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Crazy for Ewe

Fun wrap in Modern Cotton

I love Modern Cotton.  It has a great silky feel, generous yardage, and an expansive palette.  Plus it's really affordable,  Lots of you have knit beautiful garments in Modern Cotton, and you probably have several half skeins of it languishing in your stash.  If so, then I have the perfect solution.  

This wrap takes between 30 and 75 yards of 7 different colors.  Designer, Benjamin Matthews, has chosen the colors of the rainbow, and paired them with a cloudy blue, but you could use whatever Modern Cotton colors you have on hand.  Choose two skeins of an 8th color that brings them all together and get knitting.  It's a simple garter stitch pattern with one increase every other row.  Perfect TV knitting!  The pattern is free through today.  

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Beautiful Sweaters

Beautiful Sweaters
Recently I talked about the ugly sweater Today, I want to talk about beautiful sweaters.  Have you ever picked out a beautiful pattern to knit, worked it up perfectly, then when it was all done, it looked terrible and you never wore it?  Or maybe this is exactly the fear that's keeping you from knitting a sweater.  I totally get it.  A sweater is a big commitment of both time and money.  A failed sweater is not only a waste, it's a blow to our ego as well.  When a sweater doesn't look good on us, we look in the mirror and think, "What's wrong with my body that this sweater doesn't look good?"  But here's the truth.  There is NOTHING wrong with your body.  You need to look at that sweater and think, "What's wrong with this  Continue reading

June 18 was National Splurge Day. Who knew?

I guess Berroco knew!  In case you don't receive their weekly KnitBits, Berroco is offering you free patterns this summer for doing something you already do - enjoy Berroco yarn.  Between June 18 and Friday, September 18th, buy $25 or more of Berroco yarn and you'll earn a free pattern.  Just email a copy or photo of your receipt to info@berroco.com, and they'll send you a voucher for a free Berroco pattern of your choice.  Spending more than that?  You'll get a voucher for every $25 you spend, so if you spend $100, you'll get 4 vouchers.  Very cool indeed! 

To get inspired, come see the Berroco Indigo trunk show this week. I'm really excited about Berroco Indigo, an earth-friendly yarn spun from recycled denim.  Indigo has generous yardage, beautiful stitch definition, and a great earthy look.  It's as comfortable to wear as your favorite blue jeans, and the colors will take you back to your favorite shade of fade!  Here are my favorites from the trunk show.  This cardigan, which we actually received as a shop sample, is the perfect thing to wear over summer tanks.  I actually grabbed it Saturday and tossed it on to keep me warm at the grocery store.   

I also love this cool sleeveless top -- great on its own or under a jacket for work.  I tried this on, and it's absolutely perfect.  The lace panel makes it a fun knit.  Details here.  

Another of my summer favorites is Modern Cotton - silky soft hand, 25 brilliant colors, and a tremendous value.  Machine washable too.  Really, in a summer yarn, who could ask for anything more?  The standout favorites from the Modern Cotton trunk show were Eula, a super fast and swingy top, and Rose, a beautiful long cardigan.  Both are garments you can knit now and enjoy all year long.

So come choose your favorite and enjoy free patterns courtesy of Berroco!  

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ZickZack party

Mary is zipping through her ZickZack.  You know how some projects plod along?  Not this one - it's totally addictive.  Ever-changing colors and unpredictable combinations make it fun and exciting to knit.  Even if you use the same two colorways, no two ZickZacks will be the same because each set of skeins interacts differently.  It's small enough to be a purse project -- whip it out and knit a few rows whenever you're sitting and waiting. The pattern is super easy.  Two rows and you've got it memorized.  Mille Colori Baby is beautifully soft and feels so good in your hands you just want to knit and knit!  

The stitch pattern is completely reversible, so it's beautiful on both sides.  It's easy to modify too -  make it skinnier or wider in multiples of 12 stitches.  You could even make an amazing baby blanket, because Mille Colori Baby is machine washable!  Gotta love that too. 

Join us this Thursday at 4 p.m. for a ZickZack Knitalong kick-off party because you'll love ZickZack.  

More details.

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Mixer Trunk Show

Recently I wrote about modern garments with open fabrics that drape over the body. Typically you get this effect by working at a loose gauge, but some yarns are just built to create beautifully draping fabric. One such yarn is Berroco Mixer. When we ordered this yarn, the rep left us a skein of it to play with, and we were in love right away. Mixer is a beautiful and interesting yarn with three different textures all in one. There's a section that's really fine with a hint of sheen, then there's a very shiny ribbon-like section and finally, there's a matte portion that really sets off the other two. Mixer knits up into a very dynamic fabric that's well suited to fluid garments as well as fun accessories.

Mary used Mixer in Brickless for our March First Friday project. The interplay of the changing stitch pattern and the changing yarn textures is fabulous! 

 

Yesterday we received the Mixer Trunk Show, which will be here through Saturday. It features three cute summer tops and two wraps. The designs for Mixer are brilliant. They've kept the shapes very simple to let the yarn take center stage.

I loved that green drape-neck top when I saw it in the book, and trying it on, I love it even more!

 
 

This one didn't originally appeal to me, but it's gorgeous - and so comfortable to wear.  It looks great with just a cami for summer, but you could totally wear it over a blouse or a long sleeved tee. Doesn't Mary look beautiful!

And this shawl - what a statement piece! The fringe is so silky - you really have to feel it.  Very modern looking.  In this white, it would be a perfect wrap for a bride, but it would also be totally at home with jeans and boots.

Come see - but don't wait because the trunk show is only here through Saturday, May 2.  

