Oakenshield

Repost from All Knit & No Sheep Blog by Elizabeth Helmich at Counting Sheep Studio

This hat was a labor of love.

I really wanted to make a dwarven-inspired hat for David, we are both huge fans of the Lord of the Rings, and have also enjoyed the newer Hobbit trilogy.

My first instinct was to use cables to capture the designs I wanted, but realized that most cables are very swirly by nature, more of an elvish look than the more angular dwarven style.

Sometimes you simply have to go back to the drawing board multiple times to get the look you want. For the men’s version, I used Dubai Knits MCN Sock, which is nice & springy as to be expected, with the added softness of cashmere = super yummy.

The bottom panel is worked using a simple knit/purl design, which changes to a different textured ‘boxes’ pattern along with a twisted stitch leaf pattern for the main body & crown. The nice thing about the twisted stitches is they are very easy to work and do not require a cable needle!

Then I was done. Finally. But….it wasn’t enough. I needed one! Found some Madelinetosh Sock in the stash, this is colorway Smokey Orchid.

I am super happy with both versions now, and I really love that you can wear these basically any time of year since they are so lightweight. Perfect for hiking!

The little patient Mia, who got to ham it up after we were done taking pics.

Oakenshield is still on sale over on Ravelry until the end of tomorrow (Valentine’s Day) – go over and grab a copy here.

By the way – I’m having a baby.

As in really, really. Soon. I’m in full-on nesting mode, and was completely possessed recently to make her a quilt.

I know I don’t talk much about my first real crafting love, sewing. Years ago I gave away most of my fabric stash to a lovely lady who I knew would give it a good home. She ended up becoming a yarn shop owner here in Asheville! Ha. She made sewn bags as well and would sell those in her shop.

Every now and then I remember my old love and have a need to put together fabric pieces. Hopefully I can finish this before the new bundle of Joy gets here.

My Mia has been bugging me for a scarf for some time, and I ended up making 2 quickie scarves for her and older Big Sis. When I did my stint for Universal Yarn, I ended up with some of this fuzzy, crazy yarn. Which I am convinced ALL kids love.

Cast on 15 stitches on large needles, switch colors every 2 rows until you get bored.

For some added sweetness, I wanted to put little hearts on the end. Found this quick & easy pattern on Ravelry and viola! Two super fun & soft scarves for my #1 Sweetie Pies.

Heart Attack! (A free pattern offered by Wool & Flour.)

Have a wonderful Heart Day!

Are we there yet?

Repost from All Knit & No Sheep – Counting Sheep Studio Blog by Elizabeth Helmich

Apparently I am having a sale. That’s what happens when you take time off from your knitting design biz and get sucked up in other Life stuff – you have 3 people point out in one night that your coupon code isn’t working. Uh…coupon code? Yes, from last year at this time. So. I decided to go with the sale again, since we are indeed again in the throws of the Winter Doldrums.

If you are interested in getting 20% off of any pattern in my shop (excluding the few I did for Willow Yarns), please visit it here on Ravelry and simply use the coupon code ‘doldrums’ for the sale. The sale runs from today until the end of Valentine’s Day. Also, thank-YOU for your support over these years. It is truly amazing to get a smack in the face reminder that I’ve been at this longer than I even realize sometimes. This business is my heart & soul and I appreciate each and every one of you, those who have actually used a pattern, and also those who give me the encouragement to continue! Bless you.

Mia says ‘go out and get a walk in!’ If you are not covered in snow right now, that is.

I feel that I have done an injustice to my Toshi toys that I made recently since I have not mentioned them. This was a little pattern of a kitty & bunny toy that were inspired by the Miyazaki anime films. Specifically, the little cat was my version of Gigi from Kiki’s Delivery Service, one I’ve been wanting to make for years.

She needed to have the sweet face with the big eyes to be just right!

Then I finished the little kitty in no time. And clearly she needed a friend (I may also have 2 daughters that were fighting over her…) so I made a friend.

