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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24
Oct

Further Reading 10/24/14

Written by Sarah. Posted in further reading, Uncategorized

rhinebeck ladies

I’m always forgetting to take photos with people at Rhinebeck. Forgetting to or too shy to ask? I never have proof of what I was wearing and who I was hanging out with! Well, Erin snapped a great photo of Ashpags, Amander, and me! Thanks, girl! I didn’t have time to make a Rhinebeck sweater (I never have and that bums me out!) so I wore my Hurrication sweater. Nothing starts your morning off better than walking into the kitchen in a house full of knitters and getting those “oohs” and “ahhs!”

>> Someone ought to revoke my nerd card because I only just discovered the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast. This episode about the invention of the sewing machine was very interesting. I imagine that the 19th century was full of patent frauds, curly mustaches, and tricky con artists/serial killers.

>> I’m loving this commercial with knitting Ashton Kutcher.

>> The (very brief) history of sheep at the White House. They’ve got bees now, maybe they ought to bring these guys back! Let’s start a petition.

>> Threadpanda’s Rhinebeck recap. Those photos. Yum.

>> The Stashbot app is out and already in the top 25 apps in the App Store! Very excited to have this tool on hand!

>> This article’s made the rounds but it’s worth sharing again. The true cost of a knitting pattern.

>> Missing Outlander? Buzzfeed’s got your Outlander wardrobe knitting fix.

>> Looks like this sheep was trying to follow me home from Rhinebeck. Sorry for the delays, everyone! (Imagine Homeward Bound but with a sheep, alpaca, and goat?! Let’s make this movie.)

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22
Oct

We’ll Always Have Rhinebeck: Rhinebeck 2014

Written by Sarah. Posted in events, Rhinebeck

Here’s looking at you, kid. Last year I started my Rhinebeck recap post with a sentimental line from Harry Potter so I think this theme needs to keep going. What whirlwind! I’m still trying to gather myself after spending the whole weekend upstate but I wanted to share all of my pictures because I’m just missing it so much!

Where do I start? I actually remembered to take pictures this year! On my phone, with my dslr- I’m getting the hang of this blogging thing, huh?

rhinebeck llama

This was my first time spending the entire weekend at Rhinebeck. I was invited to rent a house with some friends (Lisa, Panda, and Ashpags) and some ladies that would quickly become my friends. We stayed in a house in the woods (holy crap it’s dark up there, this city girl cannot get used to that) just outside New Paltz. I don’t get to hang out with knitters often enough. I say that all the time! This weekend just reminded me that I need to change that.

Rhinebeck 2014 3

Nothing felt more magical than curling up on the couch with a cider and my knitting with ten other hilarious gals, all clicking away at our needles. So my resolution before next Rhinebeck is definitely get together with my New York knitters more often.

rhinebeck 9

I thought that spacing things out over two days would be more relaxing but I was beat when it was over. On Saturday, I ran around with the girls, hunting down the finest yarns. (I sent Jon to a class at the Culinary Institute so he wasn’t bored out of his mind and by that I mean so he couldn’t see all of the yarn I was taking home.)

rhinebeck 2014

rhinebeck 10

rhinebeck 7

I saved all of the sheep cuddling for Sunday when I brought Jon. We met this amazing ram that really wanted to come home with us. I had no idea sheep liked being pet like dogs. This one was all about it. I’m still thinking about him!

rhinebeck sheep

LOOK AT THAT FREAKING FACE!

rhinebeck 4

IMG_8489

I talked to just about everyone under the sun, though, ironically, I didn’t meet up with my city friends for more than a second! I really love being able to talk to other designers that don’t live in the area at Rhinebeck. I only get to see most people once a year so it’s a special time. Got my annual hug from Amy Christoffers. (Nothing feels better than getting a compliment from the designer when you’re wearing one of their patterns!) I got to finally meet Emma Welford and Teresa Gregorio in person! We met up for a moment and chatted about a fun project we’re all working on together! (Love that we can be collaborators from the internet, ain’t no thing.)

neon neutral triangle club

I’m getting a strong case of the feels looking through all of these pictures. This weekend was such a ride and, wow, that amazing feeling of being around such talented people, gorgeous garments, and fantastic spirit. The fact that I could chat up anybody, oogle some beautiful sweaters, and chow down on a dozen apple cider doughnuts this weekend really makes my Grinch heart grow.

