Monday, October 31, 2011

Dream in Color November Yarn Club

It's here! The Dream in Color Yarn Club November Yarn has arrived. It's a beautiful skein of Smooshy with Cashmere:
The free pattern is for a really nice scarf, shown on a man (yay! a manly pattern!) yet not so manly that it couldn't be unisex.
These monthly yarns have been going quickly, so if this one interests you, snap it up before it's gone.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Sparkly Hat

Because both Helen and Sophie have been knitting recently, I thought I'd ask them to write about and share their projects with everyone here. They have been doing quite a bit of writing in their own blog, which chronicles their new life here in Finland, but at this age, the more writing practice you get, the better. So I hope you enjoy the occasional post from my 12 year old knitters!
contributed by Helen

A while ago, my Mom knit a nice hat for the shop. I got to try it on at home and I liked how it fit and how soft it was. It also had sparkles and I really like sparkles.

Here in Finland it’s getting really cold and I need a new hat. I'm making this hat in a different color. I’m also going to put on a knitted bow because I think it will look nice that way. 

This is a free pattern, called the Horizontal Ribbed Band Hat. This is great because whenever I need to look at the pattern I pull it up on my phone and I don’t have to worry about keeping track of a piece of paper. So far, I haven’t lost my phone!
Sophie and I working on our hats.
The pattern calls for Berroco Flicker, and I am using Pale Grey and the bow will be Cygne (pink). 

I hadn't knit in a while and I forgot how to cast on. So I watched Emily's video on the website and now I remember. If you don't do it a lot you can forget.
I started by knitting the band and I was supposed to knit for 19”. But I was watching TV when I was knitting and I accidentally knit for too long. My mom helped me rip out about an inch. We seamed the band into what looked like a headband and then she helped me change to a smaller pair of circular needles and showed me how to pick up stitches. I don’t really like picking up stitches because it takes a lot of concentration. But because my mom showed me how to do it the right way, it looks really nice. Now I’m just knitting in the round until I’m ready to decrease. 
I like the yarn, but it can be hard to knit with because it is a little bit stretchy. Sometimes on the band, I knit a really loose stitch and didn’t notice it right away. Instead of ripping back, my mom showed me that we could pull it to the side where I would pick up stitches. That way it will be hidden and we can tuck it in to the seam.

My idea for the bow is that I can knit a little strip out of the Berroco Flicker in pink and then tie it into a bow. I think it will look nice if I put it on the hat. I'm excited to see what my hat will look like when I'm finished. 
Here in Finland, everyone wears cowls. I have 3 extra skeins of Flicker that I was going to use for a scarf. But now I am going to make a cowl. I think a cowl will be warmer than a scarf because it will cover more of my neck. I've never had or made a cowl so I don't know what it will look like, but my mom will help me figure out how to do it.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Nanuk of the North

contributed by Chrissy

As we are finally beginning to feel autumn’s nip in the air, and we are looking ahead to frostier days, I am naturally dreaming of cozy knitted sweaters and accessories.  This year, I am particularly drawn to one of Berroco’s newer yarns:  Nanuk. 

Years ago I was a big fan of Berroco’s Chinchilla yarn for its soft, lush appearance and jewel-like tones. Nanuk shares some of these qualities and even takes them a step further.  A wool and nylon blend, its look is woolier than Chinchilla, but no less inviting. (Plus Nanuk doesn’t shed as you knit with it like the Chinchilla yarn did!)

Nanuk evokes a sense of faux fur that is irresistibly touchable.  Think warm; think snuggly.  Take thoughts of your favorite huggable teddy bear and then translate them into trim on hats, scarves and vests, like the Cappuccino Sweater:
and the Caffe Vest (both featured in Berroco Pattern Book #314): 
The texture also makes a lovely addition to mixed fiber projects! Combine this with a sport weight yarn as a carry-along for hats or scarves…mmmmm…I’m feeling warmer already!

As a tribute to Chinchilla, we knit up an easy scarf with just two balls of Nanuk. It's a free pattern!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spa in a Skein

contributed by Emily

It’s getting to be that time of year again, when the air is crisp and cool. And if you’re anything like me, you’re beginning to feel a little overwhelmed with the holiday knitting schedule you’ve set for yourself! Handmade gifts are the best, I think we can all agree. But it is important to pamper yourself a little bit, too!

