My First Giveaway!

I’m so excited about this!  I have a beautiful dpn cozy to giveaway here on the blog!!

The origin of this giveaway started over on Instagram.  I’ve been following MayBea Crafted (I’m not sure how or why I started following her) but she makes lovely project bags and dpn cozies.  A few weeks ago she posted a pic of some dpn cozies she was working on in some really cool feminist fabric so I left a comment about how awesome they were.  She then asked what I like or don’t like in dpn cozies.  I told her I had never used them but was thinking of trying one out and I’d keep an eye out for her next shop update.

Side note, before I continue, I had recently been thinking about dpn cozies after listening to the Yarns at Yinhoo podcast.  Sara mentioned she had never really seen a need for them (and I was agreeing with her).  I did not really understand what they were for what they did.  When Sara said they kept her dpns in place that she carried around with her I started rethinking my position on dpn cozies.  This is what led me to leave the comment on MayBea Crafted’s Instagram post.

Well, a few hours later I got a dm on Instagram from Tanya (the talent behind MayBea Crafted) offering to send me a dpn cozy to try out and let her know what I thought.  I was so blown away by her kind offer.  I sent her my address and mentioned I would be sure to feature on the blog.  That’s when she offered to send two so I could keep one and give one away!

I’ve tried mine out – I swapped out my work socks so that my pair on dpns was thrown in the bag.  Also in the bag is yarn and needles for the little ornaments I work on at lunch to sell at craft shows this fall so this bag gets a workout during the week.  I’ve loved it so far! Despite best efforts to safely place socks back in a project bag, somehow it seems like I often pull them out with one needle missing a row of live stitches to be placed back on the needle.  Using the dpn cozy all my needles and stitches were right where I left them.

I really thought the length of the cozy was just right.  It was long enough to hold the needles but not so long that it did not fit in my project bag or to allow the needles to move around in the cozy.  The snap closures were a little tight but I’m sure they will loosen up with use.  It was beautifully sewn and I love the fabrics.

I’m totally sold on using these cozies and I’m sure I’ll be buying another one from Tanya. Along with the cozies she sent two notepads and the loveliest note that reminded me again why the knitting community is the best!!!

Now, to enter to win – leave a comment on this post telling me whether or not you use dpn cozies and if you do use them what you like and dislike about them.  Contest will close in 2 weeks on April 25th.  I’ll use random number generator to chose a winner – good luck!!!

What’s on my Needles This Weekend

During the week I was doing my usual daily check of the Hot Right Now patterns on Ravelry and came across these adorable Easter bunnies.  These types of projects totally suck me in (see last year’s Easter knitting extravaganza).  The pattern was free and claimed it would only take an hour to knit a bunny.  Sold!

The pattern is from Filature du Vaulgaudemar which appears to be a French yarn company, it can be found here.  It calls for worsted weight yarn (although I think anything would do if you also substituted needle sizes as well).  Basically, the pattern tells you to knit a square and then has a photo tutorial for putting in stitches that are cinched which form the ears and face.  Here’s the fun part – the back is sewn along the top so the bunny bottom is left open and can be stuffed with candy.  The instructions then have you weave a ribbon through the bottom stitches so it can be cinched closed.  I don’t know about you, but I know a few small children who will think it’s hysterical that candy comes out of the bunny’s bum!!

For the one I knit yesterday I used leftover Zealana Artisan Tui which has a nice fuzzy look to it.  The instructions warn you to be careful not to break the yarn as you are forming the ears and I, of course, broke the yarn.  I’ve decided to use some scrap acryllic on the next one so that it is strong enough to pull tight.  It took me a bit longer than an hour to knit the square and then do all the assembling and I still need to sew up the back but this is what I got done yesterday.

It’s really like magic!  It’s another great stash buster, especially for any stash with a nice halo to it.  I’m hoping to knit up a few more for some of my little friends before Easter.  If you were looking for a quick, Easter knit I would definitely check out this pattern!!

March FO’s

Well, I’m working my way through the list of 17!  I finished my 5th UFO this month which meant new cast on (more on that later!).  Back to the FO’s, I’ll start with what else has been crossed off the list.

