On a (test) knitting roll…

I have been doing some test knitting lately. It is one of my goals for 2015. I recently had the opportunity to test 2 beautiful patterns. Its a “twofer!” I achieved one of my goals and got to knit 2 wonderful patterns. I think it is safe to say that the sweater goal will be met later this year (I’m still optimistic about the stretch goal:). There were a couple of weeks where I was signing up to test knits and KALs left and right (things are settling down now).

Bloemen by Ien Sie
Bloemen by Ien Sie

The first pattern,  Bloemen is by my friend Ien Sie (A.k.a. kgmama on Ravelry). I am so excited for her to be designing again. She previously had a pattern published by Quince & Co. and she is dipping her toe back into designing. It was fun to test this quickly little knit, and I got to learn a technique I haven’t tried before the Latvian braid; who doesn’t love learning a new technique (Can you see me raising my hand at the back of the class going “Oooh me!!!!)?  This is a great pattern, because in addition to options( you can do ribbing, you can line it, you can do a Latvian braid,  and you can use as many colors as you want) it is a great pattern to use scraps. My yardage was a bit off because I deviated from the pattern when I picked my colors (Even the main color on my project used about 120 yard or less). It is fun to watch the colorwork take shape and paint a picture. I used a combo of the Plucky Knitter’s fingering yarns and opted not to line the cowl.

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Spring is here!

 

I promised this one to my daughter, but she has graciously allowed her grandpa to have this after he asked her for it.  I can’t wait to see what Ien comes up with next.

 

The other pattern I tested is for Melissa Schaschwary (Aka Dandiliongrl on Ravelry) named Gideon.  What can I say? I really enjoyed knitting this project. It is a really soothing knit. The yarn, which Melissa S. used for the sample is something I chose to copy for my project because  Sweet Fiber’s Cashmerino Worsted is  “Ahhh-mazing!” (especially in this pattern); luckily I had some in my stash (look at me work through stash, I am a machine:)). I just want to smoosh the shawl and wrap myself in it. I tend to knit for myself and my family (I can be the occasional gift knitter when I am not burned out), so when I saw the call for testers on this project I kept my fingers crossed because I wanted to knit this for myself, and getting to test it would be a bonus. I was excited to be chosen, and cast on ASAP. Since I was knitting in my Ashby in Shelter (another great yarn)  getting to knit with the Cashmerino blend was like sending my fingers to Tahiti (Its sooooo soft!).

 

Gideon soaking up the sun on a freakishly warm and sunny Seattle day
Gideon soaking up the sun on a freakishly warm and sunny Seattle day

 

Lace details on the left panel of the shawl
Lace details on the left panel of the shawl

It’s funny to me how I can never predict what kind of reception something will get.  I wore it at Madrona Fiber Arts Festival and that’s when I realized that people were going to like the design. As I was waiting to be seated for table at the Hotel Murano’s restaurant, a woman  who was leaving walked towards me and literally missed a step and almost fell down trying to check out the shawl (I am happy to report there was no knitter injured, as she was able to catch herself mid fall). Things like this normally don’t happen, but it was kinda like a perfect storm, because I was surrounded by fiber enthusiasts left and right.

I may have gone a little nuts taking photos, but you have to celebrate when you finish a project right?
I may have gone a little nuts taking photos, but you have to celebrate when you finish a project right?

Acquisitions:

A few Jennie the Potter ceramics purchased from friends at Stitches West

 

In Progress:

Acorn Trail Custom Fit ( I am really moving on this)

Ashby

 

Finished:

None

Knitting for your kiddo ( well thinking about it)

I’m sure everyone has had those moments where they wish they were a better parent (It’s not uncommon). My latest motherly guilt comes from not knitting more for my daughter. Last year she requested a pink sweater. I happily obliged quickly knit her the “Mini Rock Rose” cardigan( I’m not really a person with a passion for pink, but it’s what she wanted). It is a really clear and well written (although it looks intimidating)  pattern.  I was able to knit the whole sweater in about 10 days (I really can’t remember). She didn’t wear it immediately but know she has to wear it everywhere. In fact we get in to arguments about her wearing it. Let me clarify even when I try to be a good mom and wear a warm coat when it’s cold she insists on wearing  it all the time.  I am glad she loves it. I mean I used to “hate” when my mom sewed my clothes. I wanted store-bought all the time as a kid but we couldn’t afford it.

