To Try Something New

You know, we all reach a certain point in knitting where there just aren’t many techniques we haven’t tried. As knitters, this isn’t a huge deal. Since the craft is built on a foundation of performing the same basic skills in one combination or another over and over and over again, for the most part we are pretty content to do just that. When the opportunity arises to try something new though, well, I have to check it out. Whether it’s hands-on or just reading or watching an instructional video, I like to stay apprised of the newest techniques.

A few weeks ago, I was asked to check out The BagSmith. This company takes the idea of ‘go big’ seriously — they specialize in big, bulky, luxurious yarns and tools as well as patterns to compliment these unique materials. Their first yarn, Big Stitch Alpaca, was designed to work with US 50 knitting needles. Yes, you read that right — five-zero, size fifty needles. Working with these specialized yarns, the company created designs that range from rugs & blankets to wraps & cowls & other garments that are written for knitting, crochet, and Tunisian crochet. They’ve definitely been busy!

More recently, The BagSmith introduced Apple Creek Chunky which is a 90/10 merino/silk blend. This low-twist single works up on a US 15 and comes in 8 colors. Coordinating Felt Pelts are also available & can be used alone or with the Apple Creek Chunky in a really wide range of projects. When given the chance to try my hand with a combination of Apple Creek Chunky & a Felt Pelt, I simply had to give it a try.

Mari’s Lovely Pillow Kit arrived on my doorstep and I wasted no time winding my yarn and prepping the felt pelt. Having never done anything like this I had absolutely no idea what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised that it proved to be a quick and easy project. Starting with a very simple process of cutting the felted piece into squares, folding them, and then using a small knitting needle and yarn needle to “thread” the pieces onto the yarn…IMG_9438I was surprised to find the process very reminiscent of prepping for a project with pre-strung beads. A speedy process once you get the hang of it, my yarn & felt were ready to go in no time.

IMG_9443I have to admit, it looked pretty wild!

The pattern and knitting were very simple and — seriously — quite fun.

IMG_9445Thanks to the chunky yarn & the US 15 needles everything came together quickly. I have to also give a shout-out to the Knitter’s Pride Nova Platina Interchangeable Circular Chunky Needle Set for saving me a trip to the craft store for bigger needles. Oh, how I love having all the needles I need at my fingertips!

In any case, I whipped up this pillow in just a couple of days and…

mlpIt turned out great!

mlp3As you can see, the front has this very textural quality created by the pre-strung and strategically placed felt pieces.

mlp2The back is a plain stockinette, showing off the super soft & pretty variegated Apple Creek Chunky yarn. The Forest Canopy colorway suits my outdoorsy family just perfectly, too.

As a special treat, the folks at The BagSmith are offering a special discount code so you can try this kit, too! Simply use the coupon code pillowparty when you checkout to receive $10 off your very own Mari’s Lovely Pillow kit. A super fun project — whether you’re looking for a unique accent piece, a house-warming gift, or you just want to try something new, go ahead and give this kit a try!

While I Was Away…

I was cleaning up my inbox this morning and came across this photograph…

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This is Moose on the trail somewhere in the 3-6month-old range. Really, how could I not share this with you? What with those enormous ears and feet that he somehow managed to grow into.

And this was him yesterday…

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Just holding my hand for a snuggle, as he does. I thought I’d start with some adorable Moose photos because I’m very relieved and happy to report that he’s been off his food trial and eating actual dog food for going on 3weeks now. It’s kind of fancy limited ingredient dog food, but still it’s actual dog food with complete vitamins and minerals. And just before this photo was taken I’d checked him skin over for any signs of allergic reaction and he was clear. Hooray! This was especially exciting because the kids, Moose, and I spent the long weekend up at my parents house where he laid around in the grass (a luxury for this pup who seems to break out just looking outside sometimes) and I’d forgotten his special anti-bacterial/anti-fungal spray and improvised by using a little apple cider vinegar on him before bed. Yep, he is doing great and no creature on Earth deserves it more than this guy.

In any case, we did spend the long weekend up at my parents’ house. We went up early Friday and the kids got some one-on-one grandma & grandpa time while I attended a funeral for a friend’s grandfather. When I got back the kids were racing bikes up and down the driveway and my son called out, “Grandma let us each have TWO ice cream cones!” What happens at Grandma & Grandpa’s stays at Grandma & Grandpa’s — that’s as it should be, right?

(OK, I’m kind of teasing my mom here — they were those prepackaged little drumstick cones, so it’s not as bad as it sounds)

In any case, we all visited. The kids raced around. Having just finished my Mares’ Tails project, I cast-on a new WIP…

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This is Bandwagon by Jen Lucas in Cloudlover Yarn & Fiber‘s 75/25 merino/nylon in the Mr Bates colorway. It’s such a fun, easy knit & it’s going to make a fantastic little summer shawl. And I’ll have something special for you with this project in a few weeks.

I finished out Friday night by opening up lawn tractor season at my parents’ house. Whenever we visit in summer, it’s a little tradition that they save at least some of their large lawn for me to mow with their riding lawnmower. There’s a running joke about losing the keys to the mower (because once we did and then had to go buy a spare) and also the constant reminder that one time I ran into a tree with it. In case you were wondering, the tree won and the mower needed some repairs. Whoops. It’s a wonder they still let me do the mowing, but I’m guessing it’s at least partly for comedic value.

Saturday the kids and I were treated to a trip on my dad’s boat.

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We just went to a little local lake where we did some bluegill catch and release. My daughter got a little tired and ornery toward the end, but all in all it was an excellent time. We love Grandpa’s boat!

While we were away, it just so happened that multiple packages arrived for me. My Cloudlover Fiber Club shipment arrived…

IMG_9466Complete with a special treat — a braid of Targhee!

And a package from Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe was in the mailbox…

IMG_9465Complete with some summer-friendly scents like Lemon Lime lip balm & a Spring Meadow lotion bar and a couple scents that prove I’ve been keeping my eating habits in check lately, a Chocolate Cupcake lip balm & Lemon Cake lotion bar. All are, of course, amazing.

A big box also showed up from the supremely awesome folks at Louet including their June Spinzilla Pack…

IMG_9470I am so wowed by this — there is SO MUCH here to spin and so many different fibers. I cannot wait to dig in!

Also in the box was this little kit, the super stylish ATX Linen Tote

IMG_9469This pattern is currently only available with purchase of the yarn, Euroflax Sport. Since I love working with linen, I absolutely can’t wait to try out the much lauded Louet Euroflax Sport.

Oh, a super fun knit from The BagSmith was waiting on the doorstep. I got going on it right away…

IMG_9443It’s so unique & fun and I finished it yesterday!

IMG_9445 I’ll have some FO photos & a special coupon just for you for this awesome project later this week.

As you can imagine, Mr Knitting Sarah was kind of… um… surprised by the small mountain of packages that arrived on our doorstep. Since I’m usually the one who gets the mail before he gets home from work, I think he’s a little worried this happens — you know — everyday. Rest assured, dear, it does not. But I am thinking that maybe I should visit my parents more often. Apparently all the best things show up while I’m away!