Space is Big….Really Big

Inspired by the Hitchhiker’s Guide Trilogy by Douglas Adams, this color celebrates the vastness of space.

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“You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space.” We love the other-worldliness of this impressionist with it’s changing space-scape and all the planets, galaxies, stars, and supernovas bursting throughout.

SPACE IS BIG.REALLY BIG. (1)

This color is available in Small, Medium and  Large Sock Sets

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The shawl shown uses one 100g gradient in Greatest of Ease, or chose any size you like: 50g, 75g, 100g, 150g, 200g and 300g.

 

 

Terribly Simple Variation

I love the genius simplicity of this pattern by Caitlin ffrench, fantastically easy to work just as advertised! But because this was a prototype of a new color, I wanted to see how the color behaved with different stitch types. This is a loose recipe for the changes I made to the Terribly Simple pattern to create a fun sampler-type shawl.

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If you’re an adventurous/confident knitter, please feel free to play along! Please note; I wasn’t counting stitches or attempting to make everything come out even like I would with a “real” pattern. So approach this with a playful spirit!

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Rows 1-26: Garter Stitch

Next 20 Rows: 2 Rows Stockinette Stitch, one garter ridge (Knit on WS, knit next row)

Next 12 Rows: Garter Stitch

Next 4 Rows: Stockinette Stitch

Eyelet Row: *YO, k2tog, k1, rep from * to end of row.

Next 4 Rows: Stockinette Stitch

Eyelet Row: *YO, k2tog, k1, rep from * to end of row.

Next 4 Rows: Stockinette Stitch.

Next 4 Rows: Seed stitch.

Next 2 Rows: Stockinette Stitch.

Eyelet Row: *YO, k2tog, rep from * to end of row.

Next 5 Rows: Stockinette Stitch.

Eyelet Row: *YO, k2tog, k2, rep from * to end of row.

Next 2 Rows: Stockinette Stitch.

Next 6 Rows: Garter Stitch.

Next 4 Rows: Seed Stitch.

Repeat these next 2 rows 3 times:

Eyelet Row: *YO, k2tog, k2, rep from * to end of row.

Next row: Purl all sts.

Next 6 Rows: Garter Stitch.

BO with Jeny’s Surprisngly Stretchy Bind-Off.

Have a great weekend,

Jaala

 

 

Sweet Dreams

Once in a while, a pattern comes along that blows your mind. It sticks in your brain, and it doesn’t get buried in your Ravelry queue like the 300 other projects you have listed there (I have a problem, I know). It’s a pattern that you’re positively yearning to knit because it’s gorgeous, impressive and wearable. For me, this is Sweet Dreams by Boo Knits.

I first saw it in the Yarn Culture booth at Clara Parkes’ Knitter’s Review Retreat marketplace, and it’s been lurking in my knitting dreams ever since. This fabulous shawlette was delicate, had amazing wingspan and only required 420 yards. I was smitten.

When I learned that beads are an option, that was it. I cast on, and it’s about 90% done. Last week I discovered this lovely specimen knitted out of Knitcircus yarn and faced facts – there’s another one in my future. Behold:

blackplanet Sweet Dreams shawl

Raveler blackplanet knitted this one out of a 100g gradient cake of Greatest of Ease in the colorway Brass and Steam. Happy news: Sweet Dreams can be easily modified to be made bigger, so you could also grab a 150g cake and knit an extra repeat or two for a larger shawl.

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I love me a great blocking photo, and this one clearly lives up to the “thuggish blocking” Boo Knits recommends. The points of the edging are just magical.

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This shawl has staggering wingspan for the 420 yd yarn requirement. I’m used to shawlettes being a little wimpy and barely covering my shoulders, much less staying put. This one defies the trend.

It’s a sophisticated design that can dress up a more basic outfit and lend a little glamour. The icing on the cake are its well-placed beads and its extremely satisfying picot edge. Cast on with our merino/cashmere/nylon blend, Lavish, and you’ll be stealing the show with this shawl tossed around your shoulders.

