Friday, January 31, 2014

FO Friday: Watch the Birdie!

I spent most of last weekend nursing a cold and snuggling cats, but I couldn't resist crocheting a trio of Sweet Tweeters from the newest addition to my craft library, Modern Baby Crochet (you can read my book review here). I made them with leftover skeins in my amigurumi stash, and they were fun and fast to make! Tweet tweet!

From L-R: Manos Maxima in Nickel, Malabrigo Worsted in Butter, and Berroco Vintage in Aquae.

Thanks for stopping by this week - for FO Friday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis blog.


Have a crafty weekend! 



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Robots & Monsters, etc.

I managed to make some modest progress on my robot mittens even though I didn't work on them all weekend long due to (another) stupid cold. Most of the progress since last week was made on Monday night, when I took off for the thumb and really started blazing through the chart!
On a related note, something kind of exciting happened last week - the designer of the Robots vs. Downtown pattern commented on my project!

In other news, Stacey Trock's new book Modern Baby Crochet arrived last Friday! I spent the weekend crocheting a few of the smaller projects, starting with the Sweet Tweeters (which I'll be sharing on Friday) and Zabby the Giggle Monster, which is currently just a collection of random crocheted shapes:
I'd been saving this skein of Three Irish Girls Lindon Merino for the right project; the colorway just happens to share a name with one of my nephews (Rhys), so I couldn't resist starting a cute little monster with it!
I made a wee bit more progress on my 30 Day Sweater, but I've been pretty distracted by my newest crochet book. Hopefully I can stay on task this weekend and have something a little more sweater-y to share next week!

Thanks for joining me this week! For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Review: Modern Baby Crochet

I've been anxiously awaiting the release of Stacey Trock's latest book, Modern Baby Crochet, ever since she began sharing sneak peeks on the FreshStitches blog late last year. Having taken her Woodland Animals Craftsy class and made countless designs from her second book (Crocheted Softies) and Ravelry pattern store, I was excited to have a brand-new book of patterns in my gift-making arsenal for the latest batch of babies.

In short, Modern Baby Crochet doesn't disappoint! There are 21 patterns total, and they are grouped by color family (bold and bright, pastels and neutrals), making it easy to crochet several items for a coordinated nursery if you so choose. With very few exceptions, the designs are unisex; they're not only perfect for nurseries, but would suit any modern home decor as well. There is a great assortment of afghans, decor and stuffed animals, plenty of which I plan on making for myself!
Mondrian-inspired afghan

Besides the well-written, easy-to-follow instructions you've come to expect from Stacey, there are also excellent notes on choosing your yarns and color schemes, making sure your finished items are baby-friendly, and detailed instructions and diagrams for various crochet stitches and techniques. There is also a page dedicated to washing and care of your finished items at the back of the book which explains the ins and outs of blocking pieces waiting to be seamed, how and when to wash by hand or in the washing machine, and the best way to clean a stuffed toy.

Oakley the owl
Overall, the book is concise and well-executed, with a cohesive look throughout. Quick tips and tidbits are scattered throughout in boxes with a colored safety pin to draw your eye; each pattern features two or more photographs, and most also include schematics or charts as appropriate. There are several patterns which have found their way to the top of my queue, and I can already tell this will be one of my go-to books for years to come.

Modern Baby Crochet is an instant classic and essential for any crocheter's library!


You may like to know: I purchased this book on Amazon.com and was not asked to write this review (nor was I compensated for it). 

Friday, January 24, 2014

FO Friday: Quick Project Edition

Bonus: got to try out my new
blocking wires!
Happy Friday! I am relieved to be back at home base this week. Taking three separate trips in the span of a month is just too much for me, and I'm looking forward to staying put for a while. Besides being stressful, it's hard to keep up with chores, much less start a bigger fibery project. For instance, I haven't had time to spin in the last few weeks because I couldn't block out enough time to process a large amount of fiber in one sitting. You can bet I'll be dusting off the Ladybug this weekend, though!

Small projects have been the name of the game, consequently. My primary project for the last trip to KC I took ended up being the Serpentinite Scarf by Carol Feller knit with a skein of Fiesta Yarns' La Luz. Since I was substituting in a yarn that had less yardage than what was specified, I knew I'd have to do some modifications going in. What ended up happening is that I only knit one half of the scarf!

