I learned to knit as a child but abandoned it for more childlike activities. I started again as an adult and knit almost every day. Socks are my favorite thing to knit but I also am hooked on shawls, fingerless mitts, hats, and cowls. I like smaller projects that can be finished in a reasonable length of time.
Cool breezes have turned my thoughts to my favorite item to knit -- SOCKS! I dug through my project bags and located my sock UFOs. Four pair .. .one is now finished and is a lovely combination of Autumn colors. That pair, top left, and two others are fingering weight, while the WIP sock (top right) is a sport weight. This certainly is a colorful bunch of socks.
Why do I like handknit socks ... afterall stores sell socks? Very true. If you haven't worn a pair of handknit socks, you don't know what you are missing. They fit so well, feel amazing, and are very comforting on chilly days.
There are so many options for sock yarns on today's market. I really urge sock knitters to use yarn that has a fiber content of at least 20% nylon -- for strength. You don't want to put time in to knitting them and have those heels and heel flaps (which take a lot of the stress) wear through after a few wearings.
I have been knitting socks since 2003 so have a lot of pairs that I love. Last winter 3 pairs wore through the heel flaps. Fortunately, I saved my leftover matching sock yarn in preparation. I need to take a half hour and carefully darn them, which will provide new life into the old favorites.
There are many methods of knitting socks. None is the right way and none is the wrong way. My favorite method is using double pointed needles (evidenced in this photo) and knitting cuff to toe. Experiment, find a way you like best. Just try it.
Sock knitting comes with a warning: it is addictive! Until next time ...Happy Knitting
Next Friday and Saturday, July 28 and 29 I will bring a portion of Main Street Yarn to the annual FarmFest Wool Village. FarmFest is a great event hosted by Pennsylvania Organic and includes speakers, food, vendors, demonstrations, information booths, great music, the barn dance, the Saturday morning fun run, transportation around the grounds via a driver pedaled bicycle (I am trying it this year!), interesting people, and lots more! Please join us at Grange Park in Centre Hall (the site of the annual Grange Fair and Encampment).
Wool Village will include great vendors, spinning and machine knitting demos, and the opportunity to make-and-take a beaded row counter (for free!). My knitting friends will be on-site knitting and chatting (I suspect some shopping will happen!). Don't hesitate to talk to them and the people doing the demos. They are a friendly and enthusiastic group.
What's On My Needles..
The humidity has hit Central PA this week .. the worst so far this summer. Small projects work best for me this time of year. I am very anxious to get back to my barely started sweater, bit it will need to wait a while.
My current small project is a lovely fun knit designed by Laura Aylor "Summer Camp." It utilizes two colors of fingering weight yarn. Her design used a speckled and solid, which I replicated in my choice of yarn from Zen Garden Yarns. I am nearly the finish line with the goal to have it completed for display at FarmFest. I am not sure I will reach that goal, but the shawl will be there -- finished or still on the needles! I highly recommend this pattern. All garter with easy to remember directions.
Next Project ... Last evening I was browsing Ravelry and came across this child's sweater with a sheep design ... the hat pattern is going to be ready soon, according to the designer. I think I have to knit it. Main Street Yarn needs another sheep design on display ... yes, it does. Here is a link to the designer's Ravelry store -- there are several other sheep designs...2 for children and a really nice adult sweater. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/melissa-kemmerers-ravelry-store/patterns?page=1
Isn't it adorable?
Too Many Unfinished Projects ...
Do you have a bunch of unfinished projects or are you methodical and finish one before starting another? I you are the latter, I envy you. I have so many unfinished projects tucked into adorable project bags that I should be ashamed. I'm not! I will finish or frog so the yarn can be used for another design and the needles tucked back into their storage case.
I always have socks on the needles, so I don't count them as unfinished because they are my go-to project. A good friend just gifted me with a gorgeous skein of yarn from a company whose products I don't sell in my shop. I love all the yarn I have available to customers, but this skein will make an extra special pair of socks. Her thoughtfulness is heartwarming.
I really am going to try to write this blog weekly. I need to get out of the mindset that It has to be long. It doesn't. I just need to say hi to my friends.
I apologize for the silence but sometimes life gets in the way of knitting, blogging and living. Knitting does help...sometimes.
I am more than halfway finished with the "Hitchhiker" shawl I've been knitting using a mini-skein pack from Wonderland Yarns. It is lovely and I will share a photo when complete. Their yarn packs are composted of gorgeous color combinations -- something for everyone.
However...it is time to plan a new and very different project that will take me through part of the summer. I really like the patterns designed by Joji Locatelli...they are interesting, fun and generally can be knit by someone with intermediate skills.
