Monday, October 26, 2009

Yarn Review: Schaefer Yarns

The talented Laura Nelkin, Knitwear Designer and Design Director for Schaefer Yarns, graciously sent me some of Schaefer's GORGEOUS yarns along with some her her fabulous patterns to review on my blog.

I have to tell you that when I got the package in the mail, I was like a kid on Christmas! I ripped open the envelope and immediate began fondling the yummy yarns! I took the yarns with me to a luncheon with a couple of knitters and let them fondle the yarns. I took them to knitting group and let the ladies fondle the yarns. Everyone was of the same opinion I am: YUMMY! So let me tell you about the yarns:(Keep in mind that the pattern pics don't reflect the colorway of the yarn I reviewed, just of the patterns applicable to that yarn.)

This yarn, Nichole, a new yarn at Schaefer Yarns, is a Fingering Weight yarn made of 80% Extrafine Merino Wool SUPERWASH, 20% Nylon. It comes 405 yds. Not only was the color GORGEOUS, but it was very soft and provides nice stitch definition. Wondering what to knit with this gorgeous yarn? Try out Nicholetta by Laura Nelkin. -A great small cable sock pattern with interesting gusset detail. (If you're a fan of Yarnissima, you'll love this gusset!) The cables add great design detail without overpowering the beautiful hand-painted yarn.
If you have kidlets, Nichole would be perfect for the Walking Spiral pattern - a cap and socks pattern for your wee little ones! (Available in Tops and Toes: A Whimsical Collection for Hat and Sock Knitters.)


This next yarn, Helene, absolutely bowled me over with it's amazing colorway! This particular colorway, Jane Adams, is rich with stunning pinks, greens, reds, and browns. This worsted weight yarn is 50% Merino Wool, 50% Cultivated Silk and comes 218 yds. So not only is the colorway brilliant, but the yarn is truly luxurious. Pick up a hank of Helene and knit yourself a Hover scarf. This scarf pattern has great texture and really shows off all of the colors in this colorway!



This purple gem, Anne, was the hit of my knitting group. The colorway is a subtle variation on purple. Spanning from light violet to deeper violet color, the variegated yarn is interesting, without being busy. Anne is 60% Merino Wool SUPERWASH, 25% Mohair, and 15% Nylon and comes in a whopping 560 yd hanks! I'm surprised my Anne yarn isn't all fuzzy from all of the fondling that went on at knitting group. Very soft and plied in such a way to provide great stitch definition. Try Anne out on the Vaya Shrug - a terrific multi-purpose shrug that will look great on any body and is virtually seam-free! Or give it a whirl on the beaded beauty, Entomology - a gorgeous beaded, lace shawl with interested bottom detail. (Entomology is a free pattern - found on Knitty!)



Last, but certainly NOT least, is the gorgeous Laurel. Laurel is a soft 100% Mercerized Pima Cotton yarn with subtle colorway and shimmering sheen. This colorway, Laura Ingalls Wilder, is a stunning marriage of taupes, mauves, and silvers - very classic. This worsted weight yarn comes 400 yds to a hank! This is NOT dishcloth cotton - it's perfect for a little shimmery pop - like in the Tower of Flames scarf. Knitting the scarf with cotton gives it a wonderful breathable quality but maintains elegance with the sheen of the Laurel mercerized cotton. The scarf has gorgeous lace detail, shows off the yarn beautifully and drapes like a dream.

I can't wait to get started knitting some of these patterns.. I love Laura's simple, yet elegant designs and the elegance of the Schaefer Hand Painted Luxury Yarns. If you've knit with Schaefer Yarns or knit up one of Laura's patterns - give it a shout out here (with a link to your project if you like)! And please leave some comment love regardless - let's tell Schaefer that we love their beautifully crafted yarns!

I was fortunate to review these yummy yarns and amazing patterns courtesy of Laura Nelkin and Schaefer Yarns. KnitPurlGurl Disclosure Policy applies.


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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Stitch & Dish: Fall Fiber Trends!



The video feed freezes a couple of times in this video.. Give it a few seconds and it self-corrects.


