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Crazy for Ewe

The Next Noro Knit Blanket

The Next Noro Knit Blanket

Noro Mitered Crosses afghan promo

This time last year I was finishing up my Cavendish throw in Noro Silk Garden.  Then I started in right away on my 64 Crayons Blanket.  I had never been much of a blanket knitter, but somehow with Noro it was different.  Everything is, I suppose.  I love having those throws tossed on the couch as if begging me to come snuggle.  Now that it's getting cold, I am getting the urge again to knit a Noro blanket. 

My friend Dollyce on Ravelry did one that I've loved for a long time.  From Kay Gardiner's book Mason Dixon Knitting, it's worked using mitered squares in various colors of Noro with borders of creamy Silk Garden Solo in between.  It's so beautiful.  Here's a shot of her afthan - it's been favorited some 2300 times.

No wonder, huh?  It's spectacular to behold, but it's also terrific to knit.  

Here are my top 7 reasons for loving this pattern:

  1. You get to use whatever colors of Noro you like
  2. It's modular, so you can take it with you and work it whenever you have five minutes
  3. It's a simple pattern that you can easily memorize so it's very relaxing
  4. Each square has its own completion reward - you get that little thrill each time you do a square
  5. You work a double decrease every other row, so the knitting accelerates as you go
  6. You pick up and knit each color, rather than seaming each little square.
  7. It's totally spectacular, and you will be so proud to say, yeah, I made that!

I'm going to get started on it this Saturday, November 5th.  Come join me! We'll start at 2, but come a little early so you can pick out the colors you like.  If choosing colors is hard for you, no worries -- I'll help -- that's my favorite part!  Can't wait to get my colors going --I'm super jazzed!  See you then!

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Flower power for the cause

Flower power for the cause

As many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and Leonardtown hosts Pink Friday, with all kinds of wonderful fund raisers for the cause. My favorite is Uplifting Designs, a bra art contest that features fantastically decorated bras that visitors vote on through donations.

Crazy for Ewe entered a bra last year, and it was a lot of fun to put together. This year I want to invite the entire Crazy for Ewe community to participate by crocheting a flower or two. Antonella Thompson, our fabulous crochet instructor, offered a free crochet tutorial yesterday, and it was great.  I had forgotten how fun and satisfying it is to crochet! 

Antonella has agreed to do another session next Sunday, September 18 from 12-1 pm. You'll learn some basic stitches and make a cute crocheted flower. We have lots of pink yarn (of course), so bring hooks if you have 'em (or borrow one of ours) and come on in. 

If you already know how to crochet, come crochet a flower for the cause.  We'll probably put you to work helping others - right Keidi?  

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Jessamyn knitalong - what's not to love

Jessamyn knitalong - what's not to love

This gorgeous cardigan was my favorite from the Ginkgo trunk show last month, Worked in elegant Berroco Ginkgo, Jessamyn is exactly what you want to take you gracefully into the fall season, Worked in one piece with only two small seams at the shoulder, Jessamyn is as fun to knit as it is to wear.

 

The fabric is nice and squishy and really highlights Ginkgo's beautiful texture. It looks like ribbing, but there's no purling. In fact, you can knit the entire body of Jessamyn with no purling at all! Sounds like magic, but, I promise it's super easy.

I've been champing at the bit to start this project, and I thought I'd invite you to knit along with me. Several of you have even bought the yarn already! We'll meet in the shop to work on it, but I'm also going to blog about it regularly so that folks who are not local can be part of the fun. I'll send out the blog posts at least weekly, and occasionally more often if I find out something important. Click here to register for the knitalong, and you'll get the posts in your inbox along with the regular blog.

The hardest part will be choosing which beautiful Ginkgo color you want. Come by the shop and get your yarn and the pattern so you'll be ready to swatch with us Saturday, September 3rd at 12:30 pm

Yes! Sign me up for the Jessamyn KAL!

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Marking the times of our lives

Marking the times of our lives

It's summer, and we've had lots of out of town knitters visit the shop.  It's been wonderful to meet new knitters and welcome back those who've visited with us before.  When I travel, I always visit the local yarn stores.  It's fun to see what other shops have, and every knitter knows that yarn is the perfect souvenir.  Even if I don't knit it right away, I'll look at that beautiful fiber and think, "This is the yarn I bought on our trip to the Outer Banks."  My Lady Eleanor is worked with yarn I found there at Knitting Addiction nearly 12 years ago.  Every time I see it, I'm reminded of the happy time we had there.  Knitting projects are kind of like the stitch markers of our lives.

