It's April, already. I'm ready for spring - we woke up to snow and ice again this morning - and I'm busy dreaming of warm weather knits and this could be why I'm about to cast on a new linen sweater, even though I still have 2 on the needles from last summer.

When thinking of the perfect warm weather accessory, I think of open fabric with drape and Janina Kallio is one of my favorite designers for shawls and scarves. Janina has an amazing selection of one-skein projects and keeping with our theme of something simple and quick'ish... for our April Simply Handmade-along project, we'll be knitting Orbit - a dk-weight scarf. 


© JaninaKallio

© JaninaKallio

"Sweet and simple scarf with just one skein of DK weight yarn. So fun & quick to knit you may find yourself making one for everyone you know." ~ Janina Kallio
© JaninaKallio

© JaninaKallio

Isn't Orbit lovely? If you're new to lace knitting or want a quick'ish knit with a special skein of dk yarn, here ya go!

As you know, I love Julie Asselin's yarn and her Leizu DK is not only gorgeous, but wears really well, making it extra perfect for Orbit as a warm weather accessory and I have my eye on a skein of Birch for my version...

So, you want to join the Simply Handmade-along fun this month? We'll be having a wee giveaway later (details coming soon), so be sure you're "officially" signed up and you could win a goodie later this month. 

The pattern for Oribit is available here on Ravelry and a new delivery of Leizu DK just arrived at Firefly Fibers (including several skeins of that lovely Birch), but it would also be lovely in Tosh DK or another dk weight yarn. I really don't think you can go wrong. 



Simple Knits | October

Hello, lovelies! I have something really special for you for October's Simple Knits Knitalong project - there was a bit of a delay in getting started this month, but I think it will be well worth the wait and I hope you agree...

I've been anxiously waiting the arrival of a super-special new yarn from Julie Asselin. In case you haven't noticed, I have a bit of a crush on all of Julie's yarns... she has an amazing sense of color and her yarn bases are pretty fabulous.  So, knowing that her brand new yarn, Nurtured, would be arriving at Firefly Fibers at the beginning of October had me thinking that this month it might be a bit more about the yarn than the pattern - after all, I'm really excited to get this new yarn onto my needles and I thought you might like to try it, too

Meet Nurtured...

Nurtured by Julie Asselin

Nurtured by Julie Asselin

"As fiber lovers we really wanted to come up with a classic, non superwash yarn that would meet all of our criteria for a great product that knitters will enjoy working with, maybe getting some of them to rediscover the joys of more traditional yarns!" ~Julie Asselin

Nice, isn't it? Nurtured is a worsted weight woolen spun yarn that has a bit of residual lanolin from the spinning process and that's something that I ABSOLUTELY love - it smells fabulously like sheep AND it's super nourishing on the hands as you knit. After washing, Nurtured plumps, softens, and brightens for a gorgeous finished project. Nurtured is sure to become a 'go-to' classic yarn.

This month I want to give you a few options since we have a brand new yarn to try out, and also because the gift-giving season will be here before we know it. So, I have 3 accessories for you to choose from (as usual, you can knit as many of each as you want)...

Option #1 - Dreieke by Very Shannon (1 skein): 

Option #2 - Spate by Jane Richmond (2 skeins):


Option #3 - Turbulence by Laura Chau of Cosmicpluto Knits (2 skeins - 1 each color):

Nurtured really is a must-try yarn and these smaller accessories are the perfect introduction or reminder of how beautiful rustic yarns can be. But... if you'd like to use a different worsted weight yarn for any of these projects, that's perfectly okay and we'd love to see these designs knit up in any yarn - Simple Knits is all about taking and making time for smaller projects.

I hope you knit along this month and enjoy the project selections. Nurtured is available at Firefly Fibers and we do have a sample hat knit knit up in Nurtured so you can really see how the yarn transforms after washing. If you're not local and want to try Nurtured, it's available here in our online shop and I'll pack it up for you right away and ship it off.

Want to hear more about Nurtured? Mr. Yarnista and I talk about how awesome Nurtured is in Episode 9 of our podcast. psst... you can subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with any other podcatcher. 


Off the Needles | Settler and some news...

I have an FO and something else fun to share with you today... First, as you may know, I adore Truly Myrtle and after featuring her design Reminisce as our June Simple Knits Knitalong project, I couldn't stop thinking about casting on one of her shawls. I didn't know if I would actually find time to cast on in the near future since things have been a little hectic, but then Libby decided to host a Knitalong featuring her designs in July. It was obviously meant to be, so I cast on. 

I chose Settler as my shawl to knit for the KAL and used Julie Asselin's Milis in the Feathers colorway, it's a gorgeous yarn from Firefly Fibers that I've really been wanting to knit with. I think it was a good pairing...


I cast on during our vacation in Door County earlier this month (I know, I know... I still owe you details on that) and started binding off on Saturday night in the car on our way to see Dave Matthews (more on that toward the end of this post). 

I used flexible lace wires for blocking because of Settler's horseshoe shape and I highly recommend them. I'm a long time supporter of blocking in general and blocking wires make a huge difference with some projects - this is definitely one of them. Just look at how much I was able to stretch this puppy and open up those criss-cross sections...


I'm frequently asked if blocking makes "that much" of a difference and my answer is always emphatically, "YES"! Blocking matters. A lot. Just think about it... your project is shoved into, and pulled out of a project bag numerous times during the HOURS you're knitting on it. After that, any project is going to have some 'bed head' and need to be refreshed. *wink*

If you've never washed or blocked a shawl, Libby has a 2 part 'how to' on her blog (Part 1 & Part 2) that walks you through each step of the process. She also shows another way to block Settler for a slightly different finished edge and it's also really pretty. If you're intimidated by blocking, just remember that you can always re-block if something turns out wonky the first time. It's kind of like just washing and restyling your hair. 

I've got my mind set on casting on another Truly Myrtle shawl and using one of these lovely Julie Asselin Gradient Sets:

If you participated in the Truly Myrtle Knitalong, there are some pretty fabulous prizes that Libby will be giving away, including one of these lovelies courtesy of Firefly Fibers. Maybe we can cast on together?

So, that's my big FO news for the week. I'm almost done finalizing the Fall Class Schedule for the shop and I can't wait to share what's on there - it should be ready in the next week or two. 

In the meantime... I have something else that's pretty fun. Mr. Yarnista has been wanting to do a podcast for quite some time. Really, he's been not-so-subtly hinting for what's been a year or more (maybe two) and in a moment of weakness, I gave in and it's finally happened... there is now an Alisa the Yarnista Podcast! In episode 1 we chat a bit about some fun stuff, including our weekend adventure to Alpine Valley to see one of my all time faves, Dave Matthews (it's really quite the story).

So, we hope you'll enjoy our maiden voyage and we'll let you know as soon as Apple approves things in iTunes and it's available there. *squee* I've never done anything like this and it was actually pretty fun, so stay tuned because I think we'll do it again soon.