Thursday, May 31, 2012

June Knitting Classes

School is almost out for the year and that means it's summertime! We do slow down our class offering in the summer, as most of our local customers are hard at work in their gardens, having fun hiking in the beautiful mountains, or relaxing by the lake. But, we have two fun classes coming up that you won't want to miss.

How's your seaming? Many of our customers have already taken one of our 2 hour seaming workshops. When they arrive for the class, they're all in agreement about one thing... they hate finishing, and they definitely don't do it well. 
After the 2 hour class, the "finishing light bulb" goes off in each person's head. They finally GET IT! They learn how easy it is to complete a beautiful seam. And they no longer hate finishing, because it's what takes each hand knit garment to the next level. So please, if you haven't taken this class - join us. It's quick, easy and totally painless! Class meets Thursday, June 14th from 2-4pm.

Sign up for out ballet flats class and make yourself a beautiful pair of machine washable slippers to wear around the house.
This project is quick and fun and you will learn how to pick up stitches properly, work in the round with 2 circular needles, and work short rows. This is a great gift idea! The class meets Thursday, June 28th from 2-4pm.

If you missed our crochet basket class last week, we're sorry! Stay tuned as we will be scheduling similar crochet classes shortly.

Both of these classes have a small amount of pre-class work, so don't delay in signing up. You can sign up online or call the shop at 802-288-9200 x4.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Elfin Tweed - NEW yarn!

Sometimes when we are looking at new items to bring into the shop, we get a really special feeling about a certain yarn. That's the way it was when we saw the Elfin Tweed by Knit One Crochet Too. I don't know if it was the feel of the yarn, the look of the yarn, the blend of the yarn or the colors it was available in, but I knew immediately that we needed to have this yarn. 

It's a gorgeous blend of merino wool, llama, bamboo and donegal. We don't currently have any llama yarns in the shop, and we do occasionally have people ask, so I knew that it would be a good fiber mix to have.

When I picked up the skein I just loved the hand of this yarn. It's so soft, and just a bit tweedy - not too much, not too little. I've always been a sucker for tweeds! I could picture a beautiful lacy shawl in this yarn.

Three skeins would make the Buttonwillow Shawl:
And five skeins would make the Ivy Wrap:
And the colors are just beautiful. Don't you agree?
Lagoon, Berry Heather, Seafoam, Russet, Olive, Garnet (top to bottom)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How sharp are you? (Or rather how sharp are your needles?)

There are so many types of knitting needles these days, and if you ask any knitter what the best needle is, you're bound to get a very opinionated answer. Ask 2 knitters, you'll get at least 2 different answers; 10 knitters, at least 10 different answers. Why? Well there really isn't any one answer, as it's all a matter of personal preference.

Luckily, we carry about a million needles. Well, not a million, but some days, when we are trying to explain the differences to customers, it FEELS like we carry a million. The bad thing about this? We have more details to remember! The good thing? It means a better selection for you.

Do you like wood, plastic or metal? Straight, double pointed or circular? More rounded tips or sharp, pointy tips? No matter what your preference, we've got it.

And speaking of sharper tips, our Hiya Hiya enthusiasts should take note! We've got the Interchangeable Kits with the sharp tips on order. They're available for pre-order and you can expect to see them here in the next month.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Oh My these colors are great!

Plymouth Oh My! Yarn has been one of our favorite baby yarns for years now. It's a 100% fuzzy nylon that is amazingly soft to knit with, and amazingly soft to wear!

When customers see the cute green jacket we've got made up in the shop, it's usually the first thing they want to make with this yarn.
The pattern is great because it has options for a little baby jacket with our without a hood, plus directions for a cute hat, in sizes 6 months up to 3T.
Plymouth Pattern 630
And while choosing the pattern may be simple, choosing the color you'll want to use could be a bit more difficult! In addition to the traditional pastel baby colors:

there are 2 multi colors:
and 5 fun brighter colors, including a great new blue and orange:
Options, options!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Expand your pattern library...

... and your vocabulary too! 

When I was back in Vermont a couple of weeks ago I was walking around the shop and stopped in the back room a moment to pet the Misti Alpaca Pima Silk Yarn. We stock 8 colors (5 multis and 3 solids) and they are all gorgeous! The blend of pima cotton and silk is incredibly soft and I knew that I had to get this yarn on my needles immediately.
We looked on Ravelry for a baby sweater that we could make with this yarn, and came across the Puerperium Sweater. It's free and simply adorable! I cast on in the Burlington Airport as I awaited my flight to Newark. It's a top down raglan, and I figured I'd be far along by the time we touched down in Newark. But, I had a really nice seatmate, and we chatted more than I'd anticipated, and by the time I was ready to knit, we hit some major turbulence, and both of my hands were gripping the armrests so that made it difficult to knit. I only got about 12 rows finished!

