Current -A-Longs

Monday, October 19, 2015

Charmed: Whimsical Knitted Accessories

 "Feathers and foxes, gorgeous textures, and pops of color adorn Charmed: Whimsical Knitted Accessories. From cats chasing balls of yarn, to gnomes, to sparkling jewels, these witty pieces will bring a smile to your face and to everyone who sees them. Packed with 23 memorable accessories that make great gifts, Charmed will ensure you're never without your next fabulous and unique knit." -

I am so incredibly excited to see this pattern collection finally released!! When working with a publication things usually take 6 months to 1 year from the time that I send in my submission until the collection is released and during that time I know what my interpretation of the theme was, but it's a killer to have to wait to see all the other patterns that are part of the collection. When I saw the mood board for "Charmed" I knew that I wanted to be a part of it if I could because it's just so darn fun and cute! The finished collection blew me away, though and I feel so honored that my pattern (Jewel Be So Cozy Circle Scarf) was chosen for the cover image.

Patterning detail on the Jewel Be So Cozy Circle Scarf

Seriously, there are so many great patterns in here that I want to make as Christmas gifts (and gifts for me) this year. First off is the Rectrix Scarf by Angie Schwenn. To me, this is the epitome of the basic scarf and looks like the perfect comfort knitting right about now. If you didn't already know, I love working the linen stitch and I love it even more when there is more than one color involved because it looks way more difficult than it actually is and the finished fabric drapes beautifully. I'm debating on making mine out of either something from my sock yarn stash or from my hoard of Diadem. The original pattern calls for Andean Treasure which is a sport weight, but it's a scarf and I don't mind if mine is a bit smaller/thinner than the original pattern. Plus, I can always just cast-on a few extra stitches and knit for a little bit longer if I want the exact same measurements as the original pattern.

Loving the super cozy Rectrix Scarf by Angie Schwenn

 Following in the cozy-knitwear-theme is the pattern for the Nora Mitts also by Angie Schwenn. These mitts are right up my alley because there is no messing around with fingers or finger holes. I love gloves best, but they suck so much to knit and usually end up in time-out until I just throw them away out of frustration. So, mitts are perfect! Especially when the part over your fingers is a bit longer than normal as with these ones. I'm also completely in love with the simple texture patterning on them in combination with the color-blocking and 2x2 ribbing. No joke, these mitts just make me so happy. I'm not sure what yarn I want to make mine out of, though. Part of me wants to just order the exact yarn used for the originals (Andean Treasure), but part of me wants to make them to match my Rectrix Scarf. Since Angie has included so many sizing options for this pattern, it shouldn't take more that making a swatch and measuring to be able to substitute the fingering yarn for the sport weight.

Slip-stitch comfort knitting with the Nora Mitts by Angie Schwenn
Every Fall for the past few years I've intended to make myself some leg warmers, but just haven't for one reason or another. This year I'm really super excited about casting on the Eclate Leg Warmers by Holli Yeoh. Normally, I immediately shoot down a pattern if it has bobbles in it anywhere, they just don't do it for me. Holli is brilliant in using them as faux buttons on these stripey leg warmers and I'm just in love with them! I have no idea what yarn I'll be using for sure, but I know that I'm going to be knitting the long size and I want the main color to be a bright turquoise blue with neon yellow and green stripes/bobbles. If I like knitting them enough, I might make a matching cowl, too.

Imagine the Eclate Leg Warmers by Holli Yeoh in 80's neon!!

There are a lot of adorable hats in this collection, all with super puffy, amazing pom-poms but my favorite is the Circus Hat by Trelly Hernandez. It has 2-color brioche ribbing, color-work "dots" (they always look more like mini hearts to me) and a contrast pom-pom to top it off so, obviously, this is the best hat pattern in the book. It's fun and cute and I really want to make one for both me and little Mr. Cairo in Christmas colors. There is only one size written, but it's done in worsted-weight yarn, so I'll try going down a yarn weight or two and a couple needle sizes and I should be able to make it work for a kid-sized hat.

