Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Stop me before I buy more yarn

I’ve mentioned before that I should never open emails from Expression Fiber Arts.  Here’s another reason why that’s true.

100_5173 (2)

Resilient Superwash Merino Sock in the colorway “Herbalist.” I couldn’t resist this amazing handpainted work of art.  1200 yards should be enough to make a plain tee or simple cropped cardigan so the variegated dyework can stand out.  Hasina is a possibility. Or maybe Amya.

Then there’s the souvenir yarn from my recent trip to California.

100_5175 (1)

That’s Llama Lace by Queensland in the colorway Vanilla Cream.  It’s a lusciously soft sockweight (despite the name) with the faintest of halos; 1260 yards of decadence that is destined to be a lacy longsleeve cardigan, like Joy, maybe, or Balada.  I already have the perfect glass buttons for such a creation.  This heavenly stuff came from a tiny hole-in-the-wall LYS in San Luis Obispo called Yarns at the Adobe.

100_5180 (2)

Next, we have Mrs. Crosby’s Hat Box in the colorway Merida.  This is an incredibly soft superwash merino/silk/cashmere blend that says it’s DK, but in actuality it’s closer to a fingering weight.  This gorgeous stuff came from Ball & Skein, a wonderful LYS in downtown Cambria.  Eventually, this will become a tee: perhaps Miss Molly or Hemmed in Hollow.

And finally:  today I made a detour on my way home from a Pride event in North Georgia.

100_5186 (2)

Vocabulary Yarn’s Ethereal in the colorway Dia de los Muertos.  Unfortunately, I can’t find a working website, Facebook or Instagram page for this yarn company, so either they’re so new they don’t have anything set up (?) or, more likely, they’ve gone under.  Too bad, it’s lovely stuff — a 100% superwash merino single ply fingering — and I would like to have bought more.  But….here’s why I didn’t. Buy more, that is. This was purchased at Yarn Junkees in Hoschton, Georgia.  Apparently, according to the conversation I overheard while checking out, the owner and most of her clientele are unhappy about Ravelry’s recent banning of posts supporting Trump.  They failed to grasp the concept that Ravelry did not ban the people who support him, just banned posts supporting him and his administration.  (You can read the rationale for yourself by clicking the link above.)  So, at this store they’re either Trump supporters themselves or they’re stupid.  Either way, they’re off my list.

Okay, that’s it. I’m putting the credit card on ice for a while.

Posted in Book stash, Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Stash Enhancement Sunday: LYS closing, online madness, and visiting mom

So I may have gone a little overboard in the new acquisitions department recently.  Ever since I got home from Stitches United at the beginning of June, I haven’t been able to stop buying yarn for more than a week or so at a time.

Here’s the proof I should never open emails from Expression Fiber Arts:

100_5154 (2)

These two beauties (above and below) are Seacoast Fingering: mostly cotton, with a touch of alpaca and a hint of nylon. Two skeins each of Salt Water (the blue) and Sun Hat (the beigy-yellow). At 489 yards per skein, they are destined to become a striped pullover at some point in the future. The yarn is ripply and textured; I may knit it at a DK/sport gauge rather than a fingering gauge. We’ll see what happens when I swatch it.

100_5156 (2)

The sumptuous stuff below is Twisted Tweet Sport, all wool, in the colorway Mallard.  Four 384-yard skeins, meant to become a cardigan or pullover.  These skeins came with about a kajillion buttons as a bonus (one package of buttons per skein).  I didn’t shoot a pic of the buttons, but they’re really cute.

100_5146 (2)

When I visited my mother over Independence Day weekend, I had to stop in at the LYS near her, The Taming of the Ewe. I love that store.  Not only do they sell gorgeous yarn, they sell a wide variety of tea and will happily give you samples to taste.   I was in the mood for cotton while there, and picked up these cheerful skeins of Juniper Moon‘s Zooey, a 60% cotton/40% linen blend: two skeins of Aquamarine and one skein of Chartreuse. Each skein is 284 yards, so these are destined for a summertime tee.

