Star Wars Spectacular Handknit Socks

Monday afternoon I popped over to McWalker Yarns store in Millvale.   Robin was working and helped me get a pattern and some Rowan Felted Tweed yarn to make a sweater for the NaKniSweMo Challenge -to knit a sweater in the month of November.  I’ve seen Robin on Zoom Stitch meetings for several months but it was great to see her in person.  AND lucky for me she had the Star Wars socks with her, the ones we’ve been watching the progress on as she knit them during our virtual meetings.

All I can say is WOW. They are something to see.  She is an advanced knitter, clearly.

Meet Robin, attorney by day, knitter extraordinaire on her days off.  Here she is showing her pair of hand knit Star Wars socks.  Amazing work. She says they are a true labor of love and the recipient is a real SW fan so they are going to be thrilled when they unwrap them at Christmas.  Don’t think the recipient will  be seeing the blogpost but want to keep the details vague.  Look at her expert knitting letters with tiny stitches May the Force Be With You. Alas, she created the designs herself by finding a multitude of charts on the internet and adapting them for the scale of socks but perhaps they will inspire you to design your own Star Wars socks.


Posted with gracious consent. Thank you.

 

 

 

Purchased My First Sock Blank

Wednesday afternoon, Amy at McWalker Yarns in Millvale PA, unboxed several Pittsburgh designs and also Rainbow Sock Blanks created exclusively for McWalker Yarns by Yarn over New York. 

I bought this one- Pittsburgh Skyline with Landmark Bridges snd Buildings 
Will I hang it up as ART or unravel and knit a pair of Pittsburghy Socks?  If you are a knitter, have you knit from a sock blank before?  

From Bluprint Website

“What is a sock blank?”

“A sock blank is a long, rectangular piece of knitted fabric created by a knitting machine and then dyed or stamped with color. The edge of the sock blank isn’t bound off — it’s loose so that you can knit from it, pulling the stitches out as you go. The basic idea behind the sock blank is that you’ll get an amazing yet unpredictable colorway when you knit with it. “

Arachne and NaKniSweMo2019- You Need Fifty Thousand Stitches

In Greek mythology (and later Roman mythology), Arachne (/əˈrækniː/; from Greek: ἀράχνη “spider”, cognate with Latin araneus) was a talented mortal weaver who challenged Athena, goddess of wisdom and crafts, to a weaving contest; this hubris resulted in her being transformed into a spider.” Wikipedia

Sunday afternoon you can get together and work on holiday (or other projects). The stitch circle is open to all.   It’s a lively and creative group, talented, too.  I dropped by to get some help on achieving gauge for a sweater project. I knew it was off. Proper gauge is important, (just ask my friend Deb in this Previous blog post illustrating the multiple factors that affect gauge) 

After being advised by Jes and another master knitter, it was clear that even after the second opinion, I needed to rip out and start again. It was barely an inch of knitting I had on the needles.  Perhaps an hour’s work.   After reluctant deliberation and a bit of consternation I ripped out the one inch I’d started Saturday night. Jes had advised me to make the next size or it would be a form fitting tube on me which is never a good look on my body.

Here is Jes.  If she is not teaching Choral Music or Band, you could find her working out at the gym or working at McWalker Yarns in Millvale.   She is a prolific knitter of garments. Perhaps you saw the hat I knit with hearts  last winter?  Love Actually Hat. Jes taught that Knit Along (KAL)

Jes is wearing her recently completed Arachne Sweater by Untangling Knots.

Lauren knit an identical sweater and was on McWalker Yarns Facebook post here 

The yarn Jes used is BC Garn Semilla. 

See below Jes’ photo for information on NaKniSweMo

Jes in her handknit Arachne Sweater

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SWEATER IN a MONTH FASHION SHOW FROM LAST YEAR’S BLOG POST

November is National Knit-a-Sweater-In-A-Month   NaKniSweMo 2019

An Excerpt from McWalker Yarns Latest Newsletter by Amy  –

Are you ready for NaKniSweMo?

