5.06.2015

New Pattern: Maya

Earlier this week, I released a new shawl pattern. This is Maya:

$6.50
I'm obsessed with this shawl (I say that about just about every new design, don't I?). It was so fun to knit! It's worked sideways, increasing in the stockinette triangle while at the same time knitting a border along the edge.
You get to the end of the triangle, work a short "turning section" to get around the corner, and work a knitted-on border along the live stitches that are still on the needle on the short edge of the triangle.
I used Done Roving Frolicking Feet DK. Paula has new 500 yard balls of this yarn in "Monochromatic Gradients." I think the color transition is so cool. Definitely kept my interest while knitting!

$6.50

I hope you enjoy this new pattern and I'd love to hear what you think about this shawl shape. I've been experimenting with different shapes lately. I really like this one and want to know if you do too!

5.05.2015

Two Weeks

The last two weeks have gone by in a blur. The last two weeks have been full of highs and lows. The best time ever followed by the worst time ever.

So, a couple weeks ago my sister and I headed off to Playa del Carmen for vacation. Our very first sister trip! We left knowing that my dad hadn't been doing well health-wise. He wanted us to go and drink some Rum Runners for him. So we did. Oh so many.
That's actually a Mango Tango. I have no idea what's in it. :)
 We walked along the beach and enjoyed the resort.
My sister was even nice and put on a wool shawl in the Mexican heat so I could get some photos of my new shawl, Maya:
Unfortunately, while we were flying home, my dad took a turn for the worst. We went straight from the airport to the hospital. And a couple days later, he passed away.

Many of you know that my dad had been diagnosed with cancer in late 2013 (my inspiration for my Hat KAL/CAL for Hope last year). And while he was cancer-free when he went to "the big casino in the sky" (those are his words) the cancer was so hard on his body that it really didn't help the other medical issues he had. 

My family has peace in that we were all home (even my brother that lives in Fargo was randomly visiting) and that my dad is no longer suffering. It had been a long two years.

I'll think of him when I look at my knitting tattoo. When I got it he told me it was "the yuppy version of skull and crossbones." I don't even know what that means.
I'll also think of him when I fail to check gauge which results in something being 12 sizes too big. Let's just say that one of the first hats I ever made was for him and it was hilariously too big. Like it covered his entire head, face and all. And some of his neck too. He still told me it was perfect and it was just what he wanted. :)

4.29.2015

YarnCon

The last couple of years I've always had something going on the weekend of YarnCon and couldn't attend. Not this time! This year I was able to teach my Lovely Lace Borders class at the event and even had some time for shopping.

I thought the market area was great. Lots of local, indie vendors. You're definitely able to find things here you wouldn't see at a lot of other shows.
I did a little damage on the market floor. You know me, I can't resist the pretties.

First I picked up a couple project bags (because they're kind of like yarn, you can never have too many). I had to have the Blackhawks project bag. And when I found the nerdy bag at Art Institchtute of Chicago I whipped out the debit card faster than you can say, "Lab Nerd."
And then there were the gradients. First stop was Knitcircus. One of my absolute favorites.
I also bought this ball from Mia Bella. I had no idea that the shop was dyeing their own yarn now. I loved this one. I can't wait to see how it knits up!
Teaching my class was also wonderful. I had great students and we had a good time talking about lace borders. I've already blocked off my calendar for YarnCon 2016. I never want to miss this event again.

4.27.2015

Needle Review: Knitter's Pride Bamboo Deluxe Interchangeables

A couple months ago I was sent some Knitter's Pride Bamboo Deluxe Interchangeable Needles to try. I'll admit, I'm not much of a bamboo knitting person, so I wasn't sure how I would feel about this set.
I used them for a secret project for a magazine. And you know what? I really liked them!

Just like I reported with the Trendz needles, the join was perfect and they didn't unscrew once. That is probably the most important thing to me when it comes to interchangeable needles and I'm quite pleased that I had no problems in that department.

Like I said, I don't use bamboo needles a lot. I don't like how many yarns can catch on the wood. They are never pointy enough for me. These Knitter's Pride Bamboo needles seemed to be much smoother. I was using a yarn that should have been catching like crazy on a bamboo needle, and it didn't at all. And while they were not as pointy as I like (I like my needles to be so pointy they could cause bodily harm), they are a little more pointy than other bamboo needles I own. I mean, it's wood you can only get so pointy. :)

This deluxe set comes with 10 tips (US 2.5 up to US 11) and 4 cords. I love that this set has a US 2.5 and US 3 in it. Many sets don't include tips that go that low. As a big-time shawl knitter and someone who knits with a ton of sock yarn, that was a very pleasant surprise.

If you are looking for a bamboo set of interchangeables, I would recommend giving this set a try. They were the best bamboo needles I've used and I look forward to using them again on future projects!

