Monday, March 29, 2010

Savannah and spring shawls

Sorry for the blog being a bit quiet last week, but I was attending a conference in Savannah, GA for 3 days. What a gorgeous city! I left warm temps in VT for warm southern temps and lots of good southern cooking... I'm still working it off!

As I was leaving my house for the airport, I looked up to see this:Apparently my cats read that blog post, and are now quite at home jumping up onto my new "blocking station" to check things out. Drat. Some things are better left unsaid.

It was a really busy conference. Lots of brain work, and not much time to explore. But I got to start each day with this view: And I did manage to sneak in about an hour of exploring the city. I loved the architecture. Each time I turned a corner I found more to like.I'd love to be able to walk down this street every day!I did take some trip knitting. (Which only happened on the flights down and back though.) I started the Citron shawlette out of Manos del Uruguay Serena. I'm using the Wildflowers colorway. The pattern is easy and free (Knitty Winter 2009) and I plan to do at least one (possibly two) extra repeats. I'm taking a trip with Marc and the girls in June, and this will be just perfect for it...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Manic-In Monday

Sorry this is late this week! I left town Sunday night for a business conference and just got back at midnight last night.

After a week of unseasonably warm weather in Vermont, our mannequin is digging the short sleeves. Poor thing clearly didn't check the Weather Channel; our temps are downright chilly again! We are expecting a low in the teens tonight. Brrr, toss me an afghan!
Sweater: This sweater is adorable, and way cuter in real life than in the photo in the book. It's called Bellambie and it's knit with Berroco Origami Yarn. The pattern is from Berroco Book #294 Origami.
Bag: Still the best small purse we carry, the Namaste Mini Clutch is hip and practical. It holds crochet hooks, scissors, pens, or other small items, has great storage for those credit cards and is even roomy enough for the all-important cell phone.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Crafting with a Backseat Driver

Sometimes we all need a little assistance with new skills. So what do you do when you aren't quite happy with the crochet edging on the collar of your newly finished Nuss sweater knit from Berocco Blackstone Tweed? Why you visit us here at the shop to get some advice, of course!

We took a look at Deb N's sweater and discussed some options for blocking for sizing reasons and re-creating the crocheted edging. We called on our crochet expert, Barb, for a bit of crochet crab stitch demonstration. Crab stitch can be a bit tricky as it seems 'backwards' but after a bit of assistance from Barb (aka the "Backseat Crocheter") things started to flow more smoothly.
Thanks for being such a great sport Deb, and good luck with that edging!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Customer Projects

Some more customer projects have wandered into the shop recently!

I love the colors in this sweater:
Kat Z. recently came in wearing her new creation knit from Tahki Cotton Classic. She adapted the pattern for the three strands of this yarn held together from Knitting from the Top Down which gives this cardi a wonderful color appeal!

And yesterday we had a this cute Encore Tweed sweater stop in... What a perfect gift - the Tweed is beautiful and Encore is easy care! We aren't sure which pattern it is because Megan C. (who knit it) recently welcomed a new arrival of her own to her family. Her mother brought in the sweater to show us while Megan was home being mommy! Congratulations Megan & Mark!

Friday, March 19, 2010

My new blocking station

Marc and I have lived in our house since November of 1994. And we've always wanted a fireplace. I mean, isn't a fireplace exactly what's needed during the cold Vermont winters? I think so.

Unfortunately, our house is a very open layout. Each room sort of flows into the next, and there aren't many interior walls. Most of the exterior walls have very long windows. So there really aren't many good choices for a fireplace.

This fall we decided we wanted to try to make it work. And we came up with the perfect spot. This silly little half wall, that "attempted" to divide the eating area from the family room became the new home of our gas fireplace. We love it!
My cats REALLY love it. Every time it's on, they come right over and get as close as they can. After a few minutes, they're asleep and purring loudly. They're like little drugged out kitties.
My cats get into everything. So why is it, that they have not yet jumped up on top of the fireplace? It's not that high. And it's NEW. Don't cats always investigate anything NEW? If I were a cat, I'd be up there in a heartbeat! Stretching out on the tile top, that's warm even when the fireplace isn't on (the pilot keeps it cozy) I'd be causing havoc up there, checking out those bookshelves. But they haven't even tried it yet.

