Manos Del Uruguay Milo & The Naples Shrug

Ok ... so I could hardly contain my excitement when I was told Manos Del Uruguay would be sending me their new Milo fiber to try and review ... and what colors would I like. Um... ALL OF THEM? Can that be an option?

No but seriously, even though the palette of this fiber is more muted than the vibrant colors I typically work with I wanted them all.  They are so fabulous and so enticing it was hard to choose.

As I looked at the colors I had this instant image from the Florida beaches on a full moonlit night. I selected to make an ombre item that would be like the shoreline beach up to the dark sky.

The colors I chose were:
Natural
Potosi
Lisboa
Indigo
Manchester  

Can you see it? Beach to night sky? Ah - PERFECT!

When the yarn arrived I was ecstatic about my choices once I saw how truly perfect they worked together. It was exactly the blend I envisioned.

Now, the yarn states that it is "fingering weight" but in truth it is closer to sport weight. Ish. You know how it goes... no strands are ever quite exactly the same. Either way - it was definitely thinner and lighter than my normal chunky yarn vibe. I worked up a couple of swatches and I knew a shrug would be perfect. I pulled out an old motif and got ready to put a new twist on it.

The Milo works up so quickly and so smoothly. It has an interesting texture because of the linen blend but it is not stiff with that starch-like feeling so many other linen blends that I've used have.

I could not be more please with this yarn and am already starting another project with it! because yes.. it is THAT GOOD! I want to make so many things with it. 

Thank you so much to Fairmont Fibers & Manos Del Uruguay for sending me this yarn to try. I am definitely a new fan.

You can get the Naples Shrug pattern here to make your own.

Webs Yarn has Milo in stock and also if you buy a certain amount you get their club discount. I love their customer service - here is the link. (nope - not an affiliate link - I just like shopping with them).

 

 

Disclosure: Fairmont Fibers & Manos Del Uruguay sent me this yarn free of charge for the purpose of this review and collaboration. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are my own.

November Pattern GiveAway

Did you read about the awesome Pattern Swap Toni of TL Yarn Crafts and I did a while back? It was such an awesome experience. It reminds me why I started this blog. To create. To share. To create ways for OTHERS to create. So an extension of the Season of Giving, Toni and I have teamed up to give you BOTH of these awesome patterns AND bonus... You get a $25 gift card to WAK for your yarn. Just enter below.

 

Discovering New Yarn with Betta Knit

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Who doesn't love getting happy mail? Now, let's be real. Boxes of yarn arrive here on the regular. But when new yarn company Betta Knit wanted to send me samples to check out for the blog, I mean... heck yeah. You don't have to ask me twice! And get this... they want to give YOU some too! What? Read on!

OK.. so the box is pretty and I will say - their logo and branding is right up my alley. Made the unboxing super bright and fun. Diving right in I was immediately mesmerized by the Cool Wool in the Dip Dyed version. The color is both vibrant and still faded in some magical way. I work with hand dyed yarn often so seeing this kind of color in this chunkiest of wool made my heart smile.

I was going to make a cardi shrug, which I have been on a roll with lately. But as usual, the yarn spoke to me and said "just play with me". So I did. I tried knitting it. I tried crocheting it. I tried a shawl. I tried a scarf. Frogged each one. Yup. This yarn is so scrumptious that I really did not mind this design process one bit. And I have to say the yarn held up REALLY well.  It didn't fray or fall apart or get all tattered through the process. Even when one time I pulled it apart I lost the end and had to play find the end in a pile of yarn ramen. You know that game right?

In the end... 8th time was the charm and I came up with a super fun pullover sweater we will call Stella. This jumper works up so quickly it is great for beginners and the most experienced crocheter alike. Every level can make this sweater I tell you. I wanted to create something both cozy and breathable so as not to suffocate my skin in all of this cozy wool. I also created a postive ease on this pattern because who wants to have their top ride up on them when it is cold? Not me! I will definitely be living in this top this winter! Get the pattern here or keep reading :-)

And, I had so much fun working with this yarn! I am both sad and overjoyed about finishing my project. I guess I will just have to get some more. :-)

I also had a chance to play with this new thing they call Blow Yarn. Um.. excuse me wonderful cozy squishy awesome yarn but where have yo been all my life?

Now, my only word of caution here is that this yarn does not like being frogged. Nope. Not at all. I definitely found that while I was playing with it that it meshed with itself as I pulled out stitches. So KNOW the pattern before you get going. For real.

