Cowl/Capelette Progress

capeletteprogressI’ve made some progress on my cowl/capelette in the past few days despite fighting a cold, working on new yarns for my Etsy shop, and performing the normal daily grind of activities that we all have to face.  I love the colors in this yarn but I’m still worried that it obscures the stitch pattern a bit.  I’m on the “bee stitch” portion of the capelette and I’m really enjoying this one!  The bees are created by increasing YOs that are dropped on subsequent rows.  Then, when you have 4 stacked sets of dropped YOs, you knit under them all which separates the wings and creates the little bee body.  You can find the basic bee stitch on knittingfool.com.  Although, I’ll share my modified version when my cowl is completed.

capelettestitchesAs I mentioned, I’ve been working on new yarns for my Etsy shop (and my personal stash!)  🙂  This time, I’ve dyed yarn blanks in a variety of colorways and methods.  Some are semi-striped, some have more of a gradient effect and some are just randomly splashed with bold spots of color.  While I’m going to enjoy knitting my cowl/capelette, I’ve got my mind going over ideas for my next project that will incorporate one of these new yarns.

yarnblanks2If you are new to yarn blanks, they are basically machine knitted fingering weight yarns.  (It’s much easier to dye yarns in gradient colorways using the yarn blank instead of tying off sections of a skein.)  You can knit directly from the sock blank and unravel it as you knit or you can unravel it and wind it into a ball and then knit from the ball.  The end result is a beautifully unique garment.  I am envisioning a shawl knitted from one of the all-over dyed blanks and some socks from one of the stripe-ier blanks.  I’ve named the new line “Watercolors” because they look like watercolor paintings to me.  🙂

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Dragons, Dyes, and an Awesome Hank Winder

dragonOne dragon is completed and the other one has been cast on!  I’ve been busy with other projects (like yarn dyeing) which has slowed down my knitting progress.  But I’m still super excited about the Drops Air yarn and my new dragon friend who I think I’ll call Steve.  To follow the shape of my store-bought sweater underarm curve, I settled on decreasing every row.  It doesn’t look too bad.  I’ve held the sweater piece up to my body and it looks like it’ll be a great fit.  Steve’s new wing isn’t as pretty as the original wing design but at least it isn’t in my armpit anymore.

silkyyarnsHere’s a peek at the yarns that have slowed down my dragon project.  I was in a more serene mood this time and produced subdued hues with my color mixing instead of the supersaturated colors of my last batch.  This yarn base is a superwash merino and silk blend that has a very pretty sheen.  2 – 100 gram hanks were dyed in each colorway so a larger project, like a shawl, could be made.  When my dragon sweater is finished, I may sneak some of this yarn out of my Etsy shop and cast on for a spring shawl.

I like to re-skein my yarns after they have been dyed because I feel like it better represents what the yarn will look like when it is knitted.  But, winding a skein isn’t an easy task without the right tools.  And, these tools can be a bit expensive.  So my super-sweet husband volunteered (after I begged and pleaded with him) to construct a skein-winder for me.  Here’s a home video of my daughter demonstrating how to use the new contraption that has saved me a lot of work!

Nautty Finally Meets Nautty.

SONY DSCWeeks ago, I designed a baby sweater, Nautty,  for my nephew, Nautty.  With my nephew hundreds of miles away, I didn’t have a baby to model my newest design.  And, since I decided to save the sweater as a Christmas present, I’ve had to wait all this time to get any pictures to share of an actual baby wearing my handiwork.  My sister sent over some pictures today and it was well worth the wait.  He’s just so darned cute!

SONY DSCNautty currently wears a size 12 mos and the sweater I knitted is a size 18 mos so he should be able to wear it all season.  Yay for that!  And, my sister also included a pic of Nautty’s daddy wearing the Romantic Reindeer hat I made for him.

It’s so nice to know that the time and care I put into my knitted pieces are not only appreciated but actually worn!  Over the years, I’ve figured out who likes handmade gifts and who doesn’t so I don’t waste my time and energy (and yarn!!).

On another note, a new batch of freshly dyed sock yarn has made its way into my Etsy shop.  Since we decided not to travel for the holidays, I was able to dye yarn on Christmas Eve with my daughter.  We had a freakishly warm day and it was so much fun to play with color and enjoy the day.  I know many folks who were disappointed it wasn’t a white Christmas but I wasn’t one of them.  🙂  All my yarn dyeing is an outside affair so I was certain I’d have to wait until spring before I could dye yarn again.  The warm day was a very pleasant surprise!NewSockYarns

For those who are following, I’m still working on my intarsia sweater with the all-seeing eyeball up front.  I’m finishing up the sweater body and getting close to starting on the first sleeve.  And, here are some more pics of Nautty wearing Nautty (thanks for the beautiful pics, sis!):

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No More White Yarns!

