Tag Archives: merino

Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival 2018

Second fiber festival of the year is in the books! I spent most of my time teaching, a little socializing, and a little shopping.  It was hot and sticky (the sticky was worse than the heat) so I was motivated to get done what I needed or wanted to and go home to the air conditioning.

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I had three wonderful classes with some smart and fantastic students.   Unfortunately, I was so focused on the classes I didn’t take any pictures aside from one before the shawl shapes class.

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On Friday I taught Knitting From Charts and on Saturday I taught Continental Knitting and Shawl Shapes.  If you didn’t make it to either Hoosier Hills or the Fiber Event and you’re interested in one of my classes, please contact me to see about a private or semi-private lesson.  I had someone take my bead class as a private lesson and she loved being able to focus on what she needed to learn!

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Of course, I did a little shopping too.

Yaaarn & Goodies

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I bought some beautiful DK weight yarn at The Fiber Event from Bumblebee Acres Farm and found some fingering weight yarn this time I loved.  Colorway is King in the North (nod to Game of Thrones) and the base is their Bubble Sock, which is an 80/20 merino/silk blend.  It’s probably going to be a shawl, rather than socks though!

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There was a new-to-me indie dyer at Hoosier Hills this year – Youghiogheny Yarns and they have some truly gorgeous yarns. I loved the subtle speckle dye on the gray base and paired it with a solid red.  I was also intrigued with the inclusion of yak fiber in the yarn.  The colorways are Naiad (which is the speckle) and Cherry Red and the base is Woolly Yak (a 70/20/10 merino/yak/nylon blend).

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I was so excited when I saw that CraftyFlutterby would be at the festival this year since usually I only see her at Stitches Midwest.  She had so many beautiful pins of different styles.  I settled on one of the round ones called a Twirl Shawl Pin and the idea is you twirl (or twist) it around to secure the ends of your shawl. She also had to awesome kits (shawl pattern, yarn, pin) and some included beads!

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A DK weight self-striping yarn from Brenda and Heather Yarns.  I’m going to use this for an entrelac cowl (because I’ve decided I want to learn entrelac).  Colorway is Cowabunga (in reference to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

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So I’d seen these rulers in some of the knitting magazines before and decided to give it a try.  The bracelets are made out of leather and have inch and centimeter markings up to 16 inches (you wrap it around your wrist twice).  The rulers are made by Ilovehandles and I bought mine from SpryWhimsy at the festival.  He also sells a lot of the fun sheep wine glasses, Ply magazine and other fun items.

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Two skeins of Malabrigo Sock in the colorway Martes I picked up from my local yarn shop, Nomad Yarns.  I fell in love with this colorway and am going to use it for a design I’m going to self-publish.

 

 

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Finished Handspun – Once Upon a Time

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I started this a very extremely embarrassingly long time ago.  And then it sat when I hurt my back and got my e-spinner. But I picked it back up this fall/winter and finally finished.

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The Basics (Ravelry page)

  • Hand carded batt from Tomorrow Farm, which is now called Camelot Dyeworks
  • The colorway is Emma and was part of a Once Upon a Time Spin-a-long.  Fiber content was alpaca, tencel, merino and faux cashmere
  • 4.2 ounces unspun; 3.9 ounces spun
  • 562 yards / 2313 yards per pound
  • 21 wraps per inch (a very light fingering)
  • Spun the singles on my Kromski Sonata, plied on the Hansen Minispinner Woolee Winder flier

I tore the batt into a long strip and then predrafted as I went.  I had to stop frequently anyways to pull out neps and veg matter so it wasn’t a lot of additional stopping to predraft.  This fiber combination did not draft out smoothly – certain sections had to be pulled apart with a lot of force.  I spun the singles together as a two ply.

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What Will it Grow Up to Be

I considered plying this with something else to get more yardage but didn’t want the barber-pole effect.  So instead I plan to spin up some medium heather gray alpaca and make them into a two-color shawl.

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Finished Object – Themisto Hat

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I wish I could say this was a quick knit.  Not sure if it was the cables, the length (slouchy rather than true beanie) or being distracted by finishing my cape that slowed me down but it took about a month to actually get this finished.  I had finished a hat for someone else, and then lost my favorite gray and red thick hat, so I was in hat mode.  It won’t replace the one I lost (it was so thick and squishy) but I love the cables on this hat.

