An Update, Some FOs, and a New Design in the Works

April Update

Another month has passed me by…it’s hard to believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted!  Not for lack of things to say, but rather for lack of time to write it.  For the past month I’ve really tried to stay focused on teaching my boys–which is my primary job after all–and by the end of each day most, if not all, of my energy is used up and I just want to sit in front of the TV and knit.  So, sorry dear faithful readers (both of you).  Perhaps this summertime I’ll be able to make time to blog more regularly?

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Science Experiment…homeschool science in the kitchen!

I’ve posted a few of my knitting pics here and there on Facebook and/or Instagram.  So even though I’ve neglected to write blog posts, I’ve tried to keep as active on social media as I can. As I already mentioned, knitting each evening while watching television with my hubby has become my primary means of de-stressing after hounding my 14 year old and working hard with my 7 year old to get their schoolwork done each day.  With lots of good knitting time, I’ve managed to complete a few projects!  Yay!  I love FOs!

Knitting Update

Finished Objects:

#1) After 2 months of working on it off and on, I finally finished my Diving in shawl!  I just love it!  The Malabrigo yarns are so soft and warm!  And although the colorways don’t contrast a lot, they work very well together and the result is quite lovely.

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I know you wanted to see headless photos of me, right?! LOL! Taking selfies is not my forte.

#2)  Earlier this month I finished knitting scarf using the pattern “My So Called Scarf” by Allison Isaacs with that lovely Phydeaux yarn from my February Yarnbox.  Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this yarn?!?  It’s wonderful!  I decided to use just one skein for the scarf, so I sewed the seams together to make it into a mobius.  I especially loved the stitch pattern in the variegated colors of the yarn. Such a lovely combo!

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#3) After finishing the My So-Called {Mobius} Scarf, I decided to use my second skein to design a pair of matching mitts.  I adore how the yarn worked up for my new mitts too!  And although I really want to show off these finished mitts to you all, I’ve decided to wait until my pattern is ready to publish.  Which leads me into the last heading of today’s post…

New Design in the Works

I’m hoping to work out the details for a couple more hand sizes before I write up my new pattern since not everyone can wear my extra-small ladies’ mitt size!  So for now, all you get to know is that I’ve got a pair of Mystery Mitts (that match the above cowl) in the works!

Now if someone would just invent a working time turner so I can work on two things at once!!!

As always, happy knitting!

Steph

PS!  Did you know my patterns are currently on sale?! NO? Well, now you know! Get 20% off with the coupon code “Easter2014”!   (Granted, I only have 3 patterns to sell right now…but still!)  Happy shopping!

Yarnbox #3

My Final Yarnbox (for now)

Today, the third and final Yarnbox from my Christmas gift subscription arrived in the mail.  Over the past 3 months, I’ve come to realize how much I love the yarn subscription concept. If you would like to read my other reviews, you can find them here (My First Yarnbox) and here (Yarnbox #2).  Once again I will reveal what came in my Yarnbox–the patterns and their designers, the yarn, and the cost compared to value.

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March Yarnbox Patterns

This month there are once again two patterns included as part of the Yarnbox package: one knit and one crochet.  The knit pattern is a lovely hat called “Sproinger” designed by Alexandra Tinsley.  Deja Jetmir’s “The Nesting Cowl” is the crochet pattern for March.  Both designers are offering a special discount for Yarnbox subscribers on their other patterns for the month as well. I do appreciate getting patterns as well as yarn with my Yarnbox.  Having patterns for both knit and crochet is especially nice for those of us who enjoy both.

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March Yarnbox Yarn

In this Yarnbox, I was pleasantly surprised to find another new-to-me yarn brand, Siidegarte, which is made in Switzerland.  A hand-dyed blend of 50% silk and 50% merino, Siide-Flauschig is a soft 2 ply yarn with the look and feel of a light worsted to worsted weight.  According to their website, “Flauschig” means something like “fluffy, soft, cuddly” in Swiss-German. Receiving two skeins  means I have 546 yards (or 500 meters) of this cuddly yarn to play with!  This olive-green based colorway is Äichblatt. Although I couldn’t find a translation to English for äich, blatt means leaf or blade.  The greens mixed with a little brown remind me of ferns for some reason. I look forward to knitting with this lovely Swiss-made yarn soon!

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Cost Versus Value

If you’ve read my previous Yarnbox reviews, you’ll remember that I received the 3 month Yarnbox gift subscription as a Christmas present from my mom. (Thanks, Mom!)   Siide-Flausching retails for $29 per skein, making the yarn value $58.  Alexandra is selling her Sproinger pattern on Ravelry for $5.50 and Dara sells The Nesting Cowl pattern on her site for $2.99.  Not counting the discounts available to subscribers, since they might not be used, the total retail value of my March Yarnbox is $66.49.  Compared to the $37 cost (when divided out) per month that the 3 month Yarnbox subscription cost, that’s a savings of $29.49 this month.  I would say that’s a pretty sweet deal and an awesome Christmas gift too!

