Thursday, April 26, 2012

Yarn Winner!

And the winner of the second half of the giveaway is....

Liz of Sweet Yarn!

Liz, shoot me an email at keepittoadullroar (at) gmail (dot) com and let me know where to send your yarn :-)


Thank you all so much for playing and letting me ramble yarn-talk at ya ;-) And a big thanks to Cirilia and Skacel for making it possible!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rooty!

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Rooty!

A little silly, a little hippie-ish, this hat is named after our favorite local eco-café (Back to the Roots) where it was photographed and partially inspired. A simple hat with a quirky brim and some subtle texture throughout- work in two similar colorways for a blend-y effect or solid/with contrasting colors for something more bold. Here it's shown in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino (the worsted weight one) in Earl Gray and Filigree. (You can peek at the solid-colored prototype here. )

Bonus points if you can say the name without mentally adding “-tooty fresh and fruity” (I can’t.)


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You can check ole Rooty out on Ravelry, here.

or

Friday, April 20, 2012

In Which Alex Enters the World of Book Publishing

WWMMK?

I can't believe I forgot to blog about this.

Doodz. I am curating a book!! A book of knitting patterns for the post-apocalyptic world. But, y'know, fashiony. Hip hip, hooray! I'll be working with Cooperative Press (Shannon Okey's lil publishing house) and bringing my dear talented pal Vivian Aubrey in to make everything look ridiculously fantastic, photo-wise.


(There are still 10 days left to submit, for you designers out there. Lots more info here. )

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Yarn Postcard #2 + Giveaway!

Update: The winner has been announced- I'm turning off comments so no one enters by accident :-)

(For the first half of this little undertaking, check out this post.)

So last time I skipped the explanation for the Yarn Postcard project in favor of posting a bajillionty pictures...but now, let's see what Cirilia from Skacel has to say:

The typical life cycle of a yarn starts at a mill, or even further back, at a farm. Getting a yarn to market means hours of discussion, research, and engineering. It’s a fantastically interesting process that I’ve been lucky to be a part of, but it is just the beginning. When a yarn arrives, promotion begins. Shade cards are assembled and sales representatives hit the road to visit yarn shops across the country. Yarns and shade cards are sent to designers and many months later, a design might emerge. The design process is labor intensive and publication schedules are protracted, especially true for books.

As a designer, I know that yarns have lots of adventures prior to publication. Even the yarns that don’t end up in a finished design can be instructive or interesting in some way. Yarns will travel with us, or keep us company at home. Suddenly I had to know what these yarns were doing out in the world, free from grading restrictions, column limitations, strict washing instructions. What if the yarn could send me a postcard? I’ve asked some of my favorite designers to do just that, sending them a hand-picked assortment of yarns and asking them to document what happens, however large or small.

Admittedly, my yarn's adventures have been limited so far- they're mostly just hanging out with the rest of the stash. As time goes on, I'm sure you'll see some of these re-emerge in their final knitted form... and a few will be continuing their adventure elsewhere. But I'll get to that- let's just say hello to them for now, shall we? We covered a few yarns in the last post, but we're going balls-to-the-wall here.

accordion
Schulana Accordion
80% Merino, 20% Mohair; worsted weight

I have to say, I'm kind of a wimp about itchiness, but this is a darned soft yarn for being 20% mohair! It's a cabled yarn, which means each of the plies are made up of even smaller plies and if you were to take a cross-section of the yarn, it would be very round. Usually this means a nice stable yarn with great stitch definition, and that's the impression I'm getting from this guy here. I'm thinking something with cables, perhaps?


angora
Schulana Angora-Fashion
80% Angora, 20% Nylon, DK-ish weight

Angora is the pretty-pretty-princess of yarns, and that's pretty much how I feel about this one. It's super soft and luxurious. The nylon will, hopefully, keep it from shedding like crazy (angora's unfortunate pitfall.) This pale silvery gray is soooo my color. I don't know what I'll do with this one yet, but it'll be dainty as hell.