 

So after I realized how I should appreciate this moment, I decided it is time to cast on another sweater or so misc. item. I am suffering from mom guilt… She won’t always want hand knits, and may not like a green sweater, but clearly I need to put my needs of not wanting a crazy amount of WIPs aside and make her some knitwear.

On a spring day....
On a spring day….
Riding a horse
Riding a horse
Self styled for school;)
Self styled for school;)

Madrona… a mini yarncation

 

The haul...
The haul…

I live about an hour from a city called Tacoma. Every February  fiber lovers descend on the Hotel Murano to take classes and catch up with friends at the Madrona Fiber Festival. While it runs  several days  I only was able to swing a day trip to the event. I felt extremely guilty because the day I was able to attend was on Valentine’s day and it was the weekend following my trip to Portland ( I celebrated with an amazing dinner with the Hubby the night before). I loaded up the car with some destash to give my friend (who had traveled down from Canada) and headed south towards Tacoma.  I had no expectations other than meeting yo with friends.  I explored the marketplace, which is different than any other market place I have seen before. While they have yarns the primary focus is on fiber so many of the yarn vendors have fiber braids that they are selling, spinning equipment or yarns that are breed specific (they have plenty of tother stuff too!!). The market place is free which was nice as the last few marketplaces I have attended have charged a fee.

 

It was a nice trip with vendors traveling from all over the country to attend. Oh yeah there is knitteratti too. If you geek out on famous knitters than this is the place for you ( I literally almost ran in to Lucy Neatby and the Yarn Harlot when I was entering the marketplace. This is not the reason why I attended though so I didn’t even glance twice and kept on walking to see what the marketplace had to offer.  I checked out the Churchmouse Yarns and Teas Booth, the latest Wool People trunk show was on display and it was nice to look at the garments up close and check  out their constuction.

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The Wool People 8 Truck Show at the Churchmouse Yarns and Tea’s booth

 

 

 

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detailing on a sample from the Wool People 8 trunk show

 

 

I also checked out these cute little notion dishes that are made locally. I had to pick a couple of them up.  I can’t decide if I am going to keep them or gift one. They would make a lovely gift.

 

One of the Charan Sachar dishes I purchased from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas.
One of the Charan Sachar dishes I purchased from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas.

I stopped by The Fiber Gallery’s booth and saw some beautiful skeins of Hazel Knits. I love how saturated with color her skeins are, and her yarn is beautiful too. The Fiber Gallery always has a nice selection of Hazel Knits.

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Supersized Hazel Knits skeins at the Fiber Gallery booth

 

I also stopped by to see a Rav friend of mine who is vending, Amy Lee. She  is based out of Portland and has a wonderful assortment of yarns. She is pretty well known for her self striping yarn. I was surprised to learn she not only does self striping sock yarn but she does, DK Aran, and worsted weight as well. I had to pick some up to make my daughter a pair of mittens  (I showed her the yarn today which has sparkles in it and she smiled). I also was really excited to see that she had some self striping minis. I picked up a few of these and will put them in mittens or a scarp blanket at some point.

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So while I picked up a few skeins here and there  at Sincere Sheep and Northwest Handspun, my new discovery was Catherine Lowe Couture. At first when you see the booth you are not certain what is gaining on. they have a garment rack, and some boxes. But on further examination I saw the shawl the designer was wearing and asked about it. She takes piled or lighter weight yarns and  winds them together treating a new fabric. Her yarns and fibers are nice and really luxurious. I had to pick up one of the kits.

