The Coziest Himalayan Summit

When I used to think of a Himalayan Summit, I didn’t think cozy. My thoughts would go to ice and avalanches and crampons. Leave it to Bijou Basin Ranch to defy conventional thinking though and completely revolutionize what I think of when I hear the words “Himalayan Summit’. Now, I think of this…

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50% Tibetan Yak + 50% Merino Wool. Let me tell you, it doesn’t get a whole lot softer than this!

I also think of this amazing assortment of goodies that the wonderful folks at Bijou Basin Ranch sent me when they kindly sent me the yarn for review…

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I always feel so spoiled — like I’m not just getting yarn to review, but a care package from friends with this shop send me goodies.

The yarn was so soft, in fact, that I actually chose to wind it the old fashioned way, just to spend a little more time with it in my hands…

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This yarn is a limited edition colorway called Crab Nebula dyed by ModeKnit for Bijou Basin Ranch. They’ve been partnering up with indie dyers the past few years in order to get some really unique, very fresh colorways. This colorway was so pretty ‘as is’ that I opted for a very simple pattern, my first ever Sockhead Slouch Hat. It’s a free pattern on Ravelry that I’ve seen knit up hundreds of times and it was about time I got around to knitting it for myself. This fabulous yarn was the perfect match.

After winding my yarn I discovered that the US 2.5 needle was literally the one needle size greater than a US 1 (I have never had the need for anything lower than US 1) that I did not own in circulars. I ordered some ChiaoGoo interchangeable tips and cords just to try them out.

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I started with what I believe was a 14″ cord, thinking it would be similar to the 16″ ones I’m used to, but it was a little tight, especially in the ribbing. I didn’t want to fight with my equipment, so I went back online and ordered the 8″ cord and waited for it to arrive.

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The 8″ was so much better! I had already purchased the 30″ for magic looping the crown, so I knew I was all set. I though the Chiaogoos were a great needle with smooth, easy to secure joins, nice sharp tips, and very comfy in the hands. Well worth all the hype I’ve heard from knitting friends. Between the needles and the yarn, I simply flew through this knit.

And voilá!

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Finished in no time flat!

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I’m especially impressed that there was so little pooling in the colorway. And I really just adore the vivid blues and oranges — the colors just POP.

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It’s a super, super slouchy hat, as the name of the pattern implies. Pair the nice long folding brim with the 50/50 yak/merino blend and this is simply a heavenly hat — so soft and so warm. Gah! I just love it!

I tried very hard to discourage the sproingy haired bandit from stealing this one. I went to great lengths with all sorts of shenanigans…

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So far, my plan has been working and I’ve managed to keep this one in my own hat stash.  It helps that I hung it up on a rack that she can’t reach. Keep your fingers crossed for me because this is the coziest Himalayan Summit I can imagine and I think I want to keep it all for myself!

 

Many thanks to Bijou Basin Ranch for sending me this yarn for review!

 

 

 

 

WIPs on a Wednesday

I just finished racing to mow the lawn and as I quickly filled up the bird feeders, I glanced West and I could see a bank of clouds, my friends. And do you know what those clouds have in store for me and my little family?

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That’s right, SNOW. We’ve had flurries and little mini-squalls that have melted right away for the last few days, but today we should see an inch on the ground. Hence all the running around to get the yard tidied up. With things zipped up outside, I can in good conscience steal a moment to share my current WIPs and goings-on here.

Having finished a quick test knit over weekend after getting out of the whole birthday rush, I opted to go ahead and clean up my notions. I’m usually pretty deliberate in always promptly getting my notions back to their homes when I finish using them. I’m not someone who will just buy another needle or pair of scissors or whatever if I can’t find the one for which I’m looking. (For the record, this is not a diss if you are one of those people — I’m a true believer in ‘to each his/her own’ in this regard and that there are pros and cons either way.) No, I’m the kind of person who will tear apart the house to find the item I’m missing and it will eat away at me if I can’t find it. So yeah… I cleaned up my notions and needles and things that I was too rushed to take care of over the last couple of weeks.

