Monday, October 16, 2017

New Pattern: Eyelet of the Tiger Cowl

I can finally share this design that I've recently finished for Bijou Basin Ranch: presenting the Eyelet of the Tiger lace cowl, which is knit with 1 skein of Himalayan Summit. I was really excited to knit with this new yarn base, a 50/50 blend of Tibetan Yak and Superfine Merino that came out this fall. Designing for a variegated yarn is always a bit of a challenge, but I was really drawn to this colorway  from ModeKnit Yarns called Old Fashion Villain.

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Working with this yarn was so enjoyable - and even though it's super soft, it held up to multiple frogging sessions. And check out this stitch definition:

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You really can't ask for anything else in a yarn, and I'm itching to work with it once more. I bet cables and textured stitches also knit up great!

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You can buy project kits here, or get an individual copy of the pattern here - or, add it to your Ravelry queue. I can't wait to see this knit up in other colors of Himalayan Summit, be sure to tag me on Instagram and use the #bijoubasinranch hashtag if you share your project!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Spinzilla Fail

The fates seemed to be against me for Spinzilla this year: For the first 3 days, I was at an intensive work conference downtown and had extremely limited time to spin. Once I was back to my normal work schedule, I hit more stumbling blocks due to forearm and hand pain from way too much typing.

The magic combination of rest, ice, and a very nice massage on Friday night was enough to get me back into spinning form for the final push. On Saturday, I spun through all of the fibers that I thought would be easiest on my arms and hands - I'm pretty sure the lovely merino/tencel I was spinning played as much of a role in my pain as the typing, so I opted for some of the fluffly fibers I bought at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool festival last month. On Sunday, I managed to transform all of the singles from the week (which wasn't much) into beautiful yarns:

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My grand total was a paltry 1964 yards - that's a personal worst, as you can see from this chart:

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I'm hoping my teammates were able to pick up my slack this time around, though I wish that I had been able to contribute more. Maybe next year will be the Spinzilla where I finally break the 5,000 yard threshold!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

WIP Wednesday: So Faded

I haven't been knitting much in the past week due to all of the Spinzilla madness (I'll be sharing my results this Friday for anyone interested), but my So Faded sweater has grown quite a bit since I last shared it, probably because it's my travel project currently. Over the weekend, I transitioned to the third color:

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I am really excited to finish this project so that I can wear it through fall and winter. Plus, DESTASHING! It's win-win.

Thanks for stopping by, see you back here on Friday!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

WIP Wednesday: What's With All The Pink??

As mentioned on my last WIP Wednesday update, I have some atypically pink projects on the needles right now. The socks I'm working on look almost exactly the same as my last update, mostly because I had to set them aside to bust out a new cowl design that will be coming out soon.

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I did finish knitting the ribbing on this hat, and I am really hoping that the stitch pattern I'll be knitting next has a lot of cable suckage going on, because otherwise this is going to be a really large hat. 

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Since most of my crafting time is spent spinning for Spinzilla this week, I don't have much else to share this week (you can follow my spinning project over on Instagram if you want). 

Thanks for stopping by, I'll be sharing my Spinzilla recap sometime next week! 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Spinzilla-ing by the Seat of My Pants

Spinzilla starts today and I am flying by the seat of my pants! On Sunday, I just barely managed to finish spinning singles for the project I had on the wheel and then ply a bunch of random leftover singles into a frankenyarn to clear out some bobbin space:

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Plying the gradient 2-ply yak/silk will be the first order of business once Spinzilla starts (obviously, I will only count the yardage once for the plying, and not the spinning of the original singles, which occurred before the start time); my first official spinning project for the week will probably be this merino/tencel that I predrafted yesterday:

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And the rest will (hopefully) just work itself out as the week progresses. I'll be severely limited in spinning time til Wednesday night, so I am really pinning my hopes on a productive final push at the end of the week and over next weekend.

Good luck to everyone spinning this week!

Friday, September 29, 2017

FO Friday: Gradient Starshower Cowl

Earlier this summer, I purchased my first-ever gradient yarn cake while visiting The Studio in Kansas City. They just happened to be hosting a trunk show from Apple Tree Knits, and I absolutely couldn't resist grabbing a skein of Plush Fingering in a pretty purple-to-blue gradient. Unbelievably, this is the only photo I took of this yarn before casting on, and I have to say it's not my best effort, nor is it my favorite (But hey, free Royals sunglasses!!):

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I spent a lot of time pondering what to make with this yarn - quite honestly, I was plagued with indecision as to what type of project would be best. But then I remembered seeing this gorgeous project on the Knitted Bliss blog, and I decided to shamelessly copy Julie's idea and cast on for a Starshower cowl.

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 Since I have issues styling shawls on myself, this is the ideal pattern for me: it's worn like a cowl but looks kinda like a shawl, and features the best parts of knitting both projects, which I like. I ended up adding two extra stitch pattern repeats and elongating the garter border at the bottom just so that I could get to the blue part of the gradient:

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I'm quite happy with how this project turned out, and the yarn was absolutely lovely to work with. I'm not sure how many projects I would want to make with a gradient, but it was definitely a fun experiment, and kept me motivated to keep knitting because I was dying to see that color change!

The Details
Yarn: Apple Tree Knits Plush Fingering in Night's Bright Colors
Pattern: Starshower by Hilary Smith Callis
Needles: Knitter's Pride Zing fixed circulars, US 6

Thanks for stopping by, have a crafty weekend!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Spinzilla Prep: Hoping for a Threepeat

Can you believe that Spinzilla is just one week away? Quite honestly, I can't - it's totally snuck up on me. As the Captain of Team Louet North America (the reigning champs two years in a row, if I may toot our own horn), I should probably have a better plan in place for my own spinning next week, but I regret to inform you that I'll probably be winging it. Work has been crazy, and although my team captain duties are not overwhelming per se, making sure all of our spinners are prepared for the week ahead is definitely a top priority ahead of my own spinning plans!

I'll be attending a conference right at the start of Spinzilla that will create some difficulties in finding time to compete, so I'm trying not to get my hopes up for a personal best when it comes to spinning this year. I've always wanted to break the 4,000-yard mark, but have yet to do so. In the back of my mind, it's a goal, but a more realistic one is to at least spin a Monster Mile (1760 yards) - that seems WAY more doable if I am going to have limited spinning time 3 out of the 7 days.

I did manage to find some time over the weekend to take inventory of my spinning fiber and cherry pick those which might be easier/faster to spin. Here's what I'm hoping to work through during Spinzilla next week (it all fits perfectly in the bin!):

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Next up, I need to make sure that all of my bobbins are cleared, and that I finish the spinning project that has been languishing a bit on my wheel (some lovely gradient yak and silk fiber that is absolutely gorgeous, but kinda hurts my hands when I spin). I'll feel like I'm really winning at life if I can accomplish this modest goal before midnight next Sunday, which is when spinning starts.

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Are you participating in Spinzilla this year? I'd love to hear about how your preparing!