Rules for Feeding the Stash

Monday, November 30, 2015

FO: Lupine

Well, we're supposed to get close to 10 inches of snow here over the next couple of days, so how about a fake summery photoshoot? This is probably the last time I'll ever get to photograph something in a t-shirt for the next five months, so I might as well take advantage of it and show off this beautiful light shawl.

I hadn't really gotten much of a chance to work on my Lupine since I last showed it to you all in September, but a couple of weeks ago I pulled it out of the WIP basket as a palate cleanser between some other big stuff, and I ended up not being able to put it down until it was done. I love the colors so much-it's so light and springy!

I know I go on and on about how enjoyable Cory's patterns are to knit, but this one was just so enjoyable. I had the pattern memorized really early on, and even though I didn't touch it for a month and a half, it was still familiar when I picked it up again. It totally zoomed along, and I'm already planning some different outfits to wear it with, so overall it's an A+ project.

Ravelry Page: Lupine
Pattern: Lupine by Cory Ellen Boberg

Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving/GAL Sale End

Today is the last day of the sale portion of the Indie Designer Gift-A-Long, so if you still want to get some Giftmas (or selfish!) pattern shopping done, check out the bundle of sale patterns here before the sale ends at 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time tonight!

But just because the sale portion is ending, doesn't mean all the GAL fun is! Knit- and Crochet-A-Longs are active in the Ravelry group and any pattern by any participating designer is eligible for the -A-Longs and therefore eligible for prizes! There are some fantastic projects flying off the needles already, so definitely go check out what people are making (and maybe get inspired!).

I hope all of my friends here in the US had a lovely Thanksgiving yesterday. I know I was especially grateful this year to have the chance to refocus and be appreciative. For all of my friends overseas, I hope you have some fun knitting planned for the weekend!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


So, I mentioned the other week that I was afraid I might be coming down with a case of Sweateritis. Well, it is a full blown infection, and I've been hit bad. I have the Accidental Sweater almost off the needles (I had a bit of trouble figuring out the sleeve stripes, but more on that later), and to be honest the fact that I accidentally started a sweater should have clued me in to my state of mind weeks ago.

Behind that, I have four sweaters in a pretty solid state of preparation. I've got yarn, I've got patterns, and half of the yarn is wound and ready to go. I've knit swatches, I've double checked yardage, and I'm sitting here wondering how the heck did I suddenly decide to cast on four sweaters?

Up first, we have my birthday sweater, which I've already shared a bit here. I'm super excited for this one (bright yellow! lace! alpaca!).

Pattern: Summer Helmut by Boadicea Binnerts, with lengthened sleeves

Next, we have Drift, which I've also mentioned here. Again, super exciting things going on here (fun colors! lace! alpaca! umm...I'm sensing a trend).

Pattern: Drift by Kristen Finlay
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock "Reggaeton"

Third, we have Cormac, which I was drawn to right away when I got the fall issue of Knitscene, and then seeing Faith's version sealed the deal for me. Then I scored some amazing gold-colored vintage Japanese silk yarn in the Great Northern Knits Kickstarter campaign, and I knew they'd be perfect together. I still need to swatch and fudge some numbers, and I'll definitely need to hold the silk doubled, but this is going to be a real showstopper (gold! lace! oversized!).

Pattern: Cormac Sweater by Leah B. Thibeault
Yarn: Japanese Royal Silk (vintage, no info)

Finally, we have Audrey in Unst, which has been in my queue since May 2011. I love this pattern so much, and when I found my Lion Brand Sock-Ease in Rock Candy the last time I went through my stash, the two just clicked for me. I love that there are little pops of color in this yarn, and the base is neutral enough that it will fit into my wardrobe really well.

Pattern: Audrey in Unst by Gudrun Johnston
Yarn: Lion Brand Sock-Ease Prints "Rock Candy"

SO. Amazing sweater-y things happening here. I'm really excited, and hopefully I get some amazing sweaters done before my sweateritis clears up.

All sweater photographs copyright their respective publishers

Monday, November 23, 2015

Tiny Squares

Winter has finally (and suddenly) come to South Dakota. Usually, we get a few "practice snows" starting in mid-October, and more permanent stuff doesn't come until later. But on Friday we got walloped with about eight inches of the stuff, and it's sticking around. Not that I'm complaining, I love winter, but it's certainly been a change from the mild weather we've been having the last few weeks.

Anyway, on to knitting stuff. I've been wanting to make a blanket from my sock scraps almost since I started knitting socks. I love scrap quilts and blankets, and I love the thought of all my knitting memories in one handy blanket. I'm a huge snuggle bum, and I love wrapping up in a special blanket and cuddling the dogs and knitting or reading.

