Product Reviews

Koala Caddies - a Review and Giveaway!

Handled paper bags, plastic totes (my current fave from the Japanese Dollar store!), baskets, my purse, reusable grocery bags - these are some of the things I've used in the past to carry around my knitting. And all to varying levels of success. 

In recent years, it's become even more important that I carry my knitting when I know I'll be out with some bits of time on my hands. . . whether I'm being soccer or gymnastics mom, going on a road trip, waiting at a doctor's appointment, or sitting in the school pickup line, even getting a few rows in can help me keep up with all the knitting that I do. Plus, I love being productive rather than staring at walls or checking email.

Recognizing that many knitters and crocheters are productivity-lovers (AND like to protect their time and $ investment in their projects) like me, Mary Shooshan designed and developed these craft tote/storage bags called the Koala Caddie Knitting Bag Aprons and here is my official review!

Her design holds two U.S. Patents! IMPRESSIVE!Koala_Caddie8

She calls them the KOALA Caddie Yarn Craft Apron (aka KOALA Caddie Knitting Bag Apron) and she sent me 2 of them - one for review and one to give away (details on that later).

First impression: This looks like a nifty item that has lots of pockets and other features that were very well conceived! I LOVE pockets and own many pairs of cargo pants, though I have never stuffed my knitting in them (just cable needles, ha ha).

I was very impressed with Mary's website, as it has extensive photos on the many ways to use the Koala Caddie. This just proves how thorough she was in designing it, as the photos visually explain all the ways the tote can be easily converted for use in different situations and by different users. 

To be honest, the selection of fabrics she had on her site were not to my taste (I admit to extreme pickiness), but NO WORRIES! She PROMPTLY took my feedback on the fabric selection and went above and beyond most shops to allow me to pick fabrics I could be excited about!

That's the beauty of these items being hand-sewn. She is able to buy a small amount of fabric to make custom Koala Caddies and is now offering the same service she gave to me to all of her customers. Yippee! The first photo above is one of the fabrics I chose (and the one I'm keeping!).

So, fabric choice no longer a distraction, I was able to receive her samples and focus on reviewing their usefulness.

The workmanship on these Koala Caddies is gorgeous. I can barely sew, but I certainly can recognize a pro! These bag/aprons are meticulously cut and sewn together, with beautiful satin linings to protect your knitting and yarn. Mary uses pretty snaps and toggles that allow you to convert the bag/apron as needed. Koala_Caddie5

The bag is very lightweight, as I believe all tote bags should be (and cork platform shoes too, but I digress!). It cleverly uses snaps to go from fully extended tote (shown at right here) to shorter tote bag. The toggles make for quick adjusting of the straps, which can tie around your waist apron-style, or be tied together and used as a tote strap (cross-body or shoulder).

Koala_Caddie2Snaps at the top close up the bag part so your knitting can be safe and secure.

Is the bag big enough to hold much? Why yes! Surprisingly so, as the front is subtly pleated. When you carry a small project, the pleats stay nicely, uh, pleated. But if you need to carry around a larger project, the pleats easily push out to accommodate.

Fully extended, the tote/apron can also hold your PDF full-page pattern, although this is a soft bag, so some bending or folding might happen.

And unlike my plastic totes, baskets, and shopping bags, the soft fabric of these caddies, allows you to be wearing them as an apron and then just sit down to knit, while your project is safely nestled in your lap. Nice!

Mary explicitly designed her Koala Caddies to solve these issues:

  • Interruptions
  • Fuzz on my clothes
  • Fur in my project
  • Yarns that resist unwinding
  • Afghans with early rows already pilling and fuzzing from friction
  • Plastic grocery bags holding hundreds of dollars worh of fine yarn.

I'd say she addressed all of these issues in a very functional, stylish package!

Plus, she has a cute little Koala button accent on the inner pocket, which also includes some elastic loops (see them peeking through?) to help you keep your knitting needles and tools handy and safe.  Koala_Caddie6

For more information or to purchase your own, please visit www.koalacaddie.com.

KOALA Caddie are available in Mary's Etsy Shop at www.koalacaddie.etsy.com

If you're like me and want to pick your fabric, here is one of her custom listings.

*** SO, now for the GIVEAWAY! ***

I've got ONE Koala Caddie* to give away - $64 retail value! It's in the dark floral fabric (I hand-picked as well!) shown here.

HOW TO ENTER THIS GIVEAWAY: You can do one or more of the following to enter.

1) Make any pattern purchase from SweaterBabe.com from now until 7/31/14, 9pm PST. Each purchase counts, so multiple orders are welcome. Sorry, but free pattern downloads do not count as an entry. [IF you order by 7/6/14, use Coupon Code JULY4CPN for $4 off all orders of $10 or more.]

2) Post a comment on this blog post telling us what you think of these Koala Caddies and Pin this image 


Koala_Caddies_PinComments and pins must be entered by 9pm PST, 7/31/14. One comment per person please. 