The Circus Hat by Trelly Hernandez is the perfect Christmas hat for Cairo and Me!!

Have you looked at all the patterns in the collection, yet? Which ones are you itching to cast-on and what yarns are you going to use? I'm so excited to see everyone's finished projects!! Tag me ( @YumiYarns ) on Instagram or Facebook if you're making something from this fun collection as a gift for yourself or for someone else.

Have a great week and happy knitting!!  ^_^

Sunday, September 13, 2015

What's In A Name & A Pattern Resurection

Change is hard.

I've been going through some of my older posts and patterns on Ravelry and was brought back to my old blog. I really love the layout of that blog. I'm still proud of the header (made by me in MS Paint, lol) and it made me sad that I've deviated from my EdwardRad moniker. You have to understand that I used that name online for lots of forums and websites for about 15 years and I have a lot of internet friends who recognize me across the web as Ed.

As I move forward with getting patterns published, I'm realizing more and more that I need to use my real name and that I need to expose myself a bit if I'm going to reach people. This is kind of a scary realization and part of me wants to just go back to being Ed and using that old blog. It sounds odd, but I've never really connected myself to my real name. I respond to it, but it doesn't hold much meaning for me. It feels like any other word or like something that I have to do just because it's something that must be done. Does anyone else feel that way about their name? I think that is part of why I have such a strong connection to my online names. They are something that I've created on my own and hold a special meaning for me.

My current fiber-related online name is Yumi Yarns because EdwardRad always brought up too many questions from those unaffiliated with Cowboy Bebop (the show Ed originates from, not Twilight). I thought that having a more yarny name would make things a little easier since almost everything that I post is about fiber, knitting or crochet (and sometimes food). Ever since getting my first pattern published, though, I've wondered if I shouldn't just be using Shaina Scott Designs or something along those lines but it sounds so stuffy. And even though I love enforcing the rules at work, I'm not a fan of rules in my fiber world and just want to do what makes me happy. That is after all why I love fiber crafting.

After doing all that reminiscing I've decided to move the free patterns from my old blog to this one so here's the first one:

   The main stitch pattern that I used in this cloth was one that I learned while making my Sense and Sensibility socks and is a variation of Eye-Of-Partrige. I modified it so that you could make use of the purl-bump pattern that appeared on the inside of the socks because I really thought both sides looked nice and deserved some attention.

There are a couple of techniques worth explaining before you begin your knitting...
Sl 1 YiF: Bring your yarn to the front of your work and slip the next stitch knit-wise. Bring the yarn to the back of your work before continuing to the next stitch.
SL 1 YiB: Bring your yarn to the back of your work and slip the next stitch knit-wise. Bring the yarn to the front of your work before continuing to the next stitch.

Cast-on 54 stitches. Knit 6 rows in garter stitch.

Begin stitch pattern:
Row 1: Knit 3, *K 1, Sl 1 YiF (repeat from * 12 times), *Purl 1, Sl 1 YiB (repeat from * 12 times), K 3.
Row 2: K 3, K 24, P 24, K 3.
Row 3: K 3, *Sl 1 YiF, K 1 (repeat from * 12 times), *Sl 1 YiB, P 1 (repeat from * 12 times), K 3.
Row 4: K 3, K 24, P 24, K 3.
Continue in pattern for 11 repeats.

Begin next stitch pattern:
Row 1: K 3, *P 1, Sl 1 YiB (repeat from * 12 times), *K 1, Sl 1 YiF (repeat from * 12 times), K 3.
Row 2: K 3, P 24, K 24, K 3.
Row 3: K 3, *Sl 1 YiB, P 1 (repeat from * 12 times), *Sl 1 YiF, K 1 (repeat from * 12 times), K 3.
Row 4: K 3, P 24, K 24, K 3.
Continue in pattern for 10 repeats plus rows 1-3.

Knit 6 rows in garter stitch. Bind off and weave in ends.

