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Posts from the ‘InspirationMonday’ Category

Total Lunar Eclipse Surprise 24 hour Special!

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It’s a Total Lunar Eclipse today!! It is the second one this year! It is the second Blood Moon Eclipse this year and the longest lunar eclipse this century!

Pretty powerful!

We are celebrating with a surprise 24 hour sale on ALL yarns! 15% off all day the 27th

The code to use is: totallunareclipse2

Since we are Blue Moon I feel like it is important to honor the moon in all of her celestial glory!! I made sure all of our moon colorways are up!

Happy Total Lunar Eclipse Blood Moon!!

Springing forward

Every night before I go to bed I make sure all the cats are in. My Phoebe is a very free spirit and likes to spend most of days outside. Since I live where she can do that safely I let her. So I open the door last night and am met with a joyful chorus of singing frogs from my pond. I have been waiting for this moment because it usually signals warmer temps and more signs of Spring. Also I just love the sound which is great because it gets super loud once they all get going and pretty much goes until til mid June when it quiets down quite a bit.

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Oh and looks like we’ll have ducklings too!

 

Other signs of approaching Springness is that our neighborhood owls start their whole mating ritual which is pretty loud and seriously frightened me the first time I saw and heard it. Lots of swooping and hooting (is it hooting?)

Mama deer is huge so I would imagine that very soon we will have little babies hopping around the back yard.

It is such a gift to live on a piece of land for a length of time, where one gets to watch the seasons change and get to all the little signs of each shift. I have been here for almost 20 years which is kind of hard to believe but nonetheless true. I love that I know all the other critters that I share this space with and am happy for their company. I find it ever so comforting and peaceful most of the time. The ravens have been especially vocal right now and are having a bit of a field day taunting the cats.

Anyway it is a little cold this morning but so very sunny. I think my cough is well enough that once it warms up a little, and I am done writing you, I could spend a little time in the sun absorbing some good ol’ Vitamin D.

I have some very exciting news which if you get our newsletter you already know. Our beloved Targhee Worsted is back in stock!!!! I am so very very happy.  That was a long three months. Also one thing to have this happen during spring or summer but right at peak sweater knitting time! Anyway…I a planning away.

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I feel like we should have a celebratory KAL!  Sounds like a good idea right? What do you think we should do? Choose a pattern we all knit or everyone choose their own pattern?? There are several new sweater patterns out right now that I am loving.  Hmm…

You know I have gotten quite a few emails from School of Yarn folks wanting some sweater knitting hand holding. Maybe we chooses an interesting yes basic pattern and do a KAL on the RAV group with Karen and Maggie as leads ( I have not mentioned this to them yet. ;0) ) .

Thoughts??

We are super busy playing catch up on orders. I feel like we have been doing this for awhile. I have been running Blue Moon for 18 years now and never have I experienced a season with so much illness. I got back from Stitches and both Maggie and I were sick.So 2 of of us down and out.  I have bronchitis cause it what happens every time I get a chest cold thanks to the side effects of the radiation treatment I went through for the breast cancer.

We sent out a few emails about this. If you have a knit deadline and need your order pronto please let us know. We will do out best to move it along.

I am truly sorry about the delays. It is not how I like things to run.  I love making knitters happy so this is super stressful. Please know we are doing out very best to get caught up!

We shipped School of Yarn yesterday and will have the pdf’s up early next week. We are considering making Semester #3 and every other month kind of thing. I think it is hard for us and you also to keep up with the whole once a month goal.

Sock Club ships out at the end of this month. We had quite a few computer glitches this year for some odd reason. I think we have most of them worked through.

We will be closing down sign-ups after the March shipment! So if you want to join the fun please sign up soon.

I was working on a Spring palette and some new themed colorways before the crud hit so will be getting back to those. If you have any color dreams let me know.

To all of you that supported the Rose City Yarn Crawl a big thanks!!!  Our local yarn stores are integral to our knit-community and they need our constant support as much as we need theirs.

Have a lovely weekend my friends!