Your knitting projects are often bound up with the place and time you knit them.  My Luxe Alpaca Stole was knit on planes, trains, and automobiles through the highlands of Scotland in 2004.  The bulk of my Noro Lanesplitter skirt was worked mainly on a snowy, nerve-wracking Pittsburgh trip to bring Elizabeth home for Thanksgiving.  There are other things I've knit, and I'm sure you have too, that have been given away.  The little leftover ball is enough to bring the project, and that time in my life, into full focus.  Maybe not as powerful as Proust's madeleine, but close. 

I guess that's why we hang onto those scraps of yarn.  They are without logical purpose, really, but significant in a way that only knitters - and quilters - understand.  Scrap projects create something beautiful from leftovers too nice to throw away.  Nothing lost, nothing wasted.  It's a fun exercise in creativity - bringing disparate bits into a cohesive whole - and extremely satisfying.  There are lots of projects you can make using scraps, but my favorite is the Entropy Afghan so much.  Unified by color and pattern, it's a beautiful throw that gives constructive purpose to leftover bits.  More importantly, it's a knitted scrapbook bringing all those reminiscences together.  It's a tangible repository for the love and memories of your life. 

I look forward to seeing you in the shop and being part of your happy knitting times.  You are always welcome here. 

Back to 16 August 2016 Newsletter 

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Easy knitting

Easy knitting

 

I've been working on a couple of different projects lately, but over the past few days I find that I've been reaching, almost compulsively, for Surf and Sand, our March First Friday project.  It's easy as can be, and lately that's exactly what I've needed. 

I have a monkey mind.  I wish it weren't so.  I would love to be someone who could sit quietly and mediate on the nature of the universe with a serene smile, radiating peace and tranquility, her mind a tranquil pool.  But that is not me. My mind is more like a hurricane, or a tidal wave that threatens to drown me.  I can't sit quietly, but bounce up as I suddenly remember what I was doing before I sat down.  Or I'm doing what I should be doing, but never finishing because...oh - look, that other thing that needs doing.  Then I am distracted by -- oh, look something else over there.  As a child there were exhortations to "work on your own," while another group was doing something ever so much more interesting than writing my numbers to 1000.  What purpose that particular aspect of arithmetic torture served, I still fail to see. 

Anyway, back to the whole calm, inner peace, sitting still thing.  Knitting.  Knitting is my meditation.  As I give in to the repetitive motions, my monkey mind begins to settle.  Even just a moment makes a difference.  Insert the needle, wrap the yarn, pull it through, and off.  Over and over and over again.  My hands know what to do, and my brain seems to tell them, "Okay - you've got this.  I'm going to ease up for a minute."  Little by little, as my brain lets go, I begin to relax.  All the generalized anxiety of my world lifts, stitch by stitch, breath by breath.  I can see what to do, and I know how to begin.  I am calm. I am knitting.  

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I've changed my mind

I've changed my mind

I'm allowed to change my mind.  It's a woman's prerogative, right?  I've been struggling with wearing my Big Wool Tarragon.  I liked it a lot the other day, on the mannequin, but you know, she doesn't get out much.  When I put it on myself, I liked it but I didn't love it.  It didn't move with me.  I had this brilliant idea that I would take the seam out and try it twisted as in the picture.

Sounds simple, right?  It should be, only I started pulling and realized that I was not taking out the seam but either the cast on row or the bind off row.  Such a mess.  Ginni took pity on me and took over the unseaming effort. 

I thought I might like to leave my options open and secure it with a shawl pin, But this yarn is so bulky that nothing looked quite right.  Then I remembered the gorgeous sturdy leather closures from Jul Designs.  I turned the cast on edge to the side of the bound off edge, along the garter stitch section and voila!  I've been wearing it all day and it's perfect.  Just the right thing.  Like it?  Thanks!!

