Search Results for: sibella

Sibella

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After years of planning, and a few weeks of knitting, I finished my Sibella cardigan a couple of weeks ago. It is almost perfect. Almost. And because of that, this isn’t a post about a perfect sweater, it’s a post about why I’m going to rip a bunch of this back and reknit it.

There. Now that I’ve written what I’ve been thinking for the last week (making it out-loud official), let me explain. I chose a size for this cardigan that would give me a little over three inches of positive ease. I wanted a good layering cardigan — something that would fit equally well over a sleeveless top, t-shirt, or button-down shirt without pulling at the bust or bunching in the sleeves. Basically, I wanted a second Grace-like cardigan, but with a bit of ease (I knit that one with no ease, and wouldn’t change a thing about it, but in an effort to add versatility to my wardrobe, I wanted Sibella to be a little different.)

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Just look at that sleeve bunching! And they’re not even pushed up very far.

In the end, the stitch gauge worked out exactly as I had hoped, and the cardigan has a comfortable amount of ease across the bust and hips, and through the arms. Loose, but not saggy, with the option to wear it buttoned up all day or open. But, the damn thing grew like crazy when I blocked it — we’re talking an additional two inches in length to the body and sleeves — and that, when combined with the ease in width, just makes this look and feel too big. Not in an intentionally oversized way, but just in a too big way, and that was not the look I was hoping for.

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I actually think I could live with the added length through the body, but the too-long sleeves are driving me nuts. I’ve worn this sweater a few times, just to make sure, and I know that those sleeves will keep me from wearing this. I typically prefer bracelet-length sleeves or, at the longest, stopping just below the heel of my hand, but these pull all the way up over my hand to the base of my thumb. Pushing them up (as I typically do anyway) results in a huge bulge of extra fabric above my elbows, which is a problem.

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I may also go down a needle size for the top two lace repeats, just to add a little more structure to the yoke.

But, the good news is that all of this is a relatively easy fix! I will pull out the buttonbands and yoke, and then take 1.5-2 inches off the body and the sleeves, and then join everything back up and reknit the yoke and buttonbands. Yes, it’s annoying, and this sweater is so close to perfect that it would be foolish not to just suck it up and rework it. Leaving it alone now would leave me with a sweater I sometimes wore, but was always a bit unhappy with, and what’s the use in that?

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This is definitely not the last you’ve seen of Sibella! I’ll be back in a few weeks to show you the re-knit version.

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It’s May, let’s do this

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Since it’s already May 1, I’ll make this quick. (Technically, I already got started.)

Sibella! Full and proper post coming soon, but in the meantime, here's an shot of my handmade wardrobe in action.

Sibella! Full and proper post coming soon, but in the meantime, here’s an shot of my handmade wardrobe in action.

I, Angela of Pans & Needles, am signing up for Me Made May 2016 with the goal of wearing a me-made garment five days a week. I will endeavour to post a photo each day on Instagram.

A few caveats/details: When I say “garments” I don’t mean accessories, so socks and shawls don’t count. In addition to the clothing-specific part of my plans this month, I have a couple of other goals: First, I intend to blog every week! I know I’ve said that before, but in this case, I have a little backlog of finished items to write about, so if nothing else, those should see me through.

My other plan for the month is to actually make a couple of things. My knitting plans this month are all gift-related, but I do want to carve out some sewing time. I always get a little more drawn to sewing when the weather warms up, and this year is no exception. I have plans for a couple of tops, but since bottoms are a real hole in my hand-made wardrobe, I think I should probably plan to make a skirt too.

Are you participating this year?

I’m still finding sand

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We’ve been back for two weeks (two weeks!) and it feels both like we were just there and like our trip was months ago. In the first five days after we got back, it snowed three times (three times!). But, now that the weather as turned decidedly spring-like (plants outside during the day, the balcony door regularly left open, socks optional), I can look back at these bright, sunny, warm photos without quite as much wistfulness. And with that, here’s a quick spin through our holiday.

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Recognize this view? It had been three years since we were there, but it felt immediately familiar.

