American Wool Series

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 Resolutions

 Happy New Year's Eve!

 Like most bloggers this time of year, I've been pondering my knitting goals for 2015.

After a lot of list making and brainstorming I finally came up with three goals that encompass a lot of smaller goals:

Knit local. I want to spend 2015 supporting the North American wool industry and the more local I can get, the better. If I had tried to do this even a few years ago I think I would have had a hard time finding yarn that was sourced entirely in the United States, but times have changed! Off the top of my head I can list half a dozen companies and independent yarn purveyors that use wool from North American flocks and North American mills. This isn't to say that I'll 100% stop purchasing yarn that doesn't meet this criteria but I'd like to start the shift toward a local wool stash. 

Knit more colorwork garments. I have one Fair Isle pullover (which needs some surgery) and I need more in my wardrobe! One of my favorite knitting techniques is stranded colorwork and I'd like to build a sweater wardrobe that will work with my solid colored clothing wardrobe. Which leads me to my final, non-knitting goal.

Participate in Me Made May. MMM is an annual event that, you guessed it, takes place in May in which sewing bloggers and knitting bloggers showcase their handmade wardrobe (hopefully without repeat pieces). I took up sewing garments again in 2014 and I'm starting to think about shifting my entire wardrobe from store-bought to handmade. I need to take a look at my existing wardrobe and start sewing replacement pieces rather than purchasing them. Most of what I sewed last year was dresses so I need to branch out into separates and I've already purchased a couple of patterns to get going on this: Renfrew by Sewaholic and Clover by Colette. 

There you have it! These three goals are fairly broad so I have some wiggle room in executing them throughout 2015. 

Do you have resolutions for 2015? What are they?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 Resolution Accounting

 I took a much needed break from the internet over my Holiday vacation but I'm back to settle up my resolution goals for 2014. I posted these goals at the beginning  of 2014:
  • use my pattern library
  • knit more sweaters
  • use my stash, especially sweater stash
  • be mindful when choosing projects
  • learn all about weaving
  • think hard before purchasing (especially yarn)
  • be happy with my knitting, if I’m not it’s a sure sign that something is wrong

I'm pretty sure I purchased fewer knitting patterns and books in 2014 and I searched my already extensive knitting library for patterns before buying anything new. To my recollection I only purchased two pattern books this year:  New American Knits by Amy Christoffers and The Shetland Trader Book 2 by Gudrun Johnston. Goal achieved!

I knit eight sweaters for myself this year (number nine is in the works), a baby cardigan, and two sweaters for Little A. In 2013 I knit nine sweaters: four for me, two for Little A, and three baby sweaters for gifts. Goal achieved!

How did I do using my stash this year? I did alright, I guess. I purchased quite a bit of yarn this year but I also knit a bit of those purchases right away. Five of my sweaters were knit with yarn purchased this year specifically for sweater projects and I purchased yarn here and there (mainly at Stitches West and during my October birthday) for random projects. I did, however, go through a period where I was only knitting projects with yarn leftover from previous projects in an attempt to get my scrap yarn bag under control. My yarn in and yarn out pretty much cancelled each other out so I'm at the same place I started last year; knit more from stash. 

Sigh. Be mindful when choosing projects to knit. This is a pretty difficult goal to pin down. I do feel like I spent more time thinking about and choosing projects before casting on but does that mean I was mindful about it? I dunno.  I feel like I had more successful projects this year than in past years but was it due to mindfulness or just getting things right as I went along? Again, I'm not sure. 

I did not learn all about weaving. I wove several projects with mediocre results but that just means I need more practice with my loom. Also, I spent a lot more time sewing than in previous years so that took up the bulk of my non-knitting craft time. 

Was I happy with my knitting this year? For the most part I was very happy with my knitting. I had a very difficult year at home so I took solace in my knitting and that helped me feel some semblance of calm and serenity that I wasn't getting in my day-to-day life. I tended toward simpler projects that ended up being some of my favorite, wearable items and if I was unhappy with my knitting project I ripped it out and started something new. Goal achieved!

