A Fantastic KAL with Imperial Yarn

Just before the Christmas holiday, I shared that I had planned to make my Christmas Eve cast-on a very special one — the Chain Stitch Slouchy Hat kit from Imperial Yarn.

with patternLike so many knitters, I’ve been admiring Imperial Yarn for a while so the chance to get some of it on my needles was exceptionally exciting.

img_1748-1I wasn’t disappointed. It was a great project to pass the time as we waited for family to arrive for the holiday festivities — a simple design plus scrumptious yarn. Tempest, an incredibly soft single, is a yarn only available in this kit and what a perfect treat it was!

Then I set it down in the hub-bub after the holiday & during my birthday weekend for no other reason than to make it last a little while longer. Alas, I had to finish…

img_1830So I snuck time while the kiddos went sledding and then again during quiet time in a couple days worth of my precious early morning quiet moments.

And voila!

benchA finished hat happened! It’s really a uniquely shaped hat and while I was knitting it I was really curious how it would look on my head. The answer?

onIt’s a pretty snazzy slouchy hat! The combination of the ultra soft yarn & extra slouch make it great for cold winter walks.

detailAnd the super cool slipped chain stitch is very cute. I also love those garter stitch columns that run the length of the hat — such a great design touch!

Deb Newton, the designer, did a truly great job with this pattern. It was well-written & easy to follow. What’s even better is that she’s been available throughout the knit via the special Deb Newton Collection KAL being hosted over in the Imperial Stalkers Ravelry group. It’s been very fun to share pictures and chat with the designer herself in the forum. And there’s still time to join in on the fun of this KAL which runs through the end of the month. There are 9 patterns to choose from (you can check the list out here), many of which are pretty quick knits, and at the end of the KAL one lucky participant will win a sweater’s worth of Imperial Yarn. That’s pretty phenomenal incentive and a great excuse to try out one of these awesome patterns & some lovely Imperial Yarn if you ask me!

I’ve loved this quick & fun project, learning about the awesome history of Imperial Stock Ranch, and creating with this new-to-me yarn.  I even have a cozy new hat to show for it! This project definitely has me eyeing the other yarns and pattern ideas from Imperial Yarn – I hope you’ll find some time to give them a try soon, too!

Many thanks to Imperial Yarn for inviting me to join this KAL & for Deb Newton for being such a fabulous & enthusiastic host for the KAL!

Christmas Eve Cast-On

If you’ve followed me for a while here, you’ll know that I always say I don’t knit gifts very often unless a friend or family member expressly asks. I love it when people do ask, but I’m just not a knitter who enjoys surprising others with knitted items very often. What can I say? I’m so weird! In any case, I always into the holiday season blissfully knitting on whatever I want. I do, however, inevitably choose a few small things at the very last moment to knit up for gifts. Why do I do this to myself? I have no idea. You’d think this would be insanely stressful, but after one tense year of trying to finish socks for my hubby on time, now I have a very strict no stress policy. I knit to unwind and while I do indeed put in extra time for a few small holiday gifts, I’m a firm believer that what gets done, gets done, and what doesn’t, doesn’t. End of story.

This year, as you know, I have a few projects that’ll be wrapped up as gifts — two shawls and a pair of slippers were the original goal. Well, I finished those (photos to come post-holiday) and then decided to finish my handspun Easy shawl for the Three Waters Farm Behm-along (photos to come once it dries). And then, with less than a week before the big day, I noticed all these fantastic hat patterns flooding social media and like so many, thought — “Oh yes! That’s a great idea! I can knit a new hat for each of my kids.”

So I did some stash diving and pulled out some sweater yarn leftovers. Yes, a Hipster Hat (taking advantage of one of the 12 Days of Christmas free pattern offerings from Tin Can Knits) in Tanis Fiber Arts’ Green Label in the Poppy colorway for my red-loving son.

img_1713And I finished it today. I have one more skein of this yarnwhich I’ve dog-eared for a  Cabled Canuck for me. I can’t have too many red hats. That’s a fact.

Next up though, I’ll be casting-on Clare Devine’s Everyday Brew for my daughter. Brought to my attention by the lovely ladies at Cream City Yarn who I got to visit last week, this is knit in a bulky weight yarn and is sure to fly off my needles. And then…

I have a plan.

I’ve been seeing the hashtag #christmasevecaston a lot lately and it got me thinking that I should cast-on an extra special project on Christmas Eve. Luckily, I have just the extra special project!

boxIt arrived on my doorstep a couple weeks ago and I’ve been waiting for just the perfect time to share with you and cast-on. My very first Imperial Yarns in a very cute hat kit.

Imperial Stock Ranch all started with one man, Richard Roland Hinton, who was born in 1852 while his family traveled the Oregon Trail. You can read the story of how he built this ranch on its website, but suffice to say with a focus on sustainability Hinton didn’t just establish a ranch in 1871, he created a legacy that would last long beyond his years. Today this ranch thrives on producing acclaimed black angus beef, lamb, and — of course — beautiful wool. They harvest this wool once per year and it is then “custom milled without harsh chemicals or extreme temperatures, leaving it comfortable soft and pure.”

yarnI can attest to that. The single ply yarn ‘Tempest’ included in the Chain Stitch Slouchy Hat Kit is easily the softest American wool I’ve touched. This single is available only in this kit at this time and – wow — is it ever something special!

This hat is part of a new collection designed by Deborah Newton just for Imperial Yarns and I’ll be participating in the Deborah Newton Collection KAL. You can check out the list of eligible patterns here. The designer is an active participant in this KAL and she’s available for questions. Plus there will be a pretty sweet grand prize for those who take part, so if you’re interested I’d love it if you could join us. The KAL runs through January 31, 2016, so there is ample time to hop on board and treat yourself to some of this gorgeous American wool.

Now logically I know I’m just one hat and a few short days away from my super special Christmas Eve Cast On, but as I’m sitting here next to this wool… I won’t lie — it kind of feels like an eternity. My hands have some last minute gift knitting to get done before this treat can reach my needles. I suppose it’s time to keep my eyes on and hands off this prize though, right?