Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Over the Moon

The Cherished Book by Kim Hargreaves is a top seller in the shop. It seems like every couple of weeks we have sold out and I am receiving another shipment of this book.

Each time I receive it, I get a chance to flip through all of the wonderful patterns in this book.  One of my favorites is the Moon Hat. I've loved the Rowan Cocoon since last winter when I knit the Quincy Hat. I've been looking for another hat pattern to show off it's silky texture, and I knew this could be the one!

The hat is knit flat so that it is easier to work the lace pattern. However, since every other row is a purl row you could easily adapt this hat pattern to be knit in the round.

The pattern calls for 2 skeins of Cocoon.  I had just one skein to start with so I went ahead and began the project. Somehow I managed to squeak it out of one skein. I didn't have much yarn left as you can see.

I would recommend starting with two skeins to be sure you aren't a couple of rows short on yarn!  The hat is super warm and just a bit slouchy.  Remember our mannequin head has no hair so hats look a little bigger on her! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's a keeper! A 'Beekeeper'!

contributed by Emily

I'm a student, and that means I do a lot of schlepping around campus, and sitting for hours in lecture halls. Recently I was looking for a project that would be fun, portable, and easy enough that I could still pay attention to the professors' lectures.

And boy, did I ever find the perfect pattern! It's an incredibly sweet pattern called the Beekeeper's Quilt, and it is available on Ravelry. Each little hexagon (or hexapuff, as they're being called on Rav) is knit as its own little project, and so each one feels like a finished item! It's also really fun to come home from school and toss my newly finished puffs into their basket and watch the basket slowly fill up over time.
Many people are using up their scraps from sock projects, and lots of people are modifying the pattern to use other weight yarns as well. I started out with the best intentions to only use scraps, but then I realized that I really needed to make this blanket in honey colors. So I snagged a few skeins from the shop and my blanket is well and truly underway!
Yarns I'm using: Pagewood Farms Yukon, Tilli Tomas Artisan Sock, Malabrigo Sock, Baby Ull, Koigu, Rowan Kid Silk Haze (held double), and a bunch of scraps that I already had saved up!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sense of Accomplishment

We all love a sense of accomplishment. And here's a great project that will give you some almost instant satisfaction. This vest is the perfect way to perk up your cozy factor and you'll be finished knitting in a jiffy!

The Wendell vest is knit in one of Berroco's new lightweight large gauge yarns - Souffle.  (You really do owe it to yourself to stop in the shop and squish a skein of this yarn for yourself so know what I mean!) The finished vest is irresistible on a blustery day.
Don't be afraid of this super bulky project if you've encountered finishing issues in the past.  Sometimes working with such large gauge yarns = super bulky seams that just aren't as flattering as you were hoping. Well the folks at Berroco have some EXCELLENT tips for finishing this vest so you do NOT end up with super bulky seams in your finished garment.  Check it out!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Felting for the Holidays

contributed by Shawn

I've been trying to do some finishing of my knitted gifts lately.  So last week I got out the stack of mittens I had knitted using the Fiber Trends Snow Country Felt Mittens Knitting Pattern.  These mittens have been waiting for a lovely cool and crisp day and a washer full of hot water! They are from my summer 2011 mitten period:
Not all of the mittens in the photo were intended to be felted.  The striped pair was knit in Berroco Vintage and our Easy Mittens Free Knitting Pattern and the cabled ones followed the Green Mtn Spinnery Bulky Mitten pattern, and I knit them Cascade ECO Wool Yarn.

Here are the felted pairs that just came out of the wash.
I realized that it takes longer to felt the Cascade Eco Wool mittens than the other fibers I used.  I'll have to run these grey mittens through the agitation cycle again.  I am especially fond of the fabric that was created in the brown heathered mitten (shown upper right) where I used the Plymouth Galway yarn. You might notice however that it is a bit smaller than the others as Galway felts more quickly. I should have been watching more closely, but now I know!

