08
Jan

Learn Something New with Yarndevu!

Written by Sarah. Posted in crochet, DIY, knits, technique

This week is all about skill building and I’ve got a new way for you to do it!

Basic RGB

I’ve taught so many people to knit over the past eleven years, I’ve lost count. Sometimes an old high school friend will tell me about a wonky scarf or their first hat that I helped them make and I can’t quite remember doing it. It really makes me happy, though, that those memories are so vivid for them. Teaching someone else to knit is a joy. (I don’t get gooey that often so you better believe I mean it!) And I don’t know any knitter that has not jumped at the chance to teach someone else.

So in that spirit, I want to share Yarndevu with you! Yarndevu is a new site that’s launching very soon in the New York area that’s all about skill-sharing in person. You can use it to learn or teach someone how to knit or crochet and the whole idea behind it is getting together, face-to-face. I love the online craft community (I mean, duh) but it’s really magical when we get together in person and, let’s face it, there’s no better way to learn. It’s hands-on and you can get immediate answers.

Yarndevu is great for anyone that’s googling “How to Knit” (Did you know “How to Crochet” and “How to Knit” were both in Google’s top 5 “How To” searches for 2014?) but it’s also fantastic for people that are looking to graduate to the next step in their craft education. I love the idea of pairing someone very experienced with a newbie! If you’re like me and you want to master a new aspect of the craft (I want to learn brioche this year), or you’re stuck where you are, it’s a great resource as well! Maybe you’re confused about how to turn a heel or you need help reading a colorwork chart. Or you’re a certain knitter that is interested in granny squares but maybe doesn’t know where to start. You can use Yarndevu to find someone that will help to guide you over a coffee.

I’m pretty excited about the launch! I’m really excited to see what I can learn and also teach using this new tool. But most importantly, I am looking forward to using Yarndevu to meet other crafters. You can sign up today and you’ll snag an invite to the launch party later this month. So, what do you want to learn?

ps. Don’t forget to vote for what I should learn next!

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06
Jan

What Should I Learn Next?

Written by Sarah. Posted in brioche, crochet, granny square, knits, poll, technique

While you might be under the impression that I am a Master Knitter (TM) that knows everything there is to know about everything, that is not the case. In actuality, I don’t know that much about anything but I can give you really good directions to the pedestrian crossing of the Williamsburg bridge (stay on South 6th for three blocks and turn left at Bedford) and I have a fairly extensive knowledge of Mad Men story arcs. I know  a thing or two about knitting as well. But there is still more to learn!

grannysquarebrioche

New year, new skill, right? I’m torn between two things that I really want to learn but I’m having trouble deciding which to tackle first. I’ve sworn I’d learn to crochet for the past two years. Maybe 2015 is actually going to be the time that I make my first granny square. I’ve also been dreaming of making a brioche scarf for a long time but I’ve been way to scared to try it.

So I need your help! Voting ends Friday 11:59pm EST! Help me pick!

granny square image via Meet Me at Mikes / two color brioche cowl via Purl Bee

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02
Jan

Marsala Yarns! Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, yarn

Happy Knit Year, everyone! Hope you had a lovely one. Jon and I have a tradition of cooking ourselves a fancy dinner at home and watching the ball drop. I like doing that so much! It feels like a real treat and we don’t have to feel like we’re being lame since we’re staying in. (I love staying in. If you’ve seen me in the past 6 months, you are very lucky.)

Anyway, Pantone announced the color of the year last month. It’s always exciting for me because I’m a nerd for color. I wasn’t very excited about last year‘s color since I don’t really like bright purples. But this year’s color, Marsala, I just love. It’s like the color of my favorite lipstick, a really deep red-brown that’s a little vintage and very easy to wear.

Let me tell you, it was not easy finding yarns that matched this year’s color! I’m not sure if it’s because dyers aren’t into an earthy color like this or  that this is a very unique shade of red. Anyway, let me share what I found!

