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School of Yarn!!!

okay first things first!

I just walked out to the dye barn full of women to check on a few things. All of the dyer’s asked about our lone hen who has been sitting on a few eggs trying to repopulate our flock all by her lonesome. So…not one to ignore a cosmic hint, I thought why not go check on her and see what is what.

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Baby chicks!!! I could hear the peeping as I approached the coop. So adorable. A good day!

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and then there is this!

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I almost do not have the words to express how excited I am about this new venture of ours! I have been wanting to do something like this for quite awhile and either I did not have the time or the energy or the team. There is a time and place for everything right? Well, it seems the time is now. The stars have finally aligned to shine their blessing on our little School of Yarn!!

Truly, I could not be happier.

First of all I get to work with two of my favorite people Karen Alfke and Maggie Baird on a project that we all feel passionate about. Both of these women bring years of knowledge and experience that are the perfect balance to my own.

There are a few things in this world that I feel like I am really good at and one of them is yarn. I know yarn!  And… I love it! I love everything about yarn from sheep to sock, silkworm to shawl.  I’ve been working with yarn as a dyer for about 18 years now and still… every single morning I walk out into that dye barn and breath in all the wool and vinegar fumes and my heart expands with it all and I know… I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

Actually, it is one of the better parts of my day before the business of running a dye/yarn company hits the fan. I am usually the only one there (butt-crack of dawn!!) for a good hour or so.  It’s just me and my yarn. There is yarn hanging from the rafters and drying in the breeze from the fans and there’s color just about everywhere. I say hi to my skeiny friends and start the water running for all the washing and soaking of the yarns we are going to dye that day. Not a bad way to start the day!

Okay, so I am running out of time and quite honestly steam and believe it or not, words. It’s been a few weeks of writing which is not my best thing, so it takes a bit more out of me then say, dyeing does! As with the sock club, which is 12 years old this year, and with Blue Moon, I believe that expanding our knowledge base and building and appreciating our community betters us individually and as a whole and this is also our goal with our little School of Yarn.

I do hope you will join us on this new adventure of ours.

As always if you have any questions please email us at info@bluemoonfiberarts.com

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Don’t forget that next weekend is the Barn Sale and Dye Day event here in Blue Moonland. The Dye Day part is full. We will have an indigo vat going which anyone is welcome to use.

BARN SALE hours are 9:00 to 5:00 on Saturday August 5th @ the big red barn in the land of Blue Moon 56587 Mollenhour Rd. Scappoose 97056

Directions!

If you are coming from Portland or Vancouver you want I-405 to US 30 West towards St.Helens
You will be on this for about 14 miles.
You are going to drive all the way through Scappoose to the end of town.
Right after the fire station is the last traffic light which is Scappoose-Vernonia Highway
You are going to turn left onto Scappoose-Vernonia Hwy
Go about 7 miles up. It’s a pretty and curvy drive!
Turn left onto Chapman Road
Go about quarter of a mile and then turn left onto Mollenhour Road
Go about an eighth of a mile and  our gravel drive is right after a row of mailboxes where the 1st one has 56587 on it.
Also…there’s a huge piece of driftwood with a green house number sign on it.
The gravel road dead ends into Blue Moon. So drive all the way down.

Note: Before Chapman Road there is a Chapman Grange Road. You DO NOT want that one!!

Also please do come all the way down to us. We have parking and will direct you. If you want to carpool that is awesome. Please do not park on our neighbors land. Thank you!

Speaking of events…on August 12th I will be at Coastal Yarns in Canon Beach with a trunk show and yarn tasting and an Eclipse colorway.

I would love to see you!

Have a lovely weekend!!

Ooops almost forgot.

We are in the process of shipping out the birthday prize winners!! yay!!!

Thank you all for playing!

And the winners of Kyle’s lovely book, Urban Knits are:

violetdale and amelie

If you both could email us with you address we can get those out to you.

inspiration Monday: scowl, and the world scowls with you…

[Apologies for the late, after-Monday post, y’all. The blog scheduler burped! If you needed a do-over for Monday, here’s your permission. Happy Monday (again)!]

I have a new obsession: shawl/cowl hybrids, affectionately known ’round here now as ‘scowls.’ Specifically, the brain children of Hilary Smith Callis, aka The Yarniad: three of her patterns slam-dunked into my Ravelry library last week, all for this great new-to-me shape. Basically, these pieces start out flat, like the beginning of a triangular shawl; but after a few rows, you join to work them in the round, and the front ends up sumptuously longer than the back.

