Campside Shawl, free pattern









This was a great travel knit: easy pattern and a well-behaved yarn. When traveling, often enough I'll cast on for a manageable pattern only to use a yarn that needs some tending. When I'm preoccupied with travel, I want my project to be entirely mindless--easy pattern and a mannerly yarn. The patterns calls for DK weight, but I imagine gauge doesn't matter much and you could easily modify this to make any size, however I followed the pattern to the letter. I used the great Rowan Softyak DK which I have completely fallen in love with and have praised often enough on this blog. The pattern is free from Alicia Plummer and matches her Campside Pullover and Cardigan. The pattern has written and charted instructions. Keep a row counter handy because you will need to count rows and glance at the pattern occasionally, but once you get rolling on a section and are keeping track of your rows, you are set for hours of knitting bliss. 

I have a question, what is your favorite travel knit pattern? I'm always looking for new ideas, but something other than socks--I rarely knit socks! I'd love to hear from you...here!




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Back Roads to Never Not Knitting















In Atascadero, a small inland town in the California Central Coast, there is a teeny tiny knitting store. It may be the tiniest knitting store in the world, but it is as sweet as it can be. The Never Not Knitting store, owned by Alana Dakos of the blog and podcast of the same name, is also known for her popular books, Botanical Knits 1 and 2, Baby Botanicals, and Coastal Knits. Alana has filled her shop with a scrumptious variety of locally made knitting accessories and adorable notions, and of course there is yarn.  Scattered around the store are many knitted sweater samples from her patterns, plus files of her individual patterns and her books. The featured yarn is Quince and Co.'s Owl, Chickadee, Willet, Kestrel, Puffin, and perhaps a few others, but those are the ones I remember. She also had a yarn that was new to me, a hand dyed yarn from Canadian Jane Asselin which was very pretty. Alana was not there, but the saleslady was very pleasant and didn't mind me taking pictures. She invited my husband to sit on the "husband chair" in the corner where he fiddled with his phone. After ten minutes he stood up, and just by doing that he consumed all the space in the main part of the shop and I knew it my signal to exit. If you're a knitter and are traveling by Atascadero, the little shop is just minutes off the highway. Stop in, you'll be enchanted.


How did I happen upon this little shop tucked away in a small central coast town? On one of our frequent trips driving home from visiting our daughter, we like to cruise up the scenic coastal route taking an extra day and night to explore. Either we'll stop for the night at an inland town in a wine growing region, or just as often we'll stop at a beach town. This time we stayed in Morro Bay, famous for the massive Morro Rock that resides just off the harbor, it has a mellow, California-beach-town-vibe that is perfect for a quick getaway. Even one day and night in Morro Bay is enough to sooth the soul. As we headed into town I checked out hotels on my phone. One that got particularly good reviews was a block from the beach and very well priced. Our room was clean and bright and I would recommend Pleasant Inn in Morro Bay to anyone. There are dozens of restaurants within walking distance a block down on the waterfront and we had a lovely time eating our fish and chips while watching the sun set over the rock.  Next morning after breakfast, I googled "knit shops near me" (don't you love to visit knit stores while traveling?) and saw Alana's shop was right on our way home and it was OPEN! My husband is one of the greats and only rolled his eyes once before he agreed. :)

When we travel my husband drives and I'm in charge of the radio (and the singing-along if necessary, and it often is), the snack dispensing (sunflower seeds, MMs, Good N Plentys and Cheetos were this trip's treats), and the all important knitting. I knit masses during those four days and finished two projects! FO posts coming soon.





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festive fall




Even in California we can't help but notice the little changes in the air: the leaves are starting to drop, the light is changing and we seem to be grabbing our sweaters when we walk out the door--fall is here! These pictures were taken at a fall party from last year and I cannot remember the menu but I do know that I surely had a wonderful time because it was at my dear friend's Karen's house and she is a delightful hostess. Her decorations were kept to a minimum with bare branches, apples and pears, and pops of candle light--an inspirational reminder on how we can simply celebrate the simple beauty of the season.





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Anker's Sweater









Lately I've been completely obsessed with this top-down ribbed-yoke type of sweater. I think they are so flattering, plus I love to knit them and wear them, and love that they are so easily customizable. With only a little bit of math, you can cast on more or less stitches to make the neckline exactly where you want it to sit--cast on less for a higher neck, less for a lower one, then continue with the rib increases until you have the amount of stitches you need for your bust. Since this was going to be more of a cool weather sweater, I wanted the neck to rest a little higher.  I cast on less stitches and to compensate, made one more set of ribbed increases before I began the stockinette portion.  I thought if it didn't work out, I didn't have that much to rip out and re-do, but it came out just as I had hoped and all is good. I also included my typical modifications that I make on most sweaters: added waist shaping and a wee bit of length, plus made the sleeves slimmer and more close fitting. The pattern is called Anker's Sweater by PetiteKnits and is very well written and easy to follow, makes a darling sweater and is easy to customize for a perfect fit. I'll make it again--I think it would be beautiful in gray--and I'd also love to make one in cotton for summer with a lower neck and three-quarter length sleeves.

The yarn. The y a r n! I love Softyak DK so so much and have used it quite a few times now. It's soft and easy in the hand, makes an even stockinette fabric, handles multiple washings well, is well priced with excellent yardage, and finally, there could be no one who could not wear this next to the skin, including a baby. I have a massive love for it and a massive stash to prove it.

Recently I completed three sweaters which means three empty baskets begging for new projects.Yep, I've cast on for three more projects just to keep the baskets full and make sure my project level is kept to a well rounded and chaotic dozen and I am prepared for any knitting caprice that I fancy. I admire those who keep projects to one at a time and keep a minimum stash. That is so not me!


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knit for a cause



All hands and needles on deck!

Please join Jimmy Beans in raising money for families displaced by Hurricane Harvey.

Among the thousands of people who lost their homes as a result of Hurricane Harvey are children whose lives have been interrupted by the devastation. Join the folks at Jimmy Beans in giving back and knitting hope for these kiddos and their families. They are donating $10.00 to the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) for every Royal Petite Knit Kit sold. Purchase your kit from Jimmy, then after knitting your Royal Petite animal, add a personalized message of encouragement & send it back to Jimmy by October 31st. They'll mail each completed project to KIPP Houston Public Schools. KIPP will then pair your project with a student who has been directly affected by Hurricane Harvey. Your gift will help in two ways; giving a much needed cash donation and offering a bit of cuddly love.  

Jimmy Bean's goal is to raise $8,000 for KIPP and to deliver 800 animals to the children. The founder of KIPP has pledged that 100% of these donations will go directly to the children. Let's show the world the healing power of a knitting needle!

These adorable kits come packaged with everything you need to knit a sweet African animal. There are five different animals to choose from, each cuter than the next. Each kit includes 1 skein of Blue Sky Fibers Royal Petite yarn, the pattern, and all the notions needed to knit one toy. Needles are not included.














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