Thursday, April 10, 2014

What's on my needles (week 12)

Before anything else I want to start with a small personal tribute to Ira Gutner. 


For those of you who don't know Ira:  He was the owner of a lovely little coffee shop in Rhinebeck, Upstate NY: Samuel's.  But he was much more than that. He did his bit to make Rhinebeck a closer knit community (pun intended) in all he did.  I first met Ira during a "knit in public event" at The Knitting Garage.  It was refreshing to meet a relatively new knitter who was so enthusiastic about the craft.  Later, when I started giving lessons and working in Rhinebeck,  Ira became a familiar and welcome face.  He embraced knitting and designing his own line of fair isle hats with fervent enthusiasm and I was often his go-to person to bounce off ideas for a new design or on how to make the shape work better or on which colors would look best together for a specific effect.  His creative mind seemed to work on overdrive and he inspired me to forge forward designing.  I still can't wrap my head around that he won't be walking through those red double doors any more.  I still find myself "talking" with him and am sure that he is knitting and designing for a long time to come in his after life.  I just wish he could have stayed with us longer.  He will be missed for his warm smile and big bear hugs.

At The Knitting Garage

Venumous Tentacular

I finished the venumous tentacular.  It is such a lovely shawl and shows off the yarn beautifully.  As I mentioned last week I will be giving a class on Saturday 19th on the pattern; explaining the stitches used and the construction of the shawl.  Remember, too, that all classes come with additional instructions free of extra charge until you have the project finished.
Please note:  Since nobody signed up for the Easter egg cozies class this Saturday 4.12. and the 19th is the Saturday before Easter, and I had some requests about the venumous tentacular class, I will be giving this class for two Saturdays: 4.12. AND 4.19.  Please let me know by latest Friday 6pm if you want to attend the class so the pattern can be purchased for all participants.


I cast on my next store sample "Kitty", a cute short sleeved cardigan for 2-8 year olds. This is a simple top down raglan construction with lace. The cardigan is further enhanced by the sweet crochet edging. To pull it all together (quite literally) it closes with a wide satin ribbon.
So far it is a quick knit as you can see by the progress I made in just one day.
 I am using the Spud and Chloe Fine which I had worked with before when I made my "Pendulum" shawl.  It is a wool and silk blend yarn which gives good stitch definition and is very nice to work with.

At Home            

Tony's lucky socks

Tony came home last Sunday and I made him model his new socks :)  Actually he had put them on quite happily and voluntarily the first day back.  These are knitted in Cascade Yarns Heritage Silk.

Tony told me that these are his best fitting socks yet, so don't miss my classes on the three major construction points:
  • Judy's magic cast on for two at the time toe up socks (Sat 4.26.)
  • Fish Lips Kiss Heel (Sat 5.3.)
  • Jenny's stretchy bind off and some other stretchy bind offs (Sat 5.10) 

Fortuna Fan's Baby Blanket

The baby blanket for my nephew's baby due in August is all finished and ready to be shipped.  I made this in Cascade Aran, sooo soft and cozy! To make the design a little more interesting I switched colors after 1/2 stripe when I was at the point to start my decreases.

So, does this mean I have nothing on my needles at home?  

No, I "forgot" to tell you that I am working on a knitted bracelet for a friend of mine:

Diamond Cuff 

I thought that I would have knitted this up in no time "under the radar".  I had bought Laura Nelkin's  kit over a year ago when I was in the Finger-lakes Region spending time on Seneca Lake. I thought at the time it would make a nice gift for my friend Joan with whom I had been beading for many years.  Now I am more into knitting and she makes the most beautiful beaded creations.  Well her 2013 birthday came and went, then her 2014 birthday was approaching last month and two weeks before her birthday came around I thought I could just whip this up quickly.  Wrong.  This bracelet is knitted on size 0 needles, so between the itty bitty needles and trying to place the beads correctly I was challenged.  I even got different needles, Chiao Goo's, which have a sharper point which is really important for lace knitting (my knitpicks needles seemed OK, but these work better).  After putting it into hibernation for a few weeks I picked the project up again last Monday and I finally "got it" (see also my pattern notes on ravelry ).  My note to self:  Next time I want to do knitted beaded jewellery I should pick up a kit at The Knitting Garage; there are a few by Laura Nelkin and all of those use bigger needles (I am fine with size 2; it's what I use for socks...).
Don't get me wrong: the pattern is beautiful and it will look stunning, but maybe just a bit hard for me.

