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  • knitting1105 11:22 am on April 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Yarn Con 2017 

    This year I met up with all my good knitting buddies from Snb at Yarn Con.  Because of a teaching conflict on Monday nights, I have not been to knitting all semester, and it is just not as much fun to knit alone.  It was like reunion day seeing everyone in line, and then we went out to lunch together at Inspiration Kitchen, a great restaurant idea.

    Here is a video showing highlights from Yarn Con.  You will see 2 of my SnB buddies in there, and even a shot of yours truly, which much as I hate photos, I was okay with this one.  Those of you who know my knitting may recognize me by a certain handspun hand knit shawl.

     

    The colors were all pretty, and many new vendors.  However, I was not in the market for any new yarn, and nothing was a must have for me.  Here are my purchases:

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    Some sock yarn from Three Irish Girls, I have seen their yarn before, but never tried it, these bright colors spoke to me.  Sock yarn is always a safe purchase.

    A couple of note cards, obviously reserved for special appreciating folks.

    And little fabric holders to keep my DPN’s all together in their drawers.

    Thats it!  I was so excited to go, and happy with my little purchases.

     
    • Yvonne Creanga 11:52 am on April 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I might need to plan on a visit sometime down the road. It look intoxicatingly fun.

      Like

    • Barbara Mayer 8:11 am on April 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      We miss you, Frances! It was a wonderful day!

      Like

    • Diane F Hamilton 12:21 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Oh my, after seeing all the picture of Yarn Con I am so impressed that you walked away with just a couple of items!

      Like

  • knitting1105 3:18 pm on December 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Shelter yarn   

    7, 6, 5, 4 

    No, not a countdown to New Years Eve, but rather a countdown of needle sizes to find the one that works best.

    This Christmas I gave Dan 14 skeins of yarn.  A brilliant gift, that gives back.  (Plus I had a $50 Gift Certificate, it was also 20% off, so a great bargain as well).  This yarn has been on my wish list to knit with.  It is Shelter by Brooklyn Tweed, the color is Birdbook (not sure exactly what that means).

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    The sheep are all American, and it is processed in the US as well.  And soft to boot.  Here is the story of the sheep from Wyoming, and the yarn processed in New Hampshire.

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    The yarn is  a soft woolen spun :

    The distinctive character of Targhee-Columbia wool shines in Shelter, our versatile medium-weight yarn. Shelter is woolen spun, meaning the fibers remain in a lofty jumble that traps air and offers remarkable warmth and lightness. Its two plies are gently twisted to preserve that buoyant quality, so Shelter is a little more delicate than most commercial yarns. Woolen-spun yarns are also more adaptable in gauge, as they can compress to a dense sport weight or bloom to cohere as a gauzy fabric when worked on large needles. Shelter has a dry, soft hand and a faintly rustic nature; woolen spinning sometimes results in slightly thinner or thicker sections, and you’ll find the occasional fleck of vegetable matter that proves our wool is never treated with harsh chemicals. Garments knit from Shelter achieve their full beauty after a wet blocking, as each stitch relaxes and bonds with its neighbors to produce an even, light, plush fabric with a halo. You shouldn’t notice any change in gauge. Shelter is designed to be a workhorse yarn that invites cables, ribbing, textured stitch motifs, open work, plain stockinette and garter stitch. We think it’s ideal for sweaters of every variety, winter accessories, and blankets.

    The green tweed is lovely, but I really wanted to make sure that Dan liked it as well, which he did.  Gauge on this yarn says 20 sts/4″ with size 7 needles.  I started with that, but it was so loose and sloppy that I tore it out, it probably would have been good to keep as an example.  Then I progressively went d0own in needle size, I was thinking that eventually the fabric would just become too dense, but it didn’t.

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    Size 6 was still wonky, with large gaps between the rows.

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    Size 5 was getting better, but not the fabric drape that I was looking for.

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    Amazingly enough, size 4 was a perfect fit.  18 sts/4″.

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    All the time while working these swatches, I was thinking that I wanted to make a sweater using the English Tailoring method that I had learned in a couple of Vogue Knitting Live classes from Julie Weisenberger, aka cocoknits.

    I chose the pattern Antonia/Antonio.  This pattern has a gauge of 18 sts/ 4″, a perfect fit.  I was prepared however to adjust the sizing once I got the fabric density correct.  I am not sure who could get the gauge of 20 sts/ 4″ with this yarn on size 7 needles.

