New Pattern: Mother Lode

I'm so thrilled to finally be releasing today's latest design, Mother Lode. It took me over a year to create this... literally. I purchased the yarn at the Rose City Yarn Crawl in March os 2016 and its taken until now to conceptualize and knit this beauty. And let me emphasize the "conceptualize". The yarn, a 4-color Mother Sampler (heavy lace weight; approx. 1100 yds per sampler collection) from Yarn on the House, sat in a place of prominence for about 5 months, staring at me, taunting me, until it told me what it needed to be. And here she is: 

Mother Lode

lode
lōd/
noun
noun: lode; plural noun: lodes
  1. a vein of metal ore in the earth.
    • a rich source of something.
Origin
Old English lād ‘way, course,’ variant of 'load'. The term denoted a watercourse in late Middle English and a lodestone in the early 16th century The current sense dates from the early 17th century.

What's in a name?

Sometimes? Nothing. But sometimes? Everything! I'd been eyeing these Mother Samplers from YOTH for quite a while and finally was able to source them locally during the yarn crawl. I hemmed and hawed about what color combination to select (greens, blues, browns, grays) and finally settled on the classic gray.  They're warm grays so there's an undertone of brown which makes this the perfect "wear it with everything" kind of shawl. 

So to me, this shawl is everything. The yarns are lovely, and just my kind of palette, but mostly, it's the fruition of a long term project working out EXACTLY as I'd imagined it. So the Mother Lode is a rich source of joy and pride for this cat. 

The Details

The Story

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a YOTH Mother Sampler during a yarn crawl - when I brought it home I knew it had to be something cushy and spectacular, but not fussy, to show off the gorgeous palette.

Materials

  • Yarn on the House Mother Sampler (heavy lace weight; 100% domestic Rambouillet wool; 1100 yds/200g): 1 set of 4 (275 yds/50g ea).
    • ‘Sea Salt’ (color A)
    • ‘Poppy Seed’ (color B)
    • ‘Wild Rice’ (color C)
    • ‘Cracked Pepper’ (color D)
  • US 3 (3.25mm) 32” circular needle (or preferred length)
  • Removable stitch marker (optional)

Finished Dimensions

79 inches wingspan by 16 inches deep

Gauge

30 sts and 58 rows = 4 inches in garter stitch after blocking

Notes

  • This shawl is constructed in an asymmetrical shape and worked flat, from tip to end. Written instructions are provided for the entirety of the shawl.
  • Adjust needle size as necessary to match gauge.
  • All sts will be slipped purlwise unless otherwise noted.
  • You may wish to clip a removable stitch marker to the RS of the work to differentiate RS from WS since this project is worked largely in garter stitch.
  • Although gauge is not critical for this project, a looser gauge than noted will result in the use of more yardage.

No YOTH? No worries!

Although this pattern was designed using a palette from the YOTH Mother Sampler, you can put together your own sampler with a heavy lace weight or light fingering yarn. You'll just need 275 yds of each color and you're off to the races.

So! Go get your pattern here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/mother-lode

Choose your yarns! And get knitting! If you're on social media, tag me with #unapologeticknitter or @notsorryknitter on Twitter and Instagram. I'd love to see your color combos! Happy knitting, my lovelies!!! 

Product Review: Knit Crate, March 2017

You know when you sign up for a subscription service (magazines, clothes, KNITTING THINGS) and you're all "Oh man... I hope it's super awesome" and then it shows up and your blown away? Welp! That's all I gotta say about the March Knit Crate that showed up at my door the other day. 

In the past I've signed up for package knitting services and have enjoyed them, but this time, when I opened my Knit Crate box, the first Knit Crate I've received, I think I actually said "Wow!". For serious. Wow. I mean, sure, yarn is always pretty, but this whole package is beautiful.  

Let's break it down!

So, beyond the clean outer box, this is what's inside:

  • A descriptor card about the inspiration for the month - this month is all about the earth tones of root vegetables and winter crops. 
  • A double-sided pattern postcard that shows a sneak peak of the Beginner pattern and the Intermediate/Advanced pattern available for you to download and knit with the included yarn.
  • A feel good business card with the express purpose of giving back!
  • A little bag with some oh-so-cute progress keepers to keep you on track as you knit the pattern, AND... duh duh duh DA!
  • THE YARN! 

