Thursday, May 21, 2015

NEW Pattern /// Arika Cowl



Let me introduce the Arika Cowl! I am so very excited about this pattern. It's one of those designs that just appeared out of nowhere -- unplanned and unintentional -- those are my favorite. I was in the Beehive waiting to pay when this absolutely electric skein of fuschia Kenzington practically jumped into my arms.

The cowl has a clever construction that transforms it from a short scarf to a kerchief style cowl. It only uses one skein of yarn, making the finished piece very light with very little bulk around the back neck. I adore fringe and love the way it finishes this piece however, the cowl is equally as attractive without if that's not your thing!

This cowl is definitely an all-weather piece. It's effortless to wear and pairs equally well with a denim button-up or a summer tank.


Arika Cowl by Jane Richmond

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One week only get the Arika Cowl 20% off!!!

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Simply enter code ARIKA at check out when you purchase the pattern from my website or Ravelry


ADD TO CART -


Happy Knitting!
 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

In the Garden /// The Perfect Hydrangea and Other Lovely Things

{ Mophead hydrangea }

{ Annabelle hydrangea }

The Perfect Hydrangea
Having to forgo veggies in my own little back yard due to lack of sun has allowed me to focus on flowers and pretty plants for the first time in my gardening life. I have this list of all of the flowers that would live in my dream garden. My plant budget is slim and I've been really lucky to receive much of my wish list on occasions like Mothers Day and birthdays. The hardest one to acquire has been the perfect hydrangea. When we moved in Chris scored us a cast-off hydrangea from one of his landscaping clients, it looked pretty sad but I nursed it back to health and it came back strong last spring. The trouble was that once it got it's leaves and flowers I quickly realized it wasn't the variety growing in my imaginary garden in my head. This one has thin leaves, is sort of leggy, and produces tiny white flowers. After some Googling my guess is it's an Annabelle hydrangea. Costco just recently opened their garden center and have been carrying the most incredible Mophead hydrangeas and my dear sweet Mother decided to gift me one. Isn't it beautiful! (first photo in post)

 { Sweet Woodruff and pink petaled Strawberry plants }

 { one of the succulent planters }

{ something about these reminds me of the intro to Game of Thrones -- the Weirwood tree possibly? }


{ bleeding heart }

{ I'm not sure the name of this guy, I'm pretty sure he's part of the succulent family }

 { Saxifraga : Triumph }

 { I've started some Sweeties on the window ledge -- better late than never! }

 { Cape Gooseberry -- started from seed }


{ A poppy in the perennial arugula bed -- what a difference a day makes... }



The neighborhood kids and I have also been cleaning up the communal plots and little hands have been scattering seeds that are now finally growing! Once the weather warms enough the tomatoes will join them.


{ a few newbies I picked up at the Root Cellar }


What's growing in your garden right now? Are you starting seeds on your window ledges? Or maybe you have a greenhouse?

Monday, March 30, 2015

On My Needles /// Why Sweaters Will Never Be Socks


 sock knitting. 
I talk about my love for sock knitting often. My very first blog post was an ode to socks and all of the reasons why they make the perfect project. I always have a pair on the needles, hibernating, ready for those times I need a back up project. Socks are my in-between-projects project. But recently, I found myself doing more mindless knitting than normal, simply due to circumstance, and my socks started to feel well, really boring. I mentioned in my post a few weeks ago that I wanted to break away from my norm and cast-on something other than socks as my in-between.

I also  sweater knitting.
I decided to cast-on Palladio in straight stockinette with my super yummy YOTH yarn (it has been staring me in the face for a year now, from my exclusive "shelf for pretty things"). Knowing I wouldn't have enough to complete the project, I decided to stripe it with a skein of Madtosh leftover from the book sample. I planned to make a bunch of modifications and in the end thought it best to re-write the pattern. Aside from a minor restart because of a silly mistake, I've been flying through this knit. In fact, I can't put it down. I work on it every opportunity I get during my spare time. And at the end of every night I try it on. I'm so happy with the way it's knitting up and I'm loving the fit and all the mods SO much.

Why sweaters will never be socks... 
There's just one small problem. This sweater, well it was supposed to be my in-between project. It was supposed to span months and months and sit quietly in a project bag while I worked on other things. It was meant to be my back up plan for those times when mindless knitting was absolutely necessary. But instead I'm flying through it and I can't stop! I've learned something though; I may love sock knitting but I love sweater knitting way more. I get really inspired working on sweaters and that excitement is why sweaters will never be able to stand in for socks when I'm in need of just anything to work on. 