PS: I am still looking for another dyer. If you are interested let me know! tina@bluemoonfiberarts.com

 

inspiration monday: springing into color(s)

Hi gang!

Phew – what a whirlwind few weeks these have been! We’re deep in the throes of Knitting Get-Together Season, what with Madrona Fiber Arts and Stitches West and Hill Country Weavers retreat and and…

Are y’all getting your yarn on?

I don’t know about you, but one of the highlights for me of attending big knitterly events like these is watching the glorous handknits sashay by. (Ya can’t help but sashay in a great handknit. Fact.)

It was all I could do as I stood in the Blue Moon booth in the Stitches West marketplace not to pounce upon all of you as you walked by in your sweaters and shawls and cardigans and scarves… I might have remembered (mostly) to ask for permission to give y’all my “knitter’s handshake”: a gentle petting of the sleeve/shawl with a bit of ‘ooh’ing and ‘aah’ing.

SO MANY pretty handknits!

IMG_2092The other liability of standing in an enclosed space, surrounded by all that Blue Moon fiber, is serious yarn lust. Alternating with color lust. I found myself positioned near the Yaksi much of the weekend – mostly because of my evangelical zeal for the fabric of my newly-finished Stockbridge sample. “FEEL THIS!”, I wanted to shout at every passer-by. (Mostly, I refrained from shouting.)

 

Such. Glorious. Fabric.

So now I want to knit pretty much with nothing else, ever.…

There’s something so compelling about what the oatmeal-colored base of Yaksi does to Tina’s colorways – it’s alchemy of the best sort. So all this is doing is taking my love of Ochroid, Chana Masala, and Antiquated System and fueling the flames.

I mean, I’d already played with putting them together in my Morphology cowl, so I should be moving on, right?

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Nope, nope, and nope. Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon Wega by Sandra Kaufmann – sampled in a great set of colors perfectly attuned to the ochre-plus-greyish-blue theme my eyes are already in love with:

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That colorwork, moving effortlessly across the torso and arms! The rounded hem, so flattering for so many of us! That bold motif with the delicate peerie above it! le swoon.

My queue is basically in disarray after the inspiration overload of the past few weeks. And to add to the craziness, Miss Maggie and I were crushing so hard on the Breathing Space sample we had in the booth that we might have committed to a Breathing Space KAL coming up (just as soon as I can commit to colors). The Gaea Fingering is soooo soft and fluffy – so different from Yaksi, and yet so delicious. Anyone want to join us? I’ll put out the word on the Ravelry group soon, so we can discuss colorways and get our yarn coming!

Two yarn crushes, two tempting sweaters… such fabulous problems to have.

Inspiration Monday: Just a Little Cardigan

Happy Monday, y’all!

It’s a particularly happy Monday here in my world, because I have carte blanche to knit a brand-spanking-new pattern with of one of the most divinely delicious yarns in the whole entire dang world.

I have a particular susceptibility to Little Cardigans — they’re basically my wardrobe Kryptonite. Up here in the Pacific Northwest, you never have weather that doesn’t call for A Little Cardigan. Rain? Fog? Damp? Sleet? It’s always handy to have one around to throw on. Plus, they’re the perfect thing to jazz up any underlayer, from a plain T-shirt to a me-made tunic in a cute print fabric. And – extra special bonus – no matter where you go in A Little Cardigan, you get to represent all of us as knitters.

So color me super-happy when Ysolda released Stockbridge: it’s pretty much the trifecta of cardis. Fingering-weight yarn: check. Knitted at a gauge that lets me finish it in this lifetime: check. Perfect excuse for super-cute buttons: check.

And color me even happier when Tina and Maggie chose “Grimm Green” for my colorway. (If left to my own devices, I might have picked YetAnotherGrey, but Tina intervened.) And Yaksi for my yarn … swoon.

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Yaksi has a slightly toasted-oatmeal-y undertone to the base yarn, thanks to the yak fiber – so there’s color alchemy that happens when you order a colorway dyed onto this base. You get a rich, mellow warmth to the color that’s hard to describe… and when you’re staring at a color that’s so close to the middle between blue and green that you can’t hardly tell where one stops and the other starts, that’s pretty magical.

