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BIG Beanie Bag June 2016: Construction Instruction!

BIG Beanie Bag Contents
We've built something fantastic this month, and now we want to share our thoughts about construction: yarn construction! Some of the very best fabrics are made of vastly different yarns used together: lightweight with heavy, fuzzy with smooth, delicate with sturdy - the possibilities are endless!

And much like hybridism in animals, combining different yarn traits results in a project that's much more than the sum of its parts!

Modern knitters know that yarn construction matters: the way a yarn is built can complement its fibers and behavior to result in many different desired effects, such as durability, resistance to pilling and stretching, or even color sequencing.

This month's yarns are a mixed bag, literally: single-ply, chainette, plied, and flecked, self-striping tweed combine to make something truly magical!

To help you try them out, we put together a bag with 50-yard samples of the four yarns described below, plus a printed pattern from Jeanne of Battle Born Knits that uses them all in a wonderfully warm cowl, a full-sized Chibi Tapestry Needle set, a Knitting Dolly for making knitted I-cord, and a sample of Heel foot cream from Soak, all packed away in a custom drawstring bag!

BIG Beanie Bag Free Knitting Pattern

Our very own Jeanne Giles of Battle Born Knits hopped to her needles and whipped up a fun striped cowl to put these gorgeous yarns to the test (and show them off!). With simple lace elements mixed with forgiving rib stitch, this lovely cowl is as versatile as it is warm.

You can even knit an i-cord tie (use your new Knitting Dolly!), thread it through the lace, and scrunch it up on one side for a stylish twist, or cinch the top together to make it into a slouchy hat!

Click on the picture to download the pattern, or get it at the link below:

Lacy Stripes Cowl .PDF file

Lacy Stripes Cowl

Beanie Bag Education

Jimmy Beans U (University!)

We hope this month's bag has you as interested in yarn construction as we are! Here's Kristen's video with an in-depth look at the characteristics of each of the yarns and their best uses!

And, if your knitting is in need of a refresher, never fear: here are a few instructional videos to help you knock the dust off those knitting skills and master of some of the techniques used in this month's pattern!

Yarns and Project Ideas

Berroco Maya blends cool cotton with soft alpaca in a unique chainette-construction yarn. The chainette helps keep the fibers from stretching, even in large garments or heavy blankets, so your finished project retains its shape better over time. In muted colors and quick-knitting worsted weight, it's great for everything from cardigans to afghans!

We love it for garments and toys, but it wouldn't be out of place in a summer wrap for cool nights - and with 36 colors to choose from, you can make one to match every outfit!

Take a look at some of the gorgeous projects you can make with this amazing yarn!

Juniper Moon Farm Moonshine is a perfectly balanced blend of wool, alpaca, and silk in a lofty single-ply construction. Because single-ply yarns are more loosely spun than their plied cousins, the fibers in the yarn are allowed to bloom and fill out your stitches for a sumptuously squishy finished fabric. Use single-ply yarns in projects where you want lightweight warmth and a slight halo.

Try the luminous colors of Moonshine in one of these great projects!

Plymouth Mushishi is a hidden gem of a yarn: soft wool with just a touch of shimmering silk, in a specially spun single-ply construction with self-striping colors!

Mushishi's fantastic colors are layered in during the spinning process, resulting in lovely, understated hues that blend into one another in long color runs. Each hank comes with nearly 500 yards of worsted-weight wonderment, so you can knit a large shawl or even a small cardigan out of just one skein!

Just take a look at some of the marvelous things you can make with Mushishi!

HiKoo Kenzie offers the best of a variety of fibers: New Zealand wool for strength, angora for softness, alpaca for lightweight warmth, silk for luster and drape, and nylon for durability, all spun into a sturdy 3-ply construction.

It's robust enough for hard-wearing garments, gloves, and kid's wear, but retains a velvety soft feel and a subtle bloom from the angora and alpaca. And the thirty vivid colorways are impressive!

Knit up one of these fabulous projects in Kenzie!

Soak doesn't just make Wash, they also have lotions and this scrumptious treat of a cream called Heel: A unique combination of ingredients restores the skin and soothes tired feet, or hands or elbows, or any of those other areas that tend to get extra dry.

Cucumber extract, Vitamin E and the soothing powers of menthol work together to form a luxuriously rich treat for hand-knit-worthy skin!