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.

First Footing

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I love stranded colorwork. I had purchased the First Footing kit from Kate Davies online shop a couple months ago knowing a pair of colorwork socks were on my must-knit list for this year of socks. While I’ve done enough colorwork in my day, I’ve never braved socks. In all honesty, I was concerned with fit — with my floats being too tight, with my gauge being wonky. After finishing up my Snowfling Mitts though, I decided that with the colorwork in my hands there was no time like the present to take the leap into this project.

I started over once when I recognized that I needed to go up a needle size, but other than that this project was pretty smooth sailing.

20140313-131439.jpgMuch of it was worked over tea while nursing my kids’ cold and then nursing myself through my own.

cuff detailI will admit my favorite part was probably the ribbed cuff. Usually I am an English style knitter, but in stranded colorwork I hold one color in each hand. For whatever random reason, my continental purling is much stronger than my continental knit stitch, so with the white in my left hand this was a fun and unusual chance to use those purling skills.

detail colorworkThe colorwork, however, I found to be much like my Hermione’s Everyday Socks — just one more repeat and I’ll stop… ok, just one more. You know what I mean, the kind of pattern that propels you forward.

detail gussetI think this little gusset image is pretty neat — I love how the stripes and colorwork motif comes together here.

wholeAll in all, they turned out pretty great… and they fit well, too!

I did make some modifications for the heel flap based off the image supplied by Kate Davies on the pattern as well as the reviews of others on Ravelry. You can see my full notes on my Ravelry project page. Suffice to say I agree with the reviews in that I believe the heel flap for the Medium size should be shorter than listed on the pattern. I love Kate Davies designs and I will continue to knit Kate Davies patterns because I do find them wonderful and brilliant. That being said, I haven’t been able to track down a general pattern errata page for her designs which I think would be incredibly helpful. Thankfully, you can always scour the Kate Davies (Love) Ravelry group for pattern discussion that examines these designs and provides a forum to ask questions — that’s where I found the info on the heel flap. It takes more time than a simple errata page, but it does the trick.

These are my sixth finished pair in the Socks with Sarah KAL. I’m so shocked at the progress and at how rich my understanding of sock knitting is becoming.

So. Much. Fun.

Snowfling Mitts

It seems so appropriate that I write about my Snowfling Mitts today. Yes, today on March 12, 2014 I awoke once again to snow. Tonight promises record low temps near 0F. It isn’t unprecedented for these parts to be this cold this late in the year, but it has been a l-o-n-g winter. It’s nature though, and there’s nothing we can do about it. So…if you can’t beat ’em, make a new set of pretty mittens!

Snow now seems like an appropriate theme.

detail of snowflakeI’ve been doing a lot of contacting different shops, dyers, and yarn companies about sponsoring a couple giveaways for the Socks with Sarah KAL. Fortunately/unfortunately, there has been no avoiding some personal shopping while attempting to acquire items for this purpose. I’ll talk in more detail about in the next few days, but suffice to say Tanis Fiber Arts is one such shop. I carefully selected a couple skeins of sock yarn and as I was literally about to checkout when on a whim I clicked on the button for kits. And I saw the Snowfling Mitts kit. I had just been talking with a good friend about colorwork mittens and we had been ooohing & ahhhing over these mittens. Somehow one of these kits wound up in my cart and shortly after in my hands.snowfling mittsAnd now they are on my hands. I love that the snowflakes are a classic motif and yet presented in a modern way, just like a real snowfall.

palm side mittThe palm even side has a delicate, simple snowflake pattern.

cuff detailThe cuff has a beautiful arrow pattern and the picot edge is just a perfect touch.

 I followed the pattern exactly except for how I finished the picot edge & attached the gorgeous merino/cashmere/nylon lining…

liningRather than sewing down the picot edge & then attaching the lining, I just did it all at once — tacking down the picot edge while picking up the lining stitches. Isn’t the gold lining beautiful?

This project was two firsts for me. I had never tried a Tanis Fiber Arts pattern before. I found it very well written & easy to follow and the fit of the mitt is perfect. I am already looking ahead at using more patterns from Tanis LaVallee including but not limited to her Smokestack Socks and Business Casual Socks as well as the Fairview Scarf. And please, don’t get me thinking about the Coolbreeze Sweater Kit. I beg you.

