Friday Pattern Spotlight: Spring is in the Air!

I don’t know about all of you, but I love spring and for a few of you it has been a long time coming.  This time of year in Phoenix is quite wonderful, especially in the early mornings and evenings when the air is cool and crisp, making it perfect for light pieces for layering.

Today I want to share a few lovely patterns to get you into the mood for knitting and crocheting for spring, and even summer.  All of these designs use breathable and cool fibers such as cotton, cotton blends,  hemp blends or linen blends.

Brynna by Bonnie Marie Burns of Chic Knits

Brynna – Courtesy of Bonnie Marie Burns

Rococo Waistcoat (crochet) by Jane Howorth for Willow Yarns

Rococo Waistcoat – courtesy of Willow Yarns

Emerson Rocks by Cathy Payson for Classic Elite Yarns

Emerson Rocks – Courtesy of Classic Elite

Lydia by Kristen TenDyke for Quince & CO

Lydia – Courtesy of Quince & CO/Carrie Bostick Hoge

Alma by Carlo Volpi for Rowan Magazine 55

Alma – Courtesy of Rowan Yarn

Cotton Neat French Sweater by Pierrot (Gosyo Co)

Cotton Neat French Sweater – Courtesy of Pierrot

Miette by Andi Satterlund

Miette – Courtesy of Andi Satterlund

Que Sera by Kirsten Kapur for Knitty

Que Sera – Courtesy of Kirsten Kapur/Through the Loops

Chinese Lace Pullover by Angela Hahn

Chinese Lace Pullover – Courtesy of Angela Hahn

Latticework Cardigan by Michele DuNaier

Latticework Cardigan – Courtesy of MADuNaier

One project I’m considering is Cottesloe by Lisa Richardson that is published in the Pure Linen Collection by Rowan .  I purchased several skeins of Hempathy from a sale bin at Jessica Knits not knowing what I would do with many of the single skeins.  I think this is the perfect project and will tackle it in a month or so.

A Hempathy Cottsloe

Until next time, happy knitting, crocheting, spinning and crafting!

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Work In Progress Wednesday: Spinning and A Bit of Crochet

I’ve had a wonderful week so far and have started spinning a luscious blend of 80% superfine merino wool and 20%tussash silk that I purchased from a fellow Ravelry member that is from Capistrano Fiber Arts Studio.  This is only 2.1 oz  but I really love the colors which is a blend of white, blue, grey and a hint, just a hint, of lavender.

Silver Fog

Silver Fog

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Doing fractal spinning.

I’m also working on a crocheted baby blanket for a very sweet friend that is expecting her first baby.  For this project I’m using my stash of Patons Superwash Merino Wool DK and a pattern by Celeste Young called the Rainbow Ripple Baby Blanket – 12 Pointed Star. If you are looking for a fun and quick crochet project for a baby gift, remember this one and it’s a free download too!

 

Progress photo of my 12 pointed star

Progress photo of my 12 pointed star

I’m also having a blast with my adventure in drawing and Zentangle Art and think this will be quite addictive.

Zentangle Scottie

Zentangle Scottie

Until next time, happy knitting, crocheting, spinning and crafting!

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Time for a Change of Pace

I’ve been a bit quiet over the past week but I have been thinking about my knitting endeavors and have come to the conclusion the Knitting Womanmain reason I have been very fickle in my projects lately is the simple fact that I’m plum tired of knitting.

Like many of you, I’ve been knitting for a very long time, so long that other interests that I once loved and truly enjoyed have taken a back seat to my knitting, which I honestly can say has been the main love of my life for over 18 years . With that being said,  I’ve made a decision that it’s time for a change of pace.

This week I pondered what it is I really want to do and set off with a strong urge to spring clean my craft room.  I disposed of items I did not really need, or even want, downsized the books in my library (off to Bookman’s I go), and donated a good chuck of yarn to a local charity who make wonderful items for a good cause.   I feel refreshed, even exhilarated, and even though my room looks rather bare, but I’m quite pleased with the result and I’ve made a decision on what I really want to do as far as crafting is concerned.

One, I want to SPIN!  I love spinning and find it to be very soothing and peacefully, especially after a long day a work but I have neglected it due to my knitting.  I want to concentrate more on my spinning and hone my skills so that I can use my handspun for garments.  With this concept in mind,  I have re-organized my craft  room to have a little spinning corner, one that I’m quite proud of and love the results.  My belief in life is that if you see things, you will use what you see first instead of buying more.

