What is that loom-ing on the horizon?


Photo Courtesy of Schacht Spindle Co. (as I don't have mine yet)

A new addiction perhaps?

Now that the weather is warming and I am trading my knit cowls for factory woven scarves/stoles/pashminas my mind starts to go to weaving.

When most people think of weaving they think of looms the size of rooms, and that is very much a part of weaving however I wanted to start weaving on a Rigid Heddle loom.

After much agonizing over which one, I decided to get a Schacht 10″ Cricket.  Partly because it was in stock and a quick ship, but also because I think I am going to enjoy weaving so I would like to get a larger loom later. Also, I wanted to make sure I didn’t “overbuy” and find myself with redundant equipment.  I was glad to find out one of my favorite yarn peddlers, indigodragonfly, is a Schacht dealer which is big trouble for me as Schacht makes some of the most awesome spinning wheels and looms.

I am now waiting for it to get in the mail and wing its way to me, I am hoping it will arrive before the Easter Weekend as my Staked Socks will be done (although it is seeming less and less likely that they will be done in March, but hopefully before the end of the weekend as I am only halfway through the cuff of the second sock.

Advertisements

Time to Sew?

So I knit and spin, but after helping Carla get inventory ready for her Etsy shop (go buy something, her baby quilts are top notch) I felt like I would like to know how to quilt.

I sewed when I was younger, I even made myself a RenFaire costume when I was in middle school, components of which have appeared in Halloween costumes to this day. I know how to install patches on my jeans and fix a crappy seam on a bag,  however, I decided that I wanted to know more, I wanted to learn how to quilt.

The first stop in any quilting adventure is to pick fabric.  While I could have gone to my local fabric store and picked up some meh cottons, I decided to take the advice of Carla and go with a Moda designer.  Many in my family can attest to my inability to match clothes, so the idea of putting together a group of fabrics that work stressed me out, also like with a first knitting projects, if the pattern and the materials don’t inspire you there is no compelling reason to actually work on a project, because crafting doesn’t make me any money.

So I picked out the Urban Cowgirl line by Urban Chiks.  The full fabric line can be seen HERE.

“You don’t have to be from Texas to get in touch with your inner cowgirl! Just round up some of the Urban Chiks new range of country classics. Inspired by vintage cowboy shirts and Granny’s old aprons the Chiks mix and match tiny rosebuds, lacy florals, paisley and plaids in a soft, washed-out palette you’re sure to love like your favorite pair of faded blue jeans.”

For those who know I am, sorta, from Texas.  When my Canadian family naturalized as Americans we did it a high school auditorium in Houston and the judge presiding, who had big blonde hair and appropriately Texan drawl, announced that we were “Texans first and Americans second”.  At this point I was in high school and we were living back in Canada, (it is a long complicated story, but basically the State Department knew and was cool with it) so this was kinda my thing.

However, in the fall of 2007, I was stuck without a plan following the completion of my undergrad studies in Geography, my Dad had just taken a job in Austin and I decided that an aimless winter in Austin beat an aimless winter in Ontario.  So I moved back to Texas. I ended up working and studying in Austin, eventually graduating from University of Texas (Go Longhorns) in spring 2010, and heading back to Canada, with an authentic pair of Texas cowboy boots as a graduation present.

So after this long rambling story, all I am trying say is “Texas Forever” (I lived in East Austin for a while, where they filmed parts of Friday Night Lights) and that this fabric really spoke to me.  The aethetic is very me, rural, comfy and casual, but with a handmade twist.

So now to start actually cutting and quilting.  Thankfully Carla is a short drive (and even quicker phone call) away, and I have a few credits in the bank from when she started knitting so I need to just cut in (carefully) and get it going.

FO: Brick Cowl

It often seems that my knits look better on my bears rather than me.

Back in September, Tanis of Tanis Fiber Arts, and purveyor of awesome yarn, announced not only that she was releasing new colors, but also a new base, Red Label.  Red Label is a sport-weight merino/cashmere/silk single and it is so pretty.  The one catch with Red Label is that Tanis was dyeing it as a test run for the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters’ Fair, and it was unclear whether it was going to be a permanent part of the collection.  As much as I wanted to drive 5 hours to get a single skein of yarn, I didn’t.  Thankfully that is where Carla stepped in, she contacted Tanis and arranged for me to get a skein of Red Label in Brick for my birthday in October.

