Tuesday, August 15, 2017

WIP Wednesday: I'm Guilty

Most of my knitting time & energy over the past week has been focused on finishing up the Wonder Woman Wrap. All of the ends are woven in, so it just needs a good blocking and I can call it done! In the mean time, I am still working on the Inauguration Consolation shawl - I guess it wasn't a photo finish after all!

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A recent cleanout of my yarn stash revealed that I had a unused Mother Bear Project kit hiding in my craft room. Who knows how long I have been depriving a child of a cute knitted bear? I started knitting the kit last weekend, hoping that would make me feel a little less guilty....but it's not working because now I have a new thing to feel guilty about: for instance, I dislike working with the yarn from the kit. I'm pretty sure it's Red Heart, and it hurts my hands and just feels yucky to me. But after reading the enclosed brochure that talked about how much the kids love their bears and consider them a prized treasure, I've resolved to get over it and make the cutest darn bear possible!

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As a side note, I want to mention I don't support yarn snobbery, at least not in the form of making other people feel bad for the yarns they choose to work with. Seriously, if you dig working with Red Heart, don't let my opinions ruin it for you! It's affordable and easy to come by, and you never have to worry about dye lots. I totally get it. I firmly believe that there is a spectrum of Good Acrylic and Bad Acrylic yarns. While I'm afraid the yarn I'm using falls into the Bad Acrylic category (in terms of knitting experience, at least),  I am sure that it was chosen for the kit precisely because it is easy-care and wears well. While it may not be my favorite yarn to knit with, whoever ends up with this bear will have a lovable friend for years to come.*

There is a Mother Bear KAL happening here on Ravelry through August 31, for those of you who are interested. Even if you can't finish a bear by the end of this month, I hope you'll make some time this fall to knit a bear for the project!


* Unless, of course, the bear is set on fire, in which case it will melt. Hopefully the chances of this happening are quite small.

Friday, August 11, 2017

New Yarn Alert: Lerke Pluss

I was excited to try a new yarn courtesy of Heart of the Mitten, an online store & yarn shop in Michigan who is also the exclusive US retailer of Dale Garn. Lerke Pluss, is a shop exclusive available in a gorgeous palette of 20 colors. It's an interesting blend of 53% Merino wool and 47% Egyptian Cotton, and it's made up of several plies which creates a nice, round yarn with lots of bounce - so if you find traditional cotton yarns tough to work with, this yarn is worth giving a try. Plus, it arrived with a packet of delicious tea!

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I really liked this yarn overall; the only downside I can come up with is that the yardage per skein is on the low side (87 yards in 50g). That's not a problem for a small project, but if you plan to make something larger like a sweater, be prepared to weave in a lot of ends. Having said that, I'm confident that the effort will be worth it. This yarn has excellent stitch definition and is super-soft, but I have a feeling that it will wear really well over the years with minimal pilling.

I chose to knit a free hat pattern with my 2 skeins of Lavender: Lake Reed by Asita Krebs. I think the English version is translated from German, and some of the directions were a little funky - I had to stop and think for a few moments to figure out what they were trying to say. The good news is that the instructions also included charts, which transcend any language barriers.

The finished hat is super cute and fits really well. Just to mix things up, I had Tyler model it this time around (he offered!!).

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I fully intended to knit this pattern as written, until I realized that I would not win at yarn chicken. Last weekend, I ended up ripping back a considerable amount  and made the following modifications to working the charts: 2 full repeats of Chart 1, 1 repeat of Chart 2, and 1 repeat of Chart 3. It's a good thing I did, because this is all the yarn I had left over:

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I really enjoyed working with this yarn and wold totally use it for another project - it would be perfect for a fair isle or striped pattern!

See for yourself - Click here to buy Lerke Pluss in the Heart of the Mitten online store.

You may like to know: This yarn was provided for free in exchange for my honest review. I don't receive any compensation for the links included in this post. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

WIP Wednesday: Close to Coming Off The Needles

I think it's going to be a photo finish for the dueling shawls; the final rows of my Wonder Woman Wrap are looooong, though I don't have many left to knit:

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While I have further to go on my Inauguration Consolation shawl, the rows are just a bit shorter:

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Even more exciting, however, is that I have only ONE other WIP on the needles: the ill-fated Dillinger Hat, which is still in time out. I think I ripped back far enough to fix the mistakes I made, so it's just a matter of picking it back up and finishing it. Easier said than done!

Here's hoping I can finish one, some or all of these WIPs this coming weekend so that I can start some new, exciting projects!

Friday, August 4, 2017

FO Friday: The 10-Month Sweater

Part of the appeal of a chunky or bulky weight sweater probably has something to do with how quickly it knits up...but I wouldn't really know, because I spent exactly 10 months knitting this sweater!

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The pattern is the Rockling Cardigan from Graphic Knits, and I used the called-for yarn, Cascade Eco+. It turned out a little larger than I was expecting, especially in the sleeves:

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..but I can fold up the cuffs and make it work:

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The idea is that this would be a snuggly layering sweater, so I'm ok with an excess of positive ease....although we discovered that it fits Tyler (albeit snugly), so perhaps I went a little overboard in that department? Honestly, it's been so long since I started this project that I can't even recall whether or not I got gauge - and of course, I kept no notes whatsoever, because why would I want to refer back to those at any point?!

