I’m in a pretty cool place right now, knitting-wise.  I’ve almost finished all the class models and summer models I had planned to do. (Plus at least one that I hadn’t planned – see below.)  I still have to finish off the fingers of the second Winter Bride glove and that’s taking me a while.  The whine factor in this is pretty high: (1)  it’s the second glove, (2) it’s little tiny stitches and little tiny diameters, and (3) I’m not so hot at using double-points, in fact I’m pretty slow and clumsy with them.  Two more fingers to go,

and it will be done soon enough and then I’ll soon love it again.

But really, whining is a part of knitting.  Knitters love to whine!  If you could ever find a knitting project that only took 10 minutes, I guarantee that the last 2 minutes would involve complaining about how it’s taking forever and why can’t it just be done already???!! We are patient and persistent folks, but we feel no need to be quiet about it.

So anyway, my decks are pretty clear right now, which gives me a great excuse to browse Ravelry and think about new projects.  Brooklyn Tweed’s new Wool People collection came out recently – nothing made me gasp with delight but there are plenty of nice sweaters there.  What I really want is to live in Jared Flood’s photographic world, wherein I would be prettily posed in an attitude of quiet confidence, in a perfectly fitting sweater, flatteringly accented by diffused sunlight at all times.

So while I think about new projects, I’m going to make Brother-in-Law socks (they will be moving to Charleston in a year or two and I think his need for wool socks will drop dramatically.)  I plan another hoodie for Maxwell the Great (Nephew) because his mom says the summer one I made is his favorite thing to put on (and how sweet is that to hear?) and he’ll soon outgrow it. And I have in mind to go through our huge file of free shop patterns, updating and making new models from current yarns where needed.

That really should keep me quite busy and my schedule full, but I do get distracted.  I had no plans whatsoever to make the Refined Arches Tabard but as soon as I saw the pattern, I knew it would be a perfect project for Shibui Twig.  I had to make it! And so I did.

It’s airy and open for summer in Twig, and would be a nice layering piece in lightweight wool or lace weight mohair for fall.  I would say it’s an intermediate project because, even though it’s all lace, every other row is a rest row and there’s no shaping.

 

We have lots of classes starting in July (it’s almost here!!!) including a beginner class.  If you have been on the fence, now is the time to commit; most have only one or two spaces left.  Socks, mitts, hat, sweater and a chicken!  What more could you possibly want?

I hope you’re having a wonderful summer and accomplishing everything you planned – or nothing at all!  Have fun!

I have a couple of wonderful accessories to show you today which will ease you and your wardrobe into spring and summer.  (I won’t mention the disgusting weather, which has been completely seasonally inappropriate.  Why should we have spring in February and winter in March?  I  need to write an indignant letter to somebody about this…the National Weather Service?  NASA? Anyone have an address for Mother Nature?) (Rant suspended temporarily. It will return when I again try to disperse the ice mound at the end of my driveway later today.)

A few weeks ago I wrote about spring projects and mentioned the Crosshatch Shawl by Benjamin Matthews.  The perfect yarns for this project arrived shortly thereafter, and I made the shawl and just love it.  I made it in a combination of Lang’s Fiora and Berroco’s Modern Cotton DK:

Two-row garter stripes interspersed with short sections of stranded colorwork (very simple) make a striking shawl that drapes smoothly.  The yarns are DK so the knitting goes quickly.

This sunny combination (shown to the right below) suited me very well during the aforementioned weather, but there are other quite wonderful combinations, so I had to play with color a little.  Each multi-colored Fiora below could be combined with either of the solids shown and each would give a very different look.

I also finished the Stone Point poncho in Kelbourne Woolen’s newest Fibre Company yarn, Luma.  I’m not a big fan of cotton mixed with wool, but this yarn was lovely to knit and the stitch definition is excellent, probably due to the addition of linen and silk.  The lace pattern is fun and interesting and worth the trouble, don’t you think? The fabric’s hand is soft and smooth and surprisingly light.

The yarn is due in April and I have this beautiful dark denim and 3 other lovely neutrals coming.  If you want one of their other fabulous colors, there’s still time to add to my stock order.  Come in and try it on!

I only have a few minutes to write this morning before I leave to visit a sister.  (I kind of hate that I don’t have time to just maunder on about knitting and yarn anymore.  It seems I always have an agenda these days and that’s not what I want this blog to be!)

