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!

Well, it was fun, and it’s almost over, and I have to admit I’m glad.  I don’t know about you, but when I’m at loose ends for too long, I tend to fall into bad habits – the same bad habits I fight against all the time: too much couch time, too many snacks, too few chores or useful projects.  I did enjoy the first half, though.  I went to my home town for a bridal shower for the daughter and future son-in-law – both so sweet – of one of my cousins.  It was given by the daughters of another of my cousins, and it was great seeing all those lovely folks again.   Another day, I got to have brunch with Maxwell the Great (Nephew) and of course, his mom, dad, and grandmother. He’s cuter than cute, and despite his mother’s warning, there was no food-hurling.  He was very, very good!

I also bought some wonderful yarn for the fall and thought wistfully about the big yarn show in Columbus, which is happening this coming weekend.  Really, it’s better if I don’t go, I just get into trouble (inventory-wise, not in any interesting way) but – all that beautiful yarn in one place!!!!

The only knitting I did was to finish Pearl, the sweater I’m teaching later this summer.  It knit up like a dream in Plymouth’s Worsted Merino Superwash.  I made it in PINK (extreme pink-ness) and it’s pretty cute.  I can only do a bad photo right now because it’s still damp so I dare not stretch or hang it, but here it is:

I made two modifications to this version:  (1) I used German short rows instead of wrap-and-turns for the shoulders and the sleeve caps, and (2)  I did only 1 lace motif at the neckline and didn’t carry it down the front, just to show that you can make it this way if you wish to.  The next one I do (which will be while the class is knitting it) will have the lace the whole way down the front.

See how happy she looks? I like the verticality of the lace column, and it won’t be so tedious to knit the body.  The lace is pretty and worth the effort.

In fact, I like everything about this sweater and would be happy to have several in many different colors and fabrics in my wardrobe.  I like 3/4 sleeves, but it would be easy to carry them down to full length. The neckline is flattering and is finished with a neat I-cord bindoff.  The picked-up sleeves have short row caps which are interesting to work, and you can choose whatever your favorite method is to work the sleeves in the round (I used magic loop – if you don’t know how, learn it in our Magic Loop Mitts class.  The classes overlap a little but you’ll know the technique by the time we get to the sleeves and using it in a different application will reinforce your knowledge.)

The length of the sweater is great and easily adjustable, and the a-line silhouette is perfect for my body and easily eliminated if you aren’t quite so cursedly pear-shaped. The light worsted weight wool is good for at least 6 months of the year here. plus it’s machine-washable.  I may end up finishing the drying in the machine, too, just to see how that works.

To sum up, I couldn’t be more pleased with this pattern and the yarn and the result!  Classes are filling up nicely (I love this summer’s schedule) so check them out here.  And heads up if you’re intrigued by lace knitting and beading – Karen’s Eternal Optimist knit-along starts on June 15th! The link will take you to some beautiful projects on Ravelry – then come in to see Karen’s version in person – it’s simply luscious.

By the by, we’ll be closed Saturday June 17th because of Art on the Avenue – you know the drill: no parking, lots of crowds and kids and dogs so lots of frenetic barking on the part of Purl and Jack, lots of hair-pulling and yelling on the part of me – so, sorry!

The summer class schedule has been posted to our website, and I’m so glad the work is done, and I’m also just as pleased as I can be with the roster of classes.  They’re all fun, beautiful projects, all varied in skill levels and I really think that anybody could find something to interest her (or him) in this list.  Check them out here and see what fits into your schedule for the summer.

I had (and am still having – not all are done) a great time knitting some of the projects. The variety of types of projects and the different yarns and techniques have really sparked my knitting mojo, which wanes just like everyone’s from time to time.  After knitting several relatively simple projects using summer yarns, it was pure pleasure to pick up some yummy wools and blends and remember how lovely the process of knitting can be and what fun it is to have to pay attention and concentrate on more complicated patterns.

The Cable and Coin Lace Pillow is a great addition to your favorite couch or chair, a guest room or a den.  I used Ella Rae’s Chunky Merino Superwash,

a tough 100% wool yarn that really is machine washable and dryable.  I know because I tested a swatch by throwing it into the washer and dryer with a load of jeans.  It held up beautifully, even with such terrible treatment, so I know I can really use the pillow without fussing.  You could also double good old Encore to get the same gauge and the same hardy washability. I don’t generally knit with brown for clothing (don’t know why), but this warm shade looks great with my couch’s winter coat, don’t you think? And the orange buttons are just fun. The pattern comprises a simple 3/3 cable and coin lace which is fun to work and difficult to mess up!

Karen is doing a knit-along for this fabulous Eternal Optimist scarf (or shawl), made from Road to China Lace, a lighter version of Road to China Light, a perennial fave that is luscious and luxurious.  One beautiful skein (plus beads, needle, pattern) is what you’ll need for our knit-along on Thursday evenings (starting June 15).  Every section is different, interesting, and fun to do, and the cunning little dangles are really charming. You’ll be completely confident in the face of lace designs once you’ve worked your way through this lovely piece.

Meanwhile, I’m having a quietly exciting time making these Winter Bride’s Gloves.

