Growing Yarn Stash

Is it me or is a large portion of the knitting community working on something with amazing colorwork? All over Instagram and the blogs I keep seeing a rainbow of color in everyone’s knitwear. It got me thinking it has been a hot minute since I have knit anything that wasn’t a solid color.

What to make? What to make? Well the first thing that popped into my mind was the Blue Snowdrop Sweater by Life is Cozy. The yoke looked challenging enough, but not too tough and I loved that the sweater fits snugly through the torso. So I headed to my LYS to procure some wool goodies.

From Life is Cozy website

One of the LYS I go to in Guangzhou is a little hole in the wall shop inside of a fabrics market (Highsun (Haiyin) Fabrics Market- Donghu stop Exit D). They sell mainly Chinese brands and are pretty affordable. My biggest qualm with going to this store is all of the yarn is in plastic and stacked from floor to ceiling. However, the sales lady is really nice and tries to be as helpful as possible considering she speaks very little English.

So what did I get? Well too much really. My colorwork sweater will be grey (main color) with navy, hunter green, and white. I can’t decide on the fourth color. I am between the fuchsia and the pink. I also found this lovely cotton yarn (green and white yarn) that I think I will use to make another Edie top. I also found bulky yarn! This can be pretty rare in China. I don’t know what I will do with it but I just loved the color so I had to have it.

All and all I am happy with my purchases. I spent 410RMB or $61USD. All of the yarn is predominantly wool. Not bad right? I CANNOT buy yarn for the rest of the year. I am not one to keep a lot in her stash and I have about 4 sweaters worth of yarn in addition to other random yarn that I need to handle. I better get knitting!

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

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Yarn Shopping in Katoomba, Australia

Katoomba, Australia is about 2 hours by train from downtown Sydney. As you saw in my last post we visited the Blue Mountains and Katoomba is one of the easiest ways to get access to the mountains. Since our adventures in Sydney have kept us busy I hadn’t been able go to a yarn shop. On a whim, I googled ‘yarn shops in Katoomba’ and to my luck one popped up! The yarn gods were smiling upon me.

The Granny Square is a cute shop about 400m from the Katoomba Train Station. It is situated right across from the Street Art Walk. When I entered the shop I noted that there was a winter sale! Woot woot! My goal was to find either some cotton yarn (for a future top) or some great sock yarn.

The sales associate was friendly and she let you do your shopping independently. Several customers had questions and she was more than happy to help. The store stocked mostly Morris and Co Yarns. This is a company that started in Sydney as a needlework business and then in the 2000s added yarn sales. The Granny Square also stocked quite a bit of Manos de Uruguay as well as Rowan yarn. The sock yarn selection was decent (German wools), but to my surprise the husband turned down picking out yarn for a hand knit pair! 😱 No worries! More yarn for me! The cotton selection was pretty limited, but I did manage to score 4 of these pretties.

They are 100% Pima Cotton and feel oh so soft. Plus they were really affordable ($27AUD for 4 skeins). A tank top or short sleeve top is in the foreseeable future.

The Granny Square was a cute shop. They stocked basic accessories, pattern books, and lots of wool to keep you happy. The sales associate was friendly and accessible. The shop prices were overall affordable, but the selection was a bit limited. If you are ever in Katoomba or the surrounding area I suggest you stop by for a peek in the shop!

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Blue Mountain Cowl

Recently, I picked up my yarn and needles and let my hands dictate the design that unfolded. This process knit resulted in a gorgeous cowl.

I decided on the name Blue Mountain Cowl as it got some use on the trails of the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney, Australia. Australia is in the middle of winter right now so the temps in the mountain were a bit chilly. We started the day with it being 1°C and I think it got up to 13°C in direct sun with no wind. The cozy Merino/cashmere blend felt like a little piece of heaven.Originally, I had socks in mind, however, the yarn didn’t have enough nylon content for me. I kept ending up with really baggy socks, which were a no go. I have suffered too many years with baggy sock. The curse of tiny feet! 😫

The yarn is String Theory Caper Sock in Stella Blue (merino wool/cashmere/nylon), which I purchased in Burlington, Vermont last summer. I love the subtle color variegation in this yarn. The yarn was also soooooo soft to work with. To be honest, I was a little sad for the project to end.

