Stitches Midwest

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Sasha says good morning! To get to this point, she has to try several times to jump onto the low couch, then run along all the way and climb over the arm of the chair. It’s pretty amusing to watch. She’s pretty much totally charming and amusing at all times. She really isn’t supposed to be on the furniture, though…

STITCHES

The whole Knitcircus team worked heroically to prepare for Stitches, and we literally finished processing, caking and labeling every skein in the Lair! Here’s Chris and I on the way to our first exhibition at Stitches Midwest.

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I was really impressed with the organization of this big event. As soon as we pulled up, someone was ready to help us in with a big cart. We were right in the middle of the action in the 500 row.august 22 2014 274

 

It was so much fun to get to meet knitters in real life who have made such beautiful projects with our yarn!august 22 2014 278

Check out this beautiful cowl Mary made in the Pigeon colorway!  With my Cloudburst, we were color twins.

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Wendy is knitting the Sand Castle colorway from the Matching Socks Club in Hermione’s Everyday Socks pattern. It looks so beautiful in the textured pattern! I just loved creating this color and was thrilled to see how it’s working up.

 

We got to meet Emily from the Knitting Butterflies podcast in person!

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i’m sorry I don’t remember this fabulous knitter’s name, but check out her amazing Daybreak in an Eat, Pray, Knit gradient and matching kettle dye.

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Chris welcomed everyone into the booth and gave them all the lowdown on the yarn, while I talked to people and rang up orders. We were lucky to have Angela with Purl & Loop next to us; she’s possibly the sweetest person in the world! If you ever want to make adorable needlefelted projects, please think of her.

Fairy Yarn Mother was on our other side, and Susan from Susan’s Fiber Shop had a huge display right across form us, so we got to be in a little Wisconsin neighborhood. We discovered Fringe Association for the first time and were delighted to get to meet Liz from Appletree Knits. We both make gradients, but since she concentrates on silk and lace, and we focus on wool and fingering-to-worsted, we complement each other perfectly.

We had a very successful show and will definitely be back. Thank you to everyone who visited us and we hope to see you next year!

SALE

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We’re switching things up in the Lair and now are only creating handpaints and kettle dyes in colors coordinating with our gradients, so all of the sumptuous colors we have right now are on sale!

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Everything that we brought back form Stitches is up in the shop, and all of the kettle dyes and handpaints are up to 25% off! It’s the perfect time to kick-start your stash for the fall knitting season. :)

Have a great weekend,

Jaala

 

A Few of My Favorite Things

Some things I love this summer:

Puppy Love

I had my doubts about a dog, but Belle is really stepping up her responsibility, and Sasha really could not be cuter or more fun. She loves every single person that comes to meet her.

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sasha

alert puppy!

alert puppy!

Little Library Love

photo: Little Free Library site

photo: Little Free Library site

Madison has a delightful program with tiny house-shaped bookstands that have popped up around the city in front yards, schoolyards and unexpected places over the last few years. The Little Free Library is just what it sounds like; open it up, take out a book or magazine, or put one in! We have one right on our block, there’s at least one on the way to school, and two in the school garden, so we have lots of chances to find new-to-us books, magazines and poetry.

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One of my favorite Little Free Library finds so far; the House on Mango Street, by Sandra CIsneros. I’ve heard of it for a long time and finally got to read it; short vignettes beautiful and heartbreaking. Easy to pick up and put down and worth every minute.

Kitty Love

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We had a dry spell, and Squeak found the perfect place to nap. Come on in, birdies, the water’s fine!

 Cherry Love

cherries!

cherries!

Our energetic little cherry tree is full of fruity goodness! Traditionally, our first cherry dish is sour cherry ice cream, which made last night. Tart, creamy, with sweet chocolate chunks…yum! Next we’ll probably do a cherry pie or tart.

150-g Gradient Love

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Goodness gracious, big cakes o’ yarn!

