Thursday, September 30, 2010

Noah's Crocheted Ark

We may be in for some rain today and tonight, but our customer Judy is all set for potential floods and cozying up in the cooler temperatures. Check out the crocheted afghan that she brought into the shop to share with us!
Sorry, we didn't catch the pattern... but grab some graph paper and colored pencils and you should be able to crochet your very own ark! Berroco Comfort DK has some awesome colors too. That would be my choice!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Time for No Crack

Brr! The nights have begun to get rather chilly. The means we turn on our pellet stove to keep us warm. It's just too early to turn on the furnace.

Problem is, the heat is so dry. So I've begun my routine to keep my hands and feet from cracking. For years now, I've used the No Crack Night Cream twice a day, and the No Crack Day Cream every time I wash my hands. (And that's more times a day than I can count.)

If you've ever had cracked skin on your hands or fingers before, you know it's an awful irritation. And it makes knitting difficult.

So no more complaints about cracked fingers. Lather up!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Promotional Codes 101

Promo codes on our website are automatic, and work if you enter them correctly. Each week we send out emails and many of them include promotional codes for specials we are having that week. (Not on our list? You should be!)

Each week we have some customers who say they used the code and it didn't work. We also have customers who get the emails, order the special products that are on promotion that week, but do not enter the codes. This means we spend a lot of extra time editing orders and emailing customers.

We'd love to spend that time coming up with more fun projects to knit, and more great promotions to offer, so here's some help on our promotional codes that will hopefully make it easier for our customers to understand, and less time consuming for us to administer.


All of our promotional codes are tested, and DO work, if you enter them properly. P
romotional codes are programmed to DO something, whether it's to discount a product, d
iscount shipping, discount an order total, give you a free product, etc. But they only work if you enter them where they are supposed to go. There's a place for your code at the top right of your shopping cart. It says Promo Code: Enter the code in the box, and use your mouse to CLICK the Apply Code button. If you entered it correctly, you will see text underneath that says "Your promo code is..." Please note, if your promo code is discounting a specific product, and that product is in your cart, you will see the discount in your shopping cart. If, however, the promo code is a general discount (like 15% off your order) you will NOT see the discount until you have entered your billing and shipping information, on the next page of the checkout.

And, if your promo code is giving you a free product (like the one in my example) now's your chance to add that product to your cart.
We do require that you actually CLICK TO ADD the free product to your cart. (Sometimes people don't want the free product. Yeah, we know. CRAZY!?)

Select the option (size or color) of the free product (if there is a choice)
and BAM! Look what shows up in your cart!
Questions? Please let us know!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Playing the "What If?" game with Interweave Knits Weekend Edition 2010

It's finally here, and it's a good one. The Interweave Knits Weekend Edition for 2010 if full of body friendly shapes for all seasons. We can't possibly carry all of the yarns that are featured in every knitting magazine, so we always go through the mags and play the "What if?" game. What if a customer wants to make THIS sweater... what are the yarns that we carry that could be substituted. So here are a few previews of sweaters in the magazine, and some of my yarn recommendations.

I love the Vining Vest (knit in Austermann Natura) and I would choose Cascade ECO Wool, or Berroco Vintage Chunky, for a washable version.
The Mariner Pullover is beautiful (knit in Classic Elite Soft Linen) and I would swatch it in Manos Serena and Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool. For the child's version, Mirasol Samp'a would be perfect! The Chesapeake Pullover is a great guy's sweater (knit in Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece.) I would like to see it done in Elsebeth Lavold Cool Wool or in madelineTosh DK.
The Olivier Pullover is a classic (knit in Tahki Donegal Tweed) and would work up perfectly in Berroco Blackstone Tweed. The Bryony Cap looks quick and fun and is knit in Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica Naturals. No substitution needed here, but if someone wanted a completely different look, Mission Falls 1824 Wool would be a nice choice, or even Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted. There are a lot of other great projects in this magazine, too! Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Grey Days

I know I’m in the minority when I say this, but I love grey days – the cooler and rainier, the better. Bright sunshine, bah! Warm breezes, no thanks! I love nothing more than to cuddle up in my warm socks, a sweater, flannel pajamas and settle in for some lovely knitting time, and this weather is just perfect for that.

