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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Focus on Fiber, Part 1

Here are the details for the garments featured in my interview with Ginger Balch of In Sheep's Clothing. All the patterns have links back to Ravelry or you can find them on the Tahki Stacy Charles Website:

photo credit: © Tahki Stacy Charles, Inc.

Rockaways Racerback Tankfrom Tahki Yarns, Sea Breeze, Spring/Summer Collection 2016. Yarn: Ripple (Aran: 100% Cotton, 142 yards); color #41 purple. 

photo credit: © Tahki Stacy Charles, Inc.

Centerport Cropped Poncho from from Tahki Yarns, Sea Breeze, Spring/Summer Collection 2016. Yarn: Aruba (Aran: 80% Cotton, 20% Linen, 98 yards); color #12 Midnight Sky.

photo credit: © Tahki Stacy Charles, Inc.

Essence Pullover from Tahki Yarns, Life.Style, Fall/Winter 2015. Yarn: Tahoe (Aran: 32% Nylon, 27% Wool, 25% Alpaca, 16% Yak, 179 yards); color #01 Birch. Alternative yarn: Lena (Worsted: 48% Alpaca, 32% Merino, 20% Silk, 164 yards).

photo credit: © Tahki Stacy Charles, Inc.
Shakespeare Cardigan free pattern. Yarn: Dongegal Tweed (Aran: 100% Wool, 183 yards); color #853 Deep Purple.

Stay tuned for Focus on Fiber, Part 2 to follow soon where I'll reveal a new pattern being released and a code to get it for FREE after watching the video.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Wednesday Stitch and Chat

Michelle was into the second skein of her Poncho Air Lux knit with Air Lux (Fingering: 70% Rayon, 30% Wool, 328 yards) when the yarn broke off. At this point it measured 30". She's going to rejoin the yarn and finish the second skein and block it to the measurements.

There was some selective reading (or lack of reading) going on for her Llama ll Sweater. 

It turns out that part of the pattern is knit in the round. 


On another note, we do like how the green and purple look together.

Lois has a quandary. She began working the Building Blocks Afghan in the Plymouth Select Superwash (Worsted: 100% Merino 218 yards). She started on a #8 needle and quickly moved up to a #9, then #10. If she knits it to the gauge of the yarn, her squares will be about 10", before blocking (which makes for a smaller afghan then she wants). If she knits it on a bigger needle, her stitch definition might not be as clear. For the time being, she will knit the first square and see how it looks.

Marjolijn is taking a class with me at Westport Yarns for the Exploration Station.  In our last class we practiced the two color brioche stitch.  She wanted to revisit the practice swatch before continuing on in the shawl.

Brioche is more difficult when knitting English style. You have to be more aware of how you process the yarnovers.  The abbreviation is written slyo which means slip one purlwise and yarn over. When you knit English style it really is yarn over, slip one purlwise.

She had an interesting experience while traveling.  She stopped at Webs in Northampton.  Her husband pointed out a sample that he thought would look good on her.  When she checked out the tag, she was pleasantly surprised to see Centerport Cropped Poncho designed by Pam Grushkin. YAY!  She will be casting on for this in the near future.

As an aside, we are knitting a sample for the Centerport Cropped Poncho for Westport Yarns in Blue Sky Fibers Extra (Aran: 55% Alpaca, 45% Merino, 218 yards).  Would you be shocked to hear that I had enough Extra in my stash to knit one for myself?   

Mary was swatching for the Rowan Straight Top 

with Rowan Cotton Lustre (Bulky: 55% Cotton, 35% Rayon, 10% Linen, 87 yards). 
photo credit: © Hannah Fettig

She was also swatching for the (top down) Sock Yarn Sweater class.

she is taking with me this fall at Westport Yarns. Her yarn is Artyarns Merino Cloud (Fingering: 80% Merino, 20% Cashmere, 436 yards).

By the way, Mary's son got married this past weekend and the garter she knit was a success!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tuesday's Stitch and Chat

Eileen started a Building Block square with Manos Cotton Stria (Worsted: 100% Cotton, 116 yards) on a #6 and then went down to a #5. After a few rows it became clear to her that she was not going to get the stitch definition that she wanted from the Cotton Stria. It was a double whammy of it being a tonally dyed, thick thin yarn.  

She's going to use Blue Sky Fibers Multi Cotton (Worsted: 100% Cotton, 100 yards) for the Building Block squares and the Cotton Stria for garter or stockinette blocks.

She didn't know where she was in her L'Enveloppe in Misti Alpaca Qolla (Worsted: 80% Wool, 20% Alpaca, 218 yards). By looking at the schematic we were able to figure out where she was.  Unfortunately, she had followed the directions but on the wrong end of the piece and bound off twice.  She had to take it back and start the section over.

Jane B she wanted to check if she was done knitting on the Simple Knit Shrug that she is knitting in Anzula Cricket (DK: 80% Merino, 10% Nylon, 10% Cashmere, 250 yards). We pinned it together.  It was a logistical event.  First we had it folded the wrong way the we used the pictures in the pattern as a guide.  We pinned it allowing for a deeper armhole and she tried it on.  

