February 27, 2017

12 Putting Handspun Yarn to Use -- Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits

Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits, knit by Dayana Knits in Maine handspun

Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits, knit by Dayana Knits in Maine handspun

Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits, knit by Dayana Knits in Maine handspun

Whoa horsey! Before you think I've started an entirely new hobby -- spinning -- I'll stop you there. 😂 Thankfully, there are plenty of hand spinners out there who have made their craft available for us lowly followers to purchase, and let me tell you -- Maine is the perfect place to find it. Just look at these two skeins I scored at my favorite source for Maine yarn (in my favorite town of all, too): Heavenly Socks Yarn in Belfast! You'd be a fool not to sign up for their newsletter, it's famous.

Handspun yarn by Andrea of Winterport, ME, Dayana Knits blog

Handspun yarn by Andrea of Winterport, ME, Dayana Knits blog

What I love about this is that it isn't a brand -- it's just a "hey, I spun this!" from Andrea. I don't even know Andrea's last name, though I'm hoping she'll find us, or some typical Maine thing will happen where Andrea's sister or cat will come by and leave a comment.

One is Polwarth wool, one is Merino. The Polwarth is rougher, but they are the same width:

Handspun yarn by Andrea of Winterport, ME, Dayana Knits blog
Don't you just love hand-written labels??

Handspun yarn by Andrea of Winterport, ME, Dayana Knits blog

What could I make? As with all handspun you find -- there's usually only 1 skein of 1 colorway;  there was no getting more. So I consulted the trusty Ravelry Advanced Search engine, and narrowed down 668,443 patterns to 23!

How on earth did I do that? You might be curious, so I'll show you. Note the "Colors used (typical)" search box which is my new best friend. OMG, revolutionary.

How to use the Ravelry Advanced Search Engine, Dayana Knits blog

How to use the Ravelry Advanced Search Engine, Dayana Knits blog

The Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits came up 3rd and I LOVED it.

Reason #1: It was going to be more fun than all the other options because of the short rows.

Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits, Dayana Knits blog

Second, I was curious to see whether you'd be able to see the subtle differences between the 2 handspun yarns, which had very little contrast.

Handspun yarn by Andrea of Winterport, ME, Dayana Knits blog

But it definitely worked! I can see the 2 yarns surprisingly well!

Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits, knit by Dayana Knits in Maine handspun

Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits, knit by Dayana Knits in Maine handspun

Lest you be daunted by the major short rowing here, do not be. I found this pattern to be right along the lines of other garter stitch short row shawls (wraps never showing!) -- just follow the instructions and you will be fine. It's fun to do and will keep you addicted to the very end.

Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits, knit by Dayana Knits in Maine handspun

I did change to a picot bind-off, though, because I wanted to use as much yarn as possible and craved a less geometric shape. However, when I went to block the shawl, I found that my edge was ruffling and didn't want to block flat. So I took out my trusty flexible blocking wires and made a scalloped edge that I love! It may look difficult, but with these blocking wires, it's a piece of cake:

Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits, knit by Dayana Knits in Maine handspun

Now. You might be thinking that Maine is an incredibly mild place in the winter with trees that no longer lose their leaves, heh heh, but these pictures were taken in the autumn, because I'm waaaaay behind on showing you my FOs.

It really looked like THIS last week!

Through a winter with no snow to speak of, we suddenly got 4 FEET IN ONE WEEK!! Naturally, my husband was away for this entire time, leaving me to shovel what I could.

But hell no, I was NOT going to shovel his car.  😂😅

4 feet of snow in one week in Maine, Dayana Knits blog

4 feet of snow in one week in Maine, Dayana Knits blog
35 minutes later...

For those of you curious about the license plate, it's the DNA sequence of a "restriction enzyme" which is used regularly by scientists in genetic engineering.

EcoRI restriction enzyme site, Dayana Knits blog

He wants me to get the sequence of the sister enzyme, Mun I, which cuts to make "compatible ends", hee hee.

MunI restriction enzyme site, Dayana Knits blog

I am more inclined to get this one!

Possible Maine vanity license plate, Dayana Knits blog

Speaking of kittens... Tiger Shrimp is a camera hog and is making an appearance in almost every Instagram post. Nuisance, yes. But this video of me unboxing my February KnitCrate will definitely make you smile!

February 2017 KnitCrate with Tiger Shrimp, Dayana Knits blog

February 2017 KnitCrate with Tiger Shrimp, Dayana Knits blog

FYI, that was my first regular KnitCrate, and it was absolutely worth the cost, in my opinion. It had (3) 164yd skeins of Mrs. Crosby Loves to Play: Steamer Trunk, a 100% merino worsted yarn. There was a pattern for 2 purses and a lavender bath bomb. If you want to try a KnitCrate, you can get 20% off your first one with code "DK20" here.

