Sun Valley Fibers Giveaway

Sun Valley Fibers LogoI don’t want to make anyone else jealous, but I think I might possibly have the coolest job ever.  Visiting fiber festivals is market research, I get to indulge my bossy tendencies write patterns, and I spend most of my days at home in my pajamas in the company of the Kitten Overlords.  And if that weren’t enough, every now and then a yarn company gets in touch and asks if I might possibly like to see some of their yarn (yes) and maybe even share some of it with you guys (also yes).  It’s pretty darn cool.  Today I’d like to introduce you to Sun Valley Fibers.

I first found out about this company when they got in touch to talk about their January Thaw Retreat.  (It’s happening this weekend, and they’ve got daypasses available.  If you’re in Wisconsin, you should check it out.)  I, alas, cannot go (pesky geography).  But they were kind enough to send me an amazing box of their yarns, and I will spend the weekend petting them to console myself.  I’m even going to share some of them with you!

svf mineThe more I look at Sun Valley’s line of goodies, the more impressed I am.  They have two lace weights, four fingerings, a dk, two worsteds, and lovely roving.  You can get any of their bases in any of their more than 60 permanent colors (there are often a few one-of-a-kind colorways on offer too).  The number of possibilities is a bit staggering.

Can we talk for a minute about hand-dyed yarn?  Too often, the color is the primary draw, and the bases aren’t quite up to snuff (I find that the more I knit, the pickier I get about my bases).  This is so not a problem with Sun Valley Fibers.  They’ve got some really nifty bases, three in particular that I’m especially looking forward to getting on the needles.

The first is a fingering weight 75/15/10 merino/cashmere/silk blend.  It will work beautifully for socks (the silk really is just as strong as the nylon you may be used to seeing in sock yarn).  But you know me and fingering yarn…I predict I’ll be turning mine into a matching set of fingerless gloves and a nice slouchy hat.  The second is a worsted weight 80/10/10 superwash merino/cashmere/nylon.  That’s the classic combo that you see in lots of sock yarn, but beefed up to a worsted weight that would be perfect for fat socks.  It’s hard to find this blend at this weight, and I’m awfully pleased to know of another company making one.  The third is a fingering weight superwash merino single ply.  Single ply yarns are tricky, but this one seems to hit the mark.  Twisted enough to be strong and sturdy, but not so much it kinks up on itself or biases dramatically when you knit it.  I predict great things.

svf yoursSo those are the ones I’m selfishly keeping for myself (you can see them, left to right, in the picture above).  But because you guys are very nice and because I’m awfully fond of you, I’m giving four more skeins away to four of you.  They’re the ones in the picture over there on the left.  From left to right, they are: a skein of the fingering weight merino/cashmere/silk, one of the single ply, one of a delightful DK weight BFL, and one of a marvelous fingering weight merino/cashmere/nylon.  If you think one of them might want to come home with you, head over to Sun Valley Fibers’ website and take a look at their bases.  Leave me a comment saying which you’re most drawn to, and you’ll be entered to win.  You can leave a comment through the end of the day, eastern time, Sunday January 26 2014.  I’ll pick winners and send out yarn early next week!

Oh, and I’ve also got one of their adorable yarn buddies, and I’m getting to know it.  I want to play with it a bit more before I report back to you on it, but I think I may be rather taken with it!

Giveaway Winner

Debby S, whose favorite pattern of Sivia’s is the lovely Tibetan Clouds Stole, is the winner of The Book of Cowls.  I will be in touch with her shortly to get her information so she can cast on soon!

And, in more panic-inducing news, it’s just about time to open up pre-orders for KCC2.  I’ll be back on Monday with all the details of when that will start and how it will work.  In the meantime, I have to go check and double check and triple check the website and finalize a few other plans to make sure things go smoothly.  Should be fun!

