Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Eat your heart out Marc Jacobs!

We are now carrying Penny Straker Patterns.
My personal favorite is the classic owl cable sweater for a baby or toddler. Originally not Marc Jacobs (although he has an owl cable sweater this season for adults, not babies), nor Penny Straker. The owl cable is as old as cute knitting is. The oldest version I have seen was in a Columbia pattern leaflet circa 1942 or so. But, no one knows who designed it originally. All I know is that it is adorable!

Friday, December 22, 2006

More Artyarns (see post below!)

So I ran out of room for all the pictures, but it didn't do these guys justice to just take one picture of all the colors together. The final color of the Silk Rhapsody is:

Mmm...Art Yarns

Two new additions arrived today!
The first is Art Yarns Cashmere 5, which is a hand dyed five ply worsted weight 100% cashmere (say that 5 times fast!) and the second is Art Yarns Silk Rhapsody Glitter, which I am suprisingly mad for. I am not usually the shiny fuzzy yarn kinda gal, but this is sooo soft and lovely I don't think I can resist. I think I am going to re-design Geyl as a stole using it--not that the original Geyl Shawl wouldn't exist! There would just be a new spin on it, in addition.

Okay, so anyways, the Cashmere 5 is 120yds per skein for $44. One skein makes these lovely fingerless mittens: The Art Yarns website says the pattern for these is available for free with purchase but I can't seem to find the right link. Hopefully we'll have some tomorrow!
However, with two skeins you can make this keyhole scarf:


And the Silk Rhapsody:

Grrr...it's doing that thing where it won't let me load more photos!! I'll see if I can do a second blog with the other pics.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The last minute is getting closer!

So here are some more clever ideas for you frantic shoppers!

They'll never know it wasn't your knitting. Rosie's Sample Sale is in full swing down here in the Cellar. There's kids stuff and baby stuff, scarves, hats and sweaters! All made by hand by someone, just not you!

Need something nice for your knitting friend or for yourself (you can always put your child's name on it in the "from:" section before you stick it under the tree!)
We just got in Colinette's new sock yarn, Jitterbug! They retail for $20.50 and you can order by calling 215-977-YARN or just pop on in!


Bright Charcoal


Fruit Coulis


Monday, December 18, 2006

You can make 'em in a night

How about this teeny mitten, now ensconced on our Christmas tree?

Finished in a night, from small amounts of Koigu, using a pattern from Interweave's Christmas Stockings book.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Quick Gift Ideas!

Here are some quick gift ideas for last minute shopping!!

These lovlies are new sock yarn from Autumn House Farms. They come in 4 colors, from left to right you have Bracken, Barn Swallow, Colius and Hattie's Zinnias. The coffee mugs are optional, but a cute gift idea unto themselves. The sock yarn is $22 and the mugs are $9.00 each.

We also have new fancy ring markers called Baaubles, and they really are beautiful! They come in four colorways; Garden Wind, Earth, Fire and Water. Your choice of gold or silver rings.

We also just got in more Denise Interchangable Needles, in the original blue case for $50 or in the pink for $55. The extra five dollars goes to breast cancer research.
We also have the add-ons for the #17 and #19 needles (both $6) and the 40" cables ($6.50).

These little sheep are tape measures from Lantern Moon which retail at a reasonable $9.00. The perfect little stocking stuffer for a knitter, spinner, sheep farmer or whoever! They're so cute!

As always, we are here 7 days a week or you can email us at rosie@rosiesyarncellar.com!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

You know what you need?

A hat.
It is the answer.
No, really, a hat.
You no longer have time to knit him a sweater. You must know this.
A scarf is pushing it--but it can be done.
You really do want a hat.
This hat is fast, easy, takes one skein of Shokay and is the Rosie's project of the month.

These are the colors that the Shokay comes in.
It's 100% yak down, and totally fair trade and sustainable economically for the herders, spinners and dyers in Tibet. Wonderful stuff! Soft as cashmere, but won't pill!!
Gotta love it.
It's $35 for the yarn and pattern, you can get it off our website or call us direct at 215-977-9276!
Don't like that hat? How about this one?
Baby Alpaca.
Pretty colors!
It's a brand spankin' new Rosies Knits pattern!
You know you want it.
I confess, this one is a little more time and labor intensive but it is really nice and I have to push it because I designed it!
It's done from the top down in a stitch called "swag stitch" which according to the text in the big book o' stitches was popular during WW2. I can always be convinced that old is good.

