Blog

4th Annual Knitting At Potawatomi Retreat!

Potwawatomi Inn, October 28th, 29th, & 30th
Angola, Indiana (hour and a half south from Lansing)
Cost – $305
This includes virtually everything for the weekend!
Lodging – two women to a room, with two queen beds
Meals – from dinner on Friday to brunch on Sunday (and a snack bar on Saturday!)
Math for Hats – your course fee and cost of the booklet is included!
Tot Toppers Trunk Show! – Kate will be bringing a variety of her patterns and samples for us to drool over (but not on, please)
Payment –
Deposit* – $100 with sign-up to hold spot
2nd Payment – $100 by Friday, September 2nd
Remainder – $105 by Friday, October 14th
*Deposit is non-refundable after September 2nd, unless a replacement is found

Math for Hats taught by Kate Oates
This course is intended to help knitters at all levels adjust and add sizes to an existing pattern, or to start from scratch to design their own hat. We begin by learning how to swatch in the round. We will discuss gauge, different levels of ease including when negative/positive ease are appropriate with a variety of stitch patterns, and how to use available standard sizing and even estimate yardage. We will look at all basic hat shapes including beanies and berets, and also discuss some accessories like earflaps and embellishments. Finally, we will look at the various construction methods and how they suit for the hat inside your head!
Skills required:
-cast on
-knitting in the round
-basic increasing & decreasing
-the course is perfectly suitable for beginning knitters!
After the class, we’ll use our new skills to knit chemo caps for donation to the local cancer unit at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing. And of course, there will be yarn, and food, and chatter, and the mobile
yarn garden and all the other things you’ve come to expect from our weekend away!

Now for the Interesting Details!

When I received the book Knit Noro, this was one of the first items that caught my eye. I thought it would be a perfect shop model, flattering for a wide variety of body shapes and sizes, and of course, worked in Noro. Then I took a closer look at the instructions and loved the pattern even more. Why, you ask? Here are the reasons!
1. This creatively constructed vest is knit sideways from a provisional cast-on at the center back, then the cast-on stitches are picked up and the other side is knit. Cool!
2. Vertical stripes are more flattering than horizontal stripes.
3. Loved the button loops, as mentioned in the previous post.
4. Knit out of Noro Taiyo… need I say more?
5. At first glance, it looks like the entire pattern is knit in garter stitch. Boring! Upon closer examination, I discovered a strip of stockinette stitch sprinkled in every so often. Just enough to break up the boredom!
6. Since the garment is knit sideways, ROW GAUGE becomes more important than STITCH GAUGE.
That last bit is pretty important… ROW GAUGE is more important than STITCH GAUGE. In this case, because the garment is knit sideways, stitch gauge (how many stitches you get per inch) actually determines the length of the garment. Row gauge (how many rows you get per inch of knitting) is the determining factor for bust circumference. Interesting. Take into account the fact that garter stitch is infamous for stretching, and you have a recipe for gauge disaster! So I proceeded through a fairly intensive gauge swatching process, thinking what a great teaching tool this would make. So I took pictures every step of the way, so you could see the importance of what I was doing. Ready?
1. First step: Knit two gauge swatches in pattern stitch (garter stripe pattern, in this case) using two different size needles (US 8 & 9, respectively). If you look closely, you can see the knots in the tails. Those tell me what size needles I used. Clever, huh?
2. See how much difference one needle size can make?
3. Measure each swatch carefully and record the sizes (either write it down or take a picture… you won’t remember, I promise!).
Swatch with US 8 needle (stitch x row) = 3.875″ x 4.1875″
Swatch with US 9 needle = 4″ x 4.625″
4. Give your swatches a bath, by caring for them like you’ll care for your finished project. In this case, the swatches went for a dip in the sink with some SOAK instead of the washing machine at home.


5. Wring out the extra water and let them air dry. I swear by ShamWows!… they really are extra absorbent and dry really fast. Plus, there’s no lint like from a regular towel.

6. Now for the fun part… in order to see how much this thing was going to stretch when I actually wore the vest, I had to simulate that extra weight somehow. Solution? Hang the swatches from a hanger, then add some extra weight in the form of a ball of yarn. I just took some scrap yarn, threaded it through the center of each ball, and tied it on to some spare dpns threaded through the bottom edge of the swatches. I kept the swatches trussed up this way overnight. Pretty fancy, huh? (Ignore the scary, creepy basement… it was the only place that would be undisturbed overnight).

7. Now for the moment of truth… what happened to my swatches?

US 8 swatch = 4.125″ x 4.25″
US 9 swatch after bath = 4.5625″ x 4.625″
8. Now, all that was left was to choose which swatch I could live with. I decided to go with the US 8, and know that the vest might end up a bit longer and a bit bigger than the actual measurements, which I was okay with. Since the style of the vest is a wraparound, I figured I could just snug up the placement of the buttons a bit. And it turned out perfectly!

9. What I would do differently – I forgot to measure before I trussed up the swatches. That way, we could actually see what the difference was before and after they were weighted. Oh well, next time.

So yes, swatching AND BLOCKING really IS important, even though it feels like it takes time away from our “REAL” knitting. Knitters, go forth and knit with confidence, knowing ahead of time how your project will turn out!