Sock Yarn Studio Review (plus Giveaway)

Am I the only one to procrastinate with housework?  I swear my house is never cleaner and my dinners are never more delicious than when I have some sort of deadline looming.  A few weekends ago, when I should have been doing any of a host of things more immediate and pressing, I somehow decided to organize my stash.  This was egregious procrastination by housework.  It wasn’t even something like dishes or laundry that really does need to get done on a regular basis.  The stash could have stayed a mess for another 6 months and no one would have called the health inspector on me.  It was really quite shameless.  But, in the process, I did learn two things.

First, I have a *lot* of sock yarn.  No, really, an awful lot.  It is by far the most common weight of yarn in the stash.  Second, most of it is simply not destined to become socks.  You see, I’m sort of obnoxiously picky about what I’ll make into socks.  Goldilocks has nothing on me.  Of the three, 30-liter buckets of sock-ish yarn in the primary stash (I have primary stash, secondary stash, and backup stash), only one is destined to become socks.

I don’t think I’m alone in this.  Surely I’m not the only one with a bit (or let’s be honest, a lot) of sock yarn that isn’t going to become socks.  Which is why I’m sure that Carol Sulcoski’s newest book, Sock Yarn Studio:  Hats, Garments, and other projects designed for Sock Yarn is going to be wildly popular.

The book starts off with an introduction to sock yarn with a special focus on the various ways yarn can be dyed (solid, multi, patterning, striping) and how this will effect your knitting.  This is something Carol can speak to with some authority, given that she’s also written Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn.  This material is well worth reading and will help you feel confident when working from your stash (or making a selection at your local yarn store).

But of course the heart of a book like this is the patterns, and here you’re in for an even bigger treat.  There are nearly thirty patterns, divided into one, two, and three (or more) skein projects.  This organization is genius because it lets you easily find just the sort of project you’re looking for to use up that special skein.  The patterns are impressively diverse.  There are things you might expect like hats, gloves, scarves, and cowls.  But there are also shawls, sweaters, tank tops, pillows, and even a blanket.  The techniques are as diverse as the project and include lace, cables, fair isle, entrelac, and steeking.  The patterns have all the things you’ve come to expect from Carol’s work, clear instructions, easy-to-read charts, lovely photos.  But there are also lots of helpful sidebars to guide you over any tricky bits (or point you towards more information if you’ve fallen in love with a technique and want to know more).

I think at this point it might be best for me to just hush and show you the pretty pictures.  This hat is from the one skein section and is the project I was lucky enough to contribute to the book, Vert:

These Roxy Legwarmers are from the two skein section and may just be the cutest legwarmers ever:

And from the three skein section, this lovely Bliss Capelet looks like the perfect thing to snuggle up with as fall really settles in to stay:

This is only a tiny sample of the projects though, so you totally owe it to yourself to head over to the book’s Ravelry page and check the others out.

And, as a little encouragement to do just that, I’ve got a present for one of you.  I’ve got an extra copy of the book, and a skein of the Spud & Chloë Fine yarn in Cricket I used for Vert.  Just leave a comment here telling me which of the projects is your favorite, and I’ll pick a winner later this week.  I’ll leave comments open through Thursday, October 25th, so you’ve got a bit of time to make up your mind!

Oh, and lest anyone be concerned, the photos are all ©2012 Lark Crafts and used here with permission.

Winner (and a Nap)

The winner of Laura Nelkin’s lovely Adorn pattern collection is Sandra.  I’ll send an email with directions shortly Sandra!

I’ve got lots of knitterly thing to tell you guys, but both Levon and I seem to have some sort of lingering crud.  We’re on the mend, but I think a bit of a late afternoon nap (perhaps followed by a slightly lazy weekend) would do us both good.  I’ll pop back in with a proper post soon.  Until then, it’s kittens and naps and maybe a little Buffy the Vampire Slayer for me.

So Much Better (Plus Giveaway)

So, as promised, I’d like you to meet someone who really knows her way around the bead shop.  May I introduce the lovely Laura Nelkin?

