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Current Cardigan

If you had told me a couple of weeks ago that I would buy a sweater quantity of yarn at Sock Summit and have it knit into a sweater 2 weeks later, I wouldn’t have believed you. Especially considering that it was fingering weight yarn and this was my first sweater using a yarn this thin. Well, let’s get to it! I’ll warn you, I have a gazillion pictures of this sweater!

Pattern: Current by Cecily Glowik MacDonald

Yarn: Three Irish Girls Bamboo/Cotton Fingering in Shale Be Coming Around the Mountain

Modifications: My gauge was a bit off, but I liked the fabric that the size 6 needles gave me so I did a little recalculating with hopes that I could follow the directions for one size smaller. It ended up working out perfectly. I followed the directions for the size 32″ and ended up with a finished size of 35 1/2″. Because my gauge was off I also had to modify the waist decreases and increase. I knit for 2 inches before starting the side decreases so that the smallest part of the sweater would hit the smallest part of my waist (or at least closer than it would have!). For the side decreases, I did a decrease row every 6th row twice and every 4th row 3 times. When it was time to increase, I did increase rows every 4th row 5 times. I also had to modify the sleeve decreases. I decreased every 8th round twice and every 4th round 4 times. I also knit the sleeves about an inch longer than the pattern called for. Phew. I think that’s all the mods!

Let me talk a little bit about the yarn. This spring I was looking for some non-wool yarns to knit up some spring and summer handknits that wouldn’t be quite as warm as wool. I looked at several online shops and nothing really appealed to me. But then, Three Irish Girls announced that they would be releasing some non-wool bases at several retailers. I didn’t order from any of the online retailers because I hoped that Sharon would bring some of the new stuff to Sock Summit. And, of course, she did.

I hadn’t really planned on knitting up the fingering weight version so soon after returning from Sock Summit, but when I realized what a great pair the Current Cardigan and the Bamboo/Cotton would make, I cast-on right away.

I can’t say enough good things about the Bamboo/Cotton base. Cotton can be a little rough to knit with because it doesn’t have a lot of give. But this stuff was amazing. The bamboo gives it a lovely sheen and wonderful drape, while the cotton gives it a nice sturdiness and softness. The resulting garment is very light and drapes nicely. And of course, it’s soft on the skin.

I’ve knit several of Cecily’s designs (I think this is my 3rd?), and all of her patterns are exceptionally well written and this pattern is no exception. I’m a big fan of her top down designing as I find I can get a better fit since I can try the sweater on as I go. Her instructions are always clear and she writes her patterns for a wide range of sizes.

This cardigan is very wearable, and I love it’s versatility. It can be just as easily paired with a summer dress as it can with jeans and a t-shirt.

The little cables on the front bands and around the collar are a nice touch. Not too fussy, but interesting enough to keep your interest while you’re knitting it.

All in all, I’m very pleased with the way this turned out. I know I’ll get a ton of wear out of it and I love that I can just toss it in the washing machine on the gentle cycle.

How about one more parting picture?

 

 

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Purple Plucky Primo…

…is my newest obsession.

Gorgeous, right?!

I cast on last night for a Vine Loop  in some Plucky Knitter Primo Worsted, and it. is. awesome. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to purchase a sweater quantity during Sock Summit. It was nice to be able to see all the colors in person and pick out exactly what I wanted. And of course, I ended up with the two skeins that I’m using for the Vine Loop and 2 other skeins as well.

I finished my Current Cardigan the other day, blocked it yesterday, and found some buttons that I put on this afternoon. I’ll post more details and modeled shots later this week…but for now, here’s a detail shot:

The Cotton/Bamboo yarn has a wonderful drape and sheen to it.

I haven’t posted much about our garden this year, but we have a whole bed of goodies planted in our neighbor’s yard (she’s not using it and offered to let us use it!) which are doing FANTASTIC. Last year we tried to grow pumpkins and our lone pumpkin plant didn’t do very well. So we decided to buy a couple of starter plants this year and put them next door since they take up so much room. Well, wouldn’t you know it…they just took off and are growing like crazy. We have about 5 decent sized pumpkins out there, which is MORE than enough for us!

Pay no attention to the droopy leaves! It was hot today, and I took this right before I watered! 

