Tips for Carrying Yarn Up the Side of Your Work

A few weeks ago I told you I was starting a Nymphalidea shawl. I have been plugging away on it and have made some good progress.

I wanted to share a little tip that I figured out along the way about carrying yarn up the side of your work.

When you are working stripes you don’t have to worry about catching the yarn that you are carrying every row. But if you are working more than 2 rows before changing colors, it’s a good idea to catch the yarn in the side of your work, so you don’t get an ugly pull.

In this pattern you work 2 rows of the contrast color (in my case the multi-color pink Alpaca Sox) and 4 rows of the main color (the kettle dyed purple Alpaca Sox). So I will want to catch the multi-colored yarn on the side between rows 2 and 3 of working with the purple.

It’s so simple and only takes a few seconds. I promise. And so worth it!

I work rows 1 and 2 of the purple just like I normally would. When starting row 3 I will insert my needle into the first stitch, just like always

BUT…I will pick up my multi-colored yarn and wrap it (DON”T TAKE IT OFF THE NEEDLE YET!)

Then I pick up the purple yarn and wrap it clockwise (from front to back) while still leaving the stitch on the needle. I now have 2 yarns wrapped around the needle

Now, I don’t want my stitch to be knit with both yarns, so I unwrap my multi-colored yarn

And then I finish the stitch like I normally do.

This will case your first stitch of that row to be twisted, but it makes such a nice wrap, that it is worth it.

Wrong side

Right side

It’s a simple trick that only takes a few seconds, but can take your FO from being homemade to HANDMADE.

This is also a great tip when you are working a Fair Isle pattern that have more than 6 or 7 stitches between color changes.

Backside of Fair Isle with floats "caught"

Now I only need to decide how much bigger to make my shawl…

Knit on!

Dye Lots…why they are important and how to work around them

Most of you already know the importance of dye lots. But it’s always good to have a refresher!

Each time a yarn is dyed, there is a chance that the lot will be slightly different from the last time it was dyed.  Of course, the mills and the dyers do their best to keep it consistent…but they (and we) can't guarantee that it will always be the EXACT same color.

When buying yarn for a project, you want all of the yarn to come from the same dye lot. Makes sense, right? No one wants to make the bulk of a project, run out of yarn and have it be a different lot number. It wouldn't be good if the sleeves of your sweater were a slightly different color. And believe me…many knitters before you have had this happen (see below).

Now there are times when you innocently don't buy enough yarn…during a crazy yarn sale when you just can't pass up those few skeins; when you are on vacation and see some yarn you love, but don’t know what you want to make; buying yarn for one size and then deciding to make another or if you can’t afford all the yarn for your project at once and have to buy a little here and little there (If this is the case…talk to your LYS, they may be willing to hold some for you; we have all had economic hardships at some point in our lives and they might be able to either hold some or do a layaway plan).

But what happens when you are a few skeins short of the perfect sweater that you MUST make?

Don’t despair…there is a solution! It’s referred to as stranding.

The first thing you should do is figure out how much more yarn you are going to need. This will help you figure out how much stranding you will have to do. For example, if you only need 1 or 2 more skeins, you could only strand on the sleeves. But if you need yarn for half your sweater, you might have to strand the whole project.

Great! But…what is standing?

Stranding is when you work 2 rows from dye lot A and then 2 rows from dye lot B. What you are really doing is making very subtle stripes with your 2 different lots.

I will be the first to tell you that stranding isn’t ideal. You have to carry 2 balls of yarn around with you and carry it up the side of your work as you go (I have a knack for getting the 2 balls tangled together). But trust me…it is way better than having part of your project be a different color. Case in point…this sweater I made several years ago, when I didn’t realize I had 2 different dye lots going.

Not really an ideal spot for a color change. Needless to say, this project was frogged.

I also highly recommend stranding if you are working with hand or kettle dyed yarn (unless it is a one ball project). Even though these lots are small, it can be difficult to get a consistent color through the lot. Better safe than sorry, I always say!

If you need to buy more yarn for your project, let your LYS know that you have a dye lot you are looking for. They can always ask us (and other suppliers) when they call to place the new order if we have that lot in stock. If we do, we are happy to send it (we are knitters too and understand the frustration of not having enough yarn for a project).

My hope for you, dear knitter, is that you will always have enough yarn in the right dye lot. But if you don’t…now you know how to deal with it.

Knit on!


April is finally here…which means that I get to tell you about our newest book, Silhouettes.

For this book we decided to focus on easy-to-wear garments with unusual construction and details.

The perfect example of this is the Salina top designed by Tonia Barry. At first glance it looks like a simple v-neck top. But if you look closer you will see that it is knit from side-to-side.


Using two colors of Cerro, it’s knit from the center out, starting with a provisional cast on. The stripes change in thickness giving it the illusion of waist shaping, even though there isn't any. Which makes it…wait for it…even easier!

