Thursday, December 25, 2014

Countdown to Knitmas - Day 25!!

Happy Holidays to all of you out there! I sincerely hope you are having a wonderful Holiday, and I hope you enjoyed another year of our Countdown to Knitmas series!

Lots of Love from Lois, Anne, Kaity, Terry, and Karin!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Countdown to Knitmas: Day 24

Happy Christmas Eve!!! Time to BO and wrap it up. Of course, you had that all done days ago. Now you can cast on something fun to ring in the new year next week.

As usual, I have improvised a few hats this year and I would like to share my most recent one with you here. You could cast it on today (Lois will be in the store until 2pm). or on the 26th when we resume our usual hours. This hat pattern was whipped up for my husband to gift to a coworker. I started the blue one while we were watching the Hobbit on Wednesday night. With the unknitting time (a side effect of theater knitting) figured in, the hat took about 5 hours. With smoother sailing and not having to drop and correct some purls that had shifted during my ribbing, I think that a speedy knitter could knock it out in about 4 hours. (You know, just in case you need one more gift today.)

Yarn: approx 150 g of Sport weight yarn; I used Mirasol Nuna and had about 12 g left over
Needle: US 5/3.5mm 16" circular and matching DPNs
Gauge: approx. 20 sts=4 inches

CO 100 sts. and join in the round. Double check that you have no twist and place a beginning of the round marker.

Rnd 1-9: *k2, p2, repeat from * around.

Rnd 10: *k10, m1, repeat from * around. (110 sts)

Rnd 11: knit
Repeat round 11 until your hat reaches the desired length. To achieve this slouch, I worked about 48 rounds (I would give you a measurement, but I gave the hats away without measuring).

Rnd 1: *k9, k2tog, repeat from * around. (100 sts)
Rnd 2: knit
Rnd 3: *k8, k2tog, repeat from * around. (90 sts)
Rnd 4: knit
Rnd 5: *k7, k2tog, repeat from * around.(80 sts)
Rnd 6: knit
Rnd 7: *k6, k2tog, repeat from * around. (70 sts)
Rnd 8: knit
Rnd 9: *k5, k2tog, repeat from * around. (60 sts)
Rnd 10: knit
Rnd 11: *k4, k2tog, repeat from * around. (50 sts)
Rnd 12: *k3, k2tog, repeat from * around. (40 sts)
Rnd 13: *k2, k2tog, repeat from * around. (30 sts)
Rnd 14: *k1, k2tog, repeat from * around. (20 sts)
Rnd 15: *k2tog, repeat from * around. (10 sts)

Cut the tail. Thread a tapestry needle and feed the remaining 10 sts. onto the strand like beads on a string. Pull it tight like closing a drawstring. Tuck the end to the wrong side and weave in ends.

Happy Needling,

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Countdown to Knitmas - Day 23

When I was a kid, we always had a pickle-shaped ornament on our Christmas Tree. My mom always hid one on our tree on Christmas eve, and you may be asking "Why the heck would your put a pickle on your tree? What does that have to do with Christmas?"

If you haven't heard the tradition of the Christmas Pickle - basically it's the last ornament hung on the tree the night before. The first child to find it when they wake up Christmas Morning gets an extra present! I was always to excited Christmas morning to remember to look for the Pickle, and my sister always made it her mission to find it first thing!

I always thought it was a fun and funny tradition, and as I was browsing Ravelry I found a few patterns for Pickle Ornaments! They are probably really fast to work up, so if you have time before tomorrow night, whip one of these up and surprise some little ones in your family!

Crocheted Pickle Ornament:

Knitted Pickle Ornament:

Monday, December 22, 2014

Coutndown to Knitmas: Day 22

One day in November, I had a really cool moment while Bella and I enjoyed some Starbucks treats. There was a lovely lady waiting for her drink wearing a very cute scarf. I was doing my side ways quick glances to try to figure out how it was made and if it was hand made (if you ever catch me looking at you in a strange manner, it is because I am dissecting something interesting that you are wearing or carrying). Becoming more intrigued, I decided that I would simply give her the deserved compliment and ask her if she made it.
Turns out that she did make it. And, she was actually one of my past beginning knitting students. After the my embarrassment faded from my not remembering her out right, I pressed her further about her clever scarf. She was inspired by something she saw and improvised from that object. Here is Kari (lost the note where I made sure to spell your name right; hope I remembered correctly) wearing her inspired accessory -
So pretty. And the scarf, too.
Now, I am inspired by her scarf. I think that one could improvise using the famed 6st scarf times 3. Here it goes.

1. I am starting with US8/5mm needles and  3 colors of the same yarn, Classic Elite Classic Silk, 135 yds/50g, 50% Cotton, 30% Silk, 20% Nylon -


2. I am cutting 42 (14 of each of 3) pieces of fringe, using a DVD case as the guide. I will be placing a 3 strand fringe in 7 places on each end. 


3. Cast on 6 sts and work until the yarn is gone in each. I did not go as far as that. I stopped at 300 ridges or 600 rows each strip. I found that working each strip individually was the best thing as far as speed and yarn management. It is also best to work them to equal number of rows; since garter stitch is so stretchy, measuring can be unreliable. I used stitch markers to count every 50 ridges.

