I love it when the time changes in the fall.  Everything falls back into place.  I can wake up to daylight, watch twilight fall in the late afternoon and eat dinner after dark, all of which seem right to my biological clock.  Plus we get that hour back that was plucked from our lives by Daylight Savings Time.  How did you spend yours?

I have promised myself to use that hour cleaning some of the clutter that is beginning to accumulate in piles around me.  There’s a pile of catalogs at the front door, a pile of pantry items that all of a sudden seem to have found a home on my kitchen table, and my desk must either be sorted out or burnt to the ground.  (I’m favoring the latter, if I could only find some matches!) Plus errands are piling up – things to be mailed, things to be recycled, things to be hunted and gathered.  None of which I want to do.

I want to knit and that’s what I’ve been doing.  Easy things that take little thought, that can easily be put down when something else comes up, that can be taken with me and worked on without instructions.  I made a simple hat with the fuzzy Andean Mist I showed you last week:

I based it on the Brunswick Beanie, a free Ravelry pattern from Sue Grandfield, but changed to stockinette stitch after about 3″ of k1, p1 ribbing.  It was enough already.  Turned out cute, and you can wear it slouchy or not:

The very soft yarn would also make a great chemo cap.

I made this very pretty scarf from 2 balls of Millefiori from Berroco (these are the new colors this year):

with our free Chevron Scarf pattern.  I love the way it turned out and the pattern is just interesting enough to keep you awake:

And I have just embarked on a Railroad Rib scarf (also free pattern with purchase) using a strand of plain fingering with a strand of Zauberball (new colors just in:)

I’m using these two colors:

And these are some other ideas:

and there are only about 1,000 more!

Come in and choose your combo.  You’ve got that extra hour to browse and play!

 

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!

…now, there’s a word we haven’t heard much of lately.  It’s been a dreary, drizzly January.  That’s why I absolutely love Karen’s new version of the Sitka Spruce Hat, which she did in a sunny color of Moonshine:

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While the name conjures up huge fir trees, this definitely reminds me of  sunflowers and that it will be warm and sunny soon enough.  There are still openings in the class, which starts next Saturday!

There are spaces in our Wildflower Cowl class, too, which begins next Sunday.  Here is David Ritz’s version, in three colors instead of two:

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I love it and I bet it feels fabulous in Lana Gatto’s merino/silk/cashmere Feeling!

I’ve finished the Simple Tee (a couple spaces open in that class) and will have pictures to show soon.  I absolutely love the way it turned out.  At least three different yarns appropriate for the Tee, including the Hempathy that I used, will be shipping in a week or so – can’t wait to show you!

Meanwhile, some beautiful things from Mountain Colors popped in the door.  My perennial favorite is River Twist, in 4 lovely colorways:

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This yarn makes a wonderful sweater – the myriad colors are there but not strident so they are not hard to wear – and the yarn is soft but the twist makes it less likely to pill.  It’s also wonderful for accessories – hats (like our free Ribbed Hat pattern)

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mitts

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and cowls and scarves of any variety.  River Twist is a real knitter’s yarn, full of life and interest.

I also ordered Twizzle from Mountain Colors, a wool and silk blend that I haven’t had for a few years, and now I don’t know why, because it’s a lovely yarn!  I have it in 4 colors:

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(are we seeing a theme here?) and just started a fun mobius cowl called Spiral Euphoria:

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I’m having a great time with it, love the way the silk in Twizzle lights up in this design and looks like little jewels.  It may be a class this coming season!

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!

I hope you received our email about the Mix Party we’re having at the shop.  If not, here are the details:

On Saturday, October 24, the shop will be closed to have a Shibui Mix Party.  The party is from 12 – 2, and each registered guest will receive samples of all Shibui yarns to play with.  Antonia Shankland, who is a designer and a Shibui sales representative, will be there with samples already made of every possible combination, so you can see which you’d like to try. She’ll talk a little about the Mix concept.  Bring your favorite needles in sizes 4 – 9 so you can knit, knit, knit.  Plus there will be a trunk show of last winter’s designs for you to see and try on.  (I could put a trunk show together just from our shop samples – we do love knitting with these yarns!)