I'm not complaining. I actually am thrilled that they don't go up there. It gives me a perfect spot to block my knitting projects! And to dry sweaters that need to be handwashed. I can't tell you how many times I've hand washed a sweater, laid it out on my mesh sweater rack, and come in 5 minutes later to find a stinkin' cat curled up on top of the wet sweater. It kills me!

Now that I have a new sweater blocking station, I can actually leave things out to dry, and not worry about 2 cat critters messing things up.

Speaking of blocking, my Rhythm Superwash project is going so quickly! I'm sad that it will be over soon, because the yarn is so much fun to use. I love starting a ball and not knowing what colors will appear as I knit!
I blocked the pieces last night, so I could get a handle on the finished size. These pictures are both off in color due to some early morning camera issues - sorry! The real color is sort of in between.
I only have 4 more hexagons to knit and then once they are blocked I will crochet everything together into a baby blanket. It's looking great!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Suzie swatches sample swatches down by the seashore

Suzie and I met up yesterday at the library for our kids' knitting group. We're working on strips that will be pieced together into a small throw that we'll give to a youngster at FAHC this May. We are hoping to make 2 throws, which would mean that each kid needs to knit at least 2 strips. They are only 25 stitches wide by 30 inches long, so it's definitely do-able.

I was really glad to point out to them yesterday that they had all finally mastered the talking AND knitting part. Until recently, they'd put their knitting down when they were talking, and we'd remind them that they COULD try to do both. Now it's become second nature.

Anyway, Suzie is making a sweater for her son Ben and is in the process of yarn selection and swatching. She really likes the Spud & Chloe Sweater (below, left), but a couple of weeks ago I told her about the Elsebeth Lavold Cool Wool that we'd just gotten in. She picked up a ball, swatched it (below, right) and loves it.
She's also recently made a Celebration Baby Hat (Knitting at Knoon Polar Baby Caps pattern) out of the madelinetosh Tosh Sock. We have this hat knit up in the shop out of Koigu. It's so easy, so fun, and so cute. Really the perfect baby gift.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Customer Projects

First up - a followup to Polly's blog post about a great, mindless project. Check out her completed Half Crepe Shawl:It is beautiful, and looks amazing on her! I just love the color she chose.
The other day we got an email from a customer of ours, Karen R. in the Dark Pastel Multi. She included some nice photos of a sweater made from one of the self striping/patterning Plymouth Encore Colorspun. Not everyone can visualize what these look like when they are knit up, so we wanted to share this with everyone. Karen wrote:

I had recently purchased a skein of Plymouth yarn from you to finish the baby sweater I had started. I’m sending pix of the whole project. The pattern is ‘Lillie’s Little Sweater’ from Cottage Creations, someplace in Iowa. It’s a great pattern and this is the third time I’ve made it – all three with Plymouth yarn, though I did my own variations. The last pix shows the sox I made before I even started the sweater – which of course is the reason I ran out of yarn for the sweater. The dye lot is different but it really only shows if you’re looking for it – and if you’re that fussy we’re probably not friends anyway :) Thanks for your help. If I’m ever in Essex Junction…
Karen R.

We thought her sweater was so cute, that we're planning to order the pattern to sell here at the shop. And for all you Wonderful Wallabee fans, stay tuned. That, and a few others are coming too! Thanks for sharing Karen, and for giving us the chance to add to our pattern offering!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Manic-In Monday

Since this week is St. Paddy's Day, and we had our SHAMROCK free shipping promo (if you missed that, you have to sign up for our email list), our gal thought she'd be a bit festive.

She's not even Irish! But that doesn't mean she can't celebrate with her Irish friends over a pint or two of Guinness. She was careful not to overdo the green (true "kelly green" doesn't do much for her complextion) but in our opinion, she still looks really festive. I'm sure she'll be welcomed with open arms down at Rí Rás. Skirt: Aune Skirt in Berroco Norah Gaughan Collection, Volume 1, using Berroco Ultra Alpaca Yarn
Scarf: One skein Scarf in Artful Yarns Lustro, pattern is free on the label

Monday, March 15, 2010

Inspired by color

Our shipment of Jojoland Rhythm Superwash came in last Friday. We've had the regular Rhythm (that felts) for a long time now, and have done so well with it. Recently people have been asking for different colors, and the Superwash is available in different shades, so we brought it in. The price is only a bit more ($5.40 for the regular, $6 for the superwash) and the colors are fabulous!
I had enough time to photograph it and get it online just before I left on Friday. We had such a great time picking out our favorite shades.

