Yarns

In My Stash: Knit Picks Palette (Opal Heather and Mist)

If you’ve been following me over on Instagram (feed in sidebar), you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been stuck on a stranded project for, well, ever.

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On the bright side, I’ve got a great yarn to use for this project: Knit Picks Palette in Opal Heather. I had my eye on this colorway for a long time before I found the perfect project for it.

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I just love the flecks of pink and yellow in it. It’s very, very different from the same colorway in Shadow Lace. I made a scarf with Opal Heather in Shadow Lace, and was somewhat disappointed by how gray this colorway looks in that yarn. The Palette version, however, is a gorgeous choice.

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As a contrast, I’ve also got Mist in Palette, a great neutral option for colorwork. Credit for this color combination idea goes to a fellow Ravelry user who used it for her project – I was searching for ideas for a pairing and was so excited to see that someone else had already chosen Opal Heather.

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I’m struggling with my tension on this project, and just can’t seem to get the floats quite right. I think it’s one of those things that just takes practice and patience? Let me know your stranded project secrets.

Yarns

Detangling Yarn

Happy Saturday! I had grand plans to work on some projects around the house this weekend,  but found myself sick again. It seems that every time I’ve come in contact with a sick person in this final trimester, I’ve caught the bug. I’m grateful I haven’t experienced anything too serious, but also glad there are only a few weeks left until the little one is here.

When I’m under the weather, simple projects are best. One such project is this huge mess of lace-weight bamboo that I’ve been trying to detangle. After an unfortunate attempt to wind it, I thought this was a lost cause. But slowly, as I’ve had time, I’ve been working it into a usable form. It’s definitely more effort than this yarn is worth, but I’ve actually found it to be a little relaxing to turn something unworkable into something I might actually be able to use.

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Apparently this is something that others find enjoyable too, because I’ve read a couple of articles (Wall Street Journal and Indie Untangled) within the last couple of months about yarn detanglers. When you have a hopeless mess of tangled yarn, how do you handle it? Toss it, try to fix it yourself, or call in someone who loves to detangle?

Yarns

In My Stash: Knit Picks Curio (Silver and Ash)

Can you tell that I love thread projects? They’re 1) extremely portable, 2) easy to store 3) delicate-looking and visually impressive. Naturally, this love of thread projects means I go through a lot of thread – most recently, KnitPicks Curio.

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It’s a two-ply, #10 cotton thread – a great gauge for doilies, centerpieces, and bedspreads. It’s soft when you’re working with it, but it definitely holds its shape well when starched and blocked.

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I recently used up most of my stash of Silver (the lighter shade) and Ash (the darker shade) Curio on a table runner project. Pictures to come. I’m a big fan of gray – especially when used in multiple shades on the same piece.

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The thread has a wonderful lustrous quality adds to the effect of a heavily textured piece. It just feels nice to work with, which is a pretty big deal when you’re spending months working on a single detailed thread crochet piece.

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My only complaint is that there aren’t more colors to available – I’ve used most of them by now. Some nice turquoise/teal/aqua shades wouldn’t go unappreciated. 🙂

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What’s your favorite brand of crochet thread? I’m always looking for new types to try.

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Yarns

In My Stash: Knit Picks Curio (Tea Rose and Ice Lily)

I’m not much of a Black Friday shopper – in fact, I had most of my Christmas gift shopping done well in advance of it. I’ve been making a more concerted effort to buy gifts throughout the year while I’m shopping (“Hey, I bet _____ would like that!) instead of just making a mental note and immediately forgetting. Still need to work on that, though.

The only sale I was really excited about was this one that’s still happening at Knit Picks. It’s an awesome time to stock up on my favorites. With my preference for thread crochet, it’s a no-brainer to grab some more Curio thread. It’s hard to beat $2 per 721-yard ball!

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These photos were taken a while ago (green trees, I miss you), and I’ve used up a lot of this thread already. I have a few more colors on the way and can’t wait to see them. Knit Picks hasn’t released any new colors since introducing Curio, and while I love the ones they have, I’d be happy to see more.

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I love the Tea Rose color way – it’s easily the prettiest shade of pink thread I’ve been able to find. It appears a lot darker in person than it does on my screen – it’s actually pretty close to the next darkest color (Victorian), which I’ve also used.

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The light purple shade, Ice Lily, was also a lot darker than I expected. Here’s a comparison of Ice Lily and Tea Rose.

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I’ve used Comfrey (a darker purple color – not pictured), and Ice Lily is closer to the shade that I expected from Comfrey.

