Thursday, August 31, 2006

Buster - the cardigan for the child of a child from the 80s

Meet the modified Buster, a cute little cardigan from Rowan Babies. I made a few modifications to the pattern to suit my fancy, but first we'll get through the bits I didn't change. It's knit up in Rowan Wool Cotton, and I have to say I think this is my new favorite yarn. It's soft, it's smooth, it creates a beautiful even fabric and comes in the greatest range of colors. It's simply a joy to knit with. Something about its classic simplicity is such a respite from all the novelty yarns out there.

Some things I did change: The intarsia design. The pattern calls for a star on either side of the front. However, the last sweater I made for the recipient had a big star on it, and I surely didn't want to repeat myself! So I decided on the Pac Man design instead. (This kid's parents really enjoy their video games.) I also added a zipper in lieu of buttons, partly because I hate sewing on buttons and party because it's so darn cute with the zipper!

I haven't told you the really remarkable thing about this sweater though. This is the very first thing I've knit while I had something else on the needles at the same time. Yes, I'm a monogaknitter. Working on more than one project at a time drives me crazy! I feel like neither project's progressing, and I'm constantly distracted by the other. However, it was necessary in this case. Besides just testing myself to see if I could do it, (and it appears I can, but I certainly don't enjoy it!) I needed something to take to Stitch n Pitch last month. My other WIP was Rosita, the lace sweater on size 0 needles that wouldn't have made it through one inning at the game, let alone a beer and a hotdog. So, I cast on for a few miles of stockinette. Everything worked out okay, but I'm not going to do that one again! I'm a one-project girl and proud of it!

Hope to see everyone at Bumbershoot this weekend! Bring your knitting, it'll be a great time!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. . .

Usually I find designing interesting, creative, inspiring. . . but not always.

Jen asked me to create a pattern for a washcloth worthy of a pampered day at the spa out of Hemp For Knitting's Hemp Yarn. In keeping with the earth friendly yarn, I wanted the design to be inspired from the earth.

Attempt #1:
Nothing wrong with this design, except it was not (yes, that is what you read WAS NOT) knit on the bias. Can you belive it?

Attempt #2
Lesson learned: Hemp and Entrelock do not play well together.

Attempt #3:
NO, NO, NO! Just plain NO!
This looked like granny had found a new use for gramps gardening twine.

And. . . 4th time's the charm:

Little seeds from the earth grow gradually to create a feminine coral like spa cloth with a womb-like little pouch. The washed hemp creates a drape that flows like water over your hand. The pattern stitch provides a gentle exfoliating and rejuvenating experience for your skin
A perfect gift from the earth, the hands, the heart.
The pattern will be available at Bumbershoot.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

things forgotten, or just ignored?

Hi, I'm Jennifer. On our blog, I am known as "antyjen" (my nieces are responsible). I've been meaning to post for awhile, but hesitated after a sad spell-check "situation". I own Hilltop Yarn Queen Anne along with a few important (and also ignored sometimes) family members. Here is a silly picture of me at Stitch and Pitch this past July.

Yesterday, I pulled my running shoes out of the closet and put them on for the first time in almost 6 months. (They had been glaring at me for weeks. See them here, lonely and worried...)

To celebrate my run to Kerry Park (about 2 miles) and back, I also removed the dreaded Homespun Blanket project out of my knitting bag. For some reason, I hadn't been able to face this project for weeks. Acrylic shyness? Needle-size dissatisfaction? Natural fiber angst? This project was haunting me. It made me wonder....why we sometimes forget the important things.

Thank you, Hilltop Blog for encouraging me to pull that silly Homespun out of its hiding place. After all, there isn't any such thing as bad yarn, only yarn waiting to find its proper place.

These size 10 shoes are way happier now...and the yarn is actually quite nice. It's going to be a lovely throw for my couch...and I'll be needing a warm place to snuggle-up while I avoid running.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Mr. Drizzle!

Mr. Drizzle and Miles
Originally uploaded by dinahsaurus.
Presented by a very charming Hilltop spokesman, this is Mr. Drizzle. He is squishy, smiley, easy to crochet, and not at all wet (unless you chew on him). I designed this guy for Bumbershoot, because, I guess, rain is pretty iconic for Seattle. In fact, I have missed it this summer. The rain and the pattern should be available soon.
Oh, and yes, this is my first post. Hi! Lately, I have made so many Mr. Drizzles, I didn't have photos of anything else! In the project backlogs, I have a Jo Sharp sweater, a bolero, half a sock, half a mitten, and a cat toy. I have project commitment issues.

Monday, August 21, 2006

As promised: Big Wool instant gratification

On Saturday I headed up to Hilltop and left with a bag of green Big Wool and the pattern for Sarah Hatton's Laura from Big It Up. That night, I knitted the back. Sunday morning, the left front. Sunday afternoon/evening, the right front, the first sleeve and part of the second sleeve. Just what the knitting doctor ordered!

Here's a phone pic I took yesterday afternoon to show my partner what he was missing by being in Portland this weekend. As you can see, it's only two pieces of the sweater; I told him I might have a finished sweater by the time he came home. And I could have, but the house was just too gross to ignore any longer.

Maybe tomorrow I'll have a finished garment, but I probably won't be wearing it because it's nice and summery around here again. Of course, I could bring it to the office and put it on my feet, which are continually freezing indoors in A/C in my summer shoes. Has anyone ever solved this dilemma of offices in the summer?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A tale of two sweaters

Martine here, Hilltopper for almost a year. For an intro post, I thought I show two sweaters I've worked on. This first is my very first finished object, a Lopi sweater, made out of a bulky tweed.

