Episode 102: Variegated Yarn . . . It’s Not Just for Socks!

Hello yarn-people! Happy to be hanging out with you on the weekend 🙂 In this episode, I have my Bojagi Shawl and a longer discussion about variegated yarns (and their gradient cousins) for socks, shawls, and sweaters. And we’ll talk about those skeins you just can’t seem to knit with–(pssst, the answer is it’s OK!). I also have a winner for the “Out of My League” MAL and some shout outs. Come hang a while? ~Melissa

If you love the content, consider supporting me with a Kofi donation: https://ko-fi.com/knittingthestash​​​

“Out of My League” KAL info: Do you have some languishing WIPS from years past that you just couldn’t finish? Have a few patterns stashed away that seemed too hard? Well, this is the KAL for you! Pick up a pattern or a project that once seemed “Out of Your League” and give it another go! I have three in mind that ‘ll be casting on–and all from deep stash, so no need to buy yarn 🙂 Join me? We’ll be chatting on the “Out of My League” thread in Ravelry! Ravelry group: https://www.ravelry.com/groups/knitti…

–FREE PATTERN: It’s a Wrap Cowl pattern is available via Ravelry. If you’re not on Ravelry and would like a PDF of the cowl pattern, please email me at knittingthestash@gmail.com

–For 10% off your next SweetGeorgia Yarns order, use the code: ambassadormelissa10 –If you’re feeling the KnitCrate love and want some excitement in your mailbox each month, you can Subscribe to KnitCrate via this link https://www.knitcrate.com/?rfsn=42489… and use this Discount Code to get 20% Off: KTS20

SHOW NOTES:

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Two Weeks, Two Videos!

Welcome, welcome! I have a new episode up, #101, and a vertical button band tutorial. Both are about my recent FO, the Reverb Cardigan. Spencer also appears in the latest episode to discuss creative slumps . . . And there is a new test knit available for the last Shorn III pattern: a beautiful cabled, tassled hat! I hope you find something you like 🙂 ~Melissa

SHOW NOTES

  • Reverb by Tanis Lavallee of Tanis Fiber Arts (Ravelry link)
  • Brooklyn Tweed Yarn: Shelter
  • Interested in test knitting patterns for Shorn? Email me: knittingthestash@gmail.com
  • Underwear pattern (in Russian)
  • Episode 100–collar liner discussion

“Out of My League” KAL info: Do you have some languishing WIPS from years past that you just couldn’t finish? Have a few patterns stashed away that seemed too hard? Well, this is the KAL for you! Pick up a pattern or a project that once seemed “Out of Your League” and give it another go! I have three in mind that ‘ll be casting on–and all from deep stash, so no need to buy yarn  Join me? We’ll be chatting on the “Out of My League” thread in Ravelry!

Ravelry group: https://www.ravelry.com/groups/knittingthestash

–FREE PATTERN: It’s a Wrap Cowl pattern is available via Ravelry. If you’re not on Ravelry and would like a PDF of the cowl pattern, please email me at knittingthestash@gmail.com

–For 10% off your next SweetGeorgia Yarns order, use the code: ambassadormelissa10

–If you’re feeling the KnitCrate love and want some excitement in your mailbox each month, you can Subscribe to KnitCrate via this link https://www.knitcrate.com/?rfsn=42489…​ and use this Discount Code to get 20% Off: KTS20

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Episode 100:

Hello people of the knitting world! We’ve made it [hooray, hoorah] to episode 100!! Cue the fireworks! I have a fun collar modification for the Reverb cardigan to discuss with you, plus a call for test knitters (yes, you!), and a yarn giveaway for three lucky winners 🙂 Yay! Come hang a while? ~Melissa

If you love the content, consider supporting me with a Kofi donation: https://ko-fi.com/knittingthestash​

To enter the GIVEAWAY for one of the three yarn prizes, please leave a comment here, on the Ravalry thread, or on the YouTube thread for this episode. Tell me something you’re hopeful for or want to do this summer! This one is open only to the US [apologies, but pandemic considerations are still in play] I’ll draw three winners by random number in 2 weeks time.