As I mentioned in an earlier newsletter, we are going to do another NaKniSweMo challenge at the shop.  We had so much fun last year, we’d love to have more of you join us.  As a reminder, NaKniSweMo is a challenge to knit or crochet a sweater of at least 50,000 stitches in November. You can cast on no earlier than 12:01 a.m. on November 1, 2018 and must be completely done (including weaving in ends, sewing on buttons, etc.) by midnight, November 30, 2019.  To be eligible for prizes here at the shop, you must be stitching using yarns from McWalker Yarns.  

We are meeting here at the shop on Saturdays in November (except Small Business Saturday, 11/30) from 2-4 p.m. to work on our projects.  Those who are participating and attend each Saturday will be eligible for weekly prizes drawn at random from those who attend.  Those who complete their sweater within the parameters will be eligible for grand prizes, including a $50 gift certificate to McWalker Yarns, to be drawn at random from those who complete the challenge.  Official national rules are here:  https://www.ravelry.com/groups/nakniswemo-kal/pages/NaKniSweMo-Rules-FAQ.  If you can come on November 2nd at 2 p.m., then you can sign up in person.  If not, just shoot an e-mail to yarns@mcwalker.us with the subject “NaKniSweMo” letting me know you are participating

There’s still time to stop in the shop to purchase yarns, supplies or finalize your plans so you are ready to go on the 1st!  #MYnakniswemo2019

And don’t forget to tune in and watch the 1990 film Arachnophobia 

Philadelphia’s Primrose Yarn Arrives in Millvale PA

Monday afternoon, McWalker Yarns in Millvale unveiled the beautiful line of Primrose Yarn Co, an Indi-dyed yarn company featuring a variety of weights and fiber content.  A huge box bursting with softness and luscious colors was just shipped from Philadelphia and is now displayed at McWalker Yarns.

Joanna had seen the yarn at Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival and has used Primrose Yarn Co for many sweaters,  She’s an ardent fan of it. See her model one of her creations below.

It was a great Primrose Premier Party at the yarn store, with a spread of spanakopita, hummus, carrots, fruit flavored Italian sodas, cheese and crackers, topped off with chocolate covered marshmallows and Peanut Butter Cups. Mmmmmmmmm.

Each attendee received a gift of a colorful mini skein of Primrose Yarn. Christine got right to work on a crocheted octopus and was borrowing some fiber fill to stuff it, right as we partied.

I’m not sure why I didn’t photograph her eight legged creature but am kicking myself now.

One skein of colorway Forbidden Forest ( 100% Superwash Merino Single)  makes this gorgeous Storm Shawl pattern by Joji Locatelli available at McWalker Yarns via Ravelry

Timbre Hat designed by Meghan Fernandes from current issue of Pom Pom Magazine knit by Amy using a skein of Classy DK with the addition of a strand of Primrose Plume Mohair yarn

Yanr

Peach Cookies Practice Run

These fancy peach cookies, which are more like a full scale dessert item, were created by Rebecca. She’s going to be in her friend’s wedding and she’ll be baking six dozen peach cookies for the big day.

I met Rebecca while I was taking a Sunflower Granny Square Crochet Class, taught by Sarah at Yarns by Design in Oakmont. Rebecca brought a dozen of these peach cookies to share with the Knitters and crocheters. A trial baking run. The verdict was unanimous-excellent job, Rebecca! Delicious.

There are many steps to making these. Baking, hollowing out center to make room for cream. Peach Schnapps is involved. Big sparkly sugar, pastry cream, maraschino cherry for the center. She’ll add a tiny green stem and leaf to the ones she makes for the wedding.

 

Steel Valley Yarn Crawl 2019 is Complete

Saturday my friend Vincie and I got an early start and made our way to Harmony PA to

Darn Yarn Needles and Thread Shop.  

Owner Lisa Krack introduced us to  Naturally Nazareth yarn

_____________________________________________________________________________________RaggZ  Fiber  Art in the village of Forbes Road

 

We hit the turnpike and went about an hour’s drive to Forbes Road PA where we met Toni at RaggZ Fiber Art  Vincie spotted these giant knitting needles and the welcoming archway.

Here is an article about RaggZ Fiber Art by Deborah Weisberg

 

Toni showed me Living Pelts  Felted on the back   The sheep (which she keeps) are ALIVE and the backs of the pelts are Felted.