Shortly after July 31, I'll randomly choose ONE entry to receive this pretty BLACK Koala Caddie. Sorry for the plastic, but it's so nicely packaged for mailing, I didn't want to take it out of the bag for the photo ;-)Blk_Koala_Caddie

THAT'S IT!  Good luck to all!*
* Giveaway prize can be sent to US or Canadian addresses ONLY. Winner will be notified by email. If winner does not reply by email with mailing address within 7 days, a new winner will be chosen.

*** August 2 winner announcement ***

And the randomly chosen winner of the black floral Koala Caddie is. . .  Charlotte Layton, who made a pattern purchase on 7/8/14. Congrats!

 


Lilly Brush Review and Giveaway

Lilly_Brush2

Sweaters that pill? Blech!

It's definitely a pet peeve of us knitters and crocheters. Who wants to see pills and fuzz on projects we spent many loving hours knitting or crocheting?

Unfortunately, as a lover of fine fibers like cashmere and alpaca, pills are par for the course.

A product called the Lilly Brush promises to come to the rescue! Let's put it to the Sweater[Babe] test!

TEST #1: My black 100% baby alpaca cardigan (loom knit!). 

See the pills? This cardigan is one I used to wear often, but the little pills that have gathered under the sleeves and at the sides where my sleeves rub against the body of the cardigan are rather unsightly, so this cardigan was banished to a back shelf.

I used the Lilly brush on it, and it actually worked quite well! See the after photo below.

There were lots of little pills, so I did have to brush and clean the brush out, then repeat several times.

See the pile of pills and fuzz that came off? Impressive!

Lilly_Brush3

Lilly_Brush4And note that after all that brushing, the cardigan is just fine. The stitch definition is as it was before all the pilling and it did not suffer any damage from the brush. Hooray, Lilly brush!

Lilly_Brush5
TEST #2: My Malabrigo Sleeveless Cowl Neck!

After just maybe 6 wearings, there were already some big pills and fuzzing at the underarms that I didn't appreciate!

Some brisk brushing of the Lilly brush worked to remove the little pills. A slightly more aggressive brushing helped get more of the excess fuzz off. I did notice though, that if I brushed it too harshly, I was getting more halo than I wanted, as it ended up pulling some of the fibers out from the stitches. NOTE TO SELF: Go a little easier on the Lilly brushing with single-plied yarns like Malabrigo Worsted!

Lilly_Brush6 Lilly_Brush7
So, bottom line? Does it work? YES.
I do recommend the Lilly brush, as it's the only thing I've ever seen that effectively removes pills (and lint too!). And it's packaged in a nice way. No sticky rollers that stick to your patterns and everything else.

Yes, I've used sweater shavers in the past, but there is no way I will ever allow a shaver to touch something I've knit and potentially cut off a part of a stitch! So, those sweater shavers have all gone in the trash eons ago. Too risky.

And picking off the pills just seems to leave a sweater, that, well, looks picked at.

(BTW - The Lilly Brush is only effective on natural fibers. According to their usage information, synthetic fibers are too long, so the pills won't effectively come off with the gentle brushing from a Lilly Brush.)

To learn more about the Lilly brush and see where it's available online, check out their site at https://lillybrush.com/

Lilly_Brush

*** SO, now for the GIVEAWAY! ***

I've got FOUR black Lilly Brushes* to give away!

HOW TO ENTER THIS GIVEAWAY: You can do one or more of the following to enter.

1) Make a pattern purchase from SweaterBabe.com of any knitting patterncrochet pattern, or eBook pattern collection from now through March 31, 2014Every purchase counts as an entry, so feel free to make multiple purchases to be entered multiple times! NOTE: Excludes free patterns.

2) Post a comment on this blog post telling us your pilling story (or nightmare!). AND share this giveaway:  , or share it on FacebookComments must be posted by 9pm PST, March 31, 2014. One comment per person only, please.Before-After_Depilling

Shortly after March 31, I'll randomly choose 4 entrants to each receive a BLACK Lilly Brush (See Black one in the nice box - it's just like the Red one, but the casing is black).

THAT'S IT!  Good luck to all!*
* Giveaway prizes can be sent to US or Canadian addresses ONLY. Winners will be notified by email. If winner does not reply by email with mailing address within 7 days, a new winner will be chosen.

*** 4/4/14: Announcing the 4 lucky winners! ***

 

- Allison B., who commented on 3/12/14.

 

- Nicole S. who made a pattern purchase on 3/22/14

 

- Kerensa M., who made a pattern purchase on 3/23/14.

 

and

 

- Jennie K., who made a pattern purchase on 3/12/14.

I've emailed you all. Thanks for entering and congrats!

 


Product Review and Giveaway: Soak Wash

2454808872_e653f2d7a0I'm not big on washing my knits. It's like a necessary evil to me because I worry that the washing process will somehow ruin all my good knitting work.

