Friday, August 31, 2007

Cold hands, warm heart the old saying goes. Now that fall is truly in the air, here are several great ideas for those cool hands. (Think gifts, people! These are perfect for gift knitting.)

Our customer Sue B. came in yesterday. She brought in several pair of wristlets that she had just completed, and Kalen and I just loved them! So I asked her if I could photograph them and put them up on the website as kits. She said okay, so this afternoon they will be up! Here's a quick preview...
The first is the Eric's Glovelets pattern from Green Mountain Spinnery. She used Jasper, a great new yarn from Berroco. She had purchased the Jasper to make the Polygon bag, but then realized that she wouldn't really use the bag, so she made the glovelets instead. She followed the pattern - went up to size 4 needles, because the Jasper is slightly heavier than what is called for. The result? Fantastic! Really dense, SOFT and beautifully striped wristlets.
Then she made the Composed Mitts from the Fall 2007 Interweave Knits (which is an AMAZING issue, by the way.) We carry Frog Tree Alpaca, and that was a perfect substitute for the Blue Sky Alpaca Sportweight that it called for (and less expensive!) She eliminated one color, and they are just beautiful! There is enough yarn to make two pair, as long as your main color is different in each pair. What a great gift these would make! THANKS Sue!

And here's another great project for those cold hands... Alex recently finished this wristlet for the shop - it's called the "Solar Mitt" and it's in the new Rowan Accessories Book (Book 20, will be online today). Just 2 skeins of Rowan Silk Wool DK will yield one pair of these scrumptious little handwarmers.

Stay tuned, she's almost finished with the Solar Hat - an adorable cabled hat with a fun pom-pom tie closure at the top, also made with Silk Wool DK.

What did you do for your vacation?

I did a lot on my vacation! I relaxed, I read. I swam, I sunbathed. I panned for gold, I went running. I played tennis, I ate well (too well.) I knit, I hung out with friends. I went hiking, I went to a funeral, but a happy one. Let me elaborate on a few of these things.

I ran in a little race the first weekend of my vacation. It was the 5th Annual... so you'd think there would be a lot of people in it. Not so! We (my friend, my sister and I) arrived at the race and there were only about 25 people (or less!) registered. I've always worried about running in smaller races. Not that I am concerned about beating other people - I just like to race against myself. But coming in last, or close to last can be a bitter pill to swallow. So we lined up at the start, in total disbelief at how few participants there were, and off we went. We came in 1st, 2nd and 3rd... to last! It was actually pretty funny, I laughed about it for days. But I still matched my best 5k time, so I consider it a success. If coming in last is the worst thing about a small race, the best thing is the odds are in your favor for winning raffles and ribbons! I came in third place for my age group (out of 4 - my friend was fourth) and my sister came in 2nd in her age group. We all won raffle prizes - from fold up chairs, to homemade jams, to coupons on new running shoes and more.

There was a kids' 1 mile race and Helen and Sophie did it with their two friends. Hey, they got front page coverage!
Sophie is in the yellow sweatshirt/pink sweatpants (#8) and Helen is to the right in blue shorts and blue shirt (#7). They had such fun!

We did a very small hike - if you can call it that - and enjoyed some beautiful views of Mt. Blue and Tumbledown. Note the 2 American Girl Dolls in Sophie's backpack - they came too.
We went to a very special funeral on August 24th. My husband's great uncle was killed in WWII in Papua, New Guinea and they just recently recovered and identified his remains. Read more here or here. He received a burial with full military honors and I was so glad we were able to attend. It was really amazing, and a great history lesson for all of us, especially the kids. Here are some photos that were particularly meaningful to us:

More to write, but it will have to be tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The 80's make a comeback

I had started a sweater out of Twinkle Handknits Soft Chunky months ago, but there were so many errors in the pattern, and the Twinkle Handknits Big City Knits book had not yet put out an errata... so the project just sat. Then 2 weeks ago the new fall Interweave magazine came out, and I came across this one:
It's definitely an 80's style, but that's what we are seeing these days. It's really cute and a quick knit. Sorry to all those who were waiting for me to knit the one from the book. Sometimes you just have to rip and start fresh. This was a fun sweater to do. All short row shaping for the yoke, something I'd never encoutered (to such an extent) before.

I'm cruising along on my Malabrigo Chunky vest. Just one more side to go. Love working with the yarn. So soft... and QUICK. That's my kind of knitting.
My next project is the Astrid shawl from the Norah Gaughan Collection, Volume 1 book. Love it! Lots of different sized circles all put together at the end in a fabulous shape - this project is totally portable and EASY. It was perfect vacation knitting (I'm in Maine this week) and of course, the ususal happened. I was 20 minutes into my trip over here, on I-89 outside of Montpelier. I had wound my first ball, cast on, worked my first row, and WHAT!?!? Change to next smaller sized needles? What are you talking about? I checked the pattern before I left, and it called for size 9 DP needles. So I had 2 size 9/20" circulars, since I prefer that to DP knitting. Well, that little course I took in what, 7th grade? on skimming and scanning always gets me in trouble. I NEVER read carefully. So I checked the materials list, and of course, it ALSO calls for size 8 and size 4 DP needles. Oops. So before I lost cell service, I called Barb at the shop and she put together a nice little needle "care" package for me. It arrived Monday. Thanks Barb! Now when I finish my Malabrigo Chunky vest, I should be all set for the Astrid shawl.

