Friday Five – 12/27/13

I’m writing this week’s Friday Five from a motel room in Wytheville, VA, our regular stop on our two-day drive home from Christmas with family. It’s a bit more chaotic this year than normal with the dog and the 6-month-old, so I’m betting I’ll surprise a few of the ESK ladies by actually remembering to make this post!

By the time Christmas rolls around, I am usually feeling like a slave to knits of necessity – gifts, shop models, special requests – so nothing is more fun than casting on for a new project when I get home. A project for fun, a project meant to please no one but me. Which usually means either worsted weight, or colorwork, or both! Here are some options I’ve been pondering:

green-memoriesGreen Memories. A sweet colorwork hat that looks fabulous in every project I see, whether the knitter chose a dark or light background color. This one takes six colors of fingering weight yarn; I’m sure I’ve got more than 6 coordinates in my stash, and I love how quickly hats knit up!

I’m partial to the green palette, but should mention this is the project that is really selling me even more on this hat!


laminaLamina. It’s worsted weight! It’s striped! It’s got a cowl collar and a fun shoulder construction!

How have more people not knit this yet? Dare I be one of the first?

Goodness knows I’ve got plenty of worsted weight yarn to choose from, and I am sadly lacking in sweaters that fit me these days. Hrm, possibilities…



horatioandoren_z_500_medium2Horatio and Oren. These are just fun. I don’t need them, I’m not into owls or anything, but these are adorable and they look fun to knit, and I love that the pattern designer took the time to make charts for TWO kinds of owls.

And who can’t use a new pair of cute mittens?


andersAnders. Again, this is all about the fun of knitting it. My child is pretty hot-blooded, we live in Georgia, and since he’s not really independently mobile yet, sweaters mostly just get in my way so far. He doesn’t need a fair isle cardigan, at all, but he might get one.

Two colors, calls for Malabrigo Arroyo or any comparable sportweight, and kids’ sweaters knit up sooo quickly!

claritycardiClarity Cardigan. Looks warm, looks cozy, looks like a relatively mindless, chill out sort of knit. Bonus points for not having a million buttons, and using sportweight which is sort of the perfect weight for a wrap sweater in Georgia.

This is probably the most useful of the bunch (for me), which sometimes means it will be the one I choose, and sometimes means it will be last on my list – we’ll see what kind of mood I’m in when I get home! (And if I finish this shop model by then…)

Friday Five – 11/22/13

First, a reminder: our retail store will be closed for the entire Thanksgiving week, from 11/25/13 through 12/2/13. We will resume our regular retail orders on Tuesday, 12/3. Online orders will continue shipping as usual!

So, the thing about the “Friday Five” is that I don’t think any of us really come up with five patterns we love every week – it’s more like, I go on a big Ravelry binge and queue 35 patterns all at once, 34 of which I’ll probably never get to, and then I don’t look at patterns again for another few weeks. So this week, I was having trouble finding new material for this post, until a stroke of genius – Friday Five, Blast from the Past edition! I went back into my queue looking for the gems that I added and abandoned so long ago I’d forgotten all about them, and I love them just as much today.

bayerischeBayerische SocksEunny Jang’s blog was one of the first knitting blogs I started following religiously, and I’ve always found her designs inspirational.

I printed out this pattern to knit the day she posted it, but sadly it’s never happened! Though now that you are all following along with my spectacularly ridiculous sock knitting in the Sock-A-Long, perhaps this makes quite a bit of sense. Still, these socks are beautiful. One day!!

checkerboardlace-425_mediumCheckerboard Lace Scarf. This free scarf pattern uses a single skein of fingering weight yarn, and every time I see it, I want to queue it again – it’s so elegant!

I imagine it knit in something really luxurious, Mini Maiden or SweetGeorgia Merino Silk Fine or maybe some really delicate cashmere.

selbumodern4_medium2Selbu Modern. How pretty is this?! Selbu Modern is a fingering weight, two-color beret, and a free pattern to boot. I even cast on for it once, but my color choice was terrible and it was abandoned once more.

