Yarn Along

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Joining Ginny today for her Yarn Along.  Gracie and I have been reading Anne of Green Gables together.  I never read it as a kid, and now I know why.  There is just so much dialogue that I would not have had the patience for it when I was young.  She really seems to be enjoying listening to it, though. She sits in bed at bedtime, knitting a cowl she has decided to make for herself while I read about a chapter a night. It’s even become a motivator for getting through our nightly routine in an expeditious manner. Take too long getting ready for bed? No time for Anne.

I cast on my Et Frais mitts this week, but have since ripped them out because it seemed impossibly small. I attempted yet again to just start a project without swatching.  One of these days I’ll learned my lesson.  Now there is a gauge swatch drying on the guest bed, ready for me to count some stitches tonight and make sure that I’m not completely off the mark. So far, I’m enjoying with the Nice and Knit fingering yarn.  The color is gorgeous, and it feels soft as you knit it up.

While I was attempting get a somewhat decent shot of the knitting with not enough light I grabbed a shot of our backyard.  No kidding, this is straight out of the camera. It’s been raining FOREVER, and everything is so green I can hardly stand it. Here’s hoping it’s helping the grass seed we put down this weekend.

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Block Party

The Magrathea Shawl is finally finished, and I’m so happy with it.  I am so hopeful that it will bring tons of comfort to my mother-in-law in the coming months.

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I recently read the Yarn Harlot’s post on blocking, which came handy.  She reminded me that the blocking isn’t about pulling the fabric into the shape you want, but rather gently pushing into place.  I was much less aggressive pinning this down as I have been with some projects, and it seemed to removed the need to use blocking wires.  So far, I’m happy with the results.

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Yarn Delivery

DSC_5349I have been following this lovely blog Nice and Knit for about a year.  Two sisters posted beautiful photos of their knitted creations and their families, and I just couldn’t get enough.  I love the look of the blog, the architecture of their old homes, and the wooly goodness was decadent.  When I saw that they had started a line of hand-dyed yarns, I really wanted to support their work and give it a try.  I ordered a skein of their fingering yarn in the Driftwood colorway, and it’s great.  There’s 490 yards to each skein of superwash merino for $26.

I have to say, this thing is a pile of smooshy goodness, and I can’t wait to knit it up.  This stuff has a lovely destiny – it will be knitted up into a pair of Et Frais mitts by Alicia Plummer for a co-worker of Hub’s.  They are completely fabulous.

Photo credit Alicia Plummer
Photo credit Alicia Plummer

Can’t wait to cast on these babies and get started!

Yarn: Nice and Knit Fingering in Driftwood.  Find their website here.

Pattern: Et Frais by Alicia Plummer.  Find the pattern here, and Alicia’s site, Two Little Plumshere.

Yarn Along: Magrathea

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It’s a little ironic that I have chosen to dive into the first of the Lord of the Rings trilogy this week.  As I read this epic story of overcoming impossible odds against evil, I am knitting something warm and soft for my mother-in-law.  She and her husband have been battling brain cancer since he was diagnosed over two years ago.   From the moment I met them, I was overwhelmed by their love, their positive attitude, and their generosity towards others.  Hubs and I had only been dating for a few months, and I remember thinking that a man that was raised by these people has had an amazing model of what a loving marriage could be.

They have spent the last few years traveling together and soaking up as much fun as possible.  As they continue their fight, there will be many hours spent in waiting rooms and doctors offices.  Those places are always so darn cold.  Even as the weather gets warm, they might get chilly, so I want to make sure they have wooly things with them.  And who doesn’t need a little cashmere every once in awhile? Hoping to wrap this one up this week so it will be ready for their next trip to see the angels at Duke Medical Center who have championed their fight. I hope it helps them on their quest and that they find a little magic soon, too.

Craftsy Tryout & a WIP

A co-worker of mine is an avid knitter, and she was positively gushing about the Craftsy kits.  She watches for when the kits go on sale, and then she snags both the pattern and the yarn for a song.  I’d never tried a kit, and I haven’t done much online shopping for yarn, but I figured I’d give it a go. I hit the website, and browsed their sale kits.  There were two that seemed perfect.