I also planted a whole packet of green bean seeds next door in addition to planting 2 starter green bean bush plants. The seeds took forever to germinate and I didn’t think they were actually going to come up. A couple of weeks after planting them, a few of them came up all in one spot. So, I thinned them out and moved the extras down the garden bed a bit. Then all of a sudden a week later there were green bean plants EVERYWHERE. There are at least dozen plants, at all different stages. The two that I planted as starter plants have been producing green beans for a couple of weeks and I can hardly keep up with picking! Every time I think I’ve gotten them all, I see a few more.

I’m thinking we’re going to have to freeze a bunch once the other plants start producing beans! The veggies over in our yard are doing okay. We have tons of tomatoes, but they have yet to start turning red. A couple of our pepper plants are doing well, and so is the lettuce. Unfortunately, our zucchini keep dying before they’re large enough to pick…but I added some garden lime with calcium, so I’m hoping it’ll turn around. I really enjoyed being able to pull a bag of shredded zucchini out of the freezer and make zucchini bread during the winter months!

Well…I think that’s it for now! I’ll be posting some shop update previews tomorrow, but for now…back to the Plucky Primo!

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It’s Never Too Early….

….to be thinking about the holidays! I usually try and start my holiday gift crafting (usually knitting) in September or October. Since we haven’t been able to get home for Christmas the last 2 years, we’ve had to send gifts in the mail. Which, of course, means having everything ready a couple of weeks prior to Christmas to ensure that they’ll arrive on time. Well, not only will I be making gifts this year, but I’ll also (hopefully) be taking part in a craft fair at the hospital one town over (the one that Seth works at). So, I’m trying to get a jump start on deciding what to make to sell and of course figuring out Christmas gifts as well.

I’m planning on having some woven scarves for sale, so a few weeks ago I ordered several things from the new Three Irish Girls Collections. Yesterday afternoon I had wound up a skein of sock yarn from my stash and was pulling out the loom when the mail arrived. My July club shipment (which I’m also planning on weaving) as well as my other order was in my mailbox. I ripped open the packages and decided to use a couple of the skeins that had arrived instead of the skein I had pulled from my stash.

Apparently I was pretty excited, because I ended up warping the loom and weaving the entire scarf last night!

Yarn: Three Irish Girls Elenya Alpaca/Merino in Saltwater Taffy and Watermelon Chiffon

Details:  The scarf measures approximately 11 1/4″ wide and 82″ long including the fringe. I used two different, but coordinating colorways in the same base yarn. I warped the loom with Saltwater Taffy, which is a variegated yarn, and the weft was done in Watermelon Chiffon. I’m thrilled with the way it ended up looking striped lengthwise due to the way I used the yarn! To make my edges a little neater I doubled the outer threads and I used a hemstitch on each end of the scarf.

It can be worn a variety of ways, but I think my favorite is the way it’s laid out in the photo above. 

And here’s a photo of the rest of the yarn that arrived yesterday that I’ll be weaving up into scarves for the craft fair:

From L–>R: 2 skeins of Atlantis on Roslea Organic Merino, 2 skeins of Driftwood on Adorn, 1 skein of SkipJack on Adorn, and 1 skein of Willow Bark on Adorn

Gorgeous, right?!

In other news, we’ve made a second batch of blueberry jam and I also made some Banana Blueberry Muffins from a recipe that was on my friend Stacy’s blog the other day. Seth went and picked another 5 lbs. of blueberries while I was out running other errands, so we’ll have enough to freeze and possibly make some Blueberry Crumb Bars.

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Blueberry Season Has Arrived!

Seth and I went blueberry picking at one of the local farms on Sunday and ended up with about 8 pounds of fresh blueberries. Wednesday we whipped up a large batch of blueberry jam that yielded about 8 half-pints of jam. Now, Seth eats a PB&J sandwich every day for lunch (and often eats toast with jelly before running) so we might just need to make another batch! This spring we ran out of homemade jam before strawberries were in season and Seth had to make do with store bought jelly. Well, one jar…and then we bought some at the local farmer’s market because the store bought stuff was “terrible.”

