Thursday, May 31, 2007

It's Not That Hard

For real, it's not that hard to design a sweater that a dude will like. Here you go, basic Man Sweater Rules.

  • Neutral Colours, Unless Otherwise Specified.
  • Medium To Oversized Fit i.e. Comfy.
  • One Colour, Unless Otherwise Specified.
  • Do Not Succumb To Cosby Sweater Syndrome.
  • Do Not Try To "Inject" our "Wardrobes" with a "Vibrant New Colour" Without Asking First.
I saw a sweater recently with a checkerboard and a hood AND wide vertical stripes on it, plus it was WAY HUGE on the dude what was wearing it. Honey, ain't 1 man in 50 gonna want that sweater. Being "Interesting To Knit" and "Pleasing To Wear" aren't always mutually exclusive. Unless you're knitting this sweater. Knittah, pleez.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Done Up Purdy

Pre-Hammer And Drill

The store got a facelift this past weekend. I like the new look and the new feel, even though I sympathize with ya'll that have walked in and been vaguely stunned by the rearranged layout. Here's a brief photo montage of the whole ordeal.


Oh eff, they ripped the counter apart!

And then somebody stole the bloody thing. Sod.

Oh, they're just moving it. Nobody tells me anything.
Left to Right:
Rob, Frank, Mike, Andres

Good job guys!

Also, all the shelving units now vaguely resemble giant blocky sheep just waiting to get pushed around. There are these caster things on the bottoms of all of them. Also, we attatched pegboard to the backs of all of them so now we have more flexibility in display and store configuration.

Turns out that a dude only gets more attractive with a power tool in his hands. Go figure.

The new flock of Blue Backed Shelves.
Note the vague bluish hue surrounding the posteriors of each shelf.

And then the dear little one that was wondering about thought to herself, "My God, Daddy is making this place an pigsty. MUST CLEAN!"

Seriously, friggin' cutest kid I've ever seen that I'm not related to.
Everything she does sparkles with Cute Sequins(tm)

And that's pretty much all there was, I'm going to be putting the rest up on my flickr account.

A big stinkin' huge thanks to Frank and Harry, without whom the whole thing woulda been a bunch of knitters and their associated menfolk goin' "Eh, what?"

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Almost There...Al-most theeere...

If Luke Skywalker had knitted, he would have noticed that the feeling of knitting down the last sleeve of a friend's sweater that has to be finished before the start of summer is much like trying to bullseye an exhaust vent on a Death Star.

I'm almost there.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Morning: A WIP

I had such a restful nap yesterday afternoon that I woke up at 4 this morning. I opened the window and dozed, listening to the sounds of lonesome cars going by one by one. At 10 to 5, I got out of bed, booted up the computer, and sat down to read the early-morning bloggers. At 5:30, I began to take pictures. This is the rest of my morning.

I have been slogging along on a friend's sweater. I finally completed the body last night, for the second time. I had just picked up for my sleeve and decided on a garter-stitch treatment involving short rows when I looked up and saw this huge, flawless patch of light on my bedroom wall.

While I was taking various photos, it occurred to me that my sweater looked kind of...arty. Hangin' up there on the wall, in the light.

I wonder why it is that we so infrequently look at our knitting and see the art in it. Maybe it's because we know all the hours, each stitch, each frustrating moment, the thrill of correct stitch counts, and the crushing defeat of gauge failures. But when I pinned that sweater up on the wall, and the needles dangled just-so, I admit that I thought it was beautiful.

Even if it did look pretty funny without some sleeves.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Such Great Yarn..

Quick bit of shop news: The Skacel and Bryson orders have been placed. Vast quantities of needles should be arriving by the end of the month, maybe a little after. If they don't, I will resign myself to knitting with fallen sticks from the trees across the street and will personally give a class on how to prepare them for such usage.

I finished my sideways-short-row-garter-stitch-sport-weight hat and it's sooo beautimous that I am loathe to put it on, because then I can't see it. This photo has washed out the green and made the blue more prominent. The effect is much springier than aquatic in real life. This yarn is some hand-dyed Blue Faced Leicester, sport weight. Yay for yarn swaps!

I modified a pattern I had already knit to knit 8 smaller wedges instead of 4 larger ones. I like it, because the way the colours striped mimics the appearance of 8 decrease points around the crown of the hat, even though the grain of the fabric is obviously sideways.

I was asked for a pattern. And the truth is, I'm not sure I could write a pattern for this. It's very simple. I would leave things out because I would constantly be thinking "Well, of course you do this next - What else would you do?" I knit very intuitively, and I don't actually like following patterns because I find that they frequently contradict what I feel to be the natural progression or growth of a project.

For instance, I am knitting little building blocks which are constructed of mitered squares all knit off of one another. The direction that the pattern tells you to pick up in had me tearing my hair out, and finally I gave up and just did it the way I thought would work. It did, and it looks fine. I am sure that the pattern works, but it doesn't work in my head, which is unaccustomed to following a pattern anyway. I'm sure that Hannah or Jenna or Stevanie could pick that pattern up and knit it beginning to end without any moments of frustration.

There is a moment where the construction deviates from one of my practices for my own designs in order to preserve a certain appearance. There are two ways I would have done it, one to preserve the appearance and one that would have one face of the block looking different. Either way, I think it would look fine.

The point is that this is my weakness in knitting: I don't like patterns, and I don't like fussiness without reason, and I especially don't like needless seaming. I can do all of these things, because I believe that there should be nothing that I cannot do - Only those things which I choose not to do for my own dislike of them.

