Kindness is Everything/Kindness KAL

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Wow, we’re still in the middle of the Peace Project KAL, so it’s hard to realize that the New Year will be here in a flash. I’m thrilled to say that this year will bring another round of the Kindess KAL! It was so heartwarming to see how many people participated last year and to appreciate all of their different Kindness KAL projects with creative color and yarn combinations. The new KAL will feature a new Kindness KAL shawl pattern (not published yet) and will run from February 1-April 1 2018.

I’m really happy with the new Kindness colorway this year (there was a pile on Liz’s desk this morning and I had to pick it up and pretend-eat it, I love it so). The soft grays flow into sky blue and rich purples.  Purple has traditionally been associated with magic, and I also associate it with forgiveness and kindness, any emotion that expands the mind and spirit. Hopefully you will all enjoy it, too!

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These days, we need acts of kindness more than ever. The way the KAL will run isn’t set yet; if you have ideas of how people can contribute time, talent or money to organizations through the KAL, please leave a comment here or on instagram (@knitcircus_yarns).

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The inspiration for this colorway’s name came from the Madison, Wisconsin mothers who created these yard signs.  If you like what you see, you could get one for your own window or yard!

You don’t have to wait for the KAL; use this color for any favorite project! But do mark your calendar to knit along with us for Kindness starting February 1.

Jaala

Knitcircus Podcast 88

Listen on Libsyn or iTunes.

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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

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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.

Listen on Libsyn or iTunes

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!

Podcast #52

Amy is back from Vogue Knitting Live Chicago, and Jaala talks about her new yarn!

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Mentioned this episode:

Listen on Libsyn or iTunes.

New Gradient Stripes Colors, Yarn Clubs & Gramma Nancy’s Giveaway

Hi, Knitters,

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Happy Halloween!

Lil Buddy carved that pumpkin up there, while I sorted through the innards for the seeds. Roasted pumpkin seeds are a delicacy we enjoy just once a year! I put them on a tray with parchment paper, olive oil and seasoned salt and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Both of my kids are old enough that they’re going off with different friends tonight. They’re just getting so grown-up!  It’s a pretty cold day for our poor trick-or-treaters, though; we woke up to snow on the ground. Lots of layers under those costumes…

New November Gradient

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I couldn’t resist announcing this one day early; the new color for November is Defying Gravity. It has wonders like you’ve never seen! It’s all grand- and it’s all green! Defying Gravity begins with a bold emerald, then fades to a smoky forest green. A gorgeous color to show that nobody in all of Oz- no wizard that there is or was- could ever bring you down.  The one shown is a 150-g double gradient, meaning it starts and ends with the same color. You can also, of course, order regular Matching Socks sets and 100g gradients.

New Gradient Stripes Colors!

More new colors are joining the lineup; it’s just so much fun making these!

 

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Race to the Cookie Jar; a cheerful variation of the color developed by the Cookie Crumbs sock knitting group, stripes from yellow to yellow-green, to green-blue, before ending on several shades of blue.

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Captain America: Red fades to white, then to blue in a series of thin stripes. For Truth and Justice!wit & learning 2

 

Wit & Learning are the celebrated virtues of these colors; classic blue stripes with silvery gray, creating a gradient effect. We think they’d be very cozy in a library or a plush easy chair, snuggled up with a good book.Third in the Harry Potter House Colors series.

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Vampire Boyfriend fades in a series of thin stripes from a pale red to scab rust, before ending in a deep red-black. It would look just as good defending the Hellmouth as it would standing up to the Volterra, or cracking open a bottle of O Negative in Bon Tomps. Care for a bite?

Yarn Clubs Out!

We promised they’d be done by the end of the month, and they are! All of the second All Wrapped Up club packages, first Firefly packages and half of the first Matching Socks club packages went out today. The rest of the Matching Socks will be headed your way on Monday.

Aran Knits Winner

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The winner of the Interweave Knits Aran Lace Knitting with Stephannie Tallent DVD is Suzanne. Thanks so much to Stephannie for the giveaway and to everyone who entered!

New Giveaway

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New Giveaway! We have a copy of Gramma Nancy’s Animal Hats (and Booties, too) courtesy of Potter Craft. Nancy Nielsen made hundreds of hats for her son-in-law’s Navy shipmates over the years and has collected a menagerie of road-tested patterns for babies and kids!

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If you’re interested in winning a copy of this, please leave a comment about your baby and toddler knitting; who and what are you knitting? What’s your favorite baby gift to knit? The Random Number Generator will choose a winner next Tuesday, November 4th.

Take care, have a happy and safe holiday and stay warm,

Jaala