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

 

 

Leaf Lace, KAL’s and Good Times

In the Lairaerialist corrie lothlorien much better

It’s March, so we have a new featured color in the shop; it has to be green, of course, and my whizz-bang office manager Chris named this soft gradient Lothlorien. We both fell in love with this pale blue-green to deep forest shadows yarn. Available for a limited time on any of the in-stock fingering bases in the shop.

It’s a busy time in the Lair, with much excitement form Susan B Anderson’s lovely blog post; thank you so much, Susie! Have a great time at Vogue Knitting Live Seattle!

And we’re getting ready for new yarn clubs and Yarn Con in just a few weeks, so much dyeing, drying, processing and packaging going on! Amy J and I certainly appreciate Chris’ organization and energy in keeping it all rolling.

Weekend knitting:

As soon as the Olympics wrapped up, my sweater-knitting mojo seemed to wrap up, too. I’ve bound off the bottom of my Argo, but seem to have stalled at the sleeves. In true multi-knitter fashion, I of course decided that starting a small, easily-finished project might jump-start the knitting juice again.

While checking out all of the finished Ravellenics projects, I came across the Fingerless Gloves Leaves wristwarmer pattern, by Valentina Georgieva. What is it about leaf lace that’s just irresistible every single time?

This was a perfect chance to try out a worsted-weight 50-g gradient. I’ve been toying with making these part of the Kniticricus repertoire, and I have to say, it was pretty fun to knit. What do you knitters think? Would you like smaller worsted-weight gradients for matching mittens and such?

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This is how much I knit over the weekend; this morning I finished the top ribbing and am working on the thumb now.

And guess what? I posted my sweater on the Team Sasquatch Silver, Bronze and Agony of Defeat thread and got a message in my inbox telling me I’d won a prize; any pattern on Ravelry! Since I didn’t even know there was a prize, what a thrill!

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My choice? The Caviar Dress by Yoko Johnston, another Contiguous pattern. Not sure about making the whole dress, but I do love a good tunic-length sweater.

Weekend Fun

I’ve been making this Allrecipes hot chocolate with good success on the many frigid days of this winter.  Sunday morning, Belle and I hosted a hot chocolate party for Grammy and Buppa; I stirred the cocoa, sugar and milk, while she whipped up homemade vanilla whipped cream. We set the table with white plates and napkins and felt very sophisticated. One of these days, I’d like to try a hot chocolate with melted chocolate bar rather than a cocoa base.

KAL’s

Knitcircus is honored to support two upcoming KAL’s!

Sarah Wilson, The Sexy Knitter, encourages knitters to find their inner diva with her stylish patterns, and Knitcircus will be providing a prize; a choice of any one yarn from the shop for a Ravelry KAL finisher! The current KAL is for Sarah’s Lonicera Cowl and Grimhilde socks.

We’re also tickled to be part of the ongoing KAL in the Cookie Crumbs group, for fans of Cookie A’s gorgeous sock patterns! Watch for more info about the prize you could win there.

Cool Bag

photo:jstlaurent

photo:jstlaurent

A sweet treat; I couldn’t resist this little Squirrel project bag, from Knitting by the Mile Designs. She’s got all sorts of fun, quirky fabrics, and if you’re a Dr. Who fan, will find many designs to love! My fingerless gloves-in-progress definitely enjoy their stylish ride!

Take care and knit away,

jaala

Knitcircus Podcast #38

Amy and Jaala are ready for the holidays, with cookies, squash and more garter stitch shawls!

Listen on Libsyn or iTunes

Mentioned this podcast:

Tin Can Knits

Shortbread Cookies

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Nancy Marchant Brioche

Hitch, by Stephannie Tallent

Amy Herzog Fit to Flatter

Knitmore Girls Podcast

Ravellenic Games

Team Sasquatch (please join us!)

Amy’s Website: Craftsy Class and Ireland Trips

Book Reviews:

Learn to Knit, Love to Knit, by Anna Wilkinson, provided by Potter Craft

Knit Architecture, by Tanis Gray, provided by Interweave

Happy Holidays, knitters!

Hitch Blog Tour and Giveaway!

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Today I’m very excited to be part of the blog tour AND you can win a digital copy!

Hitch includes 29 patterns from different designers; you’ll find sweaters, scarves, hats, gloves, socks. And shawls!

