Coming Soon, to Needles Near Me

As I wait for my trio of hats from my Craftsy class to dry so I can tell you all about them and the wonderful class, I’ve found myself winding ALL THE YARN. OK, not all the yarn, but quite a bit. Of the next 9 days, the weather service tells me that 6 of those may include snow. Nothing says knit like the wind to a knitter like 6 days of snow. So how about I share what I’m thinking?

First, my Cloudlover Yarn & Fiber Quick’s Point has started shaping up to be a gorgeous incarnation of Clare Devine‘s Tarsi-Grande.

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I had originally started these as vanilla stockinette socks, but decided a couple inches in that I really wanted more texture — this pattern is proving to be exactly what I was looking for. You’ll remember that Clare of Yarn & Pointy Sticks is a sponsor of Socks with Sarah and authored a fabulous eBook Sock Anatomy which teaches sock techniques on baby socks. Tarsi-Grand is an adult sized version of one of the baby socks and I’m so happy to be knitting it. Oh, and don’t forget that we can take advantage of the 15% off discount with Cloudlover Yarn & Fiber through the end of the year by using the coupon code  SOCKSWITHSARAH  when you checkout. This beautiful yarn & fiber makes excellent gifts for you and your fiber artist friends!

Then, I got my hands on this lovely skein of Merino Twist DK from Sweet Fiber.

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I think the olive colorway will go great with my favorite muskox neckerchief & I’m looking to knit it into Shannon Cook’s Schwimmen

schwimmenA pretty lace hat from Shannon Cook & Jane Richmond’s new mini collection, Seasonless, I can barely wait to cast-on. I have to give a shout-out to Shannon for a little assist yesterday. I am not the most computer savvy lady on Earth, unfortunately, and I was having some issues with printing my patterns from the eBook version that came with my print copy (which I’m told is on its way!). I emailed Shannon and she got back to me right away and got those patterns delivered in a manner that I could print — I printed them immediately, of course. Thanks so much, Shannon, for your time and extra effort!

Then, I was also looking at Laylow — the lovely shawl pattern in the same booklet. So I did some stash diving and came up with a couple skeins that might work…

laylowI can’t tell yet if this color combination will work. The blue doesn’t have quite the coppery tones I had remembered, but I think I’m going to knit the main body in blue and then see how I feel about the other skein once I get to the color change. I could go a couple different routes based on my stash, but I think this might be stunning if that copper tone in the blue comes through coppery enough. We’ll see when we get there.

And… since I’ve been wearing shawls and scarves non-stop these days, I wound my super special Bijou Basin Ranch  limited edition Autumn colorway from Miss Babs.

bbrThis is a yak down/nylon blend is gorgeous and I am pretty sure I am going to knit up a shawl with this — the yak is so darn soft I simply must have it around my neck. I’m thinking something simple like Lisa Mutch’s Zilver might fit the bill perfectly — knit up on a US size 8 needle, this will go quickly and the less dense fabric will work great with the yak once it blooms.

And last, but certainly not least, I’m going to be joining in Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky Hats KAL which runs from November 15 – December 15. It’s such a quick & easy KAL that I just couldn’t refuse. All you have to do is knit up one (or as many as you like — these would be quick and easy gifts!) of the hats from the Bulky Hats for Kids & Adults collection in the lovely 50% alpaca/50% wool blend of Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky, a super bulky yarn. Seriously, there aren’t many quicker knits that super bulky hats!

I’m going to be making my little girl a Bear Hat in the Azalea colorway.

bsa kalI’m pretty sure she’s going to see it as a hot pink kitty cat hat, but I’m ok with that. A super warm hat was on my to-do list for my girl, so this fits the bill perfectly and I’ll have a chance to win a fantastic prize, too…

Photo courtesy of Blue Sky Alpacas.

I’ve been ogling the Cane Bay Wrap since I knit up the Fractal Cowl in Blue Sky Alpacas Extra in June and the prize is in blue, so seriously this could not be stronger incentive for me.

This is probably enough to keep me busy for a couple days. Just joking! That’s at least a week or two of knitting for me, but of course I’m also hoping that if we’re going to have some snowy weather that maybe I’ll squeeze in some time with my spinning wheel. I have my Quick’s Point fiber from Cloudlover that I’m working toward finishing and this recent addition to the stash from Spun Right Round

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It’s 4oz of Rambouillet in the Wacky colorway. I’m pretty sure it was made for me. And just to veer off-course here, don’t even get me started on this beauty from the same shop…

IMG_6997But that skein will have to wait its turn. Two shawls, two hats, and a pair of socks are in front of this beauty in line. Have no fear though, they’ll all be coming to needles near me soon enough. Well, maybe not soon enough, but as soon as possible.

