SIMPLY HANDMADE-Along | Wrapping Up

With only 2 weeks left in the year and a week and a half until Christmas, the pressure is on. I'm feeling it and I'm sure you are, too. So, to wrap things up with the Simply Handmade-along, I'm focusing on 2 quick and simple projects that are fun to make and perfect for gifting. 

WRAPPING UP | THROUGH DECEMBER 31st

The first project is one of our newest additions at the shop, the popular Katrinkles Sweater Ornaments:

I adore these wee ornaments and, in addition to looking adorable hanging on a Christmas tree, they're also fabulous for dressing up gift packaging. With the hustle and bustle this time of year, I appreciate these quick projects because 1) they're pretty awesome, 2) I'm sure at least one can be completed in an evening (really, several could be stitched up if I can take a deep breath and not overthink it), and 3) they're handmade by Katy at Katrinkles and when they're stitched up with love (and some pretty floss or yarn), I'm sure they'll be well-received. 

We're stocked at Firefly Fibers here as the blank only or as a kit with a variety of 6 colors of floss and a size 24 tapestry needle (both include the cord for hanging). There have been some super fun versions posted on Instagram and one of my favorites used variegated sock yarn, so you can even stash dive for some fun bits of fingering weight yarn for stitching. Fun, right?!

I did say I had 2 projects this month, so we also have one of my all-time favorite projects from one of my all-time favorite designers... Marian by Jane Richmond:

I've knit several of these cowls over the years and several have made the rotation as a shop sample. When the new Sugar Bush Chill arrived a few weeks back, I had grand dreams of knitting Jane's new Entwine Scarf (you know, in all the free time I have), but reality set in with looming deadlines, so 2 balls of Chill and some big ol' needles seem to be just perfect for an "instant-gratification" project. 

I've got 2 balls of Chill in Grey River stashed in my knitting bag with a set of needles. Maybe I'll cast on tonight?

So... what do you think? Do you need to whip up a couple last-minute projects for gifts or do you just want to knit up a cozy, squishy, soft cowl for yourself? After all, it's cold outside now and we're expecting a BIG storm this weekend.

We love seeing your projects (and they get you chances to win), so be sure to share on social media with #HandmadeAlong and also here on Ravelry in the Firefly Fibers group. We'll have a final giveaway to officially wrap up this year's Simply Handmade-along, so be sure you're signed up here, share photos, and stay tuned for details... 

psst... you can use any yarn for Marian, but if you want to try Chill and order from the Firefly Fibers online shop on or before Sunday, December 18th, we're working hard to ship ASAP, so your order will be shipped out no later than Monday, December 19th. 

CHEERS!

24 Hours #ForTheKids

Hello, Knitters!  It's Mike here & I'm going to write a blog post.  I read through a lot of Alisa's before she posts them, and I did actually write one other post a couple of years ago, but it's still kinda weird.  I don't want to intrude on Alisa's site so I make sure to only ask to contribute a story for something really important like beer, or helping kids.  This post is not about beer.

For the last few years I've watched from the sidelines as other individuals and groups have participated in the annual event called Extra Life.  Instead of trying to use my brain to make up words to describe Extra Life, I'm going to copy/paste the blurb from their website that says, "Extra Life unites thousands of players around the world in a 24 hour gaming marathon to support Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Since its inception in 2008, Extra Life has raised more than $22 million for local CMN Hospitals."

That's right, a gaming marathon.  Some people raise money for causes by running in actual marathons, but I really dislike running.  On the other hand, I really like games...video games especially.

This is the part where I hope to tap into your generosity.  All Extra Life donations go to Children's Miracle Network affiliated hospitals and each participant gets to choose the hospital their raised funds go to.  If you donate through me, 100% of your tax-deductible donation will go to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.  Every penny you donate goes to the hospital, nothing you give will be spent on administrative costs or overhead by Extra Life.

I've set a pretty aggressive goal of $750 for my first year & I'm really happy with the progress toward that goal.  Here's where we are so far:

To make this entertaining for you as well, I'l be live streaming the entire 24-hour event over on my Twitch channel.  My plan is to start the marathon at 10am on Saturday, November 12th.  Feel free to stop by on Twitch to keep me company in the chat, or just hang out to see how things are going.

I appreciate any amount you can give.  I also totally understand if you aren't able to contribute financially right now.  In either case, it would also be helpful if you could share my effort with your friends and family.  Please consider sharing my donation page by email, or through your social media sites.

If you have any questions (or game suggestions), you can comment through my donation page using Facebook comments.  I'm really looking forward to this event.  Let's do this #ForTheKids

~Mike

Off the Needles | A super awesome green sweater!

This last spring, Woolstok arrived at Firefly Fibers and I didn't even consider casting on a small project, I knew I wanted to knit a sweater - sometimes the yarn just tells you what it wants to be. After much debate, I settled on Pink Memories by Isabell Kraemer and named my version, Green Mountains (shockingly, it's even updated on Ravelry page) because I was going to have it done in time for my family trip to Grand Lake, Colorado in mid-June. I'm nothing, if not optimistic, about the time it takes to knit an entire sweater.

I cast on June 10th and I was leaving on the 22nd, so I knew this was a VERY ambitious goal, but Isabell's sweaters are enjoyable knits that seem to fly off the needles. I spent every waking moment away from work knitting on this sweater and I set my goal for a week. It even went to a Horicon, WI park with me for a special Canyon Spells show.

But, alas... even with taking this with me everywhere I went for almost 2 weeks before my trip, it wasn't done in time. So, I took it on my trip with me and it was awesome to be sitting on the deck at our Colorado cabin knitting away with this amazing scenery. Maybe it's more special to have a little it of my home state knit into it?

So, even though I was actually binding off the last sleeve on the plane on the way back to Wisconsin, knitting this gorgeous sweater in 17 days, really wasn't so bad. I love it even more than I thought and would and when I think of the places it went with me, I love it even more!

It was much too warm to wear it upon my return (we had a crazy hot summer), so it was displayed at the shop for a few months and finally came home with me the beginning of October just in time for Kraut Day

I'm now on my 3rd Woolstok sweater and I might need an intervention, because more are planned in my head. 

CHEERS!