Rollin' to Rhinebeck

Fall is for reading, raking...and Rhinebeck! Balwen goods are headed to the New York Sheep & Wool Festival next weekend as the guest of Cooperative Press.

I'll have buttons to adorn your fall knitting, and plenty of pins and closures for you and the knit wearers in your life (because holiday).

The Cooperative Press booth is in Building C; I'll be splitting my time there and just around the corner with my pals at Bijou Basin Ranch, so if you're attending the Super Bowl of fiber festivals, come say hi and show me your Rhinebeck sweater!

Market hours for the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival are Saturday Oct. 15, 9am-5pm & Sunday Oct. 16, 10am-5pm. Here's a coupon for $3 off admission.

Buttoned-Up Holiday Gift Ideas

I know several people who plan their holiday gifts months in advance, knitting their way through their Christmas lists at open swims, back-to-school picnics, and Halloween hayrides. I am not one of those people.

Sure, I may collect knitting patterns in the "Gifts" section of my Ravelry queue, or buy a skein of yarn with a certain someone in mind. But I suffer from a pretty severe case of "OMG it's Thanksigiving week! I need to get started!" 

Whether you share my affliction, or just need a few last-minute ideas (and in gift making rather than buying, we're already well into the "last-minute" phase), here are a few of my current quick-knitting faves to help you button up your holiday lists. (Heh heh, see what I did there?) 

The Perfect Rime Cowl by Jenny F uses around 200 yards of worsted weight for a quick cowl with an easy cable pattern and a two-button closure up top. I put some Star Shank buttons on this blue one, which worked perfectly. There's a matching hat available too; the designer has both patterns on sale as part of the annual Indie Gift-a-Long; use coupon code "giftalong2015" for 25% off either, or both, until this Friday at midnight EST.

The Spiral Cowl by Keri McKiernan is a pretty, feminine cowl with a simple traveling yarnover pattern, great for TV knitting. You can leave it unadorned, but I added a Quilted button both for decoration, and for gathering with a secret i-cord loop tucked inside the top. One 250-yard skein of a luscious DK, and you're golden.

If you've thrown in the towel on holiday knitting altogether, just grab a hand-turned Shawl Pin for the knit lover in your life, or a Vintage Ruler Pin for any recipient who might dig an upcycled tool with a story.

Style Me Saturday

I know this isn't a terribly summery shot, but with the cool, rainy early summer we've had here in Chicago, it's not out of the question:

I make these shawl pins from discarded letterpress equipment, just a different size than the pieces that become my letterpress buttons. I keep them on the short side (around 4" total from head to tip), since I tend to poke myself with the longer ones. With these, I can pull the cowl up and secure it closer to my face and neck without excess length.

I knit this in May with a skein of Fiberstory Lush Aran I'd been petting for months, and used every. last. yard. of it. Semi-solid with cashmere content? Sign me up. Pattern is the Infinity Lace Scarf by Louis Chicquette and was a free Ravelry download. 

Show me how YOU style your Balwen bling! Three ways to enter:

  1. Post on Instagram with the tag #balwenwood
  2. Post your picture on our Facebook page
  3. If social media's not your thing, email directly to contact AT balwenwoodworks DOT com.

I'll post my faves here and on Instagram, and enter you in a monthly drawing for a $10 Balwen gift certificate!

And the winner is...

Many, many thanks to Knitting Sarah for hosting my first-ever blog giveaway, and to Jen Lucas for participating with me! I hope the winner shows us what she does with her new pattern e-book and denim closure.

Style Me Saturday

Every Saturday, I'll feature pics of Balwen goods in the wild, so we can all see how you style your BWW goodies. See below for how to play!

To kick off the series, check out how Sarah of Knitting Sarah blog fame used a denim jewel closure to set off her new Bandwagon shawl:

Image courtesy of Knitting Sarah

Image courtesy of Knitting Sarah

Looks super sharp on Cloudlover's Mr. Bates colorway, eh? Really nice job, Sarah!

Pattern is by Jen Lucas Designs and is included in her six-pattern e-book Gradient: A Shawl Collection. Not that I need more in my queue, but I might have to knit them all.

More info on how I make the denim closures is here. BONUS: You can WIN one of these via the giveaway running on Knitting Sarah through July 8th. See her post here for how to win. DOUBLE BONUS: Also in Sarah's post is how to get a 10% off coupon. I don't plan on running coupons very often, but couldn't resist since it's my first blog giveaway, and Sarah and Jen were just a dream to work with.

Show me how YOU style your Balwen bling! Three ways to enter:

  1. Post on Instagram with the tag #balwenwood
  2. Post your picture on our Facebook page
  3. If social media's not your thing, email directly to contact AT balwenwoodworks DOT com.

I'll post my faves here and on Instagram, and enter you in a monthly drawing for a $10 Balwen gift certificate!