SIMPLY HANDMADE-ALONG | AWESOME AUGUST

The new August Simply Handmade-along project really is AWESOME! I sound pretty confident, don't I? Well, I know it's AWESOME, because I've already knit one and I absolutely LOVE it! The first was for the Blue Sky Fibers Summer KAL - our shop sample is amazing - and I *might* have worn it once (or twice) because it's just so squishy and irresistible.  Say "hello" to the Caledonia Cowl... 

 

AUGUST | CALEDONIA COWL | THROUGH SEPTEMBER 5TH

photo by Blue Sky Fibers

photo by Blue Sky Fibers

The Caledonia Cowl is knit in my favorite cotton, Blue Sky Fibers Worsted Cotton and it's a perfect pairing of project and yarn. Really, the super-soft organic cotton and the garter stitch make a cowl that's not only gorgeous, but the cotton makes it a perfect summer accessory. And, what's even better... it's a super-fast knit with the yarn held double on size 13 needles! 

I knit the first one as a shop sample using the colors pictured [3 skeins (MC) 614 Drift, 1 skein each (CC's) 625 Graphite, 626 Stone, and 639 Wasabi] in just a couple evenings and quickly decided that I was going to knit a 2nd one for myself. I had enough of the 3 contrast colors left that I *could* have made an identical one with just 2 more skeins of the main color (you do have about half of a skein left), but I decided to swap one out one of the contrast colors and I'll share the new color combo soon on Instagram. It's not crazy different, just enough for a slightly different version. 

 

Here's a 2nd version recommended by Blue Sky Fibers using 3 skeins (MC) 80 Bone, 1 skein each (CC's) 643 Ash, 635 Sleet, and 628 Azul.

There are also some really fabulous color combos in the Blue Sky Fibers Caledonia Cowl KAL thread. 

 
photo by Blue Sky Fibers

photo by Blue Sky Fibers

So... if you fancy joining the fun this time around, you can (as always) choose any yarn you want for our KAL, but if you'd like to use the Blue Sky Fibers Worsted Cotton (and I highly recommend this because it's a great yarn), Firefly Fibers is offering 20% OFF all in-stock Worsted Cotton through Monday, August 22nd for our Handmade-along at the brick-and-mortar shop or online with offer code 'CaledoniaKAL'

As an added bonus... if you complete your cowl before August 31st, be sure to share your FO photo in the Blue Sky Fibers group for a chance to win the prize for their KAL! Of course, just casting on and starting a project counts for prize eligibility in our group, but I know you won't be able to put this one down and you'll have one finished in no time at all!

I hope you'll join the fun this month, because it's REALLY FUN! If you're new to the Simply Handmade-along, you can find all the details and sign up here

CHEERS!

Simply Handmade-along | July JEWELRY

Is summer flying by for you? It sure is for me and I can't believe we're already more than halfway through July! I am, as always, looking forward to cooler weather, but there's quite a bit of time before that's going to be a reality. We've had trips, vacations, hiking, gardening, life in general, work, and we have a BIG wedding coming up next weekend. Basically, it's been hard to find time to do much of anything, but we've been having a blast! I think this is the general theme of summer for many of us. 

I've been ready for a few weeks with the new Simply Handmade-along July project, but since time has been passing so quickly, there's been a change in plans to accommodate the pace of life here and I hope it works out for you, as well! 

JULY | CROCHETED BEADED NECKLACE & BRACELET | THROUGH AUGUST 8TH

 
© Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

© Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

 

I've stocked Churchmouse Yarns & Teas patterns at Firefly Fibers since we opened in 2010 and I just love working with them - their patterns are well-written, beautiful (how could they not be with Jared Flood's photography), and they are such very kind folks. 

As I said... I had our July project all planned, but when a friend mentioned the Crocheted Beaded Necklace & Bracelet to me last week as a suggestion for our Handmade-along, I fell in love immediately. Somehow I missed this project coming out in February, but the timing for the hustle and bustle of July is perfect!

 
 

Please don't be dissuaded by "crochet" - THE CROCHET HERE IS VERY SIMPLE

Crochet and knitted jewelry can be fun, simple, and easy. This project is all of these (it's just a simple crochet chain with a bead here and there), plus it's super versatile for yarn and bead selection. 

