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Catoctin Shawl and Maize Cowl

One more gorgeous shawl is off the needles! Cassie finished the Catoctin Shawl this weekend and I got it blocked today and just had time for a quick photo shoot.

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I am so very pleased with how this turned out. It is so lovely and easy to wear. I often struggle to feel natural in a shawl but the shaping on this one makes it perfect for a shoulder wrap or a scarf.

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The edging remains my favorite part of the design. Very cool.

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It will be making it’s debut appearance at Stitches South in Atlanta this weekend. If you will be there you can see it in person along with the other new shawls. We will be in booths 232-234.

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We used  just under two skeins of Classic Merino Superwash Sock to make ours. The pattern is available on our website as well as in Dee’s Ravelry store.

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I also finished another knit this weekend. It’s my Maize Cowl knit from one skein of our new Classic Merino Superwash DK yarn. I have written up the pattern and will be offering it for free with the purchase of a skein of the DK yarn in my booth this weekend.

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I do have more shawl progress to report but since I don’t have time for anymore picture taking right now because I have to finish packing for Stitches tomorrow, I will be back in a few days with those. Till next time!

Holbrook and Tristano are done!

We returned yesterday from a busy and successful weekend in Irving, TX which is in the outskirts of Dallas. It was our first time in the area and at the DFW Fiber Fest. We did very well at the show and enjoyed the warm sunny weather. Spring is finally making a more real appearance at home in Nashville too. Yay!

While we were in Texas over the weekend both Joanie and I finished our shawls and Cassie is almost finished with Catoctin. Nadira is coming along slowly and I do have a progress shot of it but will wait to show you Catoctin when it’s done since it looks pretty much the same as last time right now.

Okay so first how about the pre-blocked Holbrook

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and Tristano. I like the texture of Tristano this way but I loved it even more after it was blocked. Ready?

tristano unblocked

Here you go!

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Now I know these look better already but they really only fully reveal their beauty when the wires are removed and the drape and lace fall in their natural place.

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holbrook shawl

tristano shawl

I am quite pleased with them both and am excited that I have them ready for the next show. We are leaving in the morning for Sanford, NC for the Caroling Fiber Festival. If you are in the area come by and see them in person. :-)

So what’s on our needles now? Well besides Cassie’s Catoctin and Kyla’s Nadira,

progress on nadira

I am working on two things. My Maize Cowl in the new Superwash DK yarn

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and I started another shawl. It’s in the same color but in the Lace weight. Here’s my Edwina Shawl beginning. I had to start it twice because I should have known better than to knit lace in the booth. I had only gotten a short way in when I realized it was not right. I think this one is going to be fun because it changes stitch patterns quite a few times, just enough to keep it interesting. :-)

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We decided that Joanie would begin Alexandra Shawl in Classic Merino Superwash Sock in Ruby.

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I think this is going to be stunning in this color, don’t you? It was Joanie’s pick.

Okay I really need to go out and hitch up the trailer and do some final packing so I will leave you with a recent picture of my youngest son and my grandson.

This is Elijah who is now 3 1/2 if you can believe it

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and little Gabriel who is 5 months tomorrow. Both such cuties!

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Shawl progress and some new website additions

When I last wrote we were still in Pittsburgh. We made it home with no further problems on Monday. I was concerned about the winter weather that was forecast for that Sunday night and into Monday, but fortunately for us the line stayed to the south of our route home. I was resigned to waiting another night in Pittsburgh if I woke up to snow but that didn’t happen. I checked the weather conditions online along my route through West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky and all looked good, and it was. Man, I hope that is it for this year. I am leaving for Irving, TX on Wednesday of this coming week for my first time vending at the DFW Fiber Festival and the forecast so far looks promising. :-)

So on to the shawl progress updates. I am past the halfway point on the edging for Holbrook and am hoping to get it done in time to block it for showing at the festival.

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Cassie has also started the edging on Catoctin and I really love the border pattern with that pretty cable and lace.

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Tristano is coming along nicely. Joanie is on the third chart I think and doing quite well with it.

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My favorite detail on this shawl so far is the center slipped stitch between the decreases.

