Sunday, December 11, 2016

Yesterday I was lucky enough to visit the Boston Public Market with my good friend Ellen.

If you're local, you may not know that Genevieve Day of JP Knit and Stitch has opened a New England Fiber booth right in the marketplace, with a gorgeous wall full of local fiber and a bunch of other wooly treats.  Among the wooly goodness on that wall is Ellen's own Doc Mason's Wool, so this was the perfect excuse to go on a city date with our husbands and grab a beer or two in the city.

After those beers, we found Genevieve in the Market.  Her space is small, but full of wonderful things.  Skeins line the wall in various shades of cream and gray and natural brown, labeled by the local farm they hail from. There are a few magazines, some of Katrinkles lovely notions, and some great project bags.

I may have bought myself a tote and a project bag and perhaps a skein or two (one from Wing and a Prayer Farm is right there on top of the bag, in fact) - but then Geneveive gave me an extra tote bag to take home, which I thought I'd share with all of you.

For a chance to win this adorable canvas tote, either cast on and post a new BabyCocktails Ravelry project, or buy any BabyCocktails pattern on Ravelry before tomorrow AM is over (noon).

We will pick one random winner from any new Ravelry names on the purchase and project pages between today and tomorrow noon...  See, quick and fun. :)

Thursday, December 01, 2016

This morning has been a details morning.  I have paperwork that needed to be filed, emails that needed to be organized, a few edits to check, a printer that won't connect to the computer, and a bunch of lists needed to be made - so of course, I got a little distracted and started taking photos of things in the room, and when I looked at the pics, I thought they'd make a good excuse for a blog post.

Nothing especially knitworthy, nothing especially new, just kind of taking stock of what's here and playing with the settings that I never really understand on this camera, as one does. Plus, some of these made me smile, so hey.  Enjoy!

The pile of books above my computer - cocktails, spelling, grammar, and fun facts.

A wall of future possibilities. Swatches old and new that keep surviving the periodic purges. That big lace one was almost Bailey's Irish Cream.

On top of my bookshelf is a combination of things - antique bottles, tiki themed things (including one that walked home with me years ago from an awesome bar in SF called the Caribbean Zone), one last Halloween sippy cup from Rhinebeck, a stray pom pom, pens, and yarn about to be knit. In the bookshelf is my circular needle storage container, a variety of stitch dictionaries and the Small Business Bible, which I really should pay more attention to. Pinned to that board above the shelf are an assortment of cards and info on wonderful yarn people.

My bags.  These have become my everywhere totes. I like the confused look non-knitters get when they read them and don't understand.

More future things. That glowing gray is a gorgeous Sawkill Farm wool, and I have no idea what it wants to be but it really wants to be on my needles soon.

This pic makes me smile - hidden between all the swatches on my board are magazine pages, cocktail name ideas, and recipes. But the swatch on the left and the penguin pin came from the Edinburgh Yarn Festival last year, which was a really amazing event. Both Anna Maltz of the penguin pin and Victoria of that blue Eden Cottage Yarn swatch are lovely people who I got to hug in person while I was there, so this is an unintentional piece of the UK on my wall.

Below is my favorite trash-picked chair and my old barrister's book case in which All The yarn lives. I have  no idea why that 7M is scrawled on there.  This corner always get the sun in the mornings and it's where my eyes go when I'm at the computer and need to trail off in thought (or lack thereof). The chair is usually overrun with knits, old and new, depending on what I've been knitting, what I've been wearing, and what needs to go back upstairs - it's actually unusual that an arm would be free like you see here.

Below is the best part of today's to do list. I added an extra $50, for a total donation of $350.  And although I could have donated online, I really wanted to write an old school check,  (notice how I've artfully hidden all the info on it for a photo though...)

These boxes below represent the rest of the to do list, some of which is thankfully a few weeks away. (phew)

Next, I have a sweater that I need to make a decision on -- either frog back 5" of the body to fix an error or decide to live with it.  I have been slowly coming to the realization as I typed this entry that frogging is in my future.