Did you make knitting goals for 2014? If so, how did you fare?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

FO: Tolt Hat

 I'm finally feeling the pressure of Christmas knitting. I thought I was doing alright on my knitting and then I actually looked at the calendar - not as much time left as I thought! I needed a quick pick me up gift so I went to my pattern library.
 I found the perfect pattern in my library and even had the right yarn for it in my stash.
Pattern: Tolt Hat by Andrea Rangel
Yarn: Imperial Stock Ranch Columbia in Quail and Cactus Blossom
Needles: US #8 Addi Turbo
Mods: None. I knit the size medium and it's a tad loose on me so I think it will fit the gift recipient perfectly. The pattern also includes instructions for  a pair of mitts but I don't have enough of the magenta yarn to knit them and I don't want to run out and get another skein. This hat took about one long even to complete and it would work handsomely for men in a different color combination. This would also be an excellent project for trying out colorwork.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Music Monday

I put out a Facebook call asking for non-annoying Christmas music because I didn't believe it existed. I'm not a fan of repetitive bells, songs about Santa, or church music and that seems to encompass a lot of Holiday music you hear at retail stores (and my building's elevator). Ask and you shall receive.

"364 Days" by The Murder City Devils

I'll be sharing more of my Facebook holiday music gems over the next few weeks. Get ready.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Gifts for Knitters: The Knitting Library

Au Courant

Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads: A Modern Knitter's Guide to Exploring and Discovering Style by Cirilia Rose. A collection of 26 pieces ranging from sweaters to accessories with advice on creating and discovering your own personal style. Good for knitters who like variety in their knitting and are style savvy (or want to be). $27.50

Curls by Hunter Hammersen. 14 patterns for wraps sized from cowl to scarf based on the yarn you use. This one is all over knitting blogs and podcasts right now and for good reason, the variations on size and the simple shape make these accessories easily customizable. $19.95 to $21.95.

Modern Classics

New American Knits by Amy Christoffers. If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know that I have a knitting crush on Amy Christoffers and her design aesthetic and I plunked my money down for this book sight unseen. 20 pieces ranging from a tank top to hats to (many) sweaters. These are classic pieces with modern twists and interesting details. From $18.49.

Vintage Modern Knits by Courtney Kelley and Kate Gagnon Osborn. Modern knitwear inspired by traditional knitting techniques from cables to colorwork and all knit in The Fibre Company's lovely line of luxury yarns. $29.94

The Shetland Trader Book 1 and 2  by Gudrun Johnston. With designs inspired by the Shetland Islands and Gudrun's impeccable eye for detail these two books do not disappoint. The collection is a combination of garments and accessories that include interesting techniques and a variety of style options. From $20.00.

Building Blocks

Up, Down, All Around Stitch Dictionary by Wendy Bernard. 150 stitch patterns both written and charted for knitting top down, bottom up, flat, and in the round. Included are eight patterns for garments and accessories. $29.95.

Knitting from the Top by Barbara Walker. This isn't a very sexy book but the information is great if you want to branch out into knitting your own top down sweaters (and other garments). $20.

The Knitting Workshop by Elizabeth Zimmermann. This is an excellent book for trying your hand at building your own sweater from scratch. Some of the instructions read more like recipes but if you're okay with that then this might be the book for you. $24.95.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

FO: Rolling Thunder Gloves

I finally updated some of my project pictures and now I have an FO to share! Hooray!

Pattern: Rolling Thunder Gloves by Sivia Harding (free on Ravelry)
Yarn: Leading Men Fiber Arts Show Stealer in Anne's Story
Needles: US #1 (2.25 mm) Addi Turbo 
Mods: None! I knit the pattern as written and the mitts are a perfect fit. I used copper lined size 8/0 Japanese beads from Fusion Beads in Seattle that I re-purposed from a knitting project that never came to fruition. The garter rib is quite stretchy so the mitts would fit a variety of hand sizes and the details on these are just lovely: a turned hem, texture stitches, little lines of beads along the purl welts, a garter thumb gusset, and a rolled hem. The only fussy thing about knitting these was pre-stringing the beads.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Music Monday

"After You've Gone" by Bessie Smith (1927).

"After You've Gone" by Nina Simone. I couldn't find this song as a track listing but I believe it's part of the Black Swan Live at Carnegie Hall album which was recorded in 1963.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Gifts for Knitters: Quality Goods

As a new knitter I often purchased the least expensive notions and tools. Don't get me wrong, inexpensive is great and not all inexpensive tools are cheap or cheaply made, but over the years I've slowly upgraded my toolkit to include lovely and useful tools that will last me for years to come. 

Stitch Markers

I love the removable stitch markers from Fringe Supply Co. They look very similar to coil-less safety pins but have a circular end to fit around the needle much a like a traditional fixed stitch marker. HiyaHiya also makes these markers in shiny brass or nickel so you can choose your poison, er, finish. $3.50 - $6.

If you are partial to closed stitch markers with a little bling then I can recommend Velvet Hippo on Etsy. Torii makes lovely color-coordinated sets of markers that slip easily between needles and provide just the right amount of sparkle to your knitting project without getting caught or snagged on your stitches. $3 - $15.

