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Time Flies

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So many things have happened in the past two months, and I can't believe that I haven't had a moment to update the blog about them!  It has been fairly busy, busy enough that I haven't had the energy to always knit in the evenings!  I always know that I've been working a bit too hard if I don't feel like knitting.  :o(  

However, I won't lie, it turns out that I can't NOT be crafty during my time away from work.  ;op  I have started the above crocheted blanket that I've decided to call Neutral Neon.  A few years back, when neon was first coming back into vogue, I bought a large amount of Plymouth Encore to make a blanket with.  I didn't have a definite plan, but knew I wanted to do a statement blanket with it.  I originally bought four colors:  dark grey, light grey, neon pink, and neon yellow.

At this point in time, I am hesitant to add the neon yellow in... but I can't decide because I clearly originally wanted to use it.  If I decide to use it, the yellow would alternate with the neon pink.  Maybe I should go with my current gut feeling and use just the three.  For the time being, it just "feels right."  

In other news, I had a pattern release in the Portland, OR metro area.  Frogger is a design I worked in conjunction with Pearl Fiber Arts and Fierce Fibers.  The mitt design is a slim fitting, flip top mitten pattern.  The yarn base is Lithe, and the colorway is a special edition colorway called "Cloudy with a Chance of Rainbows."  I loved working with this base, soft and luxurious, yet felt like it would hold up well over time.  

While I took a short break away from self publication designs (there are a few more things in the works that are super secret; can't wait to reveal them!), I am back to it!  Watch out here for test knit opportunities!  <3!  With this much time taken off, I've got waaaayy too many ideas, I just hope I have time to knit them up!!  

Pattern Releases: Maclure, Nabesna, and Kaiyo!

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Hello!  And with that month-long of silence, I bring you... three new patterns!  :oD  All done in collaboration with some fun people!  

First up is Maclure!  Maclure is a part of Stranded Magazine's Cold Weather 2016 issue!  This ski bonnet is knit from the top down, and includes details like a folded over brim featuring a contrasting color!  I love it in the natural colors here, but I think it would also look amazing done up in bright neons!  The yarn used here was Imperial Yarn Columbia.  

Next up is Nabesna.  Nabesna is also a part of Stranded Magazine's Cold Weather issue (this online magazine is one to watch out for, a bit more information about them at the end of this blog post!).  The fun part of this cute little muff here is the thrums!  While muffs are super cute and cozy always, I just imagined how much cuter and squishier it would be if it were thrummed!  If you've never done thrums before, I'd highly recommend trying it, it's actually quite easy and a lot of fun. 

Those extra fiber-y bits inside keep your hands toasty, while the optional strap makes sure that you won't lose your muff while you're just hanging out.  :o)  Again, the natural colors makes this a great knit suitable for all coordinating clothes colors, but my brain wonders... what would this look like in black or dark brown and a rainbow of thrums sprinkling about?  :oD  The yarn used for this pattern is Bartlett Yarns 2-ply, and the thrums were using the same company's roving.

The last pattern release is Kaiyo, a combination poncho and cowl.  This pattern was designed for Yarnbox's Classic Box December 2016.  The yarn is a luscious merino, alpaca, milk blend by Feederbrook Farms called Milk and Honey.  It is available in the Yarnbox, as well as in my Ravelry downloads.  Enjoy!

A quick note here about Stranded Magazine.  Stranded was formed by Andi Satterlund, Erin Birnel, and Monica Kirby.  The magazine first released earlier this year (2016) and now has three issues live.  The patterns in the issues are only available in the magazine for 1 year, then the rights revert back to the designer and can be individually downloaded.  

