Thanks to all of my sponsors who've been so patient. I promise the reviews will be posted promptly after my laptop arrives. And for those of you eagerly anticipating the March Madness Giveaway, look for a posting late next week!!!!! :)
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Thanks to all of my sponsors who've been so patient. I promise the reviews will be posted promptly after my laptop arrives. And for those of you eagerly anticipating the March Madness Giveaway, look for a posting late next week!!!!! :)
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
My computer is still out of commission. DH is working tirelessly to try to save my data off the original drive. When he tried to copy the image of the old drive over to the new drive, some of my Windows directory was missing... long story short, it turns on, but until DH is able to restore some of the missing directory pieces, I have to use my phone for all of my computer needs.
I should have a restored drive in a day or two. Hang tight! I have awesome reviews to share with you and an amazing March Madness giveaway!!
Thanks for being patient! And thank God for the Android Blogger app!!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Well my laptop is out of commission. When I restarted today after I installed a program, an ominous black screen appeared warning me to back up my hard drive and that hard drive failure is imminent. YIKES! Hubby is going to back everything up on my hard drive and order a new drive tonight. Fortunately, I have a smart phone and am using the Blogger app to post this. But I'm afraid I will not be blogging until my laptop is up and running.
Please check back in a wk or so. I have a ton of cool product reviews, a giveaway winner to announce, and my upcoming March Madness giveaways.
Thanks for your patience and support!
Sunday, February 13, 2011
I had a fabulous time at the 7th Annual PGH Knit & Crochet Festival! I took a rug hooking class with Fritz Mitnick and Susanne McNally. I popped by the SpaceCadet Creations' and Cascade Yarns' booths who hooked me up with some gorgeous yarns to review. And I ended up buying BluePrint Crochet by Robyn Chachula, Knitting Block by Block by Nicky Epstein, 2 skeins of lace wt yarn by Knitting Notions, and a sheep pin! I got to meet some really fun ladies at the Ravelry meetup!! We were the last group to leave - we were yucking it up and enjoying ourselves!! It was such a great show. The only thing that could've made it better was if I had won the "Yarn for a Year" prize by Skacel. (I wonder who won that anyway..)
I carried my pathetic phone to every booth and shot video interviews with the booths I could. (I think these booth owners thought I was either nuts, a stalker, or both.) A couple of things to keep in mind when watching my video compilation: 1.) I wish I could've talked to everyone! The booths were AMAZING! And the owners were all so interesting and talented! AND 2.)My kiddos had abducted my Vado handheld videocam, so I had to use my crummy cell phone camcorder. So the video isn't the most professional looking, (or even great - in one shot, a lady ran into me) but I hope you enjoy it just the same! :)
My sincere apologies to The Wandering Wine - the video file was corrupted and would not appear in Windows Movie Maker. Please visit their site, thewanderingvine.net, to peek at their amazing hand woven items!
Thanks to Barbara Grossman, Festival Organizer, and all of the countless volunteers who made this weekend unforgettable!
Friday, February 11, 2011
Here's my finished Saroyan, worn around my neck. LOVE how it turned out!
I started a new shawlette/scarf, Chinook. I am knitting it up with Rowan Tapestry in Antique Colorway. This is another simple knit that looks fab when finished!
First off, I've got some amazing product reviews in the works (I'm reviewing all of these products currently). Look for these reviews to be posted next week!
- Personalized Knitting Labels from Mountain Street Arts
- Sock-A-Licious Yarn from Kollage Yarns
- Become a Knitting Superstar eBook by Liat Gat of KNITFreedom
- Welcoming Home Baby the Handcrafted Way by Tricia Drake
- KnitWit by Katie Boyette
- Yarn from SpaceCadet Creations
Secondly, I'm attending the 7th Annual Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival all weekend. I'm taking a Rug Hooking class while there on Saturday morning! Saturday afternoon I plan on nabbing some video and interviews from vendors (including amazing sponsor - Cascade Yarns!). And Saturday evening, I'll be stitchin' it up with the participants of the Ravelry meetup!
Third, don't forget to enter to win a PDF copy of Becky Herrick's cute vest pattern, Root Cellar Vest. The giveaway ends Tuesday, Feb. 15 - so hurry and enter today!
Thursday, February 10, 2011
I started this little number back in October, knitted it for 2 days, and then put it in my knitting bag, where it collected dust for 4 months. I was just about to CO another shawl when I decided that I needed finish some of the UFOs sitting all around my living room. So I pulled out Saroyan and finished it lickity split. Altogether, it took 4 mornings (2 in Oct and 2 in Feb) to complete it. It's a really simple, fast, and cute knit. This is a great beginner lace project or for people like myself who want something very simple to knit while watching tv or at knitting group.