Moving on.  My Rav project page is here.

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Pattern – Themisto (Ravelry pattern here) from Tori Gurbisz.  This is a slouchy style hat worked in two colors by alternating row colors and working a cable panels in one of the colors (and slipping those stitches on the other color row).   Two contrasting colors would work best.  I liked that the pattern included charts and written out instructions – and the body pattern was very easy to memorize.  You will need TWO cable needles for this pattern.  Pattern is $5.00 on Ravelry.

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Yarn –  I used Leading Men Fiber Arts Box Office (Rav link) (Leading Men Fiber Arts website) in the colorways Poison Apple (red) and Darkest Hour (black). Box Office is a worsted weight 100% super merino plied yarn that is an almost solid kettle dyed.  I actually love that is ISN’T solid because it gives each color some depth.  The colors are very saturated and I did not encounter any problems with the yarn (knots, thin spots, etc.).  I will definitely use this yarn again.

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Pattern Mods and Notes

1. Circumference – the pattern indicates a large will fit a 22 inch head.  See notes below regarding the fabric look but this hat is a bit snug on me.  I wish there had been one size larger since most men’s heads are even bigger than mine.  I didn’t figure I could go in and create a larger size without loosing the nice decreases at the top.

2. I used 55 yards of the black and 87 yards of the red, which means I could get a second hat out of the two total skeins (one of each color) I bought.  I wouldn’t even have to invert the colors.

3. Pattern calls for US 6 and US 8 needles.  I could (kinda) get gauge with US 6 and US 7 but the fabric was nowhere near dense enough.  I used US 5 for the whole hat.

4. I added some length.  The pattern says to knit until you have 5 repeats of the body pattern but had I done so the hat would have been a beanie, not a slouchy.  So I added an extra two repeats of the body pattern.

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On The Needles – November 2017

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What’s on my needles right now!

Changes in the line-up.  Hoping to get some serious knitting time in over the Thanksgiving holiday.

  • 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’m not happy with it.  I’ve barely used any of the yarn and it is a very small shawl.  So I’m going to rip it out via the skeinwinder (so I can count yardage) and pick something else.  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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  • 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.  I’m three skeins in, with a couple more left.  This is my HOT RIGHT NOW project so I can wear it this winter.  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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  • Wicked Mormorio – One of my social-knitting (aka don’t have to pay attention to) projects.  Pattern is Mormorio by Heather Zoppetti and costs $6 on Ravelry.  The pattern uses two colors of yarn, both fingering weight.  The first I’ve used is Another Crafty Girl‘s Strong Sock in the colorway Numerical Vampire and the second I’ve used is Dyeabolical Yarns Tenacious Sock int the colorway Ever After.

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  • Golden Rapunzel – This is very much NOT brain-dead knitting.  Lace (both right and wrong side) with beads.  The other fun part of this pattern is its knit bottom up (so from the large edge of the shawl up to the neck).  Pattern is Rapunzel Let Down Your Hair by Lily Go and costs $5 on Ravelry.  Heads up – it is not a beginner friendly pattern.  Yarn is Iachos from A Hundred Ravens in the colorway Apollo.

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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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Finished Object – Botanic Broncos Hat

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What a quick knit! I finished this in under a week and I’m ready to cast on one for me.  Last January a friend mentioned she might like a Broncos hat. We looked at a couple different colorway combinations and then put the idea on hold since football season ended.  After I finished my most recent shawl I needed a little “bite of chocolate” before switching back to my next large-ish project.  A hat seemed perfect and so I ordered some yarn and figured out gauge. She also wanted a two-color pompom, which I did make.  I had the project done and washed in a week and was able to give it to my friend in person (she lives in another state).  I don’t have any pictures of her wearing the hat but she’s going to a Broncos game later this month and I hope she’ll take one then!

Moving on.  My Rav project page is here.

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Pattern – Botanic Hat (Ravelry pattern here) from Stephen West (website here).  This is a beanie style hat worked in two colors by alternating row colors and slipping stitches.   Two contrasting colors would work best.  My only critique of the pattern is that, for the price of the pattern, there is only one size available.  The designer states you can adjust sizing by using different weights of yarn but that’s pretty limiting. Pattern is $6.00 on Ravelry.

Yarn –  I used Malabrigo Yarn Rios (Rav link) (Malabrigo website) in the colorways Glazed Carrot (orange) and Azul Profundo (navy).  Rios is a worsted weight 100% superwash merino plied yarn that is kettle dyed.  It’s wonderfully squishy and soft, maybe even moreso than the unplied Malabrigo Worsted.

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Pattern Mods and Notes

1. Circumference – the pattern indicates the hat will fit a 22 inch to 24 inch head.  Even with the smaller needles I used, it’s a bit big on a 22 inch head.  Not so big it’s unwearable but definitely loose.

2. I used 0.45 skeins (94.5 yards) of the orange and 0.30 skeins (63.0 yards) of the navy, which means I could get a second hat out of the two total skeins (one of each color) I bought.

3. Pattern calls for US 6 and US 7 needles.  I could (kinda) get gauge with US 5 and US 6 but to get the hat smaller, and make the fabric look better, I used US 4 for the whole hat.

4. The pompom.  I don’t particularly love pompoms.  I don’t wear them and I was honestly surprised my friend wanted one.  I made a couple test pompoms using the second smallest pompom maker out of my set of four.  The pompom still seemed a bit lopsided, even after trimming.  I finally quit trimming because I was worried there would be no pompom left.

5. I added some length.  The pattern says to knit until you have 6 inches before starting the crown.  I want hats to cover the ears so I went to 6.5 inches.  Much better.

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Knitting Pattern Release: Cathay Williams Shawl

I’m pleased to announce that I just released my cozy new shawl for fall, The Cathay Williams Shawl!  It features a crescent shape with long wings, perfect to wrap around you., and uses just under two 100 gram skeins of fingering weight yarn.  Each row of the shawl is worked across different sections: mesh, a texture section and then mesh again.   I’m sure you’ll enjoy curling up to knit, and wear, this shawl.

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You can buy it and read more about it on Ravelry (you don’t have to be a member!).  Click here!

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You can adjust the size of the shawl (the length/depth) for the amount of yarn you have on hand.  The pattern has been tech edited.

Who is Cathay Williams? In a time when U.S. Army regulations forbade the enlistment of women, Cathay Williams enlisted under the name William Cathay on November 15, 1866.  She told the recruiting officer that she was a 22-year-old cook.  An Army Surgeon examined her and determined she was fit for duty.  Cathay Williams then became the first documented black woman to enlist in the Army.  She was assigned to the 38th U.S. Infantry and traveled throughout the West with her unit.  She was discharged in October 1868 when an Army surgeon found out she was a woman.  She is the only known female Buffalo Solider.

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  • Yarn
    • Approximately 825 yards fingering weight yarn. Shown in Fresh From the Cauldron Schoodic Sock (75% superwash merino, 25% nylon, 460 yards, 3.53oz) in the colorway Poe’s Absinthe Induced Dream.   Other suggested yarns include Destination Yarns Postcard, Cascade Heritage Paints or Knitted Wit Victory Sock.
  • Needle
    • Size US 4 (3.5mm) circular needle in a length of 32″ or 40″, or size needed to obtain gauge.
  • Other Materials
    • 2 stitch markers
    •  Tapestry needle
    •  Blocking pins

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  • Finished Measurements
    • After Blocking
      • 32″ wide
      • 44″ height (or depth)

The shawl is blocked aggressively width-wise. Meeting exact gauge is not crucial but may affect the final dimensions. 

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The Wool Gathering Festival 2017

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It’s been a couple years since I’ve been to this show and its grown even more!  The Wool Gathering is near Yellow Springs, Ohio and is held in middle September of each year. The show runs Saturday and Sunday and there are no classes due to space limitations. It is on the grounds of a dairy farm and vendors are set up under tents. WARNING: Picture heavy post.

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I went with several friends and we got there right about the time it opened on Sunday at 10am.  By noon it was crowded and hot (hot being almost 90 degrees in mid-September).  We shopped, ate, then shopped some more.  I had a couple items I was on the hunt for but otherwise wanted to spend time looking at yarns from vendors I hadn’t seen in a while.

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The non-fibery stuff:

  • Chocolate Cherry Lip Balm from Ballyhoo Fiber Emporium.  This stuff is like dessert for your lips, minus any calories.  Goes on smooth.  Go check out her website for some amazing photography and cool products.
  • For Feet Sake by BarMaids in the Peppermint Plus scent – This stuff is amazing for your feet, especially if your dry feet tear up your knee high hose (yes, I wear knee high hose with my dress shoes).  I like that you apply it like a stick of deodorant, leaving your hands mess free.
  • Lotion from Amazing Grace Farms – I love this stuff.  It is by far my favorite lotion.  No dyes and its very hypoallergenic.  The proceeds go to support her animal rescue, which makes it all the better.  Please check out her website and consider ordering.  The peppermint and lavender are my two favorites.  I bought one bottle of apple cider and have two more bottles of the peppermint cream coming to me via mail.
  • Pattern for Rookwood by Mindy Wilkes.  Ravelry pattern page is here.

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One of my favorite vendors (of many favorites) at the show was Destination Yarns.  I met the owner, Jeanne, at Stitches Midwest the first year I went and love her saturated dyeing.  She also uses the most scrumptious yarn bases.

  • (left side) Suitcase base (a worsted weight merino yarn that I swear feels like it cashmere in it) in the colorway Underneath the Christmas Tree
  • (top) One skein each of her Note base in the Miracle and Stormy Skies colorways.  This is aiming to be a two-color shawl such as Quicksilver or Blackbird.
  • (right) A mini-skein set on the Postcard base in fall colors.  It’s a merino yarn and each mini (there are eight) has 92 yards.  This, and a solid, will become the Take It All shawl.
  • You might also notice I got a couple bags, including a Game of Thrones themed drawstring and a Destination Yarn tote.  I’ll just keep telling myself one can never have too many bags.

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Long-time favorite dyer – Kimber Baldwin of Fiber Optic Yarns.  She was really one of the first doing gradient yarns (as mini-skein sets) and I used to see her every year at The Fiber Event in Greencastle.  She has a background in chemistry and has a very good eye for color.

  • (upper left) Two skeins of her Kashmir yarn (merino/cashmere/nylon base) in Citron and Wicked Good.  This bright of colors is wayyy outside of my norm, which was my goal.  This is likely to become either the Cypri shawl or the Fallston shawl.
  • (lower right) A mini-skein set on the Footnotes base in the colorway Fire and Ice and a full skein of Footnotes in the colorway Ft. Knox.  I tried matching the mini-skein set with a gray but could not find a combo that made my heart sing.  The gold one did though.   This is for the On the Spice Market shawl.

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A new to me dyer – Ewetopia, out of Wisconsin.  The yarn base is called Pashm and is merino/cashmere/nylon and the colorway is Country Fair.  Given the cashmere content this will become fingerless mitts.

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A second new to me dyer – Betwitched Pigments.  I’m a sucker for tonals and her’s have a lot of depth.  I actually got an aran weight yarn (I know, not my norm) in the colorway Surprise!  These are pretty springy and soft so I’m hoping they will make good legwarmers.

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Last one, I promise.  A third new to me dyer – The Fibre Art Studio at Yarns to Dye For. This was the last yarn I bought, even though I had been looking for a bright rainbow gradient with over 500 yards of yardage.  The base is Fifty Shades of Gradient (funny pun) in the United colorway.  This and some black will become my Lambton Panes shawl which I’ve been lusting over since Sarah of Yarn Geek Fibers finished hers.

 

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Stitches Midwest 2017

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I know what you’re thinking – Courtney, you didn’t go to Stitches Midwest this year, how do you have goodies from Stitches.  Well, my wonderful friend Erika (and her sister) offered to do a little personal shopping for me. I’ve linked to each vendor, just in case you’d like to check them out.

Some Non-Yarn Goodies

From Erin Lane Bags – one of her new Sheeple prints, Larry.  I’m also planning to get the Dr. Who prints/

From KnitBaahPurl – a shirt that says “I’m Only Fluffy on the Outside”

The YARN! Sorry I didn’t take the yarn out of the bags for the pictures.