100_5142 (2)

100_5145 (2)

Sad news: Cast On Cottage, one of my favorite LYSs in the Atlanta metro, is closing.  This makes two Atlanta metro LYS closures that I know of so far this year.  Happy news: everything is on sale.  Everything.  So I went shopping yesterday and came home with more lovely stuff.

Below is Alpaca Silk from Blue Sky Fibers, a 50/50 blend, in the colorway Raisin. Five skeins at 146 yards per skein equals a luxurious future short sleeve tee.

100_5158 (2)

Next I discovered Mayu from Amano Yarns, a simply sinful alpaca/silk/cashmere blend that must be felt to be believed.  Three skeins of colorway Green Glass…

100_5159 (2)

Three skeins of the colorway Yellow Grass…

100_5161 (2)

And two skeins of the colorway Frost White. I see another striped pullover/cardigan in the making.

100_5164 (2)

I also bought a pattern book: Whisper by Kim Hargreaves. Simple and elegant designs, not fussy or overly ornate.  My kind of stuff.

Whisper

This seems to be a year for intense stash enhancement.  I haven’t blogged everything I’ve bought (and won’t because yipe!) but a look at Ravelry reveals there have been 33 different colorways (many of multiple skeins) added to my stash since January.  Yes, that last sentence was passive voice. On purpose. Because the yarn just magically appeared, you know?

Anyway, considering all the yarn already in stash, I think we can safely say I have achieved SABLE status (Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy). Oh well. At least my heirs will have nice yarn.  Life’s too short to buy or use bad yarn.

Just don’t tell the spouse.

Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Yarn stash

Stash Enhancement Saturday: Overboard edition

Because I’ve been so busy with rehearsals and performances in recent months, I haven’t made it out to any local yarn stores.  That did not stop me.  Because I have the internet.

Normally I ignore the emails I get from yarn dyers and other internet yarn vendors, like Webs or KnitPicks.  I especially ignore the emails I get from Expression Fiber Arts, simply because Chandi’s yarn is so amazing.  Except for email with the weekly free pattern .  That one I always open.  Well, a few weeks ago, that free pattern email also featured some new yarn colorways that smacked me between the eyes.  So I went to the website and looked around.  Out came the credit card.  Results pictured below.  I offer you my photos and her photos, because the lighting in my craft room simply does not do her yarn justice.

 

Pearlescent Fingering, colorway “Hygge”

 

Pearlescent Fingering, colorway Beluga

 

Oasis Camel Silk Fingering, colorway Arches National Park

100_4985 (2)

Resilient Sock, colorway Butterbeer

For this one, you just get my pic.  By the time I took photos and checked the website, this colorway was sold out and Chandi’s photo was no longer available.  Believe me, this creamy yellow, pale gray, and even paler ecru colorway is even more gorgeous in person.

And finally, this:

 

Dewy DK, colorway Maple Fog

I’ve actually lusted after this colorway for a while, but every time I checked the website, she was either out of stock or she didn’t have a sweater quantity in stock.  So I emailed and asked when she would have it available again.  “How many skeins do you want?” she replied.  I told her.  “Okay, it will be ready in about 10 days. I’ll email you then.”  And she did.  I bought enough for a cardigan.  It’s going to be amazing.

And now I’m going back to ignoring her emails, possibly even the free pattern Friday emails.  Because my credit card bill is going to be amazing too.

Posted in Crochet, Finished object

A blanket for a friend

I finally finished that damn blanket that I’ve been making for, um, over four years…

Orange Sampler Afghan 1It started out as a way to use up skeins of yarn that had sat in my stash forever because there was no way I was using them to make anything I would wear. I mean, I like orange, but I don’t wear orange, generally speaking. So I decided a patchwork crocheted sampler afghan was the perfect way to get rid of… I mean, put to good use all this bulky orange yarn that had been sitting here unused and unloved for close to ten years.

So I made 11 squares.  And they sat around my craft room, waiting for the last square to be completed.  They sat around my craft room for four years.  A good portion of that time, they sat on the floor, just like this.  Waiting.

