Tag Archives: yarn

Check me out in The Knitter!

I was stalking The Knitter, a UK knitting magazine, religiously this summer. The editor, Juliet Bernard, had asked if she could feature my pattern, the Mini Mania Scarf, in one of her stashbusting blog posts. I was thrilled, of course, and started watching like mad for it. Well wouldn’t you know it, right after I gave up the hunt she posted about my pattern! It was last month, but her stashbusting tips for all of the fabulous ways you can use up yarn are totally still relevant. Plus, hey look, there I am!

But there’s more! The Knitter (hard copy side) contacted me again because they are doing a larger spread about stashbusting in their next issue, and wanted to know if they could reprint my pattern photo there as well! I think that if the pattern is being featured (or, as the case may be, a teeny picture in the corner) it should be the most current issue, issue 36, which went on sale Sept. 5 in the UK. If any of my European readers have found it, I’d love to have a scan of the page or a copy of the magazine. Either way, keep your eyes peeled for me, please!

UPDATE: I wrote to one of the editors who initially contacted me to ask where my picture was featured, and she was so kind as to give me a digital copy of the page that my scarf was on. Yey! They had originally told me that the reason they were interested in featuring my scarf was because a reader wrote them a letter talking about it. So they actually wrote about my scarf in a response to the reader, whose letter they published in a section of the magazine called “In the Loop”. Very exciting!

In other news, I’ve joined Craftsy and I’m loving it – it’s a great complementary site to Ravelry because it offers me a chance to share my non-knitting related stuff (ok, that’s like, one sewing project, but still) and it offers great online classes and stuff like that. What fun!

In Which The Cat Sits, but Not on a Hat

So I’ve been winding yarn like a mad woman all week for The Beekeeper’s Quilt (why no, I’m not obsessed, why do you ask?) and I have a mildly amusing story to relate.

Last night my big boy cat, who is rather a grumpy old man, was kvetching at me because he wanted to be fed or to go to bed or both. Now, I was sitting in front of the TV, which was starting to run a repeat of Stephen Colbert, and I really did need to go to sleep. But I was almost finished winding this skein of yarn for the night and cutting it up into little miniskeins for my hexipuffs so I kept saying, “Just one more minute” to myself.

So I would wind yarn, put most of it immediately a plastic ziploc bag for mini mania purposes, and then put the rest in my white basket (which you have previously seen) for my own personal hexipuffing mania. Mittens, the aforementioned cat, had been happily sleeping on the edge of the plastic bag for a few hours (yeah, all that yarn and all he wants is a plastic bag, I know) before the caterwauling began. I firmly ignored him and continued winding…and then he got quiet. I should have known.

I finished winding the final skeinlet around my knees, sat up in the chair, leaned forward to look for the cat and then glanced down to see…THIS.

The Cat, Guarding His Nest

Sigh. He looks like he’s roosting and getting ready for his yarn eggs to hatch. But I really think he just wanted to get my attention, and decided that  sitting in my yarn would do it. Considering that ALL WEEK he has ignored piles of yarn and this basket in favor of the plastic bag. What a jerk! After I pulled out the camera he grew miffed and trundled off (he hates the camera; he’s very Amish like that). Anyways, luckily it was just my own skeinlets, and those are all going to be part of my hexipuff blanket so I don’t mind if a bit of cat hair finds its way in, but he just cracked me up last night. How absurd.

My Basket. My Yarn. My Hexipuffs. Mine!

In other news, I am now happily ensconced in the KAL for the Beekeeper’s Quilt in both the tiny owl knits group and my own chitterychattery swappery swappers group, plus a hexipuff-themed miniskein swap on Ravelry. I keep listening to Stephanie’s music on Youtube and…well, I want to say knitting, but really, I’ve been working and then winding yarn in my spare time. But I’m getting to the knitting soon! I swear! I already have one hexipuff done! (Whew, the guilt.)

As for the WestKnits KAL? After all of that work locating yarn for it? Um, well, that isn’t going so well. I sense that I will not be finishing it by Aug. 31. Oops!

June 2011 Stash Peek!

Yarn glorious yarn! It’s the end of June and it’s time for another stash peek! It’s been a while so I bet you are all dying to see what I have accumulated lately. Well, let me tell you, I’ve got some real pretties I’m sifting through here.  It’s almost hard to pick! Let’s start with the last to arrive first.

