Monday, August 30, 2010

Don't be afraid to experiment!

Combining different fibers can be a scary thought for many knitters. We know! We see these deer-in-a-headlight looks every day when we suggest it. But if you aren't willing to experiment, you could be missing out on some really amazing looks!

We've gotten a lot of new yarns recently - and they are all beautiful on their own. But we LOVE to mix things up. So I took a new thick & thin bulky yarn (Araucania Liwen) and mixed it with a lace weight super kid mohair, silk and lurex blend (Stacy Charles Luna). I used size 13 needles and a k1p1
simple rib pattern over 18 stitches. It's got an uneven overall texture, which makes it pretty funky - and we all like that!

The Liwen is gorgeous by itself, and I certainly didn't NEED to add anything to it. And by adding a such a thin yarn, that you can hardly SEE... what's the point?
  • Extra softness from the super kid mohair & silk blend
  • A gorgeous halo from the super kid mohair
  • A subtle color change by blending the two yarns
  • A hit of sparkle from the lurex (metallic)
It's a simple scarf made better by blending. Here are the other options I was choosing from:
The Luna (above, left) is a great add, but if you shy away from sparkle, try the Lang Alpaca Superlight (above, center & right).

Have you blended anything fun lately? Let us know!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A customer "share"

Our local customers love to come into the shop and share their finished projects with us. We really enjoy seeing what a great job they've done and seeing how excited they are with the end results.

We often get photos emailed to us - from either online customers or customers from out of state who've visited us here in Vermont - and when we get their permission, we love to share their

Recently, Kim from GA wrote:
This was my 7th knit. I came into the shop while on vacation and fell in love with the dress on display. I bought the pattern and was helped with yarn selection. I love the outcome and so does my little 3 year old! Thanks for the idea and help!!!"

And here is her beautiful daughter, Burke, modeling her new MinnowKnits Pinafore Dress! She was planning to wear it to her frist day of pre-school!
Well done, Kim! And thanks so much for sharing. We hope Burke's first day of pre-school was super!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Are you seeing ruffles?

We're seeing a lot of ruffles around here. From bathing suits, to trims on sweaters, and now yarns that create their own ruffles! It's definitely a trend that's catching on. Today's novelty yarns hold an important place in the yarn shop. Everybody wants them, but they want them to be unique and special. Not like novelties of 4 and 5 years ago. I think you'll agree, these "rufflers" are certainly unique!

When my rep showed me the first yarn (
Flounce, from KFI), I was completely unimpressed. To see the yarn in ball form, well, it just doesn't move you. But when you see THIS:
you're sold in an instant. Flounce is not knitted like other yarns, though. You'll want to watch this little video before you start, to be sure you don't get off on the wrong track!

The Flounce scarf is so much fun.
Two skeins makes a generous adult scarf - and one skein will work perfectly for a younger adult or kid - you would just use fewer stitches.

Another new yarn that ruffles is Filatura di Crosa Operadarte. Opera d'arte means "work of art" in Italian. What a perfect name for this yarn! It's a ribbon yarn that has a mohair picot along one edge and square eyelets along the other edge. By carrying it along with a main yarn, and working through every other square eyelet, you can create a delicate ruffle. Here's a little scarf/shawlette that Barb just finished using Superior and Operadarte (1 each).
Pattern is free with yarn purchase. Just ask for it when you buy it!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wonderful Wallaby review

First of all, sorry we haven't been posting blogs regularly! It's been an absolutely beautiful summer here in VT, and our everyone on our staff deserves some time off, don't you think? We've all been working hard to cover for everyone's vacations, so we've been spread a bit thin. We are almost back to full staff levels, so you will see an increase in blog posting going forward.

For years customers have wondered if we carried the Wonderful Wallaby sweater pattern. And we didn't. I'm not sure why we didn't carry it. I think it's because the hand done illustrations didn't really move me. At all. You know I have a pet peeve about patterns that don't have good pictures of the finished garment.

But customers kept asking, and finally I said, "Enough
already! I'll start carrying it!" Luckily, it's sold very well since we brought it in, but it really only sells when people have heard about it, or seen one made up. For folks just looking through our pattern books, they don't even give it a second glance.

Last week I decided to make a sample out one of our newer yarns, called Lang Tosca Light. This is a really fun yarn that stripes gradually. It's a worsted weight, but it's very lightweight and cozy. And it's washable. Fun stripes + lightweight + cozy + washable... it was screaming out for the Wonderful Wallaby pattern. And it was the perfect choice!

Tosca Light was amazing to knit with. I just love the finished fabric - come in to the shop and check it out for yourselves! This yarn would be perfect for afghans, baby blankets, sweater, you name it.

And I have to admit, I was impressed with the Wonderful Wallaby pattern. It was fun, easy and quick (I made the size 2.) My only criticism is that it's definitely a bit wordy at times, and I'm really more of a "tell me what to do and don't add fluff to it" kinda knitter. But if you can just plow through the wordiness and do what it tells you to do, you are rewarded with a really cute, hooded pullover that requires no finishing, other than a touch of kitchener.

I'm just glad we have a finished Wallaby now for people to admire!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Project for a wee one

We've always loved the Wee One Welcome Set pattern, from Knitting at Knoon. Over the years, it's been reprinted, and has always included a photograph that has been - in our opinion - less that fortunate. We KNEW it was a great pattern, but we also knew we weren't going to sell even ONE pattern if we didn't knit it up as a sample.

The first sample we had was made with Koigu Kersti. Loved it! So did our customers, and boy did that pattern
fly out the door. The customers would grab the sample and ask us "Where can I find this pattern?" When we pulled the pattern out for them, they'd say, "No, that's not the right one!" because the picture on the pattern was so... different. But it was the right one, and they left happy.

When we stopped carrying Kersti, we knew we had to make another Wee One. So for the second Wee One, we chose Colinette Cadenza, and once again, it was beautiful. We had many a repeat of the "Can you get me this pattern?" f
ollowed by, "Are you SURE this is the pattern?" And followed by the need to re-do the sample, since we no longer carry Colinette yarns.

This time, after having the sweater price start at around $35 (Kersti) and then go to around $30 (Cadenza), we thought we'd whip one up in a fun new yarn that would be super affordable.
We chose the Sirdar Snuggly Crofter which works up into a fair isle effect. It's adorable!
And there are 6 great color choices that work really well for babies - both girls AND boys. These 2 just arrived today, and are a bit more mature than the other 4 colors. All are so cute.
And the price of the Wee One Welcome Set in this yarn, is an affordable $21 (took just 3 skeins!) Pattern price not included.