Friday, February 27, 2015

Babalicious



I first discovered the wonderful yarns of  Miss Babs at Maryland Sheep & Wool a few years ago.  I couldn't believe all of the stunning colors her yarns come in and was even more impressed with the ladies that were working in the booth.  Since that first visit to her booth, every time I have been back no matter how crowded it is, or if it's at the end of the day, the ladies are always so nice and super helpful.  I've followed along on some of the podcasts and interviews that featured Babs and was very impressed with her business sense and the way that she explained how everyone sees colors differently.  Last year I was fortunate to get to meet Babs while we were at MDSWBabs is a lady who is as vibrant as the yarn that she dyes and was an absolute pleasure to talk to.  She is one of those people that make you feel warm and welcome the moment you meet them. 

I really enjoy knitting with the yarns that I have gotten from Miss Babs.  Each one is a work of art and when I knit with them, it's like getting to paint a watercolor picture without the trouble of having to use paint (I'm a bit challenged with actual paints). 



I thought it was very appropriate to name this pattern set after Babs and her wonderful yarns! 

Babalicious is a three piece set that includes mitts, a cowl and boot toppers that can all be made from just one skein of Miss Babs Yowza! This fun set was inspired by Miss Babs herself; her likableness and charm come out in the beautiful yarns that she dyes. I thought it was very fitting to name this pattern after her.  The three piece set is introductory priced at $5.99 on Ravelry.




Saturday, February 21, 2015

Winter is Here

Never mind that Winter is Coming, it's here!  The temperatures have been well below normal here for the past week, dipping well down into the single digits.  It was only 2 degrees here yesterday morning and barely got into the double digits.  I had all the intentions of blogging yesterday afternoon only to discover that we had a frozen pipe.  I spent a large part of the afternoon thawing the pipe with a heating pad and a blow dryer.  This doesn't sound really awful and normally I don't think it would be, but the pipe happened to be in between a wall in our basement and the foundation in a spot that I could barely squeeze through.  While I was squeezing in and out of this tiny space I noticed that where the main power to the house comes in had a large hole and was letting cold air in. No wonder the pipe had frozen!  I plugged it up with insulation and then insulated the pipes with pipe insulation.  So far it seems to be working. 

This was the spot that I squeezed into and yes, I was terrified I would either get wedged in there or attacked by spiders the entire time!


Because there was exposed insulation and god knows what else, I dressed properly for the occasion:

Now, onto some fun and much happier stuff!  

Last month Verity from Truly Hooked contacted me to see if I would be interested in having my Wentletrap pattern included in her sock club!  The mail has been really slow here and I sometimes wonder if our mailman likes to keep the yarn packages for a bit before delivering them.  After all,  they are really soft and squishy and hard to resist!  I can't tell you how delighted I was when I opened the lovely lavender package that contained Verity's yarn!  The colors are bright and cheerful, just the thing for the middle of a dreary winters day.  The yarn base is an 80/10/10 Superwash Merino/Nylon/Cashmere with just the right amount of twist to work well for socks, and soft enough for me to just want to wrap the skein around my neck and dance around the house for a bit.

As well as being a fantastic indie dyer, Verity also just recently had one of her crochet designs published in Inside Crochet. Verity also has a group on Ravelry and there are quite a few Wentletraps knit up in this colorway.  It's called Quirky, which suits it's cheerful colors perfectly.  Here is a link to this months yarn club: TruelyHooked

Here are Verity's Wentletraps in Quirky.  Don't they look like happy socks?  The colorway is perfect for them!



I've been working on a second Arya's Needle that has three of the lace panels and omits the sword in the center.  It's going to be used as a sample at the booth I will have at The Powhatan's Festival of Fiber in April.  I dyed up the yarn myself and will have some kitted up with the pattern at the festival. It was snowing again this morning and I wanted to capture a bit of it in the pictures without actually going outside. Even though they are a touch dark, I really like the way they came out.













Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sundance



I’ve just released Sundance, a fun venture into colorwork. The Sundance mitts are designed to keep help keep your hands and arms warm in those sub zero office temperatures that we all know and love. These cute mitts are knit up in Knitted Wit’s Victory DK in Wild Orchard and Naked.

Use coupon code: stupidgroundhog for $1 off of Sundance in my Ravelry pattern shop. Don’t wait because it expires on Midnight 2/15!




