August Has Arrived!

August’s arrival always makes us feel like summer has gone too fast. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Soon, we’ll get to enjoy wonderful cool fall weather like what we experienced earlier this week. There’s a special coziness about wearing snuggly sweaters and drinking a warm cup of hot cocoa!

Current WIP Mountain Stats

Total WIPs: 13
Travel WIPs: 3
At-home WIPs: 6
Special WIPs: 4

The original WIPs list is in the single digits! 9 to go! I can’t resist the temptation of my projects from the MN Yarn Shop Hop, but I’m doing my best to give equal attention to both sides of the project list.

Finished Projects

simplysoftshrug4_medium2I finished my Simply Soft Shrug back in mid-May and never got the chance to take a picture of it. I struggled to understand the pattern at first, but I’m happy with how it turned out.

It would be fun to get some nicer yarn and make it again. I might even change the stitch patterns on the sleeves. This one feels more like a test knit, but it’ll be nice to wear around the house when fall arrives!

We took a road trip to Wisconsin the weekend before Memorial Day to visit my brother and explore Madison and Baraboo as a family. It’s a 5-hour drive one way, so I brought the Labyrinth Owl Hat along as a nice travel-sized project. I thought it would be just challenging enough to keep my interest, and big enough to last through the whole weekend. I was definitely wrong about that! The hat was finished by the end of day 2 of our road trip, except for adding the buttons and making the pom-pom. Oops. 😅

This hat has a lot to offer, with its cabled owl design on the front and the moss stitch on the back. I couldn’t put it down! Luckily, The Sow’s Ear was close by, so we stopped in to explore. I got a beautiful skein of Malabrigo Sock yarn in the Reflecting Pool colorway and picked a new travel-sized project from my Ravelry library: Love In Every Stitch from Lila & Claudine’s.

The shawl pattern didn’t make total sense to me the first time around. I wanted it to match the stunning results I saw on the Ravelry pattern page, so I tweaked the instructions a little bit. Those modifications are listed on my project page. It’s a quick and easy knit, and I love that Braille is incorporated into the lace stripes. Imagine customizing this pattern with your own personal messages in Braille lace!

I just finished the shawl a couple weeks ago and love it. It drapes so nicely! The yarn is soft and light, and the teal color varies slightly, just enough to add interest. I used the last little bit of Malabrigo Sock to jazz up the pom-pom for the hat, so I officially finished both around the same time. They go pretty well together, don’t you think?

Most recently, I finished my cowl version of “The Pattern Your Way” by Lynn Kindem. Mom and I were doing our own mini-KAL of this pattern and we’ve really been enjoying the design. I made mine with Sun Valley Fibers MCN Fingering in the Red Velvet Lounge colorway. I love those beautiful bursts of cherry red and the diagonal bands of red orange!

Finish-It-Summer

Twisted Loop Yarn Shop‘s Finish-It-Summer continues until August 25th. I know I’ve taken on more than I can finish, so I’ll be happy with what progress I can make. I expect that I’ll have completed 4 of my 6 chosen projects by the event deadline, and that sounds like pretty good crafting progress to me.

In Other News

Finish-It-Summer takes priority at the moment. That said, I’ve got a small but growing set of projects in their final assembly stages. If I can just make time to sit down and put the finishing touches on, I’ll be able to share a couple more finished projects next time. That will allow me to significantly shrink the original WIP list.

I’m starting work on a commission for a friend’s cosplay. We’re still getting the details together, but I’m excited to start work on this fun pattern.

We’re going on a road trip in a couple weeks to catch the total solar eclipse. It’ll take several hours of driving one way to reach our destination, so I’ll be picking out an easy travel project from my Shop Hop stash to take along like I did back in May.

August is exhibit time in my neck of the woods. I’m taking two projects to the county fair later this week. Three more are in an employee art show through work. With any luck, I’ll be going to check out the exhibits at the state fair too.

There are a couple fun events coming up in August that I’m really looking forward to. Stay tuned for more details!

Feeling Anything But Serene

The Oxford Dictionary defines serenity as “the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.” That’s how knitting usually makes crafters feel, right? But sometimes, that’s far from the truth.