sockdye4My kids got into the yarn painting madness with me this week.  All my dyeing gear was brought out to the back yard and we had a great time mixing colors and trying out some new dyes like “hot fuchsia” and “chartreuse”.  They were very pleased with the results of their efforts and I’m sure I’ll be asked to knit some socks, hats or mittens from their color creations!  🙂  Many of my creations are available in my Etsy shop.SockGroup

gravityfallsI cannot wait to get my needles into some of these crazy color combos.  However, I’ve got a sweater request that needs to be fulfilled first.  My oldest child brought me a sketch and asked if I could possibly create a sweater from it.  It’s based on a character from an animated show.  The yarn has been ordered and I’m mulling over ideas on how to make this thing.  Intarsia will be needed.  I’m thinking that a top-down seamless approach would be nice but maybe a seamed approach would make the intarsia easier.  We chose an acrylic yarn because of the color selection and ease of care.  It’ll be my first acrylic sweater.  I hope I don’t hate knitting with the acrylic because there’s going to be a lot of stitches in this sweater!

reindeer2In the meantime, there’s another romantic reindeer hat on my needles for a Christmas gift that needs about another hour or two before it’s finished.  This one is in a worsted weight yarn with 3 repeats of the pattern. 🙂

Some of my new sock yarns have made it into my Etsy shop.  And recently some handmade stitch markers have been added. Generally, my jewelry making is reserved for gifts but I founds some great beads for stitch markers for larger-gauge projects. These rings and beads would be too bulky for sock yarn projects but great for worsted or bulky projects.BirdMarkers

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Next on the Needles- T-shirt Yarn!

TshirtyarnA pile of unwanted t-shirts has recently become a basket of t-shirt yarn.  I have grand visions of a beautiful oval t-shirt rug flying off my needles sometime soon.

There’s a particularly sweet teenager in my life who enjoys making videos that put together a video tutorial for me on how to turn an old t-shirt into yarn!  It’s linked below.  I’m pretty sure my KitKat (the kitty) steals the show, though.  🙂

Secret Life of Yarn- Well, My Yarn Anyways

yarnlifemoustachedI’m reaching the end of a cake of yellow yarn that has been in my stash for ages (years).  It’s got me thinking about where this particular ball of yarn has been and what it has become and why I keep all those tiny bits of beautiful yarn lingering about my house.
Edward1frogfeetblue2Several years ago, this yellow yarn came into my stash as a 100g hank of superwash sock yarn.  It’s first use was in some moustached cat socks.  Then it sat untouched until a couple of months ago when it was used for the striped legs of Edward the Butt Monster.  It’s currently being employed in my Frog Feet scarf.  It’s likely that after Frog Feet, there will remain still a small ball of yellow yarn to put to good use somewhere.

yarnlifescarfWhen I first started knitting, socks were my passion. I have dozens of hand-knitted socks stuffed in dresser drawers.  But, I just couldn’t throw away all the beautiful bits of mis-matched sock yarn so I decided to knit a zig-zag scarf out of all the superwash remains.  It’s probably my favorite scarf because it reminds me of all those lovely socks.  It’s going to be even harder to get rid of the remains of my recently created hand-dyed yarns.  🙂  Am I the only one who has trouble parting with these little pieces of fiber art?!?handdye2

Locally Sourced Alpaca

LocalAlpacaI couldn’t help myself and went yarn shopping.  As a recent transplant to Richmond, VA, I’ve had the great pleasure of exploring new local yarn shops.  This past weekend I ventured into The Yarn Basket and was welcomed by the friendliest and warmest people.  If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend dropping by.

A beautiful brown hank of alpaca coming from a small Virginian farm was my favorite purchase.  It’s naturally the most beautiful shade of caramel without any dye.  And, I love the fact that it comes from Alpacas that live not too far from me.

LocalAlpaca2The biggest challenge with this yarn is coming up with a pattern that is worthy of my prized yarn.  Since it worked out so well for my Lofty Scarf and Stole, I’m working it up in the Bear Track stitch pattern with 2 pattern repeats.  With only two scallops on the bottom, it’s looking a little bit like a fish tail.  The scarf will need to be blocked before I can really determine the success of the project.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

What the Mailman Brought Me!

AwesomeYarnArrivalThe first week in January, Knit Picks ran a sale and I couldn’t resist this tweed.  It’s soft, beautiful and perfect for some cabled-up sweaters!  I’ve been watching through the window every afternoon to see if a brown package would make it to the doorstep and it’s here!

Knit Picks is hands-down my favorite online yarn shop.  Granted, it’s nowhere near as fun as browsing through my local yarn shop and touching everything and coming home with something divine in my hands… but it helps keep my knitting habit affordable.  Their yarns are usually soft with few knots.  And, I love their harmony circular needles- the cables are pliable and the wooden needles aren’t too sticky or too slick… they are just right.

I would love to hear what your favorite online yarn shop might be…  I don’t want to miss out on something awesome!