31 December 2014

I CAN CAST ON AT MIDNIGHT, RIGHT? ~ guest blogger Andrea

Sherry (who, by the way, will be knitting along, too) has threatened a midnight phone call to see if I'm knitting on my Flood Flock project.  I say, "Why not?"  There is that "start-itis" thing, but also this is a little out of my comfort zone, project wise and color/ yarn wise.  I've never knit anything in this light natural color, I've never knit a project holding 2 strands together, and I've never knit a gansey-style anything before.  Therefore, Ludlow is a perfect way to start 2015.  Life in general hands us new challenges and new opportunities.  If my 1st project of 2015 is a metaphor, then a shake-up is on the horizon.  I look forward to seeing all of the projects as they unfold.

Happy New Year to the whole flock.  Only 7 1/2 hours 'til midnight!

love ♥ - Melissa

The unveiling!  My purchases from yesterday's trip to Tolt Yarn & Wool ~ of course I had to have the Sheep Mug!
The Peace Fleece worsted in 'lily pad' is for a blanket size Girasole.
The Brooklyn Tweed Loft in 'hayloft' is for Stonecrop.
The cute ball of self striping yarn from Intrepid Otter in 'koi pond' is for socks (are you surprised!?).
The Studio Donegal Soft Donegal aran weight in 'oatmeal' is for Ashby.
And the Ístex Létt-Lopi is for my very first lopapeysa!!  It was not on my shopping list but my husband found a pattern for 'Moon Pulls' by Diana Walla while he was browsing and thought it looked like 'me' so he twisted my arm pretty hard to go over my budget yesterday (and succeeded).
I am swooning over my new stash and have so much to keep me busy that I doubt I'll need to buy another skein of yarn all year.  I can't wait to get started knitting and moving things from my 'queue' to my 'projects'!
And finally, in case you're wondering what this member of Flood's Flock will be casting on tomorrow...
I love the thought of 2000 yards of a bright happy lemony green tweedy wooly worsted weight yarn moving from my yarn bowl to a giant puddle of squishy lace in my lap keeping me warm over the winter months, so I think I'll be starting a Lily Pad Girasole to ring in the New Year!
I'm so excited to get started and knit the chilly days away with our awesome flock that has gathered together over the last few days!
Happy New Year's Eve, everyone!

Snowing in Seattle (well not quite...) ~ guest blogger Steph

Excitement for this KAL seems to keep building. When I was first faced with the possibility of reknitting something that I cast on for earlier this year I was a little hesitant. Okay to be honest a lot hesitant.  I originally cast on for Ashby in late February for some vacation knitting. The project had been in my queue forever and I was really excited to use Faded Quilt in Shelter. Fastforward to a popped cast on and the vacuum cleaner finding some yarn on my carpet and I was less than excited.

I think I have recovered from stress of trying to make a a failed project work. It is a new year and I am going to cast on in Snowbound.  I am excited to participate in a this KAL. It didn't snow in Seattle this December, so I figure that it is only appropriate that I cast on in a snowy colorway for this KAL.

edited by Melissa to do a little housekeeping : if you're new to the blog and don't know about our knitalong here's a link ~ jump in if you'd like ~ there's still time!

30 December 2014

old friends ~ Melissa

Guess where I finally got to visit today?
Even the street signs are charming in this small town.
If I had a bucket list, I would fill it up with return visits!

my husband thought one stop shopping for 'Liquor, Hay & Feed, and Hardware' was hilarious ~ ...boys :)
The minute I stepped in the door it felt like home.  People were nice.  Every. Single. Soul.  I spent as much time chatting as shopping!

Remember my Muker Mitts ?  Tif spied them in my basket and asked if she could photograph them!  See, Tif is an embroiderer and had seen my mittens before but not in person.  We live in such a big yet small crafting community...let's see if you can follow this fun story.  Tolt's proprietress, Anna, had seen my mittens on Ravelry.  Anna is in my 'friends' and unbeknownst to me is the owner of Tolt ~ how did I miss that?  Anyway, she had sent Tif a picture of my mittens when I posted them since Tif is a stitcher and Anna wanted her to see them.  Today while I was chatting with Tif, she looked down into my basket and saw THE mitts!  She was so excited to tell Anna that my 'mitts had visited Tolt' that she asked if she could take a photo to send to Anna since she was not at the shop today.  Of course!!

