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!

Noro Knitting Magazine.

The latest issue of Noro Knitting Magazine has arrived!

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The premiere issue came out last fall, and all our copies were quickly snapped up. Lovers of Noro will find plenty to knit in this current issue, too; all of these patterns take full advantage of those self-striping yarns. From shawls and scarves to sweaters and dresses, these patterns make good use of self-striping yarns in many gauges, often combining them with solid colors for an interesting effect.

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There are patterns here for crocheters, too.

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Come by the shop to grab a copy of Noro Knitting Magazine, and plan your next project with Noro yarns!

Show and tell: sweaters, bags, a bunny, and a rug.

My collection of show-and-tell photos is growing, once again. It seems that we’re in a finishing season, for knitters and crocheters are completing projects left and right, and bringing them into the shop to share with us. Some are making garments, some are making bags, one industrious knitter is making bunny after bunny, and one industrious yarn shop owner has crocheted a rug. Let’s have a look at the latest show-and-tell!

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Sue brought in a pair of finished garments from Vicki Square’s Knit Kimono Too, a seed stitch top and short kimono made in Cascade Ultra Pima.

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The design is elegant and wearable, and the yarn, a dk weight mercerized cotton, has a slight sheen that highlights the texture of the fabric. If you like this set, come by the shop to flip through Vicki Square’s books for similar patterns.

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Here, Bo models her first sweater, a hooded jacket made in Berroco Peruvia Quick. Technically, this is her second sweater; the first was made in this same yarn, then ripped out and reknit once this enterprising knitter took a careful look and decided she could do better. The first sweater was beautiful, too, but by the time she was done knitting it, she’d learned more precise seaming techniques, more symmetrical increases and decreases, and how to shape the fabric while leaving a neat selvedge edge, and she thought it was worth it to try again with all these new skills.

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Sometimes, it’s truly worth ripping out and reknitting, even if it’s a lot of work–Bo is so happy with this completed sweater!

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Here’s another happy knitter, Jennifer, showing off her Small Clutch Bag. Jennifer completed this bag in a class taught by Marsha, who also teaches Beginning Knitting, Fixing Mistakes, and many of our other technique classes. Along with being a great teacher, Marsha also does some knitwear design–the Small Clutch Bag is one of her own patterns, made up in the worsted weight Plymouth Galway. Come by the shop to see a sample bag and get yourself a copy of the pattern!

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Anne and I have been making bags, too–you may have read about our Hexagonal Market Bag Knit-Along on the blog last week. We’re both happy to report that it’s a quick knit, and we have two completed bags to prove it. They came out sturdy and stretchy, capable of accommodating an armful of yarn.

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Anne’s is made with Louisa Harding Nautical Cotton in black, a favorite color of hers, and mine is made in Plymouth Linen Isle in a natural beige, a favorite color of mine. Many knitters have been inspired to create their own Hexagonal Market Bags in a rainbow of colors; wont you join us in knitting along?

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Becky is on a bunny kick, and this Bunty Bunny is her latest creation. The little details are incredible, the result of close attention and long hours of knitting, sewing, and embroidery. Becky brought her in to share with us before sending her off as a gift, and selected yarn to make another Bunty Bunny, this time in regal reds and purples–a queen bunny. I can’t wait to see how it comes out.

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If you’ve been in the shop in the past few weeks, you may well have seen Anne crocheting this rug, a replacement for one she crocheted as a child that has only recently been clawed to shreds by her cat. Bulky yarn, like the Katia Irish Tweed that Anne used, makes for a sturdy rug that comes together quickly in simple rounds of single crochet. She inspired me to pick up a hook myself, and finally learn to crochet. The rug lives at her home now, but there are plenty of sturdy bulky yarns at the shop that would make beautiful crocheted rugs if you’re inspired, too.

Thanks to everyone who brings their work in to share with us! It is a delight to see such a wide range of knit and crochet projects, and inspiring to watch our yarns grow into finished pieces. See you at the shop!

Vogue Crochet.

More warm-weather stitching inspiration has arrived at the shop in the form of Vogue Crochet magazine.

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Inside, you’ll find all kinds of things to make with yarn and hooks: sweaters and wraps, dresses and tops, bags and crocheted jewelry.

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I spotted a familiar yarn in this issue, Tedman & Kvist Colina, an textured aran weight yarn composed of linen and cotton. Here, it’s been made into a sweet short-sleeved cardigan.

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Come by the shop to see Vogue Crochet for yourself, and plan a springtime project. See you there!

No. 11, No. 12, No. 13 … Trunk Show.

The last of our expected Isager Trunk Shows has arrived!

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Come by the shop to see garments from No. 11, No. 12, No. 13 … , a collection of knit and crochet patterns from Danish designers using Isager yarns. As ever, the garments are more vivid in person than in photographs, and it makes such a difference to touch the fabric that these yarns create, to see the colors with your own eyes, and to try on a sweater for size before you decide to make it.

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Do come by soon, before these garments have to move on to their next destination, and see more of what’s possible with Isager yarns. See you at the shop!