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I just finished up all of my Ice Lily…

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…you can see a peek at the centerpiece project I used it for here:

Mother's Day Centerpiece

I also used a bit of Tea Rose for, appropriately enough, the accent roses. The leaves are the Sagebrush color way (also shown in the first photo in this post), and the off-white sections are leftover Aunt Lydia’s in Natural.

Yarns

In My Stash: Feza Jewel

I hope autumn is going well for you so far – mine is flying by! I haven’t had as much craft time as usual, since I’ve been focused on a busy work schedule and on my other hobbies. I’m happy to get back into the habit!

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, 😉 but I love sparkly yarn. A lot. So when I saw this rich, deep shade of purple yarn, it was an easy pick.

Feza Jewel Yarn

I actually got this Feza Jewel yarn in St. Louis – it’s not available at my LYS. (Although I have seen some Viva Glitz locally and it caught my attention as well.)

Feza Jewel Yarn

The yarn is fairly soft – which is always a concern with yarn that contains metallic strands. I have fairly sensitive skin, but the cowl I made from this yarn (pics to come) doesn’t bother me.

Feza Jewel Yarn

Fun Stuff, Yarns

New Orleans

The husband and I celebrated a milestone anniversary this year with a cruise out of the Port of New Orleans. Neither of us had been to NOLA before, so we specifically chose this cruise so we could spend a couple of days there prior to setting sail. We stayed quite close to the French Quarter and focused most of our time in that area since our stay was short.

Naturally, the trip included a crafty shopping component. In the spirit of keeping things relevant around here, I’ll cut to the chase and deliver the yarn store goods first. Then, if you’re interested, stick around for some other trip highlights. 🙂

Yarn

The Quarter Stitch on Chartres St. is lovely, with a selection that’s broad without being overwhelming. There was definitely a “community” vibe when I was in the store – the staff was very friendly, stepping in to offer customers advice on patterns and chatting about the merits of different fibers with customers. Overall, a very pleasant experience.

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I picked up a skein as a souvenir of the trip. I just love it when yarn stores pack your purchases in fancy wrapping. Here’s mine, on the ledge of our hotel window.

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I’m a big believer in the importance of providing a unique and memorable customer experience. There’s a lot of competition in the market, and seemingly small gestures can turn a relatively ordinary experience (making a purchase) into something special. Ribbons? Tissue paper? Heart-shaped confetti and an adorable tag? My yarn purchase is still stored in this wrapping, in fact, and you can bet I’ll remember the store when I’m ready to use it.

And here’s my yarn – a skein of my beloved Blue Heron Rayon Metallic.

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I picked the Mossy Place colorway because of its fun and festive shades – a reminder of the vibrant character of the city. I also had my eye on the Tapestry colorway, but ultimately couldn’t resist this one.

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Gorgeous as always – I just love this yarn and save it for really special projects. (I just finished my Gail shawl in Turquoise – it’s blocked and drying as I type!)

Visiting

Although our stay was short, we discovered that there really is something for everyone who visits. And, apparently, anyone who is in the market for real estate. Whatever your stance on the supernatural, there’s a property for you. (Budget allowing, of course. 😉 )

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Food & Drink

One of the first orders of business was to check out the infamous Bourbon Street. The Pat O’Brien’s location on Bourbon Street has a beautiful courtyard – a welcome oasis after traveling. Hurricanes and mint juleps all around. Speaking of unique customer experiences – they wash out your glass for you, box it up and let you take it home as a souvenir. Again, small gestures make a difference.

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We ate dinner at Mother’s one evening, which is something of a New Orleans institution. It’s not cheap, but they do make a great po’ boy.

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Rounding out our tourist-heavy food & drink itinerary is the obligatory Café du Monde pilgrimage. We stood in an impressively long line at the “to go” window, to avoid an even more daunting line for those wanting to eat “inside” the airy structure. There were some areas to sit behind the French Market, and so we grabbed our beignets and coffee and sat in the relative peace and quiet to enjoy. Yes, it’s touristy. Yes, it’s a long wait. But we weren’t about to visit NOLA for the first time without doing it.

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Sights

We also made our visit a cultural one, stopping at two Louisiana State Museum sites in Jackson Square: The Cabildo (pictured below – and note the jazz musicians playing on the nearby balcony) and The Presbytère. The latter is home to a compelling Katrina exhibit with multimedia displays and artifacts, plus a Mardi Gras exhibit that includes many costumes, parade float components and other treasures.

