Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pattern Sale!

Online only - pattern blowout sale. We're getting rid of some great ones - they're all half off while supplies last.

Have a great Sunday!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Berroco Spring Patterns

Despite the below zero temps and WAY below zero wind chills, I've been warmed up today with thoughts of spring. I dug out my Berroco Spring/Summer 09 Sales book first thing this morning, and started going all googly-eyed over the amazing new pattern booklets that will be arriving here.... soon, soon, very soon, I promise. In fact, they should be here sometime next week. They are due into Berroco early next week, and fingers crossed they will be packed and shipped to us that very same day, which means that we will get them the NEXT day. Now next week is another holiday week, so we have some UPS closings to deal with. But you know what? Those UPS drivers have been busting their you-know-whats recently, so if a holiday delays the delivery of our Berroco Spring pattern booklets by a day or so, that's okay.

The booklets are all great, to nobody's surprise. I'll show one (maybe two!) of my favorites from each book.

Norah Gaughan Volume 4 is once again a spectacular collection of patterns. I have no doubt that this booklet will be just as popular as Volume 3. My favorites from this book are Fold:Frond: and Flutter: I know Tuck: and Flower Child: will also be popular.

Book 282: Latitude is great. It contains 8 patterns for the new Latitude yarn - a very cool blend of cotton, rayon and binder thread. This tubular yarn comes in tonal shades and knits up into a crepe like fabric. My favorites are Ankara: and Aubrey:Book 283: Seduce and Bonsai has 8 patterns for those two yarns... Seduce and Bonsai. Both of these yarns now have variegated shades and they are spectacular! My favorite in this book is Sheelagh (similar to Ankara above!): Book 284: Comfort Family is an AWESOME book. It's SO awesome that it needed a little more time in editing so it won't be available until late January. But I promise it will be worth the wait. This booklet features many patterns for four of the Comfort yarns... Comfort Worsted, Comfort DK, and the new Comfort Chunky (coming next week!) and Comfort Baby. There are many great ones... so it's hard to just pick one or two. Well, okay. Mara:and Fairfield: Book 285: Linen Picnic features a number of patterns for Linen Jeans and Naturlin. Moska is adorable: and wouldn't this be great to show off at your next picnic?And finally, Book 286: Mica... it could be my favorite book of the bunch. This new yarn is a blend of cotton, silk, nylon and linen. I love Barnard: though I would make the sleeves shorter. And wouldn't you LOVE to carry around the Gallatin bag? No problem, you just have to knit it first. :)

So the books should be here soon, and if you want any, go ahead and place your pre-orders now. They're all available to order, with lots of detailed photos of the insides of the booklets!

And the new yarns... coming soon!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Her first scarf finished!

Tomorrow is the last day before Christmas vacation. Before a whole TWELVE days that my kids have off. It's also the day of the class party, which these days is called the "Winter Solstice" party, you know, because we have to be politically correct. (Like the party on Halloween is now the Harvest Festival?)
We usually get the teacher a small gift, but this year Helen's class moms asked for a donation in the beginning of the year. You aren't required to donate, but I was happy to. From that donation (only $25) they would cover a birthday gift, a Christmas gift, an end of year gift, and some gifts for other folks in the house. What a great idea! In Sophie's class, they don't do that (but they might want to consider it for the future!) This year Sophie decided to make her teacher a scarf. She started it months ago. In all honesty, she's not the most enthusiastic knitter. She knits if I ask her to, but usually about 4 rows at a time, and then she gets sidetracked by anything remotely more interesting to her. Like the cats. The hermit crabs. Her dolls. Heck, even the clouds passing are more interesting to her than knitting it seems.

But she knit a bit here and there, and finally last week made it through her second ball of Plymouth Encore Mega. She had cast on a few too many stitches to begin with, and was knitting on a size smaller needle than she should have been. So her scarf, after two balls, was rather wide and short. I got her a third ball and told her she better get cracking. That this Tuesday was the big day. She had to make the scarf long enough, and bind off, weave in her ends and wrap it.

So how is it that, despite me reminding her about a million times this weekend that she HAD to finish the scarf, I came home this evening to find that her scarf needed a good 10 inches more to be wearable? And Sophie was out with Marc's parents on an annual Christmas light tour (they've done this each year since they were born.) So she certainly wasn't going to have time to get it done.

Talk about multi-tasking. They arrived home at 8pm to find me baking banana bread, chocolate chip cookies AND knitting the rest of Sophie's scarf all at the same time. Standing and knitting is not really my cup of tea, but it worked tonight, and I'm happy to say I was able to help her along so that the scarf was actually completed in time for her to wrap. (Of course she LOVES to wrap it. Just didn't LOVE to knit it.)

When it was done, I held it up and looked at it. This is what you get when your mom, a knitter of 26 years, finishes your scarf:
I guess all those years do make a difference in tension!
And then I folded it in half and had to chuckle. Look at how relaxed she became as she progressed in her scarf! What started off as quite tense (and thin!) became much more relaxed.

