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Crazy for Ewe

64-Crayons Knitalong meets today

64-Crayons Knitalong meets today

Don't forget this afternoon's knitalong - 64 Crayons by Amy Swenson.  I've been working away at it every chance I get.  The pattern is mindless enough to do while you're watching tv, but the interplay of Noro's colors make every row a delight, so you'll never be bored!

 

This is a full-sized throw made in strips using two different colors of Noro Kureyon at a time to create alternating stripes.  Strips of stripes.  Say that five times fast.  Anyway, it's a super fun project, and you'll love knitting it as much as you'll love having it!  Join me today and every Thursday for the next few weeks.  From 2 to 4 p.m.  

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Feeling stranded?

Feeling stranded?

Bet you're getting a little cabin fever - I sure am.  I love my cozy snow days, but I'm starting to get a bit of a house headache.  Our driveway is pretty much cleared, and I'm so looking forward to getting back in the shop.   Come join me!  Ginni has a beautiful stranded knitting project planned for tomorrow afternoon! 

If you thought about the stranded mitten class but decided it was more of a challenge than you wanted, you'll love this!  GInni's doing a stranded hat knitalong.  It uses Shepherd's Wool and Noro Silk Garden.  Noro stripes by itself so your contrasting color will change by itself so you look like a genius without even trying.  Since it's a knitalong, you'll have lots of help and support, so you'll have fun and not be frustrated.  Join us this week (today!) and the next couple of Tuesday afternoons!    2 p.m.  

Come pick up a perfect color combination and get started - it's a great skill and a beautiful project - you'll be so proud!

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Happy colors

Happy colors

64-Crayons - a very happy project

Color is powerful. We don't think about it much because it's so integral to our lives, but the colors we choose for our homes, for our clothes, and for our knitting, play an important part in our everyday happiness.  I think that a lot of what they call the winter doldrums is the lack of color in the world this time of year. Cheerful holiday decorations are gone, and things can seem a little drab. Neutrals are nice, and certainly very calm, but it's a fine line between peaceful and downright boring.  Especially in the winter, I need some happy colors. 

Happy colors are different for everyone.  Each culture views colors in a different context - for many westerners, yellow is a very happy color, while in Japan, yellow symbolizes deceit!  Regardless of a color's cultural meaning, there is a complex function of associations in our brain that gives a color its appeal for each of us.  Think about it - when you're browsing in the shop and you happen across a skein of yarn in that color, you feel your breath catch a little.  It's a visceral response.  You tell yourself, "I really should get out of my box," but you buy it anyway because it's just so beautiful that just owning it an looking at it makes you happy.  That's totally okay.  I'm making this 64-Crayons afghan, and I have all the skeins piled up in a big basket in my family room.  It makes me happy to see them there. 

If you're feeling a little drab, find a little yarn in your stash in a color that makes you happy, and whip up a little had or a pair of bright fingerless mitts. If nothing in your stash does it for you, you can stop by the shop and get a nice big dose of happy.  Especially before this weekend's snow. Happy knitting!

I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table - you are always welcome here.  ~Ellen

Back to the 19 January 2016 Newsletter

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It's cold - here's a nice warm free pattern

It's cold - here's a nice warm free pattern

By my thermometer it's 27 degrees - cold enough to snow even. Perfect knitting weather.  Here's a cozy treat for you courtesy of the lovely Antonella.  This little cowl knits up fast with just one skein of Noro Kureyon and is perfect to tuck inside your coat to keep out the howling winds, or just to add a pop of color to your outfit.  

Antonella's Kureyon Cowl

Noro Kureyon Cowl

With a US size 10 (6.0 mm) cast on 72 stitches.  Join for working in the round, being careful not to twist. 

Rounds 1--5 :*knit 4, purl 4* repeat between *s around 

Rounds 6-10: :*purl 4, knit 4* repeat between *s around 

Repeat rounds 1-10 3 times more (total of 40 rounds) 

Repeat rounds 1-5 only, one time  Bind off loosely in pattern, weave in ends, and enjoy!

They're so quick and fun, you'll want to knit a bunch and tack 'em like Alex and Ani bracelets -- super fun for days like today.  

 

 

 

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Better late than never

Better late than never

I've heard the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  I'm famous for just not quite getting everything I mean to do actually done.  While this foible is unlikely to end me up in the fiery flames of eternal damnation, I do beat myself up about it.  Like, say, when I come across a perfectly good blog entry I've written and forgotten to post. 