I had planned on making a batch of Blueberry Buckle on Wednesday night while Seth was at work, and he sent me a text from work asking if I could make a double batch so that he could bring some to work today for their monthly potluck. The recipe was really easy to double and I put half in a 9-inch pie dish and the other half in an 8×8 pyrex dish. Within about 15 minutes of the buckle being in the oven, my entire house smelled incredible! I also had a loaf of bread in the bread machine, so my house smelled like a bakery! Hmm, maybe I need to bake more often?

Seth broke into the one we were keeping here as soon as he got home from work. Apparently, the blueberry buckle was a big hit at lunch today and a few people requested the recipe.

I’m buzzing right along on my Current Cardigan, and only have the sleeves left! I know, I know. I always stall out on the sleeves. But, these are elbow length sleeves, so I’m hoping I can rally and finish it up this weekend. Heh. Only time will tell.

I’m really pleased with the way it’s fitting so far, and absolutely love the fabric that the cotton/bamboo is making. I suppose I should start looking for buttons! I certainly didn’t think that I’d blow through this pattern so quickly.

In the land of sewing, I’ve been making some kindle cases and a laptop case for the girls that I’m teaching to knit (S & E from the county fair post). I haven’t done a shop update in a while, so I’m also working on getting some new bags put together for an update in the near future (maybe next week?). Stay tuned…I’ll get some previews up as soon as I set a date and time!

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I Wasted No Time…

breaking into my Sock Summit yarn! I’ve been searching for a while for a non-wool yarn to knit some things to wear in the warmer months. The problem I was having is that most of the non-wool yarn out there is commercially dyed, or contains acrylic. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with commercially dyed yarn. But, I hadn’t been able to find a yarn that felt nice and had colors that I thought I would wear.

A few months ago Three Irish Girls announced that they would be releasing some non-wool bases this summer! I figured that Sharon would bring some of these yarns to Sock Summit, so on Thursday I went to the TIG booth to find myself some summer yarns! Between Thursday and Friday I ended up with 2 different weights of cotton/bamboo yarn (50/50). When I got home this weekend, I wound up a skein of the fingering weight, picked a pattern and knit a swatch. It’s glorious to knit with. I was worried it might be a bit slippery to work with since the yarn is so smooth and has a wonderful sheen to it. But, it knits up quite easily and has amazing drape.

The last two days we’ve been having our windows replaced which gave me a really good excuse to sit on the couch and knit for 2 days straight! I wanted to stay out of the way, but needed to be here so that I could make sure Sailor was behaving himself and didn’t try and escape out the door.

I ended up making quite a bit of progress on my sweater over the last 2 days, and I’m going to try and knit the whole thing by August 15th so I can have 4 weeks to work on the final Camp Loopy project (any kind of project using 800 yards of yarn).

Wanna see the yarn and sweater so far?! Yes, of course you do!

Three Irish Girls Cotton/Bamboo Fingering in “Shale be Coming Around the Mountain” – it’s a bit lighter than in the photo

The pattern only calls for 4 buttons at the top…but I think I’m going to put them the whole way down. 

I’m really pleased with the way it’s knitting up. The sweater is going to be extremely lightweight and perfect for chilly summer nights or days out at the coast!

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Sock Summit!

Okay, this is the post where you see exactly how big of a knitting geek I am! This past Thursday was the official kickoff to Sock Summit. Sock Summit is basically what it sounds like, a yarn conference of sorts focusing on sock knitting. It has taken place one other time, 2 years ago, in 2009. As crazy as it sounds, people from all over the world (mostly North America…but from as far away as Australia!) flew into Portland, Oregon to take classes, shop at the wonderful marketplace, and participate in a flash mob (I didn’t, but I’ll post one of the videos so you can see!). There were approximately 1,800 knitters taking classes and hundreds more who just showed up to hang out and shop.

Initially I had planned to get a hotel room and stay up in Portland from Thursday through Sunday, but due to a variety of factors I decided to sleep at home and drive up to Portland on both Thursday and Friday. I was a little sad to miss the weekend events, but seeing how tired I was after 2 days I’m not sure I would have survived!