What a great first scarf. A beautiful piece with lots of signature marks. I'm sure he'll appreciate it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Look what I dug up

It sure feels like Christmas around here! We've had some really cold temperatures and a lot of snow. Yesterday morning we had just a dusting, but by 2pm it started coming down hard and fast, making for an interesting commute home! I awoke this morning to a good 10-12 inches of new snow in the backyard. Today is just gorgeous and Marc and the girls got an early start - they headed up to Stowe for some major powder. This snow is the lightest, fluffiest stuff - very sparkly! I'm sure they are having a blast.

Last night I was doing some computer work at home - going through some old digital photos of the girls when they were little. It seems like just yesterday that they were babies, so how is it that they are already 9? Anyway, I noticed a few hand knit things in some of my pictures. Before you see the pictures... warning! My children were basically bald until they were almost 2. They inherited that from me.

First, I found a picture of the night I finished their Christmas stockings. It was Christmas Eve of 2000, and the girls were 1 and a half. I did try the stockings on... I remembered correctly.
Sarah and Ellie (white tail is visible) were my old cats. They are no longer with us, but they did like to keep me company when I knit.

And then here are the girls the next morning, unloading their stockings. Clearly, they weren't too sure about it all. Helen's looking at Sophie like "What the HECK are you doing?" She was hard to wake up back then, and boy, some things never change. Another thing that hasn't changed? Sophie rips into every package, and Helen savors things. Funny how evident this is at such an early age.
Then I found some other pictures of them wearing things I'd knit for them. I think this is the picture I used for our Christmas card that year. They are wearing their Swedish Day Dresses, a Minnowknits pattern that has been discontinued. It was obviously more a summer dress, but I made it work for fall with a turtleneck and tights. They don't seem to mind.

These pictures are earlier... in this one they are not yet one. Again, wearing some Minnowknits dresses. This pattern is the Brittany jumper, but I do remember adding length to this one. I'm not into short dresses that expose the diaper when the kid bends over. I used Saucy Sport for these, and it really held up well with all the wearing, washing and drying. We still sell this pattern, and have one of these actual dresses in the shop. It's a big seller.

Here we have some more Minnowknits sweaters, though this pattern was in a book, which has been discontinued I think. And finally, two non-Minnowknits patterns! Helen (left) is wearing a great sweater from the Debbie Bliss Quick Baby Knits book. I LOVED this sweater. I think it had a turtleneck which I switched to a crew. It was so great. Sophie is wearing a sweater I had knit for my niece (who is now 18). It was a really cute Rowan kids pattern.
So see, I DID used to knit a lot more for my kids, before I owned a shop. Maybe I will make a New Year's Resolution this year, to try to knit more for them... but will they wear things I make for them, now that they have a say? Stay tuned.

Luxury knitting for me

Last weekend I had a birthday. Marc and the girls took me to the new Stowe Mountain Lodge for a one night's stay. What a gorgeous place! We even had embossed toilet paper in the room :). The girls couldn't get over it. We came back to the room after dinner and the beds had been turned down and the TP re-embossed. It was funny!
Too bad I was just getting over a multi-week cold, and so I chose NOT to take advantage of the outdoor pool. But Helen and Sophie - OF COURSE - had to swim in it, at night (long after their normal bedtime) and then again on Sunday morning, before we skiied. They never miss an opportunity to swim and goof off underwater. So while they swam with Marc on Saturday night, I curled up in the nice leather chair by the fireplace in our room and started a new knitting project. For me.
I know I'm not finished my holiday knitting yet, but I've made pretty good progress on it. I thought that since it was my birthday, and I was in a truly luxurious place, I would start a luxurious project. Mmmm. Cashmere. The Cashmere Scarf for Him kit. We just got it in about 2 weeks ago, and it is just heavenly. Who says it has to be for a guy? So far Barb, Shawn, Michele and I have each bought one.

The 7 colors it comes in are all beautiful - I had a hard time choosing. I ended up with the Alpha Maroon because I wear a lot of brown and black, and it will go with both really well. I was really torn, though, because the Five O'Clock Shadow is the most GORGEOUS gray I've ever seen. I just wasn't sure I would wear it as much. The patterns that come with this kit (7 of them!) are all great. Shawn and I are both doing the "Zach". It's an easy pattern to remember, and the others are fairly simple too. Some are reversible, and some aren't but they still look good on the reverse side.
It's hard to believe Christmas is in less than a week. We've been really busy in the shop, and also in shipping. We've been running around like crazy with our orders, so they get processed and then out the door as quickly as possible. At this time of year, no mail or shipping service is guaranteed, other than 2nd Day or Overnight. And we've had a ton of those to get out! Many folks have taken advantage of the sale we're having on our two notions kits. We do have these in the shop also, all tied up and ready to go for those last minute shoppers. They are great gift ideas.

And tonight we're getting more snow - should make the mountains happy! Here's a shot of the girls' stockings. We don't have a fireplace, and so each year we have to get creative with where we hang the girls' stockings. This year I picked the windows. I loved that Yankee Knitter stocking pattern. It was so easy to make! I remember I knit them for the girls' second Christmas, when they were 1 1/2. I thought they were awfully big - I even tried them on and they were like huge knee socks on me.

