New Stripes, New Shop, New KAL

Wow, Knitters,

I’ve got so much that’s new and exciting to share with you! it’s hard to know where to start.

New Shop

First, and very big news to us: we have our own Knitcircus Yarns web store now! You can purchase 100g Gradients, 150g Gradients, Matching Socks Sets and Gradient Stripes Socks right from our site now. Whooo! Big props to Webmistress Cindy for her hard work getting it all prepared for you.

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New Stripes

The new Gradient Stripes socks are flying off of our virtual shelves, and I’m dyeing them up as quickly as I can so that you can start playing with them! We sent many, many packages out the door in the last two days, so if you live nearby, you may have your sock sets in hand soon! More are heading out today because we really want you to be able to knit with them.

New Knitalong

We can’t wait to see what you’re knitting, so we’ve started a KAL in the Knitcircus Group to bring everyone together to share and enjoy progress on their Gradient Stripes socks. We’ll have weekly prizes and surprises, and Webmistress Cindy is putting together a list of good sock patterns to use. Just post progress pics in the progress thread to be eligible to win! Note: if you would like to work the KAL with original Matching Socks Sets gradients, of course you can!

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Webmistress Cindy has already knitted most of her first sock! She knits fast. She’s using a prototype for the Sand Castle colorway that has a little less contrast in the blue section than the for-sale colorway will.

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Susie Anderson’s finished sock so intrigued me that I wanted to try the Tropical Sunset colorway for myself.

Gradient Stripes Giveaway!

Speaking of Susan B Anderson, she’s doing a fun giveaway on her blog right now, in fact, two giveaways for the new Gradient Stripes Socks! She talks about the yarns and shows her finished sock on her video podcast, and has a really creative idea for the giveaways. It’s so fun that she’s doing videocasts now, because Susie’s personality just shines and she’s one of the dearest people I know. I’m so lucky to live near her, but now knitters in far-flung places get to be charmed by her, too!

Bye, Bye, Baseball

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In kid news, Lil Buddy’s fall baseball season wrapped up; unfortunately, he hurt his hand right before the last day of play, but still had a blast with his fall tournament team. What a talented and fun bunch of kids.The World Series starts next week, so that will be the last hurrah. I can’t wait to make the traditional homemade caramel corn….

It warms the cockles of my heart that he still wears my handknits in public; above he’s sporting two-years-ago’s Gryffindor hat. :) Belle has a new hat, a variation on the Valentina I made for her last year, but I haven’t gotten to snap a pic yet.

Happy Friday Pet Pics

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Of course, I couldn’t have a blog post without including some cute pet pics! Sasha and Squeak are good friends and enjoy napping together when they’ve worn themselves out chasing and play-fighting.

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Buppa purchased an early holiday present for Lil Buddy; new ski boots! And Squeak got the box.

Podcast #50

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Today Jaala and Amy reveal their experiences with the dogs in their lives.

Tips for publishing patterns:

  • get a tech editor and a test knitter
  • for paid patterns, write multiple sizes
  • have kids model patterns for kids
  • photography tips: use outdoor lighting and have multiple images, highlighting construction and stitch patterns, making mood shots for extra credit
  • use Ravelry, Craftsy, or Patternfish to sell your yarns
  • look at magazine standards to develop style guides
  • look at established designers for pattern writing direction and what information to include

Mentioned in this episode:

Listen on Libsyn or iTunes.

Announcing: Gradient Stripes Sock Yarns!

Hi, Knitters,

Have I got some big news to share with you! We’ve been working on this for weeks and weeks and finally get to tell you about our brand-new Gradient Stripes Sock Yarns!

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Mulberry Street Gradient Stripe; photo by Elizabeth Morrison

Sock knitters have told us that they really enjoy our long-striping Matching Socks gradients, but they wished for something that would move along a little faster, so we listened. We’ve developed a unique dyeing process to bring you the enjoyment of long-striping gradients paired with short, fun-to-knit stripes. Sock knitters asked for a gradient sock with shorter stripes, and we’ve delivered!

Our office manager, Chris, identified a new approach to dyeing and with many different experiments, I figured out how to make it work. The main color of the sock will slowly change as you knit, from almost completely one color to almost completely another.

