I hope you all know about our yarn sale this coming Saturday, November 26.  All yarn is at least 10% off and if you fill a Frequent Buyer Card (or already have a full card) you can use it for an additional 10% off.  This is a wonderful time to think ahead to what you would like to be knitting or crocheting during long cold snowy evenings this winter, and get a good deal on materials for those projects!  Do a bit of planning and feel free to bring patterns along with you; we just may not have time to help you with pattern searches on Saturday.

Meanwhile, we’ll be open on Tuesday (pre-shopping is welcome, by the way), then closed Wednesday – Friday.  I’m looking forward to visiting with Maxwell the Great (Nephew), and I hope you have some downtime this week, too.  Maxwell’s mom has requested a poncho, so I designed and made this, which I hope she’ll like:

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It’s quite pretty in Noro’s new yarn, Tennen, a nice mixture of wool, alpaca, and silk which softens and drapes very well after blocking.  I love the texture and natural color effects of Tennen, but it can be made in any worsted-weight yarn you like.  The pattern is free with purchase of yarn to make it. It’s at the shop now, but if, as I hope, Sarah likes it, we’ll have to make a new one for the shop.  It’s a simple pattern, so no worries!

Karen and I are thinking hard about this winter’s class schedule.  She’ll be teaching a beautiful Fair-Isle circular-yoke sweater.  I have an interesting cowl in the works.  And there may be a knit-along involving Ann Budd’s Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters, in which you could use any yarn (as long as it comes from Yarn Gallery, of course) and make any design.  I’ve embarked on a top-down set-in sleeve cardigan in fingering weight (something I really want for me and could not find a pattern on-line to suit me.  How does that happen when there are 100,000+ patterns out there?) It’s taking a long time to get anywhere, of course, because I’m using size 3 needles, so the knit-along will be later in the season, for sure.  You, of course, will be more sensible and use a different size yarn.  Anyway, re: classes, we’re open to ideas – what would you like to make???

Have a wonderful, safe, peaceful Thanksgiving, eat lots of fabulous food, and come see us Saturday!

When your weekend, like mine, includes Monday, you can feel out of step with the rest of society.  When it includes Monday and there’s, like, one nice Monday every two months, you can feel like you’d like the rest of society to stick it in its ear.  Makes you grumpy.  Then you have a shimmering, warm, absolutely beautiful Monday like today, and you feel just so fortunate.  You try to pack all the day-off things you’ve not been able to do into one day, because who knows when the next nice Monday might come along.  Wash windows, wash the car, clean up the yard, clean the basement…and then collapse on the couch, too tired to even move your hands to knit.  And hope that next Monday it rains because you miss knitting and napping.

I have one more spring/summer sweater to show you.  It’s another free pattern and is quite quick and simple to knit:  It’s the Drape-Front Cardigan, which I made in black Zooey, so forgive the pictures:

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Zooey has a lot of texture on its own, so it may be hard to see the double seed stitch on the front panels, but this gives a non-rolling edge that can be pinned or can just drape.  The edges look lacy because Zooey goes a bit thick-thin, but they’re also double seed.

Construction is easy and one-piece.  Cast on the full circumference at the bottom, work to the armholes, divide for fronts and back, work straight up to the shoulders.  Shoulders are joined with 3-needle bind-off, then the sleeves are picked up and worked in the round on a 16″ circular.  The last step is to work an i-cord bind-off around the neck to give a substantial and reversible edge.  Here’s another look:

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So, for summer, we’ve introduced 3 simple patterns that are free with the purchase of the yarn to make them:  the Drape-Front Cardy, the V-neck Raglan Cardigan

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and our cute and quick Beach Jacket (modeled by Deb Hawk, who looks adorable in anything  – thanks, Deb!)

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Now I feel like I’ve done enough knitting for hot weather – what comes next?????

 

 

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

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

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

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

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The pattern is:

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

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

 

I love getting new yarn! (Is anybody surprised by this by this earth-shaking announcement?)  Figuring out what a new yarn would like to become is one of the best things about owning a yarn store – or, for that matter, being a knitter.

Yarn companies always have suggestions about what to do with their yarns, but one has to approach these ideas warily.  Their purpose is to sell as much of that yarn as possible, so you’ll often see dense gauges, lots of cables whether the yarn likes them or not, and yarn-intense details that may or may not enhance the design.  We like to mess around a little bit:  swatch, rip, swatch, block, try out a few stitch patterns, evaluate drape, texture and hardiness before we dive into a full-blown project. Our purpose is also to sell as much yarn as possible but more than that it is to adorn all of Berks County and beyond with beautiful knitted items that their owners cherish!  We have such beautiful yarn, such skilled and helpful teachers, and such a talented customer base that this could become the Knitting Center of the Universe.  Okay, perhaps I’m indulging in a little megalomania there.  Back to reality!

I want to show you my version of Banner, a Berroco design in chunky yarn that, if I hadn’t had to rip out one entire sleeve because I used the wrong-sized needle to knit it, would have been done in a flash.  This is Berroco’s photo:

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and this is my finished version: (Sorry for the wrinkles, by the time I wrangle two dogs, purse, and whatever else I need between home and store, things get a little messy.)