Friday, April 4, 2014

What's on my needles (week 11)

Hudson Valley Yarn Crawl

First of all a big thank you to everyone who came to the store during the Hudson Valley Yarn crawl.  Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate and only the hardiest crawled. Everyone who did come walked out not only with a goodie bag, but also with some scrumptious yarns.  Our now almost empty clearance bin and shelves can attest to that.  Our clearance bins always have a "WOW" factor as the yarns in there were simply pulled because we run out of space. You can check it out any time.  The sales on the other hand were only for Saturday and Sunday and were a definite draw; come check them out at the next yarn crawl.


I had a lovely surprise when Judy Reichler e-mailed me that she shared our class schedule at The Knitting Garage with all her contacts.  Here is her e-mail to me and if you click on the link it will take you to her post on her blog:

"I love your blog, and it looks beautiful.  Makes me think I need to update mine.  Anyway, I thought you'd like to see this entry.  I hope you're doing well and that we'll connect again some time.
While on her blog check out her classes, too.  She is a wonderful teacher and experienced knitter.

At The Knitting Garage


The Venomous Tentacula

This beautiful shawl is almost done especially now that I decrease my rows I am going full steam ahead to the finish line.Who would have thought that this yarn looks so pretty knitted up?  I like the pattern so much that I offer a class to start you on your own Venomous Tentacula.  You will get the pattern, read through and understand the construction of the shawl and learn the different stitches used.  After knitting a few pattern repeats you will go home confidently that this can be finished ready to wear this Spring and Summer.

At Home


Tony's Lucky Socks

I finished Tony's socks and they are wrapped up and waiting for his return from his Mom's (or rather Mum's since she lives in England).  I will then put them on his feet and share pictures next week.
These are two at the time toe up socks.  The three main design points
  • casting on with Judy's magic cast on two at the time
  • FLK Heel construction  and
  • Jenny's surprisingly stretchy bind off (and a few other bind offs)
will be taught by me in a three week series of Saturday morning classes which you can take as individual classes or you can take all three for a 10% discount.

Fortuna Fan's Baby blanket

This simple striped knit while you watch TV blanket (this would be one long compound word in German;) is just about done and ready to go into the mail although the baby is not due until August.  Knitted up in the Cascade Aran weight this is a quick knit and feels beautifully soft.  I am sure the little guy will like it :)
I will have to think about what to cast on next.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Classes for Spring 2014

Class Schedule Spring 2014

Spring is for shawls and cute socks for those nights which still have a little chill in the air
And oh, of course, egg cozies.

These are individual classes held every Saturday morning from 10:30-11:30 am. 
The skill level for these classes is beginner/ intermediate.  Sign up quickly, classes are limited to four participants.

Saturday 4.5.  Spice Route Shawl.  This is a simple tri-angular shawl done in a Aran or Worsted weight yarn. If you have never knitted a shawl before, this one gives you a good understanding of the construction.  You will want to make more than one it is so pretty and quick to make.           This class is $30 for 1-2 and $25 for 3-4 participants

Saturday 4.12.  Bunny Egg Cozies  These egg cozies in fingering weight yarn knit up quickly just in time for Easter
Saturday 4.19. Venomous Tentacula.  This shawl is constructed sideways in a fingering weight yarn.  Depending on desired finished size you will need one or two skeins of Araucania Nuble or a similar yarn.

The following three classes on sock knitting can be taken as individual classes or sign up for all three at a 10% discount
Each one of these classes are $30 for 1-2 and $25 for 3-4 participants
·         Saturday 4.26. Judy’s magic cast-on This is a favorite cast on for toe-up socks two at a time or individual.  You can use any sock weight yarn.

·         Saturday 5.3.  Fish Lips Kiss Heel  This is a simple and well-fitting heel construction everyone seems to be talking about.

·         Saturday 5.10. Jenny’s stretchy bind off  A good and popular bind off for your toe-up socks

Saturday 5.17. Aurita  Continuing in our shawl series; this one is constructed with short rows which give it a crescent shape.  You will need 400 yards of fingering or sock yarn.

Saturday 5.24. Summer flies again  This is a half circle shawl with a lace pattern all over.  It is
worked up in a worsted weight yarn.  May I suggest Cascade cotton, Madeline Tosh Vintage or Shibui Heichi.  You will need 715 yards

Tuesday 4.22. - Tuesday 5.13. (four weeks) 1:30-2:30pm Beginners knitting class

All Saturday classes are $35 for the instructions for one or two participants, $30 for three or four participants.
This includes the pattern which will be purchased under your name at the time of sign-up and e-mailed to you prior to the class.

The Tuesday class for beginners is $95 for one or two participants, $75 for three or four participants.
Materials are extra and you are advised to come ½ early to purchase them.
Classes are limited to four participants.

