Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wrapped in Comfort - upcoming book signing

Mark your calendar for Friday, November 14th at 1pm! The author of Wrapped in Comfort, Alison J. Hyde, will be at Kaleidoscope Yarns for several hours that afternoon, and she'd love to meet you!

Her book Wrapped in Comfort is full of romantic shawls and scarves, and the inspiring stories that are behind each design. Gorgeous, lacy projects provide you comfort, while real-life tales warm your heart.

We're offering 20% off on her book and if you're local, you can come in and get it signed while she's here. For all of you who can't make it to the shop while she's here, don't worry. Order the book on our website anytime up through November 2nd, and we'll hold it for Alison to sign for you. Then we'll mail it out to you the next day.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Yay for teamwork

Today was a busy day in the shop, but also in shipping! When it's crazy busy (and even when it's not!) we can really pull together and work like a well-oiled machine. I am lucky to have such a great staff. It's great when people know what's required of them, can prioritize and shift gears a million times a day, work hard, and manage to have fun at the same time.

We got in a lot of yarn today. I went downstairs at one point and couldn't even get through to the shop - our UPS guy had sort of blocked me in. Barb and Michele and I all worked hard to unpack the 12 large boxes that came in. We had some help from Bob too, thankfully. We went through the special order book 12 times (once for each shipment!) and took the special orders/back orders up to shipping to be sent out today. It was already VERY full in there, because Mondays are pretty busy internet days.

Barb cranked on shipping, Michele handled the shop with some help from me during busier times, and I was able to get 45 more knitting patterns up on our website. We sat down last week and sort of set up a new "system" for us internally, to make things easier and quicker for patterns to be put online. And after testing it today, I can say, it worked really well!

I spoke with Larisa at Offhand Designs today, and our fall bags should be arriving soon. She is going to send me some high resolution images of her latest fabrics so I can post them on our site. I can usually borrow images directly from her site, but this time hers are smaller than what I need for my format. And you know how we like to display accurate photos! I wouldn't want to distort her beautiful fabrics.

Tomorrow is our sushi lunch for Kalen's birthday last week. We decided last year that sushi is how we like to celebrate our birthdays around here. Cake is great - we all love it, and it's certainly cheaper, but birthdays only come once a year, so we decided it was a better birthday treat.

Next blog post will be regarding an upcoming booksigning. Stay tuned!

Oh, and here's a recipe to share - since I was asked. It's a butternut squash soup, very tasty:

1/4 C olive oil
2-3 lg onions, diced
6-8 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp minced gingerroot
10-12 C vegetable stock

6 C diced butternut squash
3/4 C rice (basmati)
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper

1 C minced fresh parsley
grated parmesan cheese

1) Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic & gingerroot and saute until the onions are golden (10 minutes?)
2) Pour in stock and bring to a boil. Stir in squash, rice, salt & pepper and bring to a boil again, stirring often. Reduce it to a simmer, then cook it about 45 minutes, or until the squash & rice are very tender.
Remove half of the soup & puree it in a blender or processor. Return it to the pot. Taste to correct seasoning. Just before serving, stir in the parsley. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. (I usually puree all of the soup. Both are good.)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

One FO, lots of dirty dishes and the promise of a new project tonight

So I brought home a new project yesterday, which I really wanted to swatch last night. But I told myself I had to finish those last two pesky squares of my afghan made with Manos del Uruguay Wool Classica yarn. And I did! Stayed up a too bit late doing it but they are now ready to be blocked. I would have blocked them, but the other squares - already blocked - are at the yarn shop. And I can't remember the dimensions I ended up blocking them to, so it will have to be done there tomorrow. Then the seaming later in the week - which should be cake to do.

