January RoundUp

January RoundUp

FOs, Patterns, and Other News

Here at Rows and Roses, I always have so much stuff going on. I want to start doing a roundup post near the end of each month showing finished objects, newly published patterns, and sneak peeks to look forward to in the coming months.

How about let’s start with a bunch of FOs? Here are a bunch of items I finished this month. Some are for me, some are for customers, and some are for a couple of Ravelry challenges I joined this year. They are by no means ALL of the things, but they’re a great little bundle of yarn joy, aren’t they?

Pattern Release: FOTD Hat

The Felici On The Double cowl pattern has done SO WELL! In fact, it surprised me- and surprises me, still- how much everyone seems to love it. The CAL is still going strong, with so many different color combos and creative yarn subs. I just knew we needed more FOTD patterns.

I give you Felici On The Double hat! This hat is worked just like the cowl, except it’s in the round, and includes some decreases. The decreases took me a while to get perfect in order to retain the chevron striping (a plain round crown would have been way easier, but who wants that??)

We are currently voting on the February CAL and KAL in the Ravelry group, and so far, this hat is winning the CAL votes. Come join us!

Never a dull moment

Besides this new pattern release, I’ve also sent in pattern proposals to WeCrochet and Knit Picks. Seven, to be exact. I’ve got proposals in for hats, tops, cowls, and a super cute garland. If even half of these patterns are accepted, I’m gonna be one busy yarny for a while (like I’m not already?? Haha!)

You can keep up with all the goings-on in the facebook group, and don’t forget that the blog is updated fairly regularly, as well. Check out the new posts from this month on the importance of craft-alongs, and different sheep breeds and the types of wool we get from them. The Rows and Roses Calendar stays up to date at least two months out at all times, so you’ll never miss an event if you remember to check it on occasion.

Types of Wool

Types of Wool

Different breeds for different types of wool

I want to tell you something you may not know. You ready? Okay: not all wool is created equal. Did you know that? Think about it… there are so many different kinds of sheep out there. Not just pure breeds, either, but all kinds of crosses, too! From Dorsets to Corriedale, and everything in between, there are so many kinds of sheep that give us wool. This means, of course, that different breeds give us different types of wool. Some is rugged and best suited to outerwear, while others are soft and delicate, and perfect for wearing against your skin. The old wool sweaters you were forced to wear as a child? Yeah, that’s not what I mean when I talk about wool. If you want to know about a few of my favorite types of wool, read on!

(If you are interested in checking out some other blog posts of mine about wool/fiber, you can find them here and here.)

Blue-faced Leicester (BFL)

The Blue-faced Leicester (pronounced “Lester”) has, you guessed it, a blue face! Well, they’re blue all over really, underneath their fleece.

The BFL is a breed of longwool sheep, with a soft white fleece that is excellent for wearing next to skin. The wool has a sheen to it reminiscent to silk, and is very strong. It is a popular choice for cloth diaper covers, and makes an excellent sweater.

Merino

Merino Collage

Merino sheep can be found all over the world. From Spain to Russia to Australia, and even here in the US.

Merino is considered the creme de la creme of wool, with the softest fibers you can find anywhere among sheep. Merino is the number one wool for wearing against the bare skin, as it has zero itch factor.

The short staple length makes merino difficult to spin on it’s own, but certainly not impossible. It felts and dyes exceptionally well, and can be used for garments and accessories. It is hands-down the most popular wool used for baby and child items as it is buttery soft and smooth.

Corriedale

Corriedale sheep originally hail from the Australia/New Zealand region, but have been shown to adapt to all kinds of climates.

They produce a very long stapled wool. The fleece is heavy and hearty, very thick and with moderate bounce and “fluff.”

Corriedale wool is considered next-to-skin soft. It’s great for spinning and felting, as well as dying as it readily soaks up color.

CorriedaleCollage

Dorset

Dorset collage

Dorset sheep are an interesting breed. Apparently Dorsets came about due to the cross-breeding of the Merino with the Horned Sheep of Wales.

