Thursday, November 29, 2012

SPOTTED the women's locker room at the gym.
A gorgeous pair of hand knit mittens. Someone is going to have cold hands this week. Hope they work out often enough that they come back and find these still waiting for them!

I'm inspired to make my own now with SMC Juvel. It's so soft and the colors are so crisp. But I'll be sure not to lose track of mine!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dyelot Yarns Stimulus Package Project

I just finished a really fun and easy project - the Fortune's Wheel Vest with one Dyelot Yarns Stimulus Yarn Package.
Picture courtesy of Dyelot Yarns (on pattern)
Truth be told, I started out knitting the Vertically Striped Vest shown below.
But after completing the entire back and one of the fronts, I frogged it. My row gauge was off, and the decreases with the neck in the front were not working properly. I could have edited the directions for the front, to MAKE it work, but since this is a shop sample, I decided against it. When we have something in the shop, and someone tries it on and wants to make it exactly as it appears, they DON'T want to hear that they have to change even one thing in the pattern. 

So I decided to make the Fortune's Wheel Vest.  I used the same color that is shown on the pattern (above) but I did not knit through one entire fiber at a time, as they did. I changed the fibers more often, and I do appreciate the more blended effect that I achieved.
This is a versatile piece - it can be worn as shown above as a longer vest, or flipped upside down and worn more like a shorter shrug with a larger shawl collar. Be creative
And as with almost everything I make, it's Lucy approved. I think it's even her color!

Saturday, November 24, 2012


...while window shopping on Rue des Francs-Bourgeois in Paris in November.
A gorgeous knitted pin! 

How easy would it be to make this? Pretty easy, I think! Grab some fingering weight wool and small double pointed needles. Start cranking out the I-cord and then experiment with arranging the cords. 

Don't forget to find a super funky pin to top it all off!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Lantern Moon Scissors

Brand new from Lantern Moon...

Embroidery Scissors! Available in three finishes: black, half gold and pewter. Don't forget, it's gift season... any of your crafty friends would love these.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Don't Forget... Sock Yarn is Great for Baby Sweaters, Too!

It's funny how many customers look at sock yarns and think (just) "socks". 

Fingering weight sock yarns come in a great range of fibers and many of these are machine washable. They're also soft, and if they're soft enough to put on your precious piggies, they're soft enough to put on baby! And finally, these yarns are lightweight, yet warm. Perfect for wee ones who like to stay cozy without so much bulk.

There are many great patterns for fingering weight baby sweaters. One of my favorites is one I just finished - it's in the Regia Journal #004 pattern booklet, and has a hat and booties to match.
This yarn (Regia Angora Merino) is a blend of superwash merino wool, polyamid and angora. It's so incredibly soft and wonderful to knit with. I just love the pattern stitch - a 4 row repeat that's simple, and addictive!
My sweater, blocking
Other yarn choices for this sweater would be Tilli Tomas Artisan Sock or Shibui Knits Sock Yarn.

Another cute fingering weight sweater is the Knitting Pure & Simple Baby Layette.
This pattern is well written and also has instructions for a hat, sweater and booties. I'd choose Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock or Jojoland Melody Superwash for this one.

And we can't forget the Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Sweater.
This one looks good in both self-striping and variegated sock yarns. This pattern is sized from baby up to adult. We love the baby version in striping sock yarns - it's so cute! Regia Garden Effects or Kaffe Fassett Ombre would be fun on this sweater. And we now have a NO-wool option: Plymouth Diversity.

Because we know you like choice, here's yet another sweater option for fingering weight sock yarns. The Lachlann Baby Set by Figheadh Yarnworks is a classic, with set-in sleeves, stripes and cables on the sweater, and matching pants. 

Dale of Norway Baby Ull, Spud & Chloe Fine or Fibre Company Canopy Fingering would all be great yarns for this set.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Paris Trends: What's Hot

So I've been living here in Finland for about a year and a half, and thanks to some cheap flights and Airbnb, we have been fortunate enough to do some European travel during that time.

