Swans Island Twisted Cowl

This time of year is tricky. One day it’s warm, the next freezing. It really makes it difficult to dress in the morning, not knowing what will happen within the course of the day, weather-wise. My solution: the knitted cowl. It’s something that can add a nice layer of warmth, and since this one is made from Swans Island Natural Fingering, which is 100% merino wool, it is warm when it needs to be warm, but not too hot. This pattern also works well with this type of spring-or-winter layering technique. It has a nice loose lace-like quality, so it doesn’t feel overly heavy.

Have you knit with Swans Island before? If not, you should give it a try–their yarn is heavenly. And it is made right next door in beautiful Maine. I traveled up there before the shop opened and was completely smitten with their yarn and the people that ran the company. Should you ever be up in the Camden area, please do yourself a favor and swing by their dye house. You will see how they get their array of stunning colors and get a weaving demonstration of their amazing blankets. I feel like I’m overusing adjectives in this paragraph, but once you see and feel this stuff in person, you will completely understand!

The pattern for this cowl was created by one of my instructors. It’s a riff on a traditional lace pattern and really makes this yarn shine. The nice part about the pattern is that you can adjust the dimensions to be whatever you prefer! The pattern as written will use up most of the yardage of one skein of the Swans Island, but if you wanted to use up leftover yarn, this would be a great pattern for that. I love patterns that you can customize yourself. I think the difficulty level is not too high and as long as you can do the required stitches, you should be good to go! We are offering this pattern free with the purchase of one skein of the Swans Island Fingering, which comes in a great array of colors.

Do you have a particular way to dress with this weird spring-maybe-still-winter weather? Are you a layer-er like me? Or is there another way? Do tell!

 

All Photos by Ashley Shea Photography

New Block of the Month Club!

We love creating new things for our customers! We had the Mystery Yarn Tour Club last year for the knitters (we will do it again this fall if you didn’t get on board last year!), so we thought it was time to create something for you quilters out there.  We have bounced around the idea of doing a Block of the Month Club for awhile. I tried looking at ones that other shops used, and there are *a lot* out there. None of the ones that I saw had the right feel for our shop, however. I reached out to the extremeley talented Caitlin, of Salty Oat, who had created our Row by Row last year. We talked and she created something for the shop that we are both really excited about! It is modern, clean and fresh. We hope you will love it too!

Here’s the skinny: next week we will open up the registration for our new Block of the Month Club. Club registration is $75 for six months. Starting on the 1st of April and after that on the first of every month you will pick up your monthly block kit which includes instructions and the fabric for that month’s block (we can also ship!). Each month’s block will be constructed with different techniques, so there will be a lot to learn. This is a six month club, so when you are done you will have six blocks completed (15″ finished) and the instructions for placing them in a beautiful quilt which you will now have the complete pattern for. What if you decide you don’t want to join for all six months? You can purchase each month’s kit individually for $15. Here’s the catch with the individual kits: you can only buy that current month’s kit. If you miss a month you will have to wait until ALL the blocks have been released to catch up.

To make things even more exciting, we decided to create three colorway kits for you. All the quilts will be a contemporary grey and white with one contrasting color. Your options for contrasting colors are the following, all coming from the amazing Cloud9 Cirrus Solids Collection: Fuchsia, Grass and Amazon.

Here is a peak at what the blocks will look like, but for the full reveal, you should sign up and join us on Sunday, April 2nd, when Caitlin will be here! We will have the quilt here for you to see in person and Caitlin will hold a demonstration on the techniques used in the blocks. After that we will have the official kick-off party with tea and cake, and (of course!) prizes to win!

Since we like to keep things a surprise, I only have a digital mock up for you so you can get an idea of what is in store. I have chosen to show only the fuchsia option in the mock up. And remember, some monitors are not completely accurate with rendering colors, but with the names of the colors, you be pretty sure it is hot pink, a turquoise and that nice, current green-yellow.

 

If you have any questions at all, leave a comment, ask us on Instagram (where we will post this as well) or shoot us an email. Who is ready for this club to start?!?!

From Norway With Love Hat

All Photos by Ashley Shea Photography

As I post this, the weather is slowly starting to warm up. I don’t know if we are actually seeing the end of winter around here. If I remember correctly, this is the time of year that we all start thinking it is going to get warm because of one or two warm-ish days, but this is just silly. We live in New England—it will snow again. And when it does, my head will be toasty warm with this new shop sample that Jenny knitted up!

We really wanted to have something on the shop floor that was fun, bright and cheery and this fit the bill! The pattern is called From Norway with Love, and it’s by Anna & Heidi Pickles.  If you haven’t seen their line of patterns, they are super cute. But out of all the hats, how could we pass up this adorable multi-color, heart-laden beauty?!?!?!

 

The hat was knit using Cascade 220’s fingering weight yarn. This yarn is 100% wool which is easy to knit, and there are a wide range of colors. The most difficult part of the pattern process was trying to decide on colors for the actual hat! We went with a bright and colorful palette on a neutral background. We also chose to hold the yarn double since the pattern called for a dk weight and this put Jenny right on gauge. The price point on these skeins is very reasonable at five dollars per skein.

Our version of this hat is extremely warm, perfect for those days of shoveling mountains of snow. With the yarn held double, plus the floats inside from the colorwork, this hat will keep your head toasty warm.

At first touch, it seems like this yarn would be itchy to wear, but I haven’t had a problem with it while I have been wearing it. Those that are more sensitive might want to do a sensitivity test (I usually rub it on the inside of my wrist) to see if it will work for them. If you feel it might be too much, you could also knit this in Swans Island Ecowash merino wool, which would be super soft. Even though you could knit this out of anything, I love the natural breathable qualities of wool. Wool for the win!

This is the perfect project for those last days of winter or for those who like to plan ahead.  Have you made this pattern or tried Cascade 220?  Tell us all about it!

 

Class Focus: Capsule Club

In just under a month, we will see the arrival of one our newest classes and formats for the shop, the Capsule Club. This class is based around building a capsule wardrobe. Never heard of a capsule wardrobe? No worries! A capsule wardrobe means creating a compact collection of staple pieces in a coordinating color scheme. This way they are able to be mixed and matched throughout the seasons. Fun, right? We are combining that with the fantastic line of Bernina sergers to get you out of your sewing rut and learning new techniques! ‘Do I need a serger?’ is a question we hear frequently at the shop, so if you aren’t sure if one is for you, this is the best way to find out!

In this class we will focus on making four pieces each quarter. That is the goal, but if you want to only make one per season, that’s fine too! We will have four suggested patterns for each season, but we will also have some other ideas if the ones we have selected don’t fit your aesthetic or lifestyle. This is YOUR wardrobe, remember. There is no point spending time on pieces that will just take up space!

The class will be split up into two parts. Once a quarter we will have a lecture/class night where we will go over the focus for that quarter, watch a webinar made by Capsule Club creator Jaime Hock, and then learn a hands-on technique with our machines. The second part (which is optional) is to come to one of our monthly sewing sessions (or purchase a punch card for use of our Studio at a Capsule Club Member rate). We want this to work with your needs and schedule!

The first focus will be on Summer and the first class/lecture will be on March 16. You can sign up for the class here. This is where you can also sign up for the punch card. If you are interested in attending the monthly sewing sessions those can be found here: MarchApril, and May. You can do one part, or even all three! This a customizable class!

Any other questions? Let us know.  We can’t wait to see you!

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Grainline Lark Tee in Striped Rayon Jersey

All Photos by Ashley Shea Photography

Have you ever had a pattern turn out so good that after the first time you make it, you want to immediately make it again  with every fabric in your stash? Something that you can whip up in no time and still impress everyone with your talents? It’s kind of like finding your favorite go-to recipe. If you don’t have one, and you’re in the market for a knit top pattern, you should check out Grainline’s Lark Tee. I know, I know, a knit t-shirt isn’t the most exciting thing to sew, but, at least for me, it’s a pretty essential part of my wardrobe. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to continue to support Old Navy and the Gap, with their sub-par fabrics and sometimes strange fit issues by buying my knit tops there. Besides,  once you make one of your own, you realize just how easy it is to fill your closet with them. Trust me, I know.

One of the nicest parts of this pattern is the ability to mix and match. There are four necklines and four sleeve options, so you really can make more than a dozen shirts, each one different from the other. When you factor in the higher cost of indie patterns (although WELL worth it!) it makes this pattern a no-brainer for your collection.

I have made this top a few times already (you will see them slowly being blogged about, but BLOGGED nonetheless!) and love, love, LOVE every version.  This was the first one I did and I did it straight out of the envelope. The length is the only thing I would tweak. That being said, that is super minor in the grand scheme of things. I traced the size 0 for the whole pattern, which normally I would grade out to a 2 at the hips. I like the way it fits (besides the aforementioned length) and wouldn’t change it.

The pattern is drafted well, which is no surprise, and the instructions are well written, with a little hand holding if you are new to knits. Cutting took just a smidgen longer since I was matching stripes. I was able to squeeze this version out of just under a yard of this 60″ wide fabric, and could have even done less if I had shortened the length. So consider before you toss those random knit scraps… you might be able to get the short sleeve version out of it. You will see this put in action in one my upcoming Larks (in LIBERTY KNIT!!).  The shirt is constructed with the sleeve set in flat, and the neckband (used in three of the versions) is put on in the round and either stitched or twin-needled down. I used my regular sewing machine with a walking foot for all of the construction to aid in stripe matching and I think it really made a difference.  I chose to use the twin needle for finishing and the end results look very RTW (ready to wear) and professional. No Home-ecky Becky here!

I used a soft rayon jersey (unfortunately gone from the shop) that is like wearing butter. Well…I mean, it is super soft and comfortable. I am not sure if actually wearing butter would be comfortable, but you know what I mean! The knit you choose (either more drapey or slightly more stable) will determine how the final top looks. Again, I think you could make this top a gazillion times with different fabric/view combinations and still have them look different enough to not necessarily know that you used the same pattern. I think this is a big win!

 

If you are scared of jumping into the pool of sewing knits and want to wade in slowly from the shallow end, we have a class for the Lark! Check our schedule, sign up and let us guide you into this fantastic stretchy world!