So - see you, people.  I hope you enjoyed a pointless, non-release blog post for a change.  It's been a long time.  xo

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Just a short note as I pause between stuffings and table setting and yelling at my kids who are supposed to be cleaning the bathroom but are instead arguing about whose turn it is to do the shower vs. toilet.
After screaming at them,  I walked away to cool down and - as always - I find myself here with you guys.
Thank you so much for being here, for supporting my business and for allowing me to do what I do. In the past, I’ve just felt lucky to be creative, meet amazing women, have an excuse for all the drinking and the knitting, and bundle all that into a job that brings a little cash into the house. This frivolous little career has made me incredibly happy, justified the yarn purchases, allowed me to travel, and brought so many of you into my lives.
But this year, it has even more weight, and even before November it seemed less frivolous.

I’ve been able to connect with people around the world this year and I've thought so much about our industry, my responsibility as someone with a voice, and what I should be doing with that.

Also, I always knew that my yarny endeavors were helping, but this year I realized that this career is the thing that allows me to send my girl (assuming she cleans the damn toilet) to whatever college she wants. Which was huge and empowering and made me really proud and happy and so appreciative of what Ravelry and this community has allowed me to do.
Recently, Ravelry and BabyCocktails and all of you have been a much needed distraction, giving my fears and frustrations a much needed outlet.
I know it’s a business and you aren’t supposed to get political, but the PMs and emails and conversations I’ve had with you guys both publicly and privately give me hope that so many of us are good people at a time when my belief in that as a given has grown kind of shaky. Thank you.
And as you all know, this job allowed magpiefibers and me to channel some of that worry into a cause that helps at risk young girls get to college.  I just spoke to Dami and between both yarn and pattern sales, we made $3,000!
So I’m really, really thankful to send $600 off to Women of Tomorrow from all of us. With a note and some yarn and some needles and a pattern. Maybe we can create a knitter while we are at it?
I wish you all safe, happy holidays this weekend, and remember -- just keep knitting if the conversation gets tough.
Thank You. Much Love.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Hello, lovely knitters. Regardless of your thoughts on the new direction our country might be headed, I believe strongly that everyone can agree on two things.

One  This change came for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that the people struggling in this country feel like they can't find a way out. They didn't benefit from the economic trends of the Obama administration and they don't see educational opportunities in their futures -- and they feel like they haven't for a long time. A thousand of these individual struggles created an opening for one big movement.

Two  Many programs that focused on helping the poor and many policies that promoted education will struggle to have a voice in the years ahead. As priorities, they have not been part of the conversation that's entering our White House right now.

I'll insert a hat photo so you don't click away yet. I know you are here for knitting part. It's coming.

As I process my own feelings about all of this, I find it really important to find ways to counteract the things I am afraid of, and I feel that organizations like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood  and Big Sister/Big Brother will find support and be heard by people who care. It's smaller organizations I fear for. Organizations on the ground in all of these cities and communities where people need something to be hopeful about.

Plus, I strongly believe that education is the answer to so much of this. As a mother of a daughter in the midst of our own college process, I'm finding the challenges to both get to and afford school are many. And I'm a lucky one. My emotions are all over the place and I can sit here and say all kinds of things, or I can do something. I plan on doing lots of things in the future, but here is a small one. And as a knitter, I know lots of small actions will make a strong fabric.

My new pattern, Rob Roy, is knit is Dami Hunter's beautiful Magpie Fibers Domestic wool. I am donating 20% of all sales on the pattern and Dami is donating 20% of all sales on the yarn for the next two weeks to Women of Tomorrow, a charity that helps at risk girls in inner city public schools get to college.  They focus on mentoring and scholarships and they do wonderful, important work. Even if you don't feel like knitting the pattern, maybe check them out and give them a bit of support?

If you buy two skeins of yarn, you can knit the hat twice, as I did.  It can be worn either snug and folded or long and slouchy, or you can give one away or you can just have fun pairing two of Dami's beautiful colors together.  And knitting cables is kind of comfort food.

The pattern is up on Ravelry for $5.50 and all the details are on the pattern page. The Ravelry code is LOVE.

