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Holla Knits Blog Tour & A Giveaway

Cafe au Lait by Kristen Singer from Holla Knits
The Holla Knits Spring 2014 collection features five great patterns that are perfect for fashion forward knitters. As always, we're impressed with the creativity of the patterns in this issue of Holla Knits, and we're so pleased to be today's blog tour stop! While it's hard to choose a favorite pattern from this season's collection, we'd like to highlight the  Cafe au Lait cardigan by Kristen Singer today!

This beautiful cable and lace cardigan is knit at a loose gauge to give it airiness and beautiful drape. We think it would be perfect to wear with a dress (as shown here), but it would also look great with jeans and a t-shirt!

This is the perfect comfy cardigan that you can wear with just about anything in your wardrobe, no matter what time of year it is.

Be sure to visit all the stops on the Holla Knits Blog Tour!

April 8: The Sweatshop of Love Blog: SEG: Baah Yarns
April 11: Kirsten Singer: Pattern and Classic Elite Vale giveaway
April 15: Canary Knits: SEG: Skeinny Dipping skein of Cashmerino DK
April 16: Baah Yarns: I skein of Baah Yarns Shasta and a 1 skein cowl pattern
April 17: Knitter’s Pride Blog: Review and pattern giveaway
April 18: DovieJay Knits: SEG: I skein of Artisan Yarns Alpaca Silk
April 22: Mari Knits: Review and pattern giveaway
April 23: Magical Grammar: Review and pattern giveaway
April 24: Knit York City: Review and pattern giveaway
April 25: Under the Red Umbrella: Review and pattern giveaway

Giveaway

Enter our giveaway for a Knitter's Pride Bamboo Deluxe Interchangeable Needle Set. Click here to enter! We'll announce the winner on the blog on Friday, April 25, 2014.

Pattern Giveaway

Leave a comment on this blog post and tell us which of the new patterns from Holla Knits Spring 2014 is your favorite for your chance to win your favorite pattern! Please don't forget to leave your Ravelry ID so that we can contact you if you're the winner. We'll announce one winner on the blog on Friday, April 25, 2014.

Free Spring Pattern + A Giveaway

We're excited to share with you a great pattern for showing off your knitting skills all spring and summer long! Today we're sharing another free pattern from designer Mari Chiba from Mari Knits. Mari had these thoughts to share with us about her new design:

These beautiful silver earrings are worked with 32 gauge pure silver wire on Knitter's Pride Bamboo
DPNs. I prefer knitting with bamboo needles when working with silver because it helps grip the metal better. You could use straight or circular needles for this project, but since you're working such a small number of stitches I find that double pointed needles are easier to hold and manage while knitting. I used US 4 (3.5mm) needles for these earrings, but if you'd like a more open weave to your earrings you could use US 5 (3.75mm) or us 6 (4mm) needles. This will also result in a slightly larger earring.

Materials
US 4 (3.5 mm) double pointed knitting needles (see note above)
2 Silver Earring Wires

25 yards 32 gauge silver wire

Abbreviations
CO     cast on
k2tog  knit 2 stitches together 
k         knit
skp     slip 1 knit-wise , k1, pass the slipped stitch over
st(s)    stitch(es)

Leaf Earring (make 2)
CO 3 sts. 
Row 1: K1, yo, k1, yo, k1; 5 sts. 
Row 2, 4, 6: Knit. 
Row 3: K2, yo, k1, yo, k2; 7 sts.  
Row 5: K3, yo, k1, yo, k3; 9 sts. 
Row 7: K4, yo, k1, yo, k4; 11 sts. 
Rows 8-10: Knit. 
Row 11: K1, skp, k5, k2tog, k1; 9 sts. 
Rows 12-13: Knit. 
Row 14: K1, skp, k3, k2tog, k1; 7 sts. 
Rows 15-16: Knit. 
Row 17: K1, skp, k1, k2tog, k1; 5 sts. 
Row 18: Knit. 
Row 19: Skp, k1, k2tog; 3 sts. 
Row 20: Skp, k1; 2 sts. 
Row 21: Skp; 1 st. 
Cut wire and pull through the last stitch. 

