Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Knitting

Sweater & Photo by Christelle Nihoul

I kicked off the season of frenetic holiday knitting with a super cute pullover sweater for my youngest son.  This is a test knit for French knitwear designer, Christelle Nihoul.  The pattern is Trooper - still in the testing phase.  I have not previously knit any of Christelle's designs.  But, she does beautiful work and I love her style!  The cool sleeve detail and raglan shaping of the Trooper sweater caught my eye initially. And, the boys were intrigued by the photos of the designer's son sporting warpaint and a tough scowl.

The yarn for my Trooper is Luna Grey Fiber Arts Calypso - our new, light worsted, 100% superwash merino wool yarn.  I love, love, love this yarn!  It's super soft and light.  And, it knits like a dream!

Sadly, I have run into many difficulties with the pattern.  Christelle has been so sweet and helpful.  Unfortunately, I think much of the problem is in the translation (French to English).  When I had to rip back over 2,000 stitches for the third time, I decided it was time to set this project aside until after the holidays.  I had originally planned for it to be an xmas gift for my sweet boy.  Not to be : (

After a frustrating couple of weeks knitting Trooper...I decided it was time for some instant gratification.  So, I cast on for a simple, cable knit hat for my man.  I had just dyed up a new bulky weight, merino base yarn and was dying to try it out.  The yarn is Apollo in the Tradewinds colorway and it's just dreamy - so super duper soft and lofty.  It  takes dye beautifully too!  Watch for it in the shop soon!  The pattern is Corrina Ferguson's Snappy Hat - a free pattern off Ravelry.  This is comfort knitting at its finest - just what I needed.  In two hours the hat is just about finished!  Love that!!! 


Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Collaboration

A while back, on a whim, I sent a little message on Ravelry to pattern designer, Amy Miller.  I had long admired Amy's work and felt that we had a very similar aesthetic.  My business was just starting out. And, I figured that getting my yarn into the hands of pattern designers would be great exposure.  I thought that they might knit something up and share it with their Ravelry "friends".  Maybe a few people would "like" the project.  And, a couple people might even go to the trouble of checking out my shop.

I didn't hear from Amy for several months.  Honestly, I kinda forgot I had even sent her the yarn. However, a little over a week ago, I received a message from her with photos of a gorgeous little shawl she had created with the yarn.  To my surprise, she had designed a pattern, specifically for that yarn.  I was blown away!  Then, she suggested that we consider combining the pattern and the yarn for an all-in-one project kit.  I loved the idea and immediately got to work putting it all together.  I am so happy to introduce the White Dwarf Shawl kit.   This quick little pattern calls for just one skein of Orion sport weight yarn and comes complete with a high quality PDF pattern download.  Thanks, Amy, for your great idea and fantastic pattern!!! 

If the name sounds familiar, it might be because Amy just published this adorable sweater in the latest issue of Interweave Knits.  The Feathernest Pullover is going right to the top of my Ravelry queue!   


Monday, October 14, 2013

In the Works

An incredibly talented friend recently did a little photo shoot for our family.  In exchange, she asked that I knit her a scarf.  Seemed fair enough. She envisioned a big, cozy, chunky, loosely knit, soft gray, cable-knit scarf.  I was super excited that she had chosen something that would be fast and easy to knit.

I knew I wanted to use Mirasol's Ushya yarn.  (My local yarn shop had just received a big shipment of this yarn and I was dying to try it.)  Ushya is a super soft and lofty, braided, super bulky weight merino wool yarn.

I scoured Ravelry hunting for the perfect pattern.  But, I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for.  Ultimately, I decided to just write my own pattern.  I started the project on US size 15 needles, the recommended needle size for this gauge of yarn.  But, the resulting fabric was too stiff and did not have the loose, gauzy feeling I was going for.  I went up to a US size 17 needle.  However, that wasn't quite right either.  Ultimately, I decided on a US Size 19 (15 mm) needle which gave me a knitted fabric that was sturdy enough to not get snagged on everything or pulled out of shape.  But, loose enough that it draped nicely and felt soft and light.  I have never knit with such ginormous needles before!  But, it's so fun how fast this project is knitting up!

I have decided to write up the pattern, as it is different than anything I was able to find online.  It will be called the Telluride Scarf and will be a free pattern on Ravelry.  I will update you guys when it's up and ready to go.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Much Deserved Gift

There are few people more deserving of a beautiful hand knit sweater than my amazing mother.  

I was so happy to be able to create exactly what she wanted...A cozy jacket for Fall.  Knit of lightweight, snuggly soft wool dyed her favorite shade of emerald green.

She looks beautiful, wouldn't you say?  
Of course, her inner beauty shines through no matter what she wears.  

