Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday Sampler: Spring Cleaning edition

Spring is in the air--finally! While last year we had 4 days over 80 degrees by April (crazy), this year spring seems reluctant to show up--I think we hit 60 one day, and that's about it. Still, the flowers are blooming, the air smells fresh, and it makes me want to spruce things up. In reality, of course, I can barely manage to shower most days, but I'm storing these ideas away until I have the free time to freshen up our home.

Ballband dishcloths
 Photo courtesy of exileinknitville

You can't get started without some dishcloths. May as well use some cute ones.

Photo courtesy of KayGardiner

How about some towels too?

Swiffer Cloth with Mop
Photo courtesy of BirdysKnits

Reusable Swiffer cloth--great idea!

Photo courtesy of

Scrubbie mitts! A must have!

OK, now that you've procrastinated by knitting a bunch of stuff, on to the actual cleaning!

Get that washing machine clean for fresh smelling clothes.

I feel like our shower could always be cleaner.

Try your hand at homemade cleaners.

A handy spring cleaning checklist.

Source: via Kristen on Pinterest

And one for keeping up with everyday cleaning.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Event Recap: Homespun Yarn Party


I'm happy to report that I did make it to the Homespun Yarn Party! And I have to admit, I was quite surprised--I was imagining something relatively modest, but while the space was small, it was hopping.

The Party was held at an old mill that's been converted into a pseudo-mall, next door to some adventure park ziplining thing. I spent my first 30 minutes there driving around looking for a parking space--not promising. I thought my first baby-free outing was going to be a bust. But finally, someone left and I zoomed into the space.

Once I got into the Party itself, I was not disappointed. Yarn everywhere. And unlike MD Sheep and Wool, the weather was perfect for handknits, so I saw lots of gorgeous sweaters (though it was a bit warm in the room). I wore my Rocky Coast cardigan, and got loads of compliments.

I made a beeline for Wandering Wool--I've been wanting to try more of Joelle's yarns, but given that she's in D.C., it seems a little silly to have it shipped to me. I'm especially excited to have grabbed this gorgeous single ply fingering weight:


(Shown with some Dragonfly Fibers Djinni sock--love it!)

I don't like single ply for socks, but I think it will be absolutely beautiful in a shawl.

I also got to meet Joelle, who I'm pretty sure was wearing a Dark and Stormy cardigan--one of the many sweaters in my never-ending queue.

I picked up some yarn from another local favorite, Neighborhood Fiber Co.:


This will hopefully become a sweater for JJ.


And also grabbed this tonal worsted weight from new-to-me Wild Hare Fibre Studio:


(Shown with the other yarn I grabbed from Wandering Wool!)

She had this other fun-looking yarn in her booth as well--not my style, but still impressive:

I browsed Cephalopod Yarns and the Verdant Gryphon, but I already have plenty of both in my stash, so I skipped any additional purchases.

My wallet thanked me.

I even ran into a couple of knitters from the House Cup! I'm on sabbatical this term, but I've really missed all the fun and games over there, I can't wait to go back next term (if they'll have me).

Then--then!--I saw a baby in a handknit sweater, and decided it was time to get home to my little one. Upon my return I promptly showed him the yarn I bought him, but he seemed less than impressed.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saturday Sampler: Easter

Wasn't it just Christmas? Seems like it. But lo and behold, Easter is upon us! A few ideas for getting into the spirit of the season:

For the crocheters.

Source: via Sherri on Pinterest

If you happen to have extra yarn lying around.

Cute and tasty.

Source: via Sara on Pinterest

Booties! Baby chicks! Both!

I don't advocate stealing paint chips from the hardware store, but . . .

Friday, March 22, 2013

Event: Homespun Yarn Party

There's a looooooong break between Rhinebeck in the fall and Maryland Sheep and Wool in the spring (unless you're lucky enough to go to Stitches West, which I really hope to do next year!), but I recently learned we have another yarn-y event in Maryland to break up the monotony a bit.