Project Bags

I have a partiality to zippered project bags so when I received my Anne of Green Gables kit from Little Skein I was thrilled! The shawl-sized bags are roomy, sturdy, and have interfaced sides so you can knit directly out of them like a yarn bowl (very handy for knit night). Anne's stitching is impeccable and her fabric choices are spot on (she also has luxurious knitting kits in her shop). 
$28 and up.

Chubby Cloud has an amazing array of project bags and miscellany offered up in her Etsy shop. You can find everything from knot bags to zippered pouches to kindle and iPhone cozies in fabrics funky to adorable. I picked up her new design at KnitFit! at the beginning of the month and it has been in constant rotation ever since. $15 and up.

My knitting group consists of several Tom Bihn devotees and while I haven't tried them myself I trust the opinion (obsession?) of my knitting friends. The Yarn Stuff Sack is the bag I'm most familiar with but Tom Bihn carries a large selection of bags that are easily adaptable for knitting purposes. Tom Bihn's fabric choices and styles are very unisex so if you're gifting to a knitter of the male persuasion this might be just the thing. $9 and up.

Scissors and Snips

My favorite scissors are Gingher 4" lightweight embroidery scissors. You can find them at most local yarn stores and they're small enough to fit in most notion pouches. I like the non-metal grip and the very sharp blades. $13 and up. 

Fringe Supply Co. has a lovely variety of scissors to choose from if you want to get a little more fancy with your snipping. Personally, I think the Italian Bow Scissors are quite nice. $8 and up.


Let's not forget our local yarn stores! Shop small and shop local this Holiday season to support your local economy. Small business owners depend on support from their communities to stay in business and you can help them out by shopping locally this season.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Knitting Fail: Wee Wildflower Cardigan

Sometimes projects just don't work out. See this sweater? It's Wee Wildflower by Alana Dakos which is an adorable cardigan for little girls. My little girl picked it out from my Ravelry queue and said she wanted it in pink (the picture reads red but it's actually a berry pink). We went yarn shopping and she picked out the yarn she wanted which also happened to be the entirely wrong gauge. C'est la vie with kids so I purchased said Cascade 220 Superwash, knit up a big swatch, and did the maths to compensate for the difference in gauge. All set, right? WRONG. The sweater is skin tight and too short! There could be a multitude of things wrong here: 

1) The math is wrong - I double-checked my numbers and they all work out.
2) My gauge lied - I measured the sweater gauge against my swatch gauge and all is well.
3) My kid grew while I was knitting the dang sweater - entirely possible! 

Well then, what's a knitter to do? Frog the whole thing and start over, of course. Little A still wants the sweater so I've frogged the whole thing and will cast on this Thanksgiving weekend to see if I can't plow through the bulk of the body during my four days off work. It has been a really long time since I've had anything come so wonkily off the needles so I'll take it in stride and eat my knitterly humble pie as I cast on....again.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gifts for Knitters: Pom Pom Quarterly

 If you are a knitter you probably have a list of things you'd love to try: yarn, needles, patterns, notions, techniques, and the list goes on (and on and on). Of course, I have a list too and I thought I'd share it with you this Holiday season. Some of the items will be practical, some will be beautiful, some will be inspirational but it just so happens that Pom Pom Quarterly hits all of those marks with style.
Last year I asked Mr. B for a subscription to Pom Pom Quarterly and I'm so glad I did. Pom Pom is a British publication that comes out four times per year and includes patterns, articles, recipes, and an interesting array of information both educational and entertaining. The photography is beautiful and the articles and patterns are both well curated and interesting and might include crochet mittens, huge wraps or shawls, recipes for whiskey tiramisu (putting that on the to-make list this Holiday season), and articles about natural dyeing, just to list a few. Subscriptions are 30£ or about $47 for four issues and they now include a code for a digital download. I loved receiving my issues in the mail so much that I asked for a subscription renewal this year for Christmas, I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

FO: Ella Funt

 Aren't tiny sweaters wonderful? And tiny sweaters with tiny elephants are maybe the best kind of tiny sweater. After a lengthy period of time where no one in my world was having a baby now there seems to be a spate of them, isn't that the way?

 All of the expected babies are boys so I had to do a little digging into Ravelry and my knitting library to find something appropriately adorable yet masculine for the little guys.
I think this is perfect.