How much am I loving this knit? Here’s the tell: I swatched right when I got home from BlueMoonLand on the 23rd, swatched again on a larger needle to get gauge, blocked and dried those swatches – and cast on Friday morning. It’s now Monday, and I just had to wind my second skein, which means I’m officially more than a quarter of the way done with this sweater! Which makes me kind of wistful, actually. (Do you ever knit projects that you can’t bear to finish?)

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Right now, it’s Monday afternoon and the rain is thrumming on the roof. If I play my cards right, I can brew another cup of tea, sneak away from my other responsibilities (new patterns? whaat?) and bliss out for just a few more minutes.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be up here in the corner, purring over my yarn!

Oh, and if you want to purr yourself, come find me at the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival in a few weeks. I’ll be wandering the Market Friday through Sunday, and if I continue at this pace, I’ll be wearing my Stockbridge! Don’t be shy – c’mon up and ask to give me what I call a “Knitter’s Handshake.” (That’s where you lightly rub the recipient’s sweater sleeve and say “oooh.”)

Not coming to Madrona? Stockbridge and I will be happily ensconced in the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth at Stitches West in Santa Clara, CA the weekend after! We’ll have two booths of just the most delicious and tempting yarns and samples you ever did see … come say hi! (And if you bring chocolate, you’ll be our saving angels.)

May you all enjoy a few happy knitting moments today.

Inspiration Monday: Lunar Logs

Boy, it’s a big month filled with lunacy over here in Camp Blue Moon… Blood Moons, Blue Moons, new colorways and all sorts of lunar madness!

The other week I was inspired by the #fringeandfriendslogalong and started a blanket for our little room up in the mountains:

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But now Tina’s all on fire with new moon-y colorways, and we got to thinkin’… wouldn’t these progressive lunar phase colorways just make the most GORGEOUS Log Cabin blankets?

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The Fringe Association Log-Cabin-along is a gently-organized free-for-all of Log Cabining: do you want to make a blanket? a coat? a pair of handwarmers? Yarn, colors, and scale of knitting is up to you: folks out there are doing all sorts of great stuff and tagging it with the #fringeandfriendslogalong hashtag. Post pictures of your progress on Instagram or Facebook or Ravelry… wherever your social media happy place(s) is/are!

Personally, I can’t wait to hang out down at BlueMoonLand this weekend and cast on a Lunar Madness blanket with these beauties. I’d start with the boldest, reddest color for the center square and then work out to grey from there. There are 4 colorways pictured above, so I might throw in a fifth so that my Log Cabin strips don’t stack up with one color on each side… or I might work from reddest to greyest and then back out again. So many possibilities!

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Go check out the Fringe Association blog for all the details and then just see if you can resist the urge to cast on for your own moony project.…

Phases of the Moon blankets, here we come!

A new year, new color and anniversary!

I do not remember when I have been this excited to welcome in a New Year! Partially because 2017 has been one seriously tough year so I am pretty happy to see it end!! I know I am not alone in this experience and feeling. Sorry 2017 but truly you’ve been a bit of a bitch. I will thank you however for constantly teaching me to be in the moment, take one step at a time and to look for the light and love no matter what!

One of the many reasons I am excited to usher in 2018 is that Blue Moon is 18 this year! I know!! And seriously 18 years of doing anything is a long time and something that should be commemorated and in this case celebrated. Which we plan to do in spades! Starting with the serious moon magic that the celestial powers that be are giving us.

We are ushering in 2018 with a Super Full Moon that is called the Wolf Moon and if that were not enough another Full moon on January 30 that is also a super moon and a Lunar Eclipse. A seriously good omen for a new year I think.

