Friday, August 19, 2011

Granite Cowl Puzzle

As I was mentally cataloging the Powder River Collection and what I'd put up here I realized I'd missed the Granite Cowl. It is such a beautiful piece that I couldn't imagine why I had forgotten it, but when I went to grab a photo to put here there wasn't one! When I finally found one it was misnamed--and there were only two photos. Sometimes the good stuff doesn't get its due.

If you have never done a moebius I really recommend it. First, you should check out Cat Bordhi's video, then enjoy a moebius project or two! All the lovely infinity knitting of a sock or glove, but no shaping. A Moebius is a bit of a brain teaser especially if you want to have pattern in your knitting. The cast on is actually the center of the piece and you work outward in both directions. But I've done all the figuring out for you, so all you have to do it do the cast on and follow the pattern.

Then when you finish and put it on it automatically has a nice twist in it. This cowl comes in two sizes so you can make a snuggly one or this one which has more drape to it.

I actually knit this project. It was totally enjoyable and went much quicker than I would have expected because of that great infinity knitting. The larger the piece gets, it takes a bit of shoving the stitches around the looped needles, but when you get to that point, you'll know you're near the end.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Basques in Buffalo

ONGI ETORRI(ong-ee ett-or-ree) Welcome!

This was the greeting that was heard all over the town of Buffalo the last part of July. Over 5,000 colorful, lively people from all over the United States and Europe gathered to celebrate the culture of the Basque people.

I turn into a bit of a Basque "wanna be" during these festivities, the food is delicious and there are handsome men, beautiful women and lots of dancing, competing, toasting and laughing. The town of Buffalo looked lovely for the weekend and the parade down Main St was one of the highlights. For 100 years, the Basque culture has been perpetuated in Johnson county and every other year NABO (North American Basque Organization) holds a festival in different areas of the country. The Basque Sheepherding families are still a big presence in our area of Wyoming and we work directly with many Basque wool growers so it was fun to be a part of the party.

Mountain Meadow Wool had a nice booth in the park and we were kept busy from dawn til dark talking and showing all the wonderful products we have from the wool grown in the high plains of Wyoming.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Flint Pullover

Who says you can't do it all? In the Flint pullover you can look casual but elegant and multi-task by keeping your smart device close at hand in the left arm pocket!

Whether you wear this when you are out and about or sitting at home relaxing you'll look great and be ready for anything.

Simply wearable.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Silica Bodice

When we were in Buffalo, WY last September we walked by a display of garments in the hallway every day. Mostly from the original owner's wife, their daintiness was a complete contrast to the stories about women living in the West.

This piece seeks to impart the dainty details and simplicity of those cotton lawn bodices. Mostly worn under other pieces, they may have been the piece that reminded her that amid all the dust and animals and hard work she was still a feminine being.

Simplicity is never as easy as it looks, but the results speak for themselves.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sandstone Throw

Here's a perfect way to stay warm and look great. Heidi models our Sandstone Throw in Powder River. The blend of merino and alpaca is just perfect for staying cosy whether you're watching TV, reading, or snuggling in with a smart device. This throw is knit in squares, then joined at the end, which makes it a wonderful project that while large, never gets too big to comfortably work on. The squares are 16" so it folds up into a nice pillow-size square when not being used.

Neutral in color you can see that Powder River looks great with color.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A cardigan and a Beret

The photo shoot occurred on a perfect summer day in San Francisco. If you think California is all sunny skies you will be very cool when you come to visit. August is usually foggy at least part of the time. We can tell tourists because they are always wearing new fleece or sweatshirt pullovers. This is a pretty clear afternoon.

But look how lovely Heidi looks hanging out on my deck! Don't those lovely lace panels just make your fingers itch to get knitting?

One of the big hits on this beautiful cardigan in Minneapolis? Snaps. No. Buttonholes. Big snaps have lots of holes though.

I love the pattern on the Shale Beret designed by Susan Wolcott. See the fog swirling in the trees out on the hill past my house? Lots of swirling going on. If you've never worked a hat from the inside out you will likely find this a real treat. Somehow it is more fun to knit, even though your stitch number is increasing. Nothing but knits and purls in an easy to see pattern so you don't have to be a slave to the pattern (although you know it is always all spelled or charted out for you).

Monday, August 8, 2011

This is a photo (randomly selected from the results of the photo shoot yesterday) of the Mica Gloves designed by Susan Wolcott. She cleverly ran the eyelet pattern up the side of these fingerless gloves to make them a little more special than most. Done in the squishy Powder River merino/alpaca blend, these are perfect for texting, driving, or just looking elegant! The cuff has a nice flare and longer line to enhance the elegance of the natural yarn color.

Susan put lots of work into getting these to look just right. I turned up my nose at the first attempt because they looked "utility" to me. She persevered and this incarnation looks beautiful, is practical, and has exquisite directions for doing the fingers. What more could you ask for?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Clay Tank

This photo is of Dolly at TNNA. Read on to see why. The other is of Clay Tank (full size) pre-fix.

This is the easiest of the PR garments to knit. It has all the eyelet and rib detailing in the Cardigan and Vest, but is worked in the round and has knitted in neckline and armhole trim.

Everything seems to have a story. The instructions didn't make sense to the knitter (who was experiencing a difficult pregnancy) and what I got back was very close but there had clearly been a problem once the neckline shaping commenced. Because we're always on deadlines I had to just use the garment as it was and I am just now fixing it. I think I've created a really nice but very easy piece--and I'm working on clarifying those instructions before the pattern gets published.

Don't be dissuaded by the relative simplicity of the Clay tank as it is a great way to explore Powder River. This piece works up from 3 or 4 skeins of Powder River so it is a very affordable piece as well.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Home Decor!

Everyone seems to have a memory of an afghan knit by a grandma or aunt that was on their bed or on a sofa. These are great projects when you don't want to create a garment, but let's face it--they have a lot of stitches.

I have always liked the concept of doing afghans in pieces so that they stay relatively portable, and you can easily see your progress. This piece is comprised of two patterns: A counterpane pinwheel and a mitered square. Each square is approximately 16" square and can be made entirely independently of the other pieces. Everything is joined with a variation of the 3-ndl bind off either as-you-go or at the end, but you never have to be working anything larger than a 16" piece. The counterpane is worked from the inside out which is oddly addicting, while the mitered square is worked from the outside in! Let's just say that it is pretty easy to see where you're going with each of them.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Powder River at TKGA in Minneapolis

Slight pause in the posts while I went to Minneapolis to be a vendor at the TKGA Knit and Crochet show.

This was the first retail exposure of the design samples of the garments and accessories (I still don’t have the home decor pieces in my possession). Attendance wasn’t huge at this show, but I was really pleased at how positively knitter’s reacted to both the yarn and the projects.

There were almost unanimously positive reactions to the yarn itself. A few people didn’t like the neutral color, but everyone loved the touch of it –squishy and soft! Some were surprised by the actual look of the plied yarn when they saw it up close after seeing it in the fashion shows, but again, this wasn’t a negative –just a surprise.

As is almost always the case the model wore her hair down over my back neckline detail. My back waist detail and the sleeve cap detail got some attention and brought knitters to the booth to see them up close. Lots of positive responses.