It’s a dreary, smeary old Tuesday morning and all I want to do is knit and listen to an audio book and possibly take a nap without having to bestir myself to do one other thing.  But I’ve got to run around and do errands galore so I’ll make this a quick post this week, especially since I have almost no knitting to show you.  I’ve been working on my niece’s sweater and it has been slow going because I’m designing as I go (which means ripping when things are not what I thought they’d be) and also trying to be sure it will fit her, without her being here (which means ripping when the sleeves are too short or whatever).  She’s a bit taller and quite a bit slimmer than I am, so I’m estimating using myself and hoping it will be just what she wants.  Maybe I’ll have something more complete to show next week; I’m working on the dreaded sleeves now, which I do before the body because I hate them.  I do quite like the ribbing I chose for cuffs, turtleneck, and hem though.  It’s called Little Shell Rib from Barbara Walker’s  A Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

It’s deeply textured and will keep her pulse points nice and warm.

I saw my first sales rep for spring yesterday.  I told myself to be extremely disciplined and not to place orders until I had seen other lines – and frankly, people, it didn’t happen!  I loved so many things, it was agony to try to keep myself and my budget under control – I’m pretty sure I busted right through the limit I set.  Here’s a couple of samples he left for me to mess around with:

One is a hand-dyed sport weight merino in speckles and the other is a new Noro in cotton/silk/nylon/viscose that feels wonderful and comes in amazing colors.  Ohhh, March seems a long way away now…

Here is a very sweet picture of Purl and Jack taken by a customer who has spaniels of her own:

Good doggies!!!

 

 

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!

Hooray!  A whole new year to look forward to.  It’s off to a good start with dinner with good friends, everyone in the family healthy and doing well, Maxwell the Great (Nephew) blossoming,  a beautiful morning, a long walk with Jack and Purl, and a welcome cup of coffee. Oh, and a new class schedule for you to peruse. I hope you find something that you’ll love to make!

But first, some old business.  In, December, we drew names from all the Frequent Buyer cards you folks turned in last year, and all these lovely people won $25 gift certificates:

Anne Alderman, Janice Bieber, Jane Brubaker, Janis Edwards, Marci Frey, Donna Hain, Melissa Korth, Kim Lally, Mary Ellen Leidy, Beverly Meserole, Jill Pelchar, Sarah Ruppert, Claire Sanacory, Laura Vilardo, Sheila Yarus, and Tracee Yawger.

Congrats!

If you missed Purl in her Christmas finery, here is a (as always, blurry – does she ever stop moving?) little pic of her.  This lasted approximately 10 seconds:

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and then she was happy to donate it to Virginia’s grand-dog Booey so that she could also be humiliated for the holidays.

Here is a picture of thrummed slippers from our class this fall, in various stages of completion:

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The class was so much fun, and I hope everyone’s tootsies are cozy and enjoying all those little thrums!

Knitters are strange creatures and get excited by strange things.  Karen and I spent some minutes admiring the Fancy Hen pictures on Ravelry one day, and she stealthily made me one for Christmas!

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I absolutely love it, but Purl did not feel the same.  She had a rather noisy confrontation with the chicken, and I’m happy to report that, while Purl won the barking event, the chicken handily won the staring contest.

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And see that carton quietly lurking behind the table?  It’s full of Madelinetosh Twist Light.  Happy New Year, indeed!

 

 

We’ve had such beautiful month weather-wise – I can’t remember a lovelier June, with enough rain but lots of sunshine, warmth but not much humidity – it’s been perfect.  I just wish I could say the same about my knitting!

I’ve been working on Nancy’s Vest.  And working on it. And working on it. Good pattern, good design.  It’s made in one piece to the armholes without any need for counting stitches until you get to the armholes.  I FINALLY made it there and to my astonishment, I had somehow cast on 50 more stitches than required for the size I thought I was making.

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On a size 4 needle with a row gauge of about 9 rows per inch and 12.5 inches to the armholes, I have knit 50 x 9 x 12.5 = 5,625 extra stitches in this vest so far. Talk about mindless knitting!  I’m going to finish it – the 50 extra stitches will give me a vest 2 sizes and 8 inches bigger than I was going for but it will be a wonderful piece.

And I will try to practice mindfulness with every stitch.