This one really needs to go back to the top of the queue!

juneberryOh, Juneberry. I wanted to knit this the moment it came out – it’s rustic, it’s knit in a heavier (sport or worsted, your choice) weight yarn, it’s got cables and bobbles and it’s both practical and pretty. My friend even gifted me the pattern. And still, it languishes in the bottom of the queue.

This would be really nice in something like ShibuiKnits Baby Alpaca DK or Juniper Moon Farm’s Herriot.




Argyle Jacket! I am kind of shocked so few people have knit this yet, four years after I queued it. Clearly, I need to get on it and start a trend. It’s tailored, it’s adorable, it’s ARGYLE. Pick your palette and go!

We’ve been developing some three and four-color palettes in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport for a secret store project, maybe I’ll steal one of those and just go for it!



santastockingP.S. In my “Meet the Staff” interview, I mentioned that I actually learned to knit in order to recreate my family Christmas stockings. It was a vintage Bernat pattern that eventually was posted on Ravelry, but had been removed at the time of the posting. Well, it’s back now, as a free Ravelry download, so I had to share – everyone in our family has one of these, including our newest additions.

Friday Five 11/15/13

With the holidays approaching, many crafters are starting to come up with gift ideas for friends and loved ones. We’d love to share with you some of our favorite patterns, with yarn suggestions to help inspire you! Today we’ll take a look at patterns that will really show off a single skein of some of our gorgeous luxury yarns.

Jess & Tiffany’s Favorite Luxurious One Skein Projects for Gifting


The Herringbone Cowl is a classy and cozy neckwarmer that would look great in a variety of yarns!  The pattern calls for just one skein of Manos del Uruguay SIlk Blend, but we think it would also be amazing in Handmaiden Cashmere 4-ply! So soft!



SweetGeorgia Yarns offers the delightful Ginger Rib Scarf which will brighten the day of any giftee (or yourself!) in the scrumptious SweetGeorgia Merino Silk Aran!






An amazing last-minute gift, Fetching mitts are wonderful in any yarn, but consider how warm and beautiful your hands will be using Lorna’s Laces Lion and Lamb yarn. Not to mention the fun you’ll have choosing from all the amazing colors!







The Café Beret from Blue Sky Alpacas is another quick, quick project with a big Wow Factor.  Pick up just one skein of Blue Sky Alpacas Techno for an unforgettable gift!







For the lace lovers in the crowd, the Princess-Peacock Shawl is a gorgeous piece, sure to please any recipient!  Knit it up in Silk Lace from Claudia Handpainted Yarn for extra sheen, drape, and unbeatable colors!

Friday Five – 11/8/13

Iiiiiiiit’s Friday! Time for planning your projects for the weekend – so much to knit and so very little time. Especially if you’re doing any holiday knitting; I get hives just thinking about how few days there are between now and Christmas (and there are even fewer if you’re knitting for Hanukkah!)

First I wanted to mention that Flax is out now, the free pullover pattern from tin can knits fantastic Simple Collection. This is a really fabulous collection that Alexa and Emily have provided for you to learn new knitting techniques while creating garments and accessories that can fit the whole family.


Some quick gift ideas:

elinorDunbar’s Point Mittens – these call for just one skein of the yummy soft Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Hand Dyes and the project really is perfect for this plump and luxurious-looking yarn. I actually favorited these a while ago for possible holiday gifting and was delighted to find them anew.

In my wild imaginings, I think that I could knock out a pair of these during one of the two days of driving we are doing for the holidays, maybe you could too!

pattern_bloodwood-5_mediumSlightly more involved, but oh so lovely – Bloodwood Cowl. Knit with two contrasting colors of SweetGeorgia’s Tough Love Sock, this reversible cowl is a really striking winter accessory for you or a loved one.

This would also be really special in two lighter colors, something like Glacier and Silver!

Knit_Steek_and_Cuddle_-_01_medium2The Knit, Steek and Cuddle pillows might look a little intense, but think of how impressed your giftee will be! And I like my knitting to be a little sporting anyway, don’t you?

This designer is participating in the Indie Design Gift-A-Long, which means if you’d like to participate, you can enjoy this pattern at 25% off with the coupon code “giftalong” when you buy before November 15th!

twistyshawlThe Color Twister Shawl is a great idea for that special skein of hand-dyed yarn.

Paired with a cabled border in a complimentary solid color, the design of this shawl really makes a variegated yarn pop! Or knit it all in one color for your more reserved friends and family members.




And in my continuing tradition of cheating on the five with extra patterns, well, here – have a Sammich. (It’s amigurmi! And it’s knit!)


Friday Five 11/1/13

I’m trying to make this a weekly thing, can you tell? Also, can we pause a second and talk about how the heck it is already November? I feel like I blinked twice and this entire year went by!

This week’s faves are all patterns I accidentally stumbled onto while trying to find hat patterns last week. Don’t you kind of hate and love how that happens? You go to search for hat patterns, and then on the front pattern page of Ravelry, you see a cute sweater, which you click on. And that leads you to the designer’s page, which takes you to another pattern website, where you see an adorable shawl, and on and on and on, and before you know it, you’ve got a queue so long you wouldn’t be able to knit all of it even if you quit your job, grew six extra hands and just knit full-time.

That’s not going to stop me from trying, though!

Ramona_1_mediumRamona – the sweater that started my trip down the Ravelry rabbit hole. It was one of the “Hot Right Now” patterns, and I’m so glad, because this one really is going straight onto my to-knit list. It’s flattering, it’s cozy, it would look equally cute with jeans or a skirt, and it knits up at a nice zippy aran weight gauge – I’m sold! Now I just have to decide on the perfect yarn to use…

And as someone who grew up reading Beverly Cleary, there’s always a soft spot in my heart for anything or anyone named Ramona.

kynaAnd then I found Kyna, a real stunner of a shawl that would knit up with just a single skein of fingering weight yarn.

I admit that I’m more likely to admire shawls from afar as I get too caught up in sweater knitting, but this one has lots to admire – the celtic-style cables are simply lovely and the pattern is paired perfectly with a hand-dyed semi-solid.

And it’s knit sideways! Who doesn’t love knitting sideways?

Alby-0128_mediumOr what about Alby? A delightful
departure from the recent striped shawl craze, now you can have your stripes and your lace shawl too, and you only need about 65 yards of your contrast color. I probably have 65 yards left from every pair of socks I’ve ever knit! This looks super fun in the model colors, or go for the sophisticated more tonal version with two more similar colors. The designer is even having a knit-a-long for Alby right now in her Ravelry group – grab your sock yarn and get started!

hitofudeUnless you are like me, and you get distracted again by another sweater you may or may not have time to knit. Hitofude is delightful! Depending on your size, you can knit this entire sweater with between 2 and 4 skeins of Tosh Merino Light or a similar yarn like Numma Numma’s Panna Sock. The bodice and sleeves are worked as a single rectangle before moving on to the bottom portion of the sweater, and the lace patterns looks like it would easy enough to commit to memory for knitting on the go. Another one in the queue!

rosaAlso now in the queue – Rosa. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned my grand love of alpaca? I am always looking for something practical I can knit with our sportweight alpaca yarn, so I was pretty stoked to find this pattern, which is not only versatile but looks like it should be easy enough to knit even when I’m home solo parenting (a real bonus indeed these days!). And it’s free!

Friday Five 10/25/13

It’s a blustery 65 degrees in Atlanta this week, and my only two WIPs are a fingering weight colorwork sweater and my old nemesis, the Sock-A-Long socks. So it’s really no surprise that my mind is wandering to hats, hats, and more hats, and, like the world is sending me a little sign, suddenly there a dozen great new hat patterns I want to knit for every member of the family.

Madelinetosh’s new Honey Hat uses just one measly skein of Tosh DK. It’s fun, it’s slouchy, it’s an easy knit, and it would complement my Honey Cowl oh-so-nicely. And a matching cowl-and-hat set could be a great holiday gift!


