May I suggest knitting for the holidays now?

Every year I have a wonderful dreamscape of dropping off the perfected hand knit to friends and loved ones and most years I scramble to make something for the other members of knitting circle.  This year I want to get ahead of the game by picking out the pattern well in advance of Halloween.  At least the dreaming will seem organized this year.

I’m going to do a few last mememe projects first.  Including this bag from The Buffalo Wool Co. – I love their yarn & patterns.

I can’t wait to practice my intarsia skills with this project and fill it with holiday presents!

Christmas Bison pull the coolest sleighs

What projects do you have on tap? Any suggestions for fun holiday knits?

Bhris & draíocht ag í féin

I’ve been meaning to start learning the art of Irish Crochet. I even have a wonderful video on it from Maire Treanor that I bought to help me learn.

I also love The Bloggess and when I saw a post of hers in April, I knew exactly what I wanted to do – make a Charlotte’s Web shawl of the t-shirt quote using Irish crochet techniques.

broke & magical

Since she gives permission to “… if you want to make your own with glittery puff-paint, do that”  – then Charlotte web shawls fall into the “crochet that funky lace thing white girl” category. I have ZERO idea when I’ll start this – but I’m looking forward to the challenge. 🙂

Bhris & draíocht ag í féin = Broke& magic by herslf in Gaelic, via Google Translate.

Knit it to Win it!

1192, oh you crafty artist!

After a few years of knitting everyone a hat or a scarf, you’ll start branching out to more sophisticated patterns.  One of the things I like to do is put my knitting and crochet into competitions.

I attend a number of Irish festivals each year and there is usually an Art competition at the adult level.  Sometimes, there is even a separate entry for knitting or crochet.  Once I have the target date in sight it gives me an opportunity to really push my skills on a piece.

This weekend I’m submitting one piece for judgement.  A year ago, for the same festival, I made an adorable teapot cozy.  I loved that piece.  Then I walked by the adult art competition and happily understood my 2nd Place. 1192, you were a strong competitor.

I haven’t tried a state fair or a wool festival yet, but I’m hoping to start preparing a lace piece for the 2016 Virginia State Fair.

What would you knit?

Getting Giddy for Maryland Sheep & Wool

April may be the cruelest month, but May rings in with a favorite fiber festival.

The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival one of the largest, and longest-running, festivals dedicated promoting to sheep and wool in the United States. It is celebrating 40 years next month and remains an all volunteer festival sponsored by Maryland Sheep Breeders Association (MSBA).  There is no fee to park or enter, but donation boxes are available at the gate to help support future festivals.

The festival is held during the first weekend in May at the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship, Maryland. While the main focus is sheep, there are many vendors selling other yarns like alpaca, angora, or bison! Don’t forget to schedule time to watch the sheepdogs trials, it is an amazing ballet in person!

It is a great way to see yarns and needles in person that you might only see online, like one of my favorites, The Buffalo Wool Co.

This year I’m volunteering, that way I can visit the festival but hopefully not add to the Stash Monster.

The Nitty Gritty of Knitty Ditty Bags

dit′ty bag`n. a small bag used esp. by sailors to hold sewing implements, toiletries, etc. [1855–60; of obscure orig.]

Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary. (2010). Retrieved March 27 2015 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ditty+bag

Every knitter has items that are always tossed in their knitty ditty bags.  These are some of the ones that I cannot do without.

Scissors and other implements of destruction (or things that can poke you)

I can never have enough folding scissors. Mainly because I lose them to scissor gremlins every time I put them down.
My favorites are Slip-N-Snips. These are heavy-duty scissors that fold into themselves.  Their blades are surgical stainless steel, precision machined, heat-treated and hand assembled in the USA.  There are other companies that make a similar item but I’ve never found them to hold up as well.

A darning needle is a useful tool to keep on hand – either to hide your ends or help fix minor issues on the go.

Measuring & Gauge tools:

Every LYS has a tape measure for sale, it comes in handy to check project length and to check gauge.
I also keep gauge stickers in my bag.  I understand the importance of gauge, but I’m still coming around to liking it.  These make it easy for me and who doesn’t love stickers?

Another useful tool is a Knit check – it has a window to check your stitch and row gauge.  I primarily use this tool for the needle and hook size checker.

Row counters are another favorite in my ditty bags – I’m not locked into one style over the other but this post does a great job of breaking them down.

I NEVER leave home without…

A calculator –it is an incredibly helpful tool when all the row and numbers swirl together.

Hand renewal – I love love love this massage bar from Lush.  It not only renews my skin but also relieves any soreness in my hands.  Bonus points for smelling amazing without bothering your neighboring knitter’s allergies.

Chocolate or a mint. If you are going to a knitting circle, pack enough to share. 🙂

And my Number One  Favorite Tool is my Needle Keeper.  I do most of my knitting on circular needles – even my flat work.  As my grandmother would say, “never in my whole life” have I seen something as easy as Magic Wand  – I even posted a review on Amazon. I was given a Needle Keeper as a holiday present from a friend in my knitting circle. This is the BEST product I have found for protecting my work on circulars. The Needle Keeper has made it so easy to try on my magic loop socks without worry.

It also does the double duty of protecting my fingertips from getting poked as I pull my projects out of the bag. I loved my first one so much that I bought a second needle keeper for another project. When I start a project with US 10 needles, I’ll be able to put one at either end. If you knit with circulars, you should try this new item out!

What is in your knitty ditty bag?

DISCLOSURE: I do not receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. I will only recommend products that I use, love, or covet. The end.