On the bright side of knitting, I have just started this gorgeous thing:

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It’s called Northern Trail Wrap, and I got the idea from Mary Ellen Leidy who found the pattern and is making it in a pretty blue shade of Moonshine.  I loved all the different stitches used in the design, and a lovely box of Astral

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from The Alpaca Yarn Company showed up just in time to make a perfect marriage of yarn and pattern.  Look at those beautiful jewel tones! I just started it, as you can see below:

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The stitches just flow off the needles and I think it will have a smooth touch, a lovely drape, and every stitch will glow.  And I will have to pay attention.

These fun notions from The Knitting Zone just arrived, too.  We have lots of Puppy Snips, Kitty Snips and colorful markers and scissors to brighten up your knitting bag.

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July promises to be a fun month (we’ll be open this Saturday, by the way, if you’re in town as I will be) because several types of new yarn will be showing up at my door.  These early arrivals will turn into models for you to check out when fall rolls around. This is Nova from Lang Yarns:

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This fuzzy gray reminds me of a gray cat:

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Finding the right design for each new yarn is the one of the best parts of the fall season for me, and I hope the models inspire you, but I love to see what you make out of our yarns, too, even when I get a little twinge of envy!

One thing I know for sure is that we’ll be doing a block afghan KAL in late summer/fall.  The yarn I want to use is coming mid-July, so look for the posting about it.  Wonderful colors, fun blocks, easy assembly, and a nice way to get together with other knitters – what’s not to love?  Can’t wait!

Here is the latest “Pocket Pal” for Maxwell the Great (Nephew):

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Love these teensy-weensy projects!

Karen took a brilliant picture of Purl that I have to share with you:

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My photos of her are usually a blur, so I am very glad to have this one!

 

 

I must say, I’m already enjoying the holidays.  The prospect of seeing family in a few days, the anticipation of spending time with good friends and good food, and the enjoyment of a little break from the shop are all in my immediate future.  We’ll be open Wednesday from 11 to 5, then closed until January 2.  By that time, I’ll be missing you all, and we’ll have a whole new year to look forward to.

We’ve been drawing names for gift certificates every day that we’ve been open.  The following people have won $25 gift certificates:

Leigh Glenn, Linda Michael, Carol Sullivan, Jane Brubaker, Sarah Ruppert, Sandy Albert, Nadine Royer, Ginny Close, Marci Frey, Suzy Crump, Anne Alderman, Laura Vilardo

Congratulations to all!  One more to go, keep your fingers crossed if you haven’t won yet.

I’ll be working on a new class schedule over the holidays (yes, I know – not really time off) and I hope to have it online by the new year.  I’ll be teaching more this coming season, and if anyone is interested in teaching at the shop, please get in touch with me at info@yarngal.com.  We’ll talk!  In addition, I’ve been thinking about knit-alongs, which are less about someone teaching and others learning than about mutual support and interest.  I’m hoping we can come up with a way to offer this, with ideas and groups suggested by our customers rather than dictated by me, the Queen of the yarn shop.  I’d be happy to hear any ideas!

I’ve been having knitting fun this past week.  I’ve gotten just a little tired of the fluffy pink mass of ribbing that my Flaum jacket has become

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so I’ve taken a break or two.  I’ve knitted an Eternidad scarf for my niece-in-law, finished blocking the baby cocoon for my great-nephew-to-be,

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whipped up a baby surprise jacket for him – so much fun! –

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and started a scarf for my nephew.

Needless to say, my jacket is not exactly growing by leaps and bounds!

Virginia Griffith brought presents for Jack and Purl the other day, and once we got Purl to let go of the present Janet brought her for a minute, we got them to model some holiday finery.  You can tell how excited they were:

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(squirming to get down: I want my toy!)

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Oh, the humanity! (What are these humans thinking anyway?)

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Handsome old man, trying to maintain some dignity.

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Still trying, but failing.

Hope your holidays are extra-wonderful this year!  Love from all of us!

 

 

 

 

This week brought some nice new colors of Baby Alpaca Grande

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And Inca Tweed.

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Both are on my list of favorite chunky yarns for accessories of all sorts.

We also received a couple brand new yarns.  Shinroyoku from Noro is a nicely tweedy wool/silk blend in an aran – heavy worsted weight,

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just right for a plain top-down cardigan that won’t bore you while you’re knitting it or while you’re wearing it.  The color changes are blended instead of stark and will be easy to wear and pleasant to look at.

Herriott Fine from Juniper Moon Farm is a beautiful blend of alpaca and nylon in a fingering weight.  It would make a luxurious pair of (hand-wash) socks, but would also be yummy for shawls, sweaters, mitts, hats – anything you can think of, really. I ordered five wonderful natural shades – a gradient design would work beautifully with these!