 

marsala

 

1. Madeline Tosh Pure Silk Lace in Byzantine
2. Sweet Georgia BFL Sock in Terra Firma
3. Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky in Claret
4. Lion Brand Superwash Merino Cashmere in Wine
5. Purl Soho Worsted Twist in Mixed Berry

Will you be wearing Marsala this year? What’s your favorite earth-toned yarn?

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30
Dec

2014 in Review

Written by Sarah. Posted in FO, holiday, knits, life

I hate year in review posts!!! Nostalgia is my biggest weakness and anytime I look at photographs that are older than six months, I feel incredibly sentimental and even sometimes melancholy for hours on end. (I can’t be the only one, can I?) The end of the year always feels like a tough time for me because of this constant recapping (song of the year, biggest news stories, etc) and this one is has me feeling even more wistful because of some big changes that have happened.

In spite of that, it’s essential to take inventory. I love seeing how much I was able to do in twelve months and I like thinking, “that was this year? It feels like I made that forever ago!” I always feel like I didn’t make as many things as I wanted and while that’s true of 2014, I have accomplished bigger things.

2014 Designs
2014designs

Ilsa Cardigan – Knitscene Winter 2014
Sphinx Hat – Knitscene Accessories 2014
Oud Tank – Knitscene Spring 2014
Creamsicle – Pom Pom Quarterly Summer 2014

First of all, I had four original designs published this year in Knitscene and Pom Pom Quarterly. That was really exciting because I’d worked for a good part of 2013 on some of the things that I was finally able to reveal this year! While I have a hard time thinking of myself as a designer (there are so many amazing designers so much more worthy of that title than I am!), it’s amazing to have my patterns included in some of my favorite publications. Secondly, this year I started a new job working for Lion Brand Yarn Company! It’s been a big change but I couldn’t be happier. I’ll be sharing a little more of what I’m doing there in the New Year but, for the most part, things will stay the same around here.

Other FOs
grettir

faro

Grettir
Faro
Adventure Socks
Skyp Socks

Sewing FOs
wiksten tank 2

Wiksten
Scout
Scout 2

So there are other pieces that I didn’t blog about. I’m kinda realizing that now. Oops! I guess 2015 will start with a bit more recapping. Between the big projects this year there were a a bunch of small ones like hats and mitts, some little gifts here and there. They felt like cheating but they were a nice way to relax from marathoning sweaters. But, alas, they slipped through the cracks and my camera broke so expect to see lots of accessories in the new year!

Well that’s my year. I guess I’m not feeling as nostalgic as I thought I would be. I’m mainly excited for what’s next!

Are you looking forward to next year? Do you feel like you accomplished everything you set out to do this year? Does New Year’s Eve make you super nostalgic?

 

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22
Dec

Simple Skyp Socks: 10/10 Would Knit Again

Written by Sarah. Posted in FO, knits, socks

Hello, there! Did you miss me? Did you even notice that I’ve been gone? Guys, this season has gotten out of hand. I won’t bore you with the details but I have good excuses. I’m lagging seriously behind on everything (I haven’t finished Christmas shopping yet, oops!). I’ve been letting just about everything go. Keep reminding myself that it’s ok to resume life after the holidays.

Anyway, let’s talk about socks. That usually makes things better.

skyp socks

 

Let’s hop in our TARDISes and take a trip back to Rhinebeck, shall we? When I’m off on a trip and I have nothing on my needles, I dive into my stash and cast on some socks. The Simple Skyp Socks were on my queue. I was really looking forward to doing some car knitting on the way up to Rhinebeck. (Knitting in the car is just the best, right? You could drag me just about anywhere, I won’t complain as long as I have my needles.) The drive upstate at that time of year as the sun sets is always gorgeous and wonderful!

skyp socks

 

These are made from Holiday Yarns FlockSock yarn in Artemis that I got last year in a Yarnbox. (Jon got me a subscription for my birthday.) It was a great treat and I loved getting sock yarn.

