Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New starts

I started a couple new projects last week and I am very excited about both.

First up... I was working along on Gisela Redux at good speed and ran out of balled yarn and it was late and I didn't feel like winding it so I started another sweater. Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it. The project - Ann Budd's Garter Lace Jacket from Simple Style. Since the yarn I selected for this one is put up in balls why not get it on the needles ;-) I'm using Jojoland Fingering weight wool in a tan color. This will be a very light and airy sweater; perfect for Spring and Summer here in the Pacific North West. I got gauge with US7 needles and away I went.

The back is a simple garter stitch pattern so perfect mindless knitting but can't wait to see the lace form on the front pieces.

Jojoland fingering weight - Not just for socks.
Perfect for light weight sweaters and shawls too!

A tan sweater will soon join my small but growing collection of hand knitted sweaters.

Here's a picture from the book Simple Style.

Don't worry about poor Gisela. This weekend I'll wind up the reclaimed yarn this weekend and finish the back, left front and sleeves. She'll get done... trust me I can't wait to wear this one too.
Now for the really big new project announcement.
Last week I started back to work. You know that 9-5 thing that supports my knitting habit.
Currently scheduled to go through the end of November with the possibility of extending.
So what does this mean for The Knitting Hutch. Not much change really. I'll still be processing orders as quickly as possible (1-2 days). New items are still coming in and on the horizon. I probably won't be blogging and tweeting as often but will continue to keep you up to date with goings on.
Now off to name my new lacy, gartery sweater while making progress on it.
Don't forget to ....
Enjoy your knitting!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Yarn Review Thursday

Well better late than never.

This installment of the Yarn Review will feature one of the indie sock yarn dyers I just put up in the shop. I am proud to introduce to you Yarn Lust. I've admired her hand dyed yarns for some time and some of you might be familiar with her fun stitch markers I've included in the Seasons of Habu kits. She comes from my old stomping grounds in the Bay Area of California and knew her colors would be perfect for the Pacific Coast Inspired collection of sock yarns. She is a joy to work with and look forward to our future collaborations.

Now on with the details ....

Yarn - Yarn Lust - Better Than Basics base yarn
Weight - 3 ply fingering with a tight twist
Content - 100% Superwash Merino Wool
Yardage - approx 440 yards
Unit weight - 150 g / 5.5 oz
Gauge - 6 to 8 stitches per inch
Needle Size - US0 -3 for socks
Care - Machine or Hand Wash Cold / Lay Flat to Dry
Colors available - Tiffany (shown), Green Tea Genmaicha, Tokyo Tea and Flannel PJs. Take a look at these colors.

For the sample project I selected the Tiffany (think Breakfast at Tiffany's) and went in search of a sock pattern. I first thought I'd go with a simple knit and purl pattern in a diamond design. Well that was all Fail. It looked manly and that wasn't what I was going for with this colorway. So ripped that one back to the cuff and searched through More Sensational Knitted Socks and found a really nice but simple lace.

Stems -Perfect! Not too lacy but enough for a lady's sock. Very easily memorized 6 stitch and 4 row pattern. I started by casting on 60 stitches and did a twisted 1x1 rib for the cuff for 14 rows and on with the pattern for the leg. I love how the Tiffany Blue, beige and brown spiral down the cuff and leg.
Then with a traditional heel flap and gusset the layering of colors was tighter giving another interesting effect.

Instep continued the pattern repeat giving a nice flash of colors.

Then the typical odd row decrease for the toe brings back the tight layers of colors.

My gauge with US 1's and knitting on the tight side was 8 stitches per inch.
Love the yarn, color and pattern and can't wait to finish it's mate (along with the other 2 single socks).
So I hope you enjoyed this installment of Yarn Review
and don't forget to ...
Enjoy your knitting!
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day

I know it's supposed to be Yarn Review Wednesday but I'll be a day late this time.

Just a quick post to wish you a Happy Earth Day.

So what am I doing for Earth Day?
I set up a soaker hosed through the front flower bed which will save water (and time) and ordered this.

