Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Shawl Crawl

I knew progress on this shawl would be slow-going, but sheez! I've invested 11 hours so far, and here's where I am. I am SO on track for my projected 2011 finish. At this point, I can do 4 rows in an hour, and am extremely thankful that the wrong-side rows are just purled. I get alternating mental breaks!

I do think the shawl is looking good though! The 100% silk laceweight on size 5s seems like a good compromise to me, although my gauge is probably a bit loose. I guess that's the beauty of shawls - gauge schmage!

On other fronts, I'm also crawling up the front of my Premiere Swing Top, have completed the prototype Mystery Sock (so cute!), am a little sunburned from my daily noontime knit breaks in the sun, and have compiled all the necessary paperwork for my tax preparation meeting on Thursday. It's been hard to find time for that last necessary evil, and it feels pretty good to have it nearly behind me.

This week's Thirsty Thursday Drink Special is a free "I [Heart] 2 Knit" cell phone leash with every purchase. No special discount code needed - just place an order on Thursday and it will magically appear in your order. Here's the link!
knittersbrewing.com

Cheers!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

It Seemed Like a Really Good Idea at the Time

I think it's really important for hobbiests to share stories when they do something, well... stupid, so that others don't make the same mistakes. So here we go...

I'm nearly done with the prototype Mystery Sock for our upcoming knit-along. Without giving away too much, I'll share that the sock includes beaded motifs. It's REALLY cute, and I wish I could show you a picture, but then it really wouldn't be a mystery, now would it?

As I was working out the design, there were a few places in the motif where I couldn't decide whether or not I wanted to insert a bead. So, I rationalized that at the end, it would be easier to get rid of unwanted beads than it would be to put in additional ones, so I went ahead and put in beads wherever I thought they might be appropriate. When I finished working through the motif, I found that there were 7 beads that the world would be better without seeing in this sock, so I went about removing them. Armed with a pair of pliers, I held the sock over a trash can and away from my protected eyes, and squeezed each of the glass beads until they shattered away from the sock. This worked really well for the first six beads. Glass beads. Sharp glass beads. Number 7, which no longer holds any luck for me, cut throught the yarn during its exodus, leaving two very short live ends in the middle of my lace motif. Doh!

Now maybe it's because I do stupid things like this, but the positive note is that over the years I have honed acutely surgical sock mending skills. I transported the patient to an area with good light, donned my magnifying glasses, and quickly rewove the severed row for about one-and-a half-inches on either side of the break. I then tinked the severed yarn back an inch or so each direction from the point of abuse and tied it off to the piece of yarn used for reweaving, wove in the four ends, and voila! you can't tell it happened. The patient has lived, but the doctor now needs an adult beverage.

Since I couldn't share a photo of the sock, I included one I took this morning at the Brewery. The pile of cocktails was just so colorful, I couldn't resist.

Cheers!

PS. Did I mention I picked Memphis in the NCAA bracket. Better luck next year!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thirsty Thursdays!

We're very excited to announce that the new website is LIVE!!! Come visit us at knittersbrewing.com to see our new digs! In addition to our cocktail-inspired yarns, amusing stitch markers, and free patterns that you've grown to love in our Etsy store, we now also offer kits, notions, and bags, too! Our inventory will evolve over time, so I'll keep you posted here on any changes!

In honor of our new website, I'd like to announce that the Brewery will be having Thirsty Thursday online specials! This Thursday, March 26, get 10% off your entire order, by entering the Discount Code THIRSTYTHURSDAY when you check out. Watch here for future Thursday special announcements - just our little way of saying "Thanks!"

I've turned the heel on the sample mystery sock for our upcoming knit-along, and it is looking GREAT! Should be a fun knit for everyone, and I don't want to spoil things, but can you say, "ooh! sparkly!" Stay tuned for more on that front.

I had to post a picture of our Lemon Drop cocktail because it has been a popular seller this last week! Guess everyone is dreaming of those lazy summer days, sitting in the shade with a glass of lemonade, while contemplating a little nap. It does sound good!

So - basketball and roundball WIP updates: I had 15 out of 16 NCAA picks right on day one, but didn't do quite as well after that. At this point, I have 11 of the sweet 16 teams picked, and am still alive in all divisions except the Midwest. My lace shawl WIP is making slow daily progress, and I'm pleased with the way it looks, but wish it didn't go so slowly! Oh well - knitting is all about patience, isn't it!

Cheers!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Roundball WIP

So I recently ran out of WIP. I must say that even though I had a mental queue of about 386 projects, it still felt a little odd to have bare sticks. Consequently, to avoid any risk of having to undergo therapy, I have cast on three new projects! This is perfect timing given that the NCAA basketball tournament is set to start in about an hour. That's some good TV knitting in my opinion :-)

Project number 1 is a sleeveless summer shell top. I really like wearing them, and my timing for completing it might actually be pretty good. The pattern is the Premiere Swing Top from CEY, and I'm making it out of SWTC Therapi which I've been wanting to try. Those SWTC folks are so nice - especially that Joe. So far I really like the yarn - it's very soft, but has pretty good stitch definition. I'm on size 6 needles with it. My picture doesn't give you much of a clue as to what it looks like, but it starts at the bottom with a double leaf pattern, then becomes mostly stockinette when it gets up to the breastages.