So, there they are!  My proud mittens getting photographed in front of Tolt's famous chalkboard!  So proud :)
 (you should check out Tif's blog ~ I've added it to the sidebar ~ she's 'Dottie Angel'...and then once you get there follow her link to her instagram account ~ jawdropping amazing stuff!!)
I made one slow pass around the store.

Looked at and squished everything.  Ahhh.....

Checked out every nook and cranny and peeked in every basket.
And finally took out my shopping list and made some decisions. 

And that's all for today ~ you'll have to wait to see what's inside because I'm tired and it's getting too dark to take nice photos.
And what came home with me is definitely worthy of nice photos!

Stonecrop Shawl ~ guest blogger Karen

Good morning!  I'm thrilled to be here and participating in the knitalong this year.  My name is Karen and I blog at pumpkin sunrise.  Right when Melissa posted the choices, I fell in love with the Stonecrop shawl.  Garter stitch with lace sounds decadent and a wonderful way to herald in a new year.

I chose this yarn from my stash that has been patiently waiting for the perfect project.  Hopefully, I have enough yardage or I can creatively fudge the pattern.  If not, I will switch out the yarn and substitute something else from my stash.

I have romantic visions of wearing this shawl to my daughter's wedding in the summer, assuming the dress I buy compliments the shawl.  I think only knitters would chose the shawl then the dress!!

Looking forward to seeing everyone else's choices in the coming days :)

edited by Melissa to do a little housekeeping : if you're new to the blog and don't know about our knitalong here's a link ~ jump in if you'd like ~ there's still time!

28 December 2014

Ludlow In Rowan Sage KAL 2015 ~ a post by Kelli

Ok I think this will be the one.  Been digging
and researching ideas for the last couple days.
Need to swatch & block for gauge.
Am very excited to begin!

edited by Melissa to do a little housekeeping : if you're new to the blog and don't know about our knitalong here's a link ~ jump in if you'd like ~ there's still time!

27 December 2014

Orange you glad? By guest blogger Kelly Lightbeam

Ludlow, made with LOFT in Embers ~
photo courtesy of Brooklyn Tweed
The last few years have been very good for the color orange.  There's Burnt Orange, Coral, Tangerine, Ginger, Amber, Melon, Goldfish, oh the list is endless!

I've noticed that people are talking about it all over the place.  I was standing in line at my LYS, and the owner was praising it's virtue, saying that it's the new big thing.  I've seen comments here on the blog as well.  Everywhere I look, someone is doing something amazing with it.  I myself, am in the middle of an orange movement.  I've knit a few Jared Flood patterns in orange recently, including Sempervivum, and Leaves of Grass.  I'm planning to knit Ashby in Rowan Felted Tweed in the Ginger colorway for our Knit-a-long, which I'm looking forward to!

Speaking of my LYS, StevenBe has closed one of their locations in order to consolidate their stores and focus on their internet sales.  To clear out inventory, they held a dollar sale ~ Every skein was sold for one or two dollars.  It was mayhem.  When the dust settled, two hours after they opened the doors, there wasn't much left on the shelves, except for the fun-fur.  I myself got a little carried away and bought more than I should have, but I chalk it up to all the excitement.  When I got home, I unloaded the goods and it filled up half my couch!  While there were some novelty skeins in there (meant for a charity project), there were also some really nice merino and cashmere blend skeins, with enough yardage for some fun projects.  Unfortunately, when you double your stash, it means that you have to find space to store all of it, and I live in a very small house.

So, in the spirit of letting go of the past, so that you can embrace the future, I am offering up some free yarn to our blog members.  I have six+ full cakes (these things are huge!) of White Buffalo Unspun yarn in the Burnt Orange colorway.  It comes as a six-strand yarn, which can be separated, spun, and plied however you want.  I know that someone out there could take this and run with it!  If you are looking for a project, please let me know in the comments.  I would only ask that you cover shipping from Minnesota.

