Friday, December 31, 2010

15 January 2011

Hi folks,

Here's a new pattern that was designed by the HCY Design Team. You can find the link on the HCYs Ravelry page. It's knit with one skein of Berroco's Borealis and it's just garter stitch to boot.

If you don't know about Ravelry, it's time to find out about it. There is no fee and the knitting world will open up to you. Need I say more.

Friday, December 17, 2010

17 December 2010

New yarns have started coming in! I just got Cascade Yarns 220 in Sport Weight, and it is washable too. That means all of your baby patterns pre-1970 will no longer be a problem. You don't have to resort to acrylic yarns.

To help those of you who do not have older baby patterns I ordered Penny Straker patterns that support this weight of yarn. These are classic patterns and will be be just as fashionable today as they were in the '60s and will be for scores of years to come. These sweaters will become family heirlooms.

New class schedules were mailed on Monday. I just got mine today and it was the post office that they were mailed from! You should be receiving the schedules today or tomorrow. If you are impatient, the schedule is on the website.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

9 December 2010

I have been remiss. I am sorry for not having posted for awhile.

I have been busy trying to bring in new products for your winter knitting. And, we have gotten in some great yarns. I've just ordered some Cascade Eco + and there are free patterns for this yarn. I have been notified that it has shipped so I hope it will be in next week.

Jered Flood has knitted a beautiful throw using the Eco yarn. You can see and download the pattern from Ravelry.

There will be more yarns coming soon and I will let you know as they arrive.

The class schedule is at the printers as I write this. If you don't get one in the mail by the end of next week, please let me know. I've added a class about cast-ons. It might surprise you how many types there are and how they might just be a bit better than the one you're presently using.

I'm including some of the pictures of the tams knitting at the PJ Party weekend. Courtney was nice enough to model her tam for me.

And now for a smile....

I've found that there is a very permanent way of attaching buttons to your sweater. I use dental floss (not waxed). I know you're saying, "What about the white?" Well, a permanent marker takes care of that. The color only has to be close - not an exact match. The best way is to back the button with another button. Fabric shops sell emergency buttons. They're clear and just the ticket for the backside of the button band. This stops the button from being torn out and helps it lay flat on the surface of the button band.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, October 29, 2010

29 October 2010

Don't forget tomorrow's Porch Party. It looks like the weather will be great - cool and sunny, so it will be the perfect time to wear that just finished sweater! We'll have hot tea available and lots of goodies. The party will be all day so come when you wish.

The PJ Party was another success if I do say so. Lisa Myers of Manos del Uruguay was our guest speaker. She had many sweaters to show and all of the lines of Manos. Lisa also spoke about the Manos project and how it was one of the first "Fair Trade" yarn suppliers. Manos employs women in the very rural areas of Uruguay who would otherwise not have any employment at all.

Hunt Country Yarns has carried Manos del Uruguay yarn from the day we opened our doors in 1997. We will continue to supply the finest that Manos has to offer to our customers.

Check out our website for the exciting news about the shop's upcoming trip to Bermuda! This will be a sit back and relax trip to remove the doldrums of winter. This trip is open to stitchers and their partners. There will be plenty to do aboard ship and much to do in Bermuda. Not to worry if you don't pursue the needlearts.

And lastly, a tip:

If you drop a stitch in a fine dark yarn or fuzzy yarn, hold the knitting over a bright source of light (try a lamp on the floor - take care with the hot bulb). It will be much easier to see where the stitches are and probably very easy to see the dropped stitch. Catch the stitch with a safety pin (we have the coilless ones again). Now you can decide to pick-up the dropped stitch or (heaven forbid) ravel back to the error.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

14 October 2010

Well, I think I am ready for the PJ Party - at least I hope I am. I have the chocolate, so I guess I'm ready. If I forget the chocolate I don't think I should show my face.

I have been remiss in not publishing this picture. It is a fanciful tea cozy from Bath, England. It was brought to the shop as an addition to my sheep collection by Susan Anthony who said that she just couldn't resist it when she saw it. It is officially a "Farmyard Crazy Tea Cozy" specifically "Sidney the Sheep".

I think it is just great! It gives me great pleasure every time I look at it.

Thank you Susan!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

13 October 2010

For all of you PJ Party goers, here is a listing of restaurants in Shepherdstown WV. You should call for a Friday night reservation if you will be dining in town.

(Be sure to call first; this is homecoming
weekend at Shepherd U.)

Rumsey Tavern— the Clarion’s own casual pub.

