Monday, August 31, 2015

Industry Giveaway Because I Wuv You

That's right, I'm giving away a download of the lovely Industry Shawl pattern by Libby Jonson, of Truly Myrtle.  It's the one I just finished testing and raving about.  But you already knew that, I'm sure.

Why don't I have giveaways more often?  I love my internet friends and I love giveaways, so what's the deal?  I think I'm just kind of harum-scarum with things and figure I'll forget to follow up.  Or I think of giving something away, then get distracted and forget about the whole thing.  But nothing could be easier than clicking a few buttons to give away a Ravelry download, right?

(on ravelry, kollabora, flickr, pinterest, and instagram)

So all you have to do is leave your ravelry username or your email address in a comment on this post between now and next Sunday evening at 12am CST.

I'll randomly pick a post and announce the winner sometime next Monday Sept. 7.   That's it and it wasn't hard at all.  Now, I have an alarm set in my phone, so it's gonna happen.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

All I want is what I..I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share.

It's been a difficult and wonderful summer all at once.  Maybe that was the impetus for my treating myself to a few things from my Pinterest list that I had been saving for.  I'm not usually super material, but sometimes I can be an emotional, impulse shopper.  That time was about 2 am in my pajamas, then the next afternoon (still in my pajamas), then the following week (in "workout clothes" that look exactly like my pajamas).
I'm sorry, but I'll be dragging you along to see the fulfillment of my Sally-esque Christmas list for the summer.  Oh, and I'm going to be linking like crazy.

First up,  was the sweater's worth of Gynx Yarns I already showed you.  I was thinking it was my first sweater's worth of indie yarn, but then I remember knitting both Georgia and Hetty with Gynx Yarns' colorways.  But, like I said, Hetty was a happy accident- a miracle of spit splicing hoodoo, so I don't really count it.  Thus, my need to buy Smooth Sport for Pomme de Pin.  I also took advantage of a sale Laura had on all of her experimental color ways, dyed in preparation for SSK.  I ordered two skeins of this green that makes me think of Blue Rug Juniper.

Another dyer I wanted to try out was Sarah, of January Yarns, who I first met through Holla Knits Knitalongs.  Her Block Island is so beautiful knit in her own yarn.  And look at her gorgeous Oshima!    I love everything she makes with her yarn.  Everything.  (Have you seen the Blue Spruce colorway?!) There will be a sweater knit in January Yarns in my future.

So, I got a skein of her Staple Sock in the Out of the Woods colorway to knit my Industry shawl.   Maybe you realize by now that forest-y greens are my thing, and this is my bestest color.  I want to look at it forever.  It would be right at home growing in the middle of my succulents.

The last thing I wanted to try was some variegated colorways from Kristin of Voolenvine Yarns.  I've admired her semi-solids for some time, using the Nevermore colorway for my Renfrew.  But I wanted to try some of the popular variegated colorways I see in her podcast and popping up on Ravelry.

(on instagram)

This required me doing a very geeky thing:  waiting until the exact moment of her shop update and hurriedly loading up my cart.  Of course, though I clicked quickly, the Outlander colorway was sold before I could submit payment.  I then went through the fumbling process of deleting it and loading up an Outlander Misfit skein instead.  You can see the Outlander colorway below, used for her Vanilla Sock pattern.

(image via Kristin's Ravelry page.  All colorways can be found at the Voolenvine shop)

Though the Outlander series is not my bag, I am not blind.  This is a gorgeous colorway.   Can anything beat a blue/orange combo?  Kristin has a fantastic sense of color.  Hopefully the misfit version will give a similar effect as the original, because I don't see myself ever waiting for a shop update, with baited breath, again.  Unless I have another after-crisis pajama day.

I also tried her Reflektor color way, that looks awesome as both socks and hats on different raveler's pages.

(image via Kristin's Ravelry page.  All of her colorways can be found in the Voolenvine shop)

After making my indie dyer dreams come true, I cut myself off from that kind of purchase for the rest of the summer. Big of me, I know.

