It’s been a beautiful but cool day. We did squeak in coffee on the porch before the breeze started to make it too cool and I got one shawl blocked last night and another this morning. I have a few ends to weave in on one and ends to cut on the other (even though I wore it to work today). This weekend is Memorial Day weekend and the weather is supposed to turn warm (or hot!) on Sunday. I don’t love hot …
The first FO is my Orbit shawl in Urth Uneek Cotton yarn. I think I “won” this yarn in a drawing at work and it’s been in my stash for a year or two. I have decided that I really like long, narrow shawls (aka scarves) in the warmer season for a “pop” of color. This yarn was asking to become something and I really didn’t want to have to buy more or have any left over. So, when I researched different projects for this yarn, I initially wanted to make the Easy Scarf by Diane Augustin but I decided that knitting the Orbit shawl was going to be a little bit more interesting. I used one skein of Urth Uneek Cotton and I searched for the pattern on Ravelry’s “pattern ideas” tab for the yarn.
I have to say that knitting this shawl/scarf was fun enough. Not difficult for sure. But I didn’t love the way the colorway transitioned from the fall-like colors that it started with and then it transitioned into springy-y colors. I don’t love it but it’s ok. The most displeasing piece of this project was the knot in the yarn. It was early in the skein and it was a tiny knot. I am so glad that I found it and that I pulled on it (and it came apart). In my humble opinion there should not be knots in premium yarns. Yarn companies should do better. This knot had to have been tied by a human being and it should have been pulled and discounted immediately.
My second FO is the Falderal Shawl by Romi Designs. This was a MKAL for 2023 and I had never knitted a Romi pattern and I chose to start with this one. I am really (really) happy with this project. It was fun to knit, Romi provided plenty of support and videos to help knitters through the “rough spots” if they didn’t have a lot of experience. I work on Fridays which was when she had the live zooms but it’s all good – they were on her YouTube channel.
I chose two colors of Emma’s Yarn Practically Perfect sock yarn in a purple speckle and a deep purple-y gray. (Details are on my Ravelry project page.) Purple is not my “normal” color choice and I’m trying to live outside of my comfort zone a little bit. But I loved knitting this shawl, it was challenging but not too challenging and there were a few new techniques that I learned by watching the playback of the live sessions. It’s always fun to knit lace and then watch the magic happen when it’s blocked. I really didn’t know what it would look like until it was sopping wet and being stretched out on my guest room bed … and bonus, it dried yesterday when I was at work! It’s really dry here in Maine right now and that worked to my benefit!
On the needles and hoping to be a FO soon (very soon!) is my Tybee cardigan for Sylvie. This is a free pattern from Berroco for a little cotton cardigan with a shawl collar. Raglan sleeves make it easy to finish up at the end. Bottom up construction with only a couple of short seams. I love the feel of the Vivo cotton yarn. It’s a thick and thin yarn so the sweater will be easy to care for (machine wash, dry flat). I love the colorful yarn that stripes randomly. It’ll be a cute sweater for cooler late summer days or evenings.
I think I will be spending a little bit of time, too, before I cast on another significant project*, finishing up a few more Arne and Carlos mini Nordic jumpers for my Advent calendar. I think I’ve found how I will display them in our house. I can’t wait to try it but first I have to finish the knitting. I think I have enough yarn to make the rest of them. (Crossing fingers!) #19 is up next.
I have a pair of socks for daughter #2 on the needles. She picked the yarn out of my stash and I want to have the socks finished for her birthday. I won’t have a problem with that and I have plenty of time. The first sock is nearly complete – toe decreases are in process. Sock #2 is likely to be next week’s focus.
*Oops! I did it again. Cast on to do the Old Port hat KAL with Andrea Mowry. I’m using stashed yarn and a couple of left-overs, actually. Starting with the lining in bright pink alpaca and then I’ll be transitioning to charcoal gray and a light gray. I’m not sure which will be color a and color b. Stay tuned.
We arrived Le Centre Sheraton Montreal on Thursday afternoon after an easy drive from Belgrade (Maine). GPS took us all the way to Canada and nearly to Montreal on back roads and it was a beautiful day for a drive.
The hotel has been undergoing some renovations and as such, Glenda, my knitting adventure companion, upgraded us to the Club level of the hotel where we would be able to have breakfast in the mornings included in our room rate. There was also an option to have hors d’oeuvres in the evenings but we only made that once. We were busy! The hotel was nice, the rooms were above average and we were able to park the car in the hotel parking so I didn’t worry about it at all.
After we checked in we checked out the Club level and had some hors d’oeuvres before our first adventure. The photo above was the view from the 37th floor of Montreal.