Earlier this week, I picked my Serenity shawl back up after putting it away for a few months. Rachel Booker has designed a beautiful, easily customizable pattern! The trouble is that I’m not used to working with lace designs. I’ve learned the importance of lifelines and stitch markers the hard way.

I eagerly started this project last July after a trip to the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, MN. We visited Yarnology like we always do when we’re in town, and I found the perfect skein of Tosh Merino Light to pair with the skein of Alpaca Superlight that my friend Claire gave to me. I’m using the Tosh Merino Light for the stockinette sections and the Alpaca Superlight for the lace stripes.

The project went very well at first. I love how the two yarns work together! Then, I discovered a mistake in the first lace stripe a few rows back. A couple hours later, I had tinked enough to get back on the right track and started knitting fearlessly again.

The same problem happened with each of the next two lace stripes. I would get to the lace stripe and happily stitch away, only to discover that I don’t have enough stitches left at the end of the row and the lace design is now off-kilter. Time to unravel the row and hope I find my mistake. Usually, I knit while listening to a podcast or a TV show in the background. These lace sections would take so much concentration that I started knitting in absolute silence and still risk making a mistake.

I was so frustrated after correcting the last mistake that I set this project aside for a few months. I picked it up again in mid-May when Twisted Loop Yarn Shop announced their Finish-It-Summer event.

A couple weeks ago, I discovered a set of 20 stitches in the middle of the stripe that made the diamond design look more like a zig-zag design. I tried and failed to unravel and re-knit just that small section before ripping out the whole stripe.

I’ve finally learned my lesson. Before I start the first row of the lace stripe, I thread a contrasting yarn into the most recent row. This lifeline will save me from extra frustration if I make another major mistake. Then, I place a new stitch marker every three repeats during right-side rows of the lace stripe. I remove the markers on wrong-side rows and check my work for mistakes as I go. This strategy is working so far! I re-knit that latest lace stripe with no mistakes and am now working on the next stockinette section.

There’s still quite a bit of work to go on this shawl. I might not finish by the August 25th deadline, but I will be very happy with the progress that I’ve made. I’ll be wearing this shawl proudly when it is complete!

It’s Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Summer

When does summer officially start? Is it the first 80-degree day? Does it start as soon as area students have their last day of school? Do we wait until the summer solstice a few months from now?

Personally, I stick with the school year schedule, which usually means the first week of June. That’s as good a time as any to make summer plans and make a crafting progress update.

Current WIP Mountain Stats

Total WIPs: 16
Travel WIPs: 4
At-home WIPs: 6
Special WIPs: 6

Well, that’s quite a few more special WIPs than last time… Two are baby gifts, one is a private KAL that Mom and I are doing together so she can build her knitting skills, another is intended for open knitting time at a local yarn shop, and two were from a recent family road trip. A few of these new projects also happen to be from the MN Yarn Shop Hop, which I had been struggling to avoid.

Finished Projects

The main project I focused on in March was Auden’s Advice. Both pairs of gloves are finally finished! And I still have some black and pink yarn to use in another project. Maybe I could use them with some leftover Unicorn Tails from my Second Sock Syndrome Hat? Might make a cute cowl or fingerless gloves… We’ll see. 🙂

Pictured are both sides of the gloves’ design, next to the single test glove, which featured a thumb that just didn’t work out as hoped. The actual gloves incorporate the thumb gusset from Lola’s Flip Top Mittens. One pair is for my friend Amy, who got the pattern as one of her perks from the 2016 Project For Awesome and was kind enough to share it with me. I hope she loves them! I’m keeping the test pair for myself because they don’t look quite as nice but are still cozy and warm.

As mentioned in my last update, I have two cross-stitch projects back from the framers. These projects were technically already finished, so they aren’t included in my current WIP count.

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First is the Beautiful Savior that I made for my mom because it’s her favorite hymn. The pastel in the title and the hearts at the bottom are a little hard to see in the photo. The beadwork really makes the design pop.

