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Paradise Fibers Blog

Tips, Tutorials, News and Reviews. Information for any fiber artist.

  • Knitters 4 Critters Update and First selected Story

    When I broke my second size zero wooden double point needle of the evening, I decided it was time to take a break from my sock knitting and write the Knitters4Critters update. I will switch to a long bamboo circular tomorrow and hope those will stand up against my apparent Hulk like strength.

    First I would like to begin by sharing one of the many stories about animal rescue that we received. I must say that every submission was amazing and it was incredibly difficult to select only five to share with everyone. In the end it was more of a random selection than a contest.

    Our first story was submitted by Danette. Thank you for sharing with us. I hope you enjoy your goody package. We will update this post with the package info after you receive it so we don't spoil the surprize.

    During the spring of 2014 our two dogs (rescues from area shelters) were going crazy in our backyard. Upon investigation, I found that a young mother cat had her litter of kittens in our yard behind a small shed. Our Boxer/pit mix and Rhodesian Ridgeback mix were not open to the idea of sharing the yard or befriending the kittens since they had no cat experience. For the safety of the cat family, we moved them to our garage and provided food and bedding and free access for mother cat.

    The next day the mother cat moved her kittens to a neighbor's yard. I went out to the garage to pick up the food and bedding and discovered that she had left one kitten behind. I observed for a few hours from afar to see if the mother cat would return. After a while the kitten began mewing because she was hungry, so I kept an eye on the kitten while my son went to the nearest pet store for formula and bottles. When it was apparent that the kitten could not summon her mother, I began hand feeding her. For the next several weeks I bottle fed the kitten 6-7 times a day, reminiscent of my days as a new mother, while training the dogs not to hurt her.

    Our family has dogs because we are all allergic to cats; my husband has the most severe allergy. After weeks of bottle feeding then weaning, we considered placing the kitten in another home, but she was now part of the dog pack and definitely one of the family. She became a very spoiled little kitten with an abundance of toys and towers.

    A year later we have learned to live with sniffling and taking daily allergy meds. Biff's Kitty (B.K.), named after the Boxer/pit, is happily hanging with her dog pack and humans. One of her favorite hobbies is to "sort" Mom's yarn. B.K. is learning the lesson of "this is not your yarn," but enjoys her own stash in the hidden compartment of Mom's armchair.

    Photo of cute grey striped kitten Photo of B.K. submitted by Danette

     

    We will be sharing more stories throughout the month of July. If you are on facebook I hope you will share the link from our page to help inspire even more people to know the joy of rescuing an animal in need.

    On June 5th we held the Knitters4Critters in store event and silent auction with proceeds going to benefit our local animal shelter Spokanimal. The event involved every knitters favorite thing, discounted yarn, and featured Ancient Arts Yarns Meow and Woof Collections. Ancient Arts also made us a custom Spokane colorway just for the event. Everyone who attended had a wonderful time and was treated to culinary delights prepared by Amanda Hillman of The Wandering Table. The silent auction items were a big hit, especially the highly coveted Knitting Journal donated by OnicaHanby. I'm very pleased to share with you that through the generosity of our customers and the silent auction donations Paradise Fibers was able to send a check to Spokanimal for over 1700 dollars. Spokanimal brought dogs and kittens which were available for adoption to the event and four of the animals found their forever homes that day. The fundraiser went so well that we have decided to turn it into an annual event. I also want to give a special thank you to Meghan Jones for doing a wonderful job of organizing the event.

     

  • A little summer ruffle

    Baby Party Dress Baby Party Dress

    This week we are having a blow out sale on ruffle yarn. There are so many different uses for this fun frilly yarn. I personally love to see it used in baby items. I have seen some really cute baby skirts and dresses made from this stuff and it can even be used as a fun edging or accent to a knitted item. Check out one of our favorite free baby patterns here. Its on ravelry and if you don't already have an account take the plunge and set one up. Ravelry is a fabulous resource for fiber enthusiasts. Just be careful not to let it cut into your knitting or crocheting time.

  • Sivia Harding Kits in Store!

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    What a great week! Seriously, needles are 20% off, we have oodles of sunshine Sivia Harding is coming to teach 3 classes this weekend and to top it all off we have 4 kits of her patterns available in the shop! Now Sivia has a great many patterns, 127 designs are listed on Ravelry and it was really hard to choose only 4 to make kits out of... but since they are all beautiful... somehow I managed :) Each kit pattern has 2 different colorways that you can choose from and coordinating beads to match! Of course you can always go rogue and pick any yarn and color from the shop. We have tons of beads and you should be able to find something that matches whatever you fancy.

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    We also have a special kit of 5 colors of Madeline Tosh sock with coordinating beads and buttons specially packaged to make 5 bracelets in http://www.paradisefibers.com/books-videos-knitting-classes/classes.html There are two colorways available in this special kit: Jewel tones and Warm muted, all colors and beads were selected by yours truly and I hope you love them!

    image Jewel Tone Bead Whimsy Kit
    image Warm Muted Bean Whimsy Kit

    Make sure to sign up for 1, 2, or even 3 classes with Sivia, and hop on over to the shop to pick up a kit with her fabulous designs!

    Who am I? Pleased to meet you, my name is Meghan Jones and I am a knitwear designer who lives here in Spokane WA, you can find my designs on my website and blog, and like my facebook page too!

  • Faces of Paradise: Meet Bobby

    imageHello everyone!! Today I am interviewing Bobby, who might be one of the friendliest people I have ever met. Bobby has worked at Paradise Fibers for approximately 4 months and he uses the pseudonym Argus Lucem.... apparently it is his Giant name and at a height over 6 feet Bobby towers over most of us. Despite being as tall as a giant he isn't grumpy or mean like one, actually his personality and smile are completely infectious and he is a hoot to work with.

    Bobby has knit a headband that ended up looking like swiss cheese,  we think it may have been modern nouveau lace, or a mistake, either way it is fabulous and unfinished as you can see. He plans to either finish it as a headband or allow it to grow into a scarf.

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    On a daily basis Bobby used to pull fiber, which means weigh out the quantity ordered of a certain fiber, and helped to manage the fiber department. He knows a lot about fiber and has spun on a drop spindle, his mantra for spinning on a wheel is "pinch, pull, slide." Currently he is doing more work in the creative department designing photos for advertisements and writing the fiber newsletter. By the way, he apologizes for misspelling 'and' into another word for derriere and wants to be clear it was a tragic mistake, he extends his many apologies again.

    Lantern Moon Bags

    His favorite product(s) that the shop sells are the Lantern Moon line of EVERYTHING, needles, bags, trinkets, ALL OF IT, he also loves the Dyed Bamboo Fiber, and Cashmere. So soft and fluffy he says he wants a bed out of it and may be currently in the process of making a nest somewhere in the shop lined with cashmere.

    Bobby's favorite pretend animal is an Eeevee, which is a creature from Pokemon, (looks like a cat/chihuahua/fox thing) that transforms into a more advanced version of itself with the help of a magic stone. His favorite real animal is a cat, he has 4 cats which are pure bread Hemingways (which means they have extra toes, called being polydactyl). The oldest cat is also the Mother who is named Prudence, her three kittens are all grown up and live with Bobby as well. The oldest is Oblio who is massive, the middle kitten Figaro looks like the cat from Pinocchio of the same name, and the youngest Fibonacci is striped. Bobby would create sweaters for his furbabies thusly, by knitting multiple 'lace' headbands then stitching them together using a striping sequence for the youngest.

    Polydactyl Cat

    I think that Bobby should start working on a few projects from this book personally.

    Knit Your Own Cat

    As far as beards are concerned he had a real beard once.. he shaved it off... he would actually prefer a crocheted unibrow. Not sure if I can find a pattern for that one, sorry folks. He may have to resort to a headband again..

    Bobby has done a lot of work in Spokane with various salons doing photo shoots for NAHA, which are the North American Hairstyling Awards. He took photos of the different hairstyles that were submitted to the competition. He also designed and created 8 pieces for a sold out Bubble inspired fashion show in 2010 that took place at Sante. The garments were created by using a lot of those plastic ornament globes which come in two halves and can be filled and snapped together. All the proceeds of that fashion show, totaling approximately 600 dollars were donated to the Haiti relief fund. Bobby has also had his photography featured in Dark Beauty Magazine which is fabulous since he is 100% self taught. Bobby is a dabbler in all things creative he writes, plays piano guitar, sings. He also designed this most recent Paradise Fibers ad which you can see live and in color in a copy of the most recent Knitscene magazine.

    knittersmag1

    His second favorite job was being a Manny, which is a male nanny and he adored raising and caring for two children from newborns. If left on a deserted island he would bring a Lantern Moon Bag "because you would need a bag for something", a set of lantern moon rosewood double points because he has always wanted to unleash his inner TMNT and spear some fish, he would also bring his best friend Kyle so he wouldn't be alone... and Kyle is pretty useful I hear.

