Finished: Crescendo Hat (PATTERN AVAILABLE NOW!)

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Hey, all! Popping in to tell you about this lovely hat my friend Erin (better known as gimmeyarn418 in the knitting community) designed for us all!

Called Crescendo, this hat combines slipped stitches and basic knitting techniques to create a stretchy hat perfect for variegated or speckled yarns. It's quick to knit up, too, so I'm thinking you should add this to your stash in extremely advanced preparation of holiday gift knitting. Just saying :)

I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester, so I put my needles to work last week and love the result (I've also been wearing it ever since I bound off and have received a lot of compliments). I really think you will, too!

If you need more swaying, then you should also know that all proceeds will be donated to the Seth Bottari fund. Seth is Erin's cuddly baby nephew who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Every little bit helps, so buy one for you and your friends and start your own Crescendo collection.

2017 January Yarn Crush Unboxing

Hey, all! I'm back again with yet another Yarn Crush unboxing (it seems like these are the only videos I make anymore, but I promise I'm working on that!)

This month was all about yummy treats, as you can tell from the spoiler card we all got - hello, donuts! Bonus: the goodies awaiting me were just as yummy. If you're ready to be spoiled, then check out Yarn Crush's January contents:

The Goodies

The Yarn is a pillowy-soft skein of Single Ply Chunky from Twisted Owl Fibers (who I've been following on Instagram forever, apparently, so imagine my surprise when I finally was able to get my hands on some through Yarn Crush). The yarn is an 80% superwash merino / 20% nylon blend, which makes it both soft and easy to care for. The colorway I received is "Dancing Bears" - can't help thinking of the Grateful Dead once you see the yarn and know the name! You have no idea what a coincidence that is, being that my college sorority's imagery was all based off the Dead. This box was meant to be.

The Patterns, as usual, allow you to choose between a knitting or crochet item. This month, both patterns are for headbands. The knitting pattern is for Alcyone's Crown and the crochet pattern is for Genevrie. They're similar in design, and both feature the notions provided in this month's box (detailed below), so whatever your craft, you're guaranteed to have a gorgeous accessory when complete.

The Notions give you everything you need to put the finishing touches on your January project - lots (30, to be exact) of adorable, sparkly, horse eye rhinestones and a button for whichever headband you choose to make! We've even been provided with the sewing thread to attach them. Seriously, I mean it when I say Yarn Crush gives you everything you need to make each monthly project.

The Bonus Gift was such a cute surprise this month - a piece of handcrafted jewelry from one of two Toronto-based artisans. Hyein Lee makes beautiful laser-cut brooches based on her own illustrations (I got a sheep that I'm going to now wear everywhere) and Candice Ware makes food-themed jewelry that looks cute enough to eat. We don't always get a bonus gifts, so it's always a fun treat when we do!

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 January 2017's box was $49-95-$55.95, but the monthly subscription price is only $32.99 in comparison. That’s up to almost $23 in savings!

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’re spending (look, I said "trying").

PS: For those of you wondering, I switched to the Sock Crush box, which is $29.99 monthly. I should be receiving my first Sock Crush this month!

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

In Progress: Mercury Socks

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Not sure if you can tell from my Instagram, but I've been a little obsessed with knitting socks since my Christmas Eve cast-on. I've been buying all the sock yarn (which is really no different than before the obsession began) and knitting all the things (which is a change of pace).

I've gone from chronic Second Sock Syndrome to finishing an entire pair in a week or less.

My current project are these more than beautiful Mercury Socks, which have entertained me not only because they're socks, but also  because there's enough lace to be fun without also being intimidating.

I'd wanted to knit something more challenging than a plain vanilla sock, and the Mercury Socks have truly answered that call. The pattern is a simple, easily-memorized four-row repeat that's satisfying my wants for lace and sock knitting.

The yarn I'm using is Phydeux Yarn Chaussette in the Calypso colorway. I wasn't sure I liked how it was turning out at first (the yarn is gorgeous, absolutely - but I didn't know if I liked it with the pattern). All's good, though; I'm loving how it's knitting up and I can't wait to finish.

