Friday, May 29, 2015

A Different Sort of Measure

Orders for the PicnicKnits Mystery KAL have been rolling in.

This is one batch that's shipping out today.  People have picked some really good color combinations, and now I have a few fresh ideas of my own.  I might have to join the KAL fun.

This week the only knitting project that's been getting my attention is Strathcona.

I'm resisting the urge to measure.  Usually I'm not as far along as I think I am and it's kind of deflating, so I'll just keep going.  For now I'm happy it's longer than a keyboard.

Pink keeps popping up in my conversations about patterns and colorways - so many shades, so many options.  It's a color I enjoy knitting with, but I never wear.  And it's making an appearance as this week's color inspiration.

Pink clusters.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Random Again

Last week I was random on Wednesday, and this week it's more of the same. 

~ If you enjoy a mystery KAL, see what Corrina Ferguson is cooking up.

She's using Lillian for her project, and I'm offering a discount on yarn orders.  The fun starts on June 11.  You'll find more details on the PicnicKnits Mystery KAL page.

~ May is almost gone, and that means it's time for the monthly giveaway.  Leave a comment and tell us what you're working on. What colors are you knitting with?  Do you have any book or podcast recommendations?  I'm always looking for suggestions.

The winner, chosen at random, will receive a skein of Dirty Water DyeWorks yarn - winner's choice.  The contest closes on Monday, June 1, 2015.

~ Speaking of giveaways, the winner of the newsletter gradient bundle giveaway is Cindy S. If you want to receive the newsletter, sign up here.

~ Finally, a little quiz to test your knowledge of knitting around the world.  Just when you thought you knew it all . . . 

Monday, May 25, 2015

More Minis

Sometimes it takes an outside force to generate a new idea.  I often have mini skeins available at shows.  Not only are they cute, they're also an easy way to add a little color or sample a new yarn.

Over the last few months I've had a thing for gradients, and I've shared some of that fun here on the blog.  

Enter Suzie and Elizabeth at KnitWit.  Recently they approached me with a special request.  The result is a combination of the minis and the gradients.

Mini Gradient Bundles. Aren't they adorable?  Oh, the possibilities . . . 

I delivered a batch to the shop on Saturday.  Here's one pattern idea.

Coastal Gradient.  Now I'm plotting and planning.

While the ideas percolate, I can work on this.

Strathcona.  Almost mindless, good for thinking.

Friday, May 22, 2015

That Nice Stitch

Sometimes life is all about managing interruptions.  This has been one of those weeks where the to-do list from one day rolls into the next day.  By Friday the list is unwieldy, and it's a constant reminder of all the things I didn't finish earlier in the week.  

Here's one thing I did finish.

That Nice Stitch.

This was a quick little project.  The pattern has plenty of options - wider, longer, shorter, any weight of yarn.  It would make a nice gift when that time of year rolls around.  Both my daughters were eyeing this yesterday, but I have other plans.  This one is for me.

The yarn is Crystal, colorway Burnished Gold.

The combination of Merino, Yak and Silk has wonderful drape and is perfect for next-to-skin wear.

This year I missed our annual May Day celebration, so it was fun to spot a maypole at Coggeshall Farm last weekend.

This is what's left after the dance . . . my color inspiration for the week.

Around and around, over and under.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Random on Wednesday

Yesterday I felt my week was veering off course, and today my suspicion was confirmed.  I discovered that 2 dye lots of the same colorway are so radically different they can no longer fall under the "dye lots may vary" umbrella.  My first reaction was one of disbelief. Maybe if I took them outside in natural light they would look the same. My daughter issued the verdict when she said, "Mom, I don't need better light.  I can see a mile away that those two are different."

I'm launching an investigation, but in the meantime I'll share some random thoughts and ideas that are swirling around in my head.