It is a blend mostly of Alpaca with a touch of Polyamide & Merino mixed in. I was able to modify one of my favorite hat patterns to create what very well may be my new favorite hat. Yup - I will be rocking this Nepal Beanie all season. Definitely worth checking out the Blow Yarn. Just don't frog your work lol.

I also got to play with their Superwash merino and um.. hello... we all know how I love me some superwash Merino! Well their is definitely some of the yummiest ever. I haven't decided what to make with I Love My Jeans yet. A bit thin I may double it up and make some cool coasters. In fact... yes I will. So expect a free pattern for that pretty soon.

In the mean time.. check out Betta Knit. You can use code 144XBK and get yourself 20% off your purchase of yummy yarn. What? Yup. And that's not all... You can WIN EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO MAKE THE STELLA JUMPER!!!! Worthy of all caps right? Enter below.

Thank you Betta Knit for sending me so many treats to try out.

 

Disclosure: Betta Knit sent me this yarn free of charge for the purpose of this review & pattern collaboration. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are completely my own.

Tone on Tone and The Chapen Shrug

I love hand dyed or hand-painted yarns. I have been a fan for years. The colors and tonal shades are just magical. I also love Lion Brand Wool Ease series - it is a staple in my arsenal of yarn. So when I heard that Lion Brand was coming out with a line of Wool Ease Tonal, based on hand dyed coloring, I have to admit that I was both excited and skeptical.

The Chunky Everest, Amherst & Capeside Beanies- all designed for Wool Ease Tonal

I tried not to be bias when my sample box arrived from Lion Brand and not compare it directly to hand dyed fibers. And I was not disappointed. The subtleties of the tone on tone in each colorway is what makes them so special. There is a true 'natural" appearance to the color blends. And Wool - Ease? I mean come on... I just love it. Works up quick and has that chunky Wool Ease feel I love so much.

The yarn is perfect for my chunky hats and I even created a new set based on the subtleties of this yarn. The Amherst Beanie works up fast and picks up the accents of the colorway.

The combination of the yarn and getting into fall weather,  inspired me to create something new and fabulous. Something that really played with the shades of the Tonal. I created this Chapen Shrug.

The Chapen is my own fun twist on the traditional granny. It is misleading because it is not a granny at all! I created a graduated color scheme with the grey-scale Tonal shades. The yarn works up so well, and really lends itself to this kind of design.

And now you too can try this new delightful cozy yarn. Lion Brand is sponsoring the ALL You Need To Make This Giveaway. You win the yarn, the pattern, the hook, the yarn (did I say that twice? Because it's THAT GOOD)- the whole kit. Yup - how AWESOME is that?!?!  Enter below.

Can't wait to see if you win? You can buy the pattern here or in my Etsy shop here

Disclosure: Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are my own.

Hot Off The Hook: The Riley Scarf (with Giveaway)

I have been on a roll with new designs this summer. I started the summer with some travel and a road trip and have been experimenting with new fibers. So much inspiration flowing I just love it. When I got my yarn delivery from We Are Knitters, it spoke to me and I was in squishy yarn heaven. Creativity was FLOWING! One new design is the Riley Scarf. If you follow me on Instagram you have seen some of this process. It has not all been pretty but it is my favorite part of what I do: bring an idea to life.

Sometimes designs take shape in an instant and my vision springs into life right away. And when I say sometimes, I mean rarely. Most of the time, there is a bit more work involved. I have an idea and start working with yarn on the design. Simultaneously I grab some graph paper and start mapping out my stitch work. As it takes shape I go back and forth - yarn & paper and until it is just right I keep tweaking and designing. Occasionally (read: often) I will pull apart or frog the project and start over a few times. That is how we end up with what is known as Yarn Ramen.

Once I have waded my way through a pile or two or Yarn Ramen, I can usually see the garment taking shape and coming to life. I always get so excited at this stage of the process because not only am I seeing the work pay off, it is the realization of an idea that was simply in my mind only hours (or days) before. Something so magical about that.

Once the garment is complete it is time for blocking. Ah - blocking... the love hate of so many fiber artists. I will freely admit, I do not block everything. But new designs? Garments? Things I will cultivate into collections? You bet! Block party all the way. But I don't mind. Pull out the steamer (or bucket in some cases) a packet of Soak and get to it.  All that work is worth in the end. Always so worth it.

