Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My Favorite Things (Under $50)

Last month, I shared with you my favorite things under $15. Today, I have a list of wonderful knitting related goodies worth purchasing that are under $50. Get ready to fall in love with these fab finds perfect for the upcoming holiday season.

As with the last post, please know that not one of these companies have asked me to promote their products. These suggestions come from me alone.

1. Soak Basin: Oh how I luuuuuuuuuve my Soak Basin. I have the large shallow basin (in pink!) and believe me when I say that I pull this baby out every time I wet block my knitting. Every. Single. Time. I have had mine for 4 years and it still looks shiny and new. I highly recommend this. Depending on where you purchase it and the size, a basin can rang from about $20 - $30.

2. Yarn Buddy: If you like to wind your yarn into cakes, then a yarn buddy is a terrific and fun tool to have handy for your knitting projects. A yarn buddy is basically a Lazy Susan (remember those?) with a post in the center that you slip the cake onto. They are sold in single and double options, made from a variety of woods, and range from $13 - $60+. Mine (which sadly, I cannot find online) was about $25. Look for one that is smooth (no one wants their yarn to snag) and moves with ease.
This is very similar to the one I have.

3. Hand-dyed/ Kettle-dyed yarn: Yarn color and fiber variety has come a long way in the last 20 years. Here are three of my current favorite yarn companies that do their own hand-dying.

From the East coast, Dragonfly Fibers. They have twelve different yarns plus fiber for spinners, ranging in price from $20 - $44/ skein (some of those skeins have as much as 480 yards!). I love how well their colors, both variegated and semi-solid, play well together when knitted. If you are a fan of kits (as so many of us are), then definitely stop by their kit page to see what's new.
This is Pixie in my favorite color, Winter Woods.
From the West coast, SweetGeorgia Yarns. Although this company makes both variegated and tonal semi-solid yarns, it is the subtle semi-solids that get me every time. I've had the pleasure of knitting with eight of their scrumptious yarns and I can tell you that each one has been a joy. Their skeins range from $22 - $38. For an extra special treat, check out their yarn sets.
I recently made a shawlette with this lovely skein, Flaxen Silk Fine. It drapes beautifully!

If you like a smaller more personal story behind each skein, then check out Debbie Duck Yarns. Each skein is hand- painted with tender loving care in North Carolina. The price per skein ranges from about $8 - $33.
This color is calling me (plus I love the name): "Oops! Got Paint on my Jeans." Ha!

4. Knitting books: A knitter doesn't have to make everything in a book for it to be a worthwhile investment. Knitting books not only give us the means to make beautiful and practical things, they also provide wonderful inspiration. Here are a few fun reads perfect for both inspiration and making.

Dip into your artistic side with Masterpiece Knits, fifteen designs inspired by modern works of art.

Although technically a magazine, Making is presented in a beautiful book form and includes recipes, sewing, crocheting and knitting patterns, and other creative projects to soothe the soul. 

 Do you have lots of partial skeins or have collected multiple mini skein sets over the years? If you answered yes, then Mini Skein Mania will be the perfect book for you. In this book, there are twenty-five projects ideal for both mini skeins or partial skeins - stash busting at its finest!

5. Knitting Bags come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. My favorite are washable cotton project bags made by a local designer. I can't get enough of Andi Smith's bags. She makes everything from small notion bags to large project bags. Here is the 1930's reproduction print bag she made for me.

Check out some of these prints! Her bags are always popular with the shoppers at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival.

And lastly...

**** Windmill Yarn Swift: This is by far and away the greatest yarn swift I have ever seen. I've had mine for about 7 years and I cannot recommend it enough. HornshawWoodWorks makes a very high quality yarn swift from several different beautiful woods. It is so smooth and moves effortlessly without damaging the table top. They range from $90- $130. I recognize that this is an extra special purchase and certainly does not fit in my UNDER $50 list. However, I feel like it is worth mentioning to all the yarn addicts out there. ****

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

My Favorite Things (Under $15)

Knitters sure do love receiving knitting-related gifts ANY time of year. The biggest gift-giving season will be here in a couple of months. So why not start planning ahead now (this gives you more time later for knitting and sipping hot cider by the fireplace.)