Let’s Tagalong, Shall We?

I’ve been hearing that some serious cases of Second Sock Syndrome are going around the Socks with Sarah KAL these days. As for me, I haven’t caught that SSS bug, but I have been devoting much less time than I had been to socks. First, I was wrapping up my Little Wave sweater. Then on a bit of a whim I decided to join the Chill Chaser KAL — the design I wrote about yesterday. As I said, it was just perfect for my daughter and she absolutely adores it.  And then I got it in my head to knit up a special shawl on kind of short notice. Sure, I knit a couple socks in there for the String Theory Coloroworks promotion and I started my Quick’s Point Socks using the special Knitting Sarah Colorway from Cloudlover Yarn & Fiber, but the latter is moving slowly these days in lieu of the other projects. And now I have to knit up the entire Mary, Millie, and Morgan set for my daughter’s birthday at the end of the month. This is not helping to motivate my sock knitting!

That being said, along came the announcement in my Facebook feed that Knitter’s Pride is hosting a knitalong during the month of October — cleverly named the Socktober KAL — for the fantastic Conversation Socks collection by Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter of Handmade by Stefanie. The KAL is super simple and I think it would be a terrific opportunity for anyone who has kind of gotten out of the groove of sock knitting and wants to get going again. Plus, there are prizes! All you have to do is complete one of the sport weight sock patterns in the Conversation Socks collection by October 31st and tag it on Ravelry with #KPConvoSocks (knitters are encouraged to use the same tag on Instagram, too) and you’ll be entered to win a couple prizes!

First,  a Knitter’s Pride Dreamz DPN Sock Set!

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This set contains needle sizes US 0, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, and 3, so it would set you up with all the most commonly used sock knitting needles sizes. What a great prize!

Second, you’ll be eligible to win 2 skeins of SilverSpun from Feel Good Yarn.

SilverSpun | Feel Good Yarn Company

I wrote about using this fabmazing yarn back in April — it is really a tremendous treat to work with. Plus, 2skeins is enough to make either of the smaller sizes of the latest Conversation Socks release, the Say What? socks.

So, any Socks with Sarah knitters who feel like tagging along will not only have some new motivation to click away on some socks that will knit up quickly in sport weight yarn, but also have the chance to win a some awesome prizes!

Whether you’re knitting with Socks with Sarah or not, let’s all just tagalong, shall we?

My only question to you is: Which of these 5 fab patterns will you choose?  Take a look at each of them and then vote below — I’m dying to know!  Not able to knit in the KAL? feel free to vote for your favorite design anyway.

Retort Socks
Persuasive Socks
Chittery Chattery Socks
Air Quotes Socks
Say What? Socks

Personally, I’m pretty limited at the moment in solid colored sport weight yarn in my stash that is appropriate for socks , so I’m leaning heavily toward trying out the Retort Socks pattern with the thought that I may carry the stitch pattern all the way down the top of the foot (just to be crazy!). This is my yarn…

IMG_6546It’s Lorna’s Laces Sportmate in the Arlington colorway. It’s a little light on yardage, so I’m probably going to be playing yarn chicken through the whole project but I did check back at a couple of my sport weight socks and I have at least one that I finished using about 10yards less than what I have in this skein. I think I’ll be fine (and if I have a random colored toe, then I have a random colored toe — lol!).

I must admit that I do really love the Air Quotes pattern as well and I’m tempted to use a solid I was saving for my husband for them… Maybe I’ll start with Retort and follow-up with Air Quotes if I have time? What’s your plan for this super fun month-long KAL?

Photos used with permission of Knitter’s Pride, Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter, and Feel Good Yarn Company — Thank you!

South Dakota Adventuring, Part Three

For the final leg of our South Dakotan adventure, we took the long wildlife loop around Custer State Park — stopping to feed the ‘friendly’ burros carrots along the way — and then headed north into the higher elevations to Sylvan Lake.

sylvan lakeIt is pretty picturesque.

