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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Knit Forest, Knit

We spend a lot of time planning our samples at Westport Yarns.  The plans are in place long before the yarns come in.  Once the new yarns arrive, the urgency sets in.  

One of the new yarns we got in this fall is Juniper Moon Farms Moonshine (Worsted: 40% Alpaca, 40% Wool, 20% Silk, 197 yards). When I was asked how fast I could knit up the sample in the Moonshine, the first thought that came to me was, "Knit Forest, Knit".  It's ok, I crack myself up.

Knit Forest, Knit is a really quick knit.  The yarn is held double and creates a fabric that is s soft, squishy, smooshy, and reversible. The cowl can be worn several ways.

Wear it folded over.

Wear it slouchy. It has perfect coverage to keep your neck and shoulders warm.
(Please notice that my lovely model is holding a box of chocolates.) 


Wear it as a snood.

Great for both beginners and experienced knitters. When you're finished knitting the cowl, treat yourself to a piece of chocolate.

The pattern is free at Westport Yarns with the purchase of 2 skeins of Moonshine or you can find the pattern here on Ravelry.

Photo-shoot outtake, were photobombed at the (dog) park by this little guy.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Cornelia wore her finished Customfit sweater on Tuesday.  In a word: stunning! She is getting well deserved compliments where ever she goes, including the man at the bank!

 Yarn: Artyarns Ensemble Light (DK: 50% Silk, 50% Cashmere, 400 yards).

She continues to make progress on her Customfit Scotland sweater in Mushishi (Worsted: Worsted: 95% Wool, 5% Silk, 491 yards).

Trammi is working on a cabled sweater shirt in Anzula Cricket (DK: 80% Merino, 10% Nylon, 10% Cashmere, 250 yards).  She had a feeling the charts were wrong in her pattern. In the picture of the sweater, the cables are reversed.  In the chart, a portion of the cable in one of the charts is not reversed.  We were both feeling weary at the prospect of redoing the chart and/or rewriting the instructions to reflect the reverse cable directions. Danni saved the day by explaining that she could scan the chart and flip it on the computer.  OUTSTANDING.

Jane asked Trammi how the gift she knitted for a teacher was received.  The woman loved the wrap so much that she changed her dress (for a wedding in Maine) to match the Outline shawl. That's a sincere show of gratitude!

She is knitting along on Easy Folded Poncho and LOVING her Interchangeable Dreamz Circular needles.

Calann hadn't worked on her poncho in a couple of weeks and wanted to revisit where she was in the yoke shaping.

Mary continues to work on her customfit tunic. She/we had a momentary panic when we thought she was knitting a second right front. She coined a new word for us, contangled, confused and tangles.  After rummaging through the pieces she knit, we were relieved to learn she was in fact knitting the left front. Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Seedling (Aran: 100# Cotton, 110 yards).

Randy finished knitting Pietra in Berroco Ultra Alpaca (Worsted: 50% Wool, 50% Alpaca, 215 yards).  Today she was painstakingly taking out the provisional cast on so she could work the 3 needle bind off for the side seams. 

 It was totally worth it.  Look how nicely the border lines up.

On Wednesday, Eileen, wasn't sure the if the left arm piece of her  L'Enveloppe in Misti Alpaca Qolla Worsted (Worsted: 80% Wool, 20% Alpaca, 218 yards) was coming out correctly.  Mine looked the same.  It stems from the slipped stitches/short rows.

Lois is nearly done with one of the fronts of her Beech Hill.

On Tuesday we discussed the mystery of needle size numbering? Why are there no size 12 or 14 knitting needles?  It did a quick google search and didn't find much.  One person said it had to do with matching the metric numbering of needles.  More often the answer is the age old and time tested, "it is, what it is". If anyone learns the reason, please let me know!


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Inspirational Projects

Michelle has 10" of knitting on her Llama II sweater.  Then she works a minimal neckline and she is done.  That's a good thing considering that this morning was almost sweater worthy.  Michelle said this is an easy knit and you can learn the short rows quickly. Yarn: Blue Sky Fibers, Extra (Aran: 55% Alpaca, 45% Merino, 218 yards) on the top and the Royal Alpaca (Worsted: 100% Alpaca, 220 yards) on the bottom.

Patti tried a reverse stockinette stitch cowl on the Easy Folded Poncho versus the stockinette cowl. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  She didn't like how it came out, plus she didn't employ a stretchy bind off so the neck was too tight.  The final result, she decided she doesn't want a cowl.  The plan is to rip out the cowl and crochet around the neckline and straight edges. Yarn: Misti Alpaca Tonos Pima Silk (DK: 83% Cotton, 17% Silk, 327 yards).

She loves the yarn and wants to knit up a sweater in it.  It's between two Berroco designs she has knit before: Leilani or Pegasi. We will be modifying the sweater to fit the difference in yarn weights.  She will knit up a gauge swatch, block it and see if she likes the stitch definition before we proceed.

Next she tried her hand at casting on for a toe-up sock with Judy Becker's Magic Cast-on.  She hadn't knit a sock in a couple of months and was pleased that after a couple of tries she got it on her own.  The yarn is Meadowcroft Cross Creek Sock (Fingering: 75% Merino, 25% Nylon, 468 yards).

Randy finished her Exploration Station and it is stunning! She knit with three colors of Anzula yarns and 1 skein of Koigu PPPM

Upon seeing Randy's Exploration Station, Patti commented that my students knit inspirational things.  I reminded her that she is one of my students. It was a feel good moment.

© Berroco, Inc.
Now Randy's revisiting Pietra in Berroco Ultra Alpaca (Worsted: 50% Wool, 50% Alpaca, 215 yards).  

There was a section in the pattern involving short rows that was very confusing. We puzzled over it for a while.  While explaining it to Danni for a second opinion, we realized that the sweater is knit side to side.  That illuminated everything.

© Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed
Karin joined us for the first time.  She is knitting the Shale Baby Blanket for a friend who had her baby early!  There were two stitches she wanted to get help with, a wrapped eyelet stitch and ssssk. (No, I didn't hold my finger down on the "s" key, that's the stitch abbreviation.)

She asked if there is a trick for estimating the tail in a long tail cast on. My preferred way is to make a double slip knot holding a strand from either two skeins or the inside and outside of a center-pull skein.  The double slip knot serves as an anchor for the cast on and does not count as the first stitch. Then I can cast on as many stitches as I need. When I'm done casting on, I cut one of the strands.

Another method is to wrap your yarn around the needle the number of times = number of stitches, then add a margin of error.  Make your slip knot and cast on.    

Jane T. set aside knitting the sleeves on her Essence Pullover and in favor of picking up the stitches for the turtleneck, so she can work on that later.

Linda was a sight for sore eyes, we haven't seen her all summer.  Her reply, "I was youngish then".  She finished the body of the Sock Yarn Sweater in Koigu PPPM (Fingering: 100% Merino, 175 yards) and picked up the stitches for the sleeve. 

Have we inspired you today?

Monday, September 12, 2016

That's the Plan


Like many of my fellow knitters, I fall in love with random skeins of hand-painted yarns.  Often there is no plan, no thought, only the feeling that I absolutely must have that skein of yarn. 

 I wanted to create a design that would serve as a plan for those beguiling skeins of hand-painted yarn that incite such passion in our souls. The pattern had to be doable for anyone from an adventurous advanced beginner to intermediate. 

When I think of the word, plan, I can’t help thinking of an experience my sister, Nancy, had. One time she went to the grocery store with her daughter for a few things and returned with wonderful fresh rolls.  Here is their conversation, which has coined a very handy phrase in our family.

As she unpacked, her husband said, “Oh, you got rolls – did you buy cold cuts to go with them?”
She said, “Nope”.
He said, “ Did you buy rotisserie chicken or something else to go with the rolls?”
She said, “Nope”.
Puzzled he asked, “So what is the PLAN for the rolls?”
She told him, “There is no plan for the rolls.  We were at the store, the rolls were fresh and smelled amazing, so we decided that we needed to bring the rolls home with us”.