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Two, I want to DRAW!  I have decided to delve back into something I really love many years ago, drawing, and even water color.  I tend to get very passionate about my hobbies and buy everything that pertains to my new found joy but this time, it’s different.  This time, I’m going slow and have been extremely happy, quite content with what I have been working with that I have on hand,  and I haven’t missed my knitting, GASP!

Now I know you all have heard about doodling, but I’m not sure if you’ve heard of Zentangle.  I noticed that everything I googled paisley, I found beautiful renditions that fell under the category of Zentangle or doodling.

The Zentangle Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.   Almost anyone can use it to create beautiful images. It increases focus and creativity, provides artistic satisfaction along with an increased sense of personal well being. The Zentangle Method is enjoyed all over this world across a wide range of skills, interests and ages. ~ Zentangle

My “doodles” are not perfect by any means, but I had fun, which is something that has been lacking in my crafting life for a very long time.

flower

My paisley flower

My first hummingbird

My first hummingbird

I’m not giving my knitting or even crocheting as both have been a large part of my life, but I am stepping away from it for a while and for how long, well I really can’t say.

I do apologize for my lengthy post, but as long time readers, I wanted to share what I was thinking with you and want you to know how much I appreciate you listening to my rambles today.

I may not post as often but until next time, happy crafting!

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Pattern Spotlight: Designs that can show off handspun yarns quite beautifully!

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I have decided to start spinning more, which means I’ve been on the look out for patterns that would be great to use with my handspun.

Now it’s really sad that I have two years (or more) of handspun sitting in a basket looking pretty, but I do, and to top it off, I have two skeins of handspun that was given to me by Simone, Sand and Sky Creations a year ago that I can’t seem to knit with because it’s so pretty.  After a comment left by Stacey, a.k.a. The Weekend Knitter, I have decided it’s time to knit more with my handspun and want to make a few shawls, or even scarves.

I spent a few hours, yes hours, perusing shawl patterns on Ravelry looking for designs that would show off handspun and came across quite a few lovely handspun versions that I simply had to share!

  •  Holden by Mindy Wilkes – I love this pattern and have made it several times but never thought about handspun until I saw Lara’s  version using her gorgeous handspun.
  • Faraway, So Close by Carina Spencer  – Simple and elegant!  I have fallen in love with Ginny’s (Fat Cat Knits) handspun version, it beautiful!
  •  Annis by Susanna IC – This shawl has been made many times by Emily’s handspun version is quite lovely.
  • Brandywine Shawl by Rosemary (Romi) Hill – I’ve loved this pattern since the first time I saw it and keep meaning to make one, especially after seeing Anne’s handspun version.
  • Branching Out by Susan Lawrence – This is a very simple scarf design that looks yummy in handspun and I’m quite taken by Stacey’s handspun version.
  • Ishbel by Ysolda Teague – A very popular design on Ravelry is quite stunning in Caity’s handspun version.
  • Akimbo by Stephen West – This is a great design to use multiple colors and I really love Simone’s handspun version, it’s beautiful!

As soon as I finish up my current project, Shaelyn by Leila Raabe , I plan to cast on Branching Out by Susan Lawrence using a lovely skein of handspun that Simone sent to me in a blend of 40% merino, 40% bamboo, 10% tussah silk and 10% nylon firestar.  The colors are quite pretty and I think this will be the perfect pattern for it!

Courtesy of Susan Lawrence

 

Seashells - DK Weight

Seashells – DK Weight

 

Until next time, happy knitting, crocheting, spinning and crafting!

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It’s A Mystery !

For some reason I’ve had a strong design to knit shawls and lacy things, and have casted on two projects to satisfy that need but I was yearning for more.

After finding out my dear friend Elseline was participating in a new KAL,  It’s a Mystery by Rosemary (Romi) Hill, I decided to take the plunge and join in the fun.

For this mystery KAL, Romi is using two colors for her shawl design.  After going through my stash of fingering weight, I decided upon a skein of  Springtree Road Muscadine Sock in Antiqued Rose (left) and Black Trillium Fibre Studio Lilt Sock  in Mist.

 

I caked my yarn and worked clue 1 and I really love the colors!

This KAL will have 5 clues total, each one a week apart.  As far as the design goes, this will be a shallow triangular lace and striped shawl requiring two skeins of fingering weight at 385 each.  I always love Romi’s patterns as they are very detailed and can honestly say that clue 1 contains very detailed line by line written instructions, as well as charts.

If you decide to join the KAL, be sure to take a peek at Romi’s Studio Ravelry Group, as well as the two dedicated threads for this mystery KAL – Mystery KAL Spoilers Thread and Mystery KAL Non-Spoilers Thread.  Also, this pattern is currently $5.00 but after the mystery KAL is finished,  the full, and completed, PDF  pattern will increase to $6.50.

