Category Archives: Knitting

Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival 2017

Second fiber festival of the year is in the books! I spent most of my time teaching, a little socializing, and a little shopping.  I was slowed down, just a bit, by my broken foot and made an effort to keep it elevated as much as possible.

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I had three wonderful classes with some smart and fantastic (and returning!) students.   Unfortunately, I was so focused on the classes I didn’t take any pictures. So here’s a sheep from the day.

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On Friday I taught Beaded Wire Bracelet and DIY Stitchmarkers and on Saturday I taught Cables 101.  One of my Cables class students from April took the Beaded Wire Bracelet class and I got to see two cabled handbands (a pattern exclusive to the Cables 101 class) she made. Saturday morning I got to Franklin early so I picked up my mini-rug hooking kit and sat at the edge of a friend’s booth working on that.

Of course, I did a little shopping. Yarny goodness:

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  • (Upper left) This actually just came – I loved the colorway but requested it on a different base (superwash merino rather than a merino bamboo mix) and they dyed it up this week.  It is a “shawl ball” from Brenda and Heather Yarns (aka BAH Yarns), a local dyer. This is 645 yards of fingering weight in a single gradient colorway called Sunset. 
  • (Upper right) Yet another large gradient, this time Arial Evolution (100% merino) from Twisted Fiber Art.  This is a new to me dyer so I’m excited to start on this soon.  Colorway is Downten.
  • (Lower left) This was a dyer I specifically wanted to buy something from this year as I’ve never tried her yarns.  This is sportweight 100% merino (superwash) in the Plum Drum Weekend colorway from Oink Pigments.  It’s actually not the softest merino but it feels like a very sturdy merino that won’t fuzz or felt so I’m planning to use it for socks.
  • (Lower right) Another yarn from Brenda and Heather Yarns but this is a self striping DK yarn.  I love self-striping for socks but given I’m a crazy slow sock knitter, DK weight yarn is perfect for me.  Colorway is Sunshine on a Cloudy Day (or as I call it, Grellow).

 

 

 

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Finished Object – Chomatic Cowl

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I actually finished my first brioche knitting project.  I’ve had learning brioche as a goal for about two years now and tried learning via YouTube with no success.  So, when a brioche class was offered the day before the Knitting Pipeline retreat started, I jumped at chance.  Once I got the rhythm of brioche down it was actually an easy and fun knit.  Only reason it took two months was because I had to stop in between and work on knitting for classes.  But it’s done!

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My Rav project page is here.

Pattern – Chromatic Cowl (Ravelry pattern here) by Amy Detjen (who taught the class).  It’s worked in the round with two colors.  I think its important to note that the pattern itself doesn’t teach you how to do brioche – it assumes you know this.  You use a solid color to start and end with a curled border.  Normally I dislike edges curling as an intended border but on this it works out well.  Pattern is free on Ravelry.

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Yarn –  I bought a kit at the start of the brioche class that was designed specifically for the cowl.  The yarn is Greatest of Ease from KnitCircus Yarns and is a fingering weight 75% superwash merino and 25% nylon blend.  The kit included two 50 gram cakes, one in a solid (cream in my case) and another in a gradient (I bought the Over the Rainbow colorway).  I really liked the feel of the yarn (squishy and soft) but I did have some spots where the yarn had frayed a bit (as in it was becoming unplied).  The rainbow colors are very vibrant and it became “potato chip knitting” to get to the next color. 

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The Fiber Event at Greencastle 2017

First fiber festival of the year is in the books, as well as a three new classes!

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I taught three classes, all new.  Of the three, I think the knitted wire bracelet with beads was my favorite.  Both students finished their bracelets in class.

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I also taught a class on making stitch markers and another on beginner cables. It is so fun to teach something that results in an items the students can take home.  The same classes will be offered June 2 and 3 at Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival.  Class fee is $40 if you sign up by May 15th and you can see class descriptions here.

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After the classes on Friday I went to dinner with some friends where hijinx ensued.  One friend had dropped a skein while winding it (sans skeinwinder) and a mess bloomed.  While we waited for our meal we tried to help her untangle across the table.  No beverages were harmed in the process.

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Since I taught all day Friday and then Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon was my first chance to *really* get shopping.  Made some purchases from some long-time favorites, and some new.

