memories of juneau giveaway

Perhaps you're like me and think the best kind of travel souvenir is a skein of yarn. While in Alaska last week I visited Seaside Yarns, a pretty knitting shop in the historic town of Juneau.  I went in specifically to purchase locally produced/dyed yarn and man, did I hit the jackpot!  Upon entering the store, I was faced with over a dozen cubbies filled with Northern Bee Studio yarn grown and milled in the lower 48 states and hand-dyed in Juneau, Alaska.  I was so excited and exclaimed to the sales lady that this was exactly what I was looking for!  I told her I was interested in making Joji Locatelli's new Mystery Wrap and she said she had just been playing with some colors for that herself. While she helped me with my selection I admired her keen sense of color and praised the hand-dyed yarn, then asked her if she had ever met the dyer.  She said yes, that it was she!  The adorable Melissa Highfill is the owner of Seaside Yarns and the resident dyer of Northern Bee Studio.  Meeting her and visiting her yarn store gave me a wonderful memory of Juneau I won't soon forget.

If you visit Juneau this summer, Seaside Yarns is a must!  I promise you'll love the store and I hope you are lucky enough to meet Melissa.  Her shop is a quick walk from the dock and right in the center of the charming little town.


Melissa was kind enough to give me a Taste of Alaska yarn kit as a giveaway for my readers.  The kit contains 5 mini skeins with a total of 425 yards of her hand dyed 100% superwash Merino sock yarn, enough to make Melissa's free pattern, Memories of Juneau scarf, or anything else you fancy, like socks! Colors include Dirty Glacier, Juvenile Bald Eagle, The Madam's Velvet Couch, Sitka Spruce and Mineshaft, colors reminiscent of Southeast Alaska's rich landscape and vivid history.  

To enter the giveaway, become a follower of this blog, then leave a comment at the end of this post. For a second chance to win, like the Knitionary Facebook page, then leave a comment under the post that has the picture above. You MUST leave either your Ravelry name or your email address.  If you don't leave one or the other, I won't be able to reach you if you win!  This is open to international readers. Good luck!

Below is what I took home for me.  Five skeins of Northern Bee's fingering weight Little One for Joji Locatelli's Mystery Wrap KAL.  Right now is not the best timing for me to dive into a big shawl but I was wooed by Joji's promise of lots of garter and texture with a little bit of lace, plus I couldn't wait to try out my new yarn.  Little One is a soft 100% merino wool and has the warm, buttery feel of a fine wool.  The tonal highlights seem to make each stitch dance with color.  I love it.  I was able to finish Clue 1.  Spoiler alert, pictures below!

We love the magnificent scenery and the friendly people of Alaska and if you ever have a chance to visit this beautiful state, you should!  Another highlight of Juneau was the Alaska State Museum.  It is located in a beautiful new building and is also within walking distance of the dock.  Inside you'll find the most magnificent and perfectly preserved artifacts of early Native Alaska history, including everyday and ceremonial clothing, weapons, and religious artifacts--all beautifully displayed.  It's true I tend to love most museums but this has become one of my top ten.

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marmor in progress

I wanted to share the progress on Regina Moessmer's Marmor Cardigan with Woolfolk Luft yarn.  The construction is very interesting and it started out like no other pattern I've ever knitted.  Right away I had to suspend my knitting reality and just follow the directions, not knowing exactly what was what. But never fear, the pattern is very well written and very easy to follow, and anyway, I enjoy knitting surprises and really enjoy learning a new construction technique. 

The pictures below show my progress.  This is knit seamlessly in one piece from the top down. The first picture is the start of the back with the top being the collar which sits high up on the neck.  The slip stitch detail in the center goes down the back.  To the right and left of that are the beginnings of the top of the shoulders, or the shoulder "seam".  The next picture shows the beginning of the knitted-in fitted sleeves which is similar to a contiguous sleeve technique.  It was at this point that I could start to imagine where the pattern was going which got me knitting on a fast track to get to the next stage--the try-on stage.

