Tuesday, October 25, 2016

On My Needles (October)

This morning I was knitting in gray.

My morning knitting began with a few rows of my Boardwalk pullover by Heidi Kirrmaier in the "Sweatshirt" colorway of Brooklyn Tweed Loft.

I set that down, and I worked a couple rows of my latest Baa-ble Hat, designed by Donna Smith, in Berocco Ultra Alpaca. The hat ribbing is in the (now discontinued) "Gneiss" colorway.

I set that down, and considered how hard it is to knit only in gray in the middle of winter.

I will be knitting in full color by February. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October Class Swatching... The Baable Hat

I will be teaching a couple of classes at Gosh Yarn It! in Kingston, Pennsylvania this fall. The first will be this Saturday, October 22. (I know it is short notice, but there are still a couple of seats left.) The official title of this class is: "THE BAA-BLE HAT: Tips & Techniques for Stranded Knitting with Carolyn Kern".

The project for the class is the Baable Hat which was designed by Donna Smith for Shetland Wool Week 2015. It became the #1 queued pattern on Ravelry last year, with over 5600 projects posted. The pattern is written using an unusually tight gauge for a worsted/aran weight yarn, though; and many knitters ended up with hats that were larger than they expected.

The bad news is that I learned all of this after I agreed to make a GYI shop sample and teach a class. For my sample, I had to go down from the suggested US size 7 needle to a US size 3. The good news is that this gave me a brand new direction from which to teach a stranded colorwork class.

In the class we will be making a colorwork gauge swatch that simulates working in the round. We will review two-handed stranded colorwork technique, and I will demonstrate making a two color pompom with a Clover pompom maker. I plan to suggest a number of choices the students have to modify the pattern (such as those used by Susan B Anderson). There is no doubt that we will also talk about the newly released Baable cowl and mitten pattern by Donna Smith.

My sample colorwork swatch:

For this kind of a swatch (known as a speed swatch*) you knit all rows from right to left like you are working in the round. The yarn has to be carried behind the work for each row. This is what it looks like from the back.

*There is a reason for the name "speed swatch". Please join me in class this Saturday to learn more.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

BRADAN: My Kelbourne Woolens Arranmore Color Story

In recent years some of my newest favorite yarns (here, here and here) have come from Kelbourne Woolens, who are headquartered in a part of Philadelphia that I am beginning to know very well. (It is exactly that part of Philadelphia where both of my young adult children now live.)

Kelbourne Woolens = Courtney Kelley + Kate Gagnon Osborn. They distribute The Fibre Co unique artisan yarns and Kelbourne Woolens patterns and notions worldwide.

The newest 'The Fibre Co' yarn is Arranmore...
"Inspired by the breathtaking scenery of Ireland's Northern Headlands, Arranmore is spun in a mill that traces its roots to the tweed industry of 19th century County Donegal. Blending cashmere and silk with fine merino wool created an authentic tweed yarn of the finest quality. With a color palette reminiscent of the wild Irish coastlands, this aran weight yarn was designed for makers appreciating the best of luxury and tradition."
Arranmore (80% wool, 10% cashmere, 10% silk) comes in 18 colors, each one "evoking the Irish landscape, language, and history." In this post (a beautiful color story) by Courtney, she asked the question:
"Is there a color that surprised you, or one that you're dying to knit with that isn't in your usual comfort zone? Get inspired to try something new. In the comments on the blog, let us know which of the colors speaks to you, and we'll choose one winner to receive a skein of their choice of color and a copy of our Lacroagh hat!"
I am now "a designer", and sometimes, I let that hold me back from entering contests. But this time (you know how I love color) I thought it OK (quoting Courtney a bit at the end) to say:
"Congratulations on so very many amazing colors with so very many interesting color names and color stories!!! My easy favorites are River Esque, Narin Beach and St Claire. They all sit front and center in my comfort zone. But, I love color, and I LOVE your question about what color surprised me and could be a new one that I would love to knit with...
That is BRADAN... "an Irish Gaelic word meaning 'salmon'"... the "'Salmon of Knowledge' creature" and "a wise man that was transformed into a salmon"... ♥♥♥" 
I won that contest. The yarn is here, and I do love the color Bradan!

♥♥♥  Now off I go to get my ball winder and start swatching...