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And last but certainly not least is Kyla’s progress on Nadira. After this picture was taken she hit a snag which I tried to fix last night. I had been working on the website all day adding new stuff and updating and I am afraid my nerves where a bit frazzled. I ended up throwing the poor thing (the shawl not Kyla) across the room. I am sure I can go back to it fresh today and find the error now that I have time to recharge my batteries for tedious tasks. :-)

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Oh and here’s what I was adding to the website. These are the new Leather Bowls we are making and debuted at the Pittsburgh festival. These are just a few of my favorites. Meredith made 12 designs in all that we have listed on the website. I also finally got some more nostepinnes added and I am working on adding Dee O’Keefe’s patterns today.

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Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival 2014

Good morning all! I only have time for a quick post with mostly pictures before the market doors open in 45 minutes.

We are in our usual spot (#30-31) if you have been to the show and visited our booth.

Knitting Notions booth

These are the new Yarn Bowls we are introducing this year and Pittsburgh is getting first crack at them.  The colorful ones in the front are hand made from genuine leather and of course we still have our popular wood bowls too. I am trying to get around to listing them on the website but I wasn’t happy with the first round of pictures I took and haven’t had a chance to reshoot them yet. I will let you know when that happens.

Knitting Notions booth

Knitting Notions booth

Knitting Notions booth

Knitting Notions booth

Another of our new leather accessories are these bracelets and Shawl Pins rings.

Knitting Notions booth

We still have a good supply of the yarns in which we are discontinuing the color ways and have them on final clearance price of 50% off until they are gone. Get them while they last!

Knitting Notions booth

Shawl updates

We are in Pittsburgh for the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Show and the boy has the weather been crazy. We left a day earlier than we planned, on Tuesday in sunny 70 degree temperatures to arrive ahead of the polar vortex expected on Wednesday. I didn’t want to drive through potentially high winds and snow with plummeting temperatures. So, that meant we had a day of down time in the hotel on Wednesday, which I made good use of. I got the body of my Holbrook done and moved on to the border. I am about one third of the way on it now.

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Sorry for the color which is a bit washed out in this one. Hotel rooms aren’t usually the best for photography.

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This one is a bit better.

Cassie is with me and is on the last set of repeats before the edging. You will have to wait on updates for the others since they are home. :-)

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So this is how it looked outside yesterday morning before we went over to set up the booth.

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The snow didn’t accumulate the 2-4” that were expected but man was it ever COLD. The temperature was about 10 degrees with a wind chill of –5. By the time we drove over to the venue it was warmer but not much. My fingers were numb after only about 5-10 minutes of unloading the trailer. We had to go in several times to thaw.

Finally we had everything in the booth and after a quick lunch break we started the arranging. It took us forever, 6 hours in all, to get it all done including the unloading. By the time we left we were tired and hungry again so I completely forgot to take any pictures. I will take a few today when we get to the booth so look for another post soon.

Got to run for now. I need to get my gear ready for the day. Market opens at 12:00 pm.

My little lace sweat shop

The sun is shining today and the promise of spring is back in the air after an ice storm Sunday night. I took the knitting projects outside to get some progress pictures for you so here goes. Yes, plural. You have seen the start of my Holbrook last week and I am on the 14th of 20 repeats of the body stitch chart, so well into it now.

Holbrook shawl

It is a very memorable stitch pattern that I barely need the chart for at this point. This is the one that I am knitting. The three that follow are being knit by three of my daughters.

Now they are not “knitters” but they know how to knit and I am paying them for their help, so that explains my title, LOL! I was not sure how well this would go since none of them have ever knit lace, worked from a pattern or charts. We had a little lace knitting 101 on Saturday and I got them all started and have been helping when they make mistakes but I have to say I am very impressed with their efforts. Now I don’t want to hear any more from you ladies in my booth about how you can’t possibly knit lace or use charts. You really have no excuse if my 14, 19, and 22 year old daughters who only have basic knitting skills can do it. :-) Oh and I also must say here that Dee’s patterns are absolutely top notch! Very thorough and well written!

Catoctin shawl

Okay so this is Catoctin which is being knit by Cassie, my 22 year old. (By the way I have these in my Ravelry projects because they don’t have accounts.) We are using my Classic Merino Superwash Sock yarn in the color Brilliant Blue. It has a lace pattern that is pretty straight forward on each side and a textured stitch in a field of stockinette for the center. It is probably the more complicated compared to Holbrook but she is doing well with it.

