Monday, December 31, 2007

GWOY: A great way to play!

One of the great benefits for me from membership in the Association of Knitwear Designers is the ability to knit swatches for TNNA's semi-annual conventions. These swatches are made into the famous Great Wall of Yarn -- showcasing both the latest yarns from the industry as well as the ability to showcase each designer's talents and creativity. A definite win-win! Here's a link to the swatches I did last year.

Here are the swatches I did for this year's convention in Long Beach:
This is my favorite yarn this time around. Dale of Norway haas a new yarn, called Lerke, that is 52% merino and 48% cotton. What a joy it is to knit! I just know this yarn will make fabulous spring/summer socks! And the color is a very cool dusty tealy green. I love this stuff. Knit on #2 dpns, the lacy toe-up sock went together quickly and looks great with the picot trim at the cuff.Probably my second favorite yarn this batch is the O-Wool's Classic 2-ply. It holds a lace pattern beautifully -- looking very crisp -- but is soft as butter to the touch. I swatched a cowl here that I think would be a wonderful winter accessory! On #2 circulars, this wool was a dream to knit.This mitten is knit with Lorna's Laces Green Line DK (100% organic merino). Because it's a hand-dyed yarn, it has some stripey-ness, but knits up beautifully and would make a lovely pair of cozy mittens. I used #4 dpns to make this mitten and the feel of the tension is close without being tight, if you know what I mean.

I have to admit it -- I LOVE wool from New Zealand. This sock was made using Magic Garden's Classic Prints, a 100% NZ washable wool in a gorgeous colorway. On #4 dpns, this sock feels perfect. I did a traveling stitch pattern on the toe-up sock (doing a k1p1 sole) following up the leg. The heel is a short-rowed garter heel.

This little sweater is done with M&K's Eco-Bomwoll (organic 100% cotton) that has a nice, soft feel that holds a nice clear look to the lace-work on this simple raglan cardi. I worked this flat on #5 circular from the top down (placing the sleeve sts on hold while I finished the body). The "hanger" is made with florist wire.

This is another sumptuous yarn ... Plymouth's Royal Llama Linen is 40% llama, 35% silk, and 25% linen. It holds a twisted stitch pattern nicely but has a very soft, comfy feel to it. This vest was done with #5 dpns and would make into a VERY nice vest or sweater for anyone on your list.

I love doing these GWOY swatches ... occasionally I'll hear from a company whose yarn I've swatched and I've had yarn shop owners who have seen my card/tag that I place on each swatch. So it's a nice marketing tool for me while also letting me play with yarn that I might otherwise not know about (or be able to afford).

Friday, December 14, 2007

Swaps: the other side of it

I honestly love swaps -- I love the giving part ... the trying to come up with a design for someone that they'll love and then treats in addition. Well, today, I was reminded of the other side of swaps!
As I've mentioned, I did a stocking swap through Nissa at Simple Gifts. I designed a Victorian lace stocking for my swap buddy up in Canada and included some treats for her too. Well today I got my stocking from Liz in North Carolina.

Isn't she sweet! Two skeins of Bartlett wool (charcoal -- one of the coolest colors), handmade ornaments, hand lotion, candy canes and a gorgeous, felted wool stocking! What a haul ... and I can't wait to design a thank you for her with that lovely, lovely wool!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Books: ok this is so cool ....

... to see in print on someone else's blog ..... scroll down through and look for mention of a knitting book ....

keep praying folks that this one is as wonderful as we're hoping it's going to be!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Swaps: Mittens

As I mentioned earlier, I've been working hard to finish all my swaps before the Dec 8th deadline .... and I did it! All the swap packages went out yesterday and here's the mitten package that went to my KTC swap partner:

With this swap, I didn't HAVE TO knit the final product .... just get a pattern, pick some yarn and other treats, and send it off. But since I'm a bit OCD about knitting and designing, I first had to design, than knit, the prototype for the design that I created just for my partner! So I ended up knitting, but it was so much fun ... I'm going to make another pair (these will go to my green-loving daughter) for me!

I hope my partner enjoys her custom-designed pattern, yarns I chose for her and the treats I added -- I had much fun with this SWAP!

Swaps: Victorian Stocking

Well, I've been busy working on all those swaps for which I signed up! I was able to get to the Post Office yesterday (in spite of BamBam being sick as a dog!) and sent off all the swap packages.

Here's the one that went to Canada for the stocking swap organized by Nissa over at Simple Gifts:
Of course, a stocking wouldn't be any fun without filling -- so Celestial Seasonings tea and Chocolate filled it to the brim! I hope my partner likes it as much as I enjoyed designing and making it!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Retreat: Mark your calendars now ...

... to attend the 2nd Annual knitting retreat at Walburga Abbey

I'll post more details as the retreat approaches, but thought you'd like to get this on your calendars. We had a wonderful crowd this past Fall and are really looking forward to doing this every year!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Advent: Knitting up a storm!

One thing I really love about living in the Rocky Mountains is the NEED to knit warm and cozies for family and friends. Today I got an email from a local shop linking to this very cool German site where they have a julekalendar -- a knitting project for every day of December!

How cool is that?