Hey guys! Are you feeling this winter-y vibe? This familiar sensation that comes with colder days, closeness of the Holidays and this strong desire to cuddle around the fire with a woolen sweater? Well I most certainly do. And although I know the few weeks left before the Holidays will be insanely busy, I just feel this urge to knit myself a cozy, warm sweater.
In all fairness, I must say that NaKniSweMo has the BEST and the WORST timing at the same time – I most certainly DO want to participate and indulge myself in a new, fun, warm and cozy sweater, but I know I definitely SHOULDN’T. Which is why I have been debating whether or not I should participate this year. And… well… This happened:
I decided to try it, although I will give priority to the Christmas presents and getting the house ready for the holidays. The sweater I’ll be making is Laurie by Josée Paquin, and I’m using Classic Elite Yarns’s Soft Linen in the color Smokey Rose. I am absolutely, positively thrilled about this project, and although I know chances are slim that I’ll be able to complete it before the end of the month, I’m hoping I can at least finish it before the Holidays. Please cross your fingers with me!
In the meantime, I also just finished the Casu Cowl, using some Berroco Element yarn I had in stash. It looks fantastic, and I’m absolutely delighted by the pattern/yarn combination. This pattern written by Galia Lael is elegantly simple, exquisite in the small details. I especially like the raised edge between the moss stitch and lace sections and the elegant slip stitch borders. And the yarn just brings out the texture beautifully, so I couldn’t be more satisfied with this project.
What do you guys think? Are you participating in the NaKniSweMo this year? What are you working on? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are up to :)
Fall has finally rolled around, and with it sometimes comes cold and rainy days but also, when weather permits, beautiful, bright and colorful days full of autumn spirit and love. Fortunately for us on the east coast, we have been blessed this year with the latter, and we have been taking full advantage of it the last couple weekends by driving around Vermont to see the colors and enjoying outdoor activities.
While the view is spectacular, the rather cold temperature has prompted me to rummage through my box winter accessories, and I was rather disappointed to realize I did not have a hand knit hat that matched my (very bright orange) spring coat. To fix this problem, I decided to make myself a new hat using a basic pattern and a neutral color that would match all my coats. I set my mind on the pattern Wurm, by Katharina Nopp, that I slightly modified to suit my taste (larger horizontal stripes, a 1×1 rib double edge and an added pompom). If you are interested in replicating this hat, please visit my project page for detailed information on the mods I did. :)
The yarn I used is a wonderfully soft and lush merino/cashmere/nylon fingering weight yarn from Zen Yarn Garden called Serenity 20. I must say that I truly enjoyed knitting with this yarn and certainly will use it again, I really think it’s one of those luxuries you simply can’t get enough of. And what to say about the colors? Simply wonderful! If you have never tried this yarn, I strongly recommend you try it at least once, I’m sure you will never regret it.
While I’m still pecking away at my Bluesand Cardigan, I can’t say that I have made much progress since I last shared it with you a month and a half ago. A good part of the reason why it’s been such a long process is that I ran out of the main color and wasn’t into the idea of ordering a new skein, so I tried as best as I could to adjust the design to fit the yarn I had. After trying a few things though, I realized I was just not happy with how this was turning out and I finally resigned myself to frog my unsuccessful attempts and order a new skein of the MC.
At first I was a little upset about it, but after giving it much thought, I came to the conclusion that knitting is an investment both in time and money, and I need to be 100% satisfied with the final product to make it worthwhile. What I mean is that I prefer spending more time fixing a cardigan to make sure I will love it and wear it than half ass a cardigan that will end up collecting dust at the bottom of my closet.
This fall has been insanely busy for me, and things are just now starting to get back to normal – which means that I finally get to do things that I have not been able to do in a while, yay! Among other things, I finally took time to ply the singles I spun during the Tour de Fleece this summer (I know… that was months ago!).