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Thursday, October 22, 2009

SkinMD Natural Shielding Lotion Review & Giveaway



Product: SkinMD Natural Shielding Lotion, 4 oz.
Approximate Retail Price: $18/4 oz.
Available Formulas: Natural Shielding Lotion and Natural Shielding Lotion + SPF 15

Alright hand crafters.. how many times have you reached into your knitting/sewing/scrapbooking bag for some lotion only to be disappointed with the lotion you use on your hands? Too greasy or not moisturizing enough? No crafter likes a lotion that will take forever to penetrate her skin. And every knitter I know likes to keep her/his hands supple as not to snag delicate yarns.

So when I was approached to review SkinMD's Shielding Lotion, I thought why not? I was skeptical that I would LOVE it as so many testimonials asserted. But I gave it a whirl. I tested this product over 2+ weeks and even took samples of it to knitting group. The consensus? We all really liked it. It penetrates quickly and leaves your skin feeling soft and supple. There was no greasy feel on my hands like with other lotions I've tried. - Therefore it didn't transfer to my yarn! And as someone with sensitive skin, I found it's fragrance-free, colorant-free, and paraben-free formula to be especially nice. Nothing is worse than having a reaction to a lotion.

I was also thrilled to read about the benefits of SkinMD Natural Shielding Lotion:

"Everyday contact with soaps, cleansers, shampoos, household chemistry and other substances that strip away skin's own protective layer (a thin film made of natural fats, lipids), leaves the skin's deeper layers unprotected. Without this protection in place oils and the natural moisture of the skin evaporates and absorption of irritants is no longer prevented.

Conventional lotions only add artificial moisture to the skin temporarily alleviating the dryness or itching, but these moisturizers don't actually solve the problem, they only treat symptoms without eliminating the cause. Dry skin is unable to absorb the newly added moisture to allow repair – it does not get "locked" into the skin. It gets lost easily. That’s why we keep applying more and more of the conventional lotions. Even so, skin easily gets addicted and may even suspend production of it's own moisture, relying on added moisturizer.

Skin MD Natural is a shielding lotion, a very special type of lotion helping the skin restore its integrity, enhance its protective functions so that the skin is able to heal naturally and regain its youthful appearance. Skin MD Natural works by bonding with cells of the skin's outermost layer to form what works as an invisible shield. This layer of protection prevents environmental irritants and pollutants from penetrating the skin, while sealing in the skin's own natural oils and moisture, helping resolve the dry skin condition."


But don't take this knitter's word for it! Enter to win a full-sized bottle of SkinMD Natural Shielding Lotion of your very own!

Giveaway Details:
  • Giveaway will run Oct. 22, 2009 - Nov. 5, 2009, 11:59p EST
  • ONE winner will be chosen via random number generator and announced on Nov. 6, 2009
  • You must include your email with your entry or your profile must link to your email address. (Your email will not be used for solicitation.) If there is no email address provided, another winner will be selected.
Required Entry:
  • Visit the SkinMD site and find at least one thing you like about their products. Come back here and comment for your required entry.
Optional Additional Entries: (You may chose to do as many of these as you like - these are optional entries. Please leave a comment for each entry.)
  • Follow SkinMD on Twitter. Come back and let me know for an additional entry.
  • Follow my blog. Leave a comment letting me know you follow for an additional entry.
  • Follow me on Twitter. Leave me a comment letting me know that you follow me on Twitter for an additional entry.
  • Tweet about it! You may tweet about it as many times as you like. Come back and leave a link to your tweet for an additional entry. (Be sure to leave a comment each time you tweet about it so that every entry is counted.)
  • Blog about it for FIVE additional entries! Make sure to link to this post in your blog post. Come back and leave me a comment with the link to your blog post post in it. Leave one comment for each of your five entries.
I was fortunate to review this product courtesy of SkinMD. KnitPurlGurl Disclosure Policy applies.


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Friday, October 16, 2009

And the Winner of the YouCanMakeThis.com Giveaway is...




The winner of $50 worth of Halloween patterns from YouCanMakeThis.com via random number generator is...