The Yarn and Fiber:

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Working left to right (then the bottom)

  • The green yarn is 8oz of DK weight alpaca/merino/silk from Briar Rose Fibers
  • The blue/purple fiber batt from Stillwater Farm is a blend of merino, english angora and firestar
  • The rainbow yarn is the colorway Mr. Roy G. Biv on the Twist and Shout Base (DK weight) from BaH Yarns
  • The red yarn is the colorway Heart’s Blood on the Slightly Silky (merino/silk fingering weight) from Copper Centaur Studios
  • The fiber at the bottom is 100% nylon from Hello Purl

Notions and Accessories:

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  • The canvas and fiber is a mini rug hooking kit from Breezy Manor (aka Donna Jo Copeland aka where I got Winston).  I’ve always been intrigued but a large project is a little overwhelming.  So I got the little kit.  It will have a bunny on it and Donna Jo gave me some white fiber so I can make a white bunny like Winston.
  • The two “pouches” in the upper left of the photo are yarn keepers.  You put your yarn ball in (the bottom opens up square) and close the snap.  I’m hoping it’ll protect my yarn when it invariably hits the floor.  These two are from The Felted Garden (on Etsy as thefeltedgarden).
  • The soap is from Simple Soapworks and I buy some every year.  I love the oatmeal in the soap because it really does exfoliate.  This year I got two scents – lavender rosemary and oatmeal.
  • The pouch in the lower left is a yarn keep from a different booth.  I like this one a lot because the fabric is heavier and it has a d ring on the side.  It has strings to cinch close but I might replace those with the little plastic stoppers you squeeze.  These are made by DC Bags and she will be be opening a shop May 1 on Etsy.  She also has a lot of nice wedge project bags.
  • The white stick on the left side it a goat milk lotion bar in the lavender scent.  The maker is Gentle Meadow Goat Farm but it was sold by Midwest Fiber.  They had a lot of nice alpaca yarns and fibers as well.
  • The tubes on the top are handmade lip balms from Ballyhoo Fiber Emporium.  I got chocolate cherry and strawberry vanilla although there were many more options.  This vendor also has a podcast which I’m going to give a try very soon.
  • The odd looking contraption on the right is a ball holder.  You put the base of the V up the center off your yarn cake and the ring on your wrist/forearm so you can carry your yarn.  Usually I can clip a project bag to a belt loop but that doesn’t work for my skirt.  Hopefully this will! I bought it from Mother of Purl, although the website listed is www.barnhart-studios.com.
  • Last but not listed I found a stemless wine glass from knitbaahpurl, sold via a different vendor’s booth.  I got the one that says “Three Sheeps to the Wind” (which I have on a t-shirt already) and may order another that says “Sheep Faced.”

That’s all folks!

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On The Needles – April 2017

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What’s on my needles right now!

How is it March already?!? I have several projects nearly completion and even more lined up next in the queue.  Luckily I seem to have caught finish-itis so maybe some of these will get done!

  • Diadem– I’m so close to being done with this it’s silly its not done – all that’s left is the knitted on border.  Unfortunately, I need to knit it at home, in good light, with minimal distraction. And the border is slow going and fiddly.  Brief reminder – this is the shawl I’m knitting for my friend Patty in exchange for a pair of handknit socks.  Yarn is from Zen Garden (I think Serenity Silk – the light fingering weight one) and the pattern is Diadem by Ruth Greenwald. PS – the photo color doesn’t do it justice at all.  It’s actually a deep midnight blue with a lot of sheen.

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  • Chromatic Cowl– Remember I mentioned learning brioche knitting at the Knitting Pipeline retreat? This is the pattern we used for the class.  I’m now through color number four with two more to go (blue and green).  Now that I have the brioche “process” in my brain this is actually pretty brainless knitting.  I’m using a Chromatic Cowl kit from Knit Circus yarns and the pattern is Chromatic Cowl by Amy Detjen (it is free on Ravelry).

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  • Alpaca Cape – A big, heavy, warm, snuggly cape, that’s what I want(ed).  My yarny Christmas present to myself was several skeins of Cascade Yarn Baby Alpaca Chunky for a cape, which I promptly started over the Christmas holiday.  And I knit on it A LOT in January.  Then it got warm in February and my interest waned.  I still plan to finish it (and before the fall) but it’s just not my “hot project” right now.  I don’t have a pattern for it – I’m just knitting it like a top down raglan without ever dividing off for sleeves.  I plan to knit until I’m into the last skein and then stop to do a nice wide button band.  The yarn is amazing and squishy – and very warm!

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  • Starry Whovian Socks – I am still loving knitting on this tiny circular needle.  I’ve made just a bit of progress since the last time I posted, mostly because I don’t work on it very often.  It’s become my current “brainless knitting” project that I can do anywhere, anytime.  These are plain socks with ribbing across the top, knit toe-up with an after-thought heel.  I’m using Quaere Fibre Sparkle Sock in the colorway Dr. Who Vincent and the Doctor.

