Category Archives: Knitting

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Knitted-Yarns Editor-in-Chief.

Montauk Bound With Knitting

Montauk Sweatshirts for Sale

Montauk Sweatshirts for Sale

 

We love the beach in Montauk which can be relatively empty (at least by New Yorkers’ standards) on holiday weekends. It’s a wonderful expanse of beach with rolling waves that make for peaceful rejuvenation. Of course, it’s not every Manhattanite’s idea of a “local” beach but my husband and I make it an adventure and it beats battling the local airport or driving out of town.

The over 3 hour train trip from NYC’s Penn Station to Montauk gives us an opportunity to sleep, read or knit. We enjoy bagels and coffee on the train and are ready to hit the beach by the time we get to Montauk.  There are a variety of local taxi companies that meet the infrequent trains making getting to the center of town a breeze. From there we can walk to the beach, food and Purl By the Sea.

Atlantic Ocean Beach - Relatively Empty at Montauk

Atlantic Ocean Beach - Relatively Empty at Montauk

Kite Surfers at Montauk Use Strings Differently from Knitters

Kite Surfers at Montauk Use Strings Differently from Knitters

I always love visiting Purl By the Sea. While most knitting stores attract wonderful knitters and crocheters, there’s always laughter around the knitting table at Purl By the Sea. It sends out such good vibe that my husband likes sitting in the spouse rocker and hearing the joyful chatter.  

 

Entrance to Purl By the Sea with Flowers Blooming

Entrance to Purl By the Sea with Flowers Blooming

On July 5th, there was a local spinner giving a demonstration and selling her roving and yarn, both merino and alpaca. The spinner’s wares were spread through out the store.

Spinning demonstration at Purl By the Sea

Spinning demonstration at Purl By the Sea

Spinner's Wares at Purl By the Sea

Spinner's Wares at Purl By the Sea

 

Local Spinner's Roving at Purl By the Sea

Local Spinner's Roving at Purl By the Sea

Additionally, Nora Franzetti, the owner of Purl By the Sea, had been to TNNA and stocked up on new yarns and wonderful books. She brought back samples of yarns and books that she’s considering. She showed me a stack of signed knitting books to make any knitter jealous.

Since I am still swatching and testing the Botanica Medallion from Summer 2009 Vogue Knitting, I bought more Tahki Cotton in aqua and forest green to add more color to the top.  I was lucky that I picked a color that many of the Purl By the Sea knitters don’t like!

For me, the entire day was a knitting adventure. I had time to work on several projects including the Fountain Pen Shawl and the Hemlock Blankie which has been a great beach project. 

Hemlock Ring Blankie on Montauk Beach

Hemlock Ring Blankie on Montauk Beach

 

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Shiri Mor’s Botanica Medallion Sweater from Vogue Knitting

   

Shiri Mors Botanica Medallion on Vogue Knitting Cover

 

Shiri Mor's Botanica Medallion on Vogue Knitting Cover

When I started knitting lace doilies, one of my friends suggested that I check out the pattern on the cover of Vogue Knitting Summer 2009. It’s an unusual pattern by Shiri Mor. It’s more of a vest than a sweater. It consists of a center circle knit in the round like a doily and a separate border knitted with a variety of lace stitches so that it is larger at the outer edge than the inner edge. 

 

Interestingly, the sample is knit in Blue Sky Skinny Dyed Cotton for summer wearing. Given the way that the pattern is knit, it is a strong candidate for a Noro type yarn which would add a wonderful pattern to the center and stripes to the outer circle.

When I first thought about doing the top, I wanted to combine several colors. I wanted to use the watery blues and greens that have been showcased in Eileen Fisher’s windows on Fifth Avenue this spring.

Due to the fact that I’ve been on a yarn diet (of course, those of you who are regular readers know that I allow myself yarn treats and occasional splurges like MDSW and Webs Tent Sale.)  Therefore I decided to use some Tahki Cotton Classic from my stash. The 4 1/2 balls of white Tahki Cotton Classic (or 432+ yards) that I got at a yarn swap  wasn’t enough to make the top.  Combined with one or two other colors, it was a good start.

Tahki Cotton Classic in White, Aqua and Blue-Green

Tahki Cotton Classic in White, Aqua and Blue-Green

After studying the Botanica Medallion pattern, I realized that it was difficult to adapt to multiple colors in the way that a vintage doily might be. Therefore, I bought 5 skeins of aqua at Purl By the Sea (or 540 yards) in Montauk.

