American Wool Series

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Updates and an FO

I've been a bit lackadaisical about posting here lately so I thought I'd bring y'all up to speed on what's been happening at chez ErinB.

  • Mr. B got laid off at the end of October
  • I got a new job that starts on Monday
  • I had my grad school interview a week ago
  • Thanksgiving
  • Planning Little A's birthday party
That list is super concise and I think that belies the fact that all of those things happening at approximately the same time makes me feel really crazy and nervous about everything. I can manage one or two major events at a time without feeling overwhelmed but when no single aspect of my life is stable (rather, everything is in flux at once) I get a little....stabby. 

But what this also means is that I've been adhering to my gift knitting to-do list since it's structured and creates focus for my knitting while the rest of my life is off-kilter. Without further ado, proof of my knitting steadfastness.

Pattern: Hedera by Cookie A
Yarn: Tosh Sock in Port (this color is sadly discontinued)
Needles: US #1 (2.25 mm) Hiya Hiya Sharps
Mods: None. I knit these exactly as written for the 60 stitch size. I was worried that these would be too small for the recipient but they fit my slightly larger foot fine even if they're too short for my foot.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Music Monday

"Never There" by Cake from their 1998 album, Prolonging the Magic.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

FO: Salida

Pattern: Salida by Janneke Maat (free)
Yarn: Araucania Ranco (376 yards per 100 grams; 75% wool/ 25% nylon)
Needles: US #1 (2.25 mm) Hiya Hiya Sharps
Mods: I knit the pattern as written using a Twisted German cast on for extra elasticity around the cuff. I'm not a fan of short row heels but I decided to go with the flow for these - they're snug enough with all of those twisted stitches that the heel fits okay. I ended up knitting the pattern repeat twice for the foot and then rows one through eight or ten again to finish up the twisted stitch motif before I started the toe. There are so many twisted stitches on every round that I highly recommend using a nice, pointy-tipped needle to make the knitting easier on yourself. This is the first time I've knit sooo many twisted stitches at once and I found it slightly difficult to get into a good rhythm for knitting them. The finished socks are well worth the effort of being married to a knitting chart for several weeks, though. 

This is pair #3 for my Holiday gift list. Pair #4 and pair #5 are already complete and I'll share those soon.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Music Monday

"The Killing Moon" by Echo & the Bunnymen from the 1984 release, Ocean Rain. Personally, I need a little easing into my work week this week and this totally fits the bill. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Month of Favorites: Final Giveaway Winner!

Sorry for the delay in drawing a winner, I'm still experiencing some work and home upheaval that makes thinking about other things a little problematic. Let's get down to business, shall we?

Random number generator chose Sanja T (LoveofCuteness on Rav) who said, "Amazing giveaway! Thank you. Definitely a fantasy retreat would be a spa in the morning, and knitting on a blanket while enjoying warm weather for the rest of the day. Champagne and catered food wouldn't hurt either:)." That sounds fabulous! I'll be in touch to get  your mailing address and send out your package. 

I really enjoyed reading all of the fiber retreat ideas and I'd like to try all of them. The annual retreat I attend with my knitting group is very laid back and we all kind of do our own thing during the day and play games and have drinks in the evening and knit. Thank you for taking the time to share your ideas with me. 

And just a little update on my knitting progress, I finished these socks last weekend and just need to wash and block them before they go in the gift basket for Christmas. They're pair number three and I couldn't be happier with them.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Knitting Day Trip: Tolt Yarn and Wool

Yesterday I wrangled two of my good friends into my car and took a little day trip out of the city and into the wilds East of Lake Washington. After about a 45 minute drive we arrived in Duvall and had breakfast at the Grange Cafe. This place is delicious. The coffee was tasty and appropriately strong and there were plenty of vegetarian options - my veggies benedict was cooked to perfection and served on a homemade biscuit. Yum! After lingering over our breakfast we made the short drive to Carnation (about 15 minutes South) to attend the Grand Opening of a new yarn store - Tolt Yarn and Wool.