Last winter, I got a good start on Norah Gaughan’s wonderful Anhinga sweater (from Norah Gaughan Collection Volume #5), using Manos del Uruguay’s Rittenhouse yarn, however progress on it screeched to a halt in the summer heat.
Last week I dug it out of the closet and began working on it again – all I have left to do is the front panel and one sleeve! I can’t wait for the first snow so I can wear it to work.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Mega Skeins!

Just received a shipment of of new Mega Skeins from Tilli Tomas. The first batch we had included colors that were more monochromatic, but these colors have really been kicked up a notch... and we like'em!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Afghans for Knitters

Our trunk show from the Berroco Comfort Knitting & Crochet Afghans book is only at the shop through Monday of next week! These samples have been so inspiring that many customers have added an afghan (or two) into their queues this week. I already highlighted the crochet ones in a previous post, so this one is all about knitted ones.

This one is perhaps the most popular afghan of all: the Autumn Haze, shown here in Comfort. It's a celebration of the New England countryside in autumn:Hexagons fit together like the cells of a honeycomb in this baby blanket, Swirl, knit in Comfort. Think big though, this can easily be made larger!Basic, two-over cables combine to form a lattice of intricate knots in this classic textured afghan called Textured Knots, shown in Vintage:Bright Star, knit in Comfort, is composed mostly of mitered garter stitch squares:Cabled squares and ribbed squares alternate to look like a woven fabric in Weave, knit in Comfort:Cables, ribs and bobbles come together to form stylized flowers in Floret, knit in Weekend:And finally, cables twist and weave together to form an elaborate motif in Aran, knit in Weekend:
So if you haven't seen them in person, this is the last call!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cold Hands: a Sign of Fall

I stepped outside this morning to walk up Pearl Street to the bank, and quickly went back inside. It was damp and the wind was whistling. Brrr! I grabbed my wristers and it made the bank trek bearable.

This pattern is a free pattern from Berroco, and we love to use sock yarn (such as Berroco Sox) to make them. This pair is knit with Malabrigo Sock yarn. I just loved the color, and figured they would be very wearable. And on the way back, look what I found!
A sign that the next few weeks here are going to be the most beautiful time of the year.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mommy & Me

A few customers have been in the shop recently looking for a project to make for their little girls. And when making something for a little girl, it can be fun to also make the same thing for yourself. (You know how they feel special when they look just like Mommy!) We have many ideas, but one that jumps to mind? The Fiber Trends felted ballerina slippers.

This pattern has instructions for all ages, and it's so easy and quick. It uses worsted weight wool, and who doesn't have some of that in the stash?
My kids wore these from age 3-7 as their "inside" shoes. You may not need "inside" shoes where you liv
e, but here in VT, they're just a fact of life. And if you have wood, linoleum or tile floors, and don't appreciate your little one slipping and sliding around the house all day, just head out to your local craft shop and get some fabric paint. Let your child decorate the bottom of the soles - it's a great arts & crafts project.

These little slippers are so sweet. I'm making a mother/daughter set for the shop out of Malabrigo Worsted. This yarn is so amazingly soft and I love the slight color variations I'm getting. I'm not felting until I have all 4 completed, so last night I was able to use the child's pair (unfelted) to keep my own feet warm. They'll felt down in size, but for now, I'm putting them to use!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Afghans for Crocheters

