Twenty-One

January 12, 2015

At midnight, we hit a milestone. My nutty, sweet, funny, smart, beautiful, loving, delightful, kind, sassy, nerdy, talented, creative daughters turned twenty-one. I could not be more proud to be their mom. 

Twenty-One

Long time readers have watched them grow up -- they were 12 when Through the Loops began. They have been an indispensable part of this blog ever since, modeling, and allowing me to share their lives for the past 9 years.

They've modeled finished objects in the cold, heat, and rain.

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Only grumbled slightly when I posted a photo of an eye roll or pout.

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Twisted themselves into crazy knots to get just the right photo of a trio of socks.

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Allowed me to show off their own creative efforts.

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They've danced when I've said "dance".

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And  jumped when I've said "jump".

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Happy birthday to the two most amazing young women I know. 

Pompoms

January 11, 2015

Yesterday was one of those frigid winter days where the only thing to do is stay in and craft, so I set about embellishing a few hats in need of a pom. 

The truth is, I am a fool for a pompom. My girls have threatened to hide my jumbo pompom maker. They justifiably complain that the jumbos weigh down their hats making them fall off too easily. Luckily they don't object to a smaller, more polite pompom once in awhile. 

Pompoming

 

Which side of the pompom fence do you fall on, yea or nay? 

Mystery Sock Swag

January 10, 2015

I absolutely love the adorable sock wearing sheep that my daughter Isabella created for this year's Mystery Sock KAL. If your comments are any indication, apparently many of you do as well. I even had a few people ask for t-shirts or other swag. Ask, and you shall receive. I've created a Cafe Press Store with t-shirts, mugs, totes and other items. If you're going to VK Live in NYC next week, look for me carrying my tote.

Mystery Sock Mug

The only problem is that I love this mug so much I may drink too much coffee, just so I have an excuse to use it.

Montrachet

January 09, 2015

Two color shawls are my weakness. I cannot think of a better way to spend a day than digging through my stash, or my LYS's shelves to find that perfect combination of colors on a beautiful fingering weight base. So when the good folks at Mrs Crosby Loves to Play offered to send me a few skeins of their luscious Satchel to create a two color shawl, I jumped at the chance. They have a unique range of colors -- both solid and variegated -- that cover the gamut from delicately kissed with hue to brazenly bright. After dreaming over the countless possible color combinations I selected a more subdued combination of African Grey, and Wild Huckleberry to create the Montrachet Shawl. These colors work well to echo, and compliment the hues in my urban landscape. If I were to go brighter I might try Flame Colored Tanager with Scarlett Ibis, or Great Tailed Grackle with Peacock. I'd love to knit a single color version in Varied Bunting. If you want to see these wonderful colors, and think about combinations for yourself head over and see them on Mrs Crosby's Website.

 

Lorna's Shawl Fin1

 

I knew I wanted to create a design that would highlight a range of combinations, and make pairing highly variegated yarns with more solid shades a breeze. I began with a body of garter stitch since the texture works so well with either variegated or solid yarns. Next I added in my second color and moved into a pretty ripple stitch -- excellent of showcasing two or more colors, before finishing the shawl off with one of my favorites for shawls -- the picot bind off.

 

Lorna's Shawl Fin2

 

Designs of this sort lend themselves to experimenting, and I encourage you do try different combinations and color placements on this shawl. Perhaps a highly variegated body and a variegated and solid border, or the entire shawl worked in a single color -- all variegated or all solid. Maybe try a striped body, and a solid color for the ripples, or use three colors, one for the body and bind off, and the other two for the ripples.

 

Lorna's Shawl Fin3

 

The possibilities really do go on and on. If you knit a Montrachet, I'd love to see what you come up with. I've created a thread in my Ravelry group for the pattern. Show off your version there.

 

Lorna's Shawl Fin4

 

 

Montrachet

Size: One size. 

Finished Measurements: 12.5” deep x 64” wide

 Yarn: Mrs. Crosby Satchel, 100% Superwash Merino, 370 yds per 100 g skein. 

MC:  African Grey: 1 skein, CC: Wild Huckleberry: 1 skein.

 Needles: US 6 (4mm) 32” circular needles  or size to obtain gauge

 Gauge:  16 sts & 36 rows = 4”/10cm in garter st blocked, always take the time to check gauge

 Other Materials: tapestry needle

Price:  $6.00 US

TTL Mystery Sock 15

January 08, 2015

It's that time again!

