Friday, February 27, 2015

February Goals Revisited

28 Zoom Loom Squares!
Now I just have to find a project for them...
With February coming to a close tomorrow, I wanted to spend today taking stock on this month's goals:
  • Weave one Zoom Loom square each day this month to build up a nice stash for making some projects from Margaret Stump's Pin Loom Weaving book. Completed! I took the liberty of weaving my final two squares ahead of time so that I have all 28 to photograph & share today. 
  • Complete the Foliage Cowl for the Holla Knits KAL which starts today. Completed! This project was knit in under a week, and I blogged about it here.
  • Complete my Curls KAL project (currently in progress). Not even close! 
  • Finish 2 baby sweaters this month (one which is already in progress and one which is needle adjacent). Halfway There: the sweater-in-progress from the beginning of the month is complete, but I haven't even started the needle adjacent sweater due to some design deadlines which popped up earlier this month. 
  • Finish my Block Island Pullover by the end of this month. Nope! Still working on those sleeves....
  • Complete one spinning project from start to finish. Completed! I spun through the 4oz of HANDSPIN fiber and blogged about it here.
  • Release a new pattern. Completed! The Sweetest Baby Hat was officially released on Friday, February 6.
February Fail: Still on the Needles!
All in all, not too bad considering I gained two unexpected design jobs about a week into February which are both due at the end of March, causing me to re-prioritize my WIPs. I plan to spend this weekend working primarily on those designs in order to free up some knitting time for March. In fact, I'll be sharing my March goals next Monday here on the blog. See you then, and have a crafty weekend! 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Slim Pickings

Since two of my WIPS are top secret, today is going to be a very short post! I did manage to add a few more rounds to the first sleeve on my Block Island Pullover:
Sadly, I didn't work very much on my Caesious Shawl in the last week, so my only other shareable project is my scrap yarn blanket - look at how much it's grown since last week!
When I'm ready to start a new section of squares, I've taken to laying it all out beforehand to see how everything looks together, then taking a reference shot to work from.

How's that for short, sweet & to the point?! See you back here on Friday, when I evaluate my February Goals!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Yarn Enabling: Manos Alegria

Ever since Alegria was introduced from Manos del Uruguay, it's been on my must-knit list. It wasn't until just this month that the perfect opportunity presented itself: I'm working on a new design for an upcoming Holla Knits collection!
I've enjoyed working with the other Manos yarns I've tried, and the fun colorways combined with a lovely base of superwash merino & polyamide made requesting Alegria for my design absolutely irresistible. Each yarn comes from a co-op in Uruguay and is certified Fair Trade, which means that your yarn purchase supports the livelihood of rural women, providing them with fair pay, good working conditions, health insurance, and more (you can read more here on the Fairmount Fibers blog).

Each yarn is signed by the artisan, telling you the name of the person who made your yarn and which co-op it came from:
I can't wait to share my design with you when it comes out later this year. In the mean time, make sure that Alegria is on your to-do list for 2015!

Friday, February 20, 2015

FO Friday: MCN Baby Sweater

I finished the all-in-one-piece baby sweater I've been knitting!  I used the Classic Cashmere Sweater pattern from Erika Knight's Simple Knits for Cherished Babies; but instead of closing the back with a ribbon, I made a small tab with a crochet chain and sewed on this adorable button which was gifted by my pal Lauren.
It's for a very special baby who surprised her parents by making her appearance two months early - while her Mom was visiting family and friends in New Mexico! Luckily, baby is doing well and getting stronger every day, and both parents are able to stay in New Mexico while she does so. There is a GoFundMe set up to help them cover all of the expenses associated with their extended stay away from their home, for those of you who are wondering about such things.
Getting back to the sweater....I wanted to knit with the most luxurious yarn possible so that she has something nice and soft to wear when she was ready to graduate to actual clothing. I chose a hand-dyed MCN yarn from Zen Yarn Garden in a special colorway that's dyed exclusively for A Good Yarn Sarasota, Frilly Fiji - I like to think of it as a more sophisticated girl baby color option.
Since I was already mailing the sweater, I decided to also include the samples for my Sweetest Baby Hat & Socks so that she could be head to toe in luxurious hand knits!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

WIPs, Secrets & Startitis

Though the Caesious KAL is over(ish), I'm still plugging away at mine since I pretty much only work on it outside of the house - it's great for riding the CTA and taking to knit night! There really isn't much of a difference since last week, so I thought I'd go with a more interesting photo this week just to spice things up.

Over the weekend, I started the first sleeve on my Block Island Pullover - although I didn't make it far:

Both of these are slow going, though, because I have to spend most of my crafting time working on two new top-secret designs! Well, I am allowed to share some sneak peeks here and there...for instance, this beautiful and colorful skein of yarn came into my life recently, and it is going to become something fun!

Of course, I wouldn't be me if I didn't totally distract myself by starting an new project which will likely take years to complete. Seriously, what was I thinking when I decided to start a worsted weight mitered square blanket with scrap yarn this weekend?! The good news is, I'm kind of obsessed with working on it....and the bad news is, I'm kind of obsessed with working on it. I clearly will need to set some ground rules with this project (i.e., I can only work on it when I've completed X number of hours on my other designs and WIPs, and I'm not allowed to knit more than a square each day). I'm also still kinda sorta keeping up with the whole zoom loom square-a-day challenge, so I suppose you can say that I am square obsessed of late.

How do you avoid startitis?

Monday, February 16, 2015

February Spinning Project: Hand-Dyed HANDSPIN

After much debate, I decided to chain-ply the single I spun recently from the 50/50 merino & alpaca roving I dyed with easter egg dyes. The fiber is a new offering from Blue Sky Alpacas, and it was a dream to spin - light, lofty, and very little veggie matter or guard hairs to slow me down. Before I knew it, I had filled my bobbin with a single and had to decide what to do next! In the end, I decided on a springy 3-ply:
I spun the single on my Louet Victoria (and unfortunately didn't make not of my ratios - oops!), and then I chain plied on my Ladybug with my Bulky plyer.
The finished skein is 4.2 oz (118g) and has about 78 yards of chunky weight yarn; now I just have to find the perfect project for it!

Friday, February 13, 2015

FO Friday: Foliage Cowl

I finished my Foliage Cowl last Friday night, talk about speedy - it only took four days from start to finish! This project was super-easy and the epitome of instant-gratification. It's also a stellar example of the importance of blocking a finished project. Here is Exhibit A, my unblocked cowl:

...and now, Exhibit B, post-blocking: 

I think the lace looks especially nice:

I haven't had a chance to get any modeled shots since sunny days are hard to come by right now, but trust me, it's a nice chunky knit to snuggle up in this winter! 

There are lots of great prizes up for grabs during the Holla Knits KAL, and there is plenty of time to join in the fun! The KAL runs through May 1, 2015, so grab some yarn and start your favorite Holla Knits design so you can win free patterns and maybe even some awesome goodies, too!

Also, Craftsy is having a Valentine's sale this weekend, so if there were any classes you had your eye on, now is the time to buy! Click here to check out Craftsy's Sweetest Valentine’s Sale - Up to 50% Off Knitting & Crocheting Classes. Sale ends Monday, Feb. 16 at Midnight MDT.