Although I did have my doubts while spinning it, I must say that I feel pretty satisfied with the finished product, which is quite a relief. The larger skein is a generous 597 yards of heavy lace 2 ply yarn and the other, small skein is 6 grams of leftover navajo plied in a fingering weight yarn. I am not too too sure what I’ll be doing with this yarn, but I do have a few options. Chances are, it will probably end up as a shawl in a (relatively) near future. :)
In other news, I also visited the Vermont Sheep and Wool festival this weekend with my Honeybee, and we had a blast! The colors are now in full swing and the drive to Tumbridge was amazingly beautiful. We stayed for a few hours on Saturday afternoon, walked around the vendor stands, watched a sheep shearing demonstration and petted a few adorable Border Collies who were there to show their sheep herding skills. We had a lot of fun, and (obviously) I came back with a few additions to my stash. :)
In the picture below, you’ll see an A-MA-ZING pink Suri/Silk batt from Biltmore Wool Barn (Brewster, MA), a soft-as-a-cloud blue Merino/Tencel roving from Fiber Stash (Colchester, VT) and the cutest sock kit I have ever seen – the Tallulah sock pattern from Sivia Harding, complete with handpainted fingering weight yarn and matching beads! I fell head over heels when I saw this one, I simply couldn’t resist!
Since I missed the Twist Festival this year and definitely won’t be able to make it to Rhinebeck, that’s as good as it gets for me this year, but I’m fine with it. What about you guys? Which wooly festivals have you been to or do you plan to go to this year?
Guys, I just came back last Sunday from an AMAZING vacation, and I feel totally recharged! It was definitely much much needed after working all summer with no real breaks, covering for everybody else’s vacation.
Today though, I feel like karma really does exist because after waiting patiently all summer for my vacation to come, I ended up with what was (probably) the most beautiful 2 weeks of the summer, weather-wise! Honeybee and I felt so blessed, we really wanted to make the most out of it and I think we did – we savored every minute of it.
We spent a good 10 days on the go, first visiting friends in Buffalo, NY then driving to Honeybee’s family in the Toledo area in Ohio, and then taking the bus there for a short 3-days getaway in Chicago where we met his (and now my) friend Jen. There, we visited the Art Institute of Chicago, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, the Skydeck at the top of the Willis Tower, we also took a boat ride on lake Michigan, walked the waterfront and ate an awesome deep dish pizza at Uno’s downtown. Here’s a little photo recap of our time there :
Thing is, before leaving for vacation we started renovations at the house, mainly adding a shower to the bathroom and redecorating said bathroom and my craft room. Most of the hard work had been done before leaving for vacation, but not everything is quite functional yet.
The shower works, but the bathroom has not been repainted yet, and I don’t have a towel bar. The sewing room is painted, but the IKEA furniture I bought for it has not been put together yet. Since there’s still a lot to do, I am so glad I came back feeling so energized! I will share with you guys pictures of my bathroom and craft room makeovers when they are complete but in the meantime, I can tell you that I chose a very bright and playful color scheme for my sewing room that uses yellow, white and gray. Most of the room is very basic, but I went all out for the accent wall, with which I had quite a bit of fun. Want to see it? Here it comes…
Hey Sweeties! Long time no blog!
I feel like I have been neglecting you guys this summer, and I do not like that! My summer has probably been what everybody else’s summer has been – filled with food and fun and sun and trips and things! Although I have not really taken time to blog, I have been spending an awful lot of time knitting – and it shows, because I am now almost done with my Bluesand Cardigan.
I’m quite happy to show you this today as this is the first time I have ever used one of my handspun yarns (even though I have been spinning for over a year – I know, shame on me!) and I think the solid yarn I chose for the body really complements the colorful handspun perfectly. I’m so happy! :)
Also, I must say this pattern made me realize I still have a lot of things to learn when it comes to knitting, as this cardigan has proven to be quite the challenge. Don’t get me wrong, this pattern is amazingly well explained, clear and precise, with so many diagrams and figures it really makes me wonder how much time actually went into making this pattern. But the construction of this cardigan is just so cleaver, I know it’s something I definitely would not have been able to come up with on my own. Seriously, I understand now why so many people are in love with this cardigan (and other rililie patterns) – t’s brilliantly designed with a lot of cute and interesting details and a simple yet unique construction that really makes this pattern stand out. I am in love!
What about you guys, have you ever been so smitten by a pattern that you just wanted to keep on knittin’?
