Wednesday, January 17, 2018

2017: In Review


We're halfway through the first month of the year and I'm finally settling into a routine and making plans (and to-do lists!!) to get down to business. Now, I've already posted about my goals for this year before I even had a chance to look back and reflect on how I did last year. Maybe it's because I didn't make any goals for 2017 and so I have nothing to measure the year against? I know that I didn't finish as many projects as I have in the past but I also know that I didn't end the year with a massive pile of WIPs that were cast on in 2017. The pile of WIPs that were cast on in previous years, though, that are still around...that's another story! 

We won't go there today. Instead, let's take a look at what I've done last year. Like in previous years, I've broken down my 2017 crafting into point form stats:

➳ 8,518.5 metres (9,316 yards) was knit up from stash
➳ 21,065 metres (23,037 yards) was added to the stash
➳ 6,093 metres (6,663 yards) was destashed/sold/gifted
➳ I ended the year with more yarn by 6,454 metres (7,058 yards), hence the need to go cold sheep this year!!
➳ I've knit and/or finished:
      :: 1 blanket
      :: 1 cowl
      :: 2 hats (1 adult, 1 baby)
      :: 2 felted rings
      :: 2 sweaters
      :: 4 shawls
      :: 7 pairs of socks

➳ I've cast-on but did not finish:
      :: 1 blanket
      :: 1 shawl
      :: 1 pair of socks
      :: 1 sweater
➳ I crocheted 2 items (basket trays for the win!!)
➳ 2 fibre events were attended (both were local)
➳ 1 Knit Picks order was made
➳ 10 online yarn orders were made with only 2 of them being from a different country!

Not every finished item was blogged, photographed, or even posted on Instagram. Maybe one day I'll actually get around to blogging about those finished knits. For now, here are the knits that I did share either here on the blog or somewhere on social media:

Clockwise from top left: August Socks, Oracle Space Socks, Skew Across the Universe, Rose City Opal Rollers, Rainbows & Unicorns, Miss.Matched

Clockwise from left: Starry Water Shawl, #pussyhatproject, Heart.Felt rings, Serpentina Pixie hat

Both basket trays were made with Lion Brand Thick & Quick
Left: in Hudson colourway; Right: in Coney Island colourway 

Hmmm...not too bad considering that there were a few months at the beginning of the year where I wasn't able to knit. Regardless of the lack of goals made, one goal that I seem to always have year after year, whether it's spoken out loud or not, is to always try to knit from stash. It's quite obvious from the above statistics that I had failed miserably. In my defense, a lot of these stash additions were acquired during retail therapy.

To be overly honest, and maybe a titch TMI, I spent a huge portion of last year utterly depressed. I hemmed and hawed over whether or not to post this part but decided to anyway. I won't go into the details but will say that the time I was unable to knit really revealed how much of a role knitting plays in my mental health and my self-care. No amount of meditation, yoga, essential oils, reading, running, or hiking helped. My other favourite hobby (sewing) wasn't a possibility either since it too is hand-intensive work. I got so severely depressed that I stopped going to knit nights, I barely logged onto social media (actually, not going onto Facebook did a world of good for me and have since limited my time spent on there), I didn't want to see people, I barely left the house if I didn't have to, and I slept all.the.time. I was so miserable that when I was able to knit again, I didn't want to. And trust me when I say I'm never too anything to not want to knit. Not this time. 

Needless to say, I spent a huge portion of the last half of 2017 putting myself "back together again" and being able to knit and doing so has definitely helped. My depression will forever be work-in-progress but at least for now things are much brighter and I'm hoping 2018 will be a much, MUCH better year than 2017.

How was your 2017?





Wednesday, January 10, 2018

2018!


Hello and welcome 2018!!

I'm still in denial that it's a new year, but only because I don't want to admit that my offspring is getting older and the precious time that I have with him where the little things like it being ok for him to hold my hand out in public is dwindling. But I digress...

Aside from all those "life is precious" thoughts, I've also been thinking a lot about my crafting goals for 2018. I recognize that I'm making somewhat of a big deal about my goals this year simply because I wasn't able to make any last year since I had no idea how long my recovery from Carpal Tunnel release surgery was going to be and I was uncertain about whether not if I would even be able to knit (due to the other hand). I felt like I was all over the place crafting-wise since I was unsure about my hands and once I was able to knit again I was a bit hesitant to take anything on, just in case. 

