Cat1The cat is out of the bag…and coming to America.

There are whiskers, I mean, whispers that our family is growing!

We’re purrrfectly excited about it, and we think you will be, too.

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Now get back to your current project. Your yarn is getting lonely.

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It was a tight race between Allium from Elsebeth Lavold’s The Garden Delight Collection (green top) and Buttercup by Heidi Kirrmaier (yellow top), but Buttercup squeaked ahead.

Poor Gyda, the middle top, didn’t stand a chance. Probably because we’re all in spring and summer mode and Gyda has long sleeves.

IMG_3973I’ll be knitting my Buttercup top in this beautiful blue shade of Hempathy yarn, from Elsebeth Lavold Designer’s Choice.

Hempathy is the yarn called for in the pattern, so I can be assured the results will be what I expect.

I’ve started swatching, like a good little knitter, but don’t have much else to show you yet.

IMG_4138Want to knit along with me?

The Buttercup pattern is free on Ravelry.

Pick up some Hempathy at your favorite local yarn store.

Tune in again next week when I’ll discuss my sizing choices and hopefully have some decent progress to show off!

The Mia yarn I just used to knit a new pair of fingerless mitts is not the only new cotton blend from Debbie Bliss this season.

Debbie Bliss JulietWhile Mia is a cotton/wool blend in solid colors, Juliet Summer Tweed is a multicolored 52% Cotton, 48% Acrylic blend. It is available in 12 colorways.

Juliet Summer Tweed is also machine washable on a cold, gentle cycle! But you should still dry flat. Of course, many people still prefer to hand wash their hand knits as they feel the machine will stretch out the garment too much, but it’s nice to have the option!

There are a number of lovely Juliet Summer Tweed patterns to tempt your knitting needles, in both the Juliet book and the current issue of Debbie Bliss Magazine.

Allow me to highlight a few of my favorites.

162728This Cable Neck Top is enchanting. I like the combination of the simple stockinette body with the bold collar.

Of course, the fun coloring of Juliet Summer Tweed means even stockinette stitch fabric looks anything but simple!

162731The fun, military styling of this Double-Breasted Jacket is very appealing. Big buttons are “in” this year!

The trim is a touch of Cashmerino Baby yarn. This top would have minimal finishing, since the sleeves are worked in one piece with the body.

162737There is something very fun about this Tee Shirt Top that I can’t quite put my finger on.

Maybe it’s the combination of the fun Juliet Summer Tweed colors with the bold Cashmerino Baby hem.

Or maybe it’s the casual styling, which makes this look like a comfortable top to wear.

Either way, I think it would become a wardrobe staple.

What do you like about the tops I’ve highlighted?

There are several more Juliet Summer Tweed patterns you can flip through.

Find a local yarn store near you that stocks Debbie Bliss products to you can see Juliet Summer Tweed in person.

My Susie Rogers’ Reading Mitts are finished!

IMG_4123I knit mine using Debbie Bliss Mia yarn.

This new yarn is a 50% Cotton, 50% Wool blend that was lovely to knit with. Mia is plump, springy, and has great stitch definition.

IMG_4126As you can see, I corrected the mistake of leaving out the lace trim on the blue mitt!

I love the fit of these gloves, as well as the special details like the lace and picot hem.

IMG_4127Checking the time stamps on my pictures, the first mitt took me about a week to knit. There might have been other projects distracting me, too. The second mitt took about two days to knit.

If you’re looking for a last minute project, Mia yarn combined with an accessory pattern might be the way to go!

See all the Mia colors.

See more patterns using Mia yarn.

Find a Debbie Bliss retailer near you.

As I’ve been waiting for the votes for my next project to come in, I’ve been busy knitting a pair of Susie Rogers’ Reading Mitts.

IMG_4004I started the first mitt on April 4 and had it finished off on April 11. That counts as a quick knit in my book!

IMG_4072I was dividing time between the mitt and working on my Noro top YS589 from the Hanami book. The Noro Hanami Top is at the point where it needs focus because I’m seaming and weaving in ends. The mitts are soothing stockinette stitch, so they are good TV knitting.

