Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Week 26 of 52: Anne's Mystery, Clue 3

Today is a very easy day for our mystery project.

Round 1: With A, knit.
Round 2: With A, purl.
Round 3: With B, knit.
Round 4: With A, knit.
Repeat rounds 3 and 4 once more.
Next Round: With A, purl.

You have just passed the half way mark and have 2 more clues to go! I think that it looks pretty great at this point, but I am a little bias.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Week 26 of 52: Anne's Mystery, Clue 2

All caught up?

Today is when I think the really good part comes along. I love stranding (you may know it better as fair isle). One of the elements of stranding that I find truly delicious is corrugated ribbing. You knit 1 with A and purl 1 with B. It is so pretty.

As you strand, you float the yarn behind your work when you pick it up to work again. Make sure that your floats have a little Mona Lisa smile. Also, this technique makes it very handy to know how to both work in a Continental(picking) and English(throwing) knitting style. Each hand gets a color.

If you are a little intimidated by this technique, then you might want to join us on Wednesday evening for the Fake Isle, Intro to Stranding class (6-9 pm). We are making these hats -

Setup Round: *With A K1, with B K1, repeat from * around.
Corrugated Ribbing: Repeat the following round 7 times - *with A K1, with B P1, repeat from * around.

This ribbing has a great look on both sides, the distinctive vertical stripe on the right side and an almost woven look on the wrong side.

Gauge is not terribly important in this project but if you would like a guideline idea, my gauge is 5sts/in in the stranded section.
Now, hang out and knit on something else until tomorrow. :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Week 26 of 52: Anne's Mystery, Clue 1

Are you ready for the fun to begin?

Do you have your needles in hand? US 8/5mm 32 inch OR 40 inch circular? How about your yarn? Two ball of Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend, one multi and one solid? No? Make your shopping list and hit the store tomorrow. Yes? Then, let's begin.

I like to use a long tail cast on in situations like this one, where I am going to be using both colors immediately. I begin by making a slip knot with both strands:
I want my solid color to line up with the edge and my multi to make the loops on the needle, so I will have the solid go over my thumb and the multi over my pointer finger.
Now, cast on 250 sts. When casting on so many stitches, I suggest placing markers at intervals - every 10, 20, 50, etc sts, place a marker as you go. Makes counting the first time and checking that count so much less maddening. 

Don't like long tail cast? Then, do your favorite CO in your multi (from here on out referred to as B).

Join in the round by simply bringing your needles together and begin working round 1. Be very careful not to twist and remember to place a unique beginning of the round marker.

Let the knitting commence:
Round 1: with A(the solid), knit.
Round 2: with B(the multi), knit
Repeat rounds 1 and 2 two times more. Then, work round 1 one more time.
Next round: With A, purl.

See you tomorrow!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Week 26 of 52: Anne's Mystery

Ok, my dears, I have made it HALF WAY!!!!!
To celebrate, I want to change things up a bit this week. I present a mystery pattern to you to celebrate this 26th mile marker. The play will be that I give you a tidbit of the pattern each day for 5 days. Today, I am going to begin with the yarn that you will need. Then,  Monday through Friday, I will reveal the 5 parts of the pattern. Then, on Saturday, Dec. 3, you can pop in to see the pic of the finished item - best to pop into the store as it is our Holiday Party and Potluck(OOOOoooo, it is one of my top 10 favorite days of the year). Are you game?

I can also tell you that it is an Infinity Cowl/Scarf, meaning that it is an extra long cowl that can be worn as a scarf or looped around to be a cowl.

Week of November 27 to December 4:
Yarn: 2 hanks of Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend, 1 of each color (150yds/50g; 80% merino wool, 20%silk)
Needles: US 8/5mm 32 inch OR 40 inch circular
Knitting Plan: Follow my bread crumbs....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

P.S. On Week 25

Here are some more pics of the actual cowl. I worked 10 row repeats on the US 7/4.5mm and 9 row repeats on the   US 8/5mm. It was 13 inches long when I bound off rather than 14 inches as the pattern suggests, but there was enough yarn to do another inch or more.