donegal
Schulana Donegal-Tweed: The Genuine Donegal.
95% "Pure new wool", 5% Cashmere; worsted weight

First of all, I think that ram would make a great tattoo. Secondly, how much do I love a yarn with a subtitle? Third... this is really soft for a Donegal. I mean, it's no merino, but I could actually see myself wearing this which is more than I can say for a lot of Donegal Tweeds. Love the oatmealy color, love the dense, "chewy" feel of the yarn. I think this would be a fantastic jacket, actually.


schulanagrande
Schulana Grande
100% Virgin wool; chunky weight? Maybe super chunky?

This stuff is Grande indeed. Big ole fat wool! Big ole bright color! It wants to be a kid's hat so bad it could scream.


simpli
Simplicity and Simpliworsted by HiKoo
55% Merino Superwash, 28% Acrylic, 17% Nylon; DK and worsted respectively

You can tell this stuff is classy- just look at those swanky labels. Now, I'm often very critical of yarns with large synthetic components, but DANG. This stuff is NICE. Soft, squooshy, smooth. It doesn't have an "acrylic" feel at all, I would've guessed it was pure superwash merino by touch alone. Not sure what they'll become yet, but together they remind me of mint chocolate chip ice cream.


insilk
Schoppel Wolle IN Silk
75% Merino, 25% Silk; worsted weight

This stuff reminds me of the Cashmere Queen from the last post- kinda crisp and fulled and almost cottony. I imagine it would have similarly excellent stitch definition. I find it extremely charming that it says "for lady sweater 500g." Hehe. Also: "Silky touches the wool while felting. Even smoooth and bright yarn."


xl
Schoppel Wolle XL
100% Merino, bulky

One more size up and one less ingredient! This yarn is pure feltywool goodness. I can't help but think it would make great fake dreads. Is that weird?

Also, I am soooo into dark teal right now. Dunno if you noticed, with the hair and all.


naturbelassen
Schoppel Wolle Baby Alpaka naturbelassen
50% Wool, 50% Alpaca, Dk weight-ish.

The last of the fulled yarns- this stuff is such a gorgeous natural color, and similarly crisp to it's sisters. Apparently "naturbelassen" means natural. Makes sense. This was exactly the yarn I was looking for a few years ago for a friend's hat. Darn it.


unisono
Zitron Unisono
100% Superwash merino, fingering weight

I love Unisono- I actually already have some in my stash (shhh, don't tell Cirilia.) It comes in some really fantastic striping colorways, and some more subtle gradient-ish ones (like the gray here) and solids. It's pretty much a good solid sock yarn... WITH A TWIST OMG. The yarn is infused with aloe and jojoba, so it basically moisturizes your skin while you knit instead of sucking it dry. I am alllll about natural moisturizers. The yarn doesn't feel weird at all- just soft. I'll have to report back on my hands after I knit with it.



kimono
Zitron Kimono
54% Merino, 46% Silk; fingering weight?

Even though it's mostly merino, the feel of this yarn is definitely a silk crepe. Very crisp and textural. It would be great as an airy-but-structured cardigan. The buttonless kind.


zauberwolle
Schoppel Wolle Zauberwolle
100% Merino; sport weight

I am familiar with Zauberball but I hadn't seen this stuff before- a quick search on Ravelry confirms my suspicion that it will knit up with slow, speckly stripes. Quite soft and in a refreshingly hearty 100g ball (most balled yarns are 50g). Thinking shawl, to take advantage of the color change.



kidp
Schulana Kid-Paillettes
42% Kid Mohair, 40% Polyester, 18% Silk; fingering weight?

