Monday, November 26, 2012

Watch the Webpage.

The last few days have been busy busy busy.  Although the store was closed on Wednesday and Thursday the shop was not still.  With the help of a family friend (Jamari Whiteside) We decorated the front of the house and store.  Right now we are decked out with white lights, cedar garlands and big yarn ball ornaments hanging from our tree.  I have a couple of gnomes guarding the stairs amongst the lavender Pansies (I do love that Oregon weather allows Winter long blooms).

Black Friday 1
We opened on Friday for our first ever Black Friday.  I was very pleased that a steady stream of people came through getting their Christmas knitting projects sorted out. Don't forget that you can always add your shopping want's to our shop wish list and get Gift certificates for the fiber lover's in your life.

New Samples and Patterns
On Saturday and Sunday we were open and the customers were up and down.  During the down time I managed to knit a new warm and oh so soft cowl (A brand new Black Sheep Pattern you can get with the purchase of the two skeins of yarn needed to knit it up).

Looped around double or left single this large cable design has a little bit of sparkle and a lot of soft and fluffy warmth.

 Mrs Snowy on the left and the original Snowy from the mid-70's on the right.

I finally tried to duplicate the snowman ornament that my grandma made in the 1970's.  Snowy has had a place of honor on our Christmas tree and my daughters have been after me to get one made for them.  The resulting Mrs. Snowy is not a perfect match but she isn't too bad for a first stab.  I am now refining the construction and writing up directions.  I am also trying out a larger version and think I might try to felt it to see how it turns out.

Coming Soon-Online inventory/Shopping

We are int he process (and it is a big job) of getting a photo and description of all of our stock online.  Of course our ultimate goal is to open up the shop to online sales but more importantly anyone can check to see if we carry the items they want to come in and get a closer look at.  Right now we are about 1/3 of the way through the inventory list.  I hope that we can at least get it done before the New Year if not sooner.

Re-Check the November/December Classes and Workshops Pages.

We updated and ADDED workshops and classes during these last few days of November and December.  Make sure and take another look at the class and workshops link on the webpage to see if there is any that interests you.

If you have not stopped in and joined us (or not lately) for any of the opportunities to just come and work on your own projects do (hand-work guild or Chardon-knitting).  There is a lovely group of ladies who support each other in any kind of project you want to work on.  We would love to have you!!

The Leaf Shawl:  Because it takes so much blogging time and space I am in the process of moving/changing the leaf shawl project over to another page on this blog.  I am hoping to format things in a calendar so I can just upload the photos each day and spend more time actually knitting on the thing :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

More Leaves, Lopi Felted Love, Green Hombre Scarf.

11/11/2012 David (my husband and I) went out to see the new James Bond movie and out to dinner on a date.  While walking along the sidewalk in the quickly fading dusk we found these leaves.  I have no idea what kind of tree (do leave me a comment if you know) but at least in the light they looked like a rich dark Copper color.  I do not even know if I can find this color yarn but I am sure going to try.

This is Letilopi in Orange 

11/12/2012 Orange maple Lovely and vibrant.  the color is not unlike that strange toned Oak tree across the street from the shop.  Interestingly now that we are further along in the season I think this is an accident.  It is the only one on the block of its color.  The trees across the street are dropping their leaves much later than on our side of the street but this orange one is the only one on the whole block of this color.  Do Oak trees have male and female trees like Holly does?

Painted Heritage Sock yarn from Cascade in Fall Foliage.

11/13/2012 My Hoya plant lives outside in the summer.

Today it was time to bring it back into the house.  This plant was at my grandmothers house and then at my mothers.  My mother took a leaf and rooted it in water and I snuck a leaf off of my mother's one year while I was watering plants for her.  I have killed many, many house plants in my day but this one is foolproof.  It can go months without water and survive.  It loves to live in a steamy bathroom and will bloom waxy pink flowers if treated to steam and root bound but with quite  bit of neglect it creates these lovely glossy green leaves.

This Cascade Superwash Sport in Army Green picks up the darkest tones in the Hoya leaves.  Although they look like different greens the true green is somewhere in between these two shades.

This is from a variegated Corral Bell plant in my front flower pot.  The color range is amazing and it still looks great this late in the season.
This Black Trillium yarn in Snowy Tiger Eye show much more peachy in this photo.  In reality it show more of the golden color with hints of pink toned orange and light green tones.
  The leaf blowers came by and cleared off our front sidewalks however in the process they blew half of the remaining oak leaves and maple leaves down into the shop patio.
I raked it all up into a pile this morning and bagged it.Of course I took photos first!  I find it interesting how all of the leaves (maple and Oak) as well as the acorns are becoming a deeper brown as we head into winter.  We had a frost last night (the first I was aware of anyway). 
It was between more lopi or Cascade heritage in Walnut.  Since the heritage yarn in Walnut is a fingering weight I am going with that.  


