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FibreShare 3!

Hey everyone!

I’m here checking in and to update you all on my third round of FibreShare :).

Also, I had a baby. He’s real cute.

Dez

 

Sending to Jessica in Phoenix

Putting together Jessica’s package was a ton of fun! She loves bright colors, fingering weight yarn, loves coffee, Halloween, journaling, has a million house plants, 2 daughters and some furry critters!

I got her some treats – coffee (unground so she could decide how to grind it and because Scottie was throwing a tantrum about not wanting to use the coffee grinder at the store) and Halloween snacks. And an adorable Dia de los Muertos skull and skeleton coffee mug.

I found a journal with succulents on the cover and little sticky notes with succulents on them too.

I sent one of the project bags I made, which turned out to be her signature color (!) and added some progress keepers (unpictured because they’re inside the bag pocket and I’m stupid).

And I sort of went nuts on the yarn. Since I don’t have much of a stash myself since I prefer to buy for a project in mind, nor do I dye superwash yarn (which is Jessica’s preference to knit with!), I got to yarn shop in earnest.

Blue Moon Fiber Arts – BFL Fingering Superwash in “It’s my party & I’ll dye what I want to”

Hedgehog Fibers – HF Sock in “Bubble” (maybe, I didn’t write it down, oops)

Old Rusted Chair – Sock Set in “Boom Boom” & “Bijou”

Qing Fibre – Donegal Tweed in I have literally no clue, again, oops

Casual Fashion Queen – Mohair Sock in “Haus Summer”

I’d add more detail, but my brain fell out because babies don’t let you sleep.

Receiving from Allison

Let me tell you something about Allison – she works fast! I received her package a full month before it was due to send, and it was such a pleasant surprise. She really took my preferences to heart, which was much appreciated!

She sent the most delicious tea – David’s Tea Blueberry Jam. It’s gone. I snarfed it. And I drank it exclusively out of the amazing David’s Tea mug she sent with its own strainer and measuring spoon with a knit pattern on it. Plus it’s huge which is my favorite size!

She included 2 patterns with the yarn to complete them if I want. And I do. It’s perfect. Yarn without a plan gives me anxiety, and I’m so looking forward to getting the time to make these. The first is the Houndstooth Slouch by Grace Akhram with two skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Loft in Hayloft & Fossil. I have had this in my Ravelry queue before, which is hilarious. The second pattern is the Speedy Selbu Mittens by Skeindeer Knits with two skeins of Green Mountain Spinnery Weekend Wool in Natural Gray and Blue Jay. I can’t wait to make these because I know how fast aran weight mittens will go! Also I’ve never made myself mittens before, so it’s kind of a treat!

There’s a sample of Lana from Green Mountain Spinnery which I think I’ll add to a pair of socks at the cuff or something for embellishment since it’s just a little sample. It’s a really gorgeous dark blue called “Noche”.

And lastly, Allison included a skein of Tigger Targhee from Blue Moon Fiber Arts in “See scum, sea scum run”. It’s a super high twist, non-nylon, non-superwash sock yarn and I’m puuuuuuumped to make socks from this. So pumped.

Okay that about covers it! Obviously I highly recommend FibreShare, so go follow them to find out when the next one is in 2019!

<3 Larissa

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FibreShare 2: Electric Boogaloo

Hi everyone! I did a FibreShare again this round because the last time was so dang fun. You can read about my first FibreShare in a previous post. If you haven’t heard of it before, basically it’s a yarn swap that’s facilitated for a small fee. Ashley matches you (BY HAND!) with two partners: one to send yarn to and one who sends yarn to you. It’s super cool to learn a bit about your partner and be a sleuth to piece together your interpretation of the perfect gift!

This time both of my matches were domestic, which was nice shipping cost-wise!

Sending to my Washington friend

I learned my partner Karissa likes natural fibers, enjoys a cuppa coffee, the coast, eats Paleo (holla!), and hopes to make her first pair of socks. I think I did pretty alright! Although, check out some of the featured packages on the FibreShare Instagram. Holy crap are some of them over the top impressive!

My goal for sending things to Karissa was to include things that can only be found in Cleveland. Obviously, everything didn’t fall under this category, but the Land is well-represented here! Since she, like me, enjoys her coffee, I picked up a bag of Phoenix Coffee from their Coventry location. And of course I found a cute mug for her to drink it out of!

While I was in the Coventry neighborhood, I stopped by the Cleveland Candle Company. You guys, if I could shove this candle through the screen for your own huffing pleasure, I would. I chose one of their Ohio/Cleveland scents called “Ohio Harvest” for Karissa. And I might have bought one that smells like Fruity Pebbles for myself. It’s out of this world.

I found some Hail Merry Paleo treats at my local Fresh Thyme and included those – cookie dough bites and a Meyer lemon tart (my favorite!).

I made a project bag, in which I included some stitch markers, a tape measure and collapsible scissors. Hers, I made from a shower curtain and a pillowcase with some beautiful black & gold zippers.

Now onto the yarn I included! First, there was a beautiful ball of teal yarn leftover from a crochet sweater I made. This was KnitPicks Shine Sport which is cotton and Modal. It’s sooo silky soft. Next was a supersoft skein of alpaca and silk called Babydoll from Storybook Alpacas, a local farm. It even says which alpaca the fiber comes from :). Then came a skein I bought at my LYS the Artful Yarn called “Crazy” by Stonehedge Fiber Mills. This is made from recycled leftovers from their yarn manufacturing process. And lastly, I picked up a Cleveland-themed skein of yarn in the colorway Lake Erie by Destination Yarn. This is a local indie dyer whose colorways come from inspiration from travel. I chose the base Postcard, which is a 75/25 sock yarn if she wants to use it for socks!

Speaking of socks, the last thing I included was 3 sock patterns with differing heels: Smooth Operator Socks, Fish Lips Kiss heel, and Okanogan socks.

Receiving from my Buffalo friend

I actually received my package from Tara the same day that Karissa received hers! It came from beautiful Buffalo, NY <3.

Kitty stitch markers with complimentary cat hairs on my floor.

Since Tara is from the Buffalo area, she wanted to treat me to the Buffalo experience. In this case it meant Frank’s RedHot hot sauce. Little did she know, this is my favorite hot sauce on earth, and I routinely buy it in bulk from Costco. In the same spicy vain, she gave me a jar of homemade Buffalo spice made from peppers grown in her garden! You know I’m into that hippy-gardening-eat-local thing. I put some on sweet potato fries. Died. Came back. Ate the rest of them.

Speaking of hippy gardening nonsense, she included some flower seeds – Marigolds and a butterfly attraction mix. I am on a tirade to make my yard full of little buzzy creatures, so these are for sure getting planted in the spring.

She included some rad notions like some Soak brand wool soap. This is great since I’m starting to dye yarn kind of often and want to find a good wash with lanolin to get it nice and sheepy after making fun colors. There is a row counter, which is perfect because I just make tally marks on a piece of paper and it’s a total mess. As long as my toddler doesn’t get ahold of it, I will make good use of it! I’ve already used the little 6 inch straight ruler a bunch of times for measuring gauge count and small progress like hat brims and sleeve cuffs. I’ve been using a worn out tape measure, so I’m sure this is at least marginally more accurate! She also included some little kitty stitch markers which are going for a ride at the moment on my Portage cardigan. And some ones handmade my her from her Etsy shop Scara Creations – these are little lightbulb ones with sparkle beads and the cutest witch holding a kitty. These ones have been helping me keep count during long cast ons (I’ve decided any amount over like 60 stitches needs a marker every 20 stitches or else I’m 100% miscounting).

Onto the yarn! First was a little kit with a mini ball of gradient yarn with a button and a pattern to make a wrist cuff bracelet. It looks like such a super cute fast project! She also included a shawl pattern – Clincher by Ash Kearns – if I wanted to use it for one of the other yarns she included. There were two skeins of Patons Classic Wool Worsted in Natural Mix and Pumpkin. I think I might use these for a baby blanket, but I can’t make up my mind! Next there was a skein of Sheep Loves Monkey Adventure in the colorway Silver Swords, which I want to make socks out of! I’m thinking of finding a good dark contrast heel/toe/cuff. And finally a skein from Dyed in the Wool Yarn Co. Sparkle Twisted Sock in BB Guns & Black Eyes. This is 100% going to be a shawl, it’s so sparkly and bruisey, but in a pretty way.

I love everything, holy guacamole. FibreShare is so much fun – not only because of the gifts you get to send and receive, but the friends you make in the process. My advice – figure out when the next round of FibreShare is and sign up immediately!

kthxloveyoubye

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FibreShare

Although it hasn’t been something I’ve been actively working towards, I would like to make more friends and connections through the fiber and knitting world. I’m very lucky that I stumbled across the FibreShare yarn swap on Instagram. For a small fee, you are paired with two people: one to send yarn to and one who sends yarn to you. It’s so dang exciting to get your matches. You get to peer into a new friend’s life a little to learn about what they like to make, what kinds of yarn they like to use, what environment they like to knit in, and a bit about their personal lives (if they’re so gracious to share!). You can choose your preference on whether you’d like to send to someone domestically or internationally, but I think your other preferences take precedence over shipping. Full disclosure: I chose domestic solely based on shipping costs, but both of my partners were international – and it was awesome!

Sending to My Netherlands Friend

I had a lot of fun putting together a package to send all the way to the Netherlands from Ohio! My FibreShare match loves to drink tea, bake, has cats, gardens, and most importantly is a vegan who only uses vegan yarn! That means I had almost everything in common with her. Obviously the big challenge for me was choosing yarn that was plant fiber only. This meant no wool, mohair, cashmere, silk, etc. But really, there are actually a lot of vegan fiber options that are natural fibers: cotton, hemp, linen, lyocell, soy, banana silk, nettle, etc.

All wrapped up!
The goodies!

7. A bar of chocolate from Trader Joe’s – organic and fair trade, is so smooth, but NO dairy! Score!
6. Cat toys – I sewed these up with organic cotton fabric that I used to make Scottie and Maggie’s jammies and stuffed them with cotton balls and organic catnip. Now our fluffy friends are practically pen pals.
5. Seeds for the garden – Some veggies and some flowers. I hope they grow okay in her climate :).
4. Graham cracker bunnies – I asked what kind of snacks we have in the US that she doesn’t have in the Netherlands that she wanted to try, and graham crackers were on the list. If you’ve had them, you know a common ingredient is honey, which is decidedly not vegan! However, I did manage to find some snickerdoodle-flavored gluten-free graham cracker bunnies that did not have honey in them. Oddly, the same-ish flavor of the original ones did have honey, but the gluten-free did not. Strange, but tasty!
3. Chai tea sample pack – I have several loose teas that I like to add my homemade chai spice blend to, along with some little tea bags. I think I included English Breakfast and Green Rooibos since my new friend likes to drink tea in the morning and some herbal in the afternoon. I’m obsessed with this chai spice blend.
2. Universal Yarn Cotton Supreme DK Seaspray from my LYS – I really wanted to support my local yarn shop The Artful Yarn and find something that couldn’t be found in the Netherlands. It’s a DK weight, which is bulkier than she usually knits with, but I was intrigued by the way it was dyed and how it knit up.
1. Vegan Yarn Regulus Lace – This was the one item that she was drooling over lately, and I was happy to oblige! It’s a laceweight yarn made entirely of Tencel. And I personally really loved the beautiful dark red color.

I so hope my recipient was as pleased as I was to put this together. And now that I’ve done it once, I’m definitely going to spoil my next partner even more!

Receiving from My England Friend

I was so excited when my other FibreShare partner reached out to me from across the pond in London! The anticipation was really exciting since she only knows as much about me as I wrote on the FibreShare preferences form (and of course social media stalking, which is encouraged in FibreShare <3). Despite my mailman not telling me my package was at the post office, I was so blown away when I opened my package.

Yay!

She explained to me what everything was in a typed out note. I totally don’t deserve her.

  • Hand lotion – This immediately went into my purse and I use it practically every day.
  • A coaster with my initial on it – Such a nice personal touch, though Scottie keeps hiding it in the couch cushions!
  • A postcard from London – I love this and need to put it somewhere as a keepsake.
  • Green & Blacks orange and almond chocolate bar – This was so tasty! And Scottie definitely took a giant hunk of it as a morning snack one day.
  • Gleener – I was so excited to get this to remove pills from my knitwear and other clothing!
  • Handmade project bag – She made this with special fabrics she had bought in India and Japan.
  • Blacker Yarns Mohair Blends 4-Ply – This was on my list of yarns to try this year – she did her homework!
  • Cotswold 4-Ply – This is the deep magenta yarn. I’m really excited to incorporate this into a project as a pop of color!
  • Stylecraft Ethical Twist – This is the deep blue skein. It’ll be perfect to incorporate into a sweater that I need several colors of DK weigh yarn.
  • Gotland handspun (!) – This one is the big light gray skein. I feel so special to receive a handspun gift, and I can’t wait to choose a project to honor the work that went into it.

