Friday, December 27, 2013

The Holidays

I've been a pharmacist since 1995. I've been working retail ever since I graduated except for two brief years in the late 90s when I tried hospital pharmacy. Each year I have worked Christmas. Except this year. This year my daughter was coming home for a very short time. So this year I decided to take it off. It's not something I'll likely get to do again for a very long time. But this year all necessary components lined up favorably to make it possible for me to take an entire week off. 

It's been a very different Christmas season for me. Very little stress. Very little last minute preparation. And as I go into this weekend with Kevin preparing to go on a partridge hunt I am realizing how relaxing this time has been. I am truly blessed.

I was also very lucky in the yarn department as Santa was very generous with me. 
Those gorgeous Ombres are Freia Handpaints. One is fingering weight yarn and the other is lace weight yarn. And that's some Sweet Georgia silk mohair blend on the bottom. 
And this is a very beautiful white bronze shawl pin that Amy picked up for Kevin to gift to me from Espace Tricot in Montreal. I love it. I hope everyone out there in blog land had a wonderful holiday as well. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A New Kind of Thumb

I've been knitting these mittens called Arc
Mittens. The pattern is from Interweave Knits Accessories 2011. (Which, by the way, is an excellent mag - I want to make just about everything in this edition). I've had this pattern in my queue for some time now. I'm so glad I took the time to knit these because I am in love. 

Do you see the thumb!? That's the best part!! Instead of the usual thumb gusset as is true of many mitten patterns this designer has you create increases that mimic the lifeline on the palm of your hand. The result is one fantastic fitting mitten. 

Here they are having their soak in Soak. The Puffin yarn from Quince and co held up nicely after the bath despite this being a loosely spun bulky single. There was very slight colour bleeding into the water but it was VERY slight. No need for colour catchers here. 

Now what to do with them? I rarely wear purple myself and my winter coat is red - just a little too clashy.  

I'm sure someone will lay claim to them before too long. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Am I the Only One?

I'm really curious if there are other knitters/crocheters (or crafters in general) out there like me. People who are brazen enough to ask a person to take off a piece of their clothing so it can be photographed. Photographed on the off chance that one might want to reproduce it later. Anyone else out there do that? It used to embarrass the crap out of my daughter. She could care less now. She has toughened up to my eccentricities it seems. 

Well I do it all the time. And today I came across a real gem. Knitted gloves featuring a Labrador flag blowing in the wind. Isn't it great?  This glove was knit by the owner's now deceased  sister and the gloves have huge sentimental value. 
Well I admire anyone who knits gloves period. I've knit one pair. And that's likely all I'll ever knit. The fingers are way too fiddly for me. Plus, I prefer mittens both to knit and to wear  

Speaking of knit gloves! I saw a great handknit pair yesterday too. I should have thought to photograph them too. But what was truly neat about these gloves was that the knitter knit the entire fingers in that heel stitch we all use to reinforce our heels on knit socks. You know - row 1 slip 1 knit 1 all the way across and row 2 purl back. The result is a dense fabric. 

It makes perfect sense to knit the fingers of your gloves in this same way. It will keep the fingers warmer and they are going to stand up to wear and tear a lot better. Kevin has a pair of handknit gloves my mother gave him several Christmases ago. (She had a friend of hers make them). He loves these gloves so much. They are fair isle and very masculine.  He wears them when he is out clearing away the snow. I guess the vibrations from the snowblower are hard on these mittens or something becaus he has busted holes in several fingers on both hands. I've darned them repeatedly. He refuses to part with them. 

I think I will take a cue from this knitter when he needs them mended again. I'll reknit the whole fingers in this slip stitch pattern. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Yarn Chicken

Have you ever played this game with your knitting? You know the game. It's the one where you pick up a ball of yarn with no ball band so you have no idea how much is there. You decide to use said yarn anyway because it's the right weight and colour. You do this even though you aren't entirely certain you have enough of this yarn to finish the project in question.  Ever play it? I have. 
Here is a great example of how the game works. See these mittens? At this point in the knitting I'm not sure if I have enough yarn to finish the thumb. Actually when I first picked out the lone ball of brown yarn without a ballband - I wasn't sure I have enough yarn. I wasn't sure when I cast on or when I knit the cuff or even when I finished the first mitt. I really didn't know. I guess on some level I was thinking so what if I don't have enough.  I am a spinner after all. If push comes to shove I could make more yarn. Right? Yeah. More likely it would have been stuffed back into a project bag and thrown in the back of the closet  never to be thought of again unless I needed those needles or even a bit of brown yarn. But as luck would have it (or maybe I'm just that skilled at predicting yarn quantities) I had enough. Barely. 

