This is the package I received from my secret pal, the fabulous Mindy. Bruce, the Texas sage, is modeling the gorgeous scarf she crocheted for me out of a lovely wool/alpaca blend in the color "Syrah" from Nashua. It is indeed the exact shade of a glass of syrah, and the corkscrew effect is just too fitting for the color. The scarf actually makes me think of wine being poured into a glass. I love it! It makes me once again consider learning to crochet.
Mindy also included a copy of the Yarn Harlot's Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much, which I did not have and love! I also received a tin of mints (Mindy, if you lived closer to me I'd think you were trying to tell me something!) which I tucked in my knitting bag, and a really nice card. Mindy, you've been a great pal and I'm really glad to have "met" you through the exchange. Thanks so much for all the effort you went to--I'll definitely be wearing the scarf as soon as the weather cools down!
When I wasn't drooling over my package from Mindy, I spent the weekend finishing up some lingering projects. Above, you see the Happiness Pillow, the Leaf Bag and my Arctic Pearl socks.
A close-up of the Arctic Pearl socks, knit in British Blue Faced Leicester purchased from the Natural Dye Studio (https://stores.ebay.com/The-Natural-Dye-Studio), colorway arctic pearl. This company hand-dyes their yarns using traditional procedures and botanical dyes. I've ordered two batches of yarn from this company and have been very impressed with their product, service and speedy delivery. This particular yarn is thicker than the usual sock yarn--I knit it up on size 2 1/2 needles using Wendy Johnson's (www.wendyknits.net) toe-up sock pattern and worked "little shells" lace around the leg. The pair above is longer than I normally make my socks, and I still have enough left from the two skeins I ordered to make a pair of ankle socks.
And here we have my Happiness Pillow, originally meant to be my downstream One Skein secret pal's August package. However, as I can't sew to save my life, I ended up using two skeins for this (one for the front, one for the back), so I'm keeping it and am sending her something else. The pillow is 14 inches square and was knitted with Blue Sky Alpaca's Organic Cotton in the color "bone" on size 7 needles. I thieved the center motif, Elsebeth Lavold's happiness symbol in a ring from Viking Patterns for Knitting, and added a border of moss stitch.
The moss stitch border was continued on the back and back flap and finished with wooden buttons. The yarn was lovely to work with, but I'm not currently planning to buy it again. A yarn shop owner advised me (after I'd asked about the possibility of her stocking this yarn) that she is unable to justify the very large minimum wholesale order which Blue Sky Alpacas requires. The Blue Sky Alpacas representatives told the yarn shop owner that the minimum requirement was so large because they did not want every yarn shop carrying their yarn. This smacks of exclusivity to me, and I will be contacting Blue Sky Alpacas to see if they have an explanation that I find more satisfactory. If they do not, they may exercise their right to run their business as they see fit, and I will exercise my right not to provide them with my business.
Final object for this post...the Leaf Bag! I knit this up in Artful Yarns Olympic, colorway Mexico City, on size 6 needles. The drawstring bag pattern is from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. I attached glass leaf beads to the drawstring rather than the tassels called for in the pattern and am quite happy with the results. The only change I would make to this pattern were I to do it again would be to reduce the amount of material in the roll-top of the bag. I feel three inches is overkill.
I made one of these bags in Tahki Cotton Classic for my grandmother a couple of years ago. She thought it was a hat. Hopefully, the intended recipient will not have the same impression.
I also finished the Boy's FLAK sweater, aka the Dirt Sweater, this weekend. It's currently blocking, but pictures are forthcoming.