Tuesday, November 25, 2014

St. John's

I took a quick visit to St John's this past weekend. No trip to town would be complete without a visit to Cast On! Cast Off! 

It's a delightful little LYS ran by the equally delightful Katie. She has curated an amazing collection of indie dyed yarns. If you like to purchase souvenir yarn then I strongly urge you to drop by Katie's shop. 

I bought a sweaters quantity of fingering weight yarn to knit an all over lace pattered cardigan. The yarn is gorgeous! (More about that later in a future post) 

I think I may be crazy for even thinking about this sweater but it's one of those things .... Ya know? It's in my head and I can't stop thinking about it. That and the fact that my friend Jessie is knitting it and hers is turning out so beautifully. 

Katie is running a little KAL this month. It's Christmas ornaments. Knit one for yourself or for her shop. This little cutie is what I made for her. 
The pattern is called "snowball buddies" by Susan Claudino. There are other critters in the collection. I think I'll be making more of these little guys. They are so cute and so easy to make. 

While in town I got to meet up with my gorgeous niece. It was so nice to see her considering we missed her when we visited Newfoundland last month for Dads birthday. 

Here we are at the recently opened Jack Asters in downtown St John's. They have some interesting things on the menu including a side called "stacked jiggs" 

Fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will have some idea of what that is. I didn't try it myself but it sure looked interesting. Maybe next time. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Winter is Here.

Usually winter comes to this part of the world gradually. We usually will get a snow storm or two before Haloween. The snow melts a little and a little more falls. And little by little our world becomes frozen and covered in snow. But not this year. 

We didn't have any snow for Halloween. But several days after that I get a phone call that the portable insta garage where Kev had been storing wood and the lawnmower had blown into the middle of the street. Of course Kev was out of town for this - as always seems to be the case whenever anything detrimental happens. 

Not only was it windy but about three feet of snow had fallen overnight. And guess what? None of it has melted. We've had more snow since and it too has stayed. Winter has definitely taken hold here and it's not letting go anytime soon. 

The good news is that I'm a knitter and I have a unique skill that allows me to keep warm. And to keep my loved ones warm.
The shawl pictured is a Steven West design. Anyone who has read this blog knows of my affection for Steven West designs. This one is no exception. It's a mystery KAL. It's the third one of his that I've done. I think it's his best one yet and I only gotten two clues done so far but I'm speeding right along. All of the clues have been released and I love the look of some of the finished shawls that are popping up on Rav 

I'm currently in the middle of some travel which usually means some knitting and hopefully some visits to yarn shops. Hopefully I'll finish this shawl up soon. I'm gonna need it. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Winter is coming

Winter comes quickly here in Labrador. The trees are almost bare. Except my favorite tree. That one still has leaves. I know I'm crazy. I have favorite trees. This one is really Interesting - if trees can be interesting. It's a dog berry tree (I think mainlanders call them dogwood)  
 I see this tree on my drive to work each morning. When all the leaves are gone off of the other trees, this one still has leaves. And look at that colour!! It almost glows. Whatever it is about this tree it somehow seems to be a month behind its counterparts. The leaves on this tree were still green when the others were all turned orange and falling. It's beautiful.  

Do you have a favorite tree? I have otter favorites as well. There is a huge poplar near our cabin that I love. There is also a larch tree that I pass on my way to work that has been trimmed to a pefect round tree. And this time of year the larches (or tameracs) are such a gorgeous shade of this golden yellow. They seem to glow in certain lights

In preparation for winter I am back on my mitten kick. I signed up for the mitten club from Blueberry Pie Studio once again. I was very happy with the colours of yarns received from there last year. The first shipment looks like this. 

The colour is called icecream parlour. I love it. I've already finished one mitten and have started the second. This shipment included a pattern for a multitude of sizes so I hope that each of my little boys will have a pair of handknit mittens from this seasons club. Sadly (not really) this colorway is a little too feminine for their parents who believe in gender based colours even though the little ones don't and think that pink and purple are perfectly good colours for boys. I want these mittens to be worn and the parents still have that control. 

So I may keep them for me or I may give them to my neice. But I've been knitting these mittens by Spilly Jane. It's hard to tell from this photo because I was holding the purple yarn in the wrong hand but, that's an octopus. I'm really thinking these will be perfect for my neice. I have to knit her Something since her brothers have (and will have) handknit socks from me. The second octopus is knit in fushia and I changed hands so the colour pops so much. 