Let’s start with Starshower:

© Hilary Smith Callis

© Hilary Smith Callis

All that great texture and lace, front-and-center under your pretty face, right where you want people to notice it. But unlike larger shaped shawls, which you have to re-tie periodically (and if you live in a windy spot like I do, ‘periodically’ means ‘every five minutes’), this scowl shape just pops over your head and never unwinds itself!

Starshower Back

See? Less in the back, more in the front! So you can squoosh this up under your coat without feeling like Quasimodo, all hunched up with too much material back there where no one can admire it.

I love love love a great openwork texture married to a bit of garter stitch – such a great way to showcase pretty yarns without making things too busy.

Starshower was designed with sparkle in mind, so it’s a good thing Tina’s got shiny toys for us –in Super Sparkle, that is! And lookie there: Starshower needs 400 yards for all the scrumptious, sparkly goodness, and Super Sparkle provides… imagine that – 400 yards exactly!

If you’ve got any last summer road trips planned before the back-to-school onslaught, this would make a great one-skein-takealong. Wind up your skein before you leave, print out your pattern, grab your needles and pop it in a cute project bag so you’ll be set for hours of entertainment. With sparkle!

Want something on slightly larger needles? How about Dewberry:

© Hilary Smith Callis

© Hilary Smith Callis

and Adama:

© Hilary Smith Callis

… aran-weight near-instant-gratification knits that might just jump off your needles in a weekend. Dewberry calls for 200 yards of a worsted- or aran-weight yarn (exact gauge not being critical, you can swatch with a needle size that gives your chosen yarn some nice drape). When Tina announced the launch of Plushy this last week (at its generous introductory price of $5 off per skein!), I knew it had to become my first Dewberry. The shaded solids that came out of the barn this week (immortalized in Tina’s photo on Instagram) nearly made a thief of me. (Knowing how sad that knitter would be if her order was delayed was pretty much the only thing that kept me on the straight and narrow around that skein of Bladderwrack on the Rocks!)

Adama calls for 300 yards, which must mean it’s just a bit more lavish – but either way, you’ll have enough in one skein of Plushy (ONE SKEIN!) to make either scowl. Just a little over $20 and hours of knitting pleasure could be yours, not to mention snuggle time around your neck when you wear it.

Thank you, Hilary, for my new obsession! I’m off to cast on this skein of Super Sparkle for my very own Starshower (perhaps I’ll finish in time for the eclipse?).

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This week’s quote, to get you thinking:

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” – Karim Seddiki

New Summer Hues!!!

What could be better than a bit of color and whimsy on a bright and shiny summer’s day!

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I’m pretty smitten with this whole group of colorways but most especially these three! Octopus’s Garden, Pixie Dust & Unicorn Farts and Chintz & Giggles. They just make me happy.

About as happy as those hues make me feel, this trio of Plushy does so even more. Which is a little odd since I am not exactly a pink person.

From left to right we have Goodby Kitty, Baby, it’s cold out. and Cariblue.

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…and then there is this trio of shaded solid goodness!!

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Again…form left to right: Tempest, Bladderwrack on the Rocks and Jasper.  I am so knitting a sweater with Plushy in Bladderwrack on the Rocks and maybe a lap blanky for when the Pacific Northwest wet and cold winter hits.

 

I can not sing the praises of this yarn loud enough! It takes the dye really well so the color is extraordinary. And the ply on this puppy is just snug enough to keep its elastic quality but not too tight to make it heavy. The stitch definition is simply AMAZING!! And it is just super cozy.And since it is worsted weight it is the perfect yarn for holiday present knitting.

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Last week I mentioned our facebook group and how we were going to start our holiday knitting. Maggie is going to be your hostess with the most-ess and our first project is a hat in of course, Plushy.  We contacted Alex Tinsley to see if she was interested in us using some of her hat patterns and she is. She is going to knit Fructose and is using Plushy in Smoke on the Water. Check out the facebook group page for details!

We are diligently working to get orders out! The week long power outage did set us back a little bit.

It is so beautiful out I am going to post this and go for a walk to enjoy the rest of this day.

I get to teach dyeing tomorrow so I am pretty excited!!

PS: I am aware that the picture of Pixie Dust and Unicorn Farts looks different that the instagram video. It was hard to get a good picture to day and I will try again tomorrow. I promise it is the same colorway. Cross my heart and hope to dye! ;0)

Have a lovely weekend!

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all the knits…and a few other things

Okay, so it is Friday and if you were sitting here with me you would hear the generator humming (dull roar actually) away, diligently keeping our little dye company going.

