Yarn Review: Llama Sparkle from Red Barn Yarn

skein and ball

Hello, friends! Long time no see, hm? I’m sorry about my summer absence. My boys take up a lot of my day time and I just have not been able to plan any posts. I’m here today with something good, though–my very first yarn review!

I was sent a skein of Llama Sparkle from Red Barn Yarn. It is a hand-painted worsted weight yarn that is 95% baby llama and 5% stellina, so it is soft as butter with a little sparkle. To be honest, I don’t usually purchase yarns with shiny stuff spun into them, so this was a treat. What really made my day, though, was the color. It was a little tough to capture the perfect shade, but you can see some of the variation below:

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ball-side

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Beautiful, huh? The sparkle is very subtle, but it gives the perfect amount of shine. You can see the other yarn bases and colors available from Red Barn Yarn on their website. You can also find a list of their stockists. If you can’t find a retailer close by, you can contact them to purchase yarn directly by emailing info@redbarnyarn.com.

With just one skein, I made this gorgeous cowl! I browsed my stitch dictionary and found this one called “Mrs. Hunter’s Pattern” and it reminded me of crochet. I knew that I wouldn’t have enough yarn for a crochet project, so I really wanted to use this stitch. I love the color variation in the yarn SO MUCH! It looks pretty amazing in this pattern, too. I feel like my photos don’t do it justice, but of course I took a ton anyway.

blockcowl

blockycowl

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(omg)
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Like I said previously, this yarn is like butter. The baby llama is incredibly soft and bloomed beautifully after a wash. There was a little bit of color in the water after I soaked the cowl, but I didn’t notice any fading in the actual yarn.

blockcowl4

When I got to the end of my cowl, I realized I did not like the curling at the bottom (I went straight into the pattern after casting on), so I finished it off with a knit 3, purl 1 rib and a crochet cast-off and border. The result was a scalloped edge that lays relatively flat. I then picked up stitches along my cast-on edge and did the same thing there!

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Let me know if there is any interest in a full pattern write up! I can whip something up to share with you guys. I was looking at my pattern page and realized I have waaaaay more crochet patterns than knit ones! I need to remedy that.

If you are interested in learning more about Red Barn Yarn, check out their website and if you have any further questions, join the Ravelry group: Red Barn Yarn Afficianados!

What are you doing this summer? Getting any knitting or crochet done in this heat?! I was straight up sweating during these photos. IN MY AIR CONDITIONED HOME! I can’t wait until it’s cold outside and I can wear this on my walks to my kids’ school. I’m gonna be so toasty!

Disclosure: I was given a skein of free skein of yarn for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

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Crochet: Getting Cozy

Getting cozy

Last week, I wrote a post for the Craftsy blog about post stitches. If you aren’t familiar with post stitches, or you need a refresher, check it out here- Add a Little Texture: A Tutorial for Crochet Post Stitches.

The result of my little tutorial was this really sweet ribbed mason jar cozy.

crochet rib

Yarn: Knit Picks Comfy (fingering weight)
Hook: 3.75 mm (US F)
Pattern: I chained an even number to fit around my jar, then joined to make a circle, being careful not to twist the chain. I made a round of DC, then the next rounds were made by alternating front- and back-post double crochet stitches. Check out this post on Craftsy for more information about post stitches. You can make it as tall as you want. I only wanted to cover the center portion of my glass, so I made 12 rounds of DC and a final round of SC at top.

Crochet rib mason jar cozy

Are you keeping cool this summer? I sometimes struggle with getting enough water, so I’m filling a BIG bottle everyday and then just setting the goal to finish it by the end of the day. It does indeed help to measure out what I need at the beginning of the day instead of trying to remember how many glasses I’ve drunk. I am SO bad at logging water/food/whatever!

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FREE Knitting Stitches Bundle from Craftsy!

FREE Knitting Stitches bundle on Craftsy

Hey, guys! I hope you’ve had a great week. I’m here to share a bundle of knitting stitches I contributed to. It is seven basic knitting tutorials bundled into a REALLY sweet file. Like the title says, it’s completely FREE. The layout of the files is top notch and really easy to follow. I think it would be a great companion for new knitters who are looking to branch out. Give it a look! The tutorials I contributed are:

A guide to Garter Stitch on Craftsy

Linen Stitch Tutorial

Kitchener Stitch Tutorial

How to Knit Bobbles

Let me know what you think! Are you a new knitter? Thinking of learning? I learned to crochet before I knit, so I love to talk to crocheters who are *thinking* of adding knitting to their yarny crafts but just don’t know where to start.

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Crochet: Cropped Cardigan

craspedia cropped cardigan

Pattern: Craspedia Cropped Cardigan by Linda Permann (also on Ravelry here)
Yarn: 6 skeins KnitPicks Comfy (fingering weight) in Planetarium
Hook: 3.75mm (US F-5)
Modifications: Had to go up in hook size to get gauge. Only 5 DC in each scallop instead of 7.

side detail

cropped cardigan

I finally made myself something to wear. This is the first time I have crocheted a garment in pieces. I did some legit blocking and seaming, guys! I wanted a lacy, but not too lacy cardigan. I liked the cropped-but-past-my-boobs look of this one. The rounded, scalloped front is adorable and the gathered sleeve caps are killin’ me. It was a fairly easy pattern to follow, too!

front detail

craspedia cropped cardigan

craspedia cropped cardigan back

The yarn isn’t anything fancy, but I like it. The color is brighter in natural light, as above. It looks a little navy-ish in darker environments. It’s soft and washable, though I haven’t put it through my machine yet. I wore it, this weekend, to a graduation. I put all our other clothes to wash and left this out. I’m ALWAYS nervous to wash my crocheted stuffs. I have these visions of opening the washer and finding a ball of yarn. It hasn’t happened yet, but still… it could, right? Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels like this!

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Knitting: with two hands!

two-handed knitting

I have been knitting since 2006. Almost eight whole years! I gave it a shot after crocheting for about 6 months and fell in love. Actually, that’s a lie. I hated knitting. It took me three tries and mostly because the book I was using only demonstrated the English style and my brain just did not understand what to do with yarn in my right hand. I was so used to holding the yarn over my left hand and working the hook with my right. When I found videos of Continental knitting, I had that “aha!” moment and things went more smoothly.

I’ve given English knitting a try here and there through the years. I knew it would make fair isle and colorwork easier if I could hold yarn in both hands. It never really stuck, though. I always went back to Continental, even during stranded knitting projects.

Well, a few weeks ago, I bought some L├ętt-Lopi to feel it out for a future sweater and to see the colors in person. I couldn’t wait and decided to draft up a colorwork pattern for the yarn.

lopi colors graph paper pencil knitting

After a bunch of drafts that included sharpies, fine felt tip pens, and eventually a spreadsheet, I got to work on a beanie! I knew from the get go I would need to practice my English knitting and worked every other round of the rib like that. It was a chore, but eventually my right hand seemed to “wake up” and get it. It felt less and less awkward as the rounds went by. Soon, I was breezing through my charts! The first wasn’t a very intuitive color pattern, but once I started feeling antsy and/or bored with it, it was time to move on!

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colorwork crown

this and that beanie

I’m calling it my “This and That” beanie because it’s got a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I love love love the sprinkling of contrast stitches in the crown. I did the same thing with some colorwork beanies I made a few years ago. Those beanies took days to create and the one in this post took two measly evenings! I’m pretty happy with that.

Are you working on any new skills? This one seems kind of simple, as English knitting is often how knitters start, but for me, it was a milestone! I feel like I could knit a fair isle sweater or something!

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