Friday, February 28, 2014

goldfish

They're done, they're done! I finally finished my Goldfish socks. Actually, they've been finished for about a month but I have only now gotten anyone to help me take photos. You can see that they've gotten a little worn in....


The yarn is by Spun Right Round, which is definitely one of my favorite places to get sock yarn. They always have such fun colorways! This one is 'Goldfish' and was an absolute pleasure to knit with. I worked it up into a standard stockinette sock -- casting on 60 stitches and working in the round, decreasing as needed for the leg to ankle. 


I tried a new heel on this one, the Band Heel. I learned about it while working up my Sock Knitting Flow Chart, and I have mixed feelings about it's final application. I don't mind the 'seam' that runs on either side, but I do feel that this heel is a little loose on me and that I would prefer to double-strand it. I am actually considering double-stranding all my sock heels, since I seem to consistently wear that part out first. I also wish I had knit these socks at a slightly tighter gauge. I think I have to do almost all socks on 1's from now on. 





Thursday, February 27, 2014

bougainvillea


Remember last week when I posted about the yarn that had arrived from Purl Soho? I couldn't resist it's siren call for long -- the Alchemy Kozmos leapt right onto my needles to become this simple, but pretty hat. I used a stitch dictionary for the pattern, which is common in many books, but I did kind of fiddle with the decreases. I am not sure if this hat will become a 'release' or not -- what do you guys think? Would you want a pattern for this?



Wednesday, February 26, 2014

playing with color

I swear that KnitPicks has some kind of sixth mailing sense. They always seem to know when there are people in houses knitting, and send out their magazine almost immediately -- I cannot recall a single residence in which I have lived that I haven't received the catalog since they got going.



While I don't order often from the web-retail giant, I do love to look at the array of color on the pages that display Palette, their fingering-weight yarn clearly marketed towards those of us who love fair isle and color work. Oh, how I wish they would offer a color-card for purchase! I resort instead to routinely pulling out and cutting up these pages to play mix-and-match with the color ways.

I'm playing with some color work ideas at the moment, here are a few palettes that I put together. I feel like they're a lovely balance between spring and fall colors, don't you?


This first palette would sure make a lovely sweater! I have to say that I love KnitPicks' range of greys. And the names. With names like Lady Slipper, Gosling, and Turmeric, how could I not?

I love the sunny palette of oranges and off-oranges here with the blue and grey, too:



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

stitch by stitch


I've been trying to get back on -- or rather, get on -- the designing horse a little more lately, so I bought some new tools that I thought might help motivate me in the months ahead. While I often have ideas and frequently make sketches, it's very rarely that I sit down and actually make the thing I've been thinking of, and I'd like to change that. 

I bought the Knitter's Pride Symfonie Rose Interchangeable needle set. Although my Hiya-Hiya set has served me well, I really enjoy knitting on Dreamz. The reason I didn't get a standard Dreamz set is purely aesthetic -- I wanted all the needles to be naturally wood-colored and the same shade. 


My other new tool is the Knitters Graph Paper Journal, produced by Rowan Morrison publishing. You can purchase them a few different places online, but I feel obliged to put in a plug for one of my employers, Knit Purl



As you can see, the back and front covers of this adorable journal are lined with knitting abbreviations, notes on weights and symbols for charts. I love the resource almost as much as I love the hand-drawn nature to the inside cover art!


Of course, I had to put it to work right away -- this little chart might become something yet (if I can get the spacing to work out with the yarn I'd like to use!) 

Monday, February 24, 2014

winter

I know that for some of you, winter seems like it's going to end before too much longer. Perhaps in some areas you've even seen the first signs -- little green shoots pushing up through the cold ground, or rainy, slightly warmer days. But since most of the country seems to be in a state of snowy despair, I suppose winter, for at least most of us, is here to stay awhile longer. 

Winter in Iowa can become a sort of uninspiring, gray haze after awhile. It hits us around the end of October. Sometimes the trick-or-treat masses have to wear coats over costumes, while many parents have joined the new 'tradition' of driving their children around in cars to keep out the chill. (In my opinion, if it's too far to walk, you shouldn't be trick-or-treating in that area!) 

