Archive | March 2019

Furry Cowl

Remember the furry yarn I bought recently, the Sirdar Alpine? I was so eager to have a furry cowl that I cast on just a few days after I bought it, but I kept messing it up. Since I was going for a plain, simple cowl that I could double, I just cast on with straight needles and started going. Three skeins sounded like a lot, so the first time I cast on 25 stitches. Once I got mostly through the first skein, I realized it wouldn’t be long enough and I frogged it. Surely 20 would be good, right?

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This time I got through about a third of skein two before I decided I wasn’t getting the length I wanted. While I was rewinding it, I found out that this yarn will knot itself if given the opportunity! I had one spot in skein one and two spots in skein two where I finally had to cut the yarn to get rid of the tangle. So if you play with this yarn, and you have frog it, just be very careful! The third time, I went to Ravelry and found a few projects, and cast on 15 as someone else had. What do you know, third time’s the charm!

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This is one skein’s worth, and I now have the second skein added. One more skein and I can stitch the ends together and have the softest, furriest cowl ever…just in time for spring.

But here’s something non-knitting related: the girl is a flutist, as some of you may remember, and she got tickets to see James Galway for her birthday. I’m not a flutist but even I know who he is, so I got to go with her. The concert was SO good, just beautiful music. His wife, who’s also a flutist, joined him for the next-to-last piece. Then afterward, they were out in the lobby signing programs! So we got to meet James Galway!

Okay, so, he’s 80 and it was after 10 pm and he seemed really tired, so he was pretty much just signing programs. But his wife was chatty and charming, and he was happy to let me get a photo with them, and it was a really fun evening overall. How lucky I am that both my kids inherited my love of music!

Baby Girl Power Sock

Now that I’ve typed that out it looks weird because it’s not really for a baby. It’s just a shortie sock. But I like the sound of it! I finished the socks I’d been working on (I need to get good photos before I share them) so of course I had to cast on a new sock immediately, right? I visited my stash and grabbed the pretty half skein of Show Me Yarn in Girl Power. I didn’t want it to go to waste, so my goal is to get two complete shortie socks from it. I probably should could have weighed the yarn first and then again after the first sock but…well, I’m living on the edge with this project. And really, since I got two full socks out of the first half, I feel pretty confident.

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I’m adding gray cuffs and toes to hedge my bets, and I love how the stripes worked up after the heel on the first one! It’s a perfect continuation of the stripe pattern. Now I just hope I can get something equally delightful in the second sock. How many of you try to get a second pair of socks out of one skein of sock yarn?

Review: Manos del Uruguay Cabrito

You guys already know I love yarns from Manos del Uruguay, right? I haven’t been shy about it (you can see posts here and here though I’m sure there are others too). When they offered me a skein of their brand-new laceweight kid mohair blend, I didn’t even have to think about it. Honestly, it didn’t even matter what yarn they sent me; I’d have been happy to try it out. Since Cabrito is a laceweight that pairs well with others, I got to choose a skein of a second yarn too, and I picked Fino, a light fingering merino.

img_2499I forgot to take a nice photo of the skeins when they arrived because I was so excited to cast on. Look at those colors!! It was hard to choose, since the Cabrito comes in so many beautiful space-dyed colors. But I chose the Cabrito in Locuro Fluo (which is coincidentally also the same colorway as my Rainbow Shawl so clearly it’s my favorite) and the Fino in Peacock Plume. The Cabrito is about 230 yards and is 80% kid mohair, 20% polyamide. It’s as light as cotton candy and so flipping fuzzy that I was in heaven knitting it. I chose a simple scarf called Orbit so the yarn could be the star of the show.

I loved how the peacock Fino was a vibrant turquoise but the colors of the Cabrito still took center stage. The two yarns played really well together, though the few times I had to tink, the Cabrito stuck to itself a little bit. But overall it was a mindless treat to knit, feeling soft and warm in my hands during a cold winter.

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I ran out of Cabrito before the end of the pattern, but I was expecting that, and finished with an eyelet panel of just the Fino, and I’m happy with that. You can see my project page on Ravelry here.