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    The sweater starts at the top and is knit down with no seams. I will add hidden pockets to this, and most likely a bit longer in the torso, as Dan is fairly tall.   A brilliant gift if you ask me, this makes gift giving so much more pleasurable.  Plus I can try it on him as I go.

     
  • knitting1105 3:09 pm on August 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Sustainable Yarns   

    Yarn Crawl Part II 

    Last Friday I had some returns to make in the Western Suburbs, so decided to continue the Yarn Crawl, and hopefully make it to 10 stores, which I succeeded in doing.  It was not as fun going alone however.

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    A couple of the stores had run out of buttons, not anticipating how popular the totes and buttons would be.  Perhaps they will have a better sense next year. Not sure exactly what I will do with the bag, but it was fun to collect them.

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    The crawl introduced me to a couple of new stores that I had never been to and will definitely return to.  It also alerted me to a couple that I have no interest in going to again. It was interesting to see all of the different personalities of the stores, and what their target audience is.  While no one store met my requirements for a “dream yarn shop”, there were facets of many that I liked.

    Since my recent bout with Chinese fake mink yarn, it has strengthened my resolve to first purchase US or Canadian yarn, preferably with the wool sourced here, and spun and processed here also.  So, it was exciting ot see this yarn, Swans Island at String Theory (I think that they also carried it at Knit 1), all US grown and processed, 100% Rambouillet.

    I spent forever looking at the colors and trying to decide what to purchase.  My thought was to make a pair of Fair Isle mitts.  Purple and Green are always a favorite combo of mine.  This is such a nice squishy woolen spun yarn.

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    Also at Sting Theory, I purchased this super soft Merino from Patagonia, wool folk.   They are working with Sustainable practices in Patagonia:

    Woolfolk yarns combine the highest quality wool with ethical, sustainable practices. The fiber we use, Ultimate Merino®, doesn’t happen by chance, but by the innovative efforts of farmers to produce the very best wool fiber while being land stewards of the Patagonian Grasslands. Woolfolk brings this exquisitely soft and lustrous fiber in handknitting yarns that preserves the unique attributes of this luxurious wool.

    This yarn is destined to become a pair of Eiffel Tower mittens, a pattern that was gifted to me on my birthday a couple of years ago.

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    And, while I did not purchase anything from Fiberista this past week, they are now carrying Jared Flood’s Shelter yarn.  I am truly excited to have a local source for this, and will be planning a sweater with that yarn in the fall.  Another US made and produced yarn.

    We are passionate about wool, knitting and design. We develop and manufacture breed-specific yarns that support domestic textile production—designing, sourcing, dyeing and spinning our yarns within the USA. Our design team is committed to producing high-quality, sophisticated knitwear patterns for the modern handknitter, especially tailored for the wool yarns we create.

    In addition to eating local, I am trying to buy local, and wool is a great place to start.

    Last note, I just got an email that I won a book at one of the stores on Yarn Crawl!!!

     
    • Diane Hamilton 9:04 pm on August 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Congratulations on the free book, always fun to win something. I love purple and green together too. Looks like you found some treasures for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 10:56 am on August 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I did! Will show you when you get here.

        Like

    • salpal1 7:17 am on August 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      good choices! Glad you found Swan’s Island – it’s local to me and I love it. I also love Quince and Co – another Maine company using all USA wool. It’s fun to shop locally!

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 10:56 am on August 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Oh, lucky that you live so close to 2 great yarn companies. Never been to Maine, it is on my list.

        Liked by 1 person

  • knitting1105 8:10 pm on July 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Mrs. Crosby, Satchel,   

    Glad to be finished 

    This pair of socks seemed ot have taken forever to knit, I am thinking because I was not enjoying the yarn.  The yarn is one of the things that I won at YarnCon.  It is Mrs. Crosby Satchel yarn, color Northern Parula.

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    The yarn is a single ply, and I found it not to be a pleasure to knit with.  The single ply would split occasionally while I was working with it, and there were places in the yarn where it got quite a bit bulkier, a thick and thin type of yarn, although not throughout the skein.  This color would not be a choice of mine, and I am pessimistic on how the socks will hold up.

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    The pattern is a simple twisted rib, and then I used some workhorse sock yarn for the heels and toes.

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    These will be gifted to my husband, and I will watch carefully how they wear.

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    Now to decide my next socks, always love to have a pair on the needles, as it is a great travel project.

     

     
    • Diane F Hamilton 5:02 pm on July 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I hope Dan “wears” them well.

      Like

  • knitting1105 1:45 pm on July 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Fake yarn, lace shawl, Lotus yarns, Mimi yarn, mink yarn, Recalled Yarn, Trendsetters   

    The real thing? 