It worked!!

They did turn the power off all week long from 6:30 am to 5:30 pm. We worked in shifts because there is only so much of our operation a generator can manage. We did not run out of propane or patience. Although there were moments when I was seriously worried about the patience. Like yesterday when I was picking up yarn and the water guy who was resealing our holding tank said he needed to come now and that meant no water.

It felt a bit like the powers-that-be were trying to see what exactly they could throw our way that would make us stop. Turns out we are a resourceful bunch and not much stops us. Well there was that 3 feet of snow but I feel like that is fair. I am super proud of my team!

I am also really looking forward to next week when I do not have to go out to the barn before the crack of dawn to fill everything with hot water and make all the dye for the day and then be on call for 2 shifts of worker bees.

I might just sleep all weekend!!

I am still working on new colorways! I know… I promise next week! Right now there is a new one up that I created for Lorilee Beltman’s ~ On a Lark Retreat ~ that I taught at last weekend. Such a great time. I love teaching  so that part is always fun.  Lorilee held her retreat at the oh so lovely Island Wood on Bainbridge Island and she really creates a great space for knitters. So much fun and learning and relaxing and knitting was had by all. And what a wonderful group of knitters!! Oh my goodness.  I hope she invites me back to teach again next year.

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The color way is called, On a Lark!! I love how it turned out, don’t you? I took the inspiration from Lorilee’s artwork for the retreat. It’s looks really pretty all knit up too!

As I said in the newsletter we just sent out there are so many wonderful designs to knit these days. I wanted to take a moment and tell you about some of the talented folks I get to work with.

Nona Davenport owns All Wound Up Yarn shop with her mom Leslie. They are lovely!! Nona designs! She designs for our sock club this year. In honor of their shops 2nd anniversary I made them a special colorway and Nona designed Firmament, a super cute anklet sock and then Malaika Gabriel designed a cute crochet shawlette called Waxing Moon. So much lavender knit goodness!

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And then there is this lovely piece Cumulus that Nona designed using our Silk Victoria!

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Photo credits: Nona Davenport

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and for the spinners….

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A New Spin on Color by Alanna Wilcox  (aka spinnybuns)

Alanna contacted me lat year about using some of my fiber for teaching and then, also this book.  It’s a lovely book from an experienced spinner and teacher. We are offering a 10% discount on fiber to anyone who purchases her book either in print or pdf download. She has the discount code info and will give it to you when you buy the book which I highly recommend!

Since we are on the subject of wonderful books I have another to recommend and a giveaway!

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Photo credit: Interweave

The Urban Knit Collection by the oh, so lovely and talented Kyle Kunnecke

This book has been out for a little while but we recently just received from Interweave a few copies to give-away.  I thought since Kyle is moving from the bay area to Seattle what better way to celebrate.  I love Kyle’s design ascetic. He is a color-work magician and we love working with him! Hopefully since he will be closer we will get to work with him more!

I have 2 books. If you would like to win one then place a comment in this post and we will randomly pick two lucky knitters!

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Before I sign off to go for a much needed walk I want to remind all of my Notorious Sock Knitters that their 20& discount code changes to 15% tomorrow.

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Also Plushy is still on special for another week!!! Get it while you can at this price. Believe me you so WANT to knit all the things with this yarn, at least all the worsted weight things!

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I have heard you and our next 3 offerings for the Rockin’ Whorl Club are live!! Sorry it took so long!

Check our facebook group!

Where we are slowly but surely starting our holiday gift knitting support group!

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Happy knitting!!

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in a timely fashion

TimelyIn these warm months of longer days, we can feel more generous with time. Watering the garden takes time; steeping sun tea takes time. Is there more time to think right now? I’d like to think so.

“In the fulness of time” is a phrase that has such a tempting feel to it – in the fulness of time, I could write a book; knit a sweater; learn to meditate… so many delicious things can happen with the gift of time.

Today’s Inspiration Monday is a lightweight, fun, colorful project that would be an ideal companion to a summer’s day … and it’s quite literally Timely. This stripey, top-down cardigan by Libby Johnson of Truly Myrtle is a treat of a project, combining stripes and easy construction – it would be timely to start it now so you can wear it as the evenings draw in this Fall.

Doubly timely, as well, given that Libby started a KAL over in her Ravelry group on July 1. Choose some colors lickety-split, get your order in, and the Barn Girls will have your yarn to you asap so you can swatch and join in the fun!

