Sunday, January 27

Contest update & prizes

Entries to the "What Can I Make With 1-285 Yards of Yarn" contest are trickling in slowly. I'm shocked that my email box isn't maxed out with entries since one of the most common posts online is what can I do with [blank] yards of yarn? The pattern list this contest generates is to help every knitter who has that problem. To spread the word, I've posted about the contest on Ravelry and several Yahoo groups.

If this is the first you've heard about it, read my January 22 post for details of what we are looking for and how to enter.

As of today, there are 77 patterns on the list, many of which are new to me. Keep 'em coming. Enter soon and enter often. LOL! Please tell your friends about it too. The bigger this list is, the more choices you'll have when you're the one who is looking for a pattern for a small amount of yardage.

To sweeten the pot, I'm adding some prizes as an incentive to enter. Iva is donating some stitch markers. You can see them if you click HERE. Aren't they beauties? She's so generous to do this.

Here are more potential prizes. I say potential, because there are some strings attached. The number of prizes awarded depends on how many patterns are submitted. For example, once there are 100 patterns on my list, the first of the prizes becomes active (the stitch markers). We're not far from that total now.

100 - Stitch markers (12 sets to be distributed in sets of 2 or 3??)

150 -1/2 skeins of Sandnes Soft Mohair (wool/mohair blend in lime green & purples)

200 - 2 skeins of Phoenix soy silk by South West Trading Company in Purplexed

250 - 1 skein of my 2 ply handspun coral merino (177 yards)

300 - 3 oz of peach and teal soft wool roving to spin (it may be Shetland lambswool or Cormo)

More prizes may be added if the total goes higher. If anyone would like to donate a prize, please email me.

Prizes will be awarded on a random basis after the contest ends. Winners will be notified by email. Contest ending date has not been set.

Happy hunting!

Handspun and not enough yarn!

I finished another skein of handspun recently. I wasn't sure what I was going to get from this roving. It was dyed with pastel pink, pastel green, a hint of lavender, and a pop of bright royal blue. Spun up it looks pretty good. Without the pop of royal blue it would be a very pale pastel skein. Double click on the picture for a closer look. 4.0 oz Shetland/559 yards.

I finished a batch of cat toys last week and delivered them to the Cat Care Clinic. My vet has a toy jar I try to keep filled with cat toys. All the proceeds go to Pet Refuge, my local no-kill shelter. I promised them another batch sometime this week. They're knitted but still have to be washed and stuffed. I wash all the toys I knit because they're made from scrap yarn I've gotten from donations or Ebay purchases. Michelle in Pennsylvania is a regular in sending me tiny balls and bits of worsted weight yarn leftover from her group's charity projects. I received a package from her this week along with some cute dog coats she sent for Pet Refuge. I'm going to ask her if I can donate some of the polar fleece I have for her projects.

Also on the needles is a secret project that is a gift for a friend. I can't post about who since I don't want to spoil the surprise. I had initially considered knitting a scarf with some handspun. This would have been a fast and easy project but still special since it would be made with my handspun. The problem being that I couldn't find any handspun in my stash of the correct yardage and the right colorway for this person. So as any knitter would do, I started rummaging in my stash and...wait a minute, that bright red variegated sock yarn would be perfect! (Patons Kroy socks in paintbox) Only two you think I could get a small shawl out of it? I wanted something simple as the yarn is very bright and busy. Settled on the Syrian Shawl in Victorian Lace Today. I didn't like the yarnover edge, so I'm keeping the edge stitch in garter and doing the yarnover after it. I'll add a lace border at the end. I didn't like the edging in the book so I'll look for another one to use. I cast on and knitting along admiring how well this colorway is knitting up. It hits me that if I want a reasonable size shawl with edging that I'm not going to have enough yarn. VLT says 700 yards for this shawl. At this point I have a little less than 400.

Ok, now what do I do? My heart is set on this yarn. No time to order more and still finish the shawl in less than 2 weeks. I check the website of a local craft store and they have some in stock. Drive over and check it out. Oh no, they have 2 dyelots and they are both very different from what I have. Buy 2 skeins anyway and hope I can work it in. Come home, have a brain storm and post on the Knitlist and Ravelry to see if anyone has the dyelot I need.