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  • Caprica Socks – More socks.  This has gone into hibernation.  I might pull them out after my Whovian socks and keep knitting or I might rip them out.  Yarn is Knit Picks Felici, a super soft merino/nylon blend, in the colorway Caprica.

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Knitting Pipeline Retreat 2017 – The Goodies

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As I promised last week, here are the goodies from the Knitting Pipeline retreat! I have included  links to the vendors (ok, I’m enabling you) so you can check them out. Now to try to go through these in a semi organized fashion.

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Oh, bags.  People keep telling me I have a bag problem.  I can’t help it!

Upper left – teal and white circles – I bought the bag at a LYS booth (it was a retreat sponsor) but the bag was actually made by Trappings and Trinkets (available on Etsy). I actually squeeled when I unzipped the bag because the interior fabric was so cute (teal, pink and white kitties).  If you want a peak, take a look at my instagram feed!

Upper right – arctic animals on a gray background – this bag is from Fat Squirrel Fibers.  She actually made a bag specifically for the retreat but I loved the animals on this one even more (see the little narwhal?).  The bags are nicely made and she picks out fabrics that are fun but not necessarily loud and crazy.

Lower right – these two little notion pouches are from RainStorm Studios.  I toss them in my project bags that don’t have pockets.  I really like the one on the right because it has a circle base but opens up wide enough you can include a pair of small scissors in there.  Very functional for me.

Lower left – this is the gauge ruler from Ann Budd knits. KnitCircus carries them and they’re all of $5. You line up the stitch symbols on the ruler with your stitches such that the with of your stitches matches the symbols.  Whichever set of symbols it lines up with tells you your gauge (not the most elegant description).

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Oh, the yarn! If you saw my post about found patterns you know I went into the vendor market with some projects in mind.  So I can happily say I did buy most yarn with a project in mind.

Upper left green and purple skeins – The slightly variegated green skein is Strong Stock (80/20 merino/nylon) from Another Crafty Girl in the colorway Numerical Vampire.  The purple next to it is Tenacious Sock (75/15/10 merino/nylon/tencel) from Dyeabolical Yarns in the colorway Ever After. I plan to use these in a two-color shawl together.

Upper center gold and black skeins – Both of these are from Sun Valley Fibers in the merino/cashmere/nylon fingering base.  The two colors are called Golden Harvest and Onyx.  I also plan to use these in a two-color shawl (see a trend yet?).

Upper center gray variegated skeins – These are from Yarn Geek Fibers in her Rocketeer (merino/cashmere/nylon) base in the To Boldly Go colorway.  Yes, a Star Trek reference.  This yarn is super soft and squishy.  So squishy I can’t describe. This doesn’t have a project planned for it – maybe a cowl? a shawl? There’s a lot of yardage (962 yards of fingering) so maybe a shawl? Still can’t decide.

Top right dark green skeins – These are included in our Knitting Pipeline bag from Quince and Co.  100 grams (total) of fingering weight wool.  I think these are going to be boot toppers.

Lower left red and black skeins – Both of these are from Leading Men Fiber Arts in the Box Office base (100% worsted weight merino).  The colors are called Poison Apple and Darkest Hour.  These are going to be a Themisto Hat and there might be enough left over for wristers or boot toppers.

Bottom left green skein – Also from Leading Men Fiber Arts – this is the Diva base, 150 grams of 80/20 merino/silk.  The colorway is Envy.  Definitely going to be a lace shawl.  I love the extra yardage – its great for shawls!

Lower right – black and blue skeins – All three of these are Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet (90/10 merino/nylon), which is squishy soft.  One of the blacks and the blue are going together for something brioche.  I got the second black to have as an extra because I frequently pair colorful yarns with black.

That’s a wrap!

 

 

 

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Knitting Pipeline Retreat 2017 – The Weekend

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I’m back from the Knitting Pipeline retreat in central Illinois and have so many fun things to share with you.  As usual, there will be one blog post about the retreat and another about the goodies I picked up.  I went with my friend Patty and we made a four-day weekend out of it.  Yeah, we don’t pack light.