As you may know, I went on a little business trip this month and had a blast. I met loads of yarnies and designers, picked up some fun button swag, and squished a good many yarns in inappropriate manners. The best thing, though, far above all, was that I got a green skein of cashmere yarn!!! (Ahem, sorry about the excessive exclamation points. I really love that yarn.) The yarn in question is Mountain Colors Jeannette in Green Apple, and it is truly divine. The DK weight yarn is a blend of cashmere and cultivated silk, and it’s so freaking soft I have no clue how those women over at Mountain Colors dyed it without felting it! Seriously, this stuff is decadent, and I’m so pleased to own some.

The coolest thing about this yarn is how they came up with the name. If you check out the Mountain Colors website, a bunch of their stuff is given nice but sorta basic names like “Weaver’s Wool” and “4/8s Wool.” You get the idea. But this yarn they decided to name after someone specific – a very important woman, in fact. From their Ravelry page:

“We named this yarn after a very important woman in Montana’s state history, Jeannette Rankin. She was the first woman in the country elected to US Congress in 1916, 4 years before women in our nation were given the right to vote. She was very active in the Suffrage Movement and working for women’s rights. She was a peace activist and was the only member of congress to vote again WWI. When we saw how lovely and graceful this cashmere silk was we immediately thought of Jeannette.”

I just think that is so neat. I love having yarn named after someone who made a difference – it just makes it all the more special to me.

Mountain Colors Jeannette in Green Apple

Now, I apologize for repeating myself here, because I know I showed you new Manos yarn I’d gotten last month too, but come on! It’s Manos. And I fell down and found some yarn that is just OMGMUSTHAVE so I actually bought it and paid full price (cue gasps of shock). The yarn is Manos del Uruguay Maxima.

Don’t be fooled by the colorway name here, because this is identical to Wildflowers in Wool Clasica. The only difference is that this is just a merino worsted weight, not an exotic handspun like Wool Clasica is. But when I say “just”, I don’t mean “just”, not really. Because this yarn is GORGEOUS. It’s super soft and squishy and divine with a whopping 218 yards AND it comes in all of your favorite Manos colors! What’s not to love?

Manos del Uruguay Maxima in Meltaway Mint

The third and last yarn to talk to you about this month is sort of exciting for me. I got my first GothSocks! I’m not huge into the stripey black-color-black dyeing craze that is going on right now (nothing personal, just don’t care for big fat stripes), so I’ve never bothered to stalk Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs before. However, earlier this month she had a sneak update that I just happened to be online during, and, intrigued, I fell into her site. And I was hooked. I got myself a wonderfully named Snow White referenced colorway in her Asphodel base called Poisoned Apple. YUM.

Rainy Days & Wooly Dogs Gothling Asphodel in Poisoned Apple

Then the yarn I’ve been dying to acquire, her Absinthe colorway, came up in a destash in the Oleander base, so I got both in the mail at the same time! I’m really thrilled – both are technically Gothlings, which simply means that they are not her stripeys, but I’m totally cool and happy with that. And I love them to pieces. Check it!

Rainy Days & Wooly Dogs Gothling Oleander in Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Ok, that’s all, folks, so thanks for playing in my stash with me this month!

April/May 2011 Stash Peek

As usual, it’s the end of April, and I find myself a lying liar with three new yarns to share with you. Actually, I’d recommend not looking in my stash on Ravelry, because you will see a LOT more than three new yarns. I know! I’m so ashamed. ;) And, since I missed my April deadline and this is now May, I’m going to lump these two months together and share four different yarns with all of you.

The first yarn I want to talk about is Black Trillium Fibre Studio‘s gorgeous Trinity Sock in Herbs and Spices. This yarn is an absolutely divine blend of merino, nylon and cashmere, and when I saw this one-of-a-kind colorway in her shop in April during her blowout Twitter sale, I knew it had to come home with me. There’s a reason that Black Trillium has over 1,2,00 sales in her Etsy shop – she’s doing an amazing job. Her colors are rich and lush and have that particular semi-solid appeal with subtle hue variations that create pops of unexpected color without pooling. In essence, the perfect sock yarn.

Black Trillium Fibre Studio Trinity Sock

The second yarn I got this month came to me through an unexpected means – a competition over at the Fairmount Fibers blog. Fairmount Fibers is the distributor of Manos del Uruguay’s yarns and patterns, and they were having a colorway name contest. I said their pink colorway reminded me of Cherry Blossoms, and they picked me! Here are all of the new colorways and their names:

Manos del Uruguay Spring 2011 Colorway Contest, courtesy Fairmount Fibers, Ltd.

My prize for being one of the winning colorway namers was my choice of a skein of yarn, and boy did that thrill me. A you well know, my love affair with Manos yarns is unparalleled, so a free skein Wool Clasica made me feel yippy-skippy-dee-do. I decided to go with a color I haven’t had the chance to try yet, Mermaid, and OH MY LORD I did not choose wrong. Just look at this gorgeousness. I want to paper my walls with pictures of Manos.

