Yarn spotlight: Lindy Chain

Aah, nothing like curling up on a cold Februrary morning with a big basket of chunky wool and a pair of needles, ready to make that oversized, insanely cozy sweater.

So, that’s why I’m currently thinking about fingering-weight linen, and light, gauzy garments.  What can I say, I’m fickle.

I want to introduce you to Lindy Chain!  (Fair warning, KnitPicks gave me a bunch of this yarn for free when I did some design work for them, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt, but I swear I’m telling the truth!)

5420254[1]Lindy Chain is an interesting yarn, perfect for summery, drape-y things like tank tops and light sweaters.  I could even see making a sun dress or skirt out of it!

This yarn isn’t just spun, like a regular yarn, it’s actually a teeny tiny thread crocheted (or possibly knit) into  a chain, like this:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis open, loose structure give the fabric you knit with Lindy Chain a beautiful, summery drape.  It’s gorgeous!

Interestingly, though, when you wash and dry this fabric, it shrinks up like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  (And I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to hand-wash a tank top.  Sorry, but I’m not made that way.)  So, be sure to wash and dry your swatches if you plan on washing and drying your finished product.

So, there it is!  Lindy Chain!  (And later this week, I’ll have a free pattern for this pretty-cool yarn!)

I’m Stricken

Stricken with that dreaded Second Sock Syndrome!

I’ve managed to avoid it for years.  All my pairs of socks have been either completed finished or completely frogged (except for those socks in Mardi Gras colors that I stopped working on because I realized I would never wear socks in Mardi Gras colors, and really, who would dye yarn in those colors.  Honestly.)

But, I can no longer say that I am unaffected by Second Sock Syndrome.  Observe:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne sock, perfectly completed (in less than a week, mind you). Bound off, ends woven in, ready for blocking.  Look at that lovely shade of hand-dyed blue.   The yarn is beautiful and squishy.   It’s delightful!  And I’ve already done the toe on the second sock.  The fiddly part is done.  Now I just need to knit.

Unfortunately, I started the second sock almost a month ago.  While it’s been sitting in my WIP pile, instead of working on the sock, I have completed:

What has to happen to make me finish these socks?  I want to wear them… I want them to be finished… I just don’t want to pick up the needles and work on them.  Ugh!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat do you do when you’ve got a wicked case of Second Sock Syndrome?

Shrinky Dinks!

Every year for Christmas, my mom and I do a craft together (don’t judge- Christmas Crafts are the best).  One year we got a bunch of teeny MochiMochi Land patterns and spent Christmas week knitting up an army of little dudes.  Another year we broke out all of Mom’s papercrafting things and made dozens of little notebooks.

This year, Mom got a big pack of Shrinky Dinks!sq-bright-bulkI love Shrinky Dinks.  They’re so easy to do, and always delightful (I use them with one of the kids’ classes I teach- they’re always a hit).

If you haven’t played with them before, Shrinky Dinks are sheets of plastic that you draw/color on/stamp/decorate, then cut out, and put in the oven.  As they bake, they get all wiggly, and when they settle down, they’ve shrunk to about half their original size.

It’s fun!  (Despite the boring way I’ve explained it.)

Anyway, this year, a pile of pristine Shrinky Dink material and a box of my mom’s fancy art pens in front of me, I tried to come up with a project that would end up being useful- after all, most things made with Shrinky Dinks are pretty silly- lots of ornaments and pendants.

Because I’m a knitter, my mind jumped to stitch markers!

I cut out a stitch marker (a circle about 2 inches in diameter, and about a quarter-inch wide, decorated it, and popped it in the toaster oven.  And would you believe, it worked!

Needless to say, I spent the rest of the afternoon manufacturing as many stitch markers as I could.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, they ended up a little large- the smallest one could probably fit on a US13, but I bet you could totally come up with the dimensions for tinier stitch markers.   I should probably go get some more Dink material, and start experimenting some more.  For science.  Yeah…

I’m definitely not just looking for an excuse to play with Shrinky Dinks.

Have you ever made your own stitch markers?  What did you use?

Apparently It’s Leftovers Month

I feel like I’ve been talking about using up leftovers a lot lately.  I suppose, I have been trying to use up my stash before I go buy more (I’m almost out of space in my yarn bins).

And this week isn’t any different.

Over the years I’ve collected a bunch of Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool in a selection of natural heathered colors from off-white to dark, chocolate brown.  I’ve used this yarn in a bunch of projects- mostly blankets, and no matter how carefully I plan, I always end up with a bunch of half-skeins leftover.  I even had several half-skeins of the same colors, but different dye lots.

I had to figure out what to make with this ragtag bunch of yarn.  Anything fancy, like a sweater, was out because of the weird amounts of each color yarn.  Anything that took a lot of planning was out, too- I wasn’t in the mood to do a lot of math on this one.

So, I arranged the yarn in a gradient from lightest to darkest, dug out my crochet hooks and just started making a granny square.

And kept on going- using up one skein after another.  (The little bits leftover are going to turn into another Mother Bear– I think I have a problem.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe blanket ended up about 4 feet by 4 feet- a nice size for a lap blanket or maybe a baby blanket (though I don’t know if I’d give a baby an itchy wool, non-washable blanket).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOllie seems to like it.  He saw me taking pictures and came over to give it the official “Dog Seal of Approval.”OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA And then he fell asleep- because he leads a very high-energy, stressful life.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat have you been doing to use up your leftover skeins of yarn?

A Passel of Pigs

Remember how I made all those teddy bears for the Mother Bear Project (which is still accepting bears).  I used a bunch of leftover KnitPicks Swish that I had laying around-little bits that weren’t enough for a sweater, a scarf or a even pair of mittens.