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I used Ella Rae Chunky Merino Superwash, a very sturdy superwash wool for the main color.  I envisioned a sweater that would be easy to throw on over jeans and get on with your day, without worrying about dirt and pilling.  The yoke is done in Berroco’s Inca Tweed, a soft alpaca blend that feels great around your neck and eliminates the need for a second layer.

The stitch pattern is easy to do, just knits and purls,

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and I love the way the colors and textures enhance each other.  The little standup neck is warm without clinging.  It’s just a great all-around casual sweater.

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We got some super-bulky yarn in last week, and I had some fun with it.  This is Kureyon Air from Noro:

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The colors are amazing, as you can see.  Some are just wild and some are rich and beautiful.  I took one skein of the wildest and made the obvious choice to do something fairly simple.  We already had this free pattern for a scarf on the bias and it shows off the Noro colors to great advantage.  Size 17 needles, and bingo, gift list done!

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We also received Ushya in these beautiful neutrals from Mirasol:

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This cushy merino blend is irresistible and I really couldn’t choose just one color.  One skein of white, one skein of light gray, and here is a lovely accessory that will be just the thing when the temperature drops:

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Another free pattern, another quick gift!

Meanwhile, I’m getting things together for our Shibui party on Saturday October 24.  There are a few spaces left; if you decide you want to attend, give us a call or email us.  Otherwise, just a reminder that we’ll be closed to the public that day.  Plan accordingly!

…or two.  I’m off and running today to get everything accomplished, Had a medical test yesterday that took two days of my life to get accomplished, and if you’re my age, you’ll know what test that was. (Everything fine, by the way.) So today I must do everything that I can normally stretch over three days.  Not complaining, mind, just excusing this quick post, which is about a new free pattern on our website, called Thick & Thin Infinity Scarf.

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Sometimes I can’t explain why a yarn doesn’t sell particularly well.  If I love it, everyone should love it, right?  But when I think about it, the reason some beautiful yarn just sits there is generally my fault because I don’t have the right model for it.  That was the case with Haciendo, a thick and thin extra fine merino bulky yarn from Plymouth that has been on our shelves for a year or two at least – long enough to be discontinued by Plymouth at any rate.  It’s soft, we have pretty colors, and it’s not expensive compared to merino prices today. I’ve contemplated it every now and then but never found the right project to let its texture and softness come to the fore.  Now I think I’ve got it, and I think you’ll like it too.

This cowl/infinity scarf takes two skeins, is fast and easy and done in the round.  You need size 11 and 15 circular needles and about two evenings to make it.  It’s long enough to wrap twice around your neck

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soft, fluffy, cushy with lots of texture

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What more can you want??!!  Under $30 to make?  Check. (until it runs out!)  Enjoy!

 

Have you checked it out yet?  If not, click around and see how it looks.  I love the fresh look!  There are a few things still to be worked out, with connections made and so on, but I’ll work through them with help from Janelle of Design Revolution, and at the same time, would so very much appreciate any feedback or concerns or suggestions from you.

To celebrate (and to find out if I could do it!) I put up a new free pattern for a cute baby blanket

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that you can download. And while I’m at it, I might as well apologize for the truly terrible photos for the scarves that are on the page.  It’s not Janelle’s fault, that’s what she had to work with!  It has inspired me to re-yarn our Roman Stripe scarf and just re-do the whole pattern.  It’s one of my favorite stitch patterns and I haven’t made one in years.  I just ordered a new Noro yarn called Shinryoku that might work beautifully. (New Fine Donegal, Moonshine, and Tenzing are also coming for fall, along with a couple of other new yarns that I think you’ll love.)

I wanted to show you my finished Jeweled Cowl, made from Plymouth’s new Linaza (alpaca, linen, and Tencel).  I love the way it came out.  The pattern calls for lace-weight, but Linaza is fingering-weight which made it easier to knit.  It also called for size 8/0 beads but I used bigger size 6/0 beads – also a little easier to handle. Love the feel of yarn, soft alpaca against your neck, a little bit of crispness from the linen, and great drape from the Tencel, quite nice for a cowl.

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I had quite a bit left from the skein and from my 40-gram package of beads, but the cowl was big enough to wrap at least twice and probably 3 times around your neck, so no sense overdoing it!  Lovely free pattern on Ravelry, many thanks to the designer.

Another new cowl that I had been waiting to knit since the yarn for it came in weeks ago is this fun piece:

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The lovely yarns are new from Plymouth.  Arequipa Worsted is big generous ball of superwash merino and mulberry silk, and Arequipa Fur is a blend of baby alpaca and merino (hand-washable only). Both are made in Peru and come in lovely neutral shades:

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I would be happy to have one in any shade.  The tuck stitch is fun to do and makes a nice fabric on either side.  You determine which is the right side when you join into a circle and pick up for the fur border.  I went for the smooth side:

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as is my wont, but Plymouth shows it with the bumpy side out, also very nice:

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Don’t forget that our Braidsmaid class starts in just a couple of weeks.   This is a perfect summer project:  Not too big, not heavy, just interesting enough to keep you from dozing off and intuitive enough that you don’t have to fret all the time.  Love, love, love the projects on Ravelry!  Here are just a few:

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Love the swoop of the cable…

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(OMG, intarsia!)

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How lovely is this photo? Sigh.

By the way, you can register for a class on-line now, but not yet pay for it.  When you register, we’ll get an email and contact you for payment.

Let me know what you think of the new site – see you soon!