I have been hoarding photos of customers’ projects until I had nothing to talk about, but I think we all need a break from the never-ending flood of new yarns coming into the shop, don’t you?  So I’m going to show you a few impressive projects today and one non-impressive but cute little thing I did. Okay, maybe just a  smidge of new yarn…

 

WRAP WEEK!

Carol Sullivan made this beautiful wrap designed by Deborah Newton to wear to a knitting retreat on Block Island.  Deborah, who wrote the classic Designing Knitwear, was teaching at the retreat!  Love the wrap and the view!

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Marci Frey made this pretty shawl during the Downton Abbey MKAL last spring/summer.  It started at the center and grew from there!

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Karen Walter made this beauty.  No surprise, it’s a gorgeous job!:

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Sarah Ruppert deserves a post all her own.  She has fallen in love with knitting shawls and delights in figuring out the most complicated patterns.  She came in early this fall with a pile of finished shawls to share with us.  She’s running out of people to give them to, so was going to see if the Women’s Exchange (sorry, it’s now called It’s A Gift) would be interested in selling them. I hope so, they are exquisitely made, in only the finest yarn available.

Without further comment:

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Can I get an OMG???

So here’s a little laugh for you.  My big accomplishment in knitting for the week was this cute little pair of thumbless mitts for Maxwell the Great (Nephew) knit in a fun color of Jelli Beenz.  Took less than an hour apiece, and I crocheted a chain between them so they could thread through his sleeves.  They’re from a mitten pattern for babies and kids up to 12 called Little Waiting for Winter by Susan B. Anderson, available on Ravelry.

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Ta-da!

One little bit of new yarn stuff because it’s so neat and really selling out fast and Janet had such good ideas about how to use it.  We received Happy feet Splash last week in all these great colors:

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Janet found these fun patterns to use them with a bit of stash (or maybe with a gradient set?):

This one is called Scarfy Thing:

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and this one is called Outline:

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(Pictures: Miki Barlok)

Both designs are available through Hedgehog Fibers’ website, which you can reach through the Ravelry links if you click on the photos. Don’t they look like fun?  Just figuring out colors would be a blast, and here are a few ideas using Cheshire Cat gradients from Frabjous Fibers:

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Okay, enough for one week! See you soon!

After months (it seems) of brain-dead knitting – lots and lots of stockinette on small needles), I’ve had it!  I needed some stitchwork, some texture, something all pattern stitch-y and marker-y. Pay attention-y.

So I started the Northern Trail Wrap (see last week’s post) and it was really fun –  and I got a little obsessed and finished it!  In Astral, an alpaca/Tencel blend, it flows off your needles like it was made of pure water. The pattern was easy to follow and is both charted and written out. The stitches used are simple and mostly reversible. The fabric gleams. It drapes. It runs through your fingers like a sleek pelt.  The beautiful gem-like tones are dark but, because the fabric reflects light so well, they don’t hide the stitchwork.  I love it when a pattern and a yarn work so well together.

Inspiration (thanks to Mary Ellen):

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Beginning:

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Blocking:

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Done!

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Which color is yours?

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I must share this sweet photo of Maxwell the Great (Nephew) in his Hooded Beach Towel.  Knit in Rub-A-Dub, it’s soft, absorbent and cuddly for aprés-bath napping:

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Classes start again next weekend – hooray!  Hope you had a Fabulous Fourth!

I’ve been having a good time lately because I have several projects that I liked doing very much.  I’ve been working on Churchmouse’s Modern Wrapper Fine, which is a bunch of knitting and most of it easy stockinette stitch.  It’s a great piece and I’d like to have it in 6 different colors for every season. (It will be an early fall class or knit-along!)  I modified it to make the lower body in one piece and after a million 300+ stitch rows, I’m not sure how I’ll do it next time.