We see our first flurries sometime mid-November or late December, and then it just dumps snow on us until the end of March and occasionally into April. 

This year, instead of giving into the despair of slush, sludge, and snow, I am trying to more fully embrace the beauty of the season by knitting more and refining my winter wardrobe to identify what is actually 'reasonable' to wear, and what is simply frivolity (I'm talking to you, slouchy wool slacks!) 

I put together a little mood board to show you where I'd like to be with my winter wardrobe. This year, I've been adding a lot of neutrals, and am approaching color more sparingly. Bits of burgundy, red, and egg blues have been creeping into my palette of frost, wooden gray and oatmeal. I've also continued my life-long love for mossy and evergreen tones.

original photos sourced on Pinterest, compiled by me
Another big goal is to add more visual texture and minimalistic shapes. I love prints and patterns, but I'm trying to seek them out in more subdued varieties for winter time. I've been adding simple jewelry items, vintage furs, and leather textures into my wardrobe lately in abundance. My go-to items have included my J.Crew Biennial Satchel in a peachy leather, a set of delicate citrine earrings, and a neutral scarf I picked up at Zara while in Uruguay.


I've been planning my knitting around these goals too, although I have to admit that I add bright 'pops' in there now and again. I can't survive winter without color! The benefit of choosing a base of solid neutrals (including the egg blue and burgundy) is that I can add bright details without taking away from their overall wintery feel. 

What winter pieces have become your staples? Do you have favorite winter colors?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

tiny flicker


I've been spinning a bit more recently, although never as much as I'd like. Right now on the wheel is a Hello Yarn Fiber Club shipment, "Tiny Flicker" in Organic Polworth. I plan on plying with a bright yellow Falklands wool to make a fluffy fingering weight. We'll see, though. Sometimes n-plies win out when the colors are this vibrant on their own! What's on your wheel?


Saturday, February 22, 2014

keep your whitlam about you



I've recently discovered the cutest little Etsy store, Vi[laines]. The owner and designer has the most lovely collection of yarns, project bags, and adorable branding. I fell in love with this "yarn bath" project bag. The girl on the front looks a bit like Wednesday Addams, doesn't she? 


Of course, I've already stuffed a project inside, since no project bag in my studio is ever empty. While I wasn't sure of this color when I got it in the mail, Zen Yarn Garden's sumptuous Serenity Silk Single base combined with this taupe color (I think it is dyed-to-order Frosted Kiwi), will make a wonderfully wearable cowl. I enjoyed knitting this pattern the first time around, and it's proving equally wonderful this time.

Friday, February 21, 2014

yarn pyramid


I have already mentioned in a few previous posts how much I seem to delight in everything that emerges from the creative Fringe Supply Co. This letterpress poster is no exception. One of my goals this year is to make my temporary space here feel a bit more permanent, and that means decorating, unpacking, and hanging things up. After all, I'll be here until early spring next year at least. 


For now, I simply have the poster suspended by a binder clip, above my yarn stash and winding station. Eventually I hope to find a beautifully perfect frame, but it could be awhile. I will certainly do so before attempting to move the poster again, since upon arrival it sat under books for nearly a month to get the curve of the mailing tube out!



I think it's a very appropriate poster for anyone who works with fiber! I love that they've put sheep at the bottom (wool is absolutely my favorite fiber for everything), and synthetics at the very tip-top! If only everyone followed this. Unfortunately, as is the case with another such pyramid, sometimes folks just don't know what's best for them!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

wrapped up


Not so long ago, I fell in love with the Purl Bee's Amazing Seed Stitch Wrap:

photo from The Purl Bee

While I love the original and wish I could make it out of the recommended Anzula, Jade Sapphire, and Blue Sky Alpacas' yarns, I just couldn't afford trying the kit. So I decided to finally give into my desire to have this wrap, and began collecting colors of Malabrigo Worsted -- an affordably sumptuous yarn that comes in a stunning range of color. 