Flower Medallion of Shiri Mor's Vogue Cardi

Flower Medallion of Shiri Mor's Vogue Cardi

32 rows of Botanica Medallion in Tahki Cotton Classic

32 rows of Botanica Medallion in Tahki Cotton Classic

While it’s a rare event that I get gauge (of course, I was using needles that were 2 sizes smaller), I set out to knit the  medallion centerpiece of the sweater. After knitting about 34 rows of the 54 rows needed, I realized that, while my gauge was on target, the piece even after blocking was way too small to work for me.

Given that the centerpiece of the Botanica Medallion consists of close stocking knit and reverse stocking knit, I chose not to increase the needle size to make the piece larger. Also, I am using 100% cotton which should be knitted tightly for garments. Therefore, I decided to look for another doily to use in lieu of the flower / starfish pattern medallion of Mor’s piece. 

Having made several different doilies, I estimate that I will need a pattern with about 70 rows. Although a pattern which allows me the flexibility to add more rows to reach my goal is optimal. Further, it’s important to take blocking into consideration. For example, my Heirloom Doily Placemats grew from 15″ to 17″ in diameter when they were blocked. I assume that the piece will grow about 10-20% due to blocking the lace (which is different from non-lace blocking.)

While some of you dear readers might be upset at this change, I am thrilled since it will allow me to use a variety of colors and to have a unique design at the center. I am thinking about making the border striped but I am not sure that I will like the color changes. I will need to test knit them.

P.S. For those NYC based knitters, Shiri Mor is teaching a class focused on making the Botanica Medallion at Knitty City.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns-Editor-in-Chief

Creative Knitting Supplies-Stitch Marker Alternatives

Corliss on the Bay-Fair Harbor General Store

Corliss on the Bay-Fair Harbor General Store

In preparation for our vacation, I had stocked up on knitting supplies but I underestimated the number of stitch markers that I would need. With 4 lace projects going at the same time, additional stitch markers are a necessity! Unfortunately, I underestimated how many I would need.

When you’re away from your LYS, knitting supplies can be difficult to come by. This is particularly true when you’re on a beach vacation in an island town that only has a food store and a general store which focuses on household supplies and beach goods. 

We went to Corliss on the Bay, Fair Harbor’s lone general store. A couple of years ago, I had bought some attractive paper clips that I thought might do the trick. But alas, they were out of stock. The helpful clerk brought me over to a sewing section (which contained about 7 items) where they had a massive box of safety pins. Since I’m working with fine lace weight yarn, I didn’t want it to get ripped on the safety pin coils which has happened to me in the past. I examined the children’s beading section in hopes of some alternative without luck.

My husband went to the owner and asked about washers and other plumbing related supplies. The owner showed him a plastic box filled with various sections filled with different sized black rubber o-rings. When I saw them, my eyes lit up. They were perfect! I hope that no one in town needs any in the near future since I cornered the supply of small sizes. 

 

o-Rings as Stitch Holders

o-Rings as Stitch Holders

 

O-Rings as Stitch Markers on Nightsong Shawl in Pink Cashmere

O-Rings as Stitch Markers on Nightsong Shawl in Pink Cashmere

It’s funny since one of my knitting buddies bought up the supply of black stitch markers from a merchant at MDSW. These black rubber beauties were equally good!

When I got back to my knitting, I found that these rubber o-rings were better than the hard plastic stitch markers since they gripped the metal circular needles and helped keep my stitches in place. I am so happy. I’m planning a trip to Home Depot when I get back to NYC! 

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

WWKIP-Brooklyn Bound

WWWKIP 

 

WWKIP

As a Manhattanite, I had a number of options for Worldwide Knit In Public day or WWKIP as it’s better known. Many of the choices involved sitting on the lawn of one of the many parks which I did a couple of years ago and got rather bitten. Instead I chose to join the knitters at the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza. Since the weather was forecast to be overcast and potentially rainy, this KIP option offered a wonderful indoors alternative.

Organized by one of the librarians, WWKIP at the Brooklyn Public Library on Grand Army Plaza was a wonderful event. It took place on the plaza outside the library. There were tables for charity knitting and learning to knit. There was a raffle for lots of knitting books and yarn. There was also a live band and lots of people who turned out to have fun. Refreshments and the farmers’ market were nearby. 

