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Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

Well, no chicken dinner really, but I’d like to announce the random winner of November Knits!

Kimber says, “Besides loving being able to bundle up in cozy knits and sweatshirts November has all the best stuff going on. We get to spend time with family, we focus on each other and making the holidays a fun time. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved when the days get dark early because its and excuse to have the fireplace going, and it makes and ordinary trip out for the most mundane Magical with twinkling lights and all the bustling people in the shops. living in New England I get to feel like I’m stepping into a Rockwell painting just going out to the town store for milk. So, it certainly is wonderful to do my part by knitting comfy and gorgeous things to wear- being a knitter is the best of both the crafty and the fashion worlds.”

As soon as this giant storm passes over, I’ll pop over to the Post Office with your book!

Congratulations and thanks to all who entered…

Stay tuned for another new free pattern on the blog Thursday, November 1st and lots more yarn and book giveaways coming soon.

Stay safe and dry everyone!

 

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November Knits & Giveaway!

I’m a big fan of Kelbourne Woolens. While I adore all their yarns (and used their yummy Savannah in my first book, Knit Local with Kate’s hat design on the cover), I think what I like about them most is Kate and Courtney, the two wonderful and charismatic ladies who run the company. I was lucky enough to get to work with them during my time at Vogue Knitting as the Yarn Editor where I got to know them. I always made a point to stop by and say hello at TNNA and other yarny events  because I genuinely enjoy their company. When they come to the DC area for events at Fibre Space, I try to run down and see them, the same when we visit Philly. What can I say? Two good eggs, those two, both fantastic moms and wonderful knitters.

all images © Interweave

I was super excited when Vintage Modern Knits came out and hightailed it to my LYS to get a copy. When Courtney and Kate decided to do another book, November Knits, I was tickled when they asked me to be part of it. I knew without question that it would be another great read with good patterns. I was in.

Let me introduce you to the Market Jacket. You’ve heard it from me a million times before… I love a good 3/4 sleeved, top-down raglan cardi. I love cables and lace and I love good American yarn. I was happy to receive Green Mountain Spinnery’s (also used in Knit Local) Mountain Mohair, a nice blend of 70% wool and 30% mohair in a beautiful golden color that screamed autumn. My description of the cardi reads: “This cardigan brings back memories of cold autumn and early winter afternoons spent hiking in the White Mountains of New England while I was growing up. I pushed my sleeves so I could grab interesting leaves, rocks, and berries to show my dad. The three-quarter-length sleeves in this coat leave your arms and hands free to explore, while the wool/ mohair blend provides warmth. The cable-and-lace pattern reminds me of the vegetation on the forest floor, and the heathered yarn, with its golds, reds, and oranges, evokes the colors of changing leaves.” I found some awesome wooden buttons on Etsy made from small tree branches from a farm that only harvests from fallen trees to complete the look.

You can find the book on Interweave’s website here or on Amazon here. You’ll no doubt be able to find it at your LYS (local yarn shop) as well.

Now for the fun part! Kate and Courtney sent an extra copy of the book to give away here on the blog. Leave a comment here on this post about what you love most about November. Make sure your Ravelry name is there or your email address. A winner will be chosen on Monday, the 29th.

Happy autumn!

We Have A Winner + (Another) Contest!

Congratulations to random winner Kathleen who won the sock book giveaway!

Kathleen said,

I would love to win this book, as I have oodles of sock yarn and haven’t felt like knitting socks in about 2 years!

Perfect! I’m not a huge fan of knitting socks either but I do love sock yarn!

There’s another book giveaway coming Thursday, dear readers, so be sure to check back. It’s a good one!

Sock Yarn Studio Book Giveaway!

I love a good book giveaway, don’t you, dear readers?