Sebastian’s— the Clarion’s more formal dining room.

The Yellow Brick Bank– Creative American with
house-made breads and desserts, historic bank
building, 201 E. German St., 304-876-2208

Bavarian Inn— Elegant surroundings and fine European
cuisine in main dining rooms, plus casual dining in
the Rathskeller pub, 164 Shepherd Grade Rd., 304-876-2551

The Press Room— Chic new fine-dining Italian, 129 W.
German St., 304-876-8777

Stone Soup Bistro— Casual spot featuring local fresh
and organic produce, eclectic menu, 112 W. German
St., 304-876-8477

Three Onions— Popular global cuisine and martini
lounge, 117 E. German St., 304-879-3502

Blue Moon Café— Natural foods café and pub, soups,
salads, vegetarian. corner of Prince and High St.,

Kazu— Hearty homestyle Japanese and Thai cuisine, 120
W. German St., 304-876-8798

Betty’s Restaurant— Local old-fashioned small town
favorite, sandwiches, closes early, 112 E. German
St., 304-876-6080

Shaharazade’s Tea Room— Casual Middle
Eastern/Mediterranean and light vegetarian menu, 141
W. German St., 304-876-1000

A-Wok Chinese—Traditional Chinese dishes, Rt. 45,
Maddex Square Shops, 304-876-1088

China Kitchen—Classic Chinese cooking, corner of
German and King Street, 304-876-6620

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

29 Sept 2010

Did you know that there is no standard US needle size? Surprised? The US needle sizes are similar but not exactly the same. A Boye needle might not be exactly the same as a Bates. This leads to the problem with metric needles that try to approximate the closest US size. You will find that one company's metric to US equivalent is not the same as anothers.

So, if you are using a Boye needle and it is damaged and you need to change needles, don't expect that the Bates needle or a true metric needle (like Addi Tubo) will give you the same gauge.

Another problem with needles is that you can't switch from a wood needle to a metal needle and expect the gauge to be the same. Switching needles mid-knit can cause big problems. It would be safer to do another sample to make sure that the gauge with the different needles matches the gauge of the original.

The older your needles, the more likely that their size will differ amongst the companies. And they older they get the worse it gets. I have some pre-1900 needles that are not even close to the sizes of my 1950s needles.

You will have the same problem with needle gauges. An Addi Turbo needle gauge does not accurately measure US needles. It is a true metric needle gauge.

Now to make you feel better. The newer needles, you will note, have both metric and US sizing numbers. This means that the needle is a metric needle with a close US equivalent. You can breathe easier now.

Friday, September 17, 2010

17 September 2010

I've had several folks come in asking for Addi Turbo Clicks with Lace needles. I called the company and yes, they are making Clicks with the Lace needle. BUT, they have over 4000 orders and the Clicks have not arrived in the US yet. I am in that queue but I don't know where. I will have them in the shop - when they send them to me.

Addi also has the soft "wallets" for the Clicks now. If you got one of the original presentation sets, you might want to think about getting a wallet for your additional needles and cables. Or if you travel, the wallets are more compact and easier to carry.

This past week I have been frustrated trying to help folks who come in looking for more yarn to match what they have. The problem is that the ball band was lost. Usually after a search through my database I can find the lot number and color number, but not always.

Here's a helpful hint if you are not a Ravelry person or a person that logs your yarn stash at home. When you ball your yarn, use the yarn band as a "core" and start wrapping the yarn around the band. Then when you are finished knitting with the ball and need more yarn, the ball band is there right when you need it!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

9 September 2010

I'm trying to get the shop ready for the cooler weather so the sock yarns have finally started to come in.

Today we just received several of the new Erica Knight Design Line Jazz Color sock yarns. These are wonderful striping colors with just plain fun names: Be-Bop, Color Me Cool, Flamenco Sketch ..... You really need to see these colors to appreciate them.

And not to make matters worse, we just received new Mini Mochi sock yarn. Of course, these have great color combinations too. The names: Brandied Apricots, Spice Market, and Caramel Latte don't even begin to describe these beautifully delicious colors.

If you knit socks, you really need to see these beautiful colors. Your feet will thank you!

Friday, September 3, 2010

3 September 2010

We have been knitting away here at the shop. We have two new models on display - a beautiful lace-cashmere tee by Filatura and a beaded-lace cape by Deanna's Vintage Style. The tee is so soft you won't believe your fingertips, and the cape - well it's just beautiful.