For that, let me recommend what I like to call a “spa in a skein.” Tilli Tomas Artisan Sock Yarn is a super luxurious sock yarn that is so enjoyable and calming to knit with. Pair it with the easy (and free!) Polly Jean sock pattern, and you’ll have a little side project that you can turn to when the holiday knitting becomes overwhelming. 

And at the end of it all, you’ll have a beautiful pair of socks to wear while you watch your friends and family open up all of the lovely little gifties that you made for them!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Is your K-Kash in a safe place?

If you've been shopping in the shop recently, you've probably received some "K-Kash" with your receipts. Remember to keep it in a safe place and then get ready to spend it between January 15 and January 31, 2012!

It seems like that's pretty far away, but Christmas is in just 2 months! And that means that we're just 12 weeks away from K-Kash redemption time.
Our customers have been excited about this. A few of them come in with envelopes just bursting with K-Kash. I wonder if they're storing these envelopes in between the mattresses at home?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wrap these around your neck! New free patterns for scarves.

It's getting cooler, and it's best to always have a scarf with you when you leave the house. Both of these scarves are free patterns, and they're not just your everyday boring old scarves, either! 

First up we've got the Lengthwise Frill Scarf which uses two new yarns: Joseph Galler Flore II (a gorgeous worsted weight mohair) and a ruffle yarn. For the ruffle yarn, we used Trendsetter Flamenco, but since they've been very slow to ship us our other colors we want to let you know that any ruffle yarn can be substituted. That means Flounce and Triana or Triana Lux would work perfectly. The best part about this scarf is that it gives you all the fun of the ruffle yarns, but it's functional! The mohair adds warmth, because you know... sometimes you need function AND fashion.
Another great choice for a scarf is our Mohair Mistaken Rib Scarf. This is an easy pattern and we've worked it up on such a large needle that it takes almost no time at all! Again, fashion meets function here, as the Trendsetter Dune has just a touch of metallic shimmer worked in with a luxurious mohair & viscose blend.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Feel Good Moment

Last week, a customer of ours stopped in to share some photos with us. She's a nurse at the NICU at FAHC and wanted to stop in to thank everybody for the preemie hats, and to show us some adorable photos of some of the hats "in action"! 

She also brought a beautiful framed thank you note from the staff at the NICU. If the pictures of these adorable little babies wearing some of the hats that our wonderful customers made for them didn't make us tear up enough... seeing the thank you note and reading the lovely sentiments on it, just about put us over the edge.
Barb emailed me to let me know, and sent me a photo of the thank you note so I could read it. She also shared the photos with me and I, too, was moved to tears. I wanted to share the thank you here with everybody, so you can see just how much this meant to them.

Some of the comments:
  • Thank you for the lovely hats! Our babies have never looked cuter.
  • Our parents are thrilled to see a little color and fun on their children. It brings smiles to everyone's face.
  • Each little hat makes a big difference and is so appreciated.
  • Absolutely adorable hats! Thank you for your beautiful creations!
  • The hats are BEAUTIFUL!!! So much fun to give out to families!
  • Thank you so much! The parents were so excited to see their little ones all dolled up in these wonderful hats!
  • Thank you for the talent you have and share. We appreciate it so much!
  • Your kindness and creativity shine!
  • Thank you for your diligence. The children look so cute and the parents appreciate the hats!
  • All your hats have turned our unit into a bakery (cupcakes), farm (sheep) and garden (flowers and vegetables). And your creativity has brought many smiles. Thank you with gratitude.

For any locals who contributed hats, please stop into the shop to read this thank you note in person. It is, after all, for YOU!

We did get permission to post this one photo, and look - this sweet little baby is wearing one of the ones we named "Cutest Unisex". What a little love!
One of the "cutest babies" in the NICU, cuddling with Mommy and wearing the "cutest" hat!

This was a really fun thing to do. And please know that while our "official" preemie hat "contest and drive" are now over, we are ALWAYS happy to accept preemie hats and get them to the NICU. They're easy and fun to make, and when you think of how happy it makes people (parents, nurses, doctors and of course babies!) - that's all the thanks you'll ever need.

Friday, October 21, 2011

It's a hopping Friday night!

Went out to dinner with some new friends here in Tampere, and then came back to settle in with a little knitting. 

