November 20, 2015

Yarn Love

If you read my last post, you saw those very marvelous Inversion Mitts.

The best part about those mitts, I think, is the yarn.  I am in love with my new sport weight yarn base Sporty Sheep.  I mean it.  As much as one person can be enamored of a yarn, I am that much romanced by it.  I like a sexy, squishy merino with a perfectly round 3-ply strand as much as the next gal, but the thing that really gets me with this yarn is the stitch definition.  This yarn makes my knitting look like something that was engineered by a machine. So, maybe it's that "perfect stitch" factor that has me hooked. Maybe it's both. Either way, I'm sitting here at my desk and ogling the line up of Sporty Sheep in those eye-popping jewel tones and thinking about what to do next with this yarn.  Oh, sure, there's plenty in the shop, so don't worry that you won't be able to get some for yourself, although once word gets out about how amazing this yarn is, it may walk out the door more quickly than expected; but I also have a pile of reserve that hasn't been dyed yet and this yarn goodness could possibly overcome my better business manager judgment and become something that doesn't get set aside for a fiber show display. In the meantime, while I'm trying to think of what to do with it next (more fair isle is a distinct possibility), maybe you want to take a look at the new label for yourself?









Now also, if there is a color that isn't being stocked on the website that you would like to have--I just had a customer this week commission some Sporty Sheep in a misty spruce sort of color for a pair of toddler socks (which turned out so very nicely!), then shoot me an email and we'll work something out. Custom orders are never a problem. Or, if you need more of a color than what is listed as being in stock on the website, again, just email me.

I hope you have an amazing weekend full of yarn goodness!

November 18, 2015

New Pattern Release: Inverse Mitts!

I've been bitten by the color work bug lately.  It began with a pair of mitts for my mother-in-law, which turned out to be worked and re-worked into two separate pair in two separate sizes in a heavy sport weight wool.  Then I thought "Hey, wouldn't this pattern be great done in my new yarn line, Sporty Sheep?!" and a quick-knit pattern was born.

Meet the Inverse Mitts.  This stranded color work mitt is designed as a woman's pattern, but I think that the medium could probably work for pre-teens and teens, as well since Sporty Sheep is a springy yarn with a good amount of elasticity.  The pattern is written for two sizes, medium (8-inch palm circumference) and large (9-inch palm circumference).

Because of the vertical stripping of the palm, the palm is going to be much warmer, denser, and more durable than your typical stranded color work pattern. The thumb is worked as an afterthought thumb, with a photo included of what yours should look like when you work it up.  Afterthought thumbs are really a cinch, but I recommend that you give yourself a life line, as it's easy to lose those top stitches among the strands on the wrong side of the fabric.

This pattern has just enough color work to satisfy that color work itch, and it's completely seamless. I'm in love with this pattern, which I have now knit about 6 times in the course of the development of this pattern.  I think that you are going to LOVE both working this pattern and working with Sporty Sheep, too!

You can find the pattern on Ravelry, Craftsy, and in my Cedar Hill Farm Company online shop.

Happy knitting!

November 05, 2015

Knitter's Bias

My middle son recently had to read the marvelous book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell for his English class.  If you haven't read it or any of his other mind-blowing books, you really should. But, that's beside the point. So my son had to read this book and then he had to do a power point, which invariably means that mom had to do a power point because, well, the whole space/time continuum would probably be thrown into chaos if a child in my household did an entire project on any night other than the night before it's due. Maybe you can relate.  One of the premises of this book is that we all operate, particularly experts in their field on something called "unconscious bias".  Unconscious bias is your brain's ability to take in gobs of information unconsciously at first glance and draw an unexplainable conclusion to give you a snap judgement. We knitter's like to refer to that as the feeling that something is definitely wonky.

This brings me to the carefully planned and currently on-track execution of Christmas knitting.  I was so organized this year that I had ALL of my yarn and ALL of my projects planned, ordered, and wound into their corresponding yarn cakes by the middle of October.  I am half-way through 2 projects and contemplating a third while also whipping out that darned Floria shawl and working up 2 shawl patterns--one for December release and one for the book.  I am on the ball this year!  That is to say ... until my unconscious bias kicked in about the 3rd round of these mitts, at which point anyone else would probably have checked the yarn labels--who am I kidding? No you wouldn't have. I thought "something's wonky here" and kept knitting. All evening I kept wondering what it was. Did I have more stitches on one cuff than the other?  Nope. Exactly right stitch count. Was one yarn thicker than the other? That looks like it may actually be true. But now that I know what the REAL problem is.  It's the color.  Darn it if one isn't a little greener than the other!?! Considering this is supposed to be a "natural" color from Knit Picks, that didn't seem right.  Surely it was just bad lighting, right?

I'll bet you are looking at the picture and you might not be seeing green, but you are definitely picking up on how the left isn't the same as the right. So I went to the trash can this morning and dug out the labels and darn it if they aren't the same dye lot.  What kind of malevolent person would send out 2 different dye lots during the holiday knitting season?! The kind that deserves a 20lb bag of coal in his stocking, that's for sure!  As a matter of a fact, the yellowing of one of the two labels compared to the bright, just-printed-yesterday white of the other tells me that these two skeins may not even have been manufactured in the same decade. (Sigh.)

As I was sitting here, writing this bit of knitterly warning, I came to the (sigh) conclusion that one of these cuffs had to come off the needles. I am going to have to (gasp!) try to eke out 2 mitts from one skein.  Clearly, one is thicker than the other.

So what's a gal to do?  I probably don't need to scrap the project.  I think the best plan is to add a second color to the mix and work what was going to be a pair of plain Jane grey mitts into a pair of snazzy Fair Isle mitts.

I decided that I would simply have to get cozy with Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting.  Since my cast-on dimensions fit my mother-in-law's hands and not the prescribed patterns of what I can find on Ravelry, I'm having to improvise.  Fortunately, I have a skein of white in the same weight from Knit Picks that appears to have been an accidental purchase because I can't for the life of me figure out why it is in the Christmas knitting supplies box.  It goes with nothing in there. CLEARLY someone in the universe expected me to be in this dilemma.  Maybe it was my psychic intuition and I subconsciously knew that some not-so-crafty Knit Picks stock boy would make this kind of unforgivable mistake and so I ordered it.

The palm looks like this:

And by lunch time today I was working a thumb gusset and my improvised pattern was taking shape, though it is killing me to only be able to work one mitt at a time.  Killing me, I say!

Lesson here? Check your labels.  No matter how organized and ahead of the game you think you are, check your labels.  At least this project is happening now and not in the 13th hour of Christmas Eve and I can step back and re-group.  You might not be so lucky.

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