7.17.2014

Spinning Once Again

My poor spinning wheel. It sits in the corner collecting dust for months at a time. And, I thought when I joined the Sweet Georgia Fibre Club that would make me want to get the ol' wheel out more. Nope. I have 6 months worth of fiber from the club and just now finished spinning one up. But now I'm on a roll and have started on a second one! (we'll see how long that lasts).

Anyway, here is the yarn I just finished up:
This was actually the February shipment. The colorway is Love Letters. It's so pretty. And, it's a merino/bamboo/silk blend. So yummy.
I separated the colors out best I could into three piles: purple, pink and grey. And then I split the purple and pink piles in half. I spun the singles by doing purple, pink, grey, pink and purple. Then I chain plied it. So, I have a kind of gradient-ish yarn. I ended up with about 150 yards in the end. Not sure what I will make with it. I have a real habit of spinning the yarn and then never using it. Just petting/admiring it. :)

I didn't sign up for the third quarter for the club. But I've told myself if I finish spinning at least half of what I already received, maybe I'll treat myself to the 4th quarter shipments. We'll see what happens.

Happy spinning!


7.15.2014

Blog Interview: Andrea Jurgrau

Recently I was able to get a review copy on the new book New Vintage Lace by Andrea Jurgrau. I immediately fell in love. The projects in the book are so beautiful and I love lace and lace design so much I just had to find out more about her and her new book.
Here is my interview with Andrea:




How did you get started in designing knitting patterns? 



I started about a decade ago, when I friend of mine started a yarn company.  She needed some “yarn support” and I was already designing my own lace, but not really documenting what I was knitting.  I starting writing up my designs and just kept going!



What inspired you to write this book? 



I got very interested in vintage doilies, began using them to inspire wearable pieces and realized I had a books worth of material.



Do you have a favorite stitch dictionary or where are your favorite places to find stitch patterns? 



I own stitch dictionaries from all over the world, but right now I almost never use them.  I chart most of my lace from my internal “stitch dictionary.”



Having written a knitting book, I know that it can be an all-consuming project. Can you tell me a little bit about your book writing process (timeline, pattern inspiration, etc?) 



I tend to be a concept designer.  Once I have that concept I just design until I feel done with it!  In the case of New Vintage Lace, I had already designed more than half of the projects in the book before I even thought of it as a book proposal.  So filling up the book with designs was easy for me.  Actually writing up the technique sections, the swatching chapter and the final chapter took a little more work, to really get the information clearly stated.  The team at Interweave, and my lovely editor Ann Budd, made sure I didn’t drift off.



There are a lot of patterns in this book. Did you get help with the knitting?



Knitting a full sample is actually a part of my process, so I knit each piece In the book at least once.  And then each piece was test knit by at least 2 other knitters (and in some cases 4.)  All the samples in the book except one were knit by me.  I have some wonderful test knitters!



What are your plans for the future? Anything upcoming you can share with us? Any more books? 



I am working on another book proposal right now.  That means that I already the concept fully fleshed out and have more than half of the pieces knit (and a few more in the design process.)  I might have more to share about that soon!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I find it so interesting to hear about other people's design process. Thanks Andrea! As for me, even though I rarely knit other people's lace patterns these days, there are a couple shawls in this book that may end up on the needles. 


and 




 That is some seriously beautiful lace! You can see all the projects on the Ravelry page for the book (warning: you will want to make everything in the book if you click that link). 

You can find New Vintage Lace in yarn stores and bookstores now, or can purchase one here.



Photos courtesy of Interweave/F+W.

7.11.2014

A Pile O' Hats

My Hat KAL/CAL for Hope is still going strong. It's been so great seeing pictures and posts from people in the Ravelry group who are making hats! I had a couple of hats already knit, and I managed to finish up 5 hats while on the Nashville trip. There was lots of car knitting time, and a couple of those hats were already on the needles.

