Sometimes I don’t know where the days go!  It’s nearly the end of October, and the trees are still green. I don’t know where the barrels of leaves are coming from, I just know there are lots more to fall. My tomato plants are still happily making new tomatoes. I know they should be pulled out, but they’re still so exuberant.  And my lovely soft cozy sweaters are still in their plastic zipper bags.  Summer keeps drifting along and so do I.

However, November hovers in the offing and that’s my wake-up call.  I have lots of birthdays in November and while I don’t usually knit for those birthdays, both my sisters have milestone birthdays this year and I want to send them something I made.  Unfortunately, my younger sister, whom I adore and would knit her anything she wanted, doesn’t ever like what I knit, no matter how chic and black it is, so I’m sending her a pair of Cloud Nine Slippers from our recently finished class.  These slippers are really cute

but a lot of trouble to make – something happens every row and it’s really pay-attention knitting – so I feel that I put some effort into them as a present, and if she ends up giving them away or making dog toys out of them, at least it’s not a cashmere sweater.

I also finished a pair of Brother-In-Law socks to send along.  Mickey’s a gem and he loves crazy socks.  This was a new stripe-y color from Opal and I snagged one right away:

These I know will be worn and appreciated!

For my other sister, who does seem to like knitted things or at least has the grace to pretend she does, I’m making a cozy little cocoon, a scaled-down version of one I designed and taught a few years ago.  It’s not done yet so I can’t show you much.  This is the first half and all you can tell is that the fabric will be lovely.

It’s Plymouth’s DK Merino Superwash held with a strand of Kid Gloss lace weight mohair-silk, and it’s pretty darn yummy.  I’ll have it done this week, by hook or by crook, because there are so many, many, many, many things I want to knit for ME!

Here are a few things I’ve just added to my favorites, as I spent a couple precious hours trolling through the recent past on Ravelry to catch up with what I missed:

Shawls:

Theresa Schabes’ Escalator Wrap

 

Laura Aylor’s Brookhill

 

Susan Ashcroft’s Myssoni

 

Sweaters:

Josee Paquin’s Cathedral Grove

 

Heidi Kirrmaier’s Avalanche

 

Thea Coleman’s Cranberry Gose

 

Maureen Clark’s Seeded Pullover

 

And about a hundred other things, big and small, easy or intricate.  Aren’t you happy to be a knitter????

I have so much to write about that I’m having to just cut it down into small bites or I’ll never get anything on this page!  I’ve been finishing up the pattern for the afghan we’re making later this fall – Karen proofed it for me this week and I took the best pictures I could of the blocks, now to finish up the general instructions and figure out formatting and so on.  It’s complicated and interesting for such a big pattern.

Anyway, I’ve also been knitting happily away when the computer screen starts to blur.  I posted a photo to Facebook of the Alegria we received from Manos:

Beautiful, unusual colorways plus a wonderfully soft merino/nylon base = so many possibilities.  So of course, I couldn’t let it go at this.  Had to play!

Sophisticated

 

 

Pretty-pretty

 

 

Refined

 

Refined with a punch

 

 

Unrefined with a punch

 

 

POW!

Loved them all, couldn’t choose, plus I needed a quick model.  This is what I made with one skein:

I love this sweet asymmetrical shawl with a sawtooth eyelet edge and a picot bindoff, all in garter stitch so the colors blend beautifully, it’s so soft and squishy, and the pattern is free on Ravelry!  It’s Justyna Lorkowska’s Close to You and it’s an addictive fun knit!  Go get it, then come get your favorite color of Alegria!  You can finish the shawl before the classes start –

Speaking of which, the sweater class is full, I’m happy to say, and the others are filling up nicely.  If there’s a class you’re interested in, please don’t delay registering!

 

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!

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.

 

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!

Need some inspiration?  Our customers inspire us every day, and we’re so thankful that they allow us to share:

 

Heather Christie made this wonderful Esjan shawl, designed by Stephen West, and models it beautifully:

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Anne Alderman made these beautiful Age of Brass and Steam shawls, one in Lang Ella and the other in a beautiful shade of Juniper Moon Farm Zooey.  One is a gift and one is for herself – I’m not sure she has been able to decide yet!

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Becky Steltz knitted this adorable Elephant, designed by Sarah Keen:

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and then went on to make this beautiful afghan (free Lion Brand pattern) as a wedding present, using Encore Mega!

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Susie Drake finished her Chilkat cowl in wonderfully luscious colors:

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Donna Hain cleared out some old bags and baskets and found the yarn for this project – It’s the Pamela from Two Old Bags (pattern available at the shop), and it’s still just as cute as pie!