Finishing
Using the tail from the cast on attach the earring to the earring wire. Weave in the end through the body of the earring and trim. Weave in the end from the tip of the leave and trim. Shape the earring as desired. 

Giveaway

This month we're giving away three pairs of Knitter's Pride Karbonz Fixed Circular needles to three lucky readers! With smooth nickel tips, a strong lightweight carbon fiber body and flexible cords these needles are great for all types of projects!

For your chance to win, leave a comment on this blog telling us what makes you a strong and flexible knitter or crocheter. Don't forget to mention your Ravelry ID so we can get in touch with you if you're one of our three lucky winners! We'll be announcing the winners on Friday, April 25, 2014

Winners + Welcome Spring with our Photo-Sharing Contest

First off, congratulations to this month's blog giveaway winners, we received some really fantastic comments this month! Eloewien and schwip have won their choice of this month's prizes: a Waves Crochet Hook, a Dreamz Fixed Circular, or a Dreamz DPN! We have contacted our winners to arrange for the delivery of their prizes; thanks to everyone who entered this month's contest!

It's been a pretty exciting month for us: our Karbonz needles have been generating all sorts of buzz, with mentions in Vogue magazine, A Homespun House Podcast, and most recently on designer Alexis Winslow's blog, Knit Darling!

Next month, we'll be cohosting a photo-a-day challenge with the Geeky Girls Knit Podcast, and we hope you'll join in the fun. There will be a TON of great prizes ranging from accessories and notions, Comby II Sampler Sets (which include tips in our KarbonzBamboo and Nova Cubics lines) and grand prizes which include a Waves Crochet Set, a Karbonz DPN Sock Set, and Deluxe interchangeable sets in our Karbonz, Bamboo and Nova Cubics lines!



To be a part of the fun, simply post your photos each day beginning April 1 using the prompts above and the #KPpadc and #GGKCRAFTYPAD hashtags so that we can find your entries on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. We will be randomly selecting photos on days marked with an asterisk to award fun prizes during the month of April, plus we will be selecting 10 semifinalists who will each receive Comby II Sampler sets and be in the running for our grand prize drawings! 3 Grand prizes will be voted on by our fabulous fans, so we'll let you know when the voting is live...for now, get ready to flash your stash, share your WIPS, and share your favorite Knitter's Pride products! 

Giveaway + Indian Cast-On Tutorial

Did you know that Knitter's Pride needles were developed with an international panel of knitters and crocheters - and that these very same needles are sold throughout the globe under the KnitPro brand?

KnitPro International is based in India, where we have some interesting traditions when it comes to knitting - specifically, when it comes to casting on! The traditional Indian cast-on method is a unique way of starting a project, using the big toe to tension the working yarn while holding the short end of the yarn double in the right hand. A slip knot is made, and stitches are cast on in the form of slip knots with the double stranded short end and the working yarn.

If this sounds a little confusing, fear not - here is a tutorial video demonstrating the technique:

Almost all Indian knitters learn this method of casting on, and many continue to use it permanently.

Go to any town in India, and you'll find that nearly every family has a knitter in their midst - even in the remotest of villages! The selection of yarn is limited to mostly cheap acrylic yarns in fingering and DK weights, and believe it or not, circular knitting is not known in most parts of the country.

Typically, India has two types of knitters: the traditional knitter in villages and towns who knits out of need and can copy a pattern just by looking at it, but never knits from written patterns. The other type is the modern knitter: a computer literate Raveller who knits from patterns, looks up YouTube videos for knitting techniques, and buys yarn online.

This month, we're celebrating the global craft world with our "Knitting Around the World" board on Pinterest. If you'd like to find out more about where your Knitter's Pride needles and hooks are made, click here to read this recent feature on the Knitting Daily blog



March Giveaway
Two lucky readers will win their choice of prizes: a Waves Crochet Hook, a Dreamz Fixed Circular, or a Dreamz DPN!

To be eligible, simply leave a comment on this post telling us your favorite designer or technique with an international flair. Be sure to also include your Ravelry ID or email address so that we can contact you if you win!

