The Swap

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.

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Mostly MadTosh Pashmina

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.

the desk is a mess

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.

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It was meant to be.

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!

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Plus, the purple brioche doesn’t seem so blinding anymore! 

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?

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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!


 

 

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!


 

24 Hours Later…

…It seems like it’s been much longer though!  I’ve gotten a lot done.   It started with cat sweater sleeves.

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.

spice market

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!

mail call

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.

square needles

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.

shawl in a ball

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.

shawl on a 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.

landscapes

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!!

Spontaneous Stash Enhancement

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:

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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.

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Which, I happened to stock up on, during my Icelandic Adventure.

I’ve used some of it to make this sweater:  image_medium2

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!!

I should probably finish my other pencil roving sweater first.  It’s literally at the bottom of the pile, it’s been so long since I touched it.

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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!

 

 

Friday Photo Dump

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!

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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…


 

Rhinebeck Round-Up

It seems so long ago already and yet, it’s been less than a week since Rhinebeck.  One thing is for sure, one day is not enough! Here’s what I did see in my one day…

Everything from Sheep to Shawl!

 And I came home with a few goodies too!

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A gradient kit from Good Karma Farms!  The peacock colors called to me.  Resistance was futile!  No idea what I’ll do with it.  Maybe something 3-color cashmere cowl inspired.  Maybe some sequence knitting, I do love a good texture.  For now, I’m just petting it…it’s delightful!

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And in the surprise of the weekend, two skeins of Miss Babs Rhinebeck 2016 colorway!  A skein of Caroline, (on the left) the new MCN base that’s 20% cashmere!!  and a skein of Kaweah, (on the right) the dk weight merino workhorse.

We waited the crowd out, it was after 1 pm by the time we got to Miss Babs.  I wasn’t expecting to see any of the special color left.  But when there were a few skeins remaining and the line was less than 10 minutes long.  Again, resistance was futile.  No idea what these will become either but I like the idea of using them together.   It could create a neat effect or maybe it’ll be so busy it hurts?  I dunno…haven’t decided yet.

And then there’s the yarn Mom & I dyed!

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A sparkle sock blank!!  Size 0 needles should be coming in the mail today.  I’m gonna try really hard to not hate knitting socks.  This yarn is so fun…that should help!

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and this guy, a skein of HiKoo’s SimpliNatural, it’s a merino/alpaca/silk blend.  It’s soooooo soft!  With all the fall foliage inspired yarns out there, we had a go at creating our own leaf peepers yarn.  I can’t wait to see how it knits up!!

I think this might be a cast on all the things weekend.   :)  I don’t see any way around it.

The Next Big Thing.

Emphasis on the BIG part!  love fest fibers tough love felted merino

This is Tough Love from Love Fest Fibers!  It’s a super bulky felted wool!  It’s pretty crazy!

Turns out you can knit with it too?!?  Who knew? ;)

garter stitch big knitting size 50 needles

I’m currently knitting garter stitch rectangles on size 50 needles!  Eventually though, I’ll do a bit of seaming and it’ll turn into a basket!

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Sorta like that.  It works up quickly, once you get the hang of it.  If all goes according to plan, I’ll have 7 0r 8 of these babies to show you soon!  It takes instant gratification to a whole new level.  Start to finish one basket should be under two hours.  I’m doing them assembly line style though, so I’ve only got a stack of garter stitch at the moment!

toughlove baskets garter stitch US 50 Needles

I’ll definitely share more pics!  This stuff is a lot of fun to photograph.  Stay tuned for more!