Nadira shawl

This one is Nadira which my 14 year old daughter is knitting. I think she got this one mainly because it is purple and she is the one who doesn’t hate purple, LOL! We are using my Classic Merino Lace in the color Amethyst for it. The top section has plainer squares and then they get lacier as the shawl grows. I really like that since it adds lots of interest in the knitting and the finished design. Dee also adds extensive guidance in the pattern for customizing this whole section of the shawl as far as laying out which stitch patterns you use. We are knitting it as written and shown in the sample.

I am very pleased with how neat and even her stitches are in the stockinette. Pretty good for an inexperienced knitter, huh?

Tristano shawl

Here we have Tristano in Classic Merino Superwash Sport yarn in the color Azalea. My 19 year old daughter is making this one. As you can see this one starts at the bottom with a long cast on of 333 stitches. It is slow going at first but she is almost done with the edge chart already. This is probably the “busiest” lace in the design as it gets progressively simpler towards the top. I think it looks great so far!

We have yarn picked out for two more deigns too, so whoever gets done with the above shawls first will get first pick from them. :-)

New Superwash DK yarn

I promised a post to fill you in on the details of our new base yarn in my last post and that will be the topic of today’s entry. I have lots of lace knitting to show you next time but for now let’s look at the new Classic Merino Superwash DK. It is up on the website now. :-)

I really like this base very much. If you have knit with our Classic Merino Superwash Sport, and liked it then you will be happy with this yarn as well. It is basically a slightly thicker version of that yarn.

It has a 4ply construction with a balanced twist that is soft and springy. Of course it is 100% super soft superwash Merino wool, which is my favorite for dyeing and for wearing too. It takes the color so beautifully and feels great next to the skin. I found that it works up best for sweater gauge at 5-5.5 stitches per inch on size 6 US (4 mm) needles. For shawls and drapey items this is flexible because they won’t get the same kind of wear. I hesitate to recommend knitting merino wool yarns for use in sweaters that are knit in a looser gauge than the yarn is designed to be knit due to the fact that some pilling will result in friction areas. For some yarns it works alright to do that, like mercerized cottons for example, but soft wools and cashmere will pill if not knit to gauge. There may be some anyway, but not as much.

So I started a couple small projects in the new yarn to try and have some quick samples for the March shows. First I ran across Polartorte and it looked like a great one to start with. I can not wear hats but I am hopeful that I can have this one finished for the trip to Pittsburgh next week since this one may actually work on me and I am likely going to need a hat. :-)

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I used the recommended 4 US needles for the brim and 7 US for the rest. I am making the M (17”) to fit a 22” head. Mine measures 21” but I decided to go up rather than down since I was between sizes. I am using the color Azalea.

I also cast on for pattern I am writing up for that cowl I did back in January. Remember it?

modeled cowl

cowl pattern

It is a very simple and interesting pattern to knit and I love to the cushy fabric it makes. You could alter the size to customize it. I like the larger circumferences too but this is a nice size for being close to the neck to give warmth without being too clingy. I don’t like turtlenecks for that reason. Mine measures about 24” in circumference and is about 8” deep.

cowl in superwash dk

I decided to cast one in in the new yarn in Saffron. I will knit it the same size I made the original and write up the pattern. I will probably be offering this one as a free pattern with the purchase of a skein of the yarn in my booth.

Okay I will close for today but I will be posting again very soon with a lace knitting update you won’t want to miss. ;-)

Back to Lace Knitting

We have been super busy here getting all that dyeing done that I mentioned in my last post. Last week we had a window of warm weather right before a cold front came through on Thursday. So we had just 3 days to get almost 1200 skeins dyed and we just made it. Whew!

It got chilly after that but we managed to get it all dry, labeled and loaded in the trailer by Tuesday night, right before a second cold front came through. It is still pretty chilly today but warming back up slowly. I am so ready for spring this year, aren’t you?

A good deal of the yarn which we just finished is a new base which you have seen me talk about and knit with. Do you remember this shawl?

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I spent some time yesterday taking and editing pictures of our new Classic Merino DK and will have it live on the website in a day or two. I will let you know when it’s ready and give you some more details then.

For now I want to share another new thing I am very excited about. I spent some time talking with a wonderful designer named Dee O’Keefe of Designs by Dee, last September at the Shenandoah Fiber Festival and we have been in touch over the winter working out an on going working relationship. She is a fabulous designer and I really admire her work. I am going to be selling her patterns both in my online shop and at shows beginning this spring.