Thanks for reading ~ I have to get back to Ravelry to find projects to go with all the new loot!  I am currently looking at a number of hat and cowl patterns, since some of the skeins are singles.  I would also love to hear from anyone else with a love of the color orange ;)

Sending all my love,

Kelly Lightbeam

edited by Melissa to do a little housekeeping : if you're new to the blog and don't know about our knitalong here's a link ~ jump in if you'd like ~ there's still time!

26 December 2014

Flood's Flock...a knitalong ~ Melissa

It's officially been decided...we are going to knit all the things!
The seventh annual Girls In Sheep Clothing knitalong kicks off January 1st and since votes were all over the board on our five choices
the theme is Jared Flood & Brooklyn Tweed and not a particular design this year.  Any of the five will work!  So, ready...set...go!!
Once you've picked your favorite pattern and gathered your materials (or if you're having trouble deciding and need some input), go ahead and get started posting.  Hop on and say hi and we'll get the ball rolling.
Here are the players who I've lovingly dubbed 'Flood's Flock'  :
Me (I'm 'twoknitwit' on ravelry)
Kelli (oneknitwit)
Tracey (1tims)
Steph (smyoo)
Kelly (lightbeam)
Andee (andeekf)
Andrea (aksaxton)
Morgen (acoldwintersnight)
Jody (savannahchik)
Will (willyg)
Emily (emilyk3661)
Karen (swanski)
Leslie (lepkat79)
Sue (purl3)
Juliann (juliannph)
Sherry (bays001)
Erin (coopersfool)
Maria (mariaknits)
& an anonymous knitter (fist pump to you ~ I'm glad you're joining us!!)
That's it as of today.  Anyone else that still wants to jump in, let me know ~ there's still time to join!  Cast on is a week away but I hope to start seeing some posts before then...I don't know which design I'm going to do yet and I'm curious to see what everyone is choosing!  Thanks everyone for making this such a fun tradition!
~ Melissa

22 December 2014

knitalong, anyone? ~ Melissa

I've completely dropped the ball on the upcoming anniversary of our annual New Year's knitalong here at Girls in Sheep Clothing.  I haven't had a chance to even touch bases with Kelli about whether anyone would like to knit with us this time around...it will be our seventh annual event if anyone is interested?  I've had a few people drop hints that they might like to play but I'm not sure I'm reading you folks right.  So....
I'm going to just go gangbusters here and throw out a few ideas ~ jump into the comments if you're interested in joining and if any of these designs appeal to you (maybe list your top 2).  I'll give everyone's comments some thought over the next week and hopefully by Sunday we'll have come to some common goal and I'll let everyone know what's been decided so there's still some time to get supplies together before we start.
Tradition had me scouring Brooklyn Tweed patterns for ideas and here is what I've come up with ~ I tried to find a good mix of designs :

1 - Stonecrop (a rectangular lace shawl)

2 - Tilt (a square lace shawl)

3 - Girasole (a circular lace shawl)

4 - Ashby (a textured triangular shawl)

5 - Ludlow (a rectangular textured shawl)

(all copyrighted photos by Jared Flood used with permission from Brooklyn Tweed ~ please do not reproduce without their permission!)

Here's the skinny cut and pasted from last year if you're new to the blog and curious about what we're up to:
"Our official cast on date is January 1st so you have plenty of time to gather your materials (and probably change your mind about your yarn choice at least a dozen times).  As usual, our knitalongs are stress free ~ no deadlines (we still have one person finishing up last year's kal...that would be me!) & blogging along is encouraged but not required.  If you'd like to join us, leave a comment below ~ if you've knitted with us before, you know the routine.  If this will be your first time, there's a tutorial on how to be a guest blogger (thanks again, Kelly!) once I've sent you your official invitation to participate."
Okay ~ jump in and let's chat!

21 December 2014

conundrum ~ Melissa

Earl Thomas...my favorite player

How is it that the shortest day of the year can also feel like the longest?
Still an hour and a half til kickoff...
Big big game tonight

17 December 2014

we go together... ~ Melissa

...like rama lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong...

