Posts filed under ‘Knitting with Cotton Clouds yarns’

Global Citizens, Global Community

How big is your creative community?


Our lives as fiber artists are woven together through a common thread of passion for color, texture, technique and purpose.

This community  is bigger than you might think! Right now, around the world, people are weaving, spinning, knitting and crocheting!

Thanks to the internet, we have more options than ever before to learn and share our different techniques, styles and cultures as we manipulate our favorite fibers. is pleased to be a common thread between you and the global community of fiber artists!

Sari Silk: Helping women earn a fair wage!

Sari Silk is a 100% recycled multi-colored silk spun from recycled “saris” that women South Asia wear. Silk sari fabric is shredded and then respun into a vibrant silk yarn.

This industry helps support the many struggling economic regions of Nepal and India and mainly benefits the women and women’s development groups there.

Whether you choose to spin your own sari silk yarn from the silk fiber, purchase the sari silk yarn, or one of our sari silk kits (click on kits above, to learn more) , you’ll be helping women around the world as well as creating a truly unique product. I love Sari Silk!

 Folk Series: Bring the world to your fingertips!

For the worldly-minded knitters, travel the world and explore the culture with the Folk Series of books from Interweave Press. The history and traditions, folk stories, and regional histories from the countries of origin are presented in each volume.

What a wonderful way to connect to these folk traditions.

You too can Weave a Real Peace: Join WARP!

WarpCollagereCornersRemember the phrase, Act Locally, Think Globally? Weaving a Real Peace (WARP) is an international networking organization based in the United States that delivers. Founded in 1992, WARP offers a forum for those interested in supporting individuals and organizations that strive to maintain long-standing textile traditions.

Their resource guide is available just by clicking here! WARP was started by Deborah Chandler who wrote Learning to Weave.

Come join me at WARP’s Annual Meeting May 29-31, 2015 in the Bay Area and feel part of the global “tribe of fiber artists”. Rocio Mena Gutierrez  (read her blog)  will be giving a presentation on the Importance of Textiles to Grassroots Economies in Guatemala.

Travel to Guatemala from the comfort of your loom!

Mayan Hands, a fair-trade organization The Natural Dye Project brought the ancient craft of dyeing cotton yarns with local plants to the women of San Rafael, Guatemala and to produce these Friendship Towels with Tintes Naturals that you can now weave!


As you weave these gorgeous naturally dyed towels, you will not only be creating a set of four all-cotton towels, but you will be giving the women of Guatemala a chance of better life and honoring the skills they have spent a lifetime learning.

Over 150 kits have been sold; the women’s annual, fair-trade income increased ten-fold from the sale of these kits. A joint community effort of dyeing instructors, towel designer, graphic artist, and Cotton Clouds marketing of this kit has all been done through volunteer work.

Join the community of  our Kit-of-the-Month Members! Kits

In the spirit of continuing the community, Cotton Clouds has created a new group on Facebook: the Cotton Clouds Kit-of-the-Month Club. If you have participated in any of our monthly Kits or Clubs, please join us!

Creating Community one post at-a-time!

This group is a place to ask questions, share your projects and be inspired by the work of others. Our kits are easy and affordable, and there is something for every fiber artist! Now is a great time to check out the variety we offer and ensure that 2015 will be your year to feel creative and accomplished!

Insta-Community on Instagram!

CCIGSay Cheese! You can now connect with us on Instagram, we’re @CottonCloudsYarns. We’d love to see what you are doing with your cotton and natural fibers: spinning, knitting, weaving, crocheting or even dyeing!

It is truly rewarding to feel connected to the thread of fiber artists all over the world whether here at home or half way across the globe.

Irene Schmoller, Cotton Clouds’ founder and owner.

01/19/2015 at 7:22 pm Leave a comment

Over the edge: Knitting patterns inspire!

Knitting 2

Aren’t knitting patterns inspiring! I look at the details and often find little treasures – bits of the pattern I could borrow to put in another project. Maybe just an edging….

