Agujas

The Art of Knitting

July FO: Purple Handwarmers

Knitting in the middle of a hot and humid Texas summer is not always pleasurable, but small projects make it tolerable and have allowed me to continue knitting through my stash.

Purple Hand Warmers in Progress

I’ve been wanting to use a lovely merino yarn that I bought when visiting Germany. This yarn is enriched with aloe vera and jojoba. What could possibly be better?!

Purple Hand Warmers 1

The yarn is by Zitrón. I had the pleasure of visiting with the owner of the company.  Zitrón is a family-owned business dedicated to making yarn especially for hand knitting. You can read more about it here.

Purple Hand Warmers 2

Purple Hand Warmers Close-up

The pattern came from Purlbee with minor modifications for the right gauge.

Purple Hand Warmers 3

I have enough of this purple-black-gray yarn for another small project. Perhaps a quick beanie to match?

June FO: Summerhouse Wristers

Finally got around to knitting the matching hand warmers for my mother. Here they are blocking.

Summerhouse Wristers - Blocking 1

Summerhouse Wristers - Blocking 2

They turned out okay. I wouldn’t say I’m crazy about them but Mom likes them. They match the hat from the Capitol Knits pattern book. Small project but continuing to work down my stash.

Yarn Terrors

Horrors! I had a knitter’s worst nightmare – while awake!

I recently switched phones and despite backing up my data, the yarn inventory on my Vogue knitting app did not carry over. I’m certain it was user error because most of my other data transferred.

I didn’t mind though. It was a perfect excuse to take out the yarn stash and air it out. I do that from time to time. It reminds me of the beautiful skeins I’ve picked up here and there and sparks project ideas.

Yarn Stash May 2014 2

To my horror, as I was halfway through taking it out of its bin, out flew a moth! Noooooooooo! You can imagine the waves of panic that shot through me. I chased the culprit around the room and away from my yarn. I then turned to my stash and immediately examined every single skein, ball and hank for damage. Alas, there were several casualties.

The next couple of days were devoted to separating the damaged skeins from the rest. I threw out three skeins that seemed to have gotten the worst of it. Thankfully, the damage seemed contained to a corner of one bin.

I was surprised to find the cursed critters in my stash. I periodically inspect and reorganize my stash (yes, I am a bit OCD about it) and keep a pile of cedar balls in each basket. But it was not enough.

Yarn Stash with Cedar Balls

After taking photos and entering my stash inventory into the app, I began storing the yarn inside plastic bags. I bought some lavender-scented moth balls wrapped in light paper and put one inside each bag, like little lethal sentinels guarding my treasures. I know those fibers are better off with circulating air but I was in defensive mode. I figured I could wash out the moth ball smell later. Better that than having to toss away yarn. My stash is a few skeins smaller but otherwise intact.

Yarn Stash May 2014 1

Now I really have to knit it down rather than risk losing any more of it. Yarn protection suggestions  are welcome.

May FO: Array Cowl

The Array Cowl is finally done.

Array Cowl - Finished 1

The texture produced by the stitches is lovely. Even my boys commented on how nice it looked. The pattern is free at Shibui Knits.

Array Cowl - Folded

I stayed loyal to my goal of using up my stash. The pink and gray combination of wool, alpaca, cashmere and silk make this cowl soft and warm.

Here my labels are ready to go into my knitting notebook.

Array Cowl - Yarn

Another shot of Bear wearing the cowl.

Array Cowl - Finished 2

Now to find another project…

La Casa Rosada

You didn’t think I would pass up an opportunity to visit a yarn store, did you? Besides the beauty of gold, emeralds, textiles, art and salt mines, there was yarn.

Case Rosada - Inside

When I entered La Casa Rosada (The Pink House) I thought I was in the yarn candy store of my dreams. The proprietress opened the shop for me and let me ogle and touch to my heart’s content. I had the place all to myself.

Casa Rosada - Lana Motín y Algodón Orgánico

I found out about this jewel from an online search and from Classy Crochet’s blog. The shop is located in what looks like a residential street. It’s easy to spot, just look for the bright pink facade.

Casa Rosada - Lanas en color

La Casa Rosada sells yarns made from natural fibers including cumare (a native palm tree), yute (jute, a vegetable fiber), cabuya ripiw (a natural fiber from the leaves of the fique plant, similar to hemp), pita (fiber from agave plants), bamboo, and strips of leather.

Casa Rosada - Cabuya ripiw en fique

They carry wool and cotton in many weights, both dyed and in natural hues. Those large rolls are woven out of sisal and the barely visible sign below reads “fibra de plátano” on a basket filled with yarn spun out of banana leaf fibers.

Casa Rosada - Lanas sin color y Rollos de sisal

Casa Rosada - Lanas y Bambú

They spin their own yarn at La Casa Rosada, so all you see are natural homespun fibers turned into gigantic skeins of yarn. The diameters range from 2, 3, 4, and 8 millimeters up to 3 centimeters for bulkier yarn.

Casa Rosada - Lana para hilar 1 Casa Rosada - Lana para hilar 2

Casa Rosada - Lana moton

They hand weave tapestries and hammocks. I was tempted to get one, they were so impressive, but somehow didn’t think it would fit in my carry-on.

Casa Rosada - Tapiz 1Casa Rosada - Tapiz en fique y cueros

Prices are based on weight. They have a large scale on the floor where they plopped my selections. The rate was roughly $1.500 Colombian pesos per kilogram. The scale read 1.20 kilograms for a total of $175.000 pesos (about $89 USD). Given the massive quantities of beautiful, natural, hand spun yarn, I thought it was a fair price.

I would go to La Casa Rosada again in a heartbeat. Next time, I’m bringing an empty suitcase.

La Casa Rosada - Business Card