First, we have pretty Kaity modeling it:
Then, the torso modeling. Look at how those projects are piling up:

And then, just the cowl so that you can see how it is slightly tapered by the needle change:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Week 25 of 52: The New New Shale Cowl

Who's having a busy week getting ready for the coming holiday? Um, all of us. This cowl, the New New Shale Cowl, is a reward piece that you can settle into on Thursday evening when all the dishes are clean and thanks has been given. It is a very streamlined version of the classic stitch pattern that goes by a few aliases - Old Shale or Feather and Fan; the designer, Leila Raabe, has worked it down to is simplest translation and still achieves the lovely waves and lace that this stitch pattern is famed for. Better add running into the store to your hurrying so that you can pick up a ball of Panda Silk and get this baby cast on before you put the pies in the oven. Leila is one of the lovely minds adding beautiful patterns to our knitting world through the Brooklyn Tweed Brand.
Week of November 20 to 26:
Project: The New New Shale Cowl by Leila Raabe 
Yarn: 1 ball of Crystal Palace Panda Silk, (204 yds/50 g, 52% Bamboo, 43% Superwash Merino Wool, 5% Combed Silk)
Needles: I boosted my needle sizes up one as I like a drapey cowl - US 7/4.5mm and US 8/5mm 16" circular. Pattern calls for US 6/4mm and US 7/4.5mm. Can be worked entirely on one size if you so choose.
Knitting Plan: Ok, its Tuesday. If you are highly motivated, then you can wear this cowl to your Turkey Feast. For that - Cast on NOW. Work the first 6 inches today and the remaining length tomorrow - you have a  half day on Wednesday, right?
If you are going to save it for a more leisurely pace after the feast, then -
Night 1 - Cast on and work 3 inches; I was getting about a 1/2 inch out of each repeat so this will be about 6 repeats.
Night 2 - 3 more inches; work one more row to switch over to the lager needles if you are following her advice on shaping.
Night 3 - 3 more inches
Night 4 - Finish off your ball of yarn and BO loosely (as you always should).
a) I am going to remind you here about following her advice to move your beginning marker over one stitch at the start of a new repeat of four rows. It is clearly noted on the pattern. With fact of the marker shift, I will actually advise you that having repeat markers is optional; it is a 10 st repeat so it isn't too bad for keeping track of without markers. However, markers equal sanity and having them in, beyond your beginning of the round marker, will only mean that you are mindful of shifting them as you work round 1 each time.
b) I decided that it would be a lovely twist to follow her suggestion for a tapered cowl. I changed to my larger size needle at approximately 6 inches, or, for me, after 10 repeats of the 4 row patterns, as I worked across row 1 of a new repeat. You might find it easier to change on a row 4 which is only knitting around.
c) My forever favorite thing about this lace stitch pattern is the most bang for the least amount of complication. There is only one real action row (row 1) and it is a simple one at that.
d) For blocking, I used my favorite flash bang method of hitting it with a splash of steam and stretching it out on my ironing board to quickly cool into position.

If you are viewing this post far from driving distance from our store, then please remember that we will happily take phone orders. Call us @ (805) 654-9500. (There will be a postage charge for shipping.) Also, I want to mention that we have refined the 10%off sale to apply when you are buying the yarn for the featured project.
P.S. If this idea really lights you up, then you can also join a ravelry group here.
P.P.S. Please check back this evening to see the actual cowl  being modeled...(planning on taking that pic at the store this evening)...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Week 24 of 52: Reverse Rice Stitch Cowl

