The cardigan from my last post, Aileas, is proceeding apace.

As you can see, I did the sleeves before completing the body, just to get them out of the way.  The faux-cables are fun to work:

and are included on the sleeves:

so that even the sleeves won’t bore you to pieces.

I’m just about to add some columns of cables that will accent the back and set off the pockets so things are moving along.  I’ll probably whine at you just a bit when I’m partway through the bottom ribbing – there’s a bunch of it!

We got some really beautiful yarn in from Plymouth this last week.

That’s “Estilo” to the left and center, 10 fabulous colors of wool and silk lusciousness in a fingering/light sport weight.  Karen already snagged 2 colors to make a shawl that she may teach in the fall!  Here’s just one skein of the elegant steel blue:

The other column of beautifulness is “Reserve Sport” a blend of merino, milk, and bamboo that reminds me very much of a hand-dyed Nuna (one of our favorite drapy, shiny, slithery yarns).  I for some reason got the bug to crochet something a couple weeks ago, and since my skills are basic and my speed is snail-ic, I needed something really easy.  Reserve Sport is nice for crochet because it has built-in drape due to its fiber content, and while helping another customer, I came across this pretty and simple cowl called Tembetari.  So I’m trying it out.  After 3 hours, this is what I’ve accomplished:

Impressive, no?

I’m going to stick with it.  The yarn is delightful, and I sorely need the practice!

 

Last post, I left you with an enticing photo of huge boxes just delivered.  Those boxes contained 150 (!!) pounds of yarn from Plymouth and we’re still trying to fit it all in the shelves.  It’s a really fun dilemma to have, believe me.  I love it when the store is just bursting with wonderful materials to inspire all of us.  To look at a yarn, feel it, have an idea form in your head about what it can become, and then find the exact pattern you want for it.  There’s nothing better except sitting down to start that perfect project.

Anyway here are two of the yarns we received.  The first is our perennially favorite soft bulky yarn, Baby Alpaca Grande, in wonderful classic shades:

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One for a soft, warm hat or close-fitting cowl (close-fitting is okay, it’s SOFT!), 2 – 3 skeins for a luxurious scarf or cowl, 4 -6 for this easy shrug that will keep you cozy without overwhelming you.

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A new yarn for us, Homestead is a sturdy heavy-worsted weight 100% wool from Peru.  It’s a classic wool, great for outer-wear, cardigans, felting, slippers, mittens.  It’s a hand-wash yarn, but that’s its only drawback, everything else about it says Knit Me!  The colors are beautiful, the hand is gratifyingly woolly, the weight will knit up quickly, the price is surprisingly reasonable.

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We have this pretty throw in the shop to show you:

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but I think it would be great for a classic cardigan like this one, designed by Tammy Eigeman Thompson:

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or this very pretty new design by Josee Paquin:

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More, more, more to show you, but no time!  See you soon!

I think I’ve been in a knitting slump.  Here are two sweater projects that I tried over the summer:

Nancy’s Vest:

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Now 2 giant balls of lovely yarn, because I cast on a million more stitches than I was supposed to and didn’t notice till I was at the armholes.

Unnamed Cardigan:

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Now many small balls because after I put the shoulders together and tried it on, I realized that the modifications I made didn’t work out.  The proportions were wrong and nothing could have made it right.  It would have been an insult to a great yarn to finish it, so after I wavered for a week, out it came.

I was about to send myself down to the minors.  Instead, I took a vacation from sweaters and worked on the afghan for the knit-along – which is full, I’m delighted to say – and have enjoyed it immensely!  It’s like working on dishcloths (the fallback project for many knitters when they don’t want to be challenged too much), only it will end up being a much more impressive finished product!  I’ve also done a few other small projects along the way which have turned out fine, so I’m not totally useless yet.  I just had to wait for an inspiring sweater design to come along, and it did.  I just started and feel pretty confident about it.

Meanwhile, the shop is full of new yarn already!

Here’s the latest entry in Zen Yarn Garden’s Artwalk Series:DSCN2992

The colorway is a perfectly balanced rendition of the colors in Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post cover called “Walking to Church:”

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We received a lovely bunch of Fino from Manos del Uruguay, with 3 new colors, including Ascot which is the little peek of dark blue-gray in the photo below:

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Fascinator, an in-your-face I-love-PINK!