Disclaimer: I received these needles for free in order to review them. My review is 100% my honest opinion. I did not receive any payment for this review nor did I agree to publish a positive review. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

4.24.2015

What I'm Reading/Watching: April 2015

You may recall that last month I read....nothing. This month I did a little better on the reading front.

I listened to Attachments by Rainbow Rowell.
I really liked this book. It was a cute, quick read/listen. I'm a little sad because now I'm through all the Rainbow Rowell books and have to wait to the new one to come out to read more!

I also listened to Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.
I had a very hard time getting into this book. I didn't love it. I felt like it was moving a little slow. I liked the storyline a lot though, and will definitely give future Robin Sloan books a try.

Because I've been knitting a lot on my book deadline, I still haven't finished To Kill A Mockingbird. I'm loving the book, I just haven't been able to give it a lot of time this month. My Kindle tells me I'm 65% of the way through the book. I may get the audiobook so I can finish this one up!

As for watching, I watched the current season of Girls. We ditched HBO a couple of months ago and it was the only thing I really missed. Our cable company had a week of free HBO On-Demand this month and I took that opportunity to watch the entire season. I also watched the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. I thought it was amazing and will definitely be rewatching it soon!

What did you read/watch this month?

Wonder what I read/watched last month? Check out this blog post.

4.22.2015

WIP Wednesday: Andromeda

The Andromeda Peplum Vest is starting to take shape:
I have almost the entire top part done. I just need to do the final edging around the sleeves and then it's on to the bottom. Speaking of sleeves, I mentioned in the last post about this piece that I thought I might have to do something to make the sleeve hole a little bigger. Turns out I was sketching and planning for nothing - my arm fits in the armhole just fine.
Can't wait to finish this up and wear it!

It's WIP Wednesday, what are you working on?

4.20.2015

Look! Spinning!

I always do it. I finish one spinning project and immediately start another. And then don't work on it for many months. After finishing up the Sweet Georgia BFL last July, I started working on some pretty roving from KnittyandColor.
I ended up with about 190 yards/3.5 oz of a 3-ply. I call this my "sweet spot." I always end up with around the same amount every time I spin! I spin so infrequently I haven't been too worried about trying to get thinner singles. I just spin when I feel like spinning and what I get, I get. :)
As is it is the cycle, I started something new on the wheel! Hopefully it won't be almost a year before I'm posting photos on the blog (but I wouldn't be surprised if it was).

4.16.2015

Ochiba

I've released the final pattern in the Gradient Shawl Collection. The final pattern is Ochiba, a large, half-pi shawl.
$6.50

I really like the idea of combining classic stitch patterns with a classic shawl shape. It makes for one classy shawl!
For this shawl I used the Luxe Fingering (XL) from Apple Tree Knits. Yet another Stitches Midwest purchase from last year. With 1000 yards in the ball, you definitely end up with a nice-sized piece that can be worn many different ways.
I really loved putting this whole collection together. So much so that I have plans to do another shawl collection like this next year!  I really loved designing shawls with yarn I was so excited about, so that's my plan for early 2016. I'm not sure if it will be with gradients or something new, but I look forward to the challenge.

Like all the other shawls in the collection, Ochiba can be purchased as an individual pattern or as part of the Gradient ebook, which is at its final price of $12.50.


$6.50

I hope you enjoy this final pattern in the collection! Did you have a favorite?

4.14.2015

Needle Organization

It's been quite some time since my needles have been in any kind of order. Over the weekend I decided that something had to be done about it. I couldn't take the needle disaster any longer!

I started by taking my two Namaste circular cases (I have a regular one and a double wide) and separating my circulars. I use circulars for just about everything. And, I have a ton of them. Now I can locate the one I need easily.
Then I went through all my KnitPicks Interchangeables. I have a ton of those too! Thanks to the Erin Lane Bags needle case I bought at Stitches Midwest a couple years ago, I'm nice and organized on the interchangeable front too.
I love the way the case folds up!
So now the drawer that once contained a giant tangle o' needles is nice and neat. I hope I can keep it this way.
I threw out some needles too. Anything that was bent or coming apart had to go. I feel better knowing that all the needles in that drawer are in good working order.

Maybe next month I'll tackle the double-pointed needles. Because having them all tossed inside one mason jar isn't really working either.

How do you like to store your needles and hooks?



4.10.2015

Shoe Envy

A few weeks ago, my friend Vickie arrived at knit night with some new shoes she had bought that day. Of course we made her model them:
That's right, those are some knit Chuck Taylors. They're so cute!
She found them at a department store (I can't remember which one now). I've found them on a few different websites, including Macy's website here. And you can get them in red too.

Those are definitely some shoes all knitters could use!


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