There was a tiny snafu during shipping. If I may direct your attention to the photos below, it would appear that a critter of sorts chewed all the way through the box, HANDMADE BAG UGH, and wrappings to get to the bar of chocolate. I just snapped of the affected parts of the chocolate bar and kept the rest, but of course, OMG HOW COULD YOU, CRITTER?! It gnawed a giant hole in the project bag. I have plans to sew a patch on it, but I am a total novice at sewing, so we’ll see how it goes. It even ate through the goddamn zipper, I mean really.

Chomp
Box >bag > chocolate snack

So silly. But the yarn is okay. And now I have a story – a cautionary tale of treats flying across the Atlantic.

Anywho, if this sounds like fun to you, DO IT! I can’t recommend it highly enough. <3

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Gifts for Baby Maggie

When I found out one of my best friends Mary was pregnant, I immediately  started noodling on what gifts I could make for her. She made me a hand-crocheted blanket with Scottie’s initials on it, which was so thoughtful and useful. That last part was definitely one of my main considerations. Making tiny booties with a monkey face on them or a little pea pod shaped sack blanket are cute as a button for approximately as long as a newborn photoshoot takes, but then they just end up laying around. I also definitely wanted to make sure I was making something appropriately-sized. When another of my friends was pregnant several years ago, she was the first of my peers to have a baby. I was so excited, I made like 8 little hats for her kiddo. However, I wasn’t super into checking gauge and they all turned out omg so small. I felt like an idiot for sending them something that they couldn’t even use.

In the end, I decided to make both knitwear and something that I sewed. Since my friends didn’t find out the sex of the baby until she (!) was born at the end of March, I also aimed to make the items relatively gender-neutral, even though babies couldn’t care less how they’re dressed.

Flax

The one piece of knitwear I made was a little Flax sweater sized 6-12 months. Even though I remember not receiving anything newborn or even 0-3 month sized at my baby shower and had to scramble to shop for little clothes that would fit Scottie when he was born, I didn’t think a super tiny pull-over-the-head sweater was practical for a newborn. Plus, by the time baby Maggie is old enough to fit into it, the weather ought to be cooling off again.

I had a ton of partial skeins of Quince & Co.’s Lark leftover from various things, so I used a bunch of different colors. I alternated colors every 2 rows which resulted in soooooooooo many ends to weave in. But it’s cute AF and I’m just going to die when she wears it for the first time.

Jammies

The other handmade item I made for Maggie was a pair of jammies that matched the pair I made for Scottie. The pants are the Cuff Leggings and the top is the Raglan Tee by Brindille and Twig. Now, let me tell you about my sewing experience: I suck at sewing. Using knit fabric is difficult AF to sew with. I don’t own a serger/overlock sewing machine so I was stuck attempting to use a zig-zag stitch for the whole thing which…. Look, these are as jammies as jammies are going to get. They turned out quite well by my standards; they’re cute and useful! However, I cannot make any promises on the structural integrity of the seams. At least I made them as a size 6-9 months so she won’t be jumping off of furniture or doing other similar fabric-straining activities.

These two items made it to the baby shower along with some necessities from their registry – in this case a diaper-changing pad with two covers. I am VERY adamant about buying specifics from a registry. I know how annoying it is when your long-researched list is ignored in favor of cutesy useless crap.

Failed jumper attempt

The edging that’s supposed to be in the shoulder seams shows the raw edge – oops.

This last item has not yet been delivered to our new tiny friend. Like I said earlier, I am complete trash at sewing. The other things I’ve made at least were passable even if they’re not skillfully made. But this was another story. I tried to make a little onesie short-sleeve Romper that had edging on the neckline, arms, legs, and crotch with a snap-closure at the bottom. If I’m going to be able to resurrect this thing, the seam ripper is going to need to be involved heavily. And I’ve got to get a move-on because I think I was making either a 0-3 month or 3-6 month size for her to enjoy in the summer months.

