Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Winners for our Next KAL.

If you voted, I doubt this will be a surprise - the two winning patterns have been in the lead the whole week! But just to confirm (and in case you didn't vote :-), the winners are:
yep, Susie's Reading Mitts and Linda K's Yummy Mummy Wristwarmers.

Hope you're planning to join in with one (or both?!) of these patterns. You don't have to participate in person (we meet for knitting at the shop from 2-4pm on Fridays) - virtual is welcome, too (and please post to our ravelry thread  to share your thoughts and photos!). We're simply trying to encourage the "community" created by a shared knitting experience.

Me, I'm planning to knit Susie's Reading Mitts. It was an easy decision only because I have just one set of the absolutely fabulous Signature dpns in size 1. And they're booked 24/7 with socks. I have plenty of dpns in sizes 5 and 4 (see below) to cover Susie.

Susie's stated gauge is 5-1/2 st per inch on a size 5 needle. That's a standard gauge/needle for DK weight yarn (including my favorite Blue Sky Alpaca Silk), but the pattern recommends a worsted weight yarn knit a bit tighter. I think a tighter fabric is great for mitts because it wears better and will keep you warmer. Based on my review of the Susie's projects, about half the knitters have chosen a worsted weight, and half a DK (there are a few who have chosen other weights, but I didn't review their projects!) What choices! I think about half the yarn in our shop would work:
kathmandu and elsebeth lavold on the left; spud & chloe sweater in the middle; debbie bliss cashmerino aran to the right
And after a quick (who was I kidding? of course I couldn't pick out yarn in just 5 minutes?) visit to the shop this morning, I have 4 skeins of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in a lovely deep purple ready to go (it's the one on the 2nd bin from the top in the photo above). Please note the mitts require about 200 yds (only 2 skeins), but I'm planning to knit a beret to go with (stay tuned!). I'm hoping to cast on tomorrow for a gauge swatch and I'll report back - I'm also planning to knit the rows before the eyelet turning row in a smaller needle to make the turned under edge fit better. Stay tuned for details on that, too.

I hope there are (at least!) a few of you who will knit the Linda K's (fingering weight) mitts so we can share hands on advice about that pattern, too. Please feel free to speak right up in the comments, or you can private message me on Ravelry (my user name is mere).

Here are the details for the two patterns - please feel free to post question/comments/etc - we really do want to hear from you!!
Susie's Reading Mitts  This pattern isn't quite as old, but it's still very popular. And note that we've got a suggestion about those picot edges that will avoid having to sew them down.
photo from flickr
Linda K's Yummy Mummy Wristwarmers (note that this pattern is only available via Ravelry)

Happy Knitting!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

How Would You Spend $100?

...if you won a shopping spree at Cast-on Cottage?

For lucky customer Marge Licht, that's not a daydream kind of question. Nope, Marge won the Grand Prize Drawing and has $100 to spend!!

We did enjoy talking about the possibilities at Knit Night. I offered up "something fun" and was quickly reminded that really, any yarn purchase should be fun. We finally settled on "a splurge". Something you've had your eye on but haven't quite been able to justify. For me, that would be a lacy stole's worth of Blue Sky Alpaca Silk. What would it be for you?

Congratulations, Marge, and enjoy!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fingerless Mitts KAL.

It's time to vote! Thank you to everyone who chimed in on Ravelry to help us narrow down the choices. We're going to pick two patterns - one for worsted weight and one for DK weight - so you'll still have a choice to make about which one to knit (unless you decide to make them both!)

So, without further ado, the finalists:

For worsted weight,

 Fetching  (sorry, but the ravelry project button seems to be broken this morning! maybe it's because over 15,000 of these have been knitted!!) - Fetching was originally published in Knitty back in 2006. It's a fun knit and fast (and the only one of these four finalists I've made -back in pre-ravelry days!)
copyright Cheryl Niamath

Susie's Reading Mitts  This pattern isn't quite as old, but it's still very popular. And note that we've got a suggestion about those picot edges that will avoid having to sew them down.
photo from flickr
 And for DK weight (although many have knit these projects with fingering weight),
Sourwood Mountain Fingerless Mitts  - Another design from Knitty, from 2009. 
copyright Erica Jacofsky
Linda K's Yummy Mummy Wristwarmers (note that this pattern is only available via Ravelry) 
photo from flickr

Please vote using the buttons in the sidebar to the right. And check back on September 29 to find out which ones win. We'll be starting the KAL on Friday, October 1 from 2-4pm (or you can always join us virtually).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shop Hop.

Yes, the 4th annual Atlanta Shop Hop is coming soon! Saturday, September 25 through Sunday, October 3. Cast-on Cottage is participating for the 4th year, and I'm sure this one will be the best yet - we have a lot more (parking!) space, and bins and racks full of pretty yarn. I've heard a rumor that the very talented Wendy Petitti designed the complimentary pattern that we'll be giving away with Shop Hop purchases. Yes, this is definitely the year that Cast-on Cottage should be a must stop on your shop hop list!

