Posts Tagged ‘merino’
It’s Sheep Week! So let’s talk about some sheep, shall we? Even non-knitters are vaguely familiar with the Merino breed of sheep so I’d like to introduce you to the Bluefaced Leicester. If you haven’t encountered the BFL yet, give some of their fiber a try! BFL yarn has recently become one of my favorite to work with and it’s been gaining popularity among spinners, dyers, and knitters over the past few years.
This British longwool breed has no wool on its neck or long face. It’s a relatively new breed of sheep, developed in the early 20th century. BFL is known for being tougher and less elastic than merino while still being rather soft. Its soft drape makes it a wonderful fiber for shawls while its hard-wearing wool makes it a great option for socks.
Have you knit with BFL yarn? What did you like about it? Do you have a favorite sheep breed?
ps. Don’t forget that The Crash is on sale for $3 all week!
Last month I got the urge to design a hat pattern. I don’t know what came over me but I wanted to work something up and go for it. I had grand dreams of writing up my sock patterns and sizing them and releasing them properly, too. (That didn’t happen but never say never.) I immediately went out and bought yarn and I worked on for a weekend, basically non-stop. And although that doesn’t sound like enough time to spend on a new design, I was pleased with the result. Francesca was nice enough to give it a whirl and here it is!
This is my first hat pattern! It’s a chunky, whimsical design with a folded brim and bobbles. I hear that chunky knit hats are going to be a big deal next winter. The Purl Soho Super Soft Merino comes in colors that are perfect for spring, too, or for cheering up a dreary winter. Pom poms are optional but I made one from some stashed Tosh Merino.
I’ve actually been nervous to release this. That anxious voice in the back of my head thinks that everyone will hate it (it almost feels like something a kid would wear but my old roommate said that I dress like Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine) or no one will want to sit next to me in the cafeteria. That being said, I’ve been tired of knitting my own patterns and not putting them out there for others. Just like my hand warmer pattern (and another upcoming project for Kollabora!), it’s a fun challenge taking the barely legible doodles and notes that are good enough for me and refining them so that others can follow them and not think that I’m crazy.
Other than that, I’ve been wearing this hat since I made it and I really love it. It is pretty much made of happiness.
You can purchase the Olivia Hat pattern here on Ravelry. I’d love to hear what you think about it and see your version.
Let me preface this post by saying that not all of these yarns were actually produced in Chicago. What I mean by the title of this post is that I bought these skeins while I was on my trip. I might’ve gone overboard. But I like to give my money to local yarn stores even when they’re not local to me. I want to help make sure that they stick around for my sister knitters! It’s my duty. Also, I was on vacation. And my mom always says that I can buy whatever I want when I’m on vacation. She’s smart.
On my second day in Chi-town, I visited Loopy Yarns. They have a whole room for hand dyed and hand painted yarns. That’s where I spent most of my time. I was really drawn to the Miss Babs yarns. I hadn’t seen any of it in person. All of the colorways were really gorgeous and unique. As is true for my form, I decided to get a skein of sock yarn. (As I’ve said before, I like to buy sock yarn when I’m buying stash enhancements since I can usually at least get a pair of socks out of it. There’s usually enough yardage for one pair so I don’t have to splurge on multiple skeins. I feel like I can buy a tasting, if you will, of yarns. And it actually gets used instead of just living in my stash for forever.) It’s a really soft merino yarn. Once I’d picked my favorite, about three other women came in and one after the other announced, “I heard you just got some Miss Babs! I’m here for the Miss Babs!” I knew I’d made the right choice. I think I might make Jon a pair of socks with this salmon color. I know what you’re thinking but I think pink socks look awesome on men! (Exhibits A, B, and C.)
