Tag Archive | yarn

Disappearing Act

No, YOU ran off and disappeared for a month!!

Okay, yes, it was me. And while I realize most of you probably didn’t notice my lack of posting, I did. I missed writing; I just got caught up in the spring madness of band and choir contest, concerts, finals, junior prom, ACT/SAT, plus work and knitting and reading, oh my! I guess that’s my way of saying life got in the way, and today I’m pushing all that aside to make time for writing again.

Maybe it’s because that I’ve got a little seed of a story that’s trying to get out. I’ve been working on it here and there, and it’s new and exciting and that’s kind of all I’m going to say about it right now. But I think writing leads to more writing, you know? And every time I come back to it, I remember how much I love it. I went and saw Andrew McCarthy recently as he toured for his new YA novel, and he talked about how when he started writing, he had this little epiphany, “OH! There I am!” And that’s me, when I write. Lately I’ve been feeling sort of lost, because I didn’t have the wholly creative life I was living before I went back to work. I’ve been feeling like I’d let got of a big part of myself, and I want to try to get it back. I don’t regret going back to work, really: I love my co-workers and have found some wonderful new friends, and to be honest, the salary is very helpful given our old-house/almost-senior-year-kid life. But I want to try harder to find the balance, to bring back that creative energy that filled my days before. So! Long-winded way to say, I’m back!

First, I have to show off just one photo of my gorgeous girl from her junior prom. Like most prom experiences, the actual event didn’t quite live up to the expectations and there were a couple of hitches, but they looked stunning and had a good time, and that’s good enough, I think.

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I’ve been gone too long to talk about everything I’ve knit in the past month, but my focus has been socks. Yes, I’ve become a sock knitter, I admit it. I have three completed pairs and have figured out how to make a sock that fits the way I like. I joined my first KAL, with Raveler FluffyK (from the blog The Corner of Knit & Tea). My goal is to complete two pairs of socks, and I’m pretty close to finishing the first.

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This is my first foray into socks with a contrast heel/toe/cuff and I’m pretty much in love with it. My only problem is figuring out when to break for the heel to ensure good contrast, but that’ll come in time. And did I mention how much I adore self-striping yarn?? OMG that’s a reason to knit socks right there! It’s just so magical. I knit these at work during lunch, and non-knitters’ eyes get big when they see what the yarn is doing. “But how does it make the stripes??” Magic, my friends. Magic. This yarn is Aurora Fingering Weight from Tumbleweed Yarns and it’s a joy to knit with. Soft but not limp, great stitch definition, and super-saturated colors. Oh yeah, self-striping sock yarn is going to be my new obsession. For fall I’m totally going to make some fingerless gloves too. Anyway, this sock is ready for the heel, so I’ll get that all done this weekend so the foot will be ready for mindless lunch break knitting next week. This pattern is Vanilla Latte and it’s fantastic (assuming you enjoy ribbing).

Speaking of FluffyK, my other main WIP right now is a cowl pattern I’m test-knitting for her. I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say, but I will say I’m enjoying the knit and so far the lace pattern is turning out beautifully. The pattern calls for around 450-500 yards of DK, and I was so good that I shopped from my stash! I’m using Berroco Fiora in a gray color called Tybee, and I think this will be the perfect spring/fall lightweight cowl.

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I’ll keep you updated and show you the FO as soon as I can, and you can watch her Ravelry design page for release info. The pattern is called Wood Sorrel.

Okay, well, I didn’t really plan this out to be a FluffyK-themed post, but the other thing I wanted to show off is the new yarn I got in April. Yes, she spins yarn too, and because I begged pathetically she’s my friend, she spun a skein especially for me. It was the only skein of yarn I purchased in April, and it was totally worth it.

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Isn’t it stunning?? The colorway is named Sinister Foxy and it’s all wound and ready for me to cast on, as soon as I have the time! If you’re jealous, you can check out her Etsy shop here. She’s also a tech editor and prolific knitter, so she doesn’t have a ton, but it’s all OOAK and beautiful. And heck, while I’m at it: find her on Instagram as fluffykira. She posts lots of pretty things!

This was fun! Thanks for being patient with me, friends. I’ll be back soon, because I do want to share the progress on my Harvest cardigan. But for now, it’s a beautiful morning and I have much housework knitting to do. Happy Saturday!

Colorado weekend

Guys, I have SO much to share today that I’m not even sure where to begin. (This is gonna be a long post, I think. Get a big cup of tea and settle in!) You know how the girl recently turned 17? Well, she seems to think that when she graduates high school, she’s going to leave us and go away to college. And despite a few misgivings, I think that’s probably for the best. She’s got a solid list of schools she’s considering, ones with strong music departments, and this weekend we drove out to visit the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. We’ve been to Colorado many times and love it, but had never been to Greeley. We left thinking it’s still a strong contender.

