Sunday, December 13, 2009

Can't Believe that I haven't blogged this...


My friend Sheryl got married! I was the MC for her wedding. I'm not sure how I got talked into it, but it went something like it being an honour, and there isn't a whole lot that I wouldn't do for Sheryl etc. And it was August when she asked and November seemed such a long way away, and it seemed as though I would have plenty of time to prepare. Well, needless to say I was up until 1am the night before, putting finishing touches on my speeches, jokes, toasts etc. 1am is late for me. Somehow, I also volunteered to make a wrap for her, because, lets face it...Labrador in November is pretty freaking cold. I also volunteered Jess to do half of the knitting on the wrap.

Sheryl picked out this pattern herself. Its called 'Deciduous' by Sheepy Time knits. The good thing about this pattern that worked well for 2 person knitting is that is it knit for the center outwards using a provisional cast on. So, I knit one side, then handed it off to Jess to knit the other. Jess had a little trouble getting our tensions to match, but did so well enough that only a seasoned kntter would notice. We had a funny conversation at work that went some thing like, "I'm loose, but Jess is looser" Dirty minds had a great chuckle at that. I also worried that white leaves would look like feathers and Sheryl might look like a giant partridge. But not so, Jess thinks the leaves look like frost in white. I agree.

In any case Sheryl was very pleased with the wrap. It is now carefully folded and lovingly put away, while her wedding dress remains in a heap on her bedroom floor.

Many Mittens

Karen and I have been very busy getting ready for 2 craft sales. They are both fundraisers for girl guides. We are going to Gander next October for the Guiders conference once again. We weren't planning on going, but 2010 will be 100 years of guiding in Canada and the celebration is supposed to be huge. We are not ones to miss out on a good party.

Julie donated an old wool camp blanket to us. Karen sewed up the mittens and I knit the cuffs (pattern can be found here at the purlbee) And we both needle felted on the designs.

The mittens were a hit. We sold each and every last pair, and I also have 3 more pairs that I haven't found the time to knit the cuffs on. We are having another sale in February. And guess what? We still wear mittens here in February. I can so picture some nice heart themed mittens for V day.

Here is a close up of my favorite ones (that is the favorites of the ones I made. Karen, though new to needlefelting has a great eye for these things, and all of hers are my favorites)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Breast Cancer Scarf

I bought this kit from Jimmy Beans Wool. Its the first time I've ever shopped there and I was curious as to how it would go. They were fast, and the shipping was reasonable. I will likely be buying from them again.

The first thing you have to do with this kit is to cut the yarns for the fringe. The kit is 5 different pink yarns held together. Its a simple lace pattern knit on size 19!!! needles. It was a bit like knitting with turkey basters. It was super fast, and I think the results are quite nice.

$5 from the sale of this kit go to support Breast Cancer charities. I'm going to donate the finished scarf to our local Cancer society. Every Christmas they hold a soiree. They have a silent auction and there are usually loads of local items that have been donated. This time I'm going to have something there too. I'm curious as to how much it will bring in.

Its going to be kind of hard to give up really. I think it looks quite stunning with my black jacket.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Adventures in Felting

I've been wanting to make myself a pair of hand knit slippers for sometime now. We have very little carpet in our home - mostly tile and hardwood. In the Labrador winter this can lead to very cold toes. In my quest for the perfect hand knit slipper I came across this little gem of a pattern called French Press Felted Slippers. The pattern can be found on raverly and is worth every penny. I sometimes find that felting patterns can be so unpredictable. And slipper patterns often may look cute, but be so impractical. But these are cute and practical. They stay on over the heel and they felted to just the right size after two washes in my front loading washer. And let me tell you, they were huge. I jokingly showed them to Kev prefelting and told him that I thought there must be an error in the pattern because they came out a little (a little!!) to big. Try 42cm long. See??? Huge.

But boy, oh boy are they ever cute. I'm wearing them now. I'm debating a little needle felting to embelish them a bit, but for now, I'll leave well enough alone because they are just so cute!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This is what happens when we buy a skidoo

Seriously. I know that we pretty much live north of everywhere. Not quite north of 60 but pretty darn close. We bought a new snowmobile yesterday. Kev promptly comes home and checks out the weather channel. He tells me (I thought jokingly) that we were gonna have 30cm of snow. Not joking! (Oh, and isn't Morgan just the cutest thing with his new haircut?!)

All of this snow has put me in a mitten mood. Considering all the other moods that I could have chosen from, I'd say a mitten mood is pretty good. Then again, I'm always in a mitten mood. They remain my most favorite thing to knit. I'm thinking the second pair my end up being sent to Warm Hands.