The other first was the Tanis Fiber Arts yarn. The kit contained both Yellow Label DK weight yarn for the outer colors and Purple Label Cashmere Sock for the lining. Both were a dream to work with. I could tell from the photos that the Garnet (red) yarn in this kit would be beautiful, but the subtle depth of its rich color really was more than I even imagined. It is truly, truly beautiful.

All in all, these mitts were a joy to knit and are luxurious to wear. Thank goodness the weather has taken another turn toward wintry conditions so I can use them? Yes, that’s my sentiment. It’s March 12th, let it snow a little more. Why not? I have pretty new mittens to wear.

For my Ravelry project page for these mitts, click here.

Fiber Filled

It has really been all Tour de Fleece all the time here and my posts have reflected that over the last week. While I am very excited about my progress & even more enthusiastic to share with you, I thought I would take today’s post to write about the knitting I’ve been doing. Believe it or not, there has been quite a bit of that happening, too.

First, I thought I would share a project I finished and left blocking before my South Dakota trip: my Kit Camisole. I am happy to report that when I unpinned it and tried it on I was pleased. I think I may have even teared up a bit.

20130707-143316.jpgFirst, let me say that the fabric has an irresistible drape. It is so soft & light. It is so comfortable. The perfect summer fabric really. Quince & Co really outdid themselves with this 100% organic Italian linen. Sparrow, I am in love.20130707-143323.jpgI adore the back detail — it adds just a little elegance to the design.kit on meAnd the fit is just what I wanted. The drape & ease gently flowing over me in the quintessential linen camisole.

The photo of me wearing my beautiful, perfect Kit Camisole… well, I love my husband and I think we are a fantastic team in pretty much all aspects of our life. When it comes to photographing me wearing knitwear though… we need to work on it. Between my inability to not make a weird face or stand up straight without looking like I am trying to thrust my bosom forward and his ability to lose patience instantly while sticking me in light that makes my entire head of hair look completely grey (it is not, but in early attempts of this photo it did and I almost died) — it is just not great. In any case, enjoy this photo — it may not be perfect, but it was hard-earned.

In addition to wearing my Kit Camisole, I have been knitting like a fiend on my daughter’s Wispy Cardi as evidenced here…20130707-142241.jpgAnd here…20130707-142253.jpgYes, there has been some beach time this week — two days spent on the shores of Lake Michigan to be exact. They were gorgeous summery days — the kids played & swam, the husband read, the dog fetched in the big water, we picnicked, and I enjoyed nice long block of time to knit.20130707-142350.jpgI remember my own Wispy Cardi feeling like it kind of took forever — I absolutely love it, but it took a long time to make. I have been pleasantly surprised by how quickly this is knitting up — I suppose cutting the bust measurement in half will half that effect. In any case, I am nearing the end of the ribbing around the shrug portion and will be binding off for the ‘cardi’ addition shortly. I am actually kind of excited that I will surely wrap it up in time for school to begin. The only question is whether or not the bigger size I went with will fit my girl or if she’ll have to wait a few months — either way, I am pretty sure she is going to love it.

It has been a very fiber-filled week, indeed. Knitting away at the beach, spinning away at home. At times like these, I am so very thankful for my supportive & understanding family who accept the constant click of my needles & whir of my wheel. Speaking of that whirring, it’s time I get back to my latest spin.

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Either, Or….

Another finished project – from almost a year ago!

If you have knit with Malabrigo Rasta, you know that it is a heavenly Super Bulky single. The colors are to-die-for & it is soft, soft, soft! No fancy stitching required to make it a  w o w.

One of my fave projects for it is this one skein wonder.paris night

It is Firefly Fibers Either, Or Redux. The pattern is written for either a long, skinny cowl or a wide version. This is the wide cowl in Malabrigo’s Paris Night. I have a serious Paris Night addition. I have knit this colorway in at least four different weights and every time I love it more than the last. But that’s another story. This is seriously the coziest cowl I own — I often double-it over for extra warmth. It is perfect for our annual sub-zero January weather in Wisconsin, insulating against the arctic winds like no other knitted item in my closet.

You can view all of Malabrigo’s Rasta colorways here. Better yet, pop into your LYS for their selection. Malabrigo is always better in-person!

For more info on my project, see my notes on my Ravelry project page.

You can also purchase this pattern here on Ravelry or at Firefly Fibers in Beaver Dam, WI.