Family, Knitting, Sweaters

A Sweater for Claire!

I’m working on a Fall sweater for my niece, Claire!

The pattern is Stripey Duffle Coat, by Kate Oates of Tot Toppers.

I’m knitting the size 2T and desperately trying to finish ASAP because I want her to be able to wear it this Fall before she outgrows it! ๐Ÿ˜‚

The yarn is Berroco Vintage Chunky in colors #6101 (white) and #6145 (black); and I LOVE it! SO soft and squishy and warm! ๐Ÿ˜„

I discovered this pattern whilst browsing Ravelry late one night this past Spring when visiting my sister and her family in Maryland.

The moment I saw it, I just knew I had to knit it for Claire!

We visited their local yarn shop, Cloverhill Yarn Shop in Catonsville, MD, first thing the very next morning; and purchased the yarn on the spot! ๐Ÿ˜„ What a lovely shop it was, and such sweet, nice people working there! Visiting was truly a pleasure!

Yes, I realize that I’ve had ALL Spring AND all Summer to knit this sweater… and yes, I realize that it makes no sense whatsoever to wait until now and then be in a desperate hurry to finish… but what can I say?! ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ I’m a terrible procrastinator and I almost always plan too much to do and not enough time! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Now I just have the weaving in of yarn ends, sewing on of buttons, and the blocking left to do! I’ll be sure to post a pic or two when I’m done so you can see the finished item! ๐Ÿ˜Š

What’s on your needles this Fall?? Are you a procrastinator too? If not, what’s your secret?! ๐Ÿ˜‰ We’d love to hear all about it!

~Happy Knitting!

Health, Knitting

Grateful

Today I’m enduring another migraine, but I’m grateful for the peace & quiet of my home,…

…for Sunny, always my faithful companion and loving friend,…

…and for my knitting with all of its therapeutic and meditative qualities that help to take my mind off of pain. ๐Ÿ’—

What are you especially grateful for today?

~Happy Knitting!

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˜„

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

Knitting, Stash

In Progressย 

I’ve been working away and making good progress with my yarn stash organizing and cataloging! It feels good to see my Yarn Stash Notebook filling up with yarn samples and data, and to see my Yarn Stash becoming more orderly, accessible, and therefore useable!

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Progress on the Yarn Stash Notebook!

I do take frequent breaks to do some actual knitting though! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Right now, I’m loving knitting the sample for my newest design (coming soon!!)! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Lacy, stripy chevrons…!

The yarn I’m using is Knit Circus Greatest of Ease in “Over The Rainbow Speckles,” and Expression Fiber Arts Resilient Superwash Merino Sock in “Pistachio.”

I’m also really enjoying my “just for fun” knit…

The very start of my Leaves of Grass shawl!

The pattern is “Leaves of Grass” by Jared Flood (Brooklyn Tweed)…

Feeling like I need to switch to a longer cable soon…!

The yarn I’m using is Madelinetosh Pashmina in “Thoreau.”ย It’s super soft and squishy and feels lovely in my hands as I knit. I can’t wait to snuggle up in this shawl on those cool Autumn evenings (they are still a long ways off, so I have plenty of time to finish!) ๐Ÿ™‚

This is the very first time I’ve ever knitted a circular shawl, and I’m finding that I’m really taken with the ease and simplicity of the Pi Shawl construction! At the beginning of this project, the one piece that I had absolutely no idea how to do was the circular cast on. This tutorial by Knit Picks was super helpful, and I quickly discovered that it’s not as hard as it looks! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Working on Leaves of Grass with grass for company! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Something I’m really enjoying with this knit is the excitement whenever I finish one chart and move on to the next! It’s fascinating to see how the different motifs fit together, play on each other, and seem to grow together! (This effect with the stitch patterns will be easier to see after blocking!)

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Leaves of Grass shawl.

Now that I’m on the second-to-last chart and have completed the last increase round, I have a total of nearly 600 stitches on my needles! Even though each round now takes a while to complete, I’m still excited and enjoying working this shawl! I can’t wait to see it finished! (And I’m sure I’ll be knitting another circular shawl before long!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

And last but not least, I’m trying out something new – knitting with beads!

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Practice Swatch: Arrowhead lace with beads.

This is just a little practice test swatch I’m working with some leftovers of a gorgeous alpaca yarn and some seed beads I have on hand. It took me awhile to decide where to place the beads with this Arrowhead Lace stitch pattern, and I’m still not quite sure I’m happy with the result. I think I’ll knit on it a little more and then block it and see what I think then. ๐Ÿ™‚

Of course, I’d love to hear your thoughts too! ๐Ÿ™‚ Where would you place the beads in this stitch pattern? Have you ever used beads in your knitting before? If so, what do you think of the technique? Do you like the effect?

I’d also love to hear about whether you’ve knitted or considered knitting a circular shawl before! If you’ve made one before, did you enjoy the experience? Why or why not?

As always, best wishes to each of you, and happy knitting!

~Sarah

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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!!!

Family, Knitting

In Progress

I’ve always been the sort of knitter who prefers to focus on one project, watch it grow, customize it along the way, block it with a flourish, and then move on to the next project.

But I have not been true to form lately. Before I’ve finished one project, I’m starting another, and then another…

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A pile of works in progress!

I don’t think I can honestly claim to be a one-project-at-a-time knitter any more becauseย I currently have:
… four shawls,

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Lacey Leaf Shawl
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Echo Flowers Shawl
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Serape Shawl
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Willow Shawl, worked in brioche stitch

… one pair of socks…

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Daisy Field Socks
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The second Daisy Field sock making some progress

… and a baby blanket on the needles…

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Simple garter stitch baby blanket with picot edging

With a baby sweater just about ready to be blocked!

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Yarn for baby sweater – Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Celedon and Fallen Cloud
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Baby Wrap Cardigan in progress!
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Just need to sew on the ties & block!

Waiting in the wings are: several pairs of mitts for friendsย , various baby itemsย for my newest niece or nephew on the way, and two toy rabbits!

All in all, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed and quite behind with my knitting. As much as I hate to do it, I think it may be time to work on bringing my knitting expectations back into line with reality again… ๐Ÿ˜‰

What does your To-Knit list look like? Are you a knitter who enjoys working multiple projects at a time, or do you prefer to focus on one thing at a time?

Blogs I love, Knitting

A Big Welcome to Guest Blogger Borghildur!

Today I’m super excited to introduce you to one of my favorite bloggers: Borghildur (Bogga) of knittinginfrance.com! I’ve been following her lovely blog for quite a while now, and I always find her posts interesting and inspiring! She writes about her life in France, her passion for the fiber arts (knitting and hand-dyeing yarns and wools in particular) and crafting by hand in general. Something I love about the way Bogga writes is how she shares her life and love of fiber arts in such a real and down to earth manner. She gives a glimpse into the normal and the everyday of a fellow fiber artist, and it’s a wonderful breath of fresh air!

Something else I truly admire about Bogga is the way she has turned her passion for knitting, handcrafting, and the fiber arts into her own small business – a way to support herself, doing what she loves!ย That takes a lot of courage, commitment, and hard work. Many of us (including myself) have dreamed of this; it’s so exciting to see Bogga putting it into action every day!ย You can visit her blog, knittinginfrance.com, by clicking here; and you can visit her Etsy shop by clicking here.

And now for the piece by Bogga – Enjoy!

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THE PASSION THAT GREW OR HOW I WENT FROM BEING โ€œJUSTโ€ A KNITTER TO SELLING ONLINE

Hi, my name is Borghildur or Bogga as Iโ€™m known to most people. Iโ€™m Icelandic and I live in France. First off, Iโ€™d like to thank Sarah for allowing me to participate in her blog by writing a guest post, and thank you for taking the time to read my words.

So today Iโ€™m going to talk about this passion that grew from general interest to something much bigger and totally consuming. Knitting!

If you are reading this blog, Iโ€™m guessing that you too are a knitter and maybe also a crocheter and even a spinner and thus understand how this passion can be overpowering ๐Ÿ™‚

So to begin at the beginning, as a child in Iceland, I learned to knit (among other crafts) at school and I thought that was nice and my mother enjoyed knitting so she would help me out also. I would knit simple things like garter stitch hanger covers or scarfs. When I became an adolescent I lost interest in crafts and knitting and it wasnโ€™t until I became pregnant with my first child that I really got back to knitting. At the beginning of my pregnancy I lived in France where access to knitting supplies and just general interest in the craft was almost non existent! I did however manage to source some yarn by mail order and also bought some magazines with patterns. At the time I did both knit and crochet and my supplies were either Phildar or Bรฉrgรจre de France (you may know these brands). Then we moved to Iceland for a couple of years and I continued to knit on a regular basis.ย  Then we moved back to France in 1999 and havenโ€™t left since. When I came back knitting was still almost unknown though I did make friends with 1 person who knit like me! That was exceptional.

I think everything changed when I fell pregnant with my third child. I took time off from work to be a stay at home mom but still wanted to be active and do things. I also had this dream of making my own living and doing something I love and so I looked into selling my hand knits. I actually made 3 contacts with shops that agreed to buy and sell my hand knits. I did also do some commission knitting for individuals – those were only baby clothes.

baby set

As for the three shops, one was a shop in downtown Reykjavik, Iceland, that sold baby items and for them I crocheted softies/toys for small babies. That went on for about a year but as the crocheted toys did not sell as well as expected I stopped doing them.

baby bunny

Then there was the souvenir shop at the National Museum of Iceland. I worked with them for about 2 years. I would knit accessories out of Icelandic wool, loop and lett loop. Accessories for adults and children. I would mostly use traditional patterns and colour work and I really enjoyed knitting those and was super proud that my handiwork was being sold at the National Museum.

Here are some picture to give you an idea of the items I knit for them.

sjonvarpssokkarย hat and mitten sheep sets

traditional icelandic mittsย traditional icelandic scarfs

Then there was an independently owned and run souvenir shop in downtown Reykjavik, Iceland, and for them I mostly did knit and felted accessories. What I was most proud of there were my handbags that I designed and knit and felted for them only. I used Kuoni yarn (Estonian) and even though that was not Icelandic those did sell well.

handknit bag

my own design for knit and felted handbagsย more knit and felted hats and mitts

So this was really the beginning of me trying to turn my love of knitting into something that could bring me income. I soon realised that selling finished goods was not a viable solution. When you have shop contracts thats good but when selling to individuals, it is very difficult to get a valid price for your work and materials. And for shops, well if your things sell well, you need to find the time to fulfil incoming orders. So I abandoned this idea.

However this had opened up my mind to so many other things fibre related and I began to document myself. I would buy a gazillion books and read and learn about all sorts of knitting techniques, fibres, tools, selling techniques and so forth. I began knitting constantly, every chance I had. Hereโ€™s a picture of me knitting on my extreme knitting needles which I found quite interesting, although due to the size of the needles I always felt that I was not really knitting as the movements are not the same.

knitting on giant needles

In 2011 I suffered a back injury and was out of work for a year. During that time I seriously thought about how I could turn this passion and new knowledge into a job with an income. I began dyeing yarn (which I LOVE doing) and then later on I learned to spin (also a huge passion for me).

And that is when I launched my online knitting shop which I still enjoy running. I developed a passion for making stitch markers and knitting needle holders and sell those in my shop. And I even tried a little designing only I didnโ€™t actually write down the patterns like I should! I wish I had!! I designed a cowl and fingerless mittens and those I did write down but the super cute baby dress that has received lots of complimentsโ€ฆ. I did not write that one down!

baby dress

Isnโ€™t that cute? I used my own hand dyed yarn as well ๐Ÿ™‚

And the cowl and mittens also knit with my hand dyed yarns:

bogga mittensย bogga cowl

So as you can see Iโ€™ve come a long way from my child hood garter stitch scarfs. Iโ€™m constantly trying to learn more about fibre and yarn, how they can be worked, what the quality of each one is, how to best dye or knit them. Iโ€™m also progressing as a spinner and a hand dyer and maker of accessories. I really love what I do and as of recently I have started blogging as well as upped the ante on my social media presence and that is a great way to share my passion with others and continue to learn and help others on their way to more learning as well.

When I look over my โ€œcareerโ€ in the knitting business, what I love most is the actual knitting and spinning. Knitting has also introduced to me to a lot of interesting likeminded people and that is a great perk and knitters/crocheters are just such nice people as we all know ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you enjoyed reading about how my passion went from knitting garter stitch hanger covers to where Iโ€™m at now. If you too have dabbled in selling your work or if you have become obsessed with learning everything there is to learn about knitting/spinning/crocheting/dyeing Iโ€™d love to hear about your experience.

Thatโ€™s all. thank you for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Bogga

Knitting, Maryland Sheep and Wool

Current Events

The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival is this weekend, May 2nd and 3rd! I’m so excited, I can hardly wait!! Mom and I go together every year, it’s our tradition! We missed last year because of my surgery, so we’ve been looking forward to this a long time! This year is also special because Annelies is planning to bring Vera and join us! It’s going to be loads of fun!

At the Maryland Sheep & Wool there are so many fascinating vendors with lovely yarns; wools for spinning, dying, and felting; and beautifully handmade fiber craft tools. And I love seeing theย animals – sheep, ย alpacas, llamas, and angora rabbits! The sheepdog trials are always such fun to watch! And the people! So many interesting people, and so many of them wearing gorgeous handmade items they crafted themselves, or gifted to them by a loved one or friend! If you are in the area this weekend, I heartily encourage you to make the time to stop by!

In other news, I decided that my Lace Leaf Shawl needed to be knit on larger needles…

So, during a car ride of several hours a couple weekends ago, I started over on size 7s (4.5mm). (I had originally been using size 5s (3.5mm)).

Havingย a second ball of “Row of Tulips,” I played it safe…

I cast on with the larger needles and the second ball of yarn, knit for awhile…


… and then compared the two fabrics. I decided that I liked the fabric resulting from the bigger needles better, so I kept knitting on that one, and pulled out and re-wound the other!

ย There’s been plenty of knitting time, so I’ve made good progress…

ready to begin the edging
finishing up the edging


I’m just starting to cast off. Perhaps I’ll have it done in time to wear to the Sheep & Wool?!

rockingham county fair, Spinning

Spinning at the Fair

This week was Fair Week in The Valley, and for me that means demonstrating spinning sheep’s wool into yarn every evening!

I look forward to it every year! So much fun!

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What have you been doing for fun this week?