This Sunday I plan to check out the Homespun Yarn Party, over in Savage, MD. It looks to be a great place to meet other knitters and, of course, buy yarn! Lots of indie dyers will be on hand, including some of my favorites: Wandering Wool, Cephalopod Yarns, the Verdant Gryphon, Neighborhood Fiber Co., and Dragonfly Fibers.

This will also be, I think, my first baby-free event since JJ was born. That's right, I haven't been on my own for longer than it takes to shower for the last 7 weeks. So I figure I deserve a few hours out of the house, petting yarn, even if I have limited time to actually use yarn these days.

If you're in the MD area, I hope you'll check it out too!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saturday Sampler: Knitting with Beads

I'm not a beaded knitter myself--yet--and the prospect seems rather fiddly to me. But I can't deny there are some gorgeous beaded knitting projects out there. And maybe some day, I'll be ready to challenge myself. Here are a few beaded knitting project ideas that have caught my eye lately:

Tibetan Shawl, by Sivia Harding

Source: via Kristen on Pinterest

Bitterroot, from Romi Hill

Source: via Kristen on Pinterest

Kernel Scarf, by Bonnie Sennott
(which I think would also be great without beads)

Source: via Kristen on Pinterest

Aeolian shawl, by Elizabeth Freeman

Laura Naylor's Faberge

Mica Tam, by Laura Nelkin

And if you want to learn to bead, you can take a class through Craftsy, with Laura Nelkin herself!

Source: via Kristen on Pinterest

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review: ChiaoGoo interchangeable needles

ChiaoGoo interchangeable needles

Knitting time is at a premium these days, but when I do have time to knit, I've been obsessed with using the ChiaoGoo interchangeables Santa brought me for Christmas. They were at the top of my wishlist, and I have not been disappointed.

I received the small set of ChiaoGoo Twist interchangeables, which includes needle tip sizes 2-8 (yes, size 2 and 3 tips--rare!), 3 cables, a cable connector, end caps, tightening keys, a set of stitch markers, and a needle gauge.

First, I love the case: streamlined, but decorative.

ChiaoGoo interchangeable needles case

Everything fits snugly in this adorable zip case. And if I decide I want to expand my collection, there's even room for additional or duplicate needle tips.

ChiaoGoo interchangeable needles

The needle tips are nice and sharp; I rarely knit lace, but it's nice to know I could!

The case also has several zip pouches for storing the cables and assorted knitting notions. 

What I love about the cables (sized for 24", 32" and 40" diameters) is their sturdiness. They're nylon-coated steel, and made for frequent use. I also appreciate that they coil up tightly, and don't hog too much space in the case.

ChiaoGoo cables

Another essential for interchangeables is a smooth join--you don't want your knitting snagging on a join that doesn't fully close. No problem with that here, you get a nice, tight join that poses no threat.

What I think might be an advantage for these over the Knit Picks interchangeables, which I also use, is that you're screwing the needle tips into the cables, not the other way around. With the screw end on the cables, I think the threads wear down more quickly, as you use the same 2 or 3 cables over and over with different projects (though I will say that Knit Picks has always replaced my broken/worn out cables free of charge). With the screw ends on the needle tips, that wear will be spread out more evenly over various needle sizes.

One last plus for this collection is its size. The full Twist set, sizes 2-15, costs about $150, and includes 6 needle sizes I rarely use. This smaller set runs around $90, and includes the needle sizes I use most. I'm thrilled with their decision to sell smaller sets, so knitters can get the needle sizes they want, and are not forced to spend money on needle sizes that will never see the light of day.

I definitely recommend you check in with your LYS to see if you can snag a set of these interchangeables. If you're an online shopper, you can buy a set from Fiber Wild or Handsome Fibers.

Like this review? Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to receive news and updates from MediaPeruana Designs!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesdays with Dory: Mess Edition

What is that thing?!?

