What’s New for Uhaneknits

Working hard to bring new designs to Uhane knits for the summer. Im having a ball trying out new yarns and patterns. My love for wool haven’t wavered but I absolutely have fell in love with 100%Bamboo yarn. It’s elegant sheen and beautiful texture has been a joy to work with. I’ve also been working with mercerized cotton and my old favorite nylon yarn (that I have faithfully used as an accent to my handbags or for my accessory belts).
I am stepping out of my box & I’m very excited to show a sneak peak very soon.
We will be listing he locations to our vending dates where you will be able to see Uhane knits up close and personal.
Until next time….

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New Look For 2012

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Happy New Year!!!
For the New year Uhane knits has a new look for our Flash website at Uhaneknits.com & New Handbag Designs.
I’m using new yarns like the incredibly soft Bamboo Yarn and unique surprises like yarn made from Recycled Jeans.
Uhane knits will continue to make Simple, elegant and unique designs for all occasions.

Thank you for your support and I look forward to making your next Uhane Knits Handbag.

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THE CASE FOR HAND KNIT HANDBAGS PART II – NATURALLY UNIQUE

Sheep

This little lamb gets sheared to produce woollen yarn

Did you know wool comes in two different types?  Our wool yarn is worsted.  We buy it already spun, plied and ready to use.  Worsted wool is characteristically smooth, firm, and strong.  Worsted yarn has a great sheen, especially when spun from a long and lustrous fleece. This is opposed to woolen yarns, which are spun from rolag.  Rolag is a roll of fiber generally used to spin other less lustrous woolen yarn and many people buy it in a more raw state for homemade dyeing & for creating their own custom yarn.

I choose worsted wool because it is naturally stronger and the longer length helps it felt so much better.

What makes wool such a unique texture and so special to my designs is its character. It has elasticity, scaling and crimps. Elasticity is important because it allows the fabric to stretch, breathe, and return to its original shape. The fiber has scales that overlap like shingles on a roof. This adds strength and allows the knitter to connect additional balls of yarn easier.  Crimp is best described as the number of bends in the fiber.  The more bends, the finer the crimp and the greater the ability to spin the wool into fine yarns.

Fine yarns are the preferred choice for a hand knitter who believes in top quality and tight construction.  Crimping allows the fibers to attach to each other and most importantly, to give it strength & durability. For example, hair has little bend, no crimp and an inability to effectively be spun into yarn. A fine wool like Merino may have up to 100 crimps per inch, while coarser wools like karakul may have as few as 1 to 2 crimps.  [1] [2]

Wool is resistant to static electricity; this is why wool garments are much less likely to cause a spark or cling to the body. The use of wool car seat covers and wool carpets actually reduces the risk of a shock when a person touches an ungrounded object. So you won’t get sparks after walking on a Persian rug for instance.

Another wonderful fact about wool Fibers is that it is hygroscopic, meaning that it readily absorbs moisture. Wool can absorb moisture almost one-third of its own weight before even feeling wet.  Lambs are protected by a layer of lanolin in their fleece which keeps their skin nice and dry.  In addition, wool is naturally fire retardant. Did you know that wool is specifically chosen for garments for fire fighters, soldiers, and others in occupations where they are exposed to the likelihood of fire, and large temperature swings within their job?

What is it about all the different yarns, the textures, the patterns, the colors?

Oh, and the color combinations are incredible. It is a designer’s dream. Wool holds colored dyes so well and lasts so long. I am amazed to see that my bags have the same vibrant colors and keep them for years and years.  I love it because I can choose and play with any color combination under the sun.

Wool Yarn

The wool yarn is used to make Uhane Knits Handbags

Fisherman’s Wool can be found in several of Uhane Knits bags models. It’s in the Signature

& Nani collections like the Lisa Marie, Kara, Niko and Lani. It’s in Oatmeal and other colors. Light as a feather, Fisherman’s wool is coated in lanolin oil so it is extra damp resistant and perfect for all seasons. No fear taking the bag into the elements, rain or snow.

Lisa Marie Shoulder Tote

The Lisa Marie Shoulder Tote felted in Fisherman's wool

Furthermore, this is why fine wool is so important to felting. Felting is the process of agitating the wool with hot water and a little soap to help the fibers attach to one another better, making a stronger fabric.  The process of felting changes the structures of the fiber to make it one solid unified fabric.

After hand knitting, felting is what makes our handbags awesome. It’s because the loose fitting knit and weaving begun with needles then becomes unified, solidified and stronger.  Sometimes, after felting, the weave pattern visibly melts away. Wool is the only fiber that actually felts properly.

Now, don’t get me wrong, synthetic materials do have their place and are very useful. Moreover, we do use them in Uhane Knits handbags.  We utilize Nylon to create strong belts and topstitching.  Microsuede makes for a fantastic interior lining and durable pockets.  Other materials that adorn our bags include wooden beads & tags, steel, nickel and brass rings and other metal fasteners, snaps and nylon zippers.


THE CASE FOR HAND KNIT HANDBAGS PART I – MY LOVE FOR WOOL

Ono Handbag

Diana Gordon modelling Ono

I always had a love for Knitting and I like to make things with my hands.  I wanted to put these two loves together so I started a company to try to fulfill both passions. I am here today to explain what makes my favorite fabric so special in making my handbags and I hope you will love it too.

I am a proud knitter and, we proud knitters all have our own preferences for the types of yarn we choose. I can literally spend hours online or in craft stores staring at yarn. The choices are enormous.  All of the colors, textures and variety of sources are breathtaking to me.