That is my review for her new 4-color cowl http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/peeping-cowl Peeping cowl includes stockinette, a few yarnovers to create a lace effect, stripes, and cables. Don't stop reading, cable are easy. Trust me...I avoided them for many years and once I decided it was time to tackle knitting cables I could not decided why I waited!
Wandering Wool yarn is hand-dyed by a delightful young woman in Maryland. It was the first hand-dyed yarn I ordered when I opened Main Street Yarn (3 years ago tomorrow). It is a staple in the shop and will also remain as part of the inventory. I restocked last week with some favorite colors and a lot of new ones! Stop by and check them out. While there, consider putting together 4 colors and knitting this cowl.
It is sunny at my home and I hope you are experiencing the same. Time to move past Winter winds, ice and snow and on to some sunnier weather. Sunshine increases creativity!
Two weeks ago I wrote about the mini-skein yarn pack craze. Mini-skeins are packs of yarn that contain 4 to 6 (or more) small skeins of yarn in colors that work together. Most packs contain yarns of very different colors but others are "gradients" meaning that each small skein of yarn is in the same color family but ranges in intensity.
I received a number of inquires in the shop, on Facebook, and via email from knitters who asked me to provide some photos and suggestions on what to knit with them. I am very glad to oblige and I hope my enthusiasm for them shows through in these photos. In the last blog post I listed a few pattern suggestions, so please refer to it for more ideas. I'm in the shop most Saturdays, so please don't hesitate to stop in and ask me more questions. You are also welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are photos of three very different projects I'm knitting from mini-skein sets that each contain five small skeins of yarn. Now that I'm writing this blog and have the photos taken I can finish them! They will be on display in the shop as they are completed. All of my mini-skein sets are from Wonderland Yarns in Brattleboro, VT. The yarn is soft, beautifully dyed, and there is huge yardage in each pack.
In addition to using the sets alone, consider combining them with a large complimentary skein of Wonderland Yarn. The projects in these photos are all knit in fingering weight. Also in stock are a few combo packs of sport weight with a full skein of complimentary yarn. There are so many possibilities ... let your creativity go wild!
Spring is just around the corner so I chose this lovely pack to knit the always popular side-to-side shawl "Hitchhiker." I just started the second color.
I can't wait to get to these other colors ....
These just scream Spring and this will be perfect for a cool evening.
Do you need a lovely, easy-to-knit quick gift? Mother's Day is just around the corner.
Thorne Cowl has a unique way of using the five colors. Four are the main cowl sections, while the fifth divides and accents the design. I can't wait to finish this one!
I'm getting close ... only two colors to go!
I love this pattern -- Kalari Shawl. It is such an easy knit. I chose a pack of mini-skeins in some of my favorite colors. I will have this completed before Autumn...I think these are rich Autumn looking colors. But, pick any color combo and start knitting! Make the design your own.
I just keep knitting with the new color as the previous ends.
Breath-taking color combination....
The women at Wonderland Yarns are creative and have a fabulous eye for color. I also look forward to their new combinations.
If you are hesitant to start but really want to knit with a pack of mini-skeins, please stop in and see me. I will gladly help you get started and guide you through your journey. Until next time...
Knitting projects can range in size from a small simple cowl to a large sweater or shawl. Honestly, I don't knit a lot of larger projects because I get bored and often don't finish them. That is shallow on my part but it's just the truth.
However, since I opened Main Street Yarn I have discovered the fabulous mini-skein sets that range from gradients of one color to each skein being a different color, although workable with the others. Mini-skein sets can be scary. Seriously...but they are really mind-stimulating and will get your creative juices flowing.
This section of Main Street Yarn is devoted to mini-skein sets. When the box of yarn arrives tomorrow from Frabjous Fibers & Wonderland Yarn in Brattleboro, VT the new "Pack of the Month" will be added. The teaser photo posted on their Facebook page is amazing. I love it so much I ordered one for myself!
Mini-skein sets combine nicely with a full skein of yarn to make larger projects, add depth to a project or just make it something special that you like. Mini-skein sets from Frabjous Fibers are available in fingering, sport and worsted weights.
Look at patterns on Ravelry.com and let your imagination go wild. Here are a few that work great with a pack of mini skeins: Mad mini-wrap, Zeccola cowl, Kalari, Tessie, Brush Creek Cowl, Brush Creek Shawl, Deepend, Antarkis, Hitchhiker and Just Yarning Around.
Have questions? Want to show off a finished project? I can't wait to hear from you. Next blog posting: What to do with Unfinished Projects (referred to as UFOs)
I love sock knitting. I am addicted to sock knitting. I have a drawer full of socks and recently cleared space in a second drawer. That's a lot of socks but I wear them 365 days a year. Yep. Every day.