Bright and early Thursday morning, I loaded my spinning wheel into the car and headed up to Portland. I left extra early because I wasn’t sure  how bad Portland traffic would be close to rush hour. Thankfully I didn’t have to deal with much traffic and parking at the Convention Center was really easy (they have an underground garage that most people weren’t using because they could walk from their hotels). After registering and picking up my Sock Summit badge, I found my classroom and set up my spinning wheel so that I could take The Gentle Art of Spinning Socks with Judith MacKenzie. The class. Was. Awesome. She is soooo knowledgeable. And not just about spinning. She is a wealth of knowledge about the textile industry and it’s history as well as weaving, knitting, and other random unrelated tidbits! The class format was fairly laid back….she would show us things and then we’d all sit and practice on our spinning wheels. Then she would walk around checking in with everyone and answer questions and demo as things came up. We were able to spin with a variety of fibers that are good for spinning a strong sock yarn and even learn some raw fiber prep techniques. The full day classes have an hour and a half for lunch, so I was lucky enough to meet up with Anne (I still can’t believe I’m related to knitting royalty!) for lunch! We had lunch at a nearby cafe that was far enough from the convention center to not be completely mobbed with crazy, hungry knitters! The afternoon had more spinning and learning and then it was time for the marketplace to open!!

There was NO way I was going to lug my spinning wheel around the marketplace (it’s just too heavy and bulky), so I walked back to the car to drop the wheel off.  Then it was off to the marketplace. Almost immediately, I ran into Alysha, a friend from Ravelry who I’d never met in real life. We recognized each other right away despite having never met! Alysha and I wandered the marketplace for a few hours, first to check it all out and then to go back to certain places and make some purchases. One of the places I knew I wanted to hit up on Thursday was the Three Irish Girls booth so that I could check out their new non-wool bases for some summer knits. I ended up picking up a sweater quantity for a short-sleeved cardigan of some sort in the Cotton/Bamboo Worsted base:

Three Irish Girls Cotton/Bamboo (50/50) in Bramble

The Three Irish Girls booth was gorgeous and Sharon was just as lovely, funny, and tall in person as she is online! There was a wonderful selection of new bases, one-of-a-kind colors, mini-skein sets, and just plain gorgeous yarn!

I also picked up some luxurious yarn from Little Red Bicycle on Thursday, a merino/cashmere/silk blend and a merino/cashmere/nylon blend, as well as a skein of merino/nylon sock yarn from Hazel Knits.

On Friday, I didn’t have any classes lined up so I took my time heading up to Portland and arrived around 2pm. My first goal was to hit up the Plucky Knitter booth because I knew I wanted a sweater’s worth of yarn from there. As soon as I wandered into the booth I ran into some more lovely Raveler’s that I had planned on meeting up with for dinner, Jeannine and Erin. I think it would be a gross understatement to say that we went a little crazy at the Plucky booth! I could have spent a FORTUNE on Plucky. The Plucky Knitter booth was probably the most well stocked booth at Sock Summit. Sarah (of Plucky) had a second booth across the aisle that was filled with boxes of yarn that she used to restock as things got low. She had several “Sock Summit Specialties” that were released on Saturday and Sunday, as well. Honestly, my bank account is thanking me for not going back up this weekend!

Plucky Primo in Bohemian Blue

Plucky Primo in Can Can

Another booth that had a fabulous selection was Hazel Knits. I went back there on Friday so that I could pick up two skeins to use in a shawl together, and ended up with these two beauties:

Hazel Knits Entice MCN in Blacklight and Spanish Wine

After purchasing quite a bit of yarn (and a couple of other things!), I met up with some folks from Ravelry and we went to Mother’s Bistro for dinner. Out of the 7 of us that went, 6 of us ordered the Macaroni and Cheese! Delicious, I tell you. Two of the people at dinner work at Happy Knits (one of them was the owner, Sarah), a Local Yarn Shop in Portland, and they were kind enough to let us do a little after hours shopping! It’s such a lovely store, and I really need a make a point to get over to that side of town more often when we go to Portland.

So….how ’bout a photo of the whole haul?