100_4674 (2)But when one of the dogs started thinking they were her personal cozy space, I picked them up off the floor and stacked them on a table. Where they waited again.

And waited.

And waited.

In January, I was in California for my annual girls’ weekend.  The husband of one of my dearest friends is suffering from cancer and undergoing chemotherapy and all the rest of the unpleasantness that goes along with cancer treatment.  And that’s when it struck me: this blanket belongs to him.  So I came home and finished the last square.

And then that blanket sat around again while I finished up rehearsals and performances for Old Love.  And started and finished a cardigan for me, because I’m a selfish bitch.  But I finally sewed the squares together last week, took a few photos, and now I’m ready to send it off.  I’m holding this blog entry until I receive word from my friend that they’ve received the package.

Peter Blanket 1

Peter Blanket 4

Peter Blanket 7

Pattern: Sampler Afghan by Darla Sims, 12 selected squares
Yarn: Rowan Plaid, colorway 154 Spicy, 7 skeins; Patons North American Shetland Chunky, colorway 03520 Russet, 7 skeins; a total of 1610 yards
Hook: Boye, size K
Size: Roughly 36 inches by 48 inches, just big enough to cover one’s lap and legs
Satisfaction with end product: I like it. It’s cozy and warm and machine washable. I hope they like it. (And yes, I washed it to get rid of any dog hair.)  Click here for the Ravelry project page.

Posted in Book stash, Books, Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Stash confessions

Let’s see….last August was the most recent stash update.  And until yesterday, there really hadn’t been that many stash acquisitions.  Rehearsals got in the way of yarn shopping as well as yarn creating.  But yesterday made up for it.  Hoo boy.

Let’s start with some yarn I actually acquired a couple of years ago but didn’t put into Ravelry until a few months ago.

100_4949 (2)

Alpacas By The Falls Pure Alpaca, an undyed 100% alpaca light worsted/DK, purchased at a small town LYS in Alabama.  Each skein weighs about 115 grams, and my best guess on yardage is probably 200-220.  I really don’t know because the label doesn’t say.  This was a one-off production run by an Alabama alpaca farm, who has since decided that their alpacas are pets rather than products.  I found this out because, when I finally got around to putting it in the Ravelry stash a few months ago, I emailed the alpaca farm to ask them how much yardage was in each skein, and she emailed back with the information that she didn’t remember and they only made the one batch as an experiment. I adore the tweedy gray, but it’s kind of hairy and scratchy, so I imagine I’ll turn it into a sleeveless vest of some sort.

In February I had a photo shoot in downtown Lawrenceville, Georgia.  After the shoot, I couldn’t leave town without visiting The Yarn Garden, where I found this fabulous color combo that almost literally jumped off the shelf into my hands.

100_4941 (2)

Manos del Uruguay Alegría in colorways Nickel (the gray tonal) and Turmeric (that gorgeous golden yellow).  This yarn is going to become the Make Space cardigan by Veera Välimäki.

I renewed my Rowan subscription recently and received the appreciation gift in the mail a couple of weeks ago.

100_4948 (2)

Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted in Peacock.  There’s just enough of this to make a scarf and hat combo if I stay with a solid color.  I have leftover partial skeins of other 100% wool worsteds, though, so I could throw a bunch of colorways together to make a colorwork pullover or something.  We’ll see.  It’s a sturdy workhorse yarn, so I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

And then there was yesterday’s splurge.  My cohort in yarn crime Alice and I drove up to Gainesville for a coffee and yarn buy excursion.  Our target was a yarn store that had announced it was closing at the end of April.  Currently everything is 35% off.  The discount will be greater as the month wears on, but we wanted to get there before the stock was too picked over.  And we found some perfectly gorgeous stuff.

100_4952 (2)

Frabjous Fibers Cheshire Cat Fingering (Uncommon Nonsense collection) in colorway Flower Bed.  This one made me think of Monet’s Water Lilies.  Really generous yardage in this put-up — over 500 yards — so there may be enough to get a pullover or cardigan with short sleeves out of these two skeins.  April Come She Will is a possibility.  Or perhaps La Grasse Matinée.

