In the mood for some alpaca? Then take a look at the new colors from Classic Elite in their Alpaca Sox.
For those of your familiar with the super popular Lace Ribbon Scarf from Knitty several years ago, you're likely familiar with this soft and fuzzy yarn. It's the yarn called for in the pattern, and I've knit that pattern three times so far (one, two and three), two of the scarves are on display in the store and one was a given as a Christmas gift. Until today, I even forgot about the second one I knit til I looked on my Ravelry project page! Thank goodness for Ravelry.
If you've already knit this scarf, or would like another project idea, take a look at this one from Lara Neel, Deux Cotes Shawl. Photos by Lara Neel
Lara knit this one in the Nor'Easter colorway. And while multicolors can sometimes obscure a stitch pattern, I think what she chose compliments nicely, don't you?
Oooh oooh oooh! I've been thinking about knitting a hat for James, and I think Alpaca Sox would be the perfect choice! Soft, warm, lots of colors.... now I've got to go search for patterns. Maybe something with a cute earflap?
Remember the Color Affection KAL we had a few months ago? I have some lovely results to show you. There are at least a dozen others that were knit in the store, and these are the ones I've photoed so far. All of these use Madelinetosh Merino Light.
This one belongs to Heather, who knit hers as the store sample using the Merino Light that I had originally intended for my Creekbed scarf last year; colors are Magnolia Leaf, Golden Hickory and Filigree (oh, how I adore Filigree). But you might remember that the pattern was an unenjoyable knit for me and I tore it out and didn't feel guilty about it at all. So now that yarn has been knit into a beautiful Color Affection shawl that will be on display here at the store!
Next is a shawl that belongs to Liz, someone who we adore and have a good time with when she shops with us. I feel like I have something in common with Liz b/c I second guess my color choices when I use more than one in a project. I need someone to coerce me out of my normal gray-on-gray color choices. When Liz chose these colors, she wasn't quite sure about the combo since the Worn Denim didn't full-on-match the Seaside multicolor. But they blended beautifully as you can tell here because of Hickory being a go-between. I love this color choice, don't you? It's my understanding that she is gifting this finished shawl to someone special. A completely selfless endeavor I think- I definitely would have a hard time giving this up!
Finally, my shawl. I originally chose Charcoal, Firewood and Hickory for my shawl. But after knitting the first two sections, I decided to sub Vintage Sari instead of Hickory. This was quite a step for me, because the neutral Hickory would have been the safe choice. But the pinks of the Vintage Sari took this shawl to another level and makes me less affraid to knit and wear color. I wear a lot of gray and black, and I think this shawl will make a nice accent to my fall and winter wardrobe. I don't wear shawls much, as my family life and workday don't allow for flowing garments, but I plan to instead wear it wrapped around my neck like a scarf with my black wool coat all winter. I'll wear it like it is wrapped around the post shown here.
I had a really fun time knitting along with others at the store. I felt like it helped me to get this shawl accomplished in a somewhat short timeline, especially since I just finished it a few weeks before having Henry. The design was simple enough that I didn't get held up with questioning myself all the time, and it shows off the colors of the yarn we all chose really well. And it's the type of design that will have non-knitters stopping and asking where I got such a fabulous scarf, and I can say "I made it!!"
Would you be suprised to learn that nearly all of the knitters that come in the store are women? No, you probably aren't at all shocked by this. If you read the comments on my blog, visit Ravelry, or attend a knitting group, you might notice that the majority of the knitters you encounter are women. I don't know why this is. I plan to teach my sons to knit, and I hope that it's something that they enjoy.
I can probably count on two hands the number of male knitters that have come in the store over the past year. And when they do come by, I love it. I love seeing what they are knitting, what colors they are choosing, and getting a fresh take on what men would like to knit or would like as gifts.
One of the most common questions we get in the store is "Can you show me some things that my husband/son/daughter's boyfriend/grandson might like?" Because even though the majority of the crafters coming in the store are female, they are often knitting for the men in their lives. So over the next couple months, I'm going to highlight for you some sock yarns that might be appropriate gift knitting for the not-so-adventurous-with-color men in our lives. If you are a man or have a man in your life who likes color and wants a teal/lime/yellow pair of socks, that's awesome for you. But my husband likes (somewhat boring) gray, navy, brown and black and I am often looking for colors that he would definitely wear and finished socks that would hold up to not-delicate washing and wearing. And I also want to enjoy what I'm kntiting for him and not want to poke my eyes out trying to knit tiny black stitches in the evening. Not fun.
Are you in the same boat as me? Do you often find yourself knitting for someone who would prefer colors that aren't infused with passion?
Here are a few ideas to start with:
Lorna's Laces Solemate, shown below in Camouflage, Jeans and Cedar (also available in Shepherd Sock Multis and Solids). Not shown- more "safe" colors like Solids of Charcoal, Chocolate, Navy, Dobson, Denim and Echo.
