Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Westknits Mystery KAL!

Are you a Stephen West fan? He's the genius behind Westknits and the incredibly popular Daybreak and Boneyard shawls. His trademark design elements include garter stitch and color. And he's sponsoring a Mystery Shawl KAL on Ravelry beginning August 1.

If you haven't participated in a Mystery KAL, here's the gist: the designer releases the pattern in "chunks" (called "clues"), usually one each week. So you don't know what the finished object is going to look like until that last clue is published...and knitted! The participants in the KAL have a friendly competition to see who can complete the clues first. (Don't forget that Ravelry is world-wide and those knitters in England and Norway have a six hour headstart on our day in Atlanta!)

Back to the Westknits Mystery Shawl KAL. It starts August 1 (that's Monday) and Stephen promises new clues in an updated pdf file each Monday.

The pattern is sized S/M/L and recommends three colors of fingering or sport weight yarn. The Small size requires 150 (A)/65 (B)/180 (C) yards; Medium 150 (A)/175 (B)/225 (C); Large 260 (A)/175 (B)/318 (C). The gauge is 22 st/4 inches on a size 4 needle.

Stephen suggests Fibre Company Road to China Light, Fibre Company Canopy Fingering, Madelinetosh Pashmina and Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light. All yarns we just happen to have!

I purchased the pattern this morning to see more about how the colors work. Stephen suggests thinking about Color C as the anchor color, with colors A and B supporting. He loves browns as anchor colors, but really, it's up to you! (I love dark gray as an anchor). He also says that A and B could be solid, semi-solid, variegated or self-striping. And if you're struggling with three colors, you could combine A and B and have a two-color shawl. Lots of options!

Jessica and I played around with the Canopy Fingering yesterday and put together seven color combinations we think would knit up beautifully. Note that you could knit the Small shawl with one skein of each (there are 200 yds on each skein).

orchid, coqui, guava
river dolphin, plumeria, obsidian

acai, laguna, fern

quetzal, tanager, paw paw

obsidian, jacaronda, laguna

macaw, jacaranda, blue corn

guava, river dolphin, obsidian
For option 1, I like coqui or guava as the C color.

For option 2, obsidian seems like the best C.

For option 3, acai or laguna would make good C colors.

For option 4, use quetzal for C.

For option 5, obsidian (this is Jessica's favorite).

For option 6, macaw or jacaronda.

and last but not least, option 7. This is my favorite and I'm going to use obsidian for C.

Of course you could also use stash yarn, or "sock" yarn, like madelinetosh (395 yards per skein) or lorna's laces (215 yards per skein) or the new claudia handpaints (175 yards per skein)

One of the best parts of a KAL is seeing others' project choices. Please post your project on Ravelry and share it with our group!

If you have any questions, please comment here or join in the discussion on Ravelry.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Claudia Handpaints.

Another day. another new yarn. Seriously, it's starting to seem like that! Last week was completely overtaken by the Rowan, so much so that the completely wonderful shipment of Claudia Handpaints that arrived on Monday was overshadowed. I'd planned to post about it last week, but I felt like it deserved a spotlight of its own. And then I'd planned to post about it over the weekend, but I got caught up in classes and knitting...and now it's Tuesday.

And finally time to share about Claudia Handpaints.

Theresa is now stocking two of her best lines. Handpainted (duh, right?) fingering merino.
just a taste of the new "handpaints" wall...there are more colors above and below where I cropped this photo!
and handpainted linen.
that's Claudia on the left and Louet on the right. love the mixing possibilities!
If you've never seen these yarns in person, the fingering merino is kind of like the koigu kpppm (and as much as I am a huge fan of that yarn, Claudia's colorways....they had me at hello)

and the linen is exactly like the Louet Euroflax Sportweight. Seriously. It's the same fiber base, just handpainted. and wow! who knew what handpainting could do! I thought I'd had my fill of the yarn when I knit Liesl earlier this summer. Maybe no. Have you seen this pattern? (it was one of today's featured patterns on Ravelry and we have it in the shop). I might have to knit another tunic.
Liesl, Janna's Tunic...and Claudia's Handpaint Linen
Coming tomorrow - an update on our KAL plans (see this post on Ravelry for a hint). and then another post about new yarn (yes, our UPS driver is still being good to us!)