Winged Weeder Jr. My sister brought hers on Sunday to use to help weed the above mentioned flower bed. Rips right through those shallow rooted weeds. This is the short handled (12") but they also have a long handled version as well. I purchased mine through Amazon - here's the Winged Weeder web site.

The weather isn't the best today so don't think I'll do any knitting in the yard but will finish up the project for the next Yarn Review tonight and promise to share tomorrow.

How are you spending Earth Day?

and as always ....

Enjoy your knitting!

Monday, April 20, 2009


Just finished a couple singles this weekend.
It was an enjoyable weekend here in the PNW. Perfect weather to work in the yard, knit and visit with my sister and yummy meals. I was able to finish the 2 socks in progress!
The yarn on the left is coming soon. The pattern is Math Wiz by Anne Hanson of Knitspot Fiber Lounge. What a fun and easy pattern and went up so quickly. Perfect for a hand dyed sock yarn. Gives texture but no worry of loosing the pattern in the yarn. The lovely on the right is Dream In Color Smooshy - Gothic Rose. Love this yarn and colorway! It will arrive on Thursday or Friday but I've put it up for you to reserve yours now. If you haven't tried Dream in Color sock yarn you are in for a real treat. Smooshy is the perfect adjective. Sorry this picture doesn't show it as well as I'd like. Promise better pictures coming soon. The pattern is Queen of Cups on knitty.com. This was the perfect pattern I thought for this gothicy colorway and it's been on my to do for quite some time. Fun and a bit of a challenge.
Here's another gratuitous shot of the singles.

Not to worry they won't be single for long. I don't suffer from Second Sock Syndrome. However I do suffer from startitis so you will probably see another single wanting a mate here soon.

That's all for now.

but don't forget ....

Enjoy your knitting!

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Friday, April 17, 2009

On The Needles Friday

Dueling socks in process

Before I tell you about them I received a comment from Kathleen. She added to the list of reasons to love knitting socks. The Applause Factor or what I call The Wow Factor. She is so right about this. People are fascinated by the idea and process of knitting socks and you can impress them the magic of sock knitting. As she mentioned people also love getting them for gifts too. Thanks Kathleen for adding this to the list.

I have 2 socks on the needles right now. I'm using sample yarns from dyers that will be in the shop very soon and think you will love too.

The first one is from an indie dyer here in Washington state. Loving this one. Starting with the lovely sock weight yarn with a nice tight twist (the way I like it). Then the colorway blew me away with all it's tweedyness. I will be bringing in this colorway along with 3 others from this dyer in the next 2-3 weeks.
I had to restrain myself from winding it immediately into a ball just long enough to take the above picture. Then directly to the swift and ball winder it went and it became this...

Then with the needles and the perfect pattern in hand I cast on and knitted the leg of a sock.
Tonight I'll do the heel flap and gusset so it can catch up with the other sock in progress.
This one comes from a more well known dyer that is well loved and I couldn't resist bringing it in as well. The order shipped yesterday and I will have it up in the shop next weekend.

This yarn is a joy to knit with. Very squishy and perfect twist with deep color tones. Good thing I don't have a shortage of US1 16" circs for socks. I selected a pattern I've been wanting to knit for quite some times and thought worked with this colorway perfectly. I'll share the details when the yarn goes up next weekend. It is currently at the gusset decrease and moving along nicely.
So that's my current knitting projects for the weekend. Hoping the weather cooperates so I can do some yard work and knitting outside.
What's on your needles?
Enjoy your weekend and of course ...
Enjoy your knitting!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Joy of Socks