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We called Dyed in the Wool in the North Hills from RaggZ because they were going to close at 4 PM and weren’t open on Sunday and in order to finish the Yarn Crawl and get their pin and stamp I needed to hightail it out of the village of Forbes Road and get to Babcock Boulevard. We skipped lunch and made it in plenty of time to meet “….Carol Briggs Dragos and Lynda Bowen.  We love yarn in all its glorious phases, fleece, roving and yarn.  We love to spin, weave, knit and crochet with it.    Join us in our fiber journey.  All we can promise is fiber, fun and friendship” from the website

Dyed in the Wool shop Owner Carol

Lynda waits on customers

 


A new knitter’s first project from taking a class at Dyed in the Wool

So three stores in a day and pins and stamps collected but ONE more pin and stamp needed to complete the crawl.

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SUNDAY at Noon Sewickley Yarns Opened and I got there close to their opening.

A beautiful summer day to drive down Ohio River Boulevard to the town of Sewickley.

Owner Robin welcomed me, assisted by her daughter Clair. Store hours are going to be changing soon -Tues Thurs and Sat- 10-4 with a late knit night open on Wednesday 10-8 PM. Friday 10-7 with Knitting Happy Hour 5-7

I asked Robin what Sewickley Yarns sells that is unique to the area and she showed me Koigu, Baa yarn and Shibui.

The Yarn Crawlers who complete the eleven store crawl are put into a random drawing to win a prize basket with yarn and accessories from all of the stores

The Grand Prize Baskets waiting for a random number to be drawn 

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After I completed the crawl I went to knit a bit with a nice group at McWalker Yarns in Millvale and photographed Jennifer and Joanna in the Photo Spot.

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Support your independent local yarn stores so they don’t disappear. Take a class and learn  something new.  Click the shop links for more information.

*The first post of the Steel Valley Yarn Crawl featuring Kathy’s Kreations in Ligonier and McWalker Yarns in Millvale is here

*Pittsburgh Yarn Company and Yarns by Design in Oakmont are on this post

*If you missed a post of the Yarn Crawl you can click here for 3 Yarn Stores in a Day Oakdale, Bridgeville and Washington 

Oakdale, Bridgeville and Washington PA 3 Yarn Stores in a Day

 

My friend Donna and I had an adventure today.

Donna accompanied me on the Steel ValleyYarn Crawl.   I picked her up and we went to the Dor-Stop (in Dormont) for a freshly grated potato pancake and eggs breakfast, downed some coffee and then put the address for Tonidale Yarn and Needlecraft store in Oakdale PA into the GPS and we were off!

Meet Ingeborg Saveikis She was incredibly knowledgable, patient and showed us around as we oohed and ahhhed at the wide variety of yarns in her shop. We received a couple of free patterns and collected the pin for the bag and had the passport stamped.

We felt inspired as we started the day.

_____________________________________________________________________________________Our second stop was Kid Ewe Knot in Bridgeville PA hosted by shop owner Heather, surrounded by colorful yarn.  She is preparing for a fall trip to Ireland with a group of avid knitters

Ellen and Craig Master Crocheters and teachers at Kid Ewe Knot How about that clock Craig made? and Ellen’s bag?   A Dragon Glove?                                                                                                                                                                           ___________________________________________________________________________________________________Donna and I got back into the car and headed south to                        Washington PA Ross Farm Mercantile 

 

 

 

Meet the store manager of Ross Farm Mercantile–  Anna-  who does it all!

Cotswold  Leicester Longwool, Shetland, Hog Island, Tunis, Gulf Coast Native, Cheviot, Jacob, Romney, Florida Cracker, CVM    Eleven Breeds of Sheep on the Ross Farm

Here is the  undyed natural yarn from all eleven breeds  They have the sheep’s photo on the label see below

Yarn from 11 breeds of sheep

Handmade ceramic yarn bowls.

Seven yarn stores visited for the Steel Valley Yarn Crawl- Four to go by Sunday afternoon.  I have a plan!   Stay tuned 

Ross Farm Mercantile is the red building on the right #80 Main Street Washington PA ____________________________________________________________________________________

Click to see Post  Kathy’s Kreations in Ligonier and McWalker Yarns of Millvale 

Click to see Post  Pittsburgh Yarn Company in Wilkinsburg and Yarns by Design of Oakmont

Steel Valley Yarn Crawl Off to a Great Start

August 2- August 11 are the dates to participate in the Steel Valley Yarn Crawl.

