Adventurous April 2018

More Knitting With Blue Faced Leicester

On the heels of yesterday's post, I thought it would be fun to share more of the projects, like yesterday's Little Plum Shawlette, knit in Blue Faced Leicester yarn by the incredibly talented group of knitters who have been helping me test yarns.

Collage1

These test knits use a variety of different BFL based yarns. The cowl on the top left was knit in Elliebelly BFL Superwash. The brown portion of the floral socks is knit in Elliebelly BFL Sock, the same yarn used in yesterday's shawlette. The red mitts are knit in Elliebelly BFL Aran, the original BFL yarn I dyed and still my favorite yarn to knit with.  The green socks are knit in Elliebelly BFL Constant, a yarn I was originally hesitant to dye because of its high nylon content.  I convinced myself to try it because of its potential to result in super strong socks for kids, but ironically, it has become one of my favorite sweater yarns as well.  The nylon in no way alters the feel of the BFL and the yarn resists pilling and takes color beautifully.

Collage2

For Ruxton, the green shawl in the upper left hand corner of this collage, we are back to BFL Superwash Sport.  I adore this yarn and it's paired perfectly with this pattern, which is such a clever, textural knit.  The red sweater is knit in Elliebelly BFL Cash-Silk Sock, a blend of 70% BFL, 20% Silk, and 10% Cashmere.  It took only a couple of projects, this being one of them, to convince me this yarn was a keeper and compared favorably to other luxury blend yarns.   The sweater with the large cable down the front is knit with two fingering weight yarns held together for a marled effect.  One of them is the ever-versatile BFL Sock.  Definitely not just a sock yarn.  The lacey blue sweater is also knit from BFL Sock.

Conclusions?  You should all run out and find some yarn with Blue Faced Leicester and knit with it.  Now.  Seriously, it's wonderful yarn.  And fortunately, you won't have to go to England to  buy some like I did originally.  Although Elliebelly yarn isn't being sold currently, there are a number of good commercial and indie options for buying BFL and I encourage you to enjoy the experience of knitting with it.

The first purpose I envisioned for this yarn was diaper cover pants for babies who were cloth diapered.  It's fabulous for that purpose, and if you want to see some of my earliest dyeing and favorite projects, you'll find a few pages of adorable projects for babies on Ravelry.

image from images4-e.ravelrycache.com© elliesmomm  Elliebelly BFL in the Guppy Creek Colorway

Adventurous April 2018

Adventurous April KAL: The Third Yarn Giveaway

This week's yarn giveaway for the Elliebelly Adventurous April KAL will let you get a head start on organization for the KAL.  To win, set up your project page for the KAL on Ravelry.  Here's mine, as an example.

IMG_9785

If you haven't set up a project page before, it's easy.  Go into Ravelry and find the pattern you are going to knit, then click on the link to start the project.  Once you create your project, you can click edit to adjust the details, for instance giving your project a name and showing an April 1, 2016 start date.  You can do this even if you haven't picked a pattern yet, by naming a project and choosing a personal pattern (not in Ravelry) as your pattern for now, with the ability to go in and edit it once you decide.  

Hashtag

The most important thing to do?  Tag your pattern with ElliebellyAdventurousApril2016 (all one word) and Elliebelly.  On Saturday, I'll search the tags on Ravelry and randomly select winners from those who've tagged their projects this way, so it's important to get it in there exactly right so that your project shows up in the search results.  There will be some yarn included in this giveaway that is worsted weight for those knitting Rye as well as some fingering weight for those planning on doing Zigzagular or other traditional sockweight patterns.  Put enough info into your project page so that I know which weight of yarn to send you if you are one of the lucky winners!

If you haven't signed up yet for the Elliebelly Adventurous April Knit Along, all the details you need to know can be found in the Ravelry group.  Leave a comment below if you need any additional help and I'll get back to you.  You don't have to have Elliebelly yarn for this KAL — knit with anything your heart desires.  But, I'll be doing a few more giveaways this month to insure there is Elliebelly yarn available to help out those who want to knit with it.