Thursday evening’s excursion was to “knit night” at Espace Tricot. Espace Tricot is one of those iconic yarn shops that you dream about visiting. My friend Michele from The Medomak Fiber Arts Retreat lives in Montreal and her LYS is Espace Tricot. So … when in Montreal … we headed out of the downtown area on the metro requesting a “soiree illimitee” ticket.
Espace Trico is on the second floor of the building and is an attractive, light-filled, well organized space full of delicious yarns. They have their own brand of yarns in addition to many other brands that we don’t normally see down here in the States. There were five women there, a smaller-than-normal group, and the four of us. It was Cindy’s birthday so Michele brought vegan cupcakes. I am looking forward to getting her recipe. They were delicious! (Happy Birthday, Cindy!)
On Friday morning we had classes. Mine was Slip it, Float it, Tuck it with Bristol Ivy. It was a wonderful class and Bristol is a generous, organized teacher. We made a “wonky” swatch of practice stitch patterns but I learned a lot. Slipped stitches do so many different things and make so many different stitch patterns.
Since our official tour guide had to work on Friday, we headed off on our own, Glenda, Cindy and me, to find two local attractions that we heard were not to be missed. So back to the metro we went and headed to a kosher Jewish bakery called Boulangerie Cheskie.
Oh my goodness, if there was a world in which I could have one of each, this is the world! Yummm!!! The bakery was filled with locals who were preparing for the sabbath. Older kids with their younger siblings in strollers, families, and us. We met a lovely older woman who’d lived in the neighborhood for decades. She was warm and happy to chat with me in line. I brought home some rugelach, babka and some potato knishes.
Then off to the “button shop”, Rix Rax, aka the candy store. I’m not even sure that there are words for this place beyond WOW! I’ve never seen so many buttons in one place before. A rainbow of buttons of every size. And the proprietress knew where we needed to look for anything we asked for. It was incredible. I got little orange buttons for the sweater I’m going to make for Sylvie and I got some little navy buttons to replace the ones that I put on my Elton cardigan. I also bought some gorgeous orange glossy shell buttons … guess I’m going to have to knit myself a sweater for them. They’re so special!
We also visited a little yarn shop in the same neighborhood. None of us can pass a yarn shop without going in.
La Maison Tricotee was a sweet little yarn shop with some beautiful yarns. They had the Knitting for Olive yarns that I’d never seen before and never touched. It’s lovely for knitting and particularly nice for knitting for little people. I was saving my money for Saturday so I didn’t buy anything there but I could have.
Saturday we went to the Knit City marketplace.
We had previewed the different vendors and shops and had a “plan” but after walking into the market place, we bought our first yarn at almost the first booth we saw and it was not part of our plan! I bought a 100g hank of peach and two mini-hanks of the same black tweed fingering weight yarn to make a cowl. We both loved the colorwork cowl sample that was shown to us. It was really pretty. I’ll be making the First Snowfall Neck-warmer by Runningyarn.
I also bought a hank of yarn at Mailles a Part which is owned by one of Michele’s friends, Catherine, who we met at knit night. I’m not sure what this yarn will want to be yet, but I was thinking a one-skein shawl. I loved the color! I also bought a beautiful enamel row counter. It has pins on the back of it so you can pin it to your project bag. (Glenda has already noticed that the numbers don’t “lock” so we are. both a bit concerned about how it will really work. I haven’t tried it yet.)
Last, I bought some fingering weight yarn in a gray/pink wool, Nurtured Fine from Julie Asselin. Julie herself rang me out. I loved the sample that they had in the shop in this yarn. It was called Poet by Sari Nodlund. It’s amazing to think that I can make a sweater (although it is a tee and without sleeves) in two cones of yarn. I am looking forward to working with this yarn. And it seems like I’ve got my knitting plans all charted out, doesn’t it? We had a blast at the marketplace and the plan was to to not return because we’d bought our fill.
We both took a Saturday afternoon class with Stephanie Purl McPhee … and she was amazing. Funny and light but also providing lots of tips and tricks as we talk-walked through the process of knitting a garment from visiting a yarn store and choosing yarns to blocking. I had heard that the class was a lecture (a 3-hour lecture) and was prepared to be entertained more than informed. Boy was I wrong. Stephanie’s lecture was totally note-taking-worthy. I only wish I’d taken pictures of her. (And Bristol, too!)
After breakfast on Sunday we went back to the marketplace “to get Glenda’s book signed” and … OOPS!
