En exciting look behind the scenes designing the Galway Shawl free crochet pattern with Hedgehog Fibers.Read More
It's that time of year. Looking back over the past and maybe making a list of what you want your 2018 to look like. Maybe you need more of this in your life?
Have you heard people bring up "Rhinebeck" in conversation and wonder what the heck they were talking about? And why they said it while gazing wistfully into the distance? I first heard the it uttered during the load-out of a Broadway show I was working on. Someone was happy the show closed before "Rhinebeck" so she could attend, because otherwise she wouldn't have been able to get time off to go. So - she was happy to be unemployed because it meant she could attend an event that wasn't a wedding, family vacation, graduation, etc. I thought, "This thing must be pretty awesome."
I'm definitely more of a sewist than a knitter/crocheter but I'm curious about all kinds of fiber arts. So, of course, I googled. The official name is New York State Sheep and Wool Festival and it began in 1980. It's held on the Duchess County Fairgrounds in beautiful Rhinebeck, NY (hence the nickname) on the third full weekend in October every year. Workshops, competitions, livestock displays, and vendors, vendors, vendors. It makes me think of my county fair days back in Ohio - but much more colorful! I'm lucky to live about an hour away from Rhinebeck so I thought it would be fun to check it out for myself. I'm so glad I did...
I had work-work on Saturday morning (and was getting over the flu) so I wasn't able to go that day, which is the 'big day.' I was originally bummed about this but there was still PLENTY to see on Sunday. Looking back, I think it was a good thing I had to go on the second day of the festival. I overheard that Saturday was their highest attendance EVER so I would've just been dealing with that and not able to see the loveliness. As a vendor told me, "My advice for first timers is this: Look on Saturday, buy on Sunday." I don't know how I would've been able to hold back but I think it's good advice!
I grabbed a friend and hit the road early. We made a stop on the way to real-life meet some lovely people: @vanessa_knits, @premknits, @sere_k_nity, @knittysknittycreation and @lnsandbe. They all attended Saturday and were heading out. I wish we could've visited more but there was just time for a quick meet/visit and some festival coaching from the ladies. They made me feel much better about being a first-timer and what to expect.
The "festival" part of the name of this event is so appropriate. There really is a fun, festive air to the entire scene. It takes place on a picturesque fairgrounds and there are so many makers, doing their thing and excited to meet other makers. Along with the over-200 vendors, there are competitions, livestock displays, demonstrations, workshops, book signings, an equipment auction and even kids' activities. Pace yourself!
I didn't take any workshops and I (regretfully) did not get to see the canine frisbee demonstrations, but I did walk around aaall the vendor booths. I thought it would be the best way to get a real overview of why a maker would be so excited to go to Rhinebeck. Let me tell you - I get it! As you may expect, the majority of vendors were yarn-focused. I found one lone sewing booth (Hi Brooklyn Haberdashery!) along with many rug-hooking and roving vendors. If you are looking to pick up any new skill that involves wool, this event will start you on your way. I've always wanted to start needle felting so I was in heaven. (And I later heard from a co-worker the roving prices were great, which made me feel better after the fact because I bought a few big puffy bunches of it!)
I've always wanted to start needle felting so I was in heaven.
Not to doubt your superhero abilities but YOU WILL NOT REMEMBER ANYTHING. That yarn you saw just as you were leaving and had already hit your spending limit but maybe you'll find later on-line? Gone to history... A system I've used on some vacations is to take a photo of the sign of every landmark/park/attraction before I take any photos at the landmark/park/attraction. That way my organizing is done for me and I don't have to stop to write notes. I didn't take my own advice at Rhinebeck and I'm kicking myself now. And remember to clear out your phone storage before you go! I did manage to pick up many, many business cards. One of the great parts of an event like this is discovering new stores and sources.
I heard many vendors taking orders to ship items direct to customers. Many stalls were even set up as more display/touch-and-feel areas than straight-up shopping areas, which I thought was a good move. The staff was free to really talk to people and take time with them instead of working around the crowd while trying to restock. Some vendors bring special Rhinebeck-y items that are limited edition (keep an eye out on Instagram in the weeks leading up to the big event) so definitely seek those out and pick them up if you want the special kit or limited-edition yarn for that year. But don't be shy to ask someone working the booth if you want to order something and if they have any deals on shipping.
Many vendors have gift items for display as well. Finished garments and projects, decorative objects and toys share space with materials and supplies. Next time I'll budget for holiday gifts as well as my craft materials.
My favorite unexpected discovery was Sweitzer's Fiber Mill. It was my first time seeing corn, soybean and mint yarn! (Yes, I smelled it and, yes, they caught me.) They were very nice people. Their focus seems to be on fiber processing but they had some lovely items of their own to offer (see above photos). Some of the colors were inspired by the photographs of the owners' daughter, Lilli. Hence the name "Lilli's Rainbow Yarns." Hearing that definitely tugged at my mama heartstrings. Unfortunately, I found them late in the day after I'd spent my budget. I didn't buy anything on the spot but I'm looking forward to buying some of their yarn in the future.
A word about festival merchandise: If getting the tote bag, t-shirt, etc. is important to you, think about taking advantage of the pre-sale and pick up option available on the festival's website. I saw a 'Sold Out' sign on the merchandise tent for multiple items. And why wait in line to buy something you already know you want? This is the Super Bowl of Yarn for many people - you may find yourself being one of them!
