Knitcircus Podcast 88

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Amy and Jaala are in stitches. Or at Stitches. Or something stitchy….

Mentioned this podcast:

Susan B Anderson

Stitches Midwest

Franklin Habit

Buffalo Wool

Makers Mercantile

Amy’s Upcoming Ireland Trip

Big Bang Theory

Wisconsin Sheep and Wool 

Martina Behm

Leftie

Elizabeth Zimmerman Pi Shawl

Chromatic Gradients

Welter, by Hunter Hammersen

Fall Sweater Challenge

 

Favorite Characters from Literature #2: Katie

 

Hello!

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Jaala asked me to say something about myself this week, which is strange for me. My name is Katie, and I love being behind the scenes helping to make things tick.

Every day is something different for me at Knitcircus; today I’m in the office with my puppy curled at my feet but yesterday I was busily dyeing up batches of gorgeous yarn to send to online customers and for us to take to Stitches Midwest.

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Roscoe Likes to Help in the Office

 

What am I doing tomorrow? Who knows?!? When I’m not dyeing yarn or working on the website listings, I am prettifying displays and ordering needles and notions for the Studio Store and at most of our shows working the booth.

At home I am busy raising my son Cole and step-son Jacob with my husband James. We also have two cats, Captain Fitzwilliam von FancyPaws, Fourth Earl of Bigglesworth (Fitz) and Cleo, in addition to our puppy, Roscoe.

I can often be found knitting or crocheting on the couch watching Midsomer Murders or any BBC Masterpiece Classic in the evenings.

Fall Collection Color

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For my Fall Collection literary character I decided on Elinor Dashwood from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

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It’s not that I directly identify with Elinor but I do feel an affinity for her. Elinor is steady, mature, soft-spoken but well-respected, and the rock of her family during a sad and turbulent time.

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Elinor always makes me think of a lighthouse during a storm; strong and steady and still standing after the storm passes.

Aside from my love of English literature, I have a deep and abiding appreciation for anything funny and awesome. So I will leave you with this thought: Go see Ghostbusters.

Design Inspiration Revealed: Wendy D. Johnson’s Maple Leaves Gradient Cowl

Designer Wendy D. Johnson is a multitalented sock-knitting guru, the author of Wendy Knits Lace, Socks from the Toe Up, Toe Up Socks for Every Body and Wendy Knits.

Fall patternsShe designed the amazing Maple Leaves Gradient Cowl for our Fall Collection, which graced the cover!

1)      How did you choose the kind of project you designed?

Lately I have been all about colorwork cowls. Being a woman of “a certain age” a stranded colorwork sweater is just too warm for me to even consider wearing, but I love knitting stranded colorwork. Cowls are the perfect solution, because they are incredibly handy and versatile in the winter. I like them better than a scarf for outdoor wear because they stay put better, and they are easily popped on indoors if the room is a little chilly.

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2)      What was the biggest challenge of designing this project?

My biggest challenge was charting the large leaf motif so that it actually looked like a maple leaf!

3)      What was your favorite part of the process?

I love, love, love knitting colorwork with a gradient and a semi-solid because it makes the finished piece look far more complex than it really is. Watching the pattern emerge as I knit is always my favorite part of knitting colorwork, and it is why I can knit it so quickly: I’m so eager to see the design come to life that I knit faster!

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4)      Your favorite thing about the finished piece?

I love how perfectly suited the yarn is to the design. The finished cowl has an almost velvet look to it because of the depth of color in the yarn.

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Here’s a snippet of one of the charts that reveals my dark secret: I chart all my colorwork designs using an Excel spreadsheet and a dingbat font! I never sketch with pencil and paper first, I always start with a blank spreadsheet!

–Wendy D. Johnson

Links:

Wendy’s website Wendy Knits

Maple Leaves Gradient Cowl pattern on Ravelry.

Maple Leaves Gradient Cowl Kit on the Knitcircus website.

Big Shop Update and Sale Tomorrow at 10:00 CDT

Spring sale

We’re photographing and listing things like crazy for our first annual Spring Sale and huge shop update! Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to YarnOver this weekend, so all of the yarn is going up in the shop instead! (But the lovely Amy Detjen will be there, so please say hi if you see her!)

We’ve got sale skeins of kettle dyes, handpaints, Matching Socks Sets, and gradients of all sizes! Watch for the shop update on the Knitcircus webpage tomorrow at 10:00 am!

Happy knitting,

Jaala

Knitcircus Podcast #56

Amy and Jaala are thankful for the spring reprieve and reflect on the Madison Knitter’s Guild Knit In. Later, Amy makes a shocking confession.

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Mentioned this episode:

Brand New Bag(s), Dr. Who and Curls

Hi, Knitters,

First of all, thank you for such a wonderful response to the newsletter on Friday! We’re excited to put all of our new Lair improvements to work on your orders. Yesterday, with our new system tweaks and with Assistant Dyer Erin aboard, we dyed more yarn than ever before in a single day.