 

Adventurous April 2018

Some Days

Sometimes, I have weekend days like this:  I wake up and think, I'd love to go and look at all of the cool, new knitting patterns that have come out in the last few weeks.

Anigif_enhanced-buzz-21636-1374012606-14                   www.buzzfeed.com

And then, I end up like this.

image from ak-hdl.buzzfed.com                                  www.ravelry.com

It is such a guilty pleasure to browse patterns. Almost as good as ice cream.

I've got no excuse — in addition to work and family, I've got a knitting agenda for the rest of this year. I've got Arlo to finish in the next couple of weeks, and then Glacier to take up. After that, I want to finish my Drachenfels and my Summer Moon.  I've got a couple of smaller projects that I've either swatched for or cast on so that I have some good travel knitting on hand, Forest Park and Wrapped in Baubbles.  And I have plans for this amazing handspun my cousin Ann made for me.

Anns handspun
But every once in a while, I like to spend a few hours, cruising through the new patterns in Ravelry and dream about lace, cashmere, and cables.  It's free and it's not fattening.  

Adventurous April 2018

New Yarn: The Plucky Knitter’s Cachet

Cachet is The Plucky Knitter's brand new 100% cashmere yarn.  Although it's listed at an aran weight, it knits up in the worsted range for me, with 18 stitches/26 rows to four inches on size 6 needles.

Swatch

It knits up like a dream: a soft cloud of stockinette.  And, the gauge is perfect for some of the patterns in my queue I'm longing to knit the most, including Carol Feller's Portulaca, Thea Coleman's new sweater, Rye, and Mailin and Monte Rosa, both by Isabel Kraemer .  Decisions, decisions.

I'm also going to swatch this yarn a couple of needle sizes down to see what the fabric looks like.  Originally, I planned to knit Alana Dakos Cabled Leaf Pullover in this yarn.  Since its gauge is 20 stitches/26 rows, it seems like that might be doable.

I know it's obvious, after years and years of being a polyamorous knitter who carried a torch for a lot of  different brands of yarn, when I discovered Plucky last year, I fell deeply in love with the wonderful custom spun, hand-dyed yarns they produce.  All of the yarns I've used so far, from Snug Bulky, to Bello Worsted, to Cashmere Sport, to Primo Aran, to Crew, to Scholar, have made me really happy.  Each new project makes me think I've found my favorite yarn of all time.  And truly, they are all my favorites.  I adore this yarn, and the new heavy weight Cachet cashmere is like knitting with a dream.  If you haven't discovered Plucky yet, it's worth the effort.  Although the yarn is sold in an unusual fashion, there is lots of advice for newbies here and a very nice group of helpful knitters on the Ravelry group.  You'll be glad you took the time to figure it out!

 

Adventurous April 2018

Knitting: In My Carry On Bag For Spring Break

A small confession.  I jammed a couple of pairs of pants and some tee-shirts in my son's suitcase for spring break.  This left my roll on board and my carry on bags free for knitting.  Because that's what spring break is about, right?

Springbreak2015

I've got the following projects along with me:

  • March Monkey – I don't like the fidgety double points and color changes for airplane knitting, but I'll work on him once we arrive.
  • Frostline – I had to set this Plucky Knitter project aside while I waited for Dandy Lion and Sticky Toffee, the next two colors I needed, to arrive.  Ultimately, I decided to substitute a skein of Cornucopia for Sticky Toffee, but now I'm all set to go.
  • Drachenfels – I don't expect to make lots of progress on this, but brought it along for "insurance" knitting (I know, I know).
  • Vodka Lemonade – I'd like to finish the shoulder increases, so I can work on the body on a long flight later this month.  I love this sweater!  The color, the yarn (Plucky Crew), just everything about it is wonderful.  At the lighter dk gauge, it has been a slow, but very enjoyable, knit so far.
  • Tipperary – I had hoped to finish this, but a couple of busy weeks mean I haven't had much time for knitting, so I'm still a few rows shy.  This is first up for airplane knitting, and hopefully I can finish it by the time we arrive.
  • Antarktis – The Adventurous April KAL starts on April 1, so although this yarn is currently tucked away in my suitcase, I can't wait to get started!  I may even stay up late and cast on at midnight, because after all, that's what spring break is for.

