Family, fiber festivals, Knitting

Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival 2017

Yesterday was as close to a perfect day as I am likely to get! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚

The weather was beautiful and it was Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival day in Berryville, Virginia;ย 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜‚)

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! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ’—

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜„

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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?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ˜Š

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ˜„

…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! ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

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

Happy Knitting!

Family, Knitting

A Good Visit!

Yesterday we had perfect weather for being outdoors! (In Maryland, that is! ๐Ÿ˜‰)

Claire enjoying the shade in the green, green grass at the park!

I got out the baby-carrier and Claire and I walked to the park for a bit!

Smile or smirk? Maybe a bit of both…?! ๐Ÿ˜‰
Under the tree with Auntie!
I’ve also made a lot of progress on the “Kayla” infinity scarf!

Kayla Infinity Scarf

Now halfway through repeat # 3,…

So nice to knit on the deck during ๐Ÿ˜ด nap time! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m finally almost caught up to my level of progress on the “Kathryn” scarf! ๐Ÿ˜Š (Which means that I am approximately 3/5ths of the way through both!) 

Kathryn Scarf

I’ve so enjoyed spending time with Baby Claire,…

Playing with Claire!
…and my sister and brother-in-law the last two weeks! 

My sister, Hannah & Baby Claire!
Brother-in-law, Everitte & Baby Claire at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival!

I can hardly believe that today is my last day here! I know I’ll really miss them when I go back home…

Happy Claire modeling her Foxy Hat!
Swing!
Happy Claire in the swing!

But I’m really looking forward to my next visit! I’ll be sure to make it SOON! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜‰โค๏ธ

Peek-a-boo, Foxy Baby Claire! ๐Ÿ˜˜

Family, fiber festivals, Knitting, Maryland Sheep and Wool

Maryland Sheep & Wool 2017!

It was another great year at The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, folks!

This year I went with my sister, Hannah, brother-in-law, Everitte, and niece, Claire!

There was SO much to see and take in!


Hannah, Claire, and I fell in love with these amazing fluffy purses…


And this very nice lady was kind enough to allow photographs AND point us in the direction of the “Everything Coopworth” booth and these AMAZING sheep-head-ears!!! ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜

Clearly, Everitte was the black sheep of the family… ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ‘


We saw some sheep shearing…


And so many lovely sheep! โค๏ธ


And of course, I couldn’t resist picking up a few new additions to my yarn stash… ๐Ÿ˜„ 


This stunning sock blank by Knitty and Color is a birthday gift from Hannah & Everitte! (Thank you so much, guys!! โค๏ธ) I can’t wait to cast on some socks!! ๐Ÿ˜Š


And of course I couldn’t pass up these 100% Merino wool beauties…

Next year, I want to take a class or two… I’ll need to check out the classes earlier than I did this year because they were sold out by the time I even started looking! 

Were you able to make it to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival this year? Do you have a favorite fiber festival that you attend regularly? I’d love to hear all about it! ๐Ÿ˜Š

~Happy Knitting!!!

baby, Family, Knitting

A Knitting Auntie!

This week, I’m in Maryland helping to care for my five month old niece, Claire, so that my sister can meet a work deadline!

Claire & I have been having a grand time playing with her baby gym…


… going out for walks (sometimes several times a day!)…




… sitting up (with just a little help ๐Ÿ˜‰ )…


… and especially swinging in the swings at the park!! 



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During nap times, I’ve even gotten some knitting time in as well! 


I’m making good progress on Kayla’s infinity scarf now (you may remember that I had to rip back and start again a few days ago…)! 


I’ve already completed one pattern repeat, and am working on the second! 


How’s your week going so far?

baby, Christmas, Family, Knitting

Foxy Hat

One of my favorite knits in 2016ย was a little fox hat for my two year old niece, Vera.


The pattern is Foxy & Wolfie by Ekaterina Blanchard. I (clearly ๐Ÿ˜‰) chose to make the Foxy version! The yarn I used is Cascade 220 in red/orange and cream.

Foxy is a really fun hat to knit…


…I especially enjoyed the unusual construction and shaping methods used…

The hat is knit in the round…

…sometimes circular needles are used,…

and sometimes double-points.


The intarsia and shaping are accomplished using short rows…

…even for the ears!


After shaping the ears…


…you connect the top/back of the hat to the front/face of the fox hat…

…using a three needle bind off and keeping a number of live stitches in the center…


…to knit the nose!ย A very unique and very fun knit!

I had gotten some really cute animal eyes to use,ย but discovered that the stem of the eyes would poke through the hat too far and be uncomfortable when worn…


So I used buttons from my button stash instead!

A personalized label is the finishing touch…


I sewed the label on the outside of the hat so as to avoid any possibility of discomfort due to its presence.


Vera’s parents (my brother, Joel, and sister-in-law, Annalies), loved it!