Well, it turns out I should not be so fearful, as there are products that are made specifically for washing delicate (and not so delicate, but chunky!) knitwear.

With a little know how and some experiments that have turned out just fine, I'm no longer so aprehensive about washing my knitted treasures.

Soak Wash is one company that gets my fears. They have created a line of beautifully packaged, very gentle soaps that do exactly what they are supposed to.

I wouldn't even call them "soaps," as the word "soap" often means harsh detergents that require lots of suds, aggitation, and rinsing to work effectively.

They call it a "no-rinse wash," which is way more accurate.

It's intended for delicate fabrics, wool sweaters, newly knitted projects. and more. I used it to block my recently released #174 Simpatico Alpaca Stole, which was knit in an Alpaca wool blend.  Perfect_Harmony_500

I got a few dark-colored beach towels (this yarn does bleed in the wash a bit) ready on the bathroom floor. I filled my bathroom sink with some water and the recommended amount of Soak Wash (just a capful!). Then, I stuck the stole in and let it soak for 15 minutes. I do admit to rinsing very gently a few times, as I wanted to get some of the dye out in the water (vs. on me or my clothes!), but I was very careful not to aggitate it in any way - NO wringing, just gentle squeezes against the side of the sink to get most of the water out.

Then, I picked up the stole gently (didn't want the alpaca to stretch!), supporting the whole thing, and laid it out flat on one of the beach towels. I topped it with the other beach towel, then rolled all 3 layers together (like an alpaca sandwichl!). I pressed down on it using my whole body weight to get all the wetness out into the towels.

Then, it was transfered to my blocking board and pinned out to dry.

The result: a NICELY-blocked, subtly-scented stole! Very happy with the resulting stitch definition and softness too ;-)

So, I do highly recommend you try Soak Wash to make an otherwise tedious chore much better.

Soak Wash is also biodegradable and phosphate-free. They offer a scentless version too. More information on Soak Wash is available through their website at: https://www.soakwash.com/ and you can purchase Soak Wash through many online and local yarn shops.

AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY! I'VE GOT TWO BOTTLES OF SOAK WASH TO SEND TO TWO LUCKY WINNERS:

2453982469_6db67aa0f7

HOW TO ENTER: You can do one or more of the following to enter.

1) Make a pattern purchase from SweaterBabe.com of any knitting patterncrochet pattern, or eBook pattern collection from now until November 30, 2013Every purchase counts as an entry, so feel free to make multiple purchases to be entered multiple times! NOTE: Excludes free patterns.

2) Be a SweaterBabe.com Knitting Club Member through the end of November. All Members will automatically get counted for 2 entries for this giveaway. To join, it's just $7.99/month, and you get all new releases of knitting patterns automatically every month, plus special members-only knit-alongs, giveaways, and more! And if you join now, your payment counts as a purchase entry too!

3) Post a comment on this blog post telling us what you think of washing your finished knits. One comment per person, please. AND share this giveaway: , or share it on FacebookComments must be posted by 9pm PST, November 30, 2013.

Shortly after November 30, I'll randomly choose 2 entrants - one will receive the Lacey-Scented Soak Wash and the other the Celebration-Scented one.

THAT'S IT!  Good luck to all!


Follow Me on Pinterest

 

*** WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT ***

And the 2 randomly chosen winners from all the entries are. . . Paula S., who made a pattern purchase on 11/7/13 and Sharon M., a SweaterBabe.com Club member. Congrats! I've emailed you both!


Product Review and Giveaway: Knit - Baah - Purl!

Yowza! I got a nice, big sample box from Knit Baah Purl and here's my review of their products along with some great giveaways for you! 
KnitBaahPurlTo begin with, let me just say that they have a broad selection of very giftable items for knitters. They have mugs, gift tags, cards, prints for framing, and probably more ideas in the works.

Even at a first glance, I can tell from their website that the products offered by Knit Baah Purl are high quality, boutique-level items.

I was sent two mugs - one in a deep cobalt color and the other in a warm red. Both have adorably whimsical graphics on them that any knitter will appreciate, but even those that don't knit will find humorous. The generous shape and size is perfect for that cup of joe or tea that is a great accompaniment to your knitting.

KnitBaahPurl4I was also sent a big sampling of their printed products. The same clever, light hearted humor is expressed in  many different illustrations depicting sheep with funny captions.

There's obviously an abundance of talent behind these products!

Shown at right are two card samples. The paper quality is fabulous too. The "raw" edges are a very sophisticated touch, adding to the hand-made quality of these cards. They remind me of the expensive letterpress paper I used for my own wedding!

KnitBaahPurl5 KnitBaahPurl3 KnitBaahPurl2 KnitBaahPurl7At left here is one of their prints - perfect for decorating your knitting lair or a baby or child's room.

I added the pink frame and will hang it proudly in my knitting studio!