First, I saw this awesome chunky cowl, called Empalme, which would be amazing when the weather gets cool again.  The kit comes with 3 skeins of Manos del Uraguay for only $35.  Manos provides fair labor to women, enabling to provide for their families, and connecting their artistry with knitters around the world.  Neatest touch?  The artisan signs the tag on each skein. (Mine were crafted by Maribel in Dragon, Uraguay.)  I chose the Natural colorway, thinking that when snow does fall again, that this could just feel like a cloud of something warm and soft.

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DSC_5422I also snagged a basic sock kit called Special Striped Sock so that I could give socks a go this year.  The yarn is Lorna’s Laces, which I’ve never worked with before, but feels soft and smoothy, so I’m thinking it will be awesome. I chose the Zombie BBQ colorway because well, it’s called Zombie BBQ.  The kit was only $19, which is a steal for my first pair of socks.

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DSC_5423Even the packaging that everything arrives in is pretty adorable.  I love the “No more waiting, time for creating!” tagline along the bottom.

DSC_5418These are going on the enormous stash waiting for me to plow through it.  In the meantime, here is one of the projects on the needles right now, a Magrathea shawl in Hazel Knits Entice MCN gorgeousness.  The blue is just amazing.  Perfect for a spring gift for someone special.

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Yarn Along…

I stocked up on a ton of yarn from Looped Yarnworks this weekend.  I’ve got everything I need to pump out a couple of birthday presents, and got some goodies to get a jump on Christmas knitting. Spring Break should be productive!

First up, Madelinetosh Pashmina in Steam Gage.  This sport weight literally sang to me from the bin.  I can’t get over how gorgeous the colors are.

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I also snagged the Pashmina in Pop Rocks.  I’m thinking this is going to turn into a spring cowl, perfect to toss over a gray top.

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I’m trying Koigu’s gorgeous hand-painted fingering sock yarn for the first time, too.  I just cast on a project, and I’m liking the way it’s knitting up.

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This Hazel Knits Lively DK in Coveralls is going to turn into G’s Christmas Hat, as per her request.

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And the Royal Blue Shepherd’s Wool is turning into her birthday sweater.

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Finally, I grabbed this skein of Wandering Wool in Rock Creek from a local dyer.  Joelle Burbank dyes exclusively for the shop, and I’m thinking this is just the color for my step-daughter for Christmas.

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So, the basket is bulging, and I’m excited to have lots of time over Spring Break to knock out a lot of gift knitting! I’m still working on Fabelhaven – should finish it up this week!

Looped

DSC_0333 DSC_5330 DSC_5334 DSC_5335 DSC_5344 DSC_5343 DSC_5338Hoping to enjoy a spring afternoon in the city, I planned to have brunch a field trip to Looped Yarnworks in Dupont Circle, DC this weekend.  It turned out to be sort of a wintery afternoon, but it was still a great way to spend a day.  We stopped in first at the Afterwords Cafe, attached to Kramerbooks.  This is by far my favorite book shop in the city.  They have an awesome selection of new interesting titles, knowledgable staff who can guide you to a book you might have missed, a great cafe, and even a bar.  Who doesn’t love being able to order a glass of wine in a book shop?

After enjoyed some corned beef hash and some book browsing, we headed north up Connecticut to Looped.  Located above a restaurant, it was a little tricky to spot at first, but it was worth the search.  Looped has things roughly organized by weight, with some featured manufacturers clustered together for easy shopping.  The selection was amazing, and the whole space was light and airy, which on a day like today, felt great.  The staff was super helpful, and I was able to stock up on yarns that I needed to get started on some Christmas projects that I have queued up.  One nice perk is when you spend $250 (over the total of your visits) you get 15% off your next purchase.  Best part? You can apply your discount to your entire purchase, not just one item.  I’ll share photos of what I stocked up on later.  The weather was so bad today that there was no decent light to photograph them in today!

Anybody else have some favorite shops in the DC area?