I got to know Laura when she was design director for Schaefer Yarn.  She got in touch with me when I was very new at this pattern thing and asked if I’d like to do a design for Schaefer.  This was an incredibly generous thing to do.  I was a complete newbie and was totally making it up as I went along.  Her encouragement was a tremendous help.

Laura has recently made the switch to being an independent knitwear designer, and she’s doing some amazing things.  Her latest project is a video class on lace shawls that looks like great fun.  Even more impressive (at lest to me, as I sit here surrounded by hundreds of beads and a few false starts) is her way with beads.

She’s done lots of individual beaded patterns in the past (Ennoble more or less makes me weak in the knees), but now she’s done something even more fun.  She’s put together a whole collection of knitted jewelry and other accessories (most of it with beads).  She’s releasing one pattern a month, plus a few surprise patterns here and there.  The first pattern came out back in May, and new patterns are being added every month.

The pattern collection is called Adorn, and it is absolutely marvelous.  The patterns are lovely, and the instructions are clear enough that even a bead novice like me isn’t intimidated.  If you’re already a bead expert or if you’ve only been considering taking up beading (and really, if you like yarn shops, there is a good chance you’ll like bead shops…they hit a lot of the same ‘oooooh, pretty colors’ buttons in my brain), you’ll want to add this to your collection.

I’ve got a copy to give away to one lucky reader.  If you’d like it to be you, just leave me a comment below and tell me what you like to do with beads (even if it’s just admire them from a distance).  I’ll pick a winner on Friday.  Do be sure to use a real email address so I can get in touch if you win (and don’t worry, I won’t do anything with any of the addresses except contact the winner).

Winner

As promised, the winner for the Barking Dog Yarns/Foliate giveaway is Sue of Alderwood Quilts.  It looks like Sue already knows all about Barking Dog Yarns and will be adding a skein of Galaxy in the color California to her stash.  I’ll be in touch to sort everything out.

And because I feel bad that not everyone can win, I set up a little promo for everyone else.  If you buy Foliate, you can have any of my other patterns for free.  Just put both Foliate and any other pattern in your ravelry cart, click on the use a coupon code button and type BDY Foliate.  Click apply, and the price will magically adjust itself.  You can see a list of all my patterns in one place right over here (remember to use the add to cart option, not the buy now option).  This will run for the next week or so.

And in totally non-knitting related news, I’m still utterly taken with porch kitten.  He needs a name.  Well, I’m not quite sure if he’s a he or a she.  We’ve not yet progressed to that point in the relationship.   I’m toying with Simon, Oliver, or Cadwell at the moment, but none of them have quite stuck.  Of course he still won’t let me get close enough to touch him, but he will sit at my feet so long as I keep up a steady stream of treats.  Anyone got any tips on how to make him a bit less skittish?

Yarn Giveaway

Because Suzan, evil genius behind Barking Dog Yarns, is awesome, I have a skein of Galaxy to give away. Actually, it’s even better than that.  Instead of having an actual physical skein of yarn in my hands to send away (always a bit of a wrench I tell you), I have permission to send you over to the site, tell you to find your very favorite color (in any of the bases), and Suzan will dye it up in Galaxy for you.

I am, frankly, jealous.  Someone is in for a treat. I can’t say enough good things about this yarn.  It’s an 8 ply sport weight in 100% merino with about 275 yards per skein.  More importantly, there’s something about how it’s spun that makes it sproingy and lively and a treat to work with.  This is where I wish I knew more about various yarn constructions so I could describe it accurately and in a way that makes me sound clever.  Instead, I’m stuck saying that the 8 plies are divided into 4 pairs.  Each of those 4 pairs is all twisted up (looking sort of like lacewieght), and then all 4 are twisted up together to give a delightfully dense and round yarn.  Terrible description I know, but a mighty fine yarn.

