NGY Hitchhiker KAL

Don’t Panic! Nerd Girl Yarns is hosting a Hitchhiker KAL/CAL this month, hoping to inspire those who have lost some crafting mojo, or need some inspiration to branch out of their comfort zone. If I’m being honest, I’m not sure I fit into either of those categories, but it is at least making me knit something other than socks, so that counts, right? I love Hitchhikers for the soothing garter stitch and the fun teeth, so I knew I’d be knitting another Hitchhiker Beyond. And you get bonus points for using Nerd Girl Yarns yarn, which narrowed it down to these two choices:

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At first I was convinced I’d be using the bottom, called Queen of the Amazons, but the more I looked at them, the more I knew I’d wear the purple color more. (Shocker, I know.) The color is called The Wise Build Bridges, inspired by Black Panther. I wound it this morning, the first official day of the KAL, while I was watching Breakfast at Wimbledon.

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See that sneaky pup? That’s Grace!

I couldn’t start it while Rafa was playing, because that match needed close attention and I have to count rows when I make Hitchhikers, but as soon as Rafa won, I cast on, and that was my project for the next few hours of tennis.

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I’m loving it so much. This yarn is perfect for this pattern, or maybe this pattern is just perfect, I don’t know.  Do you want to play along? Check out the Nerd Girls Yarns group on Ravelry for more details!

Jungle Boogie!

These socks are practically knitting themselves, I swear. I can’t believe how fast they’re going, and it’s all because of the awesome gorgeous fabulous yarn by Show Me Yarn! I started these on Sunday, as soon as I finished my last pair of socks, and I’m already very close to the toe.

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The yarn is their Bootheel base in a color called Jungle Boogie, which I snagged at Knitting in the Heartland this year, totally drawn in by the colors. It’s not currently available on their Etsy site, but this new colorway is similar. I’m pretty sure I’ll finish this sock while watching Wimbledon this weekend, and maybe even get a start on the second sock.

And now I thought I’d share a photo that perfectly captures what life is like with dogs and teenagers.

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Grace loves to sit on the dining room chairs, and apparently the table as well. Had I been there, I would have shooed her off the table immediately. But I was not, and the boy thought it would be more fun to take photos and encourage her naughtiness.

Fine. Yes. I thought it was pretty cute too.

Giveaway: Appalachian Baby Organic Cotton

Recently, I was given the opportunity to review some U.S. Organic Cotton from Appalachian Baby. I love that it’s grown organically in the U.S. and processed by small family companies, plus it’s pretty cool that they use earth-friendly dye processes. You can learn more here, if you like. Mostly, I love pretty yarn! I got to choose from 3 color combinations, and I selected Indigo, Natural, and Doe. When it arrived, it was a delightful surprise to see the beautiful organza gift bag holding the yarn. I also liked the brown paper labels; they fit the brand perfectly.

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Each ball was 194 yards of sport weight yarn, giving me a total of 582 yards. Sport weight isn’t one I use often, and it took me forever to decide what to make with my kit. I don’t have any little babies in my life, and selfishly, I wanted to make something I could use. Finally, I decided on the Diamonds in the Rough cowl, a pattern that’s been in my Ravelry queue for ages. Since it was designed for two colors and I had three, I chose to do the main seed stitch section in stripes. At first I was going to switch to stockinette, but then I remembered the dreaded stockinette curl and decided to stick with seed stitch after all. After refreshing my memory of the provisional cast on, I got started, choosing 4-row stripes so I could easily carry the yarn up the side and avoid weaving in fifty million ends. This project took a month, giving me a finished cotton cowl in plenty of time for early fall.

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I really enjoyed this yarn. The colors were rich and earthy, and the yarn was soft in my hand, with the subtle crispness that you get with cotton. It made for a lovely squishy fabric in the seed stitch, airy and breathable but still with some substance. Given that it’s cotton, it was a little splitty, but I think I (unintentionally) made it worse by choosing the pointiest metal needles I’ve got. Still, I knit easily and quickly, a good thing since I had 30″ of seed stitch to knit! I have to say, I did get tired of it for a bit after about 20″ of neutral-colored seed stitch, but that’s no fault of the yarn, just my own wandering brain. Still, the indigo was my favorite. It’s a deep dark blue, but not hard to knit with like black is.

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My only hiccup in this project was pairing this pattern with this yarn. If you’ve ever tried to p2tbl (purl 2 together through the back loop) with cotton, you know what I mean. Cotton tends to give less than wool, so I struggled a bit with manipulating multiple stitches. I tried to remember to knit as loosely as possible, and that helped. Anyway, cotton and complicated lace are just a trickier mix than I personally like, but I have to admit the end result is attractive. The yarn blocked wonderfully, opening up the lace pattern just enough.

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And the cowl even came out long enough to wear doubled!

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I enjoyed both the yarn and the pattern. This yarn, especially since it’s machine washable and dryable, would be fantastic for baby garments and blankets. I also think it would crochet wonderfully!  It comes in seven beautiful colors, or you can buy the 3-color set in one of 3 versions: Indigo like mine, Blush, and Woodland. They’re available for purchase here.

But one lucky person can get one for free! Appalachian Baby generously provided a set for me to give away, in the same colors I used. Would you like it to be yours?

