Category Archives: review

Knit Me: Zen Yarn Garden Gradient Sets

Recently Stitchcraft Marketing contacted me to see if I would be interested in knitting something out of Zen Yarn Garden’s Gradient Sets.  I spent a little while looking at the sets, deciding if I wanted a tonal set versus a more variegated set, and whether I wanted to do a trio or a quartet.  I finally settled on a quartet in the Vocal colorways.

Even before the skeins arrived at my house I had selected the perfect pattern. In fact, I actually picked my color scheme based on what I wanted to knit.  I chose to knit Aurorae by Helen Stewart. This pattern was part of last year’s Shawl Society collection and I decided the pinks, purples and blues of this particular gradient set would be perfect!

Even from the start, I was really pleased with this yarn. It is super soft and bouncy and draped beautifully for the shawl.  I loved the way the set included a speckled yarn, a more variegated yarn and two solids.  At first, when I received it, I wasn’t sure about the “gradient” nature of the kit, but as I worked my way through the shawl I decided that each color really did blend into the next and I was so pleased with how it turned out.  Once blocked the yarn was so incredibly soft – I can’t wait to wrap myself up in this shawl this coming winter.

I did make a few modifications on the pattern (to adapt to 4 gradient colors rather than 6) and I used up about 640 yards of the set – almost all of the yardage on all the colors except the pink.  All of these notes are on my project page.

Overall I would definitely purchase one of these gradient sets in the future. I’ll have to think about a tonal project next….

Even more exciting than my review, Zen Yarn Garden currently has a giveaway contest going and you could win your very own Vocal Gradient Quartet. You can read all the details and enter the giveaway  here. The deadline is October 31, 2017 so don’t wait too long. Good luck!

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Zen Yarn Garden who sent me the Vocal Gradient Quartet (retail: $52.80) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

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Knit Me: Manos Del Uruguay, Alegria Grande

When Stitchcraft Marketing contacted me to see if I would be interested in knitting something out of Manos del Uruguay Alegria Grande I jumped at the chance.  Alegria Grande is the worsted weight version of the Alegria fingering weight yarn that I previously reviewed.  It has the same fiber content (75% superwash merino and 25% polyamide) and comes in 197 yard/100g skeins.  Fairmount Fibers was absolutely lovely and sent me a skein in the colorway of my choice, which happened to be Tannat.

As soon as the skein arrived at my house I decided it had to be a Calliope Cowlette, the new pattern release from Carina Spencer, that is made for variegated yarns!

I was really pleased with the Alegria Grande.  The yarn was super soft and squishy, and in the worsted weight had a nice bounce.  While Alegria Grande is available in semi-solid colorways (HELLO GORGEOUS SWEATERS!) it also comes in many variegated colorways perfect for that one skein project.

(Technically my project took 1.5 skeins but who’s counting?)

I found the whole process of knitting this cowl to be a “just one more row” knit. That is, I always wanted to do one more row, or see a few more stitches of color.  I’m so pleased to have a wonderful cowl for my fall wardrobe.

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Fairmount Fibers who sent me a skein of Alegria Grande (retail: $24.80) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Knit Me: Shepherd’s Lamb

A few months ago I was contacted by the folks over at Stitchcraft Marketing to see if I would be interested in knitting something out of Shepherd’s Lamb Organic Wool 2-ply DK yarn. Shepherd’s Lamb is produced on a ranch out of New Mexico that raises organic sheep that free graze in the mountains and valley.  They do raise sheep for meat, but also raise many for wool and they dye the yarn they produce using all natural dyes.

One of the yarns that Shepherd’s Lamb was offering for review was its 2-ply DK weight base, a 100% Rambouillet that comes in 180 yard skeins. When I had the opportunity to try out this yarn, Shepherd’s Lamb offered me my choice of colors.  While they do have set natural colors that they dye, each dye bath varies and each skein is unique.  I opted to try Indigo.

Once the yarn arrived, I decided that it should be a cabled hat. The yarn itself was soft and almost felt like cotton. It was super squishy and wooly feeling; it would probably be great in colorwork because it was quite sticky. I was pretty sure that it would have really great stitch definition, and I wasn’t wrong. I chose to knit Sea Beanie by the late Elena Nodel.

The only complaint I had about this yarn, and it was really more the dyeing than the yarn itself, was the indigo crocking.  Indigo is a natural dye that isn’t water soluble, so it never quite binds to the fiber in the dyeing process.  This means that when you knit with the yarn, particularly when your hands are warm, the dye adheres to your skin.  This isn’t the same as bleeding – when I washed the hat in water and wool soak the water ran completely clear, so it isn’t that the dye wasn’t set properly.  In the future I might try other colors since they are less likely to leave color on my hands.

Shepherd’s Lamb also has a newsletter which you can sign up for here.

A special thank you to Shepherd’s Lamb who sent me the yarn (retail: $16.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Knit Me: Mountain Meadow Wool Alpine

A few months ago I was contacted by the folks over at Stitchcraft Marketing to see if I would be interested in knitting something out of Mountain Meadow Wool. Mountain Meadow is a spinning mill set below the Big Horn Mountains on the Western Plains of Wyoming. It is a family operated mill, owned by Karen Hostetler, and dedicated to supporting local ranchers and raising awareness about ranching culture in the American West. Mountain Meadow is committed to revitalizing the American wool industry through eco-friendly operations and fair prices for ranchers.

One of the yarns that Mountain Meadow Wool was offering for review was its Alpine base.  Alpine is a DK weight 3-ply worsted spun yarn that is 100% Targhee merino and comes in 260 yard/100g skeins. When I had the opportunity to try out this yarn, Mountain Meadow Wool generously offered 2 skeins, and I eagerly selected the Moss Colorway.

I decided before the yarn arrived that I wanted to design something with this beautiful yarn.  Around the same time Frenchie of Aroha Knits did an Initiate Knit Design challenge.  I spent lots of time swatching and planning, and ultimately I knit an eternity loop with a leaf pattern.

The yarn was really a pleasure to work with.  I expected the Alpine to be a little rustic, but I was pleasantly surprised when it was so very soft. It was wooly, but was also super soft and almost cottony in feel.  Once washed, it bloomed and developed a really nice drape.  It stood up to some swatching and ripping and never showed any wear.   I would definitely consider this yarn again; I’m thinking I could use a sweater in it!

I finished knitting my sample last week, and this week the pattern, Wood Sorrel, is being tech edited and is then off to testers. I hope to release it in mid-May. Wood Sorrel will be available on Ravelry shortly.

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Mountain Meadow Wool who sent me the yarn (retail: $46.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Knit Me: Manos del Uruguay

A few months ago I was contacted by the folks over at Stitchcraft Marketing to see if I would be interested in knitting something out of Manos del Uruguay Alegria.  Alegria is a fingering weight yarn that is 75% superwash merino and 25% polyamide and comes in 445 yard/100g skeins. I went pattern surfing and decided I really wanted to knit a pair of socks.  Fairmount Fibers was absolutely lovely and sent me a skein in the colorway of my choice, which happened to be Turmeric.  I chose the Conwy Socks by Nancy Bush.

I was really pleased with the Alegria. It was perfect for the pattern I chose and I loved the stitch definition I got on those cables. The yarn was soft and had a really great hand. I also really enjoyed the warm color. Alegria is available in lots of great colors, and I really like their selection of semi-solid hues. I loved working with it for these socks, but I can also see myself using it for shawls or sweaters.

I only had two minor complaints about the yarn.  The first is that there was a knot in the middle of my skein. I understand that industry standard is up to two knots, so I can’t really complain about this, but I was a little disappointed anyway.   The other minor complaint is that there were a few sections of the yarn (usually less than an inch in length) where the yarn wasn’t plied as tightly and was a little fuzzier than the rest.  Overall those sections don’t really show in the finished object, which is why I consider it a minor complaint.

I found the whole process of knitting these socks very enjoyable and I ended up with really happy socks to welcome spring.

 

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Fairmount Fibers who sent me the yarn (retail: $24.50) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

The Corner of Knit & Tea: Episode 127, What season is it?

Welcome to episode 127! Lots of WIPs to talk about today, and a review of the new Love+Leche Sweet Sheep Lotion Bar.

Please come and join the Ravelry group.

You can also find me on Ravelry as FluffykTwitter, Instagram as Fluffykira, and in my shop The Corner of Knit & Tea.

Tea:

Knitting:

Spinning:

Extras:

  • A week or two ago I was contacted by the folks over at Stitchcraft Marketing to see if I would be interested in reviewing the new Sweet Sheep Lotion Bar from Love+Leche. You can find my full review here.  Love+Leche wanted to extend a special offer to followers of the podcast. Head on over to Love+Leche and use the coupon code “knittea.” If you buy one lotion bar in a tin (min. $14), you’ll also get a free mini balm sample ($4 value) in your order. This coupon will be good until 5/1/17.

 

Love+Leche Lotion Bars

A week or two ago I was contacted by the folks over at Stitchcraft Marketing to see if I would be interested in reviewing the new Sweet Sheep Lotion Bar from Love+Leche.

Love+Leche is a New Mexico company that specializes in producing soap and lotion bars from natural ingredients.   They use local beeswax, flowers, goat’s milk and essential oils to produce lovely bars. Love+Leche started in 2005 under the name Milk+Honey and started selling its soap and lotion bars at the Santa Fe Farmers Market. After growing the business for over ten years, in the last year or so the company decided to work with local artisans to create a lotion bar design just for knitters and fiber artists.

My lotion bar arrived with a sweet note, showing one of the goats whose milk is used in the bars.  The Sweet Sheep Lotion Bar comes in a variety of scents including Citrus Rose, Lavender, Lavender Mint, Lavender Rosemary, Lemongrass and Unscented. As you can see I selected Lemongrass.  Perhaps my favorite part is the sweet sheep mold that the bar came in.

I really enjoyed the clean fresh scent and the lotion bar made my hands feel fabulous. I really liked the bar because I got the benefits of lotion without having the extra liquid and greasiness that some lotions can leave.  In general I don’t use that many pampering products, but in winter my hands get dry, and any dry skin can snag fibers when I’m spinning. So I’m definitely keeping this lotion bar next to my spinning wheel and plan on enjoying it frequently!

Love+Leche wanted to extend a special offer to readers of my blog and followers of the podcast. Head on over to Love+Leche and use the coupon code “knittea.” If you buy one lotion bar in a tin (min. $14), you’ll also get a free mini balm sample ($4 value) in your order. This coupon will be good until 5/1/17.

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Love+Leche who sent me the Sweet Sheep Lotion Bar (retail: $15.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Knit Me: Louet Gems Worsted

About a month ago I was contacted by the folks over at Stitchcraft Marketing to see if I would be interested in knitting something with Louet Gems yarn.  Gems is Louet’s 100% Superwash Merino yarn that is both machine washable and dryable, making it a great choice for easy care knits. I had a choice of the sport or worsted weight, and I selected two skeins of the worsted weight in the colorway Peacock.  The worsted skeins come in 100g skeins with 175 yards per skein.

With two skeins, I decided to knit a scarf for my nephew for Christmas. I wanted something simple because he’s almost 12, and I figured he might not like anything fussy.  I settled on the Wheat pattern by Tin Can Knits.  Wheat is a garter stitch scarf with a simple ribbed panel throughout.

The Gems yarn was very nice to work with. It was very squishy and not at all splitty. I really liked the hand of the fabric and it only got softer and more enjoyable with a washing and blocking.  I will definitely be using Gems in the future for knits for my nieces and nephews. The colors offered are vivid and fresh, and I can imagine any number of sweaters or winter accessories. I will be interested to see how the Gems yarn wears over time, but so far I am completely pleased with it.

If you’re interested in purchasing some Gems yarn you can do so at the Louet website. As a special bonus, if you spend over $100 you can get a free copy of the new Fall 2016 pattern book, She Made them Her Own featuring patterns by Trudy Van Stralen.

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Louet North America who sent me the Gems yarn (retail: $31.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Knit Me: June Cashmere, DK

About a month ago I was contacted by the nice people over at Stitchcraft Marketing with an opportunity to review a skein of June Cashmere yarn.  June Cashmere works with farmers in Kyrgyzstan to ethically source cashmere. The fiber is then spun into yarn in Scotland and then dyed in rich jewel tones in Maine.