I've hung my old stocking in the other front window. Can you see the Koigu fish ornaments on the tree?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Classes plus a great "Newbie" gift!

For the past couple of months, many of our customers have come into the shop looking for something to knit for their friends for the holidays. They tell us that their friends love getting handmade hats, scarves, socks, etc... and that they keep asking for handknit gifts.

But wait a minute. Of course, our customers LOVE to knit, but doesn't there come a time when we need to show our friends how easy knitting is? How relaxing it can be? How fulfilling to make YOURSELF something, as opposed to just mooching off of your knitting friends? Come on, folks, it's time all those non-knitters picked up some sticks and string and learned how to knit.

Give them that little nudge... or just push them right off the edge and instead of knitting something for them, get them a gift card for a Learn to Knit Class at the shop and throw in a Newbie Notions Kit as an extra "hint!" We've put together two great notions kits: the Newbie Notions Kit and the Not-So-Newbie Notions Kit. They're perfect gifts for new knitters and not-so-new knitters. All packaged up and ready to go, in the shop and online. (And oh yeah, they're on sale!)

Each month we teach folks just how easy it is to knit, and after the class, we're always so excited to see their excitement, after just a few hours up in the classroom. We've scheduled our knitting (and crochet!) classes for Winter of 2009, and we've got some great ones!

In addition to our basic Learn To Classes (Knit, Rug Hook and Crochet), don't miss the cool Entrelac Hat, or the awesome Fair Isle Mittens. How about warm Thrummed Mittens? Or First Time Socks, or Lacey Socks? Never knit a sweater? Take our First Time Sweater Class. Learn a new technique like knitting with 2 Circulars, or Hexagonal Knitting. Everyone should take the Knitting Tips & Tricks class, but you may want to sign up for Knitting RX for a little one-on-one. And the Tunisian Crochet Scarf is and easy but fun project.

Sign up online or call 288-9200 x4 to reserve your spot.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

And MORE sock yarn from Berroco

We just love Berroco Sox sock yarn. It comes in a great color range, and it's an amazingly soft sock yarn with fun patterns. Not to mention, it's from a company with some of the BEST service (well, THE best service) out there.

Last week we received 8 super colors of the brand new Berroco Sox Metallic sock yarn. We ordered a lot to start out with, and we've already had to order more. People definitely like that little bit of sparkle in the yarn!

Today, 4 brand new colors of Berroco Sox arrived. When I looked at the balls, I immediately loved the colors, but wasn't able to picture what they'd look like when knit up. Thanks to Berroco, I have a little swatch, which gives me (and all of you!) an exact picture of what an adult sock would look like knit in these yarns.

So I give you 4 (of 6) brand new Berroco Sox colors... and what they look like knit up! They're hard to resist.And here are the two that aren't in yet!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Busy leading up to the holidays

Friday and Saturday were really busy at the shop. Not only did we have a LOT of customers in the shop, but our shipping "department" was hustling! We sent out a big SALE email (LOTS of good stuff still left - not in the shop, though... online only) and so we kept the USPS and UPS guys busy. And tomorrow isn't going to be any slower, since I can see the orders as they come in, and boy, they're a coming. Must be that holiday thing... people starting last minute projects and buying gifties for their knitting friends.

I've even started some ponchos for Helen and Sophie. I know, call me CRAZY. Like I really have time to do all of this. We got some Berroco Softy - LOVE this yarn. It's in such small supply that I haven't even put it online. But if you love it, call us and order some, or come in and buy it in person. It won't last long. Anyway, I'm making these adorable ponchos - one brown and one light blue. They rock. And I'd say I'm about half finished each one.
I also whipped up some wristers for Sophie with Berroco Sox Metallic. I wasn't sure how far to seam them up so they'd fit her right, so when she was asleep the other night I went up and put one on her hand to see how it fit. It's pretty hard putting anything on a sleeping body - it's very "limp" you know.
But I managed, and it fit perfectly, so I can cross that off my list. I brought home a small box from the shop and have all my Christmas knitting in it. I told the girls that under NO circumstances, are they to go in the box. Hopefully they don't sneak. I know I did as a kid, how can you not? Hope you're all cruising on YOUR holiday knitting. I think we'd all be thankful for a few more hours in the day!

Here's a little note that Helen left for me tonight... she had a loose tooth and bumped it with her water bottle. A lot of blood followed, and it was hanging by a thread. I was worried it would fall out in her sleep, so I persuaded her to wiggle it. A little Anbesol seemed to help, and she wiggled harder and succeeded in pulling it out herself. She knows about Santa and the Tooth Fairy... but she still wants to believe, so we play along.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Add a little sparkle to your holidays, and to your feet!

Ooooh - loooook! We're first! And we're lovin' this yarn: Berroco Sox Metallic is not just for socks, but for wristers and lightweight hats... it would even make a fun and festive little baby sweater, wouldn't it?
The colors are just AWESOME and we're so glad this came before the holidays!