Friday, June 24, 2011

Week 4 of 52: Windansea, a sunhat

Are you still with me?

When the sun peaks through our intermittent June Gloom, you will be wishing for this hat. It is a creation from Kristi Porter, the author of Knitting in the Sun and More Knitting in the Sun. This hat pattern was sampled from the first book both by Amazon and by Berroco. It is another pattern that I have wanted since I set eyes on it. Finally, I am getting to it, thanks to this series. It is one of many excellent patterns in a book filled with clothes and accessories that are perfect for our beautiful climate here in Ventura.

Thanks to my lovely models, Laura (top) and Terry (bottom). You can see how effortlessly you can bring this classic sunhat into your wardrobe. I am glad to add this topper to my arsenal of sun protection (which my already sun burnt shoulders wish that I had employed a couple of days ago).

Week of June 24 to June 30
Project: Windansea by Kristi Porter
Yarn: Berroco Seduce, 2 hanks
Needles: US 6/4mm (16 in circular and dpns)
Size Made: L(22-24 inch head); I usually make my hats with at least 2 ins. smaller than my 22 inch head but I don't like sunhats to be pinchy.
Knitting Plan:
Night 1 - Cast on and work most of brim
Night 2 - Finish brim and start body
Night 3 - Finish body rows
Night 4 - Work crown rows, insert wire/elastic, and block.
a) Seduce is an amazing yarn. It is also a slippery yarn, so DO NOT pull it from the center. OUTSIDE ONLY! I also like to have it sit still while I knit from it. So, I accidentally found a great reuse for cardboard drink holders - they make great grippers for a yarn cake of just this size. Since I didn't have one until after I started the first ball, I employed a coffee mug for the same purpose (it is not my first choice since it is heavy when you stick your project into your bag).

b) I did a fair amount of reading other knitter's experiences with this hat. The happiest were those who invested in millinery wire for the edge as the pattern calls for. I even made plans to get it from this supplier recommended by this local hat artist. However, I still went for the craft wire since I found it in a matching color. I am okay with the fact that the brim is a bit wavy.

c) Though I purchased clear beading elastic to insert where the pattern directs, I skipped it because I felt that the hat fit just right without it. (Also, I was having trouble making a knot.)

d) When you weave in your ends, you really have to embrace the flag, meaning that you need to leave at least .25 inch tail when you trim your end after weaving in thoroughly. It is another hazard of its being a slippery yarn and will help your ends stay where you put them.
e)I found a bowl that is 22 inches around and used it as a blocking form. I sprayed it with Heavy Spray Starch (99 cents store purchase).

With your extra bit of yarn from your second ball, you can try this other project - a piece of jewelry. The shine of Seduce really lends itself to this simple piece of pretty. It is a clever use for i-cord and she shows you how to execute two different ways to style the same item. I am always happy to find a smart two for one.

If you are viewing this post far from driving distance from our store, then please remember that we will happily take phone orders. Here is a link to a color card to ease your color choosing process. Call us @ (805) 654-9500. (There will be a postage charge for shipping.)
P.S. If this idea really lights you up, then you can also join a ravelry group here.

P.P.S. Just in the nick of time, we have in copies of the afore mentioned books. I am a bit partial to her most recent publication as I have a pattern in the cardigans section.

Monday, June 20, 2011

How-to Mondays- How to Pick up a Dropped Stitch

Everyone suffers from this one; Dropped Stitches! Don't you hate it when you're chugging along in your knitting and something slips off the needle and falls away into Never-NeverLand? Well don't fear, just watch this video and you can learn how to save those little dropped stitches with nothing but a crochet hook.

Thanks for watching! Have any ideas of things you'd like to learn on an upcoming How-To Monday? Leave me a comment below and maybe you'll see your idea soon!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Week 3 of 52: Clapotis

Here is where it gets spicy. I want to throw in a big project once a month that I buckle down and work up in the given 7 days. As always, there will be a plan of attack so that you may also be a knitting machine. I am calling this a challenge project.

