Hey friends. Just popping in real quick to let you know that Gudrun Johnston, the Shetland Trader, is headed to Philly tonight.

She’ll be at Rosie’s Yarn Cellar tomorrow, Saturday April 16, 11am-5:30pm, for a book signing and trunk show. If you are local enough to come by, you should! Her designs are gorgeous and she’s a really awesome person!

Hey Philly-Area Knitters! Come meet The Shetland Trader on 4/16/11

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c o l d

I’m keeping warm over here, with the fresh snow outside (only 5 inches in Philly), hot coffee on the table, wool drying on the radiator, and great tunes to keep my heart and head happy (currently rotating Bruce Springsteen, the early years), and thought I’d pop in to say “hey!” and “look at some things I made” and “look at some things I will be making.”

As you may remember, last February I started working weekends at Rosie’s Yarn Cellar and could no longer resist the call of the Manos Rittenhouse 5-ply. You haven’t tried it yet? Shame on you. It really is amazing. AMAZING. (Rosie’s also ships, ahem. In case you need some enabling and can’t find it locally). This was also during a time of great strife for me, computer-wise. My trusty laptop had become the breeding ground of a nasty virus and one of my friends was kind enough to help me out on that front. In true barter fashion, all he asked for was a handknit hat in return. One that he could throw his hair up into, push back on his head a bit, and keep warm and awesome in its slouchiness. Well, that just begs to be the Felicity Hat if you ask me.

I knit this blue one for myself, since I had unexpectedly gifted my previously made one to a dear friend while dancing around drunkenly together at her housewarming party a few months prior.

FO 2010 : finished back in february

I wore this hat for many months last year, very pleased with it. Sadly, it never really lived up to the awesomeness of that first Felicity hat. I don’t think I knit the body of the hat as long as the first.

Felicity

I also knit this brown one. This one being for my computer savvy friend with a penchant for slouchy hats. Of course, due to bad schedules on both our parts I didn’t end up gifting him a handknit hat until well into early summer. At that time, I had misplaced this brown one and so the blue hat when to live on the head of an amazing drummer and the brown one became mine. The brown one is my go to hat for cold days. The Rittenhouse has held up without any pilling through a lot of putting on, taking off, being shoved into coat pockets, dropped on the floor, stuffed into the bottom corner of a bag (I need my knits to be hearty, since I am not so super delicate with clothes. Clothes are meant to be worn and loved.).

These two hats cemented my absolute love for the Rittenhouse 5-ply and the colorway Smoke might be the most perfect gray every created. After seeing a friend design a gorgeous cabled sweater with this yarn, I knew I wanted to make something with cables in it for my next project with this yarn.

I need to finish this sweater

I cast on at the end of summer but sadly this sweater’s progress was seriously derailed by some deadline knitting quickly followed by holiday knitting. This is my next big thing to tackle and finish. I already know that this sweater will bring nothing but smiles. (Knitting details: Lauren by Ann Weaver. Manos Rittenhouse 5-ply in Smoke. Size 7 needles. Alternating skeins every other row)

I need to finish this sweater

In conclusion. Manos Rittenhouse 5-ply. I love you.

Oh, and just for fun, here’s a picture of our kitchen-to-be! We gutted the old kitchen and gutted the room where the new kitchen will be and are plowing ahead with this project. I will definitely show more photos of this room in progress, since it will be our largest renovation undertaking.

Coming Soon! New Kitchen!

My love for Rowanspun Aran…

December 30, 2010

A year or so ago, I acquired a small lot of 6 skeins of Rowanspun Aran in a dark blue color. It was initially going to become a Garter Yoke Cardigan, but after I increased way too much on the raglan and I had to ripout I decided to put the yarn aside for something else. It was one of those moments of realization that while you love the yarn and love the pattern, it wasn’t coming together right. I’m trying to listen to those realizations when they happen, instead of ignoring them until the project is almost finished, or finished, and all I have is regret and the need to rip.

Rowanspun Aran

Along came Idlewood, and I knew that would be the right pairing of pattern and yarn. I cast on shortly after Rhinebeck and finished before Thankgiving. A quick knit that when bound off filled me with the realization that yes, this was perfect and I would be wearing this sweater all the time.

another shot of my finished idlewood

I have been. I wear it at least once a week. It’s the perfect layering sweater for the cold we’ve been having, and the yarn is so crunchy yet soft. Rowanspun Aran has won my heart over. It really sucks that it’s discontinued and only a few people are destashing it on Ravelry but not in quantities or colors I really want. The texture of the yarn reminds me of Manos Classica in it’s subtle thick-thin and the fabric it knits into is gorgeous. I’ve gotten so many compliments on it. In fact, I really need to wash and re-block it today so I can continue to wear it ad nauseum. I really need to knit another one of these sweater, with a little longer of sleeves. Perhaps elbow length or even 3/4 length? But what yarn to use?!