I'm sorry if anyone is annoyed at my vague/not so vague political thoughts, but at the end of the day, I just think we all need to be actually, physically involved in helping to change the things that worry us. It makes me feel better to do so -- and since I have this space with a few people who listen, it makes me feel better to say so as well.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

OH WAIT - I keep forgetting to tell all of you that I'm signing books, patterns, bottles or whatever else you bring me - and just saying hi if you stop by - over in the book area for PomPom on Saturday.  My time is 2-4pm.  Come say hello!!

Now onto the blog post -----------------------------------------

Thanks for all the sweater love on Stone Fence! I'm so glad that you guys like it, and I will be sure to fill you in on where to find Empire after the Fair if you can't make it over to Rhinebeck this weekend for Jill Draper's Open Studio.

But you know I needed to do a few more designs, right?  One sweater wasn't going to be enough, and I love working with those creamy white and heathery gray, beautiful, sheepy skeins so very much!

The past few years, I've been lucky enough to work with FoxHill Farm's Cormo, which is just stunning. But this year I had a couple of other skeins in mind to mix things up and maybe direct you to yet another fabulous farm or two.... (You should still be stopping in and getting a few skeins of that FoxHill Cormo by the way. You can knit up a Buck's Hat or a Daisy's Hat or a Polka Knot Hat -- or maybe a Beekman Tavern?)  Or you can just sniff it and give it a squeeze and say hi to Alice.

But for those of you looking for something new to pet, my next design is a hat called Boilermaker.

I met Amy and Scott of Ross Farm Heritage Breeds this summer - they work from a historic barn in PA, and travel all around looking to add rare and specific sheep breeds to their flock. It's all about saving these breeds and continuing to make these fibers available to us, and each skein has the name of the sheep whose fleece was used right on the label.  The varied range of heathered grays was stunning and when I sat in that booth, I just could not decide.  So I got two.  And I used them together.

Hence the name.  A Boilermaker is when you decide to have both a shot of whiskey AND a beer, and this hat is for when you decide to have both the light and the dark gray.   All the details are on the Ravelry page, here.

My second new design is Brandy Alexander, a cowl in Catskill Farm's Saxon Merino. Dominique and Eugene own a farm pretty close to Rhinebeck and they raise Saxon Merino sheep, imported from Australia.  This yarn is so beautiful that I touched it and wanted it around my neck immediately. Dominique also hand dyes her yarn in gorgeous shades, but this creamy white was just perfect.  You can often find Catskill Merino yarn at the popular Union Square Farmer's Market in NYC on a sunny weekend, btw.   More details on this design can be found here.

The name Brandy Alexander is a nod to the creamy white, incredibly cozy and decadent yarn.  A Brandy Alexander contains brandy, creme de menthe and steamed milk.

3/4 oz brandy
3/4 oz creme de menthe
4 oz steamed milk
Pour ingredients in a heated mug and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.


In the hopes that you may come and check one of these farms out,  I've created a Ravelry code.  Until Tuesday 10/18, the code "farms" will get you 20% off either of these.   If you can't make it to Rhinebeck, maybe there's a farm near you or a farmer's market that sells local wool that you might just fall in love with....   

Because many farm yarns and unique and individual, I've added notes about how to modify both for either slight differences in gauge or to work for a different gauge all together.  There is much more leeway when working the cowl, but there are still ways to tweak the hat design!

Enjoy and Happy Happy Rhinebeck weekend! xo

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Introducing Stone Fence, worked in Jill Draper's Empire yarn, for this year's Sheep & Wool Festival.

I'd always wanted to play with one of Jill's giant Empire yarn babies!!  You've seen the photos online, right?  Those giant, gorgeous, rustic skeins of Rambouillet that she dyes up into hundreds of shades of happiness?  Last spring she sent me a truly stunning skein in this deep green, tinged with a bit of gray, I saw it and immdediately knew it was bound to be my Rhinebeck sweater this year.

Rhinebeck always means cozy, classic sweaters to me, so this is a spin on a traditional Fisherman sweater design. With that type of sweater in mind, I wanted a to use simple textures and bold motifs that would really highlight both the shades of color Jill has created here and the cozy, round fiber of the Rambouillet wool that the Empire is made from. It allows those bits of texture and the highs and lows of the dye really stand out without competing with the lines of the design.  Plus, with easy lace and 2/2 cables, the knitting is easy and quick on #9 needles. Super satisfying!


