Tag Archive | crochet

Review: Andean Sun Alpaca

Does anybody else love alpaca? I’m guessing a few of you do. It’s one of my favorite yarns to use in winter, so when I was offered the chance to review some bulky alpaca from Andean Sun Yarns, I jumped at the chance. It’s available in packs of three in six colors, and I chose medium gray so it would go with almost everything.

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Honestly, I’d never heard of Andean Sun Yarns, so I had no idea what to expect. But guys. OMG. I’m a convert. If you love super soft alpaca that feels like a warm furry marshmallow (think squishy, not sticky!), then this is your yarn. In the past, I’ve used and loved Plymouth Yarns Grande and Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky. This yarn feels even better. I’m not sure why exactly, but I think the Andean Sun alpaca felt a little denser, a little more substantial, and just a tiny bit fuzzier. Can you see a hint of that marvelous halo??

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The yarn arrived on a Saturday and I cast on for the Bandana Cowl that same day. I was done by that night, partly because I was lucky enough to have a whole lazy knitting day, but also because I didn’t want to put the yarn down. Each skein is about 50 grams/54 yards each, and I used about two and a half skeins for the cowl. The yarn slid easily from the little skein, there were no knots, and it tinked nicely when I inevitably messed up.

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It felt so good in my hands. Plus, it washed and blocked wonderfully, still super soft and with a lovely relaxed drape. My only caveat is that I want it in more than six colors! And I have to say, I’ve wanted to make the Bandana cowl for SO long, and always put it off because I didn’t want to mess with short rows. Remember, I don’t like short rows. Except they were easy and quick in this pattern with the bulky yarn, and I didn’t mind them at all, and now I adore this cowl!

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Andean Sun Yarns is a small, independent family business with roots in Peru and the US that’s been around since 2001. As near as I can tell, they don’t stock in yarn stores, which is too bad because if you felt it, you’d probably buy it! But you can get it from their website (and get 25% off for subscribing to their newsletter) or from their Amazon shop (with free shipping).

Thanks so much to Stitchcraft Marketing and Andean Sun Yarns who sent me the three-skein bulky alpaca kit (retail: $31.98) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Finished!?

Guess who finished TWO projects today?? THIS GIRL! That’s right, thanks to the women’s and men’s finals of the Australian Open, I bound off my Boho Baby Blanket today! And even got the ends woven in, how about that? AND! Then after that, I had a sock that was ready for a toe so I zipped through that while catching up on Grey’s Anatomy, and voila, two projects off my WIP list!

I do need to block the blanket and take some good photos, but still, I’m down to seven WIPs and I’m committed to working it down further. I really don’t like having so many clamoring for attention.

I might have also made a couple more teeny sloths this weekend. Thank goodness they’re fast!

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Wee Mouse

Recently one of my work friends had a little mouse issue at his home. It’s happened to me a few times so it didn’t seem like a big deal, but it was his first experience and he was not happy. At all. But he took care of it, and then went on vacation. So of course I had to make a mouse.

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His name is Marcel and he is now in his new home, hiding among some papers on my friend’s desk. I might add a few chocolate sprinkles for authenticity.

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The pattern is Pousie Mouse, but I used a slightly bigger hook and yarn than she did. It was very simple, once I found a yarn/hook combo I liked. I’m kind of liking the amigurumi lately!

New LYS!

Dear Knitting SIL,

I’m so sorry. I know we were going to visit the new LYS in town together, and I know I had to back out because of the boy’s guitar recital and we were going to go together later this month. But then Sunday arrived, and I didn’t have plans, and the yarn store was open, and…things happened. Helloooo, Yarn Social!

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If it helps, I will absolutely go again with you and the girl another weekend. Because the store is super cute, and they have a lot of fun yarns, and they also have a living room area with a couch and a few chairs where you can hang out and do yarn-y things. They even had yarn cookies! But I’m guessing that was just because it was opening weekend and it won’t be an all-the-time thing.

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And I know you are probably as happy as I am that this store opened, because the KC metro area needed a good yarn store downtown. We needed a store to offer some variety with the smaller indie dyers, a store that will focus on yarn and on creating a welcoming community for crafters. It just has a different feel than the other stores in the area, and it provides a balance we didn’t have before. So while I bought some beautiful yarn, I tried to restrain myself a tiny little bit so that I could still get something when I go back with you, because I know we will go together at some point soon!

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Thank you for understanding that I am only human, and can only resist the call of a yarn store for so long.

Sincerely,

Bonny

 

Holiday Projects

It’s been a busy few days around here. The girl was here for Thanksgiving, which was marvelous, but she also had to work two shifts and see a couple of friends, and then she had to leave a day early to beat today’s blizzard warning, so it was really only three days. And that’s not quite long enough for me. But I enjoyed her while she was here and I am very glad she’s back at school safe and sound. I would have gone nuts thinking about her driving through a blizzard warning! After she left yesterday, I wanted something fun to do to distract me, so I made the boys take me to a cute little nearby town for some retail therapy. I did pretty well!

I found this awesome yarn bowl at an art collective and even got a fun tote with it! Hooray for Small Business Saturday! While we were there, I did some knitting on my Hogwarts Cowl at the guitar store and at dinner. I’m halfway through now and like the size much better than my first version.


There’s actually been more crochet than knitting this weekend. One of the nephews requested a Pikachu hat and he’s three and very cute so I couldn’t say no. And since I made one nephew a scarf and another a Pikachu hat, I had to make something for the Pokemon-obsessed niece, so I used the last of my yellow yarn for a wee Pikachu for her.

They are cute, I will admit it. But that’s enough Pikachu to last me a very long time! I’m taking a break from gift projects today during the blizzard for some selfish knitting…maybe. Or maybe I’ll start a pair of gift socks. In any case, it’s windy and snowing and you will find me on the couch with yarn and dogs for the rest of the day! Everyone else in the path of the storm, stay safe and warm!

Unusual FOs!

I have two fun things to show you today! And they’re not even knitted! Remember how my work team went to a glass fusion studio and made mosaic tiles? I finally got mine back!  It’s a little more see-through than I expected, don’t know why, but I’m happy enough with it. If I were to redo it, I’d do the letters lower and closer together and maybe use an opaque base instead of clear. But it’s hanging in my craft room and makes me smile.

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And my other FO is a SUPER CUTE crocheted baby sloth!!

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I love him so much. He’s a gift for a work friend who loves sloths, but I like him so much I ordered more safety eyes so I can make many more. I want to make ones with long arms that have snaps on the end so he can hang from things too. The pattern is Zippy the Baby Sloth, and it’s free on Ravelry, and took me maybe two hours to make.

Now my focus is apparently shifting to gift knitting, as two of the young men in my life would like yarn gifts for Christmas and I am always happy to oblige! What about you, are you deep in gift knitting at this point?

 

Yarniversary

Today is a special day. Six years ago today, I bought my first crochet hooks and yarn and started teaching myself to crochet! It’s been a long amazing journey since then, with plenty of frustration but so much more joy and peace. Yarn has been with me through so many hard times, allowing me to focus on something other than stress or anxiety or grief or sadness, at least for short periods at a time.

Yarn brought me many friendships I wouldn’t have otherwise, amazing friends who support me online and in person.

Yarn brought me this blog, which lets me work through things in words, a form of journaling after I’d walked away from journaling years ago.

Yarn opened up this huge source of creativity in my life, something I’d been searching for through other hobbies until discovering this one. It balances out the rest of my life so well, giving me an outlet for beauty and experimentation and art.

Yarn has given me confidence, though that one isn’t constant. The other day a woman saw me knitting a sock and told me “You’re so gifted!” And my response was, “You’re sweet, but really it’s the yarn doing the work.” I still struggle with being able to take credit for what I create, but in my heart, I really am proud of what I’ve done, what I make.

Yarn introduced me to a huge number of inspiring women who are doing what they love, being who and what they want, without apologies and with great joy. I have so many role models in the yarn world, and I’m happy and grateful to be a part of this community.

I don’t remember what I did before yarn came into my life, but I’m glad I don’t have to find out now.

This week, depression is kind of winning in my head, for a variety of reasons. Some are identifiable, but then there’s that weird inexplicable depression fug that takes over and makes you all dark and numb and twisty without explaining why. I’ve been here before and I know I’ll get past it like I have before. It just sucks in the moment, and all I want to do is enjoy the comfort of yarn in my hands, and be grateful that I have that comfort available.

So, thank you for six wonderful years, Yarn. I look forward to many more.