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Posts from the ‘Projects’ Category

Double Your Pleasure

We’re all about the cowls this winter over here in BlueMoonLand. Such a great way to mess around with tasty bits of yarn; and bonus: at the end of a little bit of knitting, you get something warm and soft to wear around your neck! This week, the cowl mania continues with Northwestern Exposure Cowl, a fun brioche pattern from the ever-talented Jessica over at Weaving Works in Seattle.

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Sometimes I think the only thing better than playing with a Blue Moon yarn is putting together colorways..! So many different fun combinations, even if you’re ‘only’ trying to combine two colors.

This week, I put together a seasonal speckle with a shaded solid since the pattern uses two colors, one round each, in brioche stitch (aka Fisherman’s Rib). The resulting fabric is visually complex, but so easy to knit – just slipping stitches, yarnovers, and knits and purls, using one yarn at a time.

I used to think that the softness of Crackpaca couldn’t be beat… But now I know that it outdoes even itself when worked in brioche! The texture of this fabric is truly out-of-this-world soft. 3D soft. Next-level squoosh factor!

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The hardest part about this project would be choosing just one set of colorways. I’ve just spent an inordinate amount of time today messing around with possible combinations, and I’m nowhere near done yet (although it’s already gone teatime around here)!

 

I chose Winter Wonderland with Royal Blue for my cowl:

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… but now I also want to knit Heckley Speckley with Star Sapphire:

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… and Jingle Sprinkles with Boysenberry:

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… Ooh! And what about Autumn’s Up with Walkin’ the Dog?

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So many choices when you start putting two together… It really does double your pleasure – and that’s even before you start knitting!

Baby it’s cold outside…

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It’s a snow day here at Blue Moon which basically means I am here working alone which is all kinds of peaceful. I am getting so much done!
Don’t get me wrong I love team Blue Moon, they are the best. It’ just that sometimes having quiet gives one space for colorful new thoughts and ideas!

Like…
V is for Vagenda!!!
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Super hot electric pinks!

Have you heard about the PussyHat Project
The Pussyhat Project aims to provide the people of the Women’s March on Washington D.C. a means to make a unique collective visual statement which will help activists be better seen and heard.
And to also provide those of us who cannot physically be on the National Mall a way to represent ourselves and support women’s rights and those we love.

As much as I would like to be there I can’t. However, my daughter and a whole bunch of friends and family will be there and so I am knitting them hats! I will most definitely be there in spirit.

We already have quite a few appropriate pinks:
Hot Flash
Psychobarbie
Rosebud
China Rose
Rosetta
Tit for Tat
Help Us Rhonda
Rose Quartz
Fuchsia Rose
and now…
V is for Vagenda!

Thanks to Kat Coyle and The Little Knittery for putting this all together! Check out their web page, mission statement and blog. The pattern they have supplied is super cute and an easy and quick knit. There is a place to send hats if you want to knit one (or two) show support and be involved.
We at Blue Moon are donating 20% of our December sales to the ACLU.

Okay…my buddy Karen just showed up for weekend knit shenanigans. Yay!!! And speaking of Karen, did you read her blog post this week (sweater dreams) on knitting for ourselves.

This month starts our next 3 spinning adventures. Long Wools!! If you want to join in the fun there is still plenty of room and time. The first shipment leaves at the end of December.
Rockin’ Sock Club is up for Gift Certificate purchases for the holidays. The gift that keeps on giving all year long!

Okay my lovely wonderful knitterly friends.
Have a great weekend.
Stay warm and safe.

sweater dreams

There’s no denying it: we are definitely into December. For many of us knitters, this means we’re knee-deep in gift knitting for the ones we deem ‘knitworthy.’ The ambitions of the fall, our heady notions of knitting EVERYTHING! for EVERYONE! are getting a bit more real. We might even be cutting a few choice things off the list (Uncle George is getting a hat instead of socks because … ya only gotta knit one!).