    You can find more of Bobby's photographs on Instagram under the name luxvestra  or his Facebook page.

    Like this blog post? want to read more posts by Meghan? You can find her on www.littlenutmegproductions.blogspot.com where she blogs about knitting, design and technique.

  • Sivia Harding Designer Interview

    Rainshadow by Sivia Harding

    Hello Fellow Fiber Enthusiasts! Today I have a terrific interview from Sivia Harding who will be visiting the shop on March 14th and 15th to teach 3 classes. You can sign up for the classes here (right now they are at a special reduced rate so make sure to sign up before all the spaces are taken), and in the mean time you can read all about how Sivia creates her beautiful designs!

    Meghan: When did you start knitting? Did someone teach you? What was your first project?

    Sivia: I taught myself how to knit from a rather awful video that I checked out from the library. I had wanted to learn when I was a child but no one else in my family could teach me. When I finally learned, I was in my mid-40s at the time and desperate for a new hobby, having just moved to a new place far away, without the ability to do any of the art and fiber crafts I had done in the past. After I struggled with solitary knitting for a while (this was before there was much on the internet), I found a knitting friend and a knitting guild, and I was set. I think my very first project was a garter stitch scarf made with thrifted yarn. Sound familiar? 

    Meghan: When did you start designing patterns? What prompted you to begin designing?

    Sivia: I started designing very soon after learning, since I was already a graphic designer and artist. It just came naturally. I think the first impetus was to make original things to sell at the guild charity events. Several of my designs that are still popular came from that time: Diamond Fantasy, Victorian Shoulderette, and the Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl, among others.

    Meghan: What inspires you to design a pattern? What inspired this (these) patterns specifically?

    Sivia: Hmm... the inspiration could be almost anything! A new shape, a beautiful stitch pattern (or several), a reflection in a puddle... With Diamond Fantasy (still one of my favorites), I wanted to see if I could do a edging pattern at the same time as a tip-to-top lace design. The shaping of the inner lace taught me tons, and putting it with an edging was a fascinating exercise. The piece ended up having a very satisfying knitting rhythm, and the interesting parts of the design set the bar for the others that were yet to come.

    Meghan: I notice that you use a lot of beads in your designs, (which are beautiful!!) is there a specific reason for this other than just loving beads?

     Sivia: Oh gee, I get asked this a lot, and I embarrassingly can't remember when I started putting beads in my knitting. It seemed like a very natural extension of lace in terms of highlighting points of the lace pattern and incorporating extra dimensions of light and color into the knitted fabric. I am not sure whether that entirely answers your question! 

    Meghan: Do you design full time or part time, what are your other hobbies or jobs?

     Sivia: I work at my knitting full time, and that includes teaching and designing. I do travel quite a bit to teach, which means that I have a hard time fitting my schedule together with a regular part time or full time job. I have been doing this full time for over six years now. I have lots of hobbies too, but most of them are things like movies, books, music... I have immense appreciation for the arts and I am trained in painting and printmaking. 

    Meghan: What is your favorite knitting technique?

     Very hard question to answer!! This is changing all the time as I keep learning... may that never stop!! I am known for lace and beads, of course, but I love to incorporate colorwork and cables (to mention a couple of other techniques) into my designs.

    Meghan: Where can we find you on social media? Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Ravelry, Blog, website?