Today it was really gray out. Kind of humid actually - I went on a very long run this morning with a friend and boy were we dripping! When you have already sweated through your shirt on mile 1.5 of a 10 mile run, you know it ain't gonna be pretty. But next week is the Leaf Peepers Half Marathon in Waterbury and I'll be there! I've done my training - more or less - and am really hoping for some nice weather. I don't want pouring rain like two years ago, and I'd love to NOT have this humidity that we've been having recently. A nice day with some sun and clouds, a bit of a breeze, no humidity and temps in the low to mid 60's would be lovely. I don't think I'm asking THAT much, do you?

After my run I really just wanted to sit down and start swatching for my next project. I worked yesterday, and in the afternoon I was able to come up with my next sweater project... for me, not for the shop. It's stylish, has a nice stitch pattern, and I'm sure I will feel like a DIVA in it. Get it? That's right... Stitch Diva. I've chosen the Stitch Diva "Number 6" pattern which is brand new:So new that it's not on our site yet - will be tomorrow though. I am using Pure Merino DK yarn:I LOVE the worsted weight version, but I think this will be a better weight for me. But I am going to make this one with quite a bit of negative ease. The Pure Merino has such a great amount of elasticity, so making it smaller will be a good choice.

Unfortunately, the swatching I wanted to do had to wait. I had a huge number of things in my CSA this past week that needed to be used up! I had cilantro, onions, garlic, leeks, tomatillos, hot peppers, butternut squash, and more. So what did I do? I dirtied just about every dish/pan/mixer in my kitchen. First I made banana chocolate chip muffins:Bananas were not in the CSA, but were past their prime and the girls are low on snacks for their lunches - so it was a necessity. Then I made Butternut Squash soup:It's my absolute favorite soup.

Then I made a nice big batch of tomatillo salsa:Nobody eats it in my house except for me, so I hope everyone at work will share it tomorrow. I'll bring in some blue chips!

And finally, some quinoa with carmelized leeks:This is a good one. It called for water, chicken broth or beer to cook the quinoa in, so I pulled an Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter out of the fridge. Man, was that the right choice! It's amazing.

Luckily the girls let me cook in peace. Sophie had a poster to do for homework:And Helen curled up with a good book: And now once the kitchen is cleaned, the laundry is changed, folded and put away, the kids fed, and my knitting corner cleaned:(that's pretty bad isn't it?) I plan to sit down - after a LONG, HARD day out pounding the pavement (literally) and slaving away in the kitchen - and knitting my swatch. Can't wait!

By the way, notice how many knitting bags I have in this picture. In the back, a Bagsmith project bag, then a Lexie Barnes "Lady B", then a Della Q Stripe Tote (discontinued), and up front, the Namaste Laguna Bag. All full of projects... UFOs... of course.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New recycled needle cases

As promised, the Susan Todd needle cases have arrived! We were all in a bit of a swoon yesterday when we opened the box. They are so beautiful - it's hard to pick a favorite. We have circular cases and straight cases, and a combo case for those of you who are switch-hitters with your needles.

Today is Kalen's 29th birthday - can you believe it!? She is getting old, like the rest of us. We'll celebrate with our traditional sushi birthday lunch one day next week when Michele is in, too.

A customer and friend of ours - Barb R. - came in the other day. Her son was a friend of Kalen's growing up, and she brought in a GREAT picture of Kalen dressed us as Pippi Longstocking many, many years ago. Kalen was mortified, but you know, it's always fun to laugh at each other's childhood pictures - I know I have a million awful ones. But this is actually a cute picture and she looks EXACTLY the same, so I told her I'd put it on the blog. Sorry Kalen!She didn't really have a good answer though, when asked why she blacked out one of her front teeth... Pippi Longstocking meets Captain Hook?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Harry Potter & Jojoland

I just called this morning to place another order for November delivery of Opal Harry Potter sock yarn. We've sold so much already, and a lot of our local customers who don't use their computers as much haven't even really heard of it yet. I predict that even though we're ordering a lot more in each color than we've already sold, it will sell out quickly.

