color · Knitting · Knitting, Crafts, Food · wool

Tea, Fiber and Some Knitting Catch-up

Hello all, Happy New Year! Where has the time gone? The months got away from me. I hope you are all doing well, healthy and excited for 2016. It feels good to be talking to you all again. I’ve missed you.IMG_3060Here is my latest dyeing venture with black tea bags and 100% merino wool from Camellia Fiber Company. I love the way these turned out: a soft, classy color, very warm and nice. What do you think?

 

FullSizeRenderSome past Christmas knitting in progress: I ended up making three of these (Jason’s Cashmere Hat) in red, blue and green for each of my sons. They loved them and I was so proud of myself, cranked these babies out in about four days each. That was fun. I felt very accomplished.

Here’s a little Instagram update for you:

It is finished. #baby #blanket #knitting #knittersofinstagram #knitstagram

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My latest FO for a certain pregnant someone who will remain unnamed just in case she pops in. This was a very quick, satisfying project done in a cotton yarn which I will have to say has never really appealed to me in the past. But this was a nice quality yarn from Berroco, “Modern Cotton”, worsted. The pattern, “Chevron Baby Blanket”, is a freebie and can be found here.

#Ley Lines #shawl coming right along by #Joji Locatelli #knitting #knitstagram #knittersofinstagram

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Ley Lines” is getting close to being done. It’s a little fiddly in Section 5 where you start to bind off the sections on the even rows. Not sure if I’m doing this right. It’s unique and different from any other pattern I’ve tried.

#sock #knitting #knittersofinstagram #knitstagram #wool #blue #white

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How do you like my new #knitting #bowl from a kind #friend #knitstagram #knittersofig #knittersofinstagram

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A fairly new project I’m attempting. Having a little trouble at the point in the pattern where it says to “turn the work inside out and work in opposite direction to finish the sock”. Pattern is “Hugs Socks” by Jean Moss from her book, “Great Little Gifts to Knit”.  Anyone attempted this one yet?

How is your year going so far? Trying anything new? Be brave, go knit something good.

xoxo Shannon

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color · Crafts · knits · Knitting

Chullos Anyone?

Polar Chullo” by Mary Ann Stephens
Ribbels Shetland Chullo” an adaptation of the above pattern using the Puffin mittens color chart found here.

I’m sure you all have seen this style of hat that is most connected to what Andeans wear in Peru known as the “chullo” or hat of the Peruvian Andes. It is their answer to a stocking cap and was born out of necessity to protect themselves from the harsh winters in the mountains of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. “Chullo” coming from the Aymara and Quechua languages has several meanings but in terms of knitwear it stands for the symbol of the Andes, a woven wool hat with earflaps.

Believe it or not, this head-gear was once considered a crude piece of clothing only worn by Andean Indians, a lower class of Peruvian society. It did come to designate certain groups living in the high mountains. The colors, patterns and weaves would indicate where each wearer was from much like Gansey sweater designs did.

Chullo’s history: Read here for more on its origins and traditions.

I have long been an admirer of this style and have yet to make one. Nonetheless, I have been drawn to its folk inspired style, colorful design and the infamous earflaps. They usually always include ties, a long tassel or pom-pom and are sometimes lined. Mmm, that would make it nice and cozy. Here is Mags Kandis’ version:

Chullo Cap” by Mags Kandis
Squishy Chullo Hat” by Adriana Hernandez

Okay, well I could go on and on showing you one great design after another, and there are many to choose from as evidenced from this plethora of designs on Ravelry. I think you get the idea. If you have made one or decide to make one, I would love to see pictures! I could share them as a follow-up to this post. It might inspire me to get busy and make one as well!

I hope you all are having the best weekend, filled with pumpkin picking, apple cider drinking, leaf watching, etc.! I have partaken in the apple cider and leaf watching, but not the pumpkin picking yet. We are having the most gorgeous day here today too filled with lots of sunshine and fall colors. It just makes you glad to be alive, right? Happy knitting.

Now go knit and do good.

P.S. I just had to share this last one:

Andean Chullo Hat” by Kerin Dimeler-Laurence

Okay, I’m done.

xoxo Shannon

 

color · design · knits · Knitting · stitch patterns · sweaters · texture · wool

Review: Twist Collective’s Fall 2015 Issue

If you haven’t seen Twist Collective’s newest issue for Fall, then you are missing out. Here are the standouts for me:

ballyfaron_d_500 ballyfaron_a_500Ballyfaron” by Luise O’Neill

Stats:

  • Both tam and cowl knit in Madelintosh DK in Terra (225 yds, 100% super wash merino)
  • Techniques: knitting in the round, I-cord cast-on, Vikkel braid, and cables
  • Ravelry page info.

