To make it easier for you to navigate to various areas of the HeartStrings FiberArts website that you most likely are interested in, I have divided the site map into groupings of links under some main topics. If you are having any difficulty in finding something, you may also search this site for specific words or phrases. Enjoy the site!
As a long-time knitter and needlearts enthusiast, Jackie E-S established HeartStrings to bring quality instruction to knitters who want their items to be special, as well as practical and fun to knit.
From the classic to the uniquely appealing – knitting patterns in the Jackie E-S Design Collections, Comfort Collection, and The Sock Calendar series.
Links to all individual pattern pages in the online catalog gallery. (alphabetically by publication title)
FAQ :: Frequently Asked Questions
Articles & Tips – Creativity
Whether planned or serendipitous, you too are a creative knitter. Here are ideas to help you become more confident and let your inner self express itself!
- The Role of Individual Creativity
Spinning straw into gold.
- Creative Expression
Using patterns as a jumping off point for your own creations.
- Discovering the "Wrong Side"
New insights and creative pleasures await you on the other side.
- Creatively Ethereal
Kim's handpainted roving scarf version.
- The 3 R's of Knitting
Use the theme of Reading wRiting aRithmetic to learn about our fiber arts.
- When Oops! Turns into Creativity
Turning mistakes into creative learning experiences.
Articles & Tips – Fiber Frenzy
What's all this fuss about fuzz? Knowing more about fibers and yarn attributes can help make you a more confident knitter when choosing yarns to suit your project's purpose.
- Warm Fibers that are Cool
Wool and silk are fibers that keep you both warm and cool. How do they know when to do which?
- Superwash Wool
The convenience of machine washability in a natural fiber.
- Knitting with Cotton
"Give Me Five" quick tips for success with cotton yarns.
A great choice for cool comfort in warm weather.
- What is Silk Noil?
Lovely texture from the waste product of combed silk.
- What's that Smell?
How to get rid of the fishy odor that is sometimes found in silk.
- Using an Umbrella Swift
Try the "ferris wheel" method for smooth reeling with less tension
- Yarn Direction
Yarns with a nap.
- Must I Wash Yarn before Using?
Knitting with a variety of yarns in the same project.
- What is WPI?
Measuring and universally communicating a yarn's thickness.
- What is Blooming?
Flowers bloom, but what about yarn?
- Playing with Color in your Mind's Eye
What might yarn colors really look like when knitted?
Articles & Tips – Finishing as an In-Process Activity
By incorporating these "finishing" tips into your project right from the beginning and throughout, you can make the final finishing steps of your knitting project easier and seem effortless.
- Intro to Finishing Starts at the Beginning
Exercise choices and employ techniques to make more of your projects like the "when you're done, you're done" category.
- To Seam or Not to Seam?
Make the finishing steps of your knitting project easier and seem effortless by making good choices at the very beginning of your project.
- End-less Knitting
Options that help reduce ends that need to be woven in later.
- To Swatch or Not?
Like any other planning activity, swatching can help make the final finishing steps easier.
- To Begin the Tale
What good is a tail of yarn?
- Cast On for a Good Finish
Getting off to a good start can save you from dealing later with finishing problems or disappointments.
- What to do with Ends?
Hiding yarn ends in lace knitting. Includes instructions for joining yarn using the "Stitching Together" method.
- A Continuous Yarn
How to splice two ends of yarn for an invisible join using the "Splitting Plies and Re-twisting" method.
- Russian Join
Joining yarn with the "Interlocking Loops" method.
- Slimmer is Better
Quick tip for joining and finishing ends with a blunt-ended sewing needle.
- Gathered Woven Closure
An improved approach to closing off the last few stitches of a circular item.
- Suspended Stitch Bind Off
A method to achieve a loose bind off edge.
- What is Crochet Bind Off?
Using a crochet hook for regular bind offs and for decorative effects in lace knitting.
- Doily Finish Using Crochet
A method to achieve a smooth invisible join.
Articles & Tips – Blocking and Care
Whether you call it blocking or dressing or finishing, check out these articles for helpful methods and tips.
- Blocking Tips
Make blocking a pleasurable part of the knitting process.
