Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mystery Revealed

 Back in November, I joined a mystery knit along on Ravelry.  I wasn't sure what the project was, but it was offered by one of my favorite designers, so I couldn't resist.   I'm so happy with the resulting shawl.  I haven't taken it off since I took it off the blocking mats earlier this morning. 
 Lee will be offering this pattern with different options, including lace and cables.  She has completed a gorgeous cabled version herself, that will definitely be on my 'to do' list in the new year.
 Other than the mystery KAL, I've been busy getting ready for Christmas.  This year, I took part in a cookie exchange with my Trefoil Guild.  Here is a picture of my offering.  These are oreo truffles.  My daughter, Amy, put me on to this recipe, found here at blogger Bakerella's website.  I highly recommend this recipe.  The resulting cookies are exquisite. 
We also did a homemade gift exchange for Christmas with the Trefoil Guild.  Each of us made a gift, not knowing who the recipient would be.  I decided to make a woven scarf.  I was going to give mittens, but didn't finish them in time.  Besides, everyone was expecting me to make a knitted gift.  I wanted to surprise them.  Julie was the lucky recipient of this scarf.  It turned out so beautiful.  I'm still amazed at how fast I can turn out a woven scarf with generous sizing.  This one was made using frog tree alpaca for the weft and a tweed wool blend for the warp.  Julie seemed to like her scarf. 

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A New Love/Addiction

I alluded to the fact that I am now the proud owner of a loom several posts back.  Kev bought it for me for my birthday.  My first go at it was with a skein of sock yarn.  I wasn't too impressed with the process or the finished project.  Well, that was a waste of money, I thought.  But I'm not one to give up that quickly.  Besides, fiber is involved.  There has to be more to it.  
I had this skein of 'Slubby Blue' by Fleece Artist in my stash and I kept picturing it as a woven scarf.  Well, when inspiration hits, you gotta run with it right? So, I took out my little cricket loom again, for another try.  I was like a woman possessed, once I got past the warping of the loom that is.  

I couldn't stop thinking about it.  Every spare moment, I would add a few wefts.  (Not sure if thats the correct terminology, but the weavers out there know what I'm talking about).   Within 2 or 3 evenings, I had this 8 foot scarf.  Wow.  No way you can do that with knitting.  Or at least I couldn't, unless I was knitting with turkey basters and 10 strands of worsted weight held together.  Hmmm....I might file that idea away for later.  Imagine the stash you would eat through.

 Here is the finished scarf.  Its so hard to photograph though.  I'll try again in better light. Its a beautiful yellow, with bits of rose and forest green.  The warp yarn is just a plain natural worsted weight yarn by Lion Brand - Fisherman's wool, I believe.

I've already warped the loom again, for another scarf of the same width.  I'm not sure about the length though, as this time I'll be using handspun that I bought (gasp!) from A Good Yarn.  I had planned on giving it away, but got greedy when push came to shove and kept the yarn myself.  Its spun by this lady on the west coast of our beautiful province.  I am so envious of her yarns.  When I grow up, I want to spin art yarn like her.  And, oh my, art yarn looks glorious woven.  More on that later.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Teach a Child to Knit

You know the old saying 'Give a man a fish, he eats for a day but teach a man to fish he'll eat for a lifetime'.  Well, I believe this to be true of knitting.  Max loves hand knitted things.  In case you don't know, Max is Kev's 3 year old grandson.  He lives with us now - partime anyways.  I love him to bits.  Today he spotted some juggling balls on Ravelry that he really wanted.  Of course I made them for him
 They were super easy.  So then he gets it into his head that he can learn to knit.  The balls are crochet, but he does see me knit more.   So I thought, why not?  I was 7 when I learned, but kids today seem to be so ahead of things, maybe he could learn.   Well, he was more interested in using the needles as drumsticks.  I didn't think he would be able to master the fine motor skills.  He just wanted to mimic what I was doing.  Too cute though, isn't he?


