Well Begun

Well then, that’s the first big step for next year’s book all sorted.  The last of the yarns are in, and they’re lovely.

DSC_6729 copyThat’s sweetgeorgia’s Cashluxe Fine in Terra Firma.

DSC_6720 copyAnd that’s their Superwash Sport in Goldmine.

Both delightful, as sweetgeorgia always is.  Both already swatched and properly sorted into my scheme!

If you want to look back over all the yarns for next year’s book, you should be able to find them here (plus other stuff about the book as it comes together).  I’ve got lots of pieces for it off with knitters right now, and the rest will be on the needles soon.  And I’m sure we’ll be talking about it lots once Curls 2 is out (cough, which happens next month, cough).  But for now, I’ve got my little pile of yarn snippets from each skein and I’ll just be over here petting them and cooing over the colors!

Fall with SweetGeorgia (review and giveaway)

I have a long history of loving SweetGeorgia’s yarns.  I used them way back in my very first book and have been happily playing with them ever since (oh and there just might be a pattern in one of their yarns in the new book due out next month).  I love it when yarn companies collaborate with designers, so when I heard they were releasing a collection this fall, I was totally excited!

fall with sweetgeorgiaThe collection is called Fall with SweetGeorgia (that ‘volume 1’ part there makes me hope there are more things planned), and it’s delightful.  It’s a lovely mix of accessories and garments, all carefully designed to show off the depth and richness of hand-dyed yarns.

The collection includes a total of 12 pieces, four sweaters (each in at least six sizes, which is awesome), two big shawls, and six smaller accessories.  Glenwood is totally my kind of sweater (and, if one of you could just turn me into a sweater knitter, I know I’d wear it all the time), Reiland looks like just the thing if you’re looking to tuck into a big lace project, and Nexus seems like a perfect cross between a scarf and a shawl.  I suspect you’ll have a grand time with any of them!

The patterns are all available individually (though I confess I wish there were a way to buy them all together, they’re pretty enough I think you’ll want more than one), and there will be knit alongs over on the SweetGeorgia ravelry group if anything has caught your eye.  The folks at SweetGeorgia are going to get one of you started on a pattern of your choice.  Just leave a comment letting me know which pattern you’d most like to cast on and why.  I’ll pick a winner next week and put you in touch with the SG folks to send the pattern your way.

Comments left between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Monday, October 19, 2015 will be entered to win.  I’ll pick a winner, contact them to get their rav name, and arrange to send the pattern 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.  This is an electronic prize, so it’s open to anyone.

Tempest (review and giveaway)

My love affair with SweetGeorgia yarns is well documented.  I’ve used it in three of my books (it’s on the cover of the most recent one), and there may well be a SweetGeorgia project on one of my sample knitters’ needles right this very moment.  So, when I heard that Felicia Lo (yarn mastermind at SweetGeorgia) and Holli Yeoh (designer of deliciously modern knitting patterns) were teaming up to create a book of patterns for SweetGeorgia yarns, I expected grand things.  And, now that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Tempest in person, I can happily say it’s even more delightful than I expected!

tempest collage shorterThe collection includes 4 sweaters (each offered in a truly impressive array of sizes), 1 poncho, 4 cowls, a hat and mitt set, and a blanket.  The garments all manage that magical casually elegant vibe.  They are the sort of pieces you can imagine wearing just about anywhere, which means you’ll wear them everywhere.  I could see myself just about living in Stormwatch, and the ombre effect on Haven is sure to make it a favorite.  The double garter stitch technique on Breakers is new to me and something I totally want to play with.  And of course, all the patterns do a wonderful job of being interesting in their own right while still allowing the hand-dyed yarn to shine.  You can see all the patterns in detail on the book’s ravelry page.

The book itself is every bit as beautiful as the patterns.  When you make books, you get picky about these things (well let’s be honest, I was always inclined to be the picky type), but Tempest really gets it all right.  The photos are inviting, and there is a lovely mix of glamor shots to draw you in and detail shots to help with the knitting.  The sweaters have detailed schematics (which makes it much easier to figure out what size to knit), and any potentially unfamiliar techniques are explained with detailed photo tutorials.  The book feels much like a skein of beautiful hand-painted yarn; something special, just a bit indulgent, and clearly a labor of love!  You can get the physical book from the SweetGeorgia website.

One of you will be lucky enough to win a copy of the electronic version of the book for yourself.  If you think it should be you, just leave a comment telling me about your experience working with hand-dyed yarns.  Do you love the depth they give to a project? Or find them a tiny bit overwhelming?  Or are you waiting for just the right project to try them for the first time? There’s no right answer, just tell me what your experience is.

Comments left between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Tuesday, October 21th, 2014 will be entered to win.  I’ll pick a winner, contact them to get their addresses, and arrange to get the goodies to them.  If you’re leaving a comment, 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 get in touch with you, I need to hear back from you within 72 hours or I will pick a new winner and contact them.  And, because e books are astonishingly easy to move around, this is open to folks anywhere in the world.

