Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Rustic Autumn Shawl KAL?

I'm hosting a fall KAL for my Rustic Autumn Shawl.  I will post updates to the KAL on my blog and there is a KAL link on Ravelry as well.

Are there any companies or Indie artists out there interested in donating prizes for the KAL?

Companies/Shops ALREADY donating prizes:
Kusala Knitworks is donating a set of these uber cute Pin-Up Girl stitch markers!!!

Worldknit & Handspun is donating a set of Good Intentions Knit Cards!!

Knitting Like Crazy is donating TWO AWESOME shawl patterns: Elation & Moor Shawl!

Vegancraftastic is gifting a winner his/her choice of any pin or keychain in her shop!

NorthCreek Knits is donating this uber cute Ainslie Poncho pattern!

Buffalo Girls Design is donating their "The Zen of Socks" DVD and a fab little knit card (socks not included)


Monday, July 25, 2011

New Pattern: Rustic Autumn Shawl






Pick up your FREE PDF Pattern on Ravelry.  Enjoy :)


Sunday, July 24, 2011

On The Blocking Mats: Rustic Autumn Shawl

So this shawl design came about because I had 2 skeins of lovely Noro peeping out at me through my yarn stash.  Instantly upon picking it up, I KNEW it had to become a rustic shawl.  So for this shawl I created a modified bat wing shawl.The bulk of the shawl is knit in garter st.  The bottom 1/3rd of the shawl is done in a garter and stockinette st diagonal rib to add some SUBTLE interest without overpowering the yarn.  With a yarn like Noro, it needs to be the star of the show.  It has so much going on with the thin & thick bits of yarn, the random string, the fulling of parts of the yarn: it's a one-yarn show!  So I wanted to change up the visual interest just a wee bit with the diagonal rib.  It's VERY difficult to see in this pic - but this is stretched and wet.  Thankfully because I chose a rib pattern for the bottom, once dry, it should bounce back a little so that the subtle lines of the rib come back through.

Also to add a wee little visual interest - again, without competing with the Noro, I used a double crochet bind off in place of the typical bind off.  This shawl could absolutely be bound off the usual way without compromising the look of it..

I used approx. 500 yds of Noro Silk Garden Sock (sport wt)  in US 9 Circs.  I am a very tight knitter, so most will want to use a US 7 or US 8 to complete this shawl.

I do have a few test knitters chompin' at the bit to give this pattern a whirl.  It's super simple: knit, purl, yo, k2tog, k3tog, ssk, sl1-k2tog-psso.  And can easily be customized.  One could repeat the diagonal rib repeats as many times as one likes.  Also, knitting the pattern in a solid color and using a smaller needle size for the diagonal rib would produce a more crisp rib for a neater look.  I wanted to go with a truly rustic feel for this shawl, so I prefer the way I knit it- but it can easily be customized with yarn and selection.

Rustic Autumn Shawl is going to test knitters and will be available FREE on Ravelry shortly.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Episode 8: Staycation


What's on the Needles
What's on the Hook
  • Nothing currently - I need suggestions!
    • Interested in Adv. Beginner level shawls or 1 skein projects

  • Cornsilk Pullover by Amy Herzog - KnitScene Fall, 2011
    • Fitted, stockinette st sweater with garter st shawl collar and cuffs
    • Set in sleeves
    • Sport wt
    • Worked flat, seamed
  • River Walk Shawl by Sharon Falkner - Interweave Crochet, Summer 2011
    • Lace Shawl
    • Lace Weight, 2ply
    • More of a stole
    • Pattern repeat

Other Stuff

News & Upcoming Events

Question of the Week
  • How do I get into product reviews?


And the Winner Is..

The winner of the Larry Crowne Prize Pack sponsored by Universal Pictures is....

Number 7 - Small and Moody!!

Congrats to Small and Moody and thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway!  A special thank you to Universal Pictures for sponsoring this terrific giveaway!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Knitting Tip - Garter Stitch

I love the look of this Noro Silk Garden.  This yarn has thick and thin yarn areas with bits of string, and wooly areas peeping out.  The colorway is vibrant and interesting - perfect for garter stitch knitting.