“Out of My League” KAL info: Do you have some languishing WIPS from years past that you just couldn’t finish? Have a few patterns stashed away that seemed too hard? Well, this is the KAL for you! Pick up a pattern or a project that once seemed “Out of Your League” and give it another go! I have three in mind that ‘ll be casting on–and all from deep stash, so no need to buy yarn 🙂 Join me? We’ll be chatting on the “Out of My League” thread in Ravelry!

Ravelry group: https://www.ravelry.com/groups/knittingthestash

SHOW NOTES:

  • Reverb by Tanis Lavallee of Tanis Fiber Arts (Ravelry link)
  • SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock Yarn
  • Brooklyn Tweed Yarn: Shelter
  • Interested in test knitting patterns for Shorn? Email me: knittingthestash@gmail.com

–FREE PATTERN: It’s a Wrap Cowl pattern is available via Ravelry. If you’re not on Ravelry and would like a PDF of the cowl pattern, please email me at knittingthestash@gmail.com

–For 10% off your next SweetGeorgia Yarns order, use the code: ambassadormelissa10

–If you’re feeling the KnitCrate love and want some excitement in your mailbox each month, you can Subscribe to KnitCrate via this link https://www.knitcrate.com/?rfsn=42489…​ and use this Discount Code to get 20% Off: KTS20

I am a SweetGeorgia Ambassador and as a result, I receive products and promotional material from time to time. Links provided here offer me a small commission.

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Episode 99: Bohus Takes Flight

Hi everyone! The Flight sweater saga is over! And it brought me to some cool Bohus knitting history 🙂 I’ll share both with you along with a quick discussion of using superwash yarn for lining hats and collars. Oh, and of course, I’ll announce the winners of the Parks and Rec Pullover giveaway! Come hang a while? ~Melissa

If you love the content, consider supporting me with a Kofi donation: https://ko-fi.com/knittingthestash​​​​​

SHOW NOTES

“Out of My League” KAL info: Do you have some languishing WIPS from years past that you just couldn’t finish? Have a few patterns stashed away that seemed too hard? Well, this is the KAL for you! Pick up a pattern or a project that once seemed “Out of Your League” and give it another go! I have three in mind that ‘ll be casting on–and all from deep stash, so no need to buy yarn 🙂 Join me? We’ll be chatting on the “Out of My League” thread in Ravelry!

Ravelry group: https://www.ravelry.com/groups/knittingthestash

–FREE PATTERN: It’s a Wrap Cowl pattern is available via Ravelry. If you’re not on Ravelry and would like a PDF of the cowl pattern, please email me at knittingthestash@gmail.com

–For 10% off your next SweetGeorgia Yarns order, use the code: ambassadormelissa10

–If you’re feeling the KnitCrate love and want some excitement in your mailbox each month, you can Subscribe to KnitCrate via this link https://www.knitcrate.com/?rfsn=42489…​ and use this Discount Code to get 20% Off: KTS20

As an Amazon Associate, some links on my blog allow me to receive a small commission on books and other products that I am proud to recommend. In other words, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. There is no cost to you when you use these links, but it provides a small stipend to me that helps support my work in the crafting community.

If you are interested in sending books or other knitting products for review, please contact me at knittingthestash@gmail.com and I would be happy to chat!

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Episode 98: Background Knitting & Estonian Inlay

Hi everyone! I’m so happy to present episode 98 (wahoo!) For an episode without a finished sweater, this one is pretty jam packed! First, I introduce the Parks and Rec Pullover pattern, which is now out in the world! Yay! And I talk about my never-ending stockinette sweater knit on US size 2 needles . . . the “background knitting” that took over my life! But I also have some fun information about Estonian Inlay–the quest for Estoninan knitting knowledge continues (thanks to a Zoom conversation with Linda and Ingrid)! Two designers have signed up to create patterns for Shorn III and I announce the winners of the Flora & Fauna Farm giveaway! Come hang a while? ~Melissa

If you love the content, consider supporting me with a Kofi donation: https://ko-fi.com/knittingthestash​​​​

To enter the giveaway to win a Parks and Rec Pullover pattern (I have 2 to giveaway), please leave a comment here, on YouTube episode 98, or on the Ravelry giveaway thread. This one is open worldwide!! I’ll draw a winner by random number in 2 weeks time.