I got into a little bit more “trouble” (but it’s good trouble!) Wool insoles from Revolution Wool Company for our shoes for obvious reasons. His will be a birthday gift next week. A mug with pink insides and handle and lots of cute knitted garments adorn the outside. It was too cute to pass up. I also bought from the same vendor some stick on/wash off embroidery patterns intended for knitwear. This water soluble fabric stabilizer isn’t foreign to me but I thought this was a good way to try it for the first time. Knitted Bliss Stitching had a really sweet pair of mittens, Framework Mittens, that I’ll knit and then embroider on to give this a try – and she uses embroidery floss! I have that.
On Saturday after we were at the market I learned about special yarn colorways that were made for KCM. I “had” to buy one of each. One was a mohair blend from La Bien Aimee and the other an untreated BFL wool by Akara. I’m not sure what they’ll be yet but I was thinking a shawl with stripes of each yarn. Time will tell. I also bought two skeins of Sonder Yarn Co’s Muse yarn. This will be used to knit a tank top called Staple Linen Top by Joji Locatelli. It’s a relatively simple pattern and the pale peach yarn will be a favorite, I’m sure.
Highlights and Lowlights:
For me the least fun was the knit night on Friday evening. The room was packed to the rafters with people, ten to a table and there wasn’t room to move around and visit with our other friends. Seats were assigned so Glenda and I were away from the friends we really wanted to visit but we met a nice woman (between us) named Kim from RI. There were games and raffle prizes but to me, the music was too loud, I couldn’t hear the emcees well at times and, frankly, I think I’d have rather just visited and knitted with my friends from all around the US and Canada. BUT the high part of the low part was that there were so many younger people there. We were the oldest women at our table of ten. That was thrilling.
The best part of this weekend was the people. All of the vendors, organizers and unofficial city hosts in Montreal (those in the restaurants, the metro, the hotel staff, volunteers, etc.) were so friendly and helpful. And the best of the best was getting to spend time with old friends and meeting new friends. Again, we felt warmly welcomed at knit night at Espace Tricot and everywhere else we went. This “shiksa” was welcomed at a kosher Jewish patisserie by an 80+ year old local … how much better than that does it get? Montreal really showed us what a treasure sits on their little island. (I learned that Montreal is an island!)
We took a GPS-chosen route home yesterday and had some good laughs. We touched two countries and three states in our return trip – crossed into the US in Vermont, New Hampshire and then Maine on what we are calling the avoidance route – we avoided all two-lane roads after Canada’s Route 10 – and yet, we arrived at Glenda’s house in 5 hours. And it was a beautiful day for a drive.
Thank you, Montreal, Knit City Canada and to Glenda for going with me. We will be back next year especially since we are bilingual. (Je pense que non!) Ha! Ha! Ha!
We captured the first photograph of a hummingbird this morning. It’s become quite the thrill to watch the map tracking the hummers back to Maine from their winter home way down south. We’ve had the feeders up for about two weeks but until this week we hadn’t seen any birds. That all changed after I had cleaned and refilled the feeders this week. They’re back!
We spent the morning (and into the afternoon when the breeze kicked up) on the porch this morning. The sun was shining and the hummingbirds and loons were active finding food. I brought my knitting onto the porch and was working on my Romi MKAL “Falderal” shawl. I had gotten quite a bit of clue three finished when I realized that I hadn’t slipped a pair of stitches. Yesterday afternoon I frogged back 4 or 5 rows (at over 300 stitches per row) to where I had missed the slipped stitches, corrected my mistake and then worked on. This morning I finished clue 3.
Spoiler Alert! If you don’t want to see what it looks like at this point, don’t read any further.
I’ve chosen two colors of Practically Perfect sock by Emma’s Yarn for my shawl. I wanted to knit something in a purple because, honestly, I don’t have anything purple. The contrasting color is a gray that I’ve had in my stash for quite some time. The colorways are called February ’23 (purple) and After Dark (gray). It’s pretty contrast-y, perhaps more contrast-y than I had planned but I think I will like it well enough. I’m certainly not going to frog the whole project at this point.
You can see that the shawl will be soooo much more beautiful when it’s blocked and you can really see the lace between the “lattice” pattern sections. Clue 4 will be more lace but in the gray colorway. So far, this has been fun to knit and not difficult to follow. I’ll be taking this to Canada with me for Knit City Montreal next weekend and I think I will be able to keep up with the pattern when I’ve got lots of distraction. I’ll have another, more simple, mindless project, too just in case.
I bought yarn this week to make Anker’s Summer Shirt. I like wearing my hand knits and I like wearing Berroco Remix Light so … I bought the Remix Light in the “white” colorway and I’ll work on that next. I also like Tanis’ Rock it Tee and Yumi by Isabell Kraemer. There are several I could make with this yarn (or others that I can buy at my LYS.) Anyway, the plan is to make a tee next. I would like to finish my Three Seasons Cardigan before that but it seems silly as we are in warm weather now and I have plenty of time before I’ll be wearing the cardigan. So, tee is up next.
