Friday, July 11, 2014

Light and Lacy - A Shalimar Yarns Summer KAL & CAL

The heat of the summer is upon us. We need a project that is “Light and Lacy” to ease our way through these hot, yet somehow relaxing days. 

The “Light and Lacy” projects can be knit or crocheted in any Shalimar yarn base.

The project should include a lace element as a part of the design. A lace element is a yarnover – decrease combination to create the “hole” that defines the design. Crochet designs should have open work that creates the lace effect. The whole garment does not have to be lace. 

The design or pattern should be available on the Ravelry database. 

Cast on no earlier the July 20. Swatches and all sorts of preparations are encouraged before then. 

Complete your project and post a picture in this thread by August 31. 

Please join us. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

3 yarns, 3 Spring Bouquet KAL projects to wrap the shoulders

The Spring Bouquet KAL is creating some amazing projects.  The goal was to create a Shalimar Yarns project using two or more colors. The project can be created with any of the Shalimar Yarns bases.   Just look at these combinations.

  YarnPumpkin used Breathless Lace in Glacier and Limerick to create this beautiful crocheted shawl. She calls it Singing in the Rain.   The beaded edge is delicate and fresh.   Nancy's workmanship is inspiring.  Look for more crochet projects being featured in the next CAL/KAL starting soon.

KattyRadie's Black Truffles and Oysters was knit in Paulie in Black Truffle and Curry.  The right shade of yellow can make so many other shades sing.  

KillerBs Rayas cowl in Homage in Corfu and Tequilla Sunrise. Homage is a 4 ply fingering weight in a blend of merino, silk and cashmere.   All the garter stitch creates a squishy fabric that will wrap around the shoulders gracefully.

The Spring Bouquet KAL/CAL continues through July 18.  Come join the conversation to get inspired for your next multi color project.  You can view more of the Shalimar yarns colors on the Colors of Shalimar Ravelry Page.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

America, the Beautiful

Oh beautiful for spacious skies,

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties 

Above the fruited plain!

America! America! God shed his grace on thee

And crown thy good with brotherhood 

from sea to shining sea. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Summer Celebration Ice Cream Dessert

Last time we were introduced to Shalimar's newest yarn, Equus.  Let's celebrate it's arrival.
In our house, all celebrations include dessert.  In the summer, most desserts are either filled with summer's bounty of fruit or come out of the freezer.  This ice cream dessert was in my Mother's freezer on the farm whenever I brought my sons to visit.  My Dad enjoyed ice cream so much.  He has quite the reputation with my sons as to the size of bowl a real man eats ice cream from.  I hope you enjoy this summertime cooler for you next celebration.  The recipe originates from a Centennial Celebration cookbook published in 1982 for the little town, McCausland, Iowa.

Grandma's Summer Celebration Ice Cream Dessert

Crust Layer

1 pound Oreos
1/2 cup butter, melted

Crush the Oreos and melted butter together.  Using the food processor makes easy work of it.  

Placing the Oreos and melted butter in a heavy zip top bag and crushing them with a rolling pin works well too.  Reserve about 1/2 cup of crumbs as a final topping. 

Press the remaining cookie crumbs into a 9"x 13" glass dish.  Slide into the freezer.

Middle Ice Cream Layer

1/2 gallon of your favorite Vanilla ice cream in a rectangular container
1 1/2 cups of unsalted dry roasted peanuts

Set the ice cream on the counter to soften while you crush the cookie crumbs.  Unwrap the package and slice the ice cream into even pieces and place on the frozen cookie crust.  Fill in the gaps by spreading with a silicone spatula or your fingertips.  Sprinkle the peanuts over top of the ice cream.  Slide back into the freezer.

Chocolate Topping Layer

2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
1 approx 2 cup package 60% cacao chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter  ( I know, more butter, but it is a celebration dessert, just go with it)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Measure the all the topping ingredients except vanilla into a heavy saucepan.  Heat over medium low heat for 5 -8 minutes.  Stir frequently until you get the glossy texture of a chocolate sauce.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Stir occasionally as the sauce cools.  

Spread the cooled sauce over the crumb, ice cream and peanut layers.  Sprinkle the reserved cookie crumbs over top.  Return to freezer until 15 minutes before you are ready to serve.  
Allow to soften at room temperature while the coffee brews.  Serve in 2"-3" squares.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Equus, the new yarn kid on the block

I just met the new Shalimar girl.  Her name is Equus.  Let's get to know her.  She is strong in a medium to heavy worsted weight.  Yet, she is so soft and squishy in super wash merino.  She is generous sharing her 200 yards per skien.   While we don't normally talk about size with someone we just met I learned she works up to a gauge of at 4.5-5 stitches per inch on a US 7 or 8. She has a tight twist and and a round, bouncy hand. She's a real showoff wearing every color possible.