June Cashmere offers two weights of yarn: DK and Lace.  I opted for a skein of the DK weight yarn and chose the Scarlet colorway.  The DK yarn comes in 50 gram skeins with 150 yards of 100% pure cashmere.

The yarn arrived packaged beautifully with an 8.5″ x 11″ color booklet full of photographs about how the June Cashmere yarns come to be, as well as a color card (handy for future purchasing decisions).

I knew immediately that I wanted to make a rich luscious cowl out of this yarn.  I selected the Zuzu’s Petals pattern by Carina Spencer.  I did have to make a few modifications for gauge and yardage, but I couldn’t be more pleased with how the cowl turned out.

This yarn was pure joy to knit with.  It was so luscious and soft and the color is very intense.  I had a little trouble photographing the true color because it is so rich and saturated, and looks slightly different in different lights.  It had a lovely hand and I really enjoyed seeing the cowl take shape. After a simple blocking to open up the lace edging, the cowl is so amazingly soft and warm. I plan to give it as a holiday gift, but I’m sorely tempted to keep it for myself.

I will definitely be looking to June Cashmere for future cashmere purchases!

As a bonus for my blog readers, June Cashmere is conducting a drawing for three lucky winners. If you win, you have your choice of the DK or Lace weight in any color.  You can enter by signing up here with your email address.  The contest will be open until midnight on December 19, with winners drawn by June Cashmere on December 20. Good luck!

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at June Cashmere  who sent me the yarn (retail: $44.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

KnitMe: Filament No. 1, Fall 2016

Recently my friend Anne contacted me to let me know about a new venture she was launching, Knit Filament.  Knit Filament is a new publication that is the brainchild of Anne Podlesak and Kathleen Dames, designers and friends that celebrate their friendship and their love of designing lovely garments.  Anne asked if I’d be interested in reviewing a copy of their premiere issue, Filament No. 1 – Fall 2016.  Of course I said yes!

The issue arrived last week and I was immediately impressed by the printing quality. The booklet is 8.5 x 11″ with a sturdy cardstock cover, and lovely colorful pages.  My favorite thing about this first issue is its styling; the whole issue has a lovely vintage feel.

Filament No. 1 includes eight patterns for women including:

  • Four sweaters: 2 cardigans and 2 pullovers
  • A hat and gloves set
  • A shawl
  • A pair of socks
  • A cowl and fingerless mitts set

I should start by saying that I love all the patterns in the issue, but I wanted to share photos (with permission) of my two favorite items in the collection.

The first is a cabled sweater by Kathleen Dames called Beaton.  Beaton is the cover sweater and I absolutely love the cables (which I’m sure is no surprise to you) and the shawl collar. It also makes me want to knit a sweater in a neutral color. It looks so cozy for fall and winter.

Beaton by Kathleen Dames, pattern featured in Filament Issue No. 1, Fall 2016 or available on Ravelry

The second pattern that caught my eye is the pattern for the Milkweed Socks by Anne Podlesak.  I absolutely love the texture on these socks created by the different stitch patterns.  I have a skein of tweedy sock yarn that I think would be a perfect match!

Milkweed Socks by Anne Podlesak, pattern featured in Filament Issue No. 1, Fall 2016 or available on Ravelry

The remainder of the patterns in this volume are just as wonderful.

The issue itself features various modeled shots of the garments in the front section, followed by the pattern details in the back. Another detail that I love in the front section are the little sketches of the sweaters included along with the actual photographs. Obviously I haven’t knit anything from this volume yet, but all the patterns look to be well written, with clear, easy to follow instructions along with charts and schematics.  All in all, I would highly encourage you to give this one a look.

Filament No. 1, Fall 2016 can be purchased in hard copy from the Knit Filament website for $21 plus shipping. Included in each hard copy is a coupon code so you can also download the issue on Ravelry.

If you don’t want to order a physical copy, the issue can be purchased as a digital download only on Ravelry for $21.  Finally, patterns can also be purchased individually for between $5 and $7 per pattern.

Anne and Kathleen have also offer to give away a copy of Filament No. 1 to one lucky winner. Please head over to my Ravelry group for details on how to enter to win a copy of your own!

A special thank you to Anne and Kathleen at Knit Filament who sent me a copy of Issue No. 1 (retail: $21.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own, unless otherwise noted.