shopping for yarn

We just got back from a wonderful, beautiful, and relaxing trip to Maine and Eastern Canada. My husband planned the trip on his own and I really didn't know exactly where we were going until a few days before the trip. I knew we were sailing out of NYC and would arrive in Quebec City ten days later but that's about all I knew; I didn't even have the dates right! But the trip came at a time when I was so longing to get away and relax--I knew I would love anything he had planned.

Every single place we visited had at least several locally produced yarns for hand knitting. It would be a shame for the hand knitter not to visit at least a few shops and go a little wild. I do have a tiny tip for yarn shopping while on vacation. Your husband may be like mine--he prefers I don't make a big deal out of visiting shops, but if we walk by a yarn shop, he doesn't mind if I pop in. He just doesn't realize that I sometimes plan our walks knowing we'll be walking by a yarn shop. I act so surprised and if he has caught on, he hasn't yet let me know. But an excursion planned simply to visit a yarn shop is not appreciated. And bless him, he's very patient while I browse and actually encourages me to buy!

I was so excited to cruise by the Statue of Liberty and was something I had wanted to do for a long time.

A highlight was to visit Maud Lewis' tiny painted home that now resides in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax. I had wanted to visit this museum ever since I saw Maudie starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke. It was quiet while we were visiting and while there we met a man who was about my age who been in the house many times as a teenager. He told us lovely stories and it made the visit so much more meaningful. I would not miss this nor would I miss the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic also in Halifax. My husband didn't want to leave. Both museums are a short walk from the dock.

Yarn shopping, well, there was some. The pictures above and below show the softest mohair I have ever felt. It's from Le Chevrier du Nord out of Quebec. I also met the talented designer Annie Pilote.

A few years ago I was in Quebec City and bought some Charlevoix yarn to make Antler. As much as I love it, I have not finished it. Still, it did not stop me from purchasing more when I found myself in Quebec City again on this trip. Clarlevoix Pure Laine uses fleeces that would otherwise be put in landfill. They make beautiful clothing, hats and mittens, and a small selection of yarn for hand-knitters.

I bought this Maine produced yarn from a little shop in Bar Harbour. It's meant to be a Gansey style vest for Carter.

is a yarn I have heard about but had never seen so I was so happy to find it in several shops. Illimani is based out of Montreal and their fibers are sourced from Peru and Bolivia. This Amelie is to die for; so soft, luxurious, and simply gorgeous. I bought a ton of it: a sweater's worth, also enough to make fingerless mitts for my girls this Christmas, and maybe enough for a mosaic shawl. We'll see.

I had never heard of Mineville Wool Project, but it's a spinoff from Fleece Artist in Nova Scotia. My husband encouraged me to buy this crazy colored yarn for a sweater for Carter--totally out of my color comfort zone. The tipping point for me was that it is machine washable. I hope I can get to it before Christmas because I'm anxious to see what it will look like knitted up.

We both missed this darling little boy while we were gone. We were all smiles when we first saw each other after two long weeks apart. He loves to hold my yarn on car rides. 

The first cooking assignment was banana bread.

Thank you for stopping by. 
I'll get cracking on the new yarn purchases soon and let you know what I will be making! 

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Honey Bee Jacket

This is another sweater for my 15 month old grandson who has outgrown the 12 month size sweaters for good. I knit this a little big, the 24 month size, but I'm hoping he will wear it this fall as the color and style is so perfect for October and November. The pattern is the Honey Bee Jacket from OGE Designs and I knit it in Rowan Softyak DK. When I first saw the pattern I knew I would use this pretty honey color called Savannah that I had in my stash. I loved making this little project and it was done in no time. The pattern is well written and the honey bee or honey comb stitch pattern that is on the front only, is fun and easy to make. I included a close-up of the pattern stitch and when I study it, sometimes I see honey bees and sometimes I see the honeycomb. Either way, it's pretty and I love the side placket and buttons. I plan this to always be worn closed of course so I made only the top two buttons functional. The pattern is knit in one piece from the top down and has zero seams to sew. When I get pictures of my little honey bee wearing his new sweaters, I'll make sure to post them.

