Posted in knitted blanket, knitters, knitting, yarn

My favorite blanket – on size 50 (US) needles

AFGHAN 3This is one of my all-time favorite knitting projects.  You may think it looks somewhat old and ratty, and you’d be correct.  It’s just well-loved.  Actually, part of the reason is looks a bit beat up is because of one of the yarns I used, but more about that in a bit.

I love it because it was really quick and easy to make.  I made it when I was a fairly new knitter.

I love it because it is super-warm and comfortable, but because of the construction, it breathes and I don’t  get overheated.

It’s based on an article in the February 2008 issue from Knit ‘N Style by Leslye Solomon titled They’re So Big!!! about knitting with large needles.

This afghan was made with 7-9 strands of yarn knitted together at once, using 500-600 yards of each yarn. I cast on 36 stitches and worked in garter stitch. Whenever I got tired of any one yarn, I cut it and tied on a new different yarn.

My fancy system of keeping the yarns from tangling was to place each ball of yarn in a Ziploc bag, cut off one of the bottom corners, run the end of the yarn through the resulting hole, and seal the bag.

My rule in purchasing the yarns was that they needed to be white or off-white. Since I really knew nothing at the time about different yarns and their characteristics, it made shopping pretty easy. Yarns used included these (and I imagine many of them may now be discontinued): Bernat Satin Sport Solids, Lion Brand Moonlight Mohair, Lion Brand Jiffy Solid, Lane Cervinia Le Fibre Nobili Imperiale, and Bernat Soft Boucle. I also used something resembling thick and thin roving – but I have no idea now what it was. That was the yarn that pills so badly – but it surely did make the blanket warm and cushy soft. I also remember buying a yarn that was a raw silk blend.

There’s not much more information on my Ravelry project page, but here it is if you’d like to take a look.

I really do love this afghan and sleep under it every night. Using size 50 needles (25 mm) was a kick in the pants!  Working in garter stitch and changing out just one yarn at a time made things pretty easy. Changing a yarn when I started to get bored kept the work interesting. It’s definitely something to keep in mind if  you’re looking for something unique and different to make!

knit equals joy

P.S.  For reference, the largest needles in the photo are the orange needles, which are size 35 (19 mm). Size 50 needles are BIG!!!

Posted in Color, fiber festivals, knitters, knitting, Rhinebeck, yarn

Rhinebeck – All About the Yarn

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Rhinebeck, as the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival is known, is now a distant memory, but the yarn I brought home with me is a concrete reminder of a lovely weekend spent with friends. I wrote about the weekend here, and now I’m writing about the yarn I chose and why.

My first yarn purchase at Rhinebeck was from Weston Hill Farm. I discovered Weston Hill Farm on my first trip to Rhinebeck, in 2011. The yarn was luminous, natural, and I had never seen anything quite like it. I returned to their booth several times, finally buying a sweater’s worth of yarn for this Shalom Cardigan using only natural, undyed yarns. Weston Hill Farm’s yarn comprised the bulk of it.

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I’ve also used Weston Hills Farm yarns to make this Ebb Cowl (pattern by Susan B. Anderson)

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and these Choose Your Own Cable Adventure Gloves which I test knitted for Aaron Bush

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The yarn I brought home this year from Weston Hills Farm is just as beautiful! It is luminous, soft and springy, and I love the colorways – beautiful, pure hues and subtle tonal solids.

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Weston Hill Farm – Worsted Weight
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Weston Hill Farm – Mountain Lake, Pear

Weston Hill Farm is based out of Westerlo, New York. Eileen and I became friends following Rhinebeck 2011 – when I called to order a bit more yarn to finish that Shalom – and I always love to see the pictures  she shares on social media of the farm’s sheep: Romneys, Border Leicesters, and long wool cross sheep. This is Ailionora, a registered Romney ewe. Isn’t she adorable?

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Ailionora, photo used by permission

Getting back to Rhinebeck – next on my quest for fiber, I picked up some lovely yarn by Solitude Wool.

solitude-wool-960x960Solitude Wool is based in Virginia and creates breed-specific yarns. Each skein lists the yarn’s fiber source as well as the yarn character, fiber content/care, length, size, suggested needles, gauge and batch.