The mitts start at the cuff and work toward the fingers. The directions are to sew both hems down at the end, but I can’t leave well enough alone.

The bottom hem I closed by knitting the cast on edge together with an interior row. Simple stuff.

IMG_4077The hem at the fingers wouldn’t cooperate to k2tog, I couldn’t get my needles positioned well. For the cuff at the fingers I had to break down and sew the cast off edge down.

It was simple matter of whip stitching the cast off edge to the corresponding row on the inside.

IMG_4078Although the first mitt is finished, I’m leaving the stitch markers attached for now.

I (gasp) did not swatch before I started the mitts. They are so small I could finished one by the time I worked a decent swatch!

I started on US6 needles, which is a recommended size for the Debbie Bliss Mia yarn I’m using. The fabric is nice at this gauge, but I could tell they were coming out a little big.

Since I wanted a more snug fit on the wrist and hand I dropped down to a US5 needle. That is the first, lower marker.

IMG_4079The second marker is where I started the thumb gusset. By leaving the markers in place it will be easier to match my second mitt to the first.

This pattern has three sizes. I’m making the smallest size and it’s a beautiful fit! I’m also pleased that the mitts are ambidextrous so I don’t have to worry about making two right mitts.

The Debbie Bliss Mia yarn is wonderful to work with. It is plump and springy. I was showing my first mitt off at knitting group Tuesday night and everyone agreed both the yarn and pattern are lovely.

IMG_4086I started the second mitt last night. I hope I have it done by the end of the week so I can start my new sweater.

By the way, can you spot the problem with the second mitt?

See all the Debbie Bliss Mia colors. Find a store near you that carries Debbie Bliss yarn.

Find the Susie Rogers’ Reading Mitt pattern on Ravelry.

The votes have been counted. The yarn with the most votes for my next project is Elsebeth Lavold’s Hempathy!

IMG_3973Voting started out close, but Hempathy eventually pulled ahead with 90 votes to Tenzing’s 72.

IMG_3982I think the fiber content is what pushed Hempathy over the edge. As a Cotton/Hemp/Mondial blend I’ll be able to wear the finished sweater right away, which many people liked.

Juniper Moon Farm Tenzing is a Merino Wool/Yak blend, which means I’d be knitting across seasons and getting ready for the Fall. However, many people liked the spring green shade of Tenzing.

Now you have to decide which pattern I’m going to make with my stunning blue Hempathy.

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I have three projects in mind from which you can select. They are being presented in no particular order.

Allium

AlliumFirst up is the Allium top from The Garden Delight Collection book.

Allium caught my eye because it’s both different and very pretty. You won’t find this top in stores! I like all the details, from the peplum skirt to the lace on the shoulders.

I do, however, worry about how the peplum will look on my pear shaped body.

Allium is worked in the round to the underarms, so finishing will be a breeze.

Preview the rest of The Garden Delight Collection.

Gyda

GydaNext up is Gyda from The Second Viking Knits Collection book.

This is Elsebeth’s 9th book, but I love many of the patterns.

Again, the lovely details made Gyda catch my eye. I also like the easy fit.

Gyda will be a fun knit because of the interesting construction. The edging is knit first, sideways, then stitches for the body are picked up along the edge.

The basket weave pattern will be easy to memorize and “read” once the pattern is established.

Since the sweater is knit flat, in pieces, finishing will take a little longer.

Preview the rest of The Second Viking Knits Collection.

Buttercup

The last pattern is the Buttercup top by Heidi Kirrmaier.

Buttercup isn’t our pattern, so I can’t post an actual picture, but you can see a peek of it in the screen grab up above.

You can see better pictures on Ravelry and on Flickr.

Buttercup is an A-line, t-shirt style top with raglan shaping. There is a little lace at the neckline and hemp. It is worked top down, so finishing will be very minimal.

Hempathy is the recommended yarn for Buttercup so I won’t have to worry about whether or not it will work out properly.

Which pattern should I knit?

There you have it! Narrowing my choices down to just three patterns was really hard since there are so many nice patterns available for Hempathy.