Anyway, I wanted to remind you of the shawl class that’s starting next weekend.  Karen Walter, who is a master knitter at shawls and lace (and most other things!), is teaching the Red Rock Canyon Shawl, designed by Romi Hill.  It’s a beauty, skillfully using two colors to build a simple foundation for the beautiful embossed lace

that morphs into dips and swoops and finishes with an outstanding picot border.

It’s a challenging knit, but it works into the serious lace gradually, letting you get a feel for the yarn and needles working together before you have to concentrate on the twisted stitches that  make the lace pop.

Check out the many projects on Ravelry, and then check out these fabulous color combinations that we found just messing around for a few minutes one afternoon.

Come find your own, learn something new, challenge yourself!

Meanwhile, if you have something that you’d like to learn this spring and summer, shoot an email to me at info@yarngal.com. I’d love to have your thoughts.

 

Oooh, we’ve received such pretty things this past week.  Can’t wait to show you, but first, just a bit of bragging.

I finally finished a successful sweater, so I think my summer curse is broken.  This is Jameson by Thea Colman, with some very serious modifications.  The first photo shows you the true rich navy color:

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And this one shows the pretty cables better for being a little bleached out:

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My mods:  a lighter-weight yarn but worked at the same gauge, no cables on the back, longer and narrower sleeves, longer body-shorter armhole depth, split hem, narrower cowl neck.  Possibly a few I’ve forgotten for the moment, but they’re all spelled out and available with purchase of yarn, which is knit-able, wearable, and all-around lovable Kathmandu Aran.  We just got all these fabulous colors so the selection is best right now:

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Other suggestions for this yarn might be:

Quick Sand by Heidi Kirrmaier

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and Travelers End by Carol Feller

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and many others!

We received two beautiful new colors of Silk Garden Solo, in addition to the others we already have in stock.  Here are the new shades:

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Are they not gorgeous?  I love them together and immediately thought of this new design:

Spotted Lines by von Hinterm Stein

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But the yarn has so much texture and color that you could use just one color and make a beautiful piece:

Pink Memories by Isabell Kraemer

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Sunshine Coast by Heidi Kirrmaier

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which I am going to knit but I don’t know the exact yarn yet.  We have many, many choices in sport – DK yarns and I dither about which would be the best.

So much more to show you, but with the new schedule, I must go do my own errands before time runs out.  Meanwhile I’ll just quickly say that the beautiful colors of Silky Wool I ordered to make Mentolat came in – I’ve started it and can barely make myself stop!

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More soon!

After much perambulating and perusing and percolating (you might say it all adds up to procrastination if you were feeling a bit mean), the fall class schedule is done and I love it! I’m teaching a lot and can’t wait!  That being said, I have absolutely no mind left to write anything else, and no desire to sit at my computer for one more minute this weekend, so check it out here.  Hope you find something you love!

 

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Spring is here this morning and I hope it’s not just a quick visit.  Today I just want to show you beautiful colors, either fresh out of  the box, because all I want to do is play!

This is our shipment of Nuna, a lovely wool/silk/bamboo sport weight yarn from Mirasol.  Look at the vibrance!

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We love it, and used two colors of it for Itineris last year.  This year I made Therapy using Jilly with Cashmere plus one color of Nuna and one of Folio.

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It’s simple to knit, but it’s really my favorite shawl that I made this year, mostly because of the colors.  So, of course, I had to see what I could put together, and here are some combinations I came up with, without even trying!

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The one in the center is very similar to the shawl I made, but I love the others, too.  I may make another Therapy just so I can take one home.  A perfect spring project!

More colors of Folio, an alpaca/rayon blend, also showed up, and these can be used instead of Nuna to lower the overall cost of the project.  It’s a pretty yarn and plays well with others, so you can hold it together with another yarn to add shine and softness without spending a fortune.  Keep it in mind for those yarns you might have in your stash that look so pretty but feel so scratchy!

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I know many of you have seen this little cardigan hanging in the back room, patiently waiting for the yarn to come in and the pattern to be written!  I love this little one; it would be perfect for a day like today, sunny and just getting warm.  This is the Raleigh Ridge Cardigan:

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It’s a top-down one-piece raglan-sleeve in a ridge pattern stitch that gives it a little texture, so it would look great in a solid color as well.  I gave it minimal detailing because the pattern stitch and color are all that is needed.

