norichan knits!

Swap Gift!

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I joined a swap exchange on Ravelry, and am eagerly awaiting my swapee to get her gift!  However, I have received my gift and I'm bowled over by my gifter's generosity!  I'm in love with every single piece!  

It all arrived similar to this (only neater) and I pulled it out of the perfectly sized priority mail box.  My first reaction was, honestly, how did she find a reusable bag that fits so perfectly??  ;o)

I'm going to start off with the extras.  The perfectly sized bag in green and smaller matching pink bag are both from Namaste, and my swapner says she loves them.  I am super excited to try them out!  In addition, there's a really sweet project bag by my favorite project bag maker (Erin.Lane).  It is a special edition bag, so I'm feeling pretty honored.  Then, there's also the really awesome knitting and crochet themed coloring book by Franklin Habit!  So cute!  And something else I can use my coloring pencils on!  Lastly, I mentioned that Japanese sweets are probably my favorite type of sweets, and so she included a bag of assorted Japanese candies!  

And now the yarn.  Oh my goodness, the yarn choices couldn't have been more spot on!  A variety of weights and indie dyers!  Starting from the top:  Miss Babs Yowza Skein in Drunken Watermelon, Lotus Yarns Nirvana Sport in Grassroots, Madelinetosh Twist Light in Beach Bonfire, and Three Irish Girls Springvale DK in Everlasting Gobstopper!  If you've read my blog for a period of time, it may have been mentioned that the pink and green color combo is my favorite.  I love it, and I am very quick to comment that it reminds me of watermelons... so these choices are fantastic!  In addition, anything rainbow-y and I am a huge fan!  I'm super drooling and trying to figure out what the first instance that I can get knitting with these guys could possibly be!  :oD  

Black Sheep Gathering

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At the end of June, I went to Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, OR.  It's a cute fiber festival that focuses on the animals, fiber mostly for spinning, and a small amount of yarn.  I went for one day with a couple of my friends.  :o)  It was so much fun, and I would love to go again, though it may not be a yearly event for me... It ended up being a longer drive than I originally expected.  >.<  Anyways, here are some pictures from the event.  

The animals were adorable, getting to hang out with friends (Marilyn, a local PDXer, and Ari, a Seattle-ite... and many more not pictured) was great, there were some amazing felted pieces of art there, a wall of handspun yarn (of many different breeds of sheep) then swatched for us to ogle over, and a new favorite shop (Stick + String)!  :oD

And, of course, the haul.  I couldn't resist getting one Stick + String's batts, so I nabbed the one I was eyeing all day (the gorgeous desert-y colored one), some black wool with a rainbow of sparkles from The Fiber Addict, and some natural colored wools (a wool sampler pack and Shetland/Alpaca) from Woolgathering.  I also got my very first Jenkins spindle, an Aegean.  Eeeeee, so excited!!

As far as the wool sampler pack goes, it contains 30 different breeds of sheep!  My friend, Marilyn, and I split a pack (full pack is 1oz/breed, so we now have 0.5oz/breed), and we will be spinning them up and will be putting up blog posts about our thoughts on each of them.  I'm very excited because I haven't even heard of some of these breeds!!  :oD 

Catching Up

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It's been a busy time filled with work, guests, and secret knitting.  Wishing I could share those projects with you guys, but can't until my contracts say I can!  So, guess I should take a look at some of the other things filling my time lately!

First up, soon after I last posted, one of my best friends came to visit.  I was so happy to get to visit with her, as we've been best friends since undergrad, and I haven't seen her in about 2 years!  We got in some site-seeing, hiking, and good food!  Has anyone ever been to Paseo?  I had seriously never been until her visit, and wow!  I need to go back stat!  Here we are on our hike:

Next up is #theufoproject (you can play along on Instagram, also, if you would like!) that I've started/been working on.  Once I managed to finish up my secret knitting, I had about a week free where I could work on "for fun" knitting.  I decided to work on UFOs, as that was a New Year's goal of mine, and I have barely made a dent yet!  I went hardcore for a full week, and am now back to designing again.  However, it was actually a lot of fun to see how far I could get with my projects.  I'm going to attempt to keep up at least one UFO while designing until I get to a reasonable number of UFO projects.  ;o)  

Here's some of my progress on them.  I knit about 9" more on my blanket (stalled out 6 or 7 years!), converted a failed hat design into a pair of successful designed mitts, sewed pieces of a purse together (that was 3-4 years old), and turned the heel on a pair of socks (also about 2-3 years old).  Whew!  I'm feeling pretty good about this!  