Mystery Sock Rectangle 2

Size: S [M, L]

 Finished Measurements: 6.25 [7, 7.75]” circumference at leg and foot. Length is customizable.

 Yarn: Fingering Weight yarn. I used: Fiber Optic Yarns, Kashmir; 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon, 420 yards per 114g skein. 1 skein should be enough for most sizes. If you have a very large foot it may be helpful to have a second skein on hand. 

I recommend a solid or semi solid yarn.

 Needles: US 1.5 (2.25mm) double pointed needles  or size to obtain gauge 

 Gauge:  32 sts & 48 rows = 4”/10cm in stockinette stitch, always take the time to check gauge

 Other Materials: tapestry needle, markers

The pattern is $4.50 until January 15th. After that it will be $6.00.

 Head over to the pattern page on Raverly for more information.

 

Craft Friday, Hope You'll Join Us!

November 26, 2014

I'll say this up front, I have always found the idea of Black Friday shopping very unappealing. Each year I make a point of staying home, eating Thanksgiving leftovers, and enjoying time with my family. Of course this means that I'm also usually knitting on Black Friday. So Beverly's Craft Friday is right up my alley. Beverly is much more eloquent than I am, so go visit her blog to learn more. She's also written several posts with ideas and inspiration.

One of my favorite last minute holiday gift knits are mittens -- I've got two pairs on my needles right now. There's still time to crank out several pairs, and most knitters already have enough yarn in their stash for a pair or two. And if you don't you can always stop by your LYS while you're running your last minute Thanksgiving errands, and buy a few skeins, because supporting small businesses is always a good thing.

To help get you get prepared for Craft Friday (and beyond), I've put all of my mitten (and mitt) patterns on sale for 50% off. Head over to Ravelry and stock up. There's no need for a coupon code. Just put the mittens in your cart, the discount will be taken at checkout. The sale lasts til Sunday 11/30, so you can celebrate Craft Friday, and Craft Saturday, and Craft Sunday.

Mitten Sale Collage

Joan Fuller: Test Knit

November 25, 2014

When a knitter passes a wall of yarn that looks something like this:

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and it's a beautiful fall day, and this knitter is surrounded by passersby in spectacular hand-knits, and this knitter has given herself permission to spend a wee bit of money on yarn because it is a special occasion, and  this knitter has a lovely chat with the shepherd/designer/dyer of this wall of yarn, it is incumbent upon our knitter take a small piece of that wall of yarn home with her.

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Of course this leads to an inevitable question, what will the knitter make with her new acquisition? It's special yarn -- every time our knitter sees it, she is reminded of a beautiful, yarn-filled day, and all of the friends, old and new, that she saw that day. So the answer to this question is that she needs to find a truly special pattern.

Now imagine our knitter is getting hungry after all of that yarn petting, and she heads off to meet up with a group of friends for lunch. Let's say one of those friends, is a crazy talented designer, who is wearing a hot of the presses new cardigan. And this talented designer mentions that she needs this new cardigan test knit. Well, our knitter now sees that the stars have aligned, and she has her pattern.

Joan Fuller. 

Our knitter is the sort who has a tendency to become obsessed with a project. She is the kind who might knit until her fingers bleed because she cannot put the object of her obsession down until it is complete. And once off the needles, our knitter might wear that new cardigan every day, because it seems to go with everything. You see, it has excellent details like a hem that dips slightly lower in the back, and gorgeous plump cables that frame the button bands, and adorn the back. Our knitter also loves how the edges of the three-quarter sleeves are shaped with short rows so that they are ever-so-slightly longer in the back. 

Our knitter loves her cardigan and would like to show it off to you. Since no one was home to snap photos of our knitter in her cardigan, she only has one badly focused selfie to show you what it looks like on her. 

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But you deserve to see more of Joan Fuller, because it's the sort of sweater you may want to knit. So our knitter asked her dress form if it wouldn't mind modeling this lovely knit. Now the dress form is a very la-de-da, fru-fru sort, so the dress form insisted on a tulle skirt. Our knitter will probably not wear this sweater with a tulle skirt. But that's dress forms for you.

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 If you love this cardigan as much as our knitter, you should go visit Ellen Mason, and get the pattern so you can make one for yourself, with some of your very-special-yarn-that-reminds-you-of-a-fabulous-day.

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Rhinebeck

November 10, 2014

Rhinebeck came, and went in such a blur for me this year, that now almost a month later, I am just getting around to posting photos. I was only able to spend Saturday at the festival, as I had to leave early on Sunday to catch a flight to England to visit my sister.

