Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Yesterday, after planning my packing very carefully, we hopped in the car and drove up to Montreal through snow and driving wind. I started one of my knitting projects, and realized I had forgotten the needle for the ribbing. Crap! I was so good - I even did a gauge swatch and had the right needles with me. I just never checked the pattern to see I also needed needles 3 sizes smaller. Duh. All of the rest of my knitting was in the trunk, so that killed the knitting for the day. I am usually really careful with packing my knitting. This time, not so much.
At least Sophie was able to work on hers at the airport.While Helen and I read. It's chilly by those windows.After arriving in Helsinki this afternoon, and realizing we were without luggage, we grabbed our rental car. We drove around for a couple of hours to get the lay of the land.
Boy does Helsinki have a lot of snow! It was a pretty gray day, and at this time of year, there is not much daylight, but the snow really lightened things up. It's amazing to see major roads that are snow covered, and sidewalks that are snow packed. They don't use salt over here, and after driving around all day and walking around in it, I say who needs it? This is a winter wonderland. Embrace the weather and figure out how to deal with it. By the way, is this your car?After freshening up at the hotel (nice view!) we headed out for a walk. The above shot was taken at 3:30 pm. Doesn't it seem more like 5 or 6 at least? Of course the FIRST shop was the nearest yarn shop. I had to buy those ribbing needles... and thankfully they had Addi Turbos so I should be all set for the rest of the trip. They had some beautiful yarns and fun little things, and I did buy a really cool tape measure, since I also forgot one of those...
Then we walked around and checked out the shops and beautiful window displays. This little toy shop was so cute: And Marimekko did NOT disappoint. Fun displays and even more fun stuff inside the store! And then, just before we went back to the hotel, we spotted something to make us feel less far away.
A Ben & Jerry's scoop shop. Helsinki style.(I think they are saying Welcome?)
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Maisy and Lucy enjoy it too - not that I knit FOR them. No matter what project I'm working on (or have left sitting around unprotected) they are sure to find it and snuggle up with it. Here Maisy has scaled mountains of pillows just to snuggle up in my Koigu afghan. And Lucy, needing a hand knit of her own, dragged this baby blanket (made from 2 discontinued Berroco yarns) out of the Sophie's room and took it all the way down to her bed in front of the fire. May you all enjoy your handknits as much as these guys!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Then I decided that I wanted to make my mom a pair of mittens. I decided to make hers a touch larger than normal, since I wanted her to be able to wear glove liners underneath. Her hands get REALLY cold, and right now she's wearing gloves, that just aren't working. Gloves don't keep your hands as warm, since the fingers are separated and can't share body warmth when they are each in their own little compartment. But thin glove liners under a nice mitten... well this can be quite toasty.
So I grabbed another skein of Malabrigo Rios. It worked so well for the girls' mittens that I wanted to use it again. I didn't want there to be a seam in the mittens for my mom, so I modified the pattern to be worked in the round. I also added a couple of stitches, since I needed it to be a bit bigger than the woman's size, but smaller than the man's size.
I completed the first mitten with the decreases as written in the pattern. I tried it on, and did NOT like it. It gathered in too quickly at the top. Last time I looked, my pinky finger was much smaller than my pointer, and it felt like there was too much mitten above the pinky, and not enough above the pointer. It's not as noticeable in the mittens I did for the girls, and since their hands aren't fully grown, there's not as big of a difference between their pinkies and their pointers.
So I undid the top and ripped back to just above where my pinky was. (Best part about knitting these in the round? I could try it on I went! This would not have been possible if I'd worked them flat.) I started my decreases on JUST the outer edge of the mitten. Gradually, as I had worked more rows and kept trying on the mitten, I got to just above my pointer finger. Then I started decreasing on both sides.Of course, I took EXCELLENT notes as I worked the first mitten. (Totally UN-like me. But I wanted it to be perfect.) And the end result is a REALLY perfect pair of mittens. I hope she likes them and that they keep her warm!
Monday, December 20, 2010
And this week, kids are finishing up at school, and adults are finishing up at work before the break. There are still a few holiday parties crammed here and there - and our gal still has a few good sweaters in her closet from which to choose. This week she broke out a gorgeous short sleeved number, in a soft and slightly sparkly yarn. It's just perfect for the holiday cocktail party she's attending tomorrow night. She grabbed a small bag - really a notions case, but it's black (elegant) and whimsical (sheep-y) and it will hold her cell phone, lip balm and car key just perfectly. For an extra bit of glitz, she's got some sparkle around her neck.
