Friday, September 15, 2017

FO Friday: Cashmere Consolation

I finally got a chance to weave in the ends and block my Inauguration Consolation shawl, which has been off the needles for at least a few weeks now. I loved working with this yarn, a 100% cashmere sport weight from Lux Adorna Knits. The finished shawl is so soft and lovely, and I love how the textured stitches feel to the touch.

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I have to admit that I'm having a hard time styling this shawl on myself, which is a common problem with smaller asymmetrical shawls, at least for me (if you have any tips, I'm all ears!). Hence, I'm only sharing this flat lay photo today, but hopefully I can get some modeled shots later down the road. In the meantime, look at these gorgeous stitches:

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You may or may not remember that I bought this project kit back in January at TNNA after one of my favorite Royals pitchers, Yordano Ventura, passed away unexpectedly. Now it's a consolation of another kind, as the Royals baseball season is winding down into a somewhat unsatisfying finish. It's unlikely we will make it to the postseason, and after this year we will probably lose a lot of great players to free agency. We have some great new talent coming up, but this was the last hurrah for the core group who made the 2015 championship season what it was. It's sad, but that's baseball...at least I have a new cashmere shawl to console me in the upcoming offseason!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wisconsin Weekend

Last weekend, I did pretty much all my favorite things in the span of 72 hours: I went on a brewery tour in New Glarus, Wisconsin on Friday afternoon with my husband and in-laws; on Saturday, some friends and I drove back up to Wisconsin for the Sheep & Wool Festival, and on Sunday, I stayed closer to home and met up with a few friends at the Renegade Craft Fair. Whew! I seriously need another weekend to recover from my weekend, but it was worth it. Plus, I got lots of knitting done in the car!

I took the most photos on the New Glarus tour - it was seriously the coolest brewery tour I've ever been on, and the facilities were stunningly beautiful. You can see all of my photos on Flickr if you are so inclined, I've just chosen a few of my favorites here:

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New Glarus tour

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New Glarus tour

The Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival is one of my favorite events all year, but I really fell down on the job for documenting the experience through photos. I did manage to take a few cute sheep snaps, and if you follow me on Instagram, I posted some fun stories of baa-ing sheep while I was there.

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I managed to bring home only 1 skein of yarn, a beautiful hand-dyed colorway from Bijou Basin Ranch on a brand-new base called Himalayan Summit (it's going to become a new design for later this fall!), but I made up for that restraint by bringing home tons of spinning fiber! I bought 6oz of shetland fiber, some layered batts, and a few pretty braids of hand-dyed fiber.

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Thanks for stopping by, I'll have another finished project to share with you this Friday. See you then!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Free Pattern: Beyond the Wall Cowl

I have a fun new pattern, just in time for fall knitting! The Beyond the Wall Cowl was designed especially for those irresistible mini skeins, and I used a bundle of hand-dyed minis from Mountain Meadow Wool. You can get it for free when you sign up for the Mountain Meadow Wool newsletter.

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I loved working with this yarn, which is spun in Wyoming using wool fiber that is raised by ranchers in the western states. It's combed to create a smoother, softer yarn, and then hand-dyed in an array of beautiful colors! Each mini skein is 60 yards for a total of 255 yards; I chose the blue set which includes Charcoal, Spruce, Teal, and Turquois.

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You can play around with the color order to create fun combinations. To conserve yarn at cast-on, I recommend using the crochet cast-on method, which is usually a provisional method; when used to cast on with your working yarn, this method will not only save an yarn usage, it will match your bind-off nearly perfectly, too. Here is a great tutorial to help you master this cast-on technique.

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This pattern is also super easy to modify however you wish; two sizes are included in the insturctions, and the smaller size can be made into a taller cowl if you add in more rounds of stockinette stitch for each color block. Size L was designed specifically to use up all of the yarn in 1 bundle of Alpine mini skeins, so if you want a taller cowl for this size, you will need to purchase an additional bundle of yarn.

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Sizing:
S (L) - approx 23 (34)” circumference

Flat dimensions: 
Size S: 7” x 11.5”
Size L: 7” x 17.5”

Materials: 
  • 1 Bundle Mountain Meadow Wool Alpine Mini Skeins (3-ply DK 100% Mountain Merino Targhee wool, 3.5oz., 255 yards) Colors: Charcoal, Spruce, Teal, Turquois 
  • US #7 circular needles - 24” 
  • Stitch Marker (SM) 
  • Darning Needle 
Gauge: 
21 sts and 27.5 rounds = 4” in stockinette stitch

Click here to get your free pattern by signing up for the Mountain Meadow Wool newsletter
Click here to queue on Ravelry.

Love this pattern? Pin it!


