After visiting with several customers this week and hearing what they were liking on Ravelry, it seems right to make sure the intel gets out there. Kate and Christine both have some wonderful favorite designers which got lost in the multitude of patterns that come through Ravelry each day. There are also a couple that I noticed along the way. Here’s hoping something inspires you. Very popular: short knit socks. I found one called Pinky but had trouble downloading it — let me know if you find it! xx M.E. and Summit Yarn

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I have a friend who is getting married soon. I would like to make her something special. I have these new used out of publication turn of the century lace patterns with pictures and charts…in German. The chart symbols are translated as well as the basic terms; more than comes with the Japanese stitch dictionaries. While I know, intellectually, I should start with something small in one of these books to get the hang of it, there is just this one pattern saying: KNIT ME. It is special, like my friend–definitely one of a kind. She would love it. Some would call it ego, overachieving or just self-punishment. I call it Fortitude.

I wrote down on an index card a little cheat sheet of the chart symbols. Those of you who worked on Myrna Stahman’s Josephine with me know how hard it is for me just to bend my will to the directions and not season the pattern with my ideas. Just as there was no messing with Myrna, there was no messing with these charts. On the third try, as if by magic, the pictures in the charts came into full view. This designer had different ideas about how to make pictures in lace and I am absolutely reveling in her pure artistry. If you look closely, most designers use and reuse certain of their ideas. This woman from over 100 years ago did not do the same pattern twice in three books of complex knitting. Just this one pattern has taught me so much…both about knitting and myself.

I discovered, on a personal note, how I have blocked myself by creating little rules and sticking to them. I hide them from myself really well, too. It is quite a contemplation. All those little lace rules only served to make things harder on me. I had to LET THEM GO. For me — LET GO, JUST LET GO — is such a huge life lesson. I wonder how many other ways I block myself. What a silly waste of time, rather than allowing myself the full freedom of discovery. The best part: these insights always seem to be associated when I am making a gift for someone else. Hmm…

After this lesson, be encouraged to take some quiet time and try something you normally would not. Be brave. Rip with abandon. Cuss out loud. Then notice the quiet contentment that comes when understanding appears. I remember learning to sew my own clothes. It was magic. My mom would say she would be glad when the new wore off… Because I couldn’t get over how cool it was that my hands could create in that way…I still feel that. I wish that for you.

xx M.E. Langieri and Summit Yarn Studio

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Here is something that has been popular with the Brown Sheep Bulky Superwash yarn. My knitters can get a headband and a scarf from two balls. The scarf pattern will be released free next week.

Cast on 12 stitches on US11 needles.
RS Row 1: KNIT
WS Row 2: k2-p8-k2
RS Row 3: KNIT
WS Row 4: k2-p8-k2
RS Row 5: k2, sl 4 sts to cable needle and hold at back of work,
K next four sts, k4 from cable needle, k2.
WS Row 6: k2-p8-k2

Repeat for 18-20″ depending in size of cranium and BO loosely in knit.
Sew or graft ends together.

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Here is a photo of one repeat of Part Four:

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Part Five:

Rnd 93: (yo, ssk) rep ( to ) around
Rnds 94, 95, 96, 97: knit
Rnd 98: [k1, (yo, ssk) x 7, k1] rep [ to ] around
Rnd 99, 100: knit
Rnd 101: [k1, yo, k2t, k10, yo, k2t, k1] rep [ to ] around
Rnd 102, 103: knit
Rnd 104: [k1, yo, k2t, k2, (yo, k2t) x3, k2, yo, k2t, k1] rep [ to ] around
Rnd 105, 106: knit
Rnd 107: (k1, yo, k2t, k1) rep ( to ) around
Rnd 108, 109: knit
Rnd 110: [k1, yo, k2t, k2, (yo, k2t) x3, k2, yo, k2t, k1] rep [ to ] around
Rnd 111, 112: knit
Rnd113: [k1, yo, k2t, k10, yo, k2t, k1] rep [ to ] around
Rnd 114,115: knit
Rnd 116: [k1, (yo, ssk) x 7, k1] rep [ to ] around
Rnds 117, 118, 119, 120: knit
Rnd 121: (yo, ssk) rep ( to ) around
Rnds 122-129: knit
Rnd 130: (yo x 4, k2t x 4) rep ( to ) around
Rnd 131:  (in the quadruple yo do k1 in the first loop, p1 in the 2nd loop, K1 in the third loop, and p1 in the fourth loop, k4) rep ( to ) around