I checked on Opal's website and we are the only Harry Potter store in Vermont! There are a lot in Maine and New Hampshire, but I'm surprised that not more stores signed up as program stores.

If you haven't reserved your Opal Harry Potter sock yarn yet, it's not too late. The October shipment is long gone, but we can have your yarn in November, over a month before it hits other stores. And we are still offering a free set of bamboo double pointed knitting needles with every THREE balls of Opal Harry Potter sock yarn purchased.

Fall is definitely in the air here in Vermont. Vermont is known for it's amazing fall foliage. With just the right combination of climate, soils and tree species, our fall foliage is spectacular, and we have years and years of tourist data to prove it! People come from all over the country to see our leaves. It's definitely my favorite time of year, I only wish it lasted a little longer! There are some days when you can be driving anywhere around here - but I usually find it's between here and the Stowe/Waterbury exit - that the leaves are so brilliantly colored on the mountains and hills along the highway - in different shades of reds, golds, oranges, greens and browns - that they appear so incredibly 3-dimensional. Almost un-real! And then just when you've decided that it's at the peak (is today peak? yesterday was peak! no tomorrow will be peak!) we get a windy fall day and -poof- it's over. Sad!

Another great thing about fall is that we get to start wearing all of our handknit sweaters! I've been wearing some scarves and shawls around the shop recently - because I find it so hard to dress since it can be 35 degrees in the morning and 75 in the afternoon. I usually wear a t-shirt, and then I can wear a sweater in the morning when it's still cold, but switch to a shawl or a neck scarf in the afternoon.

Speaking of shawls, I just ordered Jojoland yarns today, so we will soon have the Melody and Ryhthm yarns (and their cashmere!) and the Swirl shawl patterns. The Swirl shawl is a beautiful shawl and it's fun to make. We've had a lot of people asking about it recently and my rep just happened to be coming today, so we're getting it. And don't worry - we are going to sell the patterns by themselves, meaning you don't have to buy the yarn and patterns bundled in a kit. That's just not how we operate here. I'll let you know when it all arrives!

In the meantime, get out there and enjoy this gorgeous fall weather...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Just another manic Monday

I used to love that song by the Bangles... way back, we're talkin. And all Mondays at Kaleidoscope Yarns are pretty "manic" - as in frenzied. We got in a bunch of boxes from UPS and so were able to fill some backorders on Plymouth yarns, Tilli Tomas yarns and some Inox Pearl Gray knitting needles. And Mondays are always busy for us in shipping - people like to sit at home on Sundays and order yarn... at least that's always been true for us.

Today I got a phone call from an internet customer of ours who had just received one of our knitting kits - the cabled neck wrap, which uses the oh-so-soft Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky yarn. The customer was confused with the cable directions. It turns out she had never cabled before, and was confused about how to do it. A cable is easy, once you've done it. But sometimes it's hard to understand many knitting directions without a bit of a visual aid. I tried to explain it several different ways, and realized that no matter how hard I tried, this poor customer needed a visual explanation. She didn't have a yarn shop near her, and I really wanted to help her. So I asked her to Google "how to knit a cable" and VOILA! There's a great little video that comes up as the number one search result. She watched the video and was thrilled that I had helped her. Well, okay, I didn't actually help her, since she couldn't understand my several explanations... but I did help her to realize that you can find great online help if you are in a pinch. So that counts!

We will actually be adding some video clips to the site in the next few months. I'm not sure how many we'll add, as it is our busy season now... but we're going to start with a few "how-to's". It should be fun.