As with any large event, planning is key: There are many, many small buildings spread out over the grounds (among vendors set up outside buildings along the walking paths) and it's easy to get overwhelmed. In the week before the festival, I took some time and wrote down the names, building numbers and stall numbers of the vendors I didn't want to miss. While I was at the festival, I realized the stall numbers weren't very helpful. The stall numbers aren't displayed as clearly as the vendor's name, so it ended up being extra information I couldn't use. The program that is provided with admission is fantastic. It has a great map and a full list of vendors.
Some nitty gritty stuff...Parking was free and very well-organized. I saw only one small water fountain so plan to either buy water or haul around a lot. The bathrooms were excellent but, given the fact this event attracts a majority of female attendants, there were lines as the day wore on. The fairgrounds are very well-maintained with paved paths that can be navigated easily. As per usual in this part of the country, the terrain is hilly but I did see people in wheelchairs and motorscooters that were getting around without difficulty. There's a bag check! I personally like to lug around my purchases in order to keep spending in check, but that may not work for everyone.
This event is very popular (and not in a major metropolitan area) so housing options fill up quickly. If you are really excited to attend, book workshops and a hotel ASAP. (As a guideline, workshop registration this year opened on June 1.) I am lucky to live within driving distance but I heard that all hotels within a 30 minute drive were sold out. Also, in case you didn't hear, Indie Untangled hosts a trunk show the Friday night before Rhinebeck in a hotel near (but separate from) the main event. I heard it was a busy, busy place but definitely for good reason.
The booths get very, very, very crowded very, very quickly. As lovely as fiber artists are in general, I did experience some light jostling ... I'm not going to say shoving. Maybe because it was Sunday and people were filling out their shopping lists. Who's to say? Also, I'm going to wait until my daughter is around 7 or 8 to share the Rhinebeck shopping experience with her. She's beyond stroller age but I witnessed some heated exchanges around a stroller in a booth and would not like to put either of us through a similar experience if I can help it. If I do choose to take her with me next time, I would bring along someone to sit with her, watch the sheepdog shows, take her to the petting zoo and let her visit with lamas.
Oh, and a veeeery yarn-y friend of mine directed me to this post before I went and I found it helpful.
I'm so glad I made time to visit this lovely event. It really has it all - beautiful scenery, passionate attendees, and sheep!
This is such a fun fiber story and the perfect follow up to The Secret To Social Media Success post. One night, in the wee hours when I should have been sleeping but was up late crocheting away, I took a break and hopped on Instagram. I LOVE the Instagram "discover" feature. Have you used it? I can honestly say I have found some of my favorite accounts and fiber friends using this feature. It is such a great way to truly randomly discover new people. And one such person is Alex Reynoso, of Alex Creates.
It must have been about 1:30 am my time which meant it was even later for him and he was listening to some amazing music and knitting and spinning his fibers. I thought I had hit the Instagram "discover" jackpot trifecta: A fellow New Yorker, A fiber artist AND listens to great music. So I messaged him and struck up a conversation. Of course, my very first question was: "What are you listening to?". "Childish Gambino" he replied. "WHO?" I answered. And just like that I hit up the iTunes, bought some great new music and had a new fiber friend.
Over time I got to chat with Alex more and discover his fibers. I had never purchased indie hand dyed yarn over the internet or social media (more on that in a future post) but this seemed like a good time to take that leap. Especially because Alex is one of the few indie dyers to offer chunky fibers. So I reached out, clicked his website and bought some of his luscious hand dyed ombres.
I was not disappointed. The colors are so vibrant and fabulous and the weight of the yarn is somewhere between worsted and chunky which is a great hat and scarf weight. It has a great texture too. I really love the way the yarn worked up for my hat giving the illusion of Fair Isle without having to do the work to create Fair Isle color changes. That is a dang nice bonus! I wish there was a bit more of the color in the ombre. The hat was perfect but I ended up frogging the scarf because it was just so much ivory. So I went with making 2 hats, which I just love. I may make a scarf out of all the left over yarn and ivory from those skeins. I haven't decided yet. I really love the texture of the fiber so hate it to go to waste. I have some holiday plans for the green ombre I got too.
And, I am very excited that Alex wanted to team up with me & Vanessa of Vanessa Knits for our Urban Jungle Collaboration featuring 3 designs inspired by the awesomeness of New York City. Two knits and one crochet. Read more about the collaboration here.
The fibers for this collaboration range from fingering weight to chunky and are just delicious. The color scheme for this collaboration is the perfect depiction of the concrete but beautiful urban jungle New York City is. The first design of the 3 piece collection is the Gotham Nights Scarf by Vanessa Knits, to be followed by a chunky cowl and a spring crochet wrap. The perfect accessories for you to make and enjoy!
I am so thankful it was just my good fortune to be wandering the halls of Instagram in the wee hours on a crochet break. So if you have not yet hit the instagram discover link, what are you waiting for? You never know what inspiration or friend you may find! Or have you already found new fiber friends through the discover feature? Would love to hear your stories below in the comments!