Below is the the rather breathtaking that was in the "Sock" Knitcrate. I'm only getting one of those because I rarely knit socks, but the Mrs. Crosby Loves to Play: Train Case is truly beautiful, and the pattern was better than in the regular KnitCrate.

Socks KnitCrate, Mrs. Crosby Loves to Play Train Case, February 2017, Dayana Knits blog

Consider it, because you'll have a lot of fun making it. And if it's in handspun, it will be squishily delicious, I guarantee it.

See my Handspun Aggregate on Ravelry

Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits, knit by Dayana Knits in Maine handspun

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February 12, 2017

2 Wow Everyone Around You With This Yarn Bowl Transformer!

Admit it, you love walking into your knitting group with a special item and watching everyone drop their jaws! Ok, well I certainly do -- and the second I saw this little number on the internet, I knew I had to have one, even though I hadn't gotten to see it in FULL TRANSFORMER ACTION yet.   ⚡️

Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits

Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits

This convertible project caddy/yarn bowl is the latest knitting accessory by Lazadas -- and if you don't have time to read through this review, it's available here.

You may recognize the name "Lazadas" from my raving review of their flexible blocking wires. Three years later, I am still in love with those things. If this is any indication of the quality of the project bag, I'm in.

Lazadas flexible blocking wires on Dayana Knits

This sweet little yarn bowl shapeshifter is made of 100% odorless silicone. This means it's waterproof -- as long as you don't spill your coffee through the 4 needle/yarn holes, lol.  It also means it's heatproof, should you forget your project bag in the oven. Kidding! (unless you have a very interesting story to tell me...)

The silicone is stamped with sweet little knit stitching along the outside:

Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits

Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits

But the inside is perfectly smooth, and will certainly never snag on anything.

Using silicone is an interesting choice, because it has enough rigidity and weight to stay smartly in place when open (the bottom is shaped so it will sit flat on any surface). Conversely, it has enough flexibility to easily mold into a purse AND accept a lot of the odd shaped objects associated with crafting.

It's not gigantic inside, but I'm impressed with everything I have in there right now: 2 skeins, a measuring tape and a seamless double front + back cardi I'm working on:

Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits

In case you're curious (especially with that ball of fur in there), the project is my Constantine by Louisa Harding:

Constantine cardigan by Louisa Harding, on Dayana Knits

Let's talk a bit about the little holes. There are 4 total, 2 on each side. The original purpose of the holes is to insert needles from the inside to the outside of the bag so that they don't snag on anything:

That could snag on things outside your purse, of course, so you decide! I prefer blunt needles because of the way I knit, so I personally don't have snagging problems when I store projects.

The other way you could use these holes is like a classic yarn bowl, threading the yarn through the holes so that ball doesn't fly away while you pull:

Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits

Note: the center hole does not actually hold my DK weight in the center while I knit, it does end up slipping into the smaller adjacent hole. Therefore, it requires a light effort to pull as you knit  (i.e. it's not like pulling yarn smoothly through a ceramic yarn bowl). I'd guess that a chunky yarn would stay in the center, but it would still run against the hole as you pulled.

If you do use these holes for yarn, don't forget that if you stick yarn through one of these holes and start knitting, you'll be "locked in" to knitting until the ball is done! There is no exit hole like some yarn bowls provide:

t & h yarn bowl by Quince and Co. on Dayana Knits
t & h yarn bowl from Quince and co.

It's more like this type 😂:

somethinglucky13 on Etsy yarn bowl on Dayana Knits
From somethinglucky13 on Etsy

I think most of the time I'll use it as designed, with the yarn coming out of the top openings:

Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits

Yes, there are other colors!

Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits

I also wanted to mention a couple of other things to be aware of about silicone. I found that knitting with a highly dyed yarn left some coloring around the holes. DON'T WORRY! Just wipe with water and it disappears immediately (so easy to clean!).

Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits

Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits

Another heads up: like all silicone products (I see this on my potholders, coasters) -- when there is a static buzz around, such as on this bone dry February day in Maine, hairs and fuzz will stick to the silicone. Static guard spray or rubbing the silicone with static-free microfiber will help with that.

I was super lucky to have been given this yarn bowl to review from Lazadas, because it's exactly the kind of easy to clean, hard-wearing bag my click clacking knitting hands need. And it's actually my first yarn bowl, I've joined the club! Even though it was a freebie -- I really truly recommend it. It's a fabulous little piece, especially for those of you who like to collect one-of-a-kind project bags.

Visit the Lazadas project caddy shop here (and don't forget about those blocking wires!)

Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits

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February 4, 2017

9 "Neighbor Cat" Is Officially Replaced! And Candice by Kim Hargreaves

HEY WAIT A SECOND -- how did Neighbor Cat get into this blog post?! You little rascal. I thought I was done with you back in Montréal:

Hmm, the blanket looks familiar, but YOU DON'T. Where's your tan? Are you sure you're Canadian? You look more like a crustacean than a lion.  Come to think of it, I think you're a Mainer.

Yep, you're definitely a kitty who grew up by the sea. I shall call you Tiger Shrimp! I will scoop your Bar Harbor poop and serve you Acadia National Park landlocked salmon bits. Are you satisfied? Can you now stop hogging by blogging? Thank you.

you little imp.

Now that I've overthrown the feline coup, let me introduce you to Candice instead! This is a fabulous little essential from the Kim Hargreaves book Honey. It's made with a Rowan rayon/cotton/linen yarn called Panama.

You can't have enough simple pocketed cardigans, in my opinion. BUT because they aren't usually challenging to make, I tend to buy them instead of knit them. I decided to dive into this one because it had enough thoughtful design elements to make it worth my while:

  1. Deep ribbing
  2. Adorable pockets
  3. A sweet little button band cable with ingeniously hidden buttonholes
  4. A TON of buttons to stash bust with
  5. A somewhat challenging Rowan yarn I'd never tried

I almost never have to fiddle with a Kim Hargreaves pattern, and this was no exception. She knows how to make a pattern that fits, that's the bottom line! I did have a complete snafu with the pockets due to a brain lapse or something. When I had already finished one front half, I realized that the hole I had made for the pockets was much closer to the ribbing than it should be... hmm. 

I must have counted wrong -- but if you've ever knit with Panama (more on that later), you would agree with me NOT to frog and just accept a vestigial pocket! Let's just say that I wouldn't consider a credit card safe in there, lol.

Here in my isolated part of Maine, I have a button problem. It's not too hard for me to find a small number of maybe-good buttons -- but it is nearly impossible for me to find A LARGE NUMBER of any buttons, good or bad! And ordering online never seems to give a satisfying result, so imagine my complete delight when I realized my stash had ELEVEN matching perfectly sized buttons. Phew!

Of course, 11 matching buttons takes 11 extra minutes to button right.  😅

And now let's talk a little about the yarn, which I have a love and hate relationship with.

I struggle knitting with many cotton/linen yarns because they are hard on my hands. WELL this one takes the cake for mega hard-to-knit-with yarns. Not only does it stick to your needles and require quite a push to move along -- but the yarn is woven together in a way that each stitch needs vigilating to make sure it sits right! If the flatness of it gets twisted, the stitch will be overly big. And even if you're careful, you are definitely going to occasionally stab a small piece of the weaving and catch it in a bad way. Basically, if you were to say my wool speed was a 10 out of 10, my Rowan Panama speed would be a 4. 🐌

But but but.... THE DRAPE! It's beautiful! It's cool to the touch! It's the best summer yarn you could ever want to wear!

So far I've worn it in San Diego, Hawaii, a Maine summer... perfect, perfect.

So, my verdict? This is the perfect essential cardi made in the perfect yarn.... if you are willing to knit with it!


And now for what's new with me. We rescued Tiger Shrimp from the SPCA of Hancock County when she was 6 months old. She was very small for her age, so she started with the name "Microcat"  -- or as my french-speaking husband would say, "Microchat". But what else is small? A shrimp. An impy shrimp! She looked just like a shrimp before you cooked it.

Someday I will put her in a steam shower and she will turn pink. 🐯🍤

Don't you dare put me in the shower.

She likes all things Rowan, which is good for a Rowan Brand Ambassador's cat, no? Her favorite yarn is Kid Classic:

And her favorite perch is a pile of Rowan Magazines, naturally:

In other news, it was my honor to be featured in the Knitters of the World segment of the Fruity Knitting podcast! This 22nd episode is definitely worth a listen, as it features some mega knitting wisdom from the great Ann Budd:

As you may have guessed by me saying I had already worn my Candice in many places -- I finished her quite awhile ago, dare I say a year ago?? I have 4 other finished sweaters to show you too, yikes. But those will have to wait. Here's my current project that Tiger Shrimp was playing with, "Ariel", a men's sweater from Rowan Mag 60...

One more thing, I'll have a VERY interesting product review for you next week from the maker of my favorite blocking wires, Lazadas. Here's a sneak peek!

AND if you've been teetering on the edge of splurging for a mystery yarn box/pattern subscription, I'm getting a Knitcrate in February to see what the hoopla is about. They gave me a coupon to share with you too, take 20% with the code "DK20". See you next week!

See my Candice on Ravelry

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