The yarn is Jamison Spindrift. Kevin bought it for me when we visited a yarnshop in Mahone bay called "Have a Yarn"
What a lovely store in a lovely town. I highly recommend a visit if you're in the area. They had the nicest samples knit up. It made me want to knit ALL THE THINGS!!! I bought a Lucy Neatby mitten pattern that I've been resisting the urge to cast on. Seriously, I need to get some of the mittens off of the needles.

When you live in Labrador you can never have too many mittens. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Happy 70th Birthday to my dad

I feel very fortunate that I grew up in a small town in outport Newfoundland. We had so much freedom and the best 'playgrounds'. Of course I'm talking about the many beaches, coves, wharves, gulches, ponds, woods etc that our parents allowed us to explore and play. THE BEST!!

I also had the best parents ( still do, luckily). Mom was hands on. I often tell people that we had the best Haloween costumes, the best decorated Valentines boxes, and the best painted Easter eggs. Our mom even made furnature for our Barbie dolls. 

Dad took us camping - every summer.  Those are some of my best memories. My brother and sister and I along with mom and dad travelling from park to park all over the island. Sometimes if we were lucky our cousins would be camping nearby. Sometimes it would be my parents' friends with kids our age. But often, it was just us and always we were encouraged to go out and make friends. Looking back on those years it amazes me at how open we were and how easy it was to make friends. If there was a kid our age camping in the same park, chances are that kid was our friend within a day of arriving. 

Our parents taught us by example to be respectful of others, of the environment and of ourselves.  They taught us that family is everything and that laughter is indeed the best medicine. 

They also taught us the importance of service and giving back to the community.  Mom was in Brownies with us. This is where I learned to knit. I'm not sure to this day if it was her or my aunt Marie who taught me. Likely, it was a combination of the two. My dad was in the Navy League (which was like junior sea cadets) with us. 

When I look back on growing up in outport Newfoundland there are so many positive, fun memories.  When I went back home to celebrate dad's birthday we were reminiscing about something that happened on a camping trip years ago when we were small children. Dad was surprised that I'd remembered.  Those are the things that stick with you - forever

Now I have new memories. We took mom and dad to St Mary's bay. Dad had never been there. We wanted to see the bird sanctuary that everyone talks about. In typical Newfoundland fashion the fog was as thick as pea soup and we couldn't see a hand in front of our faces. While we couldn't see the birds we sure could hear them. 

Only the gannets were left. By this time of year the other sea birds go out to sea. Murrs and kittywakes that normally nest on the cliffs in the spring are gone by the fall. 

It was kind of fitting that gannets were left. Mom always compared us to gannets.  Like them we always seemed be hungry. And we were always loud. 

Here I am with my mom and dad. We had just finished a 5km walk around the Salmoneer Line nature park. My dad is 70 and my mom will be 70 very soon. We are so lucky that they are well enough to do these things. 

This is a photo of my dad and some of his siblings. Sadly Aunt Elsie is in a long term care facility so she couldn't make the birthday party. Aunt Diane was there but didn't get in on this photo - there are others that she did sit in on. Being one of the youngest of 13, I guess it stands to reason that many of my aunts and uncles have passed already. But it's still sad. I look back on pictures of dad's 40th birthday and they were all there. They had such a fun time that night. And we had a fun time this night too. 
My sister and I. She is an amazing cook. She did all of the cooking for dad's party. She is awesome! Here we are making fun  (of course that's what sisters do best) of her daughter Jenna) We were actually missing Jenna who couldn't get to the party because she had to work. Jenna takes lots of 'selfies' so we are trying to mimic her. 

My handsome and talented nephew Jordan. I'm always grateful for any time I get to spend with him. He was actually home from university as part of his education course - job shadowing at Discovery Collegiate. My nephew is going to be a teacher. And I think he will be an excellent teacher. 

This photo is of my mom and my youngest nephew Riley. You can't tell from this photo how tall he is. This kid is after growing so much since I've seen him last. He has the most gorgeous curly red hair. And he is SO. FRIGGING. SMART!! He is amazing. 

He is amazing and he is totally knit worthy. So guess what? He got these. As soon as they came off the needles he put them right on his feet. And he loved them and appreciated them.

So of course I had to start a pair for his brother because he is knit worthy too. And I can't have him being jealous of his brother. 

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Time lapse

Totally purloining the yarn harlot here. She recently did three blog posts showing photos of an in progress sock during a couple of trips she made. Well,here is my time lapse sock since I too am travelling. Kev and I are enroute to Newfoundland through Quebec and the maritimes. 