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I could post one of these for every night we were there, but I will restrain myself.

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Doesn’t it look like they’re all floating in six inches of water? The ocean is so, so clear — it doesn’t seem like it could be real.

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If you look closely, you can spot the edges of Balta, which was perfect for the warm, humid (perfect) weather.

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My parents have a 6 o’clock piña colada tradition when they’re there. My dad makes them and takes great care to garnish them with flowers each night. Lovely and delicious.

Last time we went to Eleuthra, I knit a lot and read just a little. This time, despite planning for more of the same, I ended up doing just the opposite! I did finish the second sleeve of Sibella (and I am so close to being finished the whole thing now), but that’s it. For whatever reason, I just wasn’t feeling the pull to my needles — less/no stress, is my bet — and instead I read two entire books and started a third. To all of you who recommended/endorsed All the Light We Cannot See, wow. I couldn’t put it down and have been thinking about it ever since. Absolutely stunning.

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I am not usually a pink person, but I would wear this colour.

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I have no idea what this is, but it grew all over the rocky landscape. Such a perfect yellow-green.

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We did a big walk through the Leon Levy Native Plant Reserve, which was fantastic (but breezeless and very hot) and the Epiphyte Trail was a definitely highlight. This one was easily taller than my hand.

Aside from reading, of course, we did lots of other things. We swam (a lot! I was very glad I invested in a new swimsuit — this one — before we went. It was well used), kayaked, walked along beaches, and played a lot cards — euchre and cribbage, mainly. Besides all the general fun of being on holiday, this was a great family trip. It’s rare for me to spend so much consecutive time with my parents, and rarer still to spend that much time with my grandparents (and rarer still for L to do so), and getting to that time together in such a gorgeous, relaxing place is a real treat.

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Really, though, Eleuthra is an island of beaches. We swam every day, sometimes on the Caribbean side (which our house faced) and sometimes on the Atlantic side (like here). For the most part, we had them all to ourselves.

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Yes, that is the actual colour of the water.

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The Blue Window. Perhaps not the easiest beach to find (on the Atlantic side), but well worth seeking out if you’re ever in the area. (I definitely recommend trying to be in the area.)

Heading for the sun

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A couple three years ago (where does the time go!?), L and I treated ourselves to a little spring escape and flew down to Eleuthra to spend a week with my grandparents (who go every year) and my aunts and uncles (whose visits overlapped with ours). It was, for us, the perfect kind of getaway: Sand, sun, sea, piña coladas, and family. Eleuthra has almost no hotels, and real resorts, so it’s very quiet — perfect if your idea of a vacation is to do your own thing.

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This isn’t a wistful post, though — this is me saying we decided to do it again! The last year (two years?) has been crazy, both in our work and home lives, and really, things are not going to slow down any time soon. When my parents booked their visit at a pretty amazing discount, we decided to just go for it. We leave on Sunday and will have a full, glorious week to soak up sunshine and family stories and generally just relax (whether that’s kayaking, reading, knitting, swimming, playing cribbage, or whatever).

But enough about all that! We booked our tickets ages ago, so my real concern right now is about what to pack. Namely, what I want to read and what I want to knit. Sometimes, these questions feel really high stakes on a vacation, but I think I’ve just about made up my mind. I finished Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis the other day (I don’t blog about books anymore, but whoa, if I did…) and then cleansed by palate with Emily Carroll’s gorgeous and spooky Through the Woods. So, I’m due for something new. Right now, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is topping the list (and the stack of books on my bedside table). It’s long enough that I probably won’t finish it while I’m away, but I might still pack a backup…

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Just a few more stripe repeats and I’ll be at the heel. I’m about a third of the way through this sock, I think.

Knitting wise, the choices are much easier. Sibella is flying — if you’d told me a grey, fingering weight, stockinette cardigan would be a speedy knit, I would have laughed, but it’s true — and I’m about a third of the way through the second sleeve. So, I’ll take that and finish it up, likely on the plane ride down. I want easy, social knitting, so I’ll leave the other pieces behind and join everything up when we’re back.

