knitcrate

2017 February KnitCrate Sock Unboxing

It's that time again: time for me to drool over my latest yarn acquisitions, this time courtesy of KnitCrate!

The good folks there reached out to me about a month ago and asked if I had any interest in reviewing their boxes. As you may or may not know, I used to be a KnitCrate subscriber, but cut back because I needed to save money (I think you can see by all my stash enhancements that my plan didn't go well). Since the early days, they've come under new management (or ownership) and the branding has changed a bit, so I was - of course - interested to see what was new!

Depending on what's included, you now either get a cute box (as is the case with the sock crate I opened first) or their traditional red envelope. Read on to find out what was inside!

Yarn

This month's box includes a skein of Mrs. Crosby's Train Case, a blend of 55% Merino Wool, 15% Nylon, and 30% Outlast Viscose, a unique fiber that extends the life of your socks. This unique colorway was created just for us (and it's absolutely gorgeous, people)

Pattern

A swirling treat of a sock, designer Mindy Vasil's Soft Serve Socks are a playful and delightful knit. You'll love watching the colors play out as your knit from the toe up. This project is perfect for me, if only because it's knit toe-up. I just knit a pair of cuff-downs and I now hate my life.

Extra

Soothe yourself at the end of a long day with this handmade, heart-shaped bath bomb from Etsy artisan Petting My Unicorn (with a name like that, you know I was going to be enthusiastic). Scented with lavendar 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!) Or, in my case and as mentioned in the video, recovering from a long week or work travel.

So, how much is it?

Glad you asked ;) The price for a monthly sock crate is $29.94, shipped. Which is awesome because this month's crate has a retail value of $31.74. So you're more than making your money back, especially when you consider shipping costs. Mrs. Crosby is a really great yarn to work with, too - plus, it's an exclusive colorway! You know how I feel about exclusivity!

And get a discount!

Use code JL20 to get 20% off your first purchase :)

Review: 2015 January KnitCrate

This review is a little bit belated. Why? Because I was having so much fun finishing up December's KnitCrate project (Lapidary) and working on orders that I wouldn't permit myself to indulge myself with much drooling over these new goodies:

The Yarn was two hanks of beautiful, hand-dyed Tweed DK from Jorstad Creek. While there were up to four colors shown in the sneak peek, the good folks at KnitCrate sent me the teal, which I'm in love with. I'm not sure if you've noticed from all my recently completed projects, but I've been a tad obsessed with jewel tones lately, so these fit right in. The yarn isn't an obnoxious tweed, either. I'm not sure if yarn can actually be too tweedy, but I've seen a number of yarns that look like they just puked tweed. These aren't like that; they're lovely.

The Patterns make for some wonderful future projects. The featured pattern (ie: what we're expected to use with our yarn) is the Cedarbury Cowl by Jann Hopper, which can be made in two sizes. So basically, you can use both hanks to make the larger size or one hank to make the smaller size, saving the second hank for a matching hat or fingerless mitts. I love that KnitCrate thinks ahead like this and gives us not only enough yarn to complete a project, but to also have some extras left over so we can coordinate other accessories.

We also received a bonus Noro pattern book, full of over a dozen inspirational designs that'll make your fingers itch for long and bright color changes.

Our Fun Extra was the Color Grid by The Kangaroo Dyer. This will definitely come in handy for me when I'm looking to make something with specific colors, but don't have one or both colors in stock. Sometimes, I know I want to make something in a certain color, but need something that contrasts it and just can't find it in my stash. Now I'll know exactly what will work well and, having studied Color Theory, can find it in a cinch.

The Soothing Extra was Harney & Sons Fine Teas: Winter White Early Grey. From the website:

A perennial favorite that combines beautiful Chinese Mutan White tea, making it lighter than traditional black teas, with natural lemony Bergamot. It is a pleasure to drink during any season! Reuse that tin for notions or more yummy tea.

And boy, will I ever be reusing the tin. It's fun and small. The little tea sachets are so cute, too. Most importantly, the tea is delicious. I've already had a couple cups and definitely enjoyed it.

As you know, I also purchase the Add-On Minis each month. For January, we received five gorgeous assorted mini skeins of more Jorstad Creek. Once again, I was thrilled with the jewel tones and can't wait to add them to either an upcoming Cosy Memories Blanket or my Beekeeper's Quilt.