I think I almost love this bunny even more (but don’t tell the kitty).

Bunny & kitty butts!

These two were a whole lot of fun, I do hope you’ll give them a shot for any playful person in your life.

Other than that, I’m working on some other stuff for you. One is a cardigan, just because. It’s been too long. I bought this gradient dyed yarn and it is just too pretty.

These little lovelies came from Hilori’s Yarn Emporium, in colorway ‘Winter is Coming.’ My Christmas present to myself.

This is my recent progress, I am still debating about how to finish the bottom. No sure if I want to do a bit of the lace bit from the yoke, or leave it at a simple rib. I think (or have read) that most women don’t want to draw extra attention to their, ahem, bottom area – so perhaps the rib is the way to go. (Personally I have zero problems with having a woman’s booty, but that is a discussion for another post…)

This was the top yoke during my Lord of the Rings marathon one day.

Now I am a little bit further and the debate on the bottom edging continues!

Time to make the dinner – be well all. Stay warm and give hugs.

A wee little happy bird in January.

Talk is Cheap ~ Chet Faker

Wishy washy

Repost from: All Knit & No Sheep – Counting Sheep Studio Blog by Elizabeth Helmich

Perhaps I only need to realize that I’m never really going to grow up. Being childlike is a helluva lot more fun anyways.

When days were a bit darker in recent times past and I had a hard time concentrating on anything, I made this.

For years I have collected handspun yarn. It was actually part of what made me fall in love with knitting to begin with. Part of the ‘problem’ has always been what to do with these lovelies, how to showcase them in a beautiful way without having 100 drop stitch scarves. So one day I decided to stop saving and start using.

I made very simple garter stitch squares, casting on 24 stitches and knitting 10 rows on one color, then changing to another, and another and another. Relax, rinse & repeat.

This became such a joy, as I didn’t plot or plan, just picked up and tried my best to make each square unique. My only real ‘rule’ was I attempted to have some dark & light in each square.

When the yarn started running low that my variety of squares was getting challenging, I found a crochet edging that I found attractive and simple to work, and began the work of joining. For this I actually did lay out my squares and tentatively piece together what I wanted for each strip.

The 2 commercial yarns I used were for the edging, the inner joins were crocheted using some Northampton from Webs that I’ve had forever (very similar to Cascade 220, a great basic). The outer, final border was worked with some dark brown Malabrigo Worsted.

It was a real pleasure to have a project with no other purpose than the joy of it. No pattern to write, no one to please but my own self. And of course, it is Indie the Cat approved.

I also finished my simple cabled cowl that I will miss as my TV nighttime knitting!

Donovan is available for purchase on both my website here, as well as on Ravelry. This is a great one for men as well, and you can simply knit to your desired length. Any nice worsted weight wool will work just fine, for this size you need only about 330 yds.

This is because I just HAD to do the stupid ‘I’m pulling out my cowl for some strange reason’ shot I always see people doing. I crack myself up.

Today is a freak of a beautiful perfect day in Winter, high here in the 60’s so I must go out and play. I hope you have a great week and make something amazing! Namaste friend.

I am crazy for the song right now, the video moves me to tears:

Sia ~ Elastic Heart

Happy 2015!

Repost from: All Knit & No Sheep – Counting Sheep Studio Blog by Elizabeth Helmich

Yes, I’m 3 days late and more dollars than that short – but what else is new?

New Years came in like a lamb this year, which is quite fine by me. I’ve been cooking, and knitting and enjoying all the dreary, gray days which seem to make it more acceptable to be a hermit. All the Christmas decorations are down now and things have gone from a roar back to a quiet whisper. Except of course when the girls are awake.

Stealing a few peaceful moments on a Sunday morning while listening to the rain drum outside my window is a small luxury.

river trail berries new year 2015

These are a few shots from my annual “Alone” hike on New Years Day. Where I go and freeze my butt off (usually) and try to reflect on my year and make new goals.

river trail tree sky new year 2015

Do you think these trees give a damn about 2014?!? Nope.

river trail trees new year 2015

This section of the trail thankfully gets much warmer.