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Since we are all about the moon, especially a blue one, we are riding this magical celestial waves of wonder into our anniversary celebration year. Every month we are going to have at least one new Lunar colorway of some sort. We are starting with these two lovelies for our first full moon of the month. Once in A Blue Moon is all pale moon grey and cool blue for our winter moon ( I can’t wait to dye Once in a Blue Moon in Super Sparkle. Oh my!). Blue Moon Rising is a howling hue that rises out of the night and illuminates the darkness! (There will also be some sort of Total Lunar Eclipse Blue Super Moon color translation later in the month!) Along with your colorway you will get a Moon Note. A bit like a tarot card of sorts.

One of my very favorite songs of all time is Once in a Very Blue Moon by Patrick Alger and sung by the lovely Nanci Griffith.

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One of the other things I am super excited about is ….Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 10.45.27 PM

 

 

 

 

this years Sock Club, our Magical Mystery Tour. We have changed things up quite a bit and it is looking to be a stellar 13th year of sock knitting! Sign-ups are open and we would LOVE to have you join us for all of the knit fun we have planned. We are starting the year of with a very bright and sparkley splash! I mean really if you have the chance to start a new year with a bright sparkley splash why wouldn’t you.

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Are you going to Vogue Knitting LIVE?? If so be sure to check out all of the goodness we have sent Terri O’Brien at FEATHER YOUR NEST Oh my!! I wish I could be there to see! Although it was all hanging from the rafters here for quite awhile. When I have her booth number I will post it. There is a special colorway, gradient kits, kits for The Tracey and Jodi shawls and all kinds of lovely samples! So fun!!

Okay dear knitters I am going to spend the day with my daughter who goes back to New York tomorrow.

Thank you so very much for being our knitters!! You are the very best and we are so grateful to have you in our lives!

Be safe ushering in this New Year!!

xoxoxoxo

 

Inspiration Monday: Olson

For those of you knee-deep in holiday knitting angst, take heart … there’s great Selfish Sweater Knitting on the horizon. Just a few more weeks ’til the new year and your well-earned respite from gift making!julie-hoover-olson-600-2_small2

Anyone who hangs out to knit with me knows of my unabashed and unashamed love for Julie Hoover’s designs — always so classic and timeless, with that edge of interest that keeps you from feeling plain. She’s done quite a few great garments over the years for her own label, as well as collaborating with other companies now and again.

Olson is her latest, and of course it didn’t take five seconds for it to land in my pattern library: look at that drape! The easy, throw-it-on-over-anything shape … and that shoulder seam detail! I can’t even.

Knitters are in love with boxy, oversized sweaters right now, and it’s no wonder — they are the most forgiving of garments (handy at this time of year, when the sideboard groans with treats and celebrations fill every weekend with food-laden gatherings). No need to worry whether the cardigan will button over your food baby when it’s got such a broad, swingy profile through the hips.

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(When I get this knit up, I’ll have to spend more time leaning up against walls, thinking. It’s that kind of sweater.)

Julie’s sample, shown in the photos here, was worked up in a DK weight alpaca-silk blend, knitted quite open; so this is a great chance to explain the alchemy of yarn substitution. At first glance, you might look at the knitted gauge of 18 sts = 4″/10cm and assume she’d used a worsted-weight yarn (which usually has a gauge range of 18-20sts/4″). The soft swoop of the fabric in the photos tells a different story, however — this is clearly a drapier, more fluid fabric. For successful yarn substitution, it’s important to also look at the ‘ball-band gauge’ of the yarn used: in this case, it’s a DK (11wpi). (Nice of Ravelry to put that information right front and center on the pattern page!)

Fortunately for me, I had the chance to indulge in some instant gratification: my mighty Blue Moon stash offered up two great candidates for this drapey beauty! Interestingly enough, neither of them are blends — they are both single-fiber superheroes. Cake DK is a springy, sweet and plump merino beauty, and BFL Sport is a fuzzy, halo-y taste of the joys of Bluefaced Leicester.

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(‘Hang on, Karen,’ you say — ‘BFL Sport? I thought you said we needed DK!’) Technically, yes — the pattern calls for a 11 wpi yarn, but given the right fiber content and bounce and spring, you could work with a slightly finer yarn and get good results. I definitely felt like the BFL was swatchworthy. (You know, for science!)

