Finished Project: The Age of Brass and Steam

Over the summer I decided it would be nice to have a smaller project after finishing my sweater.  I had some Wolle’s Yarn Creations color changing yarn in my stash that I was really wanting to knit up and The Age of Brass and Steam seamed to be the perfect pattern to show off the beautiful color transitions.

Age of Brass and SteAMI added one extra repeat of the pattern and then knit the garter stitch edge until I finished up the skein to be sure to make the most of all the wonderful color.

Wolle's Yarn Creations shawlIt’s much bigger than the original pattern but I love how the cotton fabric drapes.  I’m very pleased with this project.

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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

Finished: Inspira Cowl

I finished my Inspira Cowl this week.  Monday night the knitting was completed and then on Thursday I weaved in the ends and gave it a light soak to soften it up a bit.

I really liked knitting this cowl.  It has great texture and I am pleased with how the two different Noro Kureyon colorways worked together.  I had plenty in my stash to use up and it worked with just the two colors — no need to use some Silk Garden to fill in as I had worried about before.

It’s so colorful and I love it.  I was reading comments on some of the project pages for this pattern and one person said it looked like clown collar and didn’t like it.  I get it, I do.  But it totally works for me.

Here is a very poor photograph of me wearing it to prove that it doesn’t look that weird on.

 

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!

More Noro

Previously, I posted about my Noro Striped Scarves and how much I really like using Noro. On the scarves, the color changes are interesting and appear even more gradual because of the alternating yarns.

I used Noro Kureyon to make my mom a Star Crossed Slouchy Beret.

Slouchy BeretThe Kureyon blocked so nicely and the hat grew a lot and softened quite a bit.  I like how you can see the color changes more clearly when you knit with just the one skein.

When I decided that I wanted a bulky ear flap hat, I went into Knitting to Know Ewe in Penns Park, PA and asked what they recommended. The woman working there was so helpful and she introduced me to Noro Transitions. At the store, she told me it was discontinued so I don’t mean if that meant the colors they had or the entire line.

Ear Flap HatI ended up making short & sweet with my yarn. What’s so cool about transitions is not just the color changes but the different kinds of fiber that make up the skein. And, instead of being a blend, the actual fiber changes as you knit also. It’s a super bulky weight of wool, silk, alpaca, angora and cashmere.

That hat is so warm and so soft around the brim. I really love wearing it.

The Noro Striped Scarf

From my time on Ravelry I’ve learned that Noro brings out strong emotions in people.  It seems very few people are pretty neutral about it. Most either love it or hate it.

I love the colors and the way they change.  Yes, sometimes they abruptly stop and they are joined with a color that does not transition so nicely, but if you wind the skeins before knitting, you can catch those knots and fix the problem. Yes there are sticks and sometimes wee little dead bugs in there, but it’s fine by me.  Others respectfully disagree.

It was on Ravelry that I first noticed the Noro Striped Scarf. It seemed that everyone had one on their projects page so I got curious. I was still new to knitting (I learned to knit and purl as a kid, but I maybe knit two or three things to completion from a pattern in the previous twenty years) and carrying the yarn didn’t entirely make sense.  So I poured through forum postings on how to do it and then bravely started knitting with two balls of yarn to make the color changes. Yes, the dark color really does change from browns to blacks and grays.First Noro Striped Scarf

This pattern really appealed to my new found desire to knit because it is so colorful and especially to someone who was a novice, it was an easy way to do something that is so eye-catching and special looking. I made my first with Noro Kureyon which is 100% wool and an aran weight.

Then Mike decided that he liked the scarf so much that when I discovered some Noro Silk Garden on sale, I decided to make him one. Silk Garden is aran weight but 45% mohair, 45% silk and 10% wool.  It is softer to knit with than Kureyon but the colors are just as vibrant.Second Noro Striped Scarf

Both of these scarfs got matching hats.

I can totally understand why people feel so strongly both ways when it comes to Noro.  I think there are a lot of things to love and hate about so many different yarns. But I really do like Noro and have a some in my stash just waiting to be knitted up.

On my needles

What isn’t on my needles is probably a better question.

I have six projects going right now (I’ll talk about the ones that are hibernating another time) and one that really should be cast on and knit as there is a baby coming in a month who I want to have a pair of booties!

The most active projects are three scarves that I am so excited to wear. Each serve a different purpose. The first is a Fishtail Lace Scarf which is being made with Kauni Effekt.

Fishtail Lace Scarf in Kauni Effekt

Fishtail Lace Scarf in Kauni Effekt

This is going to be my most colorful project yet. I’ve had the yarn in my stash for over a year and finally feel that I’ve discovered the pattern that will show off the rainbow best and in a way that I’ll be able to wear a lot. This is a wool that’s a little rough on the hands so delicate people might complain about it.  I love it and love the gradual color changes. This is my project that requires my attention and I can do it when I want to only concentrate on my knitting.

My next scarf in progress is a Boneyard Shawl made out of Wolle’s Yarn Creations Color Changing Yarn.

Color Changing Boneyard

Color Changing Boneyard

I chose this pattern for this stranded cotton yarn to really show off the changes. I saw a few others on Ravelry also made from this yarn and I love the way they turned out.  This is a perfect scarf for summer so I really need to speed it up and it’s an easy pattern and great for mindless TV knitting or knitting in a group.

The other scarf in progress is a Sunday Market Shawl.

Sunday Market Shawl

Sunday Market Shawl

I travel quite a bit for work and last month, when I was in Vermont, I was able to stop at the Northeast Fiber Arts Center in Williston when I had a half hour of free time. They have a whole display of yarn they’ve dyed in the store. Last year when I was there I discovered the shop and bought some of their store-dyed yarn that turned into striped fingerless gloves and so I knew I had to try something else because the colors are so beautiful. This pattern is really interesting because on the last row you drop every two stitches to create a beautiful loose shawl.  I hope it works out (I mean, it should if I followed the pattern properly) because I won’t know until the very end and on it’s own, it’s not very special. This is the easiest knit ever otherwise.  I could do it anywhere with any distraction.