What A Difference Buttons Make!

Don’t believe us? This leather vest went from folk to funk with just the changing of the buttons! Check out the video below to see the proof!

Featured Button: BJ0630E28 – Black/Gun Metal Handmade Italian Enamel.
Features Notions: addi® Gold Plated Scissors
To browse our selection, visit skacelknitting.com/Skacel-Buttons


Spotted on Ravelry – 003

As many of you already know ‘Spotted On Ravelry‘ was a popular feature in our skacel Magalog for 5 years. Now that we’ve retired our Magalog, we can continue this on-going segment here on our Blog and with more frequency than twice a year!

The beauty of hosting this online as opposed to printed text is it’s now easier than ever to find the patterns we feature with ‘Bundles’ on Ravelry for quick reference!

 “Are you ready for the summer?”

1. Weekend at the Coast by Marie Greene

“TWO PATTERNS IN ONE! Choose either the short/cropped tee length, or the long tunic with side slits. Both sets of instructions are included.”

Featured Yarn:

HiKoo® Rylie

This pattern is available for $7.00 USDbuy it now


2. The Joshua Tree Shrug by Naturally Nora

“The Joshua Tree Shrug crochet pattern is a simple and unique quick summer project, perfect for layering on cool summer evenings.”

Featured Yarn:

HiKoo® CoBaSi Plus

This pattern is available for $4.00 USDbuy it now



3. Textured Color Block Scarf by Willina Collins (Knit Coach)

“A uniquely textured scarf with a “peep” hole to pull through the end and create a distinct wearability. Designed with the HiKoo® Sueño mini pack in mind it uses all of the yarns in the pack as well as an additional skein of Sueño for the trim colour.”

Featured Yarn:

HiKoo® Sueño

This pattern is available for $6.95 CADbuy it now

4. Adorable Ewe by Michelle Hunter

“The sweater is sized to fit a six month old baby and is appropriate for a boy, girl or waiting for the gender reveal. Two skeins of any main color are needed. Additionally, white or natural is a must for the sheep with black for the accents.Perhaps the most fun is selecting four buttons for the sweater. Skacel’s new sheep buttons are now available in white and natural.”
Featured Yarn:

HiKoo® Simpliworsted

This pattern is available for $6.00 USDbuy it now


To see all of the patterns featured in this article, click here!

Spotted on Ravelry – 002

As many of you already know ‘Spotted On Ravelry‘ was a popular feature in our skacel Magalog for 5 years. Now that we’ve retired our Magalog, we can continue this on-going segment here on our Blog and with more frequency than twice a year!

The beauty of hosting this online as opposed to printed text is it’s now easier than ever to find the patterns we feature with ‘Bundles’ on Ravelry for quick reference!

“This That and the Other Thing”

A Medley of New Designs!

1. Attack of the Killer Rabbits Cowl by Peggy Jean Kaylor

Attack of the Killer Rabbits Cowl is a loop cowl. It can be worn long tucked into the collar of a coat, or doubled for extra warmth. Very unisex in design, you can make it more masculine or more feminine with your color choices.

Featured Yarn:

HiKoo® Simplinatural

This pattern is available for $3.00 USDbuy it now

2. Attack of the Killer Rabbits Hat by Peggy Jean Kaylor

Attack of the Killer Rabbits Hat is a slouchy beanie. Very unisex in design, you can make it more masculine or more feminine with your color choices.
Buy both Attack of the Killer Rabbits patterns, and get a 25% discount. No coupon needed. Just put both patterns in your cart and Ravelry will automatically deduct the amount of your discount from the total.

Featured Yarn:

HiKoo® Simplinatural

This pattern is available for $3.00 USDbuy it now

3. Sheep Cardi by Mitzy Moore

This cardigan in knitted top down in the round. No seaming. Yay!!!
The sleeves, as shown in the pictures, are 3/4 length sleeves. You may customize them to the length you would like as you work them. The sheep detail is added afterward using Duplicate Stitch.
There’s extra instructions for girl or boy buttonhole.