I decided to use this pair for demonstration purposes in the Needle Felting class.  Here are the supplies all laid out.
I did a bit of work during class, but I will be adding more polka dots and need to finish my border.
This is such a great way to embellish hand knits and personalize your projects for gifts. Stop on in to the shop and we'll be happy to help you pick out some great supplies to needle felt with - anyone can do it!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Greetings from Finland. I hope you all have a wonderful day!

It's the first year I'm not celebrating Thanksgiving with the traditional meal. I know some Americans here who did decide to cook, and they had to search high and low for a lot of the foods. They ended up making substitutions for many of them.

So, with no turkey, stuffing or pies, my kids are feeling cheated! They look at Thanksgiving as a precurser to Christmas, the time when they really start getting into the Christmas spirit, and when they start counting down the days until the big 12/25. They say that without Thanksgiving, it just doesn't feel like Christmas is coming. Even though it's been cold, dark and wet here in Finland, we haven't had snow yet. So despite the fact that the town is lit up with amazing holiday lights, I agree; without the snow - and Thanksgiving - it feels like we're in a bit of a time warp. 
Holiday Illuminations in Tampere, Finland
I understand how it must be for them. We've spent every Christmas at home in Vermont. Now our new home is in Finland, and even though we are traveling back to the states for Christmas and New Year's, we won't be in the home they've always known, since we sold it. But we will be with family, and really, that's what it's all about. And hey, it's never a bad idea to incorporate new things into your holiday traditions!

Since family is so important to us, tomorrow we are headed to Paris to spend our "European Thanksgiving" weekend with my niece, who is studying there this semester. We're hoping that the holiday decorations and the marché de Noël on the Champs Elysées will get Helen and Sophie in the holiday spirit. 
marché de Noël

There may not be turkey, but I know we'll enjoy soupe à l'oignon and pain au chocolat. Either way, there will be some belt loosening.

So I'm finishing up on some work this afternoon, and then it's packing time. As usual, the trip knitting is my biggest stress!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rescued and Recycled

We always love opening a box from Susan Todd... when we place an order for new needle cases and it arrives, it's always so exciting to see what they look like!

They're always beautiful, but that's not the best part. They all come from "forgotten sweaters" (I love that term) that were rescued from a salvage house. They were washed, dried, and given a wonderful new life as either a straight, circular or combo needle case.

These just arrived in our latest shipment. It's always so hard to pick a favorite! What's yours?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hooked on Fibers at the Rug Show

contributed by Shawn

Last week in the shop, in anticipation of the rug show at the Shelburne Museum, we were busy displaying the last of rug hooking materials in the shop.  I was so enamored of the lovely colors in our supplies that I couldn't wait for Sunday to arrive. I was off on Sunday and planning to go to the show.

I took a trip out to the Round Barn at the Shelburne Museum this past weekend to look at the work of some amazingly talented fiber artists!
image courtesy of
I was so busy taking in the colors and textures that I did not make notes on the artists while I was there - my apologies!  I was especially impressed by the work in these two pieces.  The colors in the mesa cliffs and the reflection of the heron in the water!

One of the artists based her designs on actual dragonfly specimens.
Another piece caught my eye because the work is taller than I am and the amazing shading created the feeling of a 3 dimensional walk through a corn field.  (Yes, I grew up in the mid-west so this is a nostalgic flat-lander thing.)
There were a couple of great primitive and geometric designs that drew my eye too. 
This geometric piece was outlined in a single color and all of the colors were added from leftover scraps from other projects - awesome use of leftovers in my opinion!

I wish I could share every piece with you.  It was a wonderful morning all in all!
If you can, I recommend making a trip yourself to check out the Green 
It's there until 11/20. This is a great way to enjoy a bit of time as there are over 400 hand crafted hooked rugs on display. For those of you who enjoy rug hooking yourselves there is an entire level of vendors too!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Knit ER is this Thursday!

Open up your "I'm stuck" bag, and bring it in to the shop this Thursday from 5-7pm. Our emergency personnel will be waiting to help you!