This new year though, is a different story. I'm feeling quite positive and even started the new year knitting! I'm excited that I'm able to hold off on having surgery on my right hand (for now), as long as I keep up with regular breaks (no more marathoning for me!), stretching, and taking proper time out to enjoy other maker activities (like baking!!). Obviously, I'm not going to go crazy and knit up a storm...even though I really want to cast on allllll the knits. I still want to take it easy on myself so I've made only a few simple goals, but I think it's enough to keep me busy for the entire year while leaving enough wiggle room for anything that may pop up throughout the year. 

So without further ado...

» Crafty Goals for 2018 «
    • Try to go "Cold Sheep" for as long as possible (for those not familiar with this term: it's when you quit buying yarn)
    • Knit from stash as much as I can (cause my SABLE status is ridiculous!)
    • Sew a quilt - or at least the quilt top (baby steps...)
    • Sew at least one (1) garment from the many untouched patterns stacked next to my sewing machine
    • Be brave, experiment more. Take a few workshops in something not knitting or sewing related


» The Knit List «
    • A sweater for the Kiddo
    • A sweater for myself that will use a hank of Wollmeise Lace
    • A pair of slipper socks
    • Finish at least two (2) old WIPs
    • SOCKS!! (gotta put a dent in my sock yarn stash!)


Do-able, right? To help with my sock knitting quest I decided to pull out enough yarn from my stash to knit twelve pairs of socks (a pair a month?). It's a year of socks! And to make it even easier for me to knit up all these socks, I've wound up all hanks and organized the yarns in the same organizer that I use for all my handknit socks (I bought two of these organizers a few years ago when they were on clearance). I'm hoping this will help me to knit with a variety of yarns from my stash from different years and not just the yarns purchased within the last few months and never properly put away.


Now, I'm not expecting myself to knit all of these socks because you just don't know what the year holds, what new patterns will be released, what new yarns I may get my grabby hands on. This will merely serve as a guideline for my sock knitting. So I'm not going to be hard on myself come December if I see that only half of this box became socks. Not to mention that this box isn't including the socks that I currently have on the needles that I had started on Christmas eve.

Also, I figured that by sorting my year of sock knitting like this, I can just grab and go. You would not believe just how many times over the years, I've frantically searched the house at the last minute, for a super mindless knit to shove into my handbag. Now, when an impromptu knit date happens or unexpected play date, or simply when all of your projects are at a difficult stage all.at.once, I can grab a cake of self-striping yarn and be on my way. Yay for plain vanilla stripey socks (hence all the self-striping yarns)!! Having a free pair of sock needles available immediately, yeah...that's a different story...

Have you set any goals for the new year? Or made any crafty plans for 2018? Please feel free to share! I'd to hear them all and we can cheer each other on!


♥ Happy 2018!! ♥


Friday, December 22, 2017

Jul Designs Lock Toggle Leather Closure :: Review


Back in the day, when I first started to really get into knitting, like, obsessively into knitting, I was ALL about knitting sweaters and shawls. Nothing else even registered. Sweaters and shawls were my whole knitterly life.  My jam. My cup of tea. You get the point. And with each sweater and shawl, with each passing year, I've come to realize three things: 

1. Shawl pins and I will never be friends.
2. As much as I love them, shrugs and open-front buttonless cardigans don't love me. More specifically, my petite shoulders. 
3. Even though I absolutely love and hoard buttons, I also absolutely loathe sewing them onto my knits. Hence why I have so many unblogged FOs...I just can't get motivated enough to sew on those darn buttons! Not to mention that buttons can make or break the knit. The pressure! Sometimes, I just can't handle it. So I don't.

Then, a few years ago I went to Vogue Knitting Live in Seattle and had my very first encounter and introduction to Jūl Designs. I was seriously blown away at not only the no-sew aspect of the gorgeous, innovative, and unconventional leather closures but the fact that you can screw them onto anything - garments, shawls, bags - and you can decide exactly where on these items you want to put them, allowing for some serious creative styling and for me, the perfect accessory to help keep those knits that refuse to stay on my body properly stay in place! I was completely wowed. I've never seen anything like them before! I knew that I needed several of every single style of closure being offered! But alas, my meager budget and the horrible exchange rate at the time wouldn't allow it. 