The pattern is pretty clever; you knit one half of the scarf, then you work several rows to create the loop before getting back to knitting the second half of the scarf. That may not be the world's greatest explanation, but hopefully you get the gist. Anyway, I
could still pick up and knit the second half of the scarf if I felt like tracking down another skein of this yarn (and hey, maybe I will once things calm down!) - but for now, I'm calling this one done. It actually hangs quite nicely as-is, so I'm happy with my 'lazy girl' mods.

Speaking of 'lazy girl' mods....I know I'd said this was going to be my first-ever beaded projects, but it just wasn't meant to be! I couldn't string them directly onto the yarn because it was too thick, and I didn't feel like tracking down different beads which would work for my purposes. I did try stringing them onto thread which I held with the yarn, but it proved to be overly fussy and frustrating, and I ended up ripping it out.

After that, I was looking for a fun project that I could finish in a day or two, and decided to make my first project from 50 Yards of Fun! I started with the cutie cactus using some destash yarn from my amigurumi bin. I'm looking forward to making lots more adorable critters from this book!

Thanks for stopping by this week - for FO Friday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis blog.


Have a crafty weekend! 


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Projects for ME!

Now that my holiday gift knitting is complete, I've started a few projects for myself. The first is something that has been in my queue for a while now: Robots vs. Downtown. I'm using a skein each of ShiBui Sock in Peacock and Wasabi - one of my favorite color combinations!
I'd like to knit myself more colorwork mittens as a general rule (especially since I already have some really excellent books), and I had already picked out some yarn from my stash to make these mittens. I purchased the pattern back in November when it was on sale as part of the Indie Designer Gift-Along. Though I didn't end up participating, I really liked the concept and hope they do the event again this year so I can actually take part this time!
My other WIP is a sweater I started over the weekend using Canopy Fingering from the Fibre Company. I'm using the 30-Day Sweater framework to design it as I go; I'm not sure if it will actually be done in 30 days, but I am looking forward to having a sweater that is designed to my exact specifications. As you can see, I'm not terribly far along, but I hope to have a much more exciting photo to share next week.

Thanks for joining me this week! For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Post-Holiday Stash Enhancement!

As I may have mentioned in an earlier post, my husband thoughtfully bought me a WEBS gift certificate for Christmas. After much internal debate, I placed a carefully-chosen order:
  • 3 bundles of handpainted Targhee Top from Abstract Fiber in "The Gorge" colorway (the idea is to have enough finished handspun to make a large project of some sort!)
  • 2 skeins of Terra from the Fibre Company in Blue Spruce (to make this cabled hat from Vintage Modern Knits)
  • 2 skeins Valley Yarns Northampton Sport in Gray (this is for a top-secret design project I'm currently working on!)
After a small delay due to the insane weather this month, it arrived and I am dying to dive in! Alas, I find myself heading to Orlando today for business while Tyler holds down the fort. I'm pretty sure I'll be busting out the spinning wheel just as soon as I return home and get unpacked. 

I also purchased a pound of Louet Dorper Top; I'd spun some during Spinzilla last October and fell in love! At the beginning of this month, it was 50% off at The Woolery during their final Fiber Toys promotion. If you missed out, fear not - they'll have more great deals for you next holiday season, so I highly recommend signing up for their newsletter for monthly updates.

I haven't made many resolutions for 2014, but I would like to continue my efforts to work from my stash and existing library of books and patterns as much as possible. I know I'll still continue to buy yarn and fiber - it's inevitable - but I am certainly going to be choosier with my purchases in 2014.

What are your fiber-related resolutions for 2014? 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Knit & Crochet FO Friday

Happy Friday, I'm excited to share two projects with you today!

The first is another adorable amigurumi snowman using the choose-your-own-adventure pattern from FreshStitches:
I thought my first snowman could use a friend, especially since he will be spending the next 10 months in storage. I love this pattern and will probably crochet one or two more next holiday season!
My second FO is the Arctic Circle Cowl, which I started right around the time the Polar Vortex hit Chicago. I finished it while I was in Kansas City for a wedding last weekend, and have been enjoying it ever since! I absolutely love yarns from The Fibre Company, and Tundra is very soft and lovely to work with: it's a heavenly blend of baby alpaca, merino and silk. The tent stitch pattern was quite easy to memorize, and I love the way the cowl drapes when I wear it.