Update: I’ve caved, and I’m casting on another one in our Pick A Gradient Shawl KAL on Ravelry that I’m hosting in August. Join me in the KAL for a chance to win Knitcircus prizes!

Happy knitting,

Liz

 

 

Speckles!

It seems like the knitting world is going crazy for speckles, and we are, too. We first introduced our Speckled Handpaint and Speckled Gradient yarns last summer and have been crushing on them ever since.

Watermelon has been our most popular color this summer, so we’ve introduced a lovely handpaint with pops of juicy fresh color. IMG_7581

It’s also available in a Watermelon Speckle Gradient! What’s the difference between a Gradient and Handpaint, you ask? Well, a Gradient (shown below) moves from one color of speckle to the other, so you’ll have an area mostly red, with a few black “seeds”, then mostly pink speckles, then pale green to deep green. The Handpaint offers you little splashes of color evenly spread through the skein, as in the coiled scarf sample above.

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Big Top Birthday has been a wonderful way for us to celebrate one year in our Studio and Store, and we love the Big Top Birthday colorway you guys chose! We’ve created a brand-new speckle handpaint for the occasion.

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The Big Top Birthday Impressionist Gradient uses a new Graffiti painting technique I’ve been playing around with. I really like the amount of color on this! It’s kind of a combination of the dyeing techniques we use for a speckle and an Impressionist.

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Here, I’m trying out the Birthday Speckle on a gray background. What do you think?13

The new Purple Haze Speckle uses a lavender background to give the pops of color a fun canvas. OTR_speckle_2

And, of course, we have to make Over the Rainbow everything because we just love it so much.

Fall Yarn Collection: Favorite Book Characters!

As a lifelong reader, I’m almost dizzy with excitement about our new fall yarn collection. Each Knitcircus Crew member gets to pick their favorite book character and we’ll develop a colorway based on each one.

My favorite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird, but I can’t pick just one character from that, since the setting, characters, plot and message are all so masterfully fused into one.

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The problem, of course, is narrowing down our choices to just one favorite character! My top pick will probably be Pippi Longstocking, because she was a huge hero to me growing up. She lived alone, defeated robbers, flipped pancakes, made friends with pirates, bested bullies, thoughtfully entertained her friends, bought candy for every kid in town, and did it all with a huge grin. We had the book pictured above. Note the price!

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Her real name, of course, is

Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim’s Daughter Longstocking.

Thanks to Pippi, our family always referred to math as “pluttification” and sang songs like, “Now we will fry a pankye,” every Sunday morning.

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As a kid, I just loved Pippi’s free-spirited adventures; as a grown woman, I love her independence, resilience, loyalty and positive attitude. She always used her powers for good, even if she didn’t understand drinking tea in polite society. She’s still my hero.

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Here’s author Astrid Lindgren with the actress playing Pippi. I also loved The Children of Noisy Village, based on her own childhood on a Swedish farm.

Another top pick: Anne of Green Gables. Of course! Who could not be won over by Anne’s pluck, imagination and heartfelt desire to be part of a family? But you’ll hear more about Anne from another member of the Knitcircus Crew…

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Tied for third place for me are Ron Weasley and Samwise Gamgee.

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I’ve always had a thing for sidekicks, starting with someone probably nobody knows, Shoie Shoemaker, best friend to The Magnificent Brain, Alvin Fernald. I read all of Clifford B. Hicks’ books  and grew quite fond of the lanky, athletic kid who was always ready for an adventure.

My dad read to my brother and I every night growing up, all the way through my freshman year of high school. We listened raptly to all of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, probably some of my dad’s favorite books. Samwise Gamgee’s loyalty, love and determination totally captured my heart.

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Ron Weasley. Guess I have a thing for loyal guys. And funny guys. And guys who are a little insecure because they grew up poor.