In the process, I found a WIP. To be more specific, I found a WIP that is embarrassing that it is still a WIP. You see, all I need to do is attach the pom.

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Literally. It’s washed and blocked and just needs the pom secured and photos taken. So that is on my desk so I can’t forget to make it happen.

I’ve also been plugging away at my lovely Brillig

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It won’t lay flat to show you the upper edge, but I think right now the colors are the most exciting part. I think it is just so pretty and such a fun potato chip knit once you get rolling. I’m watching a number of friends shawl their FOs of this pattern in the NimbleNim SAL+KAL in the Three Waters Farm Ravelry Group and it’s kind of making me anxious, but I have to remind myself that mine is a lighter weight and higher yardage version so it’s bound to take longer. Regardless, it’s a super fun knit.

I also treated myself to a new spinning project.

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I’m happy to report that as promised I remembered to not only take photos of the prepped fiber, but I weighed and noted how I split up the braid so when it comes time to show you the skein, I’ll actually be able to tell you how I made it. Yay! This is Granite on the Three Waters Farm 60/40 Polwarth+Silk base and is is glorious — color and base alike. If all goes according to plan, it’ll wind up the warp of a new weaving project. I’m long overdue for one of those!

With this spin, I also finally discovered a good way for me to use a little spinning wheel basket I got from a booth at the WI Sheep & Wool Festival.

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It’s billed as being a basket to hang from your wheel and be used to collect vegetable matter. That is why I bought it; to discard slubs and what-not as I went and maybe contain my mess. Well, it turns out that because of my positional limitations, that function did not work at all for me as intended and I tried sitting it next to me instead, but with the handle it was more in the way than anything else.

Then I realized that it would actually be marvelous to tuck my in-progress fiber into. So when I finish up a spinning session, rather than try to stuff my attach fiber somewhere on the wheel where it inevitably gets knocked off, I can tuck the fiber into my little basket.

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Nice and tidy! Now, clearly if I was spinning directly from a braid of a bigger chunk of fiber, I would have to break off a smaller piece because the basket is small, but I usually do that anyway. I really appreciate that this helps to keep my fiber secure and because I have a length of fiber ready to go, it’s really easy to grab and start spinning again any time. And, of course, I’m delighted to put this purchase to good use.

Aside from the sock WIP I still need to positively track down (I think I know where it is, but I haven’t actually gone and checked yet) and a spindle spin that I think it hanging out with said sock WIP, I have one other project currently in the works.

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Or nearly in the works, I should say. This is a skein of Bijou Basin Ranch‘s new base, Himalayan Summit and they were kind enough to send me this skein in the Crab Nebula colorway to try out and review. I’ve got a the general plan for this yarn set in my head, but I’m still deciding between a couple wonderfully classic patterns. I’m sure I’ll be casting on shortly though. Probably as soon as I can that pom attached to my other hat.

It’s the first of November, as well, so I’m starting to think about some holiday knitting and spinning plans, too. I have one lofty, dreamy plan in my head, but I’m not entirely sure it’s feasible or wise. We all know that’s never stopped me though, right?!

What are you working on this Wednesday? And are you starting to think about holiday knitting? Feel free to chime in and share in the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group!

 

 

Charted (vs Uncharted) Territory at Bijou Basin Ranch

As you most likely know, I’m lucky enough to occasionally be asked to write guest blogs for Bijou Basin Ranch on and off during the past year and I’ve been reviewing yarns for them for much longer than that. This is a company that I really have come to love over the years — the yarn, the patterns, and just the company in general. You can check out my latest post on the Bijou Basin Blog right here. In it I discuss working from charts versus written instructions in patterns and why patterns which contain both options, like the highlighted sample Glenna’s Cowl by Marly Bird, are so wonderful. I even include some tips for those wanting to try charts for the first time.

This pattern looks awfully complex, but it was actually really, really fun. I thought I’d never be able to handle it during the move, but it actually turned out to be really relaxing. And the Himalayan Trail I knit it in is the absolute perfect pairing. Definitely check it out and read more about it over on the Bijou Basin Blog. And while you’re there..

