Black Magic

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In all of my yarn-craziness, I have recently become obsessed with fibers from The Plucky Knitter.  I mentioned the yarn in a previous post when I discovered this sensational stuff at Stitches Midwest (see the post HERE).  I purchased 4 hanks of the yarn with the plans to knit a cowl pattern that I had admired at the Plucky Knitter booth. 

Since my trip to Stitches, I had been waiting until I finished a few of my lingering projects before starting my cowl.  Meanwhile, I had occasion to search around online to see if I could purchase more of this lovely yarn, only to discover that it is a bit hard to come by.

Enter:  The Plucky Knitter Destash forum on Ravelry.  This forum is seemingly one of the only ways to get some of this in demand, hand-dyed yarn when you need it.  Members of the forum are crazy for the stuff, and buying and trading goes on among participants continuously. 

I’m ashamed to say that since finding the forum, I have purchased 4 more skeins of Plucky Knitter Primo (which is a merino and cashmere blend) in fingering weight, and I love every last hank.

The Plucky Knitter is a small yarn production business run by two sisters and their family.  The yarn bases are soft and smooth with a deep matte-type finish.  They are hand dyed in batches using what I can only suspect is black magic.  The colors are SO amazing.  I mean:  SO amazing.  There is no other explanation.

Here are some photos I took while winding my yarn.  Drool along with me:

I did finally start that cowl:  a pattern called Rayures (see it HERE) in my Plucky Primo yarn. 

Once I get a bit farther along with it, I’ll post some photos and we can all drool some more.

~Happy drooling!

Progress Update on Camp Loopy Project 3

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Even though I haven’t mentioned it much recently, I have been making progress on my Camp Loopy Project 3, which is the final project for this summer’s camp.

I decided to use my camp yarn, which is Mad-Tosh Sport, to knit Cladonia, a shawl pattern that I have been admiring for some time now.  I have never knit a shawl before, but this one is knitting up rather quickly, and I am really enjoying the pattern (enough that I have already planned my second Cladonia Shawl with some yarn I have in my stash)

I intend to write a post at some point about all of the things that I learned this summer by participating in Camp Loopy.  The fact that I apparently enjoy knitting shawls will be on that list!

It’s a little tough to show my progress in photos while the shawl is still on circular needles because I can’t stretch out the lace, but I will of course post finished photos once it is blocked.

I am extremely happy with the way my color choices are working out, and I like the weight of the yarn (it’s more like a plump fingering weight than a true sport weight…).  I can see myself using this shawl this winter.

I only have around 20 rows to finish, and I thought I might even finish it this weekend….but it seems I am running out of yarn.  Darn it!  Luckily, the Loopy Ewe still has it in the color that I need, and I had a $25 account credit that I earned knitting for Camp Loopy this summer, so I just put my order in.  I will likely finish the shawl next weekend.

~Happy knitting!

Lake County Fair 2012: Part 2

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More photos and goodness from the Lake County Fair!  This is my fair post that isn’t about me.  (What?)

None of the art in this post was made by me.  It was all made and exhibited by other awesome artists and crafters at the Lake County Fair this year.  How sweet is the afghan at the top of the page?  It was one of my favorites, but I have to say that I just fell madly in love with this: 

Do you not love the chickens?!  They are so cute!  This was submitted in a cross stitch or needle point category, and I just love it for its simplicity and its content (adorable chickens).  It is earthy, chicken-y, wonderfulness, if you ask me.

Here are the best pot holders in the crochet division:

Lots of pretty colors and smart ideas.  My friend Cris crocheted the second place entry, shown above with the red ribbon attached.

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There were many baby entries:  blankets and layettes.

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The afghans spanned entire walls of the building.  Here are a few of my favorites.  I’m a total sucker for granny squares.  They are just so pretty!  I wish I had photographed more, but I was feeling overwhelmed.

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Here are more winners in the socks category as well as many entries in the hats and scarves categories.

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I thought this was a cheery display.  Shown here are slippers and socks.  The pretty pink socks on the lower left were knit by my friend Jaime who owns our local yarn shop.

When I was a little girl, I had a pair of slippers nearly identical to the blue and white ones in the photo aboveThey were given to me by the mother of my mother’s best friend, and I had them for many years.  Seeing those slippers brought back memories.

My friend Cris won first place in crocheted bags, and in her whole division for this awesome laptop bag.

The fair will be going on from August 3rd to August 12th.  Go check it out!

