TNNA Recap, part I

Last weekend I was at our industry trade show, the TNNA Summer Show. I was there to help Happy Fuzzy Yarn in her booth. It was a different show than last year for many reasons such as location, time of year, and it was held the same weekend as another big event, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. That conflict caused many to choose between the two events. There were a few exceptions, and I am in awe that Clara Parkes managed to attend both!

It was a wonderful show and I’m still processing all that happened during the whirlwind four days.

Would you like to see some of the beautiful yarns I was playing working with all weekend? These are 3 of 17 new colours this season of Corrie Sock, 4 oz (114g)/435 yards (395m) of fingering weight yarn in a 75% Superwash Corriedale wool/25% nylon blend.

Aren’t they lovely? If you’d like to see these in your LYS, speak up and ask your LYS owner to contact Happy Fuzzy Yarn.

Can’t wait for me to write up more thoughts? here’s another preview!

a spring KAL for Ben Weatherstaff’s Friend

Ben Weatherstaff's FriendHappy May! This month there’s a KAL (knit-a-long) happening over at Ravelry, for my pattern, Ben Weatherstaff’s Friend.

While this little robin is a quick knit, I like to keep things low-key. We’re all busy and I’ve fallen behind on many a KAL… so while I’ll post advice weekly, I urge everyone to knit on their own schedule! There’s no being late to join or falling behind. Refer to the tips when they work for you!

Each Tuesday in May, I’ll check in at the KAL thread with advice and suggestions for each step in this pattern.

BWF-springtimeWeek 1 (Tues 06 May) – Yarn options & Knitting beak & feet
Week 2 (Tues 13 May) – Knitting the wings
Week 3 (Tues 20 May) – Knitting the start of body
Week 4 (Tues 27 May) – Knitting the entire body & finishing

Please join in!

Don’t have your own copy of the book yet? While I highly recommend the entire book, What (Else) Would Madame Defarge Knit?, you can now purchase just this one pattern as an instant PDF download (other single patterns are coming soon).

Or if you’re at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival this weekend you can buy a copy of the book at the Cooperative Press booth!

Where will I be this weekend? I’ll be in Indianapolis at The National NeedleArts Association Summer Trade Show.

BWF-web

designing (and writing) friends: Larissa Brown

Larissa Brown is a very talented writer and designer. I’m also very lucky as I have test and sample knit for her and I also had the extreme pleasure of being an early reader for her novel, Beautiful Wreck, and you can find my review at immerse yourself in a beautiful book.

Dactyl-Sample-4Not only does Larissa craft words beautifully, her talent with sticks and string is wonderful and I’m excited to finally show off Dactyl, a fingering weight shawl that I sample knit. When you purchase this pattern you actually receive two patterns in one as it includes instructions for the shawl in both fingering and worsted weight. You begin this knit with a very long cast-on, but it gets shorter from there, I promise! This sample is knitted in Indigodrafgonfly‘s beautiful Merino Sock. It was my first experience knitting with this yarn and it will not be my last. It created a beautiful shawl with a wonderful drape.

Dactyl-Sample-1 Dactyl-Sample-2

I also test knitted for Larissa with her Shift Shawl. It’s a fun knit and the pattern stitch is highly addictive. The possibilities for playing with colour are endless.

ShiftShawl-littleacorn

If you’re interested in having me sample or test knit for you, please contact me.

designing friends: footie socks by miriam felton

I recently had the pleasure of test knitting for the awesome Miriam Felton. That pattern is now available and I’m really excited about it.

Footie socks provide just enough coverage to be comfortable with clogs, toms, or just wandering around the house. I knitted two pair so far and see many more in my future. They’re a little like popcorn, you can’t stop at just one…

The absolute genius of Miriam’s newest design is that she includes sizing for the whole family over a wide range of yarn weights from a fine fingering to a DK (6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 stitches per inch)! There is also a useful reference sheet you can download to keep track of important information for each pair you’re working on.

I was delighted to test the penny-friendly sizes both for gauge (9 and 10 spi) and foot (circumference 7″, foot length 8.5″). Both pair hug my feet and fit perfectly with my clogs. I’ve worn them out and about with no slippage and just as importantly no blisters at the end of the day. Each pair uses very little yarn, so little in fact that I will be able to knit myself (I have tiny feet) three pair from that one skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine! This is a great warm weather project, there’s not much sock to have on your lap while knitting or wearing.

FootieSocks-clogs FootieSocks FootieSocks-toms

Footiesocks10SPI-WIPYou can view my project pages with some additional notes for both pair at:
9 SPI (2mm needles): Ravelry | Craftsy
10 SPI (1.5mm needles): Ravelry | Craftsy
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in Steel Cut Oats (#1214)

Note: It’s quite possible that your knitting tension is different from mine so it’s unlikely you’ll need to use incredibly tiny needles for a light fingering yarn.

The PDF pattern is available for purchase at both Ravelry and Craftsy, and you can learn more at miriamfelton.com.

storage solutions

I have a large collection of stoles, shawls, scarves, and cowls I’ve knitted (and purchased) over the years.

For a very long time, I didn’t have an organized way to keep them and they were a large pile of mess. It saddened me because after taking hours to carefully knit an item I just dumped it in a pile like a teenage boy.

In early 2012 I asked the internet for suggestions and started thinking, researching (Ikea trip!), and sketching ideas.

That June I came up with this solution.

2012-shawls-beforeafter

It was a huge improvement but there was a problem.

It didn’t really let me easily see what I had or pull out a new shawl when I needed it. I also put too much on one of them and it eventually broke from the weight.

This past weekend I went into the workshop and built version 2.0. It’s not perfect either, but as for right now it’s a huge improvement.

2014-04-Shawls-v2

I think version 3 will be a mix of pegs and bars. The triangular shawls are tricky to store.

I still need to design a better solution for mittens and hats.

april showers

Today’s rain led me to thinking about when wool gets wet, why it often should, and some of the best ways to do it. After all, my cats know that bathtime is important to keep looking good!

As the season changes and we begin to set aside the heavy wool sweaters and socks for lighter-weight wear, it’s important to properly care for those items before we pack them away until next winter. The talented and wise Kate Atherley recently blogged about the importance of giving woolies a bath before they’re put away for the year. I like both Eucalan and Soak pretty equally, these are no rinse items so it makes life a bit easier.

When we finish knitting or crocheting an item, it is also important to give it a quick bath and then set it out and shape it to how we want it to dry. This evens up stitches for stockinette and causes lace to become magical and ethereal.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, talked about the importance of blocking and how to do it a few weeks ago.

Pretty much the only thing I don’t block are socks if they’re for me and mostly because they tend to go directly on my feet. Everything else gets blocked. I have also been known to repurpose items throughout the house if something is oddly shaped, such as a tight fitting cowl.

blocking-a blocking-b blocking-c blocking-d

Designer Holly Chayes includes an article about blocking and how different blocking techniques influence the result in her new shawl collection Shawls to Play With.

If you want to learn even more about the magic of blocking, ask for a class at your LYS or take one of these two online courses:
Kate Atherley‘s Craftsy class, Blocking Handknits
or
Patty Lyons is teaching a live webinar this coming Tuesday April 8, 2014 at 1pm EST on Blocking Techniques in Knitting. If you can’t attend the live, register and you can download it later. She gave me a promo code to offer to you for 15% off the price of the webinar (I believe this is good only through April 8th, so register now!) use PATTYLYONS15.

And yes, you should also block your Gauge Swatches!

AprilFlowers