Speaking of new things on the website, today I added the Ozark Handspun yarn,

the Ozark Handspun Opulent yarn (this has more mohair), and some great new Della Q knitting bags... the Molly Messenger Bag,the Isadora Tote Bag and the Chloe Tote Bag.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Time to make my own sweaters

So I had the day off on Friday, and boy do I need some new clothes! I have recently gone through my closet and realized that it was time for a shopping spree, baby! I got up early, got the kids on the bus and headed out for a quick run - trying to keep to my training schedule for that big 13 mile run that's (AAAHHH!) only two weeks away now. I then showered and zoomed downtown for a quick trip to Church Street. I had to chaperone a Girl Scout trip to go horseback riding in the afternoon, so sadly - my shopping spree was more rushed than I would have liked... I only managed to hit about 3-4 shops but I did have a bit of luck!

One thing I noticed - I didn't see ANY good sweaters in any of the shops! I mean, yes, they had sweaters - but nothing hip, nothing cool, nothing... unique! Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Some years I do find a number of great sweaters in the stores. And I don't mind buying a few, because I wear them all the time, and I don't have time to knit all of my own... with all of the other knitting for the shop that I do. But this year, I may indeed be doing a lot more knitting for myself. Of course I already have several sweater samples in the shop that fit me perfectly, and that I love to wear... but I'm now thinking that I may need to make a couple that can reside in my own closet... and not on the wall of the shop.

One of our customers from Stowe came in on Saturday and tried on our sample of the G'day Cardigan, knit with Berroco Geode yarn (pattern is in Berroco Book #276 Geode & Jasper.) We had the sweater on a mannequin, and (my bad) I had not tried it on yet. She was worried that it wouldn't fit her... she thought she'd be a medium and our sample is a small. BUT it fit her perfectly, and Kalen and I couldn't get over how awesome it looked on her. Even with the horizontal striping, she looked so trim in that sweater. There is a great high ribbing on that sweater that makes your waist look amazing... and the stitch detail on the body and the arms is so cool. It's really a beautiful sweater. We were pretty busy last week and this past Saturday - it was the Street Rod Nationals just up the road at the Champlain Valley Expo. That always brings in a lot of business - a lot of the women said they sit around and knit while their husbands stand around and talk about cars. We had one customer who was in the shop for several hours. She had walked over from the Expo and spent a lot of time browsing and shopping. She ended up with about 6 projects worth of yarn and she walked back to the Expo with 3 overflowing reusable Kyarns bags. One of the projects was yarn to make the Rocketry Sweater and Baby Blanket. I had just finished my Rocketry Baby Blanket on Friday night, so it was in the shop with the sweater, and got a lot of attention! Because this woman had already picked out 5 other projects... she wasn't keen to spend $120 on this set. I suggested that she knit the sweater and blanket out of Berroco Comfort yarn. She bought 7 balls - so for $40 she has a really nice substitution! She was thrilled. We were even able to match the colors pretty closely.

By the way, look how nicely the back side of my blanket turned out! So glad I picked up and knit each square as opposed to seaming them all together at the end.We also sold a bunch of the Ozark Handspun that arrived on Thursday. Pretty good for ordering it on Monday! (It will be online tomorrow I hope!) I made a cute hat on Thursday night and now I have made a funky scarf and I'm almost finished another neat scarf. It's a really different yarn - we all LOVE it. If I can just finish these smaller projects I could get started on a sweater for myself!

Here's a shot of the horseback riding from Friday. The weather was perfect and everyone had fun. I am actually sort of terrified of horses. I really only volunteered to chaperone because I think (and now it's confirmed) that Helen is allergic to horses. I wanted to go in case she had breathing difficulties. I "pretended" I was not scared, because it was Helen and Sophie's first time riding horses. And I didn't want them to pick up on my fear and not try it. So I managed to keep a smile on my face the whole time, even though my horse (the biggest one - how did that happen?) got spooked part of the way through the ride and bucked a little (yes, saw my entire life in that flash of a minute!) Oh yeah, did I mention that I am ALSO allergic to horses? Apparently more allergic than I realized. I started sneezing non-stop halfway through the trail ride and then I was totally stuffed up until the next day. Ick.

The things we do for our kids! But I look pretty good up there on Bailey, don't I?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Bob!

