Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Our Next Knit Along (KAL).

We're hearing tales of finished or nearly-finished Traveling Woman shawls...and seeing a few as proof - which means it's time to pick our next knit along (KAL) project.

Accessory pieces seem to work well - no sizing or "fit" to worry about - and the yarn (and knitting!) requirements are manageable for a 4-6 week project. Thinking we just knit a shawl, we wanted something different. Perhaps gloves, mittens or fingerless mitts? ...maybe in the fall. Socks? could be. but in the end, we liked a beret the best.

Inspired - much like Traveling Woman's Ruca - by the yarn possibilities, we've selected Selbu Modern by Kate Gagnon Osborn. It's a free pattern, although she does suggest a donation to APSCA to say thank you. (find it here, or on ravelry, here).

Our yarn inspiration? the lovely Koigu Painters Palette Premium Merino (kpppm) and Classic Elite Fresco.

These two finished projects, the first by Raveler suziknits and the second by karendeane, show how the kpppm, used as the contrast color, create an almost tapestry-like effect. Stunning, don't you think?
And the fresco, which has baby alpaca and angora, will add just a bit of halo to show off the colorwork.

Both yarns come in more colors than I can count - leading to a nearly infinite number of combinations. Jane and I spent a very fun hour (maybe more :-) on Monday pairing kpppm and fresco to show you a few possibilities. Check these out!

We'll be casting on at the April 9th KAL.

Project Highlights (please refer to the pattern for all the details):
  • Construction/Pattern - The beret is worked in the round beginning with the brim. The colorwork is charted (62 rows total).
  • Yarn - one skein of the fresco and one of the kpppm.
  • Needles - of course everyone's gauge is different, but 0's and 2's - as the pattern suggests - seem to work for most. The 0's are for the ribbed brim, switching to 2's for the body.
  • Knitting Skills - knitting in the round, increasing and decreasing, two color Fair Isle knitting, following a color chart.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

On Parade.

Finished Objects to celebrate Spring!

First up, Susie McGannon and her Wrap Me Up shawl.
Project specs - Susie used this pattern and Louisa Harding's Grace (both solid and hand dyed). Many have knit this in Noro, but I didn't find any others in Grace. Congratulations to Susie for being a trailblazer. and for finishing a stunning piece!

Next up, Lou's finished Traveling Woman. Similar to Jean, she made two repeats of the A chart and used just a tiny bit of that second skein of Ruca.
We're not keeping score, and this KAL is certainly not a race, but I do think Lou wins the prize for the first Finished Object!

And last but not least, a lovely bouquet of tulips (thank you Barbara!) gracing our front desk.
(right, this is not a finished object, but just too pretty not to share!)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Knit Night.

Thursday evenings, the shop is open til 9 for "knit night", and the fun usually starts around 4 (but "knit late afternoon" just doesn't sound right, does it?). I usually don't get to stay for the night part, but the late afternoon time is still plenty of fun. Yesterday being no exception.

Jean shared her just-off-the-needles traveling woman.
Jean knit two repeats of pattern A and had to break into the second skein of ruca just to finish the last few rows of pattern B and the bind-off. If you're participating in the KAL, we think we can get four repeats of A (and maybe one more lace section - that's the math part of the pattern) out of two skeins.

Then Sally's finished another piece for Piper's ensemble.
This pattern is also in Debbie Bliss' 9 to 5 book; Sally knit it pretty much as written, except for the flowers which she tweaked a bit to fit with the scale of the finished bag.

There was also lots of talk about Sally's next project (maybe this?)... and that kind of talk always leaves me thinking about my next project. This is just the way I like to get my knitting inspiration!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On a random Tuesday.

Plenty of "community" going on at the back table. This group of ladies gathers every Tuesday afternoon for knitting and wonderful conversation (and usually yummy food!). There are a few empty chairs - plenty of room for others to join in. I might myself on my next free Tuesday....

And two boxes of this just waiting to be stocked. of course on another Tuesday, it will likely be two boxes of something different. But you can count on it being two boxes of something. something good!

Friday, March 5, 2010

KAL week one.

...yes, participation in our KAL is free...but you do have to pose for a photo (and know that it will be posted on the internet for everyone to see!)
stormy, lynn, jean, mary, hollie, diane, jane, carol (plus paula and janice who were smart enough to leave early missed the photo)

We are off to a great start! It's hard to believe that everyone knitting the ruca selected different colorways. (promising a wide variety of knitted up samples to show off many of the colors...but still just a small representation of those 27 different colorways)

Notes from week one - the beginning is fiddle-y. starting on bamboo straights could be a good idea. expect to start over at least once (maybe twice, three times or even four!). count stitches on EVERY row. yarn overs on the purl side are...weird. this isn't a race to finish. [and a lot of other stuff that is fun - you had to be there! - but completely unrelated to the project.]

To all my KAL-mates - thank you for joining in - and being such good sports!!!

Traveling Woman Swatch.

As promised, I swatched yeterday. And as much as I was hoping the 8's would work, I'm going with the 7's.
the fabric knit with the 7s is closest to the needle; the "loose-y goose-y" stuff at the bottom is on the 8s

The yarn is - of course! - the arauncania ruca multy, colorway 1.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Announcing a KAL!

...yes - we are announcing our very first Cast-on Cottage Knit Along (KAL)!

I posted about the Araucania Ruca in Monday's IK preview post. On Tuesday, I shelved seven (yes SEVEN) new multy colors. And now? to say I'm obsessed with this yarn would be an understatement....