    Website: http://www.siviaharding.com

    Ravelry forum: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/sivia-harding

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sivia.harding

    Instagram: http://instagram.com/siviaharding/

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/siviaknits

  • Meet Tim

    imageHello Everyone! Today I would like you to meet Tim, he works upstairs in our Creative Department and when I come in to work on Mondays he is my partner in crime (or at least someone to talk to). Tim has worked at Paradise Fibers for about 6 months and he describes himself as a 'pretty aggressive crocheter'. He had a crochet business in High School and he sold crochet hats in the winter when everyone was cold and desperate. Smart right? He says he can crochet anything that has a pattern but he mostly stitcks to hats and most recently bow ties, perhaps trying to corner the market on the Hipster Man Bun crowd? It is a growing market.

    Basic Bow Tie by Courtney Spainhower

    On a daily basis Tim puts product up onto the website so that all of you can view and purchase it. His favorite product that the shop sells is an up and coming product called Hikoo Abracadabra which is a COLOR CHANGING YARN!! It changes color in the sunlight and so far only two colors have been developed a white to pink and a white to purple.... totally amazing!

    Hikoo Abracadabra

    Tim's favorite animal is a Blob fish, "because..... look at it"... nuff said I suppose. He said he would indeed consider making a sweater for the Blob Fish, perhaps an argyle vest that fits Blob Fish style, he isn't sure. (watch out for Tim, he is a trend setter)

    BlobFish

    As far as beards are concerned he prefers real beards, but he cannot grow one so he is restricted to crocheted beards. Tim did not say if this saddened him or not. He has both developed websites and participated in sales before so he is definitely qualified to post things for sale on a website and his other hobbies are Hockey, Graphic Design, and Eating.

    Roller Skate Booties by Katie Boyette

    Tims second favorite job was working at Pattisons Roller Rink, where he skated around all day, while eating, and thinking graphically about design.

    Wool Combs from Paradise Fibers

    If left on a deserted island Tim would take a set of combs to spike animals to death, a skein of WolfPack in a bright color to make a hammock out of, or create an S.O.S, and one of the mannequins because then he wouldn't be lonely.

  • Classes are Posted! Quick! Sign up!

    The Classes for Sivia Harding are up on the website and ready to join! They are on a special discount right now so head on over and sign up quickly before they fill up! Click on the picture for each class link.

    Harmonia's Rings
    Leafwise by Sivia Harding
    Bead Whimsy by Sivia Harding

     

  • Classes with Sivia Harding

    Sivia Harding is coming to teach some classes in March! It is going to be amazing and she has three classes to offer us here at Paradise fibers:

    Leafwise by Sivia Harding

    First up is the Sideways Lace Design Class featuring the Leafwise Pattern, this lovely little shawlette is a side to side crescent shape worked in fingering weight yarn and uses beads. The crescent shape is very adaptable and Sivia will help you choose the perfect shape you want to create for your own shawlette. Some of the yarns we have that would work perfectly for this design are:

    2015-02-16 11.28.20 Kollage Happiness Fingering weight Aspen, Peacock, Old Gold
    2015-02-16 11.21.09 Wonderland Yarns Cheshire Cat Muchness, DreamWorld, Looking Glass
    beadBracelet.sm Beaded Bracelet by Sivia Harding

    Her second class will be this lovely Beaded Cuff, Sivia will teach you all about how to add beads to your work and create this beautiful beaded jewelry piece. We will have beads and crochet hooks available in the shop for you on the class day unless you want to head out and pick your own ahead of time. A silk merino combo would be luxurious for this design!

    2015-02-16 11.26.21 Cascade Heritage Silk in 9801, 5641, and 9958

    And last but not least this amazing Mobius construction, shoulder hugging cowl worked in a worsted weight yarn called Harmonia's Rings. You could work this in a deliciously soft superwash worsted, or even a long striping for added interest!

    Harmonia's Rings Cowl by Sivia Harding
    2015-02-16 11.12.50 Madeline Tosh Vintage Paper, Earl grey, Shire, Coquette
    2015-02-16 11.24.19 Universal Yarns Classic Shades 707 Lake, 704 reef, 730 Happy Land

    Keep checking back for exact class dates!! Meghan

  • New Kits! Pixelated Hat and Palms

    Yarn comboYarn comboYarn comboimage

    Hey Ya'll let’s talk about a new kit available here in the shop, the Pixelated Hat and Pixelated Palms from Jennifer Beaumont. These are a great beginner color work pattern with simple stranded techniques that use worsted weight yarn. The sample we have knit up in the shop is worked in Kollage Happiness Worsted and truly, this yarn epitomizes Happiness. A worsted weight, hand dyed yarn with subtle color variation and super soft superwash merino wool that is 100% sourced from the U.S.A. It comes in a myriad of colors that are simply stunning.

