2/11/14: Keeping it warm.

Last week was a quiet one at Gosh Yarn It!, thanks to a midweek snowstorm. We woke up Wednesday morning to nearly a foot of new snow, and although the shop did open for several hours, most of the Market Street traffic came from snow plows. That was OK, though. Hitting the pause button for a day gave us time to put finishing touches on some exciting new ventures: Knit Clinic and Featured Patterns.

02.06.14.01Knit Clinic is a “first come, first treated” help session.  Our “doctor” is Shelly Strohl, whom you may already know as one of the most prolific and passionate knitters ever to pull up a chair to our work table. No matter if your knitting needs a quick check-up or intensive care, Shelly can show you how ailing projects can be restored to health. Dozens of dropped stitches? Unclear instructions? The dog ate your knitting? Dr. Shelly of Knit Clinic is ready to come to your rescue. Shelly will see patients Thursdays and the second and third Saturdays of each month, 2:00-4:00 p.m. The fee is $5 payable in cash to Shelly.

02.06.14.03In addition to staffing our Knit Clinic, Shelly will curate Featured Patterns for us throughout the year. Bonus: she’ll knit finished samples for each! These small skill-stretching projects can be worked up quickly but will be intricate enough to be both challenging and fun. If you’re ready to spread your wings but not quite ready to fly solo, join Shelly at a Knit Clinic (see above) and she’ll go over techniques that may be new to you.

For February, the month to wear your heart on your sleeve, our Featured Pattern is True Love by Chrissy Gardiner. These pretty cabled toe-up socks let you wear your heart on your tootsies! You can already check out Shelly’s sample (above) and buy the pattern at the shop. We’ve restocked over a dozen shades of one of our favorite sock yarns, Cascade Heritage Sock, and you will save 20% on a skein for your True Love.

Cambern coverOne more “reveal” before presenting the gallery of your FOs: our newest yarn line, Rowan Pure Wool Worsted. Rowan, the venerable British yarn company, has introduced a yarn so simple as to be revolutionary: a 100% wool worsted, spun in Europe, machine washable, that works up to be both soft and substantial. Pure Wool has long been a staple Rowan yarn at other weights; this new worsted is a welcome addition to the family. Rowan’s color palettes are treasured for their sophistication and harmony, and we stock all 50 glorious shades of Pure Wool Worsted. Rowan’s pattern support, as always, is amazing. Two pattern booklets debuted with the yarn, Simple Shapes and The Pure Wool Worsted Collection, plus free single patterns (Cambern, pictured hereis one) can be downloaded from the Rowan website. Center-pull balls are a plump 219 yards (you’ll never miss that 220th) for $10.95.

Now on to the FOs. Berroco Link is a super duper bulky yarn. Ginormous needles in hand, Wanda cast on a mere four stitches and had this spectacular one skein scarf finished in no time.

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Sharon is making custom outfits for her granddaughter’s 18″ doll. That’s right – she designed this charming sweater and skirt ensemble herself! I just had to share the cuteness – and the artistry behind it.

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On a slightly larger scale, here is another beautiful top-down Fair Isle sweater, Tina’s Strokkur* from designer Ysolda Teague in Berroco Blackstone Tweed. It received many oohs and aaahs at Stitch & Spin last Thursday night as it was lovingly passed from hand to hand, not only for Tina’s masterful knitting but also for the Blackstone Tweed’s snuggly softness. When you hear “tweed” you probably don’t think “soft,” but Blackstone Tweed has made the connection.

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Stephanie guaranteed her Snowflake Scarf would have softness (and warmth) to spare when she chose three skeins of 100% baby alpaca Misti Alpaca Chunky. The Purl Bee’s pattern is the Rosette Stitch, and this intricate stitch needs just such a supple yarn to avoid becoming too thick for comfort. No worries here, though. Stephanie may not even be noticing our single digit temperatures, wrapped up in her Snowflake.

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The Rosette Stitch is the thermal blanket of stitch patterns, so you can see how important it is to work it up in the right yarn.

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Last year we had Howlcat* from Alexandra Tinsley. It looks like this winter’s “must make” is the Polar Opposites cowl from Plucky Knitter Design – and not just because it has the word “polar” in its name. This cowl is a fun excuse to play “what if?” with yarn. What if I took two completely different yarns and knit them together? How would they look? Here, Joan upped the ante by blending Freia Ombre Sport with a solid color yarn from her stash, so her winning cowl has the added zing of a color change. These opposites attract compliments!

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One last FO, my Brioche Cowl in Maxima from Manos del Uruguay. I worked up the pattern as a class sample with the colors Highlighter and Kohl. I’ll just come right out and say it: I love Maxima, and I love the Brioche Stitch. I’ll definitely be looking for more projects for each.

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Our extremely cold weather is good for one thing: it makes me appreciate all the more how wonderful it is to be able to brew a cup of hot tea in the evening, settle down in a chair as close as possible to a source of warmth (in my case, a gas fireplace and a cat), and knit away. I hope you are also counting the days until spring from a comfy couch with your stitching tucked close by!

Patterns marked with an asterisk* are available for sale at Gosh Yarn It!

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