Thursday, February 27, 2014

Yarn Trends

Although this is a crummy flash photo ...

... the yarn itself is beautiful.  It's a skein of Miss Babs "Yummy" handpainted fingering yarn. I think I bought it from a destash on Ravelry -- though I'm not sure.

What I am sure of is that I was lusting after this yarn because there had been a lot of buzz about it on Ravelry and on blogs. I pulled this out of my stash yesterday when I was searching for a good yarn for a pair of fingerless mitts. I smiled when I saw it. I remembered how much I wanted it -- and then was amused by how easily I forgot it once it was in my stash.

Looking back, I can see that there are definitely trends in yarn popularity. Some, like MadTosh, retain that buzz. Others seem to attract less attention, even though people are still buying them. I haven't heard of anyone stalking Web sites for Wollmeise, although I'm sure people are still purchasing it.

 I imagine that Ravelry has helped a lot of indie dyers get buzz. I had a subscription to Yarntini sock yarn for a while -- but it arrived faster than I could knit it up! I remember swooning over Plucky Yarn when I actually encountered it.

There is so much amazing yarn out there. And, yet, I never seem to lose my desire for more! It's kind of like chocolate; I just can't get enough of the good stuff!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Are You Kidding Me?

A friend told me that Lion Brand has discontinued the pastel baby colors of its Homespun. This is serious. Serious enough that I got on Facebook to check it out -- and I hate Facebook the way other people hate Homespun. Lion Brand announced the discontinuation here.

Now, Homespun is not my favorite yarn, but you can make one incredibly cute baby blanket from it.


Given the strong reaction on Facebook -- where you can sign a petition of protest -- it appears that there is a market for this yarn. I am devastated that this blanket is no longer possible. Sure, you could substitute, but Homespun worked perfectly for this particlar item.

And the few people who have this in their stash are selling it for outrageous prices. Not very knitterly in my mind. However, who am I to judge? 

For more information, follow this link. However, I think you have to be on Facebook to see it. Sorry.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Making on Monday

I haven't posted anything about jewelry for a time, so I thought I'd do a quickie. This is one of the things I've been working on lately:

Just a simple Peyote base with disk and seed beads added. I love doing these. There is something very soothing about these, especially when I follow a path like I did this one this one. Color hooks me with both jewelry and knitting. There is something so satisfying about holding color in your hands and making something.

I haven't paid any attention to my Etsy store for months, but I think I'll put this up for sale there in a couple weeks and see what happens. I'm so much better at making things than selling them!

Friday, February 21, 2014

FO Friday: A Viral Pattern

Finished but unblocked: Hermione's Everyday socks, a gift for my darling niece Rebecca. I didn't pick this pattern because it was popular -- I didn't even realize it was popular when I cast on. Rebecca is a Harry Potter fan and purple is her favorite color, so the two just came together. This is a great little pattern: easy, fast, but a with enough of a pattern to ward off boredom.

The yarn is Regia Extra Twist Merino. I don't remember where I bought it, but I haven't seen it again. And that's a shame because it is lovely to work with a creates a soft fabric. The color-blocking that shows in the photo is much less pronounced in reality. The yarn is splitty, though, so I would not use it for lace.

I have always loved waffle-weave fabric, so it's no wonder that I like this pattern.

Don't forget to to check out other FOs with Tami Amis.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Worth Reading

This is a real gem of a book:

Author Ann Hood (you might remember her as the author of The Knitting Circle) has pulled together a batch of charming yarns from 27 knitting writers, (Who knew so many writers had time to knit?) including some of my favorites: Lan Samantha Chang, Andre Dubus II and Elissa Schappell. She snagged some of the best-known authors, like Barbara Kingsolver, Su Grafton, and Ann Patchett.

I have to say that there isn't a weak link in this lovely chain (think crochet!) of stories. Lan Samantha Chang has a thoughtful essay on whether we knit gifts for ourselves or to satisfy the recipient. Martha Frankel's piece has a surprisingly dark side to it. Jennifer Lauck is touchingly honest in her retelling of a one-year marriage. And, yes, knitting is featured in all the stories.

There are some patterns sprinkled throughout the book. None tempted me -- but then there are no color photos (or any photos at all) like the ones we are all used to on Ravelry! That's OK, my Ravelry queue is already ridiculously long.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Gray Day, Bright Colors

They've forecast ANOTHER day of gray skies here in southern Wisconsin. However, today I have an antidote:

My daughter thinks these colors are horrifyingly bright. I think they are beautifully saturated.

I am almost done with my first pair of Hermione's Everyday Socks. They are lovely in a heathery purple, but from looking through Rav projects, I knew I wanted to try the pattern in a colorway that would show the pattern better.

So far, I am loving these! The yarn is Regia, color number 05048. These colors are what's inspiring me today. For more information, pop over here for Inspiration Monday on A Baby's Smile Knits.

P.S. She has a great badge for Inspiration Monday. Can anyone help me figure out how to add it to my posts?

Friday, February 14, 2014

FO Friday: Thanks to Kirsten

I have finally finished the mitts "recipe" offered up by Kirsten Kapur of Through the Loops:

It is perfect TV knitting. I used a skein of Pidgeonroof Studios yarn I picked up a few years ago in San Francisco. It is soft and silky -- and very pretty. I think this is a great pattern when you want the yarn to take center stage.

I made the hand a bit longer than called for. Hey, it's been cold around here! I am happy to say that we hit 20 degrees F yesterday. It's almost like summer!

I'm looking forward to a great weekend. My daughter is visiting from Washington, D.C.  She's in the state on business, but was sweet enough to set her trip up so that she'd have some family time.

Don't forget to check out other FOs with Tami Amis!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Pink

No, I never do seem to tire of mitered squares. So, I'm gradually adding to a pink baby blanket:

Unlike the last two blankets, this one is not being knit under a deadline. I'm just assuming that someone will have a baby girl one of these days ... but not before I finish this blanket.

All three baby blankets have been made from Lion Brand Jiffy. One of my goals is to knit up all the Jiffy in my stash. It'll be interesting to see what I do with the left-overs from both the boy and girl blankets.

What's on your needles? Check out more WIPs with Tami Amis.

Monday, February 10, 2014

On My Dream List

I am absolutely dying to knit this:

I rarely buy Vogue Knitting. The patterns tend to be too "runway" for me. Not quite right for a down-to-Earth Midwestern girl. The minute this cover caught my eye, I knew I'd be purchasing this issue.

Even the downside wasn't a problem. This gorgeous cowl uses an armful of Koigu sock yarn. Kind of pricey. However, I had a gift certificate that I had held onto since my birthday in September -- is that self-control, or what? -- and that same store is selling kits of yarn for this pattern!

Apparently I'm not the only one who is swooning over this cowl. The staff at the store told me that these kits are flying off the shelf!

What are you dying to knit?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Saturday Sketch

I drew this young woman last weekend when I met with Draw Madison at the Fitchburg Public Library. Fitchburg is a Madison suburb. The amazing thing is that she never noticed that I was drawing her -- and I draw slowly!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

WIP Wednesday: The Second Sock

Is it just me or does the second sock go faster than the first?

Actually, a lot of knitters complain about SSS -- Second Sock Syndrome -- which implies that they find the second one harder to push through.

At any rate, I'm already on the gusset of the second Hermione's Everyday Socks, and I'm looking forward to being done. This yarn (which I'll discuss in another post) is lovely but kind of boring. I'd like to try this pattern with a wilder yarn.

See what other knitters are knitting via Tami Amis.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Saturday Sketch

Perhaps if I were a knitting designer, knitting would meet all my creative needs. For some reason, I am perfectly happy to knit other people's designs. I also think I lack the kind of engineering brain required to design patterns.
Pigma Micron 02 with Inktense Pencils

Drawing satisfies an entirely different part of my brain and heart. My partner likes to say that my drawings "are out-of-proportion and lack detail." I can't disagree with that, but I like them anyway. To keep my drawing mojo going, I've decided to post a drawing or painting every Saturday. 

Feel free to join me!