Woodland

Woodland is a wonderful yarn from our Verde Collection that has been getting some attention lately. So I thought I would share a little bit about it.


Woodland is made from wool and nettles. We all know that wool comes from sheep. But what are nettles you ask? That is a really good question. Nettles are a perennial plant that is native to EuropeAsia, northern Africa, and North America. Nettles plants require low water and little or no pesticides– which makes them a very environmentally friendly plant. When used as a fiber, nettles have the characteristics of linen or hemp. They show color well and have little to no shrinkage and are very breathable. When it is mixed with wool, the dyes take slightly differently which gives the yarn a slightly heathered look. 


But enough about the botany lesson, you want to see the pretty knitwear designs, don’t you?


Photo courtesy of Interweave Press, Joe Hancock Photography
The lace on the side pieces is reminiscent of chain mail, while the cable detail on the front and sleeves give it a classic feel. It remains very feminine with its raglan sleeves and wide boat neck. Knit in pieces and then joined, it’s an interesting piece to work, one that will keep your attention, but isn’t too difficult.

The Lace and Fisherman’s Rib Pullover by Annike Allis in the Fall 2013 Vogue Knitting is a classic sweater that will be in your wardrobe for years to come.

Photo courtesy of Vogue Knitting, Paul Amato for LVARepresents.com
Knit in the round from the bottom up, this is a quick knit. The lace pattern is only an 11 stitch repeat, so it will be easy to memorize and fly off your needles. Woodland is the perfect choice for this pattern as it shows lace and rib very nicely.

The third sweater is one that we have already highlighted in a past blog post, but since it is made of Woodland, I thought I would remind you of it.

It is the Ginny’s Cardigan by Mari Chiba from the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits magazine by Interweave Press.

Photos courtesy of Interweave Press, Nathan Rega of Harper Point Photography
I just cast on for this sweater last weekend and although I am only a few inches into the rib, I am really loving the way the yarn is knitting up. It makes a nice rib without that pesky pull in between stitches you sometimes get.

Of course we also offer pattern support for Woodland from our collections as well. Here are a few highlights:

Clockwise from top left - Copenhagen, Oslo, Helsinki, Pitch, Kerf and Heartwood.
Check out your LYS to see if they carry Woodland and pick up a few balls to make one of these sweaters…or something else!


Knit on!

Pin it to Win it!

Have you checked out Pinterest yet? It is an awesome website that lets you ‘pin’ images from any page on the internet like a giant cork board – but even better. You can organize your pins by subject (aka ‘boards’) and have as many as you would like. So you can separate your knitting pins from your crochet pins, as well as from your home d├ęcor pins and recipes. You can also see all the wonderful pins that others have put on their boards and follow people (or just their boards) whose interests mimic yours. In good conscience, I can’t tell you about this wonderful website without a warning – it can be a giant time suck. You tell yourself that you are going to hop over there for a few minutes to look at knitting pins and four hours later you are looking at pins on how to fix your car window (even if you don’t own a car).


Classic Elite Yarns now has a Pinterest page that we would love to share with you. You can find it here or by searching Classic Elite Yarns in the Pinners section. We are adding stuff everyday including information about our current yarns, an overview of our most recent (free) web letter patterns, images from our Fall and Spring 2013 collections, customers’ finished objects and more. Stop by and check them out. And make sure you follow all our boards so you can see what we add on a regular basis!


To celebrate our Pinterest page, we are having a contest we are calling Pin it to Win it! We want you to pin your favorite items from the CEY Fall 2013 collection, and you may win enough yarn to make that item. 
Here are the rules:
  1. The contest runs from Sept 1 – 30, 2013. Only entries during this timeframe will be considered. 
  2. Follow Classic Elite Yarns on Pinterest.
  3. Send an email to blog@classiceliteyarns.com with your name, your Pinterest name and email address (so we can contact you if you win!)
  4. Pin any image from our Fall 2013 collection with a quick description of what you like about the item; add the hashtag #CEYfav. You MUST use the hashtag to enter (otherwise we won’t be able to see your entry). Here is an example:

  5. Images may be pinned from our website or Ravelry.
  6. You may pin more than one item, but each person will only be entered once.
  7. Winner will be drawn at random.
  8. Winner will be contacted via email no later than October 4, 2013.
  9. The winner will be announced on this blog on October 9, 2013.
  10. Prizes are subject to availability
  11. By entering, you give Classic Elite Yarns permission to use your first name and likeness on all of our social media sites (Pinterest, Ravelry, Facebook and Twitter)
  12. Void where prohibited by law.

