Thursday, September 29, 2011

Interweave Crochet Fall 2011

contributed by Shawn

Get out those crochet hooks!  There are some fabulous new crochet designs to dive into in Interweave Crochet's Fall 2011

Everyone loves a multi-purpose wardrobe addition and the Lace Canopy Cardi Wrap by Simona Merchant-Dest sure fits that bill!  These photos show the same garment worn in many different ways.  And the Fibre Company Canopy Fingering yarn is sure to make this a favorite all on its own.
There are several different hats to try out for gifts this winter.  I love the patterning on the Honeysuckle Hat by Aparna Rolfe. The Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine yarn shows excellent stitch definition.
The Atomic Hat by Linda Permann also has great stitch definition inspired by 1950's style fabric. Suitable for men, women, or children this hat uses the Spud & Chloe Fineyarn - a machine washable wool-silk blend. 
This one's name speaks for itself: the Best Guy Hat Ever by Brenda K.B. Anderson.  This calls for a sport weight yarn and it is just shouting out for the super-soft, easy-care, Berroco Vintage DK yarn
This hat would be a perfect compliment to the Hank and Joe Vest by Brenda K.B. Anderson as you can see by the photos!  The vest is shown in Berroco Vintage DK yarn. This vest is worked in one piece and has a lovely detail panel running up the front, but it isn't too fussy for boys or men.
For Tunisian crochet fans there is an excellent Tunisian and Entrelac combination project that creates quite the figure flattering combo: Betty's Tunisian Tee by Tram Nguyen. Try it in the Debbie Bliss Prima for another great easy-care garment.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2011

contributed by Shawn

I just can't keep up with the number of new patterns that have arrived in the shop that I want to make!  Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2011 arrived just in time to tempt all of our customers with excellent gift ideas!

I didn't waste any time getting started. I grabbed some Berroco Remix so that I can try out the short row techniques that Robin Ulrich uses to create the Northwoods Coasters. I'll let you know how that goes soon.

Next on my list? Is it an octopus? Or an octahedron? The Cephalohedron by Erica Schlueter is both! The Kidz Orange color in Berroco Comfort DK will be perfect. Then again, I can see one of the spotted colorways being a fun choice too!
I think I will be practicing my garter stitch seams by making a few of the Quatrefoil Cups by Katya Frankel in Berroco Vintage.
I might have to sneak the Midtown Cowl by Jenny Williams into my queue just for myself.  It's a wonderful excuse to knit with the Filatura di Crosa Superior yarn.
So many of my favorite yarns make an appearance in this issue that I just don't know when I'll have time to get all these projects in.  We just got some new Malabrigo stock so I've been eyeing the Rib and Button Scarf by Talitha Kuomi. It's shown in Malabrigo Rios yarn.
I also like the First Friday Shrug by Erica Jackofsky (Fiddle Knits). This is shown in Malabrigo Lace yarn.
Another of my favorite yarns, Manos del Uruguay Rittenhouse is simply stunning in the Flamboyant Shawl by Maria Leigh.
The great patterns don't stop here! Come on in and check out all of the other amazing gift ideas.  Don't forget you have just under 3 months before the winter holiday season hits!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Crazy little things called socks

contributed by Emily 

I don't know if you've noticed, but there's been a craze sweeping through the knitting world for a couple of years now, and it's all about socks! Knitters have been going bananas over socks and for good reason. Socks are a great, portable project. They only require one skein to make (in most instances), there are an infinite number of beautiful patterns out there, and almost everybody in the family will like to wear them, even those who may squirm at the very mention of wearing a sweater!

And most importantly of all, knitting socks is quick and easy. Seriously!

"But," I hear you saying to your computer right now, "there are all those needles! And the needles are so fiddly! And there are so many stitches!?"

Well, not in the socks we're going to be making in our Learn to Knit Socks class. The techniques for making socks are the same, whether you're using size 0 needles or size 8s.