I cast on a beautiful crescent shaped shawl, Holbrook and oh my is it good to be back to some lace knitting. I took a long hiatus from lace knitting because I needed a break but I am ready to get back to it now. This shawl is very fun so far. It starts with a technique that was new to me but not difficult to work, called a garter tab. I love the perfect finish it created for the edging. It is those center stiches you see at the top edge. Love it!

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She recommends my Classic Merino Superwash Sock yarn which I agree is wonderful for the stitch definition and dramatic color, but I chose to try it in my Classic Merino Bamboo in Peaches and Cream. After I started I did wonder if I would stick with my choice, but I think the softer drape of the Merino Bamboo will be nice for spring so I am going for it. I found a Raveler who has done this shawl in my Sock yarn here. I think that I am going to barrel through because I can’t wait to see the finished project and may need another in Sock yarn for contrast. :-)

It is a very fun project so far and my favorite part is that there is neither a long cast on nor a long bind off at the end since it has a knitted on border. Oh and the stockinette on the sides makes for nice relaxing parts while the lace panel is easy to follow but not boring or tedious. :-)

Before I close this post I will show you what I finished between my last post and this one. My new around the house socks for cold mornings. I have not made many socks in thicker wool but I like these. They are too thick for wearing in shoes but they are dense and warm like slippers for wearing on cold wood floors. Perfect!

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Warm hands and feet

Okay I am having serious commitment issues with you blog. I think my problem is that I really tend turn into a hermit in winter anyway and now that has seeped over into my online life as well. It’s not you. it’s me. I have hardly posted on my Facebook, Twitter, anything. I have lots of stuff I need to add to my website and haven’t done that either. Gah! I need to just get my butt in gear.

Spring’s coming soon though, right? It has been one heck of a winter hasn’t it? We haven’t had all the snow most of the country has, thankfully, but it sure has been unusually gray and cold this year. Next week’s temperatures are expected to be warmer, in the sixties, but wet. That’s not much better but I will take it. I need to get yarn dyed for the spring shows and the weather is just not co-operating. We have an indoor space for some of the work, like mixing dyes, but the cooking and drying happens outside.

Here’s how we soak yarn before it goes in the pots.

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This is the color mixing step which comes after I measure out all the dye powder for the primaries and mix that stock up. These are the indoor parts.

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This is all the outdoor parts. Boy, look at that green grass. Sigh.

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This is the rinsing and color check stage before we spin the skeins to rid them of as much water as we can to cut down on drying time. Ahhh, look at those gorgeous trees. I feel warmer already just looking at these.

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Now this is the perfect cure for the winter blahs isn’t it? Look at all that sunshine and color!

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I sat down to write today planning to show you a few things I knit and had no plans to start talking about dyeing. But as I started writing about it and digging up pictures I realize that it was the perfect thing to see on such a dreary day as it is. Funny how that happened. :-)

first glimpse of our 2013 new yarn colors

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Oh, and I guess I will show you that knitting too, LOL!

First I made my fourth pair of Knucks recently in Rowan Felted Tweed DK. I love these and they are so fun to make.

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That takes care of the need for warm hands now how about the other appendages?

Knucks

On a whim last night, since I haven’t made socks in forever but wanted a quick project, I cast on for some “house socks” in leftover Cascade Eco wool left over from the baby sweaters last fall. I am using just basic sock recipe in Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Patterns on size 6 needles.

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I am using the light oatmeal for the body of the socks and the gray for the heels and toes.

Okay that’s it for now and I am going to try and stay out of my shell now. :-)

Knitting Content

Okay it’s not much but I did finish the cowl last week.
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I have been wearing quite a lot. I took this picture (sorry for the off color. Bad lighting) in the truck on one of the coldest days we have had in years. We were in need of groceries during the worst cold following the Polar Vortex last week. It was 2 degrees F that morning. Glad that is over.

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It is a much warmer 50 this morning which is an immense improvement despite the gray drizzle. I once again have to make the trek out for victuals. Sigh. I really wish I didn’t dislike that chore so much since I have to do it so often it seems. I guess I can look on the bright side. It is a fine opportunity for listening to my current audio book. :-) I am towards the beginning of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens which is quite good.

I have been on an extensive Stephen King binge lately which has been fun but it is good to get back to some classics for a change. What are you reading lately?

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