Our favorites (and yours!) for Fall 2013

PD3_FC_vA_We love this time of year at Patternworks—it’s prime-time for knitting and crocheting, surrounded by all the stunning new fibers and colorways for fall and winter. If you haven’t seen our fall catalog yet, take a look at the online version. With so many beautiful new yarns and patterns, it can be hard to choose. Here are some highlights of the hot items our customers and fellow employees have their eyes on:

SilkMohairPatternsSilk Mohair yarn by Sandnes Garn—This has been the most popular yarn by far this season! So popular, in fact, that it’s hard to keep in stock. But never fear, we’re expecting more to arrive soon. It’s featured in two gorgeous patterns, the Silk Mohair vest and the Oversized pullover. Both are simple and easy to knit, but classic and so wearable, you’ll live in them all winter long!

PinkNeedlesOur exclusive Pink Square Needles by Kollage—We love Kollage’s ergonomic square needle design, and we love it even more in our exclusive hot-pink color! The Patternworks logo is etched right into the needle surface, along with the needle size. The sharp points are perfect for a wide variety of projects, and we offer a wide range of sizes in circulars (choice of soft or firm cables), double-pointed, and single-pointed straight needles. Several of us, including merchandising assistant Pam, and myself, have these on our wish lists!

FineArtSkeinFine Art yarn by Rowan— Our guest blogger, Tania, described it best as “…insanely beautiful…another amazing Rowan product!” Becky, in our customer service department, is dying to knit with it as well. Not just for socks, this is an excellent choice for fingering-weight shawls, scarves, and other accessories. Plus, we’ll have six brand-new colorways available in mid-November!

FameTrendShawl&YarnFame Trend yarn and shawl pattern—Our catalog designer, Katie, loves the instant gratification of self-striping yarn. She’s got her eye on Fame Trend and the Triangular Lace shawl pattern, which also includes instructions for a knit garter-stitch version as well as a crochet version! This sport-weight, machine-washable wool/nylon blend yarn is also a great choice for colorful socks and accessories such as mittens, hats, and children’s garments. Or, try pairing it in colorwork with a solid-colored yarn such as Cascade 220 Superwash Sport.

OwlPinOwl shawl pin from Plymouth Yarn—Our guest blogger Tania loves the rustic, autumnal look of this must-have piece. That’s probably why our customers love it, too—or maybe simply because it’s super-cute! Made of super-lightweight surina wood, this sweet little owl is the perfect choice for fastening the Claremont vest or other open-front sweater.

NGV13KodiakNorah Gaughan Vol. 13—It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Norah’s designs. And like many knitters these days, I’m also a huge fan of seamless projects, especially when they’re knit from the top down. This entire collection of 14 patterns features all seamless, top-down construction. The Gibson cardigan is fabulous in new, lighter-than-air Berroco Kodiak™ yarn, and the semi-raglan armhole shaping is an intriguing technique that I’m really looking forward to trying.

SlippersNordic Star Slippers Kit by Permin of Copenhagen—I think there may be a lot of knitters’ family members unwrapping a pair of these this holiday season! The traditional Nordic star design looks stunning on these cozy Fair Isle slippers. A little bit of double crochet adds a nice finishing touch around the top edge.

TSCArtyarnsTSC Artyarns Second Collection—Iris Schreier’s color expertise and Stacy Charles’ fashion sense combine beautifully in 13 elegant garments and accessories. The Woodlands hat and wristwarmers in buttery-soft Cashmere Tweed and the Rainbow Ribbons cowl in luscious Tranquility yarn are two of our favorites.

Stay tuned for more highlights from our fall catalog over the next few weeks. And keep an eye on your mailbox for our newest 2013 Fall Update catalog, arriving soon!

Posted in Product Review | 2 Comments

A fresh look for summer!

If you receive our catalogs in the mail, or shop through our online catalog, you may have noticed some changes we’ve made for Summer 2013.

Just inside the front cover, the new table of contents will help you find your way through the catalog. But the most prominent change you’ve probably noticed is that we’ve shortened product descriptions, especially yarn descriptions, in order to display garment photos as large as we possibly can. But don’t fret—full yarn descriptions, including fabric type and suggested uses, can still be found on our website. All the essential information—fiber content, gauge, yardage and care—is still listed in the catalog along with a brief description of the yarn.

For any booklets which include multiple patterns, the description in the catalog indicates the total number of patterns. And, as always, you can see some or all of the additional patterns on our website.

The knit and crochet library pages are also a little different. Descriptions have been shortened, and for most of the books we’re only showing front covers. This allows us to choose a couple of books to highlight by showing larger photos for several projects. As with the pattern booklets, you’ll find additional project photos and more detailed descriptions on our website for most of the books.

Our tools of the trade section has undergone a makeover as well. We have grouped all the photos together in the top half of the page with letters matching up to the descriptions below. For some items, we’ve included additional information in the description on our website, where applicable.

Remember, there’s much more to see than we’re able to show within the pages of our catalog. We always have a lot more yarns, patterns, books and tools available on our website. We usually carry several different patterns (sometimes dozens!) for each yarn, but typically only have room to show one or two patterns per yarn in our catalog, so be sure to check our website for additional pattern suggestions if you see a yarn you like. Simply type the yarn name in the search box at the top of any page on our website to see all the patterns using that yarn.

We welcome your feedback, whether there’s something you like about the updated catalog design, or something you think would make it better.

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Niche: Finished!

I love this sweater!

In the last post, I showed you my Niche sweater in Berroco’s new Maya yarn, as it was blocking. Well, the blocking is finished, it’s all sewn up at the sides and sleeves, and I’m enjoying wearing it!

We’d love to see what you’re making with Maya. Be sure to share your in-progress or finished photos with us on our Facebook page or in our Ravelry group, or share a link to any Pinterest boards or Twitter posts showing your project photos. If you don’t use these social media sites but would still like to share your photos with us, you can also email photos to pwfacebook@keepsakequilting.com (please try to keep photos under 2MB in size).

Posted in KAL, Project Tales | Comments Off

Niche: almost there!

How are you all doing with your projects in Berroco’s Maya yarn? We got a new shipment of Maya in here at Patternworks a little while ago (and there’s more on the way), so those of you who were waiting for backorders to ship just might have them by now! Have you cast on yet?

Niche, blocking in the guest bedroom

I’m in the home stretch with my Niche sweater. I finished knitting it this past Saturday, and have soaked it and laid it out to block (really, just laid it out flat on towels, and didn’t use any pins or wires) in preparation for seaming. The instructions state to sew the sleeve and side seams before picking up around the neckline for a one-row edging; however, since I’m blocking the sweater before seaming, I decided to knit my neck edging first to keep the neckline from stretching out too much when I soaked it. Also, because I knit 12 extra rows on the front and back of my sweater, I needed to pick up more neckline stitches than the pattern specified. I figured out the ratio of picked up stitches to rows in the pattern, and used the same ratio when picking up stitches on my sweater (about 2 stitches for every 3 rows).

Although the weather is about to warm up again, I’ll still be able to wear this Pima cotton/baby alpaca blend in the air-conditioned office without getting too toasty. Stay tuned for the finished project photos, hopefully in the next week or two!

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Maya KAL Progress Report

I’ve made some progress on my Niche sweater in Berroco’s new Maya yarn:

This is the left sleeve, and the left side of the body through the neckline decreases. It’s been a very easy knit so far! I don’t even mind all the moss stitch; those two cables break it up just enough so I don’t get bored.

Unfortunately, we know many of you out there may still be waiting for your yarn order. Maya has been a hugely popular yarn this season—the most popular in our spring update catalog, in fact. Rest assured, we have many, many more bags of all the colors on order with Berroco, and we’re just as anxious as you are for it to arrive (we expect sometime in May). But the good news is, there’s no official deadline for the KAL. As soon as more yarn comes in, we will be sure to get your backorders out ASAP so you can start your projects!

If you’re one of the lucky customers who already has your yarn, have you started your project yet? We’d love to see your progress photos! Post a link to your photo(s) in the comments section below, or share a photo on our Facebook page or in our Ravelry group.

If you’re knitting Niche, like me, here are some things I’ve learned along the way that may be helpful:

  • Niche swatches

    I’m so glad I swatched first! My knitting has gotten looser over the years, and to get the correct stitch gauge I’m using a needle two sizes smaller than specified in the pattern. I made good-sized swatches using three different needle sizes, and washed and blocked the finished swatches before measuring my gauge.

  • Though I got the correct stitch gauge, my row gauge is tighter than the pattern calls for. So in the body section of the pattern, I will be knitting more rows even in the center between the neckline decreases on the left and the neckline increases on the right. I didn’t adjust the number of rows on the sleeves, since my arms are short.
  • When I started swatching, I noticed the yarnovers just before each cable nearly disappeared. To compensate, I’m working a double yarnover instead of single just before each cable, and dropping the extra strand on the return row.
  • In order to keep track of my rows, I’m using two colors of locking stitch markers. The orange ones mark the end of a pattern repeat, and the blue ones mark key progress points (last row of the sleeve before casting on body stitches, last row before dividing for the neckline, etc.).
  • Now that I’ve divided the neckline and am working the front and back separately, I make sure to work the row completely across both halves before setting down my knitting so that I don’t work more rows on one half than I do on the other.

I hope you found those tips helpful! And remember, if you’re on Ravelry and knitting along, be sure to tag your project with PWKALMAYA. On Pinterest or Facebook, include PWKALMAYA in the photo caption or comments. And if you tweet a progress photo, use the hashtag #PWKALMAYA.

Happy knitting and crocheting!

Posted in KAL, Tips and How-To's | 1 Comment

Berroco Maya™—a sale and knitalong!

Have you tried any of Berroco’s new spring yarns yet? If not, now is a great time to try irresistibly soft Maya™, an 85/15 blend of Pima cotton and baby alpaca. Not only is it soft, it’s available in a beautiful palette of spring colors and neutrals. Plus, it works up into very lightweight garments, thanks to its airy chainette construction. And you’ll be just as impressed with its excellent stitch definition in cables and lace.

And it’s on sale! Now through March 25, 2013, save 15% on Maya and the pattern books that feature it: Norah Gaughan Volume 12, and Booklet 331!* Simply click here to automatically apply the promo code when you shop online, or enter promo code PW1315 after adding the items to your shopping bag and clicking the “view bag” button (it will only work in the promo code box, not the coupon code box).

I’m quite smitten with this new yarn myself—I’ve already purchased color #5630 Lagoon to knit the Niche pullover shown on the front cover of our 2013 Spring Update catalog. Will you join me for a spring knitalong? The rules are simple and loose—use Maya yarn to knit any of the Maya patterns in Norah Gaughan Volume 12 or Booklet 331, or the Biscuitroot cardigan, which is a pattern available free with purchase of Maya (select it from the Maya yarn page when you order your yarn, or request pattern #802840 when placing your yarn order by phone). There’s no deadline to finish the knitalong, and you may start anytime you wish.

The best part of a knitalong is sharing with others. We’d love to see what you’re making with Maya, so be sure to share your in-progress and finished photos with us:

  • If you’re on Pinterest, pin the photos to your board and include PWKALMAYA in  the comment box.
  • If you’re a Ravelry member, tag your project with PWKALMAYA, and feel free to share and comment in the Patternworks group.
  • If you use Facebook, share your photos with us by posting directly to our wall, or sharing them and tagging @Patternworks so we will see them.
  • If you’d like to share your photos with us on Twitter, use the hashtag #PWKALMAYA and tag us using @pw_catalog.

