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!