My Latest Projects

 

The Quaking Aspen Cowl

Well…I purchased this yarn when I was in Colorado last fall….and I finally finished the cowl I intended to make with it!  Yay me!  I’m so happy with the way it turned out.  It is relatively light weight but will be best if I save it for the very early autumn.  Something to look forward to!  If you would like the pattern…click here.

Mermaid Tail Blanket

I had a special request from a friend who’s daughter had an upcoming 7th birthday… and she loves mermaids.  She wondered if I could knit a mermaid tail blanket for her since she’d seen one somewhere and really wanted it.  Originally it was intended to be a Christmas present, but I was so backed up with other custom orders and my full-time job, that I couldn’t devote enough time to get it completed in time…so thankfully she was very forgiving and decided it would make a great birthday present.

Her mom took her photo for me after she received it!  She’s so cute!! Its waayyy big!  But her mom requested it larger so she would have room to grow!  What a great idea!!

I also found this pattern on Raverly….there are several!  Jump on and find one you like.

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Isn’t she adorbs!!

Riverfront Cowl

I also finished the riverfront cowl – the kit my friend and I got at the Pittsburgh Yarn Festival from Stitch Party.  It was a fairly quick knit up and I’m loving this color!  What do you think?

This was a very fun kit…I’m glad we picked it up, without thought to really what it was, other than a kit!!  Meaning the yarn was already selected, the pattern, and it even included the needles!!  Sweet!

Non-Knitting Adventures (are there any? really??)

Glass City Half Marathon

My gang of turtle running friends all headed to Toledo, OH last month to run the half marathon.  The Mercy Health Glass City Marathon. Most of the group had run it before…but this was my first time on this course.  From what they told me, its beautiful…and most importantly…FLAT!

Since its an April race…that meant I had to train during the WINTER…..well….I’m a bit of a freeze baby when it comes to running outdoors in the coldness….I’m not really fond of it…. at CrossFit, we switch from running to rowing or cycling indoors…where its warmer and sane!  Needless to say….I DID NOT TRAIN….. I did do some running here and there, but no long mileage.  I secretly wanted to see how I did, without any dedicated running and all CrossFit as my training….

A couple of my friends and I made a pact….that we would run/walk intervals the entire 13.1 miles…. since none of us ended up training…um hello…winter!

The morning of the race, we decided to use the shuttle buses provided by the race.  They were to pick us up at the hotel and take us to the start line (near it anyways). We picked a pickup time that allowed us plenty of time to get to the start of the race on time.  Race time was 7:00am.

Well…they had a huge mix up and ended up messing up the scheduling and bus availability from our hotel…. many, and I mean MANY runners were left stranded at the hotel waiting for pickup.  Finally a bus showed…at the start time of 7am!!!!  Once they dropped us off, we crossed the starting line 25min late.  Well…we intended to run/walk and adding another 25min to our time…puts us behind the clean up crew!  Crap!  The entire way, we had the water stop clean up crew following us in their trucks…all the way to mile 10.  They ended up tearing down all the water stops before we reached them…so my friend and I vowed to stick together because I was the only one carrying water.

Once we reached mile 10…the race director forced us to integrate with the marathoners on their race course because they opened up the last leg of the half marathon course to traffic, and it was no longer safe for us to be on the roads.

Adding insult to injury, one of the spectators on the marathon course heckled us and told us to move off to the side (because at this point we are walking)…It was all I could do NOT to kick that woman in the shins….

However… we finished and we did get our medals….and a fun fancy beer mug!!  I would like a redo on this course…but again…I’m looking at winter training…  I’m not sure I’m up for that…winter = knitting, warm cozy socks, and a strong cup of tea…. What do you think?  Should I repeat…and maybe NOT train again…just use CrossFit as my training and see what happens??

What’s up next for Peacocks and Purls….