Have a great week everyone!!  ^_^

Friday, June 26, 2015

World Wide Knit in Public Day 2015

Almost every year when World Wide Knit in Public Day (WWKiPD) comes around, I forget to ask for it off and end up working during most of the fun. This year, I was able to schedule myself off and Dan was super awesome in taking care of the little man so I didn't have to do any mommy things before I left for the day! Peg put together an amazing line-up of places to knit throughout the day and I offered to set aside spots for everyone at my cafe for those who couldn't make the early stops. 

Thanks so much for everyone who made it out for the day or even for part of it, I had such a great time knitting and talking with everyone!! Here's a little re-cap for anyone who missed it or who just wants to re-live the fun! (Sorry for the poor video quality for the first 2, I'm still getting used to taking them.)

The start of World Wide Knit in Public Day in Sioux Falls, SD!! Show us your projects, ladies!! ^_^
Posted by Yumi Yarns on Saturday, June 13, 2015

10 AM - 1 PM @ Falls Overlook Cafe

World Wide Knit in Public Day - part 2!! What are you #knitting today?
Posted by Yumi Yarns on Saturday, June 13, 2015

1 - 5 PM @ Athena Fibers

World Wide Knit in Public Day part 3!! All the beautiful projects!! ^_^
Posted by Yumi Yarns on Saturday, June 13, 2015

Ann is really getting into the new pizza's!!  ^_^

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The YumiYarns May 2015 Read-A-Long

Since I work at a bookstore and am constantly wanting to read everything, I thought that it would be fun to have a monthly read-a-long for the Ravelry Group. This month I picked “A Man Named Ove” (pronounced Ooo-V-A) by Fredrik Backman. It will be coming out in paperback on 5/5/15, so there’s no need to worry that you have to spend yarn money on a hard cover book.

image title

Here’s an overview:

In this bestselling and “charming debut” (People) from one of Sweden’s most successful authors, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

A feel-good story in the spirit of “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” and “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand”, Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others. “If there was an award for ‘Most Charming Book of the Year,’ this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down” (Booklist, starred review).

This first Read-A-Long will run from May 5 till June 1, 2015. Please join the Ravelry Group and join in on the book discussion, I can't wait to hear everyone's opinion on this book!  ^_^

Friday, February 6, 2015

NCFF - Day 3

Well, this might end up being more of a 1 post per month type blog till I can get myself a bit more organized. (Or until I figure out a way to just not need sleep ever again.) Anyway, back to NCFF...

Day 3 was the one that I was really looking forward to because Katie and I had our Natural Dying class that morning and it was amazing!! The instructor wanted to use up as much of the dye as possible during class because she couldn't take it home to use afterwards so we were told to bring any additional dye-stuffs that we wanted. I, went through my entire stash and pulled out everything that was white/off-white and brought it with me (which ended up being way more than anybody else brought, lol).

The first part of class was super informative, we had to let our items soak in the mordant for awhile before we could start dying so we got a ton of great info on the science behind natural dying while the mordant did it's thing. Our instructor does a lot of natural dying and had some great recommendations for books to read if we wanted to delve into it more. I was pretty excited to see that one of the books that I regularly recommend to customers was one of her favorites as well. (Now I just need to buy my own copy.)

Harvesting Color by Rebecca Burgess

Our kitchen set-up for the dyes from left to right: Cochineal (reds/pinks), Turmeric (yellows), and Black Walnut (browns). There's one more pot on the far right that had the mordent bubbling away.

The dyeables provided by our instructor starting in the top left and going clockwise around: Undyed Wool Yarn, Cotton Fabric treated with a Copper Mordant (the green-tinted one), Cotton Fabric treated with a Rust Mordant (the brown-ish one), Untreated Cotton Fabric, and a White Silk Scarf.

All my dyables tied, banded and knotted into various shapes to create different dye-effects (similar to tye-dying).

Everyone's dyeables in the mordant pot!