Don’t judge. I knit a lot. 😉 

SO….from Left to Right:

Bottom Row: Hazel Knits Entice in Blacklight, sweater qty of Plucky Primo in Bohemian Blue, 4 skeins (short-sleeved sweater qty) of Three Irish Girls Cotton/Bamboo Worsted in Bramble, and Hazel Knits Piquant Lite in Violeta

Middle Row: Hazel Knits Entice in Spanish Wine, more of the Primo Bohemian Blue, 3 skeins of Three Irish Girls Cotton/Bamboo Fingering in Shale Be Coming Around the Mountain, 2 skeins Plucky Primo in Garnet martini

Top Row: Little Red Bicycle Penny Farthing (jumbo skein) in Fathom, LRB Dapper (new base) in Lullaby, Sanguine Gryphon Mithril in Blue Green Music, more of TIG, and 2 skeins Plucky Primo in Can Can

The yarn bowl is from Hazel Knits (but made by someone else…there was a sign saying who made them, but I can’t remember)…fiber is TIG SW Merino in Sunday Berry Pie, notions pouches from Splityarn, stitch markers from Beads ‘N Poodles, Pint Glass swag, and some Soak because I’m almost out.

I’m a little bummed I didn’t take pictures at sock summit and during dinner. Many of the booths were really impressive, and the Beads ‘N Poodles booth had a couple of standard poodles and a black lab hanging out with them! Ah well, I’ll try and remember to be better about taking pictures at Sock Summit 2013!

On Saturday there was a planned flash mob in front of the Convention Center…I’m sure the folks driving down MLK Blvd. were a little surprised to see people dancing with yarn! Here’s a video that another Raveler took:

I’ve spent most of the weekend recovering from all the festivities, but I did break into the Three Irish Girls Cotton/Bamboo Fingering weight yarn to knit a swatch! Knitting and other craftiness to come later in the week!

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Busy, Busy, Busy!

Seth’s Mom and Joe are  in town this week, so we’ve been busy sightseeing, picking strawberries, and working on the backyard landscaping! On Thursday we headed to the Oregon Garden to walk around and admire all the gorgeous flowers. The weather was perfect and we had a nice leisurely stroll around the park.

There was a duck family living in one of the ponds at the garden.

The flowers in bloom were amazingly gorgeous.

I love these fun yellow flowers! 

While Seth was at work on Friday, the rest of us went strawberry picking at one of the local U-Pick farms and ended up with about 25 lbs. of fresh strawberries! Seth’s Mom made a strawberry pie while I ran out to a local fiber festival (more on that later!). We froze a couple of gallon sized bags and we’ll be making jelly this week with the rest.

On Saturday we headed up to Portland to go to the Saturday Market. After wandering around for a bit and buying some local goodies, we all got in line for lunch. The guys ended up with tamales from Salvador Molly’s and the girls ended up with biscuits from Pine State Biscuits. Usually I go for the breakfast style biscuit with egg and cheese, but this time I decided to go big. My biscuit had buttermilk friend chicken, bacon, and cheese. It was also supposed to have gravy, but I opted for no gravy (I’m not a big gravy on biscuits fan).  Sooooo bad for me, but sooooo tasty. The bacon was thick and really crispy and the chicken was delicious! Yum. We also made the obligatory stop at Powell’s City of Books, and amazingly enough I left empty handed! There was also an attempted stop at VooDoo Donut, but the line was pretty far down the block. I did, however, get a picture of their new sign:

Now…more on that fiber festival I went to on Friday….

I’ve been wanting to try weaving for a while, and decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to invest in a loom. I wanted to wait until I could buy one in person, though, and avoid shipping charges. Since I knew that there would be looms at the Black Sheep Gathering, I took a quick drive down to pick up a loom. Of course, there were a couple of other purchases…but I’ll share those once I snap some photos.

After asking around on Ravelry, doing some online research, and talking to some folks at the fiber fest I decided on the 20″ Ashford Knitter’s Loom. The AKL is a rigid heddle loom that folds for easy transport and storage. The folding feature was important to me so that it doesn’t take up as much space.

So….today I completed my first weaving project!

Warping the loom

Close-up of the warp

The first few rows of the weft

Yarn: Three Irish Girls Carys BFL in “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree”

Not bad for my first project, huh?!

The scarf turned out a bit shorter than I would have liked, but now I know for future projects that I need to make the warp longer. 

I think I’m really going to enjoy weaving!

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