Monday, January 31, 2011

When seedlings sprout...

But in this case, it's the other way around... from a sprout comes a seedling? Or something like that.

Classic Elite Sprout, part of their Verde Collection, is a bulky weight 100% organic cotton. It's amazingly soft and has a lovely nubbly texture. We've used it now for several seasons in cotton sweaters, tanks, baby blankets and fun scarves for those who don't like wool or other blends. It's been so well received, in fact, that Classic Elite just introduced Seedling... the worsted weight sibling of Sprout.

And while we don't have the Classic Elite pattern booklets yet for spring (
here's a peak at booklet 9133) this yarn can be used in any worsted weight pattern that calls for 4.5 stitches to the inch. (Think Mission Falls 1824 Cotton, recently discontinued and completely sold out... though we still have some wool left!)

The color range is smaller to start, and we opted out of the primaries and went for the more muted colors. These colors are perfect for both adults and babies. I was so
inspired by the colors that I had to pick several and put them together in the same project. Here's a little progress on my recently started the Minnow Knits Krayon Krazy sweater. I've made this pattern before, so it's sort of an oldie but goodie. Super easy, cute, quick and a great way to combine 4 colors into the same sweater, without it being plain old stripes. Soon we'll have a coordinated, but not-too-matchy-matchy baby blanket done in the bulky weight Sprout.

Friday, January 28, 2011

New Colors of Sprout

We LOVE Classic Elite Sprout. It's a bulky cotton, which isn't always easy to find. It's super soft with amazing nubbly texture, and the 5 new colors are amazing! Oh yeah, and it's organic cotton too. Sure it's great for solid sweaters and tanks. But after photographing these new colors yesterday, I'm really seeing a striped baby sweater or - better yet - blankie that uses 3-4 of these... Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lesson learned

Monday was cold. Bone chilling cold. Static hair cold. Super dry flaky hands cold.

So I wasn't surprised to see that we had a large number of orders for the No Crack hand creams. No Crack is THE best hand cream I've ever used. As long as you are diligent and put it on several times a day, especially after hand washing, your fingers and hands really do stay in great condition
throughout the harsh winter months.

You'd think, that with all these orders for No Crack, it would have prompted me to fill up my own small container. We've found that the best thing to do is to purchase a larger jar of No Crack and a small sample size jar. Then you have one for your knitting bag (or purse, or car dashboard!) and a larger one for your kitchen or bathroom. When the small one is almost em
pty, you can re-use it, by filling it up from the large one. In the afternoon, I dropped my kids off at the gym for tennis. I scooted over to Healthy Living to pick up some produce, and then drove back to the gym to watch the girls play. And knit. Since I didn't even PICK UP a knitting needle this weekend (house & basement cleaning interfered) I was excited to start the collar on my Sublime Luxurious Wooly Merino Vest.

I was chilled to the bone, so I kept my long down coat on, but took off my hat and mittens. I
grabbed a great seat in front of the courts, and pulled out my knitting. After a few stitches, it was clear that my poor dry hands needed some attention. They were pulling and snagging on the yarn, and it was just awful. I bent over and pulled out my small No Crack jar. It was empty. Completely empty! I had a mini-panic attack. I'd looked forward to this small window of time to relax with my knitting, and without lotion for my hands, it wasn't going to happen. You'd think that all that packing and shipping of No Crack at work would have reminded me that I needed to fill up my jar. But no.

I spied a teeny weeny bit of lotion in the bottom corner jar, so I went to work extracting it. I took off my wedding rings and put them (really "it" - they are soldered together) on my lap. I eeked out the last of the lotion and then started knitting. I sat there for 45 minutes, watched, knitted and relaxed. It was nice.

And then at 10:15pm, at home, when I went upstairs to get ready for bed, I realized that my left ring finger was eerily bare. I had never put my ring back on. Another panic attack ensued, and this one was not a mini one, it was a MAJOR one. Of course the gym had closed at 9pm, so there was nothing
I could do about it, other than stress and imagine all sorts of awful endings to this saga. This has never happened before. I am SO good about putting my rings right back on after applying lotion.

It was a sleepless night, with an early morning trip to the gym, to find out that a ring "had been turned it" but "come back later when someone is here to open the safe". I felt a little better hearing that, but what if someone else lost a ring that night too? (You never know.) A second trip to the gym gave me a huge sigh of relief because this was finally back on my hand:Thank you SO MUCH to some incredibly wonderful person. I wish you had left your name!

