Do you need a ‘Sweet Distraction’? …another project to knit?????

Jennifer Weissman, or shadystroll, as she’s known by on Ravelry, is a designer.  She designs cowls, shawls and hats.  I am in love with her latest design, Sweet Distraction….now that winter is over.  BUT, fall will come around again, and we’ve all got those gradient kits.  This calls for fingering weight yarn on this cowl.  So if you’ve got fingering weight yarn and aren’t into socks, or need a break from socks — this is for you.  OR, you’ve been wanting to purchase gradient, but don’t know what to knit — this is for you.  LOVE!!  Jennifer used Mariantated Yarns Six Pack Gradient for this project and you can find shadystroll on Instagram, ShadyStroll Knits group on Ravelry, ShadyStroll Knits on Facebook, and here is a link to her patterns on Ravelry! Jennifer is offering a 20% discount on her latest pattern over on Ravelry, using code DISTRACTME at checkout – thank you Jennifer~

Hat For Baby

A hat is one of those things that we can whip up and knit rather quickly for a quick gift.  I have always loved the Cascade Yarns Fixation for baby hats.  It’s cotton and it stretches.  It grips baby’s head but also gives and grows with baby.  The colors are fun and there are so many to choose from.  I love the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas hat pattern Easy Roll-Up Hat: DK Version.  It’s well written and has options for larger sizes.

This hat has traveled “across the pond” as they say to England.  I hope they love it!!

Ewe And I

I am *knot* a monogamous knitter, and I’m *knot* a monogamous shopper!

I love yarn shops — HELLO — that’s why I’m America’s Knitting.  I’m all about the yarn shop.  So, a couple posts back, I visited Loose Ends Fiber Arts.  They had asked when I was coming to Centralia, and I finally went.  Well that’s like a two and half hour drive for me.  My husband kept me company, and we brought our dog Mae.  We started off with coffee, made a pit stop, and had lunch after visiting the yarn shop.  Wes walked the dog while I was shopping in the yarn shop, and taking pictures.

Well, not even half an hour down the road is a town called Chehalis.  There is a yarn shop there too, and it’s called Ewe And I.  How could I drive all that way, and not slide into that store?

It has a super fun back story, and unique too!  So, There are two businesses really inside the store; Ewe And I ‘yarn shop’, and Black Sheep ‘Creamery’!  Meg Gregory with her husband Brad Gregory have a farm, and they have sheep, lots of sheep.  So, with the sheep, they get milk and make cheese.  They also get wool, and make yarn.  It’s a going concern, they’ve won awards and you can find their cheese other places besides the yarn shop!  You HAVE to check out their website to really see it all. 

The yarn shop is very nice, they carry lots of yarn, and brands you know.  Notables that I saw… Rowan, Knitted Wit, Jamiesons, Opal, Brown Sheep and of course their own yarn in the natural shades of the sheep.  I did purchase some Knitted Wit, as I have never owned or knit with that yarn and it felt like a special treat.  The store is what I would call full service, in that, they sell yarn and knit, but they also spin and weave.

The ladies were very nice and told me all about the store.  I encourage you to check out their website and of course, the creamery website too.  They are on Facebook as well, so you can keep up even if you can’t make a visit.  Thanks for showing me around Meg and allowing me to take some pictures … I’ll be back~ **you can click on any photo to see it’s larger version**

Brioche Knitting 101

HUGE in the knitting world now…Brioche!  Not to be confused with the bread!  Brioche knitting is not new, but it certainly has had a great resurgence.  I believe in large part, it’s popularity could be due to designs by Stephen West, and his way with color.

Now, yarn shops are jumping in with classes to support this popularity.  I have even seen some retreats surrounding this technique accompanied with some notable knitterati teaching.  These retreats go for big money.

To be honest, when I first saw Brioche knitting, it sort of scared me.  I thought, no thank you, I’ll just sit here and finish what I’m working on.  But, as more patterns were introduced, my interest peaked.  I wasn’t in a position to spend big money on a retreat weekend for this, but Pinchknitter yarns advertised a class on Facebook for $30, and I said “SOLD”!

I thought it would be a fun team activity, so I signed myself, Diana and Carmel up to take the class.  It’s winter here in the pacific northwest, and that translates into gray skies, chilly temps and rain.  Carmel drove — we got there early and all had lunch together.  We arrived for our class, and met our instructor Sarah.

The class wasn’t project based, it was swatch based.  Now, I know why.  There was a lot to unpack for this new technique.  There were four of us in the class which I think was perfect.  Anything larger may have required a second teacher.  We got handouts and great instruction, and I believe we all ripped out and started again.  Carmel was the advanced student, as she was able to proceed to increases and decreases.  I learned a lot and am just working my rows for practice.  It may turn into a scarf, I just don’t know for sure.