Garter stitch is a nice, relaxing stitch to use when you want some mindless knitting.  Right now, I'm actually designing a shawl that utilizes garter stitch for the bulk of it.  I love using garter stitch with art yarns or interesting texture or colorway yarns.  It really allows the yarn to be the star of the show.

Here's what I found though - with my shawl, worked from the center neck top to the bottom, I have to increase every other row.  And as much as I love me some mindless garter st, I found that I wasn't paying attention to the increase rows because I knit mindless knitting when the kiddos are around purposely so that I don't have to pay attention. (Paying attention to knitting while dealing with kids engaging in extreme sibling fighting is a no-go)  I'd find myself lost in the mindlessness of it all and have to go back and look at where the increases would appear and see if I was on an inc row or not based on the yo(s).  That's when it hit me - why am I not marking this side of my knitting so I don't have to think at all when knitting it?  After all, that's the beauty of knitting garter st, right?

So if you have a garter st pattern, nab a nifty little locking ring st marker (or two) and pop it anywhere on the inc (or dec) side of your knitting.  So when the side with the marker is facing you, you know it's your inc (or dec) row!  I'm sure I did not come up with this and other knitters use it all of the time - but I wanted to pass it along to any newbies out there who read my blog.  :)

Happy knitting!


Pictures A-Bye-Bye

Somehow, in the late hours of the night, whilst trying to edit my Google+ settings, I accidentally deleted all of my blog pictures (since Blogger and Google+ share album info because they are both a part of Google).  While I have no idea if I will find and restore all of the pictures on my blog, if there is a post that is missing a picture or has a broken link to a picture and you'd like to see the picture for reference, please email me via my Contact tab above and I'll see what I can find for you.

UGH!  This is why one should never knit, read, or adjust privacy settings while tired and improperly caffeinated.  :(


Book Review: A Knitter's Home Companion by Michelle Edwards

When Michelle Edwards contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing her book, A Knitter's Home Companion, I was thrilled.  Of course I said, "Yes!" immediately!  But even the thrill of being contacted by such a competent and creative essayist and author couldn't prepare me for the actual book.

When the book came in the mail, I happened to be sitting on my front porch, here in rural PA, knitting a shawl, and enjoying the peacefulness of the country.  A large bubble-lined mailer came, hand delivered by my mail lady because it didn't fit in my mail box.  I had forgotten about the book coming.  So when I opened the package, I was delighted to find the book and a few other goodies thrown in.  Struck by my instant delight, I snapped a picture, albeit not worthy of being called a photograph, of the way she'd sent it.  Stacked in a tidy bundle and wrapped in yarn, I felt immediately warmed just by the way she packaged it.  -Just like any knitter would: simple, understated, but by hand.

So it came to be as I read this collection of stories, that I understood fully the packaging of the books.  A Knitter's Home Companion can only be described as charming, delightful, warm, and insightful.  A small and quick read, I was instantly drawn into the book and immersed myself in it until I completed the book (the same evening).  Ms. Edwards describes life as a knitter the way someone would describe a well-lived life in general - with warmth, passion, and connection, evoking a feeling of wholeness in life, of interconnection.

Not only has Ms. Edwards lived a very interesting life thus far, she's managed to capture the essence of her life in this collection of stories, patterns, and recipes.  From discussing motherhood, to home, to community, to legacy, she recounts memories, feelings, personal epiphanies, and knitterly discoveries.  Although each story is short, I never felt as though her stories were incomplete.  She's managed to concisely deliver a rich picture of what she wants to relay.  I literally felt her inspiration and frustration as she wrote about trying to reverse engineer an Indian slipper.  I felt the jubilation as she spoke of her yarn shop outting with her aunt and cousin.  I could almost feel the wool of the woodsman socks as she described finding them at the resale shop and the sense of wonder as she describes wanting to know the connection between the socks and the original knitter.  I can almost smell the barn at Fae Ridge Farm and the clacking of the needles and chirping of the knitters at The Home Ec Workshop.

Between stories, Ms. Edwards has sprinkled in recipes, patterns, and interesting books to read.  I have yet to test any of the recipes or patterns, but have already put in hold requests at my local library for some of the books!

