The Royal Bee – A New LYS

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I saw a thread on Ravlery ‘new yarn shop in pacifica’.  Yes Please!  Knowing nothing more than yesterday was the soft opening, I set out!  I haven’t had a spontaneous stash enhancement in a couple months!

It’s funny to read the old post and see that my decision was guided by parking.  I pulled up to Royal Bee yesterday completely in love with the PARKING LOT.  I couldn’t wait to take a picture of it!  ha ha.

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Rows of FREE PARKING!  Can you tell I live in the city?  Free parking is all it takes!  LOL!   So Royal Bee gets two thumbs up already!

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Once inside, the delights continued!  The beehive themed yarn wall is so pretty!  If I lived in a house with lots of wall space, I’d love to display my yarn like this!  Lots of interesting yarns here…some Rowan, a bunch of Skacel like Kenzie and Simplicity and HiKoo.  Yarns I know of but haven’t used.  A variety of fibers, colors, weights.  There was a bunch of sock yarn too.

I chatted with Kelley, the owner, a bit.  She’s super and definitely interested in recommendations.  My first suggestion was local yarns so I can’t wait to go back after the grand opening and see how the shop evolves.  (August 16th, details are here, if anyone wants them!)

It’s a poly-stitchual kinda place, with a really cute selection of fabrics and notions and whatnots.

And Rainbow Elastic!!  I love that stuff!  I use it in hats all the time!  It takes the worry out of stretch & fit.  Look at all those colors!  There were even more too.  I can’t wait for my next hat binge, which is due at any moment.  I know where to find the perfect Rainbow Elastic now!

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I picked up a couple balls of Llamor, 100% baby llama.  It’s so soft…perfect for cozy winter hats or August in Pacifica.

The best part of my purchase though, hands down, is the snarky cross stitch kits!  I couldn’t resist.  I finished the first one already.

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Not only have I finally figured out French Knots but this new fangled cross stitch kit innovation blew my mind:

 

 

The strands are held secure on the back so you just snip off a strand as you need it!  I love it!  I’ve started my second design already.  No sorting colors and wondering if I’ve labeled them right.  This little tag makes it so easy!

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I may have to redecorate my bathroom with snarky cross stitch now.  Assuming I can make the finishing work.  As much as I’ve cross stitched, I’ve never finished anything in the hoop.  The instructions involve cutting the excess aida away and installing a running thread.

I know what all those words mean.  How hard can it be?  Wish me luck!


 

The cutest socks!

Now for the second half of the knitters knitting for knitters part of the swap!  The gift I was given!  In a perfect twist of fate, the knitter who chose me was the knitter I chose!

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I got kitty socks!  They’re the YinYang Kitty Ankle Socks, a free pattern on Ravelry!

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Without a doubt, the absolute best way to get hand knit socks is as a gift!  I have half a sock I haven’t touched since January.  Knitting them myself is certainly not the fastest option!  And these were even in my queue!

They’re the cutest little kitties!  I’ve been wearing as house socks.  I’d feel bad cramming them into shoes.  This is cuteness that needs to be shown off!

Thank you, Branka!  They’re awesome and I love them!

The last bit of awesomeness from our party…the cake!

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It didn’t come from a store!  One of the knitter’s made it!!!  It’s chocolate on the inside and there aren’t enough superlatives to describe it.   It was delicious! My favorite part, though, is the care that went into the swatch.  Those stitches look like stitches.  They’re all pointing the right direction.  They’re all in rows and columns just like they should be.  There are four stitches in the swatch and correspondingly, four stitches on the needle.  The ball of yarn is attached to the swatch, in the right place no less.  All little details non-knitters don’t know about.

And now, it’s almost the weekend!  Wooohooo! I’m fading away on my Faded, Speckled, Dotted Rays for the Westknits’ Summer Fadealong!

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Color 4 is fading in.  It’s more Hedgehog Fibers.  I started off with Skinny Singles as the first color.  The last two colors have been Hedgehog Sock.  I don’t like the Sock as much as the Skinny Singles.   Of course, the Western Sky Knits MCN in the middle puts all the others to shame.  A little bit of cashmere really goes a long way!

My next color will have cashmere, an MCN from Magpie Fibers!!  Not sure I’ll get there this weekend.  I’ve gotten to the place where the rows are looooooooooooong.  I’m going to try though!

Hope you’ve got some fun weekend plans!  Happy Knitting!


 

Super Secret FO Revealed

Once upon a time, my weekly knitting group decided no one ever knits for knitters, so we should knit for ourselves.  Each year at the holiday party, we draw names and six months later at our anniversary party, we swap gifts in the form of things we’ve knit for each other.

I’ve received some terrific knitted items, a pair of socks, a felted bag that I carried everywhere for at least a year, a westknits cowl that I never would have knit for myself.

I’ve taken different approaches to what I knit each year.  Sometimes, there are many consultations with other people, will so-and-so like this? Knitting by committee is definitely a thing with a project by a knitter, for a knitter, in a knitting group.  One year, I openly blogged about it.  One year, I forgot to take pictures almost entirely.

5 years of swap collage

This year, it’s been completely secret!  I didn’t share who I picked or what I was knitting at all.  I mean, I told the group I was knitting a pink fringed poncho.  We’re celebrating year 8, pretty sure no one believed me when I said that.

So, without further ado, I present this year’s super secret knitting…the Dragon Wing Cowl!

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Details:  Pattern – Dragon Wing Cowl by Jessie Rayot, Yarn – Cephalopod Yarns Beastie in Man-Eating Tree, My Ravelry Page.

The construction is super fun!  You start off with a long garter stitch rectangle…

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It’s got a series of increases to give you the wing effect.  The spines come from dropping stitches all the way back to the cast on…

 

 

 

and then picking them back up in segments of stockinette stitch…

 

 

 

 

Lots of fun!  and they look great!

 

 

 

Block the points out, add some real bone buttons…

 

 

 

and it’s a cowl fit for a Khalessi!  Thanks to HBO, it seems like I planned this perfectly!

Best news of all, it was very well received and as soon as the recipient put it on, she had styled it better than anything I had managed to do in two months.   That made me very happy! It was super as I finished it but it came to life as soon as she put it on.  It was clearly meant to be!

And in true O.Henry fashion, she was the same person who picked my name!  I’ll show you what she knit me after I’ve had some daylight to take pics!  Hint:  Cat Socks!!


 

FO Sunday

Two things about me…

First, I don’t like being told what to do.  (See:  my inability to follow a pattern.  I’m not gonna let a piece of paper tell me what to do!?!)

Second, I don’t like having my picture taken.

These two things are universal truths about me.  They have always been true and probably always will be.  This is me, in kindergarten.

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This photo cracks me up every time.  I’m sure the photographer wanted me to smile.  I’m sure he tried to get me to smile.  Why would I care about that?  I don’t need to be part of the dog and pony show if I don’t want to be.  I’m not smiling and you can’t make me.  LOL.  It’s pretty amazing, actually, that I’ve changed so little.

And so, with that explanation, here’s today’s FO.

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It’s another garter & brioche cowl with the yarn that shall not be named.  I just could not coax myself into smiling though.  I wasn’t feeling it.  OH well.  I tried.  I have a whole slew of pouting outtakes.  That’s just the way some days go.

I do feel bad for people who try to take pictures of me.  I don’t really help the process along.  Even when the photographer is me.  LOL.

 

And, the FO isn’t really that bad either.  While I detest working with the yarn that shall not be named, it’s a much better FO.  Wearing it, you’d never know the passion with which I hate this yarn.   The colors are lovely and there’s not an itch in sight.

As for the pattern, I improvised along the same lines as the last one, provisional cast on, a bit of garter stitch, a bit of brioche (only one color this time), a bit more garter, a bit more brioche, graft the ends together.

I did not intend for this cowl to become a Möbius but it did.  I sort of like it.  It’s certainly not offensive enough to undo it and re-graft it.  That leaves me with 3.5 balls of this yarn left.  I’m thinking another cowl, complete with Möbius modification.  Taller, longer…more around the shoulders.

SO many knitting plans, never enough time.  Happy Sunday!


 

WestKnits Surpreyes Bag!

Yay for WestKnits stash acquisition!  My package arrived in less than 72 hours from the time I placed my order!  Who doesn’t love that?!  I’m pleased to say, there’s no buyers remorse here!  This was a really fun box of goodies to open!

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I love the book!  (WestKnits Best Knits — the Mix Tape Tour book, I already had, it’s just there for size reference) It’s a larger format than the tour books from the past couple years and Stephen has started including e-book codes for Ravelry in the back cover!  I especially love that!  I asked and been unsuccessful in getting download codes for some of his other patterns I’ve bought as the print version.  I’m so happy he heard those requests and did something about it, even if it took a while!

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I love the project bag.  The eyes are so fun and it’s a heavy almost canvas fabric.  Perfect for people who cram way too much stuff into their bags, like me!

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And, even more importantly, I love the yarn.  It’s a variety of weights, fibers and colors.  I think it makes a great set though.  I’m feeling compelling to use it all in the same project.

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Going clockwise from noon, we’ve got the mustard color Arucania Nature Wool, 100% wool, aran weight.  Then that lovely grey, Holst Garn Supersoft 100% uld.  I think it’s fingering weight, if not lace weight.  I especially like this one because it’s not something I’ve seen in the US.  It reminds me of Brooklyn Tweed.

Continuing on, there’s a denim colored tweed, Berroco Blackstone Tweed.  Nothing fancy there but I’ve used it’s big brother, Blackstone Tweed Chunky, with great success.  In my WestKnits sweater, no less.

Finishing off the top corner, is a skein of Hedgehog Merino DK in color Stone.  It’s really lovely.  I’d have to be a fool to complain about that one!

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To really give it the Westknits feel, there’s a skein of mohair.  It’s not my favorite thing in the world and it’s probably the first thing I’ve give up from this collection but still…It’s the right color so I’ll figure it out!

And finally, a lovely, soft, blue skein of single ply superwash merino.  The label says it’s from etsy, but the shop is no longer open.

I have no idea what to make with this pile but it’s gonna be good when I finally figure it out.  I’m sure I can make the colors into something awesome.  I’m not sure how to deal with the different weights just yet but I know the answer is out there.  I just need to find it.

My only debate…do I add my own stash to the mix or do I use only what’s here for a project.  It’ll be a while before I get to it so I’ve got plenty of time to decide!


 

WIP Wednesday

I’m back up to 10 WIPs.  Did you notice how I tried to slide that piece of information right by you?  Buried right under a big pile of stash acquisition!  LOL!  Knitter’s guilt, I tell ya…I think I might have to do a destash — for real.   In the fall, I think.

For now, I’m assuaging my knitter’s guilt by giving one of the older WIPs some long overdue love.  My Rockefeller.  Here’s what it looked like, last you saw…

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I still really like this photo.  It doesn’t bother me that it’s been hanging out on my Ravelry page, right at the top for over a year.  LOL.  I would really like to wear this though.  The yarn is Jade Sapphire’s Sylph — a cashmere-linen blend!  Yummy!

The only bits left to knit are a process knitter’s dream, row after row of striped garter stitch.  There should not be a hangup here.

 

Finger’s crossed that Knitter’s Guilt keeps me motivated!

I’ve also started and nearly finished another cowl with the yarn that shall not be named.

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Even though it’s not totally finished, the knitting is done so really, I’m down to 9 WIPs.

I’ll try not to cast on anything new.  I’m still pretty enamored with my Speckled, Faded, Dotted Rays, so it shouldn’t be too hard!

Despite frequent use of #beerandknitting, the knitting is pretty outstanding!

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I’m going to start fading color #3 tonight!!  Guilt Free!

Come back tomorrow to see my Surpreyes Bag from Stephen!  Not only has it already arrived but it’s awesome!!

WestKnits Stash Acquistion

It’s a WestKnits kinda weekend around here.  I kicked it off with some WestKnits Stash acquisition.  Not acquiring stash for WestKnits patterns, no acquiring Mr. West’s actual stash.

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I couldn’t resist when this popped up yesterday.  It’s a project bag.  (Just this week, I was noticing all my project bags are full.  After a long dip, my WIP count is back to 10.  Don’t worry, I love it.)  It’s a book.  (The one I don’t have.  What are the odds of that?)  and it’s at least 400 g of Stephen’s destashed yarn.  I appreciate his tastes in color and fiber so I think I’ll like whatever I get.

Especially now that I’ve made my next Speckled, Faded, Dotted Rays decision!

We’ve grown from the Hedgehog Skinny Singles Boombox and now faded into the Western Sky Knits Magnolia Sock with No Name.  (so glad there’s no desert here.)

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So far I’m loving what’s going on!

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The next fade is going to have a bit more zing.  I can’t wait!  Who knows, maybe this mystery yarn will show up from Stephen and it’ll be the perfect thing.  It’s simply fate working it’s magic.  (totally not my fault when it goes wrong either.)

Stay tuned for progress, I think this one is going to proceed quickly!


 

 

FO Friday (on thursday night.)

It’s been an instant gratification kinda week!  I’ve finished a hat and a cowl!

The hat, for a co-worker’s new baby, started over a beer…

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and by the next morning, I had this…

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Nothing fancy, just a little square hat with umbilical cord corners!  Details on Ravelry!

and then, there’s this…

I had fun improvising a pattern…provisional cast on, couple inches of garter stitch followed by 18 inches of two color brioche with a contrasting colorway and grafting the ends together.

I like the vibrancy of the colors.  I gifted it to a friend and she was very happy with it.  The red/orange/rust bits are really her thing.  She’s always wearing cowls and turtlenecks so I’m confident it’s found a good home.

Now, for the complaints.  The yarn is Lion Brand Landscapes and I hate it.  My Mother always taught me not to hate things because hate was a very strong emotion.  Now, I understand why I had to reserve hate for only the very despicable things in life.

Like hideous acrylic yarn.

Ack.  It’s the worst.  Remember Lion’s yarn ‘Homespun’?  It’s like that, only think of fingernails on a chalkboard at the same time.  It’s that bad.

What makes it worse that going to sleep with gum in your mouth and waking up with gum in your hair?  It’s barely spun.  If it were wool, we’d certainly call it roving.  The result of this exceptionally loose single ply is the worst splitting I’ve ever encountered.  When you split wool roving and pull your needle back out, the roving kind of collapses back onto itself, that’s the amazing springy quality we love about wool.

Now imagine 100% acrylic, it’s just strands of plastic laying next to other strands of plastic.  If you accidentally split the yarn, it stays split.  It doesn’t have any bounce to it so reassembling the pieces that were split is quite a chore.  Frankly, it was maddening.

I don’t like to label yarns as ‘splitty’ when so much of it depends on the individual knitter. The best advice to avoid splitting is slow down and be more careful.  I certainly reminded myself of that frequently as I worked this cowl.

Okay, fine.  Maybe it’s not the yarn, maybe it’s me.  Whatever.  I’ll be more careful and I’ll deal with the splits when they do happen.  It’s good to practice one’s patience and understanding, even if it’s with an inanimate object.

Until this happens:

It might be kind of hard to see but if you expand these photos perhaps you’ll see the faint outlines of garter stitch on the left and columns of knits on the right.

These are photos of my bathroom sink after blocking this stupid acrylic cowl.   I thought surely, blocking this thing couldn’t go wrong.  It was literally impossible.  It was designed for the washing machine and I was just giving it a gentle 30 minute soak in cool water, with no additives, just water.

I literally thought to myself ‘at least it’s not MadelineTosh, I know it won’t bleed.’

ha.  Apparently, I don’t knock on wood nearly often enough.

I don’t think the yarn bled, per se.  The blocking bath was entirely clear.  Somehow though, dye transferred from my cowl to my bathroom sink.  WTF, Lion?

I hate this yarn.  I don’t even feel bad saying that.

I really tried but it turns out, I’m a yarn snob for a reason!  I make no apologies!  I counteracted the acrylic by casting on a new project with Hedgehog Fibers!  I’ve been squirreling away skeins all year…it’s time to bust them out!  Tune in tomorrow to see my progress! I’m loving it so far!


 

WestKnits Fade Along

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Stephen West’s latest knitalong is Fade themed.  It’s not a mystery knitalong.  It’s a pick any WestKnit design and fade it.  Although, with so many choices, it is still a bit of a mystery what I’m going to do.

I pulled a bunch of skeins for consideration.  There was a lot to consider.

Colors?  Speckles?  Solids?

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Even if I could narrow it down to which skeins, deciding the order can still be scrutinized for days!

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And of course, which pattern I wanted to knit changed just as often.

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^This^ particular set really grabbed me.  I think it’s going to be Exploration Station inspired.  Pulling those skeins from the pile and setting them aside for that project helped narrow things down a bit!  And it left 3 skeins of Hedgehog Fiber in the pile.

Obviously those beauties have WestKnits Fade Along written all over them.  I finally settled on, at least, the skein I wanted to cast on with and a pattern.

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I spent so much time making decisions I didn’t cast on until after bedtime last night but it’s a start!  No one will be surprised to hear, I didn’t decide on anything else.  Even after all that thought and attempts at planning, my best plan is to wing it!

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, eh?

Where ever this goes, I can tell already, it’s going to be awesome! 


 

FO – Cat Sweater

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My first cat sweater is finished!  My actual cat is stunned by the awesomeness of his likeness.  Or he’s been possessed.  It could go either way at this point.

The pattern is called Professor Meow and I followed it, more or less.  My gauge was different so size adjustments were made.  And my one addition, the paw print on the back.

I made this one for my sister.  I’m making one for myself next.  It’s going to be identical.  I really don’t know what came over me.  It’s one thing to send crazy text messages about knitting us identical sweaters.  It’s another story entirely, to actually do it.

It’s just one of those things I couldn’t resist.  I’m still excited for it.  I thought my gusto for the project may have died about this point but I’ve cast mine on already, progress is being made!

I am making one change — needle size.  Instead of knitting the next size up, I’m going up in needle size.  I think it’s going to work out purrrrfectly!