Thursday, July 31, 2008

Oh my gosh, are those fall classes posted?

We have been busting our bottoms trying to get this schedule done. And we're happy to say that FALL CLASSES are now posted (AND AVAILABLE FOR SIGNUP!!!) online.

We still have one instructor who is going to schedule a few more classes, so look for a few additions.
And yeah, did you read that? The part about online signups? Can this really and truly be? Yep. Even pictures, people! We think it looks kinda classy, too! You asked, we delivered. Of course you can still sign up the old fashioned way to, by coming in to the shop or calling us at 288-9200 x4.

Can't get my "manos" off the Manos...

This is a shot that many yarn shop owners (who stock this brand) are familiar with.
It means that a new Manos shipment has arrived, and that's certainly what happened here this morning...

The three new variegated colors of Manos Wool Classica have finally arrived! Did you know it was called Wool Classica? I didn't really know that. They did change the labels recently (not so recently!) but I've always called it just plain old Manos. So imagine my surprise when I started hearing "Manos Wool Classica" being thrown around in knitting discussions! I guess I need to be more observant of these name changes or re-inventions or whatever.

But, whatever the name, I love the yarn. In addition to the AWESOME new multis, I added some solids to our offering - and so I must say, we have an outstanding selection of colors. Poor Kalen is downstairs with Manos scattered all over the place - we are rearranging the shelves and mixing the multis in with the solids. Now they really POP out at you! The price is still different for the solids and the multis though, so don't be fooled! Anything with a number in the hundreds is a multi...

My favorite has always been #113, Wildflowers. But #122 Mermaid is my NEW favorite. It is fantastic!I'm so excited to get this started in a project.
And, we also got new colors of the Silk Blend - ooooh , pretty!
Look what Barb is making with color #19 (Dove) in the Silk Blend! Both the right side:
and the wrong side:
are gorgeous! This is the pattern.

Monday, July 28, 2008

New stuff, and GREAT sale on two Rowan yarns!

I came in to the shop this morning to find that 16 gorgeous colors of Piece of Vermont had arrived on Saturday. They are just amazing! There are so many I would want to knit with - I'd have a really hard time choosing one! We only have 3 of each color, so if you want some, come into the shop or call us and we'll get you what you need.
I also have a mountain of yarn to photograph and get online, and a ton of pattern booklets. I did get the Tahki Montana and Donegal Tweed online on Friday, as well as the Joseph Galler Peruvian Tweed (which has already done very well down in the shop!!) This morning I got the new Tahki books up, and the new Classic Elite books (Alpaca Stories, Autumn 1, Autumn 2, and Curvy Knits vol. 2) and Teva Durhams Loop-d-Loop volumes 1, 2 and 3. They're all really great pattern booklets!

Just when I thought I was done with patterns for the day, we got in a new one from Nashua Handknits, and the Rowan Colourscapes booklet (as well as the yarn!) So let's see how much I can accomplish today...

I did start knitting with the Montana this weekend. This is what I'm making - out of Terra Collection 2:Montana is a roving, and it's so so so soft. I think this piece will be really cute for fall and it's going really quickly. I could have completed it - had I not been up to my neck in cleaning out the girls' rooms...
SALE SALE SALE Rowan Wool Cotton and Calmer is at a HUGE discount. Online only!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Falls yarns are pouring in

I can't believe it's been a week since I posted. We've had a very busy week here. Lots of rain, lots of customers, lots of new yarns! I'll try to space out the info so I don't overload you, but let's just say we have many new things on the shelves here at the shop. We also have a number of new samples that have been completed, including the Loppem cardigan... this is a top seller, so come in and see it in person!

