Tag Archives: Knitty City

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

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Another Wedding-Related Present Finished!

Sister's Grey Ribbon Lace Shawl

Sister's Grey Ribbon Lace Shawl

Another wedding-related gift is finished just under the one year deadline. It’s the grey  ribbon lace scarf turned shawl which is a gift for my sister who was my matron of honor. My sister liked my red and purple  Koigu Lace Ribbon scarf  so I made the scarf 99 stitches wide for a shawl width. 

The Ribbon Lace Shawl is made from  the wonderfully soft angora and silk blend in a pale grey that I bought at Knitty City. This grey yarn was the perfect color to coordinate with my champagne colored dress’s silver-colored beading and embroidery. Unfortunately, when I bought it, I didn’t realize that the hairs would get caught on the dress.

This piece is a work of true sisterly love since it was the fourth version of this scarf that I made. 

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Think BIG Knitting Projects-Betty’s Upper Westside Afghan

Creative Inspiration: Afghans Samples at Knitty City 

 

Creative Inspiration: Afghans Samples at Knitty City

Before the pain of The Point’s closing could sink in, I dropped by Knitty City to hear Betty talk about her afghan. One thing that Knitty City does a wonderful job is displaying samples of various knitting projects as well as colorful swatches to entice you to use the fibers.

I arrived just in time to see Betty proudly displaying the beautiful piece which now covers her bed. Being late to the presentation, I didn’t get the full details about the original of the project. 

While Betty had started with a rough idea of the color scheme, she modified it on the fly and added various squares as she wanted to try new things. There are two squares, one with a B for Betty and one with a D for Dick, her husband. The square that caught my attention was the one with the state of New York. Betty got the graph of the state from a playbill! Since Betty doesn’t like intarsia, the color work is embroidered not knit. 

 

Betty explaining afghan squares in detail at Knitty City

Betty explaining afghan squares in detail at Knitty City

Betty's show & tell afghan at Knitty City

Betty's show & tell afghan at Knitty City

To create a sense of unity, Betty framed each square with a mitered garter stitch border. Further, to create a more sturdy blanket and reduce wear and tear on the seams, she did a three needle bind-off so that it created an artistic border ridge on the good side. 

While I find the idea of knitting an afghan daunting and likely to cause me to stop knitting, I think that this approach of creating multiple areas where the knitter can test new formats and/or have a small area to experiment is a great idea. I’ve been keeping my swatches of various sizes and colors in hopes of one day seaming them together.

BTW-There’s a great write up in the current issue of Vogue Knitting about Knitty City.

F is for Fiber, Fiber Festivals and Fiber Farms

Overflowing basket of yarn at Rosie's Yarn Cellar in Philadelphia

Overflowing basket of yarn at Rosie's Yarn Cellar in Philadelphia

When it comes to writing about fiber, I could go on and on filling miles of online space as I’m sure many of you could as well. There’s the wonderful stuff that we find at Sheep & Wool Festivals that comes from the people who raise the animals or dye  it using a wonderful palette of colors. Of course, some of this may retain its lamby smell as the Icelandic lace weight my husband influenced me to buy at last fall’s Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival. (Don’t worry–I have it well wrapped in a plastic bag to keep its small contained!) 

At the other end of the spectrum are the pre-packaged balls that colorfully crowd the shelves of our favorite LYS. For me, that includes The Point NYC and Knitty City. I love the fact that The Point clusters the yarns by brand and color so that they burst out of their baskets. By contrast, the yarns in Knitty City are packed into their cubbyholes and spill into baskets on the floor. 

In between are the cones of various yarns and mill ends that I buy at Silk City Fibers. They come in a wide variety of contents and the colors may not always be my first choice but they’re well priced and always become wonderful cherished items. At the core of my stash, there are some large cones of wonderful materials including mill ends of cashmere and cashmere blends (which I plan to make into amazing shawls since some of it is laceweight), some thick Chunky in Sweet Potato orange from which I’ve promised to make my husband a sweater (although he insists that a pair of socks would be much better), 2 pounds of black (yes you read that correctly) lace weight Italian linen which I will either make a shawl and/or mix it with a grey and white linen mix to make my After Dark Nightie #2 and a matching bathrobe from the first Mason Dixon Knits book. 

Alas, there’s too much yarn and not enough time to knit it all!  That said, I believe that it’s important to let the fiber tell you what it wants to be . It’s not that the fibers actually talk (that would be silly!) Rather, I find that it’s necessary to test some swatches and see what type of pattern works best for the yarn. For example, the spring sweater that I’m working on required several swatches to see what stitch would work best. I am lucky that I don’t find the math required to adapt a pattern to be a chore (although I would argue anyone can do this math but that’s for another blog post). Further, I am flexible and find beauty in a wide variety of fibers! 

I am a HUGE fan of fiber festivals. They are wonderful outdoor activities that allow knitters to mingle with other lovers of yarn producing livestock, spinners and dyers. The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival in May and the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival (known as the Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival) in October are the two that I attend. While they encompass a wide range of activities, I generally spend my precious time there focused on stash enhancement.

