I LOVE yarn.  No one is surprised by that, I’m sure, but sometimes I get so tied up with projects and classes that I forget about the joys of just being around yarn and getting to know it and appreciating the differences between all the varieties.

Iris is a new worsted-weight yarn from Debbie Bliss’s new collection called Pure Bliss. It’s made from superfine merino wool with a smooch of cashmere.  Superfine merino is already soft and smooth next to the skin, and the 5% cashmere just adds a bit of lovely fuzziness to the surface.  I love the colors I ordered: rich neutrals and a beautiful soft pink.

I made a sweet one-ball cowl (free with purchase)

that deserves to be caressing someone’s neck, but I will say that if I had a loved one who needed a chemo cap, this would be the yarn I would choose.  One ball would do it, and I like this nice free pattern from A Little Knitty on Ravelry (although there are many great free patterns for chemo caps. I tailored my search specifically for Iris’s specs, knitting, free patterns with a good rating. Here’s my search.)

If you follow us on Facebook, you’ll have seen other new yarns that popped in the door this week:

New colors of Herriott Fine, a lovely fingering-weight alpaca/nylon blend from Juniper Moon Farm.  I love this yarn for its softness and warmth, and these 3 new colors add to the rich, heathered palette we already stock:

Gloves, scarves and shawls are all lovely in this yarn, and it also combines well with other lightweight yarns to make a quicker, warmer, softer project. We combined it with Fine Donegal to make Trailhead a couple years ago, and it’s still everyone’s favorite.  Loretta looks great in mine, so of course, she made her own:

Speaking of Fine Donegal, a few new colors of this wool/cashmere blend came in.  It features the interesting sturdiness and the fantastic colored highlights that only an Irish mill could accomplish:

I’m ready for a sweater in any of these colors, and yes, the red (named Strawberry) really is that vibrant! Remember Newsom?

A great little  jacket to dress up or down, and it still looks just like new.

Huenique (pronounced hew-NEEK) is a superwash wool blend that does it all.  Blended stripes of amazing color combinations, thick-and-thin texture, machine washability, and light-chunky gauge make this a perfect yarn for quick gifts and accessories, or a fun kid’s sweater.  Hats, scarves, cowls, mittens – anything’s possible:

Just look at those colors!

A reminder about classes:  our exclusive afghan

Deb’s exclusive D-Y-O Scarf for beginners and beyond

Karen’s Silverleaf Shawl

and Cloud Nine Slippers

all start in October!  Only one or two spots remain in each so if you’re interested, don’t wait too long.  You can check out the dates and times here.

As you can tell from my last post, I love playing with color, and having the shop gives me so much opportunity to indulge that love.  When I’m not busy, I can spend many happy moments (minutes, hours) pulling yarns off the shelf and putting different colors and textures together.  They may never be anything more than speculative, but this little activity gives me the same pleasure as planning a decorating scheme or mapping out a quilt gives other people.

So, when a new yarn comes in with innovative use of color, it opens up many possibilities, and I find that trying to resist this time-wasting and purely pleasurable activity is useless. I must play!

We recently received Frabjous Fibers’ March Hare (lovely worsted weight superwash merino) dyed in their Tea Time speckled colorways:

They’re pretty in and of themselves, no?  But combine them with other yarns and they really come into their own:

 

 

 

I love how different companion colors bring out different aspects of the March Hare.  I can’t decide which is my favorite, but I ordered some extra of the Peach Pie colorway so I decided to use that for a little shop sample.  I had these three colors chosen:

(and then I had three other colors, then three others, and on and on) but eventually, due to some time constraints, decided to use only 2 colors and make a smallish project. I have always liked the look of this cute Candygram cowl by Tanis Lavallee, which uses two colors and a neat slip stitch-plus-rib technique to make two different sides. Here’s my version:

Love it! You can get the pattern free from her Instagram feed link on Ravelry, and if this is too technical for you, I can help you out at the shop.

I really have been busy with knitting this summer.  Next time I’ll show you a terrific cardigan I finished, and possibly one or two finished Pearl pullovers from our class and, I hope, my second (!) Pearl.  And yes, we’re working on the class schedule for fall – I’m getting pretty excited about it.

 

Our customers are so talented and creative and incredibly patient to put up with my terrible photos and my constant pleas of “Can I take a picture?”  I really love seeing finished projects and I hope you do, too!