Wintertime is my favorite time to knit colorwork patterns. The longer nights and shorter days of winter seem to beg for brighter colors and patterns. The Sundance mitts are inspired by classic Norwegian mittens and sweaters with a touch of modern design.




Sundance is written in one size, but can easily be altered by going up or down a needle size or two, or by using a lighter or heavier weight yarn. Make sure to knit a swatch to check your gauge and to ensure you will like the fabric if you are altering the size of the mitts. My test knitter Julia, aka Sapphirechild on Ravelry, used Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool and altered her gauge to make them a bit smaller.



Friday, February 6, 2015

Six More Weeks of Winter KAL

Well the groundhog from hell has spoken and we will be having six more weeks of winter.  As you know, I love winter and next to fall it's my favorite time of the year.  This years lack of snow in our area pared with biting cold temperatures has been rather disappointing.  My friends in New England have gotten more than their fair share of snow and I would gladly take some of it off of their hands! 

To get us through the next six weeks, I started a Six More Weeks of Winter KAL in my Ravelry Group.  It's a casual KAL and you can even knit one of my patterns that you may already have.  If you want to purchase a pattern for the KAL use coupon code: Phil for 20%, good until the end of the day.  I'm giving away three patterns for prizes, all you need to do is post a picture of your FO from the KAL in the group to be entered.  I'm going to be joining in the KAL to help me with my goal of using 10 skeins before MDSW. 

Two pairs of socks knit from stash using two skeins of yarn.  I'm not counting the contrasting color on the Hearts in Owlantis since it was leftover from another project.


I didn't bother to check my gauge since Wentletrap is one of my designs (Do you think you are the only one who plays Russian Roulet with gauge????) and I wound up using more yarn than I planned and actually ran out on the toe of the second sock.  I put an SOS up in the Socks That Rock Group on Ravelry and Turtlegirl was kind enough to come to my rescue.  This was what was on the package when it came:




I finished up the toe and blocked them yesterday.  They are nice and dry this morning and I'm going to wear them today. Woot, woot! The yarn is Socks That Rock Lightweight in the Fire on the Mountain colorway.


I tend to get a little stir crazy when we wind up staying inside so much.  I rearrange furniture, clean out closets and generally drive Andy crazy.  We keep Iggy's crate in the living room during the day so that when we leave he can see Kiwi and not feel like he is all alone.  He is still way to young to leave unattended at this point.  The crate wasn't really an eyesore, but it really wasn't adding anything to the living room either.  I took some quick measurements and realized that it would fit perfectly under a repurposed sewing table that we had by the front door to keep our keys and other clutter on.  It looks much better and best of all didn't cost a thing.  We had been looking at coffee table crates on Amazon, and they are crazy expensive!  The table is a little taller than the crate, which I like because it will give Iggy plenty of fresh air.





Friday, January 30, 2015

Progress

I'm making progress for my goal of using 10 skeins of yarn before MDSW and have finished one Hearts in Owlantis sock.




I know a lot of knitters who are cold sheeping and not purchasing any yarn until they have knitted down some of their stash.  While I am trying to stick to the goal of 10 skeins, I'm not restricting myself from purchasing more yarn if I see something that I fall in love with.  Like this skein from Knitted Wit that fell into my Etsy cart:


It's pretty close to a Tardis blue and is even prettier in person - it has a lot more depth of color and is quite stunning.  What can I say?  I had to have it!

If you are cold sheeping and trying to get your stash down to a reasonable amount of yarn, a good way to do it is to go through your patterns and prioritize them.  Look and see which patterns you really want to knit and then pick the yarn to go with the pattern (if you bought the yarn specifically for the pattern already, then you are one step ahead of the game!).  Put both the yarn and pattern in a project or zip lock bag so that it's ready to go when you decide to cast on.  Give yourself a reward every time you finish a project that included stashing down.  It can be something small and simple like a special candy bar or a nice glass of wine.

If you don't have a pattern in mind for some of the yarn you have, check out Ravelry's search feature.  Enter the type of yarn you have, then check out the suggested patterns for it and completed projects.  There are some great ideas to be had there!  If you have some left over fingering weight yarns, Stash Bash and Camberwell are both great projects to use up those left overs:




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

Sugarplum

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.