11
Mar

Erin Go Yarn

Written by Sarah. Posted in holiday, knits, want, yarn

St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, everyone! I have to admit, I’m not really a big participant in St. Patty’s Day festivities. I’m Irish and I like drinking but there’s something about chugging Guinness with a bunch of dudes from New Jersey wearing backwards green baseball hats in a crowded bar that turns me off of the whole holiday. Also, the arbitrary addition of green food coloring to beverages and breakfast foods really grosses me out. In fact, I have no idea what Erin Go Bragh means. And I just found out that Guinness has two n’s because I’ve never typed it before.

God, I sound like the Grinch who stole Patrick. I have a feeling my Irish card is about to be revoked.

This year, maybe I’ll get lucky and change my mind. I hope I can find a four leaf clover or even catch a leprechaun. And his pot won’t be filled with gold but maybe full of yarn!

gold2

1. Katia Hechizo in Gold with Gold
2. Lamb’s Pride Worsted in Sunburst Gold
3. MadTosh Pure Silk Lace in Gilded
4. Debbie Bliss Cotton in Gold
5. Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in Goldmine

And if his pot is full of gold, well I guess I’ll just have to buy the yarn myself. And some beer.

Are you planning on celebrating St. Patty’s Day to the max? Will you be wearing any green knits?

ps. Can you believe Ravelry hit 3 million members last week! Congrats to them!

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04
Mar

WIP Storage

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, no clutter, technique, WIP, yarn

I may have mentioned before that my WIPs are a sad state of affairs when I’m not working on them. Generally I keep everything in a pile on the couch, shoved into the cushions so that I don’t lose odds and ends. I’ve been known to sit on three or four skeins of yarn while I work.

Here’s the gist:

wips

That’s four skeins of yarn, three swatches, a sleeve, and a cross stitch all on one couch cushion.

That was before the move. Since we’re in our fancy new apartment, I promised that I would keep things here under control. I don’t need to grow a crazy yarn monster. So I plan on getting some type of container for my needlework. But what shall I use?

Right now, I have my faire isle sweater in a tote bag that lives on the floor next to the couch. I can keep all of the yarn and the pattern in there. It’s a pretty slick deal. I’ve also been focused on accomplishing one pattern at a time which helps tame the mess.

It’s also handy that I have my stash nearby. In the old place, my stash was kept above our closets in this little storage nook where we kept boxes and things that we generally didn’t need to get into very often. It was about 6 or 7 feet high which meant that Jon would have to get on a ladder every time we needed something from up there. Needless to say, he wasn’t thrilled about dragging out boxes of yarn so they stayed put. I started filling my nightstand and bedside table with bags of yarn. It was an unruly mess. Worst of all, it didn’t really encourage me to put excess yarn away after I was finished with it. Now all of my yarn is in a closet about five feet from my favorite knitting spot so I can put things away and (get this!) use yarn I already have in my stash with ease! It’s kind of changing my whole life.

I’ve been searching for a great vessel to keep my WIPs in. I have a yarn bowl but it isn’t really conducive for transportation or colorwork. I’m hoping for something big enough to hold a sweater but not too big as to condone couch-side yarn hoarding. Things that aren’t going to be worked on need to stay in the closet! I do plan on sewing some project bags but I want a box of some sort to live near the couch.

I think I’ve found my new WIP bin. It wasn’t what I was expecting (I was really looking for something with a lid) but I was browsing the Fringe Supply Co site and I kind of fell in love with these gorgeous baskets.

basket

What do you think? Perfect, right? A good size and really handsome. Our apartment has some nice wood pieces so the color will be great. And Jared Flood has them. I’m sold. I can’t wait to buy them and put them next to my spot and fill them with yarny things!

But this all gets me thinking: How do you lovely people store your WIPs from day to day? Do you have a couch full of yarn or are you super organized? (No judgements!) Baskets, bins, or bags?

ps. I made a playlist to craft by for Kollabora. Check it out here.

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01
Mar

A Pattern by KYC: Fingerless Heart Mitts

Written by Sarah. Posted in accesories, design, DIY, FO, gloves, knits, kollabora, KYC Presents, yarn

When Kollabora asked me to create a project using their yarn, you can imagine how excited I was. First of all, I’ve been creating my own accessories for a few years and I was ready to share with the rest of the knitting world.

Second, I got to dive into a giant box full of yarn and pick whatever colors I wanted. (I warned them ahead of time, this was a dangerous move.)

Well, here it is!

