Mari Knits http://mariknits.com Sat, 07 Oct 2017 00:33:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Solitude Swatch Along: Targhee http://mariknits.com/2017/10/solitude-swatch-along-targhee.html http://mariknits.com/2017/10/solitude-swatch-along-targhee.html#respond Fri, 06 Oct 2017 14:00:52 +0000 http://mariknits.com/?p=2014 Solitude Swatch Along, Mari Chiba I’m so excited to have joined the Solitude Swatch-Along, a month-long adventure of knitting swatches to learn more about various sheep breeds. Although I took a spinning class and technically know how to spin, I don’t own a wheel and haven’t used a drop spindle in years. I think spinners know a lot more about the various breeds and how their fibers behave, but alas, my knowledge base is rather shallow.  I’ve known Gretchen at Solitude Wool for a while … Read More]]> Solitude Swatch Along, Mari Chiba

I’m so excited to have joined the

I’ve known Gretchen at Solitude Wool for a while now, and I have the great pleasure of working with her through my day job at Stitchcraft Marketing. When she first told me about the Swatch Along I was excited, I knew knitters were thirsty for an opportunity to learn more about sheep breeds first hand, while also supporting local farms. Gretchen said it best, so here are her words:

“Sheep generations are very short. We can easily lose the diversity of breeds in sheep (and other domesticated animals as well). The same pressures of big agriculture and industry to standardize and continually create ever cheaper goods creates waves of specialization in favor of a few breeds. This is true in food, and it is true with wool.”

 The Swatch Along came with 4 mini skeins from different breeds and also 4 different types of wool, all individually wrapped and labeled. (See this Instagram post for the super cute packaging.) 

Each week on Sunday you get an email that’s full of information about the breed, the farm where the fiber was sourced, how the yarn was spun, and ideas for how to knit your swatch. There’s also a coordinating Ravelry thread that’s moderated by the fiber expert Deb Robson. It’s a whole lot of information, and honestly, I’m a bit overwhelmed by the quantity info, but I’m learning so much!

So here’s my first swatch. I took the photos before blocking, because I knew it wouldn’t dry before I lost the light. Hopefully I’ll have a blocked photo at the end of the month. My observations on this yarn:

  1. I really enjoyed knitting with the Targhee 2. It’s got a great spring and memory that makes it really easy to knit with.
  2. The yarn isn’t itchy, it’s not soft like I think most people who knit commercial yarns would think, but I think this would be great for hats, since it has so much elasticity. And I think it would be comfortable to wear on your ears.
  3. I used US 7s and got the gauge at 5 stitches to the inch in stockinette, but I think this yarn might wear a little better at a slightly tighter gauge. I think for a hat I’d stick with the US 7s and the looser gauge on the top of the hat, and use a smaller needle for the brim (which will be the part that gets the most wear).

The stitches I used, from bottom to top: Trinity stitch, stockinette, a small honeycomb, 1×1 rib, and double moss stitch. All of these except the double moss stitch were included in the swatching directions from the Swatch-Along email.

Although sign-ups have closed for this round, I encourage you to visit the Solitude Wool website and sign up for their newsletter so you can be informed of the next Swatch-Along.

Disclaimer: I received the Solitude Swatch Along Kit for free, but there were no strings attached. (bad pun, I know!) All opinion are my own, and I have not been compensated for my review.

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Manos Collection Fall 2017: Jessup http://mariknits.com/2017/09/manos-collection-fall-2017-jessup.html http://mariknits.com/2017/09/manos-collection-fall-2017-jessup.html#respond Fri, 22 Sep 2017 14:34:15 +0000 http://mariknits.com/?p=2008 Manos Collection Fall 2017: Jessup It’s been ages since I’ve blogged, over a year! But I’ve been thinking about this blog a lot lately, so here’s hoping that I get back into posting. First off, I’m so excited to share the new collection for Fairmount Fibers, Manos del Uruguay! A collection of 5 patterns (well 6 if you count the cowl and hat separately). I was going through a bit of a cable phase. You can see all the patterns on Ravelry, but today I … Read More]]> Manos Collection Fall 2017: Jessup

It’s been ages since I’ve blogged, over a year! But I’ve been thinking about this blog a lot lately, so here’s hoping that I get back into posting. First off, I’m so excited to share the new collection for Fairmount Fibers, Manos del Uruguay! A collection of 5 patterns (well 6 if you count the cowl and hat separately). I was going through a bit of a cable phase. You can see all the patterns on Ravelry, but today I want to focus on one of my favorites, Jessup.