Gradient and/or mini skein sets were all the rage at Rhinebeck, but I didn’t find one that I couldn’t pass up until I saw the Llama-rama mini skein bouquets at Solitude Wool. The yarn is 1/2 llama & 1/2 Romney, 2-ply/ fingering, 35 yds per color (210 yards total). The beautiful heathered colors are created by blending natural color llama with natural and dyed-in-the-wool Romney. It’s luminous, too.

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Llama-rama mini skein bouquet

I fell hard for this Alpaca/Merino. This fiber is a blend of 80% natural, undyed black and white alpaca with 20% natural and dyed-in-the wool Merino (2-ply/ lace weight, 275 yds, 2 oz). It is amazingly soft, and I absolutely love the muted purple tones. I think they had me at “elegant” in the description on the label. It has a great deal of depth, and I see more to love about it each time I look at it.

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Solitude Yarns Alpaca/Merino

The next yarn company that made me stop and stay awhile in their booth was North Light Fibers. North Light Fibers is a micro yarn mill based in Block Island, Rhode Island. We spent a lot of time in their booth just squishing the yarn – it all had an incredible hand. I was tempted by the cashmere – and it was amazing – but ended up with the Atlantic – 100% Falkland Island’s Wool (3-ply/Worsted, 170 yds, 2.5 oz). I snagged the exclusive colorway they created just for Rhinebeck, Blue Moon, a lovely periwinkle – one of my favorite colors ever. It will have excellent stitch definition, and will probably end up as cabled mitts.

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North Light Fibers Atlantic in Blue Moon

My final purchase of the weekend was from a Hudson Valley farm, Buckwheat Bridge Angoras. The farm raises Angora goats and Cormo sheep using sustainable practices. What caught my eye, however, were the painterly colorways. Beautiful!

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Buckwheat Bridge Angoras 70/30

The blend is 70% Fine Kid Mohair and 30% Cormo Wool. The green colorway is 250 yds/4 oz. and the multi blue/yellow is finer at 200 yds/2 oz.

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Buckwheat Bridge Angoras 70/30

I’m always amazed at the wonderful yarn selection now available to fiber enthusiasts. When I think back to the yarns my mother used back in the 1970’s and 1980’s, I am so grateful for the natural fibers we can now so easily find. And now, when there are so many artists hand-dyeing their fibers in gorgeous colorways such as the ones that made it into my Rhinebeck shopping bag – with so many options, now is a great time to be a knitter!

knit equals joy

Posted in fiber festivals, knitters, knitting, Rhinebeck, yarn

Rhinebeck!

I was so fortunate to be able attend Rhinebeck last weekend!  For those of you not yet familiar with Rhinebeck, that’s the name knitters, crocheters, weavers, spinners, dyers and other fiber lovers have given to the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, which takes place every October at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, New York.

Going to Rhinebeck has become an annual affair for many.  For me, this was my second time attending, the first having been in 2011.  I wrote about that trip here: Fiber Festivals as Travel Destinations.

I attended Rhinebeck with my friends Meg and Jen, and we met up with other Ravelry friends while at the festival (see picture below).  We also had a great meet-up with our friend Alex and her mom, but I didn’t end up with the meet-up picture. We lucked out with lovely accommodations in Kingston. We had mixed results with our dinner in Kingston. But in the end, it came down to good company and lots of fun, fibery goodness.

Reports I’ve read state that about 30,000 people attended on Saturday.  It was a bit crowded for me, but good for people watching and scoping out the yarn.  Sunday was much more comfortable, the lines were much shorter and you could move around in the artists’ booths.  I made no purchases on Saturday and none until about the last hour we were there on Sunday. I was sorely tempted all weekend by qiviut, the fine undercoat of the muskox and the softest fiber I’ve ever touched, but finally decided against it.  I love locally sourced yarn, and that is mostly what I ended up with.