Kristen thinks it's important to give you guys visual proof of my recent bad behavior:


That's 3 different balls of yarn I dragged across her studio. I just thought the rug was too plain.

As punishment, I have to use my space this week to ask you guys a question about Kristen's latest design.

She's working on a V-neck vest. The plan was to knit it from the bottom up in the round, switching to flat knitting at the base of the v-neck, and then into 3 pieces at the armholes (right front, left front and back).

Unfortunately, Kristen has now realized that changing from knitting in the round to flat knitting means that 1 additional row is worked on the right side (as you knit from the center of the round to the base of the V, and then turn back to start knitting flat). On plain stockinette, this wouldn't be a big deal, but this design features  lace panels. Visually, a 1 row difference probably wouldn't be noticeable, but practically, it means that the lace panel on the right side would be 1 row ahead of the panel on the left--and this might confuse the knitter.

So, what do you think?
(if you're using Google Reader or similar, please click through to the website to respond to the poll!)

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Saturday Sampler: St. Patty's Day edition

Once upon a time, in my younger days, St. Patrick's Day was about drinking. It occurs just as the weather is starting to warm up around here, and bar crawls were THE way to celebrate.

These days . . . not so much. I might have a Guinness, I suppose. Maybe make some kind of Irish dish. Sounds . . . rather lame. So I thought I'd look into some other non-booze-related ways to celebrate. Here's what I found.

First, there's still plenty of chill in the air, so keep warm with this Irish Cabled neckwarmer, by Angie Hartley.

Festive cookies! 

And mint fudge! 

Irish soda bread is a must have, of course. 

If you crochet, you can Irish-up your coffee. 

Just kidding about the no booze thing--homemade Irish liqueur. 

Source: via Sammi on Pinterest

A quick way to Irish-up your house.

 Or celebrate with some green yarn--Emerald Isle, from Wandering Wool.

How do you celebrate everyone's favorite drinking holiday?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pattern Debut: Smooches hat


I had a choice this week between blogging and getting a pattern ready to publish--I could only scrape together enough time for one or the other--so I hope you don't mind that I kept my ramblings to myself for a few days and got this pattern together instead.


This is the coming home hat I knit for JJ, now available as a FREE download right here.

It requires about 75-80 yards of sport weight yarn, and US sz 4 DPNs.

The "hugs and kisses" XO cabled brim is knit flat lengthwise. Then the ends are grafted together, and stitches picked up along the top edge for the body of the hat, which is knit in the round. 

Though the yarn is a lighter weight, newborns are so small, this still knits up quickly, and would make a lovely gift. I used Madelinetosh Tosh Sport in Tart for JJ's hat, and think the very subtle tonal quality gives it a nice touch.

You can also find the Smooches hat on Ravelry here.


Adorable baby not included.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Saturday Sampler: Spring Knitting

Fall and winter knitting are easy, but as the weather warms, it can be hard to find knitting motivation--you no longer want to bundle up, you want to feel the sun on your skin, even if it's still about 50 degrees outside!

Here are a few spring-y knits to keep you inspired. Happy March!

Cachou, by Hilary Smith Callis--an airy infinity scarf knit up in a bright color is perfect for warmer-but-still-cool weather


The Summer Flies shawlette, by Holly and Ella Knits, is a quick knit, and just the right size to drape over chilly shoulders.


Alana Dakos' Spring Garden Tee is clearly perfect for spring--it's right there in the name!
And it's also available in girls' sizes.


Alex Tinsley's Chutes and also Ladders hat looks fun to knit, and in DK weight, it's just right to fight off a spring chill without trapping too much heat.


Carol Sunday's Old Town cardigan is drapey and comfortable, for a relaxed weekend at home.

Vintage Jaywalker socks (and my "fancy" shoes)

And socks are always appropriate. Jaywalkers in bright, self-striping yarn are never wrong.

What are you knitting for spring?