The cardigan from my last post, Aileas, is proceeding apace.

As you can see, I did the sleeves before completing the body, just to get them out of the way.  The faux-cables are fun to work:

and are included on the sleeves:

so that even the sleeves won’t bore you to pieces.

I’m just about to add some columns of cables that will accent the back and set off the pockets so things are moving along.  I’ll probably whine at you just a bit when I’m partway through the bottom ribbing – there’s a bunch of it!

We got some really beautiful yarn in from Plymouth this last week.

That’s “Estilo” to the left and center, 10 fabulous colors of wool and silk lusciousness in a fingering/light sport weight.  Karen already snagged 2 colors to make a shawl that she may teach in the fall!  Here’s just one skein of the elegant steel blue:

The other column of beautifulness is “Reserve Sport” a blend of merino, milk, and bamboo that reminds me very much of a hand-dyed Nuna (one of our favorite drapy, shiny, slithery yarns).  I for some reason got the bug to crochet something a couple weeks ago, and since my skills are basic and my speed is snail-ic, I needed something really easy.  Reserve Sport is nice for crochet because it has built-in drape due to its fiber content, and while helping another customer, I came across this pretty and simple cowl called Tembetari.  So I’m trying it out.  After 3 hours, this is what I’ve accomplished:

Impressive, no?

I’m going to stick with it.  The yarn is delightful, and I sorely need the practice!

 

Accuweather tells me to expect high 80’s – 90 degree temperatures and lots of humidity for the foreseeable future (like I need them to tell me that – it is July, after all); therefore I have developed an insane desire to knit a lovely big woolly cardigan.

This happens to me every summer.  I spend much of the end of winter and all of spring knitting summer yarns into light tops, and by now, my hands, eyes, and needles yearn for the knitting goodness of a true 100% wool. I started stocking Plymouth Homestead last fall but never got around to making the nice warm cardigan that was in my head when I ordered it.  It’s not an expensive yarn and there are always models to be made for pricier yarns and for those that are tough to visualize as a knitted something until you can see it or touch it as a finished item.  Homestead is just nice wool, spun in Peru, and it’s so traditional, with nothing very sexy going on, that it’s easy to ignore in favor of other softer, multi-colored, fluffier or whatever yarns distract you when you’re in the shop.

However, its time has come.  I chose this wonderful sheepy color:

and began to swatch:

and all of my woolly desires were satisfied!

It will become this pretty and cozy cardigan from Isabell Kraemer called Aileas:

which I love because of the faux-cables that are easy to work and won’t slow you down too much but add a lot to the look.  I love the pockets.  I love the deep rib.  I love the fold-over collar, which in my case will be lined with a coordinating? matching? contrasting? (Don’t know yet) color of Herriott Fine, which is soft, soft alpaca.  Hey, I’m not a particularly itch-sensitive gal but even I don’t want woolly wool against my neck all day.  This pretty pink version shows a contrasting lining:

Sweet, right?

Speaking of sweet, look at what popped in the door the other day:

It’s the latest offering from Zen Yarn Garden’s Artwalk series, based on this painting:

Willem de Kooning’s Garden in Delft.  Marci Frey came in as I was opening the package and we had a pretty good time running all over the shop to find some things to spark up the pretty colors (Marci loves bright!):

Come get yours!

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!

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!

…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!

It’s really difficult at this time of year to be thinking about spring yarn and sweaters.  Especially when I’m still vaguely searching for that really warm pair of mittens I had last year but simply can’t find now.  Heavy, cozy, cable-y sweaters are what I reach for day after day.  I put one on and feel warm and protected from the ravages of winter.  Our St. Brendan class on a chunky Lopapeysa-style sweater is just getting an enthusiastic start.

And yet, I’ve been looking at spring yarns for weeks now and have been knitting away on Churchmouse’s Simple Tee, making the model for the class we’re starting in March.  I’m making it in one of my favorite summer yarns, Elsebeth Lavold’s Hempathy.  It’s a mix of hemp, cotton, and Modal acrylic and I can’t say enough to recommend it for keeping you cool (brr, just typing those words make me shiver on this 19-degree morning) and draping nicely and making a fabric that stands up to a lot of wear – just perfect for a basic style like this.  I hope I’ll have the model to show you next week, although it will look a bit strange.  The tee can be cap-sleeved or long-sleeved, so I’m putting a sleeve (3/4) on one side and leaving the other cap-style, so that when people try on the model, they can decide which way to go.