Now, let's talk a bit more about my new mitts!  These babies were knit using Tidal Twinkle dyed by Tell Tale Yarns.  They will be another addition to my Candide Knits Collection.  I will be needing testers for these mitts soon, so let me know if you'd like to be a tester!!  I also highly recommend the yarn used for the mitts, as it's super soft, and the bling is not too too bright, just enough to shimmer in the light and it just makes me happy.  In addition, the high twist makes this yarn very bouncy and durable.  Love it!  (I am currently working on a matching hat, also, as can be evidenced by that photo...)

Last thing I want to mention is my new pair of swanky glasses!  I'm in love with these guys, I think they're super adorable!  I was actually told that they were discontinued, and I couldn't have them... So, I was SO SURPRISED when the rep managed to find a single pair after searching around for me!  :oD  Oh, and, yes, that is a new hair color!  

Rainy Days in Seattle

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Second summer here in Seattle (though, just barely over a year of living here), and I'm still weirded out by how cool it still is and that it can still be routinely raining.  Today is one of those gray days.  The temperature is comfortable, not cold, but still cool.  Back in Austin, it's already up into the 90s, and in some ways I miss that.  While it's not fun days on end, like it typically is there, the warmth and sun out do remind you that it really is summer.  

However, these rainy days in the PNW aren't all gloom and doom.  I do feel like the knitting spirit is maybe not stronger here, but definitely more often found.  The weather probably has a lot to do with it, as it's cooler and milder here most of the year around.  The idea of "seasonal knitters" are fewer between.  

In addition, I am loving all the tea I can have out here without feeling like I'm being silly.  Today has been a good day for green tea.  And, yes, I have both a Chococat mug and a cat shaped mug.  ;op

These recent days have been filled with secret deadline knitting, and somehow my coffee table just exploded with knitting related things!  Does anyone else's living space look like this?  

Indie Dyers

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One of my favorite things about knitting is all of the different varieties of yarns out there.  I love a good work horse yarn (among my favorites in this category is Stonehedge Shepherd's Wool, so soft and comes in many colors!), but I also adore all that can be found in the indie dyers realm.  It becomes so interesting to see how different dyers can take a similar (or sometimes even the exact same) base, and then what colors they apply to it, what technique they're using to dye, variegated, solids, semi-solids, etc etc to create such different yarns.  

I've been designing or even just playing around with different indie dyers recently, and here are some of the projects I've been working on:

Here's a sneak peek to my next pattern release!  The hat (will be called Maggie) and cowl (Cunegonde) are both done with a yarn called Pendragyn DK by DragynKnyts.  The yarn is soft, and has a nice drape to it, especially for a 100% merino!  The hat is a direct match to Cunegonde, and I only used one skein for BOTH the cowl and hat (smaller sized cowl and M hat).  

There's a major chance that I'll be purchasing another skein of this, potentially in the exact same color (Libation) because someone (not a knitter) has already begged me to make her one of the hats.  I'm not arguing with having a reason to buy more of this yarn... ;op

This lovely sparkly DK is Tidal Twinkle, a heavier DK hand dyed by Tell Tale Yarn Co.  This is destined to become another hat design of mine, and I have to say, I'm quite taken with this yarn.  It is a bigger contrast that one might think to the Pendragyn, given that they are both DK and primarily merino.  However, this DK is a heavier DK than the Pendragyn, and it appears to have a higher ply count, which leads to a rounder yarn with more spring.  For a yarn that has such a delicate look (sparkles!), it holds up really well!  I know because I've ripped out my project four times already (hey, a designer just has to know when a pattern isn't going right...), and it's still looking really good!  :o)  All in all, this is a really awesomely soft yet still robust yarn with a bit of subtle glam.  Highly recommend!

Up next is something I've already talked about on the blog.  The Stitchjones Neon Collaboration that I'm doing with Cory of Indie.Knits and Ariel of Stariel Knits!  You're getting a tiny sneak peek of how that's going along.  :o)  The first of the collection, Torrance Mitts, has already come out, and the other patterns are zipping along; you'll hear more about these in the nearish future!  This indie dyer is known for "taking color to eleven," so we knew we were going in the right direction when we asked her to be our Neon Challenge dyer!  