Pattern: Ella Funt by Pamela Wynne
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in various colors
Needles: US #4 (3.5 mm) Hiya Hiya Sharp Interchangeable
Mods: I knit the ribbing and button bands in a contrasting color rather than the main color of the sweater. I had an odd amount of the gray yarn in my stash which I knew would not be enough to knit the pattern as written (turns out it wasn't enough for my mod either. I had to run out and buy another skein, oops!). I also didn't think that the gray/beige color of the yarn would be great up close to a baby's face so I wanted to use a brighter color for the ribbing. It turns out that I really like this modification and will use it on the next one (coming soon). One thing about baby cashmerino is that it does show every little inconsistency so there are some bits of knitting that aren't quite smooth even after blocking. I'll sacrifice perfectly consistent fabric on the altar of machine washability, though. 

Do you have a favorite pattern for baby boys? Patterns for baby girls are everywhere but I've found it difficult to find cute things for little guys.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

FO: Trillian

 Sometimes I feel way ahead of the curve. For instance, last month I decided to cast on a Christmas gift to knit during my commute time.
 I'm not a huge fan of knitting garter stitch but it's so easy to knit that I decided it would be the perfect project for my early morning and afternoon bus times. Several weeks later I have a finished object for my gift box that I barely noticed I was knitting. Normally, I would complain about the endless garter stitch but at 5:30am I didn't really have the energy to contribute to bemoaning garter stitch, I just picked it up and knit.
Pattern: Trillian by Martina Behm
Yarn: Tosh Merino Light in Robin Red Breast
Needles: US #2 1/2 (3.0 mm) Addi Turbo
Mods: None. I just knit knit knit and have about 6 yards of yarn left. I'm going to use it to tie up the package before I send it off to the recipient. 

Do you knit gifts for the holidays? Do you have a plan or do you just dive in?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Rolling Thunder Gloves

 I started with something of a problem. Variegated yarn. Some people love it and some people hate it and I tend to be somewhat ambivalent about the stuff. It's difficult to find the right pattern for whatever it is your variegated yarn is doing. I think I found the perfect pattern for this particular yarn, which is Leading Men Fiber Arts Show Stealer in the Anne's Story color. I ordered the yarn from Little Skein in the Big Wool as a companion to my Anne of Green Gables kit (more on that soon). As you can see, it has beads.
 I've already finished the first glove...
and my project has a home in my new Chubby Cloud project bag that I purchased at KnitFit! this last weekend. 

The pattern is Rolling Thunder Gloves by Sivia Harding and it's available as a free Ravelry download. Sivia based the pattern on her Rolling Thunder Socks (found at and you'll need the chart and instructions for the beaded bits from the socks to knit the gloves. I'm using clear copper-lined beads that I had on hand and the effect is a little like rain drops on Fall foliage. The combination of purls, knits, beads, and garter rib is perfect for this autumnal yarn.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Music Monday

"Sweet Child O' Mine" (Guns N' Roses cover) by Post Modern Jukebox. I'm going to see these guys on Sunday with Mr. B. Can't wait!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Happy Things for a Tuesday

Photo courtesy of Misi Photo

I'm having a case of the Mondays... on Tuesday. I'm firmly convinced that Tuesday is the worst day of the week; no re-entry from the weekend, not a hump day, not even close to Friday - it's just there, being a Tuesday. Blech.

I thought I'd counteract the ickiness by sharing some happy things, like this pattern. It's the Graceful Pullover by Maria Yarley and it's a ballet-inspired fingering weight sweater guaranteed to make the little girl in your life pirouette. It's a $6.99 download via Ravelry and 100% of the proceeds go to a friend of the designer who recently lost her husband and has four children to raise.You get an adorable pattern and get to help someone in need, how great is that?

I've also started thinking about Christmas knitting (you realize it's next month, right?) and I'm happy that I started last month and have two projects done and another on the needles. Of course, that's not to say that I won't be furiously knitting up until the last minute trying to eke out every last minute and yard. 
Here's a sneak peak since I'll have an entire FO post about this project later in the week. I'm tempted to keep it for myself!

Finally, Colette just released a stunner of a pattern called the Dahlia dress. It looks like a wardrobe staple and I'm contemplating joining the sewalong but not before I bust out a top with this fabric:
I purchased this fabric from Spoonflower for Miss Crayola Creepy's Cat Lady Sewing Challenge. I'm planning on a Sorbetto top from Colette which I should be able to sew in an afternoon. Should. I have until the 9th to get it together and we'll just not think about the fact that Knit Fit! is this weekend and I'll be away from my sewing machine. 

Well, that pick me up worked for me and I hope it worked for you, too!