After this scare, I'll be extra careful when removing my rings. And my biggest lesson? I'm keeping the No Crack filled up. I'm even getting another small one to have on hand... just in case.

Manic-In Monday

Brrr! A super chilly day to start of this week means we get to layer on more handknits. What's wrong with that? Nothing! Since we had the heat cranking yesterday, our gal did not have to wear a super bulky sweater. She opted for a striking lighter weight raglan with subtle side shaping and thin horizontal stripes. She paired it with a easy one-skein cowl in a soft and luxurious yarn. Perfect color match too! To be honest, this sweater didn't wow me when I first saw it in the pattern booklet. The one in the photo is red and purple, and I blew right by it. But when our sample arrived in blue and gold (two colors I NEVER would have put together) it made all the difference. I love this sweater!

Sweater: Jidai Sweater from Berroco Book #308 Vintage & Vintage DK knit in Berroco Vintage DK yarn. Cowl: Sampler Neckwarmer knit with Classic Elite Lush yarn.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bits and bobs and hugs... a guest post

Thanks to India, a former Kyarns employee and knitting instructor, for this guest post!


They’re having a rough winter in northern Italy.

Normally, this is something I would merely note in passing as I read the newspaper, but this year is different. My 20-year-old son Loren leaves in January to spend five months at the University of Bologna, so I have installed a gadget on my Google homepage to keep me apprised of the weather in Emilia-Romagna, the province that includes Bologna. It’s been cold—sometimes as cold as in Vermont—and snowy.

For Christmas, Loren asked for a wool pea coat and cap, and Santa dutifully delivered both under the tree. But I kept thinking something was missing, something to keep his neck warm. On Christmas Day as he happily modeled the new coat and cap, I asked him if he’d like a scarf , too. “Yes!” he answered, so I bounded upstairs to my stash and retrieved all of the odds and ends of sportweight yarn I could find (he didn’t want it too bulky).

He chose four colors of wool left over from three different sweater projects: some Dale of Norway Heilo and Falk, and a little Jaeger Matchmaker. Fortunately, I had about two skeins each of navy blue, gold, and purple, and a little bit of olive green just right for some skinny accent stripes here and there. I chose a reversible rib—not a simple 1x1 or 2x2 rib, but a slightly offset rib that produces a fully reversible accordion-like pattern, and cast on.

Reversible rib, relaxed and stretched. You can see the deep accordion pleats.

Here’s the basic recipe:

Approximately 650–675 yards sportweight yarn

Size 7 needles

Cast on 47 stitches.

Row 1: knit 3, *purl 1, knit 3*, repeat between **s to end

Row 2: knit 1, *purl 1, knit 3*, repeat between **s to last 2 stitches, purl 1, knit 1

Repeat these two rows until work measures desired length or the yarn runs out, whichever comes first, striping as desired or as your yarn allows.

Mine came out approximately 6″ wide (relaxed) and 6′ long, but gauge is not critical here.

So, at least for this winter, when Loren is far away across the ocean, I’ll know that each time he wraps that scarf around his neck, his mama is giving him a hug.

Friday, January 21, 2011

In love with lace

That's pretty much the subject of the new Debbie Bliss Knitting magazine for Spring/Summer 2011. And with her new lace weight kid mohair and silk blend, it's no wonder! We've had other fibers like this in the past - in fact at one time we carried 3 different ones, in a total of over 30 colors. For various reasons (price increases, wanting to deal with other companies, etc) we discontinued all 3 over time.

But now we are carrying
Debbie Bliss Angel and it's just beautiful. We are so glad to have this fiber blend back in stock. The colors are so soothing (although we have a few brighter ones on order) and there are some really great patterns for this yarn. In addition to a lot of good information on lace knitting, the magazine actually has quite a few great patterns for this yarn. This beautiful bolero ties with a tiny bow:
And this simple stockinette stitch bell-shaped tunic has a sumptuous scallop-edged lace border. Lace novices will love to practice with this quick lace chevron-stitch scarf: This drapey stole has breathtaking patterning:This cardigan with blackberry stitch bands is knit on larger needles and is extra light: Part capelet, part shrug, this is worked from the neck down: This simple shrug has a surprise lace paneling on the back: And this boat neck top with fern lace patterning is simple, but makes a statement.There are also lots of other non-lace weight patterns in this magazine. Come on in and take a look!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My new favorite bag

I knit and felted this bag a couple of months ago, and never shared the finished result. So here it is:It's a KnitKit pattern called "The Purse" and it's one we just started carrying. When I first saw this pattern, I just loved it. Was it the awesome shape of the bag? The fun drawstring cords used at the top? The beautiful - yet subtle - colorwork? The slightly nubbly/boucle-d texture of the felted yarn? Or the gorgeous shades of green that were used?

