Saturday, May 31, 2014

LAST DAY! 2014 CCFA Fundraiser!

Well, here we are: the FINAL day of the 2014 CCFA Fundraiser! You have until midnight tonight to make a donation of at least $5 and be entered to win a fantastic prize! Let's take a look at those prizes again, shall we?

Lots of great prizes to award to generous donors, plus each donor receives a new exclusive pattern from MediaPeruana Designs--stranded socks perfect for fall!

So, no more procrastinating--make that donation today! It takes just a couples of minutes to support a good cause and be rewarded for your generosity!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Foto Friday: The Week (or so) in Photos

 Blue-faced leicester fiber added to the prize list for the CCFA Fundraiser--which ends TOMORROW!

I was the 8,517th Raveler, how about you?

Hey, ladies! 

Finally picked the yarn for my Artichoke French! Madelinetosh Tosh Chunky in Blue Hosta.

 A garden visitor.

We're over $200 in the CCFA fundraiser, which is great news, but let's finish with a bang--right now, the total number of donors is relatively low, which, on the plus side, means you have an excellent chance of winning a prize if you donate!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

CCFA Fundraiser: Prize Update

Today I'm adding a prize for the spinners among us:

This is a 4oz braid of blue-faced leicester top from Misty Mountain Farm in Amissville, VA, picked up at MD Sheep and Wool. This sunny color is called Cantaloupe, and if you win it, you must spin it up and then send me a picture.

Ok, you don't have to, but it's an idea.

So, if this or any of the other amazing prizes for this fundraiser call to you, DONATE TODAY! This is the last week, so don't miss your chance to win yarn, books, or patterns, and support a good cause. We're up to $185, which is GREAT, but falls short of our previous $375 total--so it's time for that final push! It doesn't matter if you're the very last person to donate, just chip in $5 and you have a chance to win any of these great prizes.

Plus you'll get a brand new MediaPeruana Designs sock pattern, which may or may not be an incentive, really, I'm just throwing that out there.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Flashback Friday: Fundraising Edition

Here I am with mom and sis almost 3 years ago at my wedding!

We're closing in on the final week of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation fundraiser, so if you've been putting off a donation, it's time to stop procrastinating! I've got yarn, books and patterns to give away, and you only need to donate FIVE measly dollars to be entered to win one of these great prizes. The more you donate, the more prize drawing entries you get!

And remember, every donor will be receiving a copy of a brand new stranded sock pattern from yours truly.

Even if you're not in a position to donate at this time, please help spread the word about this fundraiser--tweet about it, share it with your Ravelry group, or give it a shout out on your blog. And if you do donate, spreading the word about the fundraiser via social media will earn you an extra drawing entry!

(And you just may see a few more prizes posted here over the next week . . . )

So. Donate. Donate donate donate. You have until next Saturday, May 31 at midnight!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

2014 Year of the Pullover: WIPs

I can hear you wondering, "Whatever happened to that Year of the Pullover Kristen was so excited about?"

You'll be pleased to know, I have not one, not two, but THREE pullovers currently on the needles.

First up, Aunt Fred.

Yarn: Quince and Co. Chickadee, Cypress and Leek

This one is moving surprisingly quickly for a stranded sweater. Of course, I'm not even close to the tricky part: steeking. I'm so happy with the colors I chose, and the yarn is squishy, soft and delightful.

Next, Sprig.

Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh DK, Isadora

I've made significant progress on this one. I've finished the entire body, including the fun collar, and am now working on the left sleeve (the pattern indicates knitting the sleeves before the collar, but I didn't want them flopping around in the way while I finished the neckband). This is the very first time I'm trying magic loop, and I don't know why I waited so long. I think the word "magic" threw me off; I assumed something called "magic" would be extremely complicated, but it's not. I can see using this technique for all sweater sleeves from now on!

Lastly: I Heart Aran

Yarn: Knit Picks Andes del Campo, Dove Heather

As you can see, I just started this one, but despite being knit in pieces, I expect it to move fairly quickly in heavy worsted weight (I could modify to knit in the round, but I do find side seams give sweaters more structure). This will be a great cozy fall/winter sweater, I can just tell.

Any pullovers on your needles?

P.S. Don't forget, tomorrow, May 19, is the last day to use coupon code MAMA14 in my Ravelry shop to get 50% off Javi, Hugs and Smooches, Nevado or Cielito!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Pattern Debut: Lady Lindy

The interwebs--or maybe just my Twitter feed--are abuzz with news of the latest issue of Knitscene Accessories. And I'm excited to announce that if you purchase this issue, you'll see a familiar name among the designers!

 Photo courtesy of Knitscene

 Introducing the Lady Lindy Headband!

This is a great project for leftover sock yarn, and makes a perfect, portable project for warm weather.

The major problem I've found with knit headbands / earwarmers is that they stretch out and don't stay snug. This one features a small band of ribbing in the back (easily hidden under your hair) to keep it tight.
  Photo courtesy of Knitscene

I was actually working on another design featuring this same cable (that one will make its debut in July, I think), when this idea occurred to me. What if I reversed the cable to make a little "frame"? I spent a while trying to decide what would look best inside the "frame," before ultimately deciding to leave it empty for a more dramatic effect.

 Photo courtesy of Knitscene

Lady Lindy is beautifully styled in these photos, with flapper-era flair, but can also be worn further back on the head like a traditional headband.

Knitscene Accessories will be available in print next month--you can pre-order now, or buy the digital download for instant access! It's $14.99, and includes 32 designs--so you're paying less than $2 per pattern! The collection features some gorgeous hats, mitts, cowls, shawls, etc., so be sure to check out the whole preview.
Queue Lady Lindy up on Ravelry here or show it some love, please!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Bound Off: 3 Shawl Extravaganza

In between designing, gift knitting, and long term projects (ie: 2014: Year of the Pullover), I've finished knitting 3 shawls!

I'm not usually a shawl person, but they've been calling to me.

In March I took part in a fun ancient civilizations swap, and finished this shawl for my spoilee:

This is a worsted weight shawl, knit with some Knit Picks Swish Tonal I overdyed a few years ago. The pattern is His Golden Lair.

You'll notice on the pattern page quite a bit of errata, but I didn't run into any major trouble in that regard--I think I noticed a small error in one chart, but didn't bother to let the designer know. Don't be like me! If you spot an error in a pattern, (nicely) inform the designer. 

What bothered me a bit with this pattern was the use of non-standard symbols on the chart. To a certain extent, you can use whatever symbols you want, as long as they're properly identified in the key. That said, if you're using a dot to indicate a RS purl stitch, then, logically, any RS cable symbol that includes a dot should mean one of the cable stitches is purled. Just a matter of consistency, but overall a minor irritation.

If you're looking for a good first shawl, try this--it works up quickly in worsted, the heavier yarn is easier to handle, and you get to practice with some simple lace, shaping and blocking.

Next, I completed the lovely Xeni shawl, by Kitman Figueroa. When I am in the mood for lace shawls, she's my go-to designer.

This one a tough one to photograph--I can never capture reds. This was knit with some beautiful Forbidden Woolery Pride, a fingering weight yarn with just a hint of sparkle. The colorway is Arkansas Black, an exclusive club color.

Fingering weight shawls seem to fly off the needles for some knitters, but not for me--especially if the wrong sides aren't plain; this one took about 3 months to finish, but I think it was worth the wait. Or weight. Heh.

I actually used my blocking wires for once, too, though I didn't pin the shawl out as carefully, or evenly, as I could have. I don't think it will be obvious when worn.

And lastly, I'm happy to say I did manage to finish that Captivating Capelet for my mom for Mother's Day.

This pattern is part of the Gloss Collection, but I used a new (to me) yarn, Sweet Fiber Yarns Merino Twist DK in Sea Glass.

What a disaster. Both skeins were horribly tangled. The 1st I managed to get through in about 45 minutes--that's WITH a swift and ball winder--but the second took, literally, hours. And I never finished. I wound enough to get me through the project and stopped.

I'm sad it was such a terrible experience, because the color is beautiful, and the yarn was nice enough to knit with, but I won't be buying it again. I hope, for others' sakes, that it was just a fluke, but with 2 tangled skeins, I won't risk it.

The capelet looks a bit like a skirt here (which was my mother's comment--I told her I didn't think she'd have much use for a see-through wool skirt), so I took this lousy selfie to show you what it looks like on:

My mom is much smaller than me and not pregnant, so I'm sure it will fit her quite a bit better.

I really like the idea of a capelet--lacy like a shawl, but more apt to stay on. This might be my new thing. 

And speaking of Mother's Day: 2 things.

1. The CCFA fundraiser continues. Let's honor all those moms, like mine, with Crohn's and colitis by raising that $$$! More details here.

2. In honor of the holiday, I'm offering a special promo code for my pattern store. Take 50% off any of my baby-friendly patterns with the code MAMA14. This includes Javi, Hugs and Smooches, Cielito and Nevado. Hurry, expires May 19th!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Maryland Sheep and Wool 2014

Ah, the sea of humanity that is the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. 

Yes, in case you didn't know, it was this past weekend! I packed up husband and baby and dragged them allllllllllll 25 minutes over to the Howard County Fairgrounds.

Yep, it's that close. There are many reasons I prefer Rhinebeck over MDSW, but proximity is not one of them.

We spent Saturday morning there, enjoying some uncharacteristically nice weather--for Sheep and Wool it's usually either 90 degrees or raining--and we saw a lot of sheep.

The Romney Sisters! I love Romneys. They have the cutest faces.

And baby sheep!

JJ was a pretty good sport, but some of those sheep are LOUD and the baa-ing kept startling him.

After we finished visiting all the sheep and lambs, I hit the barns and exhibition hall for shopping while CP and JJ walked the fairgrounds--no need to crowd the vendors even more with a giant stroller. Eventually they stumbled upon a parking lot, which was JJ's favorite part--apparently he thought this was an event about touching truck tires.

I failed miserably on my "must buy" list. I wanted something from Jennie the Potter, but alas, the lines were far too crazy for a tired pregnant lady. I wanted to visit Into the Whirled, but I couldn't even find it. I wanted some cormo to spin (a fiber I really enjoyed working with at my spinning class), but the only cormo I found was really poorly dyed. And I wanted 1,000 yards of Aran weight yarn for an Artichoke French, and no one was selling it.

Here's what I did get:

Two nice skeins from Brooks Farm, some lovely merino fiber at a very reasonable price ($10 for 4oz; most places were charging double that), and oil for my wheel.

So, another Sheep and Wool has come and gone. And by the time the fall fiber festivals arrive, I'll be overwhelmed with a newborn, so I'm betting this will be my only event this year. I'm thankful it was a fun one! I'm already planning a mommy break next May: I go to Sheep and Wool alone and shop ALL day while CP stays home with the kids!

Did you visit MDSW this weekend? What did you buy?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Foto Friday: The Week (or so) in Photos

A very messy eater is 15 months old today.

New sock design: inside out sneak peek.

Swatching for Aunt Fred.

Wheel spinning class! A variety of fibers I tried spinning.

Finished knitting a shawl, soon to be featured on the blog.

JJ, CP and I will be at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival Saturday morning! If you see us, say hi!