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Come What May Gradient Stripe; photo: Elizabeth Morrison

We’re really excited about this, and are pretty sure we’re the only ones offering a sock that both stripes every few rows and changes color over the life of the project. The yarn does it all for you; no having to change yarns or weave in ends or slipping stitches at the beginning of the round.

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photo: Elizabeth Morrison

Of course, so many ideas started hopping around in my head like little chicks as soon as we got the technique in place, because the new medium allows me to present highly contrasting colors and play with just a few shades as well as subtle shifts between many colors as in our usual Matching Socks Sets.

Just like our original Matching Socks sets, all of the Gradient Stripe Sock Sets come as two separate 50-gram cakes, already wound and ready to use. Just like their counterparts, every single stitch and stripe will be mirrored exactly in both socks. We’re offering them in our two most popular fingering yarn bases, Opulence (Merino/nylon/cashmere, 420 yards in the set) and Greatest of Ease, (Merino/nylon, 400 yards in the set).

Now, to introduce the colors!

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Andromeda Gradient Stripe; photo: Elizabeth Morrison

The Andromeda Gradient Stripe sock above translates the popular Andromeda colorway from the Corrina shawl into a gradient stripe. The smaller stripes slowly and subtly shift from sapphire blue to lake blue and end with a teal green. As we ramp up the Gradient Socks over the next few weeks, we’ll offer interpretations of all of our regular repeatable colorways.

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Candy Cane Gradient Stripe; photo: Elizabeth Morrison

The Candy Cane stripe was one of the first ones I tried. Last year around holiday time, I really wanted to make a candy-striped sock, but didn’t succeed; now my peppermint-sock dreams came true!

It doesn’t have to be Christmas-related; the color works very well as a team color, too; of course, in Madison, Wisconsin, the UW colors are red and white. So this one also looks very much like Go, Bucky to me. As more colors roll out, we’ll showcase lots of different team colors so you can make socks to cheer on your favorite school or pro ball team.

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The Great Pumpkin Gradient Stripe; photo: Elizabeth Morrison

The Great Pumpkin was lots of fun to dye, with such deep, contrasting colors. There’s just enough time to work these up before Halloween, and they make great team colors all year round (the Sow’s Ear’s town, Verona, sports orange and black).

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Hummingbird Gradient Stripe; photo: Elizabeth Morrison

Hummingbird is a fun one, and perfectly autumn-toned. The stripes work their way from moss green to steel blue to a deep plum.

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Mr. Tumnus Gradient Stripe; photo: Elizabeth Morrison

If you prefer subtlety or want to knit for a fashion-shy man, Mr. Tumnus will do the job perfectly; the stripes keep your knitting flying along, but the finished product looks nicely understated.

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Just and Loyal Gradient Stripe; photo: Elizabeth Morrison

Our next color isn’t understated at all! Just and Loyal is the first in our line of Harry Potter Hogwarts-house-inspired socks. We can’t wait until the others are ready for you!

Just and Loyal also works great to put  zip in your day if you simply like bumblebees or the fun of a high-contrast stripe.

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Mulberry Street Gradient Stripe; photo: Elizabeth Morrison

Our headliner and a very pleasing colorway to knit: Mulberry Street. Mulberry Street features a pink-red changing to Cabernet and then a gorgeous, saturated blue. Inspired by one of my favorite books as a kid; we had a mulberry tree in our yard growing up, and I always thought that Dr. Suess must have known about that. Knitting these stripes will definitely remind you of the magical possibilities all around if you  “keep your eyelids up, and see what you can see.”

Knitalong

We can’t wait to see what you knit with the Gradient Stripes, so we’re hosting a Gradient Stripes Knitalong in the Knitcircus Ravelry group. The KAL thread is open now, and you can start as soon as you receive Gradient Stripes to knit with! I’ll be dyeing them as fast as I can to get you started. :) We’ll be talking about different toe-up and cuff-down patterns that work well with striping yarns. And, of course, there will be weekly prizes and surprises.

I’m so excited to finally get to share our new yarn line with you, and hope you’ll enjoy knitting with Gradient Stripes as much as I enjoy creating them!

Have a lovely weekend,

Jaala

I Love Yarn Day, Kung Fu Knits and Secret Yarn

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I Love Yarn Day is this Friday! As part of the Yarn Group with TNNA, we’ve been looking forward to this for months. And we’ve got a big, big announcement coming out this Friday, so stay tuned. Here’s a spoiler: it has to do with a new kind of yarn and a totally unique dyeing process.

