She does it again

So Yarnies,

I think I’ve mentioned before how much I love Samurai Knitter. It think I mentioned how much she rocks my world, and how much her reviews of Vogue Knitting Magazine make me think.

Well, she’s done it again. She’s got her latest review of the Spring Vogue Knitting out, and I think it is definitely worth reading. In addition to critiquing the patterns, she gives us some great pictures demonstrating how models “work” patterns, so that they look good on the models.

I will make a few comments of my own on the new Vogue Knitting Magazine. First, what’s with Vogue choosing sections where all the patterns are the same color? And seriously, white???? let me just say, there are very few people that look good in that much white, and even the models by the end of that section are looking rather washed out (and a bit bored, in my opinion, which is not a surprise, considering how boring the white is).

HOWEVER, I really really like the colored section that comes a the back. I think the backgrounds are great, the colors are wonderful, and most of the patterns in the back are something I would consider making (which, after Vogue’s fall and winter issues, is a welcome relief, because I was getting tired of reading all about these bulky, shapeless knits).

Now, I admit a bias. Generally, I tend of the like the designs in Knitty or Interweave more than I like the ones in Vogue. Being an average woman (if a bit on the chunky and short side) I really am not into the supposedly “high” fashion designs that they highlight. It’s one of the reasons I tend to not be a fan of Takki’s pattern books either. (I tend to prefer Classic Elite’s Pattern books instead).

But I like the back section of Vogue Knitting. And I do keep subscribing to Vogue Knitting because I think their information articles make it all worth it.

Anyway, go check out Samurai Knitter’s review. As always, her critique says it all.

Tuesday in My Queue

Good afternoon Yarnies!

Have you ever noticed how strange a word Queue is? Just throught I’d throw that out there.

Welcome to the first Tuesday in My Queue! This is where I feature a pattern in my Queue on Ravelry, and talk about why I like it, what skills it uses, what problems might be found with it. For those of you who don’t know, Ravelry is one of the most amazing online resources for knitters and crochet people.

Today’s pattern is Sylvi, by Mari Muinonen. Her website is
Link to pattern Some of her best designs, in my opinion, involve cables, and a particular love of mine, which is Irish Knotwork.

First, take a look at Sylvi, up above. I’m sure you noticed her when you came in, but just take another look for a moment. Linger. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Done? What do you think? Because I’ll tell you what I think:


Look at the lines, the flowers, the movement. And gosh, the color! At first I thought the red was almost too much, but I’m thinking that if you’re going to wear something like this, you can’t have it subtle. It has to be out there and bold.

What people have done with this: I think the best examples of this jacket is when the creators went with a single color. For example, this blue one’s vivid color make the shadows that for the flowers really glow.

However, one woman has done it with colorwork, and while it is lovely, I’m not quite sure it’s what I would go for. I think the single color is what makes this design really interesting. The intricacy of the stitches and the cables are really allowed to shine. When you make the project in multiple colors, it’s the colors, then the project, that are seen. The stitches take a second, backseat to the color, and if that’s what you want, that’s fine. But I think that the single color really make the project elegant, instead of just another knit project imitating nature by using flowers a vines. (don’t get me wrong. I love flowers and vines motifs in my knitting. That’s a large part of my queue.

The specs:
Finished bust measurements:
(38, 41 ½, 44 ½, 47)” / 86 (97, 105, 113, 120 ) cm
12 (12, 13, 13, 14) skeins Briggs & Little Atlantic (100% wool; 136 yd/124.5 m per 4 oz/113.5 g) in Red
Needles & Notions:
size 10 US (6 mm) 16″ (40 cm) and 32″ (80 cm) circulars; cable needle; stitch markers; tapestry needle; 6 large buttons; 5 stitch holders or scrap yarn
12 sts and 16 rows = 4″ (10 cm) in seed st
Construction Notes:
Body knit flat in pieces, sleeves knit in the round

So this project is really going to eat your yarn. Let’s just get this out of the way right off the bat. It’s a coat, for goodness sake, so if you didn’t expect that, I’m sorry. It also has a boatload of cables, which also eats your yarn like nobody’s business.