Thanks for stopping by this week - for FO Friday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis blog.


Have a crafty weekend! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Serpentinite Scarf

This week I have just one WIP to share with you: I started the Serpentinite scarf from Carol Feller's Among Stones using a skein of La Luz from Fiesta Yarns which was gifted me for my birthday last year. It was my main project while traveling to Kansas City last weekend, and as you can see, I am very close to being done! It will be my first ever beaded project, so I'm kind of excited to finish it up.
The new year has been off to a hectic start - why is it that I always must travel in January? Next week, I have to head to Orlando for a few days to do a workshop for my job, so I am reticent to start too many projects in the interim...yet I am thinking of starting my next 30 Day Sweater this weekend to take on my trip. Um, yeah. Regardless. I'm hoping next week's WIP Wednesday post will be more interesting!

Thanks for joining me this week! For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Fiber Curio + Sundries

Purchased at SOAR: CVM blend roving
I met Ellen and Wanda, the two women who run Fiber Curios and Sundries, at SOAR this past October. Their booth was filled with interesting natural fibers and hand-dyed yarns. After chatting with Ellen for a while, it became clear that they had an incredible passion for locally-grown, sustainable fibers.

The company is relatively new, having started last year (their website says that neither Ellen nor Wanda have given up their day jobs yet!). I was able to interview Ellen via email* to learn more about their dedication to sustainable yarns and fibers and find out what's in store for 2014!

Etsy shop purchase: 100% CVM roving
+ fiber samples
Your shop is dedicated to locally grown and sustainable fibers. Tell us why sustainability in fiber production is so important to you and why they should also be important to handspinners!

When the issue of sustainability is raised, the reason that is at the forefront in my mind is to decrease reliance on petroleum based products. Even what seems like a sustainable fiber may not really be so "green" if the manufacturing process is not as environmentally friendly as possible. Superwash wool, for instance, uses a sustainable fiber, but the manufacturing process adds to its carbon footprint and also weakens the fiber by removing that outer scale layer from the wool.

I'm not really qualified to comment further on the issue of sustainability; we have an incredible agricultural tradition and the richest set of natural resources of any country. It's just important for us to use what we have and delight in these resources.

Wool and most animal fibers are produced efficiently as long as the animal is healthy and properly cared for. Taking good care of the animals as well as producing lovely fiber is a common passion we share withour suppliers of fleeces. We don't confine ourselves to "local" in the strict sense of the word because we do buy fleeces from all across the United States, but we buy our fleece directly from those who have raised the animals. I think it's important to remember how much it costs to raise these animals because hay, vet bills, and shearing are all expensive - all of these factors must be taken into consideration when purchasing fleece. In the long run, preservation of family farms and relationships between people makes our world a better place. If you knit a scarf from handspun wool that was grown on a small farm, you have a treasure that resonates with hard work, good values, and wonderful tradition.

CVM sheep
What is the process for deciding which fiber blends to use in your rovings? 

We both have developed a fondness for specific types of fiber. Wanda has worked a lot with CVM (California Variegated Mutant), and she thinks of it as the American merino. I have an attachment to Shetlands, love their rainbow of colors, their primitive characteristics, and the ease with which Shetland wool spins. When we develop a roving, we may have a specific idea in mind, such as we want the luster of Blue Faced Leicester and to enhance it with silk and then plan to make hand dyed roving. Or we may just want to try a blend, such as chocolate CVM with a fine brown llama, two compatible fibers that happened to be the same color; it came out like chocolate overdose! We have developed "hair color" bi-alpaca blends, with suri and huacaya in a color range such as blonds, redhead, gray, and then usually add wool for memory to the spun yarn and possibly mohair. These yarns have good luster, lots of drape, as well as great depth of colors. We play a lot, but every fiber we offer is one we have used ourselves and want to spin.
Hand-dyed Cheviot sock

Besides an array of spinning fibers, you also have some interesting yarns - the Cheviot sock yarn you showed me at SOAR was memorable, for example. Tell us about what makes it so special!

