Posts tagged #Afghan Hound

Hello Iowa!

I'm happy to announce that Fiber Hound is in another store, and this time it's in Iowa!  The Sheep's Stockings is in Marshalltown, IA, so if you are near there you can enjoy a selection of Afghan Hound, our 50% Silk 50% Superwash Merino DK yarn. 

Image by Hannah Thiessen

Image by Hannah Thiessen

Image by Hannah Thiessen

Image by Hannah Thiessen

The shop specializes in natural fibers such as wool, mohair, alpaca, silk, and organic cottons, and carries a lovely variety of different brands of needles.  After seeing the lovely pictures of their store, I cannot wait to plan a visit!

Image by Hannah Thiessen

Image by Hannah Thiessen

Image by Hannah Thiessen

Image by Hannah Thiessen

For more information about The Sheep's Stockings, visit their website at!

Posted on January 8, 2014 and filed under Behind The Scenes.

Afghan Hound & Saethwr

After the October Yarnbox containing Fiber Hound’s yarn were shipped out, my friend and owner of Annie Yarn, Annie Riley, began designing a pair of mitts with the two skeins of Afghan Hound.  She set out to design a colorwork pattern with the two colorways, Sirius and Hushpuppy, that would gracefully feature both colors as well as a striking design.

Annie's version of Saethwr in Hushpuppy and Sirius

Annie's version of Saethwr in Hushpuppy and Sirius

“The word saethwr is Welsh for archer and is pronounced (roughly) sigh-THOOR. As I looked at the finished design, what immediately came to mind was archery, and therefore, an archer. I tossed around the idea of simple naming them Archer Gloves, but I felt it was too boring. So I looked up various translations of the word and settled on Welsh.

The shaping in the rows, made with well-placed decreases and increases, creates arrow-like stripes pointing toward the knuckles as you alternate between two yarn colors. Ribbing on the under side provides plenty of stretch for a snug yet comfortable fit, and the gusseted thumbs allow for range of motion while still being easy to knit.”


I was very eager to start my own pair of mitts with Every Dog Has Its Day and Old Yeller, a combination I found surprisingly beautiful.


The cuffs start out with a 1:1 ribbing and transitioning into stockinette.  On the front side, the pattern starts a decrease and increase routine that results in a chevron design with the back side being horizontal stripes.  After completing the desired amount of stripes, a common thumb gusset is introduced, which is the first time the pattern differentiates between the left and right hand.  The mitts are finished with the color they started with and completed with a simple bind off.  The best part is that the mitts don’t require blocking and can be worn right away!

These mitts were a ton of fun to make, and simple enough for me to be able to work on while distracted with other things. I was also able to make them fairly quickly which makes them a wonderful weekend project.  I’m very excited to finally wear these gorgeous mitts out this winter!  You can purchase the Saethwr pattern here.

Posted on December 25, 2013 and filed under Pattern Review.

Weight For It: Yarn Weights Explained

A number of people have recently inquired about yarn weights and associated meanings, so I decided it was time to dive deep into the topic and explain some things.  There are a number of things that are added on to yarn tags that don’t always provide useful information, such as icons from the Standard Yarn Weight System, gauge ranges, and recommended needle sizes.  I believe they are arbitrary pieces of information, and I will explain why below.

Standard Yarn Weight System

The Craft Yarn Council of America defined the Standard Yarn Weight System with 7 different size designations.  Each size (or weight) is assigned a name and a number:

0 Lace
1 Superfine
2 Fine
3 Light
4 Medium
5 Bulky
6 Super Bulky

Although most yarns from big box stores (Hobby Lobby or Michaels) have this notation on them, the fact that they have “standard” in their name is a bit of a misnomer.  Sadly, there is no agreed standard with anything regarding yarn, and the only truly useful piece of information for yarn weights is called wraps per inch, or WPI.  To measure WPI, you can wrap the yarn around a ruler (or similar measuring device) and depending on how many times it can comfortably wrap around the ruler in the space of an inch determines which category of weight it falls into.  In the spirit of loose standards, the restrictions of the categories can be subjective depending on the source.

