Degrade Yarns

Walk into any yarn shop this fall and you will see an assortment of beautiful degrade (also called gradient) yarns. Degrade yarns are somewhat similar to self striping yarns, except the color repeats are much longer, and most often the color transitions slowly from one hue to the next. Whereas self striping yarns tend to create rows of uniform stripes or patterns, degrade yarns are a more subtle graduation of color.

A perfect example of this is King Cole Carousel—big, chunky cakes in fun marled and solid gradient effects. There are eight lively named colors to choose from, like Helter Skelter and Spinball.

carousel side view

These 200g balls pack a whopping 316 meters each! Plenty for a baby sweater, scarf, shawlette—the possibilities are endless. And since we’re speaking of scarves, check out the free pattern for a knit or crochet scarf in Carousel, available at your LYS.

carousel poster

Another degrade that is sure to be a hit this season is from the Comfort Wolle collection. Gala Degrade is a wonderfully soft, continuous degrade comprised of 80% wool and 20% nylon. An economical choice with exceptional yardage, this yarn is perfect for one skein projects!

What better way to show off the beautifully subtle gradation of these colors than with a simple poncho pattern? With shades like this, less is more when it comes to choosing a pattern: let your yarn do the talking.

gala poncho

From Cascade Yarns we have some great new shades in Melilla.  With 14 colors available, Melilla contains a generous helping of silk and has long transitions through eight colors per colorway. Use it to add interest to simple designs or to accentuate modular or geometric design components.

Canadian designer Shannon Charles has designed the perfect pattern for Melilla, or any of your favorite degrade yarnsChanging Lanes Wrap is knit sideways, using increases and decreases to make up its angular shape. This versatile wrap can be worn many ways, as a shawl over your shoulders on cool fall nights or as a big, comfy wrap around your neck as the weather gets colder.

You can download Shannon’s pattern for free on Ravelry, simply by clicking here. While you’re there, why not have a look at our other free patterns and tell us what you think.

We love your feedback so please leave a comment below about your favorite degrade yarn from Estelle.

Happy knitting and crocheting everyone!

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New to Estelle Yarns- Urth

Imagine a yarn that is incredibly soft to touch, available in an irresistibly bold self-striping palette, supports unemployed local woman as well as comes from a company that makes a commitment to helping the environment whenever possible.

Does this all sound too good to be true?

Well, it isn’t.

Urth is a company located in Turkey, that we are so happy to welcome into the Estelle Yarns family, and we are certain that once you get a skein of their yarn into those hands of yours, you will agree with us. It is simply gorgeous! All of the community work and environmental initiatives that they are involved in, are just the cherry on the already delicious cake!

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Uneek is a yarn that is produced by Urth, available in three different weights; fingering, worsted and chunky. Composed of 100% Superwash Extrafine Merino, the Uneek collection of yarn is available in a range of alluring self striping shades. With some colourways being tonal, some subtle, and some vivid and loud, there is a colourway for every knitter, every crocheter, and every winter coat out there

Uneek Fingering contains 400 meters of Superwash Merino Wool, and is available in 14 gorgeous shades. Since there is no nylon in this yarn, we advise you to be careful if attempting to knit socks in it, as it may wear out quickly! However, socks are not entirely out of the question. Nor are shawls, lightweight mitten liners, slouchy hats, baby sweaters… the list goes on!

Still not sure what to knit with it? Also available from Urth, using the Uneek Fingering is a free pattern for this Swing Tank Top. Simply click this link to get your hands on it today!

Uneek-Swing-Tank-Top

Uneek Swing Tank Top, designed by Juan R. Alcantar and Lois Horychata for Urth yarns

Uneek Worsted is a 100 gram skein of yarn, containing 200 meters. Also available in 14 shades, this yarn is perfect for winter accessories, cardigans and pullovers. Or maybe you’re feeling inspired to knit a pair of mittens for everyone in your family this Christmas! One skein will produce one pair- so you had better get cracking! The holidays will be here before you know it.

And finally, the Uneek Chunky knits up at 8 sts / 10 cm, and has 60 meters on a 100 gram skein. Once again available in fourteen beautiful self striping shades, it is tempting to want to knit a pair of socks in the fingering weight, with a matching hat in the worsted weight and a coordinated cowl in the chunky. Wouldn’t you agree?

Urth yarns will be available at fine local yarn shops across Canada by mid-October 2017, so be sure to call your LYS to place your order today!

And to read more about Urth yarns, and what they are doing for their community, as well as the environment, click here to read their “About Us” page. 

Happy knitting and crocheting everyone!

