Friday, July 31, 2009

More sweaters for Liz

When Jill and I attended TNNA in June we found several new pattern designers. We ordered a bunch of new patterns, and they've started to arrive here at the shop! The Chic Knits patterns came in the other day. Everyone who has seen them so far loves them.

I took a few of them home for my daughter, Liz, to look at. She has picked out two sweaters for me to make for her for the school year. The first is the Cassidy sweater, a gorgeous cabled hoodie knit in worsted weight.The second is the Twist sweater, another cabled cardigan with a hood, again in worsted weight. Liz loves hoodies.
You may remember we went through this in the spring with the Tahki Cotton Classic sweater I made for her. Liz's thought process is this: It's cheaper (meaning "free for her") for me to knit them than to purchase a sweater at a store.

Now she needs to choose colors. She doesn't like to be just like everybody else, so she's going to review her current magazines to determine what the “in" colors are for fall. Then she'll pick something different!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Lux is a winner!

One of the yarns we were really excited about at TNNA in June was the Lux #12 and Lux #12 Hand Dyed from Buffalo Gold. It's a true luxury yarn - the blend is bison, cashmere, silk and tencel. We fell in love with the gorgeous jewel-tones colors, and for $9 more, 3 colorways dyed by Lornas Laces. This yarn arrived two weeks ago, and I rushed to get it online before I left for vacation.

I'm glad I put it online so quickly! Last week, Clara Parks (of reviewed the Buffalo Gold Lux #12 in her yarn profile. And thanks to a link to us, this special yarn is now in the hands of many other folks out there, who are already giving us great feedback about it! We still have most colors in stock, with more arriving in 2.5 weeks.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Check the sale pages! This stuff isn't going to last long. Don't leave items in your cart too long, or you'll probably get an email saying your items sold out.

We're busy making room for new yarns & other fun knitting products so these yarns are 20 to more than 50% off.

A college send-off gift

A couple of months ago my sister, Lisa, started crocheting an afghan for her daughter, Meredith, who had just graduated from high school. It's sort of a send-off blanket for Meredith to take to college this fall. Well, Lisa - I know yesterday was about the first bit of summer weather we've had, but you'd better get cracking grannying! Meredith leaves for school in just over 4 weeks!

I stopped in to see Lisa this past Sunday in NH as we were driving back from Maine. I asked to see the blanket. She opened her hutch and this is what I saw!A finisher's worst nightmare! Hopefully my visit (and gentle reminder that she needs to pull out her hook and get moving) will get her motivated to put all of these squares together in the near future. It is going to be gorgeous when it's finished, though!
BTW, she used Berroco Vintage Wool - a perfect choice for this project! Bright, fun colors, super soft, and washable. Remember how much of a pain it was to do laundry when you were in college?

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Dino family is complete

We have another finished dinosaur friend to visit in the shop. Here are Pokey and Spike together!They were so much fun to knit. I just loved using Noro Kureyon for this project! Thanks again to Emily for helping to get all the pieces put together.

The Prehistoric Pals pattern by Knitting at Knoon offers 4 different dinosaur selections. Besides the triceratops and stegasauras there are also patterns for a brachiosaurus and tyranosaurus. One family of knitters told us that if you would like a more friendly tyranosaurus you can sew a smile for him instead of teeth!

Just to share - here is Indigo helping with the pattern. He is making sure I don't lose my place.Don't let Indigo fool you. These patterns are quite easy to follow. If you can handle increases and decreases and are willing to do just a bit of short row work you'll have no problem working on these toys.

Pokey and Spike have made quite an impression on out shop visitors. Many people have commented that Pokey is a famous web personality now!

It's goat time!

I just need to share one of my favorite bits of summer with all of you today. A couple of weeks ago the nanny goats at Shelburne Farms kidded and there are now 4 beautiful kids to visit in the Children's Farmyard. I love goats. They are very smart and love to get into trouble. I bet the goats would get along wonderfully with my equally smart siamese cat Indigo who also loves to get in trouble. (Does anyone sense a pattern here?) I bet they would be great at helping with my knitting. Almost as good as Indigo is at getting into the yarn. I'm not sure that Indigo would be quite so pleased to meet the goats however. He would make loud growly noises and get all puffy instead of making friends with the goats. He doesn't know what he's missing. Some of you know that while I love goats and goat kids I do have a bit of an ulterior motive. I really appreciate goat cheese and we all know that those nanny goats have to have kids before we can enjoy fresh goat milk and make cheese! Yum :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Anyone else feeling a bit looney?