Many of our local customers know Bob. He's one of the former owners of the Mary T. Booth Yarn Shop, a favorite shop of many folks in these parts. He and his wife and sister-in-law retired in the winter of 2002, and I opened Kaleidoscope Yarns to fill the huge void that the closing of their shop had created.

Since the day I opened the shop, Bob has been eager to help in any and every way. He does so many things for us - from restocking, to unloading UPS shipments, putting yarn away, getting yarn for customers, helping us with our big sales, cutting down boxes, you name it... he's probably done it. If you knew Bob, you'd know that he likes being active and he likes to help out. He's a really generous man and likes to protect us "girls" from things like box cutters, heavy boxes, etc!

Well, today is Bob's 79th birthday. His favorite cake is chocolate cake with 7 minute frosting... which I know his family makes for him, and I've even made it for a couple of birthdays. We decided to surprise him today with some breakfast pastries, instead. But we had to find a way to get him to come to the shop without knowing that it was birthday related. See, he's a smart guy and it's difficult to pull one over on him. We decided to use our friend (a fake rat) to play a trick on him. We got a mouse trap and went into the basement and put the fake rat right next to it. It's SO fake looking, but Barb played this trick on me several weeks ago, and boy did I scream!

So at 8:30 this morning, Barb called Bob and said she had a big problem. She told him that we had a dead mouse in the basement and that Kalen had called in sick, so would he mind coming in to help us clean it up? Kalen isn't as scared of mice as Barb and I are, so if she were here, we would just make her clean it up. That's why we had to say she was out sick. Bob knows that Barb and I can't stand mice, dead or alive, so he said he'd be right over to help us take care of it. (See he always takes good care of us!)

Meanwhile, Kalen and I ran down into the basement and hid in the corner of the smaller room. After a bit, we heard Bob and Barb coming down the stairs. (Barb deserves an academy award for her performance, both on the phone to him and in person.) As they went into the far corner of the basement, Kalen and I snuck out and waited for Bob to realize that we had set him up...
All we heard was him saying how big this mouse was... that it was much bigger than normal ones... and then he said, "It doesn't even look like it's IN the trap?" He totally thought that it was real, and we were DYING of laughter. Finally he bent down to pick it up (poor thing had brought his own gloves!) and when he realized that it was fake, he started laughing. We came out singing happy birthday and then I think we all laughed for about 20 minutes straight.

It turns out he thought it was real, but was puzzled as to why it was dead, if it wasn't IN the trap. We had just put it right NEXT to the trap, thinking he'd know it was fake as soon as he saw it! He said he figured it must have gotten near the trap, the trap must have sprung, hit the mouse on it's head and knocked it out. Well, we laughed even harder at that!
So, then we went upstairs and had some pastries and laughed even more. Sorry, Bob... We just couldn't resist! Happy birthday - we all love you!

Rustic Tweed - a new favorite yarn!

It is already mid-September and we continue to receive new yarns here at the yarn shop... it's amazing! The Queensland Rustic Tweed yarn arrived last week, and it's just gorgeous. I took a skein of it home for my weekend knitting project and boy was it great to knit with!

This yarn has a wonderful hand and the variation to the color is incredible. It's one of my new favorites... Wait! How many can I have? I think I'm over the limit. The skeins are quite large (278 yards) so I was able to make a nice scarf from just one skein.

The yarn label states that the gauge is 4.5 sts/inch, but that's not correct. It is just too loose at that gauge, plus the rep said it was a sport weight. So we are classifying Rustic Tweed yarn as a sport weight yarn.

I enjoyed knitting with it so much that I am now in search of a sweater pattern to make with it. Maybe the

Bimini by Dolce Handkints... or the On Your Toes Sweater by Green Mountain Spinnery. I may have to toss a coin to decide!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Free patterns now online

We have a nice selection of free patterns here in the shop, and we're starting to put them online for all of our knitting customers. We have a HUGE number of knitted samples in our yarn shop on display to inspire you. Some of these samples are made with patterns that you need to purchase, but some are made with patterns that we've whipped up ourselves.