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 I also love the colors of the yarn, which make it wearable with so many summer things.  Three great colorways to choose:

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The pattern is ready and will be free with purchase of yarn to make it!

More to show, but I have an appointment to buy more yarn this morning.  Later…

 

I’ve been indulging myself for the last few weeks, knitting things that I’m interested in instead of things I think other people might be interested in.  I’ve been a bad LYS owner, but a happy knitter.  It’s kind of fun to do this if you’ve been knitting gifts for other people or virtuously finishing up projects that you’ve lost interest in.  I’m rewarding myself for getting my tax stuff off to my brother-in-law the accountant.  Every year, starting New Year’s Day, I obsess until I have all the information together and feel like celebrating when I send it off.  I’m celebrating with a nifty little pullover from Heidi and Anna Pickles, a Norwegian design and yarn duo.  I liked this sweater

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as soon as I saw it  – I’m a sucker for tidy little pullovers and liked the little standup collar, the contiguous shoulders,  and ribbed sleeves.  I had Shibui Pebble and Cima at home in the color Brass. Held together they made the gauge easily and the fabric is both cushy and sturdy.  The project is indulgent and just for me because the pattern, although available in English – sort of – is written for Norwegians, who learn to knit in the womb and need very few instructions. We Americans like everything spelled out in detail, so it’s taking a little trial and error at certain points in the pattern to get things looking right.  This is how is looks so far, with shoulders done and sleeves started:

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and with all the ribbing and size 3 needles, it will look very much like this for quite a while. That’s okay, though. The combination of yarns is wonderful and I’m enjoying every single (infinitely long) round.

I don’t think I ever showed you the finished fluffy pink jacket I made over the holidays (all of them; it took a while and there was a lot of moaning as I recall).  It’s Flaum from Amirisu Magazine, Issue 8, Fall 2015.  I used a lovely shade of Arioso from Lana Grossa and just love the way it turned out, now that I’m over the immense amount of ribbing.

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And look at the way the very adorable pin that Andy Watkins gave us accents it perfectly.  Thanks, Andy!  Caution: There are errata for the pattern so if you have the magazine, be sure to look them up on Amirisu’s website.  I hope that if you buy the individual pattern from Ravelry, the corrections will have been made, but be sure.

One more thing to show you:  New knitting bags!  I’m excited to have these exclusively in the store.  Kathy K. is a local sewist.  She collects used jeans and uses them as the main fabric, then adds fun fabrics and embellishments to the front of each bag.  I love them!  Kathy designed them to be strong, comfortable to carry and very functional.  Every one is unique, beautifully pieced, with sturdy stitching, a magnetic closure, and a covered wooden stabilizer in the bottom.  One large inside pocket holds your patterns and/or tablet, three small inside pockets hold all your accessories. The double straps are denim outside and lined with the complementing fabric.  I’m happy to be able to offer them at $95 each.  Here are a few of the bags that we have in stock, and Kathy can also do special orders!

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(I’m not showing you my favorite – it’s little smaller and has a PINK floral lining – it may come home with me!)

See you soon!

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!

Oh, frabjous day!  I’ve just finished blocking a new pullover in Frabjous Fibers’ Mad Hatter yarn, which is a hand-dyed superwash sport weight yarn that is absolutely lovely to knit. This is Anneke, a modernized version of a classic design from Quince and Company:

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Oversized and lightweight, bottom up in the round to the armholes, shaped with short rows and joined with 3-needle bindoff at the shoulders, sleeves picked up and worked in the round to the cuff.  It features a bit of gansey-style patterning at the yoke, both back and front:

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The 3-needle bindoff is done on the right side of the sweater, providing another subtle detail:

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Otherwise, the knitting is quite plain and very enjoyable in this lovely yarn.  One caution: be sure to block your gauge swatch before jumping into the sweater – it’s important with superwash yarn!

We have a wonderful selection of colors at this time, every one of which would make a beautiful sweater if you’re so inclined:

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Teal, silver, evergreen, fuchsia, rose, denim, gold, periwinkle, navy, red and medium gray.  Come get yours!

 

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!