Postcards aside...

There is a lovely business card inside this box for "Butterfly Boxes". Now, I'd never heard of Butterfly Boxes but I feel like it's something I would really like to get on board with. And I love that Knit Crate, a business (aka: for profit), has taken the time to find a way for their customers to give back to those in need.

The general idea with Butterfly Boxes (a non-profit, BTW) is that we, as knitters (or crocheters) can send completed fiber-y items (blankets, toys, wash cloths, bags, hats, etc.) to the Butterfly Box organization, and the items will be distributed, along with other necessities, to refugee families in need arriving in Portland, OR. I mean, come on, right?! Maybe it's just me, but that hit me in the feels, y'all! We have such an amazing skill, as fiber artists. How special to share it with someone who would truly appreciate it?! Just do it! *stepping off my soapbox now*

Lest I forget the progress keepers!

These adorable little sheepy-wonders are super adorable. They've got a claw clasp on them so you can clip them to your project bags for easy transport for new projects. Or, if you're like me, to a zipper on your jacket so you always have a sheep friend with you! 

OK, can we discuss this yarn?!

I have heard of Knit One Crochet Too yarn but have never actually touched it. And now I'm kind of kicking myself for not squishing it before! The kit includes 2 skeins of Crock-O-Dye, a fingering weight yarn in a blend of superwash, nylon and silk. Yum-My! 

Time is of the essence!

If you love this kit, you've got just 9 more days to get your hands on it (aka: March 31)! Once they're gone, they're gone, and the April boxes will be up for grabs!

How do you get one? Click this link: http://mbsy.co/gR3nS

You'll be directed to a page where you can choose from this crate, or a selection of other crates (Beginners, Socks, and Newbies and CROCHET, too!) that you can order by the month (a one-time purchase), 3-months, or even a full years subscription. And yes, the multi-order plans are discounted! Woot! 

And, just 'cuz I love you guys (and the Knit Crate folks love me) I have a discount code to share with you, should you decide to purchase the March Box. Just use UK20 at checkout and you can save 20% on your Knit Crate. I mean... does it get any better than that?! Nope... didn't think so.

So... why are you still here?

Go get your Crate. Save some $$ with UK20 and get to knitting with some incredible yarns (and patterns, of course). Thanks for stopping by! More knitting goodness is coming your way, soon!

Oh! And did I mention?! If you snap a photo of your Knit Crate and share it on social media with #KNITCRATE and #UnravelYourKNITCRATE you're entered to win a $50 Knit Crate gift card?! Yep... that's more than a month's box worth. Double 'woot'!

March KALFH #2: Alpine Trail Hat

I think 2017 is most definitely the year of hats for me. I feel like I always have one on the needles which is a pretty abrupt change of pace for this sock-aholic! But with the cooler weather and my renewed interest in curling (yep - the Olympic sport) I have an excuse to wear all of these new hats I'm making. 

Alpine Trails Hat by Jill Zielinski

Pre-cast on tip!

Before jumping right on in to the cast-on for this hat, wind off 36" of yarn from the hat skein (i.e.: the project yarn, not the waste yarn for the provisional cast-on) and set it aside. We will be using this later!

Provisional Cast-On

I feel like a wizard since I've sorted out a little Provisional Cast-On trick. I tend to use the Crochet Chain provisional cast-on method which, when removed to pick up the live stitches, always nets me one stitch short of the total desired number. To combat that, I cast-on one additional stitch (in this case, 25 instead of 24). 

If you're unfamiliar with the Crochet Provisional Cast On, here's a great video to show you how it's done. I recommend crocheting approximately 32 chains so you have more than enough room to pick up your 25 stitches: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OGG0AiJ3XE

BUT! Now I have an extra stitch!

Yep - yep you will! On Row 1 of the instructions for the brim, work the first stitch as a k2tog. This will decrease your stitch count to the right number of stitches, AND means that when you undo your provisional cast-on, you'll have 24 live stitches waiting for you, rather than 23! 

Grafting the Brim

When you finish your repeats of the Brim chart, DO NOT work 1 row even. Leave your working yarn attached at the end of Row 8. This means that with the RS facing  you, the working yarn will be on the right side of the project.

