Visiting Purl Soho

A couple weekends ago I visited my friend Elena who lives in New Jersey.  We decided to go into the city for a night.  While we were there our plan was to explore, take pictures, and eat delicious food.

During our explorations, we visited Purl Soho.

Purl Soho Store FrontI’ve only knit one of their patterns before but I admire their patterns regulary and read their blog.  I love their color choices and the style of their finished pieces.

Purl SohoTheir shop is filled with color.  And since I am a knitting nerd, seeing their samples in person was almost like spotting a celebrity.

I was able to control myself and only buy one skein of yarn.  I got their Line Weight in Desert Blue so that I can knit their Hat to Match for myself.

Purl Soho Line Weight

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Yarn Dyeing Class at Main Street Yarn

I had such a great afternoon yesterday.  I felt like I was back at summer camp!

I signed up for a yarn dyeing class at Main Street Yarn in Rebersburg, PA. The shop, which just opened a few months ago, is only about thirty minutes away from State College and it’s in a beautiful valley. It’s very picturesque and throughout our class many Amish people passed by on horses, in buggies and on bicycles.

We spent our afternoon under this tent learning how to dye yarn.  Our teacher was Libby from Mad About Ewes farm.

Behind Main Street YarnsWe each got two skeins of fingering weight yarn to practice space dyeing and set to work mixing our cake dyes.

Wilston DyesMixed Up DyesNaked YarnThe next part was the best.  We all started dyeing our yarns and it was so neat to see how we all chose colors differently and placed them on our yarn in a variety of ways.

019 020 023We wrapped our wet yarn up in plastic wrap, squeezing out the excess water and then cooked them in the microwave for four minutes.

017 025 022After our yarn had cooled, we took turns rinsing it in the sink.  The color really stuck to the fibers as there was no color in the water when we rinsed.  We hung our yarns over the hitching post outside the store to see our results.

Yarn on a hitching post More yarn on a hitching postThese were mine.

My first dyed yarnThis horse even came to see our creations.

Amish buggy and horse with my yarnIt was a really great time and I can’t wait to knit these skeins up.  I love the vibrant colors I chose and the way it all turned out.

my yarn

It’s been two months!

That was a completely unplanned pause.  I looked back recently and realized I hadn’t blogged in a while.  Maybe it’s because many of the projects I was working on were presents that I didn’t want to spoil.  Also, I feel like most of my time has been planned out ahead of time these past couple months so instead of writing about knitting, I’ve been using that time to actually knit.

Here’s what I’ve been up to.

I finished a New Super Easy Baby Blanket for new baby Liam.

New Super Easy Baby Blanket 032I knit a hat for charity for part of my trip to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

striped beanieI’m still working on my Square Peg. This poncho should be finished in a couple weeks.  Really it should be done sooner but I have some travel coming up and I got a little side tracked (I’ll write about that in a future post).

Square Peg PonchoI went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and bought these super fun yarns.

From Oasis Farm Fiber Mill, I got this skein of worsted weight yarn. I swear I had a Barbie workout outfit that was exactly these colors.

Oasis Farm Fiber Mill WorstedFrom Delly’s Delights Farm, I got this sport weight yarn.

Delly's Delights Farm Sport WeightAnd I also got this yarn from Juanita Breidenbaugh.

One of a kind natural dyed yarnI cooked one new recipe in two months and it was this Slow-Cooker Curried Lentils with Chicken and Potatoes.  It doesn’t look like much but it was so good.

Slow-Cooker Curried Lentils With Chicken and PotatoesI actually ran a 5K for Special Olympics with some friends. I’ve been feeling like I never move so this is worth noting.  I plan to do some more races this summer.

Special Olympics 5KI helped plan and execute a very successful 2nd Annual End of the Mountain 5K. That’s me ringing the bell as they took off.

End of the Mountain 5KAnd I took some pictures of the new babies that arrived recently. 153203Plus a couple bonus shots of their animal siblings since I sometimes can’t resist their cuteness more than the babies.

061247So it’s been a busy but good few months.

Finished Baby Bear

It’s hard to post a lot when most of the things you are working on are going to be presents.  Not that everyone I know looks at this blog, but sometimes you just don’t want to ruin the surprise.

