Knitting, Puppy, Spinning

Lesson Learned…

This afternoon while I was working on some sample knitting…

I learned a very valuable lesson:

Do not leave alpaca wool (waiting to be spun) un-attended while assuming that Puppy is still contentedly chewing the bone she was totally engrossed with 30 seconds ago! πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ™ƒ

Sunny: Who? Me?! No, I have no idea who got into the alpaca wool…!

SUCH an innocent face! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ’—

Sunny When She Thought My Back Was Turned: Hmmmm… Do you think she bought the act…?

Heehee!! Not for a second!πŸ˜‚ But it sure was cute! πŸ’—

Fortunately, it seems that Sunny was having so much fun pulling the alpaca wool out of its bag and spreading it around the house that she hadn’t actually chewed up any of it yet! So I was able to pick it all up and save it. 😊 Happy Ending! πŸ˜„

Knitting

Spring/Summer 2018 Knit Wish List

What would you knit this Spring/Summer if you had all the time in the world, AND could knit like the wind…? These are some of the knits I’ve been dying to do this season…

1). Gully, by Leah Thibault and published in Quince & Co.’s Kestrel 2018.

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This tank top looks so cool and comfy, and I bet it would be a quick knit too! It would be great in a linen or cotton/linen blend yarn!

2). The Sabrina Sweater from We Are Knitters.

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LOVE those bobbles! It’s been WAY too long since I knitted bobbles! And sometimes it’s fun to knit from a kit! πŸ˜‰ The cotton yarn makes this sweater a great transition piece for any wardrobe!

3). Fantoosh! by Kate Davies.

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Nothing beats the lovely swoop of a lacey shawl!

4). Whiteout by Melanie Berg.

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I’ve been eyeing this one for quite awhile now! I find the garter stitch stripes and lace pairing just so very mesmerizing…! πŸ™‚

What’s on your Knit Wish List right now??

Knitting, Yarn

Yarn Love

These are the top five amazing yarns I’m dying to knit with this Spring/Summer…

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1). Willow & Lark Plume

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70% Super kid mohair & 30% mulberry silk, Plume is a gorgeous 2-ply lace weight yarn that’s just begging to be knit up into a scrumptious lace shawl… I think this shade (Silver Birch) is to die for, but they have many other lovely colors as well!

2). Art Yarns Merino Cloud

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80% Fine merino wool & 20% cashmere, this DK/fingering weight yarn is the definition of cozy luxury! I want to knit it up into a matching hat/mitts/cowl set to wear this coming Fall/Winter! And did I mention that this yarn is hand-dyed?! I’m loving this Tweed colorway (#165), but there are additional glorious color ways available as well!

3). Manos Del Uruguay Silk Blend Fino

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70% Extrafine merino wool & 30% silk in a plush single-spun, this gorgeous fine fingering weight yarn would be a dream to knit and wear! And the hand-dyed colorways are simply magical! I’m feeling particularly drawn to Corsage (#401)… I’d probably make another shawl, or maybe a lacey scarf… πŸ™‚

4). Purl Soho Linen Quill

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Just look at that sheen! And the texture…! Linen Quill is 50% fine highland wool, 35% alpaca, & 15% linen in a fingering weight yarn that knits up light and airy with great stitch definition and texture. Perfect for (yet) another shawl, or a light and breezy top! They have lots of exciting new colors this year, but I’m still finding myself partial to this one (Lavender Opal #1620LQ). πŸ™‚

5). Cestari Monticello Collection

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75% Cotton & 25% linen and made in the USA! This lovely yarn is the very definition of Summer knitting and is available in a 3-ply DK weight as well as a 2-ply fingering (sock) weight! The kettle-dyed colors are simply beautiful, but I’m especially drawn to this one (Tansy). πŸ™‚ I’d love to knit a sleeve-less Summer top, or a skirt, or some Summer socks in this gorgeous yarn!

What yarns are you crushing over this Season?

