Interweave Crochet.

The Fall 2013 issue of Interweave Crochet is here!

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Inside, you’ll find plenty of crochet patterns, from smaller accessories to adult-sized garments.

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I also spotted this helpful article on crochet hooks, which details the many varieties of hooks and the differences between them. Just like knitting needles, crochet hooks made of different materials and in slightly differing shapes are good for different kinds of fibers and techniques. Pick up a copy of Interweave Crochet Fall 2013 to learn all about it.

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Look for Interweave Crochet on the teacart, surrounded by all the latest knitting and crochet magazines and books. See you at the shop!

Hello, Malabrigo Mecha.

A new Malabrigo yarn is always exciting. We know so many knitters and crocheters who turn to Malabrigo yarns again and again for their beautiful colorways, soft fibers, and good value. Meet the newest Malabrigo yarn: Mecha.

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Mecha is made of superwash merino wool, a bulky weight yarn with 130 yards on each 100 gram skein. It’s a soft and fluffy single ply, which means it’s also a bit fuzzy. The superwash process helps the yarn to resist felting, but single ply yarns are still more likely to pill than plied yarns; not a problem with a gentle pill remover like the Lily Brush.

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I’m the lucky knitter who got to make a shop sample with Mecha. I went hunting for a pattern in the Kira K Designs binder and found two great choices: a twisty knit  scarf, and a rippled crochet cowl.

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It was a tough choice, but I landed on the Twist Scarf, a pattern that called for exactly 130 yards of bulky weight yarn–a perfect match for Mecha.

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I love the way it came out; the knitting was simple and fast, and the scarf is long enough to be worn a few different ways.

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The pattern is available as a Ravelry In-Store Pattern Sale, which means that you buy it from us and we’ll print a copy for you, but a digital copy is also saved in your email or Ravelry pattern library.

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Ashley, a crocheter with an affinity for Malabrigo yarns, picked up a few skeins of Mecha last week when it first arrived. After playing with it a bit, she discovered that two qualities make it perfect for children’s toys: Mecha is both super soft and superwash. Sitting at the shop, she whipped up a soft stuffed ball with a rattle inside in under 15 minutes. A set of these in different sizes would make a great baby gift, and a quick one. Ashley used the Ideal Crochet Sphere pattern, which is available as a free download on Ravelry. Lucky for us, she left this ball with us as a sample for the shop. Thanks, Ashley!

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Come by the shop to check out Mecha and all our other Malabrigo favorites. See you there!

Show and tell: all kinds.

We’ve had so much new yarn coming in, so many new patterns and magazines, that I’ve let the show and tell pictures pile up. It’s time to share the projects our knitters and crocheters have brought in to show us, and today, there’s a gracious plenty.

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First up is Rosi, who is modeling an incredible lace sweater she made using String Theory Selku, a sport weight blend of silk and wool. The shimmer and drape of Selku is perfectly suited to this “Sampler Tabard,” a Cheryl Oberle pattern from Meg Swansen’s A Gathering of Lace. As Rosi will tell you, this sweater isn’t nearly as complicated as it looks–each individual lace pattern is straightforward, and only repeated a few times before you switch to the next pattern, making it suitable for beginner lace knitters.

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Molly has been knitting sweaters for her granddaughters. This one is made from a Knitting Pure & Simple pattern using Malabrigo Rios. Rios is a great choice for a child’s sweater: smooth, next-to-skin soft, machine-washable, and colorful.

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Here’s Margie in her completed Chamomile shawl, a Helga Isager pattern from her Amimono Knit Collection 2010. The pattern calls for two Isager yarns, the fingering weight Tvinni and lace weight Alpaca 1. Margie substituted the fingering weight Malabrigo Finito for Isager Tvinni and came out with a stunning shawl.

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Marion, who teaches our magic loop sock-knitting classes, is cranking out socks as always. Here is one of the many pairs that have graced her needles over the past couple of months, knit in Colinette Jitterbug. Magic loopers interested in learning to knit two socks at a time on one long needle should check out our class schedule, as Marion will teach this technique in October.