We all know it's going to be expensive heating our homes this fall and winter. I am already thinking that I'm going to pile more blankets on each bed so I can turn the heat back several degrees at night. Afghan knitting is going to be big this fall, and so I've already started knitting an afghan out of one of the new Manos fall pattern books. It is due to arrive here sometime next week, but I was fortunate enough to get a pre-copy of the pattern. It's a simple pattern - 12 big squares, 12 different colors. I just completed square one last night.
I would have completed it earlier, but several felines (well, really just one - I KNOW it was Maisy) disturbed my knitting the other day and lost me a good bit of knitting time. I was out running a quick errand and left my knitting, and Brittany DP needles all zipped up nicely in a gallon size freezer bag. I came home 20 minutes later to find my bag had clearly been disturbed. Not only was the bag open (I had securely "zipped" it) but there were many chew marks on the bag, and on the Brittany needles inside the bag. And the bag looked sort of empty. Like it didn't have quite the same amount of - oh I don't know - YARN in it as before. I did a quick check of the premises and found about 70 grams of Manos on the front entry rug. Tangled is putting it nicely. It took about an hour to salvage it.
Another reason I was slow on this square? My terrible habit of skimming patterns. This was a pre-copy, so there was no picture. People - I'm really visual. I do much better with pictures. So no picture, and I skimmed the pattern. I thought I knew what I was doing, and I knit most of the square before I realized there was a row of YO-K2tog back on row 8. I was already on row 40 or so. So I had to frog much of my work, but the square is done now, and I am sure the next one will fly by. It's going to be really nice, one completed and blocked!
Today we got in an amazing yarn! Peruvian tweed from Joseph Geller. We are so excited about this one. It's got 600 yards and it's so beautiful. It's only $27! You just have to touch this one...

Friday, July 18, 2008

A few more projects completed

So the hat and mittens are finished! And they are very simple - and perfect for someone who hasn't tried mittens before. As you can see, the River Twist looks very different when used with Ultra Alpaca. (The swatch in the center is River Twist by itself.) I'm glad I chose to add the Ultra Alpaca - I think it softens the River Twist in a good way - just the right amount. Michele came in today wearing her Latitude tank top in Linen Jeans (Book #270.) It's SO cute. She did alter the neck a bit - it called for the purl side (reverse stockinette) to show, but she didn't like it that way, so she flipped it over and made the stockinette side show. Good choice! It's adorable - and so flattering. Here she is modelling it for you, while pulling notions and patterns this morning...
Barb had a nice weekend at her camp - and started and finished the flared ribbed scarf out of King George. Suzie made one in off-white late last spring, and because it wasn't really scarf weather at the time, she left it in the shop as a sample. But we were looking around at samples the other day, and picking out some new things to be knit up, and we realized that Suzie is bound to come in and claim that scarf at some point. Since it is such an easy and cute scarf, and a GREAT use of King George, we decided to make it in another color. Ta-da! It's a gorgeous scarf, and Barb just loved knitting with the yarn.

I got my rain barrel installed before our ugly day of rain yesterday. We had so much that the 55 gallon barrel had filled up between midnight Saturday and 11am Sunday. Then it poured out of the overflow tube, and right on down the driveway for the rest of the day.Then it continued to POUR until about 7:30am, then we had drizzle for 20 minutes, followed by another several hours of a heavy downpour. Needless to say, none of the plants on my deck need to be watered, and neither does my garden... So I don't quite have a use for the water I collected. And there's a lot more rain predicted for the next week. Any ideas?

Helen and Sophie had a little art show after their camp last week. It was really cute - they did so many different things, and had the best time. One of the highlights of the summer camp experience for sure. Here is Sophie with her stuff...
and Helen...Now they have some cool artwork to hang in their rooms. Speaking of their rooms, this is what happens in their rooms when they forget to close their doors each day. The cats LOVE sleeping in their beds, especially in Sophie's. Here's Maisy on a doll blanket:and Lucy, right on the pillow. YUK! I'm tired of changing the pillowcase every day! But she does look like she's made good friends with the AGD...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A "must have" for your wardrobe

We had the Mystique shawl knit up for the shop recently. We sell a TON of these patterns, so we figured we'd make a sample. When the completed sample was brought back to the shop, we fell in love.
This shawl is so pretty (and so amazingly simple!) The size of it is perfect and the yarn is heavenly. Tilli Tomas Voile de la Mer is a blend of silk and seacell (kelp.) This would be perfect with a dress or even with a tank top and jeans. We're all thinking we have to make ourselves one!

The pattern is just $4 and 2 skeins of the yarn is $36, so $40 for an amazing addition to your wardrobe! And look at these colors...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fall Classes

Some of you have asked why we have no classes during the summer. Well, it's our 7th summer, and each year we've gone through the summer schedule, come up with classes, scheduled them, promoted them, and in the end, the signups were always pretty low. Many classes had just 1-2 people, which is way less than our minimums. So we ended up cancelling some classes, and running some classes for just a couple of people. Not much fun for you, and not as worth it for our instructors.

