Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Husband Really is a Knitter!

Tim has finally become a real knitter. He gets it! He really does! At least four years ago a woman that worked for us at the shop, taught him how to knit. Tension was his problem from the beginning. I remember that on New Year's Eve of that same year, we actually sat around and watched movies and knitted together (hmmm ... that's a great name for a yarn store). That is until he started sweating in our really cold family room and took off his sweatshirt. I noticed he had a white knuckle grip on his knitting needles. I helped him relax his grip and soon he was ready to put his sweatshirt on again. Well, that part of his knitting career didn't last. As soon as spring came, he was back on the golf course. End of story (at least at that time).

Two weeks ago Tim decided he wanted to try to knit again. He pulled out his old sample which was still on the needles and he picked it back up right away. Within minutes he committed to knitting a seed stitch scarf and a hat. We picked out Cascade 128 Superwash in a beautiful nearly-black color called Jet. That night after we went home and finished dinner, he cast on 21 stitches and started knitting a seed stitch scarf. He made a few mistakes that night and because our big-boy cat, Louie was on his lap, I kept having to get up and fix his mistakes. For about a week he knitted on his scarf before he went to bed. Rarely did he have a problem, but every time I looked at it I could tell his tension was becoming very regular. Then this past Sunday he spent 5 hours knitting. The next morning he woke up and told me his left elbow had a knitting injury! The injury is related to an old golf injury... sort of a tendinitis issue. He's taken this week off, so hopefully it will heal soon. Half a scarf won't keep him too warm this winter! With his knowledge of the yarns we carry and his new knitting knowledge, Tim has become a great salesperson in our shop!

Last Friday when we had the Friday Night Knit Club, one of our customers brought in the most addictive snack mix. She sent me the recipe and her changes. I'm passing them on to you now. Watch out though, you might need to make a double batch, just because you can't stop snacking!

Addictive Crunch
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons corn syrup
In a sauce pan, bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Pour over the following and mix gently, stirring until the mix is well covered:
  • 1 large box of Rice Chex cereal
  • 4 cups small pretzels
Spread mix out on a large cookie sheet and bake at 275 degrees for 15 minutes. Allow to cool on wax paper. Gently break into small pieces. Store in a cool airtight container.

Here are the variations that Jo made for us: She used a gluten-free rice chex cereal, gluten free pretzels, and coconut. She also added 2 teaspoons of cinnamon to the coating mixture. You can also add nuts of any kind. Jo said she has also added 1-2 cups of miniature marshmallows to the cooked mixture.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Knitting for holiday gifts

First of all, I want to apologize for not blogging in over a month! We've been busy around the shop trying to keep up with all of the knitters that are busy knitting for the holidays. We've also been in hiring and training mode, so that all of our customers will get the help and care that they need from us. The other big news in the shop is that Megan had her baby boy, Maddux, on October 27th. He weighed in at 8 pounds, 15 ounces which is a lot for tiny little Megan. She will be back in the shop one of these days. We are hoping that Maddux will be here with her... then we can get our baby fix!

I want to thank the people that answered my last post with what inspires them to knit. We drew one name from those that answered, and the winner is Judy. Judy, I'll email you today to figure out how to get the prize to you.

Now that we know what inspires some of you to knit, I thought I should tell you what I've been inspired to knit for gifts this year.

I'm knitting the Bella Mittens and large sized Daphne and Delilah the Momma and Baby Monster for my daughter Katie. I recently finished the Shroom hat for Katie (from Knitty). I know she won't read this, so for her it will all still be a surprise. I'm still working on Tim's sweater, but it won't be ready by Christmas. I know he will love it anytime it's ready, but preferably before summer arrives (ha-ha-ha). I'm also knitting an average sized Daphne and Delilah for Jonah (Megan's oldest son). I usually make something for my mom, but I'm not sure what it will be.
She loves cashmere, so I think I'll finish the Stork's Nest Scarf for her that's been resting (Zzzzzz) in my closet.

Thanksgiving is near and we are debating whether to cook or to go somewhere to eat. I know I'll be thankful if I can get a lot of knitting done that day...

Happy knitting!

Friday, October 1, 2010

What inspires you to knit?

I'm taking a poll among readers. If you respond to this post and my poll question you will be entered in the drawing for one of the coffee cozy kits that I created for the last Friday Night Knit Club when our theme was coffee. (Starbucks came and took us on an amazing coffee tasting adventure.) The kit has yarn for two cozies included as well as two simple patterns.

My poll questions:
I'd like to know what inspires you to knit! What are you knitting, or what will you soon be knitting? Did the yarn, the pattern, or something else inspire you? Tell me what the pattern is and what yarn you're using
. Also be sure to include your email address, so I know how to get in touch with you if you are the winner of the kit.

On Friday afternoons in the shop we have had the Wrap Group which has taken on a new life since Carol left us. Today the women that were here talked about getting more knitters to join them at the shop from 1-3 on Fridays. We are currently mulling over some names for this group and will post it on the calendar on our website. I'm inviting you to join us on Fridays from 1-3 pm for knitting, conversation, friendship, and FUN!

Becky (one of the Friday afternoon gals) asked Tim for his salmon salad recipe. It was in our newsletter last year, but I decided that putting it into the blog makes it easier for everyone to get. This is really good and deserves to be here!