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It takes $10 to hold your place, which can be applied to your Shibui purchase or prepaid special order on that day. The number of attendees is strictly limited.  We’ll have some light refreshments and lots of fun, so I hope you’ll register in time! (BTW, those three beautiful skeins above are a prize for one lucky attendee. In that one bundle, you have baby alpaca, extra fine merino, kid mohair, silk, and cashmere. If you can’t think of something wonderful to make with that, I don’t know what to do with you!)

Meanwhile, I hope you’re enjoying this wonderful weather and this beautiful time of year.  It doesn’t get any better than this!

 

…to some lovely old friends this week – meaning sweaters that have been on summer vacation for several months.  Fifty degree mornings mean that wool feels pretty darn good while Purl, Jack and I take our morning constitutional.  My dark blue Hawser is the sweater of choice for these early morning walks – big, cozy, and casual.  Of course, eighty-degree afternoons mean that the sweaters come off before I go to work but it’s very nice to get them out of their plastic bags and anticipate being able to wear them again. And being reminded of how much I love Hawser makes me anticipate even more the new collection due out from Brooklyn Tweed tomorrow!

I got not much done this week that I had planned to do, because our family got some very good news!  My niece is pregnant with her first child – a boy!  Because she’s older than is usual, some tests had to be done before I could knit for the baby (no jinxing), but the test results were very good and they are thrilled!  So to celebrate, I started (and finished) this cute little garter stitch baby sweater, a free pattern from Joji Locatelli.

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I always liked this little pattern and just had to do something.  My next plan is to make my niece a cozy Leaf Cocoon (our own pattern) that she can wear throughout her pregnancy and beyond, and I want just the right yarn and color.  I know so far I’m ignoring Dad but I’ve got my eye on a hat from Tin Can Knits that comes in daddy and baby sizes.  What do you think?

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Eric is a pretty cool guy and I think he’d like it.

In case you’re on the fence about a class, there are still a couple openings for the Moon Shadows Shawl (starts this Saturday!), the Curcuma Elements Pullover, and Medallion Gloves but I wouldn’t wait around too long!

And if you’re not Facebook-y, you might have missed this amazing picture of the shipment we just received from Dream in Color:  Their new Jilly with Cashmere in twelve amazing colorways developed just for this wonderful yarn.

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Is it not beautiful?  Trust me, it is and you want some.  There are over 17,000 patterns on Ravelry that you can knit from one skein, and over 1300 that are one-skein crochet projects.  There’s enough nylon to make it sock-worthy, too.  Get on it!

Are you a knitting addict or a yarn addict?  I am both.  If I couldn’t knit with fabulous yarn, I would (and have) still knit with anything that came to hand – dishcloth cotton, acrylics, packing twine… well, I haven’t knit with packing twine but if that’s all I had, I would.  On the other hand, even if I couldn’t knit for whatever reason, I would still want beautiful yarn around me to touch, cuddle, gaze upon, gloat over. Picture Scrooge McDuck chortling with unadulterated glee while gold and jewels run through his hands – er, wings. A luscious skein of yarn is better than gold to me – lush, rich, and full of potential.

So I am never happier than when the two addictions are satisfied all at one time in one fabulous project.  Truss,      a new design from Shibui, which will be released next month with their Fall/Winter line, is such a project.  Two wonderful yarns are combined throughout to make a truly luxurious fabric.

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 Maai is a lovely combination of super baby alpaca and merino in a fluffy chainette that is unbelievably soft.  Pebble is a blend of recycled silk, merino and cashmere that looks like a rather dull lace weight, but when knit, adds texture and cashmere-y yumminess to all it touches. Together they make this heathery, lofty, heavenly combination:

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And when blocked, Truss drapes well, has cushy warmth, and holds its shape:

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I made a few modifications to the pattern.  It has two versions, a short and a long, and I split the difference between the two to customize the length.  I also made the front just a bit shorter than the back,

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and did a minimal neck rib instead of 3″, since I will no doubt be wearing it with a turtleneck underneath just as I’ve shown it here.

