Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Little MRS Cowl Co.

Well, followers.

I have not been kind to you in the past months. I set my knitting aside as the crunch of wedding time drew closer.  The bad news?! I haven't blogged or bought yarn for months. The wedding budget prevented me from yarn shopping, and the time and exhaustion prevented me from blogging. The good news?! I am a happily (happy is actually an understatement in this case) married woman, I have more time to knit, and the yarn diet is OVER!  

Our honeymoon destination were the lovely Hawaiian islands - a place you would never THINK to buy yarn (really, who needs wool when you're living in tropical paradise). I found a yarn shop in Kauai, and bought two gorgeous skeins of Hanalei hand-dyed bamboo/merino. The colours reminded me of the sky and ocean waves - and I can't wait to find the perfect pattern for knitting it up!

Hanalei Hand-Dyed Bamboo/Merino

Once we got back from the honeymoon, it was organization overload. Being in a condo, we are a bit crunched for space, and my yarn addition doesn't help. I updated my Ravelry stash and picked yarn to knit up quickly (helloooooo dishcloths) and yarn to go in my basket beside the couch for immediate knitting. Sweater quantities and yarn that I haven't decided what to do with yet went into bins and up into our locker. 

I thought to myself, "hey, I can burn through a full bin by the end of 2014" - I had hats, dishcloths, cowls, cardigans and shawls I wanted to knit up. Then there was the Knit Picks sale. My knitting friend e-mailed me and asked that if I was making a purchase, to throw in a single skein for her as she found herself short for a project. At the time of the e-mail, I didn't know Knit Picks was having a sale. PANDEMONIUM ENSUED. 

I bought bulky cotton in a gorgeous dusty lavender hue, bulky needles, Chroma in a discontinued colour, extra yarn for a previously queued project so I can actually gauge this time, books and supplies. My husband had a mini panic attack - especially at my ease of justifying the yarn overload. We just finished organizing all the yarn, and here I am bringing more in!

I have identified that I have a mild-yarn addiction. Mild. I knit every night, but since I am a slow knitter, the yarn doesn't knit up as fast as it seems to come in. I am organizing my Ravelry library, favorites and queue - in the hopes that I can enjoy and love the yarn I have (some of which I forgot I had) and make room for new patterns, new yarn and new ideas. 

Tips for de-stashing and organizing if you have Ravelry:

1. Go through your library. Tag thing in your favorites based on yarn weight, technique (i.e. cables, in-the-round) and type of project (cowl, shawl, hat etc). This way when you are looking to knit up a particular yarn weight, you can search within your library easily.

2. If you have a yarn specifically designated for a certain project, pop it into your queue. Add the yarn from your stash, so every time you look at your queue you know that yarn is already set up for that pattern. I update as I go along - sometimes I change my mind and switch up yarn and patterns.

3. Photograph your stash, organize it into categories and (if you have a lot and/or you have space), buy Rubbermaid-type bins. Update your stash with the information. For example, I have a bunch of kitchen cotton. I photographed it all, put it into bin #1 and put that info on Ravelry. When I was looking to knit up all my kitchen cotton, I picked and printed a pattern and knew exactly where to find my yarn. 

4. Don't be afraid of extra help! I use the Wooly App on my iPhone to help me. I take pictures and with the app, can upload them quite easily to my Ravelry account. 

Hope this has helped! 

Signing off, 

Little Mrs. Cowl Co

June 7th, 2014. 
Mr. & Mrs!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Swap 2014!

I know, I know. My postings are becoming sporadic at best. I have been too busy knitting and planning a wedding to write to you, dear readers. 

But fear not, I am back and ready to fill you in on my winter knitting escapades. It's been a productive winter, and I have (mostly) stuck to my 2014 yarn diet. This means I'm knitting from my delicious stash, making room for new treats come next year.

I'll update you in a series of posts...this one being dedicated to my recent group swap!