The fair isle mitten is called 'Fiddlehead' mittens. I bought these from Tanis fiber arts off of etsy. I love her yarn. I've bought several skeins from Mouline in Montreal. The pattern is from Hello Yarn. I've been coveting the pattern for quite some time now. When I saw the pairing of one of my favorite yarns with this beautiful pattern, I just couldn't resist. These will be mine. The great thing about these mittens are that they are fully lined. Essentially like knitting two pairs of mittens, but oh so warm.

The second mitten is called 'Mittens Interupted'. They are an Interweave pattern written by Eunny Jang. I've been meaning to knit these for some time too, but never had the correct yarn. I got a knitpick order this week and it had some Wool of the Andes Bulky. So, I cast on right away. Two pairs of mittens on the go at once. One pair is TV knitting (specifically Criminal Minds, my new favorite). The second pair requires a little more concentration. I must admit to enjoying both patterns immensly. Enough to knit them again maybe. (Easy to say that when I've only gotten about 1 mitten done on each right?) Isn't that slipped stitch pattern very sharp looking? There is not much stretch to it. Its almost like a woven fabric. But very dense and warm. Great for all that snow.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


At least I think they are. I said earlier in the year that my knitting goal this year was to do more colourwork. Here is a fine example of this. They are called Smargagdi mittens - a free pattern that I found through Ravelry.

They are knit in Noro Kuryeon sock (thats the self striping part) and Knitpicks Palette (the grey part) The pattern actually calls for both parts to be knit in the Kuryeon but in all the finished mittens that I saw on Ravelry that used just kuryeon looked very different. That is, each mitten was beautiful, but looked nothing alike. Fraternal twins if you will. But, I wanted identical. So I used the Palette as a base. I ended up have to hack and slash away at the kuryeon to make the second match, but I think I did a pretty good job. Except..... they are exactly the same. And of course our hands are reverse images of themselves. So I have one mitten with grey diamond print on the palm and the other has the grey diamond print on the palm. The inverse image on opposite sides. See what I mean?

I should have realized that when I was so meticulously trying to match the colour runs. But its okay. They are still beautiful. They are even beautiful inside out.

Of course we have reason to be wanting mittens. This is the view of the mighty Churchill River from my workplace. Beautiful! A bit early for this crap, but beautiful nonetheless.

Monday, October 12, 2009

And Now for something totally different

Fondant. Marshmallow fondant. No, I didn't make it. My friend Karen did. She even made the cupcakes. I got to play with the fondant. Here is the result.

She says its not too hard to make. But I've been fooled by Karen before. But those cupcakes were dead easy to decorate. With results like that, I might be foolhardy enough to try making the fondant on my own.

Some sets of things and other stuff

Been a while since I posted. Who knew? Well, remember that stuff that was on the bobbin? Its now off. I can now officially say that I can spin with a backwards long draw. Not well, mind you, but I can do it none the less.

Here is proof.

Also, I've been knitting a little. I will admit to a decline in the knitting mojo. I don't know whats going on. Its fall. That time of year when knitters just about go crazy with desire to knit. Not me. I haven't knit a thing on the vine yoke cardigan since I came back from vacation. Instead I've been content to fritter my time away with knitting little projects on huge needles. Instant payoffs. Oh, and crochet. Proof again.

That's a crocheted version of the 'Bainbridge Scarf'. And here is proof of some quick bulky knits. These are from a free pattern off of Jimmy Bean's website (who I just placed an order with for the first time) called Neckies.

They are cute. Here is what they look like when worn. I love bulky neckwarmers. Especially if garter stitch is involved.

Cute or what?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A spinning post

Its been a long time hasn't it. Its almost as though, now that I actually own the wheel, I don't feel compelled to spin as much. The year that I leased the wheel from RGB I was a spinning fiend. I felt that I had a year to spin the yarn that I wanted and that I had better get in as much spinning as I could. Now that the wheel is mine (I should name her don't you think?) I'm of the opinion that I can put off spinning until the mood strikes me.

Well, the mood has struck. When we were in Montreal, I purchased Amy Kings new book 'Spin Control'. This book is all about taking control of your spinning and spin using different techniques and tensions to get the yarn you want, instead of just letting the yarns happen. Up until now, I've been letting the yarns happen. I've gotten comfortable with my technique of predrafting and short forward draw. All my yarns essentially were turning out the same, unless I plied them differently. They were almost all 2 ply, almost all sport weight. Here is my most recent example of my standard handspun.