Ummmm… Knitting of course!  Starting a couple new projects with yarn from the Pittsburgh fiber festival and yarns from and new company I discovered via Instagram… Swift Yarns….I LOVE this pink to yellow colorway!!   Shawls people…fade shawls are in my future!

Till later love…

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Fiber Adventure + My Birthday!

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So I just celebrated my birthday a few weeks ago…. And this year my friend and I decided to go to our first fiber festival and make a grand adventure of the day…then later, we’d meet up with our whole group of girlfriends and celebrate all the recent birthdays at dinner together…

Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival

We started our morning traveling to Pittsburgh PA….about a two hour drive for us.  (Is any distance really too far to see, hold, and squish yarn? I mean, really??)

Arrival at the Pittsburgh Convention Center, we were a bit confused as we didn’t see people carrying bags of yarn, but bunches of people dressed in costume!!  We had a small panic attack that we went to the wrong place, but apparently there was a comic-con happening there too….

Away to the second floor….and ….. Y A R N ! ! ! !

Upon entering….there were rows and rows and rows of yarn!  We saw sampler pieces, exciting colors, people touching, squishing, and squealing about all the yarn!  It was all so pretty…so exciting….my eyes darted left and right…where to start?? What to see first??  I took off…heading sporadically from one vendor to another…I was five years old again!  The colors – oh so pretty!  The project bags, the patterns…come, make this, touch this, buy this!  I was screaming!….no wait…that was my wallet…so sorry plastic credit card…you are going to be on FIRE today!

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As my friend reined me in…..we needed a plan….how do we want to go about seeing it all, vs my running and jumping like a child….  We decided to be controlled and go up one isle and down the next…taking time at each vendor…so we wouldn’t miss anything.  We decided that we would look….just look… the first time through and if anything caught our eye – we’d make a notation on the vendor map so we could go back to that vendor later.  Well… we ended up making marks at practically every vendor…so we just bought stuff as the urge hit us.

My first purchase was at Destination Yarns, based in Cleveland Ohio.  Her yarns are hand dyed, inspired by travel.  Owner, designer & dyer, Jeanne Stevenson,  has many beautiful yarns that you should check out!  As I looked around her booth, I noticed some yarn dyed greens and greys…my favorite…it was called…. Eilean Donan Castle!  Um…..did I read that correctly?  My castle name?  MY castle name for Clan MacRae??  Yes!!  She dyed a batch of yarns to bring out the colorways from the castle grounds… its in greens and grays….I bought it!  Yes, I snapped that right up!  I bought the fingering weight and plan to make a shawl with it….I haven’t decided on the pattern yet though…any suggestions??  She also had a colorway called ‘Shark Infested Waters’ – we went back to her booth several times…but I regret not getting that one – I’ll probably get it online soon!

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Destination Yarn – Eilean Donan Castle

 

My second purchase – was a snap impulse – my friend too!  We saw these really cute kits – who doesn’t love a kit!  I mean, the pattern is already decided, the yarn & colors, and even the knitting cable needle was included!  We bought this kit from The Stitch Party.  The yarn is their own yarns called BASH in worsted weight in 100% Superwash Merino Wool.  I got mine in teal green/blue, the color name is Blue Slide Park!  So out of my comfort zone..but it just screamed… “pick me!” (just like the teddy bears)… It included a beautiful cable needle from Knitters’ Pride…can’t wait to try that out! And also included was the pattern for the Riverfront Cowl.  I can’t wait to knit this up!  #ijoinedthestitchparty  is the hashtag they include to use!  Sooo much fun!

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Stitch Party – Riverfront Cowl

 

And my final purchase….was waaaayyyyy out of my comfort zone…PINK!  I have been seeing all these fade sweaters and shawls…. as well as hand dyed, speckled yarns….          I W A N T  it !!!!

So we wandered around until I could find the perfect pink and then something to match it.  I finally found the pink I wanted at Yarn Byrds truck.  Think gourmet food truck – but yarn instead!  I purchase two skeins one in pink and one in yellow to make a shawl.  I haven’t decided yet on the pattern, but at least I know what I want to make…do you have any pattern suggestions.