I just sent Kelli a note and thought it sounded impressive enough to share with you guys :

'Today's Trivia'

we just passed our 8 year knitting anniversary (wahoo for us!)

you - 352 projects / 122,000 yards of yarn (yes, that’s YARDS!!)

me - less projects than you at 294 / but more yarn than you at 132,000 yards

my. oh. my.

that’s a total of 646 projects & 254,000 yards of fiber…

now THAT is a lot of knitting

(I wonder how many yarn shops we could stock if we frogged everything that we ever made…hehe!)

I just realized that's a quarter of a million yards of yarn...eep!!

...don't you just love all the little extra tallying Ravelry does for us as we knit our lives away? ...

here's to another eight my friend :)

~ Melissa

29 November 2014

first snow ~ Melissa

baby it's cold outside!
Hoping everyone had a Thanksgiving they are thankful for.  I did.  Our holiday was spread out over Thursday and Friday.  It was good to spend time with both families and catch up with friends we haven't seen for far too long.  The snow came last night and it's cold enough it appears it's here to stay for a few days.  We've turned the page towards our year end celebrations and the house is a flurry of activity as the fall decorations get tucked away until next year and the Christmas loves slowly start appearing.
I'm looking forward to Christmas this year.  Last year was tough.  This year I'm soaking every bit of joy in through all my pores.
Are you all ready for December?
I am!

23 November 2014

woolly babes ~ Melissa

Neoma Jane's little sister will be here anyday and I finished gifts in the nick of time.  Just need to wrap everything tonight and tomorrow they go over the mountains (and through the woods...hehe) to mama.  I blogged about the purple blanket here and the sweater here.  The pink blanket just finished drying this morning from it's blocking bath ( my ravelry notes can be found here ) :

There's nothing quite as blissful as knitting things for little ones and I feel so lucky to have two goddaughters to make things for.  And three lovely nieces who appreciate hand knit things as well.  Last year I made them all mittens for Christmas and you could tell they really loved them.
I finally made myself a matching pair (I've been busy!) :

 They're Olla Mittens (free on knitty.com) or you can follow the link in my ravelry notes here.  I really love this pattern and the embroidery is super easy since Anna has you knit landmarks for the stitching as well as giving a really great diagram in the pattern (much like a kids 'dot to dot' puzzle ~ just follow the numbers).  Every girl should have a pair of these.
Go ahead, make yourself some.  You'll love them!
Happy Sunday, everybody!

22 November 2014

The Right Place At the Right Time! ~ a post from Kelli

Being that it's my Birthday Season~
My husband and daughter knew I'd love to go to Chruchmouse
for the day.  Not knowing a huge surprise awaited!
The Plucky dyers themselves Sarah and Hayley (sisters) were there!!!
Meet my new highly talented, super nice friends. 
All the way from there dying barn in Michigan! 
If you can score some...gotta try the Plucky Knitter Yarns!

and of coarse you know I offered to test-knit ;)
Thanks ladies!!!

21 November 2014

three ~ Melissa

~ September - October - November ~
three months into Liesl's monthly sock challenge and I'm still in!
here's my November pair:

and there was enough yarn left to make some fingerless mitts :
what a fun set, don't you think?

I've already cast on my December pair :

Liesl is also doing giveaways during her sock challenge ~ I was unaware so I was incredibly surprised and so excited to get an email from her a few weeks ago that I had won her very first drawing...for a $25 Etsy gift certificate!  I thought long and hard and finally decided on the above hand dyed self-striping yarn...a perfect holiday colorway!...from Laurel at Spinningfates.  I've been anxious to cast on so when it finally arrived yesterday I unwrapped my brand new Karbonz needles and got started.
I love the needles (thanks for everyone's input ~ I ended up with these mostly because they were the only metal needles the LYS I stopped at stocks) ~ I love the yarn (what's not to love, don't you think!?) ~ and have I told you lately how much I love knitting socks...hehe!
Better get ~ have a baby blanket that needs blocking and wrapping before Sunday night.  Goddaughter number two will be here soon and baby gifts for her as well as birthday gifts for her big sister Neoma Jane are being delivered on Monday.  Have a great weekend, everyone!
a few more links:

18 November 2014

teehee ~ Melissa

Imagine my surprise when cruising the Seattle Times online paper just now and stumbling on this photo taken today :
photo by Ken Lambert : Seattle Times

That's my handsome hubby hard at work downtown this afternoon ~ brightening the city with holiday cheer.
And wearing a hand knit hat ~ made by yours truly :)
Today we both get five minutes of fame!