As you may know, Stephannie Tallent, the editor of this volume, worked closely with me as a tech editor for Knitcircus magazine and helped develop our excellent templates and tech-editing workflows. She can edit a pattern like nobody’s business, designs gorgeous, intricate patterns and has a vision for beautifully-designed and executed garments of all kinds.

I was thrilled when Stephannie released her first book, California Revival Knits, and happy to get a chance to be part of this collection honoring the work of one of her favorite directors. If you look at the cover, my design, the Miss Fremont shawl, was lucky enough to get a cameo there!

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The Hitchcock film I like best is Rear Window, so I looked at Grace Kelly’s costumes, other sketches by costume designer Edith Head and other clothing of the time for inspiration. I was particularly struck by the full New Look skirt with flowers radiating from the waist, so took that as the inspiration for my shawl design.

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The Half-Pi shawl is a favorite shape of mine, so within that construction, I chose a lace pattern to echo the feminine floral of the skirt. Here you can see the original sketch, the lace swatch, and final shawl blocked and pinned. Believe it or not, this was designed before I began dyeing gradients, but you can see that the idea was definitely starting to unfold! The shawl is worked in Blue Sky’s Alpaca Sport Weight, 100% baby alpaca, which was a joy to knit, soft, fuzzy and drapey, so perfect for a shawl.

So many wonderful designers are represented in Hitch, which uses red, white and black to highlight the drama and suspense of the theme. Go check out all the Hitch Designs on Ravelry and tell me which one you’d like to knit first! Leave a blog comment, and the Random Number Generator will choose a winner for us Sunday evening, the 17th of November.

Want to participate in a Knit-A-Long or hear about more giveaways? Join the Hitch group on Ravelry.

The Full Blog Tour

9/28/2013: Sunset Cat Designs
10/5/2013: Knitting Kninja
10/05/13: Knit One, Heart Too Podcast
10/7/2013: Herrlichkeiten
10/8/2013: Knit and Travel
10/9/2013: Knit & Knag Designs
10/10/2013: Wooly Wonka Fibers
10/11/2013: Verdant Gryphon
10/15/2013: Impeccable Knits: Shifting Stitches
10/16/2013: Rewolluzza
10/21/2013: Knitwear Designs by Carolyn Noyes
10/22/2013: Peacefully Knitting
10/23/2013: Dark Matter Knits
10/24/2013: Turnknit: Dani Berg Designs
10/25/2013: SweetGeorgia Yarns
10/28/2013: doviejay knits
10/29/2013: Triona Designs
10/30/2013: Tactile Fiber Arts (you’re here!)
11/4/2013: A Knitter’s Life
11/5/2013: Catchloops
11/6/2013: Yarn On The House
11/07/2013: Ramblings
11/12/2013: Hazel Knits
11/13/2013: Knitcircus
11/19/2013: indigodragonfly
11/9/2013: Fyberspates
11/22/2013: A B-ewe-tiful Design
11/25/2013: knittingkirigami

Kickin’ It Knitting Style

The theme of this post is “blue.” Three different blues!

Cloudburst in the Gradient Yarn Club

First, now that they’re all on their way, I can reveal the final Summer Gradient Club package! If you’re in the club and haven’t received a tracking number, please email me right away!(jaala@knitcircus.com)

Cloudburst yarn and pattern

Cloudburst yarn and pattern

Regard, the debut of the Double Gradient! The Cloudburst yarn shown begins and ends with the darkest shade, so you can make a scarf or shawl with matching ends. The Cloudburst Stole was lots of fun to design, and the one shown was knit by my amazing test-knitter, Judy, in probably less than 48 hours.

Cloudburst Yarn

Cloudburst Yarn

Shawl Pin Heaven treat!

Shawl Pin Heaven treat!

We were so lucky; the wonderful Kerri, of Shawl Pin Heaven, worked with me to design a custom shawl pin for the Club! I just love her sweet and inventive pins, and she was even named one of the Top Shops of Etsy. Thanks so much to everyone in the Club; it was such a good time putting the packages together for you. (If you missed this one, you can still join the Matching Socks Club anytime).

Kickin’ It

 

 

Li’l Buddy’s soccer team played a tournament this weekend; the early morning game was a bit bracing (coffee recommended!) but we enjoyed perfect autumn weather for the later games, and kettle corn, of course.