While I wait for the summer-y yarns to arrive, though, I have a few lightweight yarns to show you that will take you well into spring.  First, our current shipment of Zen Yarn Garden’s Artwork series arrived, and it’s truly gorgeous.  This batch was dyed in colors based on Picasso’s Mediterranean Landscape:

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and here is her interpretation:

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I love the strong colors and think it would be great in (good old free) Reyna

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or Close to You, also free

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or this new design called Crosshatch Shawl (not free)

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possibly mixed with a semi-solid gold or green.

We also received a nice box of Madelinetosh Twist Light, a plied merino/nylon fingering that could be used for socks if you just had to, but would also make beautiful sweaters and shawls.  We played around with mixing it with Frabjous Fibers’ Cheshire Cat, another lovely fingering in semi-solids:

blue gold green red purple

Can’t you picture variations of these combos as Funky Grandpa, True Friend, or a striped version of Boxy, or maybe as Therapy, any of Ambah O’Brien’s or Melanie Berg’s color-happy shawls.  Our Red Rock Canyon shawl class coming up later on would be a perfect project to explore some different color choices – the rocks don’t have to be red, do they?

Check out 2017’s Color of the Year from Pantone. Click on the video and get a little taste of spring.

Know anyone who wants to learn to knit? We have a new beginner class scheduled for February 5 & 12th – let them know!

It’s winter.  Have fun planning and dreaming!!

I have been hoarding photos of customers’ projects until I had nothing to talk about, but I think we all need a break from the never-ending flood of new yarns coming into the shop, don’t you?  So I’m going to show you a few impressive projects today and one non-impressive but cute little thing I did. Okay, maybe just a  smidge of new yarn…

 

WRAP WEEK!

Carol Sullivan made this beautiful wrap designed by Deborah Newton to wear to a knitting retreat on Block Island.  Deborah, who wrote the classic Designing Knitwear, was teaching at the retreat!  Love the wrap and the view!

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Marci Frey made this pretty shawl during the Downton Abbey MKAL last spring/summer.  It started at the center and grew from there!

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Karen Walter made this beauty.  No surprise, it’s a gorgeous job!:

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Sarah Ruppert deserves a post all her own.  She has fallen in love with knitting shawls and delights in figuring out the most complicated patterns.  She came in early this fall with a pile of finished shawls to share with us.  She’s running out of people to give them to, so was going to see if the Women’s Exchange (sorry, it’s now called It’s A Gift) would be interested in selling them. I hope so, they are exquisitely made, in only the finest yarn available.

Without further comment:

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Can I get an OMG???

So here’s a little laugh for you.  My big accomplishment in knitting for the week was this cute little pair of thumbless mitts for Maxwell the Great (Nephew) knit in a fun color of Jelli Beenz.  Took less than an hour apiece, and I crocheted a chain between them so they could thread through his sleeves.  They’re from a mitten pattern for babies and kids up to 12 called Little Waiting for Winter by Susan B. Anderson, available on Ravelry.

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Ta-da!

One little bit of new yarn stuff because it’s so neat and really selling out fast and Janet had such good ideas about how to use it.  We received Happy feet Splash last week in all these great colors:

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Janet found these fun patterns to use them with a bit of stash (or maybe with a gradient set?):

This one is called Scarfy Thing:

Picture: Miki Barlok

and this one is called Outline:

Picture: Miki Barlok

(Pictures: Miki Barlok)

Both designs are available through Hedgehog Fibers’ website, which you can reach through the Ravelry links if you click on the photos. Don’t they look like fun?  Just figuring out colors would be a blast, and here are a few ideas using Cheshire Cat gradients from Frabjous Fibers:

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Okay, enough for one week! See you soon!

Last post, I left you with an enticing photo of huge boxes just delivered.  Those boxes contained 150 (!!) pounds of yarn from Plymouth and we’re still trying to fit it all in the shelves.  It’s a really fun dilemma to have, believe me.  I love it when the store is just bursting with wonderful materials to inspire all of us.  To look at a yarn, feel it, have an idea form in your head about what it can become, and then find the exact pattern you want for it.  There’s nothing better except sitting down to start that perfect project.