Hey guys! As you may (or may not!) remember, earlier this summer I won this amazing gift basket from the girls at Pompon Laine Café for being one of the first clients to get the membership card for the store (very sweet, isn’t?).
Well, among all that fiber-y goodness, there was a pinkish ball of stretchy self striping yarn from Lana Grossa called Meilenweit 100 Cotton Fantasy Stretch that I had never used before, so I was a little intrigued. Looking at the yarn, I really couldn’t picture what it would look like all knit up so I decided to try it and find out.
First rule in knitting: when you don’t know what to expect out of a yarn, stick to basics.
Following this simple rule, I decided to cast on a basic cuff-down sock, 72 sts on 2.25mm needles and started knitting away, using a 2×2 rib for the cuff. A little ways in, I was able to see the yarn was indeed self striping and was able to assess the width of the stripes and the length of the color sequence. Pretty cute, isn’t?
Looking at all these cute stripes go, I thought to myself it would be a pity to break it up working a heel flap, so I decided to try a new (to me!) sock technique to preserve the perfect stripe sequence: the afterthought heel. Now, I when I say it’s a new technique, it doesn’t mean that I learned about it recently – I have known the technique for quite a while, I have just never used it before. Part of the reason is because I’ve never had the chance to work with a self striping yarn before so I never really saw a need for it and the other part of the reason is that I’ve heard mixed reviews about this technique, saying it always pulls and creates holes on the sides.
Well, after trying it for myself, let just say this : yes, it does create small holes on the sides, but it’s really not that bad if you pick up a couple stitches on each side to bridge the gap, and I also knit them through the back loop on the first row after pick up to get a fuller look by twisting the stitches. And it works. So if you’ve been worried about that, there’s really no need to fret – I guarantee it.
All in all, I would definitely use the afterthought heel again for any self striping yarn, but I’m not so sure about the yarn. First thing first, I must say that I definitely would not have chosen this colorway for myself – but as they say beggars can’t be choosers, so I really can’t complain when I got the yarn for free. But what turned me off the most about this yarn is actually not the color, but the texture. Don’t get me wrong, I love the finished socks, they’re nice and cozy and the stretch in there really makes them comfortable, but somehow the yarn is a little rough to the touch so it wasn’t super fun to knit. It’s a great sock yarn, but I guess for me enjoying the final product is not enough, I have to fully enjoy the process too – which is why I might not buy this yarn again.
Well guys, I feel like I really owe you all an heartfelt apology. Although I have been keeping myself pretty busy lately with many fiber things, I have been selfish enough to not share it with you. Unforgivable, right? Well, to make amends, I decided to share with you all today what I’ve been working on in the last couple weeks.
First things first, I decided to participate again this year in the Tour de Fleece with the girls from Papote et Placote. However, as I am not a very competitive spinner, I’m simply tagging along at my own rhythm, never mind the slow turtle pace. Since the beginning of the tour, which was on July 4th, I have spun about 60 grams of yummy Malabrigo sweetness that I am quite happy about. Here’s what it looks like:
I have not been a very dedicated spinner since my neck has been killing me for days now, but I do what I can. And since the Tour de Fleece has been putting me into a spinning mood, I have also been thinking about how to use all those beautiful handspun yarns I have, that I still haven’t touched. I know, I’m lowering my head in shame now but I have to admit that since I started spinning last year, I have not used a single yard of handspun. Shame on me! It’s not because I don’t like them, on the contrary! But I think I have been waiting for an illumination; for the perfect project to showcase my handspun yarn. And after many a thought about it, I think I finally found it. Here’s the magical project I have in mind for one of my latest handspun named heaven:
Yep, the BlueSand Cardigan from La Maison Rililie! I paired my blue and purple handspun with 2 solid shades of gray in Cascade Heritage yarn. The pattern usually calls for DK weight but the yarn I chose is actually fingering weight, so I’ll use a modified gauge and simply follow instructions for one size up what I actually want. I’m so thrilled about this project!
Now that I shared my idea with you, I really want do know what you, wonderful spinners out there, generally use your handspun for! Do you spin with a specific project in mind or are you like me and you spin something and let it sit for a while until you find the perfect project for it? Please leave a comment below and let me know :)