MITTS

 

The mitts are knit in the round with Kollabora’s Alpaca au Natural and Nora’s Pantry yarns. The yarn is super soft and yummy. (The alpacas are raised in cold temperatures in the Andes!) I love the colors of the Nora’s Pantry yarns and, you know me, I can’t say no to an undyed alpaca! Making this was a lot of fun!

Coming up with a beginner/intermediate pattern was actually a bit of a challenge for me. I didn’t want to make something so simple that it had been done before or so easy that it was boring. But I definitely didn’t want to over complicate it. I realized that it’s difficult for me to gauge what is easy and what is “hard” (or, let’s say ‘advanced’) after so many years of knitting. When it comes to knitting, I am fearless; it’s just combinations of one stitch and it’s mirror, if you will. But newer knitters can easily be intimidated and patterns can quickly begin to look like complex calculus formulas.

Colorwork was something that I wanted to do when I first started knitting. So I thought that it would be a fun project. Also, it involves knitting in the round which is my favorite thing to do!

The pattern is available for free on Kollabora! You can even buy all of the supplies you need through their shop. I’d love to see your fingerless mitts!

Have you worked with the Kollabora yarns yet? What do you think?

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21
Feb

The Un-Knitting Machine

Written by Sarah. Posted in art, design, DIY, knits, life, yarn

Now, I know what you’re thinking. An un-knitting machine is hardly the kind of thing that you should expect to see on a knitting blog. It seems a little counter productive. I, too, have felt the disappointment that is frogging a big piece of knitwear. It’s like watching your life flash before your eyes in reverse. But with a lot more swearing. And hopefully there’s alcohol to ease the pain.

But a few things caught my eye about Imogen Hedges‘ un-knitting machine, and I’ve been meaning to share it with you all for a while now. Wouldn’t the hurt of ripping out a sweater be made a lot easier by doing it painlessly and fast? And aren’t those bike pedals nifty? It looks like it’s about as fun as making the sweater itself.

Imogen Hedges from Rachel Mc Closkey on Vimeo.

What really struck a chord with me, though, is the recycling trend that I’ve seen on the rise on Ravelry. Knitters are salvaging old thrift store finds for their yarn, un-knitting them (if you will) and making brand new things with the yarn. There are some Ravelry groups dedicated to the techniques of upcycling sweaters. Some especially resourceful makers on Twitter and instagram are hand dying the yarn for an even more interesting look!

And the best part is that knitters can score a sweaters’-worth of  nice fibers like cashmere and merino for $4 thanks to their local Goodwill and a little ingenuity.

Besides the price and the thrill of the hunt, this movement is really exciting for me. We knitters are innovative. (I mean, somebody invented a bicycle that unravels sweaters, for goodness sake!) We may not always mean to but making our own clothing helps take back from the industrial cheap fashion behemoth that is so omnipresent these days. We are investing time and love into custom pieces of clothing that will receive proper care and be worn for years. But why not take it a step further? Green DIY conjures up images of sock puppets and toilet paper tube Christmas wreaths but we can make it glamorous. We can take things that we already own (or someone else owned) and we can give new life to them. We can mend and alter our clothing instead of throwing away cash on cookie cutter closets. And we can get a sense of the work that our favorite independent dyers and spinners are doing.

My dad recently gave me one of his old wool sweaters. (It started as a request for a custom sweater since his was ruined and ended with me begging him to donate his moth-hole-ridden jumper for me to experiment with. He may have gotten the better end of the bargain.) I can’t wait to give un-knitting a try. I am ready to make brand new recycled clothes!

And to top it all off, now I can add to my stash (on the DL) when I’m away from the yarn store. And that’s a gift in and of itself.

Have you ever un-knit a sweater? What are your tips?

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15
Feb

WIP: Great Divide Test Knit

Written by Sarah. Posted in accesories, knits, shawl, WIP, yarn

Like so many other things (mainly cookies and potato chips), I have no self control when it comes to knitting. Which is why, when Michele was asking for volunteers to test knit her first pattern, my answer was something like “Oh me, me, me! Please pick me!” even though I promised myself I’d get back to my other WIPs. I’d seen the early stages of the Great Divide Shawl on instagram and immediately fell in love. I’ve written before about how I don’t like shawl and I don’t want to knit them. This one changed my mind.

What caught my eye was the awesome neon yellow she used. Neons paired with neutrals are my favorite. Stripes dominate my wardrobe so the design was great. I loved the stitch pattern that is pretty but not terribly lacey and delicate looking like most other shawls. This fell solidly into my minimalist style.