Checking the coloring on the items in the Black Walnut Dye Pot. As an aside: Black Walnut is actually a dye that is a mordant, so we didn't need to soak things in a separate mordant before adding them to this pot. We still did pre-soak them, though to develop a deeper color since we only had a few hours for the class. I tossed one of my extra skeins into the Black Walnut Dye Pot without pre-soaking in the mordant first and it came out a light tan rather than a warm brown even though it soaked for the same amount of time.

The Turmeric Dye Pot took forever to create a super deep gold color, but that was my goal so I left mine in for as long as I possibly could.

The Cochineal Dye was intense!! Within minutes the dyables were turning really bright shades of pink and some people took their stuff out pretty quickly after putting it in. This was the pot that almost everyone added their silk scarf to.

All of my things post-dying. The items in the bags are mainly the yarns that I brought from my stash (my silk scarf is the yellow in the top left).

My bits of Wool. I had tied too many tight knots in the brown one and when I took it out initially, it was more like cream yarn with brown spots, so I tossed it back in the dye pot unknotted and let it soak for a bit more. It still isn't my favorite, but it's better than it was!

This was my Untreated Cotton Fabric that I had folded up and banded so tightly that only a chunk in the center soaked up any of the brown dye. I wasn't very happy with it, so I tossed it in the yellow pot after most people took their items out.

I put the Cotton Fabric that had been treated with a Rust Mordant into the Cochineal Dye Pot for a long time and was pretty pleased with this fun tye-dye look that came out.

This was my Cotton Fabric that had been treated with a Rust Mordant. (No, those aren't blood stains. The spots are from the mordant.) This one sat in the Turmeric Dye Pot for as long as I could let it and I'm pretty pleased with how disturbing it looks.  ^_^
After our dye class, we had to make one last trip to the market and came away with even more fiber to add to the stash! Then it was time to pack up and head home. I'm super excited to go back next fall, I'm definitely hooked on these fiber excursions and love the classes that are offered. The 2015 North Country Fiber Fair is being held September 18-20 in Watertown, SD so be sure to mark your calendars and sign up for classes early!

This beautiful skein of loveliness is named Dark Elf and that may have been the tipping point for me to purchase it. (That and the fact that it's a silk/wool blend in amazing colors!!) I'm not sure what I wan to do with it, yet. Originally, I was thinking that I would make a Hitchhiker but now I'm thinking that I may have to make up something as I go. This will be such a fun yarn to play with and I can't wait to see Heather again at next year's NCFF.

Softest, prettiest roving ever!! Seriously, just order everything that you can from Jeanette & James at Willowbrook Farm. The fiber comes from their alpacas and the whole booth was decorated with pictures of the alpacas being adorable. How can you not want to buy everything that they have? I bought 4 oz of this lovely bamboo/alpaca blend and it spins like a dream! (P.S. They sell their alpacas and I have a birthday coming up... Just sayin'.)

Driving home from NCFF with big, fluffy clouds pointing the way.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

NCFF - Day 2

Happy New Year!! As this year starts, my work schedule changes so that I'll get to have every other weekend off (Hooray!!). Because of this, I'm going to do my very best to get a post up at least every other weekend. I'm going to start off by finally wrapping up the trip to NCFF  and then I'll be updating more recent happenings.  ^_^

Day 2 started off with us sleeping in late due to our movies, wine and knitting the night before. While we waited for everyone to get ready (Sara let me use some of her shower gel, shampoo and conditioner though I think that the fact that we would all be sharing a car for another 2 days prompted that more than anything.)

The night before we became well acquainted with Pablo (Pabs for short), one of 2 birds in the house who loves flying around the living room and scaring Sara half to death. All night long (and again all morning) Sara would be minding her own business, busily knitting away on her washcloth and suddenly, out of nowhere, Pabs would start zooming around the living room at top speed (usually directly above Sara). Meanwhile, Sara would shreek obsenities at the bird and cower in the corner of the couch while the rest of us laughed at her misfortune. It was immensely entertaining. We're such good friends.  ^_^

The terrifying Pabs is obviously just acting adorable, he is secretly plotting how to best attack Sara when she reaches for her knitting.

