12.30.2013

Baba's Hat: A Story!

Earlier this fall, my mother-in-law asked me for a hat.  You should know that my MIL is an AMAZING old-school knitter, who used to whip up knitted creations constantly.  She isn't knitting as much anymore, and of course I will drop anything to knit for her....
When I asked her to describe the hat of her dreams at Thanksgiving she said, "Just like Bella's!".  But Bella's hats over the years look like this:
So, I asked, "With skulls?" (pretty sure the answer is no) 
She said, "No, I'd like a grey hat that fit's like hers, and lined to the top."
So, I was like, "Sooooooo, you want two grey hats?"
Well I procrastinated and pondered what I knew was going to be the world's most boring hat... and then I went stash diving!  Do you know what I found?  The most lovely skein of Swan's Island Worsted, in a lovely deep dark grey.  Knitting with this yarn is like knitting butter, so at least even if I was bored to tears, my hands would be happy.

Next up, I needed yarn for the lining, so I went to my LYS, and found the perfect grey hand-dyed skein of Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Worsted, a cashmere, wool, nylon blend... need I say more?  I was going to make THE.BEST.LINING.EVER!

Then I came home, and swatched, got 4.5 sts/in, provisionally cast on 100 sts, and knit for like an inch and a half, and almost abandoned ship, but then I decided that maybe, just maybe, I could get away with 4 rows of garter stitch in the lining yarn?  She can't object too strongly, it's still grey, right?  So, I did that and all of a sudden the knitting started to fly.  At 6 inches tall I started decreasing, and the first hat was born.

Then it was time to go back, unzip the provisional cast on, and start the lining!  I used a needle two sizes smaller than the original one, and knit until it was 5.5 inches long (and yes, all other work knitting was ignored during this time, knitting with cashmere in st st in the round is SO FUN!). and did the top decreasing again.  Right before starting the top decreases I took a moment to weave in  all the ends, so when the lining was done, so was the hat.  More details on Ravelry...
The result?... I want to keep it, but I gave it to her yesterday and she loved it, so I guess I'll just have to make another for me one of these days!
p.s. I have no idea how that snow is falling the first pic... google worked some of it's mojo with one of the photos I uploaded, pretty magical, huh?

12.26.2013

The M Club: First Shipment for Magpie Mystery KAL!

I hope that all of you who celebrate had a lovely holiday yesterday!  I've been waiting to share what was in the first M Club package for Magpie Mystery KAL until after X-Mas as I know many put it under their tree as a holiday present!
It was my first time building a kit for a club... and I had a blast!  Finding the perfect balance of yarn/beads/goodies, and keeping it under 12 oz for shipping and within my budget was a great challenge!

The Yarn: It's great to have friends who make yarn!  I fell deeply in LOVE with Jill Draper's Hudson, a US sourced spun and dyed Merino superwash a few years ago, and started to beg and plead her to make a light fingering weight version of it.  Well, this fall, Jill obliged and released Esopus, which is AWESOME!  The moment I knew the yarn was going to be available I ordered enough from Jill for the club's first shipment.  I love being able to bring the club and brand-new yarn we all can feel good about!
Magpie, the first MKAL, in this series, plays with 2 colors of Esopus, 500 yards of a solid and 250 of a variegated.  Jill worked her magic and based on my "ideas" came up with the perfect combo I wouldn't have thought of myself. I adore rich deep chocolatey browns and royal reds!
The Beads: I chose some lovely Toho and Matsuno glass seed beads that match the variegated but POP against the solid.  SO much fun choosing beads! I learned, though, that you when you are ordering 10 kilos of beads, you must do that early, as it takes 6 months for them to come from Japan!
The Mini: A big part of The M Club is the 4th KAL which is only open to members of the club.  In the first 3 shipments everyone is recieveing a "piece" of the 4th KAL.  This first piece is a mini of Yankee Puritan from The Yankee Dyer.  Michelle had given me a gorgeous skein of yarn last year and I'd been holding onto it waiting for the perfect project. Well, this is it! The biggest struggle with these is not remembering where they are kept until the 4th M Club. Luckily Kristen started a thread in our Ravelry group where people can post where they are stashed. Brilliant!  It seems that there are a lot of Tardis' involved!
The Goodie: My buddy Colleen gave me an empty tin in September for stashing tools and I decided the first gift should be a tool tin!  Perfect for stashing beads, dental floss threader, a caffeinated sweet treat, and a silvalume (one of my favorite knitting tools).  The club can expect to get more surprises for their tin in coming shipments! 

