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Friday, April 21, 2017

Do you share?

It seems appropriate that on a beautiful spring day, the first project I tend to is the Anemone poncho. Trammi and Calann are both knitting it in the same color. Yarn: Artyarns Regal Silk and Artyarns Beaded Silk & Sequins Light.

Trammi and I reviewed slipping first st pwise wyif (which translates to stitch purlwise with yarn in front). The reason for doing it is to get a nice edge.

Calann's stitch count was off, it was because she had missed a yarn over.  Thankfully, those are easy to fix.

Ahh, spring Anemones in New England. Beautiful.

Calann's Sugar and Spice #193 QK is ready for the finisher.

Mallory learned how to work a jogless stripe in her Color Slouch hat.

Eleanor is nearly finished with The Little Boater Crew. She has to cast on for yet another Baby Pullover for a baby due this week. The parents are Greek, so she has chosen to knit with the colors of the Greek flag. The main color will be blue and she will use the white as trim. Yarn: Plymouth Select Superwash Merino (Worsted: 100% superwash merino, 218 yards).

Cornelia finished sleeve her first sleeve, and is onto the second.  She's ready to swatch for the next project!

She told us a story of how when she was a child, her parents had a friend who was an eye surgeon. When they played cards, if it wasn't his turn, he would tat to keep his fingers nimble for surgery. I love these kind of stories.

Cindy's Super Bulky Winter Vest  is coming out properly since she changed needles. She noticed the hem curls. I explained that was because the pattern starts immediately with stockinette, which curls. It's like the law gravity. It's a thing.  She called it an 'Elf hem' because it curls like elf toes.

Eileen admired one of our new samples, the Cameo Shawl.

 So it's hardly surprising that she picked out yarn to knit one for herself in Cascade Heritage Solids (Fingering: 75% Merino, 25% Nylon, 437 yards) and Berroco Folio Color (DK: 65% Alpaca, 35% Rayon, 219 yards). She did lament that when she meets me at Cosi, she ends up with a cup of coffee and when she meets me at Westport Yarns she invariably leaves with a new project.  I don't see a problem with that, do you?

Jane T. selectively read her pattern. Where it said, decrease every row for six rows, she worked it as every right side row six times (twelve rows). No biggie, it was a small amount to rip back and redo (for me anyway, I only did the ripping back).

Allison was diligently knitting on her cardigan when she decided to lay out the pieces she had knit so far in relation to our sample.  You see this sweater is knit sideways in four pieces. You start with the sleeve and cast on for the body.  Depending on whether you cast on after a right side or wrong side row, determines if it is a right front/back or left front/back.  You knit two of each version.


As we fiddled with aligning the pieces, we had a horrible moment (from our perspective) when we realized she had knit three of one version. A few choice words were uttered. Then she pulled herself up by her imaginary bootstraps a gamely accepted that she had to rip back and begin again.  Breathe in, Breathe out, move on.

Today's conversation somehow centered on sharing ~ food or drink. The general consensus was that we have learned to be very particular about the way we share.
  •  Several of the ladies said that they don't share with their husbands because they take too big a sip or bite. 
  • We all agreed that sharing with kids was tricky business for many reasons.
  • I added that I'm happy to share as long as I decided at the onset of the meal, as in before placing my order. Otherwise, I ordered my food and I want it - all.

I know for a fact that Harry does not share and if Tucker isn't careful, he'll eat his food too.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Cast on for Springtime Knitting

If you're casting about (pun intended) for something to knit for the Spring/Summer season, search no more.  I've designed two garments for Tahki Stacy Charles that are easy to knit and very wearable. The patterns are available in booklets (available at your local yarn store and online) or individually on Ravelry.

photo credit: © Tahki Stacy Charles, Inc.
In the Tahki Yarns, Boardwalk, Spring/Summer Collection 2017 my design made the back cover! I'm a cover girl, can't you see the resemblance?

Spring Lake Hi-Lo Pullover in MALIBU. "The textured stitch is not the only interesting part of this pullover: it also sports an on-trend hi-lo hem and three-quarter sleeves." The sweater is knit flat in pieces and seamed.

  I really enjoyed knitting this top, the pattern easy to remember without looking at the pattern (really). So much so, that I am nearly finished knitting my own.
Malibu yarn is a soft cotton tape yarn in a wide color range of summer shades. The yarn has a really nice dry feel to it.

© Tahki Stacy Charles, Inc.

