Remember this post?
It was all about this blanket:
This very same blanket, designed and knitted by our very own Michele Fandel Bonner and photographed at our very own shop now graces the pages of Cascade’s newest book, 60 Quick Baby Blankets. That’s it! The same blanket!
The book is full of great patterns, (60 to be exact!), all knit in the baby-friendly superwash varieties of Cascade 220 and 128. Michele’s blanket is knit in 128, a chunky weight yarn, so it truly is a quick knit.
As the mother of a 10 moth old, I can tell you, blankets always make great gifts. In addition to the usual uses like warmth and comfort, a summer baby, as mine is, will still need a blanket to lie on at the park, or to sit and play on at the house. Plus, babies never outgrow blankets! So come on down to Seed Stitch and get your copy of 60 Quick Baby Blankets today.
Looking for an interesting baby blanket pattern?
A blanket that’s perfect for both boys and girls…
…and timeless enough to carry from crib to college?
Coming soon in Cascade’s next 60 Quick Knits series, just the pattern you’ve been looking for, designed by our very own Michele Bonner! We’ll keep you posted on the publish date, but in the meantime, be sure to congratulate Michele when you see her.
In celebration of summer, I thought I’d do a little series showcasing some of the fabulous non-animal fiber yarns we carry. Even though wool is an all-season fiber (I saw a runner in town the other day wearing hand-knit wool running shorts!), it’s not the first fiber many think of when casting on for summer projects. When there are so many other fibers to choose from – bamboo, viscose, linen, and more – why not give the sheep a seasonal rest? What better, more basic, breathable fiber to begin with than cotton?
We carry a lot of cotton and cotton blends, and not all cottons are created equal. If you want a yarn with a silkier feel and sheen, try Cascade Ultra Pima Cotton. Like most types of Cascade, Pima comes in a wide array of bright colors that are perfect for summer. Because it’s a DK weight yarn, it’s super versatile and can be knit alone on smaller needles for a tight, clean stitch, on larger needles for an open, lacy feel, or even held double for a super fast, squishy stitch. It’s also machine washable!
If you’re looking for a summer garment to knit up in Pima, Connie Chang Chinchio’s Tie Back Shell would be a great match for this yarn. You can always count on Cascade for giving you plenty of yarn bang for your buck, and Pima is no exception. You’d only need five skeins to make this sassy summer knit in a medium or large. Another great yarn to easily substitute for the Pima would be Tahki Stacy-Charles Cotton Classic.
If you are motivated by more than just the weather for using non-animal fibers (I’m talking to you vegans and green-living gurus), then you will love Rowan Purelife Revive. Recylced cotton, silk and rayon clothing is spun together in nearly equal parts to make this tweedy-looking DK.
If you know a little girl in need of a sweet summer cardigan, cast on Analu. French designer Muriela made this sweater specifically to be knit with Revive. Pictured below is a lovely toddler-size version of the sweater by Gingergooseberry, which she knit up using a mere three skeins. You can also try the adult-size Lady Analu to match!
Looking for a cotton that is both environmentally friendly and machine washable? Try Kertzer Down to Earth 100% organic cotton. Melissa Schaschwary designed her gorgeous, flowly Plover Summer Beach Shirt with Kertzer in mind, so you’ll be sure to get the gauge and drape intended when knitting it. Melissa’s knitwear and accessories for both children and adults can be found on Ravelry. You can support both an independent knitwear designer and a local business when you purchase Ravelry patterns like this one through Seed Stitch. Just tell us the pattern you’re looking for when you come down to pick out your yarn, we’ll look it up and it will go straight into your Ravelry library!
If you still haven’t found the perfect cotton yarn, stop by and take a look at all the other cottons and cotton blends we offer, including more options from Rowan and Louisa Harding.
Next time in the non-animal knitting series: silk!
After meeting Leslie Scanlon and getting my hands on some of her designs at the Yarn Crawl last month, I knew I had to learn more about her and her work. Leslie, who lives just up the shore in Newbury, is the talent behind the clean and sometimes funky knitwear designs of Mac & Me. In case you missed her at the shop, Leslie let me pick her brain for the blog.