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A he was lying in bed Saturday night, he murmured, “Can we bring cupcakes for my team tomorrow?”

How could I resist? You guys know I love to bake, so I trotted right over to the kitchen and mixed up some chocolate cupcakes with blue frosting for the team color. I always use the Betty Crocker cookbook for any cakes; they tell you to put all of the ingredients together and mix it, first slow, then fast. It’s not much harder than a mix, and you have cupcakes from scratch!

Feeling Blue

Sweetest Little Boy

Sweetest Little Boy

We had a bit of a hard day Monday when we said goodbye to our sweet Nico. He wandered from home and was hit by a car. Kind neighbors let us know and even helped us bring him home. There was never such a guy for putting up his little paws asking to be held. He was so relaxed that sometimes he would slide right off of a kid’s lap onto the floor! We were very sad to lose him, but feel very lucky to have had him for as long as we did.

Not Blue

Li’l Buddy has been asking for a knitted toy for a long time, the title platypus from one of his very favorite books, Freddie’s Blanket. Joanna and Eric create such charmingly illustrated books, he and I spent happy hours poring over each picture when he was younger. After Monday, I figured a soft, safe pet was just the ticket. Plus, he’s growing up so fast, who knows how much longer he’ll be asking for knitted stuffed animals? So I dyed up some soft brown yarn and just cast on for a little Freddie.

Take care and happy knitting,

Jaala

 

 

 

Fall Knitting Fun

Ah, we can feel knitting season in the air, dry and crisp like a nice linen yarn.Image

Maybe it was the cold air coming in the window, but I woke up in the middle of the night. My thoughts got more revved up as I lay there, so once I gave up on going back to sleep and went to the Lair, ideas started flying, and I charted up several new designs. This stripy one combines two of my favorite Fall kettle-dyes, Redwood and Chocolate Mousse, for a shawl that will be easy to pick up and put down as autumn’s busy days dictate.

Photo Shoot!

Once all of the designing, ripping, editing, re-knitting, testing, re-editing, revising, tinking, pinning and blocking is done, the photoshoot really brings the satisfaction to a finished object. Elizabeth put her photographer’s hat on and we spent a happy time wandering the trails of the Owen Conservation Park and shooting the pattern photos. One I can’t reveal yet (hint; you Yarn Clubbers will see it soon). The other will be released shortly, and there’s a clue in the last photo here.

Elizabeth shot the knitted goodies; I haven’t gotten her shots yet, but here are some photos I took of the gorgeous Fall day at the park:

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Cable and ribbing and gradient, oh my! Can’t wait to share the rest with you….

This weekend, we’ll be visiting friends in Viroqua, which means I get to check out one of my favorite LYS’s, Ewetopia! Kathryn got a huge, new space a year or two ago, which she fills with shelves upon shelves of her hand-dyed yarns and clever kits. I’m looking forward to taking it all in…

Happy autumn to all of you, and have a lovely weekend,

Jaala

Topsy Turvy Winner, Sheep and Shop

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Thanks a million to everyone who commented on the desirable designs in Susie’s new book! Many of you reminded me with your snowmen that it’ time to cast on some gifts. 

The winner of the wonderful Topsy Turvy Inside Out Knit Toys is Jennifer G! She’s been notified.

Check out more fun on the Topsy Turvy Blog Tour (and more chances to win) tomorrow with Wendy Bernard, of Knit and Tonic!

Shop Update

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A lot of my Lair time lately has been devoted to getting Yarn Club orders ready; almost everyone in the Summer Gradient Club and half of the Matching Socks members’ packages are mailed! But we did get in a shop update this weekend, with a focus on sparkly yarns, in regular and Matching Socks gradients, and a bunch of laceweight gradients and yummy kettle-dyes, too. I’ll be adding more daily all this week…

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NEW! Double Gradient; starts and ends with the same color. Shown in AphroditeImage

 

 

Spring Morning Matching Socks in NEW Merino/Cashmere/Nylon Opulence base. Image

 

Lots of reds/browns/purples/burgundies for autumn, like this Warm Brick skein.

Sheep and Wool

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Last Saturday, Amy and I made the scene at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival! So many wonderful vendors there, I can’t wait to tell you all about it in my next blog post. :)