Some things that I have made really fall in the fun indulgence category, things that you only make for your own fun and joy; other things are a natural for speedy gift making. The Reverse Rice Stitch Cowl, which I am now going to lovingly refer to as RRSC, is a great mix of both categories. You can swiftly work one up to give to someone lucky and, then, still have some time on the side to leisurely make one for your own neck.
This cowl features a bind off that seems to run rampant through my pattern choices, the picot bind off. This week is the second time running and it is sure to pop up many more times. When you sit down to do this bind off, don't be in a hurry. Sit down and savor the little bulb of fuzz you you are rhythmically creating. It's going to take a bit of time, but it is such a joy when you make your way around. Here, and in most applications, it really helps to make your finished garment something extra special.
Week of November 13 to 19:
Project: Reverse Rice Stitch Cowl by Angela Baldi
Yarn: 2 balls of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk (80% alpaca, 20% silk, 71yds/50g)
Needles: US8/5mm 16 inch circular; the pattern calls for a US7/4.5mm, but, as the designer points out, gauge is not critical.
Knitting Plan: How bout 2 inches a night for 4 nights and saving the bind off for the 5th night?
a) With two balls of this yarn, I had exactly enough to make the 8 inches that the pattern calls for and the picot bind of at the end.
b) This reverse rice stitch is a pretty fun stitch pattern to work. It is much like broken rib, alternating between  a knit row and a K1, P1 row; the difference here is that you will be working the purls through the back loop, ptbl. I was not sure why at first, but this variation seems to make a texture that is more well defined.
c) This yarn is a good candidate for spit splicing(links to a "How-to-Monday" video), a good way to cut down on tails to weave in at the end. 
d) When you are doing the picot bind off, you will use the cable cast (also links to a "How-to-Monday" video) on to execute adding the stitches that become the picots (or nubbles). Below is a action shot of how things look after casting on plus 2 and before binding off 4 sts. 

If you are viewing this post far from driving distance from our store, then please remember that we will happily take phone orders. Call us @ (805) 654-9500. (There will be a postage charge for shipping.) Also, I want to mention that we have refined the 10%off sale to apply when you are buying the yarn for the featured project.
P.S. If this idea really lights you up, then you can also join a ravelry group here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Week 23 of 52: Holden Shawlette

Shawls have been a running favorite project choice for me over the last couple of years, most especially a top down triangle. This shawlette, Holden, is brilliant and has worked its way into my heart. If you have made a shawl in this style, then you know that it starts out with short, quick rows; as you near the end of your project, the last few rows seem endless - not here - the lace rows that make the lovely edging get smaller and smaller (suddenly  big again, too). The outer edge of this shawl is so fast and fun.
I am very bewitched by this yarn. It just quietly sits there looking like any other pretty yarn, but when you start knitting with it, the the beauty of the color way and the squishiness of the merino shine through. It is an autumnal treat for the fingers and eyes (as that pumpkin muffin was a treat for my tummy).
Week of November 6 to 12:
Project: Holden Shawlette by Mindy Wilkes
Needles: US 6/4mm
Yarn: Regia Extra Twist Merino Color, 2 balls (230 yds/50 g, 75% Merino, 25%Nylon)
Knitting Plan: 
Night 1 - Cast on and begin the Stockinette section
Night 2 - Finish the Stockinette section
Night 3 - Have fun beginning the lace.
Night 4 - More lace fun.
Night 5 - Last bit of lace and the picot bind off.
a) This pattern is a dream in many respects, including the fact that it is both written and charted.
b) Remember to use markers to keep track of your middle stitch and of the lace repeats.
c) I usually choose to use immersion blocking on a shawl since the soaking and the weight of the water really open up the fibers.

d) I often just lay a piece out flat to dry without pinning it; this time I inserted blocking wires into 3 picots that looked at about the center of each scallop.

If you are viewing this post far from driving distance from our store, then please remember that we will happily take phone orders. Call us @ (805) 654-9500. (There will be a postage charge for shipping.) Also, I want to mention that we have refined the 10%off sale to apply when you are buying the yarn for the featured project.
P.S. If this idea really lights you up, then you can also join a ravelry group here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Knitter's Pride Crochet Hooks and Knitting Needle Sets

There's a new brand of knitting needles and crochet hooks on the market! Knitter's Pride! This company produces high quality colorful, lightweight wooden needles and hooks in fun colors, as well as soft grip aluminum crochet hooks. We recently got a big shipment from them, here's what we have!

Here are the Dreamz Crochet hooks! They are made of beautifully colored and polished lightweight wood, so they slide the stitches easily and look pretty!

We also got the Aluminum soft grip crochet hooks, with and ergonomic handle for comfortable crocheting.

