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Crazy for Ewe

Lynne's Famous

Knit, Swirl Cover 

It's no secret that I love Sandra McIver's Knit, Swirl book and garments.  I follow her on Facebook, have a Pinterest board dedicated to her stuff, and I get her newsletter.  In the newsletter that arrived today, I was surprised and delighted to see our own Lynne's Copper Collage featured as one of Sandra's Ravelry picks!  Have a look here

 Knit, Swirl was again the top selling knitting book at TNNA and at Unicorn Books. Way to go, Sandra!

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TNNA 2013

Rowan mannequin

Rowan mannequin Kidsilk Haze wrap

Lynne and I spent Saturday and Sunday in Columbus, OH at TNNA.  TNNA is the trade show where vendors large and small come to tempt retailers with their latest products.  It's basically the yarn industry's Fashion Week, and I always come away exhilarated and inspired.  some booths are dressed thematically and give you the sense of stepping into another world.  Rowan does an outstanding job of presenting their offerings. This year they had a masquerade theme, and all the mannequins were dressed as if headed to a masked ball with taffeta evening gowns and hand-knit sweaters.

At TNNA I like to see in person those vendors I mostly talk to on the phone.  I had a chance to meet Deb McDermott of Shepherd's Wool,  Arthur Karpeteyan of Karabella Yarns, and Demien Savits of Blue Heron Yarns.  At his booth, Demian showed us several beautiful garments that will be part of our Blue Heron trunk show next month.  It's so different to see the yarns and the samples up close and in person - to be able to feel the fabric and try them on. I'm so excited to offer you the same chance to see these lovely things!  Take a peek at some here.

Sandra McGyver, Sally Melville, and me at the Knit, Swirl booth

Sandra McIver, Sally Melville, and me at the Knit, Swirl booth

TNNA is also the place where we get to catch up with designers,teachers, and yarn professionals -- to make plans for how to share their offerings with you.  Saturday we had lunch with Sally Melville and planned a weekend of wonderful classes for next June.  Then we met with Stacy Charles of Tahki Stacy Charles Yarns.  We ordered a bunch of dazzling sparkly yarns, as well as a gorgeous new cashmere tweed.  He has several sample garments he's sending us - luxurious accessories you can do with just a couple of skeins.  We spent a lot of time in Sandra McIver's booth trying on different sizes and shapes of Swirls.  That was really fun too.

Sunday we met with Chris Bylsma, tried on her new designs, and scheduled a brand new class event for this September.  We asked Claudia of Claudia's Handpaints to join us and bring a gorgeous display of silks and merinos for you to see.

It was a long couple of days, but so worth it.  I have so many things coming that I think you'll really love, and I can't wait to share them with you.  The first is the Blue Heron trunk show July 19th and 20th.  Mark your calendar, because you do not want to miss this event.

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Merrily we Swirl Along

The SwirlAlong in Leonardtown was quite lively.  Connie and Jeannie both cast on and were able to join in the round.  Sigrid swatched, and Shelly got ready to swatch.  Althea brought in two swatches she had worked so that she could decide which needle size was right for her project.  She had worked one on size 6 needles, and the other on size 4


Here are the two swatches right off the needles.  The swatch on the left was done on size 6 needles; the one on the right, size 4.

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Unblocked swatches

You may be at this exact spot with your Swirl.  It would be tempting to simply measure the gauge here, but it would only give you a piece of the picture.  So much of a Swirl depends on the blocking, and your taste in fabric.  Sandra McIver gives details on this point in her blog here.  Following Sandra's lead, I got out the blocking board and we pinned the two swatches into 8x8 squares.  First the swatch from size 6 needles.

As we pinned this swatch, it needed no stretching to get to 8 inches across.  In fact, I felt as if I needed to smoosh it into its 8" boundary a bit, even with stretching the length to 8 inches.  All pinned out, it looks nice, but really just a tad droopy.

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Swatch done on size 6 needles

The size 4 needle swatch needed a little coaxing to reach 8" in width, but it wasn't a fight.  Same with getting it to 8" in length.  Pinned out, it showed the structure of the alternating merino and Kidsilk Haze welts.

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Swatch done on size 4 needles

Blocked side by side

Blocked side by side

Althea and I discussed the possibility of doing another swatch on size 5 needles but she decided that she was going with the size 4 needles.  I think that's a good decision, and here's why:

  • Althea really liked the look of the fabric at that gauge
  • Her fabric already has plenty of drape and will benefit from a slightly tighter gauge overall
  • The fabric lends itself to hard blocking if necessary
  • Althea is petite, and the coat could end up too long if it stretched out, which is more likely in a loosely knit fabric.

I had to rip out my swatch Friday as I had not been paying attention and had done the wrong number of rows in my welts.  Alas...

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