Monday, June 28, 2010

Manic-In Monday

Shawls are year round garments, but isn't there something wonderful about wearing one in the summer? Grab a shawl, fold it up and pack it in your bag. Then, as you go about your day - and roam from hot outside temperatures to cool inside temperatures, your shawl becomes your best friend.
Our gal is getting ready to attend an outdoor concert, and her shawl is the highlight of her outfit. She's going to see the Vermont Symphony Orchestra at Shelburne Farms on July 4th. The gates open at 5:30 but the concert doesn't start until 7:30pm, and by then it may just be a bit cooler! Her shawl will be just perfect. She can wrap it around her shoulders, sit back, enjoy the music and watch the sun set over the mountains.
Yarn: madelinetosh Tosh Lace (so soft, and machine washable!)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New DK Self-Patterning Yarn!

We had one of our sample knitters take one of the new DK yarns home the new Sirdar Snuggly Crofter yarn and she brought back the cutest Wee One Welcome Set (Knitting at Knoon pattern) that I've ever seen!
Not only does this look incredibly impressive with the self-patterning yarn but it is a super soft washable yarn that's great for any little one.

The yarn must have made an impression on our sample knitter, because she immediately purchased her own Crofter skeins for another of her personal projects! Crofter comes in great colors for any baby project - see them here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More Fruity Preparations

So I've been challenged to come up with a new fruit hat. I'm in planning stages at this point. Here are the materials: Spud & Chloe Sweater in Grass & Rootbeer and the light brown is Lang Alpaca Superlight. Yep, these are indeed for a fruit. Can you guess what kind?

Just to make it more interesting I have to do a reversible hat. Ok, I don't HAVE to, but that was a part of the challenge...

I think that the mohair-like appearance of the Alpaca Superlight will make a great carry-along with the darker Rootbeer Spud & Chloe for the skin of this reversible KIWI. Now to the drawing and swatching board... Keep watch, with any luck there will be sucess before fall.
I promise to try and keep good pattern notes for those of you feeling fruity!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mannequin lundi

Bonjour! This week the mannequin is taking a break, because I'm out of town. But in this photo, that we staged before I left, she's wearing something she's worn before, in honor of my trip. There are some pretty big clues in the picture... can you guess where I am?
That's right, je suis à Paris! You see, I made the Citron specifically FOR this trip, and I must say, it's been perfect to have with me. I made mine one repeat longer than the pattern, because I usually wear it more like a shawl - with a t-shirt or tank. For the past two days, however, it has been wrapped around my neck like a scarf. I'm so glad I used the Manos Serena. I thought it might be too warm, but it's perfect.
And so far, it's been FREEZING here in Paris. Thankfully, I had some Jacoby Gauntlets with me. At the top of the Eiffel Tower, it was probably in the mid 40's with that big wind chill this morning. That Malabrigo Sock Yarn sure felt good on my hands, which were absolute icicles. It's supposed to be warming up a bit tomorrow thankfully. Who would've thought I needed so many handknits on a June trip to France?
We're having a great time, fitting a lot in and seeing some incredible stuff. We were just a TAD jetlagged yesterday so I grabbed a few minutes of shut-eye while cruising down the Seine. (Don't worry, I didn't miss anything important!) And we've been working the metro like pros. It's so much fun!
And trip knitting? I have just one project with me. Yep, another Citron. It is THE most versatile scarf/shawl I have ever had. This one is in madelinetosh Tosh Sock, in the color Tart. It's for my sister who lives over here. We're flying down south to meet her on Tuesday. I'm not sure I will finish it on the trip - but I sure will try!?

Take this new yarn to the MAX (IMA!)

Maxima is a new yarn from Manos del Uruguay. It's not in stock yet, but it will be later this month. My sales rep left a skein of it for me and I just made this easy 3x1 ribbed hat with it recently (free pattern). I loved knitting with it!

It's very similar to Malabrigo Worsted wool, in that it's 100% merino and 4.5-5 stitches to the inch. Malabrigo is more loosely spun and tends to be a bit thick and thin. The Maxima is spun a bit more tightly, so it should not pill as much... and it's much more uniform in thickness, so will not give you inconsistencies in your knitting.

It will be available in a number of gorgeous space-dyed colors that Manos is so well known for. Look for it in a couple of weeks!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Best Picks: Warm Weather Knitting and Babies!

In addition to some of our most popular Customer Favorites in the past few weeks there are a number of other amazing things that are just the thing for this summer's warm weather knitting and those expected little ones. Here are some things you should think about indulging in...

