Monday, July 6, 2015

Bradway MiniKAL

She's done it again. Shannon Cook of Very Shannon published another pattern that I loved knitting. A couple weeks before she published the Bradway Shawl she put out a couple of teasers with yarn requirements and a mini knit-along that would be launched on the day the pattern went live. I saw the call for Brooklyn Tweed and I was sold.

I had been itching for a chance to try Brooklyn Tweed yarns since I learned they were moving back to the PNW. Aside from having loved his patterns for some time, it's fun to have a local connection.  Jared Flood is a Portland native who started Brooklyn Tweed as a blog in 2005 when he was a newer knitwear designer and had just moved to, wait for it, Brooklyn. Brooklyn Tweed yarns are the result of a passion for American wool from sheep to skein and is a targhee-columbia blend from ranches in Wyoming. I love to use really soft and luxurious yarns, but I was so incredibly impressed with the experience of knitting with Shelter. It's a rustic wool yarn, minimally processed so you do have to pick out the occasional piece of 'salad' (bits of hay, grass and other flora) from the finished yarn as you knit, but it knits up into a fabric that is both sturdy and soft and the color options are absolutely gorgeous.

Sap, Fossil and Nest make up the trifecta of color for my Bradway shawl
The textural changes throughout Bradway serve only to enhance the hand-feel of this yarn and I can't wait to cast on another. One thing that I love about Shannon's patterns is that they're very accessible. From the graphic lace of Schwimmen to the chunky texture of Bradway the results are stunning, but the instructions are clear and concise and I think that advanced beginners could knit any one of her patterns. I started on Monday morning and bound off Sunday at lunchtime. I even took it with me to knit poolside when it was 112 degrees out, and I am the sweatiest of sweaty girls, so you know it was an addictive knit!
texture for days...

I'm waiting on blocking wires to get the final result, but even without a soak to make the fibers bloom and blocking to define the stitches, I love, love this shawl. I can't wait for these 100+ degree temps to drop so that I can wrap up in it! What are you working on right now that makes you dream of cooler days?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Me and My Arrow

I can't believe I didn't post about my test knit for Hometown Knits! In my defense, baseball is in full swing and the days have seemed awfully short and speedy. After alluding to it in my last post, I left you hanging...since I know you were waiting with bated breath. Anywho; Me and My Arrow is another pattern with the gorgeous combination of Pepperberry Knits and Spincycle Yarns.

I got to choose my color combination and I love how they look together; Granny Smith (PBK) and Kimono (SY) were the perfect balance to each other and it almost makes me want to speed through summer to the crisp fall days when I can be swathed in cashmere. 

Knit in the round and grafted together with kitchener stitch to finish, this knit is seamless. It's also more than a little bit hypnotic. I've found that I really enjoy colorwork, and the best part-no purl stitches

I had already purchased yarn to make her colorwork cowl Dynastid, so when Simone sent out the call for testers, I jumped on it! 

Hop on over to my ravelry page for more photos, but here are a few. I really, really love it and hope you cast on too! 

whoops! See on the left that I forgot to put the extra rows in the last repeat? 

I LOVE the color changes of Dyed in the Wool!

I have some more goodies in the works right now, and will try to share them in a more timely manner.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Testing The Waters

I love the undulating color changes-here she is in all her glory.
I have been able to test knit a few patterns now and I've said it before, but I'll say it again-it's so fun being in on it! I've either gotten very lucky, or most designers have their stuff locked down because I haven't really found huge errors on anything I've tested. Melanie Berg is a designer whose aesthetic I really appreciate. Clean lines and modern designs with just a touch of lace thrown in to make a piece feel feminine or dressy.

Testing The Joker and The Thief was a joy, so I thought I'd post some photos that I took after weaving in the ends and giving it a light blocking.

The minty green and soft seaglass were my two favorite colors in this piece. Taken on their own, they may have been too soft for my taste, but together with the sandy beach silk yarn and the darker tones of a carribean sea they were glorious.

