We sell a lot of superwash wool in our store, so we thought it only made sense to share these tips with you for keeping your hand knits looking fabulous! Our very favorite no-rinse wool wash is Eucalan because of the gentle ingredients, lovely scent, and unparalleled results. 3 Tips for Caring for Superwash Wool Ample Water * Eucalan Wool Wash * Tumble Dry Low Many knitters and crocheters enjoy working with Superwash yarns because they are easy care. It is nice to know that you can knit a child’s garment or a cozy afghan and not have to worry about someone ruining it in the washing machine. Or do you? Superwash wool is easy care-not zero care. Here are a couple of pointers for caring for garments and blankets made from Superwash wool: Use ample water. Friction is the enemy of any natural fiber, especially merino wool. 100% Superwash merino wool has a short fiber staple length which give the yarn incredible softness, but also makes it more susceptible to pilling. A lot of energy efficient washers use low levels of water. Large projects need ample water to allow the piece to swish and not rub up against itself repeatedly, causing undue friction. A mesh bag, available at Silk Road Textiles, is also helpful in preventing friction. Use the right soap. Superwash yarn is safe for the washing machine, but not necessarily for all of the chemicals found in regular laundry detergent. Many laundry detergents contain enzymes to attack protein based stains. Wool is a protein based fiber, which means the enzymes in your detergent can harm the wool. Instead of a conventional detergent, we recommend using Eucalan wool wash, available in 5 different scents, in bottles or individual pods, at Silk Road Textiles. Use the dryer. But check the label first. Superwash yarn has been processed to remove the scales on the fibers. These naturally present scales are responsible for the adhering of the fibers during felting. Without the scales the fibers lose their gripping properties. When yarn is wet, it becomes heavy and in the case of Superwash wool it will stretch if given the opportunity. Superwash wool springs back into shape in the dryer. We strongly recommend that you tumble dry your projects to prevent overstretching. Ample Water * Eucalan Wool Wash * Tumble Dry Low Feel free to share these three tips and a Eucalan Individual Pod with the recipients of your Superwash wool creations!
One of the most popular new products in the store, Artfelt is quickly becoming our favorite felting method. This clever paper allows you to control your felting design as precisely as needle felting, yet get that amazingly smooth wet felt finish without the time and physical labor of either method. Artfelt paper was invented in Germany by Gerhard Schoppel, a name already familiar to many yarn lovers. He enjoyed felting with his daughter but wanted an easier method. Here’s how it works – You start by designing your felt. Whether it’s a pouch, coasters, scarf, or something totally different, the process begins when you lightly needle felt fibers onto the special Artfelt paper. Because the needle felting will not be the only thing holding the fibers together, there’s no need to spend a lot of time attaching firmly, a light tack will do. Once you are happy with your design, you wet the fibers and roll up the paper with a sheet of plastic to keep the layers from felting to each other. Using a couple rubber bands and a knee high stocking to secure the roll, the felt then gets tossed into any standard dryer. The agitation from tumbling in the dryer encourages the fibers to wet felt together, while the needle felting and paper hold everything in place so your design stays intact. When felting is complete, pouring boiling water over the project quickly dissolves the Artfelt paper, leaving you with a great piece of felt to use in all kinds of projects. Of course, that’s just the beginning. By layering your fibers differently you can encourage highly textural, ruffle effects. Playing with negative space in your design is a snap with Artfelt paper. Sewing the paper into a specially shaped base lets you create three dimensional projects. Even extremely detailed portraiture is possible because of the needle felting step. We can’t get enough of Artfelt, and we’re sure you’ll love it too! We have starter kits available if you just want to try it out, and we also sell large pieces of the paper for your own creative concepts.
Some of the fabrics we love are the Aboriginal prints from M&S Textiles. Each fabric is based on a painting done in the traditional style by talented Aboriginal artists. Typical Aboriginal art is characterized by the use of many small dots of color to form the pattern, reliance on familiar animal and wildlife motifs, and a utilization of a vibrant color palette. These artists, most of whom are women, have profiles and statements hanging in the store; be sure to ask to see them! We also have charts detailing the motifs used in the fabric, telling what they mean. If you just can’t get enough information and inspiration, we carry a whole book devoted to the meanings behind the fabric and amazing project ideas. Whether it’s an abstract design or something more literal (we love the turtles and platypuses!), we’re sure you’ll find a way to work these unusual fabrics into your projects. The fun prints are perfect for quilts, wall hangings, garments, and more.