But what yarn? This little cardi is going to be a three-season stunner because of its gauge: 27 sts and 39 rows = 4″/10cm is a super-lightweight fabric that can go outdoors in warmer weather, or be the perfect layer for the office A/C.

Standard fingering-weights might just be too beefy for this project – a yarn that knits up comfortably at 7 sts/1″ might not be opened up enough to create drape at this gauge, and end up a bit too stiff or pert. My first thought was La Luna Lace, since it’s a perky little 2-ply that’s thick enough to be inbetween cobweb lace and fingering. Sure enough, I tried a swatch and got gauge on the second try with US4/3.5mm needles. It’s so drapey and wonderful, I had to make a little video of it swishing and swinging…

Now what about color? Here comes the fun – the 2-row stripes mean you can really play with contrast and ground a highly-active Multicolor Wave with a grounding neutral. The texts have been flying back and forth between me & Tina since we discovered this sweater with colorway combinations; kind of like a game of Colorway Poker (“I’ll see your ‘Muddy Autumn Rainbow’ and raise ya ‘Farmhouse’!”)

Jengu

For my project (and you know I already got my order in), I chose to stay true to her beautiful photographed sample and use a pale neutral for my Color A – I chose Jengu, one of the Spirits. Because these pale, pale neutrals are ‘spirited from’ just one color, you can tease out your favorite hue from a multicolor and anchor it with your favorite Spirit.

Xander

For Color B, you can really let fly – even if you’re resistant to wearing multiple colors at once, like I am. The alternating stripes of solid + multi create a harmonious, and nearly minimal, impression. So here was my chance to dip my toe into Buffy waters – I chose Xander, because I’m totally infatuated with browns and blues together right now. Since Jengu is spirited from blue, I know they’ll go together beautifully.

everydaygrey_sk Everyday Grey

Golly

Golly

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Tempest

Hey all!! Happy Monday. I (tina) am chiming in with a few other colorway pairing suggestions, cause I just can’t help myself!  And as always if you need help please ask. infor@bluemoonfiberarts.com

I’ll list the Bespeckled colorway and then next to it will be a list of shaded solids that I like with that Speckle.

DepravedDyer Birthday Sprinkles :  Just about anything. On the brighter end Boysenberry, Aquarius, Fancypants Fuchsia, Lean Mean Aubergine, Tit4Tat. On the lighter end ~ Chillaxin, Rosebud, Everyday Grey, Pistachio, KMBFLA and Lauma.

Apron Strings :  Magically Delicious, DesAqua, Pistachio, Saffron Surprise, Coral, and Melusine

Scattering Particles on Parade: KMBFLA , Coral, DesAqua, Aquarius, Mermaid Tears, Boysenberry, Orchid Queen, Pooze, Lean Mean Aubergine and Lauma

Heirloom Tomato Jam : Pistachio, Pooze, Pond Scum, Harriet, Saffron Surprise, Calendula, Rose Quartz, Brick and Poupon

SugarPlum Fairy Dust: Lauma, Mermaid Tears, Winter Solstice, Pooze, DesAqua, Seafoam Home, Saffron Surprise and Rosebud

Autumn’s Up:  Magically Delicious, DesAqua, Pistachio, Saffron Surprise, Coral, Melusine, Pond Scum, Aquarius, Chillaxin, Calendula, Harriet and Sun Salutations.

Guardians of the Galaxy :  Just about anything!!   I like Everyday Grey, Mermaid Tears. Jengu, Tit4TaT, Smoke on the Water and Pistachio to name a few.

Heckley Speckley : Lauma, Branwen, Winter Solstice, Sun Salutations, Tempest, Spruced and Mica

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And since it’s Inspiration Monday, we’ll leave you with this inspiring quote. This week’s is from Virginia Woolf, and we think it speaks directly to us as knitters, especially knitters who love garments.

There is much to support the view that it is clothes that wear us, and not we, them; we may make them take the mould of arm or breast, but they mould our hearts, our brains, our tongues to their liking. – Virginia Woolf

Summertime and the knitting is…

light, airy, colorful and breezy. At least today with the temperature rising to 90 some odd degrees in the shade.

I have been on the prowl for the perfect pattern to showcase our La Luna Lace and the very talented Lesley Anne Robinson just released a summer shawl pattern that just made my heart happy and my needles itchy to cast on. Of course swatching first, cause that is what what we do!

Breezy Cabana

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Isn’t it beautiful? I pretty much love everything about it, the bias sway, the contrast in color and texture and the very many ways to pair colors ( yay!!)  but most especially I’m charmed by the mesh pattern she creates by using condo knitting. I have a thing for pattern shifting and creating by changing needle sizes. I’m not quite sure why but it just tickles my fancy and always has.