Pattern: Dionne Sweater from Tahki Stacy Charles Round Midnight Fall - Winter 2010. Knit with Stacy Charles Luna Yarn
Bag: Frabjous Fibers Mama Black Sheep Bag
Necklace: Berroco Lumina yarn
Monday, December 13, 2010
like looking GOOD! I don't know if our gal is seeing red, but she's definitely WEARING red, and wearing it well! She's all set for a pre-holiday shopping trip - she still needs to pick up a few stocking stuffers, and her parcels are sure to fit in her stylish bag. We're not sure exactly where she's going, but if you see a flash of red & black ruffles, then you've spotted her... she's hard to miss!Shawl: This ruffled shawl is a free pattern on the Tahki/Stacy Charles website, using 2 great Filatura di Crosa yarns: Superior and XX yarn and Filatura di Crosa Opera d'Arte.
Bag: Zuma bag from Namaste
Friday, December 10, 2010
The stitch pattern is actually all knit stitches, but you'd never believe it. That's right, just knitting and slipping with the yarn in front. It's so pretty, and totally reversible, so Barb grabbed a few balls of Rowan Lima and worked it up into a scarf.Since it's technically garter stitch, but not really, we're calling it the Garter "Not" Scarf. Free pattern is here. Enjoy!
And stay tuned for the sweater debut... it's almost finished.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
I recently started a sweater for spring - with Rowan Purelife Revive - a new recycled yarn we will be selling beginning next month. It actually came out last year and was so well received that I decided to bring it in to our product offering for this spring. I had a bag sent to me ahead of the full shipment so I could start a sample. We got the Purelife Recycled Collection, which includes 15 great designs made specifically for this yarn, and I started the Shallot sweater last week. It's quite beautiful, and I just love the color and texture of the yarn. It's a really simple pattern, but as there's a YO, p4tog (that's right... FOUR stitches being purled together, OUCH!) I decided to use the Addi Turbo Lace needles. And it was a good thing. Those extra pointy tips make those rows go more smoothly, although they are still not as quick as the other rows. But suffer I will, because it's really a gorgeous sweater! Not sure how long it will take though, because I am quick to put it down when anything else comes up.
My kids have been complaining that they don't have gloves or mittens for school. They do have ski gloves, but I don't let them take those to school. You know how things ALWAYS get lost at school... those gloves are necessary for happy Saturday ski days, and if a glove is at school, and school is locked, well, let's just say Mommy gets very tense. So those gloves stay at home and we usually buy them cheap-o gloves or mitts somewhere. Because, again... they get lost. But I haven't bought any cheap-o's this year.
Instead, I thought I would make them each a pair of mittens. Who knows? Maybe a hand-knit pair will be considered more "precious" to them, and they will take extra care not to lose them? I used the Yankee Knitter Hats & Mittens pattern - which I love because it's knit flat and it's super quick to make. I used Malabrigo Rios (super soft merino wool, and YAY machine washable - because how often do those mittens fall on the nasty, dirty bus floor?) and I have enough yarn left to make another pair in each color. NOT that I'm planning on it. But if a mitten just happens to get "misplaced" I can whip up a replacement in no time. Smart, I'm thinking!
After Barb brought in her Snobuddy family last week, I just had to jump on that train too. I made one to take as a gift to a Christmas party last weekend. Unfortunately, I didn't make the party - I was recovering from being sick last week - but the girls delivered it. And Lucy got to check it out before it left for its new home.In addition to these projects, I have a skein of Twinkle Soft Chunky waiting to be wound and knit into a super bulky hat (it narrowly escaped a cat attack last week though - I had left it within view of the felines), another ball of Malabrigo Rios to be made into another hat, and some Plymouth Select Merino Superwash that's going to be a little kid's sweater. I hope you are all not as buried in projects as I am!
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Some of those things would be just perfect to add to my knitting collection. However, there is a rule that you should not purchase things for YOURSELF this close to the holidays - it could seriously derail someone else's plans!
I very much believe in giving hints about what kinds of knitting supplies are most appreciated by knitters to those people who are non-knitters. Do you know we still have customers asking us in the shop if we keep wish lists on file? Well, we don't do it in the shop but you can make your own on our website! Jill's recent blog post included a step-by-step guide to making a wish list.