All you need to do to participate is purchase a passport (they're just $1 and you can purchase them at Cast-on Cottage or any of the other participating shops) and visit one - or more! - of the shops. When you make a $10 purchase at a participating shop, you'll get a stamp in your passport and an original complimentary pattern. If you get stamps from all 10 shops, you're eligible for the grand prize - ten $100 gift certificates (that's one from each shop for a total of $1,000 - and yes, that's a lot of yarn!!) Even if you don't visit all ten shops, you're still eligible for prizes (here's a link to last year's prizes and winners)

Honestly, visiting all 10 shops will require some planning - and a good bit of driving - but it would make a very fun day or two with a few of your knitting friends. And if you're not the driver, that could be some great car-knitting time, too!

There's more information about Shop Hop, including a list of all ten participating shops, on the Shop Hop blog.  We've started a thread in our Ravelry forum - if you have any questions, comments, etc., please feel free to post them there or on Facebook.

Happy Hopping!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

One More Look and a KAL Update.

I can't promise this will be the last post about our new location, but I think we're getting close! There have been a few additions since we opened and I thought you'd like to see them.
first, I'm sure everyone knew Theresa would want a dog out front to greet customers - well he's here!
did you know there's a computer (with a printer) up front so you can browse patterns on-line
And check out the stunning painting hanging above. This is one of three Juanita Kauffman originals in the shop; they add a perfect touch of whimsy and color, don't you think?
here's the second one
and the third (way back there in the back)
Finally, for the needlepointers, there's a new cabinet, full of canvases.
see it there under the window?
And in KAL news, we're planning fingerless mitts next, to start on Friday, October 1. There's a thread in our Ravelry group to suggest patterns. We'd love a few more suggestions and then we'll pick a few for you to vote here on the blog for the final selection. You can also leave pattern suggestions in the comments here.

Happy Friday. Happy Knitting!

Monday, September 6, 2010

New Yarn.

My apologies for posting about fabulous new yarn on a day when the shop is closed! Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday weekend and knitting!

If you visited the shop on our opening day, you might've noticed that the front row of cubbies was empty. Well, it's full now - the Spud & Chloe yarn has arrived! We've got all the colorways in Fine, Sweater and Outer.

This line is one that Theresa has wanted to carry, and now that we've got more space, she can! I've read a lot about it (their blog is curated by the very talented Susan B. Anderson and publishes great free patterns) and seen plenty of gorgeous FOs on Ravelry, but truly, it's even better in person. The colors are saturated and fun - and there are so many. But my favorite part is the way the yarns feel.

Fine (the fingering weight) is a blend of 80% superwash wool and 20% silk - yes, silk. The put-up is 248 yards per skein, so you'd need two to knit a pair of socks (and wouldn't socks with silk be nice?) or most shawlettes, but one would be plenty for a pair of fingerless mitts.

Sweater (the worsted weight) is a superwash blend of 55% wool and 45% organic cotton. It's super soft and while I know it will make great accessories, it's really ideal for ... sweaters! Susan is hosting a top-down raglan knit-along on the blog - and one of my favorite seamless sweater designers, Wendy Bernard, is offering tips on fitting. The pattern page on Ravelry summarizes all directions.

Outer (the super bulky weight) is a superwash blend of 65% wool and 45% organic cotton. I think it might be even softer than the Sweater (maybe because it's thicker) and seems perfect for cool weather accessories like hats, scarves and mittens. Leaf (a free scarf pattern from the blog) would be perfect - and think how quickly it would knit up!

Happy knitting everyone!

Friday, September 3, 2010

FO Friday.

This is a favorite topic for many of the knitting blogs I read and I'm happy to be able to use it! (not to mention it helps me feel better about the fact I took the photos two days ago...but what "beautiful finished object" word goes with Wednesday?)

Shirley was in the shop - yes, on Wednesday - wearing her lovely new sweater.
It's Blossom, knit up in Hempathy.

...and she was shopping for yarn for another Linen Stitch Scarf, but was happy to let me photograph the one she'd finished.  Wow!
(apologies to Shirley - this scarf really deserves a Jared Flood style photoshoot!)
Finally, if you haven't found our new location yet, it's even easier now. The last two new signs have been installed. This one is above the front door.

And there's an even bigger one on the Marietta Highway side. I think we're pretty hard to miss!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Welcome! our new home!

We enjoyed a steady stream of customers all day - many thanks to everyone who stopped by and/or left comments on facebook and ravelry. It's so much fun to see all of you having fun in the shop!

We celebrated in real style (yes, those are pink and green balls of yarn on top of the petit fours :-) And especially love that the yellow table was full of knitters...

There will be signs posted on the building itself later this week (maybe even today), but the sign from the Canton Street yard has been moved. The new Cast-on Cottage is hard to miss (and finding a parking space is easy, too!)