This last one looks mangled but I assure you it's all good. Doing an afterthought heel sock courtesy of Laura Linneman. Here we are are the ferry terminal in Godbout Quebec. Kind of exciting because I can see whales here from the shore. 

Another from the ferry. Sock is done and teo needs grafting but I've left the tapestry needle below deck. And visiting your vehicle while transversing the St Lawrence River is forbidden. Yikes. Should I do a three needle bindoff and go back and Kitchener it later?

So I did the three needle bindoff and am now knitting the afterthought heel  - which is essentially the exact same thing as a toe! Who knew. Perhaps I'll have one sock finished by the time this ferry docks.  

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Top Down Icelandic Cardigan Part 2

Here we are in September already. The weather here in this part of the world has taken a definite turn. Fall comes quickly when you are this far north. The leaves of the birches are turning yellow already. The dogberry trees are almost void of leaves altogether, though I suspect a beetle or disease if doing that, not really due to fall. 

I've been making slow but steady progress on my topdown Icelandic cardigan. I'm determined that this will be a sweater that I wear. I'm determined to knit it perfectly. I'm determined that the fit will be amazing and that I'll be so happy with my cardigan that I'll never want to take it off. 

I've knit many sweaters for myself. Sadly, I don't wear too many of them. There are many reasons for this. Fit is a big one. I've knit one that's too small, another that's too large, another that for the life of me will not stay on my shoulders. (I think this is a design issue - others on Ravelry have complained of the same). There is one sweater that fits fine but looks ridiculous. It has a long peplum and elbow length sleeves. My daughter says it resembles a bathrobe when I wear it. Not a good look for me. 

Then there is this asymmetric sweater that I modified to make it fit symmetric. I really didn't think this one through. The original pattern had a button closure at the neck.  The left front was thin while  the right front was wider. In the original form it was really quite a pretty pattern. I'm not sure what possessed me to try to modify the pattern so that the opening of the cardigan was in the center. I ended up knitting to thin fronts instead of two wider fronts. The result is a cardigan that resembles a cape with sleeves. Not a very fetching look for me.

The final issue that I've had with handknit sweaters is one of sensibility.  I've knit three short sleeved 100% wool sweaters. Let me tell from living in Labrador I've learned that if it's cold enough to be wearing a wool sweater it's cold enough to require sleeves.  It took three sweaters to realize this. That is a sad reflection upon my powers of observation.

So for this sweater I think I finally got it. It's going to be that perfect combination of fit and style and sensibility. That is unless I run out of yarn. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rigid Heddle Weaving

In my last post I mentioned the Craftsy classes that I had bought.  One was a weaving class for beginners on rigid heddle looms. 

About 4 years ago Kev gave me a loom for my birthday. It was a little rigid heddle loom called a cricket.  I loved it and wove about 4 scarves on it right away. Then I put it away and haven't used it much since.  

I purchased an e book a while back called Kismet from Hill Country Weavers. The premise of this book is simple weaving on rigid heddle looms combining knitting, crochet and sewing. It's a great book with some really cute and interesting patterns. There are about 7 projects here that I'd like to make.  

Like so many books and magazines I buy, I put it aside for later and I kind of forgot it about. Then one of my favorite video podcasters showed a finished object from this little book and I decided to get out my cricket. 

The project is called Wine and Roses.  You really should check out Steph's (from Must Stash Podcast) version here. http://www.ravelry.com/projects/SupaSteph/wine--roses Its really cute and so wearable. I think these would make great gifts for Christmas. 

My poor little loom hasn't seen much action in recent years. Immediately after the fire I cleaned it but even today 2 years after the fire it still smells of smoke. 

Also, the two apron rods were gone. I have no idea what happened to them. In the chaos after the fire and the subsequent cleaning I can only assume they've been misplaced. So I improvised and used two large DPNs.  So far it's working out good. 

You can see the straight knitting needle here. This was too long to wind the warp around so I found the shorter DPNs. 

If you look real close here you can see the DPN. The fringe is tied around the it. I am a little nervous that the strands will slide off the ends of the double pointed needle. 

Here is the weaving so far. I've always loved this combination of colours. When I'm done with the weaving I'll pick up stitches and knit in a solid color for 15 inches or so. I'm not sure the best color to use. I'm thinking a charcoal color perhaps. The entire piece is finished with
A crocheted edging and buttonholes. Perhaps I'll use some of the buttons from the order that I placed from etsy last week.  

Stay tuned to see me complete this piece. My tension sucks so far and you can really see this when you look closely at the edge of the weaving. I plan on making more of these or perhaps others from this book. I can only improve right?