Circle of Stitches

Purveyors of fine yarns and artisan goods

The Spring Top KAL!

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We are kicking off a Spring Top KAL because there are just too many cute top patterns out there and we need to make some of them! We are determined to dispel the myth that knitting is only for cold weather, so grab your needles and lets make some spring and summer pieces! Our official Kick-Off is April 10, but you can start or join in any time! Not local? No worries, you can knit along in person or online!

We've put together a collection of lightweight knitted tops, and hope you'll be inspired to join us! Click to view the whole collection on Ravelry. Here's a little preview:

Jessie's Girl is a super-simple top knit in sportweight yarn, perfect for Quince & Co Willet, a gorgeous cotton!

Jessie's Girl is a super-simple top knit in sportweight yarn, perfect for Quince & Co Willet, a gorgeous cotton!

 
Churchmouse's Simple Tee knits up beautifully in Shibui Twig, a textured and cool linen, recycled silk, and wool blend. 

Churchmouse's Simple Tee knits up beautifully in Shibui Twig, a textured and cool linen, recycled silk, and wool blend. 

Derecho is a pretty yoked tee knit out of 100% recycled fibers! Berroco Remix Light is a tweedy fingering weight wool-free blend of nylon, cotton, acrylic, silk, and linen. 

Derecho is a pretty yoked tee knit out of 100% recycled fibers! Berroco Remix Light is a tweedy fingering weight wool-free blend of nylon, cotton, acrylic, silk, and linen. 

 
Asagi is a sweet tee with a leaf motif on the sleeves, perfect for any fingering weight yarn!

Asagi is a sweet tee with a leaf motif on the sleeves, perfect for any fingering weight yarn!

How our KALs work: We want you to have a super successful project! When you buy your yarn from us and join a KAL, we will be there to help you every step of the way. We can help you choose your best size, talk about whether or not the pattern needs any adjustments, help you measure gauge, and answer any and all questions you may have as you knit it! We will even teach you the best way to block your project. 

The Hawthorne Cowl

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One of the favorite classes I teach here at the shop is our Brioche Intensive workshop. I've been getting lots of requests for the Hawthorne Cowl, which I designed for the two-color brioche portion, so I've decided to share it here on the blog! 

Level: Advanced

Gauge: 15 stitches x 20 rows = 4" in Brioche Stitch pattern

Size: Finished dimensions: 29” circumference, 12” length

To change the circumference, add or remove stitches in multiples of 2. Don’t forget this will affect your yardage requirements. Every 2 stitches will add or remove approx. ½” to your cowl.

 

Materials:

Main Color: 1 skein of Malabrigo Merino Worsted

Contrast Color: 1 skein of Malabrigo Merino Worsted

US8 24” circular needles, or size needed to obtain gauge

 

Abbreviations:

BRK: Brioche knit 2 together

BRP: Brioche purl 2 together

YF SL1YO: Yarn forward, Slip 1, YO. Also YOS.

SL1YOF: Slip 1, YO to front

 

Directions:

Using MC, CO 110 stitches. Being careful not to twist, join in the round.

Rounds 1-5: Work in Garter Stitch, starting with a knit round.

 

Brioche Section:

Set-up Round (CC): Leave MC hanging in back. With CC, *SL1YO, P1, rep from *

Set-up Round (MC): Leave CC hanging in front. With MC, *BRK, YF SL1YO, rep from *

Round 1 (CC): Leave MC hanging in back. With CC, *SL1YO, BRP, rep from *

Round 2 (MC): Leave CC hanging in front. With MC, *BRK, YF SL1YO, rep from *

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until cowl measures 11.5 inches from CO edge.

Work 5 more rounds in garter stitch, starting with a knit round.

 

Bind off loosely knitwise. Suggested BO: *K2togTBL, slip stitch back onto left needle, rep from * until 2 stitches remain. K2togTBL.  Weave in ends and block gently.

Want to learn how to knit brioche? Join us for our Brioche Intensive and learn how to knit Brioche flat, in the round, with one color, and with two colors!

 

Gift Guide for Knitters and Fiber Lovers!

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So you have a beloved fiber lover, and you're stuck on finding them a gift. Let us help you!

