Mini messenger bags.

Last weekend, three new knit samples arrived at the shop.

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These are Mini Messenger Bags, designed and knit by Marsha, who is also teaching an upcoming class on the subject. They’re cute little cross-body purses, big enough to hold a wallet, phone, and other small necessaries. In the process of designing the Mini Messenger Bag and writing the pattern, Marsha knit four of them, each one in a different kind of yarn and at a different gauge. She learned that plant fibers like linen and cotton are a good fit for the bag, and that just about any weight of yarn will work, so long as you go a few needle sizes down from what’s suggested on the ball-band for a sturdy fabric. Three of her four Mini Messenger Bags are now on display at the shop.

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This little black bag was knit with Punta Yarns Montoya Beach, a light fingering weight linen. For a dense and strong fabric, she held the yarn double as she knit.

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This blue bag was knit with Katia Linen, a dk weight linen and cotton blend that I’ve used before in knitting my Gemini sweater.

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This pink bag was knit with Mirasol Sawya, a worsted weight blend of cotton, alpaca, and silk.

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Marsha’s own Mini Messenger Bag, which is pictured in the pattern but absent from the shop (because she uses it, of course!), was made in Punta Yarns Linen Soft, an aran weight linen yarn. The bags’ sizes vary with differing gauges, of course, but it leaves a lot of options in terms of yarn selection.

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All three are lined with fabric and finished with zippers, which are probably the two most unusual skills that the pattern requires. If you’ve never done this kind of sewing before, fear not; Marsha’s class requires only the most basic hand-sewing knowledge–she’ll guide you through sewing the lining and setting in the zipper. For those who can’t attend the class, Marsha has also created a photo tutorial that supplements the pattern.

Read more about the class on our website, where you can also sign up and prepay to hold your space, if you like. We’ve got Marsha’s patterns in stock, and tons of yarns to choose from if you’re inspired to create a Mini Messenger Bag of your own. Come by the shop to see these cute Mini Messenger Bags for yourself!

Argosy scarf.

A new knit scarf has arrived at the shop, knit by Amy as a sample for one of her upcoming classes. Here’s Argosy!

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Argosy is a free pattern from Knitty, which Amy knit in Noro Silk Garden Lite, a self-striping DK weight blend of silk, mohair, and wool. Argosy is a great way to show off the kind of self-striping yarns that Noro is known for.

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It’s knit on the bias, which results in diagonal stripes when using a self-striping yarn. It makes a gently draping, light fabric, in part because of the light-weight yarn and in part because of the lacy patterning.

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Amy’s Argosy Scarf class focuses on a particular pattern, but our classes always teach any special techniques that are required for whatever pattern students will be knitting. These techniques will serve you well not only in making the pattern at hand, but also in future knitting endeavors. Sign up for the Argosy Scarf class and you can expect to learn how to do the cable cast-on, how to cast on stitches in-line, how to do yarnovers and decreases, and how to read a lace knitting chart.

Learn more about the Argosy Scarf class on our website’s “Classes, etc” page, where you can sign up and prepay to ensure your place in class. Come by the shop during our Going to Market Sale to pick up Noro Silk Garden Lite at a 25% discount, and to admire this scarf in person!

Rodekool brioche scarf.

Recently, one of our teachers dropped off a knit sample at the shop, a scarf to show what she’ll teach in her upcoming “Brioche Neck Scarf” class.

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Amy’s class will show how to work brioche, a knitting technique that creates two interwoven layers of fabric at once. It can be worked in a single color or in two colors, which yields a reversible garment like this scarf, “Rodekool,” a free pattern by brioche mastermind Nancy Marchant.

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Amy knit her Rodekool (“red cabbage” in Dutch) scarf using Isager Highland, a fingering weight wool. Marchant’s pattern recommends using one skein of Crystal Palace Mini Mochi, knitting from both ends of the self-striping yarn at once, but that can create confusion when learning a new technique. For ease of knitting and clarity of pattern, Amy recommends working the Rodekool in two solid colors, and reports that the Isager Highland was lovely to work with.

