Let's Make a Deal

I am so excited about my next project! Boden Girl will be such a fun sample for the Berroco Ultra Wool, which is a wonderful washable choice for kids and adults alike. The pattern is available in an adult version, too, which could be a fantastic way to combine a variegated yarn (like Malabrigo Rios) with solids.

Now, the “let’s make a deal” portion of this endeavor…I have TWO sweaters in progress, so how much do I need to get done before I start a new project?? This is a way I often entice myself to make progress on my projects: I need to finish a sleeve on this thing before I can move on to the next step of that thing. Having only one project on the needles isn’t really a viable option for me—I need to have something in progress for nearly any type of knitting opportunity: first thing in the morning, when my mind is clear; during social times when lots of conversation is happening and it’s a little harder to keep track of something complicated; late in the evening, when I might fall asleep mid-row….

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Ann
Fall Colors

There’s no right or wrong time to love—or use—a color, but autumn certainly does bring to mind the warm earthy hues of the world transforming right before our eyes, doesn’t it? I love looking a a big mix of these colors; it’s the fiber-y equivalent of raking up a big pile of turning leaves, and diving right in!

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Ann
Let’s talk about colorwork.

We’ve been seeing lots of stranded colorwork in the crop of fall knitting designs, and this week, Tin Can Knits updated the Strange Brew colorwork sweater “recipe” to accommodate three different gauges, in twenty-five sizes (newborn through men’s 4XL), and either top-down or bottom-up construction.

The sweater recipe is available as a standalone Ravelry In-Store pattern for $10, or is part of the Strange Brew e-book, launched this week. The e-book is $22, and contains the original “recipe” pattern, plus eight additional sweater patterns, and several hats and cowls. (It’s a heck of a value.)

I’ve decided to plan for a colorwork sweater knitalong after the new year, but to prepare, I’ll be hosting a Strange Brew swatchalong on the first four Fridays in November. (The last Friday will be, as usual, Project Circle.) Using the FREE Anthology pattern from Tin Can Knits, we’ll design and knit colorwork hats or cowls. Just like the Strange Brew recipe, Anthology offers a wide variety of sizes, and three gauge options. Held in the knitalong format, there will be no charge to participate beyond purchase of materials.

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Ann
Hello Autumn, I just want to hug you.

The official start to Autumn was at 6:54 on Saturday evening, though it’s been present in the air for at least a couple of weeks already!

What are your favorite parts of fall? I love the fresh crops of apples, soup for dinner, a cup of hot chai in the evening, knitting, and most especially the planning of new projects. Zweig, Cathedral Grove, and Optics are all in progress, but Fernet Branca has captivated me, and I’m thinking about new winter accessories (hat, mittens, cowl). Though with new samples demanding to be knit up, that project may take a back seat, as last year’s hat and mittens are perfectly serviceable. Perhaps I should just knit the matching cowl?

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Ann
And the winner is...

…not the sweater I’m casting on! More on that in a moment. As you can see, the overwhelming winner was Thea Colman’s gorgeous Chocolate Stout. (Of interest is that this winner and the winner of the last poll along these lines were both in the final position on the ballot…hmmm.) While Chocolate Stout is going into my queue, of these three contenders, it’s Cathedral Grove (technically the loser) that I am going to knit first.

There are two main reasons for this—both related to the yarn I plan to use. Jaggerspun Mousam Falls is a superwash aran weight, and the gauge of 20 stitches over four inches for the Chocolate Stout is just denser than I want with this yarn. In addition, the yarn is substantial enough (in a good way) that I think I will prefer the mix of cables with stockinette that Cathedral Grove is built around. And I also think this might be an occasion where a shawl collar, as with both Chocolate Stout and meander, would add just a bit more bulk and weight than I want for this sweater.

I’ve been busy knitting Zweig (see below), but yarn is would and cast on for Cathedral Grove is imminent!

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Ann
Cascade Sale continues!

The sale on Cascade 220 and Cascade 220 Superwash continues, and as you can see progress has been made on freeing up space for new yarns. Thank you for your help! (Note: there will surely be a few days of "please excuse the mess" when new stock begins to arrive, as some things that used to be on shelves will be on the wall, and vice versa, and fitting the jigsaw pieces together will be its own special challenge.)

While the neutrals are in much shorter supply, there are a number of brights available. Cascade 220 Superwash is a good choice for blankets--consider Bounce , Fly Away, or Vivid from Tin Can Knits. It's also works well for kid sweaters--the size 18 month Silverfox and the 2 year old Lancelot both used just two balls. 

For the regular (handwashable) 220, consider a DK or worsted weight shawl. 600-800 yards at this this weight makes a generously-sized shawl, so think 3-4 skeins. As the temperatures drop at night, having something cozy and wool to wrap your shoulders in starts to seem like a fine idea! I’ve assembled a Ravelry bundle of pattern options here. Another option if the color you like isn't available in a sweater quantity is DK or worsted weight vests--have a look at a few designs I thought would be interesting here.

