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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 Seasonal

2017 Reading List Reviewed

November 30, 2017
2017 Fall Reading List Reviewed

Well, Thanksgiving has passed, so I think we can consider Fall to be over. I’m sure it’s not technically over, but everyone is going crazy about Christmas, so it feels like Winter. I made quick work of my Fall Reading List and then some! I’ll talk about the “and then some” later, but I wanted to give a recap of the books of my Fall Reading List and let you know how I liked them!

2017 Fall Reading List

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

10/10, Do recommend. Dreamland Burning switches perspectives between past and present, highlighting racial tensions in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I thought that Dreamland Burning was thoughtfully done. It was well written and did not shy away from complex and difficult situations. This book would be really interesting to see taught in a classroom setting. That being said, it will definitely piss off whatever rascist old relative you have, so read and recommend thoughtfully.

2017 Fall Reading List

Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

I expected this book to be a good ol’ Christian Woman Encouragement Book, and I was right. Uninvited deals with those who feel a little distant from others and handles those feeling of not fitting in. It was nice and obviously close to the author’s heart. You can see her passion for reaching the left out. It’s sweet and encouraging but not a bit of it stuck with me. It’s a nice read where you’re in need of encouragement, but it probably won’t change your life.

2017 Fall Reading List

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

This book did not do much for me. The Nest revolves around four (wretched) siblings and their separate hopes and dreams for their nest egg inheritance. When one sibling wrecks their dreams by using up the money, they all have to deal with the consequences. I found this book to be tiring. Everyone in it is irritated, all the time. They’re all fairly selfish and perhaps that is the point. It just came across to me as a book that is trying hard to be an Adult Book for Grown Ups because nobody is happy and everyone drinks. Also, I found that there were a lot of characters to follow, especially since I didn’t care what happened to any of them.

2017 Fall Reading List

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children By Ransom Riggs

I enjoyed the concept of this book as well as the addition of vintage (creepy) pictures. Riggs does a fairly convincing job of integrating this fantasy into the normal world. The characters are interesting and complex for children. The only issue that I have with this book is the cliffhanger ending. It’s really more of a chapter ending than a book ending. I know the author does this on purpose, but it’s still annoying to me and seems cheap. I’m reading the second book in the series, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

2017 Fall Reading List

The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is always delightful. I have no complaint here. Her stories are like good rainy day reading. They are comforting, despite the facts that at least one person is usually dead. They don’t require a ton of emotional investment and they don’t stress me out. I usually give up on trying to guess the murderer, because I’m always wrong. I think that I prefer Christie’s Poirot mysteries to Miss Marple, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this book one bit.

2017 Fall Reading List

North and South by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Think Pride and Prejudice, but with a lot more class consciousness. Margaret Hale must adjust her county sensibilities to a new life in a manufacturing town. Margaret is much more of a proper lady than Elizabeth Bennet. She is less snarky, a little more noble and long-suffering, but every bit as tenacious. I enjoyed North and South, though it got a little slow in a few sections. A lot of depressing things happen to Miss Hale, which can be a bit of a downer, but I like that Gaskell didn’t shy away from the darker parts of manufacturing towns. 

2017 Fall Reading List

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beaty

This is a kids/young adult book that takes place at the Biltmore Estate. Since I’ve visited the Biltmore, I found that this was extremely interesting. Even if you haven’t seen the actual setting, this book was fun and engaging. It was not overly simplistic for a kid’s book. The suspense felt read and I enjoyed the main character, Serafina. I would recommend this to a younger child or any adult who is young at heart.

2017 Fall Reading List

Emma by Jane Austin

I am officially a good Austinite again, as I have read Emma. And man is she annoying! I think that’s the point, that Emma is a bit of a know-it-all, but she’s definitely a harder character to root for than Pride and Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennet. But it’s still Jane Austin, and even if Emma is kind of annoying, so still want her to end up happy. Emma is humorous without compromising real emotion, and I still enjoyed the read.

2017 Fall Reading List

All is Grace by Brennan Manning

Brennan Manning is a broken man who still proudly proclaims his message that God loves you just as you are, not as you should be. I found his memoir to be honest and endearing. It is clear that Mr. Manning does not have any illusions about who he is as a person. He is brutally honest throughout the memoir about his alcoholism, his denial of it, and the effect that it had on his loved ones. He does not hide his selfishness as his tells his life story, and I appreciate the complexity of his journey. Brennan Manning would be the first to tell you that he is a walking contradiction, but he would also be the first to tell you that peace from that can be found with God.

2017 Fall Reading List

You are Free by Rebekah Lyons

I’ll admit, I tried to read this on the plane on the way home from San Francisco, but I couldn’t do it. It was too much. It found it to be too trite, too sugar coated. Maybe at another time it will be a good fit, but I didn’t jive with me.

Along with these books, I have read scores of others. I may include my favorites in a separate post, because I’m not exaggerating when I say that there have been at least three separate series and a few other unrelated books. I just recently got a library card since moving to my city over a year ago, so let me know if you have recommendations! I’m currently into young adult fiction, because I’m tired of adult books needing to seem so grown up and cynical about everything. What are your favorites?

Finished Object Knitting

Bearly Bonnet: Pattern Review and FO

November 9, 2017
Bearly Bonnet

Hello everyone! I hope you’re having a good week. This week we have reached “it finally feels like fall” weather. Somehow we have also reached “Halloween’s over so let’s go straight to Christmas” with everything else. Come on, people! Respect Thanksgiving! If we extend the Christmas season too long, it won’t feel special. Speaking of seasons, I’m currently in the Everyone is Pregnant (but me) season of my life. Old coworkers, new coworkers, college friends, that girl you used to talk to a few years ago before she moved away. Everyone is preggers. The one perk to the everyone is preggo season, is that it allows for lots of cute baby knits. Like the Bearly Bonnet.

I swear, I tried to resist the Bearly Bonnet. It’s knit on size 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 needles, which is obnoxiously small. But it’s also obnoxiously cute. Look at those ears! Plus it’s a great unisex baby pattern, for those people who don’t know what they’re having. (Maybe it’s a pterodactyl! I hope so…)

The Pattern

Bearly Bonnet

First of all, the adorable Bearly Bonnet by Pure Stitches pattern is free. Score! I love not paying for patterns! (Like, freely given. I don’t steal them…) In terms of good free baby patterns, this one is going in my archives as a solid pattern. I will be making this again. Possible with leftovers from every section of my fade shawl, because it’s that cute.

Like I mentioned before, the Bearly Bonnet pattery is knit on ridiculously small needles. I used some mystery double pointed needles (DNPs) with no markings whatsoever for the ribbing. I have no clue what size they were, but they were smaller than my size 3 circular needles. Then I switched to the size 3 circulars for the rest of the hat.

Bearly Bonnet

 

I made a mistake on the pattern and didn’t join in the round as soon as I was supposed to, but I just sewed that section up at the end. The Bearly Bonnet pattern uses centimeters, rather than inches, so I just blazed through the section where it said to combine in the round. Whoops. The pattern is meant to fit like a bonnet, not like a beanie, so the brim is not a complete circle. Instead it has cute little tassels. 

The only criticism I have about the Bearly Bonnet pattern is that is was extremely vague about how to sew the ears onto the bonnet. I wish it had given a bit more detail about exactly where to put the ears, and maybe some help on the best type of stitch to use to sew them on. I used a whip stitch to attach them, but found that the edges were a little wonky that way. 

The Yarn

Bearly Bonnet

I used Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in the Thunderhead colorway. I used this color in section 1 of my fade shawl (still pending) and I had a lot left over. Some people have mentioned that this bonnet in gray has a tendency to look like a little mouse more than a little bear, but that doesn’t deter me. It’s still super cute. This would actually be really cute in any color. Maybe a bright red or a creamy white…You could even contrast the ears with the rest of the bonnet!

Bearly Bonnet

 

I like Stroll Tonal for this because it’s washable, and therefore good for babies. It’s not the softest yarn out there, but it’s not rough or scratchy either. It’s a fairly sturdy yarn and it gets the job done. I have noticed with Stroll Tonal that the texture is not always consistent between different skeins. I have a skein in green that feels much softer than this skein in gray. I’m not sure if the difference is in the color or when I bought the skein, but I believe that there is a bit of variation within Stroll. 

I would happily knit this pattern again, and in fact, I expect to! The whole thing took me maybe a weekend of casual knitting to finish, so it’s not a huge time commitment. I will probably consider buying circular needle in a size smaller than 3 for the ribbing on this. Doing it on DPNs was not the greatest decision. Once I get those, I’ll be unstoppable! Expect to see more Bearly Bonnets in the future, because it think it make the perfect baby knit!