Friday Five – Honesty Edition

A confession: I’m not really knitting the things I’m posting in the Friday Five.

I really, really want to, but let’s face it, I don’t have nearly as much time to knit these days as I do to fawn over and fantasize about patterns that, while lovely, are maybe not as practical in my daily life. I mean, sure, there were the three weeks of terrible, completely uncharacteristic winter, but the number of scarves I actually need in rotation living year-round in Georgia is honestly pretty small, and when most of your knitting is done in bits and pieces between other things, colorwork, no matter how much I love it, tends to fall by the wayside. And, frankly? I’m exhausted most days, by the time I get to the point in the evening allotted for knitting time, so mostly, the more simple the pattern, the better.

So today’s Friday Five is maybe less inspired, but here it is – what I’m actually knitting right now (or about to knit, as I am not insane enough to have five active WIPs at one time).

andersAnders, which I think I already blogged awhile back, but really this just proves I do actually wish I could knit from the Friday Five patterns! By the time sweater weather comes around again, Levi will be too big for even the largest size in this pattern, so I’m feverishly trying to crank it out now for our evening walks in the woods, when it’s still a little too chilly for babies in short-sleeves.

There was a bit of a debacle with this one when I neglected to grab enough yarn for the 18 month size and upon returning to the store learned the colorway (Stormy in Yellow Label DK with Dobson in Shepherd Sport) had sold out over the weekend, but Tanis has us covered and hopefully I’ll finish this up this week!

maxfieldMaxfield Cardigan – my new knit night project! I haven’t even cast on for this yet, but my yarn is wound and my pattern is purchased and ready.

I’ve been having a tough time finding a project that wasn’t too complex to knit at knit night, since I’m often up and down helping or ringing up customers, so thus far all I’ve managed is a “quirky” half of a Nursery Cat and swatching some new yarns. But after a lot of queue and favorites-searching, I finally settled on this, a cozy sweater in a neutral palette that doesn’t need to be finished until fall. For yarn, I picked Herriot DK, in a chocolate brown and a very light natural brown.

Plain socks. Just your standard, 1-inch of ribbing, stockinette the rest of the way, plain socks. I know, I know, I’m legendary for my loathing of sock knitting, but here’s the thing – I own a lot of sock yarn. And plain socks kind of rock if you have to squeeze your knitting into stolen minutes here and there. I keep them in my car, and I work on them whenever the world just seems too stressful for anything so complicated as keeping track of a pattern repeat or counting rows or shaping. The Knitmore Girls Vanilla Sock recipe is a good place to start, if you don’t have your own plain sock formula.

summervinesSummer Vines – this just came out and I’m excited about starting it just as soon as I finish either Anders or my current pair of socks. It seems like exactly the type of handknit that you should own if you work in a yarn store and live in Georgia and enjoy being able to wear knitted garments more than 3 months out of the year. And, not gonna lie, it seems like it might be a little forgiving to my postpartum body, too.

Though I’m kind of glad I can’t start it yet, because I’m still undecided about what yarn to use! Currently, I’m waffling between SweetGeorgia Merino Silk Fine, Yarn Love Elizabeth Bennet, or Lorna’s Laces Solemate, but who even knows where the yarn search will take me?

A men’s sweater – so unsurprisingly vague, I know, but it’s next on my list and at six foot seven, anything I choose is guaranteed to have miles of mindless stockinette. Dan’s been jealous all winter of the Latte Baby Coat I made for Levi to wear on their walks, so I’m embarking on something for him, too. The problem is one many of us face – the man doesn’t really wear sweaters, and he’s not very charmed by most of the men’s sweater patterns I’ve found.

So I’m queueing up some choices I think would work and hoping for the best – right now, my top candidates are Emilien, Redford, and the brand-new Sandpoint Pullover (which I am leaning towards as it’s the closest in appearance to other items of clothing Dan actually wears).

emilienredfordOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to submit your answers to this quarter’s first trivia question today, Friday the 11th!