And here are my happy swatches, after blocking and resting for a few days: Cake DK at top, in colorway “Spicy Plum,” and BFL Sport below in “Champlum.” (Total coincidence that I had these yarns in sympathetic colors to Julie’s pictured sample — inspiring, however!)

I wish I could have you all here next to me to feel these swatches — they are both so gloriously plump and fluffy, lightweight yet bouncy… they make me want to cast on right.this.second! The fiber subtleties come out when you have them next to each other like this: the Cake’s merino yields a smooth, soft fabric that just glides across your skin if you rub your face in it (oh, c’mon — you totally would!). I love the bounce and spin of the three plies, and the stitch picture is so tidy and happy! (I’m a sucker for a good merino. Tina knows this.)

The BFL Sport was a bit of a wild card, I’ll admit — I kinda swatched it on a self-made dare, because I have an SQ of it in Champlum and I would just loooove to have a sweater that color in my wardrobe. Could it work? Could it indeed! Despite the fact that it’s 12wpi (one more wrap per inch than the specified yarn weight), it’s holding up beautifully at the pattern gauge. It has a light, fluffy, slightly-fuzzy airiness to it that’s just enchanting. Not as regular and smooth as the merino, but slightly woolly in a way that still manages to be soft, soft, soft.

Interestingly enough, I needed to go up to a US8/5mm to get gauge for this pattern; but that’s not uncommon for me with Julie’s patterns (I suspect she’s a loose knitter, because she often calls for a needle size on her patterns that’s much smaller than what I end up using). Reason #6,432 to swatch, swatch, swatch! And because both of these yarns have quite a bit of bounce and snap-back, I’d recommend waiting a few days after your swatches have dried from their initial blocking to take a second, rested, measurement. Yarns bounce back! (And you wouldn’t want a sweater  you’d knitted to come out too small or too short after its first washing, would you?)

So lucky me — I’ll have my SQ of BFL Sport waiting under the tree for me on December 25, ready for a me-gifted cast-on party! What about you? What colorway will you choose for your cozy-over-pyjamas-or-your-party-dress Olson? 1320–1745 yards is what you’ll need, which translates into 2 or 3 skeins of either scrumptious yarn: a veritable bargain, considering either is just $35 per generous skein!

Happy sweater dreams, y’all. Hope all your holiday wishes will come true in the next few weeks!

inspiration monday: festivus minus the frenzy

Here in the United States, turkeys everywhere are getting pretty nervous. Next week we sit down for our Thanksgiving (being a bit tardier than Our Cousins to the North on the gratitude front), and after that it’s just one big landslide down into The Holidays.

If you weren’t Little Miss/Mister Organized this year, here are some thoughts for what to put on your needles ASAP so you can give thoughtful, handmade gifts this year without losing your everluvvin’ MIND.

HATS!

Hats are a godsend to the gifting knitter: the sizing isn’t crazy-critical, it’s a fun way to use a bit of yarn to make a statement, and unlike sleeves and socks, they are a ONE-and-DONE gift. And let’s face it – no matter where you live, a hat can come in handy this time of year (even if only occasionally, for an hour – like for our friends in Florida and L.A.).

Hat patterns also span the spectrum of mindless (great for parties and gatherings of relatives) to entertainingly complex (for plane flights or distraction from those same relatives). Here are two of my ‘go-to’ patterns for myself and my knitworthy loved ones.

photo © Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

photo © Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

One of my favorite, most-used patterns is Churchmouse Yarns & Teas’ Boyfriend Watch Cap. It has a pleasing thick gauge which knits up quickly and provides reassuring warmth while being stylishly unisex. And even better, it’s your excuse to use pleasing, plump PLUSHY!

Since each skein offers a generous 330 yards, if you get two skeins, you’ll have enough to make three Boyfriend Watch Caps. Two different colorways could give you one solid cap in each color, plus a striped or colorblocked third. Go crazy!

I’ve always been mad in love with ‘Manly Yes, But I Like It Too‘ – those browns and greys are welcome in so many wardrobes.

