Hat and Cowl Knitting, Sale Yarns and Holidays Yes

The holidays approacheth! I love hosting, getting out the good china, and making pumpkin pies (I think I might need to practice that one this weekend so the T-day ones are perfect…)

Here’s wishing all of you US knitters safe travels, enjoyable times with family and friends and plenty of time to knit over the holiday.

Cold Weather; Knit Faster!

2014-11-20 018

Look at this awesome t-shirt my mom got for me! This pretty much sums it up…You can find it at Northern Sun. If you’re more girly, this is a unisex style, but I think it’s perfect for layering in the Lair. :)

On My Needles

During this latest cold snap, I realized that the handknitter has no knits! I love wristwarmers and wear them all winter whenever my hands aren’t in buckets of rinsing yarn. I’m working on a pair of the new Gradient Stripe Handwarmers for myself in Hummingbird.

november 14 2014 027

IMG_4243[1]

I’m also working up a quick textured hat and cowl set for myself to keep out the winter wind. Patterns coming soon.

Over the long weekend, when I’m not hosting, feasting and playing indoor mini-golf (new family tradition) I’m thinking about whipping up Kirsten Kapur’s One Day Beret for my sister-in-law and trying some simple ornament designs to surprise the kids…

What are you all knitting? Lots of holiday gifts?

Let It Snow

It’s been very January-like here, with a couple of inches of snow staying on the ground.

2014-11-20 010

Sasha was excited because the whole backyard was covered with something she could eat. She kept bounding around, snuffling at the ground, then licking her muzzle.

Sale Yarns and Holiday Orders

green4

More knitters have ordered yarn from us in the last two months than ever before, and we are immensely grateful! I’m dyeing up yarn as fast as I can (including on weekends) and if you’ve ordered yarn, you’ll still get it by Christmas.

We’re making sure to put up ready-to-ship yarns every day between now and December 21st, and to help your holiday jingle,we’ve added many Sale items to the store; just as soft and knittable as all the rest, but unusual colors, or with small color spotting, one knot, etc.

Indie Gift-a-Long

Wow, 293 independent designers are participating this year! This is a great chance to get literally thousands of wonderful patterns on sale, and they’ve got tons of activities, KAL’s and chances to win goodies in the Giftalong Group on Ravelry.

Have a lovely weekend and stay warm,

Jaala

Favorite Knitted Gifts

November is here, so the knitting world is experience a giant virtual cast on party for gifts! Whether you’re trying to create a sweater for your dad, dishcloths for everyone in your book club, or a shawl for a friend, you’re probably experiencing the excitement of choosing patterns to knit.  Now may not be the time to experiment wildly; I know I like tried-and-true patterns if I’m on a deadline.

Cindy and I have compiled lists of our favorite go-to patterns for giving to loved ones.

Silk Moon Crescent Shawlette

Silk Moon Crescent Shawlette

Of course, the first is my own Silk Moon Crescent Shawlette pattern; the garter stitch and easy-to-predict increases make this an easy knit to complete. It’s 400 yards of any weight yarn.

Wendy D Johnson’s Toe Up Sock Patterns. Anything by Wendy Johnson is going to be a solid hit. Her toe-up slip-stitch heel vanilla sock is my go-to sock pattern anytime.

Wendy Johnson's Toe Up Socks

Wendy Johnson’s Toe Up Socks

Grandmother’s Favorite Dishcloth

This one’s a classic for a reason! The first knitted dishcloth I ever saw was actually this pattern made by Mike’s grandma, so the title in my case is literally true! After you make one, the pattern is so intuitive that you can basically take this along anywhere and turn out lovely dishcloths surprisingly fast.

tropical sunset best

How I Make My Socks by Susan B Anderson. You all probably know by now this is my very favorite top-down sock pattern. Susie has knitted a drawer full of socks with this pattern, and many happy knitters have used it for perfect socks.

DSC_0008_small2

photo: susan b anderson

I also love her Tiny Tree and Waiting for Winter Mittens/Mitts.

Tiny Reindeer by Anna Hrachovec

Tiny Reindeer by Anna Hrachovec

Anna Hrachovec’s Mochimochi Land patterns; I’ve knit many tiny adorable toys for my kids from Anna’s patterns. Pretty much any one can be turned into an ornament, from snowmen to desktop computers!

24_Knit-Circus_Mother-Fools_June-16,-2012

Of course, hats and cowls make great winter gifts, and for a limited time, I’m offering the Wisconsin River Valley Cowl – a super easy pattern perfect for gift knitting – free to kick start the season! This works up quickly with just one 100g skein of your favorite worsted-weight yarn.

Cindy’s Picks

Knitcircus web, finance and outreach expert Cindy can knit up a storm. She’s famous around these parts for knitting a pair of socks for everyone in her extended family one year.

3608848850_19512dec2c_z

She loves Koolhaas by Jared Flood; works for men or women!

DSC00386_medium2

DSC01751_medium2

Gaptastic Cowl by Jen Geigley; chunky and stylish knit!

Some of Cindy’s other favorites include:

Autumn by Jane Richmond

Marram Hat by Mimi Codd

Storm Warning by Liz Corke

Indie Gift-a-long

Have you heard about the Indie Gift-a-long? This is an awesome event for knitters; starting on November 13th, many talented independent designers are offering patterns on sale, and if you join the Ravelry group for the Giftalong Knitalongs, you can win prizes, too! Wonderful designers like Stephannie Tallent, Lee Meredith, Adrienne Ku, Dani Berg, Corrina Ferguson, Alicia Plummer, Laura Chau and many more are participating! You can see a list of all 293 designers here.

Happy holiday knitting,

Jaala

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

IMG_0064

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.

gradient stripes wip

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

baseball

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

10-17-2014 004

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.

10-16-14 002

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

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

finished objects collage

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.

imag0996_medium2 (1)

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

IMG_2895_medium2

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

IMG_20140815_170530_medium2

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.

yarma_medium2

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.

image_medium2 (8)

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.

Come_What_May_Shawl_medium2

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

IMG_7222_medium2 image_medium2 (7)

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.

IMG_20131130_105341_medium2 IMG_20140103_082951_medium2

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

Bahamian Knitting

ImageImage

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!

Image

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.

Image

 

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.

Image

 

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!

Image

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.

IMG_1657

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?

IMG_1123

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!

IMG_1113

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!