Look at her here in Penny Candy.  It's a lovely basket of temptation to cast on sitting right by my desk.  There are so many layers of color.  It's hot pink, orange, and salmon - a tension of energetic color.  I think is needs to be a rather non traditional sweater.  Maybe asymmetrical or a deep v-neck with a boxy relaxed fit.

She is also lovely in a more conservative shade. This is the start of Kristi's Pier 60 in the Mephisto Waltz color way.  Look at how the slipstitch works with the stonewash hand dyed texture.  Ummmmm.

A new kid like this deserves our attention.  I'm sure we will become great friends.  I think we need to celebrate her arrival.  Look for a the perfect ice cream dessert recipe for your summer celebration in the next post.  

Available at Webs in 14 gorgeous colors.
Join the conversation in the Shalimar Ravelry Forum.  

Friday, June 6, 2014

Teach someone to knit

When was the last time you taught someone to knit?  We need to pass this gift on. The past two days I had the privilege of teaching my 4 nieces and my sister-in-law about yarn.  The girls range in age from starting 5th grade to starting college. I wish I had my stash of Shalimar beauties with me but alas, we are in the mountains on vacation for a few days and it is at home. So off we went to the lovely little yarn store in Steamboat Springs called Sew Steamboat.  It is interesting to see how they choose a color or fiber.  This LYS specializes in locally sourced yarns. Routt county in Colorado is full of sheep so there is a lovely selection.  The girls choose safe grays that go with everything or the brightest fluorescent pink and then quickly change their mind. They partnered different weights and strange color combinations. Now it was my task to get them to choose a yarn they will be happy with and successful learning to knit with. They all ended up with their own unique choice. No surprise there with these sisters.  The excitement at this point is quite high. Here we are in the mountains on vacation and they want to go home and learn to knit. After a detour at the Botanical gardens we were ready to cast on.

I decided to cast on for the youngest and get her started knitting. She is so coachable at this age. Her little hands hold the needles and the concentration blooms on her face.  Before we know it she has her first row complete. 

Big sis was ready to learn to cast on.  The long tail cast on has a surprising number of movements.  They watch and listen and soak it all up.  I'm trying to keep it it simple. They cast on until the tail is used up. A scarf or cowl can really be any length right?  I'm so glad I taught the youngest first.  It was fun to see the older ones admire her progress.

They are all so taken with this they can barely stop for supper.  Poor Uncle Brian is feeling quite ignored so he builds an irresistible bonfire and cracks out the chocolate and marshmallows for s'mores. Even knitting is set aside for that combo. 

After less than 24 hours the girls are on their way to Rocky Mountain National Park with their knitting in hand.  

One sis even finished her two skien cowl on the size 19 needles. I had to scramble to find some novelty yarn in the stash so she had something to knit on those big needles. The girls know about YouTube videos to keep learning and I have a standing invitation to come and visit anytime. I'm not sure who had more fun- me or the girls. Sharing what we love is a real joy. Find time to teach someone to knit soon. You will love it.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Yukiya, a MindOfWinter design

Julia Trice is a true inspiration for all Shalimar Yarn lovers.  She has a dozen designs using Haven, Paulie, Breathless DK and Enzo.  She gets us started with a hat or cowl and then we are ready for the sweater using complementary stitches and techniques.  He latest design, the Yukiya Pullover started with the Yukiya Hat.  This sweater uses the color way Toast Points for main body with Land! Katie Scarlett and Glacier for the shoulder detailing.

Let's chat with Julia and see what insight she has to share.  

Tell me about the name Yukiya.

My son has been studying Japanese in school, which means I have been learning it, too!  Yuki (yoo-kee), which I really like, is the word for snow.  There are other Yuki’s in the ravelry database, so to make it unique I added the “ya” at the end – I do that quite a bit.  I find a name that I like and then tweak it to make it unusual.

What was your inspiration for stitch pattern?

The stitch patterns are from the Barbara Walker Treasuries.  The French Weave (in Land Katie! Scarlett) is a pattern that I have wanted to use for years.  I initially planned to go with two colors, but once I swatched it, I thought it could use some more pop, so I added in the Woven Dots in Glacier.  I think it adds that little extra something special.

Why is Paulie such a great match for this design?

I always start with the yarn when I design, so this is perfectly suited to Paulie (though it would be wonderful in Breathless, too).  Paulie is light weight, has wonderful drape and a unique combination of slight halo and shine.  It has good definition for a design that utilizes both colorwork and texture, and the weight is nice for an elbow-length sweater.

Any other colorways would you like to see Yukiya worked in?

I would love to see it in Ore (MC) with Juniper Berry and Citrine.  I also think it could be really beautiful in Buttermilk (MC) with American Beauty and Mephisto Waltz or in Limerick (MC) with accents in Cayenne and Butterscotch.  It’s very versatile – just pick a grounded main color and then add pops of brights for the yoke.  It could also be done in 4 colors with the patterning in a gradient from dark to light, which I think would be really pretty.

What was your favorite part of designing the sweater?

The thing I love the most about this sweater is the colorwork.  It’s very clever because you get all the beauty of fair isle without the tensioning issues.  Only one color is worked on each row, and the slipping of the stitches adds a wonderful textural element that you don’t get in fair isle.  It is a great introduction to colorwork for the novice, that produces a wonderful result.

I also love yoke construction.  It flatters many body types and is fun to work.  For those who fear seams it has the added benefit of containing very few.  (But don’t fear seams!)

What is next on the sketch pad?

This is always a difficult question.  Right now I’m finishing up a lace cardigan that I adore, but I may hold its release for fall, when more people are knitting sweaters again.  I’ve been playing around with stitch patterns for a possible shawl design in Breathless in the Slag colorway – a beautiful, luminous silver.  And I have several single skeins of Shalimar at the ready for fall accessories (Paulie, Haven, Enzo Worsted, Homage….).  So I guess the answer is a mix of fall pieces and possibly an early summer shawl.  I’ve also been crocheting quite a bit, so I can imagine doing a crochet piece in Paulie later this summer, too.  We’ll see!

Yukiya Pullover  is available on Ravelry  
Visit The Shalimar Ravelry forum to join with others knitting this beautiful sweater in the Spring Bouquet KAL.  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Penultimate - just one more

Ranger Cookies and the Penultimate Beanies

Here is recipe for the irresistible Ranger Cookies that I have been baking since my little farm girl days and a hat. Both are so yummy I bet you can't eat or make just one.  Once you get started you just can't quit.  Just one more.  This has happened twice in the past week.

I've gathered all my bits and remnants of Breathless DK and Enzo Worsted and started making hats.  I love making hats. I searched my Ravelry projects and realized I have almost 100 hats. Some knitters make socks, some shawls - I make hats. They are quick projects.  They are extremely practical, as we play outside in the winter.  It is the best way my sons can wear Mom's knits.  Michael has a drawer in the bench by the door filled with my hats.  He chooses one every day as he heads out.  Brian has one in his glove box and one in every coat pocket.  I've made them for gifts for my son's friends.  They are the perfect baby gift for all my girlfriends that are becoming Grandmother's.  Hats are perfect for that single skien in the perfect color you couldn't resist.  Hats are a practical use for using up the rest of your sweater yarn.  There is something so satisfying about knitting every bit of yarn.  It must be the frugal farm girl somewhere still inside me.

I sat down with my stitch dictionaries and an idea.  I'm not new at improvising hat designs like this, but I am relatively new at challenging myself to publish a pattern that others can use.  My first couple attempts were discovery missions.  Not quite right, but getting closer.  I use an ideas from this try and another from this try and add one more and I've got a pattern I willing to knit. My hat needs to teach a  technique or stitch, be easy to fit, and include a couple of extras. In this case I have a Contrast Stitch Cast on, a non-traditional brim (it's not ribbing), slip stitch and a icord button top.  That will keep me interested as I knit.   I'm trying to make notes as I go so I can tell you all the story correctly as I write the pattern.  

Hat number one is finished in fresh shades of green - Sprout, Loden and Oyster.  Cute as can be and so soft.   Breathless DK is truly a luxurious yarn.  It will really make a special baby gift.  Now I'm really stoked to make another.

I go back at it again with a new color combination and a slightly improved method of doing the crown decreases.  This is brightly color adding the pink, but still using the the sprout and oyster combination.  I'm going to need to find a cute little tyke to model this.  My neighbor has the cutest little boys.

Then it was time to test the larger sizes.  How about making one for myself?  I've used the lovely shade of Oyster for the highlights in the other sizes.  How about using it for the main hat color on this one?  What I learned from my quilting days is that the trapunto work and surface texture created with the quilting shows off much better on a light background.  I really want the woven stitch to show along with colored slip stitch sections.  But what to use with it?  I have an beautiful skien of Enzo Worsted in Gunmetal.  I lovely color combo - but what about DK vs. Worsted?  Enzo is a light worsted.  I hold them together and decide to try.  It works.

Penultimate is a hat pattern in 5 sizes from tiny to extra large using Breathless DK.  Penultimate is the next to last.  It means I'm not quite finished yet and need to do one more. 