New in the Lair: a lot of popular shawls, like all of Martina Behm’s, require 150 g of fingering weight yarn, and our gradients just came in 100g skeins. You asked for bigger gradients, and we listened! I love the heft and longer color runs of these new cakes!(The Shades of Gray in the middle left shows you how much bigger they are than our usual 100-g skeins.) Grab one here.

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My newest knitting project; designing a shawl with one of these babies! Super fun.

Little Baseball Love

outta there!

outta there!

I guess this is the time of year to feel proud of my Little Buddy; his regular season Little League team had playoffs this weekend, and in their second game, he hit his first home run! They made it to our local Little League Championship, so we’re crossing his fingers for a good game tomorrow evening.

Knitcircus Podcast #47

Knitcircus Podcast #47

Amy’s back from Ireland! She talks sheep roadblocks and Irish coffee, and Jaala’s got the 411 on tons of summer fun. Special guest Susan Spiro (Jaala’s mom) reveals craft treasures of Paris.

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Podcast 46 winner!

Many of you correctly told us that you can find little pigs hidden throughout the environs of beloved LYS The Sow’s Ear. Alert listener Chaitanya won the Come What May gradient cake!  She was chosen by the Random Number Generator and has been notified.

Listen on Libsyn or iTunes

Mentioned this podcast: 

Celtic Journeys

Sow’s Ear Yarn and Coffee Shop

Chris Byslma

Shetland Wool Week

Stephen and Steven Bus Tour

Knit in Public Week

Paris:

Le Bon Marche

Le Marais

Montmartre

Marche St. Pierre

Kirsten Kapur Collaboration

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photo: Kirsten Kapur for Through the Loops

What an exciting day! The wonderful Kirsten Kapur, of Through the Loops, collaborated with us so we can offer a special kit for her  new Puschkinia sock pattern. She ingeniously used the gradient to create a higher-contrast colorwork edging, then the colors slowly change and the contrast gets softer as the sock progresses.

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photo: Kirsten Kapur for Through the Loops

The kit is like the socks, bringing two different things together to form a harmonious whole. The whole in this case is the pattern, yarn, special treat and free shipping! So, to create the kit, you first go to the Through the Loops Ravelry Store and purchase Puschkinia, at the end of which is a coupon code for free shipping in the Knitcircus store. Then you purchase the Puschkinia kit, choosing any of the three colors Kirsten handpicked for her kit options. Choose from Pigeon, the soft blue Kirsten used, Emerald City or Fashion Week. Kirsten worked with the Thrilling yarn base, with Merino Superwash and silk, and you can choose that one or the Corriedale Sock, Greatest of Ease or USA-made Triumphant, since all have comparable yardage.

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Emerald City

 

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Pigeon

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Fashion Week

We were lucky enough to have Kirsten design socks with our yarns before; the gorgeous twist-stitch Reynard socks using the Bears Love Honey colorway. She’s so talented, it’s an honor to get to work with her, and I know you guys will love the pattern if you try it. Right now, Kirsten’s offering a Mystery KAL which looks like a blast! She just gave out the clue yesterday, so it’s the perfect time to join if you’re looking for a shawl to work up this summer.

Thanks so much to Kirsten for partnering with us, and have a great day, knitters!

Jaala

Knitcircus Podcast #45

Knitcircus Podcast #45

Amy’s jet-setting off, Jaala just got back, and both are fired up about warm-season knitting.

Listen on Libsyn or iTunes

Mentioned this podcast:

The National Needle Arts Convention

Stephannie Tallent

Lindsey Stephens

Amy Singer

Amy Herzog

Steven Be

Yarn Garage

Yarnover

Minnesota Knitters Guild

Stephanie Pearl Mc Phee

Franklin Habit

Carson Demers

Mary Scott Huff

Susan B Anderson

Louet Euroflax Linen

Toby Roxane Barna Everwear; London Underground Vol 2

Interweave Knits Summer

Green Gables Knits, by Joanna Johnson

Delancey by Molly Wizenberg of Spilled Milk Podcast

Liesl by Coco Knits

Blue Sky Alpacas

Over the Rainbow: Knitcircus featured May colorway

Bahamian Knitting

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Over Spring Break, our family was lucky enough to travel to the Bahamas for sea, sand and sunshine. We were sad to hear that folks back home had to endure more snow, and wished we could have teleported you all (especially the baseball teams) there!