#1 - Red Burst
#2 - Feeling Blue
#3 - Lilac in Bloom
#4 - Summer Landscape
#5 - Strawberry Sundae
#6 - Cosmic Burst
#7 - Taupe Eagle
#8 - Camoflauge

Shawn is partial to Cosmic Burst and Summer Landscape. Barb couldn't decide between Red Burst and Strawberry Sundae, and ended up starting a scarf with the Strawberry Sundae. I loved Feeling Blue and Lilac in Bloom, and started a project (below) in Lilac Bloom. And of course, Taupe Eagle and Camoflauge are gorgeous neutrals.

I decided on a portable project for kids. There will be seaming involved, or perhaps crocheting, but I really like the sense of accomplishment I get when working in pieces. And I am SO loving how this color is working out! I am dying to knit tonight!
I just packed up this same color for a customer of ours in NY who is making a Baby Suprise Jacket with it... I picked out a fun girly color of Berroco Vintage for some contrast stripes for her, and I really hope she shares some photos of the finished sweater, before she "gifts" it away! (Hear that Laura!? I hope so!)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fun with Color (and Stash!)

Leslie O. stopped in recently with her finished pair of bright fingerless mitts created from worsted yarns in her stash such as Malabrigo, Lambs Pride Worsted, and Cascade 220. Aren't these fun?
I especially like the bobble edging and optional embroidery stitches that you can add to this pattern.

Check out these Fingerless Flower Gloves by Kristin Nicholas on Ravelry for more photos!

Friday, March 12, 2010

The yarn about yarns

It's always important to realize that the yarns that knitters and crocheters use in their crafts/arts all have a history or story behind them.

In fact if you check out the new Interweave Knits (Spring 2010) issue you'll find a nice little article called "Feel-Good Yarns." The author, Sharon Riggs, quickly spells out some important aspects of sustainably produced and organic yarns.

The best part? Kyarns carries yarns from all four of the companies highlighted in the article and you can stop by to take a look at them any time. We are happy to point these yarns out and help you find a pattern for the O~Wool Balance (from Vermont Organic Fiber Company), Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Cotton, Cascade Eco Wool, or Green Mountain Spinnery's Sylvan Spirit yarn.

All of these yarns are a joy to knit or crochet with and their environmentally conscious background is a wonderfully satisfying bonus!

Our selection of organic, sustainable, and/or environmentally conscious yarns doesn't stop with these few selections - be sure to ask us about our other offerings when you stop by the shop or you can always contact us by email or phone for additional information.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Even in Vermont you can be a Metro Girl!

Yep, we don't have a metro. And we wouldn't qualify as a metropolis (in my opinion). But that shouldn't stop you from tackling a beautiful pattern like Metro Girl from the Manos Arts and Crafts pattern booklet like Sandy W did.

Take a look at this amazing zippered cardigan knit in Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica. And yes, I did say it is a zippered cardigan!
Don't let a zippered pattern fool you - it isn't terribly hard to get the zipper in your finished project if you have the correct type and length of zipper. (We have order forms in the shop for custom zips!) All you need it a bit of sewing thread and a sewing needle and you, too, can have a zippered cardigan - some might even say that this is easier than knitting button holes...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Crochet Series Classes a Hit!

The spots for our crochet series classes are filling up fast and just as a teaser I thought I would share with you the project I created out of my sampler swatch this weekend. Here
is an i-phone or palm carrier crocheted using Berroco Vintage.
The sampler was a rectangle I created from single, double, and triple crochet stitches. I added the shell stitches to ruffle the top and then slipped stitch the seams and added a bright button for fun. Just a little something fun for the students that work on a sampler for the first class. I'm off to work on the sample for the Double Ended Crochet class now :)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Manic-In Monday

It's spring break this week for most of the colleges around here, and the temps have really started to warm up. I was downtown the other day and even though the streets seemed deserted (oh the flux of a college town...) those kids who remained were showing a lot more SKIN!