Spud and Chloe Sweater... I love this yarn. It's a very soft plied blend of cotton and superwash wool. A warm weather, comfortable, lightweight yarn that is structured enough to keep its shape. Try it out on the Lovey Dovey pattern:And if you like it, check out Susan Anderson's new Dreamcatcher Baby Blanket. This is a great free pattern that's knit in smaller pieces. It's a gorgeous gift for anyone expecting a new little one this summer.

Berroco Weekend... Yummy, smooth, cool, summer knitting yarn. A blend of acrylic (don't gasp! I promise you won't believe it when you feel this yarn) and cotton, Weekend is another great pick for summer knitting and patterns. This yarn has a wonderful drape and the colors are bright without being loud. Varying shades in warm and cool colors really present a nice palette for project choices using multiple colors.

Roo Designs... We've got new patterns for those younger children on your list that sport fun and colorful intarsia images of a whale, sheep, owl and more. Knit one of these patterns a size up in woolly yarn for next fall or pick out one of our summer cotton blends for immediate gratification.

KPS Little Girl's Shrug... Jill knit us a sample of this little top-down shrug and added the optional lacey pattern to detail the bottom hem. Everyone who sees this sample immediately starts trying to think of who they might knit this for. Come by to see it in person - you'll want to knit one too!

Never Not Knitting Cedar Leaf Shawlette... Just three skeins of one of our new Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light colors and you are ready to cruise through this lovely little accessory. A perfect companion for those who want to ward off the summer air-conditioned chill at work or on a night out on the town.

Hiya Hiya Sock Sets... Summer is sock season for some knitters and these sock needle sets have a number of options to fit any preferences. Available in either bamboo or steel, you can choose from 9" circular needles or sets of 6" double pointed needles. Each set offers US sizes 1, 2, and 3 needles and comes in an attractive and whimsical Laurel Burch painted canvas bag with a zipper to keep everything organized.

Ann Norling Fruit Caps... 'Tis the season for fruit hats as small ones need a little something for their tiny heads even in warmer weather. Using this classic pattern, anyone can create an amazing array of different fruit or vegetable hats. With the wide range of yarn and fiber choices available, there are endless possibilities. I've knit several fruit hats this spring using Spud & Chloe Sweater or Elsebeth Lavold Cool Wool yarns. But these work up just as nicely in the Tahki Cotton Classic and I wouldn't hesitate to try the Jil Eaton Cottontail to get just the prefect shade for summer berry hats!

Irmo Tank... This is a great summer project that adds color to a classic tank.A quick and easy knit, it uses Berroco Weekend yarn. The pattern booklet for this tank (Berroco Book #296) has a great assortment of warm weather garment options for your wardrobe.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Looking Fruity

Fruit hat madness continues. I completed a set of watermelon hats (adult & child) for a recent charity event.
And here are the eggplantand pumpkin hatsthat I made, after the original watermelon hat debut. I even have a very fuzzy (sorry!) picture of two happy fruit hat recipients. Yarns: for 2 watermelon hats & pumpkin hat - Spud & Chloe Sweater; for eggplant hat - Mission Falls 1824 Wool
Patterns: modifications and variations from a variety of sources but if you are interested in creating your own collection try out the Ann Norling Fruit Caps pattern to get started.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Look what mommy made me do!

Michele was stash diving recently and decided to make a gift for some friends who have a dog. She first checked out her pattern stash, and came up with an old Minnowknits pattern for a cute dog sweater (and to answer the question that I know will come up... no, we don't have it!) Then she dove into her yarn stash and emerged with a lot of Nashua Handknits Paradise Remember the Eli Hat Pattern she came up with this year? She made a lot of them as gifts, and has quite the Paradise stash!
So she finished this adorable dog sweater, but didn't have a dog to model it. Enter Skitz. What a tolerant kitty! Well, she may be tolerant, but I'm not sure how thrilled she was for this modelling assignment... Here are Skitzy's comments:
Are you kidding me? Who wears these things? Oh yeah, those inferior things called DOGS. Blech.I have to admit... it's pretty. Nice pattern. Great colors. And oh, how it compliments my gorgeous complexion! Now wait, let me turn to this side. It's my better side - and you know we all have a better side!Look how it brings out the green in my eyes... Boy do I look GOOD!
Okay, that was fun. Thanks for making me feel like a super model. I enjoyed wearing it, but this is more like it. Purrrrrrrrrr.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer was here

It WAS hot here for a couple of days, and even sunny. I managed to take go hiking/camping with some friends during that nice weather.A little scenic shot:
And here's a beautiful swimming hole:
But now we are back to typical cool June Vermont weather with plenty of rain. It feels like the Mud Season we skipped this spring. It does mean it's easier for me to make progress on my stealth knitting project for an August wedding gift. The cool weather means I'm not busy doing things outside, and it makes it easier to have masses of knitting in my lap.

