Rocky Broad Mitts

These mitts started with the yarn. A few short months back, I went to a little Fiber show here in WNC called Fiber Feel Day. My friend Maria & her buddy Nikki had started up their own yarn adventure, called Fern Fiber. I knew they were using locally harvested fiber, while also having it spun here, and then dying it using all natural plant materials.

fiber feel day 15

A small sample of products from the show

I ended up with some gorgeous aran weight wool that came from Rosabelle the Romney. This particular yarn was dyed using elderberries & alkanet. I loved the tonal brown/grays that came out.

fern fiber romney closer

Can’t you just reach out and squoosh it?!?

Once I began swatching I was quick to realize that any sort of ‘intricate’ pattern would get lost with this yarn. I needed something more bold, which naturally turned me towards cables.

I began with the cuff, which I worked in a lattice pattern, only 2 stitches cross at time. I knew I wanted it to close with buttons, they are not only beautiful, but functional as you need them to get the gloves on & off.

rocky broad mitts detail shot

For the top of the mitts, I wanted a large cable, but with the gauge of the yarn I couldn’t go too big – it still needed to comfortably fit on the back of the hand.

As for the name, the Rocky Broad is a river here in NC, it runs very close to Lake Lure – and you can see here why it has that name.

rocky broad

I can certainly see why people would fish here – but go whitewater rafting?!? Sounds more like a death wish to be. This river is surely any rock hopping person’s delight. I thought this a great name for my natural, rustic mitt design.

rocky broad mitts

So – back to the mitts – I placed the larger cable is on both the top & the bottom of the mitts.

Finally, I picked up the thumb and put a gentle little twist on the outer side of that as well!

rocky broad mitts side

Love!!

These are so rustic, but still cozy & warm. They knit up quickly (you could certainly do them in a weekend), making them perfect for a last-minute gift. I know I have at least one friend who has requested a pair, and I will be happy to oblige her.

Last chance to get 30% off of ANY of my self-published patterns in my shop. You have 3 days left (ends midnight on August 31st.)

As always – thanks for reading, for your support, and I do hope you have a lovely day.

Shamatha

In Shamatha meditation practice, the goal is to strengthen the mind’s stability and to counterbalance the symptoms of the being constantly distracted (sometimes referred to as the ‘monkey mind’). I know I’ve referred to knitting as meditation in the past, and this time I had even more reason to do so. This cardigan I designed to be my perfect ‘yoga’ wrap – the one you wear to and from class, easy to throw on – and it wraps in the front if desired.

samatha back on e 3

I knew that I wanted the lotus flower lace panel to be the main focus. I decided to make this in pieces since I was using a seacell / silk blend yarn that I felt might need more structure.

This project was a special collaboration between myself and KimDyesYarn. This was a new blend of yarn for her, and I was thrilled to be asked to give it a road test! This is her Sea Silk Sport – 51% silk / 29% superfine merino wool / 20% Sea cell, the gorgeous colorway is called ‘Curacao’.

samatha back detail

The lightly plied yarn makes for smooth knitting, and the blend is deliciously soft & luxurious. Just look at the beautiful stitch definition! The silk & sea cell gives your work an incredible shine, while keeping it light & airy enough for year-round wear.

Right now on her Ravelry group, Kim is kindly offering this yarn at a discount for pre-order. The normal retail per skein of 323 yds. is $32, which is currently reduced to $25/skein! You get to pick your color from these little lovelies here:

kimdyes yarn seasilk

Pretty hard to choose!

For the fronts I knew I wanted them to be able to overlap, and I need a pattern that would control the natural curling tendency for stockinette stitch. In continuing with my meditative knitting theme, I chose a simple ridge pattern that adds a bit of extra texture / interest and still provides quick and fuss-free knitting.

samatha front detail

The little sleeves are picked up once the fronts are completed, and short rows are worked before joining in the round. It would be very simple to add onto the sleeve length if desired. Once the sleeves are finished, lastly you add a tiny lace border along the fronts and extending to the back neck.

samatha on e front

If you would like to see more details on this pattern, please visit my Ravelry shop. Right now through the end of this month, ALL self-published patterns in my shop are 30% off!

The end of Summer is coming quickly, and it can’t come soon enough for me, although the changing of the Seasons is something I always enjoy. Had a nice, quiet walk by myself last night and watched the day fade into night. Here is a small window into my corner of the world, you can see why they call them the Blue Ridge Mountains.

