Finished: Duchess of Devonshire Shawl

For Christmas, I'd received a couple gift cards to the LYS near my parents' house: Gosh Yarn It! in Kingston, PA. I'd been fairly good with my latest yarn acquisitions by having a project in mind when buying new yarn, and I partially succeeded in sticking to that when I visited the shop in December.

The only project on my mind at that point was Kay F. Jones' Duchess of Devonshire shawl, a paid-for pattern that can downloaded on Ravelry, so I immediately began looking for yarns that would lend itself well to the gorgeous lace.

Despite the almost endless options available to be, I couldn't resist buying more Cheshire Cat from Frabjous Fibers, part of their Wonderland Yarns collection, this time in the Little Busy Bee colorway. It's a different color than I'd typically choose, and I was mindful of that, as I gravitate toward jewel tones: pinks, purples, teals, you name it. I wanted something different while also knowing I'd love knitting up the yarn. Hence the final result you see above.

Plus, the shop was having a store-wide sale. #winning

The pattern itself is 90% easy potato-chip knitting, and 10% "pay attention to the applied border or you'll be sorry" knitting. In other words, if you're like me and can't work on a project that makes you fall asleep, then this shawl is perfect for you. There's enough to keep your interest while ensuring it's easy enough to complete quickly without lulling you into a coma.

If you haven't checked out Kay's knitting patterns yet (or if you haven't heard of The Bakery Bears Podcast, which she co-hosts with her husband, Dan), then I suggest you crawl out from under your obscure rock and get to watching!

In the meantime, I'm:

Knitting: Constantinople Shawl (are you noticing a project theme, here?)
Reading: Lolita
Watching: Orange is the New Black

Review: Curls: Versatile, Wearable Wraps to Knit at Any Gauge

Behold: the project that solidified the fact I'm a process knitter, not a project one.

I was looking for something extra special to knit with my newly acquired KnitCircus yarn in the Kaylee colorway. I'd been dying to dip into said yarn since returning from VKL a couple weeks before, but didn't want to "waste" it on something too simple or boring.

Looking through projects made using the Greatest of Ease base, I stumbled upon this particular Filemot, a lacey pattern that accomplishes its look using only yarn-overs and twisted stitches (believe me, it appears more complicated than it is). I knew at that moment I had to have it. And when you see it, I think you'll agree.

Published in Curls: Versatile, Wearable Wraps to Knit at Any Gauge by Hunter Hammersen, Filemot is only available in book form, as opposed to a single, downloadable pattern. But that's not a detriment:

The book contains 14 astronomically gorgeous patterns designed to be knit at any gauge. That means you can use any yarn and any needle, knitting each chart for as long as you need to accomplish the look you want. Want some extra drape? Use fingering weight and larger needles. Want a more defined pattern? Drop down to a size US4. Bulkier fashions can be obtained by using your favorite worsteds. It's really up to you.

What's great about this method is you don't have room for untidy, space-consuming scraps. Because you can keep going for as long as you like, you really have the opportunity to use up all the yarn you've chosen for the project.

Which is why Filemot is perfect for slow-forming gradients like those dyed by KnitCircus.

If you're interested in buying the book so you can knit your own Filemot (or one of the other drool-worthy patterns), here's some fair warning: each pattern is charted. The charts work best for these type of patterns because of how the rows repeat; it's easier to see what you're doing, so I can't entirely complain. But I have to gripe about some of the charts being on the opposite page of the stitch definitions. I find myself flipping back and forth constantly to remember how certain twisted stitch decreases are done, which is more than a bit tedious. So although the charts are clear and easily explained, I wouldn't recommend this book for the novice chart knitter. That said, you can easily photocopy the special stitches and keep them handy; don't let it stop you! Just be prepared.

Full disclosure: I was not prompted in any way to write this review, nor was I compensated by the publisher. I found the Filemot pattern on Ravelry and purchased the book from Amazon using my own money because the patterns were gorgeous and the price was right!

Review: Yarn Crush 2015 November Unboxing

Can't view the unboxing video? Then click here.

In keeping with this year's apparent theme of "it never gets less exciting", Joanna from Yarn Crush emailed me a couple weeks ago asking if I'd review two previous boxes of literal "yarny goodness" (for real - it's what the sticker says on the box's wrapping).