Playing Favorites, Part 2

We talked a little while ago about the sock yarns for the upcoming book, but that book won’t all be sock-y goodness.  There are lots of other delightful projects too, and that means more yarn.  I’ve just now gotten the last of the yarns in, so that meant it was time to bring them all together for a group shot.

yarnsI really am rather madly in love with all of these, and I bet there are a few here that will be new to you.

Starting up at the top left, the pink one there is Manos Fino in Rosewater (otherwise known as ‘trust me I am just as surprised as you to see a baby pink in my stash but I really do rather love this).  The purple is Alchemy Lust in Amethyst (I’ve never seen another base quite like this, we’ll have to talk about it soon).  Then we’ve got the delightful Phydeaux Creme in Seaglass (found this at TNNA and remain totally smitten).  The light gray on the bottom right is Vice Carnal in a custom color Lizzy has not yet named (I’ll harass her soon).  Next to it is a darker gray, that’s SweetGeorgia Trinity Worsted in Silver (we all know I love SweetGeorgia).  Up on top of that is Anzula Oasis in Seaside (another base we need to chat about, splendid stuff).  The bit of yellow sunshine is Elemental Affects Civility in Limoncello (this is a shiny new yarn and I cannot wait for you to all meet it and fall madly in love with it too).  And finally, the delightful Frog Tree Pediboo Sport in 1464 (admittedly not the most fetching color name, but a very lovely yarn indeed).

Can I just say I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about a book?  I mean I’ve loved them all, but this one just has me doing a bit of a boogie up and down the hallway every time I think about it.  I can’t wait to show it off!

Not a Sock in Sight

We talked the other day about sock yarns for the book after next, but as usual, the book is more than just socks.  Some of the non-sock yarns have also started to arrive, and they’re delightful.

mannerlyUp at the top there, in all of its lovely pinkness, is Manos Fino in Rosewater.  That’s going to become an absolutely delicious shawl.  Moving clockwise around the circle, the next one is Anzula Oasis in Seaside.  This is also destined for some sort of wrap (it’s a silk/camel blend, and I anticipate greatness).  Then we’ve got Sweet Georgia Trinity Worsted in Silver.  I’m anticipating a hat, but I’m not 100% decided.  And finally, the lovely Phydeaux Creme in Seaglass.  This has actually already leapt onto the needles and is absolutely a hat.

There are more to come (four you’ve not seen, two of which are coming in the mail any minute now).  But this should give you a sense of what I’m up to these days.  I am starting to get the sock itch though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a pair of socks started making appearances some time soon.

Pattern Spotlight and Yarn Giveaway

Picking yarns for a book is an odd task.  It’s both surprisingly hard (there are so many choices that the pressure to find the one perfect yarn can be a bit overwhelming), and undeniably awesome (because for days on end, my job is to haunt yarn companies’ websites).  Every now and then, during the yarn selecting process, you end up with an extra skein or two of yarn.  This happened a few times with KCC3, and I totally want to share my good fortune with you guys.  So over the next few weeks, I’ll be showing off a few patterns and giving away some yarn!

Let’s start with the Zostera marina projects with SweetGeorgia’s beautiful yarns!

sweet georgiaThat’s Merino Silk Aran on the mitts, and BFL Sock on the socks.  I am absolutely mad about both of these yarns, and I’ve got a skein of each (in the colors used in the book) to give away!  So, since I’ve got two goodies to give away, let’s have two ways to win, shall we?

For the first chance to win, leave a comment on this post telling me how you found out about SweetGeorgia’s yarns.  Are they old favorites?  New to you?  On the needles now?  Something you’re looking forward to trying?  There’s no right answer, just tell your story!

For the second chance to win, pin the picture in this post to your pinterest boards.  To do that, you can either click the pinterest button at the top of the post (it’s red and looks like a p) or you can click on the ‘Pin it’ button that comes up when you hover your mouse over the picture itself.  Just be sure you’re pinning the picture from this post.

Comments left and pins made between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Tuesday, June 24, 2014 will be entered to win.  I’ll pick winners, contact them to get their addresses, and arrange to send the yarn their way.  If you’re leaving a comment, 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 you win by pinning, I’ll leave a comment on your pin letting you know you’ve won.  If I do get in touch with 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 send prizes to US addresses.

P.S. Thanks so much to everyone who entered, winners have been notified and I’m waiting to hear back from them with their addresses!

Book Yarn, Part IX

KCC3 is debuting soon (next week, eep!) and I want to take a bit of time during the lead up to show off all the delightful yarns I’ve used in the book. So without further ado, yarn.

9These cheerful offerings are from SweetGeorgia.  SweetGeorgia does amazing colors.  Rich, saturated, intense colors.  The colors that bolder, braver people than I manage to use in their houses and I always think it looks fabulous and am secretly jealous.  And while I can’t pull it off in my house, thanks to SweetGeorgia, I can totally manage it in my stash!  And I’ve been loving it for a while now.  I used it for my Sock Report socks, for socks and a hat in KCC1, and for socks way back in the very first book.