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Don't forget to buy one and get one free!!!
The BOGO pattern sale ends tomorrow 03/31 at midnight PST!!! 

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

SALE --- BOGO pattern sale!




I get really excited this time of year. Spring is in the air and it just does something to me! I want to spread the excitement, and what better way than with a sale!


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B O G O
pattern sale

From now until March 31st buy one pattern and get another for FREE!!!  

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Simply use the code BOGO at checkout when you purchase any pattern from my Ravelry Store or website.

Happy Spring!!!

Monday, March 16, 2015

In the Garden /// Planned and Unplanned



{ poppy seeds I scattered absentmindedly at the end of last year are beginning to bloom for the first time }

When we moved into our new place our teeny tiny yard was just grass. I dug a narrow bed half the length of our fence and slowly filled it with the plants we'd brought with us plus random new ones I'd pick up here and there. My impulse buys quickly filled the empty spaces and I started adding length each time I'd bring a new plant home, until soon, the bed spanned the length of our fence and there was no where else to go.


{ Mr. fig is just starting to show leaves -- I may keep him in his pot so I can maximize his sun exposure by moving him around }

It's really not like me to go without a plan. If anything, I over plan! But I'm happy with the way our little garden has come together. It's not perfect. And it's no where near complete. But there is no pressure and it's allowed me to enjoy it more. There are definitely things I'd like to change, plants I'd like to move, and things I've changed my mind about.


For example, I've realized I enjoy daffodils in open fields of grass, and cut in a vase on my desk, but not really growing in my little garden.   ...Elsie disagrees.




This is a Pink Lemonade Blueberry plant. I picked one up at the Root Cellar for a friends birthday and Elsie insisted we have one of our own. The berries are said to be sweeter and less tart than the blue variety. This variety doesn't require a partner to be productive which is ideal in our limited space. I love the pink-tipped buds.



{ primula -- one of last years impulse buys! }



{ the oregano has come back soft and bushy -- I love running my fingers over it }


I've also just planted the first seeds of the season in preparation for this years vegetable garden in the communal plots. If you're not sure when to do what, the planting charts from West Coast Seeds are invaluable, I use them every year. 


{ I've started these seeds indoors on a small window ledge }



{ These seeds will be planted directly outdoors, I've organized them by month }

Are you making plans yet for this years garden? I'd love to hear what you plan on growing!

...oh and don't forget we're giving away a deluxe set of Knitter's Pride interchangeable needles! Get your entry in before tomorrow!!!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Review and Giveaway /// Knitter's Pride Nova Platina Interchageable Deluxe Set



When I was 5, I learned to knit on straight needles. As a teenager I learned to follow patterns and began collecting circular and straight needles every time I'd begin a new project. In adulthood I joined my first knitting group, there I was first introduced to interchangeable needles. That Christmas I had one wish, it was to have a set of my own.

That year I got my wish (thanks Mom!) and I've never looked back. All of my straights and fixed circular needles have been collecting dust since then. I can't bear to part with them, they represent an evolution of sorts, but rarely do I use them. Did I say rarely? I mean never.

If I could give just one piece of advice to new knitters it would be to purchase an interchangeable set before investing their money in endless fixed circular needles and straights of various lengths and sizes for each project.

Recently I had the opportunity to try the Knitter's Pride Nova Platina Interchangeable Deluxe Set. I was so excited for them to arrive. I already have in my stash the 16 inch interchangeable set (primarily for hat knitting--best investment ever!) so I already knew I'd be impressed with the quality. What I hadn't expected were the little extras that make this kit even more useful. But first let me tell you why I love this set so much.


Size Stamps
Not all interchangeable tips have their sizes marked on them. This may not seam like a big deal but I can tell you from experience it is SO handy and a real time saver! I can't tell you how many times I've accidentally used the wrong needle because it didn't have a size stamped on it.




Tips
Hands down one of my favorite things about these needles is the slick finish and the pointy tip. I don't knit elaborate lace so I really appreciate a super smooth finish with zero drag, it boosts my speed immensely. I like a pointy tip because knitting in general is made easier but also knitting two or three stitches together or performing elaborate pattern stitches is much easier to do with a fine point. Even the larger sizes have a nice narrow tip!