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Ashley is a crocheter and an avid fan of Malabrigo yarns. She whipped up this pair of baby hats for some twins-to-be using Malabrigo Arroyo, a sport weight, machine-washable merino. The stars were crocheted with Jitterbug in just the right shade to complement this Arroyo colorway.

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Monika is a knitter and HYS customer all the way from the Netherlands, where we shipped her the last two skeins of Baa Ram Ewe’s Titus Dark that she needed to complete this hoodie. At the time, Titus was so popular in Europe that it became hard to find, so it was a relief to connect Monika with those desperately needed skeins. She designed this sweater herself, and was kind enough to send photos upon completing it.

Thanks to all who share their work with us! It’s truly inspiring to see what your creative hands make with our yarns. Keep it coming!

Hook and needle cases from Della Q.

Back in June, we travelled to TNNA, saw many of our favorite yarn companies, and placed a bunch of orders for the shop. The new Fall things are starting to come in, and its no surprise that it’s mostly yarn. Here and there, however, we receive boxes of other knitting- and crochet-related goodies, including organizational things like these hook and needle cases from Della Q.

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Handcrafted from lustrous silk fabric, Della Q’s cases remind us that every aspect of our craft can be as pleasing as it is functional, from the patterns to the fibers to the tools to how we store them. The Crochet Roll has a space for hooks of all sizes with labels that make it easy to find exactly the hook you’re looking for.

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When it’s rolled up and tied, all your hooks are snug and secure, and they wont take up much space in a tote with your projects and notions.

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The Double Point Needle Roll works the same way, but is designed to hold sets of double pointed needles instead of hooks.

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If your own collection of hooks and needles is in need of neat and pretty storage, come by the shop to take a closer look at these Della Q cases, along with our other organizational tools. See you there!

Kira K Designs, for crocheters and knitters alike.

We were first acquainted with designer Kira Dulaney at last year’s TNNA, when we found her booth alongside Sincere Sheep, offering patterns for Sincere Sheep Equity Sport. This year we visited her booth again, remembering that she offered as many crochet patterns as knitting patterns, and filled up on both. We’ve seen a resurgence of interest in crochet of late, with more and more of our knitters becoming “bilingual,” including myself. Thumbing through the patterns as I unpacked them last week, I kept thinking of yarns that would pair well with each one.

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This crocheted shawl was even more beautiful in person than in the photo, and would be lovely made up in Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere.

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This openwork crocheted scarf or wrap calls for sport weight yarn, immediately bringing two of our favorite sport weight yarns to mind: String Theory Selku and Malabrigo Arroyo.

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Both the above and below crocheted hats call for fingering weight yarn, so there are plenty of tempting choices. String Theory Bluestocking, Ultra Alpaca Fine, Swans Island Organic Merino Fingering, Mountain Colors Bearfoot… I could play this game all day.

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Look for all of these patterns in the Crochet Patterns binder by the front window!

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We got a few new Kira K patterns for knitting, too. This one also calls for fingering weight, so all of the yarns I’ve mentioned would be great choices for this cabled hat, along with Malabrigo Sock, Isager Highland, and Titus.

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This knit cowl and mitt set calls for worsted to aran weight yarn, and the silvery purple/gray color it’s shown in made me think of these shades in Ultra Alpaca and Lustra.

Inspired by Kira K Designs? There are plenty more beyond these; all of Kira Dulaney’s designs are available as Ravelry In-Store Pattern Sales. More on that in tomorrow’s blog post. Come by the shop to see these newest yarns and patterns, and pair them up for your next project!

Show and tell: shawls and stoles.

This past week has been an abundant one for show and tell at the shop; there is so much to share that I’ll divide it up into two posts. Today, I’ll focus on shawls and stoles, for a great deal of them have found their way into the shop lately.

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Here’s Margaretta’s completed Color Affection in three shades of Titus, a shawl that has inspired many knitters to create Color Affections in their own three-color combinations of Titus. I made one myself, which recent visitors to the shop may have seen hanging on the wall.

