Allegoro Staff Projects!

Our webletter this week gives you a little sneak peek into our homes and lives with some original designs by Classic Elite staffers! It was interesting to talk to everyone about what inspired their designs. Andi's beautiful napkin edging is a tribute to her grandmother and a harkening to a more genteel time, when tables were set with true linens and many women created beautiful things for their homes by hand.

The elegance of Tonia's napkin belies its origin: fun! At her home, summer meals are enjoyed al fresco in her beach-inspired screened porch, I love her family motto, printed eloquently on the sign below. The napkin would also be perfect for picnics, where it's key to minimize waste and your environmental impact on our city's green spaces.
Susan's lovely faux-mitered table squares add the perfect accent to a summer table, as photographed under a mason jar filled with flowers from the garden.

Lastly, Meg, who had a little uninvited guest at her home, got hooked on antiseptic wipes and felt a giant plastic canister didn't quite complement her decor. Thus, a not-always-pleasant reality of urban living was her inspiration.

Looking at all these lovely home projects got me thinking about how to adapt them to garments...

I love the idea of Andi's napkin edging being used as a delicate border for a simple A-line skirt or summer camisole, either sewn directly to the edging or demurely peeking out from under the hem. A Google search yielded several tutorials for adapting old tee shirts to camisoles, and I think this edging in a contrasting color would be perfect!

Tonia's napkin would make the perfect knitting needle roll for DPN's or single point needles! Simply knit the piece long enough and cut 2 pieces of fabric the same width but long enough to fold in on the bottom. Sew them together with right sides facing, making sure to leave a small bit unsewn on the bottom edge to turn it right side out. Topstitch along the bottom and fold the bottom up and topstitch along the sides. Then stitch some lines on the now turned-up bottom to separate the needles. Finally, and this is the hard part for me, handsew the fabric piece to the knitted piece and voila! I love the unexpected juxtaposition of the elegant stitch pattern with a modern, ultra-bright print.

Susan's table square can be made into a smart little head kerchief by measuring your head from ear to ear and simply stopping halfway through when the piece is still triangular and large enough to cover your head. Sew some funky ribbon to both sides and wear away!

No sewing is required for Meg's adaptation. The stitch pattern and ladylike ruffle lend themselves perfectly to a pair of fall gauntlets to warm up your wrists when your coat sleeves simply aren't long enough. Measure your forearm where you would like them to begin and cast on enough repeats to go around. Then work the pattern until just past your wrist and then work the ruffle! If you're feeling very bold, switch to working them flat instead of in the round right where your thumb is, and then rejoin after a few rows to create a thumbhole.

We would love to know how you would use these patterns! In fact, we're so eager to hear about your projects that we're having a giveaway! Between today and next Tuesday, August 3rd, comment on this post with your ideas. We will random select one commenter to receive an Allegoro scarf kit! The kit includes 100 grams of Allegoro and the pattern pictured to the right. Please be sure to include some sort of contact information, either an email address, Rav user name, what have you.We look forward to meeting you!

Through the Wardrobe...

My first visit to the CEY office in Lowell was a little like a combination of "woooowwww" and "this is it?"...For such a ubiquitous brand, I half expected to see a floor of humming offices and fluorescent lights, people moving and shaking to get their yarn into as many knitterly hands as possible. Instead, I stepped out of the elevator onto the vast open floor of an old mill and then into a room with original mill doors almost to the ceiling and exposed brick archways over enormous picture windows. Sunlight poured in over the rustic table , and the tone was, just, peaceful. 

The rooms I passed along the way were like a knitter's dream, open shelving with yarns of every color arranged for creative stirrings, white boards covered with scribbled jolts of inspiration and boxes of knit samples from their many booklets (did Jared Flood actually knit that mitten?!?) I came to knitting only in the last few years, but doesn't it feel like knitting found me? There is nothing so ultimately satisfying as creating something beautiful, lasting and authentic with my bare hands. And the sheer simplicity of knitting and purling combining for an infinite array of patterns is so transformative, it's like stumbling upon a secret every time I pick up my needles.The best part came at the end of the meeting:

Betsy Perry: And we receive the yarn upstairs and then ship it out to our retailers... 

Me: You mean, all the yarn you ship  is upstairs? 

BP: Yup...(and then with a sly look) Wanna see?

Um, yeah? We took the elevator up and the doors opened onto a sea of yarn, endless rows of boxes and bags of yarn, all waiting to be shipped out.  A stroll down any of the aisles yielded an A to Z of Classic Elite Yarns, new and old. Just at that very moment, I knew I was home. 

So, with this blog, we hope to bring you home too, through the work of the people who make it happen and the stories of the yarn themselves. You will meet some of the designers who bring you beautiful knitwear season in and season out, and even some of the knitters that make them at home. You might even get to see how that crazy skeining machine works. Maybe.