The yarn was awesome and I didn’t know right away what I wanted to use it for, however after coming across the Imogen Cowl I knew I had a match made in heaven.  For the Tanis KAL in January I cast on but it wasn’t at the top of the to-do list and it has been hanging over my head for a few months so I decided to get it done so I can start spring knitting.

A perfect balance of silk sheen and fuzzy halo.

 So here it is, my Birthday Brick Cowl, finally done, just in time for a +22C day.

– Details –

Project Name: Birthday Brick Cowl

Pattern: Imogen Cowl by Carrie Bostick Hoge of maddermade/swatchdiaries

Recipient: Me

Yarn: Tanis Fiber Arts Red Label in Brick

Modifications:

  • Shortened:  I had about 200yds less yarn than the pattern calls for so I used a scale and maxed out the yarn I had.

New Skills:

  • True Lace: While this isn’t the first time I have attempted True Lace (patterning on both sides, no resting row) it is one of the first patterns I have completed, I think.

Feedback:

  • Yarn: LOVE!  It is so different that so many of the other yarns out there it is a real treat.  It has shine (Silk) and a wonderful fuzzy halo (cashmere).  Often times with singles yarn you do see knots, I didn’t have any in mine but there were some fuzzy joins that looked like a spit-splice, which was odd but not deadly.  The color is fantastic, it has awesome hits of greens and browns that make it a perfect fall color.
  • Pattern: Great Pattern.  I am a less is more, brevity is the soul of wit, kind of knitters so this one was great for me.  Clear, concise with a good chart, although I think P2TogTBL may be the most evil stitch invented (along with Nupps) I managed to have it sorted by the end.

Re-Knit?: Nah, again too many patterns, not enough time.  Also if I were to work this lace pattern again I would do it in the round to avoid p2togtbl.

I guess I am a serial monogamist kind of knitter …

In the throes of “Knit All The Things” at the beginning of the month, I cast on a whole bunch of things. Since then I have methodically worked through them, one at a time, working on first the baby items (because they have a pretty distinct deadline, a baby shower at the end of the month) and now on my Red Label Cowl because it has been hanging over my head since January, and the recent turn in the weather suggests that we are moving from cowl season to pashmina season.

Unfortunately my March Socks have been left by the wayside, with the cuff and the first three rows of the first repeat done.  I desperately want to knit and wear these socks, they are downright awesome and I know from my Aquarium Socks, which I wear every single week, that the TFA Blue Label yarn is going to feel so nice on my feet.

My current purse socks are coming along, slowly.

I think I have to commit to having two projects on the go at a time, one pair of Vanilla Purse Socks made TAAT with KnitPicks Felici, self-striping yarn, and something more complex for home.  Right now have 35ish grams of Red Label so hopefully that will be done by the end of the weekend and I can really bite into the Staked socks and have them done for the end of the month to stay on track with making a pair of socks a month, because I have acquired some more sock yarn.

From Top Left - 1. Rocky Mountain Dyeworks Kicking Horse Sock (SW Merino and Bamboo) in Peridot, 2. TFA Blue Label in Truffle (Jan 2012 Club Colour), 3. SweetGeorgia Yarns BFL+Silk Top in Autumn Flame, 4. SGY Silk Crush Sock in China Doll, 5. SGY BFL Sock in Ginger, 6. SGY Superwash DK in Tourmaline, 7. SGY Tough Love Sock in Lettuce Wrap, 8. indigodragonfly Merino Nylon Sock in With God as My Witness I Thought Turkey's Could Fly (Golden Parachute Edition), 9. ID Merino Nylon Sock in There Were Cones, 10. ID MCN Sock in River Song, 11. TFA Purple Label in Purple Fog, 12. KnitPicks Stroll Fingering Bare (to make Faux Isle Fishie Socks), 13. KP Felici Stroll in Kingpin, 14. KP Felici Fingering in Minty and finally15. KP Felici Fingering in Fizz.

Carla went to the Indigodragonfly knitting retreat in early March and brought home some sock yarn I ordered and one I have been lusting after, two in Merino Nylon and one in MCN.  Also Tanis did a OOAK update to her etsy shop and I ended up with a skein of Purple Label (MCN Sock) in Purple Fog and then KnitPicks released their 2012 Felici colors.  After several months of minimal yarn acquisition I kinda gorged, and the Tanis Year in Colour Club is going to be arriving sometime towards the end of next week so I need to get knitting. Also I had that Sweet Georgia order back in February and that trip to Toronto in January where I couldn’t leave the Purple Purl and Lettuce Knit empty handed.  I seem to acquire stash in the Winter, I can’t resist yarn between January and April, but then once it gets to summer I am just fine.  Or I am like a squirrel stashing away yarn while I am still employed to get ready in case another permanent position, or more funding, doesn’t come up for a while.

Yay, Knitting and Crochet Blog Week is back for 2012

Last week, while in the midst of too many meetings and chaos, I got some great news, Knitting and Crochet Blog week will be happening again this year April 23-29 (and overlapping with Knitter’s Frolic in Toronto).

I have participated in the past two years of the blogfest, and it has been so much fun.  You can find my previous posts from 2010 and 2011 by clicking HERE.

It was what got me to start my first version of this blog.  For more information about event visit EskimimiMakes to learn more about the week, tagging policies and PRIZES (this is the first time with prizes).  The topics are going to be announced on April 2nd, so I will start planning my posts then.

WIP Wednesday: March 14th

I am starting to get somewhere because after a few weeks of baby knitting I am back to knitting for me. While the Red Label cowl looks the same size it is actually double the length it was last time, I am more than halfway through the yarn. Also I'm onto the feet of my TAAT (Two at a Time) socks and the first repeat of my Vampire sock.

FO: Forest Baby Flying Duck Hat and Mitties

So several weeks after asking the question “What to Knit for a Baby Boom” I am starting to get some answers.  You have seen what I came up with, the Legwarmies and Vertabrae combo and now the Duckie Sweater and today’s matching pieces, a hat and mitties.

These little projects were unplanned bonuses, after finishing up the Duckie Sweater with nearly 50g of yarn remaining I thought a hat and mitties would be perfect for the remnants. After finishing up both I still have about 15yds remaining, so I managed to get a nice gift set out of a single skein of DK weight.  And with DK being such a good option across some of my favorite hand dyers dyers, Tanis (Yellow Label), madelinetosh (tosh DK or tosh merino DK for a single) and SweetGeorgia Yarns (Superwash DK), and they all happen to be superwash which can make life so much easier for new moms and dads (or whoever gets the short straw and has to do laundry).

So I would say that I have a good answer to my question about what to knit for babies, I enjoy making little sweaters, but not from fingering weight and legwarmies and mitties are a great way to bust some stash without committing to something too large.  I will wait to hear back from new mom about what was the best part and what can be improved upon.

– Details –

Project Name: Forest Baby Flying Ducky Hat AND  Forest Baby Mitties

Pattern: Aviatrix Baby Hat by Justine Turner of Just Jussi AND Baby Mitts by Susan B. Anderson for Spud Says!

Recipient: Forest Baby

Yarn: SweetGeorgia Yarns Superwash DK in Tourmaline

Modifications:

  • Mitties – Did 1×1 rib to match the sweater and hat

New Skills:

  • Hat – Overlapping shortrows (ie. eating up some gaps while still creating more), I am not certain I did them correctly but the baby will be cute enough no one will notice.

Feedback:

  • Yarn – As seen in my effusive praise on the sweater I am a HUGE fan of the yarn and the color and am excited to use some of the other SweetGeorgia in my stash.
  • Patterns – Both were fine, although the Hat pattern seemed needlessly complex in places.  I don’t love the hat but I will be on the look out for other helmet shaped hats.  The mitties were straight forward but the pattern made it easier.

Re-Knit?:  Probably not the hat, it was more fiddly than I would like but the mitties are cute but seem super small, I will find out how much too small when the baby is born and I will modify the pattern accordingly.