Let's face it! Summer is SO brief in our neck of the woods. It takes a lot of thought, test-knitting,and scheduling to come up with our class list. And if the classes don't run, that's no fun for the instructors, or for us. So we've decided to let you all enjoy your gardens, the lake, the mountains, etc., and come to us the other three seasons of the year for knitting classes.

Speaking of classes, Suzie and India were in early last week, doing a little yarn shopping, and tossing around some ideas for fall classes. We all know that heating prices are going through the roof this year, and we were all talking about how we're going to try to live with the thermostat set back a few degrees. Maybe MORE than a few degrees. And that will mean - for most of us - wearing more layers. With that in mind, we're trying to come up with some good classes that will not only teach you a new trick or two in knitting, but will result in a knitted item that will keep you warm and toasty this winter.

We always have a big demand for sock classes, and I think India is going to move up a few needle sizes this time, and teach sport weight socks. She's a huge sock knitter, and mostly does fingering weight socks, but she picked up some KnitCol, which is a self-patterning yarn in a sport weight, and she's started a sock with it. She stopped in quickly on Saturday and told me that she REALLY likes the yarn - it's way softer than she imagined. She is also working on some other fun classes that are un sock-related...

Now, if you saw this in a dark alley, wouldn't you run screaming the other way? I might!
But turn it this way, and admire the beauty!

Suzie has been thrumming it up this summer making thrummed mittens. She has designed her own pattern, which will be on sale here at the shop later this summer, and is going to teach a class so you all can learn how to make these cool mittens! This one is knit with Frog Tree Alpaca Multi-Tone (I LOVE this yarn!) and CTH Powder Puffs.

Have any ideas for classes? We can't promise anything, but we are always open to suggestions. Just let us know!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

River Twist and a completed baby sweater

So Sunday was a total washout here. It was cloudy, super windy, and boy did we have a lot of rain. Too bad my rain barrel wasn't yet installed - I just picked it up today. Isn't it cool? I'm off tomorrow and will work to install it. While it may not have been good weather for outside activities, it was perfect for knitting! I completed the little sweater and booties out of Love It Colors. It is so adorable! Kalen couldn't believe how much better it looked it real life than it did in the pattern. She's already bought some Comfort DK in a fun variegated color and started one. One comment about pattern photos... we all know that EVERYTHING looks better in person than it does in a picture. But sometimes the pictures that pattern designers choose to put on patterns are just dog-ugly! If you are trying to sell something with a picture, wouldn't you take several pictures and be sure you ended up with the best one? I know I would. Anyway, I digress. But thank goodness we take the time to knit up some of these patterns - to show how adorable they really are!

Last week we got our shipment of Mountain Colors River Twist. Now this is a new yarn, and frankly, I don't even remember ordering it. I must have ordered it with my rep AGES ago. As in at least 3-4 months? So of course, I forgot it was coming. We haven't really done much with Mountain Colors recently because of how long it takes to get the yarn (3-4 months). I had heard that the wait was less, but it sort of seems like it's the same amount of time. So the jury's out on the wait time...

But let's talk about the yarn, shall we? The yarn ROCKS. It is gorgeous. Lovely to knit with. As soon as I finished my baby sweater and booties, I cast on for a hat and pair of mittens (a Knitting Pure & Simple pattern). The yardage on the River Twist is 240, so a bit short for this pattern, which calls for 250 yards for the set. So I pulled out a skein of one of my other favorite yarns... Berroco Ultra Alpaca. The colors work beautifully together - and on the hat I am working 1 row of each - so they really blend well.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tax Free Today!

Today is tax free in the shop - and also for all internet orders placed that are to be picked up or shipped within Vermont. (The shopping cart will still add the tax - but don't worry - we'll take it out when we actually ring it through.)
So it's a great way to save some money. And speaking of saving money - did you ever think you'd get excited about gas at $3.96 a gallon? Neither did I, but for the past 3-4 days, the station right at the 5 Corners has been steady at $3.96, while the others I've seen have been up around $4.06-$4.11. If you have an empty tank, that's a big difference.