 4. To join the strips before braiding, I used the fringe. I inserted a crochet hook into each layer of fabric at their corresponding corners and pulled the fringe through.

 5. Then, I proceeded to braid. The strips were best managed during braiding if I kept them wound into balls.

 6. When braiding is complete, use the fringe and overlapping the ends in the same way to tack them together.

It is a thin scarf ,but It is also very long and I can wrap it a couple times. I am looking forward to trying it again with thicker yarn and perhaps different cast ons, maybe 8 or 10 stitches.

Happy Needling,

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Countdown to Knitmas - Day 21

Today is the last in my series of Holiday Gifts Guides for Knitters and Crocheters. Today's theme will be Tools and gadgets!

Sock Blockers - $16.00

Knit Kit - $25.00

Cute Lantern Moon Tape Measures - $11.50

Cute Lantern Moon Stitch Markers - $10.75

Kelmscott Designs Scissors - $9.75-11.75

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Countdown to Knitmas: Day 20

We have a famous project that Lois composed long ago to teach a very large group of knitters the basics. We call this project the 6 stitch scarf. It has proved to be a big success with our beginning knitters directly after their first session.

It has many winning attributes, which are not limited to -
1. Very Quick Gift
2. Perfect Project to Teach a Brand New, Lamb Knitter (think gift that you don't have to make)
3. Good Place to Apply Fringe
and on and on.

Yarn: at least 66 yds of Bulky yarn (fringe is included in that yardage); we have used Malabrigo Rasta and Encore Bulky and had great results.
Needle: US 15/10 mm (Straight or Circular; your choice)

It is as easy as its name suggests. The first step may surprise you though - I cut 12 pieces of fringe and set them safely aside in my project bag. With the fringe cut, I can knit until about 1 yard remains for binding off (maybe 1.5 yds). I like to use a DVD case, wrap it around 12 times (long or short side), and cut one end open.

Now, the expected; CO 6 stitches. Work in Garter stitch (knit every stitch in every row) until the ball is nearly done (leaving 1-1.5 yds for BO). Bind off. Weave in ends and apply fringe.

We have a great deal on the correct size needle -

And, we have some really cute Serendipity needles in the correct size range (US 13-US 17).

Lois just made a new sample in a fun self striping yarn. Here she is casting on Sunday evening and she nearly finished it in about 2 hours.

Happy Needling,

Friday, December 19, 2014

Countdown to Knitmas - Day 19

Knit your mood, knit the sky, knit the temperature, and end up with a cool scarf by the end of the year! These are a couple year-long projects that I am really inspired by that I want to share with you all today.

The concept is simple. Each day you knit 2 rows on a scarf in a color that corresponds to something about your day. The first is the mood scarf:

Choose 4 colors of yarn, and assign each a mood. Then, knit 2 rows on your scarf each day in the color that corresponds to your mood. Your could pick blue for happy, green for calm, red for stressed, yellow for angry, and so on. The possibilities are endless!

The Sky Scarf:

These rows correspond to the color of the sky each day. If you live in southern California, I'm guessing your scarf will end up mostly clear blue, with a couple grey stripes thrown in! :)

The last is the Temperature Scarf:

This scarf is my favorite of all three concepts! You assign multiple colors to different temperature ranges, then knit the corresponding color each day!

You could use these same ideas to make other projects as well. Check out this cool blanket pattern! With the New Year rolling around soon, this may be a fun project to start as you watch the Rose Parade!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Countdown to Knitmas: Day 18

This time of year is hopefully filled with friends and family and warmth of the love sent and received. During that mix, we might encounter dear ones who don't totally understand why there is always yarn in your hand and hook or needles working away. It is likely that they will never really get it until they are lured in to try it themselves. Then, they can truly understand that these yarny arts are about so much more than making cuddly fabric. They will see the comfort and meditative properties of this work. They will find the shared joy and instant/lasting connections that can be made with fellow practitioners.They will feel the accomplishment of working on a task that stays done once it is done (unlike dishes, laundry, TPS reports, etc.). They won't really get it till they try it, so please don't worry about trying to explain it too much. The air of mystery may lead more of them to our flock.

In the current issue of POMPOM, there is a really beautiful story of how knitting literally saved the author's life. I could really see the truth of that story. Last I checked, there were a few copies on the table.

On a lighter note, here is a Buzzfeed list made for those of us who understand.
Live on the edge.
Shut your mouth, you cute cartoon you. ;)
Happy Needling,

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Countdown to Knitmas - Day 17

If you like are like me, you have your smart phone on hand all the time. Today I want to share with you how to put your phone to good use, and we'll see how it can help your with your knitting and crocheting.

iOS Apps

Knit Counter Lite

"Knit Counter Lite allows you to create as many counters as you like and all counters are highly customizable. You can choose the name, the starting value and even link counters together, so one counter increments another. There's also an info screen for noting down the pattern name, yarn and needles used, or any other information related to the project."