I used Cascade 220 Superwash Paints in Sunshine colorway (2) and a pair of US Size 10 circular knitting needles. I wasn't quite sure if I'd made the right decision pairing this yarn with this pattern. But after blocking it, I absolutely love this yarn for this project. I think this will be a cute, warm scarf/shawlette to wear with my coat or with a long sleeved tee. One word of advice: if you you don't have sensitive skin, use a wool wash that is scented. As much as I love this project, the wool stinks when wet. ;p
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Yarn: Riveting by Kollage Yarns
Weight: Sport, 5-ply (12 wpi), 100g per hank
Fibers: 95% Cotton/5% Other
Yardage: 350 yds (320m) per hank
Gauge: 26 st and 32 rows = 4" on US Size #4 Needles
Approximate Retail Price: $16.50/hank
Available Colorways: 9 - Charcoal Denim, Cloud Denim, Dusk Denim, Forest Denim (Pictured above), Lava Denim, Night Denim, Pebble Denim, Sand Denim, and Storm Denim
Recently Kollage Yarns sent me some of their Square Circular Knitting Needles to review. And as an added bonus, sent me some yarn as well. Riveting was one of those hanks. When I first saw this is the box, I thought: Hmmmm.. Made from recycled blue jeans? What the heck can I knit with this? Sure I was excited about the eco-friendly yarn. It's made from 100% recycled blue jeans, 80% post consumer. But denim is cotton afterall. And I'm not typically a cotton gal.
Usually when I perform yarn reviews, I knit a swatch to get a feel for the look, drape, colorway, and overall fabric it creates. I don't typically knit a project right away and perform a review. However, with this yarn, I was intrigued by the swatch. I wanted to see what it could do. How it could perform. Most cottons I've used were for dishcloths: worsted, scratchy, no ease, splits easily. This yarn was different. It was sport weight. It felt soft to the touch. Although it had similar ease to other cottons, it worked up a gorgeous swatch. After peeking on Ravelry to see what others were knitting with it, I saw they were all knitting My Kind of Saturday Cowl (by Irish Girlie Knits). It's a cute cowl, don't get me wrong. But I thought that I definitely wanted to do something different with this yarn to challenge it a bit. I figured if people perceive cotton yarns the way I do, then they needed to see this yarn in a different light. So I chose the Transverse Shawlette pattern. I made some mods to adjust for the 350 yds I had to work with and the fact that I wanted something more of a neckerchief than a full blown shawl.
It knit up beautifully. I was so pleasantly surprised by the way this yarn draped! I couldn't believe how perfect this yarn was for a simple lace shawl pattern. And the proof was definitely in the blocking! It blocked up so nicely - the lace pattern edging popped and the simple garter stitch body paired nicely with the ruggedness of this recycled yarn. (I had 2 different cameras take these 2 pics: my web cam and my cell - hence the varying color.)
The yarn itself is a nice contrast of a mildly soft yarn with a rugged, recycled look. As you can tell in my shawl pics, there are various parts of the yarn that are slightly bumpy, are a teeny bit thicker or thinner than the rest of the yarn, and/or have flecks of different color here or there. This yarn has a weather-beaten appeal to it - just like a pair of favorite old jeans: soft, worn, and comfy. Because the yarn is more unpolished than a typical smooth yarn, it creates a fabulous contrast to lace - producing a garment that is both interesting and casual.
Overall, I absolutely loved this yarn. It was a pleasure to knit with. It had gorgeous drape, nice character, and was eco-friendly. I'm so glad I decided to challenge my own perception of what a cotton yarn could do. And like my favorite pair of old jeans, I can tell I'll be reaching for this shawlette often!
Disclosure: Kollage Yarns sent KnitPurlGurl (1) hank of Riveting Yarn free for review. KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed in the above review are those of the blog author and do not necessarily reflect those of Kollage Yarns.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Here's the "simple" shawlette that should've taken me a mere couple of days, but wound up taking a week. It is going to be considerably smaller than the designer's original pattern. Like I said, I knit it on a US Size 7 Kollage Square Circular Needle (which is more like a US Size 6). The designer calls for a US size 7 and since I'm a tight knitter, I always have to go up at least 1 needle size. So I knit it approx. 2 needle sizes smaller, with the same wt yarn. In this case, I used Kollage Riveting sport weight yarn (Review of this yarn will be posted tomorrow!). My shawl ended up blocking 39" wide by 17" from top center to center point bottom. I'm glad I went smaller. The designer says 350-360 yds of sport wt. yarn. If I'd have gone bigger, I would have definitely run out of yarn. (I had 350 yds. of Riveting). At any rate, this will make a good neck shawl, which is what I wanted!!