Tim's Grilled Salmon Salad
  • Salmon, grilled (we usually buy ours fresh from Waterfront Seafood Market)
  • Organic baby mixed greens
  • Thinly sliced sweet red onion
  • Thinly sliced sweet red or yellow bell peppers
  • Feta or blue cheese crumbles
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Avocado slices
  • Asparagus, grilled (optional)
  • Shoestring potatoes
  • Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette or Brasswell's Creamy Vidalia Onion dressing
Make a bed of the baby mixed greens. Add onion, peppers, cheese, avocado, tomatoes, and asparagus (if desired). Top with grilled salmon; then add a small pile of shoestring potatoes. Drizzle on dressing. Yum!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Finally... a sweater for my guy

Tim has wanted a hand-knitted sweater for a long time. I've finally decided that I'll knit him one. It's not that he's not worthy, it's more like I didn't want to knit a man's sweater. (I knitted a REALLY LARGE vest many years ago for an old boyfriend, but before I gave it to him, we were finished!).

Tim has liked many sweaters since we've been in business and last year I'd planned to make him a cardigan out of Rowan Big Wool, which would have been a quick knit, but I sold the yarn before I could even put any of the Big Wool on the shelves. I'm actually glad, since I would have hated knitting an entire sweater on size 15 or 17 knitting needles. Last week he showed me some of the men's sweaters in the new Rowan #48 magazine. When he showed me the one called Hiker which is made out of Rowan Cocoon. I was ready to start making one for him immediately. I love knitting with Cocoon. It's a super soft merino and kid mohair chunky-weight yarn that's a delight to knit with. We choose a soft gray color and after I finished the gorgeous green hat for a friend of ours, I cast-on the back of the sweater Monday night. Tim hinted to me that I should have it done in time for his birthday on October 23rd (I doubt that will happen). He'll be lucky if I'm done by Christmas! One thing I know, as soon as it's done Tim will wear his sweater into the shop.

Keep on knitting!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

To Stitches Midwest & Back

This past Friday and Saturday I took a mini vacation and road trip to Schaumburg, Illinois with three friends (Ann, Dana and Stacy) from the shop. Each of us had signed up for an all-day class for Saturday. The class I took was called How Do Your Socks Get Striped. Elise Duvekot, author of the book Knit One Below was the teacher. I'm so glad I took the class, because when reading her instructions in the book the technique had seemed kind of confusing. After taking the class, my friend Ann who took the same class, and I talked about class potential for what we had learned! Maybe in the near future we will have a class at the shop to teach the technique.

Dana and Stacy took a class in a Swedish color knitting technique. They really loved all of the history that their teacher gave them which included lots of slides for them to see.

Our other goal was to visit the Stitches Market! For me the market exposed me to some really fun yarns that were new to me. (Some have potential to be new yarns for the shop.) If you've ever gone to Stitches, you can surely relate to the frenzy that all knitters get when confronted with an entire show floor with different booths filled with gorgeous yarns they can purchase!

On Saturday after our classes, we packed the car and started back after a quick dinner. On the way back Dana and I laughed about feeling like we'd been in the car for days. Well, technically we had ... we drove over on Friday morning and drove home on Saturday night, so more than 10 hours was spent in the car! We were all thankful for Ann's expert driving skills, since there have been so many accidents on I-80 lately. I arrived home at midnight and was glad to sleep in my own bed!

I missed the Wrap Group while I was gone, but hopefully this Friday they will enjoy listening to my Stitches class and shopping stories.

Keep on knitting!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Wrap Group -- July/Aug #5

It's been a little while since I blogged. This is mainly due to being super busy unpacking and shelving lots of lovely new yarns! I'm sure you can forgive me for that one good reason.

It's looking like fall in the shop, but still feeling a whole lot like summer. We've had record heat and record rains that have caused flooding in Iowa. My heart goes out to all the poor people in Ames, Colfax, and other parts of Iowa that have lost so many things in their really soggy homes. I keep hoping that the rain is over, but it sounds like there's more coming today and tonight and that it could affect the Des Moines River and in the long run affect the people here in my hometown.

As for the Simple Yet Effective Shawl, we are close to winding down. I wanted to talk about the blocking process for this triangle shaped shawl. If your shawl made from a wool or a wool blend yarn, you can totally wet the shawl; then you need to roll it in towels and gently squeeze out most of the water before shaping it. You don't want to stretch it as that can cause it to be misshapen. Lay out the shawl on several large towels and gently spread it out making sure that there aren't any lumps and bumps in the shawl. Check the edges to make sure that they are smooth and straight. You can use T-pins to hold the final shape of the shawl in place, but make sure that the pins don't pull bumps out along the edge. Since this shawl is a combination of stockinette stitch and garter stitch you need to push the garter edges in and gently pull the stockinette edges out so they are all even. Allow the shawl to dry completely before you remove the pins. Depending on the yarn, you can sometimes merely steam the shawl, shape it, and allow it to dry on a towel. The Rowan Colourscape Chunky yarn that I used is perfect for the steaming method. That yarn shapes easily with steaming. Other yarns may require a total dunk in water or else you'll still have curling of the edges.

If you're in our neighborhood, be sure to stop in and check out the new yarns. We still have lots to come, but for now I know you'll love what you see.

Keep on knitting!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Wrap Group -- July/August #4

Hi Wrappers!

I've been really busy working on the kit for tonight's Friday Night Knit Club (FKNC), so I'm going to tell you a little about it just in case you want to come get one. I think it would make a great closure for one of your wraps. I designed a flower pin that you can felt or not felt out of lovely Cascade Cloud 9 (50% merino, 50% angora).

Here's my short list of s
ome of the uses for a felted or knitted flower: make it into a pin as I have, wear it on a knitted hat, attach it to a felted purse, wear it on your winter coat, attach it to a shawl or wrap as a closure, or tie it onto a gift bag for a friend.

Since we chose a "fiesta" theme for tonight's FNKC, I'm making a couple of Mexican dip recipes that use one of my favorite canned tomato products, Ro-Tel Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies. I use it in my homemade soups and chili all winter!

The recipe I'm sharing with you came on the back of the large box we picked up at Costco. It's delicious!

