Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A head hugger of my own

Here at Hilltop there was a hat model that I loved. It was a cute little ski cap made out of GGH Soft-Kid and Noro's Kureyon held together, and I would wear it every time I worked (except maybe those few weeks in summer when the temp actually broke 80). Sadly, the Soft-Kid went away, and like most floor models of discontinued yarns, the hat was sold.

But! Soft-Kid is now back in stock! I jumped at my chance to make a Soft-Kid/Noro hat of my very own. The pattern is Ann Norling's Head Hugger, and I'm not surprised it's one of the most popular patterns at Hilltop. It's quite possibly the perfect basic hat pattern: pick your size, plug in your gauge, pick your stitch pattern and go. With sizes from infant to large adult, and gauges from light DK to heavy worsted, it's actually like 125 hat patterns in one. All that and it's written clearly. This is my new go-to hat pattern for those times when I just don't feel like doing the math.

Rather than using Kureyon as in the original, I went for a little extra softness with Noro Silk Garden.

Noro Silk Garden
This is a yarn I've always shied away from; the variegations were just too much for my tastes. However, when held together with a strand of GGH Soft-Kid:

GGH Soft-Kid

the color changes mellow. The resulting fabric looks almost like fair isle, done in soft tweedy yarn.

Head Hugger

I love this hat. It's soft, it's colorful, it's cozy. I hate to say this, but I wish winter would hang on for just a little longer! I'm not ready to put my new hat away until fall!

Another sighting!

Spotted by Kat and her eagle eyes on Pine Street in Seattle!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Back again!

I popped in last night for a visit with my family, and the shop had these delicious-looking new skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted. The colors are even more stunning and bright in person, and such a contrast to the gray skies outside! There were batts for spinning, too, in some of the same colors, so you could even make your own skeins... Look how well they match Kelly's bright Easter bonnets!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Before our mittens were famous... here are the mittens Karen and Kat (me) made for a McDonalds ad campaign! Now they are appearing on billboards all over the country.

We're so proud!

Mc Knit Mitt

I was driving back from Rialto Beach, (on the North Olympic Coast), and passed this eye popping billboard near Port Angeles.
Amazing Mitten- Yes Yes- I'm Lovin' It!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Zephyr Patterns

I've already waxed melodic about Zephyr patterns on my blog but when Shannon showed off her Rusted Root sweater to y'all I couldn't help wanting to jump up and down and yell me too!

I knit these two Zephyr patterns in little to no time, as top down raglan = one quick knit.

Here's Glee, knit from Cashcotton Dk, a blend of cotton, angora and cashmere. So soft!

Glee from Zephyr

And Green Gable, knit from String of Pearls. A sweet little something that gave me no trouble at all.

Green Gable From Zephyr

After these sweaters I've decided to challenge myself with some Rowan lace.

Say a little prayer for me.

Straw into Gold?

Well maybe not, but cotton candy and batts into luxury yarn isn't bad!

As some of you may know, Spinning has arrived a Hilltop.

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Here are some photos from the assembly process.

Karen put the Kiwi together
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Megan managed the Traditional
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and the Joy, what a Joy to open the box and find it came assembled!
I was too happy to get a photo (sorry, you'll have to come in an see it, it's beautiful.)

Aren't we handy!

We are very lucky to have Grafton Fiber batts, both the Cooridale and the Wensleydale- here are a few shots of how pretty they are in batt form, as well as what they can become.
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We also have hand dyed roving from local fiber artist Ruby's Daughter. Her bumps look just like cotton candy, and they are just a delight to spin.

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We will be having a spining event and demo on Sat. Feb. 24th. from 2-4. You can come and try out the wheels (and the spindles, did I forget to mention we have heavenly spindles?) ask questions, and if you want, find out about classes.

Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What do Knitters do to Blow off Some Steam?

They knit tiny sweaters for dead presidents!!! just kidding. ...
I'm not sure if you've ever noticed how well the staff gets along and wondered what our secret was.
Well, lean in a little closer and I'll tell you.
It's not just because Jennifer Hill is the greatest boss anyone could ever dream of. (Though that helps.) The reason that we all smile and love each other is because we try to get together once a month for X-treme pub knitting. It is a really great way to keep in good spirits because work, no matter how rewarding and amazing your job is, can be stressful. I would recommend doing something like this with any group of people you have to spend a lot of non-recreational time with.
So, this itty bitty sweater was knit by Betsy and was included with the tip for our stellar waitor of the evening. If you ever go to The Pub at 3rd Place, his name is Caleb and he is great--just tell him his regular knitters sent you. As a side note, I really think you should go there. The lighting is perfect for knitting and everyone is so nice.
Anyway, I just thought I'd let you know what your local, professional knitter gals do unwind.

Spring is Absolutely in the Air

I know this is jumping the gun by about a month, however I feel a change in the weather and I think it is worth noting. ...
The leaves are beginning to change here in the shop--well, the color palate is anyway. Brights and pastels are slowly creeping in to the spotlight. Which, in my humble opinion, are the BEST colors to be surrounded by. Don't you think?
So while we're on the topic...
Spring (as all of you know) is not just the time when I was born, but also a time of rejuvenation and rejuvenating is what we've been up to. It seems like all of our knitters have taken a call to arms and are producing like they're lives depend on it...
Here is a fabulous one skein project for those of you who are handy with a hook. Our lovely Karen is the designer and model for this one.

And holy tunic! This is a design by Monica and was knit by Kat. You all need to take a good look at it. I am in awe of the beauty of Kat's stitches. If someone had told me it was done by a machine, I'd believe it without a hint of skepticism.

Also worth mentioning are all the new Zephyr patterns we have in the store. We have a model of the Green Gables pattern displayed prominently in the shop. This picture here is my rendition of the Rusted Root pattern. This sweater turned out to be an accidental employee knit along. I think four of us have knit it so far.
(Incidentally my sweater is knit in one of the colors I designated for the silly holiday, "single awareness day," that I quasi-created.)

This is my favorite time of the year. It's full of happy hustle and bustle--fresh energy. As you can see we have a lot going on right now. More than lil ole me could put in one blog post. So, I'll leave it at that!
Happy Almost Spring!!!

Monday, February 12, 2007

What became of the green yarn?

I really enjoyed the opportunity to Spin in Public at our event on February 3rd, and to answer questions about spinning and wheels and fiber. Thank you, Megan, for organizing such a fun event! There's another one on February 24th, if you missed it. If you did get to see me there, I can answer one of the oft-posed questions about my fiber: no, that green does not wash off afterwards-- off of the yarn or my hands! (It was not one of our rovings from the shop, but an unidentified fiber festival purchase.) The color managed to stay in the yarn, but bled like crazy when I set the twist. A final rinse in white vinegar completely took care of the problem, and often works on commercial yarns that bleed as well. The smell does fade.
Another question I was asked a few times was, "What do you do with the yarn you spin?" For this yarn, here's this post... I had about 90 worsted-weight yards of the green yarn after plying, and I aimed for mittens. To avoid running short, I striped my handspun with a pink commercial-spun yarn of a similar weight, which is a good trick for stretching one or two hundred yards of handspun into a whole project. The mitten pattern is from a Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton Noro book, called "Forsa Mittens." After the mittens, I had way too much green yarn left over to abandon, so I wove it up into a tiny camera pouch and a (currently handle-less) purse.
When I only have a minimal amount of precious handspun, I frequently turn to two great resources: One Skein Wonders (by many people, including some from Hilltop!) and One Skein by Leigh Radford. Both books have lots of options for different gauges. Another one I don't have yet, but love to flip through at the shop, is Spin to Knit by Shannon Okey, which is made for exactly these concerns. Sure, sometimes I will spin enough for a sweater, but I find it more fun to try out new fibers and different color combinations. Spinning is like "inventing" yarn-- It has practical purposes, but it's hard to beat the thrill of discovery!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The sweater in the chrysalis

... or in the freezer bag, as the case may be. I loved knitting up the GGH Soft Kid into this great sweater from Rebecca #32--it's the cute orange sweater on the far right of this page.

sk sweater ziplock

Ever since I found out my sister's having twins in June, I've been working like crazy on all my stacked-up knitting and sewing projects and I'm getting close to seaming this number. Then a final steaming and she'll be ready to emerge!

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Patient Rowan Lovers, your wait is over

Just want to let all of you lovely people out there know that Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine Number 41 has finally arrived. I don't know if it is just me, but it seemed like it was never going to come. I'm sure that feeling was sparked mostly by anticipation.
Anyway, if you've been dying of anticipation like myself, just know they're here and looking for a good home.
Have a great "Post-Super Bowl" Day!!!