Posts Tagged ‘Norah Gaughan’

Thank You

Friday, April 4th, 2014
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With the first quarter of 2014 is coming to a close we wanted to take a moment to thank some of the people that have made it such a success.

To Amy Herzog, Melissa LaBarre and Doris Chan,
Thank you for your creative vision, and for turning our yarns into works of wearable art.

To Madelinetosh,
Thank you for sharing your gorgeous colors with us.

(If you haven’t yet gotten any, there are just a few skeins left of our 40th Anniversary Valley Superwash DK hand dyed by Madelinetosh. When they’re gone, they’re gone!)

To Della Q,
Thank you for the perfect project bag.

(There are just a few of these limited edition bags left. Get one while you can!)

To Barbara Elkins, Judie Yamamoto, and Carol Birtwistle,
Thank you for creating amazing textiles with our yarns.

To Norah Gaughan and the Berroco team,
Thank you for breathing new life into some classic Berroco designs, just for us.

To Stamell Stringed Instruments,
Thank you for letting us come home one more time, and for being a beautiful location for photography.

(The house that Stamell’s occupies is the former home of WEBS)

And thanks to You, our customers,
You have made the start of our 40th Anniversary year just amazing. Thanks for being here with us.

We’ve got so much more to share with you! Our second round of celebrations launch next Monday, April 7th. More yarn, more designs, and more specialty products!

Ready, Set, Knit! 350: Kathy talks with Norah Gaughan

Saturday, March 29th, 2014
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This week Kathy talks with Norah about her newest pattern collection, Norah Gaughan Vol.14, the Best of Berroco for WEBS special collection (you can read more about the E-book here) Some of her favorite designs and stepping down from the Design Director position at Berroco.

Anniversary Sale! Starts next Tuesday April 1! No April Fools jokes here! with over 40 yarns on sale, needles, hooks, spinning fiber, and weaving fibers we’ve got something for almost everyone. Watch Steve preview the sale!

Steve’s Yarn Picks From the Anniversary Sale!:

  • Plymouth Encore at $4.19
  • Cascade 220 at $5.59
  • 220 Superwash at $7.39
  • Hand dyers for the first time!
  • Prism Delicato at $20.99
  • Lorna’s Laces Solemate at $18.19
  • Zen Yarn Garden Serenity DK at $22.39
  • Put these into your wishlist now!

Reminder:

Be sure to stop into the store and see all the new Spring garment models! And don’t miss the Classic Elite Yarns Trunk shows.

Upcoming Events:

The Boston Marathon runs on April 21st and you can help the Boston Marathon Scarf Project. They are working towards  providing a scarf for each participant in the marathon this year. Check out the Ravelry group for more details on how to help!

Boston Strong Hat pattern from designer Lisa McFetridge is a colorwork hat design featuring the words “Boston Strong” and the Boston Skyline. Lisa has included additional charts so you have options to really make this hat your own. All proceeds from the sale of this cap pattern will go to OneFundBoston to help the victims.

Join the KNIT-IN with Lisa McFetridge, designer of the Boston Strong Hat, Rebecca Lane of “Blankies for Boston” & the Old South Knitters/Crocheters Saturday April 5, 2014 2-4 pm at the Old South Church in Boston – the church at the Finish Line 645 Boylston Street, Boston – at the Copley T

Have you knit a Boston Strong Hat or a Blanket to donate to a survivor? Do you have a scarf to drop off for the Boston Marathon Scarf Project? You are cordially invited to bring your handcrafted treasures to Old South Church …stay and knit, meet and exchange stories with fellow crafters. If you haven’t begun a hat, scarf or blanket (or two or three), there is still time. A special Boston Strong Hat in progress will be there. Anyone dropping off a hat, scarf or blanket is invited to add a stitch or two to the hat and place their signature on the roll. Truly a group project, this hat will find a special home in the future.

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Ready, Set, Knit! 295: Kathy talks with Andra Asars

Saturday, January 12th, 2013
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Guest:
 Kathy and our Berroco Rep., Andra Asars, discuss the New Spring yarns from Berroco.

Fuji -  worsted silk/cotton blend, almost a tweed or marled effect due to the fibers taking the dye differently

Maya(Andra’s current yarn crush!) – a chainette construction pima cotton/baby alpaca blend  soft and machine washable with beautiful drape

Karma – bulky cotton in a fish net construction, like the ruffle yarns, but meant to be knit as a classic yarn.