The yarn used for this challenge is called Merino Sock, and I found it to be a very hardy, heavier sock weight.  I used US2 needles for my mitts (both patterns), and found the fabric to be firm.  I know a lot of people would use much smaller needles for their socks (I typically use a US1.5), but I might actually suggest US2s for socks with this yarn, even.  I can tell the high twist of this yarn will help with the long life of your items.  :o)  

If you can even remotely ignore that darling husky who rode the bus with me that particular morning, the yarn in this picture is Forage dyed by Bumblebirch.  This is a 100% merino worsted weight yarn.  It is very soft, and I think is going to make the most perfect Marion (by Andi Satterlund) ever.  I'm about 1/2way done with the cardi, and I'm pretty thrilled with it.  The only thing I've adjusted is the gauge, so far.  I found myself in the awkward place of being between sizes, and my st gauge was a bit tighter naturally, so I went with it.  It's turning out pretty much perfect because of that!  (Note:  this pattern relies heavily on row count.  My row gauge was actually spot on, but with tighter st gauge.  I'm doing the larger of the sizes I was between, and it's been working out well!).  

So, there we go.  That's been the majority of what I've been knitting on lately.  All indie dyed yarns, three of them 100% merino, the other still 80% merino, and yet all of them are knitting up differently, and all of them have their own unique look to them.  <3 that so much!  :oD

Hair Update

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I'm not sure how many of you saw my last post about the Evolution of My Hair, but feel free to click the link and catch up before swinging back here to see the updates.  ;o)  I am still dyeing my hair all sorts of colors, and have not gotten tired of all the fun combinations there are!  To not do too much overlap, I'll start off with the color I was when I moved to Seattle.  

Remember this color?  I loved it, and it was coincidentally, the perfect color to move to Seattle with!  I didn't realize that Seattle is considered "The Emerald City," so it was very serendipitous. While fun, I think I felt that it was a bit dark for the large amount of gray that I was encountering, and so I went back to blonde to brighten things up again!  :oD  

I was super happy with the blonde, but kept wondering if I could pull off the gray hair trend I was seeing everywhere.  At first I thought it was a silly thing, I'm going to go gray anyways... why do I want to go gray now?  But the more and more I saw, the more I wanted it!  

My stylist went heavy with the lavender and gray dye so that it would last longer and fade nicely.  I think this color faded the nicest out of all the colors I've ever gone before.

Despite roots, I love the contrast between the gray and roots!  Normally, I hate seeing the roots coming in, and here, I let it go maybe even a smidge longer than I should have.  But, once again, it was time for a change.  With my hair this light, I wanted pastels.  So many pastels.  

THIS many pastels!!  Definitely one of my more fun colors, I was amazed by my hair every time I looked in the mirror!  So.In.Love.  I came close to asking for the exact same thing, when it was time to update my hair, but instead I went with an old favorite.  

Did you guess it?  PINK!  Not quite as bright as the last few times, but definitely just as fun.  :o)  Once again, I forgot the troubles with going my favorite color means that I can't wear a good portion of my wardrobe or my lip colors, also!  So, I decided to go towards contrast colors again.  

 A tealy-blue (that's actually a bit lighter than this picture seems to indicate, but pretty close)!  I'm seriously digging this color right now.  I love how many different pieces of clothing this opens back up for me, not to mention lip colors.  :o)  I think this is the perfect color for the summery season.  

I'm giving it a two thumbs up rating!  ;o)  Also, I want to buy every color of these silly miniature poang chairs from IKEA and just sit in them all the time.  I can feel extra tall then!  I'm so excited for these hair colors.  One of these days I'll have to just do it picture only form from beginning to end.  How fun would that be??  :oD

Island Trip

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Local islands!  For the first time, I was able to drive a car onboard a ferry.  :op  I don't know why, but it was extra exciting.  Haha.  

It was a fun excursion to do while my mom was visiting.  Luckily, she also loves yarn, so while we did some sight seeing, we also got to check out a couple yarn stores!  

First up, we found a store called The Artful Ewe in Port Gamble.  We didn't realize that technically it was closed when we arrived.  We were about to turn around, when the owner showed up right behind us and allowed us in while she just happened to be there!  It was my first time in the shop and I was so impressed by the selection of yarn and fibers.  It appears that the owner dyes most of what is there, and I couldn't help but to buy a couple braids of beautiful fiber.  :o)

After that we made our way to Bainbridge and Churchmouse.  It was as adorable as ever, and after circling a number of times, I finally decided on what was coming home with me.  

I can't wait to get some time to use these pretties!  Squee!  :oD  

PDX Yarn Train!!

