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the Denim Saga [part 1] – About that Yarn

Back in my early days, ooh, two decades out of the five ago I started knitting, I was entirely enthralled by a certain kind of yarn but much too SHY to actually make anything out of it.

Now, coming from someone who knit a whole sweater out of dishcloth cotton, that is, perhaps, a bold statement.

Instead, I lusted season-after-season after pattern designs that highlighted this gorgeous indigo yarn and procrastinated and procrastinated until this happened

Chic Knits Knit Blog

which featured a rather freckly hunk you might know:

Chic Knits Knit Blog

But even with all that inspiring, lustable goodness, and the fact that I WAS one of the Denim People (aren’t we all!) I only got as far as getting the yarn itself.

And I got a ton: 3 cones worth, dark navy, 2000 yds per cone – which is [pulls out trusty converter], hmm, 3.4 MILES of YARN, yes, you read that right.

Well, this week is The Week I now am going to go down That Road.

I found out, while sorting and saving the favorite yarns in my stash, I could not resist its dark navy siren call any longer and started winding off some skeins.

Chic Knits Knit Blog

about That YARN
The yarn I purchased was called Den-M-Nit and although it wasn’t the branded the same as in the magazine, it was from the same original mill source.

Also common to both? An indigo dye process, just like the one used in the making of blue jeans, where the fiber itself is surface-dyed.

If you open up one its six plies, you can see their inner white cores.

Chic Knits Knit Blog

The dye does not fully penetrate the strands – it is called ring dyeing – and it’s usually achieved through the rope dyeing process (cool industry-on-parade link here).

This allows the outer layer to fade away from blue-to-white in degrees through wear and washing, leaving a lovely tonal range of blue over the surface of the fabric, whether woven or knit.

The best kind of design for this variable fading fabric is something that has Highs & Lows.

Chic Knits Knit Blog

Like cable patterns or knit/purl combinations, or in my case: Lace formed with yarnovers and decreases, like in my design CERISARA.

Chic Knits Cerisara

The decrease stitches are higher than their neighbors and, in the case of the CERISARA design, push the next rows stitches higher for awhile as well.

It’s almost like a series of small cables waving back and forth – beautiful.

That eyelet patterning is coupled with reverse Stockinette stitch, which has a high/low characteristic as well in its purl stitches and should subtly highlight the indigo fade.

The secret of success to using this yarn, which not only fades but SHRINKS in length (just like your favorite jeans) is to knit the garment you’re making LONGER. No compensation is needed for circumference/width.

• Gauge before Washing
  20 sts / 28 rows
• Gauge after Washing
  20 sts / 32 rows

The above is measured over 4″ but in terms of 1″ increments that’s:

7 rows vs 8 rows per inch

So, to scale my CERISARA design, I’m going to adjust:
• For every 1″ of original length / 1 extra row worked

Because this is a modular, organic design, which is defined by length proportions to begin with, this should be quite doable.

Now, to cast on (after I wash my hands after all that winding)…

…to be continued…

The Denim Saga
[part 1] – About that Yarn
[part 2] – The Sweater Awakens
[part 3] – Knitting with Indigo Denim Yarn
[part 4] – Picking Up Stitches using Denim Yarn
[part 5] – Real-time Shrinkage in Denim Yarn
[part 6] – the Final Rose – After Shrinking Denim Yarn

Throwback Thursday

One of my very favorite things on the Internet is something called Throwback Thursday.

All over social media people post pictures from their histories and whether it’s baby shots or fondly remembered special events, this phenom is usually a sweet giggle and a half!


Chic Knits Knit BlogOn my personal knitting timeline, one of the most favorite things that every happened to me was learning to knit socks. If I had my druthers, I’d just knit socks all the live long day – there’s just nothing that is so soothing and that trips my calm mode more than going round and round and round…

Early on, I couldn’t find a sock pattern that met my height and toe shaping requirements. So I tweaked and tweaked and finally came up with what you see on the left.

…this dilly little piece of cardboard contains all the info one needs to knit that sock. I carry it around with me at all times in my wallet. Which, in fact, is where the cardboard originally came from. HANDY!

My favorite sock has a longer than average leg length and a more elegantly shaped toe.

And in honor of Throwback Thursday, I’ve posted a cleaned up version of something that first made its appearance on the knitting blog in 2004…


Click here for a free pattern for my favorite sock, in its 2015 glory – and I love it still!

My Favorite Sock Pattern

welcome back

As many of you noticed, somebody’s been away from their desk for a little bit! :)

For the past few weeks, I’ve been busy moving Studio Chic to a new location in NE Portland! Chic Knits (and me!) are now peacefully, productively enjoying being settled into a quaint, OLD (heh, drafty, 100 year old) bungalow under the pines. Things have been in a tizzy as the painting, cleaning, flooring, and unpacking have unfolded.

But of course, it’s taken a lot longer than I’d anticipated and today, I’m happy to say this:

VOILA! Here’s my “new” workspace! It’s in the back of the building with a ton of windows so the light, for the photog in me, is so very exciting! I can’t wait to dress the mannies and start taking some new shots of budding projects!

Studio Chic Portland Oregon

Meanwhile, something many of you have asked for has started to gel together: a gathering of complimentary patterns that have been released by Chic Knits over the years.

It’s hard to believe that I started this blog in December of 2001 – and have grown and grown over the past decade+ in a way I never imagined!

So, in addition to a facelift of the entire site (to make it streamlined, crisp and fast) you’ll find this new page: FREE.

The patterns are collected from blog posts and articles and indie release; now they all have a unified legible look. I had a good giggle looking at some of the earlier images but have maintained them for continuity and archival interest. Please visit and explore!

Here’s one of the most popular, simple looks I first published:
Chic Cable Headband Free Knitting Pattern

Chic Cable Headband

I actually wear this All the Time here in damp rainy Portland – and am busy putting together stash remnants (it only takes about 160 yards) to Make More.

Stay tuned for more fun – over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be refreshing the Tips page in the same way. In fact, I will be digging through the thirteen years of posts and compiling the Best Of’s in the new clean interface.

Be sure to sign up for the Chic Knits Newsletter here for up-to-date notices and fun specials.

THANK YOU so much for visiting and using the Chic Knits site over the years – I hope you enjoy this new look! :)

Bonne Marie
Bonne Marie Burns of Studio Chic Knits Portland Oregon

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