Overall, I'm once again blown away with the wonderful items awaiting for me in my monthly red envelope. I've been telling people that subscribing to this delivery service is surprisingly saving me money (now that I have pre-determined projects to use my yarn for, I no longer buy as much fiber just to have it sit around) and encouraging me to finish projects so I can show them off to fellow KnitCraters.

You'll love it, too! Click the link below to join KnitCrate and get 10% off your first purchase. Or you can try a KnitCrate and see if you like it. This month's featured Try A KnitCrate is the Indie kit, which is what you've been seeing in my reviews. If you like what you've seen, then make sure to visit the site to try it on for size. It's worth the investment!

Finished: Lapidary

It's done, it's done, it's finally done! I've finished my Lapidary!

Started the day after Christmas, Lapidary by Brittany Wilson was the yarn and pattern kit that came in my December 2014 Indie KnitCrate. After two months spent working on orders for other people, I couldn't wait to knit up a project for myself. I don't typically make anything for my own wardrobe (which is horrible marketing if you're in the knitting business looking to turn a profit), and it super stinks when I want to make something, but have to put it off for weeks at a time.

Anyway, I was dying to get my hands on this project, and I'm happy to say I saw it through to the end. I knit on Lapidary almost exclusively for three weeks, a feat unheard of and often celebratory in my world. We experienced and fixed dropped stitches together, as well as sat through the new season of Downton Abbey and sipped many cups of loose leaf tea freshly brewed in my favorite glass tea pot. Lapidary is the first project I've successfully soaked and blocked, all using my new blocking mats from KnitPicks. Indeed, I finally felt like a "real" knitter.

And I think that's why I lost interest in blogging about my knits for some time: I wasn't doing anything new. Almost everything I knit or crocheted was for a custom order, and each of those orders are made from patterns I've used a million times. It all became a little monotonous. It's not that I didn't enjoy it anymore, but it wasn't worth talking about because I'd already said what I've needed to say about those projects. It was time for something different.

So I'm happy to say that Lapidary has launched me into a new obsession: shawls. It's what spurred me to join Grace Akhrem's Crashing Waves KAL, plus another KAL that's Instagram-only. I consider myself an intermediate knitter, but wasn't making any intermediate projects. I feel like I can now truly say that I'm intermediate and understand more concepts than initially thought. How cool is that?

I know I've been on a KnitCrate bragging spree lately, but I truly believe that without my subscription, I wouldn't have ventured into this world for quite some time yet. Or at least had the patience to finish something using techniques I'd learned and never implemented. I plunged in after seeing what the talented blogger/podcaster KnitFitch was able to create with less than a year of knitting experience - I was blown away. And now, I feel like maybe someone will be blown away with what I can make, too.

In fact, I'm kind of blown away with myself.

Review: 2014 December KnitCrate

Consider my monthly KnitCrate's eye candy my Christmas treat to you :) This is only my second package, but I was so excited to see what we were getting this month that I tore it open with the fervor of a starving cat. Luckily, I wasn't disappointed (LOOK AT THE YARN!)

This month's pattern is Lapidary by Brittany Wilson, sent as a redeemable code for digital download on the site. It's totally drool-worthy (especially in the colors I received), and I've had to hide it at the bottom of all my Christmas projects so I don't get distracted. But believe you me: this thing is happening during my nearly-two-weeks off from work for the holidays. I'm not one to rush through Christmas, but I'm chomping at the bit to knit on this project.

From the KnitCrate website: 

"Honeycomb-like patterns are hot this season and we couldn’t leave you out of that fun! Lapidary is worked on the bias and the colorwork is created with stripes and slipped stitches." Who doesn't love working on the bias? To me, bias designs seem to work up faster than others.

The yummy yarn was selected to coordinate with the pattern, which requires two colors. I was more than happy to get two skeins of Sunrise Fiber's Co's Frolic Sport in Electric Indigo and Jelly Bean; not only will they work up nicely in this pattern, but there's a little bit of pink in the Jelly Bean colorway. Two of my favorite colors combined in holy matrimony. Could I be any happier?

The Fun Extra is, indeed, a bit of fun. We received a Luxury Fur Pom-Pom, which is something you may have seen floating around in your LYS or online. These are fantastic for those times you don't feel like making your own (which is always for me... I absolutely hate the process of making pom-poms). It comes ready-to-attach to old or new projects that need a smidgen more pizzazz and is made of 80% acrylic and 20% polyester so it lasts a long time. You can check out what's available for purchase on the KnitCrate website.