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Wow, has it really managed to be 3 weeks since the last update.  >.<  It's been a whirlwind of activity over here.  Some of which I'll finally be able to talk about soon.  But first off, I'd like to talk about one of the fun weekends I had earlier this month, when my mom visited.  :o)

There we are!  My mom is wearing one of the numerous Swirl sweaters she's made.  We are aboard Amtrak about to ride from Seattle to Portland for a yarn crawl!  This crawl is pretty big, there were 95 official registered people making the crawl!  I met some very fun people riding that train down, despite some drowsiness from having to get up before 6am to catch the train.  ;o)

We had joined a small group of people who have gone on this crawl before, and they had a gameplan going.  We started off at Twisted, where I always seem to end up drooling over the Quince and Co (especially since Seattle's nearest retailer seems to be Tolt, which isn't super close to me...) and also the Republic of Wool (pic below).  

After that we stopped for lunch, then headed over to Happy Knits.  Lunch was super yummy, and I felt that maybe I should have been a bit more adventurous with my meal, as everyone else's looked more exciting than my own.  However, it was still delish, so I shouldn't really complain.  

At Happy Knits, I was excited to see the two current issues of magazines that I have patterns in sitting out on display!  :oD  I did end up buying some things here, but that'll be in the wrap up photo at the end. 

Our next stop was Pearl Fiber Arts, which is a store near and dear to me.  For the crawl, Cindy had three trunk shows going!  She had Stacey of Thoroughly Thwacked (of whom I worked with for Paulette), Grace of Graces Cases (I love her bags and cases!  So cute, and very well made.), and Tim from Blind Coffee Roasters (yes, coffeeee!).  I actually used to go to a knit night with Cindy and Grace back when I lived out in the PDX area, and Stacey joined the group towards when I was leaving, so it was really great to see them all again!

It had been a pretty busy day, so we closed it down by getting some grub at Roxy's in downtown PDX.  

We did stay the night, so the next day we managed to stop in to Dublin Bay, where I managed to forget to take any pics... and then ran back to Twisted for a second purchase that we didn't want to miss out on, in the end.  All in all, it was pretty fun, then we headed back.  

Soooo, here are the total purchases!  Starting at the top:  some Madelinetosh that was on clearance at Happy Knits, Jamieson Spindrift in a bright pink that I plan on matching with a neutral at work, 4 Gumballs by Knitted Wit, Manos Alegria in this gorgeous neon variegate, Graces Cases bag, StitchJones Titanium Sock in Peacocky, Republic of Wool, Thoroughly Thwacked True, Black Trillium, Tell Tale Yarns Tidal Twinkle (DK sparkle yarn, what??), and Blue Moon Fiber Arts Silky Victoria (enough to make a sweater, yay!).  Whew, it seems like even more yarn when it's laid out and broken down like that!  

This was a fun way to start my mom's visit.  Next round, I'll talk about the second mini yarn crawl we took, unofficially, the next day.  ;o)  

Pattern Release: Torrance!

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It's been a busy time here, and I'm super excited to announce Torrance has been officially released on Ravelry today!!  These mitts are special for me, for a number of reasons.  If you guys recall, I teamed up with two fantastic designers (Cory of Indie.Knits and Ariel of Stariel Knits) and a great indie dyer (Stitch Jones who takes color to eleven) to do a Neon Challenge!  

I felt honored to be included in the design challenge, and I was super excited about this particular one.  Neon sends me back to the early 90s when Lisa Frank was everywhere, and shows like Saved By the Bell had neon colored doodads floating across the screen during their theme song.  I have a soft spot for neon, and since it has crept back into the limelight for another short moment in time, I am taking full advantage of it!  :oD  

Ariel, Cory, and I have put together a collection of neon colored accessories that will be found as a collection on Ravelry.  You will be able to buy each pattern individually, or you can purchase the entire collection at a discount.  The collection begins with Torrance, and then we will release additional patterns over the course of the next month and half until all four patterns are out!  

When I first started, I was positive I was going to make fingerless mitts.  As I kept attempting different designs, I suddenly became inspired by the movie Bring it On and I've started calling my portion of the collection "Spirit Fingers."  ;op  Thus, the name of these mitts are Torrance, after Kirsten Dunst's character in the movie.  

Every pattern in the collection is knit with a special color designed for us by StitchJones and uses her Merino Sock (100% superwash merino; 410yds/100g).  Torrance does not use quite a full skein, and so I have a special pattern coming out in May to wrap up this collection that can be used to finish up the entire skein.  

I've seen some sneak peeks of the other patterns in this collection, and I'm very excited!  Stay tuned for more soon... 

