Friday, March 30, 2012

Finito Friday: Haven Shawlette

Looking for a fast knit?  I finished this shawl in just over a week - I couldn't put it down!  Now that it's finished, I can't seem to stop wearing it, either - that Finito yarn is just too soft to be believed. 

Since I've been posting so much this week, I'll let the photos do most of the talking - but here are the details:

Pattern: Haven Shawlette by Mercedes Tarasovitch-Clark

Yarn: Finito in Paloma, 1.5 skeins

Size made:  Smaller version

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Finito: The Official Review

Malabrigo Finito
Color Spectrum

I know I've blogged about Finito several times since it came into my life last month, but I wrote this up for the Windy City Knitting Guild newsletter and thought my dear, crafty readers might enjoy it as well.  If you're wondering, Malabrigo is not a client of mine (though I have designed for them in the past) and I wasn't asked to write this or compensated in any way.  I've just fallen in love with Finito, and I want the whole world to know, apparently.  Ahem.  At any rate - here is the "official" H.B.S. blog review for Malabrigo's Finito yarn:

Just in time for Malabrigo March, Finito hit yarn shops to the delight of knitters everywhere.  Only available once per year, this yarn is extremely limited and sure to sell out fairly quickly.  A 2-ply fingering-weight yarn (which I would say is on the heavier side of the spectrum), it is spun from the finest merino wool in Uruguay - and, if you can believe it, it's even softer than Malabrigo's usual fare. 

I really like the twist of the yarn - it seems to have a nice balance of strength and softness.  Once you get past the stage of simply admiring your skeins and squishing them every so often (and I must say, both colorways I ordered, Paloma and Mares, are even prettier in person with stunning variations and a near-luminosity in the skein), the real fun begins:  finding the perfect pattern to show off this yarn.  I literally spent half a day poring over Ravelry before I settled on a shawlette project for Paloma (Mercedes Tarasovitch-Clark's Haven, if you're wondering).

Knitting with Finito is completely delightful; the yarn isn't splitty and it has fantastic stitch definition.  The only downside that I can find is that progress is slow, because I keep stopping to admire my work and feel the softness of the fabric I'm knitting.

Like many good things in life, Finito only comes but once a year - if you haven't snagged yourself a few skeins yet, do yourself a favor before it's gone! 

Here are the stats (from the Malabrigo website):

 Fingering Pure Superfine Merino wool
200 yards ( 185m) approx. 50g skein
US needles #2-4 (3-3.5mm)
Hand Wash

All images ©Malabrigo Yarn

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tightrope KAL

There's a KAL brewing in the Doodlebug Yarns Ravelry group!  Grab your favorite color of sock yarn from The Wool Dispensary (click here and here to pick your poison!) and cast on for my Tightrope Socks - they're an easy-to-knit ribby sock with smocking.  Since the model in the pattern photos is used for display only, I will be joining in to knit myself a pair.  You may not believe this, but I don't actually have any of my own sock designs to wear on an everyday basis.  That seems kind of wrong, doesn't it? 

I'm still trying to decide which color I want to make - I've narrowed down to something in the green or blue family, though.  I look forward to seeing a beautiful array of Tightrope Socks in the near future!

Please join us - there is no formal time frame or strict rules for this KAL.  Just fun, easy-going knitting with some super-cool ravelers.  Click here for more information!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sassy Kittehs PSA

I should preface this by saying:  I'll still probably post cat photos on this blog - so don't get your hopes up if you're thinking my new cat Tumblr blog Sassy Kittehs will be giving you a cat photo reprieve! 

However, if you happen to enjoy seeing photos of my cats (and the occasional guest cat, too), hop on over to Tumblr and check out my new photoblog.  Highlights include many photos of cats sleeping and other gems such as the grocery bag caper and cat-in-a-box.  If you follow me on Twitter, you'll get automatic updates (lucky you!), but otherwise, bookmark your browser for all the kitty cuteness you can handle....such as this:

(This is Tilly's Puss in Boots face)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Socks for me - that's right, ME!

Welcome to the selfish knitting edition of FO Friday, where at long last I have finished a pair of socks for myself.  It's true!

Cookie A's Wedge Socks were indeed a fast knit - I probably could have made them in a matter of weeks if I hadn't been distracted by crocheting and other knitting projects.  But no matter, they are finished now...just in time for the ridiculous 80 degree weather we're having here in Chicago.  Guess they'll be the first ones out of the gate next fall!

(I will confess, I have not yet blocked them - but you get the idea, no?)

I've also been blazing full steam ahead on my first Finito project - after much deliberation, I decided to make Mercedes Tarasovitch-Clark's Haven Shawlette - a simple sideways garter triangle scarf with a pretty cabled edging.  It's interesting to make and perfectly shows off the subtle variation of the Paloma colorway.  And it knits up fast - I cast on last weekend and I'm nearly halfway done! 

The dark green background is a silk scarf from Thailand - two of my friends went there earlier this year and brought it back for me.  Besides wearing it around the house (though I like to say 'the office'), it has come in handy when I need a pretty backdrop!
If you haven't snagged yourself a few skeins of Finito, do yourself a favor - besides being incredibly soft to squish in the skein, the colorways look exceptionally amazing in this yarn.  It knits up even softer and has really excellent stitch definition, as you can see above.  It's a shame that you can only get this yarn once per year, but I suppose that makes it all the more special.  I know that I'll treasure this scarf when it's done, and I can't wait to make something else with my 2 skeins of Mares.  Deciding what that will be is the hard part!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Project Restash

Perhaps it's a bit self-congratulatory, but I feel as though I've done a bang-up job of shopping from my stash in the past year.  My once-overflowing bins of sock and worsted-weight yarn are trim and slim...which means it's ok to go on a small yarn-buying binge this month, right?

Justification #1:  Much of this yarn was really on sale, and I bought it with a specific holiday-gift-knitting agenda in mind.

Justification #2:  In the case of the Malabrigo Finito, it's only available for a limited time, so I have to get mine while the getting is good.

Justification #3:  I wanted to.  Let's not sugar-coat it!  

The downside of my job (if you can call it that) is that I frequently enable myself into yarn purchases.  Besides that, I have the yarn-world equivalent of insider trading:  I'm more or less one of the first people to find out that something is available or going on sale.  Which is why I was able to snag these two skeins of Finito in Paloma (below, top), which I believe sold out in the first day it was live on the Doodlebug Yarns website (the two skeins of Mares (below, below) were added for good measure...I think there are still a few left for those who are interested!).
New markdowns on the Doodlebug Cascade Clearance?  Yep, I'm all over that.  $5 skeins of 220 and $6 skeins of Heritage Sock (full disclosure: only 2 of the 3 skeins purchased are pictured below)....I can't resist a good deal!  However, I think I deserve a little credit for exercising self-restraint here, because I was quite tempted by the half-off Baby Alpaca Chunky and Pure Alpaca. 
I am considering blocking all websites selling yarn and knitting paraphernalia of any kind on my computer, though...just for a little while. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

FO Friday: Breaking the Silence

It's been just over a week since my last entry - my trip to Kansas City last weekend was fun and productive, though short.  I was able to see a few of my friends and pretty much all of my family - not to mention knit (and crochet) up a storm!

On the train ride down, I finished my Abalone Cardigan in Malabrigo Silky (Matisse Colorway):
While in K.C. I finished the first wedge sock using the crazy awesome German yarn (Wollgl√∂ckchen Handgef√§rbte Sockenwolle - say that five times fast); on the train ride home I started sock # 2 and will probably get the heel turned this weekend.  Pardon the crappily-lit self-portrait:
 I also completed this sideways double-crochet scarf - the yarn is some wonderfully soft MCN hand-dyed by my pal Kit (who is also a tattoo artist and is responsible for the half-sleeve in the below photo).  It's been the perfect little scarf for this crazy-for-March weather we're having this week:
Finally, I got a lot of knitting done on the Riverside Cowl (exclusive Malabrigo March pattern by my pal Breean at Doodlebug Yarns this month!  Use the coupon code at right for $5 off your purchase of yarn & pattern for this project!) - I finished it upon my return to Chicago this past Monday night.  I only wish I had a need for it, since this is the first cowl I've made in a while that actually stays up around my neck and keeps me warm!
Here's a close-up of the stitch pattern, which really shows off the prettiness of the colorway (which is Chispas, if you're wondering!):

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Thursday Three

Here's a quick snapshot of my 3 WIPs before I head down to Kansas City for the weekend:

Abalone Cardigan:  I'm closing in on this - not that you can tell by the photo!  You'll just have to take my word for it:  once I finish the sleeves, I just need to add a ribby border to the entire sweater.  Hoping to be done sometime next week, though I suppose a more realistic time frame is the end of this month. 
Wedge Socks:  These are pretty fast-knitting and addictive, but I haven't been working on them as much because I've been concentrating my nightly knitting efforts on sweater-finishing.  I'm guessing I'll have sock #1 finished somwhere en route to Kansas City with any luck.  Fun fact: these are my first socks knit with Knitter's Pride Cubics needles! 
Sideways Triangle Scarf:  I just wanted something easy to work on, and after cruising crochet patterns on Ravelry, I decided to strike out on my own and just do a simple little triangle scarf in double crochet.  The yarn is some super-soft MCN (is there any other kind?) that was dyed by a friend, and I'm basically going to keep going til I'm about halfway through the skein, then start decreasing to finish off the triangle.  Not rocket science, but it will be great to wrap up in this scarf during the blustery days of March.

I'm really looking forward to 7 hours of uninterrupted crafting time each way on the train.  I'll be taking all three of the above projects, plus something new* to start if I finish something above (or feel like cheating already on this three-at-a-time business).  This is the first time I'm traveling without Tyler, so the only thing I have to worry about it having an annoying seat mate for the entire trip.  Wish me luck!

*It's Malabrigo March!  Of course I have to start something for that!  I ended up talking myself into purchasing yarn and this exclusive cowl pattern from Doodlebug yarns. 
Join me (and enter "HBSBlog" for $5 off your order of Arroyo + the Riverside Cowl Pattern - does it get better than that?)!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spotted in the Wild: Fun and Frolicsome FO's

Happy Malabrigo March!  Spring is in the air, but mostly because we never got a "real" winter here in Chicago (unless you count the five days it snowed, two of which happened to be on days I was trying to fly out of here).  It's been in the 30's and 40's, which is a frigging heat wave here this time of year.  At any rate, I wanted to share the latest crop of projects that have been recently completed by my fellow Ravelers!  It's always so fun to see what colors, yarns and patterns people have chosen, and this week's post features a few of my favorite designs!

First up, here's a cute little Kitchy Pleated Bag (you can find the pattern in Malabrigo Book 3), knit by chookgirl in Moda Vera Grand and Moda Vera Mousse.  I like the one fancy button hiding on the inside of the bag!

Also from Book 3, pk26 knit up a pair of the fastest socks in the west, the Quick Draw socks!  If that color looks familiar, that's because it's the very same one I used for the book model - Malabrigo Sock in Terracotta.  It's such a pretty colorway.  I'm a sucker for those hand-dyed shaded solids!

Speaking of gorgeous shaded solids, another pair of House of Mirrors fingerless gloves popped up recently, this one is knit by Roarke in The Wool Dispensary Useful Restorative in Georgia Building Castles. 

Finally, Mr. Nubbins has acquired a few new minions in the form of adorably tiny troublemakers.  Knit by Haldechick (who happens to sell some very cool stuff on etsy as well as blog up a storm in Snarkland), these tiny versions of your favorite critter (Mr. Nubbins defies definition!) will not only knit up quickly, but steal you heart.  In fact, if I ever have some free time, I'm planning on officially updating this pattern with notes and instructions on creating your own Mini Nubbins Army.  'Til then, check out Haldechick's notes on Ravelry (they're hilarious and helpful at the same time) and freestyle it! 

The kooky Mr. Nubbins pictured at right is knit in Tepper, a worsted-weight yarn from HaldeCraft HandDyed in the world's greatest colorway name:  Sock Monkey.  Yep, gonna have to get me some of THAT! 

Keeping Iris company below is a blue Mr. Nubbins who has been hitting the gym - or perhaps eating a LOT of spinach!  His teensiness is achieved by knitting on US #3 Needles with sock yarn doubled.  The yarn shown is HaldeCraft HandDyed Tiptree in One-Hit Wonder.  The project notes for this beefy Mr. Nubbins are also quite hilarious and worth checking out!