100_4957 (2)

Malabrigo Silky Merino in colorways Ravelry Red and Vigo.  This will become a short-sleeved tee or cropped cardigan of some sort.  The Short-Sleeved Raglan Tee or The Girly Tee are both possibilities.

After a stop for a bottle of water, we drove back to Atlanta to visit a new yarn store, The Craftivist.  Here’s where I went a little mad in the MadelineTosh department.

100_4959 (2)

Tosh Merino Light in Winter’s Rest

100_4961 (2)

Tosh Merino Light in Purple Rain

100_4963 (2)

And Tosh Merino Light in Gracenotes.

I haven’t the faintest idea what I’m going to do with these, but the speckled colorways just screamed at me to take them home.  What’s a girl to do?

Go to the bookstore down the street, that’s what.  I’ve been intending to visit A Cappella Books ever since I moved to Atlanta over five years ago.  Since we drove right past it after leaving The Craftivist, we had to stop.  I picked up a novel that had been on my wish list, American War by Omar El Akkad, plus another novel I hadn’t heard of but had enjoyed a previous book by the same author, The Changeling by Victor LaValle.

So, it was an expensive day, but a happy day.  Four, count ’em, four small businesses supported (our coffee and mid-morning snack came from an excellent non-chain coffeehouse, Midland Station), so feeling a little virtuous about that.

But I’m hiding next month’s Amex bill from the spouse.

Posted in Crochet, Finished object, Knitting

New blog entry, with actual yarn content!

With all the rehearsals going on over the last six months, you would be forgiven for thinking that I’d forgotten how to turn yarn into usable items, much less actually complete anything.

Ha!  I haven’t!

Okay, I didn’t get much accomplished in that time, but there were a couple of things.  First, this baby blanket for a colleague who was expecting his first child was started in November and finished in January.

Mike Blanket 3

Pattern: Taylor Baby Blanket (my original design)
Yarn: Bernat Pipsqueak, in four different colorways (see Ravelry project page for details), approx 275 yards total
Needles: Addi circs, size US 15
Size: Approx 36″ x 24″
Satisfaction with end product: It’s soft and squishy and perfect for a newborn. My colleague and his wife loved it, and that’s the most important thing.

Late last summer I made this tank top.

100_4902 (2)

Pattern: S7365 Damentop mit Ajourmuster by Schachenmayr Design Team (Thankfully, it was available in English)
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Sunseeker Multi in Candy Cane, approx 628 yards
Needles: Addi circulars, US 5 and US 3
Size: Medium (34″/36″)
Mods: Gauge with this yarn was a little wide and tall, so I cast on for the small to get a medium, and began the armholes at row 120 instead of row 148. Did 4 rows garter stitch at bottom edge before beginning lace pattern. Also 4 rows garter stitch at neck edge and armhole edge instead of stockinette. Did not turn over arm and neck edges for a hem. 2 inch shoulder seams instead of 2 cm as called for in the pattern.
Satisfaction with end product: Made for me, and I love it. It’s cool and comfortable and looks pretty good under a jacket, so I can even wear it to work.

You can see a few more pictures on the project page.

And finally, I made this hat in February:

IMG_20180223_082110.jpg

Pattern: #24 Cabled Pompom Hat by Annabelle Speer (from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2012)
Yarn: Schaefer Chris in Pomegranate, approx 215 yards (a now defunct yarn company; this was my last skein)
Needles: Addi circs, US 7
Mods: Smaller pompom due to lack of the appropriate size pompom maker, a situation that has now been remedied
Satisfaction with end product: This was a gift for a friend who helped out the production of Old Love by sending us authentic Tim Horton’s to-go cups from Canada to use in our coffee shop scene. A small detail that the audience probably never noticed, but we did. I think the hat turned out lovely, but more importantly, my friend did too. You can see a few more pics on the Ravelry project page.

Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

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.

100_4793 (2)

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.

100_4885 (2)

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.

 

Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Yarn stash

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.

Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Sock yarn plans

100_4685 (2)
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.

100_4688 (2)
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.

Posted in Crochet, Finished object

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!