Alpacita Colors:
From left to right is Barn Swallow, Hattie's Zinnias, Bracken & Gorse and Coulis.
The kit for this hat is $25.
This is all too new to be on the website but you can call 215-977-9276 or email us at rosie@rosiesyarncellar.com!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

In memoriam

In memory of our friend and fellow knitter/spinner/weaver, Charles.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Do You Really Have to Ask?

Yes, there's Knitting Circle tonight. It's not too late to equip yourself with some sanity-preserving knitting before you go off to see the family.

No, we're not open on Thursday.

Yes, we're open Friday -- regular hours, 10 - 7.

Yes, we're open Saturday -- regular hours, 10 - 6.

Yes, we're open Sunday -- regular hours, 12 - 5.

Yes, we'll listen to your stories of cooking crises; no, we won't help you eat the leftovers!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Don't forget to knit with balls tonight!

This evening, Michael del Vecchio (known in the blog world as Tricky Tricot) will be signing copies of his book, Knitting with Balls: A Hands-On Guide to Knitting for the Modern Man.

He'll be starting around 6 ish and staying until 8. Sadly, we do not believe he will be accompanied by any of the studly models featured inside his book, but having met Michael at Stitches, I can assure you that he is loaded with charm and plenty studly himself.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Hey! For all you Diakeito freaks (and I mean that in the most loving way) we just got three new colors in! More later...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

We're Baaa-aack!

And we have all kinds of new goodies!
The Smith Island Pattern Factory patterns were a HUGE success, so much so that I ran out of Parthenope and Beatrix on Saturday. I have hard copies of Maude in the shop though.
We had all manner of new and luscious Black Bunny in the booth and came home with more! Get your behinds in here and check it out! Ed has knit up a cute baby hoodie in the black bunny bulky that is super cute. Everyone loved it! But, how couldn't you love anything that came from Ed's needles? Oh oh! and we have some new shelves! I love it.

And 55 POUNDS OR NEW KOIGU! Oh yeah, baby. And it's damn good.

We came back with so much new stuff that I don't have photos of it all, but if you come to knitting circle you will see it all, live and in person. Here's a rundown:

Nature's Palette, a vegetable dyed organic wool, similar weight and spin to the koigu but with a softer, more lofty feel.

NEW BLACK BUNNY! But of course. We have a bunch of the DK weight, which is 100% merino and perfect for babies (machine washable and hand dyed, the woman is mad!) and is great for a heavier weight sock. And you need more sock yarn, oh yes you do! There are too many feet in the world not wearing hand knit socks. Get knitting! We also have new colors of the Black Bunny Bulky and a great new Rosie Knits pattern written just for it for a easy cabled hat and mittens. There is also the ridiculously cute top down sweater that Ed made. It's construction is similar to the Elaine Hooded Baby Jacket but the gauge different here and the knit side is the right side, among some other ingenious changes.

Shokay, the Tibetan word for "yak down" is just that, yarn spun from yak down. It's worsted weight, as soft but stronger than cashmere (codeword: not as much pilling on your pricey sweater) and from a fair trade company. The money for this yarn actually is making it into the pockets of the workers, herders and village folks. Take that Nike!

Victorian Lace, the new book from XRX (those wacky folks who brought you A Gathering of Lace) by Jane Sowerby (who is a lovely person, by the way) is to die for. For real. This book is so right up my alley that I am pissed that I didn't write it. She took actual Victorian era lace knitting patterns and reproduced them with charts and updated instructions we can all understand. The woman is truly a mad genius and I wish I could do her grunt work.

New issues of Piecework and Spin-off are in, just in time for our drop spindle spinning class this sunday (because maybe you, like me, bought some beautiful roving and have no freakin' clue what to do with it, although I have looked at it every morning since I bought it on Friday).

Nature Babies by Tara Jon Manning, one of our favorite gals. This book uses all organic and naturally dyed yarns. There are cute knitted projects and a lot of cool felt projects for dolls and toys, also some sewing projects for those of you who are venturing out into the world of *gasp* fabric!

Oh oh oh!! New sock yarn (as if we didn't already have enough, but when is enough, really?) We have some new luscious jewel-toned colors of Silky Sox and Soxie from Great Adirondack.

I know I am forgetting fifteen other things...