Looney: someone deranged and possibly dangerous

Yeah, I could be feeling that! With all the gray and rainy weather, it's no surprise. Yesterday we took a bit of a drive to escape this wacky weather - and drove to Freeport, Maine. Home of LL Bean and many other outlets. I got in quite a bit of knitting time in the car! We hit LL Bean for some back-to-school items. It was the first visit for Helen and Sophie, so of course - we had to get a picture of them with the massive boot. They picked out new backpacks and lunch boxes for their big middle school debut in just over 5 weeks. So much more fun doing it in person, than online or through a catalog! That wall of backpacks was quite impressive. We even caught a little demo at the indoor trout pond. A little fly fishing, anyone?
After a lucky stop at the Patagonia store and some yummy ice cream cones we got in the car and headed back for our camp, an hour and a half north. I picked up my iPhone (which due to lack of AT&T coverage in many parts of Maine, has been pretty much ignored this week) and noticed I had full service. I googled "yarn shops Freeport Maine." Hey, just because I own a shop doesn't mean I can't drool over yarns at other places!

I was thrilled to see that Purl Diva was only 10 minutes away in Brunswick. I had heard a lot about Purl Diva, and I follow the owner's blog and twitter updates. I was surprised to discover how close we were to her shop! Just minutes later, we pulled into the parking lot, and I went in to meet Ellen, the owner.
What a beautiful shop! If any of you are ever in the area (or even a couple of hours away!) Purl Diva is a must see. The shop is charming - her building reminds me of ours in a way - an old house built around the exact same time. It is clear that Ellen loves and excels at what she does, and that she has thrown her heart and soul into making Purl Diva an incredible yarn shop. Beautiful yarns, accessories, samples, you name it - all in an organized space full of creative possibilities. Everywhere you look you will discover great finds. It was truly the high point of my day. Thanks Ellen!

We ended our day with a few breaks in the ever present clouds, and the girls were able to swim with some new friends.
Side note: This week Helen & Sophie have been pretending to "fish" with some old Barbie fishing rods that Marc's mom gave them years ago. They're not using any bait, so obviously they're not catching anything. They've been standing down on the dock for hours at a time "casting on." It's so cute - I'm certainly not going to tell them that they're "casting", not "casting on." I guess a week in knitting camp had an impression on them!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Staying Connected

Vacation time! Here we are at our camp in Maine again. We make a summer trip here each year. This year we, together with Marc's sister - who also owns the camp - decided to forego some of life's little luxuries. Specifically TV (which we didn't really care about), a land line phone, and internet connection. And add to that - we use AT&T for our cell phones, and there's no AT&T service here. (Can you hear me now?) So we're completely NOT connected. Which is nice, in a way. So to connect, I must come to the library, which is only open 2 days a week for 5 hours a day. Luckily, they recently installed wireless, which is free and accessible from the parking lot. Last year I would laugh each time I drove by the library - it would be closed and there would be 2-5 cars parked out front. The people in the cars had their computers out, checking email, working, etc. And this year, I'm right in there fighting for a spot!
We went kayaking today on the Sandy River - and got up early to beat the rain, which has now returned after a two day break. It was the girls' first trip, and we went with Marc's aunt, who is a seasoned kayaker up here! We had the most amazing time. Thanks Maddy!And now it looks like more rain off and on for the rest of the week. So tomorrow we may trek in to Freeport - haven't been there for years.

I only brought two projects with me on this vacation. I started Cormorant before I left, and completed the first sleeve. I always start with the back, then the fronts, and then finish up with the sleeves. But several knitters I know do the sleeves first, and you know? I think I like it that way! I cruised on the first one and am well into the second one. The pattern calls for Berroco Ultra Alpaca and Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine. I wanted to make something that was machine washable, so I substituted Vintage Wool for the Ultra Alpaca. A lot of the colors are the same in these two yarns, so it was an easy substitution.

I also started a scarf out of Noro Silk Garden. This scarf is so simple, yet with the two colors of Silk Garden, it just keeps changing. It's really mindless and easy to knit. If you haven't seen this scarf and want to try it, you can see it (and the free pattern) on Brooklyn Tweed's blog.