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Stella Luna is finished!  It started with one of these:

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became this:

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then this:

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and now this:

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It’s a large shawl and pretty as can be!

I’m finishing up some other (smaller) things and so happy my decks are cleared for the next project.  Not sure what that will be but I love having so many possibilities.  Next week I hope to show you finished projects from our beloved customers.  Bring yours in for photos!

Jack is still recovering from his surgery, mostly because it was in a tricky spot (his tushy) so don’t make fun of him if he’s wearing a makeshift diaper this week.  We do what we must to get him healed!

Bristol Ivy is a genius at sweater design.  I just finished her Coburn Pullover from last spring’s Knitscene magazine and I really love it.

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She uses ribbing and other textures the way an architect uses stone and wood and steel: to add beauty, structure, and strength to a design.  The yoke on this pullover is beautiful:

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That’s what you notice first, but then the other details sink in:  the short rows to drop the back hemline a little bit, the clever increases that make the sweater pouf just so at the bottom of the yoke, the little detail at the hem that echoes the yoke.  They all make a great design, with nothing held back.  I made a couple minor changes to pull in the neckline a bit and lengthen the sleeves, which you can read about on Ravelry by clicking on the full-size shot above.  The yarn is to die for, just a lovely blend of merino, silk and cashmere that shows the details very well and feels soft and smooth next to your skin.

Karen just finished a beautiful shop model in Nuna Fina, a very lightweight fingering yarn that is close to a laceweight.  It’s wonderful for shawls because the bamboo and silk in the blend show every detail, keep the fabric light and add the perfect amount of drape and flow as you can see.  Here is Tristano, designed by Dee O’Keefe (who has many lovely shawl patterns):

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Is that not a beauty?  I love how the upper motif perfectly leads into the beginning of the border.  And the pretty detail at the center, instead of simple eyelet increases, adds a wonderful vertical accent. Wonderful job by Karen!!

On a more – well, I don’t want to say slapdash, so I’ll say do-able – note, I finished this cute cowl in a couple of evenings.  With one skein of TweedleDeeDum (hand-dyed bulky merino from Frabjous Fibers) and one skein of Trendsetter Dune and a free pattern called Blue Streak from Wendy Chapman, you can have this very cute and FAST accessory, gift, relief from an interminable sweater – whatever you need it to be!  We have lots of great color combinations right now.

This is one view of the cowl, with the smooth merino side out:

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and here is the sparkly, fuzzy side out, with the smooth side next to your neck:

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It’s a simple slip-stitch design so anyone can do it, and it’s completely reversible if you’re careful with weaving in ends.  I made a few changes so the yarns would work, and they are available at the shop with purchase!  It’s the middle of July, let’s start thinking about fall wardrobes, birthdays, and that big knitting black hole out there called Christmas!

Okay, that’s it.  I’m feeling chatty today so I could go on, but enough is enough!!  One – oh, okay, two -handsome pictures of my sweet boy Jack, who is aging gracefully:

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Now I’m done!

It really wasn’t fair of me to inflict my existential angst on you in my last post, but frankly, I’m not sorry.  I got what I needed which was lots of support and many nice words about the shop, and it really helped.  Thanks to everyone who commented on Facebook or sent an email; it was kind of you to take the time to do so and lifted me out of my funk.

Our new classes are posted, and as you will see, the knit-along will be for Hawser, the nice cable-y pullover.  The votes were about 50-50 and I decided on Hawser because Karen is going to teach a really pretty cardigan (!!) in the spring, and I didn’t want to do anything too close to her project.  I’ve been swatching several yarns for it and many would work, depending on how cozy and warm you want the sweater to be.  At my age, I get hot fast and am just more comfortable when I feel a little cool, so I don’t want the sweater to be too dense.  And with all that texture, the sweater takes lots of yarn – around 2000 yds for most folks –  so I have to think about cost, too.  Here are some of my swatches:

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The one on the right is Debbie Bliss Bluefaced Leicester DK, a yarn I love, but DK is really too light for this project, even a sturdy DK like this one.  The middle swatch is Galway, which makes a very nice and sturdy fabric at a good price.  I also swatched Nature Spun Worsted which I don’t have in stock but do have that nice dark blue in my stash.  I love this wool, too.  It’s a bit lighter than Galway with a lot of yardage in 100 grams and fluffs up nicely when you block it.  That’s the one I chose and I’ve gotten a little of the sweater started, although – and I know this never happens to you – I forgot to change to the bigger needle after I finished the ribbing, so I have to rip out 5 rounds this morning!  I just couldn’t do it last night, so I went to bed early and decided to whine about it a little before I actually got to it.  You can laugh, go ahead.  You know how I rip your knitting out with abandon when it needs it.  It’s not the same when it’s mine.