The other photos below show the gift tags, which are on high gloss, heavy weight paper (with matte backs so you can write your special message) - perfect for that finishing touch on your gift knits. Lots of fun witty designs to choose from and sold in sets of ten.

I think their products are really lovely and incredibly thoughtful as gifts.

Be sure to check out their website at KnitBaahPurl.com and tell them SweaterBabe sent you!  They even have a cool new collection of letter cards that would be fabulous as wall art spelling out the name of a new baby or child (or the word knit!). Check their website as they continue to add new letter designs to complete the alphabet collection. Oh! And a portion of their profits go towards the purchase of sheep to help families in need around the world. How great is that?!

*** AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY DETAILS! ***

I have the following 3 SETS to give away (thanks Knit, Baah, Purl!!!):

1) A deep cobalt blue mug (nicely gift wrapped as shown above) with 3 sets of gift tags. (valued at $17.50)

2) A warm red mug, also wrapped in a nice box with 3 sets of gift tags. (valued at $17.50)

3) A set of 4 blank cards (assorted designs) + 2 sets of gift tags (I'll choose 2 designs). ($21.00 value)

I'll choose 3 lucky winners randomly from all those who enter this giveaway.

HOW TO ENTER: You can do one or more of the following to enter.

1) Make a pattern purchase from SweaterBabe.com for any knitting pattern, crochet pattern, or eBook pattern collection from now until June 30, 2013. Every purchase counts as an entry, so feel free to make multiple purchases to be entered multiple times! NOTE: Excludes free patterns.

2) Be a SweaterBabe.com Knitting Club Member through the end of June. All Members will automatically get counted for 2 entries for this giveaway. To join, it's just $7.99/month, and you get all new releases of knitting patterns automatically every month, plus special members-only knit-alongs, additional giveaways, and more! And if you join now, your payment counts as a purchase entry too!

3) Post a comment on this blog post telling us what you think of these Knit Baah Purl products. One comment per person, please. AND share this giveaway: , share it on Facebook, or use Twitter! Comments must be posted by end of June 30, 2013.

THAT'S IT!  Good luck to all!
Follow Me on Pinterest

*** July 2, 2013 Winner Announcement! ***

And the randomly chosen winners are:

Delores Gorman (a knitting club member) wins: The deep cobalt blue mug with 3 sets of gift tags.

Tanya Baltzer (made a pattern purchase on 6/7/13) wins: The warm red mug with 3 sets of gift tags.

Lucy Harrington (posted a comment on 6/4/13) wins: The set of 4 blank cards + 2 sets of gift tags (I'll choose 2 designs).

CONGRATS to the winners!!! I've emailed you all to get your mailing address info.


Little Pig Pottery - a Yarn Bowl review and giveaway!

I've long admired ingenious yarn bowls and hand-made pottery. Now, I've had the great opportunity to review 2 lovely samples in person! Little_Pig_Pottery2

Little Pig Pottery makes very unique yarn bowls. They are almost too pretty to use (I said, almost!).

What's nice, is that these bowls easily pass for expensive art objects in your craft room, while being easily accessible when you need to tame that ball of yarn as you knit or crochet!

The concept of a yarn bowl is simple, but these bowls are far from basic. The larger sample is an adorable pig pot! A nice size for any larger balls of yarn and plenty sturdy to sit on the ground by your feet or on a side table to feed you your yarn. Little_Pig_Pottery5

Great craftmanship cannot be faked. These are hand-made and hand-finished and definitely one-of-a-kind pieces.

The smaller yarn bowl is perfect for the smaller balls of yarn that you will get with the lighter weights of yarn. The notches on the side are angled so the yarn can't just slip up and out, which is very clever.

Little_Pig_Pottery Little_Pig_Pottery3The larger Pig one is quite substantial in height and could handle a fairly big ball of yarn! Adorable pigtail detailing on the back. Little_Pig_Pottery7

Both have very smooth surfaces and edges, of course, so there is no concern about catching your yarn.

Here are the descriptions from Jean Ann, the artist behind Little Pig Pottery:

"Ms. Pig is a smug little character with a lovely satin surface.  She, like most pigs, is of generous proportions. She began as a stoneware cylinder on the wheel and sports a casual cord cut foot.  A curly rim cut for a tail was made to allow a yarn thread to pass through.  Ms. Pig's dimensions are 6" high by 6" diameter. She also is a sturdy weight, around 3 pounds, to help her make a stand with the yarn pulling." Retails for $88.

And her description of the above yarn bowl: "Small Copper Red Yarn Holder that will hold a ball 3.5" in diameter.  Copper Red will also brighten any corner in your home.  It began as three pounds of stoneware thrown as a cylinder. A tight little rim cut was made to allow thread to pass through.  Exterior glaze is copper red; interior is a dark satin mat. Yarn holder is 4" high by 4" by 4” Its mouth is approximately 3.5 inches in diameter and stands on three chunky feet." Retails for $38.