Expect a few quick pictures and updates on knitting as the week progresses.

Adventurous April 2018

Elliebelly’s Adventurous April KAL 2015 Begins

The Knit Along isn't actually beginning just yet, but I'm winding my yarn and gathering my notions so I will be all ready on April 1.  Looking for a KAL to join?  Our pattern, Antarktis, is a one skein project that is beginner appropriate and we are lots of fun to knit with!  You can use any yarn you want, and, if knitting a scarf/shawl isn't your thing, we also have a stuffed animal and a "learn a new technique" category.  Sign up for the Elliebelly group on Ravelry here, introduce yourself in the threads and feel free to join in with us!

Mcnladymary

I've selected my yarn after lots of back and forth.  It's Elliebelly's MCN (merino/cashmere/nylon) High Twist in a fingering weight.  It's a pale robin's egg blue called Lady Mary (if you watch Downton Abbey, you'll remember the dress that inspired the colorway!)

Seasilk

My runner up choice is this Elliebelly Seasilk  in Jabot.  I went with the Cashmerino blend because the Seasilk doesn't grow as much when blocked, and pattern designer Janina Kallio stresses the importance of selecting a yarn that will block well.

I'm all set.  I've got my new Darn Pretty Needles all ready to go, along with my yarn in a pretty linen bag from Churchmouse.  See you on Wednesday for the start of knitting nirvana as we all cast on.

 

 

Adventurous April 2018

Adventurous April KAL & Yarn Giveaway

As may of you know, in April, we have a knitalong on the Elliebelly Ravelry Group.  Adventurous April is a chance to knit with old friends, make new ones, and end up with a fantastic finished knitted object, because with the support of this group, you can get all the help you need with your knitting.

We knit for the fun of it and have very few rules.  Our start date is April 1, but you can and are encouraged to gather your yarn and needles, review your pattern closely, and swatch before then.  You can knit with any yarn you like, and since Elliebelly is no longer sold, there will be a few giveaways to make sure those who would like to try it have that chance (see more below).  We have an Adventurous April Chat thread here if you have any questions about joining, the KAL, the patterns, or, if you just want to introduce yourself.

image from images4-d.ravelrycache.com

This year, the KAL has three categories.  First, there will be a group knitting Antarktis, Janina Kallio's clever one-skein shawl pattern, which works in any weight from fingering up to a light worsted (I'm thinking about you, Plucky Primo Worsted).  The sign up thread is here.

Next up is the stuffed animal/monster thread. We started out talking about my March Monkey, everyone shared their favorite toy pattern, and in the anarchy that always characterizes our KAL, we've decided to have a "knit the stuffed toy of your choice" group.  The sign up thread is here and it includes lots of ideas.  I'm thinking about the Wild Thing, but am equally tempted by C is for Cat.

Our last KAL sign up option is for people who want to try a new technique, but with a friendly, supportive group around them.  I have always sworn I would never attempt steeks, but with Adventurous April, you never know. Any technique of your choice is the order of business here — a new cast on, first attempts at lace, beading, magic loop — challenge yourself and have an adventure.  Sign ups are here.

image from images4.ravelrycache.com

To get you started with KAL yarn, we've got a little giveaway.  First up is yarn for Antarktis.  Sign up for the KAL, and then come post here in the replies.  We'll have one drawing Sunday night and then two more on Friday the 20th.  Winners will get their choice from among the new colorways I've been experimenting with — I can't wait to see some of them knit up! (And yes, the deep blue colorway, which is a new one, Homemade Dress, is dyed on the return of Elliebelly's Angel sock yarn if you're after some luxury.)  In addition to those pictured above, there is a glazed gray colorway called Crake, and an edgy gold called Oryx.  If you need a little encouragement to take the plunge and sign up, I hope this will do it.

Graygold

In addition to this giveaway, there will be at least one more with yarn for the stuffed animal category. Come along and adventure knit with us!