Over the years, mostly through trial and error, I have come to rely on certain brand and type products. Now you should know that not one of these companies have asked me to promote their products. These suggestions come from me alone. With that in mine, here is a list of my favorite gifts for knitters UNDER $15:

1. Bent Tapestry Needle Set: This little set runs from $4-$8 (depending where you go) and is an enormously helpful tool to keep in your knitting bag. I strongly recommend getting a set that comes with 2 metal needles. Most importantly, the tips must be bent (not straight). The bent edge and smooth finish makes the task of weaving in ends much easier.

2. Row Gauge Ruler: These handy dandy rulers range from $2-$20. The least expensive ones are made of metal (or plastic), like this Susan Bates Knit Chek.
The more expensive variety are often made of wood. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from the classic rectangle or square, to sheep and even the police box from Dr. Who!

 3. Chiaogoo Knitting Needles: A knitter can never have enough needles, especially if he/she likes to work on several projects simultaneously. For years I promoted wooden needles (still do love them especially for beginner knitters), but a couple of years ago I was introduced to the Chiaogoo metal needles and have not looked back. They run from about $8-$12 for individual needles. You can find them online or at your local yarn store (big box craft stores do not carry them).

4. Stitch Markers: Stitch markers come in a variety of materials and sizes these days. You may see them at craft fairs, your local yarn shop, or websites like Etsy. My current favorite stitch markers are made by Lantern Moon are in the shape of sheep! I love the Lantern Moon stitch makers (they have stars and other shapes too). The shapes are lightweight and are attached to a smooth metal ring- ideal factors for snag-free knitting.

5. Eucalan Wool Wash: Knitters need a proper washing product to finish their knits and take good care of their hard work. Eucalan No Rinse Wool Wash is the way to go. I prefer their unscented bottles as not all gift recipients like fragance. The no rinse feature cuts wet part of wet-blocking time in half. Love, love, love this product. They range from $4.50 (for the 3.3 oz bottles) to $15 (for the 16.9 oz bottles). The large bottles last me a couple of years- and I knit for a living!

6. Quince & Co Yarn: I am a BIG fan of American made products. All of the wool yarns from Quince & Co are "100% grown, processed, spun, twisted, dyed and labeled in the USA." My favorite yarn is Lark, a scrumptious worsted weight yarn in a gorgeous array of solid and heathered colors. Each skein is $7.50- such a steal!

7. O-Wool Yarn: Last year, I had the pleasure of knitting with O-Wool's Chunky Merino wool. Oh. My. Goodness. I loved knitting every stitch in the squishy and soft texture. Do you remember my cowl, Parquet? That was Chunky Merino in Wood Dove. I think a skein of this yarn (for only $12.50!) would be an economical purchase to make a pair of cozy mittens.

8. Home products: Debbie Bliss (who you know I want to be when I grow up) has a lovely collection of home products like dish towels, porcelain mugs and more. I confess to owning 2 different mugs and one of her towels. I love them. The colors are soft and inviting. The products are well made.

Stay tuned for a follow-up post on gifts under $50! Thanks for reading and happy knitting (and shopping), folks!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Vignette Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Robin Silver aka Donna1504!! You have one the pattern Vignette from SweetGeorgia Yarns!!!!! I will let SweetGeorgia know today, so you should receive your pattern shortly.

Thanks to all who participated! Remember to keep checking back for more fun fiber reading and fantastic giveaways. You never know if the next skein or pattern will go to you.

Happy knitting, friends!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Little Bit of Luxury (& Giveaway)

Knitters often define themselves as either process knitters (those who love the act of knitting and/or seek out the technical skills involved in knitting) or product knitters (those who knit primarily to have a finished item). Personally, I bounce back and forth between both. I'm not sure which I love more about my newest pattern: the finished product or the process of making it.

Say hello to Vignette- a fun little bit of luxury both to make and to wear. 

Recently, SweetGeorgia Yarns published a beautiful collection of designs, which includes Vignette,  in Fall with SweetGeorgia Yarns No. 2. You can see the collection here on the SweetGeorgia website or here on Ravelry. It includes such a lovely group of designs, from cozy cardigans to lacy shawls and chunky scarves to delicate hats.

I have my eye on Kristen TenDyke's Adamello scarf. If you know me, then you know I have a thing for chunky cables and this scarf fits the bill.

But let's chat a bit more about Vignette. Do you know that feeling when you step into incredibly soft and cozy slippers for the first time? Yeah, wearing these fingerless gloves is kind of like that. These modern, luxurious, and yet simple fingerless gloves offer an enticing combination of a-typical construction and heavenly finished product.

