Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Return, a Sale and a Hat

Y'know, sometimes a person just has to take a step back, take a breath, take a nap, and then you return to the world and you're rejuvenated and relaxed and ready to take on all challenges. And boy, am I glad that I did.

Let me catch you up since I last posted seven months ago. Seven months! That's almost enough time for a new child to come along. (Don't worry, I don't have any new children.)

I had a few vacations, worked a lot, knitted even more, read several books, designed some more, published a couple patterns and just got back in touch with myself. I cancelled cable television--small victory because I still have internet and Netflix, so I'm not completely crazy--deactivated Facebook, got back in touch with some old friends. There have been furniture purchases and redecorating and, of course, more yarn. More and more yarn.

There is always more yarn.

But one of the biggest reasons I feel ready to come back to regularly blogging is the community of knitters, crocheters, crafters and designers that I've dipped back into on Ravelry. Being a knitting designer isn't really that exciting; it's a lot of hard work. And it can be lonely (oh boo hoo, Steven, pull up your big boy pants). But every year about this time of year, a group of hardworking indie designers get together on Ravelry for a huge gift-along/knit-along/crochet-along extravaganza. This is the third year for the event and I think I've participated each time. I know for certain I did last year. (Come to think of it, maybe last year was the first year I participated.)

I haven't really been able to participate much in the planning--my full-time day job is just too demanding to be able to devote the time to the group--but I'm helping in any other way I can. Well, frankly, that means a lot of Twitter posts and participating in the GAL (that's the nifty abbreviation) group on Ravelry.

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is a 6 week long KAL/CAL of holiday gifts made from patterns designed by a rather extensive list of independent designers. From Thursday, November 19th at 8:00 pm US EST - Friday, November 27, 2015 at 11:59 pm US EST tons of indie designers will be discounting between 5 - 20 of their patterns 25% for this event. Use coupon code: giftalong2015.So you should totally come and join, too. Starting Thursday, 11/19, there will be a 25% off sale on over 5,000 patterns! Wow! If you can't find something to knit from 5,000 choices, well.... I don't know what. Join the group and get active in the forums. Everyone is super nice. Tell 'em RodeoKnits sent you. There are sales and contests and prizes, both digital and actual, for-real prizes like yarn! (You need more yarn!)

I have 20 patterns in the sale and each will be 25% off. There are a couple new patterns and several of
my old favorites. One of my newest patterns, Whittaker, is a fairly simple stranded colorwork hat that works up quickly, even though it uses a sport weight or fingering weight yarn and US #3 and #4 needles. Hats just seems to work up so much faster than any other projects, no matter the needle size.

For the sample hat, I used two skeins of Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport in Enchanted Forest and Cream. If you haven't used Nature Spun before, I highly recommend it. It's definitely a wool-y yarn, but softer than you'd expect. Because of how light the sport weight is, the hat will be comfortable to wear even on warmer winter days. And two colors means this hat would be perfect for your sports fans. Nature Spun comes in 80 colors, so you'll definitely find two that fit your needs. Any other sport weight, light DK or heavy fingering weight yarns would substitute perfectly. One of my test knitters is using Knit Picks Palette and it's turning out very nicely.

Coming soon: several more stranded colorwork hat patterns and variations, perhaps an earwarmer and matching cowl. Of course, for the cowl, I will need to find some very soft and luxurious yarn for close-to-the-skin wear. And get ready for the premiere of some Rodeo Knits sweaters!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Gone Fishin'

It's been far too long since I've been able to check in here. There's been more yarn and more knitting but less picture-taking and less writing about it than I'd like. Some new finished projects and patterns in the works, but nothing imminent or amazing. I'm taking a break from the blog so that I don't have it looming over me as a "you need to be doing this!" kind of thing and can focus on sketches and writing patterns and trying new yarns.

See you soon and best stitches!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Miss Babs' K2 - A New Favorite

Back in December (maybe? could have been January but December feels right) I went on a buying spree with Miss Babs and found several pounds of yarn in my mailbox a couple of days later. One skein was an irresistible K2 in color "Shaken Not Stirred."

"OMG" has never been more appropriate for a yarn. First, the color is perfect, of course. I expect nothing less from Miss Babs. The blending is flawless. In my experience, the Babette colorways are more exciting because they're unpredictable. That can also make them more challenging to work with on large projects. Fortunately, I chose a smaller project (and then an even smaller project to finish it up) and the color just shines.

