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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Oh what a beautiful moooooorning....oh what a beautiful dayyyyyy!

Somewhere out there my friend DJ is cursing me for getting this song stuck in her head.  Hey DJ!

I've been on a knitting tear, people.  I have in my hot little hands a fantastic summer sweater, the Krista Tee by Joan McGowan-Michael (got the pattern at Yarns Etc).  Knit up in some delightful raspberry-colored Louisa Harding yarn, I cannot wait to wear it out and about.

I am so edgy, so hip and trendy, that I block my hand knits on concrete.  Instead of blocking pins, I use nails.  I'm tough like that.  Rowr. 

As you can see here, this little sweater is rather open.  I'm definitely planning on this being worn over a camisole or tank top, but you know...if you want to shake it up...uh, yeah.  But the pattern is well written and not a bad choice at all for a new knitter.  I have completed the back, am halfway up the front practically, and the two short sleeves and voila, I have a staple for my summer wardrobe.  I can't wait to finish it. 

Did anyone else just start singing "Raspberry Beret"? 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's Like Magic

When you first finish a knitting project, it can look a little....blah.

Of course, what you need is a good blocking.  In a sink or tub, run cold water with some gentle detergent...Euclan is a good choice, and you can find a selection of such things at your local yarn store.  I fill the sink up with the sudsy soap first and do not leave the water running onto my newly finished hand knit, which can make for a surprise felting and a few tears.  

Rubber Ducky, you're the make bath time lots of fun....
Don't be surprised to see some dye bleeding out into the water.  After draining the soapy water, fill the sink again with cold, clear water, not letting it beat down on your hand knit. If there's a lot of color in the water, be sure to rinse an extra time or two to make sure the water is clear.


You can use blocking wires, straight pins, foam blocking boards, sock forms, the list goes on and on with what you can use to facilitate blocking out your hand knit.  With this particular shawl, I just decided to lay it out flat on a nice fluffy towel.  After I had removed it from the rinse water, I gently squeezed it, but DIDN'T wring it out (oh that would be so bad for a hand knit!!) and laid it out nice and flat.  Easy-peasy.

Check it out again.

Before:                                                                               After: 

Blocking makes a big difference, doesn't it?  I'd show some better shots of it being worn...maybe shots of me channeling my inner hobbit, dancing barefoot in a field of grasses with the shawl held lightly overhead, but the lighting outside is terrible today, folks.  Super cloudy.  Yeah, I'm totally blaming the weather on that one.  Ha ha!

In other fiber-y goodness news....there is a new arrival or three at Yarns Etc and Great Yarns.

Also, did you know that it's the 26th anniversary for Great Yarns???  26 years!  Happy Birthday!  May you have many many more!  On Friday and Saturday of this week there will be a big ole party, with cake (YAY!) and a sale (YAYAYAYAYAYYYYY!) on pattern books and loose patterns. 

Another gem to look forward to is the Stitch N' Pitch to be held May 19th at 7pm.  Section 211, only $9 a ticket, and lots of fun knitting and crocheting with friends and scaring the Muggles.  I'm looking forward to that very much!

Play ball!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Call yarns etc to sign up today 919.928.8810

Learn to Knit       $25
Always wanted to take up knitting? Now is your time, come learn from the best! One time class.
7- 9 pm
Thursday, May 3
Thursday, June 7

Mini Classes- (sign up for 1 or all 4)
Tuesdays 10-11:30
May 1  Reading patterns, getting gauge, abbreviations, charts.

May 8  Learning fancy sts, cables, traveling sts and more.

May 15  Finishing techniques- different seaming techniques including 3 needle bind off.

May 22 Finishing Techniques - picking up sts,button holes and button bands and more.

Learn to Crochet      $25
Here's your opportunity to get a beautiful start on your crochet adventures! One time class.
7-9 pm
Sunday, April 15
Sunday, May 20
Sunday, June 10

General Knitting      $60
Tuesday 7- 9 pm 
April 17, 24, May 8, 15, 22 & 29
Sunday 6- 8 pm
April 15, 22, 29, May 6, 20 & 27

Toe Up Sock Workshop     $50
From the tip of the toe to the top of the cuff, socks will have you hooked! Four sessions to sock Mastery! Seamless toe, Magic Loop and all the skills you need to use each of our amazing yarns to make a sock that fits perfectly every time.
6:30- 8:30pm
Monday, April 23, 30, May 7 & 14

Classic Knit Hat in Any Size      $50
Come pick out your favorite yarn in the shop and we'll create a great hat together. With a little expert guidance you can knit any hat to flatter. Raise the bar!
4- 5:30 pm
Sunday, April 22, 29 & May 6

Magic Loop         $20
A great skill to have in a pinch! Always wanted to try it? Learn this great method for knitting quickly in the round with a longer circular. Saves wear on your hands and wrists and improves the versatility of your knitting needle collection.
4- 5:30 pm
Sunday April 15

LEARN TO SPIN         $60
Introduction to spinning technique on the spindle and spinning wheel. A perfect activity for all! Includes Materials.
6- 7:30 pm

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Warm Weather Knits Anyone?

