Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We're Okay, Thanks!

We so appreciate the support of our customers and friends. We couldn't be here without you, and to know that you care and were worried about us during Hurricane Irene is so heartwarming. 

This past weekend's weather event was strong and scary. But we are fine. We had no flooding, no wind damage, no power outage. We are among the lucky ones. My staff - who all live in a pretty wide radius of Essex Jct - also weathered the storm very well, with perhaps some lack of power, but nothing else. It could have been so much worse for us, but it wasn't. For many others it was.

By now we've all seen the heartbreaking pictures and videos coming from towns all over Vermont: houses flooding and floating away, historic covered bridges collapsing into rivers and disappearing and sections of highways being broken up like potato chips. It just doesn't seem real.

We've had lots of customer emails over the past couple of days, asking us if we were okay and pouring out their sympathies for all of the people in our lovely state who have lost everything in Hurricane Irene. Thanks so much for your care and concern. Fortunately we do not need it, but we will pass it along to those who do. Our hearts go out to everybody in Vermont (and in other states) who was affected by Irene.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Knitting Gardeners (or Knitters w/Gardening Friends)... This One's For You!

Is it just a coincidence that almost every single knitter I know is also an avid gardener? The only bad thing about knitting and gardening is that the knitting always suffers when it's gardening season, right?

Well there's not much we can do about that. I don't believe anyone has found a way to knit and garden (successfully) at the same time. I have seen people knitting while exercising though, so maybe it's only a matter of time?

For now, here's a great way for you to at least ENJOY your knitting while working in your garden. A husband and wife pair from San Francisco have started "Plant Bombing" and I'm absolutely loving it! 

Read the article on by clicking here!
I used to have hens & chicks in my rock garden, but I would much rather plant them in these colorful pockets!
Check out Heather's website for instructions!
Heather's website has great instructions on how to make these knitted pockets. Crocheters need not feel left out... it's a pretty simple construction and could easily be done in crochet.

This is a great project for stash yarn, and a great CREATIVE gift for all of your gardening friends this holiday.

Noro Silk Garden Color Inspiration

We received some amazing new colorways of Noro Silk Garden yarn 
not too long ago. I kept admiring them, and finally couldn't resist any longer. So I decided to take a break from my current project (a stealth one that I can't share with you until after the wedding next month!) and start something new.

I took home 2 skeins of the plum, mustard, tomato, and tan colorway (#341).  This color was calling out to me on a daily basis, and so it quickly became a hat. The Spiral Beanie Hat.
I have already had so many comments on this - everyone loves the colors! I promise I haven't been wearing it yet. It is still too hot for that here. The comments come from when I am working on it in public!

The pattern is in Noro Knits and is a simple 4 row repeat with slight modifications for the decreases at the top.  Doesn't the spiral jump out due to the color changes? LOVE! 

And I'm not alone in making this hat. It's a top pick of our customers, too!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Petite Hats

contributed by Shawn

Our preemie hat drive and contest is still going on!

We are still asking folks to bring us creative Preemie Hats.  I finished my first one in record time. (Do you know how QUICK tiny hats are?) 

I made a simple one color tea-bag (rectangular top) style hat. It's not too fancy, just a cute shape for a tiny head with a bit of alternating knit and purl stitching for texture interest.  
I used our free preemie hat pattern to give me an idea of the number of stitches needed for correct sizing and then just let things flow.  The Plymouth Dreambaby DK yarn is soft and I'm sure the dusty blue color will look great on some little distinguished gentleman in the NICU.

Fashion, and function

Ruffles. Sure they're topping the trend charts right now, but a ruffled scarf is definitely more decorative than it is warm. And with cooler temperatures just around the corner, it's important to put some function into your fashion.

Barb and decided to add some warmth to a ruffled scarf. She experimented with the Trendsetter Flamenco and Joseph Galler Flore Mohair. The end result is spectacular! 

Stay tuned for the pattern, we'll have it written up later today. And remember, any of the ruffled yarns will work for this pattern!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fall's Coming. Wrap Your Head Around It.

Even though things in Vermont are not quite as fall-like as they are here in Finland, our Vermont customers have started to wrap their heads around fall projects. And by "wrap their heads" we find it interesting that a lot of people are making just that... head wraps! Hats, beanies, berets, whatever you call them, they're always fun projects. And we have a few that are standing out as the favorites of the season.