Photo by Joe Hancock, © Interweave Press 2010

Photo by Joe Hancock, © Interweave Press 2010

This is an awe inspiring shawl, Someday I want to knit the whole shawl but right now I only have a little time. I am borrowing just the edging for a swatch.

Tencel Lace Edging 2

Edgings are incredibly useful to jazz up anything. Lace edgings are beautiful and give glamour  and spark. They can be applied to a blouse, the edge of a skirt, pockets, a decorative   pillow, a purse, a Christmas ornament and more.

T-shirt by SabakuEdging by me

T-shirt by Sabaku
Edging by me

I wanted this shirt to be longer. Look what a lace edging does for it.

WIL cover

The shawl is from Wrapped in Lace. This book is chock-full of wonderful shawls, beautiful lace patterns and lots of inspiration and borrowable ideas.

Pattern inspiration

Here is another idea. I liked the design of this sweater and I wanted to use up some of my stash of handspun yarn. I decided on a naturally brown 2-ply cotton.

Pattern in cotton

I didn’t think the flower boxes would not work in brown so I changed it to lace checks and kept the squares. The gauge in my cotton was a bit smaller but as cotton stretches I stayed with the pattern size.

All Laced Up

How about a wide edging for a tea cozy? This would make a nice gift for cozy lovers.


The beautiful Tencel yarn in the swatch is wonderful to work with.  It is shiny with a nice drape but still has body. The 8/2 size is a nice lace weight. Love the color and the color name – Lemon Grass.  It is available in mini-cones – 840 yds for only $8.50.

Happy Knitting and Idea Borrowing!

12/19/2012 at 8:01 pm Leave a comment

Cotton Cap for My Cat

Cotton is King! This applies to knitting with cotton too. Cotton knits can be worn year around.

Posted with permission.
Anemone Beret – Photo by Joe Coca, © Interweave Press 2008

This unusual Anemone stitch is perfect for cotton. Cotton has a bad rap for stretching out of shape especially horizontally. Stitch patterns with manipulated stitches – cables, twisted stitches, bobbins, nupps, slip stitches – hold cotton in shape. Fair Isle does too.

The Beret pattern in Knit So Fine recommends a fingering weight yarn in Merino wool on a size 4 (U.S.) 16 inch circular needle. The gauge in stockinette is 28 stitches and 36 rows over 4 inches for a finished size of 18 inches brim circumference – nice for the slouchy effect in a beret.

My choice of yarn is 5/2 Mini Pearly Perle cotton for the shiny and intense colors. The 5/2 is lace weight – finer than fingering weight. The pattern will need to be altered for the smaller gauge. 5/2 Pearly Perle is also available on larger size and economically priced cones for bigger projects.

I checked the 5/2 cotton across the holes in the needle gauge until I found the one where the doubled yarn fills the hole without overlapping outside the hole. This is a good starting point for choosing a needle size. The 5/2 cotton filled the size 1 opening- the edges show on the size 2 opening. I used the size 1 needle for the ribbing and a size 2 for the hat. The slightly larger needle was better for working the anemone stitch.

Swaching Again: This little beret for my kitty was a swatch (and also fun).

  • Knit with half the stitches in the pattern it worked out to one-fourth the size of the adult version.
  • Another swatch is needed to resize it for an adult since the pattern only offers a stitch gauge in stockinette – not the anemone pattern.
  • The anemone stitch requires four stitches, therefore the number of stitches to cast on needs to be a multiple of four. Perfect since the ribbing is also a four stitch repeat.

Some Tips for Ribbing in Cotton

  • Use an elastic cast-on. I used the crochet cast-on – not the most elastic but better than the long tail cast on for cotton ribbing. Another option is to cast-on twice the number of stitches required. Then knit or purl two together every stitch on the first row. I use this cast on for cuff down socks sometimes.
  • A knit 2/purl 2 ribbing is the most elastic of all the ribbing stitches.
  • To make the ribbing firmer in cotton, knit in the back of every knit stitch. This twists the stitch so it holds its shape.

