American Wool Series

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mid-week Update

I was so focused on my trip to Stitches West trip that I totally thought I had posted I was on my way there last Thursday and just realized that the post only happened in my head. So, yes, I attended Stitches West and have lots of new and lovely yarn to share. Rather than dump all my purchases on you at once I think I'll do it in a few posts over the course of the next few weeks. If you follow me on Instagram (I'm ErinBirnel) you've already seen the first batch of yarn.

 I love Brooke's yarn and absolutely had to purchase this color combination after staring at all of the skeins in her lovely booth. One skein each of Equity Fingering in what I think is St. Barts (the blue one didn't have a color name), Winter's Night, and Vitamin C. This yarn is 100% Rambouillet, something I haven't knit with before and am dying to try out. It smells heavenly - like clean, washed sheepy goodness.
 Sunday morning I picked up this glorious skein of Dragonfly Fibers Traveller in Firecracker. I'm pretty much a sucker for anything overdyed with black and those bright pops of color really speak to me. Dragonfly Fibers is new to me and I'm eager to give it a whirl on my needles.
Last year I was totally enamored of Sweet Fiber and just couldn't make a decision while I was at Stitches. All year I kicked myself for not picking up even one skein of Melissa's gorgeous yarn so I was bound and determined to purchase from her this year. I found inspiration right in her booth! I tried on the Temperate Mitts sample, snagged the pattern, and marched right over to this awesome skein of Canary Merino Twist Worsted. I'll be casting these on as soon as I finish up my current project. 

Did you go to Stitches West? What was your favorite purchase?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Music Monday

"Radio Radio" from Elvis Costello's 1978 album This Year's Model

I'm back from Stitches West and have a lot to share with you!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

FO: Ribbed Socks for Kids

Last week just flew by and I still feel like it's not quite over. Given the amount of knitting I've gotten done since last Sunday I shouldn't be surprised that tomorrow is Monday. But it's not any Monday, it's the Monday before Stitches West* which means I have a three day work week and then I'm winging my way down to the Bay Area with a couple of friends to meet up with my sister and do some serious yarn and knitting immersion with like-minded fiber enthusiasts. 

In the mean time, I finished a pair of socks for Little A. 

 She chose the colors out of my sock scrap bag. 

Pattern: Ribbed Socks for Kids by Susan B. Anderson (free)
Yarn: Hill Country Yarn something or other that I've had for ages (approx. 120 yards) and some Anzula Cloud for the cuffs, heels, and toes. 
Needles: US #2 (2.75 mm) Hiya Hiya Sharps
Mods: I decided to knit contrasting cuffs, heels, and toes since the yardage of the yellow-orange yarn was very limited. I used every last bit of the yellow-orange yarn and hardly any of the turquoise. They've already been worn multiple times the report back is that they're "warm and toasty".

*If you're going to Stitches West, I'll be at the podcaster meet-up on Saturday between 1 and 4 in the hotel lobby bar with several other podcasters and, hopefully, lots of listeners. If you see me around make sure to say hello!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Music Monday

"I Need You Around" by the Smoking Popes from the 1994 album, Born to Quit. Some romantic pop punk for the upcoming V-day celebrations. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Let the Games Begin!

Are you participating in the Ravellenic Games*? I hemmed and hawed and finally decided that if I was going to participate I was going to knit a sweater. Not really surprising given one of my knitting resolutions this year was to knit more sweaters, especially from my sweater yarn stash. Once I decided to participate in the Ravellenics the decision of what to knit came quite easily. I swatched for another Acer Cardigan by Amy Christoffers in Green Mountain Spinnery Cotton Comfort and got perfect gauge on my #6 Hiya Hiya needles. 

Friday at work all I could think about was going home and casting on my sweater but once I actually got home I decided to work on my other sweater, Dimbala, and am just to the point where I can split the front and back. 
I made some modifications in order to add in a bit of waist shaping in the form of vertical darts and I apparently forgot to knit a few rows of garter between the ribbing and the texture stitch for the body. There are also fewer rows of twisted rib at the bottom edge since deep ribbing isn't super flattering on me.
And then I decided that I should finish off these socks for Little A out of some sock yarn scraps since it has been in the 20s this week (modeled picture coming soon). 
And then I decided that I should finish these socks since the tubes for the foot have been siting around for at least three weeks and all I have left are the heels. I finished them up this morning while having my morning cuppa because this happened: 
Snow! After tromping around outside for the better part of an hour with Little A we came home rosy-cheeked and cold and I actually cast on my Acer Cardigan. Ribbing accomplished!

*The Ravellenic Games take place during the Olympics and knitters and crafters compete by choosing challenging projects to be completed within the time frame of the Olympics in various events. The sweater event is called Sweaterboard Cross and if you're interested in knitting along you can check out more info on Ravelry.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Music Monday

"Atmosphere" by Joy Division. Originally released as a French single in 1980, the song was re-released after the death of Ian Curtis as a double A-side single with "She's Lost Control" and again in 1988 with the music video.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Start to Finish: Pomme de Pin

 My Pomme de Pin cardigan is finished!!! Yesterday morning I bound off the buttonband and yesterday afternoon I sewed on buttons. This cardigan turned out better than I imagined it would - the length is perfect, the sleeves hit just where I want them, and I'm absolutely positive I'll get a ton of wear out of it. 

Let's talk stats!

I started this project January 5th and bound off February 1st. Three weeks for a sport weight sweater isn't too shabby and I used stash yarn and library pattern stash to knit this up -that meets two of my goals for 2014. I was a little worried about having a couple of inches of positive ease built into the sweater but I don't feel like it necessarily translated into the finished garment. My yarn isn't superwash so it didn't do that melty opening-up thing that superwash yarns usually do, but it's totally fine with me. I did a slightly rough block on the sweater after setting in the sleeves and before picking up the button band - a more thorough block after the first wear will open up the lace a little more and smooth out the button band.

Pattern: Pomme de Pin by Amy Christoffers
Yarn: Valley Yarns Northampton Sport in Ocean Heather
Needles: US #6 (4 mm) & US #5 (3.75 mm) Hiya Hiya Sharp Interchangeables
Mods: I knit the sleeves two at a time until the sleeve caps and then knit them one at a time. The sleeves are shorter - only 17 inches instead of 19 - and I did 20 rounds of ribbing at the cuff. I used 1394 yards and the pattern called for 1400 yards. I think if I had decided to knit the sleeves as long as the pattern indicated I would have run out of yarn instead of having about half a skein left over. Phew! 

I hope you liked my Start to Finish series! I found it pretty rewarding to think more in-depth about my decision-making process regarding sweater knitting and how that translates to a finished garment that I'm happy with. In fact, I liked it so much that I'm planning on doing another one later in the year. Thank you for following along!