We now have in stock "Lovely Jeans" by Filatura. This is a really soft cotton yarn that holds its shape well. The matching pattern book is just chock full of classic sweater designs. Knit one of these and this will be the sweater that you will keep forever - timeless color and timeless designs.

We also just received "Mooreland". This is a super soft wool, alpaca, mohair blend that can be knit anywhere from 5 - 6 sts/inch. The colors, well I think they're gorgeous. These are soft heathers that will compliment anything you wear them with. We're going to knit Oat Couture's "The Seville Jacket" using this yarn.

Friday, August 13, 2010

13 August 2010

We have just gotten in some glow-in-the-dark yarn. This stuff is just plain fun. I made a hat for my grandaughter and she thought it was great. The only child on the block with a hat that glows.

This yarn will glow for quite awhile and is non-flammable and machine washable and dryable. This might make a great gift for the dark winter months and keeping children safe when the clock turns back.

I also was able to find "Hunter Orange" or "International Orange" for the hunting season. This is a four-ply yarn that knits at 4.5 sts/inch. (If you want the cap to be extra dense, then knit at 5 sts/inch.) There is enough in one ball (280 yards) to knit a watch cap to keep your hunter safe and warm.

This yarn is machine washable and dryable.

Friday, August 6, 2010

6 August 2010

New items are arriving every day and I am so behind in knitting store models......

The newest item is a kit called Scarf in a Scarf. You knit a scarf out of a luxurious silk/merino, hand-dyed yarn and then lace a silk scarf that was dyed to match through the knitting.

It can be worn very simply or be as a very "girly-girl" ruffled scarf - your choice. You just have to see it to believe it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

22 July 2010

I just got in some beautiful alpaca yarn from Frog Tree Yarns. The Brushed Suri is just so soft that I can see a beautiful scarf or a light-weight sweater being knit from this.

I also brought in the Sport Melange which would be perfect for one of Penny Straker's sweaters. These colors are just so beautifully blended into soft color shades. Penny's patterns have been around since the 70's but they are so classic they haven't aged a bit.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

17 July 2010

Don't forget that the month of July is the Anniversary Sale month for the shop. Each week the sale items change. You can get up to 50% off of selected items!

We also have shop model garments for sale. This is a great chance to get the model that you have been looking at and wishing that you had the time to knit - at a great price!

Nex weekend is the Middleburg Humane Foundation's "Dog Day in The Plains". All of the shops are donating a percentage of their day's sales to MHF. We have raffle tickets for some great items and the tickets only cost $2 each or three for $5. The raffle items are posted at There will be lots 'o pups looking for a good home. Maybe you have room for one?

I have been buying some great items for the Fall. There are some great yarns coming in over the next several months. The newest item that I am excited about is "Drift" from Rowan. A beautiful yarn in great colors and there is a super pattern book loaded with some fabulous sweaters.

And, for you sock knitters, several new sock yarns have been ordered and one is from Virginia. We ordered "Footprint" from Blue Ridge Yarns. It is just plain fun. The heel and toe have their own special color yarn, dyed to match the body of the sock. Now you can go crazy with color.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4 July 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

Just a note for the less fortunate furry folks out there. The Plains is going to have a Dog Day on July 24th from 11-3 pm. We invite you to join us in activites that will help us support Middleburg Humane Foundation's (MHF) efforts. MHF will be on hand with plenty of dogs that are available for adoption, so come and fall in love with one that needs a home. In addition, we'll have two book-signings from local authors: Kathryn Kadilak who wrote "Tommy Finds His Forever Home" and Leigh McMillan who wrote "It all Started With A Dog". It's sure to be hot that day so we'l have plenty of ice cream on hand to cool you off. Other activities are still in the planning stages so be sure to check of the proceeds from the sales at all of the stores in The Plains will be donated to MHF.

See you all for at least ice cream.

Friday, July 2, 2010

2 July 2010

This is the follow-up to the problems of moths in your yarns.

If you put your knitted goods and yarns away in a sealed container, there will be no moth problem. If the container is not well sealed then there is always a chance that a moth can get in and lay eggs.

If you are not sure whether your container seals well enough, then your only choice is mothballs. Mothballs work because they create a heavier than air vapor that is poisonous to living things - including moth eggs. The container still needs to be closed for the mothballs to be effective.

If you don't like the thought of mothballs your only other choice is a freezer that is -50 degrees for at least 24 hours. Anything less than -50 degrees just over winters the eggs and they hatch - if there are eggs present. So your home freezer doesn't work! And then it is back to a sealed container.