You can print out your wish list and leave it in a convenient spot OR you can email it to anyone you think needs some help buying you the perfect gift. (Remember locals! We have a pickup option that's free, so your gift giving friends can purchase things for you directly off your wish list, and come in to pick them up quickly!)
What better way to let your non-knitting friends and family know exactly what you would appreciate. After all, haven't you been knitting them lovely projects all year long? It's time for them to show you a little love. and you can even add gift certificates to your wish list!
(I've just added the Addi Click Lace () interchangeable knitting needle set to my list!)
She used 2 colors of Berroco Remix (colors: strawberry and maple sugar), 2 skeins of Berroco Bonsai (color: bamboo), a ball of Tilli Tomas Loopy (color: parchment), 2 skeins of Tahki Mia (an awesome thick and thin cotton in color: sage), and a ball of Filatura di Crosa Gioiello (color: coral reef). Well done!
Monday, December 06, 2010
Thin Scarf: Free pattern, 1 Tilli Tomas Mystery Skein
Wider Scarf: Free pattern, 2 Tilli Tomas Mystery Skeins
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Friday, December 03, 2010
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Become a member of our site by clicking on Register at the top left. Fill in your information so our system remembers it for you each time you return (no more typing in your address!) and click Register. Once you have entered your information, click on Wishist. Now you need to name your wishlist in the Description field... you can have as many as you'd like! One for the holidays, one for your birthday, one for a new baby... Give it an expiration date (down the road!) Then, start browsing the website, and adding everything you want to your wishlist. You'll notice that on each item, next to the Add to Cart button, there's now an Add to WishList button. This will show up each time you are logged in to our site. Remember to be specific, and choose exact quantities and colors that you'd like. Once you've added everything you want... here's the fun part! You can e-mail your wishlist to all of your friends! Include a little note and enter everyone's email address, and you're good to go! When they receive your email, they'll click on the link and go right to your wishlist. This is what they'll see: All they have to do is type a quantity in the Buy column and hit Add to Cart. How quick is that? No browsing on a site that's overwhelming for them! No calls to customer service asking us to select your perfect holiday gift. Just open email, click link, enter quantities, checkout, receive gushing thank you note after the holidays. Sounds great to me!
If anyone loses the email, you can send them directly to our site. They can click on Find a Wishlist in the left nav bar, enter your last name and zip code, and find it that way.It's a great feature, and certainly saves a lot of hassles when those non-knitter/crocheter types want to get us gifts. They don't always GET it, so this really helps and makes everyone happier in the end!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I wanted something functional here folks (for me it is about what is in the stocking that counts) so I just had to be sure it was roomy enough to fit fun objects into AND that the loop at the top fits over a door knob - bedroom door knobs being the hanging spot of choice for St. Nicholas day my family. I chose Berroco Vintage yarn in worsted weight because I knew it would be nice to knit with and it is going to wear well over (what I hope is) years of use.Did you know that if I give you one of my handknit stockings and you return it each year before St. Nicholas I WILL return it filled on the holiday?! I used the Nancy Lindberg Christmas Socks pattern for my stitch counts...but since fair-isle is not my cup of tea I just chose to stripe my stocking in two different colors. Then again, this is a great project to practice fair-isle technique and boy does it come out wonderfully. The pattern even lets you choose which motifs you want to use!
Here is another lovely example that we have in the shop (knit with Cascade 220 wool): Don't leave anyone out - I think one of our customers came in to say that she had made over 20 holiday stockings and was still knitting! I'll have to ask her if that was all in one year.... We have other patterns available too. Check out the Yankee Knitter patterns or Ann Norling patterns for additional inspiration.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Our mannequin had a great holiday, and like us, she's feeling like she ate a bit too much. When choosing the outfit for this week, she went for a full trompe l'oeil... and chose something that makes her look slimmer. (Don't you watch What Not to Wear, anyone? This isn't new here! Smoke & mirrors, smoke & mirrors!) The lines on this vest are super flattering, and the funky pom-pom scarf will sure get a lot of attention. Vest: Americano Vest in the Berroco Book #302 Vintage & Vintage Chunky knit with Vintage Chunky Yarn.
Scarf: Stash Busting Pom Pom Scarf made with Clover Pom Pom Makers (all sizes) and stash yarn. No knitting required! Just a crochet chain (which you could also finger knit...) Those pom poms are addicting, aren't they? Remember, we have instructional videos on how to use the pom pom makers!