On the left, you’ve got BFL Sock in Pistachio.  This is an 80% blue-faced leicester, 20% nylon blend, and it makes smashing socks.  BFL totally has that sturdy, slightly crunchy, properly woolly feel that I like in socks.  I don’t know how to say it other than that it feels knitterly in the best possible way.  And yes, yes that totally is the yarn I used for the socks on the front cover.

On the right, you’ve got Merino Silk Aran in China Doll.  This is a 50% merino, 50% silk mix, and I’m smitten with it.  It’s got 8 plys, and they’re twisted up into 4 pairs, which are then all twisted up with each other.  The result is super bouncy, without being heavy at all.  It’s absolutely delightful!

And that brings us to the end of the book yarns (if you’re looking for the other yarns used in this book they’ll can all be found over here)!  Which suggests it’s just about time for the book itself, don’t you think?  Details of the preorder will all be going up on Monday, and the preorder itself will open Tuesday.  I can’t wait for you to see it!


In which Knitters live up to expectations

Yes, I was gone.  And yes, I have returned.  Normally, on trips like this, I do my very best to either go a bit early or stay a bit late or carve out some time in the middle to go exploring.  Alas, this year, that didn’t happen.  The current spate of snow storms meant flights were a mess, and I couldn’t make it on time.  (As a side note, I was flying United, and they were less than impressive.  Once it became clear snow was going to mess up my travel, I asked if I could take the exact same flights, on which there just happened to be empy seats, one day early.  They said sure, for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars in change fees.  I declined and instead had to go a day late, only to have that whole string of flights delayed for maintenance.  Very frustrating day all around.)  My bad travel luck continued, and the ferry schedule never quite aligned to allow me to get back to the blanket place either.  I’m bummed about this on a variety of levels, not the least of which is that I have very little to share with you guys.

But…but I do at least have some yarn to show you.  Some of the folks attending the retreat had an absolutely lovely idea.  They suggested we each do a bit of stash diving and find the good yarn that we love….but just aren’t going to use.  The idea being that it would be easier to find that yarn good homes if it was going to live with someone who really loved it and could give it a better home.  I filled 1/4 of my suitcase with yarn, and traded it all in for these five skeins.

DSC_9636That’s Mopsy by BMFA in a mystery color, Silk Stainless by Habu in grey, and what I think is Silk Panda Sock by Sweet Georgia.  I say I think that’s what it is, because my tag says banbu sock, but I can’t for the life of me find find any reference to that anywhere, and the silk panda sock has the exact same fiber blend and yardage.  So I’m pretending that’s what it is.

It’s all lovely, and you’ve never seen a more ordered and gracious yarn swap in your life.  We all sort of put out what we had, and then spent a quiet moment looking at it and picking out our favorites.  There was no grabbing or trampling or misbehavior (and there was lot of really good yarn to be had).  Definitly one of those moments that confirm your faith in knitters.

And never fear, there was a bit of knitting that happened that I can show you soon, but I wanted to get something up (and distract you with the pretty) to get you to overlook my shameful absence and shocking lack of good story.  So sorry about that!

Book Yarn, Part VI

School work is chugging along at a respectable clip.  I’m a bit more than half way done with the project, and a bit less than half way done with the available time.  As long as this proportion keeps up, I can stave off panic.  I’m even managing to get the occasional bit of sleep and maintain socially acceptable levels of personal hygiene.  So since I have a minute, and since I’m feeling the need to at least see yarn even if I can’t currently play with yarn, I thought I’d swing by with another bit of book yarn.

On the left is Sweet Georgia Merino Silk Aran in the color Cayenne.  This is a 50/50 silk merino blend with a marvelously sproingy 8 ply structure.  It strikes just the right balance between lofty and smooth.  The silk makes it super soft, perfect for next to the skin wear. One skein (170 meters) is enough to make a hat or a little neck wrap.

On the right is Sweet Georgia Silk Crush Sock in the color Deep Olive.  It’s also a 50/50 silk merino blend.  It might seem like silk is too delicate for socks, but it actually works beautifully.  It’s wonderfully strong and is great at maintaining a comfortable temperature.  The wool helps the yarn have a nice memory and ensures your socks aren’t saggy by the end of the day.  Together, they make a sock yarn that is both practical and indulgent.

And, as always, Sweet Georgia’s colors are both saturated and subtle.  The silk makes them seem almost to glow.

Knit Along Patterns

The official thread for the February knit along is up on Ravelry.  The individual patterns for these two socks are also now available on Ravelry, in case you prefer to get the patterns one by one.  Some time between now and the start of February, Shannon and I will come up with official rules and post them in the group.  For now, the general idea is: cast on after it gets to be February, finish a pair by the end of March, be entered to win prizes.  Use whatever yarn you like, use whatever color you like, make whichever sock you like, make whatever changes you need for fit.  Something more official will be coming soon, but we’re not going to go crazy with rules!

Oh, and because I know someone will ask, the sock blockers are from The Loopy Ewe and they are made of awesome!