Archive | August 2019

Manos del Uruguay Alma

I have a new shawl to show you, but the point of it is the yarn. A couple of months ago, Fairmount Fibers offered me a skein of the new Manos del Uruguay yarn, Alma, to review. I’m pretty sure you all know how much I love Manos yarns, so you also know I was eager to take this one for a test drive and see if it lived up to my expectations!

img_4519Alma is a single ply fingering weight yarn in 100% merino. It’s labeled superwash but they still recommend you hand wash and dry flat. The colors are all named after inspirational attitudes, like Humility, Generosity, Passion, and Sincerity. I chose Resilience to remind myself that I am resilient! Well, that and I liked the colors in the photo. They also designed the colors to pair well together, with complementary solids and multi-colors. Patience would have gone wonderfully with Resilience!

I noticed right away that Alma has the same soft fluffy feel as all the other Manos yarns I’ve used. It’s lightweight and airy, feeling almost puffy like cotton candy. It’s kind of plush, if a light fingering can feel plush. Maybe that’s partly because it’s a single ply? Whatever the reason, I love it. It felt warm and comforting in my fingers, gliding smoothly but not too hot or heavy in my lap as I knit. I chose to knit the Imagine When shawl by Joji Locatelli.

fullsizeoutput_22d7I chose this pattern because of the best part about Alma: the yardage! It’s a generous 546 yards per 100 grams, which means you have plenty of yarn to make a good-sized single-skein shawl. I knit the pattern with no modifications and ended up with six grams left. Honestly, I love everything about this yarn. It did have one knot in it, but that’s within normal standards, and it washed and blocked beautifully.

 

fullsizeoutput_22dbI’m not completely convinced I chose the right pattern to show off the yarn; I’m wondering if something more stockinette-based would have been better. But this was a fun pattern to knit — I guess I really am learning to appreciate short rows — and I loved having the yardage in one skein for a nice big shawl. The yarn retails for around $30 per skein, which I typically pay anyway for my good yarns, so I’d buy this one in a heartbeat. Especially since I can feel good about buying Manos yarns, which are hand-dyed by artisans and help support families in Uruguay! It’s available in yarn stores now, and you can find the closest one to you here, or find it online now.

Thanks so much to Stitchcraft Marketing and Fairmount Fibers, the North American distributor of Manos del Urugay, who sent me one skein of Alma (retail value: $30) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Sun Glitter Shawl

Way back in June, I cast on a shawl for a knit-along that Under the Olive Tree Knits was hosting. It was a summer-long KAL and she’s offering the pattern free through the end of August, and there are prizes if you follow the rules found on her blog (among other places). I’d been wanting to knit this shawl anyway, and I had the prettiest skein of yarn for it, and I thought I’d have no problem finishing a one-skein shawl in two months. Well. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’ve had an eventful summer, and my knitting mojo hasn’t always been present, plus other things have taken precedence to this project. But I’m happy to report that after returning from vacation, I committed to this shawl and finished it yesterday!

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This was a fun, meditative knit. I love how she designed those lace triangle sections, and once I got the hang of the pattern, it was easy to take it with me anywhere. And the yarn is gorgeous! I love the hints of purple and yellow.

I do wish I’d checked my yardage more carefully before picking my yarn. The skein I chose was 100 grams but only 400 yards, and I ran out of yarn on the last right-side row of the lace pattern. Instead of doing several rows of garter before binding off, I just did two rows of garter and the bind-off in a complementary yarn, and I don’t even notice the slight color difference. Still, if I make it again, I’ll make sure to find a more generously sized skein.

img_8453Now I’ve got a case of finish-itis — I’m ready to pull out another shawl WIP before I cast on something new!

Pattern: Sun Glitter Shawl by Under the Olive Tree Knits

Yarn: Concorde by Less Traveled Yarn in color Lagoon

Colorado Yarn Stores

I really only meant to go to one yarn store during our Colorado vacation. Looking back, I’m not sure why I thought that was reasonable, or even feasible for me. But that was my plan, and since I’d gotten in trouble at the Loopy Ewe the past two years, I was going to avoid them. Instead, I chose LambShoppe in Denver. It was in a cute but busy part of town, and the boys weren’t interested in joining us, so they dropped me and the girl off at the curb. The store was small but had lots of fun yarns, both big names and small. The saleswoman immediately asked how she could help me, and I cheerfully said, “Just let me look at the yarn!” I try to focus on local dyers when I’m buying vacation yarn, and I found quite a few choices. Unfortunately, the saleswoman was one of those who thinks she needs to engage every shopper frequently, and that bugs the crap out of me. Still, I found some good stuff.

But then! As I was pondering my choices on the table there, that same woman walked by and said, “Oh, you need to get out of your box and try something new!” She’d already annoyed me enough that I replied, “How about I do what I want?” I mean, seriously. Let a knitter pick her own damn yarn, am I right? Anyway, beautiful yarns, if not all local. The woman’s one saving grace was that she found me a second skein of the Manos Locura Fluo (the crazy neon one in the middle). I’m collecting skeins for a sweater!

