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Scarlet Skein Moves to New Location

May 11

The local knitting clan was a collective nervous wreck during the twelve days our local yarn store was closed during its move to a  new location. When would we see each other again? How would we feed our yarn addiction? Aack!

The move has proven to be worth the temporary withdrawal symptoms. Tracy McKay, ower of the Scarlet Skein, turned a lovely space in downtown Paso Robles into knitters’ new home-away-from-home. Tracy’s knack for interior decorating makes the space colorful and welcoming.


 Check out the chandeliers. Are they not gorgeous?


Cozy seating areas are sprinkled throughout the store, while the brick wall lends historic ambience.


If you’re really lucky, you’ll be greeted by Abby the Fiber Dog. What she lacks in knitting skills she makes up for in cuteness and a sweet disposition. (She’s paid in hugs, surreptitious scraps and chewy toys.)


If you find yourself in the Central Coast area of California (that’s halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco along Highway 101), come check out the Scarlet Skein. You can catch a class, munch pizza while watching a movie during Chick Flick night, and find a gathering of  knitting friends. Oh yeah, you’ll find a great selection of yarn, too!


Hanna’s Heart

November 21

By now, knitters all over the ‘net have showed off their clever uses of Hannah Fettig’s darling Heart Pin. Here’s how I used one I made last night. This is on a package for Mary (of Mary’s Garden Sock renown). Happy Birthday, dear friend!

 I attached the heart to the ribbon by making a little loop on the back. I picked up two stitches on the back, knitted a couple of rows, then knitted them together with stitches a couple of rows up. Then I passed the present’s ribbon through the loop I had made.

If you like the Heart Pin, you might also enjoy Hannah’s book Closely Knit. Our LYS guru Alana arranged for Hannah to spend an afternoon at the shop. We got to see the projects from her book in person. They include all kinds of fun techniques that I can’t wait to try.

For a glimpse into the life of a Real Designer, check out Alana’s NeverNotKnitting podcast, Episode 4. In the interview, Hannah describes how she ended up writing her book and what it was like to create over 30 patterns and their projects all in about a year’s time. Amazing! All I can say is, the world doesn’t produce enough coffee for me to even consider such ambition.

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Holey Procrastination

January 28

I’ve learned a lot from my first big lace project. It all started a couple of years ago. (Yep – this is my longest-running UFO ever.) For my birthday, my friend gave me the fabulous book “Victorian Lace Today” by Jane Sowerby. I took a lace class at my LYS, made about a dozen swatches (and you wonder where I get the nickname Swatch Queen), and settled on a yarn I liked. I commenced to knit the Leaf and Trellis design… some would say obsessively. I was really getting the hang of this lace knitting thing! I completed the center and got a good start on the border.

Then I put it down for about a year, as I allowed Life and other projects to divert my attention. Big mistake.

When I picked the project up again, it was as if I’d never laid eyes on it, let alone contributed countless hours to its existence already. I studied the diagrams. I looked at my previous work. Still, the squiggles on the charts meant nothing to me. I previously thought that after knitting about 16,000 of the same stitch, I would never have to look it up again. But no. And I kept forgetting the silliest things, like doing the “pass over” part of “psso”.

I discovered some nifty techniques along the way that I thought I’d share with you. Maybe you’ll find them handy too!

One thing that helped me get back on track was my own chart I had created (and even saved – yay!) right in the beginning. I used Stitch & Motif Maker to replicate the chart from the book. As you can see in the photo below, I put little numbers in the stitch squares before a long-ish series of knit stitches. I did this because I found that when I’m following a chart and run into a series of blank squares representing knit stitches, I get hung up having to think about how many stitches are coming up. I can glance at any chart and my brain immediately registers seeing one, two, or three stitches in a row. But any more than that and I have to mentally pause, especially when it gets to be six or seven. Which is it? Six? Seven? Four?  The little numbers I put in the squares tell me “knit four” or “knit seven” – whatever the case may be. One glance and I can chug along without pause.

Another thing that made it well worth the charting effort is that Stitch & Motif Maker puts the stitch numbers along the bottom of the chart. Unfortunately, the charts in Victorian Lace Today do not include the stitch numbers. To me, it makes it cumbersome to keep track of how many stitches I should have on the needles at any given point. Making my own charts allows me to quickly see the stitches I should have; considering how frequently I make mistakes, this is a very good thing!

By making my own chart I could also make it plenty big enough to see easily. I print it on cardstock paper so it doesn’t slide around in my lap. The post-its I use to mark my place stick better, too.

To keep track of which stitches are to receive double and triple joins, I put two different colors of  removeable stitch markers in the stitches. I used turquoise to indicate a double join, and orange to indicate a triple join.

I’m determined to get this shawl completed before my next birthday, which is right around the corner. (Honestly, without deadlines I’d atrophy altogether.) With luck, I’ll be wearing this to my birthday dinner!


Reversible Scarves by Audrey Knight

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