SEQUINS! SEQUINS SEQUINS SEQUINS SEQUINS! YAAAAAYYYY!!!!!!
*Ahem* So yes, this yarn has some sparkle. Used alone in a lace shawl it would be very delicate and pretty, but I'm not really into knitting pure-lacy-mohair garments so I think this would be a FANTASTIC ride-along yarn to add a little halo and glitz.

sparklemohairswatch

The sequins are very subtle- you can see how they disappear in the picture above, but when they catch the light...

sparklemohairswatch2

Beeeautiful.



tamarillo
Schulana Tamarillo
100% Cotton; worsted weight

I don't know what Tamarillo means but it sounds like food. Annnnyway- this is a very unusual yarn. It's kind of fascinating to look at it super closely- it's basically a long knit tube with some looser-knit contrast sections. I had to swatch this puppy up:

textureythingswatch

Very texturey-riffic. It feels very typically cottony- smooth, crisp, not a ton of give. It has sort of a great raggedy, boho vibe- I think it'd be wasted in a normal tank top. It demands artistry! Haute-itude! Update! It totally is a food!


sedamar
Schulana Seda-Mar
88% Silk, 12% Nylon; DK weight?

Another knitted tube, but more chic and sophisticated this time. Love the shiny gold. The feel is halfway between "satiny-soft" silk and crepe-y silk. There is a secret shimmer of red under the gold that I just noticed right now. This one is perfect for an understated tank or shell.

soiemerswatch

(Once more, I think I'll go up a few needle sizes in the future- my swatch was rather tight and didn't take advantage of the drapiness.)



lambswool
Schulana Lambswool
100% Lambswool; sport weight?

I think I would've named this yarn something more jazzy than "Lambswool", because that just doesn't capture everything it's got going on- it's like if you took a nice neutral tweed and snuck in a secret rainbow. It IS nice and lambswooly soft, though. I'd love to use it in a project where traditional tweed is expected, in order to give it an extra punch. Bonus points for reminding me a little of Funfetti cake.



gobi
Zitron Gobi Premier
40% Merino, 30% Camel, 30% Alpaca; worsted weight

I saw the name of this one and I was all, I BET IT'S CAMEL and then it was. Whoop whoop. This a bit chewier and a bit less soft than one might expect given it's fiber content- more rustic. Sort of like I'd imagine camel yarn is in the countries where camels actually live. The color is gorgeous!



kidseta
Schulana Kid-Seta
70% Kid Mohair, 30% Silk; lace weight

This is a lot like the sequinny yarn, but with less nylon and a little thinner. Same rules apply, really- it's got a gorgeous halo and a touch of sheen and would be rather luminous in a lace shawl or garment. Pretty darn soft for brushed mohair. I could almost wear this around my neck, and I am the biggest mohair wimp in the world.




ecco
Zitron Ecco
100% Superwash Merino Extrafine; worsted weight

Let's wrap this up with a yarn I can only describe as "solid." It's soft, it's cable-plied, it's superwash, it's smooth, it's worsted weight- basically it seems like a perfect workhorse. I would make everything from baby blankets to "lady sweaters" with this quite happily.



NOW! The fun part. I'm going to give one of you some of this yarn! I don't know which ones yet, I have to decide what I can bear to part with. To enter to win, just leave a comment telling me which of these yarns you'd most like to play with (the ones in the last post count too.) If you win I'll try to include your favorite.....unless it's my favorite too. Mwahaha.

You have one week!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Addi Click Winner!

Wow! You guys love your Addis. And now I totally want to go on vacation to, um, everywhere. Ever.

But lets get down to business. The winner of her very own set of is Kristen (ie MarinadeDesigns)! Kristen, send me your address and I'll get your needles to you asap :-) Congrats and enjoy!!

Everyone else, don't lose heart just yet- there'll be another giveaway going up tomorrow (yarn, this time!) Giving stuff away is fun! It's like Christmas in April, assuming that every Christmas you pick just one person at random to give a present to. (Y'hear that, yarnies? I will totally give your stuff away for you if you want. Hehe.)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Finito!

finito

If you guys haven't gotten your hands on any of this stuff yet, you totally should. So. Friggin. Soft.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Yarn Postcard #1 and Addi Giveaway!