One of our favorite cities is Paris, and we went there last weekend for 3 days to meet up with my sister and brother-in-law from California. We did a lot of window shopping, took a pastry class with the girls and ate. A lot. 
My sister, Helen & Sophie with some freshly baked pain au chocolate!
Luckily we also walked about a million miles so hopefully the exercise helped offset the food intake!

The weather was pretty awful, actually. It was in the 40's and cold, rainy and windy. We were prepared - after all, we're living in Finland... but the Parisians we spoke to were not loving it!

The best part about the weather being so cold, was that the people of Paris were wearing their knitwear in style. This guy had on a funky hat and a GORGEOUS ribbed sweater coat. He looked très hip and I'm so sorry I did not get a better shot!
I've got a number of fun knitwear pictures that I'm saving up for the "Spotted" series, so I can't share them all here. Let's just say that I noticed a few trends...
  1. Basics - like the coat pictured above... garter stitch, stockinette stitch, reverse stockinette stitch, easy stitches done in either bulky or very fine yarns
  2. Sparkles - from just a touch of sparkle to all over sequins, glitz was IN. And that makes me SO happy since I just ordered a sequin carry-along that is super reasonably priced. Yay!
  3. Bold colors - like oranges, blues & yellows. Don't be scared to go with color this year!
  4. Ponchos - yes, ponchos. Not scary ones like Ugly Betty ponchos, but really beautiful ones made in simple shapes with elegant fibers.
Since I'm saving up most of my pictures for other posts, I will share one fun shot that my brother-in-law got. He and my sister were walking on rue St. Honoré and came a small crowd of French paparazzi. 
Turns out good ole Rihanna was doing a little "private" lingerie shopping as in "close the store for everybody else, and cause a scene outside". Good times!
Personally, I think she would have looked better in a hand knit hat.

Monday, November 19, 2012

SPOTTED the Stockmann Department Store in Tampere, Finland.
Knitted ponchos in a trio of colors.
Years ago they were huge in the states, and I can report that I've seen them in numerous countries in Europe recently... looking pretty darn hip!

Of course they look MUCH better with arms underneath! I know because I thought this one was awful when I saw the display on the mannequin. Then I saw a woman wearing it a week later and it really looked great. 

What cool things have YOU spotted recently?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Customer Feedback

Customer Feedback is great, whether it's positive or negative. Positive feedback makes us smile and tells us we're doing a great job. Negative feedback makes us grow and strive even harder to be the best we can be.

We recently got an email with some nice feedback, and it included a picture of a work-in-progress. We LOVE it when our customers send pictures! Here's a gorgeous cabled blanket that our customer June is working on.
She emailed us say, "Thanks to Shawn, who helped me out over the phone when I was trying to figure out this cable pattern. You were so patient and explained things so that I could keep on knitting!! Using your Encore in a soft, soft yellow."

That would be Pale Yellow # 896. A great color. Thanks for sharing June... and great job!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Get the Look

So we're not going to talk about the fact that it was 70 degrees on Monday of this week. Instead, we'll focus on the cool temperatures that we KNOW will be back to stick around.

Do you have a "go-to" sweater in your wardrobe? One that you love to pull out as soon as the thermometer dips into the blue? One that you'd wear to a Homecoming football game, because it's warm enough to keep you cozy while tailgating, but also stylish enough to impress those friends you haven't seen in awhile? The Brea Sweater is definitely a "go-to" sweater.  
Our mannequin is sporting the Brea Sweater this week and hoping for the mercury to return to normal. This sweater has gorgeous cable detailing on the sleeves and upper body, while the lower body flares ever so gently from the midsection. And she's topped off her look with one of our absolute favorite new shawls.
We just love the cable detail on this sweater, and the edge detail on the shawl.
Shawl: Angora Merino Lace Panel Shawl from the Regia Journal #004 knit in Regia Angora Merino yarn

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thinking Spring... Already!

contributed by Barb

Last Wednesday, I spent most of the morning on Skype with Jill and one of our sales reps looking at new spring yarns. It hasn't even turned into winter here, but we're already looking at spring yarns.