So far, my pile of hats has 8 hats in it (still need to weave in ends, as a tapestry needle somehow was missing from my knitting bag while on the trip):
I think my favorite hat I made so far is this one:
It's a just a plain hat, but the yarn I used (Blue Sky Alpacas Extra Yarn) is just so cozy. I also used central double decreases for the crown, and that made me happy. I love me some CDD! :)

There's still time to join in the KAL/CAL fun. You can find all the details in this Ravelry thread!

Happy hat knitting and crocheting!


7.09.2014

Nashville: The Yarn

So, as I mentioned in the last post, there was yarn on my trip to Nashville. How could there not be!? When I go to yarn shop on vacation, I try to get something that I can't get at home or is local to the place I'm visiting. I did good this time.

I got a skein of Spartickes Dyes sock yarn. The colorway is 'Crystal Blue Persuasion.' I love Breaking Bad. I could not resist it.
The dyer is located in Nashville, so it was the perfect vacation yarn. I was all happy with that, but then I found this skein:
Again sock yarn. This one from Unwind Yarn Company, which is located in TN as well. I have a feeling this one is going to be wound up and turning into a shawl in no time.

So, good yarn purchases for me. Yay!

7.07.2014

Nashville

Last week, Alex found himself with a week off of work (he works on contract and contractors were furloughed). We decided to pack up and head to Nashville. It was such a great trip! I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a fun long weekend. We saw many things.

We walked all around downtown and went and saw the Ryman Auditorium (old home of the Grand Ole Opry).
We also went to Station Inn, where we saw John Carter Cash (son of Johnny Cash & June Carter) perform. All the acts we saw there were awesome. One of my favorite parts of the trip!
The next day we decided to get into the car and head to The Hermitage, where Andrew Jackson lived. Lots of history to learn about there.
We also went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and went on the RCA Studio B tour. Lots of hit songs were recorded there. It was super cool.
And then we went to the Grand Ole Opry. It was actually how we decided to go to Nashville in the first place. The Oak Ridge Boys were going to be on the Opry on the Fourth of July. The first concert I ever went to was The Oak Ridge Boys (my dad had gotten free tickets from work), so they have always had a weird, special place in my heart. :) Before the show we got the backstage tour. Again, awesome.
(of course we bought the $20 picture of us standing on the stage. It's a ripoff, but yet you have to have it!)
The entire show was great, but the highlight for me (of course) was The Oak Ridge Boys playing 'Elvira.'
There was yarn too. But I am going to save that for another post. :)

Nashville was one of the most fun trips Alex and I have taken yet! So much to see and do!







7.02.2014

Party Barbie Michael

I don't think it's a secret around here that my obsession with Stacey's patterns grows every week. I've made so many things. Her patterns are so easy to follow and they are nice break from all the knit designing I've been doing these days. So, when I heard my niece had become unicorn obsessed, it was auntie to the rescue. And of course, Stacey had the perfect pattern.

She named it Party Barbie Michael (4 year olds are weird):
That hair! That was my favorite part of the whole pattern!
I used the Premier Yarns Everyday Worsted. I couldn't resist all the bright colors! I have enough to make a second one. My niece's friend is also unicorn obsessed, so I think she may be receiving one soon too!

6.26.2014

Hat KAL/CAL for Hope

Last week we started the Hat KAL/CAL for Hope over in my Ravelry group. Don't know what I'm talking about? Here are the details:

It’s the Hat KAL/CAL for Hope.

Last September, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully after surgery, chemo and radiation I’m happy to say that he’s 100% cancer free! Yay! During many trips to the cancer treatment hospital, I noticed the baskets of hats for cancer patients. It made me so happy to see the hats made by knitters and crocheters all over the country. The one thing I did notice though – many of them were more female-friendly. So it got me thinking – why not run a KAL/CAL collecting more gender neutral hats! Seems like a fun idea to me.

Here's a pic of the day my dad finished chemo/radiation. Cupcakes and hugs from his granddaughter were of course involved! :)

 

So, here’s the plan:

From June 16 to July 18 (that’s 5 weeks) I’ll be running a KAL/CAL here in my Ravelry group. You can use any pattern you want. I would like to collect as many adult-sized gender neutral hats as possible, but will certainly take whatever you want to knit and/or crochet.