 

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So there you have it…. I had a great time and we are already planning our next yarn adventure!  Here are some more pictures from the day.  Enjoy!

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Shark Infested Waters!

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Harps & Thistles Yarn Emporium

If you want a closer look at the yarns I purchased…click here to see them on YouTube or head over to Instagram @ PeacocksandPurls.handknits

What’s on my needles now?

I’m finishing up the Quaking Aspen Cowl that I got from Colorado last year…I should be able to finish it on the way to Toledo, OH.  We are running the Glass City Half Marathon on Sunday…fun fun!..

After I finish that….I think I will start the Riverfront Cowl…then….I have shawls and sweaters on the brain.

Till then love,

Darcilla

Travel & Yarn

I missed you guys!

I’m sorry that time has gotten away from me…again! Life…it seems…is too busy for me. Last year I spent time knitting and traveling…

A Few of my adventures…

As Director for the Clan MacRae Society of North America, our annual meeting was held in Denver Colorado last year…and my husband and I have never been to Colorado and thought this would be an excellent road trip…or air trip, then road trip….

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Items on the Itinerary… attend the Long’s Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival, general meeting at the Stanley Hotel, find elk & moose, hiking in the Rockies, and find a local yarn shop (LYS)!!

During the highland games, we were one of the honored clans of the weekend…go Clan MacRae! Which meant we got to march/walk…in the parade! That was the first time I’ve ever been in a parade! Such fun!

The Rocky Mountains & Animals

Imagine….before sunrise, quietly walking through the park….waiting for the elk to appear…and you see one lone female…wading through the lake heading to meet the heard….hearing the calls of the elk and seeing them up close… all just before sunrise! It was the most amazing thing….and scary too – cause they are REALLY flippin big!

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We spent a few early mornings trying to catch a glimpse of the moose in the area, but wherever they were…we weren’t….so bummed.  We did see a herd of sheep!!!  SHEEP!!

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The hubs and I did some awesome trail hikes, took our packs, ate lunch along the trail and earned some hiking patches. At one point we were nearly caught in a thunderstorm while up in the mountains….this cross-fitter kicked up her pace and sprinted down the mountain side to get to low ground! I thoroughly enjoyed the glory of God’s great handy-work and am counting the days until we can come back again!

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So…did you find yarn??

I am happy to report – that I did find yarn! The LYS had such a great selection of local fibers. At The Stitchin Den I chose three yarns based on a cowl pattern I found there…and I chose earthy colors to remind me of the mountains….

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I chose the Vermont yarns by Tahki Stacy Charles Inc.  in colors bark, granite, and mica.  The pattern is the Quaking Aspen Cowl designed by Petra Marcelle.  You can find this pattern on Ravelry.

We met the most wonderful people and had the greatest adventure!

The mountains are AMAZING! and someday, we would like to call Colorado home!

Till then love,

Darcilla

 

Oh no! My head shrunk! No wait – its the hat…

My hat is too small….what do I do?

I recently had a friend approach me about a hat she received as a gift…She loves the hat but its too small to pull down over her head and she wondered if there was anything she could do to stretch it out.

My initial thoughts were..

  What style of hat is it?

  What is it made out of?

  Is it hand knit or store bought?

and…would she be heartbroken if my suggestions…ruined her hat.  (Eek! Lets hope that doesn’t happen!)

So I stared at her a bit (my thinking process) and explained that since I was unable to see the hat, touch it, pull on it, that I could only give her some tips to try.