Have you seen their new Yak Enamel Pins? I can’t wait to tack this little dude onto my knitting tote!

And before I sign off, I want to share a very, very heartfelt thank you to Carl at Bijou Basin Ranch for his patience in working with me on the timing of this project and post as it ended up landing right in the middle of my move. It could have easily been an added stress for me during a very busy time, but because of his flexibility it simply was not and I’m very grateful for that!

Something BIG

Last week, a guest blog post I wrote for Bijou Basin Ranch went live. In it, I got to share my experience knitting up one of their newest yarns, Big Bijou Bliss. This limited edition yarn is really something special and I encourage y’all to check out what I had to say about it right here.

That said, I thought I’d share some of the photos here, too, because I’m just so smitten with the finished project.

wtw-detI used the Weather the Weather Hat pattern by Megan Williams and a little less than one skein of Big Bijou Bliss in the Lakeside colorway.

wtw-bbbflatIsn’t it lovely? It was such a great knit it went from cake to on my head in about a day.

wtwbbbAs I said, you can read my more detailed thoughts on the yarn and project here (the Bijou Basin Ranch folks are so kind of let me guest post, aren’t they?), but since we’re in the holiday knitting season as well as just plain colder weather, I wanted to be sure all of you got a glimpse of this fab quick knit. They just got in a bunch of new colors, too, so be sure to check it out!

Bijou Basin Ranch & the Molten Metal Cowl

I’m squeezing in an extra post today because this one is a little time sensitive. You see, in my neck of the woods we have our beloved  WI Sheep & Wool Festival taking place this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Jefferson Fair Park in Jefferson, WI. I’m delighted to remind locals that as usual the wonderful folks at Bijou Basin Ranch will be there. I saw on their Instagram feed yesterday that they were “cruising through Kansas,” so they are definitely on the way! And to celebrate their heading out this way for the festival, I wanted to be sure I shared one of their latest designs with you.

A while back the designer, Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter of Handmade by Stefanie, asked if I’d like to test knit a pattern and at the same time try out one of the new hand-dyed colorways from Bijou Basin Ranch. Would I ever?!  And consequently the last 6weeks I’ve spent dying to tell you all about it, but dutifully keeping mum so Stefanie could put the finishing touches on her pattern. You might remember that I showed you this image…

img_4063My little teaser a few weeks back. Yes, the blue is amazing! Well, I can finally tell you about it today!

First things first. The yarn is Lhasa Wilderness — a 75/25 Tibetan Yak/Bamboo blend and the color is Blueberry. You can find it right here or you can just take a peek here for the large assortment of colors available. While I’ve been working my way around Bijou Basin Ranch’s fantastic lines of yarn over the last few years, this was my introduction to Lhasa Wilderness. My impression? You can feel the incredible softness and warmth of the yak fibers and yet the bamboo gives the blend a shiny finish with lovely drape. What a tremendous marriage!

Stefanie’s Molten Metal Cowl is a great way to get to know Lhasa Wilderness.

img_4362A one skein project, it starts with a garter border and then adds a little texture with the chevron pattern.

img_4363The center is a simple lace motif, just enough to keep things interesting and give you a taste of how the yarn works up in lace. And the cowl finished out with the chevrons and garter edge again. Fun, quick…

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Beautiful laid flat, but even more lovely “on.”

img_4365-1Stefanie is hosting a KAL through October 31 in the Bijou Basin Ranch Ravelry group. Two winners will be selected from the KAL and they will each win a $25 gift certificates to bijoubasinranch.com — what a sweet deal!

The pattern & yarn will, of course, be available in the booth at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival — you’ll find them in the East County Store booth #616-617. You can also find the kit here should you be so inclined to order online.  As I said, this cowl as a way to get to know Lhasa Wilderness, but wouldn’t it make a fantastic holiday gift? A little bit of luxury in a quick, enjoyable knit? Whether you make it for you or for a special friend or family member, you can’t go wrong!