The pattern is called Newfoundland mittens (a freebie) and it's a favorite of mine. I've knit this pattern many times over the years. It's a traditional pattern that I grew up seeing all the kids wear. I had no idea they were unique to our province until I started knitting in earnest and realized how much knitting there was on the Internet. The same is true of thrummed mittens but that's another post. While searching out this pattern I discovered it was called Newfoundland mittens because the pattern supposedly had originated here. Who knew?

By the time I got to the thumb on the second mitt, I thought I was in trouble. It really looked like I wouldn't have enough. And these are mittens I plan on gifting to a very special little old lady who does a lot for our community. I didn't want these mitts to have two different coloured thumbs.

Well as it turns out I had enough.  In fact I had to magic knot the bit of yarn that was left over from the long tail cast on. (If you don't know what magic knot is, I urge you to look it up on YouTube along with Jane Richmond - it's brilliant) 

As an aside, I've always thought these mittens would look great inside out. If only someone would come up with a pattern 😉

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Time has a way ...

Of getting away from you - or so the expression goes. It's been awhile. But I'm still here knitting and spinning and crocheting and even some sewing. 

I've been busy. With this!!!

Yes, we have finally moved into our new home. And I couldn't be happier. I'm so glad to have moved in. I'm so happy with my beautiful home with its beautiful up to date appliances and I'm so glad that the whole process is over. Kevin and I (and our son in law Blair) can have our lives back.  The whole process was ... I'm struggling to come up with the right words and I'm not sure that I can .. I'm
Just so relieved that it's over. 

In the meantime though I have been doing some knitting.  Here is a little shawl I just finished. It's called Akimbo and it's by Stephen West. (I know, the love affair continues)

It's not large enough to wear in shawl fashion but just perfect as a kerchief. I think I'll gift this to my neice Jenna. 
The yarn is Dream in Color Classy or Smooshy. I can't remember which. The yarn and pattern was bought as a kit called Chelsea's Light Shawl. The proceeds of the sale went to the Chelsea's Light Foundation which is aimed at raising awareness of violent acts against children. Check out their website.

I'm trying out the blogger app on my iPhone so bear with me if this post seems a little weird. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Colour Craving

I love mystery KALs. I just love the camaraderie of knit alongs in general, but when you add an element of mystery to the whole thing....well, it just makes me Its like we are all on this wild ride together and no one knows if its going to end well or not, but we just put our faith in the designer and hope that we have chosen our yarns and colours well. This most recent KAL was no exception - with Stephen West being the designer. The pattern is called Color Craving. There are over 2000 projects of this design started on Ravelry by different knitters!! He had us pick three different colours in fingering weight yarn. Luckily for me I had just gotten back from Montreal and had done a little yarn shopping. I had the lady at Mouline pick out three yarns for me that would look good in a Colour Affection shawl. Actually I had two picked out and couldn't figure out the third. I was surprised by the third colour but she assured me that it would work. I am so glad that I listened to her. There is no way that I would have picked these three colours on my own. The yarn is by a new to me dyer named Julie Asselin. She is from Quebec and her yarns are amazing!! She has an etsy shop but I'm not sure how often she updates. Mouline had a load of her yarns. I'll be sure to buy more the next time I'm there.

See that greenish, yellowish colour? Its called cold pressed. The yarn store lady picked that one - not a colour I would have picked but I love it! Sometimes you have to take chances.

This is how it turned out! First off it is huge!! I'm talking about six feet in lengths. And the shape? Not your typical shawl thats for sure. I love it! I love how graphic it is. I love the unusual shape that gives you many options for styling. And I love those huge yarn over holes running down the center. I've seen some people on Ravelry wearing it with the narrow end threaded through some of these holes. Awesome!!

Here I am wearing the shawl, but its very hard to be both model and photographer when using an iphone.

Monday, September 09, 2013

I'm not sure what happened.

The summer has really gotten away from me. Now, I can start to make all kinds of excuses - like, we are in the middle of building a house. This is true and it has no doubt kept me busy, but I've still been crafting.

I can also say that I went on vacation. Also true, but I still crafted. And I shopped!!! Yes, I went to just about every decent yarn shop in Montreal that was close to the metro. And I went there on my own! This may not mean much to some, but it does to me - a middle aged woman from a very rural part of Canada. You get it - I'm not a big city kinda gal. Its amazing what the proper motivator would have you do. And this photo? Its only from one store.

I could also say that I've been very busy at work. I've had one pharmacy student this summer, I hired two other students and one of them got into pharmacy school and the second is studying to be a dietician. But still, I crafted. In fact I made my students hats. This one, I'm particularly fond of (the hat and the student). Its made from the yarn that I made out of the punis in the last blog post (shamefully back in July). The hat was made in a mystery KAL put off by one of my favorite designers - Lee Meridith. It was a great KAL and I fully intended to blog about how unique it was and how much fun I had, but then things got away from me. Like I said, I'm not sure what happened.

