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!

Oooh, we’ve received such pretty things this past week.  Can’t wait to show you, but first, just a bit of bragging.

I finally finished a successful sweater, so I think my summer curse is broken.  This is Jameson by Thea Colman, with some very serious modifications.  The first photo shows you the true rich navy color:

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And this one shows the pretty cables better for being a little bleached out:

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My mods:  a lighter-weight yarn but worked at the same gauge, no cables on the back, longer and narrower sleeves, longer body-shorter armhole depth, split hem, narrower cowl neck.  Possibly a few I’ve forgotten for the moment, but they’re all spelled out and available with purchase of yarn, which is knit-able, wearable, and all-around lovable Kathmandu Aran.  We just got all these fabulous colors so the selection is best right now:

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Other suggestions for this yarn might be:

Quick Sand by Heidi Kirrmaier

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and Travelers End by Carol Feller

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and many others!

We received two beautiful new colors of Silk Garden Solo, in addition to the others we already have in stock.  Here are the new shades:

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Are they not gorgeous?  I love them together and immediately thought of this new design:

Spotted Lines by von Hinterm Stein

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But the yarn has so much texture and color that you could use just one color and make a beautiful piece:

Pink Memories by Isabell Kraemer

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Sunshine Coast by Heidi Kirrmaier

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which I am going to knit but I don’t know the exact yarn yet.  We have many, many choices in sport – DK yarns and I dither about which would be the best.

So much more to show you, but with the new schedule, I must go do my own errands before time runs out.  Meanwhile I’ll just quickly say that the beautiful colors of Silky Wool I ordered to make Mentolat came in – I’ve started it and can barely make myself stop!

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More soon!

After much perambulating and perusing and percolating (you might say it all adds up to procrastination if you were feeling a bit mean), the fall class schedule is done and I love it! I’m teaching a lot and can’t wait!  That being said, I have absolutely no mind left to write anything else, and no desire to sit at my computer for one more minute this weekend, so check it out here.  Hope you find something you love!

 

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Sometimes I like to search Ravelry for patterns in some way that I haven’t tried before.  I search Ravelry a lot but it’s mostly for patterns for a certain weight of yarn or certain type of garment to get ideas for projects you all might like.   If you put in different parameters, it’s surprising what different results you might see.

I love looking at the way people put colors together.  Since I’m deep into project that I’m not 100% sure about, I needed a break.  Knitting like that is not relaxing.  I’m designing something not exactly from scratch (it uses a stitch pattern from one design and a shape from another) so I’m not sure if weeks of knitting is really going to yield something wearable, and that’s what it’s all about in the end, right?  Anyway, I needed a break and to waste a little time, so I browsed Ravelry (oooh, I wish this stupid computer would not keep correcting that to revelry!) patterns on free and stripes-colorwork and recently-added, and just looked.  It was refreshing and I found some fun patterns.

It all started with this pattern, which is not free but should be.  I love how they mixed up the stripes and colors!

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It’s doubled lace weight mohair, knit at a worsted gauge and if you’re any good at all at math, with the finished size and gauge you should be able to easily calculate the number of stitches to cast on.  Then it’s change colors at will and knit till you run out.  Simple, yet very pretty and absolutely worth doing if you want an easy project that will pay off big-time.

Then I saw this cute idea.

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Five BFF’s bought gradient packs and designed their own cowls.  Three (so far) have published free patterns.  If you’ve tried stranded knitting, go for it with whatever is in your stash.

Here is another stranded pattern but easier-peasier:

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Love the way the stranding merges the colors.

I’ve seen lots of these wonderful wraps that use up the leftover skeins from other projects in different colors of the same weight.  Pashmina Stripes is an easy free version:

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Other fun free and colorful patterns I found:

Drops’ Tide Rose with lots of short rows for interesting stripes:

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Lemons to Limes Shawl that makes its own gradient effect:

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Ein Tag am Meer (A Day at the Sea), a great summer top in a nice range of sizes:

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These easy and colorful designs are so appealing at this time of year.  Ravelry designers are so generous!  Go find your own free colorful inspiration!

