Saturday, November 22, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving from
Lara Smoot Designs
All patterns in my Ravelry Pattern Shop will be 30% beginning November 27 and ending on Midnight December 1.
No coupon code required.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Yarn Snobbery

Pam MacKenzie wrote a blog post entitled "Being a Yarn Snow has it's Limitations" last week and it got me thinking.  In her post Pam talks about yarn snobs limit themselves to all natural fibers or just wool.  It really made me reflect on how I perceive yarn snobbery.  I had always thought that a yarn snob limited themselves to more expensive and fancier yarns and wouldn't be caught dead purchasing yarn from a big box store or a craft store.  I know some knitters who are like that, which was where my train of thought was coming from.  I also have considered myself to be a full blown yarn snob because I only knit with yarn that I really like and isn't that what knitting is all about?  Having a yarn that feels wonderful and is even prettier to look at, glide across your needles and produce something that you or someone you care about will enjoy wearing?   I think we are all a little bit biased when it comes to our favorite yarns.

When I go shopping for yarn, the first thing that always gets my attention is the color.  I think that's the case for most knitters, we are naturally drawn to colors that we like.  If I am shopping in person and not on line the next thing I notice is how the yarn feels.  I have a really hard time putting a skein of yarn down if it is really soft and luxurious to the touch.  The final decision maker is how the yarn smells.  Yes, I know it's weird, but I smell the yarn.  I have no idea what the ladies at Maple Creek Farm use to wash their yarn with, but they really should sell it.  It's fragrant but not overpowering and smells nice while I'm knitting.  It's a little bonus feature that I think is pretty cool. 

Of course we all have our favorite fibers to work with, and mine happens to be wool or a wool blend.  I really enjoy the softness of cashmere and silk and when added to a nice merino it's like the icing on the cake.  Cake is good by itself, but put some icing on it and now we are talking! 

There are so many different types of yarn and fiber out there that to limit yourself to just one is like only eating one food for the rest of your life.  I like to try different yarns and fibers because you never know what you might like or how they will knit up.  A friend once gave me a skein of yarn that had been made from recycled bottles.  Sounds weird, I know.  It was kind of a boucle' and I wound up making a reusable market bag out of it.  

There are some yarns that I really don't enjoy knitting with and tend to avoid.  They tend to either be scratchy, contain a large amount of soy which makes me itch like I have poison ivy,  or just don't feel good when I fondle them.  It doesn't make them bad yarns, or yarns that shouldn't be used.  They just aren't right for me. 

Are you a yarn snob?  If so, what makes you one?  

Friday, October 31, 2014

Stash Bash

If you are like me and have little balls of sock yarn hidden away throughout your home, then it's time to cast on for Stash Bash 

Knit or Treat!!  Stash Bash is just $2.99 on Ravelry until November 5th and then it will be $6.00.  





I had such a great time designing and knitting Stash Bash.  Originally there was just one version, but when I finished knitting it I knew that I had to cast on for a second one!  It's such a fun knit and doesn't require a huge amount of concentration which makes it perfect to take to knit group or work on under your desk when your boss isn't around. 

The Mild version was knitted with the two skeins of Kismet Fingering  that I picked up at Mosaic Yarn Shop during the Yarn Crawl. This was a limited edition colorway and is no longer available, but Kismet Fiber Works now has Gradient Kits which would work up perfectly.



The Wild version was knitted with one full skein of Bugga (416 yards) and varying amounts of left over yarns for the contrast:
Contrasting Colors:
1. 4 gm/10 yards Indieway Yarns First String Plus Fingering
2. 9 gm/15 yards Painter's Palette Premium Merino
3. 12 gm/20 yards Verdant Gryphon Bugga
4. 13 gm/25 yards Socks That Rock Lightweight
5. 15 gm/30 yards Verdant Gryphon Bugga

6. 17 gm/35 yards Gnome Acres House Gnome
7. 19 gm/40 yards Plucky Feet
8. 21 gm/45 yards Socks That Rock Lightweight 



Friday, October 24, 2014

Seasons

I got an email from Carol at Rivers Edge Fiber Arts this week telling me to keep my eyes out for a package.  The mailman now thinks I am some sort of yarn crazed lunatic because I have been meeting him at the mailbox every day! When you are waiting for something exciting like yarn it really feels like time slows down and this week was no exception.  I was only a few moments too late to meet our mailman today and it makes me wonder if he has started speeding up his route to avoid the yarn stalker?  When I opened the mailbox, the package from Carol was there!  I opened the package up right away, and am so delighted at the amazing fall colors! 