Oh and again, it's Wednesday, so there's new Anne. Okay, in all fairness it got here last wednesday, but we were all packing the truck like mad so no one got to see it.

grrr... and i keep trying to load more pictures and it won't let me! Curses!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Knitty D and the City at Stitches

Hey! We're at Stitches!
We saw a lot of you over the weekend and hope to see some more familiar faces today because our favorites, Knitty D and the City
will be in our booth meeting and greeting at 11:00 today!
We have had so many great folks at our booth this weekend, Michael Del Vecchio author of the fabulous new book Knitting with Balls was visiting us and signing books yesterday ( he is sooo NICE!) and he'll also be at Rosies on...the 11th? I don't have my calender with me. More on that later. Anyways, I'm running late to the convention center! See you there!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Stitches is here....

Don't forget: if you're at Stitches, please stop by the Rosie's booth and say hi. We'll have lots of handpainted goodies, including Anne and Andrea and Koigu and some Black Bunny stuff, too! Not to mention a great selection of Manos and some Nashua Handknits yarn. This year, Stitches is being held at Baltimore's Convention Center. Bring the family and drop 'em off at the Aquarium so you can have some uninterrupted market time...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Y'all wanna learn some stuff?

We teach stuff! How convenient.
New classes for November and December are as follows:

Fear Not the Circular Needle (or, Free Yourself From the Straights! my suggestion, which got vetoed)
Thursday the 16th of November from 5-6 pm, $40 includes materials
Learn how to use circular needles to either knit in the round (i.e., make a tube) or back and forth, just like you do on those pesky straight needles. What's the point of a circular, you may ask? Well, the top five reasons to use circular needles are:
1. You will never lose one
2. You will not injure your neighbor on public transportation
3. You can knit in a lazy boy recliner more comfortably
4. It keeps the knitting more centered with your body, putting less strain on your wrists.
5. Your knitting will immediately look more complex and therefore more impressive.
What else could you ask for?
In the one-hour workshop you will be given yarn and needles to make either a scarf or a pair of legwarmers. No real knowledge or expertise required; just know how to cast on and knit.

Fixing Mistakes (or, What to do Now I've F-ed it All Up, also vetoed)
November 19th from 10am-noon, $40
Learn what to do when your knitting looks crazy. How to pick up dropped stitches, un-knit, avoid making holes, cover up your mistakes when it's totally too late and avoid it all in the first place without resorting to not knitting at all. We can make it better, I promise. And would I lie to you?

Baby Sweater Workshop (or, My Friends and Relatives Won't Stop, How About Yours? also, Surprise Surprise, vetoed)
I don't know about you but I can't make baby gifts fast enough this year and frankly, I am sick of making simple boring baby blankets. A sweater is cuter, more appreciated, and FASTER to knit!! Especially for a newborn -- I mean, they are TINY! This class will meet for three consecutive weeks:
December 1, 8 and 15th from 5-7 pm, $60 plus cost of yarn.
We will all make a simple baby cardigan out of lovely soft yarn of your choice. You will love it, you will make it over and over again and it will be great. Really.

Top Ten Reasons Why the Saturday Crew Will Miss Tina Dreadfully

All good things must come to an end, and so it is with Tina's Saturday shifts at the shop. We always knew she would move on some day, and it is with great regret that I tell you that last Saturday was Tina's last day.

Here are the top ten reasons why the Saturday Crew will miss Tina dreadfully:

10. Because her energy and enthusiasm make even the grayest rainy day fun.
9. For introducing us to the wonders of Borat.
8. Her always funky and creative sense of style.
7. For managing to look unbelievably great no matter what knitted item she models.

6. For telling us humorous stories of her encounters with the famous and near-famous (Adrian Brody, anyone?).
5. For teaching us how to yell "DOG!" in Vietnamese.
4. Because she's always ready to order lunch, thus saving us from Wawa food.
3. Because no one can take ten bucks' worth of crap from Target and turn it into a spectacular window display like she can.
2. For knowing exactly where any particular skein of yarn is at any given time. ("Have you seen the apple green Naturewool?" "Bottom shelf, A section, right under the Cascade 220.")
1. Her lessons in urban street slang gave these wannabe crackas mad street cred.

I know, right?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Unclaimed Freight

Somewhere in the last two weeks, the shop acquired a navy or black London Fog windbreaker. It doesn't belong to any of us. If you think it might be yours, please call or stop by to identify it!