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Love this project, it fulfilled all my knitting desires!

Meanwhile, we received a shipment from the Fibre Company, and there’s hardly anything better than full shelves of Road to China Light and Acadia.  Come see while we have this fabulous selection:

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I have to share this with you.  Patty Kroppe, who is a busy young mother with not much time to knit, wrote this really lovely email and gave her okay to share it:

…”I want to tell you that I love your new look on your website. I also want to tell you that I am soooooooo grateful that you have a shop in West Reading. It is a breath of sanity for me. I know I am not a regular customer, but I still want to pipe up and say your presence and The Yarn Gallery’s presence means a lot to me. Eleven years ago, when I moved to Reading, I was so happy to know that there was a knit shop in this gritty, PA-Dutch-ish, industrial town that I was relocating to!!!…to me, the presence of a knit shop in a community signifies creativity, abundance, quality, solid values, fellowship, warmth, intelligence and so much more. I know your shop will NOT be around FOREVER (wish you would), but I want to thank you for taking a chance on West Reading and helping to make our home such a wonderful home. I do not know anything about what kinds of losses or gains you have endured as a knit shop owner, but I do know that most knitters LOVE to knit and really just want everyone to leave them alone so they can KNIT! I know that being a knit shop owner may allow for SOME knitting, but it also allows for a whole lot of pain in the butt people, headaches, and MANY interruptions from knitting, etc. Thank you for trudging through the negatives to provide us with such a place of serenity and warmth. Your shop and your patience has been such a gift to me and so many others. I hope it has also brought you some gifts, among the headaches!!! Most of all, your shop has meant HOPE to me, hope that my kids, too, will someday grow up and I will have more time to express myself creatively!!! The women who come into your shop are so beautiful and have lived such interesting and lovely lives…thank you…”

Now, isn’t that the just the best letter?  I wish every yarn shop owner could receive one like it so they could feel the way I do when I read it: grateful, energized, tearful, and appreciated.  Thank YOU, Patty, for being so kind and taking the time to compose a wonderful letter, which is a gift in itself!  It’s going in my “keep forever so I can remember it when I’m ancient” folder.

Now on to our regularly scheduled program.

I’ve been knitting like a madwoman.  It’s all I want to do right now. After a little while when nothing was particularly interesting, it’s like something has caught fire and I just burn to knit!  And I’m so lucky that I can indulge that for the most part.  I finished this little jacket in no time, and really, it doesn’t take long.

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 The combination of yarns (Debbie Bliss’s Milano and Berroco’s Folio) just fascinated me.  The fabric was beautiful to look at and to touch,

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and I had to make it into something. Carol Feller’s “Vivido” was perfect: a bulky gauge, a simple shape, and zoom – done!

I just finished a new model from Shibui’s fall collection, which is being blocked right now.  It was, I confess, an indulgence even for me, and I pay wholesale, but as soon as I saw it, I knew I would swatch for it, and as soon as I swatched it, I knew I would have to make it.  Next time, I’ll show you.

And I’ve started on a new cardigan called Newsom, by Bristol Ivy. (I know, I raved about her last week, so I’ll restrain myself now.)  Interesting construction, architectural elements, and a yarn I love (Fine Donegal from Debbie Bliss) – why in the world not?  It starts at the center lower back and builds up and out with mitering.

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 Sleeves are done cuff up, then everything is joined to do the yoke and front bands.

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Here’s mine so far:

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Okay, stop laughing right now!  Long way to go, lots of hate somewhere along the way (always happens), but love will triumph in the end! Plus the edges of my garter stitch look a lot better than the model, so there!

