Saturday, August 29, 2009
Those of us who will be teaching, and leading adventurous folks in these new knitting directions have been busy preparing, knitting swatches and samples, and we're getting excited! It is always so much fun to meet new folks and get a chance to share a great fiber experience with them.
I myself can't wait to share some of our swatch notebooks from this summer's knitting camps with beginning knitters in the new Learn to Knit Patterns & Swatches workshop. It was such a hit with our young folks this summer, that we're using it for adults now! We have an impressive set of swatches for newer knitters in our swatch notebook. Do you have one? You should! Take a look at ours the next time that you're in the shop and you may start one for yourself.
I'm also looking forward to delving into the world of crochet with knitters who are looking to expand their repertoire and folks who are curious to try the fiber arts with just one hook rather than two needles. I'll be teaching the Learn to Crochet Class, and we'll each make a fun and easy potholder. We're getting Mission Falls 1824 Cotton back in the shop which is perfect for this project! Jill and Barb told me how great this yarn is. I've never used it before, so I can't wait to whip out a few potholders with it.
Some of our project classes feature designs that are very popular with our customers. Norah Gaughan designs are our most popular, so if you want to tackle a sweater project, take a look at the Eastlake sweater class.
Another one of our most popular patterns is the Flared Rib Scarf. It's not that it's difficult, but it is a charted pattern, so sign up for this class if you need instruction reading those nifty little charted symbols.
We also have technique classes - for those techniques you haven't yet tried, but would like to! Cables, lace, knitted toys, fair isle, and first time socks on double pointed needles. Don't forget rug hooking! And just in case you can't find what you're looking for or have a project that needs a bit more help, we're making appointments for individual private instruction too.
For more information about these classes and our full class schedule please take a look at the listings online or stop by the shop for a handout. We hope to see you soon!
Friday, August 28, 2009
You've got it, no one is perfect. Designers, knitters, editors, and publishers all have a hand in working up those pretty little booklets and sheets that eventually find their way to your LYS and into your pattern library. It can be really frustrating or confusing when some of the instructions don't seem to make sense or the numbers don't add up! It's good to understand that everyone makes mistakes, and you can (and will) find mistakes in some of your knitting patterns.
Do yourself a favor. When you get started on a new project check for any erratas before you cast on! The catch here is that mistakes in a pattern don't always appear on a slip of paper included with your pattern. You may have to search online.
The mistake may not have been noticed yet (for new patterns) or corrected yet. Or, you may have purchased the pattern before the errata sheet was printed. A quick online search before you start a project sometimes can avert frustration, frogging and even moments of nervous knitting breakdown.
Step 1: Read completely through your pattern or look through the entire pattern booklet in case there is an errata sheet included.
Step 2: Check the designer's website for published errata that hasn't made it into the pattern, booklet, or book yet.
Step 3: Check the publisher's website for the same reason.
Step 4: Try a search for the pattern you are going to begin on Ravelry or the internet itself. There are so many knitters out there that chances are good someone else is knitting the same pattern that you are. If they've found an error or are less than happy with the pattern, wouldn't you like to know about it?
Now you're ready to start your new project. We get many visits and phone calls from customers who are struggling with patterns. One of the first things that we do is check online for erratas. If only we all were in the habit of doing this to begin with it could save a lot of time and frustration!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
It's been a busy few weeks for me - the kids are getting ready for school, which starts next Wednesday. So the past couple of weeks have been full of back to school shopping, various appointments with doctors, allergists and orthodontists, and even a nice trip to the police station! Don't worry, I didn't do anything illegal! I was just there for fingerprinting. I am chaperoning an overnight sleepover on the second night of school and I had to have a background check. My kids got to see the holding "cell" and witness the new way of doing fingerprints. I was so glad that I didn't have to walk around with ink on my fingers afterwards... but really, Jill. It's 2009, wouldn't you expect that they have more modern methods of fingerprinting? (In my defense, I've never been fingerprinted, and have probably only seen it on TV shows years back!)
Anyway, my knitting has suffered because of the back-to-school routine. I did manage to whip up a quick baby hat in the Tilli Tomas Elsie. Forgive the picture here, it's blocking. It looks so much better when it's upright!
