Category Archives: review
Recently Stitchcraft Marketing contacted me to see if I would be interested in knitting something out of Zen Yarn Garden’s Magical Dye Pot Series. The premise behind the Magical Dye Pot Series is that sets of 6 colorways are created for larger projects. Within these sets, the colors both coordinate and contrast. So you can order all 6 colorways and create an amazing “fade” project, or you can order any subset of colors from a single set and have colors that work well together within a single project.
Zen Yarn Garden generously offered me my choice of 3 skeins for a project. I chose the “C” series, and skeins C1, C3 and C6 (there are currently 6 series, A through F). All skeins are available on a variety of bases and Zen Yarn Garden dyes all their yarn to order, so your skeins are always made just for you. For this review I received the Superfine Merino Fingering weight base, which is 90% superfine merino/10% nylon and comes in 400 yards/100 gram skeins.
One I had placed my order, I went through my queue on Ravelry to find the perfect 3-color shawl pattern. I settled on Love Ewe Baby by Susanne Sommer, thinking all that brioche and textured stitching would be a lovely way to showcase the colors I picked.
I have worked with Zen Yarn Garden’s Superfine Merino Fingering base before and I love it. It’s super soft and bouncy and stands up well to being knit and ripped (oops!). This time I was struck by the amazing colors. In my last shawl I knit with two solids and two speckles. This time I had this amazing orange tonal to knit with. I couldn’t even count the shades of orange, red, pink and coral I could see in the yarn. It was super hard to photograph as you can see from the images above. I think the first shots of the yarn and the final shots of the finished shawl are as close to color correct as I can get them.
As I progressed through the pattern I just loved watching the colors play together.
I made very few modifications on this shawl. In fact, the only problem I had was I ran out of that gorgeous orange a few rows too soon and had to cut the final section short and finish the i-cord edgge in the brown (again a gorgeous almost opalescent dyed skein).
I will definitely be purchasing more from Zen Yarn Garden in the future!
A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Zen Yarn Garden who sent me the Magical Dye Pot Yarns (retail: $24.00/skein for a total of $72.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.
Recently Stitchcraft Marketing contacted me to see if I would be interested in trying the newest offering from Bijou Basin Ranch, Himalayan Summit. Himalayan Summit is a luxurious addition to their line. It comes in 325 yard/100 gram skeins and is an oh so soft mix of 50% Tibetan Yak and 50% Superfine Merino. I have knit with Bijou Basin yarns before, and they are all ultra-lush and wonderful to knit with. I eagerly selected a skein in the Turmeric colorway and started looking for patterns.
I decided I absolutely had to wear this skein close to my skin, and I’ve been looking for a luxurious new hat, so I perused my pattern queue on Ravelry and decided to knit Constellate by Hunter Hammersen. The yarn was just a little splitty (I chalk this up to the super fine stapled fibers in it), but had really great stitch definition that showed off the pattern to perfection. I’m calling mine Harvest Moon.
I mostly knit this hat on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and I was almost sorry when it was done because the yarn was so soft and wonderful to work with. I’m really pleased with the combination of the pattern and yarn, and my hat has been keeping me very warm during our single digit temperatures this week.
A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Bijou Basin Ranch who sent me a skein of Himalayan Summit (retail: $25.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.
Recently Stitchcraft Marketing contacted me to see if I would be interested in knitting with Brown Sheep‘s new Prairie Spun DK yarn. Brown Sheep is a family-owned and operated company up in Mitchell, Nebraska. I’ve actually always wanted to visit! Prairie Spun DK is a 100% US wool spun into a 3-ply DK weight yarn. It comes in skeins of 256 yards per 100 grams.
Brown Sheep generously offered to send me a pattern as well, and I selected the Prairie Grass Cowl designed by Patricia Kalthoff. I had trouble choosing from the vibrant colors in the lineup, both solid and variegated colorways. I ultimately picked 2 skeins of the Lost Lake colorway, which happened to be the colorway used in the pattern photos. Upon reflection, I might have used Honeycomb, which is more the colorway of prairie grass here in Kansas, but the teal blue I received was so gorgeous I don’t have any regrets.
