Saturday, August 9, 2014

Almost Time for School

Thank you so much to everyone who left a comment on their likes/dislikes when knitting for the guys in your life. I used the random number generator and chose three winners to receive their choice of a free pattern from my collection of self-published patterns on Ravelry.  The winners are 

Congrats! I'll be contacting you all soon but if you see this before I do, send me a message on Ravelry letting me know which pattern you'd like.  And if you still want to leave more comments people, I'm all ears!

In the meantime (before the big project for dudes begins) I'm wrapping up a couple summer designs over here. Hopefully I'll have all the grading for this one done and can ship it off to my tech editor today. I posted a picture of the finished sweater over on my Ravelry projects so you can check it out there.

I go back to school on Friday (do you hear all the teachers groaning) and even though that is still a week away I have a ton of work to do in my classroom. I was moved to a different room this year. One that has no windows. I know! I start to feel claustrophobic just thinking about it. It's also smaller than my classroom last year. It's a weird shape and I'm having a hard time thinking about how I will arrange everything. But enough complaining (I've done plenty already in the last three days). 

The beginning of school just means I will have less time to work on my knitwear design. I'm trying to wrap up the knitting of one more design before the end of next week. It shouldn't be too hard, assuming no critical errors. Unfortunately it also won't see the light of day until around January! 

Thanks to everyone who has joined me recently on Instagram and Twitter

Friday, August 1, 2014

Thoughts on Knitting for Boys

Since I began designing last year, I've worked a lot with my own son in mind. There are a lot of patterns available for women and girls. While there are patterns for boys and men available, these are far fewer and often they aren't as modern or wearable as women's patterns are.

So it probably is no surprise that I am working on a collection of sweaters for men and boys. I know what I like, and what my husband prefers (D has no opinion, yet). But I'd love to hear what all you other knitters out there prefer. Whether you knit for men, or boys, or are a male knitter yourself please share with me what kinds of patterns you look for, what kind of yarn weights, details, etc.

In thanks for sharing your opinion I will give away three individual patterns from my collection of  self-published designs (check them out on Ravelry) to three commenters next week (probably Friday the 8th). Be sure to leave your Ravelry name with your comment so I can gift the patterns to you later! Thanks for sharing your thoughts what you love! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Colorwork Questions and Winner

Before asking some deep questions about colorwork, the winner of the Bijou Basin Ranch Lhasa Wilderness yarn is 


I'll be contacting you later for your info. Congratulations!

I tried to hold off as long as I could but I've started planning for D's Christmas Sweater 2014 (here are the  2012 and 2013 versions).

As you can see, I'm thinking colorwork. 

I've had a few version of this sweater in my mind. Here are some of the options:

Round yoke, colorwork in yoke and a little at hem, classic.
V-neck, drop sleeve, colorwork in yoke only.
Colorwork around hem only, raglan (maybe?)

I really like the idea of a v-neck (easy on for little ones) but also don't love purling colorwork. However, one motif through the yoke might be manageable for everyone. I'm generally leaning away from a crew neck style since that's what I did last year and I'm up for something different. 

What are your thoughts? Do you like colorwork? Is there any aspect you love/hate? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Take a moment to fill out the poll and/or leave a comment with your ideas.

What kind of colorwork do you like? free polls 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bijou Basin Ranch Giveaway

I recently received two skeins of amazing yarn from Bijou Basin Ranch. I mean like, squealing and jumping when I pulled the yarn out of the package. So amazing!

In case you don't know about Bijou Basin Ranch, they are a family owned yak ranch located in Colorado. They sell high quality yak and yak blend yarns dyed by the people at Lorna's Laces. 

So after receiving these yarns I did what any knitter would do: I immediately started planning what I would knit with one of these lovely skeins, then I took them to my knitting group for everyone to drool over.

Today I cast on with Bijou Basin Ranch Himalayan Trail in the color Dinna Fash. This yarn is a 75/25 blend of yak and merino and is working up like a dream. The color is bright and intense, it reminds me of a peacock! I decided to make a hat for a friend, since we live in what can quickly become a very cold climate I'm hoping the yak fiber will provide some extra warmth and the merino will help the hat retain its shape.

The second skein I received is Lhasa Wilderness, a 75/25 yak and bamboo blend. I am seriously stunned at how silky this yarn is! The yarn is feather soft and the bamboo adds a really gentle sheen that makes this yarn so luxurious. I almost started knitting with this skein but thought you guys might appreciate it more. This gorgeous green color is called Lallybroch.

If you're an Outlander fan, you might be noticing a trend with the color names. Bijou Basin Ranch is doing a Countdown to Outlander celebration where for the next few weeks a select color family from their Outlandish colored yarns will be on sale for 15% off. This is a great time to pick up a few skeins of pure luxury. This week the purples are on sale. The Outlandish colors come in both the Himalayan Trail and Lhasa Wilderness. You can keep up to date with their sales by signing up for their newsletter on their website, or by following them on Twitter or Instagram.

In case I haven't used the word amazing enough in this post, the amazing people at Bijou Basin Ranch sent me two skeins so I could share with you! All you have to do to win this lovely skein of Lhasa Wilderness is leave a comment below telling me what you might make with this beautiful skein of yarn. Please be sure to leave your Rav name or email so I can contact you if you win! 

Share this on twitter and tag me @andrea_knits then come back here and leave a second comment letting me know you've done so for another entry. 

I will draw a name next week on Monday the 21st so hurry up! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Seeing Summer

Summer is in full swing over here and so is the knitting. Being home all day has made me feel like I have to knit, knit, knit to make up for the time I don't get to during the school year. 

Just this week I cast on for a new design using Sunshine Yarns Ultraluxe Light, and ultra-luxe it is. This yarn is a merino, cashmere, and silk blend (75/15/10). I am amazed at just how silky and soft this yarn feels. While it is single spun, it is not as fuzzy as some singles can get. I cannot wait to see how the design I am working on turns out! I should mention, if you're ever curious to see what I'm working on I often post pics on Instagram @andrea_knits (it's either knitting or my kiddo, really).

If you've been thinking about summer tops to knit, I posted on the Craftsy blog this week and shared some of their fun summer top kits.

I have a really awesome giveaway for you tomorrow so keep an eye out! 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cradle Cardigan

I know I said yesterday I don't gift things very often, but in reflection, I did a fair amount of gifting in June. 

This little cutie is the Cradle Cardigan by Hannah Fettig. I did some sample knitting for her Mabel's Closet collection a few summers ago. The pieces are very simple and clean, in true Hannah style, for a classic baby look. I also knit the Autumn Frock last Christmas for my niece. Anyone who does any knitting for babies could benefit from owning this collection.

Anyway, I knit this piece out of Quince & Co. Chickadee in Frost. I bought a few skeins to reknit a Pacific Grove vest and used less than two skeins on this sweater. It was a gift for my knitting group friend Amy who is expecting her first baby.

And surprise, surprise, I even sewed a bib! This is the first time I've used my sewing machine since like, 2008, and I was very pleased with my skills so I knit another for D and am going to make a third for my niece who we refer to as little D (d). Apparently though, two bibs in six years was too much for my machine. It was given to me by my father-in-law and is probably at least as old as I am. It stopped feeding the fabric and now it's spending some time getting a little tune up.

Pattern: Cradle Cardigan by Hannah Fettig
Yarn: Quince & Co. Chickadee in Frost
Needles: US 5 (3.75 mm)
Began: May 12
Completed: June 8

Monday, July 7, 2014

Basic Baby Cardigan

SO you would think that with summer finally here I'd have a little more time on my hands. This seem just to be the opposite. We've spent a lot of days swimming, zooing, playing, and other all consuming toddler stuff. It's been great! I even managed a weekend trip to California. Yes, I said weekend. My mom was retiring and my parents have officially sold their house in Fresno, purchased one in the Sacramento area (where my dad has been working for the last few years), and will be moved by the end of July. I wanted to get out there one last time before they left since they've lived in that house since I was 3!

As I began planning my trip a whole week in advance (!!!) I remembered a friend of mine from high school was expecting her second child. For her first baby I had crocheted a blanket and some bibs. I didn't want to leave the second baby out so decided to whip up a tiny, last-minute sweater.

The pattern I used was Basic Baby Cardigan, a free pattern by Alana Dakos. It's simple and done in worsted weight, just what I needed for a fast gift. 

The yarn is Anzula For Better or Worsted. This has become my favorite worsted weight yarn. It's soft, shiny, and feels like magic knitting. I've used this yarn for an upcoming design this fall and I used the leftovers for this sweater. 

There were a few mods I made in order to make it a bit less (in my mind) feminine looking. I cast on an extra two stitches to fronts and back and knit straight. I decreased for the armholes as written to the correct stitch count. I also added about a half inch of length to the yoke. Yes, this sweater is knit in pieces, but it's so darn tiny that it comes together very quickly. 

The buttons are from a Fresno yarn shop called Swatches. I was on my way to meet my friend (the day of the retirement party) so I literally ran in, bought buttons, ran next door to the quilt shop for thread, then sewed the buttons on as my dad drove the car. 

The sweater was very well received and my friend suggested I start sewing tags into the pieces I gift. I don't gift very often these days but I think I'll definitely be looking into tags for D's sweaters and gifts.

Yarn: Anzula For Better or Worsted
Needles: US 7 for stockinette, US 6 for ribbing
Began: June 21
Completed: June 25