I did get more done on my long flight to Stockholm (when I wasn't trying to sleep!), and then a little more on my quick flight to Helsinki. I'm now finished and I love it! 
This sweater is the perfect newborn gift. Of course that's where it got its name...

I'd never heard of "puerperium" before. Have you? The definition is "the state of a woman during childbirth or immediately thereafter" or "the approximate six-week period lasting from childbirth to the return of normal uterine size".

Well, I just learned a new word, and perhaps you have too! 
Because I loved this yarn so much (and our customers do too) we've increased our offering from 8 to 14 colors! As soon as our order arrives, we'll have 9 multis and 5 solids. Aren't they gorgeous?
Can't wait for the new colors to arrive!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

One Rug Down

I've been working on this large scale crochet project for a two and a half months now. And I finally finished! The rug I started in the beginning of March was intended for the girls' patio. March was way too early to need it - the temperatures were still frightfully cold. But now we're approaching June and this week our temperatures are headed for the upper 60s and low 70s! So I knew I had to pull this out and finish it, right away. My girls want to use their patio and they're asking for their new rug!

After I posted this picture in March I realized I was headed down the wrong path. 
Attempt #1. Was completely ripped out.
The woman in the shop here gave me no pattern, and I am certainly NOT an advanced crocheter. I'm getting better, that's for sure, but this jersey yarn is HUGE! And the hook, again, HUGE! And for me to just wing something like this was pretty scary. I crocheted a few more rounds of the rug after I took the picture above, and then I ripped out THE ENTIRE THING. It hurt. It really hurt! That was a lot of work.

But I started again and I think my second attempt was much better. I didn't try to do anything tricky - since really, who am I to pull a tricky crochet maneuver? I thought it would be better to stick with the basics this time, because I really am a beginner at this wing-it-crochet-rug-stuff. I did switch to my new Addi Plastic Crochet Hook that I picked up last week in the shop. I love it! It made the crocheting go so much faster because it was more comfortable to hold this hook.

I finished the rug this evening and I love it. More importantly, THEY love it. They keep telling me how great it is and what a good job I did. 
Just finished! It was SO hot working on this on my patio in the sun.
There are plenty of flaws I can point out, but I won't show them. I'll just make my next one BETTER!
In its new home on the girls' patio. Ready for use!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

It's Baaaaack!

Close your eyes, and think back to a time about 5-7 years ago, when novelty yarns were all the rage. Eyelashes weren't just on your eyes, they were on your scarves, and in every yarn shop across the country, including ours
I'm not saying we're going to be overrun with eyelash yarns again, but novelties are definitely back for the coming fall and winter season. We've already seen the rage with ruffle yarns (and there are some interesting new ruffle yarns coming out soon, just you wait!) and now we're seeing some old faces back in the crowd, like eyelash yarns.

We have ordered several of the better eyelashes, and the first one has arrived. It's by KFI and it's called Flutter. We've got 6 colors that are quite beautiful. We could have ordered some crazier colors, but we really felt that to do eyelash right (right NOW) we needed to stick to more elegant, rich colors.
So get those brains a spinning! Of course you can add this to any old beautiful scarf yarn, and it will look great in a felted bag, and pretty in a necklace... but what new things will you come up with this time around?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Amity Print - Great for Little Ones

Have you tried Amity Print from Ella Rae? We brought this yarn in last fall and are overwhelmed at how popular it is! It's soft, it's self-patterning, and it's machine washable. Hurrah!

So many customers fall in love with the cheerful colors of this yarn. And many decide to make the Oliver Cardigan on the cover of the Knitwear for Children Booklet #102 because it's completely adorable.
Others grab a ball and make this little baby hat. It's a great gift and the pattern (though included in book #102) is also available for free in the shop when you purchase a ball of Amity Print
We just got two new colors in this yarn, and they're perfect baby colors! One pink and one blue...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Plush Lovers, Rejoice!

Boy we were bummed when Berroco discontinued Plush a few years ago. We LOVED that yarn. Perfect for baby blankets, baby hats, baby sweaters... everything baby! It was completely irresistible.

So, we were sad to say goodbye - and people who loved our Best Baby Blankie were sad too. It was the perfect little baby blanket and it made a special baby shower gift. These folks then used a few other yarns with our pattern, and while the blankets they made were cute, let's be real... they just weren't the same.

Last week in our crazy busy buying spree, we saw a new yarn from Plymouth and when our rep pulled it out of his little bag of tricks, both Barb and I inhaled sharply, opened our eyes REALLY wide and said, "PLUSH!!" 