In truth, I think it was all of these things that I loved.
And, I was in need of a quick & pretty mindless project, so I knew I had to make it.

I immediately went upstairs to check out our back stock of Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend and Silk Blend Multis. There's a great color selection in this yarn, so it wasn't easy to choose colors. I knew I needed 2 solids and one variegated. I pulled out several combos that I liked.

Like Wisteria, Abalone & Natural:
and Chestnut, Spumoni & Dove:and Turquoise, Caribe & Lawn:and Pewter, Adobe & Dove:and Olive, Woodland & Topaz:and Olive, Woodland & Citric:But I finally settled on Midnight, Deep Sea & Willow:
And it's really beautiful! In terms of felting with my new front loader, it was a bit of a struggle. Not impossible, but certainly more time consuming than with my old top loader. In the end, after several cycles, it worked!

Everyone here liked it so much that we decided it would be a great class. There's a great I-cord cast on (that's right! I didn't say bind off!), it's knit in the round, there's an intro to colorwork, and felting. So a lot of nice techniques to lean, and a great finished product in the end. Class starts next month!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Manic-In Monday

A day late... sorry! Monday's are always manic, but add a holiday and it means that yesterday it was ALL hands on deck both in the shop and in shipping. I didn't even touch my computer all day.

This week, our gal is channeling spring in several shades of green. Her sweater is fun; it's a short-sleeved, boxy style that can be worn as is or pinned closed across the chest. Knit with a brand new bulky boucle yarn... but wait! There's nothing bulky about this sweater! It's super cozy and oh-so lightweight. (Her ruffled scarf is just a subtle hint that a couple of Flounce colors are back in stock now, with more to come.)
Sweater: knit with Sublime Luxurious Wooly Merino yarn, from the Second Sublime Luxuriously Wooly Merino Hand Knit Book #639
Scarf: knit with 2 balls of Flounce yarn, free pattern

Saturday, January 15, 2011


a newly expanded line of Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK. It's a mouthful, for sure. But worth saying over and over and over!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Color is a wonderful thing

I know, I know. We're total geeks. Just painting the shop bathroom that fun color of green (Sweet Vibrations) had us smiling for days. Smiling so much, that our main upstairs office is now the same color! And with a couple of new window shades, we feel like we're in a brand new place! (I watch too many DIY home shows, I know.)

Then, because the other upstairs rooms are white, they started to look pretty boring. Not that I have anything against white. But you'd step into the office, and WOW, perk right up. And then step into the classroom, or shipping, and BLAH, sink back down. Had to fix that.
I mean, we're around color all day and it invigorates us. So white walls? Gotta go.

So my good friend Benji Moore and I decided to spread some more color love around the building. The classroom/receiving room/photo studio is now Goldfinch, and it's awesome.
Just need to touch up the window trim and get a new rug.And shipping, since it's a room filled with hustle and bustle, needs a little calming color. So we've chosen Florida Keys Blue... My guess is we'll be fighting to get into that room when it's done.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lotsa NEW going on...

On Wednesday night my Berroco sales rep Andra showed up at my house after work. She had a few NEW things to show me and was in the area so I told her I'd make her dinner. That's NEW, since she usually meets me at the shop.

She brought the wine, and I made the dinner. She's a vegetarian, so I thought tried out a few NEW recipes... including a Roasted Vegetable Soup that was quite tasty. The wine she brought was NEW to me (a Francis Ford Coppola wine, delish!)

The girls always love hanging out with Andra... they think she's totally cool. They had finished their homework quickly so they'd be able to spend time with her. While things were finishing up in the oven, we talked about all of the snow in the forecast... the word Snowmageddon was tossed around about 500 times! Andra and the girls whipped out their i-Contraptions (Andra... the phone, and the girls... their Touches). They zealously compared apps and shared a few tricks back and forth. Andra showed them her NEW favorite app "Weather Zombie" and of course, the girls have already downloaded it. Andra asked about our trip to Finland and was interested in our take on Finnish fashion... but honestly, people were too bundled up for me to really get a glimpse at it. (I did see lots of handknit funky cowls though. Right on!)

Dinner was yummy, and even my not-so-fond of vegetables husband Marc ate it all, despite his threats to grab a few hot dogs from the freezer. Not sure if he was serious about doing that, but it elicited a look of horror on Andra's face, and that's always fun. And hey... Andra ate beets! NEW for her.