And will the person who called me last week (or possibly the week before) to ask if we'd found a bag with brand-new shoes in it, please call again? I was mistaken when I said we had not. (All those of you who didn't leave a new pair of shoes behind, don't get excited: we'll be asking callers to identify the shoes in question, and besides, they're probably not your size anyway.)

Didn't Freud say that leaving things behind was the sign of an unconscious desire to return to that place?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I love it when these things happen on Wednesday.
Brace yourselves!
We have Anne--in matching lots of 10 skeins!!
Oh yes, you heard me right. Not two or even three the same. 10.
Get your butts down here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Well, things are gearing up around here for Stitches, which is at the Baltimore Convention Center this year. It'll be interesting to see which of our Philly die-hards will make the trek now that it's not a quick train ride away! It's always insane trying to figure out what to take and what to leave here and all that is compounded by the fact that once we're in B'more that's it. Odds were that at least once, if not five times during Stitches someone would leave the floor that night with a list of things to pick up at the shop and bring with them the next day. No such luxury this year. Many lists are being made in preparation for the mass forgetting of important things. The saying goes something like:

People who want to appear clever rely on memory, people who get things done make lists.

Emphasis on the word appear. I don't know who said that but I always liked it.
OH! and we have those $2 off Stitches coupons so get yourselves in here and pick up a stack. We've had the most redeemed coupons for a few years running, I think, and I don't want to loose my title. I never played sports so I have to get my dose of healthy (or absurd) competitve spirit somewhere.

Also, don't miss some of the great sites that Baltimore has to offer. I grew up in Maryland and spent many a teenage evening running the streets of Baltimore. Do try and squeeze in some of the more cultured sites like these.
See ya there, hon.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Don't forget today's booksigning!

Shannon Okey and Kim Werker will be at the Cellar today from 4 to 6 to sign.... um, whatever books they feel like signing. See you there!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What Would You Do?

Suppose you had reason to believe that a yarn from a reputable manufacturer was mis-labelled as to fiber content. Suppose the inaccuracy was in a direction that would likely diminish the perceived value of the yarn. Suppose it was, no matter what the fiber content, a good-quality yarn: soft, easy-care, good stitch definition, good pattern support. A yarn that sold fairly well--not your best-selling yarn, but not your worst. (Oh, by the way--in this dream, you own a yarn shop.)

Now imagine that someone brings it to your attention that it's illegal to sell inaccurately-labelled yarn. Not just illegal like someone could sue you because they felt they'd overpaid since the yarn isn't "really" cashmere, but illegal like the government could fine you $5,000 for each skein sold.

What would you do? Sell it without labels, as "mystery yarn"? (Not strictly legal: yarn must be labelled for fiber content, weight, etc.)

Throw it in the dumpster out back? (Seems an awful waste: it's still good yarn.)

Donate it to the next worthy charity that comes knocking? (It's not suitable for all purposes.)

Take it home and add it to your private stash? (There's a space issue. We're talking about a significant amount of inventory. And do you want to knit at the same gauge for five years after you retire?)

Leave it on the shelves, on the grounds that experts are still debating whose fiber-content tests are more accurate? (Strictly speaking, it seems that you're liable even if nothing's been "proven" in court, as long as you had reasonable cause to suspect.)

Require each customer who purchases the yarn to sign a waiver of their right to sue, should the yarn prove not to be the stuff they thought it was? (Again, we're not just talking about civil suits; the long arm of the law could still come after you.)

In case you're wondering: yes, there are two ways in which the supplier could have assumed the responsibility for the situation: by providing a very specific legal warranty that the yarn is in fact accurately labelled, or by acknowledging that the yarn is not accurately labelled and providing replacement labels indicating the true fiber content. Let's assume for the moment that neither of these bail-outs from the supplier is forthcoming.

The really unfortunate thing* about this is that it's still good yarn no matter what its contents. But there doesn't seem any way to continue to make it available to customers without exposing the seller to potentially disastrous consequences.

So what would you do?

[*Note: I'd almost written "The tragedy about this is . . . " But then I thought better of it: this isn't a tragedy in any way, this is just some combination of greed, dishonesty, and pettiness. And one reason it's all going to go so badly--and stay tuned; believe me, it's going to go badly--is because so many people are going to behave as if 3% or 5% or 7% cashmere in a yarn, or not, is the equivalent of the Watergate coverup.]

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Good Knitting Weather

I find it harder sometimes to follow up on finished objects than to show works in progress. Here, for instance, is the completed hat made of unspun Black Bunny roving:

If you want to make one like it, come to the workshop tomorrow at 1:00. Bring a set of dpn in some large size (anything from 10.5 to 15 should be fine).

