Sunday, June 29, 2014

Remember the mittens?

About 5 or 6 posts ago, I wrote about knitting jags. In particular I wrote about going on a mitten knitting jag. I also prophesized that the jag wasn't over because I had a few more mail outs coming from Blueberry Pie Studio's  mmMarvelious Mitten club. 

Turns out I was right. Here's a pair I finished in the great colourway named Turquoise Frosting   I love it so much!! I think this pair may be mine. 

Since I knit these very quickly while travelling to Lab City to watch Max play in a soccer tournament, I immediately cast on for another. The great thing about these club mail outs is that the yarn comes all balled up and ready to go.  This is great when you are looking for something to knit in a hurry. Since I was going to be spending six hours as a passenger driving to Lab City plus hours watching soccer and then six hours driving back I knew that I had lots of knitting time to prepare for. So I grabbed some blueberry pie studio yarns as I was going through the door. 
This colour is called Farmers Market (I think). These will be for one of my lovely stepdaughters. 

I wasn't done yet! I cast on for another pair in some handspun that I had recently finished.  Remember that Lisa Frank batt that I had spun into a dk weight two ply? Well that yarn knit up into a beautiful fabric. It wasn't nearly as crazy looking as I thought it would be. 
I love these so much. I may keep these for myself too. Hey! I live in Labrador. A girl can never have too many mittens. And these are the exact weight and fit that I like my mitts - especially for driving back and forth to work.

And I still wasn't done. This pair is for Cooper.  Again the yarn is from Blueberry Pie Studios Marvelous Mitten Club. The colour is called sunny tulips. 


So what do you think? I'm getting a good start on winter (which comes very quickly here in Labrador). I think I may be done with the mittens for a little while. 
















Sunday, June 15, 2014

Travelling

When I moved to this town almost 25 years ago it took me a while to figure out something that people who are from here seem to inherently know. That is in order to survive the 'hardships' of living in a very isolated community you MUST find a way to leave it several times a year.

This may sound a bit extreme to those of you not living in an isolated town but trust me on this one. Now things have certainly improved in the past 25 years. The road through Quebec is so much better with large parts of it now being paved (yeah we have it good) and there is even a second road out of here through the southern part of Labrador. 

My first year in the 'Big Land' was an eye opener. For starters I was a new mother raising my daughter away from my own family. I didn't know many people here. I fell in love with Labrador though. I remember lying on my bed one day nursing my infant daughter when I happened to glance out of the bedroom window only to see the largest bird I had ever laid eyes on perch atop the telephone pole that was just feet from my house. It was a Golden eagle and I'd never seen anything like it!! 

But I became sad somehow. I thought maybe I had the baby blues but that wasn't it. My daughter was the center of my universe. I just missed my family. And I missed being able to go to shops.  I had become a little stir crazy living in such an isolated community. So I visited my mom and my sister. And I went shopping. I came back to Labrador refreshed and revitalized and ever since then I have gotten out of here at least twice a year. 

2014 has been a year like no other!  So far since January I have taken five (that's 5) trips out of Labrador. I've been to St John's three times. I've been to Halifax once. And I've been to Montreal once.  

Now the thing you need to understand about people living in isolated communities is that when given the opportunity to shop somewhere outside (of Labrador in this case) we will do so no matter if we don't need anything. Living in an isolated community almost makes one want to .... (It's such an ugly word) .... hoard.  There, I've said it. We try to anticipate future needs when we get to shop in larger centers because we know that if we buy something in St. John's will likely cost 40% more in Labrador. That's just the way it is. 

Now factor knitting into this equation. Do you see where I'm going with this? Everytime I travel, I look for the best yarn shops in town. And then I try to anticipate any future knitting I might do. This is trickier than it sounds.  My stepdaughters have two young boys each. But are they done making babies? Technically I could have another grandbaby before I travel again. 

Now I will admit that Internet shopping had made things SO. MUCH. EASIER.  But there is something very tactile about yarn shopping. Sure, the colours look great on my computer monitor but I have no way of know what the yarn feels like next to skin. 

Because of this, I tend to hoard yarn. When I get to physically go into a yarn shop and actually pick up and feel yarn and squish yarn and yes, even bury my nose in it and smell yarn, well, I tend to go a little nuts. 

The result is an awesome stash. And I think I have achieved SABLE (stash acquired beyond life expectancy)  

I took a picture of this little yarn/craft shop in St John's called Fiber Lilly. It's pretty cute. 

And this is the yarn that I bought on trip 2 to St John's at Cast On Cast Off. I bought yarn there on each of the three trips. Don't judge. 

This beauty I bought (among others) at Mouline in Montreal. 