Knit in Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend, I love how the shaping is incorporated into the stitch pattern. I’d originally imagined this shawl in Maxima, and if you take out a few pattern repeats it would still work great at the larger gauge. You’d also need larger needles, and probably a little swatching to figure out the yarn quantity.

It’s a large semi-circular wrap shape, that’s generous in length so you can wrap it around and stay nice and cozy. The stitch definition in this yarn is amazing, and I love the subtle color shifts in the kettle dyed colors. I did alternate skeins because so there wouldn’t be a line between the end of one skein and the start of another. 

Thanks so much to Fairmount Fibers for the great opportunity, and I’m hoping I’m back again really soon to tell you a bit more about the other designs in the collection!

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Anteros Shawl http://mariknits.com/2016/05/anteros-shawl.html http://mariknits.com/2016/05/anteros-shawl.html#comments Mon, 23 May 2016 13:00:34 +0000 http://mariknits.com/?p=1991 Anteros Shawl I first designed the Anteros Shawl when I was getting ready to teach a class about writing shawl patterns several years ago. This was my example of how to insert a stitch pattern into a basic triangular shawl shape. I had so many requests for the pattern that I eventually wrote it up. I just finished knitting my third one. I knit the first one in Swans Island Merino Fingering, I knit a second out of Blue Moon Fiber Arts … Read More]]> Anteros Shawl

I first designed the Anteros Shawl when I was getting ready to teach a class about writing shawl patterns several years ago. This was my example of how to insert a stitch pattern into a basic triangular shawl shape. I had so many requests for the pattern that I eventually wrote it up. I just finished knitting my third one. I knit the first one in Swans Island Merino Fingering, I knit a second out of Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL Sport, and my third one is in Mountain Meadow Wool Sheridan, a bulky weight yarn.

This was an impulse knit. I got the yarn at H+H after we had Mountain Meadow Wool in the booth. Somehow these four skeins of their natural colors (white, light grey, medium grey, and dark grey) didn’t sell. I didn’t know what I wanted to knit with them, but I was intrigued by the bounce and softness of this yarn. I was also in love with their story. They are a small mill in Wyoming, using domestic fiber from small farms and milling the yarn in an eco-friendly manner and producing an all natural yarn that isn’t itchy.

 

I honestly didn’t expect to like the yarn as much as I do! It’s so round and squishy. And it’s not itchy. I mean it, I have really sensitive skin, and even with a long sleeve shirt underneath I can’t wear a lot of more rustic wool yarns. This is not one of those. I can wear it on my neck! It’s so warm and lovely!

Now more about my pattern, Anteros. You can start and stop the lace panels at any point. It just requires an odd number of stitches, so you can start and stop the stockinette and lace pattern wherever you’d like. Since I had a gradient set of 4 skeins, (one in each of the natural colors), I decided to start with the lightest and go to the darkest. I tried to start with a pattern, but quickly realized I wasn’t going to have enough yarn to make the stripes balanced, so I went for it not really worrying about keeping a specific pattern. I love the result!

After blocking this shawl is quite large, and it’s so super cozy. Thanks to my sister for modeling while she was visiting for a few weeks last month. She clearly took the job quite seriously.

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Tesserino Cowl: Free Pattern! http://mariknits.com/2016/05/tesserino-cowl-free-pattern.html http://mariknits.com/2016/05/tesserino-cowl-free-pattern.html#comments Thu, 19 May 2016 14:14:51 +0000 http://mariknits.com/?p=1982 Tesserino Cowl: Free Pattern! I’m excited to see another pattern come out to the world! I’ve worked with Louet and Staci Perry before, designing patterns that Staci can use to teach a technique, and to promote the lovely Gems yarns by Louet. This time I wanted to give a little love to a technique that I love, but seems to be ignored a fair bit–mosiac knitting! It looks complicated like stranded fair-isle knitting, but in fact you just knit one color at a time, slipping … Read More]]> Tesserino Cowl: Free Pattern!