Thanks, Jean Ann, for your fabulous artistry and for sending us these lovely yarn bowls to review and give away!

Be sure to visit https://littlepigpottery.etsy.com for more of Jean Ann's work - she has a wonderful collection of whimsical yarn bowls that you just have to see!

*** The Giveaway! ***

Enter to win the Small Copper Red yarn bowl from Little Pig Pottery ($38 value)!

Here's how to enter*:

1) Make a pattern purchase from now through April 15, 2013, 9pm PST. Choose from all of my knitting patterns or crochet patterns. Each order counts as one entry, so multiple entries this way are ok!

2) Be a member of the SweaterBabe.com Knitting Club! All members that are still active through April 15th, 2013 will be automatically entered. Not a member? Join by April 14, 2013 for your automatic entry and get all of the April (and March if you join in March!) pattern downloads with your $7.99/month Club subscription!

3) Pin this giveaway (using the Pin It button here: ) and follow SweaterBabe on Pinterest by clicking this button: Follow Me on Pinterest. One pin per person, please. Pin by April 15, 9pm PST.

4) Post a comment on this blog post telling us what you think of these yarn bowls!  One comment per person, please. Comments must be posted by April 15, 9pm PST.

Sorry, this giveaway only open to those in the continental U.S. If you enter via Pinterest, make sure you are on my email list so you will get notified if you win!

*** WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT 4/16/13 ***
And the randomly chosen winner from all entrants is . . .Ita - who posted a comment here on 3/13/13. I've emailed you, Ita. Congrats!!!


Sassafras Creations Jewelry - a review and giveaway!

 

Sassafras_Creations2Reduce, reuse and recycle - great words we should all try to live by.

And apparently, the mantra can apply quite beautifully to old knitting needles!

Sassafras Creations is a company that caught my eye for it's very unique reuse of used aluminum knitting needles and crochet hooks.

I have my stash from my Boye_Needlemasteryounger knitting and crocheting years (My two Boye Needles Master sets were my prize possessions. I had to save up lots of allowance $ for those!). These aluminum needles came in many shades of really nice jewel tones. Guess I wasn't the only one who thought they were pretty!

Nancy Thompson, the ingenious designer and jewelry maker behind her Sassafras Creations etsy shop, has created a very unique line of jewelry taking full advantage of these pretty jewel-toned needles.

She cuts them into small rings, tubes, or other clever shapes and adds sterling silver to create cool bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and even watches. My favorite is the bracelet she sent me, shown here. Sassafras_Creations3

I love it for it's simple beauty and charm! Small rings cut from knitting needles of varying sizes are linked together to form this bracelet. A longer piece is used with a ring cut from a bulky needle to create the toggle clasp closure. So clever!

The edges of the cut pieces are carefully polished and the sterling silver rings joining them are a nice, heavy gauge so this is not a bracelet that would snag on my knits (so thoughtful!) or catch on something and come apart (such a pet peeve!). She definitely pays attention to the details and produces high quality jewelry!

This is a nice everday bracelet for me, as it's not too dressy, but definitely has a pretty style to it. I'm not a fan of wearing too many colors at once (you can tell from my knitting designs, eh?), but this bracelet is perfect because the jewel tones are all such pretty, sophisticated shades that they work together. Plus the color is only on the outsides of the rings, so the rest of the bracelet is a goes-with-everything silver tone. It's my jangly, fun bracelet that I like to wear with my leather wrap bracelet and silver bangle, completing that layered jewelry look that is so very now.

Sassafras_Creations4 

The earrings Nancy sent for me to review (see photo up top) are very pretty as well! Just enough needle "beads" dangling from each earring to give them movement and let the jeweled tone parts catch the light. This is a nice pair of earrings for any age.

So, yes - I definitely recommend that you check out Nancy's complete Sassafras Creations line. Lots of fun stuff and the prices are quite reasonable.

These are ideal gifts for your knitting friends or yourself!

I couldn't resist sharing photos of a few other items from her line that show you her creativity (the Christmas tree earrings are strung on needle tips!) and the range of jewel tones (see the cuff bracelets below!)! Sassafras_Creations5

So be sure to check out the rest of Nancy's Etsy shop at www.sassafrascreations.etsy.com and you'll be inspired to send her your old needles! Tell her SweaterBabe.com sent you!

** AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY DETAILS! **

One lucky winner will be chosen randomly from all entrants to receive the Sassafras Creations earrings (the dangly ones shown at the bottom of this post)!

To enter this giveaway, please do one or BOTH of the following by 9pm PST, December 22, 2012:

1) Use Pinterest to pin this blog post and in the "describe this pin" area, enter #SweaterBabe.com (required, or I won't be able to find your entry!). Click this to pin the Sassafras jewelry photo.

* PLEASE be sure you are on my email list, so that when I announce the winners, you can claim your prize if you entered through Pinterest (as I can't contact you directly).

