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Crazy for Ewe

Kayleigh's Huasco Hitchiker

Kayleigh's Huasco Hitchiker hot off the needles off the needles


This lovely young lady is Kayleigh, a rising senior at St. Mary's College, and a bright and up-and-coming philosopher. She's also a great knitter, as you might expect, considering grand-mother is Ginni Stein.

Her project is the Hitchiker Scarf, an ideal pattern to show off bright multicolored yarns. The simple shaping lets the colors take center stage. Kayleigh used beautiful Huasco, a light fingering weight hand-dyed merino with a great tight twist. It comes in great multicolors as well as semisolids.  Here are a few of my favorites.

[caption id="attachment_8427" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Fun colors of Huasco Fun colors of Huasco[/caption]

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Tart and tangy

Photo courtesy of Neill Callis and Knitty

Citrusy - oh wait, it's Citron.  Citron is a cute little shawlette from Knitty a few issues back.  It's just a tiny little shawl that fits around your neck and lies perfectly, thanks to its semi-circular shape.  Mary has done several and thought it would be a fun project for the Thursday afternoon scarf club.

Photo courtesy of Neill Callis and Knitty

It's a very simple project worked with a light weight yarn on size 6 needles.  It's a great excuse to use one of our fab new yarns - you might try Prism Saki, Dream in Color Starry, or Juniper Moon Findley - it only takes one skein!.  For a very soft and floaty Citron, try Rowan Kid Silk Haze or new Silk Mohair from Artyarns in spectacular subtle hand-dyed shades.  If you're feeling especially decadent, you can indulge yourself in a skein of Artyarns new laceweight cashmere - 500+ yards of delicious cashmere in gorgeous tonal shades.  Think how nice it will feel around your neck and how luscious it will be to work with pure cashmere...

Photo courtesy of Neill Callis and Knitty

Join us Thursday afternoons for the next few weeks and knit up a Citron of your own.  It's a great gift too - if you can bear to part with it.  Thursday afternoons at 1:30 - both shops. 

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Michele's Multnomah

Michele first mentioned this project back in August when we had a staff meeting about fall projects.  We agreed that it would be fabulous in Dream in Color Starry, and indeed it is.  Michele said she struggled with this pattern a bit, but as you can see, she completely mastered it.  Here is the whole thing blocking beautifully on the board.  Notice how the pins pull the edges into lovely points. 


Close up of the points along the bottom

and at the edge

I didn't get a good shot of Michele sporting her lovely Multnomah, but let me just say that she was basking in the afterglow for some time after finishing.  Join us Thursday evenings 6-9 in La Plata to knit your very own.  Get the pattern here and come to the shop for a lovely time after work - we'll be open every Thursday in La Plata for at least the fall and winter season for shopping and small shawl knitting.  What a great way to start the weekend early!

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Bigger and better

 Sandy finally succumbed to Spectra...but she decided to see how it would look in a larger gauge.   This is Silk Garden and Inca Gold.  I think she's on a size 8 needle.  Looks gorgeous, doesn't it.

You could also try it in Silk Garden Lite, with Extrafine Merino DK or Rowan Pure Wool DK along the edge.

If you're thinking about starting a Spectra with the sockweight yarn, you might want to try Starry, the fabulous iridescent hand-dyed merino from Dream in Color.  Here's a peek

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Spectras coming on fast

Phyllis started her Spectra way after Betsy, Duffy, and I did, but she's in the lead by far.  Said she was up at three in the morning knitting on it because she couldn't sleep.  Addictive, I tell you.  

I was in La Plata with Sandy this morning, and she commented how much more she liked the Spectra in person (and in girly colors) than she did the one in the original pattern.  Amazing what a difference the color of something makes, isn't it!  I've been thinking that I might like to make a larger version in the Silk Garden Lite and some dk weight yarn for the main color.  Maybe on a size 8 needle to get enough drape.  Alternatively, we could re-write the pattern so that it's the same size with a larger yarn.  hmmmm.  Better finish this one first, though.  Can I just tell you how much I'm enjoying knitting this?  Maybe I did already - sorry....

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A Spectrum of Spectra

We had fun in Scarf Club last week working on Spectra.  I think the most fun is choosing colors, although, the knitting is really addictive.  Helen emailed me regarding color choices for the main color if you're not using Noro, and since that question has come up several times since, I thought I'd repeat it here.

The question is this: 
 If I am using a standard variegated sock yarn for the contrasting color (the wedges) rather than a long color shift yarn like Noro, which is called for in the pattern, what special considerations do I need to give to the choice of my main color?

And here is my answer: 
Most variegated sock yarn (like Jitterbug) has a very short color repeat, so the effect is totally different than if you were using a Noro-type yarn.  I think that regardless of the yarn used, the key is to choose very different colors for the main body and the wedges.  If the colors are too close, you will totally lose the wedges and thus the spectacular effect of the design.   This is particularly true if you're using short color repeat yarn.  With Noro, you might lose one or two wedges where the color of the contrast yarn is close to color of the main yarn, but most of the wedges will be sufficiently different to give you a lovely effect.  For short color repeats, I would probably choose a complementary color for the main color, or at least something that doesn't appear at all in the contrasting color.  Another approach would be to choose colors with very different values - i.e, very light versus very dark, for the two yarns.  Take a look on Ravelry at all the different examples of Spectra, and you'll see what I mean. 

Betsy, Phyllis and I have chosen Noro for our contrasting color, and Ella Rae Lace Merino for the main color. 

Here is Betsy's selection.  There are some portions of the Noro that have the same blue in it as the main color, but for the most part, the contrasting color is different from the main color.

