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.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Hint: It's something I've seen in catalogs every year now (at this time!) for the past few years. Definitely a holiday themed item, that I'd much rather make myself than drop big bucks on. Different sizes, shapes & colors... guesses anyone?
Friday, November 19, 2010
"Cowls, cowls, cowls..." it's pretty much all you hear these days! Everyone is making them, and why not? They're super easy, quick and practical. Doesn't your coat always gap at the neck? Cowls do the work of scarves, but save you the hassle of wrapping and wrapping, and tucking in ends. This stitch pattern is a four row pattern and easy to memorize. Two of the four rows are knit, so there's no arguing that this is a cinch.
Last week I received just one lonely skein of the brand new Berroco Ultra Alpaca Tonal yarn as a sample, and I knew this cowl was the right project for it. Because I wanted to make it a one skein project, I followed this pattern, but cut the stitches back to 121 and used size 9 needles. If you grab 2 skeins, you can follow the pattern on Ravelry as written. The cowl is beautiful.
The stitch pattern is really pretty and the cowl is nice and warm and drapey. I love how the yarn worked up, too! The tonals are beautiful. A perfect addition to the Ultra Alpaca line.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
New color of Plymouth Mushishi called Sea:Two new Plymouth Dreambaby DK colors called Raspberry and Blueberry:New Encore colors:and a colorspun:and a gorgeous Encore Tweed called Mushroom: More new colors in solids and tweeds are on the way, but they aren't here quite yet!
We've also gotten some new yarns. May I introduce Plymouth Coffee Beenz, a new member of the Encore family of yarns. This yarn has the same 75% acrylic/25% wool blend, so it's super soft and washable. This yarn has a main color that's wrapped with a variegated strand. The four shades we got are all gorgeous!
Here's one I'm super excited about... Plymouth Select Worsted Merino Superwash. It's a Charmin-like soft merino wool, that's machine washable. We're loving it and can't wait to knit with it (honestly, we've only squeezed and squished it so far. But that's enough to love it!) It's only $12 for a whopping 218 yards. Not a bad price!
There are a couple more, but that's all I have time for today. Make sure you're signed up to receive our new product notifications! Then you won't miss out on new items...
Monday, November 15, 2010
Anyway, the sun was heavenly, and it prompted our mannequin to don this spectacular short sleeve sweater, though she had enough sense to put on a long sleeve t-shirt underneath. And because it is super chilly and damp, she's also wearing a lovely shawlette draped around her neck & shoulders.
Sweater: Bourtanger Sweater from the Berroco Book #301
Yarn: Berroco Campus - a quick knitting favorite of ours!
Shawl: Cedar Leaf Shawlette, from the Never Not Knitting pattern, knit in Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Two weeks ago I was surprised to see my very first holiday themed commercial on TV. What?! I know that retailers need to get the gift buying message out there as soon as possible, but come on – wait for Halloween to come and go, at least. Sheesh!
However, it did get me thinking that for us knitters and crocheters, the time is really ticking away in terms of getting our gifts ready to wrap up with a lovely ribbon and give to that special someone. You may just be making a pair of mitts for a friend, or maybe you’re super-ambitious and are making socks for your entire family on size 1 needles. Yes, I did that once. (Once.)
Either way, you might think about taking a chunk of your knitting time to whip up something for a good cause. This morning I was reminded of a wonderful program by a customer who came in looking for wool to knit helmet liners. How comforting would a little bit of wool in your metal helmet be, and how much more comforting to know that someone back home was thinking about you while it was being hand made.
And the yarn that is totally perfect is Cascade 220 in any of the natural colors (tans, browns, black, gray). Should you choose to substitute another yarn, please stick with 100% natural animal fibers – wool, alpaca, etc… The military has specifically asked that no synthetics be used for these liners.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
It is so different from our own version that Jill knit up in the Plymouth Kudo for an older child!
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
A couple of weeks later the Fall 2010 Issue of Interweave Knits magazine arrived, and so did my solution! There was a nice review of New England Knits in the magazine, and and they published one of the patterns (the Brattleboro Hat) that appeared in the book. I couldn't stop thinking about the photo of the Brattleboro Hat that appears in the magazine. It was shown knit in Malabrigo Worsted, which is one of my favorite yarns. So I grabbed a skein and started.
I am pleased with the way the hat turned out and enjoyed learning the decreases to keep the textured pattern intact. Now if only I had waited a bit longer for the new easy care Malabrigo Rios yarn to come in. I think this hat would be amazing in the Sunset colorway!
Monday, November 08, 2010
Our gal must have felt the promise of cold, damp air, as this week she's sporting an awesome kimono jacket and a warm, yet simple, scarf. No doubt she will stay cozy!Scarf Pattern & Yarn: The Liwen Ribbed Scarf is a free pattern we offer on the website and uses just one skein each of the Stacy Charles Luna yarn and Araucania Liwen yarn. This is a great gift!
Sweater Pattern & Yarn: The Plymouth Kimono #1530 Pattern has been a top seller here at the shop. It is such a simple project combining garter and stockinette stitch fabric in 5 rectangles that are sewn together to create this amazing Kimono-style coat. The pattern is shown in (and calls for) Plymouth Encore, which is a wonderfully economical yarn that's a machine washable blend of wool & acrylic.