I knit my first square for this back in September, but it's finally starting to look like an actual something. I have no clue how big it's going to ultimately end up-I'd like at least a queen-size blanket, so this is definitely going to be a huge undertaking. I have plenty of sock scarps already, and since most of my stash is fingering-weight, I'm not really too worried about having to stop adding squares anytime soon.

Friday, November 20, 2015

GAL 2015 Pattern Roundup!

Since the GAL sale started last night, I decided to go through and pick out a baker's dozen of my favorite patterns in the Gift-A-Long! This is by no means a complete list, and I'm sure I missed some real treasures (and really, there's so much wonderful stuff going on, it was really difficult to narrow it down to 13!) so definitely be sure to take a look yourself.

Pin-Eater by Handarbeitskram
Photo copyright Selana

Oh my gosh, these are adorable. I have a bit of an allergy to knitting toys (small pieces overwhelm me!), but these are just adorable little embellished squares, and you can go as wild as you want! Fun pin cushions are the best, so these are perfect for all your sewing buddies, or even just as cute little pals hanging out on a shelf. Maybe I'll make a couple for my office!

Bread and Roses by Naomi Parkhurst
Photo copyright Kathryn Walbert

I was able to take a class in college on labor history in the United States, and it remains one of my favorite classes. I also grew up going to the Lawrence textile mills for class field trips, which holds lots of great memories. Add to that the fact that she designed the lace pattern using the Dewey Decimal System, and pretty much all my history-library-loving buttons lit up with joy.

Faux-chet Cowls by Laura Chau
Photo copyright Laura Chau

I'm such a sucker for a puffy cowl, and I love the texture in this one. I struggle a bit with crochet, even though I love the look of it, so being able to get this fun texture in a knit is just icing on cake.

Bob by Ela Torrente
Photo copyright Ela Torrente

This hat pattern stood out to me from the day it came out. Cables and bobbles? All in that fantastic slouchy silhouette? I love me a good hat, and this just looks like a pleasure to knit and to wear, and it looks like it would be perfect in a rustic, woolly yarn.

Vinyl Record Coasters by Ellen Kapusniak
Photo copyright Ellen Kapusniak

Confession time: I kind of have a big thing for coasters. I'm obsessive about them, and I cannot put a drink down anywhere unless I have a coaster. I'm also really good at losing coasters, and I've used all sorts of non-coaster items as a coaster in a bind (folded up receipts, a Polish dictionary, my iPhone, etc). So I'm always ready for a fun coaster pattern, and these are just so cute.

Unicorn Hoodie by Emily Ringelman
Photo copyright Emily Ringelman

Oh my god, one of you must have a child in your life that can use this hoodie. I am literally one stressful work day away from sizing it up to fit me. I hardcore love unicorns, and unicorn hats and cowl/hood combos always pop my toast, but this takes the magic to a whole new level. I am seriously wishing there were any small unicorn-obsessed children in my life, because this is just too fabulous.

Sowerby by Annika Barranti
Photo copyright Annika Barranti

I'm such a sucker for cozy things, and this wrap just exudes coziness. Add to that my memories of reading The Secret Garden after bedtime while hiding in a cardboard castle my mum built me for my birthday, and this just seems like a winner to me.

Bad Wolf Bay by Ruth Brasch
Photo copyright Amanda Swiger

Come on, Kat, another Doctor Who-inspired pattern? Yes. If you're familiar with the show and the storyline, the inspiration is clear, but even if you're not, the cowl stands well on it's own. Everyone loves texture, eyelets, and chevrons, and this scarf has them in super-chic spades.

Romulus and Remus: A Two-Headed Amigurumi Monkey by Jessie Ksanznak
Photo copyright yarnovernewyork

Okay, right now I am really regretting my ongoing struggles with crochet, because I need this two-headed monkey in my life STAT. It's just so delightfully offbeat and fun, and I really need to either get someone to make me one, or double down and make it myself, because I didn't know how much my life was missing this until I saw it.

Fancy Hen by Ella Austin
Photo copyright baa ram ewe

I just really love these hens. They're one step above the Pin-Eaters in terms of "toy-ness," so maybe this is a sign of me taking baby steps towards embracing three-dimensional knitting. But I seriously want some of these hens in different colors on my couch. They're just charming, and I always think that knitting ought to be charming.