What do you need? I gathered up supplies available at our shop and this is what I came up with for my project/s...

  • pattern - currently available here on the Churchmouse website (click on the free pattern tab) - just copy and paste the pattern instructions to a document since they will most likely remove the pattern when it becomes part of their regular pattern line up. 
  • fingering or sport weight yarn - I selected our Quince & Co Sparrow (a fingering linen yarn - enough for several projects)
  • beads (size 6) - Miyuki seed beads (1 tube will make several necklaces)
  • crochet hook - pattern calls for a size B (2.25mm) but I used a size D (3mm) because that's what I had and it worked really well. 
  • clasp - I've got both shell buttons and a silver clasp (shown above) and I'm leaning toward the clasp
  • bead threader/needle - I use a dental floss threader

I'm really happy with my first project and I'll be attaching the clasp once it's been washed and blocked. It took about an hour for me to read through the instructions, string beads, and make the chain, so it's a fast project. I really wanted to use the linen because of the durability and structure of the finished projects. Jewelry is flexible, so play around and have fun! As I said, this is all available at my shop, Firefly Fibers, but it's at our brick-and-mortar only, so just pop into the shop or I'm happy to get mail orders together if you want to contact me at the shop.

I hope you join the fun this month and I can't wait to see what you create!

And... just in case you didn't see, the winners for the first drawing have been posted on Ravelry in our group thread and there will be more drawings to come, so keep participating! 

CHEERS! 

Summer Vacation

Hubby and I have been enjoying our annual summer vacation and this year we decided to leave our schedule wide open so we could do whatever. Or nothing. We've been doing both... we enjoyed a day with family in northern Wisconsin, a few leisure days at home with the kiddos, we tended to some much neglected work around the house, took a day trip to Appleton, and visited the Horicon Marsh twice. 

image.jpg

Our trip to the marsh on Friday was highlighted with absolutely beautiful weather that was reminiscent of my hike in the Colorado mountains a few weeks back. We commented during our marsh hike, that even though Wisconsin is very different than Colorado, the landscape is equally stunning - especially on a day with perfectly blue skies. I'll be sorting through my Colorado pictures soon, so you can see what you think.  

We made another trip out early this morning. After the crazy commotion of getting the boys into the car for the 20 minute drive, everyone had a great time! With Logan now at 13+ years and Rollo a mere 5, we have to go at different paces since Rollo and can run circles around his older brother (and us, for that matter). When Logan decided it was time to enjoy a bowl of water (laying down), Hubby stayed with him, while Rollo and I went off on our own for a few miles where we saw turtles, frogs, and lots of birds, including these geese. It was beautiful again today, but the skies weren't nearly as beautiful as a couple days ago. Both boys are currently napping off their exciting excursion. 

image.jpg
image.jpg

I've also done a fair amount of cooking during our time off and hope to do more today yet. The best part of cooking during time off is not having any time restrictions - I could start something and tend to it throughout the day. I made us a fresh batch of Roasted Tomatillo Salsa from Against All Grain's Meals Made Simple, but I grilled everything this time and it added so much depth to the flavor of the finished salsa! I also made an extra large batch, so we have plenty in the freezer - it freezes REALLY well. And... I also made gyros - from scratch... 

image.jpg
image.jpg

I've been gluten free for 2 years and the benefits have been tremendous for me, but there are many things I miss, including gyros. So, on Friday I made homemade gyro meat using this recipe by The Domestic Man with this tzatziki recipe and some delicious Mybread gluten-free pitas. These pitas were SO soft and SO chewy that I could have mistaken them for the real thing (from what I can remember). I'm skeptical of the GF substitutions/recreations, but I was introduced to these pitas at our local heath food store, The Natural Way, a few weeks back and they were just as good as I remembered. YUM!!! We have leftovers and I can't wait to dig in again!

Of course, I've been knitting. I have a new finished sweater (it's been too hot to get outdoor photos of it) and I'm close to finishing a couple other projects, so hope to have details to share soon. I've been pretty focused on working through my current WIPs and I've been doing pretty well, so far. I did get a wee bit distracted because I have to finish up the next knit along project for Firefly Fibers, but it will all come together. Right

I'm off to knit a bit before we record this week's podcast episode and make supper. I hope you're enjoying summer and finding time to do what you enjoy!

CHEERS!