So imagine my sheer delight and excitement when I was asked if I would be interested in the opportunity to review a leather closure by Jūl Designs. Uh...YES!! YES, PLEASE!! You don't have to ask me twice!


» First Impressions «
I was so incredibly excited and in so much awe that when the Lock Toggle Leather Closure in the beautiful Chestnut Brown colour arrived in the mail, I couldn't take it out of its package. Instead, I left it in all its pristine glory in its clear bag on my bedside table and admired it for a few days. I'm weird, I know! When I finally got over my awe, the first thing I did was attach it to the ribbed collar of a fresh-off-the-needles pullover - solely for embellishment purposes! 

The closure seriously couldn't be more easy to use: you simply unscrew the four "Chicago screws" at each corner of the closure, attach the closure to the right/front side of your garment or accessory by slipping the smooth metal shank between the stitches of the fabric, slide on the circular leather backing disks on the wrong side of the fabric (this ensures the screws don't pull through the stitches of your knitted item and causing the closure to fall off!), and screw the threaded screws back on. Voilà! If you're a visual learner and want to see these steps in action, check out Jūl Designs Youtube video here and here.

The best part: the closure is removable! Meaning you don't have to keep this beauty (or any other Jūl Design closure) on just one knitted item, you can attach it to the cardigan you're wearing today or to the one you're planning on wearing tomorrow, or maybe attach it to the shawl that you finally finished and is currently blocking. Also, because the closure is removable, you can go ahead and wash your knit without worrying about ruining the closure or having to do some magic trick to keep the leather out of the water while your knit soaks. Awesome, right??

As I've said before, the Lock Toggle Leather closure requires no sewing, no commitment, and no pre-planning. So you can knit all those sweaters and not have to worry about buttonhole placement or finding the perfect buttons. I'm SOLD!! 


» The Looks «
I have quite a few sweaters in my sweater chest that still don't have their buttons sewn on or that I have yet to even find buttons for. Way more than I care to admit, actually. But that hasn't stopped me from wearing them! In the past, I've used wooden shawl sticks, kilt pins, and even a couple of button pins to keep my sweaters closed. Now, these all work...for super short periods of time. Generally, I find myself constantly adjusting and fiddling with the sticks and pins, re-arranging my knit, and more often than not cursing the fact that a stitch was pulled too much or that the stick/pin split the yarn in an unsightly manner.

None of these issues came up when I used the Lock Toggle Leather Closure. Yes, I re-adjusted knits from time to time but that's more from wear and movement, like straightening your sweater after sitting for a long period of time, not because the shawl stick fell out (again!) and you have to adjust the cardigan so that the fronts match up correctly. 

One such cardigan that I have all these issues with, my Hooray Cardigan:

Hooray Cardigan by Veera Välimäki

I mostly wear this cardigan with the collar flared down and try to have it closed at my bust. The Lock Toggle Leather Closure made this cardigan super easy to wear. Not once during the day that I wore this did I have to re-adjust the fronts! When it was time to take the cardigan off, I didn't have to worry about unscrewing and taking off the closure completely because the actual "lock" snaps onto itself! The
 tongue on one side of the lock simply slides through the slot on the other side and doubles back on itself and snaps into place. Perfect for when you want to keep the closure attached to a knit for a much longer period of time!

For testing purposes, I even tried the closure at the neck (as seen above). Due to the style of the cardigan, the closure allowed the curved hemline to open up beautifully. Just added to my wishlist: two black versions of this closure. I think one at the neck and one at the bust line would make this cardigan look like perfection!

Next up, my Nuvem shawl:

Nuvem by Martina Behm

This shawl is massive. I rarely, if ever, wear it fully opened, draped over my shoulders. Instead, I like to fold it in half lengthwise and wear it like a scarf. Sometimes I try to wear it like a capelet but find that shawl sticks fall out way too much. With the Lock Toggle Leather Closure, I was able to achieve the capelet look I was going for! I wore the capelet look to a Christmas party and not only did the closure add a nice edgy but modern detail to my outfit but not 
once did I have to worry about jabbing someone (or myself) unexpectedly when I hugged them and I didn't have to worry about the closure falling off. I got a lot of compliments on the closure, which made me laugh as the colour of the Nuvem is usually the first thing people compliment on!

As you can see in the photo above, one side of the closure is going through two layers of lace-weight knit fabric and the other side is going through four layers. The posts on the closure are long enough to go through several layers without the posts looking or feeling like they stick out or are digging into your skin.