Size Range
With sizes 3.5mm/US4 to 8mm/US11 what more do you need! This set covers all of the most common sizes a knitter would need. And if you find yourself in need of additional sizes, needle tips are also available individually from sizes 3mm/US2.5 to a whopping 12mm/US17!!




Size Markers
I think Size Marker ID tags might be one of the most underrated accessory for interchangeable sets. I myself have 3 full sets of tags now and I use them constantly! What are they for, you ask? Well, have you ever wanted to cast on a new project only to find that the size needle you require is already being used for another project? Slide one of these little tags on the end of your cord and twist on an end cap to reclaim those needle tips! Honestly, before discovering these handy little things, I can't even count the number of projects in hibernation that I ignored or messed up because I had no idea what needle size I'd been working on. I think it's pure genius including these handy tags in the set because although they are available separately, I think they are an item that many knitters aren't aware of and don't know they need.




Cords
The cord lengths included in this set are ideal. Sizes 24", 32" and 40" allow you to work most circumferences in the round as well as the option of magic loop with the longer cord! I also love that they are black  




Included
+ 9 knitting needle tips (3.5, 3.75, 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6, 6.5, 8mm/US4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10.5, 11)
+ 4 cords (1 x 24", 2 x 32", 1 x 40")
+ 1 set of size markers
+ 8 end caps
+ 4 cord keys
+ 1 cord case
+ 1 zippered case for tips, cords, and accessories


ENTER TO WIN!!!
I knew I couldn't review this awesome set without having one to giveaway (thank you Knitter's Pride!!!). I know you'll love them just as much as I do!!! 

To qualify to win simply share some knitting wisdom: your best piece of knitting advice, something you've learned the hard way and would have done differently, or a tool you can't live without!

Enter in the comments below, please leave a contact (email, rav ID, or other), giveaway closes next Tuesday at noon!

--- THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED --- 

Congratulations to Beth S. who's sage advice was this:

My best advice is very basic.... read the pattern in full before you start. Second piece of advice is to make a copy of the pattern so you can write all over it, increased rows or where you had some troubles or just to keep track of row count.

Thank you to all who entered and left their words of wisdom, I truly enjoyed reading them. 


Thursday, March 5, 2015

On My Needles /// Monogamy, After-Thought Heels, and Secret Knitting



It's been forever and a day since I posted about what's on my needles so I thought I'd share my current projects!

Monogamy with the Exception of Socks
I am generally a monogamous knitter. I like to begin and end a project without much interruption, it helps me maintain focus and motivation. The exception of course is socks. I always have at least one pair on the needles to fill the gap when I complete a project, to take along with me when my main project isn't portable, and as backup when knitting is acceptable but an antisocial project isn't (aka mindless knitting). I've knit 4 pairs of Climb's since designing the pattern for JOURNEY because honestly, one can never have too many pairs of hiking socks. And since Elsie and I like to hustle up the mountain (and run back down), I'm pretty hard on my hand knit socks. I've felted one pair from the friction and heat of our high impact hikes. Whoops! Hence the need for backup :)


Afterthought Heels
My friend Cate introduced me to the Afterthought Heel and I'm in love with it! After all, what's easier than knitting a tube sock? What appeals to me even more than flying through the knitting without interruption, is the ability to one day replace the heel altogether when I eventually wear it out. I'm hard on my socks and the heels are always the first to go so I'm pretty jazzed about the possibility of breathing new life into a pair of well loved, hand knit socks.


I finished this pair during our trip to Stitches West, I just need to weave in the ends.

An Exception to the Exception
About a week ago I decided that I wanted my mindless knitting to be something other than socks. I still wanted to be knitting endless stockinette in the round, just not on size 2.75 mm needles with fingering weight yarn, and well, just not socks! I've had this incredible YOTH yarn on my bookshelf since our trip to Tolt last March. The only reason it's taken me this long to cast on with it is because of the quantity--4 skeins of DK is just one shy of a sweater. I love the casual fit of the Palladio pullover and thought it might be fun to omit the lace, and make it all-over stockinette instead. I had a leftover skein of the Madtosh DK from the book sample and it occured to me that adding stripes might afford me the extra yardage necessary to complete the sweater. I've cast on and I'm really happy with it so far!



And of course it would be uncharacteristic of me if I didn't have something secret on the needles...


What's on your needles? I'd love to know!