My second design is in the Stacy Charles Fine Yarns, One Christopher, Spring/Summer 2017 booklet.

© Tahki Stacy Charles, Inc.
"The Bedford Top is made from an elongated garter stitch, which creates the open stripes in this layering garment. Silk yarn Stella gives this top a luxurious drape." The top is knit in the round in one piece to the armholes, then the front and back are worked separately and joined at the shoulders with a 3-needle bind off. On US #11 needles, this is a very quick knit.

Stella is a "luxurious blend of silk and lurex metallic that has a subtle shimmer". The colors vary from sophisticated metallics to bold colors.

What will you cast on for?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

What do you watch while you knit?

Our discussion strayed from books, just one to share:  Three Wishes.

To shows we watch while knitting...
Say Yes to the Dress
My 600 Pound Life
Big Little Lies on HBO
What do you watch while knitting?

Jane T. has been knitting a Cabled (Hooded) Coat for her daughter.  It is knit in one piece up to the armholes. We discussed the row where you split the piece into three sections: right front, back, left front. From now on, she will knit each section separately. The spare stitches are held on waste yarn or a spare circular needle.

Allison pulled her Artyarns Cardigan out of hiding and realized she did not have too much more to knit, plus it's a good weight for this time of year.

© Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood
She couldn't get gauge on her Agnes sweater using the Portuguese knitting method. She was getting gauge knitting it Continental. The bigger lesson here was that whether she knits Portuguese or Continental, her shoulder doesn't hurt from throwing.  Yarn: (Fingering: 100% Wool - Targhee-Columbia, 275 yards).

Jane B is knitting the Easy Folded Poncho in Blue Sky Fibers Alpaca Silk (Sport: 50% Silk, 50% Alpaca, 146 yards).  She's modified the pattern to 70" versus the 50" in the pattern. Just keep knitting, and knitting, and knitting.

 Calann knit a swatch for Tressage, a pullover with a cable down the center.  The yarn is Anzula Squishy (Fingering: 80% Merino,10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon).

Cindy picked up yarn to knit this Super Bulky Winter Vest in (you guessed it) Super Bulky yarn.  She cast on the needle recommended to her (sans swatching).  When we looked it over together, she thought it looked a little small.  Her gauge was tighter than the pattern called for.  We discussed her options and she is going to rip it out and start again on a needle one size up. 

Eleanor is knitting the Little Boater Crew for a baby gift. Yarn: Zara (DK: 100% Merino, 137 yards).  This sweater is becoming her "go to" gift sweater.  It's a great unisex pullover with a wide neck.

We the checked sleeve length for Cornelia's Vivacious Hi-Lo Pullover and discovered that the length to armhole too long (for her). We worked to the length in the pattern versus modifying length to her personally. She's going to have the finisher sew the excess into a cuff after the sleeves are set in.

Mallory didn't like how the gathering at top of her 21 Color Slouch hat came out.  It required another go around through the loops at the top and then it was good to give.  She is going to knit three more for her daughters.  That will be a very sweet picture! The hat comes as a kit.

Her Ann Norling #1018, Knitted Christmas Stocking is coming along.  I love the subtle paillettes in the Angel's wings.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Rainy Days and Knit-days

It has been raining cats and dogs here in Connecticut for days. Rainy days are excellent knit days. Well, any day is a good knit day in my book.

Jane T began knitting a car coat with hood for daughter. She loves knitting cables, it totally keeps her attention.  On the right side she learns something new and on the wrong side she works the stitches as they appear.  It's what I call a relief row.

Her son's sweater going to finisher. I can't believe how fast she knit this sweater for her 6'+ son!

Eleanor was in the middle of grafting the Playful Stripes Cardigan when her daughter called (she was due at any time). Anyone who has ever grafted two pieces together using the Kitchener stitch can attest to the precarious nature of this stitch.  It is not the kind of thing you put down casually in the middle and come back to.  I carefully took the sweater from her so she could take the call.  No baby yet.  Yarn: Baby Cashmerino (Sport: 55% Wool, 33% Acrylic, 12% Cashmere, 137 yards).


A beautifully knit sweater ready for baby.

Cornelia has nearly finished the first sleeve of her Vivacious Hi-Lo Pullover in Cascade 220 Superwash (Worsted: 100% superwash wool, 220 yards).

Allison learned the Portuguese method of knitting and is applying it to her Agnes Pullover.  The yarn is Brooklyn Tweed Loft (Fingering: 100% Wool - Targhee-Columbia, 275 yards).

