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!

SIMPLY HANDMADE-ALONG | October Creativity

I’m going to be honest… I have TOO many projects on the needles (and other creative endeavors in progress). As I lug around my TWO knitting bags (each with several WIPs) and look at my creative studio with an almost finished dress, I only want to cast on or start working on something new. Really, I know this is ridiculous, but I can’t help myself. Am I alone here?

As I was deciding on this month’s Simply Handmade-along project, I thought maybe you were feeling the same, so…

OCTOBER | CREATIVITY | THROUGH NOVEMBER 7TH

 
 

Over the last couple weeks, I’ve realized that I’m not the only one succumbing to the casting on of “all of the things” – this has been a common theme at the shop and amongst my friends. (Please note… we admit this to each other because we live together in this crazy world of yarn/fiber/creativity, but I know admitting it to anyone else would result in us being carted off to a padded room. So no need to worry, I respect your confidentiality and will not divulge names.)

I think we all understand that it’s totally counterproductive to create more work, when you already have more than enough, but we can’t help ourselves. Yes, I’m feeling overwhelmed and although I’d like to blame the chill of the autumnal air (I might have already, at least once), or the pretty new yarn that arrived at Firefly Fibers (it really WAS talking to me like a lost puppy, so it had to come home), but I’m not so foolish that I don’t know that I only have myself to blame.

As I’ve been resisting new projects (with rare exception for work-related ones) and thinking about why this happens (to me at least) and it’s simply because I don’t make time for creativity. Maybe it’s different for you, but my (ridiculously obvious) revelation is one that had me thinking that this month’s project should be making time to be creative.

I’m a firm believer that knitting and creativity in general are good for the mind and soul. Yet, it seems that more often than not, one busy day turns into two, three, or four days, or even an entire week since I’ve done anything creative. Then when I have time to finally sit down, I feel like I “deserve” or “need” a shiny new project as a reward. How does that make any sort of rational sense?

Now, I’m not saying that I won’t cast on anything new (I know I will and I have plans for that this weekend), but my hope with making time to work on projects will have me confidently starting something new because I've been finishing projects. It seems like a win-win to me.

Where am I going to find the time and how am I going to do this? I have a rough idea and I’ll share that with you, but I’m also curious about how you will (or already do) make time to be creative and how we can learn from each other…

So, I've started a new thread here in our Ravelry group for us to share our goals, processes, and our progress so we can learn, encourage, inspire and celebrate together over the next 4 weeks. As always, I’ll be checking into our Ravelry group and sharing photos on Instagram, and I hope you'll share, too! I’d love to see what you’re working on, so please use hashtag #simplycreative2016 so we can all celebrate making time to be creative.

Are you in? I hope so! Let’s get creating!

CHEERS!

SIMPLY HANDMADE-along | Scrumptious September

So, I'm not sure what happened. It was barely August, then September arrived, and now I'm looking at the calendar and we're almost halfway through the month. What the heck is going on? Have you experienced this "loss" of time, as well? I apologize for being amiss and neglecting to post a new Simply Handmade-along project for us. Without further adieu, here it is... 

SEPTEMBER | MOHAIR BIAS LOOP | THROUGH OCTOBER 10TH

photo  © Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

photo © Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

I love the classic simplicity of Churchmouse patterns and the Mohair Bias Loop is one of my all-time favorite. It's versatile as a light (but warm) capelet for the shoulders, or worn long or doubled up as a cowl. 

photo  © Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

photo © Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

I knit one up a few years back (my Ravelry project page says I knit it in a week and we have almost 4 weeks) and it was a long-term shop sample at Firefly Fibers. I used Rowan's Kidsilk Haze Glamour and the yarn has since been discontinued and I've wanted to knit another for the shop (and maybe one for myself, too). So, when this arrived a couple weeks back... 

Anatolia by Julie Asselin

Anatolia by Julie Asselin

Anatolia by Julie Asselin

Anatolia by Julie Asselin

I knew Julie Asselin's new hand dyed, lace weight mohair would be perfect!

Anatolia is a mohair and silk blend, lace weight that can be knit alone for a featherweight look, or paired with other yarns for a light halo on your favorite knits.

FIBER: 60% Kid Mohair + 40% Silk
YARDAGE: 330 yards / 300m
AMOUNT: approximately 0.90 oz / 25gr
WEIGHT: lace
GAUGE: 5 sts = 1"
NEEDLE: US 6-8 / 4-5mm

The original project uses 2 balls of Kidsilk Haze, but Anatolia has a wee bit more yardage, so I'm knitting my Mohair Bias Loop using just one skein. It was hard to choose from the colors because all 12 are stunning, but I decided on Ballerine - a soft pink with warm taupe and grey undertones - and I love it! The project uses a provisional cast on and is finished with kitchener stitch, so the finished project is a loop without a seam. If these techniques are new to you, the fabulous Tin Can Knits ladies have a great tutorial here for the provisional cast on and here for the kitchener stitch.

We have all 12 colors of Anatolia in stock at the shop if you'd like to try Julie's new yarn - based on the Ravlery yarn usage, one skein with 330yds should be enough, just make sure your gauge isn't too tight so you can get the desired length - otherwise, you'll need about 350yds of a lace weight mohair. If you have time, check out some of the projects on Ravelry for more inspiration - there are some really gorgeous versions that pair the mohair with either a lace or fingering weight yarn and that's had me thinking about pairing Anatolia with either Fino or Merletto. One step at a time though. *wink*

What do you think? Are you in? I hope so and I can't wait to see what you knit up!

CHEERS!