I have a pair of socks on the needles, too, of course. These are for my daughter, Libet. She chose the yarn from my stash when she was last here. I had to make a couple of pairs before I got to hers for gifts but I’m at it now. They should be ready for her birthday in July. Again, the yarn was stashed so I have no recollection of where it’s from but it’s really pretty and “dark” which is what she wanted.
I’m using Yankee Knitter’s sock pattern for the family #29 which is my favorite. I’ve knit so many socks from this pattern that I nearly have it memorized which makes it even better. I find I have to check on the number of stitches to pick up on the gusset and that’s about it when I’m knitting the fingering weight which is what I do most often.
We’ve been enjoying watching the birds at the bird feeder. We have a regular (pair?) of Pileated Woodpeckers and the regular host of Chickadees, Nuthatches, Titmice, Goldfinches, Purple Finches and, of course, all the woodpeckers from the Downy to the Pileated (and all the sizes in between.) We have a trio of Crows … they may be Ravens, it’s difficult to tell the difference IMHO. Anyway, they love to hang out ON the feeder and eat all of the suet. I was outside this morning to frighten them off and I happened to snap a few pictures of new blooms from our gardens …
The spring bulbs are beginning to fade and the early perennials are coming in: L to R we have peonies budding, creeping phlox in full bloom and my favorite bleeding heart. There are a TON of dandy lions all over the yard this year. I wasn’t going to do anything with them but when I’m out there it’s really tempting to pick those babies and start drying them out and soak them in oil to make something from weeds! Last year I made a salve and we’re still using it. It’s supposed to be good for inflammation, if I remember correctly. It is fun to collect plants from the yard that most consider to be worthless weeds (the birds and bugs love them this time of year!)
I felt well enough, finally, to do a little bit of cleaning up the garden beds. There’s a lot of work left to do. We have hired a young man (now I sound like an old lady!) to help with this this year because my hubby can’t lug all the bags or wheelbarrows full of mulch this year. They’ll help me edge all the beds again and we’ll be in good shape. I’ve been watching the hydrangeas as they leaf out … and the ones in front (or is the front really the back?) of the house, the side away from the lake, has hydrangeas that bloom on the old wood. I now know that I can cut these guys back in early spring because they’re HUGE!!!
I need to walk around to Helen’s garden in the back (or the front depending on your perspective) between our bedroom and the lake to see what they’re doing. We also have some poison ivy in this bed and a very obnoxious vine-y plant that I can’t seem to eradicate. We’ve used some natural vinegar solution in years past and I hope it will work this year. I don’t think we’ve really attacked this bed recently. It’s time!
This afternoon I’m heading to a new-to-me nursery with a friend. I’m told Fieldstone Gardens is gorgeous and it’s been on my list for awhile. I’m excited to see it. My eyes are open for another peony or two and perhaps a grass for in front of the porch … is that the back yard or the front? Ha! Ha!
It’s another beautiful day here on the lake. A lot of sun and a little breeze. Just about perfect. We had coffee on the porch and watched an eagle, a pair of wood ducks, and other water birds.
I wanted to post a bit about knitting because I am knitting. Trying to balance the post about the railroad and the lake that I posted earlier this morning (written yesterday.)
My last knitting post was about my last two FOs: the Daisy Cardigan and the Jasmine Romper, both for my granddaughter. I love knitting little things. And with that in mind …
This is the most recent pattern that I’ve knitted for Sylvie. The pattern is free on Ravelry and is published on Knitty.com. If you haven’t heard of Knitty.com, it’s an emailed magazine of electronic patterns and this was one of their patterns from awhile back. The original was a leopard print but I couldn’t imagine doing the duplicate stitching that would be required AND I already had the yarn in pink … although there’s a story about that, too.
Jane of the Jungle is a two-piece pattern in two sizes for babies/toddlers. Mine is a peanut so even this smaller size may not fit her this summer. Time will tell. I knitted the top first and it’s really simple and makes me giggle – a halter top for a baby? Ha! Ha! The icord straps will make it a little softer around baby’s neck. The bottoms are also pretty cute. These may end up being used often. They’re knitted in one piece, the ruffles are knitted first and then added in – I knit the ruffle stitches together with the pants stitches and it was a little bit fiddly but much easier than sewing them on afterward. All I need to do is weave in the ends and seam the sides of the pants and this outfit will be ready for the beach!
