because you know what to expect) you can’t be disappointed.

But I wonder, can you really tell that it’s hand knit?

Completed Creative Can Can Scarf

Technical details:

Each 200g ball of Rico Design Creative Can Can yarn will make a good sized scarf.  The yarn is made out of acrylic and the yarn band has instructions for knitting the scarf I knit.  I followed them exactly, down to the 7 cast on stitches (which, interestingly isn’t done with a traditional cast on, but by inserting the needle through the yarn at the top edge). I used 7 mm knitting needles.  The scarf can be washed on permanent press, cold.  Lay flat to dry.  Do not tumble dry, dry clean, or iron.

I am curious to hear what you think about this yarn.  If you’ve given it a try, leave a comment and let me know what you thought. 🙂