This book is a heart-warming read for any knitter whose daily life seems harried and bustling.  A reminder of how knitting is intertwined in our lives, provides community, and a connection to a bigger picture, A Knitter's Companion is a must-read.  So grab your favorite shawl or afghan & a cup of tea and curl up in your favorite chair with this book.  It will warm your heart and lift your spirits.

A Knitter's Home Companion can be found at fine book retailers everywhere for $17.95 (USD).  Pick up a copy today!

Side Note: Ms. Edwards was kind enough to send two children's books she wrote, The Chicken Man and Zero Grandparents along with A Knitter's Home Companion.  (My children have decided they will review those books themselves). She was kind enough to sign all three of the books she sent!  Thanks, Michele!! :)

Disclosure: Michelle Edwards provided KnitPurlGurl with a FREE copy of A Knitter's Home Companion for review.  KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for the review.  All opinions expressed in the above blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Michelle Edwards or Abrams Books.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Julia Roberts Knitting Prank & Larry Crowne Giveaway!


Actress Julia Roberts has often mentioned that she loves to sew and knit. IMDB quotes her: "You know I'm like a total geek, right? First of all, I sit on the set and knit. It's a very social hobby, as opposed to reading at work - I can chat with people and still be fully engaged."

Co-star and director Tom Hanks, played a prank on actress Julia Roberts while shooting their new film Larry Crowne.

Hanks had asked everyone on the set to knit with needles and skeins of yarn as Julia walked on set. The prank turned out to be a success as Roberts was amazed to see the entire cast and crew stitching and purling. In fact she tipped all of them on how to better their skills.

The actress admits she was thrilled: "You walk into a room and 65 men are knitting; it catches your attention."


Oscar® winners Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts reunite for a dramatic comedy about how the hard knocks from today’s recession inspire one everyday guy to undergo a personal reinvention: Larry Crowne.

Until he was downsized, affable, amiable Larry Crowne (Hanks) was a superstar team leader at the big-box company where he’s worked since his time in the Navy.  Underwater on his mortgage and unclear on what to do with his suddenly free days, Larry heads to his local college to start over.  There he becomes part of a colorful community of outcasts, also-rans and the overlooked all trying to find a better future for themselves…often moving around town in a herd of scooters.  In his public-speaking class, Larry develops an unexpected crush on his teacher Mercedes Tainot (Roberts), who has lost as much passion for teaching as she has for her husband.  

The simple guy who has every reason to think his life has stalled will come to learn an unexpected lesson: when you think everything worth having has passed you by, you just might discover your reason to live.

Guess what?  Universal Pictures thought that my knitting readers would like a chance to win a prize pack for the film!  

Giveaway Details:
  • (1) Winner will take home a $25 Fandango Gift Card to see Larry Crowne, a T-Shirt, and a Notebook!
  • Giveaway will run Sunday, July 10, 2011 - Sunday, July 17, 2011
  • (1) Winner will be selected via random number generator and announced on Monday, July 18, 2011
  • Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents, age 18 and older
  • All entrants MUST provide an email address so that he/she may be contacted should he/she win
  • Visit the Larry Crowne YouTube Channel and watch one of the videos.  Leave a comment on the channel page.  Come back and let me know that you did (along with your YouTube name) to be entered!
  • "Like" the Larry Crowne Facebook Fan Page
  • Follow my blog.  Leave me a comment to let me know that you follow for an additional entry.
  • Follow me on Twitter.  Come back and let me know that you follow for an additional entry.
  • Follow me on Facebook.  Come back and let me know that you follow for an additional entry.
  • Tweet about the giveaway with a link to this post in the tweet.  Come back and leave a link to your tweet for an additional entry.  You may tweet as often as you like and each tweet may be counted separately as long as you provided a different link for each tweet.  
  • Blog about the giveaway!  Write a blog post with a link to this post in it.  Come back and leave 5 separate comments (labeled: Comment #1, Comment #2..), with the link to your post in Comment #1.  That's right - you get FIVE additional entries for blogging about the giveaway!
Universal Pictures is sponsoring this giveaway.  KnitPurlGurl did not receive compensation or product to promote this giveaway.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Listening to my Listeners

As you know, my KnitPurlGurl Podcast is pretty wet behind the ears.  So as I get into the groove of podcasting, I want to know what sorts of things my listeners would be interested in hearing either as regular segments or a show topic?