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Final Giveaway Winner

Can you believe it's already November? I'm having a hard time with it myself. 
I drew for the final Fall Favorites Giveaway and came up with Seattle Knitter Guy! Congratulations!
He said, "Oh, wow! I'm about halfway through a sweater knitted with a 50/50 merino/alpaca blend in a lichen (green-gray) colorway. This Owl Tweet would make a perfect, non-matchy-matchy cabled stocking cap or small cowl! Maybe even fingerless mitts. Hmmm..."

I like how you think! Non-matchy-matchy, and the sweater you described? Sounds awesome and cozy for our wet Seattle weather. I'll PM you via Ravelry to get your mailing info, thanks for playing along! Did I also mention that when I brought this yarn home Mr. B tried to claim it for a sweater for himself? True story.

A great big thank you to everyone who commented during October and entered to win the giveaways. It's really great to get pattern and project ideas from you!

One more announcement! I'm attending Knit Fit! at the Ballard Community Center in Seattle (my 'hood, yo) this coming weekend, November 8th and 9th. I'm volunteering at the registration table Friday evening for the opening speaker and Saturday and Sunday mornings to early afternoons. Come by and say hello! I'll also be at game knitting with Leethal on Saturday night which is a hoot and a half. The market is FREE and although it's small it's good. This year Tin Can Knits will have a booth as well as Wendee of Hazel Knits and many other local and wonderful vendors. See you there!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

FO: Witchypoo Socks

 A little over a week ago I realized that Halloween was right around the corner. I also realized that I had the perfect self-striping yarn to whip up some quick socks to wear in celebration. Helllooooo Witchypoo Socks!
Pattern: 54 stitch vanilla sock using the OMG Heel by Megan Williams
Yarn: Quaere Fibre Sport Weight Self Striping in Witches Britches
Needle: US #2 1/2 ( 3mm) Addi Turbo
Mods: I  made these up as I went but I knew I wanted to give that OMG heel a try. Since I knit these with sport weight yarn I used the directions for the smallest size sock heel and that worked out beautifully. These socks definitely fit me better than any short row heel or afterthought heel that I've tried so I'd like to give it another go with fingering weight yarn. These are nice and cozy and eye-searingly bright - perfect for Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fall Favorites: A Final Giveaway

A while ago I posted about a mini- Twin Peaks Road Trip that I went on with Andi and Monica. On said trip I purchased a sweater's worth of Quince & Co Owl Tweet in a lovely Russet color and knit a cardigan practically right away. I have yet to take pictures of the cardigan but it turns out that I have two, count' em TWO, full skeins of this really delightful yarn to giveaway.

 Yummy, right?
Quince & Co Owl Tweet is a worsted weight 50% American wool and 50% American Alpaca blend yarn that has 120 yards to a 50 gram skein. This yarn is tweedy and loft and soft and has amazing stitch definition. 

To enter the giveaway, let me know what you would knit with two skeins of Quince & Co Owl Tweet! Please make sure you leave a way for me to get in touch - a Ravelry ID works best!

I'll close the giveaway next Wednesday. Best of luck to you!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall Faves: Giveaway Winner

Happy Monday! I admit, I'm having a difficult time bouncing back to work after what felt like too short a weekend. I'm pretty sure giving away some yarn will help me feel better, so let's get to it. Random number generator tells me that browncurls is the winner! Congratulations, Liesl! Here's what she had to say,

"You picked out some really lovely colorways at the trunk show.
Ruby Love is such a lovely red - I think I'd knit yet another Koolhaas hat in it."

I think Koolhaas will look great in Cadence; those cables will really pop! I'll be in touch via Ravelry to get your mailing address.

I still have to take pictures of the yarn for the giveaway this week. Believe you me, it's delightful! I'll be posting the new giveaway on Wednesday, so stay tuned for that!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

FO: Teal Glacier Socks

 A couple of weeks ago I was quite ill and stayed home from work for several days. As part of my lay on the sofa and watch trashy television shows until I'm better cure I needed a really simple knitting project. None of my current projects quite fit the bill so I dug through my stash and came up with a skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot.
 I let the color do all the work on this pair of socks. They're for Mr. B for Christmas and they're more flamboyant than he would usually wear but I think they'll be fine for non-work days.
Pattern: Improvised 64 stitch vanilla sock
Yarn: Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Teal Glacier
Needles: US #2 (2.75 mm) Hiya Hiya Sharps
Mods: I knit these two at a time on a long circular needle. Bearfoot is a heavier weight sock yarn and my tag said to use a US #3 or #4 needle so I figured a #2 would give me a nice sturdy sock fabric. The mohair, wool, nylon composition of the yarn washes up beautifully and will make for fantastic feet-warming socks this Winter.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fall Favorites: Comfort Food

