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!