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The finished shawl is as light as air and gorgeously colorful; it’s versatile enough to wear with so much of my wardrobe. Except…sigh. That soft fuzzy halo that made it so delightful to feel in my hands as I was knitting? Because parts of my skin are super sensitive, it itched my neck when I wore it against my skin. It wasn’t immediate and it wasn’t dramatic, but after I’d had it on for maybe 30 minutes, I could feel that subtle little itch and had to take it off. I know it wasn’t the Fino because I have another shawl in just Fino and don’t have any issues with it. So if you already know you’re sensitive, just plan to make something that you won’t wear right next to your skin. I’d love to use this in a sweater, because then I could just wear a shirt underneath like I do all my wool sweaters, and I’d be happy and toasty!

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Manos is still one of my favorite yarn companies, partly because of their lovely yarns but also because of all they do to make sure their yarn is Fair Trade Certified and to support the women artisans in Uruguay.

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Thanks so much to Stitchcraft Marketing and Fairmount Fibers, the North American distributor of Manos del Urugay, who sent me one skein of Cabrito and one skein of Fino (retail value: $50) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Bad knitting

All of my knitting is misbehaving lately! My sweater got put in time-out last week because I messed up the stripe pattern, and I needed a break before pulling out three rows of sleeve. (At least it’s only sleeve and not body.) Yesterday I wanted to work on something bright and interesting, so I pulled out my magenta Malabrigo Heart Check cowl. I merrily knit about ten rows before I realized I was omitting the knit rows between each pattern row. I was supposed to have little purl hearts, and I did not. I assumed it was because of my error and I ripped back and reknit the 14 rows of the pattern. Huh. Still no hearts.

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Look like hearts to you? Nope, me neither. Now, I’d read the comments and knew that there were two errors in the written instructions, but the designer said she’d corrected them, and my PDF said “corrected”. My error was in not double-checking that the errors were actually fixed. One row was correct, and one was not. If I were a chart knitter, I’d have been fine, because those were correct. Alas, I prefer written. So, now the pink cowl is in time-out while I decide how to proceed.

After that disappointment, I turned to my new fur yarn. There weren’t a lot of patterns for this yarn, and I just wanted something simple anyway. One person cast on 15 stitches for a two-skein cowl; since I have three skeins, I cast on 25.

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Nope. After one skein, I knew it wouldn’t be as long as I wanted. Cast on again with 20. Decided this morning, halfway through the second skein, that it still won’t be long enough to wear doubled and that’s the goal. Now the fur has been frogged and put in time-out. But I need a win so I’m circling back and I’m going to frog those sleeve rows and get at least one project back in rotation. I hope you all are having better luck with your yarn than I am right now!

Fun in the sun

I am a lucky, lucky girl: I got to spend a couple of days in Orlando, Florida this week! I was attending a social media conference for work (thank you, work!) but I got to squeeze in some fun stuff too. I flew in early afternoon Wednesday so I’d have half a day to explore Disney, so that was my day at Disney World. I enjoyed it, but I discovered that Disney World is one of those things that is better done with someone else. It was super crowded and even if I were a ride person, the shortest line I saw was 50 minutes, and there was nothing I wanted to ride that badly. But I got to see all the sights and bask in the Disney atmosphere for a few hours.

The second day was spent at the conference, and it was fantastic. I’m an introvert but I talked to strangers all day long, and didn’t even mind! Lunch was outside, where I managed to get a bit of a sunburn (not complaining at all), and then at five when we ended for the day, I needed more Disney, so I hopped on the bus to Disney Springs, the big shopping/dining/entertainment district. When I got back, I had a late dinner at the 50s themed diner, Beaches and Cream. So good!! Plus, I could watch the fireworks at the park from my balcony, so I made sure to see those both nights.

Friday was a half-day for the conference, and I got about 45 minutes to bask in the sun before I had to head out.

Then it was time to head home, where it’s cold and gray and rainy. I had some gorgeous views from my window seat, though.

I also got quite a bit of sock-knitting done too: one sock done and the second past the gusset. I’ve learned that if you’re an introvert who has to socialize, do something weird like dye your hair a weird color and/or knit during meetings, and then you have something to talk about! They were definitely good ice-breakers.

Now I’m back home, where the boys and the dogs are happy to see me, and I have chores to do, plus a dog with a broken nail who has to go to the vet. (Different dog. Jack this time, not Duncan.) But with any luck, I’ll get a bit of knitting time later in the day. Happy weekend, friends!

Um, more yarn?

I had a hair appointment over the weekend (fresh purple, hooray) and the salon just happens to be very close to a LYS. A large LYS that I don’t visit very often. And somehow I let myself believe that it would be okay to go for a short visit. I would only buy one skein, maybe two. You guys know what happened, don’t you? Yeah. Because here’s the thing: I touched the yarn! And so much of it was SOFT!