I was just going to stop at the skein of Miss Babs but in the sale section I saw this Lorna’s Laces Helen’s Lace. I had to buy it. (Also Jon said I should treat myself. He’s smart, too.) Aside from the price and it being a beautiful skein of silk and merino, Lorna’s Laces is based in Chicago so how could I not buy a Chicago yarn so close to the source? (Side note: I would have loved to have seen their studio but I’m not sure if they do any tours/visits. If I’m ever back I’ll have to explore that. Their yarns are so pretty, I’d love to just give them a high five.) I don’t really knit lacey lace things so I was hoping the yarn might inspire me. I’m thinking about making Jared Flood’s Rock Island shawl with it because that thing is gorrrrgeous and designed around this yarn.
When I visited Nina, I was having so much fun looking at all of their yarns that I almost forgot to buy something. I know that sounds silly but their shop felt more like an art gallery than a store (I mean that in the best way!) so I didn’t want to disturb any of the yarns. I was also having a post-brunch buzz (banana bread french toast is a thing, everyone, and it tastes as ridiculous as it sounds) so I was having a tough time deciding. All of their yarns are beautiful. For some reason I was really drawn to a basket of Schoppel (Skacel) merino sock yarn. I guess I have a thing for merino sock yarn. This is just a wide self-striping yarn in shades of blue and grey, nothing too crazy.
I really liked that the tag has this big red warning that says, “Stricken kann suchtig machen!” which is German for “Knitting can be addictive!” Now you tell me!
All in all, I’m really happy with my yarn purchases. I don’t buy post cards or magnets or anything (I was looking for local honey but no luck!) so these are perfect souvenirs!
What kind of souvenirs do you like to buy when you travel? (My mom’s favorite is playing cards!)
Tags: addiction, Chicago, helen's lace, honor, jared flood, knit, lace, Loopy Yarns, Lorna's Laces, merino, miss babs, Nina, rock island, schoppel, self striping, shawl, skacel, sock yarn, socks, souvenir, stash, travel, yarn
Last week was my birthday. Jon and I finally went to The Dutch. (Try the Devil’s Food Cake!)
Last year we had planned to go to The Dutch, too. In fact, Jon made reservations. But then there was this hurricane that everyone lost their minds over and the whole city shut down and they cancelled our reservation and closed the restaurant for the weekend and we never bothered to go. Remember Hurricane Irene? It wasn’t a very big deal in the city once it was all over but at the time, everyone was freaking out. (I know it effected more people up north and I hope they’ve recovered over the past 12 months!) That was my birthday.
Since the mayor decided to shut down all of the trains, one thing lead to another and Jon was asked to stay in a hotel near his office for the weekend so that someone could be around from his department if no one else could go in on Monday morning. So he called me and asked, “Do you want to stay at the Dream Hotel for free for your birthday weekend?”
Because everything was closed and also because it was my birthday and no one could tell me not to, I spent most of it in a bath robe watching National Geographic shows about being in prison and sipping on wine (so classy, I can’t stand it) while knitting these socks. And I haven’t posted them yet. I didn’t even make a project page for them on Ravelry or take proper pictures. How did that happen?
The pattern is the Traveller sock by Diana Gates. They’re the first toe-up socks I attempted. And, frankly, I fell in love. Toe-up socks FOREVER! I used some stashed Aslan Trends Invernal yarn which is awesome although thick for socks, now that I’ve made a few pair. It’s a worsted angora-merino with nylon so it’s super soft and squishy but durable. I honestly don’t remember which needles I used. The pattern calls for size 5…that sounds right. Who knows!
I wore them a ton over the winter. I’m sure you can tell because they’ve felted a little around the toe and bottom of the cables (It’s kind of gross to picture my socks felting from my sweaty feet rubbing around inside my shoes. You didn’t just come here for pretty yarn photos, did you?) They’re perfect weekend around-the-house socks or perfect throw-on-loafers-and-get-bagels-Saturday-morning socks. And if you follow me on instagram, you probably saw a lot of them. I’d definitely make another pair in a minute. I’m not all about fussy socks so these are just what I like. Pretty simple with a nice clean detail, super soft and cushy, and quick to knit up. Ravelry project page forthcoming!
Have you ever spent a birthday knitting?