Carol gave me a whole bag of new rovings yesterday so everyone would have plenty to choose from, and they're gorgeous. (Big surprise.)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Let me be the devil on your shoulder

Trying to decide what to do with your evening? It's knitting circle tonight and we have new Anne.
'Nuf said.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

We got workshops...

We still have a few spaces left in Brandon Mably's workshop, so call Rosie's ASAP if you want in. Bring scraps of miscellaneous yarn and medium-sized needles to swatch with. We also have a preview copy of Brandon's new book, which will arrive for sale in a few weeks. Cost is $125, for a 9 to 5 workshop (with lunchbreak, natch).

Please note: the shop will be CLOSED for most of the day Thursday to allow the workshop participants uninterrupted teaching time, EXCEPT for 12 to 2 and 5 to 6 p.m. Please plan accordingly!

If you can't make it on a weekday, consider taking our Knitting with Unspun Roving class, this Sunday, October 8th, from 1 to 5 p.m. You'll learn how to knit with all that yummy roving that has not technically been spun into yarn yet -- enabler alert: once you know how to do this, you can indulge in some of the gorgeous fibers you'll see at Rhinebeck and Stitches. Bring size 10 to 13 needles, double-pointed (or two sets of circulars). Skills needed are casting on, binding off and knitting in the round, so this is a great class even for inexperienced knitters. Roving from Black Bunny Fibers, too. $40. Call the shop to reserve a place.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


A few entries ago, we posted about a booksigning at Rosie's. Due to less-than-ideal wording, we will try once again:

Shannon Okey and Kim Werker will be at Rosie's Yarn Cellar to promote their books:

Shannon and Kim wrote Knitggrl;
Shannon wrote Knitgrrl 2;
Kim wrote Get Hooked; and
Shannon has a forthcoming book from Interweave Press, Spin to Knit. (Holy moly, these women are prolific. They're also lots of fun, not to mention pretty darn talented.)

So stop by for booksignings and general merriment, pick up a copy of some of these titles and/or show off your projects.

October 12th, tentatively scheduled for 4 to 6 (look here or call the shop closer to the date for a definitive time).

We apologize for any confusion.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

More temptations: sinfully soft baby alpaca in luscious colors

Look what I found when I came into work this morning:

Four gorgeous shades of 100% baby alpaca, called Alpacita Fine, by Autumn House Farms, unbelievably soft....

Monday, September 18, 2006

Finished Objects of a Different Sort

Awhile back, I mentioned a new project: The Noshi Knitting Monograph Series. Well, only two months later than we thought we'd be ready, it's here. The first two monographs are available for purchase, as PDFs or hard copy.

(Let me be perfectly clear: my partner in crime was completely punctual, and her article was proofread and as-near-perfect-as-humanly-possible well before our self-set deadline. I was the one who thought a week and a half would be adequate time for what turned out to take more than a month.)

But we're now officially launched, and feeling very good about the whole idea: a forum for impassioned writing about knitting where the writing is as important as the knitting and the knitting doesn't have anything to do with what's "hot" or "hip" or "now".


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Just in.....Alchemy Haiku

Isn't it gorgeous? We just got a shipment of Alchemy Yarns Haiku. It's 40 percent silk, 60 percent mohair, and each hank is 25g/325 yds. Recommended gauge/needle size is 5 sts to an inch on US 7s but this yarn's going to have a lot of versatility. $18 per skein, in several multi and nearly solid colors. Yum!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Philadelphia Knit Out this Sunday -- and expanded hours on Sunday here

The Philadelphia Knit Out (Crochet too) is tomorrow, Sunday Sept. 10th, from noon to five, at the Convention Center. You'll find beginning knitting and crochet lessons, a fashion show, lessons in a variety of knit and crochet techniques, door prizes and you can donate handmade items to two charities: the District Attorney's Urban Genesis program is looking for small stuffed animals and blankies to give to small children who are in chaotic circumstances (like witnessing a domestic dispute); and City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown’s Warmth In Winter Holiday Drive is looking for handmade hats, mittens and scarves to distribute to homeless children this winter. Even better: the event is free.

Just in case you discover a burning need to purchase yarn afterward, Rosie's will stay open an extra hour on Sunday (until 6) to give you one more chance to pick up yarn, needles, whatever.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Save the Date!

