Sunday, August 14, 2011


We Needle Ladies have been madly knitting away all summer! One of the latest projects to catch our fancy has been The Coloratura--a pattern from Wisconsin knitter Chris Bylsma. Mimi discovered this great sweater when she had dinner with Chris at Stitches South. Here is Chris fixing a loose thread in the original Coloratura with, what else, a fork. Chris knit and designed this sweater with Claudia's Handpaint Yarns.

Chris' Coloratura
She came to Charlottesville several weeks ago to teach a wonderful workshop in which many of you came from long distances to participate. Claudia McLean of Claudia Handpaints joined us from over the mountain in Harrisonburg. She brought boatloads (actually carloads) of her wonderful yarns for us to play with. What a weekend it was! Beautiful weather (remember when we had weather in the 80's?) and we ended the weekend at King Family Vineyards.

To knit our Coloraturas we had to choose six different colors of Claudia's fingering merinos and one color from her silks. The silk ties in all of the other colors into a unified garment. The panels are knit holding the merino and silk together. It's exciting to watch the colors change as you knit. We had so much fun playing with yarn colors (and drinking wine, but hey...)

Here are some of our projects in the making.....l

Mimi is, no surprise, using red colors. The silk is Rubies and the merinos are purple earth, summer berries, mardi gras, plumicious, tomato soup, and Hokies. Here is the back so far.

mimi's coloratura
Claudia went with her favorite blue merinos, anchored with Ocean Depths silk. Here is the back of her sweater.

Claudia's Coloratura

I (Lori) had trouble choosing my favorite color of silk! This is no surprise to anyone who knows me. In fact, I was dreamily lost in the colors with Claudia came up behind me and asked, "Are you petting my yarn?" It is that mesmerizing. The indecision I blame completely on Claudia! She has too many gorgeous colors to choose from! It's amazing! I began with Aubergine, followed by a lovely blend of purples, and finally ended up with the blues and purples of Ocean Depths. I am still looking longingly at that purples silk--it's in my future!

We all began by making swatches and playing with the colors and yarns, switching and arranging them until we had a pleasing color order. This drove my family crazy as there was yarn everywhere, in the dining room, on the kitchen table, family followed me. I'm not obsessed.....


To date, the back of my Coloratura is almost done. My original goal was one panel weekly, but it's going much faster than that! I can't wait to see what the next color is going to look like.

This is a really fun knit and an easy pattern--thanks to Chris Bylsma. Claudia's yarns add another happy dimension. We Needle Ladies invite you to stop by the shop and let us help you choose your own colors so you can be obsessed with us!

All of you women that were here for the Sweater Workshop Weekend--we want pictures!

posted by Lori