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    The pattern is  well written and straightforward, it lists the abbreviations used as Beginning of round, Cast on, Knit, Knit 2 Together, marker, Purl, Place marker, Rounds and Stitches. And skills needed for the pattern as knitting, purling, increasing, decreasing, stranded knitting, reading a chart, circular knitting, and knitting a small circumference in the round. So if you recognize all those terms chances are this pattern is a great fit for your skill level. If you find some of those terms challenging why not stop in the shop and ask a few questions? One of the best assets of a Local Yarn Shop is that we are here to help with questions!

    IMG_4160_medium2image_medium2

    Of course when you get your kit you can pick any two colors you like, Happiness yarn has some excellent color combinations you can work with, how about:Yarn combo

    Yarn combo

     

    There are even more colors available in this incredible yarn so head on over to the website and check it out. Having trouble choosing a color combination? Maybe this blog post on Color Theory for Knitters will help you out.

    Also as a special surprise we have an interview with Jennifer Beaumont herself, the designer of these gorgeous patterns!

    Welcome to Paradise Fibers Jennifer!

    Meghan: When did you start knitting? Did someone teach you? What was your first project?

    Jennifer: I started knitting when my firstborn was a baby. He was literally in my lap, as I took classes with knitting designer & teacher (& then, local yarn store owner of City Knitting), Lorilee Beltman.  I found it challenging at first to learn as I was distracted by interpreting the language of my son’s gurgles, coos, and grunts! I had closed my business when he was born to stay home and focus on mothering him.  We had quiet days that were sometimes measured in rows or rounds. I remember walking over to the shop with my projects and my son in a sling, to ask for advice. The first project was a seamed baby hat, followed immediately by a baby sweater. I knit only baby things for awhile. I found this to be a satisfying way to learn and practice. The tiny garments didn’t have to be perfect or fit precisely and yet taught me a variety of skills and techniques.  Having a project to work on periodically helped me with practicing patience and being quietly present through repetitious routines and activities. Eventually I moved on to focus on adult sweaters.  I needed to knit lots of simple, soothing stockinette for awhile, so that I could respond to children and pick up projects and put them down again easily. As they grew a little older, I began looking for more challenges.

    Meghan: When did you start designing patterns? What prompted you to begin designing?

    Jennifer: I began designing when I had started knitting stranded a lot. When I designed my first hat, I first looked for a pattern but I couldn’t find one that already existed for my idea. After a lot of trial and error, I was really happy with my design. Soon, someone asked me to write it up so that they could knit one too. At the same time I was already trying to work out how to play with certain color-work patterns in garment designs. I enjoy knitting seamless garments, particularly in-the-round, and top-down. I love to work hard at puzzling out how to accomplish a design idea in the most simple and seamless construction possible. There was a lot of interest in patterns for these sweaters, so I began the work of pattern writing. I have found that I enjoy the challenges of writing patterns for multiple sizes and solving the problems that come up during the design and pattern writing process.

    Meghan: What inspires you to design a pattern? What inspired this (these) patterns specifically?

    Jennifer: Pixelated Pullover was inspired after I saw a white and gray pattern printed on a silk blouse in a European movie. The irregular and random dissolution of one color into another intrigued me. At the same time, the brightness and nuanced color of Neon Peach from Madelinetosh had been challenging me to find a way to set it off, and show it off. I wanted to find a way for it to be worn and experienced more. That design also explores how the use of color and patterning in a design can flatter the wearer. When I painted, I was bothered if someone looked at my painting when it was half finished. That sweater design was a little like that. Half-knitted, it was all rumpled from stranding before blocking, and quite imbalanced due to the color blocking.  I almost frogged the sweater then because it didn’t look like much and I was feeling unsure about it. My husband encouraged me to keep working on it and see it finished. As someone who works in the tech industry, he was a big fan of the pixelation. I was grateful for his faith and support and promised him a design made with the same patterning. He uses fingerless mitts a lot, usually over tech friendly gloves, for extra warmth while bike riding to work.  So I designed Pixelated Palms for him.  The Pixelated Hat is a simple seamless introduction to stranded knitting.  It has break rounds of single color. The color-work pattern doesn’t need to be followed perfectly, and all the shaping happens on the solid color rounds.  That design makes me think of the crown of a neutral-colored hat dipped in a bucket of neon paint. I really enjoy playing with splashes of bright color in designs especially during our long, snowy, gray winters in West Michigan. I love the shock of it against the gray.

