Monday, November 3, 2014

Busman's Knitting Holiday

I have been remiss.  I haven't posted, written, communicated on social media, blah, blah, blah.  No excuses, a little bit of guilt.  OK.  Done.

Last weekend I went to Vogue Knitting Live here in Chicago at the Palmer House.  It was a vacation in my own city.  It was a beautiful fall weekend and our city looked magnificent.  The Palmer House, a grande dame of a hotel, was filled with knitters.  Knitters on every surface -- knitting.  There were 2 large areas devoted to a market place filled with yarn, patterns, books and obsessed knitters.  

The highlights for me were the two classes I attended.  On Saturday I took Exploring Japanese Knitting Patterns and Schematics with Donna Druchunas.   Here's a bio of Donna from her website.  She gave us resources and fantastic handouts and I magically entered the cryptic, hidden world of Japanese design.  I have invited her to Knit 1 to teach.  I will keep you posted as that plan comes together.  I have been wanting for the longest time to do a KAL with a Japanese pattern.  It's a dense and daunting undertaking and I realize that if we want to be successful we need to call in the expert.  In the meantime, check out this fantastic resource she shared with us if you want to begin to explore this topic on your own.  Come chat with us at the shop, too.  Cory took her class that afternoon and we are happy to tell you about what we learned. 

Sunday morning I took a class with one of my very favorite designers Norah Gaughan.  Her class, Modern Sweater Structures:  Design Workshop, took us through the evolution of her work.  She revealed some of her processes and how her passions for geometry and shapes has informed and formed her designs.  I can't stop thinking about this particularly brilliant example she gave us:  She cut out 2 pieces of fleece -- one a rectangle with holes cut in it for armholes.  A number of us tried it on and discovered tt could be worn 2 different ways. It was an example to me of how a simple shape can be transformed into a garment.  The second was a half-circle also with armholes.  This also could be worn 2 ways.  I'm now obsessed with the idea of knitting this shape and have spent the last 7 days thinking about how to knit this and in what!  I believe I have the perfect yarn, btw.  Stay tuned....

Now on for news:  It goes without saying that our shelves are bulging.  Is that news?  OK, real news:  Miriam Felton is coming to visit!  She's gonna hang out with us on Monday, December 8th.  She's bringing a bunch of her great patterns and a trunk show and we'll help you pick out fantastic yarn from which to knit them!  I will supply us with nourishment and we can hang and visit with Miriam and find out what makes this woman tick!  Small disclaimer/confession:  I bought some fantastic OPY (other people's yarn) at the VKL market and I'm knitting -- obsessively -- Miriam's Chromaticity Cowl.  Stop by and check it out! 

That's enough for you all for now.  Stay tuned for details...

Please click here for an extremely useful tool that Donna told us about last weekend.  It comes to us from one of our vendors of fantastic Japanese yarns -- Habu.  I'm thinking that this will be very useful to those of us who love to knit Rowan patterns but don't always love their format.  You know who you are.  Enjoy.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Planes and Socks and Classes and Yarn, lots of Yarn

Socks are ideal small canvases for the skills and preferences of knitters: made with beautiful hand-dyed, or colourful self-striping yarns; showcasing breathtaking stitch patterns; and featuring a level of detail and ornament to rival any sixteenth-century silk stocking. 
-Kate Davies from her blog

Man working on his small canvas

Yesterday was insanely quiet.  After the fire at the FAA in Aurora not a single plane was in the air over Chicago.  I know it created an enormous mess and my heart broke for people who couldn't get to weddings and family reunions and other events with loved ones.  However, on the ground?  Blissfully quiet.  We had a full house in the shop, the door was open, the breeze was blowing and the shelves are groaning with yarn!

We have posted the fall classes:  there are several sessions of Beginning Knitting; Intro to Crochet; Socks, ummm, SOCKS, people!  this is for all of you all who say "you should teach a sock class!" OK!  we will!! Now sign up for it!!!  It's really fun, wait'll you learn to turn a heel!  You won't believe what you can do with some sticks and string.  And, the piece de resistance --- Tubular Cast On class.  You will be amazed by this cast on.  It's fun to do, plus it gives everything this polished, professional edge.  It's the perfect accompaniment to your fall and winter accessories.  Check out the Class tab for times and dates. 

And speaking of socks, in November we are teaching our insanely popular Christmas Stocking.  There are so many cool skills learned in this class, plus it's a chance to craft your own, unique stocking using any colors you want.

I know it's really warm this week, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is your heads up, people -- it's gonna get cold, really cold -- your head and your hands and your feet will thank you for knitting up a little some'in.

See you soon,

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Habu Department + Japanese Knitting and Crochet

Many years ago I came across a Japanese Knitting book in a book store.  It was exquisite -- like Haiku -- evocative and perfectly crafted.  Ever since, I've been enamored of Japanese crafts.  I'm always hunting for things Japanese so when I discovered Habu I was smitten.  Slowly, we have created quite a collection of their beautiful yarns.  Often customers will come in and ask what they can make with the cones of yarn with the lovely little paper labels.  We now have a vast resource of patterns we've been collecting to help guide you. 

While at the Needle Arts Trade show in May, I chanced on a company from California that sells unusual accessories and books and they had a first-rate selection of Japanese knitting and crochet books.  I ordered the titles that intrigued me most and I'm not disappointed -- they are endlessly inspiring.  I hope you'll come in and look at them and the Habu yarns and embark on one of these compelling projects.