A+ for service

Of late I have had the pleasure of dealing with Quince and Co‘s customer service rep. I ordered a sweater’s worth of Puffin yarn in the Twig shade a few weeks ago, and while I’d received a confirmation email when I placed the order, I never got a shipping notification.

I emailed the ladies at Q&C, and not only did they confirm that it had indeed shipped, I got a personal message saying they had tracked it down and my package had already reached Australia! I was given the tracking number and an apology.

Honestly I wasn’t too worried about my yarn arriving quickly. Ordering things from my homeland usually takes time. I just wanted to make sure my shade wasn’t back-ordered or something. But as luck would have it, my package came Tuesday, soon after our correspondence. I was absolutely thrilled.

Puffin in Twig

Puffin in Twig

I’ve been dying to try Q&C, as mentioned in previous blog posts. I’m very much looking forward to making several of the new designs that have come out featuring Q&C Owl, which is a worsted weight yarn (50% wool, 50% alpaca) with a lovely halo to it.

But I’ve also had my eye on Kate Davies‘ very popular Owls sweater pattern for quite some time now. It suits my personality completely, and I needed the perfect chunky/bulky weight yarn to go with the pattern. I’ve never knit with a single-ply bulky yarn before, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

I hemmed and hawed over color choice, finally settling on Twig since I wanted the owl design, rather than the color, to be the “hero” of the piece. Turns out my decision was a good one.

Tonight I did a circular gauge swatch (Hannah Fettig has just released a great little guide to doing so on Knitbot), and soaked it to see how it came out. I didn’t get perfect row gauge, but my stitch gauge was right on, and I’m confident that I can make any necessary adjustments.

photo 4

Swatchya doing?

The yarn doesn’t retain much water, making it very quick-drying. What was already soft and ever-so-slightly fuzzy material is drying beautifully as a swatch. I couldn’t help but rub it against my check and implore Matt to do the same. It’s 100% American wool and knits up with beautiful stitch definition.

Knitting up nicely

Knitting up nicely

Back to my excellent customer service experience…I wrote back my thanks and appreciation. In response, I was told that oh by the way, did I know that Suzy Hausfrau sells Q&C yarns out of Canberra? Um, NO! I didn’t. But now I’ve got a great new yarn resource within Australia! How exciting. Suzy offers free shipping within Oz, as well as 10% off purchases over $75! What could be better?

In an age when we get pretty much anything at the click of a button, it’s such a great feeling when a company goes above and beyond to help you out. Bravo Q&C, I’m in love!

The kind you find in a second-hand store

2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover

Big news y’all! I’ve had a busy few days, but on Friday I finished or “won” NaNoWriMo a day early at 50,233 words. My novel isn’t finished yet, but I hit the goal and am feeling proud. The fiancé also succeeded, so we had celebratory brunch with friends this morning.

I’ve had quite a bit on the needles to share. First I am happy to say that I finished my “raspberry beret,” which I wore today at brunch.

This is an awesome free pattern which can be found HERE. I had a few knitting attacks while working on this, which made the process take probably twice as long as it should have. Hint: read the clarification on the Ravelry page before completing. Sigh.

Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin pie anyone?

Thursday night Matt and I went to Thanksgiving dinner at an American bar. I brought the pumpkin pie, which went over very well. We met some cool people and had a DELICIOUS meal.

Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving dinner

On Friday I got in a shipment of yarn I’d ordered to make legwarmers for my sister. She picked out the color herself. It’s Cascade 220 in the Tutu shade. A bit pink for my taste, but I know she’ll love them.

Legwarmers for Rachel

Legwarmers for Rachel

I also finally picked up the last skein to finish off my Rocky Coast Cardigan. I wet-blocked it last night and it’s nearly dry. I had a mini panic thinking it might stretch out, but I laid it out flat in the measurements I wanted, and it seems to be snapping back into place nicely. Can’t wait for it to be dry so I can get a photo in it!

Rocky Coast Cardigan

Rocky Coast Cardigan

I made it out of Loyal 10ply, my favorite 100% wool New Zealand yarn. It comes in some amazing colors. My raspberry beret was also made out of Loyal.

Other than that I’ve been making a gift for someone, so that’s hush hush until it’s finished. Basically my fingers are exhausted! I knit up the legwarmers at lightening speed so I could get them in the package with my family’s Xmas gifts, which heads to the States tomorrow morning!

Omg, they’re having a FIRE…sale

Okay it’s not exactly a fire sale, but I couldn’t resist.

One of my favorite designers, Tiny Owl Knits, is offering 25% off until December 1st on all knitting patterns. Everything out of the collection is whimsical and fun. The only thing I’ve worked on so far from TOK is the Beekeeper’s quilt, which I’ll admit has slowed since I’ve been busy knitting other things.

Stephanie has such great imagination, I definitely recommend checking out her patterns. I can personally attest that the pdfs are beautiful and everything is very well laid out and explained. She has excellent attention to detail and honestly her pattern pages look like works of art in themselves. I’ve already bought the Woodland Hoodlet pattern for myself and I intend to pick up quite a few more before the end of the sale!

In other news, I was up late the other night finishing a Christmas present for my lovely friend Claire. She leaves for America in about a week, and didn’t have an awesome beanie to keep her warm. I don’t mind posting this early, since I’m giving it to her now anyway.

