Friday, July 29, 2016

FO Friday: More Hats!

I finished two more hats recently! The first one was a project from the first issue of making magazine, the Wildflowers cap by Mary Jane Mucklestone. I used 2 skeins of Naturally Nazareth from Kraemer Yarns, which is a rustic, heathery wool yarn spun with domestically sourced fibers. I've talked a little more about the Kraemer yarn story here; long story short: this is a really lovely yarn that is made in the USA.
On the other end of the spectrum, I had a skein of Preciosa from Knit Picks that I used to knit a free pattern by Liz Abinante, the Thistle hat. This was a squishy 100% Merino single ply that was quite reminiscent of Malabrigo, though it's not spun in Uruguay (the label says it's spun in Peru, which is where a lot of their yarns are made). I chose the Anemone colorway since it's pretty much the complete opposite of what I normally opt to knit with:
Thanks for stopping by, have a fun & crafty weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Totally Distracted

I'm enjoying this little break from having long term projects on the needles (languishing socks notwithstanding). Of course, most of my time since last WIP Wednesday was spent spinning for the Tour de Fleece, and finishing one of the hats I had started recently. So, it kind of seems like I haven't been knitting at all recently, but that's only because there is hardly any visible/measurable evidence due to extreme distraction by trying to knit all the things. Anyway, I finally got around to starting the second Rowan baby sweater:
And while I barely worked on the chevron baby hat, I did manage to finish the ribbed cuff on this sock:
And then I started this garter stitch rug with some ginormous yarn and needles that are just TOO BIG. I know people say that big yarn + big needles = FO project in a jiffy, but for me, I think it will be just the opposite. I am not used to knitting with tree trunks, and just casting on the stitches was an ordeal in and of itself! But I will stick with it and finish this project, because that's just how I roll. 
If you aren't tired of seeing finished hat projects, join me back here on FO Friday. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Tour de Fleece Recap

Yesterday, the Tour de Fleece came to an end, and I was so close to spinning all of the fiber that I'd earmarked for the event! I probably could have gotten through the remaining 4oz of Organic Polwarth, but since the point of this event wasn't how much yardage I could spin, I opted not to take it easy and just spend Sunday spinning the 4 singles I had complete by the end of the previous day. I was also a total lame duck about posting in the Ravelry group thread for the team I "joined" during the event (linked at right, the Corner of Knit & Tea). Oops! Anyway,  I spent most of the final week working on a half-pound of dyed merino from Louet to create these two lovely skeins:
On Saturday, I split the first braid of Leading Men Fiber Arts Organic Polwarth into half by weight and spun two singles which I plied together:
I think I'll work on that second lonely braid of LMFA Organic Polwarth this week since it looks so nice with its counterpart. And here is my final collection of skeins from the entire event:
Now I am having some (more) insane thoughts about another blanket project, this one involving handspun yarn. Look at this gorgeous log cabin quilt that Laura Chau recently shared here on Instagram and tell me it's not a good idea...

Friday, July 22, 2016

FO Friday: Thanks for the Memories

One year and five months after starting my worsted weight Cozy Memories Blanket, it is officially in the "done" category! It's such a huge relief to have this project done, and I love the results. Of course, it could have been done much sooner if I had worked on it more consistently, but that's neither here nor there. The point is: it's done, I love it, and it looks great on our new couch!
The finished blanket is 9x13 squares for a grand total of 117. I used this free pattern from Ravelry to knit modular mitered squares with all of my scrap yarn. I made a point to spend some time weaving in ends every so often so that I didn't cross the knitting finish line, only to have a nightmare of ends to weave in all at once. Clearly, Tilly appreciates the effort, and I was pretty happy to realize that I only had two rows with ends to weave in when I reached the finish line.
Now I'm fighting the mad urge not to start a new scrap yarn blanket project, if you can believe it. I still have LOT of yarn in my cozy memories bin, but I don't think I'd do another blanket like this one. I'm actually considering a few options to eat up these yarn leftovers, such as Garter Squish, a scrap yarn version of either Izzy or Bounce, or this pretty crocheted blanket I spotted on Instagram.
If I can, I'm going to try to enjoy not having a long-term project on the needles for a while before I cast on again!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Hat Tricks

I started two new hats in the last week! I needed another worsted weight project on the needles, so I started the  Thistle hat, a free pattern by Liz Abinante using this uncharacteristically bright (for me) skein of Preciosa from Knit Picks.
I also decided to test the waters of fingering weight yarn knitting with a wee chevron hat on some funky US 2.5 bent DPNs. I'm using up both stash yarn and scrap yarn with this one, which always feels good!
Also made some huge progress on the baby sweater, and I'm so glad that my crazy idea for modifying this pattern for contrasting button bands and cuffs appears to be working. I'm just two sleeve cuffs and many yarn ends away (not to mention buttons) from calling this first one done!
The only thing I haven't gotten much done on is my travel knitting project, the bright green socks I've been knitting since mid-April. But, I am still spinning for the Tour de Fleece, slowly but surely - I am maybe a third of the way through the first single of this Louet Merino:
Thanks for stopping by, see you back here for FO Friday!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Tour de Fleece Update: Halfway-ish Point

I've only added two finished skeins to my Tour de Fleece basket since last week. First, I finished a two-ply spun from some rolags I made on my Louet Blending Board that are a blend of shetland, merino, cashmere, alpaca, and other random bits.
My second project was finished over the weekend, I spun a thick-and-thin 2-ply from 4oz of mixed merino roving from Yarn Hollow.
I kind of like the way they look together - perhaps they will end up in a future project together?
For now, they join the skeins I spun in the first week of the Tour de Fleece:
Thank goodness the point of this event isn't to spin as much yardage as possible, because I'd really be failing miserably - there just aren't enough hours in the day! But I have managed to spin every day, even on the rest day, which is totally fine by me.

Hope you are enjoying the TDF, if you're spinning - see you back here for WIPs & SIPs on Wednesday!

Friday, July 15, 2016

FO Friday: Yet Another Cowl

This is the third Friday in a row that I've had a finished cowl project to share, though I definitely didn't plan it this way. I just finished the Chibi Maruko cowl by Mari Chiba using the only (full) skein of yarn that I brought back from TNNA last month.
I've had my eye on Baa Ram Ewe for a few years now, though this is the first I've gotten to knit a project with one of their yarns. What attracted me to them is that they are all spun with 100% British wool.
I chose to use their newest yarn, Dovestone DK, which is a blend of 50% BFL, 25% Wensleydale longwool, and 25% dark brown Masham. I really like the hand of this yarn - it's rustic but not TOO rustic, if that makes sense. The dark brown fiber mixed in with the other natural colors gives a nice depth to the dyed colors; I couldn't resist this pretty green color.
I knit mine a little longer so that I could stretch it out a bit horizontally when blocking, and it fits nice and snug! This was a nice, quick project that was a great travel project, especially since the stitch pattern was so easy to memorize.

Thanks for stopping by, have a crafty weekend!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

WIP Wednesday: New Schtuff!

Now that the Cozy Memories Blanket is officially off the needles, I've allowed myself to start some fun new projects.

I couldn't resist starting the Wildflowers Cap from the first issue of Making magazine. I'm using two skeins of Naturally Nazareth from Kraemer Yarns, and even though I haven't dedicated much time to working on it, it's coming along fairly quickly - I'm halfway through the colorwork chart!
Since more babies are on their way this year, I figured I should get cracking on a little gift knitting. I picked up two skeins of Rowan pure wool worsted to knit the Easy Baby Sweater from More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, but I'm making some mods so that I can have contrasting cuffs and button bands. Basically, I'm making it less easy, but I think it's going to be worth it!
I also got started on the second BFL sock, which will be my travel project, provided my arms continue to improve so that I can knit on them pain-free of course.
And my first spinning project for Week 2 of the Tour de Fleece is under way, I'm spinning some rolags I made on my Louet Blending Board that are a blend of shetland, merino, cashmere, alpaca, and other random bits and bobs of fiber.
That's it for this week, see you back here for FO Friday!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Tour de Fleece Progress

Eight days into this year's Tour de Fleece and I have some finished skeins!
1. Yesterday I plied together three singles spun from some incredibly light & lofty pencil roving that is 49% bison down, 43% merino, and 14% alpaca.