Dorsets are, in fact, meat sheep. However, they produce an excellent wool. This short-staple and springy wool, while some find it acceptable for next-to-skin wear, is a strong and thick fiber. This makes Dorset perfect for rugged outerwear.

Peruvian Highland

Peruvian Highland wool is one of my all-time favorite wools! These sheep are an interesting crossbreed of Corriedale and Merino.

The wool sports the strength of Corriedale, offering resilience and bullet-proof wear perfect for outer garments, such as jackets. However, don’t be fooled into thinking this is a rough wool. The Merino shines through in it’s softness, making it a popular wool to be worn next to the skin in cowls, mitts, and sweaters.

Due to the Corriedale, Peruvian Highland wool also has a longer staple fiber length, making it much easier to spin than pure Merino. This wool is really an all-star pick for just about anything!

peruvian highland sheep

Just the tip of the iceburg

Be assured that these are certainly not all, but just a few of the breeds that really speak to me. I have been in love with wool for as long as I’ve been crafting with yarn. Different types of wool are suited to different purposes, but they are all remarkable. From being anti-microbial, to absorbent, to feltable, to insulating, wool is really a miracle fiber and I long to learn more and more as I go. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and gained a better understanding of different types of wool. If you know of someone who might find value in it, please share ♥

Craft-alongs

Craft-alongs

Why community is so important

I’ve always been quick and easy to make friends. All my life, I’ve enjoyed getting to meet up with other humans and hang out and chat. I love getting to know people: their interests, their stories, what makes them tick. Sharing my thoughts and ideas, and interests and plans, is very important to me when connecting with people. If I’m currently feeling the urge to get creative in the kitchen, I seek out others who love to cook. When we’re struggling through a difficult time in our homeschool, I reach out to homeschool communities locally and on facebook to share my frustrations and get new ideas, as well as gain a new perspective. Human beings connecting with other human beings- REALLY connecting and not just smiling and sipping coffee and remarking on the weather- is the single most important thing in life that I can think of. It’s no wonder then that craft-alongs are one of my very favorite things to do.

What are craft-alongs?

When I think of craft-alongs, I think specifically of crochet-alongs (CALs,) knit-alongs (KALs,) spin-alongs (SALs,) and weave-alongs (WALs.) I’m sure there are other craft-alongs out there, but these are what I’m into since I’m a yarny.

In a CAL, for instance, a group of us get together and pick a crochet pattern- or pattern type- and then we all crochet it at the same time. We share our yarn choices, our pictures of our works in progress (WIPs,) and we ask questions and encourage each other. It’s a great way for crocheters to connect with each other and gain inspiration and offer help. Furthermore, it gives us the sense of community and  camaraderie that many of us so crave. We laugh and cut up, and just have an all around great time. There is really something to be said for doing the same thing with a bunch of other people, all over the world, at the same time.

Craft-alongs for motivation

Sometimes I just want to make something different. Or sometimes I need to make something custom ordered and just really don’t know about this pattern or design. Possibly, I’m scared of messing it up. Then again, I could just be in a creative rut.

Craft-alongs to the rescue! I love joining into a community of other makers who are making the same thing. I’ve found it especially helpful during a daunting project to be able to chat about our experiences with the pattern. If anyone has questions, they ask in the group and everyone else chimes in with their helpful answers. Errors happen in patterns sometimes, and when someone catches it, posting in the -along helps everyone else who hasn’t made it that far yet.

Rockstar Ravelry

If you’re looking to join a craft-along or two, my advice to you is the check out Ravelry. This website is FULL of everything yarn. From their massive database of knitting and crochet patterns, to their forums full of groups of every kind of yarn crafting imaginable, Ravelry has it all. I have a group there for Rows and Roses, and we actually have a CAL for my Felici on the Double cowl going on right now! Pictures are being shared and encouragement is being given as we speak. Please come join us, we are having so much fun! It’s free to join, and only takes a second (username and password. Done!) You can create project pages for everything you knit or crochet, find groups of people for just about anything you can think of, and I’ve never seen so many patterns in my life. Many of them are free! Come join our community, cast your voice with the rest, and show us what you’re working with!