Barb's back, relaxed and ready to talk fiber!


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Festival Update


Barb’s back, relaxed and ready to talk fiber!

I had a wonderful time in Laguna Beach last week. I am well rested and ready for the final three weeks before the Festival. I even found a sweet little yarn shop while away!

I also had plenty of time for knitting on the long plane trips. Please see the review below of the needles I tested.

Crochet motifI have just a couple of new announcements this week. First, Festival Headliner Candace Eisner Strick will be on hand during the Trunk Show and at the Kathy’s Kreations booth (Nos. 2 and 3), during lunchtime hours to sign your books. Kathy will have a supply of Candace’s books available for sale.

Second, at right is a new photo from Amy Maceyko for her Friday evening class: the Crochet Motif Scarf. We are offering FREE ADMISSION for one person to Amy’s class, with the winner to be selected on Monday, Feb. 25, and announced on our Facebook and Twitter pages later that day. For a chance to be randomly selected as the winner of the free pass to her class, simply send us an email by SUNDAY, FEB. 24, with the subject line “Crochet Motif Scarf.”

With Warm Regards,

Barbara Grossman

Festival registration updates

If you still need to sign up for classes at the Festival, please keep your eye on our class pages. The classes are filling very rapidly now. If we have sent you a note with any changes to your registration, please return the message promptly so we can be certain to make any and all changes. At press time, the following classes have been filled:

Friday afternoon:

  • Sock Architecture: Understanding and Overcoming Your Fears with Lisa Carnahan
  • Short Rows Make BIG Statements (Spectra Scarf) with Judi Kirby
  • Introduction to Fair Isle Knitting with Jane Bigelow

Friday evening:

  • Drop Spindle Spinning with Cosette Cornelius-Bates
  • Locker Hooked Art Cuff with Kimberly Davis

Saturday morning:

  • Tunisian Crochet Entrelac Scarf/Neck Warmer with Misty Ledbetter
  • Shapely Short Rows with Lisa Carnahan
  • Intro to Entrelac with Bev Bortner
  • Crocheting with Beads with Vicki Fergus

Saturday afternoon:

  • Painted Skeins and Roving with Laun Dunn
  • Double Knitting with Bev Bortner
  • Short Rows Make BIG Statements (Spectra Scarf) with Judi Kirby
  • Finishing Class with Bonnie Meanor
  • Mosaic Knitting with Ellen Oehlbeck
  • The Shetland Shawl with Linda Voss Plummer

Sunday morning:

  • Knitting with Beads with Adina DeRoy Stouffer
  • Unexpected Stitches – Crochet with Robyn Chachula
  • Don’t Rip It, Fix It with Kate Lemmers

Sunday afternoon: Crocheted Prayer Shawl with Marge Connelly

Product review: Kollage Square circular needles

Kollage Square circular knitting needles are not new. They have actually been on the market a couple of years, but Barb recently had the opportunity to road-test them on vacation in California last week. Here’s her report:

Kollage Square needlesWhat makes these needles unique, aside from the square needle shape, is the very pointy tips. Personally, I like them. It makes going into the next stitch much easier, and I have yet to split yarn while knitting, purling, doing a yarn-over or slipping a stitch.

I have oftentimes struggled with a too-blunt tip on a needle, trying to get it into the stitch, only to get frustrated. The square shape of this needle allows for easier access into the stitch by creating a space between the yarn and the needle. For people who knit very tightly, this is a bonus, allowing greater ease and quicker knitting.  

The finish on the needles is very smooth, making it glide like my personal favorites, Addi turbo needles. A friend saw me using them and her comment was that they feel like they have a silk finish. Another person who has used them for 2 years said that the finish has worn off of her set. I guess I’ll see what happens after using them for 2 years…

Sweepstakes winners announced

Edie Vay, from Belle Vernon, PA, was randomly selected to win a copy of Quick Knit Flower Frenzy: 17 Mix & Match Knitted Flowers from Annie’s Knitting. She will pick up the book at the registration desk at the Festival.

In addition, Rita Ostapchenko’s name was drawn as the winner of the Soft N Sassy Pom-Pom Wreath kit. She’s from Mars, PA, so it will be just a short jaunt over to the Festival to pick up her prize at the Soft N Sassy booth.

Congratulations, ladies!

Book review AND new Sweepstakes prize

Sock-Yarn Shawls“Sock Yarns are Yummy,” is the first statement on the outside cover of Sock-Yarn Shawls, 15 Lacy Knitted Shawl Patterns by Jen Lucas. I agree, they are! Sock yarns have evolved over the years, why make just socks from them?

Not being a sock knitter myself, this book was especially appealing to me, because I love sock yarn. With the self-striping and long changing colorways, using sock yarn for a shawl is a fantastic idea. This little book shows you 15 lacy patterns, for the very beginner to the advanced knitter. Not only are the patterns shown in charts, but the instructions are written out as well.

One particularly nice feature of the book is a step-by-step explanation of how to read a chart, making this a perfect companion for a beginner or for those intimidated by charts. The patterns in the book are well organized into three sections: Lace Edges Shawls, Allover Lace Shawls, and Beyond the Triangle Shawls. In each section, Jen shows a step-by-step process, with various ways to make the shawls:

  • The first section all of the shawls are knit starting at the top center and worked outward, in either garter or stockinette stitch, making it an easy way to learn the basics of shawl construction.
  • The second section features patterns with all-over lace motifs, with various lace edgings or feature several different motifs that flow together.
  • The third section shows shawls that are constructed a bit differently. One shawl is knit from the bottom up and uses short rows, and another is knit from side to side.

Most of the projects shown can be completed with just one skein of sock yarn; however, Jen features a tip box with some patterns on how to make the shawl larger if you have an extra skein of yarn. She has published many patterns in various magazines, and this is her first book. Kudos, Jen! The book was just released last month.

My favorite: Briargate, a two-toned shawl that has an asymmetrical look and a pretty lace edging. This one will definitely make it into my closet.

One last note: Jen is shown wearing a necklace at the back of the book, I recognize it from Sassafras Creations, who is one of our new exhibitors. I’ll have to look for it, it seems to be a perfect match for the earrings I have!

To enter the sweepstakes, please send an email (one entry per person, please) to by Feb. 26, 2013, with the subject line of “Sock Yarns.” Please include your name and a phone number where you can be reached. The winner may pick up the book at the Festival registration desk next month.

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FYI: Festival & Yarn Information

Info about submitting books or products for review is here.

Info about Festival teaching, sponsorship or exhibiting is here.

Info about Festival attendance is here.

Info about our Knittreat is here.

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