Wednesday, February 27, 2013


It has been a busy couple weeks.

I've been to the west coast and back, and my trip was fantastic!

Last Tuesday, James and I flew out to California for a "long weekend." It was a Tuesday through Monday trip; that's a long weekend, right? Anyway, our long weekend was riddled with needles and yarn, hooks and patterns, and books and knitting at every turn!

On the flight out, I finished a shawl that I had mentioned starting last time I posted. I don't have pictures yet, and I still need to block, so that doesn't really count today. Next time... However, after I finished that I made a few little Mug Hugs. This pattern was great for worsted scraps. Since I didn't really want to start a big project right before Stitches (even though I did... read on), I made a few of these on the second leg of our flight. Seriously quick knitting, and it's good for the environment, too! Raveled here and here.

We arrived in California and had dinner at my Grandma's house the next night with my Aunt and Cousin. Dinner was amazing, homemade French Dip Sandwiches!! My Grandma (or Nan, in my world) had mentioned to me that she had some of my Great Great Aunt Elsie's knitting supplies, as she had recently passed away. She called me a few weeks before we flew out and asked if I wanted her to hold them out there for me, or just donate them. Well, I'm sure you can guess what I said. "HOLD THEM RIGHT THERE, NAN!" Aunt Elsie was seriously crafty. She was a very skilled knitter, and she also loved needlepoint, crochet, and many other hand crafts. She even helped my Nan knit her very first sweater! Nan had quite a few goodies for me (and even a full set of crochet hooks in my Great Grandmother's old case for James) when we arrived. Here's a few pics.

There were needles galore. I especially love the giant bamboo needles and crochet hooks.

There were many different pattern booklets, the oldest dating back to 1945!! I haven't looked at them page by page yet, but I'm setting aside most of the weekend to pour over the collection.

There was a group of Workbasket Magazines from 1979-1980, and the cover models were enough to make me holler. Their shoulder pads weren't bad, either. I just love these vintage publications!

It was really amazing to see all this stuff, and just to hold the same needles that she held so many years ago. I'm not a great historian, or all about genealogy, but I do love using the same crafting tools that my relatives once used. This was the second time I've received "heirloom" knitting supplies, and I can't express how much it means. It feels quite special, really.

As we still had a few days before Stitches, mom took us to her LYS. A Yarn Less Raveled in Danville, CA is a fabulous store. We met the owner, Mindy, and she was so welcoming. You could tell the yarn selection was carefully chosen, and there were a few items I'd never actually held in my hands before. I bought some madelinetosh (shocking, I know) and decided to cast on a hat that night. I thought, "I can finish this in two days..." Under normal circumstances, that wouldn't be a lofty goal. You know how you get all busy on vacation, though?? Below is the Antler hat I finished on Saturday, out of tosh vintage in the grasshopper colorway. It's nice and bright, and I've already worn it a few times! Details are on my project page.

On Friday, with an unfinished hat in tow, we went to Stitches West in Santa Clara. It was overwhelming, in every sense of the word. There were so many vendors, so much yarn, so many different products, and tons of people. I'm painting this picture for you to try and explain why I only snapped a few photos during the entire event. I was just stunned. In a good way, though. James took a break about and hour after we arrived, as he had scheduled a tour of the famous Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, a mere 7 miles away. This gave him a good three-hour break, as he doesn't get as much joy out of staring at yarn as I do. Everybody wins.

Here's some amazing fair isle hats I spotted, at the Nelkin Designs booth. I love fair isle.

There were so many vendors that I loved, but I wanted to at least mention a few here. I met Karida Collins, owner of Neighborhood Fiber Company out of Baltimore, and she was a delight. Her yarns are just beautiful; you should have seen all the amazing colorways! I was quite impressed and am now regretting that I only grabbed a single hank of her yarn. The folks at Cephalopod Yarns were quite fun and exciting, and their yarns are scrumptious. I've been eyeing them up for a while, but never got to squish the yarn for myself... Until Friday. Also, I stopped by Miss Babs first thing, and that turned out to be the best move of the day. She had a line two booths back for most of the day!

Here's a quick shot of a few of the treats I picked up. From left to right, I got Miss Babs Cosmic Sock in the Mending Fences colorway, Neighborhood Fiber Company's Rustic Fingering in the Logan Circle colorway, and Cephalopod Traveller in the Goodnight, KY colorway. There's also some Tosh Vintage in Betty Draper's Blues and Pashmina in Charcoal from WEBS. I couldn't help myself. I will always need more madelinetosh. Peeking out from behind the yarn is Malabrigo Book 4, a great book with some patterns I will be knitting very soon.

California was wonderful, but any trip to see my mother never feels long enough. We always have the best time.

So, as of this week, my yarn stash has doubled to 28 yarns. I'm totally okay with that. However, the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival is only 16 days away, so I'd better jump on those needles. Well, not jump, but at least pick them up. And knit. A bunch. Not a problem.