When I came out of the meeting I was sent to the basement. I thought I was being punished for being in the meeting for so long (these sales meetings can be up to 3 hours long) but as I went down the stairs into the basement I realized it was no punishment. It was a gift.

There were three huge boxes from Berroco waiting for me. These boxes contained some new spring yarns and then new colors of existing yarns. It's always so fun unloading new things, and to think Jill and I had just ordered these a little over a week ago. All of the new yarns and new colors of existing yarns will be online this week.

When the Berroco Trunk Show was at the shop, I tried on some garments in the summer yarns from last year. I decided to make a couple of them, but Andra said I may want to wait for new colors for Spring 2013 to be available. That seemed like it would be months, but now just one short month later I can start choosing colors from the new ones and get some projects on my needles.

One of the first items I will be making is the Seabrook Vest – a free pattern from Berroco knit in Captiva
I love the new colors we got, but I am having a hard time choosing just one. Help!
Then maybe I'll start a multi-colored scarf/shawl in Weekend.  I love to wear a scarf or shawl during the day, but I get a little over-heated in wool. 
I like the weight of a worsted shawl, and the acrylic and cotton blend of Weekend will keep me from overheating.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Shepherd Sock

Over the past two weeks we've gotten several shipments from Lorna's Laces, and each one had new colors of Shepherd Sock. This yarn has been very popular for socks, shawls and baby sweaters, but unfortunately (for us and for eager knitters!) it can take up to 12 weeks for us to receive it once we place an order.

A couple of weeks ago we were restocking the sock yarns and thought, "Hmm, the Shepherd Sock looks really low! I wonder where our order is?"

We called to check on it and turns out they had more than half of the order ready, but were waiting to ship until they'd dyed ALL the colors we ordered. Since we pay for shipping, we asked them to ship what they had, and they did.
Verve, Robot Overload, Zombie BBQ, Tuscany, Monkey Shines, Winona
And then last Friday we received the remaining 4 colors. So our order's complete... for NOW!
Mineshaft, Unicorn Parade, Watercolor & Icehouse

Thursday, November 08, 2012


...on the walls of the KPMG lobby in Helsinki, Finland.
Beautiful, three-dimensional artwork made with wire mesh and fibers. Simple, classic shapes in subtle, yet striking colors. My kind of art!
Unfortunately, Finns are known to be extremely prompt, so our tax adviser was ready for us before I was ready for him. I mean, given the choice would you rather 
  1. learn about your "ex-pat living in Finland" tax liability or 
  2. sit and study these gorgeous wall hangings?
I'd choose #2 but I got stuck with #1. Boo.

What cool things have YOU spotted recently?

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Simple & Sweet Baby Sweaters

Each day we see customers in the shop searching for sweater patterns for newborn babies. It's no wonder - don't you always get the urge to knit a little sweater for a close friend or family member when you hear she's expecting? I know I do!

And as yarn shop employees, we've handled this many, many times, so we're always prepared to recommend a good assortment of patterns.

Like the Wee One Welcome Set from Knitting at Knoon.
This pattern is simply adorable. It calls for 400 yards of DK weight yarn. In our shop sample (above) we chose Sirdar Snuggle Crofter DK that knits up with a fair isle striping effect. This yarn is reasonably priced (it costs just $21 to make the set), comes in really sweet colors and is soft and machine washable.

We've got other great DK weight yarns that work really well for this little set. Berroco Comfort DK now has really fun variegated colors, and Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend is also a popular choice.

