Giveaway! Aviatrix Cap No.5

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In honor of Harmon smiling for the first time today (yippee!), I would like to give away his Aviatrix No.5 knit in sumptuous Blue Sky Alpaca Yarns ‘100% Baby Alpaca’ in a green-yellow colorway with a baby blue vintage button (& two button holes for adjusting).  Harmon will not wear alpaca, but I would love for someone’s baby to wear this cap & I don’t know anyone currently pregnant or with a new baby right now.  The color is a bit different, but the yarn is soft & the cap construction is one of my favorites.  Harmon has a fairly large head for an almost-two-month-old & this fits with room to grow.  I’m going to peg this at a 3-6 months+ sized cap–it all really depends on your baby’s noggin.

If you have a little baby in your life (or about to have one!) whom you think would love this cap, please comment below!  Comments will close & a winner will be randomly selected on Friday, February 5, 2016 at midnight (I’m positive I’ll be up, ha!).  The winner will be notified via email & announced within this post–so please don’t comment ‘Anonymous’ if you’d like to win.  I will mail the cap (shells & jar not included) for free anywhere in the world!  If only one person comments before next Friday, hey, you win automatically!

Happy Friday! ❤ ❤ ❤

Comments are Closed & the winner is #3–Katharine Blair!  Please email me, Katharine, at ellamaeknits AT gmail DOT com & I will get this Aviatrix on its way to you!  Thank you to everyone who commented!

friends in fiber {yarn along}

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Northern Flicker, Yellow-shafted male

Northern Flicker, Yellow-shafted male

A dear friend of mine who moved away a couple years ago to NE Iowa (one of my favorite places!) sent Coralee & I a pair of Lenticular Mitts.  The package arrived over the weekend & the mitts fit both of us perfectly…so there has been a friendly tug-of-war going on here over who gets to wear the mitts & when. 🙂  Coralee has been wearing the set every day, all day in the house.  The windchill this morning is registering at -20’F.  Even with a fire, our house is cold.  Thank you so much, my dear friend, for this lovely gift!  It is truly tragic that we did not realize our shared love of fiber (& birds & steel-cut oats) until after you moved away!  I’m sure our friendship sprung up anyway because of fiber love–knitting minds just think alike. xx

I continue to stitch away on my pattern for Mountain Girl Yarns.  Watching the colors of Sierra Madre knit up in the round is fascinating.  So many different color brews, but each seems to compliment the whole perfectly.  How do dyers do it? Another treasured friend in fiber across the miles.

Not reading anything new at the moment.  We saw our first Northern Flicker at the yard feeders yesterday afternoon.  It is a very common woodpecker here in Iowa & there is a large population living in a stand of hickory trees about 300 yards west of our house, but they seldom visit our feeders.  They often fly across the drive in front of my car as I’m coming up the hill.  I catch a flashing glimpse of the brilliant gold-yellow underside to their wings.  Such an intricately-patterned bird.  I like to think that both of my friends mentioned in this post would appreciate a Northern Flicker sighting as much as I.

Joining in with Ginny.

Playing with color

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Common Merganser, female

Common Merganser, female

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IMG_4601[1]Coralee &I have been experimenting with color as of late.  She’s been hard at work on her latest edition of “A Prairie Girl’s Notebook,” writing about the owl we spotted over a week ago.  She also labored for countless hours on her entry for this year’s Junior Duck Stamp Contest.  I think the duck species she chose–the Common Merganser–is just beautiful.  I was flipping through her sketchbook & found the rough sketches to be just as engaging as the final copies.

Camilla (at Mountain Girl Yarns) & I are collaborating on a pattern this spring.  I spent most of Sunday afternoon playing with two of her splendid new skeins.  I am so excited to partner with her again–fingers crossed I can come up with something worthy of her superior dyeing skills!  She’s currently giving 15% off all yarns in her shop using the coupon code VAL2015.  One skein is perfect for a soft, lovely newborn baby vest, I’ve found.  A gift any new mother would treasure. xx

As I sat & stitched yesterday afternoon, June played on the back porch with her kitties (instead of helping her daddy stack wood).  Pepper sure loves the attention from her colorful little friend.  Winter in the Midwest is biting back hard this month after lying dormant for so long.  Time to drench your soul in color.

Tiny {Yarn Along}

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bird feeders at rest, humbling sky

bird feeders at rest, humbling sky

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tosh tea cakes

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tiny flora’s tidy handwarmers

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in my etsy shop

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tiny newborn cap in Suri alpaca, in my etsy shop

I did not purposefully set out to find the tiny this week. I cast on some fairly hefty Christmas gifting projects this past weekend–a sweater for June & a starfish pillow for Merritt–but the yarn I chose did not match the projects as I had hoped & thus I ended up ripping out several hours worth of knitting by Saturday evening.