I am using the Kollage square circular needles and I love them! I'm using a size 7, and when I'm finished the scarf, I'm going to swatch the Vintage Wool on them. I am using size 7 Addis on my sweater, so it will be an interesting experiment to see how different my gauge is on Addi 7's and Kollage 7's. Hmm. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Kids Camp - Days Four and Five

A quick post here, before I head off to a special 9am showing of Harry Potter... and then the car is packed and we're hopping in for our drive to Maine, which should be grey, dark, wet and dreary (what else is new?) The Enchantment Camp that Helen and Sophie went to earlier this summer (here's Sophie in her wizard robe the last day of that camp) has arranged a special showing of the new Harry Potter movie for all of the kids who attended (or will be attending) the Enchantment Camp this summer. So we'll be in the company of many underaged robe wearing wizards this morning. And phew, I finished the book just last night, so I'm ready.

What an amazing week we had. We had the best group of kids at our first kid's knitting camp! They were so much fun, and they learned so much!

Thursday was spinning day. Shawn taught them the basics of spinning and showed them how fun and easy it was. They had some different types of fiber and some dog brushes

and wire coat hangersand with a bit of elbow greaseand determination made their own yarn!

Their felted objects were still drying, but looking good! They made soaps, flowers and balls. Shawn made some peas in a pod, see them?

Then Friday was the last day. They learned a few more knitting techniques and finished up the week by using the ball winder and swift on their own dyed yarn. Once the balls were all wound, they played Knitting Jeopardy. Our front window doubled as the Jeopardy board, and check this out... the kids went right for the more difficult questions! Shawn made up some great questions, really testing what the kids learned this week. And they all did so well. They not only learned how to knit and purl and cast on and bind off and follow a pattern, but they learned so much about fibers, and felting, and dying, and spinning. They had a great time playing the game. One team was the knittersand they played against the purlers, of course.Next summer we hope to see this great group back here at kyarns for Knitting Camp Level 2! Keep knitting kids! And come back and show us how far you've progressed!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Kids Camp - Day Three

Today was so cool! The kids arrived to see their jars of yarn patiently waiting back by the tent. They did some inside knitting, and then went outside to rinse their yarn.
You should have heard the "oooohs" and "aaaahs". They were all so excited to see the beautiful colors they had made. They gently squeezed out the water from their skeinsand hung them up to dry. Then, after a quick snack they started felting. Some of them chose to make felted soaps and others made flowers. What a great activity for a sunny day. An activity where you get all wet, but in the end, you're clean! We had some scented soaps and boy did it smell good out there!
Halfway through the activity, I was up in the shipping room and heard lots of laughing and singing. The girls were singing Mary Had a Little Lamb, but changing the words to show what they'd learned this week:
Mary had an angora rabbit who gave angora yarn...
Mary had an angora coat who gave us some cashmere
Mary had a little silkworm who gave us a mile of silk!

They were certainly a jovial bunch! And all the while they rubbed and scrubbed and felted their soaps and flowers, lots of customers came in to the shop and commented on how much fun the group of kids was having out back. That's what it's all about, isn't it?
Here are a few more shots of the soap felting!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Kids Camp - Day Two

Today is dye-day here at the shop. The kids arrived at 8:30am - all excited to learn more about knitting. The "hands-on" project today is dying yarn, and our guest instructor today is Suzie, who had perfected the art of food coloring dying for these kids. Here she is, waiting for the kids to finish their snacks.
The brightly colored finger wrapping is covering Suzie's left pointer... which met with an unfortunate accident last week. Finger. Wood splitter. Do not try at home. Need I say more? Poor Suzie has a great attitude about the new - yet to be revealed - look of her finger. It is healing, and will be for some time. She is left handed, so she may need some help learning how to hold a pen again, and she was a continental knitter, too. She most likely still will be, but she is back to throwing for right now. (Even losing a finger tip won't stop her from knitting!)

Anyway we were all prepped for the dying. Suzie had organized the supplies,and Shawn and Emily had taken a skein of Cascade 220 for each child and rewound it into three smaller hanks, suitable for dying.We thought it would be more fun if each kid got three colors! It's cold here today, and this was an outside activity. They headed out and thankfully we had the tent, because it started to rain just as they got outside.
They did some group colors:
and then based on Suzie's samples:
they chose some colors on their own: They counted out the drops:
let is sit for a minute:
put in their yarn:

mixed it:
shook it up:
and wrote down what they did in their notebooks for future reference! The yarn will be rinsed late tomorrow and then dried, and then they get to use the ballwinder and umbrella swift for their skeins. Oh, a child's fantasy... to use the ball winder! :)