Last week we had 2 "patients" who learned a lot! Each of our patients had her own "emergency" and while it was being worked on, the other patient watched and learned. The issues didn't take that long to resolve, and so Barb used the extra time to show a few other things! In addition to the "emergency problems" they covered hiding tails, picking up dropped stitches, casting on, gauge and finishing questions. And of COURSE they talked about their next projects!

Hope to see you and your emergencies this Thursday!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Making of the "Three in One" Kits

For those of you on our email list, you saw our latest Mixed Fiber piece on Thursday when we sent out our last email. This Mixed Fiber piece has always been a shawl... but this year we've added another free pattern for a scarf that can be worn as a cowl... so it's a Three in One!

Each fall we pick out new yarns to make up this mixed fiber piece. We try to get 700-750 yards of different fibers in colors that work well together. This year we we were even able to do it for over $10 less than last year's kit. Success!

As we walk through the shop and look for contenders, we're always conscious of yardage and price. Berroco Ultra Alpaca was our number one pick for the kit this year for a number of reasons. This yarn is beautiful. It's a great worsted weight yarn to work with. It's soft and warm, drapes beautifully and shows superb stitch definition. NOT that we needed stitch definition in this... but it's also got great yardage - 215 yards per skein - and the color selection is incredible. 

Then we wanted to add some color. Berroco Boboli stood out because of its gorgeous variegated shades. This glimmering wool blend is really soft and has a subtle shine, so we knew it would add a lot to this kit. And again, fabulous yardage (206).

After we picked Ultra Alpaca and Boboli, we wanted to add some texture. We chose Joseph Galler Flore II. This is a new yarn for us. We've had worsted weight mohairs off and on over the years. Some people love mohair, and some people hate it. I've never really been a fan of a mohair/wool blend as I find it scratchy. But this is a KID mohair and wool blend. And scratchy? It's not! It is wonderfully soft and I would wear it alone, like I do some of the laceweight kid mohair blends we carry. The yardage is only 98, but that didn't stop us from including it. It's that special!

We only needed one more yarn, and we chose Filatura di Crosa Gioiello. Gioiello is another kid mohair and wool blend, but in a much finer weight. It has the most beautiful shimmery and sparkly metallic running throughout it, and has a whopping 220 yards. So it gives this mixed fiber piece just a bit of PIZAZZ!

We're thilled with the shawl - but then that's no surprise... it's really one of our most popular samples each fall and winter. 
The shawl in the colorway "Nut"
And we love the new scarf/cowl! Because two patterns come with this kit, it really does appeal to a wider range of knitters.
The scarf in the colorway "Seafoam"
It's a nice wide scarf and is very versatile in terms of wearing!
Worn as a cowl
This is on sale (15% off) through 11/16/11 with code THREEINONE in your cart.

And crocheters, we're not trying to leave you out! We are hoping that maybe next year we can also add a crochet piece to the mix. Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

RRrr RRRrrr RRRRrrrr... ip.

I've been working on the Serena Shadow Shawl since early October. It's not a project I work on every day. It's more of a project that I pick up in between other projects. Or when I just need a break from what I'm currently working on. 

I was pretty tired the other night and so I grabbed the Serena Shawl to work on while the girls and I watched TV. The TV in Finland is something we are still getting used to. Some shows are a year or more behind. Only a handful are current. We've been watching more of the Travel Channel and NatGeoWild than we ever have, although some of the blood and gore animal kills have been too much for poor Sophie to handle. I keep telling her... "Cycle of Life Sophie, cycle of life." But it doesn't help - she always runs from the room. Helen and I are fascinated.

If the shows are in English they all have Finnish subtitles which you CANNOT turn off. Even though I can't understand the Finnish, it is always amusing to try to pick out words that I do understand... numbers, certain verbs, names of foods. And of course keeping my eyes trained to the TV isn't always beneficial to the knitting project, especially if it's one you need to pay attention to.