A while back, Carol Sulcoski asked me to be part of her upcoming book, Sock Yarn Studio. I loved the concept… A book using all sock yarn but with no actual sock patterns. I, like many knitters, have an impressive sock yarn stash, but here’s a deep, dark knitting secret… I’m not a huge fan of sock knitting. I only knit them for my mom and even then I’m not super thrilled about it. However, I LOVE sock yarn! Most of my shawls are knit in sock yarn and many of my accessories. I also find a beautiful hank of hand dyed sock yarn to be an ideal gift for a fellow knitter.

I worked with Carol when I worked at Vogue Knitting and always loved her designs and spunk. Carol is an attorney turned fiber artist and has a great blog here and dyes insanely gorgeous yarn under the name Black Bunny Fibers.

Without hesitation I agreed to be part of Carol’s book and was thrilled  a couple of weeks ago when the finished book landed in my mailbox. The book is organized by 1, 2 or multi-hank projects, all in sock yarn but no socks. There’s some interesting tips on how to avoid pooling, how to knit “faux isle” (more about that in a second) and features an impressive cast of designers.

I knew immediately that I wanted to do a project showcasing faux isle. Faux isle is a great trick, especially if you have a crazy hank of sock yarn and you’re not sure what to do with it. Mix it with a solid (black or white is always a good option) and it always looks like you used many more colors than you actually did. The end result? My Fair Isle Peacock Hat knit with 1 hank of Louet Gems Fingering (black) and 1 ball of Skacel’s Zauerball (the pinks and reds). On a side note, I love, love, love Zauerball. If you’ve never heard of it or knit with it, get a ball and have a blast. It’s like a party in a ball.

See what I mean? I nice pink and red variegated combined with a solid black looks like I used way more yarn than I actually did. Genius! As always, this projects has many things I love in my knitting, corrugated ribbing, birds, fair isle and bright, popping colors.

This book has 26 great sock yarn patterns (no socks!) and lots of helpful and interesting info on sock yarn. If you’re like me and have an impressive sock yarn stash and knit very few pairs of actual socks, this is a book for you. And good news! I’m giving away a free copy! Leave a comment here on the blog about what your favorite non-sock pattern to knit with sock yarn is and a winner will be chosen at random on Thursday evening, October 18. Make sure you leave your Ravelry name or email so I can contact you.

Happy non-sock knitting with sock yarn!

Enraptured by Wrapture

I love the knitting world. I love how small it is yet it’s worldwide. I love the online friends I have made that live far away through Ravelry and Facebook, and I love the friends I have that I can sit and knit with in person, watch bad TV and take our kids to the playground together, always with knitting in our bags, just in case. Knitting brings people together from all walks of life. There’s such talent and camaraderie and history in our craft.

I got to know Kristin Omdahl while working at Vogue Knitting. I had always been a fan and holy cats can that lady CROCHET. Sure, she’s a fantastic knitwear designer, but she’s in a league of her own when it comes to her crochet design. Her Crochet So Fine book made me wish my crocheting was better than sub par. Her A Knitting Wrapsody book flew off the shelves of my LYS and I thought it was pretty great that she had wonderful books in both knitting and crochet. Not many people can say they’ve achieved that.

Kristin Omdahl

The thing I like best about Kristin is she’s as awesome as her designs are. I had the chance to hang out with her a few times at TNNA and enjoyed her company. I was tickled when she asked me to try out her new Wrapture wash by Eucalin. I’m a fan of both Eucalin and Kristin, so I was excited when it showed up in my mailbox and had saved a sweater that needed to be blocked specifically for it.

The Eucalin site says, “Eucalan’s latest addition is Wrapture by designer Kristin Omdahl, infused with the beneficial essential oil of Night Bloom Jasmine. Like all Eucalan products, Wrapture is best for lingerie, hosiery, loungewear, athleticwear, swimwer and is especially useful in helping to preserve the original tension on elastic fabrics. Using Wrapture preserves the life of specialty materials such as Lycra and nylon, silk, satin, cotton, organza, lace, cashmere, wool, jersey knits and embellished items. Jasmine oil is a natural antiseptic making it perfectly suited for your most delicate fibres. Like all Eucalan scents, Wrapture contains a touch of lanolin to naturally condition fibres and keep static to a minimum. Wrap your delicates in the romantic and intoxicating scent of Jasmine.”

