Monthly Archives: April 2012

Trending in the Fiber World: Kids Edition

A couple of weeks ago, I did a post about some patterns that are hot in the fiber arts world. I thought it might be fun to do the same with some baby/kid patterns!

Probably the biggest and most exciting thing going on in the world of knitting for kids is the news that Alana Dakos and Hannah Fettig are planning on releasing kid-sized versions of several patterns from Coastal Knits! The patterns aren’t released yet, but word on the street is that they’ll be coming sometime in May! Both designers have posted some sneak peeks on their blogs:

Rocky Coast Cardi for kids – Photo from Knitbot Blog

How sweet does this version of the Wildflower Cardigan look?! Photo from Never Not Knitting Blog

Oh, the cuteness!! Tiny Gnarled Oak Cardigan – Photo from Never Not Knitting Blog

Now that I’ve tempted you with patterns you can’t have yet, how about we look at some patterns that have been out for a while but continue to be wildly popular.

The Aviatrix Baby Hat is a great last-minute gift for a baby shower. It has gotten rave reviews from both knitters and Moms who have put the hat to use. Several of our customers have made this adorable hat and I think it would look especially fun in our bright colors of Knitted Wit DK or Baah! Sonoma. Pattern is available for free!

photo from ravelry pattern page

 The Milo Vest is another great pattern that is available in sizes newborn-6 years. The pattern provides several cable patterns to choose from and is a fun knit. It would look particularly charming in the new Be Sweet Bambino yarn we have at the shop! The Milo Vest pattern is available for purchase at Stash through the ravelry in-store pattern sales!

photo from ravelry pattern page

Knitted toys, especially those designed by Rebecca Danger are very popular. Her most recent pattern release, Basil the Boogie-Woogie Brontosaurus is no exception. You can choose any weight of yarn you’d like to make Basil and he’d be a great stash-buster project. The pattern can be purchased at Stash.

photo from ravelry pattern page

Happy Crafting,

Stash Enhancer Liz 

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FO:: Goodale

  • Pattern: Goodale by Cecily Glowick MacDonald, available in store.
  • Yarn: 3 skeins of Pigeonroof Studios Cassiopeia DK in Celadon, available in store.
  • Mods: I knit this about 3 inches longer than the pattern suggests.  Ravelry notes here.

I don’t know what happened here, but I excitedly finished and started wearing this little cardigan about 3 weeks ago and promptly forgot to blog about it.  That’s life, for you: sometimes it seems to move so slowly and we’re able to take in every moment, other times it’s Monday and you could swear it was just the weekend.  Wasn’t it, though?

This was a very nice pattern to knit.  I’ve often admired Cecily Glowick MacDonald’s designs, but haven’t been able to get to as many as I would have liked.  Goodale is the perfect project when you want to knit a simple yet interesting small sweater.  For the most part it’s made up of swathes of soothing stockinette, and yet there’s just enough going on with the attached icord edging and increases to keep you paying attention.  There is a fair bit of finishing at the end when you have to fold over and attach pockets, knit an icord closure, and pick up stitches around the neck, but those are the very details that make this top so special.  Well worth it.

Also worth it is this sumptuous yarn from Pigeonroof Studios.  Cashmere.  Silk. Merino.  All good things to knit with, and I swear cashmere blends knit faster than anything else!

Immediately after finishing this, I started stalking other cardigan patterns by CGM (as I lovingly refer to her).  The top contender right now is Tidal, coincidentally also knit in Cassiopeia DK!  I may try making a substitution from my personal stash, but there is also a lovely dusky purple in said yarn just sitting in a cubby at Stash, waiting for a good home…

What patterns/designers are you stalking this week?

by Sonia, Chief Stash Enhancer

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Swans Island Yarn

Several weeks ago, we received some new-to-Stash yarn and patterns from Swans Island! Having lived in Maine for a few years, this was something I’ve been excitedly anticipating since I heard it was on the way. Besides having gorgeous yarns and wonderful patterns, Swans Island has a lovely story. It’s owners, John and Carolyn Grace began Swans Island Blankets (on Swans Island off the coast of Maine) in the early ’90s as a small weaving business using wool from local sheep. Since then, they have grown into a much larger operation and have expanded to selling yarn and patterns in addition to woven blankets, scarves, and throws. Swans Island is one of the few companies that can boast that they not only have organic wool, but that their yarns are naturally dyed as well.

From their website:

Our organic fiber is spun in a certified organic mill. Our mill is one of only 4 in the United States that has a Global Organic Textile Standards certification. That means that the mill must be inspected and must conform to certain criteria to be considered organic. What this means in layman’s terms is that less harsh chemicals are used in processing, thus helping our yarn retain more natural lanolin than many other commercially produced yarns. Our extra fine merino is soft enough to wear next to your skin. After knitting and blocking, your finished projects will bloom to have a beautiful soft luster and a wonderful feel.