Knitting, neck wear, new patterns

Sister Scarves Part 1: All About Kathryn

This is the story of a fun design project I’ve been working on that will bring you two new scarf patterns, and which I am very excited to share with you!

Inspiration…

It all began whenΒ I came across this scrumptious yarn by Expression Fiber Arts one day,…

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Pearlescent Fingering yarn (50% superwash merino wool / 50% mulberry silk) by Expression Fiber Arts, in colorway “GIVERNY.”

I fell instantly in LOVE with it. All the creative wheels in my brain went into overdrive, flooding my mind with endless possibilities and ideas… I could practically hear that yarn calling my name! But I had such a huge yarn stash already… So of course I had to show my girlfriends Kathryn & Kayla the amazing yarn so they could talk me into buying it anyway! 🀣 πŸ˜‰

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Kathryn and Kayla fell instantly under the spell of the gorgeous yarn too! But not being knitters or crocheters, they weren’t sure what they’d do with it… Which sparked one of the best ideas ever: We’d each buy a skein, and I would design similar “sister” scarves for each of us, specific to our individual style and taste! It was perfect! I got to play with 3 whole skeins of the amazing yarn, and they got scarves custom designed and handmade just for them by a friend! πŸ˜„πŸ‘πŸ»πŸŽ‰πŸŽˆNeedless to say, I went back to my cart and clicked “submit” on my yarn order right away!

Style & Construction…

While waiting for our yarn to arrive, we discussed neckwear shapes, styles, and construction techniques. Kathryn and Kayla are both very artistic people, but in different ways and with unique styles. They were both very certain about what they wanted though, which made things SO much easier (and more fun!) for me! πŸ˜‰ Kathryn had her heart set on a super long and thin, flowing scarf with a light, airy, open feel. She wanted to be able to style it in many different ways, and wear it in any Season – even Summer! So very Kathryn – elegant, lovely, dramatic (the good kind only!), yet practical! Kayla on the other hand, favored a medium length infinity type scarf that she could choose to loop around her neck once, twice, or three times. So very Kayla – Gorgeous, super fun & trendy, cozy, yet versatile! I couldn’t wait to get started!

Swatching…

Once the yarn arrived, I immediately got out my swift and ball winder…

 

I was anxious to start swatching as soon as possible! πŸ˜€ I knit several swatches, using different stitch patterns, but we found it near impossible to choose between them…

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Stitch Pattern #1: Norwegian Fir Lace
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Stitch Pattern #2: Falling Leaves
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Stitch Pattern #3: Arrowhead Lace with Cables

So we put them on display in the office so we could look at them and think about them throughout the day. We even talked about them with our customers and kept a tally of customer votes as to which swatch was favored and why!

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It was SO much fun! We also put photos of the swatches on Facebook and Instagram so our friends and followers could give their feedback as well!

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The time for un-hurried visual contemplation, along with the discussions we had with friends, co-workers, and customers turned out to be super helpful, in addition to being super fun!Β In the end, Kathryn fell in love with swatch #3 (Arrowhead Lace and Cables); whileΒ Kayla was drawn to swatch #2 (Falling Leaves). We concluded that although we all loved swatch #1 (Norwegian Fir Lace), that particular stitch pattern would look better in a solid colored or at least less busily variegated yarn, and shelved it for another time. πŸ™‚

Knitting Kathryn’s Scarf…

Once I had done all my math and charted my Arrowhead Lace and Cables stitch pattern, it was finally time to cast on for Kathryn’s Scarf!

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I like math. I like planning and charting and writing. But the actual knitting hasΒ alwaysΒ been my favorite part, and I have a feeling it always will be… πŸ˜‰

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This is my doggy niece, Pepper (an adorable Boston Terrier). She is one of my best knitting buddies, and kept me company through most of the knitting of Kathryn’s scarf! πŸ˜€ (I can never get over her tiny doggy socks! They make me squeal every time…! XD Wish I could say I had made them for her… ;))

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Tools shown in the making of Kathryn Scarf include…

Needles – Knit Picks Options Interchangeable Sunstruck Circular Knitting Needles.

Tape Measure – from The Loopy Ewe, one of my favorite yarn stores! This tape measure was a little gift they tucked into one of my orders a while back (they have a fabulous rewards system! πŸ˜€ ). I think the tape measures are macaron themed now… SO cute!

Knitters Tool Tin – by The Sexy Knitter, this one was a special edition featuring an angora goat from Juniper Moon Farm. The cable needle shown (my fav!) is just one of the handy knitting tools included in the tin!

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Coffee is also a faithful knitting buddy of mine… πŸ˜‰

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Although the scarf is really long, it’s not super wide, and the stitch pattern is easily memorized…

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…so it was a delightfully relaxing and satisfyingly quick knit!

 

 

Many thanks to my gorgeous sister-in-law, Annelies, for modeling the finished scarf for me; and to my wonderful technical editor, Allison O’Mahony of Kniterations, for her help in polishing the pattern so it can be it’s best self! πŸ˜€

 

This pattern has just been released, so if you’d like to knit your own Kathryn Scarf, well now you can! Customize your scarf to whatever length you prefer, and use only one skein of any fingering weight yarn you have available in your stash! πŸ˜€ Or if you want to use the same yarn used in the sample, hop over to Expression Fiber Arts and have a look at their lovely colors! πŸ˜€

Check out my Ravelry shop and use coupon code: New20KS to receive 20% off your purchase of the Kathryn Scarf pattern through Monday, May 14th, 2018!

Or, if you’d like to save even more (50% off new patterns!), and receive knitting tips, discounts, notifications of test knitting opportunities, and/or the latest news from Sarah Inskeep Designs, sign up for my e-Letter!

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And of course we’d LOVE to see your projects! Share pics & progress on social media with hashtags #kathrynscarf and #sarahinskeepdesigns !

Kathryn Scarf 6 – Version 2

~ Happy Knitting!

P.S. Stay tuned for Sister Scarves Part 2: All About Kayla to get all the details and back story about Kayla’s scarf and it’s pattern release coming soon! πŸ˜€

 

Knitting, Puppy

Sunny!

Hello! I’m Sundance β€œSunny” Inskeep! I’m a Giant Maso (drool-less) Mastiff. I’m 9 weeks old and I weigh 18.5 lbs. I like cuddling with my people, belly rubs, food, and chasing the odd leaf around the yard! πŸΆπŸ’—πŸ˜ŠπŸ’—

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We’re SO excited to welcome Sunny into our family! She’s our first puppy/dog and we love her SO much!

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Sunny loves to play with Hubby!…

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She loves to play in general! πŸ™‚

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We’re working on things like: “Let’s play tug-of-war with your rope toy, instead of Mommy’s hair!” πŸ˜‰

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So painful! But she’s SO cute! πŸ˜€

And: “We can snuggle shoes/flip-flops…,

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…but not chew them…” πŸ˜‰

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Sorry for the blur; it’s really hard to get a photo of her being still unless she’s asleep! πŸ˜‰

Sunny prefers to stay as close to us as possible,Β which is totally awesome! πŸ˜€

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I love that her definition of “together” seems to equal “touching” – Β most of the time! πŸ™‚

She’s still very young (not quite three months old yet), and she’s growing really fast so she takes lots of naps…

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AND she is the best of knitting buddies… πŸ™‚

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Don’t worry, the bit of red/pink on her fur is just a dab of nail polish applied by her breeder so they could identify her for us. πŸ™‚

…both outdoors and in! πŸ˜‰

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Here we are enjoying a perfectly cozy rainy day together!

In other news, I’m re-knitting a sample for my Kayla Infinity Scarf pattern (coming soon!)…

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This is a photo of the old sample, modeled by Annelies van Dam Barger.

We discovered during the test knitting that the edges roll badly (due to the stockinette nature of the knitted fabric) when other yarns are used. I really want knitters to be able to successfully use yarn from their stashes to knit this if they want, without fear of excessively rolling edges.Β So I modified the pattern to include a ribbed edging on both top and bottom. Several different edging options were considered, including seed stitch and garter stitch; but I chose to go with the ribbing because it seems to do the job while preserving the flow of the stitch pattern on the body of the scarf!

The new sample is still on my needles; you can see it in progress in some of the photos with Sunny above. πŸ™‚ So far I’m very happy with how the new sample is turning out, but we’ll have to see how it does in other yarns with a re-test! πŸ˜‰

Do you have any pets? What’s on your needles now? We’d love to hear all about it! πŸ™‚

Happy Knitting!

Knitting, outdoors

Meet Tucker

This is Tucker. He is my new woodland buddy. He makes me smile. And laugh. A lot!

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As you can see, he’s an adorable and thoroughly cheeky little squirrel with the sleekest fur and bushiest tail imaginable.

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For a while now, I’ve been wondering who has been taking bites out of my decorative corn (left over from Fall)… Turns out it’s Tucker! (And I think we can all tell which flavor he likes best!)

Tucker likes to run up onto the back deck, under the kitchen window and grab a mouthful of dried corn kernels. Then he runs back across the deck, climbs up onto the railing, and perches there to enjoy his snack!

I happened to see him through the kitchen window, doing this over and over early one morning as I was making coffee. Now we meet up for coffee & corn breaks most early mornings and late afternoons.

I haven’t yet figured out whether he’s told all his friends & relations about the free handouts on my back deck, or whether he’s keeping it all to himself… πŸ˜‰

Here’s a quick peak at what’s currently on my needles…

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Another baby blanket. This one is a sample in a smaller size as I would like to offer a couple of different size options in the pattern.

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And this is a new pattern I’m working on for a Spring/Summer weight shawl!

What’s been making you smile/laugh lately? And what’s on your needles/hooks/wheel/loom? I’d love to hear all about it!

Happy Knitting!

Knitting, outdoors

Beautiful Cozy

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What a lovely, cozy, December day it has been! I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such beauty – indoors and out.

For the last week, I’ve been participating in a black and white photo challenge on social media, which has been a lot of fun! I’ve found it’s really opened my eyes to see beauty in unexpected places, and given me a profound sense of gratitude for the smallest of everyday blessings. Here’s a link to the album if you’d like to see: Black & White Photo Challenge.

This afternoon I’ve been cozied up with a warm cup of good coffee and some deliciously textured knitting! I’m nearly finished with the center section of a baby blanket I’m designing for a friend. I’m loving a new challenge, the textured stitches, and this soft, gorgeous yarn! (It’s Cascade 220 Superwash Merino in color # 31 “Baby Blue.”)

What’s making you happy today? What are you working on? I’d love to hear all about it! πŸ™‚

Happy Knitting!

 

Family, Holidays, Knitting

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! I sincerely hope you were all able to enjoy a wonderful time with family and friends these last few days!

I’ve especially enjoyed the chance to spend some quality time with my sister, Hannah, and my littlest niece, Claire!

They live some distance away, but were able to come and stay for a few days over Thanksgiving, which has been a real treat! πŸ˜„We even got a chance to peruse the Christmas Tree Farm together…

Hannah, Claire, Mom, & an adorable little Christmas Tree!

… and celebrate Claire’s birthday with Cousin Vera and Aunt Annelies!

Happy Birthday, Claire!

Cousins play time! Vera and Claire are still just a tad too little to actually play together yet… but playing nicely close-by is totally awesome! πŸ˜‰

I’m also incredibly grateful for being able to live my dream of designing, writing, and sharing my knitting patterns, and for the support you all have shown me! A sincere and heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you! πŸ™‚

So how was your Thanksgiving? Did you get to spend some time with family? What are you grateful for?

Happy Knitting with Love,

~Sarah

Family, fiber festivals, Knitting

Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival 2017

Yesterday was as close to a perfect day as I am likely to get! πŸ˜ŠπŸπŸ‚

The weather was beautiful and it was Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival day in Berryville, Virginia;Β and I got to go with my sister-in-law, Annelies and my two-year-old niece, Vera!

We met up in Harrisonburg to carpool to the festival; and truly, the brilliant smiles with which they greeted me totally made my whole week! πŸ™‚

Well stocked with fabulous company and good coffee, the 1.5 hour drive flashed right on by and before we knew it, we had arrived at the festival just in time to get a prime parking spot! (An unusual occurrence for me! πŸ˜‚)

I showed Vera how to politely examine the soft and luxurious yarns on display in the vendor booths. Not only was this fun, but it helped re-direct the two-year-old urge to pull all brightly colored skeins off of the shelves and hooks! πŸ˜‚πŸ’—

But of course, the biggest hit of the day, by far, was the animals: Alpacas, sheep, and angora goats!

These adorable alpacas were so friendly and calm!

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The white one is named “Fenway”, and the brown is “Carpe Diem.”

 

They were just chillin’ and people-watching, and socializing with whomever came by to say hi!

Vera took a couple of minutes to warm up to the alpacas since this was her first time seeing them up close! Watching another child petting them certainly helped. πŸ™‚

 

Once she had a chance to get to know them a bit, she absolutely loved them!

 

I swear she was having lots of fun – right up until we asked her to smile for a photo!

 

Fenway was very cooperative and photogenic! πŸ™‚

Later on, the sheep really wanted to share a popcorn snack!

 

And across the isle, a super nice girl brought her goat right up close so Vera could pet it!

 

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In addition to enjoying the wonderful animals, I was also excited to snag a great book…

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…some gorgeous yarn…

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100% alpaca and SO soft! πŸ˜„

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…and a blending board!

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My plan for the blending board is to use it to blend my Angora Rabbit’s wool with Alpaca wool so that I’ll have enough to knit something special once it’s all spun up!

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Annelies was on a mission to find the perfect yarn to crochet a hat for Vera to match her new Winter coat! Here’s the yarn!

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And here’s the hat!

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By mid-afternoon, Someone was completely worn out from so much fun, and took a very good nap all the way home!

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A hand-knit shawl does make an excellent car-seat blanket, don’t you think?! πŸ˜‰

Do you go to fiber festivals? Do you have a favorite? Got plans to visit any this season? We’d love to hear all about it!

I’m excited to be heading to the Fall Fiber Festival @ Montpelier this coming weekend! Stay tuned for updates! 😊

Family, Hats, Knitting

Most Loved Project

The topic for Day 3 of the Yarn Love Challenge this month was “Most Loved Project.” This threw me off for a few days as I have difficulty determining which of my projects I love most! πŸ˜‰

But then it occurred to me that looking at this question from a Handknit Recipient’s perspective might be interesting. So now I’ve got a slightly sarcastic but humorous take on “Most Loved Project” to share with you! πŸ˜„

…Not long after we were married, I wanted to knit something practical for Hubby that he would enjoy wearing. Naturally, a hat came to mind!

When asked what kind of hat I should make for him that he would actually wear, Hubby said: “Black, and plain. No cables, no patterns, no colors; just black and plain.”

Of course, I thought: ” BORING!!” But I wanted to knit him something he would like, so I tried my best to knit him the black, plain, BORING hat! But…

I couldn’t resist adding a red angora lining! “Angora is so soft, and no one will see it on the inside,” I thought…

Hubby was dubious, but he did bravely wear the hat – all of one time, to a family gathering (my family of course)! Unfortunately, a bit of red fuzz from the angora lining emerged and remained mingled with his facial hair. It wasn’t glaring, so I didn’t notice it, and probably no one else did either. But Hubby was SO mortified when he noticed it in the mirror that night, that he refused to ever wear the hat again!

So the infamous black, plain, not-so-boring hat became mine and has been well loved and much worn despite the fact that it is too big for me! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Do you have a fun “Most Loved Project” or Handmade Gifting story to share? We’d love to hear it!

Happy Knitting!