Carter is often with me in the garden. He loves to be outside and has his own little trowel and a tiny wheelbarrow just for him. He digs and collects and is so busy! We have several neighbors who keep honeybees and with all our flowers and big veggie garden, we host a lot of bees. I've taught him to be respectful of them and not fear them. We watch them go about their business and quietly talk about them and how busy they are. I love how his bright little mind devours information. When I tell him things, he looks back at forth at me and the little critter or thing we're talking about and I know he understands exactly what I'm saying. He spots things and hears things before I do and since he is very chatty, he will let me know if he sees a honeybee, or the moon, or an airplane, or anything he thinks I need to know about. Sometimes he takes my hand and ushers me to his new find. What a darling. I can't tell you enough how fun this time of life is.

I've knit a few of her patterns before and I swoon over her designs!
Take a look at all her patterns here. You'll fall in love.
Rowan Softyak DK (is divine: uber soft and machine washable!)
My honey gold color is called Savannah

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toddler vest, free pattern

Hello! This darling vest was cast on in the Uber ride to the airport and finished on the second day of our trip. It's a good thing I brought multiple projects on my vacation! 

I have begun to see how practical vests are for little ones. If there's a little chill in the air you can pop a vest over the head to add a little warmth. Plus, little boys look so dapper in a vest. This pattern is free from Stitch Studio Design Team and is sized 6, 9, 12, and 24 months. This is the 24 month size. This pattern uses traditional techniques, but a few simple changes will update it and make it even easier to knit. I've noted these changes on my Ravelry project page.

Rowan Pure Wool Superwash DK (now discontinued) benefits greatly with a good wet block. It will get much softer.

The vest is photographed against a gorgeous Goodnight Moon tote bag. My grandson loves that little book, as did his daddy. I guess all children all over the world love that book! Both the vest and the tote are going to be Christmas gifts.

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I'm thrilled with my Floozy! There is just so much to love about her! She was really fun to make and is lovely to wear. The pattern on the yoke is called the mosaic technique and uses slipped stitches to mimic the more complicated stranded knitting. The pattern also used a stitch I had not used before but there was a helpful video tutorial that explained it. Possibly the best thing about mosaic knitting is there is only one color used on each row! It's meant to be worn as a cardigan but I prefer the buttons at the back. The pattern is expertly written and I highly recommend it. The yarn, Rowan Finest, was dreamy to knit with. It's very soft and because it's so soft I'm going to take special care of it as I think it will have a tendency to pill (as per comments from other Ravelers), however I had zero problems with it while knitting and the fabric is beautiful. I made a few small modifications that I added to my project page.

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It's not easy to find a top-down, seamless, V-neck sweater pattern, so last year when I saw Larimer from Isabell Kraemer I promptly bought it. I knew Isabell would do a great job with such a pattern and I wasn't disappointed. The construction is ingenious and is exactly what I love to knit. Isabell describes the construction better than I can: "Pullover is worked seamlessly from the top down, beginning with back shoulders and back yoke. Stitches are picked up at shoulders and worked for each front, then joined to work body in the round with short row shaping at lower edge. Stitches for sleeves are picked up around armhole edge, and caps are shaped with short rows. Extra-long sleeves are worked in the round to the cuffs. Stitches are picked up around neck edge and worked in a simple trim." I really encourage you to try this pattern if you've been thinking about knitting a garment using non-traditional techniques. Isabell does a good job with pattern writing and an enthusiastic beginner should not have too much trouble. Isabell also has an avid fan group on Ravelry that loves to help and Isabell herself is very approachable. These newish techniques have become the norm now in pattern writing and garment knitting, and it's no surprise knitters are choosing these one-piece variations over the traditional seamed garments. Most knitters find these techniques easier and most important, easier to get the fit you want with no surprises in the end. I still knit some seamed garments as seams are important in some garment construction, but not all. Seams do aid in stability that some garments need, but if it's not needed, I look for another pattern.

I made my Larimar with a good amount of ease using Rowan's Super Fine Merino 4Ply. This yarn is simply perfect: 100% super fine merino (that feels like cashmere) in a fingering weight that is machine washable and is soft enough for the most sensitive skin. I have happily used this yarn several times for my grandson and care for it this way: Turn inside out and place in a mesh bag. Machine wash in cool water on the gentle cycle. I admit I even put his little sweaters in the dryer even though the ball band says to dry flat; here's what I do: Still in the mesh bag, tumble dry on low until almost dry. While still slightly damp, carefully turn garment right-side out and pat to shape. Dry flat out of direct sun. Rowan describes this as a fingering weight to be knitted at 28 stitches per 4 inches, but this works best for me as a sport weight with 24 stitches per 4 inches. I adore it.

Larimar has a shaped hem worked with short rows in case you are wondering why it's longer in the back!

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