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That Alpine? Yeah, it feels exactly like fur. And I love the feel of fur! How could I resist making a cowl out of that?? And right by the Alpine was the Wild, which is almost as soft and also has those amazing colors! They’re mostly acrylic, but I don’t care because they’re soft and pretty. And that yarn up in the top right? It’s also soft and fuzzy, a nylon/wool/alpaca blend, and it was on sale! It’s DK weight, so it’s thin and lightweight and will be all floaty. Okay, and those two skeins of red/green/blue yarn? That’s Happy Feet sock yarn and it was ALSO on sale! What decent sock knitter would resist sale sock yarn that feels good and looks good? Not this one, I tell you. Which is also how I ended up with that bottom skein…except it was not on sale. But it is beautiful and it’s Araucania Huaso, which is awesome yarn and so it jumped into my arms.

Am I doing very well on my yarn-buying balance? Well. Maybe better than it looks right now? Because there was a lot of yarn that I picked up and then put back because I didn’t love it as much. There was a lot of sale yarn I would have bought in the past just because it was on sale. So that’s progress, because I’m making mindful yarn choices at least. But yeah, I think I can probably take a break from yarn stores for a little while!

Snowy Owl

Apparently I can’t stop making amigurumi animals: I made another one over the weekend. As fiddly as they are, I think they’re so cute and I love gifting them for my friends’ birthdays. There’s one coming up for a Harry Potter fan, so this time I made Hedwig. I used this free pattern; it was a little vague at times, and I had a hard time figuring out what I was supposed to do for the tail feather (at least I think that’s what it is, but the pattern didn’t say), so I just did my best. And I think it came out pretty good!

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Maybe more like a bird than an owl? Or maybe I’m just too critical. Anyway, I do think it’s adorable and I’m looking forward to sending her to her new home. She can’t be on any of my other social media just yet, so you all are lucky to get the first peek!

Craft Room Reorg

I made so much good progress on my sweater this weekend! I finished the body, including my first split hem which I kind of love.

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After I took this photo, I looked around my craft room and decided it needed an update. I used to use a 6′ folding table as a desk and a few months ago switched it out for a smaller library table. I love the smaller desk; it’s beautiful, it belonged to my dad, and it’s a great writing desk. But when I took out the big table, I lost a place to spread out as well as a place to wind yarn. So every time I wanted to wind yarn, I had to take everything downstairs and clean off the coffee table. That got tiresome. So! Plan B: put the library table in the corner with the north light, so I can still set things on it for photos, and put the folding table back up!

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Now I have a lot more table space, but the room still feels big and open. And I really like my desk in that corner. In fact, I spent the rest of the day up there, watching movies on my laptop and knitting. I wove in all the current ends on the sweater, added the neckband, and got the first sleeve picked up and started! The room feels very cozy. I think my long term goal is to get a small, comfortable arm chair for this corner, so I can sit here and look out into my craft room like this:

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If I did that, though, my family might never see me!

Reading AND knitting

I’ve read two and a half books in the past week, and two of them were actual, physical books! I’ve been trying to encourage myself to do a little bit of reading at night, after some knitting, and I like it. I like spending time with a book in my hand. Going forward, when I take a break from knitting, I’m going to try to redirect myself toward a book instead of my phone, and we’ll see if we can get back into the reading groove. But photos of books aren’t as interesting as photos of knitting, so I’ll share some of that too. Since I finished my Granola socks, I switched my focus to my Clarke pullover and made good progress.

HQueF4y2TLe9Bv6jH78L4wAck. I just realized how bad this photo is. Well, whatever. It shows that I have an almost-complete sweater body anyway! I have just a few rows and then a split hem, and the body will be done. It’s so close that I might just work on this today and see if I can power through it.

I also worked on another sock project, but it’s still in the beginning stages, just a bit of leg. The yarn is Tibetan Dream sock yarn from Bijou Basin Ranch, and it’s a yak/nylon blend. I’m loving these purples! Stay tuned — I’ll have a review later this month.

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More snow fell overnight, so we have a couple of inches of bright, powdery snow. It’s pretty but I am tired of it and it can go away now. The only good thing about it is that I can stay cozy on my couch with a blanket and my knitting and not feel any guilt, because that’s what you do on snow days! Hope you’re all safe and warm too!