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The past two weeks marked a lot of knitting and two big finishes for me.
First I finished my my Banana Leaf Shawl by Yuki Ueda knit in Northbound Knitting BFL/Silk Lace in Metallurgy. This knit was strange. I stalled out on it, but never stopped wanting to wear the finished object. I finished it while I was in Chicago two weekends ago, and I can’t wait for the chill of fall so I can wear it.
I think this project was the perfect marriage of yarn and pattern. The yarn itself is luminous and even though the metallic tones may not be the most flattering on me, it knit up so beautifully. The pattern is simple; it doesn’t distract from the yarn, but there is enough texture to make it interesting to look at.
The second big project I finished is the blanket for my mom. I used the Memory Blanket by Georgie Nicolson as my inspiration, and then made it my own. This used scraps of worsted weight held singly and fingering weight held doubly. I knit a total of 121 squares and then did an applied i-cord edging to tie it all together. It’s now a decent lap-sized blanket (I confess I haven’t taken final measurements). It needs a good blocking and then I’ll send it off to my mom to enjoy. Thanks to any readers who contributed scraps to this blanket. While many of the blocks came from yarn from my stash, I also had a good amount of help from knitting friends.
With two big projects off the needles, it must be time to cast on for more! During my trip to Chicago I started a new shawl, Albuquerque Sunset by designer Casapinka. I’m using a sock blank that I dyed as a gradient, and a skein of Cascade Heritage sock in Italian Plum that was in the stash. I’ve just begun the third section and I’m loving the way this is knitting up. It’s bright and happy.
I’ve also been swatching for sweaters. No photos, but I have a secret project I’ll be working on in the next few months as well as a sweater for Roxy. Also maybe some more socks for Sock it to Summer? Stay tuned!
Lazadas is an Israeli company, started by a knitter who wasn’t happy with the tools she was finding. So she set out to design her own.
The Multi-Purpose Project Caddy functions both as a project bag and a yarn bowl. Opened, the caddy can hold several skeins of yarn (or just one big skein of yarn!) like a yarn bowl.
When you’re ready to transport your project, or just stow it away for safe keeping, slip the handle through the slit on the opposite side and you have an easy carrying case for your knitting.
The caddy comes in three jeweled tones: Electric Violet (shown here), Spring Teal and Hot Pink. It is made out of lightweight flexible silicon. A lot of attention has been show to detail – there are knitting graphics everywhere, and my favorite part are the holes on the sides that are super useful for any stranded knitting projects you might create.
Overall, I really like this tool and it will be sitting next to me on the couch for many of my upcoming projects. Lazadas also sells flexible blocking wires, if you’re interested in additional accessories. If you’re looking for retailers around the globe, you can find them here.
A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Lazadas who sent me the Multi-Purpose Project Caddy (retail: $49) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.
So I took April to work on projects that had been languishing by the wayside. I’m happy to report that I have been doing pretty well on that mission. But…I still haven’t finished anything. And as the end of the month looms, I don’t know if I’m actually going to finish any WIPs this month.
I have been making great progress on my Banana Leaf Shawl by Yuki Ueda knit in Northbound Knitting BFL/Silk Lace in Metallurgy. This one has been surprisingly enjoyable to knit and I’ve been using a progress keeper (detachable stitch marker) to track my weekly progress. At last count I had about 40g left of yarn. I’ve decided that I need to start the end of the shawl when I hit about 18g or so left, so soon it will be time to do something different. I’m not sure I’ll have it done quite by the end of the month, but I’m hoping a car trip at the beginning of May will finish this one off. Here’s where it was at as of last night:
I finished my Wolf River on Saturday, so I immediately picked up my mom’s memory blanket, which I showed you last week. I have one more square left to finish the 10th set – meaning 100 squares on the blanket. I should be able to crank that one out when I get home tonight, which leaves me with 21 squares, a border, and weaving in ends. You see why this one is a squeaker? Add to that the fact that I’m struggling to find new variegated yarns to incorporate. This week I’m breaking into new balls of yarn and winding off my 10g for a square here and there. I must be mad! I do have the yarn for the border handy so I can start on that as soon as I finish my squares.
I did finish my Wolf River by Melissa Schaschwary, but I haven’t blocked it yet so I have no new photos. Look at last week’s photo and imagine a second sleeve?
Then it’s time to consider new projects! Watch this space next week for my May knits; I have a shawl planned, a second sock, and a sweater for Roxy. And maybe a few more WIPs?
About a month ago, Stitchcraft Marketing contacted me to see if I would be interested in trying some South African yarn, Vinni’s Colours Bambi, from Be Sweet Yarns. I knew I had a baby gift to knit, and was excited to try a new to me yarn. Vinni’s Colours is owned by Vinni Nielsen, a Denmark native who has lived in South Africa for over a decade. There she started creating hand-dyed yarns in her kitchen and now employs many people in two factory buildings in Cape Town. Her Bambi yarn base is a 70% cotton slub and 30% bamboo yarn in a DK/light worsted weight. Skeins are 50g and approximately 96 yards (88 meters). I had my choice of her colors ranging from pastels to vibrants, and I chose 2 skeins of the Indigo colorway.
I knew I wanted to make a baby gift for a little boy due in April, so I settled on Milo by Georgie Nicholson. This sweet vest comes in a variety of sizes and you can choose-your-own cable pattern to make it your own.
Right away, I was very pleased with my choice of yarn and pattern. The yarn was lovely to knit with. It is lightweight and a bit textured and slubby, which was fun to work with. The yarn itself is quite soft (even more so after washing) and it knit up beautifully.
Of course, I haven’t had a mishap in a while, so I might have gotten a little cocky. When using hand-dyed yarns the cardinal rule is to alternate skeins so any subtle color differences are blended together. Do as I say, and apparently not as I do.
For some reason I can’t fathom, I didn’t alternate skeins. And this wasn’t immediately apparent to me until yesterday, when I washed and dried my baby gift and popped it into the light box to grab a few photos, and what should appear but an extremely distinct line right where I changed skeins. I want to stress that this is absolutely no fault of the yarn dyer; this was my mismanagement of the skeins. However it took a bit of the wind out of my sails. I suspect I’ll probably rip and re-knit part of this vest this week.
That said the yarn was lovely to work with and the perfect yarn for a summer baby and this cute little pattern. I also think it would make a great summer top if you live somewhere where the heat index hits the triple digits. I may have to try that this summer!
A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Be Sweet Yarns who sent me 2 skeins of Vinni’s Colours Bambi (retail: $21.98) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.
This was a week for finishing things!
After I posted on Wednesday of last week, I went to knit night and finished the body of the poncho and picked up stitches for the ribbed collar. Thursday turned out to be icy so I worked from home and, in the lulls between tasks and emails, I was able to knit through the collar. That evening I wove in my ends and did some light blocking and I was done! (Ok, technically I still need to add buttons to the collar, but I’m calling it a podium finish.)
Once my poncho was off the needles, I was eager to start new projects but instead made myself pick up a project that had fallen by the wayside, some handspun socks. These socks were my Christmas Eve cast-on (oops!), but got brushed aside for some January and February knits. My goal was to finish them before the end of the month.
These were knit out of my handspun from Hello Yarn Corriedale fiber in the Poisoned Apples colorway.
I used David Schulz’s Toe-Up Sock Cookbook which is a great pattern, especially if you’re working with handspun.
I finished these last night before bed!
So what’s next? I have another project waiting in the wings. (Technically it is waiting with a friend – I accidentally left it at knit night last week and a wonderful knitting buddy held it for me until tonight!). This is going to be a Lowbrow Cowl using some yarn that my boss brought me from his trip to Australia a few years ago.
Finally, since the sock needles are empty, I need to cast on again. I picked up a skein of a new-to-me yarn, H&W Comfort Sockenwolle in the Cherry Blossom colorway, and I’m going to knit some vanilla socks in super pretty stripes.
The most interesting part about this new cast on is that I purchased some Addi FlexiFlips needles to test out. More about those next week!
For the past 10 years (and for several years before that) I have met with a group of friends for knit night. In Los Angeles it was at my local yarn store, and in the beginning in Kansas it was at a local yarn store, but sadly both stores have closed. Now my closest friends and I get together once a week and knit and talk and laugh. I decided that since every Wednesday is knit night, I’m going to start a Wednesday Knit Night post tradition to talk about what’s on my needles.
Ever since the Yarn Harlot started it, I’ve been participating in the Ravellenic Games. Basically, any time there are Olympics (winter or summer), I select a project to complete while watching the Olympic Games. This year I decided to pull some yarn out of stash and knit a Potawatomi by Carol Sunday. I’m using Sunday Yarns Nirvana 5-ply, a 90% superfine merino and 10% cashmere yarn, in a beautiful mauve color called Berry.
My goal is this:
I purchased my kit a few years ago already, but was anxious to get started for this year.
The last official picture that I took was when I was partway through the front section:
At this point I’m almost done with the body, and ready to cast on for that cozy ribbed collar. I hope to get the collar started, if not finished, tonight at knit night. Then all that’s left will be to unravel that column of stitches to the right of the cable, and knot it into fringe.
Bring on knit night!
I think the color is probably most accurate in the middle photo.
I’m awash in samples from Tea Runners! This week I brought Water Sprite Oolong to work to try.
Water Sprite Oolong is pure oolong tea from a family farm high up in the mountains of Southeast China.
The first thing I noticed when I opened the bag is how smoky this tea is. The packaging suggests there is some honey sweetness “balanced with strong earthy tones,” but all I got from this one was a smoky smell and taste. In general, I find oolongs very mellow and I enjoy them, but I think this one was too smoky for me. I enjoyed trying it, but I wouldn’t add it to my permanent collection.
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.
Many, many months ago (I’m ashamed to count how many) my friend Ana brought me a few bags of Tea-Historic tea that she had picked up at a local festival. I pulled them out for sampling in the next few weeks and went to the website to do more research and learned that Tea-Historic is closing up shop! That will teach me to delay in reviewing.
The first tea I wanted to review was Tea-Historic Cretaceous Cinnamon. From the package, Cretaceous Cinnamon contains Assam black tea, and cinnamon sticks.
Tea-Historic teas are available in 1oz increments for $6 per ounce.
When I opened the package I was interested to see big chunks of cinnamon sticks in with the black tea. The tea itself smelled wonderfully of cinnamon, both before and after brewing. It was a delightfully strong black tea, with the taste of warm (but not spicy) cinnamon. It was perfect for a mid-afternoon cup.
Welcome to episode 167! I feel like I got lots done this week, but since I’m in the middle of some larger projects it’s all WIPS! Ok, I have a finished knit and spin, but lots more I want to do before the end of the month.
Please come and join the Ravelry group.
- Finished: Classic Cuffed Hat by Purl Soho, Cozy Colorworks Fingering Weight Merino in Vineyard
- In progress: Ten Stitch Twist by Frankie Brown, Opal Advent Calendar
- In progress: Love Ewe Baby by Susanne Sommer, Zen Yarn Garden Magic Dyepot Series in C-1, C-3 and C-6.