FO: TdF Stragglers

Four New Yarns

So, at the beginning of the Tour de Fleece I set out the batts and tops I wanted to spin, and after the three weeks of the tour I had finished two yarns.  Not deterred by missing the deadline so badly, I have continued to spin my TdF fluff queue and I am finally finished, almost a month after the last day of the tour.

Falling Leaves

50/50 Tussah Silk and SeaCell, 14wpi, worsted spun, 2-ply, 60yds, 50g.

The Fiber

The Yarn

Two Art Yarns

The Fiber, Already Dizzed

1. Corespun, 30 yds

The Corespun Yarn

2. Threadplyed Yarn, 100 yds

The Threadplyed Yarn

Fall Colors

100% BFL, chain plyed, aran weight, 100yds, 100gm

The Fiber

The Yarn

So I am finally “caught up” on my spinning. I find having a spinning queue is helpful, but I think I need to knit down some handspun before I can spin anymore.

FO: Warm Winter Wishes

With a year of spinning behind me now, it took a good friend to make me knit with the yarns I have made.  My good friend Tiff was in town for the Dragon Boat Festival back in June and she admired the yarn and when we made plans to go camping/adventuring this weekend, I knew I had to make it into something for her.

I think the bear really makes the cowl color just pop.

The yarn I made it out of was a batt I got from Diana the genius behind Fiber Fancy.  The batt was beautiful, and soft and fantastic, and the color was just so warm.

The Fiber

I spun it into a really soft, thick/thing single. It was my first attempt at woolenspun yarn, however, it was really inconsistent. So in the areas that are silky it is thread thin and in the more alpaca-y areas it is bulky, so the simple lace pattern actually highlights the yarn really well.

The Yarn

I have had this pattern in my queue forever, and it was a great knit.  And it is just so wonderfully warm and fuzzy, the alpaca makes it warm and it has a shedd-y halo that just makes you want to pull it on.

The Unfinished Object

By the time this post goes up the recipient will have it in her hands, and I hope she loves it as much as I do

The Finished Object

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Project Name: Warm Winter Wishes

Pattern: Ptarmigan by Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed

Recipient: Tiff, a good friend of mine

Yarn: Green Bean’s String, my handspun single made from a Fiber Fancy Batt, Winter Sunrise.

Modifications:

  • I stopped after row 20 of chart B so that I didn’t run out of yarn

New Skills:

  • None, although it is my first time knitting with my own handspun yarn.

Feedback: Nice pattern, and of course being a Brooklyn Tweed pattern, it is a great pattern and has beautiful photos and graphic design.

Re-Knit?: Possibly, however, it is a nice base for a new cowl design, the ratios are solid from cast on to bind off edge.

The back shows off how the blocking makes the handspun look so nice.

On Pass Checks and Podcasts

So, something that is both a frustration and a benefit of my job is I get paid to knit.  I regularly do pass checks at the major trailhead for 4-8 hours a week.  It is hot (or cold) and boring, and the only thing that makes it fun are my knitting/crochet/spindling and my iPod.

I crocheted many of the motifs and attached most of them together while waiting for trail users to show up at the trailhead.

I found that podcasts fills my time wonderfully.  My friends Dan Savage, Kelley Petkun, Grant Lawrence, Jonathan Goldstein, Ira Glass, the Planet Money team, and the weekly storytellers at the Moth, make me laugh, and cry and think.

So in honor of Kelly Petkun, the voice behind the KnitPicks Podcast and her fantastic weekly topics, I wanted to share some of my favorite podcasts, and I hope you might share some of your favorites with me.

(Note: Click on the podcast icon to subscribe on iTunes)

The Savage Lovecast – I have been listening to Dan since the very first days of his podcast in 2006 (wow, has it been that long!).  He is a controversial figure, and he never fails to offend and infuriate me.  However, I find his brand of sex advice amusing and his rants entertaining. Also, I think he has a fantastic voice and his pacing shows his experience with public speaking (something that is a must for me when choosing a podcast, I gave up on Never Not Knitting, because her poor grammar made me want to strangle my iPod everytime she spoke).  I know my views on so many things, particularly as they relate to sex, have been formed by Dan Savage and his personal brand of advice.