I don't usually knit with chunky yarns but I've been on a hat knitting binge. Give me a chunky yarn, size 10 needles and I'll have a hat finished in no time flat. K2 is no exception. It knits smoothly with no snags or splitting. The finished stockinette is squishy with good body, nothing wimpy about the superwash merino. And to change things up, I knit a cowl using much larger needles--US 17, I think--and the fabric is just as nice as at a tighter, more "normal" gauge, just looser with more drape. In the cowl, I paired it with some leftover Quince and Co Puffin in River that I had laying around because, to be honest, I was too lazy to rip out the cowl when I ran out of yarn to make it smaller.

Next time you're shopping for yarn for a quick present and you want something colorful and hardy, I definitely recommend K2. The hat pictured is my basic "Stress Free Hat" pattern and the cowl is based on a cowl I've seen on Ravelry a lot. I can't attest to the pattern, as I just made up my version (and switched to stockinette) as I went along, but support independents designer and give Foolproof by Louise Zass-Bangham a try!

(Update on both projects: my mother claimed both, first the cowl and then the matching hat. I guess it's just a good excuse to find more K2 and make another hat for me!)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Great Destash of 2015 -- Part One

My yarn stash is seriously getting out of control. Have you heard the acronym SABLE? Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy? Mine is nearing SABLEx3+.

I've been threatening all of my yarn -- and its embarrassing how much yarn that is -- that if it doesn't start inspiring me or spontaneously knitting itself into sweaters, it'll get its marching orders. And today, the destash begins.

The pile of yarn gathered for part on of the destash took less than 15 minutes to pull together. And it's just the tip of the iceberg. All of the skeins are mainly grouped by color and, when there are multiple skeins of the same color, all the same dyelot. And I have no pets and don't smoke, so you shouldn't have any unwanted odors. Just pure wooly-ness (mostly).

My decision to clear out yarn is your gain. In order to hopefully replenish the stash, I'm offering this perfectly good yarn to anyone who wants it at discount. I'll list an asking price, you make a best offer and, when we come to agreement, I'll ship the yarn to you. I'm not sure how international shipping works, but I think that's possible, too.

I think it'll be best if you email me (destash@rodeoknits.com) what yarn you want and, because I'm fully expecting a mass rush for the yarn (yeah right), I'll go by time/date stamp in the email if two people want the same yarn and priority will go to the person who wants all skeins of the colorway offered.

Here we go:

Plymouth Gina, 100% wool

  • Color 0007: 7 skeins - $5.00 each
Plymouth Gina, 100% wool

  • Color 0005: 7 skeins - $5.00 each
Plymouth Gina, 100% wool

  • Color 0006: 5 skeins - $5.00 each
Classic Elite Yarns Desert, 100% wool

  • Color 2058: 1 skein, $5.00
  • Color 2047: 1 skein, $5.00
Nashua Handknits Wooly Stripes, 100% wool

  • Color WS26 Jewels: 3 skeins, $5.00 each
Skacel Merino Lace, $100% Merino

  • Color 800: 1 skein, $10.00
Blue Ridge Yarns Kaleidoscope, superwash Merino

  • Color Secret Garden: 1 skein, $15.00
Malabrigo Worsted, 100% Merino

  • Color Col china: 3 skeins, $5.00 each
  • (one skein has been wound, but not knitted)
  • Color Lettuce: 1 skein, $5.00
  • Color Red Java: 1 skein, $5.00
  • Color American Beauty: 1 skein, $5.00
Shibui Knits Sock, 100% superwash Merino
  • Color 51304: 2 skeins, $5.00 each
Marks & Kattens Fame trend, 75% superwash wool/25% polyamid
  • Color 651: 1 skein, $10.00
The Fibre Company Khroma DK, 50% baby alpaca/50% merino
  • Color Aegean: 3 skeins, $5.00 each
  • Color Cyprus: 5 skeins, $5.00 each
  • Color Clementine: 6 skeins, $5.00 each
  • Color Thira: 4 skeins, $5.00 each
  • Color Olive Oil: 5 skeins, $5.00 each
  • Color Raspberry: 3 skeins, $5.00 each