Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Holiday Knitting Part 1 - Labors of Love.

My daughter tweeted today that she was wanting to listen to Christmas music and how lame was that. I replied I didn't think it was lame at all. The needlepoint deadline for Christmas finishing was ten days ago; we've been in a holiday state of mind for weeks!

Fortunately for us knitters, we have a longer timeline to finish up those holiday gifts. Three months from today for Christmas and a few weeks less for Hannukah (it starts December 8). So our first installment in the gift category is for projects that could take a month or two (or more). Those we call "labors of love".

First up - socks. A labor of love if you knit them in sock (aka "fingering weight") yarn and especially if you knit them for folks with larger feet, like that special man in your life? We have a huge assortment of yarns in stock right now that would be perfect for socks; here are Jessica's top picks:
L-R: Smooshy (with cashmere!) in Good Luck Jade, Frolicking Feet in Plum Pudding (how appropriate!), and Claudia Handpaints in Argyle II (yep, three skeins if you're knitting for large feet)
Next - a beaded cowl. We've been a fan of the Jeweled Cowl pattern for a few months, so we have a variety of beads and plenty of those tiny crochet hooks to attach them. The pattern calls for laceweight, but we like using fingering (no other pattern modifications); around 400-450 yards makes a nice sized cowl. Marci pulled these three yarn/bead combinations. She especially likes the Claudia Handpaints with the pink beads (and I'll bet she didn't even notice the colorway was called Truffles!)
L-R: Smooshy (again!) in Wisterious, Claudia Handpaints (again!) in Truffles and Malabrigo Sock in Playa.
And last but definitely not least - a throw. We are in love with Swans Island and the Swans Island Throw (sadly no photos on-line, but we have the pattern in the shop) is the knitted version of their heirloom blanket. It's worked in linen stitch, so the fabric looks woven. The pattern suggests size 10-1/2 needles, 2,500 yards (10 skeins) of their worsted for the main color and another 250 yards (one skein) for the contrast to make a 46"x57" throw. If that's too much labor - how about using Ella Rae Chunky and size 13 or 15 needles? You'd need about 16 balls of the main color and one more for the stripes.
L-R: Ella Rae Chunky, the pattern, and the suggested Swans Island Worsted
Stay tuned for scarf suggestions in our next installment.  And if you're planning gift knitting, please chime in here, or on Facebook or our Ravelry group and let us know how it's going. We'll cheer each other on!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Shopping the Hop.

Is your calendar marked for the sixth annual Atlanta Shop Hop? It starts next weekend (Saturday, September 29) and continues through the following weekend (Sunday, October 7). You can read more about the Hop and see a sampling of prizes offered by the participating stores on the Shop Hop blog. We also shared a preview of our three prizes here last month.

But if you still need convincing...or maybe you're planning to participate and you need some shopping ideas - here you go! My short list of the yarn goodness you'll find at Cast-on Cottage.

Habu...and Soak (love the new Lace "flavor")
Dream in Color's September club installment (open to everyone)
the newest from Kidsilk Haze - Trio and the accompanying pattern book
Sock yarn! a new shipment from Claudia Handpaints, and plenty of Malabrigo's Finito and Sock
Shibui. Swan's Island. Madelinetosh. (enough said!)
Marlowe and Herriot, new from Juniper Moon Farm
and last but not least (and it's right by the front door)...lots and lots of  yarn to knit those quick ruffle scarves.
What's on your shopping list for the Hop?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Herriot.

We have so many new and wonderful yarns in the shop right now, it's hard to pick one to feature. So know that this one is really special.
seven of the ten colors - the other three are just as pretty!
It's Herriot, just out this fall from Juniper Moon Farm. 100% baby alpaca in ten natural colors. Yes, it's to-die-for soft. And I just love that it's named after James Herriot, one of my favorite authors (do you remember All Creatures Great and Small?!)

The website says it's a DK weight, but the label says 19 stitches over 4 inches on a size 7 needle, which  would be a worsted weight. Swatch!!

threewazzags
Manu Cardigan - photo credit here
Since the yarn is just out, there's only one project listed in Ravelry. But it's a stunner. Kate Davies' popular Manu Cardigan , knit by Caroline Fryar (she's the Farm Manager at Juniper Moon).

The alpaca would also be lovely in a scarf or a cowl. Anything that needs to drape and/or be nice and toasty warm!

Here are a few of my favorites:

New York Scarf - a free pattern on Ravelry, this is perfect for a guy (holiday knitting perhaps?)... and there's a matching hat

The Wicker Cowl  - no list of favorites would be complete without this one, right?! one skein should be fine to make a nice sized cowl.

A Grey Loop  - another free pattern on Ravelry, this one would need two skeins to make it long enough to wrap around twice.