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Swatching Que Sera

Here's a close-up of the lovely sweater, Que Sera, that we're featuring in our upcoming class.

queseraFRONT

It's basically a 10 stitch/12 row repeat that's marker friendly, but there are elements in the stitch pattern that line up so that you don't really need the markers.  I like markers because they help me not have to pay attention, so I can knit while I'm doing pretty much anything else.  I suspect that a marker every couple of repeats would be plenty. Anyway, here's my swatch of the first repeat of the pattern plus a little double moss stitch edging on the left side. Did I say that I really like this pattern?  I really do.

2014-02-03 21.23.59-1

 

I will work a few more repeats and then block.  Unblocked, my swatch is about 7" wide, so I'm at about 5 stitches per inch on an 8, but this is lace, and it could stand a decent amount of blocking.  I may even try it on a 7 and see what that does.  I Still haven't decided which yarn to use, yet.  This is Berroco's Modern Cotton, which is very nice, but I'm thinking that I would like Aurora 6 - so silky and yummy.  I'll swatch that tomorrow and tell you what I think.  Call me weird, but swatching is my favorite part.

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Lazy Sunday

Sundays are wonderful days.  A little extra sleep, cozy breakfast, and not much of a schedule.  I've got a nice batch of granola going, and it needs to be stirred every fifteen minutes, so I'm hanging around the kitchen smelling cinnamon and seaming my Kelmscott. Here it is all clipped together

 

All clipped together

 

I'm pretty happy with the way my seams are turning out and I'm super happy with my granola.  Plenty pecans

Plenty pecans

For those of you who are interested, I use Alton Brown's recipe with a few tweaks to suit my husband's cinnamon addiction and the fact that for some unknown reason I have two bottles of Kings Syrup in my pantry.  Here's today's version:

3 c old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 c shredded coconut - I use the sweetened kind because the other is just too hard to find
2 c pecans - if you have other nuts, they're great too.
1/4 c dark brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/4 c + 2 T Kings Syrup (or honey or maple syrup)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Lightly grease a large shallow baking sheet tray or roasting pan. Mix up the oats, coconut, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Combine the syrup and oil in a measuring cup and pour over the oat mixture. Stir well. Spread the mixture onto the tray and bake for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. It may not seem crisp after an hour, but it will get crisp as it cools. Store tightly covered. I couldn't tell you how long it keeps, because it's never around more than a week or so.


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Kelmscott progress

As I told you, I decided to work the sleeves of my Kelmscott first because I seem to have sleeve issues.  I finished them earlier this week and blocked them last night.

 

 

I LOVE this yarn.  Rowan Softknit Cotton.  Exactly what it says - soft.  But not soft and droopy or soft and pilly.  This yarn is soft and bouncy.  Smooth, soft, and bouncy, it's a pleasure to knit and makes a beautiful fabric.  We're featuring it this week at 20% off - because I really want you to try it!

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Happiness is a knitting project

Having just finished last month’s large project, the Faith Jacket, I’ve been a little bit edgy – unfocused. Not unhappy, mind you, just not really happy. And there’s a difference. So, what’s wrong with me? I don’t really know. Then my husband forwarded me an article from the Wall Street Journal about happiness. The article says it’s what we do and not what we have that really makes us happy. Okay, so what do we do to make ourselves happy? First, spending time with friends makes us happy. That’s certainly true. Probably part of the reason I’m nearly always happy when I’m at the shop. Friends old and new are always in for help, a new project, or for just a quick knit and chat. The article’s author cites research showing that there are parts of your brain stimulated only by the presence of other people, thus making you more active, energetic, and engaged. Absolutely true.

I read on about how we need to count our blessings, enjoy a good meal, commute less, focus less on salaries, and set goals and challenge ourselves. To be happy, the author opines, we should spend our leisure time engaged in activities we enjoy, setting challenging but achievable goals. And I realized that’s it! I don’t have any knitting goals. The Horndal scarf is in progress, but I haven’t established a goal for any big new project. So, as I ponder this fact, I consider the various knitting projects available. I could finish my Crayon Box Jacket. I could start the Collar Closing Cardigan. Or I could start one of two beautiful projects in various Noro books. The bottom line is, that it doesn’t matter which project I pick; I just need to get moving and focus on something.

In case anyone's interested, here are photos of the projects under consideration:

 

Collar Closing Cardigan



Silk Garden pullover by Jane Ellison



Kolsva by Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton


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