And now, for my favourite look, using the Lock Toggle Leather Closure as an interesting accessory:

Fireside Pullover by Jane Richmond

This here is my Fireside Pullover (yes, yes...I haven't blogged about it...yet). Now, technically the collar of this pullover doesn't need a closure of any kind, it looks and wears just fine without one. But sometimes you just want to add a little "oomph" to a knit. Well, let it be known that this closure and this pullover were meant to be worn together! Even more so lately, as it's been insanely cold around here so I re-positioned the closure and moved it a little further up the neck for added warmth and coziness. I wouldn't have been able to do that without this closure! I have a feeling that I will not be able to wear this pullover without a Jūl Designs closure!


» Final Thoughts «
It's probably quite obvious just how thrilled and in love I am with the Lock Toggle Leather Closure. I think it looks so sleek and modern, versatile and unconventional, yet it's also timeless and functional. I had worried that it might be too bulky or heavy but I've attached this closure to knits of all different yarn weights and I'm happy to report that none of my knits ever gave way to the weight and the closure didn't cause any damage or any unsightly gaping holes in any of the knits. Not even on my Nuvem, which was knit using a laceweight in a slightly loose gauge. The only complaint came from the Kiddo, who could feel the closure whenever I gave him "Momma Bear Hugs". But really, is that a deal breaker of a complaint? I think not.

I'm excited to try the Lock Toggle Leather Closure on some of the open-front buttonless cardigans that I have knitted up but rarely wear due to the fact that they constantly slip off my shoulders and I find myself frequently tugging at the fronts, trying to overlap and close the gap. I think with the right placement, the closure can fix my shoulder slippage issue while giving me that little bit of coziness that I seek, as I seem to love cardigans that close at the upper bust. The idea of being able to wear, with minimal fuss, all these cardigans again,  absolutely thrills me!

I honestly can't recommend this closure (or any other Jūl Designs closure) enough! The leather is nice and thick and you just know it's going to last for years to come. The hardware is heavy duty high quality; the threads won't strip, the posts won't bend or distort, and the snap won't fall off after a few uses. The closure is definitely worth its price! My Jūl Designs wishlist is getting longer and longer!

Taken from my Instagram feed
Yes, I'm wearing the backing pieces on the front...I was so excited to try this out that I wasn't paying attention to the details!

» Coupon Code Opportunity « 
A huge thank you to Jūl Designs for giving me this opportunity to try out and review this fabulous closure! I know for a fact that I am now a Jūl fan for life and I just know that I'll be picking up a few more screw-in closures in the future. 

If you would like to try out a Lock Toggle Leather Closure, Jūl Designs is offering all you lovely Miso Friends 10% off your order by using coupon code VERVE at checkout. Offer is good until December 31, 2017. To order or know more information about Jūl Designs, please check out the following links:






:: Disclaimer ::
I am not affiliated with the company mentioned in this post. I received no monetary compensation for my review. I was sent a product for review purposes. The wording and opinions I've written are my own and I will not be receiving any commissions from the links provided in this post.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Knit In Progress: Advent.urous Wrap


Last weekend I decided that I couldn't handle it anymore. Even though I still had some time-sensitive projects on my needles, I NEEDED to cast on Ambah's Adventurous Wrap. And so I did. No, I don't have all my colours sorted out yet, I just know that one half of the wrap is going to go from pinks blending into purples and then grey into black. The other half, I have this vague idea of using yellows that blend into orange and then grey into black again.

Or so that's the game plan, for now.

It's funny how different colours look when in skein form versus when knitted up. I thought my original colour lineup was drastically different from one skein to the next when I had laid out the yarns side by side. But then I started knitting. I'm currently knitting with my sixth colour and already I've ripped back colour sections, changed up the order of my yarns (a few times), and switched out colours (twice!). I didn't dive into my minis and leftovers with the intention of doing a fade and yet it seemed I was aiming to achieve one. Once I let go of the notion of having a fade (and a perfect fade at that!) I think my colour picks now look a whole lot better in my mind!

I'm finding that this project is quickly becoming "potato chip knitting". Changing yarns every handful of rows, seeing what the next colour looks like knitted up, and seeing my pile of minis get smaller and smaller certainly adds to the excitement of the project! Although, I'm definitely not looking forward to all the ends that I'm going to have to weave in. If I was smart, I would start weaving them in now...but where's the fun in that?? 