For our class, we're going to be using worsted weight yarn (we love the Berroco Vintage for these socks) and size 5 needles, so that learning the techniques involved in creating a sock are clear and understandable. And the great thing is that once you've gotten the idea about making a basic sock, the technique can then be used to create any sock you want. And believe me, once you begin looking at sock patterns, you may never knit anything else!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Colorful hands

contributed by Barb

Coming up with new classes each season isn't as simple as you might think. Customers request classes, and we come up with our own ideas, but then comes the challenging part. We have to find the perfect project for teaching each technique. The project needs to be interesting without being too difficult (we don't want to frustrate anyone!) and it needs to have new techniques, but not so many that people won't retain them all.  Sometimes it can be quite challenging to find exactly the right project.

I think I found a great project for our fair isle class this fall. I'll be teaching how to knit a simple set of wrist warmers. Wristers are a popular project, and they're pretty quick too.They're also a great gift idea for all those people on your holiday list. (hint hint)

The pattern I selected has hemmed edges, so this will be new for a lot of people. And the best part is that the color work ends when you start the thumb gusset.  It just seems to make it easier to concentrate on one thing at a time, and for those new to color work, this will be a good thing. Hope to see you in class!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hey Locals, here's one for you!

Over the years we've been asked about frequent buyer programs and punch cards and why we haven't had them. We chose to offer weekly specials online, and we've offered some pretty awesome deals that way. Those deals are available to locals and non-locals, you just had to be on our email list.

But we do love our local customers. And we wouldn't be here without you! So we've thought long and hard about what kind of reward program we wanted to offer... Starting in the beginning of September we began handing out "K-Kash". For every $10 in net sales you spend in the shop, you'll get $1 in K-Kash. K-Kash is yours to hold onto (please keep it in a safe place and treat it like real cashola!) until the specific K-Kash Days, when you can come in and redeem it towards a purchase. 
We wanted to start this in August, but we had to hammer out all the details. If you know anything about us, it's that we're sticklers for details! Also, August is a month that we're short on staff because of vacations, so it took a little bit of time.

But now, it's September, everyone's back and we're ready to roll! We have been getting such great feedback from our customers and it's pretty clear so far that they're really happy with this program. It is a "shop" program, for sales in the physical shop, and is not related to internet sales, even if they are ordered for pickup.

So come on in and start collecting your rewards! For more details, please ask anyone in the shop and they'll be happy to explain it to you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


So it's Vermont, and when people think of Vermont, they do tend to think of maple syrup, skiing, foliage and cows...

This is totally un-knitting related, but it's cow related, and we're proud of our cows. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: those aren't Vermont cows, but we still appreciate them.
This IS a Vermont cow. Who needs a little jazz to get up and get mooo-ving.

Double Duty Kitchen Scale

When packing up my kitchen last April to fill the container that was headed to Finland, I didn't pack my measuring cups and spoons. I thought, we're not moving until the end of June... surely I will bake cookies or bread or something in the next 2 months? Needless to say, I didn't use those cups and spoons before our move, and then they just wouldn't fit in the luggage so we stored them in Vermont with a whole lot of other stuff. I figured I would just buy new ones when I arrived.

Of course now I live in the land of metric, so cups and teaspoons and tablespoons are foreign here, and so I was forced to invest in a good old digital kitchen scale. It's somehow easy to convert the measurements to grams and then just weigh it out on the kitchen scale. I'm not embarrassed to say that my brain just doesn't function in deciliters quite yet, nor does it work in kilometers, kilograms or degrees Celsius. And after 3 months of being here, I am STILL converting Euros to dollars in my head.

But the kitchen scale has been wonderful. I've managed to make some of my signature baked goods, sort of as a way to make it feel like home for the girls. I've had success with my special chocolate chip cookies, although now they are more like "chocolate chunk" cookies. 

They don't sell chocolate chips over here... the folks in the grocery store had NO idea what we were talking about. Solution: we're buying huge Fazer milk chocolate bars and cutting them up into small chunks. 
Yep, that says "200g"... these are HUGE!
And my banana bread, also with Fazer chunks, is quite tasty.
But the other night I needed my kitchen scale for another reason. I had a skein of Trendsetter Venus and wanted to make a scarf with it. This is a beautiful yarn that is made up of color coordinated pieces of different yarns. When twisted up into a hank, it's quite beautiful, as all of the yarns really work well together, However, if you were to just cast on 20 stitches and knit, you would end up with large chunky sections of each yarn. NOT a bad thing, just not what I envisioned for this skein. So I would the entire hank into a ball. (Note the old fashioned ball... guess who forgot to pack a ballwinder?)
I plopped it on the kitchen scale to see exactly how many grams I had. and started to wind back a smaller ball from the large ball. I checked off and on until both I had two balls that weighed the same amount. And then SNIP. Two balls, ready to be worked double stranded. 
What a great way to use this yarn and really blend the fibers.
It's still got a "chunky" look to it but it's way more subtle. I love it!

