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.

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?

TNNA Report Roundup

Although I didn’t attend The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) trade show in Columbus, OH, I’ve really enjoyed reading trip reports from the talented professionals who were there. Here are a few blogs where you can learn more about the event:

P.S. I’m so jealous about all the people who got to have Jeni’s Ice Cream. I’ve never tried it, but they have a bunch of locations now.

P.P.S. It looks like the 2016 TNNA summer show will be in Washington, D.C.

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.

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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.)

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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.

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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?

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!

Ready or not…

…it’s almost time to enter my knitting and crochet projects into this year’s fair contest. It looks like I’ll have 16 entries this year – down from last year’s 20, but still not too bad. 🙂 Here’s a peek at a few of my projects:

Victorian Romantic Pineapples 5

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Circular Motif Shawl by Babycakes Creates

Nennir Scarf

Donna Spiral Doily

And now that I’ve cut myself off from making contest projects before this year’s deadline, I’m spending time on some fun projects with no pressure. I’m finally using my Blue Heron Rayon Metallic to make a shawl, and it… is… amazing. It just knits up beautifully. More on that project later!