I’ve linked to patterns on Ravelry when I know them:

Jill Pelchar finished her sampler afghan in Encore Tweed (the booklet is available in print at the shop) from our class last fall/winter.  Pretty colors, and cozy, too:

She also did this wonderful poncho in two colors (doing intarsia for the cable insert) of Huasco DK.  I love the way she looks in it! Sorry, I don’t know the pattern:

Jane Brubaker completed her Modern Wrapper Fine from Karen’s class using Tenzing, and as usual has accessorized it beautifully with a Chevron cowl (pattern is free-with-purchase of yarn at the shop):

Kathleen Delong recently learned to knit, but you’d think she had been doing it all her life.  Her first project class was the Forest Park cowl, then she made our Adult Ribbed Hat (a free-with-purchase pattern at the shop):

then on to the Wildflower cowl (also free-with-purchase):

and she just this week finished her Simple Tee (I’ll have pictures after blocking) and has three more sweaters lined up! Amazing!

Anne Nordhoy, as always, has done an expert job on three intricate projects:

a little tennis sweater which she designed and knit for the new baby of a tennis fan:

this complicated scarf in Zauberball from a Knitter’s Magazine pattern:

and this pretty Architexture scarf (her second or third, I believe) in Huasco DK:

Kathie Holm made this lovely Hydrangea wrap as a gift:

Marci Frey knit this adorable baby sweater for a co-worker.   Sorry, I don’t have the name of the pattern:

Pam Zern made several pairs of these Last-Minute Mittlets in luscious cashmere:

David Ritz, even though we don’t see him much these days, keeps in touch, and sent this picture of the Wildflower Cowl he made:

Nadine Lyon fell in love with the rainbow colors of our Sueno colorpacks and made this adorable Bounce baby blanket:

Kim Lally picked a great color of Olympia from Lana Grossa, and made a gorgeous poncho from their booklet of patterns (available at the shop):

Suzy Crump knit this lovely wrap (called Void) from Amirisu magazine for one of her cherished daughters-in-law:

Karen Wenrich used up dozens of fingering-weight left-overs from her many shawls and made this wonderful linen stitch wrap.  I don’t know if she used a pattern but Churchmouse’s  would certainly work:

Phew!  Overwhelming, yes?  Let’s go knit something wonderful!

Goodness, it’s nice to have a week off!  I had company from overseas, and, thanks to everyone who participated in the sale, I could afford to close for the week and enjoy the visit.  I hope you found bargains that you’ll enjoy just as much!

I haven’t had dedicated knitting time for a while, but I did finish one or two things.  This is a little seed-stitch summer cowl, made from one ball of Lang Fiora, 100 stitches on a size 8 needle.  Pretty and simple, and just a nice light touch of color for summer outfits:

 

And after working on a couple of large projects in neutral colors:

I needed some beautiful color to celebrate the beautiful weather we’ve been having lately.  I made Joji Locatelli’s “Monochrome Cowl”

in this gorgeous color of Fino.

Fino is still a favorite yarn, with a lovely drape and stitch definition due to its silk content, pleasurable knitting because of its wool content, and general good karma due to its Fair Trade status and the long-established women’s cooperative in Uruguay that makes and dyes the Manos yarns and many other products.  I shortened the stockinette-stitch sections so that it took just one skein.

I’ve cleaned out a few receptacles of all the odd balls left over from finished projects (and many that never really got started).  I’ve picked up a couple abandoned things that I’ve decided to finish and generally cleared the area of everything else.  (Picture all the teams on TV that go into dangerous situations yelling “Clear!” when there are no bad guys there – that’s the way I feel when I see no baskets or bags full of yarn balls with ends trailing and entwined – it’s great!)

Now I’ve got to order a bunch of Eucalan – it’s sweater-washin’ time, finally.  Spring, here we come!  Enjoy the holiday and we’ll see you soon!

While I’m enjoying our first rainy day in months, I thought I’d show you more new yarns to think about while you’re planning your fall knitting:

(Links to Ravelry in photos below)

Two new colors (to add to our very good selection of natural colors) of Herriott Fine, a lovely fingering-weight alpaca blend that drapes softly:

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I love these colors together, and we have so many other really beautiful combinations, so I would love to use two colors to make any (or all, if only I had six hands) of these great sweaters:

Breton from Brooklyn Tweed

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Antler by Ankestrick

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True Friend by Veera Valimaki

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Seashore by Isabell Kraemer

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Frosty Acorn by Suvi Simola

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We also received more beautiful color ways of Huasco DK, a hand-dyed extra fine merino with a lovely bounce. Most of the color ways are beautifully blended (you can clearly see which one I would leave out of that category, although I’m going to wind a skein and do a small project like an infinity scarf to see what it looks like when knitted) so they would work well for a sweater project:

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Several people are using it for our Modern Wrapper Fine class.  It would also be lovely for:

Breathing Space by Veera Valimaki

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Carpino from Brooklyn Tweed

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Fine Sand by Heidi Kirrmaier

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Or for smaller projects:

Silver leaf by Lisa Hannes

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Pleasant Trip by Laura Aylor

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As with most hand-dyes, if you’re using it for a sweater, you should blend two skeins for about 2 inches when coming to the end of a skein so that any difference in the skeins will not be apparent to the eye. Blending means knitting 2 rows with the old skein, then two rows with the new, carrying the yarns loosely up the edge.  If you’re knitting in the round, you can knit one round with the old, one with the new, again carrying them loosely up the inside.  If you’re a real hard case, you can use two skeins the whole way, but if you’re careful about choosing similar skeins, I think blending for a little while is fine.

Speaking of hand-dyes, our shipment of Manos Maxima has arrived in all its annual splendor!  I can’t even tell you how much I love this yarn.  Come see it!

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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!

Need some inspiration?  Our customers inspire us every day, and we’re so thankful that they allow us to share:

 

Heather Christie made this wonderful Esjan shawl, designed by Stephen West, and models it beautifully:

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Anne Alderman made these beautiful Age of Brass and Steam shawls, one in Lang Ella and the other in a beautiful shade of Juniper Moon Farm Zooey.  One is a gift and one is for herself – I’m not sure she has been able to decide yet!

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Becky Steltz knitted this adorable Elephant, designed by Sarah Keen:

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and then went on to make this beautiful afghan (free Lion Brand pattern) as a wedding present, using Encore Mega!

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Susie Drake finished her Chilkat cowl in wonderfully luscious colors:

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Donna Hain cleared out some old bags and baskets and found the yarn for this project – It’s the Pamela from Two Old Bags (pattern available at the shop), and it’s still just as cute as pie!

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Karen Walter (okay, obviously not only a customer) made these technically challenging and visually amazing Pucker socks.  (They don’t pucker when you wear them, the fit is spot on):

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Anne Nordhoy is just a bit obsessive about using up her odds and ends, finding it a fun challenge to make something interesting from them.  Below, she is in the process of making an infinity scarf from leftovers and you can try this, too:

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With an appropriately-sized circular needle, cast on a multiple of 6 stitches plus 5.  Join in the round and don’t bother to place a marker!  Work K3, P3 continuously, changing colors when you run out.  Bind off loosely when it’s deep enough!

Here are some guidelines if you’d like to give it a try.  For fingering-weight yarn, try a size 6 needle.  For a smallish cowl, cast on 125 stitches (20 x 6 = 120 +5 = 125).  For worsted-weight, try a size 9 needle and 95 stitches.  For bulky weight, try size 11 needle and 65 stitches.  For super-bulky yarns, try size 17 needle and 41 stitches.  To make it larger or smaller, add or subtract stitches in multiples of 6.

Thanks, Anne!

Have fun!

I knit for all kinds of reasons (just like you, probably.)  Sometimes it’s because I have to – we need a class sample or I have bought a new yarn for the store that needs a model, even if I don’t particularly want to knit that model.  Sometimes it’s because of the way I feel – I’m nervous about something so I need to do something to calm myself, or I’m scared about something new I’m trying so I need to do something I’m confident about, or I’m at loose ends and I need something challenging to do.  Sometimes it’s even because I need something for my “wardrobe” (yes, it deserves quotation marks) – a little black sweater, a neutral cardigan with convenient pockets, a hide-those-five-extra-pounds vest.

And sometimes I knit because I want to make something pretty.

It doesn’t matter if I’m going to wear it with everything, if it goes with jeans, if it’s my color.  A pattern will catch my eye, and even though I really can’t justify making it, I just want to.  For me, that’s when knitting becomes pure pleasure.  It’s about the fibers, about the colors, about the techniques.  That’s when I fall in love with knitting all over again, and after all these years.

So I made Typha:

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It’s a pretty cowl designed by Kirsten Kapur.  I made it in lace weight yarn, Cima from Shibui, a lovely blend of alpaca and wool, in colors that were a little unexpected but played pleasantly together.  It’s light, it drapes, and it was fun to make.  That’s all it needs to be.

 

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Another, even prettier, thing arrived at the shop this week.  Karen’s Waiting for Rain shawl is absolutely lovely in Manos’ Fino, a wool and silk fingering-weight that we just love:

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It’s a beautiful design, with short-row lace insertions periodically accenting soothing garter stitch, with a nice wrappy size and fabric.  A pretty thing that needs no further justification to exist!