First up is The Turtles’ Journey Shawl by Heather Anderson.  I started this as part of a KAL in 2015 and definitely did not finish it before the KAL ended.  It reminded me of my trip to Hawaii and I just loved it.  I used Blue Sky Baby Alpaca that was part of one of my rummage sale hauls.  I had a lot of it so I decided to make the larger size (bad move!).  This thing is gigantic and still needs blocking but at least the knitting is done.  It’s a fun knit but does require concentration.  And, while I thought that a picot bind off was my least favorite, I think a knitted on border is my least favorite cast off, especially on a shawl of this size!

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Next thing I finished from the list is the Head in the Clouds hat by Jess Kallberg.  This was one of those patterns that swepts through my knitting group like a 24 hour bug.  It calls for Madeline Tosh Unicorn Tails and is a really fun, really quick knit.  Once I picked it up I finished it in a weekend.  It would also be a good way to use up scraps or other mini skeins that you have hanging around.

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Last, but certainly not least, I finished 2 preemie hats.  I’ve talked about the Into the Wool Fiber Retreat I will be attending in September.  As part of that retreat there are a number of pre-retreat KALs going on.  The charity KAL is collecting preemie caps for a local NICU. So, no pattern involved here, I just found some acryllic in my stash and cast on and knit until it looked big enough.  You will see my sizing varies, but so so the sizes of babies’ heads 🙂  I’m hoping to get a least one done per month leading up to the retreat.

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I’m hoping to get a few more things done in April but I’m on track to get rid of that never-ending UFO list by the end of the year.  I’m also hopeful that in April I can get back to my usual posting schedule and reading time – fingers crossed!

Paper or…

Well, not plastic but electronic, maybe???  I keep going back and forth between trying to be paperless with my patterns and still printing them out.  This has been coming up as I’ve been (slowly) working through my WIPs.  Some of them have patterns stuck in the bag and others don’t so I have to figure out where I downloaded them.  It’s also a question that comes up for designers when they are formatting their patterns.  I thought I would together a list of the pros and cons of each.

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Paper patterns

Pros:

  • Easy to write on and take notes
  • Stick in project bag so always together
  • No worries about battery use
  • New books 🙂

Cons:

  • Risk of loss is high
  • Not environmently friendly
  • Unable to access any links included with pattern
  • Can be bulky if there are numerous pages and charts
  • Printing issues (running out of ink and/or paper, etc)

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Electronic copies

Pros:

  • Save paper/ink (and the forests)
  • Clickable links to useful tutorials

Cons:

  • Remembering which device it’s on (maybe that’s just me!)
  • Remembering where on the device it’s stored
  • Battery issues
  • Limited to screen size
  • Can only look at one page at a time

For me, I usually end up just printing the pages I need and sticking it in my project bag.  I find that works best for me.  When I lined up my 17 WIPs to finish I made sure a copy of the pattern was in each bag so I was ready to go!  So paper or electronic for you???

February FO’s

Another month and two more FO’s!  That makes 4 for the year and I’m almost to five which means I can cast on something new.  At this point, I’m still getting a finishing high so while I have my eye on a few things I’m planning on keeping it up.

My first FO is the Kindness Shawl by Jaala Spiro.  This was designed for her Knit Circus gradient yarn, and as much as I really want to get my hands on that I stuck to my “use stash” rule.  In my stash I had a gradient kit from Fiber Optics Yarn that I bought at Estes Park in the Wild Thyme colorway.  I had been waiting for just the right thing for it and this was it!  The pattern called for 415-430 yards of fingering and the gradient set had 450 yards.

This was my first time knitting with a number of mini skeins and I thought I was going to run out of yarn the whole time I was knitting.  Those little skeins don’t seem to go so far but I had plenty.  I wanted to make sure I used all the colors so I added an extra lace repeat and ended up with a teeny, tiny ball left so it was perfect!  Wild Thyme goes from a blue/purple to a bright, light green.

The pattern is free!  I’m not sure if it was the mini skeins or the pattern or the combo but it was a really fun knit.  The nice folks at Knit Circus are running a KAL for the pattern and are donating to two different charities for the first 100 finished shawls through March 1st. Spreading more knitting kindness through the world.