Why yes, I will. Thanks! I really liked this wash. The scent was feminine and sweet but not overpowering. I like that it doesn’t need to be rinsed after soaking and I thought the label was cute. If you’re looking for a gift for a knitting friend, a bottle of this would be great with a fancy -schmancy hank of yarn to go with it!

Thanks to Kristin for letting me try out her new Wrapture wash!

He Said She Said

I loved paper dolls as a kid.

I liked the process of painstakingly cutting out the clothes, fiddling with the tiny accessories, the organizing of outfits and the occasional freak-outs when a hand or leg had been accidentally chopped off by my too-hasty scissoring skills.

My mom and her sister had been into paper dolls as well. Growing up with an artist mom with constant encouragement to “make it yourself” rather than go with the cookie cutter molds of store-bought art project kits, I started making my own dolls, designing my own outfits and getting down with the glitter and glue.

Then came the fun part, the actual playing.

On the rare occasion my dad would play paper dolls (or Barbie’s, or My Little Ponies) with me (he usually took us on outdoor adventures rather than playing inside), he was always relegated to the “boy toy.” Whether it was the lone Ken doll I had, the “male” Pony or one of my brother’s random Transformers or Matchbox cars that had gotten mixed up in my stuff, there was never a question of who my dad would get to “be.”

My dad brought this up when I had a son of my own last year and commented on just how weird and overly dramatic some of my storylines were. I notice this myself while hanging out at the playground every day or listening to kids amusing themselves in the doctor waiting rooms. Kids are weird. Very creative, hilarious and charismatic, but definitely weird.

We all started here. We all had crazy storylines running through our brains and had no qualms about playing them out without abandon. We joined into our friend’s fantasies and became a superhero, a rock star, a princess or a dinosaur without batting an eye. I wonder around what age we start to lose that? When do we become so self-conscious, pack up the paper dolls and Barbie’s and start worrying about what other people think? When does the glitter glue get replaced by glitter eye shadow, the crayons with lip gloss, the matchbox cars with mobile phones?

An ode to my fondness for paper dolls, making my dad always be the sole “boy toy” and my favorite color combination of cranberry and turquoise, I offer up another free pattern, the “He Said She Said” hat.

I adored this yarn, Lana D’Oro from Cascade Yarns. A fiber combination of 50% alpaca and 50% wool gives this yarn a lovely little halo and a softness to die for. I love alpaca and this yarn is strong, buttery, cozy and ideal for the encroaching chilly months. It makes me think of fires in huge stone fireplaces, sheep’s wool slippers, hot cocoa and candles in the windows (a wintertime New England thing, another memory from childhood I loved). Generous yardage assured I could get a couple of hats out of this fantastic worsted and I found myself petting it while it sat on my desk. Yes, it’s that yummy.

And you sometimes pet yarn too, admit it.

Knitting up nicely on US 7’s, this hat has a few of my favorite techniques – multiple icords, Fair Isle and corrugated ribbing. If you haven’t dipped your toes into any of those skills, this would be an ideal hat to give it a go. The yarn really showed off the stitches and gave the hat a perfect drape.

With almost 65 colors to choose from, you can come up with the perfect color combination. Make one for your childhood friend (I had one of mine model this hat, thanks Malley!) or for your sister or mom who sat there all those winter evenings, helping you cut out your paper dolls. Change the girls on the Fair Isle pattern to all guys and make one for your dad or brother. Remind him how much you appreciated his willingness to be stuck with the “boy toy” and playing along with the crazy storylines.

I can’t wait until my son is old enough and hands me the “girl toy,” allowing me to join him in his imagination. It’ll be a wild ride.

Free pattern available here.