And I didn't even take a photo of the stuff that I bought when I went to Halifax. I bought a bunch of yarn at Dartmouth Yarns and even some nice rustic yarns T the Halifax market. (I also bought a darning egg there too but that's another post). 

The sad thig is (or perhaps the great thing) that I'm not done travelling this year. Kev and I are planning a trip to Charlottetown, PEI and perhaps Niagra Falls, Ont - and I know there are yarb shops in both of those cities. We may need to build a piece on. 


Sunday, May 04, 2014

Hello Spinning, It's Been Awhile

It's been a very long time since I've blogged about any spinning I've been doing. I'm guessing it'll probably go back to last years tour de fleece. I put my wheel away for a long time. When we moved into our new house I brought all three wheels with me and set them up in my beautiful new craft room and there they sat for a very long time - over six months I'm sure. 
  
And then I got inspired to spin this lovely batt.
 Its from etsy seller Dawning Dreams. Its super wash merino and bamboo. And the colourway is called Lisa Frank. I had no plans for it. I didn't care if it was a single or plied yarn. I had no care as to the weight of the finished yarn either. I just spin. And I let the fiber become what it wanted to become - which ended up being a two ply dk weight yarn.

It was a little tricky to spin. Since it's a batt there were different fiber types in the mix. And different fiber types require different spinning techniques (at least if you want a somewhat uniform yarn). The hot pink that you see was most definitely bamboo and had to be drafted so differently than the other colours which were wools. 

Overall it was a delight to spin. And I'm itching to do something with it. I'm just not sure what to do - knit or perhaps even weave. Time will tell.


Saturday, May 03, 2014

I can't believe I've done this.


Well actually that's not true. I can believe it but it infuriates me so much. I am the worlds most careless person in terms of keeping track of my belongings. The worse. Ask my daughter about the time I was flying to Montreal to see her and managed to lose my photo ID during what was originally supposed to be a brief stopover in Halifax. Ask Kev how many times he has to help me find my car keys so that I won't be late for work. Ask my choir director about the time that I misplaced my music for two weeks and almost dropped out of choir because I was too embarrassed to tell her that I'd lost it - again. 

You get the picture? I'm a full blown scatter brain. This time though I've managed to bring this scattered brain into my knitting life. Up until now this facet of my life has not been immune to my scatter brain but no real big issues. This time I managed to lose a knitting book. 

And it's totally lost too. Because guess what? I'm pretty sure that I left it on a plane. Geeez. My record with airports - pretty soon I'm going to have to resort to tying anything I take into an airport and ultimately on a plane onto my body. 

The real upsetting this is that this was a brand new book. BRAND new. It pains me to even write it.  It's The Knitter Slipper Book by Katie Startzman. This wasn't an impulse buy either. I'd read several reviews (all good) about this book. And I loved the fact that the patterns in this book were for the whole family. It has everything from baby booties to full sized felted boots that are designed to be worn outside if you so desire and buy the proper soles. 

I bought this book when I was in St John's last week. Yes St John's. Again. The good thing about this trip is that I got to drop by what is my favorite yarn shop on the island Cast On. Cast Off! 
PI really felt like I had to support the local economy. I came away with these lovely things from Katie's cute little yarn shop. See that yellow?? It's called Not So Mellow.   I love it!! The name, the colour, the fiber, the sproinginess - everything about this yarn is just perfect. I had to cast on right away. 
They will become Laren Mitts  and the pattern is in KnitScene magazine.  

But let's get back to the whole losing the book thing. I knit when I fly. It helps keep me somewhat sane during the flight. I had finished one whole slipper while tending to Kevin during his hospital stay (nothing too serious) Knitting during hospital waits also keeps me sane.  The pattern is called Beaded Mocs and they were so cute!! I had the right yarn and needles with me even. And these slippers were felted. And did I mention beaded? The construction was oh so clever. I just loved knitting it.

We get back to Goose Bay last Saturday. We had a big detour into Gander and thankfully I had my knitting to keep me sane.  

Once we got settled in after our return I turned to my knitting like I usually do. And I cannot find the book of patterns anywhere.  I've searched and searched to no avail. It's gone. I think I must have left it in the seat pocket in front of me on the tiny Beech Aircraft that we flew from Gander to Goose Bay. 

I'm thinking I will just have to suck it up and buy a second book. Well, I did mention that I wanted to support the local economy. And I've got to knit a mate for this guy. 
 