Test knits, more photos and all the details are here on Ravelry, and the PDF pattern is available for $7 as well on the Ravelry page. It will be on the blog soon as well. It's easy to modify the pattern for length or width and notes are included in the file on doing so.

Jill has tons of Empire all ready for her Open House on Saturday of Rhinebeck weekend.  Not only has she dyed up a rainbow of giant yarnbabies, but she's got a whole bunch of small 213 yd skeins for those of you who want to purchase sweater quantites in smaller skeins.

I'll keep you up to date with what inventory remains after the weekend and will be available either in Jill's shop or in yarn stores that carry JDMS yarns. Right now, she's concentrating on the Open House, so there's not much in the shop today - but there will be again soon!

And lastly, you may be wondering two things --

First, is Stone Fence actually a cocktail name or did I cop out here?  I know it doesn't sound like one but, yes it is!

In Colonial times, travelers wandering the New England countryside would stop in pubs and taverns for a pick me up and  rest and an hour or so near the fire and this was a popular thing to order.  A Stone Fence is combines two popular Colonial beverages that we still love today - hard cider and whiskey or rum.  I thought this was the perfect combination for a Rhinebeck cocktail!  Plus I loved the nod to the history of the region and the fact that the cables lining the lace panels kind of serve as "stone fences" in the sweater.

My take on this is below:

4 oz of hard cider
1.5 oz of bourbon/rum or rye
dash of lemon or orange (or really almost any) bitters

Second, that model may look a little familiar as she also modeled the Grayhound Shawl a while back. She's my good friend Gabriella, who is beautiful and also about my size.  My sister got married this weekend and she's been just a bit too busy to do any modeling in the past couple of weeks. You will see Melissa again soon, but you may also see Gabriella again because she's also a pretty good time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Roxborough  This combination of yarn and pattern is pretty much what I knit all summer.

I started with the cardigan in my head.  I had a small pile of skeins of O-Wool in this gorgeous deep navy blue (Lake Erie), the desire to play with some Shetland lace motifs, and the need for a wear-everywhere sweater.

Some sketching and math and the knitting went fast. Before I knew it, I was binding off!  It went TOO fast. I had forgotten what stockinette and #8 needles will do for your speed, and I was seriously addicted to both the feel of this gorgeous wool and the rhythm of the lace detail.  So I decided a bit more yarn was in order.

It's never hard to pick a few more colors in Jocelyn Tunney's O-Wool, but these two shades - Pearly Mussel (soft, icy lavender) and Wood Dove (the palest of pinks) were too pretty to pass up.

The lavender was destined to be a giant, cozy shawl using the same lace and rib elements - now named the Roxborough Shawl.  The color makes it feminine, but the details are all bold and simple (which means easy knitting, right?).  Diagonal lines, the same Shetland lace, and a deep garter edge play off that pale color for a shawl I know I'll be wearing everywhere. But again, it was super quick to knit - especially on #9 needles, so I was glad to have a few more skeins in reserve.

With those two remaining skeins, I figured I could manage a Hat and Mitts. I decided it was time to play a little more with the ribbing on these.  Both at the crown shaping of the hat and at the brim, the lines are the star, and in the lovely pale yarn, they pop pretty nicely.  But the knitting is still easy and straightforward - and the soft warm yarn will keep me so cozy come Winter...

I still worked in a little of the lace, as I wasn't entirely finished with my obsession.

Jocelyn's O-Wool comes in a ton of gorgeous colors and is available on her website here -- unfortunately she JUST got picked for Jury Duty yesterday, so be patient with her if you email with anything specific.  She's quite unhappy to be trapped out of the studio all day and will send off your yarn or a reply each night as soon as she's out of the courtroom :(    Trial just ended!  She's out and ready to send you yarn!