Ok so first I have to tell you that even though knitting has become a mainstay in my life, my first love and passion will always be crochet. So whether they ask me to review a kit or not, Wool And The Gang offers some of the most fun and awesome crochet kits. As a hooker these are not always easy to find. So I was already a fan and have made several of their kits. (See all their awesome crochet kits here). Anyways... back to this gem.
When the kit arrived I was blown away. I had just finished designing my Tuckoe Knit Scarf using Wool And The Gang Wool so was excited to switch to a crochet project. PLUS... SO MUCH COZY! They send enough for all sizes. Not all companies do this so I was really excited about that and the option to make any size I wanted. I could not wait to dive in.
The pattern was super clear and easy to follow. The diagrams helped when I had to add the sleeves. Their construction is a bit different than how I design garments so those diagrams helped. It worked up so fast that I made a whole sweater in a single day. I could not believe it. I blocked it - assembled it and have already gotten more yarn to start another.
And now - the most awesome folks at Wool And The Gang are giving one of you guys a Heart of Mine Jumper Kit Too!!! YES!! HOW AWESOME!!!! Enter below and if you don't want to wait to see if you win, Wool And The Gang is giving our community 20% off their Crazy Sexy Wool AND my all time favorite Shiny Happy Cotton Yarn AND ALL THE KITS!!!! WHAT?? Yup - use code 144Stitches through Sunday 11/19/17 at midnight.
Thanks WATG for always keeping crocheters in mind and yes, you have that Heart of Mine ;-)
Ok... I have to force myself not to use all caps for this entire post because I am so excited I want to yell and jump and dance and make sure everyone knows it. I MEAN THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN! for real... I have had the time of my life collaborating with Sarah and Mama Knows Luxury. She knows fun too by the way!
I had seen all of these big chunky merino projects over the last year. Blankets and knits and hand knitting and arm knitting. It was all exciting and curious and totally overwhelming. I wanted to try but those big projects didn't seem to call me by name. I had a feeling I would start with a bang then see them over in that endless pile of all my other "in progress" projects. I wanted to do something different to try this stuff out. This stuff I talk about is big bulky huge balls of merino wool. I reached out to Sarah with my crazy idea for bright colors and home decor with a twist. I am so glad she was on board for this because I have had SO MUCH FUN!
Ok... let me sidebar a minute:
If you read my post about Brand Partnerships, then you know how important partnering with the RIGHT brands is for success. Partnering with Mama Knows Luxury was more than Right, it was perfect. Originally, we had agreed to have this collaboration post for Easter. I had a big fun Easter spread planned. And then my sweet Sadie got sick. So we moved the project to be for Mother's Day. Then my Sadie suddenly died. And my world fell apart. I didn't want to create. I wasn't feeling inspired. I hardly wanted to make anything. I tried. I took out the project bag so many times trying to force myself to feel creative but all I felt was sad missing my Sadie.
I emailed Sarah feeling terrible. I had never missed these deadlines or not delivered on a collaboration. I was so excited she wanted to work with me I was worried I would ruin the relationship missing all these deadlines. But then Sarah emailed me back. She said "Take your time and get yourself right". She got it. My head space wasn't there. And because I partnered with the RIGHT brand and the RIGHT small business owner in Sarah, the stress was lifted in an instant. I had the freedom to take the time I needed without added stress.
Then it happened. Time passed and I found myself reaching for these big fluffy chunky merino balls. In fact, they helped bring me back. Like magic balls of yarn. So thank you Sarah for being who you are and to all of YOU reading this.. partner with the RIGHT Brands because it makes all the difference.
OK... now back to this AMAZING project.
At first I just wanted to squeeze all of the yarn. I admit, once I got going there was some play time before getting down to business and it was awesome. I knit it. I crocheted it. My husband threw the big yarn gum balls (as he called them) at me. It was just FUN.
My initial idea was inspired by my favorite placemats but that didn't quite work out. Making them square was sort of boxy and didn't have the look or feel I had envisioned. But the yarn was so fun to play with that it was not long before I had a new plan. I switched to round placemats and then it hit me... barstool pads AND placemats. GENIUS!
Then...I decided... hand crochet. I WANT TO HAND CROCHET.
Ok if you have never tried hand crochet then let me tell you: IT IS SO MUCH FUN!!!!! This is the perfect project for it because you can make each Barstool Pad with a single ball. Which, by hand crochet, I kid you not... 15 minutes. 30 if you are having fun and undo it only to remake it again! Think about it... a brilliant fun handmade home accent you can MAKE in 15 minutes. YES!
I decided to make my first set LSU Colors... because... GAUX TIGERS! They are great for mini playroom stools and big barstools too. You can make them in any team colors for your game day accents.
As I was making these magnificent fun barstool pads I had a brilliant idea. My FAVORITE coffee house is a super chill place in Peoria called Zion Coffee Bar (more on them later but if you follow me on social media you know it is my joint). so I asked them if they would let me come in and add a pop of color and BAM!!!! How amazing is this?
Now for Phase II: The tables. My friend has the perfect North Carolina home with such beautiful decor. But what she is missing is a pop of color. So I sent her a set of these beauties and will you look how much fun they bring to your summer tables!