And you may be asking what is a Vikkel braid, otherwise known as a Lateral or Estonian braid. You can see it running along both edges of the cowl. Here is a good video showing the technique. It looks like it basically involves knitting into the back loop and slipping stitches. I really like the professional finish it gives.

I love everything about Ballyfaron: the color, the yarn, the design, and the wonderful stitch definition. It speaks fall to me. It also has a Celtic feel, something any Irish lass such as myself would be happy to wear. This will end up in my Ravelry library.

cherrywood_a_500“Cherrywood” by Kristen TenDyke.

The richness of this yarn color caught my attention for starters. The cabled trim at bottom and around cuffs take this classic sweater shape over the top and gives it a Renaissance feel. It belongs in the courts of Lancelot. Makes you want to run off into the woods, huh? A winner in my book!

Stats:

  • Yarn is Shalimar Yarns, Paulie, worsted weight (60% merino, 20% camel, 10% cashmere, 10% silk) in  color way “American Beauty”
  • Techniques: cables, provisional cast-on, kitchener stitch, working in the round
  • Ravelry page info.

“Fretwork” by Stephannie Tallent

This is so beautifully executed with the bi-color cables and lacework on the trim. The patterns and color pop out at you. I can see me wearing this, oh yeah.

Stats:

  • Yarn: Piegonroof Studios American sock (400 yds, 100% superwash merino) in Indigo Ink and Celeste
  • Bi-color cables and stranding
  • Lacework and intarsia
  • short rows
  • garter stitch
  • Ravelry page info.

filigrene_b_500“Filigrene” by Barbara Gregory

First of all, I think the colors combined with the intricate design work make for a really nice package. Just enough of a challenge for you first-time color knitters out there.

Stats:

  • Yarn: Indigodragonfly Chameleon sock yarn (400 yds, 63% super wash merino, 20% cashmere, 17% silk) in color ways Cylons of Anarchy and Lambada 3
  • stranded color work mittens
  • worked in round from cuff to tip
  • Ravelry page info.

Enjoy!

xoxo Shannon

 

color · Crafts

a journey into dyeing

IMG_2931How do you like my somewhat crude setup? Hey it works, and we are having California weather right now where I live! So nice, not sure what I will do however when winter comes. But delving into natural yarn dyeing I am.

IMG_2932In my dye pot: a skein of 75% wool, 25% nylon fingering weight in a cochineal bath. It looks like it would come out a dark purple right? But lo and behold not to be. See below. This actually looks pinker than it really is. It is more of a lilac color. For those of you who might be wondering, cochineal is a parasitic insect found on the paddle cactus that is laid out to dry and ground up into a fine red powder. Or you can even buy the bugs themselves and extract the color that way.

IMG_2940 IMG_2939 IMG_2941I am really happy with the color and on my first try! So encouraging and doing it outdoors is very enjoyable. Any other newbie yarn dyers out there? Or experienced ones too. I would love any pointers/tips.

IMG_2936Meet my newest plant acquisition acquired at the local grocery store: “Cheyenne Spirit” Coneflower (Echinacea). I truly adore this color, and would love to find a way to replicate it in a dye pot.

DSCF4853 DSCF5511 DSCF6732 DSCF6764 DSCF7245 DSCF7277 IMG_1613DSCF7452DSCF7603Nature’s offerings and being able to curate and replicate these wondrous hues to me is nothing short of miraculous! Some of these flowers could be possible dyestuff. To which can be added, different tree barks, avocado skins, onion skins, walnuts, the roots and leaves of many plants, too many to mention and on and on. My next venture will be with Indigo. So stay tuned!


 [Update: the finished product:]

Woolful has featured several hand dyers of yarn in these podcasts.

Youtube video featuring Alternative Apparel’s dyeing process.

“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit”, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

xoxo Shannon

color · knits · Knitting · sweaters · wool

My Knitting Bucket List

I think we knitters need a bucket list of knitting patterns we would like to accomplish sometime in our lives! Don’t you agree? This list could get pretty long, right? So I will try to be discriminate and weed through the many designs in my Ravelry library and list them here for you to compare, to inspire and to challenge. I will keep the list fairly short, say to maybe 10 designs? This list includes sweaters, shawls, a hat and mitt set, a cardigan,  and a moebius cowl:

“Coda” by Olga Buraya-Kefelian

This design has great little details that make the whole finished project have a big impact. I especially like the detailing coming down from the neckline.

“Aranami” by Olga Buraya-Kefelian

I have never seen anything come close to this in the design elements, the gradient color change, just the overall finished project.