So in the next few weeks we'll be putting a number of our most popular free patterns on our website. I've already started - there are several free knitting patterns listed already. We'll be going through our files and adding to these. The great thing about this is that you can access the patterns from home, in case you lose the ones we give you in the store.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Look what's coming next week!

We had such heat and humidity here this weekend. Yesterday I had to run 9 miles for my training program, and I almost died. I ran on the Burlington Bike Path with a friend, and it was so hot and humid that I could barely see through the fog on my sunglasses. I was also not quite hydrated enough, and though I planned to run by North Beach and use the water fountains there midway through my run, I found out that they apparently turn OFF the water fountains when they close for the season. LAME. But yes, I should have planned better. Thankfully we had some FIERCE winds last night that have cooled things off. This week looks perfect for running... and knitting!

The cool weather has brought out the rug hookers, and in the past couple of days our rug hooking wools have been picked over... to say the least! Tomorrow I will be spending some time in the kitchen playing with dyes and wools. I've been meaning to do it for months, but summer just isn't the easiest time to stand over a hot stove. So tomorrow it is...

This weekend I went to Middlebury College - my old stomping grounds - as my niece was up for a visit. She is applying for admission next year, and wouldn't it be nice to have her up here in Vermont? Well, I didn't actually get to the campus - I just hit some shops in downtown Middlebury. Hey, I like to visit yarn shops too! Anyway, I saw one or two things that I got so excited about! So this morning I made some phone calls, and by next week we will be stocking a couple of new items...

The first is Susan Todd Recycled Needlecases. These cases are cool - they're made from recycled sweaters. NO NEW SWEATERS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF OUR BAGS! - that's directly from her website. And we love her even more because she used to live in Vermont! We have three needlecases coming - one for straights, one for circulars, and one for all needles (both!) They're really cute and very different than what we currently stock, so a great addition to our offering.

Then two new YARNS... yum yum. Next week we are getting Ozark Handspun and Ozark Opulent. These are SO sweet! They will be very popular. The textures and colors are just incredible. The best part is that we have NOTHING like this yarn. I'm all for unique things, and this fits the bill. From my quick conversation with Terri at Ozark this morning, it seems as if they are going to be wonderful to do business with - good inventory levels, pretty quick turnaround, drop shipping, WOW. I look forward to getting these two yarns and sharing them with all of you knitters!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fall is here

Brrrrr - fall is in the air! Last night I went for a run and an hour later returned shivering, with teeth chattering. The temperatures drop quickly around here when the sun sets, and even after a 5 mile run I was freezing! I think the temperature had gone down about 15 degrees. After a hot shower I quickly cozied up in some flannels and pulled out my latest knitting project - the Rocketry baby blanket in Dream in Color Classy yarn. It's coming along nicely!I definitely think that doing it all in one piece is the way to go. When I get to the edging I will need a long needle - as I plan to do all four sides at once. I'm actually psyched! it will give me a chance to try out the new Addi Turbo Lace Knitting Needles. We recently added more sizes in the Addi Lace needles - we now go up to US size 9 in 60". I will use a 7 US in a 47". They've gotten such wonderful reviews, but I already own just about every Addi Turbo and a Denise Kit, so I couldn't justify buying one until now.

On Tuesday we received a shipment from Euro Yarns, a division of Knitting Fever, Inc. I ordered some awesome new yarns, and Michele, Kalen and I spent ALL day unpacking them, putting them out, getting them online, and re-merchandizing the shop. It was exhausting, but worth it. The shop looks great, and the yarns are really fantastic - I'm so glad I ordered them.

