Happy New Year!

Did you all have a wonderful time last night? We did, with our excessive amounts of junk food and multiple board games, even if I did lose at both Trivial Pursuit AND Scrabble. What can I say? It just wasn’t my night to be smart. And I didn’t knit at all, which was a little weird. But we laughed a lot and enjoyed each other’s company and it was the perfect way to wind up one year and start another.

This morning I got off to a good start too. If New Year’s Day is supposed to be an indicator of how your year will go, then I will be finishing projects this year! I’ve got the first Hedgehog Fibres Gossip sock off the needles.

grwncfM1QnSbHYXRVsrmqQ

While I was weaving in ends, I noticed how fun the reverse of the leg was, and I think I need to do this on purpose with my next pair of socks.

fullsizeoutput_1f0c

I love those little ridges! This is my modified Vanilla Latte pattern, of course. I modified the foot a tiny bit this time, making it a quarter-inch shorter, to see if I like the snugger fit better. I guess I should finish this pair and wear them to test that out before I make another pair. Hm. And here I was wanting to cast on another sock today!

2019: Knit from stash!

I confess, I am one of those people going into the new year pledging “No new yarn! Knit from stash!” And I know it’s terrible for LYSs who count on our business, and I do want them to thrive, but alas, it’s time for me to be responsible about other things. I kind of added up how much I’d spent on yarn this year and it was…eye-opening, shall we say? I got lazy about our budget, lazy with my will-power, and it led to more yarn spending than I’m comfortable with. And really, I bought so much gorgeous yarn this year that why wouldn’t I want to knit with it soon? That’s why I bought it, right? So, I’m sorry, my dear LYS, but you won’t be seeing as much of me this year. I’m not going to say I won’t buy any new yarn in 2019, but I definitely will be buying MUCH less and making a concerted effort to knit from stash.

Okay. So how do you make that happen? When the urge for new yarn arises, how do you fight it? When you get invited on a trip to a yarn store, do you say no, or go and try to resist purchasing anything?

For me, being involved with my stash will be critical. I need to go into it regularly and find lost treasures, remind myself of a beautiful skein I bought six months ago, or two years ago. When I feel the itch for something new and fresh, I can dive deep into my stash to scratch it.

My new knitting journal will help as well, I hope. I’ve got a section for projects I want to make, so I can visit that and pair those ideas with yarn in my stash. Oooh, maybe I should make a section for yarns I want to knit next!!

And if I end up at a yarn store, then maybe sometimes I let myself buy ONE skein, instead of two or four or six plus a pompom plus an enamel pin and hey, do I need some of those needles?

With all that said, I think I’ve found my word for 2019: Balance.

img_2703

Wishing you all a happy and safe New Year’s Eve!

Pullover Progress

I got some wonderful comments on my journal post yesterday, as well as some on Instagram, and I’m excited to get started today! I do want to get some Christmas decorations put away first, and then I’ll journal as my reward.

Last night and this morning, I spent some time with my Clarke pullover, which has been sadly neglected for far too long. Though it took me a few minutes to figure out where I’d left off, I have now managed to separate the sleeves!

Ycksx6DvQSCEFYIMRghpsA

It’s looking more like a sweater-type object! I’m now ready to knit ’round and ’round on the body for many inches, making this perfect mindless knitting. It will be great for game time on New Year’s Eve, as well as lunch break knitting at work. Can’t wait to have a new handknit sweater in the rotation!

Knitting Journal

I’m stuck, guys. I mentioned yesterday that I want to start a knitting journal, and I really do. I’ve got the notebook picked out (my pretty new purple Rhodia) and I have a pen inked and ready (my pretty new silver Kaweco with pretty new purple Waterman ink). I have a list of topics/ideas/pages for my journal. But I’m struggling to actually put pen to paper. You see, what if I do it wrong?

No, I know, there is no “wrong”. It’s fine however I do it, as long as it works for me. But what will work for me? And what if I change my mind later? Do I want to designate a page for each topic, or do I want to write chronologically, like I do in my regular journal? I read Kate Davies’ fantastic post about how she journals and especially liked the idea of being able to find things retroactively, so I know I’ll flag some pages to return to (blog post ideas, photos to take, review projects). There’s a part of me that loves the look of a beautiful bullet journal, neatly organized and decorated, but honestly…I’d rather spend my creative time with my yarn, and not decorating my journal. So maybe I need to focus on Kate’s advice:

“So my first principle is to just put everything in one place. That is, when you have a new idea, or a new thing that you need to record, don’t worry about where it needs to go, or how it should be categorised – just start on a new page, or draw a line under the last item in the journal and record it. It doesn’t matter at all if this thing is of a different kind (or category) to the last thing that you wrote or drew . . . just write it down, in its new place, and record what you need to about it.”

Just write it down. Surely I can do that.

img_2677

Back to socks

After a brief affair with super bulky yarn, I went back to my sock yarn over the holiday. And wonder of wonders, I finally finished the second Paddington Station sock! (The Ott light I got for Christmas made a huge difference in the knitting experience, I have to admit.)