We made it back to the fiber fair where things were well underway: the spinners were spinning, the knitters were knitting, and all the vendors were open. Being the fiscally responsible people that we are, we immediately hit up the vendor booths. All the previous day I had been watching one booth in particular (iLOOMinated yarns) that had skein after skein of gorgeous hand-dyed fingering weight yarns (one of my biggest weaknesses)!! I had been trying to find the perfect tonal fingering weight to make my second version of Ysolda's Follow Your Arrow shawl. The first time I knit this pattern last January, I chose all the technically challenging options and now I need to make one using all the lacy options (hence wanting a fun tonal color). I found the perfect yarn at this booth: iLOOMinated yarns' Opal Base in the colorway: Lettuce Cup. It's a fingering weight 50 Merino/50 Silk blend in a non-repeatable colorway that came about from the dyer using up the last little dregs of color in the dye-pot. I can't even tell you how much I love this yarn!! It's super squishy soft and the color is a slightly tonal pale neon green, perfect for a lovely, lacy shawl!!

iLOOMinated yarns had one of my favorite booths at NCFF. This loveliness will soon be my second Follow Your Arrow by Ysolda.

After we exhausted ourselves (and our wallets), Sara convinced Katie and I that we really should all take one class together, so she signed us all up for arm knitting. Since we were late at signing up, we also weren't prepared with yarn for the class, so back to the vendor booths! We all found some really lovely colors of bulky yarns to use in class and after some shenanigans (which may have involved all three of us attempting to wind 4 hanks of yarn into a ball while, literally, running to class), we finally made it. The class was super fun and was taught by another of our knitting buddies, Lindsey. I'm so glad that we all got to attend together and be completely ridiculous in the process.

My leftovers from the Arm Knitting class. If you need to burn up some stash, this is the perfect project!
 Katie busily working on her arm-knit scarf after dinner. (Because, though we tried, we weren't able to wind all 4 hanks of her yarn before class started.)
From left: Katie, Sara, Lindsey and myself showing off our arm knit scarves.

I don't really remember how, but somehow we ended up back at the vendor booths (I have exactly zero willpower when it comes to hand-dyed yarn, apparently) and I may have ended up purchasing this amazingly soft and gorgeous skein from The Dyeing Arts. I've been really trying to expand the colors that I have in my stash because I always gravitate towards shades of green (see my iLOOMinated yarns purchase above) so I thought that this colorway would be perfect for that. Then I realized that it had the exact same colors that I picked out for my arm-knit scarf (also, see above). I'm obviously not good at getting out of color-ruts, lol. I'm still completely in love with this yarn, though and will be making some sort of scarf-thing so that I can snuggle it close to my face and enjoy it's drapey amazing-ness.

My attempt at going outside my usual color range with this gorgeous baby camel/silk blend from The Dyeing Arts.

The evening ended with the the delicious banquet dinner. If you've never gone to it, just sign up now. The food was great and there were tons of door prizes given away, like this amazing hand-dyed roving that I won from Shay Huhta! (Did I mention that my hand-dye addiction extends to roving... and basically anything?) This is definitely on the agenda for my #Spin15in15 goals!!

I love the color blend in this roving, it's very autumnal with a couple pops of salmon pink here and there. I can't wait to see it spun up!

We ended the night back home and watching Stardust while knitting/spinning till we passed out.

Next time: Day 3!!  ^_^

Monday, October 20, 2014

North Country Fiber Fair 2014 - Day 1

 Sorry that it took me so long to write up this post, I've really got to get better about posting things on here more!

This was the first year that I was able to get off work so that I could travel up to Watertown, SD for North Country Fiber Fair. I've heard all sorts of wonderful things from the ladies in my knitting group about NCFF, but I never remembered to ask for the time off so that I could attend. I was able to go with 2 other girls that I work with at Barnes & Noble who are just as smitten with a good alpaca roving as I am so we car-pooled up and stayed with one of their relatives. (Don't start thinking that that saved us any money, though. The funds were just put to MUCH better use buying yarn instead of paying for a hotel room.)

The lovely view as we drove North to Watertown and what seemed like all the spinning wheels in South Dakota.
It took us a bit longer to leave town than we originally thought that it would so we ended up getting to NCFF right as Katie and Sara's class (Book Binding) was starting. They quickly signed in and ran off to class and I joined in the fiber circle. I had brought a crochet project in to work on instead of my drop spindle, so I kind of felt like the odd man out because everyone else was either setting up their spinning wheel or was already busily filling bobbins. (Someday I'll have one of my own!!)

The lady that I was sitting next to was spinning up some lovely brown roving from her own alpaca and I about died from excitement when I was talking with her. She has a small farm with a few animals that keep her well supplied with spinning fiber. I would absolutely love to have my own alpaca, but I don't think the alpaca would love my yard. (And I don't think the neighbors would love the alpaca...)

Delicious, smooshy Corny Goodness DK Yarn for my Hediye by Ysolda.
After the Book Binding class ended, we had supper and by the time we got back to NCFF most of the vendors were almost done setting up so we decided to snoop around the marketplace. Corny Goodness, a Minnesota-based yarn company that plys and hand-dyes yarns made from corn fiber and corn/wool blends, had a booth set up that I was super excited to poke around in. My LYS carries the fingering weight of their yarn, but one of my goals at the fiber fair was to find the perfect DK yarn to knit Hediye by Ysolda Teague because she had released it the Monday before we left town.

I looked at the yardage requirements for the pattern and assumed that the longer yardage would be for the striped center section of the shawl, so I decided on yellow for the cable border, and planned to alternate between the blues for the stripes on the center. The owners at Corny Goodness were so nice, they didn't want me to miss out on getting the yarns that I needed for my project so they let me buy before the market even opened! I was so super excited about how lovely the shawl was going to be that I didn't even think about the fact that the cable border was going to need way more yarn than the center would. Thankfully, when we went back to their booth on Saturday morning, they still had 1 skein left in the same dye lot as my yellow that I already purchased. Project saved!

Katie (left) and Sara (right) attempting to make sense of what was Sara's ball of yarn.
After the high of buying my delicious corn yarn (I absolutely love alternative fibers!!) and getting to pet multiple other lovelies in the marketplace, we decided to re-join the fiber circle and work on the projects we had with us. I don't remember how exactly it happened, but at one point Sara's ball of cotton exploded and was basically yarn puke all over her and Katie. They valiantly attempted to untangle all the knots and wind it back up, but eventually we decided that the only way to make it through a yarn mess that big was to add alcohol, so we ducked out of NCFF about 30 min before it closed Friday night and went in search of a liquor store.

My favorite South Dakota winery released this amazingness!!
After getting lost multiple times and finding all the cowboys in Watertown (there are 3) we finally ended up at Sara's step-sister's house where we watched anime, knit and drank wine out of water glasses. We're a classy group, let me tell you!

(PS: The wine did help to untangle the yarn vomit and I was able to teach Sara how to make a center-pull ball with the yarn afterwards. Hooray! Success!!)

Eventually, we passed out wherever we happened to be sitting. I started out in the chair and eventually ended up sleeping on the living room floor with my sweatshirt hood pulled over my face because I managed to bring 5 separate knitting/crochet/spinning projects, but forgot pajamas, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner. You gotta have priorities when packing. My focus this weekend was apparently on yarn, not hygiene or sleepwear. (What was I supposed to do with myself if I finished that blanket AND sweater by the middle of Saturday afternoon? Not knit?!?)

So ends Day One at NCFF 2014. I didn't realize just how much happened over the weekend, so I'm gonna post Day 2 next week because it's 1:00 AM and Mr. Little Man will be up in about 4 hours for a bottle. Off to bed with me for now, but I promise that I'll have another post next week! I'm really going to make an effort to do one post on here each week so keep checking back! Have a great week and enjoy the beginning of Fall, it's perfect knitting weather right now.  ^_^