But the Serena Shawl is easy: 3 rows of knit and one of purl, with a four YOs every other row. Simple, right? Well the other night I looked down and found a wonky stitch about 13 rows down. Crap. I hadn't fully worked the stitch properly. It wasn't really noticeable, but it was something I could easily fix. So worked over to that stitch, dropped down, fixed it, and worked back up. Done.
About two rows later, I noticed another inconsistency in my knitting. It was on the same side of the shawl (left side) but this time about 24 rows down. And it was not something I could drop down and fix. It was a mistaken YO that I had actually knit, thus increasing one stitch. 

I looked at it for a while, close up, from a distance, in the light, in better light... Yes it was noticeable to me. But it was so slight that I knew nobody else would see it. So I continued on, feeling a little guilty that I had made such a silly mistake AND that I was letting it go! But what's that old saying about mistakes in your knitting... that they are your personal signature?

I continued on for several more rows. At this point, the rows were getting quite long. Every 2 rows you are increasing 4 stitches per row. I was nearing the end of the first 2 skeins and took time out to wind skeins 3 and 4. And then I saw it.
Another mistaken increase. On the same left side of the shawl. Again, it wasn't even noticeable to anyone but me. But this one I could not overlook.

So the rest of the night was spent ripping back.It was painful but I know it was the right thing to do!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oregon Woodworker Table Swift

contributed by Chrissy

Like many knitters, I was obliged in my early years to rely on various forms of assistance when winding hanks of yarn into more easily usable skeins.  If a friend or relative was not nearby, I often resorted to chairs, and in some instances my own two knees to help hold my yarn as I wound.  Not an optimal arrangement. Definitely not comfortable. 
I was so excited when I tried the Mama Bear woodentable swift from Oregon Woodworker.  This swift is beautifully crafted from solid hardwood.  It is fully adjustable for a wide range of hank sizes, highly portable, and easy to store.  The best part though was its smooth and quiet operation.  My winding literally flies by in minutes, especially when the swift is paired with a table clip ball winder.  

As a novice spinner, I also appreciate how the Mama Bear Swift can reverse to create hanks of homespun right off my bobbins.  I love multifunctional items, especially when they free up my time for more knitting and spinning!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Show and Tell

Michele has been working on two vests for her sons. The pattern is the Marco vest pattern in the Debbie Bliss Rialto pattern booklet. These are just beautiful, and if you haven't knit with this yarn, you may just want to give it a try! It's 100% extra fine merino wool that is machine washable. It's got such a lovely hand, and as you can see, it's great for cables! Don't they look super?
She's also working on another fun project where she is knitting Wope. It's "Wope" with a "W", and it stands for Woolen Rope. It's woolen jute based cord and is commonly used for making ottomans and rugs. Michele is making the "Le Poef Wope Ottoman" which is a free pattern here.
It looks small in the picture, but it's going to be this big:
I've been working on some things as well. I just finished a couple of projects that made it back to the shop with my husband, who just flew back to the states for a couple of weeks. 

This cozy piece is knit with two strands of Berroco Vintage Chunky, and is quite comfortable. Barb enjoyed wearing it around the shop yesterday - too bad we didn't get a picture of it on her, rather than on our form! 

But here's a shot of Helen wearing it before it left Finland. Much larger on her than it needed to be, but she loved it. This is a stretchy piece, so we recommend going small. Pattern will be available shortly.
And I made a cowl/scarf which was really fun and used 4 different yarns. Each year we come up with a mixed fiber shawl that uses gorgeous yarns from different companies. People are sometimes scared to mix fibers, and we love to show people how great the results can be!

We usually have only one pattern option, but this year we've added a second one. We do have the regular lengthwise pattern knit up (this one was done by Kim):
And then to shake things up a bit, I made a side fringing scarf and cowl combination. It all depends on how you want to wear it... as a cowl:
Or as a scarf:
Either way, it's really cute, and the colorways we've chosen for this kit will be up online later today. It's a great gift idea!