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Today my family & I got a chance to go see Madagascar Live! - A live musical version of the Dreamworks hit movie, Madagascar! I have to say I was a tad scared to hoof it downtown Pittsburgh this weekend of all weekends. There is a TON of activity surrounding the downtown (dahntahn if you're from Pittsburgh) area. Something about a football game 'n at. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't difficult to find close parking.
When we entered the Benedum Center, the kids immediately got lemur glasses (paper) to wear and there were announcements from the cast every 5 minutes until the show started. This really geared the kids up! To hear a countdown of when the show was to begin made the kids wiggle in their seats with big, goofy grins. Finally the show began! It was AMAZING! The acting and music was fun, fast-paced, and definitely foot tapping. Since the kids already knew the basic story, the insertion of original musical numbers made the experience new and exciting for the kids.
After the intermission (Approx. 45 min into the show), they sang the musical number the entire theater had been waiting for. King Julien and the cast sang, "Move it!" The kids were singing, giggling, and clapping to the beat. The whole cast danced and got silly to the delight of the kids, especially my 5 year old! At the conclusion of the show, the cast sang, "Move it!" again and the whole audience danced in their seats and had a good time!
After the show, we asked the kids what their favorite parts of the musical were. They both LOVED the penguins, of course. They also liked the "Move It" numbers. And they both really liked Maurice's number "Food Chain" (which is reminiscent of a James Brown number).
All in all, it was a great show! Our kids are 15 & 5 yrs old. But there were parents there with preschoolers and young children as well. The show was so entertaining and engaging, that even the wee little ones seemed to have no problem sitting for the 90 minute production.
To find out when Madagascar Live! will be visiting a city near you, check out the Madagascar Live! website.
Disclosure: KnitPurlGurl was given (4) tickets to Madagascar Live! free for review from Tellem Worldwide. KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for this blog post. All opinions expressed in the post are those of the blog author and do not necessarily reflect those of Tellem Worldwide, Broadway Across America, Dreamworks, or any of their respective affiliates.
Friday, February 4, 2011
I've been knitting like a maniac on this Transverse Shawlette! Kollage Yarns sent me some yarn to review. And being the tactile gal that I am, I decided that I couldn't really tell what this Riveting Yarn was capable of unless I knit it into a project, rather than just a swatch. So for 3 days, I've pulled my project out whenever I had a spare moment. I've pulled this puppy out after dinner when hubby is watching tv ( which essentially means I've given up all rights to a say in what programming is on in the room. That's right, I've been on a steady diet of American Pickers, American Chopper, Pawn Stars, Axe Men, and Dirty Jobs. Why did I think the TiVo was so great again?! :p ).
I wanted to make this shawlette more of a scarf. I've knit shawls that flow down my back and around my shoulders and I just can't pull it off. I like to wear my shawls around my neck like a scarf. And I refuse to put time into an item I won't use. I only have 350 yds of this Riveting, so I thought a tiny shoulderette or scarf would be perfect. The pattern actually asks for a US size 7 needle. I am an uber tight knitter and always have to go up 2 sizes to achieve gauge. But, I didn't want the flowing shawl on this project. Riveting lends itself to a more rugged, earthy style. So I used a pair of US size 7 Kollage Square Circs (24"), which is essentially like using a pair of US size 6 needles, since most knitters report having to go up one needle size with the Kollage Square needles.
I'm getting a tad worried. 1.) I'm terrified that I made this shawlette TOO tight and that it won't wrap nicely around the neck. AND 2.) I think it will be a nail bitter on the yardage. (I hope I have enough) The designer of the pattern suggests weighing the yarn before and during the project - so when you get to half the weight, you start the decreases. I had nothing with which to weigh my yarn. I am following the pattern as written and have completed Chart A, the increases of Chart B (10 1/2 repeats of the chart), and have started the decreases for Chart B. Once I finish the decreases, I have Chart C to go. Then I get to soak and block!!