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and Storm Glass, a nuanced dusty jade with hints of olive:

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Juniper Moon Farm sent us some fabulous shades of Moonshine, one of our favorite worsted weight yarns. The colors can’t help but be vibrant; even the neutrals shine in this combination of wool, alpaca and silk:

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And here for its good-bye tour is Tenzing, the lovely dk weight blend of extra fine merino and yak that we have fallen in love with and that would have been discontinued last year except someone found a bunch of un-dyed yarn in a warehouse.  If you love it, now is the time (unless this is just a new type of sales pitch they’re using.  It worked on me!)

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Which one is coming home with me?

Okay, off I go to see another yarn rep this morning.  Enjoy this beautiful day!

Despite its being a bleary, dreary day, I had a lovely morning looking at new yarns for fall.  Josie Baxter, who reps for Berroco, Lang, and Mountain Colors among others, is the first rep of the season to visit me.  She also represents the company that distributes Addi needles in this country and she showed me a sample of a new olive wood needle that will be available in fixed needles and interchangeables.  I ordered just a couple so that we could all give them a try.  When they’re available, they’ll be on the table in the front room so you can take them for a test drive.

We’ll have some new colors of River Twist – hats, mitts, cowls –  and some Twizzle  – ditto plus beautiful for sweaters – from Mountain Colors in the fall, as well as a few new colors of Inca Tweed from Berroco.  This is my favorite yarn for our Warm x 2 Cowl and I have a new project in mind for it that will be fun and a little kooky – I hope to start this week!

We looked at Lang’s huge line of wonderful fashion yarns and their excellent design collections:

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How to choose??  This has been a tough year for yarn stores – as you will know if you are on any mailing lists and have seen the number of stores that have gone or will go out of business this year.  Trying to play it safe instead of jumping in with both feet, I’ve ordered a few new yarns from Lang in tiny quantities – just enough to try them out and see if I want to stock them.  No, I know I want to stock them, but I also need to have a project in mind that won’t cost a million dollars and take 5 years to knit.  How does a crazy-soft cashmere bouclé sound?  At $28/ball, it sounds too much.  But if 2 balls will do the softest cowl you’ve ever felt, will that tempt you?  It tempted me, but let’s face it, when it comes to soft luxury yarns, I’m the easiest girl at the party. And you don’t even have to buy me a drink.  One thing I can guarantee is that this store will have some lovely yarns and fresh ideas for you this fall, and I can’t wait!

We received a hefty shipment from Frabjous Fibers this week, with some new colors of their superwash sport weight Mad Hatter and some gradient packs that coordinate nicely.  We of course played around with color combinations

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(These are the same gradient packs.  The computer sees them differently because of the colors they’re with – we probably do the same. Color is so interesting.)

And for the Prince of Purple:

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Now to find the perfect pattern!  What are your ideas?

 

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:

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

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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.

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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!

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

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

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

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

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and then made this gorgeous gradient cowl from the leftovers:

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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:

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

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

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

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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

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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.

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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:

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Funky Nanna’s Slippers in Galway or Encore

by Stitcher Universe

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

by Sarah English Perry

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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:

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Purple Rain Mittens

by Dawn Cottone

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

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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!

A little more eye candy for knitters!

Here is Obi, a bulky wool/silk blend from Noro that makes a chunky and of course colorful cowl or scarf in a flash.  Gorgeous colors, as always with Noro:

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Janet made this very pretty and quick infinity scarf with two balls, from the new Noro Magazine:

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Inca Tweed, a soft and chunky alpaca/wool blend from Berroco, also arrived, in a lovely array of wearable shades:

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I bought a bunch, as you can see, so Berroco sent us a model sweater, which was very nice of them indeed.  It’s pretty, but…

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I really had to knit with the yarn, couldn’t resist, so I made this very cozy, soft, yummy, fast hat from the new magazine “Make It! Knits:”

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Delicious yarn, cute design!  When the magazine is gone, this is my hat!