Well, after the bears, I still had little bits left- tiny little balls of yarn the size of a golf ball.  So, what’s a girl to do with amounts of worsted-weight yarn of 5 grams or less?

Make some Pigs.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChichester the Pig by Helen Apocalypse is one of my favorite I’m-bored-and-want-something-quick-and-easy-to-do projects.  It has virtually no finishing, and I can blast my way through one of these tiny pigs in about a half hour.    And, they’re flipping adorable.

In worsted weight on US6 needles, the pigs work up to just under 2 inches long- think just smaller than an egg.  The pigs’ little ears and tiny trotters are all worked as bobbles- so there’s no futzing with sewing on little bitty arms and legs.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd they’re a fun way to play with my collection of tiny safety eyes.  I’m a particular fan of my evil pig with the red eyes.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, if you ever find yourself with a tiny bit of leftover yarn, a handful of stuffing and a half-hour of time, think of Chichester and all his little piggy buddies.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut, now what should I do now with them, now that they have taken over my desk?

What’s Old is New Again

We’re going back. Waaay back. Way back to a month after I started the blog, and the first pattern I self-published.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s the Lace-Edged Shawl! (I was pretty literal with my pattern names back then… I’m still not great at naming things, but I like to think I’ve improved a bit.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This bad boy was my first attempt at writing out a pattern… and holy cow, did that show. So many typos! So many poorly worded sentences! So much incorrect terminology!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So, I’ve rewritten this and fixed a bunch of formatting stuff. It’s amazing how much my pattern-writing has improved over the last three years (if I say so myself)!

You can get the *New and Improved* pattern Lace Edged Shawl-Updated!

Me Socks- Finished!

There is something magical about brand-new hand knit socks. I bet any knitter (or knitter’s family member) would agree.

And you know what’s even better than brand-new socks? Brand-new socks for that you get to keep! I’ve got new socks, and I’m so excited!

As I said before, I used the fantastic “Diagonal Lace Socks” pattern, because I wanted to try my hand at making toe-up heel flap socks, and I thought the heel on these bad boys looked pretty good. I’ve avoided toe up socks for years- mostly out of habit, after all, I have a great system for making my own socks, so I don’t even need a pattern. But, I figured it was time to bite the bullet and try my hand at these socks.

And, you know what? They were easy!

I’ll admit, it was a bit weird making socks without picking up any stitches, and I had a little trouble trusting in the math on the heel cap. But, trust issues aside, this was a great pattern, and the finished socks are just delightful.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd, it doesn’t hurt that the Hawthorne yarn I got from Knitpicks is super lovely and squishy, yet I can tell it’s going to be strong enough to last me for at least a couple years. (I will be honest, though, I thought the color looked better wound into a skein- knit up, it looks a little dingy. But it’s not like I’m going to be running around making people look at my socks and judge their dinginess. Except for now. Look at my socks!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow I think it’s time to break these puppies in! I think I’ll slip them on and taking them (and the dog) on a nice long walk.

Have you made yourself anything lately?

Mystery Vacation and Vacation Knitting

Have I mentioned that I have the World’s Best Husband?  Because I do.  I really do.  (Sorry, this post isn’t going to have a lot of knitting in it… oh well!)

So, my 30th birthday was this week (yep, I’m officially a grown-up now), and instead of going out to eat or having friends over or renting out the roller rink, my husband decided to do something flipping amazing for me.  He planned a secret vacation!

All I knew going in was that we were heading out of town for about a week, and a few days before we left, he told me to pack for the beach (which was lucky, because I was 100% convinced that we were going to Portland).

I packed my bags, and made sure to bring plenty of knitting (because you never know), and we headed to the airport.

I didn’t take a picture of my face when he finally told me where we were going, but it was something like this:

7241270_f260Because we were going to Hawaii!  Kauai, specifically.  5 days of beaches, snorkeling, tropical drinks and hiking in the rain forest.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was utterly delightful.  And I didn’t even end up sunburnt! (As a super-pale Seattleite, this is a huge victory.)

And while sunbathing and swimming isn’t terribly conducive to knitting, I did get most of the way through my Diagonal Lace socks (two 6-hour-one-way flights) help with that!  I’ve just got a little bit of cuff, some finishing and a quick blocking, and they’ll be done!

Yay vacation!  Yay socks!

Presents, Presents for my Birthday!

It’s my birthday!  And someone around here needs to get a present!

Let’s do a drawing!

Last week, my mom generously offered up one of her beautiful yarn-themed 2016 calendar tea towels to a lucky winner.il_570xN.865351455_2ena[1]It’s time to find out who that winner is!  Let’s head on over to Random.org.

RandomorgAnd, 8 people commented on the post, so, let’s plug that in and, here we go:

8Commenter #1! Jean Valerga, you’re the winner!

I’ll send you an email this morning and we’ll get the shipping details all sorted out!

 

Drumroll, Please!

It’s time for a drawing!

Last week I showed you the newest collection from KnitPicks, Petite Presents, and offered up a drawing!32768

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, get ready because now it’s time to do the giveaway!

14 people responded to my post, so I headed over to Random.org.RandomorgAnd clicked on the number generator:RandomAnd Commenter Number 10!  You’re the big winner!  (That’s Chickie Brewer, if you’re wondering.)  Chickie, I’ll be emailing you with details so that I can get your copy of Petite Presents to you as soon as possible!  That way, you can start working on your Mini Kitty Poufs with your granddaughter!32768124[1]

(And don’t forget, I’m still giving away a Knitting-themed tea towel designed by my mother!  Sign up here to put your name in the drawing before Wednesday!)