Want to see something fun?  Justine suggested setting up an online map so we could see where and when the M Club packages arrived... AH-MAZING!  There are knitter's around the world joining in!
For those of you not in the M Club:  Magpie is open to all, whether or not you are part of the M Club, all you need to do is sign up by purchasing the pattern, and then go find yarn and beads!  Jill's shop is on break until Jan 2, but she has offered free shipping when she returns to anyone who wants Esopus for their Magpie.  Just use the coupon code mysteriousmagpie.  I also saw that a shipment of Esopus just  landed at Happy Knits... they've got some great color combos!

12.19.2013

Hot Chocolate on a Stick!

'Tis the season for making in our house!!  My girl and I always crank out some yummies to have a sweet way to say "THANKYOU" as we head into the New Year... I have a feeling we aren't alone in this tradition!
The last few years we have made salted dark chocolate caramels, and though I know people would still be quite happy to receive those we were ready to make something new! While out and about a few weeks ago we saw "Hot Chocolate on a Stick" and decided to try our hands it... basically what you are looking at is a piece of EXCELLENT dark chocolate fudge, that you melt in a mug of hot milk! Or coffee?... mocha anyone?
We worked with this recipe and used bittersweet chocolate as I didn't want them to get overly sweet since we were adding a candy cane stirrer! 
Packing was surprisingly easy... sometimes this is the part of gifting that stumps me! We just used red aluminum muffin tins to put the fudge squares into, then peeled back the plastic from the bottom of the candy cane and shoved it down in there.  Then we cut the top off of plastic sandwich bags and used the bottom to bag it up, and tied it off with a piece of ribbon and homemade printed tag!

All in all this was affordable, fast, fun to make, and YUMMY, we kept all the trimmings from the edge of the block for our drinking/eating pleasure! Mmmmmmmm......

Have a happy holiday season!

12.12.2013

Holiday Sale 2013- 30% off Kits!!!!!

I've been planning this one and only sale of 2013 for a while and wanted to make sure that Cambio Kits were on hand when I held it!  Luckily, yarn arrived just in time and all 5 colors of Cambio are back in stock! WOOT!
My jewelry kits are FAST and FUN to knit, and there is still time to receive them and knit them for the holidays!  They also make WONDERFUL gifts for knitters as is... if you have a knitting relative, friend, teacher, helper, or loved one you can wrap one up for them!

So, while supplies last or until Monday December 16th at 12 noon EST, I am having a 30% off sale on everything in my Etsy shop.  Just enter the coupon code STILLTIME13

THANKYOU FOR AN AMAZING YEAR!!!!! 
With Holiday Cheer,  Laura

12.10.2013

Moonkoosa's for my girl....

 
Well, Hanukkah came early this year and it's a family tradition to light the menorah and exchange small gifts on the first night.
So when I saw Tiny Owl Knits Moonkoosa Boots this summer I KNEW that was the PERFECT present for my girl.  Luckily she loves them... so much that it took me a bit to pry them off her feet to felt them!  Next up is adding a sole, I know they won't last as long without one!
Our old lady has a habit of photobombing....
I added details to my Ravelry project page in case you need to run out and make some too.  They were so fast and fun to knit.... I'm thinking my Father In Law needs a short pair for around the house!  The look on his face Christmas eve will be priceless : )!

12.08.2013

Magpie Mystery KAL: Starts Jan 9th!

Yeah!  It's time to open sign-ups for the my first Mystery KAL of 2014!

http://www.nelkindesigns.com/magpie

SCHEDULE of Clues
Clue #1- January 9th
Clue #2- January 16th
Clue #3- January 24th
Clue #4- January 31st
Clue #5- February 10th

HOW IT WORKS:  Sign up by purchasing the pattern prior to January 9th for a discounted price of $6.00  (You can sign up later and receive the previous clues, but I think it's more fun if you start it right from the get-go!)  After January 9th the KAL will be $7.00

NOTE: If you are a member of The M Club an e-mail is being sent to you with a link to redeem your pattern, no need to purchase it, it is included in your club membership!