Themisto. So, what you’re telling me is that I get stripes and color and cables all in one. This hat is pretty stellar. Plus, an awesome colorwork hat without really having to do colorwork? Sign me up. And if red and black aren’t your thing, check out how great this looks in some of the subtler color combinations on the projects page. I’m thinking something bright and fun paired with a nice neutral cream or brown!


It really doesn’t get much more basic than Halldora J’s Simple Moss Stitch Hat, a great new free pattern. This is the kind of hat I love because it’s an easy knit, it doesn’t take a huge amount of time, but at the end, you have a really classic, classY hat to wear or gift to a chic friend/family member. One skein of sportweight yarn is all you need, and you’re set for hours of relaxing knitting.


Autumn Whirlpool says it’s for little girls, but I have to tell you that I want one of these hats, and I want one for my little boy, too (he can even have pink, if he wants!). Cables, pom poms, earflaps and those great tassels – this hat really does have it all, and with sizing up to 22″ I can definitely get my noggin into this!


This last pattern is not a hat at all, but it’s too fun not to post – Hexagon Mitts! Love these. I’m a sucker for a fun construction technique, and you can knit these with just one variegated yarn or two complementary ones. It would also probably be a great project for using up those extra 1/3 balls of sock yarn you always end up with, or even mini-skeins if you’re feeling adventurous.


For those of you who want to stitch a little something festive for next week’s holiday, I also found these cute, free, quickie patterns in my Ravelry travels!

ghost pumpkin bat

Friday Five

I had to rip out my socks already. Gauge swatches, not just for fun! Being a loose knitter makes sock knitting kind of tricky; often I go down to the smallest needle size produced by a manufacturer and still can’t get gauge.

Whenever I’m having a spat with my current project, I like to fantasize about starting something new, something that would never mislead me or come out the wrong size or turn out to be all wrong for my body type of course, because a project not yet started is filled with potential.

Rye - tin can knitsLike Rye.

These look so cool, and in aran weight yarn, they’re sure to knit up quickly and be super cozy for these chilly mornings. And surely I can get a gauge of 5.5 stitches per inch!

(And if you haven’t checked out the rest of the Simple Collection, you should – this is a series of FREE patterns from tin can knits intended to help you learn some new knitting skills while creating some adorable accessories and even a simple sweater, in sizes all the way from newborn to adult.)

Maroo Mitts - AmbahAnd then there are Maroo Mitts. Fingerless mitts – the best parts of knitting socks, fun and easy and forgiving. Plus with fall really and truly underway, a bit of cozy for my hands always appeals.

Bonus, AMBAH is having a Ravelry knit-a-long for her patterns as well. And these would be a great way to use up some sock yarn scraps, which, if you’re anything like me, you probably have coming out of your ears whether you knit a lot of socks or not!

And I don’t knit a lot of socks. I’m a sweater girl. I can knock out a simple sweater in a couple of weeks while my socks lag behind on the needles. And speaking of a simple sweater …


Square and Stripe, by Veera Valimaki, the designer who brought us Color Affection. Like a striped shawl, except better, because it’s a simple sweater. A simple, boxy sweater that will pull on easily over anything, anywhere. Roomy and cozy and screaming to be knit up as that first fall sweater of the year. Better still, it’s knit up in Tosh DK, and we just got in a new shipment.

sambuka-newOr a nice new cowl? I favorited Sambuka a week or two ago, and it looks like it would be a pretty quick but rewarding knit.

I never really get how I’m supposed to wear a cowl, but I love knitting them, and they look so great on other people that I have to believe with a little confidence, anyone could pull one off. And this one has two mesmerizing stitch patterns!

goverallsAnd if all else fails, there’s always this. Because babies. In overalls.

I’ve actually had this queued up for months, but now that he’s here I’m terrified to knit him clothes because he is growing so fast we need a new clothing size every 6 weeks! But at some point, I need to bite the bullet and just knit up some On-The-Go-Veralls. Because babies. In overalls.

So what will it be? A new, fun, fall project? Or do I do the mature thing and choose my new yarn, knit my gauge swatch, and get back to Sock-A-Longing with all you lovely folks, this time with a pair of socks that have any hope of fitting?