(If you don't know what Pinterest it, then skip to 2!)

2) Enter a comment on this blog post telling us what you think of this jewelry line.

After December 22nd, I'll pick a random entry to win.

Good luck to all! Sassafras_CreationsP2


*** WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT 1/2/12 ***
And the randomly chosen winner from all the entrants is. . . Rebecca Boardman, who posted her comment on 12/1/12. Congrats! I've emailed you so you can send me your address.


Featured Yarn Company - Namaste Farms and a giveaway

Namaste(RGB)Calling Namaste Farms a cool Yarn Company is accurate, but a complete understatement!

Not only do they produce one-of-a-kind yarns that I've never seen before, but the Sheep_12y hand create the yarns from the rare, award-winning sheep breeds they raise on the farm!

Natalie Redding is the fiber artist behind the Namaste Farms line of luxury fibers.  On her farm in Temucula, CA, she has: 

  • Champion Wensleydale Longwools
  • Gotlands and Bluefaced Leicesters
  • Racka Sheep
  • Old English Babydoll Southdowns
  • Angora and Pygora goats

And that's only a partial list of the animals she raises at her farm! Goats_03

As if running a farm with 85 to 100 animals isn't keeping her busy enough, Natalie hand spins and hand dyes all of the yarns with only a few others to help, so each hank is incredibly special and unique. (And if you are curious about the process of creating and handling fine fibers, spinning, etc., check out her YouTube videos!)

When she approached me to design something with her yarns, I just had to say yes!  Plus, she developed a special color, called "Babe" just for me!  "Babe" features a gorgeous blend of pinks and mango tones with hints of turquoise.  And it's the perfect backdrop for the Hello Kitty Charms that are part of the yarn (see the top hank below)!  I'm a sucker for Hello Kitty, so combining my love of yarn + knitting + Hello Kitty is like a dream come true!
Namaste_Babe_350
"Babe" is also available as a color in her "Ohm Kid Mohair" yarn (see the bottom two hanks here, which I'll be giving away later in this post, BTW!)

To buy Namste Farms yarns, see the line exclusively at YarnMarket.com.

To learn more about this unique Yarn Company, visit their website at www.namastefarms.com, on YouTube (namastefarms), and on blogtalk radio at
blogtalk: Namaste Farms, where Natalie talks about farming, interviews designers, and much more!

And thank you, Natalie, for sponsoring my latest pattern, the #135 Babe Zip-Front Hello Kitty Cardigan (with matching Cowl!)   This top-down design features the Charmed-Hello Kitty yarn mentioned above that is completely one-of-a-kind! See it exclusively at YarnMarket.com.

Babe_Zip_Front_Cardi_350The all-over cable design wth short-sleeves is in a coordinating color of Malabrigo Worsted.  The Charmed-Hello Kitty yarn worked perfectly with it as an accent on the knit-in pockets and along the bottom border.

See more photos and purchase info for the #135 Babe Zip-Front Hello Kitty Cardigan, now available in the Knitting Patterns shop!

AND lastly, I have 2 hanks of Namaste Farms Ohm Mohair yarn (sorry, NOT the one with the Hello Kitty charms!) in color "Babe" to give away!

To enter this contest:

1) Post a comment on this blog entry by 9pm PST, January 31, 2012 and tell us what you would do with a hank of this gorgeous yarn!  One comment per person, please.  And please also SHARE this post using the Twitter, Google+, and Facebook links below.

2) Post a comment on the Ravelry.com Forum post in the SweaterBabe.com Fans group announcing this giveaway by 9pm PST, January 31, 2012, telling us what you would do with a hank of this gorgeous yarn.  One comment per person, please.  Also, please "fave" this pattern on the SweaterBabe patterns page at Ravelry.com. 

After the end of the month, I'll choose 2 random commenters to each be sent a hank of the Namaste Yarns Ohm yarn in "Babe" color. 

Good luck to all! Sorry, but winning hanks can only be sent to U.S. and Canada addresses.

 

*** Winners Announcement ***

Congrats to go CoriInKansas on Ravelry, who commented on Ravelry January 24th and to Ann, who commented on the SweaterBabe.com Blog for this giveaway on January 24th.

You'll each be receiving one hank of the Ohm yarn in Babe (Each hank retails for $44.85!)  Woohoo!


Sexy Knitter - a Review and Giveaway

I have ziploc bags with whatever basic knitting tools I need for each particular project in them. Not exactly cute or nifty, but it does the job.

Sexy_Kntter_500But here is a much classier and "sexier" solution from https://thesexyknitter.etsy.com! Sarah, the woman behind thesexyknitter.etsy.com, created these compact Knitter's Tool Tins (she has a Crochet version too!) and sent me some to review and giveaway.  Thanks so much, Sarah! 

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Knitters_Tool_Tin2_600First, I am just amazed at how many great tools she manages to fit nicely into these Altoid-sized tins!