Galcantray by Emily K. Williams
Photo copyright Emily K Williams

I have a thing about knitting flat rectangular things. I love wearing them, but I always feel a bit intimidated by knitting them. This wrap, though, is just so gorgeous. It's so light and airy, and has such great movement to it, that I fell hard when I saw it here. I just love the spots of mesh against the stockinette so much, plus the name is really fun to say.

Mithrandir by Amy van de Laar
Photo copyright Amy van de Laar

I know, I know, two flat rectangular things on this list? But look at this one! Plus it's inspired by none other than Gandalf the Grey, so of course it's on here! I couldn't let Doctor Who get all the fandom love in this roundup, and this scarf ticks just the right boxes for me. Architectural and elegant, it's definitely something I can see myself both knitting and wearing.

Campside by Carolyn Macpherson
Photo copyright the next beautiful thing

This hat is seriously cool. I mean, it's got this incredible architectural texture thing going on, it's super interesting without being intimidating, and it's just chic. Everyone needs a chic little hat, right? I also have a ton of worsted-weight hats around, but not too many lighter ones, and I think that this could be a great transitional piece.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

2015 Indie Design Gift-A-Long

Tomorrow is the beginning of the 2015 Indie Design Gift-A-Long on Ravelry, and this year I'm one of the participating designers! For those of you unfamiliar with the GAL, it's a six-week craft-along (knit and crochet!) that goes from tomorrow through December 31st. There are tons of electronic and physical prizes each week, and the whole shebang starts off with a sale!

The sale details: using code "giftalong2015" you automatically get 25% off any pattern in a participating designer's GAL Bundle. Here's a list of all the participating designers-there are 335 designers participating this year, and over 5,000 patterns on sale, with nearly 16,000 eligible for entry into the craft-a-longs.

There are more details in the Ravelry group, but be sure to check it out. I'm definitely planning on lurking around to check out all the pretties and I'm sure I'll be fawning over some fantastic projects, and hopefully I'll be able to squeeze in one or two myself :)

If you want to follow GAL2015 on social media, the hashtags are #gal2015 and #giftalong2015

Happy Gifting!

Monday, November 16, 2015

WIP: Roco Loop

I'm going to go on record and say that Malabrigo Rasta is the best cowl yarn ever. It's chunky, warm, the colors are amazing, and it shows texture beautifully (and it knits up really darn fast). I grabbed these two skeins in Arco Iris back in March during my trip to Minneapolis, and I've been toying with different cowl ideas for them since then.

The more I looked at the yarn, the more the colors reminded me of the bright colors in Rococo design, and I wanted to play on that and do something reminiscent of late Baroque scrollwork. I love this cable pattern so much, and it has the added bonus of being reversible! (I love it when cowls are reversible, it's like sprinkles on top of a sundae).

This is going super fast-I've been using it as a palette cleanser between sleeve sessions with Mum's sweater. I managed to churn out the last few rows in the sweater on Wednesday though, so this thing should be done in a flash! I'm planning on putting together a pattern for it for early December-just in time for any last-minute gift knits, because like I said, this stuff knits up fast.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Planning: Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Drift

Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock was my first yarn crush, and it's still in many ways one of my deepest yarn loves. It's an amazing blend of fibers, the colors are fantastic, and it's been a constant in my stash since my stash fit in a shoe box. Back in 2010 I made it my mission to buy some of every colorway that Athena Fibers had in stock, and for some odd reason, I bought four skeins of Reggaeton.

As much as I loved the colors and feel in this yarn though, the yarn started to stress me out. What do you do with 400g of this stuff? I finally broke into one skein to make my own pair of Transitions Sleeves, which I love the daylights out of, but what to do with the other 334g?

Fast forward another couple of years, and I got a hankering for a top-down yoke sweater. And all of a sudden, there it was-I didn't even know that's what I was looking for, but having seen it, I can't imagine that I was looking for anything else. That eyelet detail, that soft ease. It's definitely the pattern that I've been wanting to knit, and it's absolutely perfect for this yarn I've been carrying around for more than five years. Not only that, the yardage requirements and gauge just work out, so it's obviously meant to be.

(For those of you keeping track, that's two sweaters still on the needles, and now two sweaters getting ready for cast-on. Clearly I'm coming down with sweateritis, and you should probably stay far away, because I think it's contagious.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Holiday Bazaar Swag

I mentioned that last weekend I went to a Holiday Bazaar in the city, so I thought I'd show off my loot! The bazaar is a huge event-it takes up all three floors of a huge church, and it's got food, woodworking, handcrafts, thrift items, and craft supplies. It's a craft fair and thrift store all in one, and it's always easy to find a bunch of stuff.