“Out of My League” KAL info: Do you have some languishing WIPS from years past that you just couldn’t finish? Have a few patterns stashed away that seemed too hard? Well, this is the KAL for you! Pick up a pattern or a project that once seemed “Out of Your League” and give it another go! I have three in mind that ‘ll be casting on–and all from deep stash, so no need to buy yarn 🙂 Join me? We’ll be chatting on the “Out of My League” thread in Ravelry!

Ravelry group: https://www.ravelry.com/groups/knittingthestash

–FREE PATTERN: It’s a Wrap Cowl pattern is available via Ravelry. If you’re not on Ravelry and would like a PDF of the cowl pattern, please email me at knittingthestash@gmail.com

–For 10% off your next SweetGeorgia Yarns order, use the code: ambassadormelissa10

–If you’re feeling the KnitCrate love and want some excitement in your mailbox each month, you can Subscribe to KnitCrate via this link https://www.knitcrate.com/?rfsn=42489​​​​ and use this Discount Code to get 20% Off: KTS20 S

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Parks and Rec Pullover is Published!

I’m so happy to introduce you to my latest sweater design: the Parks and Rec Pullover!

Remember those baseball raglans . . . the ones you throw on for the picnics, games of catch, and weekend hikes? Well, the Parks & Rec pullover is their updated cousin: a warm, mohair sweater with a comfy, easy feel. The Parks & Rec pullover is worked from the bottom-up, but completed
with seamless, top-down sleeves. No waist shaping to worry about and a classic V-neck completes the look. This is a simple sweater with a lot of thoughtful details for fit and style—but it’s also infinitely customizable. I’ve included some notes for possible modifications. This is a size inclusive pattern with options for 34″ – 60″ busts.

The sample is a size 36” worn with 2” of ease on a 34” bust. I would suggest choosing a size that provides about 2-4” of ease. Check the schematic for more information about sizing. Many sizes of this pattern have been test knit—you can check out the project pages on Ravelry! If you would like to test knit sizes 42, 44, or 54, please email me and I will be happy to send you a complementary copy of the pattern in exchange for your notes and comments.

All of the info you need is up on Ravelry . . . and I’m offering a 20% introductory discount for the pattern: use the code KTS20 when you check out!* *If you’d prefer a non-Ravelry PDF, please email me at knittingthestash@gmail.com

So get out there and have some fun knitting in the outdoors–it’s springtime, after all!

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Episode 97: Accessory Avalanche!!

Hi yarn-people! I have a real treat for you today: 100% Romney yarn from Flora & Fauna Farm put up in three different weights. I spent the last couple of weeks knitting it into some beautiful accessories! So, we’ll have some yarn show and tell, a discussion about Romney sheep, and a giveaway! Special thanks to Ash Lovett of Flora & Fauna Farm for sending the yarn for the review and giveaway 🙂 Plus, a new mitten from Albina of LB Handknits. It really is an avalanche of accessories!! Help . . . or just come hang a while, eh? ~Melissa

If you love the content, consider supporting me with a Kofi donation: https://ko-fi.com/knittingthestash​​​

To enter the giveaway for two skeins of Flora & Fauna Farm yarn, please leave a comment here, on the Ravalry thread, or comment on the YouTube episode. Tell us about what you love in the Flora & Fauna farm webshop (www.floraandfaunawool.com). Due to the pandemic, I am only able to ship to the domestic US at the moment. Hoping to return to full international giveaways someday! I’ll draw a winner by random number in 2 weeks time.