Every year I come out of the Rhinebeck weekend with that feeling, I’m really just psyched about being a knitter. I feel inspired and in the right place and I just want TO KNIT EVERYTHING. I sound like I joined some kind of cult. If there was a cult of NY Sheep and Wool, I’d be there.

A post with the yarn is coming soon!

Were you at Rhinebeck? How it go for you?

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15
Oct

Tips for Rhinebeck

Written by Sarah. Posted in Rhinebeck

It’s fiber festival season! Everything feels like it’s ramping up and we’ve got a few months of meet-ups, shopping, and drooling over yarn ahead of us. Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival is this weekend and it always gives me a mix of excitement and stress! I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of my friends from all corners of the country as well as all of the adorable sheep! But these big events can be exhausting.

rhinebeck alpaca

If it’s your first time at a big festival, it can be intimidating. Aside from the obvious recommendations of wearing comfortable shoes and your most impressive knits, here are some tips for a successful Rhinebeck trip!

1. Bring a list

Rhinebeck is a great time for city-dwellers like myself to get up close and personal with some adorable sheep as well as facetime with our knitting friends that live far away. But, let’s be serious, we’re here to buy yarn. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the choices with hundreds of vendors so it’s good to go in with a list of projects and their yarn requirements so you know what you’re looking for. I also like to keep my phone’s notes app handy so I can jot down companies that are new to me if I’m not necessarily buying just yet.

2. Make meet-up plans

Service at Rhinebeck is spotty. I haven’t tried out any peer-to-peer apps like Firechat but it’s tough to get a text up there. You’ll have to save your instagrams for later! It’s good to make some plans ahead of time. Don’t forget to mention what you’re wearing so you’re easy to spot!

3. Pack a snack

Yes, the apple cider doughnuts are to die for but those funnel cake lines are out of control. (And I can’t listen to that pan flute band for more than two minutes if I want to keep my sanity.) Bringing your own food means less time waiting around and more time petting alpacas!

4. Bags in bags

You’re going to be filling your bags with yarn pretty quickly. You wouldn’t want to let schlepping to your car stop you from purchasing, would you? Keep a small totes folded up inside one another. Once one is full, you can whip out the next one! (It doesn’t hurt to bring your significant other along to help carry bags, either.)

5. Don’t panic

While some of the other pieces of advice have been handed down from other experienced festival-goers, this gem is something I’ve told myself. Fiber festivals are really overwhelming (have I mentioned that already?). In the best way possible, but, still. I always go into these days with a list of vendors to hit and people to meet. I want to talk to everyone, even people I don’t know. I can’t say most knitters are introverts but for those of us who are, it’s important to give ourselves some breathing room. I remind myself that I’m not the only one that’s totally spinning. Sometimes I find myself taking a trip to the bathroom or just sitting away from the action to catch up, recharge, and get my head back in the game.

And, of course, don’t forget your knitting!

What are your tips for first time fiber festival attendees?

ps. Twas The Night Before Rhinebeck

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13
Oct

Ilsa Cardigan in Knitscene Winter 2014

Written by Sarah. Posted in design, FO, knits, KYC Presents, sweater

Did you miss me? I know it’s been a while. September was a crazy month and I just started a new job so I’ve been settling in. But it’s time to get back to business because I’ve got new pattern out!

ilsa

Ilsa is a drop-shoulder cardigan with color work details on the fronts. The sweater is part of Knit Scene’s Vinter Stickning spread which is all about Scandinavian-inspired pieces. I love Scandinavian design, it’s where I go for inspiration when I’m feeling stuck so I was very excited to make something directly informed by it.