Black Bean Salsa
Makes 12 servings (1/4 cup each)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (10 oz.) Ro-Tel Original diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, drained
  • 1/2 cup whole kernel corn, frozen or canned
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve with tortilla chips, tacos or burritos, if desired.

Happy knitting!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Wrap Group - - July/August #3

Hi Wrappers!

This past week I've spent time working on another new wrap, plus working on a kit for our Friday Night Knit club, so I've been really busy. The new wrap I'm working to complete is called Opal and is from a book called Winter Blooms by Kim Hargreaves. It's basically a very quick knit, requiring only 4 skeins of Kid Silk Aura (so less than 400 yards). It's just so soft and super light. I think it will be wonderful to wear this fall and winter. It's triangular and has a really pretty picot edge along the two sides.

Several of our newer Knitted Together knitters are working away on the Simple Yet Effective Shawl. It's a nice transition project for new knitters that want to make something that isn't straight. The good thing about that pattern is that you really can do any number of rows of garter stitch and stockinette stitch. It's just a matter of looking at it once in a while to see if you need to vary your rows again.

As a bonus project I'd like to suggest Coquille a shawlette from the new issue of Knitty. It requires 3 skeins of Crystal Palace Mini Mochi to complete it. We have 3 colors in stock now with more on back order. Lots of new colors will be coming!

Next Friday is the Friday Night Knit Club and I want to invite you all to come. We are feeling a little like a fiesta, so watch for our newsletter soon. You may want to get one of the kits this time, since the project would make a great gift. (And no, it's not a scarf this time!

Keep on knitting,

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Wrap Group -- July/Aug #2

Hi Wrappers!

I really like the look and feel of my completed Simple Yet Effective Shawl. I love the Rowan Colourscape Chunky yarn so much! But I did discover some technical things that I would change on my next shawl. When you work the wrong side rows, knit or purl the yarnovers (yos) that are along the shawl edge through the back loops so the holes close. Maybe it's just me, but I don't care for the yos along the edge! I also didn't like the inconsistency of the bumps on the center stitch of the garter sections. I would always Purl the center stitch on the wrong side of ALL sections.

I hope you are staying busy with your knitting. Stop by the shop and check out my Simple Yet Effective Shawl.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A rainy Fourth makes way for knitting!

We've had so much rain in June that we nearly flooded. Then we had one week of no rain. Of course that wasn't going to last, nor would we want it too! But, we had rain on July 4th and it was tropical for temps and moisture. Just plain gross out...

With all the rain and gross weather, I did a whole lot of knitting. I finished my Damson, but nearly wasn't able to. I could tell I would run out of the Ella Rae Lace Merino yarn I chose to use when I got to my bind-off, so I cut it and used some Malabrigo Sock (which is the same yardage) that looked
similar in color to my shawl to bind off. I've heard that yarn companies are allowed a certain percentage for shrinkage in the amount of yarn on a skein, but I think that there was more shrinkage than should be allowed. That or designer Ysolda Teague used every yard of the skein of Malabrigo Sock that she used for her sample. I'd be interested in knowing if anyone else has had trouble completing Damson with 440 yards. I think it could be an issue with Ella Rae Lace Merino ... someone else at our shop had to buy more yarn to finish the Damson she was making with ERLM yarn in a different color. She was even shorter than I was. We both got gauge, so that wasn't the issue.

I also worked hard on finishing my Simple Yet Effective Shawl for the Wrap Group. I will end up using about 2 1/2 skeins, so if I have enough I may add a simple edging.

Yesterday I pulled out my Swallowtail Lace Shawl from Evelyn Clark. I was happy to get back to it! Maybe I'll knock another WIP out.

We look forward to seeing you in the shop whenever you can make it. I know it's hard when everyone is so busy in the summer. Have a good one, and keep on knitting!

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Wrap Group -- July/Aug #1

Hi Wrappers!

It's Nancy here --- I had a terrific vacation last week and I'm feeling refreshed and ready to go. I got lots of knitting done while I had my stay-cation!

At Knitted Together we have some news to pass on. Carol won't be leading the Wrap Group any longer. We want to thank her for over 2 years of help in our shop and her wonderful work leading the Wrap Group. We wish her the best in all that she does. I've always told her she's a terrific cheerleader to all of you! I'm sure she'll be missed.

I'll be leading the current wrap project, and Jean may lead some of the future ones. If you haven't had the opportunity to meet Jean yet, I know you'll love her as much as we do. She's been a customer of ours since the beginning and she and I became good friends from the beginning. Our friendship has grown even more as she has been working for us (since November 2009). Jean is never afraid to try something new; as a matter of fact she seems to enjoy a challenge. She's very smart and researches anything that she doesn't know how to do. In my opinion that makes her a fantastic teacher.

Our new project for the Wrap Group is the Simple Yet Effective Shawl. I started mine yesterday and I'm making it out of 3 skeins of Rowan Colourscape Chunky. That yarn graduates in colors similarly to Noro. It's really going to be beautiful. I chose a really pretty blue called Northern Lights. The pattern calls for a chunky weight yarn and size 11 needles, so I could have also chosen Noro Iro or Noro Kochoran which also would have lovely color variations as well. You can also use a lighter-weight yarn such as Noro Silk Garden or Silk Garden Sock for a fun lighter-weight shawl.

As I've been knitting the pattern, I've occasionally worked a row with yo, k2tog across for some fun eyelet holes between garter ridges. I'll probably only do that every now and then. I'm thinking about warmth for wrapping up in this winter...

We hope you'll be able to find the time to join us at the shop or here on the blog as we work our way through another wrap. If you have any questions or comments about our new project, I'll sure try to help you!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Knitting a menagerie ...