Here's the easy 2 row pattern:

1 hank Trendsetter Venus (split into 2 even balls and used double stranded)
size 11 or 13 needles - our choice (I used 11s but am a somewhat tight knitter)

Cast on 13 stitches
Row 1: (k2tog, yo) rep to last stitch, k1
Row 2: (ps tog, yo) rep to last stitch, p1
Repeat to end and bind of loosely.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Another tempting knitting magazine for fall!

contributed by Shawn

Oh I love the fall knitting season! Another great magazine for fall has just arrived at the shop!
The Debbie Bliss Fall/Winter Knitting Magazine has amazing new patterns to choose from so check them out when you make your plans for this fall and winter's knitting.

These bunny booties are adorable! They're a great idea for all those upcoming fall baby showers.

There are some great fair isle patterns in this issue.  I especially like this cardigan in neutral tones. 
Very helpful... is the accompanying article on color-work tips, which includes finishing strategies for professional looking buttonholes and seams in these types of projects.
My favorite section is full of whimsical knits for little people to enjoy.  I can just imagine the hours of make-believe that this little mermaid inspired cape-lette will provide for any little girl lucky enough to receive one for the holidays.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I thought my baby days were over!

Ok, these ADORABLE preemie hats are enough to make me want to have another child... and that's saying a lot because my baby days are WAY over people!

Every single hat in this picture was made by our customer Janet B. That's right, When we asked folks to make preemie hats for the NICU, we figured one, maybe two hats would be a nice donation. But 24!? We are speechless.
Janet told the gals at the shop that since my girls Helen & Sophie just turned 12 this year, she would make 12 hats to donate for each of them. Aw! That is so sweet, thanks!

The hats on the right are cupcakes. The box is decorated to look like a bakery box - isn't that the sweetest thing ever? I can picture lots of little cupcake babies up in the NICU...
Cupcake Hats
And the other box contains 12 completely different hats. Look at some of these. I love the little sheep with it's textured fleece, and the beautiful colors, and flowers and fruit! I envy the NICU nurses when they get to give these to new babies.
Janet, you went above and beyond. Thank you so much! Your hats are amazing and brought such smiles to all of us. I know they will be cherished by all the babies (and their parents!) whose heads they get to top!


The weather for the next couple of days here in Vermont will give us a real taste of fall.

As knitters and crocheters, we're thrilled. It's time to get those woolies out of summer storage and start enjoying them!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A little housekeeping for Charity

Some updates on some recent charity items...

Yesterday was a feel good day! We sent a check to the Vermont Foodbank for over $3,600. We pledged 25% of our sales over a several day period to the Vermont Foodbank, and we're really proud of our efforts, and of your support. 

We were so touched by the kind emails and letters we received. It's really clear that the beautiful state we live in has also touched many of you in one way or another. We know the Vermont Foodbank has always done great work, and now they're working even harder than ever to make sure that Irene-affected Vermonters don't go hungry. They are doing a great job, but contributions certainly help them.

And last week, a pattern designer named Suzy Allen-Wuttke from Long Island contacted us after she heard we were donating a portion of our sales to the Vermont Foodbank. She very graciously offered to design a pattern for us to sell to our customers, if we'd donate 100% of the proceeds to the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund. This pattern is going to be available online in the next day or so (sorry! I've been hit with my first bad cold of the season here in Finland... yes, it's FALL already here and that means sickness!) Anyway, it's a great pattern and we are really excited to be able to give back in this way. Thanks Suzy!

And finally... preemie hats! Yes, we are still running our preemie hat contest and drive and we are accepting preemie hats through the end of September. We've had a bit of a slowdown in the preemie hat donations... I think that Irene had a bit to do with that. But it's not too late to whip one (or two!) up. For more information please read this.

Thanks again, we're proud to be here for all of you.