WWKIP at Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza

WWKIP at Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza

View from Brooklyn Public Library

View from Brooklyn Public Library

Art decco doors to Brooklyn Public Library

Art decco doors to Brooklyn Public Library

WWKIP at the Brooklyn Public Library

WWKIP at the Brooklyn Public Library

Teaching knitting at WWKIP at the Brooklyn Public Library

Teaching knitting at WWKIP at the Brooklyn Public Library

For those of you who rarely leave Manhattan, the main branch of the library is easily accessible from the Eastern Parkway subway stop (on the number 2 or 3 train) which is one of the most beautiful stops. It’s got wonderful sculpture from the Brooklyn Museum which upstairs and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens are next door. I was advised to use this stop since it means that you don’t need to cross Grand Army Plaza.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Vogue Knitting Summer 2009 – Cover Inspiration

The cover pattern on the Summer 2009  issue of Vogue Knitting has me intrigued. After my first foray into lace knitting in the round, Amanda suggested that I try the Medallion piece since it uses circular lace. After reading through the related instructions, I discovered that it’s an amazing piece that uses a variety of stitches to make the outer border. The different stitches compensate for the difference in the circumference rather than growing by adding more stitches each row. I am planning to make the vest in a combination of two tones so that I can use some white Tahki cotton that’s in my stash.

I stopped using Vogue patterns since they tended to be very simplistic designs but, to my pleasant surprise, this issue has several patterns that I can’t wait to knit. 

As with any pattern I knit these days, I always check out the comments on Ravelry. This medallion top has almost 100 projects already. I also found out that (no surprise here!) there are corrections to the pattern. 

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Webs Tent Sale Means Yarn Adventure

Webs is every knitters’ idea of heaven with a wide variety of yarns and brands including a great selection of related tools like knitting needles and looms. In addition to the quantity discount, they have a warehouse filled with discounted items and cones of fiber. For me, it’s a treasure hunt. Being fortunate to have a fiber-friendly husband, I tend to make an annual pilgrimage as part of a trip further north during the summer.  

Webs 2009 Annual Tent Sale

Webs 2009 Annual Tent Sale

This year, my friend Amanda persuaded me to join her for the  Webs’ Annual Tent Sale. She didn’t have to work very hard to convince me to meet her for a girls weekend of yarn-related road trips and knitting.  Since Amanda got to last year’s sale mid-afternoon by which point the merchandise was well picked over, we left at the crack of dawn to get to the sale early. Webs had taken over a nearby parking lot and there was lots of activity under the tent. There were so many people that we had to wait to get containers to collect the items we wanted.  The people at the tables were at least three people deep debating the virtues of the various fibers and brands. In addition to yarn there were carryalls and needles (which were a bargain at $1 and $2 a pair!). Fortunately, it was cloudy which kept the heat down. 

At one point, I spied a couple of cartons with a big crowd. It turned out to be free fiber! I got some wonderful white cotton with fushia rayon wrapped around it as well as some rust and baby blue ribbon. It was the idea of free that drove me since I stopped knitting with ribbon ages ago. I went through the various tables at least three times before making my decisions. The bags of Noro for $49.95 kept drawing me over. There was an especially wonderful turquoise, green and yellow blend. Amanda persuaded me that I still had a bag of Noro Silver Thaw from two years ago so…No Noro for me! The tent line took about a half hour. Part of the problem was that there were several yarns that were mismarked in the computer system. 

Then we went inside where Amanda was on a mission for some Cascade 220 for a special project as well as some sock yarn for a friend who had to work. Not one to pass up the opportunity to drool over Web’s inventory, I meandered through the warehouse. There were some wonderful treasures but I restrained myself and waited on line. Inside, there were four separate check out lines that snaked through the store! It took another hour to get checked out inside.  

4 Check Out Lines Inside Webs - Where's my knitting?

4 Check Out Lines Inside Webs - Where's my knitting?

Outside, there were some local purveyors of fiber and animals. It’s like a mini-fiber festival.  