“Falling Branches”, “Mistral” (a cold wind that blows through parts of France in the winter), “Wings” and “Birdsong” are just a few of the fabric names in this Free Spirit pack for November. Designed by Melissa White, these moody, dreamy prints are sure to inspire one to retreat to the sewing machine as the warm hues of fall turn into the cool dark tones of winter. For our 6-pack club subscribers, we included a bonus 100% cotton velveteen fat quarter in anticipation of the cooler days ahead. Suggested uses: Make a velveteen lined jewelry pouch or gift bags for tiny presents. Piece them all together and make a lap quilt for the fall season tournaments. Create some quilted Mug Rugs for hot cups of cocoa and wrap them together with special drink mixes or chocolate spoons for a truly indulgent gift.
One of our favorite yarns in the shop is our collection of Noro. Noro is made in Japan and is known world-wide for its striking colors. We thought you might be interested in learning more about the production of Noro yarns and the process that goes into designing the signature stripes. Eisaku Noro contemplated going to art school to become a painter, but instead he turned his amazing eye for color to yarns for both hand and machine knitting. Silk Road Textiles carries Kureyon, Silk Garden, Taiyo, Koromo, Kibou, Shiraito, Silk Garden Sock, and Taiyo Sock from the hand-knitting line. Noro is committed to leaving as much of the production hand-done as feasible. This is part of what makes Noro yarns so distinctive. The thick and thin effect is due to the hand picking of the fibers, the variation in stripe length is because no two people lay out the fiber in exactly the same way, and the knots that you sometimes find are because these prep techniques lend themselves better to shorter spinning runs. If you want to learn more, there is an interesting video (about 6 minutes long) produced by an English-speaking channel in Japan about Noro yarns. There is also an amazing book excerpt in PDF format available here. It details where all the fibers are sourced, what the special properties of each are, and it includes lots of pictures of the entire process. We have lots of samples made with Noro yarn in the store, and we are pleased to carry Noro pattern books and the new Noro Magazine. If you need inspiration or just want to see what it possible to be done with these amazing yarns, please stop in and ask us!
6-pack subscribers automatically receive a beautifully matched collection of 6 fat quarters and thread each month. There is plenty of room in the club, so if you’re interested in joining just contact the store. For October we are offering an elegant, fall-hued theme from Kona Bay Fabrics. The focal designs feature traditional Asian flowers, blossoms and gentle waves, edged with a fine line of gold. It has a great traditional color palette with a contemporary flavor. Suggested uses: Create beautiful holiday party coasters using the focal fabric as the main piece, then bind each with a different color so guests can identify their beverages. Piece a log cabin table runner with appliqued floating medallions. We have lots of new quilt-as-you-go patterns that work up in a jiffy! There’s plenty of time to get these hot hostess items ready for all the fall holidays ahead.
We are so proud of our classes here at Silk Road Textiles. Our regular teachers come to us with years of experience and a wide range of skills, but every once in a while we are lucky enough to host a nationally known instructor. Last Sunday we had the honor of working with Jacqueline Sullivan. Jacqueline Sullivan is a mixed media, acrylic and calligraphic artist. She is well known for her pieces that experiment with texture, layers, paint, unusual materials, calligraphic marks, and words. Jacqueline’s work has been shown nationwide in galleries and juried art fairs. She has a degree in graphic design and worked for many years as a publication and advertising designer. For over 30 years Jacqueline has also been a teaching artist years. She has taught workshops for art retreats and art and calligraphy guilds in the US and Canada. She has served as faculty for several International Calligraphy Conferences. The Artist Network University is regularly offering Jacqueline’s four week on-line art workshop ~ Discovering the Magic of Acrylics ~ presented to the international art community. Jacqueline has published technique articles in Somerset Studio, Cloth Paper Scissors, Pages, and Astarte’s Mega-Zine. She most recently was honored as the cover artist interviewed for the Winter 2012 issue of Alphabet. Jacqueline has a best-selling DVD – Acrylics: Textures, Layers, and Metallics – published by Creative Catalyst Productions. A video series of her most requested art techniques is also available from Jacqueline. Recently, Jacqueline was one of 18 artists selected nationwide to become a Golden Certified Artist for Golden Paint Company. A few lucky students got the opportunity to make beautiful silk scarves with her using a wax resist dyeing technique. We had a great time painting layers of color and design, all under Jacqueline’s watchful eye. If this kind of class appeals to you, be sure to check out our You-nique Scarf class where you dye silk scarves using old ties and our Nuno Felting class where you create layers of colored wool felted into a lofty silk scarf. These classes are offered regularly at Silk Road Textiles, and who knows…maybe we’ll have Jacqueline back soon to paint some more!
