Rayon Yarn- A Beautiful Result

ScannedImageI should place a disclaimer that I really love this yarn. Blue Heron Rayon Metallic is one that I am always drawn to. I’m not sure if it is the colors, the shimmer, or the feel (which is luxurious), but I am constantly drawn to this yarn.

The yarn consist of 85% rayon and 15%metallic, with a generous yardage of 550yrds in an 8oz skein and considered a light weight.


Blue Heron Rayon Metallic yarn

I have used this yarn is a couple of projects, and will admit, this is one of those “special occasion” yarns, as it is not at the lowest price point. However with the generous yardage, it really can go quite far, and even one skein (depending on the pattern) can make a small wrap. I might be slightly partial to this yarn as it was featured in one of my favorite designs, my Vineyard at Dawn Shawl (pattern available in the Spring 2013 issue of Crochet! Magazine). This shawl won me my first design competition award, and I have completely attributed it to the yarn.

The rayon does not really hold much heat, and doesn’t wick water so it is almost the complete opposite qualities of a wool yarn. Really the only similarity might be that they are both yarn. Rayon Metallic has a great drape, very much like 100% silk, but it is this that can cause a slight headache. Some find that the yarn can drift and slink a little when being used, not so much in crochet stitches, but in knitting, and in pulling it from a pull ball.

Vineyard at Dawn Shawl (back), Crochet! Magazine Spring 2013 Photo courtesy of Annie's

Vineyard at Dawn Shawl (back), Crochet! Magazine Spring 2013
Photo courtesy of Annie’s

The yarn is hand dyed and every color I have seen is stunning. The metallic composition can be either of gold or silver color, and is often a compliment of the dyed colors. This metallic adds a very subtle sparkle, really almost like a shimmer, to the yarn, which is not at all distracting but makes the yarn look as luxurious as it feels.

I recommend this yarn for shawls, or tops. It may not be structured enough for a hat or gloves, but can easily work up a gorgeous scarf or cowl.

A Dragonfly for Change in the New Year

ScannedImageBeing the end of the year, I usually find it as a time of reflection. This year is no different, however as I was taking a count of the number of designs I created in 2015 I realize I have been busy…and I am not done yet. In 2015 I completed 32 designs (you can see some of them here), some for magazines, some for yarn companies, and some for my personal pattern store, but I want to add one more.


Dragonfly Shawl

I am happy to release my latest pattern, available in my pattern stores on-line, The Dragonfly Shawl. So, I gave it the name of Dragonfly, as to me I see the edge panels as rows of dragonflies flying outward. Now I have not always thought of this little ancient insect, but since my wedding, several years ago, it has become a bit a totem representing that day for me.

I had an outdoor wedding, having the ceremony next to a pond in an apple orchard, and as I walked down the aisle I was surrounded by dragonflies. They beautifully danced me down the lawn to my husband. At the time I had guest comment on the dragonflies as bringing luck and magic to my life, yet looking up a simple search I see that many believe the dragonfly means change. What a great symbol for a new chapter in my life, as well as a New Year, so I feel it is fitting for this new design.


My wedding

This shawl was worked with only one skein of Blue Heron Cotton Rayon Twist Lace Yarn in the color of Bluegrass, and I actually had some left over. I love when a design works up this way, as it means that there is no extra ends to work in, no joining to worry about, I can just begin and finish in one complete clean piece. It is worked from the center of the top edge outward, ending with an airy scallop fans. The size is very generous, and the drape is fabulous.


Dragonfly Shawl

If you are so inclined, please check out the pattern, or pass it along to friend (you can find it on Ravelry & Craftsy), and I will keep busy throughout 2016 creating more…now 33 complete means I was working up a new design every 11 days, and amazingly I did not feel that busy…guess I have room to complete even more next year.


Learning the Hank (part 2)


From Hank to Skein with Blue Heron Yarn

ScannedImage(Continued from April 19, 2013 post)…. So I finally understood the concept of a “hank” of yarn, it was intimidating me anymore, so I would simply open it up and roll it into a ball. Needless to say I had nothing but a tangled mess. After freeing the large loop of yarn so that I could unravel it from its loop, I learned that it might want to hold on to its neighboring thread and pull it ever so slightly with it, moving the neighboring thread from where it sat and growing into a mess. It took me hours, and even then I needed to cut places and work out knots that I had made, it was a head ache.  But this time I was not discouraged. I would find a process.