 There was quite a crowd! I think the owner and employees were a little overwhelmed but they were cheerful and smiling and happy to see so many people make the trip.  The store is open and airy (well, it would be open and airy on a normal business day) and smells like freshly cut wood and sheepy wool. In a word, heavenly.
 The fixtures holding yarn were beautiful and inventive. I was particularly taken with this old p.o. box unit. Those are tiny balls of Rowan Fine Tweed.

There were tons of samples throughout the store. This is a Lopi sweater displayed next to Lopi and Peace Fleece yarns. The store is thoughtfully curated with basics like Cascade Yarns and Malabrigo interspersed with interesting and harder to find yarns like Jill Draper, Sweet Fiber, and Spincycle. I came away with some Imperial Stock Ranch Tracie Too in Navy Blue and a heavy duty Tolt mug for my morning coffee. The line to check out was looooong but the little bag of swag they snuck into my bag of purchases and the opportunity to knit while in line made it worthwhile. I'll definitely go back soon!

Friday, November 8, 2013

WIP: Hi-Lite of my life socks

 When I volunteered at Knit Fit! last weekend I picked up a couple of presents for myself. My new favorite Indie Dyer, Intrepid Otter, had a small but lovely collection of self-striping yarns at her booth. I snatched up a ball of "Highlight of my Life" and cast on the next morning at the registration table.

I think they're perfect. I cast on 64 stitches on a US #1 (2.25 mm) and am knitting plain vanilla socks.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Month of Favorites: Wrap Up Giveaways

Remember last week when I posted two different giveaways?
Random number generator tells me that Sheila is the winner of Leethal's Adventure Knitting: A Day in the Woods.
Sheila said, "I'd like to go on a real life knitting adventure to Iceland. I've seen so many gorgeous photos (of both knitting and scenery) on various knitting blogs in the last few years. Since the budget puts that firmly in fantasyland, Leethal's booklet would be a good substitute knitting adventure that I could maybe actually experience!"
Sheila, I totally agree with you! Iceland seems to be the hip new place for knitters to visit abroad and I'd like to see all of those fantastic Lopi sweaters in the wild. I've sent you a Rav message and your ebook, I look forward to seeing what you make with it.

The other giveaway was a mystery giveaway. I picked up some very nice goodies from the Knit Fit! marketplace while I volunteered over the weekend.

 A Knit Fit! project bag. Small enough to carry in a purse but large enough for a pair of socks.
 A small skein of Willow Creek Farm Alpaca & Silk from Roy, WA.
A skein of Intrepid Otter Sparkle Sock in the Natalie Color. I love the Stellina in this yarn base and may have to purchase another skein for me.

A reusable, reversible coffee (or tea) sleeve from Chubby Cloud.

Isn't that a nice little bag of goodies? I had a fun time shopping the market knowing that some lucky person was going to have all of these nice things.

To enter, let me know what your dream fiber event would consist of - a small retreat in cabins with catered food and wine? A huge market with vendors from all over? A traveling yarn bus that takes you on a regional yarn crawl? Let me hear it!

Please make sure to leave a way for me to reach you, email or Ravelry username both work great! I'll take comments made through next Monday, the 11th, at midnight and draw names on Tuesday. Make sure to check back to see if you're a winner! Good luck!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Music Monday

Roy Orbison singing "Blue Bayou". I think it's a good song to ease into the work week.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Month of Favorites: Wrap Up

Posting my favorite things this month really got me thinking about the small things that make my life happier. Sometimes it feels like a real challenge to look beyond a bad day or job that you don't much care for and glean the goodness from your life. Good things can be as small as Halloween stitch markers or as complex and large as an entire knitting group. This week has been a real trial to me and my family and part of what helped me through it was the support and love of my friends and family both near and far. As we enter the Holiday season it's important to take time to appreciate what we have, to spend time with our families and friends, and to relish the small things as well as the large. On that note, I'll leave you with yet another smorgasbord of my favorite things! Don't forget to check back next Tuesday for the final two drawings for my month of favorites. 

Wes Anderson films. 

The Coen Brothers movies.

1970s punk rock.

Lounge music.

Dance scenes in movies.

The feeling of casting on a new knitting project! The feeling of binding off a knitting project! 

I'm so glad to be a part of the knitting community and to meet wonderful people from all over the country and the world. Thanks for joining me for a month of my favorite things!