Anyway here are two of the yarns we received.  The first is our perennially favorite soft bulky yarn, Baby Alpaca Grande, in wonderful classic shades:

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One for a soft, warm hat or close-fitting cowl (close-fitting is okay, it’s SOFT!), 2 – 3 skeins for a luxurious scarf or cowl, 4 -6 for this easy shrug that will keep you cozy without overwhelming you.

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A new yarn for us, Homestead is a sturdy heavy-worsted weight 100% wool from Peru.  It’s a classic wool, great for outer-wear, cardigans, felting, slippers, mittens.  It’s a hand-wash yarn, but that’s its only drawback, everything else about it says Knit Me!  The colors are beautiful, the hand is gratifyingly woolly, the weight will knit up quickly, the price is surprisingly reasonable.

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We have this pretty throw in the shop to show you:

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but I think it would be great for a classic cardigan like this one, designed by Tammy Eigeman Thompson:

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or this very pretty new design by Josee Paquin:

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More, more, more to show you, but no time!  See you soon!

This is the question Karen and I ask every day as more new yarn is delivered!  We think we can’t stuff one more skein onto our shelves, but somehow, it happens.

As fall progresses and our classes take off, I find myself with less time than I like for writing to you all, so a quick update on just a few of our newest yarns:

Some pretty new colors of Opal sock yarn:

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Noro’s newest yarn Tennen, a blend of wool, alpaca and silk, that subtly changes value instead of color, in beautiful neutrals.  It would be a wonderful yarn for a simple stockinette cardigan, full of texture and interest all on its own.

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Criss Cross by Isabell Kraemer

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City Trip by Von Hinterm Stein

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or the simplest of the simple, Top-Down Cardigan by Knitting Pure and Simple

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We received a delightful shipment of Fibre Company yarns, always favorites. Just look at these rich new shades of Acadia:

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Acadia’s lovely hand and texture make it appropriate for many things.  I have a (and would love another) pullover in it – it’s definitely next-to-the skin material – but have dancing dreams of Churchmouse’s Easy Folded Poncho in a rich autumn shade:

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or their new Library Vest in a studious neutral, also in stock:

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So much more yarn, so little time to tell you about it!  Come see for yourself:

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While I’m enjoying our first rainy day in months, I thought I’d show you more new yarns to think about while you’re planning your fall knitting:

(Links to Ravelry in photos below)

Two new colors (to add to our very good selection of natural colors) of Herriott Fine, a lovely fingering-weight alpaca blend that drapes softly:

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I love these colors together, and we have so many other really beautiful combinations, so I would love to use two colors to make any (or all, if only I had six hands) of these great sweaters:

Breton from Brooklyn Tweed

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Antler by Ankestrick

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True Friend by Veera Valimaki

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Seashore by Isabell Kraemer

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Frosty Acorn by Suvi Simola

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We also received more beautiful color ways of Huasco DK, a hand-dyed extra fine merino with a lovely bounce. Most of the color ways are beautifully blended (you can clearly see which one I would leave out of that category, although I’m going to wind a skein and do a small project like an infinity scarf to see what it looks like when knitted) so they would work well for a sweater project:

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Several people are using it for our Modern Wrapper Fine class.  It would also be lovely for:

Breathing Space by Veera Valimaki

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Carpino from Brooklyn Tweed

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Fine Sand by Heidi Kirrmaier

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Or for smaller projects:

Silver leaf by Lisa Hannes

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Pleasant Trip by Laura Aylor

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As with most hand-dyes, if you’re using it for a sweater, you should blend two skeins for about 2 inches when coming to the end of a skein so that any difference in the skeins will not be apparent to the eye. Blending means knitting 2 rows with the old skein, then two rows with the new, carrying the yarns loosely up the edge.  If you’re knitting in the round, you can knit one round with the old, one with the new, again carrying them loosely up the inside.  If you’re a real hard case, you can use two skeins the whole way, but if you’re careful about choosing similar skeins, I think blending for a little while is fine.

Speaking of hand-dyes, our shipment of Manos Maxima has arrived in all its annual splendor!  I can’t even tell you how much I love this yarn.  Come see it!

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