Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Fibertrends Alpine Boots (Adult Version)

Annalee finished her Alpine Boots and we are lucky to have a before and after shot. Husband, Gordy, is our resident king of felting and seems to thoroughly enjoy the process of shrinking wool. Even though both boots are knit up, Gordy has been taking the pair around showing everyone he knows the incredible results of felting! Consequently, no one is wearing them just yet...

Al & I went to the Seattle Boat Show this past Monday. I brought
along my toe up/two at a time socks that I'm making up out of A Swell Yarn's Duet Sock Yarn. I was able to get the toes done before we arrived at the show, so it was fairly easy to walk the show and knit (stockinette stitch). I was amazed at some of the boats we saw and the price tags that were attached to them. One could go through the boats; most of the big ones (30' and up) the shoes had to come off to prevent scuff marks. Here is a picture of probably the most luxurious boat we saw. My opinion of the show, very interesting, but the knitting makes it more interesting!!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Calling All Sock Knitters!!

Knit Socks? I spotted this book, Favorite Socks, back in November and thought it would be a great book for the sock knitter. Brown delivered it today and I must say, the book is better than what I thought. This book contains classic designs that you've seen in various issues of Interweave Knits. There are 25 different designs, most using fingering weight yarn. The DPN technique is used, but as everyone is observing, DPN's look harder than it really is.

Speaking of socks, remember the fab hand painted yarn with coordinating heel/toe yarn? Well folks, our own Angela has gone international! That's right, our friends to the north in Canada will be enjoying the incredible eye candy that Angela creates. I hope they love it as much as we do.

Remember the sock yarn that looks like the Neapolitan Brach's candy; Trekking 126? Well, this is a classic case of supply and demand in action. We learn that Skacel discontinued this yarn and there were 2 shops in the world that had it (Renaissance Yarns being one of them). Suddenly, we received calls from the east coast and Midwest and several dozen skeins travelled over the Cascade Mountains. To make things more interesting, the yarn showed up on the world's biggest auction block and went for more than 3 times the suggested retail price. Well, we took our story to Joanne Ellis (our fantastic Skacel rep) and she worked her magic. You guessed it! The colorway was resurrected and we hope it will be around for a long time!

Stay tuned tomorrow where you will be awestruck by Annalee's rendition of Fibertrends Alpine Boots (adult version) and I will recap the country's biggest boat show west of the might Mississippi River.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Died and Went to Heaven!!!

It has been a busy week! My twins (Stephanie and Michael) turned 18 yesterday! It seems like yesterday they were just babies. Time goes so fast! We had a quiet dinner at the Lobster Shop on Dash Point. Anthony and Amber (Ant's girlfriend) were able to have dinner with us. It is so great when all three kids can get together!

The Madrona Fiber Arts Festival was fabulous! Crown Mountain Farms is one of the vendors and probably my most favorite. Klaus tempted me (successfully) with a 50/50 blend of fine merino and angora. It is the softest fiber that I have ever put my hands on. I purchased my wheel from Klaus so it is fairly easy to justify the purchase of fibers. I also acquired a black 50/50 superfine alpaca/tencel top, a beautiful, creamy white 50/50 Cashmere/Mulberry Silk Top. Teyani must have been in classes as I did not see her. I imagine I would still be amazed by her amazing ability to walk, talk and work her Turkish drop spindle all at the same time!

MaryAnn and I also found beautiful glass circular needles. I bought a pair to test them out; don't be surprised if you see them in the shop someday soon. Even though they are made of glass, they are fully functional and so far, nice to work with. The cable is extremely soft and the needles come with a lifetime guarantee. Oh, and sock knitters, DPN's are available as well. There is a new software on the market for designers. This software will assist in the creation of skirts, afghans, ponchos and sweaters. On the surface, the software seems a little more sophisticated than the Sweater Wizard. I will be testing it over the next few weeks to see how powerful it is.

It's been a little quiet at the shop the past couple of days. I imagine everyone is getting a touch of 'spring fever' with the nice weather we have been enjoying over the past couple of days. Several folks started their DPN sock class and so far, things have gone very well. We did not get Louisa's Grace Wool & Silk today, so I hope to see that Tuesday.

Happy Knitting!!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Louisa Harding's Visit

It is amazing how fast time flies and how many things there are to get done in a day! My apologizes to those of you who kept checking for an update!

Louisa Harding dazzled us Friday evening with her new collection of garments which are in her latest collections (Swallowtail and Hummingbirds). There are so many beautiful pieces in these books; here are a few of your favorites.

We received word today that one of Louisa's yarns, Grace Wool & Silk, shipped today along with Winter Muse Classics. We are waiting with much anticipation for this shipment. There are 10 colors in her palette and the yarn is so soft and luxurious. This shipment comes to us from New York, so I hope to see it this Friday or Tuesday at the latest.
Well, I must close tonight. I have a lot of knitting to do before the next fair isle class (yes, a Louisa Harding design) so I must get busy. Here is Anna Lee's rendition of Louisa's design in an Elsebeth Lavold yarn (Classic Al). Thanks to everyone who came out Friday to meet Louisa! Louisa is an incredible woman with an amazing story and so much talent. I hope that we will have the opportunity for our paths to cross with hers in the future!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Socks, Socks and More Socks

It's incredible to see the progress everyone made on their projects while the weather kept folks away! The fair isle sweaters (Louisa Harding design) are really coming along and I hope to get pictures from you on your progress so we can share with everyone. The color choices are all coming together nicely. I cannot wait until the 27th when we have our next class. Everyone is knitting socks too and I am seeing people challenge themselves with the next step - little yarn!! The toe up sock seems to be challenging some, but everyone likes the way the sock fits. With practice, I am sure everyone will be fine. Next thing you know, we will all be knitting socks two at a time, toe up!!