Details:
Pattern: Idlewood by Cecily Glowik Macdonald
Size: 40 but at a smaller gauge
Yarn: Rowanspun Aran, colorway 965, used ~4.5 skeins
Needles: US 9 | 5.5mm
Mods: My gauge is a tad tighter, so I am knitting up a size and fitting it to me as I knit. I used size 9s for both the cowl and the body since the fabric was fine enough, and drapey enough. And I didn’t notice that I was supposed to use a larger needle for the cowl. Heh. I didn’t follow the directions for the increases, as I am not very curvy. I did 2 sets of increases spaced accordingly, since I tried on the sweater to place them. I added 2 inches to the length of the body, since I am a long person and the length in the pattern didn’t hit where I wanted it to in order to get more of a tunic silhouette.

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I also used the left over half skein to knit a winter hat for my dear brother. He doesn’t usually wear winter hats but has been this past season since upstate NY has been mighty chilly. Poor thing is wearing the hat I made him years ago when I started picking up knitting again and I know that hat is too small. I’m sending off this warm treat to him soon to keep that smart brain warm.

Rowanspun hat for my dear brother

Details:
Pattern: Kim’s Hat by Kim Hamlin
Size: Largest (my brother is 6’3”. That’s a big human.)
Yarn: Rowanspun Aran, colorway 965, ~.6 of a skein (~160yds)
Needles: US 8 | 5.0 mm
Mods: ribbed brim is 2 inches long and the body of the hat had added length too. Wanted to make sure he could fold over the brim and keep most of his ears warm still.

OH…AND…both of these projects came totally from stash so they count for my Stashdown project! How exciting!

These days

November 4, 2010

I had every intention of blogging yesterday, especially since I had a lovely few hours with Ms. Through the Loops and Ms. Choo Choo Knits.

Wednesday with some friends

We stopped by Loop and Rosie’s Yarn Cellar, since they had never been to either, and then had a long lunch with knitting and chit chat. I wore my Ulmus for the occasion!

wednesday

Then back to the grind I went. Yesterday involved doing work (for my job) and doing work (on the house).

We’ve seen a lot of this lately:

Saturday

FO 2010 | Ulmus Shawl

September 28, 2010

Well, this shawl is simply fantastic. Why it took me so long to finish it is beyond me.

FO 2010 | Ulmus

According to my project page on Ravelry, I started this little number in May 2009 when the pattern was released. I was immediately enamored with it, since stripes are kind of a passion of mine and this would give me a chance to utilize 2 skeins of sock yarn from stash to make something so cute.

Ulmus

I went with a skein of Madelintosh Sock in Norway Spruce (oh look. teal. what a surprise) and a skein of Socks that Rock Lightweight in Obsidian (I do love brown), with plans to knit to largest size. And I cast on and knit knit knit for a little while. And then I put it down to start something else, with all intentions of returning to Ulmus shortly…

YIP 2009 | 6.26.09

…and then all of a sudden it’s 2010. I put this project on my stash down list because I really wanted to get it finished and around my neck. That plan proved successful because now it is finished, in all its choqua glory.

I ran out of the Norway Spruce yarn at the end of the border, so I had to omit 2 rows and bind off with some Louet Gems in teal. See? Having a lot of teal yarn really does pay off, eh?

FO 2010 | Ulmus

Details:
Size: Largest in pattern
Needle: US 6 – 4.0 mm
Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight (Colorway: obsidian)
Madelinetosh Tosh Sock (Colorway: norway spruce)
Louet Gems (Colorway: teal)
Mods: Omitted last 2 rows before the bind off

Fall is slowly rolling in. Since summer is my least favorite season (I belong in cold weather), I am so pleased that the days are still warm but in a different way. There’s something about 85 degree heat in September that feels drastically different from 85 degree heat in July or August. Maybe it’s the cool nights. Maybe it’s the lack of the humidity. Regardless, nothing but smiles over here.

As the temperatures drop to more humane standards, I find myself continuing to wrap my arms around my possessions and my relationship with material items. As all you crafters can understand, this naturally leads to thoughts of how to manage the yarn and fabric and other crafty detritus acquired over many years of making things with your hands. Sometimes I have fleeting thoughts of dumping everything and starting from scratch, stash-wise, but then I remember how much I love the yarn and fabric I’ve lovingly picked out and purchased and how I want to be able to use it and love it as a garment or quilt. I had many crafty goals in January 2010, but sadly those are long forgotten. I still have piles of things half knit and half sewn. Many projects stalled out mid-way. And enough yarn and fabric for many more. Thus enters the 6 month Stashdown.

Starting September 6, 2010 and ending around April 6, 2010*, I have a list of projects I want to knit out of the yarn I currently have in my cupboard. The list is not really prioritized or to be followed in any real order, other than to try to accomplish the whole thing by early Spring 2011. There are some gifts, some socks, some scarves, some WIPs, and many things I’ve been wanting to have for myself. So here it goes, friends. Wish me luck! If you want to check in and see what the list is or the progress made on it, you can check out my ravelry page for finished items and items in progress or my blog page which houses the whole list.

If you find yourself embarking on a stash-down goal of your own, tell me about it in the comments or leave a link to your blog so I can cheer you along as well!

And there are some other non-crafty items to share with you, from this past summer. To whet your appetite, here’s a lovely sunset from a recent trip to Vermont. More to come soon.

Sunset driving

*Depending on how this plan goes, I may want to extend the deadline and add more projects to the list.

I recently completed my second Shetland Triangle, so felt it was about time to blog about both. What can be said about this pattern that hasn’t been said already? Ravelry boasts a total of 3169 projects, and counting, and I already know I’ll be making at least one more. Let’s get on to the details!

Shetland Triangle One

Ready to be blocked

I had initially purchased 3 skeins of Socks that Rock heavyweight in Grawk (one of those awesome Raven colorways) for a February Lady Sweater for myself. Since that time, many moons ago, my plans for the yarn changed. I destashed one skein and then in a fit of unable-to-get-rid-of-you-cause-you-are-so-pretty, I cast on for the Shetland Triangle with the other two.

353/365.2 | can't get enough

Socks that Rock heavyweight is more of a sport-weight yarn, so I knit this up on US 7 / 4.5mm needles. Heeding the advice from a fellow knitter, I made sure to leave enough yarn for the edging, since the cast off takes up a fair amount of yarn. From start to finish, this took 11 days and I got 13 repeats done before the edge chart.

Shetland Triange

I wet blocked but not aggressively enough. After a couple of hours off the pins, being completely dry, it started to pucker up again. Do you think it has to do with the yarn or does it need a more vigorous blocking? Any tips are greatly appreciated!

I made no modifications and absolutely adore this knitted triangle. Once it was finished, it became my go-to neck warmer during the end of the long winter in Philadelphia and it has become my throw-in-my-bag scarf this summer in case air conditioning is particularly frosty in some establishments.

Sadly, I haven’t gotten a good FO picture of it yet, but I blame that on the shoddy blocking. There is nothing but love for this little knit!

361/365.2 | forty-five degrees

Details
US 7 – 4.5 mm
Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Heavyweight (1.8 skeins = 630.0 yards)
Colorway: grawk
Ravelry Project Page

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Shetland Triangle Two

I’ve been quite enamored with the Swan’s Island Fingering that Rosie’s Yarn Cellar has been stocking for a little while now. I dream of one day knitting a cardigan from this lightweight yarn, but know that will never happen due to the expense and also in preservation of my sanity. Instead, I purchased one skein of this whopping put-up (580yds | 530meters) in the Indigo colorway, with plans of making a gift Shetland Triangle.

I knit this one on US 5 / 3.75mm but probably should have used one size bigger. The fabric is lovely, not too dense and not too loose, but I was hoping to get a larger shawl out of this. More of a scarf-size, I’m still pleased with the outcome. I think I got 14 or 15 repeats before the edging, but truthfully I forgot to write down the number before gifting it.

Shetland Triangle #2

Gifted to one of my oldest and dearest friends, Laura, for her June birthday, it was received happily. My mom wants one too, since this is the perfect blue and the perfect pattern for what my mom invisions for herself in terms of a classy, yet casual, shawl to throw on when the temperatures dip. I need Rosie’s to get 2 more skeins of this Indigo, and then I’m going to town on a third, but this time with over 1000yds of amazing yarn.

Shetland Triangle #2

Details
US 5 | 3.5mm
Swan’s Island Certified Organic Fingering Merino (1 skein = 580 yds)
Colorway: Indigo
Ravelry Project Page