Oh! Loops 2017 Harry Potter KAL

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Who else is participating in Oh! Loops' annual Harry Potter KAL?!

For those of you not in the know, this KAL has been going on for a few years and is one of the most fun a-longs I've ever participated in. I signed up two years ago and loved every second, although I didn't sign up last year because life got away from me and I just didn't have time.

But it's really great: you order HP-themed yarn from Oh! Loops and accordingly get sorted into any one of the four houses for a friendly three-month knitting competition. I, of course, am now in Ravenclaw, which was nothing if not a happy coincidence. I got sorted according to Pottermore not more than a few months ago and discovered I am, in fact, a Ravenclaw. Being a nerd, I'm proud of that. Why? According to Wikia:

"Members of this house are characterised by their wit, learning, and wisdom."

...And I love being categorized by any of the above. Suffice it to say, I'm excited to knit for this house in particular.

The two skeins I picked up are called "Don't Call Me Nymphadora" (an 80/30 SW Merino/Nylon mix) and "Snape Loves Lily" (an 85/15 SW Merino/NEP Tweed combo). I'm not sure what I'll knit with them yet, but I do plan to use them for the challenges, which should be posted soon. The tweed could be used as socks, but I don't want to hide it on my feet; it's too pretty!

If you want to follow along, you can check out the #hpkal2017 or #harrypotterkal2017 hashtags over on Instagram.

PS: Nick and I tried the jelly beans and are both thrilled and appalled to say they taste exactly as described in the movie. I mistakenly picked a yummy-looking pink one that turned out to be earthworm-flavored. I'm still recovering from the trauma.

PPS: Speaking of Ravenclaw, one of my favorite indie dyers (Dragon Hoard Yarn) is putting out Harry Potter advent calendars this year and she's let us choose our houses. You can probably guess that I chose Ravenclaw, meaning I'll get house-centric goodies with my calendar. I'd link you to the calendar to order, but she sold out fast!

PPPS: And in other advent calendar news, I've also ordered an Opal one for 2017. This impulse buy will be my first Opal advent calendar and I'm more than pumped for it to arrive on my doorstep (all the way from the UK for a fairly good price). The 2017 Christmas season is going to be more than enough fun for me!

Finished: Skywave Shawl

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I'm typing this to you, dear blog readers, at the onset of either a cold or a horrific allergy attack. I'm hoping it's the later because it means the madness will end tomorrow, but I fear I'm coming down with something (and I'm not happy about it.

Yet here I am, pouring my yarn-filled little heart out to you as I finish up another project.

Apparently, I'm in a shawl phase, as I've finished a second in as many months and started a third.

I'm not complaining. Shawls are fun "larger" projects and make for perfect fall scarves. In other words, they're my favorite things to knit up this time of year (I'd say socks are my favorite, but they're my favorite projects for any time of year).

I LOVE how this shawl worked up, despite its many mistakes. Well, I shouldn't say many. I forgot that each "scale" requires two pattern repeats and only did one repeat about halfway through. I'd already tinked back enough rows after having forgotten four rows of garter stitch and couldn't bring myself to rip out two full repeats, so the mistake survives. I'm sure nobody else (other than maybe a fellow knitter) would notice. And if you do notice, you're probably standing too close to me and I'm seething about it.

I also liked how there are two versions: one with the pattern repeat all the way through the pattern, and another with the lace only working up at the edges - it's up to you based on your preferences. I, for one, was feeling particularly sadistic, so I worked the lace all throughout.

This shawl has been following me around since June, when I took it on my girlfriends BSB Vegas excursion as a plane distraction, so it's nice to finally have those needles free again.

Project Info:

Pattern: Skywave
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Gradient
Colorway: Hula Girl

In the meantime, I'm:

Knitting: Golden Ray
Reading: The Book Thief - I just joined an all-new local book club that some friends of mine and I are starting up and this is our first read. I can't believe I've made it this far in love without picking it up, but I'm so glad I finally did.
Listening to: My Favorite Murder (podcast)
Watching: The entire Harry Potter series because it's that time of year, isn't it?

Finished: Vanilla Latte Socks

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Taking a quick work break to update you guys on my latest pair of finished socks (you're welcome).

This past weekend was a long weekend, so I finally had some time to sit down and start sorting through my craft room. Despite doing a massive purge of older, crappier yarn in colors I'd never use, I realized something:

I have WAY TOO MUCH YARN.

Not a phrase I ever expected to come out of my mouth, but there it is.

How do I know this? Because I have nowhere to put it all. I cleared off an additional shelf on my giant bookcase to use as hank storage and I still have hanks flying around the hallway, waiting for a home.