KnitPicks Podcast – This one is still new to me, I am on episode 54 of 165, but I love the way Kelley Petkun pulls together knitting, life, lessons and lectures without sounding too preachy.  Also considering that she runs a knitting supply company, she rarely comes off as a walking advertisement.  When I listen to Kelley I imagine it to be like attending a lecture at a knitting or spinning guild, or possibly the conversations that occur after a fantastic speaker.  I do find her interviews frustrating, the recording quality is poor and often Kelley’s conversations diverge so wildly from the “topic” of the interview I feel like I am eavesdropping on a personal call. However, I enjoy Kelley’s “chats” and I can understand the concern on the KnitPicks Lovers’ forum on Ravelry when they went quiet last winter.

The Moth – The Moth has made me cry on more than a few occasions, something that makes me love it and hate it equally.  For those not familiar The Moth is a storytelling collective who host events where people can tell stories (based on the theme of the night) and win accolades.  The best stories are collected and released as weekly podcasts and for the past year as a radio show.  These stories are so personal and heartbreaking that they make me wish I could share stories as well as the Moth storytellers do.

Planet Money – I love me some NPR and living in Ontario I can’t be bothered to listen to it on the internet, but I miss Kai Rysdal (Marketplace), Terry Gross (Fresh Air) and the Car Talk Guys. Planet Money gives me what I love about NPR, clear reporting and fantastic research and production.  While I never thought that I would be so interested in finance, the Planet Money team has taught me about mortgage backed securities, why aid money never works they way you want it to, what the Case-Schiller Index sounds like and how come there are so many Sacajawea dollar coins in the world.

This American Life – This podcast falls so far down the list because of logistics not love.  Because of its hour long format I find myself more likely to listen to it when I am at the trailhead or on a roadtrip, rather than walking to and from work. If you are not familiar to This American Life, it is a great show that shares stories around a set theme, however these stories  can include personal monologues, interviews, news reports or even fictional tales.  I first started listening to Planet Money because of their contributions to This American Life.

WNYC’s Radio Lab – This is one I fall in and out of love with. The show showcases how engaging the radio/podcast format can be, using layering of voices, sound clips and music to punctuate and accent their point.  However I don’t find myself choosing this one, but rather falling down its auditory rabbit hole whenever my iPod is running dry of content.

This is That – This one is still somewhat new to me, but it is an example that Canadians are much funnier and meaner that American’s think we are.  This is That is a parody news show, (think if the Onion did a radio show) that matches (and mocks) the style of the CBC so well that their stories have been picked up by the mainstream press and have inspired many conversations on topics like if the maple leaf in the Canadian flag looks too much like a potleaf, or if 14 years old is too young a drinking age in Quebec (both stories featured on the show).  I haven’t listened to the second season yet, but I found with the first season that the charade was so good, that by the end of the season they were tired of people thinking it was real and became like Mrs. Featherbottom/Tobias on the second season of Arrested Development, desperate to be caught in their “lie”.

CBC Radio 3 Podcast – This one is different than the others on the list, it is a radio show featuring the best in Canadian independent music.  Grant Lawrence, the host, pulls together fantastic shows, however I mostly listen to it in the place of music on my iPod and I don’t listen to it on my walks or at work, but rather when driving.

Wiretap with Johnathan Goldstein – Jonathan is a regular contributor to This American Life, which is how I found his show. I have listened to a few episodes and I haven’t decided whether I truly enjoy his show.

DNTO – Definately Not the Opera is a long running CBC show which I had enjoyed in the past, here again I haven’t listened to many episodes (I am still working my way through a backlog of KnitPicks podcast), however I like to keep a stash on my iPod just in case of emergency, that I somehow get stranded somwhere and I need distraction.

The History of the World in 100 Objects – This is a podcast put out by BBC Radio 4 that I loved but is not an ongoing podcast.  The project brought together 100 objects that help the host Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, tell the story of humankind from 2 million year old basalt chopping tool, to a solar charged lamp.  This podcast was fantastic while it lasted (at 102 – 15 minute episodes it is not endless), although it certainly took a masculine, Eurocentric view of the world, it introduced me to objects, peoples and histories that I could never imagine.

So, that is a little bit about what I have in my ears when I am knitting, crocheting and spinning.  Do you also listen to any of these podcasts? Do you have any podcasts that I must add to my list?

FO: First Crochet Blanket

So after many months of crocheting, waiting for yarn and procrastinating, my first real crochet project is finished.

The clear, sunny sky makes the colors just pop.

I can’t say I went into my fiber addiction because of crochet, like many people I have a perception than crochet was stuck in the 70s, with icky cheap acrylics and dated patterns.  However, after discovering Attic24, I realized how wrong I was.   Lucy, the fantastic designer/blogger behind Attic24, is surrounded in a world of beautiful crocheted blankets in a rainbow of colors.

