Sunday, March 29, 2009

New Yarn! Louisa Harding Cinnabar

Every once and a while here at Rosie's we like to change things up a bit and try out a new and different yarn. This is especially true in the summer when there are a plethora of unique yarn blends available. (Araucania Ruca anyone?)

Even though it was the depths of winter and we were wrapped in woolies when we first saw Louisa Harding Cinnabar, we new it would be a perfect yarn for spring and summer.Cinnabar is a funky blend of 30% Viscose, 25% Cotton, 15% Acrylic, 10% Silk, 10% Linen, 5% Polyamide and 5% Acetate. Each colorway is 6 unique plies: 2 single plies of a natural color, 2 of a bright and 2 wrapped plies that contain a slub linen bound with a hint of sparkle. There is just enough texture, sheen and color to suit all tastes. We currently carry 6 colors in the shop, and they can be found online here.

Our immediate reaction was to use it in summer accessories -- a drapey scarf as a funky addition to a plain Tshirt, jeans and cute flats, or a shawl or shrugworn over a simple flowy dress for a evening wedding. At 20 sts/4" on US Size 7 needles, it would also be the perfect yarn for a summer cardigan or shell for an outdoor dinner or cocktail party.

If a smaller item is more your style, Cinnabar is featured in a beautiful purse on the cover of Knitting Little Luxuries by Louisa Harding.

Come in, check it out and try something new!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Saving What Date?

Jen just pointed out to me that I had all the information about Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival listed below, except the date. D'oh! We will be going down Saturday May 2nd. Sorry I left that part out!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

How to Block A Project

Most patterns end simply with a one-line instruction to block garment to measurements, but perhaps you're wondering just what that means - and why you would take the time to do it.

Does blocking really make that much of a difference in the end result of your knitting? Yes.

Blocking is a way of using water or steam to set the fibers of your knitting and to perfect its shape and symmetry. It expands the fibers -- especially good for ones that bloom like merino or drape, like bamboo. Blocking is handy if you're making a bulky hat, but it's absolutely crucial if you're making a lace shawl or knitting a sweater. Have a look at what this shawl (Frost Flowers Stole, Interweave Knits, Holiday 2008 by Charlene Schurch knit by Lisa out of a laceweight Silk and Cashmere blend from Skaska for those interested) looked like right off the needles:

And a close up for full effect:

Mercy! We know there is a beautiful piece of knitting hidden in there. After blocking, it looks like this:

You can see the stitches are much more clearly defined, the knitting is flat, has grown in size and the lace pattern is much easier to see. A huge difference!

There are multiple ways to block.

Steam Blocking:
If you're in a hurry, lay your knitting out on top of a towel on a flat surface, pin it to your desired measurements and using either a steamer or your iron set to super-steamy mode, pass the iron over the whole piece. (You're not actually ironing here, so hold the iron about 6 inches above the knitting.)

Wet Blocking:
Method A (for things like heavy wool sweaters): Lay your knitting between two damp towels, positioning it so that the arms are even, the hem isn't stretched, and the entire piece is lying flat. Allow the towels to dry.

Method B (the most precise method, especially for lace and shaped items, and the method used for the stole pictured above):
1. Fill a sink with warmish water and a dab of your favorite woolwash and place your knitting into it. Instead of squeezing or agitating in any way, just let it soak. Go watch an episode of yor favorite prime time t.v. show, then come back and drain the water.
2. Carefully squeeze the water out of the knitting very gently without wringing. It would be best to begin squeezing at one end and working your way to the other without wringing.
3. Next, grab a thick towel and lay your garment onto it. Roll the towel up, with the knitting inside of it, like a sushi roll. Press firmly to allow the towel to absorb the excess water. You could even step on the roll if you'd like!
4. Place another towel onto a flat surface with the knitting on top. This is the time when you measure & pin the item out to the specifications given in the knitting pattern schematic. If it's finely worked, has lace, or has a shaped edging, use rustproof pins to pin it in shape. If you are trying to change the length or width a bit (like if your sweater arms came out a little bit too short and you're trying to stretch them), stretch the piece gently until it's the size and shape you want. Pin the piece and allow to dry.
5. Once completely dry, remove all the pins and marvel at your knitting!

Next time you finish your knitting and it looks a little wonky, don't worry. Take the time to block and you too will find a beautiful end result!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

It's Time for The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival!

Here's the scoop:
Every year we hire buses to schlep us all down to the wonderful fiber filled Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. It's fun for the whole family, with lots of yarn, sheep, alpacas, delicious fair food and more! There are the typical county fair blue ribbon awards, but instead of pies they're judging handknits from knitters in the great state of Maryland (sorry, I'm biased. It's my home turf!).And don't miss the handspun skein competition.

favorite? The sheep to shawl competition!! Those women are amazing. There are alpacas and llamas and sheep being shown by 4-H-ers and, as always, delicious fair food to eat! Funnel cakes anyone?

The buses leave SATURDAY MAY 2ND at 7:30am - sharp! -- from Rosie's at 2017 Locust St., Philadelphia
We leave the fairgrounds at 4pm (usually back by 6:15).

Two ways to go:

Bargain Ride
: coffee at the shop, comfy seat, raffle ticket for good
stuff from Rosie's, time to nap on the way home, $40 if booked by March 15th, $45 after that.

High Flyer
: Boxed breakfast (muffin or scone and fresh fruit salad), fresh squeezed oj and coffee at the shop, raffle ticket, NEW! Rosie Tote, comfy seat, naptime, etc., $55 if booked by March 15th, $60 after that.

Join us! Call/email Rosie's to reserve - your payment confirms your seat. 215 977 YARN, or email The bus always fills, so call to secure yourself a spot today!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Crochet Books!!

We just got a bunch of amazing babies' and kids' crochet books, every one of them guaranteed to make you (and everyone at the playground/baby shower/birthday party) shriek with joy. Here are some of our favorites:

Crochet Designs For Kids by Lucinda Guy

features simple designs with adorable details, like the Dolores Dress:

Baby Crochet by Lois Daykin

where you can find sweet bibs and accessories, like the String of Hearts:

Adorable Crochet for Babies and Toddlers by Lesley Stanfield has hats, blankets, jackets. We're smitten with the cover dress shown below:

and this beautiful vintage and Icelandic inspired cardigan -- we're already scheming a grown-up version of this one for ourselves!

Candy Crochet by Candi Jensen has stylish outfits and blankets for babies and toddlers:

and Organic Baby Knit by the Let's Knit Series

has beautiful and inspirational photographs and projects paired with the best charts around.

Come on in and check them out!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

March Project of the Month

The March Project of the Month is Jacky's Hat:

This is Clyde.

Designed with earflaps, soft ties (to keep those adorable baby ears cozy, and -- maybe more importantly -- so the hat stays on!) and a cute little elf point, it is knit from the top down for a customizable fit and length.

It's a great use for a skein of Koigu Kersti (so soft, and such wonderful colors). Use Kersti for the optional contrast color as well, or double KPM (if you should happen, by some chance, to have any remnants or mill ends in your stash). Instructions for 0-9 months and 12-18 months.

Click the image below to be taken to the Free pattern page!