Thursday, September 28, 2006

Northwest Knitters Cruise!

What could be better than a four-day Pacific Northwest knitting cruise with all your friends? Nothing, we say!!

Celebrity Cruise Line's "Mercury" will be sailing North through the Georgia Strait from Octber 1st through October 5, 2007 stopping for tea and yarn at the following ports of call:

Nanaimo- a quaint town with the oldest and largest evergreens in Canada, as well as Mad About Ewe Fine Yarns


Victoria- steeped in British traditions, home of the Beehive knit shop and Butchart Gardens and high tea at the Empress Hotel.

While at sea, enjoy 6 hours of knitting classes taught by three incredible instructors:

Susan Dirk, President of the Seattle Knitters Guild, Instruction Manager and knitting designer at Hilltop Yarn. Susan was previously a photographer at the Seattle Art Museum. She brings her knowledge of art and photography to her knitting career with an outstanding sense of color and design. She teaches knitting and felting, and loves to inspire her students to knit out of the box.

Jule Castner, color consultant, knitting designer and head instructor for Hilltop Yarn has previously taught at Sleeping Lady, Madrona Fiber Arts Festival and Hilltop's In City Retreat. She is a master of knitting technique and an exceptionally knowledgable and patient instructor.

Alexandra Immel, Architect, knitting instructor and designer from London, England, has been knitting for thirty years. Her most recent knitting design is being published in Storey Publishers' One Skein book. She loves to make it up as she goes along and enjoys helping her students at Hilltop Yarn find their own creativity.

What's included?

Your cabin, three or more meals daily, port charges and tax, 6 hours of knitting classes at sea, welcome reception, and farewell reception.

Call Sonja at Foothills Travel for more information 1-800-562-5135

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Knitting Pattern Error? No problem.

In my blog surfing I came upon a few neat sites that compile info on knitting errata- those correction for knitting in patterns and books.


and: Interweave's Errata

I found it to be really helpful, because sometimes when patterns go wrong it's not our fault!

Check it out.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A little inspiration...

One of the things I like so much about the Ballband Discloth is that it makes it so simple and fun to mix colors. It doesn't matter if your colors clash, or don't look good on you, or don't go with a thing you own... it's only a dishcloth. It takes less than a day to make. It costs under five dollars to knit. It will be wet and covered in soap. I also love seeing the many variations of others, including hats, rugs and mop covers. Here's a flickr group of amazing examples: You can't NOT be inspired by this.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Please Excuse the Boneheaded Moderator


Here are the guesses up to this point.

Amy - 142 - be sure to stop by her blog, it's supper cute- love those stitch markers, Amy!
Moraie- a staggering 270 (sets the bar high, that one!) - guessing all the way from the great state of Minnesota- good luck on the sock wars!
Sonya - and even 100- Sonya has the unfair advantage of knowing how poorly I focus on the task at hand.
Stariel- 80- All the way from Boston, ladies! Also a sock wars combatant, who evidently is engaging in hand-to-hand (or foot-to-foot) combat!

I am going to extend the deadline. You now have until the 5th of October to get your guesses in and start your washcloths! You still have until the 31st to finish your last stitch.

So, some clarification on the Ball Band Wash Cloth Contest

Categories are:

1. The person (not a HT employee) who knits the greatest number of washcloths in the month of October.

2. The person (not a HT employee) who takes the most creative, aesthetically pleasing, etc. photograph of their washcloth (which may or may not have been knit in Oct.)

3. The person (not a HT employee) who guesses the correct number of washcloths that will be knit by HT employees in the month of October.

4. Special Jennifer Catagory: The person (who is Jen, the owner of Hilltop) who knits the washcloth that best matches Jen's kitchen. (It's good to be the boss!)

Knit-off challenges are to be set up between any two knitters. You may challenge a HT Employee or another knitter, you agree on the terms, (pattern, length of knitting time, reward for winner, etc.) and we will document it on the blog.

OK, so sign yourself up, leave a comment (now that you can!) with

--First Name

--Last Initial

--OR Blogging Identity

--your URL if you have one

--Your Guess as to how many washcloths the HT staff will knit in Oct.

You may participate in all or just one way.

I will post ***prizes*** as soon as I have them!

Monday, September 18, 2006

First Ever HTY Blog Contest

The whole internet is a-buzz with ball band dish cloth knitting, a classic design made famous by the fun-loving gals at Mason Dixon Knitting. a few of us Hilltop gals have even jumped on board.

Wendee here
Karen here
and myself.

Well, with the arrival of Sugar n' Cream at HTY Queen Anne, and the fact that many of us are examining both knitting time and budget restraints until Christmas time, we are ready to cheer one another on to dish cloth knitting mania.