Oh yeah, I started another shawl, but we'll talk about that next time... Promise.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I'll be on a plane to California in exactly seven days.

And I will get to see my mother for the first time in five months.

This is some serious excitement, friends.

Among all this anticipation, I still managed to finish the Antelope Hat... and start and finish another hat as well. We'll get there, though. So, the Antelope Hat was really fun, and the pattern was well-written and straight forward. The only slightly fiddly part was the crown decreases at the end. I learned something new with this pattern... I learned that I'm not a fan of working yarn overs on double pointed needles. At least I know now. In any event, it's done and I blocked it over a balloon to let the eyelet pattern open up and guarantee sufficient slouchy-ness. I also used waste yarn (basted in a running stitch, and then cinched) along the ribbing to keep it nice and stretchy. I found this little tip in the finishing notes of the Brambles pattern I knit a while back. It really helped! Details are here on Ravelry.

Since I decided it'd be nice to finish more than one item this week, I knit another hat. This hat, named for a fabulous Broadway tune, is called For Good. If you haven't heard the song, go here immediately before reading the rest of this post. The pattern was designed by Megan Williams, one half of the hosts of a super fun knitting videocast, the Stockinette Zombies. Megan and Amy are a straight out of an owl's beak (A HOOT), check it out! Back to the hat... the pattern was designed in remembrance of Megan's sister Melissa, who passed away in 2007. All proceeds from the sale of this pattern are donated to the National Women's Health Network, in Melissa's name. It's great cause to support, and you get a fabulous pattern to knit as well.

I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Tweed in Prussian Heather, and it's definitely one of my favorite (super-affordable) yarns. PS - Does "Prussian Heather" remind you of "Prussian Blue" and then remind you of Bob Ross? That's what my little brain did just now. It's a nice, rich blue with some lovely flecks of black and white. Sadly (kinda), I don't have anymore of this yarn in my stash. Looks like some more tweed might be in my future...

I really loved knitting this pattern. It's not complicated, but the finished product is quite impressive. The fit is great, probably since I knit the large, and I will be wearing this tonight. Even if I'm just on my couch. Now, I didn't really care for the crown decreases of the Antelope Hat, but this hat was the exact opposite. The crown decreases (pictured below) were my favorite part of this hat. Kudos to Megan, because this pattern stays interesting until the end, and (in my humble-ish... okay, maybe not that humble... opinion, ahem) looks great! This will definitely be knit again, because it'll make a great gift. And I'm keeping this one. And I'm telling you... It's not going... anywhere. Raveled here.

Oh yes, if you're keeping track, my yarn stash is down to 14 yarns. OKAY?! I'm pretty excited about that.

Also, I started a shawl yesterday, but we'll talk more about that next time.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


I've been working hard lately.

On and off the needles.

I'm still going strong with my stash-busting... This week, I finished a Boneyard Shawl, which is yet another (FREE!) pattern by Stephen West. It's a triangular shawl, full of meditative knitting and a few purl ridges thrown in for good measure. I knit this out of Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in the Kindling colorway. It's a few different browns, really. Stroll is a good yarn at a great price, in my opinion. I've been working quite a few mindless patterns lately and I don't mind one bit. It's been a welcome contrast to the craziness at the office. Shudder. Here's a different angle on the shawl (since it's still drying) as well as the Ravelry project page.

Just the other day, I started a hat (and PS... I have no idea who this hat is for) using two different sock weight yarns. I think they just about equal a worsted weight when I'm holding them together. I'm not worried if the gauge isn't exact since (a) it's a hat and (b) I don't know who it's for just yet. The two yarns I'm using are Shibui Sock (superwash merino) in white and Knit Picks Gloss (merino/silk blend) in Bordeaux. It's not a total equal pairing, but this is what comes of aggressive stash-busting. This project was a two-for-one! The pattern is Antelope (why, I have no clue) by Kelly McClure of bohoknits. It's a slouchy hat with some eyelet detailing and a few purl ridges. Apparently, I can't get enough of purl ridges these days... Oh yeah, this is a free pattern as well! Anyhow, the progress (although there hasn't been that much) is shown below, but I suspect this hat won't really come to life until it's been blocked over a balloon. Raveled here.

That's all that's on my needles at the moment.

One more thing... The third season of Downton Abbey was just released on DVD last week, so of course I bought it and James and I devoured the remaining four-ish episodes that have yet to air in the US.


I love this show, even if it makes me emotional. The third season was such a whirlwind and I can't even talk about yet, because I don't want to give anything away to those that haven't seen it. I guess this is another talk for another time. Well, to sum it up... It's fabulous. Watch it. You might as well go out and buy seasons one and two and start from the beginning, while you're at it. Trust me, you'll love it. Two words. Maggie Smith.

PS. I get to buy yarn in 17 days!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...