Saturday, April 05, 2014

A Random Post about Accessories

I've been busy knitting up a storm thes past few months. And I've been very monogamous. I finished one thing and immdiately cast on for something else. Nothing has been languishing on the needles. The past 8 projects I've cast on, I have finished them. I'm not sure what's happening or why but I'm just going to go with it. 
I think it's because of the projects I'm choosing. They have all been accessories  and with the exception of one wee toy they have all been in worsted weight. They are all smaller projects in heavy gauged yarn. That means quick knits. 

Just look at this adorable colorwork hat!! The pattern is free on Ravelry and it's written by Anna and Heidi Pickles. It's called "From Norway with Love". I loved knitting this so much. I have been really enjoying stranded knitting ever since I read an article in Interweave Knits on stranded knitting and ways to keep your floats tidy without having to twist your skeins. This was an eye opening experience for me. No more will I dread carrying my yarn for more than 5 stitches because I now know how to handle it. 


It made colorwork so approachable that I knit this awesome hat for Kev. It's called the "Whitman Cap" by Kristen Tendyke I'm ashamed to say that this is the first thing that I have ever knit for Kev. EVER. We've been together since 1997 - and all he got was this hat. Lol. I really am a little ashamed because he is totally knit worthy. I'm not sure why I haven't knit him anything until now. Perhaps I was
A little scared of "the sweater curse". 


I knit this headband for myself. It's "the Dryad Headband" by Katya Frankel. In the magazine the model is wearing it with the button on top of her head not in the back. I like it worn that way too. But I've yet to sew on a permanent button. This pattern and Kevs hat were both in the Interweave Knits Accessories 2011 magazine. This is the third pattern I've knit from this magazine and I will knit more. This magazine was a definite winner. 
I knit this neck warmer or as we call them here in Labrador "Dickie" right after coming in from a skidoo ride over to Mudlake. My neck was cold and I wondered why I hadn't knit myself a decent Dickie. I remedied that with a skein of Cascade 220 heathers and this free pattern on Ravelry http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/kylmille-ilmoille-for-cold-days
It still needs buttons sewn on but I am ready for my next skidoo ride. 

Speaking of skidoo rides - guess who came with us to Mudlake that day for his very first ever ride on skidoo?? 

Our youngest grandson Reagan came along. He was wearing much much more clothes than here in this photo. He loved his skidoo ride and was such a good boy 
I knit him this adorable hat out of Noro Silk





Saturday, March 15, 2014

Forget about it.

You know in the last post I talked about going on knitting jags? And how I went on about knitting mittens in particular? Well, forget about it. It turns out that I'm not on a mitten knitting jag at all. As soon as I posted that blog post, I stopped knitting mittens. I did, however, start knitting TOYs!!

I bought this book during a recent trip to St John's and I'm hooked. These little toys are such a blast to make and they are such a great stash buster. 
This was the first one that I knit. He's called "Meager Mouse". 

And here is small squirrel. Small squirrel ended up with a fantastic rainbow tail that I needle felted on. This one was knit for my neice who is out and proud and wanted a rainbow toy in honor of that. 
And then I knit this guy. I cannot remember his name for the life of me. 

I really think I may knit my way through this entire book. I love each little toy and they are so fast to make. They make cute gifts and they would look so cute just sitting about in my new craft room. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mmmmm ...Mittens.

I go on these jags all the time. Usually it's food related. For example, I will only eat a certain cereal for breakfast. I will eat said cereal for six months (or two years even) and then one day I wake up and I'm done with that cereal for a very very long time. And then I move on to the next cereal. (I do the same thing with chocolate bars too but that's a whole other post)

I have never been this way with knitting. I usually have three or four varied projects on the needles at any given time. And they are usually at varied stages of completion.  I have a simple sock for knitting at the arena. I may have a sweater that I knit on while watching TV. And I may have a scarf or a cowl that I'm trying to finish up quickly for a gift. Perhaps there's even a baby sweater in there too. 

But not lately. It seems that lately I am on a knitting jag. I only want to knit mittens. Need proof??
It started with these. (There were two, I swear!!) The yarn is from the club I was telling you about in the last post. The pattern is Susan B Anderson's "Waiting For Winter" and they are the best fitting mittens I have ever made. I love them. I love the stripes.  I love the fit. I love the simplicity of the thumb gusset.  There's nothing clever or unique about this pattern.  But it is good. They were a birthday gift for my daughter and I must admit to being a tiny bit resentful when I sent them to Montreal. Just a little. 

I blame those mittens on the jag that followed. Here they are in no particular order. 

It's seems appropriate that the last mitten is knit in the second shipment of yarn in my Yarn Club that I joined at the beginning of the year. It was the first shipment that I blame for starting this jag. And the great thing is .... I HAVE FOUR MORE SHIPMENTS!!!