Recommended Needle Size

Another thing that is commonly listed on yarn is the recommended needle size.  I’ve been asked by a beginning knitter a few times this week if she should buy a certain needle to go with the yarn she purchased.  I advised her to buy needles for patterns, not for what is recommended on the yarn.  Why is this?  Because a lovely ball of worsted weight yarn could recommend a size 8 needle, yet the pattern you’ve chosen asks you to use a size 6 needle.  I’m certainly not against collecting knitting needles, but it’s nice to be frugal when possible.  On top of the recommended needle size for the pattern, there is the issue of personal gauge with the yarn to keep in mind, which is a topic that will be discussed in a future blog post.

Yarn Weight & Ply Relationship

A third piece of information that can be often listed that can be a little confusing is the listing of a weight and then a number of plies.  An example from Ravelry’s search option shows exactly this.

Screen Shot 2013-12-01 at 9.10.32 PM.png

This references back to when factories were only able to spin one thickness of singles, but it could be plied together as many times as needed to get the appropriate thickness.  


A final piece of information that is more often seen on cones of yarn is a designation similar to the format “3/2” in regards to weight.  These are usually on yarns that are meant for weaving, and in the US 3/2 would mean size then plies, and to further confuse things, it’s the opposite in Great Britain.

Now, we will go through all of the different weights from thinnest to thickest that Fiber Hound carries, with some brief mentions of others.  

Basenji is 22 WPI

WPI: 18+
Ply: 1-2
Other Names: cobweb, crochet thread

Lace is the category in which very fine yarns are stuck in, which means there’s a fair amount of wiggle room for what could be considered a lace yarn.  Cobweb is the term used for extremely fine yarns that, much like their namesake, could be as thin as a spider’s silk.  The word “lace” is heavily derived from terms meaning net or snare, which brings to my mind lacey shawls.   Fiber Hound’s Basenji is on the relatively heavier side of lace, achieving a 22 WPI, while Saluki is a finer 24 WPI.

Italian Greyhound is 20 WPI

Italian Greyhound is 20 WPI

WPI: 14-22
Ply: 3-4
Other Names: baby

Many people use the terms “sock” yarn and “fingering” yarn interchangeably, but there can be a minor difference.  In regards to thickness, fingering weight yarns are a little thinner than sock yarns.  As well, when the term “sock” is associated with a yarn, it could be assumed that the yarn would be a good choice for socks; this is not always the case, and can be misleading.  The origin of the term “fingering” is derived from fingram, from the French fin grain, which means “fine grain”.  In relation to yarn, this could imply that it is a more fine weight of a yarn.  Fiber Hound's Italian Greyhound is the thinnest of the three fingering weight yarns at 20 WPI, Dachshund is 18 WPI, and the luscious Borzoi is 16 WPI.

Bluetick Coonhound is 14 WPI

Bluetick Coonhound is 14 WPI

WPI: 12-18
Ply: 5
Other Names: baby

The name of this weight confused me when I first saw it as I couldn’t understand what sports had anything to do with knitting.  While the name is not actually related to athletics, the yarn weight is preferred for “sportwear” and associated clothing. Fiber Hound's Bluetick Coonhound is 14 WPI.

Afghan Hound is 14 WPI

Afghan Hound is 14 WPI

WPI: 11-14
Ply: 8
Other Names: light worsted

DK stands for double knitting (or double knit), which is a reference to having two thinner yarns being plied together to make a thicker yarn.  There appears to be a few different anecdotes floating around in regards to the origins.  The first story is the yarn weight’s use in WWII, where factories in Great Britain frugally created size between sport and worsted that could “double” for either in the final product.  The second origin cites the weight being doubled up from fingering weight.  Fiber Hound's Afghan Hound is 14 WPI.

Norwegian Elkhound is 13 WPI

Norwegian Elkhound is 13 WPI

WPI: 9-11
Ply: 10
Other Names: afghan, aran

The term worsted finds its origins from “worstead”, the name of a village in Norfolk in which yarn and cloth were crafted.  The term often causes confusion because of the spinning term worsted (in contrast to woolen).  Worsted in regards to spinning means that the yarn is smoothly spun with the fibers prepared in a method that makes them parallel to each other. Woolen can mean anything that does not fit into the worsted category, and the resulting yarns are often much more lofty and fluffy.  Neither of these things matters when referencing yarn weight, but they’re important to know for context.  Aron  (pronounced Aaron) yarns are often considered being thicker than worsted weight yarns.  Fiber Hound's Norwegian Elkhound is 13 WPI.