Calmly taking in the NY State Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY

Calmly taking in the NY State Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY

Fiber producing animals at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival

 

Lastly, there are fiber farms. While I have only visited one, it was a wonderful experience that happened during the first trip my husband and I took back in the summer of 2005. Based on a brief entry in our guidebook, we drove from Lennox, MA to the middle of the state to Tregellys Farm. The owner was an incredibly friend chap who spent time talking about the farm and its wonderful assortment of animals including the heirloom equivalents of livestock. They also had camels and yaks.

Tregellys Fiber Farm in Massechuetss

Tregellys Fiber Farm in Hawley, MA

Llamas at Tregellys Farm

Llamas at Tregellys Farm (Of course, they may be alpacas?)

Fiber producing yaks at Tregellys Farm in Hadley MA

Fiber producing yaks at Tregellys Farm in Hadley MA

 

Boyfriend (now husband) & Camel at Tregellys Farm

Boyfriend (now husband) & Camel at Tregellys Farm

More fiber producing animals at Tregellys Farm in Hadley MA

Fiber producing llamas at Tregellys Farm in Hadley MA

Happy 3rd Birthday Knitty City-Upper Westside Yarn Haven

Knitty City-NYC Yarn Store

Knitty City-NYC Yarn Store

Happy 3rd Birthday Knitty City from an UWS Knitter!

Knitty City has been a great addition to the NYC Yarn Store market. It has a diverse collection of fibers and books with options for every size pocketbook. In addition, they have one of the best collections of needles and other knitting equipment around. The friendly staff is always willing to help with project and yarn selection as well as knitting help when you hit those inevitable bumps in the process. There’s a big table that’s always filled with knitters in the back.

As part of the celebration, there was a 10% off sale. Since I’m on my stash diet and I  have 2 projects from Knitty City in my WIP queue I didn’t participate. The projects are my sister’s Grey Angora Ribbon Lace Shawl and my mother’s Black Shetland Lace Scarf. Both projects are making slow but steady progress.

Black Lace Shawl for Mom

Did you feel the earth change course recently? It was my mother. After watching me knit several lace shawls and my asking if she wanted me to knit her one, my mother finally asked me for a black scarf! It turns out that she had wanted to spiff up an outfit with a scarf which are all the rage this season. In the process, she discovered that she didn’t have a black one. This is somewhat surprising due to the fact that it’s at the center of every New Yorker’s wardrobe.

 

My mother’s only stipulation was that the shawl be at least six feet long. She wasn’t clear about any of the other aspects such as fiber content or width or style.

 

Knowing that I have an ever growing stash, my mother assumed that I had to have lots of black yarn hidden away that I could transform into a dazzling piece for her. Due to the difficulty of knitting with black yarn, black is a color that is scarce in my stash. Therefore, a yarn shopping adventure was needed.

 

While I had hoped to get something spectacular at Silk City Fibers, I knew that going with a mission to find a wonderful black yarn for a shawl was probably not going to be successful. I didn’t find anything that would fit my mother’s spare requirements.

Therefore, I visited Knitty City to check out their lace yarns. Since I wanted the shawl to be used for casual as well as dress wear, I preferred a fiber mix that included more than just merino. While Knitty City had a nice selection of lace weight fibers, the color black limited my options. I bought two balls Classic Elite’s Silky Alpaca Lace which is 70% alpaca and 30% silk and has 460 yards per ball.  It’s very soft and the silk gives it a great sheen like Jaggerspun’s Zephyr.

 

Silky Alpaca Lace from Knitty City in Black

Silky Alpaca Lace from Knitty City in Black

 

 

 

Wedding Present Number Two – Lace Ribbon Scarf Becomes A Shawl

I gave my sister the light grey lace weight wool that I had initially intended to make my wedding shawl from. It is 70% angora and 30% silk fingering weight by Catherine Van Laake’s Loom in Essence Atelier. I have 830 yards which should be sufficient for a rectangular lace shawl that’s at least 60 inches long.

 

I had brought the wool from Knitty City’s sale bin since it was the perfect color to go with my wedding dress. Unfortunately, when I brought my swatch back to Knitty City to get some knitting help, I was told that the angora wouldn’t be good with my highly beaded wedding dress.

 

Angora & Silk Lace Weight Yarn from Knitty City

Angora & Silk Lace Weight Yarn from Knitty City

 My sister was thrilled with the idea of a knitted present. She is the recipient of numerous knitted gifts.

Having spent hours pouring through my books on lace shawls, I had found a stitch that I thought would make an interesting piece. When I showed it to my sister, she preferred the scarf that I was wearing (my Koigu Lace Ribbon Scarf).

 

Therefore, I used Veronik Avery’s pattern as the basis. Based on my wedding shawl, I knew that I needed about 100 stitches and added a garter stitch border. I used 97 stitches including a 4 stitch garter border (with 8 rows at the beginning and end. I am using Addi Lace needles size 3. I could probalby have used larger needles.

I showed my sister one set of 24 rows so that she could approve the shawl.

 

Ribbon Lace Scarf Expanded to Shawl Width

Ribbon Lace Scarf Expanded to Shawl Width

 

 Hopefully, I will get it done before the end of the year. It’s great since the light grey is not only neutral but also one of the in colors this season.