Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New colors of Socos

Last year was our first year with Socos, and apparently this yarn was a huge hit with our customers! Our free hat pattern helped, because it's an easy and quick hat, works well for men and women and is super affordable at just $12.

Lots of customers also made the Socos scarf - which is another free pattern. This is a simple 1x1 rib and takes just 2 skeins of Socos. Another affordable project for just $24.

There are four new colors of Socos this fall, and they're great!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thumbs UP for Comfort!

I had a lot of car time this weekend, and spent a good deal of it knitting some preemie hats. I had made some in Plymouth Dreambaby DK recently, and this weekend I took Berroco Comfort DK.

WOW. I've always loved Dreambaby DK. It's a "go-to" yarn for all baby items - whether preemie or full sized. But over the years we've grown a little tired of the colors. They've added a few muted shades, that are pretty, but they haven't really deviated from the pastels of old. And new moms these days are anything but old school!
We have new moms coming in wanting oranges, browns, bright greens, teals and more. So when Comfort DK was introduced, we were thrilled!

The color range is so fun, it's actually outselling the Dreambaby DK now. And I have to say, it's just a BIT thicker than Dreambaby DK. Which results in the softest, cushiest little baby hats EVER! So give Comfort DK a try. We think you'll love it!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Blanket Donation

Last night Shawn and I attended the VRRP documentary at Champlain College. The auditorium was packed, and before they started the film, Shawn got up and presented the blankets. They plan to use these blankets for some resettled folks who are sick, and spend more time in bed.

We put together some interesting specs that we thought we'd share with everyone:
  • We had over 80 people who knit and seamed squares
  • Each blanket represents at least 125-150 hours of work
  • People participated from 11 states and 2 countries

The documentary was incredible - I learned so much and I'm so glad I cut my weekend short to come back and see it. We stayed for the hour and a half discussion afterwards, and heard 7 refugees from 6 different countries stand up and talk about their experiences. It was sad, humbling, educational and funny all at the same time.

So again, GREAT JOB to everyone who participated. Now that we are all finished with this project, we're going to do our prize raffle. Stay tuned, we might just be contacting you with a little "thank you" of sorts!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A few completed items!

Today we got a package from Karen (aka Choochooknits), one of our sample knitters from New Jersey. She finished the Seneca sweater from Jared Flood's Made in Brooklyn.

Seriously folks, this is a super yummy sweater. Not only is the design gorgeous, but the yarn... WOW!!! It's Classic Elite Lush and it's soft, fuzzy and scrumptious. We put it right on the mannequin and it made for a good laugh. See, our mannequin is a bit difficult to dress. You have to remove both arms in order to get a pullover onto her, and to remove the arms you have to twist them backwards and over her head. Anyway, I tried for several minutes to remove her arms but had no luck. I did manage to knock her off her stand and she practically fell over. Michele rushed over to help me, and at that exact moment, about 5 customers walked in to find us both in a fit of giggles, and me dancing with a headless mannequin. Ah... good times, good times.
Shawn was able to remove the arms and then once I had the sweater on her, I had to get Shawn's help AGAIN to put the arms back on. I tell you, the mannequin was so wobbly, even once she was all re-assembled and secured that I have to wonder if she's hitting the sauce at night after we close the shop. I might have to start testing her BAC.
Wait! What's that in her hand? Caught her!!! I thought I was clear about no drinking at work. I guess we'll have to work on teaching her what beverages are appropriate for the workplace. Anyway, she wears the sweater well, and Karen did a great job on it. Thanks!

We've had some customers in recently with works in progress and completed works. Deborah N. is almost finished her Yankee Knitter English Ribbed Pullover. She is using Berroco Vintage Wool, which is SO popular that many of the colors are on backorder at Berroco. We're still okay on our stock, and we have more on order, but we're pretty sure we will see some delays with certain colors of this yarn. That's what happens when a new yarn is such a hit!

Then Beth C. came in yesterday with a really creative project.It's pretty clear she's a quilter! She made a jacket that is quilted, but the arms are knitted. She used the Blue Sky Melange for the sleeves and Emily luckily thought to grab the camera so we could share it with you. We closed out the Melange recently, but it was (and is!) a beautiful yarn!

Bring in your projects and let us photograph them and share on our blog. People love to see FO's!

Friday, September 25, 2009

30 FAB Af Fabs!

That's right, we've got 30 custom colorways of the Ab Fabs in stock. Here are some:
And here are some:
And here are a few more:
Here's the deal: Our US distributor of Colinette is no longer the distributor of Colinette... they have a lot of yarn left, but only certain fibers, and only in certain colors. The Ab Fab is such a huge success that they took all the component yarns from the Ab Fab kits and went out into their warehouse and with the colors they had left in those exact fibers. They came up with some amazing custom colorways.

