I visited another new bay area yarn shop this weekend, The Black Squirrel in Berkeley. It’s a nice, bright, open space with an amazing yarn wall. They have a small, trendy selection of yarn.
It’s kind of amazing that I only came home with three skeins. I don’t usually do trends but speckle yarn is one trend I am on board with!
There were maybe 3 or 4 different indie dyers represented on the wall. I went with Spun Right Round, a dyer from Rochester, NY. This is the sock base, an 80/20 superwash wool/nylon blend. In colors Caterpillar and Idle Gossip.
For a quick minute, I thought, I should do one of those faded sweaters. I think I’ve come to my senses since then. I’ve got too many WIPs for that but just in case I decide to do a fade of some kind, my third color is the perfect neutral for a fade, Newsprint.
White with black speckles…an instant classic!
I’m not casting the yarn on yet but I did have time for another little project I picked up.
A christmas ornament cross-stitch kit.
They worked up quick and turned out super cute.
Pre-Thanksgiving isn’t too early for a Christmas tree, is it?
And, I managed to make progress, this weekend, on the Bill Murray Sweater too. Good progress I think. I’ll share some details and photos for WIP Wednesday! Hopefully it’ll look like something by then!
As usual, it’s Wednesday and I have more works in progress than hands to work on them. My cat sweater is still a WIP but it’s approaching FO status rapidly.
The first time around, I forgot a bit of sleeve shaping. Happy to say, this time I remembered to shape the appropriate places and the face is far less wonky now. Just a couple rows more and a bit of neck shaping before I can begin seaming! The weather is perfect for the sweater right now so I’m hoping to stay focused!
It’s tough with this box of beauties though…
Mom dyed me some yarn for my birthday! It’s all amazing! The two little balls are a merino/silk/yak blend. Soon to be a hat I think.
The barber pole yarn is super fun too…it’s a 4 ply wool, 3 regular plies and one superwash ply. Turns out the superwashing process effects the way wool takes dye so you get this cool marled effect with one color of dye. The electric blue is so striking! I can’t wait to use it!
The piece de resistance, though, is this great big hank of alpaca…
I love everything about it…the colors, the speckling, the softness. Mom tried something new with this one — Ice Dying. You put your yarn underneath a large mass of ice, sprinkle the dye on top of the ice and as the ice melts, the dye drips down randomly. I don’t know if I actually have the patience to dye that way but I’m really glad Mom did. At the bare minimum, I’ve gotta swatch with this yarn soon. It’s definitely going to become something special.
Of course, the real reason I’m trying to avoid the siren song of new yarn, I need to get moving on the Bill Murray Sweater.
You see, Bill Murray is currently touring with a band. I have this big portrait of Bill that I knit a few years back. I also have tickets to the Bill Murray tour. It’s time to put my money where my mouth is.
I’ve pulled a selection of yarns from the stash and I’ve decided on a plan. I just need to put the plan into action. I’ve got five weeks. It’s time to stop procrastinating.
Really, that means step away from the cross stitching. I finished this little hoop, an ode to Warren Zevon and the werewolves of London.
It was an irresistible idea. I got it out of my system. I’ve cleared the path for the Bill Murray sweater. It’s time. I’ve got laser focus. I’m making it happen.
Just as soon as I finish the Cat Sweater. (you had to know that was coming. lol. fingers crossed they’ll both be finished soon because in reality, it’s November. It’s time for the Christmas knitting freakout. Ugh!)
It’s been a while, life happens. Last weekend in particular. After doing nothing but crafting in August. September has roared to life! There were many parties, all with libations but only one with YARN!
My knitting group had a big yarn swap! We’ve done small white elephant style yarn swaps in the past but frankly, I’ve got enough of my own white elephant yarn. I don’t need anyone else’s. And, I knit with a group that is very experienced. More importantly, they have VERY NICE STASHES! I wanted a piece of that action. On the day of our last white elephant swap, I casually suggested we do a bigger, more open swap.
Apparently, they wanted a piece of MY STASH too! In no time, we had organized ourselves a party.
This is just a sampling of what I took for swapping. There comes a time, if it’s been in the stash untouched for years, let someone else have a crack at it! And, if I’m being honest, I still kept the best stuff for myself. This was only the stuff I could bare to part with.
I’m pleased to say, I came home with a lot of great stuff! I’m impressed with what I managed to pry away from them. I can’t wait to use it all. So far though, I’m stuck in the chaos of it.
There’s a desk under there somewhere, I swear! So what’s in this pile? I have spent a fair amount of time putting in piles and then rearranging the piles. And, taking pictures of piles, of course.
I have put two of the new yarns into my Marled Magic shawl so far. I started with that skinny purple mohair. It was hard to ignore that ball in the swap pile, when I had crazy purple brioche on my needles, at that exact moment.
The second yarn is a skein of MadTosh Twist Light, which I’ve never actually used before. It’s grey and pastel variegated, so it’s perfect to tone down some of the neons I’ve got. Right now, a highlighter yellow color, up next will be some neon peach!
I walked away from the swap with not one but TWO skeins of Caterpillar Green striping shawl skeins. Not my favorite colors but this yarn is fun! I think the Fade to Black color is going to become a Dotted Rays. Not sure about the Fade to Yellow, suggestions anyone?
This beauty…a Koigu dye job on Buffalo Wool Co.’s bison and silk laceweight. It’s 400 yards, that is something amazing and lightweight. I almost think I should do lace?!?
And then, there’s this…
The Bill Murray Sweater really needs to happen. I’ll never match his original dye lot, so rather than try, I’m collecting a mish-mash of white and off white yarns. It’s going to be a simple vest I think. It’s very much a work in progress. Calling it a work is even a stretch. It’s still mostly an idea but now I’ve got 7 balls of Jojoland Baritone to add to the pile. It should be the perfect base. I’ll fill in with my other oddments as it progresses and it’s going to be charming and perfect…eventually. (which just got a little sooner!)
And now, let the weekend begin. First Stop: The Knitterly in Petaluma. It’s Friday, I’m driving by. I should probably just buy yarn!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
…It seems like it’s been much longer though! I’ve gotten a lot done. It started with cat sweater sleeves.
I’m STILL following the pattern! It’s on the verge of completion and it’s perfect!
Knitting ADD kicked in though. I wanted to do some relaxation knitting. I pulled out the Spice Market Shawl.
Frankly, this project isn’t going to get far. It would be gorgeous if I had the desire to finish it but I hate the stitch that makes that little flower dot thing. It’s m3f3 – make 3 from 3 – essentially you K3tog, yo, K3tog all into the same three stitches. It’s a pain. I’m not feeling it. It’s in the time out corner so I can think about it for a bit but I’m pretty sure my mind is made up.
By then it was about 5 o’clock and I was thinking about what I was going to bring to knit night. The mailman came and saved the day!
A box of yarn from my Mom arrived! While I’m certainly a yarn snob, I like to try new things. And here’s a whole bunch of stuff from Lion Brand, I’ve never tried. The lower right hand corner is their Ball in a Shawl. One Ball = One Shawl and they have several pattern choices on their website. I chose a simple garter stitch, boomerang shawl.
I did rewind the Lion ball…it was dreadful and destined to be a tangled mess otherwise. So far, this yarn is okay. I see why people with a small yarn budget would be drawn to it. It’s a cotton/acrylic blend with a metallic thread. Aran weight, 518 yards. I’m using a size 8 needle, so it’s going quickly.
I even took it for a little bus ride today. My favorite kind of knitting is the kind that be successfully executed on the bus.
The six skeins on the left are Landscape, another aran weight yarn. It’s soft, sure, but it’s also barely spun making it a tangly mess, despite being 100% acrylic. I kind of hate it already.
I’m thinking maybe some quick cowls in fun stitches…herringbone, brioche, linen stitch? If you hated Lion Brand Homespun, I don’t recommend this one at all! Consider yourself warned!
And the rainbow Mandala, I think that’s destined to become a crochet mandala circle vest. It’s the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love here in San Francisco. Every local institution is pushing it hard. A rainbow crochet vest seems completely appropriate!
But first, a cat sweater. Fingers crossed, the next time you hear from me it will be with news of a finished sweater!!
Ever set out for the vet’s office to pick up cat meds but somehow wind up in an a yarn store buying armfuls of rainbows? No? Me either…until yesterday, that is!
Don’t worry, the cat still got his meds. I’m not sure there’s a cure for this though:
After that, I decided to continue along the scenic route to my next destination. That happened to be the coast highway, which happened to take me two blocks from a yarn store. I told myself I’d stop if parking was available. Quaint coastal town, Saturday afternoon with big surf and almost no rain? I knew for sure, I was just wasting my time cruising down Main St.
Except this happened!!!
Clearly, Elizabeth Zimmerman’s ghost was watching over me and knew, this is exactly what I needed! There was rock star parking and a lovely rack of Noro’s Rainbow Rolls just inside the door!
I’ve had my eye on this yarn since Noro released it 18 months ago. This was the first time I’ve come across it in a shop! It’s an unspun pencil roving. Which, it turns out, is some of the best icelandic yarn, Plutolopi.
This was my first steeked sweater. It’s okay. I still wear it. It has some warts though. I was never happy with the hook and eyes closures. And the crochet edge wobbles a bit. I never got the tension quite right. It’s amazing how one little detail can fuck up all that amazing knitting. Oh well. I still wear it. I just wish it was more polished. So…
I’ve been dreaming of a striped Plutolopi sweater ever since. I had plenty of colors, I certainly didn’t NEED any Noro. I only (lowercase) needed it. It’s gonna be amazing! I can’t wait!! There will be no buyer’s remorse today…or any day there’s a Rainbow Roll involved!!
Size 13 needles…once I excavate it from the pile, it should go quick. in theory.
Sooooo much yarn, so little time! It makes me miss my first apartment in San Francisco. There was a giant claw foot tub! I’d love to pile my stash in a claw foot tub…you know, just for fun. Yeah…you know!
The point is: a renewed sense of urgency has struck my sweater knitting elbow…maybe I’ll have a sweater update for you soon!
Hoooooray for Friday! I’m very excited to get some knitting done this weekend! In the meantime, here’s a random bunch of pictures I took but haven’t shared yet!
First, some yarn my Mom dyed for me recently! The olivey green is going to become a felted hat with a wide brim. The color has a lot of depth to it, lots of gold & mustardy tones to it. Hopefully that’s not lost when it’s felted.
The multi is a special handspun yarn I got in Iceland. Not sure what to do with it yet. Something for the torso I think. It’s the soft part of the Icelandic wool, next to skin softness for sure!
Next, my little Yoda, done he is!
His friends will be joining him soon.
My latest foray into beading. The beaded part was lots of fun! I didn’t even mind the pre-strung business. It’s tough on the yarn but it’s way less fiddly that stopping to pick up a crochet hook every time you place a bead. Now it’s just slogging through a regular old scarf. No bells or whistles to get excited about. Oh well, that is what I signed on for after all…
And last but not least, the sequence knitting shawl has been getting lots of outdoor love with spring springing so much in the recent weeks! I’m really looking forward to wearing this one. If all goes according to plan, I predict I’ll love it!
Hope you all have a beautiful weekend filled with lots of knitting! Only a couple hours to go, I’m confident I’ll make it…