New Stash

I don’t talk politics on the blog (or online anywhere, really) but I can’t post this today without at least mentioning that I’m going to work through my fear and use it as motivation to be better, kinder and more loving than I ever have been before. We need more of that.

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Do you guys watch podcasts? I just started watching them and really only have 2 that I watch every episode – Stranded Podcast and the new Yarn Hoarder Podcast. Amy of Stranded Dyeworks dyes gorgeous yarns and sock blanks.

The other week a knitting friend and I decided to get some yarn – just a skein each – and order them at the same time to save on shipping. Shipping from the UK isn’t the cheapest but it was surprisingly quick! I expected it to take 3-5 weeks but it only took 2!img_4713_medium2

This is Fleet Street on her Oasis base – a 75/25 merino/nylon blend. This has been dyed with some navy and yellow with speckles and hints of red. I’m not entirely sure what I’ll make with it…I’ve got some ideas rolling around in my brain but you know I’ll keep you posted when I do pick something!

What are your favorite podcasts? I’m looking for more to add to my itty bitty list! Who are your favorite indie dyers?

Substituting Yarn

substituting yarnOne of the most common alterations made to any given pattern is when the knitter uses a different yarn than the one called for in the pattern. This can happen for a multitude of reasons – the knitter wants to use stashed yarn, the yarn isn’t available in his or her LYS, the knitter has an allergy – or maybe even just a preference – for a different fiber, the suggested yarn doesn’t come in the desired color, the suggested yarn has been discontinued – the list goes on and on. Whatever the reason, it’s a pretty safe bet that at some point in your knitting life, you’ll want or be forced to use a different yarn than recommended.

How do you know which yarns might be a suitable substitute?

There are a lot of things you should look at when choosing substitute yarn including:

  • Gauge. This one is very important. It is important to check gauge even if you ARE using the recommended yarn. Knitting is like handwriting, everyone’s is unique to them and even if you’re using the recommended yarn and needles, your gauge could be off no matter what and you’ll have to change something (usually needle size). When substituting a yarn, ALWAYS remember to double check your gauge.
  • Fiber content. Different fibers behave in different ways. They fall differently, have different memory capacities (this does not mean the yarn knows when your birthday is), block differently and react to wear in their own unique ways. If the yarn called for in the pattern is 100% wool, it’s unlikely that a 100% silk, even if in the recommended weight and even if the gauge swatch comes out perfectly, will be a perfect match because these two fibers produce completely different fabrics.
  • Yardage amounts. Just because the pattern recommends 5 skeins of the suggested yarn, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll need 5 skeins of the yarn you’re substituting with. Check the yardage amounts per skein for the suggested yarn as well as your substituted yarn, you may find that you need twice as many skeins, or possibly half! (but who would complain about having “too much” yarn? I’m not sure that’s even a possibility.)

This is just a brief overview, but I hope it helps some of you make decisions regarding which materials to use in the future! Have you ever substituted yarn when working a pattern?  How did it turn out? How did YOU choose which yarn to work with?

Estes Park Wool Market 2015

This past weekend was the always awesome Estes Park Wool Market held in one of the most beautiful parts of the state.  The drive there is gorgeous, the town itself is in a valley surrounded by mountains, the grass is green, the sky is blue and some of the peaks even had snow still. IMG_9571

We saw all the usual crew – llamas, alpacas, goats, sheep and bunnies and petted as much yarn and fiber as we could get our hands on.IMG_9572

This guy, he’s got awesome animal skills.  It must be that ‘stash.IMG_9605

Oh, and I can’t forget about the super tasty liquor we sampled!  Not *at* the fair, necessarily, but in Estes Park.  There’s a tasting room for the Dancing Pines Distillery and between the four of us, we sampled most everything they carried. My favorite was the Chai Liqueur but, really, all of them were superb.IMG_9634

I walked away with two skeins and Nick bought a set of dryer balls.IMG_9649

That’s 1700 yards of lime green goodness from Textiles A Mano that will likely become a sweater.IMG_9651

That is fingering weight merino in a colorway called Painted Desert by 3 Sisters Weaving and I’m envisioning something to go around my neck.IMG_9653

Have you been on any fiber adventures lately?

FO: The Polar Bear Sweater

You guys, I am so happy to finally have this to post. This sweater has definitely taken me longer than usual to finish (I started it back in September, can you imagine?!) but I’m in love with the result and I hope the recipient is too! I didn’t want to share anything like the finished details or photos until she received it because I know she reads this blog and I/we wanted it to be somewhat of a surprise.IMG_6880

The yarn is Hat Box by Mrs. Crosby Plays in the colors Squid Ink and Creme Fraiche.  This was my first time using Mrs. Crosby’s yarns and I really enjoyed this experience.  It wasn’t splitty, it didn’t bleed when I blocked the pieces, it’s soft (Merino, silk and cashmere, hello?) and will hopefully be sturdy enough to be worn and loved.  The yardage per skein is generous at 317 and I used under 7 whole skeins for the sweater (just a tad of the Creme Fraiche and less than 6 skeins for the Squid Ink – likely less than 6 skeins for the whole project in this size if you were to omit the bear motif).unnamed

Let’s just say that I’m going to knit some small, quick projects on needles larger than a US 6 for the next little while!  IMG_6890

I plan to publish the pattern for this sweater in the near future so I’ll be working on that and will have more details for you soon!