I wanted to get this shawlette done in like 2 days. -Primarily because I'm very interested to see how Riveting blocks out as lace so I can complete my product review and also because I'm attending Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival all next weekend and want some pieces to wear to the festival. (I wore a sweater one year and I wanted to bang my head against the wall - I was SO HOT! I figured a cute little scarf and a cotton tee would work better this year.) BTW - I'll be at the Ravelry Meetup!! So let me know if you'll be there!!!! :)
At this rate and barring having to cook, clean, and do laundry, I think I'll finish the knitting part this weekend sometime - perhaps during the Super Bowl! WHICH BRINGS ME TO ANOTHER TOPIC: We had great fun on New Year's Eve with my impromptu Twitter gathering. I asked my Twitter followers if they wanted to do this again for the Super Bowl and everyone said YES! So this Sunday, if you are looking for something to do during the Super Bowl, grab your knitting, crochet, craft project, & laptop and join us on Twitter for our #YarnBowl Tweet Up starting at 6:30p ET.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Here's the press release about the show: (It looks like it's going to be awesome!)
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Hello! I’m Becky Herrick and I’m an independent knitwear designer. I live in Vermont on the western slopes of the Green Mountains (where we get the MOST snow). One of my favorite things about living in Vermont is that at least once in August it’ll be cold enough to put on a sweater. I have patterns published with online magazines such as Twist Collective, Knitty, and Tangled. I also have patterns available on my blog. Today I’d like to share some details about how my newest design, the Root Cellar vest, came to be.
I’ve heard this from other designers, and it holds true for me as well: I find inspiration for my designs from the world around me – and that means ideas can strike at any time. This one came to me in the kitchen. I have a dark cupboard where the onions, potatoes, yams, garlic, and other dark loving veggies all live. It’s similar to an old fashioned root cellar, although smaller and not as cold. Someday I want a real root cellar, but in the mean time this is sufficient.
I was making dinner when the idea arrived – a winter vest that warms the core just as a hearty casserole might. I knew some of the details right away: The vest needed to be textured with garter stitch and done up in warm, earthy tones. It would use two colors of yarn, and I knew they would be the varied shades of Plymouth Mushishi.
While that’s a good start, it certainly isn’t a fully formed design. I let it stew (food pun intended!) for a while. This is the part where I ask myself things like: How do the colors play together? Where are the stripes? What weight of yarn, and fiber blend, will give the texture and fabric structure I’m picturing? Is the construction pieced or seamless? Once I have some answers, I begin sketching:
I didn’t want the whole thing worked in garter because I find too many garter ridges overwhelming on adult garments. So I decided to work just the trim in garter stitch. I knew I wanted the two colors to subtly play off each other so I decided to stripe them together in the garter ridges. In order to highlight the gentle waist shaping (and to use up more of the CC yarn) I added some stripes at the waist. To mimic the subtle stripes in the garter I used slipped stitches in the waist stripes so the two colors would intermingle. The CC yarn is used in the shoulders to balance the top and bottom of the garment. Finally, I knew the horizontal stripes of color and garter could be less then flattering so I decided to work the button band/collar afterwards to add some vertical lines to the piece. The trickiest bit of construction was how to add the vertical garter band to the body of the garment so it would match the hem. Rather then trying to knit a truly mitered corner I thought it’d be clever to mimic one. This is done by working decreases on both edges while knitting the hem, and then picking up stitches at the edge of each row while knitting the button band. You can see the angle here while the body is in progress:
and how the button band is worked up along that edge so the stripes flow together:
It’s unusual that I knew which colors I wanted in advance. Unusual and unfortunate, because when I got to my LYS it turns out they had the browns and reds I wanted, but no earthy oranges. I was pondering a solution when one of the fabulous LYS employees suggested using two different brands of yarn. Malabrigo had just the orange I needed for my CC. If you’re having trouble finding these two brands of yarn my LYS Kaleidoscope Yarns has them available online!
Once I had yarn and needles in hand I still can’t just dive in. I always write up my pattern based on a gauge swatch. That way I can knit to the pattern and record any changes I need to make right on the printed page. Even then it’s not always smooth sailing. I had to rip and re-knit the first arm trim three times to get it looking just right!
The final steps are always the most fun for me. I love to see how the idea pulls together into a polished pattern. For this vest I wanted earthy, rustic photos. I enlisted the help of my friend Calley over at Fat Toad Farm. She provided the setting, and the goats! The problem with goats is they have too much personality to play along nicely – they needed some herding.
Lastly (and most importantly!) the pattern heads off to a technical editor. Stephannie Tallent reviewed all my math, checked my sizes, my grammar, everything. A tech editor makes sure all the proverbial t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted before a pattern goes live.
Once everything is finalized the pattern goes live! The best part is watching knitters take my ideas and run with them, making the idea their own with their own photos, color changes, special buttons, and whatever other inspired ideas you can dream up!