Wowzas it has been a busy week.  Let me see....
My daughter turned one....

We had Easter....

Behold my son trying to look like the Unabomber.  But a happy Unabomber, nonetheless.

I did not win the 640 bajillion dollar lottery....don't know why I was actually surprised by that, but there you go....

And Violet and I caught some kind of horrible stomach virus that left us both unable to eat her birthday cake!  There ought to be a law or something where you can never be sick on your birthday, let alone your first birthday. She wouldn't even consider touching her slice of birthday cake that my husband had made for her.  Poor baby!

I've been trucking away at Multnomah, and the Breathless yarn is still keeping me riveted.  I adore this yarn.  Flat out love it.  When I am an eccentric old lady (who has won the lottery), I want a cedar-lined room just full of this yarn.  Like the ball pit at Chuck E Cheese, except with yarn.  This yarn.

Am I the only one who wishes she could do that with her yarn stash???

 I dare you to touch it and not have a momentary impulse to roll around on the floor with it like a cat with catnip.  If loving you is wrong, I don't wanna be right!

I'm just a few pattern repeats away from being finished with it (knock on wood).  It is very simple yet gorgeous, the pattern is very well written, and I'm going to love having this about my neck and shoulders when it's done.

The weather is warming, but don't put your needles down yet, folks.  As far as I'm concerned, my wardrobe is seriously deficient in some gorgeous one-of-a-kind summer knits.  I thought I'd troll around Ravelry and other places to see what the hot knits for spring and summer are going to be.

One lightweight knit that caught my eye was the Spring Garden Tee.  Looky here:

Knit this up in a bamboo yarn, or perhaps a cotton/bamboo blend?  Just beautiful in its simplicity. 

The sleeve detail is nice, and look-see--it's knit from the top down, in the round, which would make it a great first tee/sweater knit. 

Another adorable fresh looking top?  Why, step right up:


This is Buttercup, which is a free pattern on Ravelry, knit up in a hemp yarn (there's some at Yarns etc!!), and it is flattering to every. single. body. type.  I saw someone had knit it a bit longer so it was like a tunic, so cute with cropped leggings!  See the detail in the yoke being mirrored along the hem?  Wow, designers really blow my mind with little things like that.

Maybe just something small?  Maybe something to use up that little skein of lightweight yarn that's been languishing gracing your stash?  How about this little gem?

Aptly, and accurately named, 198 yards of Heaven requires just that, and look at what you can get with just 198 yards!

This is just a taste of what there is out there for warmer weather, and it's not too late to cast on!  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Can I Pretend to be Laura Ingalls Wilder?

I've always had a love affair with The Little House on the Prairie books.  There is a portion of me that forgets that I love air conditioning, cars, grocery stores, and avoiding large smelly livestock and yearns to stand around in tall grasses, getting eggs from hens, churning butter, making every meal with pork fat, all that jazz.  When the apocalypse/zombies comes down upon us, I feel pretty assured I could make my own lead bullets, sew a nine patch quilt, and make my own jam and cheese.  And knit.  This week I got to dabble in my little fantasy. 

I finally wound up my gorgeous Breathless yarn from Shalimar.  Really, you must get some.  Merino, cashmere, joy, and some fairy dust are spun into each skein.  I got the color Loden as a present at Christmas, and have been petting it in its unwound state for a few months before I finally decided on a pattern to best showcase the yarn:  Multnomah

The second picture better captures the woodsy, mossy quality of the color.  I love love love this yarn.  If I only had one yarn to work with for the rest of my life the month this would definitely be the one.  Right now I'm enjoying the zen quality of lots of simple garter stitching, with a feather and fan border on the near horizon.  I'd love to start another project with this yarn as well...perhaps this one?  This has been the only this I've worked on this week.  A shocker, I know, since I'm a big fan of spreading the love around.  Still totally enjoying it, too. 

While you are at your favorite yarn store, getting Breathless yarn, you may also want to peruse the gorgeous handmade needle cases that our Jane made.  One of a kind works of art, I think:

Other things I've done this week, channeling my inner Laura Ingalls has been to make jam:

Blackberry jam.  It is delicious, if I may say so.  I also made refrigerator pickles...a first for me:

Shucks, folks, I'm gonna head back into the log cabin and churn some butter now.  I'll write another one of them there electronic letters to the folks Back East when the fever n' ague that my son caught this morning clears up.  Don't squat with your spurs on and keep your powder dry!

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