What is it that those of us crazy about knitting socks find addicting? I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here but for those that haven't jumped into the sock knitting world yet I thought I'd share my perspective.
  • The Yarn. You have a wide range of colors, types and content to choose from. There are the basic solid color wool, commercial multi color dyed/plyed yarns, indie hand dyed in semi-solid colors to fun and wild multi colors. Content can also range from non-superwash wool, super-wash wool, wool and nylon blends, wool and silk, wool and silver and yes even cotton.
  • The Techniques. As a new knitter socks can seem like an intimidating project. I think it has to do with envisioning all those crazy double pointed needles and how to keep them under control. However we're not constrained to using only dpns to knit socks. You can use 2 9" - 16" circular needles for the 2 circ method or go magic loop with a long circular. Really all it is is knitting in the round and some short rows on a small scale. You can start at the top and work down to the toe or start toe up. Bottom line is it's isn't hard and there are so many resources on-line now to learn any new techniques. My favorite examples are from knitty.com. Magic Cast on for Toe up and Kitchener stitch for sewing up the toes. Once I had these down there was no looking back
  • The Patterns. I can't tell you how many sock knitting books there are out there but I must have most of them in my knitting library. Then there are some really great indie designers out there with sock patterns ranging from a basic sock pattern to some very intricate patterns. It is also the perfect way to start designing. Create your favorite sock recipe mixing starting point, heel and toe style blending with the perfect stitch pattern from a stitch dictionary and voila you have your own personal sock pattern. It is also a great way to try out a new stitch pattern on a smallish project.
  • The Portability Factor. You can take it with you. At least to where ever you know you will be spending some time waiting. Socks are perfect travel projects since they are small and fit in your bag. I am not good at just sitting in waiting rooms with nothing to do so having a sock project to work on makes the time go faster.
  • The Cost. Socks are relatively inexpensive knitting projects. The yarn can range from $6.00 to $30.00+ for a pair of socks which is considerably less than yarn for a sweater or blanket. Basically, really easy to justify and classify sock yarn as non-stash yarn.
  • The End Result. From 400+ yards of fingering weight yarn you can produce something like this.
Are you a sock knitting addict? I know I am with 3 different socks currently in progress and 40+ skeins/balls of sock yarn waiting their turn ;-) Tomorrow I'll share 2 of them with you.
and till next time ...
Enjoy your knitting!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Too busy to ... you know

It's been one of those crazy days here and no time for a proper blog so I'll leave you with some sock yarn pron. This is one of the new sock yarns in the hand-dyed and Pacific Coast inspired collections. Ducks in the Sky.

Promise to try and do you better tomorrow.

Don't worry I'm still allowing some knitting time in the evening.

Till then ...

Enjoy your knitting!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Let's talk about socks baby ...

They're in and they are beautiful. I am so excited about bringing back into the shop a selection of sock yarns. As any sock knitter knows they make the best to go project. With spring events coming up such as baseball games, picnics, camping and so on you can't have too many socks on the needles. I have a nice selection of hand pained yarns by indie (and not so indie) dyers, in happy colors along with semi-solids. There are also solids and variegated plied yarns in a very nice price point by Jojoland Yarns. Below is just a taste of what is available and there is more on the way.

These 4 yarns are part of what call the Pacific Coast Inspired collection. Currently I have 2 indie dyers in with 12 colors with a 3rd indie on the way. The 3 dyers come from California, Oregon and Washington State and are inspired by the Pacific both East and West.

Tokyo Tea - by Yarn Lust

Green Tea Genmaicha - by Yarn Lust

Walk in a different park - by tjtunraveled

Fire in the sand - by tjtunraveled

Then to bring you some solid and multi plied yarns I've brought back one of my favorites.
Jojoland Yarns.

Now don't forget to take a look at sock needles and patterns too ;-)
Tomorrow I'll share some socks I've been getting busy with.

and as always ...
enjoy your knitting!

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Two steps forward and one step back

This weekend I made some progress and not so much progress.
Finished a pair of socks I knit using some sample yarn from a new indie dyer I'll be introducing you to very, very soon. Love it and more details to come when the order arrives.

Then I cast on another sock using a sample yarn from yet another yarn dyer that will be coming in a few weeks. Loving this yarn too... very much.

Oh, while we're talking indie yarn dyers and sock yarns I just received my first order with another that I'll introduce to you tomorrow. So be sure to check back in.

So there's the two steps forward and now for the one step back.

I unravelled Gisela. My gauge was off and she was toooooo small. No worries though she'll be back on the needles before you know it.
There was also some major progress on another favorite project but I'll save that for later in the week.
and don't forget ...
Enjoy your knitting!
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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Wednesday Yarn Review

Today's yarn and pattern are with Mother's Day in mind. Yes, there's still time to knit something nice for Mom or any mom in your life this Mother's day. This is a quick mohair lace scarf that goes up quick and she will love. May 10th is Mother's day.