Our own line of sock yarns started with a question,"why is commercial sock yarn almost always merino?" I was just learning about wool, and it did not make sense to me. The irony is I am not a sock knitter (learning), but I asked a number of people including some really interesting knitters on the Men Who Knit Forum, and I did a lot of reading. A number of other people had already voiced similar opinions. I also had some concerns about the issue of machine washability, because lots of us don't have time to fuss. At any rate, I spun a yarn from Cheviot, and Eric, my knitting "pen pal," knit me a lovely pair of socks. I had already tried felting the Cheviot, and when I found it to be felt resistant, I just had to try machine washing. No felt, no shrink, and what a great cushy pair of socks! From there we tested millspun Cheviot blended with silk and mohair, and the results were the same. Since then, we have also found Texel to be felt resistant. Hence, we have sock yarn that is more durable than merino, all natural, and machine washable. The results might be similar with some other down type breeds, but at present we are happy with a good combination of staple length, bounce, durability, and comfort. It's just a matter of converting one sock knitter at a time.

What are your plans for 2014? Are there any regional fiber shows you're planning to attend?

In 2014, we plan to be at a number of fiber festivals, including Sticks and Strings in Des Moines, Shepherd's Harvest in Vinton, IA, Fiber Palooza in Winterset, IA, and Iowa Sheep and Wool in Colfax. We also vend sometimes at art festivals. We have a number of fiber related projects going on that are not just about spinning and yarn, and we keep learning, which I think is the best part of all of this.

See it Spun

I purchased 2 oz. roving blend of Gray CVM, Black Alpaca, Silk and Bamboo from the Fiber Curio & Sundries Booth at SOAR; after the holidays, I purchased 4 oz. of Gray CVM from their Etsy Shop, and they also included a few fiber samples with my order. Such fibery goodness!

I decided to spin 3 singles to ply together (one comprised of the light gray CVM blend and two from the newly-purchased gray CVM). As with many natural fibers, there was a small amount of vegetable matter which I encountered while spinning, but not so much as to alter the rhythm of my spinning. The resulting skeins are beautifully heathered and ultra-soft; I can't wait to knit with them!

For those of you wondering, CVM stands for California Variegated Mutant; it is a multicolored variation of the Romeldale sheep which is classified as a finewool in Clara Parkes' Book of Wool. The CVMs were developed in the 1960s when a multicolored lamb was found in a flock of pure white Romeldales. The shepherd, Glen Eidman, decided to develop this variation separately, focusing on color and fleece quality. Since the majority of the (pure white) Romeldale clip was sold to the Pendleton Woolen Mills, Eidman marketed the CVMs to handspinners.
I spun singles from the three samples they included with my order (from L-R above): baby alpaca/CVM lamb blend, a BFL/Huacaya Alpaca/Suri Alpaca/silk blend, and a a CVM/llama blend. To be honest, I enjoyed spinning each one; all three were quite different from one another, and it was really interesting to spin them back-to-back. If I had to pick my favorite, I would say the baby alpaca/CVM blend was my favorite: it was buttery soft and all but spun itself. I definitely would like to get my hands on this fiber again.
The BFL/Alpaca/silk blend was also interesting to spin; it was very light and lofty, and it took me a little bit of fiddling to find the right amount of tension while spinning. Once I did, it created a really lovely single, which I then navajo plied (as I did the other two samples).

If you're a fan of natural fibers, Fiber Curio and Sundries are worth checking out - happy spinning!



*Wanda also reviewed Ellen's interview answers prior to sending my way, for those of you who might have been wondering!

Friday, January 10, 2014

FO Friday: SilverSpun Mitts

I first heard about SilverSpun yarn from the Feel Good Yarn Company over on my pal Allyson's blog. It popped up again as a reward for the Woolly App Kickstarter, and finally I ended up connecting with Laurie, the woman behind it all. She sent me a skein of SilverSpun yarn to try out, and I couldn't wait to cast on!

Since the pure silver that is spun throughout the yarn has therapeutic properties, I thought a pair of fingerless mitts would be a good project. It should also be noted that the silver lends the yarn conductive properties as well, which means that you can knit a pair of gloves and use them to operate any touch-screen device while wearing them! Anyway, I went the fingerless mitt route and made the Dalkey Mitts from Carol Feller's Contemporary Irish Knits. This is the first project in my never-ending quest to see how many projects I can make from books already on my shelf, might I add!