Knit Companion

"Are you flipping around your pattern to find the info you need? Is your key on page 3 and instructions on page 10? To knit a row are you following multiple instructions spread across pages, or split between charts and written instructions? Are your charts split up so you have to track your row on several separate charts at once? Do you have scribbles and hash marks on scraps, in notebooks, or scattered across your PDF reader and several other counters?

knitCompanion® solves these challenges making it easy to follow the simplest to most complex patterns easily. NO MORE FLIPPING! Keys, Counters, Reminders and other critical information is at your fingertips at all times, no matter what part of the pattern you are knitting from."


"Yarma is a camera app with a direct interface to Ravelry - the largest on-line knitting & crochet community. Take pictures, apply filters to finesse your image and upload direct to a Ravelry project or your Ravelry stash. Additionally, pictures can be saved to your film roll or uploaded to Flickr. Yarma makes it simple to take great photos of your latest work in progress or finished project and share with your Ravelry friends."

Gaugefy Free (Also available on Google Play!)

"Calculate your knitting/crochet gauge with Gaugefy! 

Gaugefy helps you calculate your gauge easily. It also helps you:
★Adjust your gauge - for the pattern you are working with
★Calculate your end goals - 
- How many stitches will you need to get 10 inches with your gauge? 
- How wide/long will it be when you work x stitches and y rows? 
- How many repeats do you need to get certain length or number of stitches? 

Gaugefy helps you with it all."

Google Play Apps

"Knitting and Crochet Buddy (Knitting Buddy) is an all-in-one knitting and crochet project tracker that allows you to track multiple knitting or crochet projects. Knitting Buddy has a row counter, repeat counter, project timer, notes pages, ruler, a flashlight, and it even displays your knitting pattern on the row counter page (great for lace)! This app was originally developed for knitting, but those who crochet will also find it quite useful.
Knitting Buddy isn't your standard knitting row counter -- it is a true knitting and crochet project tracker."

"Create knitting charts on your phone or tablet easily! Knitting Chart Maker makes creating charts simple with an intuitive interface. With over 30 stitch symbols and cable sizes, you'll be able to create the chart you want. 
Multiple rows and columns are easy when you create a new chart. You can add a description as well as notes about the project."

"KnitCards allows you to store information about your knitting projects in an easy to use visual form. Project info includes project source, stage of completion, yarn info, needle size as well as a pattern file, notes and photos of your projects. You can view projects by stage and sort them by name or recency. KnitCards is also testing out a needle gauge to help you estimate your needle size."

"Knit Tink is a stylish knit and crochet row tracker, created by a yarn lover, for yarn lovers.
In it's current version you can:
* Create Projects
* Track your Tools
* Track your Yarn
* Track Rows and Repeats
* Reset Counters
* Edit your Projects"

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Countdown to Knitmas: Day 16

Here is my favorite gift giving tip. I may have shared it in the past but it bears repeating.

When you package up a dear handmade fiber item, you may consider including these three things -
1. A bit of the left over yarn in case of repairs needed (in the far off future when they have loved it to pieces)
2. One of the ball bands or tags; it holds tons of useful info like care and fiber content
3.And, perhaps, most helpful, a small container of rinse optional wool wash; this inclusion is a really clear and kind message about the special care that a handmade yarny item should receive and it demonstrates how simple that care is. Basically, soak and lay flat to dry.

I choose by scent and this Lavender seems like a good, calm fit for the intended recipient. This little bottle of Kookaburra only increased my gift cost by $2.50, pretty cheap insurance policy. For a bit more, we also have slightly bigger little bottles of Eucalan brand.

Happy Needling,

Monday, December 15, 2014

Countdown to Knitmas - Day 15

Today is our second Holiday Gift Guide, all about yarn. I picked out a few of my favorites, a few new things, and a few things that are a little fancy! If you see anything you like, add it to your Anacapa Fine Yarns Gift Registry! Email us and we can start a gift registry for you, or swing by the shop and fill out a card with things you would like to receive.

Anzula "Meridian"
Fiber Content: 55% Tencel, 35% Alpaca, 10% Nylon (Polyamide)
Weight: Lace
Yardage: 812 yards / 100 grams
Price Per Skein: $24.50

Trendsetter "Mimi Hand Dyed"
Fiber Content: 100% Mink
Weight: Lace
Yardage: 330 yards / 50 grams
Price Per Skein: $31.50

From the Mountain "Afghan Cashmere"
Fiber Content: 100% handspun Afghan Cashmere
Weight: Worsted
Yardage: 202 yards / 100 grams
Price Per Skein: $58.00

Oink Pigments "Sock"
Fiber Content: 90% Merino 10% Nylon
Weight: Fingering
Yardage: 420 yards / 100 grams
Price Per Skein: $24.00

Fiber Content: 100% Merino
Weight: Fingering
Yardage: 525 yards / 100 grams
Price Per Skein: $32.00

Fiber Content: 75% Wool, 25% Nylon
Weight: DK
Yardage: 410 yards / 150 grams
Price Per Skein: $19.95