Anyhoo, even though I'm not that far into the project, I've already discovered a few things. Such as the fact that I'm not using up as much of the yarn as stated in the pattern, despite the fact that I am getting gauge. I have no problem with this, as a matter of fact, it has given me hope that I can use up more of my minis than I thought I would be able to! You see, the majority of my minis are from hexipuff swaps from years ago, so the yardage in these minis are a little on the small side since a hexipuff took only 15-30 yards (approximately 14-27 metres) to whip up. Each of these little minis was meant to knit one or two of those puffy hexagons. Nowadays, when we think of minis, we think of Madelinetosh's Unicorn Tails or Hedgehog Fibres' Sock Minis, both of which are 52 yards (47 metres) and 87 yards (80 metres). Quite a difference from the minis of yore!

Since discovering that I'm not eating up as much yarn as I thought I would, I've revisited the yarns I had picked out for the other half of the wrap. I've swapped out a few colours for the ones that I had originally picked but thought I couldn't use due to the lack of yardage. Yay for being able to use up even more minis!!

Ok...now to knit those minis up...


♥ Happy knitting!! ♥ 


Monday, December 4, 2017

ADVENTurous


A few weeks ago I was scrolling along on Facebook when I came upon a post by knitwear designer, Ambah O'Brien. At first, I thought I was just looking at a re-post of another knitter's really pretty finished shawl using the designer's pattern, but then I read the text and discovered that the design was actually a new pattern that was going to be released in late November. A pretty, colourful, and most importantly, very wearable (to me) shawl? Hmmm...

I was intrigued. 

A few clicks later and I learned that this new design was not your typical shawl/wrap pattern. Yes, the shape is considered to be one of the typical shawl shapes out there (a parallelogram, in case you're wondering), but what made it stand out to me? What made it become the pattern of my obsession ever since I laid eyes on it? Simply put: the wrap is knit solely from the mini skeins of an advent calendar

That's right, Ambah O'Brien's ADVENTurous Wrap was designed with a yarn advent calendar in mind! And trust me, this year I saw SO.many. advent calendars out there for knitters! But not only is this pattern great for using up those mini skeins from advent calendars, it's also a perfect way to use up all those leftovers that are taking up valuable space in your stash.

I'm totally sold.

I can honestly say that I'm always thinking about how I'm going to use up my ever-growing collection of minis and the leftovers that I refuse to get rid of. I've already come to terms with the reality that my Beekeepers Quilt will most likely never reach king size...or even lap size (at least not in the near future!), so I've stopped collecting minis in the name of hexipuffs. But what's a knitter to do with so many minis and bits and bobs?

Now I know. This wrap is the answer. And I'm so excited and beyond obsessed. Now the hardest part, what colour scheme should I go with? Should I do a fade? Or should I simply use up the minis left over from last year's Opal advent and supplement with a skein of a tonal colour to make it all gel together? Luckily, I have a few things on the needles that I need to finish before I can allow myself to cast on this wrap, so I've got a little bit of time to think and figure it out. But I better make a decision soon...this obsession is starting to take over and it's becoming all I can think about!

What do you think of the ADVENTurous Wrap? Do you partake in advent calendars? Chocolate, tea, or yarn? Speaking of which, I think I need all three of those things now! 


♥ Happy knitting! ♥


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Life happens

Hedgehog Fibres Sock in Artifact

Once again I've been super quiet on the blog and a bit mum across social media. I wish I had exciting reasons for my silence, like secret projects and whatnot, but sadly, no, I don't. I can't even say that I've been knitting up a storm either as I really haven't been able to knit that much. I did manage to whip up a couple of small custom orders but otherwise, my knitting time has been a little sporadic. It's a good thing I'm not really gift-knitting this year! 

I have been sewing though! I've been filling custom requests for bags in fabrics that I've used in the past (and have limited quantities of), which is exciting as this will make room (literally) for some new fabrics and possibly new shop items! But all this is not what has been keeping me quiet, so what gives?

Life.

Yes, life happened. I won't go into the details but the gist: a career change (happy face!) and health related stuff (sad face). Exciting AND frustrating times! So many changes all at once and they just keep coming, it most likely won't calm down until after the holidays. Eep! But we're rolling with the punches and we're keeping on keeping on. I might be able to catch a break after the weekend (which I'm hoping will be filled with some much needed knitting time!!) and I'm excited at the idea of being able to do some more sewing. I'm so giddy at the thought! 

