I’m in a pretty cool place right now, knitting-wise.  I’ve almost finished all the class models and summer models I had planned to do. (Plus at least one that I hadn’t planned – see below.)  I still have to finish off the fingers of the second Winter Bride glove and that’s taking me a while.  The whine factor in this is pretty high: (1)  it’s the second glove, (2) it’s little tiny stitches and little tiny diameters, and (3) I’m not so hot at using double-points, in fact I’m pretty slow and clumsy with them.  Two more fingers to go,

and it will be done soon enough and then I’ll soon love it again.

But really, whining is a part of knitting.  Knitters love to whine!  If you could ever find a knitting project that only took 10 minutes, I guarantee that the last 2 minutes would involve complaining about how it’s taking forever and why can’t it just be done already???!! We are patient and persistent folks, but we feel no need to be quiet about it.

So anyway, my decks are pretty clear right now, which gives me a great excuse to browse Ravelry and think about new projects.  Brooklyn Tweed’s new Wool People collection came out recently – nothing made me gasp with delight but there are plenty of nice sweaters there.  What I really want is to live in Jared Flood’s photographic world, wherein I would be prettily posed in an attitude of quiet confidence, in a perfectly fitting sweater, flatteringly accented by diffused sunlight at all times.

So while I think about new projects, I’m going to make Brother-in-Law socks (they will be moving to Charleston in a year or two and I think his need for wool socks will drop dramatically.)  I plan another hoodie for Maxwell the Great (Nephew) because his mom says the summer one I made is his favorite thing to put on (and how sweet is that to hear?) and he’ll soon outgrow it. And I have in mind to go through our huge file of free shop patterns, updating and making new models from current yarns where needed.

That really should keep me quite busy and my schedule full, but I do get distracted.  I had no plans whatsoever to make the Refined Arches Tabard but as soon as I saw the pattern, I knew it would be a perfect project for Shibui Twig.  I had to make it! And so I did.

It’s airy and open for summer in Twig, and would be a nice layering piece in lightweight wool or lace weight mohair for fall.  I would say it’s an intermediate project because, even though it’s all lace, every other row is a rest row and there’s no shaping.

 

We have lots of classes starting in July (it’s almost here!!!) including a beginner class.  If you have been on the fence, now is the time to commit; most have only one or two spaces left.  Socks, mitts, hat, sweater and a chicken!  What more could you possibly want?

I hope you’re having a wonderful summer and accomplishing everything you planned – or nothing at all!  Have fun!

When your weekend, like mine, includes Monday, you can feel out of step with the rest of society.  When it includes Monday and there’s, like, one nice Monday every two months, you can feel like you’d like the rest of society to stick it in its ear.  Makes you grumpy.  Then you have a shimmering, warm, absolutely beautiful Monday like today, and you feel just so fortunate.  You try to pack all the day-off things you’ve not been able to do into one day, because who knows when the next nice Monday might come along.  Wash windows, wash the car, clean up the yard, clean the basement…and then collapse on the couch, too tired to even move your hands to knit.  And hope that next Monday it rains because you miss knitting and napping.

I have one more spring/summer sweater to show you.  It’s another free pattern and is quite quick and simple to knit:  It’s the Drape-Front Cardigan, which I made in black Zooey, so forgive the pictures:

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Zooey has a lot of texture on its own, so it may be hard to see the double seed stitch on the front panels, but this gives a non-rolling edge that can be pinned or can just drape.  The edges look lacy because Zooey goes a bit thick-thin, but they’re also double seed.

Construction is easy and one-piece.  Cast on the full circumference at the bottom, work to the armholes, divide for fronts and back, work straight up to the shoulders.  Shoulders are joined with 3-needle bind-off, then the sleeves are picked up and worked in the round on a 16″ circular.  The last step is to work an i-cord bind-off around the neck to give a substantial and reversible edge.  Here’s another look:

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So, for summer, we’ve introduced 3 simple patterns that are free with the purchase of the yarn to make them:  the Drape-Front Cardy, the V-neck Raglan Cardigan

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and our cute and quick Beach Jacket (modeled by Deb Hawk, who looks adorable in anything  – thanks, Deb!)