I ran out of pink yarn (and I don’t love working with Cascade’s Fixation. I’m sorry, I just don’t.) a little bit past the crotch of the bottoms. Of course I did! I considered several “saves” possible – frog back to the ruffles and knit the ruffles in a different color, frog the top and re-knit in a different or two colors to match the newly reimagined bottoms, or bite the bullet and buy more yarn. I was hoping to use up yarn not buy more yarn. Well, I lost at yarn chicken … and the new ball is a different lot number and just a slightly different color … so I did end up frogging back a bit and starting the new ball just in the middle of the legs. So be it. Note to self: Next time. start with using two colors so you don’t have to buy more.
I’m also working away, although I’m a little bit behind, on Romi’s 11th Annual MKAL called, Falderal. We know it’s a two-color triangular shawl (you can buy the pattern on Ravelry.)
I’ve wanted to knit a Romi Hill pattern for a long time and for whatever reason, this is the one that I am starting with and I have enjoyed it so far. The MKAL is in five parts and we have had three parts released. I’m still finishing part two … I said that I was a little bit behind, right? If you are knitting this shawl and are behinder than I am and don’t want to see what it’ll look like then stop reading here.
Part One was a lace triangle. The lace was simple enough and the cast on was interesting. I am enjoying the recordings of the lives from YouTube. I won’t be able to watch any lives because they’re always on a day that I work. But it’s ok. They’re recorded.
Part Two adds in the second color and it’s an interesting slip stitch pattern with some simple cables. I’ve finished the first of the two charts in this section and am about to jump into the second chart. The photos are not of the end of the first chart or the end of the second part, but here’s what I had as of yesterday afternoon … I never did get dressed yesterday.
I have made no progress on my Three Seasons Cardigan. I haven’t even tried. My thinking was that I would be taking my Romi shawl with me when we travel to Knit City Montreal in a couple of weeks but I think we will be getting clue 5 when we’re there. I’ll have to plan to bring a different shawl.
I am knitting the Three Seasons Cardigan in Katia Concept Cotton-Merino in the black colorway. This is the colorway that I saw when I fell in love with this pattern. AND the yarn is not disappointing me at all. The stitch definition is amazing. The yarn is soft and nice to knit with and the pattern is very well written. I am at the end of the first 50 rows of the back and am about to begin the arm scye (a little triangle added in so that you can have a nice smooth arm pit.) I’ll have this sweater done in time to wear it this fall and winter. It’s not a pattern that I can knit when I’m in a group or that I can knit and watch TV because I tend to make mistakes in the charts. But it’s getting easier to follow as I go and now that I can read my knititng.
I also cast on a pair of socks. I love knitting socks and have a small horde of sock yarns. This pair will be for my daughter, Libet. She chose the yarn from my stash. It’s from deep stash, I have absolutely no recollection of where I bought it but it’s knitting up to be quite pretty. Wherever I bought it, good for me! Ha! Ha! I haven’t taken any photographs yet. Coming soon to a post near you?
I still have a few projects in project bags on the shelf in my studio. My genser, a pair of colorwork mittens and Arne and Carlos mini Nordic jumpers (they have got to be finished before Christmas!) There may be more in the cabinet in my atelier but I don’t want to know about that right now. What I have out, what I can see is enough to keep me going for a while. At least my boss is coming back to Maine this week and I won’t be working any extra days. More time to knit!
Today is the antithesis of yesterday. It’s damp and dreary and there was no coffee on the porch this morning. Maybe I’ll take the time to get caught up with house cleaning or agendas for the meetings I am running this week or maybe I’ll bake something. And maybe I’ll stay up in my studio and knit. Yesterday I wore my Emsworth Vest over a blouse and summer shoes. Today I’m back to socks and slippers and a turtleneck under a fleece sweatshirt. Ah, spring in Maine.
I have finished a couple of projects and I’m really pleased with them. Let me tell you about them …
This is the Little Coffee Bean Cardigan by Elizabeth Smith, a Maine designer. The sweater was designed to be two (or more) colors in stripes. I used the pattern to knit a plain cotton sweater and then I added “daisies” in embroidery. The embroidered design was inspired by a sweater that I saw online.
All of the yarn I used were stashed yarns. I only bought the buttons. The photos that I took are a perfect example of why you should take photos during the day in natural light. Ha! Ha! The last photo of the completed sweater are much more real colors.
This little Coffee Bean cardigan knits up super quickly and is very simple. I used some stashed 100% cotton yarn that was a gift to me when I was a school “nurse” (clinic assistant was my title) from a wonderful family. I love the color and it’ll be adorable later this summer or early this fall on my granddaughter.