The pattern collection is named for the Roxborough neighborhood in Philadelphia. O-wool is based in Philadelphia and has ties to both the Kensington and Germantown neighborhoods where the original textile indsutry was in the 1800s.   Roxborough is where many of those mill owners lived, and invested in the community to create the schools and parks that exist today.  Roxborough is also rumored to be named for Roxburghshire, Scotland - where Andrew Robeson, one of the very first settlers of the area, was from.  Given O-Wool's committment to textile history in Philadelphia and the use of the Shetland bead lace from Scotland, this seemed like the perfect name, right?

However there was no Roxborough cocktail, so we came up with our own Roxborough Cocktail last night:

.1 oz Scotch Whiskey
.5 oz absinthe
.5 dry curaco
dash of orange bittters

Shake in jigger with ice and strain into small cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel.  Drink while it's still cold and frothy!


As for the patterns, all the info is here on Ravelry - they are available in an e-book as the Roxborough Collection for $16, or as individual (hat and mitts are combined) PDFs for $7 each.  (I'll add them to the blog pattern pages soon, but for now they are available for purchase on Ravelry!)

And if you do cast on, don't forget to join our KAL in my Ravelry group.....  (there may even be an ebook discount code in the KAL thread....)

Friday, September 09, 2016

It's time, isn't it?

I finally have more than an hour or so ALONE in my office and am doing all the planning and knitting things I've put off for summer.  I spent all day yesterday organizing an e-book I'm working on, fixing edits in a test knit, swatching and casting on for new things - and filling out financial aid forms for college applications, and it felt SO good (except for that last bit...)

I'd love to get a KAL going, and I want to encourage you guys to bring a friend along this time! For those of you who haven't Knit Along with me before, my KALs are a bit mellow, and we don't have so many hard and fast rules.

The important part is the knitting and the sharing.  It's not about finishing and you don't even have to start something new, you just need to be working on a BabyCocktails pattern and you need to participate in the Ravelry thread! 

It's about enjoying the projects and the company, so feel free to grab your needles, and maybe a friend and just join on in.

The first prizes will be awarded next Friday, 9/16, and the KAL will go until Oct 21, allowing me to get some great goodies at Rhinebeck for that final prize pack.  Timing is flexible, so feel free to join in anytime - you will be eligible for prizes in any week that you are posting/participating.


To join in:

 - The only real rule is that you add your new or ongoing BC project(s) to Ravelry, be sure to link to the pattern, and post photos/conversation in the BabyCocktails FALL KAL Thread on Ravelry.  If you are in the thread, you are in the KAL.

- If you want, invite your knitter(s) friends to join us, and have them link to your Ravelry name in their WIP posts. This is totally extra but I'll be looking for those links and at the end of the KAL, there will be additional prizes for bringing in new faces - depending on how many new faces/enablers are out there,  Since this is a new piece, I'll see how many prizes I need for this as we go.

- You don't have to finish your project(s), as I said above.  You just need to be knitting and moving your WIPs along, adding pics and posting as you go.

- The more projects you post, or friends you refer the better your chances of winning prizes, as winners will be chosen from the new posts and images in the thread each week.

- And yes,drink ideas and discussions are always welcome.


There will be random prizes, free patterns, and a proper prize package each week with both yarn and things, plus some fun stuff at the end!

I'll start with a straight 15% off ALL my previously self published patterns, just to grease the wheels a bit.  From now until the end of day on Monday 9/12, the Rav code FALL gets you the discount.

Hope to see you on Ravelry, right HERE!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

You know how I feel about my cables, and my tweed, and any yarn with a story or some heritage attatched to it, right?  Plus the small companies that make up our little indie world?

So you know how I feel about Jameson here.  When Kate and Courtney of Kelbourne Woolens sent me a surprise skein of their new Arranmore yarn this summer, I fell hard, and immediately went about sketching and designing something, and it was one of those times when the yarn arrived and I HAD to cast on immediately and then just knit and knit until it was done.  I loved every minute of this project, and I feel good about who's behind the yarn and the care they put into creating it.

Arranmore is the perfect early fall yarn too.  It's satisfyingly rustic, but light and lofty and soft,  I want something cozy but not overwhelming as the weather changes, and this pale blue shade, paired with the silk and cashmere mixed in there makes for a lovely, delicate - but woofy - sweater.