Variegated leaves are now obvious on my walk to and from my morning coffee. This could be because most of the leaves have now fallen.

  All along my neighborhood pathways are these plants and in my front flower bed I have planted this ornamental cabbage for winter color.  I also have a purple one but I am not sure if I should go there on this shawl..what do you all think?
I will strand both the lime (lopi laceweight) and white (heritage sock) together.

Tomorrow I will show you a progress photo of the shawl.  It is finally getting big enough where you can see the stripes.

Lopi Felted Love: The Christmas Stocking Revisited 
I have not yet had a chance to get a new Christmas stocking on my needles but had a customer come in this week who was interested in finding a felted stocking pattern.  For the rest of the afternoon I looked at the somewhat unsatisfactory horse Christmas stocking and debated felting it to see what would happen.  It couldn't get any worse right?  Well I am so glad I went with my instincts.  I called Grace downstairs (it is after all her stocking).  She agreed to do the felting as long as I promised that if it all went bad I wold knit her another stocking with the same design on it but with an improved heel and foot.  So Grace took the stocking into the shop bathroom.  Filled the sink with hot then cold then hot then cold water and swished the stocking around for a while.  We won't even talk about the water on the floor here..needless to say my bathroom floor had a little cleaning session at the same time.  The stocking did not felt much.  So..we decided to run it upstairs and throw it into the dryer for more abuse.
Before FeltingAfter Felting

You might at this point be wondering why i didn't use the washing machine technique.  You see the problem is that I have a front load washing machine and cannot (well make that not supposed to at any rate) open it while it is running.

 Before Felting
 After Felting

After about 20 minutes in the dryer the stocking was noticeably changed.  you can still see the stitch definition but it is SOFT!! and FURRY!!  It also got a reasonable bit (but not too much) smaller.  In short bot of us LOVE this new and improved stocking.  So much so that I am definitely going to knit up the other stockings and then felt them. I am also scheming up a sweater and some slippers to felt.

Finished Scarf:  I am calling it Chaos to Ordered Hombre.

I used one set of Colorshift yarns in Botanical Green.  The scarf is 10 inches wide and 57 inches long while still pinned. I am sure there will be some bounce back when the scarf dries.  The pattern is very simple.  Cast on 52 stitches,  Knit 7 rows as the bottom border.  351 rows of: a: knit 52 and b: knit 7 purl 37 knit 7alternating.  Finally for the last 7 rows knit.   In total you will have 365 rows (handy for one row a day for a year).  The 489 yards that come in the set I used was more than enough.  I have quite a bit left still.   On the board the scarf looks great but in these photos is looks like I should have used my shawl wires and still might as these take longer to dry now that the sunshine has gone.

the long view

The ordered part-one row of natural followed by rows of each graduated green in the group.


The chaotic part of the scarf.  I just randomly pulled each color from the bag and knitted.  I did not cut off any shade of green unless the space between rows used was greater than 4.  I just moved the yarn up and gently starteed knitting with it (to limit puckers on the edges).  I found that if I attempted a leap  of more than four rows it looked messy. I won't lie-hiding my ends was not a bundle of fun here.  I definitely recommend cleaning up yarn ends as you go!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Leaf-needle shawl, Fingerless gloves, Christmas Stocking and Chardon-knitting.

I really hate these piled up blog posts but so many things have been going on in the shop that I just have to backlog the fun and spill it all out to you all when I get a moment or hour.

The Leaf-Needle Shawl

11/8/2012 This is a lovely vine that grows all over an arbor at our local park.  It has what looks like small grapes but I am not sure if it is a grape vine or not.  The pinky reds are lovely and this allows me to rerun the yarn from yesterday that is so much fun to knit with.  The amitola by Louisa Harding is a single ply fingering weight yarn with a very long striping.  I went all the way around with 400 stitches and did not get through one of the color changes.

I feel the need for green.  There is still plenty of it in the Pacific Northwest and I have already done plenty of the yellow in the yellow leaves but the lime green is one of my favorite colors.  I have a skein of a similar shade in a lace-weight lopi (Einband) yarn to use for this row.

Lopi Einband lace weight yarn in Lime

 I used to think that Magnolias were just grown int he south but surprisingly we have very similar weather conditions up here in Hillsboro/Portland Oregon as they do in many parts of the south.  In my previous neighborhood there were Magnolia trees that towered over the homes and bloomed lovely dinner plate sized blooms.  In Orenco they mostly live in pots near businesses. This one stands in front of our local Indian restaurant.
Black Trillium Fibres makes a lovely silk/wool yarn called Canopy.  This makes a lovely Magnolia color for my row.

Fingerless Gloves:

 Brandi, one of my wonderful customers is a knitting machine :)  She knits lovely things and then lets me borrow them to show in the store.  I am soooo grateful for her generosity.
  The latest is this lovely pair of fingerless gloves using from Cascade's superwash sport weight yarn.  This yarn is lovely to work with and so soft.  Brandi found this pattern on ravelry.  The hemming technique is wonderful on this one and the colorwork looks lovely.