The best way to avoid all of this hassle is to have your sweaters and yarns out in a well lighted room. If your yarn and sweaters are out and are being moved about then moths will never be a problem. Think of your yarn collection as visual display of color and texture that should be enjoyed just as you would a painting.

Remember, moths like warm, dark and undisturbed places. If your yarn is on display, moths will stay away.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

27 June 2010

I'd like to talk about moths and dispel any myths of what will act as a repellent. I'm probably going to make some people mad and worry some others of you but the facts are facts. I talked with a conservator and got the following information.

The best repellent is clean. Never put wool away dirty. So that means that your winter sweaters are washed (not dry cleaned) before they are stored for the summer. No need to worry about the yarn you bought. It is clean.

All of the nice smelling repellents are just that - nice smelling and nothing more. They do not repel. Sorry! Neither do cedar-lined closets. The reason that the hope chest works so well is that it seals tightly - not the cedar.

Let's think about what clothing moths' larvae want outside of some dirty hair to eat. They like warm, dark and undisturbed places - think closet. If you have a window in your closet (like we do and my grandmothers had) you will probably never be bothered. Most modern homes don't have windows in the closet so now you have the warm and dark. If you put your winter sweaters out of the way in the closet, you now have the last piece - undisturbed.

Many yarns have a repellent built into the dye. The compound called Mitin FF is put into the bath of dye at the same time the yarn is being dyed. It binds to the wool just like the dye does and does not rub off. Follow the link if you want more information.

Products using Mitin FF are marked as such or state that they are "Mothproofed". This is not new. Mitin FF has been used for many years.

My next blog will have some solutions for the moth problem.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

16 June 2010

I know, I know. It has been awhile since my last blog.

I had a great time entertaining Phillipa Turnbull before and after her crewel workshop. Phillipa gave a great powerpoint presentation on the history of crewel. Boy, was I surprised. I now know much more about the progression of crewel through English history and why the designs are like they are. Fascinating!

I will post pictures of the workshop as soon as Lyn has a moment to transfer the photos to me. I forgot (and now can't find) my small camera.

Both Lyn and I are working on the Victorian Peony piece that Phillipa used as her teaching model. Stop by when you have a moment and see what we are doing. We both know, now, how to make perfect french knots!

Friday, June 4, 2010

4 June 2010

If you knit with a single-ply (also known as "singles") yarn, your work can easily become biased. By that I mean your knitted piece will either lean to the left \ or the right / depending on the twist or, which side you're looking at. It will might not be square.

This isn't usually a problem unless your yarn is tightly spun. Tightly spun singles tend to bias more than ones that are loosely spun. The problem with loosely spun yarns is that they tend to be more prone to pilling and loose shape easily. But, the singles yarns feel lusciously soft. Some of the nicest yarns being milled these days are single ply.

All of these problems can be easily overcome with your stitches. Using a stitch pattern that uses both knits a purls will usually solve the biasing problem. As far as the pilling and loosing shape, just drop down a needle size. Knitting the fabric just a touch tighter will give the yarn less room to move around and yield nicer shaping and reduce the pilling to almost nothing.

Simple solutions to vexing problems.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

23 May 2010

Will I have enough yarn to finish my sweater? A question commonly asked at the shop. The answer is a simple one.

The back of a standard long-sleeve sweater takes one-third of the total amount of the yarn. If you have used more than one-third, for the back, you will be short. You need to see if you can buy more of the same dyelot pronto!

If there is no more of that dyelot, don't despair. You will just need to knit at least one whole sleeve out of another dyelot. The differing dyelot for the sleeve will not be apparent in most cases - especially if it is a commercially dyed yarn. With hand dyed yarn this can be a bit tricker.

The differing dyelots show very well when the change is from one row to the next. When another piece of a sweater is knit out of a differing dyelot, the difference is not as apparent.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

16 May 2010

Last weekend we had a great time in the Knitting Scraps class. I think that everyone was amazed at the potential of scraps and how the most unlikely colors actually worked together.

The hardest part was stopping folks from looking at what color the next piece of yarn was as they went to pull it out of the bundle of yarn in their lap. The temptation was great but the colors came quite randomly and worked perfectly. It took a lot of faith to believe it would work but as the knitting progressed "the proof was in the pudding."

Yarn studies were made and compared. Everyone was pleased with her results and all agreed that knitting a sweater out of scraps was not only going to be fun but would make a totally unique sweater - and quite possible to do. Their favorite pattern could be used but each time they used the pattern the resulting sweater would end up being completely different from the first. Not only in color but in texture too.