This is Seasons, a blend of 70% Royal Baby Alpaca and 30% Tussah Silk.  It's so soft that I just want to wrap the skeins around my neck and wear them just like they are!  The colorway is Riverstone and can be found at RiversEdgeFiberArts.com  This is the same yarn that my Juliet pattern is designed for.  I was going to knit another Juliet in Riverstone, but when it arrived all I could think is what a fantastic cowl this yarn would be!  If you are heading to SAFF this weekend, be sure to stop by the Rivers Edge Fiber Arts booth and pick up a set of Seasons so you can make your own Juliet.  I have to warn you though, if you pick it up you will not be able to put it down.  It's that soft!


It's gotten chilly here and we had a bit of frost on the car's this week.  I thought it was time that Iggy had a proper hand knit sweater.  I don't really have much worsted yarn in my stash and wound up using left overs from the two Intersect projects.  Iggy doesn't seem to mind and I think the stripes are cute on him!  I made it on the large size so that he has some room for growing.  I also skipped blocking it since the yarn is superwash and I can get a bit of stretch to it if needed in a month or so. 


Just before we left for Florida I had a moment of panic and thought that I would run out of things to knit on our trip.  It happens every time we go away and not only have I yet to run out of something to knit, I can't remember finishing a project while on the road!  Back to the moment of panic...I went digging through my stash, skeins were flying everywhere, and I found a lovely skein of Miss Babs Yummy 2-Ply in Perfectly Wreckless.  I wrote up a little cable and lace sock pattern and stuck it in my carry on bag.  Of course I didn't have time to work on it while we were on vacation!  Now that we are home and settled back into our routines, I have cast on and am really enjoying the yarn and creating the new design.



Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Arya Collection


Needle is a small, slender sword that Jon Snow had made by Mikken for Arya Stark before he went away to the Night’s Watch. The sword is suitable to Arya’s slight build and the style of fencing known as “water dancing” used by the bravos of Braavos. Arya named it Needle as an ironic reference to her hatred of needlework. She sometimes refers to her use of the sword as needlework. Eventually, Needle also comes to represent her previous life at Winterfell and symbolizes the happy childhood with her family, which she still yearns for.

Earlier this year at Maryland Sheep & Wool I was able to spend a little bit of time chatting with Miss Babs.  We talked about our favorite characters from Game of Thrones and tossed around a few ideas for a new Game of Thrones inspired pattern.  Babs and I both really like Arya's character.  She's smart, spunky, and doesn't really back down from anything.  On the trip home I worked up a small chart and some sketches of Arya's Needle and then got to swatching.  After a Skype meeting with Babs and Jen, Babs created a limited edition colorway called Arya in Yummy 2-ply.  It will be available in limited quantities this weekend in her booth at Rhinebeck along with a hard copy version of both patterns.  The Arya yarn will also be available for pre-order at missbabs.com.  

Arya's Needle is a versatile shawl pattern and can easily be knit with three different looks. The edging and center sections have the same number of stitches and can be interchanged if you would like. You could have a shawl with three swords, two swords and lace in the center only, or lace in all three sections. The choice is yours!  



The long and slender point of needle will let you Subtly wield your sword with Arya’s Mitts. Instructions are included for a shorter version if you would prefer to wield a dagger rather than a sword! The pattern has two sizes: S/M and M/L and is very easily adjusted by going up or down a needle size.



The patterns can be purchased individually or in ebook format on Ravelry.

Beth, Helen and Kathy did a fabulous job test knitting.  If you have a chance, check out their projects on Ravelry.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

This has been such a busy week!  Andy and I have been spending every free moment working on the deck to try to get it finished.  The majority of the construction is done, which is a tremendous relief.  We still have the stairs to put in and then can begin work on leveling up the ground under the deck so that we can have a cement patio poured. 


Andy and I sat outside this afternoon, put our feet up and had a beer.  It was so nice to be able to take a moment to relax and enjoy the deck and the beautiful day.  The new wood needs to cure for six months before we can paint the deck.  We plan on painting it, along with the house this spring.  It's going to be fun to choose a color and we are really looking forward to it!

I haven't had as much time as I would like to knit this week and am still working on the Bethesda's Socks for the Sock it To Me KAL.   I also have a new cowl design on the needles that I plan on taking with me next week while we are on vacation. Yep, that's right, we are taking a vacation!  This one doesn't include construction, cooking, laundry or anything of that nature. 
I have a blog post scheduled for next Friday which will have a BIG surprise and announcement which I think you will like.  If you follow me under Lara Smoot Designs on Facebook there will be a few hint's there during the week as well.