    When a local yarn store, Knot Just Knits, was going out of business last year I  bought only a few items.  One of them was Mimi Yarn by Lotus, and distributed by Trendsetter, advertised as 100% Mink.

    Advertised.

    Recently, I pulled out this yarn, wound a ball and decided to knit a shawl with it for a gift.  Part way through I was thinking that I would like another skein to allow me to make the shawl larger.   That’s when I found this:

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    Apparently, there never was any Mink in this yarn, just wool, angora, rayon and nylon.  It is very soft, but not mink.  I was wondering how this could be at the given price.   Trendsetter was offering a rebate to your local yarn store (out of business) provided you sent back the original yarn and your receipt.  Who keeps yarn receipts?  So, without that I thought that I would most likely not get a good response from Trendsetter, and since I was already part way through my shawl, I opted to continue, and just kept weighing the yarn to make sure that I was going to have enough to finish.

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    Haurni is the pattern that I knit up. and luckily, the designer was very clear that when you finish Part A, Part B uses about 50% of the yarn.  Years ago I had knit this shawl, and remembered this part, I just was not certain how close it was going to be.  I was able to add an extra repeat in the shawl to make it a tad bit bigger.

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    The pattern is fun, well written, and easy to expand.  You can check out my previous version of this shawl HERE. and HERE, I had forgotten that I have made this twice before!!! And I did have enough yarn to finish, not a ton left, but not a scary nail biting finish.

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    The shawl really comes alive when it is blocked.   I had a specific person in mind for this, I will have to see how I like it when the blocking is finished.

    This is a good blog post about the Fake Yarn.  Well, a country that poisons their own babies with tainted formula, our dogs with bad pet food, and substituting plastic for rice!  I am now even more committed to purchasing yarn that was first grown and spun in the US, and second from a reliable Scandinavian or European country.  Or back to spinning my own from fiber of local farmers, the best solution if I have the time.

    Careful people, the USDA now allows all of our meat to be sent to China for processing.

     
    • salpal1 4:11 pm on July 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      That is horrible! I do try to use locally produced stuff wherever possible, but it never occurred to me to distrust the label on yarn. grrr. glad you had enough to finish it!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Diane Hamilton 11:36 pm on July 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      That is such a pretty shawl. I would have contacted the company to see if they had any extra yarn anyway, never hurts to ask. I am sorry the yarn was misrepresented, it seems that happens more than we know in all sorts of arenas. Whoever is the lucky recipient will treasure your hard and beautiful work. After-all you are an award winning knitter. Love the color.

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 12:18 pm on July 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        My guess is that they would have destroyed the extra recalled yarns, but maybe not. I will see how it blocks out. Thanks for all the encouragement, as always.

        Like

  • knitting1105 3:23 pm on June 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Yarn Destash 

    Our local Stitch ‘n Bitch group had a yarn destash party on Friday night hosted by Barb.  Everyone brought books, yarn, knitting bags, etc that they were happy to part with.  We all drew numbers and took turns picking one item, or one group at a time until everyone had enough.  And the leftovers were donated to a local charity resale shop that has a knitting/sewing section.

    A good time was had by all, and everyone left with some “new to them” book or yarn.  I was really happy with what I scored.  Although when I left home I was hoping to not return with any yarn.  It is exciting to think about what to make with what I have acquired.

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    My favorite is KnitPicks Palette in beautiful colors, with black, brown and white as neutrals.  9 balls at 231 yards should give me lots of options.

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    This yarn has been floating around the group for awhile.  It was donated to Jane’s charity knitting first.  9 skeins at 225 yards of beautiful wool, spun at a small mill in Wisconsin.  I think enough for a sweater.  The color is reminiscent of camel.

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    Also in the first photo are 4 balls of Rowan Cotton Glace in a bright orange, 4 skiers of Dale of Norway Tiur in a beautiful eggplant, 1 skein of Berroco Inca Gold in a chocolate brown, and 1 skein of Berroco Peruvia in Chocolate Brown, and a skein of multi colored sock yarn.

    One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure.

     

     

     
  • knitting1105 3:44 pm on February 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Dawn 

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    Years ago, I purchased the book The Fine Line at Stitches Midwest, where I also met Grace Anna Farrow and got so see these shawls knit up first hand.

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    I was smitten, and purchased yarn on the spot to make Volt.  A little while later I knit Dusk, with yarn that I purchased in a local shop.  One of my blog posts years ago, while trying to follow prompts on writing, focused on Grace Anna Farrow, while simple, I think that her shawls are really elegant and drape very well.  And I love Isaeger Wool 1, it is a 2ply wool from Denmark, and has a real soft “sheep” feel to it.

