Jen’s Knit Nook: February 2014

Welcome back to my second monthly Knit Nook where I share a look at my completed projects from the last month, any yarn hauls and new projects on the horizon, as well as the contents of this month’s KnitCrate (a knitting monthly subscription service).

February Completed Projects

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I only completed one project this month, although it was definitely a big leap in my knitting journey!  I chose the Saroyan Scarf pattern by Liz Abanante (free pattern alert!), because of the beautiful leaf lace edging.  I had purchased a lovely variegated yarn a couple of months ago (Universal Yarns Classic Shades Roman Candle #716 ) with this exact project in mind as a gift for my MIL’s birthday.  The pattern turned out to be a real challenge for me in the beginning as I’d never tried several of the stitches before.   Even after watching a step by step video on it from my favorite Knitting Guru on YouTube, Staci from VeryPink Knits, I was still making some massive mistakes and must have stopped and restarted the project half a dozen times.  I happened to be in Los Angeles earlier this month visiting the YouTube Space at the invitation of my friend Kristina (a super talented paper-crafter, StarOfMay on YouTube) where I ran into Staci, who was also visiting the Space.  She helped me work out my confusion over a few of the stitches and I finally got the hang of the pattern.  The new stitches I learned with the Saroyan Scarf include m1l, k1fb, ssk, and slk2p.  It’s amazing how a few stitches can yield such an exquisite leaf edging!  I ended up only knitting half of the recommended length for the center section, which turned the scarf into more of a mini shawl as I envision my MIL wearing it more in this fashion.  In retrospect I wish I had knit a couple more pattern repeats into the center, but alas, it’s too late now!  All part of the learning process, right?  I would be happy to repeat this beautiful project if a longer size is requested.  The joy of knitting bears repeating!

Yarn & Supplies Haul

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I am really trying not to get lured down the yarn lust rabbit hole, which I know many a knitter has fallen victim to.  I’ve already accumulated quite a little stash between gifts, my KnitCrate goodies, and yarn I’ve had on hand for years.  My plan in general is not not buy yarn unless I have a specific project in mind.  Of course, gifts and “souvenir yarn” don’t count.  This month I acquired two new sets to add to my stash.  Don picked out three skeins of Red Heart’s Midnight Boutique in Aura #1933 from Michaels for me as a birthday surprise.  I love variegated yarns in deep blues, purples, and greens and the silver sparkle woven though makes it all the more exciting (that man really knows me)!  When I was in LA, I popped into a local yarn shop called The Knitting Tree LA for new needles and was seduced by the dazzling array of Madelinetosh yarn they had in stock.  As a knitting newbie I had never heard of this luxe line before, but as I chatted with the friendly shop owners it became clear that once you use “madtosh,” as they call it, you don’t go back!  I couldn’t resist picking out three hanks of the Pashmina blend in Cousteau.  And yes, you read that price tag correctly, $31 a pop!  The nice fellow who rang me up called it “souvenir yarn” seeing as I was on a trip.  I like that a lot.  I can’t think of a better souvenir!

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I also picked up a few bits and bobs that I needed for the Saroyan Scarf from that same shop, including a knitting counter by Clover, which is essential for keeping track of rows in lace knitting patterns.  I also bought a new set of circulars since I was absolutely fed up with the terrible plastic cable on my Takumi bamboo ones.  I had great success using the ChiaoGoo RED Lace Circulars, which I got in size US 10 (6 mm).

Additionally, I’ve been using a few of my Orla Kiely for Target Cosmetic Bags to house my knitting projects.  The Graphite Double Zip Beauty Organizer worked perfectly as a means to stow my Saroyan Scarf project while traveling.  I kept the yarn, scarf, and needles in the larger compartment, and my pattern, knitting counter, yarn needles, and extra yarn for lifelines in the slimmer side.  I’ve also discovered that my Beekeeper’s Quilt supplies fit perfectly inside the smallest case in the Graphite 3-Piece Set.  I can tuck a few mini hanks, some polyfill, and my DPNs inside this slightly padded zip pouch which is light and small enough to carry in my purse.  Starting work on the Beekeeper’s Quilt is my next knitting endeavor and I plan on carrying my supplies with me when I travel or know I’ll have a moment to spare here and there on the go.

Image sources can be found at included products links.

