I haven’t done all that much stranded knitting in my life.  I suppose it’s because I haven’t had to.  Karen Walter is a great one for stranded knitting and makes lovely projects and teaches wonderful classes, so I don’t need to.  I have to say, though, that when I do a small project of some kind using this technique, I enjoy working the little “peerie” patterns the most.

Peerie means small in Scottish, and the peerie patterns in Fair Isle knitting use only two colors across any round and are short repeats both stitch-wise and row-wise.  It’s easy to get into a rhythm with them, and their appearance is delicate and decorative.  Here are a few examples from Ravelry:

Kate Davies has done some beautiful designs, and if you’re interested in ethnic history of knitting in Northern Europe and the British Isles, you’ll learn a lot from her blog, as well as seeing some of the most glorious photography you’ll ever experience:

Carraig Fhada

Machrihanish

Peerie Flooers

Alice Starmore literally wrote the book about Fair Isle knitting (Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting). Packed with history and technical details plus page after page of charts for traditional stitch patterns, it’s an amazing resource.  It also has sweater patterns and very scary instructions for making and cutting steeks.  You can look at her patterns on Ravelry but she doesn’t sell patterns there.  Her designs, except for the books she has published, are available as kits only.

Anyhow, all this is leading up to telling you about the sweater Karen is going to teach this fall, starting late in September.  First Fair Isle is a beauty, featuring loads of pretty peerie patterns and modern top-down construction.

 The Fair Isle patterns are at the bottom of the body and sleeves, so they’re in the round, not interrupted by steeks or shaping, and all the fun comes at the end!  This is Karen’s version:

Karen used Cumbria Fingering from Fibre Company, a lovely choice for this project. Its blend of traditional British sheep’s wools give the colors a heathery depth, and the addition of a smooch of mohair adds loft and sheen.

One of the most pleasurable aspects of stranded knitting is choosing the colors.  It’s also one of the most fraught aspects.  Karen was a bit disappointed in the lack of contrast between a couple of the colors she used (although I like the subtle differences).  Plus it’s very difficult to visualize what the patterns will look like with other colors.  The solution?  Coloring the chart!  The other day I pulled out my old colored pencils and got as close to some of the Cumbria colors as I could, and had a great time playing around.

The chart patterns start right under the bustline and travel down to the hem, so they’re shown in reverse order on the chart.  The one below shows colors similar to the book’s sample.

This teal and green version is quite pretty.

And I like this one, with greens and a pop of copper:

This one is different in that I used a dark gray as the main color and went brighter at the bottom:

Well, I thought this would make choosing colors easier, but I still would have a hard time deciding!

Come in and do some coloring!

 

 

 

Many people think of spring as the season of renewal. I tend think of fall as the season of new.  It’s probably a holdover from school days, when fall meant new clothes and new shoes, new teachers, new books, sometimes a new building and always new classes and new things to learn.  I still think of fall as a freshening breeze, crisp days and cool nights, crunchy leaves and Siamese-cat-eye-colored skies, renewed vigor and, of course, the beginning of knitting season.

Have you thought of new projects for the coming year?  Turtlenecks are making a comeback – love them or hate them?

Big cable knits are still everywhere.

 Tunics are still being shown

but there are a few shorter styles.

Color work is popular – graphic intarsia as well as stranded or striped.

 

 

Classic fisherman rib is always popular

and can also be not-quite-so-classic:

All the images above are from Nordstrom’s website.  If you want to spend $450 – 1200 on a sweater, you can have them, no knitting involved!  I use their website for inspiration for what I’d like to make this fall.  We all have different body types and issues, but for me, I’m reluctant to wear big chunky tunics (I look like the Hobbit) or turtlenecks that are too high or bulky (a hold-over from my hot flash era) or big graphic images (not wanting to come off as the side of a really short barn).

I would like a shorter cable knit, though, and I’ve always liked this one, which I think is a good transitional style for fall.  I would make it as shown, in Luma, Fibre Company’s wool/organic cotton/silk blend:

or this nice little gansey :

in Plymouth’s DK Merino Superwash.

I also like this one, maybe scaled down a bit:

in Ella Rae’s Classic Sport, a nice woolly kind of wool.

I wouldn’t mind a turtleneck this year, as long as it wasn’t too overwhelming. I’m old, so I have neck issues along with my hot-flash PTSD.  Maybe this:

because it’s done in lace weight and the collar is loose.  It would be incredibly yummy in Road to China Lace.

And this looks wearable and comfy:

I may experiment with two strands of Lang’s Lusso (coming soon to the shop, with wool/silk/camel/mohair- yum!) held together.  Debby Andrews is currently knitting this sweater in Lana Grossa’s Arioso, which will be absolutely lovely, too.

As for colorwork, I love the sweater that Karen is going to be teaching this fall – more about that next time! – and I also love this light little striped pully.  Some color packs of Fino are coming soon and I think this would be fabu using one of Fino’s lovely semi-solids along with a color pack:

Fisherman’s rib really is classic, but it’s a time-and yarn-intensive stitch.  How about this cute capelet instead, in a rich color of Worsted Merino Superwash?  Or I might try it in one of my favorite combinations, Fine Donegal (wool/cashmere) held together with Herriott Fine (baby alpaca/nylon), tweedy and lush all at the same time:

There are so many things to get excited about for fall…can’t wait!

 

 

It’s been a while since I posted, and there’s so much to talk about and show you that I don’t even know how to start.  I want to show you customer projects from this summer, but I also want to show you new yarns that have been coming in, and I also just want to ramble on about this and that.

I’ll start with some customer projects today:

Susie Drake took Karen’s Eternal Optimist class this summer and brought in her completed scarf to show.  The color is stunning and the beads are beautiful accents:

Mary Ellen Leidy took Karen’s Modern Wrapper Fine class in the spring, just after getting a new puppy!  It took a little while to finish the wrapper, in between walks, play, and training sessions for Keiko, but she did it!  It’s a beautiful fit, a beautiful color, and beautiful workmanship:

Cindy Schuchart took my Corella hat class this summer, in between vacations with a house full of kids and grandkids.  She made a beautiful hat and got comfortable with charts as well.

Cindy also made this pretty poncho for her daughter-in-law from our in-house free pattern.  Finished in plenty of time for fall, the poncho is perfect!

Virginia Griffith made this great open-work tunic from two colors of Shibui Twig.  (So sorry for  the photo. Take my word for it, it’s really pretty!)

Debby Andrews finished this pretty feather-and-fan tam, then made a cowl in the same stitch pattern to match.  She’s all set for cool weather:

Anne Alderman made these two good-looking summer tops, plus one or two more, plus some hats…and on and on…!

Jill Pelchar made this great hoodie for her daughter, who models it beautifully!

Linda Seifarth loves small projects.  She made the adorable hat and the in-process headband for a grand who, I think, is heading to Penn State. The beautiful Touch-Me scarf is in her own favorite color.  The headband pattern and the scarf patterns are ours and are free with purchase:

Anne Nordhoy made up her own bunch of blocks for this afghan, made from scraps from other projects.  It’s amazing!

However, the belle of the blog has got to be this challenging sweater Amy Wall made for her nephew Joey – cables, steeks and all!  He obviously adores it; you don’t see bigger smiles than this:

Many thanks to everyone who sends me photos or takes the time to bring in finished projects.  It’s a real joy to see them!

 

 

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!