I have to say that I've found each issue to be well curated so far, and I've loved the feature articles included (only available with the full magazine purchase)!  In addition to the knit patterns, you can find a feature on a variant craft, and a recipe.  It's been awhile since I've had a magazine that I was eager to see each issue release, but Stranded has currently filled that spot.  :o)

(Oh, and yes, that is me modeling the patterns found in the issue!  It was a lot of fun to not only have some patterns included, but also be more involved by modeling for them!  In addition, I think it inspired one of my best hair colors to date.)  ;o)  

WIP Wednesday: Hipstamatic and Marion

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I've taken some time off of designing for a bit here, and am working on some gift knitting and selfish/UFO knitting.  I'm attempting something a bit on the crazy side, but I'm hoping to knit up hats for all of my coworkers at the optometry office.  On the less crazy side, they will all be Hipstamatics.  I'm using a range of bulky weight yarns, and discovering just how different "bulky" really can be!!  Here's my current one in progress (with mystery bulky weight that has been sitting in the stash for awhile:

And my other project that I'm actively working on is Marion by Andi Satterlund.  My gauge is fairly far off, but I did some calculations that indicate that it will be just fine post blocking with some negative ease built in.  :o)  The yarn is Bumblebirch Forage in Fog.  This one I'm calling a UFO, even though it hasn't been sitting around as long as some others, but I started it in May, and then got distracted before I could finish it up.  

I can't wait to get this done and blocked to really show off the fun cables along the front!  Also, it's kinda the perfect weather these days around here to wear this over dresses.  I used to wear this one white cropped sweater with all my dresses, until one day, I finally had to admit that it just wasn't truly in great shape anymore.  I've been on the search for a replacement, when I finally decided that I had to just go ahead and make one (or maybe a bunch...).  I'm going to be so excited when this guy is completely off the needles!  :o)

What is everyone else working on?  Anyone else trying to get some Christmas knitting done?  

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  

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

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)  

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 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.)

Mindless Knitting

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As I finish up some designs of my own, the need to do some "mindless" knitting increases.  I think it's because the last part of designing involves math, formatting, and waiting to hear back from testers and tech editors.  The joy of working on projects where the math has already been worked out for me and I can just go with the flow is definitely appreciated at these moments.  While designing has its own joys, it is a job, and sometimes I just need a break.  :o)

The first project here is Stippers by Ashley Knowlton.  It's a bulky weight slipper pattern made with a fun construction.  They're super fast, and I think I'll be done with a pair of these guys by the end of the week, even just knitting idly on them.  They're perfect for recharging and feeling super accomplished!  And the StitchJones yarn is making me super happy!  So bright and fun.  This particular colorway is actually from one of her 2012 Yarnageddon shipments, so I don't believe it is a repeatable colorway.  I'd been holding onto it for something perfect, and I think these are definitely the thing!  

This second WIP is something that has been on hold since August 2014.  I said that I was going to get a move on with my UFOs, and this guy is the first of many.  :o)  Sadly, the pattern is not available.  It has an unusual construction, in that it begins with a provisional CO at the ankle, then you knit the foot, kitchener the toe, then undo the CO, and work the leg upwards.  I am not sure how I feel about it, but I am now done with one of the socks, and have CO for the second!  Can't wait till I can call this UFO, now WIP, a FO!!  

2015 in Patterns

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This year was a big one for me.  This was the year I really decided to buckle down and get serious about designing patterns.  So, despite working full time and then later two part time jobs, I still found the time to design on the side.  Sometimes I was definitely overwhelmed with deadlines, responsibilities, and whatnot, but I can honestly say that I can't see it any other way now.  I love designing, and plan on continuing.  :o)

My last pattern had been Consummate V's, which is a free pattern I put out for my birthday in October 2013.  My New Year's resolution of 2014 was that I was going to put out at least 1 pattern a season (4 patterns total) over the course of 2014.  I figured it was a very minimal goal, with lots of room for growth.  When it hit around October 2014, and I hadn't put out a single pattern, I really sat down to think.  That's when I decided that I would get serious and have the same goal of at least 4 patterns, but hoping more for about 6 patterns to come out in 2015.  

While January came and went, February started me off with a bang!  That Fall when I was pondering how I'd let so much time slip by, I stumbled upon an all call from Quince and Co for their Scarves, Etc collection.  I was SO SURPRISED when they loved my Aviary pattern.  It was such an honor to be able to design with their yarns as my first pattern of 2015.  :oD

My next pattern was Rivoletto Mitts in March.  The idea for them came from years previous, when I had entered and won a mitts design contest with A Verb for Keeping Warm.  I never managed to write up that exact pattern, but I made a few minor changes to the basic pattern idea, and came up with Rivoletto.  I am actually even more pleased with Rivoletto than I was with the original mitts.  I suppose it was good to wait those additional years of experience!