I could even make the outrageous claim that I've been busy since my step daughter was pregnant and expecting a baby. Well, look what we got!!!!

Yes, a beautiful little boy. For those who are keeping track, this is number 4! His name is Reagan and we couldn't be more delighted with him. In fact, I've been crafting for him too.

So all in all, its been a busy summer with lots of things happening in our lives. But through it all, I've been knitting, crocheting and spinning. I think that its such an integral part of who I am that no matter how busy things get, I will continue to make things. Now, will I continue to document them?? That is the question.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I'm not talking about Christmas - though that is a pretty great time, but not if you work in retail, like I do. I'm talking about Tour de Fleece. Those in the fiber world know what I'm talking about, but for my few friends and family that may read this blog Tour de Fleece is a spinning event that occurs simultaneously with the Tour de France. We spin, they ride. I love it! I've been participating for ...oh, I don't know how many years now, but I've got to go look it up.

Ok, that was an interesting little sidetrack....2008 was the first year I participated in the Tour - so this is my 6th year. I'm assuming I participated in every year. I can't remember taking a break from it, so it must be my sixth year. Wow! I guess I can't claim to be a beginning spinner any longer then.

This is my first finished yarn of the tour. Its from etsy seller Unwindyarn company. Its a BFL/silk blend called Terra Nova and I loved spinning it. The resulting yarn is so soft and bouncy.

Next up I spun a gradient. I love knitting with gradients and it turns out, I love spinning them as well. This fiber came from etsy seller Turtlepurl Yarns and Notions. This roving came as two seperate gradient braids so that you can spin up two separate skeins that will match for knitting a pair of socks or mitts. You could also spin each braid separately and ply the resulting singles together so that you would end up with a very very long gradient. I opted to do the former as I forsee knitting mittens with these. This was also a BFL/silk blend. I think this blend is fast becoming my favorite fiber combo.

My next spin was some punis!!! These are from etsy seller Gourmet Stash

I really enjoyed spinning these. The resulting yarn is so light and airy. And bright! I already have some plans for this yarn. I'm participating in Leethal's mystery KAL. I'll be blogging more about that at a later date, I'm sure.

And finally, a shot of what I've been spinning on the spindle. I do really enjoy spindle spinning. This was spun while watching the three little boys last weekend. Not too bad considering how busy those boys are.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Bad Oyster

I've fallen in love with my knitting again! This makes me so happy. It happens several times a year it seems - I fall in and out of love with my knitting. Sometimes it seems to depend upon the time of year, some times it seems to depend upon if I have any obligatory knitting and sometimes it just seems to be a combination of the right pattern, the right yarn at the right time.

The first thing to kind of get me out of my knitting rut was the publication of a pattern called Moonkoosas. This clever little pattern comes courtesy of Tiny Owl Knits. Tiny Owl Knits is the brains behind the infamous Beekeepers Quilt. This pattern is whats known as a viral knit - meaning everyone and their dog have knit it, are knitting it, or plan on knitting it soon. Count me in the latter group. A full blanket in fingering weight yarn. That would put a knitter into a rut, not help dig one out. But the Moonkoosas are a different story. Knit in bulky yarn and felted down to size, they are a quick knit with a gorgeous unique end product. Now, I just need to knit the second one.
Here they are before felting

And after felting.

I love how the stitch definition just blurs with felting. I may do some needle felting on these too. That is - when I finish the second one.
Why didn't I finish the second one you may ask? (You may also ask why I didn't even start the second one - that might make more, Kevin and I took a little trip to St. John's. We had to do 'house stuff'. That is we had to pick out fixtures and lighting and door knobs and god knows what else. Its all a blur to be honest. I didn't get a chance to even go yarn shopping. I know, horrors. But I did get a chance to knit! Bulky furry boots don't really constitute travel knitting in my book, so I picked out a cute promising little pattern in a very cute yarn. And OH MY GOD! The yarn gods must have been smiling on me that day because it was the perfect match of yarn to pattern and it was the perfect travel knitting. By the time I came home I had a gorgeous little shawlette.

The pattern is called Bad Oyster - the name alone is enough to make you want to knit it. Why bad oyster? Well, a bad oyster doesn't produce a pearl. Get it?? There are no purls in this pattern at all. And the fringe is sort of built in. I don't want to give any of the pattern away. But I do encourage you all to check it out and buy it and knit it - Today!!

The yarn is Socks that Rock Medium weight in the colourway Twitterpated. I love that name. I loved the pooling!! Some people hate pooling but the pooling made it more interesting to knit in my opinion. I kept wanting the colours to line up and pool. And yeah, I've already cast on a second one. In the colourway "Pinky Swear" same yarn base. Its my "purse knitting".