Each Knitter's Tool Tin includes: a stitch holder, a cable needle, a double-ended crochet hook, a set of origami star stitch markers, Puppy Snips scissors (so cute!), 2 yarn needles, a sewing needle, a measuring tape, and a magnetic strip to keep the needles in place.  WOW!Sexy_Knitter_St_Mkrs  It's so easy to keep all you need in one place and just toss this tin into your project bag!

The tins come with fun and striking knitting stitch pattern graphics decorating the tops.  You can ALSO personalize them with your own image!  I LOVE that option, of course, as all I had to do was email Sarah an image of what I wanted, and she did all the rest.  Cool, huh?

The customization option makes it such a great gift option.  You and your knitting/crochet group can get matching ones!  Or put your best finished project photo on there ;-)

The stitch markers included in the Tool Tin are also sold separately, along with other stitch marker sets on her etsy site.  The ones Sarah sent me to review are the Origami Paper Stars.  So beautiful, modern, and seemingly delicate, but they really are surprisingly sturdy (as she notes on her site).  Very unique!  They come in a small glass tube with cork stopper (nice packaging!). The fact that they are lightweight is ideal, as you really don't want stitch markers to ever weigh down your needles.

Please do visit TheSexyKnitter at https://www.theSexyKnitter.etsy.comSarah has a fun selection to check out at reasonable prices (Knitter's Tool Tins are $22 - $25; Stitch Marker Sets are $5.00)!  Tell her SweaterBabe.com sent you!

*** And now for the giveaway details!  ***

I have one customized SweaterBabe.com Knitter's Tool Tin and a set of 5 Origami Paper Star Stitch Markers to give away.  TWO lucky winners will be chosen randomly after July 15th. 

Here are the THREE ways you can enter this giveaway (do one or ALL THREE!):

1) Add your comment to this Blog Post by 9pm PST on July 15th, 2011.  One comment per person, please.  Telll us how you keep your knitting tools handy!

2) Make a pattern purchase from www.SweaterBabe.com anytime from now until 9pm PST on July 15th, 2011.  Each pattern purchased counts as a separate entry!

3) Comment in the thread announcing this giveaway in my Ravelry Fans Group at: https://www.ravelry.com/groups/sweaterbabecom-fans.  Comment must be made by 9pm PST, July 15th.  One comment per person, please.  This link will only work if you are a member of Ravelry.com.

Good luck to all!

*** July 15th announcement ***

AND the Winner's are . . . Julianne M, who placed an order on 6/30, and Judi A., who left a comment on this blog post on 6/30.   Congrats!!  Julianne, you have won the Knitter's Tool Tin and Judi, you have won the Origami Paper Star Stitch Markers.  Woohoo!


Fun storage solutions!

Storing knitting stuff is always a challenge.  I've got my many WIPs (works in progress), a huge yarn stash, plenty of accessories and notions, and so much more stuff! 

Bags and Ikea sure do come in handy.  As do these great solutions from a company called Great Useful Stuff that really lives up to its company name!

Thanks to Sarah, from www.greatusefulstuff.com, for sending us these sweet Cupcake Storage Bags and Organizer Totes for review and to giveaway! 

GUS_Cupcakes_600Who doesn't smile when they think of cupcakes? No one I know!

When I first opened the Cupcake Storage Bag, I let out a delighted squeal when I found the smaller bag nested in the bigger one.  Too cute.  My DH had a good laugh at me over that!  YES - the bags nest and make a really cute set.GUS_Cupcake_Scale_600

Each bag has a bottom compartment that zips and a top compartment that has the string pull.  When closed, the top looks like it's got a cherry on it!  The bottom is a nice, sturdy canvas material. The top is like a soft, brushed cotton material (the better to resemble icing, me thinks!). 

Each Cupcake Bag actually fits a decent amount of finished knit projects and/or yarn.  You can see the scale of them since my 2 1/2 year old decided she needed to be in the photo too!  A sweater's worth of yarn can definitely fit into a cupcake!

GUS_Tote2_500

Sarah also sent a cute organizing tote - with more pockets than I've ever seen on a tote!  This purple tote has nice, deep, open pockets all around and a great big center pouch.  It's also made in a sturdy, high quality canvas with pretty contrast trim piping. It comes in a lot of other great color combos as well.  Love it!  It's the perfect size for a project.  You can keep all the accessories, like post it notes, pens, calculators, gauge ruler, stitch holders, etc. all handy and separate in the outer pockets.  The tote is great for any kind of crafting.

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GUS_Cupcake_Sm_500

NOW, for the Giveaway Details!

I'll be giving away:
ONE Cupcake Storage Bag set
and ONE Purple Organizing Tote.  Two lucky random winners will be chosen from among all giveaway entries.