I know, I know: it's a tough job being a yarn-hoarding blogger, but someone's gotta do it. Not one to shirk such "obligations", I was more than happy to volunteer my unboxing skills and give a full-blown, honest review.

The first box I opened was from November 2015 and it didn't disappoint.

The Goodies

The Yarn is simply to die for. Hand-dyed exclusively for Yarn Crush subscribers, this Cat Mountain Fiber Arts yarn contains five coordinated colorways in a variety of bases. There are sparkles, loops, and fuzz, which will all work together to create a fabulous project (and it's perfect for this months' patterns).

The Patterns: We now get a knitting and crochet pattern in each box, so your crafty needs are sure to be met with this subscription. The knitting pattern is the Midnight Lane Cowl (seriously such a perfect choice for the included yarn) and the crochet pattern is Constellation. My biggest problem? Deciding which I want to make with this yarn, since they're both stunning.

The Yummies: November's box also included everything you need to complete Constellation, like more than enough jump rings to join each star and a jump ring finger tool. The latter has be super excited, not necessarily because I dabble in jewelry-making from time to time, but because I have a tendency to break any and all jewelry I already own. This will make repair a breeze!

The Price: I've said it before and I'll say it again: one of my favorite things about Yarn Crush is that you know the retail value of each item in your box (it's published along with the description of the box's contents). Why is that important? Because you know exactly what you're getting for what you've paid, and let me tell you: it's always a steal. The retail value of November 2015's box was $50.96, but the monthly subscription price is only $32.99 in comparison.

The Rating

How could I possibly give Yarn Crush any less than 5/5 stars? The answer is: I can't. The yarn is just too pretty and the projects too fun for me not to rave like a lunatic about the contents.

How to Get It

There are a couple subscription options and multiple ways to pay. For example, you can subscribe to a monthly box or bi-monthly box and then select how often you'd like to be charged. You, of course, save money with a 3- or 6-month payment plan; I love when subscriptions cater to both our needs and our budgets, especially for those of us trying to be more conscious of what we spend in the new year.

If you're ready to learn more, click the button below to either subscribe or select the subscription option that's right for you:

I was not paid for this review, nor is the subscription link an affiliate link (ie: I earn no income for my completely honest review of a product I really enjoy).

The Great Knit-In of Blizzard 2016

Did everyone survive the blizzard? Our total in my neck of the woods reached 31", though you can't tell for sure due to all the high winds and resulting drifting. Nevertheless, it was a boat load of fun... for Nick, who spent all day Sunday shoveling a path to civilization so I could get to work today. Also, the dog was not amused.

After doing some work around the house and making yummy "we're stranded" breakfasts and hot chocolate from scratch, I managed to work in a couple hours of reading and nearly completed my Duchess of Devonshire shawl while binge-watching Scream Queens on Hulu. All I've got to do now is finish the border, soak, and block, and then it's ready to wear. The green makes me think of spring, which is definitely not happening any time soon.

What did you knit on while we were all stuck inside with cabin fever? Did everyone maintain their sanity? And how are the roads like by you? It's a bit nightmarish here, not gonna lie.

In the meantime, I'm:

Knitting: Just Another Vanilla Sock - Christmas Edition
Reading: Da Vinci's Tiger (my December 2015 OwlCrate book)

Weekend Woolgatherings - 01/22/2016

So, what's everyone planning on knitting while we're all snowed in this weekend?

I, for one, will be knitting on my Duchess of Devonshire shawl designed by Kay of Bakery Bears fame. I cast it on last weekend after staring far too long at the yummy yarn I'd bought specifically for the project over Christmas. The yarn is Frabjous Fibers Cheshire Cat in the Little Busy Bee colorway. It's a beautiful bright green with hints of gold. I bought it looking for something a bit outside my comfort zone (ie: not something pink and sparkly) and I think this color will be nice on me come spring. So far, it's working up beautifully and I couldn't be happier.

Otherwise, I plan to do some minor cleaning around the house and overall just relaxing for a change. It's been a stressful few months for me and I'm kind of excited to get back to the way things used to be.

Oh, and I received a few more Yarn Crush boxes to review, so look forward to a video of those in the coming week or two. I've been chomping at the bit to open them, but have waited just for you :)

How about you?