Its pretty mind you, but basically just like every other yarn that I've spun. (Except for those bulky thick and thins in the beginning, that I couldn't repeat now to save my life)

Until now. I think that I've finally grasped the backwards long draw technique. I'm super happy about this as it is so fun to do and you end up with a bulkier, loftier yarn. I came across a bump of roving that I deemed destined to become a bulky single and set about following Amy's advice and practised until the technique started working for me.

Amy recommends finishing a bulky single by shocking it a bit to felt the fibre a little. It helps the lofty single hold together better. In my inifinite wisdom, the roving that I'm using is superwash merino, so there will be no felting it. But, I guess the point is all about practising. Here is what it looks like so far. It is an absolute joy to spin this way. Totally relaxing too.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mini Shawl and more Ysolda Love

I've just finished knitting Damson by Ysolda. This pattern has been #1 on Ravelry's list for some time now with 311 of these being made. Its is a simple fun little knit that takes just 1 skein of sock yarn. Unfortunately for me, my sock yarn came up a few yards short. But, I knew this before I started it, so its my own fault. The original calls for Malibrigo sock which runs about 440 yard. I used Tanus fiber fingering weight which only had 400 yard. I love this yarn though.

But, I had to end the pattern early. I didn't get those nice scalloped edges that I should have, but thats okay. Its still lovely. I adore this colour. I guess its because we are running quickly into fall here. The leaves are starting to turn already!

And just for kicks, here is a picture of it prior to blocking. Quite the difference isn't it?

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Single Skein September

The girls on 'Stash and Burn' are hosting a Single Skein September contest, with the goal being knitting out your single skeins. I'm so guilty of buying that single skein. Especially when traveling. So, I've knit this little beauty. I just love cowls. They are so much more practical than a skarf.

The pattern is called "Wicker Cafe Cowl" and its a freebie. The yarn is Cascade 220. I know this yarn is a staple in the US, but its the first time I've ever used it. Quite nice, not unlike Paton's Classic.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Its House Cup time again

And I'm busy knitting up a storm. Well, a hat anyway. For "Herbology" homework this month, we were challenged to knit with something with at least 50% plant based fiber. I finished this hat (for Amy) out of 55%bamboo , 45% wool yarn. It was an interesting yarn to work with. Certainly much nicer than 100% bamboo of which I am most definitely not a fan.

The pattern is from Knit.1 magazine. Its a neat pattern and I really liked knitting the leaf motif. I may actually try to incorporate into a pair of mittens later on, but not out of the bamboo blend as it would be too cool to be practical for mittens

Monday, August 31, 2009

Montreal - Again!

Kevin and I are just back from dropping Amy off for her second year of university. I can hardly believe it! I still have nightmares - yes, nightmares - that I'm still in university. And now my beautiful girl is doing her second year.

This year she opted for an apartment -res life not being for her. So, she needed some help with getting her apartment set up. Here is a picture of her very college-like apartment. I think they will be happy there.

We drove to Sherbrooke (12 hours to Baie Comeau - overnight there, then 7 hours to Sherbrooke) and spent several days there cleaning, buying furniture, assembling furniture and what not. A picture of Amy and Lucy at the Brick looking for furniture. I don't think the employees were too impressed with us.

Then we went to Montreal. Again. I can't believe that I've been to Montreal twice this year. And this time we drove. We gave Kev a GPS for his birthday and I really think its the best money that we've ever spent. Seriously, a life saver - well, most definitely a relationship saver as prior to this I was always given the task of map reading and lets just say that my map reading skills aren't up to par. Having a GPS is the only way to drive. I know there is no way that we would have been comfortable driving in Montreal without it. The city of Sherbrooke is only about the size of St. John's Newfoundland, so I'm sure that we could have managed that one, but still - amazingly easy.

So guess what I did when I was in Montreal. Yep, I went to Mouline. The owner guy actually remembered me from last time. I'm not sure what that says about us (or him), but it was very nice. I bought a few things. Mostly sock yarn again. I guess because I had just purchased Cookie A's new book 'Sock Innovations'.

I've been steadily working away on the Vine Yoke Cardigan, and I suspect that I would have finished up to the back on the long drive home, but I misplaced the pattern. I do have the right front and sleeve finished. I'm really enjoying the pattern. I'm not so certain that my yarn choice was the right one as it is a loosly spun single that is already developing a halo. I hope it doesn't pill too much.