And another good reason to come on over to Essex Junction... fill up your tank for less, and add to your stash without paying tax!
The Love It Colors sweater keeps growing...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Poolside knitting

So my kids are taking swimming lessons at Maple Street Pool this week and next week. They're having a blast. I'm surviving it, but only barely. I seem to have overscheduled them this week and next week, and it is very tiring for all of us!

But the silver lining is that I get to sit and knit while they swim, so that can't be too bad! I crocheted my Be Sweet clutch together the other night - and now I just have to put in the lining. Well, not me exactly. One of our good customers BJ was in about a week ago with her lovely mother, and we were talking about this clutch. I said I'd love to make it but I couldn't sew and didn't have a machine for the lining. She said she'd love to make the lining for me, and I was thrilled! So I did the knitting and crocheting, and now I'll call her and tell her it's ready for her to work her magic. It's a really cute bag.
Then last night I sat and started a cute little garter stitch cardigan out of Love It Colors.
I don't know why more people don't try this yarn! It is one of my favorites. It's got such a neat effect with the colors. I'm making the sweater and booties. It's an Ann Norling Pattern.
It's all worked in one piece - starting at the lower back, it goes up and over the shoulders, and then down the front. Because of the long color repeats, I may choose to use two balls at a time when making the booties. Otherwise they might look a bit funky... or cool, I guess I won't know until I try. Anyway, I love mindless knitting, especially when I'm so tired at the end of the day, and I'm watching the kids' attempts to learn freestyle... it's the perfect project.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Knitting with family

It's been very busy for me over the past two months. My oldest son Andrew graduated from high school last month, and we had a lot of visitors in town for the festivities - my family, Brett's family, friends... It's been a lot of fun!
As you can see by the picture we may just have to make this a yearly event. They all KNIT!! We had such a good time planning knitting projects and checking out what everyone is knitting. We made several trips to the yarn shop. My mother-in-law Merry Lou threatened to stop looking at Jill's blog. Each time she looked, Jill had posted another project, and Merry Lou just couldn't help herself - she had to go back to the shop and check it out in person.

No matter what the weather, we were knitting. Inside or outside - it didn't matter. My sister-in-law Rae even knit while she was in the pool! (It was very hot that day!) Our family friend Sheri would knit a few rows of her new yarn purchase just to view the colors, and then she'd rip it out and do it again.

The men were good sports about all of this, but of course they'll never understand our obsession!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A new favorite yarn

What a great weekend we had for the 4th - hope everybody else had a nice time, too. We had four gorgeous, sun-filled days at our camp in Maine. The lake was over a foot higher than normal from all the rain they'd had, and we arrived to find our dock pieces (and everybody else's) had floated away. After finding the pieces and raising the dock about 8" so it wasn't submerged, the sun came out and things started to dry out. There was lots of relaxing, lots of tubing (for the kids) and even a little knitting!

I started on my Marble baby sweater and almost finished the back by the end of our first day there. But then I had an urge to try the Minnow Merino so I started the little sweater out of that. And look what I have now:
It was easy and quick, and I loved the yarn! Tip for all who knit this - I used one size down for all hems and front ribbings. The pattern does not call for this, but I strongly recommend going down one size needle - otherwise your hems will flare. I made the smallest size, and it is really precious.
Suzie was in the other day and picked up some of the Minnow Merino. She emailed me and said:

"Minnow Merino is the MOST WONDERFULLY AWESOME YARN TO knit with -- dare I type nicer than cotton??? Ah and the color!!! So deep! Good grief Jill, I just cast on for a mitten and think I've gone to heaven. I can't believe how soft it is. I'll be in tomorrow for some more colors (yeah, I KNOW it's wool and I know it is 100+ degrees out, BUT.....that yarn is incredible!)"