Socks amuse me. The construction is interesting and knitting them is NOT as hard as most people think. Take a class in your local yarn shop and learn. Remember, I said sock knitting is addictive. You have been warned.
Socks are fun because of the wide range of available yarn -- solids, variegated, self-striping, and fair isle. Confession -- I don't own a pair of solid colored socks. Nope. I love the designs. Their changes keep me amused while knitting.
These socks are representative of my "collection." The top three are wool/nylon blends, while the lighted colored one on the bottom is a wool/cotton/nylon blend which I consider to be a "summer/early Autumn" sock.
Socks can be knitted cuff down or toe up. I prefer cuff down using 5 double-pointed knitting needles. Find your comfort level and learn to knit socks. There is a wide variety of methods including knitting both socks at the same time to help avoid the challenge of "second sock syndrome" which means -- never knitting the second sock. I recently finished 3 pair that were started a long time ago and now I allow myself to case on a few new pair. I keep one pair in the car in case I get stuck somewhere, have one pair at work to knit during lunchtime, and one pair at home for evening and weekend knitting. I'm never without a socks -- they are a small and very portable project.
There is a huge variety of commercial sock yarns which is what I primarily use for my socks. Some of the hand-dyed yarns are gorgeous in socks -- I have a pair on the needles right now using Holiday Yarns hand-dyed fingering weight. I urge you to make sure the fingering weight is sturdy and is a blend with nylon. Socks are on your feet so get hard use. You don't want them to wear through quickly.
I wash mine in a mesh bag in the washing machine on gentle. I hang them over the bathroom towel rack to dry. I advise never putting them into the dryer or they very possible will shrink enough to be worn by a doll.
If you want to talk sock knitting, please stop at Main Street Yarn in Rebersburg, PA. I'm there on Saturdays. I only knit cuff down on DPNs, so my assistance with other methods is limited. Here is a good link to check out for more information http://knitbettersocks.blogspot.com/p/assorted-techniques.html Have a great week. See you next time.
I haven't blogged in 18 months and I vowed this year to blog so even I can keep up with myself! 2015 was a blur and honestly, most of it I would never want to repeat. So...moving forward in our new year of 2016.
What am I knitting? Well, it is a secret for another 10 days until the pattern is released. I can safely say it is a sweater that will finish quickly and become a shop model in Main Street Yarn, my shop in Rebersburg, PA. The yarn is an awesome chunky weight in Berroco Vintage. It has a fabulous feel on the hands, provides awesome stitch definition and makes knitting such a pleasure. I can say the same for their Vintage in DK and Worsted weights, too.
I just finished two pair of socks (still my favorite project!) that have been lingering in the land of "second sock syndrome" for way too long. Now they are in their new home in the sock drawer with others I have knit for myself. It is time to start a second drawer for them! I'm thrilled. Why do I knit socks -- I know, they sell them at Wal-Mart... I'm going to save that story and some encouragement about sock knitting for my next posting.
I will be sharing my blog posts on the Main Street Yarn Facebook page. The blog also can be accessed on the shop's website at www.mainstreetyarn.net You don't have a Facebook page, well that's OK because the blog scrolls in the middle of the yarn shop's website so you don't need a personal page. The best of both worlds!
If you have questions for me about the shop the best way to reach me is by posting to the Facebook page or emailing me at email@example.com
What else am I doing...well today I made homemade vegetable beef soup and am planning on baked potatoes and a meatloaf for dinner. Tomorrow will be a stuffed roast chicken. This snow and cold weather increases my appetite. Take care and I hope to hear from you. Until next time....Kim
Earlier this week I was sorting through project bags I haven't opened in quite a while, in a small cupboard and other hiding places. I found a few things I was looking for (which was the reason for the search) and quite a few I had forgotten. The latter was a treasure trove of UFOs! The photo is just a sampling of the Unfinished Objects that surfaced.
The closest to being finished is the purple shawl with the variegated border. It will be worked on this week and should be finished quickly. I am planning on it to keep me warm in my office this winter. That was its original intention about 2 years ago when I started it! I'm using a lovely worsted weight yarn from Lorna's Laces.
At the right is a variegated yarn from Mountain Colors. It too will be a shawl. There are only a few rows knit but I think the yarn and pattern combination will be a great choice.
The purple and teal is also a shawl. I will finish it as a gift. I have the recipient in mind. At top is a ball of eggplant color yarn and a ball of gold/other colors. That project was frogged because I no longer like the pattern. I love the yarn so it will be a 2-color shawl whose pattern will be chosen at another time. I do have something in mind.