Since you’ll be watching the project develop as I knit it up, I hope these projects excite you as much as they excite me! LOL

I can’t wait to see which one you all select.

PS-Don’t feel too bad for Tenzing. It will have it’s chance in the sun later on!

You can use our store locator feature to find local yarn stores near you that stock Juniper Moon Farm and Elsebeth Lavold yarns so you can knit along with me.

With warmer weather on the horizon it’s time to start thinking about how we’ll continue to knit and crochet without becoming overheated.

Sure, during the winter working on a blanket or a sweater is nice because the fabric in your lap keeps you warm, but in the summer that is anathema.

In the summer months you want either small or lightweight projects. And you don’t get much more lightweight than lace weight!

Another thing people like about lace weight yarn is that you usually get gobs and gobs of it since yarn is packaged by weight.

We distribute a number of lace weight yarns that you’ll be able to find at an independently owned yarn store near you.

Here is a sampling, in alphabetical order.

Araucania Yumbrel

Hole Affair Yumbrel

Yumbrel is a brand new, 100% Combed Cotton yarn that comes in 100 gram hanks with a whopping 990 yards.

This is a great choice for lace knitters (or wanna be lace knitters) who are looking to avoid wool for some reason. When we were introduced to this yarn at our pre-season meeting it was declared “soft as a baby’s tushie!”

This Yumbrel photo is courtesy of The Hole Affair, a local yarn store in California. Check out Yumbrel at The Hole Affair or your local yarn store and see if you agree with our softness scale.

See all the Yumbrel colors. See project ideas using Yumbrel.

Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace

Rialto lace Rialto Lace is a 100% Extrafine Merino Wool yarn that comes in 50 gram balls with 429 yards. This yarn is soft, beautiful, and machine washable on a cold, gentle cycle.

There are now 22 colors of Rialto Lace available, with this shade of red being part of the Stitch Red program for women’s heart health.

There are many patterns you can make using Rialto Lace. There is a dedicated Rialto Lace book, it makes an appearance in the Debbie Bliss Simply Crochet book, and it has appeared in recent issues of Debbie Bliss Magazine.

Juniper Moon Farm Findley and Findley Dappled

JMF FindleyIf you’re going to have a “pet yarn” that you just keep around because it’s pretty with no intention of actually using, let that yarn be Findley!

This beautiful 50% Merino Wool, 50% Silk blend is very drool worthy. Each 100 gram ball has a generous 789 yards. Many Findley and Findley Dappled patterns call for just one ball!

Findley DappledAs you can see from the pictures, Findley is solid colors, while Findley Dappled is multicolored. Fiber content and gauge are interchangeable, so feel free to mix and match the patterns.

Mirasol Nuna Fina

Nuna FinaNuna Fina is the younger brother of Mirasol’s popular Nuna yarn. This new yarn is a 40% Merino Wool, 40% Silk, 20% Bamboo Viscose blend that comes in 50 gram hanks with a generous 329 yards.

As you can see from the picture, it has a lovely sheen. Nuna Funa was introduced with 15 colors, so it’s great for either single colored garments or colorwork projects.

Along with the new yarn, there are several beautiful, new patterns to set your needles clicking.

Mirasol Sulka Legato

Sulka LegatoNuna isn’t the only one with a new sibling. Sulka Legato is a lighter version of the wonderful Sulka yarn. This new 60% Merino Wool, 20% Alpaca, 20% Silk blend has 274 yards in each 50 gram ball.

As you can see from our friend Cindy’s cowl, Sulka Legato is great for fair isle and color work.

There are several great Sulka Legato sweater patterns ranging from long to short sleeve to maximize the seasons when you can wear this wonderful yarn.

Read more about these two new Mirasol yarns on the Diamond Yarn blog.

And don’t forget that sales of Mirasol yarns and patterns support a school for the children of shepherds in Peru. You’re not just buying beautiful yarn, you’re doing a good deed!

Noro Taiyo Lace

Hanami crochet scarfThe popular, cotton dominant Taiyo family from Noro has a lace weight version.

