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Latest stash additions

It’s been all books and weight loss around here recently.  Let’s jump back into yarnie stuff and look at the new(ish) stash for a change.

Laceweight yarn has caught my attention in a big way.  The last several skeins I’ve purchased have all been laceweight.

100_4790 (2)Juniper Moon Farm Findley Dappled in colorway Rost Turkey is a shimmering silk/merino blend.  Each skein is 798 yards, so there’s enough here for a cardigan or long sleeve top.  I going to give the colorway naming people the benefit of the doubt and believe they meant to spell it that way.

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Shibui Knits Cima in colorway Lumen.  This yarn was on clearance at the LYS so I bought every skein they had in this colorway.  1900+ yards of alpaca/wool laceweight that simply glows. I see this as a drapey A-line tunic to wear over black leggings with black suede boots.

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Swans Island Natural Colors Collection Merino Silk Lace in colorways (from top to bottom) Ivory, Sand Dollar, and Sea Glass.  These beauties are destined for a long-sleeve “fade” pullover, mostly likely Little Bird by Veera Välimäki.

 

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Stash additions

100_4726 (2)Been on a bit of a stash binge recently.  Let’s start with my favorite new acquisition.  Expression Fiber Arts Superwash Merino Silk Pearlescent Fingering in the colorway Stardust.  Isn’t that gorgeous?  It’s soft and silky and soooo luxurious.  I bought this with no idea what to do with it; I saw it on Facebook and it yelled at me really really loudly so I had to have it.  With two skeins totaling 1100 yards, though, I imagine it will become a cardigan or maybe a lacy tunic-length top.

100_4753 (2)This was another yarn I saw on Facebook and had to have. It’s from OnTheRound, Everyday Fingering in colorway Robin’s Egg.  My photo doesn’t do justice to the colorway, so click the link to see a better representation.  Although I love the colorway, I was initially a little disappointed in the yarn itself.  After the smooth silkiness of the Expression Fiber Arts skeins, it seemed a little rough, but after a while I realized that it’s no more rough than any other 100% merino fingering with a really tight twist.  So it will make sturdy socks or (given that I have 850 yards) a long-wearing and warm cropped or lacy cardigan.

100_4751 (2)While I was on the website for OnTheRound, I ran across this other colorway of the same yarn, Speckled Time Travelers.  Again, my photo is crap, so click through the link for the dyer’s photos.  This skein will most likely become socks.

100_4750 (2)Finally, some yarn I acquired sort of by default. A friend wanted me to help her knit some brain hats for one of her friends and his daughter who are attending the March for Science on April 22.  I made the hat in just a few hours and then considered the best option for the yards and yards of I-cord required.  Michaels (or was it Jo-Ann?) had an Embellish-Knit I-cord maker on clearance, so I scooped it up and tried it out. The results were, um, non-existent.  This yarn, Trendsetters’ Forzetta (colorway, Ashes of Roses), is a single-ply worsted, and the little hooks in the I-cord maker just tore it apart.  Next I tried a gray acrylic plied worsted I had in stash, but that yarn was too big for the I-cord maker to work properly. (Apparently, it’s best with DK or smaller yarns.)  With time running out, I told my friend there was no way I could get this hat done before the march if I had to make the I-cord the slow way.  She said she was having the same trouble; thus, we bagged the project, and she told me to keep the yarn for my trouble.  With about 3 1/2 skeins left (roughly 500 yds — more if I frog the already finished but ugly hat), I figure it will become a warm winter set with a scarf, hat, and mitts.

Sock yarn plans

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Sock yarn pile #1, to be used for actual socks

Some time ago, I pulled all the sock yarn out of stash and sorted it into two piles.

Into pile number one went the sock yarn that is suitable to be used for actual socks:  it has nylon or some other such fiber content that makes it suitable to take the abuse on being worn on feet, walked upon, and rubbed against the inside of shoes.