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Me, getting wrapped up in the Catherine Lowe Couture wrap
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Catherine Lowe Couture Merino#5

the pictures may tell a story of a successful shopping trip, but while it is easy to document shopping, it is a little bit harder to document the 5 hours of getting together with friends that occurred on this yarncation(when you are the photographer):)

Acquisitions:

Body Warp Kit by Catherine Lowe Couture

Merino #5 Black by Catherine Lowe Couture

Merino #5 Cream by Catherine Lowe Couture

Sincere Sheep Cormo Worsted in Aegean

3 skeins of self striping Cannon Hand Dyes in various heavier weights

2 assorted mini self striping samplers from Cannon Hand Dyes

2 little knit ceramic dishes by Charan Sachar from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas

Debauchery by Spincycle yarns in Sloth

Merchant and Mills Notion Kit

 

Work In Progress:

Ashby

Acorn Trail

 

Finished:

None

 

 

 

 

All good things….. (PDX III)

Mockingjay the special color way in Mad Tosh for the Joji and Veera Knit America 2015
Mockingjay the special color way in Mad Tosh for the Joji and Veera Knit America 2015

I know yarncations can’t last for ever, although it would be great if it could. The final day was a nice slow day. I had take a photo with Joji the day before and she had pouted out that my lens was a little off. I had been planning on buying a new lens so I was able to grab one in downtown Portland. I know it seems weird but I really had a hard time dropping so much money on  an expensive lens for my DSLR. I do spend a tidy sum on yarn, but yarn and knitting is my passion. While I enjoy taking pictures, photography is not my passion. When it was pointed out by my friend how much I actually have been using my DSLR I forked down the cash and bought the lens.

The rest of the day was  killing time and exploring Portland before the class on Sweater fit with Joji. We quickly stopped at Powell’s bookstore in downtown Portland. There is a lot to see the bookstore is bigger than a city block and  has multiple floors. After seeing the reduction of bookstores as we move to a more digital way of reading I was really happy to be in a book store. They have the biggest amount of knitting books I have seen in one place.

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I was able to taste some of Portland’s great cuisine and got to experience the Waffle Window. This is pretty awesome, they have upgraded the crepe experience by using a Belgian waffle. They had an assortment of savory and sweet waffles on their menu.

bananamisu waffle from the Waffle window
A bananamisu waffle from the Waffle window

After brunch we jetted over to Happy Knits.  Theclass was pretty great. While the topic was closely related to the one covered the day before I learned several new things, mainly I am not apple shaped. I had a nagging feeling I was but after taking the classes over  the last 2 days I came the the realization that I am actually a boy/inverted triangle with a generous chest. I think the is going to give me some pause for thought when I pick sweaters. I have been totally obsessed with what makes the “girls” look smaller and how I can hide things… I have completely neglected adding details to my waist to give the appearance of a more  balanced shape.

While I could talk about class I though I would talk about the funniest thing that happened on the trip to Portland. I asked Joji to show me how to knit the Argentinian way. In Argentina they knit with long needles and place them under the armpit. It can be used for knitting flat garments. I took several pictures of her knitting this way(my camera was out of focus, so you can ask, but I will not be sharing these). She kindly teased me that if I was going to take pictures of her it was only fair that she could do the same.  Her point was well made:)

My attempt at trying of knitting the Argentinian way
My attempt at trying of knitting the Argentinian way

 

Acquisitions:

7 skeins of Madeline Tosh Sock in Mockingjay

3 skeins of Madeline Tosh Vintage in Mockingjay

1 mug  and notebook of Joji and Veera Knit america 2015

A handful of red vintage glass buttons

 

Work In Progress:

Ashby

Acorn Trail

 

Finished:

Gideon (Testknit)

 

Taking it all in ( PDX Part 1)

When I signed myself up to take the two classes at Happy Knits with Joji. I had no idea what I was getting myself in to.It turned out it was a weekend of “AWESOME”. I drove down fro, Seattle with my friend Ariel on Friday  and arrived early, so it was an easy call to visit some Portland’s local yarn stores.