You can find the pattern on Ravelry.

It's the same for these cookies.   Here is recipe for the irresistible Ranger Cookies that I have been baking since my little farm girl days and a hat so yummy I bet you can't make just one.

Ranger Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed, light or dark

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats 

1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup raisins
3 cups wheat flakes or cornflakes

Beat together the butter and sugars, vanilla and salt until fluffy; add the eggs one at a time and beat until smooth.  

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda; add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until well blended. Stir in the oats, coconut, raisins, and cereal, mixing just until blended.

  Drop the dough by large cookie scoopful onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake the cookies in a preheated 350°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they're golden brown. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Shalimar Spring Bouquet Knit Along

The Shalimar Spring Bouquet Knit Along Scoop

  • Create a knit or crochet project using 2 or more Shalimar Yarns - a multi color bouquet
  • Post pattern name, yarn used, color way, and photo of finished project in the Ravelry Thread 
  • Cast on date is May 18
  • Post photos of your completed project and post them in the thread by July 18 to qualify for prizes.
  • Tag your project with ShalimarSpringBouquet 

The Reasons Why

What is the real value of participating in a Knit or Crochet Along?  
  • Camaraderie -  The chatter of fellow crafters adds smile factor to every project I complete.  We laugh, and joke, and share a bit of the knitting life.
  • Advice - The group is right there for me whenever I need a color opinion, a technique answer or nudge to do the right thing.  They encourage me when I may pause in uncertainty.  They share the expertise we need to make our work a bit better each time.
  • Discipline - Let's face it, when I have a deadline, I get things done.  It's not a race, but we are all walking together and will help each other finish.  There is something about joining in that keeps us engaged.
  • Phantom Knitting - What is Phantom knitting you say?  It is living vicariously through the other knitters.  I know I can not knit all the wonderful patterns, yarns, and colors I want to.  If I work a Knit Along with someone, I get to enjoy some of the same aspects as if I knit it.  I share a bit in everyone's progress and accomplishments.  I update my mental project page as each knitter shares their projects
  • Hand Holding  - Sometimes parts of this craft are difficult.  We know we can do it, but we just need someone to cross with us.  This happened to me during the Shalimarch KALs.  A wonderful crochet pattern popped up (Thank You Nancy Drew).  My yarn/thread work started with crochet so many years ago, but I had set it aside.  I was hesitant to start a crochet project.  The group support got the hook back in my hands and I'm delighted.  
  • Yarn Discovery - I learn the characteristic of a yarn or design "in action" from all the KAL projects.  How does it drape? work in lace? work in garter? change with blocking? this color, that color?  sweater or shawl?  The next time I need to pair a yarn with a project, I'll be armed with all sorts of info.  
  • Prizes - It is a blast to have a little booty at the accomplishment of a project.  The rewards of a KAL are aplenty, but this adds to the fun.
What do you get out of a Knit or Crochet Along?  

See you in the Shalimar Ravelry Thread.

Friday, May 9, 2014

PaulinaP Designs in Shalimar

Paulina has been an avid knitter since early childhood. Always keen on making her own pieces she started knitting one off designs for family and friends at first. Never without knitting needles or a crochet hook and yarn her creative soul eventually took over. A life long passion was turned into a business in 2011 when she published her first design on Ravelry. Since then many of her designs have made to the top of the “Hot right now” list there. Her pieces ranging from modern to intricate are enjoyed by many knitters. 
She also has been working with indie dyers and big yarn companies and her patterns have been sold in many yarn shops in Europe and in the US.

Ho'okipa   Even Cowgirls Get the Blues in Breathless

This is one lady who's shoulders will never be chilled.  She has designed over 50 shawls, wraps, cowls and hats.  There are shawls with the squishiness of garter and the smoothness of stockinette.  There are delicate pieces in lace weight and bolder pieces in fingering, sport and worsted weight.  Even the strength of a bulky yarn design looks elegant.  Her designs are crescent shaped, triangular,  asymmetrical, and elongated.  So many shapes to discover.  Many designs are adorned with edges of lace that seem to embrace the shoulder.  Her use of color is both bold and gentle.  

Paulina has designed over a dozen pattern specifically for Shalimar yarns.  Her latest Shalimar design is the  Lola Scarf .  It is pictured here in the color way  Last Dance using 2 skeins of  Breathless DK.

Cayambe  Slag in Breathless DK

Miss Price  Columbine in Paulie

Sophie Hat in Radio Flyer in Breathless DK

Look for  her designs at PaulinaP Designs on Ravelry

Join us in the Shalimar Ravelry forum for the Spring Bouquet KAL.  Several of PaulinaP's designs are perfect for your Spring Bouquet of Shalimar colors.


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