Sunday, January 10, 2016

It's 2016!!

 'Well that year went by in a flash. I swear, the older I get, the faster time seems to go. I cannot believe that I have a 25! (Gulp) year old daughter. I cannot believe that I have four (yes! FOUR!!) grandsons. And I cannot believe this is the tenth year that I've been doing this blog thing. Ten years? Wow!! I'm old. Lol

I used to set goals at the beginning of each year. After several years of writing them down I realized that every year I set myself the same goals. So now I don't even bother. 

It's not that I've given up on improving myself or anything. It's just that I know where I'd like to improve. I know areas of my life (professionally and personally) that would benefit from some 'sprucing up' and I try to keep this in mind all the time not just at the start of a new year. 

I always tell myself each year to try something different or even revisit an older interest. Back in the day (first when I moved to Labrador in 1990) I used to do a lot of drawing and landscape painting. This was before the days of tole painting - yes, I did that too. With the recent popularity of adult colouring and adult colouring books I just couldn't help myself from purchasing some great markers and pencils crayons. I also have purchased a few coloring books too. Last night I sketched this little guy.  

I like him. It's a start right?

I didn't do much spinning in 2015. Partly because I took vacation during the yearly "Tour de Fleece". This was the first year in six years that I had zero output. That will change this year. I know it. I've already been spinning a little bit. 

I was recently contacted by a young lady on Facebook. A friend of a friend of mine. I hear you spin she tells me. She's been very interested in spending as of late.

 Her boyfriend is from the same area of Newfoundland that I am. She's been living there for the past year or so. She's been seeing spinning wheels and sheep and all kinds of things in her boyfriends family that has peaked her interest. 

Initially she contacted me to make a recommendation for a spindle seller on Etsy. I told her to come up to my house and I'll give her a spinning lesson. I also gave her a spindle and some fiber. There is nothing quite like teaching someone who is enthusiastic about learning to ignite your own interest again. 

I pulled up my wheels, dusted off my spindles and have been spinning ever since that little lesson last week. By the way that lesson lasted over three hours. I can go on and on when I'm very interested in the subject. 

I also finished my first object of 2016. I am very pleased with them

Aren't  they super cute? My plan is to donate them to my daughters choir in Ottawa. They are having a silent auction as a fundraiser coming up soon and Amy asked me if I had anything I would like to donate. I had just about finish these up when her text came in. It was meant to be I think.  I hope they help the choir raise a few dollars. 

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Will Knit for Pie

This week I've done something I promised myself I would never do. I took an order-a knitting order. Nothing kills my mojo quite like being asked to knit something in particular. So as a rule I just don't do it. That all changed a couple of weeks ago.

My friend Denise asked if I would be able to re-create a pair of mittens for her newest grandson Matty.  We share two grandsons Cooper and Morgan. Cooper and Morgan both wore this adorable pair of mittens. Denise's youngest daughter had a baby this past year and he got the hand-me-downs from Cooper and Morgan. This little pair of mittens were so cute. But unfortunately by the time they made it to Matty there was only one mitten. 

So Denise put it to me as a challenge of sorts. Could I re-create it? Was it possible?  I love a good challenge. And I find it hard to say no to Denise for a number of reasons that I won't get into here on the blog. So not only could I re-create it - I had visions of improving upon it.  

She asked me if I would also knit a matching neck warmer for Matty. We would square up payment later she suggested. I had no idea what to charge her. My time is valuable and that's one of the reasons why I usually won't take commissions and orders.  I never know what to charge because undercharging for handiwork is worse than overcharging in my mind.

And then I thought maybe we could do an exchange. There's a lot of things Denise can do that I can't. And then I thought about how much my daughter and my grandson Morgan loves pies. And then I thought about how terrible I am at making pastry. 

So I am getting pies - partridgeberry pies to be precise. For this gorgeous set below I am being paid in pastry and I couldn't be more proud. This Christmas we're going to have partridge berry pie for dessert. Hurrah!!! 

Not too shabby, hey?

At some point I may write up these patterns. I think they are super cute!

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Well hello there. It's been a while.

The past few months have really gotten away from me. I've still been knitting of course. I've still been buying yarn of course.  It just seems as though nothing really remarkable has been going on in those areas. I haven't been knitting or spinning anything very different than my usual things lately and as a result I haven't been inspired to write about them.