Second is the Hummel Quartet. Grandma was about halfway finished with this piece when she passed away in 2010. The picture on the left shows what she had completed. I saved this piece and a several others she’d been working on because I felt they needed to be finished. This piece is especially important because she enjoyed Hummel figurines so much.

I also wanted to show off my finished Fanny shawlette. It’s been off the needles for a few months now, but I finally got it blocked, took pictures, and found an outfit or two that I think it looks nice with. It’s a nice light shawlette that will be fun to wear.

Making Great Progress

Two projects on my list are original patterns. I’ve been wanting to create plushies of my original characters Farbie and Sasquatch, who I’ve been drawing since sometime in middle school. I spent a math-filled weekend in late March coming up with the right measurements for both characters, and I finally have the outlines of both patterns ready to go. Pattern-writing is equal to actual stitching in my book! 🙂 Now to find the right yarn for a test knit.

Up Next

Mom and I are in the middle of a private KAL for “The Pattern Your Way” from the Shop Hop. Mom claims that she’s not a knitter, but she’s knit beautiful things, like a garter stitch wrap out of Lion Brand Homespun that keeps her warm in the winter. Crocheting is her craft of choice, but she fell in love with Unwind Yarn Shop‘s 2017 Hop pattern. She’s practicing her purl stitches at the moment. When she’s feeling comfortable, she’ll be working on the scarf version of the pattern. I’m going for the cowl version, which I’ll be able to wear more easily at work. I’m going to knit one full repeat of the garter section and the flame section so we have an example to look at.

My parents and I took a road trip down to Madison, WI the weekend before Memorial Day. I brought a small one-skein project with me for the five-hour drive – the Labyrinth Owl Hat. That project only lasted for the first day and a half of the trip. I still have the pom-pom to make and the buttons to add, but that will be done soon. Luckily, The Sow’s Ear is in the area, so I stopped in and picked up a gorgeous skein of Malabrigo Sock in the colorway Reflecting Pool, which will become Love In Every Stitch.

I’m participating in Twisted Loop Yarn Shop’s Finish-It-Summer! The projects I’ve entered are:

  1. Labyrinth Owl Hat
  2. It’s A Wonderful World
  3. The Pattern Your Way
  4. Golden Retriever Puppy
  5. Serenity
  6. Jingle Bells Baby Hat

We get to enter as many projects as we’d like that were started before May 15th, and we have until August 25th to finish as many of those projects as possible. Then we need to bring our projects to Prior Lake to show them off and enter them. This event will be great motivation for crafting this summer.

Meanwhile, Lakeside Yarn moved their open knitting time to Sundays from 2-4. Mom and I won’t be able to attend every week, but we will stop in when we can. This will be the perfect time to work on my It’s A Wonderful World.

What are your summer crafting plans? I’d love to hear from you!

New Toys!

Having just acquired several beautiful new hanks of yarn from the 2017 MN Yarn Shop Hop, I faced a lot of time winding yarn into usable shapes. That meant it was high time to investigate yarn winders and swifts. After a couple weeks of research and pondering, my early birthday present arrived (thanks Mom and Dad!).

My new toys are the KnitPicks ball winder and the PingQian umbrella swift. They make a great team – mostly easy to use and easy to store too.

I say mostly easy to use because we didn’t bother to read the ball winder’s instructions completely when we tried to wind the first skein. It should have been self-explanatory, right? Thread the end of the yarn through the metal arm, attach it to the center column, and start turning the handle. We didn’t realize that the metal arm had a notch to hold it in place, and that a slower pace helps.

That extra knowledge could have helped us avoid about an inch of yarn getting caught and eaten by the base of the winder. It also would have helped us make a more nicely-shaped yarn cake. The second attempt, done after re-reading the instructions, turned out much better.

Pictured are the yarn from Darn. Knit. {Anyway} on the swift (those colors! 😍) and partially wound into a yarn cake.

I haven’t wound all of the new yarn into cakes yet. The yarns from Lakeside Yarn and Amazing Threads are still waiting their turn. Overall, I am very happy with the winder and swift, and the neat center-pull yarn cakes they produce.

