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.
Before Christmas, Stitchcraft Marketing contacted me to see if I would be interested in trying some bulky yarn, Sweets Chunky, from Delicious Yarns. At that time the temperatures hovered around zero and a squishy, thick hat sounded fabulous. Sweets Chunky is a 100% superwash merino base and comes in 105 yard skeins. I selected 2 skeins of the Raspberry Fudge colorway.
When the yarn arrived I loved the bright pink colors and set about searching for the perfect chunky weight hat. Given that the yarn was variegated, I wanted a garter stitch pattern that would show the beautiful colors off to perfection. I settled on Capucine, a hat I have had in my queue for ages.
Almost as soon as I started knitting, I knew I had made the right choice.
This hat was a super quick knit – just two nights worth of work – but it was a joy to knit. The yarn is quite a bit thicker than I am used to, but it is squishy and bouncy and it was so much fun to see how the colors played together. Given that the stitch count changes quite a bit through the pattern, I didn’t have trouble with too much pooling and overall I love the effect.
I had a bit of trouble with the hat pattern. Sweets Chunky is classified as a Bulky Weight yarn so I followed the pattern for that weight yarn. What I found is that I had to improvise a bit or the hat would have been ridiculously large (and it’s still big). I ended up using a little over 1 1/2 skeins to knit the hat and then add all the trimmings. I opted to do braids and a pom pom rather than the tassels that the pattern called for.
The end result is so much fun! The hat is a little big on me so it may go to another loving home, but I’m ready to order more yarn to make my own. Delicious Yarns offers a variety of other yarn weights and dyeing techniques, all in bright, fun colors.
A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Delicious Yarns who sent me 2 skeins of Sweets Chunky (retail: $68.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.
Welcome to episode 168! This one was delayed because our internet has been down. I did get lots of knitting and spinning done though! Also I announce the creation of a Ravellenic Games team, Team CKT. Please come and join us!
Please come and join the Ravelry group.
- Finished: Love Ewe Baby by Susanne Sommer, Zen Yarn Garden Magic Dyepot Series in C-1, C-3 and C-6.
- In progress: Ten Stitch Twist by Frankie Brown, Opal Advent Calendar
- In progress: Memory Blanket by Georgie Nicholson
- On deck: LoveSocks by Devon Clement
- I’ve started a team for the Ravellenic Games! Please come join Team CKT!
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.
Welcome to episode 164! I didn’t get a ton of knitting done this week, but I have a few things to show you. I wish you and your loved ones happy holidays! I’ll see you next week, before the new year, with Liz as a guest.
Please come and join the Ravelry group.
- In progress: Constellate by Hunter Hammersen, Bijou Basin Himalayan Summit in Turmeric
- In progress: Ten Stitch Twist by Frankie Brown, Opal Advent Calendar
- On deck: David’s Toe up Sock Recipe by David Schulz, my handspun (Christmas Eve cast-on)
- On deck: Olivia by Kim Hargreaves, Cloudborn Highland DK in Autumn Heather
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.
Welcome to episode 157! This week I have a two FOs and reviews – Zen Yarn Garden Gradient Quartets and the Strickplaner from Martina Behm. I also have some other knits and a bit of a catch up since it’s been two weeks.
Please come and join the Ravelry group.
- Finished: Aurorae by Helen Stewart, Zen Yarn Garden Gradient Set – Vocal Quartet (for an upcoming review)
- Finished: One for the Books by Martina Behm, Schoppel Wolle Crazy Zauberball in Colorway 2250, Jacket and Trousers
- In progress: Fomhar by Anne Podlesak, Dream in Color Smooshy in Flamingo Pie
- In progress: Vanilla Socks for Roxy, Knit Picks Felici in Fanciful
- Finished: Falkland in Hydrangea (dyed by me)
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.