I will mention some projects that I finished recently. Nothing real exciting but still cute patterns I guess. The first up is a hat pattern that I've met many times it's called Kim's hat. I knit this for my friend Stephanie. I gave Stephanie a hat last winter that her little dog Jack tore a hole in for some reason so I've done this one for her. The cool thing about this hat is that the yarn is 25% possum. That's New Zealand possum which is very very soft. We're talking cashmere soft. We're talking unbelievably soft. I've got the skein of Quviut that I've been hoarding and apparently  it's the softest fiber known to man. I'm telling you I think this possum stuff is even softer. At least it feels softer in the skein. I understand that there are spinning oils involved in the mill process making Quiviut yarn and until I wash my finished item made from this yarn, it won't be as soft as is possible. The good news is I've got quite a bit of this possum yarn left. I think I'll make something for myself too.

I'm not sure if these mitts will look familiar to anyone. I started them over a year ago. Kevin gave me the yarn for my birthday last fall when we were in Mahone Bay Nova Scotia. I don't know why it's taken me so long to finish these mittens. The yarn is great. The pattern by Spilly nJane is also great. I just got distracted for some reason. These will likely be a Christmas gift for one of my girls. Most likely Natalie since she hasn't gotten a pair of mittens from me in a while. 

And the final project for today's post is this sweet little baby hat. I knit this for my friends daughter who is having a baby in December. The daughter is a former girl guide of mine and quite special to me. I will likely knit this baby more things. I've purchased a bunch of cute onesies when I was in Ottawa last month visiting my daughter. And while I was in Ottawa of course I purchased a bunch of yarn and Fiber. More about that in a future post.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Stash Dash Fail

So you can guess from the title of my post that I didn't make my 5000 m goal for Stash Dash. It's been an interesting summer really. A summer that didn't involve a lot of knitting or spinning. Thankfully it did involve some shopping at lots of different LYSs. I bought some pretty amazing things from some pretty amazing stores. But I didnt knit a whole lot. 

We traveled for three weeks this summer in our RV. Our first stop was Ottawa to visit my daughter Amy. While there I went to a really sweet little shop called Wabi Sabi. She had a lot of spinning supplies and a lot of weaving supplies too. 

While I was there I bought a huge box of multicolored fibers from Ashford.  

Isn't that amazing? After we left Ottawa we went on to PEI where  Max had a week of hockey camp. You would think I would have found time to knit then. I mean I did knit a little but not a tremendous amount. 

 Max and I went to the farmers market one Saturday while in Charlottetown and we had such a good time. Homemade lemonade, a bagpiping busker and a sheppardess selling handspun and Fiber and needle felting kits were the highlights.  

Later in the week Kevin and I went to Julie's Yarn Shoppe inBorder. I bought several skeins of locally milled yarn as well as several skeins that were naturally dyed by Julie herself. And .... I can barely contain myself ..... I bought a set of hand cards!!! 

Yes I have a drum carder. But I've been really wanting hand cards for a while. I've got this very lofty goal of carding up this gradient of colours (from my sampler box from Wabi Sabi) I'm envisioning this coat of many colourstype of garment where one colour gradually fades into the next.  With hand cards I can do this!! And I have more than enough fiber for a sweater. I may stripe it with grey or natural but I'm not sure. Lots of swatching will be necessary. Plus I'll have to spin it all into yarn too. It's not just the blending.  

So you can tell I've been very distracted. I managed to finish up two more pairs of stripey socks since I blogged last. I can't get enough stripey socks!!

 I had hoped to finish my Exploration Station shawl in time for stash dash but I was two days late. In any case I'm glad I finished it. It's huge!! And beautiful.

I'm very happy with how it turned out. Next year I will plan better and surely make my goal of 5000 meters. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Stash Dash Update

I've finished three things since I last blogged. First up is my Hitch Hiker. 

My god but I loved knitting this. It's a viral knit with thousands of them showing up on Ravelry. I totally get the appeal of this knit. And the gradient yarn I used - amazing!! This was my first hitchhiker but it won't be my last. I gave this darling scarf away to a young lady who worked with me but has now moved on to better things. I will likely knit one for myself next time.  

This hat is called Cuba Street. It's a great little design. I enjoyed knitting this too. I couldn't wait to see how the next colour looked against the others. Because of this - it was a very quick knit. The yarn is Knit Picks wool of the Andes sport weight. I've got plenty of yarn to make about four more of them. I'm not sure if I like the pattern that well but you never know. 