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Come by the shop to see this incredible garment for yourself. Meanwhile, you can read more about the upcoming “Brioche Neck Scarf” class on our website, and sign up there to learn this fascinating technique with Amy. We also have copies of Nancy Marchant’s Knitting Brioche, a comprehensive compendium of all things brioche. See you at the shop!

Show and tell: firsts.

For whatever reason, it’s been a busy couple of weeks for show and tell at the shop. Knitters and crocheters are finishing their projects left and right, and bringing them in excitedly to share all the new techniques they learned along the way. Today’s show and tell is all about firsts: first sweaters and first socks.

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Here, Wanda shows off her very first sweater, a Summer Lace Panel T-Shirt made in Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton, with some help along the way from Marsha’s “Start Your First Sweater or Vest” class. Yes, there’s a lace panel in this woman’s very first sweater. Wanda has really taken to knitting, and we are so impressed by all she’s accomplished!

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Another knitter models her first sweater, a textured vest made in Berroco Ultra Alpaca. Despite several sizing setbacks, she persistently knit and reknit this vest until she got it right. It can be so discouraging to rip out hours of knitting, but I know she’s thrilled to have completed a perfectly-fitting vest. What an achievement!

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Here’s Tamboura’s first sock, the result of many knitting hours and Marion’s ever-popular “Magic Loop Socks from the Toe Up” class. (There are plenty of spaces in the next session–read more about it and register on the website!) Tamboura is an avid crafter, not only a knitter, but a crocheter, weaver, and maker of glass beads. This sock is likely the first of many!

Thanks to all for sharing these knitterly firsts with us! I still have a backlog of pictures to share, so you can look forward to even more show and tell on the blog soon. See you at the shop!

Lava Flow Cowl.

A new sample is decorating our walls: here’s a Lava Flow Cowl.

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This Lava Flow Cowl was made by Amy, who’s teaching an upcoming class on the subject. It’s full of interesting techniques, like a provisional cast-on, reversible cables, and kitchener stitch in a ribbed pattern. If these techniques are new to you, consider taking the class and reap the benefits of Amy’s guidance, as well as the camaraderie of other knitters. The pattern is available as a free download from Ravelry, and is a perfect garment to showcase a special yarn in a dk or light worsted weight. Amy’s sample is made in Mirasol K’acha, a light worsted weight blend of merino wool, alpaca, and silk.

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Come by the shop to try it on for size, and see if you’d like to make one yourself!

New year, new skills.

The new year seems to bring renewed interest in learning about knitting and crocheting. We quickly sold out of our most basic “learn to knit” books in December as knitters and knitters-to-be prepared to teach or learn the craft this season. This week, both I Can’t Believe I’m Knitting and I Can’t Believe I’m Crocheting are back in stock, ready with clear instructions and photographs to get you started. If one or the other craft is unfamiliar to you, why not give it a try this year?

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Speaking of learning something new, we’ve been busy scheduling new classes for the new year. For the uninitiated, who’ve never held needles or yarn, we have Beginning Knitting, which teaches the basics: knit, purl, cast on, bind off. Want to try a new stitch pattern or knitting technique? Amy’s Beginning Lace will show how to knit from charts, and her Lava Flow Cowl class will teach a provisional cast-on, kitchener stitch, and cables. If you’ve boldly decided to knit your first sweater this year, consider Marsha’s First Sweater class for guidance along the way. There are still a few spaces in Katherine’s Quill class, if you’d like to try your hand at a garter stitch shawl with a lace border. These are only a sampling; there are plenty more classes listed on our website. Check there to read more about our classes and register for them, as well.

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What new skills or techniques are you looking forward to learning in the new year?

Another round of show and tell.

It was another great week for show and tell at the shop. So many knitters and crocheters came in with finished projects to share.

Petra came in wearing a hand-knit top and shrug, proving that it is indeed possible to wear hand-knit garments in even the hottest weather when lightweight plant fiber yarns are used. A beautiful ensemble!