When the weather starts to turn cold and chilly I get excited about all of the bone-warming recipes that gear me up for Thanksgiving. I eat soup all year long (it's something I get teased about at work since I usually have soup at least twice a week) but there's something about things like shepherd's pie and casseroles that get me excited to jump back in the kitchen. I'm a pescetarian, basically a vegetarian that eats fish, so I usually veggie up standard things like pot pies with vegetarian substitutes. I have favorite veggie items that my family also likes: Field Roast Celebration Roast, Tofurkey Italian Sausages, and Quorn Meat-free Chicken Pieces are all excellent substitutes for the real deal and allow me to make my beloved chicken pot pie.
After all of the light and crisp flavors of Summer I'm seriously ready for some homemade macaroni and cheese or pumpkin bread or mashed potatoes and ANYTHING.

Do you have a favorite Fall food or recipe?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Favorites: A Winner & Another Giveaway

Thank you to everyone who entered last week's giveaway! Random number generator tells me that the lucky winner is #2, or Sarah, who says, 

"I wear a cowl or scarf every day from September to May! I keep feeling like I have plenty but then I always want something just a bit different when I'm grabbing one in the morning."

I feel you, Sarah! I like my collection but always want more! I've messaged you on Ravelry to get your choice of accessory pattern. I can't wait to see what you choose. By the way, Sarah is a potter and does lovely work so you should check out her website.

Last Friday was my birthday and besides doing a little too much imbibing with a great group of friends I attended a Hazel Knits trunk show at the Fiber Gallery.
Clockwise from the upper right: Cadence Laguna, Cadence Shady Verdant, Artisan Sock Haze, Entice Rogue* (yellow), Artisan Sock Rogue (red and spruce green), Artisan Sock Acorn.

 Let's just say that I spent both time and money making my yarn selection (birthday money from family purchased this lot otherwise I would have held myself in check a bit more). Hazel Knits is one of my very favorite sock yarns and I love Wendee's color sense and her wonderful yarn bases. She recently expanded her line of yarn to include a worsted weight superwash merino and I picked up a skein to give away to you wonderful folks!
Say hello to Cadence in Ruby Love. Love is right, for sure. This is 200 yards of a gorgeous ruby red 100% superwash merino that's perfect for a cozy Fall accessory.

To enter, tell me what you would knit with this gorgeous skein of yarn. Please leave a way for me to get in touch with you, a Ravelry ID works best but if you're not a member (why!?!) make sure you leave another way for me to contact you. 

Best of luck!

*Rogue colors are one of a kind colors that don't quite match the intended colorway. They're always gorgeous!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

FO: Twisted Flower Socks

 Back in April I cast on a pair of complicated socks. I worked my way through the leg of the first sock pretty quickly and then something happened, I don't really know what, but Something. I put the socks down half-way through the heel flap and there they languished for several months. Last month I decided I was tired of looking at them and picked them up again to decide to finish or frog. I guess you can tell that I finished the dang things! They're beautiful. They're also the most complicated pair of socks I've knit to date.
Pattern: Twisted Flower by Cookie A (from
Yarn: Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Heartthrob
Needles: US #1 (2.25 mm) Hiya Hiya Sharp Fixed Circulars
Mods: None.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall Favorites: Layering Warmth & A Giveaway

I meant to post this several days ago but I came down with my first true cold of the season (my least favorite thing about Fall is that it overlaps cold and flu season) and was home sick for a couple of days. Don't feel too bad for me because I got in a ton of knitting time in between naps, but more on that later. 

One of the best things about Fall is the change in weather! I can't wait to pull out my tights, boots, and hand knit accessories and start layering pieces of my wardrobe. I usually end up sporting this look a tad early and swelter beneath too many layers on days that reach into the 70s. I never learn.

I love knitted accessories. My accessory wardrobe is heavy on color, texture, and pattern since I can pop anything over my plain black or gray coat and feel warm and stylish. It's true that later in the season I'm not sure if I look chic or slightly hobo-ish but at least I'm warm! At my knitting group's latest stash swap and sale I took in some under used accessories and gave them away to make room for future hand knits! This year I'm leaning heavily toward infinity scarves (i.e. looong cowls) and skinny long triangles since they're easy to wear and stay put around my neck and shoulders.

Leave a comment telling me what your favorite knit accessory is and why to win the accessory pattern of your choice via Ravelry.

