FO Friday: Tangled Gal

At Stitches South, I bought yarn from the famous “Miss Babs” for the very first time.  Yowza is a BIG skein of yarn, more than enough to make a good-sized project. I chose a reversible cabled work-sideways scarf:

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Project: Tangled Gal

Pattern: Betangled Shawlette

Designer: Jennifer Weissman

Available: $5 on Ravelry

Yarn: Miss Babs Yowza What a Skein

This scarf starts from one tip and increases to the halfway point.  Short rows shape it nicely at the turn, and then you decrease to the other tip.  It’s great for making as much as possible out of the yarn you have.

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The giant-sized reverisble cables provide a built-in “keyhole” feature — super wearable.

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See you at NEFF!

NEFF stands for New England Fiber Festival!  NEFF is this weekend (Nov 1 & 2) at the Big E in Springfield, MA. It’s the first big yarn and fiber festival I ever went to, and it remains my favorite.  I like that the animal barn is the first thing you encounter — llamas and bunnies and sheep, oh my! — and I like that the booths are all organized and indoors.  There is a preponderance of small businesses, so that the floor is not dominated by big name stores or brands. There is a fleece sale (I haven’t gotten THAT brave yet) and plenty of sellers for spinners and other “tangential” crafts.

I’ll be at NEFF both days, staffing the booth for A Hundred Ravens. We’re in the back on the left as you enter the big part of the building — stop by for a visit!  We will have lots and lots of minis … including 12 sets of “Starry Night” minis — new for this festival.

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FO Friday: Mysteriosa

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Project: Mysteriosa

Pattern: Mysteriosa MKAL

Designer: Asa Tricosa

Available: €5.00 EUR on Ravelry  

Yarn: A Hundred Ravens Tyche in Granny Smith and a Custom Colorway

I joined this KAL with only the Granny Smith Tyche (a “Wild Child” colorway, and thus unrepeatable) in mind … meanwhile I had my sad face on after my Themisto hat purple-blue yarn lost almost all of it’s purple after just one day of sunshine. So! I asked Kate if she could please make me two skeins of purple-blue Tyche to go with my apple-green Tyche so I could make the KAL shawl.

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It wasn’t my most favorite KAL ever, but it resulted in a beautiful FO.  Many from my knitting circle completed their own, all in beautiful color combos.

Stitches East 2014

I had a great time at Stitches talking to all the knitters and crocheters that visited the booth for A Hundred Ravens! I sent lots of people home with gorgeous squishy yarn.  I also took off the apron and ran away from home to do a bit of shopping myself — I came home with lovely treasures too.

I drove down to Hartford Thursday morning to help with setup.  Kate had new display stuff that needed putting together, and all the yarn had to be sorted and displayed properly.  Early on it looked like this:

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By the time Market Preview started, it looked more like this:

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We had a special display for the new Savanna-inspired colorways — the Ol Pejeta collection — and a “yarn tasting” table for customers to try out the different yarns of A Hundred Ravens.

Lucky for me, Kate had plenty of booth help on Friday, so I was able to sneak away and pick up a few things from other vendors.  Here’s everything:

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From Long Island Livestock, a skein of Alpaca blend yarn — gorgeous blues under the grey-brown.  I plan to make Starshower with it:

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From String Theory, a skein of Selku in a glowing blue-green, destined to be a Marin:

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From White Birch Fiber Arts, two skeins of self-striping merino DK, for a Summer Scarf:

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From Periwinkle Sheep, a skein of bulky-weight merino, for a quick Twill Hat:

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A bit of sumptuous cashmere-merino top from Lisa Souza:

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Last but DEFINITELY not least, a skein of Arial Evolution — 680 yards of vibrant gradient-dyed yarn, waiting impatiently to become a Sweet Dreams shawl:

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See you at Stitches!

Stitches East is in Hartford!  The booth for A Hundred Ravens is located to the right of the entrance, just past WEBS, at #400.  I’m working for Kate on Thursday and Friday — come say hi!  You already know I adore Kate’s yarns and colorways … come see for yourself! 🙂

Some Words From Kate:

Stitches East will be the debut of A Hundred Ravens’ winter color season, Ol Pejeta. These colors are inspired by the vivid, rich hues of the African savanna and the creatures who live there. In our travels we’ve seen many a beautiful and serene Savanna Sky, watched industrious ants on the deep green of a Whistling Thorn, marveled at the oranges and golds of a Savanna Sunrise, and gasped at the sudden flash of color of a vibrant, jewel-bright Lilac Breasted Roller.

Have you ever tried our yarns out? Yes, but have you tried all our yarns? If not, come to our yarn tasting table and indulge in samples of our most popular bases. Bring your needles or hooks and sit and chat and enjoy! And while you’re at it… participate in daily raffles to win great prizes.

Need I say more??

FO Friday: Farfalla in Fall

I’ll be catching up on FOs for the next few weeks … and it’s a good thing I have a bit of a backlog of un-blogged projects, because everything I’m working on is TAKING FOREVER. I really want to cast on something (anything!) new, but I really really can’t. I have a bunch of “big” projects on the needles, and two things due to publishers, and new design projects waiting ever-so-impatiently in the wings …  But, enough whinging! I bring you … Farfalla!

Project: Farfalla in Fall

Pattern: Farfalla

Designer: Christiane Burkhard

Available: $6 on Ravelry

Yarn: A Hundred Ravens Iachos

This is a well-written and fun-to-knit pattern that makes good use of variegated yarn. I seriously enjoyed the whole thing! High marks to Christiane Burkhard, aka “Lismi Knits.”

