Thursday, October 30, 2008

STEEKING. I finally finished the body of the Kauni Cardigan, after having to rip down to the armholes, because apparently I can't count. There it was. Waiting for me to cut into it. I put it aside because I couldn't bear the thought of making another mistake in counting and then cutting it and having to knit all over again. Folks warned me. Some said they would never cut into knitted fabric. But I must be brave. Besides, I really want to wear this sweater sometime before the summer.

OK, so before you steek, you need to sew a zig zag line up both sides of where you are going to cut, just in case the yarn decides to unravel. My sewing machine was only zigging when it should have been zig zagging. This was my excuse. I couldn't bear it any longer. One day I decided to try and figure out what was wrong with the sewing machine. After fiddling around with some of the knobs I got it working again. I took a deep breath (oh yes, I always tell people that a glass of wine is mandatory in the steeking process). I zigzagged up either side of the middle steek stitch. There it was.

Then I took another even deeper breath, got out my ginghers (I was a quilter in my former life and would only use my ginghers on my very best fabrics), and then I cut all the way up where the armhole is supposed to be. And guess what -- nothing unraveled and all was right with the world. I counted correctly this time.

Here, I am starting to pick up the

armhole stitches. Now I am on the third row of the pattern. The sleeves are knit from the armhole down -- lots of decreasing and I should be finished in no time! I'll post more pictures as I progress.
Knit to Fit. This class has surely been our most popular class. Karen Jenkins teaches the class for 5 sessions during the fall. She is a fount of knitting information. Karen says that she learned all about knitting to fit while knitting with a group of ladies in Minnesota years ago. She has definitely honed her skills and never uses a pattern for her projects. Patterns are only used for inspiration; her students will tell you they can now look at a sweater and use just about any yarn and stitch pattern to get the look they want. Here are some of the sweaters in progress

This is Dori's -- she is the only one brave enough to make a turtleneck (out of Malabrigo, of course). One of the neat things about knitting "top down" is that you can try the sweater on as you go. Here, Dori was discussing picking up stitches for the sleeves. She decided it was too bulky and needed to pick up less stitches. More frogging ....

Elda is making hers out of Cascade 220 and is ready to do the sleeves

This is Justine's first sweater, out of Cascade 220 Tweed

Cathy's sweater is out of Nashua Creative Focus worsted, also ready for the sleeves

Robin has already started her sleeves and likes the roomy feel her sleeves give her.

Josephine finally figure out some solutions to her buttonbands, .

while Lisa may just be making a vest to go over another knitted top she has

Our other Lisa is making hers out of yummy Malabrigo in a gorgeous stitch pattern that really shows off the yarn.
This is Anne's first sweater. It's hard to believe that we first taught Anne how to knit less than a year ago. She is just zooming along
Last, but in no way least is Jill's sweater made out of Wool around the World 8-ply. I also just had to get a shot of the scarf she knit up from a Mac and Me pattern out of Kid Silk Haze and Punta Merisoft.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Customers have been busy! Linda knit this vest of Manos seemingly overnight. Wish you could see how wonderfully the buttons compliment the vest.

These creepy characters are the result of a two session needle felting class taught by
Susan Maruska.

Sabra's Greystone Vest by Doreen L. Marquart is knit of Simply Shetland's Lambswool Cashmere. I am learning that although the Shetlands feel a little scratchy in the ball, once they are washed and with repeated washing, continue to soften and soften. I just love it.
Debbie's Wrap Me Up Shawl by Knitting At Noon of Rowan Tapestry. She is doing a beautiful job and says she has learned a lot about interpreting patterns and knitting techniques.

Trish and baby Ben! He is so sweet. I couldn't get too close due to illness, but I wanted to pick him up in the worst way!!! Trish is wearing her rib warmer of Woolbearers Lanamira.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mike, the Fishmonger

You know how those days go. You are visiting with your girlfriends. The knitted uterus is hanging by the cash register. There is a brassiere pop up book on the coffee table. Women are sitting around chatting. Most men who walk into that milieu don't stay very long. (Tola's Mike and Jill's John are exceptions.)

But on this day, Mike the Fishmonger walks in. He smells a little fishy; has Wellingtons and a t-shirt on that are covered with scales. But he is in Mount Holly to register to vote, so right away, I fall in love with him. Then he tells us, he knits!! He's a knitter! This adorable, twenty something son to every mother, knits! He plops right down, and starts talking knitting. He is hungry for information, and we are happy to oblige. We find out he really is a fishmonger at the nearby, big organic grocery store, and made a death run to get to town in time to register. And he saw the store.

