Saturday, April 16, 2016

Knitting Bucket List

Most of us are familiar with the concept of a 'bucket list'. The idea - made popular by the Morgan Freeman movie - is that you compile a list of things that you want to do before you die (or kick the bucket). I would bet that for Knitters (knitters with a capital K means serious business knitters) their bucket lists are pretty fiber-centric. 

I recently posted a picture on Instagram and I hash tagged it #knittingbucketlist and I wasn't surprised there were others out there like me - knitters with a capital K.  

This is a picture of a skein of quiviut that I've just wound with the intention of knitting it into a lacy little cowl. Knitting with quiviut is on my bucket list. 

Seeing other knitters Instagram photos of their bucket list has gotten me thinking. What other things would I put on my knitting bucket list?  

1. A trip to Rhinebeck (during the wool auction of course)
2. Attend a Stitches event (any of them would do, but if I were able to chose - Stitches West seems like it'd be real fun!)
3. Since I'm thinking about knitting festivals/events I'd also love to attend a Vogue Live Knitting event too. 

Now of those three if I had to pick just one, it would definitely be Rhinebeck. 

4. I'd also love to go to Iceland! Not for any particular event, and really not just for the knitting and the Lopi sweaters and the Icelandic sheep, but also for the scenery and the hot springs and the culture. 

5. I'd also really really love to go to the Shetland islands - for most of the same reasons that I'd like to visit Iceland. I love to spin Shetland wool. And I love Shetland lace! So yeah! This place is on my knitting bucket list of places to see. 

But a bucket list is more than just travelling to new places. It's also about experiencing different things too.

6.  That's why quiviut is on my list. Quiviut comes from muskox. They are massive creatures with a very thick coat. On their bellies they grow this insanely soft fibre. I believe is the 'softest' and 'finest' fibre in the world. I think experts have determined this by measuring the micron count of the fibres. 

Micron count is a fancy word for how thick (or coarse) a strand of hair is. Apparently muskox grow some of the finest. It is also quite pricey! Think about how difficult it must be to harvest the underbelly hair from these beasts! 

I read somewhere that they (their owners) actually collect the hair since they shed their coats periodically. I know that they don't harm the animals at all. I'm not sure about brushing them. Maybe that's part of the harvesting too. I do know that is not on my bucket list. 

A lot of people using the hashtag knittingbucketlist were listing techniques that they wanted to try. Brioche was a popular one. I can honestly say that I can't think of any techniques that I haven't tried. I also think I could master most of them too, if given the time and inclination. So for right now there aren't any techniques that I'd put on my bucket list. There are designs that I'd love to try though. There are also certain designers that are definitely worthy of being on a bucket list. A lot of the instagrammers had Elisabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket on their lists. I can see why!! This little sweater is so unique and different and is classic EZ. I've made several.

7.  What I'd really like to do is knit right through her Knitter's Almanac in a year. I'd like to start in January and follow along in her sweet little book (my favourite of all her books) and knit each of the patterns mentioned. I'm not sure I could do it, but I'd love to give it a try!! 

There are so many other things that I would include on my Knitting Bucket List. I think I'll save it for another blog post. There are so many designers Id like to meet! There are knitting celebrities that I'd love to meet. (And yes, there is such a thing! Just in case there are any non Knitters or even knitters without a capital K reading this blog)  There are so many challenging designs that I'd like to try. And there are things that I'd like to try to push myself on too. There are ideas for potential designs that I'd like to get out of my head and onto paper. There are classes that I'd love to take! So many things but only one lifetime. What a gift we have. We have to use our time wisely and with fibre! 


Monday, April 04, 2016

Is There Room?

If you look back over the history of this blog you will notice that it started out as a general crafts type of blog - that is there are all different sorts of crafts documented there. Sewing, painting, stencilling - you name it. 

As the years progressed I've kind of fine tuned my crafting as I've been drawn to the fibre arts. I no longer consider myself a beginning spinner. I'm quite good at it, even. (That's really hard for me to say for some reason). My knitting is quite good as well. There isn't a technique out there that I'd be hesitant to try. (... There was a time when I thought cables were hard ... I know ... crazy!). Actually with respect to knitting there aren't too many techniques that I haven't tried. I've mastered most of them too. My brioche stitches have some tension issues but I know that's something that could be worked out with practice. I still crochet. I still weave. I've even tried processing fleece and dying yarn. I've done needle felting and wet felting. 

I adore the fibre arts and I've felt my crafting heart was full. That I didn't have room for another love. But then, something started happening. My grandsons love to draw.  And they love to colour. And they love the fact that Nanny can draw pictures of them on skidoo and pictures of them on a dragon and pictures of the dragon pooping and breathing fire and pictures of the dragon with magnetic feet that only works on trash and ... Well ... You get the idea. 

Spending time with these kiddos and sketching with them and talking to the older ones about light and perspective and colour theory - well, it's kind of ignited this little desire to draw and paint again. I used to paint a lot (acrylics) back when my daughter was a baby. 

My daughter isn't a baby anymore and through some separate process - (perhaps Pinterest or maybe even the gorgeous adult colouring books that are everywhere) she has been finding herself equally interested in exploring watercolours and sketching. 

So we are doing this together!!  We are taking craftsy courses and looking at YouTube videos and we are excited! Every couple of days we text each other photos of things we've tried. Painting with watercolours is so much fun!!!  

It feels like the old days where she would find a tutorial for something new and fun and cool online and we would get excited and try it out and it would be awesome and in the end we were not only closer as mother and daughter but we'd have a pair of pants made out of a t-shirt! 

Except this time she is in Ottawa and I'm in Labrador. But this time we have more experience (and money lol). And it's still bringing us closer together as mother and daughter. And this time - she's better at it than I am. But I am a little biased. 


Thursday, March 10, 2016

I Love Fair Isle

Off to a great start! 

A little more.... Just minutes later!

And more ...  An hour later!

All done!!

I really do love stranded knitting. Any sort of colourwork knitting really speaks to me but the technique of Fair Isle is something that makes my heart sing. I really think I could knit a full sweater sized garment with the entire design (not just the yoke or edgings) done in stranded knitting. 

I'm not sure that there are a lot of great designs out there that have this that would actually LOOK nice enough but ... Maybe someday. 
So in the meantime I'll have to be satisfied with knitting a fair isle hat. This design was so much fun to knit. It practical knit itself. The colour gradient yarn makes the fair isle extra special I think.  




Sunday, February 28, 2016

25,000 Tuques

I've been on a hat kick ever since I heard about the charity called 25,000 Tuques. Here is the link,if you are interested. 

This is something I feel very strongly about. I feel so bad for people being forced to leave their homes. So when a lady in Quebec started a movement to knit hats for every Syrian refugee coming into Canada, I thought this is something I can do to help out.  

So I've been knitting hats like a mad woman. I think Canada is expecting it's the last refugees in April. This coincides with the end of winter. So I need to send my hats now. I've got five done and my friend Jesse gave me two as well. I may send them to Montreal or I may send them to St. John's. There are groups collecting hats in both cities.

Now, onto the knitting. The first Hat was this fair isle lovely thing. The pattern is a freebie from the Purl Bee. I love this one so much and I love the pom-pom even more. The trick to a good pompon is to soak the darn thing in water. The pom-pom fluffs right up 

The next hat that I made is a pattern by Jared flood and it's called turn a square. This was a very simple hat and had the added benefit of using up scraps of handsoun that was too precious to throw out but too small amount to really do anything with. 

I was hooked. I couldn't stop knitting hats. I finished three more in quick succession. I have two more on the needles nearly done too. But I'm starting to realize the time is come to get these in the mail.









Thursday, February 18, 2016

I've done a little travelling

Last month  Kevin and I went to St John's. Kev had a doctors appointment. All was well. After the appointment we decided to go to my hometown for a visit. My mom turned 70 last year and I couldn't get out there to see her. This year everything worked out perfectly.  We spent almost an entire week on the island visiting with my family and Kevs. 

I had started knitting a hat that I wanted to donated to an organization called 25000 toques. Their goal to present each Syrian refugee that comes into Canada with a hand knit hat to let them know that they are welcome and cared about here in Canada. 

As a supporter of Canada opening its doors to refugees this was a charity that really spoke to me. Sadly, the hat I was knitting really spoke to my mother. She claimed it as soon as it was off the needles. I didn't tell her that I had decided to give the hat to a worthy cause because she likely would have not taken it. But I'm glad she did because it really suits her. 


And I bought lots of pretty yarn at the nicest LYS in all of St John's to make more hats. See the green and grey in the centre of the pic? That's already on the needles - destined to be one of the 25000 toques! 


And if you ever doubt that I grew up in one of the most beautiful spots on the planet - well, here are a couple of photos to let you know that Trinity Bay North is indeed Gods country - even in the dead of winter. 


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!