In April came Candide, my simple hat pattern that maybe seems a bit more complex than it really is.  Knit out of one of my favorite yarns, Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, and Cascade Heritage, Candide was a lot of fun to work up.  What was more rewarding was when one of my testers told me that her teenage daughter had commandeered her hat and requested more.  I think that is one of the best compliments I'd ever gotten!  

A surprise pattern came out in June with my Gehry Wrap, a pattern I did for Unique Sheep's yarn club.  While the 100% lace weight silk creates a gorgeous drape and a very elegant shawl, I can also see it in other fibers as well.  The rights have been given back to me, and now Gehry Shawl is now available for download in my pattern store on Ravelry.  :o)

In July came a pattern that is near and dear to my heart.  Paulette came out as a collaboration with Thoroughly Thwacked.  Her Vixen yarn was a dream to work with, and the final shawl came out even better than my initial sketches.  :oD  It was a fun experiment to work hand in hand with an indie dyer, and I can say for certain that there will be more designs with Thoroughly Thwacked yarns, as well as other indie dyers in the future!

Viola and Cesario came out in September as a set of hats that will become a part of my Twelfth Knits collection.  Over the next year I will be adding more patterns to the Twelfth Knits collection, I hope you enjoy seeing it grow.  As I tend to sometimes be a bit corny, I will say that I'm planning on having these pieces be mostly cabled work as I feel the cables symbolize the twisted roads that some of the characters' paths took them.  Yikes, maybe that was too corny, even for me!  ;o)  

My favorite month is October for many reasons:  birthday month, typically some of the best weather during the year, and this year was even more exciting with the publication of Around the Block Legwarmers in the darling collection Charmed:  Whimsical Knitted Accessories.  After seeing the full collection, I couldn't believe that I was included in this collection!  So many cute patterns in the booklet, and I still am waiting for some free time to knit up a few of them.  :o)

I talked with DragynKnyts about using some of her yarns to design with, as I have been loving her semi-solids.  Her variegates are also lovely, but there's something very special with the way her semi-solids come out.  I proposed the idea of Cunegonde, and she jumped on board with it.  This cowl is interesting because it comes in two sizes, and done in either PendragynDK or Wyvern worsted.  Due to the double sized skeins, even the longer cowl lengths can be done with a single skein.  This cowl is the second piece to my Candide Collection that, similar to the characters of Candide, will be comprised of patterns that look more complex than they truly are.

This month has been crazy busy with gift knitting and trying to get a ton of designs all together ready for testing.  Despite that, I couldn't get Hipstamatic out of my head.  I absolutely had to get this free pattern together and so I put everything on hold in order to get the samples together and the pattern written up.  In the end, I couldn't stop knitting them, and I have knit up four so far, and every time I see more chunky/bulky weight yarn I just want to knit up another.  My next one is definitely going to have a pompom!  :oD

My goal was 4-6 patterns, and I managed to get seven self published patterns and three more publications with Quince & Co, Unique Sheep, and Knit Picks!  I have some more big plans for 2016, and I will give a little hint:  2016 is going to be the year that I start dabbling into garments.  ;o)  Stay tuned for some test knits to happen soon...

Trip to Athens, GA

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For Christmas, I visited my boyfriend's family in Georgia.  While it was a good trip filled with fun and games, food, and so many dogs (there were four in one house!), I do have to say I discovered something that didn't exist when I lived there!  

Yep, a yarn store within walking distance of where I used to live!!!  I used to teach at Main Street Yarns, which has sadly been closed for a bit of time now... but Revival Yarns has stepped in, and I have to say that I quite liked this store.  

It is located in the Bottleworks, which is a very cool hang out spot just barely outside of downtown Athens.  Right next door is a very cool coffee shop, and a few other restaurants.  I used to walk over to Daily Co-op once a week, and I just can't imagine how much time I would have spent here, if it had been there just a block away from there!  

