Howdy, knitters! I hope you’ve had a wonderful week. In North Carolina, the pollen has been out in force and my allergies have been acting up something fierce. We’ve had a couple of good rains that have washed everything down, so hopefully that will go a long way to helping me breathe normally again. But you didn’t come here to talk about the weather, you want to talk about knitting! For those of you visiting the Knitting Daddy blog for the first time, welcome! If you’re a repeat visitor, thanks for coming back! In either case, I do hope you enjoy your stay and come back for more.
This week, I’m going to be talking about a mittens project I recently completed, and the company behind the yarn I used. But before I get into that, let’s take a look at the other things that have been going on in my knitting world this week.
Scrappy Sock Yarn Preemie Hat Update
I appreciate the support everyone is showing for my first published pattern, the Scrappy Sock Yarn Preemie Hat. It’s fun watching new project pages come up, and I’m very excited to hear the stories of people knitting this hat for friends and family members who have tiny babies. Remember, all proceeds from the pattern sales go to support Family Support Network of Central Carolina (FSNCC), and you can get a $1 discount by using the coupon code “BLUEBERRY” when you purchase the pattern at Ravelry (expires 2015/05/31). Join us in the Knitting Daddy Designs Ravelry group to show off your finished objects and chat about knitting preemie hats (any pattern, not just mine).
This Week In Podcasts
I’m mostly keeping up with my podcast listening. And I’m starting to figure out how to keep track of what I’ve listened to in Downcast since the last time I posted a blog entry. So maybe I’ll be able to do a better job of reviewing individual episodes. We’ll see if I’m able to keep up with it. This week, I listened to episodes of 2 Knit Lit Chicks, CraftLit, Yarn Thing With Marly Bird, Knitcircus, KnottyGirls Knitcast, Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show, and Teaching Your Brain to Knit.
In 2 Knit Lit Chicks Episode 89: I Was Like, Yeah, I Hate That, Too!, Barb and Tracie continue talking about their Alana-Along. They also announce their Cardi, Tank or Tee-Along. They are also super-excited about the Northern California Knitting Retreat. That retreat was this past weekend, and I’m looking forward to hearing podcasts about how it went.
I continue to catch up on the back-episodes of The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show. I especially enjoyed Episode 3: 8 Tips for Organizing Your First Pattern Test. It would have been nice to have listened to that before I had a pattern test for the Scrappy Sock Yarn Preemie Hat, but I instinctively did most of the things suggested anyway, so that was reassuring.
In Knitcircus Episode 57, Amy and Jaala talk about some upcoming shows, the Mall of America, a handful of books, and the movie “Mall Cop” (which is apparently enjoyable). Also, Amy’s going to Ireland again in May.
In KnottyGirls Episode 46: Technocrat Yet Artisan (Or Melissa Does Not Have Legionnaire’s Disease), Laura talks about dressing up awesomely for trips to Disneyland. She’s been dying lots of yarn. Jen is having difficulty finding time to knit because of the real job that pays the bills thing. I hate it when that happens. The episode was also full of lots of awesome talk about the cool knitting everyone is currently doing. The highlight of the episode was, of course, the Stitches wrap-up. I want to go to Stitches.
I’m still loving the Teaching Your Brain To Knit podcast, and am catching up on back episodes.
Yarn Thing with Marly Bird continues to have excellent guests. I recommend all the episodes. I’m especially enjoying hearing Tammy on the podcast more often lately. She and Marly have great chemistry. Every now and then, I make it on-air and win a contest.
CraftLit is well into “Sense & Sensibility” now. So far, I’m enjoying it, even though I’m having a hard time keeping everyone straight. I love the background Heather gives on the book and chapters as we go. I’d probably be lost without that. This is my first experience with a Jane Austin novel, so I’m glad to be catching up with the cool literature so many of my friends like.
This Week On My Needles
After last weekend’s retreat where I cast on five new projects, I’m working to clear my needles off a bit. I’m not an entirely monogamous knitter, but I do start getting uncomfortable when I have a lot of projects going on at once. According to Ravelry, I currently have 8 WIPs, which is more than I’m comfortable having. Although, three of them are very long-term knitting projects, so it’s not that bad. We’ll have a WIP Round Up after we take a look at the two items that came off my needles and became FOs this week.
The Little Dragon that I started at the retreat last weekend was the first FO of the week. I absolutely love this pattern. It was so much fun to knit up and watch the dragon come alive. I did use polly pellets in the bottom of the body to give the toy a little more heft. So far, I’ve only seen one pellet escape, so I think it will be fine. The bobbles on the back of the dragon were a lot of fun to make and give her some character. In class, Susan showed us a super-cute way of posing the dragon — with its head in its hand. That pose makes the dragon look shy and bashful. Really, it’s super-cute.
Blueberry’s birthday is next month, and I think I’m going to give it to her as a birthday present.
The other FO of the week is also from last weekend’s retreat. It’s the Little Owl. I finished most of it during the retreat weekend. All I had left to do was the eyes, beak, and feet. Twinkly eyes on felt came out great, and I actually had a good time sewing the eyes to the knitted fabric. I tried several times to place the beak how I liked it, and I’m happy with how it came out. The feet were a piece of cake, then the project was done. It’ practically flew off my needles! (See what I did there? Yeah, go ahead and groan….)
The light worsted yarn made for a slightly smaller owl. I might knit this pattern up with larger yarn for a larger owl. I might even do some math and make the pattern itself larger for a larger owl. We’ll see if I get around to experimenting on that.
WIP Round Up
So what else is on my needles? A little bit of this, a little bit of that. I mentioned that I have a few projects that are long-term. It doesn’t bother me that they stay on my needles for a long time. Two of those projects are sock yarn blankets. I have a a few hexipuffs for my Beekeeper’s Quilt. I have lots of sock yarn that can turn into hexipuffs, so I should whip out a few more. I also have a mitered square sock yarn blanket on the needles. This one is tremendously fun and easy to work on. So much so, I’m probably going to start keeping my eyes out for some of those sock yarn mini-skein trading groups. So far, I haven’t repeated yarn for any of the squares in the blanket. I doubt I’ll be able to keep that up, but it’s fun making them all different so far. My third long-term project is a Crackerjack scarf for the local minor league baseball team. I’ll be working on this scarf all season long, so it’s scheduled to come off the needles in August. The Crackerjack is a lot of fun. Look for a post about it in the next few weeks.
The rest of the things on my needles are WIPs that I definitely have my eye on for completing them soon. They’re the projects that make me uncomfortable with having so many things going on at once. I have The Fox & The Hen reversible toy in progress, but I haven’t made any progress on it in almost a year. I have my Fox in a Vest, which I really do need to give some loving to. And I have the other three projects I cast on at the retreat last weekend: Mary (the seamless doll), a bat that I’m trying to design, and my Sweet Christmas Mitts. The mitts are the project that I’m actively working on primarily, then I think I’ll pick Mary back up. I just don’t know about the bat. I should go ahead and do his head, ears, and feet. But I know I’m going to get stuck trying to design some wings.
What I’ve Got My Eye On
I really want to clear off my needles some, which will clear my head out enough to allow me to cast on another project. And I know exactly what it will be. Another pair of socks for myself. I have the yarn. I have the pattern. I have the bacon.I have the needles. I’ve even done necessary math for the pattern. I’m ready to go. But I won’t cast on until I clear my needles off a bit.
Darn Good Yarn: Recycled Sari Silk Mittens
For this post’s feature, I want to go back to a project I completed a few months ago. I’m going to take you back to the Recycled Sari Silk Mittens I knitted for my wife for Valentine’s Day. The story of these mittens goes back to the episode of Yarn Thing with Marly Bird where Nicole Snow, the owner of Darn Good Yarn, was being interviewed. I won a prize on the podcast, which was a gift certificate to Darn Good Yarn, which I used to purchase the yarn I used to knit these mittens.
Darn Good Yarn is an interesting company. Nicole started the company in 2008 with a mission to create a yarn company that not only sells yarn, but also helps others. Darn Good Yarn sources its yarn internationally, primarily from Nepal and India, and the yarn they sell provides income for women who would otherwise have a very difficult time earning a living. They’re a great company, they sell interesting yarn, and Nicole is really making a difference in the lives of the women who produce the yarn for her. I highly recommend them. Check out their website, read about their background, and give some of their yarn a try sometime.
So after I won the gift certificate, I poured over the Darn Good Yarn website looking for something I wanted to try. I eventually decided on their recycled sari silk yarn. I wasn’t even really sure what I would make with it, but the yarn sounded interesting and I figured that once it arrived, I’d think of something.
When it arrived, the adventure began.
I searched Ravelry for ideas and found the Recycled Sari Silk Mittens pattern by Odessa Reichel. That sounded like a good thing to try. The yarn is considered second-quality yarn, and is recommended for bags and the like, not for garments you’d have against your skin. To heck with that, I knitted mittens anyway.
The yarn had several knots in it, and I cut them out when I encountered them. I just knitted two strands together for a few knits to join in after the cut, and it worked fine. The knots weren’t a problem at all, and I expected to encounter them as I went, based on how this yarn is constructed. It is made from sari silk, cut/torn into strips and twisted together. It’s an absolutely delightful crazy yarn. It took a while for me to figure out how to best work with it — it’s not like anything else I’ve worked with before.
In order to get the pair of mittens, I ended up knitting 4 mittens in total. The first mitten, I knitted on US7 and it ended up being too small. So I ripped it out and knitted it on US8. Perfect fit. I knitted the 2nd mitten (from a 2nd ball) on US8 and it was too small. So I ripped it out and knitted it on US9 and it fit fine. In the end, that wasn’t a big deal since the mittens knit up pretty quickly. My advice is to just have fun with the yarn and see where it takes you.
The mittens themselves came out great. They’re very warm and so colorful. Everyone who has seen them has remarked on how interesting they are. I would totally use this yarn to knit these mittens again. I would also love to try knitting a bag of some sort out of this yarn. The silk is extremely sturdy and I think it would hold up very well to rugged bag use.
I tried knitting this yarn with several types of needles. I finally landed on Marblz by Knitters Pride. That was a perfect match — the yarn slid across the needle nicely, and the needle had enough “give” to help make the knots with the tugging that I had to do every now and then on the yarn.
I’m glad I won that contest on Yarn Thing, because I wouldn’t have known about that yarn otherwise, and I probably would have been skeptical to try it. Being able to just have an adventure with it was perfect, and I’m going to be keeping my eye on the Darn Good Yarn website for other interesting yarn in the future. It’s an adventure!
What’s the most adventurous yarn you’ve worked with? Please tell me that you were as happy with your yarn as I was with the recycled sari silk yarn. Or, if not, tell me why — especially if it makes for a humorous story. You can leave your comments here on this post, or visit the Knitting Daddy Designs group on Ravelry and join the discussion there.
Until next time, keep on knitting for the ones you love!