Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Sometimes, you just have to knit a hat. This one is Noro “Blossom,” a yarn which interested me not at all—right up until the evening it bashed me over the head from behind and needed to be knit into a hat. 2 skeins, color #5.

Andrea and I are finally getting along better:

Clear, simple, geometric lace pattern; stockinette base. About 7” wide right now (somewhat wider than I planned, but the pattern repeat dictated it), about 56 sts on #2 needles, for a gauge of . . . well, some things it’s better not to think about. Not that I have anything against fine gauges. Just that I’m not used to seeing them look lacy. I mean, lace patterns often use pretty skinny yarns, but think about it: they’re usually knit on larger needles, and the blocked gauge is more like 5 sts per inch. I don’t know what’s going to happen when this is blocked. I don't need to know.

We interrupt this broadcast for sudden emergency shoveling of Noro Silk Garden Light and Debbie Bliss Cathay--out of boxes, onto shelves, into backstock, into the dungeon--as usual, just when you think there might almost be enough storage space, it snows yarn.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Come & see the AlterKnits trunk show!

Just in: a trunk show featuring garments and accessories from Leigh Radford's AlterKnits book. If you haven't at least browsed through AlterKnits, you really should. It's not a typical pattern book, but rather a jumping-off point for your own creativity: sure, there are some cool patterns that you can follow if you like, but also tips and exercise for how to unleash your own creativity and personal style, even a notebook for your jottings and drawings.

We've got the AlterKnits trunk show through February 6th. The silk skullcap

is even more gorgeous than it looks in the book.

The mixed media pillow, in a lovely shade of dusty rose, has texture that you can't keep your hands off of.

We've got several other items: the sweater with velvet trim, polka-dotted baby caps, felted bag and more. If you've been baffled by the notion of the knitted screen door,

cast aside your skepticism and come see these beautiful garments. Even if you don't want to make one of these, we expect that the examples may unleash your fertile knitting imaginations.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Bit of Knitting

Thank you all for bearing with us as we implement the new point-of-sale system. (And thanks to those who've pitched in with the installation of new hardware!) The machine still thinks we have -23 copies of The Knit Stitch, but there's less swearing every day.

And from time to time, some knitting gets done:

One skein of the new Noro, Silver Thaw. It's a scarf. It's about 64" long. Short-rows again.

For those of you wondering what this Sunday's workshop--"Knitting with Unspun Silk"--is about, here's a clue:

We start with silk caps, separate them into layers, draft the layers out into long roving-like strips, then cast on for a scarf. The finished result is soft and warm and lustrous like silk, but with a really rustic, casual look:

And of course, we'll be using hand-dyed caps, so there will be the additional adventure of seeing how the process affects the colors.

Just a little something new, in case any of you are, you know, kind of tired of yarn.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Toughest Yarn You'll Ever Love

And by "tough," I don't mean "strong," "durable," or "coarse." I mean, "This stuff is going to kick my -- " well, never mind, my mother reads this blog.

Welcome the much-anticipated Andrea from Schaefer Yarns:

100% cultivated silk, 1093 yards per 100-g skein. This is what everyone expects silk to look like: shiny; smooth; beautiful clear colors. Looks as good in the ball as in the skein, too:

This color is Elena Piscopia.

Now for the bad news.

It's $52 a skein. It tangles if you breathe on it (I truly don't understand this, since it's so slippery). The needle size recommended on the label is 00. None of this deterred me. Then, I started to swatch.

I considered the Clapotis from Knitty. You'll have to take my word for it that the swatch was unsuccessful; the photo didn't come out. But the dropped stitches were too stringy and the pattern was going to bore me to death. So I tried variations on a dropped-stitch pattern with shorter ladders, working in stockinette (since it's pretty clear to me that this stuff has very little elasticity and wouldn't respond well to the ribs that are typical of such stitches):

Feh. But I did learn that it likes stockinette. Because my colorway has so much contrast, detailed lace patterns won't "read," so I kept trying for something with floats; toward the top of this photo, you can see some crazy bundles of lateral strands where I was trying to get floats without slipped stitches. (Digression: you'll note in the first photo above that most of the skeins we've got are low-contrast--there's the tonal silver-grey of Greenjeans, the denims of Everywoman--because I was trying to get colors that would be interesting but not preclude interesting stitchwork, either. My skein was sort of a random advance copy.)

Up at the top of the swatch, I finally got the hang of it: lace, but simple geometric lace. So then I started this:

A scarf, starting from a point at the bottom and expanding in pattern to a width of about 6". The skein probably has enough yardage for two generous scarves, and I am not promising to knit the second, but I didn't want to get all committed to a shawl. This was intended to be the actual beginning of the scarf, but it still has (at least) two problems: there's one row where the pattern interferes with the point-shaping increases, and the eyelet in the center of the alternate rows of diamonds isn't reading.

And to top off the frustration, the needles in these photos are #2s, and I can't see what I'm doing. These swatches took me 3 weeks. Can you say "presbyopia"?

For further tales of woe, and a very different solution, go here and see what Wendy's doing with the color known as Indira Gandhi.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

A Knitter's Progress: Follow-Up

Here are Diana and Isaac, with Isaac modeling his scarf:

What more is there to say?

Friday, January 13, 2006

I Know, I Know

Yeah, it's been, like, days since the last substantive post. And several of you sent in photos of your holiday knitting which haven't been posted yet. And the Yarn of the Week is from before the turn of the year, and the Project of the Month is still December's. All I can say is, I'm dancing as fast as I can.

Also, you know how your smoke alarm starts to make that chirping noise when the battery goes? Well, there's one in my bedroom, and it went on Monday night, and it won't stop (because the thing has both a battery and electrical wiring), and it would take a 12-foot ladder to reach it (which I don't have), and the electrician keeps putting me off. So I'm not getting as much sleep as might be, um, optimal.

Hey, maybe we could shoot the thing. Anyone got a BB gun?

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Sherry's Christmas Knitting

Here's a Half-Pi Shawl for Sherry's grandmother, pre-blocking. Looks like it's made of Anne, though I don't know for sure.

I just love it when people knit things for their grandmothers; it's such a great role reversal.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Some of Allison's Holiday Knitting

Why knit Christmas tree ornaments?

Because you can.

And a Spiral Rib hat from the Ann Norling pattern, made of Noro Shinano:

More photos to follow. Keep those cards and letters coming!