Friday Five – 2/28/14

Friday Five is back after a little hiatus! We’ve been crazy busy with restocking, planning, and scheming, plus some traveling in there, but I’m back to dreaming of all the things I don’t have time to knit again this week, maybe more than ever before. (I had 12 patterns for the Friday Five today, all of which I desperately want to make yesterday, and that’s not even counting my cute bonus patterns.)

montroseMonte Rosa has been on my list for a while, and somehow I’ve never gotten around to telling you all about it. A seamless, top-down sweater knit in a fluffy worsted weight is pretty much my idea of a vacation knit – relaxing, satisfying, quick, and the end result is this adorable sweater.

Love the garter stitch body and the eyelet cable details – so much texture without much complication in the knitting! And the piping around the cuffs and bands adds just the right touch of whimsy.

morvarch-2_medium2Morvarch. I know, it’s a laceweight shawl. Perhaps worse, it’s a solid stockinette and cabled laceweight shawl. So, basically the opposite of Monte Rosa – this is not your relaxing weekend knit. But it’s absolutely gorgeous.

Morvarch is actually knit from the center out like many traditional circular shawls, and short rows are used to create the square shape. I just think the combination of stunning finished project and delicate celtic cables in a cozy soft yarn might worth your while.

 

montaguemiteredMontague Street Cowl looks like loads of fun, experimenting with stripes, mitered squares, and colorwork all in garter stitch. Pick two colors you love together and just one skein of each gets you there!

I’d love one of these in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted or even Juniper Moon Farm’s Moonshine!

parallaxParallax. I know, it also looks complicated. I like a complicated knit, don’t try to change me!

This scarf is awesome and part of a 5 pattern booklet of equally awesome combinations of Kauni Effektgarn in various mesmerizing patterns. The scarves are all double knit with a solid, so they are reversible, and would be a great project to try double knitting with if you haven’t already. (Like if hypothetically you’re looking for a project you can get done in just a month for our Q1 “New-to-You” knit-a-long! You’ve still got time!)

songoftheseaSong of the Sea might be a breath of fresh air for those of you wondering what kind of medication I’m on after these other suggestions – a solid color, fingering weight cowl knit at a nice loose gauge, imagine that. Just you and me and a single skein of sock yarn; we can do this.

I love this stitch pattern, which reminds one, as suggested, of waves on the sea. I’m envisioning this in a cashmere blend or Mini Maiden, something truly decadent around the neck.

 

steggyAnd because it’s not Friday Five without a pattern just for fun, I present you with Puff the Magic Stegosaurus. I actually love knitting these little African Flowers, so this steggy is a fun use for them. There’s even a coupon code for this weekend!

Friday Five – Kauni Edition

Another Friday, another Friday Five! I have to tell you that this little Friday obligation has really started to cause some trouble as my pattern browsing was previously limited to a couple of times a quarter. This weekly trawling has resulted in a queue a mile long and me with no time to knit it all! We are having our first shop knit night tonight, and at present I have plans to cast on and complete three projects just to stay on top of it all.

Anyhow, I digress. So, you may have noticed that we very recently started stocking Kauni Wool 8/2 Effektgarn. This is a yarn that makes me a little woozy with its loveliness (I don’t know what’s with me and all the hyperbolic adjectives today.), but I have a hard time picking the right project for it. Thus began my search for great Kauni projects, of which there are many, everything from a simple pullover to an incredibly complex blanket and a universe in between.

Persian_dreams-4_mediumPersian Dreams. I know, you all think I’m crazy. I’m not saying it would happen overnight, but this is a lovely long-term, planned project. Each hexagon is worked separately, then grafted to the whole, making this the kind of thing where you could plan to knit one hexagon every week or two, and before you know it, a blanket! Journey of a thousand miles, as the saying goes. And the reward is this stunning blanket!

Nymphalidea3_medium2Nymphalidea is a fairly new free pattern from Knitty, which alternates a solid fingering weight yarn with a color change yarn like Kauni Effektgarn to create an ethereal butterfly-like effect in this shoulder-length triangular shawl.