Several lucky knitters among you will be needing a sick day for Thursday, October 5. That's when Brandon Mably--author of Brilliant Knits and the forthcoming Knitting Color, and studio manager of the Kaffe Fassett Studio--will be teaching a workshop on multi-color knitting.

Brandon's class focuses on the process of putting colors together for projects that have lots of colors (like 20 or more) and on translating sources of inspiration (photographs, paintings, a pile of seashells) into knitted fabric. He's taught a similar class here before, and he's an energetic and supportive teacher.

We don't have exact info about times or cost, but the class will run all day (with a lunchbreak). To reserve a place, phone up, or backchannel me (lisa at rosiesyarncellar dot youknowwhat). It's going to be a great day!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Fresh from the dyepot....a Rosie's exclusive

Just in: 5 skeins of miniloop boucle, from Black Bunny Fibers.

This is a new yarn, not sold on my Etsy shop, so pop in and take a look. We're open regular hours all weekend.

Friday, September 01, 2006

What are you doing for a rainy holiday?

The only thing better than having a long weekend off of work is having a chilly and rainy long weekend off of work. What better excuse do you need to curl up with a good black and white movie and knit? All your non-knitting friends and family members will be soooo sad about their cancelled trip to the shore or how they can't barbeque and while you are outwardly commiserating with them you will secretly be jumping for joy. So when you do get out that project and realize that you are suddenly short one double pointed needle or ball of yarn what will you do? It's labor day weekend, no one will be open! Oh-ho! Not quite! Rosie's will be open all weekend and Monday with regular shop hours. Bully for you! We also have in loads of new fall-y and winter-y things to make you feel cashmere level happy. We just got in two new kinds of Handmaiden Cashmere. One is the 12-ply super bulky lustrous lovely wonderfulness and the other is a 4-ply to die for! Each comes with a pattern for a one skein hat.

Imagine getting a jumpstart on Winter Holiday knitting so early in the game!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

When the Cat Is Away . . .

. . . the mice will shovel Happy Meal toys. My kids are with my parents this week (thankyouthankyouthankyou, Mother and Dad!), and Suzanne and I are using our window of child-free bliss to (drumroll, please!) clean their rooms!

It's a little more complicated than that, but there's painting and carpeting and all manner of chaos that would have been impossible with the girls around. It's taking every waking non-working hour. Which is why I don't have any felted Koigu swatches to show.

But I did steal some time (while driving up I-95 to a Target that had the curtains that match the new bedspreads . . . ) to try something for the Black Bunny Hopalong:

This is going to be a hat. It's knit out of Blue-Faced Leicester roving, which I'm using without spinning it: I've split the roving down into slender strips, and I'm knitting them gently on US #13 needles. The result is lofty and warm and sooo soft.

It's also easy and quick and fun, all of which adds up to a good workshop topic. We'll make it Sunday, October 8 (the next free workshop date), from 1 to 5. $40 will include roving and circular needles; bring a set of double-points in any size between US #10 and #13. And if you're interested in taking the class, please vote on whether we should make the hat from bottom up or top down.

And Taiu, Knitting Circle meets tonight, so with any luck I'll be able to get some swatches done. Sorry for the delay!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Two Words I Never Wanted to Hear Together

Felted Koigu.

But it's a strange world out there, and I'm happy to introduce

Koigu Felting Merino, KFM for short.

Looks just like KPPPM. (That's why it's put up in 100-gram skeins: so we none of us get confused.) Feels just like it. Comes in the same colors. Priced about the same. Only difference is . . . it felts.

I've seen a sample. The fabric was extremely soft, both in the "lovely against the skin" sense and in the "pliable" sense. Stitch definition had not disappeared entirely. Color had faded noticeably.

We'll get some swatches going and post more about it ASAP. Meanwhile, we've got 6 multis and 4 solids on hand.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Just in: new books from Rowan & RYC!

Some of the new books you -- and we -- have been waiting for:

Arabesque, featuring ballet-themed designs by Marie Wallen and Martin Storey, uses Little Big Wool, Biggy Print and Big Wool Fusion:

Country Escape, uses Rowan's new Country yarn (which we have in stock!):

and 3 new RYC books, Classic Style (designs using the new wool/silk blend, by Martin Storey);

Classic Spirit, featuring women's and home dec items in Cashsoft Aran and Soft Tweed;
and Classic Landscape, DK-weight designs by Martin Storey.