I put the Elsie yarn online a couple of weeks ago. It's a supersoft blend of milk protein, silk and wool and as I photographed (and held) each skein, I felt it would be perfect for a little baby hat. (Also for a sweater, but with my lack of free time, I couldn't commit to that!) The yarn is so soft and it comes in a great color range. I grabbed a skein of it and made up a little pattern. I used the Tilli Tomas Planet Earth Beads to add some fun to the hat. I'm excited with what I came up for at the top. I wanted something different, that I hadn't seen a lot of. So this is what I came up with - it sort of reminds me of a lettuce edging? I'll admit, the top detail took some time, but I think you'll agree, it was worth it.The hat took one skein of the Elsie (and I had a lot left!) and 2 colors (1 skein each) of the Planet Earth Beads.
The pattern will be available soon in our free patterns section.
Edited to Add: Here's the pattern!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
People always come in to the shop and ask us what other people are knitting. So we thought we'd do a show and tell for you on the products that have been really popular over the past month:
Best Pick for Kits:
All of these kits are really grabbing attention in the shop. We have some gorgeous samples to fondle and purr over if you have a chance to stop in. There's such a variety of fiber goodness in these four kits, and they come in such wonderfully tempting colors that everyone is ogling. Come in and see these before the selection is gone - they'll make a great gift or an outstanding conversation piece for yourself. (I know not enough of us create FOR ourselves and all of these kits are great values! Now I just have to finish my own cashmere scarf...)
Best Pick Patterns:
Norah Gaughan volume #5, Berroco Book #288 Blackstone Tweed, Jane Ellison's Queensland Collection Book #9 (featuring some of the most handsome new men's designs!) AND Queensland Collection Book #10
Best Pick Accessories, Notions, & Needles:
The Namaste Mini Clutch, especially in Black or Eggplant (this is a super supple PVC-free faux leather mini clutch with a shoulder strap-check 'em out) and the Kollage Square Double Pointed needles in both 5" and 7" lengths. We're still getting great feedback about these needles and how much people love trying them out both in the store and as additions to needle collections.(Yes, there's a set on the counter for you to try!)
Best Pick Yarn(s):
Berroco Vintage Wool and Kollage Half & Half are the favorites of the month! Vintage Wool continues to be a strong choice for customers because it's so soft, and they can't believe it's a washable acrylic/wool/nylon blend. We added more new colors, too, so we've rounded out the pallet a bit for those of you looking for more options. And Half & Half is milk protein mixed with wool. NO, you can't drink it, but people are amazed that it contains milk. And once you touch it, it's on the counter waiting to be rung out.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Excitement abounds each time someone walks through our door; it is such fun for all of us here to share new and exciting yarns, patterns, and accessories with other knitters. Sometimes our visitors get into the act themselves, introducing themselves to eachother and helping others discover just the prefect button or perfect color combination for their new project.
It is even more amazing when folks bring their finished projects in with them to show us the gorgeous, lovely, whimsical, and colorful things that they have created with such careful and attentive energy.
It provides so much inspiration to the people who are in the shop to see finished projects and learn new ways of combining techniques, fibers, or colors. I hope we continue to see many more finished pieces as it really is such a joy - we love to take photos and always ask if we can share with other knitters.
Stop by for a few minutes with your latest project so we can see what you're up to.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Our second camp session ended on Friday of last week and two of our campers came back into the shop on Saturday to pick up supplies for new projects! It was such a pleasure visiting with them. These young knitters were so excited to work on new projects that I guess they just couldn't face the idea of no camp session on Saturday. (It is a bit much to ask everyone to go cold turkey from knitting camp!) Knitting Camp was a great experience for everyone involved and there were many people who helped get our first knitting camps planned and implemented. Thanks to everyone who assisted and most of all thanks to the young knitters who attended and made it all great fun. From fiber exploration to knitting, and felting to dying yarn,
we really covered a lot with these kids!
We hope to see everyone again in the future - we're already thinking about Knitting Camp level II for next summer, and possibly Knitting Camp for adults due to the excitement our Knitting Camp for young people caused. Guess I better start working on new and more difficult Knitting Jeapardy questions!