As always Rhinebeck was all about visiting with friends, squishing yummy yarns, sweater watching, and admiration for the farmers and their animals who create the yarns and fibers that keep us all in knitting and spinning bliss. Each year I plan to take lots of photos, but I get so caught up in it all that when I return home I find that I have very few photos, but lots of wonderful memories. This year was no different. And so I give you my compact Rhinebeck collage. It contains only a small glimpse of the people, animals, yarn, and general delightfullness that make this festival one of my favorite events of the year.

Rhinebeck Collage


Abingdon

November 05, 2014

Introducing Abingdon, a two-color, asymmetrical shawl with playful garter stitch stripes, and a charming lace border. 

Abingdon Collage

I had so much fun with this design that I quickly whipped up 4 of them. The three above are knit with Bare Naked Wools Breakfast Blend DK in Granite and Marble, Jill Draper Makes Stuff Mohonk in Straw into Gold and Moss, and Madelinetosh Dandelion in Astrid Grey and Fog. 

Abingdon is written for DK weight yarn (Bare Naked Breakfast Blend DK), but as the photos above show, it works just as well in fingering (Tosh Dandelion) or Sport (Jill Draper Mohonk). The DK weight version shown is the size small, for the sport and fingering weight samples I knit the large. Once you get going on the pattern you'll see that you can easily add more repeats of the lace bands to make the shawl as large as you'd like.

The fourth version of the shawl (actually, it was the first one I made, but it's the fourth that I'm showing you) I knit with two cakes of Freia Ombré Sport in Lichen. Both cakes were the same color, but I started them from different ends to take advantage of the lovely gradient shifts. Freia comes in 75 gram yarn cakes, so I was only able to work two bands of the lace before running out. But I think the shawl still works well, and is a decent size. 

Gradient Abingdon Collage

 

Think of this shawl as a canvas for playing with color. You could use two different gradients for a big bang of color. Maybe try three or four solid colors in different quantities and positions. Or, how about one gradient and one solid, or one solid and one variegated? The possibilities are limitless. Go ahead, stash dive and see what you come up with. And don't forget to send me a message and show off your creation if you do!

Abingdon 2 Collage

ABINGDON

Sizes: S [L]

Finished Measurements: Approximately 23 [27]” deep x 60 [66]” wide

Yarn: Bare Naked Wools Stone Soup DK, 80% Wool, 15% Alpaca, 5% combination of tencel, bamboo and silk, 300 yds per 115 g skein. 

MC:  Slate: 1 (2) skeins, CC: Marble 1 (1) skein.

Needles: US 9 (5.5mm) 32” circular needles  or size to obtain gauge

Gauge:  13 sts & 24 rows = 4”/10cm in garter st blocked, always take the time to check gauge

Other Materials: crochet hook US H (5mm), tapestry needle

Price: $6.00 US

Dreaming of a Chilly Saturday

October 15, 2014

I have been a little lax in the commitment I made last month to post more often. The thing is, and I know a lot of you will completely understand, I am an obsessive knitter. Once I have a project in hand, all I want to do is work on it. Stopping to write a blog post, or do laundry, or whathaveyou, is just not anywhere on my radar.

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A few weeks ago I went stash diving and decided to make myself a gigantic cozy sweater to wear to Rhinebeck. I have lots of discontinued yarn in my stash that I can't design with but that I love too much to give away, sell, or donate. One of these yarns found its way onto my needles - 7 precious skeins of Queensland Kathmandu Chunky, a scrumptious blend of merino, silk, and cashmere. I wanted to make one of those sweaters that you see all the time in romantic comedies. You know the one, it's huge and slouchy and the lead actress wears it as she drinks too much wine and laments what could have been in an impossibly beautiful downtown loft.

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Now I am no rom-com heroine, but I do love a cozy sweater. I wear them as outerwear, layering on scarves, hats and mittens until the winter winds finally force me to get out a real coat. From the moment I purchased the Kathmandu Chunky, this sweater is what it was always meant to be. So I knit like a woman possessed. And before I knew it -- it was chunky yarn after all -- I'd made myself that sweater that I'd dreamt of.  It is a wonderful thing when that image you had in your head slips off your needles so effortlessly. Trust me, this is not often the case in my knitting life.

Sofie is modeling it here, and in my size it is truly enormous on her. A quality she finds delightful. I will need to hide this one well, or it will end up on her back for most of the winter.

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Now if only it would be cool enough on Saturday to wear such a sweater.