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Monday, March 13, 2017

Knit it up ASAP!

I've updated my Infinity Wrap for super bulky yarn so that it practically flies off the needles! This is one of my favorite, easy to wear accessories.  You see them everywhere! Why not knit one up?

Plymouth Gina Chunky
The Infinity wrap is perfect for advanced beginner knitters and experienced knitters alike.  At any skill level you will appreciate that it knits up so fast. Who doesn't like instant gratification?

Plymouth Baby Alpaca Brush
This version is knit holding Plymouth Gina Chunky (Bulky: 100% wool, 131 yards) and Plymouth Baby Alpaca Brush (Bulky: 80% Alpaca, 20% Acrylic, 110 yards) together. The colorways pictured above are available at Westport Yarns, call to order yours (203) 454-4300. The project only requires two skeins of each and knits up on a US #17 needle!


 It's the perfect thing for (dare I say it) the transition to spring!

For a limited time, get the original Infinity Wrap for free when you buy the ASAP Infinity Wrap pattern. Just enter the coupon code: ASAP ~ or click here.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Lost in Translation

Wendy joined us for the first time today.  She is knitting socks from a DROPS pattern. DROPS designs are chic, interesting patterns translated to English.  Unfortunately, there are things that get either lost in translation or expressed in a way that is unfamiliar.

She was ready to turn the heel.  I don't know what it is, but turning the heel on a sock is magical.

Eileen is struggling with the Cressida Cabled Top for the same reason. She is using pictures to aid in the translation of the directions. She's going to give it one more concerted effort before finding a different pattern for the yarn.  Stay tuned!

She finished the Lazy Days of Summer Shawl. Her bind off was way too tight and really restricted the width of her shawl. She was not going to get much out of it even with aggressive blocking. Needless to say she was not a happy camper. I took out her bind off and worked the elastic bind off. I swear it was twice the width when I was done. She likes it much better. I aim to please. Yarn: Artyarns Beaded Silk & Sequins Light and Artyarns Merino Cloud.

Marjolijn was revisiting Exploration Station. She replaced the brioche section with a broken rib stitch and somehow has 100 stitches more than she should. Marjolijn took this in stride and said it is a gift for her daughter who likes big wraps. She is going to replace the chevron at the bottom with another stitch she is more familiar with so she will finish it sooner rather than later.  Well done!

Lois had knit up quite a bit of her Bias Scarf with Ribbed Cables when she realized the had (what we thought) were several extra stitches.  I took it back for her only to realize she was only off one stitch.  And so it goes.

Random dog picture.  In all that fluff, it's hard to say which end it up!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Dinner is served

You know how when dinner is served everyone is suddenly silent while they begin to eat?  So it goes when everyone is concentrating and/or counting at the knitting table.

Allison had a dropped stitch from a recent cable in her Puffy Cowl. Yarn: Artyarns Cashmere Glitter (DK: 100% Cashmere plied with metallic thread, 170 yards).  This is an awesome one skein project. 

She has left over Kid Paillettes (burgundy yarn) from her customfit sweater and picked up two colors of Kidsilk haze (Lace: 70% Mohair, 30% Silk, 229 yards). She is going to knit Margaret's Trains, Plains, and Automobiles scarf. The order the are pictured in is the order in which they will be knit in the scarf.  It will be a beauty!
21 Color Slouch Hat

Here are some pictures of Allison's nieces wearing her knitted gifts.  These happy faces make the knitting/gifting all worthwhile.

Left: Lucy Cowl Right: Big Fat Stratus
Jane B tried the Portuguese Knitting tensioned around her neck versus the pin.  She said it wasn't too bad ~ no chafing.

Trammi learned how to work increases in Portuguese style knitting on her Apres Vest.
Yarn: Blue Sky Fibers Techno (Bulky: 68% Alpaca, 22% Silk, 10% Wool, 120 yards).

We measured her cabled shirt both in inches and held it against her back.  The length to armhole is perfect.  She's going to knit three more inches and then we will recheck the armhole depth.

Cornelia has happily embarked on the front of her Vivacious Hi-Lo Pullover.  She felt as if the back took forever.  The front is shorter (hence the name), so it shouldn't take as long.  Meanwhile she is scouting her next project. Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash (Worsted: 100% superwash wool, 220 yards).

Eleanor picked up yarn for a baby sweater in Rialto DK (DK: 100% Merino, 115 yards) while traveling.

She ditched Clapotis and is making 22 Little Clouds instead. Actually to be more precise, she is binding off.  This was a quick knit!