One more awesome thing, normally our contests are only open to residents of the United States and Canada, but for this one we are opening it up to everyone – whether you live in Ohio or Australia!

So what are you waiting for? If you don’t already have a Pinterest account, signup today.


Knit on! Or Pin on! Or both!

Transitions

It’s that time of year…not quite fall, but not quite summer either. It can be cool in the mornings as you leave for work, warm at lunch time and somewhere in between in the evening. How are we supposed to know how to dress?

Personally, I have always been a big fan of layers. You can take them on and off with ease and not feel too silly while draping them over the back of your chair in the office. But you still don’t want to carry a wool cardigan around when all of a sudden it's 80 degrees out. At the same time a cotton layer doesn’t quite cut it either.

The book Perpetual Favorites: Year Round offers some solutions to these quandaries. It features six pieces that are great for layering and can be comfortably worn from early spring (when you need a layer, but are itching to wear short sleeves) into late fall (when you can bring out the heavy sweaters).

  

These pieces are all designed with year-round yarns in mind. Soft Linen is a favorite of everyone who works at CEY. Made from Linen, Wool and Baby Alpaca, this yarn works equally well for lace, colorwork and textures and is perfect for warmer days and cool nights. Another yarn that is featured in the book is Chesapeake. Part of the Verde Collection of environmentally conscious yarns, it is a wonderful combination of fibers in a yarn that takes you through all seasons. The blend of cool, crisp, organic cotton combined with extra soft Merino wool makes this a great yarn for year-round garments. 


  
Now is the perfect time to cast on one of these sweaters. The yarn won’t be too hot in your hands as you knit and you will still get some wear out of them this season.

Don’t forget…you can always take them with you on your next trip to a warm climate in the middle of winter!


Knit on!

A Bag for Every Knitter

We all have stuff that we need to schlep around – keys, wallet, cell phone, small knitting project, lipstick, which makes a good bag a necessity of life. While reusing the bag that you got from the grocery or department store is great, why not make a bag that is not only reusable (and therefore environmentally friendly) but pretty too?

The Olympia Bag from Color by Kristin, Book Four is a great tote. It’s not too big that it couldn’t double as a purse, but would also make a great book bag for your favorite student who will be heading back to school soon. Or how about a knitting bag for yourself!


It is knit using Color by Kristin in 2 balls of 3232 Raspberry and 3235 Lady’s Mantle, and 1 ball each of 3255 Rock Henna & 3220 Blue Thyme. The bag is begun with a short i-cord. It is then increased from the center out to make the bottom of the bag. From there the bag is worked in the round, which makes the Fair Isle pattern quick and easy. The geometric pattern is easy to memorize and the garter stripe at the top gives it a little added flair. Color by Kristin comes in 26 colors, which makes the color combinations endless!

If you are looking for a smaller bag, something to carry your keys and lipstick in for either a quick trip to the grocery store or a day out, check out the Plumage bag in Chesapeake from the Falling Leaf book.


Knit on the diagonal, the stripes add a pop of color to any outfit. Since it is a small bag, it goes really quickly. And while there is some finishing, it is minimal. I love the 2 tone twisted i-cord; it gives the bag an added sense of whimsy.

This would make a great first purse for any little girl. Pick colors you know she will like or have fun and pick the colors together. Either way, she’ll love having a big girl bag of her own for carrying her lip balm and gum.