May you have your own peaceful moment today, wherever you are.

rowland mountains walk aug 15

It’s a Bushka!

Reblog from Counting Sheep Studio – Blog by Elizabeth Helmich

Who is the cutest of them all?  Yes, perhaps I am a tad biased.

I know I’ve talked about design inspiration somewhere along the way. It is different for all of us. It is pretty rare that I can ‘see’ a whole project through from start to finish, but it does happen on occasion.

For this particular pattern, I knew I wanted to make a colorwork dress for my sweet baby girl. It started with this set of super bright neon mini skeins I ordered:

These tiny pretties came from Rock & String Yarn – love love!

I also am crazy about the look of neutrals with brights, which led to me to get the perfect gray yarn from another etsy shop: Light Brown Hare.

Go & give these shops a peek, I’ll be here waiting.

I had fun playing around with a couple different patterns, but I remembered how I have been trying to use the KISS method: Keep It Simple Stupid. Lately it’s been working out pretty well for me! There days there just isn’t time to make anything super complex.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with the border, which was the main reason I used a provisional cast on. Of course this also allows you to go wild and make a completely different border if you like!

Would you just look at those chubby legs! Oh wait, I got distracted again.

The skirt consist of those lovely roses & leaves, which are super fun to create. The are only 10 rows of stranded knitting at a time (using 2 colors at once), interspersed with slipped stitch stripes. There is one major decrease round before you start working the bodice.

For the bodice, I wanted a little something special, and again did not wish to overcomplicate. I decided on this tiny rosette pattern, a mere 3 rows per ‘bud’ to create an extra special touch. Plus, I give you my super-duper method for no-turn bobbles, since none of us have time for that!

The yoke consists of slipped stitch stripes, the little ‘sleeves’ are an extension. Finally, you come back to the border and work in seed stitch for a few rounds and viola! You’re done.

I do think this is easy enough for an advanced beginner who wants to try their hand at colorwork, though you do need to be comfortable with basic knitting techniques.

This was one of those wonderful design experiences where I feel like I achieved exactly what I wanted to. Trust me, this is not often the case. I look forward to seeing this in other color combinations, and remember of course you can make this for Fall/Winter as well!

Beginning now through August 8th, I am offering this pattern at a 50% discount! You can view it on Ravelry here: Bushka Dress.

Hoping you are having a most excellent day. Do come back & check in with me soon, more designs are on the horizon.

Inside Out

Repost from Counting Sheep Studio’s Blog by Elizabeth Helmich

This design came out of a need to cover a bitty bald baby head. Guess who’s head that might be? This one.

Clearly this little one should not be out without something on her hairless head, right?

So I whipped up this littlest version, but that wasn’t enough.

Her sister needed one, and I did too!

What I love most about these hats are 1) they are super fast, 2) the mercerized cotton is both fun & so, so pretty to work with! Look at the shine & wonderful way it highlights the stitches. Plus, it doesn’t crease so you could smash these all down into the bottom of your beach bag & they would hold up just fine. A win-win if you ask me :)

As you can see, there are 2 versions. The top of the women’s hat is different, as well as the brim. I wanted one less ‘little girlish’ and this is what I came up with. I know I will get loads of use out of this as this summer sun sure is brutal!

Have a lovely day all. Thanks for joining me for a small moment.

If you’d like to see more details on this pattern, please check on my website here. Or over on Ravelry you can check it out here.

Now go out and find the sunshine!

Miss Ives

Reblog from All Knit & No Sheep, a blog by Elizabeth Helmich at Counting Sheep Studio

I had a completely different idea for this shawl, but when I got the colors Kim dyed up I completely switched gears. In a good way, I think.

The design inspiration came while watching one of my favorite shows, Penny Dreadful. It’s a horror/drama show that airs on Showtime, a lot on the dark side, with a great storyline.

Never having designed a circular shawl, I needed some help. I found inspiration in my friend Alison’s book, Wrapped in Comfort. She is a pro on this method! Once I had looked at a couple of the patterns it was easier to grasp exactly how this works.

Basically, instead of having increases on every other row traditionally for most shawl shapes, you have many increase over only a few rows, which are spaced at regular intervals. There are many different ways to approach this.

I chose to work the increases in rows there were either before or after the lace sections, for ease of knitting. That way you can just focus on the lace pattern in those areas. After all, I want this to be a fun knit that doesn’t make you think too hard! (That’s my job.)