Christmas Stocking:

For the last several Tuesday nights a couple of us have been working on Christmas stockings.  I used this free pattern available online.  It is a basic pattern and although very easy to work up.  The pattern does not come with any colorwork patterns so those trees in the pattern photo have to be hunted for online.  I found these horses (my daughter loves her horses) at the Lopi webpage and luckily they stitch numbers matched up nicely so I didnt have to adjust the design to fit.

 I am not fully happy with the stocking foot and heel. The white for the heel is much to long and the foot too short. I didn't like the patterns version of just a short square in the back but when I tried carrying in the color all through the heel turn it became a whole new kind of problem.  I am planning on doing a second stocking for my grandson and will use another pattern or change this one for that. This pattern has you work the instep first and then work the heel turn. I much prefer to work the heel, turn it and then pick up stitches to along the side so that the remainder of the foot can be worked in the round. 
The method and stitch numbers I have in mind result in a shorter amount of heel contrast color. Picking up stitches along the sides makes it easier to control any loose stitches and/or holes (the one above had several yarnovers that I had to reinforce when I was done). and I also like the ridges that are made in the heel gusset from the knit two together and slip, slip, knit stitches used as decreased along the sides of the foot.  I will make sure and include both stockings side by side when I get a chance to put the new one together


Last night was the second Friday and that means....CHARDON-KNITTING!!!  There was just four of us last night but we had a great time!  We drank David Hill Pinot Gris.  We made our first Christmas ornament of the season.  I very cute and easy ball of yarn with needles.  and then we worked on our own projects.  It is great fun and the next chardon-knitting session will be December 14.  Any adult can register online by linking to the date on the calendar.

 Brandi working on a pair of socks using Regia Alaska self striping yarn.
 Dorrie working on her Christmas ornament
 Dorie Crocheting a slouchy hat.  Just because it is called Chardon-knitting does not mean we don't work any kind of craftiness with our wine!! chardon-crafty just isn't as catchy sounding.
 Lynn looking up photos of her grand children to show us.

 Finished knitters Christmas ornaments.
 A toast with David Hill Pinot Gris.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Leaf/Needle Shawl Catching up

I have been attending to my shawl but not the blog.  This weekend Julianne and her dog Max held down the fort while My husband David, daughter Grace and I visited Eastern Washington for a family celebration.  On the way we travelled along the Gorge and saw the most beautiful fall color.  Although I was dying to change the color of my yarn the yellow was so overwhelming I could not help but carry on another two rows on the shawl.
Max likes to wear knitting needles just like Kokomo the shop cat!

Saturday, November 3 (Row 4) : 

 Along I-84 Near Umatilla, Oregon There are fields of hybrid poplar trees.  Although you might not see the same effect that I witnessed from my car in these photos they are lovely.  As I drove along the freeway I was surprised by how many of the leaves had already fallen off these trees.  What remained were clumps at the top that were vibrant yellow.  The light hit the leaves and made the fields look like row after row of candles flaming at the top.  I pulled over to the shoulder much to my husband's dismay, grabbed the camera and climbed a sandy hill to perch the camera on a barbed wire fence to take these photos.

 I love the rows of marching slender trees
 This is a single leaf but much more brown than the real thing.
This leaf is from my neighborhood but does exactly match the color of the poplars along the roadside.

The yarn used for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Sunday, November 4 (Row 5):
 On my trip back I was struck again by the intensity of the yellow maples from The Dalles until Troutdale.  As much as I would like to have changed to a new yarn color I couldn't ignore the yellow intensity this week and knit in three rounds of the same yarn.

Monday, November 5 (Day 6): Upon our arrival home I found a lovely little pile of red leaves left by the children of one of the customers over the weekend.  These leaves in lovely shades of red to orange made a lovely welcome home.

Photos coming soon:  They are currently on my other camera.

Tuesday, November 6 (Day  7) Tuesday is daytime knitting guild at Blacksheep.  Brandi had a look at my little fledgling shawl and suggested it needed a little maroon/red to reflect one of the trees out where she works.  She has not sent me her photo yet but I did find a nice plum tree down the street from my house for inspiration.
 Ornamental plum trees are lovely!  I like that they pretty much stay through the spring, summer and fall.  I do prefer the ones that do not drop fruit all over the sidewalks though.

Yarn photo will be uploaded tomorrow
Wednesday, November 8 (Day 8)

I knew there were different kind of oak trees out there.  I didn't imagine however that our neighborhood would have planted two different kind on either side of the road that passes in front of my home.  I am not positive if it is really a different variety or the dirt or even a trick of the light but the oak trees located across the street from my much less vibrant brown ones are almost a pumpkin orange in the soft afternoon light.
Yarn photo will be uploaded tomorrow.