They need to get rid of their inventory, and it's actually quite creative of them to do this! We ordered about 15 or so colorways several of weeks ago. We had them here in the shop, and most of them sold before we even put them online. We put the few remaining kits online, and within a couple of days, they were gone.

So we called our distributor and said "PLEASE! Do you have any of these yarns left? Can you make up more kits since we have already sold all of them?" They were able to, so we have those original 15 or so colorways back in stock now.

Then I asked them what else they could do. I knew they still had yarn left and I thought there HAD to be more wonderful combinations. They went to work and sent me photos, and viola! We now have 30 different custom colorways of Ab Fabs.

These kits are THE SAME as the regular Ab Fabs. They contain ALL of the yarn needed to make the Ab Fab afghans. They contain the EXACT SAME pattern. The only difference is that they are on sale. They're on sale because the distributor is getting rid of the yarns and they gave us a discount, so we are giving you a discount. They are final sale.
We have them all photographed online, and a few hanging in the shop. We do have one of each hanging in the classroom. So if you are a local, please feel free to come in and see them in person. Just be warned, it's hard to make a decision. Trust us, we know!

A quick gift for a weekend away, and it's a free pattern!

This weekend we're going to visit some friends outside of Boston. The weekend is getting cut short a bit, as we're coming back early so I can be there for the presentation of our charity blankets on Sunday. But the kids are super excited for our visit to the Boston Museum of Science. Did you know that tomorrow is Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day, and you can enjoy free general admission for you and a guest to hundreds of museums and cultural venues nationwide? Now you know!

I never know what to take people when we go to visit, but I usually take some specialty Vermont food items - maple syrup, cheese, something like that. Now that the Mission Falls 1824 Cotton is back in stock, I thought I'd whip up a couple of potholders. Who can't use extra potholders? I know I can. And this pattern is so easy and fun that even someone who is a beginner at crochet can tackle it easily. Last night I whipped one up in one of the new variegated colors. On the car ride down to MA later today, I plan to make a solid one to coordinate.

Want to learn how to make these? Sign up for Shawn's class next month. Talk about an easy and fun holiday gift... one or two potholders with some homebaked bread or cookies? I'm already thinking teacher gifts...

And here's Shawn's in another of the variegated cottons. Gorgeous! For those of you who already know how to crochet, here's the free pattern for these. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chilly? Think Holiday Cheer!

'Tis the season...for the numerous phone calls asking "Do you sell handknit holiday stockings?" or "Can you tell me of anyone who can knit holiday stockings to match our family collection?"

Unfortunately the shop's focus is selling knitting supplies and helping knitters to improve their techniques. So for those of you wanting handknit holiday family heirlooms, take the plunge and learn to knit!

Once you have the basics of knitting down, making a holiday stocking is a great project! It's a good way to knit learn all types of new knitting skills, and once you've done a stocking, making socks for yourself will seem easy. Stockings are fun and don't take long to knit, so come on in and let us help you pick out a kit or a pattern to make your own family heirlooms.

Worried about that intarsia colorwork? Think you'll need some assistance learning how to overstitch letters so you can personalize your work? Want to learn how to add an afterthought heel to socks so you can knit the entire piece in the round? Maybe you just need that extra assistance to finish up your toe decreases and graft the piece together with the Kitchener stitch? Well, sign up for our Holiday Stocking Class. Each year people ask for it, and this year we've got a great one! The class is designed around a really flexible pattern; you get to choose the colors and motifs that will be worked into your project - and the end result will be one of a kind. You'll get practice reading a chart as well as first hand instruction for all the techniques listed above. In the class you will create a small swatch and learn these techniques… then you'll head home to apply these new skills while making your first stocking your own way, on your own schedule.

And if you've mastered stockings, or just don't need any more, why not make some gorgeous ornaments? These beautiful decorations look wonderful on the tree or hanging in a window, and they make perfect holiday gifts for teachers, family and friends. We've got two classes for those coming up soon, and whether you take this one or this one, you'll be on your way to gift completion!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Terrific touks for teenies!

Our kids charity knitting group should be starting soon, and I've been knitting a few hats as examples for the kids. Once we teach them how to work on double pointed needles, we're hoping that they use their creativity to make fun, colorful, one-of-a-kind hats! We have such great colors of yarn (thanks to Plymouth and Berroco!) that the possibilities are really endless: In addition to stripes, we could do mini fruit caps! (I think I'll make one of those tonight!)