I loved the detail of the Indian Cross Stitch. Switching to sharper ChaioGoo Red Lace needles made that one a breeze.

I've got another test that's just about off the needles that I'm really excited about and I'll share more when the pattern goes live this weekend. It involves some of my favorite yarns to work with and a fun colorwork scheme!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

My Three Sons

Each time I'm knitting something, it never fails that one of the boys will ask me 'Is that for me?' The answer has always been no .There are loads of adorable patterns for kids, an entire ravelry group devoted to people who knit for their kids and even knit for their male children. I felt like a loser. All this time spent making knots with two sticks and never anything for my own chitlens.

Through a random string of instagram likes (Hello, Big Sister Cardigan KAL), leading to pattern searches, led me to Kate Oates of Tot Toppers. I have seen her 'Gramps' cardigan everyeon, and it has been in my queue for ages, but this one, Boys Can Wear Pink, is T'Shirt style with raglan sleeve shaping, and knit in the round with nothing but a little underarm grafting in the way of seams; I knew I was on to something. A quick glance at the calendar showed Easter as being a few weeks away. I definitely had time to knock out  three sweaters for them. I know myself well, I am quick to jump to the 'Meh, not enough time. I can do these for another event.' So I told the boys and let them pick from some color options and from there I had a lot of fun playing with making the colors work both for the pattern yardage needs and for their personalities.  I made their current clothing size (10, 6 and 4-yes, Jack often wears 4's already...) and all three of them fit perfectly. The yardage requirements were correct and I made zero modifications-that in itself is pretty awesome.

This all kind of started with purple sparkly Toms. Charlie desperately wanted them when they went up on Zulilly because they were purple. Wouldn't you know, it's hard to find things that are purple for a six year-old boy that weren't 'designed' for a girl. I was talking about it at bookclub and a friend who knows Charlie said 'What about purple Chuck's?' Yes. That was the ticket. Those were also found in the 'girl' department, but nobody would ever know, so there was no risk that someone would hurt his feelings. It's a fine dance to honor who your kids are while protecting them the smallest bit. Some kids wouldn't care what others think, but Charlie does, and I know that. I happened to have some Violet colored Cotton-Ease that I called 'Dusky Purple' to appeal to his fashion sensibilities and the most fun and funky hand-dyed yarn from Republic of Wool in the colorway Wanderlust (hailing from Portland) for the tie. (And they matched his purple shoes to boot)

Henry and Jack are much more subdued, and their sweaters were as well. Utilizing two of my coveted YOTH ooak gradient sticks (with an added skein of Big Sister in Hazelnut for Henry's in order to meet the yardage requirements) for them was perfect. I love the finished hem and sleeves, which was also super simple but makes for a really clean-edged finished piece.

 Paired with button-downs they already had in their closets, twill pants and Chuck Taylors, they were perfectly presentable for the country club brunch and egg hunt and now I have the itch to make lots more fun and funky pieces for my kids. Usually having an itch isn't an awesome thing, but in this case I'ma scratch it.
why yes, that is a tattoo on his face...isn't that where all moms want their kids to put them?

Because I'd been so fixated on finishing their sweaters, I realized yesterday that I hadn't put much thought into Stella's outfit. I went out to the six month bag and found there were several adorable spring dresses. Sadly, I didn't realize until today that I have zero pairs of tights for her cold legs. Girl mom fail. She didn't even have a bow in her hair. Ah well. Baby steps.

always a sweet smile from Miss Stella June
Thanks to Kate for such a fun and simple pattern that leaves loads of possibility in customizing for personalities. Next up, I have some fun sweaters by Tin Can Knits up for Miss Stella and Mr. Jack for next Fall and Winter and even the remainders of this spring. Check out their new Max and Bodhi collection, the first release is adorable. These also count as sweaters 1-3/12 for Twelve Sweaters in 2015.

