Fiberpalooza Recap

Today was Fiberpalooza day. The gym of the elementary school in Winterset (about 30 minutes from Des Moines) is taken over by yarn and notions vendors. It is a fabulous market, and I look forward to it every year.

I loved looking at all the vendors had to offer. There was some beautiful yarn. There were dyers that I have knit with in the past, and knew I loved. There were new fibers and colors to explore. In the end I stuck with my yarn diet. I was shocked. I assumed that I would go over my earned amount.

I almost did. I was standing in line at the Fiber Cuiro and Sundries booth with some Bluefaced Leicester Silk blend in a stunning green when it occurred to me that maybe I shouldn’t buy a skein of that yarn until I knit a pair of socks with the skein of Fiber Curio and Sundries yarn I already own. Just because yarn is beautiful it doesn’t mean I need to buy it. I haven’t knit with the skein I own in a year, I can wait until next year to get a new skein.

Keeping myself to two skeins meant making darn sure that the two skeins I picked were worth it. Putting that much thought into buying single skeins is something I’ve never done in the past, and I am amazed at how much it changed my approach to picking out the yarn. It had to be perfect. I found two skeins that were just what I was looking for.20180317_110745389728761.jpg

I picked up a skein of South Dakota Yarn Co. Sport Weight yarn that was dyed with spinach and copper. It is a lovely shade of green, and is destined to be a hat on my head before next winter. I was tempted by her sock yarn, but went with the sport weight because it is some of the yarn she recently started carrying from a sheep farm in Lonsdale, MN that uses sustainable farming practices. I love the wool is produced in MN, dyed in SD, and is destined to be knit in IA. The hat will be a completely Midwestern product.

The second skein I picked up was Yarn Geek Fibers in Ada Lovelace. This skein is destined to be socks for John. The colors are great, and having socks named after a computer programmer is perfect for my programming husband.

After looking around the market we headed to the town square to check out some of the shops. We wandered into the yarn store. They have a wonderful selection, and I almost always leave with something I didn’t know I needed. This time I wasn’t tempted by the yarns. I explored the notions, something I usually don’t do. I found replacement buttons for Elliot’s cardigan. They are the same color and style, just a quarter-inch bigger than the ones that are already on his cardigan. I picked up four extra, anticipating that I would probably make that sweater again. I also picked up a new row counter. I usually use the County app to keep track of rows, but I’m trying to use my phone less. This counter is awesome. I love how it just stays on my finger and is always at the ready.


A lot of the vendors we talked to are also going to the Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival in June. I’m looking forward to checking that out in a few months. With any luck I will have earned a few skeins. Even if I haven’t, I think I will enjoy looking at the sheep and talking to the producers.

Do you have any markets you love to visit?


WIP Wednesday: 10/52

You guys, I got so much knitting done this week. I don’t know how it happened. The kids took a couple of extra long naps, and wham, I finish two of the projects I was working on last week. It is a good feeling to actually make progress.

The first thing I finished was the cowl for my sister. I picked out the color and the pattern without consulting her after a conversation where she mentioned in passing that she would like a cowl. I told her I would make her another one if she didn’t like it, but she did so I don’t have to do that. It was a fast pattern to knit. It was pretty unmemorable, as far as projects go, which is illustrated by the fact that I don’t even have a picture of it.

I also finished Elliot’s cardigan. Audrey posed for the photos in it because Elliot will not sit still for photos.

I love the cardigan so much I bought the rest of Jenny Wiebe’s Little Old Man collection of cardigans. I hope to make him a Harvey cardigan later this year. I have had some red worsted wool in my stash for years, and this might be the project for it.

I’ve been working on finishing my Candy Shoppe Socks. I have been playing around with vanilla socks, and I like the simple detail I’ve come up with. It is a simple rib that goes down the foot on the outer edge. It makes vanilla socks slightly less mind numbing to work on.

I do love how fast Felici knits up. I hope to finish these tonight or tomorrow.

The next socks up are Play Nice Socks by Lisa Beth Houchins knit up in A Whimsical Wood Yarn Co in the Wicked Ass colorway. Ivy dubbed the colorway Ethical Toucan, and that is a really good description of the colors. I bought the yarn because I couldn’t decide if the yarn was beautiful or hideous.

20180314_1854301297892388.jpgIn addition to starting a new pair of socks, I am also going to cast on another The Favorite Knit Slouchy or finally make the Gretel Tam for myself (now that I’ve been talking about for months). It all depends on how long it takes me to memorize the Play Nice Socks repeat. If I have a hard time memorizing it, or if it is something I have to keep thinking about, I’m going to cast on the slouchy hat. I need to have at least one mindless project on the needles.

Once I’ve decided on a hat I’m going to start looking at my stash to come up with another big project. I have the yarn to make myself a sweater, but I’m holding out until September, as I think I’ve convinced Ivy to have a bang out a sweater month with me. We’ll see how that goes. It is to be determined if she has actually agreed of if I had a full glass of wine and heard what I wanted to hear.