As most of you know, I am part of a little knitter's group. We meet up bi-weekly at a local Starbucks and bring our knitting gear with us. What started out as a small group of 3-5 women quickly grew to almost 10 ladies! We're taking over Starbucks, and getting quite a bit of attention while there. Last year was the inaugural year of our Swap - making something and gifting another group member with a hand-knit item, yarn and a pattern. This year I got the ninja-Knitter as my partner, and needless to say, was terrified.

This woman makes lace shawls and sweater knitting look like child's play. She creates the most incredible items in such record time that I was very frightened to make something for her. I'm a bit of a slow knitter since I still consider myself a novice. I quickly began searching her Ravelry favourites, library, queue and projects. I began to understand that she likes neutrals (well, gray in particular) and she likes scarves.

Since I am Little Miss Cowl Co, I settled on a pretty cabled cowl (the pattern is free on Ravelry, and accurately called "Cable Cowl"). I used Abuelita "Thick & Thin" in a lovely variegated gray. Although the yarn doesn't have as much drape as the yarn suggested, the structure of it gave incredible detail to the cablework.

Cable Cowl - in construction

I sewed the ends together as I forgot to include button holes when finishing. It turned out lovely and I'm seriously contemplating making myself one too!

Modelling the Cable Cowl on a cold Sunday evening

I included an extra ball of the same yarn, a sock-knitting book and some bath salts. Knitting-Ninja partner has a toddler at home, so the bath salts should come in handy for some relaxing evenings when baby boy is sleeping.

We coordinate our swap with Chinese New Years, and this year we went for Thai at a local restaurant. We decided to skip the yarn crawl for a later month, hopefully when the snow has gone away.

The fellow knitter who had me was awesome. She's the type of person who does not let on as to how amazing of a knitter she is - so she is always surprising us with her knit items. I got such an awesome swap package filled with goodies that were quickly devoured. 

(from Left to Right) Chocolates, Knit slouchy hat, Cascade Magnum in a gorgeous purple, and Wedding themed Thank You cards.

So I should mention the chocolates are gone. They were gone in an instant actually - and worth every calorie. The hat is incredible and the picture does not do justice. The middle stockingnette stitch area is an ombre-effect colourway, and the hat has such a gorgeous drape. Of course, I'm known for my love of bulky yarn (instant gratification yarn as I like to call it). I already have a cowl pattern in queue for this. The lovebird wedding thank-you cards are perfect as me and soon-to-be Mr. Cowl Co!

All in all, I come to look forward to our swaps more and more every year! I love that I challenge myself with new and sometimes difficult knitting patterns (insert Kitchener Stitch) and gift someone who really does appreciate knit items with something made totally from the heart. 

Happy knitting, friends! Hope this dreadful winter has brought about lots of knitting joy for you all!


Little Miss Cowl Co.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Fall Prep!

The time has come again! Officially knitting season!

In preparation for this lovely time of year, I have dutifully stocked up on some fun new yarn for myself and gifted items. I recently competed for a higher-level career within my company, which means a half-office-half-cubical space, and lots of networking. This calls for versatile sweaters and cardigans. 

I got an e-mail from Knit Picks advertising a sale on cashmere yarn. Really, the words 'sale' and 'cashmere' in the same sentence should be enough indication as to my excitement. I bought Capra in navy and cream, and although I didn't get a huge amount, I think it will suffice to accommodate my re-emerged nautical taste. A lovely stripped cowl is just the recipe for this. I'm leaning towards "Honey Cowl" by Madeline Tosh (found on Ravelry). 

As I was browsing Ravelry patterns, I stumbled upon "Caramel" by Isabell Kramer, and saw a variation called "Lemon Drops". Let me tell you, my jaw dropped at the beauty and simplicity of this. I IMMEDIATELY searched for yarn. I have to make this - and I have to have this gorgeousness on my body. I decided on Wool of the Andes Superwash (seriously, I'm not into hand washing a cardigan I'm expecting to wear 24/7) in Semolina, Navy and Heathered Gray. I'm actually going to do a gauge swatch for the first time in my knitting life, so hopefully I get this right!