In my two years at HT, I have never seen Jen so excited about knitting something. Is it the simple, yet complex looking pattern? Is it the instant gratification that comes from a finished object in just about an hour? Is it the fun colors and the endless matching possibilities?
It's probably all of the above.

So Jen and I thought that a contest was in order. . .


Here are the categories:

--The knitter who finishes the most washcloths.
--The knitter with the most creative photograph of their washcloth.
--The knitter who guesses (or comes the closest to guessing) to the total number of dishcloths knit by the HT women.

We haven't decided on prizes for sure yet, but they will be knitting related, and of course you will be honored and recognized for your dish cloth genius here on the Hilltop Blog.

In addition to this, any of you may challenge a HT knitter to a knit off. If the employee accepts your challenge, she will set the time restraints and will decide what the "terms" will be.

The knitting will begin the first of Oct. and will end the last day of Oct. (plenty of time to knit a gaggle of dishcloths.) All dishcloths must be knit within this time frame, NO head starts! The washcloths should have 12 repeats.

For those of you who haven't been able to get your hands on a copy of Mason Dixon Knitting but still want to participate, here is a link to this classic pattern. It is listed as the textured slip stitch-2.
Dishcloth Boutique

You must register to participate, do so by leaving your first name and last initial or your blogging name in the comments of this post, along with your blog address if you have one, and your guess as to how many dishcloths will be knit by the HT knitters.
Registration will close Wed. September 27th. So post your guesses, warm up your needles, and get to HTY before all the Sugar n' Cream is gone!

If you want to challenge one of the HT Knitters, send an email with your challenge to We will forward it to their personal email. Remember, depending on their current stress level and knitting commitments, they may or may not accept the challenge.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

I Love Manos

Decidedly Hilltop Pattern #46, Blue Sky Shrug designed by Jenny C. and modified here by Betsy B.

It is definatley not the cotton season any more so I made a few changes to this easy and fast pattern. (I made it in 9 days, thanks to football Sunday's~ knit knit knit!)

yarn: Manos del Uruguay Wool my favorite yarn and color 117.
5 balls, only used a smidge of the 5 ball though, I think I'll make a hat with the left overs.
needle size: US 8
Using the pattern size small as a guideline, I casted on 5 sts extra to begin each arm, and did seed stitch instead of garter st. I also knit for 16", longer cozy arms.

Love love love the cozy arms, perfect for fall. I am definately making more of these.
Stop by or call Hilltop Yarn, we'll help you pick out colors! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Originally uploaded by dinahsaurus.
Following Martine's description of the assiduous planning and knitting of a gorgeous cardigan is going to make me look even more like the Princess Lazypants that I really am. In addition to having many projects on the needles at once, I often think--no kidding-- What can I make in an hour? With this lovely 50 yard ball of yarn? At 1:00 in the morning? Lots of bad crafting happens this way, but good things come of it, too, like these necklaces. They are crocheted (but not too difficult crochet) and have only two rows. The Fall one is in orange Kidsilk Haze with green ribbon and yellow and green beads, and the Spring one is in pink Cotton Glace, with pink ribbon and pink and silver beads. The pattern will be, I think, one of Hilltop's upcoming One Skein patterns, even though one ball of yarn will make many, many of these. It took 12 yards of Cotton Glace. You could outfit a whole football team of bridesmaids with one ball.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Who said you had to follow the pattern?

Are you a knitter with slight masochistic tendencies? Then I have the pattern for you!! Jaeger's Rosita. But, if you truly want to torture yourself, don't just stop with the pattern - no, modify it!! Change the yarn, change the gauge, and heck, make it into a cardigan!

Rosita - a better self portrait

This sweater had been calling to me from the cover of Jaeger 35 for well over a year. It's a gorgeous lace pattern and a beautiful sweater. What's not to love? This spring I finally chose my yarn, Cashcotton 4ply, which I thought would be softer and "friendlier" than the called for Jaeger Siena. I was probably right, except for some major gauge issues. No problem I said! I'll just make a smaller size.

Then there were the pattern issues. It turns out several lines of the 28 row lace pattern repeat had errors, lots of errors. No problem I said! There's a similar lace pattern in one of the Barbara Walker treasuries. I'll just borrow a little from there. (Thanks Barbara!)

Did I mention I've got short little arms? Like a T. Rex. Whatever. I can modify the sleeve increases to accomodate. Wait, wasn't there a gauge problem? Going down a couple sizes won't work on the sleeves - both sizes call for the same number of stitches. Okay, let's just mess with that one a bit too. I majored in biochemistry, surely I can figure out a little math.

