Friday, September 30, 2011

Barns, Yarns, and a Pair o' Mitts

Click on any photo to make larger.  

If it's the first weekend in October, it's Hidden Studios Tour.  It's an annual self-guided visit to eight studios,  each showcasing three artists.  The leaves are at their colorful peak,  there's coffee and cookies and time to talk with the artists.  We look forward to it every year.

So, this morning,  we hopped in the Jeep and bumped over the country roads, past red barns and fall foliage to our first stop this year:  Peaceable Acres Farm .  This is a fiber arts studio and producer of really beautiful, quality yarn.  I mean, when you park next to pasture with grazing sheep and alpacas, you know there's farm-fresh fiber ahead.

And there was and in lots of colors and bases.  I chose superfine Alpaca handspun in natural white and brown-with-gray.  Ohhhh, is it softer than soft!   There's enough to make a Lillia Hyrna Shawl or an Icelandic Modern Lace Shawl

Wanted for Attempted Yarn Harassment 
The weather was changeable, going from sunny to rainy to sunny to rainy again.  I was glad I had thought to tuck these into my coat pocket .


They're the pattern that comes with the Dream in Color 2011-2010 Dream Club yarn for September.  You don't sign up for a year or six months or even three months.  You don't commit in advance at all, unlike most yarn clubs.  Here are the details from a seller I have not yet used.  I bought mine at a bricks-and-mortar store.

To finish the week, how about a photo of Jack the beagle crunching around in the autumn leaves?

Sniff  sniff   sniff   sniff   snifff

Monday, September 26, 2011

By Request

So, we’re at Lakeside Fibers in Madison and Thomasina sees an Inspira Cowl in Koigu KPPM. “Can you make me one?” she asks.
It really was a beautiful object.  Of course, I was excited to get my hands on enough Koigu to make the cowl.  Instead, Thomasina chose Malabrigo Silky Merino in the Teal Feather colorway and Pagewood Farm Alyeska in Misty.
Hmmmm, I thought. About that lighter Alyeska colorway, should there maybe be more color action?  No, Thomasina assured me.  Those were the two yarns she wanted for her cowl.
I love the way it turned out. Very clean and nordic to my eyes.
There was even enough of the teal Malabrigo for a little something extra.  See it poking out of the coat pocket?
It's a slouchy Scallop Lace Hat.  Talk about a lightning-fast knit!  I started and finished it during a Friday-evening mini-marathon of American Restoration.  Great show for those of us who enjoy working with our hands.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Recent Acquisition Highlight

View yarn that has recently been added to The Beagle's Knitting Blog collection.

Dream in Color

September 2011
70% Superwash Merino, 20% Cashmere, 10% Nylon
210 yards
Sow's Ear, Verona, Wisconsin

Monday, September 19, 2011

On the Needles: Inspira Cowl

Nala pretending to ignore: a) yarn and b) dangling stitch marker in the shape of a sheep

Perfect travel knitting would be ...
  • portable 
  • simple enough to put down and pick-up at a moment's notice
  • interesting enough to not be boring.

My current nominee is Celery Stalked's Inspira Cowl.  I took it to Iowa and back to attend Tom's 50th high school reunion weekend.  It traveled beautifully.

Inspira cowl is a big circle of ribbing in two yarns.  In the case of mine, it's one solid yarn and one lightly variegated, one DK-weight and one fingering.  It hits every one of the three musts of travel knitting:  it's portable, simple, and interesting.

Bonus:  no two Inspira Cowls look the same.  This is the one I'm making now up close ...

The yarns are Mmmmmmalabrigo Silky Merino in  the Teal Feather colorway and Pagewood Farm Aleyska in Misty.  Imagine the potential of Kauni or Noro Kureyon.  The version at Lakeside Fibers in Madison is  in Koigu KPPM, if I remember right.  It's fabulous, as all things Koigu tend to be.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fall Color

Look what the mailman brought this morning!

It's from the Loopy Ewe.  Everyone who completed all three Camp Loopy projects on time receives a free pattern and  skein of ... ready? ...

This is my skein.  Yes, that's the rare, elusive, and highly-coveted Wollmeise  The colorway is subtly variegated cobalt blue. You can supersize any of the photos by clicking on them. I don't know if the Wollmeise will become a pair of Argylers, the pattern that arrived with this yarn.  I expect to have a lovely time deciding.

After all, how many pairs of mittens can one person really use?  I am in the middle of Hilja's Mittens from Folk Knitting in Estonia by Nancy Bush.  

Good job on that thumb, eh?  
The yarn is Vuorelma Satakieli frogged from a Latvian mitten project I decided I didn't like enough relative to the amount of work going into it.  I'm finding this project a lot more fun.

Friday, September 09, 2011

"Sandals-and-Socks Guy, We're A Lot Like You: A Little Different"

A sandals-and-socks guy lives in my house.  It doesn't matter how many times I whine, "It's a European mathematician look!".  He just likes wearing socks with sandals.

So, I made him these in a comfy bamboo yarn that long ago lost its label.  Right after this photo, he put on his Ecco sandals and left the combo on all evening.

Retro Rib Socks  in some kind of bamboo yarn

He was comfy.  He was happy.  And I was doing my best not to think of the European mathematicians I worked for 30 years ago.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Camp Loopy

I used to believe that
Button from Gumperina Goes to Local Yarn Shops and Home Depot

I had never made a sweater that: a) fit and b) looked as good as the time and money I invested in making it.  Then I made

Indigo by Tonia Barry in Cascade 220, Colorway:  Beagle Brown  (okay, Pumpkin Spice)
It's my third and final project for this summer's Camp Loopy.  What's Camp Loopy?  It was a three-project challenge from the The Loopy Ewe, everyone's favorite online yarn store.  The month of June's challenge  was a two-color shawl, scarf, or poncho.
Furrows Shawl in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock
July's Challenge 2  was socks or mittens with cables.  I knit 
Cozy Cable Socks in Cascade Yarns Heritage Sock
August's Challenge 3 was any kind of project using 800 or more yards. I decided to push myself and make a cardigan requiring a little less than twice the minimum.   

Front edge detail.  The i-cord bind-off was new to me on this project.

As you can guess, the Viking-inspired cables were incredibly fun.  They wind around the front edge and up the forearm of the sleeves.

The whole Camp Loopy experience was incredibly fun.  It was fun to see the way hundreds of other "campers" handled the three challenges.  It was fun to get help from Tom with color choices.  It was fun to get help from one of my fashion consultants, a.k.a. our daughter Thomasina, on the choice of cardigan pattern.

See you next summer, Camp Loopy!