The brighter multi-color alpaca was also frogged. I'm thinking perhaps something in linen stitch. This yarn would make it very interesting. Also frogged was the project immediately to its left. A nice DK weight yarn...a pattern I don't like. Finally, at far left is a pair of socks from a Schaeffer Yarn Company fiber. I have no idea how long ago I started it...those socks are on Signature DPNs that I forgot I owned. They are an interesting pattern so I think I will knit a bit further before deciding if that project will be finished or frogged.
All of these yarns are really nice. In my mind there is no reason to complete projects I don't like.
I am still working on organizing my yarn stash -- which primarily consists of UFOs rather than yarns in their original skeins or balls. It actually felt good to frog those projects. A sense of relief. And an opportunity to turn gorgeous yarns into projects I or someone else will like. See you next week....
July has flown! I apologize for missing two Monday posts but the days and weeks have just gotten away from me. Whoever said summer is slow never had my schedule...
Main Street Yarn will have a booth at the FarmFest in Centre Hall at the fairgrounds this Friday and Saturday, August 1 and 2. There is lots of fun for the entire family. Admission and parking are free. Stop by and see the fun new things I will have at the show.
This past weekend I decided to cast on 2 shawls ... yep, 2...I have two new yarns in Main Street Yarn and was anxious to use both of them in projects.
The first is a simple side-to-side shawl called "Simple Sideways Triangle Scarf" from Churchmouse Yarns & Teas. It is a free pattern and could be knit in any weight yarn. It is an easy, basically mindless, project. I love to knit at least a few rows before bedtime and to me this is the perfect way to wind down from a busy day.
Since it is knit sideways you will need a small kitchen scale to measure grams so you leave plenty for the second half of the shawl. This pattern comes with two sizes and I decided to knit the larger one so I can use up all my yarn.
I'm using Mrs. Crosby's "Hat Box" yarn which is a lovely sport weight. I currently have a dozen colors in the shop. There arer 317 yards per skein and the pattern calls for a yarn with 330 yards...close enough because of the sideways design. No risk of running out before I'm finished.
Here is the progress so far...I'm not sure the tonal elements will show up, but trust me this is a lovely yarn...
A 25-pound box of Silky Wool yarn in 20 colors has been sitting in my living room for a few weeks. It will be in the shop within the next two weeks once I rearrange and make space for it.Silky Wool is just that -- silk and wool -- in a DK weight. It is sturdy yet drapes beautifully in shawl, sweaters, vests and other garments. To me it has a bit of a rustic feel yet a classy look. I think it is a yarn that will appeal to most knitters and crocheters.
I have only knit two rows in the 3-color "Flying Duchess" shawl. The pattern can be purchased and downloaded on Ravelry. I plan to have it in the shop soon. I will have a photo to share next week. Well, I have one now but this silly blog program will not let me download it. So, next time hopefully there will be more to show to you. See you next Monday ...
As one project ends another begins. The delight of knitting, choices of yarn, needles sizes, and patterns. Just an hour ago I finally finished "Wild Cherry" which is a delightful pattern designed by Melissa Goodale. It needs to be blocked when I return home. I am very pleased with the result.
I knit mine (which will be used as a model in Main Street Yarn) in Kenzie which is a delightful DK weight yarn. I chose a color I refer to as "paprika" and am very pleased with the results. it took two skeins of Kenzie which makes this a very economical project to knit. I love this yarn and am already contemplating my next project in Kenzie...I do suspect a multi-color next time.
Before this project was off the needles I had already cast on for a worsted weight project on straight needles. A much desired change. However, that project with 4 colors of Berroco Vintage worsted weight yarn just didn't work out. I was trying to adapt a pattern and the color joins were not as smooth as I prefer. So it was frogged. There I was, on the road, with 5 skeins of worsted yarn, size 8 needles in straights and circulars (also used 8's on the shawl) and no project to knit. Oh no! What to do?!
I sped to Ravelry for a simple pattern. I was in luck and came up with "Baktus" which I knit several years ago in a skein of fingering weight. A nice side-to-side shawl that adapts to almost any weight yarn. I'm not sure I would use heavier than worsted.
So, again, more improvising. Stripes to incorporate all of the colors that remind me of Autumn. This too will be a shop model. There are lots of ends to weave in because I'm only carrying the beige along the edge. Each of the other 3 colors -- gold, forest green and pumpkin -- are cut when their 4 rows repeat is completed. I'm looking forward to getting back to this fun project tonight. Oh how I do love garter stitch.
Enjoy your fiber pursuits this week. See you next Monday....