There were still a few knitting-related things I've been wanting for a while, that I managed to find in stock or on sale:

rice bowl/tote from Fringe Supply Co.  It's a tote until you tuck the handles and top inside.  See it here with a knit picks summer sale order of Felici in Teacup, Wool of the Andes Tweed for a cozy Bradway shawl, some Curio for whatever, and some Wool of the Andes Sport for a striped Jane Richmond sweater I anticipate will be released soon (I know, I know, now I'm buying yarn for things that don't even exist yet...but free shipping, people!)

The next project tote was from Kelley, seamstress and knitter extraordinaire, of  Casa Crafty.  The Cabbages and Kale Leath Tote is made with BPA-free laminated cotton canvas, which isn't stiff at all.  I think the leather handles are a nice touch.  This is where Pomme de Pin is living at the moment.  Kelley was so kind as to include a sympathy card for my grandfather's passing in with the bag and wallet I purchased, which touched me very much.

I also finally got the first two issues of Knit Wit from Fringe and Good Night, Day.

(Image via Pinterest)

Because I already had a Karbonz midi set that I'd won in a giveaway earlier this year, I only needed the Karbonz starter (or mini) set to have all of the needle tips.  This was great because I wouldn't pay for a full set when I had odd needle sizes, here and there, around my house.  I think these are going to make my crafting so much easier.  They allow me to knit up a needle size or two, with my loose gauge, and the needle tips are long enough for comfort.  I'm not having to constantly re-screw or re-click them, either.  You know how that's an issue with interchangeables.

(image via Pinterest)

Now, I'm ready to cut myself off on all things fiber.  However, there was one thing I really have wanted for around the house- some Beatup Creations plates for my kitchen wall.

Our kitchen remodel was almost finished when all of the excitement began this summer, so we're not quite there.  But when we are, I'll have plates that my son calls disturbing as the finishing touch.

(on instagram)

Do I sound like Sally giving Charlie Brown her Christmas list?  Keep in mind, I'm not normally all about indulgence.  And, of course, there are plenty of people who would think a big sack full of string is a pitiful excuse for indulgence, but I am who I am.  I'm mostly frugal.  Knit Picks orders every few months and books are my one extravagance. My life has been very centered around family members for several years, and I've let most of my personal pursuits slide- except for knitting in the evening.   Even when I had free time for myself, I felt a heaviness that made my hobbies less enjoyable.  I think that's just how it is for people when they go through crisis.  I'm not sure how much that will change now that my grandfather has passed.  I want to live quietly and restfully for a time, especially since the wedding fervor is over.  I want to remember to eat three times a day, sleep 7 or 8 hours, get a little exercise, and try to balance out these crazy hormones.

So while the rest of ravelry is taking about yarn diets, I'm here pigging out on my fiber binge.  But as  I told another knitting friend recently: it's not like I'm doing crack with the family fortune.  It's just yarn.

Also, I'm not showing these as some sort of "Look at me!  I've got stuff" kind of post.  It's more about the promise of being reinvigorated and enjoying the things I create again.  It's a "Look at me!  I'm gonna enjoy new stuff!" kind of post.

My last unmet desire is to get a camping trip/ sleep fest, now that the dust is settling.   One year, we were all so tired from the pace of our lives (or, in my kids' case, from being teenagers) that we got to a campground just after dark, set up our pop-up, and slept straight through until after lunchtime the next day.  Long, lanky bodies littered our little camper, unmoving for like 13 or 14 hours.  That was a good trip.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Industry Shawl

I recently test knit this beautiful shawl pattern for Libby Jonson, of Truly Myrtle, and have been    waiting to post about it until the pattern was released.  Well, it's been published and is on sale via Ravelry right now.

Industry is my first completed piece for the Handmade Fashion Challenge 2015.  And like, everything else I intend to make, it's super wearable.  My pieces are all being made with an eye to what I can actually wear a lot in a warm climate.  There are many winter days where this shawl might be the only thing I'll need to keep me warm, beyond jeans and a t-shirt.

It's pretty gorgeous, right?  Not only that, it was my pre-wedding freak out soother.  I started this before my daughter's wedding and finished it in the exhausted stupor that followed.  It was good medicine.