My Review

After 3 months of getting a box of lovely yarns in my mailbox, I want more!  I’ve been happily satisfied with each month’s yarns.  Although I wouldn’t have chosen some of the yarns myself, I’ve enjoyed the surprise each month and ultimately being able to try something different.  I’ve even learned that a silk yarn with sequins isn’t as annoying to knit with as I had imagined. Getting free patterns each month has helped me either have ideas of what I might knit with the yarn I received or I can use them later on with another yarn of my own choice.   Sadly, at this time I don’t have quite enough fun money to order a 3 or 6 month subscription (which would auto-renew every 3 or 6 months) and I’d much prefer getting that extra savings of $2-4 per month than getting the monthly subscription at $39 per month or the bi-monthly at $42 every other month.  So for now, I’m going to start saving up until I have enough to subscribe again.

Now it’s Your Turn…Tell Me What You Think

Now that you’ve read about what I received in my March Yarnbox, what do you think?

Please leave a comment below answering my questions for you:

Do you see value in a yarn subscription service like Yarnbox?

Do you think you would ever subscribe to Yarnbox or a similar yarn subscription? And why or why not?

Happy knitting!

~Stephanie

 

Hello, March!

(Will this winter ever end?)

cold winter

I think most, if not all, of us living in any of the many crazy-cold parts of the USA right now are more than ready to start “thinking Spring.” Sadly, that’s not the easiest thing to do when the outside temps are STILL below zero (and yes, I’m talking in terms of Fahrenheit in case you were wondering).

{I’ve been writing this post for a few days, and this morning it’s actually above zero for a change…just barely above, but it is!}

Autumn and Spring are such great seasons–I love both (although Summer is still my favorite). Both of the cooler (but not too cold) seasons, provide us knitters with an opportunity to make and frequently wear our hand knits.  Yes, I believe winter could be a knitter’s best friend for the same reasons, but this year it’s gone too far and lasted too long. 

I’m a sunshine-on-my-face, toes-in-the-sand (or grass if no beach is nearby) kind of gal.

And month after month of this weather–with too often the only time spent outdoors is a mad dash to my van or into a store or back into the house–means I’m in desperate need of some warmth and natural vitamin D from being out in the sunshine.

But this is March. I live in Northern Minnesota and that isn’t going to happen any day soon–at least not here.

I guess I’d better keep on knitting, huh?

On My Needles/Off My Needles

During the Olympics, I started a Diving In shawl. It’s slowly growing and taking shape, but I find myself easily bored with such a simple pattern and decided last week that I needed a mini-knitting-vacation from the monotony.

knit shawl

knit shawl

Plus, the yarns from my January Yarnbox were whispering “knit me!” to me every time I walked past the basket where I had stashed them.  So one day I just grabbed them and wound them into balls.  After winding the Pixie Dust Mini into a center-pull ball, I thought about the best way to wind the Stargazer Silk.  Since I’ve never knitted with beads or sequins of any sort, I wasn’t entirely sure what would be best, but I figured the sequins would be likely to catch and make a tangled mess if I tried to wind it into a center-pull ball, so I just wound it into a regular ball instead.

Once I had them wound, I began playing with these yarns–knitting swatches to check gauge and see the texture.  I mostly worked with the Pixie Dust Mini and found it was an interesting mix of thick and thin, a few sparkles here and there, as well wool in gray, natural, and blue. Plus, the mohair give it a little bit of “halo.”  At first, I thought it would make a great cowl, so I started playing around with that idea.  But then I tried to put it around my neck and knew I would never be able to wear it.  I’m not certain whether I have an allergy or am just sensitive to mohair, but it almost always irritates me when it’s right up next to my skin.  And necks are known to be sensitive anyways.  So I browsed Ravelry for more pattern ideas but nothing really stuck out as The Thing I Must Knit.  I started a few ideas of my own, but ripped  each back because I didn’t like how it looked.  Finally, I settled on a hat…indeed, I choose one of the patterns that came with January’s Yarnbox:  Snow Cap Hat by Cheryl Kubat.  Even though I had ideas of something else I wanted to make with the Stargazer Silk, I couldn’t find anything else that I wanted to make that only used one skein of Pixie Dust Mini. I guess I’ll have to do some swatching with my Stargazer Silk leftovers and see if I want to buy another skein for the other project I had in mind.

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The hat didn’t take long to knit–I could have probably finished in just a few hours if I hadn’t had to make the following alterations.

1.   I couldn’t find my US11 16″ circular needles.  I’m sure I have one…just no idea where it is.  So I just used my US 13 needles and didn’t switch from 11s to 13s as the pattern says to do.

2.  Because I tend to knit tightly, my gauge wasn’t quite on (2.75 stitches to the inch instead of 3).  I adjusted the number of stitches I cast on based on my gauge and was careful to be able to shape the hat the same as the original (meaning I made sure the number of stitches was divisible by 4).

3. I found my hat wasn’t quite tall enough at first, so I ripped it back to where the decreases started and added a couple more rounds before starting the decreases.  I probably could have added one or two more and still not had it be too big.

4. Adding rounds changed my decreases too.  So my first round of decreases was on the next purl round (keeping the rounds in pattern). I continued the pattern of 3 purl, 4 knit rounds as I decreased every other round.  And it all worked out in the end!

To finish it off, I want to use the few yards I have leftover of the Pixie Dust Mini and make a pom pom for the top.  I think it’s pretty cute though, and I like how the yarns worked up together.  (Although it bugs me that some of the sequins are on the inside of the hat…perfectionist in me wants them all to SHOW! Oh well…I’ve tried pulling them through along the yarn to the front side of the hat, but they don’t all want to cooperate.)

Next on my radar is the lovely yarn from my February Yarnbox.  I have no idea what I’m going to make with it…yet, but I shall have fun with it, I’m sure!  And in just a few weeks I’ll be getting my third (and final–for now) Yarnbox.  I’ll be sure to tell you about it!

Talk to me…What’cha doing?

Do you have a yarn project in progress that you want to talk about?  I love seeing what other knitters (and crocheters) are making!  So leave me a comment below and tell me about it.  If you blog, be sure you check the Comment Luv box when you comment and I’ll be sure to visit your blog too!

As always, happy knitting!

~Steph

Yarnbox #2

February’s Yarnbox

I got my second Yarnbox today!  I had actually forgotten about it, so it was a pleasant surprise when I opened the mailbox and found it inside.

Without further ado, here’s this month’s reveal:

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yarn subscription

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yarn subscription

yarn subscription

The Yarn

The yarn I received in this month’s Yarnbox is Caresse by Phydeaux designs.  It’s a lovely hand-dyed, four-ply worsted weight blend of 80% Superwash Merino Wool, 10% Cashmere, & 10% Nylon.  {Did I just say Cashmere?!?!? Woohoo! I’ve always wanted to try a Cashmere blend, but they’re usually too expensive.} The colorway in my box is called Calypso…it’s sooooo pretty! I am SUPER excited about this yarn and am going to have to find–or maybe even design–a special pattern for it!

The Patterns

This month’s free patterns are for a couple of lovely shawls…one knit and one crochet.  I’ll be taking a look at the designers’ other patterns too.  Speaking of patterns:  my only negative experience with last month’s Yarnbox is that the one coupon code I tried to use didn’t work for me. Each month, subscribers are given coupon codes for a discount off the purchase of other patterns from the chosen designers.  I looked through all the patterns for both designers and settled on one pattern I really liked.  But when I went to use my coupon (a few days before the code was supposed to expire) it said the code wasn’t valid and didn’t discount the total.  I immediately contacted Yarnbox via their Facebook page and asked about it.  They replied right away that they were trying to get a response from that designer regarding the problem. Unfortunately, last I heard, she still hasn’t responded to resolve the issue.  Let me just be very clear:  I don’t blame Yarnbox.  I believe it’s up to the designer to make sure her store is able to accept the coupon code as promised.  {And just for the record, unless I get the discount, I won’t be buying any of her patterns–even the one I really wanted.}

My Thoughts

Ultimately, despite last month’s coupon code problem, I’m still quite happy with my Yarnbox subscription (and am trying to figure out if I want to continue it after my gift runs out).  Oh and I almost forgot, this month’s yarn is valued at $33 per skein.  That’s $66 right there!  The knit pattern is priced at $5 and the crochet pattern is $6. That’s a grand total of $77!  Woot!  I am especially liking the value vs. cost of this club.

I’m done talking, now it’s your turn!

In the comments section below tell me what you think!  Do you subscribe to Yarnbox or another yarn subscription?  Has your experience been good or not?  If you haven’t tried a yarn subscription, do you think you’d want to try it sometime? I look forward to hearing what you have to say!

Happy knitting!

-Steph

P.S. In writing this post, I’m simply sharing my experience and my opinions based on that experience.  I’m not in any way affiliated with Yarnbox and am not getting compensated in any way for writing this.  {So why write a review like this you might wonder?  Because I enjoy reading what others have to say about their experiences knitting and/or yarn-related companies and hope that you’ll enjoy reading about mine.}

February Doldrums

Winter Blues

I’m in a bit of a slump. {Is it just me? or you too?} Perhaps it’s just normal for February in Minnesota and I’ve blocked the memory of winters past, but I think this long hard winter is really getting to me.  Worst of all: I’ve had a terrible time trying to figure out what to knit next! {Something only another yarn enthusiast can truly understand, right?}

With the Olympic Games on tv and the Ravellenic Games taking place on Ravelry, I was doing as much knitting as I could while watching and cheering on our athletes. I finished the Bellatrix socks, and have been working on the second mitt from this pair I was making for my fingerless mitts tutorial.  Somehow they got set aside and forgotten. *oops*

Knitting yet another pair of socks–a pair designed in entrelac which is something I have yet to try and which I thought would be a fun test of my knitting skills–was next in my queue and planned as one of my projects for the Ravellenic Games.  Alas!  After no less than a dozen attempts at casting on, I knew I needed to let it rest for a while. I just couldn’t figure out how to do the specified cast on. I even tried Judy’s Magic cast on (which I’ve used before) and was still having problems.  Finally I decided that the yarn was telling me it just didn’t want to be a pair of socks!  I will knitting that pattern again someday, but for now I need something a bit less stressful.

Ravelry pattern search

I searched Ravelry for pattern suggestions.  Having 2 colors to work with, I needed to choose whether to make 2 projects or combine them into just one.  I began to lean towards a shawl or scarf. Something with stripes perhaps.  And so, after much much much deliberation, I finally decided on this:

diving in

Pattern: Diving In (recipe) by Mam’zelle Flo

{My apologies for the not-so-great photo, but I was using my iPhone and the lighting wasn’t very good. You get the idea though.}

It’s a relatively easy knit so far. Just what I need.

I will be knitting this shawl with the 2 skeins of Malabrigo Yarn Sock that I bought at a little yarn shop in Hilo, Hawaii during our October family vacation. I’ve starting with Impressionist Sky (blues) and the second colorway I’ll be using is Solis (greens and blues). It should be lovely. The colors remind me of the Hawaiian sea and sky.  Perhaps working in these colorways will be like a mini {mental} vacation back to Hawaii while I’m knitting… If not, I’ve got a new favorite blog to follow:  The Grommom.  Monica writes about her life raising 4 boys who love surfing and skateboarding (aka groms/grommets) on the North Shore of Oahu. Hawaii is one of my favorite places on the planet, so I especially love seeing current photos from there on a regular basis just by reading her blog!

I’m hoping beyond hope that the sun will start warming things up here enough for me to get outside for some natural Vitamin D soon!

Be on the lookout for shawl updates here and on my Facebook page as I work on my new project.

As always, happy knitting!

-Steph

 

 

 

My First Yarnbox!

What is Yarnbox?

Yarnbox is a monthly yarn subscription club. You can choose bi-monthly, one month, 3 month or 6 month subscriptions with the option to cancel anytime (between payments).  You also have a choice to give a gift subscription (no auto-renewal).

{Just to be clear right from the start:  I’m simply sharing the details of what I’ve received so other yarn enthusiasts may know what getting a Yarnbox subscription is like.}

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What’s inside?

Yarn.  Yarn which, according to the label, may cause extreme happiness!

Seriously though, each month Yarnbox chooses luxury yarns to send out to subscribers. You also get free access to patterns that aren’t generally free.

My Yarnbox subscription

My mom knows I’m a yarn addict. So she likes to get me at least one yarn-related gift for Christmas each year. This year, I pointed her to a couple different yarn subscription companies as well as various yarns and other items I want/need.  Well, Mom decided her best and easiest option was to gift me a 3-month Yarnbox subscription. Today my first Yarnbox arrived in my mailbox.

Yarnbox Reveal:

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My glass drinking jar is there to show relative size. The box was much smaller than I had thought it would be!

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There are 2 designer cards with lovely photos of some of their designs.

Bonus:  Yarnbox subscribers can get a special discount off their other patterns too!

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Yarns included in my January Yarnbox: 1 skein Knit Collage Pixie Dust Mini in Iceberg Mist and 1 skein Knit Collage Stargazer Silk & Sequins in Blue Lagoon

Patterns included in my January Yarnbox (to download):  Snow Cap by Cheryl Kubat {knit} and Crocodile Stitch Hooded Cape by Lianka Azulay {crochet}

At Retail Prices that all would cost $73! So the subscription price is a pretty good value.

What do I think?

My initial thought as I looked at the yarns was that I would probably never buy them myself.  The colors are fabulous, but I’m not usually drawn to yarns with sequins or shiny material. But after a moment’s reflection, I realized that’s kind of the point of a Yarnbox subscription. To get new yarns that I might otherwise overlook and have the opportunity to work with them! Who knows? I might even fall in love with them as I knit or crochet with them.

Ultimately, I’m happy with my first Yarnbox and can’t wait to see what the next two will have!

Have you ever received or purchased a yarn subscription?

Tell me what it was and whether or not you felt it was a good value in the comments section below!

Happy knitting!

~Stephanie