Oh, I hope he comes back. He is the epitome of a living doll. We don't have many men knitters; two guys who show up twice a year, and Bruce, our first crochet teacher who kept bringing Red Heart into the store. Mike needs to be a regular.....

Anne and Joanna and I had a great time at Bungs tonight...this is what they are knitting.

Joanna's sweater of Knit One Crochet Too Linus.
Anne's Rib Warmer of Jojoland.

The Autumn always makes me want to spin, so I got out this lovely bundle of wool and started working on it last week. I think I want to knit the Cottage Creation afghan out of my hand spun. Phyllis and Linda are knitting theirs out of Cascade 200.

Linda's beautiful vest from Knit Kimono knit of Rowan Felted Tweed. This is a classic piece she will be able to wear forever.

This is Branched Out, a lace scarf from I'm knitting for my daughter, Jeni, who doesn't ask for much, but hinted she would like a shawl a while ago. The yarn is some Lily Chin we had on sale. It's really very lovely to work with.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Is this the cutest thing you have ever seen???
It's a Star Bunting, knit by Kris of Muench Big Baby,
the only 100% acrylic yarn we have in the store....

A group of regulars at the store got together and signed up for the Felted Pumpkin class. It sounded like a bunch of woodpeckers were at work! We'll have pictures next week of their finished pumpkins.

Good bye, Lisa and boys!!! It's sad to say good bye to customers who you have seen so often, they become your friends. We know they will be happy down south, closer to family! Good luck!

Three generations! We love it when the whole family comes in; this mom is knitting socks for everyone!

The February Lady finally finished!!!! I was happy to find out I am not the last knitter to complete it. Brenda had fun trying it on and wasn't shy about showing those bodacious tatas! Tola and Mike were not there Sunday.... that's Donna's pink head in the back; she dyed her hair pink for the Three Day Walk she and Brenda did for breast cancer. She says it will wash out, eventually.

Friendship is...

knitting the same project...

There is nothing like a group of friends sharing a common love. This weekend was full of evidence of that fact as one person after another came into the store, seeking out friends. As soon as one group came, another would come in, sad they missed the last but eager to hear the latest news from the present group. Gwen and Joanna are knitting the Spider Wrap; Gwen's is the purple and Joanna's the blue. They are works of art.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Patterns, patterns everywhere. Have you noticed the proliferation of on-line knitting and crocheting pattern magazines? We all know This is certainly the most- read pattern magazine for knitters and sometimes crocheters and ah, yes, spinners too! We’ve all done our share of Clapotis and Branching Out, to name a few of the most popular patterns. When every new issue comes out, it seems to take longer to get connected to Knitty; I imagine their servers are just overloaded with anxious knitters. (Speaking of which, my “Hey, Teach” is done -- hooray!)

There are a few others out there that I thought I would mention. One of Woolbearer’s customers, Jody Pirrello, has started her own knitting magazine –, Great book reviews, patterns and lots of useful information. Check it out. Another e-zine that I love is Kate Gilbert is the Creative Director of this e-zine, so you know it’s gotta be good.

As a shop owner it’s hard to figure out just which patterns to buy. We always get the major knitting magazines and those usually sell quite well. But with the proliferation of pattern writers out there, it’s hard to choose. This year at TNNA, we came upon a great pattern company called Chic Knits. I’m going to knit up the Cece cardigan – it’s top down and has a little eyelet pattern at the yoke. I think it will knit up quickly and hope a few of you will join me. Of course, this means we must reorder the pattern once again. There are quite a few other great Chic Knits patterns. There’s also a Chic Knits group on Ravelry. Take a look.

Another gal we just bought patterns from is SheKnits for Knitters. Sharon Dreifuss is the brains behind the Dumpling Bags, and I’ve been eyeing her patterns for quite a while, ever since Suzanne brought her Carrie Lynn bag in for display. So, we bought a bunch of her other patterns – all felted bags – a few are quite close to the dumpling bag in size. Come in and see for yourself. Sharon also has a really nice podcast which you can find at
Those Zephyr gals have the cutest patterns. We just go in the “Juliet” pattern. Looks like a quick knit with bulky yarn (think Lamb’s Pride Bulky).

Please remember that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One of our customers, Marian Schenke, has knitted and felted the cutest bags and is donating all the proceeds to Breast Cancer Research. So, if you would like to participate in helping out a worthy cause, come in and buy one of her bags that are pictured here.
I just wanted to mention that we are having difficulties with our web host for our site. The folks at Yahoo webhosting tell me (now that I have finally had a chance to speak with them after being on hold for many hours) that they are working on the problem and it may take a few more days to fix. The wonders of technology!