If you check out the I Love Yarn Day Facebook page, there’s a contest and all kinds of other events going on, including yarny Flash Mobs. (local knitters: do we have one? It seems like the Sow’s Ear might cook something up…)

Kung Fu Knits

As the mom of a sixth-grade boy, I know how hard it is to both knit for, and find great patterns for, kids this age. My son recently requested a hat; plain. And black. I talked him into a gray-to-black gradient, but it was a tough sell. Designer and Dark Matter Knits podcaster Elizabeth Green Musselman specializes in high-quality knits for men and boys. I love her men’s Dawson sweater, boys’ Langstroth (from the Cuteboysezwhat e-book)  and the super-fun Frankenfingers mitts. My daughter and I would both wear those in a hot second.

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photo: Cooperative Press

Elizabeth has written a new pattern collection, Kung Fu Knits, which ingeniously combines comics and martial-arts-themed knitting patterns for kids. The official synopsis:

It’s a familiar scenario: it’s freezing outside, and a nine-year-old boy wants to go out to play. His mother keeps piling him into more and more knitwear. Groaning ensues. Until that glorious moment when the boy realizes that knitting just might save the day.

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photo: Elizabeth Green Musselman

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photo: Elizabeth Green Musselman

Author Elizabeth Green Musselman says: The book is aimed particularly at boys aged 4–12 and the poor people who try to knit for them. It can be so hard to get kids this age to wear handknits.The comic book storyline at the beginning ties knitting into one boy’s martial arts adventure in the backyard. His mom just wants him to be warm, but these knits are also the tools for pure fun.

Knitted nunchuks! And throwing stars! A backpack to carry them in! And an entire kung fu uniform. (My son has declared these The Most Comfortable Pants Ever, and refuses to take them off when it’s cool out.)

The illustrations are by a local artist / kung fu teacher. All projects use Berroco Vintage.

The martial artist in our family is my daughter, and she would definitely wear every one of these garments, because she loves to be warm and comfortable. I can also totally see my five-year-old nephew rocking the adventurous outfit and knitted nunchucks.

You can order the Kung Fu Knits collection from Cooperative Press as either a print book or downloadable pdf.

Sasha’s New Look

We took Sasha to a real groomer, Tabby and Jacks, where they gently and patiently clipped her with scissors because the clipper panicked her.

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Now we can see her little face, instead of just a big pompon. I have to admit, I did love the big puff, but she can actually see what she’s doing now.

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What she’s doing now is napping. ;)

Oh, local knitters, The Knitting Tree is celebrating its Grand Opening tomorrow afternoon! They’ll have cheese and snacks and a chance to win prizes from 4-6pm. If you haven’t seen the beautiful new space, it’s definitely worth stopping.

Have a lovely Tuesday, knitters!

Knitting Tree’s New Home, Night Circus and Captain Tightpants

Hi, Knitters,

One of our local yarn shops, which has been around since my brother and I would walk to the drugstore to purchase candy bars for twenty-six cents, has a new, improved home! (We would literally walk right y it then, when I had not idea how important knitting and yarn would be in my life).

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The Knitting Tree, run by the sweet and fabulous Jackie, is just a block away from its old space on Monroe Street, but now boasts a spacious, modern place. Not only is there room for lots more gorgeous yarn, but you can actually hang out and knit!

Dreamlike Reading

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I recently read The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern; I don’t read fiction that often, because I know it’s so exciting I’ll want to do nothing else. This dreamllike, steampunk-ish story had me spellbound and I really enjoyed it. The premise of two magicians bound together in a lifelong contest I found extremely original, and ahistorical Victorian London where magic can be learned by anyone and women can be entrepreneurs and nobody bats an eye is a very pleasant place to visit. I’m so excited that the group The Ravelry Book Club is doing this book for October! Can’t wait to hear what other people think about this story. Please join in if you’d like…

Satine

Moulin Rouge, with its swirling dancers, romance, Ewan MacGregor and Nicole Kidman, and modern soundtrack, is one of my favorite movies. I designed several yarns based on it last year (like The Can Can Can, inspired by the Moulin Rouge dancers’ petticoats). I’ve been a huge fan of director Baz Luhrmann’s over-the-top musical vision since my mom and I watched Strictly Ballroom many times together on our VHS…

The “Sparkling Diamond,” featured Moulin Rouge dancer Satine, falls in love despite herself, and the colors in the Satine colorway were inspired by a rooftop song with pink moon and blue Eiffel Tower against the backdrop of a Paris twilight.