But, since part of a sleeve won’t be a full-trip project, I’m also bringing my stripy Christmas socks. I cast these on in December and have picked away at them, but it’s time to finish them up, so they’re next on my list. If I manage to get them done, I’m packing more striped yarn, this time destined to become socks for L. Starting my holiday knitting early was one of my January goals, and I am on it!

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I can’t believe how good this looks in a cake. I’m excited to see how it knits up.

(I even sewed a dress in time to wear on while we’re away, so I’ll make sure to get some FO shots to show you when we’re back!)

At last!

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I have been talking about knitting Sibella for well over a year now. When Carrie Bostick Hoge released Madder Anthology 1, the Sibella Cardigan immediately jumped out at me. It has a fairly simple construction and style, with an interest yoke detail, making it a lot like Grace, which I wear all the time.

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What a lovely grey! This is Jill Draper Makes Stuff Esopus in Graphite, which I picked up during her studio sale last year.

Since I first mentioned my desire to knit Sibella, I have knit four other sweaters! And every time, I seem to reaffirm my plan to knit Sibella next… I think part of what has been holding me back is that it’s fingering weight, which is eminently practical but slow to knit. And, I couldn’t quite decide on a colour: I needed and wanted a grey cardigan (having lamented numerous times about not having a go-to neutral), but it always seems like it would be so much more fun to knit this in a colour.

But, my desire to have this cardigan in my closet, and the increasing sense that If I just had Sibella done, I’d have the right thing to wear finally pushed me over the edge. Spring is almost here, making this the perfect time to knit a lightweight sweater, and not such a bad time to knit a grey one. That I had the perfect grey yarn in my stash definitely helped.

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I triumphantly cast on last weekend and having been knitting away fairly contentedly since. The gauge is quite loose (and I’m knitting slightly tight, as usual), so I have had to fix a few little blips (I keep purling into the row below, for example), but I can already tell that the fabric will have a nice drape and be comfortable to wear. I’ve just started the waist shaping, which means I’m about a third of the way through the body.

I have a little goal to finish this in time to wear it during Me Made May. May is a nice month, to be sure, but it definitely requires layering, and it became very clear last year that if I want to create an everyday-wearable hand-made wardrobe, I need neutral pieces. Part of the reason I participated in MMM last year (and intend to again this year) was so I could see where the hole in my handmade wardrobe were and then do something about them. I am very pleased that Sibella will do both, though I should probably stop typing and get back to knitting — those long rows of grey stockinette aren’t going to knit themselves.

Slow Fashion October

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Oh man, I had such big plans for this month. When Karen announced Slow Fashion October in mid-September I was so excited: What a great opportunity to write about all the things that have been jumbling around in my head since the spring; what a great excuse to really focus on what I am making and what I want to make; what a great way to push me into more regular blogging! But, alas, so far October hasn’t been any less busy than any other month, and I’m now three weeks behind and I’ve given up on the dream of catching up to Karen’s prompts.

Instead, here’s a rapid-fire version (I live in hope that next week I’ll have time to focus on this properly).

My first finished knit! It's a scarf/cowl, knit in 100% acrylic, and all the purls at twisted. I don't wear it anymore, but we do use it as a very effective tea cozy!

My first finished knit! It’s a scarf/cowl, knit in 100% acrylic, and all the purls at twisted. I don’t wear it anymore, but we do use it as a very effective tea cozy!

Week 1: You — I was very, very into crafts as a kid — beading, friendship bracelets, rug hooking (for a while), art, etc. — and did learn to knit then. But, it was slow, the needles were unwieldy and I put it aside without much thought. I came back to knitting when I was doing my masters. My sister had recently started knitting and I was was really inspired by what she was making, so when a couple of friends mentioned they’d be interested in learning, I was thrilled. From that initial scarf/cowl (knit flat and seamed) I immediately cast on for another cowl, and then took a sock class. I truly haven’t looked back since.

My progress with sewing has been slower, but overall I think my output has been better. I sewed off and on as a kid, using my mum’s ancient (but gorgeous) Singer. I made a lot of bags entirely from my own patterns (read: my coming up with an idea and cutting fabric without so much as sketching it first). I got a sewing machine for Christmas a couple of years ago, and that has really opened me up to making more of my own clothes. I still find sewing more of a hassle than knitting (it’s the set up mostly — I don’t have anywhere I can leave my machine out), but I’m enjoying it and can see myself improving, which is very encouraging.

Week 2: Small — This describes my overall handmade wardrobe, I’d say! That’s not a complaint, though. Having a small rotation of handmade garments to wear means that I really do wear them all (or, almost all) on a regular basis. My Scout Tees (most of which haven’t been blogged aside from Me Made May) get worn weekly, when it’s sweater season, it’s my handknit ones that I reach for, and the only time I wear store-bought socks is for sports (and only summer sports at that — for skiing, hiking, etc. I wear handknits).

Part of the reason for this smallness is because I’m slow. My work-life balance has been tipped in a decidedly “work” direction for a while now, and I don’t have the free time I used to. That means each thing I choose to spend time on takes more time, but also (in theory) ends up being a better piece. When you spend months knitting a sweater, you have way more time to think about fit, try it on, see how it’s working out, etc. Likewise, I spend a lot more time thinking about what I’m going to make, so when I’m free to start something new, I’ve really thought about all the ways I’ll wear or use that garment, which results in it getting lots of use once it’s done.

Epistrophy! I cast this on in March, and even though I haven't been knitting on it continuously for the last six months, that is rather a long time to have something on the needles. I'm so happy with it and the way it's turning out, and I can already tell it will be in regular rotation all winter.

Epistrophy! I cast this on in March, and even though I haven’t been knitting on it continuously for the last six months, that is rather a long time to have something on the needles. I’m so happy with it and the way it’s turning out, and I can already tell it will be in regular rotation all winter.

One of the other benefits to this slowness is that it means I make less in a year (this is not something I usually see as a positive, to be honest). I was thinking about this in relation to Karen’s prompts, and less output means I have more money to put toward each item, which allows me to pick and choose yarns and fabrics that I really like.

For example, knowing it would probably take three months to knit Sibella (no, I have not yet cast on. Soon though!), and that I would wear it for years, meant I could justify (to myself — I don’t think yarn purchases need to be justified in general) spending a little more to buy a sweater’s worth of Jill Draper Makes Stuff Esopus, a yarn I have loved from afar for a long time. I really love what Jill is doing with her yarns (local sourcing, environmentally friendly milling, hand dyeing), and I understand why they cost more because of that. Being slow let’s me support that, which is pretty great.

I thought I would be able to get to Week 3 here too, but honestly, if I don’t post this now, I might not (I already have a much longer version of Week 1 saved as a draft). Weeks 3 and 4 coming up!

Have clothes, will travel

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Clothing — and, specifically, wardrobe building — has been on my mind for a while now, but perhaps never more than when I’m travelling. Somehow, despite reading quite a lot about creating capsule wardrobes and personal uniforms, it never fails that the minute I get wherever I’m going and open my bag I realize that I’ve utterly failed to pack outfits. Instead, I have a bunch of pieces that don’t really go together in any kind of coherent way, soon to be immortalized in all my vacation photos.

Shaelyn and Grace, the absolute stars of my travel wardrobe.

Shaelyn and Grace, the absolute stars of my travel wardrobe.

Typically, this initial panic recedes a bit and I realize there was some method to my packing, but honestly, it’s definitely a make-do situation. How someone who reliably wears the same basic outfit everyday can be this inept I don’t know, but I think that maybe writing it down here will help me remember this failing in the future. Having spent the last ten days thinking about where I went wrong this time, I think I’ve narrowed down where my thought process went wrong:

1. We planned to split our time between hiking and sightseeing, so I needed two totally different wardrobes. I did really well on the hiking side (clearly what I was more worried about), and left the everyday/sightseeing side to chance.
2. Me Made May distracted me. I made the pledge knowing I’d be away for a third of the time, but I didn’t really think about how that would factor into my packing. I was doing really well and wanted to keep it up, but in general, my sewn pieces all require ironing, making them less than ideal for travel. I changed my mind about half way through packing and then didn’t compensate with my usual wardrobe staples.
3. I forgot about colour. My default colour is dark blue, which serves me very well, so why I decided to change it up for a holiday is beyond me. I mean, I packed my Grace cardigan for layering, but then also a pink t-shirt. There is zero logic in that.
4. I made a bad bet on the weather. If Switzerland had been warm and sunny, I think I would have been okay. But the first half of our trip was pretty cool, and since that’s when we did the bulk of our sightseeing (saving the nicest days for hiking), the skirt and dress I’d planned to wear were pretty useless, and the necessity of layering (and thus, the uselessness of the pink t-shirt) was pronounced.

It probably goes without saying that handknit socks are a staple. They saw me through hiking, sightseeing, and just hanging around the apartment. They are the absolute best.

It probably goes without saying that handknit socks are a staple. They saw me through hiking, sightseeing, and just hanging around the apartment. They are the absolute best.

All of this aside, I am thrilled to say that both my Grace cardigan and Shaelyn shawl saw regular wear and I’m not tired of either. I could definitely use some neutral handknits though, so I’m going to have to think about how I want to handle that. I had been thinking about knitting the Sibella Cardigan in a gold colour (I’m partial to Shibui Staccato in Brass, to be specific), but now I’m thinking I’d get a lot more wear out it if I knit it in a tonal grey — maybe Tanis Fiber Arts Slate or Charcoal? My Flukra is already a great neutral (why oh why didn’t I pack it?!) but I also have some Tosh Merino Light in my stash that would be a great neutral colour for an interesting but neutral shawl (Holden or Ishbel maybe).

As I’m mulling all of this over now, I thought I’d ask your advice. What are your wardrobe staples when you travel? Are you ever surprised by what you come to rely on? When it comes to your handmade wardrobe (knit or sewn), what are your favourite or most versatile pieces?

I’ve got myself to a place where I want to be really specific about what I’m making, and I’m with my sock drawer in good shape, I’m especially interested in garments and accessories. With Me Made May ending today, I will for sure be writing more about this in the near future, but with travel top of mind, I thought I should pull this out as a separate post.

The year in making: Looking ahead

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I am really happy with what I knit and sewed in 2014, and I’m really excited about this year. I actually have so many plans that I’m trying to rein myself in — it would be really easy to be ambitious now and then feel like I let myself down later, so I’ve been really thinking about what I want to do this year in a way that makes space for change. In no particular order, here are some of the big things I want to do/make this year, though I’ve almost certainly forgotten something.

Our first tree!

Our first tree!

1. This is an easy one since it’s top of mind right now: I want to make more ornaments for our Christmas tree. This was the first year L and I had our own tree, and it was a little sparsely decorated. It was fine, and I think almost all the ornaments we have are hand made, but none of them were made by me, which felt a little strange. Growing up, our tree was always a mish-mash of hand-crafted, homemade, and store-bought ornaments, and the jumble was so cheerful and fun. While there is plenty of time until there will be kid-made ornaments on our tree, I would like to spend some time (well in advance) making some ornaments for us. Right now I’m hoping to make 12. I’m thinking I’ll use leftovers to make a few variations of these stranded balls (I really like these cabled ones too) and I love these wonky owls. In an effort not to only fill the tree with knitting (though it’s tempting), this sewn owl is on my list, as is this little house and this map-petal ornament (which would also be really nice with a robust wrapping paper). Do you have any favourites I should add to the list?

2. More socks! I knit 12 pairs of socks last year, 10 of which were for me, and I really thought I’d be set for a while. But, of course, handknit socks wear out eventually and some of my oldest pairs are decidedly out of the regular rotation (though they’re great for sleeping in). I’d like to knit another 12 pairs this year (I’ve even picked out some of the yarns!) in a mix of super-warm worsted-weight socks, plain fingering-weight, and fun patterned ones (Dawlish is high on my list), plus some gifts of course.

Lovely plain socks, knit up in   Nomadic Yarns Twisty Sock in Sweater Weather.

