It’s been a while since I posted, and there’s so much to talk about and show you that I don’t even know how to start.  I want to show you customer projects from this summer, but I also want to show you new yarns that have been coming in, and I also just want to ramble on about this and that.

I’ll start with some customer projects today:

Susie Drake took Karen’s Eternal Optimist class this summer and brought in her completed scarf to show.  The color is stunning and the beads are beautiful accents:

Mary Ellen Leidy took Karen’s Modern Wrapper Fine class in the spring, just after getting a new puppy!  It took a little while to finish the wrapper, in between walks, play, and training sessions for Keiko, but she did it!  It’s a beautiful fit, a beautiful color, and beautiful workmanship:

Cindy Schuchart took my Corella hat class this summer, in between vacations with a house full of kids and grandkids.  She made a beautiful hat and got comfortable with charts as well.

Cindy also made this pretty poncho for her daughter-in-law from our in-house free pattern.  Finished in plenty of time for fall, the poncho is perfect!

Virginia Griffith made this great open-work tunic from two colors of Shibui Twig.  (So sorry for  the photo. Take my word for it, it’s really pretty!)

Debby Andrews finished this pretty feather-and-fan tam, then made a cowl in the same stitch pattern to match.  She’s all set for cool weather:

Anne Alderman made these two good-looking summer tops, plus one or two more, plus some hats…and on and on…!

Jill Pelchar made this great hoodie for her daughter, who models it beautifully!

Linda Seifarth loves small projects.  She made the adorable hat and the in-process headband for a grand who, I think, is heading to Penn State. The beautiful Touch-Me scarf is in her own favorite color.  The headband pattern and the scarf patterns are ours and are free with purchase:

Anne Nordhoy made up her own bunch of blocks for this afghan, made from scraps from other projects.  It’s amazing!

However, the belle of the blog has got to be this challenging sweater Amy Wall made for her nephew Joey – cables, steeks and all!  He obviously adores it; you don’t see bigger smiles than this:

Many thanks to everyone who sends me photos or takes the time to bring in finished projects.  It’s a real joy to see them!

 

 

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!

How much more time is left?  How much more money do you need?  How much more stuff do you want?  More clothes, more food, more kudos, more recognition, more social standing, more, more, more?

A death in my family – the first in my generation – and a reunion of sorts with my extended family has made me reflect on what I want for the next few years of my life, what I enjoy about having this little business, and what I would wish for the years beyond.

What I like about the business:

  1. Helping you choose the right yarn for your project.  I really know a lot about yarn and will never try to sell you something that won’t work.
  2. Helping you with problems in your knitting.  There’s no need to apologize for “taking up our time.”  That’s what it’s all about, as far as I’m concerned.
  3. Teaching classes.
  4. All the stuff you like: buying yarn, talking about yarn, thinking of new projects, talking about knitting, and most of all, knitting.
  5. Designing projects I can’t find good patterns for.  This is not really part of the store; it’s just something I enjoy and would like to do more of if there is ever enough time.

What I don’t like about the business:

  1. Being at the store when no one else is there.  There’s no one at home doing the dishes or the laundry or running errands or waiting for the cable guy or arranging doctor appointments or paying bills or taking the dogs to the vet.  I, like many of you, get to do that in my “free” time.  That’s why I’m giving myself more of it by being closed on Tuesdays now (and probably forever.)
  2. Selling.  I’m not good at it.  I won’t point out a lot of stuff you don’t express an interest in or a need for.  If you don’t look around, you’ll miss a lot of nice yarn and projects and ideas.  Take some time to poke around. (Or don’t; it’s entirely up to you.)
  3. Minor bugaboos that affect every small business: random requests for donations from strangers, junk phone calls, and people pretending they want to buy yarn from me when what they really want is free advice for their project from Michael’s or AC Moore or “America’s Yarn Store” which is hubris if I’ve ever heard it and may be the only yarn store around when the dust settles.  Don’t you wonder how that will go?

My family’s loss of a really good guy, great dad and “Pap” (as his grandkids called him), and my cousin’s sweet husband of 49 years seems to me an occasion to step back a bit and see where we are and where, if we’re given the opportunity, we go from here.

And while we reflect, here are some finished sweater projects to inspire our knitting, lovely as they are.

Rochelle Mann, her own design, in Plymouth Worsted Merino Superwash:

 

Donna Hain, Eyelet Cardi, in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool:

Eleni Geishauser for her husband, Snowshoe Aran, in Plymouth Galway:

Virginia Conrad, from The Best of Lopi, in Fibre Company’s Cumbria:

Anne Alderman, Modern Wrapper Fine, in Lana Gatto Feeling (with husband John):

 

Virginia Griffith, Sunshine Coast, in Juniper Moon Farm’s Zooey:

Anne Nordhoy, Vitamin D, Modern Wrapper Fine, and her own creation, in various wonderful yarns:

Thanks to everyone who endures my poor photography and my ramblings here.  Writing to you all may be my very favorite part of having the store!  See you soon.