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From Dragonfly Fibers – A gradient set of DK weight Traveller (100% superwash merino) in the colorway Starry Night.  The set consists of six 2-ounce skeins for a total of 840 yards.

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From A Hundred Ravens – A set of Yarn Poppers, which are small mini-skeins of coordinating colors on the Aesir (DK weight merino) base.  There’s a total of 75 grams in the one set.

 

 

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Malabrigo Knitting Pattern Release: Bryce Canyon Cowl

I hinted last winter I was up to something with one of my favorite yarn companies.  I’m happy to announce today that I’m designing some knitting patterns for Malabrigo Yarns.  My first design for them was just released, a cowl called the Bryce Canyon Cowl. It features a fun texture created by slipping stitches up multiple rows.  The cowl uses one 100 gram skein of fingering weight yarn such as Malabrigo Sock or Malabrigo Mechita.  This was my first time working with Mechita (a single spun yarn) and it was a true delight.

Bryce Canyon Cowl

The pattern is offered for sale by Malabrigo on Ravelry.  You can read more and buy the pattern here

The Bryce Canyon cowl is knit in the round and uses one skein of sock yarn, perfect for that single skein you can’t decide how to use. You can wear your cowl as a single looped long scarf, double looped as a casual mid-chest cowl or triple looped for a snugly neck warmer. The slipped stitch texture plays well with highly variegated yarns as it shows off the color changes.

Bryce Canyon Cowl

Yarn

    • Approximately 375-400 yards/343-366 meters fingering weight yarn. Sample shown in Malabrigo Sock  (100% merino, 440 yards/402 meters, 3.53oz/100g) in the coloway Diana.
  • Needles
    • Size US 4 (3.5mm) circular needle in a length of 24″/60 cm or 32″/81 cm, or size needed to obtain gauge.
  • Other Materials
    • 1 stitch marker (additional stitch markers to notate repeats optional)
    • Tapestry needle
    • Blocking pins

Malabrigo sample knit using Malabrigo Mechita in the Aniversario colorway. Photo Credit: Malabrigo Yarns

  • Finished Measurements
    • After Blocking
      • 58″/147 cm circumference
      • 7″/18 cm height
  • Gauge (all over 4”/10cm)
    • After Blocking:
      • Pattern: 20-22 stitches & 60 rounds

The cowl is blocked aggressively width-wise. Meeting exact gauge is not crucial but may affect the final dimensions. Stockinette gauge is provided to assist with determining an appropriate needle size for you.

 

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On The Needles – July 2017

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What’s on my needles right now!

Lots of changes in the line-up.  Luckily I have some serious knitting time coming up next month (hellloooo vacation!)

  • 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’m not happy with it.  I’ve barely used any of the yarn and it is a very small shawl.  So it might yet get ripped out and restarted as another shawl.  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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  • 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.  I’m two skeins in, with a couple more left.  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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  • Wicked Mormorio – One of my social-knitting (aka don’t have to pay attention to) projects.  Pattern is Mormorio by Heather Zoppetti and costs $6 on Ravelry.  The pattern uses two colors of yarn, both fingering weight.  The first I’ve used is Another Crafty Girl‘s Strong Sock in the colorway Numerical Vampire and the second I’ve used is Dyeabolical Yarns Tenacious Sock int the colorway Ever After.

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  • Golden Rapunzel – This is very much NOT brain-dead knitting.  Lace (both right and wrong side) with beads.  The other fun part of this pattern is its knit bottom up (so from the large edge of the shawl up to the neck).  Pattern is Rapunzel Let Down Your Hair by Lily Go and costs $5 on Ravelry.  Heads up – it is not a beginner friendly pattern.  Yarn is Iachos from A Hundred Ravens in the colorway Apollo.

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  • Slipped Stitch Shawl – Well, sneaky, sneaky, this is a new design I’m working on so no details quite yet.  It will use two skeins of fingering weight yarn and include mesh and slipped stitches.  If you’re interested in test knitting, please email or message me on social media.  Sample yarn is Fresh from the Cauldron Schoodic Sock in the colorway Poe’s Absinthe Induced Dream.

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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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