Yarn Love: Malabrigos’ Silky Merino

Fall is just around the corner, which means kicking the knitting into high gear for the Cherokee Heights Arts Festival and Holiday presents! When I started my stash busting/inventory building this summer I had a few skeins of Malabrigo’s Silky Merino that were perfect for making some fingerless gloves. I was knitting with size US5 needles and found that after blocking, I loved the lighter, looser fabric that the yarn creates, as well as the beautiful sheen and softness perfect for gloves. I fell in love with the combination and bought a number of other colors and can’t seem to stop!

The gloves above will mostly be given away as presents (except the teal pair which I made to match my fall sweater coat), but I’m making a few more pairs for the festival. I’ve found that I can get one and a half pairs of gloves from one skein, so I am combining the remnants of two colors to make a third pair. That’s a pretty good return for a moderately priced, but luxurious-feeling skein!

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Knit Progress: Gloves and more Gloves!

The stash-busting and arts festival inventory-creating has begun! I’ve pulled out all of those little balls of leftover yarn and have had the best time creating fun combinations of colors and textures. I can’t seem to stop making variations on striped gloves. Since these projects don’t take much yarn, I’ll be able to make a few more solid color pairs too. I don’t plan to stop for another week or two. We’ll see how many I can do!

Knit Progress: Socks & gloves

061914_purple_socks_4

Summer is time for me to start looking forward to end of year presents and our local arts festival. After finishing up my new sock patterns, I decided to make two more pairs of the Twists and Braids socks with some newly acquired Madelinetosh Tosh Sock yarn. I love the vibrancy of the yarns and it was fun to see how the pattern looks in Flashdance versus Antique Lace.

The sock patterns translate nicely into simple fingerless gloves, my most popular item at the Cherokee Heights Arts Festival in November. I have a bunch of stashed yarn, so I’ll be working through some of it to create items for the fall. I enjoy working within the constraints of the yarn colors and textures I have available to create combinations I wouldn’t have paired otherwise. Look for lots of glove updates soon!

Gifting Knits: Ladies & Literature Book Club edition

In addition to knitting, reading is one of my hobbies. A few years ago I met a great group of local ladies through a Goodreads group called Ladies & Literature. Since then the group has opened up to international members and numbers in the thousands. I am lucky to be one of five moderators for the group. One of my projects is the Annual Top Reader Competition that challenges our book club members to participate in every single “official” book club discussion for the year. That turns out to be 16 book discussions a year, one each month with a quarterly Classic book on top. This year we had 8 ladies complete the challenge. Of those 8, three win the big prize.

One of the prizes I supply is a custom knit piece. This year I worked with two of the winners to make a custom piece just for them based on my patterns. I love it when two hobbies can come together!

In addition to the prizes, one of our moderators is expecting her first baby, which was recently revealed to be a boy. After looking through patterns and inspiration, I decided to create my own version of a hooded blanket with bear ears. I had some Bernat Baby Blanket yarn on hand and was so pleased with how soft and thick a blanket it makes. You can get the notes for the blanket design here.

Happy Knitting and Reading!

Knit Progress: A visit to the yarn stash

After working on longer projects, I decided to visit the yarn stash and make some quick projects for the fall Arts Festival stockpile. I found some great yarn that I hadn’t used and some remnants from projects that would coordinate to create something unique.

Wine & Pink
I started with pairing a big ball of wine color yarn with some color changing roving in pinks and purples that was left over from smaller projects. I made a pair of herringbone fingerless gloves and liked the result. I still had a good amount left and decided to make an extra roomy version of my Meringue hat pattern. I especially like the way the alternating rows of yarn work in this pattern.

Orange & Silver
I found a bunch of bright orange roving that a friend gave me a while back and thought it went perfectly with the silver and gray yarn left over from a hat request. It makes a great hiking hat with the bright orange! The roving shows off stitches so beautifully I couldn’t resist continuing on with some chunky cabled fingerless gloves.

Smoky Jewel Tones
After that, I decided to make something on the delicate side with some beautiful handspun silk and merino yarn. It was thinner than expected, so I paired it with a charcoal gray sock weight yarn that let the beautiful color variations of the specialty yarn shine.

I have a few book club prize knits on the list to complete next. What are you working on?

Knits: Post Festival Round-up

Festival_booth

A few weeks ago we participated in our local Annual Arts Festival and had a great turnout! A lot of the knits made over the last year found new homes as well as some of the new prints created this fall. My favorite experience of the day was when a woman came up to the booth a pulled out a fingerless glove from her purse. She’d bought the pair from me at the festival a few years ago but had lost one. She liked them so much she wanted to see if I could make her another one and I was happy to accommodate the request–the gloves picture above are the result. It was fun to knit up one of the old patterns and I was even able to use a few new tricks I’ve learned since then to make them a bit better.

In addition the the gloves, the great sock race continues. Another two pairs are complete with another on the needles. The pair on the right is another pair of  Cadence Socks by Very Busy Monkey, this time in the festive Vanna’s Glamour in onyx. The other pair is the pattern Brigit by Monkey Toes in Premier Yarns Serenity Sock in Woodsy Green. This pattern is simple  but with twist that makes it special and the color turned out to be a nice match for the pattern.

Not much time left, but I have a few more pairs of socks I am hoping to finish by mid-December, then I plan to start working on some new patterns of my own in the new year.

Knit Progress: Things to keep your hands warm

Since the hats, I’ve circled back to another idea I had for the brioche knitting technique. I thought it might work well to create a small, warm and stretchy pair of minimal fingerless gloves.

My experiment started with a short pair of fingerless mitts with a regular rib at the cuff and base of the fingers. The fabric created with the second yarn in brioche stitch expanded it more the way I expected and I added a button thumb hole, which was a bit tricky, but after a few tries was successful. I think these  turned out pretty cute in the Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash. I especially like some of the pairings you can create with solid and multi-color striping yarns they are offering.

I still had enough yarn to try a second pair. This time I simplified it more by creating cuffs without a thumb hole. These fit nicely – kind of like little extensions for your sweater this fall.  I wanted to try one more variation lengthening the cuff, so I used some other yarn I had in my stash for  a pop of color.

I don’t think I’ll be formalizing these into patterns, but if you want the notes, leave me a comment.