The Puerperium Baby Cardigan is precious! And it's easy and fun to make. This sweater is pretty hard to resist, once you see the (and feel!) the shop sample (shown below). We used Misti Alpaca Pima Silk and this yarn is just the perfect choice for a newborn. The color choice is spectacular, and it's heavenly to knit.
Another pattern that's been getting a lot of attention is brand new from Yankee Knitter. The Baby Sweaters, Hats & Blankets Pattern #31 is a great addition to the Yankee Knitter offering. The sweaters and hats are sized from preemie to 6-12 months and the blanket is a generous 33"x35". And they knit up quickly in heavy worsted weight.

Our top recommendations for this pattern are Plymouth Encore, Berroco Comfort Worsted, Berroco Vintage and if you'd like a soft wool, then Dream in Color Classy or Classic Elite Liberty Print.
And finally, one last recommendation for a great newborn sweater. We came across this one a few months ago and thought it was beautiful in its simplicity. It is more suited for little girls, but it's a top choice on our list for newborns.

In Threes: A Baby Cardigan is a pattern that's available on Ravelry. We also sell it in the shop through Ravelry. It's the sweetest little sweater. All worked from the top down, in one piece. It's absolutely precious!
We had some Putty colored Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece laying around and I knew it would be perfect for this sweater. It just needs buttons now, but the best part about using such a neutral color is that you can really be creative with your button selection!
Beautiful yoke detail

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Taking the plunge - with bead knitting!

Over the past several years, I've seen so many beautiful hats, scarves and wristlets that have had beads on (in?) them. I've been so close to trying this "knitting with beads" on my own but it just hasn't happened. I guess I always thought it would be too hard! Or that a trip to the bead store would get me really sidetracked...

We recently started selling two different beaded necklace kits in the shop. The Nelkin kits arrived first and our customers LOVED the Butin Necklace (pictured below). 
This kit comes with everything you need (except size 2 US needles) to make this gorgeous necklace - the yarn, the beads, the clasp, the bead threader and the pattern. It comes in 6 different colors and is quite easy to make.

Another popular Nelkin kit is the Ribband, which is long enough that it can be worn as a necklace or as a multi-looped bracelet. I love the four color options, and I would definitely wear this as a bracelet.
About a month ago we received the Javori Necklace kits. There are three different styles available: the Tiffany:
the Toledo:
and the Verona:

By the time we received the Javori kits, we were having to reorder them and the Nelkin ones so often that I decided I'd better get in on this bead action. I choose with the Tiffany kit in Sapphire. 

On Sunday morning I opened the kit while I was having my coffee. I read through the instructions and was surprised at how easy it sounded. I immediately got started. The only issue I had was that I couldn't see the beads very well, but that's because I was still on my first cup of coffee and my over-40 eyes were not cooperating. 

Once I found my reading glasses, it was all smooth sailing.

It's a quick project, and yes, it's easy! But have I finished? Of course not! I was SO bad and started yet another project Sunday afternoon. But give me a couple of days and I'll show you the finished piece. I'm having so much fun that I'm already trying to figure out what my next beaded project will be!

Thursday, November 01, 2012


...while on a walk this fall in Tampere, Finland in a beautiful park on Pispalanharju.

An art installment completed with help from the public!
It reminded me of the "lost mitten fence" I'd seen over a year earlier in town on Kuninkaankatu... remember this?
Back when I posted about those mittens, I thought it was just lost mittens that were picked up and placed - by passersby - on the fence. I found out later, that it was this intentional thing... called ART! I'm thinking it could be connected with this sock display.
There was a sign (in Finnish of course!) hanging with the socks. It roughly translates to:
Old Socks Assembly
Did the washing machine eat its partner?
Do you have lonely socks?
Bring solo stockings to follow the fate of their comrades!

What a beautiful idea! It was as if someone had just done several wash-loads of unmatched socks and hung them out to dry in the fresh air.

What cool things have YOU spotted recently?