As I said I am going to use our La Luna Lace and I hope you will join me. We are offering 15% off starting today and good for a week (expires next Friday) The coupon code is: lalunalace17

I spent a good amount of time this afternoon in the barn driving everyone a little nuts playing with colorways pairings. So much fun. It is one of my favorite games!

Since I have a very strong love for our Heckley Speckley I am choosing that as my speckle and I was going to go with Pond Scum as my solid. It is not enough contrast so I am either going with Lean Mean Aubergine or one of our Ravens like Grawk.

I did try all kinds of Heckley Speckley combos as you can see.

See not really enough of a contrast.  I had no Grawk dyed to photograph. Here are some higher contrast duos.

The possibilities are endless!!

As in: Shoqua and Wallflower or PsychoBarbie and just about anything but I like Goodbye Kitty or H.R.H.Princess Violetta with Black Dragon Wisteria…

If you need any help with color choosing please do let me know. info@bluemoonfiberarts.com

When my Grawk dries I will post a picture of it on instagram with my Heckley Speckley friend!

If you are going to Black Sheep Gathering stay cool and hydrated and maybe pet a sheep for me!

Remember RSC sign ups close on the 30th of this month.

And our coupon code for the Tour de Sock expires on July 2nd!

We have dyed so very much sock yarn lately. I can’t wait to see all of the sock knitting pics!!

Okay I have a dog here that wants to eat so off I go.

Have a lovely weekend!!

PS: We have added some fun summer hues from summers gone by.

“Be the rainbow in someone else’s cloud!”  Maya Angelou

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inspiration Monday: Sandbank

I’ve long wanted to start a series that captures the possibilities of an inspiring design in a Blue Moon yarn. After all, a truly successful project is the marriage of a great design with the proper yarn; and helping customers choose yarns for projects was one of my favorite parts of working in a yarn store. I picked up a lot over the years from customers’ experiences and around the teaching table; seeing customers come in a few weeks or months later wearing their gorgeous FO’s was one of the best perks of the job.

So let’s grab some inspiration from patterns that are out there on Ravelry and in the knitiverse and help each other make beautiful things!

Following the advice of “start where you are,” I’ll dive in with a piece that grabbed me just this morning (I’m particularly vulnerable during my first cup of coffee): “Sandbank,” by my fellow German Lea-Viktoria. Here’s a wide, deep, mildly-crescent-shaped swath of stockinette that’s just crying out for a great colorway. It’s an ingenious center-out construction which lets you knit it entirely in the round and make the most of the yardage you have in a laceweight to light-fingering weight yarn.

image @ Lea-Viktoria

image @ Lea-Viktoria

This piece has a supple rhythm to it which is so beguiling; at first glance, it could be a big rectangle, but it’s curved at the ends. It could be a Faroese-shawl shape, because it has shaping that helps it stay on the shoulders, but it’s not overly huge. Lea-Viktoria says you can wear it like a cardigan or like a big scarf, which would make it super-versatile for wear over a sleeveless summer dress. Or bundle it up around your neck under your winter coat and then let it cover you at your desk in the office before the heating kicks in.

image @ Lea-Viktoria

image @ Lea-Viktoria

 

 

 

 

So let’s talk yarn … what should we knit our Sandbanks out of?

The yarn she used for her sample is a laceweight, with 1722 yards in a 300g skein, and the project is knitted at a gauge of 26 sts = 4″/10cm in stockinette, after blocking. These two bits of information will be vital for us looking to substitute a different yarn.

One of the first impulses customers would have in the shop was to look at the knitted gauge (26=4″) and try to find a yarn with that gauge listed on the ball band. In this instance, that would send you off in search of heavy-fingering to light-sport-weight yarns – the problem being that the resulting piece wouldn’t have any of the lightweight airiness you can see in Lea-Viktoria’s sample photos. See how sheer and flowy it is? If you chose a yarn that was thicker, you’d get heavier, denser fabric – even if you got gauge, your fabric would be different, and the piece perhaps not as wearable.

So the trick is to look at the original yarn used and find a yarn that has similar vital statistics: in this case, laceweight is a good clue… but even among the laceweights, there’s so much variety. You’ve got cobweb-weight, which has a bazillion yards per gram, all the way up to heavier laceweights that could almost be substantial enough for socks. How do you choose?

