Arcadia Knitting

Welcome to the blog of Arcadia Knitting, Chicago's largest yarn store! Owned by sisters Kathy and Sharon Kelly, Arcadia has been serving the Chicago knitting and crocheting community for over six years. Keep up with shop news and read more about our ongoing adventures in yarn...

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What I am working on now

People are always interested in what the knit shop ladies are knitting.

Here is what I am working on:

Baby Surprise Jacket in Regia 6 fadig, a dk weight multi. The color is great in the Baby Surprise.

Crocheted shawl out of Jitterbug by Colinette. I am using 5 different colors of the Jitterbug, another sock yarn that shall not be named, and some Lurex for fun. I am using a very simple pattern and trading off colors frequently. It is gorgeous and rich looking. I hope to have it finished to wear to an upcoming bat mitzvah.

What is on the needles but I kind of abandoned:

A summer sweater in Bali by Tahki. Bali is great bamboo tape. I love the grey color I chose but somehow I lost steam. I may frog and move on to a vest.

A Arianne by Bonne Marie of Chic Knits in RYC Cashsoft Aran. I have joined for the sleeves and my stitch count is off and I should just go back to where I joined but...

A Kaffe Fasset pattern pillow that I need to sew up and another that would be done in a few hours if I just sat down and did it.

Granny Square coasters. I make two granny squares and then put an old 3 inch floppy between them & join them with a slip stitch and voila! re-cycled kitschy coaster!


P.S. I had to go into Sharon's apartment to look for something. She has a lot of yarn up there.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Cripes! It's cold!

It is April 28th and I am freezing. Thankfully, there are shawls. I am not the best crocheter in the world but I can crank out a nice rectangular shawl pretty fast. These are not the most technically difficult stitches but great yarn makes them special. Right now I am working on one with a woven stitch in a variety of colors of Jitterbug. It will be stunning when it is done. I always get compliments. If you are a knitter and don't think you ever want to crochet, re-consider. I did and I'm very happy.

All I want to do today is drink hot coffee, nibble on chocolate croissants, and knit. Really I have to put together some books and yarn orders and work on Stitch N Pitch.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

No Tugging

Sharon & I have very few hard and fast rules for knitting. We teach people British or Continental style. If you look at ten people knitting, no one has the same motion. She's a rightie and I am a leftie and we both knit Continental. My left hand is more dominant while her right hand is more dominant. When students say that they are left-handed and so will be reversing everything we point out that one of us is a rightie and the other is the leftie yet we both knit the same and that knitting takes two hands.

Our rules: put the needle in the right spot and wrap the yarn this way. For beginners we recommend that in the first week or two you have more or less the same number of stitches.

We never tell people to tug. So why do they do it? It stretches the yarn and the yarn just snaps back. It's an extra, wasted movement. No book or expert is going to tell you to tug. When the stitch is done, the stitch is done.

If you want a firmer fabric, use a smaller needle. Tugging won't get you firmer fabric.

So, why people, why?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

And that's why they call it Baby Surprise

We just finished up a class on the Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman. We used the directions at the back of the Knitting Workshop book. We had a very good mix of new and experienced knitters. I hadn't made one in years so it was a journey of re-discovery for me, too.

This is what we learned:

Don't stop doing it until she says so.
Do the math for the decreases and the increases to help you figure out how many ridges you will have.
If you are a stitch or two off, a row or two off, no worries.
In fact, if you keep your markers in the right spot don't take the time to count stitches.
No, there is no gauge. She assumes you will find a baby to fit the jacket, not the other way around.

I described her directions as elliptical.

Everyone used some self striping dk weight yarn and everything looked great. I have had a great time making one and see how it is a go to baby gift for the generations.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Between the Brisket and the Chicken....

Passover is just days away and it is once again time for a special tradition at Arcadia Knitting. It seems that on Passover we always get a couple of people escaping the kitchen between when the brisket comes out and the chicken has to go in. We were raised Catholic and it took us awhile to realize what was happening. In the past few years on Passover we have waited and watched and lo and behold every year people walk through the door and say: "We're just taking a break from the kitchen, not really here to shop." Sometimes they just need a break after starting the chopped liver at 6 am because that's when Aunt Rose does it and if they don't learn soon the recipe will die with Aunt Rose. Note, there is a suspicion that Aunt Rose is holding something back. Sometimes it's your nephew's wife making you nuts. Once, the brisket just fell apart and she couldn't face it. This year Sharon and I are ready. We have some macaroons and Sharon will try her hand at honey cake. So please stop by between the brisket and the chicken.


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Tomorrow is Bobmas - another day, another party

It seems as is we have been having a lot of parties lately. Tomorrow is Bobmas which is a celebration of Ravelry. Thursday is also Sweater Club Night. You are all invited. We will sit and knit together and then head down to Garcia's for food and margaritas.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Della Q Arrivals!

We just got in a box of drawstring bags, needlecases and project bags from Della Q. Scrumptious colors.

Sharon just took my picture to post on our website and as always had to tell me: don't use the evil Kewpie Doll smile. I can't help it! Check out the website for a picture of a few things.