It was hard to understand how it went together until she tried it on.  Happy Days, she was ready to knit the border and then it's ready to be blocked and sewn.

She swatched for the Easy Folded Poncho with Anzula Dreamy (Fingering: 75% Merino, 15% Cashmere, 10% Silk, 385 yards).  Her gauge was pretty close, however, I could have sworn she was going to knit this with Anzula For Better or Worsted.  She's going to check her stash and report back.

Calann began the second side of her Poncho Air Lux her goal is to finish in time to wear to a wedding in September. Yarn: Air Lux (Fingering: 70% Rayon, 30% Wool, 328 yards).

She was off one stitch in her #396 - Poncho, like last week. See the three purl stitches at the top right of the needle? It should be two purl stitches.  Thankfully she had just finished the cable so we only had to take out the cable in question.

Now she can join the two sides and work the yoke/collar in the round.

Cindy finished the second paw for her Flat Foot Floogie Lamb. The yarn is Cascade 128 Superwash (Bulky: 100% Merino, 128 yards).

Allison finished the applied i-cord on her Odele Top knit with Berroco Mykonos (DK: 66% Flax, 26% Nylon, 8% Cotton, 142 yards). I am almost as excited as she is!  She will get to enjoy this top for the next two months.

Jane T was ready to pick the stitches for one of the sleeves on her (top down) Essence Pullover in Tahoe (Aran: 32% Nylon, 27% Wool, 25% Alpaca, 16% Yak, 179 yards).

Book Talk
Live by day, Live by night by Dennis Lehane.
Woman in Cabin 10
In a Dark, Dark Wood
A Man Called Ove
Kate Morton books (audio)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Knitting is my Super Power

This past weekend I went to Comic Con in Boston with Thing #1, my sister and my niece. As I was packing and thinking aloud, I pondered what knitting to bring. 

Thing #1: (with all the appropriate teenage type scorn she could muster) said, "Moommm, you do not need your knitting at Comic con."

Me: (thinking, have you met me?) Returned the scorn with a scoff, "of course I do, we'll be waiting around a lot".

Thing #1: What if Aunt Nancy doesn't bring her knitting? 

Me:  (thinking, have you met her?) answered simply, she will.

For Comic Con I brought Trains, Planes, and Automobiles (shop pattern from Westport Yarns).  I must say, I was pretty proud of the way I "vacuum-packed" my knitting to fit into a small cross-body bag.

I even brought Dr. Who Mad Libs for the car ride. 

We waited on line for at least an hour if not more, just to gain entrance to the building. I would have been beside myself without my knitting.

And, OF COURSE Nancy brought her knitting. That was just a silly question. She is knitting the Zickzack Scarf in Mille Colori Baby (Fingering: 100% Wool - Merino, 208 yards). It is her go to travel project because it simply never ends.

There were ample knitting opportunities.  While on line for my sister's photo op with John Barrowman, I dropped to the floor to knit.  I was a tired camper.

It did not take long for my niece to follow.  We were each others back rest.  And yes, there is a cape attached to my Wonder Woman t-shirt.  I am just that cool.  T-shirt credit goes to Thing #1 (if she reads this, I know she'll want credit).

We enjoyed several celebrity sightings.

We had a great time.  Having never been, the people watching was beyond expectation and defies description.  Suffice to say, anything goes was the theme for the day.  Knitting in a Wonder Woman t-shirt did not make me stand out in the least.

I also brought Hitchhiker and happily finished it.  I knit this with Miss Babs Keira (Fingers: 100% Wool - Merino, 560 yards). I ended with about 12" of yarn left.  Talk about playing yarn chicken!  I made some modifications to the pattern which can be found here.

Now back to the real world.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Wednesday's Stitch and Chat


Mary finished her Building Blocks Afghan! She is debating putting another round of single crochet around the border. We had differing opinions.  Michelle and I voted for a contrast color and Lois voted for another round of white. Regardless, it. Is. Done!


She worked several knit stitches inadvertently while working the ribbing of her customfit sleeve (top left). I was able to fix them by dropping them down and laddering them up one by one (bottom left).  Her finished sleeve looks to be just right.


Now she is ready to swatch for the Rowan Straight Top with Rowan Cotton Lustre (Bulky: 55% Cotton, 35% Rayon, 10% Linen, 87 yards).  I just noticed that her colors for this top are the same as for her customfit above.  We are all nothing if not consistent.


 Michelle's Poncho Air Lux that never ends. Those of us knitting it, love the pattern and how it is working up. However, it is a lot of knitting where you feel like the ball of yarn is not getting any smaller.


She cast on for the Llama ll Sweater. Almost right away we had to review short rows and wrap/turns.

Lois' Beech Hill is not travel worthy.  She wants to begin Building Blocks Afghan so she has knitting she can travel with one - two squares at a time.

While we were knitting, the rain began and it was DOWNPOURING!  When I reached my car, there were literally waves of water surrounding my car.


What's a girl to do? I took off my shoes and walked to my car. The water was ankle deep! 