However, what is most amazing is that with all the options for materials, my preferred choice is always wool. To many in the mainstream fashion world, wool may not be the obvious choice. But it is for me, which is creating handbags.

Wool yarn is the building blocks for a knitter. There are myriad benefits hidden in the nature the fiber. I feel limited only by my own imagination. I find the process of choosing the yarn I love equally fascinating to the actual things I ultimately come up. I invite you to discover why I love wool so much.

Wool is made from shearing the fleece of animals (much like hair in that it contains keratin proteins). Then it is twisted, weaved, spun and dyed to make yarn.  Wool can come from a host of different animals. From the fleece of common domesticated animals like sheep, goats or rabbits, I can make sturdy fabrics for clothing and other accessories. You might know these fabrics as lambswool, mohair, cashmere or angora.  Considered luxurious because of their great insulating properties, their scarcity, and natural beauty, the wool from these animals have been used for centuries. Artisan skill is required to actually fabricate them into wearable items.

One type of wool, lambswool comes in grades from the fine merino to the coarse karakul.  A knitter has to choose what grade works best for them.  However, we are not limited to just these furry critters. More types of yarns are becoming available everyday. Now for a knitter like myself living and making bags in the United States, I am noticing the qualities of these newer offerings on the scene & from around the world. Yarn spun from exotic animals like muskox, camel, llama, and vicuña intrigue me. I have already begun to incorporate exotic yarn like alpaca in my fashion line this year. I would even like to try buffalo yarn (American bison) in the future.

Sweet Potato Pie / Ono

Ono Alpaca Handbag

Knitting is not a new thing.  In spite of the perception, it’s not just relegated to a Grandma weaving at her wooden loom and knitting booties in a rocking chair. Young people are doing it too and the craft is growing. [1] To the contrary, weaving and creating garments in wool, although an ancient craft, is making an astounding resurgence.  Knit and other handmade items have become more popular today by the growth of online stores like Etsy.com. You can find a Uhane Knits shop there as well. Etsy’s a handknit community with lots of great designers of handmade & household items, trinkets, clothing and wearable art.There has been evidence of wool fibers found in the Republic of Georgia in Eurasia dating back to 34,000 ago. The Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks all knitted in wool. All over the world, communities of weavers still make wool into yarn. This is great news for us industrious knitters determined to turn these building blocks into everything. From upholstery to rugs, from scarves & hats to sweaters, from socks to even diaper covers and to my favorite, handbags. It is amazing the amount of ways wool is utilized today to express creativity. God bless indigenous cultures & the crafters who keep this art alive.

Even in this modern age of machines, plastics, and synthetic fabrics, it is still the natural feel, unique breathing & binding qualities of wool that many of our customers prefer.[2] There is nothing like a handmade item that captures the interest, to give as gifts or to keep as an heirloom.

Today, with all the craftwork involved, wool is still an economically viable option.  The fiber is still used to make both functional and aesthetically fashionable items.  Mass Manufacturers to this day have not been able to reproduce wool effectively from artificial fibers. Discerning shoppers will always associate wool with things like sweaters, scarves, hats, and mittens. With hand knit handbags, however, it is not generally known that wool is a viable option. It can hold its own in the pantheon of more famous bag materials like leather and suede.  Can we get the word out about this wonderful fiber?

 

Alpaca

Ono is made from highland Alpaca Wool

The Benefits Of Wool[3]


Resists wrinkles  wool springs back quickly 
Resists soiling  because the fiber is complex 
Is durable  multi-part fiber resists wear 
Repels moisture  fiber sheds water 
Retains shape  resilient fibers return to size 
Resists flames  fibers will not support combustion 
Is comfortable in all seasons  keeps layer of air next to skin

Time wasted & lesson learned

Have you ever notice how long 7-10 business days is when you are anticipating some you really want or need. I am waiting for my shipment so I can continue to work on our new Summer 2011 line. I am dying to get it done. Like a kid at christmas I’m starting at the calendar, checking the window and logging in (way to often) to track a package that I could of walked to New Jersey and got it by now.
The sites GPS tracking is like a cruel joke showing me exactly how slowly my package is moving across state lines. The only thing that keeps me from running to intercept that truck is (jail time LOL &) the thought that time will always keep moving (and so should I).
There was many things I could of been doing than tracking trucks and staring at calendars. It reminded me that time is too precious to waste.

Uhane Knits Joins Fashion Industry Network

Fashion Industry Network Badge

Professional Fashion Network

Last week, I started reaching out on the web to try to find that special network that will take us to the next level.  I found the Fashion Industry Network and it holds promise.  The Website has a Facebook feel and you can add friends and your company.  But the most interesting thing to us is the ability to connect with forward thinking and like-minded industry people.

I am enthusiastic to be able to connect with Boutique owners, publicists, and other fashion designers who can get the Uhane Knits label into the public eye.  We are grateful as a company to be a part of this organization and to be accepted as a members of the (sub-groups / discussion groups):
Boutique Owners & Fashion Boutique Buyers
Handbags : Handbag Group
Journalists – Writers – Editors – Authors
Organic Clothing & Organic Fabrics

We are looking for opportunities to show, sell, and above all find our ultimate muse to model.  Any serious business relationships are welcome. Find us on this network and friend us at: FashionIndustryNetwork.com

Visit Fashion Industry Network

Cheers,

Mannix