Here are some great samples of crocheted afghans from the Berroco Comfort Knitting & Crochet Afghans book. If you're a knitter only, these samples may just turn you into a hooker! Seriously, they are THAT awesome. The trunk show is here through Monday of next week, so come on in and check it out!
Here's Ribbon, worked up in happy shade of Vintage. I love the columns of broomstick lace. But am I a little scared to try it? Yep! Practice your single and half double crochet in the Bi-Color Chevron, made up in Weekend. It looks gorgeous with these two similar shades, but I think it would also be stunning in 2 more contrasting colors as well.Maine, shown here in Comfort Worsted, is worked in pieces and then put together at the end. These color really do remind me of my camp in Maine! But imagine it worked up in very similar shades... beautiful!The Dots afghan, shown here in Comfort Worsted, is one of my favorites. Barb is making one of these for herself and I can't wait for her to finish it. I just love the colors of Greenway, shown here in Comfort Worsted. This pattern is included in the book, but was also made free on the Berroco website. So if you don't have the book, you can still try this one! Remember, with the code AFGHAN, you can save 20% off these yarns and the book! Today is the last day for this.

Coming up next, the knitted samples! Stay tuned...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tilli Tomas Throw Kit

Tilli Tomas' new throw kit is really gorgeous. One of the yarns in the kit is the Mega Skein - the same yarn Jill used to make her striped hat recently. This yarn is a combination of Milan and the Mystery Skein. The two strands run the entire length of the skein - the Milan is consistent, and the Mystery Skein adds the "flavor".

Back to the throw kit - I just finished one of these kits (in Bok Choy) for the shop. I have made a lot of mixed fiber afghans and shawls in the past, and I love to work with all the different fibers. I usually just add fibers at random, but on this one, I chose to use 3 rows of each yarn in a particular sequence. This will undoubtedly make it easier for knitters who would rather follow an actual pattern than approach it in a random fashion.

This pattern (along with a simple lengthwise self-fringing pattern) will soon be available with the throw kit.

Once the new patterns are available, we will be sending them along to the folks who already ordered the kit.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Site Problems

Hi All!
Sorry to report we are having some issues with the site today. We are hopeful that everything will be resolved soon.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Polly's Summer Project is Finished. Is Yours?

Here's a great post about sticking to a project... written by Polly:

Here's a note of encouragement to all of us knitters who take on a project saying "This is what I'll make this summer (or fall or whenever)" and then wonder as the time goes by whether it will really happen or not.

Well, I'm here to say that it's possible, but only just! Last April I purchased the yarn and the pattern to make the Una sweater by Berroco. It's in the Berroco Weekend Book #296.
I had been eyeing the Jil Eaton CottonTail yarn ever since it came into the shop - in particular, a color called Fresia which is a very soft peach tone. Well, now I had the perfect yarn to go with this adorable sweater. Because the CottonTail knits up to the same gauge as Berroco Weekend yarn, it could easily be substituted. With yarn, pattern and needles in hand I was off and running with the WHOLE summer ahead of me.

But, life intervened and it was sometime in mid August that I realized that, although the back and front were nicely finished and waiting in a drawer, the sleeves were not going to knit themselves in the next two weeks! Thankfully they are fairly short sleeves. It also helped that I knit them simultaneously so that the end was always in sight.

What didn't help at all is that when I got to the absolute last row of the sleeves (the Pleating Row), there was a major glitch. After repeating the directions exactly as written about four times and having the stitch count and placement of pleats absolutely not work out, a lightening bolt went off (why did it take so long?) saying that just maybe it was the pattern and not me that was cuckoo.

Sure enough, when I went to the Berroco website and searched for a pattern correction (errata), there was my Una sweater with revised directions for my sleeve Pleating Row in bold print! Note to self: ALWAYS check for erratas BEFORE beginning a project!Not to be undone by the glitch with my silly sleeves, with about five days to go before the unofficial end of summer (Labor Day) I set about sewing the sweater pieces together. With my trusty copy of The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques open to the chapter on Seams, I was off and running.Would you believe that the last stitch was in place and the sweater was washed and blocked a whole two days before Labor Day! My reward for the stress of the big rush is that I absolutely love everything about it: the fit is perfect, the color is gorgeous and the pattern detail is lovely.Now the big question is what's my fall project going to be??