Two additions to existing yarn lines: Captiva Metallic and Weekend DK. All the new, spring yarns are machine washable

 The cover sweater, Niche, from Norah Gaughan Collection Vol. 12 is knit in Maya.

There are 56 new designs for Spring!
Pattern Booklets: 332 – Floret331 – Maya330 – Karma329 – Lago, Seduce & Captiva Metallic328 – Weekend Stripes327 –  Fuji

Additional patterns are published throughout the season and can be found in Knitbits.

Steve’s Yarn Picks

Reminder: Our Class schedule for the Winter Spring semester, Jan – Apr,  is live.

Upcoming Events:

Classic Elite Yarns Shawls, Wraps and Scarves book launch on January 24th, register now.

Pre-Game Sunday Escape, Feb 3rd from noon-4:00PM

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Ready, Set, Knit #273: Kathy Talks with Andra Asars

Saturday, July 21st, 2012
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Guest: Andra Asars, our Berroco Yarns Rep., talks with Kathy about the new Fall yarns from Berroco.

They chat about the new engineered yarns, Cirrus and Elements as well as Boboli and Boboli Quick.  Andra mentions a pattern she’s working on from Norah Gaughan Vol. 11, and two free pattern from the Berroco website: the Checkerboard Throw and the Woodhaven mittens.

They also discuss Andra’s conversion to Knitter’s Pride Interchangeable Needles, Stitches Midwest and Kathy’s second Super-Big-Exciting announcement for the Fall schedule.

Kathy and Andra’s Yarn Picks:

Upcoming Events

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Ready, Set, Knit #227: Kathy Talks to Andra, our Berroco Rep

Saturday, July 16th, 2011
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Guest: Andra, our Berroco rep chats with Kathy about the new fall yarns and patterns.

Andra also chats about what’s she’s seen in area yarn shops she has traveled to. Lots of small projects for vacationers and a building into afghans and sweaters.

Steve’s Yarn Picks

Check out our YouTube channel for great new videos.

We also have a new review system on our website, so if you’ve purchased a yarn you enjoy, leave a review and let others know what it was like to knit with. You can also upload a picture of your finished project.

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Q & A with Norah Gaughan

Monday, April 12th, 2010
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Hi Everyone

In my last blog post I was able to share with you my thoughts on the new book Comfort Knitting & Crochet Aghans.   Today I am thrilled to share with you a fun Q & A I had the pleasure of doing with the lovely Norah Gaughan, Design Director for Berroco and co-author of the book.

1.  What inspired you & the Design Team to create this book?

Honestly, the initial impetus was yarn stores telling us that an afghan book would sell for them and that Berroco Comfort was the perfect yarn for it.  Then, Margery and I started thinking about different houses and about how much fun it would be to dream up afghans to go in them.

2.  Berroco offers a vast assortment of beautiful yarns. Comfort is one of the more practical yarns in the line and it’s one of the most affordable, did that have any part in the decision to focus this book on one yarn rather than across other yarns in the line?

I think you’ve answered your own question! I can elaborate though. Some of our yarns are classics and will be sold for years and some have a fashion aspect to them that last only a year or two. We needed to use a yarn that would still be going strong after the two years it took to produce the book.  Ultra Alpaca or Peruvia would have fit that criterion too, but the versatility, machine washability and affordability of Comfort seemed very important.

3.  There are 51 afghan patterns in the book – that is a lot of design inspiration!  Was it hard to come up with all of the designs?  Were there designs that didn’t make the final cut?

To get our thoughts flowing Margery and I got to work looking at home decor magazines, printed fabrics, carpet and rug designs and traditional fabrics. We wanted designs that could be used in many settings, from modernist glass houses to bungalows. We made color 6-8 color palettes to focus our thoughts.  Once we got going it was fairly easy to come up with concepts for way more than 50 afghans. Then we, and the rest of the Berroco Design Team, got busy making the concepts into something real.  In the end I think we had 56 afghans. A few got cut because something went wrong in the knitting or crocheting and a few dropped out because they just didn’t fit in with the others. One ended up looking rather suggestive and while it would have been at home in an art museum, we felt it was best to leave it out of our collection.