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Don’t let the words “short row” and “lace” intimidate you.  Karen is teaching this shawl this summer and she’ll get you through the tough bits!

And then you’ll have this pretty thing, too!

It’s a beautiful day and feels so much like spring that I simply had to complete a spring project.  Most of our spring yarns will arrive in the next week or two, but one has already hit the door and tempted me.  Schulana’s Sayonara is 100% silk, soft and cool against your skin and very nice to knit (or crochet, I feel sure!)  It comes in lovely gradient colorways that will put you into the mood to brighten up your wardrobe and get those spring things out of the back of your closet.

This photo shows 2 balls of each color way so that you can get a feel for the transitions you’ll see in each 164 yd. ball:

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L to R: Jade/Turquoise, Mango/Taupe, Hyacinth/Periwinkle, Turquoise/Teal, Rose/Taupe, Lemon/Taupe

Being a big fan of yellow as a sign of warm weather, I chose the last combo to do a project.  The sales rep for this yarn wore a little cowl that was quite pretty and lay just right.  It tempted me, and she emailed me the pattern.  Using just one skein and a size 10 24″ circular needle, I finished this little cowl in about 2 hours of easy knitting.

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The pattern is:

Cast on 100 st, place marker and join in the round, being careful the stitches are not twisted around your needle.  *Purl 6 rounds, knit 6 rounds; repeat from * 3 more times, end with purl 6 rounds.  Bind off LOOSELY, using the stretchiest bind-off you know.   No blocking required, the cowl lies very nicely, adding a bit of shine and color to your outfit and some very soft and mild warmth to the back of your neck when you need it, and will just get better the more you wear it.

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Enjoy!!  More new yarns arriving this week – come see us!

 

I’ve been indulging myself for the last few weeks, knitting things that I’m interested in instead of things I think other people might be interested in.  I’ve been a bad LYS owner, but a happy knitter.  It’s kind of fun to do this if you’ve been knitting gifts for other people or virtuously finishing up projects that you’ve lost interest in.  I’m rewarding myself for getting my tax stuff off to my brother-in-law the accountant.  Every year, starting New Year’s Day, I obsess until I have all the information together and feel like celebrating when I send it off.  I’m celebrating with a nifty little pullover from Heidi and Anna Pickles, a Norwegian design and yarn duo.  I liked this sweater

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as soon as I saw it  – I’m a sucker for tidy little pullovers and liked the little standup collar, the contiguous shoulders,  and ribbed sleeves.  I had Shibui Pebble and Cima at home in the color Brass. Held together they made the gauge easily and the fabric is both cushy and sturdy.  The project is indulgent and just for me because the pattern, although available in English – sort of – is written for Norwegians, who learn to knit in the womb and need very few instructions. We Americans like everything spelled out in detail, so it’s taking a little trial and error at certain points in the pattern to get things looking right.  This is how is looks so far, with shoulders done and sleeves started:

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and with all the ribbing and size 3 needles, it will look very much like this for quite a while. That’s okay, though. The combination of yarns is wonderful and I’m enjoying every single (infinitely long) round.

I don’t think I ever showed you the finished fluffy pink jacket I made over the holidays (all of them; it took a while and there was a lot of moaning as I recall).  It’s Flaum from Amirisu Magazine, Issue 8, Fall 2015.  I used a lovely shade of Arioso from Lana Grossa and just love the way it turned out, now that I’m over the immense amount of ribbing.

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And look at the way the very adorable pin that Andy Watkins gave us accents it perfectly.  Thanks, Andy!  Caution: There are errata for the pattern so if you have the magazine, be sure to look them up on Amirisu’s website.  I hope that if you buy the individual pattern from Ravelry, the corrections will have been made, but be sure.

One more thing to show you:  New knitting bags!  I’m excited to have these exclusively in the store.  Kathy K. is a local sewist.  She collects used jeans and uses them as the main fabric, then adds fun fabrics and embellishments to the front of each bag.  I love them!  Kathy designed them to be strong, comfortable to carry and very functional.  Every one is unique, beautifully pieced, with sturdy stitching, a magnetic closure, and a covered wooden stabilizer in the bottom.  One large inside pocket holds your patterns and/or tablet, three small inside pockets hold all your accessories. The double straps are denim outside and lined with the complementing fabric.  I’m happy to be able to offer them at $95 each.  Here are a few of the bags that we have in stock, and Kathy can also do special orders!

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(I’m not showing you my favorite – it’s little smaller and has a PINK floral lining – it may come home with me!)

See you soon!