Leslie started crafting at an early age. “My mom taught me to knit and sew when I was about 7. I was the queen of Mary Poppins strapless tube dresses. No Barbies in our Catholic household, Mary did have that amazing tapestry carpet bag though and she dressed in black. I messed around with knitting then switched to embroidery and sewing until graduate school. I was working on oral exams for my MFA and the stress was amazing so I started to knit. By the time I graduated, I was hooked again.”
When she became pregnant and “nesting and knitting kicked in,” Leslie was inspired to start designing. Her daughter, Mac, was behind every part of the business from the very beginning. “Once I had a few designs to sell and stores were interested in them, I started to think about how they should look in the store. Mac, my then 6 year-old daughter drew the original logo months earlier and it was hanging on the fridge. The name Mac & Me came easily.”
When asked about which comes first, the yarn or the design, Leslie told me that her process is always changing. There are some yarns that have inspired her. “The Elizabeth scarf is a great example, I found Kid Silk Haze, fell in love with it and had it on my drawing table for a year. I knew what the garment had to feel like; feminine, light, airy but graphic and bold, goodness knows how long it took me to pick out the color but I got the idea for the scarf and the photo shoot at the same time. It was done in a week. That’s the best.” She also loves and designs with Blue Sky Alpaca, Shibui Sock and Madelinetosh.
Nowadays, being a knitwear designer also means being a business person. “The most challenging part of being an ‘indie’ designer is trying to understand the ever changing direction of the business…It’s like the Wild, Wild West trying to anticipate the flow of blogging, Facebook and Ravelry while also concentrating on my real work, which is design and knitting.” Despite the stress of social media and marketing, Leslie is still rewarded by “designing, knitting, envisioning the photo shoot in my mind, turning it all into a knitting pattern and then letting it go. The thrill comes when people respond to my designs.”
When she’s not working, Leslie enjoys rug hooking and yoga. A certified yoga instructor, she practices daily at 5 a.m. with a small group of other yogis. This practice, it seems, reflects something of her aesthetic as a designer. “I see my work as clean simple shapes, with great color, texture and design. I try to live with clarity, with minimal distraction and clear direction. There are so many distractions, it is a constant struggle to stay focused on what we are each trying to do and say. I am most interested in quiet design, still waters.”
I am so excited this year to be participating in and supporting the Salem Arts Festival this year. I’m doubly excited that we’ll be celebrating one of our very own, Michele Bonner. Michele has an amazing ability to manipulate fiber in ways you never dreamed possible but will be inspired to try.
The Salem Arts Festival is a super cool event celebrating all that is fantastically art-y in our city. It’s held around town from June 3rd-5th and is a must see if you’re anywhere in our area.
Join us on Friday night June 3rd from 6-8 for a reception to celebrate her work. Her work will be on display in the shop throughout the weekend.
Trysh Lynch, one of our talented teachers, brought in some show and tell last night during our community knit night.
Trysh is what I call a no boundaries knitter/crocheter. She often works without a pattern, is a fearless experimenter, and is always adorned in some really interesting and beautiful hand made garment.
She whipped up this AMAZING twin set out of our Jade Sapphire 2ply cashmere. It’s a stunning color, not well shown here because of the shop lights. The shell underneath is made with her leaning hearts crochet about which she was a featured lecturer at the Topsfield fair.
The leaning hearts crochet runs horizontally and is a beautiful compliment to the knit short sleeve cardi that is over top and has a vertical line to it.
I wish we could have “squoosh-a-vision” here because the hand on this garment is so scrumptious after it’s been worked and blocked. Trysh is now working on a linen skirt to accompany this outfit. Simply stunning!
Our very own Laurie Bellin! So many state and county fairs have amazing hand craft exhibits. Unfortunately, ours (Topsfield Fair) has in years past been a bit lack luster. HOWEVER, last year the Fair decided to really step things up last year and the quality and interesting things submitted have been wonderful.
Some of the top talents from around our area have participated, including Laurie Bellin. If you haven’t met Laurie yet, she’s a wonderful part of our team. She is an amazing teacher and is also some of the stitchery behind our finishing and fixes services at Seed Stitch.
This year Laurie submitted a garment in the pattern design exhibit at the Fair and won a Blue Ribbon!
If you’re in the shop and see Laurie, please make sure to congratulate her. We may even be lucky enough to have it on display following the close of the Fair.