Mommy to R & R






Congrats! Thanks to everyone who participated and a special thanks to YouCanMakeThis.com for sponsoring this terrific giveaway!


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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

And the Winner of the WEBS Giveaway is....




The winner of the AMAZING WEBS Bamboo Interchangeable Knitting Needles Set via random number generator is.....






LiveLaughLoveCJ





Congrats to CJ!!!!!! A special thank you to Kathy Elkins of WEBS for sponsoring this terrific giveaway! And thank you all who entered!! This was a fun giveaway! :) I hope those of you who just recently discovered WEBS and the WEBS Blog because of this giveaway will continue to be a part of the WEBS community. :)


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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

DVD Review: Knitting Daily Workshop - Classic to Creative Knit Cables with Kathy Zimmerman




DVD Title: Knitting Daily Workshop - Classic to Creative Knit Cables with Kathy Zimmerman
Available From: Interweave
ISBN: 978-1-59668-229-0
Craft: Knitting
Approx. Price: $19.95
Length: 65:51 minutes
Difficulty: Advanced Beginner/Intermediate

In this DVD, Kathy Zimmerman, The Queen of Cables, takes you step by step through construction of cables as it relates to her Deer Creek Scarf. Owner of her own yarn shop in Pennsylvania, Kathy does what she does best: teach cables. Having a pattern to knit off while watching Kathy give instruction was immensely helpful and really added to this instructional video. Kathy skillfully explains the pattern and demonstrates every cable in the pattern so that knitter hoping to enhance her cable skills, has all of the tools she needs to complete this cable project.

What I Liked About This DVD:
  • The DVD begins with Kathy explaining cables and cable construction.
  • Kathy arms the cable knitter with some great tips and tricks for keeping the cable chart organized. These tips and tricks help to make cable knitting easy and enjoyable.
  • Kathy explains which tools are nice to have and why she prefers the tools she uses.
  • As Kathy takes you through the chart line by line, she highlights each cable sequence - explaining what the symbols and corresponding text means while demonstrating EVERY cable sequence in the chart.
  • Kathy explains her own personal relationship with each cable design and offers a few stories on Aran knitting.
  • Kathy explains how to adapt cable patterns as it relates to her Deer Creek Scarf and Princess Sweater.
  • Understanding that even The Cable Queen makes mistakes, Kathy demonstrates how to identify mistakes in one's cable knitting and how to correct the mistakes.
Since I am a self-taught cable knitter, it was really nice to watch Kathy demonstrate cable charts. I've always knit right off of the cable needle and have had wonky stitches and gaps due to pulling. After watching this video, I've come away with some terrific advice for how to keep my work even and avoid the typical cable pitfalls. And now that I know how to correct my cable mistakes without frogging my project, I feel more warmly towards cable projects. This is a great DVD for any newbie to cables and those like myself who aren't new to cables, but would like a few tips and tricks on how to keep our work looking fabulous.

I reviewed this product courtesy of Interweave. Knit Purl Gurl Disclosure Policy applies.


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Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Talented Mr. Habit

So my lace-hungry, Fiber'Tudes Radio Show co-hosts, Celeste & Stacy, are leading our co-hosts and listeners on a lace knit along, Miss Lambert's Lace Sampler by Franklin Habit. You may know Mr. Habit as the wildly popular author of the blog, The Panopticon; creator of the hilarious Dolores Van Hoofen; and author of the funny, "It Itches." The talented Mr. Habit translated 5 of Frances Lambert's patterns from her book, "My Knitting Book" (1843) to create his sampler. Celeste and Stacy are challenging us to finish one motif a week. And given my busy schedule, that's perfect.

Mr. Habit has written the pattern in such a way that one can choose the order in which they knit the motifs, add their own motifs, repeat motifs, or delete motifs. For the first motif in my personalized Miss Lambert's Lace Sampler, I chose one of the motifs in the pattern, German Pattern. I CO dbl the stitches and as suggested, framed it in a garter stitch border. I knit 6 pattern repeats and felt this was about the length I wanted (approx. 7 1/4"). - Of course, looking at Franklin's sampler, I am waffling about staying at 7 +" or adding 1 or 2 more repeats.. I'm using Knit Picks Gloss Lace Yarn in Natural colorway on US size 6 circs.