This pattern is just great. I’ve never fallen so hard for a sock pattern! It’s very straightforward which I like. It was a perfect pattern for the car and then the house, something I could work on while playing Cards Against Humanity over a cider or after a long day at the fairgrounds.

skyp sock matching

 

I liked the pattern so much, I immediately cast on two more pair! Remember how I mentioned that Jon loves handknit socks? This pattern is so masculine and looks just delicious in Into the Whirled’s Manchester Sock in Qualinesti. Now he and I have matching socks and he’s worn his so much they’re pilling like crazy. I also made a pair in Into the Whirled’s Bukavu Sock (that’s a BFL/nylon yarn which should wear really well!) in Crow for my dad. Didn’t have time to snap a photo of his socks before he got them for Hanukkah but they look great.

I guess I ought to take a break from socks for a little while but I think this pattern has become my go to for gifts!

What’s your favorite sock pattern?

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28
Nov

Further Reading 11/28/14

Written by Sarah. Posted in further reading


I don’t think an ad has ever spoken to me as much as that one.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! It was such a busy one for me. Hope you all ate your weight in a variety of pies.

First things first, if you’re looking for Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals on your favorite patterns, notions, and yarns, Marly Bird is putting together a fairly comprehensive list of knit and crochet deals. I must add Jill Draper’s First Snowfall pattern is available for FREE with code anythingbutblack on Ravelry.

>> I actually remember buying this knitting book at my LYS when I was in high school. I was in love with Rowan yarns but couldn’t afford any. I loved this denim-inspired  book. Who knew Eddie Redmayne was lurking in there?

>> Mocking Jay Part 1 is here! I’m obsessed with the marketing behind the movies (and the books, of course). These “District Voices” videos are awesome. You might recognize the District 8 representatives (my favorite district, obviously) as the hosts of Threadbanger.

>> Therapy alpacas!!!

>> I love this marled Tory Burch short sleeved sweater. Definitely forsee making a knock off for spring!

>> Very excited that Zady is selling a sweater made and sourced entirely in the US! The wool is from Imperial Stock Ranch which makes this extra exciting. The video is gorgeous. Never get tired of that sheep-to-sweater process!

>> This 7Up ad features Magda Sayeg and her gorgeous yarnbombs!

What are you knitting up this holiday weekend?

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24
Nov

8 Gifts Every Knitter Wants

Written by Sarah. Posted in gift, holiday, want

The holidays are hardly here and things area already crazy, am I right? I promise to stick with you guys through it all. Let’s not decide to make hats for everyone in our family this year, deal? Deal.

I always like to put together a gift guide around this time of year. I usually hold onto it longer but with the big sales coming up, you ought to be prepared. As I say every year, there’s no yarn in my gift guides. Yarn is a pretty safe bet (I recommend a luxurious, hand-dyed sock yarn) but it’s been done. Get that knitter in your life something else and they’ll really think you were paying attention when they were ranting about their notions bag. If you impress a knitter come holiday time, they might consider going through some excruciating Christmas knitting for you next year!

holiday gift guide

1. Knit and Let Knit Tote by Fringe Association
2. Pewter Knit Pendant by Furls Crochet
3. Pouch by Mary Buttons
4. Corozo grommet buttons from Fringe Association
5. Sheepish Notebook by Jill Draper Makes Stuff
6. Moving Mud glass stitch markers from Purl Soho
7. Stitched Away nail decals from Jamberry Nails
8. Oval knit stitch earrings by Jennie the Potter

Don’t forget, knitters love handmade gifts! When in doubt, shop local. You can’t miss!

Gift guides for knitters:
2013
Gift Wrap
2012
2012 – Yarn gifts

Gifts for knitters and makers to give:
Food GiftsHot Chocolate MugsGifts to Knit

Knitters, what’s on your wish list this year?