 And I wanted to show off a pair of handspun mittens that I made for him.  I think I will make an ichord to thread through his jacket so he doesn't lose them.  Handspun is much more precious.  I am getting over my reluctance to use it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Benefits of a Close Shave

Every knitter should have one - a good sweater shaver that is.  I took these photos to demonstrate the difference.  These two photos are the underarm area of my somewhat recently completed 'Lady Kina'.  Just look at those white pills.  For some reason the pills were white, not grey.  I'm guessing its because its a blend, and only the wool part of the fiber pilled.  I could be wrong on this count.   I should ask about it on the knitter's review boards.  Clara Parkes knows a lot about yarn!

 Here are my lovely Malabrigo Robot mittens.  The mitten on the right hasn't had its shave yet.  It almost looks blurry.  There weren't a whole lot of actual pills, but more like a fuzzy greyish halo around the mitten.  And again, I'm guessing grey since the orange and blue fibers must have pilled equally to create grey.
And another photo of 100% wool mittens that have a fuzzy pilly thing going on.  These are Aimee's mittens.  She was very pleased that they now look brand new.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Mystery

A lot of designers host these mystery knit alongs.   A clue is given every so often and the participants go off and knit the clue.  I've seen several of these on the Ravelry boards, and while they have always piqued my interest, I've never participated.  But along comes a mystery KAL by my one of my favorite designers.  I just couldn't resist.   I know, its only 34 days or so before Christmas.  I have lots on my plate.  I have to finish knitting this hooded scarf thing, that my mother specifically asked for this summer when she was here.  The good news  is, that its almost finished.  I love when I'm enjoying knitting something so much that it almost knits itself.  Well, thats the way its been with this hooded scarf. 
 The yarn is shamrock by Knitpicks in the colour
Dougherty.  I was not expecting to enjoy this yarn or even this pattern this much.  What a nice surprise.  

I did some sewing this week too.  I visited Heather's  Ranger group.  We made some Little Dresses for Africa     I had intended to send them to the blog writer in this link.  But, one of the girls in this picture has a brother who is currently getting ready to go to Benin, Africa through Canada World Youth.  We will be sending them  to him, so that he can distribute them to needy girls in that part of the world.  The dresses turned out super cute and they were pretty easy to make too.                                                   

So, about that mystery.  I'm still not sure what it is.  I've just about finished knitting clue one.  And this is what it looks like.  At this point it could be anything.  A hat?  Maybe?  This could be the band.  Its only 3 inches wide.  Not mittens, I really don't think.  The genius part about many of Lee's patterns is that they are any gauge, so that practically any yarn can be used.  I'm using Paton's SWS for the stripes and Briggs and Little softspun is the blue background.  I'm liking it so far - whatever it is.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I miss Jess

Twist Collective came out today.  It is filled with gorgeous patterns.  All of which, I want to knit right now.  I really miss having my friend around to talk about which patterns appealed to her, which yarns that I might have in my stash that could work with different patterns, which patterns we didn't really like but might work in a different colour..etc.  You get the idea.  I really miss having someone around to bounce knitterly thoughts off.  She sees things differently than I do, and I really appreciated her different perspective.  Since I've lost my iphone, I can't even text her to find out her opinions.  Yes, I guess I'm a little whiny.  I saw her mom today, which made me miss her even more.  But I especially miss Jess whenever there is a new Knitty, or a new Twist, or I get my next issue of Interweave in the mail.  Which should be soon.  I guess I'll be missing Jess again, soon.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Loving the Handspun


I have this real problem with knitting with my handspun.   I'm not sure what it is, but I'm really hesitant to knit it.  Its almost as though, once its knit, its potential is gone.  I know, weird eh?  I also feel that no project is good enough.  No project will really show off how beautiful the yarn is.  Also, I'm not sure that any recipient of a handknit item made from handspun, will really get how much effort has gone into such a project.  But, I really have to get over this.  My handspun stash is rapidly growing.  And with Distinctive Knitting (my LYS) starting to carry spinning supplies I suspect this situation will get worse. 