Even though it's by no means summer weather here in Burlington, Vermont, that mercury is inching up the thermometer. And some people tend to rush it a bit. I was young once too, and went without hats, mittens, scarves... I even wore shorts (horror!) when there was still snow on the ground. Now, at my advanced age, I am much less daring. I prefer to be too warm, rather than too cold. So yesterday, when I got out of my car in my down jacket (it was 54 degrees, but it was cold when I left the house in the morning!) I did a bit of a double take when I saw a 20-something sporting a boob-tube. No coat, no scarf, nothing on the shoulders... just a bit of fabric around the middle. Brrr. Now that's too much (or not enough!) for me. But to each her own.

Anyway, our mannequin is celebrating her youthful side this week. She saw so many college kids in the shop last week - loading up on knitting supplies for those plane and car trips - that she was clearly influenced by their bright, fun & springlike outfits. Time for short sleeves & scoop necks! She's got her handy knitting pouch, since she's planning on meeting up with some friends and knitting down by the lake. After all, the snow's almost gone!
Sweater: Marina Sweater in the Noro Joy Pattern Booklet using Noro Taiyo Yarn
Bag: GoKnits Pouch: lightweight, portable, colorful & great for smaller projects!

Monday, March 08, 2010


I've been working on my Roo Designs Sheep Roll Neck Sweater over the last week. I am using the Jil Eaton CottonTail. It's really turning out nicely, and I had high hopes that I'd be finished by Sunday. But I'm not.
I made some changes. Remember, you CAN make changes to a pattern! I didn't make any BIG changes, but I did do things differently than how the pattern was written.
  1. For small areas on the sheep (the eyes) I elected to do the duplicate stitch instead of intarsia.
  2. I was supposed to bind off both shoulder seams and then seam them together. Instead, I left the stitches on a holder, and worked a three needle bindoff on each side.
  3. The pattern called for seaming one shoulder seam, then picking up and doing the neck, and then seaming the neck edge along with the second shoulder seam. I don't like to do that - I'm not a fan of any type of seam on a neck edge. So I closed both shoulder seams, and plan to work the neck on double pointed needles. (I'm not quite there yet!)
  4. The sleeve decreases called for a k2tog on both sides of the sleeves. I changed it and worked a k1,ssk at the beginning of the row, and a k2tog,k1 at the end of the row. These slanted decreases line up better.
  5. The sleeve decreases were supposed to be worked every 3 rows. I prefer (and always recommend) to work the decreases on right side rows. I am anal about keeping those slants going the right way, and it's just easier to always do it on the right side rows. Plus, I calculated my row gauge, and there were plenty of rows to make this change from every 3rd row to every 4th row.

I was nearing the home stretch last night, and was working the seams. Look what I found when I got to the bottom!

OOPS! I can now add a final change to this pattern:

6. Cutting the bottom edge off, and re-knitting the bottom back ribbing, cuz, well... clearly I can't count.

Hey, we all screw up!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Manic-In Monday

This week's outfit is one of my favorite new spring sweaters! It is such a great style - a classic v-neck cardigan sans pockets, and it looks great over basic tees or dressier tops. Add a fun & lightweight bag that's perfect for toting your gear this spring, and a wrist twist of glitz (say that 10 times fast!) and it's obvious our gal is thinking of cheerier temps that are just around the corner.
Did you notice all of the cardigans in the stores this fall & winter were crew necks WITH pockets? Crew necks make me feel like I am choking, and pockets on the hips? Who needs useless little squares of extra fabric on that area? Not me. I'm shouting out a huge thank you to Berroco for bringing back a flattering V-neck with no pockets. Now, I'm off to cast on...

Wrist Twist: Berroco Lumina yarn, great for a little glitz! Makes a fun sweater or accent edging!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Baa baa white sheep, have you any cotton?

When the new Roo Designs patterns arrived last week, I fell in love with several of them! Since I completed my baby block project, I was feeling ready to tackle another intartsia project.

I had a hard time choosing between the Owl Sweater and the Sheep Sweater... and I may just end up knitting both of them!
But then we got a shipment of the new Jill Eaton CottonTail yarn, and with its gauge and great selection of fun & happy colors, it was a perfect match for the Sheep Sweater, so my decision was made.

I had a busy weekend so didn't get as much done as I'd hoped, but I am well on my way. It's been fun knitting with the CottonTail. I really like it, and I'm not a huge cotton fan.
We also got some fun new Jil Eaton Minnowknits patterns which work with this yarn, too.