The Inca Tweed booklet also features a beautiful chunky cowl that is crocheted (!!)  I want it so much I may just pick up my hook and give it a go:

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Another new yarn from Berroco, Andean Mist is a brushed alpaca/silk blend in a DK weight that knits up light as a cloud.  It’s a soft, luminous yarn, made of drifting dreams, so I bought dreamy colors for your romantic moments.

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Aren’t they so pretty?  I made this lace-edged capelet/cowl from their pattern booklet from just 3 balls:

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Now all I need is the romance!

 

Berroco’s Kodiak is another soft alpaca blend in a bulky weight that almost floats, it’s so light.  I intend to have a sweater from it this year since I didn’t get to it in time last year.  By the time I decided what to knit there was none left!

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I’m glad I waited though, because Berroco came out with this design this year…

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…and this is the one for me!  Can’t wait to get started, but must finish one or two small things first.  One is in Shibui’s newest yarn Maai – (sneak peek:)

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and one is in the newest Dream Club yarn, which I can’t even give you a peek at.  Loving them both!

Lots more to show, hope I’ll get to another post in a couple days. Meanwhile, we’ll be looking for you:

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…I must be buying yarn!  ‘Tis rep season and my favorite visited this morning.  Tonny Shankland represents Shibui, Fibre Compay, Manos, and MadelineTosh, as well as Swans Island – so many of my favorite yarn lines!

Here is a shot of Shibui colors, always so sophisticated:

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and their newest yarn, called Maai, available in September, a blend of superbaby alpaca and fine merino:

DSCN1509 DSCN1510 (I bought some.) (You’re surprised, aren’t you?)

Maai, like most of their yarns, is thin-ish and can be used alone or in combination with their other yarns to make luxurious mixtures.  I love how they coordinate their colors between yarns so that you can mix or match with ease.

But this post was really supposed to be about the benches, which we yarn-bombed with cat hugs for Art on the Avenue last Saturday.

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They turned out to be cute, didn’t they?  And lots of people tried them out, including Jettie Hunt, who was here Sunday for a crochet class and sat comfortably making progress before class.

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Thank you again to everyone who made hugs and brought them over, and especially to Donna, who assembled one of the covers!  We lucked out on the weather – no rain! – so I disassembled them on Sunday and the hugs will be delivered to the Humane Society next week when I’m on vacation.

Hey!  I’m on vacation next week starting Sunday June 29 through Tuesday July 8.  The shop will be closed but classes will take place as scheduled. This week, I’ll be calling people who ordered yarn for the Hitofude knit-along, so they can pick up their yarn and do their swatching before the first session on Thursday July 10th.  Should be fun!!

I love to see finished projects from our customers!  Everyone is so different and it’s great to see their interpretations of color and designs.

First, though, I want to mention that we will be closed on Sunday so I can have a long weekend for Memorial Day.  Hope you have something wonderful planned!

And mentioning that also makes me wonder if you have “liked” us on Facebook.  You can keep up with us a little better if you do; your feed will show you news like the Jilly shipment arriving and Sunday’s closing without your having to check in here.  I’m not terribly Facebook-y yet but I can see the value of keeping up with your favorite stores and other organizations without having to jump from one website to another.  Just a suggestion!

I hope you saw our Jilly post.   Several people bought it for the Pommi and Pearls crocheted shawl class – perfect!  There’s still room in the class and beautiful colors in stock, so come by soon.

Now to the fun part!

Our mystery guest (actually it’s Donna Hain, but I wasn’t allowed to include her hair, which was cute as pie anyway, in the picture) came in with her “Mrs. Garter” jacket beautifully finished.  I love this jacket, it’s stylish, comfortable, and so interesting to knit.  Many people did a light main color and used a darker color for the stripes (which are optional) but Donna reversed that, and the result looks great on her.  Here she’s showing the collar open:

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and here the collar is buttoned, and you can the cunning little contrasting pocket lining.  Great job!

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Donna (Guthrie) is thinking about offering the class again – please let us know if you’re interested.

 

Donna (Hain) has been busy; she also finished her Fair Isle scarf in these striking colors of Fresco:

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She’s got a few more things in the works (I can hear her laugh now: “a few?!!”)