I like to key in to the number of yards per gram when substituting yarns. Here, her original yarn was 1722 yards per 300g; divide 1722 by 300 and you get a yard/gram ratio of 5.74. Let’s keep that in mind as we prowl the Blue Moon site to consider which batch of yumminess to order for our Sandbank.

The two yarns I’m considering for mine are Silky Laci and La Luna Lace, both scrumptious silk-and-wool blends in the right gauge range (laceweight). How do they stack up?

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Silky Laci is 80% extra fine merino and 20% silk, with a slightly wooly surface texture that’s great at allowing the stitches to grab each other a bit and hold gauge very well when knitted a bit open. Fans of Shetland lace shawls would adore this stuff – it has a very regular spin, and the addition of silk makes it just that little bit special for your heirloom lace pieces. Here, we’re not focused on lace, but even in stockinette the fabric would have a hand that would make it both special but sturdy enough to wear every day. Silky Laci sports a hefty 900 yards per 90g skein, so its yard/g ratio is a whopping 10. Very different from the pattern gauge – if you knitted up a Sandbank in Silky Laci, it would weigh only half as much as the original (around 150g). For those of us knitting in warmer climes, this could make it a wearable piece for at least 2 seasons a year; but you’d want to swatch to make sure you liked the fabric knitted at that gauge. (I’m about to do just that.)

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La Luna Lace is 85% 19.5 micron Merino (in other words, oooooooh) and 15% mulberry silk. Super-soft and silky, with little bitty pearls of twist, this is a dreamboat of a yarn. It has 480 yards per 99g skein, so its yard/g ratio is 4.84 – fewer yards per gram than the pattern’s sample, but still within range for a laceweight, and much closer to the pattern sample’s thickness. La Luna Lace will probably be my first choice for my own Sandbank, if only to showcase the gloriousness of this yarn in a piece so strikingly simple.

Which brings us to the question of color – once you’ve chosen a yarn, how do you choose a color(way), especially from the hundreds of eye-catching candidates at Blue Moon? I’m going to put my designer’s hat on let you in on a little lesson from design school: the relationship of complex to simple. In other words, if you’ve got a design where there are lots of things going on in terms of pattern or texture, you’re best served to keep the colorway(s) simple. Or vice-versa: in a relatively uncomplicated piece like Sandbank, you have more leeway to play with complexities of color. (Swaths of stockinette, especially where the stitch counts change as things increase, are a great platform for multicolors, and won’t muddy the design the way texture + tons of color can.)

That being said, this is a BIG piece, so bear in mind the visual impact it can make walking down the street! While you can play with some of the more active multicolor wave colorways (the ones that bring in four or five hues, or incorporate most of the color wheel), you might get more wear out of the more tonal or two- to three-color multis.

Me, I’m toying with either ‘Hush’:hush_sk

 or ‘Murky Chi’: 
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Both would play beautifully in my mostly-grey wardrobe, and the wash of grey-to-color around the stockinette body of the piece would be enchanting, dont’cha think?

What colors would you choose? I’m off to ponder over my next cup of coffee.

Feeling inspired by a design, but don’t know what yarn to use? Pop your ideas in the comments and hopefully I can chat about them in upcoming Inspiration Mondays!

summertime, and the knitting is bulky

Fresh strawberries in the Farmer’s Market can mean only one thing – we are indeed in full summer mode (even here in the overcast Pacific NW). Are you taking advantage of the longer, warmer evenings outside and knitting al fresco?IMG_0831

This week, I get extra points for matching my knitting to my produce! Amélie is a delightful shot of ripe red on the greys I love so much. And are those some super-deep greens in there as well? I’m enchanted.

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But wait – what’s that yarn? No summer laceweights over here; I’ve gone bulky. Targhee Bulky, to be precise. It might seem a strange choice for the warmer season, but bear with me. There’s a logic here.

You see, last year (as indeed, many years before), I got slammed by November and December. Like so many of you generous creative souls, I get sucked into the romantic and extravagant notion of handmade holiday gifts… completely forgetting how busy that season is to begin with, and that I only have two hands. *And* that my brother’s birthday falls inconveniently within the one-month window before Christmas, so there are those socks to finish…

It never fails. Seems like every year I get sucked into the vortex of make-make-MAKE!!, which would be lovely if it weren’t condensed into too-few weeks at the end of the calendar.

Of course, wiser souls than I have devised a solution: “Christmas in July” should save us from this trauma, if we would only be wise enough to actually start.