My first Challenge Project is the now classic Clapotis (pronounced klap-oh-tee). Published in Knitty, Fall 2004, Ravelry shows 17843 projects listed from this pattern. I have cast on for it at least 3 times before, giving up before I had finished the first section of increase rows. Now that I have successfully conquered this pattern, I think that I had an unrealistic idea of how quickly it should be done and I would grow weary when it wasn't done the same day I cast on. (Yes, I desire instant gratification.) Settling in with a plan and a more sane set of expectations, I was able to finish this scarf in exactly a week's time.

Week of June 17 thru June 24
Yarn: Araucania Chaiten, 2 hanks
Needles: US 8/5mm
Time Plan: This time I am giving you the actual blow by blow of how my week went. You will see that there was only 5 days of actual fruitful knitting.
Day 1 - Setup and increase sections
Day 2 - Went too far on increases and carefully ripped back to 95 sts.
Day 3 - 3 repeats of straight rows
Day 4 - Went on a 6 mi walk which was way overdoing it. No knitting was done and the family was lucky that I had set dinner up in the slow cooker before I embarked on my epic walk.
Day 5 - 4 repeats of straight rows; Enjoyed showing my beginning knitting class what dropping sts.on purpose looked like.
Day 6 - 2 repeats of straight rows
Day 7 - Remaining 5 repeats of straight and decrease sections. Victory!
Later that month - near miss with blocking wires
a) I only worked 12 repeats of Section 2 (the increases) rather than the 13 total that the patterns calls for. This alteration means that I stopped at 95 sts.
b) I was able to work 14 repeats of Section 3 (the straight rows) rather than the 13 total that the pattern calls for. This alteration means that you will have at least enough yarn to complete this section as directed.
c) On blocking, I was conflicted. Some textures created by knitting shouldn't be blocked away. I read up on Ravelry and Knitter's Review, but reading other knitter's opinion, as always wide and varied, didn't help. So, I went to the source. The designer, Kate Gilbert, says no to blocking and that she considers the purl side to be the public/right side. I say go with your gut. I wanted mine to be like the original which was not blocked. Choice made (seconds before immersing it in a bowl of water, phew).
d) This yarn behaves perfectly for purposes of this pattern: it drops nicely when it is time without getting stuck on itself, the strand has a great texture that compliments the texture of the garment, and the silk content drapes beautifully without drooping.

If you are viewing this post far from driving distance from our store, then please remember that we will happily take phone orders. Here is a link to a color card to ease your color choosing process. Call us @ (805) 654-9500. (There will be a postage charge for shipping.)

P.S. If this idea really lights you up, then you can also join a ravelry group here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

How-to Mondays!

Hi guys! Today I want to share a quick how-to video with you all! This week it's all about how to Cable without a cable needle. For small and simple cables, I always cable without a cable needle. I just don't feel like it's worth it to have to use (and find!) a cable needle for cabling projects where you are doing basic cables, such as crossing 2 or 3 knits over another 2 or 3 knits.

Check out the video below, and let me know what you think! Have you cabled without a cable needle before? Give it a try and comment below what you think about it!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Week 2 of 52: Bell Tank

We are on to Week 2 and Project 2. I bring you the backbone of my summer wardrobe. It is originally worked in Berroco brand yarns (which I generally love). However, I already had a color palette that I wanted to play in another yarn. This tank uses a couple of fun but easy stitches, seed stitch and half linen stitch, to keep things lively. Remember, the chosen yarn, Tahki Cotton Classic LITE is 10% off for this following week.

Week of June 10 thru 16:
Project: Bell by Cirilia Rose
Needles: US 5/3.5mm for the straps and US 6/4mm for the body
Time Plan:
Night 1 - Strap 1 (maybe even cast on for Strap 2)
Night 2 - Strap 2
Night 3 - Front Bodice
Night 4 - Back Bodice
Night 5 - Sewing up the knitted portions and weaving in ends
Night 6 - Sewing up the fabric portions and final assembly

