Thursday, June 11, 2009

New York Yarn Crawl....part II

Continuing the yarn crawl through the streets of New York...........

Finishing the Purl visit with their window displays.

How could these sherbet colours not pull you into the shop?

Adorable baby knits......then onto Lion Brand.

Located on 34 W. 15th Street. As the New York streets run one way up and down we were lost for a little bit, even using the GPS, which took us down to Battery Park and proceeded to get us lost. We eventually decided to go all the way up to 5th, turn right, found West 15th and 1/2 way down the block found the shop on the left hand side.

Bill, loved the knitted New York skyline. We arrived about ten minutes early, found a parking garage, wandered around the most adorable toy shop, bought a Topsy Turvy Red Riding Hood doll for newest granddaughters birthday and an adorable sheep for me. Walked back to Lion Brand in the rain to find the shop open and a few customers inside.

Kong hanging from the Empire State Building.

Kitting bulletin board, just like home.

From the back, looking toward the front of the shop.

Walls of yarn, most of Lion Brands yarn can be found at Joann's and Michale's in the US. They tend to use acrylic fibres, some are pure acrylic, others are mixed with cotton or wool. That being said in the past few years they have realized that true knitters and crochers love the feel of natural fibres in their hands when working.

A few of the natural fibre yarns are now being sold in the crafting shops, Fisherman's Wool being one and the Organic Cotton being another. The majority of the natural fibre yarns however, are sold either at the studio in New York or online.

The crafting table in the center of the store.

Studio Yarns are sold under the LB Collection label. These now include a wonderfully soft cashmere, 82 yards for $14, it comes in 6 fairly attractive colours. A superwash merino, $8.00 for 306 yards, in 10 colour choices. A beautiful worsted weight organic wool, that melts in your hand as if it were butter, 185 yards for $10.00, 6 soft and muted winter colours. A wool and stainless steel cone, that is available in four colours, this is 273 yards of fingerling also at $10.00, when knitted it can be molded into a shape that will stay intact until changed. The newest yarn in the LB collection is a Silk and Mohair blend that knits up identical to KSH. The yarn is 231 yards of 70% super kid mohair and 30% silk, I love KSH but at $7.00 a ball the LB Silk Mohair is a steal. It has a little better yardage and is softer to the touch than KSH. The obvious disadvantage is the colour range LB has only 6 while KSH currently produces 30. Once I touched it I couldn't put it down and came away with 3 balls, 2 in Iris and 1 in Sunbeam. I also purchased 3 balls of the new Recyled Cotton in Sunshine, this is the featured yarn of the month and is discounted 15% from the $4.49 price, this yarn is not under the LB Collection label which hopefully means it will be sold commerically. The yarn is 185 yd 72% Recycled Cotton, 24% Acrylic, 2% Other Fiber, it feels stiff to the touch but when knitted softens and has real drape to it, available in7 very pleasing colours.

When we left Bill insisted on a photo of me outside the shop. The rain was pouring down, it was cold and damp, but it was a wonderful morning. I recommend both shops if you visit New York, we were limited by time and would have loved to have seen a few more shops, I am happy to have that wait until next time. Tomorrow, pictures of the new additions to the stash.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Weekend in New York

Adorable husband drove east to visit family for the weekend .We had dinner Thursday night in New Jersey with an old friend and on a very wet and cold Friday morning headed into the city. At first we were going to by pass the city and go straight to Long Island, but when Bill said I could go on a yarn crawl, how could I not. We (by we, I obviously mean me, while Bill either sat in the car or wandered around), visited Purl and Lion Brand Studio, buying a little something at each. As the pictures of Lion Brand are on Bill's phone and Purl on my camera, today you have Purl and tomorrow Lion Brand.

The outside.

The wall of Koigu

The opposite wall of Manos, Kid Silk Haze and Blue Sky Alpaca

The wall of bison, cashmere, and mohair

Bill, insisted on an outside shot

The shop is tiny, but the colour saturates your soul. An important to a knitting tourist, as the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. Located in Soho on Sullivan Street, even though the sign is small you can't miss the colourful entrance way. The cold, wet day made it perfect to wear Lisel made from Noro Furiosde (cotton, wool, silk), bought at Knit One.

Friday, May 8, 2009


I now have three Liesl's (thank you Ysolda)!!!!!

My first Liesl in Noro's wonderful Furisode, a combination of silk, cotton and wool. I love the colour and feel of this yarn. I have enough to knit a shell for underneath. After reading all the posts of Ravelry I decided to knit the 42" size, it fits and I love it. I purchased the Noro at Knit One North

Second attempt. RYC Soft Lux (in stash), this is the 38" size and it was going to be for my mother, although now I think I will hang on to it. I am not sure if pink is her thing and it sort of turned out more bed jacket than cardigan.