I then stopped by Spun Fibre Arts in Burlington - and although temptation was drawing me to multiple different yarns, I picked up two delicious varieties - both lace weight! Yes, me - the queen of chunky yarn. 

The first is a lovely coral silk/wool blend - which I'm hoping to create an airy scarf/shawl that can give a sheer effect ("Just a Whisper" on Ravelry). I'm normally quite afraid of bright colours (I blame this on my shy-borderline-introverted nature), but coral is my one exception. I love the happiness of the colour, and that it seems to have a mature quality while still being pretty girly.

The second yarn is the most beautiful burgundy cashmere I have ever seen. The yarn was half off (!!!!!!!!), and although the yardage is quite low (I bought two 294m skeins - for lace weight...seriously), I browsed through Ravelry while I was at the store and found a lovely pattern that I'm hoping to knit up for my mom in time for her birthday.

My stash is once again becoming slightly uncontrollable, and I think I've maxed out my yarn budget for the remainder of the year. Hopefully I can manage to knit up some of this delightful yarn, while still meeting my duties of preparing for the much anticipated "Vaughan of a Kind" craft show. I will have lots of City Cowls, as well as headbands up for grabs.

Lots of knitting love from yours truly,

Little Ms. Cowl Co.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Serenely Knitting

Happy Sunday, all!

I have just returned from a week at my cousin's cottage, and got so much knitting done, I felt the urge to share it all with you!

After a botched attempt to head south for a week, my cousin invited me to her cottage near Tiny, Ontario (nestled between the over-hyped Wasaga Beach and Midland). We biked, watched sunsets, tanned and spent our evenings watching Homeland and knitting up a storm.

Sunset over Georgian Bay

After taking a short bike ride to watch the sunset, we brewed up some tea and retreated to the couch for a marathon of classic movies and Homeland. I brought more yarn than I expected to get through, and surprisingly, managed to knit up quite a few items!

The first was the famed "On the Hudson Cowl" by Sandra Singh. A few months ago I won the pattern, eagerly cast-on for the Knit-A-Long (KAL) and managed to screw up so bad that I abandoned the project. I frogged a portion of it a month ago, and decided that this was my opportunity to complete it.

On the Hudson Cowl - Complete

I made a tiny little boo-boo on the pattern - otherwise I am completely in love with it! If you see at the bottom of the cowl, right before the ribbing is a tiny section of dark grey lace pattern. That is not supposed to be there. My subconscious must have made me cast-on the grey colour, so to avoid taking it apart I did one repeat of the lace before finishing with the ribbing. Many thanks to Sandra Singh for creating such a beautiful pattern, and for having the pattern contest!

Next, I decided to begin preparing for the Vaughan of a Kind Show. This is usually held around Christmas time in Vaughan ON, and it's never too early to begin prepping for a Craft Show!

I brought a bunch of yarn for making my bow headband. I will be selling them along with the "City Cowl". They are made of super soft premium acrylic (wool is too scratchy, and the past has taught me that not many people will pay for cashmere or alpaca unless requested specifically). My favourite yarn for this is Vanna's Choice by Lion Brand: her colours are modern, and the yarn washes up so soft, it really is lovely for an acrylic.

My cousin Elisa modelling her grey bow headband

After knitting up a whopping five headbands and bows - I got bored with it, and cast on my next project: The Organic Mushroom Hat.

I knit it up with Lion Brand Nature's Choice Organic Cotton in Macadamia. It is super soft, although quite difficult to work with (like any cotton). It knit up quickly with US 10.5 circular needles, and I finished it off with US 9 DPNs. 

After completing it, I was doing my usual gossip reading and came across a picture of Siena Miller rocking a very similar hat. I love finding photos of celebrities wearing knit items. It somehow validates to the skeptical world that knitting can be modern and fashionable, and isn't just an old lady sport. 