Now whenever my sister and I discuss what our intentions are and we don’t have a clear plan, “We say there is no plan for the rolls.”

So here is my plan for the rolls....

In this pattern use of slip stitches moves the color around and play to its strengths.  It will work equally well whether a skein is wildly variegated or subtly hand-dyed. The stitch pattern creates a reversible effect that adds texture and depth.

The two row pattern repeat is easy to remember and easy to read (so you don’t have to keep track of rows).  It’s a perfect portable project.  We’ve tested this theory by knitting it in movie theaters, school concerts, and just about every where we went.

The pattern for Plan has been introduced in Part 2, Pam Grushkin Knits on Focus on Fiber with Ginger Balch. There is an exclusive Ravelry code for viewers to get it for free for a limited time.

I'd love to see what you knit up, please add Plan to your Ravelry favorites and/or queue!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Working from memory

I have this great system.  I type my notes about stitch and chat right into my iPad - blogger app.  It's a much better system than writing in a notebook and trying to decipher my cryptic scribble scrabble notes.

This week I forgot to bring my iPad.  Blame it on Labor Day, it through off my equilibrium. I had to work "old school" and write notes. No biggie - first world problems.

To compound matters, I am now traveling and forgot said notes.  

So this blog post is brought to you by my memory.  I make no promises.

Pictures will be my clues.

Jane was a very happy camper.  Her Jade Sapphire 6-ply for her Buildng Blocks afghan came in.  This afghan is going to be absolutely luxurious.

Her Easy Folded Poncho in Jade Sapphire Cashmere (woman has good taste) had a close call with her new puppy.  Thankfully she always keeps point protectors on her needles.  The puppy got into her knitting and when she came home she found it bunched up in a ball.  The only "casualty" was some puppy hairs on the poncho.

Michelle finished one of the sides of her Poncho Air Lux.  

She's considering using yarn from her stash for the Building Blocks AFghan. She has had this in her stash since Knit Together sold almost ten years ago. Always a good feeling to use up yarn in our stash.

Calann tried on the Azel Poncho she's knitting for her daughter,  She was concerned about it being too big.  We all really liked it.  

We made the joint decision to start the yoke shaping over again.  Neither of us were happy with how it was shaping up (pun intended).  

Allison finished her Easy Folded Poncho and was thrilled with how it knit up.  She is going to get a lot of use out of this.  It's a terrific shade of blue that will work nicely with anything,

Her cowl in Anzula Nebula is ready to be joined in the round.  

Great picture of yarn.  Can't remember who's yarn it was or what they are planning on knitting with it.  I'm thinking Allison cause she's working this "blues" theme.

Cornelia knit up a storm and finished the back of her revised customfit sweater. She is in her happy place again with her Scotland sweater.

Carol joined us with her first (of several) Fibers Entwined Whimsical (Nikola) Christmas Stocking. She's thoroughly enjoying making these stockings.  She wanted to confirm that she worked the toe correctly.

Later in the week I met with Trammi.  Together we are modifying the sweater to fit her better.  Trammi is very petite and the sweater is oversized and is only sized for Medium and Large.  

First off we changed the yarn from Aran weight to DK weight.  

Next she swatched for all the cable/stitch patterns involved.  From their we worked out the math based on a sweater she liked the fit of.  My hope was that by making these changes, she would be able to follow the numbers as they are written and get the smaller size.  Happily it worked out.  

Now the proof will be in the knitting.  

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Every project I learn something ne

Michelle is nearly finished knitting my Centerport Cropped Poncho in Blue Sky Fibers Extra (Aran: 55% Alpaca, 45% Merino, 218 yards). She is knitting the shop sample for Westport Yarns.