TIP! If you are new to grafting stitches, I recommend putting a lifeline in to your live stitches before grafting so that if you make a mistake or drop a stitch, it's easy to go back. Just a little hard learned lesson from me to you! ;) 

Moving on... Begin by carefully removing your provisional cast-on and placing the live stitches on an additional needle, preferably a DPN or circular needle.

Hold your live stitches from the provisional cast-on parallel to the live stitches on your project needle, with the needle tips pointing to the RIGHT and the RS of the work facing you. The project working yarn will be on the LEFT side with the RS facing you. I know this sounds contradictory to what I wrote above. But now the "Live" stitches, the ones that you just finished working (not the ones that you picked up from the provisional cast-on) will be upside down so it's kind of mirrored. 

This is where we're going to graft the cast-on and live stitches together to complete the brim - USING THE 36" OF YARN we cut off at the beginning of the project.  Thread this yarn onto a tapestry needle and let's get to grafting!

The pattern says to graft using Kitchener stitch - I've taken it one step further so that you're grafting in pattern - garter in one section, stockinette in another. So here we go! 

  1. Insert tapestry needle purlwise into the first stitch of the Front needle (this is the needle holding your previously provisionally cast-on stitches). Leave this stitch on the needle.
  2. Insert tapestry needle purlwise into the first stitch of the Back needle ( Leave this stitch on the needle.
  3. Insert tapestry needle knitwise into the first stitch on the Front needle; remove this stitch from the needle. Insert tapestry needle purlwise into the next stitch on the Front needle; leave this stitch on the needle.
  4. Insert tapestry needle knitwise into the first stitch on the Back needle; remove this stitch from the needle. Insert tapestry needle purlwise into the next stitch on the Back needle; leave this stitch on the needle.
  5. [REPEAT STEPS 3 AND 4] 5 more times, ending with Step 4.
  6. Insert tapestry needle knitwise into the first stitch on the Front needle; remove this stitch from the needle. Insert tapestry needle purlwise into the next stitch on the Front needle; leave this stitch on the needle.
  7. Insert tapestry needle knitwise into the first stitch on the Back needle; remove this stitch from the needle. Insert tapestry needle knitwise into the next stitch on the Back needle; leave this stitch on the needle.
  8. Insert tapestry needle knitwise into the first stitch on the Front needle; remove this stitch from the needle. Insert tapestry needle purlwise into the next stitch on the Front needle; leave this stitch on the needle.
  9. Insert tapestry needle purlwise into the first stitch on the Back needle; remove this stitch from the needle. Insert tapestry needle knitwise into the next stitch on the Back needle; leave this stitch on the needle.
  10. [REPEATS STEPS 8 AND 9] until all stitches are grafted.

Continuing with the Body of the Hat

Now you have what looks like a really lovely headband with the working yarn still attached. Here's where this headband starts to look like a hat! With the working yarn, you're going to start picking up one stitch for every slipped stitch around the circumference of the brim. Isn't it nice that those slipped stitches are so easy to work with?! I love it! It's actually one of my favorite details of the project - its so EASY! 

The remainder of the hat is a snap! You can work it just as written. My only notes, and these are just personal preferences, are as follows:

  1. I worked the hat (I made a size medium and my head is 22" circumference) to only 7.5" from the cast-on edge rather than the length noted in the pattern. I just prefer a slightly less slouchy slouch hat.
  2. I made a smaller pom pom. I have made a 4" pom on other hats before and I find it so heavy that it pulls the hat too far back. So I made a 2.5" pom pom instead. My smaller pom pom took roughly 15g of yarn (approx. 20 yds). So if you make a larger pom pom, be sure to reserve enough to make an amazing pom! 

Blocking

I wet blocked my hat over a ballon blown up to a 21" circumference. Please be sure to block your hat BEFORE you attach the pom pom. Nothing is sadder than a wet pom pom. Once the hat is completely dry, attach the pom and rock your new hat! I know you'll love it!

Keep in touch!

Thanks for knitting along with me on the Alpine Trail hat! If you're on social media, feel free to tag #unapologeticknitter (or use @notsorryknitter on IG) so I can see your amazing creations!