As we cleaned up from dinner, the girls HAD to show Andra their rooms. I don't know any 11 year old girl who passes up an opportunity to show a guest her room. Andra dutifully went upstairs, and got to meet "Eni" the hermit crab, and check out Sophie's wand (from the HP theme park) and robe (from her summer Enchantment camp).

Then, finally, my lackey Marc went out to car to get several heavy bags and boxes. Andra felt bad, but hey, Marc loves to help out, and my theory is, if I ask and he says yes... there's no guilt on my part!

Andra pulled out some great NEW samples that she's been making and the girls got to do a little modeling (another reason they love seeing Andra!) Here's a beautiful scarf in the brand NEW Berroco Glint with funky flared ends on Sophie:
And a NEW cowl that's super easy and lightweight, made in Lang Jawoll Magic.
Doesn't it look FAB with the robe? And here's an AWESOME cowl out of NEW Berroco Flicker.
This is totally in my queue now. SO incredibly comfy and soft. Like your neck is wrapped in total luxury. It looks so great on Hermione Sophie.

Helen came in to the fashion show a bit late, but she did get a lesson on "cowl styling" from Andra.This one is in Berroco Glint and really pretty!I checked out (and ordered) NEW buttons and drooled over (and ordered) the NEW Lantern Moon interchangeable needle sets. Folks, these are the BOMB! I admit, they are très cher, but I knit with them and it was pure heaven. This photo isn't an actual set - it's half rosewood and half ebony:
We will be carrying these, and we'll have a set at the counter for you to try.
So it was a fun visit. Though had Andra come one night later, we would have also had to squeeze in sledding. Fourteen inches of snow + our steep driveway = the hottest sledding spot in the neighborhood. They were out last night until 9pm.
I'm sure that would have been a NEW experience for Andra!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Manic-In Monday

WOW it's cold today! Even though our heat is cranking, it's taking a long time to warm this old building up. We've all got sweaters and fingerless gloves on, and I'm still looking for extra layers...

A shawl is certainly in order for our gal, who gets cold in the front hallway with the door opening all day long. This shawl is lightweight, but WARM. It's 100% wool in a fingering weight, so it keeps you cozy but doesn't weigh you down with a lot of extra bulk. It's a generous size, too, so you can be creative with how you wrap it around yourself. It even looks great as a huge scarf. The lace pattern is easy and fun, and looks so nice in this gently striping yarn.Shawl: Ripple Shawl, knit with Jojoland Meloday Superwash yarn, and the Jojoland Ripple Shawl pattern
Shawl Pin: Horizontal Shawl pin... a best selling shawl pin for 2010, my sales rep (who shall remain unnamed...) thought I was crazy for buying it. But I thought it was SO cool! And luckily our customers agreed. Great price, lightweight & good looking.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Can we turn back the clock... about 7 years?

At dinner last night, I was talking with the girls about how grown up they are becoming. They're 11 and a half years old now, and such young ladies! I thought back to the years when they were 4, 5 and 6... and oh, how I miss those days! Such cute, carefree kids, with not a worry in the world! They could (and DID) dress in plaids, florals and stripes, and wear multiple layers of mismatched clothing without caring what anyone else thought about it.

I used to be able to shop for them, with complete success. No
w, I don't dare buy them any clothing unless they are with me, and have approved it. I used be able to pick out sweater patterns for them, but not anymore! Certainly no more surprise Christmas sweaters - there's no way I would spend time knitting something that wasn't pre-approved.

But, there WAS a day that I could make them anything, and they'd love it. The new Berroco Book #304 Playground Stripes took me back to that day... about 7 years ago. This pattern booklet is new for spring, and everything in it is made with sock yarn. Vibrant, fun colors that stripe. These patterns are so adorable! I am in love with every single one in the book.

For little ones, the Wald crocheted blanket would be a precious heirloom.
The Spiel Jumper looks super comfy for those diapered bottoms, and Koru is the perfect best friend for any little child. And what sweet little leggings (Stowasser) to cover up those chubby little legs!Children a few years older will appreciate Wunsch, a fair isle cardigan: and this zip front hoodie (Wien) with its hood lined in a different color: Two v-neck cardigans... one for boys (Fargen)and one for girls (Selb) An awesome color blocked pullover (Krems) and a fun hat (Spirale)And last but not least... something I think my girls might like! A fun hooded shrug (Baum). But don't worry, I will be sure to check with them first!