When you sign up you will be sent a pdf with a materials list, yarn ideas, and gauge to be ready to cast on. On each scheduled clue release date an updated pdf will be sent to you with the next clue.  There will be videos made just for the KAL to help you along, and an active thread in my group on Ravelry so that you have lots of support and FUN while you are knitting. Go here to read more about the KAL and find out what materials you'll need!

So, Sign UP! Sign up for the KAL on Ravelry or my website  and then get on over to my Ravelry group and start chatting about your yarn (and bead) choices!

Note
This is a brand-new never released design and it is sure to teach you TONS!  Video tutorials will be included along the way... I had such fun incorporating new techniques into this design, I hope you like it as much as I do!

Have Questions?
Ask them below... I'll answer in the comments so everyone can benefit from the answer.... if you have questions, I'll bet someone else is wondering the same thing too! 

12.02.2013

Fino: The Final Patternworks Kit Club Design!

Wow... I can't believe my last design for the Patternworks Kit Club has just shipped!  This year went QUICKLY!

I noticed how many people enjoyed the simplicity of Come Together last fall , and I wanted to design another necklace in that vein that didn't require an expensive, hard-to-find, hand-made bead. Fino is constructed with one long I-Cord that is banded together by individually made "beads"...
Fino
These "bead wraps" are made by placing seed beads with a crochet hook or Super Floss onto elongated stitches.  There are endless possibilities for this technique and I am looking forward to playing more with it!
Fino
Fino is made with one "Gumball" by Knitted Wit, a 45 yard mini skein of merino wool sock yarn and 5 different colors of Miyuki Size 6 seed beads.
Fino
I worried some of you might think that I spent hours and hours churning out this simple 4 stitch I-Cord... but I didn't!  I used a MACHINE, it was awesome, it took 5 minutes, it makes me want to churn out I-Cord all day!  In fact, I might have made some with one of my Freia Gradient skeins just for fun!  One could even go super crazy and attach a drill to theirs (I did not do this, I am not that crazy!)

11.21.2013

A Poof in the House!

I'm back from a wonderful weekend away...  I tweeted and instagramed the whole time so if you want to read/see more about it go check out my feeds!  Since I worked all weekend I gave myself a bit of time to play when I got home and decided to finish up my POOF!
A Poof in the House!
Two years ago when I was in Colorado I saw Anne's Poof, and knew that I needed a ottoman/foot rest/squatting spot/bed for cat for our house too!  So when I was at Webs later that spring I bought 12 skeins of Berroco Sundae (now discontinued) to knit one up.  They didn't have enough of the green I wanted, so I mixed together two shades.  The poof is knit on Size 17 needles with three strands held together.  To say that it was heavy would be an understatement!  I ended up having to use a football hold on my needles to take the weight off my wrists... very very different than knitting lace, let me tell you!
A Poof in the House!
I cast on 42 sts and knit until I ran out of yarn.  To stuff it I used an old twin down comforter that I "filled" with clean old towels and then rolled that up into a doughnut.  I had read that if you didn't use something firm for the center that it would collapse once it was sat on.  Below I use my needles to "hold" the seam together while I stretched the knit fabric around my filling.
This old lady seems pretty happy I made her a new bed : )!
A Poof in the House!

11.14.2013

This and That.... and a way to help!

I'm gathering up lots of kits, teaching supplies, clothing, and goodies for my last weekend away of the season... this time I'm on tour in New Jersey!  I'll be at Wooly Monmouth in Red Bank on Friday and Saturday teaching "Design Your Own Stereo Cuff" and "Mica Mitts and Tam" on Saturday.  I believe there is still room in both classes if you want to join in!
Gathering supplies for my Stereo Class
On Sunday I'll be at Close Knit in Wycoff... I am so excited to see this store for the first time!  I've heard wonderful things... and who knows what might come home with me!

Then Monday I get to have a day in the city to shop for boiled wool for a coat (yes, I am making a winter coat).  See below for just how crazy I am.... meet my editor, and maybe even get to the Met to see this exhibit.

Monday eve will find me speaking about my love of beads and beaded knitting to the Westchester Knitting Guild... I've got oodles of kits with me as I suspect I might have a few converts before the evening is over!

