A knitting challenge!

Our knitting group’s annual stash exchange was held last Saturday, and on the following day, one of the moderators challenged us to be the first to post a photo of our first FO from stash exchange yarn.  I can’t resist a challenge, so I casted on for a Thorpe Hat using some bulky handspun yarn I’d just acquired.

However, it did not turn out well.

Ugh!

Ugh!

It’s just too huge and goofy!  So I frogged it right away and tried out a few simple lace patterns.

Almost perfect.

Almost perfect.

I just needed to tweak a little to get the borders right.   I ended up doing:

Row 1: K3 *YO, K2tog* until last 2 sts, then K2.

Row 2: Purl.

I did these two rows until I ran out of yarn, then I bound off.  I had about 6 inches of yarn left over, about 2 after weaving in my ends.  It’s blocking now, and I’m happy with it!

Just what I wanted.

Just what I wanted.

It’s not a long scarf, so I’m imagining it worn just crossed below the neck or so, and fastened with a simple shawl pin.

Solano and Stash Enhancement, Oops.

Today the kids and I made a day trip to visit a friend in Petaluma.  I had gotten interested in taking my frustrating Cormo locks to a mill in Valley Ford, about a half hour drive from Petaluma, that I’d discovered.  It turned out that my amount was too small to process affordably, but we decided to check out the mercantile anyway!

The town of Valley Ford seems to consist of about a dozen buildings along a short stretch of highway.  It was hard to understand where it was acceptable to park, but I felt safe leaving my car in front of the local grocery.

Village market

Village market

From there, it was about 50 feet back to Valley Ford Wool Mill!

Wool!!!

Wool!!!  A-ha moment; it’s only been in business since 2013, THAT’S why we hadn’t heard of it!

Of course, we couldn’t check out the mill itself, but the mercantile was more than satisfying.

Lovely shop

Lovely shop

Local yarns galore!

Local yarns galore!

Spinning fiber!

Spinning fiber!

Beeswax candles!

Beeswax candles!

The Truth.

The Truth.  Click for a clearer view.

I would like to print this info out on small cards to pass out to people who gush over my handknit items and insist that I should sell them.  Um, yeah, I’d make a great living doing that, because who WOULDN’T pay $375 for a hat?

More local yarns!

More local yarns!

Locally made soaps, etc.

Locally made soaps, etc.

Since our knitting group had our stash exchange yesterday, this outing was kind of like going into a candy store the day after Halloween!  Initially, I left without buying anything, but after lunch, I dashed back in for a few of these lovely soaps.  I wish you could smell how delightful they are!!  I resisted the urge to buy a very pretty top.  I can’t remember why….?

Restraint.

Restraint.

And on to the Stash Enhancement, Oops.

Oops, where will I put all of this?!?

Oops, where will I put all of this?!?

I knew my friend had some roving for me, but the photo she’d texted me did not have me prepared for the huge amount!  Part of the green is 15 ounces.  I have a few sweater’s worth of wool here to spin, as well as a sweater’s amount of Cascade 220 Heathers (always lovely!), and some sweet fabric.  I think the Wee Girl and I will dye up some of these silk scarves as holiday gifts for her teachers.  I’m eyeing the yellow/blue fabric and thinking of a blouse from one of my sewing books….  Oh, the possibilities!

Stash exchange shame

Tonight was my knitting group’s annual stash exchange, a party where we take our unwanted yarn, pile it on the table, and take turns choosing new-to-us yarns! It’s so much fun! The table starts out overflowing, but by the end it’s sparse. What isn’t chosen gets donated to charity. IMG_6691.JPG IMG_6693.JPG IMG_6692.JPG I was a little dismayed to find myself taking so much home when if promised myself to leave with less than I’d brought.

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However, when I break it down, it’s completely reasonable! Bear yarn! Charity yarn doesn’t count toward the stash! IMG_6697.JPG Yarn I’d taken that no one wanted, so I took it home. IMG_6698-1 And that only leaves this! IMG_6700.JPG 3 sock yarns, one skein of bulky handspun, a few skeins of orange wool, and a huge amount of fiber for spinning. Totally reasonable, right?