2. Both of these skeins are from the same two Targhee singles from Yarn Geek fibers.

3. These two mini skeins are spun from leftover singles to make random 3-ply yarns.

I've surprised myself with how much spinning I've been able to accomplish so far during this year's event. Here's hoping I can keep it up!

Friday, July 8, 2016

FO Friday: 3 Color Cashmere Cowl

I finished another cowl! This one was my predominant travel knitting project for June, when I went to the TNNA show in DC and also flew to Kansas City for a Royals game.
I think this yarn has been in my stash for something like 4 years now; it's Pure Cashmere DK from Lotus Yarns, and I have to say that while it is very nice to work with, I am not totally convinced that it's really cashmere. I suppose it could be a low grade cashmere, but the mink-less mink yarn flap of last year doesn't inspire confidence in the accuracy for their labeling.
At any rate, I suppose it doesn't matter - I don't even remember what I paid for the yarn, which was probably something close to wholesale because I purchased it cash and carry at TNNA. It was still nice to work with, and it's soft and warm. And really, as long as you enjoy it, isn't that all that matters?
I used my favorite tool, the Knitter's Pride Knit Blockers along with some blocking wires for a nice, efficient blocking.
I really enjoyed knitting the pattern, and it's super easy to wear - this will be a warm addition to my winter wear!

Yarn: Pure Cashmere DK from Lotus yarn
Pattern: 3-Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locatelli
See my Ravelry project page here.

This blog post contains affiliate links. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Off With A Bang

The big news is that my cozy memories blanket is off the needles - it just need to have a few ends woven in and then get a nice blocking before I can officially call it done. Whew! It's a weight off my shoulder, that's for sure, and I'm pretty relieved to start July off with this project nearly crossed off my list. Now that I don't have to think about it, I can focus on chipping away at the many sock projects I have on the needles, as much as my hand/arm issues will allow. If I knit slowly enough and in short enough sessions, I can make a tiny bit of progress to inch towards my goal. For instance, over the holiday weekend, I reached HO status for the bright green BFL socks:
I'm still plugging away on the Baa Ram Ewe cowl, which is just past the halfway point:
Of course, for most of this month I will also be focusing some of my free time to spinning - last Saturday, the Tour de Fleece kicked off, and I decided to start off with some Targhee from Yarn Geek Fibers in the Curry Up! colorway. It took three days to spin through the 4 oz braid, after which I began to spin the other 4oz Targhee I bought from the Yarn Geek booth at Ply Away which is a gradient colorway. I'm planning to ply both of them together.
See you back here on Friday when I share my finished Three-Color Cashmere Cowl!

Friday, July 1, 2016

FO Friday: Grivola Shawl

I have another finished project from Jen Lucas' Cozy Stash-Busting Knits this week (click here if you missed my review). I knit the Grivola shawl using some handspun Coopworth yarn and my Marblz Marblz interchangeable needles.
This shawl totally flew off the needles - I made it in under two weeks, and 5 of those days I didn't even work on it because I left it at home while I was in DC for TNNA. So, basically, I could have knit this pretty shawl in a week. I love how blocking this shawl made all the difference, from this:

To this:
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I am a HUGE fan of the Knitter's Pride Knit Blockers. They make the process way faster, and I think my results are better because my frustration level is much lower than it would be if I were pinning out the entire thing. Believe it or not, it is much faster to use the Knit Blockers for the straight edge and T-pins on each lace point.
Also, I dig a shawl that's knit sideways, since you work up to the maximum number of stitches, but then you work back down to the amount you originally cast on - no crazy 600-stitch bindoff as you might have with a top-down shawl! The pretty lacy edge was easy to memorize, and then the rest of the shawl was simple garter stitch, which lately is my favorite.
The Grivola pattern can be found in Cozy Stash-Busting Knits by Jen Lucas; I spun the yarn using a half-pound of Dark Coopworth from Louet.

This blog post contains affiliate links.