One skein is more than enough to make the Foliate set (the pattern for which I’ll also send along to the winner), a hat, a little scarf, or a host of other projects.  If you want a chance to play with it yourself, head over to Barking Dog Yarns and find your favorite color (this will likely be the only hard part).  Come back here and leave a comment (being sure to use a real email address).  I’ll pick a winner on Tuesday and put you in touch with Suzan to set up your prize!

Book Giveaway

The marvelous Wendy Johnson (the mastermind behind Toe Up Socks for Every Body and Socks from the Toe Up) has a copy of Silk Road Socks to give away.  Of course this makes me feel a fluttery in my tummy because Wendy is a real and proper designer (this apparently means ‘designer I would be all nervous about meeting and whose books I’ve bought in actual stores’).  But, because I love you all and want to take over your knitting needles, I’m stomping on my nerves and letting you know about the drawing.  Head over and leave a comment if you still need a copy!

Winners!

Thanks to everyone who entered.  It seems that you guys are as taken with Dream in Colors marvelous work as I am.  I’m happy to announce that Ariel and Andrea were the lucky commenters (as chosen by random.org).  I’ve sent off emails asking for their mailing addresses and will mail out the yarn as soon as I hear back (which is good, as I might fall too deeply in love with it if I keep it around any longer…sending yarn away is hard).

Meanwhile, in actual knitting news, anyone remember these guys?  The sock I cast on in Nova Scotia?  Back in, oh, um, September?  Yeah.  I’d kinda forgotten about them too.  Well, not really forgotten.  I knew they were there, but I’d allowed them to slide into the pile of stuff lurking in the back of my mind.  The stuff about which I feel a bit guilty…just not guilty enough to actually do anything.  Don’t look at me like that, you have that pile too.

But, Monday morning, I had a dentist appointment (just a cleaning, part of my ongoing quest to successfully imitate a responsible adult).  I went to grab some waiting room knitting, and I had nothing.  No hats, no mitts, no cowls, not even a sock.  I do have a second sock that I need to cast on, but it’s a finicky thing to set up and the dentist’s waiting room wasn’t the place to do it. Then I found these guys.  I’d more or less forgotten how much I like them.  I’ll likely finish the first one tonight.

Of course then I have to remember what I did, write it down, and make a second one.  But this is still progress.

Not My Strong Suit

So the plan had been to put this pattern up on Monday.  But it’s ready now, and I don’t really do patience if I can help it.  Also, there might just possibly be something else going on on Monday that I’ll want to squee about.  So I’m putting it out now.  Handy thing, making your own schedule.

These are, of course, the magical, sanity-saving, purple hats.  One is for me, and one has made its way into the post to head off to my mom.  The first of these was cast on within hours of getting my hands on the new Everlasting 12 ply dk by Dream in Color.  I remain unreasonably smitten with it.  It’s more or less perfect, and it’s the first time I’ve seen one of the ‘zillions of tiny plies’ style yarns in a heavier weight.  I’ve already gotten scads more for another project and will be casting on soon.

And now, because the people at Dream in Color are awesome, I can share this new obsession treat with you.  I’ve got two skeins of Everlasting 12 ply dk in the color Amethyst to give away.  You can easily make both of these hats from one skein of yarn (I made 2 big hats from one skein and had about 30 yards leftover).

If you want to give it a try yourself, go take a look at the Everlasting colors, pick your favorite (or favorites, I’ve not been able to narrow it down much really), and leave me a comment telling me which ones you like best.  Remember, I’ve got Amethyst, the one used in the hat to give away, I’m just shamelessly polling you to find out what colors you like (and to pad out my next shopping list). Do be sure to use your real email address (no one but me will see it, and I won’t use it for anything other than to notify the winner).  I’ll keep comments open until Tuesday evening, and announce winners on Wednesday.

In the meantime, if your own sanity needs a little restoration, you can find the pattern here.