Tag Archive | yarn

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!

New Socks

My new sock project is a test knit called Paddington Station Socks for Ambrose Knits ( I found her on Instagram). She’s got several ones she’s working on, and they all look like fun to knit. I know I’m enjoying these!

The yarn is my new Knit Picks Stroll Hand-Painted in Train Station Tonal. I’m liking the colors and the yarn a lot! The yarn is soft and knits up thick on my size 1 needles, and the pattern has just enough variation to keep me interested. I’m eager to see a finished sock!

MORE Happy Mail!

I really need to stop getting so many emails. They get me in trouble. For example, I get newsletters from Biscotte Yarns, often with free patterns. Well, 99% of the time I can resist, and I ooh and ahh and then quickly delete. But once in a blue moon, something calls my name, like this pattern for the Bargello Infinity Scarf, which you could get with the purchase of a skein of self-striping Bis-Sock yarn in a certain color. Except I didn’t like that color so of course I had to pick out a different color which meant I also had to pay for the pattern and I don’t really mind because this is going to be Awesome and I think I will wear the heck out of it.

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At least as soon as I have time to make it! I haven’t actually read the pattern yet but Ravelry says it uses intarsia, which scares me. But heck, I’ll give it a shot at least. Yarn is Bis-Sock in the color Charivari.

Review: Zen Yarn Garden

What’s your favorite splurge yarn? Mine is now the Serenity line from Zen Yarn Garden! I got to test a 3-skein kit of Serenity 20 Fingering and OMG I’m in love!!

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I made Stephen West’s Dotted Rays – Speckled Fade shawl. This was one of my favorite pieces ever to knit, and I think it will be a favorite to wear too.

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ARGH it’s so gorgeous I can’t stand it! I really wanted the chevron edge, but I didn’t plan my yardage correctly and ran out too soon. I even had to use a bit of the creamy speckle for the i-cord bindoff when I ran out of the purple. And yet I don’t care a bit because it’s fabulous as is. I think most of you already know the brilliance that is Westknits, so I won’t spend too long on the pattern. It’s enough to say that I loved it and am already planning to make another.

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But the yarn? The yarn I must tell you about! Serenity 20 is a fingering weight that’s 70% superwash superfine merino, 20% cashmere and 10% nylon. I don’t think I’ve ever knit with a cashmere blend before, so I had no idea what a decadent experience it is. Soft? Oh my yes! The yarn was lush and full and squishy, and every time I picked it up, my hands were so happy. This was what I picked up at night as my treat knitting, because the combination of relaxing garter stitch in such a yummy yarn pleased me so much. It wasn’t splitty at all and behaved nicely when I had to frog a bit. It might be handwash only but it’s worth it!

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I love this color combination too. This is the Vivid Bundle, with Vivid OOAK, Vivid Splatter, and Scallions. They also offer the Jazzy Bundle with blues, grays, and cream. (Keep reading for a special discount code on these bundles!) But with all the gorgeous hand-dyed colors they offer, you could put together any number of combinations for the gradient and fade shawls that are all the rage right now.

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The finished shawl is big and has a comforting heft to it. The size 4 needles I used made it dense enough to be warm but kept the fabric at a soft drape. I find myself reaching for it on those cool mornings when I’m up early with the dogs. I know I say I love a lot of yarn, and I always mean it when I say it, but this yarn truly is special. It’s luxurious and decadent and kind of represents everything I love most about knitting: cool people (like the husband and wife team who own ZYG), soft yarn, pretty colors, and finished pieces that are a joy to wear.

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If you need some splurge-worthy yarn in your life, I’ve got good news: you can use the code BONNYKNITS to save 20% off either the Jazzy or Vivid bundle! Just click this little link here to start shopping. The code is good until 12/31/18, and they’re limited quantities, so don’t wait too long.

Many and most sincere thanks to Zen Yarn Garden and Stitchcraft Marketing who so generously provided 1 Vivid Kit ($91.80) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Two hour cowl

So I finished the sock on the plane ride here, and the girl was very happy with her new socks. Fortunately I planned for that and still had three other projects to work on. Yesterday on our way to Boulder, we made a spontaneous stop in Longmont to visit the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. And I’m so glad we did–the selection wasn’t vast but it was all marvelous. I had to work hard to restrain myself to two skeins.I also got a super cute pin for my collection.I tucked them into my suitcase and pulled out my mermaid shawl today and understood why knitters always pack extra projects: after two rows, my shawl was ready for color two. I didn’t have color two with me. So mermaid shawl went back in the suitcase and the girl took me to JoAnn so I could get some chunky needles to cast on my new super bulky Baah! Yarn.