Out of 15 skeins total, I've gone through 6, and just have 9 skeins to go! I still can't show pictures of this project yet, but I will as soon as I can. Here's a hint:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Manic-In Monday

This week's outfit is easily recognizable. As of last week, it had some pretty amazing stats on Ravelry: it was in over 9,100 projects and had been queued almost 11,000 times. We've always thought it was cute, but really, what's the big deal?
Well, we had it knit up, and I think we now understand why it's so popular. I have to say it looks BETTER on us than it does on our mannequin, even though she wears it pretty well. We chose a yarn that is often overlooked, and I'm not sure why, since it's a worsted weight merino, and so incredibly soft. Plus, it's now available in some gorgeous multi colors. Give this yarn a try folks! You won't be disappointed.
Sweater: February Lady Sweater, free pattern on Ravelry

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Manic-In Monday

This week's sweater is a really popular one for warmer weather, knit in a textured, bulky cotton. And even though the temperatures here in Vermont this week are feeling a little more fall-like, we know the warmth will soon be back, and this beautiful knitted tank top will get a lot of summer wear.
Yarn: Classic Elite Sprout, an organic nubbly cotton available in 14 yummy colors

There are a lot of other great patterns for this yarn, including this cute Child's Tunic (free pattern!):
Or this adorable (and free!) Child's Sweater and Hat Set:
Or what about this great Baby Blanket (again, free!):

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

A whole lotta happiness

I just got back from our amazing field trip to Fletcher Allen Health Care. We met the kids right after school at the library, piled into our cars and managed to beat most of the buses out of the parking lot. We got to the hospital and met in the lobby for a few pictures. We were so glad all 10 girls could come!Someone from the hospital met us and took us up to the NICU. They were so nice and accomodating. We stood outside in the hallway and they opened several shades so the girls could peer in. Here they are waiting for the shades to open: It was SO cute. All of the kids had their faces pressed up to the windows, looking in. What a great learning experience for them. They saw a little 3 month old baby being fed with a gavage tube, they saw a baby wearing tiny goggles under bilirubin lights, and they saw the teeniest little triplet sleeping in her isolette and the nurse held up a little postcard with her newborn footprints on it - boy were they teeny! We were even able to go into the nurses area, so they could present the box of 50 preemie hats to the nurses. They saw a great bulletin board with lots of pictures of NICU graduates. And they each got a little gift to take home... and when I say little, I mean LITTLE! Check this out:It's for a baby who weighs less than 4 pounds. Iphone is for comparison!

I have to say, I was overcome with emotion, just standing outside the NICU and looking in. Helen and Sophie were preemies and were there for the first two weeks of their lives. During those two weeks I was there almost around the clock, and was so familiar with the nurses station, the scrubbing-in sink, the bulletin board, the gavage tubes, the bilirubin glasses, all of it. So being back there for the first time since 1999 brought back a lot of memories and it was hard to keep it together. How neat though, that my kids - who are almost 11 - got to see where it all started out for them. They really felt a connection, and that's cool!

Then we went to Pediatrics and took a tour and gave 2 of our 3 blankets to the nurses there. We didn't deliver the third one, because we have decided to give it to a little girl in our town who is going through a lot right now. Read her story here, and you'll see why we want her to have one of our blankets. Her older brother is in school in Williston, and some of the kids in our knitting group know him - so it was a connection we just couldn't overlook. How special is it that we can actually give a blanket to someone from our own town, who is going through a tough time right now? I'm working on how to deliver the blanket to her before she starts her next round of treatment.

So, a year over, and 10 girls who've learned a little about knitting, and a little about giving. That's what it's all about!

New colors in our favorite scarf kit!

The Jade Sapphire Cashmere Scarf FOR HER has 5 smokin' new colors! Here they are:
Top to bottom we have Purple Majesty, Spice Girl, Vamp, Teal a Kiss and Green Goddess. Yummy!

This kit, along with the Cashmere Scarf FOR HIM, has been one of our best selling items for 2 years in a row. If you've seen the samples we have in the shop, you'll know why!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Last minute prep of the goods

Well today was certainly good weather for knitting! And it's a good thing, because I had a lot of seaming to do. This Tuesday, Suzie and I are taking the kids to deliver the goods from our after school charity projects, which include preemie hats and three blankets. We'll take pictures on our field trip, but I had to share a cute photo of a very excited Sophie. Tonight I washed everything so that it was perfectly clean for the delivery and Sophie helped me arrange the hats in what else... a Tiffany box! Can you believe we have exactly 50? WOW. Great job girls. I'm so proud of all of them.