~ This coming Saturday I'll be in Portland (the one on the right coast) at KnitWit Yarn Shop.  I usually make my way to the shop a couple times a year, and this is my spring visit.  I'll have a few new colors along for the ride, and there will be yarn on the needles for knitters to sample.

KnitWit has been the test shop for my gradients.  Since they've been experimenting with the shifting colors, I thought it would be fun to give away a gradient bundle.  If you're in the area, stop by the shop and enter for a chance to win.  Suzie, the owner, is a wonderful hostess, and I'm sure it will be a delightful afternoon.

Since not everyone can make it to KnitWit, I'll be giving away a second gradient bundle to a lucky person on the newsletter list.  If you already get my newsletter, you're all set.  Your name is in the hat.  If you don't get the newsletter, sign up now.  I'll be picking a winner over the weekend.

~ I truly appreciate the number, nerdy side of knitting.  That's why I have to give a shout-out to Kate Atherley's current project.  Kate is collecting all sorts of data on hand sizes.  Grab a tape measure and fill out the form.  It's for a good cause.

~ Does the last stitch of your bind off look a little sloppy?  Take a look at this method.  Maybe it will help you tidy things up.

~ And for the knitter who is also a hockey fan, check out Hat Trick Yarn from River City Yarns.  They even have pattern suggestions.  

Have a great Wednesday!  I'm off to solve the mystery of the dye pot debacle.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Farm and Fiber

My tour of New England sheep and wool festivals continued this past weekend with a stop in Rhode Island.  There's a passionate group of fiber people in Rhode Island, and it's always fun to visit.

This festival was held at Coggeshall Farm . . . a charming spot. 

Of course there was a sheep shearing demonstration. 

I get a chance to chat with some interesting people at these events, and this weekend was no exception.

Meet The Amazing Taylors and some of their puppets.

A Cheshire cat under construction.  These puppets are works of art.

Thanks to everyone who came out in spite of a few sprinkles. Coggeshall Farm is a living museum.  I recommend a visit if you're in the area.

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Bit of a Lull

It's been a quiet knitting week.  Sometimes it can be satisfying to work on only one project.  I've been busy with various dyeing projects, so it's been good to keep the knitting simple.  

I have some new ideas brewing, but until those projects come together I've been working on That Nice Stitch.  My biggest decision?  Deciding how long to make this cowl.

If you're in the area, don't forget the Rhode Island Wool and Fiber Festival is tomorrow.  It's a fun day for the whole family.

This week's color inspiration is a combination of gray and blue set against a clean, crisp backdrop.

Not a cloud in the sky.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

In the Moment

Last week I finished In the Moment just in time for a road trip to New Hampshire.

If it had been a little cooler, I would have worn the shawl myself.  

This shawl is worked top down.  

Stripes are one of my favorites, and they kept me entertained on this project.  

The body is followed with a textured border.

The whole shebang is finished with a sweet picot bind off.

The yarn is Crystal, colorways Fossil and Brilliant. 

Superwash Merino, Yak and Silk . . . delicious.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Snapshots from New Hampshire

I'm settling in after a busy weekend in New Hampshire.  Usually my booth is in the vicinity of the food vendors, but this year several of the outside vendors and a whole bunch of inside vendors were moved to a new section of the fairgrounds.  All of us were concerned people wouldn't know where to find us, so we spread the word and improved the signage.  It worked.

I talked with so many interesting people and saw some beautiful knitwear.  This weekend is always full of inspiration.  Here are a few snapshots.

I thought this display idea from Favour Valley Woodworking was very clever.  In addition to earrings and shawl pins, they have gorgeous wood buttons.  Check them out.

Chickens from Brown Bunny Pottery.

The weather cooperated, and it was a delightful weekend.  Thanks to everyone who came out.

I came home to find the kitchen had been tidied and the counter cleared . . . the perfect Mother's Day treat.