Hang in there, knitters – crunch time is upon us, but relief is in sight. A few short weeks from now, the last ends will be woven in, the bows will be on the packages, the packages will be in the mail, and then…

Personal Knitting Time begins.

Some call it ‘Selfish Knitting,’ but personally I think that’s a little harsh. If you’ve spent some considerable time making thoughtful gifts for others, isn’t it appropriate to also dedicate some time to making something for you to enjoy?

If you’re like me, you’ve been queueing up sweater patterns for just such an occasion. January, with all its promises of fresh starts, really calls for a cast-on of some magnitude, don’t you agree? ‘Tis the season for a solid sweater project you can really sink your teeth into (especially if you’re doing a food ‘reset’ after all that holiday eating – a cast-on is a calorie-free treat that keeps your hands out of the cookie jar!).

So now’s the time, knitters: start planning that January Treat Sweater. Pour yourself a mug of eggnog and open a tab in your browser with your Ravelry queue, a second tab with the Blue Moon colorways, and dream big!

Here are some ideas from my queue to get the creative juices flowing:

v-neck-boxyV-Neck Boxy by Joji Locatelli

A new variation on her wildly popular Boxy designs, this eminently wearable, totally forgiving silhouette would be a dream to slip into after the holidays. Worked from the top down this time, with a V-neck opening (so flattering on many of us!), it makes a great platform for fabulous fingering-weight yarns. But knitted at a gauge of 23 sts = 4″/10cm, it’s quite open and drapey… Not all yarns can hold their shape when knitted that far open.

Enter Cloud Nine: a sport-weight wonder in superwash merino, cashmere, and nylon. That’s the trifecta for combining softness with reliability in a long-living fabric. Its gauge range is pretty phenomenal, too: knitted down for socks and the like, it can go as dense as 7 sts/1″, but it holds its own all the way up to the light-DK range… So the 23 sts = 4″/10cm gauge in V-Neck Boxy would be right up its street!

1300 –2050 yards means 4 to 5 skeins will set you up right – just as soon as you can pick a color! The Shaded Solids are all so tempting…. I have a skein in Porcini that’s just begging to be swatched for this, just as soon as I get that Christmas stocking done.

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breathing-spaceBreathing Space by Veera Välimäki

Can’t decide on just one color of Cloud Nine? Or want to bring a little stripey fun into the dark months of winter? Look no farther than Joji’s comrade-in-arms, Veera, for inspiration. This stripey pullover sounds like just the thing for the post-holiday rush. One lighter shade (she’s using some speckles here – wouldn’t that be fun?) over a darker MC for high contrast… and then that striping on the bias! No winter doldrums possible with this design.

820 to 1370 yards (2 to 4 skeins) of MC plus 320 to 620 yards (1 to 2 skeins) of CC will do it; the hard part will be deciding on color combinations! Putting together colors is just a load of fun in and of itself: what about Tree Toots with Deep Unrelenting Grey:

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or A Speck of Autumn with … just about anything!a_speck_of_autumn_sk

 

… Aaaand just when I thought my queue couldn’t possibly get any longer, Tina texted me this morning with a link to this bit of loveliness:

img_5017_small2Crossing Over by Hanna Maciejewska

That waist detail! That collar! The ribbed back! I don’t even know where to start with the loveliness. And if you’re wanting something a bit more robust for a winter instant-gratification knit, this great open-front cardi done in worsted weight should do the trick.

Look no further than Targhee Worsted for this one: at 18 sts = 4″/10cm, the gauge is spot-on, and the bouncy reliability of the Targhee would shine in this design. I love how Targhee Worsted showcases texture: the half-brioche ribbed back would snap into relief. And the lightweight warmth would be fantastic to snuggle up in on the couch with a good book, or to running errands in on a windy March day.

1000 to 1900 yards for this design means just 2 or 3 skeins of Targhee Worsted will do it (and so few pesky ends to weave in and slow you down!).

I used to have a (store-bought) cardigan in college in a shade much like Chana Masala, and I wore it all. the. time. It’s a surprising near-neutral that sets off other colors beautifully (especially blue jeans!).

