Tag Archive | stripes

Giveaway: Kraemer Yarns

My wrap is done, and it’s gorgeous! I love it! If you love it too, read on, because I have a giveaway for the yarn and pattern!

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A couple of months ago, I was contacted by Stitchcraft Marketing about a review opportunity. Of course I jumped on the chance, and agreed to review Kraemer Yarn’s Perfection DK. I could choose from a selection of patterns; I chose the Mother Earth Wrap because I find shawls and wraps so marvelously wearable, plus I love the comfort of knitting garter stitch. It was so exciting to get the box in the mail, and I loved the presentation. The yarn was wrapped in red tissue paper closed with a charming sticker which had my name hand-written on it. It’s just the kind of touch you don’t see very often any more, and it made it feel like a gift!

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The pattern is a new one called the Mother Earth Wrap by Beth Aidala, and I think it’s meant to be a shawlette-sized wrap to wear around your neck. Mine is…not that, but that is only through fault of my own. Let that be a lesson to you: always check your gauge if you care about fit! Thankfully, this is the kind of piece that fits fine regardless of size. It would be marvelous to wrap up in when I’m feeling chilly. You could choose any six colors and I loved the bright colors they used for the sample: Bright Blue, Cobalt, Puddle, Spring Rhyme, Sprout and Flora. But of course three of mine had to be purple. I picked Jelly, Evening Song, Shy Violet, Sky, Tweet, and Elegant Gray.

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The Perfection line is 70% acrylic and 30% wool. I cast on immediately and right away I was struck by the feel of the yarn: it felt like wool to me, not acrylic, and I liked that a lot. As I’ve progressed in my knitting obsession, I confess I’m a bit of a yarn snob, and I don’t always like the plastic-y feeling of some acrylic. I didn’t get that from the Perfection. It wasn’t as soft as some of the merino I’ve used, but it felt good in my hands as I knit. I liked that tiny bit of texture that made it feel woolly. When my needles slipped out of stitches, I never dropped any; I could pick them up without a problem.

Even though I was only doing garter stitch, the yarn is crisp enough that it would have great stitch definition, making it a solid choice for intricate details like cables. At $6.99 for 260 yards, it’s extremely affordable when you need a lot of yardage. Also, it’s available in 71 colors, so this would be a great staple yarn for your stash. I could definitely see myself using this for sweaters and blankets.

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Another benefit to this yarn is that it’s machine washable. Mine went in on the gentlest cycle, then in the dryer on the lowest heat for a gentle tumble dry, and it came out beautiful. The stitches didn’t shrink or get floppy, the yarn came out soft and cozy, and the wrap, while still extra-large, retained its shape.

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My only minor issue came with the pattern; it stated to knit each color for 12″, but it wasn’t clear to me where I was supposed to measure. One of the sides? Up the middle? I got conflicting advice from knitter friends, so I measured based on how I interpreted the pattern’s instructions. Instead of measurements of 72″ by 16″, mine is 104″ by 22″. However, my gauge is also not 15 stitches and 30 rows = 4′. It’s more like 16 stitches and 36 rows = 4″. So I should have done the swatch first. Otherwise the pattern is simple enough for new knitters, and makes for relaxing TV knitting. I would just like to see the pattern have more than one photo, including one showing where/how to measure, and some that show the wrap laid out, or otherwise fully extended.

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Okay, so my wrap is done, and I’m gifting it to a good friend who’s been admiring it as I worked on it. Now it’s your turn! I have a complete set of the yarn identical to what I used, plus a color pattern, and I’d love to send it to one of you. It’s been in the box, wrapped in tissue, safe in my craft room since it arrived, so it will come to you in the same condition it came to me!

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TO ENTER: Leave a comment below telling me if you’ll be keeping the wrap for yourself or giving it to a deserving recipient, and if so, who is that person?

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 6 pm CST on Wednesday, May 9th. All entries must be submitted on this blog. Winner will be announced by 10 am CST on Thursday, May 10th. 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. 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 Kraemer Yarns who sent me six skeins of Perfection DK (retail $41.94) plus the Mother Earth Wrap pattern ($5.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Striped Convertible Mitts

It’s no secret that I like knitting. I’m a process knitter, which means I knit because I like the process of knitting, not necessarily because I want the end result. So when a friend asked me if I’d make her some mittens, I agreed right away. I’d be knitting anyway, why not make something a friend would enjoy wearing?

It turns out she’d bought the kit for these Line by Line Mittens to Gloves from Knit Picks, complete with five colors of Knit Picks Swish, because she wanted to learn to knit. Then she tried, and discovered she didn’t love it, and it made her hands and elbows hurt. But she still had this kit sitting there, staring at her and mocking her. (I’m imagining that last bit; that’s what it would be doing to me, anyway.) And she still wanted the mitts. They didn’t look complicated to me, even though I’d have to learn how to do the convertible top. She insisted there was no hurry, but when I finished the husband’s socks (which were supposed to be Christmas gifts but oops were not) I was happy to do something new and different, and I cast on the first mitt over the weekend.

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They knit up quickly, though it didn’t take long for me to realize I’d forgotten the downside to stripes: ends. Lots and lots of ends to weave in. I texted her a progress photo after the first one was done, joking that I’d let her weave in the ends, and cast on for the second mitt.

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With the basic mitts done, it was time to figure out the convertible tops. I took a break long enough to weave in a crap-ton of ends (yes, she would have happily done it herself, but I needed the break, and it was satisfying to see the neat and tidy mitts). Then I counted down the rows to where I was supposed to pick up 24 stitches. But I’d never picked up stitches in the middle before; I’d always picked up from an edge. So that took a few tries before I found a method that worked and looked acceptable. Not sure if it’s the “right” way, but eh, who cares about that, right? Getting the stitches all set up for that convertible top was kind of a hassle, to be honest, but once I got the first couple of rows done, it was smooth sailing, and by the middle of the Golden Globes last night, I had a complete mitten!

I’ll do the last mitten top tonight so that I can give her the mittens tomorrow, and then I’ll give the pattern back and never knit it again. I didn’t really care for how it was written. The thumb gusset was set up on both sides of the beginning-of-round marker, so I was fiddling with color changes and increases within a few stitches. I prefer it when the gusset is closer to the middle of the round, especially if there are color changes. Still, these are awfully cute, and it does feel good to do something nice for someone else sometimes!

FO: Striped Baby Hat

Yesterday was another day where I needed a little travel project, so I grabbed the two colors of Malabrigo Rios I had left over from the Duality hats. I weighed it, compared it to the ones I’d made, and decided I just had enough left for a baby hat. I cast on 72 and knit away, and this morning I finished it off. IMG_5372 2I wasn’t sure about the skinny stripes, but my daughter said it was really pretty, so I stuck with it. I do really like how the stripes turned out at the crown. IMG_5375 2I had to improvise the decreases a couple of times, but it worked out just fine. I think it’s a fun, funky hat for a hip little kid!