Silk Road Students Featured in Art Exhibition Congratulations to SRT fiber artists whose work has been selected for inclusion into the Oxford Community Arts Center’s 2014 Exhibition Series, ART: Assembled Reproductions in Textile. These fantastic pieces, created in the Landscape and Architectural Quilt classes taught by Like Simcock, will be exhibited November 14 – December 6, 2014 at the Oxford Community Arts Center. Mark your calendars now…no need to miss this opportunity to see what Silk Road travelers have created! (We’ll be sure to remind you again too!) Coming soon…..Martin Storey Mystery Afghan/Throw Rowan Pure Wool Worsted Knit Along Join knitters around the world in this new KAL…. Don’t miss this opportunity to knit with a brand new yarn, learn new skills and make new friends. Each week for 10 weeks, Rowan will release a surprise new square design so that after ten weeks you will have a beautiful heirloom piece to treasure. Class is free with purchase of Pure Wool Worsted…Rowan’s newest super wash designed exclusively for the North American market. Many colors of this yarn arrived this week at Silk Road Textiles. As soon as Rowan releases the materials list and first square’s directions we will let you know. Tell us if you want to participate so we can be sure to keep you in the loop. Check our Facebook page for details. See what’s new to help you make your 2014 creations amazing! Books and Patterns! Including these titles: Rustic Crochet, Pillow Pop, Woven Scarves, Adding Layers, and Me & My Sewing Machine Adventures. Get Inspired! Make something amazing! We are happy to offer individual Rowan Yarns patterns through Ravelry. The 26 popular designs chosen by the Rowan and Westminster Fibers teams from the past 10 years offer a range of skill levels. Patterns can be accessed on the Rowan Yarns’ Ravelry Store: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/rowan-yarns-ravelry-store. The original Ravelry pattern file for each design has been updated. The price per pattern is very affordable at $5.00. Find one you like and come in to purchase the pattern and yarn. New Fabric Hanabi – Japanese’s prints in warm, gorgeous reds are designed by Hana for her own design company. These luxurious cottons are distributed by QH Fabrics, a mother and daughter team with a passion for fine Japanese fabrics and design. Koi, bamboo stalks, and shibori…what’s not to love? Palindromes – A stunning collection from Paula Nadelstern, featuring bilateral symmetry. The electric color combinations and stunning designs are simply fabulous. Xanadu, designed by Evelyn Mowder for P&B Textiles is a digital collection that has exquisite detail and gorgeous nuances of color and texture. The large main print is a glorious and subtle patchwork. Delicately colored stripes, chevrons and allover prints mix and match in myriad ways, create elegant, understated works of art. Free quilt pattern included with fabric purchase. New Yarns Noro Kibou, Mountain Colors Monarch, Plymouth Encore in bright spring colors, and fresh rich shades of Berroco Maya for 2014. Oh so pretty! Hand Painted Knitting Yarns- HPKY is 800 yards of luxurious bulky thick and thin spun fine merino “flame” yarn that knits into a beautiful Cuddle Afghan. The pattern , included with purchase, is perfect for a variety of skill levels, even beginners. Start now and stay warm while knitting and finish it before the summer months. It will be ready to go next fall! Fair Trade Update: Knitter’s Pride Needles and Hooks Knitters Pride Needles were featured in “The Needles We Knit With,” by Karin Strom in Interweave Knits Spring 2014. Karin describes the Knitter’s Pride factory as a modern, new facility, built in 2011 dedicated purely to making needles and hooks. During her tour she was “fascinated to see how much handwork is required to make these tools, even though state-of-the-art machines are used throughout the process. Women sand crochet hooks by hand, individually test each joint of interchangeables and glue the metal tips onto carbon needle ends, one by one.