Thanks to Berroco and Plymouth for their donations of Comfort DK and Dreambaby DK, and to Accessories Unlimited for their donation of Brittany double pointed needles. We still have yarn left, so we will continue to use it for projects like this in the future.

And totally off topic, here's a shot of my newest garden resident. I didn't realize he'd moved in when went to pick some rhubarb the other day. So he was greeted with a very loud and high pitched scream. Sorry big guy. I'm sorry if I didn't seem happy to meet you. But I don't like surprises!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Customer Favorites

Over the past couple of weeks there have been some outstanding patterns and yarns that have been selling like crazy. Here are a few of the latest things that you may want to take a look at if you haven't already!

High Line Cardigan: This is a cute knit cardigan for layering over summery tops.
The pattern book is great and has a variety of other summertime knits in it including the White Rock Lake Pullover that was featured on our mannequin two weeks ago. Folks really like the feel and look of the subtle hues of Tahki's organic Good Earth Cotton yarn but I think this would knit up as a wonderfully bright summer splash of color using Classic Elite Katydid yarn too.

Minnow Knits #230 Pinafore Dress pattern and Jil Eaton Cottontail yarn: The combination of lovely colors in a machine washable cotton yarn and this adorable pattern have both of these items flying out of our shop. Maybe it's the butterfly sleeves on this little dress that's got everyone smiling? The pattern spans sizes 6 months to 4 years making it fairly versatile in the world of little people knits. We've sold this pattern to people who plan to use different yarns, too. Hey, substitutions are part of our job! We knit this up as a sample in the Mission Falls 1824 cotton because we wanted to see what the dress would look like using one of the Cotton Whirls (variegated). It's really cute!

Berroco Book #294 Origami and Berroco Origami yarn:
This yarn is a great choice for the spring and summer. This blend of 58% acrylic, 16% linen, 15% nylon and 11% cotton has multicolored strands that knit into a remarkably light and crisp finished fabric. Color names like Sunset Rendezvous, Cucumber Water, and Party by the Shore definitely fit this summertime yarn well, and complement the designs you'll find in the pattern booklet.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Manic-In Monday

Either you're a hoodie fan or you're not. Hoodie fans will agree... this sweater is a great summer hoodie. It's short sleeved and cropped, and has a really cute allover stitch pattern. The I-cord tie is sweet and the edging stitch along the sleeves and bottom band is a really nice touch.
And of course - a great hood:
Pattern: Escapade Cropped Hoodie from the Tahki Garden Variety pattern booklet
Yarn: Tahki Cotton Classic, available in 55 gorgeous shades!

There are a lot of other great sweaters in this pattern booklet, such as "Sans Souci":and "Fair Bianca":and "Dairy Maid":and my favorite... the "Imagine Skirt":

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

First Kids' Charity Blanket Finished!

We're nearing the end of the school year, and so our after school knitting group will be ending. We've been knitting strips out of Plymouth Encore and even though the kids were SORT OF able to picture the finished blankets, I think it will really hit home tomorrow afternoon when I show them this:
It's gorgeous! This blanket was done by (l to r) Carly, Suzie, Erica, Helen, me & Tasha. I showed a few of the girls how to seam a couple of weeks ago, and they did well. But it was clear they enjoyed knitting more than seaming, so I took the strips home and finished this blanket this weekend.

We have about 5 more that are finished, and 7 that are very close. I asked the girls to knit-knit-knit this weekend so they could finish their strips. If they all finish, it will mean we can give 3 blankets (instead of 2) to some very deserving kids at FAHC.

So tomorrow, we'll see what's been finished, and they'll lay everything out on the table and determine the placement of the strips, like they did on this blanket. Then Suzie and I will seam like crazy, wash everything, and plan our group outing to FAHC, to give these blankets to some kids in Pediatrics, and the preemie hats to the folks at the NICU. Stay tuned!

Aniversary Wrap Up

Those of you who stopped by the shop during our 8th anniversary week were invited to drop your names into our raffle drawing to help us celebrate. We rounded up some great knit-specific treats to give away including an Offhand Designs knitting bag, notions kits, pamper pouches, sock kits, gift certificates and more!

Here are the lucky winners:
Nancy G.
Amy V.
Karen F.
Karen H.

Leslie C.
Lee Ann O.
Anne S.
Laura McN.
Claudia M.
Julie T.

And a huge thank you to all of our customers for your support!