 Here is Phyllis' selection.  The orange of the main color is close to some of the Noro Taiyo tones, but those tones will not appear in every wedge. 

Here's Phyllis' first wedge

Duffy has chosen an Ella Rae variegated for the contrast color, so we selected a main color that is totally different.  The Ella Rae is a gorgeous mix of blues, greens, pinks, and purples - all very cool colors.  The warm golden tone of the Juniper Moon Findley (which she's holding double) really sets off the contrast yarn. 

If you are interested, you can see mine here.  Hope that helps all of you who are  contemplating a Spectra of your own!  After the first couple of repeats, the pattern is easy to remember and totally addictive.   We'll be doing Specta at the Thursday Afternoon Scarf Club for the next few weeks. 

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I started Spectra Thursday. I would have started it sooner, but I just couldn't make up my mind about colors. Definitely wanted Noro for the insets, but which yarn?  Which color?  and what to use for the main yarn?  Ella Rae? Juniper Moon Findley?  Merino Mia?  All very tempting.  In the end I chose Noro Silk Garden and the incredible magenta Ella Rae lace merino. 

I have found that I LOVE this pattern.  It seems very complicated when you're first working it, but after the first couple of repeats, it's really quite intuitive--and it's as addictive as entrelac.

Once you catch on to the concept of the short row stockinette wedges being worked in multiples of 6, you're on your way.  It's a bit confusing the first time you work the short rows in the garter stitch section - you're like, "wait, aren't the short rows for the wedges?"  But the short rows in the garter stitch section are there because garter stitch is much more "row-dense" than stockinette, so you need an extra couple of garter stitch rows to balance out the stockinette rows.  There are 8 rows of stockinette at the widest part of the wedge, and you work an extra two rows of garter stitch for every wedge, so that's effectively one extra row of garter for each four rows of stockinette.  Without the extra garter rows, the scarf would pucker instead of lying flat as it curves gracefully around the wedges.  Very clever, Mr. West.

As I said, the pattern is addictive.   I'm looking forward to another one - maybe this one will be a little bit larger - I'll use Silk Garden Lite and another dk weight on a size 7. If you'd like to get started on your own Spectra, we're doing it Thursday afternoons at both shops.  See you there.

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Beautiful Spectra

Many of you have said that the Spectra just didn't turn you on.  I get that, and sometimes a designers vision for a piece is different from what we might have chosen if we'd designed it ourselves.  That's part of the beauty of Ravelry - you can see how others have interpreted the pattern.  However, nothing beats seeing something in real life, right on the table, as I did when I stopped in the Leonardtown shop earlier this week.

 See how beautiful Mary's version is with those lovely jewel tones - quite a difference, isn't it!

Here's a closeup of the pink section (my favorite). 

We're doing this scarf on Thursday afternoons at the Scarf Club.  Both shops - join us!

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Ruffled Roses

This little confection has always been one of my favorites, and I was so sad when I couldn't get the yarn anymore.  I happened to wear it the other day when I met with David, my Euro Rep, and I asked him about the yarn.  He said that it simply wasn't available, but I asked him to call the company and just make sure.   He's such a good soul, he called right then and asked the girl to check the warehouse.  Lo and behold, there were just a few bags of three of the four colors I wanted. The yarn arrived just the other day - hooray!

The design is from the very talented Annie Modesitt, who created the pattern with two stipulations: First, it is free to any yarn shop that requests it.  Second: it cannot be transmitted electronically or posted in cyberspace - you must actually walk into a yarn shop to get a copy.  We're happy to oblige.

The design is fun to knit.  It's worked in two separate halves that comprise several rows of ruffles, three repeats of a little lace pattern, then ribbing.  You join the two halves with a three needle bind off at the back.  It never fails to draw compliments whenever I wear it.

We'll be doing this pattern at the Thursday afternoon scarf club starting this week.  We have three gorgeous colors for the blossom portion.  Choose whatever you love to go with it.  Bring size 7 needles.  See you Thursday. 

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Thursday afternoon scarf club - Spring 2011

In this week's newsletter we announce the next project in our scarf journey.  We’re going to work a lovely spring scarf that you can wear all season long:  Midwest Moonlight, which is also from Scarf Style. Midwest Moonlight.  This design has tremendous appeal for a variety of reasons.  First, it’s a wonderfully open and lacy stitch pattern that is beautiful but decidedly unfussy.  Second, it's deceptively simple to execute and very intuitive to memorize.  Finally, it’s easily scaled.  What that means is that you can make it as is (10” wide) or you can, as Lynne has done, work a longer, narrower version.  You might want to turn Midwest Moonlight into a luxurious summer shawl that will keep your shoulders warm all spring and summer, and then look chic scrunched into a cozy scarf for the fall.  Paula has done several versions of this scarf and has even turned it into a spectacular baby blanket. This stitch pattern will give you a Karate Kid kind of understanding for left-leaning and right-leaning decreases.  Knit a Midwest Moonlight, and you will never again wonder how or why to execute either variety of decrease!

 For my Midwest Moonlight, I’ve chosen Noro Aya, a lovely light worsted cotton and silk blend in really luscious colors.  Other choices would be Shirikaba, the spectacular new linen and cotton blend, or even beautiful Hempathy.  The idea is to choose a fiber you'll be comfortable wearing in the spring and summer.  This will certainly be a go-to accessory that you'll choose to liven up you wardrobe all summer and into the fall.  I’m very excited to get started on this.  Join us Thursday, March 24th for the kick-off.

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