Nancy wet-blocked her Etched Rio Wrap beautifully. She knit it with Stargazer (Sport: 75% Llama, 25% Silk, 218).

She started the second Women's Hand/Wrist Warmers from the book Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

She is swatched and ready to cast on for the Cirrus Poncho in Shibui Knits Silk Cloud  and Shibui Knits Pebble

And on Wednesday....

Marjolijn knitted the Mosaic cowl as a birthday gift for her sister. If you look carefully, you can see that the color dominance is flipped on the top versus the bottom. Marjolijn selectively read the pattern and missed the reverse end of cowl.  Luckily her sister is not a knitter and will never notice. 😉

Rose came in with her Eyelet Ponchini. She doesn't have enough yarn to work the eighth repeat of the pattern. Since she is beyond petite, 7 repeats are fine.  She's going to bind off, block it, and come back to seam it.

Terry finished last week's Building Blocks square and came ready to learn cables. She was a quick study and picked it up fast.

Mary finished the front of her Azel Poncho knit with Plymouth Cannoli (Super Bulky: 53% Wool, 47% Acrylic, 55 yards).  She's working ribbing on her customfit tunic cardigan, pictures to follow!

Eileen (and I) learned a new stitch today; a Make 1 Long. It comes out looking like a little flower with an eyelet, yet there are no yarnovers.  Sneaky!

She was smitten with Rose's Ponchini.  I saw the look in her eyes; that moment when you see something you like and the rest of the world falls away. It won't be long before she casts on for this.

Friday, April 7, 2017

What determines your next project?

As I knitter, I am constantly surfing Ravelry for my next project.  No matter what I'm knitting, I've got my eyes on what comes next.  You have to have a plan. We've talked about this. Sometimes I learn of new patterns from knitting friends.

However, when you work in a yarn store as I do, you are bombarded (in a good way) with project inspiration:
  • Co-workers.
  • Magazines and Pattern booklets
  • Sales Reps with new yarns/patterns
  • Shop samples
  • Customers
and of course....
  • my students.
There is no end to it.  That's ok, I enjoy the parade of ideas ~ it's inspiring.

© Brooklyn Tweed
Most recently I was inspired by Robin (a student) when she came to the shop to buy yarn for the Riverbend Cardigan. The pattern calls for Brooklyn Tweed Quarry (Bulky: 100% Wool - Targhee-Columbia, 200 yards) and it was right before we began carrying Brooklyn Tweed.  We agreed she would come back (and she did).  We both bought yarn for the sweater.

Being a knitting nut-job, I cast on right away.  With bulky yarn on a #15 needle I figured I could knit it up and still get at least one wear out of it before Spring.  I loved the pattern and the meticulous care Brooklyn Tweed takes with their instructions and techniques. 

I did finish it in record time. Full disclosure, I gave it to the Westport Yarns Finisher to block and finish while I was out of town.  When I came home, my beautiful sweater was ready to wear. New England weather being what it is, I have had occasion to wear it three times!

Robin also introduced me to the Pivot Cowl. This was a great travel project.  I took it with me to Iceland and had a little fun based on the Dr. Suess book, Green Eggs and Ham.

I will knit at a glacial lake, a waterfall, in the car, and on a glacier. 

Yarn: madelinetosh Pashmina (Sport: 75% Merino, 15% Silk, 10% Cashmere, 360 yards).  This project is a definite do-over.

Most recently, Melissa came to my 2 @ time, Toe-up, Magic Loop class wearing this gorgeous scarf.  She knit it with madelintosh dk (DK: 100% Merino, 225 yards). My mind went blank when I saw it.

Let me take a minute to talk about this.  The minute I see something that catches my interest, my mind goes blank and I am entranced by the project. I've seen it happen with other people as well.  Then the knitter's Holy Grail begins... obtaining the pattern and deciding upon a yarn.  This is the adrenaline stage of the Grail. You can't stop thinking about it or what yarn you will knit it with.

Melissa told us about the pattern, String Theory Scarf which can be knit with either fingering or DK weight yarn.  It looked like she was wearing a skein of gorgeous hand-dyed yarn - literally - a skein around her neck.  I get excited all over again.  Think of all those skeins of hand-dyed yarn languishing in your (I mean my) stash.

I'd love to know where you get your next project from and if you experience the same thrill of the hunt.  Now I'm off to find potential candidates for String Theory!