Friday, October 25, 2013

Hello! It's Officially Knitting Season!


Hey Y'all,
So I think we can agree that it's knitting season all year round. But then, there is something extra awesome about knitting when the temperature drops. Which for me-- down here in Austin-- means a brisk 75 degrees. Ha! But seriously, it's getting chilly at night and soon enough our one month of winter will be here.

I know a lot of you are up north and actually have snow to look forward to. Please send me pictures when that happens. I always love looking at pictures of snow, just can't stand driving in the stuff.

So this time around, I want to give a big shout out to QUINCE & Co yarn pictured at the top. We used some gorgeous Quince wool when we were on Monhegan Island. Really knits up beautifully and it's also eco-friendly-- most of it is American fiber and the stuff that comes from other countries is acquired from farmers and ranchers who love the earth. We used yarn from Quince that was created by Pam Allen, spun and dyed in Maine. The company has limited LYS distribution-- most of it is sold directly online to help them keep costs down.

Here's a picture of my scarflet-in-progress, which Teva designed for us to make using the Quince:



Down below there's a picture of yours truly. What am I wearing? Let's call it a PROTOTYPE okay? It didn't turn out exactly as I envisioned. I used the Swans Island Samurai Hat pattern I picked up when we stopped at Swans Island on the way back to Portland. I used super scratchy old school wool I bought at LOOP, on my trip to London. Also, I was too lazy to look up how to do garter stitch in the round, so I just took a guess, figure it involved purling, and found out later at my LYS that what I'd done was actually a reverse stockinette. No biggie. I wound up with an excellent hat regardless. Now I understand the pattern, I know how to do reverse stockinette, and I most definitely will do more of these. They knit up very quick.


And down below-- a scarf I made using Blue Sky alpaca which is so incredibly fabulous I felt like I was getting away with something using it. I mean it is so so so so so soft and buttery. I just did a simple K2P2 rib and made it about seven-feet long-- birthday gift for a friend who lives in truly cold climate so it'll get real use. Even though I have about ninety scarves of my own already, I am tempted to make one of these for myself and to keep the a/c on 30 degrees just so I can wear it all the time.


I know the trip to Queechee, VT is coming RIGHT UP. How I wish I could join y'all but I am duty bound to stay in Texas and help folks get married.  But I will certainly be with you in spirit. Have a most wonderful trip. Catch you on the other side.

Spike

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Thank You Swans Island!


Hey Y'all,
Wanted to give a big shout out to Swans Island for hosting a great visit when we stopped by on the way back from Port Clyde to Portland. I love the amazing blankets there. And I love the yarn, too. We had the great pleasure of using some Swans Island chunky for the improvised lace bag project Teva set us up with. I scored a couple of skeins of beautiful chartreuse wool and I just want to sit around and look at it all day.

This was my third trip now to Swans Island and I never get tired of visiting. The place has such a great history-- I've blogged about it here before. The company used to actually be on an island, but now its on the mainland. We got to check out their dyeing vats, their amazing looms, and, of course, the showroom.

I'd been thinking about a Beluga Whale stuffed toy pattern I'd seen there last year. This year I bought it. I figure if you think about a pattern for that long, better go ahead and get it. I've got a little friend with a birthday coming up soon enough and I know he's going to love it.


I also picked up the pattern for the Samuri Hat, which is so cute and is going to knit up fast and is going to be great once the temperature down here in Austin drops into the 70s (brrrrrr....)

And I took great joy watching everyone else shop. It's a special delight watching folks walk into the showroom for the first time-- the displays are arresting and you get to touch the goods.



Patty was able to find an alternative use for a ring full of sample mini-skeins. Check it out:


And here's a picture of one of the looms:


For more information about Swans Island you can check out the Swans Island website. Also they have a really fabulous blog-- fantastic photos and lots and lots of patterns.  

Thanks Swans Island folks! We sure had a terrific time. See you next fall!
Spike