4.  Did you know right from the start that you wanted to include crochet designs as well?

Early on in the planning we knew we wanted to have a book that would appeal equally to knitters and crocheters and be a bargain, even if you only knew one of those crafts.  Those who do both are getting a great bonanza with this book and years of entertainment!

5.  Although you and Margery worked together for a long time and you and the existing Berroco Design Team obviously have a great rapport was it at all diffcult working on a book in collaboration or was it similar to the process you go through putting Berroco’s pattern books together?

Margery and I have worked together on and off , in one capacity or another, since the mid eighties.  I consider her my mentor and to say we know each other very well is probably an understatement. Sure, it’s hard to work together. It’s hard to compromise to get a unified vision. With this book though we found it easy to share an over arching vision and then go off and do our own thing.  The book is much richer for it and much richer for the swatching and design decisions made by the rest of the team. Donna Yacino,and Brenda York were integral to making many the original concepts into real and beautiful objects. Every one who spent time in the office contributed.  Cirilia Rose got in on the end of the process but still contributed a beautiful baby blanket.

6.  What can you tell our readers about Comfort?  Some folks will look at the fiber content and never give it a second glance.  What about that yarn made it worthy of an entire book?

Comfort is the artificial yarn for those of us who prefer natural fibers. I admit to being a fiber snob.  My mom, and her mom before her, believed in using good fibers and they passed that on to me… and yet, I like to knit with Comfort. It’s spun like a fine merino yarn would be spun and the final appearance is quite similar. Let’s face it, there are times when practicality trumps philosophy. Even the most stubborn wool lover has a neice who won’t hand wash anything or a friend with a true wool allergy.  Not to mention, afghans are an armful to wash by hand!  Comfort is the perfect solution.

7.  Knit and crocheted afghans have been a staple forever.  I can remember working on Granny Square afghans while my mother knit classic ripple afghans.  What makes the afghan still relevant and interesting today?

We still like to keep warm. Aren’t we all trying to cut down on oil consumption and turning our thermostats down?  Plus, an afghan can change a dull room into a warm and inviting room.  That hasn’t changed over the years either.

8.  If I was to gift you one of the afghans out of this book, which one would you want?  Please do not consider my knitting or crocheting ability in your answer.

Calico Hill or Westchester Winter (trees are a big theme in my house right now – and outside too)

9.  What are you working on these days?

I’ve started several ultra Alpaca sweaters for myself.  One is a very cropped version of Avocet B made in several shades of dark plum used randomly. It will be perfect for winterizing a few of my sleeveless tops. I am also crocheting a bath mat in Weekend. I don’t crochet much (even though I learned it first), but some of the dull stoney colors of weekend are perfect for my bathroom and its fantastic to crochet.  Single crochet, round and round – so soothing.

Thanks Norah!

Kathy

Book Review – Comfort Knitting & Crochet Afghans

Friday, April 9th, 2010
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It’s been awhile since I’ve reviewed a book here on the blog, but when our lovely friends at Berroco unleash a new publication it’s time to stop and take notice.

Comfort Knitting & Crochet Afghans – More Than 50 Beautiful, Affordable Desings Featuring Berroco’s Comfort Yarn by Norah Gaughan, Margery Winter & The Berroco Design Team has just been released.   As the title says, it is packed with more than 50 afghan patterns knit and crocheted using Berroco’s very price-conscious Comfort yarn.

For 150 or so pages, I was treated to project after project that simply tickled me.  I love that the book is a blend of knit and crochet AND that they are pretty equally represented (27 knit afghans and 24 crocheted afghans to be exact).  Crochet projects are often thrown in as a token gesture or after thought but the team creating this book, lead by Norah and Margery, did the crocheters proud.

With so many patterns to choose from, it was hard to select favorites.  In fact, it seemed my favorites kept changing each time I took another look.  I finally narrowed my picks down to 5:

Although Garter Stripes is “the ultimate in easy knitting” I make no apologies for loving it.  

It’s simplicity speaks to my own personal aesthetic of minimalism.  Since Berroco  Comfort features over 95 colors, the possibilities for customizing this blanket are endless.  There are three panels that are joined at the end to create an afghan 66″w x 60″ long.