Pattern Release: Heliconia!

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Here's another secret knitting project!  Heliconia is an oversized, lacy kimono style cardigan, that can be found in the Summer 2016 issue of Knitscene!  

It is knit in two pieces, then seamed together, and finished off with an i-cord bind off to give it a really put together look.  Heliconia is knit in Meadow (merino/llama/silk/linen blend), which was a lovely blend for this project.  Because it is such an oversized piece, there are only two sizes.  The measurements are measured flat across one side (instead of traditional bust circumference).  To choose a size, have someone measure you across while you have your arms outstretched, as that is roughly where garment will end up lying from side to side.  It has arm holes, but no actual sleeves.  

Heliconia also features a deep V in the back.  Optionally, you can sew ribbons to the top of the V at the back to help keep the shoulders from slipping, if you would like.  :o)

If you would like to find your copy of Knitscene Summer 2016, see below for some options:

- If you are local to Seattle, Fiber Gallery has their copies in already!  You can call to reserve one for yourself.  

- To purchase directly from Interweave:  http://www.interweavestore.com/knitscene-magazine-summber-2016-print-edition

Knit.Wear is back!

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And I'm in it!!  :oD  I've had to keep this one a secret for a good amount of time now... and it was SO HARD!  This is technically the first sweater I ever designed (with the magazine timeline, I actually designed and knit the sample two months before I even started Mayu!!), and I'm super in love with it!  Introducing my Douillet Sweater (cozy sweater)!

The sweater uses the ultra lovely Woolfolk Sno, a fingering weight merino (seriously the softest merino I've ever touched) that is two different color plies.  The marled effect is created simply by using the yarn.  It was knit up in three of their colors, but the dark green/black and navy/black colors are somewhat similar, so it's a subtle difference.  You could go more dramatic or more subtle, as shown.  

Douillet was inspired by the idea that cozy/comfy sweaters don't have to be shapeless.  The sweater is meant to be worn with positive ease, but has loooots of shaping in it!  The sleeves are a slightly closer fit than the rest of the sweater because the yarn is so soft and squishy that I couldn't help but have it hug the arms a little.  

A top down raglan, Douillet is also an easy knit that lets the yarn do the talking.  It is definitely tv or knit night knitting worthy.  In addition, the other knits in this welcome back issue of knit.wear are pretty amazing.  I can't wait to get my copy and start knitting on some of them!!  :oD  

If you're interested in getting a copy, here are a few options:

Locally, The Fiber Gallery has already received our copies!  Call in and have us hold you a copy!!  

If you aren't local and your LYS doesn't carry Interweave magazines, here are the direct links to order an ecopy or physical copy!

http://www.interweavestore.com/knitwear-springsummer-2016-digital-edition

http://www.interweavestore.com/knitwear-springsummer-2016

All photos were taken with permission by Harper Point Photography.

So Pink!

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I had a hard time deciding what color I wanted to go this time... so I went with my favorite, pink!  :o)  

People were still loving this hair, but I have to say... it has faded to mostly green, and my roots are super noticeable.  It was definitely time for an update again!  

Good times with bleaching.  She only bleached out the roots, so I looked a bit goofy once it was done.  As a side note, does anyone actually look good in this getup?  Hahaha!

Second round matching my lip color!  (that was starting to come off by this time b/c I scarfed down a bagel in between, ha!)  Second round looks like color already, but it's a toner that helps with getting some pinkish pigments in, as well as some gray, dusty undertone.  It was used to even out the green with the gnarly medium orange-yellow roots.  In addition, it is conditioner deposited, so it helps to condition the hair, too!

And after the rinse, ta-da!  I actually love it already!  :oD  I don't know what the color would've dried like, but it looks pretty cool like this.  One more step... just need to brighten up the color!

Oh yeah, definitely amp-ing up the color!  My hope was for a dusty medium pink, but the way these things go, it's usually better to go a bit darker/more intense than what you want b/c it'll last longer that way.  :o)  

I ended up taking this picture the day after, right towards the end of the wind storm going through Seattle!  Haha.  But it shows off the color pretty well.  :oD  The ends are almost exactly what I was hoping for, and the top is a bit brighter, but I love it, and as it washes out, I think it's going to hit the perfect shade.  My only problem now is that I can't figure out what lip colors to wear with this!  Every time I change hair colors, I have to rediscover my new "favorites" in make-up.  Ah well, small price to pay... ;op

Easy Origami Square Base

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I've been making origami cranes and flapping birds since I was in elementary school, and even have a collection of cranes I've been making since undergrad with an eventual goal of hitting 1000.  Clearly, I haven't been working non-stop on it, but I'm probably about 75% the way there. ;o) 

Recently, my friend wanted to make a bunch and she noted how much longer it was taking her than she thought it would.  After realizing that she was folding the square base the "traditional" way (the way most books tell you to fold it), I tried to find online directions for how I fold the square base, and discovered that it was basically impossible to find a way much different from the typical method.  So, here's how I fold the square base in origami:

Start with your origami square:

Step 1:  Fold your paper in half.

