Rabble Rousers Yarn Giveaway, Last Chance

Giving all this yarn away has been so much fun.  Well, there may possibly have been the occasional teeny tiny twinge when I mail out the oh-so-pretty goodies, but that’s only to be expected.  The fun parts far outweigh any such ignoble feelings.  I must see if I can do this again some time!

But now, just to end things on a bang, the good folks at Malabrigo were kind enough to send me 3 skeins of Arroyo to give away today.  This is the yarn I used for the Ruction cowl and mitts in Rabble Rousers.  It was, as always, an absolute delight to work with.  It was almost embarrassingly  fascinating to see which color would come up next as I was knitting with it.  Maybe I’m just easily entertained.

I think most of us know all about Malabrigo and are already properly smitten.  Their yarns come in a lovely array of bases, but it’s their phenomenal colors that I’m always drawn to.  I swear I can hear them calling me from across a crowded yarn store.  I end up standing in front of the Malabrigo display going ‘hmmm, I need that one, and that one, oh and that one over there too.’  It’s a sickness I tell you.  I mean look, they got me to buy pink yarn.  I don’t generally do pink, but this was just too pretty to resist.  I was overcome by the colors.

And now, so that some of you can be overcome too, I’ve got 3 skeins of Arroyo (each skein will make both the cowl and the mitts).  I’m going to send each skein off to a different lucky reader.  If you think one of them might like to come live with you, just leave a comment telling me about your experience with Malabrigo (something you’ve knit, yarn you’ve bought, yarn you’ve just ogled in the store, or even let me know you’ve not yet been properly introduced).  I’ll leave comments open until Friday night and then come back and announce winners early next week.

Stacks

I feel a tiny bit bad that it’s been so long since I’ve put out a pattern.  The last one was Chamfer in what, February?  Now to be fair, the e version of The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet did go live in March, so it’s not like you’ve not got something to keep your needles busy.  But still, I’m used to putting out an individual pattern every month or so, and the longer time frame is making me a bit twitchy.  But never fear, it’s all in the service of a bigger project!

After seeing how much fun Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet was, I decided to experiment with taking some of the things I’d usually do as individual patterns and combining them into a mini book.  That’s what all the things you’ve seen around here since March or so will be used for.  I think it will work well, but it does mean that the once a month timeline sort of falls by the wayside.  Now I know waiting’s no fun, and I also know I find waiting easier if I know what’s going on in the background while I’m waiting.  So I thought I’d let you know where things stood.

The photo shoot is this Sunday.  As of this morning, all the projects for the mini book are done and blocked.  I’ve even got proof!  The only thing left to do is sew buttons one one piece (anyone taking bets on whether that will happen Sunday morning).

Down at the bottom there are the Ruction cowl and mitts in Malabrigo Arroyo.  They’re reversible, and I’m totally smitten with them.  Next up the stack is the Clamor hat in Briar Rose Wistful.  It’s scrunchy and slouchy and looks unreasonably adorable on everyone.  Peeking out from the middle is the Tumult cowl in Handmaiden Silk Twist.  I think it might be my secret favorite, and I want the photoshoot over with so I can wear it.  Next up are the Fracas hat and cuffs in Schaefer Yarn Company Nichole.  My secret plan is to send them home with Lauren as a thank you for her help modeling.  And on the top there are the Uproar cuffs in Plucky Knitter MCN Primo.  These are knitting crack and you should never ever start making them as you won’t want to stop.  You’ve been warned.

All the patterns are done, and testing is wrapping up.  The pattern text is over with the tech editor, and I’m finalizing the other, non-pattern, text this week.  The plan is to have the files to the printer in early June.  That means the e version will likely be available in late July, and the paper version available a week or two later.

Alright, I feel better now.  It’s still not quite as good as having a pattern ready to go for you.  But hopefully it works to show that I’m not just lazing on the patio sipping lemonade!

Naughty Designer

What I really really should knit?  The last few rows of the cowl.  It’s achingly close to done.

What I have been knitting?  Swatches.  For you see, I have this plan…this plan for a hat…this plan for a hat that will be either the cutest or the ugliest thing you ever did see.  Only time (and more swatching) will tell.

But first…I must finish this cowl.  I get to see some friends this weekend and I think I will be able to sweet talk one or two of them into modeling it for me!

Trudge

The mitts are done.  The cowl…is not.   It needs about 6 more rows, maybe 10, which doesn’t sound like all that much.  But the rows are long, and I am lazy.  The combination means it’s surprisingly slow going around here.

I have a sneaking suspicion I may take these two patterns and a few more and combine them in a little collection of reversible projects.  I’ve been toying with the idea of doing some small sets of patterns (4-6 items) in addition to releasing patterns individually.  These seem like a fun place to start.

Hot Diggity Dog

There are people out there who say they don’t like classical music.  I would suggest that what at least a few of these people actually dislike sitting still and being quiet while wearing fancy clothes.  Because sometimes that’s what’s involved in going to see such music performed.  Now I’m not presumptuous enough to suggest that this is the case for everyone, but I think there might be at least a few folks for whom the outfits and the environment are the deal breaker rather than the music.