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On The Bookshelf: Lovely Knitted Lace by Brooke Nico

knitted lace

Lace knitting gets a fresh update that finally makes the craft accessible to all!

From a Triangle Tulip Shawl and Floral Tunic to a Starry Nights Bolero, these stunning projects showcase rich textures and beautiful detail.

Working with four basic shapes, Brooke Nico creates 16 gorgeous wearables plus two “bonus” variants. You can use needles and yarn of any size to knit these garments, and each one features simple construction and elegant lines. 

Today I am introducing to Lovely Knitted Lace: A Geometric Approach to Gorgeous Wearables by knitwear designer Brooke Nico.

When I received this book in the mail, the front cover immediately captured my attention and I knew what was inside would be a gorgeous lace adventure.  For me personally, I like Brooke’s approach in her new book as she only uses four basic shapes with simple construction to create 16 fantastic pieces, all that can be knitted in various weights of yarns and different sizes of needles.  Pretty neat if you ask me!

So, what’s inside?  There are six chapters inside this 128 page book that contain detailed information, including chapters dedicated to abbreviations and knitting basics.  Please note that while there are written instructions for each design, the lace designs are primarily charted, with the exception of seven designs, which include written and charted instructions. For those of you uncertain about charts,  Brooke has included in the first chapter two pages dedicated to understanding how to read and use charts.

As for the sixteen designs, including two bonus designs,  you will find a total of  2 scarves, 1 hat, nine shawls and six garments, all broken down in various forms in the following chapters.  Also included is a chapter for “Motifs for Exploration” that teaches you how to incorporate different lace motifs into lovely knitted shawls or garments.

Triangles:

Rectangles:

Circles:

Squares:

I LOVE this book and already have a few favorites:

“Birch Jacket” © 2014 Lark Crafts, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co.

“Japanese Leaf Scarf” © 2014 Lark Crafts, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co.

“Posies Wrap” © 2014 Lark Crafts, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co.

Even though this book currently retails for $19.95, you are getting each pattern for $1.25 each, which is a steal !  I would consider this book for your reference library, but if you are apprehensive about the charted instructions, this might not be the right book for you and would suggest checking it out at a local library or viewing it at your LYS before buying.  On the flip side, if you love adventure and are an avid lace knitter, then go for it, you’ll love the designs!

About the Designer:  Brooke Nico is the co-owner of Kirkwood Knittery, where she uses her eye for detail and fashion experience to keep her store ahead of trends in knitting. However, lace is where Brooke has really made her mark, and her talent has been recognized by Vogue Knitting, Knitters, and Debbie Bliss magazine. She has taught lace classes at VKLive, VKLive LA, and several Stitches (XRX) events. Brooke lives in Kirkwood, MO.  You can find Brooke online at Ravelry.

Disclaimer:  This copy was provided by Sterling Publishing for review  and the above opinions are my own.

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The Joys of Using Your Handspun

I have been enjoying spinning again and have decided it was time to indulge myself and knit with the handspun I’ve made over the lastDSCF1002 few years.  For me at times it is hard to part with my handspun skeins and it’s even harder for me to find just the right pattern to show off the colors, or even the textures.

One particular skein in my stash has been my most treasured skein as it is nearly perfect, which for me as a spinner is always a challenge.  I never plied it, so this is a single that comes in at a l6 WPI, which is fingering weight. This yummy handspun is a combination of BFL and Tussah Silk that I purchased from Patricia of Beesy Bee.  Before I get too sidetracked, if you haven’t visited Patricia’s Etsy shop, please do!  Her fibers are always gorgeous and she loves color.

Since this handspun is unique in color, a combination of deep purple, soft lavender and hint of black, I need a very simple design to show it off and one that uses only a small amount of yardage as this skein is only 250 yards.  I am also considering adding a few beads but not sure if they would show up too well or not, but of course my white ones might.

BFL/Tussah Silk in the color Tux

After looking at my books and all my patterns on Ravelry, I’ve opted for the English Mesh Lace Scarf by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas, a scarf I mentioned in several posts ago.

© 2010 Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

For this project I’m using a size US 6 (4.25mm) 16″circular needle and beads that have just a tiny hint of lavender in the color.  I have casted on and have worked three pattern repeats.  I have a long way to go but so far I am quite pleased with the way it looking and the yarn, well, it’s incredibly silky soft!

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Progress photo

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Until next time, happy knitting, crocheting, spinning and crafting!

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