Monday, December 31, 2012

Show and Tell: Charlize Shawl

Lisa Schwarz (TripKnit on Ravelry) used 1 skein of Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock to make a Charlize Shawl.

She had this to say about it.

My favorite part of knitting Charlize was producing a finished object that is all at once light and lacy, geometric and curv. And I’m in love with the Three Irish Girls Roisin colorway -- Sharon is a color genius and this one never got old - wish I had more!

If you’re planning to knit this pattern, make a vow to “stay found.” If you lose your place in the deceptively simple lace pattern, you probably won’t know it until several hundred stitches later when you have the wrong number of stitches at the end of a row. The Ravelry notes from several knitters had very good tips for reading this particular lace pattern to avoid that problem. But check for the notes before you run into trouble -- ask me how I know. :)

Thanks, Lisa! If you want to read about her travels, check out her blog here.

The photo is from Lisa's Ravelry page, and is used with her permission.

Want to share your story? Email me at jessie at stevenbe dot com.

Want to buy something you read about here? Call us! 612-259-7525.

Happy New Year, everyone! What will 2013 bring to your knitting bag?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Show and Tell: Purl Ridge Scarf

Nicole (nicnicnab on Ravelry) used a skein of Three Irish Girls Wexford Merino Silk to make a Purl Ridge Scarf cowl last summer.

She had this to say about it:

My favourite part of knitting the cowl was working with the yarn! It was so soft and the colours ended up pooling nicely. The pattern was really easy to follow - a quick mindless knit - great for a first time knitting in the round project.

Advice for a friend? I found the cowl a little snug when doubled over so next time I’d likely cast on a few more stitches or block it.

Thanks, Nicole! The ridges really show off the beautiful colors in this yarn.

The photo is from Nicole's Ravelry page, and is used with her permission.

Want to share your story? Email me at jessie at stevenbe dot com.

Want to buy something you read about here? Call us! 612-259-7525.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

For Your Review: Malabrigo Rios

I can't show you the whole project, (you know, this time of year), but here's part of a fabulous design one of our customers is making out of Malabrigo Rios, a worsted-weight yarn.

It's squoooshy, it's cushy, and, of course, the colors are TO DIE FOR. There are 40 colorways for this yarn right now. This one is called "Piedras."

The stitch definition is lovely, too, don't you think? It's also machine-washable, so you can use it for projects like baby blankets that need frequent washing.

Come get your fingers into some today!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Show and Tell: Cinnamon Toast

Laura (LauraAylor on Ravelry) designed Cinnamon Toast, a large crescent-shaped shawl or shawlette/scarf worked from the top down with lots of texture, and knit it up in Madelinetosh Pashmina.

She wrote: "Pashmina is one of my favorites and I’ve knit with it many times. It’s a good weight for the climate where I live and of course, the tosh colors are to die for!"
Thanks, Laura! It looks really warm and cozy.
The photos are from Laura's Ravelry page, and are used with her permission.
Want to share your story? Email me at jessie at stevenbe dot com.
Want to buy something you read about here? Call us! 612-259-7525.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

For Your Review: The Perfect Circular Needles?

Like a lot of knitters, I have a growing collection of needles. I store many of them in unglamorous (but convenient and cheap!) zip-top bags like this:

These are a few of my size 8 (5.0 mm) needles.
My collection is ever-growing for many reasons. Sometimes I have too many needles wrapped up in one project, but I want to start another. But, sometimes, I just don't  have the right tool for the job at hand, and it drives me nuts until I break down and buy more needles!

There are a lot of circular needles out there, and even Skacel (the company that makes Addi Turbo needles) makes a bunch of different kinds now, like bamboo and tips designed especially for lace knitting, but I'm going to argue that every knitter should at least try Addi Turbo needles once. Like me, you may have a hard time putting up with anything else after that. 

Addi Turbo tips are chrome-plated, so you can knit super-fast, which is great as long as the yarn you're using isn't really slippery (if it is, wood or bamboo is a better option for that project). 

The cord on Addi Turbos is really, really, flexible and joined on well to the tips. In all of my years of knitting, I've never heard of a cord breaking, which is pretty incredible, really. 

The newest version of Addi Turbos have a blue-colored cord, and the size and length of the needle are printed onto the cord. This is convenient for people like me who can never find one of the eight needle gauges I should have in my knitting bag. 

Once you've tried Turbos and love them, I'm going to try to convince you to buy the longest ones you can get your hands on. My new favorite is 40 inches long. 