Friday, May 8, 2015

From Bind Off to Blocking

Update on In the Moment.  The other night I was knitting away on this shawl.  I had a plan.  That evening I would finish the border.  The next day I would switch colors, work a couple rows and then do a picot bind off over 391 stitches.  It sounds a lot quicker than it really is, but I was prepared for the long haul on the bind off.

I was closing in on the last 4 rows of the border.  My ball of yarn was getting sickeningly small, so I did a weigh-in.  I worked 2 rows and weighed again.  The numbers told me I was probably going to be short, but I'm optimistic by nature and forged ahead.  

The numbers didn't lie.  I had about 60 stitches left on the last border row when I ran out of yarn.  The real kicker?  Just last week I wound 40 yards off this ball of yarn for something totally unrelated . . . because I was convinced I would have more than enough for this shawl.

It was late at night, and I considered several work-arounds.  I eventually settled on a solution - maybe not the best one, but at that late hour it seemed like the way to go.  More details on that another time.

The good news . . . this shawl is finished, picot bind off and all. 

It's blocking now and will be ready for the weekend.  Mission accomplished.

This week's color inspiration is a show of pink.

Delicate and dainty.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Piling Up

This week I'm scurrying to get ready for New Hampshire Sheep and Wool.  The gradient bundles are in demand, and I'll have a fresh batch this weekend.

I'm an outside vendor and don't know my exact location yet.  If you're headed to the show and want to find me, keep an eye on Twitter, Instagram or right here on the blog.  I'll post details of my whereabouts.  As of today the weather forecast is favorable.  It should be a lovely weekend.

Now I'm off to bundle all these little skeins . . . 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Staying in the Moment

I have a love-hate relationship with deadlines.  While they can add an extra layer of stress to a situation, they are a good kick in the butt to get things done.  I'm in the midst of working my way through a list of pressing deadlines, so I didn't need to add anything to the pile but . . .

Last week I was working on In the Moment and making pretty good progress when I had the bright idea that it would make a nice new sample for New Hampshire Sheep and Wool.  That means I need to finish the shawl for this coming weekend - Mother's Day Weekend.  

Every year I like to have something new for New Hampshire.  Since I really didn't have a master plan this year, In the Moment seemed like a good option.  Now that I think of it, the name of the design fits the situation perfectly. 

When I hatched this plan, the rows were getting longer and longer, but the body was almost done.  As you know, time can be very deceptive when you're increasing stitches.  Rows that went quickly at the beginning of the project take so much longer further down the road.  

The rows weren't zipping by, but I did finish the body.  I even had the right stitch count.

Now I have a good start on the border . . . row 7 of 20.  And yes, I'm still increasing . . . 80 stitches over the course of the border.  And then there's the picot bind off which is oh, so lovely and oh, so fussy.  I'm not panicking yet.  It's only Monday.  I'm going to take this pattern name to heart and try to stay in the moment.

Thanks to everyone who entered the April giveaway.  I appreciate all the new pattern suggestions.  The winner is Kathy in Alaska.  Kathy is working on the largest lace project she's ever attempted.  She commented, "I decided to add beads, too, to make it even more of a challenge!"  That's the spirit.  Keep your eyes on the blog.  There will be another chance to win later in the month.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Show and Tell

I always enjoy seeing what knitters make with my yarn.  It's show and tell with a personal touch.  Recently a knitter shared this project with me.

Reversible Cable Scarf from Knits Men Want.  In spite of the book title, I want this scarf.

The yarn is Marie, colorway Slate.  Cashmere makes this blend perfect for next-to-skin wear.  

The fabric is soft, squishy and full of texture.  The scarf is reversible - a nice bonus.  I've almost convinced myself to make one.

In case you're wondering about the remaining spring shows, see the right sidebar for an updated schedule.

I found this week's color inspiration at the end of a driveway tucked between two houses.  If I'd been driving by, I wouldn't have spotted it. Instead, I was parked across the street and couldn't help but notice the lighting and the color contrast.

Fresh spring colors.