The Zig Zag Tam has to be one of the leaders! Can you believe that these two hats were made with the SAME two colors of yarn? That's right. They just alternated the MC and the CC. Even if you knit two hats using the same colors (without alternating MC and CC) you will have two hats that appear different. The Classic Elite Liberty Wool is for sure one of my favorite yarns. I don't know why I love it (the colorways? the random striping? the softness? the washability? the hand?) but I do. Many customers are finding this hat irresistable, and I'm really not surprised at all. It's on my list as well.
Another is the Spiral Beanie. This one also quenches the thirst of color seekers. It's knit with just 2 skeins of Noro Silk Garden (can also be made in Noro Kureyon if you'd like) and the pattern is in the Knit Noro book. Remember Shawn's blog post about this book? Well the true Noro lovers (and new Noro lovers) came flocking, and it's safe to say that our customers have got a lot of Noro on the needles right now!
The Zeikova Hat is another one that is drawing attention. This style of hat - somewhat over-sized and slouchy - has a unisex look. And it only looks hard! This easy hat is reversible, and worked in two colors of Berroco Flicker, a gorgeous and soft alpaca chainette yarn with an ever so subtle glitter. The new shades that just came out are perfect for this hat.
All three of these are great hats for the coming cold season. And they'd be great as gifts too!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Remember this?
Well now it's finished, and I love it! Of course it's going to be making it's way back to the shop this week, so it will not get buttons until it arrives there.
I had enough yarn leftover that I decided to make a super cute jester hat. I found the pattern on Ravelry (it's free) and it is a great project for self striping yarn like the Liberty Wool. It's called the Baby Jester Hat.
I've also completed one preemie hat for our preemie hat drive. (Notice how I'm working a lot with yellows, greens and blues? Hmmm.)

I whipped it up pretty quickly the other day, and then paused for a bit to make the jester hat. I'll be making more... and hey, that jester hat might be a good idea...

Now I'm about to start the Storm Cloud Shawlette, another freebie on Ravelry. I am going to try combining the Blue Heron Rayon Metallic with the Rowan Kid Silk Haze. I love lace weight yarns like the Kid Silk Haze, but I'm not fond of using them by themselves. I thought that blending it with the Rayon Metallic would be more up my alley!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Knitscene Fall 2011 Preview

contributed by Shawn

The wonderful fall projects just keep rolling right in!  Check out the new issue of Knitscene Fall 2011.

In keeping with the 'We Love Bulky Yarns' trend for this fall the Grand Palais Shawl by Tanis Gray will be quick knit in Tahki Montana Yarn. This is a simple garter stitch triangular shawl with a knit-on lace edging. Hey what a great way to try lace knitting - with bulky yarn!
We often get asked for advice on top-down and bottom-up knitting patterns in the shop. The Beauty of Seamless article by Amy Palmer discusses top down vs bottom up circular seamless knitting techniques.  She suggests pitfalls that may arise so that you can weigh your options BEFORE you start your project. And she points out that the beauty of knitting sweaters in the round is that you can often try these on in the middle of your knitting process to be sure you get it just right!  Knitting Pure & Simple patterns are some of my favorites for beginner top-down patterns, and Figheadh Fundamentals has some great ones too.
For those of you sending off a college-bound guy this fall, there is a great quick bulky knit for him! Take a look at the East Hale Cardigan by Alexis Winslow.  Knit in Cascade EcoWool the yarn offers a range of lovely neutral shades in un-dyed wool.  A quick zippered layer with a shawl collar and garter trim detailed with i-cord edging.
By knitting the lace weight Filatura di Crosa Nirvana Yarn at a sport/dk weight gauge, Debbie O'Neill offers the sophisticated Hawkmoth Pullover. It's perfect for layering over those summer tops on a cool autumn evening.
And just because I LOVE saying the word 'Lepidoptera' I have to point out the Lepidoptera Cardigan by Anne Kuo Lukito.  This is knit in Manos del Uruguay Lace. The patterning is lovely - like scales on a butterfly wing - and the difference in texture is achieved by knitting the lace yarn single stranded for the body and double stranded for the edging panels.
Amy Herzog features two different patterns in this issue that use some of my favorite yarns. The Cooke Cardigan is knit using Fibre Company Canopy Worsted. I think it would be lovely in my favorite color Sarsparilla.
Also catching my eye for this fall is the Pinstripe Pullover knit using Berroco Ultra Alpaca.  We got in some great new shades for fall, and I just have to choose a color first!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A quick peek at some of the new fall yarns

New yarns, new yarns! From novelties, to super bulkies, and ruffles to chainette, we’ve got em!