Of course, we ordered it on the spot and the rest is history. Well, they processed our order, shipped it, we unloaded it, etc, etc. But all you need to know is that it's IN THE SHOP NOW, and online. And it's called Plymouth Adore.
It's available in great colors - 5 solids and 3 multis. Perfect for the blankie!
White, green, yellow, pink, blue & 3 great multis!
If you hear heavy breathing it's because we are really SO SO SO psyched to have this yarn (back!) in stock now. (I say "back" because honestly, it's Plush reborn.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Knitters Love Cats

contributed by Shawn

We're thinking that a lot of our customers must love cats because everyone seems to want a copy of the new Knit Your Own Cat book! It's got 16 different cats to knit.
Emily has a British Blue Short Hair at home named Phineas, and when we received the Knit Your Own Cat book, Emily dove right in and picked out some yarns that would look just like Phineas.  Here's the real Phineas:
"You know you love me, mom."
"Beef jerky. Pleeeaaase!"
And here's our shop Phineas:
"Treats? Treats? Did I hear someone say 'treats'?"
To make our shop Phineas kitties, Emily used BrownSheep Nature Spun Sport yarn and Rowan Kidsilk Haze yarn held double stranded and some of her favorite double pointed needles.  I love the curled up sleeping pose!  Knitted cats are the best - you don't ever have to chase them out of your knitting or crocheting because they are perfectly behaved.

Don't worry, if you are a knitter who prefers dogs over cats you can see we have another book just for you! Knit Your Own Dog is also available featuring 25 different breeds that you can knit.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A whole lotta NEW

contributed by Barb

Jill was visiting from Finland last week and she was kept very busy visiting with sales reps and looking at new yarns for fall and winter.  Some new things that we ordered last week have already arrived and so now the real fun begins! We've got new yarns and new colors in the shop.

Today we received new yarns, new patterns and new colors of existing yarns from Plymouth Yarn Company.  We will get them on the website just as quickly as we can, but here is a peek and some hints: 

1) Think ruffles... new yarn in great colors
2) Remember the sadly discontinued Berroco Plush? We've got a substitution for it now!

3) We've got an excellent new sock yarn that would be perfect for a popular Knit Bot pattern!
New patterns!
These are all new Plymouth Encore Colors!
This whole table is full of new yarns!
 Come in and check them out!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Great News! New Throw Kits Will Soon Be Available!

contributed by Shawn

We used to sell the Colinette AbFab Afghan kits in the shop.  Before we stopped selling these kits a few years ago, I offered to knit my mom one in the colors of her choice.  I started it and was about half-way through when I got distracted by other projects. 

I finally pulled it out last week and completed it just in time to send it off to my mom as a surprise Mother's Day gift!  It was so easy since the stitches aren't complicated - the effect is all about the colors and textures!  I can't believe I didn't finish this long ago. It's really a beautiful piece and I even took the time to do the tassels and it looks amazing.
Jill was in town this past week meeting with all of our sales reps. She and Barb bought a lot of fun new things for fall and winter, including... new mixed fiber afghan kits! 

Stay tuned, because we've got about 6 or 7 colorways coming in a gorgeous afghan kit from Mountain Colors! We can't wait to have these in the shop.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Color Fade Hats

contributed by Shawn

My color fade hat seems to be a hit.  After my original test (Jordan's) I knit up another one using a brighter green and this seems to have gotten everyone's attention. 
I'm working on multiple requests for additional hats in different color schemes. I snagged some Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool when it was discounted. 
There are some colors left, but if you want to grab it, don't delay! Once it is gone, I think the Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport yarn will be a great substitute. There are so many possible combinations... I might have to take a color card home to facilitate this process! 
The hat is a simple rib pattern and can be worn as a reversible piece.  Everyone who has been begging me for one of these hats is a guy - so I guess you should put it on your list of guy gifts for this season's holidays!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Machine Wash Experiment

contributed by Shawn

I am loving my Greenway crochet afghan project so much that I picked out another crochet pattern to use for the second wedding afghan project of 2012.  I am going to try the Vortex Throw by Lisa Gentry

I really love the browns and greens used in the photos of this project so I am struggling to pick out some shades that will show off the swirl effect nicely, but that won't look exactly like the sample in the photo.  I also still want the afghan to be machine washable since it is a gift.  

I have not yet had a chance to work with the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece yarn and since we can get every single shade that is available from Brown Sheep, that makes the selection great! The catch is that the label recommends hand washing this yarn. The fiber content is mostly cotton (80%) with just a bit of wool (20%).  I wonder if it can be washed in the machine without too much shrinkage or felting? I am going to do a test! 
I picked out some nice blue-green shades, 1 skein each, and started the first block. It involves a bit of a strange start and I got Barb to get me going - I wasn't understanding the written directions - I'm a visual learner! Now that she helped me figure it out it is quite easy to continue the pattern.  My finished block measures about 16.5" square.  Now it is off to the washing machine to see what happens!