Tag Archive | yarn

And away she goes

Crap. It’s time. I mean, how exciting! We get to take our girl to college! 650 miles away! Right? Right. Sigh. Yeah. I really don’t know how to describe it. Of course I’m super excited for her, and it’s the right thing and I want her to go. But then there’s the whole “end of childhood” thing and not getting to see her all the time, and those parts aren’t the funnest. Parenting is weird, guys. And hard. But on the plus side, I get to visit the mountains, and that’s always a good thing.

We’re driving, so I’ll have lots of car knitting time, plus I’ll be going to The Loopy Ewe as well as other yarn stores, I’m sure. So I won’t be posting while I’m gone, but I’ll have plenty so share when I get back! Until then, I’ll share the beginning of my Zen Yarn Garden shawl.

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I chose Stephen West’s Dotted Rays – Speckled Fade. It seemed perfect for this yarn, and I’ve been wanting to knit a fade shawl. And so far OMG I LOVE IT. I love the pattern and I ADORE the yarn. It is the most decadent, splurge-y, luxurious yarn I think I’ve ever knit with. (Pretty sure that’s the cashmere talking.) This will be one of my car projects, along with a sock and a new garter stitch chevron wrap that I haven’t actually started yet. Maybe the knitting will be a good distraction.

Whoa! Destash!

I got a whim today, a whim to go through my yarn and get rid of what doesn’t bring me joy. I’ve been pondering it for a while, but kept telling myself it wasn’t hurting anything to keep it all, and I had the space, so why not keep it just in case I ever needed it?

Well, I didn’t really have a good answer but I decided I needed to go through it all anyway. This is close to where I started. (This is an older photo. I’d added more yarn between this photo and today. So imagine this plus some.)

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I pulled out a LOT of acrylic, mostly stuff I’d bought back when I was making things to sell. Also, I tend to prefer natural fibers to acrylic now, so I only kept my very favorite acrylic blends. I pulled out a lot of cotton and blends. Even now in the heat, I don’t find myself wanting to work with the mercerized cotton. I don’t tend to wear the things I have made with it. I only kept kitchen cotton in the colors that are actually in my kitchen, and the cotton blends that are soft and drapey.

Then I moved into the good yarn, the wool and blends. If it was itchy, I pulled it out. A few yarns I pulled are gorgeous; I still loved the look of it. But I’d used some of it and didn’t like knitting with it or wearing it, so there was no point keeping it. If it was a color I would never use, or a weight I’d never use (like one skein of sport weight?), I pulled it. I was ruthless but it wasn’t painful at all. This was what I had in the end:

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That’s a LOT of yarn. I mean, it’s kind of ridiculous when you see it all spread out like that! I’ll bag it up and see if I can sell it locally for a bit of money, and in the meantime, I’ll enjoy my newly organized stash. It’s gorgeous!

 

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Even looking at the shelves makes me happy! This is all yarn that I love, that I can see myself using. I even found a skein of Madtosh that I forgot I had! And that right there is a good reason to get rid of stuff I was keeping just for the heck of it: I can see what I have more easily, I can see the yarn I chose with intent, and I know that I could pick anything from my stash and be happy to knit with it.

p.s. yes I know it’s still a crazy big stash! I’m okay with that!

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.

Craft Room Update

I had a whole long Sunday without any plans, and I really thought I’d get a lot of knitting done. Instead, I cleaned up and rearranged my craft room! After my photography class last weekend, I wanted to get a photo-friendly spot in there, since it’s a north-facing room (prime light). So I was ruthless in cleaning out stuff I never use, making a donate pile and a trash pile, and then I pulled out a small rolltop desk I never used anymore. When I was done, my room felt bright and airy and big!

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I need a small table to fit in the corner there, and then I can build a light box and it will be the perfect place to take indoor photos! Here’s the other side of the room, complete with dogs.

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Oh, you want to see the yarn too? Okay! It’s an embarrassingly large but delightful stash. I’ve thought about pruning out all the acrylic (the bottom two shelves) but figure it’s not hurting anything, and maybe I’ll need it someday.