Tim is golfing the City Tournament today at Waveland Golf Course. It's currently 91 degrees, humid, and very breezy. Hmmmm ... I'm sure glad I'm at the shop in the air conditioning where I can knit when I'm not busy!

At the shop Jean has gotten me interested in knitting stuffed animals. We are currently working our way through the Dangercraft animal and monster patterns! If you haven't ever seen any of her creatures, you must check them out. I've knitted Greta the Captivating Cat and you can find her (as well as Jean's Greta) on display at the shop. We have decided to knit a bunch of critters and display them at the shop. Our goal is to have an entire menagerie!

Greta was so much fun to knit and even the assembly was simple to complete. Jean found great instructions on Mochimochi Land for attaching the arms, tail, and ears, so that all went really slick (and you can't even tell they are sewn on)! Jean is planning on teaching Greta this summer, so watch our website for class info.

I promise I will find a good recipe for my next blog. I'm not working next week (can I say I'm excited?!) and will test a couple of new recipes on the family!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Wrap Group -- May/June #5

Hi Wrappers!

We are halfway through our Feather & Fan Fantasy, so it's time for a bonus pattern. This time, I just can't resist Citron by Hilary Smith Callis on knitty. It's a semi-circular shawlette or can be made larger by adding more pattern repeats.

The pattern calls for a lace weight yarn, but there are some beautiful samples on Ravelry using fingering weight yarn. I'm thinking Frog Tree Alpaca Fingering, Rowan Kidsilk Haze, Regia Hand-Dye Effect, Noro Kureyon Sock, Crystal Palace Mini Mochi, or Ella Rae Lace Merino. Of for Lace weight you could go with Cascade Alpaca Lace or Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace.

Adjust your needle size accordingly. As always, I suggest you buy one skein more yarn than specified, especially since several people have repoarted running short before finishing the bind off. You might also want to do the ruffle in garter stitch if you're just tired of purling by that time.

Off to dig into my stash...

Wrap On!

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Wrap Group -- May/June #4

Hi Wrappers!

Oh, my goodness! The Feather and Fan possibilities are endless and are taking over my life! In our in-store Knit Together, Judy is using a gorgeous sock yarn that has me all fired up to start yet another F & F. The recipe is only a suggestion...Let your imagination run with it.

On another note, we know that many of you were interested in getting the Zauberball Crazy yarn to make the Baktus Scarf (which was a bonus project for the Mar/Apr Wrap Group, you can find it here). Good News! Nancy has gotten a limited supply in two different color ways. You can buy it out on our website or come into the store! But hurry, because it will go fast!

As always, let us know if you need any assistance with your wrap by commenting on this post.

Wrap On!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Wrap Group -- May/June #3

Hey, Wrappers!

Are you having fun with your Feather and Fan Wrap? Several of the in-shop knitters are doing the scarf (38 stitch) version in some great yarns. Debbie is using Cascade 220 Handpaint in the Fruit Smoothie color. Doesn't that sound yummy? Several others are also doing one-yarn versions, rather than mixing four textures. This is such a free-wheeling recipe that almost anything goes! I'll be in the shop today, if you can join us. As always, if you have questions or comments, click below.

Wrap On!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Spring challenge!

Spring presents challenges for my hiberbnating knitting projects. I'm making an attempt to rectify my collection of unfinished knits.

Well, I finished my Truly Tasha's Shawl right after I started the Travel Shawl. It's fabulous and I will
probably make another one someday! As for the Travel Shawl, I really love the texture of it (shown above right). I'm moving along with it, but since I know myself really well, I knew that I needed to do some spring clean-up with my hibernating knitting projects or else! For me it only takes a moment to start a knitting project, but it can take forever to finish it. Since finishing Truly Tasha, I decided I would use that simple lace pattern to finish off the Pinwheel Baby Blanket that I started months and months ago!

That reminds me of a conversation I had with my daughter, Katie, last weekend. We were talking about her working at the shop so she could possibly make some money this summer. She told me that knitting is "sooo borrring" and you "can't ever finish anything!" I told her that a project doesn't knit itself, you actually have to spend time working on it.

I may search out a few more of my hibernating projects and get them done this spring/summer. If I can do that I'll feel so accomplished ... and I'll feel like I can start something new!

I haven't added any new recipes here lately, mainly since Tim's been doing most of the cooking (YES!). So this morning when I was looking through my knitting bag I found a recipe for really good cookies that my friend Kelly brought into the shop. Kelly is a fantastic baker by the way! If I remember correctly, this recipe is from an Amish cookbook. You may want to half this recipe (especially when you see the quantities that are called for). I think as written this recipe makes about 12 dozen cookies or more!

Honey Sugar Snaps
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 tsp. soda
  • 9 cups flour
  • 2 cups softened margarine
  • 1 cup pre-creamed shortening (you can find them in the baking aisle)
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sugar *
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon *
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine sugars and shortenings. Add eggs and beat well. Add honey and dry ingredients. *In a small bowl combine the 1 cup sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon. Shape dough into balls and roll in sugar/cinnamon mixture. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake until golden brown (Kelly bakes them 8.5 minutes to be exact!). When done cookie will be a deep golden brown and crinkly on top.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Wrap Group -- May/June #2

Hi Wrappers!

I hope your Feather and Fan Wrap is coming right along and that the video tip from last week was helpful in getting you started. As you continue knitting I would like to suggest that you count your stitches on each Row 3 (until you are comfortable with the pattern) to make sure that you are on track. That way, if you're off, you only have to unknit a row or partial row. If you are off, it's likely that you missed a yarn over or forgot a k2tog in Row 3.

Below is a picture of the store model that I knit using... Cascade Sierra, Trendsetter Dune, Noro Silk Garden, and Rowan Summer Tweed. As always let me know if you have any comments or questions by commenting on this blog post.