I've been experimenting with different sizes (from 33 to 46 stitches) and Sophie discovered that they fit her dolls pretty well. I almost had to use brute force to get these hats away from her!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Drum Roll Please.... Charity Blanket PRESENTATION!

There's finally a chill in the air! So isn't it wonderful that the blankets we've been working to finish all summer are nearing completion?! We have a few more seams to do on the last blanket, and then we'll wash them and be finished!

We've been invited to present our blankets at an event this coming Sunday in Burlington... and we hope you'll join us! We couldn't have done it without you, so we really hope you'll join us for this special event. So, here's our official invitation to you!


Please join the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program (VRRP)and Kaleidoscope Yarns for a documentary showing of Home Across Lands, a discussion about refugees starting new lives in Vermont, and the presentation of our five Charity Knitting Blankets to VRRP.

Sunday, September 27th at 4 pm

Alumni Auditorium at Champlain College, 375 Maple Street, Burlington, VT 05402

This is Free and Open to the Public
(Suggested Donation of $15 to Benefit the Volunteer Program)

Wait! There's more!
Followed by Benefit Dinner at Parima’s at 6:30 pm.
$30 per Person Supports the VRRP Volunteer Department
(Seating is limited so please call VRRP to reserve your place at the table.)
Parima’s 185 Pearl Street, Burlington, VT 05401 (802.338.4627)
Event supported by Champlain College, Sodexo and Parima’s


It is going to be a wonderful community event and I'm looking forward to the movie screening of Home Across Lands. It will be a great opportunity to meet some of the new members of our Vermont community and learn about their experiences.

Still wondering how you can get involved as a knitter in a community project like this one? We have blanket squares left from this project, as there weren't enough to make another twin sized blanket. We are looking for interested volunteers to help us piece together smaller blankets for the Lund Family Center to give to new mothers and their children. We really need your help for this one folks, so stop in, learn how to seam, and then take a few squares home to finish and keep you warm on a chilly evening. Hey don't we all need an excuse to stop by the shop one more time to fondle the yarn?! THANKS.

For more info on our charity knitting events, check our website.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pre STITCHES EAST event: Berroco Trunk Show!

Can't make it to Stitches East this year? Don't worry - we're having ALL of the Berroco garments that will be travelling to Stitches East, here at our shop.
Check out our pre-Stitches MEGA trunk show! We'll have items from Berroco Books 287, 288, 289, Norah Gaughan 3, Norah Gaughan 5 and Norah Gaughan Men! There will even be some items made from free patterns from Ravelry and Berroco KnitBits.

Come in any time between Friday, October 9th and Saturday, October 17th to check out these great samples!

Here is just a sampling of what we'll have:

and more. Don't miss it!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kids Charity Knitting Group

Attention Williston, VT parents of knitting kids!

Suzie and I are working with the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library in Williston to set up our after school charity knitting program for this year. We are finalizing all of the details, but we're aiming for a mid-October start date on Tuesday afternoons after school.

This is a CHARITY knitting group, and we will be knitting preemie hats for the NICU at Fletcher Allen Heath Care in Burlington. It's a great project because November is Preemie Awareness Month!

This project means a lot to me because Helen and Sophie were born 4 weeks early and spent the first several weeks of their lives being well cared for in the NICU at FAHC. I've started a few hats already, so we have fun examples for the kids.
We'll start out with a very basic preemie hat, and then continue to knit more hats, allowing the kids to experimant with different colors and different stitch patterns. They'll learn how to work on double pointed needles, how to finish the hats properly and how to figure out proper decrease techniques with different stitch counts. They'll also have fun knitting in a group and doing "show and tell" each week with their hats. We'll set goals at our first meeting, adjust them along the way, and in the end, take a field trip to deliver the hats to the NICU. (Sorry - NICU babies are too fragile to visit with, but the kids will experience what it feels like to give such a wonderful gift first hand!)

We have wonderful yarns donated by Berroco and Plymouth and needles donated by Accessories Unlimited for this program. The yarn colors are super fun, and all I can say is there are going to be some stylish preemies out there this winter!

Watch the Williston Observer and the Williston School Bell for details about this program. And we'll post it here as soon as we get the dates!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Creative minds at work

Last week my husband was on a business trip for his job at Nokian Tires. He went to the company headquarters in Nokia, Finland, and brought back an interesting hat.Hmmm. I wondered if it was a new Finnish fashion trend. I doubt it! It's likely something to do with the company, as orange and black are the colors of Vianor, a northeast chain of tire and service stores owned by Nokian.