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And maybe zing things up with a skein of ‘Scumble Bumble’…? The simple construction of the hat would let Tina’s colorways be the star of the show.

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If you’re looking for a hat that gives back to you as well (in the form of entertaining knitting with cool texture), look no further than L’Arbre by Cirilia Rose.

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photo © Jared Flood

This was part of a 2015 Hatalong hosted over on Karen T’s wonderful Fringe Association blog. The pattern is from the fantastic and inspiring book Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads, but the Fringe blog kindly still hosts a link to try this pattern for free (which will only whet your appetite for the full book – you have been warned!).

I loved everything about this hat – the pattern was easy to follow, the texture interesting and motivating (and distracting!) to knit … and it’s one of my go-to hats to wear. You know how good it feels when you put a hat on and it just *fits*? This hat does it for me. (I’ve got a 21″, fairly standard-adult head; but if you were knitting this for someone with a bigger head, you could just add more depth to the hat.) The ‘Little Tree’ pattern is just 4 rounds tall, so it’s easy to add a repeat or two or three for additional depth.

Bonus: if you have a super-knitworthy person in mind, there are mitts to go with the hat!

I’m toying with the idea of knitting a second one for me, with mitts to go with. Perhaps I’ll put a skein of CAKE Worsted in my stocking – I’ll have to check with Tina to see if she thinks I’ve been naughty or nice this year.

This is one design where it’s worth sticking with Shaded Solids, to let the pattern play stand out. Oh, but the Raven Clan… they would be so beautiful here! Or the Spirits…! You may have to indulge in a few. You have folks to knit for, right? Perfect excuse.

Place your order for some Plushy or CAKE now, and you’ll get a lovely package in the mail from Blue Moon just in time to pop these on your needles, knit them up lickety-split, wrap ’em up and put them under the tree!

inspiration monday: heckle me, speckley!

This is a love song to a colorway… specifically, Heckley Speckley.

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(I’ll be over here if you just want to stare at it for a while. Can’t blame ya.)

I mean, really. That olive-y subtone; those blues-going-to-purples on the end there? The rust-ish speckles? Happy yellow? This colorway has Got.It.All.Goin’.On.

So of course it’s caught the eye of some talented knitters and designers out there… including most recently Miss Joji herself!

Tina’s already mentioned Tracie the pattern (and her huge affection for Tracie the person) – so can I just wax rhapsodic about the notion of Heckley Speckley as one of the colors in here?

Joji’s chosen to wash this gorgeous shawl in grey tones, playing on the more subdued elements in Heckley Speckley, but I can just as easily imagine this shawl with a rich blue as the other color, or a deep grey, or even a scummy green!

One skein each of Heckley Speckley and your choice of secondary shaded solid in Socks that Rock® Lightweight, and you’re off to the races with weeks’ worth of glorious knitting fun! (If you’re feeling particularly unselfish, you could plan to knit this as a special gift for a friend – got someone with a special birthday coming up in the early part of next year? Shawls are a great choice, since they are one-size-drapes-beautifully-on-all!)

Or let’s say you’ve got a busy set of weeks coming up, with lots of travel and family time, and you can’t dedicate a lot of concentration time to a shawl pattern. What if you just want some “in-law knitting?” The kind where you just knit around and around, no thought required. The kind that allows you to be attentive enough to your Uncle Vernon and his story about the neighbor’s old Ford Pickup truck and the mule (for the hundredth time). The kind that lets you nod and then laugh in all the right places…

Alexandra’s Airplane Scarf is just the ticket for these family-heavy coming weeks. Developed for easy knitting on long airplane flights, it’s a simple-yet-stunning tube of a scarf that lets the yarn really sing. I knitted one last year in SilkMo in Heckley Speckley and it was my stand-out accessory all through the colder winter months! This fluffy bit of loveliness went with pretty much every single coat I own – and everywhere I went, I had to whip it off because people wanted to see all the colors!

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I love how the mohair blurs the colors in Heckley Speckley – it’s a more muted version that still sings.