“Ashby” by Leila Raabe

Love the way the yarn shines through in the stitch pattern and definition. This is a Brooklyn Tweed design and the yarn is Shelter, a worsted weight. It has such a richness of depth, color and drapes the body beautifully.

“Moody House Set” by Elinor Brown

This would be a great first-time color work project. Elinor used Plucky Knitter Primo worsted which I think was a great choice! Love the design at top of hat and around edge of hat and mitts

“Reine” by Alexis Winslow

Here is another Brooklyn Tweed design from Wool People Vol. 3, knitted out of Loft, fingering weight. A classic, elegant but casual cardigan that is a must have for any wardrobe.

“Damejakka Loppa/Flea” by Pinneguri

This was a pretty popular project on Ravelry, showing 130 people crafting it. Pinneguri always produces great color work. She has been at it a long time. Check her out here.

“Reversible Smocked Hat” by Elisa McLaughlin

Everything about this called to me: the color, design, pattern. Elisa designs mostly hats, see her Ravelry page here. An errata page can be found here as well.

“Halligarth” by Gudrun Johnston

Brooklyn Tweed seems to have one thing in common in all of their designs: a very good classic sensibility with a twist. What makes them classic is the designs at times but also the yarn used. Not trendy yarns, but yarns that offer great quality, color and stitch definition.

“Turbulence Cowl” by Laura Chau

This does look like turbulent waves in an ocean which has been achieved by using short rows and stripes. This very sculptural look is what definitely appealed to me as well as the color combination used.

“Sperry” by Amy Miller

What a great take on a three-quarter length sleeve and shirttail shirt! Add stripes and you’ve got a fun sweater to whip up in no time. It is a top-down raglan which shouldn’t be too hard. The last one I made knit up in a flash. I love just about everything Amy puts out.

“Funchal Moebius” by Kate Davies

It doesn’t get much better than Kate Davies and her great color work, not to mention the brilliant designs she comes up with. I bought this pattern and have intended to make this for some time now. What’s holding me back? For one thing, I procrastinate a great deal, and I get intimidated easily. I must do this, I must! This is one of my all-time favorites. LOVE the reversed patterning!

A list like this is almost impossible to compose but still fun to put together. I would really like to know what some of you would include on your list. Let’s compare, shall we?

 

color · flowers · Garden · knits · Knitting · Nature

Rewind and Rework!

Well I was knitting this sample for the yarn store I’m working at and knew I wasn’t really happy with the way it was turning out. Soooo, I ripped it all out (I know, painful but not too bad) and started over. The whole idea with this Ito yarn was to show off the two different textures of the mohair line, Sensai and the 100% silk line, Kinu. I was knitting and purling every five rows when instead I should have been doing a Stockinette for five rows and Reverse Stockinette for the next five rows. Needless to say, the result has been much better and does definitely give a much better representation of the two yarns. See for yourself:  

 
DSCF8488DSCF8238DSCF8485Can you tell purple is one of my favorite colors?

color · Crafts · design · Knitting · sweaters

Are you living a creative life?

Mollie Makes has featured a designer and told her creative journey. This has been the desire of my heart for some time, to be living the creative life. Just how to go about it can sometimes be overwhelming and confusing. So let’s find out shall we?

Here’s the story of well-known Etsy seller, Louise Walker of Sincerely Louise fame.

image

I’ve always loved her creations. I think one thing obvious about Louise is that she found a way to stand out, to be unique.  I also think this requires a certain willingness to take risks, to try something new or just go with what your gut is telling you.

What is it that keeps you from pursuing this creative life? Fear? Lack of confidence? Lack of time? I once read that you just have to start doing something and see where it takes you. I like it. It’s like you are being given permission to “just do it”.

Some more “creatives” I like:

Ashley of Woolful writes a successful knitting blog and prolific podcast where she interviews a lot of fiber folk, journals about her life on a farm living the creative life, and processing yarns from her wool.

Liesl of Buckaloo View writes in a very fresh and honest way about her knitting, sewing, yarn dyeing and podcasting.

Shannon of Very Shannon out of Canada who designs knitting and sewing patterns and has published some great knitting books. It seems she is able to accomplish quite a lot and do it in a very appealing way.

Kate Davies of Kate Davies Designs who resides in Scotland of all places! Who wouldn’t be inspired living there?! Her timeless, spot-on designs always show a lot of creativity, great color and pattern work. Her Funchal Moebius is among some of my favorites of her work.

And these are just to name a few!

I encourage all of you to go for it, just do it and don’t be afraid. Until next time.

Shannon