FO Friday: Pat’s CustomFit Cardigan

pat CustomFit at Natural Stitches (1)

pat CustomFit at Natural Stitches (2)

Pat completed her CustomFit Cardigan in Cascade 220.

Pat used the following design choices to make the cardigan her own:

 

  • Average fit
  • Style: cardigan
  • Length: Low-hip length
  • Sleeves: Full-length sleeve
  • Neck style: Crew neck

Isn’t this a cardigan you’d wear every day? Pat looks great!

If you’d like to make your own wearable cardigan, give us a call at 412-441-4410 to schedule a CustomFit consultation.

 

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WIP Wednesday: Zoom Loom Class Preview

zoom loom blocks

DIY gradient with one skein of Crazy Zauberball.

Zoom Loom squares: they are a fun way to use up leftover yarn. They give your hands a break from other crafts. Once you get the hang of it, they go quickly.

But what to do with all of those squares? How many yarn coasters does one need? I got to thinking that if I used special yarn chosen especially for Zoom Loom squares with a project in mind, it might make more sense than trying to piece together unrelated stash squares, and that I might actually like the finished product. So, I carefully chose yarn for two projects, an infinity scarf and a shawl, and will lead a 2-part workshop later this summer. In the first session we will plan our projects, choose yarn, and start weaving squares, and in the second part, we will artfully arrange our squares and then explore a few methods to attach them together. Grab your Zoom Loom and join us!

The class begins on Tuesday, August 18 from 12:00-2:00 and costs $50. Give us a call at 412-441-4410 to sign up!

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Bon Voyage? No! Yarn Voyage!

In an effort to better serve you, we closed the shop for a day and invited Anne Hanson, well-known designer and creative genius behind Knitspot and BareNaked Wools, to visit Natural Stitches and teach us a thing or two.

First, let me say how down to earth Anne really is.  She’s very witty, and so knowledgeable.  Something that she suggested at a previous class, and that we’ve started at the shop, is to have a swatch library.  (The next time you’re in the shop, take a look through the basket that sits on the glass-topped table.  Notice how different yarns behave differently in a stitch pattern!).  Here, you can see Anne showing us some of the yarns in her swatch library — and let me say, she has BAGS of swatches!   Yarn Voyage Anne Shows Swatches

One of our exercises was to choose a stitch pattern and knit a single, long swatch of it, changing yarns along the way (but maintaining a single needle size).  It was interesting to see how each yarn played with the stitch patterns.

Yarn Voyage Swatches

Naturally, the star students of the day were Zelda and David.  Zelda wore her AMAZING Distant Shores sweater, in which she used Nature Spun Sport paired with the BareNaked Wools Stone Soup Fingering.  She also brought in her One Thing Leads to Another shawl to show, because she had bought some of the yarn from the BareNaked Wools booth at the Great Lakes Fiber Festival, then had a small falling down here at the shop.  Zelda and Anne had a very nice chat and, as you can see from the photo below, were pretty happy to get to know each other a little better.  (Also, isn’t that a lot of fantastic knitwear they are displaying?)

Yarn Voyage anne and zelda

David tried on Anne’s Pedal Pusher cardigan (pattern to be released soon!).  It uses Confection Worsted, which is a yarn that is newly available to us for wholesale.  It’s 100% corriedale, so it’s squishy, springy, sproingy, cushy…and just a whole lot of fun.  Should we bring some in?  I say YES!

Yarn Voyage David Models Confection

Did we learn anything from our time with Anne?  Yes, of course we did!  And we hope that you’ll join us in the spring, when we bring Anne back for classes with you!

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What Do With It?: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Camel Merino Silk

BMFA-CamelMerinoSilk at Natural Stitches

 

I go through color phases. Especially in fiber buying and spinning. This month’s “what do with project” is part of my fall colors problem. Every year, sometime in the middle of October I just want to spin the colors of the trees. Due to this proclivity,  I have three finished skeins (all from different places and different fiber contents) of handspun in shades of fall foliage. Today’s post is about the luxurious skein I made from Blue Moon Fiber Arts Camel/Merino/Silk in the colorway Fall on Tap.

I think there is a fear of ruining fancy fibers. If you are a new spinner, you might feel like you aren’t ready for the “good” stuff yet. Or you get overwhelmed by how to spin the fiber, and so you don’t. We do the same thing when knitting or crocheting with the “really good stuff.”  To this I say: Just go for it! You’ll never use it (and enjoy it!) as a finished object if you don’t start.

When I started spinning my Camel/Merino/Silk (which comes in a 4oz braid, unlike the larger quantities in the other fiber bases of Blue Moon Fiber Arts), I knew I wanted to do a two-ply yarn. The two-ply structure would give me a relatively sturdy yarn, good for lace work. There are a couple of different ways to do a two-ply, and I just split the braid in half and went for a crazy barberpole yarn.

Camel/Merino/Silk is an interesting blend. It’s a 40/40/20 mix so it has some sheen from the silk, but it is mostly made of soft fuzzy exquisiteness. Camel has a staple length of 1-3 inches, Merino’s staple length averages 2-5 inches, and silk’s staple length is 5-7 inches. When you mix different staple lengths, it can be beneficial to spin from the fold in order to average out the different fibers and create a more uniform spin. It is a really wonderful easy and smooth spin. ALSO, the colors are just so stinking gorgeous. I didn’t take a good picture of the roving before I spun it, so you’ll have to oogle the colorways you can get in the shop instead.

Camel Merino Silk BMFA

All of these fibers can spin thin, so that’s more or less what I went for and I ended up with ~416 yds of fingering weight yarn.

 

FallOnTap-Christiana

SO… What do with?

