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A Little Roving

I’ve been playing with some direct-from-farm Roving this week, trying to figure out which fibers I like best and playing with some new colors. 


I’m pretty crazy about this ball of wool! It’s an untreated organic Roving that takes the colors beautifully. Hoping there are some spinners and felters out there who can find some good uses for this pretty stuff!

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At long Last, New Knitting

It’s just a small start, but I’ve finally found the perfect project for my favorite new yarn from the Plucky Knitter.  I’ve got six skeins of Groovy, dyed in her Highlander colorway. I’m more than just a little bit excited about the colorful yarn, but after looking and looking (and swatching and swatching, I couldn’t find just the right project for it until I came across the Rhea Cardigan.

It was clear to me immediately that this was the right sweater, even though the pattern is written for Quince’s aran weight linen tape yarn and its show here in a solid.  I wanted a comfortable, wear over anything cardigan, because I know all of the colors in Highlander will be just right with the simple patterning.

The pattern, which is well-written, has given me a bit of trouble at the start.  Note to self: knitting with a really bad sinus infection does not bring out your strengths.  And dropping down stitches to fix mistakes with Groovy, which is a felted cashmere yarn, was a little bit dicey.  Fortunately, issues are resolved and once you finish the first pattern repeat, you have a pretty good guide for what is happening in each of the ten rows in the repeat.  Despite my silly novice mistakes at the outset, I think I’ll get to the point where I can memorize the pattern and carry this one around with me to work on.  Here’s an early photo – you can see how incredibly lovely the color variation is on this wonderful, unique yarn.  Groovy is definitely a favorite for me!

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Time Flies!

Time (and yarn!) have been flying around here lately.  We’ve been on the west coast for our oldest son’s law school graduation and are now back home for child #3’s high school graduation.  And all sorts of stuff in between!  Allergy season and a heavy dyeing schedule (there is a lot of new yarn in the shop for you to check out) have cut into my knitting time, but I wanted to share a couple of projects with you.

I’ve finished my Ceramic Flowers cowl and am in love with it!  It’s long enough to wear doubled for warmth (which I was surprised to need in San Francisco last weekend) but really pretty and decorative in a long loop in Elliebelly Pussy Willow, a 50 silk/50 merino yarn.  It also doubles as a convenient cat warmer.

We knit Ceramic Flowers as part of the Elliebelly KAL this April, and it was hit across a wide variety of base yarns.  You can also knit it in different weights, and could move up to an aran or even a bulky version by doing two pattern repeats instead of three (I chose to do two with my worsted weight version and am really happy with the result).  You cast on the long number of stitches and work in the round from top to bottom, so adjustments easy.  Some of my other favorite Elliebelly versions were Elizabeth’s version, also in Pussy Willow, Kate’s in Elliebelly Silky Wool, and Eleanor’s in Naiad Organic Merino (I had to include one of her early pictures, because I love her Liberty Fabric bag so much!)

 

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Bulky Lace And A Shawl

Maya is a bulky shawl, knit here in Elliebelly’s Basilisk, as part of the Adventurous April KAL.  It’s a great, quick knit.  The stockinette section is perfect conversational knitting, you’ll carry this one around for knitting in all of those moments when you’re involved in something but need to have some knitting at hand.  And, the lace section, which is easily memorized, goes quickly.  It’s a pleasure to watch the lace pattern develop.

The surprise in this project for me was that Basilisk, which is a bulky weight blend of 50% Silk and 50% Merino, knitted up into a cushy, airy, fabric.  I knit this at a slightly looser gauge than I would normally use, because I wanted the fabric to have drape.  The result is a shawl that can be wrapped scarf-like around your neck for winter wear, but is perfect for a breezy spring day as well. I had it on all day yesterday, in our unseasonably cool Alabama May weather.

The color is “Grimoire” and you can find Basilisk and other Elliebelly Bulky yarns in our shop.

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Ceramic Flowers. Chart Two.

I’ve finished the first chart for my Ceramic Flowers Cowl and have just begun the second.  It’s a fun pattern to knit, and reasonably quick, since I’m knitting at a worsted weight.  Although the chart contains three floral repeats, a number of projects have stopped after two and liked the design better that way.  I’ll assess when I get to that point.  I’m about halfway through the second chart now and haven’t quite exhausted the first ball of yarn, so I should be able to do a full size version with two balls of yarn, if I want to go there.