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I still need to block out the lace but it’s pretty even before blocking!!!

My other FO is a little less exciting.  I’m hoping to replace all my worn out (and poorly knit) dishclothes.  I did this one real quick – it’s the Citrus Slice Dishcloth by Bernat.  I used some kitchen cotton from my stash.  I saw on Instagram Colorado Knits is knitting a montly themed dishcloth each month for a friend and I loved this idea so I may get some more cotton and figure out some more monthly themes.  I think this lemon slice is perfect for June!

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So, quick list update:

  • SBB Mitts – which was part of the 2016 Indie Designer Gift-A-Long – DONE!
  • Rainy Season Mitts – a test knit I did last year but only had to complete one mitt
  • Turtle Journey Shawl – a KAL I started in 2015
  • Werifesteria Shawl – a KAL I did last year
  • Striped socks – started these over the summer
  • Shiney Penny Cowl – I cast this on last year with handspun I got from a friend
  • Derecho – the bain of my existence, I cast this on in May, 2014
  • I Smell Snow socks – these are my work socks and I started them late 2016
  • Christmas socks – cast on during Advent 2016
  • Peace Cowl – this was the Peace-A-Long that was held during December
  • Pussy Hat – for the Women’s March!!! – DONE!
  • Sunny the Snowman – new pattern by Susan Claudino
  • Baable hat – cast on in 2016 because I could not resist the kit put together by Knerd Shop
  • Kindness Shawl – this is a KAL being hosted by Knit Circus – DONE!
  • Cabled Cowl – I had this picked out and ready to go with yarn I got in Hawaii in 2014
  • Citrus Slice dishcloth – I need new dishclothes and I will talk more about this during the year – DONE!
  • Head in the Clouds Hat – I bought yarn for this sometime last year so decided to get it cast on so it could be part of the 17.

Moving right along!!  Bonus – no new cast ons this month and no yarn bought!!  Yes, I’ve gone 2 whole months so far!!!

Reconsidering

I’ve never actually reconsidered a project but that’s what I’ve been doing this weekend. Being a process knitter, I usually just plow through a project.  So, let’s back up.  As I mentioned last week I’m participating in the #loveyouryarnchallenge on Instagram (along with everyone else in the knitting world) and Friday’s prompt was your oldest stash. (Side note – if you’re looking for a nice distraction check out that hashtag.  One prompt was where you knit and that day was filled with beautiful nooks, another day was travel knitting and that had pictures from all over.  It’s a great place to just relax and enjoy yarn)

Anyway, oldest stash.  I had been thinking all day at work about what that might be.  I had a couple of things in mind (and also thought it might be time to destash those as I have no interest in knitting them).  It then came to me – the bag that is my Barn Raising Quilt. And then it occurred to me that this is where the stash began.

I started the Barn Raising Quilt sometime prior to July, 2008.  I know this because it was my travel project during my trip to Australia.  I also know that because it was around 2008 when I started going to my current LYS which is where I got the book and the yarn for the project.

I started knitting in 2003 and for those first five years I was basically a buy yarn, knit project, go buy new yarn type of person.  I had collected some leftovers from projects but really didn’t have a “stash” per se.  The Barn Raising Quilt is in a book called Knitalong: Celebrating the Tradition of Knitting Together.  It might be one of the first few knitting books I bought.  I think I bought it for the Pinwheel Blanket which is a fun baby blanket because it’s round!

I decided to start the Quilt as I knew it would be a good travel project.  Here’s the funny thing – the project talks about how you can use your leftovers to make the squares.  I had none so I bought a ton of sock yarn to start the blanket.  Hence, I now refer to this as the starter stash, you know like a sourdough starter or a friendship bread starter.  In 9 years, I’ve knit 9 squares and they are different sizes because at some point I changed needle sizes.  When I pulled it out to photograph I really started to think about it.