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13
Nov

The Knitter’s Tool Tin

Written by Sarah. Posted in gift, holiday, knits, notions, want

I must admit, I am probably the most neglectful of notions. I’ve lost just about every stitch marker, I can never seem to find my tape measure, and, though I once had over 30 tapestry needles that I was lucky enough to pick up (for free!) from a craft office that was spring cleaning, they’ve all gone to that magical land where that one double pointed needle hides in the couch cushion. Because of this, I rarely invest in anything. Many knitters own beautiful hand-made stitch-markers from Jennie the Potter, I could just throw a $20 bill in the trash because those will gone before you can stay wrap-and-turn. (More often than not, I use a paperclips because I won’t cry when I lose them.)

What I’m getting at is that when Sarah The Sexy Knitter asked me if I wanted to give one of her Knitter’s Tool Tins a spin, I felt like I’d really put it through the ringer. Actually, my first thought was that it had never occurred to me that I could have all of my notions together in a travel-sized case (with an adorable lamb on it!).  Could the answer be so simple?

knitter's tool tin

The Knitter’s Tool Tin really has everything one might need. And I’m proud to say that in the month and a half since I received mine, I’ve only lost two stitch markers. Actually, I started putting any other stitch markers (that still survive) into the tin for safe keeping and it’s seems to have done the trick. (Maybe those Jennie the Potter markers will one day be a reality!)

This seems silly to say out loud but having all of my notions together in a travel-sized case is a pretty brilliant idea. I keep everything I’ve collected in a big bag so it’s not really portable or organized or sense-making. Before Rhinebeck I didn’t have to think “Where’s my tape measure?” and “Did I pack scissors or are they under a pile of junk on the coffee table?” (let’s keep it real). I just threw the tin into my project bag and when someone at the house needed to borrow a cable needle, well, guess who was ready to help!

The Knitter’s Tool Tin comes with a 2 1/2″ stitch holder, a 2″ cable holder, a mini double-ended crochet hook (which is something I didn’t know I needed), a tape measure, 5 origami stitch markers (that Sarah makes herself, they’re very cute, hope I don’t lose any more), miniature scissors (safe for your carry-on), and 3 different sewing needles that live on a magnetic strip on the lid of the metal tin. It’s just a great little kit. I may buy another to leave in my purse or maybe two so I can leave one in the glove compartment of my car. The tins are $25 each and you can get one with a custom picture for $30.

I’m sure I sound like a complete scatter brain but I’m really loving this kit. Thanks for sending me this one, Sarah! They’ll make great stocking-stuffers for all of the knitters on your Christmas list. Just a hint. But really.

Do you have a tool tin for your notions?

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10
Nov

FO: Grettir for Him

Written by Sarah. Posted in FO, knits, mens

“I’m going to take so many pictures of you today!” I told Jon, since he looked very handsome in his sweater.
“Noooo!” he replied.
“If we take photos now, we don’t ever have to take pictures of this sweater again!” I said to Jon as we walked through the 4H gate at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival.

I have to hand it to him, Jon is always game for my fiber-fueled antics. He’s been dragged to Rhinebeck year after year, there’s yarn in every crevice of the apartment, and he never discourages me from buying yarn. I’m constantly forcing Jon to photograph me in my latest finished garment when he’d much rather be enjoying his day off.

What I mean to say is, this boy deserves a great sweater!

grettir

IMG_8503

I was working on Grettir for a long time. I started it over vacation back in April and it took me a long time to stop procrastinating and actually graft the underarms. (I can’t be the only one that’s terrible at finishing knits.) But I guess speed wasn’t really important since sweater season seemed far away.

IMG_8499

Now it’s finally that time! I love the way this sweater looks on him. It fits really great and the colors are really handsome. The pattern is great and it feels really classic. Jon’s been wearing his sweater and nothing feels better than seeing someone enjoy what you made them.

Didn’t he look great at Rhinebeck?!

