Monday, February 23, 2009

We're headed to Stitches West...

We are busy packing our suitcases in preparation for our trip to Stitches West. We leave Montana bright and early Wednesday morning. Mountain Colors is one of the sponsors for the "Think Outside the Sox" contest. We will be judging the socks entered in the Mountain Colors categories and will have a display booth so folks can see our yarns, models, etc.

If you are going to be attending Stitches West in the Santa Clara convention center be sure to stop by and say Hi!! We look forward to visiting with all of you and I personally enjoy seeing what everyone is wearing. Some of the knitwear that folks wear is amazing. Last year I met a very precocious ten year old knitter who wasn't sure why she couldn't use her Mom's credit card to buy more yarn!!! Wow.

Of course I will have to do some shopping while I'm at the show. It is so nice to be able to touch yarns and see knitting related products that I've read about online.

I have my airplane/airport knitting all set to go. For me that is the most important item to pack for any trip. I started a sweater using our 4/8's Wool in Harmony Mist and I am really enjoying the project.

I want to read up on short row shaping for the shoulders before we leave as I really prefer that effect rather than the stairstep look of casting off at the shoulders.

Happy knitting to all and I hope to see some of you this weekend!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Newest Harmony Colors and Silk n' Ewe Yarn!!

I was gently reminded that I forgot to post the photos of our newest colorways and our recently added yarn style. I'm so glad I received the reminder as I had completely forgotten!! So here are some photos of the colorways!! We call them Harmony Colors. They are all tone on tone and have only subtle color variation within a skein. All of the colorways come in almost all of our yarns (except Cashmere, River Twist and Winter Lace). Harmony Mist also does NOT come in Bearfoot and Twizzle.

Harmony Woods--from plum to coppery brown

Harmony Rose--from rose to cranberry

Harmony Mist--from wintergreen to soft bluegreen

Harmony Lake--from dusty turquoise to peacock

Harmony Iris--from purple to deep blue

Our newest style of yarn we are calling Silk n' Ewe. It is 50% Raw Silk and 50% Wool. It is very light weight and feels like raw silk when knit up. It will make wonderful Spring sweaters or non-fuzzy sweaters for those who like that look. It is coming in 250 yd/75gm skeins. Look for this yarn in any store that carries our yarn. If they don't have it ask them about it!! Silk n' Ewe comes in all of our colorways.

We hope you like these new additions. Diana loves the Harmony Rose and has made herself a Lace Vest in 4/8's Wool. I also used 4/8's Wool to make a Now & Then Cozy Vest in Harmony Lake. Both turned out great. Now I am working on a simple scarf in Silk n' Ewe. It will be nice to wear when it is a bit chilly but not frigid cold outside.

Happy knitting!!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Planning My Next Project

Well somehow January came and went before I was ready for February. We have had a very snowy winter this year and I think my focus was on that instead of days of the month. I even scheduled a Saturday to help teach two friends to knit...but I had the wrong weekend in my head. Sigh. The knitters get together did happen and the ladies are progressing nicely.

But now it's time for ME. I want to start planning my next sweater. I want to use Mountain Colors 4/8's Wool. I still haven't picked a color and I still haven't decided for sure on a pattern but I decided today that I really needed to do a good gauge swatch. You ALL knit swatches don't you!!?? For what ever reason I knit very loosely. I almost always have to go down at least one or two needle sizes when following a published pattern. No big deal once I am knitting BUT how do I know what size needle to use to make sure I get the CORRECT gauge? You guessed it...I knit a swatch.

At some point in the past I learned a handy way to keep track of what needles I have used to knit a given swatch. So I thought I would share this tip with all of you. As you can see in the photo I put holes in each section of this swatch. When I use size 5 needles I make 5 holes; size 6 needles I do 6 holes, etc. To make these holes I just do a YO (yarnover), K2tog for each hole. I find this method very handy and much easier than finding a tag somewhere in the house and attaching that with string.

After I knit my swatch I treat it like I would the finished garment. Then I measure over 4 inches and divide the result by 4 to get my stitches per inch. My results on this 4/8's swatch were:
Needles: 5 Measurement over 4": 20.5 sts= 5.1 sts/inch
Needles: 6 Measurement over 4": 19 sts= 4.75 sts/inch
Needles: 7 Measurement over 4": 18 sts= 4.5 sts/inch

One of the gals who works for Mountain Colors is a very tight knitter. For her to get a gauge of 4.75 sts/in she would have to use a size 8 needle. Everyone is different and everyone knits a slightly different way....that's why the swatching is critical to the success of your project. I recently ripped out a sweater that was going to be 8" too big because my gauge was completely different in garter st than it was in the stitch pattern I was using. So if you plan on using a stitch pattern be sure to check that gauge too!!

I'm off to start browsing the patterns. I might try something with cables as I really want to improve that area of my knitting skills. What do you have planned? Be sure to do that swatch!!!