I got two fun novelty yarns from Louisa Harding. Customers always come in looking for those "special" yarns... and these two fit the bill. Glisten is a really cool thin ribbon that has a bit of bling! It almost looks like it has silvery droplets running down the center of the yarn. I'm going to come up with a cool scarf project that mixes Glisten with another yarn - perhaps Madil Kid Seta?

The second yarn is Louisa Harding Sari Ribbon yarn - a wide ribbon that comes in amazingly gorgeous variegated colors. It has a great glitzy metallic running down the center. This yarn can be worked alone, but I grabbed a ball of it along with a ball of the Be Sweet Mohair Boucle. I knit this simple, yet gorgeous, scarf in a matter of hours. It is really cool! Very pretty up close.Like it? Come on in and buy a skein of each and we'll give you the easy pattern. I'll have it online in the next couple of days. Didn't have time today because Kalen came up with 26 (!!) colorways our favorite hat kit - the Sara's Magic Ball hat. It took a while to get those photographed and edited today, but they're online and they look great. The hard part is deciding which one to make for myself.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Favorite Sweater #2 for fall

I have a lot of favorite sweaters for fall! But this one was not really a favorite, until our sample arrived today (thank you Karen C. - yet another superb sample from you!) and I tried it on. So here is the pattern picture straight from Loop-d-Loop Volume 1:The sweater: Peasant Blouse
The yarn: Loop-d-Loop Moss by Teva Durham. Technically a sport weight yarn.
The needles: US 11.

Yeah, I know. A sportweight knit on size 11 US needles. Is your brow furrowed a bit? Mine was, but when I saw samples knit with this yarn at TNNA in June, I immediately dug it. The result is perfect. Lightweight. Drapey. A bit sheer. Stylish. And of course I love Teva Durham's patterns. So that made it an obvious addition to our yarn selection. And here is our version, in the color Brick:
I wasn't sure about the little cable row on the lower back of this pattern. I told Karen, my knitter, that the jury was out on that detail. That I wasn't really sure how that would look on all body types.

But after carefully looking at and studying the pattern picture, I realized that the model is wearing a sweater probably 1-2 sizes too big, hence the big blousey back (and the long-long sleeves!)

So I decided to ask Karen to knit the small, and look! The back detail is not unflattering at all. It's actually kinda cute! (And the sleeves are perfect in length.) In addition to LOVING the yarn (and the color!) I really think this sweater is a great style. Cute (and different!) neckline, and awesome assymetrical cables on sleeves, and on front of sweater.

So this pattern gets added to our favorite's list. Thanks to Helen and Sophie, who helped take these two pictures. They only had to take about 15 total to get 2 half decent ones. There's something about 2 nine year olds fighting for the camera that results in very blurry pictures...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Harry potter favorites

Pre-orders for the Opal Harry Potter sock yarn are certainly going strong, as we've sold way more than the first (October) shipment. But I've just placed my reorder for November, and David, from Opal, says we should have it by mid-November, if not a bit earlier. Our official licensed and Warner Brothers sanctioned Harry Potter sock poster arrived today. People are really excited about this yarn! I mean hey, if you have to wait until next summer for the movie, you can at least get a head start on your socks! We are offering free bamboo sock needles (size 0, 1, or 2) with the purchase of every 3 skeins of HP yarn. Who doesn't need extra sock needles?

So far all of the colors are selling FAST. But the 3 most popular ones are Tonks, Hedwig and Dumbledore, all tied for the lead. Following in a very close second is Harry.