So here I am, knitting with bulky yarn at the peak of the year. Which is quite fun, really, when you think about it – no-one in my family needs a bulky-weight sweater, since we live up and down the West Coast. So this single skein of Targhee Bulky, with its 462 yards, is enough to make a whole raft of accessories. Thanks to Joji Locatelli’s timely Instagram post, I’ve whipped up a Man Hat for my stepdaughter when she walks the dogs this winter. (That’s the top of it, below – tidy, isn’t it?) I’ll have enough left to make a Boyfriend Watch Cap for my sister-in-law, and if I play my cards right and can get gauge, a pair of Ferryboat Mitts to go with! (And if the Targhee Bulky is a bit too thick to get gauge for the Mitts, I can always get a skein of Targhee Worsted to match!)

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I love hats and fingerless mitts as presents … they’re tasty little nuggets of knitting that you can take with you to the park or the beach, and just before you have time to get bored and reach for your fat summer novel instead, BOOM! – they’re done. Wrap them up and pop a gift card on ’em and you’ll even spare yourself that step come December!

Take a page out of my mom’s book and label one cupboard ‘The Gift Shoppe’ – pop all your pre-wrapped gifts in there and put a padlock on it if you’ve got wee ones in the house (or those who are easily tempted to peek). It’s such a nice feeling that you’re on your way to the holidays already.

It also means that we’re not putting the squeeze on Tina and her team, asking them to dye faster come October and November. My failure to plan shouldn’t mean more pressure for them, after all.… Let’s give everyone a breather and start planning that generous knitting today, shall we?

Do you have favorite, go-to patterns for gift knitting? If so, please mention them in the comments – I’m always looking for new, fun things to knit. Maybe we can collect a big list of our favorites and I can post the whole she-bang come July!

If you get your gift ideas all set and order your yarns now, Tina and the Barn Gals can have your yarn to you in a few short weeks and you’ll be whipping up presents in July faster than you can whip cream to go on those berries.

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WWKIP, Anniversaries…. and the winners are!!!

Saturday is Worldwide Knit in Public Day!!! Where are you going to be knitting? I am going to be at the Salem Public Library with the Salem Area Ravelers.  I am going to be there with Maggie with some of our Socks that Rock Mill Ends and Rare Gems and maybe a few other treasures.

I talking about Blue Moon and our ever evolving industry. If you are in the area please do come by  and say hi and sit and knit a spell in…public. Public Library kind of public!!!

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There are so many anniversaries.

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Simply Socks is celebrating 12 years for spreading the sock knitting love.  We are joyfully celebrating with them by creating them a super exclusive colorway to go with a seriously cool mug!

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So pretty together!

And we also are running an exclusive-limited-engagement yarn special. Colossal Sock is quite the yarn and quite the skein! 600 yds ( 150 grams) of  lovely  100%  Superwash Merino with a nice twist that makes it good for socks or shawls or hats or gloves or baby knits. It’s got a nice boing factor which we love and a nice light hand.

Happy Anniversary to Allison and her lovely team!!

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Twisted is celebrating 10 years of supplying the greater Portland metro area with all kinds of fiber related goodness and fun.  And we are pleased as punch to being joing in the festivities!!!

We’ve created them a very very special colorway to commemorate the occasion.

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Twisted’s 10th Anniversary Speck-tacular!! I love this colorway so much. It just makes me happy. I took the ball of yarn graphic part of their logo and blew it up so I could pick out all the colors and then I speckled  the heck out of a few skeins of yarn with them.  They are exclusive to Twisted so check out their website for pre-orders and of course there will be some at  Twisted next week!! Along With Maggie and I who will be there to chat and take pictures with the photo-booth and I will bring my color fortune telling mojo. It’s going to be all kinds of fun. Please bring your Blue Moon knit and especially socks for pics!!!

Happy Anniversary Twisted!!!! You’re the bomb!

Okay so I was supposed to announce winners last week and well to be honest it took me longer to recover from birthday celebrating than I thought. Also it just kept going and going!

Thank you all so much for playing along. You brightened my week so very much!

Here are “I  made it to 60 bitches” birthday give-away winners!

Here’s a pic of the wonderful and super sassy mugs from the oh so lovely and talented ladies at JaMpdx!

Mug with Yarn winners:

Cindy Mooney, Gwen Toma, Katie Dugger, Kathie Harris, Cassandra Paul and Cara Davis

Bag with Yarn winners:

Kristin May, Courtney Pierce, Mitra Emand and Sara Hoffee

So this is not written in stone. If you want a bag and not a mug just let me know. I do have 6 mugs and 4 bags. I am picking up bags today and will add a picture of them when I do. Thanks so much for playing along. I will email all of you this weekend with choices and such. Thank you for playing along!

and…. then   Ashley H, Pedora1, Tinkingbell and stephi gordon I will be cooking up some colorways for you in the next few weeks!  Love your color stories. Thanks for taking the time to share!

