Sunday, October 19, 2014

We went to the fair!

The three of us went to the Arkansas State Fair yesterday.  We skipped the rides again this year, but I think next year we'll definitely have to go on the Ferris wheel.  Evelyn walked most of the time, which is why she watched a couple of dairy goat shows and looked absolutely riveted at the junior cattle showmanship show.  Cody and I tried to explain that her grandparents think she would enjoy raising show cows, but I'm not sure she understood.  She was pretty worn out.

Her favorite part was milking model cows.  Cody's favorite part was the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission trailer aquarium at the Hall of Industry.  My favorite part was going to the Starr Barn to freak out over all the fancy breed chickens.  (Cody and Evelyn were very patient and didn't even seem to be embarrassed by me.  And I was squealing a lot, I have to say.)

We saw a little bit of everything, ate some food, and held hands the whole time.  Maybe that was my favorite part.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Graphic Knits by Alexis Winslow: A Review

It's pattern book review time!  Be excited!

This is Graphic Knits by Alexis Winslow. 

This is Alexis Winslow's blog, where she's leading a knitalong of the Sweetness Pullover.  This is the Sweetness Pullover.  It's a top-down knit with fine yarn and some optional short-row neck shaping.  It slays me.

This is exciting!

Even though I quickly realized I was way more out of my depth with these patterns than I had initially thought--like within the first few seconds of actually looking at these patterns--I still really want to try out some of these patterns.  They're beautiful!  I love how she uses color together to make some super bold-looking pieces.  Like this Rook Pullover. 

The Rook Pullover is another top-down knit with some super interesting patterning. 

Okay, one more sweater.  I really, really liked the Rockling Cardigan.  It has a bold design, but is a little more classic-looking than some of the other patterns.  It could be knit up with more trendy colors, like the pink and gray in this model photo, or in more neutral tones for more of an heirloom look. 

Okay, on to the accessories!  Because knitting can take so long, I'm usually more of a fan of classic-looking sweaters and more contemporary accessories.  Hats and scarves are smaller, and can be replaced more easily to keep up with changes in fashion.  So imagine my surprise to find out that the accessories in Graphic Knits featured more traditional designs.  Striking, but traditional.  

Look at the Fair Isle color work in the Woodstar Beret and Mitt set!

And the Danae Mittens?  Double knitted!  Two layers!  Tiny yarn and needles!  A simple, bold pattern that's pretty but practical!  This is some next-level knitting.  It's Very Serious Knitting that yields some super fun mittens.

The Danio Hat is really grabbing me for some reason.  It's knit with bulky weight yarn, and it looks like a fantastic single-skein project.  Folded-up flaps knit in seed stitch liven things up a bit, and a button always makes things a little more fun.  This is something I would actually attempt to make, and it would be an excellent addition to my gift stash. 

But I think the first project I'll make from Graphic Knits is the Bowerbird Wrap. 

It's written for DK weight, but I have some sport weight yarn in colors that will look fantastic.  This has a loose gauge and those casual cables make this look like it would be fun to knit and fun to wear. 

Graphic Knits has 20 patterns written for a variety of garments--cardigans, camisoles, pullovers, mittens, blouses--in a variety of yarn weights and fibers.  I'm not sure if there's a little something for everybody here.  But if you're a fan of color blocking and interesting geographic designs, then there's going to be a whole lot of things you like.  I'm looking forward to jumping into these projects very soon!

By Alexis Winslow
Interweave/F+W; $24.99

Note: I was given a copy of Graphic Knits to review, but have received no other compensation.  All opinion and lofty goals are my own.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

God bless the super bulky yarn

I knitted a hat for Evelyn today.  It's the Toddler Split-Brim Hat, which is a free pattern on Ravelry.  I think I saw this on Pinterest a few weeks ago and queued it up at record speed.  I love how this looks.  And Evelyn was incredibly pleased.  I showed her the picture on the pattern this morning and she said, "Oh, that is very beautiful."

The brim is knitted flat, which gives the hat a little bit of an earflap look and feel.  And this calls for about half a skein of Lion Brand  Wool-Ease Thick & Quick.  A few months ago, I went a little crazy building up my stash for blog-related projects.  I knew even then that I'd overdone it with the very literal wool-gathering.  And once I didn't need to make 3-5 projects a week?  Boy howdy. 

So.  It's time to destash a bit.  And this hat is adorable.  And I had some partial skeins of pink yarns.  Perfect!  I was in the mood to make this today, so I did.  Super bulky yarn and #13 needles meant that I was able to knit this little hat up (just 36 stitches!) while Evelyn pretended to sleep in her little tent.  Hooray!


I asked Evelyn if she wanted me to use the light pink yarn for her pom pom and braids, or if she wanted everything to be cranberry pink.  She liked the contrasting yarn, and I finished this up while Cody combed her hair and packed her a snack for the zoo.  She didn't go to sleep during nap time today, and I was restless (as evidenced by the fact that I made 3 hats and 8 granny squares in 24 hours. WHATEVER). So I took her to the zoo.  She wanted to wear her hat, and she's too young to realize that her mother is terrible at making pom poms.  She wore the hat the whole time we were at the zoo, though!  And she likes fiddling with the braids.  I was happy that she agreed to pose in these pictures for me.


I'm wondering if I can jump up to 56 stitches and make a bigger version of this for myself.  I think I can use the darker yarn for the brim and pom pom (can adults wear pom poms? No? Let's pretend like we/I can) and then use up the lighter pink for the body.  I want to mix the two colors for the braids. Then I'll have two whole skeins--big, fluffy, space-consuming skeins--out of my stash.  And I would have a really cute hat on my head.

Let's be real.  This thing is as good as made in my mind.  I don't even care that I won't look as
cute as she does.

I mean, how could anyone?

Friday, October 10, 2014

I Love Yarn Every Day

Today is International I Love Yarn Day!

I love yarn, but you probably already knew.  Still, it's a fun day to celebrate.  A lot of craft sites are having sales, and my local yarn store is starting their 50th anniversary sale with this beautiful holiday.  I think I'm going to try to abstain from any shopping this year.  I picked up some great yarns at the fiber festival a few weeks ago, and I have some pretty exciting yarns from the last few sales I got excited about.

  I've been updating my stash page on Ravelry and that's been strangely exciting.  It's like I'm getting yarn because I'd forgotten about some of this stuff a little bit.  I'm full of plans.

I went ahead and cast on a hat with some yarn I bought at the festival.  There's a little more than 200 yards of this, and I'm hoping to get a simple little beanie out of this for myself and then a smaller version for Evelyn.  The colors are perfect for fall and I couldn't wait any longer to get started because I love this particular yarn so much.  It's superwash merino from The Hen House, and I love the colors and I love how they look in a simple stockinette. 

Evelyn has a book that I like to read to her called "Extra Yarn."  It's about a little girl who finds a box of yarn and starts knitting multicolored sweaters for herself and everyone she knows.  The yarn never runs out so she starts knitting sweaters for animals and buildings and cars.  It's a sweet little book and I always read it on the rare chance I get to pick out the story at bedtime.

I'm actually planning on destashing some of my yarns.  My craft corner has been steadily spreading out into the rest of the living room and even the secret hiding places aren't really working for me anymore.  I want to finish up some projects so I can use the yarn that I have to hang on to.  I want to give away some other yarns.  And I want to keep the rest of my beautiful yarn where I can actually see it and use it up. 

I love yarn today and every day and I love making plans for it.