The open lacework is a real yardage-saver, so this is also a great project for those smaller (and thus cheaper!) skeins of Effektgarn or as a stashbuster with your solid colored sock yarns.

 

lightboxesLightboxes is another similarly-styled shawl with an entirely different look, using a solid stockinette background and textured boxes to display Effektgarn to its fullest.

The gauge and length of this shawl can be altered to suit your preferences (or amount of available yarn) for a customizable, colorful shawl.

 

fairislerapidsIf you’re more like me and tend to admire shawls only on other people, Fair Isle Rapids is another great way to wear your Effektgarn around your neck.

Originally knit in two solid colors, this pattern has been a go-to for knitters wanting to showcase a color change yarn for several years now, and we encourage you to follow in their intrepid footsteps.

 

stripedsweaterYou really can’t go wrong with a basic striped sweater using a color change yarn. Mon petit gilet raye is a free download (English instructions on pages 4-6) with some simple cast-on and shaping instructions to help guide you along your way.

For smaller sizes, one 150g+ ball of Effektgarn is often plenty for a sweater like this, or grab a second just to be safe!

 

 

Come on, you knew there had to be a number 6 today. I’ve actually had Hippocampus in my queue for an embarrassingly long time, I love them unreasonably.

seahorsemitts

Friday Five – 1/31/14

Wow, what a week – can’t believe it is already Friday! As you may have seen, Atlanta’s been making national news for our amazing powers of traffic jam and a few of us were even a part of it, with only one out of four employees who left the shop at noon on Tuesday actually making it home with their cars. But the roads are clear again, we’ve all been reunited with our vehicles, and everyone here is safe and a bit stir-crazy from our snow days. Which means we’re powering out those orders y’all have been placing! As of this writing, nearly all of the orders placed through today are on the mail truck finally winging their way towards you, and we really appreciate your patience and the kind thoughts our customers have sent our way.

But it wouldn’t be Friday without my rambling pattern ideas, right?

PAT-ChevStripe-Photo2_mediumAll of this cold means I’m really still on a scarf and cowl kick – anything to stay warm. Knitterella’s Chevron Stripe cowl is super chic and includes an option for a basic two-color cowl or a four-color infinity cowl.

Chevron Stripe is knit in the round to create an extra squooshy reversible fabric, and even better, no weaving in ends!

 

 

tungataA lot of Stephen West’s patterns are a little more … fashion forward … than my usual style, but I absolutely love Tungata. Folded over double, this cowl is warm, reversible, and so pretty!

You can knit this with either two or three colors depending on how complex you’d like the design to be, and the reversible back can be a solid color, striped, or really anything you like.

 

babyblanketI absolutely love this Walt-Painted Baby Blanket (maybe I’m in a Chevron phase) from Fibre Space (which is a really great yarn shop to visit if you’re ever in Northern VA!).

You can knit this with really as many colors as you’d like and you only need two skeins for the main color and 1 for any contrast colors. The texture is a great feature and I kind of love this color combo!

Shibui-Gradient-Ravelry-2_medium2Gradient is a free pattern from ShibuiKnits that indulges many of my knitting guilty pleasures – an easy, fairly mindless knit, fuzzy super-soft yarn, and a gradient rainbow of colors.

Gradient uses three strands of Silk Cloud held together in four colors to create this circular gradient beauty – periodically you’ll change the color of just one strand at a time to achieve this effect.

 

 

 

nurserycatAnd then there is the latest in this series, Nursery Cat! We are big fans of Window Cat at ESK, so I’m sure you’ll be seeing some Nursery Cats around the shop soon.

Friday Five – Polar Vortex Edition

It’s cold, y’all! It’s so cold! And I know, it’s winter, it’s supposed to be cold, yada yada yada, but this is Georgia and this isn’t how we like to roll. One astute Yarnathoner informed me last week that it was at that moment colder in Atlanta than in Moscow. So indulge me, my house isn’t very well insulated, more than a decade south of the Mason-Dixon line has thinned my native-New-Englander blood to an embarrassing degree, and my fingers are kind of numb.