My Suggestion…

  1.  Submerge the hat in cold water with a little baby shampoo or mild laundry detergent (just a squirt).
  2. Drain out the excess, without squeezing or rubbing (to avoid the fabric felting). Place it on top of a towel and roll up the hat inside the towel to remove excess water.
  3. Place the hat on your head working it down to where you want it to fit you. If the hat does not stretch to fit over your head when wet….then the chances of her hat stretching are slim…..  She asked what to do if she doesn’t want to put the wet hat on her head…(why? is it not fun waiting for a wet hat to dry on your head I asked her…with a sly grin…)
  4. If you have a balloon, you can make that the approximate size of your head and put the wet hat on that, or block it by stretching the hat and pinning it down to an ironing board. (see photo below)
  5. Wait for the hat to dry.
  6. Once the hat dries, it should maintain this shape.  Again, without knowing the fabric its made from, this is just a suggestion. Animal fibers vs. Synthetic fibers will differ.
Example of Blocking. Here is a yoga sock in process.
Example of Blocking. Here is a yoga sock in process.

She thanked me for my help and said she’d give it a try.

 

This of course got me thinking…

What other tips could I have given her if I knew what kind of hat we were working with?

What would you suggest to my friend?

Leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!

What’s next for PeacocksandPurls and my knitting?

I’m knitting and knitting and knitting!  I starting making toeless socks for yoga class.  They received such rave reviews, that I will be introducing them into my shop soon! So be on the look out if your interested!

Till Then Love…Facebook Cover

Wow! That got away from me…

I’m back!  Wow, October and November just got away from me…does that ever happen to you??

RECAP…

My trip to Scotland…the search for sheep and yarn…I did find yarn in the Highlands!  Along with many other things – wonderful friends & family, handcrafted pottery, homemade earthy breads, you cannot even imagine the smell and taste of this bread…and SHEEP!!!  I finally saw the stuff from photos – green landscapes with lots of sheep, everywhere!!  Even road signs warning you of sheep!  I loved every minute!

From Stopping in quaint towns to walk around, in and out of hand-crafted shops, the yarn, and a beautiful tea cup and saucer!  My mother and I bought the same tea cup from Uig Pottery.

 

The Highlands and the Isle of Skye were by far our favorite places we traveled…the Isle is so beautiful, green and lush…and did I mention the sheep?? The air was so crisp and clean…I miss it so so much!  We are already figuring our return trip.

 

YARN…WHERE DID YOU FIND THE YARN?

I did find a local yarn shop recommended by a lovely artist, Jane MacKenna, we were enamored by her beautiful original artwork.  She is amazingly talented!  We got a few of her prints…buying some is highly recommended.  Also, in addition to painting…she is a knitter!!!  BE STILL MY HEART I found a fellow knitter in Scotland!  She was knitting as we browsed her artwork and I asked where she gets her yarn and if it was local…YES!!  The shop is the Handspinner Having Fun in Broadford on the Isle of Skye…heading there for sure!

HOW MUCH YARN DID YOU BUY??

We went to the Handspinner and I fell in love with her shop.  I bought as much as I thought my suitcase could carry – bye bye socks and underwear – don’t need you hogging my suitcase space – hello yarn!

The travel day home was long and tiresome…I wish Scotland wasn’t so far away…it is good to be home, but I really miss it there…cannot wait to return.

Till Then Love…

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The Search for Scottish Wool….continues!

Day 2 in Scotland! 

I can not believe that we are in such a beautiful place!  Thank you to my husband for bringing me here!

The views were amazing
The views were amazing

Today we met with Clan MacRae and learned about our ancestors and the MacRae’s in Edinburgh…. We met a lot of wonderful new friends!

My mom and I walking through the graveyards....
My mom and I walking through the graveyards….
Jimi the Piper on Arthurs Seat
Jimi the Piper on Arthurs Seat
Hiking up Arthurs Seat - Whew! that was straight up!!!
Hiking up Arthurs Seat – Whew! that was straight up!!!
MacCrae's Place in Edinburgh near Usher Hall
McCrae’s Place in Edinburgh near Usher Hall

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Edinburgh Castle...no wool here! LOL!
Edinburgh Castle…no wool here! LOL!
Macraes of Edinburgh store! I did find some hand knits - but no skeins of wool....
Macraes of Edinburgh store! I did find some hand knits – but no skeins of wool….

