Saturday, September 22, 2012

"There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky..." ~Percy Shelley

         Apple pie, cinnamon/vanilla lattes, spiced cider candles, leaves in a wildfire of color, crisp breezes, and warm blankets. Hot cups of coffee and cozy wool knitting projects. What do all these things have in common? They’re a few of my very favorite things about this new season we’re heading into. Although it’s only the first official days of autumn, I’m already preparing for everything that goes along with it. Most of the leaves are still green here in Winona, but they will soon be lit up in oranges, reds, and yellows, coloring the bluffs and riverbanks. The air will get colder making the warmth from a steaming cup of coffee that much more appreciated. I look forward to going to the apple orchard with my family when I make the trip home to Illinois in a few weeks. Edward’s Orchard is a family tradition and the hot apple cider and donuts we get there are beyond compare. In my opinion there’s no better feeling than curling up under a blanket and reading a good book or watching a favorite movie and knitting.
          Speaking of knitting, it has been evident in the amount of visitors we’ve had to the yarn shop that other people are feeling the need to prepare for the colder weather. There are those who don’t like to knit in the summer months and are now picking up their needles for the first time in a while, needing a new project to occupy the increasingly long evenings. The rest of us who never really stop knitting… ever… can turn our attention to the much needed sweaters and mittens that, not long ago, made us sweat just thinking about. Personally, I am excited to wear the few warm garments that I made this past spring. I finally made my first sweater and it’s definitely a warm one. The yarn, shipped out of Japan is made up of wool, silk, and mohair. It was a bit of a splurge on my part, the yarn being a tad expensive, but was well worth it. It was very fun to make even though I knew I had to wait a few months to wear it. Now the time has come and I’m so excited!
           I also have a softer than soft poncho that I was cajoled into making by a good friend and coworker at the shop. Karina has made several of these herringbone ponchos and swore that I just HAD to have one too. She has since left for her first year of college down in Kansas and I promised her at the start of the year that I would make a poncho before she left Winona. Knit out of baby alpaca and merino wool, this thing will keep me warm all winter long. It’s incredible how soft it is and will be perfect to snuggle up in when the snow starts to fly. I’m in no rush for that though. Autumn can take as long as it likes to pass.
          I think that it’s only right for me to honor the first day of fall and this deliciously brisk autumn night by brewing myself a cup of tea, settling under my Milwaukee Brewers blanket, and creating something warm as the sun goes down. I'll be happily anticipating the lovely things that come with the change of seasons and appreciating the warmth and comfort that I am blessed to have. There's something about this time of year that makes everything seem a little sweeter. At least that's this Yarnologist's opinion. Happy autumn everyone!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What's In a Name?

         My creative juices have been flowing a lot more lately and my knitting has benefited from it. Not only have I been taking up and learning some new techniques (my first color work project is underway and looking better than expected!), but I’ve also had a few patterns of my own in the works. Last spring I decided to knit a cowl out of the Be Sweet bamboo yarn that we carry at Yarnology, but as I began work on the pattern I had chosen, I realized it wasn’t going to turn out the way I had hoped it would. So instead of searching for a completely different project, I modified the one I had started and created something totally new. Now, a whole summer after knitting that first cowl, I’ve altered and improved the pattern and have made quite a few as gifts for my friends and family.
         This being my first original design, I was surprised when several of our customers, after seeing one of my cowls, asked for the printed directions. I happily obliged and am proud to say that a few copies of my pattern are now floating around Winona. It was such a great feeling, sharing my idea with other knitters that I decided to try it on a wider scale. So I’m putting the pattern directions up here on my blog for any one of my followers to use. I’m hoping it will be the first of many that I share with all of you.
         As I thought about what I would write in this post, I encountered a problem: my cowl really didn't have a name. I think each time I printed out a copy for someone I changed the title, not being completely happy with what I had landed on the last time. In my opinion, a name has to fit something perfectly and I really had trouble coming up with anything. Last night, however, while I was trying to fall asleep I began to think about the blog post I wanted to do the next morning. The lack of a good pattern name had been bothering me for a long time, so I was brainstorming. Suddenly it hit me that the stitch design of the cowl looks a little like the lattice you would find on a trellis or fence. And thinking of a trellis made me think of summer, with flowers and vines growing and thriving in the sunlight. My cowl is a light one, made more to be an accessory than for warmth and it can be worn in the spring and summer months as well as fall and winter. Everything fit together so nicely that I realized I had just officially named my pattern: The Lattice Cowl. I confess I was quite excited that I finally came up with a good name for my first original design.
          I hope that anyone who makes one enjoys it! Let me know how it turns out or if there are any problems with the pattern.


Lattice Cowl
  Designed by Jennifer Georgieff

Suggested yarn: 2 skeins Be Sweet Bamboo
Needles: size 9 in 24 or 32 inch circular

Cast on 200 stitches
Join in round. Place marker at beginning of round and knit 4 rows in garter stitch.

Work in lace pattern as follows:

Row 1: K2, *yo, K2tog, K1  repeat from * to end of row.

Row 2: Knit

Row 3: *K1, yo, K2tog  repeat from * to end of row.

Row 4: Knit

Row 5: *K2tog, K1, yo  repeat from * to end of row.

Row 6: Knit

Repeat rows 3 through 6 until the width of cowl measures 4 inches.

Knit 4 rows in garter stich.
Bind off loosely and weave in ends.
Block the cowl to achieve a better stitch definition.

This might give you an idea of what the stitch pattern looks like:
It's long, but can be twisted around your neck a second time.

This is one of my best friends Missy wearing the cowl I gave her for her birthday.