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. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

I've Been Sewing

I know I've mentioned Craftsy on this blog before. It is such a great place to learn new things. I love their format and the fact that you can access your classes forever!! 

They have a lot of sewing classes on Craftsy. The first sewing class that I took was a freebie!! It's called "Bag Making Basics" by Kristin Link. The class walks you through making a drawstring bag and a bucket bag. 

I made this cute little drawstring project bag using the techniques learned in this class. I am first and foremost a knitter and a knitter can never have too many project bags. 

The "W.I.P." is embroidered and stands for Work IN Progress. Most knitters would recognize this terminology and would not need to have this explained. 

There are a lot of other little abbreviations that knitters use on a regular basis such as LYS and FO ... But this is a topic for another future blog post.  I wonder is this type of thing found in other hobbies? 

I encourage you all to check out the classes on Craftsy. You are sure to find something that interests you. They have classes on drawing and cake decorating. Photography, calligraphy and bread making! And of course there are loads of knitting, crocheting and quilting classes. They even have classes on spinning! As someone who discovered the magic of spinning entirely online and as such am entirely self taught - the spinning classes in particular make me so happy. 

Living this far north and in a town that is very isolated, I don't have many opportunities to take classes like this. But  Craftsy makes everything so accessible.  I love it. 



I'm so happy with this little bag that it is already housing a new WIP. Any guesses?


If you guessed self striping socks - you are correct!! That seems to be all I want to knit lately - which is really a blessing given the size of my self striping sock yarn stash. 

It really is a little shameful. But, isn't this yarn beautiful?? It's called "Purple Haze" by White Birch Fibre Arts.  This dyer is on etsy and is definitely worth checking out. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some bags to sew. 

Sunday, April 05, 2015

A Labrador Spring

Spring is one of my favourite times of year in Labrador. Most people in North America herald the arrival of spring with the melting of snow and the growth of new flowers. Not so in Labrador. 
Here is a photo that I took last night from our backyard. Yes, that bit of fence peeking through is a six foot fence. 

We mark the coming of spring by ice fishing!! It is at long last finally warm enough to go outside and enjoy all that snow. Easter weekend is a time in Labrador when everyone seems to be on the ice. Fishing, riding skidoo, games, a boil up (Newfoundland and Labradors word for a picnic) are just a few of the things that most families tend to do around here. 
My son in law Blair is drilling a hole in the ice with his gas ice auger. There is an extension on it and he still just barely made it through the ice. 
 

This is me with two of the trout that I caught. We had such a good time. It was so nice to be outside after being inside all this long cold winter long. 

I accidentally stepped into a fishing hole that was covered in snow and slush and I went over my boots. My feet stayed warm because I had on a pair of my hand knit socks. But I wished I had taken a second pair of dry socks. Kevin told me to take some too. Oh well. 

I did finish knitting another pair of socks. These will do into my sock drawer. And they will keep my feet warm and dry the next time I go ice fishing. 

I love them. They are DK weight which is a little heavier than I like but they are sure to work well inside a winter boot.  We (Newfoundlanders and Labradorians) call short thick socks like these vamps. I think this is word is unique to this province but I could be wrong. I need to knit more of these. For myself and my whole family. 

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Mashup


Ravely has this great feature that allows you to enter several patterns on one particular project. For example you could be knitting a plain stockinette slouch hat using the cast on numbers and measurements from one pattern and then decide that while you like the pattern for the overall shape of the hat, you'd really like to add in a color work scheme from a different pattern. This is what I call a mashup. The resulting garment is a mixture of both patterns. This is one of the many benefits of being knitters, of being the boss of your yarn. 

Every year my mother sends Kevin a pair of "trigger mitts" for Christmas. This is a traditional Newfoundland and Labrador pattern. Most knitters from here can knit these without a pattern. He thinks my mom knits then for him but she doesn't. She buys them from a friend of hers. They are hand knit, just not by my mom. Every year Kev wears giant holes in the mittens which I (being the great domestic goddess that I am) promptly darn them. 

Kev is hard on his mittens. He uses them when he is out clearing the snow. And this year we have had an incredible amount of snow.  So it seams that he is wearing holes in his mittens at a faster rate than normal. 

There really is something wrong with this picture. I am a knitter.  I am a good knitter even. Surely I can knit a pair of trigger mitts for Kevin. Surely they will be better and wear better than the mitts my mom's friend made. 

The mittens my mom sent are acrylic. Yuckity yuck yuck. They aren't warm and they don't wear well at all. I've darned them with wool and that part felts from the friction of the snowblower while the acrylic parts just wear away. 

I've decided to make Kevin a pair of trigger mitts using the warmest and the nicest of yarns. I will knit them tight enough that no cold shall penetrate and no holes shall wear in them. 

And I've decided to do a mash up. I don't have the pattern for the trigger mitts (though I do have several old pairs here to go by) and I'm using the colorwork from a pattern called "Vespergyl Mittens". 


So far, I'm happy with them. They are warm and soft yet sturdy. They have wool and cashmere and alpaca in them.  They will be amazing. But I will have to knit the second one. 

Edited to add that I've finished the pair. I ran out of the light coloured yarn on the second mitt but luckily I had a similar yarn (similar weight, fiber content and colour) in my stash that worked out. This is one of the MANY benefits of having a large stash. 

I am really pleased with how they turned out. And Kev is happy too. Now I just need to wait and see how they wear. It's currently snowing and blowing so I shouldn't have to wait long. It looks like tomorrow will be a snow blowing day for Kev. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

25 years ago....


My daughter was born 25 years ago today. I remember it like it was yesterday. It's hard to describe how fast the past 25 years have gone. I still kind of mourne her childhood but on the other hand I couldn't be happier in how she turned out. Sure, I made mistakes along the way and there are some things that I would do differently but I wouldn't change a single hair on her head. She amazes me everyday with her strength and her spunk. She takes shit from no one and that makes me so proud. She is very happy with her life and really - that's all a mom could ask for. 

Here we are some 20 years ago. I love this girl so much that it makes my heart hurt. 

And speaking of babies being born in February (how's that for a segue?) a coworker at the pharmacy is due any day now. I hosted the baby shower at my house. She had such a great turnout. There were about 25 to 30 ladies here! Of course I knitted something for the baby. 

This is a Quynn Hat by designer Woolly Wormhead. I've knit this little hat before. It's fast and it's cute. 

And this little vest is called Milo and it's by Georgie Hallam. I've knit this before too. It's so cute and quick to knit. That seems to be my criteria for baby knits. The yarn is from that mitten club that I was in. Blueberry pie fibers out of Ontario. The dyer specializes in self striping yarns and I especially like her worsted weight yarns. The yarn was meant to be mittens but baby knits are just as cute. Plus the yarn has the added benefit of being machine washable.