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Trunk Show Alert! Fall is afghan knitting time, and we're gonna show you the goods!

So next week our Berroco Comfort Knitting & Crochet Afghans Trunk Show is arriving!We'll have 16 gorgeous samples for you to see and fondle! The book shows all of the designs knit in Berroco Comfort, Comfort Chunky and Comfort DK... all wonderful choices.

But our trunk show samples are worked up in Comfort, Weekend and Vintage. All of these yarns are soft and washable, and it's so great to see them worked up in the different afghan patterns.

So come on in and check them out! Anyone who purchases yarn in the shop to make any of these afghans is eligible for a 15% trunk show discount while the samples are here.

Friday, September 03, 2010

The most popular Kertzer knitting pattern is back in stock!

The Kertzer Cardi & Beret SRK 146 Knitting Pattern! This pattern was out of stock for quite some time, and we had a big waiting list for it. We've got plenty now to go around. (At least we hope we do!) We love the picot edging of this little cardigan. And it has the cutest matching hat to dress it up for any occasion. Knit with the soft - and machine washable - Marble DK yarn, you can't go wrong with the color selections.

And since we don't all have little ladies to knit for, we have a great suggestion for boys.
The Cable Pullover & Hat SRK 147 pattern is a great choice for boys OR girls. Customers have also been asking for this one because we knit it up in a bright color that is suitable for boys or girls!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Shawn's headed to the fair!

For the past week I've been driving by the Champlain Valley Expo watching the set up for the fair. The fairgrounds are full of throngs of people each night when I leave the shop.

Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of the fair as it is usually hot and packed with people. And it's difficult to knit while perusing the farm animals and fair folks - especially with yummy fair treats in hand.

But this year? Well, they set up the race track for the racing pigs right where I can see it every morning - sans pigs of course! I think I will have to make a trip inside this weekend to see some fun! If you haven't seen the racing pigs before you should also make a trip.
Here's just a tease:

Don't forget to stop by the shop on your way to the fair to peruse all of our new fall yarns and patterns!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Here's a Mega free pattern!

The Tilli Tomas Mega skeins have caused quite a stir here in the shop. And the price has just been lowered (thanks Tilli!) They tend to end up right up at the cash register as soon as they are seen (or touched!) Most of our customers have purchased them for lengthwise scarves or shawls. But what are they exactly?

The Mega skeins are one strand of Tilli Tomas Milan (a super soft fingering weight blend of merino wool, cashmere and silk) and one strand of something else. And that something else changes throughout the skein. In some parts it's Disco Lights, in some parts it's Symphony Lace, in some parts it's Nile ribbon, in some parts it's Pure & Simple... So you get consistency throughout with the Milan, and then inconsistency with the rest. What fun!
I just made a simple rolled brim hat with one skein, and it's a really easy (and quick) project. The Milan gives it overall softness, warmth and adds a nice heft to the silk yarns.

Here's the free pattern. Enjoy!

120 yards of worsted weight yarn (we used 1 Tilli Tomas Mega skein)
Size 9 US circular needle in 16" length
Size 9 US double pointed needles

Gauge: 4 stitches = 1 inch

With the circular needle, cast on 80 stitches. Place marker and join, being careful not to twist stitches. Knit for 6”, ending at the marker.

Begin decreasing on the following round, as follows*, changing to double pointed needles when needed:
*Round 1: (Knit 6, k2tog) repeat to end.
Rounds 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12: Knit.
Round 3: (Knit 5, k2tog) repeat to end.
Round 5: (Knit 4, k2tog) repeat to end.
Round 7: (Knit 3, k2tog) repeat to end.
Round 9: (Knit 2, k2tog) repeat to end.
Round 11: (Knit 1, k2tog) repeat to end.
Round 13: (k2tog) repeat to end.
Cut the yarn leaving a 12" tail. Thread it through the remaining stitches, draw up tightly and secure. Weave in ends.