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And big families. A lot of other books I read as a kid featured lots of brothers and sisters instead of just one. The Weasley Twins are also some of my all-time favorite book characters.

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(sorry, I don’t know who to attribute this awesome graphic to)

 

Also, I just found out in the course of this “research” (looking at internet pics of your favorite characters counts as research now, #lovemyjob) that Rupert Grint, the actor who plays Ron, bought an ice cream truck and went around giving away ice cream for free. Since I have a lifelong fascination with ice cream trucks, I also like Rupert Grint now, too. Ice cream trucks, parties, the circus, all of these have always seemed magical to me.

So, these are a few of my favorite things….watch for more from the other Knitcircus Crew members as the September release date gets closer!

Stripes Made Easier! Gradient Striped Socks

Self-striping socks. No more switching between two balls of yarn to make the stripes yourself. Fewer yarn ends to sew in. It’s the most entertaining knitting in my basket.

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That’s our Sunshine and Lollipops extreme gradient striped sock set.

Precisely matched self-striping socks are not easy to execute. I recently struggled with a commercial sock set to begin at the same place in both socks. What a disaster. This project is still in time out:

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But hallelujah! The Knitcircus dye studio invented a method to handdye gorgeous striping socks THAT MATCH TO THE STITCH.

First we began with gradients. Check out Susan B. Anderson’s Watermelon socks:

Susie watermelon sock

(photo: Susan B. Anderson)

And now behold our gradient striped Watermelon socks:20160524_145720_

 

When I first saw these, I was like, cool, I can switch between two balls. Worth it. And then I saw the yarn:

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IT STRIPES FOR YOU ALL BY ITSELF. A tiny miracle of dyeing.

Let’s look at the differences a little more closely.

Jaala first created our gradient sock sets, her first creation that matched socks to the stitch.

Behold our Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard Sock gradient colorway in the ball and as a sock:

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Jaala was then struck by inspiration to create sock sets that are self-striping. Here’s the same colorway but now it’s Gradient Stripes:

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Sometimes you may have yarn left over from your sock set, especially if you’ve purchased our medium or large sock sets, have small feet, or like working cuff down. Here’s a great idea:

Check out Sandra’s Stride socks in our Salt Water Taffy Stripes colorway:

Stride socks in progress wannaknitfaster

Stride socks wannaknitfaster

She used about 1/2 of her 100g sock set, with enough left over for short socks! I’m a huge fan of short sockies, and now I have a great use for using up the rest of the stripes I didn’t get to!

Watch the progress of our Gradient Striped Sock being knit up in a time lapse video. I’ve already watched it about forty times, it’s so magical:

 

Effortless stripes are now yours. May the stripes force be with you!

-Liz

Meditate with Yarn

In light of recent events in Orlando this week, I wanted to share a project with you that actually helped calm me, and made me consider meditation and knitting.

Behold Meditate by Elizabeth Doherty, lovingly knitted and photographed by madtownmama* (on Ravelry):

Meditate1

When I teach beginning knitters, I assure them that knitting is known for being meditative, therapeutic and relaxing. They’re all a bit anxious when they begin, worried about making mistakes, concentrating so hard their brows are furrowed in thought. Then I reassure them that the relaxation will come. After a bit more practice.

And soon they’re talking and knitting. And their shoulders relax. And they aren’t considering every step along the way, but instead enjoying the process.

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This is one reason I knit. It takes me out of the world that sometimes defies understanding, to a place of creation, texture and color, and most of all, one stitch after another. A rhythm of moving forward when we just want to stop.

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I love the linear order of its slipped stitch columns.

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Its cool tones washed over me like teal ocean waves.

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Knitting brings the world into order for me. I can meditate and reflect on the events of life, good and bad, while embracing beauty and color.

–Liz

*Madtownmama’s yarn is in a one-of-a-kind colorway in our 150g Thrilling gradient, but any of Knitcircus’s fingering weight 150g cakes would work!