Featured Yarn:

HiKoo® Simplicity

This pattern is available for $2.99 USDbuy it now

4. Baby Shoes by Mitzy Moore

“The pattern is written step by step, easy to follow.
This shoes is knitted in the round, then flat and join using Kitchener stitch at the end of the heel.”
Featured Yarn:

HiKoo® Simplicity

This pattern is available for $1.99 USDbuy it now

5. Cinnamon Shawl by A Little Knitty Designs

“The Cinnamon Shawl starts with just a few stitches and finishes 500 or so…but the journey is fun and rewarding! The picot bind off rounds out the pattern and adds charm to the overall look.The CoBaSi yarn really gives the shawl a beautiful drape and because of the cotton, bamboo, silk blend it will be great to wear in the summer!”

 Featured Yarn:

HiKoo® CoBaSi & CoBaSi Tonal

This pattern is available for $4.00 USDbuy it now

6. Upstream by Owen Ellis

“Working with two contrasting gradients, Upstream is a slowly-changing, gradually-shifting, entirely surprising hat. Slightly slouchy, striped and spotted, and turning into concentric rings of color at the top, it’s sure to turn heads wherever you go.
Featured Yarn:

Schoppel Reggae Ombré

This pattern is available for $4.00 USDbuy it now


To see all of the patterns featured in this article, click here!

The Yarn Shop of the Future

The sense of community a local yarn shop can build is powerful. There is something very comfortable about sitting around with fellow knitters and fiber enthusiasts – talking, laughing, creating, helping one another, and having fun.  The fiber-based friendships that form at yarn shops truly cannot be replicated elsewhere.

Knit nights are fun and very popular at Fiber Artwork in Huntsville, Alabama.

In the world today, technology is progressing at a faster pace than ever before, creating enhanced experiences online.  We now watch how-to videos on our laptops, we shop from bed at midnight on our tablets, and we have apps on our phones that tell us how many stitches to cast on.  While more and more parts of our lives now involve technology, it only makes sense that fiber enthusiasts would engage in more and more fiber experiences and transactions online.

As a result, the number of online yarn suppliers continues to grow, and more and more websites are competing for your business.  The easiest way for most sites to compete is by discounting, not by providing extra services.  This has created a culture where many people feel cheated if they find they paid more in a store than someone else paid online for the same product.

Taking classes is a great way to learn new skills while supporting your LYS. These students are leaning about color in a class at Mosaic Yarn Studio in Mount Prospect, Illinois.

So should you shop at your local yarn shop or should you shop online?  Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding where to shop.

We want to keep local yarn shops in business!  We don’t want them to disappear like many local book stores have.  The only way to keep the doors of your local yarn shop open is to support them!  This is done not by simply visiting them, but by purchasing yarns, needles, notions, classes, and other products from them.  So if you see a yarn you like in a shop – buy it!  That shop has invested in bringing that yarn into their shop so you can physically see and touch it.  If you want them to continue bringing in new yarns and products, buy locally. Do you regularly attend knit nights at your favorite yarn shop or do you go to your local shop for pattern help and/or color advice?  If you do, then support them so they will be there to support you when you need it.

Yarn shop employees, like those at Cowgirl Yarns in Laramie, Wyoming, are a great resource when deciding on the perfect yarn and/or color(s) for a project.

At the same time, we want to keep our online options available, as many Americans do not have the luxury of living in close proximity to a fine fiber arts shop.  The internet gives many people the opportunity to purchase the same fabulous yarns, tools and patterns that are available locally to others. Without online shops, a lot of fiber enthusiasts would be left with nothing more than a few options available at a big box crafting chain store.  So if your favorite internet shop sends you an email featuring a great new product that interests you, buy it!  Online shops invest in products as well, and their marketing campaigns take time and money.  They are trying to earn your business, and if they succeed, it is a win for both of you.

While the choice of where you spend your fiber dollars is ultimately up to you, remember to respect the retailer with whom you are doing business.  If we all do this, we will be able to continue making friends at yarn shop knit nights, while still having the opportunity to shop online in bed at midnight.

Most yarn shops welcome knitters to hang out, knit and socialize, as these ladies are at The Yarn Studio in Casey, Illinois.


Testimonies from Local Yarn Stores Throughout the Country

“The local yarn shop is a place where knitters, crocheters, and other fiber fanatics can be inspired by their craft and share their talents with others. We love to inspire people to try new things and help them learn new skills.  We love to help people feel welcome and meet other like-minded people in the community.”

