Friday, June 22, 2012

A few New Mexico yarn shops

I recently took a vacation to New Mexico, visiting Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos. I had to visit a few yarn shops, of course. In Santa Fe, I checked out a couple of shops. This first one, called Moxie, is a large home accessories, apparel, and gift shop. I wandered in just to look around and stumbled upon a very large yarn section. It was near closing time so I did not browse very long, but they do have quite a selection of name brand and local yarns.

The next shop is Tutto A Mano, which is a very cute little store. They have their own line of hand dyed yarns, but what I liked best was their wall of buttons. Buttons are easy to pack, so of course I had to buy a few.

In Taos, I checked out a shop called, oddly enough, "The Yarn Shop". This is a small shop, and I was greeted by friendly people and 2 small dogs. They have a lot of locally spun and dyed yarn. I avoided buying anything because it would have been too pricey to buy enough yarn to make a sweater. The shop is a part of the John Dunn Shops complex, which has a lot of unique small shops, including a very nice fabric store.

The last fiber place I visited was the EspaƱola Valley Fiber Arts Center. This is a non-profit organization that promotes fiber arts in New Mexico and it serves a large regional area. They have a large space, with many weaving looms in the back rooms. They also have retail section that features a lot of local yarns. So, of course I had to buy a little souvenir yarn. I bought two skeins of New Mexico Merino worsted weight yarn from tattersall mills.

I brought only one project for the trip, and I made quite a bit of progress on the back side. It is the Strafford Tee pattern, and I divided it up into front and back for flat knitting.

I leave you with two classic tourist photos of New Mexico -- the plaza in Santa Fe, and the Taos Pueblo.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

FO: pullover with top front ruching

This is a basic pullover made from an improvised pattern. The yarn is Rowan Purelife Revive, which is a nice silk/cotton/rayon blend made from recycled fibers. I've always liked these pullovers with ruching around the yoke, One pattern is the Ruched Yoke Tee from Interweave Knits, and another pattern is Molly Ringwald.. However, I don't really like having the gathered stitches all around the yoke. They tend to make the top of the sweater fit too loosely, and all that yarn makes it a bit bulky. Also, for some reason, I never liked the purl stitches used to separate the gathered sections. For some reason, that just gave the sweaters too much of a "home made" look, and I don't even know why I think that. I always wanted to put the gathered area just on the front section, but I couldn't think of what to do for the separation rows until a knitting friend told me about the lateral braid stitch, which has Estonian origins. After that, I was good to go! I really like how the horizontal stitches provide such a sharp dividing line between the gatherings. I did the stitch without doing the increase at the start.

The rest of the sweater is just your basic raglan top-down pullover. I added some short rows to raise the back neckline a bit, and the neckline is finished with a row of single crochet followed by a row of reverse single crochet.