I’ve been buying lots of yarn for us – here’s a little taste of something that nearly made me faint with desire:

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Braids of dyed-to coordinate Mariquita (baby alpaca and tencel) and Halo (brushed Suri alpaca/nylon).  The colors are amazing.  I’ll be looking for the perfect project so I can dive in as soon as they arrive in September, but seriously, project be damned.  I want, want, want!

 

 

 

I think this is the first summer I’ve really enjoyed in several years.  I know, I know, it’s only a week into it, so I could change my mind, but I feel quite relaxed and content, with no pressure to sell a lot of yarn, no urgency about doing this or that, no angst about yarn decisions, no goals and no real problems.  It’s weird.  Maybe this is what moving into the later stage of life is like.  I’m incredibly lucky to have the shop, the dogs, my little house, good friends, and (so far) my health.  Can I just say thank you to all my lovely customers without sounding too soppy?

I bought us some gorgeous yarn this morning, to be showing up on the doorstep over the next 3 months or so.  Swan’s Island has a new sport-weight yarn in 100% American Rambouillet wool which is just lovely. I bought only a few colors, just to knit with it and see what it should be. They have done some beautiful fair-isle patterns with it and I really think it will be a hit.

I also bought some Shibui, although not their new yarn for fall since it reminded me so much of another favorite, Road to China Light.  New colors in Pebble and Maai, mostly because I want like crazy to make this:

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I know, the photo is tiny and hard to see, but this is just one preview design of a wonderful collection that won’t be released until August.  The design is called Truss and is a lovely tunic with elbow-length sleeves and a deeply split hem that is knit in a combination of Pebble and Maai to make the most luxurious fabric you’ve ever felt.  Shibui yarns are unique in and of themselves, but in combination they are magnificent.  More about this later in the season – I have a surprise coming, I hope!

Also today I ordered a massive amount of Manos del Uruguay Maxima, my favorite worsted-weight yarn, in both semi-solid and multi-colored hand-dyes.  I’m looking for the perfect pattern to make with it.  Last year we made Mrs. Garter

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and I love that jacket.  This year I want the perfect pullover – it’s so soft and cozy, perfect for next-to-the-skin wear. A few thoughts:

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And that’s just the first few pages of Ravelry suggestions.  We are so lucky to have such a fabulous of patterns at our fingertips these days! I also have a nice supply of Fino coming, everyone’s favorite fingering-weight.

Road to China Light and Acadia are the other two yarns I ordered today, both favorites, beautiful and  unique yarns from the Fibre Company.

A morning browsing through the best fibers available in the best range of colors anywhere…is it any wonder I’m having such a very lovely day??

I have always loved our Lacy Wrap, not just for its versatility and coziness but because it allows you to combine any yarns that you find inspiring and pleasing together.  We have just one in the shop right now, which I made last year from one skein each of Maxima and Dune.  Maxima is one of our favorite worsted weight yarns:  from Manos, hand-dyed, and super soft extra-fine merino.  Dune is our favorite Trendsetter yarn: subtle sparkle, soft fuzziness, beautiful – just really beautiful! – colors.  Here’s our model:

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which you see is a very open mesh – done on 15 or 17 needles! – with a luxurious fringe. Because of the amount of yarn on each skein, I did 2 rows of Maxima to one row of Dune and the fabric looks like this:

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This is the combination I used:

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I love this shawl because it can be so many things.  Because it’s so open, you can spread it out and wear it as a shawl.  This version is dressy because of Dune, but it can be quite casual as well, to tie around your bag handle until you need it in a restaurant or as the day gets colder toward evening.  The fibers make it cozy so you can wear it outside as a scarf to wrap twice or tie in numerous beguiling ways, then shed your coat at your destination and wear the piece as a comment-gathering accessory inside. It’s fast, easy, and also is a unique gift for anyone who loves to accessorize.

Anyway, Janet and I had a really fun time taking our new colors of Dune

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and finding matches with our fabulous colors of Maxima.  Here are my favorites:

Could this be any more gorgeous???

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For your serious evenings:

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For someone who must have color!

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And my absolute must-knit:

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Come find your perfect combo!