Monday, October 25, 2010

My Early Bird Special and more

If you've been reading my blog, you know that I came back from Kathy Zimmerman's last week on cloud nine. Kathy shared one of her new stitch designs and arranged for me to get the very first skeins of a new, not-yet-released alpaca/merino blend. The plan: to create a cardigan of my own design under Kathy's tutelage in her Fearless Knitting classes. This advanced technique series starts next weekend.

I've got a name for this venture: Early Bird Special. Why? Because I got the stitch design and yarn before anyone else in the world! That's what I call special. Check out the swatch I finished over the weekend. Isn't it gorgeous? I love the cables and I plan on encrusting my cardigan with them. I'm been wanting to knit an aran cabled sweater for years and now's my chance. Even better, I'm going to design it using my exact my measurements. How exciting!

Look how pretty the sleeve will look with that main cable running up the arm. Moosie likes it, too.

I adore the Alpaca Handknitting Yarn, which will soon be released by Kraemer Yarns. Kathy kindly sent me the remainder of her skein so I could swatch in advance of next weekend's class. My only regrets: the lackluster name and mega-dated looking label. Kraemer, if you're out there watching, I am a freelance graphic designer, marketing expert, and avid knitter and I'm looking for work. Please hire me to market your yarn. I could make all the difference. You need me!

But regardless of the marketing, the good news is that there is an absolutely splendid new yarn coming to market. When Alpaca Handknitting Yarn lands in your LYS, go feel it - you'll fall madly in love, too. Here are the specs from the yarn-inducing label:
  • DK weight
  • Approximately 220 yards
  • U.S. Needle #6 (I used #5 for my swatch)
  • 23 sts = 4 inches, 5.75 sts = 1 inch
  • 70% Alpaca, 30% Merino
  • Made from North American Alpaca blended with Merino woo
  • Hand wash, dry flat
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Alpaca Fiber Cooperative, 877-859-0172
Let me give you an update on a couple of other projects. First, Tom's sweater. This picture looks a lot like the last picture I posted, but this time, it's the right size. I frogged everything I did before and started over - something I absolutely hate to do. But now I know the cable pattern almost by heart which lets me move along a lot more quickly. A good thing considering this sweater needs to be done less than two months - aargh!

My next project: this giant pile of red alpaca that currently lives on my dining room table as a constant reminder that I don't know what to do with it.

I was going to work on turning this into the modified Lafayette coat, but then I saw this poncho in a Vogue Knitting email last week. I hesitate to buy anything from Vogue Knitting since the editors are so unsupportive of ample knitters, but the Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande would make a perfect hooded poncho. The magazine doesn't hit the news stands until the middle of November, so I guess I'm going to wait until I can check out the schematic. Damn! I've never fretted over a project so much in my life. I need to just decide about this and be done with it.

But while I'm deciding, I'm looking forward to my Early Bird Special. It is going to be special indeed.


  1. Ooo's and Aahh's on the yarn, Julie!
    It looks lovely.
    I can see why you are excited.
    I love cables, but in reading charted patterns I get confused when it comes to decreasing or reverse shaping while staying in pattern! Ugh!
    One really has to pay attention.
    You Go Girl!
    And that label is so plain..they need to
    modernize that label a bit. Looks like it came from an old rickety factory over in Europe somewhere. For gorgeous yarn, they need to add some 'pizazz' that catches the eye.t_a

  2. OH Julie what a beautiful cable pattern. As a knitter turned rug hooker your blog gets my juices running! Guess I need to get the needles out. Thank you for sharing.
    (Moments in Time)

  3. It's gorgeous, isn't it?! I'm glad you guys think so, too.

    Teresa, I'll let you know how the decreases go and will ask Kathy about this specifically.

    And Doris, thank you for reading and commenting. Get out those needles! And send me pictures of what you create. I'd love to see.

  4. Boo-hoo, I wrote a comment earlier and it seems to have gotten lost!

    Well, I just wanted to say that cable pattern is THE BEST EVER!!! Just beautiful!!! I am so excited to see what the sweater will be like.

    I'm trying to finish up the shrug type vest that's knit in all ribbing in one piece and then just sewn at the sides. Don't know how it will look in xxxxxlarge! LOL!!! But if it's awful, it should be easy to unravel.

  5. Pat, good for you! Glad to hear your knitting the shrug - that's a great first step towards making a sweater. Thanks for the kind words - I fell in love with the cable pattern the minute Kathy Zimmerman showed it to me, and I'm grateful that my swatch looks just as lovely. Keep going - you're doing great!

  6. Julie, I am so envious, there are no words. I am speechless. On the other hand, you are such a wonderful friend, you deserve the very best. I am off right now to see if the Vogue is out yet. When does the crochet book come out?

  7. Awww, thanks, Lisa! You know I'll share everything I can, so just keep coming back. The Annie's Attic book is out now... It's $9.95 and is downloadable from the site.