The third attempt and this will be my mother's. Happy mother's day!!! Misty Alpaca silk/cotton (purchased at Knit One) also in the 42" size. I love this yarn when I was knitting the caridgan, silky and drapey. However, when blocked it grew about three sizes, so in the dryer it had to go. After about 25 minutes it returned itself to the size it should be. I did read a post on Ravelry about this yarn, that after washing it did lose its shape, apparantly that is true.

The triplets hanging in a row. I still have an issue with the sleeves on Liesl, they do seem snug, however I find that if you try Liesl on while wet you can ease the top of the sleeve to requirement.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


My new favorite top down cardigan is Liesl. The beautiful Liesl by Ysolda Teague, it is the perfect summer cover up. This my second Liesl, in RYC Soft Lux, I had four balls in the stash and it took four balls to knit. Casting off was a leap of faith, as this was all I had left to weave in.

I did the picot bind off on the the sleeves and a regular bind off on the bottom band. I knitted the 38" size as I was going to give it as a gift, but after trying it on and wearing it yesterday morning over summer jammies, I think I shall keep it for myself - I like the bed jacket feel.

Number one is hanging in the closet and number three is on the needles.

I have owned Coraline for ages and will definately have it on the needles before winter comes. I am also eager to have a go at Sandrine, using the Trinity I have in stash. I like the cross over but will shorten the sleeves to 3/4 length, I am getting to that age where I don't want fussy around the wrists.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Knit Goes On

In March I taught a class on the February Lady Sweater, the most knitted project on Ravelry. If you are a knitter there is no excuse for you not being on Ravelry, the patterns, the groups, the supportive community, its all there and more.

I had knitted the cardigan last summer, while dad spent five days in the hospital, using Blue Sky Cotton (from stash) and this time wanted to knit a winter version. I choose Malabrigo worsted, in the second most popular colour of Lettuce. The yarn was from the Malabrigo Project Club through Eat, Sleep, Knit. The club lasts twelve months and for $36 per month you receive Malabrigo yarn and a pattern, some months the yarn is worth less than $36 other months it is worth more. I had the buttons in stash, however I hated the button holes I had made, so I decided to cover them up with knitted flower covers. I am looking forward to wearing this later in the year when the cold weather returns.

Since this was a third attempt I wanted to change the pattern up, there is nothing worse than boring knitting. I knitted the yoke in stocking stitch rather than the garter. I used knit into front and back for the increase and not the yarn overs. The lace pattern I broke into groups of seven stitches with panels of seven stitch stocking stitch. The lace is on the front and down the center sleeve only, the back is all in stocking stitch. I decreased the arm stitches as I worked down the arm, as I wanted a much tighter sleeve and cuff this time. I knew in February I was going to teach the class in March and since it had been several months since I had knitted the pattern a quick refresher was needed.

This was my second attempt, a childs size using Jaeger Trinity, sadly a now discontinued yarn. I had four balls in the palest yellow and about 10 balls in the palest pink in stash. I knitted the extra small size on size 4mm needles. I knitted the yoke in stocking stitch, did one repeat of the lace pattern around the entire body, and then knitted the back in stocking stitch, and the left and right front in the entire lace pattern, I think it worked out to 35 stitches on each side. I knitted two repeats of the lace down each sleeve. This cardigan is as light as air, the Trinity is a linen, silk and viscose combo which makes for a nice summer cover up. I have enough of the pink and as so tempted to try an adult one on size 4mm needles and using the XL size.

I love this cardigan pattern, by Pamela Wynne, based on the Elizabeth Zimmerman baby cardigan. It is so adaptable and you can change it to suit your needs.

My new favorite pattern is Liesl by Ysola Teague, I am now on my third in as many weeks. Very easy knit, and adaptable with so many different weights of yarn (as long as you get gauge). Pictures and details to follow next time. If you are looking for a quick yet lovely gift that doesn't have to cost a fortune, this is it.

I will now have a little rant, the new Vogue Spring/Summer Knitting has a short sleeved top (#5) knitted in Jade Saphire Silk/Cashmere 2-ply which sells at around $32 for 400 yds. If you were to knit the xs size it would cost you $128, if I were to knit my size it would work out to $192 - for a sleeveless top. What were they thinking!!! I am all about the cheap and cheerful!

I am starting to offer a Kids Knit class every other Saturday morning at the shop. I wanted to offer something that was a little more affordable in today's climate, $10 for an hour of knitting instruction instead of the $25 for an adult. Starting with a belt or a wash cloth and hopefully moving onto more complicated and larger items if the students stay with it. I am also toying with the idea of a week long summer camp for kids, Monday to Friday, two to three hours per morning, do you think a small group of 8-12 year olds would be interested?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring, Spring, Spring...........