The Root Cellar vest pattern is available in 9 sizes from 29 to 62 inches. You can favorite and queue it on Ravelry. You can buy it there, or on my blog where you can find more pattern details. I’m also giving away one free copy to a reader of Knit Purl Gurl! Below are the details on how to enter.
- Giveaway will run from Feb. 2, 2011 - Feb. 15, 2011. ONE winner will be selected via random number generator and announced on Feb. 16, 2011.
- Entrants must be 18 yrs or older and provide an email address. Email addresses will not be used for solicitation purposes.
- ONE winner will win a PDF copy of Becky's The Root Cellar vest pattern.
- Tell us who you'd knit The Root Cellar Vest for!
- Visit Becky's Ravelry Designer Page and come back and tell us which pattern of hers you'd be interested in knitting for an additional entry!
- Stop by Becky's blog and leave a comment on her post about The Root Cellar Vest. Come back and let us know that you left a comment for an additional entry!
- Follow Becky on Twitter! Come back and let us know that you are following Becky for an additional entry!
- "Like" Becky's Facebook Fan Page! Come back and let us know for an additional entry!
- Tweet about it! Tweet about the giveaway w/ a link to this post in your tweet. Come back and leave the link to your tweet for an additional entry! You may tweet about it many times as you like and each tweet may be counted as an additional entry (as long as there is a link for each tweet!).
- Follow me on Twitter! Come back and let me know that you are a Twitter follower for an additional entry!
- Blog about it! Write a blog post with a link to this post included in your post. Come back and leave 5 separate comments for 5 additional entries!!! (Leave the link to your blog post in comment #1)
- Follow my blog. Leave me a comment to let me know that you follow the KnitPurlGurl Blog for an additional entry!
So I am completely Valentine's Day CRAZED! LOVE me any excuse to make quick little projects that help me practice my crochet. And they're hearts to boot! 'Can't beat that! I was going to make the Heart Garland by Suzette Williams, but I didn't like how my ch was turning out while crocheting the hearts. So I decided to just make the hearts individually and fasten off. I grabbed my scrap yarn: Red Heart Soft Yarn in Off White, Stitch Nation Yarn in Peony, Lily Sugar 'n Cream in Rose Pink, and Vanna's Choice in Cranberry. I made 3 hearts of each color, and weaved in all of the ends. Then I ch 20, grabbed a heart, sc through the 2nd tc from the ctr of the heart to attach and repeated until I had half of the little hearts attached. Then I sc 3 in the top on one side and sc 3 in the top of the other side of the large heart (the Sweet Heart Crochet Pattern by Bella Dia). Then I repeated with ch 20, sc attaching the hearts until the last 6 little hearts were all attached. The hearts to the left of the large center heart, face right and the hearts to the right of the ctr heart, face left for symmetry.
The ONLY thing I did not pay attention to: I didn't attach the sc 3 at the same exact place on either side of the large heart. I eyeballed it when attaching the right heart and should've counted. Oh well. Like the Amish say, always leave a small imperfection in your work to remind you that you're not perfect (We aren't God). So, my unperfect heart garland looks homey and charming. DD wants to hang it on her bed. And I think I'll let her!
This was a really fast, enjoyable project that I did while watching a movie with the kiddos. If I make another, I may thread some thin wire through the ch part of the garland so that I can bend it on my mantle. And I'd definitely center my sc(s) on my center heart! ;p (God has seen my crochet -it's no where near perfect on it's own!)
I made a mock-up Valentine out of Lily Cotton using Bella Dia's Sweet Heart Crochet Pattern! This pic is of an unblocked heart. Since I used worsted wt yarn and a size 5.5mm hook, it turned out to be a pretty decent size. (But you can use any wt yarn and hook size) It was really fun, fast, and easy to crochet. So if you're a beginner crocheter, like I am - have no fear! It's all sc with some sc increases and sc decreases thrown in to make it a bit more challenging (and give it shape). I think if I make the garland like Bella Dia did, I will use primarily acryllic or wool. The cotton splits a bit and doesn't give as nice a shape. The one part of the pattern I ignored was at the very end - to perform 1 or 2 sc decreases in the heart's cleavage to gather it a bit. Honestly, I just didn't even read it. I happened to see if afterward. I think 2 sc decreases, 1 on either side, is a good idea and I will follow that on my next heart.
I crocheted a 2nd heart out of Stitch Nation Full o' Sheep. I did follow the sc dec at the end of the pattern this time!
As always, I donated to this designer and urge you to do the same!! :) Now go get your crochet on!