Monday, June 28, 2010

Another FO Modeled.

This is Janice*, modeling her just finished Lily Chin Convertible Coat (M002), knit with Rowan Cocoon. Janice said this was a fun project to knit - cool construction with flat panels of garter stitch and many (many!) picked up stitches. And it is definitely a wearable piece - you can wear it long (like the first two shots) or turn it upside down and it's a swingy short coat.
Ooops for the blurry 3rd shot, but we were having so much fun with the photos that it was hard to focus!

*and Janice, apologies in advance if I've misspelled your name - I can't find my notes and my memory isn't what it needs to be!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

KAL the Fourth.

It's hard to believe it's been nearly six weeks since we started our third KAL (Springtime Bandit). We've loved seeing everyone's shawls and the "knit along" was really helpful when we had  had questions or ran into problems.

So we are excited to announce our fourth KAL: Annis by Susanna IC, a free pattern from the latest Knitty. It's getting rave reviews on Ravelry - check out the project gallery  to see why we're excited about it!
...and if you're still wondering "why another shawl", it's because this is not "another triangular shawl that starts at the center back". Nope, this is a full crescent-shaped shawl that starts with the lace edge and ends with stockinette, shaped with short rows. And you can do beading or nupps to add texture to the lace section.
The designer has knit four versions of the pattern in different weights and even posted directions for a mini version. Her version for Knitty used just less than 400 yards of lace-weight, but many have also used fingering weight (aka "sock yarn"). Those fingering weight versions are also coming in at around 400 yards (some more, some less).

You know we have plenty of options in both lace and fingering weight - lovely solids and semi-solids in wool, alpaca and other blends. I've opted for fingering but had a hard time making the final selection. I narrowed it down to a skein of malabrigo sock in primavera (Jane says it makes my skin glow) and a skein of madelinetosh sock in composition book gray (Jane says it makes my blue eyes pop - btw, Jane knows how to sell yarn, doesn't she?!). I decided to swatch both and make my decision once I saw them knitted up.

Long story short (details below!) the composition book gray wins!
I knit my swatch from the lace pattern chart, adding a few rows of plain stockinette at the end. My gauge is slightly smaller than the 14 st/4" that the pattern states, but I'm ok with a slightly smaller shawl.

Swatching Specs:
  • Knitted cast-on using size 9 needles - it is VERY important to have a loose cast on. Many forum posts suggested this one - and I think it works perfectly.
  • Purled back (still using size 9s) to create a foundation row - I made this modification at the suggestion of other forum posts - some chose to knit the foundation row, but I opted to purl it since the lace pattern is stockinette and the first pattern row is the right side (knitted).
  • Switched to size 7 needles to knit the chart, slipping the beginning stitches purl-wise with the yarn in back on the knit rows and in front on the purl rows.
  • I played around with the nupps, too. On the swatch above, I used Nancy Bush's method, with only 5 wraps (K, YO, K, YO, K into the stitch) instead of 7. I also tried Myra Wood's method, but I just couldn't handle the crochet hook and the knitting needles together. My nupps are definitely less "bumpy" than some - but I'm pleased with the result.
If you're curious, here's the malabrigo sock version, knit on size 8s (with size 10s for the cast-on and foundation row).
This was just too open for me. I could see, though, that with lace-weight that would be more heavily blocked, the bigger needles might be fine.

Lesson learned? swatch!!!  (and if you're really questioning your results, wet block and pin out your swatch!!)

Project Highlights (please refer to the pattern for all the details):
  • Construction/Pattern - this is a crescent shaped shawl, knitted in one piece starting at the outside edge of the lace and shaped with short rows. 
  • Yarn - approximately 400 yards of lace or fingering weight.
  • Needles - see above for my thoughts on size. You'll want to use a circular needle so you have enough room for all the stitches. The pattern suggests a 32" needle (the cast-on is 363 stitches!!) and something longer would certainly work.
  • Knitting Skills - intermediate lace, including increasing, decreasing and following a chart. nupps and short rows. Note that the pattern on Knitty is charted only, but the Ravelry pattern page does include written instructions.
 We'll be casting on this Friday, June 25 at 2pm. Please join us virtually if you can't be at the shop in person!


We love seeing our customers showing off their knitwear. And of course I love sharing the pieces with you. Which means I need pictures!  I'm sure it's just my imagination (right?!) but sometimes I get the feeling customers are hoping my camera and I aren't there or maybe that we're too busy to take pictures when they stop by.

Except for yesterday. Carol and Greer were great sports about playing along with me.  And the photos show it!

Here they are together -Carol modeling her summer shawl (a shop pattern staple) and Greer with her Miley Tee (after seeing how cute this is, we're looking into carrying c2knits patterns in the shop - the designs are topdown seamless - my favorite!!), knit with Debbie Bliss' Amalfi.

And this one shows off the side detail of Greer's top.
Thank you both for your lovely smiles!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Guilt-free Desserts.

Who doesn't love dessert. Especially pretty cakes. And when they're guilt-free, even better!
These pieces were stitched our long-time super-talented customer Mark (who also knits!!)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Knitting in Public.

Yes, happy to report we had a few ladies brave Saturday's heat and humidity to amuse the passers by on Canton Street! It was actually not too hot in the shade and there was an occasional cooling breeze. But (like always) it was the company, sharing ideas & expertise, planning projects, and simply being together that made it all worthwhile!

And we have new photos!

Love that everyone wore something knitted. My special favorite is Virginia modeling her gorgeous Zia from French Girl Knits (it's the 3rd one down on the left, raveled here).

Thank you to everyone who stopped by!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Do you KIP?

Cast-on Cottage is celebrating World Wide Knit in Public (WWKIP) day this Saturday, June 12. Hopefully the heat and humidity won't keep us inside and we can enjoy the shade on our front lawn.  Of course there are also plenty of knitter-friendly restaurants on Canton Street (my socks-in-progress have seen the inside of most of them!) if it gets too hot.

Please join us!

Friday, June 4, 2010

More Madelinetosh!

Thursday was an especially good UPS day - our long-awaited order of madelinetosh sock and DK arrived!

We have eight colorways of sock (celadon, composition book gray, fathom, fig, glazed pecan, olivia, tart and wisteria) and five of the DK (fathom,kale, nostalgia, tart, wisteria). These colors are truly gorgeous and a photo can't begin to capture their depth, but at least the sun came out...and I didn't get too many strange looks when I posed these skeins in our front yard!
a sampling of DK (left to right: kale, tart, wisteria, fathom)

and a sampling of sock (left to right: tart, glazed pecan, celadon, composition book gray, olivia, wisteria and fathom)

These yarns are incredibly popular - for good reason - they're soft, beautiful and washable! Check out the thousands of projects on Ravelry (sock and DK) if you're looking for inspiration. I haven't been able to decide where to start. Socks or a shawlette in the sock, or a February Lady Sweater in the DK?

Please share your projects with us on Ravelry. I've started a thread in our group to encourage a virtual conversation - photos, ideas, questions are welcome!