There are also (and will be more in the future) some nice options in Poste Yarn's striping colors. M22 is a nice navy and gold for those who want typical Michigan colors. Also consider Empire State for black/silver sports team socks or at least a fun striping knit in safe, neutral colors.
While Malabrigohas some awesomely bright and eye catching colorways, they also have some interesting, more subdued ones. Check out Alcaucil, Cote D'Azure and Cordovan
Are there particular colors you've knit for the men in your life who could be described as less-than-adveturous? Do share.
April and Kathy! They each won a free copy of the Euralia Shawl pattern from Lara Neel.
I agree with both ladies- Smooshy would be fab. Shown above in 027-Peacock Shadow, 031-Raspberry Blaze and 160-Blue Lagoon. The new Dream Club starts on September 1. Six months of special edition colors from Dream in Color, paired with new patterns. Again, I'll be offering these to you on the first of the month, so be sure to check the blog to take a look at what's offered as the skeins usually go within a day. It's a great way to get a special edtion color without having to sign up for the whole six months- you get to choose as you like them.... though I know many of us end up buying the whole slew of them month-to-month afterall!
If you haven't yet queued this pattern, you can do so here. It's on display right now in the store, so if you happen to come in over the next month or so, you can take a closer look. Our next two open days are this Tuesday (tomorrow) and this Saturday and as my baby break is over, I'll be loving the adult time, though it's likely I'll only be able to hang out for the earlier part of the day.
Henry is six weeks old now, and he's no longer the passive little snuggle bear. He seems to really enjoy being awake and examining our faces and the sounds we make. Yesterday Joe actually got him to giggle. We have a giggling baby! He's growing much quicker than I remember James growing- he's already wearing three-month sleepers and is nearly too long for those. How quickly things change.
.....very well. Just a little bit slower than usual.
Thank you very much for the busy week back! It's going quite well- Henry's coming to work with me for now so that I can keep him fed (apparently that's something that is required for a baby- who knew?), which is nice to a point, but also makes me even more distracted than I already am. I think the combination of not being in the store for 6 weeks with being on my feet for 8 hours and also my mind not quite being out of it's pregnancy and baby fog- well, things went a bit slowly yesterday. I'm just not up to speed. But I've also hired someone new to help with the box packing and store upkeep that I can't physically do while caring for a wee one, so that's a definite plus. So what was a couple years ago just me is now me and four others, helping put together your orders, creating your yarn, and generally loving that we get to be your personal shoppers and dyers all day long. Heather, Mary, Angela, Rachael and I really appreciate you and your passion for knitting! Maybe I'll coerce them into taking a picture sometime soon (though you can also see a few pictures in the photo album on the Facebook page).
I'd say that the highlight of the week so far is seeing what many of you will be receiving in the mail shortly. We like to live vicariously through you- imagining how you display your yarn, wondering what you are knitting with the lovely skeins of Skein Sock and BFL that many of you seem to be getting in large shawl quantities. It's like many of you are our knitting friends- like, "Oh, look what Laura chose today!" Or, "wow, Martha is going to love opening this box." I look forward to a whole week of this! Thank you for making my first week back such a good time.
After a six week break to enjoy the new little bundle in our household, I'm back to work and the online store is in full swing again! Well, more than full-swing (if that's even possible) because there's so much new yarn in stock that all week we will be super busy with all hands on deck.... all except Henry, shown here, who is obviously very comfortable around his mama's yarn. Photos done for me by Happinest Photo (mute your speakers- website is great, except for the music)
What will you find in the store? Directly from Australia, new Skein yarn! I have this for you in a wonderfully soft BFL Sock and a merino Sock. Both have fabulous stitch definition and have a tight twist that holds up well to washing/wearing. If you are a knitter whose craft is fueled by being the first to try something unique and special, this is for you. Skein isn't widely available in the US yet because the cost of importing (and the US dollar compared to Australia's) makes it a bit more expensive, but it's definitely worth adding to your fiber passport. I have a wide array of kettle dyed colors right now- this dyeing process means that while one picture represents the colors you'll find in your skein, yours could have a bit more or less of each of those depending on where it rested in the kettle. It will likely be 2013 before I can get more. Shown below in Sockin Kaffir Lime, Beach Shack and Organic. Love.
You'll also find new colors of our exclusive (dyed right here in SSYC's studio) Poste Yarn striping colors! Right now, my fave is this wonderfully tangy fall color, Sedona Sunset. A photo can't do this hot color justice. I'm wearing these socks this Halloween. I love that the colors are feminine yet reminiscent of Halloween. This wasn't even one of the colors that I was going for in our first release- but it was a combo that Heather came up with and as soon as we all saw it we agreed that it had to be included. It's a really fun knit, watching the stripes develop and seeing the hand dyed variations and depth of color in each row.