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Same dog, different spot. Now my room is lovely and I’m very tired and grungy, so I do believe that means it’s time to clean up and rest with my knitting.

Trying to Wrap it Up

My main knitting project lately has been a new shawl called the Mother Earth Wrap. It’s simple and gratifying, lots of squishy garter stitch and fun color changes. It’s been going to and from work, it’s been with me when I sit out on the deck with the dogs, and it’s been my after-dinner relaxation knitting.

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All of that knitting time means I’m making lots of progress! I’m on the next-to-last color now, and I’m hoping to finish within a week.

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I wish I had saved the purples for last, so they’d be the biggest sections, but I’m loving this color combo anyway. The yarn is Perfection by Kraemer Yarns. Look for my review as soon as I’m done knitting this lovely piece!

Slow socks

This was my first week in my new job (which I LOVE), and it was just half time, as I spent the other half in my old role to help them transition. There was so much new information, so many new tasks, that my brain sort of got tired. Every night I’d come home with grand plans to knit after dinner, and almost every night I’d lose steam after a few rows. I’m hoping that with a little time, things will balance out, but in the meantime, I just have a wee bit of sock progress to share.IMG_0009See that bit of brown there? Yep, that’s the progress made on this Monkey sock since I last shared it. I managed about five rows one evening this week. But it should grow more pretty soon because I’m almost done with this Madtosh Mapleridge sock:IMG_0008This represents the bulk of my knitting this week. Last weekend I got the heel and gussets done, so this week I’ve been working on the foot during lunch breaks. Just an inch left and I’m ready to decrease for the toes! I’m saving this for next week’s lunch breaks, and this weekend I’ve started a new project. I received some yarn to review, along with a pattern, so of course I had to cast on for that immediately! Here’s a little black & white peek. IMG_0007The pattern is simple so I’m hoping it goes quickly. It’s perfect TV and movie knitting, and I have several shows to catch up on this weekend. And books to catch up on, and chores to catch up on…weekends need to be longer than two days!

Road Trip, Part 3

Okay, post three of UNL road trip, are you ready? Thanks for following along! (You can read Part 1 and Part 2 to catch up if you like.) The girl was very kind and allowed me to drag her to two yarn stores while in Lincoln, and she was very happy as long as I let her use my phone to take artsy yarn photos, some of which are in these posts.

After Yarn Charm, we made our way to The Yarn Shop. Like Yarn Charm, it was hard to find, located on the back side of a strip mall so you couldn’t see it well from the road. Nevertheless we persisted, and were greeted by a long stretch of sock yarn on the wall. That’s a good start! I saw Biscotte Yarns, Araucania, Ancient Arts Fiber, some Malabrigo, and more brands I wasn’t familiar with. But since I’d just spent a good chunk of change at the previous store, I didn’t grab as many skeins this time. I kept picking things up and putting them back, mostly because of the guilt.

Like that 2-skein set in the top right photo? It was gorgeous, but I couldn’t justify $64. And those tonals in the bottom photo? I really wanted one of each color, but I managed to resist the temptation. Still, I walked out with four more new skeins.

The top photo is Biscotte Bis-sock because um, hello, that yarn is to die for. Then I had to get the pretty purple Arucania Huasco worsted; love their yarns, love those shades. The colors in the Ella Rae Lace Merino Aran (bottom middle) called my name, and somehow the wonderfully named T-Shirt and Jeans sock yarn from Ancient Arts ended up in my pile too. That was it, I was done…until I spotted the Addi FlexiFlip needles on the counter.

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Yep, I bought some. Can’t wait to try them! Have any of you tried them? What do you think?

One last fun thing: I found these socks in a little store downtown. I was tempted to buy both pairs they had, but in the end limited it to one. I love them so much.

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So yeah, I think it’s safe to say I conquered the yarn stores in Lincoln. Or they conquered me? I think I’m glad we didn’t have time to go to any more. Between the book stores and the yarn stores, I’m not sure I can afford to help pay for college anymore!