Category Archives: Uncategorized
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.
As I did last year, I always like to look back at the year and see what I crafted.
This year’s official tally includes:
- 25 hats (baby and adult included)
- 10 pairs of socks (mostly adult, but a few for Roxy)
- 5 baby/kid sweaters
- 6 shawls
- 4 cowls
- 4 toys
- 2 pairs of slippers
- 3 pairs of mittens
- 4 washcloths
- 5 adult sweaters
- 2 blankets
- 1 scarf
- 10 mug cozies
Many, but not all, of the items are pictured above. I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings!
With the Thanksgiving holiday, the season is set into full swing and Black Friday heralds the opening of shopping season. I wanted to pull together a few suggestions for the tea and knit lovers in your life.
At the top of my list are subscriptions for wonderful gifts that keep on giving all year long.
For the tea lover in your life, you might consider a description to the Plum Deluxe Tea of the Month club. Club memberships are done on a quarterly basis, so you can give anywhere from 3-12 months of tea to someone special in your life. Send them one tea a month for $10 per month, or double their pleasure with 2 teas a month for $20 per month. I’m a member and have been enjoying the surprise in my mailbox each month!
For the knitter in your life there are too many options to choose from!
You could check out Yarnbox.com for a variety of knitting box subscriptions. Each month your favorite knitter will receive a box with yarn, a pattern and some fun extras at his or her door. Boxes range from $19.95 to $69.95. I haven’t personally tried this one, but I’ve heard good things and see beautiful items people receive!
If you’re looking for one special gift for your special someone, advent calendars are a great idea.
I particularly love the David’s Tea Advent Calendar which is 24 days of delightful tea and can be snapped up for $40. Get this one quickly because they always sell out!
For your knitter friend check out the Opal Advent Calendar box for 24 miniskeins of colorful Opal yarn for $60. The knitter could make ornaments for his or her tree, or a wonderful pair of stripey socks!
Black Friday Tea
If you’re planning to partake in a little Black Friday shopping, I could point you in the direction of a few of my favorite black teas!
- No. 5 Winter Blend from Churchmouse Yarn and Teas, 4oz for $14.00 (review here)
- Snowflake Tea from Lana’s The Little House, 4oz for $12.00 (review here)
- Downton Christmas Blend from Republic of Tea, Tin of 36 teabags for $12.00 (review here)
And finally a few knittea related items I have seen this season:
Sweet Orange Spice contains black tea, cinnamon, orange peels, clove buds, natural orange flavors, and natural cinnamon flavor.
I was able to purchase 2.1 oz of Sweet Orange Spice in a beautiful tin for $13.50. It doesn’t appear that you can order from The Perfect Blend Yarn & Tea shop online, so I include a link to Tea Forté’s Sweet Orange Spice page.
When I opened the canister I could smell the cinnamon and cloves and my mouth watered. I absolutely love spicy teas! Once brewing I could smell a bit of the orange. The taste was wonderful. It was sweet, but not too sweet, and the cinnamon and cloves added a spicy undertone. This was perfect for a chilly afternoon.
I saw this cute illustration on Instagram yesterday. Now if only there were a knitted sock or a garter stitch scarf in there, it would be perfect!
For years now I have wanted to go to Rhinebeck, or the New York Sheep & Wool festival held in the Rhinebeck Valley in New York in the fall. Late last year Ana and (sadly blogless) Beth and I decided that 2016 was the year.
In our flurry of preparations, we have each been talking about knitting a sweater for the event for months now. The “Rhinebeck sweater” is a ritual that many festival attendees create each year. I spent some time trying to decide what kind of sweater I would want to wear at Rhinebeck (I’m hoping the weather cooperates – some years it is hot and others it is snowy!). Frankly, I wanted it to be a sweater of the “magnum opus” variety. That is, I wanted to knit something spectacular to wear there. So I perused Ravelry and came up with something I really thought would be a good fit for me. Cables? Check. Tunic length, meaning excessive yardage? Check. Overall cozy New England feel? Check. Good for use in Kansas winter? Check. I selected Dallas by Amy Miller.
Next it was time to ponder yarn choices. The pattern called for Plucky Primo Worsted which was a little out of my budget. I debated whether I wanted my yarn to be buttery soft, but with potential for pilling (thank you Yarn Harlot for making me realize I was making yarn noises!), or a bit hardier but eliciting a fewer oohs and ahhs. I also wanted to buy a color I didn’t already have in my wardrobe. I ended up deciding to use Cascade 220 in a fabulous green shade called Irlande.
Then I set about swatching for my sweater. I don’t always take the time to swatch carefully before knitting (I know… I know…) but I really wanted this sweater to be a success. As I knit the swatch, however, I found that I wasn’t completely excited about the sweater. I don’t know whether it was the seed stitch in the cable, or the suggested positive ease of 4-9 inches, but I wasn’t feeling this sweater.
So I had a little heart to heart with myself (and some text messages with a friend). I went through the pattern search on Ravelry again. I looked for my cables, and my extra yardage, and my “New England feel but good for Kansas weather” sweater. And I re-swatched. And I’m happier with my second choice – Ardara by Carol Feller.
So now I wait for the swatches to dry and I contemplate all the possibilities for my Rhinebeck sweater. I guess I’d better get to knitting pretty soon, right?
Earlier this week a friend posted some delightful looking mugs from Stuff You Love. I had to go check it out for myself. These are my favorites!
This blend contains nothing but Tung Ting Oolong tea.
Tung Ting Oolong is available in a sample size for $2.50 and a pack of 15 tea temples for $14.99.
I really like oolong teas in general because they are slightly milder than black teas, but still have that nice tea flavor. This one smelled fairly complex – it definitely had a bit more of the taste like a green tea and a bit of smokiness too. And yet it was very light and refreshing. I added just a bit of sweetener because I like my teas sweet, but I think it would be delightful plain to. It was the perfect complement to my stir fry lunch, but I think it would be wonderful with a mid-afternoon tea and cookie break as well.
You might imagine I could get behind a company whose slogan is “Drink more tea, read more books.” The Literary Tea Co. is a purveyor of organic teas “inspired by literary geniuses.”
Why not try a cup of William Shakespeare Tea, a blend of black tea with orange peels and rose petals?
Or perhaps some Charlotte Bronte tea, organic peppermint with lemon peel and apple?
Check out these and others including writers from J.R.R. Tolkein to Edgar Allan Poe.
Recently a friend sent me the link to this London Fog Cake with Earl Grey Buttercream on A Beautiful Plate (photo credit goes to her delightful shots). If ever I needed an excuse for tea and cake…