It is my New Year's resolution to be better at follow through and completion, so I hope you will forgive me for just now posting this blog entry I wrote last month. 

December 26 - afternoon
This is my favorite part of the holiday season  The frenzy of preparing for the big day is over, and it's time to relax and enjoy.  For me that's taking some quiet time to be with my kids and to just be still and knit.  Yesterday afternoon I finished my Cavendish Throw, and am just thrilled with it. 

I can see why Mary has knit three of them.  I am really into knitwear for the home right now.  Knitted throws are everywhere - from Pottery Barn to Target, but nothing has been has been as pretty or as fun as the those I've seen being worked around the table here at the shop.  

I like neutrals furniture because it's versatile, but it can get boring.  That's why I love knitting  these throws in fun colors that inspire me and give a room that pop of color.  

My next throw adventure is going to be a fabulous pattern called 64 Crayons by Amy Swenson.  I even love the name.  It reminds me of the wonderful childhood joy of a brand new box of Crayola's with the tips all fresh and pointy and full of possibilities. 

The throw is worked in Kureyon, Noro's most playful yarn with bright bands of color and an earthy texture.  In this pattern you're working strips using two different colors at a time to create alternating stripes.  Strips of stripes.  Say that five times fast.  Anyway, it's a super fun project, and I can't wait to get started!  Want to join me?  We're doing 64 Crayons as a knitalong starting Thursday, January 21st from 2 to 4 p.m.  Come get started and feel like a kid again! 

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A shawl I might marry

A shawl I might marry

 There's a great bit of dialog in one of my favorite movies,  Price (played by oh-so-handsome, Peter Graves)  says to one of his barrack mates, "Don't bother, Sefton. I don't like you, I never did, and I never will."  Sefton (played by William Holden) comes back with, "A lot of people say that, and the first thing you know it, they get married and live happily ever after."

That scene pretty much sums up this Kureyon wrap sample we got with our Noro order.  I'm not a fan of triangular wraps in general.  I feel like the proportion is all wrong.  I think the shape is hard to wear and unflattering.  I don't typically think of Kureyon as a fabric for clothing as the colors are often bright and can be hard to wear.  So when the triangular wrap arrived unblocked and curling up at the edges, I was not so excited.  But there it was.  We couldn't display it looking as it did, so I gave it a nice little Eucalan bath and blocked the ever-lovin' life out of it.  It's so big, I had to fold it in half to block it.

The next day when I came in and it was drizzly outside and a little bit cold in the shop.  Taking the wrap off the blocking board, I draped it around my shoulders and formed a little shawl collar around my neck.  I wore it all day.  And the next day.  And the next.  When I came in on Tuesday, Ginni said, "You're wearing that shawl again." 

It's actually my new favorite thing.  Here's why

  • The points are long enough if the front that it stays on my shoulders with no effort at all. Not slippy or fiddly.  You just put it on and it stays.  I went about my busy day and didn't think about the shawl once.  That's what I like.  No fuss, no muss.
  • The fabric has enough body to create a really nice little shawl collar that makes it look and feel like a legit garment.  Not a full on sweater, but a something that's more than a scarf - it's an integral part of your outfit and not an afterthought. 
  • Its striking colors change take center stage, turning boring pants and a plain top into a smashing, well constructed outfit. 
  • The texture of the yarn makes the shawl equally comfortable with jeans or dress slacks.  I've worn it with both, as well as with a skirt, and it just works.  It's one of those accessories that's comfortable in any setting.  Okay, maybe not with an evening gown, but you get what I mean. 

The pattern is free with the purchase of 6 skeins of Kureyon or Silk Garden.  Come by and pick out yours today, or order it here.

 

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Simply Noro - Simply Beautiful

First day of the Noro Event was fabulous!  There seems to be one standout project every year that gets the most attention in each yarn.  In years past it's been Klaralund, Bettna, and Holly.  This year it's Cavendish, a gorgeous throw that's simple to knit and lets Noro do what Noro does best. 

Mary has knit three of these.  You could say they're a bit addictive.  She says they're the perfect project going into the fall because they keep you cozy and warm while you're knitting them.  I am excited just to have the yarn in a big basket by my sofa because the colors are so perfect. 