When I first bought this High Society Sock Yarn, I wasn’t quite sure what I would do with it.  It is very bright and colorful which always appeals to me but besides making socks (I haven’t finished the first pair that I started over two years ago) it wasn’t clear what I’d actually wear in such bright colors.

But then I realized it would make a great stuffed animal for my newest nephew and I found Susan B. Anderson‘s Baby Bear in her book Itty-Bitty Toys.

Beginnings of a bear

For my bear I mostly followed the instructions except that I increased the needle size to a US 5 and I waited until the end to put together all the parts.

Bear parts

The other thing I didn’t do was put a face on this bear.  I started with a nose and besides not liking covering his cute little yellow nose, I decided I didn’t like how my poor hand stitching made for a sort of scary face.

finished baby bear

Knitting a whole project on DPNs is not my most favorite (see sock comment above) and you can see in some spots that the knitting could be a little bit nicer. But mostly I just love how he looks like a rainbow.

side bear

The pattern was so easy to follow and all of his parts look so great.  I especially love his cute little tail that took maybe five minutes to knit up.

bear butt

Overall, I am very pleased with how he turned out.  I hope that he becomes a cherished toy that my nephew drags all around the house and snuggles with at night.

finished bear

Lehigh Valley Yarn Stores

This past week I was traveling around the Lehigh Valley area in Pennsylvania and got to visit two different yarn stores.

First I went to The Knitter’s Edge in Bethlehem.

knitters edgeThis was a really big store and it was so crowded with people knitting together and buying yarn and other supplies. The selection was amazing and I can see why it was so busy.  The staff was also very helpful.  I was excited to find they were having a sale on Noro and bought myself some Taiyo Sock and Kureyon.

Noro Taiyo Sock Noro Kureyon

My next visit was to the shop at the Kraemer Yarns factory in Nazareth.

good kraemer millI’ve bought and used Kraemer yarns for other projects and knew it was made in this town in Pennsylvania and on a whim I googled to see if they had a store since I was going to be there.  Their store isn’t huge but it is packed with their yarns.  I ended up getting some of their Perfection Worsted with the plan to crochet it into a granny square blanket.

Kraemer Perfection Worsted

Yarn from Charleston and Savannah

On our trip a couple weeks ago, I made sure that there were some local yarn store visits as a part of our plans.

In Charleston, we stopped at Knit. While I shopped around, Mike sat down and spent some time with the Schnauzers that were in the store.

They had a huge selection of yarns and everything was organized by weight.  Usually I try to buy something local to commemorate the visit but they didn’t have that much in the store while we were there. I looked at some of the store samples and decided to buy something completely out of the ordinary for me.

Alp Exquisite is a novelty yarn made with 30% cotton, 30% polyamid, 14% merino, 10% cashmere, 6% baby alpaca, and 5% kid mohair.

Alp Exquisite by Feza Yarns

The pattern that came with the yarn is for a cowl that changes stitches every time the yarn changes.  I thought this would be pretty to wear for Christmas and decided to get it.  Knitting with it is kind of weird.  I’m not so sure I’ll be getting any more yarn like this any time soon, but I am loving the results.  If today goes as planned, I should have it finished tonight.

Alp Exquisite Cowl

In Savannah we went to The Frayed Knot.

The Frayed Knot Store Front 564

This store was much smaller than the one in Charleston but I loved it.  The people working inside were really friendly and pointed us to yarns from The Copper Corgi Fiber Studio made in Savannah.  Mike selected this colorway of a worsted weight yarn called Bloody ‘ell and has requested fingerless gloves.

Copper Corgi Bloody 'ell

River Knits in Lafayette, Indiana

Last week I was away for work and one day I had free time when I was near Purdue University and decided to see if there were any local yarn stores. I discovered River Knits in downtown Lafayette, Indiana.

They had a really great selection of yarns perfectly organized by weight.  The girl working in the store was really friendly.  They didn’t have anything locally spun or dyed when I was there but I did find one thing I’d been looking for and one splurge.

I’ve been wanting to make another Dolores Park Cowl for a friend but wanted to knit it in the Malabrigo Chunky that the pattern recommends. However, I haven’t found it in any stores and it has mostly been sold out on my go to online yarn store, WEBS (of course now there seems to be more available but buying yarn in person is so much more fun!). But they had such a nice selection of Malabrigo and I found this skein for the cowl.

