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.


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?




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!


What To Knit Next?

It has been a bumper week for new patterns on Ravelry.  Is it just me?  Surely I’m not the only one who wants to knit them all?  Literally, all.

I thought I would share a few of my recent favorites, in case anyone else is in a knitting slump and looking for ideas to kick start some mojo.

© Ann Myhre

First up, this adorable child’s sweater.  It’s written up to a size 9, but could easily be knit in a larger size if you don’t mind a bit of mathfu.  And, there are plenty of Elliebelly fingering weight yarns in stock, that could give you a look similar to the one pictured here.  Or, you can create your own color patterning (and don’t hesitate to use different fingering weights base yarns, they’ll look great together). You could also knit a sport, dk, or worsted weight version and use your gauge to get the right fit.  It’s as cute as can be and easy to customize.  As nice as it looks in the child’s size, I can’t help but imagine a worsted weight version for my daughter, who is headed up to college in New England.

© Bonnie Sennott

Bonnie Sennott’s fingering weight Spindler Mitts are a quick project, but very functional.  They look like the perfect gift! And they’d be amazing in Elliebelly’s new yak/silk blend, Smitten, pictured here in Grinch, but available in a number of different colorways.

Sackville is a new worsted weight shawl.  It’s lovely, but normally, I might think twice before taking on a worsted weight shawl for summer.  However, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks knitting one from Basilisk, my bulky-weight silk/merino blend, and the silk content makes it light and airy.  Perfect for summer nights.

© Laura Chau

Sackville would be amazing in Elliebelly Pussy Willow, a worsted weight, lofty, silk/merino blend.  It’s available in very limited quantities, but there’s enough in stock for a blossom pink, vintage silver, or supernatural blue (pictured below) version.

I like to do some of my gift knitting during the spring and summer, and this bulky cowl is the perfect quick project.  It will be on and off your needles, and ready for gifting, before you know it.

© Pickles

This cowl would be fabulous in any of our Elliebelly bulky weight yarns, but I would particularly love to see a variegated version, like Feeling Frisky.

Finally, Ambah O’Brien, whose shawl patterns are among my favorites, has killed it again with Bambara.  It’s four different colors of fingering yarn.  I love the option to use solids or to mix in some speckled or variegated yarns.  Contemplating a lightweight silk version for summer. Elliebelly’s Angel Fingering in Dido would be the perfect yarn to start with.

© ambah obrien

I hope you’ll find something you can’t wait to knit in this new crop of patterns.  As much as I love the feeling of finishing a project, somehow, there is nothing quite as wondering as planning, plotting (swatching!) and casting on something new.  It’s time to pick a few new favorites and gear up for spring knitting!


Bad Moments in Airplane Knitting

My flight is delayed (bad weather near Philly) and I’ve just realized the ball of yarn I’m currently using is going to run out before I make it home. And, the next skein is in my now-checked bag.

I’m sad I won’t be able to finish my Maya Shawl on this flight. It incredibly grateful all my smart Ravelry friends encouraged me to carry a second project along with me. I was thinking about taking just one, since I had so much left to knit, but am now really happy I’ve got yarn for a new project I’ve been swatching for along with me!


Flying & Knitting: April 2017 Edition

I’m back to knitting and flying. Happy to have my Maya Shawl along with me for a turbulence-laden first leg of my trip today. Fortunately, I was on one of the engrossing lace bits and barely noticed it. 

Hopefully, I’ll finish up with Maya on this trip and move back to Ceramic Flowers, which has been languishing since I cast on Maya. I’ve not lost any enthusiasm for it, in fact, these are two patterns I’m really enjoying, as well as looking forward to wearing. 

A strange thing about Maya. I’m knitting it from Elliebelly Basilisk, which is a bulky silk/Merino blend. I’ve got a fisherman’s rib scarf knit from it that I wear constantly. You would expect this yarn to be heavy, but it’s light and wonderfully drapey. I wish sharing Maya with a friend at out Easter brunch and we decided the fabric was perfect for a lightweight summer sweater. I’m going to plan a project, looking for summer sweater knit from Aran tape linen yarns. I think it will be a perfect substitution. 


This Week’s Knitting, New Yarn & Garden Color Inspiration

Yesterday, my knitting took a rapid change in direction when I took a few minutes to cast on my Maya Shawl for the KAL.  The yarn is Elliebelly’s Silk Basilisk and it’s one of those lovely yarns with the perfect amount of silk in it to make knitting a joy.  I couldn’t put it down once I started and have used up almost the entire first ball of yarn.


The KAL project I had been focusing on was my Ceramic Flowers Cowl (also in a part silk yarn, Pussy Willow.  Sensing a theme here?)  I’m in love with this project too.  It’s going to be a fight to see who gets the most attention over the weekend!  If you haven’t joined us yet, there’s still plenty of time to get involved in the Elliebelly Annual Adventurous April Knit Along, so please check out the threads and jump right in. Fun and prizes.  You won’t be sorry!

I’m continuing to try and add new yarn to the shop every day.  I photo each batch as I list it so that you always know what the yarn you’re buying is going to look like.  Although I’m not doing custom orders, feel free to contact me if there’s a particular yarn or colorway you’d like to see in the shop and I’ll try to include it in my dyeing rotation.  There are a lot of new treats in the shop this week, like Nomad in Smitten 120, my new Yak/Silk/Merino base and Vintage Silver on Pussy Willow. If you want to join the KAL but are tight on time, pick up a single skein of Talia Bulky Merino and join us in knitting the Mirren Hat.  Mirren is getting rave reviews from everyone who knits it and Talia, and the other Elliebelly bulky yarns, are a perfect match for this pattern.



Finally, a few shots from my garden this morning.  Japanese Iris, Catnip, and some Cilantro that has gone to seed.  If my garden is any guide, and it’s usually a pretty good one, there will be lots of delicate blue-purples and pale lavender shades in my dye pots this week.  Something to look forward to!  Happy end of Passover, early Easter, and happy weekend and knitting to everyone!


What Can I Knit With Sport Weight Yarn

It can be hard to find just the right pattern for sport weight yarn, so when I saw Schwarm earlier this week, it immediately jumped into my “what to knit next” shortlist.  I love the texture, and in a sport weight, I can consider knitting a summer linen version later on, but I want something warm enough for chilly spring nights right now.

                                     (c) Danhan

My choice for knitting it is Elliebelly’s Alpaca Silk Sport, although I’m not sure what colorway I’ll use yet.  Interested in knitting one for yourself?  there are two pretty colorways in the Etsy Shop right now.