Another great bag for a little girl, or maybe the little girl inside you, is Pear Blossom from the Mesa book. The lace detail on top gives this simple bag an air of elegance. I think it would look great knit up as is in Mesa, but also in our new yarn Ava as an evening bag. Just the right size for a lipstick, a cell phone and a small wallet.



If you are worried about a knitted bag being functional, you can always sew a simple lining into the bag to give it added support and structure. We have a great tutorial on this process here.

Have you ever knit a bag? We would love to see it! Share it with us on our Ravelry group.

Knit on!

Silky Alpaca Lace Shawls...a Few Favorites

Knitters love shawls. Don’t believe me? Next time you are at a knitting gathering, look around. You are sure to see a sea of shawls (try saying that three times fast).  They are the perfect thing to throw on in the morning, when the weather is a little cool but a jacket would be too much. Or they can add some color and/or textural interest to your outfit without adding too much weight.

Another reason knitters love shawls so much is because they are very flexible. They come in a variety of shapes (rectangle, triangle, crescent or heart-shaped) and sizes (from kerchiefs to extra-large). They can be as simple as garter stitch or as complex as lace on both sides with nupps.

One of my favorite yarns to use to make shawls is Silky Alpaca Lace. The alpaca gives the yarn a soft halo and warmth, while the silk gives it strength and a subtle sheen. Its stitch definition makes it a great choice for lace work and it blocks out beautifully.


I have been admiring the many projects on Ravelry that have been made with Silky Alpaca Lace. There are way too many to choose a favorite, but here are a few that really stood out.

Tammie  from OH made this Rock Island for a wedding she was attending in Italy (okay, right away…I am jealous of her FO and her trip). She was hoping to get some tips from the Italian knitters at the wedding on her lace, but instead only got compliments. I can see why.


She said “After a few repeats, I found the pattern to be a perfect match for the alpaca/silk blend. There is just enough haze to add a bit of romance, but not too much that my daughters will not want to inherit it!”

If for any reason your daughters don’t want it Tammy, I think I can find a few people who would be willing to take it off your hands.

Mary from England got a ball of Silky Alpaca Lace as a gift from a friend and decided to make a shawl for her sister.


She choose the Ethereal pattern. She found that since she only had one ball she could only do 4 repeats of the main lace chart. But I think it is the perfect size. It amazing how far 440 yards of lace weight can go! And she did a magnificent job in blocking out the pattern. Especially those points!

The first time John ever did short rows was on his Feathers Fichus. Short rows can be tricky the first time you attempt them, but he did a beautiful job. I saw on his notes on Ravelry that is for the ‘gift closet.’ I have a feeling there are more stunning shawls in there. Better be careful John, when people see your beautiful lace work, they will be coming out of the woodwork to get on your gift list!


Irina from Portugal made the Echo Flower Shawl in Silky Alpaca Lace. This has long been in my queue, but somehow has not made it onto my needles yet. But I see a correction of that in the near future.


When I asked Irina if there was anything she would like to share about the project, she replied by saying that the yarn was a pleasure!

Gialla’s first shawl was the Mariposa shawl. Can you believe this was her first shawl? And in black lace weight? It is amazing!


She commented that ‘The silky alpaca lace is truly wonderful -- I loved knitting with it, and now I love wrapping it around my shoulders. I think it was a perfect combination with the needle size to produce an open, airy shawl that still brings the design out with impact. Honestly I feel lucky to have experienced this project.’

Mary Ann from CA made this shawl for her sister (another gift - you guys are awesome gift givers). It is the Estonian Garden Scarf/Wrap. Her sister was so appreciative of the gift, she is thinking of making her sister another lace weight shawl.


She mentioned in her project notes that markers helped her keep track of the pattern repeats. This is a great tip for beginning lace knitters as well as the experienced.

These are over 4,400 Silky Alpaca Lace projects listed on Ravelry. Hopefully one of them will inspire you to pick up your lace needles.

Knit on!

