Circle of Stitches

Purveyors of fine yarns and witchy goods

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What the Sweater Challenge is Really About

intentional living, knittingAna CamposComment
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Happy 2019, friends!

This is our third year welcoming in the new planetary cycle with our Annual Sweater Challenge.

We’ve been working hard over the last four years to really hone our core values and mission, and this is also true of the Sweater Challenge. So today, I’m sharing thoughts on what this challenge really is about.

On the surface, it seems like a way to get folks knitting - which is true! But there is a whole lot of “why” behind getting folks knitting. There are the obvious answers, which are about supporting the small businesses and industries that make knitting possible. Without our knitting community, we wouldn’t exist, and in turn we wouldn’t be able to support the various small businesses and independent entrepreneurs we partner with. There is an amazing ripple effect that comes from supporting small businesses. That said, this not why we do what we do. We genuinely believe that creativity is a conduit to a healthier, more fulfilling life, and a way to connect and care for ourselves.

Some people tell us they’re hesitant to join the Sweater Challenge due to time constraints. The challenge kicks off in late December, with an early March deadline, inviting folks to finish their pieces and wear them to our Anniversary Party. The timeline is about 2.5 months, which objectively speaking, is a good amount of time! But why do people feel so crunched? We are all bogged down with responsibilities and myriads of little things that keep us busy. America is the land of busyness (insert side rant about the pressure to feel busy all the time). By committing to this challenge, you are committing to self care and to more intentional living. We knit because it brings us joy and helps us destress; knitting is absolutely a form of self care. By making a commitment to knit a garment in this time frame, you are making a choice to intentionally set aside time for self care. This of course brings us to thoughts on intentional living. Many of us (myself most definitely included) from being more intentional in how we spend our time. By committing to self care through knitting, we are creating space for more intention in our lives.

Beyond this, we are big supporters of crafting a handmade wardrobe and slow fashion. Slow fashion allows us to be mindful about consumption and putting together a wardrobe that reflects our values. Clothes can be such a defining element for folks as a vehicle for self expression. If we have to wear clothes, why not wear clothes that bring us joy? Not only is the act of knitting a form of self care, we can came out of the activity with a beautiful wearable piece that inspires us. It can feel silly to talk about the transformative power of clothes, but we’ve all experienced it - those special items that really make us feel like ourselves when we put them on. And what is more you than a piece you’ve made yourself, to look and fit exactly the way you want? My beautiful friend Sew Liberated has been posting about this, and this year we are committing to being unabashedly ourselves, and helping you do the same!

I know what some of you are thinking: “but my sweaters never fit right!” or “I don’t have the skills to make what I want!” We hear you, and the Sweater Challenge is our call to you to grow your skills, and we are here to help you every step of the way. Even if you’re part of our online community (rather than in person) we will still work with you - phone calls, emails, even video chat.

Thank you for reading! There’s so much more to be said about all this, but for now I will leave this with an ask to hear your thoughts.

Celebrating Samhain with the Hemlock Shawl

knitting, creativity, witchyAna CamposComment

It’s no secret that we love Halloween/Samhain and this year we are super excited to share a special collaboration with you! Ash Alberg is one of our favorite indie designers and all around witchy fiber person. We often talk about important it is to us to support other small business owners and independent entrepreneurs, and that’s how this collaboration was born.

Ash took the plunge to become a full-time knitting designer, and as soon as I heard, I reached out to her to commission a shawl pattern. I also wanted to highlight Harrisville Designs, a small family-owned and operated fiber mill here in New England. Ash and I took some time to squee over our mutual excitement, and then I sent her some skeins of FlyWheel.

A few months later, Ash and I are delighted to bring you Hemlock, her exclusive design just for us. It uses three skeins of FlyWheel, which has a stunning color palette, but you can knit it in any wooly fingering weight.

Pattern: Clean Lines Scarf

Circle of Stitches1 Comment

By Ana Campos

This is a great project for the changing seasons - a quick knit, and a cozy, generously sized scarf. Wrap yourself up in this cozy scarf, or get started on your holiday knitting!

Level: Beginner

Gauge: 14.5 stitches/22 rows = 4" (10 cm) x 4" (10 cm) in stitch pattern after gentle blocking

Size: Approx. 11 inches (28 cm) wide x 70 inches (178 cm) long

Materials:

Berroco Vintage Chunky in Smoke, 4 skeins

Size US 10 knitting needles, or size needed to obtain gauge

Note: This pattern would also work for worsted weight yarn. Go down to a size US8 needle and follow pattern as written. The scarf will be narrower, but gauge is not terribly important for a scarf.

Directions:

Cast on 41 stitches. 

Row 1 (RS): K1tbl, *P1tbl, K1tbl, rep from * to end

Row 2 (WS): P1tbl, *K1tbl, P1tbl, rep from * to end

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until you have completed 6 rows.

Row 7: K all.

Row 8: K2, *Sl 1, K3, rep from * 8 more times, Sl 1, K2.

Repeat Rows 7 and 8 until scarf measures approximately 68.5" (174 cm) from cast on edge, ending with a WS row.

Row 9 (RS): K1tbl, *P1tbl, K1tbl, rep from * to end.

Row 10 (WS): K1tbl, *P1tbl, K1tbl, rep from * to end.

Repeat Rows 9 and 10 until you have completed 6 rows.

Bind off in pattern.

WANT TO MAKE YOUR OWN? PICK YOUR COLORS HERE

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Pattern: Not Quite Colorblock Blanket

Circle of StitchesComment

by Ana Campos

I admit I am not much of a blanket knitter, but between the amazing softness and beautiful colors of Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton, I was mesmerized by the idea of wrapping myself in this yarn. Traditionally cozy but with a modern aesthetic, this has quickly become a favorite pattern! 

Level:

Beginner

Gauge:

14.5 stitches/26 rows = 4" (10 cm) x 4" (10 cm) in Garter Stitch after gentle blocking

Size:

Approx. 36 inches (91.5 cm) wide x 43 inches (109 cm) long

Materials:

Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton in Lemongrass, 2 skeins

Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton in Poppy, 1 skein

Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton in Bone, 1 skein

Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton in Aloe, 1 skein

Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton in Jasper, 1 skein 

Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton in Sky, 1 skein

Size US 8 (5 mm) 2" circular needles, or size needed to obtain gauge.

Directions:

Using Color A , cast on 130 stitches. Knit all rows until you have 38 rows or enough yarn left to knit two more rows, ending with a RS row. Do not break yarn. 

Using Color B, knit 2 rows. Carrying Color A up the side of the work, knit 2 more rows with Color A. 

Continue knitting with Color B. Knit every row until you have  38 rows, or enough yarn left to knit two more rows, ending with a RS row. 

Using Color C, knit 2 rows. Carrying Color B up the side of the work, knit 2 more rows with Color A. 

Continue as established for each color. With the last color, knit until you have 38 rows or enough yarn left to bind off, and bind off loosely. Weave in yarn tails and block gently. 

Want to make your own? Pick your colors here

Want a printable PDF version of this pattern? Sign up and get access to our Library!

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