I love getting new yarn! (Is anybody surprised by this by this earth-shaking announcement?)  Figuring out what a new yarn would like to become is one of the best things about owning a yarn store – or, for that matter, being a knitter.

Yarn companies always have suggestions about what to do with their yarns, but one has to approach these ideas warily.  Their purpose is to sell as much of that yarn as possible, so you’ll often see dense gauges, lots of cables whether the yarn likes them or not, and yarn-intense details that may or may not enhance the design.  We like to mess around a little bit:  swatch, rip, swatch, block, try out a few stitch patterns, evaluate drape, texture and hardiness before we dive into a full-blown project. Our purpose is also to sell as much yarn as possible but more than that it is to adorn all of Berks County and beyond with beautiful knitted items that their owners cherish!  We have such beautiful yarn, such skilled and helpful teachers, and such a talented customer base that this could become the Knitting Center of the Universe.  Okay, perhaps I’m indulging in a little megalomania there.  Back to reality!

I want to show you my version of Banner, a Berroco design in chunky yarn that, if I hadn’t had to rip out one entire sleeve because I used the wrong-sized needle to knit it, would have been done in a flash.  This is Berroco’s photo:

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and this is my finished version: (Sorry for the wrinkles, by the time I wrangle two dogs, purse, and whatever else I need between home and store, things get a little messy.)

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I used Ella Rae Chunky Merino Superwash, a very sturdy superwash wool for the main color.  I envisioned a sweater that would be easy to throw on over jeans and get on with your day, without worrying about dirt and pilling.  The yoke is done in Berroco’s Inca Tweed, a soft alpaca blend that feels great around your neck and eliminates the need for a second layer.

The stitch pattern is easy to do, just knits and purls,

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and I love the way the colors and textures enhance each other.  The little standup neck is warm without clinging.  It’s just a great all-around casual sweater.

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We got some super-bulky yarn in last week, and I had some fun with it.  This is Kureyon Air from Noro:

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The colors are amazing, as you can see.  Some are just wild and some are rich and beautiful.  I took one skein of the wildest and made the obvious choice to do something fairly simple.  We already had this free pattern for a scarf on the bias and it shows off the Noro colors to great advantage.  Size 17 needles, and bingo, gift list done!

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We also received Ushya in these beautiful neutrals from Mirasol:

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This cushy merino blend is irresistible and I really couldn’t choose just one color.  One skein of white, one skein of light gray, and here is a lovely accessory that will be just the thing when the temperature drops:

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Another free pattern, another quick gift!

Meanwhile, I’m getting things together for our Shibui party on Saturday October 24.  There are a few spaces left; if you decide you want to attend, give us a call or email us.  Otherwise, just a reminder that we’ll be closed to the public that day.  Plan accordingly!

…or two.  I’m off and running today to get everything accomplished, Had a medical test yesterday that took two days of my life to get accomplished, and if you’re my age, you’ll know what test that was. (Everything fine, by the way.) So today I must do everything that I can normally stretch over three days.  Not complaining, mind, just excusing this quick post, which is about a new free pattern on our website, called Thick & Thin Infinity Scarf.

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Sometimes I can’t explain why a yarn doesn’t sell particularly well.  If I love it, everyone should love it, right?  But when I think about it, the reason some beautiful yarn just sits there is generally my fault because I don’t have the right model for it.  That was the case with Haciendo, a thick and thin extra fine merino bulky yarn from Plymouth that has been on our shelves for a year or two at least – long enough to be discontinued by Plymouth at any rate.  It’s soft, we have pretty colors, and it’s not expensive compared to merino prices today. I’ve contemplated it every now and then but never found the right project to let its texture and softness come to the fore.  Now I think I’ve got it, and I think you’ll like it too.

This cowl/infinity scarf takes two skeins, is fast and easy and done in the round.  You need size 11 and 15 circular needles and about two evenings to make it.  It’s long enough to wrap twice around your neck

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soft, fluffy, cushy with lots of texture

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What more can you want??!!  Under $30 to make?  Check. (until it runs out!)  Enjoy!