It’s not too late to join the Steel Valley Yarn Crawl.   (click for more info)

Here are the two stores I visited today.

There are 11 yarn stores on the “passport” where the yarn crawlers get a stamp and a cute pin to put on the specially printed bag, finishing the center of each of the flowers in the design. Every store has different types of yarns, accessories and supplies for sale.

The bags were/are for sale at each store (if they haven’t already sold out). My friend Vincie and I started the crawl this morning, wending out way out to Ligonier and visiting Kathy’s Kreations  on East Main Street. Thirty nine years in business!   See photos below.

Three Knitters from Altoona were going to ALL eleven yarn stores in a single day!  

Kathy’s Kreations in Ligonier Pennsylvania

How about the detail of this gorgeous dragonfly?

Stop #2__________________________________________

McWalker yarns in Millvale PA

McWalkers Yarns just celebrated their first anniversary in April. 

This Yarn Crawler visited FIVE yarn stores the first day!  See her pins on her bag. 

At the end of the day, Friday evening, my daughter Laura drove me (and my grandkids Charlie and Maura) over to Millvale to get in on the extended hours at McWalker Yarns.   I wanted to get a few more photos for the blog to generate some more excitement for the crawl.

Although this is the sixth year for the Steel Valley Yarn Crawl, it’s my first time to join in on the fun.

My grandkids Maura and Charlie pose for a photo at McWalker Yarns in Millvale

Christine and Amy pose in their Steel Valley Yarn Crawl Photo Spot at McWalker Yarns.

Exclusive COLORWAYS at McWalker yarns

Jes is always ready to help you select yarn and figure out what you need to create your design.  She is a great teacher and a prolific knitter.

 

NEXT STOP  YARNS BY DESIGN In OAKMONT PA

 

Sam Barsky and His Famous Landmark Sweaters Arrive in Oakmont

An April 2018 New York Times Article by Laura M Holson  It’s Sweater Weather Forever states:

Samuel Barsky has gained a measure of fame online for posting photographs of himself in front of famous landmarks with his handmade sweaters.”

Thursday afternoon, Yarns by Design, a local yarn store in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, hosted

Mr. Sam Barsky, a Baltimore native.

Traveling with him and on display were some his famous landmark sweaters.  You may have seen him on the internet, posing in front of famous landmarks, sporting the sweater he designed and knit of that very landmark.  He showed one sweater he knit with Ellis Island on one side and the Statue of Liberty on the other side.

He’s even knit a sweater for himself and a matching dress for his wife, too.  Click his name in the beginning of the above paragraph for link to see a photo.

The attentive audience got to ask Mr. Barsky questions after his presentation, showing his artistic hand knit sweaters which on average take him a month to complete. He said knitting has really helped him in his life and health.

After the photos were taken, he was teaching a two hour workshop on his technique.

Here are some photos of the event.

Natalie and Michelle of Yarns by Design with artistic knitter Sam Barsky and his sweaters

Posing with Sam (in his Pittsburgh sweater) and Deborah (his wife seated on left), with the audience modeling his colorful knitted sweaters

 

 

 

 

The famous HOLLYWOOD sign on the left and the Eclipse of the Sun on the right.

Thanks for inviting me, Natalie.  Got home just in time to have fun capturing Mr. Barsky and his colorful knitted sweaters.

 

Here’s Natalie Belmont with her latest knitting Work in Progress in hand. 

Die_Wollnerin in Berlin Live Video

This afternoon at Die_Wollnerin, (That’s the name to follow on Instagram)local yarn store in Berlin, a cool duo were filming a live Instagram video. I was able to send the video to some knitting friends in the states while it was happening. It’s up for another 19 hours. Yes it’s in German but look at the gorgeous yarn.

Meet Sabine Bornemann, owner of the Yarn Store Die Wollnerin and fabulous hand dyer of lovely colorful yarn.  Every time I visit Berlin, I stop by to visit and buy yarn souvenirs.

Here are the Instagram Live Video creators Diana and Stefanie  so much fun to meet them and watch the action  https://feierabendfrickeleien.com/

for more info about their podcast 

Die_Woolnerin, a local yarn store in Berlin. there was an Instagram Live video recording happenings