At first I laughed, especially when Marc put it on his head and modelled it - it wasn't exactly flattering on him, and bright orange isn't really his color. But then I started thinking... it was a nice shape, and with a cool yarn and a few tweaks, it could be a really fun hat. As knitters, we have the ability to see something and improve upon it.

I brought it in to the shop, and it's given us all a laughs. It has even allowed us some time for reminiscing about our childhood, you know, playing with "trolls" - the AGDs of my day.We're always looking for new designs and this may just be a starting point. Who knows what we'll come up with? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Colinette Ab Fabs - here's a deal!

Late last week we received custom colorways of the Colinette Ab Fab Kits. Regularly $190, these are priced to move at $120. We only have 5 colors left.
We still have a few of the regular colors, too. These are NOT on sale.

The custom kits are going quickly... it's been a constant stream of customers traipsing up the steps to view these in the classroom over the past few days. A bit of a feeding frenzy shall we say?!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Blanket update!

So I finished the second double blanket for the Refugee Resettlement Program. I took it home this past weekend, and did all of the seaming and then finished all of the ends. I have to say, Encore is SO easy to seam! It was really a pleasure to put this blanket together. It's really beautiful! Here's a picture of it (before I finished it!): Lucy tried to snuggle up in it, but I promptly shooed her away once I took the photo. She's pretty cute, but I needed her to stay away from the blanket!We are still working on the last seams on the fifth and final blanket, and that should be done this week. Shawn is trying to set up a time with the folks over at the RRP so that we can go over and present them with all 5 blankets. We're so excited to be this close to actually giving them the blankets! They are all gorgeous - I can't wait to see pictures of all of them.

We do still have some prizes to give away, as promised! Everyone who participated in this program in any way (knitting squares, arranging squares and/or seaming squares) will be entered into our prize drawing. We'll let you know when we do it, and who wins.

In other news, it sure feels like fall here in Vermont! The leaves are changing colors and even starting to drop. This dip in temperatures has caused the shop to be bustling each day with normal fall activity. Folks have been coming in to check out our new yarns and patterns, and to see what projects are hot right now. Lots of people are already thinking holiday knitting, and that's great! (I wish I were that organized!)

And Helen finished her beret last week, here's a quick picture:She loves it and has been wearing it a lot... obviously not for warmth, but it is a big fashion accessory for a fifth grader! Her friends are SUPER jealous! Maybe they should sign up for our Kid's learn to knit class, so they can make their own!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

We're on a mission!

To knit with Mission Falls, that is!

We carried Mission Falls 1824 Wool and 1824 Cotton years ago, until they switched mills, and had some issues with production. Then they fixed the issues (sort of!) and switched distributors. Even though these yarns were two of our TOP selling yarns, we decided to drop them until they worked out the kinks.

Well folks, they've worked out the kinks! They've had no issues for a couple of years now, and that's a long enough trial period in MY book. So they're back in stock in our shop and we're all now itching to start new projects. (This has been a BAD week for us... we've had over 600 pounds of yarn arrive this week and it's all been very tempting!)

1824 Cotton is just awesome. We have all the old pattern booklets that we carried before and all of their new pattern booklets. We have always loved this yarn for babies and kids, and in all the years we weren't stocking it, there has been no price increase! So it's still $5.60 per ball, which is a great price for this yarn. It's also now available in 8 variegated shades, which we hear are the MOST popular... we'll see! The variegated shades are a reasonable $6.50.

(Shawn's potholder crochet class is PERFECT for one skein of 1824 Cotton... maybe I need some new potholders for my kitchen?)

The 1824 Wool is 100% merino wool and it's just like Charmin! In that you can't stop squeezing it, that is...I have some crocheted granny squares in this yarn at home that I've been meaning to finish for over 2 years now. With this yarn back in stock at the shop, this granny square project has moved up the "to do" list I think! There are new colors that have been added since we discontinued it, and the new colors really add life to the overall palatte. There are also some tri-colors which are beautiful, they cost just a bit more than the solids.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Interweave Knits Weekend

