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Wednesday January 19, 2022

Dip your needles into Cast Away yarn!

posted by: Amy Small

Have you met our Cast Away yarn?! It has a fun cocoon-like texture that is chock full of hand carded fiber color. Go for the the full rainbow look with colorway Prism or take the more neutral approach with my forever favorite Amulet. Pictured below, a few of our favorite patterns to inspire you - many of them free or just one skein too :)

 

Knit Collage Cast Away Yarn

 

Perfect Slouch Hat Pattern

This hat has that perfect nonchalant slouchy shape that is so tough to come by. It is snug around your ears and slightly loose up top (but not too loose!) for ideal scrunching. This pattern knits up in our Cast Away yarn and is a beautiful way to show off this scrumptious yarn. Free pattern available here.

 

Perfect Slouch Hat Pattern

 

Snuggle Bear Mittens

These mittens, are a fun, fast knit and perfect for gifting! They are also warm and sure to keep your hands toasty all winter long! Pattern available here.

 

Snuggle Bear Mitten Pattern

 

 Wavy Feather Scarf Pattern

The Wavy Feather Scarf pattern combines our Cast Away yarn, with a subtle wavy pointelle stitch. The result is a luscious scarf that will actually get you excited about winter!  The scarf is long and wide, perfect for wrapping around your neck as many times as you like. The pattern calls for 3 skeins of yarn but you could use 2 for a shortened version.  The color shown here is Peachy Sparkle on our gorgeous Gabriele. Free pattern available here.

 

Wavy Feather Scarf

 

Modern Earflap Hat

Fall in love with our Cast Away yarn in this modern take on a traditional earflap hat. In this pattern, you'll hold two strands of our Cast Away yarn together, giving you the opportunity to try out some fun color combinations- like ours shown here made with colors Coconut Sparkle and Wildflower. Pattern available here.

 

Knit Collage Modern Earflap Hat Pattern

 

Yarnicorn Cowl Pattern 

The Yarnicorn Cowl is one super quick knit that is sure to make you feel a little magical when worn. This cowl is knit in our scrumptious Cast Away yarn. This yarn is chock full of color, texture, feels soft and warm when worn too. For a maximum yarnicorn look, we suggest knitting yours in our sample colors: Lagoon & Prism. Pattern available here.

 

Yarnicorn Cowl Pattern

 

Folk Song Cowl Pattern

There's something so magical about simple garter stitch, maybe it's all that lumpy bumpy goodness. The Folk Song Cowl let's our handspun yarn shine through in the garter stitch body and lengthy fringe that dangles down. This cowl is a distant cousin of our Keep Me Cozy Cowl. In the photos shown here the cowl is worn asymmetrically, which we love. However there is a center point (like in the Keep Me Cozy Cowl) so wear it any way you like. We knit ours in color Peachy Sparkle. Pattern available here.

 

Folk Song Cowl

 

I hope this blog post inspires you to knit up one our Cast Away patterns featuring this beautiful soft thick and thin textured yarn. Also, if you are free and feel moved please join me at¬†Vogue Knitting Live this Thursday and Friday! I‚Äôll share the story of our yarns and many yarn and pattern samples. I‚Äôd love to ‚Äúmeet‚ÄĚ you there‚Ķon zoom! Tap here for Vogue Knitting Live details.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this!

Xo,
Amy @ Knit Collage 

 

 

Tuesday May 09, 2017

India part 2 ~ meet the makers!

Thank you all so much for your kind comments on last week's blog post. The trip was so amazing and truly shook me to my core. I can already feel it fading into the background of my hectic life all too quickly. I don't want to forget anything. I want to somehow keep that special place and the amazing people that make our yarns with me each day. The only thing I can think of is to print out the below pic and post it right above my desk each day as a daily reminder. A reminder of how grateful I am to these women for taking a chance on my hair brained yarn idea and sticking with me. A reminder of how how happy and proud they are of the yarn they make. A reminder that I'm not working alone but have a team of strong women that also depend on this to earn a living.  A reminder to keep going and to push my creativity to come up with new ideas - they (as well as myself) demand it and are up for trying anything. Good reminders, reminders that make me smile, reminders I need. Reminders that have me wondering how long before I get back there and bring the fam?! I am ready to go back right now! With that, I'd love to introduce you to these amazing women. 

Here we are! Just one missing, see my only snap of Monika below who runs the whole show and is a little camera shy. All of the ladies except for Dipika has been here since the beginning, 6 years ago. 

I'm lucky enough to stay with Monika while there and the food - OMG it's such amazing home cooked Indian food. All from scratch! Monika is my English speaking point person. Some of the other ladies speak a little English but not much. Monika helped me build everything and truly I could not have done it without her. She's a very old friend and we consider each other family after all these years.

Meet Sungita! She packs the yarn up. Twisting the yarn into a skein is an art form as any yarn shop owner knows. She's excellent at it - our yarns always look so yummy the way she twists them. Her favorite yarn is Spun Cloud in color Blue Flame and Rolling Stone in color Shooting Star. She also dives into other jobs like fiber prep when needed.

Meet Meera - she was the first lady I trained to spin on my own wheel. She is the quality control expert and checks each and ever skein. She also oversees the spinners. Her sari, right, so good! She likes Spun Cloud in Bodacious Pink and Wildflower yarn in Gardenia. 