a) MAKE A SWATCH. We are substituting yarns which means that making a swatch to ensure correct gauge is extra important. This yarn is a little bit lighter weight than the original yarns but it worked out when I swatched. With luck, my needle size worked out the same as the pattern and I could proceed with confidence.
b) When casting on for the bodice portions, I cast on one extra st. This extra gives you an odd number and makes the last st into a knit.
c) Working the decreases in the bodice section may throw the stitch pattern off. Make sure that you are alternating the column of stitches that you are slipping on each right side row. I would call this forcing it into pattern.
d) I chose the 48 inch directions when making my knitted portions, because I wanted 4 inches of positive ease.
e) Regarding the fabric portion:
*I measured my high bust (make sure to look at Step 1, if following that link) to see how wide I needed the top hem to be. I measure 42 inches there and 44 inches at my bust.
*I purchased 3/4yd (from Quilt Ventura, our neighbor). I laid the fabric out, positioning the top hem along the fold and the bottom hem along the selvedge edge. Then, I made an a-line cut; the bottom hem remained 27 inches and I slanted the line so that the top edge would go down to 24 inches, respectively leading to 54 inches and 48 inches around.
*With a seam allowance of 1/2 inch on each side seam the top hem is now 47 inches, leaving a 5 inch difference from my high bust measurement. To eat up these 5 inches, I used up 2 1/2 inches in a pleat on each the front and back.
f) I always attach knitted portions to fabric by hand! Get some matching sewing thread and go to it. I simply used small running stitches to get the job done.

I need a little break after whipping up these two, but I plan on making at least two more that only use two colors each. You will have plenty of yarn to make a few combinations after you make your first one.

I first saw this pattern in Berroco's weekly email, Knitbits, two summers ago and am very glad to have knocked it off my to do list. Here is the direct link to the pattern where you will see a sign up for that email list. I look forward to it each Friday morning. For the crocheter, there is a sister top, Nell.

If you are viewing this post far from driving distance from our store, then please remember that we will happily take phone orders. Here is a link to a color card to ease your color choosing process. Call us @ (805) 654-9500. (There will be a postage charge for shipping.)

P.S. If this idea really lights you up, then you can also join a ravelry group here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Knitting on the go!

Today I want to talk (or type, I guess) about knitting on the go. I bring my knitting with me everywhere I go so I can knit for a few minutes on my lunch break, when I'm waiting in line somewhere (DMV, anyone??), or any other place where I'm stuck and bored.

I usually try and have a smaller project with me, and knit on larger projects at home. Who wants to lug a big sweater project around with them everywhere they go? Well, I've done that, but I have no sense.

Anyway, I wanted to mention my favorite kinds of projects for on-the-go and my favorite ways to transport them. First up; Hats!
Here's one I made out of one of my favorite yarns, Cascade Eco Wool.

Depending on your confidence level, choose a basic stockinette stitch hat (Anne's 56 stitch hat would be a perfect take-along project), or something with a little more action like the cabled hat pictured above.

Hats are perfect to take with you because they are small, quick to knit, and easy enough that you don't always need to be looking at your pattern!

Next, Socks!
I loved knitting these out of Dream in Color "Smooshy"!

Socks are perfect for on the go, and my favorite thing to take with my in my purse. I know that non-sock knitters will scoff when I say this, but Socks are small, portable, and quick to knit. Once you make a couple of pairs, you'll be able to knit a pair without having to check your pattern every minute. Plain stockinette stitch socks are probably best for on-the-go knitting, and are my favorite to knit (and wear), but a simple pattern like Thuja or even Froot Loop would be fun.

And Cowls are great too:
I know this one is kinda silly, but I like it! Plus, it's knit from Malabrigo Merino Worsted!
Whether or not you want your cowl to have a mustache on it is up to you, but cowls can be soooo easy to knit. I've knit the Gloria cowl quite a few times, it takes almost no time! Knit it out of something fabulous and soft, and you'll have to perfect gift knit (or keep it for yourself if you're greedy like me!).

Whatever project you decide to take with you, make sure it's simple and small. You'll want to be able to pick it up, knit a few stitches, and put it back away without fear for losing your place. I tend to just throw my project in my purse, but a simple drawstring bag works well too!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Yarn Highlight: Golden Fleece

This Just In: Golden Fleece Fibers!
We have three lovely new yarns from this small yarn company, who's all about luxury fiber blends and beautiful hand-dyed colorways. We have a lace weight, a fingering weight, and a sport weight, all of which are really nice, I want some of each!