I don’t think it’s proper to share a test knit before it’s finished but Michele has already posted the pattern for it on Ravelry. So I think I’m in the clear here! Besides, I’m sure you can all forgive me because it’s just too much fun to not post photos!

great divide wip

Immediately after Michele sent me the pattern, I started panicking. I wasn’t even sure if I had any yarn to use and I certainly wouldn’t have time to swing by my LYS. So I worried. As soon as I could, I tore apart my stash looking for the appropriate yarn.

As it turns out, I had some bright pink (Espadrilles)and purple-grey (Calligraphy) Madeline Tosh Sport that was once destined to become a lattice tank top. I’d started the top when the weather was warm but totally doubted my color choices. By then it was too late. I’d decided what I thought in the store was white was a weird pinkish-purple but this was after I’d completed about 8″ of stockinette of the body. I ripped out what I’d started, half hoping that no one would notice how purple it is and half thanking my stars that I actually had two skeins that were even the same base.

great divid wip 2

I love how it looks. Much better than it did as a top! I’m actually really glad that I pulled this yarn out of my stash. The superwash merino and the color will be perfect if spring ever rolls around. I love something light that I can throw over a cardigan without looking fussy. I still have a ways to go with the pattern but it’s simple and quick to knit but with an intuitive, clever design. I’m already up to make another!

How do you feel about shawls? Do you like lacey or understated?

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11
Feb

FO: Linen Stitch Sock and Variegated Yarns

Written by Sarah. Posted in design, DIY, FO, knits, life, photos, socks, yarn

As I mentioned earlier, I put my crafting away to get moving done. Knitting is my number one distraction. When I’m working on a project, I can sit for hours watching season after season of Law and Order: SVU, ignoring the rest of the world. Laundry, editing, even friends are all ignored when I’m knitting. I’m sure you can relate. I was really afraid that my craft addiction would keep me from my strict packing schedule. So I put my needles in a box and taped it up so I had no choice but to get the worst of the move over with. It was tough and my fingers felt like they were itching to work. I couldn’t sit still in front of the TV when we were taking breaks. I was going cold turkey from knitting.

After we got into the new place, I promised myself that I’d keep my WIPs out of sight so I could focus on unpacking and getting back to normal. And I was pleasantly surprised by how long I was able to stop myself from thinking about stitching. I got a lot done around the house, I baked cookies, and then I became strangely obsessed with cleaning the kitchen (the building is brand new so I want EVERYTHING TO STAY SHINEY AND CLEAN FOREVER PLEASE.) I finally dragged out a sock who never got a buddy from my stash when the weekend rolled around so I’d have something to knit during the Super Bowl. (My faire isle sweater needed to be blocked before I could move forward and I didn’t think that that was a project that should be tackled with boxes all over the place. We also didn’t have a floor lamp for the living room yet so it was too dark to do any cross stitching. So I decided to go with the hibernating project.)

linen stitch sock

I realized upon completing this second sock, that I’d never written about the first sock here. I’d posted a few photos on instagram when I made it back in June but other than that, it’s story has not been told. I can’t believe I left the pair unfinished for so long! (But I did start Maxfield right after I completed the first sock. That might explain it!)

The yarn is Lorna’s Laces Solemate which I picked up in a Soakbox at Vogue Knitting Live (2011). This was an early Soakbox so it only had yarn, a small Heel lotion, and a travel-sized Soak wash packet. (I love the new ones with nail polish! I love nail polish, guys.) I have to admit, the Outlast climate-control technology in the Solemate yarn (I still have no idea how it works but it sounds really magical) was what really sold me. I love it when there’s “technology” in things that are otherwise not technological. (I also know that everything involves technology. You know what I mean.)

linen stitch detail

Here’s the thing: I don’t really like variegated yarns. (Omg, Am I racist against multicolored yarns? I love all yarns. Except cotton. I am a little racist against cotton yarns. Sorry! Just being honest.) I mean, I like hand-dyed yarns and their variations within but I don’t buy yarns with lots of different colors (unless I really like them). I think it has to do with my minimalist style. Also, purple is not one of my favorite colors. But I bought this anyway because it sounded cool and I was at Vogue Knitting for the first time and I kind of assumed this would go into my stash for a long long time.