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It’s perfect timing to order up an SQ (‘sweater quantity’) of any of these right now: that gives the Barn Girls time to dye them, dry them, bundle and ship them to you so you can cast on the sweater of your dreams in your pyjamas on Boxing Day!

 

Squoosh

We knitters are tactile creatures. When we say “can I see that?,” what we really mean is “can I touch it?”

The feeling of a soft yarn running through our fingers is part of the meditation, part of the healing nature of knitting and crochet. So much of our modern life is digital and indirect – at the end of a day at the office/computer/on the phone, it’s nice to come home and sink into your favorite chair with a skein of something that pets you back.

And perhaps the highest praise a knitter can give a yarn is to ‘squoosh’ it – to clutch it as close to the face as possible and just s-q-u-e-e-z-e it, as if to eke out every little drop of soft yumminess you can. (This is the same response usually reserved for puppies and kittens and some baked goods.)

I do believe I have found the yarn for which the term ‘squoosh’ was invented – Sookie.

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Like its namesake on “Gilmore Girls,” Sookie is a bit of plump, soft deliciousness that’s a joy to be in a room with. It’s a softly-spun single that never threatens to pull or tear, with a super-soft surface that demands to be petted like a little bunny rabbit. And with each skein weighing in at 250 grams and 136 yards, you have a generous quantity to play with. One skein will easily make a large cowl – and that’s just where you’ll want Sookie: right up as close to your face as possible, so you can squoosh up in it when no one is looking (or maybe even if they are – it’s that yummy).
img_5927So it’s good news that there are any number of quick and easy (and free!) cowl patterns on Ravelry to choose from so you can indulge your senses with a bit of Sookie. I liked the seed stitch texture of Marian by Jane Richmond, which does a nice job of pixellating the washes of color. On US17 needles, this cowl knitted up in just a few hours – not even long enough for me to catch up on episodes of “Gilmore Girls!” (You can see my project notes, including needle size, stitch counts, and final dimensions here on Ravelry.)

And here’s some great news for you – Tina’s agreed to keep Sookie is at its special discounted price of $27 for the next few days, before it goes up to its regular price of $34. (Which is still a screaming deal for this much scrumptious softness, if you ask me.)

As ridiculously soft as it is, and as quick as it is to knit, Sookie is the ideal candidate for those last-minute knitted gifts. Your fancy friend who just moved to New York City would LOVE a cowl to go with her new shearling-lined moto jacket. Your perpetually-cold friend in Milwaukee could really use something this warm and soft as she runs from her office to the parking lot. Even your hard-to-shop-for twenty-something nephew would love a 2×2 ribbed muffler – perhaps in “Manly Yes, But I Like It, Too” (my go-to colorway for the gentlemen on my list).

img_4843-3-1But knitters – please. Don’t forget yourselves! Because after all the fun of choosing colorways for friends and relatives, and after the instant gratification of hours of softness running through your fingers, and the satisfied sighs of wrapping up your handknits and sending them on their way to their lucky new owners… You don’t want to leave yourself in a house bereft of *any* Sookie at all. Save a skein or two. For yourself. After the holiday frenzy, but before the baked goods are all gone, put a few nibbles on a plate, pour a glass of something festive, and sink into the colorful softness of a skein of Sookie – just for you.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be over here, napping in a skein of I smell SNOW!

 

GGG! Gratitude and Gilmore Girls.

FullSizeRender“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.” Albert Schweitzer

One of the biggest gifts that cancer has given me is the act of working on being grateful everyday. I am a work in progress which is why I say I work on it everyday. Some days it is easier to do than others. The days and times that it is the hardest are the places I learn the most and experience the deepest peace, love and happiness.

When we feel it is the darkest is the time where we need to be as grateful for every single moment. In my experience gratitude lights up the darkness!

I have a whole lot to be grateful for in my life. One of those things is that I get to do what I love and to serve fiber and color lovers like yourselves which is a great gift!!

THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!!!


You are the best and I love being a part of your lives and having you be part of mine!