Happy Easter, all!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Rose City Yarn Crawl 2015: My Bag Overfloweth

Now that I've told you all about it, what did I buy? (Answer: probably too much, but what's a fiber-lovin' girl to do?) I did try to keep to the parameters of locally made, hard to find, or interesting fibers. The two zauberballs are really the only exceptions, but I'd never purchased one before so I'm calling it good.

I was super excited to finally meet 'The Spinsters' behind Spincycle Yarns at For Yarn's Sake in Beaverton on Saturday afternoon. I've been stalking following their instagram since I participated in the Pine Bough KAL and just love their yarn, colors and process. Those three skeins of Knit Fast Die Young are slated for a macro lace shawl, but I may find something else I love more between now and then. The two skeins of Dyed in the Wool in the colorway July, July won out over Salty Dog only because it's my birthday month. They'll be paired with some Pepperberry to make the Dynastid cowl...I don't love bugs, but for whatever reason, this beetle-laden cowl is asking to be made.

Yarntastic in Sellwood was our other Friday night stop, and I picked up This cushy single ply by Abstract Fiber in the colorway Lichen, and a skein of sock yarn by Nerd Girl in the colorway Grimm. Fun Portland connections all around.

 This loop pouch, hand-made by Portlander Queen Bee, is a heavy duty canvas project bag. Along with some Blissfull Knits sock yarn in the color way Chamber of Secrets (50/50 silk and wool, and so luscious) and a Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock in the colorway Saturday Market-I left Twisted a happy girl.

 Pearl Fiber Arts located in, you guessed it, The Pearl was hosting a couple of local artists so it was really fun to chat with them about their process. This coral gradient kit by Thoroughly Thwacked will look beautiful knit up into the shell-patterned cowl feautured in their front window. Alexandra of Alexandra's Crafts was there and I had a great time talking with her about her color process. This sock yarn is Black Butte in Stained Glass, but she also has a line called La Grande, which was a fun connection to my hometown. I love that they really are targeting tourists and people who want to knit something with yarn made by a local artisan. Their inventory was very heavy with Northwest yarns.
Close Knit on NE Alberta was a cute shop, and I picked up the yarn to go with the Yarn Crawl pattern for that store. Extra, by Blue Sky Alpaca will make the fun, striped Kumori Cowl.

In Multnomah Village, we went to Northwest Wools and I picked up these two skeins of Autumn Winds by lotus yarns in a pretty purple and grey to make this sweet dress for baby Stella. She was a fairly good traveler...for a three month old.

Black Trillium fibers were featured in a trunk show at Knitting Bee in outer SW Portland (Washington County) and it is just beautiful! That skein of charcoal grey laceweight was a whopping 1450 yards-enough to make a shawl with just one skein. And a Crazy Zauberball for good measure. With the Trillium, I'm planning on a color block or striped shawl using the two different weights (fingering and lace). There are tons of patterns online for the zauberball, so I'll tackle that when I get there.

At Dublin Bay in the Pearl, I found Hedgehog Fibers Sock Yarn and Solstice Camel-Silk blend. See that beautiful golden halo? Camel. And it's so soft. Some 'Wool Fat' soap and dpn's rounded out that stop.

 At Happy Knits, I saw two bags I'd been looking at online for awhile, so it was time... Fringe Supply Co. and Knit Picks are the sources online but it was nice to see them in person first.
My stop at Knit Purl on Friday night yielded this bright pink lace-weight (looks more red in the photo) skein of 100% silk.  It was definitely the most special (some might say expensive, but that's just a word, really...) yarn I purchased. The colorway is Torchere. Because giving it a fancy french name makes you feel less guilty about the cost. I love the trend toward neon colors. This Merino Light hand-dyed is Madeline Tosh's 'Edison Bulb'.

Have you ever participated in the Yarn Crawl? What were some of your most treasured finds? How did you strategize? Any regrets? (I have none) I did make myself completely address and organize my stash before heading out, but that's for another post.