There are some patterns out there that I've made time and time gain. One is the Afterthought Heel socks. 

I've made this pattern eight or nine times I'm sure. And I'll make it again because when you have yarn that looks like this - you need a real simple pattern to let the yarn shine. 

This yarn is White Birch Fiber arts Merino/Nylon in the colourway called "Purple Haze". It's gorgeous. And the best thing about finishing up a pair of socks? I get to cast on for another pair!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Stash Dash

If you listen to knitting podcasts like I do then you likely know all about Stash Dash.  It seems that just about every knitting podcast that I listen to are talking about Stash Dash. 

It's a giant knit along (of sorts) hosted by one of my favourite knitting podcasters - The Knit Girllls. It starts every year around this time and pretty much lasts the whole summer. The aim of this KAL is to use up as much of your stash as possible. 

In previous years, the goal was always 5000 meters of yarn. This year they've broadened it to include people that are aiming for 3K or even 10K!!

The aim is also to try to get languishing WIPs (works in progress) finished - to turn UFOs (unfinished objects) to FOs (finished objects)

It's a great motivator. You can count WIPs that you started long before Stash Dash started. Even if you only have several rows of knitting to finish on an item, that total yardage will count towards your final tally. It's great!! 

Here are the first two things that I've finished for Stash Dash. 

This hat is called "Ocean Breezes".  It's by one of my favourite designers Lee  Merideth.  It's so unique. See the buttons and the tabs on the brim? That is such a cute detail. And those colors!! Amazing. The yarns are both from Rhichard Devrieze. (A Canadian Indie yarn dyer) I bought them both from Cast On! Cast Off' in St Johns, NL. 

Here is another cute FO made from the same yarn. Both of these patterns are from Tincanknits (A Canadian design company). The hat is called Barley and the sweater is called Flax. They are both free patterns available from Tincanknits as a part of their learn to knit series. That is so generous of them!! If you are a newbie knitter I highly encourage you to check them out.  

So these projects bring my total so far for Stash Dash to a little over 300 meter. Lol. I've got a long long way to go yet. But to be positive I DO have A LOT of very old UFOs that haven't seen the light of day in forever. It will be nice to get some of those finished. 

I forgot to mention that spinning also counts. Every meter of finished yarn that you spin, ply and set can be counted towards your total. And if you knit with that yarn then it gets counted twice. 

Some of the WIPs that I'm currently working on and hope to soon count are 

Hitchhiker Scarf/Shawlette

Afterthought Heel Socks

There are countless others and I'm excited to rustle through my knitting room to see what old UFOs I can come up with. It's gonna be an interesting summer. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Viral Knits

Do you know what I'm talking about when I say viral knits? I'm talking about those patterns that kind of defy logic. There is just something about them, no one can really say what it is, but every knitter wants to make it.

I have made some viral knits in the past. There was this drops sweater that everybody made years ago including the yarn harlot. I even cast on (but never got around to finishing) the clapotis. The "Owls pullover" that I made into a cardigan and the "Colour Affection" shawl are what I would call viral knits or bandwagon knitting. 

Honestly, I usually try to resist the siren song of the viral knit. Everyone is knitting it - why should I? One of the reasons knitting appeals to me is that you get to be different. You can produce a garment or accessory that is so unique that no one else on the planet owns one. 

There is this knitting pattern that's been on my radar for about 5 years or so. It's called "Hitchhiker" by German designer Martina Behm. When it first came out I wanted to make it. Then everyone else made it, so I wouldn't. There are more than 19,000 of these posted on ravelry. And you know not every knitter is on ravelry (shocking and hard to believe but I have met them) and you know that the knitters that are on ravelry don't always post their work (again, shocking but people use the site in so many different ways). 

Last week I could resist the lure of this pattern no more. I cast on and I was smitten. 

It's like it was made for this yarn! I just love the garter stitch squishiness of it. I just lover the colour transitions. I just love how I keep wanting to make 'just one more point'. 

I totally understand why it's been made over 19,000 times. What I don't understand is why it's taken me 5 years to cast on.  

I vow from this moment onwards to not resist the call of the viral knit. If everyone else is making it, there must be a reason. Usually that reason is because it's a fun and engaging knit. Why am I so stubborn?  There are more Martina Behm patterns in my future I think.