Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Woolen Treasure

I subscribe to the DenverKnits email list and last week Donna Druchunas had advertised an event at Woolen Treasures in Loveland:

"June Hall, who is visiting from England, will be giving lectures at Woolen Treasures yarn shop in Loveland on April 21 and 22 at 6:00 PM. She's a local historian and has been studying the history of knitting in the UK as well as in Lithuania for many years. Here are some topics she'll be talking about:
  1. History of hand knitting in Northern England. Knitting became an important cottage industry from around 1600 to late 1800's.

  2. St. Kilda - Britain's remotest islands - the islands, the voyage and the Soay sheep, Europe's oldest breed, which have lived there for 3,500 years.

  3. The Wool Clip - a cooperative of sheep farmers and wool craft workers in England's Lake District.

  4. The importance of sheep in shaping England's landscape. The evolution of breeds. "
I was immediately drawn to the event given that: I'm from Northern England (not too far from the Lake District); about once a fortnight I work out of our Loveland office anyway; I hadn't yet visited Woolen Treasures on the Colorado Yarn Tour. Not to mention that I love learning about all things knitty.

So I scheduled meetings in Loveland yesterday and made the 90 mile road trip up there, all with the ulterior motive of visiting this yarn store after work ;o) And what a fabulous evening it was!

June is a warm, engaging and wonderful speaker with an amazing wealth of knowledge. She had us all fascinated for a good couple of hours. Oh and for my friends in the UK, June also is one of the major organizers of Woolfest. Go check it out and tell her Samantha sent you ;) To be honest I'm even wondering if I should try and plan my next trip home for this! Taking a day trip with my family to a woolfest in the beautiful Lake District... I'd be a very happy girl!

And Woolen Treasure is a diamond of a store. It's a home that's been converted into a yarn store and has a really welcoming and cosy feel.

She has a quite a number of unique items including some beautiful handcrafted buttons -- I thought I'd hit the jackpot when I found some that would work beautifully for Buttony. But alas my buttony needs 13 buttons and there simply weren't enough of this type in the store.

There is also a huge variety of particularly lovely yarns. One of the rooms was dedicated to sock yarn, which might explain why I came home with quite the stash of Shi Bui sock yarn.

I picked up some in a rust colourway and a green colourway. I haven't decided which I'll be using for the Colorado blanket yet. (I'm expanding the colour scheme to include some green, after seeing this picture). Either way I think they are both winners.

Loveland, Colorado, is also home of Interweave Press. It's literally just down the street from this store. I took a little wander over there and shot a few snaps.

I feel that there could be more detours on the way home from my future Loveland trips!

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Buttony is pretty much complete... except for the buttons, that is!

I trapsed around a couple of the big craft chain stores today, with no success. I'm thinking a surf on Etsy, and the web in general, might prove more fruitful.

Unless anyone in the South Denver area can point me in the direction of somewhere local to find fabulous buttons?


Thursday, April 17, 2008

I Love Knitting

The title isn't a proclamation of what you already know to be true. It's stop 8 on the Colorado Yarn Tour -- a new yarn store in Denver named I Love Knitting. (I was lucky enough to be at a work meeting this week literally around the corner from this store, and so took a mini detour on the way home.)

I was greeted by a table of knitters as I entered the store. And then happily was left to browse, stroke, ooh and aah over the various yarns.

The usual suspects were there in abundance -- Rowan, Noro, Debbie Bliss, Berroco, Sublime etc etc... Although this is the first store in the area that I've seen that carries Be Sweet products. Oh how excited I was to see the Be Sweet yarn. But not nearly as excited as when I saw some of the Be Sweet handbags. Aren't they pretty? And that's not all - Be Sweet supports job creation programs that help empower female artisans in South Africa.

It was a tough choice deciding on a yarn for the Colorado afghan, but I settled on some Berroco Seduce that I've been eyeing up. It's a lovely dark chocolate colour with blue flecks and I think this will be a nice addition to the colour scheme. Now I really need to get knitting some of the squares...

Colorado Yarn Tour -- Summary

What's the Colorado Yarn Tour? Well, Nachaele had a fun idea to visit all the yarn stores in Colorado this year, buy a skein of yarn in each, and make a 'Colorado' afghan.

This will be my summary post for all the stores I visit. Although I'm wondering if 'visit all' is truly possible -- I believe there are over 60 stores in the state of Colorado. (And that would be one sizeable afghan). So I've started close to home and will be slowly visiting those futher afield, and will see how far I get.