Our colors are the colors of the natural world, made only with insects, minerals, and plants. The results of these efforts are heirloom-quality pieces–each one unique, timeless, and beautiful. All of our yarn colors are found in nature and work beautifully together. When asked “How do you choose your colors?” we like to answer “We don’t; our colors choose us!” In our color development process we don’t try to match to current “fashion trends”. Rather, we test out various formulas, with a certain range or target color in mind. Often, many of the colors that we discover along the way we find to be as lovely or more so, than the original shade we set out to create.

Swans Island Worsted

The true test, of course, is how the yarn feels. Swans Island Organic Merino, doesn’t disappoint! In fact, I think it might just be the softest merino yarn I’ve ever worked with. Here at Stash we have the Natural Colors Collection in both fingering weight and worsted weight. We have 3 of the natural undyed colors in the fingering weight and a nice selection of naturally dyed colors in the worsted weight. The fingering weight has a generous 525 yards per 100g skein and the worsted weight has equally impressive yardage at 250 yards per 100g skein! I just used the fingering weight as an accent color for the Dancette Shawl for the current Stash Knitalong, and I’m already plotting ways to use up the rest of my skein. The yarn is incredibly soft (I know, I know…I already told you that, but once you feel it you’ll understand!) and it bloomed up nicely when I blocked it.

Swans Island Fingering-weight with the Anna Cowl and Shot of Spring Patterns

There are some beautiful Swans Island patterns here at the shop! We have the Katherine Pullover (a basic pullover with just a touch of lace), Anna Cowl, Shot of Spring Scarf, Cousins Hats, and the adorable Chatham Boatneck.

Adorable Chatham Boatneck sweater pattern with Swans Island Worsted

Stop on in and give the Swans Island yarn a little squeeze and you’ll see why we’re currently obsessed!

Happy Crafting,

Stash Enhancer Liz 

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Book Review:: The Principles of Knitting

Quick question: Are you a Knitting Missionary, Sensei, Scientist, Organic, or Pretender? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, get yourself a copy of The Yarn Harlot’s Knitting Rules! and read the first chapter immediately. It’s funny and all a little bit true. If you know you are a Sensei, or would like to be a Sensei, then read on. If not, this will be interesting to you as a knitter anyway.

At Stash we recently received our copies of The Principles of Knitting, by June Hemmons Hiatt.  In the beginning, I was skeptical. (This is a sign of my ignorance, which has been remedied. Let me apologize now.) My first impression was: “This book is huge, heavy, reads like a text-book and costs twice as much as the rest of the books we carry. Who is going to want this?”.

Man did I have it sooooo wrong, especially since I am such a wannabe knitting Sensei. (For those of you still wondering what a Sensei is, it is a knitter that always seems to know or wants to know the many various ways to do things in knitting, i.e. ask a Sensei how to do a button-hole and they will give you 5 different ways to do it.) This book is the knitting bible and if I ever want to fulfill my aspirations of knowing all there is to know about knitting (I’ve always been told to aim high), I need this book, like yesterday.

First, some quick history: the book was originally published in 1988 and went out of print in the late 90’s.*  It was the most comprehensive knitting book out there (500 pages!), with the premise being that all available information on a technique would be presented and the knitter would decide which method they wanted to use.  With such valuable information at stake, out of print copies of Principles of Knitting would sell on eBay for upwards of $400 and they were very hard to find.

Back to now: the book has been completely revised, with every chapter reviewed and updated, and some chapters even expanded on and made longer than the original. It still reads like a textbook, but I find this be a plus in a book that is dedicated to techniques and the hows and whys behind each one. The book itself is also more readily available and there are no plans to let it go out of print again (thank goodness). As for the price tag? Well a comprehensive reference book may not be what you’re looking for, but if you are, what’s a mere $45 compared to $400?!

Principles of Knitting is a must-have for the serious knitter’s library.  Sure, it might be easier to Google “short row heel” or “how to knit a buttonhole”, but it’s an asset to have a pre-vetted source of technical information at your fingertips.  This book is also a little piece of the collective History of Knitting, and that is priceless.  All of us at Stash know this will be a go-to book for countless knitting questions and quandaries.

What are some of your favorite technical resources?

* The publisher actually destroyed the plates so June Hemmons Hiatt had to type the whole thing over again. All 350,000 words. Crazy.

~ By Stash Enhancer Cinnamon

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Feature Friday:: Be Sweet T-Shirt Yarn

Be Sweet is a new yarn yarn company for us at Stash.  It may not be local, but its mission is close to our hearts:

Be Sweet was founded on the principle of being kind to others. [The company’s] mission is to bring socially and environmentally friendly products to fashionable consumers that evoke an individual style and help support community development around the world.