The pattern is called Cavendish, and you might remember it from  Simply Noro by Jane Ellison.  The book is out of print, but the good people at Knitting Fever have made the pattern available for purchase through Ravelry.

Order the kit, or come by and pick one up.  We're offering a free class this week to get you started on this fun and simple knit.  Thursday, October 22nd at 2 pm. 

 

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Noro Event 2015

Roobie

It's October, and that means it's Noro month. Our Noro event is one of my most favorite of the year.  We get a sneak peek at the new yarns when the rep comes through in early spring, but nothing arrives for sure before Early October.  So we wait and wait, and then it arrives, and we remember why we waited.  The colors are like no other.  I'm convinced that the power of the colors is linked to the rich and varied aesthetics of Japan.  The influences of Japanese Buddhism which celebrates the impermanent, imperfect, and incomplete. I love that.  It's the appeal of spring trees in bud, and the brilliant fall leaves - things that are becoming or have been.  In Noro yarns you can see the change from one color to the next, and the transition itself is beautiful. Subtle and graceful.

Certainly Noro is about the colors, but it's not just about their multicolors.  Noro has solid yarns that are also wonderful.  when you look closely at Silk Garden Solo, you see that there are lots of other colors in the fiber.   It still reads solid but it's dynamic and complex. 

The best designers who work with Noro understand that their job is to use a delicate hand and let the yarn take center stage and do what it does best.  There have been many who have gotten it right - among my favorites have been Jane Ellison, and Jenny Watson.  I'm also really liking what Claudia Wersing is doing.  In her latest collections, Tribute to Noro, and Game of Hues, she gives you modern shapes with sleek silhouettes. Just for fun, the designs are all named after characters in The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones!  

Mark your calendar for our Noro Yarn tasting Thursday, October 15th, and the main event Friday, October 16th and Saturday October 17th.  It's all things Noro -- new yarns, new colors, and new samples -- as well as some classic favorites.  It's a fun day, you don't want to miss.     

I look forward to seeing you at the Noro event, and around the table.  You are always welcome here.

Back to 6 October 2015 newsletter

 

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Moving right along

Remember the newsletter article I did on getting bored?  Part of the reason we get bored with a project is the color. Certainly, stitch patterns can get boring (miles and miles of stockinette), but lots of the time it's the color. We love it at first, but pretty soon our eyes get accustomed to it, and it's not as exciting as it was when we started. It's kind of sensory overload.  You know how you can get sick of eating ice cream (I know, it's a stretch, but stay with me) but have a bite of salted nuts and before you know it you've finished some indecent quantity of the stuff?  That's why Bruster's White Turtle is so deadly for me.  Excuse me, I'll be right back...

Anyway, this post is about Noro, which is never boring.

At the Noro event in La Plata Friday, Susan bought a bag of Silk Garden in this absolutely gorgeous new colorway for a top down wrap sweater

Soft muted shades of pink and cream and blue.  Spectacular.  And yesterday (Tuesday) she was in with a huge chunk of her sweater done.  

"It's so much fun to knit - I keep waiting to see which color is coming next, and I just can't put it down,"  she explained.  It totally is, too.  The thing that's also nice about this cardigan in Noro is that it's worked in one piece so the colors match up on either side of the neckline - an issue that some folks have with Noro garments.  It's a perfect Noro project, really.  Here's one all complete so you can see how nicely the colors line up.  

 

We still have a nice stock of most of the Silk Garden colors, but do hurry, as the best ones always sell out first!

 

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This colorway...

Noro Event in Leonardtown Friday and Saturday was incredible! To be truthful, I had not really even looked at the new arrivals myself, as lovely Mary was the one who checked it all in. So the beautiful colors were as much a lovely surprise to me as to you.


It's hard to pick a favorite, when they're all so lovely, but I would have to say that this color of Silk Garden really speaks to me

Doesn't it remind you of peacock feathers?  

Anyway, I love it.  Choosing the right project is the hard part. There's always beautiful Bettna, an easy to wear jacket with a clever construction. If you prefer a pullover, the Klaralund is a perennial favorite. But I think the winner is Fitzmaurice.  

I have had this one on my mind and in my queue forever. I love the easy slouchy fit of this one, which is unusual, because I typically like a close fit, but this sweater just feels like cozy fall afternoons, and I am all about that these days. How about you?

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