Nat came to the house on Friday and announced that she needed new mittens.  What selfrespecting stepmother would I be if I didn't help her out with this situation??  By the way, she also announced that she is expecting!!  Hurrah, another babe to knit for.  Can't deny the fact that I'm hoping for a little girl to knit for this time, but seriously, people always say this, but its true.  As long as the baby is healthy.  I can still put fuschia on a boy, right?

So, back to the mittens.  I quickly knit up some mitered mittens (curtesy of Elizabeth Zimmerman, knitting goddess) out of a heavey worsted weight handspun that I did a long time ago.  The colourway was called sushi.  Cute aren't they.  And I know that Nat will appreciate them - so she is totally worthy of a knitted project from handspun.

I have quite a few gift certificates to spend at Distinctive Knitting.  I had a pharmacy intern this summer that gave me a gift certificate as a thank you gift for being her preceptor.  So, I took a quick jot down to see Mrs March (owner) and I saw that she still had a shelf full of the Fleece Artiste Merino Slyver.  I quickly spun it into this lovely skein of yarn.  Actually, not quickly - I had to run it through my drum carder to get it to fluff out.  It had become quite compacted from sitting on the shelf in the store.  Since I was giving his mommy handspun mittens, I figured Morgan needed some too.  So, I knit up these little fraternal twin mittens.   I'm not sure how I feel about them being so different from each other.  I figure he'll wear them in any case.  Winters are long, cold and hard in these parts - and a two year old goes through quite a few pairs of mitts in a winter.   I had several yards  of the yarn leftover and this stuff is too precious to just toss, so I knit it in with an earflap hat for Morgie too.  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Crochet Love

It started with that little duck Halloween hat for Colson.  It was so fast.  It was so cute.  I was smitten.  I can't stop the cute.   I had to crochet another one, with the proper eyes.  Adorable, isn't it? 

Then, I found this cute owl pattern on etsy, so I crocheted some of them.  I ended up modifying this one quite a bit.  I'm on a roll now. 
This latest one is my favorite.  I plan on donating these to Heather's Ranger group who are raising money to go to Halifax next summer.  I think people will like these.  

 And guess what this is? No, its not my favorite yarn shop.  Its my bedroom, and it makes me so happy to see all my yarns on display like this.  It makes them so accessable.  I've kind of organized them by colour.  Also, the quantities that I have in sweater's worth are in those duvet bags under neath the pile of feltable sweaters that are folded on top.  I still have large quantities of yarn in the living room and some downstairs.   When I get another square shelving unit, I will stack it on top of the existing one, and add more yarn.   My self striping yarns are hung on the closet rod, in the hanging shoe units.  Works in progress and spinning fiber are hung in bags over the closet rod.  Pretty clever isn't it.  I've shown some of my friends this picture, and they can hardly believe I have that much yarn.  I don't tell them about the shelving unit in the living room.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

What happened to October?

Was that ever a fast month! But then again, I always find that time seems to speed up in the fall.  I guess, I've been so busy with work, and girl guides that I haven't found the time to blog.  I've been knitting though.  And some other things too.  I even did some painting. 

 Last weekend the Big Land Trefoil Guild went to Lake Alexander for a fall camp.  7 of us attended.  We each had to bring a craft or activity.  I figured the girls could handle some silhouette painting.  Here are the results.  I think they turned out very nice!  I particularly liked my friend Karen's.  She did the Inukshuk in the sunset.  Gorgeous!
 I was busy with knitting Halloween items for Heather's baby, Colson.  I made him the knitted duck feet from Knitty.  These were just about the trickiest things that I've ever knit.  Turkish cast on, applied icord, stretchy cast off, shortrows.  This little pattern had it all!  But boy, oh boy, were they ever cute.  Just look at that little duck!  The crocheted hat was a cinch in comparison.  It only took about 2 hours to finish.  Talk about a great little pattern.  Its from speckledfrogcrochet on etsy.  You can buy it here.  What a great seller, and a great pattern.  I'll be making this again.  And she doesn't mind if you sell these hats - if you ask!

