Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pumpkin Patch Cozy Stole

I've had a long standing love affair with the Cozy Stole from the fall 2004 issue of Knitty. With it's elegant simplicity, I've always thought it would be a perfect toss over your shoulders wrap. Simple enough in it's stitch pattern, an eight row repeat with all the wrong side rows purled (I'm a sucker for the purl stitch; I purl faster then I knit). I never quite understood why the masses weren't falling all over themselves in love with this stole as I was. Then after a bit more consideration, I realized that this same issue of Knitty, Fall 2004, was the unveiling of that other wrap pattern, the most famous Knitty pattern ever, the Clapotis. How can a humble acoustic guitar player compete when there is a full blown orchestra bringing down the house right next door?
Just look at the numbers; Clapotis has 10,132 different project entries on ravelry, the humble Cozy only 572 and yet, I think it is just as lovely, if not moreso then the Clapotis. Ravely user, badknitter agrees. Don't let her username fool you, she's actually a sweetheart who used our Paca-Peds yarn in the colorway Harvest to make her Pumpkin Patch Stole.
So, I make a case for the Cozy. Step out from behind those dropped stitches and give it a whirl. It's obviously beautiful in Paca-Peds but would also look lovely in Classic or Paca-Paints.

Okay, and for some serious cute overdose, you have to check out this sign. If you are traveling along Route 30 in western York County, PA you will be greeted by this adorable face. Who could possibly resist some of that? If you are in the area, be sure to make plans to visit Beth's farm, Painted Spring. Beth, Neal & the fur babies would love to have you!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bella's Mittens

We've been bitten by the Bella's Mitten bug here at The Alpaca Yarn Company. Tasha made a pair in Malabrigo. They were so squishy & yummy, immediate mitten-envy set in and I knew I had to make a pair for myself. The yarn selection was easy, Snuggle is a 55% Alpaca, 15% Wool, 30% Acrylic Bulky blend and was the perfect yarn for this pair of mittens, knitted on size 8 needles. The hard part came in deciding upon the color. I scoured ravelry, trying to decide which color among our 15 choices would best represent the spirit of Bella while maybe having a bit of Angela tossed in as well. I kept going back to our hand dyed colorway "A Knot of Naturals". There was some trepidation as that little voice in my head yelled, "Cables! You can't do a hand dyed with cables! You'll ruin the look of both the yarn and the mittens!" However, the other, louder voice said, "Want! Want! Want!". I am so glad I listened to the greedy voice.

The free pattern is clearly written, and written for magic loop no less, my absolute favorite way in the world to knit. I grabbed a set of bamboo circulars and cast on. I will admit, I'm not a huge fan of k1, p1 ribbing, but it flowed quickly as it was only half of the stitches on the cuff. As I was working the pattern, the cables began to just come to life. They seemed to pop off the mitten and I was quickly & deeply in love. I knitted frantically, wanting to get the first one done in time to take it to my Tuesday morning knitting group at Uncommon Threads, our LYS.

Rather than obscure the cables, as I had feared, the slight variations in the Snuggle set off the cables perfectly, giving them an interest and depth. I got to my knitting group with only the thumb of the first mitten remaining. I wasn't quite sure why the designer had asked me to switch to dpns at this point. I mean my magic loop and I had been humming along quite nicely. I decided to throw caution to the wind and continue with my looping. Okay, truth be told, I don't own size 8 dpns and I wasn't about to go buy a pair just for a thumb. I picked up my thumb stitches. I picked them up quite deeply into the row below, actually, because I feel that this usually gives a bit more substantial thumb and I hate holes in my thumbs, or anywhere, really.

The mittens were immediately declared a success with the entire knitting group trying them on and several folks threatening to kidnap the first while I made the second. There is a slight halo to the mittens which gives them that soft, smooshy, dreamy quality. I am now plugging away at the second mitten, admittedly without as much fervor as the first, but I am determined to get them done before winter is truly over. Looked for finished photos here on the blog soon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lace in Interweave Knits, Spring 2009

There are two beautiful new wraps featured in the new Interweave Knits made from Suri Elegance.

The first one, is the Sweet Lily Shawl by Kristin Omdahl.
Here’s your sneak peek…
alt text
Done in one skein of Blue Blood Red, this stunning shawl features wedge sections worked in a semi-circle with a Lily of the Valley border and sawtooth edging. Lots more bonus photos can be found on Interweave’s website.

The second is the Float Stole by Melinda C. Hunt.
alt text
from the magazine…

From open lace eyelets to horizontal welting, different textures create a surprisingly complex effect with simple patterns.

More photos can be found here.

For these great patterns and more, be sure to grab your copy of IK Spring 2009 when it hits the newstands next week.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Striped Ribbed Pullover

Have you ever seen one of those patterns in Vogue knitting that make you say, "Yeah, but it would never look that good on me." You know the ones; the impossibly beautiful models, with the perfect hair and the tiny waists wearing a belted sweater with horizontal stripes. Perhaps one similar to the Striped Ribbed Pullover. A free pattern from the Vogue Knitting Alpaca Collection, the Stripped Ribbed Pullover is knit from Paca de Seda. And seriously, who doesn't look good in alpaca & silk? Both our sweet friend Ali (right) and ravelry user Tare (below) prove that you don't have to be a vogue model to totally rock this sweater. Maybe you're thinking, yes, but I don't like purple and green? (wait, you don't like purple & green? are you feeling okay? we practically breathe purple & green around here!) Well, if you're in that boat, we've made it super easy for you to have this same look, but in other color palettes as well. For a limited time only we are offering kits on our site! In addition to the original purple & green there is a blue/brass/brown, a collection of naturals and one of blues & greens. Find your favorite and unleash your inner super-model!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Norwegian Mittens in Paca de Seda

Hellllloooooooo! I've missed you, my bloggy friends! I was so sick for the past few weeks, too sick to compose entertaining, informative blog posts, too sick to take care of my home/family/life, heck, even too sick to knit (gasp!)

I was not too sick to browse ravelry though. Wow! We've got some talented members of our Alpaca Yarn Company circle out there! I want to introduce you to some of my new friends & share with you the projects they've made. I've been inspired to queue a stole out of sock yarn, a lace shawl in crimson (I so would have gone with a pastel normally), a fitted sweater and many, many more things.

My current favorite lovely is a pair of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Norwegian Mittens from the book Knitting Around. Made by our friend Amy in the Limeade and Purple Passion colorways of Paca de Seda, our Alpaca/Silk blend. Aren't they stunning! Amy reports that they are soft & smooshy, possibly not the most practical things in the world, but we think they are way up there on the WOW factor scale.

If you would like to share your projects with us, be sure to give us a shout here or on ravelry. We would love to see them!