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Ann
Hello to Darnie, Sale on Cascade

Stocking a retail specialty store presents an ongoing series of related--and always interesting-- challenges. Beyond guessing which colors and fibers you all will be excited by, there are lots of other factors to consider, many of which are less exciting but still extremely relevant to making a shop run smoothly. What are a vendor's minimum order requirements, how many skeins are in a bag, and where are they shipping from? How secure is the supply chain? What kinds of yarns are designers using for their patterns? (This one is always changing, and unpredictable!) Where do I have gaps, either in color or yarn weight, or type of fiber? I could go on, but you get the idea.

At times, it becomes necessary to make larger changes, and these are a challenge to execute smoothly. Please know that I'm undertaking this transition with a lot of forethought, and if you're not immediately thrilled about the change, it's my sincere hope that in time, you will be.

Going forward, I will be stocking Berroco's Ultra Wool as my primary, solid colored superwash wool. I have swatched it, and tested how well it can be both machine washed and dried. It is soft, pleasant to knit with, and reasonably priced. The entire production process happens in Peru, including the superwash processing. With the potential for tariffs affecting yarn from China on the horizon, this was a significant consideration. 

In the realm of untreated wools, I will be adding Plymouth Galway, focusing on the solid colors in the extensive palette. For some of the more beautiful heathered colors around, I will be adding all 21 colors of Blue Sky Alpacas Woolstok. 

In anticipation of these changes (which will begin taking place mid-late September), Cascade Yarns are 25% through the month of September, with an additional 5% discount extended if you purchase all remaining skeins in a dyelot. This offer is limited to stock on hand, and there are no returns on sale merchandise.

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Ann
How I knit, revisited

A small group I'm in online recently posted videos of different members' knitting styles, and it was fascinating--a little bit of everything--throwing, picking, wrapping clockwise, wrapping counterclockwise, but the end result was that everyone was able to create stitches that weren't twisted. (Which is not to say that twisted stitches are always wrong, only that the knitter should be in control of when they are twisted.) 

The first video above is my primary method, a subset of English/American/throwing. I tension the yarn over my right index finger and "flick" it around the needle tip. When I first started knitting, I controlled the yarn by pinching it between my index finger and thumb; my current method resulted from my efforts to economize motion. 

The second video shows one of the benefits of being able to work using alternate methods--I'm knitting in two colors, with the background color tensioned with my right hand, and the contrast color in my left, continental style.

To watch more videos of how other people knit, check out the #howIknit hashtag on Instagram. It's interesting!

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Ann
Fair Drop Off is Friday!

This Friday, all Needlework and Fiber Arts entries will be physically accepted at the Home Arts Building (above!) from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm ONLY.  This allows for both judging and exhibit set up to happen before the Fair opens Thursday, August 30th at 10 am!  All exhibits remain on display until the close of Fair, and must be picked up between 6:00 and 8:00 pm on Monday, Labor Day. 

Superintendents remind you that Items should be blocked, pressed, clean and free of animal hair!

There is a small late entry fee, but entries can still be made at the Fair Office (in the Armory, 901 E 7th Ave).

It's a great time to celebrate the creativity and artisanry of Kittitas County!

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Ann
Lamb in the house!

Last week, I looked up on Saturday morning, as I saw a lamb on a leash strolling past my shop. I dove for my phone and snapped a photo, which I posted to Instagram and Facebook.

The lamb is named July, and was a late-season surprise at Bambi Miller's Parke Creek Farm. She was subsequently taken into the Smith household, where she is clearly well-loved, and is being raised as a bottle lamb.

This week, they stopped into the shop prior to their farmer's market visit, and July took a quick tour of the shop. Was she wondering how all the wool came to be so brightly colored??



Time to think about the Fair! If you're a Kittitas County resident, online and in person entries are accepted from August 1st through August 15, and the late entry period is from August 16-18 for online entries and August 16-24 for in person entries.  Entries after August 22 require approval from Fair Director of the Department. There is no cost to enter during the regular entry period, and the fee for late entry is only $3. 

Here's the secret: there is no penalty if you don't submit your items! So if you think you might like to enter an item in the fair, go ahead and do it! You can always change your mind later.

Home Arts exhibits are received in the Home Arts building between 10am and 7pm on Friday, August 24th. Pick up is on September 3rd (Labor Day), from 6-8pm. 

You can find Fair 101 and the Exhibitor's Guide here. Enter your things--it's fun to see a big range of projects on display, and that only happens if you participate!

(Not a resident of Kittitas County? Here are links to info for the Central Washington State FairChelan County, and The Puyallup. (Grant and Douglas County deadlines have passed.)