Love you, Mama! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Way from Brighton

I am still plugging away at my mom's Trail Jacket.  Although, I am just about finished with the body portion of the cardigan, I am getting the itch to start another project.  This always seems to happen  when I am about three quarters of the way through a project.  I've heard this condition referred to as startitis (which cracks me up every time I hear it).  I think I suffer from a irreversible case of startitis.  Why is it so much more fun to start a new project than finish one in progress???

Someone who never seems to struggle with this affliction is Jessica (Twinfiber on Ravelry).  She is a knitting machine - cranking out one impressive project after another in record time.  I'm convinced she must knit in her sleep!  She recently finished knitting The Way from Brighton - a gorgeous shawl by talented pattern designer, Joji Locatelli using two skeins of Luna Grey's Zeta yarn in the dusty purple, Enchanted colorway.  I love this shawl!  Jessica said that the fringe bobbles were a little tedious to knit, but the result is so unique and fun, don't you think?    

 All photos by Jessica (Twinfiber)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Talent Pool

While searching Ravelry the other night, I was once again blown away by the plethora of material out there!  I was just looking for a sweater pattern for myself.  Something simple, but not too simple.  Knit in a fingering weight yarn, at a loose gauge (size 7 or 8 needles).  I would like to use my new base yarn, Altair for the sweater.  I am kinda obsessed with it at the moment as it takes color so beautifully.  And, is super soft and silky.  I am sure it will feel amazing on!  

Photo by Hannah Fettig

I have such admiration for pattern designers.  A few talented designers in particular consistently blow me away with their elegant designs and beautiful photographs.  Hannah Fettig is just so cute and creates very wearable, timeless patterns.  Jane Richmond has such a fun, fresh style.  I love all of her designs.  Amy Miller is a new one for me.  But, she's sweet as can be and has been super prolific lately - putting out a new pattern every other week, it seems.  She's currently creating something using Luna Grey Orion in "Harbor".  I can't wait to see what she knits up!

Photo by Amy Miller

The pattern I ultimately decided on for my sweater was Cecily Glowak MacDonald's Breakwater.  I love the wide, ballet neckline and little button detail.  It looks like a sweater I would wear all the time and I figured it would showcase the subtle color differences of the Altair Harbor yarn perfectly.

Do you have a favorite pattern designer?  How about an all-time favorite pattern?



Thursday, September 12, 2013

Better Late than Never

Since moving into the house across the street earlier this summer (Yeah, I know...Aren't we lucky?), my mom has made my life immeasurably easier.  She has volunteered to help me wind and package yarn orders, pick up the boys from school while I dye yarn, volunteer in their classroom, make us dinner, run my errands, water my plants, walk the dog, the list goes on and on.  (Again - How lucky am I?)  It's her nature to think of others and how she can make their lives easier.  I am beginning to wonder how I ever got anything done without her help!    

Well, every year at about this time I come up with grandiose plans to knit her a sweater.  I have gone so far as to purchase the pattern and all the yarn.  Then, I put the whole lot in a bag and shove it into the bottom of the closet.  I'm not sure why.  It's as if I want the sweater to somehow be commensurate with all that she does for our family.  Unfortunately, the project never quite seems to measure up.

I promise, I am getting to the point here...
Shortly after moving to Colorado, my mom joined Weight Watchers and joined a gym.  While she wasn't terribly overweight, she felt sluggish and wasn't happy with how her clothes fit.  In just a few months she's lost 20 lbs and looks and feels fantastic.  I am so proud of her and figured a good way to show it would be to finally knit her that sweater.  I chose Hannah Fettig's Trail Jacket pattern and Luna Grey Aurora yarn in the Emerald colorway.  Hannah has a great style and her patterns are so well written.  The pattern seemed like a good choice, as my mom could wear it as a jacket in the spring and fall.  I am so pleased with the way the project is knitting up.  My mom looks beautiful in deep, jewel tone colors, so I can't wait to see her in this sweater!    

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Welcome Back Giveaway

Is it possible that more than eight months have passed since my last post?  Well, I suppose it is.  I never intended to be absent from this space for so long.  But, life certainly got in the way of blogging for a while.  Many of you know that last month we lost my sister-in-law after her courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.  I must say that losing her knocked the wind out of our sails.  Life is slowly returning to normal.  We miss her every day.  But, are comforted knowing that she is no longer suffering.

Despite the crazy hot summer that we had here in western Colorado, I have lots of knitted projects to share.  Before my sister-in-law's passing, I knit her Jane Richmond's popular, Gemini top.  It was such a fast, easy knit.  And, the resulting top is so flattering and comfortable.  I must say that I had never considered wearing a short-sleeved sweater before knitting this pattern.  But, I love the way it turned out and want to make another one using Luna Grey Zeta yarn.  Maybe with 3/4 length sleeves??