Weekend Update

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Ours was pretty chill. Lil Buddy had a Futsal game both days. If you’re like me, and had never actually heard of Futsal, it was developed in the 30s-40’s in Brazil, and is basically soccer played with a smaller, heavier ball on a gym floor.Here he is in Saturday’s game.

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Sunday’s game was during the big Packer football match. We left my parents and 92-year-old Grandma glued to the game, drove to Verona and walked in to the gym just before 4:00….only to find the futsal game was at 3:00. In my history as a soccer, baseball, basketball and judo mom, we’ve never blown a game before. Totally embarrassing. Lil Buddy was a good sport about it.

But I got to give my grandma her Sunday manicure, so definitely a silver lining there.

Brand New Bags

I asked in the Knitcircus Ravelry Group for advice on where to find a more structured project bag, and you guys really delivered! After checking out the wonderful shops you recommended, I purchased not one, but two new project bags, and I’m thrilled with both!

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This one is by Birdlegbags. Mostly, I just can’t resist matryoshkas, but when it arrived, I was very impressed with the quality handmade product. It has a beautiful Millefiori bead on the closure,the strap was fussy cut to produce a perfect row of smiling faces and it has a little clip on the other side (not shown) with a carabiner for attaching to your belt! IMG_1901[1]

It’s also lined with a beautifully-sewn lining with rainbow-colored knit stitches. I’m a big birdlegbags fan now!

The second box project bag came from Zigzagstitches; look at that delightful graphic print! This bag was also very professionally-sewn, with a grosgrain ribbon tab you could put a carabiner in and a pretty contrasting lining.

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I’m so happy to have found these two stores. We’ve got a ski trip coming up this weekend; hack, no, I’m not skiing, I’m knitting and making big pans of lasagna! Can’t wait to use both of these.

Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey

We’re very excited about the new Dr. Who yarn club (so much so that Wet Processor Lena spends much of her break time searching for the perfect gifts for the Club members). It’s three packages/6 months of yarn inspired by the many regenerations of The Doctor and his plucky human companions.

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The Doctor may have an enlightened view of the nature of time, but for Earth purposes, the Club membership is only open until tomorrow, so please hop on over and sign up if you haven’t yet!

Curls

I’m a huge fan of all of Hunter Hammersen’s patterns, and her new book shows a whole new side to her design talents. Curls uses a unique shawl construction Hunter developed to create versatile cowl/shawl pieces. Once you’ve grasped the idea, the pieces are very achievable, and she includes a variety of designs from very simple repeats to the deluxe lace wrap shown on the cover.

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Chris gifted me with a gorgeous skein of handspun for my birthday, and I’m going to show it off with either Hunter’s Caesious simple wrapped-stitch pattern or the cozy cables of her Icterine shawl.

Well, off to dye up more yarn, have a wonderful Tuesday,

Jaala

Working like Elves

Hi, Knitters,

Wow, it always seems like the holiday season trots by so fast, like a speeded-up jingle sleigh. We’ve been working like elves in the Lair, trying to go as fast as possible to fill everyone’s orders. We bought in a new person, Lena, to do wet processing (rinsing, steaming, etc) and that’s helped us speed up dyeing significantly. If you’ve ordered dyed-to-order yarn, please know that we are doing everything we can to get it to you soon.

Christmas Home

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Last weekend, our family went to Summer’s Christmas Tree Farm to find our lovely tree. Belle was under the weather, so we chose a precut fir, but still got to let Sasha sniff all around and have our traditional cider donut and brats cooked al fresco by the Appleberry Farm folks. You can see decoration in progress in the pic above.

Mulberry Street

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About the my new patterns,the Mulberry Street Hat and Cowl; I apologize, at first the Mulberry Street Cowl pdf hadn’t loaded properly, but it’s up there now, so please click over to Ravelry and download it you haven’t yet! I hope these quick knits will help you through your last-minute gift list. 🙂

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Holiday Fun

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The kids have been stumbling out first thing in the morning (and it is early, because middle school around here starts at 7:20) to find the little treats I stash in the pocket for the Advent Calendar. My cool friends had one similar when I was young and I swore I would one day make one for my own kids. I actually created this felt one when they were little (maybe three and four?). It’s so fun to see that The Yarn Harlot made one this year! Of course, her ornaments are way more beautiful and complicated than mine.

Lil Buddy already put the pickle ornament in the last pocket for Christmas Eve. We’ve adopted the tradition of the finder getting a special treat on Christmas morning after hearing about it at a relatives’ house.

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A little treat I’m doing for my family is a new holiday desktop for our living room computer each day. Above is today’s, from Wallpapers in HD.

Every year for the last few, we’ve had fun putting our photos (including cats and now dog, of course!) into Elf Yourself and laughing along as the velvet-clad cancers jump and jig away.

Have a happy weekend, everyone!