As for the afghan, I started by picking my colour scheme in the first store -- there was a bundle of threads that caught my eye. I've been told that they came from a weaver in Aspen. My idea is to make a version of the Mosaic blanket from '100 afghan squares to knit' that predominantly uses these colours. (Although I'm wondering if with all these stores I'll be making a different blanket, in a different colour scheme, for every room in the house!)

Enough of my waffle, here's the list of stores visited so far (in order of places visited, and links to my blog posts about each):

  1. Yarn Arts, Parker (now closed, I think)
  2. The Knitting Habitat, Aurora
  3. Colorful Yarns, Centennial
  4. String Boutique, Highlands Ranch (now under new ownership/management)
  5. Purls of Wisdom, Parker
  6. A Knitted Peace, Littleton
  7. Knitty Cat, Centennial
  8. I Love Knitting, Denver
  9. Woolen Treasures, Loveland
  10. The Yarn Studio, Minturn
  11. Yarn, Durango
  12. Knit One on Pearl Street, Bayfield
  13. Edelweiss Needlework Chalet, Pagosa Springs
  14. Serendipity, Buena Vista
  15. to be continued...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Lacy Summer Socks

So much for finishing them before Easter, but here are the finished Lacy Summer Socks:

  • Pattern: Lacy Summer Socks from Joan McGowan-Michael's 'Knitting Lingerie Style'
  • Yarn: Blue Moon's socks that rock mediumweight in Little Bunny Foo Foo
  • Needles: US 3 dpns
  • Modifications: I knit a stocking stitch sole instead of a lacy one (figured it would feel better underfoot)
I do like these socks - they were a quick knit on size 3s; a very simple pattern; lovely yarn that didn't pool (yay for no pooling!). ...but if I were to make them again I'd probably make a couple of modifications:
  • I'd use a solid or semi-solid yarn so that you can see the lacy detail; it's obscured by the striping (should have known that)
  • I'd use a different method for the toe and the heel (which weirdly enough use the exact same technique! easy enough to do... I just prefer a neater look... although that could just be because I didn't do a great job of picking up the stitches evenly.)
I'm enjoying finishing some of the projects I have on the needles before I bring some of last year's summer WIPs out of hibernation.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Knitty Cat

Stop 7 on the Colorado Yarn Tour is Knitty Cat in Centennial.

I am lucky to have a wide selection of wonderful yarn stores in my neighbourhood. And Knitty Cat is one of them. Anne, Knitty Cat's super friendly and helpful owner, stocks a wide variety of brands of yarns -- Rowan, Noro, Debbie Bliss, Twinkle, Lorna's Laces... to name but a few.

Don't you just love the 'lemonade stand' at the front. And the seating area in the middle where you can swing by, hang out, knit and chat.

And of course the 'classroom', or social knitting area.

With all these great stores, it started me thinking about what it was that set each apart from the other? They all stock premium brands of yarn, although you'll know to go one place for Rowan and another for Debbie Bliss and yet another for Habu etc... You could say each store has it's own unique 'style'. And given that they are dotted around the South Denver area they potentially cater to local pockets of knitters (but I know better than that -- knitters will happily travel far and wide to visit a yarn store)

So what is it about Knitty Cat that sets it apart? What immediately jumped to my mind was that Anne has actively built a community of knitters, or a hardcore following, if you will. ;o) There always seems to be a store knitalong in progress -- the next one is the Great American Afghan and I think she mentioned more than 60 knitters were signed up already! How fun is that! And on a one on one basis, Anne treats you like a friend - she knows your name, remembers details about your family, the last project you worked on etc (even if you haven't been in a while).

Another great store to add to the yarn crawl list if you are in the area!

Oh, and before I forget, I did pick up some wonderful yarn for the Colorado afghan -- a terracotta coloured soy silk yarn from Conjoined Creations.

Wee Tiny Sock

Wee Tiny Sock, originally uploaded by samjoepics.

My wee tiny sock arrived the other day, and it's a beauty!

The yarn is Fleece Artist Sea Wool. In colourway Spring. Which just so happens to be the name of my lovely swap partner! Thanks Spring - I love it!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Elizabeth Zimmerman (February) Baby Sweater

I am so very happy with how the baby sweater turned out:

  • Pattern: Elizabeth Zimmerman's (February) Baby Sweater on Two Needles from Knitter's Almanac
  • Yarn: Sundara's superwash merino sock yarn in 'Magnolia' (from last year's Petal's collection)
  • Needles: US 3
  • Modifications: Pattern calls for a gauge of 5 stitches per inch, but I had received artistic direction* to use this yarn and was getting a gauge of 7 stitches per inch. I didn't want to go up a needle otherwise the fabric would have been too 'airy' for my liking, so instead of casting on the suggested 50, I cast on 71 (the amount of stitches you'd have after the first round of increases). And after the last set of increases around the yoke I added a couple of extra rows of garter stitch. Oh, and I only added buttonholes at the top of the sweater, instead of all the way down the front.