Please e-mail me to sign up and also with special requests for classes you would like to see offered.

Private lessons
The  cost for private lessons at The Knitting Garage at AL Stickle is $35/ hour.
 For private lessons held at your convenience call or e-mail to schedule an appointment.

Knitting classes and Private Instructions at A.L.Stickles in Rhinebeck 
By Doris Formby (

Thursday, March 27, 2014

What's on my needles (week 10)


Before I tell you about my wip's (works in progress) I want to let you know about some of my designs.

A few weeks ago I received a message from the yarn company "Lantern Moon" asking me if I would mind if they used my pattern "Candle Flame Scarf" for a sample showcasing their new line of Indochine Yarn, a 100% Silk yarn in DK weight. I told them to go ahead; after all it is a free pattern available on this blog, on ravelry and on
A few days ago I received this feed-back:

"Hi Doris
We took the Candle Flame Scarf knit in Lantern Moon Indochine yarn to VK Live in Seattle and people liked it - so thank you very much for the beautiful design and allowing us to use it.
I am dropping 2 skeins in the mail today for you.
We will be going to TNNA in May and will have the Candle Flame in our boot. If you are inspired to do another pattern we would be happy to show it in the boot and link to your site.
Hopefully it is as beautiful in your part of the world as it is here today. Blue skies, white mountains and pink cherry blossoms."

I am so inspired by this that I had to share :)
Here are pictures of their sample and of the yarn I received in the mail:


I finally finished the pattern "OWL'S C-OWL" (click on the link to check it out on ravelry) and I am VERY pleased with it.  I thought that since I am finishing it so late in the Season I would not have much chance to wear it till next winter, but I have been wearing it quite a bit.  Not that I was asking for the cold weather, no, you cannot blame me for that.
I thought back and forth how much to sell it for and decided on $5; a lot of work went into it and I have seen simpler patterns sold for more.
It is geared to the intermediate knitter or the beginning knitter who wants to learn  a new stitch and technique.  If you decide to buy it, you can simply click on the button below or buy it through my ravelry store.
Here are some pictures:

buy now

Now without further ado let me tell you what is on my needles:

At The Knitting Garage at AL STICKLE

I am working in the Araucania Nuble, a truly nice to the touch and budget-friendly Merino and Silk blend yarn.  I was hoping to have the Venomous Tentacula store sample finished by this weekend to show off the yarn during the Hudson Valley Yarn crawl, but I am only about half way done.  Still, I will display it this weekend for all to see how beautifully this yarn knits up.

We have been making some nice goodie bags for the yarn crawlers, so, come and make the Knitting Garage one of your first stops. :)

NEWS-update:  All Madeline Tosh and all Shibui yarns will be on sale for 15% off this Saturday and Sunday!!  A really great deal for some awesome yarns!

At Home

Tony's "Lucky Socks" are slowly getting done and Sascha's baby's baby blanket "Fortuna Fan's Baby blanket" is about half way finished.

I extended most of my energy into the cowl and writing out a class schedule for this Spring which I will post in a separate post.
AND (one more reason why I have not knitted so much) while my husband is visiting with his Mom I have been doing a lot of tidying up to the point of moving furniture around and switching rooms with the help of my son Matthew :) The good news to that is that I will have all my knitting stuff in one place and Tony will have all his fishing stuff in one place and Matthew will have a bigger bedroom!

Friday, March 21, 2014

What's on my needles (week 9)

First of all my apologies for posting later in the week than usual, but I was very busy yesterday with my new pattern.  For five hours (!) I wrote, test knitted, wrote more and double checked.  I am now done with a rough draft which I will still need to proof read and add pictures to.
I also woke up with an idea of adding something  to the finished cowl :)

At the knitting garage at AL Stickle

The new space is awesome.  We have more room for classes and lessons and -not to forget- YARN!

Remember next weekend , March 29-30 , is the Hudson Valley Yarn Crawl.  The perfect time to check out the new space if you need an excuse ;) (click on the link for more information)

I will have a new class schedule out before then; promise!
Remember that private lessons, scheduled to suit you, are ongoing.

Meanwhile here is another finished project from the cabled headband class I gave a couple of weeks ago:
Liz finished the headband and her daughter modeled it.  It goes so perfectly well with her eyes that Liz may just have to make another headband :)

My WIP (work in progress) store sample, the Venomous Tentacula, is slowly growing.  It is a simple knit and shows off the yarn beautifully.