Update: The contest is over! I'm turning off comments so people don't enter because it makes me sad that they won't get a chance to win, haha.

When the fine folks at Skacel asked if I wanted to try the new Addi Lace Clicks (with an extra set to give away) I was like, "No thanks I hate free stuff OH WAIT THE OPPOSITE OF THAT IS TRUE YES YES YES."

And then, when they invited me to take part in their Yarn Postcard project (which I'll explain shortly, but it involves yarn) I was like


And an exciting piece of mail it was!

boxofyarn


But let's talk needles, first.

So when you open the box, you are confronted with this foxy leather-esque case:

addicase

The black was nice and all, but I love the brown. Way sexy. Let's open 'er up, shall we?

addiinside

Oooh yeah you like that, don't you, you naughty needleset. What's in your cute little pocket?

addigauge

Why it's an Addi needle gauge (important to have around, since Addi sizes are sometimes slightly different from other companies) and a quality control card. Thank you, Vivien Nichau! You also get the cute little gold Addi pin. Awww.

additips

And there they are, in all their glory. The set contains size 4 through size 11, and unlike the normal Addi Lace needles, they have the shiny-slick nickel plating (more like the regular Turbos). Personally I love this, because I vastly prefer that finish to the grippier brass. The tip is still pointier than the normal needles, but don't seem quite as sharp as the other Lace ones- another good thing for me, since I'm always stabbing myself, haha. This new generation of needles is shorter than the old ones to allow you to make 16" needles, which is SO FRIGGIN EXCITING- I never bought the older sets because I use 16" almost exclusively (hats, you know.) I know some people don't like the way shorter needles feel in your hands, but these aren't any shorter than the 16" fixed needles, so if you're used to using those, you'll be totally fine.

Speaking of totally fine, let's flip that sassy needle case over and see what's going on in the rear:

addicords

It's your cords! To me these seem pretty much identical to the ones on the fixed needles, and you get 16"- 40" (including 20" which is another great length for hats- hooray!)

Of course I wanted to take them for a test drive, and that's where the yarn comes in. I'll talk more about the Yarn Postcard project in the second installment, but basically I was asked to share my impressions of some yarns in a surprise "care package" and sort of document this stage in the yarn's journey through its yarny life. Later it might become a design, but for now, we're just getting to know each other.

First up:

sumerinoprint

Schulana Sumerino Print
100% "purewool"; worsted weight

The first thing I thought when I grabbed this yarn was "SQUISHY!!!" It's very soft, quite smooth. The dye job is very unusual...sort of splatterpainty, and reminds me of an urban 80's look a little bit. I decided to swatch this one up to see how the colors would fall:

sumerinoprintswatch2

Very nicely, actually. I'm not sure it's really a "print" but it gives it a nice textural look. It's got small, very smooth plies- not too splitty, but I'd still recommend using a duller needle than the lace tips. I think this would be a great non-itchy wool for next-to-the-skin stuff.


natura

Austermann Natura
46% Merino, 28% Viscose (from bamboo), 12% cotton, 7% Baby Alpaca, 7% Super Kid Mohair; worsted(ish?) weight

That is some serious blending, haha. This yarn has a shiny, solid core surrounded by a cloud of soft-fluff-ness. I knit it up on the recommended 7's, but I'd definitely recommend going up a few sizes more than that to give the halo an opportunity to breathe and bloom. This yarn has a really fun texture to play with...somewhere between a cloudy mohair or brushed alpaca and a smooth bamboo yarn. I will admit, a few of these yarns have names that seem very strange to me, and this is one of them. It doesn't seem very natural at all- more like cool and high tech.