The coat I mentioned above deserves it's own blog post... I promise to write one when I have something more interesting to show you.  Let's just blame it on Pinterest for now!
What a crazypants European sewing pattern looks like.
On a sadder note, I've following the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and have been floored by the devastation that has occurred there. I've developed a connection to the Philippines after learning about Ricefield Collective and becoming friends with it's co-founder, Meredith. We learned about a heartfelt project called 1,000 Bear Hugs and my girl gathered a whole pile of loved stuffies to send off to them.  If you have any extra stuffed animals your family is ready to part with I urge you to send them on.  What a sweet way to share a bit of love with those struggling to heal. 

I'll also be donating 10% of this last week's online sales to the relief organization NAFCON.  It was a great week with the release of Cyclo, and I'm thrilled to be able to help, thankyou knitters!!!!!!

11.12.2013

A New Kit: Cyclo (with video tutorial!)

Ready for another new kit?  Cyclo is a versatile “fauxbius” constructed of garter stitch short row wedges with an integrated beaded I-cord edge.
Cyclo
The Cyclo kit contains an exclusive Freia Fibers gradient mini skein, coordinating beads and a dental floss threader (for string the beads). Cyclo is worked over 17 sts... this is not complicated knitting, though the result is! And no worries, the pattern includes video tutorials for all the “tricksy” bits! The kit is packaged in a clear plastic tube, keeping the yarn, pattern and beads safe but visible.
Cyclo Kits- All colors!
Cyclo can be worn a variety of ways!
Cyclo
My newest video tutorial includes Cyclo's unexpected construction, integrated beaded i-cord, AND short rows... all at my kitchen table : )!


You can purchase Cyclo from my Etsy shop or your local yarn shop... which color will you choose?

11.06.2013

And I'm back... from VKL in Chicago!

Well, that was a FUN weekend!  I taught 6 classes over three days at Vogue Knitting Live at the Palmer House in Chicago and had some of the most wonderful students EVER!

They were so so so fabulous that I didn't take ANY photos in class, I was too busy lecturing, answering questions and keeping everyone's hands busy!  It was my first time teaching in the midwest, and I have to say that my classes had a FABULOUS sense of humor!  Seriously, we had fun!  One class even had a field trip to the marketplace to see my kits in the Windy Knitty booth... which was a first!
Sorry for the image quality.... but you can see how happy we are!
I did take some photos with my phone and a few with my camera while I wasn't teaching that can show you a bit more of the weekend!
My "pop-up" shop in the Windy Knitty booth!

An early morning photoshoot at "Cloud Gate"  (aka The Bean)
Gudrun, Ysolda and I wore our Rhinebeck Sweaters... you can see more pics on Y's blog!
I also got to hang with my buddy and copy editor Ann Weaver (who is awesomeesauce!) 
She and I committed to a design "smackdown" in the new year.... more info on that to come!
There are also some photos of yarn, pizza, coffee, and friends on Instagram,  I definitely did some good eating while I was in the Windy City!  I also somehow came home with yarn to make Puffin, which has been in my queue since Kate released it.  It might go into my retirement stash for now... but one day that sweater will be mine!

And one exciting thing?  I showed Cyclo kits for the first time, and it SOLD OUT!  I'll be releasing it Friday... so stay tuned!

Thankyou Vogue Knitting for throwing a WONDERFUL event!  Seriously, you all know how to run a classy knitting retreat!

( Just counted: This blog post has 18 exclamation points in it... I must have had fun!)

10.29.2013

When it rains... it pours!

WOW!  Your response to the Cambio Cowl kit has blown me away!  I sold out of two colors (Blue Velvet and Vertigo) in 48 hours and we've been busy winding yarn and shipping since it's release, see?
Then, just as Cambio was flying off the shelves, my editor sent the copy edited manuscript for my book and was like, HAVE AT IT!  So, this is what my weekend looked like:
Also, I'm prepping to leave for Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago, where I'll be teaching some of my favorite classes, Knitting Jewelry, Beading 101, and Advanced Lace with Beads, AND one new class, Cowl Design.  So, of course I needed to whip up a new cowl for it....  I didn't have any super simple cowl samples, I wanted one worked flat, and closed with buttons.
I purchased these porcelain buttons from Melissa Jean at Rhinebeck and paired them with a stunning skein of alpaca/merino from an alpaca farm right up the road. Bel Canto is working on getting their yarn up for sale, and when they do I'll let you know!