This year novelty yarns are back, but they’re not like the novelty yarns of 4-5 years ago. They’re packed with different colors, fibers and textures. A couple of my favorites are Trendsetter Venus and Trendsetter Rendezvous. These are colorful and soft, and great for quick hats and scarves. (Excuse the watermarks!)

Another popular trend this season is using super chunky yarns like Berroco Link and Trendsetter Orbit… We’ve got size 35 and 50 needles for these yarns. Talk about instant gratification!

And ruffles are everywhere… We’ve got Knitting Fever Flounce, Knitting Fever Triana and Trendsetter Flamenco to satisfy all of you ruffle fiends. These yarns can be knit by themselves, but try adding in a few rows at a time to accessories for a really great look.

Another big thing this year… chainette construction yarns that knit up quickly and a warm and are super lightweight. Rowan Alpaca Chunky and Plymouth DeAire are two examples, and are both great for cozy accessories and sweaters.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Holiday Inspiration in August

contributed by Shawn

I hope we won't spoil anyone's fun this holiday season, but we just have to share these!

Pauli saw our SnoBuddies shop samples and knew exactly what she wanted to treat all of her children and their families to for the 2011 holiday season. She got the Knitting at Knoon Snobuddies pattern and has been VERY busy. She's made 47 of these little guys! Each one represents a member of her family - WOW! We are so impressed with this.
When she brought me the photo she also brought some snapshots of a couple of other projects.  She's been busy making small knitted toys for relatives she knows will appreciate them.  Here are a golden retriever (knit in Ella Rae Amity Print along with a few sheep knit in various worsted weight yarns.  

I know it's only August, but the holidays are fast approaching! If you are looking for some of these fun little toys to knit as gifts, check out the new Spud & Chloe at the Farm book, Itty Bitty Toys, and other Knitting at Knoon patterns.

Friday, August 12, 2011

What inspires you?

Do you ever get inspired to knit by everyday objects? Whether it's a pattern or texture you see that you'd like to recreate, or simply colors you fall in love with that you'd like to incorporate in your knitting or crocheting?

This past weekend we drove to Helsinki to meet my parents who were arriving from the states for a week's visit. We had a wonderful time, and even though there was much to love about the city (food, sights, design, people, shops, restaurants, markets, etc) I was most inspired by the colors. I found myself thinking about yarn the whole time!

Here are some of my favorite shots from my weekend in Helsinki, and the yarns they brought to mind:
"Golden Girl" posing on the Esplanade
Yarns: Crystal in Gold, Minnow Merino in Green Grass, and  
Vintage in Sunny and Blush

The corner of Heleninkatu (means Helen's street, so of course we had to take a picture of Helen with the sign!) with its beautifully colored old buildings
Yarns: Baby Cashmerino in Gold, Apricot and Medium Grey

A block away from our hotel, on Fabianinkatu
Yarns: Baby Cashmerino in Yellow and Dusty Pink, 
Luna in Sunset and Silver Mist, and 
Ultra Alpaca in Salt and Pepper
Gorgeous buildings we passed on the way to the Design Museum
Yarns: Plymouth Encore in Living Coral, Soft White, 
Golden Glow and Cocoa
Window boxes full of purple and green foliage along the Esplanade
Yarns: Manos Wool Clasica in Uranium and 
Manos Serena in Mulled Wine and Boysenberry
A beautiful door at the sea fortress of Suomenlinna
Yarns: Manos Wool Classica in Medium Naturals, 
Manos Rittenhouse in Goldenrod, and 
Manos Maxima in Beehive and Key Lime
Fish, rice, fruit and vegetables at the Kauppatori, Helsinki's outside market. 
Doesn't this look delicious? (It was!)
Yarns: Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Grapefruit Mix, Grove Mix 
and Cardinal, and Berroco Link in Earthen
Our first view of the Helsinki Cathedral
Yarns: Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino in Splash, Vanilla, 
Marmite, Carrots and Froggie
A scrumptious lunch of peas, strawberries and salmon. Okay, we were food obsessed!
Yarns: Jil Eaton Cottontail in Orangini, Poppy, 
Lime, Daisy and Spring
Don't rush through life. Stop for a minute and look around you. Take it all in. Let what you see inspire you in your creations!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Interweave Knits Fall 2011

contributed by Shawn

I may knit all year round, but I have to admit I love the lead-in to autumn in the shop as new yarns and patterns come in! There are new temptations that will urge anyone to pick up their needles in the recently arrived pages of Interweave Knits Fall 2011 magazine.

