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Sparkly? It's only natural

I love sparkly things.  Everyone does, to one extent or another.  We're drawn to things that are sparkly, shimmery, and shiny, but why?  Is it a vain kind of "look at me" preference, or is it something deeper?  Turns out, the preference for sparkly things is in our nature.  In 2010 researchers conducted experiments in which they gave very young children a variety of plates, some shiny and some matte.   To an overwhelming degree, the children preferred the shiny plates and put these plates to their mouths significantly more frequently than they did the matte plates.  The researchers believe that the appeal of shiny and sparkly things has to do with our primitive need for water, and that the research results " might characterize the precocious ability to recognize the glossy and sparkling features of water long before this information is useful later in development. "  You can read the entire report here.

What, if anything, does this have to do with yarn?  Well, lots actually, particularly Stacy Charles Yarns.  These fibers have long been among my favorites because no one does sparkly as well as Stacy Charles.  My favorite are Gioiello, Adele, and Ritratto - glistening strands of multicolored viscose, soft mohair and sparkling metallic thread. 

In the skein, they really catch your eye, but  it can be hard to visualize them in an entire garment.  At Tnna, Ginni, Mary and I had the opportunity to see the yarns worked up, and we loved them.  Stacy graciously offered us a trunk show of the best of these beautiful garments for us to share with you. 

We have the gorgeous poncho in Adele (at the top) which is our First Friday knit along, as well as other beautiful sweaters in their lovely new (not sparkly) yarn, Lena. 

So come see the yarns, try on the garments, and started on your own Adele poncho, because it is most glamorous (and easiest) thing you'll knit all year.  Don't let the holidays to catch you without something new and sparkly to wear!

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Why take a Custom Fit Workshop

We had our first Custom Fit Workshop this past Sunday afternoon.  Ginni and Mary and I are all very excited about the Custom Fit program.  I love Amy Herzog's modern classic designs and her straightforward approach to getting a great fit.  Sunday was our first Custom Fit workshop, and we spent the afternoon looking at our silhouette, thinking about our style preferences and getting the measurements needed for a one of Amy's Custom Fit patterns.  Of course I hope everyone chooses to knit one of Amy's sweaters, because I think they're beautiful, but if not, there was still great value in yesterday's workshop. 

The measurements we took are key in getting any pattern to fit perfectly.  In these workshops you discover the numbers that reflect what I call decision points in a sweater pattern.  It's fairly easy to get a particular body measurement, but it's more challenging to know how to translate that into a number of inches at a particular point in your sweater.  For instance, it's one thing to measure your armhole, but it's quite another to know how deep you like your sweater armhole to be.  It's a subtle but very distinct difference.  The same with sleeve lengths.  If you don't know how deep you want your sweater's armhole, you won't know where to begin your sleeve length measurement, and your sleeve may be too long or too short.  Likewise the waist to armhole length and so on.  These are crucial measurements for good sweater fit, and they're all tied up together.  When you have your measurements and you know your fit preferences, you can compare those measurements to the schematic of any sweater pattern and adjust accordingly. 

The biggest and most valuable takeaway from yesterday's session, was, of course, this set of measurements.  With this information you can turn almost any sweater into a custom design perfect for you.  We've been doing it for 10 years in our Fit and Finish classes.  So, why I'm so jazzed about the Custom Fit program if you can do the same thing in a Fit and Finish class?  I'm glad you asked!  Actually, there are four reasons:

  1. No Math -- With Custom Fit, you don't have to do any of the math. There's no calculating the rate of change for longer or shorter sleeves, figuring out how much waist shaping to add and where to put it.
  2. You're never in between sizes, or outside of the size range -- So often a pattern jumps something like 36" to 40", and you'd like it to be 38". Very frustrating, but all too common. Or the largest/smallest size is smaller/larger than you need it to be.  With Custom Fit you don't have to worry because the pattern is always your size, whatever that is. 
  3. Gauge is what you say it is - You never have to worry about your gauge being ever so slightly off. In fact, you can work the pattern at any gauge you want with any yarn you want, and again, there's not math to do.  It's all built into the program. 
  4. With a Custom Fit pattern you have the opportunity to build in a particular amount of ease. You can specify close fit, an average fit, or a loose fit, depending on your preference.  The computer calculates the correct amount of ease about the bust, hips and waist without impacting that ever-important fit at the shoulder. 

Could you do this yourself any or all of these adjustments yourself?  Of course.  I've done it, and I've taught classes on how to do it.  But it's fiddly.  Not everything needs to be sized up the same amount.  The whole process takes  a considerable amount of time and a certain amount of knowhow, and unless math is your thing, it's not that much fun.  All those calculations are just in the way of what we love most about knitting - the knitting.  

If you missed Sunday's Custom Fit workshop, it's not too late get in on the program.  We have another workshop Sunday, August 16th, and another one Sunday, September 20th.  Sign up today and get ready to knit sweaters you absolutely love! 

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