I spent a few hours last night/this morning searching ravelry for patterns [btw - if you're not on ravelry, please join! it's easy and it's free...and it's so fun! please note that a few of the following links will only work if you are logged into ravelry - if you click one and see the login page, that means you need to be logged in to see the link].

My current queue is full of sweaters and I know I don't have the knitting bandwidth to add another sweater...but a lacy shawlette? that could work! and Traveling Woman [a free pattern on ravelry or on Liz Abinante's website] has been a favorite for a while. There aren't any ravelry projects - YET! - in the ruca, but there are plenty in fingering and DK weights... so I thought...

let's do a KAL - Theresa said "sure". and I said "cool". and here we go!

So... if you'd like to knit Traveling Woman, please join us!

We'll be casting on at the shop on Friday (March 5) at 2 pm. If you can't join us in person, please join us virtually on our ravelry forum. (we'll be meeting at 2 pm for the next few Fridays, too - you could finish this project in time for Easter!)

Of course I know everyone might not be as obsessed with the ruca as I am - here are a few other suggestions (with ruca at the end :-) for yarns/needles/yardage.  *please note that the yardages are suggestions based on other ravelry projects...suggest you estimate on the high side.

fingering weights (to knit the pattern "as written")
araucania ranco (75% wool/25% nylon), size 6 needle, 1 skein, check out these examples

crystal palace mini mochi (80% wool/20% nylon - 195 yds/skein), size 6 needle, 2 skeins - check out these examples

DK weights
blue sky alpacas alpaca & silk (50% alpaca/50% silk - 146 yds/skein), size 7 or 8 needle, 2-3 skeins

malabrigo silky merino (50% silk/50% baby merino - 150 yds/skein), size 7 or 8 needle, 2-3 skeins - check out these examples

sublime DK (70% merino, 20% silk, 5% cashmere - 127 yds/skein - LOTS of colors!), size 7 or 8 needle, 3-4 skeins

and last but not least, araucania ruca (100% sugarcane, 263 yds/skein - 27 colorways!), size 7 or 8 needle, 1-2 skeins*

*I'm going to swatch tomorrow and I'll let you know what needle size I choose - I think either needle size will work - more a matter of how tight you knit, and the fabric you like - remember, lace should be loose. I've purchased 2 skeins of the #1 multy colorway.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Spring 2010 Interweave Knits.

The latest issue of Interweave Knits (IK) officially hits the newstands tomorrow, but it arrived in the shop last week. And even though spring seems far away - what!! a rain/snow mix forecasted for tomorrow? yikes!! - flipping through these pages... I feel a bit of warm sunshine. And a lot of knitting inspiration to use the beautiful cottons, cotton blends, and even sugar cane (that's right, sugar cane!) that we've been stocking in the shop these past few weeks. Here are a few of our favorite patterns with plenty of yarn p*rn!

First up, the New Lace, "Arty, heritage-steeped, and fresh all over again".

I love the lacy Handkerchief Tee. We have the recommended Debbie Bliss Prima (a bamboo/merino blend) in all the colors.

And the Double V Cardigan would be lovely in the Prima, or maybe the new Debbie Bliss Amalfi (a cotton/viscose/linen/silk blend).

Last in the lace category, the Rose Window Beret. Knit in Prima or Amalfi, or even Sublime DK (a merino/silk/cashmere blend), it would be perfect for those barely-warm spring days.

My favorite section of the magazine is Texture Goes Green with plenty of cables and interesting construction techniques.

Like the Aran Necklace Camisole. It starts with a beautiful cable that sits at the neck and the body is picked up from that and knit down so it's seamless (my favorite construction technique!). We have the recommended Berocco Naturlin (linen/rayon) in all the colors. And it's beautiful. This one is next up in my queue.

Or the Braided Hood Tunic.  Knit in a worsted weight yarn, those cables are going to pop. Think cotton, like Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton, or the super soft Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton - again, there are dozens of colors.

The Ringlet Tank designed by Connie Chang Chinchio is also in my queue. I plan to use Prima. But another customer chose the new Araucania Ruca Multy - that's the sugarcane - hers is going to be gorgeous!

Last up in this section is Betty's Tee. Taking advantage of entrelac techniques (knitting on the diagonal), the sweater shaping is And it's knit in my new-favorite Rowan Summer Tweed (silk/cotton). [as I was typing this post, today's issue of Knitting Daily arrived in my inbox - and the feature article is about Betty's Tee - check it out here.]

Finally, from the Side by Side section, the Transverse Cardigan - knit side to side in one piece.  This would be fabulous in the summer cottons, or the Summer Tweed. or even the Alpaca with a Twist Temptation (we have all seven colors).  We also have an extensive collection of one-of-a-kind buttons that would be perfect for finishing.

...and now the promised yarn p*rn - a small sampling of the yarns mentioned above.
blue sky dyed cotton. 100% cotton. worsted weight. lots of colors. very soft.
rowan summer tweed. silk/cotton. worsted weight. gorgeous texture.
araucania ruca multy. sugarcane! DK weight. soft and shiny.
alpaca with a twist temptation. alpaca :-). worsted weight. soft colors. soft hand. lovely drape.
...and last but certainly not least, debbie bliss. too many colors to count!

prima. bamboo/merino. DK weight. lovely sheen.

amalfi. cotton/viscose/linen/silk. DK weight. nice texture.

pure cotton. 100% cotton. worsted weight. easy to knit with. really soft.