Biplex: A Yarn Giveaway!

I'm off in Denver working on a secret little something something with my buddies at Craftsy, but that doesn't mean we don't get to have giveaway Friday!

Remember earlier this summer when I posted this photo on Instagram of a new design I was working on that matched my shoes?
Well, it's almost ready to release... want to see?
It's called Biplex Cowl und I lurve it!
I'll tell you more about it when it soon... but you should know I knit mine in Colinette Jitterbug. I almost used the two skeins below (Velvet Bilberry and Cherry) but I was trying to get away from always knitting with purple (and clearly I wanted the cowl to match my shoes)!
Biplex  uses short rows and has multiple repeats and stitch counts to keep track of.... How's that for tying one Friday's giveaway blog post to the next?

Time for a giveaway...
Who wants to win the two skeins of Colinette Jitterbug shown above to knit their own Biplex when it releases on Sunday?

Just leave a comment below by 12pm (EST) on Oct 13th letting me know what you are knitting right now, and don't forget to leave a way to get in touch with you! I will randomly choose a winner and announce them in next week's Friday giveaway post! (HINT: Jill Draper Makes Stuff's new YARN!)

Last week's winners... 
Congrats to  Karebear66.... Get in touch so I can send you your new Sirka Counter!!!!!!! (I love reading all the ways people keep track of their knitting in this posts comments!)


Crucero Shawl Kits

Crucero Shawl Kit
You might have heard that I'm doing a cruise with Melissa Leapman and Patty Lyons in December.... I found myself telling Melissa last spring that I wanted to design a shawl for the cruise (and teach it as a class while at sea) and we agreed that kits for the shawl would be a good idea as there is no yarn shop on the cruise!!!!

So, I've been diligently working away on it...
And now it's done! (and I have an accurate bead count for the kits!)

The actual pattern won't be revealed until we are on the cruise... I'll be uploading it to Ravelry once we get back to port! This means that all of you who can't come on the cruise can knit Crucero too!

I used Anzula Breeze for the shawl, a yummy 65% silk, 35% linen heavy lace weight yarn that has stunning drape and is perfect for warm weather knitting (and wearing). I had a hard time but narrowed it down to 3 colorways... I knit mine in Aqua, and am thinking perhaps my Mom is going to need a Dusty Rose (though she still wants a Meta!).

To read more about the kits and purchase one go here.

(Note: If you are going on the cruise I need your order before 10/15 so I can get your yarn to you in time to ship it to you. If you live internationally I can bring your yarn with me so you don't have to pay shipping!)


Review and Giveaway: Sirka Counters!

First off? What in the heck is a Sirka Counter?
It's a little device that helps you keep track of multiple stitch counts at one time!

You know how sometimes you are knitting on a project, and it's got a lace repeat, and decreases, and overall row numbers and you end up with a post it note that looks like this?  All those hatch marks start to flow together and it's impossible to read them and remember where you are!
Well, the Sirka counter helps you take care of that! You just assign one color to each item you need to keep track of.  The hands on the dial help you keep track of the repeats and rows you are counting (these lock in place) and all you do is move the dial as you work a repeat/row/decrease.

Easy Peasy!
Note: if you have fidgety hands around your house you might need to lay down the law and make sure everyone knows that NO ONE TOUCHES THE SIRKA BUT THE KNITTER! All your keeping track will be for naught if anyone plays with it!

You can even get them a nifty "Bento box" to store them in to keep it safe (see above)!!!!
Will I use a Sirka Counter?
Probably... I think it is going to save me time... I love how easy to read it is and how quickly you can move the wheels. Time will tell if it becomes an indispensable knitting tool, but for those more complicated projects it will help me stay on track!

Mardi Gras!
Spicy Meatball!

There is an awfully fun "project" going on right now and you can order custom colors  for your Sirka counter in any color combination you want!

Time for a giveaway... 
Above are Mardi Gras and Spicy Meatball... 2 color combo's Sara from Grellow and Grey (the brainchild of the Sirka) made for me! I'm keeping Spicy Meatball (cause who wouldn't!) and I'm giving away Mardi Gras to one lucky reader!

I'd love to hear how you keep track of your rows/rounds/repeats in your knitting... Just leave a comment below by 12pm (EST) on Oct 6th, and don't forget to leave a way to get in touch with you! I will randomly choose a winner and announce them in next week's Friday giveaway post!

Last week's winners... 
Congrats to DMallen Get in touch so we can send you your copy of Short Row Knits!!!! 


Stiffening Your Adornaments!

I promised you all a blog post with details about how to block and stiffening your Adornament Stars; Stello, Stellita and Astellar.  All three of these patterns are knit with mercerized perle cotton and need to be blocked and stiffened so they hang beautifully. Since a photo is worth a thousand words just look at the difference blocking makes:
 Basically, lace looks like crap until you block it!

I’ve played with many options for stiffening your ornament so it hangs beautifully! I discovered these while reading about how to stiffen crochet ornaments. I found the sugar wasn’t great for longevity (ants and pets love it!), and the cornstarch technique got a little "goopy" with the beads.

The best technique I found was to pour a bit of stiffening agent like Aleene’s Stiffen Quick or Fabric Stiffener into a container and soak your ornament.
Then squeeze it out a bit and stretch it out with pins on a pin-able surface covered with a piece of plastic wrap.
You’ll be able to find many stiffeners in your local craft store in the fabric glue aisle.  Make sure you purchase one that dries clear. The Fabric Stiffener creates a much stiffer fabric than the Stiffen Quick BUT your beads and yarn color will be dulled a bit.
Some of the products I saw suggest microwaving to dry them faster… DO NOT do this is if you used beads as many beads have metal in them!

Another technique that worked is to wet and block your ornament on a pin-able surface and then, once it is dry, repin it out on a piece of plastic wrap  and spray it with a stiffening agent. This technique sometimes requires a second spray to achieve the stiffness you’ll want.

A word of caution: The pattern states that you should weave in ends but DO NOT trim until after blocking... this is why:
WHOOPS! I trimmed my end before blocking and it "wormed" it's way out when I stretched it!
I was able to fix it... but it was scary! Just wait until you are done blocking to trim them!