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Margaretta used the first three shades of Titus that were available, Dark, Original, and Light, which make a gentle gradient from dark gray to light brown to pale beige. As a lover of neutral colors, this Color Affection really appeals to me; I can’t wait to see all the others that I know are in progress or soon to be started!

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Paula and Kristin came in last week, each with a Stole on the needles. Both are made in Isager Alpaca 2, a cuddly fingering weight blend of merino wool and alpaca. Over the past year, Anne and I have seen so many beautiful colorways come together as knitters select yarn for the Stole, which uses an incredible nine colors total. What still surprises me is how different each stole can look from the next, though they all draw from the same 20-color palette. Paula’s Stole, above, is subdued and calming to the eye, while Kristin’s, below, is vibrant and bold.

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Here are two shawls that Barbara crocheted in a recent Triangular Crochet Shawl class at the shop, using the 8 Hour Shawl pattern, available as a free download from Ravelry.

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Having just graduated from Beginning Crochet not long ago, Barbara is on a roll, planning another two crochet shawls in the same yarn she used here, the beloved Malabrigo Rios. Soft, springy, colorful, worsted-weight, and machine-washable, Rios is a great choice for all kinds of knit and crochet projects, from shawls and scarves to sweaters, hats, mitts, blankets, and baby things.

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Thanks to these knitters and crocheters for sharing their work with us! If any or all of these projects inspire you, come by the shop to get some Titus, Isager Alpaca 2, or Malabrigo Rios for shawls and Stoles of your own. Our Annual Inventory Sale is on through July 31st, so come in soon to take advantage of the 15% discount on everything we have in stock. Additionally, we have a Beginning Crochet class coming up soon, if any knitters out there are inspired to try another craft; read more about it and all our classes on our website. See you at the shop!

 

Just a reminder–all sales are final on sale items; there can be no exchanges, no returns, nor will we special order. Discount applies only to in-store purchases. Thanks! 

Two new books for crocheters.

Two new books have arrived here at the shop, both focused on crochet.

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Crochet One-Skein Wonders is exactly what it sounds like: a collection of crochet patterns that can be completed with a single skein of yarn.

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The patterns are sorted, just like our shop, by the weight of yarn that’s called for. There are 101 patterns within, collected from crochet designers all over the world, including one right here in our neck of the woods.

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Crochet One-Skein Wonders is a great resource for crocheters looking for small projects of all kinds, from scarves and shawls to baby things and home accessories.

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Convertible Crochet is the latest book from designer Doris Chan, a collection of motif-based patterns that can be arranged and assembled into different garments, or worn in different ways.

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Chan shows not only how to create each motif and join them together in the patterns she’s written, but also how to customize and modify those motifs and patterns to make a unique garment.

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Come by to see these latest crochet books. You’ll find them on the teacart, surrounded by the very latest in knitting and crochet books and magazines. Remember, our Annual Inventory Sale is on through July 31st, and the 15% discount applies to books, too! See you at the shop.

Interweave Crochet.

The Summer issue of Interweave Crochet is here.

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Inside, you’ll find all manner of intriguing things to crochet in hot weather, from shawls, wraps, and tunics to jewelry.

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Come by the shop to page through this latest issue of Interweave Crochet and many other spring and summer magazines. See you there!

Citrus coasters.

Those of you who have visited our shop are likely well acquainted with our set-up: one of each color and kind of yarn out on the shelves, more of each in the back if you need it. There are exceptions to that rule, however; if you’ve ever seen a capital letter “L” written on a yarn’s label, you may already know that “L” stands for “last,” as in, that’s the last skein we have in that color.

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Our Going to Market Sale has produced a lot of “L”s in Debbie Bliss and Noro yarns; what to do with those small quantities once you’ve gone and fallen in love with the color? One lone skein can become a stripe in a larger project, of course, but sometimes it’s enough for a small project of its own. Here’s one idea.