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Ann
Fair Entry Info!


Time to think about the Fair! If you're a Kittitas County resident, online and in person entries are accepted from August 1st through August 15, and the late entry period is from August 16-18 for online entries and August 16-24 for in person entries.  Entries after August 22 require approval from Fair Director of the Department. There is no cost to enter during the regular entry period, and the fee for late entry is only $3. 

Here's the secret: there is no penalty if you don't submit your items! So if you think you might like to enter an item in the fair, go ahead and do it! You can always change your mind later.

Home Arts exhibits are received in the Home Arts building between 10am and 7pm on Friday, August 24th. Pick up is on September 3rd (Labor Day), from 6-8pm. 

You can find Fair 101 and the Exhibitor's Guide here. Enter your things--it's fun to see a big range of projects on display, and that only happens if you participate!

(Not a resident of Kittitas County? Here are links to info for the Central Washington State FairChelan County, and The Puyallup. (Grant and Douglas County deadlines have passed.)

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Ann
Places You Can Knit: Seahawks Training Camp

Places You Can Knit: Seahawks Training Camp Edition

On Monday, we had the opportunity to attend a Seahawks training camp practice at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center--only because I remembered a few days before registration opened in June, and managed to connect in the two minute window before tickets sell out. Going through the security line, the man examining my bag said, "Oh! You do what I do while I'm watching--crochet!" Close enough, friend, close enough.

To mark the occasion, I decided to re-knit the popular Hawks Hat pattern in HiKoo Simpliworsted. The original called for Cascade 220 Superwash, and I occasionally heard that the sizing was just a little on the snug side. Using Simpliworsted and sizing up to US8 needles is producing a slightly larger hat, and the green and blue available in Simpliworsted (and its DK version, Simplicity) match my jersey as closely as anything I've found. 

Lots of new faces on the field; time for a new sample. Go Hawks!

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Ann
So many outtakes...

When you're looking at projects on Ravelry, what do you hope to see? Me, I want to see what a thing looks like on a human body.

Also me: I don't love taking selfies. 

What to do about that? Honestly, the answer is probably just to take more pictures. Then you can delete a bunch! (Or hang on to them, so they can later be incorporated into a ridiculous collage, as above.)

Sewing blogger Gillian Whitcombe of Crafting a Rainbow wrote a series of posts called The Better Pictures Project, and she solicited input from other bloggers taking great pictures for their own blogs. Tips range from thoughts about backgrounds and shooting locations, to knowing your camera's capabilities (whether it's a DSLR, a point-and-shoot, or your phone), to photo editing options. 

Of course, these ideas don't just apply to taking photos for blogging, or documenting your knitting and crochet projects on Ravelry--many of them are relevant whenever you have a camera in hand. But consider this your friendly reminder that if you want to see people wearing their creations on Ravelry, being a person who wears their creations in photos on Ravelry is a great start!

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Ann
Christmas in July

Sometimes when the temperatures rise...and rise...the only thing for it is to try to stay cool, and think of cooler weather. 

The Slumber Hat is an interesting top-down knit, with just a bit of colorwork at the brim. Sizing is for babes through adults, and I used Plymouth Select DK on the recommended needles.

Fleece Navidad was also worked up in Plymouth Select DK, but as the pattern has a variety of options for both sizes and yarn weight, you could use HiKoo Simplicity, HiKoo Kenzie, Cascade 220, Cascade 220 Superwash, Plymouth Encore, Jaggerspun Mousam Falls, or Studio Donegal Soft Donegal.

(Psst--holiday photos!)

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Ann
Four days* and done.

*And three minutes

Truth? I'd rather have finished by midnight, but...completing a sweater in an extremely compressed timeline is still kind of a kick. If I'd made any number of different decisions, I would have finished with a bit of time to spare, but knitting is one small part of life, even when you make a plan for it to take over the bulk of a few days.

Here's what my four days looked like:

Sunday -- I got up at 5:30 or so, and cast on at about 6:00.  I showered and got ready for work fairly early, as it was the 39th running of The Runner Stumbles, and I like to go watch my husband compete in local races when I can, because I usually can't. I knit before and during the race, then reached a place where I needed to concentrate more than I could there. At 11:00, I left for work. Since Sunday is a Social Stitching day, I was able to get a fair amount of knitting done then. I returned home, and by the time I went to bed, I had knit to the sleeve divide.

Monday -- My knitting day started shortly after 6:00, and with a few yoga breaks and some household chores, continued for most of the day. I listened to some podcasts, and watched episodes of The Great British Sewing Bee (there are episodes on both YouTube and Daily Motion). After knitting about six rows, I returned to the sleeves and knit them first, which I prefer when possible so there is less total fabric to turn around and around. I finished one sleeve, and knit to the ribbed cuff on the second before stopping for the day.

