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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Live and Learn

I've been knitting on Polka Dottie (pattern available at your favorite LYS in Chapel Hill and Raleigh!), that adorable dress pattern for Knit One Crochet Too yarns, and I got stuck.  Twice.  With the directions.  Man, it's been a while since something in a pattern made me go, "uhhhhh, wha????"

Maybe it's prideful of me to think that I've seen almost everything in knitting, and that I know a thing or two about a thing or two in regards to knitting.  But getting stumped (twice) made for some pretty funny behavior on my part.  I read the directions...something about wrapping twice for each stitch, and proceeded to think, "Oh, you mean a double yarn over" and then shortly thereafter realizing that nooooooo, that's not  what I'm supposed to do at all.  In a funk, I set the whole thing down and put it in a time out. 

I've noticed that when I am stumped by knitting, two things need to happen for me to work it out (usually).  Thing 1: Realize that all knitting instructions are horribly literal.  One of the many times when I flunked the Swallowtail Shawl knit, I kept seeing the YO symbol.  So I'd YO (Yarn Over, in case you didn't know).  Or so I thought.  After several shredded attempts, yards of mangled alpaca lace weight and on the verge of chewing my wooden knitting needles into oblivion, I lurched my way into Yarns Etc to ask for help.  It was so simple to fix it was embarrassing.  I was doing a yarn over, all right, but then I was immediately launching into knitting the next stitch, as though that is the full extent of how to do a yarn over.  Oh no no no, muchacha.  As you all know, a yarn over is where you simply bring the yarn.forward.  Full stop.  Stop. 

This brings me to Thing 2: Stop.  Put it down, walk away.  Leave it to simmer in its own juices for a day or three.  Let the solution percolate through your brain.  That's what it took for me.  About three days of scratching my head about it from time to time, feeling irritated about getting held up on knitting it, and suddenly, EUREKA!!

I got it!!  But of course!  Insert the right needle as if to knit, then wrap the yarn two times (duh hur dur) around the right needle.  Welllll, all righty then!  Moving on.

I was cruising along until later on in the pattern where I was told to do something that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  Not anything crazy.  It didn't tell me to take the hand knit to the scary part of town and dance with it in the moonlight.  But it did tell me to knit into the purl bumps of the row underneath!!!!  Say WHAHHAAAAAT?!?

Those patterns, that knitting stuff...remember, very literal.  So I did it, totally feeling my hair curl from anticipation and dread of ripping out whatever the heck I might be doing to my hand knit.  Lo and behold, it was totally fine, and my perspective on knitting got blown wide open.  It created an overlapping section of stitches so I could make a nice perky little button band.  Dudes....I had no idea y'all could do that with string!  For real? 

So here's what I've got so far, considering it's been fermenting in the "I don't understand" pile.  I will say that, if you are considering knitting this, it is totally sweet and fun, the yarn is great, but I would go the extra mile to make sure that you get two yarns that do NOT share colors in common.  It makes the color work rather pointless when you have a section where the lavender from one yarn matches the solid lavender from the other yarn.  Oh well, live and learn, right?

I'm planning another summer knit for myself, and I'm torn between breaking out my Breathless yarn ( in Loden) and knitting Multnomah with it, or using another pattern that I got from Yarns Etc, the Krista tee/summer sweater, and maybe doing both.  All I've been doing with my Breathless yarn is petting it and setting it back in its little home on the bookshelf...and that's fun, but maybe I might like knitting with it too, eh?  And the Krista tee shirt looks like it would be oh so lovely with a pair of dark blue jeans or a skirt...and it isn't gonna happen if I don't cast on for it already!  It may be spring, but there's plenty to knit, am I right?  What are you working on?  What have you learned lately?

Monday, March 26, 2012


SKILL LEVEL: Novice FEE: $55.00
Prerequisites: None
This two-session class is for new and beginning knitters. Participants will learn to knit, purl, cast on and bind off. Your instructor may suggest a scarf or small project for your first piece. No experience required. Needles, yarn, stitch gauge, and Learn How to Knit book are included in class registration fee. 
April  16th & 23rd             Monday   9:30-11:30a.m.
Instructor: Ellen
April  18th & 25th     Wednesday, 6:30-8:30p.m. 
Instructor:  Fran
May 2nd & 9th Wednesday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Instructor:  Ellen
May  14th & 21st          Monday, 9:30-11:30 a.m. 
Instructor:  Ellen
May  16th & 23rd        Wednesday, 6:30-8:30 p.m.  
Instructor: Pam
May 29th & Jun 5th Tuesday, 6:30 -8:30 p.m.
Instructor: Fran
May  30th & Jun 6th Wednesday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Instructor: Ellen
© Mindy Wilkes
The Holden Shawlette (Knit) Fee: $50.00
SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate
Prerequisite: Knit, Purl, Cast on, Bind off, previous knowledge of increasing and decreasing a plus. 
This class is back by popular demand! You will make a wonderful shawl to wear anywhere and year round.  The shawl can be viewed at and is a free download.  Come chose from a wide variety of smooth, silky yarns we have in the shop and enjoy creating your own masterpiece. 
April 16th, 23rd, & 30th Monday, 6:30-8:30 p.m. 
Instructor: Fran