The yarn is Elliebelly Pussy Willow, which is available in very limited quantities in my shop.  It’s a 50 wool/50 silk single ply fiber that works well for spring and summer knitting and feels get slipping through your fingers while you’re knitting with it!

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Yarns We Love: Smitten

It goes without saying that we love a lot of yarn around here! So, I thought it would be fun to spend some time each week or so, talking about a favorite yarn and what we like to knit with it.

Smitten is definitely the right yarn to start out with.  It is, simply, luscious. It has Silk for shine.  The Yak in the blend magically turns every color I dye on it to perfection.  And the Merino content gives it a squishy disposition. Although you’ll see a number of our favorite colorways dyed on Smitten and its other Yakky friends, Himalayan and Yak/Silk DK, I’ve also done a series of colorways that take advantage of the Yak and are unique to these blends.  You see three of them above: Grandma Bess, Dinner With Friends, and Nomad.

Smitten is a fingering weight yarn in 120 gram/523 yard put ups.  This means that for a most shawls, instead of having to buy two skeins, you will only need one. And the larger skein size works out well too, for sweater knitters. Smitten is a single-ply yarn, which best displays the 20% silk in the blend, but it’s a surprisingly strong yarn-no problems with it breaking off.

My favorite sample project knit in Smitten is Lamassu, knit in the Llyr Colorway.

You can see how beautifully Smitten shows off the lace patterning.  And it wears very well.  Lamassu is my constant companion, and I wear it as much in warmer weather as when it’s cool.

Although it can be hard to keep Smitten in stock, I’ve put more of it into the shop this morning.  In addition to the six colorways that are in stock at the moment, I’ve got two more drying, and they’ll be in the store next day or two.  Although they are lovely alone, as in Lamassu, don’t hesitate to mix and match.  These colorways work very well together.

Looking for something to knit out of Smitten? For shawls, I think Ebb Tide and Every Fiber of My Being are great choices.  Kea would also be lovely. Looking for a lightweight summer sweater?  The sleeveless Evening Calm top has been in my queue for awhile and would be perfect for Smitten. I’m also a big fan of Poetry in Motion, show here knit in Elliebelly ‘s BFL Cash/Silk.

Don’t hesitate to substitute Smitten in any fingering weight pattern, except, for socks, where I don’t think it would hold up well against the wear. Himalayan is a much better choice for socks.  But, for shawls, sweater, and accessories, Smitten is a fantastic choice.  I hope you’ll try some out and let me know how you like it.  Looking for a color that isn’t there?  I’m still developing the range of colorways for the Yak blends, so I would love to hear about anything you have in mind.

(Grinch)

Finally, many thanks to Dingus, without whom, it would have been impossible to stock the store this morning or write this blog post.  Isn’t it amazing how cats always know when you are in dire need of their assistance?

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We’re Blocking!

I’m blocking Maya.  And it turns out, it’s huge!

This is my Adventurous April KAL project, knit from Elliebelly Basilisk. I added an extra repeat onto each side of the shawl (breadcrumb: if you knit this pattern from Basilisk or a comparable yarn, don’t increase the size like I did.  It forced me to go into a fourth skein of yarn for about 4 yards of yarn) so it would be big enough to wrap around completely and it is definitely that! I loved knitting this pattern and I’m particularly impressed by how the yarn performed.  I had not used it before for a big swatch of stockinette, and I’m so impressed by it that I’m already plotting a sweater out of it in the Dear Theodosia colorway.

Maya is one of those projects that demands a good block to open up the lace pattern.  So I let it soak for 30 minutes in a no-rinse soap, sent it for a two minute spin in my spin dryer, and then aggressively pinned it in place until I could see the lace pattern clearly.  It should be dry by tomorrow — the spin dryer is amazing.  It cuts drying time by at least one-half and makes caring for hand knits much easier.  I have this one, but there are a number on the market and they all seem to get good reviews.

As strange as this seems, really counter intuitive for a bulky weight yarn, I plan on wearing this all summer.  Basilisk is 50% silk and as a result, it’s lofty and has lovely drape.  It’s going to be my go-to all summer.  I can’t wait!