Knitting Local

DFW Fiber Fest 2018

April 16, 2018

Hello, everyone! I hope that you are all doing well and that the weather in your state has decided what season it wants to be in. Mine has not. But the bluebonnets are blooming and the Hubs and I are planning some adventures anyways.DFW Fiber Fest 4

Speaking of adventures, this month I got to experience the DFW Fiber Fest for the first time in several years! The last time I have attended the DFW Fiber Fest is was in a little old convention center. This year, the DFW Fiber Fest was held at the shiny new Irving Convention Center. The truly amazing thing though, was that the DFW Fiber Fest actually used up the whole convention floor!

To be fair, a lot of that area was a big sitting area, but for the DFW Fiber Fest, that was perfect. It meant that when you got tired of walking around to see all the vendors, you could sit and knit a little bit. There were lots of big groups  of knitters gathered there. I don’t know if they all came together or met there, but I thought it was wonderful. I didn’t take any of the classes because 1. money and 2. time, but I did get a good look at the vendors. Let me show you!

The Vendor Hall

Just like at any convention, the vendor hall is the main attraction for me. It’s even better when it’s knitting. Since knitting has had such an explosive growth through the online community, it can be difficult to see certain items in person. Events like the DFW Fiber Fest make this a possibility. Not only did the DFW Fiber Fest have lots of yarn to shop with, they had yarn tasting!

DFW Fiber Fest

If you’ve never done yarn tasting before, I think it’s a great idea. The DFW Fiber Fest had balls of all sorts of different yarns from different vendors available for you to test knit. They were all congregated in a nice open area with tables and there were so many nice options to test! My favorite was the Independence Wool, which contains mohair grown (raised?) in Texas. It was so soft! Their booth was easily one of the cutest too.

DFW Fiber Fest

The only issue I had with the yarn tasting was that the only needles available to use were super flimsy plastic ones. Like they were bending while you tried to knit with them. As serious knitter know, it takes both yarn and needles to make a sublime knitting experience. So, I wish that the needle options hadn’t been so dismal at the yarn tasting. That being said, I get it, needles aren’t cheap for something like that. I can’t really blame them for picking the more affordable option.

My Top Picks

In terms of actual vendors selling yarn, I’m pretty sure I circled the hall several times. All I know is that my feet hurt. Out of everything that I saw, there were a few vendors that stood out to me.

DFW Fiber Fest - October House

October House

October House took the cake for me when it came to consistency of artistic vision. They know how to work a color palette! The muted pastels were so lovely. The whole booth reminded me of a china shop. All of their branding was just so in line with what I like. The pinks and mints and watercolor signs got me. I actually bought some October House this past weekend when I found it in Austin. A repeat appearance was too good to pass up!

DFW Fiber Fest - Independence Wool

Independence Wool

I already mentioned Independence Wool earlier, but like I said before, they booth was seriously the cutest. They had a whole roof and exterior on their booth, like a little house! Like I mentioned before, Independence Wool specializes in a lot of mohair, but not the mohair that you are used to. It’s silky and shiny and curly! The rest of their yarns are beautifully rustic as well. I also enjoyed their bin of samples – little bits and not quite skeins that they were selling for $3.50 each.

DFW Fiber Fest -Olive Yarn Dye Co

Olive Yarn Dye Co.

Olive Yarn Dye Co. was part of the Park Avenue booth, but I wanted to give the yarn itself a shout out, because it’s *gasp* the only thing I bought at the DFW Fiber Fest (because 1. money). I had come to the DFW Fiber Fest on a mission to buy some DK weight yarn for a wrap sweater. I was leaning towards a nice gray or a total millennial pink. You know that pink that not quite taupe, and not super bubble gum pink? If it doesn’t look like a color Lauren Conrad would wear, I don’t want it. Olive Yarn Dye Co. had the perfect pink. In DK, no less! (By the way, looking for DK at the Fiber Fest was like going to the State Fair looking for health food. You’ll find it, but it’s in short supply.) They were so nice and sweet both times I came into the booth. I can’t wait to show you what I make with their yarn!

DFW Fiber Fest -McKinney Knittery

McKinney Knittery

Of course you know I’ve gotta rep my local yarn store! McKinney Knittery had a great set up at the DFW Fiber Fest. They had the largest selection of both Yoth Yarns and Magpie Fibers. They also had an amazing array of samples. I could have dressed myself for a week out of the sample they had available. I was especially interested in a cute and comfy looking pair of shorts out of the new Magpie Solstice. They are totally going on my list for the summer. McKinney Knittery also wins for having the cutest shirts. I am personally saving up for a “Gettin’ Knit Done!” shirt!

Did anyone else attend the DFW Fiber Fest? What was your experience? Did you find anything you couldn’t live without? I want to hear about it!

 

Books

2017 Winter Reading List Reviewed!

March 24, 2018
Winter Reading List Reviewed
 

It’s officially Spring! Since it’s Spring, I guess it’s time to finally review my 2017 Winter Reading List. I had been holding back for a while because I hadn’t quite finished, but now that Spring is officially here I think it’s time. Here is my 2017 Winter Reading List Reviewed

Knitlandia

Knitlandia by Clara Parks

Knitlandia was a lovely little travel read. I now officially want to go to Iceland. Clara Parks is an excellent storyteller,who makes you feel like you’re actually getting to know all of these (incredibly famous) knitters she writes about. More than that, Clara Parks instills such a love for knitting and yarn in every chapter. It’s obvious how passionate she is on the subject and how knowledgeable! If you’re a beginning knitter, this will definitely motivate you, and if you’re a knitting veteran it will inspire some new projects.

Murder for Christmas

Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan

Murder for Christmas was just what it promised to be: a tidy little Christmas mystery. While it was a little slow at times, the characters were enjoyable and the mystery puzzling enough. It won’t change your life, but it will help you pass the time on a cold evening. 

Still Life

Still Life by Louise Penney

Speaking of changing your life; here’s a mystery that actually will! Still Life is the first novel in the prodigious Inspector Gamache series. Set in the tiny town of Three Pines, Still Life manages to be peaceful and soothing while tackling the very un-peaceful topic of murder. I am not exaggerating when I say that every character in this is delightful. Since reading this Still Life, I have read the next two in the series. I’d be further along by now if I the books were easier to get a hold of. They’re nowhere to be found at either the library or Half Price Books. Clearly people know what’s up!

Option B

Option B by Sheryl Sandburg

If you don’t cry within the first couple chapters of Option B, we need to have a talk. After the tragic and sudden loss of her husband, Sheryl Sandburg was forced to pick up the pieces of her life. She was motivated to process her grief not for her sake, but for the sake of her children.  Sheryl Sandburg dealt with incredible loss with so much grace. Along with this, she was totally honest about the moments that she didn’t handle with grace. I appreciated how Sheryl Sandburg recognized her own privilege even within her hardship. Option B is full of wisdom and full of love. I would recommend it for anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one.  

All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See is the one book that I have no finished on my reading list. I had to wait forever to get a hold of this at the library. I’m still reading through it now. So far it seems somewhat slow. I don’t usually enjoy books that switch between different points of view, though Doerr does it well. What’s more confusing is that he switches back and forth between timelines for the same characters. Since it’s set in World War II, a jump of a few years makes a huge difference. I’m think it’s all going to converge soon, but it’s taking it’s sweet time right now.

Heartless

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless is a fairy tale retelling in the same vein of Marissa Meyer’s other books. It’s not cyberpunk, but is set in the magical world of Wonderland, in the land of Hearts. Catherine finds herself rebuffing the romantic efforts of the bumbling king of Hearts, only to fall in love with his court jester. All she ever really wanted to do was become a baker, but no one seems to be listening. I enjoyed the way Marissa Meyers weaves in bits of the Alice in Wonderland story. The book is pretty dark compared to Meyer’s other works, but if you enjoyed the Lunar Chronicles, Heartless is worth a read. 

Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I can’t help it; I love A Christmas Carol with a passion that can only come from childhood tradition. Every time I read it I fall in love again. The message is so relevant, even today. If you’ve never read it, you really should. It’s so small, you can probably finish it in day. Around Christmas, I took to posting long quotes with illustrations on Facebook and I enjoyed it so much. My new favorite illustrator , P.J. Lynch, has a whole illustrated version of the book, which I will be buying to read to my children someday. 