Helen's making the Horizontal Ribbed Band Hat out of Berroco Flicker, and Sophie's making the Bulky Cable & Ribbed Hat out of Malibrigo Chunky. The best part is... they're both free patterns on the site, so I am forcing them to refer to the patterns themselves on their mobile phones. No need to print the patterns out now, is there?
So I'm knitting, Helen's knitting, Sophie's knitting, and Maisy's just waiting for the right moment to pounce.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Knit Doctor is IN

It's that time of the year! Things are getting busy in the shop, and we have many customers who are trying to bang out the projects for holiday gifts. We've gotten requests for after hours help and so we're thrilled to introduce: KNIT E.R.

Knit E.R. will be open every other Thursday evening to help you with your knitting emergencies. It will be held at the shop, which from 5-7pm those nights, magically transforms into the "Walk In K-Clinic".

Well okay, it doesn't really "transform" but it stops becoming a retail shop and starts becoming the place where you can come for emergency help on your knitting projects. Here are some specifics:
  • We're not a restaurant, but we do have "call-ahead" service. Please call us (288-9200x4) during open shop hours (10am-5pm) to get your name on the list. Then, when you arrive, you'll move to the front of the line. If you don't call and there are too many people, you'll have to come back another time. So please call!
  • This is for specific pattern questions or problems. Please have your questions, project and pattern with you. We do sell out of patterns often, so we can help you better if you have your copy with you. 
  • This does not take the place of private lessons. Depending on the nature of your "emergency", we may suggest you schedule a private lesson at a different time.
  • We're sorry, but the shop will not be open for shopping or browsing during Knit E.R. We only have one doctor on call these nights and she's there to help patch up existing emergencies, not to help with finding new projects. For a new project, we are more than happy to help you during our regular hours.
  • Because we arrive at work before 8am each day, Knit E.R. will be closing promptly at 7pm. We will remind you of this as that hour approaches and thank you in advance for your cooperation.
  • Cost: this is free! So even if you don't have insurance on your current project, don't worry, we've got you covered.
  • First Knit E.R. is this Thursday, October 20th! Hope to see you there!
We're psyched to offer this convenient "after work" time slot and since the shop is closed, we'll be able to dedicate our full attention to your knitting questions.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A special baby gift

Most baby gifts are made with machine washable yarns, for obvious reasons. We're fortunate because in recent years yarn companies have really come a long way in increasing and improving their selection of washable yarns. 

We've got customers who come into the shop on a daily basis asking for baby yarns. Some of them come in with a real aversion to "blends." Many want just plain acrylic yarns because they are washable. But these days we've got beautiful blends (Berroco Comfort DK and Comfort Baby, Sirdar Crofter DK and Plymouth Dreambaby DK) that are so much softer and nicer looking that plain acrylics. They're reasonably priced AND washable. We love it when "acrylic only" baby knitters try some of these yarns, and love them as much as we do.

We've also got lovely washable merino wools for those folks who don't like synthetics. While some customers can't imagine using 100% wool on a baby sweater, others will use nothing else.  Yarns like SMC Juvel, Tilli Tomas Artisan Sock, Debbie Bliss Rialto and Dale of Norway Baby Ull are all so unbelievably soft!

And then, there are some delicious yarns, that aren't really made for baby. But they're just so incredibly yummy that you think, "Why shouldn't a baby get to enjoy this yarn?" Sure, they require hand washing. But that just means that baby's mom needs to understand that, and there are moms out there who DO understand that! These same moms, probably know not to dress baby in baby's special sweater until it's pretty safe that what just went down, will no longer come up.

If you are lucky enough to a)BE one of those moms or b) KNOW one of those moms, I recommend the KnitBot Yoked Cardigan sweater in Fibre Company Terra Yarn.
Photo courtesy of Hannah Fettig
Terra is scrumptious, and unbelievably soft. The colors are gorgeous, some with flecks and all with texture. Sure, the colors are a bit "mature", but babies don't always need pastels, do they? And this easy and fun sweater pattern takes just 2 skeins for the baby size. 
I'm using Terra in Olive Leaf. It matches Lucy's eyes!
I've just got the button band to do on mine. Patterns are "in the mail" from KnitBot and will be online and available in the shop shortly. We'll have PDFs too!