New Year, New Tricks

Posted by on January 19, 2015 / Leave a Comment

We like to keep things fresh at Happy Knits, which means new shop samples for the new year (and new merchandise – stay tuned for new yarn arrivals and accessories!).

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Rose modeling Flagermusen and bunny Ollie, pattern available in store

Beth is working on yet another Rikke hat, Sarah Young’s classic go-to slouchy beanie, and Annette is cranking out the third sample of her soon-to-be-published pattern. For now we will only say that it has to do with kittens, and that you will like it very, very much. Emma and I are over the moon in love with Isager yarns and patterns and simply must work up a couple of Isager sweaters! Much like our costumers, who fell in love with the sample of the Flagermusen Sweater (pictured above) that visited us in an Isager Trunk show in December, Emma can’t stop thinking about this modern and edgy sweater and is consequently making one for the shop. I myself just adore the photography in both Isager pattern books, Amimono Bird Collection and Amimono Map Collection. With my background in fashion I always appreciate more editorial-like photoshoots!

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Himalaya Sweater from the Amimono Map Collection, photo courtesy of  Isager

So I decided to work up the Himalaya Sweater, which looks like the perfect top to either dress up with a pair of skinny jeans and ankle boots or to throw over yoga top and pants on the way to practice. Which is where we get to my next point (no, not “Knitting is the New Yoga”, even though I will absolutely sign off on that statement, and its reverse): Time to learn some new tricks everyone! And this is true not only for new or intermediate knitters–even the most seasoned amongst us can use a little update on techniques and new angles every once in a while. When I decided to knit the Himalaya sweater, I didn’t read through the whole pattern at first. After choosing and winding up my yarn (I’m using Isager Tweed, Tvinni and Alpaca 2 all in one project, yay!) I took a closer look and realized that it is a very Scandinavian pattern = they assume a certain level of confidence and ability to work within guidelines rather than strict instructions. I have to tell you, I appreciate this kind of sentiment, because it requires you to think for yourself. To finish a project such as this successfully, you might have to take a closer look at some techniques to be able to improvise and confidently apply them to your project. I will have to work stripes in short rows for this project – thank heavens Veera Välimäki and Joji Locatelli are coming to town!

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I will be listening closely to her class Stripes beyond the Basics – and maybe you should, too! There are still spots left….same as in Joji Locatelli’s Don’t Be Afraid of Short Rows, and Veera’s Shawls and Shapes class. Can you tell we are excited about them coming to visit and teach? We are hosting a meet & greet with the designers on Friday night, February 6th from 6-8pm. Don’t miss it, mark it in your calendar! Please keep in mind that during Joji’s and Veera’s stay, from February 6th to February 8th, the back room will not be accessible for knit groups.

HK’s Comprehensive Gift Guide

Posted by on December 3, 2014 / Leave a Comment

It’s gifting season you guys. The other day Emma asked me to help her help her mom’s friends pick out a gift for her mother (Emma’s that is). Are you confused yet? Good.

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I just gifted myself Lantern Moon Recycled Paper Baskets in both sizes. Squee! My yarn stash lives in them now. A gift for the serious yarn stasher (=all knitters)

It inspired me to write this gift guide for your family and circle of friends, the way I envision them to be. Knit for them or, if they are knitters themselves, let them enjoy working with the extraordinary fibers I am showing you today! Here we go:

Grandma (who loves to knit for the wee ones):

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One of our most regular regulars is going to be a grandma next year!

She is knitting a Wee Envelope in Mohonka yarn we hold especially dear 

here at Happy Knits.

Dad: He deserves a sweater!

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Who are your heroes? My parents certainly are mine. (Note to self: Have to tell them that. Maybe it’ll make their memories of my teenager self a little less haunting)

This year my dad asked for “a scarf with no ends” = cowl, and he’ll get one, but I really should make him a sweater also. I strongly encourage you to make a classic yet refined pullover or cardigan for the beloved men in the family, because in this day and age they are sadly hard to come by. Brownstone in Tahki Donegal Tweed is the item of our choosing. 

Mom: A little luxury for the woman who keeps everyone and everything alive

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Mom is the best period. 

Three Fates Helios is an extraordinary blend of Merino wool, yak and silk. The rich colors are dyed over the natural grey shade of the fiber, which shines through here and there and makes this locally dyed yarn a complex and intriguing affair. I think it would look perfect in our Chic Chevron Shawlette pattern.

Aunt: Another hero needs a shawl for her wingspan

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I have a really great aunt. Growing up she and her family lived two streets over and we are very close. I cannot count how many times she drove me to the doctor when I was sick, helped out with last minute errands or how many cups of tea we consumed while talking about life. She would look great in a Twinleaf in Meadow and I bet your aunt would, too.

Niece/nephew/the younger family members:

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I cannot get over how adorable this book/paper doll/ puzzle/ sticker set by Alana Dakos about a young girl’s venture into knitting is! Great inspiration for the little knitters amongst us. The book is also evailable separately here.

Boyfriend/ girlfriend: Need hats!

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Superstition has it you shouldn’t knit a sweater for your beau before you put a ring on it. I say hats are ok. Both the Boyfriend Watch Cap and Scrollwork would look amazing in Tahki Donegal Tweed. I am going to make the latter in the color Redwood.

Hip teenager: Be real bold

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Not only they will be extreme this season. The incredibly bulky and incredibly awesome 3 N will certainly not be viewed as quaint and boring.