Oh, yes!  There's some big news to share...Luna Grey yarn will be available at the soon-to-open yarn shop, Claddagh Yarns in Berkeley, California.  Owner, Amanda Fernandez, is just the sweetest thing and is promoting small, independent dyers.  If you're in the Bay area, stop by her shop and tell her that Jackie sent you.

There will be a few changes in the shop this fall.  A few yarn bases will be discontinued (Bellona, Cosmic and Stella).  And, a few new ones will be added including an awesome new fingering weight yarn called, Altair.  It's a 75% Superwash Merino / 15% Nylon / 10% Tencel blend, 4-ply, sock yarn.  It has a nice tight twist with great stitch definition and is next to the skin soft.  It's sproingy and lofty and just all together wonderful!  Here's a sneak peek...

I saved the best for last!  I wanted to kick off September / Knitting Season with a giveaway!  The prize?  One skein of Luna Grey Titan thick and thin, bulky, 100% merino wool yarn in the popular Mushroom colorway.  To enter, simply leave a comment sharing your favorite colorway in the shop.  Make sure your email address is included in your comment.  I will select a winner using random number generator on Wednesday, September 11th.  Sorry...This giveaway is open to US residents only : )

This giveaway has ended.  Congratulations Amy (of www.bookandyarn.blogspot.com).  You are the winner of our giveaway!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Willoughby Wallaby Woo

"Willoughby wallaby woo.  An elephant sat on you.  Willoughby wallaby wee.  An elephant sat on me!"  (lyrics from one of our favorite Raffi songs.)

Every time I hear the word, wallaby, that song pops into my head.  Maybe that's why Carol A. Anderson's timeless Wallaby hoodie appeals to me.  I picked up the pattern at a cute little yarn shop in Salt Lake City last summer.  The boys love the casual, cozy look of the sweater and have been asking me to make them each one.

I finally cast on for Hudson's last night.  He chose an earthy, moss green for the project (dyed onto my worsted, superwash merino, Supernova base yarn).  I think I will add a few stripes on the chest like this one I found on Ravelry.  Maybe charcoal gray and aqua?  Definitely something modern and fun.  I must say, I love this yarn.  It's super soft and knits up so nicely.

Oh, and if you haven't done so already...Head over to Mackenzie's blog to enter to win a skein of Orion yarn.  You can enter up to five times!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A New Hat for Mama

Following my frantic, less-than-relaxing, holiday knitting race to the finish...It was high time I cast on an easy peasy project just for me.  I have knit myself exactly one hat in all my years of knitting.  Who really needs more than one hat anyway?  The one I have worn every winter for the past several years is Emilee Mooney's Foliage Hat - a free pattern off Knitty.  This hat was my first lace project.  So, it holds a special place in my heart.  It was knit out of some of the softest yarn around, Misti Alpaca Chunky.  

Several months ago, I picked up a copy of Classic Elite Quick Knits from the library.  My library has a very limited selection of mostly outdated knitting books (what's up with that?).  So, this book was a lucky find.  There were several patterns that caught my eye.  Especially the Lattice Ribbed Hat by Sharon Brown.  I love that it was knit in bulky yarn and had just enough detail to keep things interesting.  While being simple enough to knit while visiting with other mom's during my son's karate class.  I finished the hat in two days (a couple of hours of knitting each day).  Yeah!  I love projects like that.  Talk about instant gratification!  I chose Luna Grey's Spectra yarn in the colorway Calm.  It's the first Peruvian Highland Wool I have found that doesn't itch.  Woo Hoo!  I would love to knit my husband a sweater out of this yarn but can't seem to find a good, raglan-style, top-down pattern.  I am 100% committed to the seamless sweater thing.  I am embarrassed to admit how many projects I have that are totally finished being knit.  But, await seaming.  I mean...some of them have been in my work-in-progress bag for years!  Long enough for my kids to have long since outgrown them.  So sad.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

It's Good to be Back!

It feels good to be back in the swing of things.  Our holiday break from school meant that not much was getting done in the way of yarn dyeing, blog posting, shop organizing, etc.  Yesterday was the boys' first day back to school.  I am not sure who was more excited about it, me or them.  Either way, it's nice to have a little time to catch up on things.

As the holidays are over and all friends and family have received their gifts, I figured it was safe to share this project.  It's the Birthday Cowl by pattern designer, Nova Seals (cool name, right?).  Knit for Ms. Joy, my 4 year old's beloved Pre-K teacher.  You know you've done well when the recipient cries upon opening their gift.

What a super fast, fun project.  The yarn is Luna Grey Fiber Arts Bellona, a single-ply, worsted weight, merino wool and silk.  This luxury yarn is light as air and arguably the softest yarn I have ever knit.  While not ideal for items that will get lots of abuse (kids sweaters, mittens, etc.), it sure makes an amazing cowl!

I will be dyeing up more of this gorgeous yarn this week.  Watch for it in the shop : )