*Sale ends 3/25/13 and applies to online and phone orders only. Cannot be combined with any other offers.

Posted in KAL, Yarn Sale | 2 Comments

On our bookshelf: Sock-Yarn Shawls by Jen Lucas

This week, we’re pleased to present a book review from guest blogger Tania, an avid knitter and crocheter.

If you’ve ever knit a pair of socks, you may already know how addictive sock knitting and stocking up on skeins of sock yarn can be. One skein quickly turns into five and five quickly turns into a closet full of carefully guarded fiber waiting to be used. Here at Patternworks, we have a great selection of sock yarn—from Patons’ affordable Stretch Socks yarn to Kollage’s luscious Sock-A-Licious yarn—that makes picking up just one or two skeins quite difficult. Whether you have a closet full of wool or have been able to keep your sock yarn purchasing to a minimum, you can get the maximum benefit from your yarn by using it for something more than just socks. Jen Lucas’ new book, Sock-Yarn Shawls, does just that by showing you 15 lacy shawls you can make using all of that stash sock yarn you’ve been hoarding. The finished product may not keep your feet warm but makes a great introduction to lace knitting with a stunning finished project.

Briargate Shawl

Each of the shawl patterns in this book is stunning and presented in full color. The book is arranged into three sections: lace-edged shawls, allover-lace shawls and beyond-the-triangle shawls. The separation helps you to find a shawl pattern that fits your difficulty level and aesthetic with ease. The five lace-edged shawls feature a top-center down construction. These shawl knitting patterns are a great place for new shawl knitters to start as they easily explain the basic concept of a triangle shawl. There are even two shawls primarily featuring garter stitches for knitters who don’t like to purl or are just looking for a break. The allover-lace shawl section features flowing lace motifs that grow as you move along—quickly growing as you knit away. The beyond-the-triangle shawls area of the book is perfect for creating a unique shawl sans triangle construction. Experiment with crescent shapes (like the two-color Briargate knitting pattern or short-row shaped Wedgewood) to shoulder-hugging shawlettes (like the Labyrinth pattern) in the hopes of creating your perfect shawl. I’ve already cast on to make the Timpani pattern featuring a stockinette body and a precious chevron lace edging. This easy knit is already halfway done in just under a week—talk about a quick knit!

Ranging from intermediate to experienced in difficulty, you can quickly find the perfect project for your needles. For knitters who hate lace knitting charts, the book includes both written instructions and charts for each pattern. If you’ve always been intimated by lace charts, this book presents the perfect chance for you to learn how to not only read them but knit from them. While most of the patterns in the book use only a single skein of sock yarn, there are also detailed instructions showing you how to knit each shawl in a larger size. We know you’re going to enjoy these knitting patterns so much, you won’t be able to stop making shawls!

Pick up a set of your favorite needles (we love Addi Turbo Lace for any type of lace work) and a copy of Sock-Yarn Shawls and get knitting!

What usesbesides socks—have you used sock yarn for?

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Finally, a sweater that fits!

Adult-sized sweaters have been a bit of a stumbling block for me. The first one I made, back in the late 90′s, was way too big. My second attempt soon after that, a sweater for my Dad, looked okay but it was way too small. The third sweater, which I finished last year, was a classic deep-V-neck pullover that turned out beautifully, but didn’t fit me properly. At least the third sweater found a good home with my friend and co-worker, Pat, who absolutely loves it—I traded with her in return for some quilting lessons in the near future.

But finally, I have a finished sweater that’s just right. Back in 2008, before I even moved to New Hampshire and started working at Patternworks, I fell in love with Ysolda Teague’s Vivian hoodie in the winter 2008 issue of Twist Collective, an online knitting and crocheting magazine. I purchased the pattern almost immediately, but it sat in my to-do pile for some time.

I was inspired to start Vivian after buying some Plymouth Taria Tweed yarn at our Summer Tent Sale in 2011. Shortly after, the knitting began! I was determined to get a sweater that fit, so after some swatching, a bit of math, changing needle sizes and a couple of restarts, I was on my way to having a sweater I could actually wear. I did have to modify the sleeve length by leaving out an entire repeat of the cable pattern, and after finishing the sweater I had to remove the bell cuff because the sleeves were still too long.

The pattern calls for a zipper, but after wearing the finished hoodie to work for two days, I’ve decided against it. For now, I’m closing it with a shawl pin as you can see in the photos, but I will be on the lookout for some metal clasps to add to the top. The sleeves are still a little long (see tips below), but I’ve decided I like them that way, and it’s nice to have a little extra cuff to fold back.

We no longer carry the yarn I used to make this sweater, but any bulky-weight wool blend with good stitch definition would be an excellent choice. For example, Vivian would look beautiful in Plymouth Encore Chunky, Classic Elite Blackthorn, or Cascade Yarns Pacific Chunky or Eco Wool. If you’re a Ravelry member, check out the project gallery there for even more ideas!

Helpful tips:

  • You hear it all the time, and we all know swatches have a tendency to lie, but knit a good-sized swatch anyway.
  • To get the most accurate measurement, wash your swatch as you will wash the garment, and let it dry. (Had I done this, I would have realized how much the yarn I chose would relax and spread out—that’s why my sleeves are still a bit long.)
  • Don’t be afraid to modify! As with store-bought clothing, knitting patterns are written to match certain sizing standards. If your body doesn’t match the standard (and whose ever does?), adjust to fit your needs. For example, if you’re making sweater like Vivian and have wider hips and a narrower top, you may want follow a larger size for the bottom portion and a smaller size above the waist shaping, increasing or decreasing the shaping as necessary.

Happy knitting!

Posted in Project Tales, Tips and How-To's | 2 Comments

A quick-knit gift!

I took a couple of days off after Thanksgiving, taking advantage of a short breather before our spring catalog production is in full swing. Like many of you, I enjoy making gifts for family members and friends—though I never seem to have enough time to make as many as I’d like. So, I made the most of my time off by working on some gifts. One thing that’s really easy (and quick!) to make is a scarf. Usually, you can get a good-sized scarf from just one skein. Here’s one I’ve just started:

Openwork scarf in La Boheme yarn (Alaska colorway)

The pattern is so easy—only a few stitches to remember! And large needles give it an open, lacy look that works up quickly. I’m using Fiesta Yarns’ La Boheme, but you could make this with any yarn you wish. See below for a list of suggested yarns, or try any of your favorites!

Instructions:

  • Cast on an even number of stitches using large needles. (I cast on 16 stitches and am using U.S. size 13 [9.00mm] needles.)
  • Work the following stitch pattern on every row: K1, (slip 1 knitwise, k1, pass slipped stitch over k stitch, yo) to last stitch, k1.
  • Work until almost out of yarn or to desired length. Bind off. (Be sure you have a length of yarn at least three to four times as wide as your scarf for binding off.)
  • Weave in your ends, block if desired, and enjoy!
  • Note: If you don’t like working the s1-k1-psso decrease, you can substitute any other one-stitch decrease you prefer, such as ssk, k2tog, or k2togtbl. The look may be slightly different than the sample shown above, but the overall effect will be an open, trellis-like stitch.

Suggested Yarns:
La Boheme
Rayon Boucle
Gelato
Casablanca
Elements
Ripple
Kudo
Gina
Cristallo
Eclipse
Ensemble Light
or Glitter Light

Posted in Posts with Free Patterns, Project Tales | 2 Comments

The votes are in!

We’ve tallied the votes for our Halloween Mystery Photo Contest, and the winner is…Susie Kline, and her tale of Mary Ann Corker and Mister Senter! Susie, we will be in touch so we can get your prize (our Three Kit Grab Bag #4) in the mail!

Thanks to everyone who participated, we all got a kick out of reading your entries!

Posted in Contest, Just for Fun! | Comments Off