For a while, the pile of motifs just seemed endless.

Last summer I picked up a sampler pack of KnitPicks Comfy Sport yarn. It was a good deal and I thought I was going to make baby toys with it.  However, as months have passed I had no interst in toys but a strong interest in getting it out of my stash, so the combination of a beautiful pre-picked palette of colors and the designs of Attic 24, it seemed like the thing to do.

Seeing all the motifs lined up inspired me to finish the damn blanket.

So as far as color, I used yellow for all the centres, and used each of the non yellow or white colors for both the inner and outer rings, pairing them with every color but their own.  When it came time to attach, I decided to take the advice of my quilting sister and not overplan the distribution of colors.  I divided the motifs thirds, taking on of each color combo into a group (so no identical motifs in each group).  Then starting at the corner, I attached them in rows of ten, grabbing from the bag at random. However, I did make sure than never did the same inner color or outer color be the same as the ones surrounding it.  Because of this little bit of color planning there are some neat patterning in the blanket.

The back side ends were a bit daunting, but thankfully the tutorial suggests tucking the ends as you go, which made life so much easier.

So I am really happy with the blanket, and I am actually making a baby sweater out of what I have left, because I think it would make a nice gift, one day.  I am thankful none of my friends are having babies yet, but I am ready when they are.

I like to think the gravel sets off the color, but really I was taking this FO picture at work.

Project Name: First Crochet Blanket

Pattern: Hexagon How-To by Lucy at Attic24

Recipient: The first baby girl I meet

Yarn: Comfy Sport by KnitPicks.

It is a cotton/acrylic blend, not my usual sort of yarn but perfect for baby stuff.  I bought a sampler last fall and ended up using 1 ball of Creme Brulee for the centres, then most of a ball of each in Marlin, Sea Foam, Silver Sage, Peony, Honey Dew and Cashew, and 4.5 balls of Ivory for all the surrounding parts.  As a note, many of these colors have been and are currently being discontinued.

Modifications:

  • I made 90 motifs (10×9) in the finished blanket.  The pattern is more of a guideline, so this wasn’t so much of a modification as a size.

New Skills:

  • Crochet
  • Crocheted Hexagons

Feedback: LOVE IT.  The way the motifs looks like flowers, was intentional reference to the fantastic Flowers in the Snow Afghan as crocheted by Tanis of Tanis Fiber Arts.  The directions from Attic24 were clear and helpful.

Re-Knit?: Without a doubt, however it may be larger or smaller as need be.  The options for yarn size, finished size, colors makes it a great gift project, and crocheting an afghan seems so much quicker than knitting one.

See, I told you I took the pictures at work.

On Summertime and Snapshots

While my blogging has been sparse, my summer activities have been many.

Since the middle of July I have seen a bunch of my cousins, worked many hours, and enjoyed summer in my small tourist town.

I have been walking more for exercise so here are a few things I saw on my walk through town this morning.

Our Salt Pile: It's used on the roads across the region. The barge that brings it in is gigantic, it is really neat to watch it unload. To me, this looks so much like the North, everything from the sky to the water to the building.

Just some fun yellow flowers, I really loved the colors.

The granite of the Canadian Shield, the textures and the colors look like summer and Parry Sound to me.

I love the way the one flower is growing out of the riprap in front of the breakwater at our water treatment facility.

Thanks to working at the Wildflower Center when I lived in Austin, I love native grasses. I really liked the way the grass was moving and the neat old building behind it.

And more grass, I love the color, the shape, the seeds, the way it moves in the breeze. In some ways I think grasses are more interesting than flowers, mowing the lawn, however, is not my idea of fun.

The texture and colors, made this log of driftwood just look so interesting. There is so much driftwood in the sound, all the logging done west of Algonquin Park came down the Seguin River to Parry Sound, so there are many, many dead logs that sunk all around the harbor.

This little pathway through our main recreational trail along the shores of the sound (sound is a geographic term for "a large sea or ocean inlet larger than a bay, deeper than a bight and wider than a fjord; or it may be defined as a narrow sea or ocean channel between two bodies of land" according to Wikipedia). Parry Sound is a large opening off Georgian Bay, and is the name of the body of water and the town that sits alongside it. So there is a path along the water, but off the path, and all through town, are secret footpaths that connect one place to another.

So as a spend my summer wandering the secret, and not so secret, paths through town I will try to remember that the tourists come to our town because they like it, not because they want to make me crazy.