We'll randomly select 2 winning comments to announce on Friday, March 28. Good luck! 

Winner + Free Exclusive Pattern from Rohn Strong!

Today we welcome knit and crochet designer Rohn Strong to be our guest on the Knitter's Pride blog. Rohn not only shares his thoughts on one of his favorite techniques - Tunisian Crochet - he also has designed a fun, free pattern that's great for beginners! We hope you enjoy today's guest post and look forward to seeing your projects here in the Knitter's Pride Ravelry group!

I adore Tunisian Crochet. So much so, in fact, that most of my recent designs are focused on this wonderful technique. What is Tunisian Crochet, you ask? Well, Tunisian Crochet (sometimes referred to as Afghan Crochet) is a crochet technique which uses a longer than normal hook that is sometimes cabled. Tunisian crochet is the best of both worlds: the look of knitting with the ease of crochet.

I get asked all the time, "Why Tunisian Crochet? Why don’t you just knit? Why don’t you just stick to crochet?" I love knitting, but let’s face it…it takes a long time! I also love crochet, but sometimes it can be a bit rigid and bulky. Tunisian Crochet is a great way to solve these issues; with the right hook to yarn ratio (it is a bit different than what traditional crochet calls for) you can get a garment that looks and feels like knitting but without the huge time investment! Trust me, it is wonderful for last minute gifting.

Left: Dreamz Tunisian Crochet Hook Set
Right: Bamboo Single-Ended Crochet Hook
To get you started on your Tunisian Crochet journey, I have designed a pattern that is both simple and stunning. It takes just one skein of Cephalopod Yarns Beastie in the colorway Ogopogo, and you don’t even need a Tunisian Crochet hook -  just a regular crochet hook without a pronounced thumb rest will do. This is also called an inline hook, and the Knitter's Pride Basix Birch, Bamboo, or Dreamz hooks will work quite nicely for you. Of course, a great option is to just purchase a Tunisian Crochet Set, which includes 8 hooks.

PATTERN INFO 

These simple but stunning fingerless mitts are perfect for those last few weeks of winter. They take just a few hours to make up and are a perfect intro to Tunisian Crochet!

MEASUREMENTS
 7.5”/18.75cm in circumference. 8.5”/21.25cm in length.

MATERIALS

  • 1 Skein - Cephalopod Yarns Beastie (60% Superwash Merino/30 % Alpaca/10% Tussah silk) 4oz/140yds 
  • US J (6.0mm) Crochet Hook 
  • Tapestry Needle 

GAUGE 14 sts and 6.5 rows = 4”/10cm over Tunisian Double Crochet (Tdc) using size J/10 (6.0mm) crochet hook.  *Take Time to Check Gauge* 

NOTES 

  • Mitts are made in one piece from side to side. The foundation chain and last row are then joined to close. 
  • Be sure to use a yarn with a bit of animal fiber in it, as Tunisian Double Crochet has the tendency to lean to one side a bit. This can be counteracted simply by blocking. 
  • Because only a small number of loops are held on the hook at one time, a Tunisian Crochet Hook or standard crochet hook with an inline shaft can be used to work the mitts. 

MITTS (Make 2) 
Ch 25.
Row 1 (forward pass): Yo, insert hook in 3rd and draw through 2 lps on hook (2 lps remain on hook), *yo, insert hook in next ch and pull up a lp, yo and draw through 2 lps on hook (1 more lp on hook); rep from * across – 24 lps on hook.

Row 1 (return pass): Yo and draw through 1 lp on hook, *yo and draw through 2 lps on hook; rep from * across (1 lp remains on hook) – 24 Tunisian Double Crochet (Tdc).

Row 2 (forward pass): Ch 1 (counts as first Tdc), sk first vertical bar, *yo, insert hook under next vertical bar and pull up a lp, yo and draw through 2 lps on hook; rep from * across – 24 lps on hook.

Row 2 (return pass): Work as for Row 1 (return pass) – 24 Tdc.

Repeat Row 2 (forward and return passes) 10 times further.