The Blue Mountain Cowl was worked over 4 DPNs. I wanted a texture panel, so I worked a modified seed stitch over the first needle. The remaining stitches were purely stockinette. I was aiming for one big tube, but then I remembered this cowl from PurlSoho. I loved how the front panel draped lower than the back. What a great idea! Don’t you hate tugging your neckwear down to seal the cold out of the front of your jacket? Inspired, I added about 1.5″ to the front section only.

Well here I am in my Blue Mountain Cowl in the Blue Mountains! It was a pretty spectacular day. The sun was shining and the cool air kept us somewhat temperature controlled during our 8 miles of hiking. It was good to be out in some crisp. I think my body is happiest in cooler weather.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Places You Can Knit

Since being out of China I have really had the chance to catch up on Instagram (IG) and my blog reading. Due to the internet restrictions, it can be really difficult to load pictures or really any internet content that isn’t Chinese. Social media, such as IG, is such an inspiration for me. I love to see what people are making/ creating as well as catching up on the latest pattern releases.

All this inspiration lead me to start thinking about how I express my passions in life. So I am starting a series of posts via Instagram (@knitsbywhitsf) about knitting while traveling Australia this summer. If you would like to join in spreading knitting love use the hashtag #knitwhiletraveling2018.

I look forward to seeing where you love to knit!

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Zigzagular Socks

The Zigzagular Socks are a free knitting pattern on Ravelry. The construction is top down with a textured heel flap. Along the sides of the socks runs a basic cable pattern that moves back and forth in a zig zag pattern.

I made the smallest size using my Daruma Superwash Merino wool yarn. This is a Japanese brand. I was first attracted to this yarn as it looked super soft and cozy. I have to say I wouldn’t use this yarn for socks again. It was too loosely wound for me. I like a very smooth yarn that is tightly plied and has at least 25% nylon. I like how the nylon helps keep a tight fit on my teeny tiny feet.

The pattern for these socks was well written. I liked that there were written direction as well as charts included. I also love a pattern with lots of pictures. It helps give me a better idea of what I am going to end up with.

I will not be wearing these sock for a looooong time. It will be 90° F/30°C for pretty much everyday for the foreseeable future. So no socks required 🙁. But, if you are looking for a sock pattern to stock up on your cold weather gear during the summer months I highly suggest the Zigzagular Socks.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Lace Baby Dress

This weekend my coworker’s daughter celebrated her 1st birthday. It was a lovely party with good food and fun. I decided I would make her a cute cotton dress for summer. I landed on the Lace Body Dress by Pernille Larsen after a Ravelry search. I love a basic silhouette with a touch of lace.

I used a light blue cotton yarn that I found traveling in Vietnam. It is fingering weight, but it didn’t come with a label. The yarn was pretty nice to work with. It wasn’t rough on the fingers nor was it super splitty. When washed and blocked the yarn exhibited the lace pattern well.

The pattern, included charts for the lace section that were clear and easy to use. I really liked that the dress started from the bottom and you attached the skirt section without sewing. However, due to its bottom up construction there were a lot of other places that require cutting and joining yarn. I would have rather sewed the skirt on as I ended up with way too many ends to weave in at the end of the project. I did modify the pattern to fit my yarn. I used the 3 month sizing and added length to the body. For the skirt, I started with the 3 month sizing and used the top parts of the chart from the 24 month chart.

The gift was well received at the party. The birthday girl looked darling! I was a little worried initially as the neck seemed a little snug to fit over the head. However, her daddy used his special parenting powers and popped it over her head like magic.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

2017: A Review

Well it has been a wild year. Not only did I move half way across the world, but I got some good knitting in. In 2017, I made 10 sweaters. 4 for babies, 2 cardigans, and 4 pullovers. Sprinkled in there were a lot of cowls and hats, and a few pairs of socks.

The longest project to complete was my Forever April Sweater. The gauge was very small (US size 4 needles) and by the end of the body it was hard to keep going. I think I just wanted a change from the stockinette.

My favorite sweater was the Red Leaf Top. I love the lacy yoke and the color is the perfect shade of red!

Here are the other top 9 items that I really enjoyed creating this year:

I hope your knitting year was fruitful and you can reflect back on the things you learned along the way.

Have a Happy New Year and I hope to have many new knitting adventures in 2018!

Until Next Time,

-Whit-