IMG_2674

I need to remember that I don’t like knitting with plain dark yarn. I liked the pattern and I liked the yarn, but I never wanted to knit on these. So I’m delighted they’re done and the boy stole them before I could get a better photo. Now I can move on to my new sock yarn!!

img_2663I got three skeins of sock yarn from Show Me Yarn from the husband and I’m totally going to cast on that self-striping 80s colorway first (the neon pink/blue/green, called Hit Me With Your Best Shot). BUT. I’m going to be good and try to finish the socks on my needles first, the hot pink Hedgehog Fibres Gossip socks. I’m zipping along now that I’ve got the black socks done.

IMG_2580I’m not doing the #MakeNine challenge that’s so popular right now. It’s overwhelming for me to think of that many ambitious projects at once. Instead, I’m challenging myself to start a knitting journal this year to plan/make notes/dream etc. It can be whatever I need it to be, and right now, I need it to be a list of ideas for my next super bulky project!

img_2667

I hope you all had a peaceful and fun holiday and have fun new yarny things to play with!

 

 

New yarn from Manos!

Manos del Uruguay is one of my favorite brands, has been for a while now. I’ve used the Maxima and Alegria with great success. Their colors are gorgeous, the yarn is soft and wears well, and it’s all certified Fair Trade. Plus the yarns are made by artisans in cooperatives located throughout Uruguay, and each skein is signed, so you know who made your yarn and which village it came from. That makes it so much more personal for me, and I feel like I’m doing a good deed just by buying yarn.

So, when given the opportunity to review a new yarn from Manos, of course I jumped at the chance. Feliz is 70% superwash merino, 30% modal. Modal is a man-made fiber from vegetal pulp, and I was familiar with it from my past life in retail: I knew it was smooth and had fantastic drape. I could only imagine it would be equally delightful in yarn. It’s available in several of the gorgeous Manos hand-dyed colorways; I chose Wildflowers.

img_7943

Doesn’t it make you swoon? Yum, it does me! I cast on almost as soon as they sent it to me! It’s listed as DK on Ravelry, and has about 350 yards per 100g skein. Fairmount Fibers, their North American distributor, was generous enough to send me two skeins. I selected a pattern called Late Harvest, which was written for a different sport weight Manos yarn. It has a really unusual slip stitch pattern.

fullsizeoutput_1e59

Guys, I love this yarn. It felt like premium merino, all bouncy and supple, but even smoother, almost silky. There’s almost a hint of a sheen to the yarn. I didn’t have any issues with splitting, and it tinked back nicely when I made the inevitable mistake.

fullsizeoutput_1e5e

It was a happy yarn for me, a happy knit. It felt soft and comforting in my hands, it slid smoothly on the needles, and the colors were perfect for the pattern. I keep coming back to the smoothness, because honestly, I prefer that to the fuzziness you get with some yarns. I can’t wait to see how it wears long-term, because if it doesn’t fuzz and pill as much as all-merino yarns, it will make some truly fantastic sweaters! Plus, I’m sensitive to some wools against my skin, and this feels like a yarn I might be able to wear without a layer underneath.

fullsizeoutput_1e57

Even though it’s mostly superwash merino, it does say to hand wash, which I did. It blocked out beautifully without much work, and the water was still clear after the soak, so the dyes didn’t bleed. I didn’t even pin it, just laid it out and nudged the edges into the shape I wanted, and now I’ve got a big, gorgeous shawl that will go with so many things. You can see my Ravelry project page here.

fullsizeoutput_1e5c

You can see Feliz in all the pretty colors on their website, including their special 50th anniversary color, Cincuenta. It looks like Feliz sells for around $26 a skein, which seems perfectly reasonable to me. I’m happy to pay that for yarn that looks good, feels good, and helps women support their families!

Many thanks to Stitchcraft Marketing and Fairmount Fibers, who generously sent me two skeins of Manos del Uruguay Feliz (retail value $52) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

So Much Super Bulky

You may remember my Star Stuff super bulky cowl from the other day, the one made from that gorgeous LB Art Yarn yarn? After that, I became obsessed with super bulky yarn. I immediately pulled out some Berroco Brio from a cowl I’d frogged a couple of months ago. After nearly an hour on Ravelry, I’d settled on…the same pattern I’d used the first time around. But this time I used smaller needles and cast on fewer stitches and ended up with a cowl I like much better.

That wasn’t the end of my love affair with super bulky. I was forced to go back to Yarn Social on Wednesday, and what fell into my hands but a beautiful skein of Malabrigo Rasta and a purple fur pompom? They said they needed to become a hat, ASAP. I obliged.

img_2559

But now, though the bulky continues to call to me, I must return my focus to previously scheduled knitting, as I do have some deadlines to meet. I did enjoy my super bulky interlude, though!