Schwimmen

Is it possible for Shannon Cook & Jane Richmond to collaborate on anything not 100% awesome?

I think not. That’s why when I got wind that their new mini-collection, Seasonless was available, I was over the moon. Their last two titles, Journey & Island, were gorgeous cover to cover — both the patterns and photography — so unlike a lot of books where purchasing individual patterns can be a nice alternative, I like to get a hard copy of these little pieces of art in my collection.

There’s also something about these designers who hail from the Vancouver area that always inspires me to try yarn from their neck of the woods. I swear, it seems to me that the Vancouver area must be lousy with spinners, knitters, and dyers. Home to many of my very favorite bloggers, designers, and dyers, my Instagram feed always has something new from this talented bunch and it was about the time Seasonless came out that I noticed a knitter I follow on Instagram posted a photo of a hat she was working on in Sweet Fiber yarn in the Merino Twist DK base and Olive colorway. I’d had my eye on Sweet Fiber for some time and when I looked at this hat I saw a perfect yarn for Schwimmen, the lovely lacework hat pattern in Seasonless that would just happen to match pretty closely one of my favorite shawlettes.

Let me start by saying this yarn is very photogenic.

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And there is a ton of depth in the color.

And it is insanely squishy and soft and just amazing in the hands.

Even in the early darkness we face these days, I knew I had indeed found a great match.

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The pattern was, of course, very well written and easy to follow and presented in a the polished style I’ve come to expect from these wonderful designers. The design itself — I can’t say enough good things about it.

schwimmenI love the lace motif & border that frame the openwork so nicely.

schwimmen3I love the size and shape.

schwimmen4And the overall finished hat, is simply gorgeous and oh so wearable. It is definitely a slouchy fit, which is wonderful if you are like me and have longer hair that is often pulled up. While the weight and lacework don’t quite make the cut for the coldest days where I live, it is an excellent choice for warmer cold days (yes, I just wrote ‘warmer cold days’) or when I’m snow shoveling and there isn’t wind. In fact, I wear it in the house a lot because I am often chilly in the 66°F at which we keep our house. This hat helps me stay nice and toasty.

All in all, I’d have to say this hat — and the Seasonless mini-collection — is a hit with me. I have already designated yarn for the sweater, Palladio, and am toying with stash options for the shawl Laylow, but I haven’t quite found the combination for that yet. While I slowly work toward those projects (I have a few other things to finish before I can go there), I will enjoy my lovely hat, peruse the Sweet Fiber website and dream of all the marvelous things I could with their yarns, and maybe even leaf through their latest pattern collection. After all, it never hurts to start thinking ahead… eventually I’ll wrap-up the Seasonless collection and will need some new pattern ideas, right?

You can see the details of my Schwimmen on my Ravlery project page here.

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.

In Review: Journey

I’ve never said it in so many words, but when I write reviews here they are always on my terms. For the most part I am buying the books or yarn or fiber with my own cash, so you can have confidence that if I am telling you that I like something you can trust that I really do — enough to use my money to add it to my collection. I promote people and projects and resources that I believe in –  there’s no sugar coating happening here. That being said, I can sum up my review of Jane Richmond & Shannon Cook‘s Journey in one sentence:

It was love at first sight.

We first got a peek at Journey a few weeks ago when it launched at Knit City, a fab event for knitters in Vancouver. From the very first photo, I just knew…Cover journeyWhile I was miles & weeks away from holding my own copy, it was pretty clear that — like everything these ladies work on — this book was something special. Teaming up once again with the magical lens of Nicholas Kupiak, Journey is a beauty to behold. As much a coffee table worthy collection of photography as it is inspired knitwear patterns, this book belongs right along side her sister, Island — front & center as a showcase of the most artful work in the industry.

The knitwear collection is comprised of six pieces — three each by Ms Richmond and Ms Cook.

jane designsCLIMB * ONWARD * SPATE * SWIFT * ANTRORSE * INLAND

Richmond presents us with the retro socks, Climb, the textured raindrop patterned mitts, Spate, and the big cozy cardi, Inland. Cook gives knitters, the slouchy hat, Swift, the gorgeous shawl, Onward, and the comfy & modern pullover, Antrorse. I am hard-pressed to choose a favorite — I don’t think I could if I tried. I can say with great certainty, however, that if anyone was looking for an excuse to try out some special yarns, four of the six patterns are knit in Quince & Co yarns and one is in Sincere Sheep Bannock (and yes, that’s where my interest in this yarn originated). You really deserve to be spoiled with these yarns on your needles, creating these gorgeous designs — I just know you do!

Beautiful yarns, gorgeous designs, well-written & accessible patterns, and exceptional photography — that’s the technical review of Journey and something we almost take for granted in the work of Jane Richmond & Shannon Cook and the photography of Nicholas Kupiak On a human level though, it has even more depth. The summary on the back cover states:

20131212-095219.jpgFor me, this sentence echos through each and every page in the book. While I can’t speak for the authors, personally the overall feel strikes me as just this: a homecoming. Bring Journey home with you today and make it part of your own path. I promise you will be glad you did.

Journey has been so wildly popular that  it is actually sold out on Ravelry, BUT lucky us it literally just came online on Amazon.com!  You know… if you haven’t yet picked up Richmond, Cook, & Kupiak’s first book, Island, it is available on Amazon, too. Pick up both Island and Journey & you qualify for free shipping. If you are thinking of them as a gift (for yourself or a friend), Amazon even says you can still receive them by Dec 24th… 
Are you still reading this?! What are you waiting for?!  Get on over to Amazon tout de suite!
 

Many thanks to the authors for permission to use the beautiful photos of Nicholas Kupiak in this post.