So anyway, my point is, when you’re my age and doing a lot of plain stockinette, you need to intersperse it with something interesting or you will fall asleep and no knitting at all will occur.  And I happen to have a brand new great-nephew who is as cute as can be and whose lovely mom appreciates and sometimes even requests hand-made things.  Does any knitter not see this as a prime opportunity to fire up their needles and make some small and satisfying baby gifts?

So that’s what I’ve been doing (to the detriment of shop knitting, but he’s only a baby for such a short time!  Pretty soon he’ll be telling me that sweaters are too hot and he hates that color and he only likes t-shirts from the Gap or something.)

So I made him a little tweed vest in Encore Tweed, so that he can read his novels and smoke his pipe in style:

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I couldn’t resist making him this hooded towel in Hikoo’s Rub-A-Dub, a big puffy and really soft microfiber, from a free pattern from Skacel:

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Baby Maxwell is a very tall baby and my niece sent a picture of him wrapped in a blanket with his feet hanging out, along with a request for a nice long summer blanket.  I couldn’t wait to start!  Using Mason-Dixon Knitting’s free Moderne Log Cabin pattern as a start, I adjusted the gauge to use Remix, a soft and cotton-y blend of recycled fibers from Berroco, and winged it to use up all the yarn I had. Four balls did a nice-sized blanket that should cover those tootsies:

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And before diving back into the Modern Wrapper, I wanted to do just a little thing, so I made this tiny little cutie from Chris deLongpré’s Pocket Pals.  Sock yarn on size 1, takes only about 20 yards and very little time.  I picked up for the tail and ears instead of sewing them on.  He’s too young for these yet, but by the time he’s old enough, I should have a colorful collection of them all for him – mice, birds, owls, and bunnies!

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Do some fun knitting this summer!

 

My gift-knitting season comes a little earlier than most. I seem to have lots of birthdays in late October and November and I like to knit something for these occasions.  This year, with the first new baby in our family in ages coming in March, I also wanted to get a good start on some baby gifts.  I’m hoping to see them at Thanksgiving so I’m trying to get a few things done now.  So I haven’t been knitting much for the shop in the last few weeks, but still happily knitting away!

I made one of our Warm x 2 Cowls for one of my sisters, although she thinks it will end up on her husband, my darling brother-in-law.  He’s the one who takes their dogs for a rousing walk every morning and he’s concerned more with warmth than with manly style.  He has been borrowing her infinity scarves, so one especially for him will be in the works shortly.  (Zauberball and Shibui Pebble – I can’t wait to get started!) Meanwhile, if you’re in the State College area and see a guy with 2 golden retrievers sporting this fuzzy neck-warmer, you’ll know it’s my favorite BIL:

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I just bound off today this pretty infinity scarf for my other sister, in lovely Herriott Fine, a soft alpaca fingering weight. It’s a feather-and-fan design spaced in an interesting way that was very easy and pleasant to knit.  I love how blocking affects lace, taking it from this amorphous mass of knitting:

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to this light and lovely piece:

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As soon as it dries, it will be sent off with my baby offerings:

A simple 8-Hour Baby Blanket:

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a coming-home-from-the-hospital set (to be augmented with a matching cocoon when I have time):

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and coordinating hats for baby and dad:

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I’m having fun – hope you are, too!

…to some lovely old friends this week – meaning sweaters that have been on summer vacation for several months.  Fifty degree mornings mean that wool feels pretty darn good while Purl, Jack and I take our morning constitutional.  My dark blue Hawser is the sweater of choice for these early morning walks – big, cozy, and casual.  Of course, eighty-degree afternoons mean that the sweaters come off before I go to work but it’s very nice to get them out of their plastic bags and anticipate being able to wear them again. And being reminded of how much I love Hawser makes me anticipate even more the new collection due out from Brooklyn Tweed tomorrow!

I got not much done this week that I had planned to do, because our family got some very good news!  My niece is pregnant with her first child – a boy!  Because she’s older than is usual, some tests had to be done before I could knit for the baby (no jinxing), but the test results were very good and they are thrilled!  So to celebrate, I started (and finished) this cute little garter stitch baby sweater, a free pattern from Joji Locatelli.