I can’t tell you what made me pull it out and design this pattern with this yarn I felt so iffy about. It was a long time ago. But I promised myself I’d design a pair of socks that showcased the different colors in the yarn.

linen stitch sock 2

Here’s the other thing: when it comes to knitting socks, I refuse to knit cabled/lacework socks with variegated yarn. Makes me dizzy and I really want to show off the stitch pattern. That stuff gets lost with yarns that aren’t solid colors. I guess that’s why I don’t like variegated yarns as much because it means that I either knit a plain sock that looks cool because it’s variegated but is boring to knit or do a variegated/solid stripe which would involve some forethought because I’d have to buy a solid yarn to go with it. Not so good for my fast and loose stash-busting sock-knitting style. So that’s why, when I’m enhancing my stash, I try to stay away from those variegated yarns. (I’ve written ‘variegated’ a lot in this post.)

Long story short (too late) I made these. I used the linen stitch for the first time. I like that it is still elastic but looks totally unique. It really lends itself to the variations in the yarn. (In fact, a lot of people have mistaken my instagram photos for the Broken Seed Stitch Sock which is actually knit with a solid and variegated yarn since this colorway has white in it. You can tell by the toes that it’s one skein but I like the illusion that it might be two!) The pattern is toe up (because I refuse to believe that ankle down socks are a thing, there’s another thing I don’t like!), knit on size 1s with a slip stitch heel. Slip stitch heels are not my favorite and I think they’re kind of baffling but I wanted to break my short-row heel habit. It also has the perfect look with the linen stitch and actually kind of mimics it, too. I like that part!

linen stitch sock 3

I’m really pleased with how these turned out. I love that they took a skein of yarn I was otherwise stumped by and turned them into something unique that looks a little complex, too. Maybe I don’t dislike variegated yarns after all! We’re all kind of like variegated yarns deep down inside, aren’t we?

I love designing sock patterns. I recently realized that I’ve improvised more of my own sock designs than I’ve made from patterns. I’m always looking for new projects so I’m tempted to turn some of my sock designs into proper patterns.

What do you think? And how do you feel about variegated yarns?

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07
Feb

Box of Chocolates

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

Listen, Valentine’s Day is coming up. I know a lot of people that hate the holiday. A lot of single friends don’t like to be reminded of that fact. A lot of partnered friends don’t want to spend time and money on gifts and dinners for a made up holiday. I get it. I hear you. My anniversary with Jon happens to fall on V-day. (Our first Valentine’s Day together, he bought me a bag of Haribo Gold Bears which was my favorite food on a tip from my best friend. I thought it was very romantic.) So I like the holiday.

But I’m sure that we V-day haters and celebraters can all agree on one thing: Chocolate is awesome. You don’t need a special someone to enjoy chocolate. (One year, a boy I was seeing bought me a Hershey bar for Valentine’s Day. Not a box of chocolate or a flower. Just a BAR OF CHOCOLATE. Like from a vending machine or something. It was pretty awkward. But, chocolate, right?)

Anyway, here are some chocolate colored yarns to binge on instead of eating your feelings:

chocolate

1. Lorna’s Laces Sportmate in Chocolate
2. Dream in Color Classy in Chocolate Night
3. Kollabora Alpaca Au Natural in Chocolate
4. Handmaiden Fine in Chocolate

Seriously, though, if you’re not into St. Valentine’s Day, look on the bright side: soon chocolate and Necco hearts will be on sale! And it’s Restaurant week!

How do you feel like Valentine’s day? Would you prefer chocolates or chocolate-colored yarns?

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28
Jan

Vogue Knitting Live Loot

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, new york city, yarn

Still dreaming about Vogue Knitting Live? Me too. I had a really awesome time this year at my second VKL. I accomplished all of my goals and I wasn’t completely overwhelmed like last year. Of course, I realized that I hardly took any photos while I was there. I was a little focused on shopping (oops).

I met up with Maria of Subway Knits (her amazing VKL post is under that link. She took awesome photos!) and she invited me to the podcaster meet up where I spent some time sharing the haul with Kim, Steph, Sharon, and Dana. It was great to meet some other New York knitters. I hope to get together with them again for the Long Island Fleece and Fiber Fair!

Let’s talk about the yarn, though, shall we? That’s what you’re here for.

My first stop was at Long Island Livestock. After falling in love with the yarns and adorable alpaca faces that come with them, I had to stop by their booth. (Last year I bought this salve that I put on my lips and cuticles every night. It’s delicious.) This year, I got to chat with Tabitha before things got busy and she told me about the fiber fair. (If any of you in the city are interested in going, they’ve organized a bus from Manhattan and Brooklyn!) I can’t wait to visit her farm. They are lovely people!