Estelle Patterns Now Available as Free Ravelry Downloads

Warm days and cool nights are a subtle reminder that Fall is on its way, which means it’s time to get started on our Fall and Winter knitting. We’ve been busy here at Estelle, working on new patterns for those cool days to come. All of our latest Estelle patterns are available for free on the Estelle Free Patterns page, and they are also now all available for free on Ravelry. For those of you who still prefer to have a paper pattern, they can be purchased at your LYS for a small fee- just ask your local yarn shop owner for more details!

For beginners who are ready to advance their skills, why not try the Rea Vest? It is knit in the round from the bottom up and uses a series of short rows to create a high low hem. Using Estelle Chunky Solids, there are 44 colors to choose from, or Estelle Chunky Heathers which has 12 gorgeous shades to tempt you.

Estelle - Chunky

Looking for more of a challenge but still want to create something fun and functional? How about Shannon Charles’ new pattern for Fingerless Pocket Mitts? Knit in Estelle Alpaca Merino Fine, this pattern incorporates a handy little pocket on the top that’s just perfect for bus fare, subway tokens, or any small item to keep your hands free. Best of all, the Alpaca Merino Fine comes in 22 beautiful heathered tones, and one ball is all you need to make yourself (or your best buddy!) a pair of these mitts.

Estelle - Alpaca Merino Fine

And if you have found yourself looking for a Netflix and knit project, Robbie Laughlin’s new Confetti Cowl is perfect! A simple pattern that lets the yarn do the talking. Estelle Lumiere is a blend of wool and acrylic and is available in 6 luminescent variegated combinations. Super soft to the touch, along with incredible stitch definition, this is a “must have” accessory for this winter.

Estelle - Lumiere

We love to see your finished projects using our yarns, and we always love your feedback, so never hesitate to be in touch!

All of our latest free patterns are available on our website, or as free Ravelry downloads. Can’t find a pattern that you have been looking for? Drop us a line! And we will do our best to get it to you.

Happy knitting everyone!

Making Sense of Crochet Terminology- with Beth Major

Try as we might, we just don’t talk about crochet on this blog as much as we would like to. Admittedly, our lack of crochet chatter would be because none of us are really all that well versed in crochet around the Estelle Yarns offices. (Embarrassing- but true!) Fortunately for us however, we recently met up with Beth Major, a prolific crochet designer who can be found on Ravelry and other social media outlets as TheCrochetGypsy. 

Having been an avid crocheter for over forty years, and a certified crochet instructor through the Craft Yarn Council of America for over ten years, Beth is someone we felt confident in asking for a little crochet help. Wouldn’t you?

Beth has also been publishing crochet designs for over eight years now, and we are excited to announce that she will be launching a few designs for Estelle Yarns in the coming months, so be sure to stay tuned for that!

King Cole Riot hdc cowl-001

Beth has been kind enough to write a blog post for us today, explaining the difference between North American and UK crochet terminology, as it can certainly be confusing for newbie crocheters out there- especially since there is some overlap between the terms. (Same term- different stitch!)

We hope that by the end of this post, any uncertainties that you may have will be cleared up- and you can finally get to hooking!

But before we get startd, we would like to extend a big Thank You to you Beth for clearing up some of our crocheting queries. We look forward to getting started with our hooks!


What’s in a Stitch?

If you are anything like me, you have found the PERFECT yarn, scoured Ravelry for the PERFECT pattern and have excitedly dove into your new project, only to realize about halfway through that something isn’t quite right. Your work doesn’t look anything like the picture, or the size is just wrong- very wrong. Unless you are one of the very few of us that diligently work up the gauge swatch for EVERY pattern, you have likely been caught in this situation. What the heck is going on? The pattern is saying DC (double crochet) why is your work HUGE compared to the pic?

Congratulations/condolences! You have fallen into the UK/US terminology trap.

Just a few of Beth’s designs

Okay. Admittedly, talking about crochet stitches is boring for most people. A real snooze-fest in fact! I mean really, unless you are an avid crochet geek like me, who cares? Well, download one pattern written in English … but not English … at least not the English you understand, and it might as well be in Russian.

In crochet terms, depending on which side of the pond you hail from, different crochet stitches have the same term and abbreviation and it is wonderfully confusing especially for the novice crocheter.

In the chart below, I have illustrated the comparisons.

Type of stitch Name of Stitch US Name of stitch UK Number or wraps on hook before starting the stitch
Foundation Chain (CH) Chain (CH) 0
Smallest Slip Stitch (SL ST) Slip Stitch (SL ST) 0
Shortest Single Crochet (SC) Double Crochet (DC) 0
Medium Half Double Crochet (HDC) Half Treble Crochet (HTR) 1
Tall Double Crochet (DC) Treble Crochet (TR) 1
Tallest Treble Crochet (TR) Double Treble 2

In UK terms, there is no such thing as a ‘single crochet’. They do create that stitch but they call it ‘double crochet’. This stitch is where the divergence begins. I have thought often about why that may be and I have realized that there are simply different ways to describe how to create the shortest of the crochet stitches.