December's Sweet Extra barely made it to the photo; I think you know why. It was Peppermint Hot Chocolate on a Stick from Ticket Chocolate and it was yummier than you could imagine. A perfect little treat to sip on while finishing up (or, in many cases, just starting) my Christmas gift knitting. Here's how it works:

Swirl our blocks of finest couverture into steaming milk or water and you’ll have a cup of hot chocolate worth lingering over. We can’t help but feel that the stirring adds to the experience, soothing you over while building up anticipation for that first sip. The hot chocolate that results is the same caliber you will find in the world’s finest cafes and bakeries. Trust us, we know our hot chocolate.

And finally, it's not splurging if I don't indulge in a minis add-on. This month, we received five more wonderful yarn from Sunrise Fiber Company in Classic Sock, a high-twist 100% Superwash Merino Wool 2-ply sock yarn. I love the mix of colors and can't wait to add it to my as-yet-to-be-started Beekeeper's Quilt.

So... happy, happy, happy things! Are you a KnitCrate subscriber? What'd you get this month?

Review: 2014 November KnitCrate

I think it's safe to say that I'm a KnitCrate convert. Not that I needed much converting, but I'd been straddling the fence for a couple months now, waiting to see what my fellow bloggers/yarn fiends had to say about it.

Last month, I took the leap and subscribed to a monthly delivery of the Indie option. The Indie kit is comprised of hand-dyed and hand-painted yarns in various bases from the best dyers in the industry. Now that's a bold claim, right? I decided to check it out for myself and see if the kit lived up to the hype.

And maybe it's because I've been obsessed with indie dyers the past couple months, or maybe it's because I've entered the land of "All madelinetosh, all the time", but the November KnitCrate was exactly what I needed to become a new life-long subscriber. This month's featured yarn is Tosh Merino Light in the Cotton Candy colorway, exclusively created for KnitCrate subscribers. It's a beautiful minty blue and red, which are incredibly on-trend colors for the holiday season; I've been seeing this combo everywhere from various TV commercials to Clementine's ensemble in the latest Hallmark Channel Christmas movie "Northpole" (if you haven't seen it, you must!)

November's "Fun Extra" is something called "Needle Keeper - The Magic Wand". I wasn't sure how it worked when I first opened it, but I'm pretty sure this will be traveling everywhere with me moving forward. You stick your needles through the black rubber tip to make sure your needles don't go anywhere, thus destroying your hard work. It also ensures the connection between your needles and the cable doesn't get damaged. Seriously, how annoying is it when those things break and all that lovely knitting is lost? Now I just wish I had more to keep up with all my WIPs.

Oh, and then there was some delicious candy, too. In each package, KnitCrate includes a "Sweet Extra", and this month it was SuperFruit Chews from Lovely Candy Co. They're made with real fruit and are gluten- and GMO-free. Basically, healthy(er) Starbursts. Needless to say, those things did not survive until my photo shoot this past weekend. I'm only a little ashamed of my gluttony.

That said, just the monthly kit was not enough for me. To repeat myself, I am a glutton, and my click-happy response to all the goodies now available to me in the KnitCrate store is only proof of that fact. You also get a chance to add on some products with your order, so I picked up the Madelinetosh (I told you I've entered a downward spiral) Twist Light in the Care colorway, dyed specifically to raise funds for Doctors Without Borders. From the KnitCrate website: 

This is the first wide-release color in the new Twist Light line, with a full array of colors coming in early 2015. This limited edition rainbow colorway has been created for Doctors Without Borders available solely in Mad Tosh Twist Light base only. Madelinetosh has agreed to give 100% of their profits of the sale of this colorway directly to Doctors Without Borders until they reach their goal of $10,000.

Buy yarn and support a good cause? Just call me a philanthropist.

I also invested in a mini skein add-on so I could try some new yarn samples and knit puffs for my upcoming Beekeeper's Quilt. This month's Mini-Skein Assortment was also some HAND DYED Madelinetosh Tosh Sock yarn and included five small skeins in a variety of beautiful colors - the perfect amount for testing different fibers. I'm addicted.

In conclusion, I'm in love with my new investment. It's not exactly cheap, but it is fun, and I think it's going to give me a lot of opportunities for self- and gift-knitting throughout the next year. There are many different kits available, so prices do vary and give you an opportunity to customize your package with the type of yarn and projects that you'll enjoy knitting. Make sure to look at/drool over all the options: