Category Archives: yarn

WIP Wednesday – Knitting 2016

 

When the new year begins I like to start a fresh to-do list for my knitting and crochet projects. I usually start out overly ambitious with a list longer than my arm. Some years I only get done up to my elbow, but that’s ok. I’m a gal that likes a plan, but don’t mind changing/altering/deleting the plan for a different plan when the need arises.

The first project I am working on is a pair of socks. The pattern is out of a book one of my son’s got me for Christmas, Socktopus by Alice Yu. It is called Om Shanti. I used 2 size 2 Addi circulars, making both at the same time until I got to the leg (these are toe up). Now I’ve divided them because the pattern calls for moving the stitches from needle to needle to jog the pattern. The yarn is some fabulous hand dyed Merino Superwash Wool in a beautifil colorway called Arizona Turquoise. I think they are working up really nicely and hope to finish them this week.

Arizona socks

 

So far I’ve been asked to make an adorable  Viking Hat for a friend’s new baby. I’m using this pattern: Viking Set – Viking Hat, Diaper Cover and Club by JTcreations check it out on Ravelry.

One of the gals at work asked me to make her a pair of socks. I’m going to use my favorite “plain” sock pattern that uses sport or DK wt yarn because she wants them to wear around the house when it is cold. You can find it here: Moda Dea LM0131, Knitted Socks. I’ve picked up some really soft washable yarn at Hobby Lobby that is part acrylic, part alpaca. I plan to start them when I finish my Christmas socks.

For the NICU unit this Easter, I plan to make these adorable Lamb Hats, the pattern was designed by Sarah Zimmerman. I won’t make the flaps or ties because they might get in the way since these babies have a lot going one.

© Repeat Crafter Me

I’m going to teach a Lunch & Learn class at work for anyone that wants to learn how to knit. Because we want the participants to make progress quickly, I searched for a pattern for a simple garter stitch scarf. Luckily I remembered Susie at our knitting night working on a cowl on huge needles. She is a new knitter and has whipped up 11 of them since November! She shared the pattern, which is just 10 stitches on size 50 (yes, you read it right) needles using super-bulky yarn. You work with 2 strands of yarn and it zips up super quick. I made a sample in a couple of hours today. As cold as it is here today, I could use this fluffy warm cowl to keep my face and neck warm. 🙂
Other misc projects I will get rolling on will be NICU hats for Christmas and either Thanksgiving or Halloween. Most likely they will be crocheted because they work up faster.
There will be a few Christmas gifts and I’d like to make a few more of the sock patterns that are in Socktopus. I certainly have a wide variety of yarns in my stash that I can use.
And of course my annual WIP. Seriously, I only have to do the one cuff ribbing and the neck ribbing on my brown sweater. I seriously am going to finish it. I have one sock to make to complete the plain black pair I started last February AND the afghans that I have had part of the squares completed for over a hear. As a matter of fact, I used part of the yarn for another project.
What do you plan to make this year?

 

 

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Filed under baby hats, Crafts, Crocheting, Easter, Knitting, NICU, Ravelry, socks, WIP Wednesday, yarn

Home Farm Wensleydales – Customer Service Extraordinaire!

I ordered some yarn last week after reading about the farm in a blog post for Woolvember.  The pictures of the countryside and sheep made me want to hop on a plane and visit Cotswolds, England to see it for myself. Per the card I received with my order, the Home Farm has been in existence for over 500 years and is now fully operational spanning 150 acres of “ancient ridge and furrow. I am aching to see it!

Isn’t possible, I decided to order some of their wool. The sheep are Wenselydale and Bluefaced Leicesters, and the pictures on their website are adorable in a sheepy way.  Check it out: http://www.homefarmwensleydales.com/

I purchased two different kinds of yarn. Even though the pure Winsleydale isn’t soft, and recommended for felting or “lacework or aran type coarse jumpers” I felt I wanted to work with some of the pure yarn that was the natural color of the sheep. I absolutely love the color and can picture the sheep that were walking around the countryside wearing this before they were shorn.

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It is not soft, but I love it anyway. I’m not sure what I’ll make with it, but whatever it is, I won’t decide until after the holidays.

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I also purchased a blend of Wensledale and Bluefaced Leicester that has been spun and dyed a beautiful spring green color. I am picturing a spring shawl. It is very soft and feels absolutely lovely. I haven’t decided what I’m actually making, but it will be fun to search for the perfect pattern.

Other than being extremely satisfied with the wool I received, the purchase was easy and delivery was fast. As a matter of fact, it only took 8 days to receive this order. It took over  a month to get an order from a warehouse less than 25 miles from home and this came all the way from England! I cannot explain it.

When I opened the package, the two types of yarn were carefully wrapped in separate tissue paper packages. There was a post card with information on the farm and the sheep, and a delightful, handwritten card thanking me for my purchase and telling me about the yarn. Now THAT is customer service and why I love purchasing yarn and other goods from the farms and people who are tending the sheep or growing the food whenever possible. If possible, I hope you do too.

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Filed under Crafts, Crocheting, farms, Knitting, NaBloPoMo, shawl, yarn

WIP Wednesday Finally !!

I’m baaack! It has been way too many Wednesdays to count, but there is no time like the present to get back to WIP Wednesdays.

We took a wonderfully relaxing vacation to the Florida Keys a few weeks ago. We swam, kayaked – yup, even I can do it! – had fabulously fresh sea food and did a bit of sightseeing. This was the view off of our balcony.

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I did a bit of knitting, but actually decided that project was not for me. So I took it off the needles to save the yarn for a project I like more.

After I got home I finished the blanket third blanket for a friend at work. The picture shows a big variation of color that is much more subtle in person. I couldn’t get the same dye lot, so I alternated the 2 dye lots of the same color to make a striped pattern. If course I forgot to take a pic in natural light, so the glare of the lightbulbs made it look oddly colored.

Donita blanket #3_2

I’ve started on the lavender blanket she needs next.

The Scoreboard KAL is coming along well. The only problem is my scarf is going to be more orange than navy since the Bears are not having their best year.

Bears_KAL 2

Instead of working on my projects last Sunday, we visited a couple of Alpaca farms. It was Alpaca Days, a yearly “open house” at local alpaca farms, if you key “alpaca days” in google, you might find a local farm you can visit next fall. The alpacas were friendly and cute and of course I got some wonderful hand-spun alpaca yarn and can’t wait to use it for a winter hat. I may not have time to start it until after Christmas, but time will tell. My hubby liked the alpacas why more than looking at the yarn 🙂

Alpaca Farm

My favorite was Waldron Grove Alpaca Farm

http://www.susanwaldronart.com/specialevents/specialevents.html

Everyone there was really nice, They were informative & told us interesting facts about the Alpacas and fiber. If you are in the Chicago area, they are having a Christmas Open House in late November. They have beautiful hand knits for sale, works of art and natural fiber yarns in plenty of time to make a last minute gift.

Hopefully this week I’ll catch up the week and a half I’m behind on the Bears scarf and make good progress on the lavender baby blanket. Time will tell. Hope you all have a great week doing something you love to do 🙂

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Filed under alpaca, art, baby blanket, Florida Keys, Knitting, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday – To Swatch or Not Swatch, That is the Question

I honestly don’t know of any knitter that says they love to do a swatch to check his or her gauge. Personally, I prefer to jump right in, but know I cannot if I am making a garment or accessory that must fit properly. Scarves, afghans, dishcloths and anything else that you make that can be an inch or more bigger or smaller than the pattern reads most of the time end up being ok. But try and put on a sweater after weeks (or months) of knitting and realize it is too big or small due to gauge..this doesn’t end well.

First of all, check the pattern for the correct weight/type of yarn. It stands to reason worsted weight will knit up larger than fingering or sock yarn. Next, use the size needle the pattern calls for – unless you are an experienced knitter than knows you knit tighter/looser, But if you are, you already know all of this anyway!

Your pattern will tell you how many stitches and rows per inch you need to get the proper gauge so your finished garment will fit. The mystery KAL I am making now has a gauge of “8 sts and 13 rows = 2” in stockinette stitch. So the swatch I knit has to be at least a few, if not more, stitches and rows than 8 stitches, 13 rows. Personally, I like to make a nice little square of stockinette so that I can measure smack dab in the middle to make sure the stitches aren’t pulled or rolling along the sides as stockinette will do.

swatch

So I cast on 20 stitches with size 9 needles and worsted wt yarn that the pattern called for. I knit until I had a perfect square. Sometimes I don’t but this time I figured I’d make 2 of the little purple squares, sew them together and stuff them for a perfect doll sized pillow for my cousin’s little girl. She loves purple. 🙂

Using a contrasting yarn, I make a running stitch up 13 rows (gauge from the pattern), then use 3 more bits of contrasting yarn to run along 8 stitches at the top and bottom of the 13 row mark, then another along the end of the 8 stitches to make a box in the middle that should measure 2 inches. If it does, all is well. If not – back to the swatching board. Lucky for me this one was right on target

If the gauge is too small, I need to use a larger needle, too big I need to use a smaller needle because I don’t want to use a different weight yarn. There are tons of websites that explain gauge much better than I do, just google “knitting gauge” and you’ll get instructions, video and one of them will help you learn how to swatch like a pro. I like this one: http://sheepandstitch.com/what-is-knitting-gauge/

Now that I’ve preached the importance of swatching, I’ll catch you up on works in progress. Donita’s next baby blanket is barely begun, but it won’t take long to complete.

Donita blanket #3

I will be starting the Mystery KAL from Melody’s Makings on Ravelry since my swatch is done. 🙂 And since I am leaving for a few days of vacation I am either going to make the second black sock, which is boring but will be used this winter more than the fancier socks in crazy colors that I would rather knit. Practicality may or may not win out, I’ll let you know when I get back.

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Filed under baby blanket, blanket, Crafts, Crocheting, Knitting, Knitting Techniques, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday 2×2

Why 2×2 you ask? Is it a piece of wood I am referring to? Or perhaps one of those breakfasts they offer at our local dinner – 2 eggs, 2 bacon, 2 pieces of toast & 2 sausage links? *Sidebar* it should be a 2x2x2x2, but who am I to correct the menu for them & it works.

Anyway, the 2×2 I am referring to is 2 weeks and 2 days late for WIP Wednesday. Life has gotten in the way of blogging these last few weeks, so I figured better late than never.

I’ll keep this short and sweet.

  1. Scarf for my cousin is complete. I have enough yarn to make a smaller version for my tiniest cousin (first cousin once removed, but let’s not quibble – remember the 2×2 above). I may take that on vacation with me, it would be a great project for the ride to Florida.

Becky's scarf complete

  1. The lavender baby blanket is complete. I took it to work this morning and neglected to take a picture first. In my own defense, I didn’t finish it until almost 10 last night and forgot this morning when I left at 6:00.
  2. I had to miss the Knitting Group last week, so nothing to report there. I did get the pink bear hat done for the NICU nurse’s baby as well as another two – one complete and one ready to sew together when I go to the next Knitting Group.
  3. I am joining a KAL that Wool & Co ( http://www.woolandcompany.com/ ) has on their website for the football season. It looks fun. Check out the details by pasting the link above in your browser or right click on it and choose “go to”.
  4. Since I got the 2 projects done that I promised myself I’d do before starting anything else, I am going to start those socks that I have been dying to start since buying the fabulous yarn at the Chicago Yarn Crawl a few weekends ago. Just as soon as I catch up on book reviews 🙂 I’ve finished 2 great books in the last 2 weeks, but haven’t had a chance to review them yet. This weekend for sure.
  5. Last but not least I am making more bear hats. No surprises there, they are my go-to quick take to work projects for break time.

The only pic of the last few projects is apparently the one of the scarf. I dunno why I didn’t snap a few of the others. Because we all know that a whole bunch of words and no pictures make for a boring blog, I’ve included one of my favorites from the knitting calendar that Leslie gave me for Christmas last year. 🙂

Calendar_Stash

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Filed under baby hats, NICU, scarf, socks, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday – Pluggin’ Along

This has been a busy week in my world. I started the baby blanket I’m making for a friend at work and have made great progress on the scarf I’ve been working on. Check ’em out

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I love the orchid baby blanket, it has been a long time since I’ve used this color and it is a nice change from blue or pink.

And my find of the week is a local yarn shop with in *GASP* walking distance of our house! I picked up a beautiful hank of tonal red yarn that I am going use to make a pair of socks. I got a really cute pattern that they were giving out at the LYS for the Yarn Crawl. If I can figure out a plan, I hope to visit more shops on Saturday since the Yarn Crawl will still be going on . I know I don’t need any more yarn. But I do have a VISA gift card that I’ve been saving since Christmas that is meant to be used on some kind of fabulous fiber.

That is my story and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

This week I hope to finish the scarf and get the blanket 1/2 done. A NICU hat needs to be completed before next Thursday as that is the next meeting of our knitting group. If it accomplish those 3 goals, I am going to cast on the socks.

Nothing like having lots of WIP to keep me busy. 🙂

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Filed under Crocheting, Knitting, LYS, NICU, scarf, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday: Christmas in July

This week has been hotter than hot with a smattering of thunderstorms to keep us on our toes. I am so thankful to have air conditioning in the house, car and work. So I really don’t have any excuses not to knit. Especially when working on a small project.

The scarf I am making for Christmas is coming along really well. It is a simple feather & fan pattern, so I don’t have to think about what I am doing except on the lace row. That makes it perfect for knitting on break at work as well as in the evenings while watching the Cubs on TV.

scarf progress 7.29.15

Until the blocking is done, it is hard to see the lace, so I pulled it out on the needles to help a bit. The rows of yarn that look white are the UV color change fiber that will turn purple in the sunlight. So it will be a fun scarf to wear, sometimes pink, purple and white, sometimes pink and purple. The variegated yarn also has a bit of glitter so there is a lot going on. That is why I wanted a simple pattern.

Other than the scarf, I haven’t started or finished anything this week. I got the yarn for a baby blanket for a friend of mine as well as some Bernat Pipsqueak to make more NICU hats. The nurse that takes them in said right now they have 25 babies in the unit. I need to knit faster!!

Until next week, keep cool and knit on. 🙂

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Filed under Bernat, Christmas, Knitting, Pipsqueak, scarf, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday – Knitting Group

Happiest Wednesday!

Last night I was fortunate enough to be invited to a knitting group by a dear friend. We don’t see much of each other in person, but keep in touch with FB and Words With Friends. We’ve been chatting about forming an informal knitting night, and Judy graciously invited us to her home.

We chatted, catching up with old friends and met new friends. Our common bond of fiber gave us plenty to chat and laugh about. New knitters and seasoned knitters worked on on blankets, washcloths, scarves and shawls. I started the scarf for my cousin’s Christmas gift earlier this week, so that is what I took along to work on.

Judy has some great ideas for our new group. She collected email addresses and is compiling a resource list of yarn shops, websites and tips. I am very excited to hear she has the info to visit local farms that raise Alpacas . Who doesn’t love baby alpaca??

Judy shared a tip I can’t wait to use. When working a pattern where you repeat several rows for a pattern, she writes each row on a separate index card. No more counting, making marks, etc to see where you are in a pattern, you just flip the card to the back of the stack and go to the next card. When you stop for the evening, clip them together and you’ll know exactly where to start the next time you pick up your work. I love this useful tip!

To top off the night, Judy’s husband made each of us a beautiful hand turned Nostepinne. If you (like me) have never seen or used one, here is the description from The Woolery (http://www.woolery.com/Store/pc/Using-a-Nostepinne-d38.htm):

“Nostepinne” or “nostepinde” is a Scandinavian word that means “nest-stick.”; the original Ball Winder. It is a tool used to wind a center-pull yarn ball. A nostepinne is portable, easy to use, and creates a center-pull ball that can be used without changing the twist in the yarn.

I tried using mine tonight. It is going to take a bit of practice, but I am getting the hang of it 🙂

Nostepinne

When we meet again I am going to bring the pattern and yarn for the NICU unit baby bear hats. Meantime I’ve finished my sweater, but it needs the buttons and to be washed/blocked. I’ll have pictures next week.

I hope you all have a friend or a wonderful group to hang out with and knit. Or crochet. Or Quilt…you get the idea 🙂

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WIP Wednesday 2 Weeks Late

Helloooo! I’m back after a 10 day vacation and a week of recovery of said vacation 🙂 The first few days were spent in North Carolina and Virginia, then we spent 4 wonderful days with our youngest son and daughter-in-law. I’ll do a post later highlighting all of the fun places we went and things we did, with the exception of the first little town we stayed in, Black Mountain, NC since it is linked to a future WIP.

We stayed at the Red Rocker Inn, and yes there are red rockers in all sizes on the fabulous front porch of the B & B. In the evenings, hubby and I sat out on the porch, chatting while I crocheted on the purple sweater I’ve been working on. I only have a few inches left, then the trim. I am pleased with the way it is turning out.

purple sweater pattern 7.15.15

This is a closeup of the pattern.

Black Mountain is a great little town with shop after shop of artisan crafts to admire and purchase. I was ecstatic to find a local yarn shop nestled between a Dulcimer shop and a great restaurant – The Trailhead check it out here: thetrailheadrestaurant.com ,

I know what you are saying, since I shared my stash closet pictures, what is this crazy woman thinking?? I’m thinking I need some local yarn. Hubby is the best, I was touching all of the yarn, looking for something local and he didn’t even sigh. Nope, not once. Yarn is the best souvenir in my opinion. I get to remember the trip the whole time I use it to make something.

I picked up a wonderful skein of wool hand dyed with lupine native to the area and some had made buttons for my sweater. Here is the yarn and I’ll share the buttons when I finish my sweater. Black Mountain yarn I think it will be enough to make a warm winter hat. I’ll probably save it until after the holidays as I am starting to think of all the things I want to make before them.

I have to confess I also ordered 2 skeins of yarn to make my cousin a scarf for Christmas. It is Abracadabra made by Hikoo yarn, and looks like a whitish cream color until you get it in the sun, then it turns purple. It was pricey and the skeins are only 50 grams of DK weight, so I am going to pair it this skein I picked up last year that is pink & purple with a bit of sparkle. I can’t wait to start it, but want to finish my sweater first.

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I feel pretty good about my progress this week. I just might finish my sweater before next Wednesday 🙂

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Filed under Abracadabra, Black Mountain, Crocheting, HiKoo yarn, Knitting, local yarn shop, stash, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday – Lots of progress this week :)

bath poufThis week was very productive knit and crochet wise. I finished one bath pouf and am almost done with a second one. I am tired of those mesh ones from the store unraveling into a useless wad of nothing.  I used a pattern I found here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/puffy-bath-pouf  Check out  The Stitching Mommy’s website. She posts all kinds of nifty patterns, hints and tips.

The purple one is made out of Ripples – a yarn by Willow (which is really Herrschner’s)  and I am not really that pleased with the yarn . It seems to be too stretchy for this project. There were also 2 separate joins in one of the balls of yarn. This is a pet peeve of mine. If I pay for a new skein or ball of yarn, I don’t want to find knots in the middle of a project. But that is just me.

Since I love this pattern so much, and it works up wonderfully, I am making another one out of the suggested yarn (what a concept LOL) Lily Sugar ,n Cream. I’ll report back after  finish it and use a few times. As a rule, I love this yarn, so I am hoping for good things.

6.23.15 bath pouf

AND I finished and blocked the Possum Yarn Shawl. I love it. SO I’ve included tons of pictures. It isn’t nearly as intricate or fancy as the one Leslie is making for me out of the mink yarn – but I like this plan Jane shawl too.

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Last but not least, I started crocheting a cardigan for myself. It is the Cap Sleeve Open Cardigan by yarnspirations.com. I got the pattern from allfreecrochet.com. The only problem with the pattern is the is no yardage for any size except XS/S. Honestly, I love the pattern and hope that I have enough of the Serendipity Tweed I found in my stash to use. Oh yeah – shopping from my stash now that the closet is clean. Here is my progress – the bodice and sleeves are all worked in one piece. I have 2 rows left before starting the shaping for the sleeves so I am rolling right along.

Cap Sleeve Open Cardigan 6.24.15

No WIP next week – I’m off on an adventure. Keep your fingers crossed that the dogs will behave for my sons. 🙂

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Filed under Crafts, Crocheting, Knitting, New Zealand, possum yarn, Ravelry, stash, WIP Wednesday, yarn