Let the loops hang smooth, note the yarn that ties to loop together, keeping the yarn in place


Usually you can fond the end of the yarn tied to a securing yarn, that holds the loops in place

After playing with some hanks I learned that before I even attempt “freeing” the yarn from its loop, I need to make sure the loop in smooth, not twisted, that it hangs nicely, this will definitely help. Then I need to place it somewhere that will keep it taunt, maybe over the back of a dining room chair, but I found that I use my knees (not very lady like but effective for me), I have learned that some people use a swift…it reminds my somewhat of an umbrella, but without the fabric. This expands to the size of the loop and will spin as you pull the yarn). Then I can make it into a ball, if I want to pull it from the center I can wrap the yarn around an empty toilet paper tube (open finishing wrapping it up, I can pull out the tube and use the middle yarn, as pulling from  the center means that the yarn will not be rolling around that floor as I use), or there is a little tool called a ball winder that you place your yarn end in and crank its little handle and it spins it onto a tube, to make a pull from the center skein.

So why is yarn placed in hanks? Is it just to give you a little more of a work out, or to look fancy? Actually it does have a reason; it places less stress on the yarn. By being in that “loop” it helps the yarn to relax, where putting it into a skein or ball, the yarn in the center is under more pressure than the yarn on the outer edges. This may be a subtle thing, but it can make a difference in some processes and designs, especially if the fiber has been sitting in this more pressured state of a long while. If you think about it you have seen this with a basic skein of yarn, when you pull out the beginning end, it is often bent of twisted, where by the end of the skein it is smooth. So if you want to use a hank of yarn, only wind it into a ball when you feel you are ready to use it. It will help the yarn stay consistent.


Notice the hank lets you view the length of the color change, whereas the skein it is less obvious

One of the benefits I have found with a hank, it a purely visible one, I can open a hank to a loop, and see how long the color changes are for a variegated yarn. This is something that I have difficulty seeing in a skein.

I have found that I am not alone in my understanding of this “yarn hank”, so I hope my experience will help you take the step to attempt a yarn you may not have used because of the way it is presented. (And I have since learned, that most of these Local Yarn Stores, will in fact wind the hank into a skein for you at purchase, you just have to ask). Take the plunge and explore the world of fiber!

Learning the Hank (part 1)


Hanks of Blue Heron Yarn

ScannedImageOne of the more challenging aspects of my personality is not really wanting to admit that I don’t know something, especially when everyone around me thinks it is common knowledge…This probably caused me not to grow in my crochet abilities as early as I could have, but everything happens in their own time for a reason. So what is this that held me back? Understanding a hank of yarn.

I grew up with all of the big name yarns, I can probably identify most blind folded, and just by feel. These are the yarns that are most readily available for me to buy in larger stores, with a nice skein that has a “pull the yarn from the center” string. They are easy to use, come in a wide arrange of colors, and there are many projects to tackle with them.


Hanks of Lisa Souza Knitwear and Dyeworks Yarn

I had received a gift certificate to a Local Yarn Store (a.k.a. LYS), and went to check it out. There were rows and shelves of yarn, but none of it looked familiar. There were no pretty little ends to pull from a center, most of these were twisted up and I couldn’t even see an end. People in the store were talking about how nice is or that fiber was, and I began to feel a little uncomfortable. People were purchasing these little twisted “hanks” and were talking about the projects they had in mind for them. I did not have the inclination to ask “how do you use that”, since I didn’t want to appear ignorant. So I found a little ball that looked somewhat familiar, though smaller then I was use to , but it appeared to have a pull from the center once I got the band off it (since the band was run through the center and kind of attached like a hand cuff to the round). I purchased my little ball feeling like a complete novice. I thought about those hanks when I got home, but for the life of me could not figure out how they were to be used.

The little ball I got was nice, and introduced me to new fiber types, but it wasn’t until I took my first spinning lesson that I got a firm understanding of the hank, and the light bulb when off in my head. Basically the hank is a twisted loop if yarn, like I saw in old movies where little Jimmy was having a circle of yarn held between his arms as grandma as knitting. These hanks just have to be opened up, find and end and roll into a ball! Then I could use it fine. Damn my pride for standing in the way for so long… or was it that easy….(to be continued…..the saga continues on the next post)