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Choosing a cast-on for your knitting - it matters!

Marigold stole with stretchy bind-off. Choosing appropriate cast-on and matching bind-off methods can make all the difference in your knitting.  Have you ever spent precious time, energy, and money on a knitting project only to have your beginning and ending edges be wonky? You know, you knit an awesome hat but your cast-on is so tight that you can't get the hat to fit comfortably on your head. That kind of wonky. When your cast-on is too tight or too loose I had a cast-on/bind-off mishap during the designing process for Marigold. It was sort of a case of 'you don't know what you don't know' in that I didn't realize that lace knitting requires a very stretchy cast-on method so that the yarn-overs...

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Transitioning to warmer weather, you can still wear cashmere.

From Winter to Spring. Spring officially has sprung in the Northern Hemisphere, albeit in some places, the usual markers are slow to arrive. Parts of Canada are still in the freeze and thaw zone with no sightings yet of greening or daffodils. In southern Kyrgyzstan, the 20,000 foot mountain snow is melting after the long, hard winter. The shepherd families that supply our cashmere fiber live in villages in the Ferghana Valley, accessed by the ancient Silk Road. Paved in just the last decade or so, the mountain road is windy and snowy in winter. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty published this video sharing the story of how one man keeps the road clear. As spring gives clearer Silk Road access to shepherd families,...

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Kyrgyz Textiles: Chiy

We're delighted to offer this guest blog post written by Michele Hardy, PhD, curator of a current exhibit on Kyrgyz textiles at Nickle Galleries, University of Calgary. In this post, Michele introduces us to Kyrgyz chiy, reed screens created for many uses in nomadic living. Kyrgyz Textiles: Introducing the John L. Sommer Collection In 2009 Nickle Galleries at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta Canada hosted Reeds and Wool: Patterned Screens of Central Asia, a travelling exhibition organized by the Kaufman Museum at Bethel College in Kansas, USA. The exhibition featured rare examples of Kyrgyz textiles collected by Dr. John Sommer and donated to the Kaufman for the purposes of an international tour. With the tour completed, the collection—together with a...

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Bread. . . and wool?

Origin of bread Credit for all photos: Erica Manning Bread has been around for at least 11,000 years according to the discovery of charred flatbread crumbs found in excavations in Jordan, Western Asia.¹ Leavened bread is thought to originate from Sumer culture (modern Iraq region), a process later refined by the Egyptians.² Flat bread - the topic of this post - is often known to Westerners as Naan or Tandoor Naan and is most commonly associated with our experiences eating Indian cuisine.  Tandyr Nan is, however, known to all of Central Asia as a round, leavened flat bread baked in a clay (tandoor or tandyr) oven. The oven itself is believed to come out of the Indus region (modern Pakistan) over 5000 years ago. ³•⁴ Tandyr...

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Spinning a cashmere yarn

High quality cashmere yarn is only as good as the fiber it comes from. Qualities of cashmere I get excited every time we get an order for our cashmere fiber for spinning. It means I get to put my hands in its soft deliciousness and admire once again the qualities of the fiber, the same fiber that we send to the mill to have spun into our yarn. Length, fineness, crimp - they are qualities to look for in cashmere. Cashmere is by nature a short staple length so we want to ensure that the length of our fiber is not only as long as it can be, but also as uniform in length as possible before we send it to the...

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