For now though, while my energy is currently at a so-called "normal" level, I'm trying to sneak in as many rows as I possibly can on my shawl WIP. A few weeks ago I cast on a Free Your Fade with a gorgeous gradient set by Zen Yarn Garden and I'm happy to report that I'm on my last colour! I'm also hoping to cast on a baby knit that will be gifted at Christmas, but first, I need to decide which pattern to knit up! Do you have any recommendations? Are you knitting gifts?

Ok, speaking of knitting, I have some free time before I have to go pick up the Kiddo. I better try to get some knitting in!


♥ Happy Wednesday!! ♥


Friday, November 10, 2017

Manos Del Uruguay Serpentina :: Review


A few months ago I was asked if I would like to try out and review a new yarn line by Manos del Uruguay. I've never knit with any yarn by Manos before and after taking a peek at what the new yarn line looked like, I was intrigued. Squishy thick and thin handspun? That type of yarn was my very first yarny love! Then I read about how Manos is actually a non-profit organization that assembles skilled artisans in women's cooperatives throughout the countryside of Uruguay with the aim of bringing economic and social opportunities to rural woman in their hometowns. It's awesome that each skein of their certified fair trade yarn is helping a woman in Uruguay support her family. 

Ok, I'm in. Sign me up!

So let me introduce you to the newest yarn to the Manos Del Uruguay line up, Serpentina:


» First Impressions «
When the yarn arrived on my doorstep I immediately ripped open the package and pulled out the skein. I was expecting the yarn to be squishy (and it is! So, so squishy!!) but I wasn't prepared for just how buttery soft it would be. It's so soft and smooth that I couldn't stop squeezing and hugging my skein! It didn't surprise me when I learned that the wool is an extra fine, superwash merino top. What did surprise me, was the colour. I couldn't decide which colourway to pick - it was a toss up between this one, which is called Coco, and two others. At the last minute I panicked and went with Coco because who doesn't love a beautiful grey?

I learned that every shade within this yarn line is named after a woman of consequence and achievement, like Malala (Yousafzai), which is a mix of yellows, oranges, red, pinks, purple, grey, and black (so, SO gorgeous!! Look it up, it's just stunning!); Pina (Bausch, a highly influential German dance performer/choreographer/teacher), which is a mix of pinks with some grey and black - I thought might be too predictable of me to pick; Frida (Kahlo), Petrona (Martínez), and Mother Theresa, to name a few.


Anyways, the colouring surprised me because when I opened up the skein the grey was intertwined with the natural white wool so randomly that you couldn't see a set pattern of colour like you would normally see with hand-dyed yarn. That's because the fibre is hand-dyed first and then spun by hand on a spinning wheel. The yarn got its name, Serpentina, from the way the colours spiral and twirl together that's reminiscent of the paper streamers thrown at the Carnival parties. How fun! I love hearing stories like that, of how things are named or created. And because the colours are totally random throughout the skein, they technically won't stack or pool! That's perfect for knitters like me, knitters who get anxious about not being able to control how the colours will play out in their knitting.

Also, how's this for super cool - since every skein is a unique work of art, it's signed by the spinner!


» The Swatch «
I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this fact numerous times before but I'll say it again, I'm not a fan of swatching. I know, I know. It's weird. You would think that for someone who loves the act of knitting would also like to knit swatches since it's basically just, well, knitting. But I don't. I just want to skip ahead and get straight to the knitting on a project. There are times when I do knit a lot of swatches and that's when I'm trying to sort out colour combinations, knitting new-to-me stitch patterns, knitting with unfamiliar yarns, or when the stitch gauge called for is really far off from my own. I'm definitely not one of those knitters who knits swatches for fun. Since I was unsure of what to knit with this skein of Serpentina and since I'm a little rusty at knitting with thick and thin yarn, I decided to (gasp!) knit a swatch.

Serpentina is classified as an Aran weight yarn, making it a versatile yarn - perfect for cowls, hat, mittens, or any other next-to-the-skin item. The thinnest parts, in my skein at least, I would say never went thinner than a thick fingering weight. I was a little skeptical as to how even the gauge would be and how the finished fabric would look with the varying thicknesses but after a light blocking, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my swatch turned out rather consistent.