The downside is that it’s easy to go overboard with your winding. I went a bit crazy and now my winding arm is extremely achy. I allow myself about four rows at a time if I absolutely can’t stay away from my knitting. The rest of the time, I try to rest my arm, ice it if need be, and work on other non-knitting projects. Not easy to do, but worth it in the end to avoid total injury.

Not-Enough-Supplies Syndrome

I’ve gotten into this problem more times than I care to admit. Usually it’s my fault because I didn’t look at the yardage for a project and didn’t buy enough yarn. This time, I was working with the supplies provided in a needlecraft kit that a friend gave to me. As I powered through adding sequins and beads yesterday afternoon, I ran out of the green beads I needed for the green sequins. I am also running low on a few colors of embroidery floss.

Some of this might be user error. I tend to like leaving longer tails than necessary just in case, and this klutzy crafter could easily have spilled a few beads now and then without realizing it. No matter what the cause, I need to find more supplies to finish the project.

The kit in question is a vintage 1970s Bucilla Christmas Needlecraft Kit. Kit #8043 is titled “Partridge In A Pear Tree.” It features sequins and beads sewn onto felt pieces that are then sewn onto a green burlap background. The end result is very sparkly!

You can still find unopened kits for this project on sites like Etsy and eBay for anywhere from $30 to $80. Buying a new kit would be a sure-fire way to get the right supplies, but isn’t really cost-effective when all you need are a pack of beads and a few skeins of embroidery floss.

The original kit doesn’t provide any color numbers like you’d expect from many of today’s cross-stitch kits. I did some research and discovered that Bucilla is now a part of Plaid Enterprises, but I couldn’t seem to find a place to buy individual skeins of embroidery floss or packages of beads on their site. I then sent an email to customer service asking if they happened to have records of which supplies would have been included in their old kits. I knew it was a long shot, but it was worth a try.

What I learned a few days later was that the kit was discontinued years ago and they had since purged their records. They only keep records on kits that are currently in publication or have been discontinued for less than a year. Good to know for future projects, and I’m happy I got a quick response.

Time to raid the craft supplies closet! Mom and I both enjoy cross-stitch, so we’ve got an abundance of embroidery floss from past projects. I also have several bags of beads from middle school and high school. I didn’t expect to find an exactly perfect match for the supplies I needed, but I wanted to come so close that it would be hard for anyone to tell the difference.

I had a partial success! I found very close matches for the gold, salmon, lavender, lime green, forest green, and brown embroidery floss. There are some green beads that are the right size and style but a few shades of green too light. We have some turquoise sewing thread that is the right shade, but I want to see if I can find some embroidery floss in a similar color first.

Off to Stitchville USA! This is our local specialty needlecraft store. They have a huge supply of beads, embroidery floss, buttons, frames, notions, and just about anything else you’d need for your needlecrafting adventures. I knew I’d have better luck here than at a big box store like JoAnn Fabrics or Michaels. The turquoise options we found were either too bright blue or too green, so I’m sticking with the sewing thread I found in my stash. I did find a close match for the green beads, which I’m thankful for.

On Friday, I finished attaching the last set of sequins and beads. I’ve also got most of the partridge’s wing sewn together, minus the gold thread that will embellish the edge of the wing. All the other felt pieces are cut out and laid out, so now all that’s left is lots of sewing. I’m really excited to see the finished product, and to display it this Christmas.

MN Yarn Shop Hop 2017 Day 4 Adventures

Mom, Werner, and I had a rough start yesterday morning but finished strong. Our original plan was to meet up for breakfast with friends who were in town for Anime Detour. We arrived on time…at the wrong location 12 miles away. Lesson learned: always verify the address ahead of time. Sorry guys. We’ll just have to find time to meet up another day.

It took us a little bit to find our way through some detours and out of downtown Minneapolis, but eventually we were on our way to our first Shop Hop stop of the day.

Stop #9: Darn. Knit. (Anyway) in Stillwater

In Stillwater, we enjoyed a Broadway theme complete with red carpet, gold stars, listening to a fun variety of Broadway hits, and Hamilton-inspired yarn.