Taiyo Lace is a 50% Cotton, 17% Wool, 17% Nylon, 16% Silk blend that comes in 100 gram balls with a massive 920 yards. It is available in 10 color ways.

It is great for both garments and accessories, as you see in this crocheted scarf from the Hanami book. Find this pattern on Patternfish.

Queensland Collection Llama Lace and Llama Lace Melange

Llama LaceQueensland Collection Llama Lace is a beautiful, 100% llama yarn available in 11 hand-dyed colorways. There are 209 yards per 50 gram hank.

This is a light, warm, and pet worthy yarn that is great for garments and accessories.

Inner Babushka cowlThe colors of Llama Lace Melange feature heathers, instead of the strong color changes of the original Llama Lace.

Llama Lace Melange also comes in larger 100 gram hanks, with 420 yards each.

The greater yardage makes Llama Lace Melange a great candidate for one skein projects, such as the Inner Babushka Cowl I designed shown above, which is a free pattern on our main website.

I named it the Inner Babushka Cowl because it is long enough to pull up over your head, like my grandmother used to wear.

If you prefer a longer cowl you can wear doubled, check out my Milanese Lace Cowl, which also takes just one skein of Llama Lace Melange.

While Llama Lace and Llama Lace Melange have the same suggested gauge, you’ll want to keep the difference in yardage in mind when substituting them in patterns.

This is just a sampling of the beautiful lace weight yarns available. Find more at your local yarn store.

Do you enjoy knitting and crocheting with lace weight yarn or does the fine gauge scare you away?

Artsy side shot

Last week I finished the knitting on my Noro Hanami top YS589. I’m using Noro Silk Garden Sock in color 349.

The first step was to seam the right shoulder, then knit the neck band. Since the shoulders looked small I decided to work the shoulder seam free hand.

Bad shoulder seamIt looked like a sloppy mess. My stitches were snug, but the two halves slid out of line and the design didn’t flow together nicely.

Disappointed, I ripped out the seam and took the step of clipping the front and back together how I wanted them to meet.

Clipped shoulder seamIt was very quick and easy to line up the central decrease lines to keep me on track.

I removed the stitch markers as I encountered them while I worked across the shoulder.

(People usually ask about my pretty stitch markers. The cat one I made at a local bead store. The Golden Retriever markers are from the WeeOnes shop on Etsy.)

Good shoulder seamTaking that simple, extra step yielded much better results. Ok, it’s still not perfect, since that center column slipped a little, but anyone close enough to tell had better be related to me. LOL!)

Shoulders togetherSo you can compare, the top picture is the first, bad, seam. The bottom picture is the second, good enough seam.

With the first shoulder seamed, I quickly knit the neck and arm edgings. The second shoulder was easier since I had learned my lesson and clipped first!

Then it was on to the side seams, which I always clip first. First I clipped the hem, then the underarm, then I counted eyelets and clipped the sides.

slipped side(All these stitch markers I made a various local bead stores.)

Working mattress stitch on the reverse stockinette fabric was deceptively easy. I just bounced back and forth from one purl bump to the next.

seamingEven though I was using a black section of the Silk Garden Sock, when the seam was pulled tight the fabric came together and hid the yarn.

I love invisible seams. It’s so cool to watch them come together.

partial seamTo read about seaming in more detail, check out this article on the Vogue Knitting website. The pictures in this Knitty article about seaming are nice and clear.

seamed topThe finished sweater looks great! Sadly, it appears that I don’t know how to properly use a tape measure.

The pattern calls for the sweater to be 27″ long. Deciding that was too long, I planned to shorten it to 19″ or 20″. My sweater clocked in at 18″, which was not a good look on me.

A simple solution is to pick up along the cast on edge and extend the bottom garter hem down. That shouldn’t take long. Afterwards I’ll be on to weaving in hems and blocking.

What tips do you have to make seaming easier?

I am very close to finishing my Noro Hanami top YS589.

IMG_3972The front and back are both knit. Now I have to start seaming it and working the trim around the neck and arms.

This, of course, means I have to start planning my next project. (And resisting casting on for it.)

I’m sure you are nodding in agreement when I say that my to-make list is as long as I am tall.