Her Llama ll Sweater looks great! I love the combination of the purple Blue Sky Fibers Extra on the top and the green Royal Alpaca (Worsted: 100% Alpaca, 220 yards) on the bottom. Having completed the armholes, she is ready to work in the round.

Mary is working on second sleeve of her Customfit sweater; we reviewed where she was in cap shaping. Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Seedling (Aran: 100# Cotton, 110 yards).

Calann is working on the yoke shaping on #396 Poncho. Decreasing while staying in the cable pattern is confusing, especially when there are decreases are on wrong side rows.

Jane T. lost the beginning of round marker on the sleeve she is knitting and the shaping ended up on side of sleeve instead of the underside of her Essence Pullover. Yarn: Tahoe (Aran: 32% Nylon, 27% Wool, 25% Alpaca, 16% Yak, 179 yards).

She very philosophically mused that she learns something new with every project she knits.  She was going to give the sweater to her daughter.  Now that it has mistakes in it, she's going to keep it for herself. Jane said that if she continues making mistakes in her knitting, she'll have a bigger wardrobe. 

Cornelia immediately started re-knitting her (Scotland) Customfit pullover.  Her waist shaping  was beautifully done. Yarn: Mushishi (Worsted: Worsted: 95% Wool, 5% Silk, 491 yards).

Mary and Cornelia are signing up for the the Snowdrift Cabled hat class I'm teaching at Westport Yarns. Cornelia loves cables, now she'll learn how to work in the round. She has categorically refused to knit any project that requires circular needles.  We may have worn her down. ;)

Eileen reached the challenging part of L'Enveloppe in Misti Alpaca Qolla Worsted (Worsted: 80% Wool, 20% Alpaca, 218 yards). Working the left arm piece is very confusing.  She rose to the challenge.

She is rethinking using cotton for the Building Blocks afghan and is going to change it to Plymouth Select Superwash Merino (Worsted: 100% Merino, 218 yards).  We agreed that the stitch definition in the Blue Sky Fibers Multi Cotton (Worsted: 100% Cotton, 100 yards) was good.  However, she isn't enjoying the feel of cotton for an afghan.

This decision was furthered by the notion of going down to a #5 needle in the Manos Cotton Stria (Worsted: 100% Cotton, 116 yards).  The stitches here were too loose on a #6.  Eileen has an aversion to needle sizes smaller than a #6.

She was concerned that she had lost a stitch in her Artyarns Lazy Days of Summer KAL in Artyarns Beaded Silk & Sequins Light and Artyarns Merino Cloud. Luckily it was just a false alarm, it was an unknit stitch.

Eleanor was picking up the stitches for the button border of the first of two Garter Yoke Baby Cardi(s) with Cascade 220 Superwash sport (DK/Sport: 100% Superwash wool, 136 yards). I explained the pick up ratio: 

1 stitch for every bound-off stitch.
3 stitches for every 4 stitches along the diagonal.
2 stitches for every 3 stitches along vertical sections.

She learned that the twins are both boys and picked out these cute sailboat buttons.

Jane B is cranking out the Easy Folded Poncho in the Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere (6ply, 100% Cashmere, 150 yards).

Later in the week I caught up with Trammi.

She is knitting this gorgeous Tube top  in Anzula Dreamy (Fingering: 75% Merino, 15% Cashmere, 10% Silk, 385 yards) and Artyarns Beaded Silk & Sequins (DK: 100% Silk, 110 yards).

Since it's knit in the round, I found the best way to measure is to lay the tape measure inside the garment where it is laying flat.

We are modifying an oversized cable cardigan/jacket to fit Trammi who is very petite. The pattern calls for aran weight yarn, she is using Anzula Cricket (DK: 80% Merino, 10% Nylon, 10% Cashmere, 250 yards).  Their are two gauges for the pattern: seed stitch and the cable.  We combined the two so she only has to knit one swatch.  So far so good. The pattern is from Filati Handknitting Magazine, issue #55.

Lori salvaged what yarn she could that her 10 month old puppy hasn't already found.  She's making a comeback to knitting and is starting with a wash cloth for practice.