Project number 2 is a biggie! My friend and I each purchased yarn and beads to make the River Run Shawl by Karen Joan Raz. While I've used lace stitches in sweater and sock projects before, I've never made a "real" lace project. This one uses 1100 yards of lace weight yarn and 1700 beads, and is absolutely gorgeous when complete. I purchased 100% silk in a light smokey blue color from the A Verb For Keeping Warm booth at Stitches. Michael from the Y-Knit podcast was working at the booth, and I really enjoyed meeting him - a special treat on top of buying really cool yarn! My friend is determined to finish her shawl in time to wear to a wedding in August, and is tracking along very well. Her yarn is a beautiful deep red in 100% tencel that shines and drapes beautifully. I find that this lace knitting thing takes a heck of a lot of focus, and I can only take it for about an hour a day. Hence I'm shooting to finish mine by 2011. You'll be seeing updates for a loooooonnnnngggggg time - hee!

Last but certainly not least, project number 3 is a new sock pattern! I thought it would be really fun to have a Mystery Sock game in honor of the launch of the new website (which is only days away now!) Stay tuned here, or join our group site on Ravelry to get more information (link to the right). No pictures to share - that would kinda spoil the whole "mystery" thing.

For those of you following the NCAA tournament, I wish you the best with your brackets! I've got Memphis to win - we'll see how it goes, starting in about an hour...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Three New Cocktails!

I finally whipped up three new yarn cocktails that I've had on my "To Taste" list! If I say so myself, they are all delicious! These differ from our other colorways a bit in that they are more subtly variegated than the others. This means these will lend themselves well to use with lacy or textured stitch patterns that tend to get lost when knit with the multi-colored blends.

First up is Lemon Drop, inspired by those sweet concoctions that we just can't get enough of! The colors are warm and bold - without the pucker.

Next is Bloody Mary. This colorway captures that universal breakfast drink beautifully! Tomato juice red, subtly blended with hints of burgundy and worchestershire sauce brown. Suitable for sipping any time of day!

Last but not least, we introduce Purple Hooter. The inspiration for this one is that the name makes me giggle every time I say it. Warm shades of purple will put happy feet on all you purple fans out there (and it might make you giggle, too.)



These are all available in the Etsy store now - link to the right.

The new Ravelry group is steadily picking up members! I'm scheming our first KAL - Bloody Mary has inspired me to come up with a new pattern. More on that as the plan comes together. A link to the group is to the right - come play with us!

I have two new projects on my sticks that I'll post about next! One is a summer shell top, and the other is my first significant lace project - a beaded shawl - it's scary!!!

Cheers-

Monday, March 9, 2009

Borracha!

When I started working on this sock pattern I didn't know what to call it. But after working on it throughout Stitches West, the name became VERY obvious! With the knit-in wonkiness of the wobbly stripes, this sock looks like it's Borracha! And I confess that the multitude of Jack n' Cokes I had while knitting it slightly inspired the name, too...

This is a quick and easy knit. Done in our Raspberry Mojito Sock-aholic yarn, it's made on US size 2 needles for a medium width foot. The pattern repeat is worked over 12 stitches and 20 rows, and it's inherent enough that it seemed to be pretty cocktail-proof - and believe me - I tested that well!

If you like this pattern, it's available for sale on the
store site, or you can get it FREE with a yarn purchase!

Now for a little teaser... my next post will feature three new colorways! What cocktails will they be...

We have a new Ravelry group! Come join us at the brewery: Knitters Brewing Co. Sock-aholics

Friday, March 6, 2009

Two Pieces of Excitement!

Things have really kicked into action around the brewery now since Stitches West is over. Lots to report!!!

First - I'm extremely proud to share that I was one of the winners in the Think Outside the Sox design contest! The judges at Universal Yarn Company must have a good sense of humor about how men are because they chose my "Find Your Way Home" sock as the winner of their Most Masculine division. This sock, made from Universal Ditto self-striping yarn, features a knitted-in compass to help out those guys who will never ask for directions! The stitch pattern is a vertical zigzag, which offsets the horizontal striping a bit. I'm quite proud that the striping across the two socks matches perfectly!!! I apologize for the baggy appearance of the sock in the picture - my plastic feet are a ladies size 5.
My generous prize includes a $500 check, yarn from the folks at Universal, and publishing of my pattern in the contest compilation book that XRX will be putting together. As a special little treat, I even got interviewed by Michael from Y-Knits for his podcast. He is just the nicest man ever, and he really knows his stuff!

Overall I had a blast at Stitches with my friend that I travelled with. We took classes, hung at the market, met great people, and consumed a steady stream of cocktails to keep the party buzz buzzing for 4 days :-)

News item number two is that we have launched an interim store on Etsy! While our "real" online store is under construction, we'll be selling sock yarns and other goodies on Etsy. Stop by for a browse of our cocktail themed yarns and stitch markers. Free pattern with every yarn purchase, and you'll never pay more than $5 for shipping - so load up that cart!

Click here to visit the store!

I have a new FO sock to share with you next!