Wrap On!

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Wrap Group -- May/June #1

Hey Wrappers!

I'm in love with our May-June Wrap, using the Feather and Fan pattern, also known as Old Shale. This is so adaptable to many types of yarns. The recipe calls for four different textures of yarn to make a generous wrap about 16" x 78". It's a fun way to try some of the new and different yarns Nancy's been getting in. I'll be in the store today from 1-3pm to help you pick out yarns. If you can't make it in, write a comment on this post letting me know what you are thinking and we can play with some ideas. For further inspiration, check out one of my favorite artists at

You can find the printable pdf pattern here. You can also find it in the free pattern section on the side bar of this blog. Below you will see another exciting video tip, teaching you how to knit in your ends. We think you will find it helpful as you change from yarn to yarn.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Truly Tasha's Shawl Update

I got the body of my Truly Tasha's Shawl (TTS) done this weekend and have completed nearly half of the lace that encircles the body. The instructions for the first corner were difficult to understand, but I finished it. The rest is downhill from here!

Tomorrow night I can get everyone started at the Knit Together, knowing they will be able to do the lace when they come to it. I certainly didn't want to lead anyone down the wrong path ... anyway the end is in sight for my TTS.

It's a good thing I'm almost done, since I found the Travel Shawl in Veronik Avery's new book Knitting 24/7. I'm going to actually start it tonight. (I know I'm not done with my TTS yet, but I think I work better when there's something I'm really excited to work on calling out to me.) I decided I'm going to use Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds DK for the Travel Shawl. It's a scrumptious undyed blend of Suffolk, Jacob, and Bluefaced Leicester.

Remember to print off your Truly Tasha's Shawl pattern for the Knit Together tomorrow night. I hope to see some of you here for some mindless knitting that we can chatter to!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Too, too busy!

Sorry about my lack of blogging lately. I've been busy planning and writing up classes and Knit-Togethers for the shop. We've also had a bad flu at our house. Thankfully so far I've stayed well, even if poor Tim and Katie had it. I hope you all are washing your hands and using hand sanitizer. You don't want this bad virus ...

I recently finished my Feather & Fan scarf using gift yarn that was really lovely! Now I'm knitting Truly Tasha's Shawl from Nancy Bush and I'm also making the French Press Felted Slippers. Both of which we will be doing here at the shop. Check out our class list for June for the slippers (it will go up next week after I finish the slippers) and check out our event list for the May Knit-Together on Thursday nights. The shawl is a mindless knit so far. I'm not on the lace edging yet, but hope to be there very soon. As for the slippers, I cast them on this morning and will plan to felt them this weekend. They are a really quick knit, that's for sure!

Happy knitting!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Wrap Group -- Mar/Apr #6

Hi, Wrappers!

How's your knitting going? I'm thrilled to have finished my second One Skein - A Stole from Noro Silk Garden Sock #269, a cream, gray, taupe mix. It's going to be the curtain for the sidelight by my front door! I used about 1 1/2 skeins and it's blocked out to about 12" by 78" to fit my window.

I added a very long fringe to my first stole, using up the rest of the second skein of Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn that I made it from. I cut the fringes about 18" long and used about 25 fringes on each end. Can't wait to wear it!

Of course, I'll probably have to knit yet another one because I have my eye on several other fingering weight yarns. Nancy has this fabulous Opal hand painted sock yarn that's calling my name!

Did any issues come up during your knitting that you think would help others? Would love to hear your comments.

Wrap on!

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Wrap Group -- Mar/Apr #5

Hey Wrappers!

Everyone is moving right along with their One Skein - a Shawl, so I think it's time for a bonus pattern. One of my favorites -- the
Baktus Scarf is so much fun to make. It's simple enough you can even talk or watch TV while working on it!

I made the one shown here from one ball of Zauberball Crazy.
Sock yarn is a great choice for the Baktus, because it's lightweight. Some of the other ones you could choose from are Araucania Ranco, Opal Hand-dyes, and Crystal Palace Mini Mochi. 100-grams of sock yarn and a US size 3-4 needle is perfect. Just make sure the fabric is drapey, but not too holey!

As always, comment on this post with any comments or concerns.

Wrap on!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Join us tonight for the Lizard Ridge K-Tog

We often hear knitters in the shop say they would love to knit the Lizard Ridge (throw) from For any of you who might be interested, we are starting the Lizard Ridge Knit-Together tonight!

Be sure to print off your pattern from this
link before you come tonight. We’ll teach you how to knit backwards tonight, which is a big help with the short rows that occur in this undulating Noro Kureyon color-fest! The pattern calls for size 8 needles (straight are fine if you are planning to knit the throw in squares (or strips as I'm doing). If you want to knit it in one piece, you will need long circulars.

We hope to see you tonight from 6 to 8 pm.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

As promised we have completed our first prize drawing for our followers. The winner is Kelly Perkins and she will be receiving 1 skein of Opal Hand Dyes in the Leafy Forest colorway.

Congrats Kelly please call the store at 515-222-9276 to make arrangements to get your prize!

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Wrap Group -- Mar/Apr #4

Hey Wrappers!

I wanted to give you another hint that will help you as you are working on your One Skein--A Stole project. After completing the row following a wrap row, tug the stitches down evenly to open up the drop stitches. This will make the work less messy as you go.

Also, if you are ready to start another stole and have some sock yarn laying around, this is a great stash buster project!

As always, comment on this post with any questions or concerns.

Wrap On!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Knitted Together customers enjoy a good party!