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Now I feel like I’ve done enough knitting for hot weather – what comes next?????

 

 

Okay, many of you are too young to know the reference of the title.  In olden times, there was a TV cowboy named Roy Rogers who was married to a TV cowgirl named Dale Evans, and every week at the end of their show, they would sing a song that ended with the line “Happy trails to you, ’til we meet again,” which all of us little cowboys and -girls would sing along with them.

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(Dale and Roy with Trigger)

I felt like singing this little tune when our Trailhead knit-along ended this week- we had been together since January working on this project!  The design was interesting and challenging the whole way through, from choosing the combination of fibers and colors, the intricate shaping and cable charts on the back, through the unique pocket details and significant amount of finishing required.  Although several sweaters are still in the finishing phase (the fun part, as I call it), these beauties are done:

Jill Pelcher was the first to finish in her beautiful blues. (No, there was no prize for being the first.)

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Donna Hain chose a combination of reds to make a beautiful and vibrant brick fabric:

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Deb Hawk loves the rich browns and subtle accent colors of the combination she chose:

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Love them all!  We had a wrap-up this past week.  Only about half of us braved the ridiculous bitter wind to come, and I managed only one semi-decent photo – really, I should take a class, right? – of our finished pieces.  Virginia Griffith’s sweater is the beautiful neutral of my shop model and looks wonderful, plus she brought a pretty little cupcake bouquet for us!

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Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the knit-along; it was a pure pleasure for me to see the projects coming to fruition!

Meanwhile, I’m finishing up summer models and trying to get the spring and summer classes on line.  I’m hoping that by this coming weekend, the schedule will be finished.  Lots of fun small projects to keep you knitting through the hot weather, if it ever comes!

Trying to sit down and write a coherent post during a busy week off is rather like trying to thread a needle without your glasses on – if it happens, it’s only because you’ve tried so many times.  This is the third time I’ve made a start.  The first went nowhere because there were workmen here who were assiduous in showing me every little quirk of my very old house and why it was taking them all day to finish a fairly small job.  The second turned into a sentimental and rather preachy treatise on why we should be grateful for all the wonderful things we take for granted.  I waxed poetic about hot running water.  And trees. (I was upset because the borough cut down two lovely old trees in our neighborhood this week. I don’t know what West Reading has against trees.)  I re-read it, deleted it, then went to play Candy Crush for a while to settle down.

So I hope your time off this week, if you’re lucky enough to have some, is going more according to plan than mine.  Meanwhile, I’ll show you a couple of finished projects that I hope get your hands itching to knit!

First, the Trailhead Jacket from Brooklyn Tweed is finished.  I have to say the design is impeccable, at least in the size I made.  I followed directions exactly – there is a lot going on all the time and it’s not easy to modify.  My stitch gauge was a bit small so I made a larger size than I normally would, but my row gauge was spot on which was good because this is a long sweater – any longer and I would need attendants to hold up my train.  Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit. The combination of Debbie Bliss’s Fine Donegal wool and Juniper Moon’s alpaca blend Herriott Fine was wonderful to knit and makes a warm, sturdy fabric with a lovely hand and a bit of a halo.

The back is the main attraction.  The pattern is simple and repetitive but the layout of the design within the sweater canvas is intricate:

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The front features beautiful and serviceable pockets and the collar, which can stand up or fold down, depending on how much warmth you need:

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Here is a detail of the pockets:

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the collar:

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and yes, I finally did sew on the buttons:

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This will definitely be a winter knit-along!!

I was working on this Mistake Rib Cowl (a free pattern at the shop) at the store all last week and finished it this past weekend.  It’s for my brother-in-law and combines Zauberball Crazy and Shibui Pebble.  Since our Mix Party, I can’t seem to stop combining yarns to make really beautiful fabrics.  The Zauberball adds just the right amount of color and the Pebble mutes the striping and adds the cush of cashmere.  I think he’ll love it and maybe my sister can keep her own scarves for herself.