Friday, May 14, 2010

14 May 2010

I know that it has been a long time since my last blog but the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival took a lot of work and I am still trying to get things back to normal. Great show and a lot of fun. It was nice seeing some of you there.

So why shouldn't you use your favorite scissors to cut paper? Remember when you mother really got after you for using her "good" scissors?

Well, here's the answer and it comes from my optometrist. He warned me not to use bargain brand tissues to clean my glasses. I asked why. Here's the answer.

It would seem that the wood pulp process can be done so that no bark is involved in the paper making process - and that is good. In the less expensive papers (and tissues for cleaning your glasses) a lot of bark gets into the pulp.

Bark is bad for you glasses and scissors. The bark contains fine particles of dirt (grit) blown in by wind. These small particles act like sandpaper and sandpaper is not good for your glasses or your scissors. The grit puts very fine scratches in your plastic lenses and dulls the edges of your scissors.

It's not that your scissors won't dull over time, it is just that paper will hasten the dulling.

Friday, May 7, 2010

7 May 2010

You have probably all wondered if you have enough yarn to make it to the end of a row - or if you left enough to bind-off.

The way to tell is simple. You need at least three times (safer if it is four) the length of the row you are knitting. For example, if a scarf is 10" wide you would need at least 30" but 40" would be better, to bind-off or finish a row of knitting.

Simple! But, what a patience and time saver this is.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

18 April 2010

Safety lines. And you thought those were what mountain climbers used.

Safety lines are commonly used by lace knitters. It is a piece of thread that is run through all of the stitches on your needle every so many rows. If a mistake is discovered you only need to ravel to the safety line and place all of those stitches back on the needle - mistake free.

You don't need to be working on lace to use safety lines. Any knitting that has a complicated pattern can use a safety line. Just run a contrasting thread (using a tapestry needle) through the stitches on your needle. How often? Well, how much do you want to ravel if you make a mistake?
Every five or ten rows or one pattern repeat will do. Whatever you feel comfortable with.

Now, no raveling back in tears for many rows until you can figure where you are in your pattern.

Friday, April 16, 2010

16 April 2010

I have helped customers with yarn overs (YO) for many years. For the most part yarn overs self-explanatory and easy to show. A yarn over is an increase and the purpose is to create a hole (eyelet) in your knitting.

The problem arises when your pattern asks you to start a row of knitting with a yarn over. You sit there wondering how this can be accomplished.

Simple. The yarn over is the first stitch on the right-hand needle. Don't try to put the yarn over on the left-hand needle and attempt to move it across to the right. Depending on whether the next stitch to be worked is a purl or a knit will cause you to have to wrap the yarn so that it either ends up on the front of the work or back of the work ready to work a knit or a purl.

See, simple.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

8 April 2010

You really need to consider yarn amounts when changing from stockinette stitch to garter stitch (or from knit to crochet).

It takes three rows of garter stitch to equal two rows of stockinette. Put in other words, it takes one-third more yarn to knit in garter than it does to knit stockinette.

This one-third more can be applied to afghans/throws too. If you have a pattern for a knitted throw and you want to make the same size but you are going to crochet it, it will use one-third more yarn than is called for in the knitted version.

Friday, March 26, 2010

26 March 2010

Don't forget about selvages. They're very important when it comes to finishing your garments. Sewing your garment up will be made much easier with a selvage.

Some patterns account for selvages some don't. If they don't it is up to you. There are many different types of selvages but one of the most common is a slip-stitch selvage.

If you have the book The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques by Nancie Wiseman you're all set. If not, we have the book here at the shop. It is a valuable resource if you're having trouble finishing (or avoiding finishing) your projects.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

26 March 2010

Oh boy! We just got a new shipment of antique buttons. So if all button collectors want a good selection you should get down to the shop pronto.

Remember we enable...... proudly.

Don't forget to mark your calendars for April 10. We will be having our Spring Porch Party and first ever Shop Model Sale!

In answer to your questions, no you can't reserve a sweater because I don't know what I am going to sell. You'll just have to show up.

Friday, March 19, 2010

19 March 2010

Hooray! I've been waiting for the color book from Wagtail Yarns of Australia. It has finally arrived. If you want to see beautiful colors of smooth spun mohair this yarn is for you. Not fuzzy and not itchy.

The yarn comes in several combinations: 100% mohair, 80% mohair and 20% wool, and 60% mohair and 40% wool.