Optional:  Step 1.5:  Unfold and then fold your paper in half the other direction.  This will give your paper an extra guideline and fold line to follow, if it is needed.  I typically skip this direction.

Step 2:  With the paper oriented as above, fold the upper right corner down to begin folding a triangle.

Step 2.5:  Flip your piece over.

Step 3:  Repeat Step 2, and fold the upper right corner down on the opposite side.

This next picture is just to demonstrate how the triangle folds are oriented.  They are on opposite sides of each other, not the same.  

Step 4:  The next series of pictures are all to explain step 4.  You need to open up the middle section, and pinch the outer two corners (circled in red below) together.  As that happens, you will notice it folding into the square base.

And, ta-da!  Square base!  Replay of the steps:

(1) Fold in half, (optional, fold in half the other direction), (2) fold corner down, flip, (3) fold other corner down, (4) reach into the middle and fold outer corners together.  Done!  :oD  Please let me know if any step is confusing, I can certainly try to explain in a different manner or take better pictures.  

Enjoy!


Challenges

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Working a lot, traveling, finding myself with more deadlines (most of them self placed pattern writing deadlines), etc has started to wear on me.  So, I've found ways to create small challenges for myself to keep me motivated and staying positive.  :o)  Here are a few of the challenges that I have recently started.  

We can start with the pretty challenge!  At this year's Madrona Fiber Fest, I purchased this roving.  It's super soft and so cool with the alpaca staying it's super dark color and silk becoming ultra intense in color!  :oD  I decided to drop spindle this fiber so I can really enjoy it.  Because of the fiber content, I decided to spin from the fold (a technique I haven't tried in probably... 8 years!).  I haven't gotten past that yellow tail you see there, but I'm enjoying it so far!  

Next is the StitchJones Neon Design Challenge that I've blogged about in the past!  I've figured out what I want to do, and I'm already 1/3 the way done!  Can't show the design just yet, so you'll just have to trust that I'm really liking the results.  

Oh and speaking of challenges... capturing that neon green is definitely a challenge!!  That color above is not quite right... but I couldn't get the camera to get it just right.  :op  

The last challenge for the day is one that's actually really hard for me.  It's downsizing my stuff.  I have given myself an attainable feeling challenge of removing five items from my life each day I have off.  That can be something like a book that I haven't tried to reread in years, a piece of clothing I am not excited to wear anymore, a tote bag I got for free but never use b/c I have better quality ones, or even a piece of junk mail that I should have recycled when it came in, but instead it went into a pile of "to be sorted."  I am even counting a wrapper that I left on the coffee table instead of throwing out day of because it's still getting something that is cluttering my life, and getting it out.  

This last challenge is hard for me because I will always find a reason that something is useful, sentimental, or "needed."  However, with each move, I find myself in a smaller apartment, smaller closet, less storage space, etc.  I need to be able to free myself of the things that I am not using so that I can actually get to the things I do want to use!  I'm actually remarkably pleased with my results so far, and plan on continuing.  One day, then it'll turn into having just what I need and then only removing things that are wasteful that have come in, like recycling ads.  :o)  

A Four(ish) Day Project

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I met up with a friend over coffee a little bit ago, and she had brought a handspun Hipstamatic to show me!  It was sooooo gorgeous, that I had to try it myself.  She had been ecstatic to tell me that it had taken her about 2 days to make all together.  From then on, I became obsessed with the idea of handspinning and knitting my own bulky weight yarn and knitting up yet another Hipstamatic.  

I haven't been able to spin a consistent bulky weight ply... well, ever, but I really wasn't concerned for consistency for this project.  I wanted fun and funky, and so thick and thin was exactly what I was looking for!  I spun up each single in 1 day each (allowing them to rest overnight before plying).  