I knew I wanted a knitted on border at the end – I really love this method. It gives the shawl such a nice edge, lets you add some pretty details and in this case provided the opportunity for the gorgeous contrasting color to shine. This border idea came from a stitch dictionary but I did change it up a bit to work for my shawl. It is only 8 rows, which are easy to memorize as you go.

When finished, I thought it needed something else. Eventually I decided on a small collar, in the same pattern as the border. Of course you could leave it off, but I do think it adds a little something special.

For a more dramatic look, you can flip it up and close it in the front with little hook/eye closures. Or leave it down and it is still lovely.

I do hope you enjoy & I look forward to seeing different versions / colors! Now until July 10th, I am offering this pattern 50% off on Ravelry. You may view it in my shop here.

Wishing you a wonderful Holiday weekend for those of you in the States, Happy Independence Day!

Dreadful

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

This is a new design collaboration, I have the pleasure of working with the lovely Kim from KimDyesYarn. Go give her shop a look right here.

Here are some shots of what I’m cooking up.

This gorgeous yarn is a 100% superwash merino fingering weight wool, plied with a wonderful hand and excellent stitch definition. It has been a joy to watch progress.

A semi-circular shawl, worked top down, alternating between a gorgeous lace pattern and a twisted stitch ‘buds’ pattern of my own creation, it has been so much fun!

Coming in home – on the knitted on border now, it is slow going but so worth it for the wonderful look you can achieve.

Be on the lookout for the finished product coming soon!

It’s been a great few weeks. There was Mother’s Day, in which we all went out and about to some studios in Asheville’s River Arts District. The best part was seeing Jonas Gerard painting live. He is such an incredible guy, living his truth.

This was the one we watched him paint, I love it!

Then there was my Birthday, which for me usually means a week of fun seeing friends & whatnot. My actual day was great, I got to have some Indian food downtown at Mela (best in town).

We stayed too long after the lunch rush.

We putzed around the Tobacco Barn for a bit and I found a couple of treasures.

YEE HAW!!

My good friend even gave me some chocolate from the best chocolate shop on the planet.

Pretty terrific! Have a wonderful day all. Check back with me soon for good things happening.

Namaste, Elizabeth

Reems Creek

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

This shawl had its beginning last summer. I was super busy with work, raising kiddos, and life in general and I had this one skein of variegated sock yarn. I played around with lots of different stitch patterns, and nothing looked good.

Finally, I realized 2 things. What tends to look good on these types of yarn are 1) very simple patterns (you need to give up on any and all thoughts of doing something complex, because it is completely lost) 2) large scale patterns, that still tend to the easy side. It is easier to see things on a larger scale, they don’t get lost as much.

So I created my Reems Creek shawl, after a long in-between hiatus.

The yarn was from a company called Fearless Fibers, it is a 100% superwash merino fingering weight yarn. Alas, they are no more, but I am sure you would have no trouble finding a comparable yarn.

This was the first time I ever tried to wear a shawl ‘bandit style’ as I like to call it. I have to say I think I will get a lot more use out of them wearing this way, more like wearing a fun scarf.

But THEN. I wanted you to be able to see the stitches more clearly. So I busted out some of this pretty laceweight yarn I had from a project I did for Willow Yarns, called Stream. This is a 70/30 combo of merino/silk in a 2 ply yarn. Very pretty and easy to work with!

I was enamored with this version at well, isn’t it amazing how a different color and weight of yarn can give such a different look?

Not intentional, but both shawls came out exactly the same size. Of course you could knit looser (at a larger gauge) or add more repeats if you would like a larger shawl. Personally, I like a shawl you can finish in a pretty short amount of time!

The patterns are all simple lace, once you have done the first couple of repeats it is easy to ‘see’ the pattern and follow along.

My inspiration for the name is a creek up in Weaverville, NC that I used to live beside many years ago, before I was married. I lived at the end of this 8 mile long road in a very old log cabin that had no air conditioning. I was up in the loft, up a spiral staircase.

After work I would often come home and sit by this stream, daydreaming while watching the ripples of the water cascade down. This pattern is my ode to spring, and fun knitting that will keep you entertained but still allow you time to dream.

You can purchase the pattern on my website here. Or if you would like to see it over on Ravelry, you can over here.

At this time, both sample shawls are also for sale over in my Etsy shop.

Have a beautiful day!

Moon Hooch – give these guys a listen – when else have you seen someone play a sax with a traffic cone on the end of it?

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