In the 100% there are three weights: lace, sock (fingering) and double knitting (DK). In the 80%/20% there are two weights: sock, and DK. In the 60%/40% there are three weights: sport, worsted and heavy worsted. Of course Australia uses plys instead of weight of yarn so these are approximate but close. You do have a bit of leeway to knit up or down a stitch or two.

Stop by and have a look. This weekend will be beautiful for a day out and a trip to the yarn shop.

Friday, March 12, 2010

12 March 2010

The rainy day blahs. Well, it doesn't have to be like that. Come down to the shop and sit and knit. It's pleasant here and there is great conversation – as always.

The water-based fabric glue has arrived. I have been waiting awhile for the distributor to get it in. Took long enough!

Now the problem of woven ends isn't a problem anymore. Just a small drop of the glue and the end is permanently locked. This glue does not create a hard spot and is clear. Mistakes can be removed with water before it dries. And, once dry it is machine washable.

This is the answer knitters have been looking for, especially with slippery yarn. No more woven ends coming out or loose! Hooray!

Friday, March 5, 2010

5 March 2010

I was getting desperate! I had not been able to get my shipment of Paternayan Persian needlepoint wool that I ordered in October of 2009.

Well, yesterday a pleasant surprise. My order finally arrived! I am told that the distributor is now attempting to fill back orders and orders. The problem was caused by the supplier of the raw material (the three-ply yarn). The distributor needed 3000 pounds per shipment and were only getting 100 pounds at a time.

The yarn is dyed here in the US so dyeing wasn't the problem. The distributor said that they are working overtime to dye colors to complete their back orders and should be up to speed with regular shipments very soon.

Those of you that have orders with me should be getting a phone call as soon as my other back orders are filled.

Sorry for the delay but it was beyond my control. Thank you for being so patient.

Good news – I may have a solution for needle storage. Needle Pockets!

The pages fit into standard three-ring binders. You can organize your needles and have quick access at the same time. Have colorful binders to indicate the needle type stored!

The pages are made of a heavy vinyl. There is a fold-over flap to keep the needles in and you can mark the pocket with the needle size (and length in the case of circulars).

For those of you who have been searching for a way to organize you needles – this just might be your solution. No more digging for needles!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

4 March 2010

I am glad to announce upcoming Phillipa Turnbull workshops. Phillipa is well known for her historical British crewel work. The workshops will be held on June 9, 2010 in The Plains Community Center.

The store carries Phillipa's crewel kits and has several models in the store for you to see. If you ever wondered about crewelwork this will be a workshop for you. You can view some of Phillipa's work on her website The Crewel Work Company.

Phillipa also has designed a seat frame to make stitching easier. The frame has three different hoop sizes and the turn screw is made of polymer, not wood, so it does not strip-out. I carry the Elbesee frame.

We are taking advance registration (seating is limited). Please call the shop to place your name on the workshop list.

I will post more information about the types of workshops soon.

Friday, February 26, 2010

26 February 2010

Hi Folks

I did sneak away for a short while and I told myself no business while I am suppose to be relaxing. Well, relaxing wasn't exactly in the cards but it was a change of scenery.

Just so you know, I do work on my projects while I am away. This is my island project. It is a counted needlepoint on 18 mesh. The challenging work is named Fresh Water Pearls, and is Sandra Gilmore's chart designed for DMC. I have talked with Sandra many times at trade shows and asked her about this work. The difficulty (which may be hard to see) is that there are as many as five colors per row per colorway. I have tried many ways of keeping the back neat but have finally given in.

I work with as many as 30 threaded needles at a time. These needles cover working just one quarter of the canvas (you can see that I am working on the bottom right-hand side). I attempt to have several of the same colors in one area to minimize the travel on the back side of the canvas.

When talking with Sandra I asked about how she solved the problem of working so many colors that are dotted along a row and do not have a corresponding placement above. She laughed. She told me that there was no way to keep the back any neater than I had, given the complexity of the design's colors. She also added that she was never going to do another image like this.

I work using the chart that has been enlarged 400%. The original design is done on an 8.5 x 11" piece of paper. Enlarging it in pieces gives me a workable size so the symbols for the colors are easier to read. I also use a Magni-Clips magnifier to see the chart and the stitches. I've tried working without the magnifier but after working for an hour I find that I loose my place on the chart too easily. The other necessity is the portable Ott Light. Don't know what I would do without that!

