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holiday knitting? Too Late?

Is it too late to start knitting for Christmas? Maybe, but maybe not. How can you figure that out? Well let’s do some math…it’s simple math.  

  • How long can you knit each day? For me, it’s realistic to say that I could knit 1 hour a day for at least 6 days a week. That’s 6hours a week.  
  • How long until the holidays or when I have to mail presents?There are 6 weeks until christmas and hannukah week. So that is 36 hours of knitting.  
  • And so how long would a project typically take? Well that depends, right. So we have to think strategically. Use a bigger yarn and bigger needles or a smaller project like hat, cowl, mitts.  I know that I can knit a fingerless mitt in about 2 hours. And so that is 4 hours for a pair.  I could probably do a hat in that time as well. And I’ve timed myself on my Lacy Cowl made with luxurious Zephyrette and I know that takes me about 3 hours of knitting. So let’s go with 4 hours.  I could make 9 projects in the time left.  9?!?!?!

But is that reasonable? I’ve already told you all that I am the world’s slowest knitter. But still I could conceivably get some presents knit for some very special people.

Need some ideas? Well a Zephyrette cowl makes a very luxurious gift with very little knitting time. The Lacy cowl below took me 2-3 hours of TV knitting to complete. The other cowls will take slightly longer. The yarn is so soft and warm and beautiful that it is a pleasure to knit and it will be a treasured gift for that knitworthy friend or relative. Pick a skein of Zephyrette and let me know what pattern you are interested in and we’ll get you started on this gift.

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what does that colorway look like?

I’m asked at every show what a particular colorway will look like when it is knit or crochet. There isn’t a simple answer. Even if I did a swatch for every base and every colorway I have made, when you use that yarn, it will look different than the sample.

It all depends on the number of stitches. A yarn that will stripe in a sock of 62 stitches will might have sections of pooling and striping in a shawl where the stitches are constantly changing row by row.

Here is a good example. Both mitts were knit from the same skein. The smaller mitt on the right has bigger areas where the deeper blues and greens will pool and stripe. The larger mitt is less dramatic as the areas of deeper blue and green are more spread out and therefore have a more subtle look. There is only a difference of 12 stitches between the two mitts.

These two mitts are the samples for my new mitt kitts. The yarn is my 2 ply mohair yarn from our animals. It is lofty and has a nice halo that you can actually brush to make it even more pronounced. The kitt includes the yarn and pattern for a mere $15. It is a fast gift for the holidays. These will be available during the Holiday Fiber Art Studio Tour on December 7th and 8th. Find out the details here. And I will be adding these to my online store in Monday’s update. Check back here to find them.

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Store reopened after a lovely family weekend

This last weekend was full of family. A family wedding, lovely visits with two 93 year old aunties and their caretaker daughters, a scavenger hunt of Allentown and a concert that got cancelled. But instead we had a great time talking with Bill’s brother and sister in law and sharing our live’s stories and good, good wine.

So coming back I opened the store up with 2 major shop updates. First I added hand dyed natural colored yarns…what??? So I have a great yarn base that is made with 2 different shades of grey and 2 different weights, so it’s a thick and thin kind of yarn.

I overdyed this yarn with a brick red, a bright violet and a navy blue. The results are rich colors. These yarns are farm yarns. They are made with wool from farms of other shepherds. The yarn is highly durable and wearable. Is it soft? It is not too scratchy but it is not cashmere. It would make lovely hats, mitts, socks and even one of those great colorwork sweaters.

You can find this yarn here. What other colors would you like to see? Reply to this blog to let me know!!

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Book Review: Untangled by Shelley Brander

Untangled by Shelley Brander of LoopsLove.com is a wonderful book that I want to share with you. The subtitle is a step by step guide to joy and success for the modern yarn lover. I have to say that it is a really quick read. BUT if you are going to actually follow the steps it will take you a while to complete it. If you are a reader of this blog or on my email list, some of these steps will sound familiar. I think all of us yarnies try to figure out ways to help our community of knitters to find a way to be happy and stash shame free. But Shelley has gone a little deeper in each step. She has also combined an accountability piece through her online community.

The steps that Shelley takes us through are all challenges. And they are:
The 21 day stitch every day challenge, the 90 day LoopsLove stash challenge, the WIP challenge, the Love to Give Challenge, the Love Sweater, and the Love Yourself Challenge. Each of these challenges is broken down into smaller achievable steps and accountability if you so choose to pick up the challenge. In some of the chapters, Shelley suggests patterns for you to use that are easy and quick and can help you to work through your stash and to knit for quick gifts.

The first challenge is the 21 day stitch challenge. Shelly has you remember your why. What do you love about stitching. And she challenges you to create a knitting place where you have peace. You can add smell, taste, touch, sound and sights (including the color choices) that will make you happy, content and peaceful. She has you pick 3 projects to work on in this challenge period. She wants you to find an accountability partner and to share with the Loops Love Community. I am working on this challenge myself. I also added the layer of allowing for knitting just 10 minutes per day. In all honesty, I have knit longer than the 10 minutes. And I have finished on WIP and am within a day or two of finishing a tank top. I know this works. Will you join me in this? Many of you have said that you are doing this…I’d love to see and hear about your progress in our Ravelry group here.