3/4 sleeves and a deep cowl neck give it a bit of a vintage vibe, but it's also earthy and easygoing.  (If that makes sense in a sweater?)  I had a little fun with the cable tails, as I love to do -  and the panels at front and back make modifications for fit easy to add.

Instructions are included for working alternate neckline treatments if you don't want a full cowl as shown, and I've added notes on working long sleeves instead of 3/4 if you like.

The name of the pattern is also a nod to the tradition behind the yarn - Jameson may be the most popular Irish Whiskey in the world now, but it also has roots as the oldest distillery in all of Ireland, with beginnings in the 1700s.  It started as the Bow Street Distillery in Dublin. When John Jameson married Margaret Haig in 1786 and moved to town, he married into an already established whiskey family and took a job managing the popular distillery, which was owned by some of Margaret's cousins. In 1810, he and his son John bought the distillery and changed the name, creating the whiskey we know today.

The Jameson pattern is for sale here on the blog for $7, or you can go to Ravelry for all the details and to purchase it there.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 04, 2016

As we reach the dog days of August, I always want some simple knitting on a small scale, but my attention has turned towards the lovely wools of winter. So here's something small and satisfying, but definitely a nod to the upcoming season...

Anchor Steam is named for one of my favorite California beers, since it's knit in one of my favorite California yarns from A Verb For Keeping Warm.  Pioneer is Kristine Vejar's lovely, organic, CA sourced merino, which she dyes in a variety of her gorgeous colors.  It's soft and light and rustic and makes a great hat! 

Anchor Steam is a simple design, but it has one detail that I'm particularly excited about -- I love a deep ribbing but I always find that I'm folding the back of my hats down because I like a little slouch, and that back edge gets squished down weirdly.  On this hat, I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I've added just a few short rows to make a custom ribbing - deeper in front and shallower in back, and with that addition, this hat needs no adjustment whatsoever. 

I also added a little colorwork to keep the knitting interesting and then kept the rest of the hat soothing - in stockinette with simple crown shaping.  It's quick and soft and satisfying.  The perfect way to start my Fall Knitting Season! 
Now I'm about to leave on a little road trip, so I had to launch this a tiny bit early --- but next week, while I am driving from college campus to college campus, Kristine will be putting together kits of Pioneer color combinations for those of you who may want to give her gorgeous yarn a shot --
I'll post a link when the yarn kits are live - here and in my Rav group and on Instagram and Facebook - and I've created a discount for you to use thru next Saturday (8/13) just in case you need an excuse to pull the trigger once you see those colors in the skeins....  The Ravelry code Pioneer will get you 25% off, making the pattern $4.50 with discount. 
All the details are here on Ravelry....  After 8/13 the pattern will be available for $6. 
Happy Almost Fall.....

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Greenbriar is my idea of a perfect summer cardigan - loose and easy and lacy.  Green Mountain Spinnery's Mewesic yarn is beautiful and delicate and still offers a little warmth for a summer night or an air conditioned office.  And it's round and soft and wonderful on the needles, for a summer sweater that still feels satisfying to knit!  Plus, this one can easily go into Fall or Winter as well.

The sweater is really all about this lace panel. I love how the tweed looks in delicate leaves, and the motif was easy and addictive to work once I got that first leaf going. The distinct lines make any errors easy to see and the "one more leaf" thing kind of takes over and you can't stop (or I couldn't...).

I had a little fun at the panel's end, working a shaped decrease and transition at the lower back.

The rest of the cardigan is quite simple, with a subtle V-shape and ribbing along the fronts. It's knit seamlessly from the top down, with contiguous shaping at the shoulders and the collar is picked up and knit last.  I like it with a loose, easy shape, but if you wanted to wear it more fitted or if you wanted to add buttons to the fronts, modifications are easy and included in the pattern.

The Greenbriar pattern is available on Ravelry for $7.00 or in the sweater section of the blog.  More photos, details and test knits are also on Ravelry.

I apologize for not getting a good full front shot for you, but sweet little Louisa here kept us a little busy and was kind of adorably distracting. Food truck lunch was waiting.  However, there are a few test knits and I know they have some lovely versions modeled beautifully from the front, so be sure to pop over to Ravelry and take a look!.

As for a drink, a Greenbriar is a simple concoction:

2/3 sherry
1/3 dry vermouth
1 dash of peach bitters
1 sprig of fresh mint

Shake sherry, vermouth and bitters well with ice and pour into a glass with the mint.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I've named this one A Beer on the Dock

I find that small, portable projects are perfect for summer knitting so my attention turns to accessories right about now.  A Beer on the Dock is easily memorizable and totally addictive -- the perfect thing to knit while sitting in the sun with a cold drink nearby.  It's worked in an immensely satisfying yarn, with bold lines that make it easy to put down and pick back up.

The deep, squishy motif looks like a cable repeat, but is actually a simple mix of lace and garter stitch. The distinct, flowing lines in this one create a beautiful transition from ribbing and a cool pattern in the crown shaping.  And it is serious happiness in Kristine Vejar's new Range yarn from A Verb For Keeping Warm.

I picked up two skeins of Range earlier this spring during a visit to Oakland.  It's a gorgeous, springy 100% Rambouillet, and it's part of the California Wool Project, an effort to revitalize the California wool market.  The natural shades in this yarn are stunning - the skein is a subtle silvery-heathery gray, which begged to be knit immediately. When I called to mention that I had come up with a motif I liked for a hat design, Kristine asked if maybe it could be ready for the Squam Art Fair, where she'd be teaching and vending this year.  So yes it is. 

For those of you who can't make it to New Hampshire, the PDF on Ravelry is $1 off with the code SQUAM until Sunday night at 5pm when the fair's over.   

I actually found the pattern so addictive that I knit a second one, in AVFKW's Pioneer, which is also soft and wonderful and part of the California Wool Project.  I had a natural brown on hand, but Pioneer comes in all the shades of natural dyed goodness that A Verb For Keeping Warm is famous for. I happened to have a matching alpaca pom on hand as well, so....

On a side note, it makes me happy that I ended up designing this for Squam, since the Art Fair last year was an experience that made me want to commit further to thoughtful yarn choices and the smaller players in our industry, and to really think about what goes into the skeins we knit with. I've had this on my mind ever since working with Fox Hill Farm for my Beekman Tavern sweater in the Rhinebeck Book, but before this past year, I still hadn't made a serious committment to changing my habits.

Last year at Squam, Clara Parkes gave a wonderful talk about her journey to create her own yarn and the struggles that face the smaller farmers and mills and fiber producers that exist today.  And Squam really is this crazy magical, introspective place where even I (not so woo woo) paused to really think about what mattered to me, what was special about the traditions and methods and fibers she was speaking about, and then - what power I might have in the conversation.  What my responsibility should be, and what I could do to change things, even if it was in a small way.  All the connections that already existed, and those that maybe didn't but should and could be made. (if any of that makes sense, anyways....)

I've thought a lot about her words since then, and I've tried to make intentional and thoughtful choices about the yarns I've designed with since. I've tried to get more eyes looking at yarn that's important to me, run by people I respect, and produced in ways I love.  However, there are few people more dedicated to sustainability and responsibility in the textile world than the team over at A Verb For Keeping Warm. Kristine Vejar has been a pioneer and a trusted voice in sourcing and working with local, natural materials for years now.  It makes me proud to think that this hat project reflects my goals from last year, that it shines a light on someone who works on this stuff with her heart and soul, and that hopefully it will lead some of you to give these skeins a try.  In a small way, right? It all adds up.

More details and test knitter projects are (will be) up on Ravelry, and the PDF can be purchased for $6 either there on on the accessories section of this blog.  (Or for $5 if you use that SQUAM code before Sunday night!)

I won't be at Squam teaching this year, but I do hope to pop in on Saturday night and partake in a little of the magic of the weekend, pet a few more skeins, say hello and hug some friends.  And I absolutely plan on having a beer on a dock while there. 

(Thank you to my lovely old friend Jen, who wore my clothes and sat on the dock and drank beers with me while I took photos of her. She is much amused by this whole thing... but I am much amused by her job, so we are even.)