Most of my damage was done in the book room and the craft area. I found a copy of the Reader's Digest Guide to Needlework, which now has a great home on my crafting bookshelf. I love me a good craft reference book, and the Reader's Digest ones are great-complete with fantastic illustrations, plus they're so wide they always lay flat, which is a huge help!

I also hit up the yarn room. The four spools on the right are cotton crochet thread, and I'm planning on knitting a striped summer top with them. I love my Ella knit from cotton crochet thread, and it's a great material for summer knits, especially if you get hot really easily like I do! The skeins on the left were from a grab bag. They're all a pretty standard lace weight, virgin wool, 50g each. I'm hoping that those three pinks I can coax to work well together for a shawl or wrap, and the fourth skein is a dark green, and I have no idea what that might be yet.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Overdue FO: Halloween Scarf

Monday already? This weekend really flew by! I was up in the city all day Saturday for a holiday bazaar in the morning, then since one of my best friend's wedding reception was that evening, I decided to just hang out all afternoon. It was such a great party, and it was so great to see all my friends in one place!

Last week I was hoping that I'd be able to get at least one of the sweaters done over the weekend, up until I realized that Saturday was just going to be lost. But never fear! I finally have FO pictures of my Halloween scarf!

I ended up being able to knit this exactly as written, sized up just by using worsted-weight yarn and US7 needles. I was afraid for a while in the middle that I'd need to cut out a couple of repeats, but it all worked out great. The scarf is a fantastic length-it was even too long to block on the futon! It works great as a bulky layer around my neck, or just draped shawl-style.

Ravelry Page: Halloween Hop Brook
Pattern: Hop Brook, by Bonnie Sennott
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Kudo "56"

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Different Kind of Project

As I mentioned last week, my left thumb was recently trapped in an immobilizer for a few days. It felt like a pulled tendon, and it's all back to normal now, so I'm glad I was good and took several days off knitting. I can't, however, sit still without something crafty in my lap, and you really only need one thumb for needlepoint, so I decided to start a cross stitch project I've been thinking about for a while.

I can't remember if I've mentioned it here before or not, but I have been a huge Lord of the Rings nerd for most of my life. As in, I have the movies memorized, I used to be fluent in Quenya, I have multiple copies of all the books, I have the soundtracks memorized (and I sing along during the movies), I wrote novel-length LOTR fanfiction, and really, I've just been a ginormous dork about it for about fourteen years or so.

So of course I decided to plan some cross stitch and embroidery pieces based on images from the series. My ultimate dream is to embroider a six-foot wide map of Middle Earth to hang above my headboard, but that's a ways off. (There are giant unrealistic projects, and then there's a freaking tapestry of Middle Earth made by one person who only knows like four stitches.)

So here's my little Tree of Gondor so far. I'm using this chart, and I've been having a blast with it so far. Once it's done it will either hang on my wall or get displayed on my bookshelf. It's so cute and charming and I'm utterly delighted, and now I'm really excited to get it finished so I can start a matching Doors of Durin.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

New Pattern: Fingercuffs Worsted

This is the second pattern I released this week. I'd been meaning to do a worsted-weight version of my Fingercuffs pattern for several months, and my friend's request for some warm fingerless gloves was the perfect excuse. I love the original Fingercuffs, but I know some people get too cold for fingering-weight gloves, and sometimes I wish I had a warmer pair.

These were a ton of fun to knit up, and so much quicker than the fingering-weight version! Each glove really took only two and a half lunch breaks, so I could definitely churn out a pair for myself in a couple days. I still think that these gloves are the most practical and useful thing I've ever designed, so I'm super glad to have it available in two weights!

Fingercuffs Worsted is available on Ravelry and in my Pattern Store here. I do hope you enjoy, and Happy Knitting!

Monday, November 2, 2015

New Pattern: Sporange

Happy November! In the spirit of having not started my gift knitting yet, I have two new patterns out this week. Both were spawned by an old college friend asking for a bulky hat and some fingerless gloves, and I am utterly charmed by both.

Today we have Sporange, the aforementioned chunky hat. She wanted something fun to give her kids something to talk about,  but she is anti-pompom. With those two criterion, I set course for a spongy cabled hat.

I'm so pleased with how this came out, and I'm really pleased with how the pictures for this came out! This was one of my favorite photoshoots ever, and I'm utterly charmed. I also realized that while I've been taking pattern pictures in front of the barn for the past year and a half, I hadn't done a photoshoot with pigtails until this weekend!

Sporange is available on Ravelry and in my Pattern Store here. Enjoy, and Happy Knitting!