The two owners, Lindsay and Cara, were both amazingly sweet.  I felt welcomed at once, and their little sitting area was very comfortable to relax at.  There was also a small table to sit at for classes, and for the holidays a selection of cookies and other sweets were set out for us to treat ourselves with.

Their yarns included brands such as Cascade, Malabrigo, Madelinetosh, Sweet Georgia, and Lorna's Laces.  What I liked even more were the local touches, like the handmade buttons, project bags, and shawl pins.  

Of course, I was in shock over the fact that I managed to find Chubby Cloud bags here!  Chubby Cloud is a local sewer found here in Seattle!  What a coincidence.  :oD  It made me happy to see how big and small the knitting community really can be.  

In the end, I went with these two items.  An adorable Chubby Cloud bag (yes, yes, even though I have seen her at local show events), and this amazing Malabrigo Chunky.  I have never seen this colorway before... and I have to say, it's odd, but I used to hate sea-foam green, and now certain shades of it really calls to me now and again.  :o)  

I'm so glad that Athens now has a LYS to call it's own, and that it's such a lovely one!  

Blue Christmas

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I'm travelling for the holidays, and this year, I decided to bring a spinning project that I had from years back.  

These were two small samples I got from various places, and I decided to combine them to stretch out the yardage and weight I could get out of them.  :o)  I had roughly double the weight of lighter blue than the darker, so I decided to do a simple three ply with two strands of the lighter blue and one of the darker.  

I also spun them on the thin side to, again, stretch out the yardage.  I thought that the final product would end up being a fingering weight, but it is appearing that it is still a lace weight.  Of course, after it's bath, it may fluff up.  I'm actually hoping for it!  :o)

Here it is in a skein!!  Squee!  It's pre-bath still, and some areas I'm thinking might fluff up, but others seem like they'll still be lace weight after the bath.  I shall see in a bit.  

And here's the close up!  The color of the other picture is definitely closer, but this one does a good job of showing off the variation in the intensity of the darker blue.  :o) I, foolishly, left my niddy noddy home, and so I'll have to wait until I get back to measure my yardage.  

As it is, it looks like I'll be knitting for the rest of the Christmas traveling.  I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!  :oD  

Knit Fit!

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There was a small fiber festival this past weekend in Seattle called Knit Fit.  While there were some classes available, I did not partake.  Instead I perused the vendor hall.  There were a good number of amazing booths, and while I wish I could have supported everyone, my wallet did not agree with me.  :'o(  Even still, I feel like I got a lot of amazing things, and I'm very excited about it! 

Clockwise from top:  bright orange bag (Knit Fit bag that I won as a doorprize), green speckled yarn from Seattle Sky Dyeworks (worsted weight), purple needles are Signature DPNs in US 1.5 (my favorite size for my very first set of Signatures!), sunset colored roving is Targhee/Silk from Huckleberry Knits (this blend is a special blend that she asks the mill to make for her!), both the red ball and the cream colored skein are recycled cashmere, and lastly, the beauteous bag of minis from Three Fates Yarns (in my favorite color combo!!)!   Oh wait, how could I forget?

This gorgeous pendant was made by a local ceramics artist who also does buttons, yarn bowls, and other pieces of jewelry.  I fell in love with her work immediately.  I had about 5 of her pendants in my hands at one point, but in the end, this was the one that I narrowed it down to.  It makes me so happy, and I can see me getting some good use out of this necklace.  :o)

So, in the end, despite smaller than some fiber festivals, there were a ton of high quality vendors there, and I am actually relieved that it wasn't larger.  If it had been, I don't know what I would've done.  I already had to hold back on many many other gorgeous yarns, fibers, and other crafts!!  

My Birthday Swag

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I went to Portland for my birthday last week.  :oD  It was a lot of food and fun.  Some of my favorite restaurants were hit up (Masu, Nicholas, Whole Bowl, Fat Straw...), I managed a fun evening at OMSI after dark, and I swung by two LYS!  

From left to right:  Shepherd's Wool Crazy DK, Cestari Traditional 2-ply in two natural colors, and two different colors by Republic of Wool!  I got the first three at Pearl Fiber Arts, and the Republic of Wool from Twisted.  Do I know what I'm doing with any of them?  Not really.  Am I super excited anyways??  YES!!  They're all amazing in their own ways.  I can't wait to try them out!  

In addition to snagging some yummy yarn, I also received a few lovely birthday gifts while in Portland.  :o)  The intriguing box at the top there is a wooden inlay puzzle box from Japan.  It was very difficult to figure out!  I was stumped for a short time there.  :op  

The dress and necklace I received from Marilyn.  She actually nabbed herself some matching stuffs, so one day we'll have to dress up as twins!  Though, her strawberry is white, so I guess we won't be perfect matches.  ;o)

Birthday KAL Yarn

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You wouldn't think it would be so hard for me to find a good yarn for my brother's Cesario... you know, working at a LYS and all.  ;op  However, it did take a good amount of decision making before I found one that I thought would be good enough.  

Malabrigo Rios in Azul Profundo.  Things that need checking off:  superwash, check; color brother will like but not so boring that I will get bored, check; worsted weight, check.  ;o)  I have it all wound up and ready for casting on!  It will be nice to get to knit up another Cesario.  Hopefully, it will be all done by Christmas... 

Secret Knitting

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I've been swamped with projects, and I finally have a day off with no other commitments today, so I get to knit ALL DAY!!!  While I can't show any portion of my design, I can reveal to you the yarn I'm using!

I am *so excited* to be working with Quince and Co again!  Their owl yarn is a lovely wool/alpaca blend that I'm just loving to death!  It is a worsted weight, and I'm using the cinnamon colorway.  Gorgeous!  The color is much closer to their site than mine.  The light was shining a bit brightly through the windows of my apartment when I took this picture.  

I would definitely recommend this yarn for anyone that has been on the fence.  While it's not the softest alpaca I've ever touched, the squish factor is definitely high!  I'm going to guess it's the loftiness of the way the yarn was spun up that makes it so squishable.  Whatever it is, I'm definitely digging it.  :oD

Yarn Swap

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One of my knit groups recently did a yarn swap/destash.  I managed to score some truly awesome stuff at an extremely reasonable price.  

The gorgeous red is Knitted Wit Aran Superwash Merino in Red, and the black/brown is Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool.  I actually got 4 skeins of the Knitted Wit, and 7 of the Silky Wool.  I'm super excited about both purchases.  I just have to figure out what I want to do with them... Guess they go into the stash for now!!  :o)

Trunk Show Swag

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Well, some of it was "swag" to design with, and some of it I actually bought for myself.  :op

Starting clockwise from upper left:  Alexandra's Crafts Bling Bling Sister (75/20/5 superwash merino/nylon/stellina; 436yds/3.5oz), Bamboo Pop (50/50 cotton/bamboo; 292yds/100g), Thoroughly Thwacked Wooly Silk Fingering (80/20 superwash merino/tussah silk; 764/200g) in both Pitch and Toxic Plum, Thoroughly Thwacked 24K (75/20/5 superwash merino/nylon/gold stellina) in Pastry Bandit, and Thoroughly Thwacked's Gradient Yarn Kit.  

All except the Bamboo Pop are going to be used for future designs.  I can't wait to get started on them!  :o)  It'll be so much fun.  Unfortunately, I've got a couple secret projects that are going to keep me pretty busy for the next little bit.  :o/  I hope I can get those knocked out and be able to work with these lovely yarns!  

The Bamboo Pop is to edge a tank top my friend Marilyn made and gave me.  She used a pale blue gray color, and Pearl Fiber Arts was out of it, so I just grabbed black to finish it up.  I think it'll come out fine.  Hope I can get to it soon, while it's still warm enough to wear a tank top!  It's tunic length, so I'm really excited to wear it.  (I may love wearing leggings!)

Spaaarkles!  Colors!  I love both of those things!!  :oD  Why can't I knit faster??