Be Sweet works with job creation programs to give artisans the confidence and the means to support themselves and their families in otherwise economically depressed regions. “I started Be Sweet to support innovative craft that can be made by those less fortunate. Our products embody the ideals of beauty, creativity and resourcefulness.”

As soon as I saw this T-Shirt Yarn, I knew we had to have it at Stash.  Fun, funky, and versatile, this is a perfect yarn to play with.  It can be knit, crocheted, braided, tied, woven, and more.  Just use your imagination!  Be Sweet has included a free pattern on the ball band for this charming Honeycomb Clutch by Tanis Grey.

Let me tell you, this was the perfect instant-gratification project!  I knit up this sweet clutch in an evening and popped a bright vintage button on it in the morning.  You could easily get 2 of these sweet bags from one skein. Or, you can do what Cinnamon did, and make this fun necklace with some of the leftovers! We added a sweet felt flower pin for that extra little something.

There are plenty of other non-knitting uses for t-shirt yarn. How about some bangle bracelets or braided headbands, or maybe a crochet bowl or two?

Happy Friday, everyone.  Did you know the Downtown Corvallis Farmer’s Market starts tomorrow? Yippee!  It’s just 2 blocks from the shop, so stop in afterward to see what Farmer’s Market day specials we have going on. Hint, hint…

~Sonia

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Trending in the Fiber World

Did you know that you can sort pattern search results on Ravelry by their popularity or by what’s “hot right now”? I frequently click on the Top 20 patterns to see the latest trends in the knitting word. I thought it would be fun to share some patterns that have been recently spotted in the top 20 over the last few weeks.

First up….Color Affection by Veera Valimaki:

photo from ravelry project page

Color Affection was released in December and already has over 1,400 projects!! Endless amounts of garter make for easy knitting, but color changes and short rows keep things interesting. Color Affection is available at Stash through the ravelry in-store pattern sales.

Veera keeps churning out gorgeous designs (making my queue grow larger by the day) and Something Silver is another gorgeous and wearable design.

 photo from ravlery project page

Something Silver would be a great transitional piece for the cool spring weather we’ve been having! I think it would look fantastic in one of the bright Knitted Wit DK colors. Something Silver is available at Stash through the in-store pattern sales.

Another sweater that would be a great layering piece for spring and for those cool summer nights is Flaming June from the most recent Knitty publication.

photo from knitty.com

Flaming June is knit in fingering-weight yarn and would look fantastic in two of the many colors of Shibui Sock we have at Stash!

This time of year always has me searching for short-sleeved cardigan patterns to wear with summer dress, and I love Cecily Glowik MacDonald’s newest pattern, Floating.

photo from ravelry pattern page

Floating is knit with laceweight yarn on larger needles and looks like it would be the perfect weight for a summer knit! This pattern is available through the in-store pattern sale feature at Stash!

And to continue on the “sweater to wear with a cute dress” theme:  Miss Jane by Georgie Hallam

 photo from ravelry pattern page

Miss Jane has an interesting construction, but doesn’t look too difficult. The top of the sweater is knit side-to-side and the eyelet pattern and body of the sweater is knit the conventional direction. Miss Jane would look fantastic in one of the saturated Baah! Sonoma colors! Also available at Stash through in-store pattern sales.

I guess I better get knitting so I can make all these lovely designs in the near future!

Happy Crafting!

Stash Enhancer Liz 

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Meet the Samples:: Keegan Baby Hat + Sock Kit

There is a new Kollage Feed Your Creativity kit sample knit up and on display at the shop!  The Keegan Baby Hat and Socks are an easy knit and perfect for building up that baby gift stash. (Or is it just me that does that?  Anyone?)

This darling set is designed by none other than Irishgirlie Knits, designer of the Dancette Shawl that is part of our current spring Knit-a-long.  The pattern is easy to follow and comes with both charted and written directions. If you are new to cabling, this would be a perfect beginner project.  Instructions are given for newborn, 3-6 months, and 6-12 months sizes.

The yarn included in the kit is Kollage’s Sock-a-licous, a fingering weight merino, nylon, silk blend that is machine washable (so important for baby knits as new moms generally do not have time for hand washing themselves much less hand knits!).  It comes in a great range of colors, and one skein (354 yards) is enough to make two sets of the hat and booties, even in the largest size.  At just $25 for the yarn and pattern, this is a great value.

Come in and check out these adorable kits for yourself!

by Cinnamon S.

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Filed under Baby Knits, Books/Patterns, Feed Your Creativity, Knitting