February 2014 KnitCrate

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I  absolutely love KnitCrate, which is a monthly (or bi-monthly if that seems like a bit too much yarn coming at you) subscription service geared towards knitters.  There are eight different subscription options, which you can see here if you’re interested.  I subscribe to the Beginner’s KnitCrate, which includes a pattern suitable to that level, enough yarn to complete that project, a couple of bonus items (ranging from soothing to sweet to fun), and promo codes for knitting related products.  It’s basically the most awesome care package a knitter could ever dream of!

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What’s in my February KnitCrate?

ZigZag Pillow Pattern by Nathalie O’Shea – KnitCrate claims this will become my “go t0” pillow pattern.  I’m excited at the prospect of knitting a pillow!

Zealana Kauri Silk Blend Yarn in Natural K01 – I received three balls of this “warm, soft, durable yarn that fuels conservation efforts” in the perfect shade that I plan to use for a pillow to complement the window seat in my office.  I realize that this blend includes 30% brushtail possum fiber might alarm some people.  Andrea, cofounder of KnitCrate, was kind enough to provide the following information on the use of this fiber:

The brushtial possom is used by Zealana as a way to turn a negative situation into a positive.  The Brushtail Possom consumes and kills a tremendous amount of New Zealand’s natural habitat, endangering other wildlife.  Zealana takes the pelt of the brushtail possem the New Zealand’s government culls and uses it to create a blend of yarn.  A portion of those proceeds then go to fund conservation efforts in New Zealand.  

You can visit this website for more information if you’d like.

Volcano Island Honey & David’s Tea in Read My Lips – The sweet and fun extras this month include a tea and honey duo.  I can’t think of a better accompaniment to knitting!

✻ Promo codes also included for Kauri yarn, Emily Peters patterns, Needles, and Crochet supplies.

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I also subscribe to the 5 Mini Add-Ons package available through KnitCrate.  Each month I  receive five 30-yard mini hanks in hand painted/indie dyed yarns.  As I mentioned before, my next knitting endeavor is to start working on the Beekeeper’s Quilt.  I had meant to start knitting up little hexipuffs last month, but as a knitting newbie I find I can really only concentrate on mastering one pattern at a time, since so many stitches are new to me.  My hope is that once I have a handle on the hexipuff pattern I can continue to work on knitting hexipuffs concurrently with other projects.  Once I have enough for my intended quilt size I will stitch then together and voila!  A beautiful honeycomb style hand knit quilt!  If you’re interested in taking on this longterm project, you can easily get started by purchasing the pattern and an included supply of mini skeins at KnitCrate.  Receive 10% off your first KnitCrate purchase (not including monthly or bi monthly subscriptions) by clicking here!

Don’t forget to check out my group on Ravelry called Bliss Knits so we share current projects, knitting stories, and tips and tricks with each other! 🙂

Check out my coordinating Knit Nook video below for a closer look at my completed project, yarn haul, and KnitCrate goodies:

I am happy to announce that KnitCrate has very generously offered a February 2014 Beginner’s KnitCrate as a prize for one of you!  The February 2014 KnitCrate Giveaway will run until Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 6 PM CT.  The giveaway is open internationally.  All entrants under the age of 18 must have parental permission to enter. You can enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter widget posted below  (check out this blog post for more information on entering Rafflecopter giveaways).   I’ll announce the winner on THIS blog post and KnitCrate will contact them directly through email.  Good luck!

*** GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED ***

Congrats to Giselle on being selected as the winner of the February 2014 Knit Crate Giveaway!

The Poll Results for *Which kinds of patterns do you prefer?* out of 896 entries:

Easy to complete (651) 73%
Somewhat challenging (192) 21%
Require assistance to learn a new technique (53) 6%

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sometimes Rafflecopter experiences technical difficulties.  If you can’t enter for some reason, try again later and it will probably work.

Happy Knitting!

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* Some of the products mentioned are part of the KnitCrate monthly subscription program, for which I pay for my own membership.  I was gifted the Beekeeper’s Quilt pattern.  The KnitCrate discount link I provide is a referral link, which means if you make a purchase using that link, I get credit towards future KnitCrate purchases.  KnitCrate is generously providing the giveaway prize.  Post contains affiliate links.  This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are genuinely my own. *

19 comments

19 thoughts on “Jen’s Knit Nook: February 2014”

  1. Awesome blogpost!
    I’m still only able to knit scarfes, but I will start Alix’s prayer shawl soon.
    A friend of mine started the Beekeeper’s Quilt and it looks so easy!!!

