Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nantucket Vest KAL (again!).

My how time flies! Was it really over three months ago that we announced our plans for the Nantucket Vest KAL? And then a few weeks later, we had to put it on hold because the Tahki Ripple yarn was on backorder. At that time, we expected the yarn in late July. Well, it finally arrived yesterday! Yes, the Tahki Ripple is now in stock in three colors - white, black and natural.

The good thing is that since we live in Georgia, and it's still August, we have plenty of time to knit - and then wear! - the Nantucket Vest before the temperatures drop (but can I say, honestly, if it got just a bit cooler right this very second, I wouldn't complain!). So we're still moving forward with the KAL. We'll cast on next Friday, September 2 - which will allow everyone who's participating in the Westknits Mystery Shawl KAL to finish that project first.

The Nantucket Vest pattern is the in the Summer 2011 issue of Interweave Knits. We still have a few copies available. And if you're not sold on the Ripple, the Maggiknits Maggi's linen is a great substitute. I've seen a work-in-progress with with the linen and it shows off the stitches and the lace perfectly. I had planned to use the Ripple, but after seeing the linen, I'm strongly considering changing my mind!

If you have any questions about the upcoming KAL, please post them here, or in Ravelry or on Facebook. and please - if you're participating in the Westknits KAL, share photos in our Ravelry thread. We've seen a few in the shop and they are looking lovely!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Juniper Moon Farm.

You remember Theresa had way too much fun checking out all the yarns at market back in June. One of her best finds was a new line by Juniper Moon Farm. Susan Gibbs owns Juniper Moon Farm. She left her job in New York City as a network news producer to raise sheep and make yarn. How cool is that??!(you can read her story here).

Our shipment arrived in the shop on Friday and judging by the Sunday Seamless Sweater Workshop's reaction, it's a wonderful addition!
a pile of Findlay
There are three yarns:

  • Willa, a 60 percent merino, 40 percent superfine kid mohair blend in a bulky weight, with an ice cream cone twist and 153 yards per ball. Susan Gibbs says, “I wanted to make this yarn because so many knitters think they don’t like mohair. Superfine kid mohair doesn’t have any of the itch associated with lesser-quality mohair, it’s gloriously soft and has a lovely sheen.”
  • Findley, a 50 percent merino, 50 percent silk lace yarn that, at nearly 800 yards, comes in a ball rather than a hank so it doesn’t have to be wound. “The yarn is super smoothy, with a beautiful sheen,” Susan says. “It’s soft, doesn’t split and it feels amazing when it’s knitted up.” This is the yarn that captured my heart. I bought two skeins to knit Hannah Fettig's Breezy Cardigan.
  • Chadwick, a 60 percent merino, 40 percent baby alpaca single-ply aran yarn that comes in a 202-yard, center-pull ball. “This yarn is so special, so soft and so lofty that you may never want to knit with anything else,” Susan says.

a bigger pile - Findlay and Willa
Each yarns comes in 12 luscious colors and each features patterns by designer Tanis Gray. You can see all the colors by visiting Juniper Moon’s website...or the shop. Of course Theresa ordered all the colors!
the biggest pile with all three yarns!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Spoiler Alert #2! (and a few tips).

Before I share the spoiler, I thought it might be helpful to first share a tip about getting pattern updates from Ravelry.  Designer share updates to their patterns not only for Mystery KALs (where each clue is typically distributed as a pattern update, so you end up with one file at the end that includes all the clues), but also for errata corrections, improvements to charts and photos, and even formatting. Usually, you'll receive notification via a Ravelry message or an email when an update is available. But if you don't, you can also retrieve updates manually.

Log into Ravelry and select Purchases from your My Notebook page.

Then find the pattern that's been updated and select View.

And Pattern Updates

You'll be able to store the updated pattern in your library and download it.

Now for the spoiler and Clue #2 tips. Like last week, if you are participating in the Westknits Mystery KAL and don't want to know about clue #2, please stop reading!

OK - Clue #2.

This week's tips relate (again!) to the M1s. First, the M1Ls in color A during the 1st section of the clue. These M1s should be worked with a bar of color A... which is tricky because the color change happens right before. The "bar" is part of the xCA from the row below.  And you want to be sure the xCA from the current row is "snug" - I held the strand of color C tight while I knit the picked up bar with color A.
color A is pink and color C is dark gray
The M1L in the final garter stitch section should be worked with a bar of color C - so that works just like the tip from last week (you can read about that here).

Stephen wraps up this week's clue with a suggestion to clean up the ends. Yikes! no kidding! I think there are 16 total so far!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Lorna's Laces Celebrates Chicago.

...with nine new colorways, each named for an iconic Chicago landmark. Lorna's Laces blogged about the new colorways (three posts - here, here and here), sharing photos that inspired the colors, and finished projects in different bases. We have all nine colorways in both Shepherd Sock (the "big" 435 yard skeins) and Shepherd Worsted. (and really good news, the prices didn't go up this year!) These are both superwash wools and work great for a variety of projects - socks, shawls, sweaters, accessories and afghans. (pictured at left, top to bottom - Buckingham Fountain, The Bean, Navy Pier, Grant Park, The Skyway and The L)

I love the yellow, pink and blue colorways (Magnificent Mile, Lincoln Park Zoo, The Outer Loop) for baby projects. A sweater, or a blanket, perhaps?

photo found here
But the one I couldn't resist was The L (it's the bottom skein in the first photo above). If you've ever ridden that elevated train, trust me, this yarn is the prettiest thing ever to come from it!

Amy Christoffers of Savory Knitting used it for a sweater.
photo found here
I'm going to use it for Damson.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Spoiler Alert! (and a lesson learned).

If you're participating in the Westknits Mystery KAL and do NOT want to know about Clue #1, please don't read any further.

OK, so you want to know about Clue #1, right?

I thought it might be helpful to share a lesson I learned knitting it.

It has to do with working M1s on the edge where the colors change. I typically find the bar to pickup for an M1 by looking at the stitch on my left needle and finding the bar that comes from it.

The M1R is worked in Color B (light gray) at the edge where Color C (dark gray) begins. When I knit the clue the first time, I followed my normal M1 technique, and ended up with dark gray bleeding into the light gray section. oops!

Yep, ripping and re-knitting!

The second time through, I found the bar to pickup by looking at the stitch on the right needle and finding the bar - note that I had to go down a row to find it, since I had already knit the stitch on the right needle.

Happy with the end result now!

(and here's a shot of the back, to show how the color crosses should look)

Please share your progress, questions, etc. on Ravelry. The Westknits fanclub group going crazy ... tons of posts! and you can post in our group, too.