Stash is Back, Baby!

So … I sort of half-intentionally, half-by-accident, took the summer off.  Halfway through July I realized I hadn’t posted much at all, and I thought I’d take a nice break from blogging, and then dive back in once school started up again. Well heck, we’re almost done with September, the kids have been in school since the last days of August, and I still haven’t posted!  My thanks go out to a knitting-circle friend (Hi, Jane!) who kindly brought this absence to my attention.  Time to get back to blogging, dear reader, and I hope you haven’t given up on me!

One thing I did get around to this summer was a complete inventory and culling of The Stash. Now, I don’t have as much stash as SOME people … but I knew for a fact things were out of sync with Ravelry, and that’s a problem for me.  I love data, pure and simple, and I want it to be Right.  On a more practical level, I use Ravelry’s stash and queue functions in concert to decide what to make out of which yarn … and also what yarn I’m “allowed” to buy, and which I should pass on.  (If I already have something, I don’t need to buy more!)

First Rule of StashCull: Get It Out

Can’t sort what’s hiding … so I got it ALL out. I mean everything!  Old stash, new stash, the 2nd ball for the WIP … everything!

Second Rule of StashCull: Fix It In Ravelry

So … this part kind of sucked, but essentially I sorted my Rav stash by yarn weight, and then went through one entry at a time.  I laid hands on the yarn for each Rav stash entry, or updated the entry to reflect reality (oh yeah, I gave that skein to a friend) (oh yeah, I finished that project but forgot to update my Rav stash).  Any yarn leftover after I’d gone through ALL of my Rav stash entries needed to be photographed and entered.

Third Rule of StashCull: Sort With Merciless Abandon

Before I started, I made a bunch of categories up and wrote them on 3×5 cards and made stations all around the living room. As I touched each bit of yarn, I also decided where it should live …. and here are the results!  I’m proud to report that my total yardage (according to my Rav stash) went from 81K to 50K.

“Rest of Yarn for WIPs” and “Assigned to Queued Project”

Any yarn that is part of a current WIP gets to stay (obviously), as does yarn assigned to a project in my Rav queue.  (I also did a quick cull of my Rav queue, to make sure I wasn’t hanging on to something for a project I’m no longer interested in making.)

 

“Keep Regardless” and “Assign to Project”

Some yarn is extra pretty, or has memories attached, or is just the right amount for specific short-notice projects (Baby Surprise Jacket, etc.).  That yarn I keep, regardless.  Yarn I like but isn’t quite in that category has to be assigned to a project!  If I couldn’t find a single project on Rav for that yarn, away it goes to some other category.

 

“Sell”

Yarn in good condition, I listed on Rav as “For Sale or Trade” (FSOT) along with price and shipping details.  I actually sold my first skein before I was even done sorting.  Most of what you see in the photo below is already gone, so don’t get too excited!  But, know that FSOT is a great place to look for yarn, and it’s a great place to re-home yarn while putting a little extra change in your wallet. I usually knock a few dollars off the retail price, and include S&H to the continental US.

 

“Give Away”

Partial skeins, unlabeled balls, and orphans went into this pile.  I brought it to the next few knit nights, and made my friends happy with yarn!  It was awesome.

 

Not Pictured: “Swatching” and “Teaching” and “Trash”

I keep a box of yarn given to me by companies specifically to develop designs. I don’t feel comfortable using this yarn (even in leftover format) for personal use, so I keep it for swatching for future projects. I went through this box and took out any yarn that was no longer in production (most of that went to “Give Away”). I also keep a bag of worsted-weight wool in pretty colors for teaching kids.  The yarn in these two categories doesn’t belong in my Rav stash, since I won’t be using it for projects, nor would I sell it or give it away.

I tossed tiny balls, old gross acrylic, and called it a day.  Phew!

 

NEW Pattern: Mainspring

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PatternMainspring

DesignerRachel Henry

Available:  $6 on Ravelry, or $12 for the Clockwork Collection

Yarn: A Hundred Ravens Iachos in Windmill and Kyoto

Boing! Mainsprings provide the principal impulse that drives motion and activity. This shawl is inspired by the clockwork rhythm and bounce of mainsprings.

This curved shawl alternates between wedge sections and straight sections. Short rows create pools of color and fabric. Each row uses one color at a time – no stranding! Slipped stitches and shorts rows do the heavy lifting in this design.

Mainspring is part of the Clockwork Collection. Each of three shawls in the collection can be made with two 100-gram skeins of fingering weight yarn. Look for Flywheel and Cogwheel.

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NEW Pattern: Cogwheel

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PatternCogwheel

DesignerRachel Henry

Available:  $6 on Ravelry

Yarn: A Hundred Ravens Tyche in Asphalt and London

Click! Clack! Kerchunk! Cogwheels mesh to transmit torque. Rotational simple machines inspire this design.

This crescent shawl begins with the toothed edging, worked sideways. Two-color garter stitch alternates with lace wheels, all worked as you go. The body is worked from picked-up stitches, creating the crescent shape with gentle decreases. Slipped stitches continue the look of the edging, providing interest for the knitter and support for the shawl.

The edging is charted — full written directions for all charts are included in the pattern. The body has written directions only (no chart needed).

Cogwheel is part of the Clockwork Collection. Each of three shawls in the collection can be made with two 100-gram skeins of fingering weight yarn. Look for Flywheel and “Mainspring.”

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