Sunday, 22 May 2011

All Taped Up?

Not so long ago, when you went to the wool shop you would just find various weights of wool to knit with... 3 ply, 4ply, DK, Aran, Chunky but in the last few years there has been an explosion in fancy yarns particularly the tape yarns.

I first came across tape yarns at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally in the 1990s when I bought this knitting kit from KnitWits in Cumbria (if anyone knows what happened to them, let me know, I loved them).  This was knitting on the edge, it was a cotton tape which knitted up quickly to create crunchy summer styles but still knitted in the conventional way.
No, they are not dropped stitches... and yes, I will sew buttons on soon, I promise!
Then Rico, pushed the boundaries even further with CanCan from which you could make fabulous flouncy scarves with block or jewel like graduated colours hit the shops.  However you did not use the yarn as you did before, you cast on by opening out the yarn and literally sticking your needle about a quarter of inch below the top of the tape, then moving along about two inches you did the same again -  no thumb method, continental, cable, long tail end, this was new order - stab and grab!  Then to knit with it, you used placed you right needle through the left stitch to knit but instead knitting the whole of the yarn you stabbed a hole two inches further with your right needle and pulled it through as a knit stitch so that the rest of your yarn created the flounce and not only could you knit with it, you could crochet too.  As an experienced knitter, it drove me up the wall as I could not thread the yarn through my fingers but new knitters love it with the exaggerated movements to wind the yarn around the needles.
More yarns followed from Rico - Loopy and from Katia - Triana, living up to its name where the tape is a series of loops sewn together.  
Like CanCan, you cast on by putting your needle through the holes of each loop along the top of the yarn and then knit in garter stitch through every second stitch over just seven stitches to make a brilliant narrow flouncy scarf with a great lacy effect, these scarves tended to be much narrower and wound several times round the neck.
And the latest I have found is Woolcraft - Tango, which forms a very closely looped jabot style scarf but yet again an entirely new form of tape.
I worked up this scarf in front of the telly in just a couple of hours, I can just imagine if peeking out from a black coat this Winter.  And this is my contribution to HandMade Monday, so don't forget to take a look and see what everyone else has been up to.
If you wondered if I finished my socks from last week, they can be found in the blog below this.  However I happened to be passing the LYS, having walked up to the bus stop and spent 10 mins waiting for the bus and 20 mins sitting on it... so like I say, just passing when I found some super Alpaca sock yarn which will make such lovely bed socks.  It is deliciously soft and I am trying something called butterfly stitch which took and inordinate amount of swearing and ripping back for me to work out how it was done and then I realised I was over-complicating things - KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).
I will let you know how they go, and I promise the applique tutorial will be here shortly when I am happy with the pics.


Wendy said...

This post has made me wish I could knit. I did do some as a teenager but really had no patience for it! I love the loopy yarns!

Thanks for taking part in HM x

Carolee Crafts said...

I agree so many yarns out there, so many to choose from, love can can and the textured wools. An informative post have a great week and thank you for visiting my blog.

cj said...

oooh those loopy wools are so effective!!! Now go and get those buttons sewn on lol ;) great work :)

Suzanne said...

Love these new yarns and the way they knit up to form some fantastic and unusual scarfs.
Hugs Sue x

Picto said...

The scarves are lovely and I love the butterfly stitch for your new socks.
The acronym KISS is great. I need to remember that for myself.

Great post.

Jan x

Polly Polkadot said...

Any advice on how to teach a child to knit? You knitted your first jumper at 7, I'm sure you must have been knitting young, I'm think I could knit at 4 or 5, (I haven't progressed since though!). My daughter is 4, and very keen. Help!

Ali said...

I loved knitting when I was younger but could never get the hang of casting on so my gran did that bit for me. Would have loved these tape yarns then, they look so fun!

Ali x
Ali's Craft Studio

Kat Shenton said...

Just like everyone else it would seem my knitting skill was something I lost years ago. In fact it usually started with 'Mum, start me off' and ended with 'Mum can you finish the line for me, I can't do it'. For months I've said I would love to get into knitting but I don't have the know how, and now you've just made me want to do it even more.

Maria said...

Wow, Your scarf is gorgeous I too would love to be able to knit but just don't seem to pick it up. I just can't get the tension right and I'm always dropping stitches so I'm really in awe of those that can knit and knit well like you can.
I will stick to crochet one stitch at a time as at least I know when I've dropped the stitch LOL!

dreamstar said...

The scarf is absolutely gorgeous and i cant believe it only took you a couple of hours.
Lovely colours you have used this week

Helen said...

I love these garments and it makes me wish I was a little braver when it comes to textured yarns.
I will have to make it a promise to myself to go and buy some and have a go!

Your Friend Susie said...

I don't understand any of this, but I wish I did. I have a knitting machine my Mother gave me years ago, and I wish I knew how to use that too. The instructions are in Korean or Japanese (I can't tell the difference since I don't speak or read either one). One of these days I will drag it out and try to learn. Until then, I will look at your stuff and be a little envious. Which is probably forever.

Alison - Belovedly said...

Wow, so many different types of 'wool' and so pretty. Loving your scarf it looks really luxurious!

Little Harriet said...

Love Love Love the scarf. I have a bit of a wool buying habit, and trying to teach myself crotchet to have an excuse to buy more!. Lovely work.


Helen said...

I have left you something on my blog: