My current work in progress:

1. Ashburn, designed by Melanie Berg, knit from Woolfolk Tynd in colorways 6, 7, and 8 on a 4 mm (U.S. size 6) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

I Can Haz Coffee Cozee

My morning cup of coffee got all dressed up!

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Sorry for the blurry pic — I took it before I had any coffee. icon wink I Can Haz Coffee Cozee

My coffee cup is wearing a Coffee Cozee. My friend Aimee makes these and sells them in her etsy shop. Isn’t mine cute?

It’s adjustable, with an elastic loop and button, so it fits pretty much any size cup.

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Aimee was with me in Florida this past weekend. Aimee is also my event planner and she very kindly drove down to Florida from North Carolina the night before I arrived so she could pick me up at the airport and drive me around for the weekend. (How’s that for a great friend?) She stayed at the hotel with me — we had adjoining rooms — and showed me a stack of these cute coffee cozees she had brought along to sew the buttons on. Because I was squeeing over all the cute fabrics, she very kindly gave me my favorite one — pink and white bunnies! Now I don’t have to use those paper sleeves for my coffee.

I had a lovely time at Sip n’ Knit this past weekend. If you are in the vicinity of Maitland Florida, you must stop by. The shop is located in a building that used to be a house, so there are several different rooms to explore. There is lots of lovely, lovely yarn there, and the room where we held classes was great — large enough for me to move comfortably around to help (and pester) all the students, and comfy and well-lit. And the shop is just so darn cute!

(Speaking of event planning, we’ll start scheduling events for 2010 in November. So if you want me to come to your shop to teach, you can contact her starting next month at the addy over in the left sidebar. )

Last week I received another great knitting book to review . . .

Haiku Knits

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This is Haiku Knits: 25 Serenely Beautiful Patterns Inspired by Japanese Design by Tanya Alpert. It’s hardcover, 144 pages long, and will be released on October 20, 2009.

The title says it all — the patterns are all inspired by Japanese design. Here are a few of my favorites.

This is a lovely long scarf/stole knit from Louet Sales KidLin Lace:

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This cute cropped jacket is knit from Blue Heron Rayon Metallic and Habu Textiles A-60 Linen Paper:

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The pattern is available in two sizes — a small/medium and a medium/large.

This long sleeve pullover is my favorite in the book:

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It’s knit from Habu Textiles A-60 Linen Paper and A-20 Stainless Steel Silk. The pattern is in 3 sizes.

There is beautiful photography all through the book:

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See?

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And there is a Haiku at the beginning of each of the 5 pattern sections.

Who’d like my review copy? It’s a lovely book and I am sorely tempted to keep it for myself, but it’s really not my style (I’m leaning more towards “Aging Hippie”) so I’ll pass it along to one of you.

Leave a comment on this blog post by Sunday October 18th at noon Eastern Time, and the Random Number Generator will select one of you to receive the book.

(Don’t know how to leave a comment? It you are on the main blog page, look at the end of this post  to see a link that says “x Responses” and click on that to take you to the page for this post. At the bottom of this page there will be a form for you to fill out to leave a comment.)

I have done some knitting, but I’ll save that to talk about tomorrow!

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Lucy sez:

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“It’s good to have Momma home!”

Hot Hot Hot

Today is Columbus Day and I have spent the day reclining on the couch, one hand trailing on the floor, a la Greta Garbo Camille. I have done no knitting and very little else that can be even remotely considered productive.

But I did have a great, action-packed weekend at Sip n’ Knit in Maitland Florida.

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Gotta love a shop that has a giant sheep standing outside.

And here is my very favorite employee at Sip n’ Knit:

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This is Tucker and he is adorable. Period.

What I will not miss about Florida: the heat and humidity.

What I will miss about Florida: the wee tiny lizards that are everywhere.

While I realize that this blog post is a pretty lame weekend wrap-up, it is the best I can muster today.

Except a heads-up — I hear that Stacy put the kits for the Stacy Shawl up for sale over the weekend. Just sayin’.

Lucy sez:

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“Hey! Who is that dog in your blog post?”

Knitting Tips and Tricks

I received a review copy of the soon to be released book Lily Chin’s Knitting Tips & Tricks: Shortcuts and Techniques Every Knitter Should Know by (you guessed it) Lily Chin.

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Psst! There’s a companion book of crochet tips & tricks by Lily Chin that releases on the same day — October 13. But as I’m not a crocheter, I’m not reviewing it.

This is a smallish size (7.5 x 5.5″) hardcover book and is 208 pages long — a good size to slip into a knitting bag.

In the introduction, Lily Chin talks about a very popular class she teaches — Knitting Tips & Techniques — that always sells out quickly. She envisions this book as this class in book form. The book contains solutions that Ms. Chin has come up with over the years to solve her own knitting problems.

The book is set up chronologically to mirror the knitting process: it starts with discussions of needles and yarn, then knitting basics, followed by chapters entitled “Getting Started,” “As You Work,” and “Finishing.”

The book is illustrated with nice clear line drawings:

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This one depicts the differences between garter stitch, stockinette, and reverse stockinette.

There are also step-by-step “how-tos” for a lot of techniques:

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Sure, there are other books out there that detail different cast-ons and bind-offs and other techniques, and more of them than this little book. Why would you want this one?

For me, it’s the “tricks” portion. (The “trick” for a coded swatch is, in my opinion, genius!) Also, the tricks in the cast-on section of the book are great. (If you’ve ever run out of yarn on stitch 280 of a 290-stitch longtail cast-on, for example, you will agree with me.)

Bottom line — this is a great little reference book for new knitters, as it outlines most everything you need to get started. Experienced knitters will appreciate all the little extras — the tips & tricks that Ms. Chin has gleaned from her many years of knitting.

Something for everyone. What’s not to like?

Off to Florida!

Tomorrow I head south — to Maitland Florida to Sip n’ Knit to hang out with knitters, sign books, and teach classes. Info specifically about the weekend is on the Sip n’ Knit here. I hope to see some of you Florida knitters there. But could you please arrange for a cold snap this weekend? icon wink Knitting Tips and Tricks

I won’t get home til late on Sunday, so no blog post til Monday. See you then!

Meanwhile, Lucy is doing her stretching exercises:

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Isn’t she fabulous? Just look at that perfect form:

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Periwinkle

My new work in progress is being knit from Handmaiden Mini Maiden yarn, in the “Periwinkle” colorway. It’s a single ply wool/silk blend, fingering weight, with approximately 550 yards per 100 gram skein.

I bought two skeins of this somewhere along the way and rediscovered it in my stash room recently.

Here’s what I’m knitting from it:

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It’s a shawl, and it’s another different shape. It’s based on a hexagonal shawl, where the shaping is done in 6 wedges that form a circle. I didn’t want to do another circular shawl, so I am doing fewer wedges and knitting back and forth instead of in the round. I didn’t want to do a half circle — I wanted it a bit bigger than that. So I decided on 4 wedges.

Here is a close-up of one wedge:

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So far, I am loving this. The yarn is fabulous. I am particularly fond of wool/silk blends and this one is a keeper. I’m knitting it on a US size 6 (4mm) needle and love the look of it.

The pattern is my own, winkled together out of my fevered brain. I created a wedge chart in Excel and just started dropping yarnovers and decreases into it. I’ve revised it a couple of times so far as I knit, and may continue to do so.

Because it is 4 out of 6 wedges that make up a circle, it’s a Two-Thirds Shawl.

And that may become the final name of the pattern.

Meanwhile, Lucy is just lounging around. Ah, the life of a cat!

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Necessity Is the Mother of Invention

Not The Mothers of Invention, though. Totally different thing. Okay, who can name the title of the song these lyrics are from:

I saw your double knits
I thought they were the pits

Bonus points if you can name the album too.

If you stopped by here yesterday, you saw that I have something pink on the needles, and I showed you just an itty bitty corner of it cuz I am a tease. Here is what it looks like today:

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This hunk o’ knitting is on its way to becoming a cowl. It looks a bit odd in the photo above because the top of it is smooshed up on the needle.

The bottom edge of it is a nice deep lace edging:

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I knit the edging first, joined it into a round, then picked up stitches on the long straight edge of it and started knitting upwards from it, in the round.

The yarn is one of my new favorite sock yarns — Alchemy Juniper. The colorway is “Evening Pink.” I bout mine at The Loopy Ewe. I’m using a size 7 (4.5mm) needle to get a nice lightweight open fabric. My stockinette gauge is 4.5 stitches and 7 rows to an inch, so that’s a far cry from sock gauge!

Why a cowl? Necessity is the mother of invention.

Those of you who have seen me lately know that I’ve let my hair grow and I now have a metric ton o’ hair. I went all summer letting it air-dry. It occurred to me that it may get a tad chilly going to work in the morning this winter with wet hair. So I decided to knit a cowl — one that can be pulled up over the head while outdoors in the cold.

We’ll see how this works out.

Because I am now on the boring stockinette portion of this knit . . .

. . . I started something else, too!

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Wheeeeeeee!

As you can see, Lucy is enthralled.

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P.S. A bunch of you have asked what the rainbow-colored sweater is that Gwendolyn wears under the shawls she models. It’s Alice Starmore’s Lismore! My Ravelry project page for it is here.