Although the color selection doesn’t speak to me despite its ties to the history of this particular design, Crazy offers a very interesting construction using only single crochet and decreases at the beginning and end of rows.  

Inspired by crazy quilts of the 1880′s, the afghan is a series of 6 squares constructed by creating 4 individual triangles and joining upon completion.   Having said that, upon further inspection I now realize that the shapes that constitute the squares aren’t all exactly triangles but since my high school geometry is failing me at the moment, just cut me some slack.  (NOTE:  My very mathematically inclined Berroco rep, the lovely Andra, just returned my call and she was able to solve the mystery – of course, they are simply quadrangles.  I remembered trapezoids and parallelograms but not the simple quadrangle – thank you Andra).

Staying with crochet for the moment, we must take a look at Pinwheel:

Comprised of 140 squares, each is “composed of open-grid filet crochet, which is then embellished with a pinwheel of crocheted chain stitch”  There was no way I could have explained that any better so why try?  Once all of the squares are completed they are simply chain stitched together using a contrasting color.

Not overly difficult, but certainly time consuming, Pinwheel is a good travelling project.  Small and compact you don’t need to lug a lot around with you and you can alternate between creating a bunch of squares and then doing the embellishment and then back to squares to keep things interesting.

Nordic Holidayis bold and modern and it just intrigues me.  It was pointed out to me by my math consultant that it has vague resemblance to a lovely handwoven rug by Jason Collingwood that we have on display at the store.

Again – no intricate knitting is involved here but some smart design techniques result in a graphical wonder.  Love the red stair steps!  Directions are included for both a large blanket and smaller throw.

Herringbone is an afghan I would by in a store if I saw it.  It’s modern and classic all at the same time  - I can easily imagine it in the Calvin Klein bedding section of Bloomies.

I love this blanket.  It speaks to me and I want it.  What more is there to say?  It’s a great project for those of you who have been intimidated to try cables – the herringbone pattern is created using cables and twisted stitches.  The afghan is finished with a lovely 2-row crochet edging.

Now a few words about Comfort yarn.  Comfort comes in four weights – sock, dk, worsted and chunky.  It’s 50% super fine acrylic/50% super fine nylon.  Don’t go making faces or saying impolite things about Comfort.  It is a fine yarn – a might fine yarn at that.   This is not your typical acrylic yarn.  It’s soft and sophisticated and not at all icky.  The worsted and chunky retail for $5.75 per ball with 210 and 150 yards respectively.  DK is only $3.25 per ball with 178 yards while sockis $7.50 for 440 yards.  Comfort is machine washable and I would even hazard to say machine dryable – just be gentle!

I think overall the book is fabulous.   It is soft cover, lovely paper that are a joy to turn, gorgeous photography.  The page numbers are microscopic – I’m all for the “design elements” of a piece but it bugs me when it’s they are not functional.  The instructions from what I’ve gathered assume a certain level of basic knitting and crochet skill meaning not every last thing is spelled out.  I don’t find this problematic but it’s important to point out.  At $19.95 it’s a book you should seriously take a look or two at.

If you will be attending Stitches South in two weeks, you are in for a great treat in the WEBS booth!  The lovely Andra has been working overtime (as have her knitters/crocheters) to create large squares representing 16 of the designs in the book.  They will be on display at the show and I can probably arrange to have them in the store after that.

Finally, on Monday, we will have a VERY special Q&A post with Norah Gaughan herself.  I asked her a series of questions about the book and it’s creation.  I’m thrilled to have Norah share her thoughts with all of us!  Stay tuned for Monday!

Enjoy,

Kathy

Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
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We have just received in the latest “special” issue from Interweave Knits.

This year’s Holiday Gifts issue is HUGE!  It has nearly 60 patterns – twice as many as most issues.  There are lots of great gift ideas, as you would expect.  Many are quick knits others are more involved.   There are several that spoke to me that I’d like to highlight below:

First is the Ripple Cardigan designed by Coralie Meslin and knit in Rowan Kidsilk Haze.

This is a gorgeous cardigan that has a simple style but very interesting construction.  It is knit in multi-directional pieces.  The pattern has 6 sizes and depending on your size, you’ll need 4-7 skeins of Kidsilk Haze.

Next is the Little Majolica by Kristin Nicholas.  Without even showing a picture of this pullover, you know it’s going to be a colorwork masterpiece.