“Out of My League” KAL info: Do you have some languishing WIPS from years past that you just couldn’t finish? Have a few patterns stashed away that seemed too hard? Well, this is the KAL for you! Pick up a pattern or a project that once seemed “Out of Your League” and give it another go! I have three in mind that ‘ll be casting on–and all from deep stash, so no need to buy yarn 🙂 Join me? We’ll be chatting on the “Out of My League” thread in Ravelry!

Call for Designers: https://knittingthestash.wordpress.com/call-for-designers-shorn-iii/ Ravelry group: https://www.ravelry.com/groups/knittingthestash

–FREE PATTERN: It’s a Wrap Cowl pattern is available via Ravelry. If you’re not on Ravelry and would like a PDF of the cowl pattern, please email me at knittingthestash@gmail.com

SHOW NOTES:

–For 10% off your next SweetGeorgia Yarns order, use the code: ambassadormelissa10

–If you’re feeling the KnitCrate love and want some excitement in your mailbox each month, you can Subscribe to KnitCrate via this link https://www.knitcrate.com/?rfsn=42489​​​ and use this Discount Code to get 20% Off: KTS20

As an Amazon Associate, some links on my blog allow me to receive a small commission on books and other products that I am proud to recommend. In other words, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. There is no cost to you when you use these links, but it provides a small stipend to me that helps support my work in the crafting community.

If you are interested in sending books or other knitting products for review, please contact me at knittingthestash@gmail.com and I would be happy to chat!

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Farm Focus: Ash Lovett of Flora and Fauna Farm

Happy weekend-ing everyone! I’m so pleased to introduce you to Ash Lovett of Flora & Fauna Farm located in Central NY–my old stomping grounds! I love NY sheep and wool and it turns out that Ash and Matt are living and raising a flock just over an hour from my hometown in Ithaca. Their sheep are adorable Romney’s and they have a fun group of wethers (rams not intended for breeding) in the mix. I met a few very kind, funny, and lovable wethers in my fiber journeys–they are some of my favorites!! Ash agreed to an email interview and it’s been so much fun getting to know her and her philosophy about raising sheep sustainably. Both she and Matt manage part-time and full-time jobs while raising their sheep (super impressive!) and they are looking for their “forever farm”–so if you have any leads, I’m sure they would love to hear about them. Enjoy the photos (all taken by Ash) and the interview. I have a sneaking suspicion you’ll see some of their yarn on the next episode of the podcast . . . so stay tuned for some gorgeous farm yarn and a GIVEAWAY!

KTS: Where did the inspiration for Flora & Fauna Farm come from? How did you get started raising Romney sheep?

Ash (F&F): Well, I’ve always been endlessly fascinated by the natural world and biology. I had to find work that would allow me to indulge in my obsession of staring at grass–so I suppose agriculture seemed a good fit. I always knew that I wanted to grow…something. Alongside that interest, I started to knit in my early twenties, which spurred an interest in all fiber and textile art. At some point the two interests converged and I realized that I wanted to grow wool. I read a few books that had a major impact on my desire to farm, and once I attended my first Sheep & Wool festival (Massachusetts), the decision was final. At first, my partner Matt and I looked at farms in CNY with the intent to sell our house in town and move. We made offers but were consistently passed over for cash buyers with no contingencies. We learned quickly that there are numerous obstacles to buying a farm or raw land that we hadn’t encountered when buying our home in town. Eventually, emotionally exhausted, we gave up and decided to lease land until the stars align. Ever since my first sheep and wool festival, I had been devouring every book, blog and magazine I could find about sheep. I decided that I wanted a dual purpose breed and I personally enjoyed spinning Romney wool. I googled Romney breeders in my area, and specifically sought-out someone with loads of experience and a willingness to mentor me. I found that person in Ron Andress of Windy Oaks Farm and I brought my first few lambs home in the spring of 2017.

KTS: Can you tell us a little bit about the holistic (and conventional) methods that you use for raising sheep? And, perhaps, about how this all fits into your ideals of restorative agriculture?