Great Yarns – Raleigh, North Carolina


“In a state where the population is spread out over mountain ranges and rolling plains, having a special place like Cowgirl Yarn gives fiber people from around the area a place to gather, share ideas, and create gorgeous things together.”

Cowgirl Yarn – Laramie, Wyoming


“The LYS is important because it is where local crafters can gather to find the latest fibers, styles, and projects while connecting with other like-minded souls.”

 –Nikki’s Knots – Woodland Park, Colorado


“You come in for yarn and leave with friendships.”

Fiber Artwork – Huntsville, Alabama


“Local yarn shops are important because they offer real-time help, inspiration, and community.”

Mosaic Yarn Studio – Mount Prospect, Illinois


“The Yarn Studio is a place that empowers people to knit with confidence and skill!”

The Yarn Studio – Casey, Illinois



Blocking: A Cautionary Tale

missoni-kenzie05Laundry Day!

Step 1: Sort by color.
Step 2: Wash by color.

Step 3: Never wash red with anything else!

After all, you wouldn’t wash your new indigo jeans with a white shirt…right?

These are all steps we know about washing our clothes, but don’t always remember for our hand-made pieces.

With the popularity of multi-colored patterns, you’ll want to use the same caution when using light and dark (and reds!) in the same piece.

Even popular Wool Washes know their products could pull the color out of your yarn, causing bleeding on your freshly bound off masterpiece.
We took screen shots from two popular Wool Wash websites warning of the potential for bleeding when using their products (click to enlarge):




How to avoid heartbreak:

1) If wet blocking, test a small piece that won’t be noticeable before soaking the whole garment. 

2) Immerse your multi-colored project in only cold water with a little salt and vinegar, to help ensure colorfastness.

3) Steam block! This is always a safe option for projects made with light/dark/and(or)red yarns all in one piece. 


Fridays with Franklin

fwf-logo-v1The Adventure of the Warp with Two Brains: Part Four

For an introduction to what goes on in this column,  click here.

For the first part of this adventure, and to find out who the heck Mary and Sylvia are, click here.


You’ve seen the fabrics I created for Mary and for Sylvia, and you’ve seen how they were made. You haven’t yet seen what happened once those fabrics came off the loom.

Spaced Out

This was my first shot at two projects on a single warp, so as part of my project planning, I checked out different ways to deal with the transition from one to the next.

I chose the one that seemed easiest: I cut a piece of typing paper to twice the desired depth of my fringe–a number I’d worked out as part of my warp calculations–and slipped it into the warp when Mary’s fabric was finished.


When the whole megillah came off the loom, here’s what I was left with between scarf one and scarf two.


All I had to do was slice that unwoven passage right down the center and blammo, two scarves, plus fringe.

Except I hadn’t left enough space.

The unwoven stretch was exactly, precisely, beautifully twice the desired length of my finished fringe. My finished fringe. Finished after knotting.

Knotting requires extra yarn. Moreover, this fringe was so short that no amount of sweating, swearing, wishing, and hoping would allow even my doll-like fingers to tie it up.

I gave up and went to bed, hoping that perhaps tiny mice might come in the night and take care of it for me. I even left my copy of The Tailor of Gloucester on the work table as a hint.


And the next morning, as if by magic…


Stupid mice.

And Now For Something Completely Different

Okay, fine. No fringe. If no fringe, then what? Throw it all out and start over? I won’t pretend the thought didn’t cross my mind.

After about an hour of Cookie-Assisted Meditation (CAT), I settled on the idea of making both lengths into what these days are commonly called “infinity scarves”–closed loops of material, usually long enough to be doubled around the neck. If I sewed the ends together, I wouldn’t need fringe.

But I’d still need to secure those cut selvedges, or the fabric would unravel in finishing. That was the first order of business.

In weaving, there’s a popular alternative to knotted fringe called hemstitching. Now, hemstitching tutorials always tell you to that you must do it while the fabric is still on the loom. As my fabric was lying in a forlorn heap on the work table, that ship had sailed.