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Jackson Square is so pretty, and look! Thanks to a combination of luck and a sudden, short burst of rain that cleared the area, I got the iconic Jackson Square photo without a ton of (other) tourists in it. I know everyone takes a photo from this spot, but it’s still by far my favorite one from the trip. 🙂

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We peeked inside Saint Louis Cathedral while we were there, too.

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One of our last stops was Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1. It was quite a hike to get here from our hotel. I’d done a bit of reading about the cemetery before our trip, so we saw most of the highlights (including Nicholas Cage’s pyramid tomb…). If we’d had a bit more time, I think we might have benefitted from a guided tour.

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So there you have it – our short and sweet trip. Have you been to New Orleans, and if so, what were the highlights of your trip?

Yarns

About the Chroma Lollipop Yarn

Knit Picks Chroma Lollipop

My post about Knit Picks Chroma Lollipop yarn (which I later turned into a Haruni shawl) has been one of my most popular – presumably due to the fact that Lollipop Chroma yarn is no longer available, and others are looking for it.

I’ve seen enough comments about it to pique my curiosity, so I dropped their customer service department a note. In their prompt and polite reply, I got bad news and good news.

Bad news first: Lollipop Chroma was discontinued (unexpectedly) because their yarn mill was “unable to continue reproducing the color.” 😦 Good news: They’re planning to offer “a new color that will be similar” – hopefully in the next catalog. 🙂

So there you have it. I’m wishing that I had stocked up when I had the chance, but here’s hoping the new color they have planned will be just as beautiful!

Yarns

Yarn Sale Jackpot

I stopped at Michaels after a long day yesterday to buy something other than yarn (I swear), but somehow wandered over to the yarn department anyway. And then I saw this clearance on Patons Glam Stripes for $1.79 (retail is $5.99). How often do you find yarn prices that begin with $1.-?

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Naturally, I cleaned them out of my favorite shade. The above pic is the rack after – sorry other teal lovers. You snooze, you lose. I liked the purple in the rack below too, but it wasn’t as heavily discounted.

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And here’s my loot. If this were a video, you’d be hearing gleeful giggling. Got to love a bargain. I think I’ll make a light cardigan out of this fun color, but that’s to be determined!

Yarns

In My Stash: Blue Heron Rayon Metallic

I’m finally getting my wish – warmer weather is ahead! Despite a brief setback (where did that snow come from, seriously?) we’re on our way out of the winter that would not end!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, and I haven’t had as much time to focus on knitting/crochet projects as I would like. I do have a pretty exciting addition to my stash – courtesy of a Christmas gift card.

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I had been admiring the gorgeous Blue Heron Rayon Metallic yarn online, and then it caught my eye just as I was getting ready to leave one of my local yarn shops. Actually, the display shawl made from the yarn caught my eye.

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I haven’t been able to figure out the name of this colorway – none of the colors on the website really match the skein I have. Perhaps it’s a discontinued color – can anybody help me out? Edit: It’s just called “Turquoise.”

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Gift card or no, it was a little tough for me to drop that much on one skein. I’m still not used to luxury yarns, and I don’t think I’m quite ready to give up on my chain-store acrylics yet. 😉 The skeins of this have generous yardage, though, so I’ll be able to make a very nice project.

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The pressure is on to pick a great pattern for yarn this nice. I’m thinking perhaps the Gail (Nightsongs) shawl, but I’m open to suggestions!

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Fun Stuff, Yarns

And Then I Gave My Yarn a Glamorous Photo Shoot

I don’t enter blog contests very often, but when I saw the “Yarn Glam” contest post on the Knit Picks blog, I knew I had to give it a try. If nothing else, it let me set up some fun vignettes that I could post here, and get practice for future photos.

Art directing and photography are hard work. There’s a reason that photographers, stylists, and art directors can spend all day working on a photo shoot and only walk away with a couple of usable shots. I didn’t have that kind of time/patience/skill to devote to this little project, but it was a good reminder of what a tough (though enjoyable) job it can be.

The entry timeline was pretty short, but luckily I had some of my box of yarn stash left. I used my iPhone to capture these photos, and uploaded them to Instagram. There was a limit of three entries, and here are mine:

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Knit Picks Yarn Collection

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I had a few outtakes that I didn’t submit, too, including this close contender for my top three favorites that just didn’t quite make the cut:

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It was especially fun to set up the “yarn buffet” vignette. The main yarn used was Knit Picks Gloss fingering-weight in Tranquil (as of this writing, this colorway is not available on their website). Also pictured are Imagination Hand-painted Sock Yarn in Enchanted Lake (discontinued) and Chroma fingering-weight in Midwinter. Click here to see the contest winners.