I want mittens and cowls and warm sweaters, because after years of winters with a low of, say, 30 degrees Fahrenheit, I don’t own a real winter jacket anymore.

(Oh, I also want you to send in your trivia answers! Today’s the day! Trivia at esk (spelled out) dot com! And I apologize for any confusion over the e-mail address but spammers are to blogs like moths to a flame so we are speaking in code here, but please visit us on Ravelry if you are having trouble understanding the right address.

suchawintersdaySuch a Winter’s Day really encapsulates everything I feel about the season right now. Worsted weight, wool, big warm neck, just, cozy. So cozy I will probably forgive it for being such a pain to knit – all-over textured patterns, lovelovelove the look, lovelovelove the warmth, always dread the knitting a little bit.

These kinds of wide, almost boat-neck-style cowl necks are great, too – I am one of those people who feels like they’re chocking in turtlenecks, but if you see above, I am also always freezing any time it dips below 65 degrees, so this is a pretty classic sweater that will get a lot of wear for the effort. I’d knit it in something that will wear well since it seems like such a great every day sweater.

bluesandcardiBlue Sand Cardigan is something I favorited last week, when it was less cold so this seemed like the perfect beautiful accessory for a brisk evening. It still is, of course, though looking at it right now makes me cold!

I love what you could do with this color-wise – knit it in color blocks as shown, or maybe do one color for the main bit and a contrast color for the pockets and hems and button bands, or even in smaller or random striping patterns!

The sample is shown in a DK cotton, which would be perfect for fall/spring in a warmer climate, and of course wool makes all of us happy.

hedgerowjamI’d never seen Hedgerow Jam until a lovely Yarnathoner posted a picture of her in-progress “new-to-you” KAL project, but I queued it immediately. If you haven’t tried mosaic knitting, it is seriously fun – colorwork without any of the work! – and this pattern is quite stunning.

Worked in a superwash worsted weight, this project is a great stashbuster for those of you into that kind of thing. And it’s cozy. Did I mention cozy?

butterflycowlSunriver Reversible Cowl is, well, reversible. (It’s also free, until 5PM today.) Which gives us two advantages – one is it’s reversible. The other is that means the fabric is doubly-thick, which will keep our necks even warmer. And it’s knit in Juniper Moon Farm’s Moonshine, which is seriously soft *and* seriously warm. Let’s just say that I’m grabbing a skein to go with my leftovers from my Portside.

pinctadaPinctada. Cables, cables, and more cables. Give me all the cables. Seriously, why don’t I own more cowls?

This one takes just one skein of Pashmina and turns it into an elegant, classic bit of knitting that your co-workers will ooh and aah over. Knit it in a neutral like the sample, or pick something bold like new color Purple Basil!

Friday Five – Distractions!

Today’s Friday Five is also brought to you by my steeking research for this quarter’s knit-a-long, because for me, no pattern searching is complete without somehow ending up queueing a bunch of patterns that are not even remotely like the pattern you are looking for. Somehow, while searching for a first steeking project, I ended up also finding several cowls, two pullovers, a couple of hats, and some mittens I was so excited about I purchased the pattern and cast-on before even finding what I was originally looking for.

 

alessiacowlBut our first pattern is a very special one, designed by one of our favorite customers. If you’ve ever been in the store, you’ve probably met Tiffany who works the retail store full-time and is our go-to girl for color combos, yarn substitutions, and pattern help of all kinds. Well, Lynn wanted to say a big thanks for all of the help she’s given over the years, and so her new Alessia Cowl is named after Tiffany’s adorable 14 month old daughter!

And it’s not just another pretty face – this cowl is a quick but interesting knit that carries a variegated yarn well and takes just 2-3 skeins of Malabrigo Worsted!

tar Tar is a really cute pullover I wandered across that would be perfect for our climate – lightweight in its yarn choice of Shibui Heichi, a 100% silk tweed worsted weight, but with enough coverage to keep off the chill that creeps in at night and in the early morning of fall and spring.

