Taking a breather.

The sun shone on Monday in New Jersey for the first time in a week since Sandy tore through the Northeast. I visited family there over the weekend. They are still without power as I write this, although a generator in one house and a gas stove and fireplace in the other are managing to keep the cold and dark at bay. I sat in a south-facing window in the early morning sunlight on Monday morning, my knitting in my hands, grateful for its warmth, grateful my loved ones are all well, grateful to be with them. With another storm headed this way, possibly bringing our first snow, I hope everyone has had a chance to catch their breath, clean up the mess from the last big blow, and is safe, warm, and dry.

First, a little plug for Catherine Molski’s Thrummed Mittens class on Saturday, November 17, 1-3 p.m. ($30). Just a couple of spots remain open in the class. If you already have experience knitting in the round on double point needles that’s all you need to make the most insanely warm mittens you (or a lucky giftee) will ever love wearing. You can make any size mitten you like, from baby to bruiser. Thrums are the wisps of wool shown below in the photo on the right, where the mitten has been turned inside out. Think of thrums as cozy, thick insulation. So save some energy – thrum, baby, thrum! Call to reserve your spot in the class.

Time to share some pre-Sandy FOs with you. I’m looking forward to many, many finished projects arriving soon, thanks to the approach of peak gift stitching season. (And if you need some inspiration for quick gift knits, please let us help!) Having already mentioned Catherine, here is her elegant Derecho, from our September knit along.

She opted for the smaller version of the pattern. I say it’s just right! Stripes and color blocking seem to be everywhere in the fashion world these days. A very new knitter of my acquaintance was inspired by our Queen Bee Cowl to try a project that started out being a bit out of her stitching comfort zone but was definitely to her taste. As I like to say, if you want the end result enough, you can knit anything! Here is my daughter in her Queen Bee in Lana Vida Francesca.

The same can be said for Carol’s amazing throw in Misti Alpaca Chunky. Hank after hank, row after garter stitch row, Carol knit on. Her perseverance was rewarded with this 57 x 53″ masterpiece of endlessly soft, cuddly baby alpaca.

Catherine (again!) made a shop sample for us of Wingspan to show off one of the many colors of our Zauberball yarn. Here are two of the many ways it can be wrapped, tied, looped, and draped for a fun pop of color against a winter coat.

On the subject of bundling up, Mary Jane drew many admiring looks at the NY State Sheep & Wool Festival with her Rhinebeck ensemble. The perfect-fit cardigan has appeared in the blog before, but here she is modeling the matching earwarmers and fingerless mitts, all in Zauberball. I forgot to check for matching socks…

Marcia received a gift of Fibre Company Road to China Light – lucky lady! She chose a pattern from her library for a diagonal lace scarf that beautifully shows off the drape and depth of color for which this yarn is so well known and loved.

Marcia also brought in a luxurious scarf worked with two strands of Cascade Eco Duo, the Extra Warm Men ‘s Scarf by Kyoko Nakayoshi, a free pattern on Ravelry. I will now offer this bit of good news: Eco Duo is returning to GYI and should be here next week!

  

Carolyn Kern recently gave her terrific stranded knitting class again that features her original design, Equilibrium Cowl. Nancy sent us this in-progress picture that shows her cowl just before being folded and seamed. I can’t wait to see the completed project!

Jeanne innocently wore her Equilibrium into the shop the other day, and I grabbed my camera and shooed her right back out into the lobby so I could take her picture. Doesn’t her cowl look perfect with that cherry red jacket?

Our October knit along was the Dull Roar pattern Howlcat. The odds on both Jill and me actually completing our knit along projects within the month, given the number of knitting UFOs in our respective work baskets, is astronomical but testament to how much fun this pattern is, from start to finish. We both used Berroco Ultra Alpaca for the 1×1 rib half. The top of my Flamethrower Howlcat, right, is Claudia Hand Painted Fingering in the colorway Buckeye. Jill held a strand of white mohair/silk with a strand of zebra stripe Zauberball (there it is again), just to plump hers up a bit. I know there are lots more Howlcats out there – someone I know tells me she has not one but six of these stash-busting hats done – please share!

  

If you can’t always bring your projects in, do what Robyn did. Not living in the area, she kindly emailed me a link to her Ravelry project page for her Dude Sweater. Wow! This FO abides.

I’ve often been asked why we call our get-togethers “stitch & spins” instead of “sit-and-knits” or some other such moniker. Well, right from the start, we’ve welcomed many types of fiber artists to our big table on Thursday nights and Saturday afternoons: crocheters, knitters, spinners, weavers. Thought I’d close out this post with some pictures from last Thursday evening’s S&S, which show a wonderful group that included two spindle spinners, Mary Jane and Joan.

  

Here’s my version of a panoramic shot, left to right, of a very creative evening.

Next post, look for a little Rhinebeck, a little Fibre Company Day, some new yarn and new shop samples, lots more FOs, and a teaser about an upcoming class… the return of the Swirl Sweater!

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