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The retreat actually started Friday afternoon but there were some optional activities before.  We drove over Thursday morning and had lunch before taking a class Thursday afternoon, which was held at a local yarn shop in Morton, IL.  The class was Beginning Brioche with Amy Detjen (you can see her patterns here). Now I’ve tried to knit brioche before via a book and YouTube but it just didn’t click.  This class made it click.  To learn Brioche we started knitting Amy’s Chromatic cowl, and I bought one of her kits of yarn (a 50 gram gradient ball and a 50 gram solid).  I almost picked a red/gray combo but ultimately decided on the rainbow and cream.  Fun, right?  I made good progress but ripped it out later that night to restart on smaller needles.

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After class we went to our hotel in Peoria and then to dinner at Granite City.  I loved that the restaurant was right down along the river and we could watch the sun set over the river.

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The next morning we went to our second class with Amy Detjen, which was essentially the “part 2.”  We learned a brioche cast on, and then did increases and decreases.  Not sure I have those nailed quite yet but I guess I will need to figure out the decreases if I want to knit a brioche hat.  After lunch the retreat started!

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I made some wonderful new friends at my table and some new friends from other tables.  There were some free break-out sessions during the retreat, although I did not attend.  Saturday afternoon there was a vendor market with a lot of indie makers (more on those goodies in the next post).  We had a little more knitting time before the retreat wrapped up and we had to say goodbye.

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After the retreat we headed down to Springfield Illinois to stay the night with my aunt.  We had dinner, some wine and some “show and tell” before wandering off to bed.  Sunday morning Patty and I went to have breakfast with Kristi of the In a sKnit podcast before heading back to Indiana.  Stay tuned for next week’s post on the amazing goodies I got, complete with links for enabling.

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Found Patterns – February 2017

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I’ve just wrapped up several wonderful days at the Knitting Pipeline retreat in Washington, Illinois.  I still need to take pictures, enter certain items in Ravelry, etc. so expect to see a recap of the retreat next weekend.  But first I want to share with you some patterns I found before I left that I specifically wanted to find yarn for.  I think you might like some of these too!

Note: All images below are linked through from Ravelry and are the property of the designer.

#1: Loop by Casapinka

Fingering weight crescent shaped shawl that uses one solid color as the base and then a variegated color for the “loops”.  I love this way of incorporating a crazy single skein and you could also use different minis for each row of loops.  Pattern is $6 on Ravelry. My shopping list: 650 yards of base color, 200 yards of loops color.

#2: Ceciliana by Lisa Hannes (Maliha Designs)

How had I never seen this one before?!? Finger weight wide/long crescent shaped shawl (almost more of a scarf) that uses mosaic knitting  (a form of colorwork).  There are a ton of different color combinations in the pictures on Ravelry.  Pattern is about $4.60 on Ravelry. My shopping list: 420 yards each of a main color and a contrasting color.  I might cheat on this one and use some Tosh Merino Light I already have in my stash.

#3: Amitola Lace Shawl by Anna Victoria (By the Lily Pond Ravelry Store)

So technically *I* didn’t find this – my friend did and sent me a link to it.  This is some serious lace, with beads.  It a crescent shape with beads that would be really nice in a gradient (no idea what color beads I would use with a gradient). There are multiple sizes per the pattern page.  Pattern is $6.50 on Ravelry.  My shopping list: The longest gradient I can find.  The pattern description doesn’t list the yardage needed by size so I might have to wing it.  Also, I’d like to knit it out of fingering weight rather than lace.

#4: Snazzy Cowl by Laura Nelkin (Nelkin Designs)

Oh look! Not a shawl! Sport weight cowl which has a “chevron mosaic stitch.” I love this design and with a few tweaks could work great for me.  One, I would want to lengthen it because I don’t like cowls that are tight going over my head.  Also, I’d like to use fingering weight yarn so that’s typically how I find mini skeins.  That said, there is a Lux Adorna Knits kit available via the Ravelry page. Pattern itself is $6 on Ravelry.  My shopping list: If I double what is stated to make it longer: 460 yards of main color and about 350 yards worth of minis.  It would take some guesswork to determine how much is needed for one color.

#5: Lamina Wrap by Ambah O’Brien

Fingering weight rectangular wrap that uses two colors to create a generous size wrap.  I think this one would be great for mini skeins as well, or for a gradient as one of the colors.  Given all the ones for minis above, I’m leaning towards a gradient, possibly one from KnitCircus yarns. Pattern is $6 on Ravelry.  My shopping list: Main color 420 yards and contrasting color 840 yards.

 

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Finished Objects – Kittens

A little finished project – knitted knittens!