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Nassau boasts the lovely-colored pastel homes of the Carribbean, and lots of flowering vines, that I think are bougainvillea. I won’t pretend that we lived like locals, but for a place always in danger of being overrun by tourists, we saw lots of signs of Bahamian pride in anything made or done locally.

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While the kids splashed, a good chunk of my vacation looked like knitting!

At home, I’m either dyeing up yarn, administrating the business or tending to my family, leaving very little time for knitting. Vacation gave us time to hang out as a family, and brought my knitting mojo back up to speed. I promised myself on the first of the three airplane rides that I could cast on anything I wanted and follow it wherever I wanted it to go, no pressure, no deadlines, just the fun of knitting.

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Turns out what my knitting mojo wanted was to knit a new pattern, a modified half-pi shawl, with simple-to-more-complicated lace panels. I’ve really been enjoying getting to work with our Corriedale Sock in the Fireflies colorway. As soon as it’s tested and written up, watch for the new pattern and kit for the Nassau shawlette!

Vacation gave me time to savor the new Twist Collective, with lovely patterns as always. Some of my faves  include the summery Calendula, by Helene Rush, sweet Belleville, by Anne Podlesak (the title made me laugh, because there is a small town in Wisconsin called Belleville, not usually thought of as a romantic destination), beautiful lace Ivyle, by Quenna Lee, and stately Aristea shawl, by Susanna IC. Susanna, Quenna and a number of other designers in this issue of Twist are Knitcircus alumnae, and it always gives me a thrill to see how they’ve gone on to become such well-known designers. I still feel a tug of pride (and sadness for the loss of the magazine) of being one of the first to recognize their talents!

One last shot from the Bahamas; we got up early to go shell-hunting on the beach several days, and one night, even got up at 4 am to see the Hunter’s Moon!

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Mike, who loves all things skyward, found out it happens only every six months, and we had a great view of it before stumbling back to bed.

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Here’s hoping some warm, tropical breezes blow toward all of you,

Jaala

 

 

Ravelry Roundup: Best of Spring Patterns

Knitters, I’m proud to present Chris’ first blog article! She’s a real yarn enthusiast, and knits prodigiously, so has a great eye for projects. She sifted through all of the lace patterns out there to bring you our top picks for spring. Enjoy!

–Jaala

Hi, Everyone,

I’m a strong believer that you should knit with the best yarn you can possibly afford (even if that sometimes means I’m eating ramen because I decided to splurge on some vicuna. Don’t judge me; you’d do it too.) The right yarn, together with loving blocking, can turn even a garter stitch scarf into a thing of beauty. But I’ve had the privilege today of going through the lace projects on Ravelry, and picking out some favorites I’d like to knit up. I’m very excited about Knitcircus yarns, so I picked out the yarns I’d want to pair the patterns with, but of course you may have special skeins stashed which would fit perfectly.

If you want easy-ish lace, you should consider The Age of Brass and Steam. Mostly stockinette with increases, it features a few garter ridges (work one wrong side row as knit instead of purl) and eyelets (yo, k2tog, repeat) to make something that looks much more complicated than it actually is. Let the yarn do the work for you. I’d pair it with our Brass and Steam on a shiny base- perhaps Pirouette?

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Berkeley, CA combines the best of a feather-and-fan base and stripes to break up a variegated colorway- but I think it’d be gorgeous on a gradient. I’d work it up on a color that has a lot going for it- possibly Eat, Pray, Knit?

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Tiny Princess needs a pattern that has both the sensible, down to earth goodness, and the fancy knitting skills, to properly honor Amy Detjen. Lilac Wish is perfect for that. It’s mostly stockinette with garter ridges, perfect for knit night- but has a border of dainty lilac leaves, to keep your interest and impress the people that see it.