Naturally dyed wool

Naturally dyed wool

 

Local fiber merchants at Webs Tent Sale

Local fiber merchants at Webs Tent Sale

 

Alpacas at Webs Tent Sale

Alpacas at Webs Tent Sale

We left with some great yarn buys and our stashes happily enhanced!  As Amanda pointed out we extended our lives by increasing our stash. Between keeping us calmer and augmenting our SABLE, buying yarn is a great life insurance policy.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Knitted Gifts-Spreading the Love

Many of my knitting friends are always making items that are presents for their friends, family and charity. It seems to be a way to offer their love and support. Therefore when my friend Amanda invited me to join her for her annual Webs Tent Sale pilgrimage, I wanted to make her something special to show my appreciation. As a fellow knitter who makes a variety of items with complex stitches, beading and vibrant colors, she knits wonderful shawls, sweaters, hats and handbags. Deciding what to make was a challenge. Since we were headed to Webs, the yarn mecca, bringing her some special yarn wouldn’t do. 

After much consideration and research on Ravelry, I decided to make her some hand knit washcloths. It was an idea right out of Mason Dixon Knits. It is a favorite book of mine since it opens up possibilities for projects that I might not otherwise consider such as knitted home goods. 

In fact, the first of the items that I made Amanda was the Warshrag from Mason Dixon knits. Since Amanda is a big fan of Good and Plenty, I made it in pale pine and black Rowan cotton. I think that it’s a hoot. This pattern is a great way to use two different color yarns and makes a thick material.

Good and Plenty Warshrag in Rowan Cotton

Good and Plenty Warshrag in Rowan Cotton

For the second washcloth, I used the 1911 lace star pattern. I have been enticed with circular lace patterns of late and wanted to try one on a small scale. Inspired by Brooklyn Tweeds’ Hemlock Ring, I want to make a round lace shawl using one of these old patterns with a fingering weight yarn.  Since purples and lavenders are among Amanda’s favorite colors, I used some lavender cotton from my stash.

1911 Star Doily -Knit in Lavender Cotton

1911 Star Doily -Knit in Lavender Cotton

Interestingly, I did fine starting the knitting and went full steam ahead until about row 21. My missteps included not using stitch markers to keep track of the repeats, not using the chart to help track the stitch increases, and not switching to a circular needle sooner. As a result, it took me a frustrating week of ripping and re-knitting but the result was worth it! I finished at Amanda’s house so she decided to block it herself. It’s a great first circular lace pattern (as long as you avoid my challenges!)

Ties that Bind: Hand Knit Scarf’s Guest Appearance on Grey’s Anatomy

Knitting Needles

Knitting Needles

 

We recently watched the Elevator Love Letter episode of Grey’s Anatomy where Izzie is operated on for brain cancer.  Interwoven into her story is a Crayola green scarf that she’s seen knitting. Her knitting, which is a plain garter stitch scarf, keeps her grounded while those around her come to grips with her situation. Her last words before her surgery are to give the scarf to Bailey, her mentor.As a knitter, I could appreciate this meditative process. 

It’s a poignant episode where various members of the cast examine their feelings about Izzie. The scarf becomes a metaphor for the ties that bind us together through our relationships each other. 

As knitters, isn’t that a part of why we’re drawn to our craft? Isn’t that why we come together to knit? And why we give gifts of our work as a symbol of our love and caring?

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

MDSW-Fiber Festival Here We Come!

 The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival is held the first weekend in May in West Friendship, Maryland. It claims to be the largest fiber festival in the U.S. 

For me it’s a knitting adventure. I meet a group of other knitters at a deli at 35th Street and Sixth Avenue to board a bus that leaves the city at 7.00 a.m. sharp for the Maryland fairgrounds. This was my fifth pilgrimage to the MDSW. I join friends and others on this bus. This group started as part of BAKG, the Big Apple Knitters Group. Now  it’s a word of mouth event that fills up quickly!

We all board the bus with anticipation of the wonderful yarns and fibers that we will see and buy. There’s excitement in the air. Regardless of age, we’re like small children who have been waiting for Christmas all year. We can’t wait to get to the fairgrounds and drool over the wonderful display of goods.

Despite the clouds and forecasted poor weather, we came prepared. By the time we arrived in Maryland, the rain had already passed through. The outdoor stalls had temporary coverings. The lines for the fairgrounds were short and buses were re-routed to avoid muddy parking.

As a veteran of four previous MDSW fairs, I had a couple of early stops on my itinerary. Living in Manhattan, I have access to a wide variety of yarns. Therefore, I use festivals like MDSW to buy fibers from local producers and rare breeds. 

