Saturday, August 20, 2016

City Streets Shawlette





Hello dear friends!

Can you believe it? We are already well into the beautiful month of August and September is knocking at the door! That means school is in session and knitting season is just about to get into full swing. That also means that new and exciting fall patterns are being released!

Hooray for fall patterns!

Around the beginning of the year the lovely editor of Knotions, Jody, asked me to design something for the fall issue. What a joy it was to sit back and think about all the ideas I had swirling around in my mind. I knew I wanted to do something with mini skeins because I was beginning to fall under their spell. And I knew I wanted to do something that illustrated my community I am surrounded by because I have spent a lot of this year contemplating community and how important it is to surround yourself with a healthy community.

Out of those ideas came the City Streets Shawlette. Here's what I wrote at the beginning of the pattern:

On an early Autumn Saturday morning you will often find me behind the counter at my sister and brother-in-law's downtown grocery store. The store is stocked with local cheese, meats, fruits, and veggies. Baskets of early apples line the front display, bouquets of local flowers my sister has lovingly arranged and wrapped in brown paper sit in galvanized buckets by the front door. The smell of bacon wafts through the air.  All seems right with the world. This little grocery store has become the Saturday morning haunt of many in our lovely little city. They grab one of my brother-in-law’s yummy breakfast sandwiches, sip a pour-over coffee, and chat on the outdoor picnic benches. These lovely people who sit at the handmade picnic benches are as varied and colorful as one can get. We each have a unique story to tell and we each have something good to give one another.

As silly as this may sound, I wanted to capture that essence of community in a shawl - that uniqueness of each individual yet when put all together we make a beautiful whole. The garter stitch throughout this piece represents that we are all the same - we really are. But we have our own story and our own uniqueness - represented by the different mini skeins - and when we participate as a community we add beauty and joy to the others we are around.

So go ahead - knit away, tell your story and the story of your community through this shawl. Choose mini skeins that represent you and your community. Remember to love, enjoy, and care for the people in your path.



You can find the pattern and the lovely new issue of Knotions here

You can find the Ravelry page for the pattern here

You can find the LOVELY kit by SpunRightRound here

The yarn for this shawl design came from SpunRightRound - I cannot say enough good things about this yarn. It is a dream to work with and Renee is a master of color! Oh, how lovely it is!

I was inspired by all the beautiful grafetti art walls that surround Wildwood Market in the Fountain Square district of Indianapolis. Some of them are really quite breath taking. I knew I needed to find some speckled mini skeins that really reflected these walls. When SpunRightRound's speckled minis took my breath away I knew I had found the match. The minis also represent the true variety of people of all races and colors and ideas and persuasions that make up my community.

The dark gray for the main color is taken by the gray of the roads and the alleyways - it provides the perfect backdrop to make those minis sing!





As always, happy knitting dear friends!
I can't wait to see your versions of City Street Shawlette!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Love + Leche




Hello lovely friends!

As promised, I'm back to tell you a bit about this new lotion that I have fallen in love with.
First, I LOVE the story behind this wonderful product. Love + Leche, originally Milk & Honey, was started by a mom (Daven Lee) and her son and daughter who decided to get some goats and then decided to milk those goats. When Daven realized they had more milk than they could use she had to figure out some sort of product to make with that milk. So she paired another product she had an abundance of on her farm - honey and beeswax - with the milk and made a lovely, wholesome lotion.

Second, I LOVE the fact that all the lotions and soaps are all hand poured by her son Simon and packaged by her daughter, Roan. It's truly a family business! I love family businesses!

You can see the farm and hear a bit more of the story here.


The third thing I LOVE is: when you open the Lotion Bar tin the fresh scent of the outdoors hits you - the scent of honey, wildflowers, lavender and the soothing undertone of mint. The bars are so golden from the beeswax and so rich from the butter milk of the goats. And for this outdoors-loving-soul (who also struggles with dry skin and dry hands) it's a bit of heaven in a tin.

Each of the 5 ingredients in the lotion bar are wholesome and healing - you can read about each one of them and where they are sourced here.

I've been using the lotion bar on my shoulders since they were sunburned (read my last post) and I'm pleased to report the sunburn has disappeared and there is no sign of peeling! Phew! AND my hands are so soft and lovely!

The lovely folks at Love + Leche have given all of you a lovely little coupon to use in their shop!

Coupon Code: christinawall
Coupon: free anywhere balm with purchase of a Lotion Bar (or any other $14 purchase)
Expires: September 30
Shop: here


If you have used and loved a Love + Leche lotion bar, head on over to the Ravelry group and tell us about it! I love to hear what your favorite scent is!


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Summer Days






Hello my lovely friends!

Oh, this blissful season of summer is slipping away so fast - it's already mid-July! For some reason I remember summers as long, slow and filled with plenty of time for creating. But as a parent I'm finding them fast and furious with only a few moments to spare for crafting and creating.

I'm beginning to think that is just because I'm a parent and see things differently - the mountain of things to accomplish to run a household smoothly. I realized this week that my kids thinks summer is long and slow and filled with plenty of time. So I breathed a sigh of relief and have determined to try to see summer through their eyes a little more - not my adult eyes.

This past week I took my boys down to our city's reservoir. It's a beautiful quiet place with lovely shady hiking trails and a small body of water. Usually during this hot time of the year we try to stick to the shady paths, but this time we headed down to the water to float our boats. We were looking for adventure and excitement and things to draw in our summer nature journals.




It was the perfect slow summer morning. We made harbors for our boats, decorated our sail boat with a feather, played with the rocks and sand, looked for little fish between our feet, drew in our books and snacked when we were hungry.

Then when it was too hot and our tummies were hungry for lunch we gathered our things and started the hike back. It was then that I noticed I was sun burned. Yep, I had remembered to put sunscreen on the kids but not myself. Sigh.

Back at home, after tummies had been fed and tired heads had been put for a rest time I sat down and remembered I had some lovely new lotions to try that just might help salve my sun burn.



The lovely folks at Love + Leche sent over their Lavender Mint Lotion Bar and their Citrus Rose anywhere balm. I've been soothing my scorched lips with the anywhere balm and rubbing the lotion bar on my shoulders! It's worked like magic! On Monday I'll be back to tell you a little more about Love + Leche but right now you can enjoy this lovely coupon code they sent you:

Coupon Code: christinawall
Coupon gives you: free mini balm with a Lotion Bar purchase (or any other $14 purchase)
Expires: September 30
Shop their Lotion Bars here

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Belfast Linen Yarn



I love crochet doilies. I love the layer of creativity they add to almost anything. But I don't like crocheting with teeny, tiny cotton yarn. For some reason, perhaps it my season of life, I just can't bring myself to work that slowly.

So when the lovely folks at Stitchcraft Marketing asked if I wanted to play around with a skein of a new line of linen blend yarn from Kraemer Yarns, I said, "Yes" and I new exactly what to do with it.

Belfast Linen by Kraemer Yarns is a DK weight blend of cotton, linen, viscose, acrylic and silk. It has the weight and look of linen without that crunchy feeling! Oooo, I was so delighted that someone had finally figured out the perfect blend of fibers to take away that crunch that 100% linen has.

The specs:
42% Cotton
22% Linen
20% Viscose
11% Acrylic
5% Silk

DK
3.5 oz. / 100 grams
approximately 220 yards

US Needle #5
5.5 Stitches = 1"
22 Stitches = 4


$14.50 per 100gr skein

 I made 2 doilies with the 100 gram skein and I LOVE them. I've used them on my table, under my flower arrangements and on my tea tray. And because they were DK weight they worked up quickly! It was a fun and fast project.

You can purchase Belfast Linen here




Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Cleo Bag by DellaQ



Ok, friends, let's face it. We are all into the "cozy memory blanket" or the scrapgahn" right now, correct? It's the rage, the trend, the "thing" and if you do not have one in progress, most likely the fever will reach you at some point or another.

BUT, although most of us start one of these addictive blankets, not all of us finish them. Am I right?



Yah, you know I'm right. In fact, I bet a few of you have one languishing in your stash, buried in some corner because.... sooner or later all those little balls of yarn begin to OVERWHELM you! They get out of hand and start taking over.

Sure, they start as sweet little mini skeins that you receive from a loving friend or buy at a fiber fair because they are "sooooo cute". But once they are rolled into little bitty balls they become little monsters bouncing out of your basket or falling off your lap. Soon they are totally out of control and the only thing you can do to keep them from eating you alive is shove the whole project into a closet and shut the door.

I've realized the absolute key to finishing a scrapgahn or cozy memory blanket is having the right project bag for the task. Yep, a bag that can organize those little cute adorable skeins and keep them under control.

DellaQ has just the right bag for the job. It's called the "Cleo Yarn Caddy" but honestly I think we should rename it as the Cozy Memory Blanket Caddy.



The Cleo Yarn Caddy is a circular bag with a deep and room interior. On the outside there are 4 roomy pockets for organizing.

At this point I've been keeping unwound mini skeins in the front pockets, joining yarn in the back pockets and all the working balls of mini skeins in the bottom of the bag. The scrapgahn rolls nicely and fits in the roomy interior and the bag has nice long handles that fit over my shoulder. So fabulous!

All of DellaQ's bags are hand sewn by women in Vietnam and a percentage of the profits each year are reinvested in the Vietnamese community through Mekong Quilts, an organization that trains low income and rural Vietnamese women in the art of quilting thus giving them a trade whereby they can make a living for their family.

You can find the Cleo Yarn Caddy here


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Raindrops




Hello Dear Friends!

Spring has sprung but with it lots of rain so it is quite appropriate that I release my newest pattern  - Raindrops.

Raindrops was inspired by all the rain we received last spring (yes, it's taken me a whole year to release this pattern). Most days last spring and early summer the boys and I would head outside to play and this play invariably ended up in puddles. As the boys stomped and splashed and ran through the water and as the gentle rain came down and kissed our faces I began to dream up a shawl that used raindrops as it's theme. Thus the Raindrop shawl.



Raindrops is a crescent shawl knit from the top down. Little purl bumps turn into yarn overs. Each subsequent yarn over gets a little larger and is meant to depict a raindrop falling and getting larger and larger as it hits more raindrops in its journey down to the ground.
You can make it a neckerchief or shawlette size (i.e. the fingering weight shawl) or you can make it a more substantial shoulder warming size (i.e. the DK weight shawl).
I hope you have many happy adventures wrapped in this gorgeous shawl as I have had many happy adventures.
For the month of April 2016 this shawl will be $1.99! After April it will be $4.

Fingering Weight Shawl
Yardage: 420 yards/385 meters = 115g/4oz of fingering weight yarn
Sample knit out of Tanis Fiber ArtBlue Label Fingering Weight, colorway: Shadow (420 yards/385 meters; 80% superwash merino, 20% nylon) - 1 skein

DK Weight Shawl
Yardage: 450 yards/ 410 meters = 200g/7oz dk weight yarn
Sample knit out of Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts DK, colorway: A Midnight Clear (225yds/205m; 70% superwash merino, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon per skein) - 2 skeins


Gauge
Fingering Weight Shawl: 6 sts/7 rows over St st = 1″ on US #4/3.5mm needles (or size needed to obtain gauge)

DK Weight Shawl: 4.5 sts/6 rows over St st = 1″ on US #7/4.5mm needles (or size needed to obtain gauge)


Needles
Fingering Weight Shawl: US 4 (3.5mm) 32-inch circular
DK Weight Shawl: US 7 (4.5mm) 32-inch circular



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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Amica Cowl and Fingerless Gloves


Hello Friends!

There is a fresh layer of snow on the ground but the birds are singing promising that spring is on the way. So in the spirit of spring Brownie Knits and I are releasing our spring collaboration today - the Amica Cowl and Fingerless gloves.

This light and cozy set of accessories is our first crochet collaboration together. And the wonderful thing about crochet is - these items are sooo quick to work up!



Worked in the round from the top down the Amica Cowl features the window pane and shell stitches. You can work this cowl in one, two or four colors.



The mitts are worked in the round from the bottom up using the window pane and shell stitches - and the miracle of these mitts are the fact that the shell stitch automatically makes the thumb gusset! They are so quick and fun to crochet!

In the Ravelry Checkout use: friends30 for 30% off 3/2 - 4/1/2016

You can purchase Amica Cowl here and
Amica Fingerless Gloves here


Here are some of the details for the cowl:

Materials
Yardage: 525 yards/480 meters total of fingering weight yarn/4 ply
Samples knit out of Stylecraft Life 4-ply (492 yards/450 meters; 75% acrylic, 25% wool) in colors:
mc - Cream #2305 419 yards/383 meters (91 gm)
cc1 - Melon #2359, 106 yards/97 meters (23 gm)


Knit Picks Gloss Fingering in colors:
(220 yards/201 meters; 70% merino wool, 30% silk)
mc - Robot 207 yards/189 meters (45 gm)
cc1 - Velveteen 106 yards/97 meters (23 gm)
cc2 - Bordeaux 106 yards/97 meters (23 gm)
cc3 - Hawk 106 yards/97 meters (23 gm)


Gauge
4 dc/2.75 rounds over dc = 1 inch, unblocked

Hook
US F/5 (3.75mm) crochet hook or size needed to get gauge

Notions
Row counter (optional)
Safety pin

Scissors
Stitch marker - 1 to 3
Tape measure
Yarn/Tapestry needle

Sizing

One size fits most teenage to adult women.
Circumference to fit: 22 – 23 inches (56 – 58 cm)
Bottom Circumference: 30 – 32 inches (76 – 81 cm)
Depth: 11 inches (27 cm)


Abbreviations (US Crochet Terms):

Beg – beginning
cc1 – contrast color 1
cc2 – contrast color 2
cc3 – contrast color 3
ch – chain
dc – double crochet
hdc – half double crochet
mc – main color
rep – repeat
rnd(s) – round(s)
sc – single crochet
sk skip
st(sts) – stitch (stitches)
sl st – slip stitch
sp – space


Note: the cowl is worked in the rnd. It is recommended that you place a split-ring stitch marker in the first worked st of each rnd and move it up as you go along.