Manos del Uruguary Wool Clasica in Mermaid

Next up is a yarn I found in a sweet little destash for a song. Castle Fibers Castle’s Royal Sock is nice and squishy, but what really shines here are the colors. I don’t know what it is, but once it started turning spring-like outside, I got this weird craving for greens with shots of pretty rosebud pink in them. Green and pink, green and pink, green and pink. I’m sure by June I’ll be f-ing tired of green and pink, but for now, I cannot get enough of it. I’m even wearing pink right now!

Er, anyways, I’ve found that the Castle Fibers dye job of this Central Park colorway is really lovely – the variety of tonal qualities in her greens range from chartreuse to emerald to hunter, with the pink shades adding that bright variety I’m in love with. The dyer currently doesn’t seem to be selling her yarns in her shop on Etsy, so I’d check out some destashes on Ravelry if you are interested in trying her yarns out.

Castle Fibers Castle's Royal Sock

My last yarn just arrived yesterday, and opening up my package from Maiden Yarn and Fiber was like unwrapping the best treat all spring. Considering how many yarns slip through my fingers, I was beyond impressed with her presentation. She shipped my stuff Priority and outer box was all cute and wrapped by this packaging supply place so it said “Packed for you by…” To top it off, inside, the yarn and fiber I had ordered from her was carefully wrapped in white tissue paper, with a single ribbon of navy blue artistically twining around it. In the center of the ribbon, a fine cream-colored tag that said “Maiden Yarn and Fiber” was mounted on a rich, crepe-like navy blue card. The effect made my jaw drop. And that was just the wrapping!

Her yarns, on the other hand, leaves you breathless. I purchased some Hand Dyed Meriboo from her with the enticing name of “Sea Glass.” And oh boy, this yarn is glorious. It’s a delicious blend of ocean blues and algae greens with shots of seaweed-colored browns for contrast. I eyed this yarn for weeks before succumbing to it’s siren call.

Maiden Yarn and Fiber Hand Dyed Meriboo in Sea Glass

Ok, I lied again. I want to share one more yarn with all of you. This may seem an odd choice, because it’s just one solid color and it’s not especially different or exciting, but it’s near and dear to my heart. I have finally gotten my hands on a skein of Ella Rae Bamboo Silk and I’m tickled green. This yarn belonged to my friend knittingale, and I coveted it like the green-eyed monster I am. A couple of years ago we’d both gotten prizes in a swap we were playing in, and while my prize was some random yarn of which I neither liked the color or base, while hers was this gorgeous, lush, grass green silk yarn that absolutely killed me.

Well, guess who got lucky! My friend swapped me the skein finally, and I know just how I’m going to use it. It’s going to be the most perfect Ruched Sleep Eye Mask ever. I am going to The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) for work this summer, and my beloved original sleep mask is sort of grody and not appropriate for showing off in public. Yes, even in a hotel room. So I’m going to make myself a new mask. This yarn will be perfect for the mask – I can tell just by feeling it, because it has a nice weight and smoothness from the bamboo, and the silk keeps it from being too slinky. Yummy.

Ok, thanks for letting me share with you during this combined spring “stash peek” session! I’ll be back in June for more yarny goodness and fun, I’m certain.

March 2011 Stash Peek

So it’s the end of March, and we’re overdo for a peek into my stash. I told everyone last month that I’m going to try to work harder to let you virtually roll in my goodies, and by gum! I’m sticking to my word (By gum is such a fun, antiquey turn of phrase). Anyways, on to the show!

Ok, I actually seem to have acquired quite a few yarns that I like this month, so I’m a little divided about what to show you. But I think I’ve narrowed it down to my top three. The first one is Gaia’s Colours Fibre Arts Umaj Sock, a merino, bamboo and nylon blend in a lovely peacock-colored colorway called “Persephone.” The reason I want to talk about this yarn is because Gaia’s Colours is shutting down, as the dyer, Ursa Hawthorne, has announced that she doesn’t have the time for it anymore. So why am I telling you about a yarn that isn’t going to exist in a few months? Hello! This is your chance to get your hands on some of her lovely yarns and fibers before they are all gone! Seriously, go now. Buy some yarn at deeply discounted prices.