I’m excited to see another pattern come out to the world! I’ve worked with Louet and Staci Perry before, designing patterns that Staci can use to teach a technique, and to promote the lovely Gems yarns by Louet. This time I wanted to give a little love to a technique that I love, but seems to be ignored a fair bit–mosiac knitting!

It looks complicated like stranded fair-isle knitting, but in fact you just knit one color at a time, slipping stitches to create the beautiful pattern.

A couple fun facts about this pattern:

1. The model is my sister, Emi. I coerced her into babysitting and modeling for me while she was visiting last month.

2. The pattern name comes from my amazing boss Leanne, who loves all things Italian. Tesserino means little mosaic in Italian.

I used one skein of each color of Louet Gems Worsted weight, but the pattern also includes a longer double-loop size that uses two skeins of each color. You can sign up for the Louet newsletter list and get the pattern for free here, and watch Staci’s super thorough tutorial of mosaic knitting here. I’d love to see your Tesserino Cowls!

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MCMKAL Week 1 Tips & Tricks http://mariknits.com/2016/04/mcmkal-week-1-tips-tricks.html http://mariknits.com/2016/04/mcmkal-week-1-tips-tricks.html#comments Fri, 08 Apr 2016 11:00:47 +0000 http://mariknits.com/?p=1966 MCMKAL Week 1 Tips & Tricks Today I released the first clue for the 2016 Perspectives Mystery Knit-Along. So I worked up some tips for helping you knit this first clue. I’ve started a mini-cowl to show techniques on, because the yarn I wound to make another MKAL cowl somehow got turned into a new design! If you haven’t purchased the pattern yet it’s not too late! You can purchase the pattern here on Ravelry. The cowl starts with 6 rounds of garter. If you don’t like … Read More]]> MCMKAL Week 1 Tips & Tricks

Today I released the first clue for the 2016 Perspectives Mystery Knit-Along. So I worked up some tips for helping you knit this first clue. I’ve started a mini-cowl to show techniques on, because the yarn I wound to make another MKAL cowl somehow got turned into a new design!

If you haven’t purchased the pattern yet it’s not too late! You can purchase the pattern here on Ravelry.

The cowl starts with 6 rounds of garter. If you don’t like knitting garter stitch in the round, you can knit it flat and then join to knit in the round. Just knit 6 rows, and you’ll end with a right side row, then you’ll be ready to start knitting in the round. Note: My photo only shows 4 rounds of garter.

 

Once you’ve joined in the round you’ll notice you have a small split. You can sew this up later.

The pattern also has a double yarn over at the beginning/end of a round. Here’s my work-around for that. At the beginning of the round go ahead and make both your yarn overs. Continue knitting the pattern to the end of the round.

 

When you get to the end of the round this is what you’ll have – the stitch marker, and two yarn overs, but your marker needs to be between those two yarn over stitches. 

 

So, remove your stitch marker, and purl the first stitch.

Now put your marker back where it belongs, and continue in pattern to the end of the round.

 

Now you can keep knitting in pattern. Easy, right? I hope you’ll share photos of your Clue 1 in the Mountain Colors Ravelry group!

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Cologne Chocolate Museum http://mariknits.com/2016/03/cologne-chocolate-museum.html http://mariknits.com/2016/03/cologne-chocolate-museum.html#comments Wed, 23 Mar 2016 13:00:07 +0000 http://mariknits.com/?p=1952 Cologne Chocolate Museum I went to Cologne for the first time in 2012, the first time I attended H+H Cologne. As I was leaving I heard about the Chocolate Museum, and I was sad that I didn’t have time to go, so this year, I really wanted to go. I’ll post later about H+H, but clearly the priority here is CHOCOLATE! So, here are some photos. An amazing chocolate version of the Dom. It was huge, and very intricate. Some conclusions I came … Read More]]> Cologne Chocolate Museum

I went to Cologne for the first time in 2012, the first time I attended H+H Cologne. As I was leaving I heard about the Chocolate Museum, and I was sad that I didn’t have time to go, so this year, I really wanted to go. I’ll post later about H+H, but clearly the priority here is CHOCOLATE! So, here are some photos.