I look forward to your thought and suggestions. :)



dellaQ Review!

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Recently, dellaQ sent me three amazing bags to review!  (Pictured above)  So I thought I'd share my review with you all, by bag.

  • Very LARGE (18"L x 6"W x 11"H) and roomy, messenger bag with reinforced nylon handle on top and wide, comfortable, nylon shoulder strap covered in a soft, fabric where the strap meets the shoulder.
  • Contains 1 large exterior, zippered pocket - suitable for carrying magazines or patterns.
  • When the top of the messenger bag is open,  there is 1 zippered, medium sized pocket and an unzippered pocket of the same size behind it, just on the outside.  The pockets are made of a soft, fabric and are suitable for carrying folded patterns, a small paperback sized book, needles and notions, or an eReader.
  • Inside the bag, you'll find a 3-pocket sewn in panel, made of the same soft fabric.  These pockets are nice and deep - terrific for ensuring things don't dump out of them.  The 2 smaller pockets on either end would be great for carrying keys, a cellphone, needles or hooks, or other small items.  The center, medium-sized pocket would be suitable for carrying folded paper patterns or an eReader.
  • The interior of the bag is fully lined and reinforced at every seam, making the bag sturdy and actually USEABLE!
  • I found that in one trip, I was able to carry a needle case, a project bag, a couple of knitting books, my wallet, my cellphone, and my Nook comfortably in the bag.
  • The bag has a flap closure complete with 2 plastic clip closures at the bottom.  What I like about this is that at no time are the closures coming into contact with your projects.  No yarn snags!
  • Brilliant front flap colors which contrast with the black fabric sides, back, and bottom
  • Extremely durable construction.
  • This bag costs approx. $70 (USD) and comes in 7 colors.

The Que THEO Secure Circular Needle Case:

  • Made of a very soft and luxurious looking and feeling Poly-Silk fabric 
  • Closed Measurements: 8 1/2"H x 8 1/2"W
  • Contains 12 numbered pockets for circular needle sizes 3 US/3.25mm, 4 US/3.5mm, 5 US/3.75mm, 6 US/4mm, 7 US/4.5mm, 8 US/5mm, 9 US/5.5mm, 10 US/6mm, 10.5 US/7mm, 11 US/8mm, 13 US/ 9mm, 15 US/10 mm
  • Contains a small zippered pocket in the back, suitable for notions
  • I was able to carry approx. 2 sets of circular needles in each pocket.  You may be able to get more in each pocket depending on your circular length.  I always carry 32" - 44" circs.
  • Folds up securely. No losing needles or threat of them falling around in your bag.  Especially great for taking needles that are unmarked - just put them in the correct size pocket with secure flap and take with you.  You'll always have the needle size you need, organized and ready at your finger tips.
  • Nice and compact.  Fits nicely in medium and larger knitting bags.
  • Material will not scratch your expensive needles.  And when sitting next to your knitting project in your knitting bag, the material will not snag your yarn or allow your needles to poke through or split the yarn in your bag!
  • Costs approx. $44 (USD) and comes in 5 beautiful gem tone colors.
  • Cotton drawstring project bag
  • Nice small-md sized bag at 11"W x 12"H
  • Cute ribbon drawstring detail
  • Small, snagless interior pocket
  • I was able to fit a shawl project in it and pop it into my knitting bag!
  • Other Edict Bags are the same construction and material but come in other sayings on the bag: Hat Project, Sock Project, Random Project, Scarf Project, & Paws Off My Knitting
  • Edict bags are inexpensive, cute project bags of lightweight cotton and cost approx. $10 (USD)
  • Edict bags will be available 9/2011

All in all, I have no complaints about these bags.  All three were well constructed, fashionable, and durable.  I schlepped the messenger bag to the library and all over town and gave it a good workout.  Not only did it perform, but kept my items secure and harm-free.