I checked my email today and one person replied that she doesn't have the same dyelot but would her yarn work? We exchanged pictures and it looks to be a pretty close match. Much better than the two skeins I bought. Sara is going to mail it to me tomorrow from Illinois. Bless her! I have yet to work out payment or a trade. Though she can ask for about anything but my hubby and the kitties for saving me. LOL!

Thursday, January 24

Baby gifts revealed

Somehow I neglected to activate this post. Michelle had a baby boy, Jonah Gino, on January 25th.

Now that my friend, Michelle, has received her shower-in-a-box from my fiber arts group, I can reveal my contribution. You may have seen peeks of these on my blog in December. Michelle is having a boy, can you tell? LOL! We're waiting to hear the news when he's born.

The baby sweater is the One Skein Wonder Baby Sweater from the One Skein Wonder book. I made it with Idena Dover and acrylic/wool blend bulky weight yarn. It was a quick knit. The hat is my own top-down creation in the same yarn.

The baby booties are the Organic Cotton Knit Booties from Bernat. I substituted Sugar 'n Cream which worked out very well.

The tiny striped socks are Leftovers Baby Socks. I've knit several different baby sock patterns. This is my favorite. I used scraps from wool socks I had knit for me.

Tuesday, January 22

CONTEST: What can I knit with 1-285 yards of yarn?

To celebrate 100,000 hits to my blog, I'm running a new contest. I may be courting insanity with this idea. LOL!

Everyone is always asking what can I make with __ yards of yarn? What can we make with those pesky leftovers or odd skeins that we all have in our stash? The one skein books have helped but they don't go far enough.

This contest is to track down free knitting patterns on the web that use from 1-285 yards of yarn. This is the equivalent of a 50 gram skein of laceweight (285 yards) down to superbulky weight (55 yards) plus any yardage less than that.

Rules: Entries must be:
  1. knitting patterns
  2. free on the web
  3. in English
  4. with photos
  5. that use 1-285 yards of yarn.
  • the name of the pattern,
  • yardage used,
  • and a valid URL.
Here's an example:

Kids Crown
15 yards

This contest is not about finding 500 patterns for dishcloths. Choose your favorite few or submit the URL for a site with 100 dishcloth patterns. I'm looking to put together a list for a wide range of items from all over the web. Get the picture?

If there are enough entries I'll break the list down by yarn weight--lace, dk, sport, fingering, worsted, bulky, and super bulky---then by yardage for each category.

Email your entries to junkyarn AT yahoo DOT com and put "What Can I Make With?" in the subject line. Enter as many times as you like. (Please don't post your entry as a comment to my blog.)

The contest ended on February 21, 2008. The real prize for everyone will be the final list put together from the entries.

Pass the word as the more entries I get, the better list you'll have to choose from.

Happy hunting!

Saturday, January 12

Promenade Stole Pattern

Announcing the debut of my Promenade Lace Stole. This elegant lace design is rated Intermediate due to some patterning on wrong side rows and the addition of a lace edging at the beginning and end of the stole. Five columns of lace grace the body of the stole with a lovely meandering zigzag design formed by offsetting every other column. The pattern contains options for knitting the stole without the lace edging, a beading option, lace charts, blocking instructions and a few lace knitting tips.

My stole was knit from a 750 yard ball of fingering weight handspun on size 5 (3.75 mm) needles. To be safe, I'd recommend starting with 800 yards. Mine measured 62" x 15" when it came off the needles and 72" x 20" after blocking.

This lace pattern is a derivation of the Janus pattern from Barbara Walker's stitch treasuries. The lace edging is my own original design featuring a heart motif and a curving fern leaf. The heart motif is repeated in the body of the stole.

The pattern is a three-page pdf file with charts. As of January 24, 2008 the pattern includes line-by-line directions for the lace charts.

The pattern can be found in my Ravelry pattern store.  

For more information, visit my Ravelry pattern store to see all my available designs, current pricing information, and purchase pattern downloads.

Thursday, January 10

It's done!

Woo-hoo! Look what came off the needles at midnight last night! I blocked it and tumbled into bed. Thanks to our pellet stove, it dried overnight. My goal yesterday was to get it done. I really want to move onto a new project. (Psst, don't look too close. I just noticed a mistake in that final section. See what happens when you're knitting too late and forget to check what you're doing. I'll have to see if I can fix it without ripping the whole thing. I don't think I can deal with doing that right now. That should keep me humble. LOL!)

Isn't Promenade a beauty! Happy dance! I love how it turned out.

Now if I can finish writing up all the details from my scribbled notes, I'll turn it loose for others to knit.

I didn't celebrate my blog anniversary when my blog hit the one year mark in December. I am thinking of celebrating hitting the 100,000 visitors mark with a contest. The tally is already over 94,000. I have an idea for a contest that I think would be interesting. Now to decide what kind of prizes and how many I should offer. Suggestions are welcome.

Thursday, January 3

Funky hat and scarf set

When I asked my hairdresser what she wanted for Christmas, she had a quick reply. "I'd like a funky scarf and hat that will go with lime green." And she added, she didn't want wool. I think the pair I came up with will fit the bill nicely, don't you think? (Sorry about the model, I didn't have a person available to model it.) I'll deliver this belated gift when I get my hair cut later this month.

I used three balls of turquoise worsted weight yarn (93 yards each) and one ball of Yarn Bee Featherwisp in Sea Sprite (293 yards). Featherwisp is a 2 ply yarn--one ply is a soft eyelash yarn of white and turquoise and the other ply is a shiny railroad yarn in lime green and turquoise. Put the two together and you have a bulky weight yarn with a little shine and a fuzzy halo. I used a Russian join to join the 3 balls of turquoise yarn and then wound the two yarns into a big ball. I made the hat and scarf out of it and still have enough left over for a narrow scarf. (The pattern for my A Funky Wave Scarf is available as a free download through my Ravelry pattern store.)

The beret pattern is "Bret" from the Hip Knit Hats book. It's a beret knit top down in a bulky weight yarn.

The lake effect snow finally stopped late last night. Once our cloud cover cleared, the temps dropped quickly down to zero or a little below (depending on which thermometer you believe). The down comforter on our bed felt really good last night. :-)

The weatherman says we are in the area that got 15-20" of snow. Ours was more like 18". I only left the house today to make a trip to the library for up some Interlibrary Loan books that came in. After that short jaunt, I was ready to come home. All of the roads, even the main ones, were nothing but ice. You can't stop on ice and only a few intersections were salted. I'm used to driving on snowy roads in the winter but we haven't seen anything this bad in a long time. I'm glad the sun has come out. Even though the temp hasn't gotten out of the teens, the roads are beginning to melt where the sun has found a bare spot. They'll freeze back as soon as the sun goes down. The only good thing is this is good knitting and spinning weather.

Wednesday, January 2

A snowy beginning...

2008 has roared in with a major snowstorm. On New Year's Eve when we left the house for a party, there was a dusting of snow on the ground. By the time we drove home about 1 am, there was eight inches of snow. It muffled all sound and outlined all the trees with white. Our 10 minute drive turned into closer to 30 minutes creeping our way home. No snow plows had been out to clear any of the roads. Thank goodness everyone was driving slowly and carefully.

The snow continued to come down and blow around on New Year's Day. It stacked up to 12" and still it fluttered down. The system snow moved out, turned into lake enhanced snow (I suspect that's the new code word for we haven't any freaking idea where it's coming from), and then into lake effect snow. The latter term is one I am very familiar with. If the wind comes across the warmer lake waters in the right direction, it bombs us with snow. One of the benefits of living near Lake Michigan is it keeps us warmer in the winter time; one of the disadvantages is lake effect snow.

Today, the snow continues to pile up at a slower rate.It looks more like shaking powdered sugar through a sieve. I'm guessing from the table out back (see photo) that we may have 15+ inches on the ground. Some areas near us already have 20"! The forecast is for the lake effect snow to stop by tonight and temperatures to drop into the single digits. It's already down to 10F outside. My wool socks feel good about now! :-)

I've been staying warm inside and working on spinning and knitting projects. I finished two skeins of handspun. The blue is from some silk and merino batts carded and dyed by my friend Liz. I plyed it with some blue thread to extend it and make a spiral yarn. [2.7 oz/400yards] The mulberry/blue skein is Shetland, maybe lambswool. [2.8 oz/244 yards) This is from several pounds of roving that Liz dyed up for me last year in different colors. Last night, I pulled out more Shetland she dyed red with bits of black to spin. It was going so nicely I hated to go to bed!

The Promenade Stole is growing. Four more pattern repeats and the edging to go. I'm itching to get this done so I can block it. I also finished a scarf for my hairdresser. I'll post a picture and details about it after I finish the hat that goes with it. It has to be done before my next haircut sometime this month.