First up we have Nymph:
From Anacapa Knits

Nymph is their lace weight, made from 60% Seacell, and 40% Silk. Seacell (made from Seaweed... what??!) is soft and drapey, and this lace weight yarn will knit up into the most gorgeous shawls and scarves and other lace projects.

Second, we have Elektra:
From Anacapa Knits
This is their Fingering weight yarn, made with 75% Merino Wool, 20% Nylon, and a little sparkle, how fun is that?! I think I might need to knit myself (or my sister, who loves everything pink and sparkle-y) a pair of socks out of this one!

Last but not least is Atlantis:
From Anacapa Knits
Atlantis is a sport weight, 50/50 blend of Merino Wool and Tencel. Tencel is made from wood pulp, and is similar to Rayon in that it has a nice sheen to it, and magnificent drape and softness. I'd love to make something like the Cedar Leaf Shawlette with this awesome yarn.

So stop by when you get a chance and pet some of these pretty yarns, and while your here, we have Addi Lace Click sets in stock, and Addi Turbo Click sets on their way!

Have a great day, and I hope to see you soon!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Welcome to 52 Finished Projects in 52 Weeks

"A year from now you will wish you had started today." -Karen Lamb

Welcome to my challenge! I was looking at my queue on and wondering how I could ever hope to get to finishing any of the great projects that had made it to my wish list. I have often said that the only way that I can get a project done is to have a looming deadline for its completion, even a self imposed date works.

So, here I am, embarking on a journey to complete and share a finished project with you each week. They will be free patterns generously shared via Ravelry by their designers. As an incentive for you to join me in this fun, Lois will be placing the yarn used on a 10%off sale for its featured week. Buy for this project or any other intent. Things you never imagined would be on sale might be coming up so you will want to stay tuned just for that if nothing else.

I will be sharing time plan so that you can fit it into your already busy life and finish swiftly. You might say something like "ya that works for her because she is so fast" but please remember that my newborn and toddler are really reducing my viable needling hours these days. Even if you split the plan on half again, you are still done in a week!

The links for the patterns are links; so, if you haven't joined yet, then you should get over there and join for free. If you would really rather not then we can print it for you at the store when you get your yarn.

Week of June 3 thru June 9:
Project: Wurm by katushika
Yarn: 1 hank of Araucania Trauco, (100% cashmere, 321yds/50g)
Needles: I used - US 4/3.5mm for the brim and US 6/4mm, both 16" circs; I checked gauge and ended up with what the pattern called for.
Time Plan:
This hat was about a 3 evening project.
Night 1 - brim rows
Night 2 - close to half the body
Night 3 - the rest
a) I loved working this project in this yarn. I have been waiting for something special for this special yarn. You may have also picked up a this hank and wondered what you could do with such a treasure.
b) This yarn is much lighter weight than the pattern calls for, but it works out for gauge and it makes a light as air fabric that you hardly feel you have on but still keeps you warm.
c) There is more than enough yarn to get through the hat and I am saving the remaining nearly 20g for something else special in the future.

The last picture is the second Wurm I have in progress. When you come in, you can try on one to see how you like it.

If you are viewing this post far from driving distance from our store, then please remember that we will happily take phone orders. Here is a link to a color card to ease your color choosing process. Call us @ (805) 654-9500. (There will be a postage charge for shipping.)

P.S. If this idea really lights you up, then you can also join a ravelry group here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

World Wide Knit in Public Day!

Do you knit in public? Do people stop you and ask you what the heck you're doing? I love knitting in Public, it gives you a chance to reel in new knitters!

On June 11, we are going to be hosting a World Wide Knit in Public Day event. We've done this for 2 years now, and each year is more fun than the last. Again, we will be meeting and knitting at Marina Park in Ventura, 2950 Pierpont Blvd. (at the end of Pierpont Avenue).

Bring a chair, a picnic lunch, and something to knit (or crochet!) and meet us down there! It should be a lot of fun, knitting together and talking to interested passers-by about our favorite craft!

For more information on Knit in Public Day, please visit Have a great day everyone, and we hope to see you at the park!