“ Knitter’s Pride has established, and continues to fund, a rural school that prioritizes the education of girls and young women. The KP executives are passionate about the advancement of girls and women; the company’s hiring policy states that “any woman who wants a job with the company is hired, no exceptions.” We love knowing that our crafting dollars go back to these women in an important way. Knitter’s Pride products are available in a full range of types: Double Points, Fixed Circulars, Single Points, Crochet, Cuboid and an interchangeable line that is innovative in design and satisfying in performance. Knitter’s Pride needles and hooks come in a variety of materials: densified laminated birch wood, nickel plated brass, natural birch and aluminum, and all lengths and sizes – including the not-easy-to-find jumbo tools—all the way up to 25 mm knitting needles (US 50)! Silk Road Textiles is proud to carry several styles of these wonderful to use, fairly traded, affordably priced needles and hooks. If we don’t have the one you need, we will be happy to order it for you. Happy International Women’s Day! Saturday, March 8, 2014 “Equality for women is progress for all.” Each year, International Women’s Day celebrates woman and their achievements around the world. So we celebrate you, your creative spirit and all you make and do for others. We also want to acknowledge and celebrate the skilled women in Bali, India, Australia, Ghana, South Africa, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and here in the US who are the artists of origin for the beautiful materials and finished products we carry for you to use In your creative process. Many of these women live in places where modern conveniences are rare, but work ethic is strong and artisan skill is the fabric of their communities. We both admire, and strive to support, these women, our global sisters. We salute you for the support you provide when you purchase beautiful fabric, yarn and handmade items from Silk Road Textiles. Clearance Corner –40-50% off fabric, yarn, patterns, and more…check often…you never know what might turn up there. Items are priced to sell so don’t wait! We’ve got to clear the road and make room for new products! These items are on permanent markdown, but will not last long at these prices. Classes Visit http://www.silkroadcincinnati.com/classes-events/class-decriptions/ to see the class offerings in March and April. Beautiful work everyone! Comments made during or after class (yes you are tooting our horn and we just had to share!): “Excellent class, so much fun!” “Can’t wait to go home and make some more scarves” “Good visual demonstration and gave one on one attention as needed. “ “The teacher kept as all moving at our own pace.” “Silk Road Textiles has the best teachers and classes…thank you!” Overheard along our Silk Road….. On the afternoon of our latest big snow fall, we heard, “Who needs bread and milk? I have new yarn!” While shaking off cabin fever, “This place is like a great candy shop!” From a first time customer, “It’s just as cool in here as I thought it would be. “ Regarding customer service, “Thanks for the TLC. SRT is the place to be!” Thank you ladies! We are so glad so many of you cured your cabin fever with us! Facebook Fans! 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Just in time for spring and Easter, we bring you Radiant Orchid, a vibrant selection of batiks, prints, and a solid shot cotton to ring in a new season of sewing. It’s time to break out of the winter blahs and start celebrating the upcoming gardening season with a beautiful, orchid-hued sampler. These soft designs would make a beautiful, feminine, flower appliqued wall-hanging. Used singly, they could adorn a breakfast table with bright mismatched napkins for a spring brunch. They would also be beautiful together in one of the 6-pack bag patterns we sell…the San Clemente, Pismo Beach, Half Moon Bay, or Sausalito.
‘Hanabi’ (“Fireworks” in Japanese) is an Asian inspired fabric collection designed by Hana. These sophisticated fabrics include floral prints, a bamboo border stripe, butterflies and more, all outlined with gold metallic. Encompassing elegance, romance, and great detail, this brand-new line of fabric with a glorious “silky” hand by QH Fabrics is just the thing to heat up this cold month of February. You won’t believe the beauty and intensity in this group. Project ideas: Romantic throw pillows, a flirty multi-fabric skirt, or one of the new 6 fat quarter tote bag patterns from “A Quilters Dream” that are due to arrive in the shop any day. Stop in to see an inspiring sample!