Have you finished anything lately? Something that was a long time coming? Something quick and easy?

Spring Blossoms Cowl – A Pattern Release!

Just as Kirsten said on Monday, I’m here to release a new pattern into the world!  It seems like it’s been FOR.EV.ER. since I’ve released a self-published pattern and I’m thrilled to be doing it again!!!IMG_6407

The Spring Blossoms Cowl is my interpretation of the Chevron theme we picked to kick off this collaboration.  I wanted to really highlight the ziggy-zaggy stitch pattern with some colorful stripes and texture.IMG_6502

It is begun like a triangular shawl and worked back and forth until it is joined in the round and finished like a cowl.IMG_6401

The Himalayan Trail by Bijou Basin is so soft and cushy to work with!  It comes in an awesome ranch of colors so I highly recommend making your own combination for your version of the cowl.IMG_5554

Making your own version of the cowl and posting a picture to this thread in my Ravelry Group is a good way to make sure you’re entered for the KAL prize package too!IMG_6486

The pattern is now available on Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy for $5.00 or you can get your copy now!

WIP Wednesday: ACTUAL Progress

Happy End of 2014!! I hope this year has been wonderful for you and that you’re so excited to start the new one.  My knitting has transformed a bit and for that I’m pleased.  It’s not just a pile of scrunched up grey stockinette anymore!  The back is finished and a sleeve is being worked on!IMG_0393

My wonderful momma cast on this sleeve when I visited over Thanksgiving and got a few inches into it before I left, every little bit counts and I’m thrilled to have had her help in this.

Having the two biggest pieces of the sweater done makes me feel like the sleeves, blocking, sewing and neckline will move along fairly quickly, or perhaps I’m just feeling the “Finished a Piece Mojo” that comes with a long-awaited bind off.

What are you knitting this last day of 2014?  Selfish knitting? Wrapping up belated gifts?

New Yarn, New Project

Last week I was debating between yarns and asked Twitter to help me choose between Shibui Pebble and Mrs. Crosby Hat Box.  The recipient (my Dearest Aunteeeeee J) of the coming project helped me make the final decision and we went with the Hat Box!IMG_5448

The yarns have arrived, been wound, swatched and one of the pieces cast on.  I can tell you this right now – we’re not disappointed about the yarn. Trying new-to-me yarn is always exciting but for such a big project (a sweater), it can be a risk!IMG_5450

I’ve never used Mrs. Crosby yarn before but I’m really enjoying this base and I love the tonal variations of the Squid Ink colorway!IMG_5462

Have you ever worked with this yarn?  What did you make out of it?IMG_5473

Estes Park Wool Market 2014

As you may have surmised from the title, this post is about this year’s Wool Market held in Estes Park, Colorado!  It was a Saturday/Sunday shindig and my Knitting Brew Crew ladies and I went on Sunday.  The drive to get there is absolutely gorgeous (even with the flood damage from last summer) and the town itself is just a cute little quintessential mountain town!IMG_3994

We spent a lot of time in the animal barns and got plenty of pets, goat kisses and bunny cuddles.  It smelled great (if you like the musky smell of barns and livestock, and we do), everyone was super nice and social and wanted to answer all of the questions we had and didn’t know we had!  We may have almost walked away with this lovely lady (the bunny, the human was already ours).IMG_4089 IMG_4093

The day was topped off having a drink and a snack at The Stanley Hotel (of The Shining and Dumb and Dumber fame).  The most unexpected part? (The beauty and creepiness and movie paraphernalia was expected) IMG_4096

They had their own little butterfly incubator chamber!IMG_4099

Did you do anything fun this weekend?  What’s your favorite part about festivals (wool related or not)?

Stash Enhancement

Over the past few weeks (when I was too busy to take photos and then didn’t have the internet necessary to share them with you) I’ve gained a few new, exciting stash members and taking their portraits has been an ongoing bit of fun for me as well as keeping my Ravelry stash updated.  Eventually, I’d really like to keep an excellent catalog of my yarns and knitting, but you gotta start somewhere, right?

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Most of the yarn gracing my stash lately has been sport weight and this hasn’t exactly been  on purpose but I’m certainly not complaining – I love the versatility and the drape of this gauge.IMG_3563

What is your favorite weight of yarn to work with?  Have you gotten anything new and exciting lately? Do you keep your stash cataloged on Ravelry?

Wool ‘N Wire

Just the other week the mailman brought me something fabulous from the other side of the world.IMG_2091

This package was filled with cute little wrapped gifts and each wrapping contained a little piece of knitting paraphernalia.IMG_2097

Go say hello to Barb on Ravelry, she’s very friendly!IMG_2094

Handmade shawl pins, stitch markers and buttons from Wool N Wire in Australia – they traveled a long way to get to my new place in Colorado and they were a welcome sight.  Although I have yet to visit Australia, I’m hoping that someway I can make it happen.IMG_2093