This whole experience, even with the challenge I faced personally losing my Sadie, was incredibly perfect. Sarah is the real deal. A woman with a passion for people who make things. It is what this blog is about . She made the project beyond my dreams awesome. I Love how the pads came out. I loved learning hand crochet. I loved playing with this big chunky merino. I love the whole shebang. If you have been wanting to try big merino but afraid of the big projects, this kit is for you. A perfect start and introduction to Big Stitch Merino.
And standby... because there is more to come from me and Mama Knows Luxury.
While it is true, I am a cozy vibe, snowboard loving, scarf making kind of gal, anyone who knows me knows I am truly an ocean loving Pisces to the core. Nothing gets to me like the fresh waves and salt air. When I lived in Australia, there wasn't a single day that went without a dip in the South Pacific, of course it helped that I lived and worked a short walk from the beach. With this in mind, it was probably only a matter of time before my two passions (yarn and ocean) collided.
About two years ago, while on location in Florida for a shoot, I got the idea to make myself some lightweight cotton garments to wear. But while on location with super long shooting days, and still prepping for the Chicago One Of A Kind Show... well let's just say such an undertaking would have to wait.
Last year, while in Miami for several weeks, the idea reignited and so the journey began. Over the last year I have experimented with various fibers and cotton was always the winner for this idea. Like the commercial says, it is the "fabric of our lives" after all. I began my process of swatching and sketching and found the old ideas I had tucked away coming to life again. In the process, I quickly fell in love with a few specific cottons that lent themselves in both color and texture to my vision.
Thus my first Summer Cottons Collection was born.
Within a few weeks I had edited it down to a variety of looks I would want in my own closet. I drew inspiration from the many coastal places I have been and created pieces that spark a memory from each place they are named for.
I have put my heart into my first Summer Cottons Collection. This collection features garments made from some of the softest cottons and breathable for those summer days. Garments I enjoy both making and wearing. And I hope they are garments many others will enjoy both making and wearing.
The collection is made up of 20 new designs for makers to enjoy and be inspired by and a handful of made to order garments available here. And you can try the Inwood Summer Beach Top free pattern here.
For a deeper look at the fibers, read on to learn about the materials. (disclosure: the following contains affiliate links where I may get credit or commissions but these are not sponsored posts and opinions are my own).
Wool And The Gang Shiny Happy Cotton
Ok... this is by far the most superior cotton of all the fibers I have used and tried gearing up for this collection. Yes, I work with WATG often, no they did not pay me to say that. My order receipts can be proof enough how much this material factors into my designs and offerings. Why is it so special? First of all, it is just a wee bit thicker than most other cottons on the market. It has that few added strands that makes a difference in how it holds structure of my stitches. And still, it does not sacrifice drape effect for being a wee bit thicker which is awesome because when designing with lightweight fibers drape matters! Last, I do not know what their color process is but this cotton has a sheen like none other. It truly is Shiny Happy Cotton and I love it! And because WATG is awesome, you get 15% off with code WATG144S through 6/9/17!
Betta Knit Pima Cotton
I discovered Betta Knit last winter when I collaborated with them on the Stella Jumper design and fell in love with their chunky wool. I was thrilled to discover they are offering Pima Cotton for summer. This cotton is great for those drapey and lacey designs. It holds the stitch structure well for a finer fabric. This is technically a category 3 DK yarn but in truth it works up like a sport weight and I just love it. I designed my Megan's Bay Shrug specifically for the way this fiber drapes. And... Betta Knit is giving you 20% off with code 144XBK through June 30, 2017 WOOT WOOT!
Lion Brand Yarn 24/7 Cotton
Lion Brand continues to deliver for affordable yarn options. The 24/7 Cotton is mercerized adding a sparkle and sheen even after multiple washings. Trust me, I tested this claim out and it passed the test! This fiber is interesting because it is a little bit "rope-like" for lack of a better term. It was interesting to work up and I quickly fell in love. It is perfect for my Saratoga Shrug design! I loved it so much I reached out to Lion Brand and we teamed up to collaborate on a design specifically for this collection and this yarn. More coming on that very soon!
Universal Yarn Cotton Supreme
The name says it all. It truly is Cotton Supreme. One of my favorite things about this fiber beyond the awesome texture is all the colors they offer. You can get so many blends and without much effort in yarn change, your garments will have style and color all their own. This is a heavier weight cotton, definitely more category 4 worsted. And yes still gives you the soft drape of the finer fibers. It is ideal for garments like my Manchester Tunic where you can let the yarn do the color work for you!
Debbie Bliss Cotton
I discovered Debbie Bliss Cotton well into this project. In fact, most patterns were already out for testing when I came across this gem. I discovered it while checking out a new Local Yarn Shop Wool & Company that opened about 15 minutes from my home. (More on them in a future post). This fiber is delicious! In colors and in texture, I was delightfully surprised. It says it is DK, but more of a sport weight for sure. You can order from them here and they provide free shipping in the US!
I know there are endless other cottons out there and have tried many. But these are the ones that inspired and are featured in this collection and I encourage you to try them out. Do you have a favorite cotton you want us to know about? Share in the comments below. And tag #stitchandhustle on social media so we can see your summer cotton projects. Happy summer and see you in the Cotton Club!
And to celebrate.... I am giving away the whole collection of designs. Yep - ALL 20 PATTERNS could be yours! Enter below
Disclosure: Wool And The Gang provided materials free of charge for the purpose of this post and giveaway. Content is my own.