09 November 2014

congratulations Isabell ~ Melissa

“Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.”
-George Halas

Dear Bella ~ You made me tired just watching how hard you worked.

Bella is the tall girl in the back!
And so proud to see you beat personal bests in all four events...and then beat them again the next day ~ you took my breathe away .  I hope I can come see you swim at the state meet next weekend!  You worked so hard and I'm so glad I got to see your successes.  Thank you!!
Love - Aunt Melissa

03 November 2014

Bad Boys With Sweet Knitted Caps - by Kelli

A hard working crew of men.  Working on the  F/V Early  Dawn, out of Seattle.  My husband works with a strong and trusting group .  He requested a Seattle Seahawk striped hat for each of them.  In return I wanted a picture, and this Is them!
What a lucky wife I am to have a husband who will work so hard and find a way to talk 5 other guys to get a picture.

(Kelli was having trouble uploading the photo so I did it for her...it says I posted this but it's her husband in the bright yellow pants on the left!)

01 November 2014

dia de los Muertos ~ Melissa

O May I join the choir invisible 
Of those immortal dead who live again 
In minds made better by their presence: live 
In pulses stirr’d to generosity, 
In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn
For miserable aims that end with self, 
In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars, 
And with their mild persistence urge man’s search 
To vaster issues.
George Eliot :: 'The Choir Invisible' 
(here's a link if you'd like to read the poem from beginning to end ~ it's worth reading ... I especially like the last part)
Today marks the annual Day of the Dead celebration, where those who have passed are enticed to come back and visit by those left behind.  It's one of my favorite things about the Mexican culture.
  On one of our walking treks the last time my husband and I went to Puerto Vallarta, outside of the touristy section we discovered an art gallery that had incredible pieces celebrating this tradition.  Jason was enamored with a particular piece and after returning home, I contacted the gallery and had something shipped back to the states.
  I had it framed and gave it to him for Christmas.  I can easily say this was the most thought out and well received (he was thrilled!) gift I have ever given him.  I know he still loves and appreciates it.

The artist did an intricate carving, used it to stamp these incredibly sliver-thin pieces of bark with the image and then hand painted the print.  We now have an amazing piece of folk art with vacation memories attached to it.

I finished my monthly sock challenge socks ~ the final toe was kitchenered while waiting for trick-or-treaters last night.  Hooray ~ I feel a huge sense of accomplishment since I've met my goal for two months in a row!  I also was lucky enough to receive an email from Liesl @ Buckaloo View this morning letting me know I had won her first drawing...a $25 etsy gift certificate.  I will be shopping for hand dyed sock yarn this weekend :) (thanks so much, Liesl!!).  If you've purchased yarn on etsy in the past and have a favorite, let me know!

I broke my very first knitting needle making these socks.  I'm actually surprised I haven't broken these toothpick sized sticks before and I've decided to invest in a metal pair of dp's just for sock knitting.  Anyone have any suggestions?  Do you have a favorite set?  I'd love any thoughts (pro & con) on any manufacturers you've tried before I make up my mind.

Luckily, the socks I've chosen to knit for November are worsted weight and use heavier needles.  If I manage to snap a US6 double-point when knitting these, I'll know I need to learn to knit just a little looser!
Hope this weekend finds everyone well and relaxing with family and friends.  My husband decided it's his turn to cook and has spaghetti sauce brewing in the crock pot ~ I'm a very lucky girl!
Be well ~ Melissa

ravelry links :
October Sock Challenge
November Sock Challenge