I used the super easy method of winding each ply onto a toilet paper core, then plying off of those.  As you can see, I misjudged things, and I had a good amount more of one ply leftover, so I ended up Andean plying the remaining amount.  This took one more day, and then I let it rest overnight, as well, before washing and thwacking.  

I wish I had a decent picture of the yarn itself prior to knitting up, but I can't seem to find the pics I took of it.  The final yarn was so fun and still extremely thick and thin!  I had roughly 70yds, which I knit up exactly as the pattern called for.  The knitting I did over the course of a day, idly knitting off and on all day.  So, all the work of making this hat took about four days, but I did end up taking about a week off between spinning the yarn, and actually knitting it up.  

What you see in that picture is actually every last bit of yarn I spun up.  The hat is pretty much a beanie size for me, and super soft and comfy.  And sparkly.  So sparkly!  I'm a bit surprised that I didn't focus on the sparkly part this entire post.  ;o)  I will try to get a modeled shot soon!  

A few details:  fiber came in the form of a lightly processed batt (fibers were aligned, but I would probably guess they were only run through once, and the fibers were super sticky, like the lanolin hadn't been washed out completely, and had aged mildly).  The fiber content claims to have been a bit over 2oz of merino and angelina.  My coworker thinks it looks like Elsa, and I've decided that I like that.  :o)

Yarning around in Austin

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First off, teaching at Gauge was so much fun!  My students were lovely, and some friends dropped in to say "hello," which was so wonderful.  It was also neat to see what new yarns they had picked up.  ;op I picked up a few things while here.  

Gauge has a lovely selection of not only workhorse yarns (Berroco, Malabrigo, etc), but also some unique brands.  They are the exclusive store for an Austin local indie dyer called Little Green Finch who only does one of a kind skeins, and they're all so lovely!  In addition, I'd been hearing more and more about this company called Ito, and it appears that Gauge decided to pick them up!  It was my first time checking it out in person, and that was a lot of fun.  :o)  My haul from Gauge (left to right):  gradient dye cake done in various shades of pink on a sparkly base by Little Green Finch, a BFL/silk braid by NerdGirl in neon pink and green (couldn't resist!), and a sparkly white and gold yarn by Ito (planning on using it to ply with some handspun).  

While here, I did manage to stop into all three of the main LYS around here.  Gauge was my main LYS while I lived here, as it was the closest one to me.  However, since I've moved, another store called Me & Ewe popped up about two blocks from where I used to live!  Gah!  I had to stop in to see what I was missing.  

Me & Ewe is adorable.  So far, they seem to stock a lot of unique items.  She stocks a local indie dyer called Bronotta, local organic cottons, and some other fun finds.  However, she also stocks a decent amount of fabrics!  I ended up coming home with a little bit of one because it was kinda perfect.  :op  I'd definitely say it was well worth the time to go in, and the owner is so friendly!

Last on the list is Hill Country Weavers.  Hill Country is a very hot spot for knitters out here.  It has a lot of really nice yarns and is set up inside of a house.  Each room has different things, and it's so much fun to explore.  I can't believe that I got out of there with just one thing, but I have to say, only one thing truly caught my eye.  I think you will be able to tell why:  

Neon pastel rainbow!  8 oz of wool/silk!  The only unfortunate thing is that I don't know what kind of wool, as it just says "wool" on the label.  But, honestly, I couldn't pass up that colorway.  Such amazingness cannot be turned down.  

I also managed to get in a lot of good food (that I consistently forgot to take pictures of, for the most part... oops), and saw a bunch of my old friends.  The only sad thing is that I was hoping for some warm weather, and it looks like a cold front arrived right when I got in, and is heading out when I leave.  In the meantime, it got a bit warmer in Seattle, and is cooling back off when I get back in.  Of course.  ;o)  Ah well.  Can't win them all.  

Pattern Release, and Testing: Mayu!

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It took a bit longer than I was hoping to get Mayu fully formatted and everything, but Mayu is now ready and out!  Mayu has been fully tech edited, but I'd love a couple people testing it out for sizing purposes.  I'd love for people to be able to see what the different sizes fit like in different eases.  For that reason, I'm going to offer it out for free to testers for a limited amount of time.  You do have to contact me on Ravelry (rav id:  norichan) in order to qualify, and you have to be able to fit into my criteria for normal testing (it's not too difficult, but I do have a few qualifications).  :o)

Here are the pattern reqs:

Sizes:
Bust Circumference: 36 (39.75, 43.25, 47)” 91.5 (101, 110, 119.5) cm
Length: 22.75 (24, 25.25, 26.5)” 58 (61, 64, 67) cm

Gauge: 11 sts x 16 rows = 4” x 4” 10 cm x 10 cm, in st st, in the round on larger needles.