Last night I worked on my Rocketry baby blanket. I'm using the Dream in Color Classy yarn that was left over after I made the Rocketry baby sweater. Again, I am taking much creative liberty with this pattern! I like the idea of making 6 randomly striped garter squares (worked modularly) but having already knit a garter stitch afghan in strips... and dealing with the seaming issue... thanks, but I think I'll pass on that. A much smarter way to deal with this, is to piece the squares together as you knit. It makes a much nicer seam from one square to the next.Modular knitting is fun! Look at the scarf Barb just made with Berroco Jasper! It's the Iknitiative Cornerstone Scarf pattern and it's really cute. Just needs blocking... And while we're viewing one of Barb's projects, check out this one! This is the gorgeous Christmas stocking that Barb for one of Barb's knitting classes this fall. She used 3 classic colors of Cascade 220 Wool yarn and the result is spectacular. Don't you think? It kind of makes me want to make one for my husband, since he's the only one in my family without a handknit stocking... we'll see.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

My own version of Olympic knitting

What a great Labor Day weekend we had here in Vermont. The weather was outstanding - I'll go so far as to say the best of the summer...

We finished up last the first partial week of school last week. The girls started on Wednesday, and wouldn't you know it, back to school, with all those kids Sophie came home Thursday night (the second day of school!) with a fever. So she missed Friday, and hung out with us here at the yarn shop while I worked. Apparently she had some fun with my camera, as this is what I found this morning.
I think she was a)playing with the camera and b)trying to see just how sick, pathetic and mad (that last picture is freaky!) she could be. In truth, it was just a little fever and some aches. And she felt good enough to help with a recent mailing we did to some of our local customers... see? So clearly she was ACTING with the camera. I'll have to ask her about it... That's right, put'em to work. That's my motto. Hey, what kid doesn't enjoy playing with stickers, anyway? By the way, if you are a local and did not receive a postcard, plese stop in and make sure you are listed properly in our system. We have something for you at the counter...

On Monday we headed over to Lake Placid, NY with some friends. What a gorgeous day! We met at the Charlotte Ferry and while waiting to board, ran into our friend and customer Carlie, who was with her husband and some friends. They were on their road bikes, and had a whole glorious day planned, biking up and down the New York side of Lake Champlain.

Once we reached the New York side, we headed to Whiteface. We can see Whiteface from our bedroom window and we've always wanted to check it out. We drove up the auto road and then headed to the tippy top. WOW. It was warm, breezy (sometimes a bit too breezy!) and clear. Just perfect. This is Marc and Helen checking out the view of Lake Placid. That was a little too close to the edge for me!We worked up an appetite so we stopped at the A&W for some great food and root beer. It hit the spot. Then we cruised the town of Lake Placid, got some ice cream, and headed home. It was fun showing the kids some of the Olympic arenas (those ski jumps are terrifying!) especially since they were all jazzed after the recent summer Olympics.

I managed to knit quite a bit in the car, though it was a little dizzy-ing. The roads were winding, some were bumpy, and I had to keep looking up to see the scenery. By the time we got to the return ferry, I just sat back and enjoyed this beautiful part of the world that we live in.I did manage to complete the sleeves to my cute little Rocketry sweater, out of Dream in Color Classy yarn. AND I ripped out the entire ribbing (the directions were not the best in my opinion) and re-knit it. After looking at the completed Rocketry sweaters on Ravelry, I am further convinced that I did the right thing in re-doing the ribbing. I really hate having to re-do things. But the feeling of satisfaction you get when you know you did something right makes it all worthwhile, doesn't it?

Harry Potter Opal sock yarn

Okay… the Harry Potter lowdown, straight from David, my Opal Distributor.

Opal Harry Potter sock yarn is avaible for preorder! Because our yarn shop is what they call a “program store” and committed to the entire Opal/Harry Potter program, we are guaranteed 1/2 of our order (remember - they had flooding in the factory and production was affected!) This amounts to 1 bag (10 skeins) of each color (8 colors in all), and we will be getting it sometime in the beginning of October.

As a program store, should we need to reorder any of these 8 colors, we can (and will!) do so. These reorders should arrive in November.

The yarn is
online (yes, there are pictures of completed socks!) for preorder for any of you who are interested.) Credit cards will not be charged for the yarns until the day they arrive here. They’ll ship out the same day (or you’ll get a call that they are ready for pickup.)