Next Row: Sl st loosely in each vertical bar across. Fasten off.

FINISHING
Block mitts by washing and lying flat to dry, pinning to measurements. When dry, seam the foundation row to last row of mitt using either mattress stitch or whipstitch, leaving a small opening for the thumb. Weave in ends. Enjoy!
Giveaway Winner
Congratulations to Jill D., who won this month's blog giveaway! We've messaged Jill via Ravelry PM to arrange for the delivery of her prize, a Japanese Bamboo Crochet Hook Set. Thanks to everyone who entered this month's contest! 

Giveaway + Everything’s Coming Up Crochet!

Last month, we focused on lace, sharing some of our favorite tips, tricks and tools for successful projects for lace enthusiasts; we even shared a photo tutorial starring our brand-new lace blocking wires! While lace designs can be created with both knitting and crocheting techniques, we'd like to put crochet in the spotlight this month by highlighting both traditional and Tunisian techniques which can be used to make a variety of projects. In today's post, we'll begin with a closer look at traditional crochet techniques; we hope you'll join us later this month when we delve into Tunisian crochet techniques (hint: we'll have a surprise from designer Rohn Strong!).

Most of our fans are familiar with traditional crochet, i.e. techniques which are created using a single-ended hook. There are lots of great tutorials to help you get started, such as these free video lessons over on the FreshStitches website. You can also find more advanced techniques such as this bobble stitch tutorial starring one of our Dreamz crochet hooks!
Stacey Trock, the designer behind FreshStitches, is best known for her adorable and cuddly crochet amigurumi designs. Amigurumi is a Japanese term for knitted or crocheted stuffed dolls which are traditionally smaller in size, although many crocheters have broadened the use of this term to describe any knitted or crocheted stuffed toy. Stacey's newest book, Modern Baby Crochet, features some great examples of amigurumi in addition to crocheted afghans, pillows, and other household decor which would look great in and out of the nursery!

Modern Baby Crochet by Stacey Trock

February Giveaway
This month, we're giving away one Japanese Bamboo single-ended crochet hook set! To enter our giveaway, simply leave a comment telling us what's currently on your hook, or what you'd like to make if you won this set! Be sure to also include your Ravelry ID or email address so that we can contact you if you win. 

We will randomly select one lucky winner to announce on our next blog post on Friday, February 21. Good luck! 

Lace Blocking Wire Tutorial + Winner

Our new lace blocking supplies are the perfect way to finish your projects (and they can be used for more than just lace!). If you have never used wires before, you will be astonished at how easily they create neat edges and professional-looking results. Just follow these six easy steps to finish off your next project like a pro:
  1.  Gather your supplies: a set of Knitter's Pride Blocking Mats and a Lace Blocking Wire Kit which includes 15 stainless steel wires, 15 rust-resistant T-pins, and a measuring tape. You may also wish to have extra T-pins on hand.
  2. Wet block your piece or use a spray bottle to dampen the piece in preparation for blocking.
  3. Beginning with the straight edge of your piece, pick up each stitch along the edge with a wire. The more stitches you pick up, the neater your edge will be.
  4. When all of the straight edge stitches are picked up, lay flat on your blocking mats. Beginning at the center, insert t-pins between the knit edge and the wires. This is a great time to make sure your piece has the correct dimensions; feel free to make any adjustments necessary before proceeding to the next step. 
  5. Beginning at one top edge, use a blocking wire to pick up one stitch from each point along curved shawl edge til you reach the center. Adjust the fabric until you are satisfied with how it looks, then use a few t-pins to stabilize wire as you did in step 4. Repeat for other side of shawl.
  6. Once your piece is dry, carefully remove the pins, then the wires. Enjoy!
Congratulations are in order for Heidi A, who was randomly selected to win this month's prize, a Knitter's Pride Lace Blocking Set. Heidi commented, "My knitting resolution is to finally publish some patterns. I have several first drafts; I just need to see them through to completion! " We have contacted her via Ravelry to arrange for prize delivery. Thanks to everyone who entered our giveaway this month!