Get 'em while they last!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Vacation knitting: part I

With apologies to the Yarn Harlot, for stealing her trademarked Sock-Wherever-I-Go thing, here is my sock, begun on Monday, heel turned by Friday. (This is extraordinarily fast progress for me right now.) In case you're wondering, the yarn is a new On-Line Supersock 6-ply that Rosie's recently got in. I'm knitting on US4s and it's going very fast.

We've been so busy stocking and getting ready for fall at the shop that we've been remiss about posting here. We'll try to be better...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Here's Marianne's answer to the age-old question, "How do I make myself a sweater out of hand-dyed yarn, when horizontal stripes aren't flattering to me?"

Less obvious in the photo are her answers to such questions as, "How do I make a form-fitting sweater when I'm knitting from side to side?" and, "Is it true that I'm not just wider across the front than across the back, but longer?"

Her pattern will be forthcoming in the Rosie Knits series, with instructions for customizing the fit (of course).

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Bunny for Fish

This is my Pomatomous sock from Knitty, made in Black Bunny Fibers wool/nylon sock yarn in a never-to-be-repeated color called "Fearless Leader."

I had a moment of panic when I saw the colors begin to organize themselves. But it's actually working out just fine--even better than you can tell from the picture, really. The photo makes the light streaks look lighter and the green streaks look brighter than they actually are. Or, to put it in terms from the hand-dyed discussion last month, the camera heightened the contrast in the yarn, thus detracting from the stitch pattern. In reality, the skein has minor variation in hue (blues, with a little bit of green); moderate variation in saturation (from the brightish green through denim to some shades that are almost entirely grey); and mild-to-moderate variation in value (from navy and charcoal up to a medium, slightly-lighter-than-cadet blue).

And yes, I know there's a consistent mistake in the first half-repeat of the pattern. I was glad to notice what I was doing wrong and correct it going forward, but I wasn't going back.

Thank you all for this pleasant break from the yarn-shoveling-and-stocking business. We now resume our regularly-scheduled schlepping.

Meet your Destiny

Stop by the shop and check out these:

gorgeous new circular needles from Lantern Moon, called Destiny. We've got ebony and rosewood, in a variety of sizes and lengths. The connector is brass and the cord is nylon, and they are very smooth. (Okay, I'll 'fess up to buying a pair myself -- and they feel wonderful!)

Thanks to Mary B. for the photo!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Look Out Below!

I may have told some of you that Rowan's fall yarns were expected about August 15th.

So much for expectations.

The new yarns Tapestry and Country, plus restock and new colors in Kid Silk Haze (and Spray and Night), Kid Classic, Felted Tweed, Wool Cotton, 4-Ply Soft, Cashsoft Aran (and DK and 4-Ply), and Soft Tweed arrived yesterday.

Also Big Wool and Biggy Print, but honestly, you don't want to see those yet, do you? We're not even going to shelve them for a couple more weeks.

And today, Brown followed up with the magazine: Rowan 40.

More important: we've now got the semi-annual space crunch. Something's gotta give. In this case, it's going to be all the Yorkshire Tweeds. They're going on ebay in the next couple days, in lots by color and/or dye lot. So if you've had your eye on something, but don't want to get stuck buying more skeins than you need or losing out to some last-minute sniper, call or come in or e-mail me (lisa at rosiesyarncellar dot com) today. The weather being what it is, I can hold stuff for you until the end of the week, but I need to know what's spoken for as soon as possible. No reasonable offer refused. Unreasonable offers seriously considered.

Most important of all: this yarn arrives to remind us all that the weather can't stay like this forever. If we all hang in a little longer, cool days are on the way.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

(Not Much) Knitting on the Road

Sorry so silent--we took the kids on vacation last week, and connectivity wasn't what one might have hoped. But I'm back now. Official travel-knitting scorecard:

--Icarus: Maybe 10 more rows, but it actually feels like negative progress, because I'd thought I was about to finish the last boring repeat before the edge patterns begin--but I was wrong, and had another repeat to go.

--Pomatomus: Got these underway just before we left, thanks to a skein of Black Bunny sock yarn called "Fearless Leader." Did about an inch and a half of the leg.

--Highland Triangle: Didn't touch it. I may have made negative progress here, too, as the last few stitches of the row fell off the needle at some point while I was packing or unpacking, and I just don't understand the pattern all that well; I may have to frog the row.