Hip 20- and 30-somethings (or: this is what we want here at HK):

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We just started carrying yarns and books by Isager and we are in love! Besides adorable baby and children’s patterns the ones for grown-ups take our breath away. The incredible photography in both the Amimono Map Collection and Bird Collection make these books coffee table worthy. Add in a project’s worth of either Tvinni, Irish Tweed or Alpaca 2 and it will certainly be the most appreciated present.

The serious sweater knitter:

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The serious sweater knitter appreciates big skeins because: Less ends to sew in. Make them extremely happy with one of our Mega Empire hanks!

The committed knitter: Tools and storage are much appreciated

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Every knitter deserves good tools. In case you are a jeweler  and fancy making sterling silver knitting needles for your beloved knitter (like a customer did for his wife, no joke!), please do so. For all other people, we have great needle sets and locally made Nele K cases (so local I will even tell you exactly where they are made: my kitchen.)

Newer recruit:

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For someone who ventured into the knitting world fairly recently and wants to step up their game, our Polka Dot Hat Kit might be just the ticket. Already packaged in a cute cupcake box, the only thing you need is to tie a bow around and you’re set!

The knitter who has everything:

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People who’ve knitted for a long time most likely have acquired most of the accessories they need. But not necessarily the Ferrari version of said accessories…

Fancy Lantern Moon Needles and Recycled Paper Yarn Bowl, deluxe Stitch Markers with Leather Pouch from Fringe Supply Co.

The lace knitter:

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Every time Gudrun Johnston visits I am intrigued to start knitting a lace shawl. I love the more scarf-like shape on this one. Our selection of lace weight yarns is not limited to the following four, but these caught my eye (from top to bottom): Pure Silk Lace, Prairie, Silk/Cashmere and Sylph.

And how to make your present even more special? With our knitting-inspired greeting cards and gift tags of course!

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Local artist Sally Gilchrist is the creator of the linocut skein-art. Notecards, postcards and gift tags. And of course you can’t miss knitting Santa Clause!

November is for Socks…and Glühwein!

Posted by on November 24, 2014 / Leave a Comment

Did I ever tell you about my friend Renate? No? Well, she is really awesome, ridiculously funny and very kind-hearted all at the same time. She has the most interesting family heritage due to her Peruvian mother, who was brought up in Austria, and her Scottish immigrant father. Oh, and she grew up in L.A. Interesting combination, don’t you think? When we hang out we speak Denglish, a combination of German and English, with total disrespect for sentence structure. She even has this cute southern German/Austrian accent because of her grandmother’s influence!

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No Christmas market is complete without a Glühwein booth

photo courtesy of http://phoebettmh.blogspot.com

Naturally we like to indulge in German traditions, and a few nights ago she stood on our doorstep with a bottle of Glühwein, i.e., mulled wine (the literal translation would be “glowing wine”). Readily available at local grocery stores, this is sure sign for me that the cozy time of the year has arrived. Memories of Christmas markets and festivities in Germany like St. Martin or Lichterfest (Festival of Lights) arise and I get just this much more homesick! After being out in the cold for the aforementioned occasions, not only adults need warming refreshments. The kids and anyone favouring alcohol-free beverages are usually served Kinderpunsch. Just as delicious (and daytime appropriate!), I wanted to share a really simple recipe for this holiday treat with you:

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You need:                                          Directions:

juice and rind of 1 lemon               In a stainless steel pot combine water, juice

juice and rind of 1 orange              and rind of both lemon and orange, honey,

1 cinnamon stick                              cinnamon stick and cloves. Bring to a boil

4 cloves                                               and let simmer for 10 minutes. Then add

honey to taste                                    grapejuice and apple juice and let simmer

250 ml / 8 fl.oz water                      for another 10 minutes. Serve hot and

1 L / 34 fl.oz grape juice                  enjoy over your Thanksgiving weekend!

1 L / 34 fl.oz apple juice

Now what has all that to do with socks? Let me tell ya. I asked the other shop ladies about their knitting plans for the holiday weekend, and the answer was, quite unanimously: socks. Apparently we all agree that socks make great gifts. Useful, pretty, and oh so comforting, we feel that the chances are pretty high that these handmade items will actually be worn by their recipients, even if they are not exactly their favourite colour ( all you non-sock knitters, don’t despair, I have a game plan for all other kinds of gifts that I will share with you next week).

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Leftover socks featuring Black Trillium Pebble, Jill Draper Hudson, Tosh Chunky and Tosh DK

The pattern chart I got from this free headband pattern

I’m sure that Annette is concocting some stunning patterns reminiscent of her Yale socks or Oregon Ducks socks, both of which she gifted to her sons recently. Emma is probably using the new and oh-so popular Madelinetosh Care colourway to make the prettiest feet-cozies. I myself am using up DK/worsted weight leftovers from my last pair of socks and the Lemongrass sweater to make some colourwork-adorned  socks following the directions of the Basic Sock pattern from Churchmouse, a go-to pattern here at Happy Knits. I hope I will have enough yarn to make them big enough for Mister Nele – the heels and toes will certainly be made in a contrast colour, and of course reinforced with our Darning and Reinforcement Thread from Schachenmayr. I like that look anyway! DK or worsted weight socks are great you guys. So much quicker than the fingering weight version, they make wonderful boot socks or can be worn at home instead of slippers. I have a whole bag of hand-knit socks, made by my granny in Germany, that I offer to guests – and if they behave themselves, they are even welcome to take them home! Don’t you think that it’s a nice alternative to having a cupboard full of guest slippers?

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