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27
Oct

Rhinebeck 2014: The Goods

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, Rhinebeck, style, yarn

Rhinebeck this year felt a lot like Black Friday shopping. I’ve never gone Black Friday shopping but I imagine getting a Cabbage Patch Kid the day after Thanksgiving 1987 was a lot like trying to get into the Miss Babs booth Saturday morning at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival. Lisa said that she crawled on her hands and knees into the booth to secure three skeins of worsted-weight yarn. (That’s why I love her.) (Babs herself was there being just lovely. She told me in hushed tones that it was ok to squish all the yarn, pick a color, and buy it online.)

Let’s start with the bad news, this is the yarn I didn’t buy.

rhinebeck 8Harrisville Designs – WATERshed

We all have different strategies for fiber festivals but this is mine: I do a lap before I buy anything. In fact, sometimes I do many laps. Now, there are exceptions to this rule, sure. If it’s the last skein in that base I love or I can’t get it online or I just feel like it’s THE ONE, snatch it up. But this way is the best for me to prevent impulse-buying. At the end of the day, if I still hear the yarn calling out to me or I can’t get it out of my head, I’ll go back for it.

I walked away from a lot of yarn but that’s not to say that none of this was gorgeous. I wanted it all. But my budget (and overflowing stash) keeps me from getting everything. Part two of my strategy is to take a photo and write it down so that I can buy it later online when I either have a project or the money.

IMG_8437Periwinkle Sheep

rhinebeck 6Dirty Water DyeWorks – Clara

I went with a list this time but, let me tell you, it was very overwhelming to make big decisions in this atmosphere so I didn’t end up checking anything off of my list. The big ticket item was yarn for Benton. I’d love to make one for NaKniSweMo but I’m not sure what colors I want. I wear a lot of blue so I’m trying to stay away from navy. I was thinking a clay red, forest green, or maybe gold? In the end, there were so many fibers and so many color choices that were so perfect for this sweater (plus so much yarn substitution and price math), I just couldn’t choose. So I have a list of possible choices that I’m going to compare when I have my wits about me.

Here’s what I did buy. And looking at it now, I feel kind of silly because it’s really all the same. But, like I said, I have lots of yarn that are buzzing around my brain. And, spoiler alert, I did get some Christmas gifts that will have to remain a secret.

I’ve got too much sock yarn but Into the Whirled is just so yummy. All of these are the Manchester Sock base which is merino/nylon/cashmere. It’s so soft. I’m addicted to sock yarn.

into the whirled

When we arrived at the house Friday night, I put on some hand knit socks to get cozy with a cider (as you do at the start of a Rhinebeck weekend). I can’t tell you how sad Jon was that he hadn’t packed any knit socks. This boy loves cuddling up in handmade socks and it just really tickles me. His appreciation for socks makes me want to make him a billion (he only has two pair, that’s not right!) and it feels like a pretty valid excuse to add to my sock yarn stash. So when I was browsing the racks at ITW, I decided not to go with something pretty and purple. I picked out Wanderlust because I thought it was really masculine.

I was also totally drooling over their new semi-solids like this peacock colorway, Qualinesti. I’ve got plenty of self-striping and variegated yarns and I just feel like they limit me to making slip stitch or plain socks. I can only cable with semi-solids and solids! It’s just a thing.

Qualinesti

So I said that that was enough sock yarn. I was just going to make some soft, amazing socks for my boyfriend…But then I went back to ITW with Panda and she convinced me that buying this skein of Cherry Bomb because it matched my nail polish was a totally legit reason. (Nail polish is Essie “In Stitches” because it’s also totally legit to buy nail polish just because it’s named after knitting. Knitting-themed nail polish, nail polish-themed yarn…This is getting a little meta.) It’s a little tough to photograph. In real life, it’s a little more on the mauve side.

cherry bomb

I did end up getting something that’s been on my list. Ever since I saw Dana’s earrings at VKL in January, I’ve coveted a pair of Jennie the Potter earrings. It was really tough deciding which ones to get but I really love these!

jennie the potter

So there you have it. I came, I saw, I bought yarn.

What did you get at Rhinebeck?

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