 

I love knitting sweaters.  They’re challenging and satisfying projects, and – if you believe in getting gauge and know how to choose the right size and yarn – they’re custom-made just for you or the recipient and wonderful to wear.  I’m so happy we have lots of people who feel the same way!

Jill Pelchar made this cute hoodie for one of her granddaughters:

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You can see her other grand in the background picking out yarn for her own hoodie.

A couple more summer projects:

Deb Hawk made this adorable top from a combination of yarns she chose:

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And Suzy Crump knit this cute summer tee from a wonderful color of Zooey:

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Knitting for babies is always fun and gratifying.  Marci Frey made this sweet Last-Minute baby sweater for a friend:

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(Please don’t ask me why the photo is so small, I don’t know what I did.)

And Carol Whitcraft made these two matching smocked cardigans for two of her greats!

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Suzy decided to rip another sweater and re-dedicate the yarn to this cabled pullover.  She was very happy with the new sweater and you can see why:

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Rochelle Mann designs her own sweaters from the ground up.  This lovely and flattering cabled cardigan looks great from all angles:

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Debby Andrews worked hard to finish this little summer cardigan and had enough warm weather to still wear it this fall:

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And Sheila Yarus always impresses us with her excellent knitting, her choice of styles to make, and the way she can visualize how they’ll look in different yarns.  Three beautifully successful projects:

In a combination of Silk Garden Sock colors:

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In Shibui Pebble:

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In Fino from Manos:

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Wow, wow, wow, you all!! Wonderful! Thanks for showing us!

I missed a post last week, but for good reason:  I spent 8 hours over two days making decisions about the yarns I want to bring in this fall for your knitting delectation.  It’s exhilarating for an hour, then it’s exhausting.  I want all the beautiful yarns they show me but I can’t have them all – life is so unfair!!  Anyway, I have loads of Manos, Fibre Company, and even some MadelineTosh coming, as well as some very nice new yarns from Juniper Moon and Noro.  I want it all right now, but most won’t be available till late summer/early fall.  I’m a little forlorn about that.

So these nice finished projects will cheer us all up! It’s all about sweaters this time.  Why sweaters this time of year?  Because fall is only a few months away and you’re going to want something new and beautiful when the weather cools off.  (That’s after the weather warms up, of course – it will happen, surely?)

Anne Nordhoy, who grew up in Norway and visits regularly, knits as naturally as the rest of us breathe.  Here are two sweaters she whipped up.  Both are simple styles, one with set-in sleeves and one a top-down raglan.  The navy is a sturdy classic wool from Ella Rae and the red is an amazing color of Zooey, a cotton/linen blend just right for these cool-into-warm days:

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Karen Wenrich made this beautiful Trace from Shibui’s luxurious M’aai.  The fit is perfect and the color is lovely on her.  I love the glamour-girl pose, too – done to show the sweet ribbed trim, done in Pebble and Cima.

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Anne Alderman has taken up knitting with a vengeance and has made a number of beautiful items, including these pieces.  The first is a Shibui design done in their Baby Alpaca.  The pretty fuchsia Adrift is knit in Lace Lux, and the wonderful T-shirt is from a free shop pattern in Lang Ella.  Thanks to Anne for finding all the problems with the pattern – it was years old and we didn’t even know what it would look like when finished.  It was written in the days before photographs could be easily digitized and computers didn’t have enough memory or power to include good photos in documents.  Just a dozen years but an entirely different cultural era ago.  Anyway, Anne soldiered on and the tee looks wonderful on her:

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Jettie Hunt is modeling her Tracks in a Field from Karen’s winter class, looking put-together and comfortable all at the same time!

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Becky Steltz finished this pretty lacy pullover – I’ll bet this is the perfect time of year for it.

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Ginny Close took on the challenge of Brooklyn Tweed’s differently-constructed Keel and and did a beautiful job!

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Jane Brubaker made this simple and elegant Cornice in Shibui’s M’aai.  Sorry for the terrible photo – the fit is absolutely perfect.

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David Ritz sadly doesn’t get down to see us much these days but that doesn’t stop him from knitting with us!  Here he has done Orca Run, a wonderful cowichan design from Beth Brown-Reinsel, and our own V-neck Raglan Cardigan and Drape-Front Cardigan.  We muss him!