*Joe likes to joke with me about the lack of accolades on my blog for his artistic direction. So here it is folks: I started with the cute dress and knew that I wanted to make this cardigan to go with it. So I raided the stash to see what would work and laid the various skeins of wonderful Sundara yarn next to the dress. But I was having a devil of a time choosing. It was Joe who swooped in and immediately pointed out this one (after I'd sent a good amount of time umming and aahing, then umming some more). I think he made a good choice. ;o)

Shelley had asked:
I have got myself confused from the bit that reads at 4.5", work 25 stitches (in pattern?) and cast on 7 at each end of them (14 in total?) and what is the best way to add them at the end...

Unfortunately there was no return email address, so Shelley I hope you find this here:

  • work 25 stitches in pattern
  • cast of 7 stitches at each end of each sleeve (14 in total for each sleeve)
  • at the beginning of the sleeve I used a knitted cast on to add 7 stitches (see 'Knitting on' video on this page).
  • at the end of the sleeve I used a backward loop cast-on to add the other 7 stitches to the other side of the sleeve (see 'Single cast-on' cast on video on this page. ...and I agree that the first row of knitting can be tricky after casting on in this way, but after that it's fine.)
Hope that helps,

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Eventful Weekend

What a great weekend!

Friday night the Yarn Harlot visited the Tattered Cover in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. More than 200 knitters were there to greet her. I've never seen anything like it before. And I got a good giggle from seeing non-knitters enter unwittingly into the store and encounter knitters everywhere chatting, laughing, knitting and wearing the most beautiful handcrafted designs. It was so much fun and I met some lovely new people. I hadn't heard Stephanie speak before, or read much of her material, but now know what I'm missing out on... and will be correcting the errors of my ways immediately ;)

Stephanie was kind enough to then sign the books that the 200+ had purchased, chat, smile, pose for a picture and charm each and every one of us! What a wonderful, and hysterically funny, lady.

Saturday I visited the Habu Trunk Sale at a Knitted Peace. Oh how I love Habu! And to be able to try on a bunch of the sweaters was such a treat. I fell in love with one of the designs -- a simple wool cardigan that has a couple of coloured threads running through. I could have easily bought a closet full of kits... but I've been on quite the yarn shopping spree as of late and so I decided that one was probably plenty. Well one and a skein of yummy Red Rocks sock yarn. ;)

And then today rounded out the weekend with a trip to the Ball Park -- it was opening weekend for the Rockies. And despite the disappointing score, it was a beautiful day!

Now if only I could take a day, or two, to put my feet up before the impending work week kicks off.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Sugar and Spice

After hearing the good news that my cousin and his wife welcomed a baby girl to the world on Easter Sunday I've been knitting on an adorable little baby girl sweater -- the Elizabeth Zimmerman baby sweater on 2 needles. I've been eagerly awaiting for someone to give me the reason to work on one of these; I've seen so many beautiful versions out there in Blogsville.

So now I have the reason. And some yummy pink Sundara yarn:

Obviously I'm not just giving you a sneak peek at the sweater... ;o)
I'm also showcasing these sugar-inspired lovelies. I think these stitch markers are so very cute. (Another fine Etsy purchase from Etsy seller Kishcrafts!)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Slimline Jacket

I finally finished the Debbie Bliss Slimline Jacket:

I'm fairly pleased with the outcome. The main appeal for me was how snuggly soft the yarn is. As for the rest, it's pretty basic.

  • Pattern: Slimline Jacket by Debbie Bliss from Out of Town collection
  • Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan. (Although I was knitting to gauge, I needed one extra skein than the pattern called for.)
  • Modifications: I added a single crochet border around the collar because it kept curling up on me; the crochet edge seems to have done the trick to fix this.
  • Omissions: Buttons! Since it was a straightforward knit, I worked on it when I was with my knitting buddies. Unfortunately, I was soo busy gabbing that I forgot to add buttonholes! So instead I've added a bit of bling in the form of this snazzy silver shawl screw:
Silver shawl screw is from Etsy seller Silversex.