I found a box on Sunday of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light mini skeins that I bought last year around this time & forgot about, evidently. The box is called ‘Tosh Tea Cakes’ & it is a kit for garland from Jimmy Beans Wool. I thought about knitting the garland, but instead found myself knitting up tiny handwarmers with the mini skeins for the shop. Handwarmers so small they will probably never sell–what newborn wears handwarmers???–but it felt right to work on something tiny.  Tiny stitches.

I recently found the most wonderful shop on Etsy for tiny paintings of foxes. Foxes wearing handknits. Foxes hanging out by a campfire. Foxes hanging out by a cabin, by a cottage. And the best part is the canvas the artist paints these tiny masterpieces upon is sized 3 inches X 3 inches & each comes with a little easel on which to display your tiny work of art. Tiny beauty.

Our feeder has been receiving a very tiny amount of birds this week.  As opposed to the very large number last week. It’s cold, but there is no snow anymore.  Tiny visitors in tiny numbers.

I found myself knitting a tiny newborn cap yesterday in the softest Suri alpaca I’ve been saving from an alpaca farm down the road that went out of business.  Suri alpaca is just so soft, perfect for those new bundles that arrive Earthside, of which I’ve personally welcomed three living.  A tiny pleasure indeed.

So why the tiny?  I really wasn’t sure & then I read Leigh’s post regarding the beginning of Advent.  Thank you, Leigh, for making my random tiny-ness make perfect sense. xoxo

Joining in with Ginny.  Hope you find some tiny pleasures, too, this month.

noro hand warmers, emk shop update, fox sparrow {yarn along}

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“Seriously, Ruby, what good are hand warmers?”–I was asked this question last week after the release of my pattern Flora’s Tidy Hand Warmers. Until I actually knit myself a pair of hand warmers/fingerless gloves/mitts & wore them throughout the course of a day, I, too, felt the fingerless-anything was a frivolous waste of good yarn. But I have seen the woolly light & find hand warmers immensely useful:

*staying warm driving my son to & from school–my car is cold for at least 5-10minutes

*protection from temperature changes when working (hauling wood, delivering mail, feeding chickens, collecting eggs, etc)

*protection from temperature changes when using binoculars (we bird a lot) or knitting in the elements (soccer games, football games, etc)

*essential spring/fall accessory when full-blown mittens/gloves are too much

*cycling

*playing the trumpet in marching band in the fall (my daughter)

*cleaning your iPad/iPod/iPhone screen (my son)

*keeping the outer side of your hand clean whilst drawing with chalk, colored pencils or charcoal (my daughter–she has a pair of fingerless gloves specifically devoted to this activity)

*little ones who want to play outside & manipulate objects, but the bite of spring or fall is too much for bare hands

*drinking hot cocoa, hot tea, hot coffee, hot cider–save some trees, skip that cardboard coffee cup sleeve!

*looking like a hispter (husband, not me)

*looking like a really cool knitter (me me me, lol)

There are plenty of other reasons, these are just mine. I stocked my Etsy shop yesterday with three new pairs of Flora’s Tidy Hand Warmers ready-to-ship & pictured above, graciously modeled by my daughter.  I’m particularly fond of this pair.

Use the code REPEAT10 for 10% off anything in the Ella Mae Knits Etsy Shop if you’d like.

I found the combination of Mountain Girl Yarns sock weight with Quince & Co Chickadee (a strand of each held together) is an inspired combination for Flora’s Tidy Hand Warmers–creates a beautiful, squishy-soft & stretchy pair (last two photos).  I also experimented with Noro Kureyon (first photo) with my pattern & found it knits up beautifully…I just can’t decide if I like the fact that the pair is completely non-indentical.  Thoughts?

Coralee & I spotted a new species of bird at our feeder on Monday.  We spent some time with its identification as it was a very interesting bird.  A beautiful ruddy-colored, round-fat sparrow with amazing streaking on the breast, foraging under the feeder among a healthy passel of House Sparrows.  A Fox Sparrow.

Always feels good to positively identify a new bird.  I think the research involved in the identification commits the species to long-term memory, more so than when a birder more knowledgeable than I points out a new bird & labels it for me on the spot.

Joining in with Ginny.

a tidy pattern, a giveaway! {a yarn along}

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Mountain Girl Yarns single-ply 'Sugar Plum'.

Mountain Girl Yarns single-ply ‘Sugar Plum’.