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Sock yarn pile #2, to be used for other accessories like shawls or scarves

Pile number two contained all the sock yarn that will not be used for socks.  Now, this could be yarn that is 100% wool with no other strengthening fibers; or it could be a single ply with no twist that can’t take the abuse; or maybe the yardage is far too excessive for socks and must be made into some other accessory; or it could be yarn that’s just too dang pretty to be hidden inside shoes.  The yarn sorted into this pile is destined for scarves, or shawls, or in a few cases where the yardage will allow, perhaps even a lacy shrug or cropped cardigan.

Progress notes:  I made a pair of socks from one of the skeins in Pile #1 already (Dragonfly and Rosebud, blogged here); tried a second skein but, after struggling with it and its splitty nature, relegated it to Pile #2; and am currently knitting socks with a third skein.

True confession:  Since these photos were taken, I’ve added more sock yarn to the stash.  They were pretty evenly divided. Four of the new skeins went into Pile #1; five into Pile #2.

A blanket for Liam

Stripes and Hearts 10I have a new grand-nephew on the way. And, of course, I made him a blanket.

Pattern:  I Got You Babe-y by Marty Miller, from the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of the now-defunct Crochet Today.

Yarn:  Bernat Gloucester Sport, 2.8 skeins (308 yds), colorway “French Blue”; Mirasol T’ika, 4 skeins (364 yds), colorway 502 “Light Blue”.

Hook:  H for body, I for borders.

Mods: Did not do the lacy attach-as-you-go border between panels. Rather, did single crochet edging around each panel and sewed them together. Three rounds of single crochet in alternating colors around entire blanket for the edging.

84df2-knit-your-library_2016Satisfaction with end product:  I think it’s lovely.  The 100% cotton yarn makes it soft and absorbent, besides making it an easy-care baby item; I’m sure my niece-in-law will appreciate that.

You can see more project pics at the Ravelry project page.

Still “knitting” my library.  Please join us!

2016 in Review: Yarn

Last January, I proclaimed 2016 as the “Year of Knitting Selfishly”.  Out of a total of seven projects completed, five were for me, so that’s a win.  On the other hand, only seven projects were completed, so that’s a blow to the Ravelry queue.

The two gift projects were for babies:  Kaysen’s Blankie for my newest grand-nephew; and Davi’s Stocking for a girlfriend’s baby.

Both were knit projects and took far longer than I expected.  The two months it took to knit that baby blanket — size approximately 24 inches by 34 inches — gave me pause to reconsider tackling a couple of other knitted blankets I have queued.  I can crochet  blankets far faster than I can knit them.  I may stick to crocheted blankets in the future, especially for babies.

The five remaining projects were for me.  I’ve blogged three of them:  Ribby Striped Cowl; Wildflower Cardigan; and the Lacy Moebius Cowl.  The two remaining projects, a shawl and a pair of socks will be blogged shortly.

2016 Technical Accomplishments

I  designed and knitted three projects: Kaysen’s Blankie, the Ribby Striped Cowl, and the Lacy Moebius Cowl.

I made my first pair of toe up socks (to be blogged).  That same pair of socks also included my first short row heel.

I made my first real colorwork project with Davi’s Stocking.  Learned a lot about intarsia by muddling through and juggling bobbins.

2016’s Stash Accomplishments

I used 3,743 yards of stash yarn.

I acquired 5,576 yards of new yarn for a net addition of 1,833 yards.

I refuse to feel guilty.  Look at this one.  Look.

Silk Traveler 1

Fingering, 70% Merino, 30% Silk

*drool*

2017 Goals

I make no plans whatsoever to avoid acquiring new yarn because that’s a silly idea doomed to failure.  In fact, I’ve already doomed it by buying four skeins in January alone.

What I plan to do is:

  • Make a baby blanket for my nephew and his wife
  • Make more socks
  • Finally tackle a Fair Isle project — probably a hat that can be knit in the round
  • Continue to knit from stash as much as possible — the baby blanket for my nephew and his wife may be the exception because I don’t have much yarn suitable for that purpose
  • Continue to knit through my library of patterns
  • Write out and publish the patterns I’ve designed

Everything else is on a wait-and-see basis.  I’m dropping weight fairly rapidly (down approximately 17 lbs since surgery), so I don’t intend to make any cardigans or other  garments until I’m much closer to my goal weight.