Finally, I just have to share this video with you!  Ralph Lauren is the Official Outfitter for Team USA for the winter Olympics and the opening ceremony sweaters are 100% US sourced and knit!  There is a really lovely video on his website about Imperial Stock Ranch where the wool came from.... beware, I got a little teary watching it!

10.24.2013

Cambio Cowl: A Mosaic Gradient Kit!

Ready for a NEW kit with NEW yarn? And without beads? (GASP!)

Cambio Cowl is knit in the round with a bi-color mosaic stitch that plays with two VERY special yarns... an exclusive Freia Fibers gradient mini skein paired with Jill Draper’s soon-to-be-released yarn, Esopus. I did a HAPPY dance when Tina at Freia said she would dye this little babies for me, they are TOO CUTE... but those of you who knit Cyclo already know this!  And Jill's new yarn?  Let's just say I nagged her for a year to make it : )!
Cambio Cowl Kit
Cambio is available in 5 colors....  and I really can't decide which is my favorite. (To see any of these photos enlarged, just click on them!)
Cambio Cowl Kit Cambio Cowl Kit
Cambio Cowl Kit Cambio Cowl Kit
Hand-dyed gradient yarn is SO fun to design and knit with... I am a bit obsessed : )! I do have more in the works, promise!
Cambio Cowl Kit Materials Included in Kit
90 yards (11 grams) Freia Ombré Lace
     (75% Wool, 25% Nylon)
120 yards (26 Grams) Jill Draper Makes Stuff Esopus
     (100% Superwash US Merino Wool)
Cambio Pattern
    (the Cambio stitch is both charted and written out!)

Materials Needed
One US Size 4 [3.5 mm] 16- or 24-inch circular needle
1 Stitch marker
Tapestry needle

Finished Measurements
6.5 inches high x 19 inches around

Gauge
24 sts x 32 rows = 4 inches in st st, blocked
28 sts x 36 rnds = 4 inches in cambio st, blocked

You can order Cambio Cowl kit from your local knitting store, or my Etsy shop!
Cambio Cowl Kit
WARNING: Cambio is a super quick and addictive knit.... you are probably going to want to knit more than one!

10.22.2013

Rhinebeck 2013: A Photo Recap!

Oh my.... I'm just back from Rhinebeck (aka New York Sheep and Wool) and holey moley, what a whirlwind!  I taught for most of the hours the festival was open, and did manage to sneak in some moments with friends, food and the animals, but there was no where near as much time for shopping and connecting as I would like.  Next year I think I'll just go to play!
I made a new lovah on my lunch break!
My kits on display at The Spinning Room's booth! 
They flew out of there all weekend long!
My Rhinebeck treat was a basket from Kristine!  It was HARD to choose!
(I ended up with a medium sized curved one, 3rd from the right second row down)
I taught some studious and wonderful students all about Knitting with Beads! 
Thanks to all who attended my classes!
Kim, brought Bristol and I candy from Canada...
that look on my face is saying "Do I have to share with my family?"
I stayed with Leila, JC and others in a lovely farm house 10 minutes away...
this was our porch, pretty ideal, huh?  I wish I had had time to knit on it!
Another photo of my lovah, cause he's too cute to only show once!
The line to pick-up The Rhinebeck Sweater book!
I got my copy of The Rhinebeck Sweater along with another ball of Jill's Empire to knit my girl an Artichoke French!  It looks like an informal KAL is starting over in my Ravelry group, so if you got a copy and are ready to cast on, ask any questions there!  I'm happy to help!

I also got a signed copy of Clara Parkes new book,  The Yarn Whisperer, but the quick picture I took didn't do Clara or her book justice, and I wouldn't want her to hate on me.  What I will say is that I have ALOT to learn about book signing, watching her in action was a lesson!!!!! This is my night time reading this week... can't wait to hit the sack tonight!

Oh, and there are just a few more spots in The M Club!  Sign ups close this Friday 10/25, so if you've been hesitating this is your LAST CHANCE to sign up!  The dyers are chomping at the bit to get your yarn ready for the first shipment and they need time to work their magic!  I really wish I hadn't said I was keeping the dyers a secret as I think the line up is going to KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF!  Goodie orders are ready to be placed, and the designs are well under the way.  This project is beyond fun to work on and I do hope you'll join us!

Also, apologies for the Instagram pics.... a girl just has to make-do with her phone camera sometimes! And to everyone I didn't get to see (and hug!)  there is always next year!