Most mittens and gloves are worked in the round from the bottom up. However, Vignette is worked flat from side to side beginning with a provisional cast-on. The main color is held together with the contrasting color and is worked in stockinette stitch for bit. Then a squishy strip of ruching is worked in only the contrasting color. Finally, both yarns are held together again and worked in stockinette stitch for the remainder of the glove. The live stitches are then grafted together in a three needle bind off, with the exception of the thumbhole.What's that? No thumb gusset? No thumb stitches to pickup and knit? No fiddly double pointed needles to work in the round? Yep, told you it was simple.

This design is ideal for highlighting delicate yarn and subtle colorways. I used SweetGeorgia's Tough Love Sock in Apricot for the main color and Silk Mist in Silver for the contrasting color. When a lace weight yarn with a bit of halo, like Silk Mist,  and soft fingering weight yarn, like Tough Love Sock,  are knit together, as they are in this design, the end result is a cozy fabric you WANT next to your skin.

Want to know the  best part? You can knit two pairs from both skeins. Can we say, holiday knitting?

Guess what, knitters. It's GIVEAWAY time!! SweetGeorgia Yarns is generously donating one pattern of Vignette to the winner of this giveaway. Aren't they the best? All you have to do is pop over to the Ravelry pattern page and favorite Vignette, then pop back here to comment. I'd love to know what colors you will be knitting your Vignette fingerless gloves in. Be sure to include your Ravelry name in the comment!

The giveaway ends on Sunday October 9. I will announce the winner on Monday October 10.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Moonshine Winner!

Congratulations to alsparky!! You have won the Moonshine Yarn Giveaway! I will contact you today so that I can mail your yarn as soon as possible.

Thanks to all who commented. Keep coming back for more fiber fun! I have another giveaway coming up very very very soon!!

In the mean time...

Happy knitting :)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Inshore Cowl and Legwarmers (& Giveaway)

This week on the MRK blog, I am sharing a bit about a super snuggly matching cowl and legwarmer set from Gansey Kids: the Inshore Cowl and Inshore Legwarmers.

It was quite blustery that day- perfect fall weather!


Keeping in theme of Gansey Kids, the cowl (and legwarmers) are worked in the round from the bottom up and feature a variety of classic textured stitch patterns found on traditional gansey pullovers.  Think of it like a gansey sampler. Both patterns also feature the fun tubular cast-on and bind off, which is terrific for these types of projects. The stretchy and almost edge-less look give these designs extra wiggle room for slipping over shoes and heads. If you’ve never tried the tubular cast-on/bind-off, now is the time. It is the perfect compliment to this cozy accessory. Not quite ready for the challenge? Then stick with the tried-and-true long-tail cast-on.

Emma's cowl and legwarmers are made with gorgeous Moonshine yarn from Juniper Moon Farm in the Popsicle colorway. This yarn is downright scrumptious- so soft, so smooth (and yet quite lofty), and so perfect for next-to-skin knits. How could it not be anything less then heavenly with that blend of alpaca, wool, and silk in so many lovely heathery colorways?

I. Love. These. Knits. I love them so much that almost as soon as I finished knitting them, I cast on a cowl for me.  My cowl was knit in Ball and Skein's Providence yarn in the Moonshadow colorway.

Emma was giggling quite a bit during this shoot.

Guess what, readers. I happen to have one skein of Moonshine in the Popsicle colorway to give away to one of you!! To put yourself in the running to win this super soft and snuggly yarn, hop over to Ravelry and favorite both the Inshore Cowl and Inshore Legwarmers.

Then come back to this post and comment which Inshore accessory you would make first and who you'd make it for (it is perfectly A-OK to say YOU, ha ha).

Be sure to let me know your Rav name (so I can see all those lovely hearts and have a way of contacting you for the win)!  Feel free to favorite as many patterns as you like and purchase your Gansey Kids collection too. You have until Sunday, September 18th to participate. I will select a winner next Monday, September 19!

Until then, happy knitting!!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sweet Georgia Yarn Winner!

Congratulations to "Tuxbird"!! You have won a beautiful skein of Sweet Georgia Yarns' Superwash DK in the Mist colorway. How exciting!! This yarn is FABULOUS and no doubt it will become your go-to dk yarn.

Keep coming back readers for more knitting fun and giveaways. There is a new giveaway coming up this week that you won't want to miss!

Happy knitting :)