My only complaint was that you couldn’t see the mountains everywhere on campus! It had a nice small-town feel but with plenty of things to do and places to shop, and it’s maybe an hour away from Denver and Fort Collins and other bigger cities. The campus wasn’t fancy but it was pretty, and there was a ton of green space. There was even a dog park on campus! One of the reasons she liked this school was because they have a pet-friendly dorm. Sadly, the limit in those apartments is 40-pound dogs, and Grace is above that, so if she wants Grace with her later, she’ll have to move off campus. But it still means there will be tons of animals for her to play with. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to meet the flute professor, who was out of town, and that’s a critical piece of the decision, but it means we’ll get to go back if she decides it’s one of her top choices. We had a pretty good time.

Greeley even had an Old Chicago, which was such a treat after a long day’s drive. Yes, that’s my cool and tasty beverage right there. Wee thing, isn’t it?

Okay, now let’s get to the fun stuff! Who else uses any kind of road trip as a reason for yarn crawl? All of you, right? Because our time was limited, I was going to be good and only go to one yarn store: The Loopy Ewe in Fort Collins, because how could I be so close and NOT go? But as we drove through Kansas, I saw not one but TWO billboards for a yarn store in Salina, and we were planning to stop in Salina anyway! How lucky is that? (Lucky that I have a generous and patient family, for sure!)

A short detour found me inside Yarns Sold and Told, and what a lovely shop it was! Great selection, with both big names and small dyers, lots of colors, comfy couches, and as the billboard stated, they were very friendly. I wish I could have spent more time there. But I did pretty well in just under thirty minutes. I got a Baah Sonoma in Pink Tourmaline (pink might be one of the hardest colors to photograph well), two skeins of Ella Rae Cozy Alpaca (SO soft, I never would have thought it was mostly acrylic), and that gorgeous multicolor Ella Rae Lace Merino DK.

Then on Saturday before leaving for home, I finally made it to the Loopy Ewe! (Cue chorus of angels here) I feel like this should probably be its own blog post, but I can’t wait that long.

If you are ever near this store, you absolutely need to go. There was SO much yarn, so much gorgeous yarn from all kinds of companies big and small. The girl and I had a marvelous time and of course I walked out of there with WAY too much stuff. See?

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Yes, that’s a big bag, and yes, it’s very full. But see, it looks that full mostly because I bought a bulky hoodie (and a couple of fun little things).

And okay, yes, I bought too much yarn. Please remember, this is a safe place. No judging!

I tried to pick yarns I couldn’t get at home, which meant I passed up some gorgeous Malabrigo and Lorna’s Laces. But that’s okay, I came home with fantastic yarn. Here’s what I chose, each row left to right:

  1. Loopy Legends sock yarn in Jennifer’s Sweet Inspiration. Had to get some Loopy yarn!
  2. Tumbleweed Yarn sock kit in color Confetti Kit (these will be my first socks with contrasting heels and toes!)
  3. Julie Spins Silky, a 50/50 silk/merino blend, in Carbonite. So soft, and such a beautiful, versatile color. This will be a shawl.
  4. Baah LaJolla in Berry Cocktail. I can get Baah at home but not as often and this color just grabbed me.
  5. Magpie Swanky DK. Merino/cashmere/nylon blend in color Night Rain. This was my biggest splurge. The rich color, the softness, oh my!
  6. Knerd String Fingering in color Hotter. I loved that this is from a Colorado dyer!
  7. Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock, color Rock Star. Because look at it!!
  8. Western Sky Knits Aspen Sock in color Poppyseed. This was brand new yarn I snagged from a tub at the counter, not even in inventory yet! Oh, the colors! Squee! I’m not sure yet if this will be socks or a Hitchiker. I kind of don’t want to hide the colors on my feet!

Whew, what a haul. I’m such a lucky girl. Can’t wait to start knitting ALL the new yarns! I did quite a bit of knitting while we were gone too, but that’s going to have to wait: I have yarn to play with. Happy Sunday, friends!

The Call of the Yarn

I have four sad WIPs that I have been neglecting. I have allowed myself to become distracted by all the new, pretty yarn entering my stash. I want to knit ALL the things with the new yarn. I’m quickly filling up my Ravelry queue with potential projects and am slowed only by having to go back to work. I’ve already started one new project, with some yarn I bought right after Christmas. I got two skeins of Malabrigo Rios in Archangel, and wanted a simple pattern to show off the gorgeous colors. I love cowls and wear them almost every day, so that was the easy decision. After much perusing, I settled on the Hill & Dale Cowl, a generously-sized cowl that will make perfect lunch-break knitting.

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As always, I’m loving knitting with Malabrigo. But I’m also itching to cast on a Chevrione shawl with my new Frolicking Feet gradient set. I haven’t done any fingering weight lace in ages and I’m craving it!

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Plus I’m desperate to make a Miss Winkle shawl, and I think this pink Frolicking Feet  will be perfect. (I’m sensing a theme here.) I also have this gorgeous skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage waiting to become this Gothic Lace cowl.

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See?? So many beautiful projects just waiting for my attention! The pull of these yarns is so strong that I’m even ignoring a Malabrigo Hitchhiker already on my needles! That’s pretty significant…but hm, maybe I should get that back out…hmm, how many WIPs is a reasonable number?

A Story of Yarn

Free yarn. What knitter would turn down free yarn? Not this one! So when one of my SILs said she’d gotten some yarn from a client and it was mine if I wanted it, I said sure! To be honest, I was expecting chain-store acrylic. Then she said the woman had told her it was “good yarn, not the cheap stuff” and my hopes went up a bit. A quick glance in the bag revealed it was indeed “better” yarn — I saw one label for Rowan wool and thought I might find some goodies.

That night I dumped out the bag, and as I started picking up the balls, I made a disappointing discovery: the yarn had been stored around a smoker. The smell wasn’t super strong, not overpowering, but it was there. I knew I could wash finished pieces but I was afraid the smell would bother me as I knit.

I did some googling and asking around, and the consensus was that washing the yarn was my only hope, and even that might not work. Knowing that, I performed triage on the yarn. I set aside to donate the colors I didn’t like, the unlabeled skeins I thought were acrylic, the ones that felt too scratchy for me. That left me with seven balls of wool and cotton. I filled up a tub with water and Eucalan and let them soak for several hours, then squished them out and set them on a towel to dry.

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Well, that took forever, as you can imagine. I decided they’d dry out faster and air out better if I could put them in loose hanks. So I spent some time with my swift and ended up with neat, tidy, damp hanks hanging in my craft room.

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Tonight they were dry so back on the swift they went to get wound into pretty cakes. As near as I can tell, the smoke smell is gone. (As is most of the cat hair.) What treasures did I keep? I hear you asking. Well, I got two skeins of what I believe is pima cotton (pink and purple), one skein of Rowan superwash wool in red, one skein of a luscious wool/silk/cashmere blend (Jo Sharp Silkroad Ultra, to be specific), two balls of Mochi Plus in the color Neptune (which I recognized because I have three balls already), and best of all, a skein of Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky in red. They’re all definitely worth the work of washing and reskeining! And now I’m quite pleased with myself and my new stash.

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What about you? Have you ever gotten awesome yarn for free? Or gone to great lengths to save good yarn?

Pretty pretty yarn

Recently we spent a day in Columbia, MO. I knew of one yarn store there that we visit each time we’re in town, but on a whim I did a google search and found another one. I only had time to visit one LYS, so the new one won. It’s called True Blewe Yarns and it was marvelous! The selection wasn’t deep but it was delicious. They carried a few favorites, like Madelinetosh, Manos del Uruguay and some Cascade superwash but they also had some new (to me) lines like Holiday Yarns and Three Irish Girls, and I fell in love.

My husband found this yarn. It didn’t jump out at me at first because it’s not my usual combination of colors, but then I looked at the name:

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YES! It’s Wonder Woman yarn!! And I do adore Wonder Woman. So this was my first pick. It’s from Holiday Yarns and it will be either a long cowl, to wrap twice, or a shawl/scarf thing similar in size to a Hitchhiker. I had a hard time resisting the Twilight, Batman and Black Widow colors. You can check out all their yarns online here.

Then I had to pick a multicolor skein from Three Irish Girls because they were beautiful and felt good when I petted them. This was the winner.

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It’s Adorn Sock in a colorway called Piazza del San Marco and I have no idea what it will become.

I admired this color because…well, purple, but wasn’t going to pick it up until my husband pointed out how nicely it went with my dark purple winter coat. (Oh, yes, I know I’m very lucky to have a husband who helps me spend money on yarn!)

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It’s Holiday Yarns FlockSock, 400 yards of fingering weight. Definitely a scarfy-shawl thing.

Then my daughter found these scrumptious beauties and I loved them so much I had to have two! It’s like Malabrigo Rasta only SOFTER. AND you get 109 yards per skein!!

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The gray is going to become a big cowl (for ME) and the cream will become a hat with a BIG pompom (for…I don’t know who).

I had to quit after that but they liked me enough that they put my yarns in a nifty tote bag, and that’s happy because what knitter doesn’t need another tote bag??

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So if you’re in the Columbia area, I highly recommend you check out this jewel of a yarn store!

Save me, knitting

OMG guys, Christmas is coming. I woke up at 5:30 this morning and for some reason it hit me that Christmas is just a little over a month away and I am so far from being ready that it’s not even funny. I haven’t even had the brainpower to start thinking about it. I have no idea what my kids want, let alone what the nieces and nephews want. I don’t even know what *I* want. (That’s not true. I want yarn and time to knit. That would be plenty.) So there’s a ton of shopping to do, plus decorating, and we have A LOT of decorations. I know, they don’t all need to be put out, but I do love having the house decorated. I’m feeling overwhelmed by it today. I think I got spoiled the last few years, when I wasn’t working and I had time/mental energy to put toward this kind of stuff. It’s a little different now. I have to readjust. I think I’ll make a list. Maybe two lists. That always helps.

Let’s try to refocus and think of happier things: I have a FO! I finished my second Color Block Wrap yesterday and wove in the ends this morning and I LOVE it.

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For as big as this is, it is a super fast knit. It took me about a month, and I am not a monogamous knitter. This was mostly lunch break/ kids’ concerts knitting. Here’s the project page if you want details. I’m so glad I went down a needle size; I love the denser drape. This will get a lot of use this winter.

I also have a new cast-on. I had to go to the LYS last weekend to get yarn for an Etsy order, and I knew I was getting some money for a previous custom order, so I splurged on a gorgeous skein of Anzula Cricket in Charcoal. I’ve been wanting a black cowl for myself for a while. It took a bit of searching but I decided on the Saltfleet Cowl pattern, and I’m calling mine the Black Diamond cowl.

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The Anzula is a treat to knit with, that’s for sure. Soft but not limp, not splitty at all, great stitch definition, and there’s enough color variation that it’s not like knitting with black yarn at all. I’m loving this project.

And since I finished my previous mindless knitting project (the Color Block), I pulled out a project that’s been in hibernation for a long time. I got the set of gradient purple yarns (Knit Picks Palette) for Christmas two years ago and cast on Purl Soho’s Gradient Cowl. It’s pretty, but boring, so I work on it for a little while and then tuck it away again. I’m now over halfway through, I’m a faster knitter than I was two years ago, and I have a lot more time for mindless knitting. (Unfortunately that means I have much less time for complicated knitting, but hey, it’s a trade-off. I gotta find the silver lining where I can.) Anyway, I took this with me last night when I went to an author event and made good progress.

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What author, you ask? None other than Rainbow Rowell, super-talented author of Eleanor & Park, Fangirl and Landline! She’s so fun to listen to; she’s funny and smart and snarky and honest and I just love her. I mean, look how cute she is:

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Oh, and I found other knitters there too! There were two of them sitting right in front of me–I recognized a handknit hat on one, and a handknit shawl on the other. They noticed me knitting during the break, and we chatted a bit, and then during the second half, one of them pulled out her knitting too. I love to encourage knitting in public!

Okay, this was a fun interlude but I’m afraid I must re-enter the scary world of holiday prep. We’re hosting Thanksgiving this year so cleaning must happen today, and I’m definitely not doing it all myself so I’ll be dragging some unhappy helpers into the mix. Wish me luck!

I Love Yarn Day

This past Saturday was I Love Yarn Day. Did you celebrate? You bet I did! I made an impromptu trip to my LYS, Yarn Mercantile (which is actually two stores: Knitcraft, and Angelica’s) and found some treasure!

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I already had the grays, but I found the dark pink at Knitcraft, and knew immediately I needed them so I could make this Color Block Bias Wrap. I have the original version and adore it. I keep it my desk at work and it keeps me warm and I get so many compliments on it. Why not make another version, right? I immediately wound the yarn and cast on.

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My only complaint with the original (and it’s very very minor) is that the bigger needles give it a very loose gauge, and it stretched out a bit with blocking and wear. So for this one, I’m trying smaller needles. I started with 10s and it’s much tighter gauge, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to get it as wide as I want. It might just be an awkwardly wide scarf, not big enough to be  a wrap. I can’t decide if I should see how wide I get with this (I’ll be able to tell when I reach the end of this pink) or if I should go ahead and frog and start over with 11s. I’m pondering. What do you think?

I also managed to work on Silverleaf this weekend! We went to a band competition for the girl (they got second, WOOHOO) that was about 90 minutes away. Yep, that’s prime knitting time.

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I have two rows left of the last garter stitch section and then I get to start the leaf section! I’m really hoping to get there in the next few days, if I don’t get distracted by my other WIPs.

Here’s my other purchase, this one from Angelica’s. It’s Frolicking Feet in Anemone Wildflower and I think it’s STUNNING. I’m pretty sure this will become a narrow asymmetrical triangular scarf. (Hm, Martina Behm pattern, maybe??)

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I know many of you probably celebrated at Rhinebeck, and I am very jealous and also can’t wait to hear about your adventures and new yarns!