The super casual silhouette and loose fit is flattering with jeans, which is pretty much all I wear, but could also be dressed up with heels or even (gasp) a skirt! It also seems like it takes relatively little yardage for a sweater due to the loose gauge so it could really stretch those skeins; the largest size of 52″ only takes 12 of the half-size skeins!

lightbulbThe Lightbulb Cap is, in a word, adorable, and perfect for the slightly quirky electricity-lover in your life. (I don’t know about you, but I have at least three friends of this variety, which may say as much about me as them.)

Calls for a sportweight yarn and would even be a good stash buster if you’ve got partial skeins of two colors sitting around. Or, for added light bulb enthusiasm (and night-time safety), knit it in Edison Bulb!

 

fog-and-whisper-2_medium2 You know you need another open-front cardigan. Or maybe just a good, mindless knit for taking to knit group. Or, if you’re like me, both. Fog & Whisper will be your new cozy friend.

The pattern calls for holding tosh mo light with tosh merino light, but I think it would be just as cozy with TML held double, or knit up in a slightly heavier weight (Pashmina? Shepherd Sport? An amazing evolution of color in Kauni’s Effektgarn?) and skipping the whole business of holding things double.

 

Sparkle_Mittens_medium2

 

I definitely took a steeking detour to start SpillyJane’s newest Sparkle Mittens. These are SO MUCH FUN.

Really. Look at them. Look how much fun. I was sold as soon as I read that you could knit them with partial skeins of Malabrigo Silky Merino. I have been trying to figure out for a year what to do with my leftover balls of this and Manos Royal_Icing_Mitts_medium2Silk Blend from my Rust & Stone Cardigan. I love these colors; they’re so fun together, and this pattern is perfect for them. Most cheerful mittens ever.

(These other ones are sort of a relative mitten she released at the same time, also for partials of Silky Merino, if they’re more your style. I kind of love both.)

You get a bonus pattern today, because this Owl in a Teacup is sort of amazing.

owl_2_medium2

 

(Psst, don’t forget to send in your trivia answers today!)

Friday Five – Steeks!

Have you picked your project from the first quarter “New to You” knit-a-long yet? At first, I had a hard time thinking of a technique I hadn’t at least tried, but then I remembered **steeking**. I always say there’s nothing to be scared of about knitting, it’s only yarn after all, but steeking? Steeking scares me a little bit. It wouldn’t be quite so bad were it not for the fact that most steeked projects are elaborate colorwork projects worked at a fine gauge and if that goes awry, well, you could have just destroyed months of lovely knitting. There would be tears.

So, I’m doing it – steeking. (Go Team Fiber Monkeys!) Turns out, there are a lot of incredible steeking projects that aren’t quite as elaborate lest things take a bad turn, and I had a hard time deciding! If you’re thinking of steeks, maybe you can use some of my research.

aesa

The Aesa Pullover is kind of amazing. I want to make it; I maybe even want to make a cardigan-ized version, but I’m not sure I can pull this off in 3 months, and I’m not sure what yarn I’d want to use. I’m thinking this might be my second (or third) steeking project, but it’s in my queue for sure.

tess

On the other end of the spectrum is Tess – a completely reasonable project for three months, but still a lovely stranded little project. And it calls for one of my favorite yarns (Shibui Staccato). And I do kind of need a new pair of slipper socks.

snowflake

I briefly considered the Baby Snowflakes blanket, but figured by the time it is done, it will be warm out and my baby will no longer be much of a baby so another one is saved for later. I was encouraged that this one called for Cephalopod’s Skinny Bugga, however – since you read so many people saying you absolutely can’t steek with a superwash yarn, clearly, you can! But I think you probably have to be a lot more careful about reinforcing things.

angrysheep

Angry Sheep Cardigan! Does this even need an explanation? I alllllllmost picked this one.

pod

But then I found this one, and Levi needs a Pod of Cetaceans for sure. I’m knitting mine in Yarn Love’s (non-superwash!) Anne Shirley in Storm, Steel Blue, Whisper, and Arabian Nights. I decided to go for gold and knit the sleeves two-at-a-time, bringing two new techniques to one adorable project!

What’s your “New to You” project going to be?