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Crazy about Crochet

When Kev was in Montreal earlier this month, he brought me back a new book. 101 One Skein Crochet Wonders by Judith Durant. I haven't been crocheting in a long while. And for some reason, my knitting mojo has reached an all time low. So this was just the thing I needed. There are so many really cute things in this book and I'm sure its one I'll turn to time and again when the mood to crochet strikes me. One thing I noticed about this book is that it seems to make use of yarns like Noro that utitlize long repeats of colour. Those are some of my favorite yarns, and I have a lot of them in my stash - single skeins that I'm not sure what to do with.

I couldn't resist crocheting up this cute bunny. He seemed to progress so quickly. I couldn't stop crocheting the little pieces. They came together so nicely. And notice how the colours line up so perfectly on the different parts. This was a happy accident! They yarn is acrylic - Bernat Mosaic. Not a yarn, I'd normally chose but for a toy, I think it works perfectly.

And in other news I finally finished the Leaflet sweater that I started back in November. I like it a lot and I'm not sure why it went into the 'hibernation' pile.

And I'm still plugging away on these Hope Springs Eternal Socks. I'm enjoying the pattern and the yarn. These will be finished soon! I just love how the colours are pooling and swirling around the leg of the socks!

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Well hello blog. Its been a while. I'm sticking to my story and blaming it on Instagram. I still knit, I still craft, I still take pictures of it all and I still want to share it with the online community. Like I've said before, it seems Instagram is filling that need. I don't even put my projects up on Ravelry with any regularity any more. Shhhhhhhh! I know, CRAZY!!

My whole desire to blog came about years ago as a way of documenting swap packages that I had made and received on Craftster. I can't tell you the last time I went on Craftster. I can't tell you the last time I was involved in a swap. Then the blogging more or less became a desire to document my crafting - a journal if you will. I keep telling the girls that when I'm gone (a long time from now hopefully) and the things that I've made for them are used up and worn out then at least they will always have this record to look back on. My digital footprint left for all my ancestors to see what an enterprising person their great great granny was. I still feel that way, and I still resolve to keep blogging even if I only have 9 followers.

So in that vein, here is what I've been up to the past month.

I knit a headband. The pattern is from Mel Clark's book Knitting Everyday Finery and I love it! This promises to be my most utilized knitwear to date. I wear it a lot because my hair is in a mess a lot. Its alpaca and silk and so far not too hot (mind you, we had snow yesterday, so everything is relative)

I blocked some finished projects. The stripey socks you'll recognize. The others are a cute little baby vest destined for some baby girl. The pattern is Milo and so versatile. Totally worth the few bucks that it cost. I love the little heart cable and I'll definitely be making this little pattern again. The orange beret is called "Meret". I did this as a KAL with some of the ladies on Instagram. Its made from my handspun. Its rather large on me but would likely fit my larger headed offspring no problem. I will likely gift this to her at some point.

I bought yarn! And OHMYGOD!!! Its all Socks that Rock. It is so beautiful!! All I want to do it look at it. Now thats wrong I know. I feel like buying a shadow box and framing them. I'm not sure what I'll make but right now I'm just enjoying the gorgeous colours. I think I may have fell down a rabbit hole when I joined that socks that rock club. I don't really want to knit with any other yarn. This could become dangerous.

I fixed a miss crossed cable on my Hope Springs Eternal socks from my Socks that Rock Club. I thought I could live with it, but 10 rows later it was still bugging me. I dropped those 6 or so stitches back and fixed it all - no problem. Pretty pleased with myself there.

And I finished spinning this beautiful yarn. This was spun from Rolags that I purchased from Blue Mountain Handcrafts on etsy. My first time spinning rolags and I really liked it.

Well thats my randomness for today. Hope all is well in your crafting world!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Apparently Its Spring

I'm having a hard time believing it myself. When I look outside and see that the yard is still covered in snow and I see snow in the forecast, I have a hard time believing that the calendar is correct.

I do realize that I live Labrador and that I shouldn't be surprised by the weather, but each year, I'm a little surprised by how long it lasts. People are still going out on skidoo!!

But there are reminders of spring or at least some signs of it. For example, my latest shipment from the Socks that Rock yarn club!

Isn't it pretty? Its called 'Hope Springs Eternal' and to be honest these spring colours are just what the doctor ordered. They will be socks of course, and most likely the socks that came with the club. They are very pretty and feature a picot cuff which charms me to no end.

I've also been doing some more baby knitting. Again, for a girl! This pattern is called "Milo" and is a clever little vest that allows you to use different cable details on the front. I've chosen hearts. Pretty sweet!

I have one finished object to share with you all. Its a 'For Good' hat by Megan Williams of the Stockinette Zombies podcast. I love the hat, and I love the buttons - a very good match I think.

The buttons are from etsy seller "Woodenheartbuttons" out of London, Ontario. She wrote me the sweetest note telling me her family is from Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Small world!