After class, I took some pictures of the store, because, you know me.  I’m all about the yarn shop and I am sure you want to see the store.  Pinchknitter yarns is located in Stanwood, Washington and owner Sirkku Bingham is a lover of baseball, hence the name Pinchknitter.  The store used to be a clock store/repair business and there are clocks around the store including a cuckoo clock that sounds off on the hour.  There is also a nearby train track with trains bustling through town not far away.  It’s like a step back in time.  And these days, a slow down is lovely and soothing, right along with our yarn and knitting….brioche knitting!  …you may click on any photo to see it’s larger version…

Pinchknitter owner Sirkku Bingham with America’s Knitting owner Mary Neill

…”I’m not going to a yarn shop, and I’m not buying any yarn”…

FAMOUS last words!

My friend Ann was visiting her daughter Molly in San Francisco, California.  Molly is a traveling nurse.  I had never heard of this before, but it’s a thing.  And why not….Molly’s young, not married, no kids.  These are the times of her life, and she finds herself in San Francisco, California.  So of course Mom has to go visit and check up on the daughter.  San Francisco is a fun town with awesome weather.  Lot’s a great restaurants, good chefs, and hello…the wharf!

So, being the enabler that I am, I told her to go to America’s Knitting to see where the nearest yarn shop was.  Ann says, “I’m not going to any yarn shops, and I’m not buying any yarn!”  I’m thinking (okay)!  So, she checks in at the airport, she’s posting pictures daily on social media, and texting kind lovely words about Molly, and pics of her walks and shopping.  Then….BOOM, she’s at ImagiKnit!

Turns out, Molly has a friend that’s a knitter, and knowing that Molly’s Mom knits, she tells Molly that her Mom has to go to ImagiKnit because it’s the best yarn shop.  So, they get address and directions from America’s Knitting and voila they are visiting a yarn shop.

Ann told me that the shop was very interesting, and that they had a lot of yarn.  The folks that worked there were very nice and greeted her when she arrived.  She looked about, and took some pictures for me.  San Francisco has some very old buildings chock full of charm and that is how I would describe this store.  If you click on the photos you can see larger photos, better able to catch details.  The store was busy with shoppers.  Ann noticed brands such as Madeline Tosh, Malabrigo, and Cascade.  She thought the store was unique, but she didn’t make a purchase.  It’s ok to look, seek inspiration, or just be in the company of fiber.  I really appreciate the pictures, because I don’t know when I will get there, but I love yarn shops and hearing all about them.  Thank you Ann for sharing, and thinking of America’s Knitting with your pictures, they are great!

 

Socks & Shawls & Cowls…oh my

My friend Mary lives out in Kingston (same town I live in) and she’s a very good knitter.  She loves to knit socks, but she also knits shawls, hats, sweaters, cowls, felted clogs, dishcloths, scarves, mitts, ponchos, and baby items.  Here are just a few of her finished items.

Prairie Socks by Kay F Jones using Lolo Did It’s Everyday Sock.  This pattern is available on Ravelry.  I just love all these speckled yarns out now.  Great job Mary!

Next, Fireflies Rising Shawlette by Helen Stewart.  Mary used Fancy Image Yarn Merino Tencel Fingering!  This looks like spring spring spring. This too is a Ravelry pattern.


 

Finally, her 3 Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locatelli.  Mary used Juno Fibre Arts Alice for the Oyster & Stone colors and then Blue Sky Fibers Alpaca Silk for the Orange.  I just love that pop of color with the neutrals.  Orange is such a happy color too.  Don’t you find some patterns just have it “IT” factor?  If think this one does, it has a cult following.  I really want to knit one.  Again, Ravelry for the pattern.

Thank you Mary, so much, for sharing your work!!!  Remember you can click on any of these photos to see them larger.

* Good Prices *

Hey Everyone — So, last weekend, I took a trip down south (south Washington) to visit a couple of yarn shops.  Teva, at Loose Ends Fiber Arts had been asking me to come and visit her store.  Working full time, working America’s Knitting, knitting and walking my dog keeps me pretty busy, but my husband Wes & I thought we’d take a drive last weekend down south, to check out her store.

Loose Ends is in the town of Centralia, Washington, which is south of Olympia, Washington’s state capital.  We had a dry but chilly day for our drive, but I knit in the car while Wes drove.  We brought Mae with us, and she got a nice little walk in with Wes while I visit the yarn shop.  Loose Ends is located in the original downtown area with parking on the street.  They call the area, the antique district as there are lots of antique shops, for your antiquing pleasure.

When I arrived, the store had a couple of customers, and the owner, Teva, was in.  She quickly greeted me and I introduced myself.  It was a surprise visit, as I didn’t even know I was going to be making the trip when I got up that morning.  I guess I could have called when I was on the way down….but I just thought of that, so it was a surprise.  She was happy to see me and meet me.  She was busy with her customers, a mother/daughter knitting team.  She was winding their purchases, so I just looked around and took pictures.

My first observation was that she carried lots of Cascade Yarns.  That’s not really surprising, as this is a local company to Washington state, and their line of yarns is vast and wide.  But, I also saw Noro, Madeline Tosh, Juniper Moon Farm, Malabrigo and Universal Yarns.  The second thing that I noticed, was that another customer had come in.  The prices were very good.  I know that there is suggested retail on things, but the owner does have some discretion on what they want to charge for things, and what goes on sale, or if they need to charge more for things, depending upon their overhead that has to be covered every month.