FEE: $35.00
SKILL LEVEL: Advanced Beginner
Prerequisites: Student must know how to single and double crochet.
Learn to make a beautiful crocheted clutch bag. Enhanced with a “dressy” yarn it can easily be used to accessorize your special evening out, or use it every day with sports or beach wear.   Yarn, hook and other supplies are in addition to class fee. Instructor will provide pattern first night of class.
April 17th & 24th Tuesday, 9:30-11:30a.m.
Instructor: Pam
LOVE YOUR TOES! Fee: $ 50.00
SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate
Prerequisites:  Students need to know how to knit, purl, cast on, and bind off.  Prior experience knitting in the round is helpful. 
In this three session class the student will learn how to knit socks from the cuff down to the toe, using the double pointed needle method.  Wearing your own hand made socks is like going to the spa, simply luscious. 
April  17th, 24th & May 1st, Tuesday, 7-9:00 p.m.
Instructor: Elizabeth

BEGINNING CROCHET                          Fee: $55.00
Prerequisites: None
During this class students learn all the basic stitches of crochet (single, half-double, double and treble crochet) joining new yarn over two, 2 hour sessions. No experience required.  Class supplies are included in registration fee; yarn, hook, and Learn to Crochet book are distributed at the first class session. 

April 26th & May 3rd Thursday, 9:00 -11:00 a.m.
Instructor : Pam
May 17th & 24th         Thursday, 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Instructor : Pam
Queen Anne’s Lace Scarf (crochet)      Fee: $ 35.00
SKILL LEVEL: Advanced Beginner
Prerequisites: Single, double, and treble crochet skills required. 
Complete this project in a Winter, Fall, Spring or Summer weight yarn and add a beautiful accessory to your closet. Everyone will want one like it. Make more than one!
May 1st Tuesday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Instructor: Pam

SIMPLE  TOYS (Knit)                              Fee: $ 45.00
SKILL LEVEL: Advanced Beginner- Intermediate Knitter
Prerequisites: Comfortable with casting on, knitting and purling, Previous increasing and decreasing experience a plus.
Choose from a dog, a rabbit, a whale, or a turtle. This is a great intro to knitting with dpns and learning to sew up little projects.  If you get industrious, you can knit more than one.  Patterns will be supplied by teacher.  Other supplies: Worsted weight or DK yarn, size 3 o 4 dpns can be purchased first night of class. 
May 3rd & 10th Thursday, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Instructor: Ellen
May 16th & 23rd Wednesday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Instructor: Ellen
Spring CEY Knit Along- Mizzen Bolero 
                                                                               FEE: $ 55.00
(Chance to win a $100.00 
Classic Elite Gift Basket!)
SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate
Prerequisites: Student must know how to knit, purl, cast on and bind off. Experience with increasing and decreasing is helpful.
Register for this four session class and make the cute “Mizzen” Bolero top.  This is a wonderful addition to your spring or summer outfits and your name will be entered in a drawing making you eligible to win a beautiful gift basket donated by Classic Elite Yarns. Participants must be willing to publish a picture of their completed project and meet a completion date of July 31, 2012 to be eligible for the prize. Call the shop for more details. Pattern can be viewed online at the CEY website or at the shop.  
May 7th, 14th, 21st, & Jun 4th  Monday, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Instructor: Fran
Mei-Mei Top –                            Fee: $ 55.00
Short or Long (Crochet)
SKILL LEVEL: Advanced Beginner
This beautiful crocheted top can be worn all Spring and Summer long. The pattern is a top down construction with no sewing required. An added class bonus of learning how to construct a button frog closure is included in this class.  Pattern can be viewed on and is a free download.
May 8th, 15th, 22nd, &  29th Tuesday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Instructor: Pam
LACY, LACY Scarf (Knit) Fee:  $35.00
SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate
Prerequisites: Knit, purl, cast on and bind off techniques required.
 Introduce yourself to lace techniques and yarns used to make beautiful shawls during this one class session. You will make a sample lace pattern by creating a scarf project and become familiar with reading lace charts.   
May 8th Tuesday, 7-9 p.m. 
Instructor: Elizabeth
LUCY’S OWL Fee: $ 55.00
SKILL LEVEL: Advanced Beginner to Intermediate Knitter
Prerequisite: Knit, Purl, Casting On and Binding off, knitting in the round. Increasing and decreasing knowledge is helpful.
Stop in the shop and see our Owl Friends.  Your imagination and choice of yarn is what gives character to this feathered friend.   Make one as a gift or one for yourself.  
May 17th, 24th, 31st & June 7th Thursday, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Instructor: Ellen

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Springtime and Colors and Fibers Galore!

