Most of the handmade items from Team Yarn have been crocheted or knit in the traditional way - with hooks or needles. I noticed last month, though, that a number of the hats donated by the NE Metro Intermediate School District looked like they had been made with a knitting loom. This is also my 10 year old daughter's knitting method of choice, and we had a question about looms on our facebook page yesterday, too. So, I thought it might be time for us to tell you WHAT a loom is and how it works!

Knitting looms come in circles or rectangles and in a variety of sizes for making hats, scarves, purses, socks, and even sweaters. To make a basic hat, you wrap the yarn around the pegs twice. Then you pull the bottom loops over the top loops. Wrap the pegs again and repeat pulling the bottoms loops over the top loops. It is so simple, and basic hats require no counting stitches!

This hat was made on a loom:

I believe that these hats were also made on looms:

One of the tricks to looms is using the right yarn. We have noticed the bulky yarn works best or doubling up yarn to use two colors at a time. The pegs are a set distance apart, and they turn out a product similar to something that would be knit on super large needles. So, you have to choose your yarn accordingly.

If you look around online, you can find all sorts of youtube videos, blog posts, and patterns using looms. Some are way more complicated than others. As looms have become more popular, those creative knitters have developed more and more ways to use them.

A simple loom can be purchased for less than $10 at a craft store. If you're adventurous, you can also make your own!

Last night, Aurora & I also tried out another adventurous knitting method! The knitting machine:

We picked it up a the thrift store for $3. So, we figured that even if it was a disaster, we learned something without spending too much.

It took quite a while to figure out how to set it up, and the instructions we poor, but once we got it going, we churned out a baby hat in about 5 minutes!

Over all, I don't think I'd recommend this particular knitting machine. It was a little glitchty and dropped stitches every once in a while. There are certainly more sophisticated and expensive machines on the market, though, and the fact that even the kid version works relatively well makes me think that the more expensive grown-up versions may actually be pretty amazing! It was super fun to try!

Despite the glitches, Aurora turned out this much of a scarf in about half an hour last night (she learned how to watch for and pick up dropped stitches, too):

Finally, there's the crochet method that involves holding a sleeping baby WHILE working on hats. Complicated but satisfying...

P.S. If you happen to know of great websites for loom knitting instructions and information, please post in the comments!

Cold Press Coffee

It has finally arrived...the long-awaited cold press coffee post!

At our last Team Yarn meet-up, talk turned from yarn to coffee, and I mentioned that I've made cold press coffee myself using simple implements already available in my kitchen. I will not spend $$ on a cold press coffee maker, especially since the ones currently on the market are plastic and ugly (my not-so-very-humble opinion).

I love cold press coffee for the lower acid content and the little bit of sweetness that emerges from the cold brew method. If you'd like to make your own, here's how:

Step 1: Measure coffee grounds & water into glass pitcher using a 1:4 ratio. 
Step 2: Cover the pitcher and leave the grounds to soak for about 12 hours.
Step 3: Pour the contents of the pitcher through a coffee filter into another pitcher.
Step 4: The coffee produced is a concentrate and should be enjoyed using a 1:4 coffee to water/milk/ice ratio.
I have 2 of these glass pitchers. I used the first to soak 2 cups of grounds with 8 cups of water overnight. I gently stirred the grounds into the water to be  sure that they were all soaking. The next morning, I poured from the first pitcher through the reusable coffee filter into the second pitcher. Done. (Coffee concentrate should be stored in the refrigerator.)