Switching stitching gears.

Many customers have come to the shop in the last month saying they’re finally ready to pick up their knitting/crocheting again. Hooray!  Whether you took a summer vacation from your projects or worked on them daily, even when the mercury was hitting 100º back in July, all of us seem to be gearing up for some serious stitching now that days are shorter and nights are cooler.

When you do get that urge to start a new project, does picking just the right pattern ever hold you back? Maybe we can help! As mentioned in the last post, the informal Baby Surprise Jacket knit-along (KAL) that sprung up during the Ravellenic Games was such a success that we’ve decided to hold a shop KAL each month. We’ll be sure to vary the types of projects and “degree of difficulty.” A KAL gives you the opportunity to be one of a group of knitters all working on the same project at the same time, all ready to help you over any rough patches and also ready to cheer you on. Most of the KAL chatter will be on our Ravelry Group’s discussion board. Just look for the thread that says “(Month) knit-along – (pattern name).” October’s is Alexandra Tinsley’s Howlcat, below, a fun way to use up one skein of fingering weight yarn and one of a worsted weight. The pattern is written for adult and child sizes. Is it a reversible hat? Is it a cowl? Howlcat let’s you decide!

September’s pattern was Derecho, a striking striped garter stitch shawl designed by Laura Aylor that showcases three shades of fingering. Madelinetosh merino light seemed to be the yarn of choice, and here is Joan T.’s in colors Grasshopper, Smokestack, and Charcoal. Isn’t it just glorious? Joan was the first to bring in her completed shawl, and rumor has it that at least two more finished Derechos are on their way in soon.

Joan S. has been working on shawls lately, too. She recently wowed us with her completed Summer Flies and Oaklet Shawl. Summer Flies is made with a lavender Woodstock Knits Luxe Silk that’s clearly an ideal choice for this pattern.

A delicate color of Lorna’s Laces Solemate called Fiddlehead was Joan’s choice for her Oaklet Shawl by Megan Goodacre, a pattern that shows off a handpaint style yarn just beautifully.

Staying on the subject of shawls, I finished my Shawl No. 3, in Shibui Staccato and Silk Cloud. The pattern is part of the Shibui Mix Collection, a group of patterns that, as the name implies, ingeniously blend multiple Shibui yarns together to stunning effect. We’re delighted to be bringing in a new Shibui yarn, a fingering weight merino/silk blend called Staccato, and all new colors of our dear Heichi and Silk Cloud, the better to mix, match, and make beautiful knitting. The Mix patterns using the three yarns are new this fall, too.

I blocked No. 3 as a warm-up exercise before blocking two spectacular Echo Flower Shawls, both from the needles of our friend Felicia. Here’s my No.3 all wired up.

And here are Felicia’s Echo Flowers. First, her own cashmere and silk version that’s been on long-term loan to the shop…

And this is our newest GYI shop sample in Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace, shown before…

and during blocking.

I had invaluable help from Stephanie, who shares my love of putting the blocking wires and pins just so. Those are Steph’s hands above, finding the right spot for that wire. I’ll be taking photos of both No. 3 and the Silky Alpaca Lace Echo Flower off the pins and on Maude the mannequin next.

Not every project is so high maintenance, of course. Paula was able to dash off one of our Mountain Colors Lone Mountain Loop Scarf kits, and the result is fun, funky, and fashionable.

Whenever you need a quick project, cowls make a lot of sense. Hats are another no-brainer – if you’re familiar with knitting in the round. I’ll be teaching a circular knitting class using the Knitting Pure & Simple adult hemmed hat pattern and its companion baby and child versions. Hemmed Hats for the Whole Family will be offered on Friday, October 19, 2-4 p.m.  Both circular and double point needles are used, and you’ll learn how to pick up stitches to create the hemmed brim.  If you’ve never knit in the round before, this is a great first project. When we opened our doors two years ago, one of our very first shop samples was the hemmed hat shown here, also knit by Felicia.

Already know your way around circulars and double points? Then you’ll have a great time with Gretel, a tam/beret/slouch hat pattern by Ysolda Teague. Kathy, shown here modeling her version in Liberty Wool, will teach an intermediate cabling class on Thursday, October 18, 6-8 p.m. with Gretel as the project. She’ll demonstrate cabling with and without a cable needle, so you can choose the method you prefer. Either way, you’ll have a terrific topper when you’re done.

Kathy was kind enough to model Linda’s soft felted hat. How was this clever cap created? Well, I only know it involves a bouncing ball and pantyhose, so maybe you’d better ask Linda for the details! She enjoyed a demonstration of the technique at the Endless Mountains Fiber Festival last month so much that she wanted to try it out right away. Her cute felted tea cozy, an original pattern, was created using slightly more conventional felting methods. It was knit with Ella Rae Classic and embellished with silk ribbon flowers.

Speaking of cozies, we love seeing each new finished Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Shoulder Cozy arrive to have its picture taken; it’s definitely No. 1 in the “Most Finished Objects from One Pattern” category these days. With the arrival of the new Heichi and Silk Cloud from Shibui, we’ve found even more color combinations that would make wonderful Cozies. Carol stopped in the other day with her own dreamy Cozy, knit in a beautiful Caribbean blue.

Finished sweaters are kind of a big deal around here, so I’ve saved these two for last. Both were knit with the utmost attention to detail. Perhaps I should say “knit and re-knit” because their makers weren’t going to be satisfied with anything short of perfection, even if that meant ripping out large sections to achieve a better blending of hand-dyed yarn or making the button bands, un-making them, and making them all over again. Mary Jane knit her yummy autumnal topdown cardigan using Ann Budd’s construction formula and Zauberball sock weight yarn. Catherine made her Corinne with madelinetosh tosh dk in a deep, out-of-this-world blue called Nebula.

I’d be smiling, too, if I’d just finished such a becoming, well-fitting sweater!

You won’t have to wait long for another post; I already have more FO pictures I took at the shop this week – including another of those versatile Shoulder Cozies. Check this spot again in another day or two. Until then, keep on stitching!

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One response to “Switching stitching gears.

  1. Pingback: Taking a breather. | goshyarnitshop

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