Derby designed by Susan Mills is waterfall cardigan that is knit is 3 pieces…2 really small ones and one REALLY big one. Simple lace keeps this piece from being too boring, yet can be a Zen-like experience (go ahead and rent that movie with subtitles, each row of the lace stacks nicely on top of the previous one).

Knit in Sanibel this cardigan can be a staple for any woman’s wardrobe. You know…that piece that you will grab as you are running out the door, no matter what you are wearing (jeans and a t-shirt or a spring dress).

One of the more popular pieces from this book is the Wellington, knit in Bella Lino designed by Tian Foley.

From the front this tank is a simple silhouette with just a touch of lace at the neckline. But turn it around and you will see the split back and the button and tie details.

If an open back isn't your style, Silhouettes lets you know how to make Wellington with more traditional closed back too.

There are lots of other good pieces in the book. Make sure to check them all out!

Knit on!

Cheryl's Lost Mitten Update

Over the past week the mercury has crept a little higher and many of our snow piles are gone! So Cheryl and I went for a little walk around the perimeter of the parking lot this afternoon. Before I tell you the results of our search, I thought I would share the results of last week’s poll.

You guys have a lot of faith in finding this mitten. 41% told her to not give up, but cast on another one…just to be safe and 35% of you believe she is going to find it! I hope you are right…for her sanity's’ sake. Only a combined total of 14% of you thinks she won’t find it.

I am elated to tell you that she found her mitten. And can’t tell you how happy she is. She was doing a little dance and everything. I have to say that it’s in really good shape too. It needs a washing, but other than that it looks great!

For once in my life I am happy to say that I was wrong.

The winner of the random drawing is Katy! She will be receiving these 2 balls of Liberty Wool Print in the mail shortly!

Knit on!

P.S. Cheryl says that although someone else won the giveaway…she’s the one who really won.

On Embry – by Rachel Henry

CEY is honored to have many independent designers contribute designs to our line.

Today, Rachel Henry –a local knitter and designer, is here to talk a little about her newest CEY design.

On Embry – Rachel Henry

For my guest stint on the CEY blog, I thought you, dear reader, might be interested in learning a bit about the design process (or at least, my design process for a particular pattern) by talking about Embry.

Embry started out a little different from the gorgeous scoop-neck top in Mesa.  My original proposal used a different yarn, had beads, and a completely different neckline.  The lace edge and overall shape of the top remain the same, but obviously a lot changed too.

The call for Spring/Summer 2014 went out in April of last year. I immediately had several ideas I wanted to submit. Although I was busy with a certain knitting competition at the time, I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to design for CEY. I carefully calculated that I would have plenty of time to make one sample and pattern, possibly two, and got to work.

I think Embry was mainly inspired by the phrase “lady-like shapes and embellishments” on the call’s mood board– it made me think of a lace edging from Weldon’s Practical Knitter that I’d seen on Franklin Habit’s blog. I picked up a spare ball of Soft Linen (one of my absolutely favorite yarns) some pretty-shiny beads, and worked up a version of the edging that made me very, very happy.

After blocking the swatch, and falling completely in love with it, I wanted to use it all over the entire top! Love, dear reader, is sometimes a wee smidge blind. My sketch for the submission had the lace edging at the hem, the cuffs, AND overlaying a crew neckline.  Beads and lace everywhere! You can see from my sketch that the basic shape of Embry is there – the princess seams in front and back (influenced by Amy Herzog, naturally), the short sleeves, the length of the body. But (let’s be brutally honest), that neckline is a bit much.

I sent in my ideas, with a note that the lace-edged tee was my personal favorite.  Imagine my delight when it was accepted! The only catch … it was needed in Mesa instead of Soft Linen, and the Creative Director Susan Mills quite rightly requested a plain neckline. Also? No beads. That broke my heart a little bit, but I understood the decision.

The chance to re-think the neckline made me lean towards a deep scoop neck (so flattering!).  I cleared that final idea and got to work.  I’d seen a very attractive reverse-stockinette rolled edge recently, and put that in place for Embry’s neckline.  The sample worked up quickly and easily.

I was extremely happy with the final pattern and sample – I was given a beautiful soft blue (pastel without being anemic), and the sized-up motif looked great in Mesa.  Here are is a quick photo on a dress form before handing it in.


I really enjoyed designing and making Embry and hope you love it as much as I do!

You can keep up with Rachel and all her projects on her blog.

Other CEY designs by Rachel Henry

Clockwise from top left: Kudzu Shawl, Astrid, Sunburst, Love Lane & Braided Cable Vest

A Lost Mitten...a Liberty Wool Mystery and Give-away

Cheryl, who works in our outlet store, made herself a pair of the Mitered Mittens in Liberty Wool (using color 7834 Lilac Daydream…since I know you are going to ask) in January.