Stop numero uno!
Stop numero uno!

First up was Twisted. It was a very nice place I have to say I have been to my share of yarn stores and I have to say that Portland has it “going on” in this department.  Simply put, Twist is beautiful. They have a wide selection of colors and indie dyers. What impressed me the most was the amount of colorways they stocked and the quantity that they keep on hand. Just some of the yarns that I got to see were Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Knitted Wit, Hazel Knits, and Quince & Company. I could go on (because there were a lot) but I will stop there because I have to talk about what really caught my eye. I have been trying to get some Quince Owl in the “Cielo” colorway from a local LYS and the couple times that I have visited they have not had it in stock or the quantity that I was looking for. Needless to say I had to snap up some skeins of that yarn.

Hazel Knits at Twisted, the selection and inventory was pretty amazing.
Hazel Knits at Twisted, the selection and inventory was pretty amazing.
Quince & Co.'s Owl in the "Cielo" colorway
Quince & Co.’s Owl in the “Cielo” colorway
Knitted Wit at Twisted
Knitted Wit at Twisted

One of the sweaters that I have been wanting to knit is the Hazelwood Cardigan which is one of  Twisted’s shop patterns. I really love this sweater and have every intention of making it this year, infact  have even swatched for it. Needless to say when I saw the mannequin in the shop I was very intrested in seeing it up close. The helpful ladies at the shop who they call “Twistedistas”  took the mannequin down and let me inspect it. It was a real treat. I was able to see how the details and design elements came together  and check out the overall shape and construction of the garment. I am super excited to knit this sweater. I think it will go very fast, but I have a few things on the needles that I need to work through first.

 

The shop samples used Blue Moon's BFL.. It is beautiful. I am going to try to make it in The Plucky Knitter's Cashmere. I am expecting a lot more drape to the fabric. I will have to wait and see...
The shop’s sample used Blue Moon’s BFL. It is beautiful. I am going to try to make it in The Plucky Knitter’s Cashmere. I am expecting a lot more drape to the fabric. I will have to wait and see…
Trying to study the shaping up close on the Hazelwood Cardigan
Trying to study the shaping up close on the Hazelwood Cardigan

Next up was Happy Knits…. after finishing up at Twisted I headed over for a meet and greet event with Joji and Veera at Happy Knits. While I can be outgoing at times I have to admit  that when first meeting people I sometimes have a bit of anxiety(yes its true) and can be a little more reserved. Knitters are so welcoming though so this feeling usually doesn’t last too long.

Happy Knits! The shop windows were dedicated to Joji and Veera’s designs

 

Madeline Tosh beautifully displayed at Happy Knits
Madeline Tosh beautifully displayed at Happy Knits
It was so great to see the Interpretations 2 trunk show at Happy Knits
It was so great to see the “Interpretations 2” trunk show at Happy Knits
Joji and Veera brought the samples from their original Interprations collection. I am so going to make this!
Joji and Veera brought the samples from their original “Interprations” collection. I am so going to make this!

In this case I got to finally meet some friends and some people I had seen or interacted with on Ravelry. It was a really great evening all around.

 

Nancy and I finally met after 3 years of PM'ing and chatting on Ravelry!
Nancy and I finally met after 3 years of PM’ing and chatting on Ravelry!
I had to document with my friend Ariel that I actually  met and greeted some of my Ravelry acquaintances (and now friends). Ariel, me, Thao, and Amy
The evening would not be complete without my friend Ariel and I documenting that I actually met and greeted some of my Ravelry acquaintances (and now friends). Ariel, me, Thao, and Amy

Acquisitions:

10 skeins of Quince’s Owl in “Cielo”

Clover tape measure

 

Work In Progress:

Ashby

Gideon ( Testknit)

Acorn Trail Customfit

 

Finished Objects:

None

 

 

 

PDX or bust!