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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

WIP Wednesday: Dyeing to Fade

Thought I haven't joined the What the Fade? MKAl, I did recently cast of for a So Faded Sweater. The idea of a fingering weight pullover that - yet again - clears several skeins of sock yarn out of my stash is incredibly appealing. This time, I didn't have all of the colors I wanted to use on hand, however. What I did have, however, is several undyed skeins of fingering weight yarn and a variety of dyes, so last weekend, I spent the better part of Saturday (and a bit of Sunday as well) attempting to dye the perfect blues to add to my Fade. And I think I succeeded! Here is my final color palette for this project:

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(side note - I have a lot of yarn from this dye session that I'll be adding to my Etsy shop soon!)

I am still working on the gradient Starshower shawl/cowl - in fact, I am just about ready to start the sixth and final section. I'm hoping that is enough rounds to get to the blue part of the gradient; as you can see, the gradient is extremely subtle thus far (but if you squint, you can make it out....right?!?!). I suppose I can always add in some extra rounds at the end if needed, and yet, I am still kind of sweating this one.

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The big news is that I started a pair of two-at-a-time socks! It feels like ages since I've knit a pair of socks, and I have been wanting to knit with this pretty skein of yarn from Long Dog Yarn that I bought at Knit 1 earlier this year. It took a while to decide on the pattern, but I finally landed on Devon from Cookie A's Sock Innovation (affiliate link). I'm looking forward to see how they knit up!

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I hope to see you back here on Friday when I have a new FREE pattern to share with you (spoiler alert!!). Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 1, 2017

FO Friday: Dillinger Hat

August has been all about finishing overdue projects (see: this post from earlier in the week). Adding to that list is the Dillinger Hat, which I started long after the KAL had concluded, and then it went into time out for over a month while I worked up the motivation to frog back a few inches to fix a mistake in my colorwork.

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The effort was well worth it, as the hat turned out pretty well! I do wish I'd gone up another needle size, though, because I forgot what a tight knitter I become when stranded colorwork enters the mix. Thankfully, it grew with blocking and fits me perfectly!  

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For anyone struggling with the crown decreases, I did leave some notes here on my Ravelry pattern page which detail how I approached the decreases to incorporate the design motif and transition into using a single color for the rest of the crown.

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The yarn was a dream to work with: mini skein kits of lovely hand-dyed merino from Wonderland Yarns/Frabjous Fibers. I've just wound the extra yarn into mini skeins to add to my grab bags which are available here on Etsy, if you are interested


Monday, August 28, 2017

Beary Special: Mother Bear Project

Not too long ago, I confessed that I had been hoarding a Mother Bear Project Kit in my stash. Oh, the shame - how long have I been depriving a child from having a beary special friend? Better not to dwell too long on that and instead focus on the fact that I finally made the knit it up, thanks to this KAL. Here is the post-knitting, pre-assembly photo:

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Somehow, this will become a cute bear!
I have to admit that I didn't love knitting this project due to yarn considerations, but when it came time to assemble it, I was pretty excited to think about who would receive it and love it and maybe run into their house to save it right before a flood passes through their village*. These bears become prized possessions to their recipients, so I wanted to make it extra cute, and I was sure to stitch a heart on it so that they knew that somewhere in the world, there was a person who loved them enough to knit them a bear.*

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Ta-Done!

For anyone who just can't handle knitting with Red Heart, you do have the option of purchasing patterns and using your own (machine washable) yarn to make your bear, rather than using one of their ready-made kits. They do have crochet versions as well, and it looks like they have also added an in-the-round version, if you are so inclined! I have ordered the in-the-round knitting pattern so that I can make another bear with yarn that I love just a bit more. 


*These are just a few of the stories in the Mother Bear Project brochure that came with my kit, which will seriously bring you to tears and make you want to knit nothing but bears for the rest of your life. You're welcome. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

FO Friday: Wonder Woman Shawl

I finished my Wonder Woman shawl just in time for Wizard World, which we went to yesterday (though the con goes through this Sunday). Here I am nerding it up, as one does at such events:

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I used 2 skeins of Bijou Basin Ranch Shangri-La yak/silk lace weight yarn and US 3 needles to make a smaller version of this shawl (and it only took 1 skein of each color - below you can see how much yarn I had left over).

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The yarn is so gorgeous, and I really love how the shawl turned out! I used the free pattern by Carissa Browning, found here on Ravelry. Since I started this project, she has added more size options and a crochet version of this pattern - I followed the instructions for what is now the larger size.

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This took up most of our kitchen floor!

Funny story: I meant to knit this project with US 4 needles, but didn't notice I had grabbed the next size down until I was about halfway through the project. Oops! But, the shawl blocked out to a very nice dimension - if you are curious to learn more about gauge considerations for my lace weight version of this project, you can read more here on the Bijou Basin Ranch blog.

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This is going to be on display in the Bijou Basin Ranch booth at several fiber festivals this fall, starting with the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool festival next month. Be sure to stop by to check it out, and pick up a few skeins of Shangri-La yarn while you're there!