Once your hats are complete, you can mail them to me. Please ship them by 7/18, so they have time to get here before Stitches Midwest, where I will donate them to Halos for Hope. Because they are being sent to a PO Box, please send them regular mail. UPS/FedEx will not send them to the PO Box.

You can mail them to:

Jen Lucas
P.O. Box 146
Fox River Grove, IL 60021


When you mail them, please include a note with your Ravelry name, so I know who sent them. Why do I need your Ravelry name? Because there are going to be prizes of course!

My goal is to get 100 hats for Stitches Midwest. Think we can do it??

You can get more details in the thread in my Rav group. Hope you can join us!

6.04.2014

Coldspring

It's been months since my last pattern release, but a new one is finally here. While at Stitches Midwest last year, I bought some qivuit yarn from Windy Valley Musk Ox. I had been eyeing that yarn for years. I bought two balls, knowing that I would make something lovely with it one day. I guess it was waiting to become Coldspring:

From the pattern description:
Sometimes when you enter a yarn shop or market at a convention, there’s that yarn that just speaks to you. The yarn you can’t live without. That’s what happened to me and the Qiviut Royal Blend yarn at Stitches Midwest last year. I just couldn’t leave the market floor without it. I knew that I would make it into a shawl one day, but needed time to think about what I wanted this shawl to be. Finally, Coldspring entered my mind. My love for garter stitch paired with lace runs deep, and the combination is perfect for this yarn. It’s delicate, interesting and fun to knit!

The shawl starts at the top center and is worked outwards. There is increasing happening every row, giving it a nice crescenty shape. 
I love love love knitted-on borders, and this one was so fun to knit. Completely addicting!
This shawl turned out beautiful and the pictures turned out even more beautiful thanks to Jill and her mad photography skills!

The pattern is currently at $4.50. It will go up to its regular price of $6.50 on June 14th. So, get it on sale while you can! :) Hope you enjoy this new pattern as much as I do!

6.02.2014

Cardi in Progress

I mentioned what seems like forever ago that I was making a Hitofude cardigan. I started it, and then promptly got sick of knitting it. It sat in the project bag for a month (or two or three) until over Memorial Day weekend when I was looking for something to work on while on the trip to Ohio to visit Alex's relatives. I'm so glad I picked it back up. Once I got through all the lace repeats for the sleeves, I got my cardi mojo back. I have been knitting a few rows on it each night now.

This sweater is sooo interesting to knit. You start with a provisional cast on and then work the sleeves/back in a flat rectangle. Then, you 3-needle bind off the sleeves and KNIT IN THE ROUND (that's all in caps because it blew my mind that you had to do that) in ribbing for a few rounds to do the neck and waist. It's back to knitting back and forth and you start increasing slowly (which is where I am now) in the fronts to make the cardigan all drapey and swingy).

The pattern is genius!

Hopefully in another week or two I will have a finished sweater to show you (just in time for summer, of course).

5.22.2014

FO: Blanket for Mom

It took a lot of Netflix watching and listening to audiobooks to get it done, but I got it done. My mom absolutely loved the blanket I crocheted for her for Mother's Day! Yay!
I finished it up a couple days before Mother's Day. Look at me, getting done all early!
I went over to my parents' house over the weekend to help with some yard work and when I walked in, my mom was under her blanket (side note: basically, 2/3 of my family is under a blanket whenever possible). I'm glad she likes it!

The pattern I used was Juicy Fruits and Whipped Cream Throw from Red Heart (it's a free pattern). I used more yarn that what the pattern called for, but I think I made my blanket bigger. I didn't pay much attention to the dimensions in the pattern, I just kept crocheting until I decided it was long enough. I used 6 skeins of the grey, and two skeins each of the other colors. I used Red Heart Soft for the blanket.

Since finishing I have been constantly searching on Ravelry for more blankets to crochet. I think I am becoming addicted to the big crochet projects. :)