I discovered North Light Fibers from Block Island. Their yarns were all really wonderful. I could only afford to buy these two skeins but they’re definitely destined to become a sock. I guess I’ll work them two at a time so I don’t run out of yarn! That orange/brown/cream colorway reminds me of hiking (not that that’s something that I do…hiking around Brooklyn, I guess). It’ll be a really fun way to bring an outdoorsy hunter vibe to the city.

northern lights

Dropped by to say hello at the Kollabora booth. It was full of people! So great to see. I bought my mom a skein of purple Donegal merino tweed because it’s purple (her favorite color) and from Ireland. (I gave it to her the day after so I didn’t have a chance to take any photos. I can’t wait to see what she makes, though!)

I chatted for a while with Jill Draper. (It was one of the many times during the day when I said “It’s nice to finally meet you in person!”) Her yarns are so cool and she is really sweet. Her booth was twice the size since last year. I couldn’t help myself from picking up this awesome superwash merino. Even her friend who was manning the booth grabbed it from me and drooled.

jill draper

I don’t think these photos do justice to how fantastic the colors are in here. The pink is really bright and almost fluorescent but perfectly balanced with the other colors. I don’t usually go for variegated yarns but this one was calling me. I can’t wait to buy more of Jill’s yarn. (I was really enjoying the woolier yarns but when I’m buying single skeins – as I do at these things – I like to buy something that could at least be turned into a sock. Socks are my go to when I have a few hundred yards to work with!)

jill draper

After debating for a while, I also picked up one of these awesome Japanese pattern books. I can’t read Japanese and the charts look intimidating but just looking at the patterns is fun. I really love just every single one of the patterns in those books. Kudos to the ladies at the Kinkokuniya booth for explaining to every other person that the books are not in English, sorry!

japanese knitting

The day was exhausting but so much fun. It was great to know my way around a little better and have proper ideas of what I wanted to accomplish and who I wanted to visit. Most of all, meeting so many people (in real life) was so great. I’m all over Twitter and this blog, chatting it up but I don’t really belong to any stitch and bitch groups (yet) and hanging out with some really cool knitters made me realize that that is something I’d like to get into this year. I’m just going to surround myself with you wonderful knitters because I just don’t have enough right now!

Did you go to Vogue Knitting Live? What was your favorite part?

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09
Jan

Stash’ed: Icelandic Yarn

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, yarn

When my good friend Allison had a twelve hour layover in New York back in November, I was delighted! She and I, on average, only see each other once a year and this would be our third get together in 2012. (For a moment, I thought it was a sign of the Mayan apocalypse. A chance I was willing to take!) I am so jealous that she is often traveling the world and her most recent trip was to Iceland!

While she originally promised to bring me a sheep, I guess it was for the best that she just picked up yarn since we’re not allowed to have pets in my building.

lopi yarn

 

The yarn she brought me is, of course, made in Iceland. I can’t read anything on the label besides the fact that it’s Lopi Alafosslopi which is a bulky weight 100% Icelandic wool. It’s delicious. It’s wooly and thick and has that tough, warm, scratchy feeling that makes wool so incredible. It’s basically like a big ball of sheep.

lopi yarn 2

Since hearing about Allison’s adventures eating delicious yogurt and seeing beautiful landscapes of Iceland, I’m dying to go there. I’d looove to visit the Textile Museum and maybe hang out with some sheep. Honestly, doing those two things would be a perfect vacation for me. I would be quite content. I’ve heard about some Icelandic knitting cruises. I dream of one day being able to afford a knit-centric vacation.

Thanks for the yarn, Allison! You’re the best! I don’t know what to make with it just but I’m just enjoying feeling it.

Have you ever been to Iceland? What’s your dream knitcation?

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02
Jan

Emerald 2013

Written by Sarah. Posted in design, holiday, knits, style, want, yarn

Happy New Year, everyone! How did you ring in the new year? We ate tacos and drank champagne in the couch, while overdosing on Law and Order: SVU. Sometimes I’m embarrassed by how much of an old lady I am but I love it.

Did you know that this year’s Pantone color is Emerald? Expect to see lots of emerald accessories! If you’re looking to add a little more of this year’s color to your wardrobe, check out these emerald yarns!

emerald

1. Spud and Chloe Sweater in Billiard
2. Briggs and Little Tuffy in Paddy Green
3. Quince and Co Osprey in Cypress
4. Malabrigo Lace Merino in Emerald
5. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted in Douglas Fir

I don’t really own any emerald (not since I played Aunt Em in a high school performance of Wizard of Oz) but I think I might cast on some emerald mittens. Maybe a hat? I’m certainly overdue for both. Knitting accessories is the perfect way to add a little bit of trendiness to your wardrobe without going overboard.

Will you be knitting with emerald this year? What’s your favorite emerald colorway?

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