 I've been making a very concentrated effort to knit more with my handspun.  Its hard.  A project has to be worthy enough, a recipient has to be worth it too.  It has to be a special project for a special someone.  I'm trying to relax those standards somewhat and just knit it already.  (I'm really starting to build up a stash of handspun - my regular stash is bad enough).  I'm also trying to knit more from the books in my library.  This argyl hat is knit from two different colours of my handspun.  The pattern is from All New Homespun Handknits which is a really nice book with the patterns calling for small amounts of handspun.  I just love the resulting hat.  I've already cast on for two more.  Stay tuned.
Last weekend

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Camera lost but found again

I haven't been blogging, but that doesn't mean I haven't been doing fiber crafts.  I've been knitting up a bunch of little projects and wanting to blog.  I had lost my camera - or rather misplaced it.  It was in my Girl Guide hoodie, hung up in the closet.  It made a reappearance today, when I needed my hoodie for another guiding event - cookies. 

Here is a little neck warmer that I whipped up in less than 2 hours.  I've been making a real attempt to knit from my knitting books more.  I have so many books that are filled with great patterns, yet I keep knitting things from freebies on the web.  Thats not a bad thing, mind you, but I did buy these books for a reason.  This cowl is from the book by Sally Melville and Caddy Melville - Linkletter called 'Mother Daughter Knits'.  This is a great book, with many patterns that I like.  I'm not sure why this is the first thing that I've knit from it.  It needs buttons obviously, but its a really cute gift.

Next up are some little fingerless mittens.  These are from 'The Knitters Book of Wool'  A great resource book for spinners as well as great patterns.  These mittens are called Sweet Fern mittens and gave me a bit of grief at first, since the thumb placement was way off in the first mitt I knit.  This lead me to check for erratta, which, I should have done at first because, I would not have had to knit the right mitt twice.  Oh well, hindsite is 20/20 right?

Friday, September 24, 2010

I really shouldn't brag

I cast on for these way back in March.  I bragged about how quickly they were knitting up.  I loved the yarn.  Malabrigo - whats not to love?  I loved the pattern.  Colourwork robots!!  Hello! Fantastic.  But here it is, now September and I'm just finishing them.  What happened?  To put it quite simply - summer.  Warmer weather inspired me to knit lace and baby items, not warm mittens.  But summer doesn't last long here in Labrador.  Its actually chilly enough now to start wearing these in the evenings on my walks.

I suspect I may have a hard time keeping these.  I know Amy wants them.  But she isn't getting them this time.  Amy, you do understand that right?  These are mine, all mine.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Thing of Beauty

I'm so proud of this shawl.  Its beautiful thats for sure, but the thing about this shawl is that it is totally all my doing.  I spun the yarn.  I knit the shawl.  I even 'unvented' (to quote EZ) the pattern.  I have this 'thing' about knitting with my handspun.  Its like no pattern is good enough.  No recipient is worthy of it.  So, all my handspun just sits in drawers waiting.   I've mentioned my reluctance to knit with handpun before.  I realize that I have to get past it, or really, I should stop spinning.  For some reason, I have no  problem with gifting the handspun yarn.  But, it has to be given to someone who I know will appreciate it.  I once gave a skein of 100% alpaca to my mother.  She started a project and frogged it.  Started another and frogged it again.  My poor handspun didn't hold up too well to repeated frogging.  I don't think my mother will ever get another skein of it.  I actually took that skein back. 