Because then, after all that work, when I see my creation and idea come fully to realization, it is a feeling that is hard to describe. Then add to that, when people buy the pattern to make their own or when they buy the completed garment to keep cozy it only adds to the magic.  I am IN LOVE with this new Riley Scarf and I think you will love it too. And since I know I have both customers who wear my work as well as customers who make their own from my designs, I am launching the Riley with a VERY special giveaway: Enter below to win either the completed scarf or a kit to make your own. WHAT? Yup - that is right. Select your preference and enter below before the pattern or scarf are even released!

Both the pattern & scarf will be available after the contest for purchase here.

Introducing: Savannah

This scarf was born from a mistake I made while making a basic striped  hoodie. I soon realized my "mistake" was divine design intervention and with just a few more tweaks it could be fully reversible so... voila.. the Savannah Reversible Hoodie Scarf Was Born!

It is a great pattern for beginners working with color changing techniques and texturizing garments. The pattern is easily adjusted in size as well, which is great because some people have a tiny head and some people have a not so tiny head.

You can order this in any color combo you want making it TRULY yours and one of a kind.

You can buy the pattern here to make your own

Two Worlds Collide: The Cornwall Shawl

As a designer, I find myself inspired by so many different things: the seasons, the scenery, sights on trips, other artists and designers, something in a magazine or boutique… it is endless. Sometimes it is all overwhelming in the most amazingly perfect way but sometimes reigning in those ideas can be a challenging process. When it all comes together quickly like magic and boom, instant success it is the most unexpected delight. Other times though,  it takes a while to marinate on a concept or idea and nurture it to life.

It's all a funny, fabulous and daunting process and in fact, One of the best parts of my job. I love the experimentation and design process.

I'd wanted to experiment with leather and "tougher" fibers inspired by some of the stylings in Highlander and the Hunger Games series. But I had yet to find the right leather to work with so this became a concept I was kicking around and marinating on for some time

… until...

At least year's One Of A Kind Show in Chicago my booth was next to Urban Gypsy Designs. The artisan, Christina hand paints beautiful leather purses and satchels and accessories. She also sells these fabulous cuffs that have both an industrial and sophisticated feel. I fell in love immediately with them and knew I wanted to incorporate them into a design.

As I marinated over all the ways to incorporate her leather cuffs into my work and mix it with the softness of my crochet wear I found myself not just accenting existing pieces but designing whole new ones. Then I found myself returning to my original notes and ideas from several months ago on the mixed texture pieces I wanted to do. YES!! It's all coming together! This is the process!

So I have been hard at work creating several new styles that will be ready for Fall 2015 and I am so excited about the variety of texture. Here is a sneak peek at that new collection: This is the Cornwall Shawl.

The shawl body is made using an exceptionally soft wool blend fiber. I am using a stitching technique that gives the illusion of being striped when it is actually not. It is an added dimension by design.

I have placed one of Christina's Infinity Cuffs as an accent to the piece giving it a flare of juxtaposition and style. The cuff is strategically placed to give the shawl so many different looks.

I am so thrilled with the Cornwall Shawl and  the complete collection will launch for Fall 2015 and I cannot wait to bring you these creations incorporating new textures and leather accents.

If you would like to make your own, I have made my original design available in my Etsy shop. You can buy the pattern here

The Open Cowl - Box Stitch

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One of my most popular patterns is the CJ Fashion Cowl, also known as the Box Stitch open cowl. It is a quick one skein pattern that works up super fast.

I designed this pattern by accident - as I find is often the case with my most popular patterns. I simply missed a stitch in the pattern I was trying to make. And I kept missing that same stitch and before I knew it I was creating something totally new and different from what I had intended. A few tweaks later and bam: I had a new design!

One of my customers sent me this fabulous photo of her creation from this pattern. I love how she added a a flower accent. And that is the beauty of crochet! Even when following a pattern, you can always make it your own.

Buy the pattern here

 

The Chalet Neck Cozy

The Chalet Neck Cozy
The Chalet Neck Cozy

I love neck cozies but I don't find them in many stores. So, of course, I found that as an opportunity to design & create my own!

Some days I don't want the bulk of a full scarf but I need the warmth. Enter the Chalet Neck Cozy.  They are also ideal for on the slopes. They keep me snuggle up warm but without all the bulk.

This was made with a faux ribbing stitch using chunky Lion Brand Hometown USA 100% Acrylic yarn and is available on my site here.

The pattern will soon be available in my pattern shop on Etsy.