However, I realized after reading through a bunch of different accounts that hemstitching is closely related to one of the first hand sewing stitches I’d ever learned–blanket stitch, which is a sibling of buttonhole stitch. Both blanket and buttonhole stitch share a common purpose: they keep cut edges from unraveling.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Here’s how blanket stitch works, in two steps. Really, there’s no difference between Step One and Step Two except that the former begins by tacking the sewing thread to the fabric. (Tacking is taking a series of very small stitches all in one place. It’s preferable to a knot–far more secure.)

You’ll notice I worked from left to right, which is the usual direction. If you are left-handed, you will probably want to work from right to left.


When I was finished–it didn’t even take that long*–I had a reasonably secure selvedge,


and a quick but careful pass with my rotary cutter reduced the ends to a minimum.


I did this on both cut edges of both scarves. This gave me fabric stable enough to wet finish (soaked and agitated in hot, soapy water in the sink; rinsed; and pressed flat with an iron through a cloth to dry).

I pressed “Sylvia” gently, from the flat side, on top of two layers of fluffy towels, which helped to avoid flattening the loop pile too much.

Closing the Loop

To sew the long rectangle into a loop, I wanted a seam that would be as strong and as unobtrusive as possible. I also wanted those cut selvedges to be protected from abrasion.

There are a few seams that will do this; I chose the one that seemed the best bet for working by hand* with this fabric: the flat felled seam.

Step One

The first step in our flat felled seam is to align the ends of the scarf as you’ll see below: wrong sides together, with the selvedge of the end closer to you one half-inch below the selvedge of the other end. Pin your ends in place.

Sew yourself a nice, strong seam (I used backstitch) just below the selvedge on top, and press your seam** with an iron.


Step Two

Fold that back selvedge–the one sticking up–towards you and down so it meets the lower selvedge. Now you’ll have a folded flap 1/4 of an inch high. Press** this fold.


Step Three

Fold that flap down again (it will now be resting on the surface of the scarf) and use back stitch quite close to the folded edge to sew the flap down. Press** the seam.


What you end up with is a strong, small and (how delightful) reversible seam that encloses both selvedges completely.

My seams weren’t absolutely perfect, but you know what? I think they look pretty presentable.


Action Shots

And now, a moment of unadulterated honesty.

I sat looking at the finished pieces


and thinking that I still, after all this work, didn’t like “Sylvia.” Of course, Sylvia liked “Sylvia,” but I thought it looked…weird. And not fun weird, just weird. That’s not a nice feeling.

Sylvia stopped by in the afternoon on the way to her Esperanto poetry workshop for a fitting. I had her put on “Mary,” first.


“I’ll take this one, for sure,” she said, stroking it the appreciatively.

“That’s spoken for,” I said. “But this one has your name on it.”

She tried it on, and I’ll be darned…


That’s what it needed. A person inside it. Looped and draped, the fabric came roaring to life–and frankly, was a little more interesting than “Mary.” A complete reversal of opinion on my part. The scarf I’d hated became the scarf I preferred.

There’s a little lesson in there, I suppose. Knowing your own taste is very good. But allowing yourself to experiment and be surprised is even better.

We start a new adventure–a knitting adventure–in two weeks…

The Women © 1939 Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

*If you’re wondering about options for securing the selvedge with a machine stitch, there are many. Many weavers like a zigzag or short straight stitch. However, I prefer to work by hand when it’s practical; and a lot of you who are reading this don’t have access to a sewing machine. Always keep in mind–what’s done by machine now was done by hand for centuries. The machine may be a marvelous convenience, but the hands are no less useful for all that. Don’t let the lack of a machine stop you from doing anything.

**Perhaps you are wondering if you really, really must press the seams. Not at all. If you would like to end up doing twice the work with twice the trouble for results half as satisfactory, you may skip the pressing.

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Zitron Trekking (75% New Wool, 25% Nylon; 3.5 oz/100g per 459 yds/420m). Colors: 210 (Buff) and 240 (Red).

Schacht Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom (15 inch) with optional 12-dent reed, by Schacht Spindle Company

11-inch Slim Closed-Bottom Boat Shuttle by Schacht Spindle Company

The Women (1939). For information on sources, visit the official IMDB page .

About Franklin Habit

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His new book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book has just been brought out by Soho Publishing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, Squam Arts Workshops, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Twist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Knitty.com, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet. On an average day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays, cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep.

Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, two looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.