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Mountain Girl Yarns 3-ply 'le Jardin'.

Mountain Girl Yarns 3-ply ‘le Jardin’.

Knit Picks Wool of the Andes 'Hollyberry'.

Knit Picks Wool of the Andes ‘Hollyberry’.

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I finished writing a knitting pattern over the weekend for hand warmers.  Hand warmers inspired by the strong-willed, intelligent, tidy protagonist Flora Poste from the humorous book Cold Comfort Farm.  The pattern calls for Mountain Girl Yarns–any of her sock weight skeins–held doubled.  I knit myself a pair in the colorway ‘le Jardin’ & I have been wearing them everywhere.  With the dry winter air invading our prairie home now, simple hand warmers are almost a necessity to keep the knuckles from cracking.

Flora’s Tidy Hand Warmers are reversible, warm, & stylish. A slight ruffle at the top and deep ribbing throughout the hand, I think Flora would approve. I envision her sporting a pair on one of her solitary nature walks around the Farm or whilst sitting in her “little green parlour” beside the fire, sipping afternoon tea. The pattern suits my own tidy tastes as well due to the short, no-fuss cuff.  I often find fingerless mitt patterns much too lengthy in the cuff, bunching & catching in my winter jacket sleeves. If you knit the pattern as written, the hand warmers should never bunch or get stuck in the Velcro on your ski jacket cuffs. On most womens’ hands they fall just beyond the knuckles. If you have larger hands, there are size modifications included under the section Musings in the pattern.

If you would like to purchase my pattern as a downloadable PDF, you can find it here in my Etsy shop or here in my Ravelry shop.  Use the coupon code FLORA at both shopping venues for $1.50 off the pattern price now through Sunday, November 16th.  *Note: I don’t think my Ravelry store is working properly, but I know the Etsy pattern sale link works–same price & discount.

I would like to give away one pattern sample in hopes of sharing Flora’s sensible taste with others and also to give the lucky someone the chance to behold the exquisiteness of Camilla’s Mountain Girl Yarns knit up.  For your chance to win either the Mountain Girl Yarns ‘Sugar Plum’ sample hand warmers OR the Knit Picks ‘Hollyberry’ sample (knit with the longer cuff), leave one comment on this post.  Comments will close & a winner will be randomly selected on Monday, November 17th.  The winner will be notified via email & announced within this post–so please don’t comment ‘Anonymous’ if you’d like to win.  Winner will choose one of the two samples (Sugar Plum or Hollyberry, both are perfect for the holidays!) to be mailed to her/him by me.  U.S. & Canadian mailing addresses only, please.

I hope those of you who were inspired to read the novel Cold Comfort Farm by my last Yarn Along post have found Stella Gibbons’ humorous little novel entertaining!

Joining in with Ginny!

And the winner of the Flora’s Tidy Hand Warmers Sample Giveaway is…..Bernice Fischels!!!!

(I used RANDOM.org to determine the winner.)

Thank you to all the lovely knitters & non-knitters alike who left a comment and/or purchased my new pattern. The enthusiasm has been much appreciated! I’ll be in touch with the winner via email tonight!

Cold Comfort {yarn along}

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Since the weekend commenced, I have begun, half-finished, almost-finished, & even finished nearly a half-dozen projects & every single one is now wound up back as it were before the weekend…so I decided to read a book Sunday night. One of my favorite films of all time is ‘Cold Comfort Farm‘ starring Kate Beckinsale when she was like 22 or 24 or something.  I’ve probably watched it an unhealthy number in my lifetime.  I picked up the book ‘Cold Comfort Farm’ from the library as I have never read it & I seem to really enjoy checking out books & then not reading them…let’s just say Stella Gibbbons’ book WILL be finished & soon. I have been laughing with every page read. I was also inspired to finally, actually, knit something & not frog it. I call them Flora Poste’s Mitts, but I may change the name when I make it to a final pattern. This is version 1.0 modeled by Coralee in some fading light with my phone camera. I used some Merino wool/silk & they are delicate & stylish & warm & also reversible.  The reversible part I especially adore.  Absolutely a tidy object, one that I think Flora would choose to wear. I am excited to finish this pattern & knit some for my shop.

“…on the whole I thought I liked having everything very tidy and calm and round me, and not being bothered to do things, and laughing at the kind of joke other people didn’t think at all funny, and going for country walks, and not being asked to express opinions about things (like love, and isn’t so-and-so peculiar?).”

Flora Poste.  In the context of the story this is hilarious.  I swear this book is truly a FUNNY book in the genius sense.

Have you read any of Stella Gibbons’ books?

Joining in with Ginny.