The Perfect Beginner Colorwork Cowl!

We posted about our upcoming Ninilchik Swoncho class a few weeks ago.  We suggested that it would be a good beginner colorwork project.  It is knit with worsted weight yarn and larger needles than many colorwork projects.beginner colorworkHowever, if you can't take the class or don't want to commit to a project the size of the swoncho, we have something else for you!  The Flying Geese Cowl is on display at My Sister Knits.  You should come in and take a close look at it.  Mary Jane Mucklestone, a superb designer of colorwork knitting patterns, says that her Flying Geese Cowl is a 'stellar first stranded colorwork project'.It uses Aran weight yarn and suggests size 9 needles for the bulk of the cowl, making for a fairly quick knit.  Size 8s are used for the final 1 1/2" of ribbing.  There are only 36 rows in addition to the top and bottom ribbing!This pattern is only one page long, including the easy to read and follow colorwork chart!  Flying Geese has a gradient background which adds an interesting detail to the cowl.  Still, it could easily be made with one color for the background if you prefer.  Mary Jane states how many yards are needed for each color.  That makes it easy to go stash diving if you have any aran weight left-overs!colorwork knitting patternsThe more we look at this cowl, the more we like it with the gradient background!  There will be enough yarn left over for a pair of fingerless mitts or mittens!  We can help you find a plain pattern and use stripes for a cowl/mitt set that blends but isn't matchy-matchy.If you'd like to change out the colors but aren't sure which to use, there are a couple of things you can do.  We love playing with colors and would be happy to help you!  The other thing you can do is go to the Ravelry project page to find inspiration by looking at all the projects there.My Sister KnitsMary Jane has a great video that demonstrates how to knit with two colors, whether you knit English or Continental.  If you don't know what which way you knit, she'll explain that, too!If you need help or encouragement, you can stop by the shop during our Fearless Knitting times, Thursdays and Saturdays from 11 - 1.  We'll gladly help you anytime but those times have a person dedicated to only helping people who come in! Otherwise you might have to wait.We encourage you to take a look at this truly beginner colorwork project!  The color combinations are endless; come into the shop and play with them! local yarn shop

Back from Vacation

Delightful surprises awaited me at every turn when I walked into My Sister Knits after being in England and Scotland and completely out of touch for three weeks!There are new samples, new enamel pins, new bags, and new classes among the delights!One of the first items that caught my eye was the Arika sample.My Sister Knits, Arika cowl, Kestrel, Quince & Co., Fort Collins ColoradoWe love this kerchief-shaped cowl designed by Jane Richmond for winter wear so much that we modified it for summer!  The original has yards of eye-catching fringe but we decided to leave it off of our summer version.  We also used linen to make it hot-weather friendly.  Quince & Co's aran weight Kestrel was our linen of choice.  This makes a fun accessory for a summer's day!When I went upstairs to see what was new, I immediately saw a group of items made with Hue Loco's Backyard Chicken sets.  Any of these projects answers the question, "What do I do with these fun sets of yarn?".My Sister Knits, Flax Light, Hue Loco, Backyard Chicken collection, northern Colorado, There are two hats, one sweater, and a pair of socks for your inspiration!  Our supply of Backyard Chicken sets is limited but these sample show marvelous ways to use up some of your odds and ends of yarn that are in your stash waiting for 'just the right thing'!  Be sure to check them out when you're in the shop!  My personal favorite is the Flax Light sweater designed by tincanknits with the contrasting rib and garter ridge detail which are modifications we added.  I know a toddler who is going to get one this fall!With some more poking around the shop, I found several new bags and these in particular are noteworthy.  Ann found them when she went to Squam this past month.  Squam is a lake in New Hampshire; it's also a gathering of artists and makers.  We encourage you to check out the link!My Sister Knits, Colorado yarn shop, kzstevens, knitting project bagsThese are one-of-a-kind handmade, and sometimes hand stitched, bags created by Karen Stevens who lives in Connecticut.  We have both cross-body and tote styles.  Ann would love to talk to you about them in detail and about her glorious weekend at Squam!And this isn't all I found; there's also an Anzula trunk show with samples galore and some intriguing class offerings!It's fun to walk into My Sister Knits after being gone and discover what's new.  Be sure to allow yourself some browsing time if it's been a few weeks since you've been in! 

The Bias Leaf Cowl - perfect for all knitting levels!