Best of all, right now Tina’s offering SilkMo with double the yardage! For a limited time, instead of getting the usual-size skein, Tina and the Barn Girls will dye a double-sized 1452 yd / 8 oz skein for you!  Considering that you can knit yourself an ‘Alexandra’s’ for around 800 yards, that means if you divide the skein in half, you get to cast on and knit and knit and knit and knit, round and round without a care in the world, until you have just enough yarn left to bind off. (The pattern lets you know how much that is, too. So considerate, those Churchmouse folks.) Then you’ll have one to give away (generous you) AND one to keep for yourself – all for just US$32!

Eight hundred yards of glorious, color-filled knitting pleasure await, whether you’re into stitch patterns or soothing, plain knitting. Either way, it’s a great excuse to add some Heckley Speckley into your knitting life RIGHT NOW!

Inspiration Monday: new classic cowls

Happy Monday again! Hope you’re safe and dry, or cool and enjoying some fresh air wherever you are. Mother Nature’s been reminding us that she’s boss the last few weeks, hasn’t she? When she settles down a bit, we’ll be able to relax into Fall (or Spring, Down Under).

If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, the light is coming in at an angle, lighting up the tomato bushes and their bounty; you might notice that you need a little something around your neck for your morning walk. Good thing there is a fresh crop of patterns for us to choose from with the change of seasons! My pals at Churchmouse have just released a new set of Classics patterns, and I could hardly wait to share a few them with you.

Tapered CowlThe Tapered Cowl solves the problem of how to drape a tube around your neck artfully – here, there’s a larger number of stitches at the cast-on edge, which gradually decrease away as you head toward the neck. What you end up with is a graceful pool of soothing stockinette, framing your lovely face just so.

(Bonus: if the A/C kicks in right over your desk in the office, you can pull the larger portion down over your shoulders, eliminating the need for a cardigan slung over the back of your office chair!)

The pattern calls for sport-weight yarn knitted at 6 stitches to the inch, making for a solid-yet-drapey fabric. What a perfect opportunity to take advantage of Silky Victoria’s body and luster.

One skein is all you need for this beauty – that, and a few stitch markers to remind you to do the decreases every umpty-ump rounds. (Does anyone else find this kind of project ideal for visually-rich binge-worthy shows like Outlander and Wolf Hall? Knit knit knit for most of an episode, then pause – do the decrease round, pour another beverage, get a snack and – hit play again!)

I’m thinking a skein of “Say Nevermore” on Silky Victoria might be sneaking their way into my Blue Moon shopping cart this afternoon.

But here’s a heads-up: this pattern also works beautifully with finer yarns! The 6 stitch-to-the-inch gauge on US3 needles means you can ‘open up’ lace- or fingering-weight yarns … which was exactly what I had to do with those two skeins of Yaksi Fingering. Mmm! And just as soon as I bind that one off, I’m casting on again with two skeins of La Luna Lace in “Winter Solstice” for my mom’s Christmas present (yup, it’s that time, people!).

half & half worstedIf you’re looking for neckwear with some architectural interest, how about the Half & Half Cowl? Half of the knitting is done flat, before joining in the round to knit the second half circularly. This allows the flat half to splay open over your shoulders (great to tuck under your coat when it gets really cold later in the season!), while the circular portion cozies up around your neck and ears. It’s a lavish depth at 20″/51cm, so it’s a great way to feature a colorway you just adore. It makes the most of a full skein of Targhee Worsted, which is what I cast on in “Spruced” last weekend – what a bouncy, fun knit!

The pattern includes two cool geeky techniques: tubular cast-on and bind-off methods that have been worked over and streamlined so they’re less intimidating and more approachable (always a wonderful feature of Churchmouse patterns).

What I love about these two pieces is that they take prime knitting real estate – the area that frames your face – and give you tons of room to feature glorious yarns in beautiful colorways. I can’t think of a better way to feature some of the loveliness that rolls out of the barn at Blue Moon.

Happy casting on, everyone!