David has been quietly knitting away up there in Schuylkill County and finally sent us some photos!  Look at what he has been knitting – sorry I don’t have details on all the patterns, but I would love to knit any of these pieces:

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especially that last one – I absolutely love it!  David says the pattern in called Bloomsbury – it’s on Ravelry, and I see by the photos there that the lace pattern is all over the back of the sweater.  Very beautiful!

Sarah Ruppert is a new customer with us and I’m so impressed with her knitting!  She loves making baby clothes and has knit many, many designs out of the Cascade “60 Quick…” books.  Here are just a few that I’ve seen so far:

A cute little gansey-type sweater in a heather-y teal:

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This sweet little sheep hat (front and back view):

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And these adorable little hats with contrasting bows:

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Too cute!

Jane Brubaker has found a new favorite pattern: Hitchhiker (also on Ravelry).  It looks great in self-striping yarn.  She used Zauberball for this one, and is, I’ll bet, happily working on one or two more:

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Virginia Griffith finished this fun summer sweater, made from CoBaSi.  It’s knit sideways and is reversible, with the dominant color changing front to back.  Here’s a front view:

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and here’s a side view showing the back, while Virginia takes care of her primary job at the shop, which is catering to Jack and Purl.  (They think that’s the only reason she comes!)

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Lory Fleischer loves to make clothes for her granddaughter and brought in two new items.  The first is this cute little sleeveless tunic, for which she bought pants to match:

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and this really adorable Chanel-style jacket – isn’t it precious!

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Lauren Turgeon was inspired by Donna’s Fabergé shawl to make one of her own.  It’s stunning in two beautiful colors of MadTosh Merino Light:

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While Lauren was in the shop, someone else saw her shawl and decided to make one, so thanks, Lauren, and thanks to everyone who takes the time to bring in their finished projects – it’s definitely inspiring!

I finally finished the sweater that has been just a little too taxing for my brain, which seems to be on spring break.  I’m only fit for making cat hugs or other items for our yarn-bombing project.  Here’s the latest little item that will be included. somehow:

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Crocheted butterflies! Here’s a link to the free pattern on Ravelry.  Do you have any granny squares lying around waiting to be made into something that will never get done?  Bring them in, they’ll fit in with our project beautifully!

Phew! You made it through the whole post – congratulations!

 

 

Finally, it’s really spring to me.

This week is the first that I haven’t pulled on a wool sweater when I get up in the morning.  That means I can finally get into my spring ritual of de-pilling, mending and washing before putting the warm sweaters away for a few months.  It’s very satisfying to carefully fold away a sweater that smells lovely and looks fresh and know that it will be there for me when things cool down.

Plus, this is the lovely old rhododendron that means spring to me every year:

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It has had a few rocky years when I was afraid I would have to have it pulled out, but this cold, cold winter has refreshed it, and it’s spectacular this year with big happy bees all over it.

In keeping with my theme, I have two pretty pink shawls to show you today.  The first is Lynne Nagle’s beautiful Pommi and Pearls Shawl.   It’s crocheted in MadelineTosh Merino Light and is, frankly, much prettier than any of the versions on Ravelry.  Lovely work, it shows off the different textures between the body and the border, and those charming little poofs on the edge.  She’s giving a class starting Sunday, June 8!!  (Details here.)  You can make this!

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Far less gorgeous, but fun to knit anyway, is this little shawl called Romance.  I made it in this pretty pink shade – just couldn’t resist this color any longer) of Mimi (100% mink) and for no reason whatsoever I held a strand of color-changing, skinny-skinny Niji with it.  (It would have been just as pretty without it, maybe even more so.)  I added a few more beads than were called for, and it’s a pretty little piece, simple enough for summer knitting:

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Pink, pink, and more pink – great color for spring and summer. I’m off to wash more sweaters and buy a few plants.  Janet’s coming back this week – we’ll be so happy to see her!  We’ll be working on a new class schedule soon.  Jilly from Dream in Color is shipping this week – if we’re lucky, I’ll have photos to show you in a few days.  We have over 30 cat hugs so far – and still need more!!  Our new website is coming along nicely and I’m pretty excited about that.  All in all, lots of good things are happening here!