I’ve been so busy over the past month yet I’ve done so much knitting! But I haven’t had any time to write about it. Really strange! I really need to do some catching up, though. So let’s start with what I’m working on right now.
As soon as I saw the pattern for the Cap Sleeve Lattice Top on the Purl Bee, I was obsessed. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was right in the middle of a pair of socks but I decided that I’d put them aside and run down to Purl Soho and buy some Madeline Tosh. I mean, there are only so many months that I can wear this thing and summer’s halfway over! And the pattern was written for MadTosh. How could I say no? I was leaving for a weekend trip to western Maryland so it would be easy road trip knitting. (Jon and I had never gone one a road trip before! It was very exciting and we saw a lot of cows and also a lot of signs about Jesus. Also, there are NO PARKING signs on the shoulders of I-78 in Pennsylvania. Who is parking there that they needed to go through so much trouble?)
Also, I generally hate summer knitwear. I like so few designs with short sleeves. I just think that they look awkward or I think, “Oh that would be really cute with long sleeves like a normal sweater!” Listen, I need cardigans and sweaters in the summer. It’s cold in restaurants and offices. And I don’t feel ashamed that I like having these things all year round and I don’t feel obligated to cast on tee shirts and the like just because the temperature is up. (Wow, am I a grouchy knitter or what?) This one, though, I think it’s really elegant and beautiful. Maybe I’m about to be converted!
Here’s what happened. I knit about five inches of the first side over the eight hours we were in the car. And I was pretty pleased with it although I would have liked something a little more challenging than stockinette. Then I got home and I started looking on Ravelry and I found diannabolical’s project page. I really like her style and I loved how her lattice top turned out. I really appreciate that it seems to fit her well. I think that some of the ones I’ve seen are sitting a little low and I’d like the lattice to start above where my bra ends. I also like shirts that are long so I don’t feel like they’re riding up all of the time. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves. But diannabolical knit hers in the round and then put half on waste yarn and worked the top one half at a time, adjusting amount of bound off stitches.
Well, why didn’t I think to knit it in the round! I remembered thinking to myself how I wished it was knit in the round when I cast on but I was rushing around about the trip and didn’t bother putting my mind into the math. So I had that dilemma that I’m so often faced with: frog eight hours of work or finish the top and deal with the unsatisfactory construction forever. I agonized over it for about five minutes and then was reminded that I’ve been known to rip things out no matter how far along they are. So I did.
I cast on again, this time with 215 stitches (size medium calls for 109 stitches per side so I figured 218 total and subtracted 2 stitches which would be lost in seaming the two sides together. I went with 3 stitches in the end to keep the ribbing pattern consistent) and began again in the round. Of course, now I’m only about maybe eight inches into the body but I’m going to have something I’m very happy with. I often cut corners and deal with imperfections so I’m giving myself a big pat on the back for going back and doing things the right way.
Like I said, it’s not terribly exciting right now since it’s about a million rows of stockinette. But I push forward.
I am using Madeline Tosh Sport in Calligraphy for the body. The top lattice will be in Espadrilles because I’m really into this neon trend that’s going on this summer. Not that I’ll ever stop wearing neon when it goes out of fashion and not that I wasn’t wearing it in high school before it was cool (Disclaimer: I’m not cool nor was I ever).
Honestly, I’m really second-guessing my color choices. I feel like the pale pink of the Calligraphy is really nice but I’m not sure how it’s going to play with the neon pink up top. I keep trusting my gut, though, because it seemed like a really good choice when I bought it and I’d thought a lot about putting the neon up top and a neutral in the body for a while. I think I just get nervous especially when I have nothing else to focus on since I’m just doing rows and rows and rows of stockinette stitch.
I’ve got more WIPs on my needles right now and I’ll show them off soon! How do you feel about summer knitting? Or have you given it up for the sewing machine?
