Thursday, October 20, 2005

Another reason to have a Denise Needle Kit

I had never knit with Denise needles until the TNNA show in June. Barb and I went for several days, with more than several plane and evening knitting projects, and with - I thought - Addi Turbos in all the right sizes. Barb is a good travel buddy. She always packs things that come in handy... extra snacks, pens, even an extra pair of socks for when your feet get cold on the plane. This time it was a Denise needle kit. I asked, "Do we REALLY need that?" She said we did. In fact, she even packed a 40" cable, just in case. I thought she was going a bit too far. But then we saw a cute twirly scarf at the show one day, and I decided to whip one up that evening. Of course I hadn't planned on that so I didn't have an Addi Turbo in the right size. Barb had an "I told you so" grin on her face as I broke out the Denise Kit and that 40" cable and started casting on those 900 stitches. I was determined to dislike the needles. After all, they are plastic, and I've really never liked plastic needles. But as much as I tried to hate them, I just couldn't. They are quite nice to work with. I got back from the show with a newfound appreciation for the Denise kits.

This weekend I just started a little sweater out of Malabrigo. I couldn't get gauge with my Addis. After knitting several swatches, I saw my Denise kit peaking out of my Bagsmith. The Malabrigo is so wonderfully soft and amazing to knit with, that I had NO qualms about knitting another swatch. And that swatch was right on. It's amazing to me how different your knitting experience and outcome can be on different materials. Chalk up another one for the Denise Kit.

It's a good thing I love knitting with this yarn, as I've already re-knit parts of it several times. The body is worked in the round and then you divide for the armholes and work back and forth. This changes how the colorations of the yarn appear, and I didn't like how it looked knitting from one skein. So I ripped back and knit with two skeins at a time. I completed the back, and started to work on the front but I had 12 too many stitches. It turns out I had cast on 12 extra stitches at the very beginning. I had to rip back down to the armholes, redivide the stitches (I am now knitting the next size up, apparently) and reknit the back. Lesson learned: don't be so in love with a yarn that you don't re-count your cast on stitches.

Barb is almost finished her little Blossom Sweater out of Cascade 220. It is going to be adorable. I think Mrs. Claus is going to have to knit one of these for one of my girls. Despite a perfect stitch and row gauge, she ran a bit short on yardage. We'll have to put a call in to see if there's an error in the pattern. She has also cast on for a fun hat in the Shepard Worsted in Rainbow.

Kalen just started her first sweater in Malabrigo. It's a stockinette and reverse stockinette horizontal rib pattern. We went through many needles and gauge swatches with her, and opposite of me, she needed an Addi as her gauge on Denises was off. She's also finishing another striped baby hat in Calmer. Speaking of hats I've just put up a new hat & mittens section on the website. We've had so many requests for them and now they are available!

Next week I should be able to post some pictures of India's felted ukelele bag and Betsy's cute new scarf.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Knitting is more important than...

...brushing your teeth and hair and getting dressed, for starters! Right after breakfast on Sunday, Sophie and Helen (both 6) started a new knitting project - a patchwork blanket for their dolls with bright colors of Encore Mega. Last year they made a few "doll items" - a poncho, a sweater out of squares, a scarf, a neckwarmer, etc. We still haven't gotten to purling, or casting on for that matter. And they don't have much patience for anything less than super bulky yarn, but we have to start somewhere!

Things sure are different when you are 6. Apparently, it is WAY more fun to knit while lying down. Helen even thinks it's fun to knit, dance and sing, all at the same time, while perched atop my husband's lateral file drawer in the basement. The neat thing is, knitting is second nature to her by now, so she is ABLE to do all those things and not drop any stitches! Thatta girl!

On the store front, Kalen has been cranking out hats like mad. The latest is a 2x2 rib in Plymouth Encore for her husband. She's also making lots of baby hats, and has found that Rowan Calmer is a perfect yarn for those. Now we are searching for the perfect sweater for her to knit with Malabrigo...

A few weeks ago we came across an extremely tangled skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot. We'd spent more than enough time trying to untangle it, and it was headed for the trash, but Betsy took it home and after a little TLC and patience, she mixed it with a contrasting color, and it is now a beautiful spiral ribbed hat.

Last night Barb started the Top Down Swing Coat out of Lamb's Pride Bulky, and a pair of itsy bitsy socks in Lorna's Laces Bittersweet. The ribbed hat she's making in Malabrigo is the same color I made my wine cozy and coasters in.

Kim just brought in her shawl - she used CTH Supersock in Spring Frost. She made it several inches longer than our Koigu Lace Shawl and it is just gorgeous. Very soft. Someone on her holiday gift list will be very lucky this year...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Recovering from the Tent Sale

I think we are almost fully recovered from our tent sale last Saturday. We had perfect weather and a huge crowd.

I have to thank everyone who helped this year - our entire staff, the customers who helped for the day, my sister and niece from NH, and those who volunteered. Everyone did a spectacular job and I really appreciate it. We are already looking forward to next year.

Barb and I arrived at 6:15am to find our overnight security guard chatting with our earliest customer! By 8am, she was surrounded by many other enthusiastic knitters and the line stretched far out into the back lot.

Our staff and helpers made sure everything was organized in the tent, and when the doors opened at 9am, we were greeted by cheering and clapping... and the madness began!

Now that things are somewhat back to normal in our work lives, we can do a little more focusing on our own knitting projects. I am taking a small break from shop samples to finish the sweaters I started (last spring!) for my 6 year old twin daughters. I didn't have much incentive to do them over the summer, but they are going to need them in a few weeks, so I must get moving on them. I am making them simple top down raglan cardigans out of Velvet Touch. They are so soft! The second sweater is well underway, and I plan to do my crochet edges on both at the same time - after all, I'm told it's not "fair" when one daughter gets a sweater first...

Yesterday Barb brought in her cabled hat in the Wild Violet Lamb's Pride Worsted. It's the Braid & Bobble hat pattern from Fiber Trends for her class on Sat. 10/15. It's really a beautiful hat and will be just perfect for the cold winter ahead.

India recently finished her Koigu sweater and it is stunning! It's "Martha" from Rowan Magazine #37. It's a great looking sweater and we've already had a few of our local customers start this project. Now she's working on a Koigu shawl...

And Mari arrived early Saturday morning wearing her new Best Friend Jacket from The Knit Stitch, made out of Berroco Foliage. It looks great!

Hmm... Does anyone notice a color scheme here? :)