While there, she announced she misses knitting and wants to make a scarf for one of her friends. Of course I’m happy to encourage that! When we got back to her dorm, we both cast on. After a couple of hours, I had an awesome new cowl. I’d forgotten the instant gratification from super bulky yarns! Now I want more! Yarn is Sequoia by Baah! and the pattern is because I’m happy, and it’s free, simple, and a breeze to make.

And now that it’s done I guess I’ll go back to my sock.

Brighter days ahead

Can I tell you a secret? I’m almost afraid to write it in case I jinx myself but…guys, I feel optimistic, for the first time in a long time. We’ve had such a stressful year, mostly due to way too many big financial emergencies, and things were just getting stretched way too thin. I’m sure most of you have been there, or are there. It sucks a lot. But we made a plan to work forward, and we cut back our spending, which wasn’t fun, and suddenly I can see progress. I can see that our changes are working, are helping, and we might be close to pulling ourselves out of the pit of despair. We are still facing a big, expensive rehab project on the house, but if we can make it wait until early spring next year, it’ll be okay. I feel like we can handle it now. It helped a lot that I had a car repair done over the weekend that I’ve been putting off for months, afraid it would be super expensive, and it wasn’t that bad at all. That’s apparently been weighing on me more than I realized. It’s just been a really dark year in my head, so it’s lovely to feel even this small sliver of hope. (I’m knocking on all the wood that nothing else falls apart in my house or my car!)

Something that never fails to brighten my day is yarn. Last week I got these two beautiful skeins of Manos Del Uruguay in the mail. It’s their new Feliz yarn, a blend of merino and modal, and I can’t wait to find the perfect shawl pattern.

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Thank goodness for yarn and dogs!

 

Brown Sheep Co. Stratosphere

What draws you to a yarn? Is it color, weight, texture, variegation? Or maybe you shop by project rather than by inspiration? I’m a color person. The color has to draw me in, invite me to touch, and then the touch has to be pleasing. But when those two things go together, I’m a happy camper. And Brown Sheep Company‘s new yarn, Stratosphere, goes a long way toward meeting both needs.

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When I was offered the opportunity to review the Stratosphere, I wasn’t sure at first because it’s a DK weight, and I’ve been heavily focused on fingering weight for socks and shawls lately. But then I looked at all the bright solid and gorgeous kettle-dyed colors, and I felt that itch: I wanted that yarn. It was hard to pick, but finally I chose Eclipse (black), Cosmic (raspberry), and Zephyr (gray).

When it arrived, I was pleased: the colors were just as gorgeous and vivid as they looked online. I wound it immediately and cast on for a simple Michigan Avenue wrap, wanting to highlight the colors, and was pleased again. The yarn, made from fine-grade wool, feels smooth, full, and bouncy in the hand. It feels sturdy and durable without being rough like some other basic yarns. There was no splitting, just lovely garter stitch that I could do while watching TV or at knitting group without having to watch the yarn.

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On my size 7 needles, I got a reasonably dense fabric that should make this a cozy, warm wrap for fall. This would be amazing yarn for sweaters; I kind of wish I’d bought extra and made one with this yarn! With it being superwash, it would be perfect for kid sweaters. It starts around $14 for a 260-yard skein, making it a tempting and affordable option when you need a lot of yardage.

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This pattern didn’t need much in the way of blocking, but I washed it to see how it fared. I put it on the delicate cycle with cold water then laid it flat to dry. It came out softer than before with no fading or pilling. I wouldn’t have any doubts about washing a garment multiple times with this yarn; I think it will hold up really well. And if you like to knit cables, I imagine the stitch definition would be fantastic.

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I did find two knots in one of the three skeins, but overall, I was very happy with this yarn, and when I’m ready for my next sweater project (for me or the girl? Hmm…) this will be one of my top options.

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The other thing I like is the company itself: Brown Sheep is a family-owned business in Nebraska, and I love supporting independent businesses, especially ones in the Midwest like I am. Their mill also employs sustainable options like recycling 70-90% of their waste water. Cool, right? And, even better, you can get a free pattern just for signing up for their newsletter here. If this all sounds pretty good to you, you can find a Brown Sheep retailer here. Maybe you’ve got some at a LYS near you!

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the Brown Sheep Company who generously sent me 3 skeins of Stratosphere ($42) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.