I have to tell you that I was hesitant to review the needle case as I use a binder to store my circs.  But I was pleasantly surprised by how much I actually liked the needle case.  Although I have such a large volume of circular needles and would not be able to use The Que for home needle storage, it was PERFECT for taking extra needles in varying sizes with me on the go.  The needles were well organized and I didn't need to take everything out of my knitting bag to find the needle size I wanted.

The Edict Bag is just darling and I can definitely see myself loading up on these to keep my projects in.  When not in use, they take almost no space at all to store.  And when in use, they are easily popped in a knitting bag.

dellaQ Bags are handmade in Vietnam.  A portion of each purchase trains low-income and rural Vietnamese women in the art of quilting.

If you'd like to get into touch with dellaQ or browse their other terrific products, please visit:
dellaQ sent KnitPurlGurl the bags listed above FREE for review.  KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for the above blog post.  All opinions expressed in the above post are those of the blog author's and do not necessarily reflect those of dellaQ.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Knitted Shawl Construction, Recipes, and Formulas

If you're new to design, shawl construction may be a little intimidating.  I know for me, I've always been a pattern-hugger.  That is, I rarely deviate from a written pattern when I knit and I kind of knit on autopilot, without much thought to the construction, just to the row I'm knitting.  Now, I know many of you out there will say, how can you NOT notice shawl construction formulas when knitting shawls from others' patterns?  Really, basic shawl shapes are not unique.  Most designers work off a basic design, which has been repeated and repeated throughout knitting history.  Where the design comes in is primarily in what they do with that shape and how they do it.  Of course there are always innovative designers out there who strive to strike up something completely new in knitted shawl construction, but for the most part, we're all working from the same basic shapes.  I guess I don't notice the construction the same way I don't notice our route when riding in the car as a passenger.  I enjoy the scenery and the drive, but rarely pay attention to how I got there unless I'm driving myself.  This is exactly what I found to be true of myself when recently designing a shawl.

So what does a knitter do when she/he wants a basic shawl "formula" or "recipe"?  She Googles it, searches on Ravelry, or reads countless blogs.  And you know what I found?  Unlike the bazillion sock recipes I found, shawl recipes are not as easy to find.  Sure, I found several triangular shawl recipes.  But what about semi-circle recipes?  What about asymmetrical triangular shawl recipes?  What about short row shawl recipes?  Faroese shawl recipes?  Side to side shawl recipes?  Trapezoid shawl recipes? Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  Well, this is what I found: you have to tirelessly search and search for certain shapes and even then, there aren't many "recipes" out there.  I've see many blogs explain how the shawl is constructed and which way you are knitting to create that shape.  But recipes?  Not many.

So what do you do to gather this info?  You have to collect information.  There may be a blog with some information on 1 thing here and another blog there.. But you have to do the work and do the math.  While admittedly, there are many examples of knitted shawl shapes out there for us to gather basic construction information (no one is re-inventing the wheel here), you have to pay attention and take notes.

The best advice I can give those of you out there who are considering shawl design is to get yourself a notebook and make notes about the different shawls you knit.  DO NOT REPLICATE a designer's shawl.  But take notations about the construction.  Divide your notebook into shawl shapes and you will start to notice some common threads in the construction of all shawls of that shape.

On my podcast (Episode 7), I spoke about a few stitch dictionary resources.  But here on my blog, I'm going to list just a few resources I've come across online for construction and design.
Have fun!  If you have a design, construction, recipe/formula resource you'd like to share - PLEASE leave a comment for everyone to see!  :)


Saturday, July 2, 2011

XRX Winners!!

The Winner of the AUTOGRAPHED COPY of Jean Frost's new Custom Fit Knit Jackets book is:

#57- Daisyhead!

The Winner of the 2 Yr Subscription to Knitter's Magazine is:

#33- Mizlizn!!


The Winner of the STITCHES Midwest or STITCHES East Opening Day Activities Pack is:

#13 - ilovetea2!!

Thanks to Benjamin Levisay, CEO of XRX, Inc. for sponsoring the KnitPurlGurl Podcast's FIRST ever giveaway!  Pop on over to the Friends of KnitPurlGurl Ravelry Group to join in the fun!! :)

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