It's several sizes too large, has many cleverly placed yarn-over eyelets throughout the body, and a fairly noticeable line below the neckline where I ran out of yarn and had to substitute a different dyelot. It took just under two years to finish, which was a mere eight years after I first learned how to knit. It still lives back in New England, but being cozy and warm, my mother appreciates it when walking the dog in winter.

Fast forward fifteen years, and we come to my current project, Rosita. It's the cover sweater from Jaeger 35, and let's just say it's been an challenge. The already complicated lace pattern has some serious errors, but thanks to Hilltop's own Annelie, there's an errata. I substituted RYC Cashcotton 4-ply for Jaeger's Siena and was completely unable to make gauge, so there was some additional pattern monkeying (and going down to size 000 needles for the edging, eeks!) It's been slow going (but faster than my 2 year adventure with the first sweater), and I'm done with the back and both sleeves:

A close-up of the stitch pattern:

I'm now at a decision point, the front. The pattern is a pullover, but I've always thought it would be better as a cardigan. I've already done so many mods on the pattern, that I'm a little daunted about taking on even more for the front shaping. Also, the edges are scalloped, but the fronts would hit crest-to-crest rather than interlocking nicely. Your thoughts? Cardigan? Pullover? Cardigan?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Knit cravings and me

It seems I've developed a habit of starting several winter sweaters at once when it's cold out and finishing them much, much later. This spring, I wanted a cotton cardi for summer but was too busy making baby gifts to get started, and when I did, oh boy. It's a long, ugly story that I'll save for later, but the point is that I've started a summer sweater that I predict won't be finished until a few seasons from now, so I'm really developing a tricky habit here. According to my schedule, I'm ahead now though. I've picked up another sweater I started last winter and, after doing some blocking, I'll sew it up and be ready for fall--if it fits: I seem to be having issues lately. My solution? Buy some Big Wool and knit something fast! Look forward to my purchase very soon.

Meanwhile, I'm supposed to tell you about myself. Here's a picture of me at my day job one night in a sweater I started in December '04 and finished in early '06.

My "day job" is in public television, and I love it (in spite of my grouchiness from time to time -- hey, that's just part of the package). So this was during a pledge drive, not my favorite thing about public broadcasting, but these pledge nights can be fun. The sweater pictured is Deborah by Laura Long from Rowan 36. This isn't exactly what I'm known for at Hilltop; I am looked at for small needle/lace work/anything fussy, let's say. Funnily enough, Ms Vellumblue has a lot in common with me on these things, but there's just something about the colors I pick that reinforce this theory.

What else can I tell you about me? I started knitting from a borrowed book with a pencil and a chopstick and a piece of random floss. I was so thrilled that it turned out to be so easy--I'd wanted to learn since I was a little kid and the other kids in the second grade were finger knitting and crocheting long "scarves" at recess, but always thought it was unattainable. I'd try making loops over loops and they'd just fall apart without a cast on or needles to hold them. College was just behind me and I was trying new things; luckily, knitting stuck and some of the other, um, experiments fell by the wayside with time. This makes eight years of knitting, and though I was a natural, I didn't know what I didn't know until I got the opportunity to work at Hilltop. I can't begin to enumerate what I've learned from not only my coworkers and the teachers, but also from customers! I also think the explosion in knitting blogs has helped a lot, so I'm thrilled we have a Hilltop blog now.

Next time, I'll see if I can dig up *all* my UFOs (horrors) and/or discuss my wish list! Now I'm off to see if there's something fresh around here that I can cast on...

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Hello, I'm Kat otherwise known as purl of a girl at my own site. Here's a picture of me wearing one of my favorite knitted sweaters at the Stitch N'Pitch from 2005.

Stitch N' Pitch

And here's what I'm working on now:

Argyle- the pretty side

it's "Cyd" from a Jaeger book, but I'm using Rowans Felted Tweed yarn. I'll be ready for fall before it gets here. Here's to knitting out of season!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Knitting by the Sea

Knitting by fire and star light, the serenade of the Pacific, and gourmet food (Portobello hotdogs and marshmallows.) Yes, I do consider myself royal, wouldn't you? I'm Duchess when I'm blogging, but I'm better known as Megan around the shop.

As a "duchess," I know that special occasions sometimes require a little something to set you apart. For us knitters, that means a special knitting project. I love to dress to the nines when occasion permits, and I often design for these occasions.
One of my favorite designs is "Rhapsody in Lace and Ruffles" knit in Misti Alpaca's Alpaca Silk, available at Hilltop as one of our new Precious Moments patterns.

But sometimes, the FUN of knitting must manifest itself, and this time of year I'm thinkin' FISH. This is my most recent project for the shop. The pattern is "One Fish, Two Fish" by Blue Sky Alpacas. The yarn is Dyed Cotton from Blue Sky Alpacas. The pattern and yarn are available, naturally, at Hilltop. Drop by and give this guy a little love.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Susan's Ringbearer Pillow

Long-time Hilltop Yarn shoppers may remember Leslie Hestekind, who's getting married this weekend. I won't be able to attend her wedding, but I'm sending along this ringbearer pillow:

Susan Dirk designed this pillow, which uses less than a full skein of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk, and gives the crafty knitter a chance to do some hand-sewing and beading. (I've recently learned to love hand-sewing, especially at social events where I am sitting and listening to, say, music or a conversation.) The knitting took less than 4 hours and is a fairly simple lace pattern. I'd recommend it highly for anyone who wants to try knitting from the center out before tackling a shawl or for an adventuresome intermediate knitter who wants to give lace a try. For experienced lace knitters, this is a really great last-minute project (though people with fabric, fiberfill and bead stashes will fare best when it's time to finish). The hardest part is the very beginning--after that, it's only hard to stop knitting!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Happy Birthday Hilltop Blog

A Hilltop Blog is born!