Sisterhood of the traveling stitch

Tara came for a ANOTHER visit last weekend (I am so lucky!!)  We talked over what is currently in our store, swapped some yarn and got motivated.

KAL Mittens!

First, Tara found a fun mitten pattern for us to try together (while being apart!)  I casted on after she left, and this is where I am (check out the picture.)  The pattern is for Newfie Mittens.    I chose a basic gray yarn and a verigated Noro Yuzen.  Tara has a basic black yarn with a more green and blue verigated Noro Yuzen.

If I can knit something two at a time, you better believe I will!  I prefer this method, because when I’m done with one, I’m done with both.  Tara is knitting her’s on double pointed needles.  (One at a time.)  She likes the act of finishing one to motivate her to finish the second.

Either Way, I love them already!

Tara's Neckerchief

Our next KAL (knit-Along) is going to be a new Neckerchief Lace pattern.  We just purchased FLOURISH, a knitted triangle shawl pattern.  We are going to cut it short, however, and just make it long enough to wrap around the neck.

Last week while shuffling through a random craft store, I found some Red Heart Eco-ways  Bamboo Wool.  Now, I’m not typically a red heart fan, what so ever, but I do like this one yarn they make.  It’s nice to work with, it doesn’t pill and it’s SUPER warm.  AND it was on sale for $2!  Why not.  So Tara will be knitting a nice and bright red and I, a nice mossy green.

Along with Tara visiting, were a few other friends (Greg and Liz.)  Tara had some new things knitted up for the store, so we headed down to the pier and had a photo shoot with all of us.

Some new items at Coffee & T. Click here!

Our newest items include a couple new hats by Tara, Pin back button sets, & Pressed Flower necklaces.

We finally figured out a way to list the buttons.  I have been struggling with this for a while.  They are sold in fun sets of three.  When you purchase them, you just pick which set you want from the pictures in the listing!  Also featured are images of different ways to wear them.  The pin back buttons are made from silk scarves and pressed flowers.  Check out the blog Encyclopedia-BOT-tanica to hear the story behind making them.

All in all.  We are ready and motivated.  We really need to start planning for our first Christmas shopping season!  I’m so excited,…but so scared!  OH – and we will keep you posted on our mitten and neckerchief KAL progress.

Birthdays & Ribbon Cuttings

Lion Brand Outlet Store

September 6th is my birthday and because Lion Brand (a yarn company since 1878) must have known this, they had the ribbon cutting of their newest store ON MY BIRTHDAY.

The Lion Brand Outlet opened its doors yesterday.

For a knitter, this is a fantastic birthday present! Oh the joys of rummaging through fibers and getting soft yarns for gifts….
Christmas is coming you know!  That means I have a lot of knitting to do from now until December 24th!  Maybe this year, I won’t be knitting until the night before…

"Hold a dollar" for a quick measure

ANYWAYS, as a  good husband does, Brian drove me to the yarn store yesterday, and went shopping with me.  On the way there, I was knitting a new hat.  I only needed to knit 5.5 inches, but I forgot all of my measuring tools.  I asked Brian if I could hold a dollar.  I divided the dollar into 12 sections and viola! I now have a 6 inch ruler, divided into 1/2 inch sections.  Darn….about an inch more to go….

So we get to the parking lot, 10 minutes before they open.  Did I want to be THAT shopper?  The one that stands with their nose pressed to the glass, “tap tap tap,”  “let me in!!”

No.  I’m a classy shopper.  I will wait for the older woman who can barely make it up the stairs  to go first, then I can swoop in and be like, oh, I thought you were open?

So, I watch for that woman to show…(COME ON, it’s a yarn store.  This should be a normal occurrence.)  And it was….

So we made it into the store, watched the ribbon cutting and began the hunt!

Get ALL of the yarn!

All of the yarns are sold in three packs.  Oh darn.  You want one black skein?  Guess you have to add THREE to your stash.

So I started just doing a lot of walking around, eying up colors here and there.  Then finally Brian, “get it all!!” and with that, we started adding yarn to our cart.

Shopping

The outlet store offers great prices for yarn that they sell in their NYC store along with craft stores such as JoAnn Fabrics, AC Moore, PatCatans, Micheal’s, Walmart, etc.

Brian ordering me to pick out more yarn!

The main lines they carry at the outlet are Homespun, Cupcake, Vanna’s Choice, Lion Wool, MicroSpun, and Fun Fur.  I like to use Vanna’s Choice when making heavily used accessories, but some of the other yarns are not all of my favorites.  I would have loved to see Wool-ease, Recycled Cotton and Fisherman’s Wool. The good part is, these yarns are offered at about a 50% discount!  Who doesn’t love a discount!

They also sell all of the Lion Brand Collection yarns, such as Baby Alpaca (my all-time favorite from their collection!) Superwash Merino, Cashmere, and more.  These yarns are not offered at the discounted rate, however.

The store itself is adorable!  They have 3 or 4 window displays that are all knit, crocheted  and felted.  They might be old window displays from the NYC store.  I always hoped they did something with those, because they are always beautiful!

I really WANT to knit this pillow thing!

Finally, there are computers offered so you can check out the Lion Brand Collection of patterns.  They also have a great sitting room, where you can go after to sit and knit and enjoy your purchases.

Brian and I checked out and carried our three new bags of yarn out the door.  Brian said ” I am disappointed this is all you got!”  He was sad I only bought 38 skeins of yarn!  How great is that.

It was a great birthday!  Thank you Lion Brand for making it that much better!

Waiting Around & Happy Anniversary

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6am: I can’t pretend to sleep any longer. I got up and opened all the curtains, cleaned up, made coffee and started a new hat.
7am: too anxious to focus, so I started a second hat.

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9am: We heard news about home! Our apartment did not flood or lose power, but people a block away were not so lucky. They just announced they are shutting down the Holland Tunnel.

10am: The rains have started. Cat nap time.

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12pm: Plantains on the grill, regardless of the rain.

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1pm: Sky’s start to clear. We walk to a market and see the weather. The hurricane had passed us already! For 4 days of worrying, that was super simple.
4pm: I finished my apple hat!

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8pm: Anniversary dinner, with frozen wedding cake. That is one tradition that needs to stop. Year old cake is not good, no matter how great it was the first time around!

So, we weathered the storm. I got a lot of knitting completed: a whale hat, an apple hat, an eggplant hat, partial monster socks, and part of a wool winter hat.

Now, we just have that 8 to 10 hour drive home and hopefully don’t go home to flooding!

Bar Harbor: Whale Hat Watching

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This weekend, we are in Bar Harbor, Maine for our anniversary. It a really beautiful place on the upper coast of Maine. It has cute towns, whale watching, Acadia National Park, camping and Lobster, Lobster, Lobster! We’ve been here, semi-camping in a cabin on the water. Meanwhile, Hurricane Irene is brewing and threatening to take down the city we live and work in. Tomorrow, we will feel the effects of it. We were supposed to get up and drive to Portland, ME, but decided we were safer to stick it out here, rather than driving through it.

So, while trying to enjoy our anniversary and not think about the hurricane, we headed into town. of course I found some yarn shops. I found some hemp yarn that I am excited to make something very warm with! It has the consistency of a light cotton.

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Next, we spent the day kayaking, hiking and biking. By the time we got home, I only had energy to sit by the fire and FINISH the whale hat!

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It has been a long journey for me and this hat, but we made it to the end! I now have a whole lot of floats to deal with!
Knitter’s Notes: I found my tension on my floats to be better if I worked the hat inside out. I’m still a little loose myself, but that’s because in this fair isle class I took, she warned us to always make them looser than you think, which I took way too literal.

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But, you live and you learn, and you get a whale hat! Brian claims to like it, (he better!!) but I don’t know if it’s too much whale for one man.

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Tomorrow, we will be living through the “tropical storm” so more stories to come!

PS. One year ago, we had a wonderful wedding that seemed to fall on the only non-rainy day of the summer, so it is only fair for us to have a hurricane on our first anniversary. You can’t win ‘um all!

Whale hat, wedding cake and hurricanes

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This weekend is Brian and I’s first wedding anniversary. Brian got us a cabin on the bar harbor in Maine. In my opinion, it’s the perfect long weekend getaway, from the craziness of NYC. We are also going to stay in Portland, Maine for a night, on the drive back home. It’s Maine! They must have great yarn shops!

At 6am, I am staring around the living room, at all of the yarn on the walls, trying to think of last minute projects i can stuff into a bag. we are to leave in 1 hour, and I care more about my yarn selection than packing food or clothing. After some struggling, I threw four possible projects into my bag, and at 7am, we headed out. I knew the city was going to get hit with some Hurricane Irene aftermath, so I was glad to escape. what I didn’t think about, was the hurricane will probably NOT stop at NY…Now, 2 days later, I am hearing that our town is to evacuate. Good thing we did, just to stay in a cabin on the coast in Maine.

We’ve been driving through the rain for about 5 hours, which is perfect knitting time. As we passed through each state, I got another part of the whale hat completed. For more whale hat info, please check out: The Whale is Back!

I ended up redrawing and adjusting the pattern in three different states, which is a fitting problem with this hat, knowing our history. But! I got through the whale!

20110826-165823.jpgKnitters Notes: I created the whale using the fair isle technique, which is why the inside of the hat looks like it’s all strings. The last part of the pattern is the water spout. I am stumped. I don’t know how to tackle this. Fair isle is a good technique when constantly changing colors, but the water is only 2 out of 26 stitches in the pattern. I would love to do intarsia but the hat is knit in the round, not flat. I heard of a secret, not proper, way off knitting intarsia in the round….I think I may do some research.

So, in the meantime, I switched to the MONSTER socks. I have been avoiding measuring them, because they are taking forever, and I’m scared that I will get too frustrated knowing that I will have several inches left. But I couldn’t resist. And WINNER, they are ready for the gusset increase!

……

We are now entering Bar Harbor, so, time to start camping! In the rain, with a hurricane on its way. But it’s all ok, because we have frozen wedding cake! (made by a fantastic baker – Laura, at “Frosted Dreams”)

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The WHALE is Back

Original Whale Hat

So, if you’ve been following our blog, you know the story of the infamous “Whale Hat.” If not, read: Whale of a tale before continuing.

Brian and I went to the store last night to pick out some non-100% wool yarn, to make his new whale hat. (See, I learn – I am not even chancing the hat shrinking again with wool!)

They didn’t have the yarn I wanted to buy, but they had yarn that will suffice. FIRST ERROR. Do not use “yarn that will suffice” on a project that is so meaningful. I was just too eager to get it made. I know, at some point, I will regret my choice and have to start this project all over again… He picked out a navy for the background, oatmeal for the whale and silver for the water.

Whale Pattern on Grid Paper

I got home and immediately began looking at the pattern I created. The problem with the first hat was it was simply too big. However, the whale repeat is a set number of stitches. If I do less, one of the whales is likely to be missing his tail, which would be no good.

So, I stared, erased, redrew until I got the pattern down 2 less stitches, which meant 8 stitches total (the whale repeats 4 times).  He will be tail to tail with the other whale buddies on his hat though…

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Yarn for whale hat

I CAST ON! on the wrong needles….Frog #1 (frog in knitting means to rip it all out)

I CAST ON again! with too many stitches…. Frog #2

I CAST ON AGAIN! and do 3 rows of the wrong rib pattern, which would make the hat too big….Frog #3.

So now, I have yarn that will “suffice,” that I’ve ripped off the needles 3 times! I swear, this hat is cursed.  I will notify the public if this hat ever really gets created.  There WILL be a parade!

2-at-a-time MONSTER socks

Meanwhile, the MONSTER socks, are slowly but surely making progress. I am to the balls of his feet, sock length, which cover most of my feet!  Next socks, will for sure, be baby socks!

I do have to say, I am enjoying the rib pattern on these socks.  And as long as they are going to take me, I am enjoying every minute of them…

 

 

 

 

MONSTER Socks

(This blog entry is not intended for experienced sock knitters, unless you want a good laugh at the girl knitting her first pair…)

Hand Knit Worsted-Weight Kid Socks

Tara has been on a sock knitting kick and I have always wanted to knit socks. I actually wanted to learn to knit, because of socks. I have knit a few pairs before, but most were small child size with a worsted (thicker) weight yarn. You would never be able to actually put on a shoe with my socks.  We like to call these “MONSTER socks!,” said in a very scary and drawn out voice.

The thing is, if you are wearing hand-knit socks, why the hell would you want to cover them up with shoes!  I would never want to cover up my eye-squinting lace work done with a US 0 to US 3 needle.

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Monster Feet!

My husband, who is so good to me, is always wanting me to knit something for him. For the past couple of weeks, he’s been extra sweet and helpful, so I thought, why not knit my sized 13 foot husband socks? (what was I thinking…)

So, combining my first sock made with fingering weight (a very thin yarn) and the need to make every pattern I find way bigger, I figure this could make for an interesting read.

Using the book “Toe-Up, 2-at-a-time socks,” by Melissa Morgan-Oakes, I started rummaging through the patterns.  (I love this book, but at the same time, it’s a little hard fr me two change the pattern to a extra-large.)

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The Knitter's Fuel (aka espresso)

Knowing ahead of time that I suffer from second sock syndrome, I knew I had to knit them two-at-a-time.  For those who aren’t familiar, the “traditional” way to knit socks is one at a time on double point needles, but I bet if you go up to any sock knitter, and steal their bag, there is probably one lonely sock and a whole different project casted on their needles.  Plus, with two-at-a-time, not only when I’m done, I’M DONE, but if I screw up, they will be the same on both socks, so I can call it a design modification rather than a mistake.  And finally, they’ll be the EXACT same size. (No row counting!!)

Swatch time.  Yes, swatches are important! (This is a small 4×4 knitted square to make sure your gauge is correct before starting the project.)  For this adventure, the swatch is extra important.  Brian has huge feet and the largest pattern I find is for size 10.  So no matter the pattern, it has to be modified.  By doing a swatch, a can find out my stitches (sts) and rows per inch in order to figure out the toe-to-gusset length. (the length before you start to turn the heel and the sock is no longer just a tube.)

After 2 hours of knitting algebra, trying to convert my swatch to the pattern size and then upgrade it two shoe sizes, I think I finally figured it out.

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Two-At-A-Time Socks, Toe Up

Knitter’s notes:
If my swatch is 7 sts/inch and the pattern calls for 8sts/inch, plus the fact that the pattern is for a finished foot circumference of 8.5″ and his foot is 9.5″ then that is a CO of (9.5×7) vs (8.5×8). So my conclusion is WORST case senario, we are looking at a perfect to slightly loose fitting sock.
Does anyone follow my logic? I hope so…

So, after a 2.5 hour long movie, I barely got the toes started (in the picture above..)  So next time your significant other asks you so sweetly for a pair of hand knit socks, measure his feet first!  and then tell him target is just down the road.

This tale is to be continued…

We’re Watching You

Map of Visitor's Locations

…does that creep you out?

For a while CourT has been talking about Google Analytics and how exciting it is to monitor information about visitors to our store and blog.  Although I was very pleased to hear about all the views we were getting, I wasn’t all that interested in even taking the time to log in.  Today I finally did and…  I’m actually quite surprised I was able to pull myself away from it long enough to type this. (The map to the left is a visual representative of the countries (in green) that have visited our store, Coffee & T. )

It’s not just the numbers CourTney found intriguing, but rather the ability to personify them through sites of origin and maps, detailed enough  to provide the city in which they were viewed. (Hello Diamond, Ohio and Austin, Texas!)

With that said, we would like to say, “Cheers!” to our viewers across the world by offering you international shipping.  I don’t think we expected such a diverse geographical interest in our items when we opened and we would like to share a little of our CoffeeAndT!

 

I want to get Sudsy!

Set of 3 crocheted washcloths available of Coffee & T!

I love crocheted and knit washcloths. The idea of using a sponge to do dishes grosses me out. Maybe it’s because of all of the male roommates I’ve lived with who would pollute the sponge with meats and fatty junk; or maybe because sponges at work in the kitchen ALWAYS reek. One time, while having dinner at a bosses house, his wife told me that using the same towel more than once irked her. GERMS….That got me thinking and I have permanently switched over to washcloths.

Tara prefers to use her washcloths in the bathroom, rather than the kitchen.  She thinks they are too pretty to waste on dishes, but why not have both!  Make washing your face AND your pans prettier. I think I got her with the eco part (reusable/washable).  She’s very good to the environment.

My friend, Christine, always has the cutest things in her kitchen.  Embroidered dishcloths, adorable dishes, pretty cups.  A cute kitchen is one you want to be in.

Set of 3 washcloths at Coffee & T

Now that my home drawer is full of them, I want to share the love!  Tara and I have both been putting some sets together for our store, Coffee & T, but I want to go one step further.  I want to learn to make soap!

I’ve been searching the web for good recipes and fun methods for a one girl kind of operation  (two girls when Tara moves to NYC 🙂  ).  I found one person’s blog that I think is a LOT of fun: Soap Deli News.  There are link for shopping for homemade soaps, such as: Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen. She sells beautiful soaps!  Soap Deli News also has a blog on packaging and some recipes!  I think this may be a new weekend project for me!

So, if anyone out there makes there own soap, wants to partner with some washcloth makers for gifts or has some good recipes to share, feel free to comment below and we can help each other out!

As for now, I will be making more washcloths.  We go through a lot in my house with a husband who likes to cook as much as mine! (This is worshiping, not complaining!)

 

 

Didja Miss Me??

Since this is my first solo post for a while, here’s what I’ve been up to:

Everything.

I am in one of those strange transitional periods where I don’t know where I’ll be in six months, so there’s been lots of “figuring out” to do.  “Figuring out” doesn’t leave much mental capacity for creativity, but the trip to Jersey and seeing CourT was a much needed respite from the stress.  CourTney is my viagra for creativity (sorry, Grandma).  I wonder if insurance would cover the next trip…?

Now I’m getting back into the swing of things, just in time to join in on the excitement over our new baby vegetable hats!  CourT made the most adorable baby tomato hat  (I would link to it but it already sold!) and soon-to-be listed pumpkin hat, and we’re working on many more!  Keep checking our store if you have a baby, know a baby, grow a baby, plan a baby, or act like a baby.  We’ll make those babies hats.  Babies love hats.