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1. Crochet Therapy, the soothing art of savoring each stitch

2. A sweet I Heart Stitch Art embroidery kit!

3. Kids Crochet, projects for kids of all ages 

4. Pom pom makers! They come in assorted sizes and are a perfect stocking stuffer.

5. The Modern Natural Dyer, for the earth-loving fiberista who would enjoy learning how to dye

6. Alterknit Felt, so your loved one can discover new ways to play with wool

7. Norah Gaughan's Knitted Cable Source Book, an amazing reference book that would make an amazing addition to any knitter's collection

8. On the Loom, a new book on tapestry weaving with an assortment of fun projects

9. Embroidered doll kits, complete with wool stuffing!

10. A JessaLu project bag. Comes in assorted fabrics and every knitter and crocheter loves a project bag!

11. Lux Adorna Fun Sized Sport Bundles - adorable bundles of cashmere, with a cowl pattern included. A lovely little luxury!

12. Take Heart, a lovely new book of knitting patterns

13. Sock-shaped needle point protectors, a perfect stocking stuffer

14. Highlighter tape, another great stocking stuffer

15. A complete pop-out tapestry weaving loom, instructions included! A great gift for any yarn lover

16. A beautiful shawl pin by JUL Designs

17. A cute embroidery kit by CozyBlue

18. A Circle of Stitches stitch gauge! A great stocking stuffer.

19. Heart-eyed Sheep Enamel Pin, to adorn their project bag!

20. Removable brass stitch markers

21. Hand-felted sheep hanging ornament 

22. Soak, for washing handknits! Comes in two sizes

23. Woollelujah! A tote bag for all their yarn, because who doesn't love a tote bag?

24. High Fiber Diet tote bag, because see above.

Still can't decide? Get your loved one a gift card!

PS. How about this super cool Yarn Pyramid art print?

 

A Note on Adjusting Waist Length: The Shaken or Stirred Cardigan

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This fall, we became a flagship store for Harrisville Designs, a family-owned spinning mill here in New England. We are so excited to continue supporting small companies, and when their new FlyWHEEL yarn arrived, I couldn't wait to try it out!

FlyWHEEL is a lofty, woolen-spun yarn made of 100% pure virgin wool. The stunning colors are dyed in the wool and blended during the spinning process, which gives them a beautiful heathered depth. I picked Thea Colman's Shaken or Stirred to showcase the yarn. Thea is also local to New England, so I was excited to knit a super-local project!

I've knit Thea's patterns before and I know that I am longer-waisted than she is. I have a long torso, which means I go into her patterns expecting to adjust the length of the waist shaping (the area between the bust and the hips) for my own body. I know this can sound intimidating and I wanted to take the opportunity to explain this a little, so that it may help you in your own knitting projects. I did not modify any circumferences (bust, waist) in this project, only lengths.

The shaping on this project is very subtle, since it's intended to be a cozy, oversized cardigan. Thea has it set up with 2 sets of decreases, the first at a certain length under the arm, and the second set after another 1" of knitting. After decreasing, there are 3" of straight knitting at the waist. The hip increases then mirror the 2 decreases, over 1".

What this means: The tapering for the waist happens over a length of 5 inches: The decreases are 1" apart from each other, then 3" for the waist, then 1" for the hip increases.

For my size, the pattern called for waist shaping to start 3" under the arm separation. My waist doesn't start sloping inwards until 4" under my arm, so this was an easy adjustment: I knit an extra inch before starting my shaping.  Next, I needed 1.5" before getting to my waist instead of just 1". Instead of doing the second decrease 1" after the first, I knit even for 1.5" before decreasing again. I kept the 3" of straight knitting at the waist, then did my first increase. To match the decreases, I spaced my second increase at 1.5" instead of just 1".

In the end, I lowered the entire waist shaping by 1", and then added 1" of length to the entire shaping section. Just some simple math! I hope this helps you with your future projects. Questions? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. - The Harrisville FlyWHEEL worked up beautifully, I can't wait to knit with it again!

Socktober - Help us make a difference!

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For us sock knitters, October is "Socktober," the month where we cheerfully knit as many pairs of socks as possible. After all, wearing hand-knit wool socks helps us make it through the dreary winter months!

This year, we want to use Socktober to make a difference in our community. Many people are unaware that the homeless shelter desperately needs, and rarely receives, socks. This article from Points of Light is a couple of years old, but speaks of the importance of socks to the homeless population.

Salem is home to Lifebridge, an organization that provides transitional housing and helps those in need move into permanent housing. They serve over 1,000 people a year, and provide 300 meals a day, 365 days a year. So how can we help?

This Socktober, Circle of Stitches will purchase and donate one pair of socks for every 100 grams of sock yarn sold. Most skeins of sock yarn are 100 grams, so that's just one skein per pair! Help us spread some Socktober love this month and check out our selection of sock yarns! Can't knit socks? Join us for a class, or use your sock yarn for shawls, hats, mittens, whatever inspires you!

Our goal is to donate at least 50 pairs of socks - do you think we can make it to 100?