Pattern: “What’s that? A Cravat!” by Carroll Davis-Johnson

Yarn: CashLuxe Fine 70% superwash merino, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon by SweetGeorgia in the colorway My Shot

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I couldn’t resist a skein of this beautiful Shop Hop yarn. We were also treated to a printed copy of last year’s graphic novel-inspired “Sketch It Cowl” by Aimee Pelletier.

First Impressions: The fun starts before you ever go inside! Werner and I stopped to enjoy a story with Humpty Dumpty. We also checked out the spiffy yarn-bombed tree before walking the red carpet. Inside, we explored and sang along to Broadway tunes (no I’m not throwin’ away my. shot!), both on the main floor and upstairs in the loft. Beautiful store run by a fantastic team, and filled with yarn and store samples to ooh and aah over.

Before we went too much farther, we stopped for a delicious lunch at Leo’s Grill & Malt Shop. Mom and I split a strawberry banana milkshake and a Leo’s Seasonal Salad. It was a beautiful sunny morning to walk through town. Definitely a trip to repeat!

Stop #10: Lila & Claudine’s in Mahtomedi

We had some good old-fashioned fun enjoying the Laurence Welk theme at this store.

Pattern: “Tiny Bubbles Scarf” by Merrie Davidson, “Luftig” and “Bubbly Wine Cowl” by Kirsten Skoglund

Yarn: Trippin’ With Dixi in the colorways Bubbles In My Wine and Champagne Sparkles

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The Shop Hop colorways had run out before we arrived, but there were lots of other colorways of the same yarn to choose from and admire. I’m nervous about the thought of purposely dropping stitches, but I love the effect!

First Impressions: So much sass and snark under one roof makes for lots of laughs! There were funny signs displayed downstairs, a fun plush sheep needle holder and socks with not-so-family-friendly slogans upstairs, and beautiful yarns and shop samples everywhere. We enjoyed swaying along to fun oldies like “Sentimental Journey” as we wandered through the shop. Enjoy that big glass of wine tonight! You hosted a great party!

Stop #11: Sheepy Yarn Shoppe in White Bear Lake

“It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing…” as we got into a jazzy mood. These Shop Hop patterns really popped!

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Pattern: “Jazzy Knit Wrap,” “Jazzy Knit Cowl,” and “Jazzy Crochet Cowl” by Bobbi IntVeld

Yarn: Targhee Shimmer DK 85% targhee wool, 15% silk by Knitted Wit in colorways Jazz It Up (shades of orange) and All That Jazz (shades of bright blue)

We loved All That Jazz but it had sold out long before we got to White Bear Lake. We’ll just have to keep our eyes peeled for something similar to use for that beautiful wrap.

First Impressions: Plenty of room to wander and explore. I especially enjoyed chatting with the gal at check-in (sorry I didn’t catch your name!). She’s working on a super-fun tank top with three colors that will look just stunning when it’s done.

Stop #12: Double Ewe Yarn Shop in Circle Pines

Two great songs inspired these designers: “De Colores” by Raffi and “Love Is The Answer” by Utopia.

Pattern: “El Gallo y La Gallina” and “No Tea For Me” by Kelly Judson, and “Love Is The Answer” by Diane L. Augustin.

Yarn: 4/8’s Wool 100% merino wool by Mountain Colors in the Rooster colorway, including two beautiful clay hen buttons. “Love Is The Answer” is recommended with Driftone 100% mercerized cotton by Plymouth Yarn.

doubleewe

I’m really looking forward to making this wonderful tea cozy pattern. I’ve got a few beading patterns in mind and I know this llama print beading surface will come in handy. What a perfect idea to use floss threaders to string the beads!

First Impressions: Such a welcoming store filled with gorgeous yarns, run by a great team with awesome ideas. We loved chatting with Kelly (thanks for visiting the blog!) and Diane and look forward to stopping in again the next time we’re in town.

Stop #13: All About Yarn in Coon Rapids

As silly as it sounds, I’d forgotten that I was already familiar with Earth Wind & Fire. There are some great acapella covers of “September” that regularly pop up on Pandora.