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Cotton Lustre

We had a lovely new customer in the other day. She decided to use Rowan's new Cotton Lustre for an Up and Down Tee. Mary is hard at work on a sweater in this yarn, so I have not taken the time to swatch it, since Mary will be knit her sweater up in about 2 days. Not really, but she is a fast knitter. Here's a peek at what she's knitting.

Anyway, this customer asked what the yarn looked like worked up, and I didn't have a swatch. So I cast on some stitches real quick and knit up a little swatch. Wow. It is SO nice to work with. Really soft. Like your favorite tee shirt soft. Great bounce too. Cotton Lustre has this beautiful resiliance, which means that it isn't going to sag and be all out of shape.

The gauge on the ball band is 17 stitches per 4 inches, and it can easily go to 16 and probably 15 with no trouble at all. It's not going to go much tighter, though. If you try to force it into 18 or 20 stitches in 4 inches, you're wasting your time. I'm good with the gauge, because in the summer we like nice quick knits, and 16 stitches is going to work up fast fast fast. Unlike other summer yarns at this relatively chunky gauge, Cotton Lustre's construction makes it light and cool against you skin. There is a beautiful pattern book especially for Cotton Lustre with 13 designs by Sarah Hatton.

I love the one Mary is doing, of course, but I also love this simple drape-front cardigan which is so modern and flattering

This one is exactly what I want to put on and wear every day of my life. It just looks so comfortable for me. I run a little bit cold, and having longer sleeves is perfect for my over-air-conditioned world.

And this one is perfect for when it actually is hot and you're going to be out in the thick of it. So cool  and comfortable.

 

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Infinitely lovely

Our April First Friday project is this gorgeous infinity scarf.  Mary whipped this one up in just a couple of evenings (that Mary is something else, isn't she!)  

This little gem takes just one skein of Arona, a beautiful cotton tape yarn in bright spring colors.  Get started with us this First Friday, and you could be wearing it Easter Sunday!  The pattern is complimentary with the purchase of Arona now through this weekend.   

 

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Rockstar Designer #2 Julie Weisenberg - Cocoknits

Who else is a Rockstar designer with patterns that meet all 5 criteria? Julie Weisenberger of Cocoknits.  Cocoknits patterns are of the sort that I talked about in the blog about more fluid fabric.  Being from California, her designs have a really modern quality that is fresh and wearable for women of all ages.  Many of her silhouettes feature a subtle flare or a draped lapel that is hot right now, but not so trendy that you'll want to toss it in a year.  As you can tell from the hair, I knit this Katarina at least 5 years ago, and I still love it.

Some Cocoknits designs showcase really interesting and different fibers, such as Japanese paper, which add s to the edgy quality, but in most cases, her modern look comes simply from the design, and her wonderful disregard for a yarn's "recommended gauge." Cocoknits sweaters are the garments you want with you because they work easily over whatever else you have on.  A Cocoknits sweater is that magic piece that takes you from, "I just threw on jeans and whatever," to "Yeah, I thought about my outfit, and it looks great!" only you didn't think, and you still look great.

Clearly she's got stylish, buy-in-the-store designs, but what about the other stuff?  Clear, detailed, specific instructions?  You bet.  Not only are her patterns well written, she has a section on her website with tutorials on how to do certain kinds of various innovative techniques.  

Accurate patterns?  Check.  I've knit Brigitta (twice) Petra, Katarina, and Tessa.  All perfect.  with schematics. 

Reasonable size range?  Check.  Most of her patterns go from XS to XXL.  We featured Tessa for a First Friday project, and lots of women of all different shapes and sizes knit it.  Everyone was very happy with the result.  

And finally, honest pictures that realistically depict what the garment actually looks like?   Check. The outcome I've had with all of the Cocoknits projects I've either worked myself. or helped customers knit have turned out to be every bit as attractive as shown on the models gracing the pattern pages. 

If you're not familiar with Cocoknits projects, go to her page on Ravelry, and see all the great designs - then come by the shop and try on some of the samples we have here.  Then choose one and knit it.  You will be oh so happy.

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Rockstar designers #1 - Sally Melville

Thank you everyone for your comments on the post about 5 things all great patterns share!  As promised, I will share those designers whose patterns have been consistently stylish, accurate, clear, detailed, and broadly sized.  First, of course, is the incomparable, Sally Melville.  

 First, for a novice knitter, or a novice sweater knitter, there's no one better than Sally Melville. Her early books, The Knit Stitch and The Purl Stitch, were absolutely ground breaking, and they remain my go to books recommendations for all newer knitters. They are, first an foremost, learn-to-knit books, but the patterns are good-looking, flattering across a wide range of body types, and well written. Each pattern teaches you a new skill and builds on your previous lessons. Sally shows you exactly what you need to know exactly when you need to know it. 

The schematics are wonderfully detailed, showing you where the shaping occurs and indicating where you would lengthen or shorten the garment to suit you. 

If you work through these two books, you will be quite an accomplished knitter, and you will have a broad and deep understanding of knitting, knitted fabric, sweater construction, and more. Plus you'll have several fabulous new wardrobe staples that you'll reach for again and again.

I have knit two Einstein Coats, a Caddy Sweater, the Simple Roll Neck Shell, Faith Jacket, Collar Closing Cardigan, and L'Envelope, and more.  They are all wonderfully written, and they work. 

Sally's latest book, Knitting Pattern Essentials, is a comprehensive look at pattern construction and gives you the skills to draft your own patterns.  Even if you're not interested in designing, having a clear understanding of pattern drafting will help you power through those other patterns that are not as clear and accurate as we might like.   

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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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