Rnd 132-139: (8 rounds): knit

I had a very different blog planned for today.  Then a customer came in with a project, a blanket, that she is now ready to begin.  She came in for my best, most professional advice…not really.  She came in wanting me to say what she wanted to hear…and every time I said the word SWATCH, she screwed up her face like she was being forced to swallow the foulest of all medicines.  This swatch will take all of ten minutes and really decide for her what to do to make the blanket look the way SHE WANTS.  I could make sh@t up and say it, but the customer would then blame me and be unsatisfied.  So, I remain honest and stick to my guns.  I have lost customers over this.  It makes me sad, but I would rather you walked out with the best answer, than one that is half-assed and wrong.  EVERY PROJECT STARTS WITH A SWATCH.  WHEN YOU ARE DONE YOU CAN RIP IT OUT TO CONSERVE YARN AND MONEY — BUT PLEASE — DO THE SWATCH IN THE STITCH PATTERN THAT MATTERS MOST.  Got it?  Good.  Other than THE SWATCH, all knitting and fiber-crafting is your artwork.  EVEN SPINNERS DO SWATCHES.  Can you tell, I care about this subject?

Spending some time on Ravelry yesterday yielded some great results.  I found a blog:

http://shneckenstrick.blogspot.com/   (you may have to click on the translate key in the upper right hand corner for the language you need) — this designer focuses on children’s clothes and has great patterns both for free and for sale.  Make sure to check out her latest:  The Bluebell Cardigan, a free download.

Chris: There is a beautiful hat and since I know you love leaves, it is called “Shoots and Leaves Hat” by Jen Barley.  It is beautiful.  Clearly, however, I have been watching too much NCIS because that name could be read quite differently depending on your point of view.

Suzy has been knitting a sweater and wanting to make bust darts.  We have had several discussions, until I found a new pattern by Melissa Leapman and sent Suzy a photo of the boob dart.  The book is called:  Knitting the Perfect Fit and has more than one sweater I would want to wear.  In fact, Donna A. — this book must have been written for you because it has all the shaping you LOVE.

Go to the blog for Kelbourne Woolens and you will find directions for a small scarf  based on a previous pattern called the “Springtime Bandito” — requires about 100 yards of fingering weight yarn.  Follow the Set-up and Body Charts of the original pattern and then finish off with Rows 1-22 of the edge chart.  Bind off knit-wise.  It is adorable.  I would however, budget enough yarn for a few garter ridges because that edge looks like it will roll sooner than later to me.

The Classic Elite Blog is also a great place for error-free patterns by great designers.  Currently there is the Stripie Scarf by Amy Loberg of FiberWild!  If you go to her site, check out the Sugared Violet Shawlette — quite lovely.

I also downloaded a free hat pattern based on Old Shale lace — The Sea Waves Hat.  I love it.  Now I have to find just the perfect yarn to play with.  Wherever shall I find it?