She really loved making them. They are knit flat and then sewn together, which was perfect for Cheryl, because she hates knitting in the round on small circumferences. This is also a great pattern for someone making their first pair of mittens. It only takes 2 balls of Liberty Wool Print, so they go really quickly too.

Since then she has lost one. (Everyone make a frowny face!) She is SURE she lost it in the parking lot at Classic Elite Yarns during one of our many snow storms this season. She has a theory that somewhere in the piles of snow that the plow guy has made is her poor single mitten. She refuses to make another one…that is how sure she is that she will find the lost mitten. I keep telling her that the chances of her finding the single mitten are slim to none. And that even if she does find it, there is a good chance it will have been damaged by the plow.

What do you think? Will Cheryl find her mitten? Or should she just accept it as a loss and make another one?

Help Cheryl decide and win 2 balls of Liberty Wool Print a copy of the Mitered Mittens pattern...whether for this winter still, or for next year!

Voting is now closed!

Vote now! Please make your selection no later than Tuesday April 1 at 5 PM Eastern Time! Winner will be randomly drawn.

Knit on!

P.S. I told Cheryl take NEXT time she should make an i-cord to go through her jacket to connect the mittens,  kinda like we had as little kids. That way she can’t lose just one!

Travel Knitting

I am going away this coming weekend to visit some family in Michigan. I am starting to think about what I am going to take with me. Sure, I am thinking about how many days I am going to be there and how many pairs of underwear and socks I am going to need. More importantly…I am starting to think about my knitting and how much yarn to pack.

There is a lot of hidden knitting time on a trip, even a short one like that one I am taking. First there is the trip to the airport. I live about 40 minutes from the airport and will be taking a cab. Then there is the time while waiting in the TSA line. And then the time waiting to board the plane. Already I have several hours of knitting…and I haven’t even left the state of Massachusetts yet! Not to mention the time in the air, layover times, the time while I am in MI… and then the entire trip in reverse!

A good travel project should be easy, but still a little challenging. Most of us will get bored after hours and hours and hours of garter stitch…but a complex lace or cable pattern with lots of charts isn’t realistic for those small airplane seats (especially if you get stuck in the middle seat).

Another important component of a good travel project is size.  It can’t be so big that it won’t fit into your carry-on luggage. And if you are taking more than one, how much of your suitcase are you willing to devote to your knitting and extra yarn? (Don’t forget to leave a little room in your suitcase on the way to where you are going for some souvenir yarn. Good thing yarn is squishy!)

So what I am taking with me?

I started this Silky Alpaca Lace scarf a little while back and haven’t made much progress on it. It’s a variation on a simple feather fan stitch, which makes it a no-brainer for a travel project. And one ball of Silky Alpaca Lace goes a long way.

But you know I can’t just take one project, right? For my second project I think I am going to take my Nmyphalidea Shawl that I started last week. I have the pattern memorized already. It’s one of those patterns that is simple, but interesting. And although it takes two colors, the Alpaca Sox I am using is light weight and I am willing to carry two skeins around. 

I’ll probably bring a third project along with me as well…you know…in case I get bored with the other two, or run out of yarn, or don’t feel like working on one of the first two…or whatever.

Most likely my third project will be socks. Socks make an excellent choice for travel knitting. There are a lot of stitches on a sock. So most likely they aren’t something I would finish in the time that I am in the air or at my destination. And sock yarn is small and light, which makes it easy to pack.

If all else fails and I still don’t have the right thing with me that I want…I know where the LYS is (you can check out all the LYSs that carry CEY yarns here.)

Now I know a bunch of you are worried about what the TSA might say about air travel and knitting. If you are traveling domestically (like I am), there should be no problems. You can check a list of items that the TSA has approved for on board travel on their website. I personally have never had a problem taking my knitting with me, but I always bring a copy of the approved items with me printed from their website the day before I fly or have the website handy on my iPhone. That way if I get questioned, I can pull it out and (in a very nice and soft voice) explain why I brought my knitting with me. Of course the ultimate decision lies in the hands of the individual screener, but since knitting and crocheting is so popular, most screeners already know the rules and even know what knitting needles and crochet hooks look like. I know that rules have changed to say you can take small scissors now, but I always leave mine at home or in my checked bags, just to be sure.

If you are traveling internationally, you will want to check with your carrier to see what the laws and rules are for other countries. Some countries are fine with it, others…not so much. Most likely you can knit on the way to your destination (since it is the TSA who will be screening you), but you may want to consider packing your knitting in your suitcase on the way back. I know…that would be a total bummer…but better than having it taken away from you at the airport. And if you can’t knit or crochet on the way back, you can always read a book about it!

Are you traveling soon? What knitting/crocheting are you taking with you?

Knit on.