I am always both humbled and excited when I get an email from Wool And The Gang that says they have a new product launch and would I like to be part of it. I want to say, "duh you don't even have to ask" lol because UM HELLO!!!! They are only like one of my favorite brands on the planet. But their new product Tina Tape had me extra excited.
It is 100% Vegan, something a lot of my customers ask for and is made using renewable energy. Oh and it is made of fibre from sustainably sourced eucalyptus trees. Like I do not even know how that is done but sign me up. Read more about the process here.
To celebrate the launch WATG is hosting a Make-A-Long and we have teamed up with Wool And The Gang to give you a Tine Tape Kit so you can join the fun. Enter below and tag your projects on social media #TinaTapeYarn and #MakeAlong
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:
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.
I have gotten a lot of messages since my knit date with my gal Megan from Peppermint Pine shop about the table top tripod set in my crochet bag that we used for her Instagram Live video. So I thought this would be a great time do an update on my Photo Hacks post. Yup this post has affiliate links. I get credit if you buy these items. Let's dive in!
First let's talk lighting. Natural light is your friend. It is correct, easy to edit and gives you accurate coloring. Oh.. and it is FREE! But let's be honest, it is not always available. For me, I have one perfect area in my house that has amazing light. But for only 2 hours a day. When the sun shifts or if there is cloud cover then my photo plans are tanked. And while you can do a lot in post with apps and edit, it is extremely helpful to have some options.
I have an advantage having been a Production Manager & concert lighting technician and my husband still working in the field. So I get some cool toys I admit. But still, you don't need insider trading for badass lighting hacks. Here are a few I am fond of and use myself. Just remember this one thing: simulating natural light is not actual natural light. When you can, use natural light. Always. ALWAYS.
I bought this light kit on amazon because it has a great storage case and lots of options. There are LOTS of light kits so buy what is best for you but one thing is that no matter what light kit you get... BUY NATURAL BULBS.
The next thing is a bounce card. This will help you get more length of time out of that perfectly lit area of your home or studio. Basically, a bounce card is going to reflect light into a shadowy area. You don't need to be a photography pro to use one and in fact, this will illuminate your products in ways beyond imagination.
Next up: that table top kit from my knit date. It is what I call my secret weapon because no matter where I am I can always get the right angle. The right perspective and even the right distance. These will be your secret weapon too.
And for the products themselves, these are my MUST HAVES that live in my little crochet on the go kit and I use them for almost anything. Just not website product shots lol. Perfect for on the floor when I need that right angle. On the table. For Facetime so I can knit and converse at once. Yup... these are the ones you saw in the IG Stories with Megan and for less than $20 I got all I needed.
First up is my Jellyfish Mount. I love this thing. It holds my phone, my husband's phone (he has an iPhone +) and is so versatile and small and portable.
Now for my table top tripod. There are tons on the market. But let's be honest - this has a specific function. It is not for primary product shoots. I want something that is portable, lightweight and frankly can fit in my needle and hook case to go where I go. I also don't want to break the bank. I also didn't want something so flimsy that I would spend even more money replacing it. I did some solid research and this was where I landed and I love it!
There are lots of products on the market and everyone will always have their preferences. I can only tell you that I have in fact spent some money and time and found these to be the best, and for less than $20 it is worth a shot!
So get out there, get in the light and get your pics.
I love discovering new yarn and new artists. So when it's a double header in the form of an indie yarn dyer - well happy dances happen!
Last year, while visiting Stitches Midwest, I met Patti who owns Yarn Culture New York. Now let me tell you; Patti has some amazing fiber offerings and if she is ever at an event in your area I cannot convey enough to check her out. Follow her on IG for event appearances. I wanted to put her whole booth in my bag to go home (and may have even tried).
But another bonus was that Patti turned me on to Amor and her Crave Yarn. Um hello most excellent yummy fibers that I must become one with. Legit awesomeness. Not just the yarns, which are high quality, but her colors are magnificent. I was in love. IN LOVE!
As I got to know Amor and her work I fell more and more in love with her colorways. True, I was a bit sad she doesn't offer my fave chunky fibers but we handled that.
We decided to do a special limited edition collaboration with a chunky base. Keeping the amazing blue steel colors I fell in love with at first and using an incredible 100% alpaca chunky base, Amor created a fiber that I can only describe as divine. It was a dream to work up.
I immediately knew I wanted to create a design that was as flowing and dreamy as this yarn. The way the swatch draped and hung, it was clear a wrap would be perfect. Not your average chunky yarn. This chunky alpaca hangs like DK weight silk. CAN YOU STAND IT? It blew me away.
I am a Pisces and ocean lover and knew it would be all about the wave to go with the flow of this fiber. I started thinking of waves crashing upon the shore. And The Every Wave Wrap was born. It came together perfectly and I am madly in love with it. It is a scarf, a wrap, a shawl. It is what you need it to be and ideal for transitional weather.
Amor and I decided we had to share this fiber with the rest of the world. So we decided to turn these into Kits! We are offering these kits in LIMITED EDITION! So when they are gone, they are gone. You will get all the yummy yarn you need to make the Every Wave Wrap (4 skeins of hand dyed 100% alpaca), the hook, pattern, button, notions and a fun project bag. Um YEAH! You can purchase your Limited Edition Every Wave Kit here.