Last Friday night we opened our shop up for a fun evening event. We had a wine tasting as well as what we called a "yarn tasting." Both were a big success with over 40 knitters present! The wine came from WineStyles of West Glen, a shop owned by some friends. For the yarn tasting, I created kits for a skinny scarf that used 16 different yarns that our customers may not have ever tried. The kits were sold out in 5 minutes and I've already seen some completed scarves. There are some truly creative people out there. For those of you that didn't make it to our first Friday Night Knit Club, we will have the next one Friday night, April 23rd from 6-9 PM.

We will have our first prize drawing for Followers this Saturday morning and announce it on the blog about noon (Iowa time). You have until Friday at midnight to become a follower for this prize if you haven't already joined us. The winner is getting one skein of
Opal Hand Dyes in the Leafy Forest colorway. It would be beautiful for a gorgeous leaf patterned sock or shawlette.

Monday night I made a quick meal out of salad and Spaghetti a la Philly. I found the recipe online, but I'll type it in here. It was quick and a big hit at our house!

Spaghetti a la Philly

  • 1/2 lb. spaghetti, uncooked
  • 1 lb. extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 jar (24 oz.) spaghetti sauce
  • 4 ounces (1/2 of 8-oz. package) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp. Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese

Cook spaghetti as directed on package. Meanwhile, brown meat in large skillet. Stir in sauce and cream cheese; cook on low heat 3 to 5 minutes or until sauce is well blended and heated through, stirring frequently. Drain spaghetti. Add to sauce; mix lightly. Place on platter (or plate) and top with Parmesan.

Happy knitting!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Wrap Group -- Mar/Apr #3

Hi Wrappers!

In this project we use a triple dropped stitch. For those of you who are wondering how this stitch works or for those of you who are a little scared to drop the stitches, we have created a how-to video to show you the process of the triple dropped stitch! Enjoy and let us know if you have any other questions or comments!

Wrap On!

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Wrap Group -- Mar/Apr #2

Hi Wrappers!

I hope that you all got your One Sken-A Stole! project cast on without any problems. We are all enjoying this project in the store. Terry is doing hers in the Noro Silk Garden Sock. Mardeen is making hers from Dream in Color Smooshy and Kris made it in Artyarn's Silk Rhapsody. OH MY! Major YUMMY.

Keep your eyes open for an exciting new tip on next week's blog. And as always... If you have any questions or comments let us know by commenting on this blog posting.

Wrap On!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

TODAY SHOW: Knitting in the news!

This morning I was watching the Today Show while I had my breakfast when Jane Pauley (former Today Show host) came on with a wonderful story about knitting and life transition. It's about a woman named Betsy McCarthy who worked in a very stressful job and gave it all up for knitting. Throughout the interview McCarthy knits constantly! Check it out. Her story reminded me of myself in some ways ... except the part about the former 6-figure salary. :)

FYI Followers and Followers-to-Be: We will have a drawing for Followers very soon! If you haven't signed up yet, please click the "FOLLOW" button on the bottom left side.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Wrap Group -- Mar/Apr #1

Hi Wrappers!

March has come in like a lamb, and aren't we grateful?! Our wrap for March and April is an easy, breezy stole that you'll wear now into spring and summer. It is called One Skein-- A Stole! by Katja Jordan and it is a free Ravelry download.

The designer specifies one skein of Noro Kureyon Sock yarn resulting in a 60" wrap. I used Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn instead, which has less yardage, so I bought 2 skeins. Using 1 1/2, I got a 72" wrap, plus enough for a long knotted fringe! I also think it would be wonderful in Classic Elite Alpaca Sox, Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere, or Ella Rae Lace Merino. Any fingering weight yarn will work up beautifully.

To get you started I have a few hints to help you out:

Hint #1: I knit nearly everything on bamboo circular needles but switched to straights because the triple wrap stitches were getting tangled up on the cable of the circulars.

Hint #2: I usually pull yarn from the center of the ball. When using Noro Sock, DON'T! It tangles like crazy. In fact, it tangles quite a bit, pulling from the outside of the ball. Next time, I think I'd have Nancy wind the yarn.

Hint #3: Keep your cast on and knitting loose. Likewise for the bind off.

If you are knitting along with us, we would love for you to comment and let us know what yarn you chose for your project. And keep in mind that if you have any questions about yarn choice or how to get started you can comment on this blog and I will do what I can to help!

Wrap On!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Calling all followers and followers-to-be!

I would love to have everyone that reads or occasionally reads my blog to become a "follower." We will be having prize drawings and they will be for followers only. The more followers we get the more often we will be able to give prizes away. Sign up to follow me soon if not today!

I'm really close to finishing my first toe-up sock. It was a stretch for me since I have always done cuff down. The heel was my biggest issue, because I like a slip-stitch heel flap and a lot of patterns that I looked at had short-row heels. Anyway, thanks to Jean who works for me and also teaches our Toe-Up Sock Class, I got through the heel and I'm nearly done with the cuff.

I've picked out a couple of WIPs in my collection to work on, too. I've made it halfway through on my Stork's Nest Scarf and it's looking really nice. I also am working on my Revontuli out of Zauberball Crazy. I think It's going to be really beautiful, too. I put it away about 5 months ago and basically forgot about it... The other day someone reminded me about it, so I got it out today and will dive in and try to finish the remaining 20 rows!

My friend, Kelly recently had surgery and has been off of work. She's been getting out more and more and everytime she comes into the shop she has baked something delicious. I told her she's going to kill me! Last week she brought in Dutch Letter Bars. They are wonderful! I asked Kelly for the recipe, and if I could share it. She gave me the recipe and I made them this weekend and now I'm going to share the recipe with all of you. I hope you enjoy them as much as we all did.

Dutch Letter Bars
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 stick margarine, softened (do not substitute either of them, you need one of each)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can Solo Almond Paste
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
Cream the butter, margarine and sugar together. Add eggs to mixture, then *almond paste, and finally flour, mixing well after each addition. Spread the mixture into a greased 9x13 inch pan. Sprinkle with white sugar. Bake at 350-degrees for 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Cut into bars and share with your knitting friends!