An amazing chocolate version of the Dom. It was huge, and very intricate. Some conclusions I came to about this: 1. It probably took a really long time to build. 2. It’s probably been there for a while, and although it looks delicious the chocolate is probably stale. 3. Despite the rope around it there’s a good chance it’s been sneezed on.

When you buy your tickets they give you a few little chocolates. Later on in the museum you see the machine that makes the chocolates! It’s super nifty. Chocolate casualties.  The lady putting the chocolates into bags. Reminded me of that episode of I Love Lucy. And, of course, these are available in the gift shop! There were a lot of big chocolates.  This crazy spinning machine that chocolate molds go in, to get rid of the air bubbles.

A view of the giant molds they had on display. A CHOCOLATE FAUCET. Where’s mine?!?!?!
They also had some really cool displays of old chocolate merchandising, props, and even a room that played old chocolate ads in German! Some of the display items are a little racist…

“Hey, let me take a photo of you guys” Tyler disappears, Leanne gives me a face, Stef smiles, and Brian closes his eyes and hides the baby…

If you’re in Cologne, I wholeheartedly recommend a visit to the chocolate museum!

 

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Getting Ready for the MKAL http://mariknits.com/2016/03/getting-ready-for-the-mkal.html http://mariknits.com/2016/03/getting-ready-for-the-mkal.html#comments Tue, 15 Mar 2016 11:00:50 +0000 http://mariknits.com/?p=1944 Mari Chiba Mountain Colors 2016 Perspectives MKAL Thanks to all of you who have already purchased the 2016 MKAL pattern, and who have sent me such nice comments! I’m really excited for this MKAL! After much staring at my stash of Perspectives Kits, I chose the Lichen/Gray. Here’s one of the grays, on my new(ish) Strauch swift. Each Perspectives Kit comes with 5 mini skeins. The MKAL pattern is a cowl that has 5 clues, with one for each color section. The first clue goes out on April … Read More]]> Mari Chiba Mountain Colors 2016 Perspectives MKAL

Thanks to all of you who have already purchased the 2016 MKAL pattern, and who have sent me such nice comments! I’m really excited for this MKAL! After much staring at my stash of Perspectives Kits, I chose the Lichen/Gray. Here’s one of the grays, on my new(ish) Strauch swift.

Each Perspectives Kit comes with 5 mini skeins. The MKAL pattern is a cowl that has 5 clues, with one for each color section.

The first clue goes out on April 8th. I can’t tell you too much, because I wouldn’t want to spoil the mystery! BUT, if you buy the pattern by April 1st, you’ll be entered to win a Perspectives River Wash Sport kit!
So what are you waiting for? Go get the pattern, join the Ravelry group, and most importantly–choose your color! Here’s mine, all wound up and ready to go!

 

 

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2016 Perspectives MKAL http://mariknits.com/2016/03/2016-perspectives-mkal.html http://mariknits.com/2016/03/2016-perspectives-mkal.html#comments Fri, 04 Mar 2016 17:36:24 +0000 http://mariknits.com/?p=1936 Mari Chiba Mountain Colors 2016 Perspectives MKAL I’m excited to announce I’m hosting another Mystery Knit-Along with Mountain Colors! I got a lot of great feedback about my other Perspectives patterns, and requests for a pattern featuring the River Wash Sport Perspectives Kit. And here it is! What’s an MKAL? You get a clue each week with a part of the pattern. This one is a cowl, using the 5 mini skeins of the Perspectives kit. Can I use a different yarn? Sure, but this pattern is … Read More]]> Mari Chiba Mountain Colors 2016 Perspectives MKAL

I’m excited to announce I’m hosting another Mystery Knit-Along with Mountain Colors! I got a lot of great feedback about my other Perspectives patterns, and requests for a pattern featuring the River Wash Sport Perspectives Kit. And here it is!