When Spring brings a breath of fresh air it clears not only the lungs but also the head.

I am no longer working part-time at the yarn shop, but do still teach there. I enjoy teaching and passing on what I have learned in over 45 years of knitting. It also allows me knit garments I want to knit with a deadline - I have to provide a sample - that impetus is just what I need to get on with the knitting.

My class philosopy is that it shouldn't cost a fortune to knit. So far all the classes I have taught are from free patterns. I offer a wide variety of yarn choices from reasonable to more expensive. The patterns I choose have one or two needle size requirements and the time management has to be reasonable, I don't want the projects to be time consuming or boring.

I recently offered this class

Baby hats using organic cotton and 1824.

I also found this adorable top pattern free on Rosie's Yarn Cellar (under Rosies patterns)

The top is knitted in Rowan 4ply soft from the top down, with the yoke being in garter stitch and the body in trellis lace. I added beads before the increase row on the yoke, and extended the sleeves by 10 rows as I wanted the last row of beads to show. I lengthened the body as I wanted it to be more of a vest than a capelet. The top is very light and airy, and even though 4ply is wool for a cool spring evening this is just the ticket. I am knitting two others to use in the class, one using a raspberry sock yarn that has silver threads spun into the yarn, for the yoke I used silver beads, much more of an evening top. The third also in 4ply soft is a very soft pink with soft pink beads. So far no has signed up for the class, which actually in an odd way doesn't seem to bother me, I think the fact that I have three lovely tops for three lovely teenagers this Christmas is just fine. If I hadn't decided to teach the class I wouldn't have knitted this top.

In March I offered a FLS class, as I result I now have three February Ladies Sweater's, one in Blue Sky Organic Cotton, a second in Malabrigo Worsted, and the third is a child's size using Jaeger Trinity. I don't have pictures as they are at the shop but I will take my camera this week and be sure to get some pictures.

I haven't knitted a pair of socks in a couple of months, I recently bought the new Cookie A. Sock Innovation book, which has sparked my sock light, that and the ever increasing sock yarn stash may mean that socks will once again be on the gift giving list.

I have the added the tzu widget on the right, I can't decide if its cute or creepy, and if it hadn't looked like one of our tzu's I wouldn't have added it. If I find it to creepy it may have to go.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Winter Knitting

It seems I have given up blogging but not knitting. Having two small granddaughters under the age of five, my knitting has taken on a new direction, wonderfully perfect small knits. Not to mention it's a great stash buster.

Heirloom Stitches, has been a new source of easy yet lovely knitting patterns. The Oz pullover (because its over the rainbow), above is knitted with four skeins of Noro Kureyon in two different colourways, knit two rows of one, then two rows of the other. Knitted in the round, from the top down, I added a border of a lavender Cascade 220 to tie it all together. A very quick knit, and once blocked a warm winter pullover to wear when the wind blows.

I bought the buttons in November, knowing that they would come to good use before the winter was over. They were the inspiration for this sweetly adorable knit.

The Raggedy Raglan pattern from Heirloom Stitches, using Rowan Cork (sadly discontinued). I have had the Cork in stash for several years, 4 balls, a subscription gift one year from Rowan. Mum and dad stayed with us for a few years after Christmas, and Bill's biggest fear when taking them home was that he wouldn't be able to pull into their snow covered driveway. His fear was unwaranted, as the couple next door made sure that their driveway had been plowed. Mum called and asked would I knit something for their little girl.

Having knitted several of the snowmen hat from Itty Bitty Hats as Christmas presents this year, the hat seemed the perfect accompaniment for the cardigan. The cardigan is edge in single crochet in Galway Chunky, also in stash.

I have to package it up and send it off this weekend. I am so taken with the pattern and yarn that I will be knitting another for three year old granddaughter. Thanks to the wonderful Maggie in the Netherlands I now have her 4 balls of Rowan (in a soft sable colour). Maggie said she hated to see good yarn go to waste and passed it on to me, in exchange for buttons and I think a few added surprises. This is just the expression of knitting kindness that makes me so glad to be a knitter. I am thinking with the sable colour I might find bear, moose or fish buttons, as the new cardigan will be heading off to winter in Idaho.

I will try and blog more, even if its just to show new knits. I had the ideal job over Autumn and Winter, working in a yarn shop. I was working three hours a week, the owner decided in the new year that she wanted to make a few changes, so my three hours went to no hours. However, the store seems to be thriving and I am doing a little teaching and filling in when I am needed. To be surrounded by colour and yarn is an amazing inspiration and to pass on my passion for knitting is a gift in itself.