Meet Ranjit! Ranjit makes the trims you see in our yarns. These include pom poms, tassels, crochet flowers, braided trims...the list goes on. She also makes our fabric yarns. If she had to pick one favorite it would be Wildflower Drifter in color Pale Lime.

This is Reeta, she also makes the trims and Wildflower cotton fabric yarns as Ranjit. Her favorite yarn is Wildflower Drifter in Ginseng.

This is Bindu. She preps and cards fiber. Carding fiber is the process we use to blend many different fiber colors together. She's holding some of the fiber we use in this pic. She didn't want to choose a favorite yarn - just the fiber, ha!

Say hi to Kavita. She also preps and cards fiber like Bindu and her favorite colors are pink and purple. 

Her toe rings, love!

This is Neelam, Kavita's mother. Neelam is a master spinner and can spin any of our yarns well including Gypsy Garden, Cast Away and Pixie Dust. She likes our Wanderlust yarns best and is holding our new fall 2017 color Peachy Keen in her arms. 

Meet Balgit, another spinner who's favorite yarn is Wanderlust. She's holding her favorite color - new for 2017 and called Spirit Animal. 

This is Rekha. She is amazing as spinning Cast Away and Pixie Dust yarns in particular. She's very fast too! Her favorite yarn is Pixie Dust in color Lemon Meringue. 

Bangle crush!

She always has spectacular toe rings. 

This is Ranjna, another spinner who can spin any of our yarns but who specifically specializes in Cast Away and Pixie Dust. She also likes Lemon Meringue :)

Meet Dipika, Kavita's daughter an Neelam's granddaughter (cool right?!) She's the only woman that has been with us 5 (not 6 years). So the newest addition. She's a spinner but also helps out with carding and fiber prep when need be.

Veena overseas the production flow and make sure the team is meeting delivery due dates. She makes sure we have all the raw materials in house to produce the yarns smoothly without any shortages. She's also one of the first ladies I taught to spin the yarns and now she's running the whole show!

 

One of the happiest things I saw was that the ladies all share 2 rickshaws home together. They all live near each other and are now quite good friends. Each night I said goodbye to them and watched them pile into the rickshaws, it was a riot! 

I loved seeing the camaraderie they have with each other.

 

Ok, now for the process. I think you may be interested to see a little bit into the process of how we make the yarns. Most of these pics come from short instagram story videos so excuse the quality. I hope to someday put together a little about us video for my website where I dive into the incredibly time consuming process of how these yarns are made in more detail. This is just a quick overview of how we go about spinning a yarn with no trims. The yarns with trims have a little bit more of a process to them!

Steps 1 & 2: Fiber prep & carding. We buy our fiber already processed and dyed from a mill. I'm also happy to show a little behind the scenes on this if you're interested. I actually visited this mill while in India as well. It was really cool! 

Step 3: Spinning with carded fiber

A bunch of our yarns, including Wanderlust and some colors of Gypsy Garden are actually spun twice.

Step 4: Make it into a skein!

Step 5: Steam or wash the yarn to set the fibers into place.

Step 6: Add the labels

Step 7 is where Meera comes in - she checks each yarn for quality - is the length correct, is the thickness Ok, are trims falling off...the list goes. So yeah, Meera is important! 

 

Alright, there you have it folks! I have so many more photos and amazing things I could share but this is already the longest post to date. If you're interested in seeing more behind the scenes, definitely leave a comment here. I think I must have 1000 pics of the spinners and India. It's been a blast sharing this part of the business with you all. Thank you so much for taking the time to read. XOXO ~ Amy

 

 

Tuesday November 15, 2016

Knitalong week 3 ~ Rustic Handspun poncho

posted by: Amy Small in cast away, sister yarn, sweaters & tops patterns

Here we are! Already on week 3 and I'm almost finished with my poncho. How about you? I hope you've been having fun knitting along with me. I truly cannot wait to see all of these finished pieces! If you're following along with us than hopefully you've reached the stripe portion of your poncho. If not, no worries, whenever you finish, we can't wait to see! 

 

Follow along in the below video to get an overview of how the stripes knit up.

A few things to keep in mind first:

* You will have 4 Cast Away stripes plus the cast off edge is knit in Cast Away, this will look like 5 Cast Away stripes in total when you're all finished. 

* The number of rows per Cast Away stripe varies throughout the pattern - be sure to follow the written pattern for exact details.  Here's a quick overview- your 1st Cast Away stripe will be 3 rows, the 2nd: 2 rows, the 3rd: 3 rows, the 4th: 2 rows and the final stripe 1 row and then the cast off row. 

* We mix in purl rows to create more texture in your poncho - see video for a detail of what this looks like. 

* The Sister yarn portion of your stripe will always be knit in simple stockinette knit stitches - 4 rows total for each Sister yarn section.

 

Start knitting your Cast Away Stripes

Simply start knitting with the Cast Away yarn. There is no need to knit to cut the Sister yarn until the last Sister yarn row. When it comes time to knit with Sister yarn again, simply start knitting. This will create a little yarn float on the backside of your knitting (see video for reference). As long as you don't pull that stitch too tightly your knitted fabric should not pucker.  I prefer doing this as opposed to cutting the yarn for each stripe and then weaving in a bunch of ends.

This week, try to get through your stripes. Next week we'll be casting off and showing off our finished ponchos- yay! Right in time for Thanksgiving :)

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