I can hardly wait to make this beret in my size.

Jill Holbrook, Brookmore Creations, for Cotton Clouds

12/19/2012 at 6:52 pm Leave a comment

When & How to Substitute Yarns

 We again welcome our guest blogger, Jill Holbrook to help you learn how to substitute a yarn called for in a pattern with a Cotton Clouds’ yarn.

Jill’s love of lace knitting will inspire you to give it a try with our versatile and oh, so soft and silky Bambu 7  yarns.

My adopted “boys” on a trip to Maine.

Have you ever seen a pattern that called for a yarn you could not find? Maybe you just happened to have something in your stash and wanted to use that instead.  It can be tricky substituting different yarns – especially if the yarn is a different fiber. Knowing about the fiber and its characteristics – how it drapes, if it has body – can help make decisions on when and how to substitute yarns.

Rose Shawl*

     This lovely shawl is from Margaret Stove’s book Wrapped in Lace: Knitted Heirloom Designs from Around the World.

Wrapped in Lace will inspire

The pattern calls for Moco Quiviut Merino Silk Lace yarn. The shawl is light (approximately 2 ounces) and airy in this yarn as it is lace weight and contains a light-weight down fiber similar to cashmere.  It is knit with US size 6 (4mm) knitting needles at a gauge of 20 stitches and 34 rows over 4 inches in garter stitch. The pattern calls for 2 skeins of yarn at 300 yds each.

However I wanted to try Cotton Clouds’  soft and silky Bambu 7  yarn on mini cones instead.

Cotton Clouds’ Bambu 7 is soft & silky

Bambu 7  is approximately twice the weight of the lace weight yarn called for in the pattern. Bamboo is generally denser than wool depending on how it is spun and plied. Also Bambu 7  does not have the elasticity or memory of wool. However, it has great drape. This shawl would have more weight in a bamboo yarn but the drape and silky effect is worth it.

The yardage in one Bambu 7  Mini Cone  is close to what the pattern calls for – 525 yards versus 600 yards.  One mini-cone is probably enough but knitters vary in their gauges. I always buy extra yarn so I don’t have any anxiety about running out. Usually I can find something else to do with the left over yarn – maybe a scarf.  Bambu 7 is affordable enough to purchase extra, compared to other yarns.

Shawl Swatch in Bambu 7 yarn

I knit this swatch with one needle size smaller, a US size 5 (3.5mm) for more body. My gauge is close to the pattern gauge. The nice thing about shawls is that gauge is not as important. The shawl may turn out a little smaller – a shawlette – or a little bigger – a cozier wrap.

My swatch after finishing looks like a go!

Because of the lack of elasticity in the Bambu 7 yarn, the lace will stay open so it does not need blocking.  It does not change much after wet finishing, i.e. soaking and laying out. I love how it  maintains its luster and sumptuous softness. 

Just imagine, if you start now this could be a treasured gift for someone special at Christmas or maybe something special for you to wear to a Holiday party!  Too ambitious? Try one of the gorgeous lace scarves in this book, Wrapped in Lace: Knitted Heirloom Designs from Around the World.

Fiber Trends pattern knit by Jill Holbrook
I knit this lace shawl for my niece Sheley as a wedding gift. Although knit with a wool/silk blend I can see this pattern being knit with Cotton Clouds’ Bambu 12 yarn, a finer and eve more drapable yarn.  I would probably adjust the ruffle.    
Whatever you choose to knit, have fun and explore your creativity with joy!  Be sure to check back as I continue to explore knitting with Cotton Clouds’ yarns!
Jill Holbrook

*Rose Shawl photo by Joe Hancock, © Interweave Press 2010,  used with permission of publisher.

11/08/2012 at 5:26 pm 2 comments

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