Uhane Knits Goes Tweed

20111221-014655.jpgThere is just something about tweed. It’s classic look can be, classy, elegant or sporty. For men or women, it’s versatile look will last you for seasons to come.
When I found this birch tweed yarn I knew I had to knit a few pieces with this classic pattern. All Uhane Knit handbags are knit, stitched & assembled by hand.
You can find these pieces exclusively in my online storefront
Uhaneknits.etsy.com

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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.


Company with a conscious

“Be Sweet” is a nice company I found selling beautiful yarns and accessories.
I needed this particular yarn for a new design. I decided to tried their 100% bamboo yarn. It’s the softest yarn I’ve ever felt and you can’t imagine it is made from something as strong and hard as Bamboo.
The cool thing about Be sweet “bamboo” is the yarn was hand dyed by women in South Africa under a jobs creation program. These programs provides the opportunity for women to earn a living within their struggling communities. Be Sweet also donates a portion of their profits to educational development programs in South Africa.
I purchased Be sweet yarn from another online store called One Planet yarns & fibers. They also have a wonderful global consciousness, stating “One of our goals is to represent small independent artisans and companies from every corner of the globe”.
Both these companies have wonderful products and is worth taking a look at. I like that they choose to work with programs that pays the artisan and they express their appreciation for a global market place.
Please check out these links

http://www.oneplanetyarnandfiber.com

http://besweetproducts.com/

Like I said, its because you deserve it

What is it about spending a few dollars on ourselves gives us pause? We work hard all day, we come home and toil with our kids. We make dinner, pay bills, watch TV, play silly games. We go to sleep and do it all again. Don’t we deserve nice things every once and a while too? If we can satiate our guilt too, all the better! Ya dig?

When do we have time to have our needs taken care of? Maybe a spa visit, a weekend getaway, or the money to buy a new toy? Not for the kids, but for ourselves? Hmm, been a long time, ehh.

We make sacrifices every day for our loved ones and we are truly blessed to be able to provide. However, we have to remember that we need treats too.

I love the treats that come from the heart. Like smiles, back rubs, kisses. They are all helluva good. I love cool material stuff too like fast cars, gadgets, fine clothes, and great eats. Face it, even love costs some dough.

In these economic times, those material things come few and far between. It’s ok, but I still need to treat myself (and my wife) from time to time with something cool. I just have to pick my spots. And by that I mean parting with my hard earned dollars for purchases that are not just cool but sentimental and functional as well. I need the biggest impact for the least amount of coin. Give me the best bang for the buck to get that ooooh factor, some thing that’ll last. Can’t be frivolous with short pockets.

Stuff is stuff. We buy it. We own it. We constantly buy more stuff. Usually, soon after we spend money on stuff, we either forget about the initial thrill of it, or we buy more stuff to fill the void of the moment we opened the package.

Some stuff is different. It’s the heartfelt stuff. It’s the stuff that has heart and is touched by love. It comes from our kids on Valentines Day, Mothers or Fathers Day. It might not be all that useful but my kid made it so I love it.

It stays with us because of the feeling we have for our loved ones. It can be a thing of beauty. It can be a truly useful gadget. It can be a future heirloom. Usually, the stuff that matters hits our senses on multiple levels and the feeling lasts long. That’s the stuff!

Remember when we were kids, we couldn’t wait for a holiday to open our presents. We would be extra good for months so our parents would buy us that thing that would complete us. We got it. We played with it for awhile and forgot about it.

But when, Dad gave you his flight jacket, or his pool stick, or mom gave you her favorite piece of jewelry, it was different. Grandma knitted a quilt or Grandpa gave you the rods you and he went fishing with. That pottery sis made in college or that funny card your kid did on the computer. It meant something more than the thing. It had history, soul, love, struggle, pain, happiness, and a sense of belonging to something bigger, a symbol that contained value, a keepsake.

Those symbols were the stuff of family, love, tradition and care. All wrapped up in a pneumonic device called a treasured object, a real gift.

We took the time to marvel at it. We hold those things dear to this day. Think about some of your most treasured things. What makes them special? Were they handmade, pretty, nostalgic, came from someone we love?

So all that to say, stop mistaking rigor of life for vigor of life. Stop and smell the roses and not just the coffee. Take time to spend time and money on a gift for yourself, or if you must, on a loved one.

You are going to spend money, cause thats the reality we live in. Give something that has heart, soul, history, artistry, meaning, a treasure. Something that makes a mark.

Fancy that, we can spend money on ourselves and not feel guilty about it. It’s eco-friendly, its made with love its pretty, functional, unique and helps others. We deserve it. We earned it. We love to anticipated looking at it, wearing it, playing with it.

Again, like we were kids, but with the wisdom of age comes the love of value and history. It’s a piece of love symbolized in a thing. Get that thing!

My father always told me give the gift of yourself. If you can’t do that give the gift that you love yourself.