One *Cute* Baby Sweater

May 5, 2013
klose-knit-one-sweater

One Baby Sweater photographed with permission at Klose Knit 

 

Recently I found myself in Urbana IL in need of a few calm hours of yarn store therapy.  Thanks to Yelp, I discovered Klose Knit and spent a lovely time talking shop with Brigette, the absolutely charming owner.  Klose Knit is full of quality yarns and lots of inspiring samples, definitely worth a stop if you are in the area.

One of the many inspirations was their  “One Baby Sweater”  made from one skein of Spud and Chloe Sweater, an organic blend of cotton and wool.  Erika Flory, the pattern designer, describes her sweater this way:

One skein, one size, one needle, one piece, one button, one day to make: a simple, top-down cardigan with garter stitch edging that’s a fast, easy knit for the perfect last-minute baby gift.

one-sweater-white

I love the rhinestone button and the crocheted flowers in the Klose Knit version.  However, the pattern is written for a newborn size, so I decided to make mine “gender neutral” so that it could be passed along between siblings.

What is your favorite baby gift to make?

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Knitting Nanook: The Epilogue

May 4, 2013

lisa-nanook-drape

 

We didn’t think that we should end the story before we showed you a picture of the Nanook worn open with a drape in the front.

Such an easy style to wear.

Note:

Lisa’s adventures with this sweater have inspired a knitting class which starts next week:

Tuesday Evenings 7:00 – 8:30

May 7, May 14, May 28, June 11 and June 25

There are still a few spots left. Give us a call or stop in to register.

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Knitting Nanook: the Final Chapter

April 30, 2013
lisa-in-nanook

This one is a keeper.  Why?  Good design.

The only question I have about this sweater is why it’s called Nanook. Maybe because the ribbed lace pattern on the collar is called Bear Track?  Even though the collar looks like shells?

Otherwise, this is a very thoughtfully-designed pattern.

This sweater is destined for long-term love.  In no particular order, here’s why:

The design is fun to knit — just enough challenge with lots of conversation knitting thrown in.  You know conversation knitting — where you can knit while talking or watching TV or listening to an audiobook. Not while driving, please, unless you’re in the passenger seat.

I can wear it unbuttoned with the fronts draping without worrying about the wrong side showing because, hey, the fronts and collar are knit in reversible stitch patterns which  = good design

And that drape?  Perfect.  (See the Nanook Chapter 1 for more info on this.) = good design
It fits without having to rewrite the pattern = good design

 Good design = the sweaters you wear and want to make again.  Nanook qualifies.

Note:

Lisa’s adventures with this sweater have inspired a knitting class which starts next week: Tuesday Evenings 7:00 – 8:30 May 7, May 14, May 28, June 11 and June 25.

There are still a few spots left.  Give us a call or stop in to register.

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Knitting Nanook by Lisa Kartus Chapter 3

April 8, 2013

nanook-first-back

Chapter 3: Resolution

All stories have an introduction, rising action, an epiphany or aha! moment and then exposition where the author explains it all to you.  I love a good mystery novel and, really, any good story has to have mystery or why would you turn the page?  You want to know more, you want to know what happens next.

So for me every new knitting project begins as a mystery story.  I test drive the yarn + pattern and figure out the fit.  But then somewhere along the line I get to try something new.  For Nanook it was working the sleeves after the collar and shoulders but before the body.

If you’ve ever knit a top-down sweater you come to expect to work in this order:
1) neckline
2) yoke
3) put sleeve caps on holders
4) work the body from armholes to hem all in one piece.
5) Then go back and work the sleeves in the round from shoulder to cuff.

It’s just standard top-down design.

Nanook’s designer (whom I think of familiarly as Heidi K since I’ve now knit two of her designs)  said no, we’re going to make the sleeves first.  Really?  Why?  That got my attention.  That was the mystery of this project, the reason to turn to the next page to find out what happens. So with collar and shoulders done I put aside the sweater and read the rest of the pattern.  And loved Heidi K’s thinking.  Now I had to try it for myself.  My husband will attest to the fact that my nose seemed to be buried in indigo cotton knitting for the next few days.

Did the sleeves work?
1) stay tuned for Chapter 4
2) try on the finished sweater (I surrendered it for display at String Theory, though Janet just about had to pry it out of my hands — this is one comfortable sweater)
3) sign up for Nanook class and your own epiphany.

Note: Lisa’s adventures with this sweater have inspired a knitting class which runs Tuesday Evenings 7:00 – 8:30 May 7, May 14, May 28, June 11 and June 25.  Give us a call or stop in to register.

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Knitting Nanook by Lisa Kartus: Chapter 1

March 27, 2013

Everything we knit can’t help but have a story — inspiration, planning, resolution, finished project.

Inspiration:
A few Saturday nights ago, MA called me about what to do with her luscious lime green Rowan Savannah.  She wanted a drape-front sweater.
OK, here’s the thing about drape-front sweaters:  your front matters.  That is, what’s under the sweater.  Too much drape = that ship’s prow look.
MA and I cruised Ravelry, on the hunt for a gentle drape front that would look good on lots of figures.  We came up with Nanook by Heidi Kirrmaier on Ravelry:
So MA is making it in Rowan Savannah at 4 sts per inch gauge and I’m making it in Rowan Soft Knit cotton at 4.5 sts per inch gauge.
Want to know how that can be?  Stay tuned for Ch. 2: Planning Nanook.

Note: Lisa’s adventures with this sweater have inspired a knitting class which runs Tuesday Evenings 7:00 – 8:30 May 7, May 14, May 28, June 11 and June 25.  Give us a call or stop in to register.
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Gift Guides – It’s not too late

November 17, 2012

Have you seen our new Gift Guide?