Monday, August 10, 2009
Saturday, August 08, 2009
I often knit when I'm at other people's houses while I'm sitting and visiting with them. One of my friends has a daughter who is very interested in watching me knit. She's not quite ready to try it herself, but she is enthralled by the motions and the fact that something like a hat can grow out of the process. She also loves to wear socks to bed and I thought it might be fun to knit up a pair of slightly crazy socks for her so she could see what was happening along the way. Since I've been having such a good time knitting with Berocco Vintage Wool on my other project I decided to try it out on these worsted weight socks - especially since it is machine wash and dry.
I picked out her favorite color, red, and matched it with something fun, robin's egg blue, for stripes and contrast. The socks were quick (I used the Yankee Knitter #29 Classic Socks pattern as a guide) to knit and everyone who has seen them is tickled by the colors and stripes.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
"Lima beans originated in Peru (or possibly Guatemala). They have been cultivated in Peru since 6000 B.C., and their common name comes from Lima, Peru's capital city."I didn't know that! All I knew was that lima beans are one of maybe three foods I just don't care for. Of course the pronunciation of the beans has surely been Americanized. The capital city of Peru is pronounced "Leeeema", just like the new Lima yarn from Rowan. And while I would not eat lima beans, I would gladly
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Chris de Longpre intended this to be knit with a self striping yarn as the main color, with a solid yarn as the contrast color. Obviously any of the Noro yarns would be a wonderful choice - either the Silk Garden or the Kureyon would be just beautiful. We wanted to make our shop model in a washable yarn, and we also wanted to show that it can be an affordable project, so I chose Jojoland Rhythm as my main color, and Vintage Wool for the contrast.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Anyway, the drive to Montreal is easy and quick from Burlington. The girls were excited because they got their first stamps in their brand new passports! (The man was nice enough to oblige!) Thankfully Marc likes to drive, because it gives me time to knit. I worked a bit on the second sleeve to my Cormorant sweater, but I had some new Rowan yarns with me and I was eager to swatch them!
I swatched the Rowan Cocoon first. I love this yarn! It is quick to knit (I used a 10.5) and super soft! For some reason it reminds me of a luxury version of Lopi. I used a lot of Lopi in my college days, but I don't really care for it - I find it scratchy. The colors are gorgeous, but the scratch factor is too much for me. The colors of the Rowan Cocoon remind me of the Lopi colors, but this yarn is in a totally different league. It was lovely to knit with. Here's the unblocked swatch:
I am eyeing a few things from Rowan Magazine 46 for this yarn. I like Stockport:
Then I swatched the Rowan Alpaca Cotton, which is a brand new yarn for fall. This is a yummy yarn, available in six natural shades. A word of caution - it does not work well with cuticles that are dry and prickly! I've been in and out of my gardening gloves a lot recently, and have not been taking care of my poor hands, so my cuticles are in terrible shape. I didn't have any hand lotion with me in the car, so as a last resort I grabbed some lip balm and massaged a little in to each cuticle. Luckily this did the trick, and the rest of my swatch went smoothly! This yarn reminded me of mohair, but it's alpaca and cotton. I can't wear mohair. But I could wear this!
Alpaca Cotton has a whole book dedicated to it called Classic Winter Solace. I am in love with the Tilda Coat:and the Lotta Pullover:
So it was a great day... international travel, IKEA, knitting time in the car, and two great new yarns.
And by the way... the Swedish meatballs were delicious, and I now have more of my favorite Plastis dish brushes!
Monday, August 03, 2009
Two weeks ago I got a start on a tiny little project that is just perfect for setting the winter mood. I took home Malabrigo Worsted in the natural color, and Snobuddies, a Knitting at Knoon pattern. I also grabbed a set of the square Kollage double pointed needles. I quickly knit up the baby snobuddy that evening before I headed out with some friends. I stashed it in my knitting bag along with the roving I'm using for stuffing, the needles and the Malabrigo. I did not zip the knitting bag. I SHOULD have zipped the knitting bag.
When I came home that night to relax and start one of the larger snowbuddies, I pulled out the roving, the needles, my wool and the pattern and got started. But the baby snowbuddy was no longer in the bag. Hmmmm.