Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sizing up the Daisy Dress

We got a comment from Steph this morning after our blog posted, and we thought it would be helpful to post it here, along with our response... just in case anyone else had the same question!
Great question! Sizing up shouldn't be too difficult, really... it's all math! I would recommend determining the finished measurements you want the bodice to be first.

Let's say you want it to measure 28"... and the gauge is 4.5 stitches to the inch. So 28 inches x 4.5 st/inch = 126 stitches. Which means 63 would be for the front bodice and 63 for the back. The skirt in this pattern has twice as many stitches as the total bodice... so 126 x 2 = 252. You would use 252 stitches for the skirt, decrease to 126 for the bodice, divide in half to 63 for the front and 63 for the back.

The only other small changes you'd need to make are figuring out the number of stitches for the neck vs shoulders (but you could figure out the percentage they used on the smaller size, and apply that percentage to your total bodice stitches) and the length of the bodice overall, and length to the armhole shaping.

I'd say go for it. I hope this was helpful!

Dresses for the little girls in your life

It's always fun to knit little dresses. I know I've made many in my knitting career, and by looking at our sales reports for dress patterns, it's clear to me that you all have made many as well! Some of the best selling dress patterns for babies/little girls are by Minnowknits. The Brittany Jumper # 130 has always been one of my favorites. I made two of these - one for Helen and one for Sophie - when they were about a year old.

Sunflower Dress #186 is adorable too.
It has a little more coverage above from the waist up, and the fun buttons on the front, as well as the stitch patterning, give it that little something special.

The Cotton Candy Dress #218 is precious.
It has sweet little sleeves and a lovely diamond pattern on the skirt and bodice.

The Pinafore Dress #230 was the hit of the year last spring.
It was featured in several ad campaigns in knitting magazines, and is probably one of our top selling patterns, ever. It's actually one of Minnowknits' most simple dresses, and works well in both solid and variegated yarns.

And the most recent Minnowknits Dress, the Daisy Dress #238 is what I took to Florida last week for
my vacation knitting. It is a simple hemmed dress with gorgeous I-cord flowers attached at the bottom of the skirt. I used Berroco Weekend and made several modifications to this pattern (see my changes in tomorrow's post). I'm thrilled, as it came out beautifully!
All of these patterns can be made in Jil Eaton Minnow Merino and Jil Eaton CottonTail yarns. Of course Berroco Comfort and Berroco Weekend are also wonderful options!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fixing Cable Mistakes

Last summer I worked on a large project that involved many different cable panels. It was the Aran afghan in the Berroco Comfort Knitted & Crocheted Afghans book. Since I am not a perfect knitter I definitely made mistakes along the way. Sometimes mistakes in cables aren't that noticeable, but I couldn't live with the project unless I fixed them. I didn't always realize I'd made a mistake until several inches later. And ripping back several inches of work would negate several hours of knitting.

Barb showed me how to drop stitches JUST in the cable section to fix each mistake. This leaves the rest of the afghan intact, and saves hours of frogging and re-knitting. Last week Michelle brought in the back of her Point Gammon Pullover from the Fall 2010 Issue of Interweave Knits. She'd made a small mistake in one of the cables. Can you see it? I showed her what Barb had shown me. We put the stitches we wanted to leave intact onto her circular needles and the stitches that were involved in the 'fix' onto a double pointed needle. The live stitches that weren't involved in the 'fix'
stayed on the circulars and we ripped just the stitches we needed in her 'fix' down to the row where she made an error. All she needed to do was re-knit the stitches involved in the error using the strands behind the work and two double pointed needles. Her remaining stitches stayed out of the way on the circular.

The key here is to be sure you use the loose strands behind your work that were ripped out in the correct row order. You've done this if you've used a crochet hook to re-knit a dropped stitch! This just involves more stitches. When you reach the row at the top, simply move the 'fix' stitches back onto your working needles to continue the work.
Hooray, the cable is fixed!
Now back to knitting your regularly scheduled program...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A sweater for Emma!

So Polly's little grandson Jack, who is 2 years old, is getting a new sister! She's due July 1st, and of course, Polly's already been knitting for her... Look how precious this little sweater and hat set are! She's certainly going to win a best dressed award, there's no doubt about that. This pattern is on the cover of The Seventh Little Sublime Hand Knit Book #640 and the sweater uses the Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK yarn. The hat is so sweet! I love the colors Polly chose. Can't wait to see it on Emma!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Customer Project - Felt Times Two!

Last week our customer Tammy came into the shop and shared some mittens she's been knitting for friends. (Lucky friends!)What gorgeous felted mittens! These are Double Cuff Mittens, felted on the outside with a knitted ribbed cuff on the inside.

These mitts are knit and then wet felted into super warm thick mittens. And then, after they have completely dried, Tammy does some seriously amazing needle felting on the outside. I LOVE THE BEES! I even threatened to take them home.

These mittens can be knit using a single skein of Cascade 220 for each pair. If you decide to put in the fitted cuff inside that is not felted Tammy warned us that you may need additional yarn. She's being creative and picked out some soft Malabrigo Rios today to go inside some of the ones in the photo.

If you are looking for inspiration for wet felted knitting projects you can check out this pattern and many more in the book Knit One Felt Two.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tunisian Crochet, and Video How To's!

A couple of weeks ago, we had to close the shop on a Monday because of the big 3 foot snowstorm. Barb wasn't scheduled to work that day, and as she was completely snowed in, she decided to start a new project.

She'd been itching to test out the new Denise Interchangeable Crochet Hook Set, so she went to their website and found a free pattern for a little bag. She had a skein of Lamb's Pride Worsted at home in one of the variegated colors (Elderberry Wine) so she thought she'd play around with it.

The Denise website is FULL of instructional videos for Tunisian crochet. So in a matter of minutes, Barb was already a pro.

It was so much fun, that before she knew it, she'd completed this adorable bag! She's already thinking about ways to make a similar, yet slightly larger, one.

How great would this be done in spring colors and used as a little Easter basket? Or done in cotton or hemp and used as a market bag?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hooker alert!

We just got the Interweave Crochet Spring 2011 Magazine, and it's got some awesome projects, as usual. I'm particularly fond of the Dahlia Shawl which is done in Manos del Uruguay Lace. This is the one Manos yarn we do not yet stock (maybe now we will have to look more closely at it!) so I would be tempted to substitute the Filatura di Crosa Nirvana or the Malabrigo Lace.

The dew Drop bracelet is really sweet and would make a great gift!
It's a perfect project for Classic Elite Firefly, and of course, a visit to Bead Crazy would be in order for this one.

Another beautiful project is the Magic Carpet Blanket.
It's completely portable, and I would love to do this in some really fun colors of Berroco Comfort DK.

Just one more to share... the Cupcake Sweater in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool.
This one is a sampler Tunisian Crochet Cardigan - that incorporates four Tunisian stitches - the simple stitch, the knit stitch, the purl stitch and a lace stitch. Maybe Barb will have to make this one now that she's so hooked on Tunisian crochet!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dumplings for lunch!

Well, okay, not for lunch. But the Hiya Hiya Dumpling cases are back in stock for the moment! This is the number one most difficult item to keep in stock. It's an adorable little silk case full of cute stitch markers.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Searching for the perfect men's headwear

I really enjoy knitting hats and I love finding exciting hat patterns that I've never tried. It's easy to find hat patterns for women, but I find it more difficult to find good hat patterns for men. And I have a number of guy friends who appreciate a hat handout every now and then.

Guys typically like more muted colors and they're definitely not into the lacy look.
I recently found some patterns that are perfect for guys. And hey, if you change the color of the yarn, I think even the girls will like these. It does help that both were designed by men who knit.

The Koolhaas Hat
is by Jared Flood (aka Brooklyn Tweed)
. I always admire Jared's patterns and this hat has been in my queue since it was first published in an Interweave Knits Magazine a couple of years ago. Since I now know how to cable without a cable needle, I picked the pattern up and it seemed like much less fuss to make all those 1 stitch twists. I love it! Think of all the different colors you could knit this in to suit anyone you know! I used the Manos Rittenhouse Merino.

The Botanic Hat is by Stephen West (aka Westknits). This hat is reversible so you can decide if you're feeling more bold or just wanting to keep your head warm with simple stripes. Again, I used Manos Rittenhouse Merino. Here's a happy friend wearing it:And the reversible version:I have plans for another Botanic Hat in more solid colors using Malabrigo Worsted but in the meantime I've been distracted by another of Westknits' designs... I cast on for Windschief with the beautiful sunset color of Malabrigo Rios.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Take me to the moon, if you want to...

Diana N. came in to the shop a few weeks ago to ask us for some assistance with a project and we all went 'Ooooohhhh!' the minute it came out of her knitting bag. One of Diana's daughters decided just after last Halloween that she was going to dress up as the Moon next year.

Well, we recently got some new yarn that just sparkles in a cool silvery way and Diana thought of course the Moon will need a scarf. So she bought a couple of balls of the Stacy Charles Crystal and is working a very simple garter stitch scarf to be part of the costume.

The photo certainly doesn't do it justice. She has since finished the scarf - and it's just gorgeous. We hope to get a photo of her daughter's complete outfit next fall!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Overheard in the shop yesterday...

While we were admiring customer Deb N's awesome knitting bag, sheep stitch markers and knitting themed pin... she said,

"I can't knit for crap, but I sure look good doing it!"

Well we agree and disagree.

Agree: she does look really good!

Disagree: she's totally downplaying her knitting skills. She is a good knitter!

We told her she should stop in daily, just to give us some comedic relief!

One summer project down, one to go

We've made some great progress on our 2 samples in Sirdar Summer Stripes. The adult sweater is finished - and I love it! It's an easy sweater with a really cute collar. I would wear this myself, but I would make it longer. It's meant to be a cropped sweater, and I am not really in a "cropped" phase in my life right now. I love how the sweater fits, and the collar is flattering - it's made with wraps and turns so it is shaped nicely. I think the striping of this yarn is just beautiful!

I am almost finished the child's sweater sample.
I've completed the back, the fronts, the shoulder seaming, the front bands and the neckband. All that's left are two short sleeves and choosing a button. It's a simple pattern, and really the only minor difficulty that I foresee people experiencing with this sweater is the neck decreases and keeping the feather & fan pattern going properly. It definitely made me have to use my brain a little more than I sometimes like to at night! But if I managed it, you can manage it. You just have to count out your increases and decreases in the feather and fan pattern, and then make sure you are working the proper number of neck shaping decreases in addition.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Believe me, it's that same color!

Today we received a new yarn: Noro Taiyo Sock yarn. It's a thinner version of it's big sister Taiyo - which is a heavy worsted favorite in our shop for sweaters, baby blankets and cozy spring cotton scarves. It's got the same main ingredients as the Taiyo: cotton, wool, nylon and silk, but in slightly different percentages (more cotton and less silk). Of course this would be a great cotton sock yarn, but I am seeing shawls and lighter sweaters here...

The colors are amazing, and in true Noro form, each ball packs a LOT of color!
Can you believe that these two balls are the same color? (color #5) And these two balls are the same, both color #9? When photographing them, I thought they were completely different colors. It just shows how balls of Noro yarn have lots of hidden surprises inside them! And sometimes you just never know what's coming next...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

And that reminds me of...

In yesterday's post I shared a new pattern booklet that focused on designs for the home. It reminded me of a pattern booklet I own, so last night I went home and dug through the pattern stash.

When I was in Finland after Christmas this year, I visited the Taito Shop, a Finnish shop that offers an incredible selection of traditional products, arts & crafts related to Finnish culture. Of course, they had yarn, too... wools and wool blends and other blends, and even paper yarn made from Finnish spruce pulp.

The paper yarn is available in several weights, and I was just fascinated with it.
They knit and crochet with it, but also use it in other ways - to wrap gifts, to make paper flowers, to sculpt wreaths, and more. The shop had such lovely samples knit and crocheted with the paper yarn - I think I was in there for an hour just trying to take everything in. Marc and the girls were pretty patient, considering! I left without buying anything, but of course returned the next day and bought a large bag full of paper yarn and a pattern booklet to bring back to Vermont. This booklet has the most amazing patterns for rugs, placements, wall hangings, table runners, shopping bags, pillows, wreaths and more. Some are knit, some are crocheted and some are woven. Of course the pattern booklet is totally in Finnish, mind you! Call me ambitious, or call me stupid, but with the help of Google translate, I think I'm up for this challenge. Here's a "simpukka-varjostin" that I MUST make (shellfish shade): And how cool are these? A little knitted tube and a strand of lights - perfect for a porch or patio.More lampshades, and aren't these scrumptious!?And great table items. I need some of these! How about a bag for apple picking next fall? (Or to store your yarn in?) These bags are smaller - perfect for a trip to the market.I'm excited to try a new type of yarn. I'll let you know how it goes!

Home Decor Anyone?

We just got a new pattern booklet from Classic Elite that is full of things to knit for the home. As I put this product online earlier today, I was struck by how many great patterns there are in this booklet! It's called Home Sweet Home.

I love the Modular throw, knit out of Sprout.
This would work up so quickly, and even though I like the bold choices they show in the picture (Cool Olive & New Navy) I would definitely tone it down and use something along the lines of Sepia, Summer Rain, Glacier or Mint.

I am a total sucker for a granny square blanket, especially when it's done in colors like this one!
It calls for Classic Elite Pebbles, but I would use Berroco Comfort DK or Berroco Pure Pima.

This little window shade is sweet!
It's done in Classic Elite Firefly, and this is a great new yarn that we brought in for spring. It's got it's own pattern booklet for garments, but it's refreshing to see it worked up in an item that your home can wear!

And oh how I love this lampshade!
We don't stock the Classic Elite Allegoro yarn, but I would definitely substitute Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy.

There are a lot of other great patterns in this booklet - for curtains, table runners, placemats and pillows. Doesn't your home deserve to wear some of your handiwork too?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Manic-In Monday

This week's sweater is a gorgeous fingering weight cardigan, paired with a scrumptiously soft, feminine scarf. Sure, sweaters in fingering weight yarn take much longer to make, but they're SO worth it! They are lightweight, yet warm, and can really be worn in every season of the year. And the scarf? Our top seller - and if you've touched it, you know why.

Sweater: Florence Cardigan from Ella Rae Lace Merino Book #104 made up in a solid color of Ella Rae Lace Merino. Our sample is knit in a color we no longer carry, but think outside of the box on this... if you can't find a color you like, may we suggest Malabrigo Sock or Spud & Chloe Fine?

Scarf: Jade Sapphire Cashmere Scarf for Her kit.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hats 4 Hunger

A number of hats for Hats 4 Hunger have been dropped off and sent in. Thanks to everyone - they are looking great! Remember, our prize drawing is on 3/31 so keep them coming! Don't know what we are talking about? Read about it here.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Inside Berroco Book #306: Glint

Here's a great audio slideshow on Berroco Book #306! It's always fun to hear the designers' take on the designs...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Don't forget the buttons!

We've recently finished a couple of samples for kids in the shop. And sometimes it's as much fun picking out the buttons as it is making the sweater!

We made up two new
Knitting Pure & Simple patterns that we've just gotten in. (We also have new ones for adults, so check them out!) The first is a Henley Top Down Pullover. It's got a gauge of 4.5 stitches to the inch. We chose a
super fun color of Berroco Remix (called Sprig) and knit up a size 4. This yarn is so soft and it's machine washable... another reason we chose it for this kid's sweater. Of course the monster button makes it even more fun! We also made the Knitting Pure & Simple Girl's Cap Sleeve Cardi in a size 6. This is a cute short sleeve sweater that is longer in length. It would look adorable with leggings. We used Classic Elite Sprout in the color Sepia. Who says little girls always have to wear pink or purple? This cotton is a super soft organic cotton. And of course, once again, the buttons totally make the sweater. We don't have any Piggly Wiggly stores here, but we've got the buttons!

Did you know we've got a huge button selection on our website? And when you buy 10 or more buttons (any style, any combination) the button prices are automatically discounted by 20%? Sweet!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

An awesome sweater for a not so awesome day

It's an icky weather forecast for today, Saturday March 5th, 2011. I mean, I know it's spring, but I'll take a sunny, warm day over a damp, rainy day any time!

Emily just finished a new sweater. Granted, she wore it yesterday (Friday) but because today is dull outside, we thought you'd appreciate a little lift. So here it is:
and here are the details:
  • Tea Leaves Cardigan - a beautiful sweater with a super flattering fit
  • Malabrigo Rios - a super soft merino wool (that's machine washable) in a crazy fun color (called Sunset) (NOTE: A huge Malabrigo shipment left their location for us... including such goodies, we can't wait!)
  • And look closely at these buttons:
Robots. WHAT FUN! It doesn't get much better than this. They're new, and they're here.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Free on Friday

I posted a link to this scarf pattern in another post earlier in February when I announced we'd received the Classic Elite Firefly yarn. But we've finished our shop sample, and it's just SO spectacular, that we thought it deserved some recognition in a Free on Friday post.

So here it is - the gorgeous Firefly scarf.
The free pattern, courtesy of Classic Elite, can be found here. This scarf is perfect for spring. So get cracking!!