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Karen Walter (okay, obviously not only a customer) made these technically challenging and visually amazing Pucker socks.  (They don’t pucker when you wear them, the fit is spot on):

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Anne Nordhoy is just a bit obsessive about using up her odds and ends, finding it a fun challenge to make something interesting from them.  Below, she is in the process of making an infinity scarf from leftovers and you can try this, too:

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With an appropriately-sized circular needle, cast on a multiple of 6 stitches plus 5.  Join in the round and don’t bother to place a marker!  Work K3, P3 continuously, changing colors when you run out.  Bind off loosely when it’s deep enough!

Here are some guidelines if you’d like to give it a try.  For fingering-weight yarn, try a size 6 needle.  For a smallish cowl, cast on 125 stitches (20 x 6 = 120 +5 = 125).  For worsted-weight, try a size 9 needle and 95 stitches.  For bulky weight, try size 11 needle and 65 stitches.  For super-bulky yarns, try size 17 needle and 41 stitches.  To make it larger or smaller, add or subtract stitches in multiples of 6.

Thanks, Anne!

Have fun!

I knit for all kinds of reasons (just like you, probably.)  Sometimes it’s because I have to – we need a class sample or I have bought a new yarn for the store that needs a model, even if I don’t particularly want to knit that model.  Sometimes it’s because of the way I feel – I’m nervous about something so I need to do something to calm myself, or I’m scared about something new I’m trying so I need to do something I’m confident about, or I’m at loose ends and I need something challenging to do.  Sometimes it’s even because I need something for my “wardrobe” (yes, it deserves quotation marks) – a little black sweater, a neutral cardigan with convenient pockets, a hide-those-five-extra-pounds vest.

And sometimes I knit because I want to make something pretty.

It doesn’t matter if I’m going to wear it with everything, if it goes with jeans, if it’s my color.  A pattern will catch my eye, and even though I really can’t justify making it, I just want to.  For me, that’s when knitting becomes pure pleasure.  It’s about the fibers, about the colors, about the techniques.  That’s when I fall in love with knitting all over again, and after all these years.

So I made Typha:

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It’s a pretty cowl designed by Kirsten Kapur.  I made it in lace weight yarn, Cima from Shibui, a lovely blend of alpaca and wool, in colors that were a little unexpected but played pleasantly together.  It’s light, it drapes, and it was fun to make.  That’s all it needs to be.

 

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Another, even prettier, thing arrived at the shop this week.  Karen’s Waiting for Rain shawl is absolutely lovely in Manos’ Fino, a wool and silk fingering-weight that we just love:

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It’s a beautiful design, with short-row lace insertions periodically accenting soothing garter stitch, with a nice wrappy size and fabric.  A pretty thing that needs no further justification to exist!

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Don’t let the words “short row” and “lace” intimidate you.  Karen is teaching this shawl this summer and she’ll get you through the tough bits!

And then you’ll have this pretty thing, too!

It’s a dreary, wet old day, so I’m just going to throw some color at you, because I need to.

Here is Serenity Silk+ from Zen Yarn Garden’s Artwalk series.  The yarn is a lovely 500-yard bundle of fingering weight merino, cashmere, and silk.

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The color ways are inspired by paintings; this one is a lovely mix of purples and plums with the slightest touches of green inspired by Georgia O’Keefe’s early painting of petunias.Unknown

Have I tried it yet?  No, but I have some ideas, one of which is this nice free pattern called Reyna by Noora Laivola.  It looks great in a multi-colored hand-dye, and the fiber mix would feel marvelous snuggled around you.

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We received a nice range of colors in Katia’s Bulky Cotton.  It’s a washable yarn consisting of cotton fibers encased in a nylon tube, which means it has great stitch definition and does not have that dry cotton feeling when you’re knitting with it.  I liked it very much as I was doing my pretty little double seed stitch swatch; the nylon does not catch on your fingers and adds strength and bounce to the yarn.

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You’re welcome to come and add to my swatch, just to see how you like it!

This is a new yarn for us, too:

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It’s Phoenix DK Print from Ella Rae.This is 100% mercerized DK-weight cotton that knits up in bright stripes:

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Fun for summer cardigans or tees, baby sweaters, beach cover-ups, all things cool and colorful!

Lastly, we received a lovely shipment of our favorite yarn for beautiful summer sweaters:  Zooey from Juniper Moon Farm.

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This DK cotton/linen blend comes in generous 284-yd balls that knit up into an elegantly textured fabric that drapes nicely and shows details well.  We made Richmond (a long boat-neck pullover, knit sideways, and a free pattern with yarn purchase) last year; I’m still contemplating what to make this year.  What do you think about Fine Sand by Heidi Kirrmaier, maybe in Navy?

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