Sunday, March 29, 2015

Knitting Pipeline Retreat 2015

 A few weekends ago I attended my first real knitting retreat, Knitting Pipeline in Washington Illinois. I've done a few fiber getaways with friends but it's a whole different way more exciting (and nerve wracking to introverts) thing.

I attended with my good friend and knitting buddy Julie. We arrived Thursday for the yarn crawl, starting at Peddler's Way in town. This shop is really first a fabric store and second a yarn shop. That being said I happen to also collect fabric. I didn't end up picking anything up but it was a great fabric collection, lots of great ideas.
We then carpooled to another yarn shop. We rode with some great ladies and I have to say I love social media for the fact I could instantaneously connect with all the great women I met this weekend. We went to dinner with lots of retreat attendees and made even more friends.
Friday we got ready early and were off to visit the farm! Heritage Hill Farm to be exact. We were lucky enough to make it on shearing day. Not quite as exciting as last year when apparently some new lambs were being born but still great fun to see. Of course I had to buy some yarn. Grown on the farm and spun by hand locally I ended up getting a sweaters worth of DK. I found out later in the weekend that the sheep my yarn came from is named Piper. He is named such because he was born on farm visit day last year, how fun!

  The one thing Julie told me as we were driving up was that the chicken coop was the cutest chicken coop she'd ever seen. She was not wrong! I totally got Beetlejuice vibes with that house.

Julie and I at the farm, taking selfies as one does...
After the farm we headed to Ewe-Nique Yarns which happened to have an awesome 3D sign. I ended up spending a good portion of my yarn budget for the weekend at Ewe-Nique. It wasn't just in one purchase though. I bought two skeins of High Prairie Fibers "Odd Balls" handspun at the store, then we spent so much time in the shop I found a pin and sheep shaped needle gauge for my second purchase. Then I bought the retreat specific yarn at the retreat and then in one final purchase an adorable sheep shawl and a "beggars bag" of roving.

We then went to lunch at a local place on the square with some new fiber friends. I was totally influenced by Jen (daizieknits) to order pie as a totally acceptable meal, I regret nothing!
I should add that sock is Lollipop yarns in the Kodachrome colorway which was graciously sent to me by the Knitmore girls for their #operationsockdrawer. It's my first time trying 9" circulars and it experience. they are going wicked fast but I'm not sure my hands are cut out for it.


Now what does one bring to a knitting retreat? Hand knits of course! I couldn't decide which ones so I ended up bringing lots of choices. Five sweaters, two shawls, a hat, fingerless mitts, and of course socks. Obviously I did not wear all of it but you can never be too prepared!

The retreat itself was awesome. Lots of new friends, great food, and new skills. I learned how to make t-shirt yarn, needle felted a cup cozy, and learned to spin. Jenn (as mentioned above, obviously an enabler! :P ) had Turtle Made 3D printed Turkish spindles. I've been interested in these for months but had never made the jump. Seeing them in person I just HAD to get one. We had an impromptu spinning 101 class and I've actually stuck with it and spun a little every day.

 New friends
And here I present my yarn bounty. I am unashamed! I should point out I took full advantage of the free table and generous knitters who cleared out their stash by giving it away. 

On our way home we stopped for gas and found this gorgeous old fire truck. Of course whilst Julie filled up I ran across the road with my knitting and my phone to sneak a pic. Awesome end to an awesome trip.

Knitting Pipeline was a wonderful experience. It really helped me reset my mind as to what I'm passionate about and where I want to go in my life. Making things with my hands has always been a huge part of my life and I'm so terribly thankful that I am right where I am and able to indulge in my passions. The retreat helped me iron out some new ideas for Freckled Crafts that brings together my past and present and I can't wait to get to work on what hopefully will be a successful next chapter for Freckled Crafts.

Until next time,

Monday, March 23, 2015

Project Rewind: Farmer's Market and Dahlia Cardigans

You know all those projects that don't quite make it onto ravelry? Yeah, I have a lot of those. So I'm starting a new series on my blog called Project Rewind. I'll be sharing a project or two and a quick little bit on the yarn, pattern, and anything else notable. This is also an exercise in getting back to regular blogging. we go!

Project Rewind: Farmer's Market and Dahlia Cardigans

My Farmer's Market Cardigan is one of my most worn sweaters. It has everything I love in a sweater. Warmth, shaping, an interesting collar detail, and pockets! It's also brown, a color I can wear all the time...and as you can see in this picture, I'll even wear it with black!
Pattern: Farmer's Market Cardigan by Connie Chang Chinchio from Interweave Knits Fall '09 (I've been an Interweave Knits subscriber since 2005!)
Yarn: Good old Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool. Not something I'd knit a sweater with nowadays but it's a great workhorse yarn, as long as you don't mind a little scratchy wool.
I think this sweater back in 2012. The collar was knit almost exclusively when I threw my back out and was couch bound for a week. I'd say that three years later this is still one of my favorite sweaters for just throwing on over just about anything!

 My Dahlia Cardigan is a love hate. I used to hate the construction of the long hanging fronts. Knit at the end of 2012 I feel as if this sweater has somehow become more my style, which I totally would not expect. This was the first really interesting construction I'd ever knit. You start with the back, knitting the lace panel from the center out. You then knit the top and bottom back panels, then pick up on the sides and knit vertically around the body, leaving armholes which you pick up later. I learned a lot about fit and construction with this sweater.

Pattern: Dahlia Cardigan by Heather Zoppetti from Interweave Knits Fall '11
Yarn: Shady Havens Fiber Designs Prime Alpaca which I bought at a fiber fair I helped a friend vend. The yarn always reminds me of the fun we had that day. I attribute a good portion of the reason I love this sweater to the soft drapey fabric the alpaca creates.

More Project Rewinds coming soon!

Friday, March 20, 2015

New bags in lots of shapes and sizes!

Just a quick post to share a crop of new bags in the shop. Still playing with sizes and shapes and just added are a few drawstring bags. I know not everyone likes zippers with their knitting.


 These bags and a few more fresh in the shop!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Come along spring! New art inspired project bags in the shop.

I was overwhelmingly excited when I found this fabric. A black background with windows of color, all feeling very springy which is just what I've been yearning for in this extended winter. Each window featured a different Claude Monet inspired image. My art history heart started beating faster as I grabbed it as fast as I could! I knew EXACTLY what it would be!

I took each window, fussy cut it, and sewed strips of black fabric around each window. I then cut a back, handle, and made them into project bags. Honestly I think the sky is the limit with these bags as to what you could use them for!


Monet's Japanese Bridge

Field in Spring

Poppy Field

Sailbots at Argenteuil
Spring Blossoms
The photo of each bag will take you to the corresponding listing in my shop or feel free to just head on over to the shop!