Tags: adjust pattern, calligraphy, cap sleeve lattice top, dianabolical, espadrilles, knit in round, knit shirt, knit tank top, madeline tosh, Madtosh, merino, Purl Bee, purl soho, Sport, summer knitting, tank top, yarn
I had a fantastic weekend! I hope you all did, too. I got started on a Super Secret Project that I’m very excited about. I can’t wait to show you what it is! I can give you a few hints, but you’ll never guess!
The most exciting part of this project was meeting with the lovely ladies behind Roman Hills! And, as if it could get any better, I finally met Amy of Threadpanda in real life! Roman Hills, if you haven’t read Threadpanda’s interview with Lisa and Amy, is a new, independent dyer based in Brooklyn. Their yarns are fantastic and they are just so much fun!
I don’t want to give too much away but here are some yummy Roman Hills yarn photos from this weekend. There was a pile of yarn. Oh yes.
It’s done! I’m a little baffled by the fact that I finished Jon’s hamburger sweater in 21 days. That’s less than a month, people. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since the Blue Sky Techno is pretty chunky and I was working on size 8s and it was all stockinette. But I don’t think I’ve ever knit anything that quickly besides maybe a little hat.
Come on. This is a record, ladies and gents.
Alright, I admit, I didn’t block the sweater before we took these pictures. I’ve since done that and it really loosened things up. I think it looks a little snug in the photos and the neck sits weird and the back ribbing kept flipping up. But after the blocking, it looks fantastic. It fits him really well and it’s big and comfy and so so soft.
I hope this sweater has broken my curse with boyfriend sweaters. Now I just have to put that other one back together…
I’m most excited about the fact that he looks like a big hamburger! Couldn’t you just eat him up!?
Tags: baby alpaca, Blue Sky Alpaca, central park, cpw, Elizabeth Zimmerman, FO, hamburger sweater, knit sweater, lantern moon, merino, raglan knit, raglan sweater, seamless, seamless raglan, silk, sweater, Techno, worsted
What are your stash-collecting rules? I’ve been really good recently! To be honest, I read Yarn Harlot and I got a little nervous about my stashing tendancies! I’ve been very careful to only buy yarn that I actually need for projects. So I’m proud of myself.
But when Susie of Juniper Moon Farm tweeted that her friend was having a sale, I couldn’t pass up the Aslan Trends Invernal (50% Angora, 25% Merino Wool) that was $6/skein. I bought 3 skeins of Rouge and Raspberry each. I figured that it was enough yardage to make a striped sweater and the colors go quite well together. I hate stash of an awkward-weight single skein I can’t do anything with. But I might just break down and make six pairs of socks using it..
How much stash do you have? Where do you keep it?
Do you not love Beyonce?! I think she’s one of my heroes. She’s so fierce and confident! Don’t you want to be like her when you grow up? That being said, I think I’ve watched the new “Countdown” music video about 100 times! I love the homages to Funny Face mixed with modern hip hop dance.
I’ve collected a few things if you want to grow up to be Beyonce, too!
I just wanted to share some more of the beautiful photos that Jon took of the blanket that I made for his nephew-to-be. I am so proud of how it turned out!
Like I mentioned before, I don’t do much designing. I do like planning intarsia but I’ve never stressed over stitch counts and gauge as much as I did with this project. I really wanted to make something that was personal and soft and design-savy.
My plan had a lot to do with these ideas: I hate traditional gender colors. Blue was originally for girls, after all. And I really don’t like pastels. I know that Jon’s brother and sister-in-law feel the same way so that was a good start. For babies, I much prefer bold, bright, exciting colors and stimulating patterns. Minimalism is always a must, of course.
I’ve been experimenting with more intarsia to make fun patterned knit fabics. Intarsia is pretty simple but I really like the versatility. Of course, I’m obsessed with these hand-dyed Madeline Tosh yarns! They make it even more interesting.
So this is not the last you’ve seen of my intarsia-patterned, hand-dyed knit fabrics. I’m really excited and I’m just bubbling over with ideas. I can’t wait to tell you about what I have planned.
What do you prefer for babies? Traditional pastels or bold modern patterns? Knitters, how do you feel about intarsia?