I also realized I have a deep-rooted affinity for Knit Picks Felici.

All of this led me to decide I need to be knitting more. Way more. Especially with Felici.

Cue these socks. They're a super basic Vanilla Latte pattern, which is actually a pattern I used when I first learned to knit socks, so they're interesting enough that I didn't get bored. Self-striping socks always seem to move quickly, anyway, but these really flew off my needles (I only worked on them for a few days).

Details:

Yarn: Knit Picks Felici
Colorway: Pinata
Pattern: Vanilla Latte Socks
Heel: Fish Lips Kiss

And so begins another work week. Sort of. It's a short week to begin with thanks to Labor Day, but I'm also taking Friday off to head to Cape Cod for a bachelorette. Don't worry - I plan on taking loads of knitting with me for the car ride ;)

In the meantime, I'm:

Knitting: Skywave (this is nearly done)
Reading: Just finished The Blinds and have nothing going at the moment. Any recommendations?

Finished: Kindness KAL Shawl

Once again, I'm behind on blogging. Which, let's be honest, isn't surprising because I always switch my hobby to obsessive reading in the summer. As usual, my Goodreads list has grown exponentially in the past few months, with many thanks to my recent subscription to Book of the Month.

Kindless KAL Shawl by Jaala Spiro

But don't worry: I've picked up my needles again and am finishing a bunch of projects I started before my week-long Vegas vacation my girlfriends and I took for our birthdays (oh, did I forget to mention I saw the Backstreet Boys while there? Twice? You wish you had my life.)

One of those projects was the Kindness KAL Shawl that I started... I don't even know when. I think it was before I left for a conference in April. Regardless, it took me forever to knit and even longer to block because it sat around in a box for what's going on three months.

I promise I'm responsible.

The biggest reason I knit this shawl was because I'd recently acquired (read: hoarded) a massive stash of the new-ish Knit Picks Stroll Gradient. I'm officially in lerve. I've always had a thing for long gradients and the easy effect they can add to simple knitwear designs, but the only ones I've found in a usable quality have been hand-dyed and kinda pricey. Y'all know I'm a huge fan of indie dyers, so I don't say that to knock them, but it's great that I can now have the option to buy these, too.

The colorway I selected is called Unicorn Princess. If you have to ask why I chose that, then you clearly don't know me at all, nor have you paid attention to this blog. I say to you: UNICORN. PRINCESS.

Anyway, I finally got around to blocking the heck out this thing over the weekend. I opted to block it in a round formation instead of pulling the lace pieces down. Why? I'm not sure. I went a little crazy with pinning it down and that's just what happened.

So that's the latest "off my needles" update. As far as other life stuff, I've mostly been busy with work, light traveling, visiting with friends, and planning more upcoming light travel. Musikfest just ended in my area, too, so I was able to see a bunch of good bands I like and eat poutine. All in all, it's been a win of a summer.

In the meantime, I'm:

Reading: The Blinds
Listening to: Gogol Bordello - Wonderlust King

2017 February KnitCrate Main Unboxing

Okay, okay. I know I've been slacking on getting my unboxings up on a regular basis (at least on the blog). As usual, life has a way of deterring me from my hobbies and steering my attention toward other things.

For example, I spoke at a major marketing conference toward the end of April, so I spent the month between recording this video and actually speaking freaking out just a tad and making sure I was prepped.

Also, there's a little thing I go through on an annual basis that's a blogger's equivalent of "writer's block". And I haven't been knitting much because I've been working on a super secret project that will be revealed shortly.

But enough of my woeful whines. You're here to talk about yarn. Watch the video above for the deets, or read below for more specifics:

Yarn

Mrs. Crosby lends her worldly, experimental touch to this month's shipment, sending not one or two, but THREE semi-solid skeins of Steamer Trunk, a sumptuous, worsted-weight, 100% merino. Semi-solid colorways Lagoon, Smitten, and Garden House play together perfectly.

Pattern

Patchwork Purse Collection #1: Two purses, one pattern - designed by Irene York, these playful purses work up using clever stitch manipulation and interesting construction. Suitable for beginners and intermediate knitters, there are two styles included in a single PDF. Work them in one color or two for different effects. Leave the strap off for a fun notions pouch you can pop into your project bag!

Extra

Soothe yourself at the end of a long day with this handmade, heart-shaped bath bomb from Etsy artisan Petting My Unicorn. Scented with Lavender Essential Oil and made from premium ingredients, this bath bomb is specifically designed to relax sore muscles (perfect to recover from a knitting and Netflix binge!)