It's been a bit nippy here at camp. The mornings are cold...
But the evenings, especially post-thunder/lightening/hail storms, are quite beautiful.
Today we went panning for gold with Aunt Maddie, who grew up here. We found lots of "fool's gold" and had a great time.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Happy Birthday times two

Today is Helen and Sophie's 8th birthday! They don't officially turn 8 until 9:37pm and 9:51pm, but as far as they are concerned they are already 8. In fact they're both convinced they grew taller overnight. It's going to be a birthday weekend, full of celebrations. It started out with blueberry picking at Owl's Head Farm last night and a little picnic dinner there with my parents. We picked 18 (!!!) quarts of blueberries and this was part of my take:
Imagine coming home to find no freezer ziplocs!

The celebrations continue - with camp friends today, with my parents again tomorrow (and a little visit to the Alpine Slide at Stowe - can't WAIT for that!), and with 10-12 friends at their official party on Sunday - a nice scavenger hunt and water slide party. Summer birthdays are so much fun when the weather cooperates.
I was looking through some photos this morning, and getting a little nostalgic. Here are some of my favorites...
4 months old and posing for a Christmas card:
1 yr old in Maine:
2 yrs old and a little swimming:
2 1/2 yrs old on the playground:
3 1/2 years old - ice cream cones in FL:
4 yrs old - showing off new lunchboxes:
5 yrs old - Fairies for Halloween:
5 1/2 yrs old with their dolls:
6 yrs old - in the backyard:
7 yrs old - first time fishing at camp:
almost 8 yrs old - going out on the Sea Doo with dad:
Happy Birthday girls!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hey, hey, I wanna be a rockstar

Not the Nickelback song, though I do like it... nope, it's our new sweater with Tilli Tomas Pure & Simple and Rockstar, and WOW is it gorgeous. Most people are thinking scarves with these yarns, but folks please do NOT stop there. No, these yarns are MADE for sweater knitting. This sweater is a "gotta have it" knit for this fall. We barely had the sample out of the Priority mail package (thanks Joy!) and we sold two of them in the shop. The fit is amazing and the detail with the patterning and beads, well, see for yourself.

If you don't care for this style, we have some other patterns that aren't so fitted, and work perfectly with these yarns. This kit should be online by Friday sometime.

Today is a computer day - I am busy putting up new yarns on the website. We got in Nashua Handknits Sitar, Lace-a-licious and Superwash-Me Sock from J. Knits, Plymouth Baby Alpaca Brush Paint and Alpaca Boucle Paint, and Old Western from Artful Yarns to name a few!

Kalen and Michele are moving a lot of things around down in the shop - we had to fit these new yarns in and so things had to SQUEEZE together.

I can't believe it's almost the middle of August! School is just around the bend. On September 30th, Michele, Kalen and I are running in the Leaf Peepers Half Marathon. Last year we did the 5k and this year we are stepping it up. We are training for it (sort of!) and hope we can do well, or finish anyway... Last weekend Michele ran the Egg Run 10k here in Fairfax, VT and I travelled to Cape Elizabeth, Maine and ran the Beach to Beacon 10k. What a fun (and well-attended!) race! I even got my first medal, since it was the race's 10th Anniversary.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Norah Gaughan to visit next month!

We're so excited to announce that Norah Gaughan will be at our shop on Saturday, September 22 from 1-3pm. She's the author of Knitting Nature, and is the design director at Berroco. Mark your calendars and come in and meet her! If you haven't seen her newest book (from Berroco) The Norah Gaughan Collection: Volume 1, come in and check it out. We've only had it in stock for about a month and I think we've reordered it 4-5 times. It's got some really great designs in it. Our sales rep Andra, who visited with all our customers last November, will also be here.

India and Suzie stopped in yesterday to go over their plans for sock classes this fall. Boy have they been working hard on this! They both love knitting socks, and not just basic socks, but socks with lace, with fair isle, with slipstitch, and not just socks with your basic heels and toes, but short row ones and different cast ons for top down, and different bind offs for bottom up. So they've had some phone calls and some test knitting, and some email exchanges and some test knitting, and some breakfast meetings and some test knitting. And they've come up with some great sock classes for this fall. Of course they'll offer the basics - learn to knit socks on double pointeds, and on 2 circulars. And then they're going to tag team and offer a toe-up workshop, where they teach a short row toe and heel, and also some fun bind offs. And then there will be a lace sock class, a fair isle sock class, and a mosaic sock class - which can be worked top down or toe up. They brought samples for me to see, and I'm really excited to get these classes scheduled!
We are working on scheduling fall classes, and they should be finalized by the end of the month. As they are ready, they will be added to the classes page on the website so keep checking back since they will not all be added on the same day.

In other shop news, Kalen is back from a great vacation in Florida and Barb heads on vacation next week to her camp. We were so busy in July. When I say busy, what I really mean is BUSY BUSY BUSY! It's been so great to see so many of our out-of-state internet customers. Some of these folks visit Vermont each year and always make it a point to come in and see us. Others just made it to Vermont for the first time this summer, and they, too, were sure to save an hour or two to come in to our shop. It's always nice to put a face with a name, and we've all been thrilled to meet you in person.

We have unloaded so many new things recently. Felter's Dream from J.Knits came in last week and it's gorgeous. We can't wait to whip up a little felted bag in this yarn.
We got new sock yarn from Regia - 12 gorgeous colors in the Kaffe Fassett Design Line. Many of you know Kaffe Fassett - he is an internationally creative textile and knitwear designer. This sock yarn is just gorgeous - 6 great striping colorways, and 6 great variegated colorways. Have your pick!
Just in - a new sample for us - the Cocoon Lace Shawl done in two skeins of Jade Sapphire Cashmere. GORGEOUS!! I blocked it on Monday morning and it looks amazing.
And for those of you who want to try a lengthwise sock - checkout our Cherry Tree Hill Sockittome Lengthwise Sock Kit.