That's all one needle, kids.
Super-long needles are great for people who use the magic-loop method (there's a video about it here), but I also like them for back-and-forth knitting (if your project is smaller than your needles, you can spread it out and really see what's happening!) and a method I first heard about from Cat Bordhi's book: Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles

Basically, you use TWO circular needles, each one holds half of the stitches in your project, and it allows you to work a real variety of sizes of seamless tubes with just those two needles. 

Two needles, lined up to use for a small circumference.
I really, really love Addi Turbos for this method (the photo above is two sets of older Addi Turbo needles, you can tell because the connecting cord is gold instead of blue). I CAN use other needles for it, but the flexibility of the cord on Turbos helps keep the stitches at the joins from laddering AND don't stab you in the hand as you're coming up to/moving away from the join. Ask me how I know that stabbing can happen with stiff circular needles. 

As well as being great for small circumferences (even all of the way to the top of a hat or mitten), two circular needles is fabulous for LOOOONG projects like a baby blanket knit from the center out - or a Christmas tree skirt - or a shawl - or....

Well, you get the idea. 

Give these fabulous needles a try. You won't be disappointed. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Show and Tell: Prismatic Scarf

Tammany (LadyBugMama on Ravelry) used 2 skeins of Three Irish Girls Wexford Merino Silk to make a beautiful Prismatic Scarf by Huan-Hua Chye.

She had this to say about it:
Besides the yarn, which was wonderful to work with, I think my favorite part of this project was learning to knitted on i-cord. It was easy to do and made a really nice finished edge to the piece.

Overall, this was a very simple knit. If I had to give advice though, I’d say to make sure one was able to concentrate. It’s very easy to put the knits and purls in the wrong places. I did have to rip back a couple of times because I was too busy talking and not paying close enough attention to the pattern.

On a different note, she also wrote: I don’t use my personal blog much, but I’d appreciate it if you would link to the Schuyler Blanket Project. It’s a project I helped to start in honor of my daughter, Schuyler, who passed away at birth. We make blankets for parents who have lost children. The blog is here and we have a group on Ravelry as well.

What a lovely project and memory, Tammany. Thanks for sharing.

The photos are from Tammany's Ravelry page, and are used with her permission.

Want to share your story? Email me at jessie at stevenbe dot com.

Want to buy something you read about here? Call us! 612-259-7525.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Show and Tell: Jenn Weidner’s Cowl

Jenn Weidner of J. Rae Fashion wrote to tell us that many of her friends LOVE the cowl she made with handspun yarn she bought from us at Vogue Knitting Chicago.

She agreed to let us share the photos with you and even provided the pattern she wrote for it!
--Jenn Weidner’s Cowl


2 skeins of Be Sweet Skinny Wool in coordinating colors. I used red (color A) and charcoal (color B).

1 skein of art yarn (I used a super bulky Steven Be Exclusive Handspun featuring cowhide crosses decorated in rhinestones. Yarn colors are red, teal, and cream)


Size 13 (9 mm) circular needles.



The art yarn is a thick and thin texture and this change adds to the beauty and popcorn effect of the cowl. Do not fight the texture, but rather allow for twists, loops, and changes in the pattern. This provides stretch, and adds to the overall beauty of the cowl! I did, however, need to make sure all of the cowhide crosses were on the 'right side' of the cowl.

Knitting with two very different weights was extremely challenging. I knit on the larger needles to provide great stretch - a cowl hallmark in my opinion.

It can be wrapped up to 3 times around the wearer.

I have been a knitter for 10 years now. I love mixing unexpected textures! This was a fun splurge yarn. It knit quickly and was fun to watch the piece progress.

Using heavier weight yarn (art yarn) cast on 171 stitches. Join to work in the round, being careful not to twist.

(This pattern is knit in the round using stranding when changing yarns is required - it is not necessary to cut the yarns at any time until the piece is completed)

Rows 1 and 2: Knit every stitch with skinny wool color A (this color shows more predominantly).

Rows 3 and 4: Knit every stitch with skinny wool color B (this color should be a coordinating or accent color for a bit of variety).

Row 5: Knit every stitch in art yarn.

Repeat rows 1 through 5 twelve times, ending with row 5.

Bind off extremely loosely for proper stretch. If you're not great at keeping your bind off loose, try using broomstick (size 35) needles for the bind off.
Thanks, Jenn! It’s awesome to see you have so much fun with our yarns!

Want to share your love story with something you have from us? Email me at jessie at stevenbe dot com.