The Finished Object First…

…to whet your appetite for more information! Look for another blog post soon, detailing the intensive swatching process that I went through to achieve a good fit. It’s interesting, I promise.

Close up of my favorite part of the project. The button hole loops were made at the same time as the applied i-cord edging, then wrapped with yarn. Cool, huh? And the super awesome buttons are hand made by my friend, customer, fellow knitter, and local artist Stormi Stuler.

Irving comes to live at YG!

Look what I found in my garden today. I was out inspecting all the green things that are appearing, and this little monster growled at me!
“Oh you scared me! What are you doing in my garden?!” I exclaimed.
I must have scared him too, because he leapt from the fence to settle on Victor the gnome’s head. There he crouched, keeping his little black eyes glued on me.
“Poor little guy… I’m not going to hurt you! My name is Lindsay, what’s your name?” I asked gently.
He immediately leapt straight up into the tree, where he must have felt a little safer, being taller than me. He struck quite a pose actually, smiling right at the camera as he told me his name was Irving.
“Don’t worry Irving, I love little knit guys like you. Why don’t you come inside?” I said coaxingly.
He was still just a little unsure, but he hopped along beside me until he spotted the old bike. Up he leapt (the little guy has some incredible jumps for being a little knit monster!) and posed for another picture. He’s quite the model, I think.
Irving cocked his little ears and said, “I guess you’re all right for a human. What’s inside?”
And so we went inside, where Irving found yarn that looked suspiciously like his yarn, as well as a book full of his family! And of all places, it was in the bathroom!
“Uh, Lindsay? Why do you have this stuff in the bathroom? That’s weird!” Irving asked. I replied, “Why not? I have a captive audience when they’re in there!”
Irving absolutely adored my mug from Jennie the Potter, insisting that he take a break inside it. And of course, modeling for yet another picture. As he rested, he jabbered on and on. Apparently once a monster starts talking, you can’t get them to shut up!
“This mug is glorious! I love the sheep and the green yarn floating around it. It’s very comfy for a monster like me to rest in.” Irving rambled on and on.
I decided that Irving should meet some friends in the shop, before he talked my ears off. So we went on to the baby room, where Henry the Baby Bear from Itty Bitty Toys lives.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know that monsters and bears did not get along. I mean, why would I? Did you know that? This is only the fourth monster I’ve ever met, and the topic of bears just never came up. You can see from the following pictures what happened… poor Henry.
“Irving, why don’t we go meet another toy? Leave poor Henry alone!” I exclaimed, hurrying to rescue poor Henry.
Finally, some friends Irving can tolerate. Mama and Papa Bunny welcomed him with open paws, excited to have another toy join them in the YG family.
“Finally, some normal friends. Not weirdo pink bears… what were you thinking, Lindsay!? Everyone knows that monsters and bears don’t get along. Sheesh!” Irving scolded.
By now, I was getting a bit irritated with that little monster, so I hurried the tour along, hoping Irving would find somewhere comfortable and leave me along for a little bit.
Irving thought he found a nice, comfy home in this variation on my Cabled Cowl. Doesn’t he look so cute, hanging out among the pretty colors of Noro Kureyon?
“LINDSAY!” Irving yelled. “I don’t like this place… it’s too far away from all the action!”
I sighed, and went over and got him.

“How about being right by the cash register? If you sit here, you can see the front and back door, and you can be right by the cash register.” I suggested.

“This is perfect! Now I can see both doors, and make sure no one sneaks up on me. And, then I’m closer to you and we can talk all about……..” Irving started rambling.

I tuned him out, knowing he didn’t really expect a response. So next time you’re in, maybe you can take Irving for a trip around the shop and give my poor ears a break!



Pattern: Irving, designed by Rebecca Danger
Source: Big Book of Knitted Monsters
Yarn: Jamieson’s Double Knitting, less than 1 skein each of Sapphire #676 & Rust #578
Needles: 40″ US 4 (3.5 mm) addi Click and Chiaogoo dpns

Stitch ‘n’ Pitch!

What a pretty day! The sun is shining in the bright blue sky, the winds are relatively calm, and it looks pretty warm out. You know what this weather is good for? Eating a ball park hot dog at Cooley Law School Stadium and cheering the Lugnuts on to a victory. Wait… what’s that? There’s an event planned just for knitters? Called Stitch ‘n’ Pitch? That sounds too good to be true! Combining all of the above as well as knitting and yarn buddies. Could it get any better?! Why yes, it could. Make it Ladies’ Night and throw in drink specials and salon services!

Interested? Join us for Ladies Night on Wednesday, June 15th as Yarn Garden and Woven Art host a Stitch ‘n’ Pitch at Cooley Law School Stadium to cheer on Lansing’s own Lugnuts. For just $38, there will be a catered dinner, boys in baseball pants (ahem!), drink specials, a goody bag (with a baseball-inspired sock pattern designed by yours truly, and Lugnuts-inspired sock yarn hand dyed by Nancy!), and a host of other activities. Tickets on sale NOW, call to reserve yours!

Sneak peek of the sock pattern/yarn: I present Curveball!