Lovely plain socks, knit up in Nomadic Yarns Twisty Sock in Sweater Weather.

3. Keep knitting from my stash. I thought was really doing well with this in 2014, but somehow my stash still swelled by more than 5,000 yards, so there’s a way to go (not that I want to get rid of my stash or anything, I just want to use it). I’ve been really enjoying Felicia’s posts about stashing, and while I’m not planning to set limits on purchases or anything (I just rebel against those), I have ben enjoying my stash lately and I’m hoping that continues this year.

4. Speaking of stash, I’ve built up a little fabric stash this year. My big sewing goal this year is to figure out shirts/tops. This was one of the big reasons I wanted to start sewing, so it’s time to focus on it. I’m going to ease in with cotton knit t-shirts, but I do want to work up to more careful, tailored pieces. I see a lot of muslins in my future, and I’m okay with that.

Bedford swatch in Tosh Vintage, in Tart.

Bedford swatch in Tosh Vintage, in Tart.

5. Along with garment sewing, I want to do more garment knitting. I wear my knits all the time, and more sweaters would be a welcome addition to my closet. First up is Bedford, which I’ve swatched for already and will probably cast on for pretty soon. I’ve loved this pattern for ages, and it finally occurred to me that it was a perfect match for the sweater’s worth of Tosh Vintage I have in my stash. I’m also eyeing Epistrophy and Asta Sollilja (my parents bought me YOKES for Christmas, which is very exciting), as well as the Sibella Cardigan, all of which would be great fits for my wardrobe (they’re also all patterns I already own, which is a whole other part of knitting from stash). I’m not sure I’ll actually get to four sweaters this year, but I think two is realistic (based on the last few years), and maybe this year I’ll push it to three. We shall see.

So, there you have it, my big 5. What are your plans for the year? Almost certainly I’ll read other lists and get inspired and want to come back append this list, but oh well. That’s what makes all of this fun, right?

A very good mail week

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I don’t know how it happened, but somehow a whack of great mail all arrived in the last few days relatively unexpectedly (that is, I knew it was all coming, but I didn’t think it would all arrive at once).

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It all started with the arrival of Gudrun Johnston’s new book Shetland Trader Book 2, which I had been thinking about buying for a while. After debating about whether I really needed it, I then decided all at once, on a whim (after a long day at work), that I should just get. I love the Northdale pullover and Belmont cardigan, and I think Balta will be a fantastic summer knit. The books itself is also gorgeous, and comes with pdfs of all the patterns which I love.

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Then, at the beginning of this week, I left home to find a fun little package sitting on my doorstep: two skeins of Nomadic Yarns self-striping yarn. These are both Twisty Sock (superwash merino and nylon) and were also purchased in a fit of work stress (I’ve never thought of myself as going for retail therapy, but apparently being too busy to knit just makes me want to buy knitting-related things). I actually think I did quite well just buying these two — Grinchmas and Sweater Weather — especially since I was torn between five colourways and very nearly just threw my hands in the air and bought them all. Compared to that, two sounds like a measured approach, right?

Finally two days ago, I arrived home to find two exciting packages waiting. I won a giveaway for Carrie Bostick Hoge’s Madder Anthology 1 ages ago from Very Shannon, so it’s just a fluke that it arrived now. I’ve been looking forward to this book since Carrie first wrote about it on her blog, and I think the Sibella Cardigan will be my first make from it (I wear my Grace all the time, so another lightweight cardigan with some interesting yoke details would not go amiss in my wardrobe).

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The second package contained the inaugural issue of Knit Wit magazine, which I backed on Kickstarter but is available for purchase at a few places now (including Fringe Supply Co). Yes, it costs more than your average magazine, but it really feels more like a journal or a book, and its definitely put together with the same care. Knit Wit is gorgeous, with heavy, matte pages, stunning photos, and really nice type faces. I haven’t had a ton of time to spend with it yet, but I’m really looking forward to reading thoughtful, varied pieces about lots of different fiber pursuits — from knitting to weaving to dyeing. There was no one-year subscription option for international backers, but I’ll definitely be sourcing Issue 2 of this one.