Laura brought in a finished Faraway, So Close shawl to show off, fresh from Katherine’s class on the same project. Laura’s shawl is made with Malabrigo Silky Merino and edged with Louisa Harding Grace Silk & Wool, both of which are dk weight single ply yarns with great luster and drape.

Anne had some show and tell this week, too. She made this cute wool soaker for her new granddaughter, Willa, who is pictured wearing a Boston Whaler Hat in Ella Rae Bamboo & Silk yarn. (The hat has been such a hit that Anne has already taught two classes on it, and we’ve scheduled a third to begin Sunday, August 12th–read more about the Boston Whaler Baby Hat class and register on our website!) For the soaker, Anne used Briggs & Little Sport yarn, with a strand of pink and a strand of white held together.

Thanks for sharing your completed projects with us! It’s such fun to see what everyone’s stitching. See you at the shop.

Noro Slip-Stitch Cowl.

On Tuesday morning when I first opened the shop for the week, a new knit sample caught my eye. A cozy, woolen cowl in a riot of colors made me reach for my camera. Take a look at this Slip-Stitch Cowl from Knit Noro Accessories.

This cowl was knit by Katherine, an amazing knitter and crocheter that we are proud to have as a teacher at the shop. Her latest class is on this very cowl, which uses a simple slip-stitch pattern and two colors of the self-striping Noro Kureyon yarn to give the illusion of stranded colorwork. As I write this, there are only two spaces left in the class, which begins in September. Sign up now if you’d like to join Katherine and a great group of knitters in the making of your own Slip-Stitch Cowl!

If you’re unable to secure a space in the class, or would like to tackle this project on your own, come by the shop to page through the beautiful book Knit Noro Accessories. We have many colors of Kureyon in stock, as well; come and lose yourself in the endless color combinations!

Habu.

For the past few weeks, Anne has been hard at work on a sweater, a sample for the shop knit from a Habu kit. The yarn is a fine, slubbed cotton, and the pattern is in the Japanese style, with little to no written instructions. Instead, Anne’s knitting is guided by a simple diagram, a few numbers, and a post-it note with tally-marks for each knitted row. When asked what she’s knitting, she holds up the diagram and says, “This is the entire pattern,” which always elicits a raised brow. Japanese patterns may seem mysterious and complicated, but Anne assures us that this is not so. When the sweater is done, she promises a class on Japanese pattern reading.

Just in time for this proposed class, our selection of Habu kits has expanded.

I’ve written before about the Kusha Kusha scarf kit, which also features a Japanese pattern. Now, three sweaters are joining the Kusha Kusha kits.

Come by the shop to chat with Anne about Japanese patterns, and to take a closer look at our expanded Habu collection. If a class on Japanese pattern reading appeals to you, let us know, and we’ll alert you when the class is scheduled. See you soon!

Lakedale Shawl class.

I’ve just posted a new fall class on the website, a 3 session class focused on a pattern from Malabrigo Book 3: the texured, ruffled Lakedale Shawl. The pattern calls for Malabrigo sock yarn (which, by the way, is finally scheduled to be back in stock at the shop sometime this week…!), but Katherine, who will teach the class, made hers in one of my favorites: Marion Foale 3 ply wool, held doubled throughout.

This shawl is currently on display in the shop, so if you’re thinking about taking the class, come and touch it, admire it, try it on.

Check out other beautiful renditions of the Lakedale Shawl on Ravelry. We have many other exciting classes scheduled, so if this one isn’t quite what you’re looking for, check out our website to see what else is slated for the fall. Learn to knit the February Lady Sweater or a cute pair of cabled mittens, or learn to knit, period–we have beginner classes, too. Marsha is also teaching a series of fantastic one-session troubleshooting-type classes on reading your knitting, fixing mistakes, and unraveling the mystery that is gauge. And: there are more classes coming that are only in the planning stages now. Stay tuned, friends. See you at the shop!