Second, this is the Jasmine Romper by Maria Atencia. As I’ve written here before, the inspiration for this knit was from one of my customer/friends who has knitted three (THREE) to my one. But this was a really fun project to knit. The simple lace on the front of the romper held my attention and interest and the simple (let’s call it plain) stockinette on the back gave me the TV knitting finish that I needed after all the lace. I chose to knit this one in white Bamboo Pop yarn by Universal Yarns. Bamboo Pop is a really nice yarn to work with. It didn’t split like a lot of natural plant fibers tend to do and it didn’t hurt my hands. It’s also soft and will feel good against a babies skin.
Spoiler Alert! If you don’t want to see what clue #1 looks like, don’t read further.
I have cast on a new project, laying aside my Three Season Cardigan for a wee bit. I have always wanted to knit a shawl by Romi and I jumped at the opportunity this week when I saw that Romi is doing a mystery shawl KAL named, Falderal. The name attracted me, too. Do you remember “Falderal and fiddle-dee-dee” in the song, Impossible, from the Rogers and Hammerstein movie Cinderella? I’m talking the 1967 version with Lesley Ann Warren and Celeste Holme (click on the link for the way I remember the song). I’m dating myself but I loved that movie!
Anyway, the first clue was with color 1 and consisted of simple lace knitting. I thoroughly enjoyed knitting the lace and only had to frog back a couple of times and only a few stitches each time. I use lots of stitch markers to help me with lace repeats so that I know if I’ve missed a yarn over. Yarn overs are the most often missed thing in lace knitting. I finished the first clue before the delivery of the second clue today. I’ll get working on it today, too. (But I have an agenda for a meeting tomorrow that I have to write before I am allowed to knit!)
Both of the yarns I am using are Emma’s Yarn Practically Perfect Sock in (purple) February ’23 and After Dark colorways. The After Dark (gray) was in my stash. I think I had planned to make a shawl with a dappled gold yarn from String Theory Yarns, a Maine yarn dyer. I have quite a few shawls with gold in them and I’ll let that hank hang in the stash while I use this gray in my Romi shawl.
I still have a line-up of WIPs on my shelf in my atelier: a pair of mittens, my genser, and the Jane “pants” for my granddaughter. These don’t include the projects that are in the cupboard and out of my sight. So … there you go!
Today we started the day with coffee on the porch. The water birds are returning to the lake. We had lots of water birds flying in this morning and we love keeping track of the birds we see. This morning we saw several pairs of Hooded Mergansers and we heard Canada Geese and Loons. The lake is alive again.
When you’re in the knitting business, and you work in an independent yarn shop, Local Yarn Shop Day is a big deal. LYS day is an opportunity to celebrate the small, family-owned brick and mortar shops. I read somewhere today that there were as many as 10,000 local yarn shops ten (twenty?) years ago and there are only 1,000 remaining.
Many of the shops remaining have gone to online only. Big box stores can buy in huge numbers thus making prices lower and they typically carry only commercial yarns that are inexpensive. LYSs carries some inexpensive yarns, too, but your LYS has value well beyond the big box or online stores and it’s high time we start singing their praises.
Your LYS may charge a little bit more but they employ local families who live near you and may have children in the schools, they eat in restaurants, they go to doctors and they pay taxes. The people who own and work in your LYS are “your people.”
Your LYS employees are ready, willing and able to offer you pattern support, help you with knitting/crocheting problems, help you match a yarn to a pattern or even find a pattern that is within your ability. Your LYS staff loves yarn and they’re a great resource for fiber lovers. They’ve likely tried the needles that you need to buy, they know how the yarns knit up, they understand why some yarns aren’t a good idea for that colorwork pattern and they love to talk about yarn!
A LYS will stand behind the products that they sell. When I lived in Florida I didn’t have a LYS and I ordered some needles online. What a mess. I’ll never do it again. The person selling the needles wouldn’t take them back despite an inaccurate listing. I was stuck with them. That’s a mistake I don’t need to make twice. Local Yarn shops will often take broken needles back because they know their suppliers will also stand behind their products. Try that at a big box craft store.
Your LYS will help you find the right needles and accessories for your project. Are you knitting a child’s cardigan or a lace shawl? Do you have arthritis? Did you know that square needles are better for you? Those of us who work in a LYS know lots of tips and tricks to make your knitting or crocheting or weaving or rug hooking a better experience.
Will you pay a little bit more for your yarn at your LYS? Yup. Small businesses can’t possibly compete with big box stores. But your LYS will learn your name and say “hello” and be happy to see you when you come in. They’ll special order yarn for you. They’ll also check to make sure that the yarn you’re buying is from the same dye lot.
Local Yarn Shops are very special places where communities are built and I hope that if you need to purchase yarn that you’ll consider buying at a brick and mortar store. The remaining brick and mortar stores need your business.
Today I had nothing specific planned and, boy, am I glad I did. I needed today to simply be. It’s been a busy week and I’m still recovering from Covid and am finding that this time my energy is lower than the first time. I worked two days in the store this week and taught on Friday. It was good to be back at work and after three weeks away and it was really tiring. Add in my normal “chores” at home and add in many of the chores that my husband isn’t able to manage yet, and I have had a very full week. I needed to day to stay in my pajamas and do “nothing”.
And “nothing” I did. I’ve been up in my studio working on the store email newsletter and getting my calendar caught up for the week. I hope we can have coffee on the porch before I have to go in to work for a staff meeting. I’m working an extra day this coming week, too.
I’ve been in a bit of a knitting slump. I finished and sent off the socks for my brother’s birthday and I’ve gotten about two thirds of the way through the back of my granddaughter’s romper. I’ve finished the knitting on her sweater but I haven’t felt like working on either piece. I took the Arne & Carlos Advent Jumpers to work yesterday and didn’t pull any of my projects out. Instead, I attempted a crochet sample for the store. After several false starts, I’ve (maybe) admitted defeat. I’m not sure if it’s me or the pattern that needs help but I’ll take it to the staff meeting tomorrow and see what the crew thinks. I think I’m doing what I’m supposed to but it’s not looking like the photograph on the pattern.
Today I cast on a new project. I bought the yarn online … where I found 11 balls of the black colorway that I “needed” to have for this cardigan. I bought the pattern several weeks (months?) ago and haven’t cast on. Today I did. I swatched a bit and then just decided to knit the sweater. If it doesn’t fit, I’ll be surprised. I was at gauge in most of the patterns of the swatch so it must be ok. I’ll be knitting the Three Season Cardigan by Wool and Pine in the Katia Concept Cotton-Merino yarn. In black! I had to!!!
I’ve enjoyed being in the zone today, concentrating on my knitting and the yarn passing through my hands. I needed this today. Photos will come soon.
One of my customer friends was making this adorable romper for her grandchild-to-be and needed some help on the lace work on the front of the garment. Some of the chart/stitch patterns were unfamiliar. We worked through the “issue”, figured it out and then I figured that I had to knit it for my little Sylvie.
The Jasmine Romper by Maria Atencia comes in sizes newborn through twelve months. The front is a lace pattern with bobbles and the back is a simple stockinette with garter stitch edges around the legs and at the top. It requires five buttons and is knitted in a sport-weight yarn on US 4 needles for most of the pattern. I chose Universal’s Bamboo Pop, a DK weight cotton and bamboo blend. It’s machine washable/dry flat.
I’m knitting the 6-9 months size for Sylvie. She’s a peanut. The size that I chose to knit had some minor inconsistencies between the written and charted pattern but the designer was quick to respond and has updated the pattern. So, after a couple of false starts (I always think it’s me who has the problem the first time … or two) the knitting began.
The front of the romper is a fun lace pattern with bobbles. I have been using the KnitCompanion app but you could print it out and use a chart minder. I have positive feelings about both but am loving the Knit Companion app and I am saving paper and ink by not printing my patterns. Regardless, the front is difficult to count rows on because of the patterning but it’s not impossible. Life will be so much easier if you mark your progress. Decades of experience have taught me this. I also use stitch markers to help me. That’s why we have them, right? I used stitch markers to mark the garter stitch edges and to mark the lace pattern at the center of the garment’s front.
There are a lot of ways to make bobbles and this pattern asks you to knit and purl into the stitch for a total of four stitches or three increased and then you yarn over and cast off the four stitches just knit. This makes a bobble that’s not particularly pronounced and that remains a little bit open at the bottom. For this garment, it seems like a good option. But I want to remember to return to my notes from a workshop I took with Annie Modisette in Florida many moons ago because I loved her bobble technique. When I get around to that, I’ll write a post on bobbles.
Anyway … the front is now complete and I’m working my way up the back. The back is simple stockinette stitch with garter edges in all the same areas at the front. If I’d continued working on it yesterday, it would have been finished and ready for blocking and seaming today. But I didn’t. So, I hope I’ll finish it today and get it blocked so I can seam it and send it on to NYC before my daughter and her family head to California in May. I hope Sylvie can wear this outfit this summer. We’ll see how it fits.
It seems that the back is a little fuller than the front and that may be to accommodate a diaper. Once finished and blocked, I think it will be telling. I love the yarn – Universal Yarn’s Bamboo Pop. It’s a blend of cotton and bamboo so it’s a sturdy yarn but like a lot of cotton or linen it doesn’t hurt my hands to knit with it. I also have had no problem with splitting. I love the pure white, too.