I hope to get some pictures up soon. Meanwhile, I'm glad people have been finding the posts on hand-dyed yarns useful. They're not over yet, by the way, but there's still some swatching to be done before the next installment.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hand-dyed Studio, pt. V

Remember this?

It's a scarf in a simple diamond-lace pattern, made of Schaefer Yarn Co. "Andrea," in the color called Elena Piscopia. The considerations that got me to this fabric were as follows:

1. The yarn has a lot of contrast, so complicated patterns are out of the question.

2. Like all of Cheryl Schaefer's yarns, this skein was painted cross-wise, and will take every opportunity to stack or zigzag or argyle; because the colors are so strong and so disparate, whatever they do will dominate.

3. The yarn is 100% silk and tightly spun; it has no surface fuzz and won't fluff up or "bloom" at all during blocking. Ergo, any pattern has to be knit densely enough to show a clear difference between the ground and the pattern, even before blocking; knit too loosely, the fabric will look stringy. (I was wrong here, as we'll see shortly, but that was my reasoning.)

4. I could make a short-rowed shawl, which would move the colors around and fight pooling, but there might not be enough yarn: 1,093 yards sounds like a lot of yarn, but it's really not, if you're working at 8 or 10 sts per inch. Besides, I'm trying to knit a sample to show off the yarn, not get into something that's going to take 6 months to knit.

5. So, it's back to a scarf, but with some simple, clear, almost graphic pattern to help obscure whatever color-repeat tricks the skein decides to play on me.

And that worked. But then, weeks later, I saw Jenny B's Field of Flowers shawl knit at a gauge of about 4 sts per inch over garter after blocking, on about a US#6 needle, and I was blown away. Sadly, I seem to have been so blown away that I didn't take a picture; here's the picture from the official Fiber Trends site:

Yes, the pattern is very simple; and yes, Jenny's skein was Greenjeans, which is a much more subdued colorway than Elena Piscopia. But it wasn't a close call, there was no doubt about it: the yarn works in garter stitch knit very loosely.

This immediately put me in mind of the Highland Triangle shawl from Folk Shawls:

I knew it wouldn't work in Elena Piscopia, but along came a couple skeins of the color called Harriet Tubman, and I was ready to go:

Just to show what a difference contrast makes, I swatched the same thing in Elena:

These two swatches tell us what we already knew--that the amount of contrast (hue or value) determines whether a pattern will read or not. You can even see why: it's not that the Harriet swatch doesn't form pools of color like the distracting, un-beautiful one along the (viewer's) upper right-hand edge of the Elena swatch; it does. (You can see diagonal drifts of color in this photo, especially a darker blue near the bottom echoed by a green shade just above.) It's just that they matter so much less when the colors are so close.

The comparison also tells us something we knew but haven't mentioned yet: that some dyers may have characteristic dye patterns or color ranges (no one does gold like Alchemy; skeins from Great Adirondack will always show the color repeat clearly), but a successful dyer can do more than one kind of color well. Therefore, the strategies you've used to knit with one colorway from a particular dyer won't necessarily work with all the others.

Now, let's have another look at the scarf-in-progress, so we can compare the same skein knit densely vs. loosely:

Note that both patterns offer about the same degree of simplicity; both are allover, small-repeat, highly regular eyelet designs. Density and garter-vs.-stockinette are the only material differences. But while reasonable minds may differ about whether the scarf is successful--some people would probably feel that the stitch and the colors are fighting one another, to the detriment of both--I don't know anyone who'd want to see the Highland Triangle done this way.

The knitting gods have sent us another example:

The top two are Wendy's Pi Shawl, in total and in detail (Wendy's getting a lot of exposure in these posts, chiefly because she knits with so much hand-dyed yarn--and actually finishes things, unlike me.) The bottom is a sock Sherry is making, out of the exact same color, from the exact same dye lot. I'd like to get both items in the same photo, so that you can see them in scale together, and also so that the camera's color distortion will apply equally to both. But you already get the idea: knit loosely, in a texture that involves elongated stitches and clustering stitches, the colors blur together; knit tightly, in a stockinette-based fabric, the colors are much more distinct. Also, the sock is obviously worked on a much smaller number of stitches, which plays up a striped effect that's absent in the shawl.

I'd like to pause at the end of today's lesson to point out that this is a lot of stuff to consider. If you've ever had a project with hand-dyed yarn disappoint you, or do something you didn't expect, it should be a comfort to know that it's a very tricky thing you're doing!