Libby named the shawl for the brick and steel architecture it brings to mind.  That's funny because architectural is the word that came to my mind when knitting both this shawl and her Rattan design.   Though it is a drapey, feminine accessory, it appeals to my straight-forward, tomboy side.  Read: it's not over the top girly.  When I first saw sneak peeks of it on instagram, I immediately thought of an arial map of city blocks.  That's a cool association.  There's lots of lines and textures happening, while still working really well with a slightly variegated yarn.

And check out this Staple Sock skein from January Yarns!  I've been wanting to try some of Sarah's yarn since I started stalking her beautiful knits during a knit-along.   Isn't this the neatest shade of green?  It looks like the edges of my sedum and aloe plants- light green.  It also makes me think of moss I saw on hikes in Tennessee.

Industry just spilled off of my needles, like the Rattan and the Settler Shawl.  It was the perfect pattern for addictive knitting: challenging while allowing for a conversation.  That way my family gets to feel like I'm really paying attention to them when I'm knitting.

Since all of the wedding hoopla has died down, I guess my daughter felt like she owed me because she took the time to model my shawl when she really needed to get home and cook supper for herself and her husband.  Doesn't that sound so grown up?  I, meanwhile, was considering having my husband pick something up on his way home so I wouldn't have to cook.

Aw, she's pretty gorgeous too.

Back to Industry!  I followed the pattern as instructed, no modifications.  Mine came out a bit longer and deeper, but that's no biggie.  I pretty much expect that with most of my knits.  In fact I'm counting on it with my current sweater.

So, I still have to finish a knitted tee, dye sock yarn and knit socks, sew some shorts, make some jewelry (easy peasy), and embroider a tote bag for my HMFC2015.  The Handmade Fashion Challenge will be going on through the month of October.  Also I kind of over estimated what I would accomplish in that time.  I think everyone else is just trying for four pieces in that time period.  So, it's not at all too late to join in.  You sewing whizzes, you know who you are, could totally do this too!  You might also encourage me in my first sewing endeavor (hint, hint).

 (ravelry, kollabora, instagram, flickr)

More posts on this shawl:  planning, in process, and a sneak peek while I ramble. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Some Cool Stuff

Sometimes you have to shut up and finish stuff.  That's what I've been doing all of this quiet month.  I'm not quite ready to show my shawl test knit off yet, but I have gotten some photos with unwoven ends still blowing in the breeze.  Again.

I've also been amassing a pile of future projects, sale yarn, not-so-sale yarn, knit-along entries, and books.  So, I thought I would share some new and upcoming things.

First up is a book I supported as a Kickstarter, Midwestern Knits by Allyson Dykhuizen and Carina Spencer.

If you've been here before you know I can't seem to stop knitting things Allyson has created or curated.  So, buying this was a no-brainer.  It is full of great projects.  I would like to knit every single one.  But the ones that I keep going back to look at and plan for are Furrowed Pullover, Furniture City,  On the MotorwaySweater of Broad Shoulders, Midtown, Blowing Snow Cardigan, and River Walk Mitts.  That's all.   It's just seven more sweaters, right?  I have yarn for the mitts right now and probably at least one of the worsted sweaters.  Obviously, I won't be casting any on immediately because I'm still participating in several knit and make-alongs, but eventually some of this will be happening.

Speaking of the midwest, another cool thing happening there is Annie's Craft Festival from October 30 - November 1.

A ravelry friend told me about it and, though it isn't close enough to Texas for me to go, it does sound like the kind of thing I'd love to do one day.  I've still not been to a large yarn event with classes and vendors.  This one seems to encompass all the crafts knitters like to branch off into plus things I wouldn't expect, like floral arrangement and painting.  Early bird rates are $15 until the end of the month.

And the last cool thing...sort of... is that I'm finally making that Sarah Lund styled sweater I've been hoarding Cascade Eco for.  I'm excited about the sweater, but only after I threw a fit that my Drift's Ridge was, again, too loosely knit in the body.  It seems the stranded part was the perfect gauge because I was working with double the amount of fiber there.  When I moved to the plain stockinette, my hands wouldn't cooperate.  I'm angry with fingering weight yarn.  Look at the four inches of beautiful progress I had to rip out for the second time.  Wasn't it glorious?