I wanted to do something a little boxy and relaxed. The trends for simple lines really lead me to this shape. Of course, I’m obsessed with neutrals but the little pops of color give it that Scandinavian whimsy.

ilsa2

The pattern is available in Knit Scene’s Winter 2014 issue which you can buy here (print or digital!). And don’t forget to favorite the pattern on Ravelry!

Are you casting on your own Ilsa?

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22
Sep

Famous Knits: Outlander

Written by Sarah. Posted in famous knits

This post contains some mild spoilers, of course, so continue at your own risk! Also, I haven’t read the books!

I resisted at first but it wasn’t long before I became one of the many knitters that was devouring Starz’s new series Outlander. I love historical fiction especially of this period but I’m not into historical romance so I didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon. But the early reviews all outlined how cool the protagonist, Claire, is and how the show is not your ordinary premium cable television show. I have to say, those reviews were on point (except, Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, that voice over is maddening!) and the show has stuck with me between viewings.

In case you missed the buzz, Claire, a British army nurse, is reconnecting with her husband on a  genealogy-themed vacation when she is transported from post-WWII Scotland to the 18th century. Kilts! Brogue! That theme song!

While there’s tons of really adorable knitwear (that I would actually wear in my 21st century life), I’m going to save all of that for another post. I really want to talk about the fifth episode because it really tickled me! While Claire is on the road with Dougal and co, she stumbles on a group of women that are waulking wool.

outlander waulking woolvia Outlander TV News

Waulking (or fulling) is a process of cleaning and thickening new wool cloth. Sure, there was the gross-out, thank-god-I-don’t-live-in-the-olden-days fact that they are using boiled urine (yum!) to clean the oils out of the fabric and then beating it with their hands. (The smell of wet wool alone is bad enough, I can’t even!) But, considering wool is just about everywhere in the daily life of a highlander (tartan short gowns and berets and just the most beautiful blankets), this was an important common chore of the time.

Besides the whole pee blanket thing, it does seem like a pretty fun job and I’m kind of enamored by the community aspect of it. There are some great female characters in Outlander but they don’t really get to bro-out like the dudes do (telling dirty jokes, hunting, playing oldey timey sports, etc). I loved hearing these women sing and enjoy their work together.

Waulking songs are much like folk songs. Different lyrics are set to the same tunes and there is a call and response or a leader sings a verse while everyone else joins in for the chorus. The waulking songs are set to a beat suitable for pounding on the wool. I love old drinking songs and this feels like an especially female version since women were generally the waulkers.

I’m having a lot of fun finding waulking songs and exploring this tradition! Are you watching Outlander?

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12
Sep

Further Reading 9/12/14

Written by Sarah. Posted in further reading

bentonvia Grainline Studio

I’ve been going on and on about making Exeter my dream Rhinebeck sweater (though I’m positive I won’t have time to finish it). But after seeing the Benton that Jen at Grainline Studio made has really got me craving this beautiful sweater. It’s so simple yet really striking and I love how easy it is to wear. Perfect addition to my uniform of skinny jeans/button down/boots. The full post on Jen’s sweater is here. God, she’s talented!

>> A crocheted bowl of Ramen with video instructions.

>>  Jon really wants to get a drone. He’s kind of obsessed with the idea which has me rolling my eyes a lot. I hate to say “boys and their toys” (girls like gizmos, too!) but mine seems to REALLY like the gadgets. This video of a ram vs. a drone feels very close to my heart right now.

>> Tips on how to weave in your ends. I’ve been knitting for 10 years and I’m still not happy with my finishing techniques. These photos are going to be very helpful!

>> Amy’s got a GREAT post about how to choose your first sweater pattern. Choosing to tackle your first sweater is a big leap and it can be very daunting. This is solid advice!

>> Be sure to enter the Kettle Yarn Co giveaway! You can win five skeins of Wimbledon (which would put your well on your way to making your own Creamsicle)!

>> The cutest Vince star ever is Winter the lamb.

>>This New York Times article stirred things up on Twitter yesterday. I like Josh’s work a lot and it was great to hear more about his work at Fashion Week. It’s just that tired grandma comparison that really gets knitters upset!

So much knitting to do this week! Sweater season is almost upon us! What do you have on the needles?

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