Saturday, August 15, 2009

New At Kiwi

Lynn tells me that the shop is getting boxes of new things in every day, getting ready for fall. Here is some of what I found when I was there last...

A big box of yarn all set for Knit A Hat Day.

Mini Mochi, a new sock yarn from Crystal Palace. It has a content of 80% merino and 20% nylon. It's machine washable, and one colorway is already sold out! Each ball is 50 grams, you will need two balls for the average pair of adult socks.

Wonderful little tool cases from Namaste, in gorgeous colors. Let's just say that there's one less green one at the shop.

The inside of the lid is magnetized. There is a lift-off layer, and then more space underneath, with a magnetized bottom.

Design It, Knit It by Debbie Bliss. Not only has wonderful patterns as you would expect form Debbie Bliss, but also several great design tips. A must for Debbie Bliss fans and those who want to play with sweater design for adults and children.

Knit One, Bead Too. I love beaded knits, and this is going on my wish list.

Booties, Blankets and Bears, also by Debbie Bliss.

Knitting From the North Sea. Gorgeous patterns, the lace shawl on the cover looks wonderful.

New Twists on Twinned Knitting. Another great way to use color in knitting.

Knitted Edges and Trims. The perfect way to add a custom finish to your garments.

Sensational Slippers. Now, haven't I been nagging you about starting your holiday knitting now?

Then there are two samples of some knitting by a couple of Knit Dr regulars, JoJo and Dee. They are making scarves using the Knit One Below technique. Dee's is a beautiful blend of neutrals. Note how pretty the back of the fabric is.

JoJo, who loves color, is using a combination of pinks.

Please pardon the lack of excessive prose this week, I've hurt my right wrist again from overuse, and am wearing a splint as we speak, and having to ice it twice a day!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sock Summit

As many of you may already know, this weekend is the first if what one hopes will be many years of an ongoing tradition: Sock Summit. Held in Portland, OR., Sock Summit is the equivalent of Shangri-la to legions of sock knitters.

It was/is organized by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, better known as the Yarn Harlot, and Tina Newton of Blue Moon Fiber Arts. It sounds like one of those casual ideas that you'd toss into conversation, which then turned into a monster on steroids. Tina and Stephanie expected a larger response than the people they were dealing with did. It sounded as though those who deal with the other end of conferences thought that they were crazy when the two of them said that they expected a good response. What they didn't expect, however, was that when they were finally open for online registration, there was such an overwhelming number of people trying to register all at the same time, that all the servers crashed. That's a lot of excited sock knitters!

They have AMAZING teachers at this conference, with equally astounding classes. Including Kiwi's Heather Ordover who is teaching three classes. Big names from Barbara Walker to Cat Bordhi. Cookie A, Nancy Bush, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, Sivia Harding, Lucy Neatby, Meg Swanson! Wow! To breathe THAT air!

One of my friends through the knitting lists and Facebook is Judy Sumner, whose new sock knitting book based on Japanese stitch patterns, Knitted Socks East and West has just been released. Judy wrote yesterday that she wished we could have been there to see all of the knitters stand up and applaud Barbara Walker when she came in. We all, as knitters, owe Barbara Walker more than we can ever possibly imagine.

And then there are the vendors! Geeze Louise! Everyone you can think of, and a lot you haven't come across yet.

There are events such as the opening night reception, the Sock Hop, the Luminary Panel. Have you ever heard of a conference with a swift and ball-winder area? Shipping from right there at the conference center? These ladies know how to shop! I'm getting light headed just thinking about it.

Check out the website, do some fantasy shopping and classes. Imagine yourself there next year. Hmmm... Maybe a Tucson contingent, traveling together?

Friday, August 7, 2009

New at Kiwi

Is she cute or what? And that sweet little cardi! Well, Kiwi has the greatest new yarn, and the idea is so wonderful that I found myself looking at it and trying to think of babies to knit for!

It's called Cotton Kisses and it's from Plymouth Yarns. A machine washable cotton/acrylic/nylon blend. Sound good so far?

Not only does it come with two free patterns--for a cardi and a pullover--but it also comes with three free buttons! All you need to add is the needles and a pair of knitting hands. I think this is a fantastic idea. There are times when you need a quick gift for a soon-to-be Mom, and this would be ideal. The knitted fabric is very soft and cuddly, and the yarn comes in several great baby colors. I'm thinking of picking one of these up to add to my stash, for quick gift-making in emergencies.

Also in the baby room, Lynn has added a charity sales corner. This area has many different odds and ends--yarns, needles, books--the sales of which will be donated to charity. Check it out when you are next in the store!

Two new books that are in and getting quite a buzz are Knitting in the Sun, by Kristi Porter, and Knitted Gifts, by Ann Budd. Last time I was at Kiwi several knitters where leafing through both books and really loving the patterns. And you know how I love to start gift knitting now so that I can actually enjoy the holidays without pressure? Uh-huh.

So come on in and enjoy the air-conditioned comfort and the company of lovely knitters. There's lots new at Kiwi Knitting!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Crochet Cast-On

Let's go to the movies while I show you how to work the Crochet Cast-On.

The Crochet cast-on is wonderful for several reasons, all of which I know I have mentioned here before. It makes a great cast-on when you are knitting a project that will have all 4 edges visible. Because it matches the classic bind-off, if you also work a slipped stitch edge of both side edges, you will finish with a result that has all four edges matching. I also like to use it when I am going to leave the cast-on edge plain without adding any finishing later, or when I am going to add a finish to the edge later, but haven't yet decided what I'll do (it's very easy to do a crochet edging from later).

It also makes a perfect provisional cast-on. Provisional cast-ons are for those times when you will want to come back later and knit from your cast-on edge in the other direction. I've worked a couple of shawl patterns where the pattern starts at the center of the shawl, and is knitted from the center to the outer edge. After doing this, you then pick up sts from the provisional cast-on, and repeat the pattern to knit the remaining end. Or, as I showed you recently, when I wanted to make a smoother bottom edge to the 'Flow' pattern by Norah Gaughan.

You'll want a set of knitting needles, a crochet hook one size smaller than your needles, and yarn that suits your needle size.


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