LIVE LONG AND SWATCH,

Mary Ellen and Summit Yarn Studio

One of the things my friends know about me is that I love to solve problems…to tweak and tease a solution to the seemingly impossible.  Years ago, I was looking for a way to make increases in my knitting which were completely invisible.  I went to the textbooks and tried every suggested one.  Either I could simply still see the increase or, worse, it left a gap beneath it.  I finally unvented a solution which I was loathe to share.  It was a definite cheat.  At least so I thought, until scrounging through Elizabeth Zimmerman‘s writings, I found she had come to the same decision.  Good enough for me!, I thought.  Here it is:  the Backwards Loop Cast On.  It is made onto the RIGHT HAND NEEDLE and therefore, not worked until the subsequent row.  It can be likened to the THUMB CAST ON.  It really is invisible and I love it.  I do not use it for everything, only invisibility.  Here it is in photos:

make a loop with the working yarn

 

put the loop on your right hand needle — it is not worked in the row in which it is made

 

snug up to the needle but not too tight, just the same tension as your other stitches

 

Now, when you make the Whipped Shawl or Frog Tree Yarn’s Lady Jane Wrap your increases will be as invisible as your decreases! YAY!

 

back to pre-TNNA knitting….knitknitknitknitknitknitknitknit!

The yarn has been on special all week here at Summit Yarn Studio, regularly $8.50 a ball, it has been $6.50 a ball and will remain so through end of business day tomorrow at 2pm.  Ewetopia has received Cat Bordhi’s recommendations and after having worked with it in every color, I love this wonderful, lofty, sproingy yarn.  Another good name for this yarn would have been — Bounce — because it has so much life, bloom and drape.  The yarn is composed of two plies, one of extrafine merino (at the finest micrometer) and one of superwash extrafine merino — for the purpose that the two plies would take the dye color differently and create a marled yarn.  Some of the marls are more obvious than others and some of the colors have a resplendent mutable quality to them — they are different colors in different light — like the stone Alexandrite.

This is a simple afghan I am knitting using one block in every color (there are 18 colors in all) of this soft and pleasing yarn. As I knit the second strip, I am attaching it directly to the first by a sort of SSK through the back loop involving the new square and the Garter bump on the edge of the old square. I also cast on the second square connected to the first by drawing up my first stitch at the corner of the first old block and then doing a long tail cast on. Come to class if you are interested in learning sew-free techniques!

 

Everyone who has “met” this yarn has immediately wanted to do at least one sweater with it.  Robin has completed two out of three sweaters, Chris is nearly done with her first, Suzy purchased by Pink for a Pullover (ala Simple Summer Tweed by Heidi Kirrmaier — free on Ravelry), Barbara and Charlotte are both waiting for “The Angel”, my newest design and have their yarn tucked away.  Here are some photos:

Swatch by Chris for a sweater with eyelets in the Green Ewetopia.

 

Vee-Neck knit in the round by Robin using Ewetopia — a 43″ chest circumference took 12 balls.

 

Robin used the Simple Summer Tweed pattern without joining at the front to create a Cardigan in the Claret colored Ewetopia.

 

This is a close up of Red Ewetopia for a sweater called: “Shadow” ( also available on Ravelry ) being made by Chris.

 

This is “Warm Me UP”, a vest which can be worn three ways — as above, crossed at the front like a ballet sweater, or with one side (the cable — which runs up the back, over the shoulder and down the front) thrown over the opposite shoulder, like a shawl or Ruana. This pattern is available from Frog Tree Yarns and was designed by yours truly.

 

The sleeve of this sweater is knit in the DARKEST GREY of EWETOPIA and still the texture shows, even in not so great lighting. What appears to be a one stitch rib is much more, but all sucked in because this was obviously taken prior to blocking. The rest of this sweater can be seen in the Frog Tree Booth in Columbus at TNNA, or request the pattern called: “The Admiral”.

 

There are many other new designs available for EWETOPIA, all of which will be available at this June’s Columbus TNNA at the booth for Frog Tree Yarns.  The is the most popular new yarn here at Summit Yarn Studio.  If your LYS does not yet carry Frog Tree Yarns, a minimum order is just one bag of any of their wonderful yarns.  Bear in mind, this is a not-for-profit company, so purchasing their yarns does good on both your needles and in this world.

over and out for today, Mary Ellen and Summit Yarn