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~Happy knitting!

Will Knit for Food

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I have been on a bit of a spending spree lately. 

I seem to have meandered into no less than 3 LYSs in the last few weeks.  There was Sheep’s Clothing for some vacation yarn shopping on my week off.  Then there was Yarns To Dye For that hosted the Knit In Public knit-out.  Then I finally made a trip out to Spinnin’ Yarns, a new yarn shop start-up located right in my very own neighborhood. 

When I went over to Spinnin’ Yarns, I was looking to get a specific type of yarn to start a small sweater to work on until Camp Loopy project two can be started.  The shop, being a start-up, did not have the type of yarn that I was looking for, but after perusing the shelves and finding a new brand of sock yarn that I have never seen/tried before (I brought home 4 hanks) and nearly buying out the clearance wall (I must start planning for Christmas gift knitting), I had dropped one serious chunk of change (yet again).

Add to that my Camp Loopy project two purchase, which was followed last night by yet another Loopy Ewe  surprise shopping spree (yes, I surprised myself) after Sherri posted THIS.  I’m realizing that my spending has gone a bit out of control.

They say acceptance is the first step…

Amid all of this, I also splurged on some new project bags that I REALLY wanted.  When I was at Knit In Public Day, I noticed that one of the knitters had the absolute best project bags.  When I asked her about them, she told me they were Piddleloop bags which are handmade by sisters in Indiana.  She mentioned that they are a bit pricey, but that she stocks up on the bags when she sees them at knitting conventions.

I have seen some bags from Piddleloop on the WendyKnits blog, and I recall that Wendy likes the bags as well.

I checked online, and sure enough, I found some bags for sale.  I purchased two, and I have to say that I just LOVE them.  The quality of the bags is spectacular.

There is this compact project bag which has been perfect for smaller projects:

 

 

Then I got this larger project bag with Mr. Sheep on it: 

 

It is working out well for holding both yarn balls for the most current project on my needles.

The owl bag is my favorite due to its shape and size, so I keep entertaining thoughts of ordering another.

…I think my credit card may need to go stay with friends for a while…

FO: Primavera Socks for Camp Loopy 2012

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Hooray for the weekend!  I finally had time to photograph the Primavera socks now that they are blocked and lookin’ all purty.

(You can click on the photos to enlarge them and see closer detail)

As mentioned in prior posts, these were knit for Camp Loopy 2012 (project one) in Cascade Quatro sock yarn in the colorway Antiqua.  I used size 1.5 double pointed needles, and even though I struggle a bit with this pattern in general, they went pretty fast.

I am happy with the final outcome, and I have submitted my photo to the Camp Loopy 2012 Project One photo gallery (click HERE to go to the gallery) to show my completed work, and to be eligible for the camp contests.  Once all of the projects are posted, we will all vote for our favorites.

~Happy knitting!

Camp Loopy 2012 – Project II

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This week, Sheri finally put us Loopy Groupies out of our misery and announced the details for project #2.

I already ordered my yarn:

 

 I purchased a big ol’ pile of Cascade Ultra Pima cotton in the color Wine.  It’s actually 1320 yards of soft cotton.  I’m loving it!

Challenge #2 is to knit a project that contains at least one color from my own country’s flag.  The project must be 800 yards minimum.  Since I am born and raised American, I had my choice of red, white or blue.  Knitting with this red color in the month of July will feel so patriotic.

Since I’m not a big shawl knitter (yet!), that yardage, to me, said sweater.  This is convenient since I have had my eye on a host of sweaters for the last little while.

There is this one:  Gemini sweater

I love this one:  Mud season

And I have been totally planning to try my hand at this with some KnitPicks CotLin:  Garden Cardigan

After some mulling, I decided on knitting the Garden Cardigan in some DK weight cotton that The Loopy Ewe carries (so that I could keep within the rules of the camp).  Hence, the Cascade Ultra Pima.

I am SO excited to knit this sweater.  I have seen some really nice outcomes posted by knitters who have knitted it for themselves.  I already purchased my pattern. 

Camp rules state that we can’t begin to knit project two until June 27th.  How am I going to wait that long?!!??

I’m done with project one, and I’ll be posting photos soon.

I feel some gauge swatching coming on…

~Happy camping! 

 

Locomotive

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After work, I stopped in at Yarns to Dye For in Frankfort to pick up my raffle prize.  I was notified by phone last Sunday that I had won a raffle that was held at the World Wide Knit In Public Day gathering. 

I won this Classic Elite pattern book (called Locomotive) and two balls of lovely, linen blend yarn:

I was so excited to win this prize.  I had my eye on it and was hoping I would win it.

The yarn that came with the pattern book is enough to make the scarf pattern from the book, but this little sweater is what really caught my eye:

Isn’t it cute?  Yet another on my list of things I’d like to make.

Speaking of making things, my Primavera socks for Camp Loopy project one are hot off the needles:

They are soaking in some wool wash so that I can block them over night.

Photos to follow!

~Happy knitting~

World Wide Knit In Public Day 2012

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Hey, why are all of those people knitting in the park??

 

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I spent today knitting in the park for World Wide Knit In Public Day.  Yarns To Dye For and More, a LYS in Frankfort, IL organized the gathering. 

 

Here is the shop in adorable downtown Frankfort. 

  Lots of knitters turned out to enjoy the day and participate. 

  

I had to show you this:  GIANT knitting needles!   

  

 The lady in the photo above was knitting an American flag from double stranded, bulky weight yarn with her GIANT needlesShe actually has a small business going, selling her special, one of a kind (incredibly large) knitting needles.  Visit her website and learn more about GIANT knitting by clicking HERE. 

Our knitting group even had a little mascot with us under the tent for most of the day.  Gizmo the dog was kind enough to make herself available for treats and belly rubs. 

 

I finished the leg of my second Camp Loopy sock, so now I can begin the heel.  I didn’t have the most productive knitting day with all of the distractions, but I did have so much fun!  Many knitters were working on sweaters, socks, shawls, and blankets.  It was fun to see what everyone was up to, and to admire their yarn and pattern choices.   

The shop had some sales, and I did pick up some yarn and a few other things that I will share in future posts.  As it turns out, I won a Classic Elite pattern book and yarn in the raffle, so I will be picking that up some time next week!  Yay!  I also brought some biscuits home from the barkery located next door to the knitting shop for my two, spoiled, canine kids. 

Now I can add ‘park’ to my list of public locations where I have knitted! 

~Happy knitting (day)!

A Preview of the First Summer Challenge

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My Camp Loopy 2012 first summer challenge project is half way done. 

Here is sock #1 of the pair of Primavera socks that I am knitting from Cascade Heritage Quatro sock yarn.

Not the greatest photos, but I did my best.  In person, the actual sock looks terrific, and I am glad that I chose this pattern and yarn for the project.  For the first half of the sock pattern, I was certain I had made a bad choice, and that all of my hard work would be a waste.  I do wish I had made the cuff even longer than I have, though.  It seemed overly long until I actually put the sock on. 

I am dying to know what the second summer challenge will be.  I wonder how much notice we will get to prepare?  I have had a hankering to knit another Rain on the Prairie Scarf.  It would be great if that could somehow work out for the second challenge.

I will definitely get some quality photos once the second sock is complete.

~Happy knitting.

Carpe lanam!

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I have to say, I have been really lucky to have this week off from work.  The weather has been completely summer-like.  I feel like I’m already on summer break.  I managed to get a bit of sun in the last few days.  Monday evening, I sat out under my giant tree on the deck and just knitted away on my Camp Loopy project.  The dogs thought it was great.  It was hot but there was a nice wind blowing.

Yesterday, I took a trip out to Valparaiso to wander around the downtown and visit one of my favorite LYSs called Sheep’s Clothing.  I still had a gift certificate that I received last Christmas that was burning a hole in my pocket.  I found some much needed Crystal Palace Panda Cotton, which is my favorite yarn for knitting good, wearable socks.  It is so soft, and the cotton breathes, and much to my surprise, it wears and washes well.

 

I also got a few hanks of Cascade 220 with the idea of starting some Christmas gifts early.  My plan in purchasing the yarn was to make another Leaf Scarf.  After I got home, I just couldn’t wait to see how it would work up, so I started on the scarf.

I LOVE the color of this yarn.  I know it photographed purple, but it’s not.  It is a heathered gray and it has flecks of pink and turquoise stranded through the main yarn color.  I’m beginning to think I may not be willing to give this scarf away as a gift after all!

The yarn sleeve only lists a number to designate the color: 7806 .  I plan to do some searching around Online to see if I can ID a colorway name as well.  If Cascade makes this in one of their fingering weight sock yarns, I would love to have it for a pair of socks.

I am off in search of coffee.  Knit on.

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