Friday, January 23, 2015

Goals for 2015

At the beginning of each year I like to set goals for things that I would like to try to accomplish throughout the year.  It's easy to get discouraged and break New Years Resolutions because it seems that people tend to go for broke and have resolutions that are hard to stick to or achieve.  The goals (I know, it's just a different spin on resolutions, but tomato tomahto) I set are ones that I believe that I can reach and are never anything crazy like giving up chocolate.  One goal that Andy and I set together and has lasted for the past seven years is to recycle.  Recycling isn't mandatory where we live and we had been sporadic about it, after deciding that it was something that we absolutely needed to do for the benefit of the planet it was an easy goal to achieve. 

After decrapping organizing my studio for the umpteenth time, I realized that I needed to set up some knitting goals for this year - especially since we are planning on going to to major fiber festivals.  I'm going to attempt to use up ten, yes ten, skeins of yarn before MDSW which begins on May 2.  This brings me to my second knitting goal, which is to take some knitting time for myself and work on a few just for fun projects during the year.  The top shelf in the yarntertainment center is all fingering and sock weight yarns.  I'll be knitting with as many of them as I can!  I've arranged them by color this go around.  I had them by brand before and I'm not sure which way I like better. The middle shelf is worsted, dk, and lace.  The bottom shelf has needles, jewelry making tools and supplies, and miscellaneous items like my lazy kate and a couple of bobbins.

Because I have a rather extensive fiber stash I've attached a goal to that as well.  My plan is to spin up half of the fiber stash by the end of the year. I've started spinning a bump of baby alpaca from a fleece that I bought at a local farm about three years ago.  It's the softest fiber in my stash and I'm really enjoying spinning it.  I ordered two bobbins from Akerworks and they are due to be delivered today.  I've heard great things about them and thought they would be worth trying.  This is a standard bobbin that goes with Kromski wheels.  

Last week on Facebook someone posted a picture of circle weaving and I thought I would give it a try.   It's fun and easy!  I used my coiled handspun to make this little hot pad.

I spun this yarn quite a few years ago and never could figure out what to do with it.  This little mat was the perfect project for it.  Heart Song Studio has a great tutorial on how to set up the warp and use a nifty knitter for weaving in the round.

I started a pair of Wentletrap's last week and have one finished already.  The yarn is Socks that Rock Lightweight in the Fire on the Mountain colorway.  When they are done, that will be two skeins down (one for Wentletrap and one for the hot pad).  Only eight more to go. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


I know it's been a few weeks since I've posted, it just couldn't be helped.  I've been a bit under the weather since just after Thanksgiving.  I finally went to the doctor and he gave me on an inhaler and steroids.  the inhaler works great and I'm hardly coughing anymore.  I had a fantastic allergic reaction to the steroids on the first dose, which means I won't take those again!

I'm feeling a bit perkier and wanted to share my latest design release with you. It's called Sugarplum and is a super fun knit.  I knit it the sample up in Countess Ablaze Viscount of Spark in the Fake Your Death colorway.  The yarn was divine to knit with and the colorway is amazing. This cute infinity scarf can be doubled and worn as a cowl on the super cold days of winter.  When spring comes along, wear it with your favorite top as a cute little accessory.

Sugarplum is available on Ravelry for just $2.99 until January 20th.  If you are located in the EU, Sugarplum is available on Love Knitting for the same price later this week.  I apologize for any inconvenience, it takes approximately 24 hours for patterns from Ravelry to make their way over to Love Knitting.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Annual Festivus Post

The Random Number Generator has chosen!  Congratulations to K Valdes who has won the yarn and pattern book and to Stitched Together who has won her choice of one my patterns!  Happy Festivus! 

The Festivus post started a couple of years ago when I had a few grievances and thought maybe some of you could use a place to air yours without hurting anyone's feelings.  Continuing in this tradition, leave your grievance comment here on my blog by midnight on Festivus (December 21) for a chance to win a three skeins of Berroco Linus with a pattern booklet from Berroco (both are from my stash), and as second prize a choice of one of my patterns.  If you are lucky enough not to have a grievance you can post your Feat of Strength, or Festivus Miracle.  Did you knit twelve pairs of socks over the last few weeks? Well, we want to hear about it!  I'll be drawing the name by random number generator.  Please reply within 48 hours or I will have to choose another winner.  You can email me at my name at aol dot com if you would prefer that I post the comment for you so that you can remain anonymous.

I'll get things started with a grievance.

Dear Crazy: I've had enough of you this year to last me a freaking lifetime.  You come in many forms and show up in many ways and I'm sick of your shit.  Are you some sort of poltergeist that jumps from being to being showing up just when I've had enough time to relax and let my guard down?  Move the hell on and don't show up in 2105.  Enough is enough.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Miss Babs Knitting Tour

Just before we left for our trip to Florida this fall I received a wonderful email from Miss Babs asking if I would like to be one of the designers for the Miss Babs Knitting Tour in 2015.  Of course I said yes, and I am so pleased and excited to be part of this years tour! If you haven't heard of the Knitting Tour before, it's a year long journey to far off places all done from the comfort of your own home.  Four delightful packages are sent out in March, June, September, and December.  Miss Babs has a group just for the Tour on Ravelry where participants can ask questions, chat, show off their projects and generally have a great time: Miss Babs Knitting Tour  You can check out projects from past Tours there as well.  I'm sworn to secrecy about where we will be traveling to this year, but I can tell you it will be a lot of fun.  

Sign ups are open now, just in time for Christmas and holiday gift giving (or receiving, heh!).  Click on the picture below to take you to the sign up page which has a lot more information about the tour as well.

Pack your knitting bag and get ready for a year of travel fun!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Holiday Knitting

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Thank you so much for the support during my Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday Sale.  Now that you have stocked your Ravelry Library with some new patterns and did a bit of stash enhancement from the sales lists that Marly Bird and Lisa from Indie Untangled put together it's time to figure out what to cast on!   I'll be casting on a couple of pairs of Intersect Mitt's tonight for gift giving.  They knit up so quickly and it's a really fun pattern.  I have some nice yarn from Indieway Yarns in my stash that I plan on using for both pairs.

I also will be working on a few new designs in the coming months and am really looking forward to getting started on them.  One of them is going to be in this delicious yarn from Bare Naked Wools.  It's called Confection Sport, and there is good reason for that.  If you look up confection in the dictionary it should say: See Bare Naked Wools, but all it says is: a dish or delicacy made with sweet ingredients.  It's absolutely scrumptious!  This colorway is called Nougat, but it comes in several other delicious colorways like: Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate.  Yum!!

 I hope that you are enjoying the holiday season and remember to take time to relax and knit in between going to the market and trying to fit in all of the festivities.  Speaking of which, my annual Festivus post is coming right up and I have some fun prizes to give away! 

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?