Oh, this time of year is delightful, isn't it?  It's like I didn't realize how starved I was for spring weather until it arrives.  The Bradford Pear trees are blooming, the forsythia is brilliantly yellow, and the daffodils are always a welcome sight.  Tomorrow I hear the high will be 80!!  I'm always glad for spring to come, not just for the fine weather, but also an opportunity to knit with different fibers that come in beautiful spring colors. 

These are so cheery and fun, with sparkles throughout.  I'm sure I know of at least three trillion girls (and women, let's be honest) who wouldn't mind a bit of sparkle in their wardrobes.

Is this not the cutest thing?  A brand spankin' new pattern from Knit One, Crochet Too Yarn, aptly named "Polka Dottie".  Ravelry hasn't uploaded this pattern into their database yet, but come by the store, because there are many copies of this pattern waiting to be snatched up!  Mary made this one as a sample for the Yarns Etc store using the yarns called for in the pattern, Knit One, Crochet Too Ty-Dy and Ty-Dy Dots.  I couldn't resist this pattern, seeing as I have a small wee girly at home.  I did go home first and toss my stash about, looking for any cotton yarn I might have that wasn't for knitting dish cloths.  I was pretty dang happy with what I'm knitting my Polka Dottie with...

The purple skein on the left is Rowan Handknit Cotton yarn (which was in my stash, but you can find it in an array of colors at Ye Olde Yarns Etc) and the skein on the left is Ty-Dy in Blue Pansy.  I'm having so much fun knitting with it!  After knitting with so much wool, this is a breath of fresh air. 

Another nice thing to see is some cashmere going for a good cause:

This is handspun cashmere from Afghanistan, in lovely earthy natural colors.  Can you imagine how beautiful a little shrug might be in this?  Knit on big needles, perhaps?  Short sleeves, open lacework....ummmm perhaps I should investigate that.

Other things for spring?

A silken gorgeous dyed scarf.  You have to see the colors in person.  Seeeeeee how looooooong my arrrrrrrms are?  Just kidding!

Shawl pins that are little works of art in themselves.

In other news, I'm still flying along with my Corcovado.  The right front is finished, save for the I-Cord edging, and I'm still feeling the love, even though it is....getting...rather warmer...outside.....


I'm sort of looking for some summer patterns to knit's for research y'all.  Don't look at me like that!  Wool is hot!  I'm hankering after a silken tank top...or linen, ye gods, linen!!!  Stay tuned, and don't tell my husband!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It's been blustery, wet, wild, snowy, and sleety out lately.  Turbulent weather all over the country, really.  Spring looks like it's shaping up to be a wild ride.  Who knows what else may happen in the next month, while spring and winter duke it out and winter finally takes the hint and moves on. 

I've been knitting homely little dish cloths again.  It's a great go-to knit to take out and about.  I cast on 27 stitches and just seed stitch my brains out until I have a square.  Nothing beats these little beasties in the kitchen, either.  There is no pot they cannot scrub clean, no mess they will not clean up.  And since it's kitchen cotton, I'm hardly prissy with them.  You can find them in all kinds of colors, variegated or solid, and they wash well and wear well, like your kid's jeans.  We don't even buy paper towels anymore because of these little cuties, so you can rationalize that kitchen cotton expenditure as "going green".  See how hard my brain works to make it ok to add to my stash? 

Because I'm the flighty little sidewinder of a knitter than I am, I'm not just knitting dishcloths.  I've been stepping out  on my projects, if you know what I mean (wink wink).  At first it was a casual glance across a crowded online knitting magazine that drew me.  That crisp color work and lack of buttonholes that said, "I'm not your average knit."  There were other signs, too.  I had (almost) all the yarn I needed for this little affair already in my stash.  That's so cool when that happens, right?  I feel almost virtuous,except for my lack of commitment to any one knit.  We swatched a little bit, nothing serious, and then things began to happen so quickly.  I thought I could keep it to just one sleeve, but I'm in over my head.  I'm sorry I've kept this from you.  It's time you knew. 

Of course this is not me.  I do not have two dogs, nor am I a sweater model.  It's on my  bucket list, though.  Except for the part where I kneel on the floor of a stable because that is probably a bad idea.  Horses, right?  Ew.

This is Corcovado from the online magazine Twist Collective (from Winter 2011).  I've finished the back, one sleeve, and am roaring through one of the fronts.  If this is wrong, I don't want to be right.  I'm knitting this in my good old standby, Cascade 220 wool (holla!).  It's also making me laugh because every time I show it to either my husband or my friend, something tells me that they don't like it quite as much as I do.  I get that, "ooooh, um....yeah, that's....nice" kind of comment.  In my head, I see myself channeling a little Ralph Lauren, looking bright and clean, and rocking this cardigan with a white shirt underneath and a pair of really dark blue jeans.  Classy, right?  My friend DJ alluded to the fact that I may look like a dizzy version of the American flag, however.  Hey, God Bless America, right?  Now pass the yarn. 

And to finish, I just wanted to include a picture of the Bradford Pear trees blooming against a gorgeously blue sky.  It's about time to break out some warm weather knitting, I'd say. 

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