To create the shortest stitch, the steps are as follows:
Step 1: Insert your hook into the stitch
Step 2: Yarn over
Step 3: Pull up that loop through the stitch
Step 4: Yarn over again
Step 5: Pull yarn through two loops on the hook.

For the taller stitches: you repeat steps 4 and 5 until there is one loop left on the hook.

The difference comes from where you start counting the creation of the stitch.
In US terms, the stitch name comes from the number of ‘yarn overs’ you do AFTER you pull the loop up through the stitch (step 3). So, in US terms, for single crochet there is only one ‘yarn over’ after step 3 therefore the term single crochet. For double crochet, there are two ‘yarn overs’ after step 3 therefore the term double crochet.

In UK terms, ALL ‘yarn overs’ are considered in the naming of the stitch. So, because the
shortest stitch has a yarn over in step 2 and one in step 4, the stitch is called ‘double crochet’.

Clear as mud? I thought so! So … now what? You know why, but the question remains “How do I fix it?”

Tip #1: Be diligent with making sure the pattern you want is in the terms you understand! Ravelry has become quite good with labeling crochet patterns with UK or US terms. (Thanks Ravelry!! You Rock!)

Tip #2: If you are finding patterns on a yarn website (ex. Estelle, King Cole, etc.) try to determine where the company is located as this will determine which terms are used. Same thing goes for magazines! Try to figure out where they are published.

Tip #3: Email the pattern designer and ask!! They always love to hear from people who love their patterns and are usually quite happy to help if they can.

Tip #4: When you already have a pattern and need it translated, try this trick in your word processor.

  • Copy and paste the pattern into a word processing program.
  • Then perform the “Find and Replace” function to quickly change all the terms from one method of terminology to another.
  • For example, for a UK pattern to US terms, ‘find’ the ‘DC’ and ‘replace’ with ‘SC’ and select ‘Replace All’ to quickly convert it to a US pattern so that you can crochet it.beth sock final sideview

So there you have it. Easy Peasy! Now you know how to get out of the US/UK term trap. Or, at least avoid it in the first place!

Happy crocheting everyone!

New from Manos Del Uruguay- Fino Mini Skein Sets

Fino is a yarn produced by Manos del Uruguay, one which we suspect many of you reading this blog are very familiar with. But if not, allow us to introduce the two of you!

Fino is a single ply fingering weight yarn, composed of 70% Merino Wool and 30% Silk, which is typically packaged in a 100 gram skein.

Available in a beautiful range of hand dyed, tonal shades, this yarn is incredibly popular among the lace knitting crowd, and those of us that love a fine gauged yarn. Knitting up into a drapy, lightweight fabric, and with a beautiful gentle sheen (thanks to the silk content!), this yarn is an absolute pleasure to work with, and a joy to wear.

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Also wonderful for colourwork, Fino can be a little daunting for knitters to have to purchase multiple skeins of. Not only does the cost quickly creep up, but one also ends up with more than enough yarn for multiple projects, which is not always ideal.

Well, we have great news! Manos has recently launched Fino Mini Skein Kits! Available in seven assorted colour combinations, with each kit including five different colours, knitters and crocheters are now able to play with colour- without having to break the bank! Each mini skein includes 90 metres, which gives plenty of yardage to make a substantial project, but without leaving you with enough yarn to get you through to the end of 2019.

But that’s not all! We have three FREE patterns on our website that are available for download, each one using one of the Fino Mini Skein sets, and one full skein of Manos Fino. 

From left to right, the Rings of Rings Cowl, the Charnley Scarf and the Incremento Scarf all require just one skein of Fino, along with one Mini Skein kit. Each pattern is fun to knit, easy to wear, and would make a great gift for a loved one, or as a treat for yourself!

To view and download each of these patterns, please click here.

The Fino Mini Skein Kits will be available in local yarn shops across Canada by mid-October, so now is the time to start planning your projects! Don’t be too shy to ask your friendly yarn merchant which kits they have on order. Then you can really get to planning. Because if you’re aiming for a Christmas knit, October is the time to kick it into high gear!

To view the full range of Fino Mini Skein Sets, please click here. And to view the full range of Manos Fino, please click here.

And finally, should you feel so inclined- let us know what YOU would do with a Fino mini skein set! We would love to to hear from you!

Happy knitting and crocheting everyone!

Contest Winners! Margaret’s Gift

On July 24th, we announced an exciting contest on the blog. For a chance to win the pattern, the yarn and the needles to make this gorgeous sweater as ‘actualized’ by the talented  Sally Melville herself (read more on the story by clicking here!), all that was asked of you, was to comment on our Facebook post, telling us about a memory you have of a favourite sweater- hand knit, or not!