It was a great start to a new year.

river trail new year 2015 shroom branch sky

May you have a year full of new possibilities and opportunities!

river trail 2015 bridge

I did manage to finish my slippers. I am calling them Shumard Footies.

shumard footies front

These are worked sole first, which is knitted in rows in 2 pieces, then sewn together for double thickness. The uppers are picked up and worked in the round, with decreases added in for shaping. None of the actual patterns are difficult, but you do need to be able to decrease and maintain the pattern.

shumard footies front 1

I thought they were super fun personally, as I do get bored easily! They also come together pretty quickly with the worsted weight yarn. If you (or someone you know) has cold feet, you may need to make some!

You can purchase these from my website: Shumard Footies at Counting Sheep Studio

Or over on Ravelry: Shumard Footies on Ravelry

shumard footies back cable

They come in 3 sizes and I look forward to seeing what yarns/colors people choose for them!

I have another cute little project to share with you, but will do that in another post – so come on back.

Namaste friends. Onward & upward.

~Elizabeth

2015 e river trail 3

Banks: NPR Tiny Desk Concerts

Cover up those Toesies!

Repost from: All Knit & No Sheep – Blog by Elizabeth Helmich at Counting Sheep Studio

Grrr. I am annoyed at having to cover arms & feet because they are COLD. I am naturally warm and slightly resistant to this time of year, but even I get chilly eventually.

Just yesterday, however, we had a picture perfect blue day in the high 60’s, enough that Miss ‘Lil Bit & I were about to take a nice walk around the lake in t-shirts.

Soon enough it will be all Hats & Jackets, but not THIS day.

Recently, I decided I needed a pair of slippers. Not felted ones, because I thought those would be TOO warm (see above comment about running warm, plus I don’t like how felting make your stitch details disappear) – so figured I would make some cabled ones instead.

Here’s the first one.

I am mostly happy with it, but need to wash it and see how the bottom expands. I tried to err on the small side, since I’ve had issues with slippers coming out too large (especially that garter stitch pair I made it cotton, no bueno).

As for the yarn, I used Peace Fleece for the sole & Cascade 200 Tweed for the upper, but nice worsted weight wools. The Peace Fleece is a bit more rustic, and I thought it had a better chance of holding up for the heavy wear.

Ideally, I’d like to offer these in several sizes, for a more custom fit. As far as skill level, I would say intermediate since you are working a couple of different patterns at the same time on the uppers.

Now I only have one cold foot.

The silly ‘I hold my feet like a small toddler pose’, just for you. And that is definitely not nail polish on my big toe from about 2 months ago, no way…. Ahem.

I also decided to make a new cowl, since I have very few things to cover my neck. Somehow they always manage to find a new home…

For now I am calling this the Donovan Cowl. It is absolutely perfect for you is you like simple cables and mindless knitting. The reason for the name…I frequently associate things I’m working on with shows or movies I’m watching while making them. (This is totally normal, right?) Like my first sweater always made me this of the movie ‘Cider House Rules’.

While knitting this little cowl, we have been having a ‘Ray Donovan’ marathon (a drama starring Liev Schreiber – it comes on Showtime). Last season I watched a few and sort of lost track. So what is any normal person to do? Uh, watch as many episodes on your DVR as you can at night after kiddos are asleep dreaming of sugar plum fairies of course!

That is all for now, time to make the meatballs!

Findlay, Nature Stalking and Home Comforts

Repost from: All Knit and No Sheep – Counting Sheep Studio Blog by Elizabeth Helmich

The summer-flower has run to seen, and yellow is the woodland bough; and every leaf of bush and weed is tipt with Autumn’s pencil now.”

~ John Clare

Thoroughly enjoying this Fall, this has to be the latest Season (color-wise) I’ve seen since moving here to Asheville in 2001. There is still lots of color hanging on, and I can’t get enough of it! We’ve had a patch of cold, as most of the Country, but no more snow.