Pattern: “Serpentine Fire” by Carol Rieger and “Shining Star Cowl” by Julie Isberg

Yarn: Crazyfoot 90% superwash wool, 10% nylon by Mountain Colors in Earth (green tones), Wind (blue and purple tones), and Fire (red and orange tones).

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With Gunnar’s help, I picked out two packets of teal beads to go with my Wind yarn. It’ll really make this Shining Star Cowl pop!

First Impressions: This store is really hoppin’, and not just during the Shop Hop! When we arrived, there was a beginning knitting class in one gathering space, and a knitting group meeting in the other space. It shares a shopping center with a few other crafting and hobby stores, so there’s plenty for a whole family to check out.

Stop #14: Amazing Threads in Maple Grove

We did a happy dance at our last stop, and it’s only fitting that we jammed to 80’s dance music when we earned Finisher status.

Pattern: “Flashdance Cowl,” “Flashdance Shawl,” “Steel Town Girl,” and “Maniac Fingerless Gloves & Cowl” by Amazing Threads

Yarn: La Jolla 100% merino wool by Baah! in the Flashdance 10 mini-skein set for the first two patterns. Mad Hatter 100%  merino wool mini-skeins by Frabjous Fibers in the Steel Town Girl 7 mini-skein set for the third pattern. Sonoma 100% merino by Baah! in the Maniac colorway for the fourth pattern.

amazingthreads

I’d been admiring Frabjous Fibers yarns all day and finally picked out the Steel Town Girl kit. This will be a fun pattern to knit and a cozy cowl to wear.

First Impressions: These girls love what they do and I can tell they’ve had a lot of fun with the Flashdance theme. When we weren’t checking out the Shop Hop yarns, they showed us even more great knitting ideas, including the ever-popular “Find Your Fade” by Andrea Mowry.

We did it! We’re finishers! I had a ton of fun enjoying each store’s musical theme. This was my first time participating in the Minnesota Yarn Shop Hop and I had a blast! Here’s hoping I can join in on the fun next year too. Until then, I’ve gotten to know a great group of stores that I’ll be visiting again. Mom mainly crochets but wants to add to her knitting skills so she can make more of the beautiful things we saw together yesterday.

Now, this new yarn will still have to wait to be wound for a while because I still have several WIPs left to finish and the rules I gave myself still apply. That said, once I reach three or fewer in the travel-sized category, I can cast on another travel-sized project. Guess I’d better get stitching!

Can’t wait to see everyone’s great finds! What are your post-Shop Hop crafting plans?

MN Yarn Shop Hop 2017 Day 2 Adventures

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Another day, another note… 🙂

Day 2 certainly was an adventure driving-wise. I visited five stores yesterday, and to get to each required lots of city driving, which can be a little nerve-wracking sometimes.

Stop #4: Knit’N From The Heart in Woodbury

I loved the “Springtime In Paris” theme! It might have worked more as an art- or travel-inspired theme, but that hardly matters when the yarn on display is so lovely.

Pattern: “A Walk Through Monet’s Garden” by Tamara Del Sonno

Yarn: Smooshy 100% superwash merino by Dream In Color in the Garden colorway and Smooshy Petites 100% superwash merino in the Path colorway (see what they did there?). The same set was available in Smooshy with Cashmere.

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I love everything about this yarn. It reminds me of Grandma tending to her garden, and I’m looking forward to working with the merino version of the Shop Hop yarn.

First impressions: This group knows how to create a display! There’s lots to explore here, but what really caught my eye were the shop samples and the Shop Hop display. I plan to visit again next time I’m in the area.

Stop #5: 3 Kittens Needle Arts in Mendota Heights

It’s Saturday Night (or rather Friday morning) Fever in this yarn and needlecraft shop!

Pattern: “Disco Ball Shawl” by Laura Rasmussen and “Disco Inferno Mitt” by Shelley Pabst

Yarn: Diva 75% merino wool, 20% nylon, 5% stellina by Mollygirl Yarn in colorways That’s The Way I Like It and Funkytown

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I didn’t get any yarn here, but I’m seriously thinking of going back to get a skein of That’s The Way I Like It. What a fun purple!