First on my list was Spinning Flock Farm, a small Maryland farm which has a small offering of Blue Face Leceister, which is a rare breed. I love it for its ability to show stitch definition and the soft material it makes. It’s wool that’s not itchy! Spinning Flock Farm generally uses old fashioned colors. In addition, they have a variety of other types of wool. I always buy enough wool for a sweater.

Spinning Flock Farm Sign

Spinning Flock Farm Sign

Blue Face Leiceister in Blues from Spinning Flock Farm

Blue Face Leiceister in Blues from Spinning Flock Farm

Making First Purchase at MDSW at Spinning Flock Farm

Making First Purchase at MDSW at Spinning Flock Farm

I stopped by the Ravelry gathering at the Rabbit Hatch and got my buttons. My husband had made me a tailored one to promote this blog.  The place was packed with Ravelers and their friends. Everyone is wearing knitted garments and are intoxicated with the fiber fumes.

 

Ravelry Gathering at MDSW-Distributing buttons

Ravelry Gathering at MDSW-Distributing buttons

 

Ravelry members in knitted garments

Ravelry members in knitted garments

 

 

 

Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief in Swallowtail Lace Shawl at MDSW

Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief in Swallowtail Lace Shawl at MDSW

 

Since I had visited Tess Yarns in Portland last summer and figured that I would have an opportunity to do so again this summer, I had decided not to stop by their tent. But…the burst of color lured me in. I considered buying some of her lace merino which is a great buy at $10.00 a skein. Instead I opted for two skeins of a blue-green super wash merino. It should be just enough for a long sleeve sweater if there’s not much design.

 

Tess Yarns Lace Weight Selection

Tess Yarns Lace Weight Selection

 

Tess Yarns selection by color not fiber!

Tess Yarns selection by color not fiber!

 

Melinda (aka Tess) taking the money at MDSW

Melinda (aka Tess) taking the money at MDSW

 

 

 

On the recommendation of a fellow lace knitter, I made my way to Spirit Trail Fiberworks. It was a small booth in the main barn filled with color. I found a wonderful wine colored merino lace weight. I would have bought 2 skeins but alas it was the only one in that colorway. I am hoping to make a small shoulderette from one of the recent Knitty patterns.

The most unusual find was a blend including dog hair (yes you read that correctly). At $24.00 for 200 yards, I decided it was a bit too exotic to try. It was made by a small mill where a woman comber her dog team and they used the hair.

This year, I was attracted to the Wensleydale Long Wool again. Last year, I came close to purchasing some for its amazing luster. One of my fellow knitters has been making a shawl from some olive colored wool. Since I still worried about the “itchiness factor”, I only bought enough for a shawl as a test. It’s a deep, rich grey. It breaks my rule of only buying fromlocal producers since it’s from Yorkshire, England but I am hoping that it makes a wonderful shawl for the fall.

 

Flying Fibers is a family business

Flying Fibers is a family business

 

In addition to the fiber buying frenzy, there are wonderful exhibits of hand made goods. I use these pieces for future inspiration. 

Of course, there’s the usual fair fare. It’s a combination of lamb dishes mixed with fresh lemonade, ribbon potatoes and ice cream.

 

MDSW ice cream offering

MDSW ice cream offering

Ribbon potatoes are a big hit at MDSW

Ribbon potatoes are a big hit at MDSW

 

Then there are the animals who are really the center of the show (although unlike Rhinebeck, I don’t go out of my way to walk through the barns.)

 

Sheep taking a rest from the excitement at MDSW

Sheep taking a rest from the excitement at MDSW

 

Alpacas shorn for the MDSW

Alpacas shorn for the MDSW

 

 

For entertainment, there were several groups of musicians playing folk music. It’s a good place to park the less wool-friendly members of your group.

 

Musicians play folk music at MDSW

Musicians play folk music at MDSW

More musicians attract listeners at MDSW

More musicians attract listeners at MDSW

 

By 4.30p.m., my New York bound knitting friends wander back to the bus. Each ladened with packages and feeling happy. The bus home is an exchange of seeing what types of fibers and colors we have purchased. Everyone has found some wonderful wool to make a stunning piece. Tired from the adventure, many sleep or knit as we motor back to New York City.

Submitted by: Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief