I’ve Got New Needles!

It started a long time ago with these pretties. 

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These are my Vermont Applewood Interchangeably Darn Pretty Knitting Needles from Dyak Craft.  I love these guys.  But sadly, due to a supply failure in the laminated Dymondwood these needles are made from, they are no longer available.  And, if you're like me, you need a couple of sizes of each needle on hand.  So I ordered a pair of Dyak Craft's newest needles, their Northern Lights set in Robin's Egg Blue.  And they're here! 

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I'm in love already!  It's a pretty set and the color will stand out nicely behind my knitting, making it easy to see.  I've cheated a bit — trying these out in a different finish before investing in the set, so I know I love the way the stitches slide off of the needles easily, but only when I want them to.

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Next up for me is my long-awaited Mithril Tee in Elliebelly's Chemise Silk/Linen DK weight yarn.  New needles, new project.  What more could a girl ask for?

 

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Almost Socks

I’m looking forward to closing up the toes and finishing Zigzagular!

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Although I don’t think I’m ready to play in Sock Madness, there is something wonderful about knitting socks. They are fun and soothing and it’s impossible to feel anything less than accomplished when you watch a sock grow off of five tiny needles. If you haven’t, you should try sock knitting!

Sent from my iPhone

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Good Read, Good Knit

Book and gloves

Here's a good read and a good knit for your weekend.  The book, Knitting Ephemera by Carolyn Sulcoski is crammed full of interesting knitting facts you need to know.  And you'll enjoy its engaging format.  I've been leafing through a few pages here and there to avoid finishing it too quickly.  It's lots of fun — you need it now.

The knit is Purl Soho's free Seed Stitch Mittens pattern.  This pair was knit up by Raveler Kipperdawg in Elliebelly Pixie Merino.  The yarn is part of what has become my annual summertime binge of natural dyeing, which always starts of with a vat of black bean dyed yarn while I'm waiting for the dye herbs to grow.  This is the first time I've been able to achieve this soft brown, and I'm grateful for all of the natural dyers who share their notes and processes on line!  Black bean dyeing is fun and easy and I strongly encourage you to try it if you've been playing with koolaid or easter egg dyes and are ready to move on or even if you're an experienced dyer interested in experimenting with natural process.  The results are slightly unpredictable and always fun, as these lovely mittens prove.

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Blogging With A Concussion

The thing about concussions is that one has about half of one's brain at one's disposal.  Not enough brain to work, and sadly not enough brain to knit with either.  I am getting in a round here and there on my very easy socks that can be knit with your eyes closed, but that's about it at the moment, so I thought I would share a few photos for you Tuesday viewing pleasure.

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Dyeing red can be tricky.  The secret is multiple layers of colors that give you a true clear red that doesn't have pink undertones (unless you are looking for them, in which case, the process is the same, but with different colors underneath the red layers).  This is my first experiment on a new to me yarn base that combines silk and merino, but spins the yarn so that different plies absorb the color differently.  I'm in love with this one.  More experimentation coming!

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Purple Rain.  Just because.

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I've started winding the yarn for my summer sweater, a silk/linen concoction.  Note to self: winding yarn with a concussion isn't really the brightest of ideas.  I convinced myself the yarn wouldn't tangle if I laid it out neatly on the floor and hand wound it.  Wrong.  But it only took me two days to produce the pretty ball in my shoe from the tangle below.

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Happy Mother’s Day

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Wishing you a happy day, no matter how you're spending it. Knitting is such a big part of the fabric of my family, along with cooking, time spent together talking and laughing, and adventuring, that no Mother's Day would be complete without at least a little bit of time devoted to the yarn obsession. Here is the view from my morning. I hope your day is similarly perfect.

Much love,

Joyce

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Heel Flap #2

I’m always grateful for those rare occasions where my husband and I have meetings that overlap, especially when that means he drives. Because, knitting time.

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This is the heel flap for my second Zigzagular sock, and it’s perfect for today as I can knit this part with my eyes closed.

I’m still recovering from Saturday’s yoga injury. Fortunately, I only managed a round or two while in the ER waiting room, as the big whack to the head I got didn’t do much to fine tune my knitting skills (you note that I did add a counter on my needles just for the flap so I can make sure the number of rows match sock #1).

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Sample Knits

Last year I put some test knitting in motion, to see how different base yarns and colorways worked across a variety of patterns. Since I started the project, over sixty items have been knit using different Elliebelly yarns.  And I've met some really wonderful knitters in the process!  I'm using the project to compile the information necessary to create advice for knitters on patterns that deliver and the right yarns to knit them with.  Although I'm saving the real photos for a big unveiling in the future, I couldn't resist sharing just a couple of projects with you today, to celebrate the arrival of my new mannequin.

Shawls

The project on the left is The Elder Tree Shawl, knit in Elliebelly's worsted weight Naiad Organic Merino. I had no idea a worsted weight shawl could be so handy and have been in love with this project from the minute it showed up.  On the right is Isabell Kraemer's Lemmy K. Shawl, knit in Elliebelly's Cloud Soft DK MCN (Merino/Cashmere/Nylon).  DK is a lighter weight yarn than the worsted and makes for a nice shawl as well.  Cloud Soft is a new yarn that I've been dyeing in both an Aran and a DK, and the combination of cashmere and merino into an airy yarn is really delightful.  Neither of these shawls are the ethereal, spider web-like lace that knitters often associate with shawls. They are substantial and warm, whether wrapped over your shoulders for an early morning cup of coffee outdoors or for an evening out.  Having them on hand has made me wonder why I haven't always kept a basket with neatly folded, brightly colored shawls in this weight range on hand for guests, for children who like to wrap themselves in comfort while reading, and for chilly afternoons.  I'm a convert!

I'm looking forward to sharing all of the details with you when the project is ready.  It's obviously a considerable amount of work, but when I think back to the days when I first picked up my needles as an adult after a long time away from knitting, I remember how difficult it was to figure out weights of yarn and whether I could make substitutions.  Hopefully, all of this work will turn into a great body of information and advice for people trying to get the most out of their knitting.

Dyeowrks

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A New Elliebelly Logo

Ellibelly logo final

I wanted to share my new logo with you. It's an early step in my very slow progress towards developing a new website.  I'll be experimenting with it on labels and a few other things, but wanted to see what you think!

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Knitting Fun

 

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After a busy, fun week where work kept me from knitting more than a round or two, I was looking forward to a weekend of self-indulgent knitting. Unfortunately, a freak accident in yoga yesterday connected my left eye with my instructor's foot. I'm spending a fun morning in the eye clinic, with both eyes dilated, which leads me to wonder, is knitting cables without a cable needle on teeny-tiny dpns a good idea when you can't see? Answer to that one coming soon!

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A Yarn For Eleanor

When our now teenaged daughter was born, I wanted to find a way of including her in my garden.  We had just moved that year, and I spent much of my time on maternity leave planting while she napped.  Although I am not an experienced Iris grower, I love them.  My Grandmother always had a wide variety of Tall Bearded Iris in her garden, and a little bit of research on The Google informed me that the 1961 award winning Iris was named "Eleanor's Pride," which seemed perfect for my tiny Eleanor.

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Tracking an older, obscure Iris down was another matter, but I managed to find an eclectic Iris fanatic in Tennessee, and I ended up with five rhizomes.  They've flourished over the years and grown into two large patches.  Although they bloom briefly, they are well worth the effort.

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After a lot of experimentation, I managed to get a lovely representation of Eleanor's Pride on Seasilk yarn by layering on the color in repeated pale baths that seem to capture the fragility of the tint on the flower petals.  Seasilk is a wonderful yarn to work with — part silk and part Seacell fiber from seaweed.  It's perfect for shawls and scarves, as well as for light lacy sweaters.  I haven't decide what this yarn will become yet, but I am really looking forward to knitting with it.

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