As I mentioned at the beginning, I have a penchant for fall foliage shades in October. So what I’m doing with this (and the other fibers I’ve spun up) is a hat, mitts, and scarf set that more or less matches. I’m really looking forward to my handspun/handknit set, and the Camel/Merino/Silk is going to be the shawl/scarf aspect of my set.

I’ve gone for a leaf motif to connect the three items (I’m making hat and mitts from the Botanical Knits book), and I’m planning to make a Stockinette Haruni (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/stockinette-haruni)  for the scarf. I like the leaf detail at the bottom and the busy nature of the barberpole will be shown off in the stockinette version of this pattern. This skein was wound up in December, as I had intended to cast it on during the 12 days of casting on. That clearly didn’t happen. It’s currently the next lace project on my queue, after I finish the Kirstin Kapur mystery shawl and the Shop Sample Curl (which was featured as a WIP in progress).

Happy Spinning!

Christiana

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FO Friday: Hollie’s Little Sister’s Dress

This is just the cutest pattern, and we love Holly’s rendition of it in Dream in Color Smooshy. The Little Sister’s Dress is available as a FREE pattern on Ravelry.

little sisters dress smooshy (1)

Does it fit?

little sisters dress smooshy (2)

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New at Natural Stitches: Wonderland Yarns Gradients!

We’ve had the sportweight five-color gradient pack Mad Hatter from Wonderland Yarns for a few months now, but when Martha, David, Yvonne, and I saw the fingering weight Cheshire Cat at TNNA, we could not resist.

wonderland gradients at natural stitches

We are delighted to carry twelve colorways of the fingering Cheshire Cat and sixteen of the sport Mad Hatter. The Cheshire Cat is a total 640 yards, and the Mad Hatter is 430 yards: both are $35.00.

But we’ve noticed that customers grab these packs with excitement but then wonder what can be made with it. To help, Jessica and I created a Pinterest board with our ideas. These suggestions can also be used with our other yarns with long color runs like iKnitiatives gradients, Jawoll Degrade, Kauni, and Zauberball Crazy.  We’d love to know what you’d like to make with these gorgeous sets.
Follow Natural Stitches’s board Gradient Kit Ideas on Pinterest.

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FO Friday: Melissa’s Baby Tea Leaves

Our former manager Melissa is expecting her second child in October! The last time she visited, she brought in her Baby Tea Leaves sweater knit in Socks that Rock Lightweight in Vernonia. One skein makes the 0-6 size with a bit left over. The pattern is available as a Ravelry in-store download purchase, and separate patterns are available to make toddler and adult sizes.

melissa baby tea leaves (2) melissa baby tea leaves (4)

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WIP Wednesday: Jenn’s Starshower

Starshower in Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere at Natural Stitches

The Starshower is such an interesting pattern in that it combines the elements of a shawl and a cowl, essentially making a shawl that actually stays around your neck. Jenn is knitting hers in Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere, and it is going to look and feel amazing. I went home and cast on one for myself and noted that the designer, Hillary Smith Callis, has a number of these shapes in her Ravelry store such as Appia and Luna Viridis.  All of these lovely patterns are available as Ravelry in-store download purchases.

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Jack’s Year of Knitting Dangerously: July

Greetings Dangerous Knitter,

Well, I’m sure you’ve all finished your market bags and taken them on a trial run or two to the farmer’s market. Isn’t it amazing how that stitch pattern stretches out to give plenty of room for fruits and veggies?! And let’s not forget about how wonderfully smooth the Euroflax became after laundering. This was a simply magical project, and I’m sure you are ready to take your lace knitting to the next level.

Dangerously yours,
Jack

monkey socks 3_in Naked Sock at Natural StitchesJuly Pattern:
This month I have chosen another summer favorite…Socks! Monkey by Cookie A. uses a more complicated lace pattern than the Ilene bag, but it is short and repetitive, so you will be able to quickly memorize it. The sock is knit from the top down starting with a twisted rib cuff. The cuff immediately transitions into the lace pattern for the remainder of the leg and along the top of the sock to the toe. The sock’s sole is simple stockinette so it practically flies off the needles. No second sock syndrome here. You’ll have a pair in no time! If you are new to socks, it can get tricky at the heel. Feel free to stop in for some quick assistance , if needed, and we’ll get you back into the action.

 

For these socks, I used a skein of Naked Sock by Wisdom Yarns. This is a wool free acrylic blend that has a surprising amount of stretch. This stretch makes for a very well fitting finished item, perfect for all of your sock projects. Naked Sock is super soft and we have it in 8 variegated colorways. Some are mostly tonal and others have a mottled look, but all of them are beautiful! I chose to knit this project in a brilliant pink colorway called Sweetly.

monkey socks 4_in Naked Sock at Natural Stitches

Some of you may have noticed by now that I chose to use an acrylic yarn to knit a lace pattern. Normally this is dicey at best, since acrylic yarn will not block to properly reveal the lace. That is ABSOLUTLEY not the case with Naked Sock. NO, it does not block, but YES, it does allow the lace pattern to open up beautifully!! Have fun knitting this month, and as always, stop in to the shop to see this month’s project and all of the others so far.monkey socks 1_in Naked Sock at Natural Stitches

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Shop Sample Spotlight: Wheaten

Wheaten in Stone Soup Fingering at Natural Stitches

We are obsessed with the beauty of this Wheaten Wrap, knit by David in Bare Naked Wool Stone Soup Fingering. Anne Hanson’s gorgeous pattern is available as a Ravelry in-store download sale and comes with instructions for a scarf, wrap, AND blanket in both fingering and light worsted weights.

Wheaten (18)

Speaking of Anne Hanson, we will be closed on Wednesday, July 15 for staff development with Anne! Anne will be teaching us a version of her “Yarn Voyage” class to help us help you better, and we could not be more thrilled to have her.

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