Ok, now that you’ve filled your cart up and emptied your PayPal account, let’s talk about this yarn here in particular. Now, I must start by saying that I’m not a big fan of bamboo blends for socks. Bamboo is just rayon by another name, and it doesn’t have that nice hand that I expect when I touch wool or even cotton. Often it doesn’t dye well, and it usually makes me just go “meh.” However, Gaia’s yarn is really lovely, and I find myself reluctant to let it out of my sight. The colors are just so rich and gorgeous, and the base has a great texture. I’m not sure if its the nylon in the blend or what, but this combination of fibers creates a silky, yet springy yarn. And I may have put it down my shirt I like it so much.

Gaia's Colours Fibre Arts Umaj Sock in Persephone

My next skein of newly stashed yarn is by one of my all-time favorite dyers, The Sanguine Gryphon. This yarn in particular I am showing off is called QED, and it’s a worsted weight, 100% Blue-faced Leicester wool that has this rich, almost creamy texture. And yes, I know that sounds ridiculous (how can a yarn feel like cream) but I swear it does. It’s a tightly spun 5-ply wool with a longer staple, and while the Sanguine Gryphon claims that it’s soft enough to put next to skin “but nothing luxurious”, I beg to disagree. It’s delicious and I would stick it down my shirt if the Umaj sock weren’t already there taking up space.

This is actually my second skein of QED. My first was a pale peach colorway that didn’t do it for me, but I knew I needed to locate another skein pronto that I could love and keep forever and name George. That yarn is this one, in a fabulous colorway called Multiplying Rabbits. I think I’ll tuck it in my stash and hope that the next time I open up my Rubbermaid container the yarn has multipled.

The Sanguine Gryphon QED in Multiplying Rabbits

My third skein of yarn for this month did not come through a swap or trade. Yes, I actually out-and-out bought it. I know. You can gasp in shock now. I participate in the Phat Fiber Sampler Box. Every month I send in a crapton of stitch marker samples (by which I mean, over $100 worth of samples), and receive a contributor box in return. It’s a great way of advertising, and it helps create a wonderful community of buyers and sellers working together to both improve their merchandise or marketing and appeal to what the customer want the most.

Well, last month I became a customer, when I caved over a skein of All For Love Of Yarn‘s new yarn called Sparkle Lublu in the colorway Black Labradorite. This yarn is a sumptuous blend of merino, nylon and stellina, which is a nylon-type synthetic that creates sparkles all over the yarn. Hey, I never said I was immune to sparkles in my socks.

However, I must confess it was not the sparkles that did me in here. It was her dye job. This skein is just sort of…it leaves me breathless. I absolutely love the way she’s created this fabulous depth of color, creating a world of blues and greens that you just want to sink into, like sliding into the warm, silky waters of the Caribbean ocean on a hot summer day. The photographs in her Etsy shop really don’t do her yarns justice, because they are very striking. By the way, if you are interested in checking her stuff out, she is having a 20 percent off sale right now that may interest you… ;)

All For Love Of Yarn Sparkle Lublu in Black Labradorite

Ok, that’s all the time I’ve got this month. I’m trying to resist acquiring more yarn (as I try every month), but I’m sure by the end of April I’ll find myself with three new yarns to share with all of you. Until then, enjoy!

Peeking into the stash

It occurred to me tonight that if I’m excited by the new yarns I acquire and stash, perhaps other people might be thrilled by them as well, non? My best friend have a game that we occasionally play where we call each other and invite the other to take a tour of our newly stashed yarns on Ravelry. Tonight I thought I’d let all of you take a peek with me as well. So here we go, diving into the stash!

First up is a yarn that I am absolutely in love with. I’m a big fan of cotton blends – give me wool and cotton or silk and cotton and I’m as joyful as a pig in mud. But even cotton can get a little boring sometimes. Enter Farmhouse Yarns Silk Spun Cotton, to mix things up a bit for me.

Farmhouse Yarns Silk Spun Cotton in Rose Heather

This yarn is divine. It’s a worsted weight blend composed of 60 percent cotton, 32 percent lambswool and 8 percent silk. So that’s cotton with all of my favorite blends! It’s silky and creamy and wooly all at the same time, making for a totally squishable yarn. Plus, the way the yarn blends up creates these awesome little tweedy flecks of color in the fiber. From a distance, the Rose Heather colorway I own almost looks like its reflecting the light from the sun, because little bits of yellow poke out from it and give the pale pink color a warmth and depth it wouldn’t otherwise have.

Farmhouse Yarns Spilk Spun Cotton in Rose Heather

I fell in love with this skein so hard that I immediately searched through the destashes on Ravelry and nabbed myself a second skein. I’m really pleased with the yardage on this yarn, too. With just two skeins I have 400 yards to work with, which is sort of exciting. I think that a spring short-sleeved top made out of this would be perfect.

