Well Hi There (& it’s KAL Time!)

Yes blog, it’s been a while. I’m so sorry. There was that little water leak in our house in early December that turned out to be a major disaster and between one thing and another,  I haven’t been around much.

But we’re starting to get past the worst of it. Just this week, the new rinsing sink (it’s huge!) was installed in my studio and the countertops are being finished tomorrow.

Before you know it, I’ll be back in the studio dyeing again! I was even able to put everything back in place in the area where I mix dye and prepare yarn, and it’s fabulous to be close to finished in this part of the house!

Unfortunately, the upstairs isn’t nearly this far along, and we’re going to have to move out for a couple of weeks while our hardwood floors are refinished, but I’m awfully excited to be seeing progress at long last! So with that explanation, and promise to be back in the world of the living, on to the most important part of this post: It’s time for the annual knit along I host on the Elliebelly Group on Ravelry, Adventurous April. If you’ve knit with us before, you know we’re committed to fun & accomplishment in a low-stress environment. If you haven’t, you should come on over, just the Elliebelly Group, and sign up to knit with us!

The first thread for the KAL, discussing pattern choices, is up now. If you reply on the thread, I’ll earburn you when sign ups for the KAL open this weekend. And, in the meantime, you can look at patterns and order some Elliebelly Yarn if you like. So head on over to Ravelry, and get ready to knit it April!


What I’ve Knit In The KAL So Far

In the first week of the annual Elliebelly Knit Along, Adventurous April, I knit this Mirren Hat.

It’s knit in Elliebelly’s Talia Bulky Merino in the 20th Century colorway.  I think it still needs a pom pom, but couldn’t resist snapping a couple of post-blocking photos for you to see while I try and decide between a pom pom from the yarn the hat is knit with vs. using one of my Toft Alpaca poms to finish this one off.

Now I’m moving on to my Ceramic Flowers Cowl and will also do some work this week on a WIP sweater that’s part of my KAL goals.  I’m having some trouble with my right elbow — is there such a thing as knitter’s elbow?  It’s slowing me down at the moment in the most annoying way.  I hope it will disappear as magically as it showed up.

And what’s up with this photo?  It’s that time of year where a refreshing drink while knitting is very welcome. I mix up a batch of syrup every week and keep it in the fridge in one of my weck jars.  The basic recipe is 1C Water, 1/2 C. honey which you bring to a boil and stir until fully dilute.  Let boil for 5 minutes and then cool to room temperature.  As you can see from the bottle above, this syrup goes fast, even though I usually mix up several cups at a time.  In this photo, I added lavender blossoms from my garden to the syrup and poured it over a sliced Meyer Lemon before chilling.  I then use a couple of fingers of syrup diluted over ice in a glass that’s filled with either regular or soda water.  For an additional quick, you can squeeze a lemon or an orange and add the syrup to strained juice before diluting.  And, you can doctor the syrup with anything you have on hand.  I frequently use some sliced fresh ginger, and this morning, added some tumeric root and fresh strawberries into the mix.  I love to keep a glass of this alongside while knitting lately.


Adventurous April Knit Along — Game On!

It’s April 1, and that means it’s KAL time!

I cast on for my first two projects last night.  That’s Ceramic Flowers on the left and my Mirren Hat on the right.  I was so excited that I stayed up until midnight to get started.  I’m well into the brim of the hat now, and looking forward to getting started on the cables.  If you’re keeping track, the yarn I’m using is Elliebelly Pussy Willow on the left and Talia Bulky Merino on the right.  Also in the works is a bulky Maya Shawl in Basilisk and a pair of socks in BFL Constant.  I’m enjoying all the yarn and the different colors!

If you haven’t joined in yet, I hope you will.  You’ve still got time to peruse the project threads, pick a project or two and join in.  Although some of us will complete one or more projects during April, others will be CASTING ON ALL THE THINGS.  You’re welcome to join us at any time, and to knit with any yarn you like.  This year, you can score some Elliebelly in my Etsy Shop, but because the KAL started in the years when I wasn’t dyeing for sale, I’m continuing the tradition of making the KAL available to everyone.  We’re knitting for the fun and the fellowship, and it’s always a great chance to make new knitting friends.


New in the Elliebelly Shop

As we head into the Adventurous April Knit Along (starting April 1, of course), I’m trying to insure there is plenty of Elliebelly Yarn in the Etsy Shop for you to choose from.  I’m adding a little bit every day, so make sure you keep checking in.  Today’s addition is BFL Constant.

You can tell from the colorways that there was a little Hamilton thing going on in the studio when BFL Constant hit the dyepots!  I love these colors, separately and together.

BFL Constant is perfect for everything from socks to accessories to sweaters.  It’s soft but it holds its shape.  You can get an idea of how well it performs by looking at projects knit with this yarn on Ravelry.  I especially love the tri-colored socks.

