Ensnared (plus giveaway)

Do you realize how long it’s been since we had a shiny new sock pattern around here?  It was back in November.  That’s just not cool!  We need more socks, and I think Ensnared are just the ticket.

That’s a nice classic sock to jump back in with, isn’t it now!  There’s just something about a perfect ribbed sock that’s hard to beat.  They fit so well and feel so good on your feet and you can totally get away with them if your sock target insists on fairly sedate socks.

And, if you have a yarn as beautiful as this, the ribbing is actually sort of meditative.  The yarn is Meridian by Seven Sisters Arts in the color Damselfly, and it is (like all of their yarns) a thing of beauty and delight.

But you guys know me well enough to know that it’s really that fancy bit on the top that steals my heart.  There’s something about that lattice work that just does me in.  It’s the perfect mix of interesting but not fiddly (and just impressive looking enough that you feel rather pleased with yourself while you’re doing it, which really is the important bit).  It gets me in my happy knitting place every time, and really, isn’t that what knitting’s for?

So here’s what we’re going to do.  I want to hear what gets you in your happy knitting place.  Is it ribbing? Plain stockinette?  Colorwork?  Something where you can see the pattern and don’t need to check a chart?  There’s no wrong answer, I just like knowing what everyone else geeks out on!  The random number fairy will pick someone out of a hat, and I’ll send them a skein of this gorgeous Seven Sisters Arts yarn.

And for everyone I can’t send yarn to (I’m just not cool enough to get yarn to everyone, sorry!), I’ve got a coupon for this pattern.  You can use the code HAPPYPLACE to get 10% off the hat between now and Friday.  Just put Ensnared in your ravelry cart, click on the ‘use a coupon code’ button, and type in the code HAPPYPLACE.  You’ll see the change in price reflected right away.

Comments left between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Friday, April 21, 2017 will be entered to win.  I’ll pick a winner, contact them to get their addresses, and arrange to send yarn their way.  Be sure to use a real email address so I can contact you if you’ve won (I won’t do anything with those email addresses besides notify the winners).  If I do email you, I need to hear back from you within 72 hours or I will pick a new winner and contact them. Sorry, but I can only ship physical prizes to US addresses.

Good Mail

One of the many lovely things about this job is all the good mail it generates.  There are few things more fun to find in the mailbox than some yummy yarn.  And when it’s book yarn selecting time, you get a lot of good yarn in the mail!

That’s Merino DK by Hedgehog Fibres in the color Construct.

And that’s Meridian by Seven Sisters Arts in the color Silk Road (the bundle) and Citron (the big skein).

They’re both for Curls 3, which will be mostly speckles and gradients.  I’m having so much fun tracking down fabulous yarns, and have a bunch of them sorted out, but if you’ve got any favorite speckles or gradients, I’d love to know about them.  It helps if they’re a big enough company to be carried in yarn stores and if they do repeatable colorways, but there’s a bit of flexibility for just the right yarn!

Play time, part 2

Ok, so I’m not that mean.  I won’t keep you waiting too long.  Because really?  No one should have to wait for this.

DSC_2813 copyI mean it’s practically electric.  Totally cannot get enough (and I’m usually fairly immune to the charms of blue, but somehow this totally does it for me).

But the thing I find really interesting is how differently each base took the color.  From left to right that’s Matrika, Zenith, Apex, Meridian, and Corona, all from Seven Sisters Arts.  Just as a reminder, they looked like this undyed.

DSC_2044jpg copyAnd ok, maybe you’d expect the Apex (the gray one in the middle to come out different).  But the others surprised me.  The Matrika and the Zenith came out the lightest (I think maybe because of the way the silk in the Matrika and the BFL in the Zenith reflect the light).  Then the Meridian and the Corona are super saturated (my guess is that it’s the superwash merino…I wonder if whatever they do to make it superwash makes it drink up the dye a bit better).  And of course Apex was gray to start with and so it kept that lovely mellow feeling (don’t tell the others but it might just be my favorite).

It was awesome to see how they behaved (and to see everything that goes into dyeing the yarn), and I’m already scheming about what I’m going to make with them.  The Zenith and the Corona are vying with each other to see who gets on the needles first, and I suspect you’ll be seeing more of all of them around here over the next little while!

Play time, part 1

My job is awesome.  I mean yes, sometimes I spend too much time with boxes and labels and tape.  But I also get invited to go visit with fabulous dyers and play with their yarn.  And really, that makes up for an awful lot of time spent packing boxes!

While we were up in Maine, Karen of Seven Sisters Arts asked if I’d like to come over and play.  You know I love her yarn (I used it most recently in Pelagic, and before she opened Seven Sisters Arts, she was half of String Theory, and I’ve used a ridiculous amount of their yarn).  So after checking once or twice to be sure she really meant it, I gleefully said yes bopped right on over.

When I got there, I found a pile of yarn (starting at the bottom left and working across to the top right that’s Matrika, Zenith, Apex, Meridian, and Corona).

DSC_2044jpg copyAnd a top secret notebook full of recipes and colors and truly inspiring bits of fluff.

DSC_2046 copyWe talked color for a bit then got to work (if by work you understand that I mean I said ‘oooooooh, pretty’ a lot while Karen did clever things with dye and hot water and yarn).  It went a little something like this (humming the Jaws theme song now is optional but encouraged).

DSC_2062 copyAnd this.

DSC_2072 copyThen this.

DSC_2075 copyAnd a bit later, this.

DSC_2082 copyOh and a bit later still, this (hint, dyeing yarn takes a long time…keep that in mind next time you look at all those beautiful skeins your favorite dyer offers).

DSC_2089 copyThen?  Then came the completely unbearable drying period before we could see what we’d done.  Which I will now shamelessly replicate by waiting a day or two to show off the final result.  Because I’m terribly terribly mean, that’s why.

Pelagic (plus giveaway)

You know that skein of beautiful, multi-color sock yarn you just couldn’t resist? And then it turned out you didn’t know quite what to do with it?  I totally figured it out.  Pelagic is what you do with it!

DSC_6626 copyFirst you grab a slightly heavier, solid-color yarn to pair with it.  Then you bring them together in just the right way, the solid-color yarn keeping things orderly while the multi-color gets to be just as wild as it wants!

DSC_6579 copyHere I’ve got Chickadee by Quince & Co playing the role of respectable solid-color yarn (Kumlien’s Gull), and Meridian by Seven Sisters Arts playing the role of wild child (Aphrodite), but this would work beautifully with lots of combinations.  Just keep in mind you do want to use a slightly heavier yarn for the solid color to get the right drape in the hat and flare in the cuff.

DSC_6556 copySegmenting the colorful yarn off into neat sections like that lets it shine without letting it get too out of control.  It works on the hat with nice broad bands of color, and it works on the cuff with more delicate columns.  I really love how it lets me take a yarn I love (but would be just a little scared of) and show it off.

DSC_6545 copyAnd just look what it does at the top of the hat!  I’m not really sure anyone can be expected to resist that for long.

DSC_6571 copyAnd speaking of irresistible, Karen over at Seven Sisters Arts has a treat for one of you.  She’s sending someone a skein of the beautiful Meridian yarn I used here.  All you have to do for a chance to win is leave a comment telling how you feel about wild colored yarn.  Are you helpless to resist?  Don’t quite get the appeal?  Stash full of the stuff and no idea what to do with it?  There’s no right or wrong answer, I just like to know how you guys feel!  Someone will take home a skein of their very own.

And while I can’t quite manage to yarn to everyone, I can give everyone a discount.  You can use the code FLASH to get a dollar the price between now and Friday.  Just put Pelagic in your ravelry cart, click on the ‘use a coupon code’ button, and type in the code FLASH.  You’ll see the change in price reflected right away.

DSC_6534 copyComments left between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Friday, September 9, 2016 will be entered to win.  I’ll pick a winner, contact them to get their addresses, and arrange to send yarn their way.  Be sure to use a real email address so I can contact you if you’ve won (I won’t do anything with those email addresses besides notify the winner).  If I do email you, I need to hear back from you within 72 hours or I will pick a new winner and contact them.

Haul

So last time I showed off (just a bit) of the pretty from the trip to Maine.  But I know you guys are here more for yarn than for general travel festivities.  And don’t worry, there was yarn.  No really I checked.  There was.

4 copyFirst up, a bit of Malabrigo.  And no, it’s not local to Maine, but I strongly prefer to buy Malabrigo in person, and these four were too lovely to pass up!

1 copyAnd when in Maine, you’re pretty much contractually obligated to get a bit of Seven Sisters Arts.

3 copyThat contract?  It totally covers String Theory too.

2 copyAnd new to me (and firmly in the ‘ooooooh, speckles, pretty’) is On the Round.  I have a feeling there will be more of this later.

Zipping

This really has more or less just fallen off the needles.  It was faster than it has any right to be (even if it is only a tiny bit of knitting).  The first one has now had a proper blocking and had its ends all tidily tucked away.

DSC_6507 copyNumber two is off the needles (and here is shamelessly showing off its insides…which really I think are rather nifty) and waiting for its turn to be blocked.

DSC_6511 copyAnd speaking of blocking, I’ve found the easiest way to do these is actually over the top of a one liter water bottle.  Depending on how tall you make the wrist on yours, you can roll up a stiff piece of paper to make a little cylinder to fill out the top, but for shorties like these it’s not really needed.  The curve of the top part of the bottle is perfect for filling out the knitting.

DSC_6513 copyOh, and for those of you who have been waiting, the nifty little cabled mitts we’ve all been making eyes at are coming out Tuesday.  If you want an email (and a coupon) when they do, be sure you’re on the mailing list!

DSC_6309 copy

That will do nicely

You know that’s teeny tiny, right?

Yes, I do, and I’m also pretty sure it’s the highest joy to stitch count ratio of any project ever.

DSC_6478 copyAnd you know  not everyone is as fascinated with flared cuffs as you are, right?

Nonsense. And even if it were true, the only way to help them learn is through constant exposure.

DSC_6482 copySo it’s probably best to just back away quietly and let you knit the second one isn’t it?

Now you’re learning…

Unabashed

I should have stopped being amused by this combination about half way through the hat.  I did not.  I remain completely and unapologetically amused and delighted.

DSC_6450 copyI’ll let you know if the fascination wanes (or, more likely, if the yarn runs out).  But for now, I’ll be over here doing this.

Hat of Infinite Happiness

Right, so you know how pretty much all knitting is lovely and fun and a good thing? But then there’s some knitting that is just Your Personal Perfect Knitting?  Yeah, so this is mine.

DSC_6417 copyThe top is just the way I like the tops of my hats to be (flat, which leads to a tiny bit of pouf but not unseemly amounts of slouch).

DSC_6421 copyIt fits my (giant melon of a) head just right, with just the right amount of brim but not too much (a tricky dance, and one no store bought hat ever manages).

DSC_6413 copyAnd the colors.  Oh the colors.

So yeah, totally my sort of hat.  There will totally be a pattern (first I suspect I may knit a second variation on the hat or maybe even a cowl or some mitts or something…maybe…it might just be perfect enough to stand on its own).  But for now, I’m just going to sit here and pet it.