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I always liked this little pattern and just had to do something.  My next plan is to make my niece a cozy Leaf Cocoon (our own pattern) that she can wear throughout her pregnancy and beyond, and I want just the right yarn and color.  I know so far I’m ignoring Dad but I’ve got my eye on a hat from Tin Can Knits that comes in daddy and baby sizes.  What do you think?

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Eric is a pretty cool guy and I think he’d like it.

In case you’re on the fence about a class, there are still a couple openings for the Moon Shadows Shawl (starts this Saturday!), the Curcuma Elements Pullover, and Medallion Gloves but I wouldn’t wait around too long!

And if you’re not Facebook-y, you might have missed this amazing picture of the shipment we just received from Dream in Color:  Their new Jilly with Cashmere in twelve amazing colorways developed just for this wonderful yarn.

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Is it not beautiful?  Trust me, it is and you want some.  There are over 17,000 patterns on Ravelry that you can knit from one skein, and over 1300 that are one-skein crochet projects.  There’s enough nylon to make it sock-worthy, too.  Get on it!

Have you checked it out yet?  If not, click around and see how it looks.  I love the fresh look!  There are a few things still to be worked out, with connections made and so on, but I’ll work through them with help from Janelle of Design Revolution, and at the same time, would so very much appreciate any feedback or concerns or suggestions from you.

To celebrate (and to find out if I could do it!) I put up a new free pattern for a cute baby blanket

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that you can download. And while I’m at it, I might as well apologize for the truly terrible photos for the scarves that are on the page.  It’s not Janelle’s fault, that’s what she had to work with!  It has inspired me to re-yarn our Roman Stripe scarf and just re-do the whole pattern.  It’s one of my favorite stitch patterns and I haven’t made one in years.  I just ordered a new Noro yarn called Shinryoku that might work beautifully. (New Fine Donegal, Moonshine, and Tenzing are also coming for fall, along with a couple of other new yarns that I think you’ll love.)

I wanted to show you my finished Jeweled Cowl, made from Plymouth’s new Linaza (alpaca, linen, and Tencel).  I love the way it came out.  The pattern calls for lace-weight, but Linaza is fingering-weight which made it easier to knit.  It also called for size 8/0 beads but I used bigger size 6/0 beads – also a little easier to handle. Love the feel of yarn, soft alpaca against your neck, a little bit of crispness from the linen, and great drape from the Tencel, quite nice for a cowl.

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I had quite a bit left from the skein and from my 40-gram package of beads, but the cowl was big enough to wrap at least twice and probably 3 times around your neck, so no sense overdoing it!  Lovely free pattern on Ravelry, many thanks to the designer.

Another new cowl that I had been waiting to knit since the yarn for it came in weeks ago is this fun piece:

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The lovely yarns are new from Plymouth.  Arequipa Worsted is big generous ball of superwash merino and mulberry silk, and Arequipa Fur is a blend of baby alpaca and merino (hand-washable only). Both are made in Peru and come in lovely neutral shades:

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I would be happy to have one in any shade.  The tuck stitch is fun to do and makes a nice fabric on either side.  You determine which is the right side when you join into a circle and pick up for the fur border.  I went for the smooth side:

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as is my wont, but Plymouth shows it with the bumpy side out, also very nice:

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Don’t forget that our Braidsmaid class starts in just a couple of weeks.   This is a perfect summer project:  Not too big, not heavy, just interesting enough to keep you from dozing off and intuitive enough that you don’t have to fret all the time.  Love, love, love the projects on Ravelry!  Here are just a few:

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Love the swoop of the cable…

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(OMG, intarsia!)

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How lovely is this photo? Sigh.

By the way, you can register for a class on-line now, but not yet pay for it.  When you register, we’ll get an email and contact you for payment.

Let me know what you think of the new site – see you soon!