We all need a little sparkle in our lives

A few years ago I was volunteering at an elementary school helping kindergartners with their arts and crafts projects.  There was one little girl who was obsessed with the glitter glue. There were several colors and she was determined to use EVERY color. After about an hour, she had gotten the glue all over herself and was actually quite happy with the result. I couldn't help but notice that her face was brighter than all the other kids' (who were using little or no glitter glue); it was almost like it was the glitter was making ‘her’ shine. I think we can all take a page from this girl’s book and add a little sparkle to our daily lives.

One of our new yarns for fall is Ava – a merino based yarn with a metallic thread. It has just the right amount of sparkle – enough for any special occasion item, but not too much that you couldn't use it for an everyday item that you wanted to make just a little extra special. It has a very soft hand that gets even softer after a good soak.

To go with our new yarn, Ava, we have a booklet that features a couple of garments and accessories.


I have a special occasion that I am going to next spring and am thinking about making a top to pair with a fancy skirt. But I can also see an evening bag or opera gloves out of it. Or maybe a stole…

In the meantime, I leave you with this thought - 


Knit on!

Unofficial Happy Potter Knits and a KAL

It’s true. I am a Potterphile. I have read all the books several times. I own all the movies and have watched them so many times, that I can almost quote the dialog. And judging from the online response that I have seen over The Unofficial Happy Potter Knits from Interweave Press, many of you are too. In fact, I have seen on Facebook that several yarn stores have already sold out of their copies and have reordered them.


I hate to admit it, but when I learned earlier this year that there was going to be a magazine with designs based off the successful J.K. Rowling books, I was a little suspicious. It has been six years since the publication of The Deathly Hallows and two years since the last movie was released. I was wondering if there would be enough interest in a Harry Potter inspired magazine. I am glad to see I was wrong.

Part of what makes this issue so bloody brilliant, is that while it is inspired by the magical world of J.K. Rowling, any of the pieces could stand on their own as great, wearable knitwear.

The cardigan on the front cover, Ginny's Cardigan, is a perfect example. Yes, I can imagine Ginny, Hermione or Luna wearing this. But I can also see it fitting seamlessly into any muggle's wardrobe.


Mari Chiba designed this cardigan in Woodland, which is a perfect choice. The yarn is made of wool and nettles (an environmentally friendly plant - one that I am sure Madam Sprout would have in her greenhouse) which  has great stitch definition for the lace, while maintaining beautiful stockinette stitch. The cardigan has a pretty scoop neckline that is universally flattering and my favorite thing in any top/sweater/dress – POCKETS! Mari is hosting a KAL on Ravelry and she would love it if you joined her. A few of us here at CEY headquarters are going to be joining in as well. I am making mine in the blue that is pictured and our graphic designer is making hers in the Fern color of the Woodland.


Another great design that features Classic Elite Yarns is The Gray Lady’s Cloak. Bethany Hick used Giselle to make a wispy cloak that conjures the feeling of the Ravenclaw ghost. It is light and airy and slightly see-though – exactly what you would expect from a ghost that has been wandering the halls of an old castle for centuries. The Gray Lady was quite shy and liked to stay in the shadows, so the hood is ideal for concealing oneself.  Bethany updated the cloak by making it in a shorter length, so it can easily be incorporated into a modern wardrobe.

 

I have also decided that while I am working on my Ginny's Cardigan for the KAL (that starts on Aug. 10) I am also going to reread one of the Harry Potter books. I think I have settled on The Order of The Phoenix, as it was always one of my favorites. I hope that the magazine inspires you to not only knit one these awesome pieces, but to revisit a favorite book – whether it is a HP book, or just an old favorite.

Apparate over to your LYS to get your copy today. Or travel by flo powder if necessary. A time turner won't be able to help you with this if you delay!

Knit on!

P.S. I am a Ravenclaw. What house do you belong in?

P.P.S. FYI...Accio doesn't work on the magazine when it is on the table and you are sitting on the sofa.

Photos courtesy of Interweave Press, Nathan Rega of Harper Point Photography.