*pinch off small pieces of almond paste and add in to the batter or it is hard to mix well! Using a stand mixer works really well!

FYI: You can find the Solo Almond Paste in the baking aisle near the pie fillings.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Wrap Group -- Jan/Feb #5

Hi Wrappers!

How's your 5th Avenue Infinity Scarf coming? Did you finish? If so, we would love to see a picture! Since we can't all be together, we thought it would be nice to see what all the other wrappers have been working on at the end of each project.

SO... email us a picture of your 5th Avenue Infinity Scarf (in jpeg format) along with your name and the yarn information to Next week we will post a photo gallery on the blog of everyone's projects.

Also, remember that next Friday we are starting a new project! It's the One Skein-A Stole by Katja Jordan. Take a look at The Wrap Group page for more information!

Wrap On!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Protect your wools & silks from moths!

Knitting Tip #4
It's one of the things that I periodically preach about, but clothes moths will eat your yarn and sweaters. They will lay eggs in your unprotected wool, silk, and wool- and silk-blend yarns and clothing. The hatched larvae will eat your yarn and make holes in your clothing! You can get an infestation in your closets and they will get into your sweaters if you don't protect them! Think of all that lovely work gone awry... You can buy clothes moth pheromone traps that hang in your closets and interrupt the mating cycle, thus ending their horrible lives. (I wonder what IS the clothes moths purpose on earth other than to eat clothes!?) If you encounter eggs and larvae, be sure to try the traps. You'll want to treat every closet that has woolens in them, and replace the traps every 3 months for awhile. Vacuum the closet and infested areas thoroughly (can you say Yuck?) at least once every week to get the eggs and larvae out of there.

Clothes moths are attracted to human oil scents and to the smell of the wool. So an important part of caring for your finished sweaters is to wash them often in a wool wash such as Eucalan (which we love and carry in the shop). There are other good wool washes out there such as Soak and Kookaburra, but please DON'T use Woolite. It's not good for your fabrics. Remember to wash every woolen article that you've worn over the winter before storing them. I store scarves, hats, and mittens in plastic bins over the summer. You could also store your sweaters in plastic bags or bins, as well! An extra ounce of protection will save you more than you can imagine. If you have a garment that has holes in it from moths you can launder the garment and mend it, but the mending can be difficult!

Now on to your yarn closet: Keep your yarn in plastic freezer bags and/or plastic bins and store sachets made with strong scents such as lavender, cinnamon, eucalyptus, menthol, etc. in the boxes. The scents confuse clothes moths, and hide the delicious wool scent from them. Avoid moth balls as they are a pesticide that probably isn't good for you.

In Iowa we are hopefully awaiting warmer weather. In the event that it arrives I thought I would pass on advice for protecting your yarn and handknits.

Keep on knitting!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Olympic knitting efforts!

No, my efforts haven't been that Herculean! But I have enjoyed knitting Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket for my Ravelympics K2-Tog Team project. It's a small project, but with working in the shop I thought that was the best I could commit to. I cast on last Friday evening during Opening Ceremonies and I'm afraid I'll be looking for another project to do by tomorrow!

I think I might work on the Stork's Nest Scarf that I started a year or so ago and found this weekend in one of my many bags of WIPs (remember how we are cleaning and organizing at our house?). I've often thought that scarf would make a wonderful "first" lace project. The pattern originally appeared in a Piecework knitting issue a couple years ago, and just reappeared in a new magazine called Knitting Traditions from Interweave Press (a compilation of previously published material). We have a stock of those magazines in the shop if you're interested. Anyway when I peeked into that bag of WIPs, the scarf just spoke to me. Really it nearly reached out and grabbed me, since it's so beautiful! I'm making mine out of cashmere, so what's not to like?

FYI, we are offering a class at the shop in March for the Baby Surprise Jacket. I think it's the perfect project for a new knitter, since there's very little finishing. If anyone is interested in taking the class you can find out more about it here.

Well, it's time to share a recipe. I have been trying to think of a good one and remembered this Spanish rice recipe that I got from a friend I worked with in Los Angeles. It tastes fairly authentic like "real" Spanish rice thus the name!

Real Spanish Rice
  • 1 cup raw white rice
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. finely chopped onion
  • Ground cumin to taste

Pour oil into pot (with a lid) and add onion. Cook onion for about a minute, then add rice and brown lightly. Stir in liquids and ground cumin to taste (I usually add a heaping teaspoon). Bring to a boil, stir once. Turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir and serve with your favorite Mexican dish.

Keep on knitting!

Monday, February 15, 2010


Hi, Wrappers! I just can't stop knitting wraps! The knitters who are joining me in the shop on Friday afternoons are speeding right along on their 5th Avenue scarves. Terry is doing hers in Noro Kureyon Sock yarn on size 6 needles. Kris has already finished her Noro Silk Garden 5th Avenue and is on to the next wrap!

If you are getting ready to finish your 5th Avenue Infinity Scarf, you should know that it is a good idea to bind off with a larger size needle. At least one to two sizes bigger than the needle you used on the project. Doing this helps the edge not to pull in and end up smaller than the cast on edge.

If you have any questions about it or anything else that you have run across, let me know by commenting on this blog posting and I will try my best to answer your question.

Wrap On!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My Super Bowl knitting plans

As usual on Super Bowl Sunday, we're going to be open at the shop from noon to 4:00 PM. Being open could possibly cut into my knitting time that day, but I'm planning a knitting project anyway (I just might get a free moment or two). Since I'll probably be busy, I think I'll work on a new sock, that day. I've been wanting to start a toe-up sock since they have become really popular. I've got Wendy Johnson's current book, Socks from the Toe Up, so I'll probably choose one from there. Whichever pattern I choose, I'll be sure to get started before Sunday, so I'll be done with the toe and ready to just knit the foot! That will hopefully insure that I don't make any errors!