Ash (F&F): We place a focus on rotational grazing, which keeps the sheep on fresh grass April-December. This interrupts the life cycle of intestinal parasites, thereby keeping our flock’s exposure low and making chemical deworming an “as-needed” practice. It also mimics the natural movement of native herd animals that are sadly no longer here to keep our grasslands open and healthy for other species that depend on them. We choose natural remedies on the farm whenever possible, but we also appreciate modern medicine and therefore utilize antibiotics and other drugs if the situation calls for it–happy sheep are our top priority.  Like many other farms, we also encourage nesting birds and predatory insect habitat because we recognize their contribution to the balance of our small ecosystem. Which is really our goal – to preserve the balance that would exist naturally if we were not here. That’s a lofty goal, we know, but it’s something to strive for. 

KTS: I’m so curious about the number of wethers you have (nine!) . . . our friend’s Finn wether stayed with us one summer and he was adorable–if a little skittish . . . so, are their fleece just amazing? 

Ash (F&F): Haha, yes their fleece is fabulous because they put zero effort into making babies–the only demand on their nutrition is growing wool. The conventional scenario is that any ram lamb not suited to breeding is wethered and then goes to “freezer camp” in the fall. But wethers are easy keepers, have few potential health issues compared to breeding ewes and are generally better company; mine are each sweet, curious and playful. Plus, I am much less picky about who gets to stay and grow lovely wool than I am about who gets to breed, so here I am with nine wethers! I could say that in the future, as our flock grows, things may be different, but I might just flout convention and continue keeping the company I most enjoy, and that is definitely my wethers. 

KTS: Of course, we have to talk about your yarn! I LOVE the naturals you have listed in the shop and I’d love to hear about how you’ve gone about creating the blends for these very special (and sheep-specific) yarns.

Ash (F&F): Thank you, I have to give so much credit to Mary Jeanne from Battenkill Fiber Mill for collaborating with me on the design of our yarns. Her insight and experience in the industry is so valuable. I also have to acknowledge Ron Andress’ breeding, which set me up with my flock’s foundation genetics. Ron has been breeding beautiful Romneys with exceptional fleece for many years and my yarns are really a reflection of his work. I have a mix of white, black and silver sheep. After shearing, I sort whole fleeces into groups of like color and staple length. Then I try to pick a yarn structure that will best showcase the strength of each group. This year we will have a special small batch of lace weight yarn from three very fine, dark lamb fleeces – I am really looking forward to that yarn. I am passionate about the value of non-commercial wools. The market is flooded with super wash merino, which is a perfect canvas for many talented dyers, but as you know it isn’t best suited to every application – especially traditional and functional textiles. It’s so rewarding to offer fiber artists not only a breed-specific material to best suit their project, but also one that is made from start to finish by small, women-owned businesses in NYS. 

KTS: I know you have a patreon page for what you call “behind the scenes shenanigans” and I’d love to hear a story or two about farm life. 

Ash (F&F): Oh we have a few, for sure! Again, Matt and I have no background in agriculture, so we’ve been on a steep (slippery) learning curve since 2017. We use our Patreon to share our journey of starting from scratch, including the mistakes we make along the way. I have a few excellent mentors, but I’ve also encountered resistance and discrimination trying to enter the world of agriculture–because of my inexperience as well as my gender. I want people following us to see that the challenges aren’t insurmountable and as a result feel empowered to follow their farm dreams, too. 

As for farm stories–here’s a good one: In February of 2020 I acquired FIVE bottle lambs from a fellow Romney shepherd. I did this on the heels of a major surgery, and I’m not sure exactly what I was thinking. I knew what I was getting into on paper–(feed x ounces at x degrees x times per day). However, add the time it takes to make and clean bottles, pack in a cooler, drive there and back and the actual feeding. I was so exhausted, I barely had time to sleep, shower and eat during the first two weeks. I’m sure every mother is laughing and sympathizing! Now I know… five was absolutely bananas!