Told you so!  This stranded piece utilizes two colors.  As if that weren’t enough, Kristin introduces a two additional colors by utilizing the duplicate stitch.  Duplicate stitch is one of those underrated embellishing techniques.  I think this garment gives the duplicate stitch instant credibility.  Little Majolica is knit using Kristin’s signature yarn Julia – named after her beautiful daughter.

I’m also lovin’ Slip-Stitch Layers by Simona Merchant-Dest.  Knit in Mission Falls 136 Merino  Superwash, this simple but stylish pullover is absolutely a sweater I would wear.

Unlike stranded work, slip stitch only uses one color per row and the knitter “carries” or “slips” stitches from row to row.  In addition to creating a beautiful result, the fabric is also warm.  Perfect for folks like me who freeze all winter!  Slip-Stitch Layers is generously offered in 7 sizes and requires 7-11 skeins of MC and 4-6 skeins of CC.  Just remember our yarn discounts apply!

The “story” in this issue that really spoke to me was “One, Two, Three” – beautiful projects that utilize 3 or fewer skeins.  Here are the ones that I particularly like.

The Quicksilver Bag by Norah Gaughan.

Really, do I need to say more than that?  Probably not, but I will!  Adorable and functional with a simple construction.  The picture shows the bag as a casual accessory.  With the sheen and texture of Bonsai, I can imagine it sophisticated and dressy as well – change the handles and such and Poof!  A completely different bag.  It would also be beautiful knit in Bonsai Colors.  A great and easy gift too that is affordable!

As I’ve said previously, I freeze all winter.  When temps dip below 70 degrees I’m not happy.  Also well documented is my affection for cashmere.  Let me show you one of the ways I get through our long, cold New England Winters:

Cashmere.Fingerless.Mitts.  The delicate and feminine Wine and Roses Mitts were designed by Jolene Treace and were knit in Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere 2-ply.   That would be One Skein of Cashmere.  I know, times are tight and even one skein of this lovely yarn is a bit pricey at $41.00.   Maybe this is your splurge, maybe it’s the project you find a nice substitution from your stash for.  I love the design and I think we all deserve a bit of luxury if possible.

Next up is a lovely project that features one of our Valley Yarns!  Building Block Scarves by Sarah Hoadley are knit in our Sugarloaf.

Sugarloaf is 52% Merino and 48% Acrylic Microfiber.  It’s super soft, knits at 4 sts/inch and has a nice drape.  I’m tickled with the results!  The construction is pretty neat too.  If utilizes a long cast-on to form the perimeter and then knit in the round to the center and features mitred corners.  Also, if you scroll back up to the cover image, guess what you’ll see!  One of the scarves!  I knew the scarves would be in this issue but I was simply tickled to see one of them on the cover!  Woohoo!  Congratulations Sarah and thank you Interweave!

Last but not least are the Kumara Red Socks.  How could I not favorite a sock pattern?  I think it has unofficially been the year of the sock.

The Kumara Red Socks are a quick knit and will wrap your feet in warmth and luxury.   Kumara is a merino/camel blend from Classic Elite which is super soft and lofty.   These socks only require 2 skeins and what a great gift they will make!  I’m just not sure I’d be giving them away.

I have just highlighted 7 of the 57 projects in this issue.  There are just over 60 days until Christmas (fewer if you are knitting for Hanukkah) and these are all possibilities in that time frame for most of you (some are beyond my reach at this point, but I’m slow and steady so don’t go by me).

I hope these ideas have inspired you!  What do you like in this issue?  Are one of my faves one of yours too?

Kathy

Headin’ Off To San Francisco. . . .

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009
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For The Labor Day Weekend Show.  Okay – sorry – carried away.  We’re not quite going to San Fran and it’s nowhere near Labor Day but as we work our way through the final punishing weeks of winter here, I can’t help but channel some Jimmy Buffet.  Thanks for indulging me :)

Truthfully, we are heading close to San Francisco and we do have a weekend show – Stitches WEST in Santa Clara! I have to admit as I prep to leave tomorrow, I am still a bit in denial that it’s actually here.  I think I’m a bit out of sorts because I should already be there, but “Mommy Duties” trump everything else and as our kids wind down to their version of spring vacation, it’s a jam packed week of performances and such.  I’ll share today’s event at the end – I know you all just want the yarn!