Mary’s care package

This last thing isn’t something that I hand-made, but something I cobbled together when remembering what I needed and would have killed to have when Scottie was first born. I put together a care package for mom & dad since their little 7 lb bundle of joy takes precedence over things like remembering to eat.

First, I brought over some homemade food, frozen so that they could choose to eat at their leisure. I don’t cook with gluten because I have an allergy, so everything was gluten-free. I made sure to make everything dairy-free, too, since some nursing moms temporarily have to stop eating dairy if their baby is colicky. Here’s what I brought over frozen:

  • breakfast sausage patties (these can be heated in the microwave and eaten with one hand)
  • lemon blueberry muffins (can also be eaten with one hand, and are great nursing snacks at 3 in the morning)
  • chicken dumpling soup (pure comfort food, but it does have secret pureed cauliflower for creaminess and extra veg)
  • frozen spinach (microwave, add butter and garlic powder – ya been veggied)

And I also brought over several things that just seemed like a good idea.

  • diapers & wipes (the disposable brand that we use – I figured why not try as many brands as you can)
  • a book with an inscription from our family (I did NOT have my shit together enough for her baby shower to include this item at that time, so this was tardy if anything)
  • all 8 Harry Potter DVDs (because holy crap I remember how long it takes newborns to nurse – I watched Parks and Rec twice in like 3 weeks while trapped on the couch for hours)
  • a big box of Lärabars (one-handed snack/MealLet’sBeHonest, non-perishable, can stow them in the nursery for aforementioned 3 am starving chow down)
  • aaaaaaaaaaand a bottle of wine because you guys deserve it (and it’s organic *adjusts monocle*)

The newborn phase is so fleeting and special even if it is HARD and sort of the worst and energetically expensive for everyone. This won’t be the last of the things I bring to Mary, Mark & little Maggie, even though they said not to bring them more food. I’m going to anyway, free up some fridge space girrrrrl.

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Knit Gift Giving

Gift giving around the holidays can be kind of a sticky wicket for someone who knits. Some may expect you to knit a sweater for everyone you know every year, and others literally dread if you’re going to burden them with some handknit nonsense they’ll never wear. I did crochet practically everyone a hat or ear warmer one year, and I’m pretty sure I’m the only one using mine. Having knit-worthy recipients is quite a special treat.

In the last year I’ve implemented, when I can, gifting the intention of a handknit item. For three recipients so far, I’ve told them I’d like to knit them a pair of socks and that they could choose the pattern and yarn so that they will have totally personalized one-of-a-kind socks.

Alda Road Socks for Denise
Ribbed Socks for Brian
Samwise Socks for Eileen

This was a lot of fun to bombard the recipient with choices (sorry guys) and see where their own creativity takes them. I’ll definitely continue to do this method of gift-giving in the future if I’m feeling up to it. If you’re panicking over not having time to knit an item for someone who you know would appreciate it, I highly recommend gifting the intention of a knitted item!

Another avenue I’m exploring for gift-giving now is pattern design. I’ve finally gifted the shawl below to its recipient (hi Denise!), so I can talk about it now :). I’ve got a shawl design in the works, but before it was completely solidified, I had a lot of ideas to work out. I was using several shades of purple-ish leftover yarn to try my shawl ideas out, but I knew I didn’t want this lavender yarn to be the color of my official pattern sample, so I just kept going when I came across an idea that I liked better than what I had already knit. In general I’m a “keep knitting, it’s fine” rather than a “frog it and fix it” kinda lass.

That’s me ^. I’m in my reindeer sweater official December uniform.
What up lumberjack Santa?
Aww, all ready to be gifted <3.

The official design for this shawl is well underway, and I can’t wait to show it to you all. Let’s just say, Game of Thrones fans are going to love it super hard.

I have several other ideas to work out in pattern writing. Whether it takes 1 iteration or several, I think instead of struggling to find the perfect pattern to make for a recipient, I’ll knit my pattern samples with my friendsies in mind. I will say, though, if I knock it out of the park on the first try, and it’s perfect for me, I’m keeping it. No shame in my game.