Emerald Isle Child's Pullover
Can we just take a moment to admire how fantastic Eleanor's sweater for her grandson came out. (And how adorably cute he is!)

Cindy cast on and joined in the round for the Churchmouse Shoulder Cozy. Rather than holding Kidsilk Haze double, she is knitting it with Tahki Zona (Aran: 35% Cotton, 28% Wool, 26% Acrylic, 11% Nylon, 119 yards).

Nancy knit up two Sugar and Spice #193 QK sleeveless tops in Cotton Supreme (Aran: 100% Cotton, 180 yards). She learned how to work a three needle bind off to knit the shoulders closed.

The colors of the two tops are so sweet.  She just had enough yarn.

Jane T is knitting the Men's Cardigan, a cabled sweater, for her son in Cascade 220 Superwash.

I'll leave you with a video that Trammi shared with us. 

Van Gogh's Starry Night painted on dark water by Garip Ay 

It truly defies description.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Finishing with Style


Trammi used Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off for the Manteau Capelet which she is knitting as a gift.  Yarn: Artyarns Beaded Silk & Sequins Light and Artyarns Ensemble Light in Colorway #505.  With what is leftover she can knit [sev]en circles.

Jane swatched for the Easy Folded Poncho in Blue Sky Fibers Alpaca & Silk (Sport: 50% Silk, 50% Alpaca, 146 yards).  Bless her soul, she took solid notes on the dimensions (70" x 32") of her cashmere poncho (we had modified the size).  I did the math based on her gauge so she could make the same size as that one.  Her gauge was 5.5 stitches/1" on a #6 needle, 32" x 5.5 = 176 stitches to cast on.

Allison finished her  21 Color Slouch Hat. Per other knitters on ravelery, she modified the cast on to 110 versus 100.  We recalculated the rate of decreases using the Knit Evenly app.

She started the Puffy Cowl knit with Artyarns Cashmere Glitter (DK: 100% Cashmere, 170 yards).

Cornelia finished the back of her Vivacious Hi-Lo Pullover in Cascade 220 Superwash (Worsted: 100% Superwash wool, 220 yards) and has started the front.

Cindy was almost done with the bottom border of the Elephants on the Parade blanket, than she can continue in stockinette until top border.

Two book recommendations:
Gentleman in Moscow

Another Brooklyn

On Wednesday

Eileen knit up my ASAP Infinity Wrap and it came out too short. She is going to rip back and make it deeper. It's a very quick knit, so she didn't mind.  Yarn:  Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Brush and Plymouth Yarn Gina Chunky.

She was ready to sew the Mile high loopsclub cowl together.

She found the diagram a bit confusing. It was easier when we pinned it together.

Lost a stitch in her Lazy Days of Summer Shawl. She is disciplining herself to finish this before starting my poncho. Yarn: Artyarns Beaded Silk & Sequins Light and Artyarns Merino Cloud.

Mary had knit one inch past the armhole shaping on her customfit tunic. Somehow (unintentionally) in the process of knitting this piece, she modified the length to armhole - consistently on the back and both fronts. You know, if you're going to create your own design element, it is best to be consistent.

She is truly in the home stretch she has to knit from the armhole shaping to the shoulder of the left front.  Then it can go to the finisher to be blocked, sewn, and the neckline stitches picked up.

Lois is knitting the Bias Scarf with Ribbed Cables. It's a really pretty stitch pattern and you can't tell from the picture, it's a lovely soft peach color.

Budding photographers with their new (bark box) Polaroid toy.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Portuguese Knitting

I've begun to introduce the Portuguese knitting method at Westport Yarns.  My first group of willing subjects students met in January.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Portuguese Knitting Method, let me explain.
Portuguese knitting, which is also known as Turkish Knitting, Incan Knitting, Andean Knitting and "around the neck knitting", originated among Arabic knitters. The technique gradually spread north from Africa and the Middle East to the Mediterranean, the Balkans (especially Bulgaria and Greece), the Iberian Peninsula and eventually came to South America via Spanish and Portuguese colonization.

When using the Portuguese Knitting Method the yarn is tensioned around the right hand, and then either strung around the knitter's neck or through a pin fastened to the knitter's shirt or sweater. From there it flows to the piece being knitted.

One of the benefits of knitting this way is that it is easier on your joints.

Jill's Beaded Knit Bits
Jill's Beaded Knit Bits
I prefer using a pin versus stringing the yarn around the neck. Several enthusiastic knitters had already bought the style of knitting pin (really a clip) that I use. The other ladies were able to try my clips.