I thought I was good and happy but then we went to Colorado Springs, and we had some extra time, and darned if we didn’t end up at another yarn store. Ewe and Me was a little hard to find, and the font is hard to read on the sign outside, but I’m so glad I found it! It was a BIG store, with a huge table down the middle with comfy chairs for the boys to sit in. The women chatted with me at first but then let me browse at my own pace. And the yarn! So much local yarn, so much gorgeous yarn!

I saw small dyers I’d only followed on Instagram, like The Lemonade Shop and Artistic Yarns by Abi, plus ones I’d never heard of. I bought six skeins, I think, plus that fabulous mug. And another size 5 circular needle for shawls. And maybe an enamel pin.

That was plenty, right? It really was! I would have been happy to leave it at that. Except on Sunday the boy and I were on our own, and we went to Longmont to check out a guitar store. And there happened to be a yarn store a few doors down. Sigh. Three more skeins went in my bag. But one of them was Dragon Hoard Yarn, who I’d just started following on Instagram! She was doing a trunk show there so of course I had to grab a skein.

That’s how I ended up with this beautiful, extravagant assortment of yarns to feed my stash!

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Now, let’s see if I can restrain from buying more new yarn for a while!

Back at it

The girl is settled in at college, the boy is off to his junior year of high school, the husband is driving himself to and from work in the rental car, and I’m back at work after a week’s vacation. I’m trying to get back in my groove but it’s been hard. Of course I picked up a summer cold while we were gone, so I don’t feel 100% which makes me grumpy, but I’m sure things will smooth back into a routine quickly.

We had a lovely vacation and hiked around Garden of the Gods, drove to the top of Pikes Peak, walked through the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, and spent a day shopping on Pearl Street in Boulder. I saw lots of mountains and wish I could live closer to them.

We ended up renting an SUV for the trip through our insurance claim on the wrecked car, and that worked out well. The girl’s apartment is small and lacks WiFi and A/C, but is cute and cozy, and since she’s in Colorado, the temperatures will cool off very soon. Oh, and her new landlords are a perfectly charming British couple! We showed up to get the key from them, and when they found out we’d gotten in town only fifteen minutes earlier, the woman exclaimed, “Oh my goodness, would you like a cuppa tea? English tea, of course.” That made me love them so much. And YES, of course I had the English tea made properly in a teapot with the milk added to the cup first.

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I did very little knitting, despite taking six WIPs. But I visited three yarn stores and bought a lot of marvelous yarn! I’ll save the shop photos for another day. Can’t wait to show off my treasures though!

img_4989So many beauties! I love them all! I’ll share more details next time, I swear!

The Sunny Side of the Street

It may be Monday but things are looking up, guys! We found an apartment for the girl to share with two other girls, with cheaper rent even, and they’ve got furniture so she just needs stuff for her bedroom. And we were able to rent an SUV for the week through the insurance claim on the damaged car, so we’ll have room to move everything without having to drive a U-haul. I’m breathing so much easier now, and I think we might be able to relax and enjoy our vacation, as soon as we get her moved in anyway.

I finished my stress project, my Comfort Me Cowl, and I love it! The pattern was so simple and fun, and the yarn is gorgeous. Now I just need some cooler weather to wear it. But honestly, I’m not in a hurry for that.

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I AM in a hurry for vacation though — Mountains here I come! We’ve got someone coming to stay with the dogs, so they’ll be happy-ish. I know they’ll miss us but I hate having to board them. At least this way they get to stay in their happy home.

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Guess I better start planning my vacation knitting!

100 T-pins Later

My Imagine When shawl is blocking right now, with all the little picots pinned out nicely. It’s not a full 100 pins, but it’s about 96, so that’s pretty close. It’s not as long as I’d expected, so I hope it’s still wearable. We’re leaving very soon to take the girl to college so I doubt I’ll get good photos taken before then. But eventually I’ll show you nice photos where you can actually see the pretty yarn (Manos del Uruguay Alma)!

img_4827The girl’s furnished apartment for the coming school year fell through five days before we were scheduled to leave, so the past few days have been frantic and stressful. We’ve got an apartment lined up, but need to get a roommate finalized. We got a couch and chair from family, and she can take some furniture from home. Since we don’t have our bigger vehicle (thanks to Car Accident Sunday), we’re renting a U-haul to get out there and then a smaller car to get home. We’ll get a cheap bed from IKEA in Denver. I mean, I think we’ve got the biggest things sorted, but it’s been a bit of a nightmare. We’re all stressed and anxious and snapping at each other, and I’m really hoping that once we get her stuff moved in, we can have a few days to relax and enjoy Colorado!

 

Stress = a new project

Yesterday was Not a Good Day. Not as bad as Car Accident Day on Sunday, but not great. It was more stress piled on to to all the other things we’ve dealt with this summer, and my nerves are just about at their breaking point. I needed some serious comfort knitting, so I pulled out some colorful worsted and cast on for a new cowl.

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The pattern is simple and easily memorized, so I can just sit and knit without having to think too hard. The needles are bigger, so I’m not gripping them as tightly as I’ve been doing with my fingering weight WIPs. And the yarn, oh, it’s so pretty! It’s mystery yarn from a destash, so I have no idea of the brand. But it makes me happy to knit with it, and it’ll make me happy to wear it!

Happy Friday, friends. Hope your week’s been better than mine!