    Meghan: Do you design full time or part time, what are your other hobbies or job?

    Jennifer: I probably work full time hours at design right now. At the same time, we are a homeschooling family —my children are currently very interested in learning ballet. I watch them dance a lot, often while knitting. Together, we read a lot of the classical ballet stories, most of which are fairy tales, and study ballets.  I practice yoga everyday, and have been teaching Iyengar yoga since 2003.

    Meghan: What is your favorite knitting technique?

    Jennifer: My favorite knitting technique is fair isle knitting.  I have a background in Art & Design, and have always been color-obsessed, so once I started with playing with more than one color in design it really ignited my work.

    Meghan: Where can we find you on social media?

    Jennifer: You can find my other patterns for sale on Ravelry. Also, there is information about upcoming designs, pattern support and the opportunity to share projects with community in the “Color Playground” group  for my designs on Ravelry.

    Meghan: Thanks so much for chatting with me today Jennifer and giving us the inside scoop on these great designs!

    So come on down to the shop to check out the new kits, or just browse around and choose your own 2 colors of Kollage Happiness to start a Pixelated Project today!

     

    Did you like this blog post? Do you want to read more posts I have written? Check out my knitting and design blog at www.littlenutmegproductions.blogspot.com for technique tutorials, new patterns and posts about knitting and design.

     

     

  • Faces Of Paradise, Let's talk with Rachel!

     

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    I got a chance to sit down with Rachel this week and have a chat with here, it was a lovely time and I learned all kinds of interesting things about her to share with you!

    Rachel has worked at Paradise Fibers off and on for about 9 years! Of course she knits crochets, spins, weaves, felts, and does just about anything you can imagine with fiber.

    What does she do around the shop? pretty much anything that needs to be done. She will take yarn orders, answer the phone, enter invoices, load pages onto the webpage, empty the garbage, pay bills, everything. Her absolute favorite thing is getting to help a customer purchase something for the first time, especially helping them to pick out the perfect loom, or wheel. It makes her feel all wiggly and excited like a beginner again to be able to help a customer with their new and perfect acquisition.

    Sheep in Sheep's Clothing by Frankie Brown

    What is her favorite item in the shop, it was a major TIE between the Super Swift 2 and ALL THE NEW YARN, that you find in receiving. Can't blame her really, both are amazing.

    A Dog in Sheep's Clothing by Kristin Nicholas

    Rachel's favorite animal is a sheep, and she would knit a sheep a sweater but probably a cotton sweater since a sheep in a wool sweater just sounds HOT. She prefers mustaches instead of any kind of beards, and would knit a fake mustache on a stick.

    Moustache by Carol Meldrum

    Rachel is working her way through a Bachelor's degree in Accounting and is going to school fulltime as well as working at Paradise Fibers! She has experience with sheep and lambs, specifically lambing classes and even delivered two lambs one day when she returned home to find the mother in distressed labor. As you can see from her adorable picture above, both little lambs made it through just fine thanks to Rachel. She also used to raise Angora Rabbits and still loves them although she has developed an allergy to them.

    Baby Bunnies by June Gilbank

    What does Rachel like to do when she is not at work? She loves to watch the show Ghost Adventures. And she says that she has loved every job that she has worked at since she is committed to making the best of every situation and work environment. She loves to work in a job where she can help others and interact with customers especially in a creative environment.

    Hiya Hiya Needles

    What would Rachel take to a deserted island? Hiya Hiya Sharp Needles Set a Mountain Colors Knit and Swirl coat kit to knit ( but no pattern, the time would be whiled away figuring out the pattern to knit it), and a skein of Madeline Tosh laceweight that she purchased and has no idea what to do with. She would spends loads of time figuring out what to knit with it!

    Like this post? want to read more posts by Meghan? check out Little NutMeg Productions for posts on knitting, yarn, designing and patterns!

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