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Tell me those aren’t the cutest? My boss in Colorado is a cat person but they don’t have any cats at the present time (multitude of reasons).  So, I knit these kittens with the rationale that they don’t require feeding or litterboxes, don’t shed, are soft to pet, and don’t require care when she’s out of town.  I sent them off to her with some brownies and muffins.  The gray and white kitten is intended to resemble a cat named Jasper she had as a child.  The pattern is for a solid colored cat so I knit the black cat first, then did some experimenting to get the white on the feet, belly (can’t see in the pictures) and face.

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Moving on to the details.

Needle – US 2 or 3 straight needles

Pattern – Kitten Knit Pattern (Ravelry pattern here) from Amy Gaines (AmyGaines on Ravelry). I looked at a couple different knitted cat patterns and liked this one the best.  There are a fair number of pieces (six) – I think the seaming and assembly takes more time than the knitting.  However, it does sit up on its own and the knitting itself is pretty easy.  Pattern is $3.00 US on Ravelry.

Yarn – I knit the black one out of Knit Picks Swish Worsted (merino wool), using the serrano color for the collar.  I knit the gray one out of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted (blend of corriedale and merino wool), I think in the Lace Ice Heather color, but I’m not positive.  Personally, I don’t think the Wool of the Andes very soft and wouldn’t use it for next to the skin, although the Swish was amazingly soft.  A 50 gram ball of either yarn is 110 yards. I used the following colors: Cloud, Brass Heather, Chestnut, Bittersweet Heather, Firecracker Heather, Pink Posy Heather and Rouge .

I stuffed the kittens with poly-fil and attached the safety eyes and bell.  My project page on Rav is here.

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2017 Goals

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I spent some time in December thinking about my goals from last year and my goals for this year.  I felt last year like my time for fiber arts was being ruled by my goals.  Finish x many designs, knit x many yards, and so on.  In some ways, it sucked the fun out of it.  I think it was a combination of too many goals and being too optimistic.  So this year I’ve dialed back and instead of focusing on quantity, I’m focusing on learning new things.  That sounds way more fun, right?

A couple notes about the blog – I’ll be staying with the blog posts every other week, with a focus on them being shorter.  They’ll also be published on Sunday going forward.

Review of last year:

I knit 3,500 yards across nine projects.  Six of those were my own designs, with one not yet released.  Four were shawls, two were cowls.  I finished one spinning project but have several more on the wheels and bobbins.  I released five new patterns, the most recent being the Sybil Ludington shawl, which may be my favorite. I taught two new classes (Lace Knitting 101 & Bead Knitting) plus one old one (raw fleeces) at two different fiber events.

About setting goals:

I posted year before last about setting SMART goals, particularly as they rely to fiber artists.  That post is here.  SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time relevant. While I think its a valid method, its not what I used this year.

2017 goals:

FloofyMoose Fibers

  1. Write and submit one article
  2. Develop and teach two new classes
  3. Design and publish two new patterns

Knitting

  1. Learn how to knit entrelac
  2. Learn how to knit brioche

Spinning

  1. Learn to spin with beads
  2. Spin a consistent worsted weight yarn

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Holidays Wrap Up and Goodies

Welcome to 2017! Before jumping in my 2017 fiber arts goals I under to recap the holiday, and some new goodies!

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I know I went quiet in December – work was just crazy! I barely did any knitting, except for two small stuffies I’ll talk about in another posts.  I’m excited to say I’m going to the Knitting Pipeline retreat in February.  Is anyone else going?!?

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I went to my aunt’s in Illinois in Springfield for Thanksgiving, where I got her started on her first knitting project.  She bought a kit at Stitches Midwest so I wound the yarn and got the stole started.  She remembered how to knit from 4-H so we jumped right into purling, which she did great at.  We also went to a local yarn shop (and I bought yarn, duh).

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Then I went back home to Missouri for Christmas and my brother came back to Indiana with me for a week.  Our big outing was to the Indianapolis Zoo.  My parents came up for the New Years holiday weekend.   I’m ready for another vacation already!

On to the goodies (related websites are linked – check them out!):

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A holiday set of stitch markers by local glass artist Ann Tudor.  She has a ton of different stitch markers, which you can see here.

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Three skeins of Knitted Wit Victory Sock from the local yarn shop in Springfield, Illinois, called Nanncy’s Knitworks.  The colors are yellow, Orange you Glad and Turks & Caicos.  These are for Stephen West’s Doodler shawl.

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I received this beauty in black and lime green from my friend Patty.  It’s already decided it wants to be a hat.  The fiber is 50/50 Alpaca/Silk from Woolgatherings.  She also got me some llama socks.

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