What I thought was – I hate knitting these squares.  They are very fiddly to start with and they are actually very large so knocking one out in a night is not always an option.  This might explain my lack of progress.  Also, it turns out it’s a terrible travel project. I always lose a dpn or a stitch marker and trying to start one while moving is not fun.

I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with the existing squares but I am going to put the yarn in with the rest of my stash.  I can say that my color sense has not changed much over the past 9 years.  I still love all this yarn, it just needs to be something different.  So, with that, I will hold a minute of silence for my Barn Raising Quilt, and then move on to something new.

January FO’s (a few days late)

Is it just me or did those last couple of weeks of January hit everyone like a sledgehammer???  Outside of the general craziness here in the US, I was struck down with the office plague and then there was just stuff.  I’m going to use this week to do a little January wrap up and a look forward.

January FO’s

4 Pussyhats!  That’s one item off my list of 17.  I talked extensively about these in my last post so I’ll move on.

I finished a pair of fingerless mitts which are a gift for my best friend who is moving to Belgium in a couple of weeks.  A couple of months ago I went to visit her and we hit all my favorite Ann Arbor stops including Spun Ann Arbor.  Why Not Fibers was having a trunk show and I had to buy!  I found this beautiful yarn that was raised, processed, and dyed in Michigan.  I thought it would be a nice reminder of home when she moves. This was the same trip where she asked if I would make her a hat and picked out Malabrigo Caracol in Paris Nights (I had already picked out this colorway!)  It is on their Shoreline base which is a 50/50 BFL blend/Alpaca and is an Aran weight. I really loved this yarn – it was so soft and easy to knit with.  I think it’s going to be really warm too (because BFL/Alpaca!).    The pattern is SBB Mitts by Amanda Scheuzger. It was part of the Indie Designer Gift-A-Long but I clearly missed the deadline! They were an easy, fun knit and I can’t wait to give them to my friend next week! This is another item off my 17ufosin2017 list so 2 down!

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Goals

I finished 2 items from the list of 17!!!  The only thing I’ve cast on since the 1st of the year is a gift that I need to have done by spring.  Likewise, the only yarn I’ve bought is yarn for said gift so I’m rocking those goals so far!!

As far as tech editing goes, I’ve participated in some Instagram challenges and did get a new client but I need to keep plugging away on that.

A couple of patterns that I tech edited were published yesterday!  You will definitely want to check out Point/Counterpoint Vol. 2.  This is a fun concept and collaboration between Kino Knits and Prairie Girl Susie from the Prairie Girls Knit & Spin podcast.  They each started with a yarn and designed an original pattern and then exchanged yarns and a photo of the FO and designed something based on that photo.  I worked with Mary on her two patterns which are the Springs to Mind hat and the Lean Into the Wind cowl. I love the cowl and Susie’s shawl but if you like knitting hats and are looking for some interesting hats to knit you really need to check out this collection.  Both Mary and Susie’s hats are super interesting and beautiful.  Mary’s flower motif screams spring to me and I could use a little spring!

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Events

I have some events to share!  First up, I signed up for the Into the Wool Fiber Retreat.  It’s being held in Tennessee in September.  It is put on by Dana from Unwind Yarn Company and the Just One More Row podcast and Tiffany.  I understand there might still be a few spots so if you’re interested you can check out the info thread in their Ravelry group.  It’s only $300 and it’s all inclusive – meals, lodging, and fun!!!  The Ravelry group is quite chatty and I fear they may force me to learn how to spin while I’m there but we’ll see!

My LYS announced this week that they are hosting Bristol Ivy for a weekend in April.  I’m super excited about that.  She is teaching 4 classes and I signed up for the Reading Your Knitting class.  Honestly, I’m terrible at reading my knitting and I thought it might be useful in my tech editing work as well.  It was hard to choose, she was also teaching Short Rows, Blocking, and a designing course.

If you’re on Instagram and haven’t fallen to peer pressure yet, the lovely ladies from Ravelry are hosting a #yarnlovechallenge photo challenge and everyone, I mean everyone, is participating.  It’s lots of fun and very yarn focused (go figure!) so easy to play along with, I’m really enjoying this one.

I think that’s about everything from the last few weeks.  Hopefully February will be a little less crazy!