Monday, August 18, 2008

February Ladies Sweater

While my dad was in the hospital last month, I decided to knit the February Ladies Sweater by Pamela Wynne. If you are on Ravelry and are thinking of knitting this free download sweater, please by all means, don't stop, just jump right in. It's a ladies version of the February Baby Sweater by Elizabeth Zimmerman from Knitter's Almanac.

I choose Blue Sky Organic Cotton from the stash, I needed to order two more skeins of this wonderful poppy colour. I knitted the body in the stash dye lot and knitted the arms in the purchased dye lot. You can't tell that it's two different dye lots. I love the lacy look of the body.

I choose three 1 inch wooden buttons, ok they came free with the UK Simply Knitting magazine.

The pattern is knitted from the top down, you don't even have to pick up the button band. The sleeves are knitted on dpns, next time (and there will be a next time), I will knit the garter stitch edging on the arms in a smaller needle, they turn out bell shaped, pretty but I would have like it a little more streamlined.

The sweater turned out more as a fall/spring jacket for me, I will wear a long sleeved t under it. They only drawback, it does tend to get a little heavy towards the end. I am going to knit it in wool next time, a nice aran weight, I have some Skye Tweed and also Katmandu in the stash that I think would make a lovely sweater.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Where have I been?

I haven't dropped off the face of the planet, but once again life gets in the way of all we pursue.

In the spring I was diagnosed with Arthritis in my spine, I have under going physical therapy and am under the care of a neurosur
geon. I have meds to take and unless the pain becomes intolerable I am putting of surgery.

Bill and I purchased a motor home in the spring, second hand, we now own a Winnebago Adventurer. We have only been away for a weekend so far, but in September are spending six days at the Elora Gorge, to be near my parents and in October we head out west to see James in Colorado, Deb in Idaho (and finally meet Jada and her new little brother or sister). On the way home we are stopping at Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore. All the dogs are going with us, as you can see Islay enjoyed her first weekend camping.

My parents came down for their usual two weeks in July (and ended up staying three), my father came feeling under the weather and after being with us for two days finally agreed to go the the Emergency Room. He had a collapsed lung and ended up in the hospital for five days. He had wonderful care, and my mother, even though she was overwhelmed, couldn't have been more pleased. When he was realeased he was put on oxygen, so for two weeks we had tubing and a large oxygen machine in the house.

We did managed to get out and about though, we went to the Pittsburgh Zoo for an afternoon and saw the new six day old elephant calf. We managed an overnight at Gettysburg, in a wonderful bed and breakfast, and a tour of the battlefield the following day with a battlefield guide. The trips gave my parents confidence that you can go out and about while attached to oxygen.

We arranged for everything to be in place when they went home, and Bill stayed until they were confident enough to let him go.

Dad is doing very well, he is getting out with is walker or wheelchair, driving and changing oxygen tanks on the fly. They have seen their doctor twice and she is very happy with his progress.

Just as my summer was starting to slow down, and I could look forward to the end of August and Bill's retirement, Banff (lab/bloodhoud) our 11 year tore his ACL. He had surgery last Tuesday, came home on Wednesday and has been doing wonderfully, until Sunday when he decided to lick out his stitches and I had to buy an Elizabethian collar for him to wear. However, since he is not allowed to go up and down stairs, I have been sleeping on the couch in the family room to keep him com
pany - it's not done wonders for my back.

I have been knitting over the summer - The February Ladies Sweater, which is a free download on Ravelry. Chic Knits Eylete Cardigan, baby knits, socks, and my Rowan exchange gift, and I jus. I also knitted this cute Rowan denim jacket, I had the denim in stash, hece the two colour combination. I modified a top down raglan and a stitch pattern from Rowan Babies to create this cutie. I
used silver buttons from stash, every one is different. This really turned out better than I expected, it will be one I knit again.

I want to thank Arianwen for the push I needed to update the blog.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

On the same theme...........

My youngest step-daughter is expecting her second child at the end of summer, which means that the needles have been clicking. Since they don't know the sex of the baby, blues and pinks in any shade are out, although I am not a huge fan of the pastel baby colours anyway. I am sticking to bolder greens etc. and muted neutrals. The inspiration for this combo came from the hat Baby Sheep Hat by Melissa Burt which is based on the Sheep Yoke Cardigan by Jennifer Little

I decided to knit a raglan using part of the motif for the hat and cardigan. I have such a wonderful stash that finding the approprate yarn was not the issue. I used RYC Cashcotton DK in Apple and RYC Cashsoft Baby in Blue Boy. The white and black sheep are bubble cotton remnants. I placed two sheep on the front band and one on the back.

The buttons are green leather that match the Apple, I have button holes on both sides of the bands that way when I know if it's a boy or a girl I can sew them on.