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And Laura Vilardo finished her Trailhead, which was way too long – we evaluated the fabric and decided her purling row gauge was a bit loose and did some PT for her purling moves, but that still left her with a beautiful sweater that was much too long.  Her hands didn’t even reach the pockets!  She wasn’t going to rip and she wasn’t going to wear it, so she decided to gently felt it – a dangerous move, but one that made some sense.  When you felt stockinette stitch, you lose a lot more length than width and that was just what she wanted.  So she tried it  – just for a few minutes! – et voila! A sweater that fits and still has plenty of stitch definition as you can see by the back view.  Whew!

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Thanks to everyone who brought in their projects or sent photos.  It makes our day!

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!

Okay, many of you are too young to know the reference of the title.  In olden times, there was a TV cowboy named Roy Rogers who was married to a TV cowgirl named Dale Evans, and every week at the end of their show, they would sing a song that ended with the line “Happy trails to you, ’til we meet again,” which all of us little cowboys and -girls would sing along with them.

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(Dale and Roy with Trigger)

I felt like singing this little tune when our Trailhead knit-along ended this week- we had been together since January working on this project!  The design was interesting and challenging the whole way through, from choosing the combination of fibers and colors, the intricate shaping and cable charts on the back, through the unique pocket details and significant amount of finishing required.  Although several sweaters are still in the finishing phase (the fun part, as I call it), these beauties are done:

Jill Pelcher was the first to finish in her beautiful blues. (No, there was no prize for being the first.)

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Donna Hain chose a combination of reds to make a beautiful and vibrant brick fabric:

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Deb Hawk loves the rich browns and subtle accent colors of the combination she chose:

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Love them all!  We had a wrap-up this past week.  Only about half of us braved the ridiculous bitter wind to come, and I managed only one semi-decent photo – really, I should take a class, right? – of our finished pieces.  Virginia Griffith’s sweater is the beautiful neutral of my shop model and looks wonderful, plus she brought a pretty little cupcake bouquet for us!

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Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the knit-along; it was a pure pleasure for me to see the projects coming to fruition!

Meanwhile, I’m finishing up summer models and trying to get the spring and summer classes on line.  I’m hoping that by this coming weekend, the schedule will be finished.  Lots of fun small projects to keep you knitting through the hot weather, if it ever comes!

It’s a dreary, snowy day but in here, it couldn’t be cozier.  The dogs are snoozing on the couch, my coffee tastes extra good, I’m surrounded by baskets of yarn, and a couple of interesting projects are waiting for me to finish this post.  I can’t seem to settle to a sweater right now – maybe because the Trailhead Knitalong is very involving at this point – so I’m working on my second Carmine and Rocko (yes, still!)

DSCN2623  when I have the attention for it, and also working on a pretty cowl called Appia, which I’m making in a rich pomegranate-ish shade of super-yummy Mariquita from The Alpaca Yarn Company.

DSCN2622  Lots of fun!

Just to let you Fino fans know, we received a nice batch from Manos this week.  Think spring shawls and lightweight sweaters.   We love this wool and silk blend in lovely semi-solid hand-dyed shades!

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Okay, I promised sweaters, and we have some beautiful projects to show you.

Anne Alderman worked on this beauty for several months, interrupted by many smaller gift projects.  It’s a wonderful Aran sweater in soft and luxurious Manos Maxima:

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Here’s a detail showing the complex set of cables and pattern stitches.  Wonderful job!!

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David Ritz sent this photo of an adorable reindeer sweater finished just in time for Christmas Eve.  Don’t you love it?:

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Rochelle Mann designed and knit this baby set, in Hikoo CoBaSi, for a friend:

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Sheila Yarus made this gorgeous Maxima version of Brooklyn Tweed’s Koto.  I love the way the lower body of the sweater is shaped with short rows:

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Jettie Hunt knit this pretty sweater in a stash yarn she had had for years, finally finding the exactly perfect pattern she had been looking for.  We do love that kind of quest, don’t we?

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Jane Brubaker has “a thing” for cobalt blue and found the perfect shade of merino/cashmere/silk Feeling from Lana Gatto for the Curcuma Elements class. Lovely color and fit!

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Sandy Albert wore her gorgeous Hawser (like many of us!) as soon as the weather got cold.  It’s a great winter sweater, which she made in Plymouth’s Galway.

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And, finally, Karen Wenrich acceded to my request that she wear her lovely Birch Bay in so I could take a picture.  It’s done in Juniper Moon Farm’s Moonshine, in another lovely shade of blue, and perfectly accessorized by one of her beautiful Zephyr Cove shawls:

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Sometimes I can’t believe how lucky we are, to be able to claim such talented and dedicated knitters as customers.  You all should be so proud of your work – it’s very rare.  And I thank you for putting up with my demands for pictures of you in your finished projects. You can see how amazingly inspirational you are!

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!