I would be very curious to know what other people feel about patterns, or their own weaknesses in knitting. I don't consider ignorance of a skill or method to be a weakness, we all learn things as we need to.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Mother's Day/Spring Cleaning Sale

We've placed several large orders recently, only to realize that we don't really have all the room we need for them on the shelves.

So, we thought maybe ya'll would like to buy some yarn on sale.

Here's the low down.

  • All Debbie Bliss - 40% off
  • Lanna Grossa Gala - 30% off
  • All Anny Blatt, including kits - 30% off
  • All Cleckheaton - 30% off
  • All Bouton d'Or - 30% off
  • Pakucho Cotton - 20% off
  • Rowan Ribbon Twist - 30% off

Yarn is better on sale. Everyone knows that sale yarn doesn't count towards stash.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

New Store Ho

Hannah and I were on shift Tuesday, and she was writing the new store hours in the front window. Her first try yielded an interesting sign.

I was in a yarn swap that ended recently, and I got a skein of the most beautiful hand-dyed Blue-Faced Leicester I have ever seen. Blue-Faced Leicester is a wool from a breed of sheep which has a natural blue tint to its fleece. This affects the dyeing process, usually to the good. The colours you get usually have an extra depth and they are quite rich, without being intense. Oh heck, here's a picture so you can see for yourselves!

See the pretty? It's a happy, happy yarn. In the skein, the colours were restful and soothing, now with them all mixed together it's more energetic.

I love it.

It is going to become a hat, which I am knitting sideways, using short-rows to shape the crown.

Just a reminder, we're going to be closed the 20th, 21st, and 22nd of this May to rennovate the store. I think ya'll will like the new look - I know that all of us are excited about it! The whole idea behind the rennovation is to make everything more accessible and easier to see. I'm looking forward to the whole thing.

We're also placing several orders that will be coming in over the course of the summer as we try to gear up for fall. It seems like not that long ago we were trying to get in the summer stuff. You may have noticed that the inventory is low, rest assured that we're getting new things to fill those empty places on the shelves.

I got a new knitting book, I pre-ordered it months ago on Amazon and it showed up today. Here is a small sample of the cover - Can you guess what it might possibly be about?

It's quite charming, lots of good kids projects. I will definitely be making a few things out of here - In my size!

Edit: P.S. We just got a bunch of Koigu and STR in, plus Shepherd's Worsted from Lorna's Laces in four different colourways, all of which are absofrigginglutely gorgeous. They're hanging out front, next to the Purple Lotus.

Monday, May 7, 2007


Okay ya'll, I have the patterns formatted. I have them ready to go. But.

Yeah, but.

The free one is available! Yes, that is true! I dropped it into Stev's e-mail mere moments ago.

But the store will be re-formatting our patterns and I don't know how that will affect the second pattern, which will be for sale. When we get that sorted out, it will also be available. I am SO sorry guys, I never thought it would take so long for this to all fall into place!

Here are some pictures to help soothe you.

This is one of our customers and when I bemoaned my inability to find a friend to model the shawls, she and her mother were sitting nearby in the cafe and her mother instantly volunteered her for the job, which she gracefully accepted.

Sezession I and II from behind

Sezession I

Sezession II

We've also changed our hours. The store is undergoing some changes, all of which are being made by smart and clever people who are working behind the scenes to make the store better.

New Hours
Monday, Tuesday: 10-7
Wednesday, Thursday: 10-9
Friday, Saturday: 10-6
Sunday: 12-5

The cafe is still open at 7 Monday through Friday, and store hours on the weekend.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Summer's Below The Surface

I have to admit to being a summer child. I was born in spring, and Christmas is my favourite holiday, but summer is the season that always feels the best to me. Like putting on a comfy t-shirt, summer lays next to my skin and makes me smile. Spring is always a temptation to spring out into my summer gear without regard for the rain and hail that peppers a Northwestern spring.

I finished my wristwarmers, and I am entranced by the tiny stitches and the fluidity of the fabric They couldn't be more prefect for the kind of weather we've been having.

Yarn: Socks That Rock, mediumweight, in Covelite. From Blue Moon Fiber Arts.

Pattern: My own design for a top-down wristwarmer with a thumb gusset and an afterthought thumb. In the next pair I will probably alter the thumb process to make it more similar to a traditional gusseted thumb.

The shop will be closed May 20th through the 22nd. We are reworking the layout and overhauling the general look of the store. We will be open bright and early on Wednesday so that you can see what we've done. I think it's gonna be great, and of course I'll take pictures of the whole messy ordeal.

Today I will be taking the pictures of the shawls that are on display in the shop to put to the patterns and Sezession I and Sezession II will finally be available. We will be having a class on these shawls at some point, but I don't know when.

AllHemp6 in Deep Sea

By the way, if any of you are allergic to wool or know anyone that is, I can highly suggest the book No Sheep For You by Amy Singer. Amy is the genius behind which has been online for a few years now and is a major force in the on-line knitting community. We don't have the just yet, as we're getting our orders together to send them out but I've been bugging Stevanie to get this book and some of the yarns out of it. I'm starting a sweater out of some beautiful hemp yarn as soon as all my other two sweaters are off the needles. I did sneak in a swatch, and it's truly a magnificent fiber.

Now it's time for class, and I've gotta run. See ya'll in the store.