Pup Tent

Pup Tent

It’s made from an excellent free pattern called Pup Tent which can be found HERE. It was the perfect hat for my mood, with an interesting alternative cable technique and was easy to follow straight from the chart. Very straightforward and simple.

Claire picked out the teal color herself, so I know she’ll love it. I was worried the pattern wouldn’t show up, since it’s a little dark, but it turned out amazing. It’s a slightly slouchy hat, which I may block into being slouchier depending on what style Claire would like.

Other than that my Rocky Coast cardigan is about half a skein away from complete, which I’m waiting on from my LYS. I’m also over halfway done with what I’m calling my Raspeberry Beret (cue Prince music). Photos of finished items to come!

So-called “selfish” knitting

DISCLAIMER: I disagree that knitting for yourself is, in any way, selfish.

NaNoWriMo ends in 10 days, which has got Matt and I both a little frantic. Though that’s probably also due to lack of a good night’s sleep in over a month.

Even so, I am using precious writing energy juices to challenge this idea of “selfish knitting” that seems to be cropping up everywhere. I’m not sure how it started, but I’ve heard about it both on The Knitmore Girls and Knit Knit Cafe. From what I remember, it sounds like the original idea was proposed as a “good” thing. As in, we should take the time to do some “selfish knitting” during the crazy holiday season. Both the Knitmores and Abby of KKC found this term to be offensive, and so do I.

Last night I finally finished my mom’s Christmas present, which was the last of the items I’m making for the holidays. Once they’ve opened them, I promise to post photos, but for now it must remain a surprise for my parents and sisters. It was a relief to finish it, as it had taken me longer than expected, and I felt an overwhelming urge to immediately cast on something for myself.

Listening to Abby get so worked up today made me feel inclined to share my thoughts on the matter. It takes time and money to finish a knitted item. I love making gifts for other people, but it can also get exhausting, often because I’m the kind of person to put a lot of pressure on myself. Many experienced knitters stop knitting for others, knowing that more often than not gifts that have taken hours to make will not be properly appreciated or cared for.

I think that’s part of why I’m enjoying my Rock Coast cardigan so much. I’ve run out of yarn at the moment, so I need to wait until the weekend to stock up and get back to it, but I’ve finished the body and one sleeve.

Rocky Coast Cardigan in progress

Rocky Coast Cardigan in progress

Last night I did a little writing, and then wound up a skein of Malabrigo sock in the Solis colorway, to be combined with my already wound Ivy ball to create a Daybreak shawl for myself.

For my Daybreak

For my Daybreak

What I’ve realized in the process of making so many items for others lately (with many projects for friends and one for my sister still on order), is that I don’t mind as long as I simultaneously have a project on the needles for myself that I really enjoy.

I read this article today (23 things women should stop doing), and I think this all ties into the same thing. Why is it that when women do something for themselves, it’s considered selfish?

It’s not even a men vs. women thing, it’s a society vs. women thing. We perpetuate this idea that women should be selfless all of the time, conditioning which starts practically from birth. “Boys will be boys” aka “boys can do whatever they like all of the time with no regard for consequences” is a terrible cliché.

I say do things for yourself, whether it’s crafting, taking time to spend on your own, or just a bit of R&R, YOU ARE NOT SELFISH, you’re human and it’s healthy.

Fashion and festivity

For the first time ever, I got to properly partake in Melbourne Cup day, or as it’s also known: The race that stops the nation.

It doesn’t exactly stop the nation. It stops Melbourne. And since those slackers get the whole day off to watch a single horse race, the rest of us stomp our feet and insist on playing too.

Part of the deal is getting fabulously dressed up (just like the Kentucky Derby or the Royal Wedding) and wearing strange hairpieces, which is most of the fun, really.

I was very excited to finally wear the dress I ordered weeks ago from Neiman Marcus over in the States. I am not at all the type to order something for a specific occasion (though I did just recently put down the deposit on my wedding dress, squee!), but my first real Melbourne Cup warranted a treat. Plus summer is long since over up in the northern hemisphere, so it was on sale. SCORE!

Perfect race day Longchamp

Perfect race day Longchamp

La pièce de résistance was my gorgeous navy Longchamp bag, which I’ve had for years and tend to bring out only for evenings out when I need space for more than just my ID and some cash. It seemed fitting for race day, non?

This year my office was doing a little shin dig, which was a lot of fun. We ate pies and sausage rolls and got to chat and catch up, plus of course we watched the race.

After things wrapped up I came home and plopped on the couch for some knitting. I’ve been rewatching Gilmore Girls for the millionth time (my all-time favorite show), and I’ve gotten to season 7. While the earlier seasons have seen countless viewings, season 7 is one I often avoid because it so thoroughly pisses me off. But, silver lining, I’d completely forgotten there was a Knit-a-thon episode! How cool is that? I’m knitting while all of Stars Hallow joins in?! (Guess you had to be there.)

Lovely light purple headband

Lovely light purple headband

I did manage to knit up this bad boy, and it’s still early enough for me to get a bit of writing done before I go to bed.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is going pretty well both for me and for Matt. I’m ahead of schedule on my word count so far, but if I skip tonight, I’ll fall behind and I don’t want to lose momentum. I suspect I’ll crack the 10,000 word mark tonight. That’s a fifth of the way!