I am especially motivated to knit this up. This yarn is what we call a Repeat Offender, meaning that it’s shown up at the stash exchange a time or two. This time I plan to ball it up soon and get it knitted up so it doesn’t make another appearance. :0     IMG_6701-0.JPG

Lost, found, FO

As I told you yesterday, My knitting notions box had gone missing! I did plenty of organizing and tidying up today in hopes of coming across it, and I was successful! I’d put it into a canvas bag that I often use for knit night, although I hadn’t intended on using it yesterday. Oh, well, at least I found it and was able to complete my “I” bear. So far the names being tossed around are Inigo and Isaac. What do you think?

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I made some kind of bizarre mistake on the pants, so the lucky bear received a pocket to disguise it!

“J” bear is already on the needles, so suggestions for J names are most welcome, in addition to input on “I” names!

Honeybee cardigan, words of advice

Oh, such slow going! This is a tricky one- it isn’t getting that much knitting time due to the lace (lace and children, or lace and knit night, don’t go together so well), and when I do work on it, two of the rows are particularly slow. My biggest advice to you, if you are considering knitting this cardigan, get LACE TIPS!!! The sharper, the better!!!

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Textured Shawl FO

To be honest, I wasn’t super excited about how this shawl turned out.  I felt it was too narrow and long, and that I might not get much use out of it.  I was just about ready to frog it, but asked the Wee Girl to take a few photos of it anyway.  If nothing else, I needed them for my project on Ravelry.

peekaboo!

peekaboo!

These photos won me over, however.  I think it’s the cutie peeking over my shoulder, and the fact that the shawl can fit both of us.  I don’t think this is destined for the frog pond after all.

The pattern is “Textured Shawl Recipe” by Orlane, found here on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/textured-shawl-recipe  The yarn is my handspun.

Mother (Bear Project) Lode!

The photos from my friend’s recent bear distribution trip to Africa have been uploaded– there are nearly 3,000 bear photos to look through!  I found 12 of my own bears among them!  Whewwwwww, some of these photos will really make me think twice before complaining about something I want or “need….”

Alexis Bear and little brother.

Alexis Bear and little brother.

Alexis Bear.

Alexis Bear.

Bella Bear

Bella Bear

Claire Bear

Claire Bear

Claude Bear

Claude Bear

Emily Bear

Emily Bear

Linda Bear

Linda Bear

Matt Bear

Matt Bear

Omar Bear

Omar Bear

Rosemarie Bear

Rosemarie Bear

The Doctor

The Doctor

Ursula’s new owner is particularly smiley!

Ursula Bear

Ursula Bear

Yasuko Bear

Yasuko Bear

And this last bear isn’t mine, but I love this bear-eating baby!

Chomp!

Chomp!

Slow going

The honeybee cardigan is not a quick knit! After about 5 days, I only have a few inches done, and there has been some major sick day movie watching going on!

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In conclusion, I think this was a good choice for my NaKniSweMo knit, because, even if I don’t finish, at least I’ll get a good amount done. Also! If you are considering this pattern, I highly recommend lace-tip needles! With less sharp needles, this would be even slower…

Mother Bear sneak peek!!

Did I mention that my knitting friend travelled to Africa with the founder of the Mother Bear Project to distribute bears??!! I got a few sneak peeks of our bears, just about to be given to their new owners! Most of the photos won’t be revealed until later this month, so I’m lucky to be able to share these with you!

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My kids and I also received a few awesome souvenirs- I love my bracelet- it was made by an organization called Relate, which looks really cool, and supports different causes; in this case, the proceeds go towards mosquito nets and malaria treatments. The beading is done by elderly people, most of whom support their entire families (including grandchildren orphaned by AIDS), and the finishing is done by young people who gain skills and confidence to move toward their career goals. This is probably among the top socially-conscience gifts I’ve ever received, and I love it!

http://www.relate.org.za/

I can’t wait to see more photos of the bears in Africa, and share them with you!