Make it More Luxurious: Want to upgrade to a slightly more decadent yarn choice? It would be fabulous knit in the Debbie Bliss Cahsmerino Aran yarn! It would be just a bit warmer with the luxury of soft cashmere, but still machine washable.
Want More Texture? Try Plymouth Pattern #1531 - very similar, but with a different texture stitch on the body.
Sunday, November 07, 2010
It's an easy pattern because the garment is constructed of only knit stitches. Yep, no purling! The pattern appears in a book that is full of knit stitch patterns only: The Knit Stitch Book.
Last week, our customer Nancy brought in a sample of another one of the patterns in the book. It is a baby sized version of the Einstein Coat in the form of a bunting - the Baby Albert Bunting! Nancy picked out a very nice shade of Berroco Comfort DK for this one and was planning another project with the leftover yarn too! Thanks for sharing Nancy :)
Saturday, November 06, 2010
I love them all, but I think the Normandy is my favorite, followed very closely by Marais! Added to queue (2).
Friday, November 05, 2010
And in case you didn't know, when you buy any 10 buttons, all buttons in your cart will be discounted by 20%. This also happens when you buy 10 or more buttons in the shop, so it's both local and online. No coupon necessary.
Today we added a lot of new kids buttons! Here's a sampling. SO adorable. How cute is that green monster!? And the giraffe and ruler? Makes me want to start a kid's sweater!
But what would that be? This gorgeous skein of yarn sat next to me on my desk for weeks and weeks. We wanted to make a one skein project with it, but which one? Socks? Fingerless mitts? A lightweight hat? No, no and no. We were stumped, and the skein was sad.
Barb was looking on Ravelry one day, and came across this free pattern for the Deirdre Shawl. It's your basic triangular shawl, but it incorporates different stitch patterns which make it really interesting to knit, and beautiful to wear. So she took the skein home, and look at it now? WOW. Now it's a happy skein! It has become a great shoulder wrap for under a coat, or a lightweight cover for those chilly restaurants.
And remember, a good blocking is important for lace knitting!
Thursday, November 04, 2010
It was inevitable that I would knit the Cloisonné Jacket in the Fall 2010 issue of Interweave Knits.
I liked it the first time I flipped through the magazine. When I looked at it again, I realized that the sweater combines two of my favorite techniques—lace and stranded colorwork; one of my favorite constructions—body knit in one piece; and one of my absolute favorite yarns—Berroco Ultra Alpaca. And so I did something I don’t usually do: rather than adding this project to my (very long) list of things I’d like to make someday, I immediately put aside all my other WIPs, trundled down to Kaleidoscope to buy the yarn, swatched, and cast on.
Color choice was a bit of a challenge. I didn’t want to use the colors shown in the magazine, but it took some doing to come up with a combination I liked. In the end, with Shawn’s help, I chose a deep avocado green solid for the lace portion, and a heathery maroon for the main color. These colors work well with many of the shirts or turtlenecks I will wear under the sweater, and of course with jeans, my usual pants of choice.
I am a yarn thrower from way back. Nevertheless, a number of years ago I taught myself to carry a color in each hand when working stranded colorwork, my left hand chugging along in a vaguely continental style but actually awkwardly throwing the yarn in a dim mirror image of my right hand. However, this time I wanted to do better. And so, in the interest of doing it “right,” (and blazing new neural pathways—good for the aging brain!), I practiced picking the yarn with my right-hand needle on the knit rows. However, the cardigan is worked flat, so half the colorwork rows are on the purl side! With much effort, and several viewings of instructional videos on YouTube, I eventually developed a more-than-passable continental purling motion.
Once the colorwork section was complete, I decided to further practice my new skills, and so I completed the plain stockinette sections, sleeves (including the lace cuffs!), collar, and facings working exclusively in the continental style.
I also made a Baby Surprise Jacket out of Regia Stretch Sock Yarn for my newest nephew and worked that project in the continental style as well. And though I can’t perform the motions by feel only, as I can when I throw the yarn right-handed, nevertheless I’ve gained speed, confidence, and dexterity, both knitting and purling. I’m pleased to be ambiknitsterous, though I expect it will be a while before I knit ribbing or fine lace using the continental style. But I’m proud of myself for learning a new skill.
And, I love my new cardigan*!
*Carefully verify the math when dividing for fronts and back and check against your stitches! I found a couple of mistakes in the directions here for size 42. There’s also a mistake in the sleeve section; see here for corrections.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
The pattern is free from Kelbourne Woolens and there are great photos of the pattern here.
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
The entire blanket was seamed with 3 needle bindoff. Don't know how to do it? You're not alone. We're always amazed at how many people ask us to show them this each week. But now you can see it on our new how-to video!
Monday, November 01, 2010
Even though it's grey and damp outside, she's going to stay cozy in this beautiful sweater knit with bulky alpaca. And since blooming flowers are a thing of the past in these parts, I'm sure her scarf will bring her some good cheer during these damp, grey days.