Also, I once had a chicken that I thought was a dud and would never lay eggs … until I found her nest in the hay loft. There were over twenty eggs in it! My first lesson on chicken behavior, definitely not my last.

KTS: 2020 was supposed to be your launch year–my goodness, what a year!–so what are your plans for 2021? Anything new on the horizon? 

Ash (F&F): I won’t lie, 2020 was a major disappointment for our business, but we are humbled and grateful for our health and privilege that so many others don’t have today. Keeping that in our hearts as we move forward, we are hopeful for progress in 2021 and plan to give back whenever we are able. We are on waiting lists for a number of shows across New England, and are adding them to our website as we hear confirmation that we can attend in 2021. 

This year we hope to train our newest farm hand–our border collie pup, Cedar. He’s already had some experience with sheep and possesses a great instinct for herding. We are excited for his future and all the help he will provide on the farm. As a bonus, I’m sure there will be some great Patreon content as we try to channel his talent!

I am also trying to arrange a micro-shop in my home studio this year, that I hope will be open by the autumn of 2021. Leasing a storefront isn’t practical for us right now, as we both have day jobs in addition to commuting to our farm. The micro-shop will be a great way to offer my yarns to local fiber artists that don’t shop online and those who may want to visit the sheep! 

KTS: Where can folks find you online?

Ash (F&F): Shop online at: www.floraandfaunawool.com

Instagram: @florafaunafarm

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/floraandfaunafarm

***

Thanks so much, Ash, for sharing your farm, sheep, and stories with us! 

I love meeting new people (and sheep!): if you are an indie dyer, a hand spinner, a shepherdess, a small flock owner, a mill operator, or a wool trader, I would love to feature your work on this site. Please get in touch via email or Ravelry by clicking the “About” tab (above) 

Happy knitting! 🙂

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Episode 96: Re-Engineering a Sweater & a Call for Designers

Hi yarn-friends! In this episode, I’ll walk you through my modifications for the Samantha Jumper–basically I re-engineered the thing! Plus, I have a sneak peak at Shorn III and a Call for Designers! Oh, annnnnnd a giveaway for Rib Magazine Issue #2. Excellent! Won’t you join me? ~Melissa

If you love the content, consider supporting me with a Kofi donation: https://ko-fi.com/knittingthestash​​

To enter the giveaway for Rib Magazine #2, please leave a comment here, on the Ravalry thread, or on the YouTube video for this episode. Tell us about something you’d like to make in 2021. Due to the pandemic, I am only able to ship to the domestic US at the moment. Hoping to return to full international giveaways someday! I’ll draw a winner by random number in 2 weeks time.

SHOW NOTES:

“Out of My League” KAL info: Do you have some languishing WIPS from years past that you just couldn’t finish? Have a few patterns stashed away that seemed too hard? Well, this is the KAL for you! Pick up a pattern or a project that once seemed “Out of Your League” and give it another go! I have three in mind that ‘ll be casting on–and all from deep stash, so no need to buy yarn 🙂 Join me? We’ll be chatting on the “Out of My League” thread in Ravelry!

Ravelry group: https://www.ravelry.com/groups/knittingthestash​

–FREE PATTERN: It’s a Wrap Cowl pattern is available via Ravelry. If you’re not on Ravelry and would like a PDF of the cowl pattern, please email me at knittingthestash@gmail.com

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Tutorial: Adding Short Rows to the Back of the Sweater Neck

In case you missed it, I’ve uploaded a new tutorial to YouTube. In this video, I show you how to add short row shaping to the back neck of a sweater–even if the pattern did not include such shaping. Adding short rows in this location can help with garment fit and keep your sweaters from tugging at the front of your neck/throat. If you have questions, I’d love to hear from you either in the comments or via email (knittingthestash (at) gmail.com)

If you love the content, consider supporting me with a Kofi donation: https://ko-fi.com/knittingthestash

Happy sweater knitting!

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