Therefore, I thought it would be fun to let you help select my next project.

The deck is stacked in my favor, since I’m going to present you with yarn I want to use to make projects in my queue, but at least I won’t have to do the thinking!

We’re going to do it in two rounds. This week we’ll select the yarn. Next week we’ll select the pattern based on the favorite yarn.

Round 1: Yarn

The two yarns I’m considering are sort of on opposite ends of the spectrum.

IMG_3982Juniper Moon Farm Tenzing is a delicious 85% Extra Fine Merino Wool, 15% Yak blend.

It is soft, springy, and lively, but also has good stitch definition for cables and textured stitches.

IMG_3984This is a warm yarn and any sweater I knit now I won’t be able to wear until fall unless I crank up the air conditioning! However, when the fall arrives I’ll be all set.

Tenzing is available in 14 colors. Each 50 gram ball has 153 yards. I actually have two colors on hand: #9-Alfalfa seen here, and #10-Fall Harvest. But you don’t have to worry about that unless Tenzing wins.

You can see Tenzing project ideas on our main website.

The other contender is Elsebeth Lavold Designer’s Choice Hempathy.

IMG_3985Hempathy is a 41% Cotton, 34% Hemp, 25% Modal blend that makes sense for warm weather knitting and crocheting. Anything I make with Hempathy I’ll be able to wear right away.

It is soft from the cotton, but has drape and crispness from the hemp content.

I’ve made a few projects using Hempathy, including the Marjoram washcloth and the Drawstring Project Bag I designed. I’m looking forward to spending more time with it.

Hempathy is readily available in 39 colors! I have color #61-Kingfisher Blue. This is one of my favorite shades of blue.

You can see Hempathy project ideas on our main website.

You’ve met the yarns, now cast your vote!

Which one should I use for my next project?

Vote between now and Thursday, April 10. (On Friday, April 11 we’ll start Round 2 voting for the pattern.)

Vote by leaving a comment here on the blog, or on our Facebook page, or on our Instagram account.

I’m looking forward to seeing what you decide.

Have you seen the new Debbie Bliss yarn Mia in person yet?

You need to track some down!

IMG_3481This wonderful new yarn is a 50% Cotton, 50% Wool blend. This balance brings properties from both fibers. The coolness of cotton, with the memory of wool. You can knit and crochet great all-weather garments with it.

And look at those fabulous colors! Debbie Bliss is famous for her soft, pastel colors, but Mia comes in 16 colors ranging from neutrals to bold primaries.

With a suggested gauge of 5.5 sts/inch and 109 yards per ball, this will be an easy yarn to use for a range of patterns.

Of course, Debbie has designed a beautiful book of patterns for the whole family to get you started.

mia coverThere are 12 designs, with a balanced mix for men, women, and children.

Mia cabled tankThis Cabled Tank Top is my favorite from the book. You can see how well this yarn supports texture with nice, crisp stitches.

Mia cable lace cardiAnother great woman’s pattern is the Cable & Lace Cardigan. Personally, I don’t like making button bands, so I might just sew this one shut and use the buttons as decoration.

Debbie Bliss is famous for her children’s designs and the Mia book continues that tradition.

Mia raglanThis cute Button Fastening Raglan is just one of the adorable designs in the book. I like the contrasting color trim on this sweater.

Mia vestThere are three patterns for men in the book. The two cardigans are nice, but I like the crisp lines of the Cricket Slipover. There is enough color in the trim to keep it interesting for the knitter, but not enough to scare a sedate man away. Or maybe I can just see a woman wearing this one too!

Preview the rest of the book.

Mia poodle cardiMia also makes an appearance in the Spring/Summer 2014 issue of Debbie Bliss Magazine. How adorable is this poodle cardigan designed by Fiona McTauge. The poodles are worked using intarsia.

McTauge also designed a Varsity Sweater for this issue.

These are just a few patterns to spark your imagination.

Personally, I think I’m going to make a pair of mismatched Susie Rogers’ Reading Mitts with my two balls of Mia.

IMG_4003What would you make?

Use our Store Locator feature to find a Debbie Bliss stockist near you.