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Now, the Satine gradient, kit and shawl pattern are available to everyone! Diamond lace is a girl’s best friend…

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Not exactly a Paris nightclub, but then our model (a yoga teacher) is definitely healthier than poor Satine, and luckier in love!

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The Satine lace is trickier than some of the lace patterns I use, but only because it takes a number of rows to create the diamond patterns. There are no strange or difficult stitches, and it’s still only worked every right side row, so if you keep the chart nearby, it should be just fine.

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Fun Magazine

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Knit.wear has changed to Knit.Purl and gotten a pretty new makeover! I liked Knit.Wear already, a specialty twice-yearly publication with a fun, modern twist on the classics Interweave is so well-known for. I was happy to see that the sensibility and the articles, etc are not different, only the cover and some of the graphic design.

I really liked the article on the design student with a featured knitting/sewing combo fashion show and was thrilled to discover that the lovely Stephannie Tallent has her own Aran Cables and Lace video class with Interveave! Congratulations, Stephannie!

Captain Tightpants

Another director I love, this one mostly televison: Joss Whedon. Of course, Buffy rocks, but I’m an even bigger Firefly fan. I was skeptical about the concept of space and cowboy together, but Captain Mal and his ragtag crew drew me in until they became some of my most favorite tv characters of all time.

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Just for fun, I’m bringing back two of my favorite Firefly-inspired kettle dyes for the month of October. The first: Captain Tightpants.

Loyal, courageous and resourceful,  former battle captain Malcolm Reynolds held his crew together, doing whatever it took to keep flying another day. It’s not terrible to think of Nathan Fillion in leather pants as you’re knitting, either.

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The Firefly crew circles the outer edges of the ‘Verse, always on the edge of The Black. Here’s a yarn interpretation of the vastness of space. You can order both The Black and Captain Tightpants in either Greatest of Ease or Opulence yarn.

Have a great Thursday,

Jaala

FO Gallery: Scarves, Socks and Shawls, Oh My!

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It literally takes my breath away when I see projects people have knitted with Knitcircus Yarns. I put so much care into handpainting each one, so when I see the finished objects, it’s like seeing ingredients from my garden transformed into a chef-made feast.

So here’s a collection of gorgeous projects made by talented knitters, using the yarns sometimes in unexpected ways.

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Somesylvie striped her Matching Socks Eat, Pray, Knit oppositely, for fun and dynamic socks! The pattern: everyone’s favorite, Monkey, by Cookie A.

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Mojaveknitter’s Beach Travels is her take on Traveling Woman, by Liz Abinante and beautifully makes use of her soft Ballerina in Wild Mushrooms.

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I was super excited to see this one, because it uses one of the newest colors, Jazz Piano, that I created just for the Gradient Yarn Club. You could use Mermaid Lagoon in Greatest of Ease for a good substitute. Lisa Kessler did an amazing job on her Simply Seashells pattern, by Susan Ashcroft.

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Kirsten Kapur wrote the Puschkinia pattern just for making the most of a Pigeon gradient, and, wow! Stella650 did a fantastic job with the colorwork to make a flawless finished object.  Made in Knitcircus Thrilling yarn.

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Jensquilts2 showcased one of my favorite saturated colors, Electric Ladyland, with her Electric. She chose beloved cuff-down socks recipe How I make my Socks, by Susan B Anderson.

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Everyone loves Shaelyn, by Sheila Raabe, and smartich made it look fantastic using Come What May, our most popular color.

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Man, there are some really talented knitters out there. Look at the technical expertise shown in Kieran’s Starry Starry Night socks. This pattern by Suzanne Bryan knocks my socks off for sure, and it looks great in the Khione gradient.

image_medium2 (6) image_medium2 (5) image_medium2 (4) image_medium2 (3) Yukihs did a lovely job on this eyelet lace Ashton’s Shawlette.  Dee O’Keefe’s pattern is so pretty, and Yukihs really worked it up and blocked it to perfection.