naturaswatch

naturaswatchback


violon

Schulana Violon

50% Merino, 25% Alpaca, 25% Nylon; bulky weight

I looove this layered-color look. The photos are actually lightened a bit so you can see it better- it's a very rich color. This yarn is like a fairly normal, medium-dense aubergine wool yarn surrounded by a black alpaca halo. I'm going to have to do something super gothy with it, definitely. Again, I'd use bigger needles than were recommended (I used 9's here). I should probably say at this point that I am a tight knitter, though, so the recommended sizes are probably fine for most people, haha. This yarn is pretty soft, though probably not neck-soft for pansies like me because of the alpaca.

violonswatch



cashmerequeen

Schoppel Wolle Cashmere Queen

35% Cashmere, 45% Merino, 20% Silk, DK weight-ish

(Ok, maybe it's because I've watched two seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race in a week, but I can't help but think that "Cashmere Queen" sounds like some kind of uber-glam sub category of drag queen. Also, "Cashmere" is totally a great drag queen name. But anyway, back to the yarn....)


I am in love with this minty color. I'm not normally into pastels, but mint is usually the exception. This yarn doesn't feel very much like you would expect it to- it feels like it's been lightly fulled (it probably has, I suppose.) It's not at all itchy, but it's more smooth and crisp than you might expect- sort of like a plant fiber blend or a crisp silk. It seems very dense and has super lovely stitch definition- I definitely plan on using it in something really textured.

cashmerequeenswatch


Ok, that was a lot of photos (good thing everyone with dial-up gave up on me years ago.) We'll stop there for today but I'll have a whoooole lot more yarn to show you soon. In the meantime...


Let's give away some Addi Clicks!!!
I've got a brand-spankin-shiny-new set of Addi Lace Clicks just like the ones above that I'm going to give to one of you lucky denizens of blogworld. Need I remind you, these things don't come cheap, so GET EXCITED! For the record, they performed perfectly- they're easy to click and un-click once you get the hang of it, and they didn't come loose on me once. The join is very smooth and I pretty much forgot I wasn't using regular ole Addi's (except that the tip was slightly pointier and I could change what needle size I was using without standing up or generally putting in any real effort. Woohoo!)

To win, all you gotta do is this:

Tell me in the comments where you'd most like to take your new set of delightfully-portable Clicks- your dream knitting vacation - and what you'd knit there. (For a bonus point, twittarians, tweet this contest and post a link to prove it.) I'll randomly select a winner one week from today.

May the luckiest knitter win!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

To my friends using RSS readers...

I accidentally, momentarily, put up tomorrow's post today, and it's probably showing up in your RSS feeders and then disappearing when you try to click and enter the giveaway. Fear not, it'll be back tomorrow. Sorry about that!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Occam's Beanie

('Cause the simplest hat is often the best!)

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I made, and sold, a hat similar to this years ago and I have missed it ever since...so I re-made it! I also thought perhaps it was time for me to put out a really beginner-friendly pattern... and one you can crank out mindlessly for gifts for everyone you know ;-)

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So yes, it is quite simple... but it also looks great on and is highly menfolk compatible!

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^ a manfolk.

I recommend using a yarn with a touch of drape to it- it's shown here in Madelinetosh Vintage (in "Manor"...drool) which is fabulous, and the original prototype was a silk-wool blend which was also very well suited to the shape.

You can see it on Ravelry here
or Craftsy, here

or

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bigdana-Rama

Just thought I'd share my little experiment with you guys-

I suspected that Bandana-Rama would work pretty well as an any-gauge pattern, so I gave it a whirl with a skein of Berroco Peruvia Quick. I ended up not increasing to the number of stitches in the pattern, as that would've been a bit TOO big, but if you don't mind just sort of "feeling" your way and stopping when it "feels" wide enough, you could totally make it with just about any weight of yarn/size of needles.


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(These pictures were also taken at Meijer Gardens- Travis explains, "The leaf in the foreground is to give it that action-packed jungle look." Thanks Trav!)

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