What’s an MKAL?
You get a clue each week with a part of the pattern. This one is a cowl, using the 5 mini skeins of the Perspectives kit.

Can I use a different yarn?
Sure, but this pattern is fun in lots of different colors, and the Perspectives kit has the perfect amount of yarn for this project. You could use sport weight leftovers though, if you choose.

What if I want do use a different weight?
Go for it! Your cowl will come out a little smaller or larger. Don’t forget to adjust needle size accordingly.

But, Mari, I don’t like surprises.
Well dear, life is full of surprises. Embrace it, be spontaneous, try something new. If the finished cowl isn’t something you’d normally wear, try wearing it a few times anyways. After all, the yarn is not a surprise, so you know you’ll like the color, and you know whether or not you wear cowls. You could also give it to someone else. I’ve knit plenty of things knowing I’ll never wear them, but because I know I’ll enjoy knitting them.

OK, but why would I want to do an MKAL?
Do you like knitting? Do you like prizes? If you answered no to those two questions, I’m honestly not sure why you’re still reading. Also, you’ll get to try something new, be a little spontaneous, and maybe even learn something?

 

Still reading? Want to participate? Here’s how:

Step 1: Buy the pattern here.

Step 2: Join the Ravelry group here.

Step 3: Get yarn.

Step 4: Find friends to participate with you, because knitting with friends is always better than knitting alone!

Bonus: If you buy the pattern before April 1st you’ll be entered to win a River Wash Sport Perspectives Kit!

 

Have more questions about the MKAL? Leave a comment!

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FO Friday: Top Down Hat http://mariknits.com/2016/02/fo-friday-top-down-hat.html http://mariknits.com/2016/02/fo-friday-top-down-hat.html#comments Fri, 05 Feb 2016 13:00:22 +0000 http://mariknits.com/?p=1931 FO Friday: Top Down Hat I’m a big fan of top down hats. You don’t need to measure or make a gauge swatch before you cast on. Here’s the hat I knit for Brian. My basic recipe: CO 8 sts. Increase Round: Increase 8 stitches. Work 1 round plain. Alternate these two rounds until you reach your desired circumference. Work in your pattern until your hat is long enough. Then work some ribbing, or don’t. Or work some other edging. Bind off all the stitches. … Read More]]> FO Friday: Top Down Hat

I’m a big fan of top down hats. You don’t need to measure or make a gauge swatch before you cast on. Here’s the hat I knit for Brian. My basic recipe:

CO 8 sts.
Increase Round: Increase 8 stitches.
Work 1 round plain.
Alternate these two rounds until you reach your desired circumference.
Work in your pattern until your hat is long enough.
Then work some ribbing, or don’t. Or work some other edging.
Bind off all the stitches.

Brian had been wearing a hat I knit him ages ago that was starting to pill and look very sad. So I dove into my stash and pulled out a beautiful skein of Astral Bath Tesseract in Lethe. I used US 2 needles on the body of the hat, and a US 1 needle on the ribbing. And you know what? I actually finished it a few days before Christmas!

 

The yarn is an incredibly soft combination of merino, silk, and cashmere. It’s really lightweight but still warm, and Brian has been wearing it a ton, so I know he likes it!

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WIP Wednesday http://mariknits.com/2016/02/wip-wednesday-7.html http://mariknits.com/2016/02/wip-wednesday-7.html#respond Wed, 03 Feb 2016 12:00:12 +0000 http://mariknits.com/?p=1908 WIP Wednesday #1 Audrey Cardigan by Isabell Kraemer in Swans Island Natural Colors Worsted.   #2 Lamb’s Ear Cardigan Kit from Appalachian Baby, using Appalachian Baby Organic Cotton yarn.   #3 Top down baby hat (improvised pattern) in Feel Good Yarn Company SilverSpun Sock]]> WIP Wednesday

#1

 

#2 Lamb’s Ear Cardigan Kit from Appalachian Baby, using Appalachian Baby Organic Cotton yarn.

 

#3 Top down baby hat (improvised pattern) in Feel Good Yarn Company SilverSpun Sock

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