Saturday, October 27, 2012

Friend and FO

The wheels of change grind slowly, but gradually I'm reaching the bottom of the UFO pile. This latest FO, called the "Petite Popover" and modeled by Ted and the owls, is one of those delicious free patterns to which I'm heavily addicted. It came to me via the Purl Bee newsletter from Purl Soho, and if you don't know about the amazing stuff this shop sells, I invite you to click on their link.

The garment knits up fast and is a clever way to keep a small child warm, since it combines a hat and generous scarf, thus preventing the dreaded Chilly Neck Syndrome. (Size is adjustable from baby to toddler to child.) Pop it over the kid's head, stuff the ends into the snowsuit/jacket/bunting, and you're ready to roll. I forced myself to knit this in acrylic because I don't trust the parents of Caiden (beneficiary, age 6 months) to hand-wash anything. And much as I detest synthetic yarn, I have to admit that what I used--SMC Northern Worsted--is nice. (Purl Soho shows the popover gorgeously done-up in cashmere and a top-of-the-line merino from Swans Island.)

Speaking of Swans Island yarns, catch my latest article in Knitscene's Winter 2012 issue about Coastal New England Yarns, from Block Island (North Light Fibers) to Swans Island!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fumbling around in the dark

yesterday evening, at the Hook and Needle Guild of Slater Mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, I was thrilled to meet knitting goddesses Amanda Keep and Norah Gaughan, who staged a trunk show for their employer, Berroco. They brought along a good selection of sweaters, which popped out of the darkness of the poorly-lighted rooms (a color-killing combination of extreme glare and extreme shadow) like what?   Christmas decorations?  Fireworks? Bright jewels?  Or something else entirely clichéd....


How interesting it was to see the knitting up close, as well as to talk to these friendly and massively-talented gals.  Amanda's designs are updated classics (she told me she really loves to design accessories), and Norah's are always completely original.  She has a way of seeing form and possibility in knitting that's unlike anyone else out there.  I've been a fan of her work ever since coming across Knitting Nature, almost exactly six years ago.

Après trunk show discussion.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A kindred soul

Gentle knitters, I was rambling down the Hoparts Open Studio trail this weekend and came upon the wonderfully talented textile artist, Sarah Campbell, exhibiting/selling her very distinctive and original handknits and sewn clothing.

Sarah Campbell with her hand-knitted (and versatile) capelet, and a sleeveless top. 

The ruffly shrug is another hand-knitted design.

You will learn a lot about color, texture, and style by studying her beautiful work! If you want to see it up close and maybe even own some, find her at the Fantastic Umbrella Factory's Artisan Market, in Charlestown, Wednesdays through Sundays, 10-5, through December 31.  (There's an Open House on 10/27 from noon-5.) You can also reach Sarah at

Monday, October 8, 2012

Recipe for success

In the past two years I've seen, sadly, several Rhode Island LYS go belly up. Why? The economy, stupid! as the snowclone (and James Carville) would have it. This doesn't explain, though, how Eneri Knits, now celebrating its second birthday, has made it through one of the roughest patches in American history. But, gentle knitters, I can speculate....

Reason number one:  Irene Garza DeVerna, proprietor and founder, who's simply amazing. Within a short time she's rapidly increased her inventory of excellent yarns, knitting notions, pattern books, magazines, and miscellaneous items like Harney's tea and the amusing sign (below).

She's also very responsive to her customers. Besides offering a range of classes from Fair Isle Mittens to basic knitting instruction to Finishing Techniques, she's ordered yarns like Noro Kureyon that customers have requested, and hosts twice monthly "stitch-and-tell" sessions where she provides delicious refreshments and gives merchandise discounts. What's not to love? An added bonus is the glossy purple-paper totebag that comes with every purchase. Although I appreciate certain no-frills aspects of any business, it's touches like this pretty little lagniappe that make a difference to me.

I bought three skeins of Cascade Yarns' Heritage Silk Paints, a merino and mulberry silk blend for socks.

Reasons number two and beyond:  The store itself is easily reached via major routes, and parking's abundant.  The ambiance is airy, light-filled, and helps to explain why Eneri Knits has become the epicenter of an extremely friendly South County knitting community that's dedicated to talking the knitting talk, nurturing creativity, and supporting local business.

Since one photo's worth a thousand words, I leave you with some snaps of my recent visit. And I say Brava, Irene, and thank you for your vision and hospitality. Long may your enterprise flourish!

A Stitch and Tell session, August 2012
My favorite section of the store: sock yarn!

Irene and a customer.