Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Project Crush.

Have you heard of Churchmouse Yarns & Teas? They're the folks behind that oh-so-popular Barb's Koigu Ruffle scarf. Theresa contacted them to get that pattern back in the shop. And we were only mildly surprised a few weeks later when the shipment from Churchmouse arrived...including all eleven of their patterns. Yeah, these patterns are that hard to resist! They're well-designed, beautifully photographed with clear instructions, printed on nice cardstock, and most require just a few skeins of yarn.

But one pattern quickly became our new crush - the Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf. We sold out of the pattern in a week....and had a complete blast helping customers pick out the three skeins of Koigu's KPPPM to knit it.
I jumped on the bandwagon, too, and I'm really pleased with how my scarf (here's the ravelry link if you want to see the colorways I'm using) is working up. Even casting on 450 stitches didn't seem quite so bad once I saw the colors (I did follow the pattern's suggestion and place markers every 50 stitches to keep up with my progress...and make sure I had the slip stitch pattern right). This is my first project using KPPPM and I love the yarn. Of course the colors are gorgeous, but it's also nice to knit with - soft and not at all splitty or twisty (and so far no knots!).

The pattern is back in stock - and we're keeping the rack of KPPPM stocked as well!

If 525 yards of fingering weight yarn is scaring you away from this project, consider using a DK or worsted weight yarn instead. The long color repeats of Noro's Silk Garden or Aya would be lovely and you could use just a single colorway to get a nice striped effect. The linen stitch is also gorgeous in a solid (maybe the Ultra Alpaca that's on sale?)...especially for a man's scarf.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We're Moving!

It's definitely worth a trip - this is a sale you don't want to miss!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thinking about Socks.

Specifically about knitting them, toe-up. Have you done it? Want to give it a try? Please join us for our next KAL!

We're planning ahead - this KAL won't start until August (Friday, August 6 if you're keeping track). And that gives us an opportunity to try out a new poll feature - yep, we're going to vote on the pattern for the KAL. (and it's all anonymous - we only see the total number of votes, nothing about who voted). The poll is located in the blog sidebar, below the "where to find us" section.

Wanting to keep this as simple as possible - we're going to start with two patterns - both designed by Wendy Johnson, who is probably the queen of toe-up socks. She's written books and published dozens of patterns...many of which are free on Ravelry. Two that look especially fun and would work in a variety of yarns and colorways, solids or not, are the Nanner Socks and the Double Eyelet Rib Socks.

These are the Nanner Socks. You can check out the projects on Ravelry .
and these are the Double Eyelet Rib Socks - and the projects on Ravelry .
Voting will continue through Sunday August 1 and we'll announce the winner on Monday August 2. And if neither of these patterns appeal, please suggest an alternative in the Comments and we'll add your suggestion to the poll.

...and last but not least (in case you need some inspiration for voting!) a view of our sock yarn wall - including the dozens of colorways of Araucania Ranco, now 15% off!

P.S. We know there are a few Annis shawls out there ... some finished and some still works in progress. We love to see them all - please share! stop by the shop for a photo - or if you're a bit shy, simply share your project with our Ravelry group!

Friday, July 9, 2010

More Madelinetosh!

Yes! the Pashmina has arrived!! And it looks and feels as good as we thought it would (honestly, maybe even better!) We have four colorways...and I promise it's a complete coincidence that they all look so pretty in this "natural" setting.
clockwise starting at the left - celadon, dusk, thyme and moorland

The yarn is a sport weight (5-1/2 to 6 stitches per inch) blend of merino, silk and cashmere, with 360 yards per skein.

Now the only problem is figuring out what to knit with it. I'd been planning a sweater (maybe goodale, which meets my "must be seamless" criteria and it's designed for pashmina or wendy bernard's essential tank with that pretty lace detail down the front). But now that I've seen - and fondled - the yarn, I think I want it to be a shawl. Something lacy, but with a solid background to show off the color and the softness and the shine of the cashmere and silk. Have to love Ravelry for making it really easy to find patterns. This search shows 19 patterns that would work with one skein. Andrea's Shawl is at the top of that list - and it's been in my favorites for months. But I think Shaelyn is the winner.

And now to pick the color....

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Testing the New Lana Grossa Needles.

Did you know we are now carrying the Lana Grossa wooden "design lumber" needles in the shop? Yes, we have double-points and circulars in the full range of sizes* and even crochet hooks.

Here's what the Lana Grossa website says about the circular needles:
  • Unique durability thanks to a special compression process of layered wood. The durability beats the precious woods such as rosewood and is beyond comparison with any other wooden needle.
  • Attractive colour combination through the separate tints of the various layers of wood.
  • Light, but at the same time extremely robust and resilient.
  • Easy to handle and the flush surface of the wood means you can knit for hours and your hands are pleasantly warm.
  • Slim, tapered tips.
  • Black, extremely flexible wire with a smooth transition to the needle which lets the stitches slip easily.
Sounds great, doesn't it? maybe too good to be true?

I've been testing these needles while knitting the Annis shawl. With 363 stitches per row and about 100 nupps and more yarn overs, I figured it was a perfect project to try. And I am happy to report - these needles are wonderful.

My three favorite things:
First, those "slim, tapered tips" are truly super-pointy. I didn't have any problems with the nupps (that photo to the left shows the 5 wraps of one nupp getting purled together). I cast on those 363 stitches with my addi lace size 9 needles and on the first lace row, where I knit the stitches with the lana grossa size 7 needle, I could really tell the difference in points. The addi lace seemed blunt in comparison.

Second, the cable is really flexible and the join is smooth. The cable isn't fighting me at all - it's settled into a nice circle. And my stitches are sliding easily without catching.

Third, they're pretty. I love the colors in the wood. And I think those colors provide just enough contrast to show up the yarn. Granted, I'm not knitting black or navy, but I don't think it's hard to see the stitches at all.

In short, I'm recommending these needles!

*note that the sizing is metric; the needles come in whole and half mm sizes only. So the US 1 (2.25 mm), US 3 (3.25 mm) and US 5 (3.75 mm) aren't available. Sadly. Because I would love to try knitting socks with their dpns.