The second yarn I’m sharing with you tonight is brand spanking new, as it just arrived this week in the mail. It hails all the way from New Zealand, and it’s a from a little company called Skeinz. Skeinz is actually the in-house brand for a woolen mill in New Zealand called Design Spun, which is one of the three major mills in the country, and spins up a whole bunch of popular yarns. Their mill store is Skeinz, and they have slowly been expanding their wares and their branding. These little beauties are the product of that expansion.

Skeinz Perendale Premium Blend DK in Smokey Teal

This yarn is 100 percent Perendale wool in a really fabulous colorway called Smokey Teal. The color is slightly brighter than a petrol blue, and the fiber is simply fantastic. I’d never heard of Perendale wool, which is what first intrigued me about the yarn, so I immediately looked it up. According to the American Sheep Industry Association

The Perendale originated in New Zealand from crossing the Border Cheviot with the Romney breed. They are an open-faced, medium-framed breed that produces bright, lofty, long-stapled, medium-wool fleeces. Developed as an easy-care sheep, they are both hardy and highly adapted to marginal forage-producing areas.

I’m excited about the idea of the long staple, which is similar to Blue-Faced Leicester wool. A long staple means that whatever I make out of this wool will pill less, thereby lasting longer. It’s both sturdy and soft with a great body, and the best part is that this yarn is really affordable. Not only is the US dollar stronger than the NZ dollar right now, but the shipping to the US for a sweater’s quantity of yarn is only like $8, which is sometimes what you pay for Priority shipping within the US.

Now you can imagine what happened with this yarn. As soon as my three skeins arrived I squished them and said out loud, “I must have more.” I contacted the woman I’d swapped with to get these, and begged her to give me everything she had. It was a little bit like a druggie saying, “Hit me up, man!” A sweater’s worth of yarn in Smokey Teal may just be in the mail to me next week.

Skeinz Perendale Premium Blend in Smokey Teal

My third skein is actually something of a surprise to me, at least with the “loving it” factor. Now, everyone knows I’m a huge fan of Manos del Uruguay yarns, and if you give me a minute I’ll talk your ear off about them for ten. I know plenty of people that are Malabrigo Junkies, but I’ve never fallen into that category. It may have something to do with the fact that my Malabrigo socks got holes in them immediately. But that’s another story. I think that Malabrigo’s new Twist base is worming its way into my heart – literally! Just look at this wormy, squishy skein:

Malabrigo Twist in Liquid Ambar

I got this yarn at Eat.Sleep.Knit. this week, a sort of extra thing I tossed in my buggy at the last minute to use up my gift certificate there. I fully expected that I would wax poetic to you about the Sanguine Gryphon Bugga that I had purchased in that order. But while my new Bugga is gorgeous and lovely and I’m thrilled that ESK is now selling it, somehow this new yarn just has me all twisted up.

Malabrigo Twist is a rich, warm and squishy aran weight baby merino wool yarn that has 8 plies for added strength. It comes in a bajillion gorgeous colorways, and I find 150 yards an acceptable yardage for this gorgeous handpainted effect. As is typical with things I fall in love with, I’ve just gone back to the Eat.Sleep.Knit. website and moaned a little over the 2 skeins that are left. I’ll resist, though. For now.

Ok, that ends our grand tour of my stash for this month. Thanks for taking that little stroll with me through my newest stash acquisitions!

Breaking out of the box.

Heyyy…what’s this? Why yes, it is a new layout! I was sick unto death of my old blog theme (Connections), what with it’s boxy conformity and the inability to see the right side of any of my horizontal photos. Blech. I like photos, man! I need big-ass photos.

Anyways, I decided that it was important to push the walls back further on this little ol’ blog of mine. I used the newer WordPress theme Under The Influence, and I am definitely feeling a little drunken love for it. However, after I had done that (and spent a couple of hours in the middle of the night putting back all of my menu bars that went “poof!” headdesk), I still thought my blog needed a bit of…something.

And then I realized what I needed. New. Yarn. P0rn. Isn’t it delicious?

Araucania Limari, 571

My yummy green closeup of Sanguine Gryphon‘s Little Traveller in Ougadougou was really lovely, don’t get me wrong, but after seeing it for about a year it can get exhausting. After some scouting through my stash on Ravelry, I fell upon this little gem, which is newer and much more exciting.

So here’s a little visual demonstration of the “old” versus the “new.” Yes, change can be a beautiful thing.

Blah…

Exchanging Fire Layout 2010

Bam!

Exchanging Fire Layout 2011