I am so excited. This weekend I am headed down to Portland, Oregon on a road trip with one of my friends. I will be taking a  couple of classes at Happy Knits with Joji. I also am going to check out their Interpretations 2 trunk show. The show features Joji and Veera’s latest designs.  I am excited to see the sample knits in person. I also might get to finally meet one of my Ravelry friends who is also going to be at the meet and greet on Friday night.

Needless to say I am excited for a weekend of yarn and friendship. I have been debating on what to bring on the trip. I am lucky because normally when I travel(which is rare) I am the passenger and get to int while my husband drives. This time I am driving, so it makes me a bit versus on what projects I should bring for the trip. I am hoping I am going to get some good knitting time in this weekend, because I signed my self up for a new test knit. I am really excited about it. the design and the yarn I picked are oh so awesome (more to come on this in another post).

I am still slogging along on the Ashby, but I can’t lie I find the new test knit pattern kind of addicting to knit.

Acquisitions:

A  yarn bowl

No yarn (although some of the preorder yarn I reported on earlier did arrive at the house)

 

Works in Progress:

Ashby by BrooklynTweed

Gideon (Test knit) by Melissa Schaschwary

Acorn Trail Customfit by Amy Herzog

 

Finished:

None

And a swatching we go…..

Swatching  for my next project. I may have bit off more than I can chew on this one.....
Swatching for my next project. I may have bit off more than I can chew on this one…..

So I have signed myself up to do three KALs this year. KAL #1 Ashby #2 Northport and #3 Freshly Fallen.  I have  making good progress on #1 and have finished #2. This brings me to the inevitable #3.  While not originally on my radar ( because the pattern game out before my 2015 goals) I will be able to count it against my sweater goal (4 adult sweaters is my goal and 8 being my stretch goal).

I am having to consult one of my knitting friends from the East Coast because I want to modify the pattern’s neckline. I guess I am growing a little as a knitter but am a little intimidated by the pattern and off roading it. I don’t think this would be the case if I was a sweater knitter (one that primarily knits sweaters). I guess that is the point right?

Another one bites the dust.. (Actually two)

Close up of the Sunshine Day Afghan
Close up of the Sunshine Day Afghan

I promised myself that I would not blog until I finished something. I had already planned on blogging before the Superbowl, so when my team lost (I still can’t believe it!) I decided to quit procrastinating.  I have some actual news I finished not one(wait for it), but two items.

A finished object!!! The Seattle weather had an unseasonable sunny day and I was able to take an outdoor picture.
A finished object!!! The Seattle weather had an unseasonable sunny day and I was able to take an outdoor picture.

I finally finished he Sunshine Day Afghan (by Alicia Paulson)crocheted with Plucky 10 ply cashmere(now discontinued). This took a really long time, as I wasn’t monogamous on this project and had other things on the needles.  I learned a lot on this. I still don’t consider myself a crocheter, but I think that if a pattern is simple enough I can do it. Two big things I learned were (1) if you want to put a blanket together and want it to be smooth, seaming is better than single crocheting  items together, because it will leave a flat seam and (2) while the weight of the yarn didn’t matter as much as I thought on the squares (it mattered a bit) it really mattered on the overall weight of the blanket.  I had decided to hook this using aran weight  vs. dk as the pattern calls for because I wanted a larger blanket.

Northport by Amy Miller.. I am so keeping this hat. It was the first time using the Plucky Knitter's Oxford. I am really in love with this base.
Northport by Amy Miller.. I am so keeping this hat. It was the first time using the Plucky Knitter’s Oxford. I am really in love with this base.