Don't forget to leave a way for me to get in touch - either an email address or (even better!) your Ravelry ID. I'll pick a winner next Monday. Good luck!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall Favorites: Monster Movies

In lieu of music today, I bring you a couple of videos of my favorite monster movies! These are both in the comedic horror genre and are super silly and reminiscent of creature features of the 1950s and 1960s. 

Eight Legged Freaks is from 2002 and features David Arquette and - you guessed it - giant spiders! The spiders get exposed to toxic waste and become giant man-eating spiders of all varieties. David Arquette is the unlikely hero trying to squash the giant arachnids with the help of the town sheriff and her kids (daughter played by Scarlett Johansson).

Grabbers is about tentacled aliens that invade a small Irish town and are allergic to alcohol. What do the people in the know about the aliens decide to do to keep the rest of the townsfolk safe? Lock them in a pub for a party, of course! While most of the townspeople proceed to drink themselves silly over the course of the movie, the rest of the alien hunters defend the town from the aliens and try to figure out a way to take them out. 

Grabbers is currently streaming on American Netflix. Grab yourself a pint and get to watching!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

FO: Simple Skyp Socks

 I finally have a photographed finished object to share! I finished knitting these socks waaay back on September 10th and it took me almost a month just to wash them and snap a picture. That timeframe might tell you how busy we've been with the Mr. starting a new job and Little A starting kindergarten. Very!
Pattern: Simple Skyp Socks by Adrienne Ku
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in December Ribbon Candy gifted to me by my friend, Jeanne
Needles: US #1 (2.25mm) Hiya Hiya Sharps
Mods: None! Actually, the pattern calls for sport weight yarn but I just subbed in sock yarn and chose a stitch count (64) that I knew would fit. The leg is five inches long instead of my usual six inches. This pattern makes for great commute knitting since the pattern is easy to memorize and there's very little counting involved in the stitch pattern.

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Month of Favorites: Leaves & Color

One of my favorite things about Fall is the spectacular show of colors as the leaves change and the weather gets colder. Growing up in Northern California I experienced prolonged Summer and Fall seasons and the weather was gorgeous in October - crisp, cold, and frosty in the mornings with temperatures reaching into the low 70s in the afternoons and then dropping again at night. We're getting a small taste of that weather in Seattle right now and I LOVE it and hope it holds out through the end of the month.

I've never been to Asheville, NC but this video makes me want to visit.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Month of Favorites 2014

Welcome to October! This is my very favorite time of year and to celebrate I'll be posting a month-long series of my favorite things. I did the same month-long series last year and loved how it made me focus on positive, uplifting things that I enjoy while sharing them with you. I'll be posting weekly giveaways, just like last year, and I hope you join me in sharing your favorite things via social media. #fallfaves2014

Let's kick this off, shall we?

 I love love love pears. Did you know that there are lots of different varieties beside plain old Bartletts? These beauties are Starkrimson and I can't even tell you how lovely they smell and taste. This box is looooong gone but I keep thinking about how delicious they taste.
Some of the pears became pear butter that we'll enjoy until next fall when I can a new batch. This stuff is seriously good and tasty on bread, pancakes, ice cream, waffles, biscuits, and the list goes on. So yummy! Fun fact, I worked in pear sheds packing pears for two summers in high school. While it ruined my relationship with pears for several years, it also schooled me in pear sizing (80s are big and 120s are small) and some varieties. Boscs are great for baking since they hold their shape and Bartletts are good for eating fresh since they're super juicy. 

Do you have a favorite fall fruit?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Music Monday: Cover Edition

"I Think We're Alone Now" by Tiffany and Tommy James & the Shondells. 

I love the Tiffany version of this song since it reminds me of my childhood (performing in malls, what) and the Shondells version has some kick ass tambourine playing that I really enjoy.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Music Monday

"Killer Queen" by Queen. The last few days I've woken up with this song stuck in my head and this is my attempt to exorcise it (not that it isn't fabulous).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

WIP: Russet Owl Sweater

It's true. I did it. I started another cardigan. Last weekend I went on a mini Twin Peaks road trip with my friends Monica and Andi that also brought us to Tolt Yarn and Wool (no TP affiliation). Imagine my delight when I remembered that they were getting their Quince and Co shipment that very weekend! I fell in love with Owl Tweet in the Russet color and decided that, yep, I needed a sweater out of it. 10 skeins later and a good sized swatch and I'm plugging away on a CustomFit cardigan. The yarn is so beautifully nubby and tweedy that I wanted a super simple cardigan with some squishy garter stitch edges to show off the texture. Owl Tweet is a 50/50 wool alpaca blend and it's a dream to knit. It has a very different feel to Berroco Ultra Alpaca - rather than being drapey and soft it's lofty and soft so that the sweater will feel light and warm. If you've ever knit with woolen spun yarns like Brooklyn Tweed Shelter you can imagine the lightness I'm talking about and it's going to be a gloriously warm, soft, and light cardigan for this Fall and Winter.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Music Monday

"Fun" by Sly & the Family Stone.