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And finally, I finished this shawl called Therapy, designed by Laura Aylor, which turned out to be a really wonderful way to use a single skein of Jilly with Cashmere.  I used a skein of Nuna from Mirasol and a ball of Folio from Berroco.  The design transitions from one solid (or semi-solid) through the colorful skein to the other solid.  I love these colors, and the swoosh shape of the shawl makes it very wrappy and wearable.

On this side, the stripes are muted and blended:

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On this side, the stripes are distinct:

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I hope you’re inspired – and I hope you’ll be able to join us this Saturday for our sale!  It’s my way of saying how thankful I am for all of you!

Well, the Shibui mix party was a lot of fun.  Everyone got samples of all Shibui yarns to combine and try out, Antonia Shankland brought her swatches of all the different combinations to feel and compare, the trunk show from Shibui, along with our many shop samples and Antonia’s beautiful cowls, was inspirational, and her color rings of every color of every yarn gave everyone a chance to see what I go through picking and choosing yarns and colors for the shop.  If you weren’t there, though, you’ll just have to take my word for it because we got so wrapped up in patterns, colors, and fibers, that I totally forgot to take any pictures!

Now everything is back to normal and I’ll be sorting through the special order requests to see what is to be ordered.  If you have any special requests for Shibui yarns, now is the time to let me know!

Meanwhile, I have started and am possibly halfway through Trailhead Jacket from Brooklyn Tweed.  The pattern is described as being for adventurous knitters, which is a little intimidating, so I started with the sleeves.  I don’t love sleeves, even when they’re done flat as these are, so I figured if I got them done, I would be motivated to finish the jacket no matter what.  I love the fabric I’m getting!  BT uses a double strand of Loft, but I’m using one strand of Fine Donegal from Debbie Bliss, a tweedy wool/cashmere blend, and one strand of Herriott Fine from Juniper Moon Farm, a soft baby alpaca/nylon blend…it’s pretty heavenly:

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The back is tricky, mainly because of different shapings happening in different places and at different rates.  I made a chart for my size with every row of every chart listed and what is supposed to happen on each one – so far so good:

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Never mind the weird coloring in the photo, there really is not a gigantic pink area in the middle of my knitting. Anyway, the pattern is very absorbing and all I want to do is work on it.  If you want a challenge, try it, and if you want a challenge with a little guidance, I’m thinking that this may be a winter knit-along at the shop!

So many new yarns to tell you about, but I’m photo-less today.  Come see us!

We just received a couple of color packs of Crazy Zauberball – fun, fun and more fun!

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This randomly-changing wool-and-nylon fingering weight yarn is grist for your creative mill – socks, shawls, mitts, baby things – it adds its own marled colors to liven up anything.  There are more than 17000 projects using Crazy Zauberball on Ravelry. Let the knitting begin!

Look what Donna left me, like a little elf delivering presents:

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a pair of “A River Runs Through Mitts” from her mitts series of classes!  They are absolutely beautiful in River Twist from Mountain Colors, and warm, with long cuffs that will slip up under your sleeves to keep you extra cozy.

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Donna’s series begins this Friday (!!) with Medallion Gloves coming first.  There are one or two spots open:

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You can learn to make the River mitts starting on Friday, October 23.  Sign up today!

I’ve finished the poncho that I simply had to make but have not had a chance to take pictures.  Next week, I hope!  I’m on the home stretch with the Leaf Cocoon I’m making for my niece, again, pictures next week I hope.  Meanwhile, I’m looking for my next project.  Did you see Brooklyn Tweed’s newest collection?  Here’s a link to their Look Book.

I like several of the designs, but I think my favorite is this one, called Trailhead:

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Love the collar, love the hemline, love the pockets!  The pattern description calls for adventurous knitters, because a lot of things happen at the same time.  The pattern is 22 pages long, for Pete’s sake.  It’s also knit in pieces so there’s a bit of finishing involved.  But I do love it and am pretty sure I’m going to make it. I also like this one, called Birch Bay:

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and if I didn’t hate reverse stockinette stitch so much, I might make it.

And I like this one, called Bannock, too and this could jump right onto my list, no problem!

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Such pretty texture!  What’s your favorite??