Too bad it balloons out after the armhole as if the Michelin Man requested a hand knit fair isle sweater.  I'm not ripping out the top to start the whole thing over in a smaller size!  That is the most perfect color work I have ever accomplished.  It stays.  So, I've gotten some size 0 Karbonz in hopes that if I work carefully...and patiently... I will achieve the proper gauge.

So the answer to my frustration at having nothing to show for this year's Summer Sweater Knit-along was to bust out the Cascade Eco and some bulky Sweet Georgia I got a few months ago to make a spur of the moment Sarah Lund sweater.  I'll post more on it later because, people, I am making stuff up as I go and it's going to be a very funky sweater based on Alicia Plummer's Bulky Ease.

(more on ravelry, kollabora, instagram, and flickr)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Holla Knits Summer Knit-along

The heat in Southeast Texas has taken an ugly turn this week.  I know I sound like old people saying it, but I have never felt a summer this hot.  Usually, I can adapt.  By August, that is never an issue.  But something's different.  Two days ago I went for a run in the evening.  Well, it was going to be a walk, but I saw a chatty neighbor and started running so they wouldn't want to talk for half an hour.  (Just being honest.  I know that's kind of crummy of me, but I only had 30 minutes to get outside  and taking care of myself by getting outdoors, eating three squares a day, and sleeping all night is my new "thing", right? )  Anyway, I then felt guilty slowing to a walk when turning the corner so I continued running.  It shouldn't be a big deal, I run all the time.  But it was still 98 degrees outside and I definitely got my payback for not being friendly.  It was like running four miles in a snuggle.  I spent the next couple of hours trying not to throw up.

Maybe it's the dry, cracked ground radiating the heat back up at me, I don't know, but lately I need motivation to get outside.  Enter the Holla Knits Summer KAL, for which I started two new projects yesterday.  Beach House is a great mesh lace top by Teresa Gregorio that can be worn over any multitude of things.  It's from the newest Summer 2015 collection.  I decided to try Willow Yarns' Feather yarn (a linen/cotton blend) for this one.  This will be a quick knit, I can tell.  The only thing is those short rows in mesh lace were a bit tricky for me.  I somehow ended up with a stitch or two less than I should've after finishing them.  I'm not sure how that happened but it looks fine, so I'm going to run with it as is.  I actually liked the challenge of lace short rows.  I don't think I've ever done that before.

Isn't this Splendid Sunbird colorway a great summer color?  I bought a black maxi dress in Seamly's summer sale to go with it.   So how will starting even more knitting projects motivate me to enter the heat haze?  Well, I'll have something cute to wear in it.  Stuff is always the answer.

And then there's Laura McDougal's Bowdoin Hat from the most recent Holla Knits Accessories issue.    Here's my mini swatch.  Yes, I only swatched a few inches, but at least I did it.  I even washed and blocked it.  That means I impatiently tossed it in the sink then stretched the heck out of it to see if I'd have my usual large gauge problems.  I can tell I'm going to love the tilted block pattern.

I'm using a skein of Tosh Sock in Jade for it.  It makes me think of the ferns and ivy growing all around my house.  Somehow, they haven't all burned up yet.

 I don't think I've ever knit a fingering weight hat before.  I guess this is considered summery in other parts of the world, but here it would be a winter hat.  Only, it would be a hat I wouldn't have to immediately shed once I stepped indoors.

The KAL just started, so there's plenty of time to join up.  We're on both the Holla Knits Forum, with a different thread for each project, and instagram as #hkkalsummer.   Join me as I hide from the heat to make something I can wear out into the heat.

Wilco Triple Threat for Free

Star Wars, Cats, and Wilco- three of my favorite things all on one album.  Of course it has nothing to do with the George Lucas franchise... and it really doesn't involve animals... but it is absolutely Wilco at their best.

