Beginnings: Sixareen Cape

When it comes to knitting, I don’t really have a specialty or a favourite technique. I love variety — trying new things and switching things up. I will say that some techniques are more addicting than others in the moment though. Stranded colorwork definitely falls into that ‘addictive’ column. When I start, it is really hard for me to put it down.

You can imagine how excited I was last night to complete the moss stitch band of my Sixareen Cape & be able to wind the skeins for the colorwork. I am making a point to savor this project . In a concerted effort to slow down a bit in general & just enjoy this treat of a project, I took my time winding each skein & noted the weight of each. Then I stopped for a picture.20130318-132900.jpg

Front row (from left to right): Snap Pea, Glacier  — Back row (from left to right): River, Egret, Rosa Rugosa — Very back: Peter Parker, the fish.

Not pictured is the moss stitch band which is in Storm.

20130318-132843.jpgHighlighter tape in hand & the legend notated with my color choices so I don’t make boo-boos, I was ready to begin. It took less than a round for me to acknowledge that placing markers after each repeat was absolutely necessary. Often I don’t bother with the markers, but with nearly 400stitches per round it saves a lot of time if you can catch a mistake after 20 stitches instead of 200. And yes, I recognized this the hard way. Twice.

20130318-132851.jpgI can’t say I minded going back, especially since I knew the markers would prevent a rerun of my folly. The correction time did, however, team up with the giant coffee I had late in the afternoon to  keep me up far too late last night. I may be short on sleep, but I do almost have the first border complete.  I can’t wait to start in on the next portion of the design to see how the colors I selected look together. So far, I love it — a nice mix of brights & neutrals.  Very different from the original palette of Kate Davies, but very me.

I have recently started using my Instagram account more, so for a sneak peak of photos that may appear here on the blog follow me, knittingsarah, there.

As always, I will also be updating my Ravelry project page regularly with progress reports and my notes & tips.

Until next time, Happy Knitting!

I Can’t Argue with Fate

My local yarn shop, Firefly Fibers, is amazing. When you can get sweater quantities of 99% of your favourite yarns 10blocks from your doorstep any knitter would be a fool not to support that business. When you also teach classes & knit samples & enjoy the comraderie of a fabulous group of knitters there, it only further strengthens the resolve to aid in the success of this business in any way that you can. A lot of people ask me, “Do you ever shop anywhere else for yarn?” The answer, quite simply, is usually not. Let’s be honest, why would I?

I have written about it before here on the blog, but there are standards I hold sacred when it comes to my yarn. Knitting is my passion, but — as much as I could rationalize that it is —  it is not necessity in the way that food & shelter are. Because of this, I am able to allow my knitting & the yarn that I use to be… special. For me, it is not just any yarn as long as I have some — I want to feel good about where the yarn comes from. Granted, I don’t always buy the fanciest yarn and I simply don’t know every detail of each yarn’s origins nor do I necessarily want to. Sometimes it is enough to purchase yarn from a shop that I believe has good things to offer the crafting community.

Yes, the vast majority of my dollars go into my local shop because it is close & fabulous. The truth, though, is that I regularly have students who drive an hour or more to take a class at Firefly Fibers and Alisa meets so many people who travel across county & state lines to visit her shop. For this reason (and because I love yarn…. a lot), when I travel, I pop in at their local yarn shops when I have time. Knitters are fiercely loyal, though, and I am often asked if I feel disloyal shopping at another lys. I will admit it always feel strange because I am so at home at Firely Fibers, but I like meeting other knitters and seeing new interpretations of a yarn or design. I like that I sometimes get to see & try out new yarns.  Speaking of new yarns, let me tell you a story.

This Sunday, my husband & I promised to take our kids to the Milwaukee County Zoo. We left early & stopped for coffee at my favourite local coffee shop.20130307-131514.jpg

Here’s Mr Knitting Sarah looking dignified with his cup of joe. See how you can’t see through the car window? That’s because the roads —  and subsequently our car — are coated in salt. It has been so snowy here! In any case, it was a chilly morning with just a hint of moisture so that all the trees looked as though someone had hit them with the glitter stick. It was just lovely.

We made our way to the zoo where I snapped just a couple photos.

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Jellyfish!

20130307-131529.jpgMr Knitting Sarah sporting his British Sheep Breeds Hill Country Hat while he admires a Common Goldeneye.

20130307-131536.jpgMy son making a classic goofy smile in front of the jaguar cubs. The Zoo was holding a contest to help name one of the cubs. My son & I researched & submit our suggestion: Wiley (because it insinuates a sly nature & has ties to water — did you know jaguars are one of the few cat species that like water?). It was such fun! If you want to see the cubs, check out the zoo’s webcams. If the cubs are active, they are pretty stinking adorable.

After exhausting everyone at the zoo, we popped into a bookstore. Sometimes it’s just nice to go to a big bookstore & browse, isn’t it? Both my kids are voracious readers and took the opportunity to sit & read a spell while waiting for dad to finish browsing in the big people books.20130307-131543.jpg

I am so proud that they are both such good readers. ❤

As we were leaving the bookstore, I realized that we were within a couple miles of Brookfield’s Cream City Yarn Shop. My husband graciously offered for me to take my time browsing while he & the kids read & snacked in the car. I walked into the store & there before my eyes was Quince & Co. yarn. There was some shock & I’m sure some sort of gibberish fell out of my mouth. Little did I know that Cream City Yarn Shop had recently become one of only a couple flagship shops for this American wool that is spun in New England. I was ecstatic to see that one of only a couple companies that works with American wool finally decided to supply an LYS in the Midwest, so that we can see & touch these lovely yarns. Congratulations Cream City Yarn Shop & thank you Quince & Co!

I have mentioned it in the past, but I have a soft spot for this yarn. Not only are all the yarns named for birds — really, this can’t go unnoticed in my family — but it is American Wool, raised in the West & spun in the East. On top of this, Quince & Co is based in the beautiful Portland, Maine region where once upon a time I visited on a trip up to Acadia National Park and thought to myself it would be a really lovely place to live. Oh, and I have a quince tree as the centerpiece of my front yard. Nothing sells me on yarn like good associations.

As I browsed the selection of this new to me yarn line along with the others in-stock at the shop, it seemed like no coincidence that earlier in the week when Kate Davies introduced her Sixareen Cape pattern I had thought to myself, “I think I’d like to try this with a Quince & Co yarn. Maybe when I finish my current big class test knit/sample project I will order yarn for it.” This no joke & is such an exception to my norm — generally speaking if I can’t purchase locally, I don’t buy the yarn. Could I ignore this act of fate?! You’re right, I could not!

With the help & patience of the lovely staff at Cream City Yarn Shop, I mixed and matched colorways in Finch, Quince & Co’s fingering weight wool until we found the perfect fit for me. This is the final selection.

20130307-124114.jpgrosa rogusa, snap pea, storm, river, & glacier

I’m so glad I was able to stop in & I can’t wait to cast-on!

Many thanks to the ladies at Cream City Yarn Shop for all their help & for making me feel at home away from my home lys! If you are in the area, give them a visit — they have a lovely little shop happening over in Brookfield!

For hours, directions, contact info and all that good stuff, click here.