Staying in the Sylvan Lake Campground, the idea was to spend a day or two swimming and for my husband and son to hike the Sunday Gulch trail. We opted to swim the first day because it was at the top of everyone’s list and the weather did not look like it was going to cooperate for our second day there. It was a pretty perfect day for a swim. We found our own little mini-cove and passed a few hours in the cool water.sylvan lake boysI think the boys could have stayed in the water all day. Eventually the cold water got the best of them though, so we stopped at the concession for a snack of bison stew and fries. Full and refreshed we decided to do the short 1mile hike around the lake.aldo delia lakeThis is such a nice little hike — perhaps the most important thing I learned on this trip is that even the smallest sojourn onto a trail can really give you a much deeper connection to and appreciation for this place. You really needn’t go far to get a taste of the wilds here.20130624-095436.jpgAnd you never know what treasures you will find and experience.

From a rocky outcrop along the way we spotted three trees busy with Red Crossbills — another life bird for me. We watched for a good long time as they feasted on pine seeds while we simultaneously managed to keep the kids from falling off the mountain and kept Moose from knocking his passing admirers (or us) down the rocky hill. We are such multi-taskers.

The next morning we awoke to hail with the promise of more hail in the forecast. We opted for our rainy day plan of driving over to Mount Rushmore. Costing only $11 for our entire family, it is a bargain (not to mention there is underground parking to protect the car from hail — can you say win-win?). For the tired, chilled campers in us, we were able to sit in the cafe with a hot coffee while watching the monument break through the fog… rushmoreBy the end of lunch…20130624-095258.jpgThe fog had cleared and we embarked on the short Presidential Trail.

Back at Sylvan Lake, we spent some time at the water letting the kids net some more minnows. Then this started to roll in…20130624-095307.jpg

Yes, it really was that dark — it’s not just the filter. We headed back to camp to take cover at which point we saw this coming from our tent…And then about 20minutes of hail ensued. Of course, I was convinced we were somehow going to die in some sort of gigantic freak hail (remember that irrational fear of wild animals? Sometimes it extends to weather events, too), but the worst we saw was nickel-sized ice. We all survived. Somehow.kids rainy dayIn fact, the kids were great sports. We packed them up for a final drive past the Crazy Horse Monument. We got there just in time to see it enveloped in fog, so instead we stopped for ice cream at Turtle Town in Hill City. delia ice creamNo one minded that it was cold.

We went to bed with full bellies & listening to the rain. We awoke early & broke camp quickly in hopes of beating out the next round of rain. As we exited the campground and turned east, the rain started to fall.

My husband likes to squeeze every last minute out of his vacation time, so we made one last pass through the Badlands along the way.aldo badlands

It was a   l  o  n  g  drive home. Having completed my Capitol Square Market Bag a couple days earlier, I restarted the Wispy Cardi I am knitting for my daughter for the third time.20130622-171527.jpgI have been having some issues deciding what size to make my girl. I have finally decided on the 8-10. It is going to be huge on her right now, but with a growing girl I finally settled on a bigger is better mentality — big today means it will fit in 6months, right?

The drive home was mostly uneventful until about 5 or 6 hours from our doorstep when the torrential downpours and lightning began. Tired and nerves frayed, we landed at home shortly after midnight. Coming home is always a little bittersweet after such a great trip. At least it is for everyone except Moose. Above and beyond all things, he loves his bed. He is relieved and happy to be reunited with it.20130626-085817.jpg

Many thanks to my husband for taking so many of these beautiful photos & for letting me use them here!

Help Me Decide!

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As I continue to click away at my Quaker Ridge Shawlette, I have started to wonder… Should I add the ruffle or go ruffle-less? The pattern gives instruction for both options (thank you, Susan B. Anderson!), so I have to make a decision. I’m not usually that into ruffles, so when I cast-on I kind of assumed I wouldn’t add it to this shawlette.  Then I perused some of the finished projects on Ravelry & I started to re-think my position. I posted up my conundrum on my Facebook page and got a couple responses which led me to think: I should post a poll!

And now I am! So here’s you chance to help me make a decision by sharing your opinion: ruffle or no ruffle? Before you vote, a couple things about my project.  First, the pattern is Susan B Anderson’s Quaker Ridge Shawlette — check out the pattern & if you haven’t yet pick one up because it is a pretty simple, fun knit. Second, I am knitting with Madelinetosh Pashmina in the Cove colorway. Third, I will be adding beads to the finished edge.

So cast your vote – I can’t wait to hear what you think!

PS — I will post results when I pass the point of no return. Thanks again for sharing your opinion with me!