As is common when learning anything new, the first 30 minutes or so were a bit clumsy.  Learning new things is always awkward in the beginning.  After an hour, they were solidly knitting via the Portuguese method.

For their homework before the second classes, I asked them to knit two swatches.

Portuguese Method on Left
 Both swatches had to have the same components: same yarn, same number of stitches, same number of rows, and same needle.

Portuguese Method on top.
 The difference was that one they would knit with their "go to" method of knitting.  The second swatch they were to knit via the Portuguese method.

Portuguese Method in center.
This was a wonderful exercise.  Everyone had the same AHA! moment. For each knitter, whether their gauge changed significantly or not, they noticed that their stitch definition was better.

Two of the knitters took the class because they want to alleviate pain in their hands (from knitting). Happily for them, they had no discomfort from knitting this way.

By far the best moment was when one of the students, Terri, who is an excellent knitter, brought out a sweater she is knitting in Mykonos (DK: 66% Linen / Flax, 26% Nylon, 8% Cotton, 142 yards). She was having an awful time. She felt that her stitches looked sloppy and irregular.  She was not a happy camper.  We all knew she wasn't going to knit it if this was going to be the result.

Then she knit up a swatch using the Portuguese method using the same needles.  Needless to say she is ripping out what she has done and is starting over. The difference in her stitches was remarkable.

I know that personally, knitting via the Portuguese method has brought my search for gauge to a close and pretty much cured my crisis of gauge.

Whether this method will become their new go to method, a sometimes method, or not at all.  I think it's important to learn techniques and increase your knowledge.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Say cheese!

Every now and then I like to take a group shot. 


Trammi is nearing completion of her Manteau Capelet and wanted to review the elastic bind off. Yarns: Ensemble Light and Beaded Silk and Sequins Light.

Next up was working a provisional cast on for Apres Vest. 

She's going to knit this project using the Portuguese Knitting method. Yarn: Blue Sky Fibers TECHNO (Bulky: 68% Alpaca, 22% Silk, 10% Wool, 120 yards).

© Kate Gilbert
Eleanor wants to knit Clapotis in Cricket (DK: 80% Merino, 10% Nylon, 10% Cashmere, 250 yards). The pattern is designed using Aran weight yarn. She found someone (on Ravelry) who had modified the pattern to use two skeins of Cricket.

There were knitters who used a ratio based on the weight of their yarn in grams to determine how to manage their yardage.  Specifically, 10% for the increase section, 80% for the straight section, and 10% for the decrease section.  It was an interesting exercise in yarn management.

She's almost done knitting "Jason's" Cashmere (Cabled) Hat in Spud & Chloe Sweater (Worsted: 55% Wool, 45% Cotton, 175 yards).

Calann needed clarification on where to work the decreases in the baby hat. The decreases are worked two stitches before each marker and two stitches before the end of a double pointed needle (where a marker would be). Yarn: Baby Cashmerino (Sport: 55% Wool, 33% Acrylic, 12% Cashmere, 137 yards).

By the end of class, she had finished the hat.  So cute!

Cornelia is working the armhole of her Vivacious Hi-Lo Pullover in Cascade 220 Superwash (Worsted: 100% superwash wool, 220 yards).

We talked about the importance of taking breaks when you're knitting and stretching your fingers, hands, arms, and shoulders. You can find specific exercises online to alleviate repetitive stress discomfort. (Google knitting exercises.)

Allison is enjoying knitting the 21 Color Slouch Hat; a kit from Blue Sky Fibers in mini skeins of Woolstok (Worsted: 100% Wool).

Cindy got the Elephants in line in her Elephants on Parade blanket.  You have to watch those Elephants every minute. 😉

She was also beginning a scarf in Cascade Eco Duo (Aran: 70% Alpaca, 30% Merino, 197 yards). based on  a scarf Nancy is knitting.

Jane is starting her first project in the Portuguese Knitting style; Fallen Halo in Artyarns Cashmere 5 (Aran: 100% Cashmere, 102 yards) and Cashmere Glitter (DK: 100% Cashmere plied with metallic, 170 yards).

The bad news is that Nancy had a confluence of issues with the lace section of her Etched Rio Wrap in Stargazer (Sport: 75% Llama, 25% Silk, 218 yards). The good news is that Nancy had a confluence of issues with the lace section of her wrap.  It's the best way to learn how to read your stitches and fix your mistakes.  Not sure if she'd agree.

Mallory was back and ready to finish her 5th? 8th? Christmas Stocking.  I can't keep track!

Outstanding! I hope her grandchildren know just how lucky they are (on all counts) to have Mallory as their Grandmother!