I also finished my NorthPort  (by Amy Miller). I had knit the ribbed brim while I waited  for my yarn to arrive from The Plucky Knitter. I love this design, and almost copycat’d the sample in the pattern entirely. A few mods: (1) I knit it up in Oxford (2) I used “Gumshoe” as the main color (3) I put a pom pom on it(I mean who doesn’t love a good pom pom?).

So what’s next up? I am swatching for a sweater and trying to finish up  my Ashby shawl. Hopefully I will finish the shawl before I leave for my yarn-cation in Portland.

 

Shelter in the Snowbound colorway
Shelter in the Snowbound colorway

Cable details on Ashby

The cable motif  reminds me of gentle waves

 

Acquistions:

Some Plucky Cashmere in Williamsburg and Traveler DK in Monogram from the Gauge + Tension trunk show ( a friend picked these up for me)

A lot of patterns since my last post

 

 

Works In Progress:

Ashby by Brooklyn Tweed

Customfit Acorn trail by Amy Herzog

 

Finished:

Sunshine Day Afghan by Alicia Paulson

Northport by Amy Miller

 

 

 

I think I can…I think I can…

 

Strips of afghan squares for my blanket
Strips of afghan squares for my blanket

I am having one of those days(okay maybe weeks) where I feel that I am so close but so far away from completing my project. I tend to be mostly a monogamous knitter. This last year I tended to have a few more projects on the needles (its neither good or bad, just different).

 

Various swatches for past and future sweaters
Various swatches for past and future sweaters

I just completed a test knit for a friend. It was so satisfying casting off. I want to do it again, and again. Unfortunately, none of my other projects are close, but this doesn’t mean that I can’t visualize the finish line for these projects. It is most likely that the first thing that will be done is the Sunshine Day Afghan blanket.

The hours that I have put in on seaming this seems pretty endless. I have a few more things left before I can do a couple of single crochet rounds around the border. Mostly, seaming and giving this a haircut (I won’t lie I find snipping ends satisfying, seaming less so).

 

Scraps from the Sunshine Day Afghan after giving the blanket a haircut:)
Scraps from the Sunshine Day Afghan after giving the blanket a haircut:)

 

Next is a toss up between Ashby and Acorn Trail followed by Northport. Here’s hoping the next time I post I have more things to report as completed (I might delay posting just so I can have something to list) as “Done”.

 

My Jenni the Potter mug finally arrived ( a friend of mine purchased this at Rhinebeck for me)
My Jenni the Potter mug finally arrived ( a friend of mine purchased this at Rhinebeck for me)

Aquisitions:

None ( I know I can’t believe it either)

 

Work In Progress:

Ashby

Sunshine Day Afghan

Northport and Acorn Trail Customfit

 

Completed:

Test knit

40 lbs. out 10 lbs. in……

misc. stash
misc. stash

I’ve become a little more aware about how much and often I buy fiber related goodies.  At first I thought documenting the acquisitions which I thought would be fun and light hearted has caused me to take stock in of all  the pretty soft yarn that I have added to my stash( some might feel this is actually a good thing because my old house has no insulation, this is way cheaper than insulating my house), but the biggest  WTF moment came when I realized of the fourty pounds I have lost recently, a quarter of that amount,  will be added to my household (that’s right people 10 lbs. of yarn).

I remember when I first took stock of by how much yarn I had…. I sat down at the table with knitters and told them(drum roll, please…….) “I have 60 different color ways of yarn, and my stash was out of control!” They all proceeded to giggle and knowgly smile and say “that’s not too bad.”

Now I know what they are talking about;).

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and.. more stash…

 

Acquisitions:

  1. Pre order Crossroads Self-striping sock from Vesper socks

Works In Progress:

  1. Ashby by Brooklyn Tweed
  2. Sunshine Day Baby Afghan
  3. North Port by Amy Miller *New*
  4. Acorn Trail Customfit by Amy Herzog

Completed:

None