To enter, please do ANY or ALL of the following:
1)
Post your comment here on how you store your knitting and crochet stuff and what you think about the Cupcake Bags and Pocket Tote!  ONE comment on the blog per person, please.  Comments must be entered by 9pm PST, June 15th, 2011.

2) Post your comment on Ravelry.com in the SweaterBabe.com Fans Group discussion announcing this contest by 9pm PST, June 15th, 2011.  Here's the link: https://www.ravelry.com/discuss/sweaterbabecom-fans/1665033/1-25One comment on Ravelry per person, please.

3) Make any pattern purchase at SweaterBabe.com from now until 9pm PST, June 15th, 2011.  Each purchase counts as an entry, so multiple purchases are ok!

Good luck to everyone and be sure to check out all the other "great stuff" at https://www.greatusefulstuff.com!

*** June 18th, 2011 Winner Announcement!  ***
And the randomly chosen winner are. . .
Mary (made a pattern purchase on 5/19/11) who wins the Cupcake Storage Bags and
Janie Holley (commented on the blog 5/18/11) who wins the Purple Kangaroo Tote.  Congrats!!!


Good knitting karma - a review and giveaway!

We all love to have good karma, so why not carry around a charm that bestows great knitting karma on us AND is adorable too!

I happened across these Kamibashi dolls while browsing in a gift shop while I was on vacation last December.  They first caught my eye because they were cute (yes, I have a very strong radar for cute things!), BUT also because I could tell they were hand crafted and looked really unique.Purl_Kamibashis_650  And then, I found that one of these dolls was specifically for knitters and I fell in love!

Turns out, there's a whole great story behind these dolls too.

"Kamibashi" means paper bridge in Japanese.

Apparently, a husband and wife team, both university teachers who were living in  Kyoto, discovered this craft of making string dolls and decided to create and bring a whole line of them into the U.S. through many boutiques and online.  Their creative execution of them is really well done! 

The dolls that I discovered are part of their "String Doll Gang".  Their Kamibashi.com site sells the full selection (over 100 different dolls, including special holiday ones!).  The site also has a lot of other great hand crafted charm-like products.

Ok - back to the String Dolls in particular. . . love them!  They are a "Gang" of 2 to 3" tall dolls hand crafted in string and fabric.  Each has a truly unique character and purpose.  They can be used as key chains, bag charms, for collecting, etc.  The ones shown above and that I fell in love with are called "Purl".  Her mission tag says, "Purl makes sure that you never drop a stitch."  How awesome is that!

So, we (thanks, Natalie, who helps me out with stuff like this!) contacted Chris at Kamibashi, and he kindly sent me some to review and giveaway.
Purl_Kamibashi_500
I'll be keeping the black-haired one, as it looks most like me.  The others are equally well made, super detailed, and just so sweet.

Don't you just love them?  I hardly need to "review" them, as I was already sold on them when I noticed them at the gift shop.  You can see the wonderful detailing in the photos here.  They are just so charming.

I will add that the Kamibashi company has a lot going for it too.  They are hugely creative in all the dolls and other charms that they make.  Read this page: https://www.kamibashi.com/artists/stringdolls/, and you can see the whole process of how a string doll is conceived and born!  AND they use fair trade practices and employ women in the rural areas of the North of Thailand to hand make each of these dolls.

There are so many other String Doll designs, it will be hard to select your fave.  Here's a snapshot of part of their site, and this is just the String Doll Gang pageKamibashi

"Lady Liberty ensures that you have a warm welcome wherever you go"

"Cupcake reminds you to savor the sweet moments in life", 

"Titus the Tiger teaches us that we are all unique individuals who deserve respect."  

And so forth!  You'll just have to visit them at www.kamibashi.com to see all that they have!  Oh - and did I mention that these string dolls are only $10 each?

OK, enough of my raving, and now for the giveaway details. I will be giving away 2 Purl Kamibashi dolls at the end of April. 
To enter this contest, please do ONE or BOTH of the following:

1) Leave a comment on this post by 9pm PST, April 30th, 2011.  Tell us what you think of these dolls and which one is your fave.  ONE comment per person, please.

2) Post in the Ravelry.com discussion announcing this giveaway by 9pm PST, April 30th, 2011.  The discussion is in the SweaterBabe.com Fans Group at: https://www.ravelry.com/groups/sweaterbabecom-fans.  ONE post per person, please.
(If you are not yet a member of Ravelry.com, consider joining!  And please join the SweaterBabe.com Fans Group in Ravelry.com too!)

I'll randomly choose 2 winners, each to receive one Purl doll.  Sorry - I will be randomly selecting which hair color doll to send the winners.  Dolls can only be sent to U.S. and Canadian addresses.  Thanks! 

And thank you, Chris and Kristen, the founders and owners of Kamibashi.com, for sending us these dolls!

May 16th Update: AND the winners are. . . Lu R., who commented here on 4/19, and Mary, who commented here on 4/2.  You've both been emailed and the "Purl" dolls are on their way!  CONGRATS!!