But due to a sudden and unanticipated (by me) growth spurt, this little Foxy Hat turned out too small for sweet little Vera! ๐Ÿ˜ข (Or maybe my gauge was off? It’s possible…)

So I’ll be giving this Foxy Hat to my one month old niece, Claire; and knitting a larger Foxy for Vera! (When your aunt is a knitter, sizing issues are generally fixable in one way or another!)

Note to self: Always size up more than you think you need to when knitting for children! ๐Ÿ˜Š

What was your favorite knit of 2016? Have you knit a Foxy or a Wolfie hat? What did you think of the process? Do you knit for children? How do you handle the possibility of sudden growth spurts? Feel free to share with us in the Comments, we’d love to hear from you!!

Christmas, Family, Holidays, Knitting

Quick & Easy Christmas Knits!

I don’t know about you all, but I find that during the Christmasย Season, knitting time comes atย a high premium, making efficiency even more important.

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All of my dear friends and family know that if I could, I would knit something fabulous, exciting, and huge for each and every one of them forย Christmas!

But alas, in this imperfect world,ย reality sets in and I discover (and re-discover) that this is not likely to be possible for me…

So in the spirit of both efficient and reasonableย Christmas knitting, I’d like to share with you all some lovely knitting ย & crochet patterns I’ve spotted recently that areย quick, relatively easy, and make great gifts!

The Pony Tail Hatย – a delightful and practical current trendย …

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Messy Mom Bun Beanie

The Messy Mom Bun Beanie, by Ashlea Konecny, is very popular, very cute, and super easy to crochet! All you need is a size H (5mm) hook, some worsted weight yarn, and few hours!

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Frilly Ponytail Hat

Thisย Frilly Ponytail Hat, by Cheryl Mercer isย a slightly different variation on the same theme. It’s knitted, and it has a cute little frill around the edges of theย ponytail hole! It’s knit in Lion Brand’s Wool Ease; a worsted weight yarn, so it would knit up quickly.

The By My Side Ribbed Ponytail Hat, by Michelle Mooreย is an absolutely adorable crocheted cap version with a cute brim and the perfect spot for a gorgeous statement button or pin. SO chic! You can just see the ponytail hole near the bottom edge in the back view pic…

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Cardiff Bay Ponytail Hat

Here are a couple of really unique options! The Cardiff Bay Ponytail Hat, by Beth Ann Beck has a enchantingย touch of simple lace and cable. Knit up in a bulky weight yarn, it would be a quick knit with lots of interest, and would make an exciting gift!

Theย Child’s Ponytail Hat, by Gail Tanquary, is a riot of color and texture! It would knit up very quickly in aran weight yarn. Plus, the pattern is a free download on Ravelry! The bonnet type styling, the highly textured accent yarn, and the use of the yarn ends as fringe are all so creative!

The Headband/Ear Warmer –ย perfect for keeping ears warm while rocking fabulousย hair! Aย few that caught my eye…

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Headband with Cable

The Headband with Cable, by Elaine Phillipsย is a lovely and practical version of this handy accessory; AND it’s a free pattern on Ravelry. I especially love the way that it’s knit wider than normal so that it’s double-layered for extra warmth!

The Cable Knit Headband,ย Initiative Headband, andย Resilience Headband; all by Brome Fields are gorgeous, and practical. Worked in Lion Brand’s Wool Ease Thick & Quick (a super bulky weight yarn) they would knit up quickly and make great gifts!

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Nordic Viking Headband

And theย Nordic Viking Headband, by Randi Hjelm Debes,ย is knit in a bulky weight yarn. The pattern comes in several different sizes for both children and adults and incorporates a fascinating herringbone stitch pattern.

The Fingerless/Half Finger Mitt – a classic necessity…

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Fast & Easy Fingerless Mitts

These Fast & Easy Fingerless Mittsย by Lisa M. Beamer make a perfect gift knit! Available as a free Ravelry download, you can choose between the knit flat version or the circular version. They’re perfect for using up odd bits of yarn leftover from other projects since they only need about 50 grams in worsted weight yarn.

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Muckle Mitts

The Muckle Mitts, by Mary Jane Mucklestoneย are so charming! The perfect knit for one who loves color work and/or fair isle knitting, they’d make a wonderful gift for a loved one!

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Urban Necessity Gloves

And for someone who wants a bit more of a challenge, the Urban Necessity Gloves, by Colleen Michele Meagher. Knit in worsted weight yarn, these sweet little mitts are half-finger gloves with a button down flip-top! I know many who would absolutely love to have a pair!

What about you? Are you knitting gifts for loved ones this Christmas? Do you have a favorite go-to item or pattern that you turn to for gift knitting? Feel free to share in the comments!

Wishing each and every one of you peace and joy and wellbeing in this Blessed Season, and throughout the New Year!

 

baby, Family, Knitting

Almost Finished…!

First of all, I want to wish each of you a very Happy I LOVE YARN DAY!!


I’m going to celebrate by spending the whole afternoon – the ENTIRE afternoon, folks! – knitting and organizing my yarn stash! Are you doing something fun today?

So, what am I knitting? I’m working on this Striped Chevron Baby Blanket (by Jess DoomCrafter) for my little niece-on-the-way…


It’s had to stay on the down-low for the last while because it was a surprise!


Though it’s definitely been growing steadily, it wasn’t quite finished in time for sister Hannah’s second baby showerย last weekend…


I really wanted to have it all finished and ready in time, but life happened and it just didn’t work out that way.

So I wrapped it up, multiple balls of yarn, needles, and all, in a cute gift bag, and gave it to her “almost finished” as it was.

She loved it! And she didn’t mind at all that it wasn’t quite finished or that I had to take it back temporarily in order to finish it. (Sister Hannah is a fabulous human being who deserves lovely warm hand knits forever!)

I’m really close to finishing the blanket now – I just have a couple more rows of yellow before I can start the final long gray section; and then the garter stitch border! It’ll be finished in timeย to help keep Little Niece warm when she arrives! And that makes me really happy!

Have you ever had to give someone their hand knit gift before it was quite finished? How did it go? How did you feel about it?

Christmas, Family, fiber festivals, Knitting, Weather

Fall Fiber Festival

Last Saturday, I enjoyed a day of bliss at the Fall Fiber Festival at Montpelier with my lovely Mother-in-law, Phyllis!


As you can probably tell, it was windy, cold, and damp…


… for most of the morning, the wind blew a chilly falling mist around and around. It was rather impossible to stay dry and we were so glad we’d brought our rain coats!


Even with the chill, wind, and wet, we had a marvelous time walking around,…


…chatting with friendly vendors,…


…admiring handsome animals, …


… gazing at gorgeous yarns…


…and samples,…


… and examining knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving, rug hooking, and dying tools and equipment of every sort imaginable!

Phyllis was in need of a yarn swift and ball winder, so we kept an eye out and we found the most gorgeous yarn swifts at the Knitting Notionsย booth!


These swifts are made out of beautiful wood – you can choose between oak, cherry, and walnut. The craftsmanship is superb as they consist of four carefully shaped pieces that fit together with wooden pegs holding them in place.


The other neat thing about these yarn swifts is that instead of clamping onto the edge of a table, these sit serenely on the table top! (I ended up getting one too)!


I couldn’t resist this lovely skein of mohair/wool/nylon boucle in the Dancing Leaf Farms booth… The texture and colors (the color way is called “Sapling”) just calls to me!


I also purchased this lovely skein of Beezigns B’Luxor, in alpaca, silk, and linen. It’s a wonderfully soft, yet hardy 3-ply hand painted in rich blues, purples, and greens.


Now I just need to find time alongside work, house chores, and all the baby and Christmas knitting (yes, I’m working away at a bunch of Christmas gifts that I hope to finish on time!) I’ve got going on, to work on two more knitting projects!! Piece of cake, right?! ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ‚

It’s become a favorite little tradition now between Phyllis and I that we shop for each other’s Christmas gifts together each year at the Fall Fiber Festival! It’s always worked out super good for us – we have lots of fun, we neither of us have to deal with any stress or pressure about finding the “perfect” gift, and last but not least, we get to enjoy giving a gift that we know the other really wants/needs! (And of course, let’s not forget that we get to enjoy a gift that we really wanted and can/will use!!

What about you? Been to any great Fiber Festivals recently? Got any clever little Holiday traditions you’d like to share? Do you gift handknits to your loved ones? If so, how’s your Christmas knitting coming along? Feel free to share in the comments, we’d love to hear all about it!

Family, Knitting

Foxy Baby

I’ve been wanting to share this project with you for a long time, but it was to be a gift, so I had to wait in order not to spoil the surprise…!

My sister, Hannah, is expecting a baby girl later this Fall! We can’t wait to meet her and welcome her into the family that loves her so dearly!

Hannah has a thing for foxes… So it naturally follows that her daughter will be blessed with a love of foxes as well! (At least until she’s old enough to make her own opinions understood!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

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I found a pattern for this stunningly adorable Sleepy Baby Red Fox sleep sack for newborns, and just HAD to make it for her! I made a lot of progress on it during the road trip to Ohio the other weekend.


The stitches used are all pretty basic crochet stitches, so the actual crocheting part isn’t difficult…


The sewing up though, is a bit complex, but the pattern has helpful pictures, along with instructions on how to do each type of sewing stitch used…


Placement of the different pieces is critical, and I had to re-sew the ears on the hat multiple times!


Even now, I think one may still be just a tiny bit crooked…


I finally decided that if I kept fussing with it, I’d make it worse instead of better…



…So if it is still a tad crooked, it just means that this foxy baby has personality! โ˜บ๏ธ

9/21/2016 Update:ย 

I have been hearing from reliable sources that Hannah’s first Baby Shower was a huge success; and that she absolutely loves the fox! Here she is, opening it up…


Many thanks to sister-in-law, Heather LaRocca for sharing this precious pic!

Photo credit – Heather LaRocca.