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I’m only recently learning not to block my lace by pinning it down and stretching it to within an inch of its life, but the French Cancan is perfect for that. Yes, absolutely, pin it down and stretch it out so that the lace gets to show off- but there’s also a cable in there to poof up. Impressive-looking? Yes. Easy? Very. It’s mostly stockinette, with some shaping, some yarn-overs and k2togethers, and a simple braided cable. I think it’d look gorgeous on Fireflies.

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I’m a huge fan of DyeForYarn (seriously, go check them out)- their bases are buttery and their dyework is stunning. I’m so happy to see they’re fantastic designers, too, when I finally connected that the Crescent over Lothlorien that I loved so much, was their design work. I completely understand and love you anyway if you decide to buy some of their yarn- I certainly would- but I also think it would be gorgeous worked up with our Lothlorien. It’s mostly reverse stockinette, with stockinette stems and some lace for the leaves.

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I fell in love with a skein of yellow sparkle base by Alicia Goes Around, and thought it went perfectly with Felicia Lo’s Shattered Sun. There’s little I wouldn’t do for Sweet Georgia yarns- but can’t you imagine it on our Lemon Meringue?

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If you saw us at Yarn Con, you saw my kerchief in Masquerade, dyed up on Khione Image

The garter stitch emphasizes how gradual the gradient is, and it’s super easy to do- cast on one stitch, increase one at the beginning of each row, work until you run out of yarn, bind off. But that’s hardly lace, you say! Well, no, but it’s the beginning of the super-popular Aestlight shawl. And, as a bonus, it has a crochet version- the Magnificent Mantle. Image

It could just as easily turn into a Rock Island, though- although that, I’d love to see worked up on Fog Comes On Little Cat Feet

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I absolutely loved making Summer Flies on a handspun gradient gifted to me. And while Knitcircus doesn’t offer handspun just yet, this color is very close to our Baby. And do use the cashmere. This project is worth it. It alternates mostly-stockinette with some eyelets for butterflies, with knit-togethers and yarn-overs for visual interest. It’s the most complicated pattern on this list so far, but I still managed to knit it while walking and having a conversation, so it definitely makes this list of “easy, but looks impressive because it’s worked on a gradient.”

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Royal Tulips is one of those projects that is super impressive on a kettle dye/semisolid, but showstopping on a gradient. Leafy stalks flow into a border of blooms, and once you’ve got the hang of the repeat, it’s almost zen watching it flow out. I’d choose something that starts with a natural hue and goes to the drama- Robin’s Nest would be perfect.

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All of these so far have been horizontal knitting- either cast on at the neck or at the base of the spine, and work up or down until you’re done. The Storm Warning is an interesting take on garter stitch- cast on at one end, increase until you’re halfway through the skein, then decrease until you’re done, with some lace along the edge and the same method of horizontal cable you learned with French Cancan. Beads give it extra pop, but are optional. I think it’d be gorgeous on most double gradients, but I’m most eager to knit it on April Skies or Shades of Gray- on Pixie Dust, if possible!

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If you’re not a fan of cabling, perhaps Semele is more your thing? The leaf lace repeats are a little tricky at first, but by the time you’ve made the first, it’s really easy to keep going- and the gradient will keep all the stockinette interesting. I’d do it on a double gradient of Holly Leaves- on something with a lot of slink, so the silk or the tencel.

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And, of course, I wore the Leftie at Yarn Con, made up on a skein of our Fashion Week and some undyed leftovers. Most people make Lefties with one solid color background, and lots of leftovers for the leaves and stems. The most common comment I got about it was “Wow, how many colors did you have to use to make that?” My response? “Just two- one gradient and some undyed leftovers.” Not everyone believed me- it was so complicated looking, but was basically garter stich with some increases and the very occasional short row.

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–Chris

Read more of Chris’ knitting adventures on her blog, Chris Furuya.