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below telling me what you’d like to make with the 3-color set of Organic Cotton!

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 6 pm CST on Friday, July 13th. All entries must be submitted on this blog. Winner will be announced by 10 am CST on Saturday, July 14th. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your actual email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. (You don’t have to put the address in the comment field for everyone to see, just make sure it’s in the email address field.) I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone. If winner does not respond within 7 days, I will draw a new winner. Shipping via USPS first class. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. US residents and APO/FPO only please.

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Appalachian Baby Design, who sent me one 3 Pack U.S. Organic Cotton Yarn Set (retail $35) for free, as well as one to give away. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

FO: KITH Socks

It feels like these socks were on the needles for a long time, but really it was only a little over a month. These are plain vanilla socks with a slip stitch heel, and right now it’s so hot I couldn’t even imagine putting them on my feet so the only photos I have show them on sock blockers.

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The yarn is Show Me Yarn Bootheel in Flowers in the Mist, a special colorway for Knitting in the Heartland this year. It came with a matching project bag which I love.

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They really are pretty and they feel delightfully soft and squishy, but as soon as they were done, I was super excited to cast on a new pair of socks in bright self-striping yarn.

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This is Show Me Yarn too, in the color Jungle Boogie! I’m adding contrast heels/toes in a lovely indigo from my scrap ball stash. I think I might like bright, crazy yarn like this better than the sedate, subdued yarns.

I’ve had to set my sweater aside for a bit. It’s been so crazy hot, and our A/C keeps malfunctioning, and I can’t have a lump of wool in my lap right now. But I’m on the second sleeve and as soon as it cools off even a little, it’ll be back in my hands!

Old House History

This kind of thing just never happens. Yesterday afternoon I heard a knock on the front door. I saw a woman and a boy, and Jack was going bonkers, so I just slipped out to the porch to see what they wanted. The woman introduced herself, said she was in the neighborhood, and wanted to stop by because her grandparents built our house! She said she has a lot of photos going back through the years, as well as blueprints and other things, and she wondered if we’d be interested in seeing any of it. Um, heck yeah!

Obviously we love old houses, or else we wouldn’t put up with the fixer-upper life, and I especially love knowing more about the history of a house. I knew our house was built in 1921 by the town doctor, but that was about it. Yesterday I found out that it was originally painted yellow, as it is now, so I have to keep it that color. I was planning to go with gray, but if we’re not staying here long-term, I’d rather stay true to the history of the house.

I also learned that the room we use as a music room, with the piano and music stands for the kids to practice, was originally a music room. This woman’s grandmother had a piano in there that she played. We recently had some work done on the front stairs, with new concrete from the sidewalk up, and new wood stairs up to the porch, and she complimented that, which pleased me. I felt like it meant we did a good job keeping the work true to the character of the house.

We chatted for quite a while, and she shared a lot of neat tidbits about the house over the years. It’s been out of the family for over fifty years, and she said they’d wanted to buy it a few years ago but the asking price was too high. So the coolest thing to come out of it might be that we could help get it back in the family, once we’re ready to sell. That would feel pretty good.

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I made a sleeve!

This sweater is going so fast, I can’t believe it! I finished the first sleeve last night, and it went so much faster than with my last two sweaters. I think it’s because before I was managing two skeins all the way through, either doing stripes or alternating skeins. Just having one skein and doing stockinette all the way makes it zoom. And now that I have that extra color on the sleeve, I love the color combo so much!

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The girl is still coveting the sweater. I’m waiting to see how it fits me before I decide who gets it. But the nice thing is, even if it fits her better, I could make myself another one!

Since I’m so close to finishing the sweater, part of my wants to power through that second sleeve this weekend. But I’m also drawn to a new skein of yarn…

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This was a gift from a friend as a thank-you for helping her with knitting and for taking her with me to a concert recently. She was at a yarn store where Potion Yarns was doing a trunk show and picked out this little beauty for me. It’s Seductress Sock in the color Her Wicked Ways, and they recommended the pattern Changing Staircases for it. Since that pattern was already in my favorites, I figure that’s what this yarn needs to be, and I’m eager to cast that on this weekend too. So hard to choose! Which would you do, sleeve or shawl??

 

Knitting in Public

The boy had an orthodontist appointment this morning, and it was my turn to take him. I almost forgot my knitting, which would have been torturous, but I remembered at the last minute. So there I was knitting along on my sock using my size 1 DPNs, and when the doctor came to check on the boy, he immediately noticed what I was doing. He and the two techs standing by marveled that I was using four needles, and they were so tiny, which of course made me feel very clever even though I truly believe that just about anyone can learn to knit.

Anyway, then the nice doctor said something about how he’s heard about doctors doing that kind of thing (motioning toward me), like “crochet or needlework” to work on their fine motor skills. I laughed and said, “And knitting?” He nodded and kept talking but then one of the techs asked which I was doing, so I got to give a little lesson about the difference between crochet and knitting, and how one uses one hook and the other uses multiple needles. It was a good reminder that not everyone speaks this language called Yarn, and that I should take every opportunity to normalize it and make it accessible. Definitely a good argument for knitting in public!

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