 

We did some more walking around Edinburgh…we got a lot of souvenirs and the hunt for wool continued…I did not have any success finding it or anything knitted related…bummer…but we head to the highlands tomorrow and maybe, just maybe…I’ll find a few sheep and shear them myself!  LOL!!

Till then Love…

 

PeacocksandPurls.etsy.com
PeacocksandPurls.etsy.com

Is there Wool in Scotland?

Well…I’m back to sunny, warm weather…who takes a vacation where it rains every day and the sun occasionally makes an appearance?  I DO!!  I’m back from our vacation in Scotland!!  Yes, you read me right…SCOTLAND!

It was the trip of a lifetime!  We have been planning it for several years and finally the day came!

Why would you want to go to Scotland?

We decided to go to Scotland because my family has Scottish roots on my mother’s side.  I am also a commissioner for Clan MacRae Society of North America – I help promote and spread our family history at local Scottish Games…and in doing so, I found out that the MacRae Society in Scotland was hosting a global gathering of all MacRae’s to meet in Scotland and learn about our MacRae family history.  We knew we wanted to go…so we started to save up right away.  My husband and I also invited my mother along since it’s her family history as well…this would make her first airplane ride – EVER!  Mom was nervous but really wanted to go….and I must say…she did amazing on the plane!  She actually had a really good time and enjoyed flying!

The trip I planned was to spend some days with the MacRae Gathering and some days on our own.  There were tour groups from each society in the US, Canada, Scotland, and Australia.  We met on specific days with the tours and met some really lovely new friends…some I had already been talking with through Facebook and couldn’t wait to finally meet them!

Knitting in Scotland

I found out that you can take knitting needles on the flight!  I chose not to risk having my needles confiscated by airport security…heaven forbid they take my new bamboo cable needle!! EEK! But one of my goals was to find yarn produced by local farms in Scotland.  When I asked several people about where to find yarn…I kept getting a confused look…one of the lovely ladies that I met at the gathering is also a knitter…she clued me in that they refer to yarn as “wool” there, even if it’s not made with wool!  So once she set me straight…the search is on!  I had hoped to get so much wool…that I would be forced to leave some of my traveling clothes behind to make room for all the wool in my luggage!!!

Day One

Well, that was an incredibly long plane ride and I’m happy to be finally here and able to stand up!! Time to pick up our rental car and begin the scary drive into Edinburgh to find our B&B.  I’m so sorry that I made my poor husband do all the driving…but for the safety of other drivers and pedestrians, it is probably best…even my mother said not to let me drive!!  What does that tell you!  Driving on the left, sitting on the right, shifting with your left hand, street signs I do not understand, street names I cannot find signs for (oh, they were on the sides of buildings vs. our street sign poles), round-a-bouts – oh the round-a-bouts…can I close my eyes now??!! My husband successfully navigated and safely got us to our B&B!  Once settled in, we head out, on foot, into Edinburgh!

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Yarn…wool…where are you??

I am searching each shop we go into for some local wool…no luck…  We have seen some beautiful old buildings today, AMAZING views, and cask ale!  I love cask ale!!  (my voice is getting louder and higher pitched as I say how much I loved cask ale!)  Whisky and Haggis!!!  Score!  My legs are a little sore from walking around because nothing is flat here, which makes for great training for my upcoming 10k when I return home.

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Having my first cask ale! Loving it!
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Street signs on the sides of buildings

 

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Edinburgh Castle! AMAZING!

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At Edinburgh Castle
At Edinburgh Castle
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Walking through the gardens

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Have you ever been to Scotland? What did you enjoy most?  Let me know in the comments below!

Stay tuned for the next segments of our continued adventures in Scotland!

Till then love…