I knit this shawl for a swap partner - another knitter from Newfoundland.  On ravelry, the forum that I participate in most is the Newfoundland and Labrador Knitters and Crocheters.  I enjoy the discussions in this forum and even got to meet some group members last month when Amy and I went to St. John's for her tonsillectomy.  A swap was organized on the board earlier this summer.  I was the only knitter from outside the St. John's area included in the swap.  After meeting Leah in person, I knew that this shawl was well suited to her - and that she was definitely worthy of an item knit from handspun.  Pictured here is her total swap package.  A ball of Zauberball Crazy, a spindle (by Kev) and roving, handmade soap, shawl and shawl/hair stick and a scone kit - all packaged up in a breast cancer bag. 
Leah was pleased with her package and said it was like getting a gift from 'someone who knew her soul'.  What a great compliment.    It makes me want to knit with my handspun some more. 

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Summer is ending

And I didn't blog a whole lot.  We've been really busy around here.  To sum things up...we took a trip, we had a baby born, we had a wedding, we had a surgery, I met some knitters, and I bought a new car!  Here are some photos of things I've done and knit this past little while - in no particular order.

Mom and Dad on Port Hope Simpson bridge
Nat and Blair's Wedding! Nat was stunning...Blair too, I guess, if a guy can be stunning that is.
Here I am teaching little Natalie to knit.  Natalie is my sister's niece.  Too young really, but hey, it doesn't hurt to try right?  We spent two nights in Melrose during our flying visit to my hometown to pick up mom and dad for the wedding
My first Citron (knitty pattern) this summer.  Knit in 3 days on the way to pick up Mom and Dad for the wedding and on the drive on the way back.  Blocked in the hotel at St. Barbe NL.  I almost have a second Citron finished.
Knitters!!  Amy and I spent more than 2 weeks in St. John's after she had her tonsils out.  Thankfully, there were knitters and crocheters from Ravelry who invited us out to supper.  I also went to their KIP at the Rooms.  What a fantastic bunch!
Here is Amy posing with my first Minty (knitty pattern) of the summer.  I made a second one for Jenna.  My sister Cindy came in to St. John's for a weekend while we were there.  It really helped to pass the time!   You can really see how sick Amy was in this picture.  The tonsillectomy was not an easy procedure.  It was significantly more difficult than the jaw surgery of two years ago.
A Minion from Despicable Me!  Amy, Jenna, Riley and I went to see this movie during my sister's family visit.  It was great.  I had to make one of these guys for Riley.  He really, really liked it.
This is a shawl made from Malabrigo yarn.  The pattern is from Knitscene and its called Oscilloscope.  I bought this yarn at my new favorite yarn shop called 'A Good Yarn' in St. John's.  The owner, Jenny, is super fantastic awesome nice!  If you go to St. John's, make sure to drop in.
My new vehicle.  A Rogue by Nissan.  I had my corolla for 14 years!  I hated to give it up.  Actually, I didn't give it up.  I have her parked for Amy to drive when she comes home from university.
Mr Colson Lethbridge.  Big ole boy of Heather's.  I can't believe Heather is a mom to two boys!
Jenna and Riley on Signal Hill.  Riley had a list of things that he wanted to do during his two days in St. John's.  I tried my best to get most of them in.

 Overall, the summer was way too short, as it always is.  You can already feel that nip in the air here.  It is Labrador after all.  But that's one of the reasons why I love it so much. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Tour has Ended

I finished the tour with a decent number of skeins this year.  Seven whole skeins of yarn finished.  I really put a big dent in my fiber stash too.  Here are the latest ones.  That final purple skein really surprised me.  I really disliked the look of the roving.  A customer of mine had given me some yarn several years ago and I had promised her a small skein of handspun in return and she really likes blues, so I thought I would spin it up for her.  This was a pencil roving and it had short repeats of navy, sky blue and purple.  It turned out to look like a tonal purple.  I wasn't expecting that.  And now, I'm not sure if I'm going to gift it at all, since it isn't really blue anymore.  We'll see.