I’d recommend doing this project in a solid or VERY subtle semi-solid yarn. Again, it’s the stitches that you want to pop, not the crazy pooling of a variegated yarn or the color-work from you modifying the pattern.

It’s going to require buttons. I’d go for some wooden ones, just my preference, though I also like what this one woman did with her pink flower buttons.

It looks from notes that the petals are knit separate and then sewn on, which means that if you don’t like seaming and finishing this project, those steps are going to drag.

So tell me my yarnies, what do ya’ll think?

You should really check this out…

So one of my favorite people who is talking about knitting right now is Samurai Knitter. Her adventures of raising a (rather precocious!) daughter and her knitting insights are great. But you want to know the real reason I read her? Her insights into fashion.

Let me explain this in a rather roundabout way. I work in a yarn store, the rather wonderful Yarn Spot, in Wheaton, MD. You would think being a yarn store that we knit and crochet all day. Not so. If we aren’t selling yarn and helping customers, we’re entering and putting away patterns and yarn that we got in. When we’re not doing that, we’re tidying up the pattern books. If we’re not doing that, we’re cleaning the store, putting away yarn that’s fallen, or doing a myriad of other tasks. When we’re not doing THAT, we maybe, maybe, get to look through the new patterns and books we get in so that when someone comes in we know exactly the right place to point them to.

Needless to say, we hardly ever get to look at patterns on our time off.

So what do I do? I read Samurai Knitter’s reviews of Vogue Knitting. Because one, they make me laugh so hard I stop knitting (yes, I knit and read at the same time… don’t you?). And two, they are REALLY, really insightful into the patterns, what works about them, what doesn’t, and what I should look out for when a customer is looking to make a pattern, or if I’m planning to make a pattern.

So, Samurai Knitter just posted her review of the winter edition of Vogue. You should read it. Because really, I’m not sure if I could say it better.

Until later,

Tuesday in My Queue

Hello Yarnies,

Time for another eddition of Tuesday in My Queue. Today I’m featuring one of my favorite designers, Joan McGowan-Michael. Her designs can be really really complicated at times, but the end results are just beautiful. If you haven’t ever been to her website, you should. Ruby is one of her feature patterns and really exemplifies why I like her so much. She makes classic, beautiful patterns that are both interesting to knit and look good on people with… figures. That type of thing makes me VERY happy.

What people have done with this: This pattern seems to do best when it is done with a solid color. It’s the stitches that really are meant to stand out and pop.

I really like how other people’s projects show you how the back looks and how it fits over people’s bodies. You can tell that the shaping really give curvature to people with very little, but also the downward lines give people who are quite curvaceous to have a bit more downward line. The ribbons really add a great touch.

The Specs:
Fits bust sizes: 31.5(35.5,39.5,44.5,49.5,54.5,59.5)”

5 sts and 6.5 rows per inch over stockinette on US 7 needles

Cascade 220 Wool Yarn requirements:
6( 6, 8, 8,10,10,11 ) skeins or 1320 (1540, 1760, 1980, 2200, 2300, 2420) yards.

Note here: I would use something nicer than Cascade 220. While it’s a great yarn, I can’t really imagine wearing it next to my skin. Just my 2 cents. Also, reviews about the pattern have been mixed. Some of the charts are rather hard to read, and it really is an experienced knitter pattern, because there’s a lot of shaping and cables and lots of things going on at once. You need to be able to read your knitting. REALLY Well.

Tension in Knitting, Crochet and Life…

So life right now has been a bit of a balancing act for me. I’m working at The Yarn Spot, babysitting, and trying to figure out if I can really make a career out of being my multi-directional self. I feel like I swing between too much and too little. I get tense and uptight worrying that I’m not going to make things work, then I relax and let things roll and don’t quite motivate the way I should.