The Dahlia Cardigan by Heather Zoppetti is a simply stunning sweater.  This piece has a delicate and eye-catching lace motif centered on the back of the sweater and is knit from Manos Serena yarn. The simple rectangular shape of this sweater drapes into a lovely silhouette due to the Serena's lightweight blend of alpaca and cotton fibers.
Take a look at the colors and patterns that Odessa Raichel used in the True North Mittens. Snowflakes, deer, and evergreens, oh my! These will be a cozy treat knit from Berroco Blackstone Tweed.
I'm especially pleased to see that the ladies from Kelbourne Woolens are the feature of this issue's designer profile.  It is so nice to learn more about the folks who answer the phone when we place orders for our Fibre Company yarns! Kate Gagnon Osborn and Courtney Kelley also have some lovely patterns and we have a number of them available here.
I love the lines in this long cabled coat and can imagine pulling the collar up on a chilly day.  Wouldn't this be lovely knit from the Aquatic color of Twinkle Handknits Soft Chunky Yarn? It's the Cardiff Coat by Jennifer Wood. It makes me think of leaf season in Vermont! And the Shadow Tuque would match my coat when the weather turns to snow.
Have you noticed that summer is slipping by? It's August already and that means it's time to start thinking about your autumn knitting!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Currently on the needles

Louisa Harding Aimee... so incredibly soft and lightweight! I've been wanting to use this yarn for so long but I just couldn't figure out what to make with it.
After my recent color work mitten project, and my mosaic swatching, I'm still sort of bitten by the color bug. I knew that I couldn't use just one color of Aimee.

So I grabbed three (Cupid, Cedar & Bud) and after looking through all of my Barbara Walker stitch books, I found a great pattern.

Here's the gorgeous right side:
And the not so bad wrong side:
All I will say for now is that it's easy and pretty mindless and totally lays flat. I'll share it when it's completed!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Preemie Hat Drive & Contest

Twelve years ago on August 10th, my twin daughters were born. They spent the first month of their lives in the FAHC Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. To celebrate their upcoming 12th birthday, Kaleidoscope Yarns is having a Preemie Hat Drive & Contest! We’ll be giving out coupons for each hat donated and will also be awarding 8 different prizes. The deadline for this contest is September 30th (Friday). Here are the details:

HAT SPECS (Please pay close attention):
Size: Hats must be sized properly for preemies or newborn babies. Please find a pattern or follow the stitch count of a tested pattern. Hats that are not long enough and too wide may look cute but they will not stay on any baby’s head. Please don’t “wing it”! There are hundreds of free preemie hat patterns, and we’ve found that many of them are not sized properly. Here is a Kyarns free pattern for a preemie hat with three size options. Use ours as a guideline. You can also follow a newborn hat pattern because not all babies that stay in the NICU are this small!
Materials: Yarn must be a soft, washable blend. Please do not use any scratchy yarns. Higher quality baby yarns are preferred, such as Berroco Comfort DK and Plymouth Dreambaby DK. If a hat is scratchy, we cannot give it to the NICU. If you have a yarn you would like to use and you’re not sure if it’s a good match for a sensitive preemie’s head, please bring it in and ask us! 

Design: Be creative! All hats submitted will be voted on (and prizes awarded) before we donate them to the NICU. Make it cute, make it fun, make it funny, make it colorful, but above all, make it soft and make it fit!

Drop Off: Please get us your hats by Friday, September 30th. We’ll need your name and contact information (phone number or email) in case your hat wins a prize.

Prizes: Prizes will be awarded for Cutest Girl’s Hat, Cutest Boy’s Hat, Most Colorful Hat, Best Designed Hat, Funniest Hat, Most Professionally Finished Hat, Best Twin Set (2 hats!), and Best Either/Or (either boy or girl!). And for each hat you drop off, you'll get a coupon for 15% off one item in the shop.

We’ve got plenty. Come into the shop and buy a ball of Dreambaby DK or Comfort DK and get one ½ off. Second ball must be the same yarn in a different shade. Limit of 2 discounted balls per customer.
We have a pretty good supply of partial skeins on sale in the shop, and they’re cheap! These are great for colorwork so please come into the shop to see them. (These are already discounted and are not part of the promo above)

This contest is designed for locals, simply because the discount on Dreambaby DK and Comfort DK we are offering is handled at the register in our shop. There's no easy way for us to make this automatic with our website. 
However, if ANY of our internet customers would like to send us a preemie hat or two, PLEASE DO! We will happily keep a "15% off one item" coupon (per hat) on file for you, and we can arrange to use that on a future order. Also, all hats we receive, from both near and far, will be eligible for judging in the contest. 

So cast on! Let's see how creative everybody can be!