Showing posts with label yarn I love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yarn I love. Show all posts

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A little bit of luxury (yarn, that is)

Stitches West 2011 was as fun and exhausting as it is every year. Usually within the first five minutes of entering the marketplace I retreat to a quiet corner to try and get acclimated to the noise and crowds, but this year I was surprised at my ability to jump right in and start shopping. After attending this event for so many years, I felt like an old pro at navigating the chaos ... for at least ten minutes. Then I scurried off to a corner.

But eventually I emerged. After all, you can't feel too uncomfortable in a place that offers a display of crocheted bacon and eggs.

I let myself indulge in several skeins of luxury yarn, buying whatever I felt drawn to without having a specific pattern in mind. This first one is 50% wool and 50% silk slub. The knit sample was gorgeous-- I love how it looks with the variations in the thickness of the yarn. The yarn is called Ellie and is from Brooks Farm Yarn.

This next one is hand-dyed, 100% silk. It's called Avalanche and is from The Village Spinning & Weaving Shop. The second year I attended stitches I bought a skein of white organic cotton from them and have such fond memories of it that I like to buy a little something from their booth each year.

This last skein is also 100% handpainted silk. It's fingering weight, so I will probably use it for a lace shawl. I wasn't sure if I liked the color until I held it next to my spotted, weather beaten hands and saw how nicely it compliments my skin tone. That doesn't happen very often. It is from Urban Fauna Studio.

The lace workshop I took was pretty interesting, but I will save that for another day.

Heather at Implausible Yarn is starting a new venture and kicking it off by giving away a retro design Big Ben clock from LL Bean. Stop by and check it out!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

On the needles and some goodies

I wanted to learn a fairly easy technique for the New Technique Knit-Along this month, so I chose to learn to knit mitered squares by starting with this Mitered Hanging Towel.

I've seen lots of gorgeous mitered patterns over the years, like this shawl, and always planned to learn how. The dish towel is a little too easy-peasy, but I have so many other projects going on this month I didn't want to take on anything too overwhelming. Next month I hope to learn something a little more challenging.

Lots of goodies have been arriving in the mail lately. Today I received this floral clutch that I purchased from Annie of Pink Paintbrush, who is the daughter of Jane of Maiden Jane.

The clutch is so pretty and the quality is exceptional.

Also in the mailbox today was this skein of hand-dyed yarn that came all the way from South Africa. I won it in a giveaway at Natural Suburbia. Thank you, Linda!

Yesterday brought this skein of Fleece Artist Peter Rabbit, made from a blend of rabbit, wool and nylon, which I won in a giveaway from Kate Creates. Thank you, Kate!

Only five more days till Stitches West. Yeah!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wonderful holiday and a few new projects

How was your Thanksgiving? We had a potluck-style family gathering at my place that was pretty wonderful. After a delicious dinner we watched Disney's Beauty & the Beast. I hadn't seen it since the original release in 1991. What a sweet movie.

A small Thanksgiving joy that I rediscovered is fresh flowers on the table. I stopped bringing home bouquets several years ago when the cats came to live with me because I figured they'd eat them or knock them over, but it's been three days now and the flowers are still intact. If I make a new year resolution, it will be to have fresh flowers in my home more often.

Last weekend I unexpectedly began knitting a sock. You might remember I took classes earlier this year, but never finished a whole pair. I didn't think I would ever attempt to knit them again, but out of the blue I found myself pulling this Fiesta Baby Boom sock yarn out of my stash along with my Addi needles. Must be the cold weather.

I have quite a bit of this Misti Alpaca Pima Silk in my closet. It occurred to me that the colors would look good in this woven stitch, so I started a scarf. The first year I learned to knit, I tried knitting this stitch countless times and was never successful, so it was particularly satisfying to accomplish these few inches.

Hope you enjoy your long Thanksgiving weekend. My sister Hil and I are headed for Santa Cruz to do a little holiday shopping. Normally I avoid Black Friday like the plague, but this year I have shopping fever.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Busy hands

Now that it's getting dark early I'm knitting more than usual, learning new knitting techniques and also going back to the old ones.

In order to knit the Mochimochi Land bats, I had to learn to knit in the round on double pointed needles. It's been a few years since I have attempted to do that because the last time was a major disaster. But I found that the sock classes I took earlier this year helped me master it (and I use the word 'master' very, very loosely) even though we used two circular needles for the socks. I haven't gotten very far with the bats because it took several attempts just to knit a few inches, but it feels great to have learned a skill that I didn't think I could do.

There is something about the colors of this cotton yarn that I love-- it reminds me of a 1950's kitchen. I was going to make dish towels, but decided to knit a scarf for a friend instead because I think she will look great in these colors, which are much prettier in real life than they are in the pic. For the first time in a very, very long time I'm knitting a plain old garter stitch scarf. It's nice not having to worry about making a mistake or wonder how it is going to turn out.

It was unusually warm in San Francisco last Sunday. We had a delicious lunch at Yank Sing. It was my first time trying dim sum and now I am a big fan. If you ever go to San Francisco, I must insist that you have lunch there. Dim sum is small individual portions of food that are extremely tasty, like pot stickers, dumplings, steamed buns, and spring rolls. Instead of ordering off a menu, you make selections off little carts that they wheel around. It's easy to go overboard.

Inside the building is a fountain that makes it seem like it is raining inside with the water staying inside this big round "puddle" so no one gets wet. That little face peeking out on the right is my sister Hil.

One of the wonderful things about San Francisco is that you never know what you are going to see. While walking down a busy street with office buildings and restaurants, we came across a tiny park with huge, whimsical monster sculptures.

These signs for the San Francisco Zoo were everywhere, and I was intrigued by the owl because that's not something you traditionally go to a zoo to see. I checked out their website and discovered they are having a twilight tour next week that is all about owls. Yay! I'm hoping to go if the tour hasn't filled up.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yarn in the House

Last Sunday morning I drove to the coast to take a walk by the ocean. Afterward, I stopped in at a yarn shop a few blocks from the beach and discovered they were offering 20% off their entire inventory.

Oh, frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

The Mission 1824 Cotton is for making wash cloths.

I'm using the Paca de Seda alpaca/silk blend to make a scarf for someone who shall not be named as she might be reading this. The pattern is the Yarn Harlot's One Row Scarf.

My Reversible Cable Scarf that I started a few weeks ago is coming right along, too.

On a completely different subject, did you watch the season premier of Dancing with the Stars this week? Last season wasn't very interesting, but this season they have a great line up. Did you see Jennifer Grey dance? I loved the movie Dirty Dancing when it came out (still do). Seeing her dance again so beautifully after all these years brought a few tears to my eyes.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cool August Nights

I can't remember ever having such a cool summer here in California. I dislike hot weather, so the mild days and cool nights have been wonderful. This morning when I woke up it was so chilly I actually considered turning on the heater.

On Sunday I stopped by my local yarn shop to take advantage of their birthday special. After they ring up your yarn, you pick a chip out of a bowl and receive the discount on the chip. My chip was for 20% off. I bought a couple skeins of Katia Tobago, which is 100% cotton. I'm knitting a boring old kitchen cloth and enjoying it tremendously.

You also get to pick a free cloth project bag from a selection made with vintage-looking fabric. I love this soft rose pattern.
I'm still reading Pride & Prejudice sequels and spin-offs and showing no sign of slowing down. Recently I watched the movie from 1940 with Lawrence Olivier as Darcy. It was entertaining, but a little silly. They changed an important part of the story, which was hard to swallow, and the actress who played Elizabeth, Greer Garson, looked to be in her mid-thirties. She was gorgeous, but not quite right for the part.

I'm listening to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on audio during my commute back and forth to work. I almost gave up on it it a couple times because it is slow in parts, but now that I'm more than halfway through it is getting really interesting.

Last of all, I went to see Eat Pray Love. It was good, but much lighter than the book. The one thing that has remained with me is Javier Bardem, who gave an excellent performance.

Well, that's what I've been up to you. Anything new with you?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Softy softness

Don't you love it when goodies arrive in the mail?

More of the cotton/silk softnesss that I love was in my mailbox this evening. I ordered it from Webs last week, but was getting antsy because it took a whole six days to arrive. I don't understand why they can't get it in the mail the minute I place my order :o)

This color is called "Fairytale."

This one is "Guilded Lilys." I had buyer's remorse earlier today when I went to the website and looked at this color again, but now that I've seen it in real life I'm very happy with it.

Yesterday I started working on my March artist trading cards for my swap group. Instead of selecting a theme, Cory sent each person in the group a packet of embellishments to use on our cards as we want. Fun, fun. I can't show you mine yet because they aren't finished, but I'll post them in a few weeks after everyone has received them.

My poor baby Charlie. He was very sick the other night and I didn't know what to do. He let out the saddest little meow every time I tried to touch him. Charlie seems better now, but I'm still keeping a close eye on him.

This is my
Ishbel shawl I recently started working on. I'm knitting it with 100% wool, something I rarely use. Bamboo, cotton, and silk blends are so much more comfortable next to my skin. But I like the colors and the way it is striping, so I'm going to try to stick with the wool.

When I left my office this evening, the wind was blowing so hard I thought I was going to be swept away. I wanted to take a picture of the swaying trees, but it was so cold I had to run to my car. It hailed on the drive home, which was pretty exciting because we rarely get interesting weather around here. When I got home I opened the bedroom window so I could listen to the sound of the rain as I worked on my Ishbel. I love to knit by the window to whatever sounds are going on outside ... birdsong, rain, the rustle of leaves, children playing.

Friday, February 26, 2010

It's Raining Yarn

Actually, it's raining rain here. We had a torrential downpour late this afternoon for several hours, which I spent curled up in a fleece blanket watching Everybody's Fine . What a great movie.

I spent the morning at Stitches West with my friend Cathy and had a great time. My purchases included Valley Yarns Goshen yarn, a blend of Peruvian cotton, Modal, and silk. I intended to buy soft yarn in solid colors for a couple of small wraps I want to knit, and I think this will do the trick. There was lots and lots of gorgeous sock yarn and some silk I think I might have drooled on, but overall I managed to control myself.

I picked up a couple of these little notion cases. They are the size of a soap box, but you flip it open and it has small compartments for markers, pins, embroidery needles, etc.

Speaking of stitch markers, Cathy bought me these cute red and blue markers made by
Miss Purl that come with their own tiny tin box.

I like them so much I bought a set in blue to offer as a giveaway in celebration of my one year Blogiversary earlier this month and as a thank you for your friendship and support.

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment and include your email address if it isn't on your Blogger profile. This giveaway is just for those who read my blog regularly, so there's no need to mention it on your blog. I'll use the random number generator to select the winner on Thursday morning, March 4th. This giveaway is open to my readers in any country.

Thank you for making my first year of blogging so wonderful.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fickle Girl

Yesterday I returned some sock yarn I didn't like and exchanged it for this Cascade Heritage Paints yarn. I made a swatch last night because I wasn't sure about the colors (they are a bit washed out in the picture), and it knit up beautifully. In fact, I like it so much I carried the ball of yarn with me in my purse today, taking it out periodically to admire it throughout the day. I'm thinking of using it for an
Ishbel shawl.

You might remember I took a toe-up sock class last month, and this month I've been learning cuff-down. Things were going fine until last Sunday's class when I used the wrong needle to pick up the heel stitches. While trying to transfer the stitches to the correct one I dropped a few, and while trying to rescue them a dozen more fell off the needle. Part of me (the part that is still three years old) wanted to burst in to tears, throw the whole mess on the table, stomp out the door and never ever knit another sock.

Fortunately the teacher noticed I was drowning in dropped stitches and took it out of my hands. She was able to get all the stitches back on the correct needle, a small miracle. I'm thinking I like toe-up socks waaaaay better at this point. Actually I'm thinking I'm not as in love with sock knitting as I thought I was.

And that's because my new love is lace! I set up my grandmother's old dining room table in my bedroom to work on my shawl and just love to go straight to the table when I get home from work and start knitting.

(This picture uploaded sideways ... oh well.)

I wish I could capture how vibrant the colors are in this Misti Alpaca Pima Cotton & Silk Yarn . I can't say enough wonderful things about this yarn ... it's incredibly soft, the colors are rich, and it is such a pleasure to knit with. I'm planning on buying more in a couple different colorways very soon.

My shawl is up to 195 stitches, and my collection of markers is growing as well. How did I ever knit without them? I'm totally hooked.

It's cold and pouring rain outside this evening. I'm going to curl up on the couch and watch American Idol. Have a good night!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ready, set ... knit some lace!

Today is the first day of the Adventures in Lace knit-along. I must confess that I cheated.

I've always struggled with lace, plus I'm a slow knitter, so I decided to give myself a head start by casting on and completing the first repeat over the weekend. I set up a table near a sunny window and worked sloooowly to ensure I got off on the right foot (no frustration or tears).

The pattern I decided on is the
Forest Canopy Shawl . One of the reasons I chose it is the pattern is designed for beginning lace knitters-- it includes helpful tips and written instructions as well as charts. For example, I'd never heard of a lifeline , and will definitely be using that technique.

I'm using the Misti Alpaca silk/cotton blend I bought recently with size six needles. It is so soft and such a pleasure to knit with.
I also treated myself to a pair of Addi Turbo needles and ohmygoodness I love them.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Yarn shopping

Yesterday I unexpectedly received a couple of American Express gift cards from the company that I work for. I could barely sleep last night because I was so excited about the shopping spree that I planned the moment I saw those gift cards.

I woke up this morning with a cold, but managed to drag myself to a local yarn store that I've been wanting to check out for months. Their selection of yarn was small, but I didn't mind because I usually go in to sensory overload when I walk in to a yarn store. It was nice to be able to take it all in without needing to bolt outside for air. I ended up buying this hand painted blend of silk and cotton from Misti Alpaca. It's incredibly soft.

I also picked up 200 Ripple Stitch Patterns , a book I've been wanting for a long time. I love, love, love ripples, and will hopefully knit a pattern from the book with my new Misti Alpaca.

On the way home I stopped at another yarn store and got a couple skeins of bamboo sock yarn. Now that I'm learning to knit socks, a whole new world of yarn has opened up-- I never used to pay attention to sock yarn because I had no use for it.

Well, time to curl up in my pajamas, drink lots of orange juice and watch a movie. I hope you are having a nice weekend and staying toasty warm. We got a break in the rain today for the first time all week, but it's supposed to start up again tomorrow.