Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Creativation 2019 Recap

Last year, I went to Creativation for the very first time, and I absolutely loved it. I've been going to industry trade shows ever since I started working at Stitchcraft Marketing, but until attending Creativation, they have all been focused entirely on needlecraft (knitting, crochet, needlepoint, etc).

Obviously, I love yarn and knitting, but every waking moment is filled with it, so it's really a fresh of breath air to spend time seeing other creative crafts outside of the yarn world. This year, I found myself drawn to a lot of the paper crafts - cardmaking in particular kept catching my eye, Some of the display samples were absolute works of art, far cooler than anything you would find in a card store. I wish I had taken more photos, but this is the only one I had on my phone:

Concord and 9th
The Edible Arts booths are always worth checking out because they make the most incredible things that I couldn't imagine eating, they're so spectacular. Last year I was delighted to spot a few knitted cakes in the Satin Ice booth, so imagine my surprise when I saw this:

Satin Ice
Wow! You can't tell from far away, but every piece of that cake has a realistic texture for the yarn, knitted fabrics. It's stunning. The cake artist (I assume that's what they call themselves) behind it was doing live demonstrations showing how she creates the knitted designs in fondant, and she was working pieces for a new cake:

Some of the big-box yarn brands had eye-catching display; I loved this wall of Pantone colors on the back of the Lion Brand booth, which was so big, I couldn't get it all in one shot:

Red Heart's pom-pom version of Starry Night also tickled my fancy: 

My other favorite part of Creativation is the Make & Takes, which are fun, free crafts you can do in a booth and take home with you. There were lots of fun washi tape crafts (I decorated a plastic storage container and a clothes pin), but one of my favorites was learning how to do an image transfer onto packing tape in the Scotch Brands booth. Here are the votives that my colleague and I made at the show: 

I will definitely be playing around with this technique and I'm sure a tutorial will be appearing on this blog at some point. 

Invariably, I come home with some swag, although I really try not to these days - I have so much stuff as it is! However, the Sizzix booth had an irresistible sloth brooch make & take that I ended up bringing home to finish, since I am epically slow at sewing (hmm, seems like a bit of irony there, no?). I also brought home an adorable DIY cat ornament kit from Fabric Editions, in addition to all of these other goodies: 

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, expect to see lots of these things pop up in upcoming Timelapse Tuesday videos and other posts! You can also see more photos and video from the show by visiting my Instagram profile and watching my Creativation highlights: 

I'll be contributing to a post for the Stitchcraft Marketing blog covering the craft trends spotted during the show later next month, but here are a few things that struck my fancy while walking the show floor:
Letterboards and funny quotes aplenty.

Cacti and succulent motifs are still super popular. I like the idea of plants I can't kill!
Avocados are the new llamas.
Kawaii amigurumi!
Yarn craft is still very much doing Hygge (not pictured: Red Heart even has a yarn called Hygge). I fell in love with these oversize mitered square pillows from Caron.

Macrame is having way more than a moment!
Now that I'm back from the show, I'm excited to try some new-to-me crafts when I need a break from knitting, crocheting and weaving. I can't wait to share them with you - let me know which crafts interests you most in the comments!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Review: Cabrito Mohair Yarn from Manos del Uruguay

Confession: I've never knit with a brushed mohair yarn. I'm not sure how this has never happened in the 15ish years I've been knitting, but it's true. Sure, I've used yarns with mohair blended in, but I've never used this type of yarn in a knitting project.

So, I absolutely couldn't say no when I was offered a skein of Cabrito yarn from Manos del Uruguay, and my choice of a "companion yarn" if I so chose. Why two different types of yarn? Cabrito is a lace weight, fluffy yarn that plays well with others. When held with a different yarn base, Cabrito provides softness and a beautiful halo, while the companion yarn lends some strength and structure.

The Fairmount Fibers design team has a lot of fabulous free patterns designed especially for Cabrito and other yarns from the line (if you're wondering, Fairmount Fibers is the North American distributor for Manos yarns), and I decided to knit the free Ambrose Hat Pattern, which calls for both Cabrito and Alegria Grande. I've used the fingering weight version of Alegria, but not the worsted weight version, so both of these yarns are actually new to me!

Just the right amount of halo....
The hat pattern was a simple knit: the 1x1 ribbing is worked all the way through to the crown shaping. It was perfect for on-the-go knitting, I just wound each skein into a center pull ball and then used my two-grommet Yarn Pop project bag to keep both balls secure while in transit. I was impressed with how much the seemingly delicate Cabrito could hang with being tugged and jostled about; not once did the strand break, no matter how much abuse I subjected it to.

The Alegria Grande was buttery soft and squishy, and I loved how the variegated color (Acero) knit up without pooling or flashing. I thought that the semisolid color of Cabrito (Steampunk) would add more grey to the mix, but the effect ended up being really subtle, and I think I like it that way! The pom pom is made with just Alegria Grande, so you can see that there really isn't a noticeable difference in colors between the pom and the knitted fabric using both yarns.

What I really love about this yarn is that you can truly feel good about using it because it's certified Fair Trade, and the Manos del Uruguay cooperatives have an excellent reputation. That means that the artisans in the co-op are given a fair wage and access to health care and education; the animals who produce the fibers are treated well, and the environment is not compromised throughout the process, either.

As for the finished hat, it's incredibly soft and unbelievably warm. I was going to give it away as a gift at some point, but after wearing it a few times and not wanting to take it off, I've decided to keep it for myself!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Another So Faded Sweater

This might be the first time I have ever knit a sweater for myself twice, but I wear the first So Faded Sweater that I made so much, I decided to knit another one!

This time, instead of destashing a hodgepodge of fingering weight yarns, I purchased a set of skeins specifically for this purpose from an indie dyer I discovered at last year's YarnCon, Black Cat Fibers.

My color palette is Vamp, Dirt Nap, Alchemy and Quarry, dyed on the Nomad Sock base, which is a 4-ply fingering superwash merino/nylon blend (75/25). Each skein has a generous 463 yards, so I have a nice bit of yarn left over in each color, and as you can see, this sweater ended up being tunic length! 
Hooray for handknit sweaters!!
Just like the first one, it fits great and I love wearing it (can you tell?!). The yarn feels nice and soft against my skin, but I think it will wear well over time. I can't believe it took me eight months to knit this thing....even for me, that's slow! However, it was usually the first project to go to the backburner once a deadline popped up. I'm just glad I finished it in time to wear on Christmas day! 

Project: Fade Away
Pattern: So Faded by Andrea Mowry
Yarn: Nomad Sock from Black Cat Fibers

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Review: Appalachian Baby Tally Ho Cap Knitting Kit

Last year, I reviewed some delightful organic cotton yarn from Appalachian Baby Designs (click here if you missed it). So when they offered me a chance to review a project kit from one of their 2 new pattern collections, naturally I said yes!

I had a choice of patterns from the Tally Ho and Boho Collections, and picked the Tally Ho Cap in Blue and Indigo, which retails at $19 (I was sent this kit for free in exchange for my honest review). I was hoping for a fun, instant-gratification knit, and that is exactly what I got! Each kit includes a printed pattern and enough yarn to knit the project pictured. I found the pattern easy to follow and well written, there was just one tiny bit of errata I discovered (the Main and Contrast colors got flipped - it happens!), but I alerted the folks at Appalachian Baby so that they can note this in the Ravelry listing and update future printed copies of the pattern.

I knit the hat in about four days' time, and could have finished it sooner if I were a monogamous knitter. It's knit flat and then seamed, which allows you to perfectly match up the stripes without any "jumps" which you would get when knitting in the round.
Unseamed Hat
This fun and simple hat is perfect for a last-minute baby gift, or you can go all-out and knit the matching Pullover and Blanket to make an adorable (and organic!) layette to welcome baby...and did I mention that the yarn is machine washable AND dryable, too? Here is my finished hat after machine washing and drying:
Finished Hat
This project kit is the perfect quick knit for a last-minute baby gift, or if you have more time, you can knit the matching sweater from the Tally Ho collection -  click here to visit the Appalachian Baby Designs website to shop yarn, kits, and patterns.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018 Ravelry Challenge / 2019 Make Nine

I didn't make resolutions for 2018, but when Ravelry added the Challenge feature to to the Notebook section back in the spring, I randomly picked a number of projects I'd try to complete before the end of the year. At the time, 50 FO's didn't seem like it would be that difficult, but I suppose it was a lofty goal, especially since I've been focusing more on bigger projects such as sweaters. I fell short of the goal, but came closer than I thought I would with 40 finished projects as of midnight on December 31, although it looks like my 11th hour finish, a test knitting project, didn't get logged in the final count:

I assume that the Challenge feature will be a yearly occurrence, in which case I think I'll shoot for quality over quantity. There are a lot of inspirational #2019makenine posts on Instagram and I think that type of challenge might be more my speed, and also in line with my current goal of wardrobe building.

Besides knitting more sweaters, what would really challenge me in 2019 is to step outside of my comfort zone. For example, I'd like to get better at sewing so I can replace some of the basic tops in my closet that have gotten holes over the years, but I can't bear to toss because I can't find suitable replacements in stores. And while it's not part of my wardrobe-building agenda, I would also like to weave a few projects for the house since I've spent the last 2 years primarily weaving scarves. It's time to explore some new territory with my loom!

So with all of that in mind, here is my 2019 Make Nine:

1. Linden Sweatshirt (sewing)
2. Lark Tee (sewing)
3. Weave a Bath Mat
4. Hitofotude Cardigan
5. Snow Thank You Pullover
6. Undone Sweater
7. Weave a Towel
8. From Another Place Sweater
9. Sweetness Pullover

Of course, I'm pretty sure I'll make more than just 9 things in 2019 (but definitely less than 50!). Maybe 30 or 40 FOs in 2019 would be more realistic...I can always bump it up if I need to!

What are your crafting plans for 2019?