And as an incredibly special celebration of this Limited Edition Kit, we are giving one away. WHAT? YES - GIVING ONE AWAY!
We even teamed up with Natasha from the Amazing Hook Ewe shop to include a custom made ergonomic crochet hook. I have been such a fan of Natasha's work for so long as it scrolls across my Instagram feed that I was thrilled she wanted to join this giveaway. Her handmade ergonomic hooks are not only functional but true works of art. She has made one to match the colors of the Every Wave Wrap.
Do NOT miss out. Enter below!
And get out there and discover some new yarns :-)
Disclosure: Crave Yarn sent me the yarn for this giveaway & collaboration free of charge. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review content are completely my own.
Oh the happiness of a new project. Yes, I may have done an actual little dance when Wool And The Gang wanted to send me a Fearless Cardigan Knit kit. I had seen it on my Instagram Feed when Krysten Ritter posted hers and fell in love with the color she chose too. SO the chance to create my own was super exciting. And I especially love new projects where I get to learn something like new stitches or techniques. When it arrived, and it was the color I loved on Krysten, well I was elated. I dove right in!
At first I had to pause a minute. I mean it had some pretty BIG knitting needles and I admit, I was maybe a little fearful. It took a few tries but I got the hang of them big needles!
As I moved along the pattern it was a bit challenging doing the stitch additions on the needles. I ended up having to restart a couple of times. But an Instagram friend suggested I get these circular needles and as soon as I did I was off and running. Thanks IG friend you know who you are! Oh and yes, I kind of love these big needles now.
Assembly was a breeze. The pattern called for a specific type of assembly and while I followed the pattern this time, I figured out a way to make it a SINGLE fabric so there will be no back seam on the next one. WINNING!
Like I said - the very best thing is a project where I get to learn something new. This project I learned cable cast on technique which I assure you will be used often and horizontal invisible seam technique, AND and how to handle these awesome BIG needles which I guarantee you I will be using for many projects (including more Fearless Cardigans).
Click here to get your own Fearless Cardi Kit and use code WATG144 for an extra 15% off through March 31. GET YOUR KNIT ON and add this perfect transitional item to your closet.
Disclosure: Wool And The Gang sent me this kit free of charge for the purpose of this review. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are my own.
I am kind of excited about this giveaway and let me tell you why. Because one of you guys is going to win a pretty AWESOME prize: A full Kit to make the Octave Scarf featuring Shibui Knits Reed fiber. Um... YES. I said it. You are going to win big here.
I first discovered Shibui Knits about a year ago when I was getting more into garment design and upping my knitting game. At first I admit I was intimidated. Shibui Knits screams of high end fiber and elegance (yet somehow has an urban edge to it as well). Over the last few months as my knitting skills improved and as I was seeing more and more of Shibui on my instagram feed I was getting more curious than I was intimidated and I had to try it. So when I had the opportunity to collaborate with Shibui Knits for this giveaway I JUMPED at the chance.
Being that I typically work with bulky fiber, the Shibui Reed Linen was a completely new experience. It is a fingering weight yarn, which was a bit of a shock to my system when I first cast on. The first few swatches were surely not photo worthy.
But I have to say that as my hands adjusted to the finer fiber, it was such a joy and ideas began to flow. After several swatches (isn't swatching new yarn just one of the most fun things to do by the way?) I settled on a lovely knit stitch with a slightly larger needle than the fiber calls for. I was able to get a beautiful "open" stitch and it gave me an idea for a summer tank beach cover up. Linen, on the beach in Miami? YES PLEASE!
And now you too can get your hands on some of this Reed Linen delight courtesy of the amazing team at Shibui Knits. You will get the full 6 skeins needed and pattern to make an Octave Scarf - which is ideal for transitional weather so right on time. Enter below.
Disclosure: Shibui Knits sent me the yarn for this review & giveaway collaborations free of charge. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review content are completely my own.
Ah Betta Knit. If you follow me on social media you know I'm such a fan of their product and company. I mean I just love their squishy yarn and friendly service! So when they wanted to send me a kit to review & host a giveaway as part of March Maker Madness I was beyond stoked.
Now when the Aalto Basket Kit arrived I was a little taken aback. I mean it is designed by crochet design ICON Molla Mills AND is calling for tapestry crochet! TAPESTRY CROCHET??? A little intimidating but also, "I don't KNOW tapestry crochet" I thought loudly. A quick google and video and I was good to go - and realized I did in fact know Tapestry Crochet just not what it was called. Ok now I'm definitely in!
The Kit comes with their Fettuccine yarn, which was also new to me. At first was thinking, this is quite wide and strange and, well, yes reminds me of Fettuccine - now I'm hungry. Anyway... I had to fight the natural urge to want to keep flattening the yarn but once I got over that my swatch worked up quickly and I really liked the texture. I also like that it is 100% cotton. It works up super easy. Like I said, it takes a minute or two to get used to for sure but by the time the base of the basket was done I was well on my way.
The pattern instructions are easy to follow and they come with an awesome chart to know exactly which color should be worked where. Even a Tapestry Crochet newbie like me had no problem sorting out the pattern to follow along. My basket was done in no time once I got the rhythm of tapestry and comfortable carrying the extra yarn across.