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Last fall, I bought these fun owl buttons to use on this sweater, thinking I would have it finished before Christmas. Pretty funny, right? I was excited to finally use them, and so was Tilly, who "helped" me attach them.

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I think this will be a nice, snuggly sweater to keep in my office during winter, and I'm happy with how it turned out overall. Now I need to decide what sweater to start next - when I was doing some stash reorganizing I discovered I have several sweaters-worth of yarn languishing in my stash. I think it's time to turn them into something wearable.

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Thanks for stopping by, have a crafty weekend!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Favorite things: July

Sirka Row Counter
I have been curious about this product for years, but never bought one until recently. Then it sat in its cute little bento box, unused, for several months. Finally, the dreaded "at the same time" popped up in a pattern and instead of being annoyed as I usually would be, I was super psyched because it meant I could test drive my Sirka.

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Obviously, I loved it, or it wouldn't be included in this post! Though it seems like it might be complicated (yes, it comes with instructions!), it's really quite easy to use, and I just kept a key of what color was assigned to what set of instructions handy, since I tend to forget such things. The only drawback is that it's kind of big and I don't think I would want to use it on-the-go - but it's perfect for keeping near my knitting nook at home. And realistically, a project that has instructions that necessitate the use of a Sirka probably won't be leaving the house anyway, since I prefer to take more "mindless" knitting on-the-go.


Baby Got Yak Enamel Pins
My collection has grown considerably in the last few months, but hands down my favorite one is this Baby Got Yak pin from Bijou Basin Ranch. Full disclosure, they are my client, and I don't want to brag, but I woke up one morning and nearly shouted "BABY GOT YAK!" because it jumped into my brain after several days of pondering what slogans would make for a fun pin.

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Wonder Woman
I got a free issue of one of the new Wonder Woman comics on free comic book day and was totally blown away - honestly, I was never a huge Wonder Woman fan up until this point. But ever since, I've been reading all of the WW books I can get my hands, and I am also knitting a Wonder Woman shawl to wear to Wizard World next month!

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T2
A friend gifted me a tea sampler and now I am completely obsessed with T2tea.com. I scored some gorgeous new teaware (and tea!) in the clearance section on their website:

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It arrived beautifully packaged, I really wish I had thought to photograph or film the unboxing, because it was quite the experience. All of the teas are delicious, but the two that I am most obsessed with are the New York Breakfast (which tastes like pancakes, but not in a sweet or gross way) and the Darjeeling....but honestly, every single tea I've tried so far has been delicious.


I can't believe that the first day of August is tomorrow! Where did the summer go?! I don't know, but I'm already thinking about the fall and feeling the urge to knit all the sweaters. Luckily, I finally finished the bulky weight sweater that's been on my needles since last August, and I'll be sharing photos on here this Friday. See you then!

Friday, July 28, 2017

FO Friday: Baby Stripes

This project has been finished for a few weeks now....except for the buttons. Apparently sewing them on what the hardest thing in the world to do! However, I'm so glad I finally did, because this little sweater is so darn cute:

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I used Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Electric Blue and Dove Heather. More importantly, I expanded my baby sweater horizons by using a new-to-me-pattern from my favorite book, the Striped Cardi from 60 Quick Baby Knits!

It was a great pattern and I am happy with how it turned out, although I think I would add an inch or two of ribbing to the bottom of the sweater and cuffs if I made it again, as I'm not a fan of the rolled stockinette (even though I know that an intended design feature). This will be mailed off soon for some cute baby to wear this fall.

Thanks for stopping by, have a crafty weekend!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Weaving Wednesday: Handspun Scarves Aplenty

I finished another handspun scarf, and I think I'll have to keep this one for myself because I absolutely LOVE how it turned out!

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I used some commerically-made black yarn for the warp (I lost the label, it's leftover from some project!), and then the weft is a 3-ply handspun yarn that I spun from 8oz of hand-dyed BFL fiber from Nerd Girl Yarns in the #hashtag colorway.

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Here's where I love the archive that both Ravelry and blogging provide: I would have never guessed that this yarn dates back to July 2014! Also, you can read more about the structure of this yarn here - it's an opposing ply, which is a little different than what I usually spin when making a 3-ply.

There's quite a bit of yarn left over, and I'm wondering if I have enough to make another scarf. But for now, I've put on a warp for another new project, which was going to be another funky destash scarf, but then I realized that the yarns from my other recent weaving projects all looked quite nice with the grey warp:

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As you can imagine, I am starting to have a bit of a scarf surplus*, and thinking about selling some of them in my Etsy Shop. Not sure if any of my dear readers are interested in getting themselves a one-of-a-kind handspun scarf for themselves or their loved ones, but I would love to hear your thoughts either way. Currently, I'm wrestling a bit with pricing, and thinking about offering a discount to friends/family/blog readers...and that's as far as I've gotten!

Thanks for stopping by, I have another finished project to share with you on Friday!

*And, if I'm being honest, a handspun yarn surplus!