Weight - Lace 1/12
Content - 60% Silk / 40% Mohair
Yardage - 186 yds. per 1/2 oz
Unit weight - 50 grams (1.76 ounces)
Put up - 1/2 oz Ball
Gauge - 7.25 = 1 inch blocked
Needle size - US 3 - 4 for lace
Care - Hand Wash & Dry Flat or Dry Clean

This silk mohair blend has more silk content than the usual mohair available. It also is a more friendly mohair to work with. I've knit with mohair that was so grabby that it was impossible to frog or even tink back a few rows. I used my Colonial Rosewood US3 to get the gauge mentioned above.

Pattern - Habu Feather and Fan Lace Scarf

I thought that this would be the perfect pattern for those not familiar with mohair since it the lace pattern is only on 1 of the 4 row repeat. I took 2 colors of this mohair to mix it up a bit. I used a web die roll program to get a random number between 2 and 12 to determine the number of repeats for each color. Then kept knitting until I got the length I wanted. It blocked out to 5.25" wide and 56" long and there was still plenty left so you could easily widen and lengthen with only 1 oz of this yarn.

The Kit
This is an easy one. Purchase 2 balls of the A-32b Silk Mohair Kusa and I'll include the pattern for the scarf (or email you the pdf). Select 2 of the same color or mix it up like I did with 2 coordinating colors. Have fun with it.

and as always ...
Enjoy your knitting!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Italian Quake and knitting

My thoughts and prayers are with those effected by yesterday's quake and remaining aftershocks in central Italy. The loss of life and devastation is just heart wrenching and my heart goes out to them. I was raised and lived most of my life in the SF Bay Area and experienced the impact of the '89 Loma Prieta quake so know a little what they must be going through. Jumping at the least, little aftershock while picking up all the pieces (literally and figuratively). Never being able to look at freeway overpasses the same again.

Someone on Ravelry posted a link to a news article about a 98 year old grandmother who was buried in her home for 30 hours and passed the time by knitting. I think I know one of her secret to longevity. She deals with stress extremely well is all I can say. I would have been pacing the floor and unable to knit 1 stitch. Bravisimo, Maria D'Antuono!!!

Let's take some time out today and send good thougths and prayers while we take up our needles tonight.

Tomorrow, back to our bi-weekly yarn review post.

and as always ....

Enjoy your knitting!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Not much new... yet

I worked on the project for this week's featured yarn, pattern and kit review. Here's a peek at the progress so far. Need to do some focused knitting tonight so I can wash and block tomorrow.
This Habu silk mohair is a real joy to work with, compared to most mohair. I've had to tink back a few times and no swearing ensued ;-)
You will be seeing some new and exciting things coming into the shop in the upcoming weeks and months. There will be various types of sock yarn, patterns and books. Oh, and I put in my second order for The Knit Kit so it's available for pre-ordering again.

Well, that's all for today as I am waiting for UPS to deliver some Habu.

and as always ...

Enjoy your knitting!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Off again, On again

Project off the needles always means projects on the needles.

Last night I finished and cast off the other side of the Seasons of Habu Summer Shell Top.
I really, really need to get busy naming this pattern (any suggestions)?
This project showed me that I can take multi-tasking way too far. This is a really quick knit and it would have been completed last week had I not tried TV, Twitter, email and knitting all at the same time. Anyways, it's all knitted up and just needs the second piece washed and blocked before a little sewing up.

So since a project was off the needles I had to start another one. Here is just a little peek.
This will be next Wednesday's Yarn review and project discussion here. I'm planning on it being a perfect project for Mother's Day. You know it'll be here before we know it.

Then I had to do a little 'research' knitting for some yarn I'm planning on bringing into the shop very soon. Hope to be able to share more about this in the next few weeks. In the meantime here's a peek.
Now off to do some weaving, washing, blocking, knitting ....
and as always ...
Enjoy your knitting!