Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Manly Hat Class This Sunday!

Do you know a handsome man who needs a handsome hat? Then take our Manly Hat class this Sunday from 9am-12pm! We're making the Pressed Rib Hat from Churchmouse Yarns. Call the store at 215-242-1271 to reserve your space.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Am Loving This Sweater

I am loving this sweater.

I have been collecting cream colored yarns for the last two years and I am having so much fun working with each and every one of them. There is probably enough yarn here for two sweaters, a couple of hats, maybe a scarf and a pair of fingerless gloves so I wouldn't really call it a stash buster.... but I digress. Anyway, I have finished all my increases and I am ready to just knit, knit, knit. This is the really fun part. No shaping to keep track of so the knitting is easy. The only thing I have to decide is which yarn to use next and do I need to add something different. Oh yes, there's still time to shop for more variety. Maybe something with a little bling. Bling is always good. Anyway, enough about me. Let's talk about you.

How's your sweater coming along?

In my last blog I talked about how to select the right yarns from your stash and I left you all rummaging through your your Rubbermaid containers. Now that you have all of your materials at hand it is time to start knitting. I would suggest starting with your base yarn. This yarn is the one that will be used throughout your sweater and is usually a sturdy, relatively plain worsted weight yarn that will hold up to finishing around the neck. The other reason that I suggest starting with the base yarn is that it is perfect for checking gauge. So after you have worked a few inches of the pattern you should stop and check your gauge and make any necessary adjustments. If you need to adjust your needle size I would suggest checking your gauge again after a few more inches.

The next big step is trying it on for size. After I completed all the increases and put my sleeve stitches on a holder I was ready for a fitting. This requires knitting half the stitches onto a second needle so that you can easily fit the garment over your head without loosing stitches.
If you are satisfied with the fit then you are ready to knit, knit, knit. If not, better to make changes now than to give away the sweater later.

Now you're ready for the fun part. I know that this part will be hard for some of you. You will want to know how many rows of this and how many rows of that. What is the formula? Try not to be too obsessive. Try not to over plan. Try not to plan at all. Just know that in the end it is going to be beautiful and just enjoy the process.

I'll see you when the body of my sweater is complete. Until then, Happy Knitting!

P.S. Please don't leave all those tails til the end. Work them in as you go or better yet 'spit splice' when ever possible.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Classic ReDo - The Top Down Stash Buster

I can't believe that I knit this sweater 13 years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 9 months pregnant with Olivia and on vacation at the Jersey shore. I really wasn't allowed to do much so I sat in my comfy chair and knit this great sweater. I was very excited to use up so many little bits of this and that.... the last stages of nesting I guess. I really didn't have a plan and since I couldn't move very far I would just reach down and put my hand in my giant bag of bits to choose the next yarn that would go into my sweater. This might be a challenge for some of you but I think you should resist the urge to plan. Just have fun with it and have faith in your overall choices.

This version was knit from the bottom up and I can remember running out of some of my bits and wondering how I would finish the sleeves and make them look semi symmetric. The key is not to worry. As long as you have similar colors and textures you will have nothing to worry about. If you were to look closely at my sweater you would notice that my sleeves are similar but not identical.

I new when I finished this sweater that it wouldn't be long before I'd want to knit another. Well....13 years later I'm ready to get started.

Are you ready to get started?

For the 2011 version we are using one of my favorite "Knitting Pure and Simple" patterns which means that we will be knitting our new sweater from the top down. I love the raglan shaping and the idea of no-seams is very appealing. We are making this sweater as a knit along so you are welcome to come in and join us on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 from 5-8 p.m. Can't make it in? Here are a few helpful hints to get you started.

First, gather your stash. I like to dump it all into the middle of my dining room table so I can see everything.

Second, edit. Get rid of the yarns that just don't look right with the majority of your yarns. Don't worry. This should be really obvious.

Third, make sure you have a base yarn. I can best describe this as a plain yarn with lots of yardage that pulls the whole thing together. Lastly, make sure that you have lots of variety to add to that base. Mohair, chenille, variegated, boucle, thick and thin, the more the merrier.

The pattern we are using calls for a worsted weight but don't be afraid to add in other weights. Most of my lumpy bumpy yarns are bulky but they add such great texture to the project that I wouldn't dream of excluding them and over a few rows these heavier yarns will not distort my gauge. I also have some left over sock yarn that I will either double up or run with one of my other yarns. In short, don't be afraid to experiment.

I know you are dying to go check out your stash so I'll let you go for now. Maybe I'll see you on the 19th. Either way I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Good luck and Happy Knitting

Monday, January 3, 2011

January Project of the Month

It's time to announce our monthly special Project! This month, our project is fun, great-looking and quick. We are featuring the Easy Colorwork Headbands pattern from Momogus Knits.

The pattern features your choice of a pretty snowflake or handsome checkerboard pattern. Worked in worsted weight yarn, these headbands are a great introduction to colorwork and are perfect for hitting the slopes or the mall!

Here are both patterns worked in Ella Rae Classic and Noro Kureyon:

Good news! Ella Rae Classic is 20% off this month. Come on in, pick up a pattern and two gorgeous colors of yarn, and you'll be on your way!