You may have noticed that a couple of the yarns are also known as “baby”.  I have not yet discovered the origins of this, but I suspect the designation is an attempt to point customers into the idea of “this is good for baby garments”.  

I find the differences in yarn weights to be highly arbitrary and subjective, and if I had a say in anything, I would remove all the names of the yarns and go entirely by WPI, but I do not see that happening in the near future.  Each yarn company and mill has their own ideas of which yarns fit into what category which can cause more confusion for our customers.

If you had to choose one option to go by to sort the weights of yarn, what would you choose? Do you have a better solution?



Afghan Hound & Sea Beanie

I have had Sea Beanie in my queue for as long as I can remember having a queue, and I was pleased to finally create this hat for the Afghan Hound KAL that is going on in Fiber Hound’s Ravelry Group.

Sea Beanie, by Elena Nodel, is a hat featuring a stunning cable design on the front, with thick ribbing in the back. The pattern is a part of a set of nine garments inspired by the sea and can be made with DK or worsted weight yarns. Adding onto that versatility, the pattern comes in 4 sizes, Toddler, Child, Adult, and Large Adult. I made mine out of Cerberus in the Adult size as I knew that color would show off the cables wonderfully.

The hat begins working in a 1:1 ribbing, then goes right into the cabled pattern. The pattern has graciously included a charted version and a written version of the pattern and even has a photographic how-to instruction for one of the more complicated increases. After the cable pattern is completed, a standard decrease pattern finishes off the hat.

The versatility and enjoyment I’ve received from this hat encourages me to make many more of these for the future. Plus, out of the Afghan Hound, you can easily make more than one in the smaller sizes, which is a great option for gifts!


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Posted on November 20, 2013 and filed under Pattern Review.

The Puppy Button Saga

A year and a half ago while I was still working at the local yarn shop, we got in an order of buttons that included the most adorable puppy-shaped buttons I had ever seen.  I was determined to do something with them, so I found the pattern called Gig Gloves, by Grace Akhrem, which had 7 buttons on each mitt.  The pattern was perfect - not too complicated, and it was clearly meant to show off anyone’s favorite buttons.  While the appropriate amount of buttons had been ordered for my pattern in queue, the shop I worked at closed before they were able to come in and be in my possession.  This is where I thought the story of the puppy buttons ended.

That is, until over a year later, I found my own yarns being sold at a local store where I happened to be at an event in which I had a fair amount of time to stand around and enjoy everything around me.  And then I saw them: the puppy buttons!  I immediately ordered 14 of them in the two different colors they had, and dyed up some Afghan Hound  in Throw Me A Bone to match.  

When the buttons were finally in my possession, I decided to save the little mitts as a project to work on during my wedding day and on my honeymoon.  (And yes, I knit during my own wedding.)  

The pattern is delightfully simple and quick, yet attractive.  The basic form is a square knit in stockinette, with the edges being garter stitch.  The only difference between the two hands is which side the buttons holes are made, and the thumb holes are made by easy m1s in whichever method you prefer.   The strap at the bottom is purely decorative (because then you get to have an extra button!), and adds a nice little aesthetic touch.  It’s knit separately and then attached after blocking.

I kept the buttons safe at the bottom of my project bag throughout my travels in Vancouver, and when I was finally ready to attach them, I realized the tapestry needle I had didn’t fit through their holes.  I planned to resolve this issue by visiting a yarn store in the Downtown area, and while I purchased an appropriately-sized crochet hook to take care of the job, I never got around to attaching them for the rest of the trip.

While packing, I took a mental inventory of everything we brought, and one thing appeared to be missing: the puppy buttons.  We searched EVERYWHERE, but they were nowhere to be found.  The Tuesday after we returned to South Bend, I dreadfully called up the store to see how many (if any) buttons they had left.  To my luck, they  had enough for me to properly button up one mitt, and have ordered more for the second!  After having the buttons in my possession for the second time, I attached them as quickly as possible to avoid any other extensions to this story.

I absolutely adore these gloves, and I look forward to getting the rest of the buttons so I can wear them out in the now chilly weather.  The Afghan Hound is absolutely perfect for the warmth of the Merino and the softness of the silk, especially because I have sensitive skin.

Posted on November 13, 2013 and filed under Pattern Review.