I should've posted this sooner, when it was first offered as a free download.  As it is, you may have one more day to get it on their website or iTunes for free.   Hurry up.

I haven't really read up on it.  I don't know why it's presented this way, but it made me laugh out loud.  And I really like putting it on and listening to it all the way through, then doing it again.  I have a thing for music that fills me with nostalgia, and usually that's a slightly melancholy experience.  It's something all of Wilco's albums do to me.  On the first listen, I instantly feel like I've "felt" this song before.  But this one doesn't go too far in that direction.  It's loose and fun, like a free album with a picture of a cat on it should be.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The End of The Tunnel

I may have gotten a bit carried away when I saw the light at the end of the wedding prep tunnel.  Yep, my daughter got married last weekend- photos will be coming.  So, in my excitement at not having as much to do, I joined several knit-alongs and make-alongs online.

You may remember I joined the Purposeful Stash-along with Dani of Little Bobbins quite a while back.  It will be going on through the Fall, so I don't feel in a rush to get to the sleeves of my Pomme de Pin just yet.  Isn't it gorgeous, though?  I know, you can't see the little pineapple lace stitch and even the color is off due to instagram filters, but still... five skeins of Gynx Yarns goodness.  Trust me when I say, it's heavenly.

If I set it aside, it will be to finish my Morning Mist tee.  It was also part of a KAL, the aptly named Morning Mist Knit-along, hosted by Annie (thisbirdknits on Ravelry).   This one I did not finish in time, but I still can include it in my Handmade Fashion Challenge 2015 collection that I just posted about.  When that's off of my needles, I'll be moving on to a different summer top, Beach House by Teresa Gregorio, for the Holla Knits Summer KAL.  I've got some linen/cotton blend in a great fuchsia color for this.

I think it will look really cute over a dress, like this one from Seamly.  I got it in their end-of-summer sale and am excited to pair the two together.

So once Morning Mist and my current test knit are off of the needles, I'll be able to focus on Beach House and the WIP I'm finishing for the Summer Sweater KAL, Drift's Ridge.

That's right, the SSKAL, with the Very Shannon group, has already begun and I haven't even mentioned it on my blog.  I haven't even started working on my project for it.  And, I haven't even been blogging.

Anyway, this was the first KAL I think I ever participated in and has a special place in my heart.  It was like my gateway drug into the world of knit-alongs.  Since the recent events in my family life seem to be calming down, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get my WIPs finished.

Remember Drift's Ridge?  It was, and is, lovely.  But I lost my handle on the gauge after finishing the colorwork and it grew too much at the bust.  So, I ripped it back and loaded it onto needles a size smaller.  Only, I got into some other things and it languished.  It's a shame because it will be great tv knitting from this point forward and the yarn is one of the nicest budget friendly (when bought on sale) yarns I've ever used- Valley Yarns' kettle dyed Charlemont.  I realized today that both Beach House and Drift's Ridge are designs by Teresa Gregorio.

I have secondary projects for both SSKAL (Offshore V-neck) and the Holla Knits Summer KAL (Bowdoin Hat), but more on those later.  At this point,  I have enough knitting in front of me.  What about you?  Interested in the Purposeful Stashalong, Summer Sweater Knitalong, the Holla Knits Knitalong, or the Handmade Fashion Challenge.  It's not tot late to join any one of them, or be a goal junkie like me and join all three.  (Links in the text above.)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Industriously Knitting

Well, the Truly Myrtle Knit-along is over, but I'm continuing on with a new shawl from Libby.  It's a test knit of Industry and I have to say it's infectious.  It's knit from side to side, something I've not done on a shawl yet, and it looks equally interesting on either side.

I think graphic lines really appeal to the stripe lover in me.  It's why I loved Rattan and Laylow.  I'm knitting this for the Handmade Fashion Challenge 2015 that I posted about the other day.  It will be my first completed project, and probably my quickest knit.

P.S. If you follow that link to the Truly Myrtle site, you'll see my girl pre-wedding in my Settler Shawl.  Just pretend I blocked it correctly.  I didn't block out the little points at the edge.  I have no idea why... mother-of-the-bride brain, I guess.