What do you think I should make next?

WIP Wednesday: 9/52

It feels like I’ve accomplished a lot of knitting this week. I finished two projects, my St. Patrick’s Day socks and the birthday party hat. It has been a long time since I have felt like I’ve accomplished a lot with my knitting.

The hat is the favorite knit slouchy by Jamie Sande. It is the third time I’ve made this hat, and it won’t be the last. It’s really easy, and you end up with a hat that is fashionable. Often what I like to knit and what is hip are two totally different things, but in this case they actually intersect.20180303_193845(0)1053835290.jpg

I made that hat for my friend’s birthday party. She put the hat on after she opened it and wore it for the rest of the night. I love it when it is clear that my knitted gift is appreciated.

I also finished my St. Patrick’s Day socks. I used Born in a Barn Fiber Arts yarn, which is some of my favorite yarn I have ever worked with. I’m excited to go to Fiberpalooza again in a couple of weeks, as I get to check out her stuff again. I was playing around with my own design when I was knitting them, and I’m really happy with how they turned out. I am thinking about writing up the pattern.

My goal for the week was to finish the hat and the socks before I started on Elliot’s cardigan again. I thought I would a sleeve knit by now, but that hasn’t happened. Because I have to keep track of the decreases on the sleeves it isn’t something I want to work on when I’m knitting with others or when the kids are awake.
I started two new projects this week. Both projects are good for knitting when hanging out with friends.

I’m making a cowl out of super bulky yarn. My sister recently told me she wanted a cowl, so when I discovered some super bulky in my stash I decided to make her one. I did not consult her on the pattern or the yarn. She might hate it. That is OK, because if I’m being honest, I just want to have a project that helps me burn through 100 g of yarn very quickly. Fiberpalooza is only a few weeks away, and I would like to earn as much yarn as possible (I’m taking my yarn diet very seriously this year).

I also started a pair of kind of vanilla socks. They are vanilla socks, but with a small rib detail so they aren’t quite so boring to knit. I am using Felici, which always seems to knit up quickly. There is something about self striping yarn – it makes me keep going and going to see what the next stripe will bring. I love it.

I always have a pair of socks on the needles, and I’ve developed a plan for this year when approaching socks. I am going to alternate between indie dyers and cheaper sock yarn. I have enough in my stash that I should be able to get through this year without buying more (even though I’m totally going to buy more when my yarn diet allows for it). I would love to knit exclusively with indie dyers, but my budget does not allow for it. I think knitting every other pair with extra fancy yarn will be a nice treat. I imagine it will also get me to slow down and enjoy the fancy yarn and quickly knit through the mass-produced yarn. I look forward to seeing if my hypothesis holds true.

For the next week I’m hoping to finish Elliot’s sweater. I would like to finish the cowl too. If I’m really lucky I’ll also finish a sock. That is a lot of knitting though, so I might be setting unattainable knitting goals for the week. What do you hope to knit this week?


WIP Wednesday: 7/52

Happy Wednesday. I’m not entirely sure how to write this post without having to bitch about the cocoon cardigan, but I’ll try.

I’m plugging along on my St. Patrick’s Day socks. I love this yarn, by Born in a Barn Fiber Arts. It has a bit of sparkle to it. The dyer will be at Fiberpalooza again this year, and I’m planning on buying at least one more skein from her. 20180221_134919.jpgThese are socks are the first project that I’ve knit with my new Lykke Driftwood needles, and I have to say they are amazing. Within an inch of the first sock I told John that I wanted to replace all of my needles with them (By the way, apparently if someone has given you the wonderful gift of an Addi Turbo needle set they have zero interest in you gushing about a different set of needles you now want).

Now that I’m done knitting my huge cardigan I am making one for Elliot. This one is going a bit faster. I’m using the Elwood Cardigan by Jenny Wiebe. I love the pattern, it is well written, and includes sizes from babies all the way to adult women. This is a pattern that I will get a lot of use out of.

I’m knitting the sweater with knit picks swish worsted. The collar and ribbing will be green. I would prefer it to be gray, but when you buy the yarn a year before knitting a sweater for a toddler you go with what you have enough yarn for. I’m knitting this in size 4, so it will fit him next year and the year after that. I hope.

I’m going to put off casting on a hat for myself for another week. I’m excited to see how far I get on the sweater in that time.

I hope you have had a productive knitting week!


Cocoon Cardigan

It’s a knitting miracle! I actually finished the cocoon cardigan. I am incredibly shocked to find that I love it. It is so cozy. I actually like the color, as it is a neutral that will work with anything.20180218_111742(0).jpg

There’s only one problem. Can you tell what it is?20180218_111744.jpg

How about now?


Does it look a little big?