There were several pleasant surprises about this yarn: first, I was happy to see that the silver didn't add any sparkle to the yarn - I know that was popular for a nanosecond in 2012/13, and I've bought a few skeins of sparkly yarn here and there, but overall, I like to leave the bling out of my knitting. Another surprise was how easy it was to knit with: the fiber content is 87% combed cotton, 11% silver and 2% lycra. Most cottons feel a bit tough and hurt my hands to work with, but the cotton was very soft and lofty and I'm guessing the little bit of lycra is the magic ingredient to an easy-to-knit-with yarn. Finally, I was surprised at how warm the mitts are! My living room is quite drafty, and these little mitts did wonders to ward off frozen hand syndrome.

I have just a little bit of yarn left over, and I may use it to knit the fingertips in a pair of gloves to take advantage of the conductive properties (that is, if I can get up the gumption to actually make a pair of gloves).

In other news, I knit a swatch for my next 30 Day Sweater. I'm not sure if I'll actually make it in a month, but it sure would be nice to have a new sweater to wear this season! I'm using The Fibre Company's Canopy Fingering (swatched here in Sumac, but I also have a few skeins of Wild Ginger which I'll be using for a contrast color) and it's blocking on my new blocking mats from Knitter's Pride. I have a few sketches for what I'd like this sweater to become - I'll be using the framework to create my own custom sweater this time around!

Thanks for stopping by this week - for FO Friday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis blog.


Have a crafty weekend! 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Vortex, Schmortex

Arctic Circle cowl in progress!
Chicago, like the most of North America, is experiencing an extra-frosty dose of winter this week - we're talking negative double-digit temps with truly frightening windchills. This is when being a work-at-home cat mom is awesome; though I like winter (it's my favorite season), I will admit that this is a little insane, even for me. My husband had to brave the arctic conditions in the name of coffee, however - and it's times like these that I'm glad I'm a knitter! Knowing that he is out there in various layers of warm winter wear which includes my hand-knits makes me worry a little less when my phone keeps pinging about dangerously cold weather conditions.

Free pattern: Handspun Garter Scarf/Cowl
And so it seemed incredibly appropriate to cast on for the Arctic Circle Cowl using Tundra yarn from The Fibre Company. I'm not sure whether it's the hair of the dog or an "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" vibe I'm going for, but it's nice to know I had the perfect project for such an unusual turn of events, especially since most of the area yarn stores closed due to the extreme cold. Score one for the trusty yarn stash! 

Another bit of serendipity was the completely coincidental release of my first pattern of 2014 on Monday, the coldest and most intense day of the Polar Vortex. What better way to stay warm and toasty than with a chunky handspun scarf? You can check out the free knitting pattern here, incidentally (and if you aren't a spinner, there are some guidelines on subbing in commercially available yarns). 

Thanks for joining me this week! For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Free Pattern: Handspun Scarf/Cowl

Last year's Tour de Fleece and Spinzilla events left we with a healthy stash of handspun yarn. I have gifted many skeins to knitting friends (especially those who don't spin), but there are a few skeins that I knew I wanted to save just for me. I was particularly enamored with a Falkland 2-ply I'd made with hand-dyed roving from Hearthside Fibers and Pumpkinhaus. Both of my winter coats just happened to coordinate perfectly with the resulting yarn, and I decided on a simple knit to let all of the variegated colors take center stage.

I should preface this by saying that I really hate knitting scarves - they seem to go on and on without end, and I usually tire of the process. However, I have tons of cowls and shawls in my collection, and it would be nice to have an actual scarf that is big and snuggly. As I was knitting, I thought it would also be nice to have the option of draping it around my neck several times like a cowl, so I decided to add buttonholes before binding off, allowing me to convert it into an infinity scarf if I was so inclined. 
The result is a versatile accessory that is my absolute new favorite. I'm sure there are plenty of garter scarf patterns out here, so I don't claim to have created something brand-new here. However, I thought I'd share the details for anyone who is interested in making something similar, whether it's using handspun or commercially available yarn. 

Enjoy!

Handspun Garter Scarf/Cowl by Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter

Materials: 
  • Approx. 257 yards 2-Ply Falkland Handspun Yarn (6 WPI) - a Bulky or Super Bulky yarn would be an appropriate substitute if you are looking to use a commercially spun yarn
  • US #13 (9mm) straight needles
  • Darning needle
  • 4 Buttons (1" diameter)

Gauge:

12.5 sts and 20 rows = 4" in garter stitch; however, it is not crucial for this project.

Finished Measurements: 

Scarf measures approx. 7" wide and 80" long.