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Holiday season is here! For many people that means travel. While some people cringe at the thought of hours spent waiting for flights, layovers, or long car rides... knitters know these things aren't really to be dreaded as long waits. In fact knitters sometimes look FORWARD to these aspects of travel because it means MORE knitting!
We often get asked in the shop what to do to make sure that you can knit on the plane. In most cases knitting is allowed on planes and in areas of the airport past security checkpoints. Of course we always advise that you look up the current TSA rules before you bundle all your favorite needles and notions into your bag. While most knitting supplies are acceptable, these things can change at any time.
Sure, circular needles made from bamboo seem much safer than long metal straight needles and may help your cause. Your KnitKit that holds many notions is TSA compliant. BUT the folks who check your bags and carry-ons do have the final say on what you can and cannot have on the plane.
Our best advice? Be sure to take along a self-addressed padded envelope with postage already on it in your knitting bag. In the event that your friendly TSA agent decides any of your knitting tools are not going with you on your trip, you can use this envelope to spare them from the trash. You may miss out on a bit of knitting time and this could be frustrating, but at least there won't be tears of regret over the loss of those of antique embriodery scissors that your great aunt left to you.
And for the final word, please, if you are driving somewhere and planning to knit along the way, make sure you have someone else who will be operating the vehicle!
Happy travel knitting!
Saturday, November 27, 2010
But not everybody likes to make sweaters out of bulky or worsted yarns. So let me introduce Berroco Vintage DK! And yes, it's IN STOCK! Berroco Vintage DK is a reasonable $7 for a generous 288 yards. And all the top selling colors from the Vintage (worsted) line now appear in the DK line.
We've got 8 colors in stock now (like perennial favorites Douglas Fir, China Dal, Tide Pool and Black Currant) with 4 more coming shortly. You will see a new Berroco pattern book dedicated entirely to this yarn shortly.
If you haven't tried any of the Berroco Vintage yarns, now's a great time!
Friday, November 26, 2010
Instructions: Use ANY scrap yarn with appropriately sized needles (I used Berroco Comfort DK with size 7 knitting needles. Make garter stitch rectangles of ANY size (different ones make sense here!) On the 8th or 10th row of each rectangle, work a YO, k2tog buttonhole TWICE in the row, sort of near the center. Fold the rectangles into small envelopes and seam the sides. Make ties - either work 2 stitch I-cord, a crocheted chain OR cast on 35-40 stitches and BO right away (YOUR choice, and feel free to mix them up!) Just thread the ties through the under side of the envelope and then pull through the buttonholes to close. I crocheted a chain using all 5 colors of yarn, and then crocheted smaller chains to hang each "gift bag". These are great gift pockets - and are perfect for holding gift cards, shawl pins, little repair tools and more!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
To make a pom pom, all you really need is some cardboard and a sharp pair of scissors. But if you're making more than one (and want them to come out right the first try) then we do recommend purchasing a pom pom maker. Based on the popularity of the pom pom these days, we've been getting a lot of questions on how to use the pom pom makers we sell in the shop. So...
We dedicated our last two instructional videos to this topic. Now you can see just how easy it is to use the Susan Bates Pom Pom Maker and the Clover Pom Pom Maker.
Monday, November 22, 2010
This tie front sweater with beautiful stitch patterning is just perfect for her holiday meal on Thursday. She's also got her knitting needles at the ready - she's not a big football fan, and is obviously planning on knitting in front of the big screen, while politely cheering for one of the teams.Sweater: Cape Waves Cardigan Sweater - tie front option (pattern includes option for 3 button closure too!) from the Adventure in Knitting Cape Waves pattern knit in Frog Tree Alpaca Sportweight yarn
Needle Case: Tilli Tomas Bollywood Straight Needle Case (there is also a circular option!)
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Last week I started a mini-makeover on the shop bathroom. Goodbye wallpaper and hello vibrant color! We still have to wait for the floor to be replaced, but take a look! If you're a local, you'll see a big difference. And we all agreed - after the paint dried on Friday - that this funky new bathroom needed was SCREAMING OUT for some funky crocheted bath accessories. Hence the yarn on the back of the toilet. (Of course I chose Berroco Comfort because of it's awesome color range and washability... remember, it's a bathroom!)
I made a little template, grabbed an H crochet hook, and got started. LOVE it so far. Who says granny square toilet seat covers are old school? NO WAY. I think this one might just be TOO cool for school. Even Lucy agrees. Although she was more interested in chewing the corners of the bag than the granny squares.Stay tuned.