(FYI: We still have two spaces left in our Toe-Up Sock class that Jean is teaching. She's made many toe-up socks, so I'm sure everyone will learn lots and have fun at the same time. The class begins next Tuesday, February 9 (at 6-8 PM) and concludes the following Tuesday. We do require that you've made a cuff-down sock first.)

OK, back to the party ... I'm planning to make goodies for our customers to snack on. I'm not leaking any of that information though. It's Top Secret! You'll have to come in to taste the assortment of treats that Megan, Tim, and I come up with. If you decide to come in that day, we are collecting food for the Des Moines Area food Pantry and will be collecting canned goods that day. Think of it as we'll feed you and you can help feed the homeless right in our community.
Suggested Donation List:
  • Baby Formula and Cereal
  • Canned Fruits or Vegetables
  • Canned Meals (stews, hash, chili, ravioli)
  • Canned Meats or Fish
  • Canned Spaghetti Sauce (no glass jars!)
  • Cold/Hot Cereal
  • Dry Pasta
  • Hamburger or Tuna Helpers
  • Juice (no glass jars!)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Plain White Rice
  • Saltines
I wanted to give you one of my favorite recipes, and thought I might divulge an appetizer for Super Bowl Sunday, but then you might know what I'm making. Sorry! The recipe I chose is for a delicious, HEALTHY breakfast shake. I love this and have made it in my smoothie maker, but you can also make it in a blender.

  • 1 ripe banana, frozen ahead
  • 2 T. wheat germ
  • 1 T. orange juice concentrate
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Place all ingredients in blender or smoothie maker and blend until smooth and serve. Try adding other fresh fruits in season (berries, peaches, pineapples, etc.).

Happy knitting!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Wrap Group -- Jan/Feb #3

Wrappers! How's it going? I couldn't resist finishing my 4th 5th Avenue. Now, I may have to make a 5th just to be able to say "5th 5th Avenue!" Welcome to several of you who've recently joined us. There's no make up or anything. Just knit along at will. Here is a photo of my finished 4th 5th Avenue, knit in Malabrigo Twist Worsted Velvet Grapes.

If you've excitedly finished the 5th Avenue, here's a bonus pattern to try. It's Student Bank Account, by Artemis Adornments, available on Ravelry and here. I gathered up a bunch of yarns and was inspired to do something spring-like (surprise, given our awful weather!) So I've put a bunch of Cascade 220 Superwash together with some odds and ends to have a wonderful, colorful wrap. But you can use any yarns and colors that you like!!

Just post a comment if you have any questions. I'll try my best to help...

Wrap On!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Crazy kitties!

What is it with cats? Have you ever noticed that if you lay your knitting down or decide to block something, your cat is all over it? I'm sure my cats aren't the only ones that do that.

Remember how we have been cleaning and organizing at our house this January? Well, the other day Katie cleaned her room and closet ... very thoroughly (thanks Katie). She found an old pair of ballet slippers that I felted for her a long time ago and dropped them on the counter in my bathroom. Of course I didn't bother to move them from that resting spot, so the other morning when I was getting ready to go to the shop, my cat Hughie (who follows me around like a puppy dog) was on the bathroom counter where the slippers were. Pretty soon Tim who was also getting ready noticed Hughie putting his front paws in the slippers. I ran and grabbed my cellphone and took this picture of him "wearing" those pink felted ballet slippers! A good laugh on Hughie is a great way to start my day!

Our good friend Debra sent us the picture below of her cat, Purl. Or at least the back half of Purl. Purl was hiding in the neck of Debra's Rowan Colourscapes sweater as it was blocking. Hmmmm ... I'm not sure, but maybe Debra shouldn't have blocked her sweater on Purl's bed! Silly kitty! Purl is also the kitty that likes to redecorate the house with Debra's yarn. She especially enjoys Debra's most expensive yarn to make "string" art throughout the house.

Does anyone have a good cat or dog story that relates to knitting or yarn? I'd love to hear them!

By the way, if Hughie looks familiar, he posed for my Ravelry avatar. Isn't he cute?


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Knitting Tip #3

Yesterday we had our 5th weather related school closing for this year. We had lots of ice and way too much rain (which has no where to go)! Our poor kids will be in school way into June at this point. Tim and I came into the shop in the morning, but soon decided we wouldn't have any customers with the ice, so we worked on a few things in the morning and went home for the rest of the day, where it was nice and cozy for my knitting. Tim on the other hand enjoyed his project of 2010: ORGANIZING AND CLEANING OUR BASEMENT! After 14 years of living in the same house, we have lots of "stuff" to go through and get rid of. Speaking of ORGANIZING, I've got a good organizational knitting tip for you!

Tip #3
Every knitter should have a tool kit that they can carry with them in their knitting bag. You can create your own tool kit by gathering the following tools together: tape measure, point protectors in varying sizes, crochet hooks in several sizes (A, F & J handle most issues) for latching up dropped stitches, large-eye tapestry needles, stitch holders and/or waste yarn, stitch markers, locking stitch markers or coilless safety pins, a locking row counter, and round-tip scissors (children's school scissors work well for T.S.A. approval). Toss them into a small make-up bag that you may have gotten from a "free" gifts with a purchase from Clinique or other make-up brand.

Most knitters have multiple project bags going, so when you grab your "bag of the day," just take your tool kit and toss it into the new knitting bag and go. You'll have everything you need.

Another great tool kit option is to purchase The Knit Kit. It has most of the above items all attached or enclosed in it's hard plastic case.

Happy knitting,