First impressions: This is definitely a one-stop shop for crafters! They specialize in both yarn and needlecrafts, which makes this knitter/crocheter/cross-stitcher very happy.

Just before I got to 3 Kittens, I started to run low on fuel. Thankfully there was a gas station right across the highway!

Stop #6: The Yarnery in St. Paul

This store was celebrating all things Bob Dylan, especially two of his greatest hits.

Pattern: “Tangled Up In Blue Hat” and “Tangled Up In Blue Mitts” by Ted Beverly

Yarn: Fave Sock 100% superwash merino gradient yarn sets by Fiberstory in colorways Blowin’ In The Wind and The Times They Are A-Changin’. One gradient set is meant to be enough for both hat and matching mitts.

I didn’t get any yarn here either, but I’ve got the perfect yarn at home to make those fingerless mitts.

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First impressions: I had almost forgotten that I’ve been here once before. It’s a fun shop to visit on a quiet day, with lots of little nooks to explore. It’s a bit more challenging when there’s a crowd. The shop owners did an amazing job taking the stamp pad down the line to help hoppers with their passports.

Stop #7: StevenBe… in Minneapolis

StevenBe and team love to make a statement. It’s no surprise that they went Gaga as their musical inspiration.

Pattern: “Gaga Shroud” (and “Crochini“) by StevenBe. I don’t think the Crochini is technically a Shop Hop pattern, but it was available at check-in, so I’m going with it. Besides, Steven is famous for his Ponchini and its many variations.

Yarn: Yowza 100% superwash merino by Miss Babs in a very large variety of colorways. Or, you could pick GaGa or Lumber Sexual by House of A La Mode. All skeins included hot pink “StevenBe Goes Gaga” slap bracelets.

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I skipped over the Shop Hop yarns this time. Instead, I picked out a skein of Galaxy Fingering 75% superwash merino, 20% nylon, 5% stellina in the colorway Chosen One by Wild Hare Fiber Studio. This colorway appears to be inspired by the show Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I have yet to see this show, but I intend to watch while knitting once I decide what I’m making with this awesome yarn. I picked it because the sparkly purple makes me think of galaxies and nebulas.

First impressions: Talk about a party! Just for the event, Hoppers get to take a picture with StevenBe himself and special guest star Lady Gaga (sort of)! Steven had just wandered off when I arrived and the camera man went to go wrangle him (their words not mine!). We got to jam to Lady Gaga’s music as we shopped, which was tons of fun. Steven and his team are true extroverts, floating around the store and checking in on their visitors frequently. If you’re looking for bright and vibrant yarns, this is the place to go!

Stop #8: Linden Yarn & Textiles in Linden Hills

This store was also celebrating Bob Dylan, but with a twist. I love the story behind the design!

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Pattern: “Tom On Bass” by Chris Rieffer

This is a double-knitting pattern inspired by Chris’s husband Tom, who plays bass in a band. One of the songs they perform is “Highway 61” by Bob Dylan, and the design features a lithograph of this song being played.

Yarn: Jilly with Cashmere 70% superwash merino, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon by Dream in Color in the colorway Pandora, paired with 6 different colors.

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Only two of the six options were available when I arrived early Friday afternoon. I chose Lost In Plum for the other half of my pair. My favorite route back to Winona State was always the scenic Highway 61 route, so I was especially excited about the song choice. The fact that I get to knit this pattern with purple yarn makes it that much more fitting.

First impressions: Again, this won’t count as true first impressions. I’ve visited a few times, but for once I didn’t get lost on the way here. Chris and her team are wonderful, knowledgeable, and super helpful. They’ve already helped me pick the perfect yarns for the pattern I’m starting a couple of times. Once, they helped me pick the right pattern for the yarn I wanted to use (plus some Unicorn Tails to really make the design pop). Though it may look small on the outside, there’s plenty of room to explore I’m already looking forward to the next visit!

That’s all for Day 2. I worked all day, so I didn’t get the chance to visit any stores today. Stay tuned for Day 4 adventures!

P.S. A big hello and shoutout to my fellow Hoppers. What adventures have you had so far? Please feel free to share! Happy hopping!