I can hardly wait to see this on her little body. With a little bit of a tan on those chunky thighs? Ha Ha! Gone knitting.
This really stinks! I was all ready to go back to work this week and get back to a more “normal” life. Yesterday I started to feel like I had a sinus infection and this morning I thought I’d just test to make sure. I’m almost sorry I did. I tested three times hoping for a negative test. They were all positive.
So, I had a virtual doctor’s appointment (she said this situation was “rare”) and she wasn’t sure how to treat me. But it turned out that the antivirals that I took last week in NY were good but it’s too early to take them again. So, we are treating the symptoms with cough meds, nasal spray and an albuterol inhaler and now we wait … for heaven’s sake! I don’t need this and I sure hope that my newly-hipped husband doesn’t get it and I hope his kids who came to help don’t get it. Time will tell.
It looks like I’ll be spending a bunch of time over the next few days in my studio on the second floor while my husband is on the first floor and I’ll be masking when dinner or other help is needed. I’ll be washing my hands even more, and cleaning the communal areas that I touched. The weather is beautiful so the windows can be open today and the air cleaners are running on high. I’m doing everything I know how to keep the germs from spreading.
Aaaand … I’m knitting a little bit. I’ve been working on my granddaughter’s cardigan. Worsted weight cotton knits up so quickly in a little size. I love the color.
I’m also trying to get the socks for my brother finished before his birthday. I’m working on them today in hopes of reaching the toe. He’s got big feet so it’s a lot of knitting. But he’s worth it. I’ve been using Yankee Knitter’s sock pattern and the leg and top of the foot are 3×1 rib. They look pretty good if you ask me. I know he’ll love them.
My plan is to work on the Arne and Carlos mini jumpers and clean up and organize my studio as well. I’m going to get some quality knitting time in and make the best of this second round of isolation. We’ve got lots of food in the fridge/freezer and some left-overs from the weekend. We are so fortunate that we are as healthy as we are. This is just a little hiccup, right?
PS – This little bunny has covid, too. Luckily she has no symptoms. Nor does her father. Spreading love around the family.
On Thursday morning I tested negative for Covid. Yay! My kids said that ideally I’d test twice 24 hours apart but when your husband has had a hip replacement surgery and you weren’t able to be there with him, you really want to get home as quickly as possible. So I took an extra test with me on the road and agreed to test again before I went into the house.
Uber to Metro North train to car to Maine. I really need to find a more passive way for me to get to the city and back because the drive is quite long when you’re doing it yourself and only staying for a couple of days. And since I stay with the kids in their apartments, it can only be a couple of days because we’re all tripping over each other. It’s great for a couple of days but then it’s time for them to return to their normal lives.
Anyway, I got home Thursday night and was thrilled to see that my hubby had survived his surgery handily (hippily? LOL) The procedure went “perfectly” according to his surgeon and his recovery is going well. This seems to be the joint that you want to need to replace. It’s so good to be home.
I’ve been knitting a little bit while I was in NY. I took two projects: my brother’s birthday socks and some cotton to make a sweater for Sylvie.
My brother’s socks are big. He has big feet. He’s a tall man! I’ve finished the first sock and have passed the heel of the second one. I love knitting with Emma’s Practically Perfect Sock yarn. It’s a delight to work with and this is a perfect color for my brother who loves green! I’ll be wrapping them up once their done because my “baby brother” is turning the big 6-0 this year and when we were there last he mentioned that he couldn’t find one of the other “fancy socks” that I made him a while back.
I saw this adorable little cardigan on Instagram and sent it to my daughter thinking it’d be adorable for Sylvie this summer/fall. Since they live in NY, their apartments are warm but when you go outside you sometimes need a little sweater. She loved it and I have several hanks of a “robin’s egg” blue cotton that I thought I’d knit it in. I’ll have to look through my stash to see what I have in white and yellow/gold for the daisies which I’ll embroider on after the cardi is finished. My granddaughter has grown so much but she’s still fairly petite and in smaller-than-her-age clothing. So, I’m knitting the 6 month size and we’ll see how it goes. I have five hanks of the yarn so I can knit two or three sweaters from this yarn for a little one.
The pattern is Elizabeth Smith’s Little Coffee Bean Cardigan, a free pattern on Ravelry. I’m knitting it with Universal Yarn Cotton Supreme in the Aqua colorway.
I’ve got other projects started, of course, but they were left behind when I went to NY. Heck, I was only going to be gone for a couple of days … and it turned into a week. The best laid plans, right?