Materials: 
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Paloma Tweed (50% alpaca, 30% wool, 14% acrylic, 6% rayon; 71 yds/50 g) 
MC: 8 (9, 10, 11) skeins
CC: 3 (3, 3, 4) skeins

Needles: US 13 and 15 - 24” circular needle and DPNs. Or size to obtain gauge.

Notions: 
5 st markers (1 unique for beg of round m) 
cable needle
tapestry needle
scrap yarn (for holding sts)

As far as testing reqs go, you do need to be a member of Ravelry, have some projects on Ravelry with pictures, and be able to finish your project by the end of February.  I do ask for you to link your project to the Mayu project page, and post pictures of you (or whomever you prefer) modeling the sweater.  I would love it if you are able to say what your ease is, so that people have a good idea about how they might like to size their own Mayu!  I can't wait to see yours!  :oD  Please head here to sign up to test!  

Teaching at Gauge Knits

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I can't believe how quickly time has passed by this month!  In fact, I just realized that I need to prep for the classes that I will be teaching at Gauge Knits!  Gauge is one of my favorite LYS in Austin, Tx.  I used to frequent them quite often.  ;o)  Last year, in April, I did a class with them for Aviary, and it was a blast!  I am *so excited* to be getting to teach again this year; this year, it's not just one class, but two!  

I will be there Feb 6 and 7 (so close!!), and will be doing a project classes for Marika and Viola on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.  If you are local to Austin, I'd love to see you there!  Please learn more here.  

For the Marika Class, I will be talking a bit about my inspiration for the shawl, as well as help you get started on your shawl.  This lace panel is very simple, and this could easily be a first time lace project!  I will also teach you how to get a nice and clean edging on garter stitch.  :o)  This shawl, as mentioned before, is the perfect comfort knitting.  Ideal for this time of year, and I hope everyone enjoys making it along with me.  

For the Viola Class, there are a number of skills I can help you obtain.  While, I would encourage you to be comfortable with doing cables already, I can definitely help you learn how to do cables for the first time!  In addition, this is a charted pattern, and so if learning how to read charts is something you'd like to learn, that could be a fun, new technique, as well!  Lastly, I will be teaching how to make this hat by doing a cabled swatch done in the round.  This was definitely something that took me awhile to learn (heck, learning that swatching was important to do was a skill that took me a number of years), and so I can't wait to help everyone learn this skill.  This class is really filled with all the arsenals that you will need to take on this hat!  :o)

I'm excited to see familiar faces and new ones, too!  As always, I'm also super psyched about getting great food, and getting together with friends from my last home.  I'm betting for a good number of food related instagram posts in the not too far future.  ;op  

Pattern Releases: Marika and Lady Olivia!

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Aaaahh!  This week has been a wonderful week.  For one thing, I finally got a day off after working 14 days in a row at my day jobs.  I also managed to bust out the pair of bulky weight slippers in the below post.  ;o)  I'll write a final review of the pattern and how I like the slippers in a later post... but after all of that, I had not one, but two patterns release this week!!  :oD

Here is Marika!  A fun and simple shawl done for Quince and Co's Scarves, Etc 5 Collection.  :oD  A mixture of garter stitch, and simple lace; it combines some of the best things for comfort knitting.  It is done in Owl, an alpaca and wool blend, that compliments the pattern beautifully.  

The Owl was such a pleasure to work with.  It is a somewhat new yarn for me, and I can't seem to get enough of it.  I love how the alpaca adds some depth to the color, which adds to the rustic feel it has.  I actually can't wait until I can get my hands on some more and knit myself a Marika for myself to enjoy!

And here is Lady Olivia, the third pattern in my Twelfth Knits collection.  This textured knit was a well needed thing for me this winter.  My pair of Rivolettos were just not keeping my hands warm enough!  While great for the spring and early fall (or winter in Austin), they just couldn't cut it for the colder climate in the Pacific NW.  Lady Olivia is a long worsted weight mitt that goes higher on the thumb and fingers for some extra warmth!  I made the ribbing extra long so that it could be folded back in case a bit of extra dexterity is needed.  ;o)  

These mitts take about 170 yds of worsted weight yarn (Shepherd's Wool Worsted used for sample), and US 7 [4.5mm] DPNs.  

And now for some more pretty knitting pics!  (All pics of Marika were taken by the lovely and talented Pam Allen.)