Of Mess and Moxie

Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker

I decided to read Of Mess and Moxie via audio-book. The audio book version is read by Jen herself, which definitely makes a difference. It’s also fun because she reserves the right to go into off the script tangents, which I enjoyed. It’s also nice to hear the passion in her voice in certain sections. It definitely gives the words a weight they might not have simply reading them. I think Of Mess and Moxie is probably Jen Hatmaker’s strongest book. It seems to have a more universal focus than some of her previous books. I still think that Jen Hatmaker is strongest as a blogger, since she can get distracted easily, but there’s lots of good stuff in Of Mess and Moxie worth reading.

Station Eleven

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Out of all the books on my reading list, I think Station Eleven was my favorite. Station Eleven is a post apocalyptic novel that takes place after an outbreak of disease wipes out the majority of Earth’s population. The book focuses on several characters who are all linked by their knowledge of one actor who died before the outbreak even began. It was beautiful and interesting and I would read it about 5 more times. I highly recommend it.

 

So what should I read for Spring? I want to hear your recommendations! I’m still trying to adjust to my new job and new schedule, so I’ll probably keep it light. What’s been getting you through life lately?

Finished Object Knitting

Bryant Shawlette: Pattern Review and FO

March 17, 2018
Pattern Review and FO Bryant

Hello again! It’s been a while. Between the new job training and a nasty little bug I caught I’ve been out of commission for a while. My reading lists have been on hold for a while too(literally) as I’ve waited months for my books to become available at the library. While I’m not totally back to full health, I can’t put off blogging any longer. I have to share my latest FO with you. 

Meet the Bryant Shawlette! 

Bryant Shawlette

The Pattern:

Bryant Shawlette is a petite shawl by Lavanya Patricella featuring lace and brioche. It’s a perfect kerchief sized shawl and I’ve been wearing it non-stop since I finished it. Despite being such a small project, Bryant took me a long time to complete. I actually started it last year, before I got distracted by my Weekender Sweater. I got a little bogged down with it during the brioche sections.

In short, I am not a clever lady. The Bryant Shawlette is designed to feature two different colors in the brioche section of the shawlette. Since I had made two-color brioche one of my 2018 goals, you’d think I would have used this as an opportunity to try it. You would be wrong. I did the two color brioche section with one color. I knit it like you would knit two colors, but I only used one color, pulling from the inside and outside of the same ball of yarn. This is not smart! I do not recommend, especially if you haven’t done two color brioche before. 

Bryant Shawlette

In terms of finished product, though? Gorgeous. I love it. It’s the perfect size, not too heavy, and amazingly comfortable. The increases in the brioche section give it just enough curve to drape around your shoulders. It’s definitely meant to be worn like a scarf or kerchief, but I usually wear my shawls that way anyways. The only downside is trying to explain what a “shawlette” is to non-knitters. 

Bryant Shawlette

The Yarn:

I used some of the yarn that I won in the 2017 DFW Yarn Crawl for this project. If you remember, I won two particularly large skeins of beautiful Twisted Owl Yarn. Twisted Owl is a small fiber studio from the good ol’ state of Texas. Their Lux Sock is a 80/10/10 Merino, Cashmere, and Nylon blend and comes in an extremely generous 600 yarn skein! I was able to make all of my Bryant Shawlette with one skein and I still have plenty left over.

Bryant Shawlette

The color of this Twisted Owl Lux Sock is just amazing. It’s not something that I would have picked out for myself, but now that I’ve knit with it, I really love it. The color is called Koi Pond. I just love the image it evokes. The bright flashes of orange and gold on that blueish green base really do seem like koi in a pond. 

The other thing that struck me about this yarn is how soft it is. Not just in the finished product. Twisted Own Lux Sock feels amazing to knit with. I mean, duh, cashmere. But I was still pleasantly surprised at how smooth and soft it felt in my hands as I knit with it. If have a chance to get your hands on some Twisted Owl yarn, definitely do it! I’ve been really impressed by it.

What have you been working on lately? I’ve got some baby knits to finish up. My new office is going to keep me busy. Two pregnancy announcements already! Somebody send me some new suggestions for baby knits!