It’s kind of like knitting or crochet… too much tension and your fabric will be too tight (I even saw one sweater where the person couldn’t get their head through the hole), too loose, and the fabric has no form, flopping down over your head like a three-times-too-big hat.

How the heck do you find a balance?

Well, I can’t really tell you how to go about it with life. I’m making some discoveries about myself, and others, and I’ll share those thoughts with you, but I’ve got it far from right. On the other hand, I can share with you my thoughts about knitting. You see, today we had a customer come in. She had switched from throwing (where you feed the yarn out of your right hand) to continental (or picking, where you feed the yarn out of the left hand, kind of like crochet). Her tension was all wonky, and she couldn’t get a consistent gauge. She was an experienced knitter, but this new method of knitting, while faster in the end, was not working for her right now.

We tried a few methods of wrapping the yarn around her fingers to try and get more friction. I showed her my way where I weave the yarn through my fingers and then loop it over my pinkie, and then I showed her the way another one of the employees in the store does it, where she wraps it around her thumb. In the end, the customer did neither way, but combined the two to get her tension where she wanted it.

I guess that’s what I’m trying to do with my life right now. Combine my passions… for children, for books, for yarn, for writing, for designing patterns, for crafting all into one seamless whole.

*grins* We’ll see how it goes.


In other news, I’m going with the Boyfriend to New Haven this weekend to visit with friends. Not sure what’s going to happen, but I’ll try and take some good pictures to show you! We’ll be taking the train, so the Boyfriend will be pleased.

When I get back, I’m planning to put together a tutorial on holding the yarn when knitting continental, and different ways to modify it for loose or tight knitters.

I’ll keep you updated, Yarnies, for when I get back.

New Classes for this Fall

Fall is upon us, and with all this cool weather coming it’s the perfect time to get back into knitting or crochet. If you live in the Metro DC area, come check out these great new classes at The Yarn Spot. In the next upcoming days I’ll give you some sneak peaks at the different projects we’ll be working on!

Crochet with Jennifer Beginning Crochet IA great introduction to Crochet!
Chain, single crochet, double crochet and more. Learn how to make a coaster and a small purse.
Date: Wednesday, Oct. 13 & 20
Time: 6:30-8 PM
Cost: $60
RSVP by: Monday, Oct. 11
Class Size: 3-8 people
Register NOW!
Beginning Crochet IIWhere we expand our skills.
Expand your skills with basic lacework, different needle sizes and basic finishing techniques. Make some lovely lacework jewelry and a narrow headband.
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 10 & 17
Time: 6:30-8 PM
Cost: $60
RSVP by: Monday, Nov. 8
Class Size: 3-8 people
Register NOW!

Intermediate Crochet I
A great way to expand our skills! Must know how to single crochet, double crochet, chain and slip stitch. Learn how to Fillet Crochet and learn Foundation Crochet. Make a project bag to hold your current designs!
Date: Wednesday, Dec. 1 & 8
Time: 6:30-8 PM
Cost: $60
RSVP by: Monday, Nov. 29
Class Size: 3-8 people
Register NOW!

Intermediate Crochet II
Must know how to single crochet, double crochet, chain and slip stitch. Learn how to make Picots, Bobbles, and crochet to the front and back. Make a pillow sham to show off your skills!
Date: Wednesday, Dec. 15 & 22
Time: 6:30-8 PM
Cost: $60
RSVP by: Monday, Dec 13
Class Size: 3-8 people
Register NOW!

Toe Up Socks with Jennifer
Date: Tuesday, Nov. 2, 9, & 16
Time: 6:30-8 PM
Cost: $90
RSVP by: Sunday, Nov 31
Class Size: 3-6 people
Register NOW!

So this probably isn’t the best time to start blogging again.

So I’ve decided to start blogging the day before I go on a weekend trip to the boyfriend’s family farm… probably not the best time to start blogging, but it needed to be done.

In the upcoming weeks I’ll be talking about the projects I’m working on, the classes I’ll be teaching, and the things going on in my life. Nothing terribly out of the ordinary, but it’ll be exciting, I promise you!