Sandra designs beautiful stitch-matched needlepoint that make her canvases a bit easier to work.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

11 Feb 2010

Hi Folks

I made it in today. Hope you are all well and the digging out process has not been too overwhelming. We had about 35" at the house and Wednesday added another 2-3". We had no power for two days but I do have a generator so the vital systems (heat and well) were powered.

The streets are clear to the curb here in The Plains, and Old Tavern Road (exit 31 from 66) is clear. So if cabin fever is your problem, we're open. The sidewalks are clear and there are no mounds of snow to climb over to get into the shop.

Friday, February 5, 2010

5 February 2010

I'm glad I came into the store today because our UPS driver delivered the two newest colors of Stuff from Prism Arts.

Laura has out done herself. The first is Maui (Cool Stuff) and I'm not even going to try to describe the color. Cool Stuff contains no yarns made from wool, alpaca, mohair, etc. and knits at 4.5 sts/inch.

The other color is Coral Reef (Light Stuff). Light Stuff is thinner that the other "Stuffs". It too contains no hair and knits at 5 sts/inch.

I don't think that your computer screen will ever do her yarns justice. When you have time, stop by and ask to see the new colors.

I don't know if I will be at the shop tomorrow. It depends if I can get out of our road. Call the shop. The message will let you know if I am here. I will try to be here on Sunday for sure.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

31 January 2010

"The Perfect Notion Case" has arrived. They come in the three colors shown, with and without sparkles.

This is just the handiest little case to store all of those bits that get lost in a normal case. There are five compartments on one side (three small and two larger) and one large compartment on the other. All of the compartments have snap locks and the whole case locks. No spilled surprises!

Friday, January 29, 2010

29 January 2010

The newest model of Rhythm yarn is in!

This takes entrelac to the next step. Those of you who like a bit of a challenge will love this one.

This wrap is a caplet with a round bottom - that's the entrelac challenge.

You really need to see this one in person. It is deliciously beautiful.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

27 January 2010

We just got in local ORGANIC wool in three natural colors!

The colors are white of course (great for dyeing your own), a light heather brown and a rich chocolate brown. These colors are just what a warm winter sweater calls for. The jacket by Josh Bennett in the latest VOGUEknitting International (Winter 2009/10) would just "sing" in this yarn. Definitely a warm a snuggly sweater for a man or a woman.

The wool comes from Gum Tree Farm and it has been certified by NCCIA (we have a certificate here). The yarn was milled at Green Mountain Spinnery in Putney, Vermont and is a single ply yarn and has 140 yards per skein. we have knitted examples of the yarn so you can see what the colors will look like. The yarn fluffs up a bit after it is washed and looks great. It knits at 5 sts/inch but it will knit to 5.5 sts/inch.

Friday, January 22, 2010

22 January 2010

I know its been awhile since my last post. The store is being inventoried so that takes most of my time. But, now when you ask if we have something in stock the computer should have the correct information. It is amazing how I can make mistakes when receiving inventory.

I have also figured out the date problem not matching the date that I post the blog. The dates should be correct from this point on.

One of my customers decided to knit a pattern from a new issue of a magazine. After casting on the required number of stitches an attempt was made to make a study (swatch).

After several knitting attempts and several brain storming attempts it was decided that the shop wasn't the best place to puzzle out this complicated cable/eyelet pattern. Come to find out there was a mistake in the pattern. I guess I can say I wasn't surprised.

There are companies that really take the time to check a pattern and these companys' patterns are a pleasure to knit from. Then there are the rest.

I would say that the internet has become a valuable tool when it comes to errata. I suggest checking the company's website to see if any errors have been found in the pattern you've chosen. Magazine or book, check first. It saves your frustration levels from going critical.

In this particular case, the magazine is too new and no one has reported finding an error in the pattern - yet.

Many customers have come in thinking that they're making a mistake when all along it has been an error in the pattern - NOT their knitting.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

15 January 2010

Folks have asked me why I don't pull from the center of a ball of yarn. Well, my answer is simple. I really dislike tangled messes.

I am constantly moving my projects in and out of vinyl bags. I have several projects underway and I am moving them from the shop to home and back again. When the ball of yarn starts getting close to the end, it collapses. Now that wouldn't be a problem if the project and ball stayed in one place, but mine don't. Hence, I end up with tangled messes.

The only time I pull from the center of a ball of yarn is when the pattern calls for using two strands of yarn. Pulling from the inside and outside at the same time stops two balls of yarn from tangling and it uses all of the yarn from the single ball - no waste.