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Day to Remember

So last weekend my brother-in-law Nick got married to the lovely Joy. It was probably one of the most spectacular days EVER! It was the best wedding I have been to yet (okay, maybe a tie with my own). Nick and Joy got married outside in a beautiful field in Richmond, VT, where we were blessed to have sunshine and blue skies, even though the weatherman had called for rain.
One of my gifts to the bride, my best friend, and now sister-in-law, was a knitted silk shrug to go with her wedding dress. I used both Tilli Tomas Pure and Simple and Rock Star, which was so great to work with. The color, drape, sheen, and feel were just perfect. The pattern came from the Vogue Spring Summer issue (and there is an errata-please make sure you check, before you knit!) I made a few changes and it seemed to work out just right.
Of course it helps to have a perfect model such as Joy. I really have to give her the credit, because she made the piece look absolutely stunning. I tried to take a few pictures so that you can see some of the detail.
So all of you locals who were rooting for me to finish-Yes, I did finish in time!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Camp knitting

I'm headed to our camp in Maine tonight for the 4th of July weekend. It's Marc's 40th birthday, so he will be having his favorite "lobstah" dinner tomorrow night. I like lobster, but not the getting messy part, so Marc's nice enough to pry & pick the meat out of my lobster so I don't have to deal with the ick... I mean, he's getting messy anyway, so it's really no trouble in my opinion!

There won't be knitting on the drive over - only in little spurts here and there. Four hours of driving on Route 2 while trying to knit is enough to make you seriously carsick. Believe me, I've tried. Marc's great - he gives me warnings "In about 2 minutes you should put your knitting down" or "Up around this curve you can start knitting again." What a perfect partner!
I do have a few small projects to take with me and hopefully there will be some down time so I can knit. I am going to make (well, start?) a Minnowknits Coco Loco out of the new Minnow Merino. It's a sweater I've knit before, but I just love it, and the colors of the Minnow Merino are calling out to me. It was hard to decide which ones to use, but after about 10 minutes of complete indecision, I ended up choosing these three:
I think it will be so cute!

Then yesterday we got a new yarn in - it's from Kertzer and it's called Marble. It's 100% acrylic and is perfect for baby blankets, afghans, sweaters and more. It's surprisingly soft - in my opinion it is AS soft as Encore (if not more so...) It's a dk weight, but also crosses over well into the 5 stitches to the inch/worsted category. I started a little baby sweater last night and I like it a lot! I know, I know... I've always been sort of a 100% acrylic snob. But this one really changed my mind when I saw it a few weeks ago, and I know that people will really like it. That's why I brought in 14 great colors of it to start. Aren't they pretty?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Summer Trends?

When you have a couple of days when every other person who comes into the shop ends up knitting the SAME things, is it a trend? Or is it just a spooky coincidence? This has certainly happened to us recently.

Last Friday and Saturday we almost completely sold out of our Piece of Vermont yarn. We made a Hydrangea shawl with one skein, and the yarn - which had already been selling well - just flew out the door.
I didn't put it online, as I really bought it for that "something special" dyed in Vermont yarn that we could offer our summer customers. And it seems they loved it! I will be ordering more, but Jessie - who dyes this yarn - is on vacation for the 4th. The yarn is really gorgeous. It's a bamboo blend, and it's technically a sock yarn. But I think all of our customers bought it with some sort of lace shawl or scarf in mind. So now we have three skeins left. Want some? Call us.

And thanks to the sample, we've oversold the Hydrangea shawl pattern. It's due in any day though.Another popular item from the past week? Dreambaby blankets... and even an afghan. Lots of people are making cute little baby blankets out of Dreambaby DK. It doesn't hurt that we have several GREAT new colors of this yarn! One girl had already knit her child a blanket, and she loved it so much that she came back for a couple bags to make herself an afghan.

Of course - the Be Sweet has been a big trend this past week, too. People really love the novelty look of some of these yarns. Stay tuned - we have a couple more novelties due to arrive for fall.

And YAY! Our Namaste bags arrived on Friday. They are SWEET! I succumbed and bought one of the large bags. I probably don't need the extra space, because I was doing just fine with a smaller bag. With this one, I just keep filling it up of course. But the bag itself is lightweight, and so cool. They'll be online any day. We have the Cali clutch:

the Newport Bag:and the Laguna Bag:
Here's a little shot of Helen's big dance performance from Jazzercise camp last week. It was so cute, and hoorah for mom, for learning how to figure out this video thing. It's really not hard, but I do NOT have the time for new things right now. She's in pony tails in the front, and she's got quite a nice hip action, doesn't she?