What are you going to make this year?

Stash enhancement Saturday: First new stash since June 2016!

I’ve been on a self-imposed yarn diet lately.  It wasn’t on purpose; I just was so busy taking care of daily living stuff and knitting from stash that I hadn’t been to an LYS since last June.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, a girlfriend posted photos of her latest yarn store binge on Facebook.  I fell head over heels in love with one of the skeins she posted and had to buy it for myself.  Witness below:

100_4689-2Shepherd Sock by Lorna’s Laces, colorway “Aslan”.  Isn’t it gorgeous?  It knits up in stripes, and I have 870 yds (2 skeins), so I’m thinking maybe a lacy cropped cardi?  We’ll see what pattern presents itself and screams for this yarn.

Speaking of screaming, on Thursday I had to go by The Needle Nook to drop off a couple of pussyhats for today’s March in DC and wandered through the store while waiting for the clerk to photocopy more of the little cards to attach to each hat.  A couple of skeins of Malabrigo shouted at me, so they had to come home, too.

100_4694-2Malabrigo Sock, colorway 139 “Pocion”.  Destined for socks if I can find the right pattern.

100_4692-2Malabrigo Mechita, colorway 850 “Archangel”.  No idea what I’ll do with this one.  It’s a single with no twist, so socks aren’t a good idea.  Will probably end up as a shawlette.

Stash Enhancement Saturday: Moon Pie Edition

Bell Buckle MuralA couple of weeks ago, my partner in crime Alice and I took a little road trip to the RC Cola and Moon Pie Festival in Bell Buckle, Tennessee.

Bell Buckle, population less than 500, is a wide spot in the road that, if it weren’t for this silly paean to the quintessential Southern snack, would be utterly unremarkable and garner no attention whatsoever.  It’s a two-street town, centered at the intersection of a couple of rural two-lane blacktop highways on the way to nowhere.

This isn’t to say the town lacks a certain charm.  There’s a quilt painted into the road on the main drag.

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Image copyright Bell Buckle Chamber of Commerce

Plus the sheer whimsy of a festival devoted to a now fairly obscure carbonated cola and a chocolate-covered marshmallow sandwich speaks for itself, yes?

The parade was cute.  Alice took these photos:

RC Cola Moon Pie SnackNaturally, we indulged in the delicacy being celebrated.  I can’t remember the last time I had a Moon Pie, much less an RC Cola.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I saw RC Cola in the grocery store.  Of course, I seldom shop the soda aisle, so it may be there, hidden somewhere among all the Pepsi and Coke products.  Although I remember preferring RC Cola to Coke or even Pepsi when I was a kid, these days I’m a Pepsi drinker, if I drink a cola.  (Unsweetened iced tea is my preferred beverage at restaurants; Dr. Pepper or root beer otherwise.)  By the way, if you’re at all interested in RC Cola’s history and, specifically, how the Cola Wars of the 80s and the battle over artificial sweeteners affected the brand, take a gander at this Mental Floss article from April 2016.  Also, if you can find the back issue, Rolling Stone published a big article on the Cola Wars sometime in the late 1980s.  (This subject fascinates me, if you haven’t noticed.)

After the parade, we wandered around the festival booths.  There were the usual souvenir T-shirt stands, kettle corn and hot dog stands, “vintage” or “bohemian” clothing booths, plus a couple of guys selling sunglasses and ball caps.  We stopped at the hand-made dog treat booth where Alice indulged in special yum-yums for her baby.  And we both stopped dead in our tracks at the booth with the yard critters made out of sheet metal.

Just look.

Metal Yard MonstersAren’t they precious?  One of the triceratops belongs to Alice; the other triceratops and the flying pig (I know!) are mine.  (They’re currently in the garage because I can’t make up my mind where to put them in the back yard.)  This booth had all sorts of other critters I liked: flying pigs on stakes so you could position them above your shrubbery; giraffes; a T-Rex; so much more.  I should have taken a photo of the booth itself, but I was so enraptured by the dinos and the pigs that I forgot.

By now you’re probably thinking, “Wait a minute, I thought this was a stash enhancement Saturday post.  Where’s the new stash?”

Silk Traveler 1Wait no more.  After a few hours, we were done with the festival, and we headed up the road a little further to Murfreesboro and The Knaughty Knitter.  Nice little store, easy access, good parking, sufficient and varied stock.  I came away with two skeins of indulgence, Meadowcroft DyeworksSilk Traveler, in the Pisgah National Forest colorway.  It’s gorgeous.  I’m going to pair it with a skein of purple or maybe a green sockweight that I already own and turn it into a lace cardigan.  Eventually.  (In reality, these two skeins will probably sit in stash for about three years before I do something with them.)

In other news, I finally finished the Wildflower Cardigan.  Photos and a blog entry coming soon.  Also, more book reviews.

Catching up: a quickie

It’s been a busy month.

Spouse and I had a fabulous anniversary trip to New York that will be the subject of an upcoming blog post; I acquired new stash and pattern books on said anniversary trip; I’m shaping the sleeve cap on the last sleeve Dinos on the Subway 1of the Wildflower Cardigan; my next two projects are planned (despite my year of selfish knitting “resolution”, these won’t be for me; darn these friends and family members who have the audacity to have babies!); multiple finished books require book reviews…

So much stuff to write. And I’m struggling with the motivation to do so. Ah well. Sometimes you just have to force the words out. Meanwhile, here’s a preview of the New York blog post: dinosaurs ride the subway.

My post was shared, thanks! I wish I could see what you said about it…

I got a notice from WordPress the other day that said something to the effect of “Hey, your traffic is way up!  Congratulations!”  Huh? thought I — because I don’t market this blog worth a damn and a high traffic count is unusual.

Mosaic Afghan 12So I did a little poking around in the stats section to see what that was all about.  As near as I can figure, somebody shared a particular blog entry (about that afghan to the left) on Pinterest and Facebook , and all those folks came to take a look at it.  Nice!  But then I was puzzled, because I couldn’t find details on the sharing itself — what was said when the blog entry was shared, what comments were made on that post, and so forth.  (Comments on the blog entry itself are closed — it’s three years old; and my experience has been that leaving comments open on old entries invites spam, so I close them after a certain length of time.)

I get pingbacks if someone links to one of my blog entries on WordPress or another blog platform like Blogger, but apparently not when something is shared elsewhere.  A cursory search through WordPress Support seems to indicate no one gets a link to where a post is shared using one of the social media “share” buttons; just the fact that it was shared is registered.  I sure would like to be able to take a look at those shares, wouldn’t you?

Something else, though: Askimet does a pretty good job of stopping spam in its tracks.  Maybe I should reconsider the notion of closing comments on old entries so people who see them years later can still comment on them?  What has everyone else experienced in this regard?

Oops, I did it again.

I have new pretties to show you for “Stash Enhancement Saturday”.  It’s all Alice’s fault, of course.  I’ve mentioned Alice, right?  She’s been my partner in yarn crime ever since I taught her to knit a couple of years ago.  We go out for coffee, we end up at a yarn store.  It’s inevitable.  It’s a good thing our respective schedules keep up from getting together more than about once a month.

Sprout Spanish Moss 3Our coffee date in February resulted in me taking her for a first-time visit to The Needle Nook, one of my favorite yarn shops in Atlanta. I managed to limit myself to one skein of sock yarn.  That bit of loveliness is Sprout by The Fiber Seed, a “heavy” sock yarn — heavy in the sense that it’s slightly denser than your usual 90% merino, 10% nylon blend, but it still works up at 32 stitches in 4 inches.  The colorway is “Spanish Moss”.  Isn’t that a lovely name for a lovely hand-dyed yarn?

Aura Northern Lights 2The next time we went out was in March to the Atlanta Spring Fling, an annual event held in the ballroom at one of the hotels at the north edge of town. This was a dedicated yarn event, so new acquisitions were no surprise.

Aura Sweet Violets 2 The two colorways at right were bundled together as a “kit”, more or less, but the shawl pattern they were intended for was not part of the deal.  I bought them anyway because they’re spectacular together and equally gorgeous on their own.  The yarn is a 65% superwash merino/35% bamboo sockweight called “Aura” from Silver Threads and Golden Needles, and clocks in at a generous 560 yards per skein.  The greenish colorway is called “Northern Lights”; and the purple is “Sweet Violets”.  I haven’t decided if I’ll use them together or separately.  If history is any indication, they’ll marinate in stash for at least a couple of years before I make any sort of decision about their fate.

1502-Birdsong-cover-rav_small2The other Spring Fling purchase was Birdsong, a pattern book from Classic Elite.  Twelve pretty patterns, mostly pullovers and cardigans, designed for use with cotton and mostly cotton yarns.  I’m totally in love with the cabled top shown on the cover; I even have yarn suitable for it in stash.  The cabled V-neck cardigan with short sleeves and a casual rolled-edge hoodie are going into my Ravelry queue as “must-makes”, and a couple others are on the bubble.

The news that Hancock Fabrics is going out of business and closing all of their stores was surprising.  I’ve shopped at Hancock Fabrics for decades, and had no idea the company was in trouble.  Of course, I seldom pay attention to business news, so my surprise isn’t surprising.  Anyway, last week was the beginning of their clearance sale, and I went to check out the bargains.  I rarely sew these days, but I wandered through the aisles of fabric to see if something jumped off the rack into my arms.  Nothing appealed.  I looked through the patterns; nothing spoke to me there.  I knew most of their yarn wouldn’t be to my taste — I have become a yarn snob, and I’m not ashamed to admit it — but I hoped to find one of the acrylic brands that I like to use for blankets.  No luck there either.  Just when it looked like Hancock wouldn’t get any of my money that day, I wandered into the button aisle.  Success!

Purply Buttons 1These abstract purplish floral buttons screamed at me, so I grabbed all three cards.  They’re 1.25″ in diameter, made out of a layered laminate-type material.  I envision using them on a flyaway cardigan, maybe, or even a rustic button-up cowl.

The button aisle held other temptations but I held back; my time was a little short and I had somewhere else to go.  Hancock wasn’t done raiding my wallet just yet, though.  On my way to the check-out line, I passed by the rack of books and magazines.  One of the Interweave publications I had eyed over the last couple of NewVintageLaceyears jumped off that rack and into my hands, so I brought it home with me as well.  New Vintage Lace by Andrea Jurgrau is chock full of gorgeous lace accessories, mostly shawls, based on vintage doily patterns, and even several doilies themselves.  My favorite of the patterns is Diospyros, a rectangular stole; and I’m rather taken with the half-circle Blue Dahlia shawl, as well.  The Clematis and the Peaseblossom hats will probably end up on my gift-making list.  (“Peaseblossom” as a pattern name makes me smile:  it’s also the name of a fairy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  I never played one of the fairies, but I’ve been Hippolyta and Philostrate.)

Finally, there’s the membership gift that came when I renewed my Rowan subscription:  the scrumptious and versatile Rowan Colourspun in the Hubberholme colorway.  Because I managed to buy two years rather than just one year (and duplicated my subscription), there are three more balls of this same colorway to come.  And Rowan’s excellent customer service department fixed Colourspun Hubberholme 2my goof, extended my subscription through next year as pre-paid, and didn’t make me return the duplicate issue of Rowan 59.  If I weren’t already impressed with this company, I certainly would be now.

I gave the duplicate magazine to Alice.

I have just one or two more book reviews to write and then I’ll be caught up.  I hope to get those done in the next few days and schedule them for publication.  Our anniversary trip is coming up shortly and we’re headed to New York for almost a week.  I can hardly wait.  Along with the usual tourist attractions, I have a line on a vintage button store near Central Park, and I hope to visit at least one LYS while in the Big Apple.  If the spouse doesn’t mind.  Probably even if he does.