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Small, Quick Projects for the Dog Days of Summer

It’s hot. I think it’s hot just about everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. My friends in LA and Oregon have been talking about trees becoming sunburned and the forests dying. And we here on the East Coast are stuck in the heat and humidity of summer.

Knitting becomes more of a chore in summer. Even so, I feel like I need to have the rhythmic motion of slip, wrap, slide of each stitch to let my mind get into a flow and to let my mind wander. I don’t want a big project that is sitting in my lap. I want something small and light.

I have some perfect little cowls that fit the bill. They are quick. They are smallish. The yarn is Oh-So Soft and gives your fingers joy just touching it.

What are they? They are my Zephyrette Cowls. Zephyrette is our signature yarn. It is made from soft baby alpaca fleece with long, strong silk and the king of all softness: Cashmere. Alpaca is cool to the touch. So it is a good choice for summer knitting.

There are 3 choices of pattern: Lacy Cowl, Interlaken and Rivulet.

Here’s how you get a kit for a project. First, go here and pick a color of zephyrette. There are so many choices. You just need one skein. Then go here and pick a pattern. Click on the shopping cart and check out. Your new project will be out in the mail to you and you will get it within days.

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Next Crafting Event: Hellenics Games 2021

That’s what I’m going to call it anyway. In years past, there were Ravelry groups and the event was called Ravellenics. But since it’s basically crickets on Ravelry, I’m picking my name.

So here’s what this event is about…. It is an event for all crafters. The goal is to craft each and every day of the current Olympic games. Each crafter can set their own goal as well. Some people in the past have set the goal to start and finish a particular project during those 2 weeks, such as a pair of socks or a hat or maybe an embroidery.

My goal is to make good progress towards my new Fibershed, handspun top. I will be casting on Friday and working towards completion. I’m not sure I can get enough knitting time to actually finish but I would like to be about half way done by that time. My ultimate goal is to have that top ready by the Fall Fiber shows: Shenandoah and Rhinebeck.

I am forming a team for this year’s games. Are you ready? The opening ceremonies are Friday. And the closing ceremonies are August 8th. That’s 2 weeks. To be a part of my team follow my Facebook group here. Introduce yourself and let us know what your goal is. Each day I will start a thread about that day so that you can post your updates and some photos. It is really fun to be a part of a community all working at the same time. What will you be making?

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Thoughts on Summer Knitting

This summer has been really weird, right? No matter where you live in the US and probably even in the world. There have been crazy heat waves, crazy storms and early hurricanes and even historic droughts in the West.

Hay waiting to be cut

Here in the East we have had the hot and muggy days for a couple of weeks now. It is hard to think about knitting, but even so my fingers are itching to pick up the needles and my mind really needs the “down time” that knitting provides. The quiet space where I am making and I can stop thinking. Does that happen to you?

So I was thinking about what I would like to knit or spin in this heat. And what jumped into my head is alpaca. Alpaca is cool to the touch. I don’t quite know what causes the phenomena. But it is true. Our Zephyrette yarn is baby alpaca, cashmere and silk. It is perfect for summer knitting. I have designed 4 cowls with this yummy yarn. The patterns come in a variety of skill levels and all take just one skein of yarn! These cowls make great, quick gifts too!!

I was also thinking that small projects that wouldn’t cover my lap would be a nice thing to make during the summer. So I’m thinking a cowl or mittens or a hat even socks could fit the bill.

Weaverly cowl up close

Let’s make some great alpaca based projects while the summer is hot!

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TOTW: Why you need to knit gauge switches the same way you will knit the garment

I KNOW!!! You don’t want to do a gauge swatch. But in reality there are some good reasons to do that. Especially when you are making a garment that needs to fit. In this video, I’m sharing the way that I make a gauge swatch that will give me the MOST information. This is particularly important if you are making a garment from handspun yarn. The Tour de Fleece is going on right now. It’s day 3 in fact, only18 more days to go. Many of us are spinning to make a wearable item. You knit swatch will give you information on the gauge, right? But it will also give you information about how a lace or cable section might look. It will also give you a swatch that you can use to see if this is going to be the kind of garment you can wear next to the skin or if you need an undergarment too. So I hope you watch this video and learn some lessons that I’ve learned through trial and a bunch of errors!!

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Tip and Trick: Help with Reading Charts

In this installment of Tips and Tricks, I tell you about one of my favorite ways to keep track of my progress in a chart. I show you the highlighter tape that I use. It is important to make the pattern easy for you to follow so that you have a fun and more stress free time knitting. So even if a designer doesn’t think you need a modification, you can still do it for you! Embrace what you need and keep the fun in knitting!!

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Tip of the Day: Auditioning Skeins that Work

In this quick tip and trick of the day, I walk you though how I put together skeins that will work well together in a shawl, sweater or larger project where you want multiple skeins.

Of course if you love any of these combos, you can get them in my webstore. I also have special OOAK curated triads for sale here.

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Tip of the day: adding new yarn

These two tips of the day seem to really go together. First of all where to change your yarn when you are doing colorwork and even if you are just putting in a stripe. And second what to do when you come across a knot or other imperfection in the yarn. I show you the way that I start a new yarn so that there aren’t loose stitches or even a hole that you have to fix later.

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Choosing the Right Needle for Your Farm Yarn

This tip of the day is about how to choose the perfect needle for your project. This is especially true if you are using one of our farm yarns or if you have lost the label and have no idea what to choose. This is a new tip for me. I always thought that you looked at the diameter of the yarn and tried to match that to the needle. Let me know if this tip helps you to find the right yarn for the right project.

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Some things I’ve learned as a knitter

Each week I do a Facebook Live session (Thursdays at 1pm). And each week I try to give my viewers a tip or two that might help in knitting, spinning or color confidence. Yesterday my tips were to help you make charts easier to understand and read.

  1. So the first one is to use highlighter tape to mark your place in the chart. Here is a link to the tape. The way that I use it is to put the tape just under the row I am knitting.
  2. My agreement with myself is that when I finish knitting for the day. I leave the tape where is was, just under the row I have JUST finished. Then when I pick it up next time, I will move the tape forward.
  3. The third tip is to number the rows on the chart if there isn’t numbering already. I number on both sides of the row so it’s easy to line up my tape. For this particular pattern there is a separate chart for the thumb gusset so I put the row numbers there too. And I put a smaller bit of tape there too.

This is not to disrespect any designer. It is just to make life easier for me, the knitter. It’s really fine to make changes, to add rows so the garment fits better. You have spent time. You have spent money. This knitting is supposed to be fun, not stressful, not frustrating. So take care of yourselves, my dears!!

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new WIP for Wednesday

I’ve had a couple of productive weeks lately. Oh maybe that’s because I broke my leg and so I have to sit more than I usually do. So I finished my Fibershed sweater. I finished fixing the cormo hat that was too short. And so yesterday I started this. It’s a mitten pattern. It is a kit that I bought from Riihivilla. The yarn is made from their finn sheep. And she uses natural dyes. What has fascinated me about her dyeing is that she uses lichens and mushrooms, things that are hard to find here in my area. I love reading her blog as well. She of course writes in Finnish but then has a really good English translation too.

I use Highlighter tape to keep my place in the pattern. The deal that I’ve made with myself it to leave the tape on the row I’ve just finished if it is time to quit for the day. So when I pick this up later today, I know I will change the tape to the next row. I have 4 more rows to go and then I will turn the hem up and knit the two rows together.