It’s also perfect for patterns that require detail, like these Roses for Marjorie socks.

BFL Constant is a great choice for the sock knitting category in this year’s Adventurous April KAL.  You can also use it alone or combine it with other fingering weight bases for the Find Your Fade of your dreams — another of our KAL choices.  I hope you’ll knit with us this year.  If you’re going to use Elliebelly, please purchase your yarn in our shop by next Thursday morning to insure delivery in time to cast on.



Elliebelly Shop Update!

It’s almost here!  My favorite month, April, when we have the annual Elliebelly Knit Along.  If you’ve knit with us before, you know it’s a little bit of creative anarchy.  This year, we’re looking at patterns in four categories: Sweaters, Bulky Hats, Shawls/Cowls, and Socks.  I encourage you to wander over to the group, vote on the pattern choice threads, and make sure you sign up for the KAL later this week when we finalize our pattern choices.

Smitten Fingering 120

This year, for the first time in many years, there will be plenty of Elliebelly Yarn available for your knitting pleasure during Adventurous April.  I snuck a few things into my Etsy Shop over the weekend (a number of you seem to have found them) and am adding a few more today, starting with the first batch of the incomparable Smitten Fingering 120.  It’s a silk/yak/merino blend in slightly oversized skeins of 523 yards for your shawl knitting pleasure.  Five new colorways have been designed just for the Yak blends.  Grinch, Merry and Bell Bottoms are pictured above.  There are is a pinky brown, Linwood Road, and a deep cocoa brown, Llyr, as well.


Vespers, a new paintbrush colorway, is also in the shop of a new of different bases.  It looks beautiful knit up, and whether you have a simple garter stitch or stockinette project, or something more complex in mind, it’s a winner.  You’ll get some amazing results using Vesper for lace, cables, or other patterns with texture.  I hope you’ll find something you like!


My Life: The Edge of Chaos

It's been a busy few weeks here.  Work has been crazy.  Family has been crazy.  Life has been crazy.  All in a very good way, but still, CRAZY TOWN.  So it only seemed appropriate when I got on the elevator for a meeting I was scheduled to attend late last week, and the floor where I was headed had been renamed.


That more or less summs up how my days have been going.  So, with huge apologies for not blogging and doing a horrible job of staying in touch with all of my favorite knitters the past couple of weeks, I'm back.  Back with my %$#@& KAL sock.  I love this sock.  Love the pattern.  Love the way the colors are laying down.  It practically knit itself with all of the flying I've been doing.


Is there some trauma associated with the Kitchener stitch and late nights?  If there isn't, I must be cursed.  I love knitting top down socks, and a big part of the reason is that I enjoy Kitchener stitch.  It's like magic — you weave a little and the toes line up perfectly.  There was no magic with this sock.  It looked awful when I finished.  I ripped it out, and you'll never guess, but that bad 1:00 am lighting in my living room combined with tiny size one needle stitches was really not a thing.  I sort of got them back on the needles.  I tried it again while driving (I was the passenger, not the driver — I'm not that close to the edge) on an overcast day with bad lighting, and it came out even worse.  And ripping it out made me sad because, as you all know, sometimes, you're loose track of where you are when all those tiny size one stitches pop right off the needles as you go over a bump.


My stitches are on, but not in the right order or on the right needles.  It's going to take some sorting out to figure when I am, so I'm going to gently and lovingly place this sock in time out, and cast on for its mate.  I'm pretty sure my Kitchener mojo will come back, but it's going to require a serious combination of all of my favorite comfort foods — and some bright lighting.

While I was out of town and away from the blog, some really exciting things happened.

April collage
I visited my College, which I hadn't done in over a decade, and found out that all of the things I loved about it were still there, but even better.  Sometimes, you actually can go back.  Even better, on the return drive to the airport, I discovered a B&B/Alpaca Farm.  I was concerned about being the crazy lady who stopped on the middle of the road to take pictures of the Alpacas, so you just get this one sneak peek, but it's definitely on my shortlist.  The online reviews say to make sure you visit with Brutus, who is a very friendly Alpaca. Oh my heavens!

The sense that I was living in a surreal fantasy world where all of my dreams came true continued when I got home and realized that for my husband's birthday, I could order his favorite cake.  It's a day long adventure to make it, so I was delighted to reduce it to a 15 minute pick up detail.  Although we had friends over, there were leftovers.  The cat with the cake is Bob.  I was definitely much more restrained and lady like than that.

And finally, the square of concrete is my long awaited fire pit.  We have a small, urban yard with a strong down hill slant, but as we've lived through our six months of hell deck reconstruction and landscaping, I've persistently insisted that we include a fire pit in the project.  In anticipation, I dragged kids out to World Market, and snagged some fabulous outdoor chairs on sale last weekend.  As soon as the pit is dry, I'm christening it with S'mores.  But, I'll make sure I leave my socks and needles behind.  Because It's been that kind of month!