And who really wants a pullover lace sweater anyway? Let's make it a cardigan! Do the neckline decreases on the fly, and I'm sure it'll got smoothly. What's the worst that could happen? Oh wait, the shoulders need to be wider on a cardigan than a boatneck pullover. Oh, let's just fudge that one, and not tell anyone, okay?

Three and a half months go by and you end up with post-it notes all over everything like this:
Rosita's high-tech tracking system
But between those post-its and a magnetic chart holder I was saved from any serious harm. (My magnetic chart holder is my new best friend. Love it. So much.)

Time to seam everything up, and then you realize the pattern didn't call for any selvedges. In fact, the yarn-overs go right to the edge. How are you going to sew up this one? Backstitching it is! (Gross, but effective.)

And there you have it, a cardigan that kind of, sort of, resembles a sweater Jaeger designed at some point.
Rosita - done!


Sunday, September 10, 2006

East meets West for a roarin' Saturday night

The Place: 3rd Place Pub, Ravenna, Seattle
The Playas: Daphne, Angie, Megan, Betsy, Martine, Emily, Shannon, Tamara, Wendee

That was fun, gals. Looking forward to doing it again!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

15 Seconds of Fame

"I found what I believe to be the only yarn at Bumbershoot. Zoomed right in on it. Huge festival, thousands of tents, me staggering around with a sock sort of stunned and Whammo. I find the Hilltop yarns booth. (A true indicator that even under duress, my inner compass points to yarn.) "

-Stephanie Pearl-McPhee- The Yarn Harlot

Here they are, Becky and Jen, holding the famous traveling sock!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Music to my ears

Martine created this "nanopodzie" for Hilltop just for Bumbershoot. I think it makes a groovy holder for your music maker. Becky took this picture of my woolytunes while they were waiting for Coldplay.

Here's another look at Megan's washcloth. Our kit includes a piece of handmade soap, the instructions, and a skein of Hemp for Knitting yarn. We'll bring them back to the shop on Wednesday.

Another Bumbershoot Hilltop first. Alchemy Silk Straw. You may have read about this unique yarn on the Yarn Harlot's blog. Unspun, Alchemy's strands of silk lie flat creating a crushed dupioni look. Ribbons of brown shantung fade into teal and evergreen in the colorway Hidden Place.

We found you.

At my Knits End

We've waited all year to meet her, and there she was, standing in line to purchase one of our Hilltop tees. No, it wasn't another Bigfoot Bumbershoot sighting. IT's THE YARN HARLOT!

Trying not to appear like a blithering idiot, we asked her to let us take her picture. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee gratiously allowed us to do so. And, guess what, we got to hold the sock! I'm so lame, I have to admit that I hoped she would ask us to. She showed us her secret tap needle compartment (I'll never tell) as we all tried to think of something interesting and unique to say (aside from my silly, "Martine, look who's here!") we were strangely silent.

I'll try and calm down and post some more in a bit.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Suri with the fringe on top

We brought a few new yarns to Bumbershoot and thought you might enjoy a sneak peek.

Blue Sky Brushed Suri is downy, much like mohair, but minus the usual scratchiness. It is lofty and knits up quickly on a US#4-10!

Look for this yarn at both Hilltops on Wednesday.

Check out the view from our booth. I think everyone is here for Kayne West.

More from the show...

Betsy, Karen, Teri, Becky and I had a blast at Bumbershoot Day One.

Here's Betsy, rockin' out to Blondie...Call Me!

We had a good time people-watching and knitting. It is amazing how many people are here. All day long we saw a sea of feet poking out from under our knitting.

Betsy loved knitting on our brand new limited edition Royal Alpaca. Soft and scrumptious...she drew quite a crowd. The yarn was touched by all the attention.

Daphne knit this Royal Alpaca tulip sachet top in just 2 hours. Our Tulip Sachet kit includes a pretty muslin bag filled with freshly picked lavender.

Hilltop Bumberbooth

Here we are, running around at the last minute like a bunch of cats in yarn basket.

Our booth took about 6 hours to set up, but I think it was worth it.

Here is the finished result!

Proud, but exhausted.

We'll post more booth pics in a bit. It's amazing how long it takes to do this on a wireless connection that is shared by 100,000 people.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Laura in Big Wool

Hope you all don't mind a drive-by post -- I finished up my Big Wool sweater and loooove it. I knitted it pretty tight because the last one was loose and streeeeetched too much! Next time, I'll use the same needles and knit a size up (this is the small). Or not, I've got to wear it for a while and see how much it stretches out at this gauge.

Visit my flickr for more views (especially of me moping; self-portraits can reveal deeply hidden narcissism, no?).

Stats: Laura by Sarah Hatton from Big It Up. Size small, seven balls of Big Wool.