Tag Archive | yarn

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!

A Scarf in a Weekend?

Okay, not quite but almost! One of my Christmas knitting projects is a scarf for a nephew. He requested pale blue and white, neither of which were colors in my acrylic stash, so Saturday morning I headed to the closest big-box craft store. Just my luck: they were having a buy-two, get one free sale! I got the yarn I need for my other Christmas project, and for this scarf I chose more of the Lion Brand Jeans yarn, this time in the faded blue color, plus some Vanna White white. (Except when I started knitting with it, the Vanna White worsted was thicker and not as soft, so I pulled out a partial skein of KnitPicks Brava worsted in white instead.) I cast on that afternoon and it’s been my only project this weekend. He’s only five so it doesn’t need to be a big scarf, which means that the 47″ I have tonight is very close to being long enough. If he’s 45″ tall, and I make the scarf 60″, that’s plenty long enough, right?

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But that’s not all I got at the store. I kind of went past this jumbo yarn on my way out and…well, buy 2 get 1 free, you know?? It’s a good deal. So this went into my cart too.

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Pretty sure it’ll be a couple of cowls, but not anytime soon. I have more Christmas knitting to do!

 

Yak Yarn! A review

When I think of fiber for knitting, obviously wool is the first to come to mind. Then silk, alpaca, cotton, nylon, acrylic, bamboo…there are so many options! But I confess that I had never thought about knitting with yak fiber. So when I was given the chance to review the Lhasa Wilderness from Bijou Basin Ranch, and I saw that it’s 75% Tibetan Yak and 25% bamboo, I thought it would be a great way to broaden my horizons, and maybe yours too!

I’d heard of Bijou Basin Ranch before, but never knew that it’s a small family-owned yak ranch in Colorado. I mean…yak? For yarn? Who knew?? Not me, anyway! They have registered, full-blooded Tibetan yaks and they harvest their coats once a year. I had to google “Tibetan yak” to see what they look like, and they are impressive animals!

Anyway, enough about animals: BBR supports other small businesses by using indie dye houses for their yarns. I chose a colorway called Fantasy, dyed by Colorful Eclectic, and I was so excited when my package arrived! It was beautifully put together with several extra goodies, including a mobius scarf pattern, a handy To-Do list, a sticker (which I immediately put on my Ikea knitting cart) and a pretty stitch marker. The presentation made a great first impression. To me, it shows that they really appreciate their customers.

The colors were lighter than I was expecting, based on the photos on the website. I thought the pink would be a darker fuschia; overall it seemed a bit watered down from the colors I saw online. But I know that colors can vary with hand-dyed yarn, and can look different in person than online. Plus, it is still beautiful, and so soft! I don’t know what I was expecting from yak, but it felt very much like a premium cotton, only even softer. It’s very smooth, feels silky running through my fingers. I’m guessing the bamboo is what reminds me of cotton, and the yak provides that delicious silky softness.

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Though they generously sent me a pattern, I chose a shawl/cowl pattern that I knew I’d wear more often called the Lace Eyelet Cowl. It calls for fingering weight, and while Ravelry lists the Lhasa Wilderness as Sport, it’s definitely a light sport and can be substituted for fingering without much trouble. My 250-yard skein was plenty of yarn and the knitting sailed by without a hitch. The yarn knits a bit like cotton, so it did sometimes split more easily than wool, and there’s less give when you’re working lace like k2tog, but neither hindered my knitting at all. And then it was done, and I washed it and pinned it out, and…BAM. Amazing! 

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The lace opened up so beautifully; is it fair to say it bloomed? And you know how cotton and silk yarns have a wonderful drape? This is the same! It lays perfectly, and is nicely lightweight and breathable. Plus, I think it will hold its blocking really well too, so it won’t need much attention as long as I keep it clean.

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In a nutshell, this is wonderful shawl yarn. Though it feels like a strong, durable yarn, I wouldn’t use it for socks or garments because of its similarities to cotton (less stretch) and because it’s hand wash/dry flat. But I would absolutely make more lace shawls, and they have a wide variety of solids, semi-solids and variegated colors to choose from. The $22 price tag is more than reasonable, in my opinion, especially when you can get a gorgeous project from just one skein.

What do you think? Ready to try some yak??

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Thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and Bijou Basin Ranch, who generously sent me one skein of Lhasa Wilderness (retail value $22) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Moving forward

Thanks for all the kind words and suggestions on my shawl dilemma! As several people suggested, I decided to frog the lace section and start it over with a contrasting color. I have a cream in my stash that will be quite lovely with the green. Last night I threaded the needle through the last row of stockinette (or so I thought) and started frogging the lace. Of course once the lace was gone, I didn’t exactly have one row of stitches on my needle, but it was simple enough to go through and fix that. Tedious and time-consuming, but simple. With that done, I was ready to pick up with my cream and start the lace section anew.

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I love it! I think it’s going to be a perfect Christmas shawl this way, maybe worn with a red sweater, or is that too much?

Also this morning, I made a quick trip to the craft store for felt and safety eyes so I can make this baby sloth. Found the felt easily enough, but can you believe they don’t carry safety eyes?? Craziness. It’s not for a baby, so I can substitute tiny buttons and it will be fine. Still, I couldn’t just buy one 40 cent sheet of felt, could I? Plus all the yarn was on sale! Plus I stumbled across this new jean yarn and it’s awesome, even if it is acrylic.

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I may have bought enough to make this sweater. (And for only $21!!) I know, the pattern is DK and the yarn is worsted, and I’m going to have to swatch and do math and all that. I’m okay with that! I can swatch sometimes, when I have to.

Speaking of swatching, the crochet hat that I struggled with is done. It seemed to grow a little bit in washing but I’m crossing my fingers that it will fit. It is pretty, at least! It’s the Ski Lodge Beanie and you can see my Ravelry notes here.

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I’ve discovered the best part about getting an extra hour today is not an extra hour of sleep (I have three dogs, are you kidding me?) but an extra hour of knitting!

FO: Test Sock

I finished my test sock! There was a lazy part of me that wanted to switch to stockinette for the foot, but I was good and followed the pattern like I was supposed to, and it came out quite attractive.

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As I mentioned, this was a test knit so I have no pattern to share…YET. But I’ll definitely make sure to post it when it’s live.

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The yarn is KnitPicks Stroll Handpainted. It’s my first time using it and I really like it. It feels very soft and squishy, so I’m eager to see how they wash and wear. I’m guessing they’ll be nice and toasty!

Delicious Yarns Review: Yum!

A couple of months ago, I was offered the opportunity to review Delicious Yarns‘ newest offering, their pairings of two complementary colors. I was going to skip this one, since I had so much going on, but of course I had to take a peek at the yarn. Oops! That first glimpse of the pink and orange sealed the deal: I needed to knit those yarns!

 

The first impression was charming, with that cute ribbon around the skeins and the tags like nutrition labels. Then I was impressed by how vivid and saturated the colors are; they’re gorgeous. I chose Pairing 1, and while the site doesn’t specify which colors are in each pairing, these colors are Raspberry Swirl and Burnt Orange Frosting. I also received the pattern for the Piece of Cake shawl, designed specifically for these pairings. I love the jagged teeth and that lace section the best!

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The pairings are available in Fingering, Sport, and Worsted. I chose the fingering since I’m all about shawls these days. The colors make this a perfect fit for my wardrobe. The yarn is crisp and smooth, making it a pleasant knitting experience and giving good stitch definition too. It has a little bit of spring to it, so the drape is a bit more firm, if that makes sense.

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The yarn is 100% superwash merino, hand-dyed in California, and each color is designed to create different patterning when knitted or crocheted. I especially liked watching the Raspberry Swirl shift from dark pink to light pink to white and back again. There are short sections where you work two rows of each color to blend the colors. That plus the short row sections make for a nifty effect when you stand back and look at it, almost wavy. It makes me think of candy, for sure!

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I only have two small caveats. One: as the tag warns they might, the yarns definitely bled when I blocked the shawl. They recommend steam blocking if you’re concerned about bleeding but I wanted to open the lace aggressively. Fortunately it didn’t seem to affect the white tones, but I’ll handle it carefully in the future. And two: the pattern had a couple of small errors. I was able to work past them pretty easily, but they did make me stop and think and scratch my head for a little bit. Still, I liked the yarn well enough that next I’d love to try their Speckles Chunky!

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The colors were absolutely the best thing about this project for me, and they have so many other delicious colors on their website too. Plus I can’t help but be enchanted with the “delicious” theme and the idea that each skein is one marvelous sweet treat! The fingering runs around $31 for 450 yards, making this comparable to many of the other high-end, small-dyer yarns I buy, and the high quality is comparable too. I really enjoyed knitting with this yarn!

If you’re tempted to partake, you can use the code DYBK2018 for 10% off all online orders through the end of November. And if you sign up for their newsletter here, you’ll get two free patterns plus a “sweet surprise” within a few weeks of signing up.

A very special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and Delicious Yarns, who generously sent me 1 pairing (2 skeins) of Superwash Merino ($61) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Back to School

I’m going back to college! Okay, so it’s just one day-long course, but it’s a class and it’s at a college, so it counts. I’m taking a course in Microsoft Access Fundamentals, and it’s for work. Like they encouraged me to take it and paid for it, and I love that they’re eager and willing to support the growth of their members. And I’m kind of a nerd who likes learning new things so I’m looking forward to it a lot.

I have thought about going back to college though, maybe for a Communications or Marketing degree. Actually, what sounds the most intriguing is Graphic Design, and I could do that through a local community college. But with a college freshman, a high school sophomore, and a fixer upper with a big project looming, it’s not in the cards at the moment. Still, I’m keeping the idea in my pocket for when/if it becomes more feasible. Have any of you gone back to school as grownup? Is it scary? Overwhelming?

I do plan to have a project with me just in case I have some time to knit. Or maybe crochet! I have another hat commission, this one using some gorgeous silk yarn from Expression Fiber Arts. Color is Russian Blue.

That’s a Scat Mat it’s lying on, and yes, there’s my foot. Not all photos can be a masterpiece, you know!