Tuesday -- I worked on the second sleeve before leaving for work, then worked on the body off and on through the day. Fellow Beekeepers Diane and Andrea came by the shop to work on their sweaters for awhile. I picked up a take & bake pizza on the way home, and continued knitting through the evening. I didn't get quite as far as I hoped, but, working...whatcha gonna do?

Wednesday -- On my final KAL day, I decided to tag along to another local race my husband was running in. As long as I didn't have to drive, it was about the same amount of knitting time. I started the day about midway through the body, with the rest of the body length and the neckline and front trim left to complete. I lost some time when I picked up the neckline trim, as I was trying to make the cardigan fully reversible. The first method didn't work well, so I took it out. I finished the final bind off at 12:03, technically three minutes into my fifth day of knitting.

Thursday -- In addition to the twenty or so stitches that were bound off in the wee hours, I blocked the sweater, using a combination of wires and Knit Blockers. Coming off the needles, the sweater was about five inches narrower than the schematic, but because I had swatched, and blocked my swatch, I wasn't concerned. The sweater easily blocked to the finished schematic measurements. 

Friday -- It was a pretty warm day, but I wore my new sweater over the Myosotis Dress I made from a bee print crepe de chine. Myosotis is the latin name for forget-me-nots, which are a very bee-friendly flower. Even without any sort of front closure, the excellent fit through the shoulders kept the cardigan in place all day. And while I'm not usually a three-quarter length sleeves enthusiast, these really kind of worked for me!

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Ann
Open July 3rd, and July 5th...not the 4th, though!

I'll be knitting

Yarn Folk will be open on Tuesday, July 3rd (when I'll mostly be working on my Four Day KAL sweater), but will be closed on July 4th. I've found that most shops in downtown Ellensburg are closed for the holiday, and rather than watching the tumbleweeds blow down Pearl Street, my plan is to stay home, and hopefully finish the Beekeeper!

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Ann
Prep

Prep!

What do you do while you're waiting for a 4(ish) Day KAL to begin? You prepare!

Gauge swatch complete? Check!

Yarn Wound? Check.

Companion Cowl made? Optional, but check. (This was a great way to practice correcting mistakes in this stitch pattern.)

Reversible project bag made? Check! (Bee fabric and orange polka dots to match the Sweet Potato Pie colorway sourced at Purple Door Fabric

Beekeeper Cardigan pattern printed and highlighted? Check! [Note to Beekeeper knitters: if you purchased your pattern prior to June 16th, make sure your pattern has been updated and you are working from the "Beekeeper Cardigan_Marie Greene_finale" file.]

Needles and notions ready? Check!

There's one other thing, but I'll show you that later.

The official KAL dates are July 1-15. Attempt the ambitious timeline, or not--your choice! Be sure to join the Olive Knits Knitters' Lounge Facebook group, as there are some really fabulous prizes available (and for all but one, you don't need to finish by July 15). You do need to set up a Ravelry page for your project, and tag it with the hashtags #4daykal #4daykal2018 #beekeepercardigan #oliveknits. 

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Ann
Buzzing

Well that was exciting! My order of Polwarth Shimmer, from Knitted Wit, arrived on Thursday. Over the next few days, nearly all of it went to Beekeeper Cardigan KAL participants. Everyone who has swatched with it (including me) has commented on how pleasant it is to knit with. If you're a Beekeeper, and want help measuring your swatch or interpreting anything in the pattern, please feel free to reach out--in addition to last year's Four Day KAL for Stillwater, I've knit several other of Marie's designs and am familiar with how she builds a beautiful sweater you'll want to reach for again and again.

If you want to get in on the fun without a commitment to a full sweater, the Beekeeper Cowl was just released this weekend, and features the stitch pattern that the cardigan is based on. The cowl only requires one skein, and is a nice way to sample both the stitch and the gorgeous yarn.

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Ann
So happy to welcome Earl Grey Fiber Co.!

We had fun at Yarn Folk's World Wide Knit in Public Day, and it just so happened that Heather, from Earl Grey Fiber Company, delivered my order of Darjeeling and Chamomile (sparkly!) Sock. Heather and her family are originally from the East Coast, and are relatively new arrivals to our beloved Pacific Northwest. If this gorgeous yarn is any indication, they will fit *right* in!

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Ann
World wide knit in public day

World Wide Knit in Public Day is in its 14th year, so join us this Saturday at Yarn Folk for an afternoon of knitting (and crocheting!) outdoors. (If the weather is challenging, we'll just move the party inside.) 

  • If you have an easily transported camp chair, bring it along.

  • Although there is an awning, the building faces west, so don't forget your sunscreen.

  • There will be snacks!

  • I unearthed some sample skeins floating around that will make fine door prizes. You don't need to be present to win, but you do need to be present to enter!

See you Saturday!

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Ann