    Hugs from Germany =)

  2. Yay! Jen’s still knitting! I love the shawlett it’s perfect, and I am sure your MIL will love just the way it is! Besides I like looking back at my projects to see my progress….every new project you learn something…even if its how well a yarn works or doesn’t work with your pattern.:D I am just starting a vest called the Ivy League vest…it might be abit challenging, because its colorwork (changing colored yarn every few stitches) but i love the pattern so much, I will gunt thru it if I have to. Enjoy life stitch by stitch 😀

  3. I have been knitting for about ten years now but only just discovered Madelinetosh yarns last year. Oh, my! I have found that I prefer “luxury” yarns for my projects and in recent years have opted to purchase a few special skeins here and there while I whittle down the stash of “workhorse” yarns that I accumulated prior to this revelation. I haven’t had the pleasure of working with Pashmina (yet!) but Tosh DK and Tosh Vintage are both lovely. And the colorways! *swoon* I just finished the Honey Cowl in Mansfield’s Garden Party and it makes me happy every time I wear it. I absolutely love hand-painted yarns and Eat.Sleep.Knit. (a LYS to some lucky ducks in Georgia with a fab online presence for the rest of us) is a great shop and where I tend to buy most of mine. Malabrigo is another lovely brand and their worsted merino is pretty much the softest yarn I have ever encountered. 🙂 Anyway, I can’t wait to see what you do with that Pashmina. Happy knitting!

    1. I actually keep them in individual small tarnish-resistant baggies organized in a hanging jewelry organizer in my vanity. I’m thinking of doing a jewelry organization post sometime this year since I have so much jewelry to store.

  4. I Just finished a scarf for my Daughter… First try!! I am quite pleased with it. I crochet mostly. I am now working on an afghan, it seems to be taking for ever, but it helps me relax. I love the beautiful shawl. Nice job! 🙂

  5. I hadn’t heard about this use for possum pelts before, though I was familiar with the possum culling efforts in NZ. I live in Australia so the adorable brush-tail possums here are just more native friends to hang out with at night on the verandah but as much as I love them (I really really love these possums) I’m glad that something beautiful and useful can come from the efforts to stop the devastation they’re causing over there.

  6. Hey Jen! I’ve also just got back into knitting recently. I have found a book called Teach Yourself Visually Knitting by Sharon Turner very helpful in all things knitting since I’m still learning so many things. I just finished making a free pattern I found on Ravelry called “Bow Head” Bow Headband. I really liked how the headband came out so I think my next project might be making it in another color. I’m also trying to talk myself into attempting a throw or pillow. Anyway, I’ve really been enjoying this series and seeing what you have been working on!

  7. Hi Jen, Absolutely love your knitting videos. I tend to get in over my head on projects and end up not finishing them. You’ve made me decide to go back to beginner or a little above knitting and relearn everything. I can’t wait to see your quilt. Right now I’m working on a baby sweater that’s yellow and black stripes, with little bee buttons. It too is over my head but I’m managing. Keep these videos coming. Happy knitting.

  8. Hi Jen! Welcome to the knitting universe! I have been knitting for a couple of years now….my favorite is lace….love the challenge and of course, the finished product.

    The best advice I can offer is to invest in the best tools and yarn. Love MadTosh…check out Malabrigo and Habu….gorgeous. Avoid acrylic like the plague…I mean, if your going to invest your time and energy in creating something, it should be the best.

    Also, good needles are a must….have you heard of Signature Arts needles? Yummy! They make knitting even more fun.

    Happy knitting!

    Michelle

  9. Love all your videos Jen. Can’t wait to see your beekeepers quilt. I’m thinking of making one of those for our new home here in Australia.

  10. What a tasty extra in your latest KnitCrate – David’s Tea is my favorite and Read My Lips is oh so yummy! :0) Enjoy!! Cute scarf, by the way – great job!!

  11. OMG you look BEAUTIFUL in that picture, you should use it as a profile!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    love the scarf/shall

    love it!

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