Then, for knitting, we have the Dreamz Interchangeable Starter Set. This set comes with 24" and 32" cords, and needle tips sizes 6, 9, and 10 US.

Hopefully soon we will be getting the full interchangeable sets (as they were on back order, along with a lot of the Dreamz circular needles and DPNs), but this little set has some very useful sizes if you want to give this new brand a try.

And lastly, the Dreamz Single Pointed Needle set. This set has 10" single pointed needles in sizes 2.5-11US.  These are really nice, I'm tempted to pick up one of these for myself!

So, come in soon and check these new fun things out, and keep an eye out for when we get in the rest of our shipment, that hopefully will include the Deluxe Interchangeable sets, the fixed circular needles, and Double Pointed needles.

Week 21 and 22 of 52: respectively, Aviatrix Hat and Straightforward Cowl

Don't let the lateness of these blog entries fool you. They are both perfect projects to squeeze into a very busy week. They were both finished in a flash (and at the store for viewing). It was getting a moment to update you here that was the truely challenging part...

Everything is orange this week as we  get closer and closer to one of my top three favorite holidays. The designer, Justine Turner, predicts that this fun hat will become your go to baby hat; she seems to be right because I want to make them for everyone! She has written this pattern in 3 yarn weights and 7 sizes. I think this hat will keep my little girl warm this October and the next October as well. It fits her well know and I could see it having a bit of room to grow on.

Week of October 23 to 29:
Project: Aviatrix Hat by Justine Turner
Yarn: Sirdar Baby Bamboo, 1 ball (104 yds/50g, 20%Wool, 80% Bamboo
Needles: US 5/3.75mm and US 3/3.25mm; these needle sizes were what I needed to get the stated gauge; be sure to check what you need!
Size:  Made the 6 month size with the DK weight instructions
Knitting Plan: This hat is a very speedy knit. You could even knit it twice in one aft./evening, like i found myself doing when I re-knit it to the correct gauge.
a) This pattern is a great place to learn short rows.
b) Check your gauge; I had to knit this hat twice as I assumed that I knew what size sts I would get with the given yarn and needles. Always swatch; see what happens when you get over confident.
c) The flower is an extra. I improvised this one but there are many free flower patterns, both knitted and crocheted on Ravelry. The link will take you to a sampling; you could search for more.
d) Just for kicks, I slipped the first stitch of each row on the chin strap.

For the Current Week:

I am so in love with this cowl from its rich, almost red, pumpkin hue to its absolutely gorgeous and clever i-cord edge. The edge is done while you are knitting by slipping the last two stitches at the end of every row. Though the author points out how swiftly you can make this cowl rather than investing forever in a scarf, I found this simple trick so enchanting that I could have gone in for a long scarf. I am going to be seeking out garter stitch items to add this edging to.

Week of October 30 to November 5:
Project:  The Straightforward Cowl by Bethany Hendrickson
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran, 2 balls (really more like 1.5)(98 yds/50g, 85% Wool, 15% Angora)
Needles: US 8/5mm; very happy that I was able to use my very favorite super short scarf needles.
Size: Knitted to the 22 inches that the pattern calls for which is a little snug; the snug fit does promise a very warm neck and isn't uncomfortable. When I make another, I may go to 24 inches.
Knitting Plan:  How 'bout a ball each night?
a) Forgive me, but it is such an easy, well written pattern that I have no notes to give. Just do as she says and enjoy!
b) Saving my leftovers to go into a hat from Terry's Off the Grid Pattern, a class on Tue, December 6, 6pm – 9pm.
c) OK, one more thing, as she advises, do be careful as you sew the seam on the cowl. I actually lined the edges so that the overlapped a I wanted them to and just did a simple running stitch

If you are viewing this post far from driving distance from our store, then please remember that we will happily take phone orders. Call us @ (805) 654-9500. (There will be a postage charge for shipping.) Also, I want to mention that we have refined the 10%off sale to apply when you are buying the yarn for the featured project.
P.S. If this idea really lights you up, then you can also join a ravelry group here.