Now, I already know that you don’t need gloves, you don’t wear gloves, you don’t know anyone who’s getting married outside in December.  This is not a project you do because you or someone you know needs to keep their hands warm.  You don’t think, well, poor Myrtle’s hands are always cold so I’ll make her the fussiest, most time-consuming gloves I can find.  This is the kind of project you do because the gloves are lovely and because you are a knitter and you can make them. Someday you (or someone) will take them out of the tissue paper you’ve wrapped them in, waiting for the appropriate moment to wear them or the right person to give them to, and will gasp at the expertise of the person who made them (even if it was you.)  It’s enough to know you made them – that’s all I’m sayin’.  I’m making them in a totally impractical ice-blue color of Herriott Fine, a softly fuzzy alpaca blend.

I’ve really just started on Pearl, the pullover we’re teaching later in the summer.  I absolutely love working with Plymouth’s Worsted Merino Superwash, very soft and bouncy, a real dream to knit with.  I hope I’ll have photos next week, but I’ll be hither and yon on my week off, so I don’t know.  If you know you want to make it, come in and look at the color cards and I’ll add your favorite to my stock order that’s due in July.

You know we’ll closed next week, right?  You do read emails from me, right?  If not, you also may not know that wonderful Tenzing is on sale because it’s being discontinued (a little sob is catching in my throat).  I used it to make Corella, the hat that I’m teaching this summer, and you also may remember it from our many wonderful models: Curcuma Elements, Natsumi, Groovy, and many (many) more.  You can always tell how we feel about a yarn – those we love we just keep making models because we can’t keep our hands off the yarn.  It would also be splendid for our Magic Loop Mitts class. Come and see!

 

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.

 

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!

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!

It’s time (and almost past time) to be thinking about what we’d like to make for spring and summer, despite the fact that it’s frigid outside and we’re all staying cozy in our biggest warmest wools right now!

You’ve seen the Simple Tee – our class just started this past weekend.  I love the way the straight lines are set off by the subtlety of the curve of the armholes, the clean swoop of the neckline, and the tubular edges of the vent.  Something to wear for any occasion, with the right accessories!

 

 

I’ve already knit up Mariken, designed by Regina Moessmer.  It’s fun and soft in Remix Light (and very inexpensive to make!)  The neckline is big, and I’m going to do a crocheted chain around it to hold its shape.  Otherwise, it’s a wonderful little summer cardy.

 

I don’t wear a lot of sleeveless things these days, but I’m thinking of making an exception for at least one of these:

Construction Zone by Heidi Kirrmaier

I would make this in original Remix, a soft blend of recycled fibers that has plenty of texture to hold its shape and add interest to this plain design.

Dewberry by Martha Wissing

I love the little lace motif at the yoke – lack of shaping keeps the lace simple.  Easy rolled edges and lots of stockinette make it fast.

Kagerou by michiyo

This little vest has so many charming details that I find it almost irresistible. The lace bottom border, the flared shape, the dropped hem, the ribbed yoke – I love it all.  It works as a vest but could certainly be done as a tank top as well.  Love it!

I’m a sucker for an easy-fitting pullover for summer.  Getting dressed is so simple if you have a great lightweight sweater to jump into.

Sunshine Coast by Heidi Kirrmaier

A great top-down summer look, with a few eyelets and bias panels for interest, this has been in my favorites since the day it was published.  Virginia Griffith and Nikki Schower are both well into knitting this, and I’m a bit jealous!

 

 

Bennett Creek by Kelbourne Woolens

Cropped and boxy, with a pretty center cable, this pullover is designed for Luma, Fibre Company’s newest yarn which I’m testing now.  I think I’m in love!

 

 

Perforated Sweater by Suvi Simola

This sweater has a few eyelets at the hem, just for fun, and otherwise is a simple and clean raglan design, easy to wear and accessorize.  I want it in just this color!

Stone Point by Kelbourne Woolens

I’m working on this adorable poncho right now, and am loving the yarn and design to pieces.  I hope to have something for you to see, feel and try on in just a week or so.

I hope you found something to inspire you to get moving on those spring projects – it’s time!

 

 

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.

 

Don’t we all need to look forward to warmer weather, brighter skies, and lighter clothing at this time of year?  Our Simple Tee class starts in a few weeks and I wanted to talk a little more about it, especially since spring yarns popped in the door this week.

Churchmouse’s Simple Tee design is simple-looking, but filled with features and options.  Long tunic, cropped tee, standard length.  Long sleeve, three-quarter sleeve, cap sleeve.  Vented bottom hem, no vents.  Mix and match to suit yourself.

I made my sample in the longer length, with side vents, which are neatly edged with slip-stitches.

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Right now, my model has one bracelet-length sleeve

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and one cap sleeve

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so you can try it on to see which you like the most.

The neckline is left as-knit, using specific instructions for binding off to prevent gaps and steps.

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All in all, it’s a wonderful, wearable piece, plainly elegant, immensely accessorizable (yes, I know, it’s not really a word, but shouldn’t it be?) and versatile for many occasions.

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I used Hempathy to make mine, a pleasant blend of cotton, hemp, and Modal acrylic, that drapes nicely, is machine washable and holds up under constant wear.  We received some beautiful colors this week

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(plus my color and black) and they added some really lovely multi-colors to the line this year.

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Y-U-M!

If you’ve already signed up for the class, come in to choose your color, and if you’ve been waiting to sign up, now is the time to come in, try on, decide, and get the best selection.

One more thing that I have to show you!  Zen Yarn Garden’s latest Artwalk offering is here.  I have to say that when I saw the painting it was based on, I toyed with the idea of cancelling this shipment.

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Am I glad I didn’t!! Here is her rendering of these colors – absolutely wonderful:

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This yarn would be perfect to combine with a semi-solid for Karen’s Red Rock Shawl Class, also coming up in just a few weeks.  You have to see it!