Anyway, other reasons I chose Nature Spun:  It’s made in Nebraska by Brown Sheep Company, it’s very good quality wool, they have many many colors to choose from, and I can order exactly the number of skeins that you need instead of by the bagful.  So if you decide to do the knit-along and to use Nature Spun for it, you can choose your color from their lovely array (it will not be easy!) and I will special-order for the group.  I’ll need to order by January 13 to be sure it arrives in time for us to start by January 25.  After that, you will need to choose from yarns I have in stock (Galway, Maxima, Moonshine, Blackstone, and others – all beautiful and all more expensive.)

I do have some wonderful customer projects to show you next time, but for now, I’ll just show Bentley, Marci Frey’s pup, who stopped by just before we closed to show off his new sweater:

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Look at that face!

All right, I must get on with my ripping and then run errands.  I’m having a lovely time off, but both the dogs and I are ready to get back to the shop.  The excitement of Christmas has worn off for them – their new toys are now just piles of Fiberfill and scraps of cloth littering the living room.  Purl is looking for more:

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See you soon!

 

A little more eye candy for knitters!

Here is Obi, a bulky wool/silk blend from Noro that makes a chunky and of course colorful cowl or scarf in a flash.  Gorgeous colors, as always with Noro:

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Janet made this very pretty and quick infinity scarf with two balls, from the new Noro Magazine:

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Inca Tweed, a soft and chunky alpaca/wool blend from Berroco, also arrived, in a lovely array of wearable shades:

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I bought a bunch, as you can see, so Berroco sent us a model sweater, which was very nice of them indeed.  It’s pretty, but…

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I really had to knit with the yarn, couldn’t resist, so I made this very cozy, soft, yummy, fast hat from the new magazine “Make It! Knits:”

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Delicious yarn, cute design!  When the magazine is gone, this is my hat!

The Inca Tweed booklet also features a beautiful chunky cowl that is crocheted (!!)  I want it so much I may just pick up my hook and give it a go:

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Another new yarn from Berroco, Andean Mist is a brushed alpaca/silk blend in a DK weight that knits up light as a cloud.  It’s a soft, luminous yarn, made of drifting dreams, so I bought dreamy colors for your romantic moments.

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Aren’t they so pretty?  I made this lace-edged capelet/cowl from their pattern booklet from just 3 balls:

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Now all I need is the romance!

 

Berroco’s Kodiak is another soft alpaca blend in a bulky weight that almost floats, it’s so light.  I intend to have a sweater from it this year since I didn’t get to it in time last year.  By the time I decided what to knit there was none left!

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I’m glad I waited though, because Berroco came out with this design this year…

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…and this is the one for me!  Can’t wait to get started, but must finish one or two small things first.  One is in Shibui’s newest yarn Maai – (sneak peek:)

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and one is in the newest Dream Club yarn, which I can’t even give you a peek at.  Loving them both!

Lots more to show, hope I’ll get to another post in a couple days. Meanwhile, we’ll be looking for you:

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I have embarked on “Aperture”, a new fall design from Shibui Knits.

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The jacket has draped fronts that can also be worn buttoned at the neck. (I love getting two very different looks from one piece.)  There’s an asymmetric collar that swoops from narrow to wide around the neckline. There are instructions for 3/4 or long sleeves.

It’s made from an interesting fiber mix, one strand of alpaca/silk Cima lace weight, and one strand of Linen fingering weight held together throughout.  I’m using two different colors with similar values, meaning that if you took the color away and viewed them in black and white, there would be little difference between them.  The fabric is therefore only lightly marled, just interesting enough, with the linen reflecting light and the alpaca absorbing it.  It also feels a bit like tent canvas so far, but I have faith that with blocking and wear, the linen will soften and the alpaca will bloom to make a soft to the touch and drape-y fabric.

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Unfortunately I’ve made little progress on it because Purl has been sick and threw up on my knitting!  It had to be carefully washed, still on my Addi’s which luckily don’t care about water one way or the other, and is slowly drying out.  Poor thing looks very sad right now, doesn’t it?

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Purl seems better today (hungry, because I’m giving her just a little rice and chicken broth every couple of hours) and ready to play, but we’re having a quiet day and I’m keeping a close eye on her.

Stay tuned for new arrivals this week.  I’ll do a quick post when anything interesting shows up!