Truly - this kit is a great afternoon project!
I absolutely LOVE how the finished basket came out. I added an extra finishing row to the top just to suit my own style and added my branding tag as well. Now I'm hooked (pun intended) and expect you will see lots more tapestry crochet baskets from me in the future.
If you've wanted to try tapestry crochet or already a pro at it, I think you will love this kit. You can grab one here and use code 144XBK for 20% off and, as part of March Maker Madness, you can enter below to WIN an Aalto Basket Kit!!!
Disclosure: Betta Knit sent me this kit free of charge for the purpose of this review & collaboration. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review content are completely my own.
Being that I am still a fairly new knitter and in the tail end of busy season, I was a bit apprehensive when We Are Knitters contacted me to make one of their heart shaped Happy Cushion Pillows. Sure it looked super cute... but the shapes? How would I make the shapes? But then I thought, well, Valentine's Day was around the corner and who doesn't love hearts? I love hearts! So Sure, why not! Then when the kit arrived and they send me an extra ball of yarn in pink, well I was beside my self in squishy yarn heaven.
The pattern had lots of increases and decreases to be sure, but was well laid out and seemed easy enough follow. I usually use the Make One method for increasing but for this project I decided to try something new so I followed the We Are Knitters Tutorial here.
Got my knit on and was cruising right along. I could see the heart taking shape and got super excited. Until I cast off and realized: wait a minute. That's not right. One side was noticeably "less rounded" than the other. Hmmm.....
On the second panel I watched my gauge more closely and still it came out a wee bit distorted in shape. Luckily, I knew I could tweak it during assembly but the perfectionist in me was happy to have the pink yarn to try again. and... NAILED IT! Grabbed some fiber fill from local craft store and time to put these babies together and stuff 'em!
This project was way more fun than I expected. And way less scary lol. Worked up super fast (for this beginner - a little more than an hour for each heart) and the assembly was easy peasy
I have 3 awesome takeaways from this project:1. I learned a new way to increase and how to make shapes. YES Shapes!
2. Try new things. Make mistakes. Try again.
3. HAVE FUN! I had a ton of fun with this project.
Going to be making many more hearts and share the love for sure.
Get your Happy Cushion Heart Pillow Kit here and use code WAK144Stitches for 20% off through 3/31/17
Disclosure: we are knitters sent me this kit free of charge for the purpose of this review & collaboration. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are completely my own.
I had seen this new yarn from The Rare Creature scroll across my instagram feed for a couple of weeks now. Everyone raving about the squishy awesomeness of this ethically sourced Alpaca. I was getting very curious. When I got the chance to collaborate with Lisa at The Rare Creature and got my hands on The Big Softy, well I quickly understood all the fuss.
I AM OBSESSED. No exaggeration. Simply obsessed.
I can't lie: when I opened the box I immediately had a mini 'squeeze the yarn ball' festival because it is just so dang squishy. The earthy tones are lovely. I like the fact that they are not truly solid but have a hint of shading to them. I had originally planned to crochet but the yarn just told me to knit. So I did.
The yarn works up so nicely. Now, I am still a fairly new knitter so it is to be expected that I would frog my creations now and then. I was pleasantly surprised when the fiber frogged quite well. No snagging or catching or knotting. It simply pulled apart nicely so that I could start again. Listen - that speaks volumes to me as someone still sorting the kinks as I design new garments and accessories. It made me love this yarn EVEN MORE.
I could not be more thrilled with how this hat turned out and cannot wait to make more. I've posted this free pattern for my Rare Creature City Beanie here.
This yarn has quickly found a place in my faves! Get some for yourself and use code stitchhustle for 15% off now through Christmas.
And as a holiday bonus, because it is the Season of Giving after all, you can enter here to win a ball for yourself. TWO winners will get a ball of The Big Softy to make this beanie. Enter here.
Disclosure: The Rare Creature 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.
It's true. My purse sometimes looks like a notions bag instead of a purse. Never be shocked to find a crochet hook, stitch markers or tape measure whilst rummaging around for my lip gloss. Now that I have added knitting to my arsenal it has only gotten worse.
I was quite impressed when it arrived because the simplicity is beyond genius. I was like... um.. hello lovely new awesomeness that will now live in my purse. The size of an Altoid Tin and it comes with and holds all things I usually find floating around, sans hooks & needles of course. But let me tell you the real genius.. the one thing that makes me ooh and aahh over this baby: the magnetic top. No more jabbing my fingers with a needle. Now it is right where it should be and easily accessible pain free. She even put in the most adorable origami stitch markers and tiniest scissors I think I have ever seen.
I have already put this Tool Kit to great use and now as a treat for YOU, use code Stitchandhustle for 20% off to get your own. Just in time for the holidays and a perfect gift for your fellow yarnies. She's got a huge variety of yarnie saying to select from too. I say THUMBS UP SARAH!
Disclosure: Sarah of The Sexy Knitter sent me this tool kit free of charge for the purpose of this review. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are completely my own.
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.
Following the theme of Nicole's awesome Time Management Tips post, I have been thinking about my own time management and how to streamline, improve and trim the fat. I want to share with you something that is a game changer for me. It actually came down to something as simple as I needed a new planner. What? YUP!
Although I am a roam the earth free spirit artistic kind of gal, I am also a planner. Shocking right? Well, let me explain.