I mimicked the Purl Bee's original palette progression but cut out a few colors that I couldn't find great matches to. I still would love to make the beautiful version on their blog, but for now I'll settle for seed stitch in super-soft merino. I haven't gotten to start yet -- I'm waiting to knock a few more wips off my list first!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

radiance

I have loved this year's Pantone Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid, for as long as I can remember. While I was never much for most pinks, something about hot pink -- especially with a tinge of purple -- just speaks to me body and soul. What an exuberant, happy color!

A few weeks ago, I decided to bring a little spring into my stash by purchasing some indulgent skeins featuring this fabulous shade, from Purl Soho. They arrived today and are beyond lovely.



Alchemy, Yarns of Transformation Kozmos is a luxurious 30% silk, 26% mohair, 13% wool and 31% cotton blend with a tweedy texture and soft hand. It only has 119 yards in the hank, but recommends a US 9 needle -- I was thinking of making a very simple hat that I can wear until winter is properly banished.

The other yarn is Manos Del Uruguay Alegria. Alegria means "joy" in Spanish, and I can only describe this superwash sock yarn as joyful. I can't wait to make a pair of simple stockinette socks out of this! In fact, I might finish up another project as quickly as I can, just to have an excuse to cast on!

I will certainly need these bright beauties in the upcoming days -- I heard on the news that a blizzard is heading our way (6 - 8" of snow in Des Moines alone.) Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but for today, there is lovely yarn.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

on the go


I love when bloggers of all types show off what is 'in their bag', don't you? It's kind of like an inside look at that person's life, what they carry around and what they're up to. For knitters, nothing is as personal as the project bag, or the knitting tote. This year, I was gifted a beautiful canvas tote by my sister. It's from Fringe Supply Co., and the print says "Wool is an essential part of any high-fiber diet." As someone who is both health-food conscious and wool obsessed, I felt like it was the perfect fit, and it's gone into heavy rotation, carrying everything from my laptop to my weekend projects. 


If you opened my bag today, you'd find a pretty wide variety of objects, reading materials and projects. 


I've just purchased this set of bone needles, size US 7, from Fringe Supply Co. (I really can't get enough of their beautiful products & packaging, I'm smitten.) You'd also find a few skeins of 'mystery yarn', ready to be swatched and tested for future Yarnbox shipments. They're both a bit shiny and even look similar next to each other, but the fiber content couldn't be more different!


You'd also find my Kindle. I got it for Christmas and I'm madly in love. Right now I'm reading Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg, and In Meat We Trust, by Maureen Ogle. Not all of my reading is so serious -- I recently finished the entire Divergent series, too.

Inside would also be the "Woolen" issue of Ply Magazine. This spinning magazine comes out quarterly and people seem to be enjoying it on the various forums I read. After several fairly poor forays into the art of long-draw and woolen spinning, I've decided this might provide the extra help I need to move forward. I do like the magazine, but it's mostly articles and I wish the photos had a bit more pizazz. I do know they're just getting started, though -- I believe this is the third issue.


You would also find my Veer, which is making steady progress in Shibui Cima + Shibui Silk Cloud. Everyone who sees the fabric assumes it's itchy until they touch it. I'm hoping to finish the sweater in time to wear it for TNNA in May! 


What would I find in your knitting bag?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

veer

I have to say that one of my favorite things about working for yarn companies is that I discover so many new patterns and yarn combinations! Right now, working for Shibui Knits has given me a renewed interest in modern, minimalistic knits (on tiny needles!) 


Recently, they sent me a copy of Veer, since some of the pamphlets had been smudged during printing. As soon as I had the pattern in my hands, I knew I had to make the sweater. I chose a cozy neutral -- Clay -- that would work well with dark burgundy and navy in the winter, or pair nicely with white denim in early spring. I have a current fascination with blush tones, so the knit is winning me over. 

Shibui Cima and Silk Cloud combined are lightweight and unbelievably soft. I have a feeling everyone will want to pet me when I wear this garment!