Friday, January 8, 2010

14 January 2010

If someone tells you that you are not knitting correctly, be wary.

If they mean that you are not forming stitches correctly, not doing an increase/decrease correctly or some other stitch manipulation then their help should be welcomed.

If, on the other hand, they're telling you that you could be knitting faster if you knitted differently, should hold your needles differently, or plain "that's just all wrong", politely thank the person and when they're gone, just knit the way you've always been knittng.

There is no right or wrong way to knit - there is just your way. If your knitting creates a finished and acceptable garment, fine. Knitting doesn't involve time trials!

If you want to knit faster or learn another way to knit fine, but don't think that the way you throw your yarn or how you hold your needles is wrong.
10 January 10

(As a side note, I've published this on Sunday 10, January 2010. I don't know why the blog is stating that it is Friday.)

Ever been knitting and the yarn you're knitting with just pulls apart?

What causes it to pull apart? It would be unusual for a plied yarn to come apart (you're knitting way to tightly). Most likely you are using what the industry calls a single-ply yarn.

When you examine the yarn closely you can see the twist that is holding the fibers together. The problem arises when the way you wrap the yarn around the needle to knit or purl you slightly untwist the yarn. Successive stitches completely unwinds the twist and the yarn just pulls apart.

The solution: just knit from the other end of the ball of yarn. If you have balled the yarn and there is no other end, then you will have to re-ball the yarn to gain access to the other end.

You're doing nothing wrong. It just happens that the way you knit and the yarn are just not cooperating. Changing the direction of the yarn will make cooperation possible. Don't change the way you knit!
9 January 2010

Lace knitting can be beautifully blocked or sort of blocked. I think that the use of blocking wires really enhances the look of the work. The points are properly displayed and the lace work is opened to show the world your skills.

If you've ever wondered about blocking with blocking wires there here is a link.

We have blocking wires. It does help if you have a blocking surface and we have Knitter's Blocks but an animal free surface that pins can be driven into will work (even with the Knitter's Blocks you need an animal free space for the blocks.)
8 January 2010

Another headache that folks encounter is a dropped yarn-over (YO).

When you miss (forget) a yarn-over on the right side (RS) of your work and this is the side that the yarn-overs are inserted, just pick-up the 'purl' bar between the two stitches that that frame the yarn-over. You don't need to unknit or tink back to the missing yarn over. Just slip stitches back and stop at the stitch that would have been to the left of the yarn over.

Using your right-hand needle, pick up the purl bar between the framing stitches from the back side of the work making the purl bar slant to the left "\" across the top of the needle. If you forgot to put in the yarn over this will be a bit of a tight stitch but it will be okay in the end.

When you are on the wrong side (WS) of the work and you realize that you have forgotten to put in a yarn over, stop at the stitch that would have been on the right-hand side of the yarn over.

Using your left-hand needle, pick up the purl bar between the framing stitches from the front side of the work making the purl bar slant to the left "\", across the top of the needle, and then work the yarn over as per the patten (either knit it or purl it). Again it will be a bit tight if the yarn over never existed but if it was just accidentally dropped while knitting, it will have the right tension.

No more reason to worry about dropped yarn overs. They're easily fixed.

This usually happens when you

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

5 January 2010

Another shop horror - marked-up original patterns.

If you know that you like to mark up, PLEASE mark up a copy.

If you can't read your mark ups, we probably can't either. We know that it is your favorite pattern (because it is so marked up). The reason that it is so marked up is because you've made this sweater many times for many different people in many different sizes.

So, if you make a copy each time you start a sweater from this pattern you will have a record of the person, size and type of yarn you used. Simple! Easy! And you always have a nice fresh original from which to copy.
5 January 2010

Wow, that was hard to write, 2010. Who would of 'thunk'. Sitting in my 5th or 6th grade class I wondered what it would be like in the year 2000. Now I know. I had hoped for a flying car and trips to the moon. Oh, well.

I just had a customer surprised by the discontinuance of a yarn. It is unfortunate, but it happens. What made matters worse is that a yarn label was not kept. So I have no color number to try to search for.

My recommendation is that you keep a copy of the sweater pattern in a sleeve with a sample of the yarn and a yarn label. Keeping this record might seem as a bit of over kill but you never know when you might need the information.

You might even want to knit the sweater again and the yarn label might be of help. If you're lucky, years later they might still be making the same yarn. That isn't unheard of. Some yarns have been around for years. If not, at least the shop has half a chance of finding a good, close substitute.

And finally, Happy New Year!