Does everyone remember the Pleasingly Plaid Cardigan? We must have seen about a dozen different color combinations during the summer and fall months. Well, here is baby Tommy in his cardigan that Anna Lee knit up (photo credits - Sharon Schneider). The matching hat (knit by Stephanie Miller) complements the sweater nicely. The color choice is exquisite!!

We received new sock yarn today (Trekking XXL). I cannot believe how gorgeous the colors are. Lots of new guy colors like the browns, Mariner's color (or darn close), deep rich jewel tones that almost look black until you take a closer look.

I mastered the drop spindle yesterday, thanks to Connie at Cascade Spindle Company. Some day, I hope to be able to walk, talk and drop spindle - all at the same time!!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Introducing Duet Sock Yarn!

I hope you are feeling my excitement coming through! We are so lucky and honored to be able to offer you a hand painted sock yarn created by Angela of A Swell Yarn Shop ! Angela is a local artist and truly has a knack for color. Duet is 360 yards of scrumputuous eye candy! Not only are the colors incredibly gorgeous, but Angela has also included a coordinating solid meant to be used for the heel and toe. In order to give Angela the ultimate flexibility in artistic creativity and you the unique opportunity of having a 'one of a kind' pair of socks, we do not guarantee that any colorway will be available in the future. My message here folks, if you see a colorway that you cannot live without; do not hesitate with this yarn! More than likely, the colorway will not be recreated.

Come in and check out the 8 Valentine themed colorways and the 8 everyday colorways! Here are a few examples...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

What's going on?

It was good to see everyone today! It's amazing the progress that everyone has made on their projects this past week. Largo is finished with the fair isle portion of her sweater! It looks FANTASTIC! She is a little bored with knitting up to the armholes and is willing to barter - you knit up to the armhole for her; she will knit your fair isle section! Roberta is planning out her father's fair isle afghan - looking forward to seeing a swatch incorporating the border. Christine is working on her sweater that she waited months to work on - such restraint I must admit. She's making good progress, can't wait until Wednesday. Ann, MaryAnn, Teresa and Debra are working on socks - whether it's toe up, DPN, two at once; seems like every technique is going on (less the extreme - two at a time DPN technique). Nancy (Smith) worked on her Einstein coat; it is beautiful! Nancy - "get 'er done"! You can be wearing it now in this bitter cold!!! Brian is knitting - yeah!!! For those of you stuck at home - WE MISSED YOU! I hope you are staying warm and able to get some good knitting time in!

The toe up socks are coming along fine. I have to get working on my fair isle (maybe I will be the one to take Largo up on her offer). Tomorrow's goal is to get the fair isle piece done. This will be good to work on while the Seahawks are playing.

Shilo (aka, McFelty) loves the snow! He also thinks he is a big dog and tried to take on a doberman pincher this morning. Here is a picture that Al took Thursday morning. Shilo likes to run and leap off the deck into the snow. Then he runs back up the deck and slides across the deck. He is so cute! Good thing - came home to another chewed up DPN (Ugh!).

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Magical Winter Wonderland

It's a cold, brisk morning in downtown Kent. I was able to get some fantastic snow pictures today. This is the best one, very picturesque of a day in the mountains! The roads surrounding the shop are sloppy to say the least. The sun is out so the snow is melting. Tonight should be an interesting night as everyone makes their way home - temp is suppose to dip into the 20's.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Amazing Weather! Fabulous New Yarn!!

Once again, Western Washington is experiencing a winter wonderland! The snow is a lovely sight, but it definitely reaks havic on our nerves when we have to drive in it. I believe we have had close to 3" in about a 2 hour period of time.

While the snow is falling, I thought I'd give a new yarn a try. 'Brown' (UPS) delivered Cash Vero today. Cash Vero is made in Italy and has an incredibly soft touch. The fiber content is 55% merino extra fine wool, 33% microfiber and 12% cashmere. I chose two colors, burgundy and black (as if you didn't figure that out) and began a pair of toe up socks. To make the socks more interesting, I am incorporating a Fibonacci sequence for stripes as well as short row shaping for the toe. I'll probably do an afterthought heel. I'll post picture tomorrow of my progress as well as a review of the yarn. Off to sleep for now, could be an interesting, icy morning.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Announcing the Arrival of Tofutsies!

Tofutsies (toe foot sees) is a wonderful new yarn from Southwest Trading Company which is made with 2.5% Chitin (Kite n). Are you finding yourself scratching your head wondering what this fiber is? I sure did! Chitin is a blend of crab and shrimp shell. That sounds like it might be a bit uncomfortable, right? Yet, it sounds so intriguing! It really put us over the edge when Cathian, our SWTC rep, gave us a sample of the color and yarn. I was still a bit hesitant on the fiber, afterall, crab & shrimp shell in a sock yarn! But the colors, WOW! Well, the yarn arrived this past week and I am happy to say, NICE! The yarn feels nice on the ball, but it seems to get softer once it is knit up. RoxieAnn is currently knitting up a pair of socks and I am quite impressed on how soft it is. I cannot wait to knit up a pair myself!!

More info on Tofutsies: 50% superwash wool, 25% Soysilk brand fiber, 22.5% Cotton, 2.5% Chitin. It likes to be knit up on a US 2 and you can expect to get 8 sts/inch. It's machine wash and dry as well, but I like to use the sock blockers and dry flat.