Now we come to the fun part, which is lots of pictures of Rhinebeck and pictures of the yarn!

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Arriving in Rhinebeck
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Fall is in the air at Rhinebeck
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Fair food – while I didn’t have any of this, I did have maple cotton candy – delish!
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Happy Rhinebeckers
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Passport Mitts in the wild! Made by Meg, Jen, and Alex
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Sunday morning drive to Rhinebeck
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4-H dad talks to Jen about raising Shetland sheep. They are social animals and have to be sold in groups of two or more – at least in NY.
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This little guy was about six months old. He was so cute!
And the fiber!!!

(Click on the pictures with a yarn source named in the caption to go to each one’s website.)

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Buckwheat Bridge Angoras. Love the colorways! The top one reminds me of Van Gogh and the bottom one is a luscious green.
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North Light Fibers Atlantic in Blue Moon – Rhinebeck exclusive color…more of a periwinkle
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Solitude Wool lovelies
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Weston Hill Farm Hand Dyed Sport Weight in Pear and Mountain Lake
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Weston Hill Hand Dyed Worsted Weight in Peony and New Dawn Rose

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Thanks for letting me share my impressions with you. It was a wonderful weekend – and best of all was the time spent with old and new friends!

knit equals joy

Posted in knitting, Wordless Wednesday, yarn

Wordless Wednesday: Yarn Shops

I have found local yarn shops to be, often, little oases of beauty. It makes sense, really, that the owners might have an artistic sensibility and would create a lovely space to be. Here, then, I share some images of my favorites with you.

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In Muttenz, Switzerland, copyright Mary Williams, used by permission.
Happy Knits Window
Happy Knits, Portland, Oregon
In The Wind Yarns Cozy Nook
In the Wind Yarns, Gleneden Beach, Oregon
Tangled Purls Christmastime
Tangled Purls, Salem, Oregon
Gossamer
Gossamer, Bend, Oregon

 I have a few more favorites, but, for various reasons, don’t have photos right now.  Those favorites include Knot Another Hat in Hood River, Oregon and Close Knit and the Knitting Bee in Portland, Oregon. All great places to spend an hour or an afternoon!

Posted in giveaway, Ravelry, Rose City Yarn Crawl, yarn

A Giveaway Update

Hi everyone!  The giveaway in my Ravelry group is still going strong.  There are mini-giveaways going on until we reach 5,000 posts in The Cafe thread.  Current post count: 4,854.

When we reach 5,000 posts, I’ll choose the winner using a random number generator for this prize:

Giveaway Grand Prize

I wrote all about the lovely yarn and goodies here: Giveaway Details.

In the meantime, I am giving away smaller goodies that I purchased during the Rose City Yarn Crawl.

CURRENT MINI-GIVEAWAY:

Gobstoppers

Two terrific Gobstoppers, mini-skeins of worsted weight yarn by the Knitted Wit. Soon I’ll randomly choose a winner for this mini-giveaway and then will start the next mini-giveaway. Come on over to The Cafe and join in!


MINI-GIVEAWAY WINNERS SO FAR:

Mini-giveaway 1

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Won by Ravelry user Kepanie.  She wrote about it in this post on her blog: Wooly Cakes and Wooden Spoons.


Mini-giveaway 2

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Just in time for Easter, this See’s Easter Treasure Egg was won by Ravelry user stamura.


Mini-giveaway 3

Knitted Wit Gumballs

These awesome Knitted Wit Gumballs, mini skeins of yummy yarn, were won by Ravelry user QueenKally.


Mini-giveaway 4

Happy Knits Bag

A wonderful project bag from Happy Knits.  Adorbs!  Won by Ravelry user PLC1.


Mini-giveaway 5

One of a Kind buttons

Awesome and amazing buttons from One of a Kind Buttons.  We discussed it in the group and we think the first one belongs on a mug cozy.  Won by Rav user saminar.


I hope you will come check out the group, the thread and the giveaway if you are interested.  We love to chat about knitting, yarn, and life in general, and we love to have new knitting friends join in the fun.

knit equals joy