The pattern itself is a good pattern if it’s your first time trying out cables. You can choose whether to knit the pattern as a scarf, using 1 skein of Prairie Spun DK, or as an eternity loop/cowl using 2 skeins. The pattern is a 4-row repeat which includes cabled edges, and then a series of cables that wave through the pattern a bit like prairie grass does in the wind. The only modification I made to the pattern was I went up one from the recommended needle sizes; the pattern calls for a US 7 but I thought the fabric was a bit dense, so I ended up using a US8.
The yarn performed beautifully. It held up to a bit of ripping at the beginning, but in general knit smoothly with nice stitch definition. The wool is surprisingly soft and yet a bit rustic at the same time. The biggest thing I noticed is that the wool is a bit sticky; I suspect it would be great for a steeked colorwork sweater. I don’t know if you can tell from the photos, but it appears that the wool may be a bit mixed. Every so often there were darker strands in the yarn that gave it a bit of a mottled look and added texture and depth to the color.
I expect I’ll be ordering a sweater quantity of Prairie Spun soon!
A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Brown Sheep who sent me 2 skeins of Prairie Spun DK (retail: $22.00) and the Prairie Grass Cowl Pattern (retail: $3.50) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.
Recently Stitchcraft Marketing contacted me to see if I would be interested in trying something from JUL Designs, a designer of adornments, accessories, bags and bag handles, and closures to accessorize knitted items. I spent a little while looking at the site, which features various bag handles, leather closures and shawl pins and sticks. Ultimately, I asked to review a shawl pin and JUL generously sent me their Apus Celtic Bird of Paradise Shawl Stick.
When I received the shawl pin, I thought it was very well executed. The pin is made from white brass and hand made through fair trade in Indonesia. The motif itself is about 3/4″ and the shawl pin is approximately 5 1/2″ in length. The motif is clean cut and I love the shading/aging on the pin.
From the JUL website, the design features the Apus:
Apus is a constellation in the southern sky that represents a Bird of Paradise. In Greek, Apus means ‘with no feet’ as the Bird of Paradise was thought, at one time, not to have any. You will notice that our Bird of Paradise, as its Greek name indicates, has no feet. Celtic illuminated letters that use animals to create the letter forms are our inspiration for our representation of this noble, footless bird.
I wanted to showcase how pretty this pin is and also how useful it could be, so I tried using it with a variety of knits. Specifically, I first tried it on a long open-front cardigan that was designed without closures. I do enjoy wearing it open, but I also like the idea of closing it up and accessorizing it with a beautiful pin.
I also pulled out my shawls and styled them with the pin. Though I tend to wear my shawls more bandana style, this pin offers a great solution to some of those shawlettes that I have trouble keeping on my shoulders.
I think the design and color of the pin makes it really versatile so I can wear it with many of my handknits. I look forward to trying it in the coming weeks.
Overall, I really liked the pin I received from JUL Designs. It appears to be stylish and well made, at a reasonable price.
A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at JUL Designs who sent me the Apus Celtic Bird Shawl Stick (retail: $22.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.
JUL Designs has sent me a coupon code for you to use. Between now and December 31 use the code “VERVE” and receive 10% off your purchase of the Apus Celtic Bird Shawl Stick.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- In Progress: Conwy by Nancy Bush, Manos del Uruguay Alegria in Turmeric
- In Progress: Find Your Fade by Andrea Mowry, Yarns: Lamby Toes Sweet Pea Sport in Sweet Tooth, Suzy Parker Yarns BFL in Tangerine Twist, Hedgehog Fibers Twist Sock in All That, Knitcircus overdyed by me, The Fiber Seed Sprout in Merlot, and Supernatural Yarns Nymph in Malfoy Manor.
- In Progress: Classic Cuffed Hat by Purl Soho, Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Edison Bulb
- In Progress: Cowl by Chrissy Prange (Leftsideknits), The Sanguine Gryphon Bugga in Dragonfly Tattoo
- Finished: The Topeka Twister Rolags & Mini batt Midnight Ocean
- On deck: Hello Yarn Falkland in Pounce
- 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.