Instructions: 

Cast on 24 stitches. Work in garter stitch (knit every row) for approx. 76 inches (or desired length). Be sure to leave enough yarn to work the following rows: 

Buttonhole row: [K3, YO, K2tog] four times, K4. 

Next row: K all sts. 

Bind off knitwise. 

Sew buttons on opposite end of buttonholes/bound-off edge. 

Wear and enjoy! 


Friday, January 3, 2014

FO Friday: Manos Cowl + Gotland Handspun

Grey has always been one of my favorite colors. With my coloring, there are more than a few colors I simply can't wear, but grey has always been something I can fall back on (not to mention, it looks great with just about any color, much as black does). So I guess it's fitting that my first two finished projects to share in 2014 are grey: first, a cowl knit in Manos Maxima's Foil colorway, and second, my first handspun project of the year spun from Grey Gotland top.
Cowl blocking in progress!
I knit the I Wish I was Weaving This Cowl on my trip to Kansas City last week; it only took two days, in fact! It was the perfect "conversation" project since the basket weave stitch pattern was easy to memorize. The pattern is available for free on Ravelry from the talented Liz Abinante of Feministy.

While I was out of town, I pined for my spinning wheel. I'd taken a hiatus prior to the holidays so that I could focus all of my free time on gift-making, so by the time I got home I was literally champing at the bit. I dusted off my wheel last weekend (quite literally) and decided to start spinning some of the fibers I'd purchased at the last SOAR: first, I spun through a single of CVM, Alpaca, Silk and Bamboo roving from Fiber Curio and Sundries (more on that later), then I moved on to the Grey Gotland top I'd purchased at the Spinning Straw Into Gold booth.
Grey Gotland roving from Spinning Straw Into Gold.
This fiber had been tempting me in particular - while most of what I'd read about the breed suggested that commercially prepared top would be matte rather than lustrous, the fiber I had was the exception to the rule. It was also rather heavy (you know, for fiber...), and the singles I spun had a surprising halo which only increased when I plied it. I split the roving by weight so that I could do a 2-ply, and was pretty excited when I had nearly the same yardage for both singles when it was time to ply them together. I have no idea what I'll be knitting with this yarn, but it feels soft yet sturdy - perhaps an earflap hat might be a good project?

Thanks for stopping by this week - for more FO Friday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis blog.


Have a crafty weekend! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Holiday Gift Round-Up, Part 2

Happy New Year! I can't believe it's 2014. The holiday season whizzed by and I am not sure I'm ready to embark on a new year just yet - but it's here whether I like it or not!

In fact, I am still processing the holidays: I felt more than a little spoiled by my friends and family. As I get older, I can honestly say that my focus on the holidays isn't on what gifts I'll be getting, but rather, giving gifts and spending time with family (and friends!). That's not to say I don't enjoy receiving gifts, of course - who doesn't?! In fact, I received many thoughtful, useful, and all-around awesome gifts this year, and I thought I'd share some of the fiber-related ones on today's post:
Mollie Makes Crochet: Tons of great projects to make for the home! 
50 Yards of Fun by Rebecca Danger - all the better to continue the theme for 2014! 
Scarf Organizer: I've been trying to find a good way to store all of my scarves and shawls so that A. I have easy access and B. they don't become cat beds. I was excited to get this handy little doodad to try out!
Hot water bottle & cozy by my knitting pal Lauren!
Tyler gave me a WEBS gift card (I'll be sharing my purchases when they arrive, of course!) and Lauren also knitted me a Christmas Tree ornament - check out the real wood tree trunk! 
Hadaki Millipede Tote - I've coveted this particular bag at just about every TNNA trade show I've attended. While I love my Namaste messenger bag, I really need to have a lighter everyday bag. This bag has lots of zippy compartments and, despite its smaller size, it still fits all my essentials along with a small project for on-the-go knitting!
Meanwhile, no trip to Kansas City would be complete without a trip to The Studio. I happened to have a gift card, so I came home with some lovely skeins of yarn for future toy-making endeavors. I also bought a tape measure since a few of mine have disappeared recently.

All in all, 2013 ended on quite the high note and I am looking forward to a fibery and craft-filled 2014. TI will be returning to my regular blogging schedule this Friday, so I hope to see you back here. Wishing you a very happy and healthy new year. Thanks for joining me!