I saw, what Teva called the ‘fiber room’.  That is where she keeps the roving, fiber, top…..I’m not a spinner so I don’t know the lingo or what I’m talking about – but she had a room for it.  Also, in the back was a room with a table where she holds knit night and classes.  Before I left, a group of young gals came in to shop as well.  It was a busy Saturday at the store.  

While I was there, I purchased some self striping sock yarn (I’ve never knit with that kind of yarn before, I’m excited), and a Valentine card.  Teva had the cutest cards in store for Valentines Day.  I could tell Teva was a very comfortable, friendly gal that could quickly become your friend.

If you are headed to Centralia to go to Great Wolf Lodge, the outlet stores, or possibly Dicks Brewing…or maybe you’re on your way to Portland, Oregon.  Stop in to Loose Ends Fiber Shop — you have to have lunch anyway.  Teva has really good prices on yarn, and the vintage feel of downtown is so relaxing.  You won’t be sorry!  Loose Ends Fiber Arts is on Facebook and Instagram, so follow her and her store~

**You can click on any of these photos to see the larger version of them**

Hollows

Here is my friend Sarah wearing her new Hollows shawl that she knit for herself.  The shawl pattern was written and released by mandarine’s (Melody), and can be found on Ravelry.  The shawl uses fingering weight yarn, and Sarah chose Tern by Quince & Co., in the colorway Dusk.  I think all of it is perfect; the drape and color.  It’s generous in size and will stay wrapped.  To follow Sarah, check out her blog at The Aspiring Farm Wife!

Happy New Year 2017

Happy New Year to everyone!   New years is a time of reflection and new beginnings.  We moved into a new house back in August.  We actually down sized into a smaller home.  With small square footage comes less storage.  This is where one realizes that there is a problem with lots of yarn, and lots and lots of projects, and project bags.  Projects in various stages of doneness.

I have mitts, socks, socks, and lots of socks, scarves, stoles, shawls and cowls.  I have hats, berets, boot toppers, shrugs, tank tops, ponchos, sweaters, and a Christmas stocking.  I have baby blankets, baby hats, and baby sweaters.  Some of my projects are in the beginning stages, some are a third of the way done, some are half done, some have beads, and some are fair isle.

When a project is near completion, I finish it.  It builds momentum, it’s fun, and I finish.  Most all of my projects are knit with nice yarns, and I love them all.  When I moved, I did get rid of a few and I also gave away a little bit of my stash.  The stash is a whole other story.  I have a representation of all the weights and all the colors, but I don’t have huge quantities of anything.  So, if I want to knit a sweater or an afghan, I’d have to go purchase yarn.  I don’t have a lot of sport weight and I don’t have much chunky weight or bulky.  But, I have mohair, alpaca, new wool, merino, silk, cotton, wool/alpaca blends, wool/cotton blends, some metallics, and even a bit of cashmere.

My husband and I had the retirement talk over the weekend, so the situation needs to reduce further.  All the time, the designers are coming up with fun sweaters that are hard to pass up, baby items that are beyond cute…the yarn companies are coming up with yummy colors, tweeds, heathers, halos and marls.  I’m going to have to down size some more.  I’ve just let it get out of control.  I want to knit everything, and I don’t want to miss out on anything.  Yes, I know some knitters that don’t have to purchase yarn, that don’t really care what everyone is knitting, that aren’t on Instagram; that just finish what they’ve started — but that’s not me.  I love yarn, I love knitting, and I love yarn shops.

 

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

I must work hard this year of 2017 to wrap up some projects, finish what has been started.  I will start each month with projects planned.  I will try to finish a few things, and if I’m successful and feel the need to purchase yarn, or cast on a project I will let myself, but only one, if two have been finished.  If I’m not really feeling it I will continue to finish projects and just keep going.

I’m planning to blog it through, and I hope it will inspire knitters to carry on with their projects.  I also want to mention, that if you want to spotlight your yarn shop, if you are a knitter, or a yarn shop owner, let’s do it.  Just email me over some digital pictures and a few lines and we’ll talk about your shop, and your town.

The yarn shop ally in the Pacific Northwest~

Happy New Year Hat

Hat’s are so popular, and HELLO it’s Winter, and baby it’s cold outside!!

Sherri over at Rainy Day Yarns in Gig Harbor, Washington is a prolific knitters.  Seriously, she gets so much done, I’m always in envy of her work.  This hat is not just a hat to keep warm…one you throw on because you are having a bad hair day, or you are so lazy, throwing a hat on ‘is’ you doing your hair that day.  This hat has style!  This hat is going to say to people, look at her, she always looks so nice…love her!

Here are all the deets:  Nollie Hat by Monika Sirna; yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Mecha #33 Cereza, which is a bulky weight yarn, so this hat knits up FAST; knit by Sherri, Rainy Day Yarns, Gig Harbor, Washington. It’s a pattern for purchase over on Ravelry.

So to quote the “Plucky Knitter” — ‘when in doubt, knit a hat’!