We'll see. We'll be starting week two on Monday. So join in the KAL if you'd like! Listen to Fiber'Tudes LIVE Mondays, 1:30p EST or on replay on iTunes (fibertudes). And don't forget to listen in this coming Monday as we chat with the AMAZING Stefanie Japel!

Toodles,


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Thursday, October 8, 2009

YouCanMakeThis Crafting Giveaway!



Okay crafty guys & dolls - this giveaway is for you! Do you LOVE crafting for Halloween? Well the crafty peeps over at YouCanMakeThis.com are offering a craft pattern bundle for Halloween worth $50! One lucky winner will receive the folowing:

Fancy Filled Tutu with Bonus 40 Tutu "Recipes"
Pumpkin Polly Patterns
Paper Piecing Project: Pumpkin Patch Pillow

Frayed Applique: Too Cute to Spook!
Little Miss Spider Applique Patterns
How to Applique the Easy Way
Hocus Pocus Patterns
Just a Little Something for a Happy Halloween Table Runner


Giveaway Details:

  • The giveaway runs from Oct. 8, 2009 - Oct.15, 2009, 11:59p EST. The winner will be announced on Oct.16, 2009!
  • One lucky winner will be chosen at random to receive the Halloween Pattern Bundle!
  • To qualify, you must provide your email address or your profile must link to your email address. If an email address is not provided, another winner will be selected. (Your email address will not be used for solicitation.)
Required Entry:
  • Visit YouCanMakeThis.com and come back and leave a comment telling me which pattern you most like from their site.
Optional Additional Entries: (Please leave a separate comment for each entry.)
  • Follow my blog. Leave a comment letting me know that you follow for an additional entry.
  • Follow me on Twitter. Leave a comment letting me know you follow for an additional entry.
  • Follow YouCanMakeThis.com on Twitter. Leave a comment letting me know you follow for an additional entry.
  • Grab my blog button and place it in the sidebar of your blog for an additional entry. Leave a comment with a link to your blog.
  • Blog about it for 5 additional entries. Be sure to link to this post in your blog entry. Come back and leave a comment with a link to your blog post. (Be sure to comment 5 times, one for every entry.)
  • Tweet about it! You may tweet as many times as you like. Come back and leave a link to your tweet in a comment for an additional entry.



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Friday, October 2, 2009

Stitch & Dish: Look Ma - No DPNs!


In this episode of Stitch & Dish:
  • We talk about the needle requirements for magic loop knitting - at least 29" long circular needle
  • We talk about some of the most flexible circular needles on the market currently: Addi Circulars, Knit Picks Options/Harmony, Kollage Square Needles, and Susan Bates Silverado Circulars.
  • I demonstrate the basics of magic loop knitting and we discuss it's possible applications
  • At abt 14:25 into the video, there is an audio issue - hang on, it resolves within 20 sec.
  • At one point, I channel the AWESOME Vickie Howell and actually say, "Let's get down to the Knitty Gritty.." (Vickie, I'm in withdrawl - we need your knitting expertise back on the air, lady) :)
  • I show everyone the pumpkin I am knitting: The Curly Purly Pumpkin
  • I talk about what's coming up on Stitch & Dish in the future


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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Month - What Are YOU Creating?



My grandma was a breast cancer survivor for 13 years. Just a few weeks ago, she lost her battle with cancer (cancer that had stemmed from uterine cancer she was diagnosed with in 2008). And in her honor, I'd love to reach out to the knitting community and find out what everyone is knitting or crocheting to honor breast cancer survivors or to just further the cause of breast cancer awareness.
If you have blogged something you've knit or crocheted OR blogged a breast cancer awareness pattern you designed and would like to share - please link up. (These can be projects/designs from past years.)

For those of you, like myself, looking for a pattern to knit, I've compiled a list of some great free patterns - so check 'em out!

Knitted Patterns:


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