If that’s the case for you (and if you’re in this general area), I have the solution.  It’s called Happy Dog.  It’s a bar, so they’ve got beer.  But they’ve also got hot dogs and french fries or tater tots.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it.  You sit down at your table, take a sheet of paper off the little notepad waiting for you there, and indicate what you’d like on your hot dog.  Perhaps you’d like brie and bacon-balsamic marmalade?  Or maybe you prefer kim chee and fried onions?  You’ve got dozens of things to pick from, and you can have as many as you’d like.  They’ve even got suggestions in case you find yourself overwhelmed.  Once you’ve figured that out, you flip the paper over, decide if you’d like french fries or tater tots, and then pick what dipping sauces and toppings you’d like for those.  Someone swings by to get your papers and take your drink orders.  Five minutes later, they’re back with your hot dogs and beers.  Repeat until you’re full or until you’ve remembered you’re a grownup and don’t eat things like that.

That’s all well and good, but if you happen to come on the third Tuesday of the month between 8 and 11, you’ll do all this while Classical Revolution Cleveland plays in the background.  They play chamber music in all sorts of unexpected locations.  Last night’s performance featured a selection of Bartók’s lesser known pieces and was simply splendid.  Just as important, the booths at Happy Dog are quite suited to knitting.  I got in several more rows on the cowl (the mitts were finished on Monday), and should finish that up this week with any luck at all.   I have a sneaking suspicion this may become a regular event.  Surely one hot dog a month won’t kill me, right?

Innie or Outie?

Smitten with them both, though I think the one on the left will be the crowd favorite.  The second mitt is on the needles and should be finished today or tomorrow.  Once I’m done with it, it’s back to the cowl (and its long loong looong rows).  All the math indicates the cowl should end up about 6 inches deep, which should be just about perfect.  There’s every chance these will be getting a testing call some time this week or next, so keep an eye on the testing thread in the group if they’ve caught your fancy.

Helper Cat, Part III

Douglas apparently didn’t want to be left out of the helper cat parade.  To this end, he decided to assist me with my mitt blocking.

You will never meet a more water-loving cat.  He sits on the edge of the tub when we shower, he plays with the faucet when we wash our hands or brush our teeth, and he’s in the sink up to his elbows for a splash party every time we fill the sink.  Put something (say…knitwear) in there at the same time and it’s more or less a Douglas theme park.  Which is why my faucet looks a mess.  He’d been at it for at least 10 minutes when I took this and everything in a 3-foot radius is covered in splashes.  But it was too cute not to share, so you’ll just have to pardon my poor housekeeping.

Don’t Cross the Streams

The plan is totally working.  Just as important, all the math indicates that I’ll be able to make the cowl significantly wider (by keeping the mitts tiny…tiny but awfully cute).  So as long as I can keep from tangling the various bits and pieces of the project, everything should come together well.

And apparently this morning the yarn is purple.  I’ve simply embraced the changing nature of this fabric and I’m no longer fighting it.  I swear I’m setting my white balance and I’m in decent light.  I think it’s just the yarn’s magic resisting the camera’s technology.  I’m letting the magic win.

Cumbersome

As some of you guessed, the Pink Thing from the last few posts is destined to be a cowl.  Apparently a reversible cowl, as I’ve yet to come to any decisions about which side is the right side.  I think I even have buttons that will work with a reversible fabric, so it’s apparently meant to be.

But, because I can’t keep things simple, I also want to make mitts.  I know what they should look like, the only question is if I have enough yarn.  So I’ve devised a plan.  The cowl is now thick enough that it will be ok even if I don’t make it bigger…but I’d like to make it bigger if I can.  So I slid the project off of the needles onto a lifeline, but I didn’t cut the yarn.  Next I weighed the yarn and the cowl and did some math to figure out how much yarn it takes to do another repeat on the cowl.  Now I’ve cast on for the mitt (with the other end of the ball).  Once I’ve got one done, I’ll do some more weighing and some more math and see how much taller I can make the cowl.

All of which is all well and good…it totally works, the math is easy.  But it does mean that the project has become just the smallest bit cumbersome (what with one project on one end of the ball and another project on the other end).  I think it will be worth it though, and it’s the best way I can come up with to use all the yarn and have as deep a cowl as possible.

Presto Chango

Someone linked to this on pinterest and we’ve had a lot of folks stopping by asking about it (hi, welcome). If you’re looking for the book that has this pattern in it, it’s called Rabble Rousers and it’s available on ravelry.

I swear this yarn (it’s Arroyo by Malabrigo in the color archangel) changes color every five minutes.  It goes from purple to pink whenever you blink.  Even more confusingly, it looks downright blue at night under florescent lights.  If you look at the yarn itself, there are tiny specks of just about every color imaginable.  More or less magic as far as I can tell, if challenging to photograph.

And the stitch itself is also a wee bit magic.  I’m completely undecided as to which side I like best.  What do you guys think, the one on the left or the one on the right?  Or just give in and embrace the reversible aspect of it?

I do know that I have started to come to terms with the long straight needles.  It takes an age to finish each row, but each row adds dramatically to the progress towards completion, which provides me with the necessary motivation.