Phew….that is a whole lot.

We got a little backed up with orders from all of this. We will be shipping most of them out on Monday!!!

Keep in mind that the price increase is Monday the 19th.

Have you singed up for Tour de Sock??? There is still time!!

Also we still have plenty or room in both of  Dye Camp Sessions. It’s is a grand and colorful time!

Okay I am off to pack up for tomorrow’s knit adventure in Salem! I hope to see you there.

on the needles and dreaming

June — whaa? already?!

There’s that bit of anticipation in the air — even for those of us without school-age kids at home (mine’s turning THIRTY this weekend!), you can feel the vibe. Something’s about to pop.

Vay-CAY!

Whether you’re packing up the old jalopy and headed out on the road soon, or you wish you were and you’re catching the end-of-school-year buzz, it’s always good to have a delicious little project to work on or look forward to. Little portable, one-skein nibbles that you can take with you, even if it’s just out on the back porch with a refreshing beverage.

I’ve got two on the radar that are making my needles twitch — and when Tina was up visiting me for her colossally-sunny birthday weekend, I could resist no more and had to Cast.On.Now: a Pinking Shears Scarf with a delicious single skein of Socks that Rock™ in “Autumn’s Up.”
IMG_0759The pattern is written for a laceweight or light fingering weight, so if you wanted to work it as written, you could delve into some yummy Featherlight (ooh – the sheen of that single ply in this simple pattern? Divine!).

With Socks that Rock, I upped the needle size to a US7/4.5mm. Fun thing about this pattern is, you start at the point and work your way toward the middle – so your beginning can be like your swatch! And after a few inches or so, you’ve got enough fabric to gauge whether or not you like that needle size – and it’s not too too painful to rip out. (Pro tip: don’t rip out your first attempt – save it for comparison. Take the other end of the ball and start with the next needle size you want to try; work for a few inches and then compare the two. Bonus: it’s not as painful to rip out the one you don’t like when you’ve got the new and better one started already!) (Or maybe I’m just good at rationalizing?)

If you have two skeins of the same colorway, lucky you! You can make a lovely large Pinking Shears Scarf. If you’ve got just the one skein, be sure to WEIGH your skein on a kitchen/gram scale before you start and note down the full skein weight, because you’ll want to stop when you’ve used up a little less than half your skein. This scarf differs from Hitchhiker in that you knit two identical pieces and graft it in the center for a triangular shape that’s skinny at both ends and thick in the middle.

Once you’ve knitted a few inches on this thing, it’s super-intuitive — and the Churchmouse design team have left notes in the pattern about how to use a stitch marker to help you remember which row you’re on, which is helpful when the sun goes over the yardarm and the adult beverages come out!

 

But maybe ‘vacation’ for you means some free space and free brain time and you want a project you can really dive into, with a little chart perhaps? Like a big, fat novel with lots of characters to get to know, lace or charted knitting gives your brain a little world to explore, and the hours can just zoom by as you’re in that ‘flow’ state.

My favorite new pattern this week on Ravelry for just such an occasion would be Martina Behm’s Green Light Shawl:

Image ©Martina Behm

Image ©Martina Behm

As she says on the Ravelry pattern page, Green Light is “a nice project to start at home and take on vacation: Work on the mindless and relaxing garter stitch part while still at home and working, and save the slightly more complicated lace part for when you have arrived at your destination, are relaxed and have lots of time to knit the lace border in your deck chair.” Boy, has she tapped into the Zeitgeist of early summer or what?

I am literally chomping at the bit to get one of these on the needles in Silky Laci. When I was working on Let the Light In last spring, Silky Laci was new and I only got to swatch it — the luster and sheen that the silk adds to the merino is really out of this world. It’s begging to be shown off in something as elegantly simple as Green Light. And I just happen to have a skein in “Golly” that would be dead-elegant over my coat come Fall! (Which is probably when I’d have it finished to wear, given the major case of cast-on-itis I’ve got right now.) At an astounding 900 yards per skein, Silky Laci is a no-brainer for this shawl — wind it up, pop some needles in a cute project bag, and you’re set for some great knitting, wherever your final vacation destination may take you.

Now if anyone needs me, I’ll be out on the back deck with one of those refreshing beverages…

Happy Summer, y’all!