And I finally finished my One Skein Stole from the Noro Kuryeon sock yarn. It turned out very pretty. I'm not sure how wearable this will be here. Perhaps it will become a gift.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm done, I'm done...hurrah

Leisl is finished. She is gorgeous. I'm happy and all is right with the world. I cast on for Ysolda's Vine Yoke Cardigan and I've just finished the right front. I'm taking 3 weeks vacation, traveling to Quebec with Amy. 3 weeks of knitting time (I hope). I wonder can I finish it in 3 weeks? That is rather ambitious, but we'll see. Now, I'm off to wind up those skeins so I can have them to knit on the road.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ysolda - How do I love thee?

Last night 'Twist Collective' went live. That is, the online magazine published their fall issue. I am smitten with a cardigan by Ysolda Teague called Vine Yoke Cardigan. I bought the pattern within the first minute of the issue going up. This is my dream cardigan. I've been saying for some time now that I've been wanting a cardi knit side to side. I'm a sucker for any type of unusal construction. And the best part - its garter stitch. I'm a sucker for garter stitch too. I just need to see if I have any yarn in my stash that will work, because there is no way that I'm buying another sweater's worth of yarn when I have about 8 sweater's worth in my stash. I haven't really taken a close look at the pattern but I'm sure it is well written. This won't be my first Ysolda pattern. I've knit a pair of her tiny shoes. (There are two of them, just didn't get a picture)

I've also knit Ishbel. I had a bit of trouble with that one, but it was my own fault.

And I've almost finished the Leisl cardigan. I'm so close on this one that its ridiculous. I've just got about 5 inches left on one sleeve.

Overall, Ysolda's patterns are so clever and well written. They are classic. Okay, I'm off to finish the Leisl and cast on for Vine Yoke. I'm on holidays starting next week for 3 straight weeks. I wonder can I finish a sweater in 3 weeks? We are driving to Quebec. I hope I don't get motion sickness while knitting in the truck. Its a looooong drive. We'll see.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

160 Yards and Counting

This dirty fleece business is getting a bit monotonous. I don't mind the cleaning of it. Really, its not that bad. The carding of it is kind of boring, but again, not that bad. The thing is, I thought that when I had done these steps there would be a pay off. I'd have something really great to spin. That this fiber would be delicious and I would love spinning it. Not. No matter what technique I use, I have loads of neps. The fiber feels very matted (even though I have taken great care in the cleaning process). In any case, I have decided to go with the bulky single. I now have 160 yards of the stuff. What will I do with this? Right now, I'm thinking mittens. But I'm open to suggestions. I might even try overdying it, just to see what happens.

And, in knitting news, I haven't finished anything - and my goal to finish the stormwater shawl before August rolls in, is now completely out the window. I have, however, cast on and have knit nearly half of this stole. (Pattern found here ). It is such a fun, fast knit. I have dreams of knitting hundreds of these, and giving them away to ladies that have important birthdays. (Yeah, I was just invited to a 70th birthday of this awesome lady and I really wish that I had something like this finished and ready to go - next time, I'll be prepared). It knit in the Noro Kuryeon sock yarn. Which I think is much nicer in a stole than in a sock.

And, my tulips have finally bloomed. When my mom was here visiting she kept insisting they were going to bloom anyday. But I knew better. Here we are 2 maybe 3 weeks since they've left and they are now just blooming. Sorry mom, I was right, you were wrong.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Hat for Muggles

I was pleasantly surprised when the new summer knitty came out and it had winter patterns in it. The powers that be have done this to help us prepare for the holidays which is just a scant ... gulp ... 5 months away. I love it! There were several patterns there that I love. There is a beaded lace shawl that I've been eyeing for some time. But I couldn't resist this little baby. I ordered the exact yarn in the exact same colours as the designer. (Wooly Wormhead by the way - fantastic!) This is something I rarely - if ever - do. This hat is knit in a combination of stripes and intarsia using short rows on a straight needle. Genius. I've even purchase the yarn to make this into a 'Labrador' hat. Here Amy is modelling it on our front lawn in the much too hot for woolen hats weather that we have been blessed with.

I thought I'd include a bonus shot of the fleece. I don't know how many more pictures of dirty water that I can post, but I am slowly making my way through the 6 pounds. I've spun and finished a total of 160 yards of the stuff so far. Notice the slightly different colour? I'm not sure how to fix that. I guess I have to wash all of the stuff first and then card and then spin. But, I'm going to stick to my method of washing bits, carding bits and spinning bits. I think I've gotten about 2 pounds done so far. Just keep at it right?