Category Archives: Travel

Barchan Earflap Hat

Download the pattern from Ravelry FREE for 24 hours!

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The Barchan Earflap Hat is named after the horseshoe-shaped snowdrifts called barchans.  Worked from the top down with a provisional cast-on, this ribbed hat has a seamless construction with no short rows or stitches to pick up.  The slouchy version of the hat is shown, but the pattern can be easily adapted for a beanie style, with or without earflaps.

I’m in love with the Lana Grossa Fur Pom Pom from The Trendsetter Yarn Group.  It attaches easily with a snap which you stitch onto the hat.  It’s just so soft and fuzzy and gorgeous!

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I used the beautiful worsted wool I bought in Dresden, Germany a few years ago at The Green Wheel.  I love having yarn as a souvenir.  It was so much fun to relive a little bit of that amazing trip!

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Darling German cherub
Darling German cherub

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Vixen Sweater

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Download the Vixen Sweater from Ravelry.  It’s FREE for 24 hours!

Last month I was lucky enough to attend the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival (aka Rhinebeck) for the very first time.  I saw lots of lovely knitters in gorgeous sweaters.

At the Buffalo Wool Company booth
At the Buffalo Wool Company booth
Gorgeous shawls
Beautiful shawls
I love these sweaters
I love these sweaters
Fabulous cable details
Fabulous cable details

And the weather was perfect!

I’m happy to announce the release of my first sweater pattern this season, the Vixen Sweater.

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This mock turtleneck is named after the Vixen Geyser in Yellowstone National Park. The geyser is named because of it’s temperamental, feisty nature, like a fox!

In the Vixen Sweater pattern, Rowan Felted Tweed DK is paired with Rowan Kidsilk Haze which adds a touch of cozy glamour to the sporty stripes of this simple, relaxed, top town raglan sweater.

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Because there’s no waist shaping, it’s easy to adjust this pattern to your own preferences.  Lengthen or shorten the neck, add or subtract length by using more or less stripes.

You’ll want to make sure you end with a stretch bind-off for the hem.  Here’s a video tutorial for the Russian bind-off.

 

Trace Your Yarn

While driving through the Rhône-Alpes region of France last year

Dairy cows in the French Alps
Dairy cows in the French Alps

my husband and I stopped in downtown Grenoble so I could check out a yarn store (feeling lots of hubby-love here❤️), Maille á Part, located at 5 rue Génissieu. I went straight to some fingering weight alpaca, and stood there, trying to decide on a color.  This was my first experience with Lang Yarns, a German company which has been in business since 1867.   That’s almost 150 years!

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Lang Yarns carries several wool yarns that are traceable, meaning can enter the yarn information printed on the lable here and learn about the farm and the sheep on the farm that produced the wool you are holding in your hand.  Pretty cool.

Baby Alpaca is not a traceable yarn, but that didn’t take away any of the pleasure I enjoyed while knitting up the Grenoble Fair Isle Hat.

Grenoble Fair Isle Hat, Lang Yarns Baby Alpaca, 100% alpaca
Grenoble Fair Isle Hat, Lang Yarns Baby Alpaca, 100% alpaca

 

True Colors

Road trip!

Bridge crossing the Salmon River, Idaho
Bridge crossing the Salmon River, Idaho

The boyz and I decided to hit the road to the Bitterroot Valley in Montana to visit the Mountain Colors workshop.

Beautiful summer day
Beautiful summer day
Lunch at Dave's Pizza in Salmon, Idaho. Two thumbs up!
Lunch at Dave’s Pizza in Salmon, Idaho. Two thumbs up!

We followed the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, traveling up the Sacagawea Historical Byway in Idaho then onto the Salmon River Byway and into the Salmon-Challis National Forest.

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Once we crossed the Montana state line, we entered the Bitterroot National Forest and drove down the mountain pass into the Bitterroot valley.

Sapphire Mountains in the Bitterroot Valley
Sapphire Mountains in the Bitterroot Valley

The valley is most famous as the setting for “A River Runs Through It,” but we traveled there for the yarn. Mountain Colors is owned and operated by Leslie Taylor and Diana McKay.

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I was tickled to catch these hard-working ladies in action.

Natural yarn waiting its turn to become Mountain Colors
Natural yarn waiting its turn to become Mountain Colors
Hand painting yarn. There color of this batch was Harmony Plum. At least 9 different colors are painted on to even the more solid colored yarn!
Hand painting yarn. The color of this batch was Harmony Plum. At least 9 different colors are painted on to even the more solid colored yarns!
Heat processing with vinegar for colors that stay put
Heat processing with vinegar for colors that stay put
Stunning colors!
Stunning colors!

I took along some of my finished designs for show and tell

Gilmore Skinny Scarf worked in Mountain Colors "Jeannette" colorway Firestorm 65% cashmere, 35% silk
Gilmore Skinny Scarf worked in Mountain Colors “Jeannette” 65% cashmere, 35% silk
Sapphire Mountain Cowl, worked in Mountain Colors "Mountain Goat" 55% mohair 45% wool
Sapphire Mountain Cowl, worked in Mountain Colors “Mountain Goat” 55% mohair 45% wool
Dauphiné Alpine Lace Socks worked in Mountain Colors "Bearfoot" 60% wool, 25% mohair, 15% nylon
Dauphiné Alpine Lace Socks worked in Mountain Colors “Bearfoot” 60% wool, 25% mohair, 15% nylon

and came away with more treasures.

Mountain Colors "Wooly Feathers" 65% mohair, 20% nylon, 15% wool
Mountain Colors “Wooly Feathers” 65% mohair, 20% nylon, 15% wool
Selway River Poncho - Mountain Goat, 55% mohair 45% wool, Wooly Feathers, 65% mohair 20% nylon 15% wool
Selway River Poncho – Mountain Goat, 55% mohair 45% wool, Wooly Feathers, 65% mohair 20% nylon 15% wool
Skein ends sold at Mountain Colors workshop by the ounce - "Half Crepe" 100% merino
Skein ends sold at Mountain Colors workshop by the ounce – “Half Crepe” 100% merino

As every knitter knows, no matter what’s in the queue or what’s in the stash, when new yarn comes home we have to get our hands on it right away!

Salmon River Fingerless Mitts worked in "Half Crepe" 100% merino
Salmon River Fingerless Mitts worked in “Half Crepe” 100% merino

If you’re on the road and in the Missoula, Montana area take a few minutes and stop by the Mountain Colors Workshop. If you’re not on the road, check out #mountaincolors on Instagram for more of their lovely, vibrant yarns.

Encinitas, California

Last spring we got the chance to visit my brother and sister-in-law and their boys in San Diego, California, the most beautiful, peaceful place on the California coast.  After lunch and before the beach, I paid a visit to The Black Sheep, a LSY located on Highway 101 in Encinitas.

Encinitas Sunset
Encinitas Sunset

This yarn store is the stuff of which dreams are made.

Wall of yarn in Black Sheep. That's Malabrigo Mecha hanging on top.
Wall of yarn in Black Sheep. That’s Malabrigo Mecha hanging on top.

If you can dream of a luxury yarn brand, The Black Sheep probably carries it; Berroco, Classic Elite, Debbie Bliss, Jade Saphire, Rowan, and Skacel to name a few, every brand and style with an abundance of colorways.

I was happy to snag several skeins of Noro Silk Garden Solo

Noro Silk Garden Solo - 45% silk, 45% mohair, 10% wool
Noro Silk Garden Solo – 45% silk, 45% mohair, 10% wool

And Malabrigo Mecha

Malabrigo Mecha - pure merino super wash wool
Malabrigo Mecha – pure merino super wash wool

I’d been dreaming of owning some Noro Solo for months, wanting to pair it with some of my striped Silk Garden in some sort of intarsia designed something or other. Instead, I ended up using most of it for Pierre’s Fringe Wrap.

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You can get the pattern for Pierre’s Fringe Wrap here.

Have you visited The Black Sheep in Encinitas? I’d love to hear about your experience!

Ogden, Utah

I was on my way to Salt Lake City, Utah a while back to visit my daughter and had some time to kill, so I decided to stop off in Ogden to check out the LYS there. The Needlepoint Joint, located on historic 25th Street, is a store I’ve shopped at before, but it was an in-and-out visit to the store (never a good idea), and it had been on my mind ever since.

If you haven’t been to Historic 25th Street in Ogden lately, you are in for a treat.

Funky piano on Historic 25th Street
Funky piano on Historic 25th Street

They’ve restored the store fronts and blocked off the street so there’s lots of room to walk around and enjoy the booths and street artists.

Classic yarn bombs lined the sidewalk to the LYS
Classic yarn bombs lined the sidewalk to the LYS

The Needlepoint Joint is easy to find.  Just follow the yarn bomb markers until you arrive! This is a beautiful store. Lovely interior, lots of gorgeous samples and lots of yummy yarn as well as needlepoint and embroidery threads and supplies. On my second trip here, I was able to spend a lot more time.

Wall of Manos del Uruguay at The Needlepoint Joint
Wall of Manos del Uruguay at The Needlepoint Joint

The staff was great (and patient) helping me make my decision; Manos del Uruguay’s Silk Blend which is 70% merino wool and 30% silk.

Silk Blend - 70% extrafine merino 30% silk
Silk Blend – 70% extrafine merino 30% silk

I only bought one skein, but was able to make the most of it (I literally had 2 yards left). Here is the final product, Autumn in Peachtree Cowl, designed for my sister who lives in Peachtree City, Georgia.

My beautiful niece, Anabelle at her home in Peachtree City, Georgia
My beautiful niece, Anabelle at her home in Peachtree City, Georgia

Rainy Days in East Germany

During my whirlwind European tour, I spent a couple of days in Dresden and a few hours in Berlin.  Even in the rain I was able to enjoy the restored splendor of these two cities.

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Gadeachtniskirche (Broken Tooth Church). Berlin

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Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

I was surprised by the memories and stong emotions invoked at the Berlin Wall Memorial and Checkpoint Charlie.

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This monument runs through the city, marking the division of East and West Berlin

All the feelings of unbelief and horror I felt in 9th grade social studies came back to me as I stood at the monument, remembering the stories of men and women being shot in their desperate attempt to cross to West Berlin.

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Then, the shock and amazement I felt as I sat with my first newborn watching Berliners tear that wall down 26 years ago; truly an awe-inspiring part of recent history. It was a gift to be able to visit Berlin.

Piece of the Berlin Wall
“Thank you God”  – Piece of the Berlin Wall

We spent two days in Dresden, another east German city well into the process of restoration.

Semperoper, Opera House, Dresden
Semperoper, Opera House, Dresden

May 8, 1945 was the official end date of World War II, and almost 70 years later, Dresden is dedicated to the restoration of these cities to their pre-war beauty.

Zwinger Palace - under reconstruction
Zwinger Palace – under reconstruction
Dresden castle
Dresden castle

The restoration began at the collapse of the Soviet Union, 26 years ago, and the painstaking and meticulous work is still underway thanks to mostly private fundraising.

Frauenkirche organ pipes, newly restored
Frauenkirche organ pipes, newly restored
Darling German cherub
Darling German cherub

It was here, in Dresden where I got my yarn fix for the day.  I fell in love with the newly opened yarn store, The Green Wheel.

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Located in Dresden in the arts district at Rothenburger StraBe 7,  The Green Wheel is owned by Anja Lorenz-GroBer and Franziska Horeth GbR.

Here is Anja, spinning away, the Green Wheel is by the window
Here is Anja, spinning away, the Green Wheel is by the window

They feature roving wool and handspun (produced by the owners), as well as yarns of all weights and colors produced by co-ops all over Europe.

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I fell in love with the natural DK merino wool from co-ops in the Barvaria region of Germany.  I bought several skeins, brought them home, (more than these!)

imageand will be making these hats for the boyz for Christmas!  Follow this link to the free pattern

There was a sample of this hat in the store, but I figured out the pattern on my own...first time!
There was a sample of this hat in the store, but I figured out the pattern on my own…first time!

This was my first visit to East Germany and I loved it.   What are your favorite sights in East Germany?