A Giant Pink Hug for us All!

It is time for a year end blog post... in past years I have done a recap of all my projects, but I'm worried if I do that this year you'll all just see me for the over achiever I really am. So this year I'm sharing something a bit different.

One of the things I love about my chosen profession is that is a place for all souls to come and take a break from politics, religion, hardship and focus on our passion for creativity together. It means I get to meet a lot of people who think like I do, and also many who do not, but we find out common ground and build friendships from there. For me, it was a good year, and I'm looking forward to another, but for others I know that this year was HARD and that the years ahead are scary. My heart goes out to them, whether they be close by to me, or half-way around the world. My family and I are giving support in ways that resonate for us, and I urge you and yours to do the same.... and in that spirit I have a little story to share with you!

This fall, Anzula sent me their new bulky MCN yarn, Burly, in Petals to knit a giant ALL-Ways Cowl. The day following the election I was in shock (I know I'm not the only one who experienced this), and decided to deal with it by casting on the cowl and knitting until I felt a little stronger and more in control.
I thought about how far down in the sand my head was (politically), and how little I understood what many people in our country were thinking, and I knit. True yarn therapy.... while I knit on it I realized I wanted to share it with other people, in fact as many as possible, something like the Sisterhood of the Giant Pink Cashmere Hug.
I started wearing it when I traveled, convinced that I would see someone who needed it and I would pass it on... I had it with me on multiple trips and somehow just couldn't give it up (or face the awkwardness of giving a complete stranger a pink cowl...) . Where ever I wore it the color would make people around me smile, and as a result I was smiling. This pink demands happiness.... and happiness it will have! Also, cashmere is a good travel companion.
But, now it is time to send it on it's mission around the world.

I'm going to start by sending this to Sabrina, the genius who created this gorgeous yarn! I'm hoping she'll wear it, find joy in it, take a photo of herself (and hashtag it #giantpinkhug), and then pass it on to another in need of a hug! I LOVE this idea of this traveling hug, and I hope you do too!
So, if you find yourself down in the dumps this winter, might I suggest you find some pink cashmere yarn and whip yourself up a Pink Hug! When you are done getting your hug, you can pass it on! Just imagine TONS of pink hugs making their way around the world.  (You can read about how I adjusted the pattern on my Ravelry project page.)

(I'll also be knitting pink pussy hats between now and Jan  21st when my daughter and I go to the Women's March on Washington... I'm starting them tomorrow, I have more pink cashmere from Anzula, it seems I was stashing it for a reason!)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! xoxoxo


A Stopover Mash-Up, Laura Style!

As we head into the last days of 2016 I've been working on clearing projects out of my baskets... this means no startitis for me, it is all finishing all.the.time this week!
I kept a promise I made on our trip to Iceland in September and re-created a sweater we saw while at
the Agricultural University of Iceland at Hvanneyri. We were taking a natural dyeing workshop with Guðrún Bjarnadóttir and visiting their excellent knitting shop when one of our group spotted and purchased this sweater!
I decided I needed to have my own! So, I used Mary Jane Mucklestone's modernized Lopi pullover,  Stopover, and exchanged the yoke to use the elongated stitch technique I explored in Knockout Knits. It's no secret I love playing with elongated stitches!

For yarn I combined Léttlopi for the body and Hespa's Jurtalitad Einband (lace-weight lopi) for the yoke... I didn't even have to change needle size, I was prepared to knit and rip a few times to get the yoke right, but there was no need!
I'd not knit Léttlopi at this loose a gauge before, and I absolutely adore the fabric, it is crazy light, and totally warm! I am a bit sensitive to the itch factor in Icelandic yarn and did two things to help mitigate it:
1. In the final blocking soak I used a very generous dollop of my hair conditioner  (this actually makes a difference)
2. I introduced short rows after joining the sleeves and body together. This dropped down the neckline in the front a bit so the front neckline is lower.
I did put some pretty extensive notes on my Ravelry project page.... but feel free to ask questions. You'll see that I was able to pretty much stick with Mary Jane's stitch counts for Stopover, which made the mash-up easier than I anticipated!
Anybody else clearing off their needles in anticipation of 2017? It has become a bit of an obsession for me this week!


Escapado Shawl and Nautical Knitting Recap!!!

I'm back from an AMAZING cruise to the eastern Caribbean with Melissa Leapman and Patty Lyons. We had a phenomenal time, with knitting classes while at sea, and excursions on port days. I seriously cannot believe that I got to call last week work! We had such a fabulous time and to make it even more fun I designed a shawl for the cruise.