I am so very, very grateful!!!

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I know that a whole lot of us are seriously excited for the Netflix Gilmore Girls reunion shows this weekend! I really am. I have lost count of how many times I have watched this lovely small town quirky show with my girls. It is our feel good go to show. How many of us would love to live in Stars Hollow??
Of course I had to come up with a few colorways to commemorate this event. There are so many colorway possibilities. I chose 3 of my favorite aspects of the show.

Starting from the left of the photo and working to the right we have: Luke’s, Stars Hollow and ” I Smell SNOW!!

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We have 15 sets of this lovely stitch markers from ~ A needle Runs Through It ~ that we are going to give away this weekend.
We are going to draw 15 knitters from all who order this weekend starting today (Friday) at noon and going until Monday at noon both Pacific time.
What we would LOVE for you to do is in the notes section of your order tell us who your favorite character is. You can also tell us why but you don’t have to. We will randomly choose from those orders and send the stitch markers out when your order is ready!

Also, if a dyer was going to make more Gilmore Girl colorways what would you like to see? I would love it if you put your suggestions in the comments section of this post. Please be as descriptive as possible. It can be a character or a place or a moment. Anything Gilmore Girls!

Okay I have to go help Maggie finish dyeing. It is just the two of us today.

Before I go I would like to point out the blog post before this one by our friend Karen Alfke. She will be posting about once a week about knit goodness that she has cooked up or found on the interwebs with our yarns.
Thank you Karen for being our knitter in the field!!

I am going to dye some Sookie in ” I Smell SNOW!! And knit a special Stars Hollow super duper cozy cowl!!

What cowls are you knitting???

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Turkish Travels

Hello all – Karen Alfke here, Blue Moon’s ‘Knitter in the Field.’ I’ll be taking over the blog from time to time to tempt you with project ideas for all the great yarns that the Blue Moon team has to offer.

Many of us here south of the 49th Parallel are traveling to see family and friends for the annual Thanksgiving feast. And with travel comes the usual knitter’s conundrum: what to pack?

My go-to travel project is a skein of Socks That Rock™ Mediumweight and the pattern for Turkish Bed Socks by Churchmouse Yarns & Teas. As far as I’m concerned, this is the dream combination for the consummate travel-worthy project.

Pumpkin Spice Latte, anyone? Make mine a double-tall - in a reusable mug, of course.

Pumpkin Spice Latte, anyone? Make mine a double-tall – in a reusable mug, of course.

All you need to pop in your bag is a set of US3/3.25mm DPNs (or your small-tube needle method of choice) and a tempting colorway of Socks That Rock™. Mediumweight is on the hefty side of fingering weight, which means it’s an ideal gauge to make a great fabric on these larger-than-usual sock needles.

Turkish Bed Socks are shortie socks, so there’s no time ‘wasted’ on a cuff. It’s straight down to business, with entertaining twists and turns right from the get-go. I’ve been known to cast on a pair on the light rail on the way to the airport and be finishing the toe before the plane lands!

It’s an unusual heel construction, which means there are several fun phases as you work down toward the foot. It’s ideal ‘in-law knitting’: something to concentrate on while making polite ‘I’m listening’ noises as Uncle Ernie recounts the details of his hernia surgery – again.

Since every skein of Socks That Rock™ Mediumweight boasts a generous 405 yards, you’ll have enough in one skein to knit a pair as a gift (find out your hostess’ shoe size and leave ’em there!) and knit a pair for yourself. (After all, you picked the skein because YOU loved the colorway, right?!)

You'll have the first one done before they bust out the dessert course.

You’ll have the first one done before they bust out the dessert course.

And if your holiday travels call for a few nights in a hotel, these make great little packalongs. If you finish a pair during your trip, they’re the ideal way to make those impersonal hotel rooms (and cold bathroom floors!) just a little more cozy.

There’s always room for one more skein, right? Pack up this winning combination and you’ll sail through your holiday travels this season.

And now I gotta go – there’s a skein in the “Elf” colorway that’s calling my name!