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? 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Top Down Icelandic Cardigan


There is this online learning tool called Craftsy. They offer many types of classes in a great format. Some of the classes are free but the more involved ones have a fee. 

I've taken several classes. Rigid heddle weaving, spinning dyed fibers are two of the paid classes that  I've taken so far. 

Recently I signed up for a class by Icelandic phenom Ragga Eiriksdottir called Top Down Icelandic Cardigan. Check her out here. http://www.ravelry.com/designers/ragga-eiriksdottir

I'm obsessed with the pattern and the class.  I'm not using the recommended Lopi yarn. I'm using Berrocco Peruvia which is very similar to Lopi in my opinion. I can honestly say that I could probably knit this pattern without taking the class. There aren't any new to me techniques but there is just something about knitting along with Ragga that is so enjoyable. 

I knit the yoke up lickedy split. I chose a cream colour for the contrast and a deep chocolate brown for the main colour.  There also is a tiny amount of a 'pop' colour used. For this I chose a bright blue. I love this combination of colours. 

I'm currently at the point where I've already separated for the sleeves. From here on out I'll be knitting with the brown only. While this may get a little boring at times I want this sweater so badly that I really think I'll push through. 

I'm actually looking forward to the steeking believe it or not. And I've already ordered buttons. That's how much I need this sweater. I should also order some gros grain ribbon. Ragga goes over all of this in her class. The steeking, the sewing  on of the grosgrain ribbon, and even crocheting the button loops. 

I've already watched the class straight through. I rewatch each section as I get to it on my sweater. 

I'm am really hoping that I will enjoy wearing this sweater as much as I've enjoyed knitting it. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Influential Knitter


A few months ago I posted on Instagram a photo of a lace shawl that I had inprogress. It garnered quite a few likes and some questions. The next day the pattern for this shawl was number one on Ravelry's 'Hot Right Now' list.  It's called sweet dreams. 

I was shocked. I have more influence on the knitting community than I realized. I must admit to being a little proud too. The timing of the thing was too perfect for it to have been a coincidence. 

Then when I visited the Yarn Harlots website I realized how delusional I could be.  She was knitting this shawl too. Independent of what I was doing, she had cast on for the exact shawl.   The Yarn Harlot! What was I thinking. Of course the 60 likes I had gotten on Instagram (still impressive in my books) couldn't be enough to influence the top 10 Hot Right Now on Ravelry. But it was really nice for that brief moment.  

I was inspired to cast this on after seeing it knit up in 100% mink yarn at Dartmouth Yarns in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  It was gorgeous. I purchased the exact same yarn. It was a little darker colour but that didn't matter. I also purchased the same colour glass beads from a store here in town. (There are several stores here that sell beads. We are lucky that way). 

I have no recipient in mind for this little shawl. It is so unbelievably perfect though. The mink. The colour. The beading. And of course the lace. Just look those points. 

The bindoff - as the yarn harlot noted - took forever.  But it was so worth it. 



I had purchased this little shawl pin from an etsy seller out of Montreal called Every Day Peacock.  It is so beautiful!!
And it suits this little shawl so very perfectly. It is the cherry on top of you will. 


By the way if you are in the market for shawl pins or even some very special stitch markers - do check this guy out. His packaging alone made the purchase worth it. I also purchased a really unique music themed pin as a gift for my daughter. It is so beautiful. 

The funny thing was both the Yarn Harlot and I cast on for these shawls about 18 weeks ago (according to Instagram)

And we are both finishing up at the same time even though this shawl didn't take that long to knit. She made many mods to her version making it much larger. I knit mine exactly as the pattern suggested. I did worry about running out of yarn towards the end but it all worked out. 


I wonder what this knitter will be casting on next? Keep looking at Ravelry's top ten. You never know what might show up next.