Interweave Knits just came out with a special issue called "Weekend" and it's got some great projects in it! When a new magazine comes out, we always look through it to see what yarns are featured. Sometimes, we carry a lot of the featured yarns. Other times, we don't. With all the amazing yarns out there, it's impossible to have EVERY yarn featured in EVERY pattern. And we substitute yarns more often than not.
So it's fun to go through the mags and get our "substitution list" ready for when folks come in wanting to make these items!
I love the Twisted Pine Pullover (below, left) and I would probably start swatching Tahki Donegal Tweed or Berroco Blackstone Tweed for this sweater. The Sailor's Rib Sweater (below, right) is adorable, and I think this would be perfect in Dream in Color Classy or Malabrigo Worsted. For a less expensive price tag, Berroco Comfort would be a good choice. The Gooseberry Cardigan (below, center) would be a great addition to my wardrobe. I think it has such a flattering fit! I've been looking for a project for Debbie Bliss Rialto, and it would work really well for this sweater. The Abacus Towel (below, right) is a great gift idea! Tahki Cotton Classic is a great yarn for this project - it would be inexpensive, and the color choices are endless. The Hero Pullover (below, left) is another great sweater for guys! The front is a chevron pattern, but the sleeves and back are ribbed. This sweater is screaming out "1824 Wool!!" to me, and thankfully that yarn just arrived today and will be available online in a day or two. And I just love Stefanie Japel's little Whirligig Shrug (below, left.) Too bad I don't have a little girl to make this for, but if I do need to make any baby girl gifts, this will be my choice! I would make it in Berroco Pure Pima. Or Cascade Cotton Rich DK. Or Louisa Harding Kashmir Baby. Or Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. OK, I'll stop. I have a hard time picking out a DK yarn - we have so many great ones!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Manos Anthology Blanket Errata - Find it here first!

The Manos Cotton Stria Baby Blanket Collection has been a really popular book recently. Lots of people are making baby blankets from this book, and it's easy to see why - it includes 6 blanket patterns and a hooded towel pattern, and they're all really cute!

But one of our customers called and was having some problems with the Anthology blanket. She was following the directions exactly but it wasn't working out. I looked at the pattern for her, and agreed - there was a problem. So I went on a bit of a hunt for possible corrections.

There's already one errata for the book - a portion of another blanket pattern (
the Concentric Squares Baby Blanket) was missing from the book. Manos has already addressed this issue by including the errata - a correction page - in our shipments of new pattern booklets and it should be available soon on the Manos del Uruguay website. It's also been posted in this thread on Ravelry if you received a book without the correction sheet.

In all my searching, I found no mention on the Manos website (or on Ravelry) of corrections to the Anthology Blanket. So I called our Manos distributor and asked them for help. They too had been hearing from knitters who were encountering problems in the Anthology blanket and I was told that someone was looking into the issues.

A few days later I recieved a phone call and we now have the errata for the Anthology blanket. This isn't posted on the Manos website yet, but here it is:

Anthology Baby Blankets (page 17)
Pattern 2: Bobble
CO 39 sts (not 41 as printed)

Anthology Baby Blankets (page 18)
Pattern 4: Diagonal
Row 1 (set up row)(RS): k2, *yo twice, k4* repeat to end, k2

I hope this helps some knitters avoid frustration. Happy knitting!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Cassidy is almost finished!

I am looking forward to the upcoming long weekend to finish up some knitting projects. The Cassidy Sweater for Liz (from Chic Knits) is almost done (I used Berroco Vintage Wool - it's gorgeous!)

I have finished all the pieces, and now just have to assemble it. I actually like putting a sweater together, but only if I am the one who knit it. I never do increases and decreases on the edge stitch and I even use short row shaping for shoulders and sleeve caps to make a smoother seam. All I have to do is pre-read the pattern to plan for these changes along the way, and the sweater is easier to finish.

Once Cassidy is finished, I need to finish the Wrap Me Up by Knitting at Knoon. This is close to being done, but I reached a point where it was just too hot to work on it. A couple of weeks ago it was high humidity and almost 90 degrees out, and I just couldn't bear to have almost 1000 yards of worsted weight yarn on my lap! The evenings are now cooler so I plan to finish this project soon.

What next? Maybe the Twist from Chic Knits (another one for Liz), but I can't decide on yarn for that one yet. Our Mission Falls 1824 Wool is arriving next week so maybe that one?

Or...I could really use a new vest and I've been looking at the Debbie Bliss Rialto or Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool each time I pass the back room. I guess I'll just have to set aside some time to look at all the new patterns that just arrived!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Le béret - c'est fini!

That's right! Last night Sophie finished her first real knitting project. The beret from The Charmed Knits book, knit with Berroco Vintage Wool.
She knit the hat on a 16" circular, and did really well with the decrease rows see how nicely they line up?
(We only had to knit backwards a few times to fix mistakes - she has a habit of talking while knitting, and that's not always good when you are needing to pay attention to decrease counts!) Last night she mastered double pointed needles and was thrilled to model her beret for us. Now she just needs to figure out how to wear it - as berets allow numerous styling options.

Helen should be finished hers this afternoon. Next up, preemie hats. Then they can practice an entire project on double pointed needles.