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Last week, after I finished my first crochet project, I was so excited that I started another (much smaller!) crochet project: coasters. There are plenty of free patterns for crocheted coasters on Ravelry, and a more experienced crocheter might not even require a pattern, but I was happy to have some instructions to guide me. I settled on Citrus Coaster, a simple pattern which made use of the few stitches I already knew and taught me a few more, too. I used Debbie Bliss Eco Baby, a sport weight organic cotton with 136 yards on each 50 gram ball.

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I made myself a set of four in two evenings, not because I’m so speedy with a hook, but because they’re such small pieces, measuring about 4.5″ across.

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Each coaster weighs between 7 and 9 grams, so one skein can easily make a set of four, perhaps even six, though your yardage may vary depending upon your tension. At any rate, I thought it was a novel way to make use of one small skein, and could make a nice little gift, too.

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Debbie Bliss Eco Cotton, the aran weight version of Eco Baby, would also make nice coasters or dishcloths, and a quick search on Ravelry for free crochet coaster patterns reveals that there are plenty of choices in aran weight yarns, too. During our Going to Market Sale, all things Debbie Bliss and Noro are 25% off, so come by before June 19th to take advantage of the discount!

 

Some reminders:

  • All sales are final on discounted yarns; no returns nor exchanges
  • Discount applies only to in-stock yarns; no special orders

Thanks for understanding!

On blankets, and learning to crochet.

Recently I finished making a blanket, the largest project I’d ever attempted. It didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it might, in part because I became a little obsessed with working on it, and in part because of how I made it: crochet. I’m just learning to crochet, finding my way around a whole new language of stitches and abbreviations. It’s been a delightful experience so far, learning so many new things and being encouraged by the quick growth of my blanket. Having grown used to the slow, deliberate pace of knitting over the past six years or so, I was surprised and excited by how quickly crochet moves by comparison.

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The color combination is crazy, I know, especially coming from someone who often professes a great love of gray. To choose these crazy colors, I went through my stash and pulled out all the superwash wools. Between all the odds and ends and extra skeins leftover from projects past, I had a little over half the yarn I needed to make a medium-sized blanket. So, I did what anyone starting a scrap project does; I went shopping for more “scraps.”

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I started out thinking I’d use only sport and dk weight yarns, but a bit of worsted and even a few skeins of aran weight made their way into it and didn’t seem to affect the gauge much at all. The thicker yarns made puffier stitches, a slightly more dense fabric, but for my purposes, they were happy among the many other weights. Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, Cashmerino DK, Cashmerino Aran, and Rialto DK all made an appearance, along with Cascade 220 Superwash Sport, Berroco Pure Merino, Mission Falls 1824 Wool, and String Theory Merino DK, to name a few.

I only switched colors at the end of a skein, and then held the end together with my next color for a few stitches. This creates a few marled spots here and there where the colors mingle together. It meant I didn’t have to weave in any ends, and ensured that I used every last inch of yarn–no more scraps.

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I had so much fun creating this wild-looking thing, throwing colors together that I’d normally keep far apart, and using up so much yarn that had sat around for so long. If you’re interested in taking on a similar project, I highly recommend it–go through your stash, figure out what you’ve got, and come to the shop to get the rest of the “scraps” you need! This tutorial got me started on the granny ripple stitch pattern. From there, you can make a granny ripple piece in any dimension you like; mine measures about 49″ x 65″, and used about 1,250 grams of wool, mostly in sport and dk weights.

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It’s a good time to be shopping for yarn in blanket-making quantities, as all our Debbie Bliss and Noro yarns are 25% off until June 19th for our Going to Market Sale. With one colorful crocheted blanket under my belt, I find myself looking at these baskets differently, thinking of how good all the colors look together. Blankets can free you up that way–you don’t have to consider what you’ll wear these colors with, or how they look with your face, or whether the last four sweaters you made were in the same color family. Just pick what pleases you, and plan on curling up in it when it’s done.

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Come by the shop to plan a blanket of your own, take advantage of the Going to Market Sale, and browse our ever-growing collection of crochet books. See you there!

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Some reminders:

  • All sales are final on discounted yarns; no returns nor exchanges
  • Discount applies only to in-stock yarns; no special orders

Thanks for understanding!