Ever since I got my hands on my first FiloFax as a wee young up and comer, I have been a fan of the organizer & planner. It serves so many purposes. Not just helpful with dates and schedule but... It is a great place to stash business cards and receipts; it hold notes and numbers and random thoughts. My FiloFax has been around the world with me over and over until it died and finally the last stitch came apart a few years ago. Oh the stories it could tell. And oh the loss I felt.
Sure we are in the digital age and there are apps and tools for workflow. But for me, I like pen to paper. I am a fan of writing things down. I also like to gather my thoughts, spend a few minutes of quiet time and getting grounded. My needs have changed as I began to focus more on my small business, so I looked for planners that did more than just provide a place to write things down. I wanted to PLAN.
In my search I stumbled upon Passion Planner. What is this? I have Passion. I need a Planner. Hmmm..... As I read more & found out about the company (which has a great story you should read here) and the planner I discovered that they use mind mapping to help set a course to achieve goals. WAIT!?!? WHAT???
I LOVE Mind Mapping. How is it that I have never thought of this, but Thank God they did! It makes such perfect sense. I had to get one of these. And let me tell you- if you are an artisan, small business owner, human being with dreams & goals - you will want to get this too.
Granted, at first it is overwhelming. But the word itself means you need more than a notepad... we are making PLANS. In the short time since I have had my Passion Planner I can honestly say my efficiency has improved. My focus has increased. My spirit is lifted. Can a Planner really be the source of this? YES!
Because if you take the time in the beginning to invest and get going with the tools provided in the Passion Planner then it really does remove the clutter and help facilitate success. It is more than just things "to do". By following the Passion Planner layout tools, it has helped me prioritize, remove some clutter and truly come up with the HOW to achieving my goals. I am also a fan of the downloadable inserts. Because.. um.. graph paper :-)
As I gear up for busy season, it is crucial to streamline and be productive & efficient. I have incorporated spending a few minutes with my planner to start my day and it truly has helped me regain some focus I had lost in the clutter of To Do Lists. I am stoked to see how this continues and mind-map my way to achieving my goals.
And now, OMG - get this- the fine folks at Passion Planner are giving one Stitch & Hustle community member your very own 2016-2017 GameChanger Passion Planner. Um helloooooooo... get in on this. Enter below. Don't wanna wait to win one? You can buy one here
Disclosure: Passion Planner sent me this planner free of charge for the purpose of this review and provided the giveaway. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are completely my own.
Like most creatives, I knit or crochet wherever I go. I can be found at concerts, at events, in the car, on the train, at the park, at the doctor waiting room with yarn & hook (or needles) in hand. The truth is, if I can't bring my yarn, I probably won't go. But this also presents a challenge of carrying around my project without intruding on whatever activity I am enjoying.
While I love my collection of project totes and bags, none of them were just perfect for my on the go activity. Especially places like concerts, walking on the beach or a day in the park. So when I stumbled upon OtterburnPQ on Etsy I have to tell you I was intrigued. And then, I was in love!
A project bag that hangs on my arm? I had so many questions. Will it hold my yarn? Will it be comfortable? Will it be too heavy? Will it be sturdy? Will it interfere with my movement? Well, I just had to get it to try it out. And then I fell in love with it.
I got the medium bag to try, thinking the small would be ideal for my cottons but I am a bulky wool kinda gal. The bag arrived fast - and for handmade items that always impresses me. The quality stood out immediately. It is incredibly sturdy and well made. The fabric is super soft, which is great because I have sensitive skin.
It is lightweight and the wide armhole helps the yarn flow so nicely without me having to tug at it. I use this bag all the time. At the park. On the train. Everywhere I go. It has quickly become high up on my must have list when I pack as well.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Jord Wood Watches. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are my own.
If you follow me on social media, you know I'm a HUGE fan of wood watches, especially Jord Wood Watches. I mean I wear my Red Sandalwood Ely on the daily. So I was super stoked when they wanted to send me a new Fieldcrest to review and sponsor a giveaway on the blog for you guys. I mean HECK YEAH!
I have tiny wrists and it has always been a a struggle finding watches I will actually wear and enjoy. I had been looking for a cool watch for a while when, last Spring, I discovered Jord Wood Watches. I was so happy to finally find MY watch. I was slightly hesitant at first because the term "wood watch" sounds beautiful, but it also sounds heavy (and expensive). Well these watches are neither! These are badass unique watches that show off your personality.
The Fieldcrest is a bit larger than the Ely series I already own but still fabulous. It is lighter than I expected a wood watch would be and I love the way the wood feels on my wrist. The latch is secure and hidden under wood links. Getting into fall & winter fashion I will probably wear the Fieldcrest more than my Ely because I love the darker wood and it has a solid fall fashion feel.
It's kind of funny because until discovering Jord Watches, I was ready to jump on the wearable tech movement and find a watch that served many purposes. But in truth, it didn't feel right. I much prefer wearable art to wearable tech.
Now you can get some wearable art for yourself. Jord is hooking up one winner from the community with $75 toward your first Jord Wood Watch and just for entering you get a $20 gift card. Pretty cool eh? Just hit this link to enter.
Contest ends 9/25/16 at 11:59pm EDT.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Jord Wood Watches. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are my own.