At Home

Lucky Socks

My husband's socks are on the back-burner; I just have to finish the cuff, but it is that boring phase of endless repetition and he does like a long cuff so I will just keep going until I run out of yarn.
He is leaving today to visit with his Mom for a couple of weeks and I know I will have the socks done by the time he gets back.  They will be a nice welcome home item.

Fortuna Fan's Baby Blanket

I started a baby blanket for my sister's younger son.  He and his wife are expecting their first child this August; a boy.  They asked for red and white as the colors.  They are the colors of Fortuna Duesseldorf, the soccer team they support.
I fretted about the color choice quite a bit because to me that seems to be the worst color combination with the red possibly bleeding into the white.  But I am now happily knitting a diagonal blanket in Cascade Aran.


And then there is the cowl; for that see my notes above. :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

About spinning, knitting and the cosmos

Thank you to Carolina who found this amazing video

I like that in this video Renate Hiller tries to link the movement of spinning to something very primal , the spiral found embedded in the cosmos and our own DNA.  And I like that she points out how far we have removed ourselves from the original forms of things surrounding us and thus have lost our own basic original selves and that we need to re-introduce the hands-on learning experiences to children.

Click to open the link:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What's on my needles (week 8)

At The Knitting Garage at AL Stickle

Change is in the air

 Here are some pictures of phase 1 of the changes at the shop.
I love how this lay-out opens up the space more :)

But wait here we are going into phase 2.
You can see there will be more space for classes and yarn by expanding into the area which was behind the curtain.  This will help with the air flow, too, so that it will be warmer in winter and cooler in summer; yeah!
Leah has been busy moving things around, painting and hanging curtains even though she was sick with a cold.  Thank you, thank you, thank you :)

Speaking of yarn:  We just got a big order of Madeline Tosh in both Light and Vintage.  Come while there are still lots of choices.  The colors look much prettier "in person" so you will need to come in and see for yourselves.

Store samples

The Fortune's Wheel is finished and came out beautifully!  Leah ordered more of the Dyelot Stimulus Package which is on back-order, but we have a couple of skeins left if you don't want to wait. 
This shrug/ vest is a perfect garment to greet Spring and Summer; actually I would wear it year round.  The best part is that it is an easy knit.

For more information on this check out my earlier posts on this blog or my notes on ravelry :  Strickliese's Fortune's Wheel.

My next store sample

For my next store sample I am using a yarn we just got in:
Araucania Nuble.  This yarn is a fingering weight Merino and Silk blend and at $12/ 240 yard skein quite a steal.  For the shawl I only need one skein.  I expect this yarn to be flying off the shelves latest at the next yarn crawl later this month.
Here is the beginning of the Venomous Tentacula
This is a sideways knit garter stitch shawl.  The lace border is created by simple bind offs and cast ons. The electronic version of the pattern is available for purchase at the store.
And this is how it will look like all finished:


At Home

The cowl for my owls

The cowl for my owls' sweater is coming along nicely.  I still have to knit another 3 or so inches and I have to make some decisions on how to finish it.  But as soon as I have done that and have written out the pattern you will be the first ones to know about it.

Lucky socks for Tony

Last not least here is my update on the socks I am knitting for Tony.
Thank you to Patty Joy White aka the Sox Therapist for the FLK Heel! (click on this link and it will take you right to her ravelry page)

I should really go on and on about how amazed  I am about the simplicity of this heel construction.
When I first heard about this new way of knitting a heel and purchased the pattern which is a steal at $1, I was a daunted by the number of pages (16 pages in all) and was reluctant to try something new just as time was of the essence knitting up Holiday gifts.  
I finally started on these socks for my husband and decided to give the FLK a try.
I traced his foot and marked the ankle bone point at which I needed to start the heel.  On Friday I had knitted to the right point and put the socks aside.

Getting up early on Sunday morning while everyone else was still running on Wintertime and fast asleep, I had all the time and quiet I needed to investigate this FLK :) 
After reading the instructions which are very clearly written and watching the instructional videos on the "twin stitches" I "got it" and was not only able to knit the heel for the first sock following the instructions step by step, but I was able to knit the heel for the second sock without so much as a glance at the directions.  It just makes sense and the numbers are easy to remember and adjustable to knitting socks in any size with any weight yarn.  So, this is really cool!

Not only is this an easy way to knit the heel, but it also looks good and it fits even my husband's feet with their high arches.

Let me share a trick with you.  When knitting two socks at the time you can easily get your yarn tangled up while you knit flat on just one sock during the heel construction.  This happened to me while I knitted the first heel, but was easily remedied by putting the yarn into the sock I was not working on.  Such a simple thing to do and probably others do just that, but I never thought of it until now and it was a happy "Eureka moment" for me.