They tried to wind it at the store but it wasn’t behaving so I’ll untangle and wind it when I start my project. I might knit this up this weekend just to get in a quick fun project, but at this point it isn’t even cowl weather anymore.

I also got this Kraemer Yarns Fountain Hill Brushed Mohair.

I’ve never bought anything fuzzy before so I was excited to get something different. Fortunately, this guy behaved as it was being wound. At 560 skinny yards, it would have been a pain to do with my method. I have no idea what this will become but it’s a nice addition to my stash.

I’m glad I had some time to check out this yarn store.  It had a great selection and friendly staff.

 

Keeping people’s ears warm

My friend Marla has always been an admirer of my knitting and first requested a hat well over a year maybe even much longer.

A couple weeks ago when I was in Lancaster, I picked up two skeins of Noro Bonbori.

I was specifically planning to knit an earflap hat for Marla.  This is the fourth hat I’ve made in this pattern and it’s so simple and has a great result.

I’m loving the unseasonable weather we’ve been having but I hope that she gets some use out of this hat this winter.  I’ll send it out this week!

Lancaster Yarn Stores

This past week I was in Lancaster for work.  When I found myself with some free time, I googled yarn stores and I found two great shops.

The first shop I visited was Kitnit Fine Yarns. Their website said they had Malabrigo and I thought I would buy a skein of their Chunky to try another Dolores Park Cowl in the yarn the pattern called for.  Of course I made this decision in the time it took me to drive there.

When I got there, I talked with the shop owner and she said they didn’t have any Malabrigo Chunky and they might have some other Malabrigo but it would be in their sale selection.

Their sale selection was awesome and I found some great yarns. I got some Noro for a hat for a friend that I’ll show off once it’s finished. But I also got the one skein of Malabrigo Sock in their sale selection in the Ravelry Red colorway.

I also got a skein of Louisa Harding Millais that I think will make a cute hat for a baby.

I also got a chance to visit Lancaster Yarn Shop. It’s in Intercourse which is just outside of the city of Lancaster and it’s exactly what you think of when you imagine Amish Country. It was a beautiful day so I saw so many horse and buggies, tons of laundry drying on lines and animals out on the surrounding farms.

This shop is possibly the cutest shop I’ve been in. I just loved the space, the way the yarn is organized and the pretty displays. And the owner was so friendly and nice to talk with.

I chatted with the shop owner while I browsed and she pointed me to the display of local yarns. There were about three different brands with different weights and all of them were beautiful and soft and it was difficult to choose just one. Ultimately, sparkle won out (who am I buying my second skein of yarn with sparkle?) and I chose a yarn by Crabapple Yarns.

I’m so happy with my new stash additions!

Yarn Garden in Carlisle, PA

Last week when I was traveling, I had some time to kill before an appointment. I quickly googled yarn stores and discovered the Yarn Garden in Carlisle, PA.

The parking meter in front of the store has been yarn bombed. In fact, there were a few others along the street too.

I loved this yarn shop so much. They had so many great yarns and the way they were displayed was perfect. It was bright and welcoming inside the shop.

A really fun coincidence is that the owner is the aunt of one of the women in the group I knit with!  I knew she had an aunt that owned a store but I wasn’t confident that this was it so I didn’t ask. But we chatted a little as I checked out and sure enough, it was her.

I bought a little more yarn than I probably needed to but I just really liked it here and saw a lot of stuff that was new to me.  To be fair, some of it was on sale.

I got this skein of High Society Sock Yarn. The colorway is called Childhood and it appeals the part of me that loves all things rainbow. Also, the woman who dyes this yarn lives in Harrisburg so it’s nice to try something almost local.

I also got two skeins of Sheep 3 Yarn. Sheep Shop Yarn is no longer in business so all their yarn is discontinued which is a shame because I can tell I’m going to love this yarn. It has a nice shine to it and it’s very soft to the touch. I’m always so quick to buy a fingering weight yarn on the fly but I want to start diversifying my stash and this sport weight yarn is a perfect addition.

I also got a skein of fingering weight Kraemer Yarns Sterling Silk and Silver. This is a Pennsylvania yarn made in Nazareth.

I don’t normally buy anything like this but there is actual silver spun into the yarn and it has a slight sparkle to it that is so interesting. Here you can see it up close.

I was so excited with my finds and I can’t wait to find the perfect patterns for these yarns. I wish I had more time to knit so I can keep getting great yarns.