Weekend Hats.

Knitted hats are wonderfully useful things. For the knitter, they work on several levels. We often recommend a hat as a second or third project for beginners, as they give the relatively new knitter the opportunity to learn a few new skills: decreasing and working in the round, both with a circular needle and double pointed needles. For more experienced knitters, hats are wonderfully small canvases on which to play with different kinds of designs, from colorwork to cables to lace. Designer, innovator, and all-around knitting heroine Elizabeth Zimmermann often suggested using a hat as a swatch for a bigger project, so that one might find out their honest-to-goodness in-the-round gauge for that project. Another thing about knitted hats is that they make great gifts. They are substantial and happily received, yet small enough that the knitter can give one away without feeling too sad to see them go. 

This week, we got a new collection of hat patterns which show off all the fine qualities of knitted hats. Weekend Hats is compiled by Cecily Glowik MacDonald and Melissa LaBarre, authors of last year’s New England Knits, and features patterns from a bunch of other great designers, including Jared Flood, Mary Jane Mucklestone, Kate Gagnon Osborn, and Kirsten Kapur. Here’s a peek inside:

All three of these hats were made with yarns that we carry, by the way–Berroco Ultra Alpaca, Malabrigo Worsted, and Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball, respectively. Come by the shop for more hat inspiration!

60 More Quick Knits.

Since I first wrote about Cascade 220 Superwash Sport back in February, it has become one of our best-selling yarns, in spite of the fact that we had no pattern support for it. It’s been a go-to for both knit and crocheted baby things, due to its stellar washability, and used for colorwork of all kinds, due to its wide spectrum of colors. Those who are comfortable designing their own sweaters, socks, and hats have used Cascade 220 Superwash Sport, and those who like to work from patterns have found that it makes a good substitute for yarns of all kinds, between a sport and a dk gauge. There have been many excuses to work with this yarn, and this week, we received a new book which promises 60 more.

Hats, mittens and scarves of many kinds, all made from Cascade 220 Sport, the hand-wash-only fraternal twin to Cascade 220 Superwash Sport. We actually don’t carry the 220 Sport, but as is so often the case, the 220 Superwash Sport makes an excellent substitute. The 220 Sport has slightly more yardage, so you’ll want to do a little math when you’re choosing 220 Superwash Sport yarn for these projects, but that’s the only caveat. Knit with Superwash Sport and your mittens wont felt onto your hands, and neither will your hats when they are accidentally thrown in the washing machine.

Here’s a peek inside the book:


And that’s only a tenth of it. Find it on the teacart, which is just brimming with fall knit and crochet inspiration.

Finished.

You can now find my finished Chambered Nautilus Tam on the teacart, draped over the book that inspired and instructed me to make it. I’m so pleased with it! The spiral construction was fascinating, the yarn was soft and pleasant, and the result is quite fetching. Anne’s mother wears it well:

We’re thinking that the Chambered Nautilus Tam would make a good class. What do you think? If you’re interested in such a thing, get in touch with us and let us know.

Nautilus tam.

Last week, we got our biggest shipment of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knit One, Knit All, the shipment that is sure to keep the book safely in stock. We also got two giant boxes of Malabrigo. Anne noticed that we didn’t have a swatch of the Malabrigo Rios, and as I got to work winding a skein, she put the two together. Why not knit a hat from the new EZ book as our Rios sample?

It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it.

I cast on for the cover project, the Chambered Nautilus Tam, in a dark blue-green colorway of Rios called Azul Profundo. If you’ve seen me at the shop lately, this is what I’ve been working on, stopping every so often to lay it flat on my lap, petting the squishy garter-stitch-and-icord fabric, admiring the spiral construction, the way the shifting shades of teal are evenly distributed due to the short rows. This is such a fun knit. In the first seven stitches, I had already learned something new: a built-in icord edging. It is such a pleasure to cast on for a new Elizabeth Zimmermann project, and to daydream about what I will knit next from the book.

So tell me, dear readers, if you’re out there: what are you knitting lately? And if Knit One, Knit All has caught your eye, which patterns have you itching to cast on?

Shenandoe Farm.

Perhaps if you’ve been in the shop sometime in the past two weeks, you’ve noticed a new little nook I created for locally produced and dyed yarns.

The local yarns live in the Noro corner, above the Noro. Here, you’ll find a lone skein of local llama yarn, a bit of handspun, and a sock- and dk-weight yarn dyed locally by The Unique Sheep. Those local yarns we’ve had for some time now. It was the introduction of a brand new local yarn that inspired this grouping.

Shenandoe Farm, right here in Orange County, is home to the angora goats that helped produce the beautiful undyed yarn pictured above. Their wool was shipped off to Michigan to be mixed with a bit of cotton and mill-spun. To me, this is some of the most exciting new yarn we’ve received in a long time. It’s rustic looking, pleasant to work with, and fuzzy without shedding. The skeins vary some in color, thickness, yardage, and weight: something to keep in mind when you’re planning a project. That very uncertainty, though, requires you to try out different needle sizes and work a swatch before casting on–a blessing in disguise. This is wonderful stuff to experiment with.

To me, the yarn said, honeycomb cables, and so that’s what I did. What you see above is about half a hat. I only get to work at it during the slow moments at the shop, but it’s growing quickly anyway. Come by the shop to give those cables a nice squeeze, and to admire the fiber that our corner of the world produces.