Just a smidge big. I mean, a lot of sweaters go down to your knees, right?

OK, OK, the sweater is more than a little big on me. I accept that. Now to address what happened that led to a sweater that doesn’t fit.

If I were to start the sweater today I would start with a smaller size. Over the course of knitting this sweater I lost 25 pounds, so that accounts for some of the difference in sizing. But only a few inches in width, not height.

The bigger problem is that I never got gauge when I started, but decided to forge ahead because I figured if a baggy sweater was a little baggy it would be ok. I even did the math with the difference in gauge and thought that at most it would grow four inches in width. I never even looked at stitch height, and that (clearly) kicked me in the butt.

So now I have a sweater that is too big for me that I love. This entire time I thought I was making a sweater that would fit that I would hate. It’s a funny world we live in.
20180218_111756_001.jpgI’m going to have one of my best friends try the sweater on the next time she’s over to visit. She’s a few inches taller than me, and I think it would work for her. If she doesn’t want it I am going to be sad, but I’ll pack it up and mail it to someone in my life that I think has the right body shape to fit the sweater who happens to be going through a tough time. By golly, I’m going to find this sweater a home. It just isn’t going to be mine.

Please tell me about your gauge screw ups so I don’t feel alone in my mistakes.


WIP Wednesday: 6/52

Happy Wednesday! We’re enjoying a warm day in Iowa. It is in the mid 40s, which feels like shorts weather after the past two months. I have been trying to get outside as much as possible with the kids. My attention span for playing outside is shockingly short, so I end up daydreaming about future knitting projects while the kids play.

I’m still putting in time on the cocoon sweater most days. I have six rows left before I start the shawl collar. I am hoping to finish the sweater before the end of the month. I’m getting so close to finishing I need to start thinking about my next sweater project. I know I’m going to make a sweater for Elliot, but I still need to decide on the pattern and colors (I have the yarn for 4 color combinations).

I finished the monkey socks. They are such a fun knit. I don’t know why I haven’t made them in eight years. I ended up giving this pair to my mom, because she asked for them. I usually give her what she asks for.


I told her she can’t ask for my next pair of socks. I’m making a pair of St. Patrick’s Day socks with yarn I bought at Heartland Fiber’s Fiberpalooza last year. It’s dyed by Born in  a Barn Fiber Arts. I love the color. I love the yarn. I am going to love these socks.


I made up the pattern I’m using for these socks. I’m knitting a 3×1 rib and shifting it one stitch every 5 rows. That makes a slow spiral. It’s just what I needed for this yarn – something simple, but not so simple it’s boring.

In the next week I’ll be working on the socks and the cardigan. If I finish the socks I’m going to start a hat for myself. I’m going to make the Gretel Tam I made earlier this year in a beautiful Bluefaced Leicester yarn I got in my fibreshare box last year. I’ll also cast on a pair of vanilla socks to pick up when I need something mindless to knit.

Are you as ready for spring as we are? What do you like to knit when the weather is warm?


WIP Wednesday: 6/52

Happy Wednesday! I’ve been busy knitting this week.

I’m actually making progress on the cocoon sweater. I bound off the bottom ribbing yesterday. I have yet to pick up the 192 stitches for the collar. I’m not looking forward to doing that. I don’t mind picking up 80 stitches or even 100, but 192 is intimidating. It isn’t mindless knitting – you actually have to think when you pick up that many stitches. I’m going to do it tonight because John is going to a movie. I will have plenty of time for quiet concentration once the kids go to bed. Honestly, I might celebrate picking up the collar with some hot chocolate or a glass of wine and a bubble bath. I feel like I will have earned it after picking up all of the stitches.
I am done with the first monkey sock and about halfway through the leg of the second. I should have that sock done by next Wednesday. My plan is to not cast on any additional projects until I’m done with that sock. We will see how that goes.

I couldn’t help myself last week and I cast on a slouchy navy hat.  I decided to bang out a The Favorite Knit Slouchy hat. The pattern calls for a thin worsted weight, but I went with a thick worsted because that is what I had in my stash and I knew I wanted an extra toasty hat. I love it. It is like my head is getting a hug.

My plan for knitting this week is to spend 15 minutes each day on the collar of the cardigan. It will probably take me about a month more if I’m knitting on it every day. If my thumbs ever heal completely I’ll spend more time on it, but until they are healthy the acrylic yarn really bothers them.

Once I finish the monkey socks I’m going to cast on a pair of St. Patrick’s Day socks. I’m probably going to do a very simple pattern on them. Maybe SKYP or School Pickup Line Socks. I haven’t decided yet. I am using sparkly green yarn I picked up last year in Winterset at the Heartland Fibers Fiberpalooza. If I’m going to buy any yarn there this year I need to knit with at least some of my yarn from last year. The festival is on St. Patrick’s Day this year, so I thought it was only right that I use that yarn.

What are you planning to cast on next?