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! ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ™ƒ

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

SUCH an innocent face! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ’—

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

Heehee!! Not for a second!๐Ÿ˜‚ But it sure was cute! ๐Ÿ’—

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. ๐Ÿ˜Š Happy Ending! ๐Ÿ˜„

Knitting, Puppy

Sunny!

Hello! Iโ€™m Sundance โ€œSunnyโ€ Inskeep! Iโ€™m a Giant Maso (drool-less) Mastiff. Iโ€™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! ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’—

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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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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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!” ๐Ÿ˜‰

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So painful! But she’s SO cute! ๐Ÿ˜€

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

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…but not chew them…” ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Sorry for the blur; it’s really hard to get a photo of her being still unless she’s asleep! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sunny prefers to stay as close to us as possible,ย which is totally awesome! ๐Ÿ˜€

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I love that her definition of “together” seems to equal “touching” – ย most of the time! ๐Ÿ™‚

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… ๐Ÿ™‚

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚

…both outdoors and in! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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.ย 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Do you have any pets? What’s on your needles now? We’d love to hear all about it! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜„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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! 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!