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August 2017

Knitting Lifestyle Seasonal

DFW Yarn Crawl 2017!

August 24, 2017
2017 DFW Yarn Craw

Hello Everyone! We are currently in the thick of the DFW Yarn Crawl! Anyone else participating? I’ve never done a yarn crawl before, though I’m familiar with the concept. My mom used to work at a quilt store and they would do similar events. Every so often a bus would drop a load of quilters and they would swamp the store until the bus came back again. While the yarn crawl did have a bus, I chose to use my favorite form of transportation: my husband. (It goes without saying that I let him drive me everywhere so I can knit.)

I’ve been able to visit 3 shops on this yarn crawl so far. It’s not over yet, so I’m hoping to add at least a few more. So far I’ve been to Jacob’s Reward Farm, Mckinney Knittery, and Fiber Circle. 

Jacob’s Reward Farm

DFW Yarn Crawl 2017 - Jacob's Reward Farm

Until the Yarn Crawl, I’d never been to Jacob’s Reward Farm. It’s super close by and I passed it all the time without knowing it! It’s a teeny tiny little place, but they did have a trunk show going on for the yarn crawl. If you’re interesting in getting into spinning, this is a good stop for you! They have lots of spinning paraphernalia, including spindles, carding brushes and roving. 

2017 DFW Yarn Crawl - Jacob's Reward Farm

I don’t spin much these days, and never got past the “park and draft” phase with a drop spindle, though I’d love to return to it someday. Due to my lack of spinning ability, I don’t buy roving very often. That being said, I have become seriously obsessed with weaving this week and love the way roving looks in that, so I may need roving after all. If you’re not looking for spinning supplies, there’s not a lot at Jacob’s Reward Farm. However, they do sell farm fresh eggs if you give them a call ahead of time, so I feel like this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

McKinney Knittery

2017 DFW Yarn Crawl - McKinney Knittery

The McKinney Knittery is my home base of yarn stores, where I go once a week for knit night and generally keep up with their stock. They are an easy favorite, and despite being tiny as well( Their address is 106 1/2 S Church St! It’s like Harry Potter or something!), they stock an impressive array. I went mostly to check out the Lazy Cat trunk show, though they’ve gotten in Madelinetosh and Long Dog yarns since I was there(on Saturday), so I may have to go back!

2017 DFW Yarn Crawl - McKinney Knittery

While we were there, we were able to visit the shop owner Ginger, her puppy, and her husband, who was stationed outside making root beer floats. You guys know I can’t turn down a good root beer float. I didn’t buy anything at McKinney Knittery, because I am saving myself for their Hedgehog Fibers shipment (though I could maybe be persuaded if some Long Dog yarn matches the fade I’m putting together), but I will be back in the near, near future and I’m always excited to see what is new. 

Fiber Circle

2017 DFW Yarn Crawl - Fiber Circle

Whenever we get a new knitter at knit night, they invariably get asked this cryptic question, “Have you been to Fiber Circle yet?” Despite my best efforts, I had never been there prior to this weekend. My mom and I tried to drive up to Farmersville to go there once, but it was closed. I’ve heard that it has strange, unpredictable hours, and that sometimes you have to call first before going. The phrase “call first” elicits a huge “nope” response for me, since calling people is a huge part of my job and I prefer not to do it in my off time. Hence, I’d never been to Fiber Circle. 

2017 DFW Yarn Crawl - Fiber Circle

My lovely, dashing hubby was so kind to drive me up to Fiber Circle during the yarn crawl and he got to witness it with me. All I can say is, now I know what people are talking about! Fiber Circle is the biggest yarn store in the DFW area. It might even be the biggest yarn store in Texas. and it is stuffed! Like, to the ceiling. Fiber Circle was freaking The Hubs out, and he’s normally pretty chill about yarn!

2017 DFW Yarn Crawl - Fiber Circle

I’ve never seen so much yarn in one place. They have yarn of every different type, from hand dyed to Lion Brand. The only catch is that you have to find it in their store! I couldn’t tell if there was a system to what yarns went where, but it’s not easy to find things there. That said, the staff did checked on us frequently, and we were able to find what we needed. I did pick up one skein here, so add to my Find Your Fade stash. It’s coming along nicely…

Find Your Fade

So far I’ve kept it local on this yarn crawl. With a lot of family and church stuff going on, I wasn’t ready for a huge trek to Fort Worth. Plus it gives me something to do next year! I’m hoping to hit a few more of the Dallas shops, just to round out my passport. My husband even offered to drive me there….

Anyone else doing any yarn shopping this weekend? What are you looking for.

Finished Object Knitting

Gully : Pattern Review and FO

August 17, 2017
Gully Cowl: Pattern Review and FO

This week I’m excited to share a project of firsts with you. Gully is not only my first project with brioches lace, but my first project with Brooklyn Tweed’s new Vale lace weight yarn! I knit Gully as part of Brooklyn Tweed’s Summer of Lace Knit Along. It traveled with me to Minneapolis and back and I learned a lot about brioche along the way. One of my goals for this year was to get better at brioche and, while this pattern was a challenge, It was a good challenge and I’m delighted by how it turned out.

Gully Cowl: Pattern Review and FO

The Pattern

Gully is a small, brioche lace cowl that can be knit in less than on skein of Brooklyn Tweed’s Vale. This may have contributed to my decision to make it because I wanted to try Vale, but I’m on a budget, dangit! It produces a very light and lofty cowl, which is great, because sometimes bulky cowls in the winter make me want to strangle somebody. The loftyness is the result of the brioche stitch and it’s wonderful three dimensional texture and a very strong blocking. Seriously, this thing grew a LOT when I blocked it.

The pattern, like all Brooklyn Tweed patterns, is beautifully written. It is very clear in it’s instructions for the special techniques. The lace portion quickly becomes manageable after a little time of focus. I did have a bit of confusion on the top and botton ribbing of the cowl. The pattern said to repeat rows 1 and 2 14 times and I wasn’t sure if that meant 14 rows total or 28 rows total. I did 14, because I was impatient. I don’t think that was technically correct, but the cowl came out fine anyways.

The other thing that I would say about that pattern is that it does not make for good travel knitting. It is concentration knitting. It is not good “there was turbulence on the plane and crap I dropped a stitch” knitting. If you are prone to dropping stitches, a lifeline might be a good idea for this project, because dropped stitches in brioche suuuuuck. If you find that you have, in fact, dropped a stitch, I found this video to be particularly helpful:

Despite my travel struggles, I’m really happy with how this cowl turned out. Like all Brooklyn Tweed Patterns, it has the feel of an heirloom piece. It is classic, subtle and elegantly designed. Jared Flood is an elf among hobbits when it comes to design and it shows in Gully. I can’t wait for colder weather so I can wear it more often.

Gully Cowl: Pattern Review and FO

The Yarn

Gully was my first chance to try Brooklyn Tweed’s new Vale lace weight yarn. Vale prides itself on being 100% Rambouillet fleece, and Brooklyn Tweed’s softest yarn yet. The verdict? Vale is, in fact, soft. I can wear it close to my neck with no issues. That being said, it is still definitely a wooly yarn. It is a fairly smooth yarn and has a consistent texture, but it’s not really squishy smooshy soft. It’s like Knit Picks Pallete had an older sister who went to university and studied abroad and wears designer clothes. It’s refined, polished and effective at what it does. Still, you’re buying it for the color and consistency, not for the softness.

Gully Cowl - Pattern Review and FO

I can say that while this yarn feels super delicate, it can stand up to some decent abuse. Because brioche and planes don’t mix, I had to rip back this yarn…a few times (a lot). Some yarns tend to get a little frayed and fuzzy with this much frogging, but Vale handled it surprisingly well. So far, I’ve seen no pilling, and don’t think that I really will. This yarn was designed for “heirloom-quality lace projects,” and I firmly believe that it will stand up to that description. 

I would absolutely use Vale again. I love it’s range of colors, it’s warm and earthy feel and it’s polished finished appearance. While I don’t see myself taking any major lace projects on anytime soon, when I do, I know that I can rely on Vale to provide a consistent, easy to work with yarn.

 

Knitting Lifestyle

5 Shawls I Can’t Wait to Cast On

August 10, 2017
5 Shawls I Cant Wait to Cast On

Hello everyone! What at week it’s been! I was caught by surprised with a little stomach bug this weekend, and before I could get my schedule back on track we welcomed a new niece into the world! Oh, and we started Whole 30 (mostly) again. It’s been a whirlwind. Despite all that, I was finally able to finish up my Gully shawl and block it, so pictures will be coming soon! 

I’m approaching the tail end of my summer knitting list and my strength is waning. I’ve got cast-on-itis. Give me all the bright colors. Or all the neutral colors. Or literally anything other than what I’m supposed to be knitting. right. now… (Not that my current project is bad. It’s totally not it’s fault. I’m just not feeling it this week.) 

So of course, my eye has been wandering a little bit. I’m anxiously waiting for Fall, so shawls are on my mind. I’m slowly putting together a small fade (5 colors), but I’m 3 colors in and I’m stuck. I’ve also got a nice skein of gray tonal sock yarn that could become a lovely wardrobe stable. Of course, there’s always the option of new yarn, but I’m trying to save my pennies.  With this in mind, here are some of the patterns that have caught my eye lately:

Aperture  by Ambah O’Brien

Aperture - 5 Shawls I'm Itching to Cast On

Aperture represents my favorite style of shawl; light, symmetrical and polished. It looks airy enough for early fall and the lace means that you can get the most out of one skein on yarn. I could see myself wearing a shawl like this, either in gray, or in my leftover Quince and Co. Finch in Honey from my Tegna Sweater. It can be knit in two sizes (small shown) but since I’m limited on yarn I would probably stick to the smaller version.

For You by Julia Swart

For You - 5 Shawls I'm Itching to Cast On

This is where you can start to see my fade angst creeping in. For You is a shawl designed for the use of leftover yarn or mini skeins. I’m tempted to just put together a bundle of mini skeins to satisfy my loud and bright (and speckled!) cravings. I don’t really have a lot of bright scraps from my projects. (If anyone wants to swap leftovers, hit me up!) I like For You because it’s a manageable shawl size; not shlanket sized like Find Your Fade. It’s a simple, easy to interpret pattern that lends itself to multiple adaptations. I don’t know how long I can hold off my craving for brights, but For You is calling me…

Soft Sunday by Suvi Simola

Soft Sunday - 5 Shawls I'm Itching to Cast On

Aaand we’re back to neutrals! Soft Sunday looks exactly how it sounds. Soft, squishy and comforting. I love the imagery that the name give. It incorporates garter stitch, which I happen to love, and some lace for interest. I love it just as it’s shown in the picture, in a creamy neutral. I could see this working in a gray, mustard or muted blue as well. Honestly, it would look good in pretty much any of YOTH’s colorways. Soft Sunday would make a great late fall, early winter shawl. We’ll see if it makes it onto my knit list.

Nelia by Ambah O’Brien

Nelia - 5 Shawls I'm Itching to Cast On

Nelia might look like the same thing as Aperture and it’s by the same designer, but don’t be fooled! It’s is actually more parallelogram in shape than triangular. This shawl does not come to a point in the middle, but stays straight. This is SUPER appealing to me, because I usually wear my shawls as scarves and I have having to check to make sure my point in centered. This takes care of the problem. I’m also a sucker for that toffee color… Out of all the shawls featured today, this might be my favorite.

Stormy Sky Shawl by Life is Cozy

Stormy Sky - 5 Shawls I'm Itching to Cast On

Are you noticing a color trend yet?? I want it to be Fall already… I was drawn to Stormy Sky because of it’s tassels. Aren’t they the cutest? It’s a very Harry Potter vibe if you ask me. I think they add just the right touch to create interest in this shawl. Without the tassels, I don’t know that this shawl would really stand out. With tassels, it looks like it’s waiting for a nice window seat with a favorite book and a cup of tea (preferably while it rains outside). The Stormy Sky shawl seems very on trend with non knitting fashion as well. I could totally see a non knitter wearing this too.