Introducing Escapado... inspired by the High Seas and Hap shawls of Shetland with a twist! Escapado starts with Judy's Magic Cast On (like a toe-up sock) and incorporates attached I-Cord, short row "eyes", and a beaded feather and fan lace edging. It is not a hard knit, and it is definitely fun!
  • The Escapado Pattern is available for $7.00 here.
  • Escapado Kits are available for $65.00 here (they come in 4 colors!)
I want to share photos with you of the cruise... keep in mind that we were in many low light situations, and not all of these are stellar photos, but I think they get across that we had an AMAZING time! (You can click on any of these photos to make them bigger!)
Our crazy big boat, the Norwegian Escape!
The upper deck with Miami in the background!
Sunrise from my balcony.... I could have spent all day on it!
We had evening events almost every night that were highly amusing...
And there were thongs? (I plead the 5th, what happens on the cruise, stays on the cruise!)
The Baths on Virgin Gorda.... a totally AMAZING place!
View from my balcony in Tortola, do you hate me yet?
Best elevator selfie ever... thanks Amanda!
Three Cruceros... I'm not going to tell you why I am making that face, it's a secret Julie and I share!
Sweet Melissa and her knitters.... no fun happening here!
Nassau (another view from my balcony)
I helped Melissa out with photos for a new shawl collection... wait until you see them!
My new bff Patty! We talked knitting and business... ALOT... and we aren't done!
Should this be my new profile pic? Patty is clearly talented at capturing my true essence : )!
So... yeah, you can see we had ALOT of fun! Huge thankyou to Melissa for inviting me to join her two years in a row. I am honored!

And a extra big thankyou to Annie and Amanda who took time out from their vacation to model for me... I might be flying out to LA to get these two to model for me again!


Knit Ireland with Laura Nelkin October 2017!

Oct 1 - 10, 2017
This trip is full... please sign up for my mailing list if you want to hear about future trips with me!

Many of you know I visited Ireland with my family this summer.... it turned out to be a bit of a scouting trip and I've put together a knitting adventure for us to take together next fall! Ireland is gorgeous and full of opportunity! I can't wait to knit and learn and explore the western shore of the country with you!

Day 1: Arrive in Shannon and travel to Killarney's Lake Hotel (with a scrummy lunch stop along the way). We'll be starting our adventure retreat "style" with Carol Feller, knitting and chatting and then follow that with a fantastic group dinner. The Lake Hotel has a the ruins of a 12th century castle and overlooks Killarney Lake... we'll knit, get to know each other, and rejuvenate from our travels in comfort!
View from the dining room of The Lake Hotel!
Day 2: We'll start our day with a true Irish breakfast and then have a knitting workshop with Carol Feller, lunch and a bit 'o shopping in Killarney and then a Jaunting Car Ride in Killarney National Park!

Day 3: Group breakfast, and then head out on a Ring of Kerry tour around the stunning Iveargh Peninsula and end the day with a visit and tour of the Kerry Woollen Mills.

Day 4: Another yummy Breakfast, a quick visit to Hedgehog Fibres in Cork, and then lunch and exploring Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, and then onto Galway for a lovely group dinner in our hotel at the Harbor!
The color wall at Hedgehog!
Day 5: Craft in Connemara day (starts with Breakfast!)! Tour of Connemara with a visit to Spiddal Craft and Design Centre and a basket making workshop with Ciaran Hogan, then onto Kylemore Abbey, finally a visit to a traditional working Sheep Farm, the Glen Keen Sheep Farm. The evening is your own... we may decide to head into town and catch a traditional Irish Music session in any one of Galway’s traditional pubs or simply relax in the hotel.
Day 6:  We'll have breakfast and then head out to visit to the National Museum of Country Life (optional) and then have an afternoon workshop with the iconic Anne O'Maille and visit her knitting store in Galway.

Day 7: After Breakfast (sense a theme here?) we will flight or ferry to Inis Oírr in the Aran Islands. On the island we will be met by Una McDonagh and treated to a workshop on traditional knitting methods and Aran Island stitches at the Aras Eanna Art and Craft Centre. We'll be staying at B &B's on the island and have an opportunity to get to know our hosts and learn about island life! The day ends with a sumptuous group dinner at a local restaurant!

Day 8: First, breakfast, then we'll ferry over to Inis Mór (the largest of the Aran Islands) and have a guided tour that includes the impressive fort of Dún Aonghasa. Then we'll head for lunch at a local restaurant and visit some of the knitwear shops on the island. In the afternoon we'll take the ferry back to Inis Oírr and have a St Bridgets Cross Making workshop with Una! Another yummy dinner is scheduled for the group!