The Organic Mushroom Hat (pattern on Ravelry)

Siena Miller in her strikingly similar knit hat

I can't wait to wear this lovely hat on a fall day. It's feminine and dainty, and still has a bit of an edge. The cotton is super soft, and the detail of the lace pattern is really pretty up close.

All in all, I had a very relaxing week away from the big city, and look forward to keeping up my knitting streak!

Have a wonderful week!

Lots of love,

Little Ms Cowl Co.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Little Ms Cowl Co has some news for you!

Welcome back, darling followers!

I have been M.I.A for quite a bit, but will update you on all the fun of the past few months.

Shortly after my last post, I got engaged! My fiance' popped the question on our anniversary - something he said he would never do (sneaky...I didn't expect it at all!). I have been in full wedding planning mode ever since - hence my absence. I have tried to finish my Work-In Progress(es) throughout that time though, in the vain hopes of giving me sanity throughout the aggressive process of wedding preprations.

*Drum roll please* The boyfriend scarf is DONE! Ok, it became "the fiance' scarf" - but it is complete nonetheless. I finished it with less than 6 inches of yarn left over, so it is as long as possible. Mr. Little-Cowl-Co-to-be loves it, even if it is July. He better, since I'm pretty sure I will never knit him another scarf again. It was one of the most painful projects I have ever endured, however I must say, the pain was worth it: the scarf is beautiful. The material, pattern and texture are quite complimentary to each other, and the scarf looks great on him.

I have picked up my "On the Hudson Cowl" again. I put it on the back burner for a bit because I found an error in my stitches, and did not have the courage to tink it out. During one of my knit nights with my knitting group, I was encouraged and managed to correct the error - while only tinking one part of the pattern.

I'm continuing it - and am happy to say there is quite a bit of yarn left over (enough for another cowl or two!). The colours are beautiful - and I will post a picture as soon as it's complete.

In other news, my dear friend is getting married on the same day as the annual Bindertwine Festival in Kleinburg, ON. I will not have a booth - but will get to witness one of my dearest friends tie the knot! I will be working away on cowls and headbands for the Vaughan of a Kind show, which is usually held around Christmas time. Last year was unorganized (my booth was beside another booth selling knit cowls), chaotic and not a kind experience to me, so I must have hope that this year will be better.

I will post pics of all finished objects (FOs) ASAP!

Much love,

Little Ms Cowl Co.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Spring Caffeine Addicts Swap 2013

Well, darlings. The time has come again! Swap time!!

I have made it a tradition to participate in the "Caffeine Addicts" spring and fall swaps (as you can tell from previous posts).

This year my swap buddy is from New I was anticipating some cool things - and boy did she deliver!

swap package all wrapped up

Starbucks tumbler, Dunkin' Donuts coffee (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), knit flower pin, hand-knit makeup bag (from my Ravelry favorite's list), terracotta candle, chili chocolate (which is lingering on my taste buds as I type), Desert Sun NM roasted coffee, and finally a dangerously small (but most likely powerful) tin of fire-roasted diced green chili peppers.

I am so excited to try it all - and so thankful! This was such a super swap package, I couldn't be more grateful.

For a little hint of what she got in return:

Chai tea, Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmerman, City of Vaughan magazine, Lavazza coffee (my personal favorite), friendship blueberry tea, Mustard Scarf, Headband (knit in handspun and kettle-dyed wool), maple sugar cookies, and some green tea candies.

I had such a great time participating in this swap!

Until next time,

Little Miss Cowl Co.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Dreaming of Pantone Contest Winner!

Good morning, Dear Followers!

I'm writing with wonderful news - The Little Cowl Co's first contest winner!

Congratulations to Hollie Schroeder! You have won a City Cowl in your Pantone colour choice "Tender Shoots 14-0446"!

I used to have a colour selected - and I think it's a great choice! Since the cowl is made with natural material, it will be a great addition to your spring wardrobe without feeling too wintery!

To all other followers, make sure you add the blog to your favorites and stay tuned for more news, updates, patterns, contests and knitting adventures!

Until next time,

Little Miss Cowl Co.