As you can see from the photo, it's a top-down sock pattern, which I don't usually like. I've sucked it up for this one because I just really wanted to knit them. Not looking forward to kitchenering the toes, but I got to work on my skills while making several pussyhats for my friends and I going to our various Women's Marches, so I think I'll be fine.

What else is new? Still loving my new job and I think I'm doing okay. Consultant/agency life is a whole 'nother rat race, so it's taken me this long to get used to it. I love working remotely (ie: with my dog), my clients are fun, I like my colleagues, and I get to work with my favorite marketing automation software every single day. I feel like I'm finally at a place in my career where I can actually enjoy what I'm doing and use what I know.

So life is good in Jenn Land. How about you? What's new?!

In the meantime, I'm:

Knitting: Owlet
Reading: Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir
Watching: Victoria
Listening: (All Along the) Watchtower - Instrumenal - Devlin

Finished: Penelope Shawls

My family and me wearing our Penelope Shawls on Christmas night!

My family and me wearing our Penelope Shawls on Christmas night!

I suppose it's time I rose from the dead and revisited my poor little blog that's been languishing since when - August?

Yeesh.

Those of you who know me well also know that 2016 was a rough year for a variety of reasons I won't get into here. It wasn't easy on me and I even let go of the one thing in this world I love the most: knitting! Yup, that's how bad my 2016 was. It's not like I didn't knit (or crochet) anything at all; I just wasn't passionate about it anymore, which is really out of character for me.

But that's done with now and the black cloud of negativity has been removed from my life for good. I'm back in my groove and am knitting like a fiend. Mostly socks because that's what I want to do, and I figure if I want to do it, I just will. It's been a year since I truly loved something I was working on and threw myself into, so guess what? I'm going to enjoy my selfish projects for awhile.

One of my most recent projects was crocheting five Penelope Shawls as Christmas gifts for my family. This idea spurred from a) becoming obsessed with Caron Cakes and b) knitting in a local whiskey bar with one of my friends who was crocheting a shawl with said cakes (yes, that did happen). I got the sudden urge to crochet something, but I wasn't sure what - other than I wanted it to be a shawl.

After searching Ravelry for Caron Cakes projects, I came across a user who'd made a shawlette version of the Penelope Shawl. I was done. This is what I need to do. I started crocheting one at 11:30PM on a Sunday evening (as you do) and didn't look back. I think I finished it by the next evening and decided I'd be able to whip out at least five before Christmas: one for my family members and one for myself.

The pattern is super simple, though I had to fudge the edging a bit due to the fact I was making a smaller version; it was fine. It made for great Christmas movie-watching as the holiday approached and worked up really fast. Plus, by using the cakes, I barely had to weave in ends. Best of all, each shawl looked great in their already-designed-for-me colors.

I know you've all got massive Caron Cake stashes, so make sure to check out the Penelope Shawl as a possible project. I just crocheted until I had three colors left in my cake, then completed the final few rounds for the edging. There was usually a small amount left, but nothing I ever felt bad about throwing away

PS: There are 8 new Caron Cake colors!!!

In the meantime, I'm:

Knitting: Just Another Vanilla Sock - Christmas Edition
Reading: Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard
Watching: Westworld

Finished: Kick in the Pants Rainbow Socks

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They're done! My labor of love is done. And even though they took me forever to knit, I'm incredibly happy with the end result, so it was totally worth it.

You can check out the deets by visiting my project page on Ravelry or reading my last post about them. Either way, the basics are:

I was contacted by Knit Picks over on Instagram asking if they could feature my photo on their Facebook page, so make sure to like them and see my 15 minutes of fiber fame :)

In other news, the Olympics have started, which also means the Ravellenic Games are under way! I'm participating this year by knitting a sweater in just over two weeks, and it's looking like it'll be done just in time. Yikes! Stay tuned for progress photos.

In the meantime, I'm:

Knitting: Broken Seed Stitch Socks (which I'm obsessed with, but are temporarily on hold while I do my Ravellenics thing)
Reading: Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
Watching: The Olympics. Duh!