The next picture shows when I separated the sleeves from the body and began the slip stitch detail down the side.  At this time I was able to try it on and I fell in love.  I felt like Kate Hepburn.  I can't wait to finish it and wear it and get some modeled shots as I think it's going to be pretty fantastic. The following picture shows where I've started to knit down one sleeve to get a better idea what the finished piece will look like when I try it on (which is every hour or so at this point!)

However, this cardigan is not all about designer details, because the yarn is battling for center stage too.  Luft is as soft and light as a marshmallow cloud, but it has firm structure, if that makes sense. It's an amazing yarn that the folks at Woolfolk should be very proud of.  The color is a pale mushroom and the knitted fabric has a soft halo around all the garter texture.  Very simple and elegant.

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etive romper and a sweet discount

I have a new knit to share today--a perfect pair of baby pants with suspenders. Gah, I just love them. With elements of British patterns from the 1950’s, the Etive romper will remind you of the ones our grandmothers and great grandmothers made, except this one is knit in one piece and uncomfortable seams have been banned!  A provisional cast-on at the gusset edge makes this romper seamless and especially comfortable for busy babies. The two back button positions allow for growth.

This beautifully produced pattern is easy to follow and includes 5 sizes from newborn to 24 months. Knit in popular DK weight yarn, you'll have it finished in no time! Choose one of the many superwash wools and wool blends available to hand knitters.  I chose one of my favorite newish yarns, Rowan Softyak DK, a blend of cotton, yak and nylon.  The blend is as soft as cashmere and creates an even, easy-to-knit fabric that is durable and machine washable--perfect for babies and children. I have amassed quite a stash of this, so you'll see me using this often!
Designer Abigail Clark from Rainer and Bear has kindly offered my readers an exclusive discount of 30% off the Etive Romper pattern through May 30 with the code knitionary.  It's a lovely little pattern to have in your pattern library and makes such an adorable gift. I had so much fun knitting it and it practically flew off my needles.  You can purchase the PDF pattern download here.  Add it to your cart and at check out use the coupon code. Enjoy!

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Below is my deep basket filled with Softyak.
Yikes, it looks like a lot, and it is a lot,
 but I do have plans for each and every skein!


tiny 5-minute pate

When I roast a chicken, and if I'm not going to make a giblet gravy, I'll save the heart, gizzard and neck for stock and then make a tiny 5-minute pate with the liver.  I told my girlfriends about my tiny pate and while it's a pretty common thing to have in my refrigerator, they were a bit surprised and had never made a pate this way, which prompted this blog post to share my tiny and tasty 5-minute pate recipe.  

Take one chicken liver (a liver is lobed so it looks like two livers, but it is only one) and saute in a small sauce pan with 1 pat of butter and 1 tbsp. olive oil.  Add a few tablespoons of finely chopped onion or celery and a few tablespoons of fresh chopped herbs such as chives, sage, thyme and tarragon--or small amount of dry herbs if fresh is unavailable. Add  a few shakes of salt and pepper and a dash of dried red pepper flakes. Saute for a few minutes until veggies are soft and liver is cooked through.  Add one egg and stir for one minute to scramble and cook through. Pour into a mini-processor, add 1 heaping tbsp. of mayonnaise and 1-2 tsp. brandy or dry sherry. Whirl until smooth. Pour into a small ramekin, smooth top and decorate with a few herb leaves. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Total prep time: 5 minutes.  This is delicious and pretty enough to serve your guests, but will last in the refrigerator for a few days--just long enough to enjoy it for a few snacks/meals for you!  When my son was a tiny guy, I spread this pate on slices of cucumber and it was one of his favorite lunches.  I hadn't thought about that in a long time.  Maybe I'll head out and buy a cucumber.

Chives and Marjoram


Purple Sage
The newly planted vegetable garden in the background, with tarragon and oregano in the foreground.

You don't need a large space for your herb garden.  One plant each of a few favorite herbs is more than enough for one family.  Try to plant them close to your kitchen door, as the closer they are to where you're cooking, the more apt you'll be to run out and snip a few.