Thanks for the earworm, Nicole!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blog Hop

My friend, Amy, of Quixotic Pixels asked me to participate in a blog hop last week and I jumped at the chance! Amy is a busy mother of two and she's always creating things - from sewing to knitting to jewelry-making, I'm always impressed with the amount of crafting she fits into her busy schedule. 

The blog hop has four main questions, so let's get to it, shall we?

What am I working on? 

This is probably going to be the longest part of this post! 
I cut out an Emery Dress last weekend and am waiting for a good block of time to start the sewing! All of my pieces are marked and ready to go, I just have to pick up some black fabric for the collar and lining the skirt. I'm using a chambray from and since the fabric is really lightweight I want to line the skirt to make it feel more substantial. 
 This is the first of four knitting projects I have on the needles. The pattern is Pretty (me) by Nadia Cretin-Lechenne from the ebook Emmitouflage(s). I'm using Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Sport in the Del Rey color.
 This project is Sylkie by the Shetland Trader in some Imperial Stock Ranch Columbia. The color is Cactus Blossom. When this grows up it'll be a cowl for snuggling up in during the cold, rainy season.
 A pair of Simple Skyp Socks in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock December Ribbon Candy color. This picture is deceptive, I'm actually through the heel turn of the second sock.
Finally, I've barely even cast on the Love & Happiness cowl by Amy Christoffers of Savory Knitting. It's a heavily cabled cowl and I'm using the Plucky Knitter Primo! Worsted in Bleedin' Armadillo Groom Cake (I purchased this yarn at a craft/garage sale and it's a club colorway).

How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

 Hmm. I can't say that my work is hugely different from other work out there. My sewing is heavily influenced by sewing bloggers that I read and my knitting tends to be inspired by yarn I want to use or patterns that speak to me. I have a few designs on Ravelry and they tend to be simple items. In general, the items that I design are influenced by my yarn choice and tend to be a marriage of easy knitting (good for social knitting) and simple texture.
(Photo by Amy of Quixotic Pixels)

This is my design, Pillsbury, knit in Dream in Color Classy. It's a free pattern on Ravelry.

Why do I write/create what I do? 

 The urge to create things is strong in my family - my grandmother did all manner of crafts and my mom sewed all the time when I was a kid - so it runs in the family, I guess. My mom urged me and my sister to do all kinds of crafts growing up so I learned to sew when I was twelve, did embroidery and cross-stitch, and finally hit upon knitting in my late twenties. I find crafting of all kinds to be good for my well-being and a good way to make useful things for my family and friends. I knit when I'm happy, I console myself with knitting when I'm sad, and I use knitting as a way to stay in touch with friends at our weekly meet-ups.

How does my writing/creative process work?

In choosing patterns to sew I usually look at sewing blogs for inspiration. I'll also look at my wardrobe to see what clothing hole needs to be filled and then go from there. 
Choosing a pattern to knit can be as easy as looking at my queue on Ravelry and deciding what to make next, or, digging through my stash and finding a yarn that speaks to me. The second option is way more fun, by the way. I'll then swatch if the project is a sweater and go from there or cast on right away and get to knitting my new project.

This feels odd to write, but most of my designs are fueled by knitting ennui. Sometimes I just don't want to be married to a pattern or don't have the head space for following someone's directions. I'll dig through my stash, think of the kind of item I want to knit and what kind of design attributes I want it to have (see above, a marriage of simple but interesting) and get cracking. I've learned to take notes from the get-go and to annotate changes as I make them rather than try and knit an item to the finish before writing anything down. Once an item is done I'll sit down at the computer and write a rough draft pattern from my notes and then find a test knitter (usually my friend, Monica). Once the pattern is tested and I get feedback about the pattern I'll make any necessary changes and then wrangle another friend to take pictures for me. The final step is to format the pattern and the pictures and get the whole shebang uploaded to the Ravelry pattern shop. The whole process has to move along at a pretty nice clip or else I get bored and patterns languish (like a shawl that has been sitting around for two years).

I guess that'll do! Thanks for stopping by on the blog hop! I've passed the torch to Stariel of Stariel Knits and Andi of My Sister's Knitter. Watch for their blog posts next Monday! A big thanks to Amy for asking me to participate in my first ever blog hop.