- Blocking in Progress
Blocking is something we usually think of as only doing in the final stages of completing a knitting project – usually the very last thing! But have you ever worried while knitting whether you were going to like the outcome? Avoid the uncertainty of whether something is going to turn out satisfactorily by doing a blocking in progress.
- Weaving in Ends
Should you block first then weave in the ends, or weave in the ends then block it?
- Extracting Water
Tips for use with small hand-washed articles.
- Special Soap?
Treat your fine woolens as you would your own hair.
- Washing Socks
Hand washing method for deep cleaning delicate yarn.
Articles & Tips – Spinning Yarn
Did you know that many of the HeartStrings designs are sampled in handspun yarns? (That spinning wheel in the HeartStrings logo is no coincidence.) Let these blog articles
inspire you in your own journey of creativity with fibers. Even for non-spinners, there will almost certainly be something you find interesting.
- 5 Favorite Tips for Knitting with Handspun
Here are my "top 5" favorite take-aways that have served me well through all these years.
- Deb Robson explains scouring fleece
The process for producing yarn before you even knit a stitch.
- Cotton Roving – braiding, dyeing, spinning and knitting
Here is a fun way to play with cotton roving.
- Spinning Jacob Wool – one fleece, many colors
Create a palette of tones from light to dark from the fleece of Jacob sheep, a small, multi-horned animal somewhat resembling a goat.
- Knitted lace blanket in handspun Cotswold wool
The background on spinning for my Cotswold Lacie Blankie entry to the Save the Sheep Project and included in the book Handspun Treasures from Rare Wools.
- Moody Blues, handspun pima cotton plied with silk
Besides the hypnotically soothing relaxation I feel when spinning, I think that a great joy in handspinning your own yarn is practiced control over the creative results. There often is the serendipity, too, and this leads to even more adventures and exploration.
- Spinning a 2-ply laceweight yarn for a scarf
I am often asked about the laceweight yarns I have handspun and used to knit scarves or shawls. At the top of my list of favorites, I like to spin a laceweight 2-ply yarn from hand-painted silk, cotton or fine wool blend.
- Deco-organizing a spindle spinning collection
There's nothing more cost-effective than decorating with items you already own. And there's nothing more satisfying than organizing in a creative way. Put them together and you get "deco-organizing".
Articles & Tips – Other Articles and Quick Tips
If someone asked, chances are someone else has the same question.
- Support Full-service Yarn Stores
Have you found your local yarn store yet?
- Choosing Needle Size
A useful method to choose a starting needle size to use for swatching your yarn.
- What is the Correct Knitting Gauge?
The actual knitting is what tells the true story.
- Reading Out Loud
Have your eyes fooled you?
- Smoother Wooden Needles
Help your stitches move more easily across the needles.
- Circular Needle Organizer
A home-grown solution.
- Small Beads
Reduce abrasion when stringing smaller beads relative to the yarn size.
- Be a Bead Counter
A bit of quick counting in beaded knitting avoids errors discovered later.
- Spinning Yarn for Beaded Knitting
Is it strong enough for beads?
- Selecting Beads to Go with Your Yarn
- A Heart-Warming Story
- The Lifeline
"Insurance" for knitters.
- Repairing a Lace Knitting Disaster
Nearing the big FO (Finished Object) stage for a shawl, I instead detoured to the "disaster" stage. I washed and went to block the shawl and a big area in one of the corners was nearly disintegrated. Here is the story …
- A Less Stressful k3tog
Tips for less stress on both you and the thread.
- SSK Alternative Method
A no-slip, no-remount method for making a left-leaning decrease.
- Crazy Quilt Combination of Colors
Using small amounts of yarn in knitting projects.
- Cable Take-up
Guidelines to avoid flare and puckering.
- Lever-Action Knitting
This is not an endorsement of the way I knit. I am describing here, only because so many people have asked. If you are looking to add to, change or refine your repertoire of knitting methods, I hope you find these ideas helpful. The basic premise is that less wasted motion means quicker knitting. A side benefit is the reduction of risk for repetitive motion stress ailments.
- Seamless Shoulder-down Sweater Sleeves
A neat construction alternative to knitting sleeves from cuff to sleeve cap, then sewing into the body of the sweater.
- Sizing Up a Pattern
Knitting for the larger figure.
- The Weigh-Down on Stitches
Struggling to work the first row or two of your knitting?