Every week we are sending out ideas for quick gifts that you still have time to make, like this Chrysanthemum Cowl made with a skein of Kidsilk Haze Trio and Kidsilk Haze Glamour.  To receive your copy, sign up for our free newsletter.

Note: Some email accounts consider any mail sent by Constant Contact to be spam, so if you’ve signed up but don’t remember seeing anything, check your Spam folder for our newsletter sent on  November 13.  Mark it as “not spam” or add our address (newsletter at stringtheoryyarncompany dot com) to your list of contacts.

Next week our Gift Guide has ideas for the men in your life.

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Travel Knitting

November 3, 2012

I recently escaped to California for a weekend with my dear college friends. I consider a long plane ride a gift of knitting time. So I put a lot of consideration into which projects to pack.  I picked two relatively mindless projects on circular needles – I’m infamous for losing double points and straights in the seat cushions.

It’s a hat.

My first project was Howlcat by Alexandra Tinsley. This design is genius! She has made a color blocked tube that can be worn as a cowl or a hat. So easy to knit!  I used String Theory Merino DK for the brown ribbed portion and Malabrigo Lace (doubled) for the red stockinette.

It’s a cowl!

My second project was a pattern I’d gotten from Nina.  I’ve been wanting to make this for a long time, but I could never decide on colors.  I guess all the hemming and hawing paid off, because I really like how this turned out.

I used Shibui Silk Cloud (double stranded).  I think it works because all three colors have red in their mix.  But I’ve seen others that I like with two darker colors separated by a light color in the middle.  I’m going to try that next.

I highly recommend both of these projects if you are traveling over Thanksgiving.  Airports, car trips (and family gatherings) are always better with knitting.

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Gardener’s Shawl Knitting Class Starts October 30th

October 25, 2012

Sock Weight Version

Gardner’s Shawl Class
Tuesday Evenings 7:00 – 8:30
October 30 and November 6
Cost $30

This project has all sorts of clever techniques that you will use again and again.

First, Lisa will teach you to start a shawl with a garter stitch tab.  Most triangle shawls are started off this way because it gives you a neat and strong point to build on.

Next she’ll help you figure out the slip-stitch cable – with a cable needle or without. And then there will be a trick or two for carrying yarns for stripes.

The hardest part of the project will be choosing your yarn.  Will you choose sock yarn or worsted?  Solids, variegated or self striping? And then will you block it with points or a straight edge?  Take a look at Ravelry for some inspiration.

This class starts soon, so call to sign up today.

Worsted Weight Version

 

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WARM Sifa Silver Cotton

October 13, 2012

For those of you that can’t wear wool, we’ve found a cotton that will keep you warm as the temperature drops. Sifa Silver Cotton is a chain-plied Turkish cotton yarn spun with 10% PURE SILVER.  When looking at this yarn don’t expect to see “bling”.  You won’t see any silvery sparkles.   The silver filaments are shot through one strand of the cabled yarn. No bling, but the silver makes the cotton warmer (and cooler in the summer) than regular cotton.

For centuries silver has been known to possess healing and anti-bacterial components.  Sifa means “healing” in Turkish and that is what this yarn really is – a healing or therapeutic yarn.  In fact, the story goes that this yarn was created for the spinner’s mother who suffered from Rheumatoid arthritis. She swore that every time she wore socks that she knit with Sifa, her feet felt better.  Read more here about the healing properties of metal.

The yarn comes in Natural, Moss and Bronze.  So what should you make?

Mittens:  Because silver is a conductive element, you can use your touch screen device while wearing mittens knit with Sifa Silver Cotton.

Anything that has a pretty stitch pattern: I made this headband (free pattern with purchase of Sifa yarn) with just one skein.  The cabled construction gives the yarn an elasticity that is missing from most cottons and a fabulous stitch definition.

Chemo Caps: Here is a pattern for a turban that would keep you warm on the chilliest day.

Slippers: Try these Pocket Book Slippers that Karen and Lisa did several months ago for a Sunday project.

Sifa Silver Cotton was recently spotlighted on Knitting Daily. Eunny Jang, editor of Interweave Knits, and Clara Parkes of Knitter’s Review, talked about the Sifa Silver Cotton’s beautiful stitch definition, as well as its other fabulous qualities.

Sifa Silver Cotton is another one of those yarns that is both good for you and good for the world.  It is produced in the area of Turkey that was devastated in the 1999 earthquake and the income produced is used to support local artisans, craftswomen and small local spinners who are still suffering from the catastrophe.

So stop in and see.  We know you are going to like it.

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Handmaiden Casbah

July 31, 2012

“Handpainted variegated yarns look beautiful in the skein, but not so much when you knit with them.”  I hear this all the time and sometimes I agree, but I was getting bored with all our semi solid sock yarn and decided to bring in some richly variegated colors anyway.

Like this skein of Handmaiden Casbah – an intense combination of navy, purple, orange, gold, and green.  Casbah is a blend of merino, cashmere and nylon which makes it soft and sturdy.

The wound ball gives you a glimpse of just how spectacular this is going to be.

I love the way these turned out – navy stripes with glimmers of gold and green and orange.  No pooling whatsoever, not even when you switch directions at the heel.  The stockinette section on the bottom of the foot is my favorite, but you’ll have to come into the shop to see it, since it doesn’t show up in the photo!

Pattern: Churchmouse Basic Socks
Needle size: US1.5

I’ve already cast on for the next one.  No “second sock syndrome” here.  But now I’m thinking of the blue/red/green color that would make fun fingerless mitts….

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