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:

herriott

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

breton_1_medium2

Antler by Ankestrick

antler

True Friend by Veera Valimaki

truefriend

Seashore by Isabell Kraemer

seashore

Frosty Acorn by Suvi Simola

frostyacorn

 

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:

huasco

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

Breathing Space by Veera Valimaki

breathing_space_3_medium2

 

Carpino from Brooklyn Tweed

carpino_4_medium2

 

Fine Sand by Heidi Kirrmaier

16659670353_f4301bc5cc_z

Or for smaller projects:

Silver leaf by Lisa Hannes

fo7_medium2

Pleasant Trip by Laura Aylor

img_9824_medium2

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!

maxima

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!

D116990591_medium

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.

IMG_7138_small2 image_small2cowl_marion_jpg_small2

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:

Ombre_Quintet_7_medium2

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:

pashmina_stripes7_medium2

Other fun free and colorful patterns I found:

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

20b-2_medium2

Lemons to Limes Shawl that makes its own gradient effect:

20160530_083724_medium2

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

ein_tag_am_meer2_medium2

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:

use6

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!

use5 use9

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

use8

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

use7

Susie Drake finished her Chilkat cowl in wonderfully luscious colors:

use4

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!

use2

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):

use3

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:

use1

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:

DSCN2786

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.

 

DSCN2784

 

DSCN2783

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:

DSCN2779

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!

DSCN2780

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:

DSCN2678

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.

DSCN2680

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.

DSCN2679

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

Screen_Shot_2015-12-10_at_16.28.30_medium2

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:

DSCN2661

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.

DSCN2615

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!

bagcollage

(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!

Well, no question about it, we did have snow, didn’t we?  I hope it was the whole winter’s worth at one go so we don’t have to deal with that again! I also hope you had enjoyable knitting to do while you watched the snow fall.  I got a few things finished, but I’m here to show you other people’s beautiful finished items!

First, I want to remind you that Lynne’s Beginner Crochet class is coming up on the Saturday the 13th.  If you’ve ever wanted to try this craft, or need a refresher on the basics, there are a couple spots open.  I do a bit of crochet and have had a hankering to do a project for the new baby that my niece is expecting.  I love this little bunting:

dresser3_medium2

and I would love to make this little African flower dog, done in fingering weight, and I have loads of sock yarn scraps:

Max_the_Bulldog_medium2

I’m neither a confident nor fast crocheter so either project will require a time commitment, but I think they’re worth it, and I know who to ask if I run into trouble, since Lynne has done at least one outstanding African Flower project from Heidi Bears (and we’ve got the owl to prove it!)

Okay, on with your projects!

Beautiful shawl knit by David Ritz from a pattern by Josh Ryks called Stained.

david1

Carol Slifka and Kim Lally both wore their Easy Folded Ponchos into the shop, both in Shibui Silk Cloud and Cima, and both looking wonderful!

DSCN2515

Virginia Griffith took Karen’s Moon Shadows shawl class and made this gorgeous accessory.

DSCN2522

Jettie Hunt’s version of Moon Shadows is equally stunning!

jettie2

Anne Alderman made this fun version of the Dr. Who scarf by special request from her daughter-in-law:

DSCN2527

Karen Walter made this wonderful All the Shades of Truth, designed by Laura Aylor, from all the natural shades of Herriott Fine:

DSCN2557

and then made this gorgeous gradient cowl from the leftovers:

DSCN2607

Sue Marshall loves knitting small things for all the members of her family.  From Top left: socks in Noro Silk Garden Sock, then hat and two versions of fingerless mitts, all (I think) in Manos Maxima:

sue marchall2

This wonderful cowl, knit by Tracee Yawger from Wonderland Yarns’ Cheshire Cat gradient pack, is Ann Weaver’s design Yipes Stripes!

tracee2

You remember Donna Hain’s massive scarf from a couple weeks ago – it’s well worth repeating!

DSCN2591

David Lutz finished this scarf in his favorite colors – red, white and blue!

DSCN2574

And last, but not least, Rebecca Botvin made this adorable shark hat for her son Asher, and is currently making one to match for husband Blake:

DSCN2584 DSCN2585

You guys are freakin’ awesome!!!!

Next week (probably): Sweaters!

 

Well, all forecasts point to our having our first real snowfall this coming weekend, which is both a good and a bad thing.  It’s a good thing because I love snow, even the shoveling part, and because it’s going to get back into the 40’s shortly thereafter so it won’t hang about forever.  It’s a bad thing because the Pottstown Knit-Out in support of breast cancer research is to take place this Saturday.  My store is not involved except to donate a few things, but I know how hard everyone works to put this together.  Let’s all keep fingers crossed that the snow holds off till Sunday!!  Yes, I mean you, too!  Cross those fingers!

Here’s a photo from winter a couple of years ago to keep things in perspective.  This was Penn Avenue in 2014:

pennave winter 14

May I just say: yuck.  Even I am not that enamored of this much snow.

On the bright side, we certainly need all our warm woolly sweaters and accessories now.  I’ve seen many beautiful sweaters and scarves in the past week.  This one takes the cake, however:

DSCN2591

Donna Hain made this huge scarf/wrap/almost-a-blanket in super-bulky Kureyon Air.  It’s a gorgeous piece that could wrap around her tiny frame from head to toe with room to spare.  If you see a colorful mound of knitting walking around town, that will be Donna.  Honk your horn!

Lynne brought in the model for her crocheted infinity scarf that she’s teaching on February 27.  It’s so pretty, with an interesting stitch that looks great on both sides:

DSCN2599 DSCN2600

and is long enough to wrap 2 – 3 times around your neck and keep you cozy at any temperature:

DSCN2602

It’s soft and beautiful in Manos Maxima – yummy! – and Lynne says it could easily be adjusted to use a bulky yarn for an instant-gratification project.

DSCN2604

So what will you be knitting during our snow storm? I’m working on a spring cardigan in a new yarn, but it seems vastly inappropriate to be knitting with a cotton blend when it’s snowing.  I’m wanting something new and quick.  These are from my favorites on Ravelry:

fk7gebx_medium2

Funky Nanna’s Slippers in Galway or Encore

by Stitcher Universe

IMG_20151201_104838_medium2

Extra-quick Reversible Twisted Cowl in superbulky Ushya or Kureyon Air

by Sarah English Perry

21365820758_2c09d74d21_b_medium2

Luxe Aoraki in doubled Shibui Pebble

by Libby Jonson

Of course, there are a couple un-finished things that I could work on, like the second mitten of a Fair-Isle set of hat, cowl, and mitten (yes, just one, for a year or so now) in Nature Spun Sport.  Here’s the pattern for the mittens, so cute:

Mittens_2_medium2

Purple Rain Mittens

by Dawn Cottone

Or – yikes – my second Carmine and Rocko, also in Nature Spun Sport.

carmine2_medium2

My first Carmine and Rocko in Road to China Light

designed by Nancy Marchant

 I love Nature Spun Sport for colorwork, but my colorwork projects seem to have a hard time coming to a conclusion.  I’m sure it’s not the knitter!

Whatever you knit during the snow, have fun, be cozy, stay safe!