Since My Sister Knits is featuring North Light Fibers' yarn this month and since it is 15% off because we want you to try it and since I love it, I decided to put my other projects on hold and knit up a dear little Bias Leaf cowl to add to our display in the shop.This cowl, designed by highly regarded Norah Gaughan, is a wonderful way to use one skein of Water Street, their cashmere/merino blend.   The pattern is free with purchase of a skein of North Light Fibers yarn!My Sister Knits, lys, local yarn shop, fort collins colorado, bias leaf cowl, norah gaughan, The pattern is well written and uses basic stitches to form the pretty design.  You only need to know how to knit into the back of a stitch, purl two together, and slip a stitch from the left needle to the right.  Easy peasy!There is a chart perfect for those who have never worked from one before with large squares and just a few easy-to-read symbols!“A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there.” H. Stanely JuddThere are certain things I always do to set myself up for success when knitting from a chart.  However, due to the simple chart and the ease of reading it, I thought my normal preparation unnecessary.  Alas, I did not have my knitting road map!As I knit away, I realized that I needed each of my components of successful chart knitting and one by one I added them in.  I would have avoided much frustration if I'd done this at the beginning!First, I use colored pencils to make the chart easy to decipher.  I use one color for knit stitches, one for purl, and one for each of the symbols.  Then I mark the symbols in the key with their corresponding color.  This makes everything stand out and easier for my brain to process.My Sister Knits, Fort Collins, Colorado, how to read a chart, bias leaf cowl, North Light FibersSecond, even if I don't think I need it, I mark where to start the rows of the chart.  Often it's only a note on the side but on this chart I found that it relieved stress if I put an arrow on each row marking the direction of reading the row.Third, I use a piece of highlighter tape to mark where I am on the chart.  I put it above the row I'm working on.  It took some getting used to  but it allows me to see what stitches were worked on the previous row.  Often this lets me know if I'm on track with the pattern.Fourth, I always also mark the row as it's finished because that tape just might fall off!Essentially, I do everything I can to map out my journey with the chart.  Some charts require a bit more even if they're pretty basic like this one.  For instance, I needed to have the empty white squares colored in because I kept knitting them even with the bold red lines marking the pattern repeat.  As you can imagine, that wreaked havoc with the pattern!My Sister Knits, local yarn shop, northern Colorado, North Light Fibers Water Street, chart reading, knitting symbolsUsually I use stitch markers to identify the end of one pattern repeat and the beginning of another but because of the sloped edge, that technique doesn't work with this pattern.  Fortunately there are so few stitches that the markers aren't needed.Each Right Side and Wrong Side row began with a specific set of a few stitches, so I wrote them down at the bottom of the chart to remind me what to do.I kept forgetting to knit into the back loop of one particular stitch so I used yet another color to outline that stitch on the chart.  That drew my attention to the fact that something special was happening there.That is the cautionary tale of my Bias Leaf Cowl!  Just because a pattern is simple doesn't mean that I can forgo my usual preparation that sets me up for success!My Sister Knits, lys, blocking knits, bias leaf cowl, water street yarn, North Light FibersOne last item, this cowl is worked flat and I will use Very Pink's tutorial for how to seam a cast on edge and a bind off edge together.  It's the clearest one I found.Come into the shop and try on this bundle of softness; you won't want to take it off!     

Join Our January Never Let Me Down Knit ALong!

We have the perfect project to give yourself a much needed pick-me-up for the beginning of the new year!  Kimberly's Never Let Me Down Cowl is our January KAL, beginning Tuesday evening January 9th and ending February 6th.  Kimberly will be in the shop during our community Knit Night on the 6th to get everyone started.My Sister Knits, Never Let Me Down cowl, Fort Collins, DK weight cowlA KAL is when a group of people work on the same project and there is usually a specific beginning and end date.  KALs are a lot of fun for several reasons!  The participants watch each other's projects develop, they offer support and encouragement to each other, and the use of different yarns is showcased.  It's also a great way to develop friendships!My Sister Knits, northern Colorado, Anzula Cricket, cowl, Hedgehog FibresKimberly designed Never Let Me Down for her two best friends in high school.  Jennifer, Alex, and Kimberly were always there for each other and each helped the others make it through their teen years.Kimberly says, "This cowl is a great use for a zany yarn you like paired with your favorite neutral."My Sister Knits, Colorado, The Lemonade Shop yarn, Plucky Knitter, cowl, Never Let Me Down cowlNever Let Me Down calls for two skeins of DK weight yarn.  It has a twisted rib pattern; purl one, knit one through the back loop.  The unusual texture is created by pairing a DK weight yarn with size 15 needles.  The texture pops after it is aggressively blocked!This cowl is a quick knit made with an easy rib pattern; the best combination for 'social knitting'!  A colorful yarn is shown off to its best with this texture.My Sister Knits, Hue Loco yarns, Tosh Merino DK, madelinetosh, Colorado, cowl, DK weight yarnCome to the shop before January 9th to choose your yarn!  Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to ohhh and ahhh over our selection of 'zany' yarns and to pair a neutral with it!   

Take our See You at Rhinebeck Cowl Colorwork Class!

The third weekend in October finds knitters flocking to The New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, New York.  'Rhinebeck', as it is fondly called, can be described as Knitters' Mecca!My Sister Knits, Rhinebeck, Cowl, Fort Collins, knitting classThere is a vast assortment of animals, fiber, items made with fiber, so many yarns, designers, meet-ups with knitters from all over the world, demonstrations of all types, and more!Visitors wear their hand knits with pride, whether it be hats, shawls, sweaters or anything in between.  Consequently, fiber lovers go up to complete strangers, touch their garments, exclaim over them, and no one minds!If a visit to Rhinebeck isn't in the cards for you this year but you'd like to join in the fun somehow, then we have just the thing!My Sister Knits, knitting classes, northern colorado, RhinebeckOur gifted colorwork teacher, Jeannie Giberson, has designed a stranded colorwork cowl called the See You at Rhinebeck Cowl.  Happily, My Sister Knits has a two session class, taught by Jeannie, to teach this easier-than-it-looks cowl that is just right for a beginning colorwork project!This class meets Saturdays September 16th and 23rd from 9:30 to 11:30.  No prior experience with colorwork is needed! This may be just the project to get you hooked on this fun knitting technique with a teacher whose passion is colorwork!  Read about more class details here.Finishing the See You at Rhinebeck Cowl by the third weekend in October is entirely doable!  You'll probably have time to make two!  As a result, you can wear it that weekend and feel as if you're joining in the fun even if you aren't at Rhinebeck.My Sister Knits, Colorado yarn shops, knitting classes, stranded colorwork classesThere are only 6 class spots available as it's important to Jeannie to give her students the individual attention they need.  Call the shop to register for this fun opportunity to learn a new skill at 970.407.1461!