This might be shocking to hear but I thoroughly enjoyed knitting this swatch! The yarn is just so lovely to work with. Aside from the softness, the yarn is also smooth and glides wonderfully through your fingers and from needle tip to needle tip. Whenever I knit with a single ply yarn I find that I usually split it somehow (mostly on the purl side) and tend to pull little bits of fibre out of place several times throughout the project. I didn't do that once with the swatch! And the colours...I absolutely love how subtle the various shades of light grey sneak in and out, sometimes so light that you have to look closer just to distinguish it from the natural. The darker grey stitches are my favourite bits!



» The Knitting «
For days I couldn't decide what to knit with this lovely skein of squishiness, then I remembered that a few special babies will be arriving early in the new year! A baby knit, of course! And from what I've seen on Instagram, babies in handspun handknits make the perfect combo.

I decided a cute and whimsical pixie hat is what this skein of Serpentina must be, and went with the Pixie Tadhg pattern by Dee Bryant. The pattern was easy to knit - once you get the stitch marker placement and ribbing sorted out. I found the wording of the stitch marker placement to be super confusing and the notes the designer made on the subject on the Ravelry pattern page wasn't that much more helpful. As for the ribbing, well, first of all, I used the alternate cable cast-on method that was recommended in the pattern. I had to do a few attempts since I had never done this cast-on before and had no clue how to join it in the round. I was impressed with how well the yarn held up to my constant ripping and frogging back and didn't look like it was going to turn into a strand of fuzzy matted fibre like I've seen other single ply yarns do.

A few searches on Google and I finally found out, via Woolly Wormhead, that when you use an alternate cable cast-on in the round, you have to knit a row flat THEN join in the round. It would have saved so much time, effort, and headache had the pattern just added that note somewhere in the directions. Once I finally got going, the rest was easy peasy and voilà! A super cute pixie hat! 

I decided to do braided ties rather than icord ones just in case the recipient's parents wanted to either cut them off or cut them shorter without running the risk of the ties unravelling. I absolutely love how the hat turned out, I adore that little nib at the crown! I love how the stitches are so defined and how the thicker parts of the yarn add a little texture and interest in the simple stockinette. The grey really does knit up randomly and is distributed throughout the project evenly. Not once did the grey pool, flash, or stack up unevenly. I can't wait to see a little wee one wearing it!


:: Hat Details ::
Pattern: Pixie Tadhg by Dee Bryant
Yarn: Manos Del Uruguay Serpentina
Colour: Coco (P1562)
Needles: Knit Picks Harmony Wood (now called Rainbow Wood) Interchangeable Circulars in 5mm (US 8)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Serpentina Pixie


» Final Thoughts «
I'm happy to report that I really enjoyed knitting with Serpentina, and that my very first experience with a Manos yarn was a delightful one. I can't recall the last time I've knit with handspun, it was such a treat for my hands! The soft merino felt so luxurious and even if this wasn't a baby knit, the Aran weight makes for super quick knits. Perfect for holiday knitting...hint, hint! 

Unless it's for socks, I normally shy away from variegated yarns but after learning and then experiencing it for myself how this yarn doesn't get me all anxious when it comes to colours pooling and whatnot, I feel more comfortable to knit more with this yarn. I would stick to accessories though, like hats and cowls, until I can see for myself how this yarn wears and if it will show that wear a lot or not. Because of its superwash characteristic, I do feel comfortable knitting and gifting baby items made from this yarn, but again, would stick to patterns that wouldn't require the item to be washed a lot (like baby hats!).

Thank you so much, Fairmount Fibers (the North American distributor of Manos Del Uruguay yarns) for giving me this opportunity to try this heavenly yarn! I might not have picked it out myself, as I'm a creature of habit and tend to stick with what I've used before. But now I look forward to picking up a skein or two to knit myself a cowl to go with my new raincoat. I seriously can't stop thinking about that Malala colourway!!


If you would like to give Serpentina a try, or would like to know more information about Manos Del Uruguay, please check out the following links:

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:: Disclaimer ::
I am not affiliated with the company mentioned in this post. I received no monetary compensation for my review. I was sent yarn for review purposes in exchange for the possibility of posting a review. The wording and opinions I've written are my own and I will not be receiving any commissions from the links provided in this post.

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