    Recently, our Stitch n’ Bitch group started on another charity project.  One of our members is the CEO of the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force.  Their goal is to improve quality of care, and reduce the disparity of survival rates among low income and minority women.  A truly great organization.  Several people are jointly making a baby basket gift, so I asked Anne Marie, what else would be appropriate.  She suggested a shawl.

    Wanting to knit from my stash, I looked through what I had, and came across the lovely Isaeger Wool 1 yarns, and looked to see what shawl to knit.  My knitting group unanimously choose Dawn.  And these were my initial color choices:

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    But, I just didn’t feel that the dark eggplant color fit in, and found a skein of a light blue already wound up.  I started knitting, taking this on a short weekend family trip.  Perfect plane and car knitting.  That is, until you leave your knitting book in the seat pocket of the airplane.  I discovered this too late to retrieve it.  While waiting for my husband to arrive on a different flight, I went online and quickly discovered that the book was long out of print, but found a store that still had a copy (I really like books better than PDF’s).  but that did not help my  weekend knitting plans, so I also ordered the PDF to have on my iPad.  I must really like this book to have purchased it 3 times!

    Here is my finished project, it is so light  and airy and drapes well.

    Dawn

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    I tried to do a selfie in the mirror, to no avail.  I need to have someone model this.

    So loved knitting with this again, that I ordered some more, my color selection was becoming very limited!

     
  • knitting1105 2:15 pm on February 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Free Shipping made me do it! 

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor my Batwing pullover, I needed to order some additional balls of Karabella Aurora 8 yarn for the collar.  Happily I found them at Hampton Knitting Yarn, and ordered up 6 balls in the now discontinued color.  Of course, that total came to almost $60, and shipping would have been an additional $6+/-.  If I hit $100, everything would ship for “free”….

    Who could resist that argument?

    Not me….

    A good friends swears that sock yarn does not count in your stash.  For sure, it is one thing that I will definitely use.  Nice handwritten thank-you note with the yarn, and some mints.  Quick service too.  I love the colors of the Cherry Tree Hill yarn, will be fun to find patterns for.

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  • knitting1105 4:53 pm on January 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Pullover Progressing 

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    Batwing Pullover pieces

    All but the collar is knit up on the Batwing Pullover that I started a couple of weeks ago.  Aurora 8 by Karabella is one of my favorite cabling yarns, it is so soft and squishy to knit with, holds the structure of the cable beautifully.  Unfortunately, I have to agree with comments on Ravelry that this yarn is expensive ($10/98 yard skein), and has way too many knots in it.  Someone had to tie the knots, so they know that there are a lot.

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    Batwing Pullover Detail

    I had 20 skeins of this yarn in deep deep stash.  Finding a use for it was exciting, and I knew that even with that amount, I would run short of the yardage required to complete this sweater. While Aurora 8 is still produced, my Turquoise color had been long discontinued.  Searching the internet, I found 2 skeins in a clearance warehouse that I ordered.  There were some on people’s Ravelry pages, but I did not have luck acquiring those.  I did yet another google search this time using the color number, not the name.  Bingo!  I scored, and found a stash.  I purchased 6 skeins, hoping that that will be enough to finish the collar (which is big).

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    I really want to finish this, but the sewing of the pieces needs to happen first, and I need to be in the right frame of mind, with the right lighting.  I guess that it will not be completed to take to knitting tomorrow.

     
  • knitting1105 3:37 pm on June 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Just for Dan 

    This past winter Dan picked out this wool and Bison down sock yarn at the local winter Farmer’s Market.  I am finally getting around to knitting this up into socks for him.  The Bison down is supposed to be both really soft and extremely warm.  My first thoughts with this yarn is that it is a bit stiff to work with, but I am thinking that it will wash up very nicely.  Often the softer sock yarns do not have the strength to hold up as socks.

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    The pattern is a simple one designed by me.  I will post the finished pattern when completed.  It is essentially mirrored cables on each side of the leg, with ribbing in between.  The top of the foot continues in pattern to the toe.  It bugs me a little bit how the reversed cables look slightly different.  I wonder if this will even out in the washing.

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    Starting the heel, so the back of the sock pattern is stopped here.

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    At the same time I am trying to keep track of whatever I am knitting on in this journal, the thought being that I could retrace my steps with notes when I put something down for a long time.  We’ll see how it works.  Means that I must keep this book with whatever project I am working on…

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