You'll also find a traditional black/deep orange stripe, for those of you that want to get a head start on more traditional Halloween socks or mitts. I also have a few "manly" options along with feminine ones in this batch. While the SSYC team has been working during my maternity leave to dye many lovely Poste skeins, it still could sell in a few days or less. So if there's something you definitely want, I recommend a quick order. And yes, these colors will be reproduced, but I don't have a timetable for that right now, nor are we able to take special orders or holds at this time. This is a get-it-when-you-see-it type of yarn.
So many of you have been waiting for more Pashminafrom Madelinetosh, and it's now available in more fab colors. Madelinetosh has had a really hard time getting this merino/cashmere/silk blend from their preferred mill, and yarn stores around the world have therefore been waiting more than 6 months for orders to come in. I'll continue to carry this coveted yarn, but shipments will be unpredictable until Madelinetosh gets things ironed out. It could be well into 2013 before I get a lot more of this.
Want to know how Henry and family are doing? Check out yesterday's post. Thank you for your kindness and support as I took this time off to grow my family. I enjoyed the time with my husband and little ones, but am ready to get back to work!
And if you read this far, you deserve a chance to win this awesome pattern from Lara Neel. Lara is giving two of SSYC patrons a free coupon code for her Eulalia Shawl pattern on Ravelry, which take approx three 100g skeins of fingering weight yarn. Just tell me in the comments below (by 5pm EST on Wednesday, Aug 15) what yarn you'd likely choose to knit this beautifully simple design, and you could win a free pattern (you'll need a Ravelry account to download it). Would you choose one of the new Skein colors in BFL or Sock? What about Madelinetosh's Merino Light like is shown in this picture? Or would the dappled colors of DIC's Smooshy suit you? Or the cashmere blend version? So many options!
Want to see this shawl in person? We'll have it in the store for you to admire throughout August and September! And I don't promise that I won't be wearing it around myself. It's one of those designs that is super versatile- you could wear it to church, and evening out, a baby shower, or just around your shoulders at work when someone else is in control of the thermostat.
The online store is scheduled to reopen on Monday, bringing some awesome tasty yarns to try. I know many of you have been waiting since the announcement in May to get some of the first release of Poste Yarn colors and I won't make you wait much longer. While I have been on maternity leave for nearly 6 weeks, the team has been imagining, winding, dyeing, and tagging up a storm so that we have a nice supply for you. Now, there aren't hundreds and hundreds of skeins. Poste Yarn is a small, artisan line and each skein requires a lot of hands-on time to create. Dyeing striped yarn is very cumbersome, and there will never be huge amounts of this line available. But we will do our best to release some once or twice a month, and hopefully in amounts that will last a few days. Here's a taste of some of the boldly colored shades that are coming soon: Sedona Sunset, Fright Night and Purple Mountains Majesty. I've just completed my first sock in the Sedona Sunset, which will be my awesome Halloween socks this year!
I also have lots of other new yarn, new colors restocks, and a contest to share on Monday and if you haven't signed up for our e-newsletter, it's a good way to make sure you don't miss anything if you don't keep up on the blog.
While I'm looking forward to getting back in the swing of things, I'm not looking forward to managing a baby, a five year old, an adult relationship with my husband, sleep, and the store. I'm not quite sure how it will all come together, but it did five years ago so I'm confident that it will, though perhaps with a few weeks of trying to get it right. I hope you all will be patient with me if I don't blog as often or if shipments take and extra day to arrive, or e-mails aren't returned immediately.
Joe, James and Henry and I are doing very well. A lot of friends and family have come to clean, hold the baby, bring us food, help with laundry, and generally be super helpful so I could recover from surgery and try and enjoy these weeks. Sleep isn't coming as easy as it was in the first week or so- mostly because as time goes on, regular life creeps back in. Joe will be going back to school in a week, James will start his new pre-school, and I will be trying to juggle work and the full-time job of feeding a baby. At least this one makes it a full time job! While I'm trying not to complain too much about it because HEY-THIS-IS-WHAT-I-SIGNED-UP-FOR, I think I forgot how all encompassing feeding a newborn is. All together, I spend 4-5 hours a day nursing a baby, and that's if that doesn't include him falling asleep mid-way and requiring a gentle waking, or changing diapers in the middle of everything when there's a blowout or burping.... I'm making myself tired just thinking about it!
One of the best things about the past few weeks is seeing James become a big brother. From his first arm-fluttering exclamation of "It's my brother!" in the hospital to today's gentle caressing of Henry's head as I nursed, James is an example of kindness and wonder. While I know his sibling will test James' patience as he gets older, right now it's sweet and special and I hope I remember it all.
Thank you all for allowing me this break for my family. I know that not every small business could bounce back from a 6-week break. But I know you are all such a loyal bunch, and I will continue to offer the best service and yarn I can, and if you have any questions or needs, you know where to find me!