We are one our way

Jane measured her Simple Knit Shrug and found that two skeins yielded 28". She is starting the third skein of Anzula Cricket (DK: 80% Merino, 10% Nylon, 10% Cashmere, 250 yards). Her plan is to knit it wider than the 37" the pattern calls for and we wanted to make sure her yardage was good.  It is.

Calann was back from the Jersey shore and knit while she was away.  She had issues in both her projects. She was taking out a row in her Poncho Air Lux and found a disturbance.  She had an unknit stitch and dropped two sts. Luckily the lifeline saved her. The yarn is  Air Lux (Fingering: 70% Rayon, 30% Wool, 328 yards).

She had a mis-stitch in her Cable  #396 - Poncho.  I was able to unknit a few rows of the cable in question (without ripping out the entire poncho) by using two double pointed needles. Then I fixed the errant stitch and used the ladders of yarn to work back up. 

Calann finished the back of her Azel poncho and needed help with a cable cast on for the neckline. The directions don't explain that you have to turn the piece to the wrong side and cast on where the working yarn is.

Cindy and her Flat Foot Floogie were not getting along.  She had to rejoin her yarn and continue in garter.  Every time she worked it, it looked like she was knitting stockinette. We are not sure if 1. her stitches were stretched out from unknitting repeatedly, 2. rejoining the yarn on the wrong side so the garter had a random stockinette row before continuing in garter, or 3. she was knitting stockinette stitch by accident.  When continuing in garter, you have to be ready to work into a row that has purl bumps showing. The yarn is Cascade 128 Super wash (Bulky: 100% Merino, 128 yards).

Cornelia is well into the second sleeve of her customfit cardigan. The yarn is Artyarns Ensemble Light (DK: 50% Silk, 50% Cashmere, 400 yards).

Eleanor finished the body of the first of two Garter Yoke Baby Cardi(s) with Cascade 220 Superwash sport (DK/Sport: 100% Superwash wool, 136 yards). The sweaters will be a gift for twins). 

She discussed her next project, Andromeda in Baby Cashmerino, in black, to replace a favorite black sweater that fell victim to a moths.

Eleanor is having a bumper crop of garlic and brought a bunch of them to share.  She actually had enough (literally) for the whole class!

A terrific discussion of recipes ensued, leaving me very hungry.  The winner was Cornelia with a recipe for (slow roasted) Onion & Garlic Spread.

Caramelized onion quarters and halved garlic

6 large yellow onions
3 garlic bulbs
5 T olive oil
2 1/2 T red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line cookie sheet with foil.  Cut onions into quarters leaving skins and roots intact. 

Cut garlic bulbs in half leaving on skins.  

Place skin sides down foil lined cookie sheets.  

Brush onions and garlic with half of oil.  

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  

Uncover and brush with remaining oil and sprinkle with vinegar.  

Turn onions to side.  

Bake one hour.  

Baste and turn to other side and bake one more hour.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  
Serve warm and in the skins

Cornelia recommend scooping the meat out of the onion out until you reach skin (which) will be like parchment paper. Pop the roasted garlics out of their shells.  The onion and garlic will be spreadable like a paste.  

Use on bread, in other recipes, straight off the spoon (too far?).

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Christmas in July; well, really August.

One of the great things about working in a yarn store is being surrounded by gorgeous yarns.  One of the worst things about working in a yarn store is being surrounded by gorgeous yarns.

In August the Fall yarns begin to arrive.  Every time the UPS or FEDEX driver rings the bell, there are new boxes to open full of possibilities and temptation.  It's like Christmas in July only it's August.

We do develop a slightly thicker skin when it comes to the yarns.  Otherwise we'd be hoarders.  Personally I think of myself as a collector.  It's a kinder, gentler word for hoarder and sounds far more sophisticated.

Last week we got in a shipment of Zen Yarn Garden Superfine Fingering (Fingering: 90% Merino, 10% Nylon, 400 yards).  Zen Yarn Garden does an exquisite job with their dyeing.  It's to dye for (couldn't resist - haven't finished the morning coffee and I'm a little punchy).

Many of the colors are from their Artwalk series where the colorways take on the colors in various pieces of fine art.  It should come as no surprise that I fell in love with a colorway named, A Path in Monet's Garden.

There were other colors that tempted as well, and one does have to draw the line.  Sometimes.

Well then.  Yarn in hand I needed a pattern. Blinded by excitement the first couple of patterns I chose were for worsted or dk weight and I did not want to modify.  I wanted to cast on and knit.

After much research, I found three patterns:

photo credit: © maliha

Upwards Shawl & Cowl (thank you, Diane, a knitter after my one heart).

photo credit: © Paulina Popiolek

photo credit: © Jennifer Dassau

I sent a link to them to my sister with a picture of the yarn.  Let her be the judge, I simply couldn't decide and I trust her judgement.  

She immediately got back to me seconds after I sent the email (LOVE THAT, she totally understood the urgency of the question without a backstory.

The winner, Jet Set Cowl.  I bought the pattern without delay and cast on.