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This one really blew my mind, because she took a basic pattern, Alice Yu’s Totally Vanilla,  and she cleverly used the beginning of the gradient to provide the colorwork contrast. Lesheggie’s Winter Night Sky,in Khione, shows her mastery of knitting.

What are you knitting? Please let me know in the comments!

Have a great autumn weekend,

Jaala

Trapeze, Calliope, and a KAL

Hi, Knitters,

Wow, what a day, I have not one, but two new yarns to introduce!

But first, some fall apple-picking fun:

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We grabbed my mom, my brother’s family the kids and even Sasha for an afternoon in the orchard last weekend. Can you believe the twins are in kindergarten now?! A good time was had by all, and caramel apples were had by the youngsters. We’ll be making sauce, crisp and maybe some pie this weekend. Does anyone have a favorite apple recipe?

Trapeze Cashmere

Now for the yarn! The first new one is unbelievable; a new 100% cashmere handspun. Fair-trade, spun by a women’s collective in Afghanistan, and probably the softest yarn I’ve ever felt.

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At TNNA this summer, I saw a booth with fair-trade cashmere from Afghanistan. They had samples. Just one touch and I was hooked; I knew we had to get some for our wonderful Knitcircus knitters! We arranged with the wonderful women who run this business to get a special, limited-run of worsted-weight 100% cashmere Trapeze yarn, and now we have it just for you!

The yarn itself is so special I had to develop the deepest, richest, most saturated colors. Every single skein is dyed on its own in a batch of one, with several different dyebaths layered over each other to achieve a color with boundless depth. We named them after precious stones that mirrored the colors’ depth: London Blue Topaz and Pink Tourmaline.

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To highlight the yarn’s specialness, I developed the London Blue Topaz pattern specifically to make the most of the yarn’s yardage and of course, to arrange around your neck and shoulders so you can feel Trapeze’s fantastic softness and drape.

The shawl uses what I think is one of the most elegant stitch patterns, Dayflower Lace, with a diamond-shaped construction.

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Here’s the Pink Tourmaline colorway, a deep, rich red perfect for holiday knitting. (This is the color I kept for myself!)

Calliope: Merino-Cashmere-Nylon DK

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Speaking of cashmere, we’re thrilled to introduce another new yarn, but this one will be available all year round! Calliope is 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Nylon , 10% cashmere, in a touchable, delightfully soft and springy yarn. It’s shown here in our new cozy fall color, Mr. Tumnus, and you can custom order it in any of our repeatable coorways. It’s 230 yards in a 100g cake, or 345 yards in a 150g cake.

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As part of the Calliope excitement, we’re also now offering all of our sport, dk and worsted-weight yarns in 150-g options, which was only available for fingering weights before.

Silk Moon KAL

We started off the autumn in style with a Ravelry KAL for the Silk Moon Crescent Shawl, now with a new fingering-weight version included in the pattern! I know a couple of people in the KAL are going to work it in fingering and keep on going to make larger shawls, and I can’t wait to see how they turn out!

The KAL just started, and we have our first weekly winner; Taine on Ravelry got her choice of patterns from my Ravelry Store.

This shawl knits up quickly in either fingering, dk or fingering weight yarn. I made this rainbow one below as my new Silk Moon for the re-release of the pattern and finished it in under a week!

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The lovely model in the photos here is Cindy, who joins us in the Lair to help with Ravelry groups, website and finances. She works at beloved LYS the Sow’s Ear and has lots of knitting expertise as well as the talent for creating and maintaining order, which I dearly love and appreciate. Cindy will be participating in the KAL and checking in with everyone every day!

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My Silk Moon is in Knitcircus Lap of Luxury silk blend in the colorway Over the Rainbow, which you guys know I can’t stop knitting with.

There’s still plenty of time to join us in the Ravelry group, and the prizes will be getting bigger each week. ;)

WASHCLOTHS for a GOOD CAUSE

Stephanie from Space Cadet Yarns just shared this project by a motivated knitter to send handknitted washcloths to be distributed as part of hygiene packs in Haiti. Good cause, and the time commitment is actually charity knitting I can do!

I’ll be knitting up a washcloth this weekend and hope some of you will join in the good, clean, fun. ;) If you post a pic of your washcloth in the Ravelry group, or a link to your project, i’ll give away a pattern of your choice as a reward for your good efforts!