Let’s start from the beginning, which is planning:

 

Then it’s pick, pack and ship – one gigantic order:

 

Hmm – what is in those boxes?  I am not being entirely untruthful when I ask the question.  I’m involved in most of the planning, but honestly, Steve & I debate so many of the closeouts back and forth I’m never quite clear what has made the list vs. what hasn’t until we get set-up!  What I do know is this:

Berroco Spring ’09 - the best of the best – the yarns, the garments, NGV4. . . .there’s nothing else to say.  The amazing Miss Andra will be manning her section of the booth.

Noro – how could we leave the lovelies of Noro at home??  Just not possible.  Silk Garden, Kureyon, Silk Garden Chunky (breathe Noro-lovers, breathe)

Valley Yarns - there in full force, including all of the faboo designs from the Spring ’09 catalog AND some early completions for the next catalog!  That’s right – the incredible Kirsten knocked out a couple of new things just for WEST including a crocheted scarf out of Rainbow that you will just love!  C’mon non-crocheters, give it a chance! 

The cream, sprinkles and cherry on the top of the best dessert ever:

Lorna’s Laces - Shephard Worsted & Sock, Helen’s Lace (we don’t even carry it in the shop!) and brand new to market the spectacular Pearl.  Oh.Yeah.

Madeline Tosh - Oh so yummy – worsted weight (just added in the store and on-line) and sock.  (The worsted just came in and has not made it’s way to the site.  Click on the link and refresh tomorrow – it should show up )

Dream.In.Color.Smooshy.Classy. 

Malabrigo including the elusive Sock.  We spent so much time picking colors with Tobias at TNNA based on his availability (not what we normally carry) and what showed up was – well – a ton of yarn in some colorways we carry, some we picked and some who obviously just wanted to come along for the ride.  Show them some love, okay?

Kauni - Many, many colors.

Plus, plus, plus. . . . . .I’m sure there will be some surprises.  That’s what is so great about these shows. 

We are so excited to see all of you – that’s the most fun!  What was interesting as we prepped for this show was the worry/wonder if people would come due to the economy – would you pick classes over marketplace, shopping over classes?  If you are coming or not, I’d love to hear why.  Not trying to pry, just trying to get a gauge (no pun intended) on things.

I will do my best to post from the show.  For the best updates, you all need to be following me on Twitter.  I know, I know, one more thing to check, but I *heart* Twitter and I can zip off an update in 5 seconds.  For those of you on Facebook, my Twitter feeds post there so you can avoid Twitter and find me on Facebook with the same info. 

For those of you not attending the show – have a great next few days and join in the fun via the above options,  here on the blog & our Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast!

Last, but far from least, here is Jonathan’s “Family Story” he presented today – the dedication says it all:

 

 Daniel is my nephew/Jonathan’s cousin who is all grown-up and pursuing a PhD.  He’s away at school and Jonathan doesn’t get to see him much – this tells us how much those times together mean.  The three page story about Daniel and what Jonathan thinks of him is awesome.

Kathy

Remember

Friday, February 13th, 2009
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Each week the team at Berroco publishes their free e-newsletter KnitBits.  It’s usually chock full of info about new yarns, designs, free patterns, tips, etc.

As I was scrolling through this week’s edition which focuses on Booklet #285, Linen Picnic (Norah & Cirilia do a great audio slideshow about the designs in the booklet btw), I came upon this:

This is Remember and it’s knit in Berroco Pure Merino Heathers.  Remember is a winterized version of the Moska tank from Booklet #285 Linen Picnic (see how it all ties together)  To winterize the garment, Pure Merino Heather was substituted for Linen Jeans, sleeves were added and the tank design was reinvented as a cardigan.  Smocking was incorporated into the stitch pattern on the front and back and is done as you knit.  Remember is offered in 6 sizes from XS-2X (finished chest measurement of 30″-48″)  which is awesome.

We stock 12 colors of Pure Merino Heathers including the Cinnabar Lacquer shown.  Keep in mind that with WEBS Yarn Discounts, you’ll save approximately $20.00 to $50.00 (depending on size & # balls of yarn) when you buy the yarn for this project from us.

Do you think this is a project you’ll be adding to your queue?

Kathy