In case you were wondering: it is Monday! (You’re welcome!)
And what better way to brighten up a Monday than planning a knit-a-long? I know!! So exciting.
So we had all of these wonderful plans for 2020 since it is Blue Moon’s 20th year of being Blue Moon. As with most things right now, our plans have gotten a bit derailed. And to be completely honest, all of this kind of took the wind out of my creative sails. In reality I know it is not 2020’s fault that we are here but nonetheless, it’s hard not to harsh on 2020.
Anyway – we are moving along in our celebration of 20 years of spreading the love and joy of fiber, yarn, color and making!! 10 years ago Karen Alfke and I mused over a sweater design I had in my head and she went away and created a stunning design ~ The Traveling Sweater!!
I loved the design, and it turned out that many of the rest of you did also. Oh my goodness, so much yarn went out into the world for knitting this sweater! Hell, a bunch of you knit it twice! (One intrepid knitter on Ravelry has made FOUR.) It was an amazing experience.
Karen and I had talked about a re-issue with upgrades and a possible KAL for a few years now. So what better time than Blue Moon’s 20th year and The Traveling Sweater’s 10th?
One of the reasons all of this works now is we have the right YARN!!! We originally used a yarn we called Woobu. It was a lovely merino and bamboo blend that held up well and also had this silvery sheen to it (thank you bamboo!). Our mill discontinued Woobu after a very long run; ever since then, we’ve been searching for a yarn replacement. Finally we have found one!
Aria is a stunning blend of 60% merino and 40% silk, which is spun oh-so-beautifully. I love this yarn so very much. It’s silky, smooth and soft while also being strong and energetic. [Karen says: “Hey! That’s how I want people to describe me!”] And… it has that silvery sheen which we have been looking for since Woobu went away. I will tell you that there was a fair amount of happy dancing in the dye barn when we saw how well this yarn dyed and knit. Be still, my yarn- and color-loving heart! We are thrilled to add Aria to our stellar line-up of garment yarns in general — and specifically for the Traveling Sweater.
We could say that it’s sadly ironic that we are knitting a sweater called “the Traveling Sweater” at a time when so many of us are staying safe at home because of the pandemic. However, I choose to see it as knitting HOPE and dreaming of that time when we will be together, not just in spirit but back out in the world at our knit groups and festivals. There is always hope, and together we can knit that hope into reality.
Okay — so here are some specifics:
• Karen has the Tenth Anniversary edition of the pattern up on Ravelry here. There’s an automatic $1 discount running from now until after the cast-on date in mid-June to say thank you for all the love & support over these ten years!
• In the new edition of the pattern, you get an additional size (XS/S for all you petites!), a ton of schematics to help you visualize how it goes together, plus tutorials and photos and and… Plus, there’s a free companion PDF that outlines how you can make a version without the back ‘spine’ detail!
• In the weeks leading up to the KAL Cast-On Party, we’ll chat here about yarn, colorways, dyeing Aria, swatching, blocking … all the topics you’ll want to know more about so you can cast on with confidence for this glorious piece. Also, Karen will be hosting the official KAL conversation and answering all of your questions in her group’s Traveling Sweater thread on Ravelry.
• Karen is also planning to put together YouTube tutorials (because online video tutorials are a knitters’ best friend, especially during pandemic lockdown!). Some of you may not know that Karen is not just a talented designer but also a teacher: she’s been teaching knitting for decades at big conferences like Stitches and Madrona Fiber Arts, as well as at shops like Churchmouse Yarns & Teas (where she used to be on the design team). Karen has also been my partner in our School of Yarn series over the past few years. She not only KNOWS knitting, she is so good at helping others learn and excel.
Now onto the dyeing and getting your yarn. Right now Eat Sleep Knit has quite a bit of Aria in stock, so you can shop there for instant gratification! And of course we are dyeing to order, as we do! We decided to set the cast-on date for June 19th so there will plenty of time for me to dye and ship you your yarn!! I will, however, ask you to choose your colors and place your orders sooner rather than later — this helps me order in enough yarn and then dye it and ship it to you! If you need color input please do let me know. I am more than happy to help at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are continuing our discount we have running right now through this time. Code is: supporteachother2020 and is good for 20% .
Karen says you will need 4 skeins for the new XS/S size, 4-5 skeins* for the M/L size (what used to be the smaller size on the original pattern), and 5 skeins for the XL size. (See the pattern page on Ravelry for measurements to help you choose your size). *An important FYI: the yardage for the M/L size is really close to 4 full skeins of Aria. If you want to do a bunch of extra swatching, or if you’re tall and love looong sleeves, you will want to get a 5th skein for insurance. This one was close enough that Karen wanted to give you the heads-up about that.
Okay, crew – ready, set: TRAVEL! We can’t wait to see what colorways you pick, and get us all underway on our trip toward hope and cameraderie.
By the end of this week I should be currentish up on most of the online orders. Phew!!! Have I said how much I miss my team.
I will also be shipping the April spinning club. I will be sending out an email about sock club either today or tomorrow.
I hope you all are staying safe and well. I know this is a challenge on so many levels and in different ways for all of us. Please know you are all in my thoughts and prayers! You are wonderful!! Take it one day at a time! Some days it is one moment at a time. I have had a few of those. We will get through this to a brighter more loving and inclusive place for all of us!!!