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Rowan Wall.

Did you see on Facebook about Tuesday's mega UPS delivery? Yep, 29 (yes, twenty nine!) boxes were delivered Tuesday morning. 22 plus 3 more from Rowan, and 4 other boxes.

First we unpacked the boxes.

And cleared space.

It was a team effort - Theresa and Barbara printed tags for Dawn, Jessica and I to adhere to what seemed like thousands of balls of yarn (really, though, it was "just" hundreds!). Marci and Sheryl spearheaded the stocking.

By Wednesday morning we had this.

Yes, our Rowan Wall.

Theresa will have all the details in the soon-to-come newsletter, but to highlight, we have a LOT of Rowan :-) 

new colors of Big Wool
New colors of Kidsilk Haze, Kid Classic, Wool Cotton, Lima, Cocoon, Felted Tweed (and lots of Felted Tweed Aran - a great weight for fall and winter projects) and Big Wool. New yarns, including Alpaca Cotton, Creative Focus Worsted.

and my favorite, Fine Lace.

a few of the colors of Fine Lace
The colors are gorgeous; I love the alpaca/merino blend (think drape-y and soft). So much that I've now added Hannah Fettig's Featherweight to my queue!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

New Yarn from the Fibre Company.

New yarn has been arriving daily (and Theresa promises more is on its way), but the shipment that arrived on Thursday is especially noteworthy. Three boxes from The Fibre Company, filled with Canopy Fingering and Road to China Light. I first heard about these yarns on podcasts last year and was hoping Theresa would be able to stock them. And now she has!

That's the Road to China Light on the left. It's a sport-weight blend of baby alpaca, silk, camel and cashmere with 159 yards per skein. Here's a close-up.
You really need to see it in person to believe the depth of color and unbelievable softness. And the drape of those fibers when it's knitted up. Oh my. Of course I've got my eye on this for a sweater (or two), but there are plenty of one or two-skein patterns, too. I especially like the Hermoine Hearts Ron hat (and how timely with the last movie just out this weekend) which is free on Ravelry, and the Eleanor Cowl, free from last fall's Knitty.

And the Canopy Fingering is on the right. It's a light fingering-weight blend of alpaca, merino and bamboo with 200 yards per skein.  Here's a close-up.
Just like the RTC Light, it's perfect for projects that drape (like a sweater knit at a looser gauge ... perhaps Hannah Fettig's Featherweight, Breezy or Wispy cardigans?)

Karen's already swatched for Featherweight.... she'll probably end up using size 4s. Isn't it pretty?
If you're wanting a smaller commitment, the Selbu Modern and Springtime in Philadelphia berets (both free patterns from Fibre Company's website) were both designed for this yarn and the finished projects are stunning.

But, honestly, I have a feeling that anything knit up in these yarns will be stunning. That's the beauty of beautiful yarn! (and you can likely imagine what our first KAL will be this fall!)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ravelry Love.

Do you knit or crochet?

If you answered "yes", are you a member of Ravelry?

If you answered "no", you should be! Click here to join. It's easy. It's free. And it's the best resource I know for patterns and advice.

Plus it allows me to keep track of all my I don't have to remember how many balls of yarn I used, or what size needle, or what modifications I made.

And once you join, please be sure to join the shop's group. We'd love to have you participate in the discussion and share your projects with us, too. (and of course, please add me to your friends!)

A blogging friend of mine shared this wonderful article about Ravelry (click here to read it). Written by a non-knitter, it still does an excellent job explaining what's so great about Ravelry. (in case I haven't convinced you already!!)