We so enjoyed reading all of the comments- some heart wrenching, some heart warming and some comical. And we would like to thank each and every one of you for making this contest so fun!

Photos courtesy of Steven Rhude and Sally Melville

Last night, using a random number generator, we selected Lisa Clousten and Diane Devey as our lucky winners!

From Lisa- “My father used to wear a beautiful thick sweater with a zipper and pockets for curling. It had a plaid design on the pockets. It was so unlike his regular farm clothes. After he died, my nephew ended up with it. I have often thought about replicating one for myself. I am a knitter now, thanks to my Aunt Lillian, who taught me the Continental stitch and the value (and pleasure) of using only natural fibres.”

And from Diane- “My favourite sweater was a light denim blue cabled cardigan that I made in the early 1980’s. It was the first time that I attempted to knit cables. I got help from my grandmother and mother. I was so proud of it. I wore it on a trip to Europe where it kept me warm at night, acted as a pillow on long bus trips, and covered my arms in churches. About a year after returning, I came home to discover that my kitten had tried to chew the buttons off, leaving huge holes in the front. My mother declared it unsalvagable and put it in the rag bag. I cried. I have knit many sweaters since, but none that I loved as much as that blue one.”

Thank you so much for sharing your stories ladies! Please contact us at support@estelledesigns.ca to claim your prize. 

To read more from other knitters across the country, be sure to check out the comments on our https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpermalink.php%3Fstory_fbid%3D1415175158596981%26id%3D472549632859543&width=500“>Facebook post by clicking here.

And we want to thank you each and every one of you once again, who took the time to participate.

Happy knitting!

Interview with Inger Bussanich- Estelle Yarns Sales Rep for over 24 Years

If you are not a yarn shop owner, the thought may have crossed your mind while browsing in your local yarn store, “So where exactly does all of this yarn come from?”

Each yarn shop owner spends countless hours sourcing products, and carefully selecting each and every item that goes on their shelves, making each store a unique version of it’s owner. But it is with the help of friendly sales reps like Inger Bussanich that help make that part of the job just a little easier (and possibly less overwhelming!)

With each new season for over 24 years, Inger has regularly visited yarn shops all across Vancouver and the surrounding area, showcasing new products from  Estelle Yarns . While it is ultimately up to the store to decide what yarns are most suitable for their shelves, it is with Inger that they are able to place their orders, and address any questions or concerns they may have about the products.

After many years of service to the Vancouver Area Local Yarn Shop Community, Inger will be retiring from Estelle Yarns. We thought we would take the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her years of selling yarn, and what she plans to do with her retirement.

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How did you get into the yarn industry?

I was recently divorced and needed to find some work. A friend of mine got me in contact with a friend of hers who had a company selling embroidery and notions. I worked for him for one year. In the meantime, John Peacock (of Estelle Yarns) was out in Vancouver, and in search of a sales representative for Estelle. He asked around in some local stores, and a shop called Homecraft recommended me to him.

You are from Denmark. Was knitting a large part of your upbringing/heritage?

I grew up during the Second World War, and my cousin and I would spend a lot of time at my grandmother’s big apartment. She had a room in the middle of the apartment with no windows, so when we heard the sirens indicating danger, we went into this little room instead of going into the basement (probably not too safe!) This is where my grandmother taught us to knit and crochet.

What do you love to knit?

When I was younger I knitted big sweaters for everybody, but nowadays it is small projects like baby blankets and dish cloths, just to have my hands occupied when I watch TV.

What is your favourite yarn?

There are so many that it is hard to choose! Estelle’s Cloud Cotton has been an all time stable yarn for me. It’s nice to knit with, and very durable.

How big is your yarn stash?

I only have sample balls of all the yarns that I am currently selling, including a few older yarns. Usually, once they are discontinued I give them away to either charity, or friends.

Will you continue knitting once you have retired?

Oh yes. I will definitely continue knitting in my retirement, but only smaller projects. I really love to travel, and hope to get to see many more exciting places in the world.

What will you miss most about working at Estelle Yarns?

I will miss the customers for sure. It is always nice to meet the store owners who are such nice people- many have become friends! I love to show them the latest yarns and have a chat. I look forward to the big boxes of yarn for the new season, and to get everything sorted out and ready to show. Stores have come and gone, and I want to thank everybody for their patronage over the years. It has been fun!

I will also really miss the staff at Estelle, who have always been very supportive.

And of course- I will miss the Peacock family. They have been wonderful to work for, and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to sell yarn for them over the years.

Inger- From the Peacock family, from all of us at Estelle Yarns, we wish you a retirement full of adventures and good health. We thank you for all of your years with us, it has been our pleasure working with you and we wish you all the very best!