Time to shift with the seasons again. Now thoughts turn to warm weather, lazy summer days, swimming, picnics and parties by the pool. We’re gearing up in the shop for the shift: stocking up on beach reads, kids’ activities and warmer weather crafting. What’s new and interesting you ask? Read on!
Knit that Fit and Flatter!
I’m a sucker for make-over shows or books about figuring out what to wear (huge Trinny and Susannah fan of course). I pour over them, taking mental notes, comparing them to myself to learn how to dress for my shape. But they never really seem to sink in. I feel lost as to what works best for my figure. Never fear… Amy Herzog to the rescue with her debut book, Knit to Flatter.
To sum it up: Simply a-m-a-z-i-n-g! It’s one of the best books on body shapes, what it is, how figure out you’re body type, which patterns to pick and why. Chocked full of great info to demystify not only what to wear, but how to measure yourself, and then pick patterns to suit your body type (top-heavy, proportional, bottom-heavy). The latter section covers how to modify patterns and why. And there’s tons of patterns!
Sweaters with lovely details, front and back; along the sides …
The germ idea started on Amy’s blog years ago. Then it became popular workshops and now a fully formed book. There’s even a companion Craftsy class online class. I immediately enrolled and love seeing the book demonstrated with live models and Amy’s encouraging, down-to-earth style. It’s just like her popular in-person workshops for those who can’t physically attend a session.
Recently she started her weekly Fashion Friday blog posts. She picks a topic then uses photos to demonstrate. Like this initial post:
Same outfit just styled differently. How trippy! I love seeing how Amy styles herself and why. Subtle tweaks make a huge difference. A post on sleeves was mind-boggling:
She has several lovely free patterns that helped launch her design career: Vignette and February Fitted Pullover. Oh and just found a 3rd! Kittiwake Cardigan. What great wardrobe staples these make. Be sure to add Amy to your Designer’s To Watch list and check out her book, class or blog asap.
It’s here! Noro Magazine #2
Squeeeeeee!!! It arrived. The second Noro Magazine that is, just in time for our Noro Yarn Tasting Night (May 23) and the first arrivals of new Noro yarns and colorways (Silk Garden Sock and Takeuma here; Taiyo, Ayatori and Silk Garden due in June) Didn’t expect to see it until June but it came early this year.
Want a peek at a few patterns?
Shawls…. that’s a no-brainer for me in the summertime. The one on the left is screaming to be cast on. The one….well…. looks suspiciously like my last summer’s Noro shawl that’s still (ahem) on the needles. But I’ll get it done this summer! Promise. (I dug it out, dusted it off this week. That’s progress)
Now some of the patterns would not work for my body shape but I love what they’ve done to create cool geometric patterns. [ Actually….that one on the left isn’t half bad for my bottom-heavy/kind of proportional body type, maybe sans horizontal stripes….hmmmm…..click goes my ‘add to queue’ button ]
And of course there is a section on crochet too. Really like the blue cardi!
Oh my goodness so adorably sweet. Not sure I’d want to torture a new mom with a hand-knit, hand-wash only in the cashmere blend yarn, Shiraito (which is a dream to knit with…). However I would totally make these in Taiyo, a cotton blend. A yarn that I know for a fact holds up in the washer: This winter my Slip Stitch Cowl somehow, unbeknownst to me, jumped off of my neck into the washer while I was doing laundry. One very vigorous washing later, the edges lay nice and flat, no felting, you could totally see the stitch pattern, and it looked much better than before it’s trip to the spat. A very happy accident for sure.
Noro Yarn Tasting Night: May 23
Have I whetted your appetite for some Noro now? Join us from 6:3-9pm May 23rd to “taste” some Noro yarns – new, old and favorites. We set up swatching stations of Noro yarns, have free patterns available and samples to show off. If you’re wanting to test out Noro to see what the fuss is about, or a big Noro-head like myself, head on over that Thursday night. Munchies, libations and maybe a few giveaways on offer.
Berroco Spring Stuff
Most of the new yarns are here: Floret, Maya and Weekends. The rest, Karma, Linsey, Fuji, set to arrive in June created a great collection this year so hard to pick a favorite. All are washable – yep even the silk/cotton Fuji! Color palettes right up my alley, and the pattern booklets full of great patterns. We’re seeing more lace, stripes, and accessories! Several patterns I’m longing to cast on and a few I have!
Weekend: Now in 3 weights: Chunky, Worsted and DK. I adore it for its yardage, colors, durability and wash-ability and price. An acrylic/cotton blend that feels very cottony in a extensive range of shades.
A perfect kid-friendly yarn that is easy wear & care (machine wash and dry). You can easily make a cute summer cardi or even a skirt and not break the bank. The larger weights tend to be bit heavy knit up, but the new dk version is lovely. Not too thin it takes forever. Not too thick it weighs a ton. Wouldn’t a big old afghan with block in each color be great?! But it’s light enough for warm-weather garments too.
Maya: Such a light, scrumptious yarn. A chainette construction in pima cotton with a touch of baby alpaca for softness. Washable….a washable alpaca!
Right now I’m working on Bajada (scarflette on the cover) and despite much operator error (long story involving a day’s wasted effort because I can’t read a pattern properly), I would not give up on cracking this pattern. That’s how much I love this yarn. I prevailed and successfully am on my way (but can’t watch any distracting programs since this lace pattern requires I pay attention).
As for sweaters I’m seriously coveting this little “trifle” called Trifle. Won’t let myself cast it on until I get Bajada finished though. I’m being disciplined with myself…for now. My favorite sweater pattern of the lot. Unique construction (sideways), bit of lace to challenge me, nice shape.
This picture doesn’t do the pattern justice but the 360 degree view does. [Another reason to love Berroco: They use real women, with real bodies as models. Thank you Berroco!]
J’adore the colors! Just can’t decide which to choose. I want a sweater in them all. Adding that to my very long bucket list….
Berroco Fans: Mark your calendars, Trunk Show* season is here
I love it when the boxes arrived filled with beautifully made garments we show off for a couple of weeks. It’s totally worth making a pilgrimage to try stuff on or see the yarns in action. We’re always amazed at how a pattern in real life surprises us. And seriously . . . for someone like me who lives vicariously through others’ finished objects . . . this is like Christmas, Easter and Birthday . . . every few weeks!
Currently in the Shop : Floret May 9 – Jun 3
Future Trunk Show Dates:
Jun 6 – 17: #329 Lago, Captiva, Seduce
Aug 15 – 26: Weekend #2
Aug 29 – Sep 23: Norah Gaughan #12B
*trunk show = finished garments on loan from yarn company for a few weeks so we can play with them to our heart’s delight and play dress up.
Book Group Summer Picks
We have our summer reading picks at the ready! Next meet up May 20th 3pm. Join us if you can.
Very sweet contemporary novel about a group who meet via Downton Abbey viewings and end up becoming fast-friends, through thick and thin. Like The Jane Austen Book Club, or Friday Night Knitting Group type of read. Perfect light summer, feel-good book.
Jun 17: Clover House
Debut novel about a Greek-American family, now and it’s past. The heroine returns to Greece and her family roots upon the death of her uncle. There she learns about her mother’s childhood during WW2 and the Italian occupation of Greece and family secrets long-buried. Another potentially good summer beach read.
Jul 22: A Lady Cyclists Guide to Kashgar
I’ve had this title on my radar since it was published in hardcover last year. Finally out in paperback and thrilled we’re reading it. Actually…I’ll be listening to the audio book on my daily walks to shop in effort to get more books read this summer. It’s another praised debut novel set in 1923 and present day. The past tells of two sisters, missionaries to Kashgar along the Silk Road. Present day tells of a young woman heading to London, after she inherits an apartment from an unknown woman. The two narratives gradually merge, linking the eras in surprising ways,
Warning: Pet-Peeve Rant Against Publishers Ahead!
Okay… so what’s up with publishers ditching perfectly good covers for so-so, bland ones for the paperbacks? I so prefer the original design to the boring paperback version. In fact this original cover caught my eye and made me check out this book. Once I read the summary I thought, hmmmm gotta keep this on my radar for the future! But it was the cover that was the hook that reeled me in.
It stood out from the thousands I see daily. Covers with photos of women, looking pensively out at the horizon, or with their backs to us; partially cut off or with them running down a corridor looking for something, anything… nothing… Frankly this paperback cover would not have peaked my interest one iota, Hence I wouldn’t have taken a second look, or ordered it up for the shop, or suggested it to the book group or other avid readers looking for a interesting new novel. Sigh….. why can’t publisher’s just leave well enough alone! Or at least ask a bookseller what they think before ditching a perfectly good book cover for a boring one that just blends in with all the others! I’m happy to provide my insights anytime. LOL
Rant Officially Over . . . for Now . . .
New Lotions & Soaps
Time to gear up for warm weather and parched skin. Both these new lines will keep you smooth and comfortable in the months ahead
Oliveraie Collection by Pre de Provence from France. Ooh la la! Yummy rich lotion, pump hand soap, the richest body butter around and cute little blocks of soap a la Marseille tradition.
Heading into summer our skin becomes super thirsty so this gives is a long, cool drink of water (so to speak). And it doesn’t smell too perfumey so it’s guy friendly too. Made from olives harvested in Provence (wow….so fancy!)….. and no the beautiful packaging with Van Gogh paintings didn’t sway us in the least. (nudge nudge)
Verbena Botanicals All natural, hand-crafted line made closer to home, up in Hillsboro, Oregon. We met the couple and their lovely daughter at gift show recently and liked their hand-made with purity line.
Organic goats milk soaps (in the sweetest muslin bags….I’m a sucker for cute little bags….). We have: Lavender (top), Oatmeal (middle – if the oatmeal lakes didn’t give it away), and (betcha you can’t guess this one…. Peppermint Shock! A super minty fresh scent (Megan’s favorite). Perfect for hot summer days when you need a refreshing cool shower. (Sorry no Coffee Bean soap because as much as I love coffee…not sure I want to bath in it!)
We also have mini bath salts, pump lotions and their healing intensive Heat Wave balm. Perfect for those achy bits, sore spots or mad muscles. It’s gentle and safe for everyone…even children. I’m using it on my muscles that doth protest too much after my swim workout.
Whew….. this was a long one. But lots to catch up with so hope this tides you over until next month! Happy Memorial Day and Welcome Summer.