Day 9: BREAKFAST! And then we'll ferry over to Doolin where we will take a short tour of the Burren and learn about the region, we'll visit Poulnabrone Portal Tomb, Cliffs of Moher for lunch and a wee hike, and then travel through the charming village of Fanore. We will then head to Dromoland Castle for our last night together! I needed us to stay in a castle before heading home... a delicious meal is planned for our farewell dinner.
Day 10: LAST BREAKFAST, and then it is time to head to the airport for our journey's home... (insert sad face here).

The tour includes :
  • Transfers on arrival and departure by private coach
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary in a luxury coach with an experienced driver and licensed guide and Laura Nelkin, knitting designer and teacher
  • Accommodation in rooms with private facilities for 9 Nights (single supplement  €543/extra)
  • Irish breakfast daily, 5 lunches, 4 dinners, 1 farewell dinner
  • Entrance to all museums and attractions per itinerary
  • Aran Islands Flight and Ferry Fees
Workshops/Knitting Activities Included in This Tour:
  • Dinner and knitting Workshop with Carol Feller (including a copy of Carol’s Book – Contemporary Irish Knits)
  • Knitting Workshop with Anne O’Maille
  • Knitting Workshop with Una McDonagh & Mairead Sharry
  • Visit to the Inis Meáin Knitting Company 
  • Saint Bridget Cross Making Workshop
  • Kerry Woollen Mills Factory Tour
  • Eye of God Willow Cross Making Workshop with Ciaran Hogan
    VERY Detailed Itinerary and sign up form available, e-mail Laura for more details!


    Ducenti Mystery KAL revealed!

    Do you know how hard it is to wait to show you my finished Mystery KAL's? I hinted when I released sign-ups for Ducenti MKAL that it was one of my favorite thongs (ahem, shawls) I have ever designed and I finally get to show mine to you!
     Y'all learned a ton with Ducenti:
    1. Lace Cast On
    2. Beaded Attached I-Cord
    3. German Short Rows
    4. More Beaded Attached I-Cord
    5. The worlds craziest edging that looks like candy? or bacon? or bacon candy?
    6. Picking up sts knitwise and purlwise
    7. More Beaded Attached I-Cord
    8. Basic Eyelet Stitch
    9. How wack-o my brain is!

    I knit my Ducenti in Dragonfly Fibers Pixie.... they dyed custom colors for The M Club (when you are a member of the M Club you get the supplies you need for my 2 annual MKALS). I asked for a green that matched my eyes... and they did great! I have such fun working with yarn companies for my clubs (but I bet you already knew that)!
    The construction (while crazy and indescribable while you all were knitting it) is actually surprisingly simple! Basically there are two strips with a connector worked in between them. This connector starts out narrow and gets wider as you join the two strips together
    Wondering about the construction of Ducenti?
    It is knit in 3 parts which I broke into 4 clues.
    1. A long strip is worked with 2 attached beaded I-cords that have short row “eyes” in between them.
    An edging is worked along cast on edge of this long strip.
    A second long strip is made as above (without the edging).
    The two strips are joined together by a lace mesh center connector. This connector starts out narrow and gets wider as the repeats are worked. If you want a shawl that isn’t asymmetrical all you have to do is work the same number of sts for the center connector.
    What I ended up loving even more about this MKAL, was what people did to adapt the pattern once they realized what we were doing in Clue 4! Here's a few examples... so cool right? This construction clearly has possibilities!

    Kelli from Colorado made a third strip and then mirror the lace connector on the other side turning Ducenti into a rectangle! She also added the attached beaded i-cord to each edge, which finishes it off beautifully!

    Elena from Pennsylvania did this cool thing where she worked the an even number of lace connector sts, but she changed their direction in even sections....
    Judy from Indiana did this cool move where she increased to the center point and then decreases back to the other side making her Ducenti a crescent shaped shawl.... what a simple and effective idea!
    Donna from Ottawa made her connector the same width all the way across... another way to have a rectangular shaped Ducenti!

    And Kikukat from Hawaii chose amazing colors!
    An update went out for Ducenti today with the "clues" taken out so you can knit it without the clues.... I'm kinda sorta thinking about another one, cause we all need another project on our needles, right? I'm inspired... how about you????

    (and congrats to sylverscale you are the winner from last week's Star of Butin release, get in touch with me to choose your kit!)