So if you are ready to regain your joy and love of yarn and knitting, I urge you to get this book and work through the challenges within it.

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fun hat that I just finished!

So the 21 day knit challenge is really working for me right now. I finished one UFO. Okay, it’s a hat. Not a sweater. Not a million stitches, but it is done and I LOVE it!!

I love it because it is next to the skin soft. The yarn is my Synergy yarn in the mushroom color. It is merino and each skein has about 232 yards in 4oz. It is somewhere between DK and Worsted weight. I was conflicted about whether I wanted to design my own pattern for a hat or use this one. So I thought I would just do the ribbing and then decide as I was knitting. Do you do that?

This is Correlation by Hunter Hammersen. Available in Ravelry. It is seen through Knit Companion which I love to use for charts and written instructions.

Well, I decided to try out this hat. I love the fact that this is a double sided hat, each side is so different. And it was also a stretch for me. The designer of the pattern wanted me to swatch and I didn’t. And I didn’t because I wasn’t sure I was going to make this hat. I just started.

brown marled merino yarn
Synergy yarn for the hat

So as I got closer, I got really worried. Would I have enough to finish the hat? I practically held my breath for the last series of 12 rows of decreases. I kept telling myself, you have less stitches, just keep going!!

And so I was able to finish with some to spare. And it fits just fine…see below!!

So this 21 day challenge is working. I’m finished with one project and I know what I’m going to pick up today. Another project that has only a little bit left to be done. What are you knitting? Want to join in the challenge? You can join our Ravelry group and use us as accountibility!

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Challenge: knit 10 minutes a day wherever!

Waiting in the MVA line for an emmision check on a Prius….REALLY? Yarn is synergy in mushroom colorway

I’ve told you all that I am the slowest knitter. That’s probably because I don’t knit everyday. I know that if I did, I’d be able to make a lot more and I would feel accomplished. So I’m going to challenge myself to knit everyday for 21 days. It can be as little as 10 minutes a day. Or it can be an hour or two. Whatever feels right. But the bare minimum is 10 minutes a day. Who’s in with me? Comment on this blog to let me know!

Had to wait a long while because the chick in front me didn’t know how to open the gas compartment…..REALLY?

So yesterday was a day to run errands. I needed to get an emission check on the Prius. And I needed to see if I have immunity to measles. REALLY? Yes, apparently if you travel abroad you need to have some documentation that you have immunity or you’ve received a vaccine.

Waiting for my blood draw. Pattern is Correlation by Hunter Hammersen cable hat with 2 different sides!!

So yes, knit wherever you are. Knit 10 minutes a day. See how much knitting you get done. Join me in the challenge!!

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new pattern and kit for Zephyrette

This cowl is knit in the round using the Linen Stitch. Using this stitch has been on my wish list for years. Why? Because I started out as a weaver and this stitch not only appears to be woven but it is also knit as an “over/under” pattern.  By knitting in the round, you never have to purl. It is merely a knit stitch and a slipped stitch, over and over again. Because an odd number of stitches is cast on, you can continue to go round and round. I really got into a rhythm and it became a meditative kind of process. Kit includes yarn and pattern, just add needles and get ready to have fun relaxing.

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Holiday Collection PreOrder

PIne Forest Trio

Just added these skeins in a holiday collection. I’m taking pre-orders for these. These yarns are on my Corrie Sock base which is a fingering, superwash wool/nylon blend. It makes fantastic socks, but is equally wonderful for shawls and sweaters, hats and mittens. Great for holiday projects to keep or give away.

Order period ends 9/15 and shipping date is 9/26. So go here to order one or all of these wonderful variations on the holiday theme.

Candy Cane Red Trio
Brilliant blue trio
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new kits for Camau shawl

crescent shawl

The Camau shawl is a triangular shawl that is mostly garter stitch…so easy TV knitting. It is intersected with short rows of eyelet stitches. There is also a lace bind-off. These kits contain 4 skeins of my Cirrus yarn. This yarn is a 2ply wool and alpaca yarn. It has a tweedy look from the differences between wool and alpaca. This yarn is on sale right now, since my collaborator and myself, no longer have these animals, so we can’t reproduce the yarn. This shawl kit is also on sale. So grab one today. It is fun and easy! Get one today!

cirrus wool alpaca yarn
All the new kits waiting to be packaged
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another beautiful shawl to knit with zephyrette yarn

Zephyrette Pi Shawl

I love this Pi shaped shawl. It is knit with 3 skeins of Zephyrette yarn in the Jade colorway. This is one of 6 shawls designed using the principles of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Pi shawl. The lace patterns are in a camping theme with the top being paw prints, slanting leaves, willow twigs and with an edging of waves and droplets. You can find this FREE pattern here on Ravelry. It was knit for me by Lois Geer, who whipped this up and declared it an easy pattern! She notes the the increases are between the lace motifs which makes it easy. Of course I would be using a million stitch markers in order to keep track of where I was. You can make it in any color you would like. Zephyrette comes in multiple colors here.