The colors!!

I may need an intervention.

The girls are enjoying our walks. Sydney sometimes complains, but if she gets to ride her bike it keeps her busy (and fast!). Mia tries to keep up.

Yesterday I managed to finish up my editing for Findlay, and now it is all ready! It feels great to be back on the knitting wagon again.

You can purchase Findlay from my website or on Ravelry here.

I really intended this set to be made together, so I’ve include both patterns in the pattern price. Quick and easy, and I think also a good unisex pattern, all depending on your color choices.

The yarn is Rhichard Devrieze Superwash Merino Worsted, when I first saw the Country Casual colorway at Knitting to Know Ewe, I knew it had to be something great since the colors just made me so stinking happy. I found out from the owner/dyer was originally with Koigu, since I had commented about his ‘speckle’ ability. I have seen very few dyers that can do this effect with style and grace (and no color blobs).

What I decided to do was use some really easy, peasy pattern that only use slipped stitches and simple twists to achieve the cabled look. It is very intuitive once you get going. Once I finished the hat, I knew I needed something to match, which is when I went back to the shop and purchased the gray.

Once I came up with the idea for a matching cowl, it came together pretty quickly. I worked right on through the cowl on a cold weekend and voila! A dash through the button stash and I was finished. I look forward to seeing your versions of this pattern, in your choice of yarns / colors!

I do hope you like it and I’d love to hear your feedback.

Be well and stay warm. Hugs your friends and family real tight.

Doll – Helen Jane Long (performance by Pamelot Dance)

Begin again

“There are two ways of getting home; and one of them is staying there. The other is to walk round the whole world till we come back to the same place.” ~ G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

fall 14 rusty leaves

Of course there is much to say about an absence for over a year. Let us just begin by saying that this part of my Life’s journey was not meant to be shared with all. Sometimes it all gets a bit too heavy and we need to take a load off. I will say that I am a firm believer that ALL things happen as they should, that we are not always meant to understand why we go through things, but it is necessary for our growth as humans on this earth. I am glad to be back, in more ways than one.

As the days shorten and nights grow colder, I welcome the Season and enjoy the sights, sounds and feel of Autumn. It curls my toes and makes me grin in the morning as I reach for my cup ‘o’ joe and robe.

fall 14 red leaves

I am slowly getting my knitting mojojo back again. As usual I have big plans(!) and we shall see if they come to fruition. For today, I am working on finishing up this cowl.

findlay cowl progress closer needle

findlay cowl progress

Which was made to match this hat.

findlay hat on rock

Notice wee companion in the background. (She was collecting sticks to make her ‘potion’. But she promised that I would not turn into a frog from drinking it – whew!)

I will post more on this upcoming set in the next week – working on finishing up the patterns. It is just nice to be creating art again (for my own line).

Halloween was fun – though the cold and rain cut our Trick or Treating a wee bit short. We did make it back for the Pumpkin Lasagna I made. This is the recipe from The Chew: Pumpkin Lasagna. It was good…..but. A wee bit too much pumpkin. I would try a similar recipe with more of other veg next time I think.

halloween 14 girls 1

This was the ‘can we get ON with it already!?!’ face.

halloweeen 14 sydney face

I was thrilled to be able to go to the Southeastern Animal & Fiber Fair this year (aka SAFF by locals), as I missed it last year.

Since little Miss Mia was in tow, my focus was animals. I felt really bad because I promised her to see bunnies, but for some reason could not find any there on Friday.

We did however get to see these other sweet faces.

saff 14 black face sheep

saff 14 baby alpaca

This little baby alpaca was only 5 days old!! Ack!

saff 14 big horn sheep

saff llama handsome

This llama was too much – he really knew how handsome he was.

Have a lovely day and thanks for taking a moment to catch up with me. Blessed be.

snow nov 1 14

My colorful backyard – after a surprising snowfall on November 1st.

David Gray – This Year’s Love

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