Learning to run …

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Inspired in large part by the breakthroughs I’ve been having over the last month or so (like the Broken Windows and the A Year From Now …) I’ve decided to start on a new blogging project about my work to get healthier and more fit.  I feel like the change of tone and theme warranted a new space, and a chance for me to try something new.

However, I’m not going to be abandoning this blog. I will keep on sharing my ramblings about knitting/crochet/spinning/weaving here and move all talk of food and exercise to the new blog, Run Bean Run, runbeanrun.wordpress.com.

So here’s to a grand adventure to learn how to run, one step at a time.

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FO: Waterloo and Ottawa Baby Sweaters

Baby Sweaters

As I mentioned a while back I have two cousins both expecting babies last month.  Back in February, over Family Day Weekend, my Aunt hosted a joint baby shower for Heather and Lara at my mom’s house in Parry Sound. There were about 40 family members and it was a great chance to see some of my cousins I hadn’t seen in a couple of years.

The shower had a book theme and I gave both copies of Brambly Hedge, one of my favorite books as a kid.  However, as a knitter I couldn’t resist adding some handknit woolies to the parcel.  I pulled out the Puerperium Cardigan pattern which is quickly becoming my go-to baby knit.  It is quick, can be done from a single skein of DK weight yarn and gets good reviews from moms.  I’ve been considering getting more of Kelly Bookers patterns for kids, because these babies are going to grow up (rumor has it) and I really like the way she writes and formats her patterns.

Neither of these babies has made their arrivals yet, but I’m looking forward to meeting these new additions to my already large extended family (I’m 7th of 14 grandchildren).  I’m glad to know that they will have wooly goodness and that I have a go-to pattern for the babies that will continue to show up in the years to come.

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Projects: Waterloo Puerperium and Ottawa Puerperium

Pattern: Puerperium Cardigan by Kelly Brooker

Yarn: Tanis Fiber Arts, Yellow Label in Spearmint and Pink Grapefruit

It’s still wool season here …

Happy First Day of Spring from Muskoka

Spring in Muskoka

Considering the lack of spring like weather I will have to console myself with more winter sock knitting, (Business Casual by Tanis Lavallee and the yarn is one of her OOAK yarns in Blue Label).

Business Casual Socks

And colorful new yarn from a new-ish Canadian indie dyer, Blueberry Pie Studio in Toronto.  The colorway is called Muskoka Sunset, and while I’m usually wary of multis the name and vibrancy of this colorway made it a mid-winter pick-me-up.

Muskoka Sunset

Hopefully soon we will be getting some actual Muskoka sunsets, on days like today its hard to remember what summer looks like, but summer will come back and we will get those sunsets that inspired the vibrant colorway.

Just Another Saturday

Eggs, spinach, tea, socks and Instagram, breakfast of champions.

This week has been a big one for me, I’ve been working on my first real attempt to lose weight and increase my fitness/health level in many years.  However, that has meant I haven’t had a whole lot of time for fiber crafting this week. Today, however I decided to make knitting (and getting caught up on my dishes) the priority today.

I’ve had the Felici Sport socks that you see in the top photo on the needle since the beginning of October and they are starting to annoy me.  By lunchtime I had turned both short-row heels and now I’m working my way up the legs. I’m hoping to have them done before the end of the weekend.

I’m really quite excited to get these socks done.  Mostly because I want to wear them, but also because there is no way I’m going to make my goal of 15 pairs of socks this year if I don’t finish a pair soon.  I haven’t finished a pair yet this year, and working on the pair today I’m wondering why.  I LOVE knitting socks, I get real satisfaction from knitting socks and living in Ontario there is rarely a time when you can’t wear socks (even in July and August you might need to wear socks to bed).  Also, they wear out and get lost, which means that you can keep making them forever (and even if you have too many of them, they really don’t take up much space in your drawer).

So, overall it’s been a delightful Saturday and I still have a few more hours of knitting, and watching old episodes of Psych, ahead of me yet.

FO: Trio of Amigurumi

As you may recall my sister’s puppy, Tosh, got a very special Christmas present, her very first handmade toys. However, due to her breed being part-terrier nature she quickly developed a nasty habit of chewing holes in these toys.  Although I was initially concerned about beaks, legs and arms being pulled off, she prefers to simply chew off the safety eyes, pull out the yarn tails and chew through the bodies.

So what you see above are two of the last amigurumi for Toshie (the Racoon and the Bird).

The slug however has never felt the teeth of Toshie, as when I showed up at my parent’s place with it, my mother immediately scooped it up and put it on a ledge in her kitchen, where it is still sitting, safely.

I had great fun making these toys and I will keep making them (with the safety eyes) and stash them away, my friends are starting to have babies and toys are always an adorable handmade treat for a new baby. Note: I know safety eyes are not safe for infants and small children, but parents deserve fun toys too.

These toys, like my previous one are all made with patterns from Stacey Trock of Fresh Stitches.  I really like Stacey’s patterns and approach to crochet and design, so I’m really happy to support her by purchasing her patterns.  Also, she is really fun and approachable on Twitter and Ravelry, which just really makes me like her more.

I’ve already started my next toy, William the Whale, I like having a toy on the go, it’s nice to have choices in the WIP basket.

Don’t worry about Toshie, she will not want for toys, and while I won’t be providing them any more (watching her dog destroy the toys within 5 minutes of getting them was to much for Carla to handle) I may use my immense Brava stash to make some doggie blankets.  I get the chance to try out new techniques on a smaller scale and I know that the items will be used regardless of how well it turned out.

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Ravelry Project Pages: Raccoon for Toshie, Hannah the Slug and Toshie Birthday Bird

FO: Rockberry Triangle

Juneberry

Sometimes it takes me a few tries to find the right pattern for a yarn, this was one of those yarns.  But once they found each other, this yarn a locally raised and spun yarn from Pondering Rock Farms and the Juneberry Triangle pattern by Jared Flood, it was magic.

I’ve been wearing this shawl pretty well non-stop since I finished it back in January.  It is quite scratchy by modern standards (ie. superwash Wools and super-fine merinos) but it has a delightfully rustic hand. The yarn is all naturally colored, and this yarn is from Valentine, and blended with alpacas from an adjacent farm in Rosseau, Ontario.

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I can’t wait for Heather to open up her stand this spring at our local markets to get more of her naturally colored yarns, which she offers in fingering through worsted weights and in different colors based on her flock, and a Lopi-style bulky weight she dyes in small batches in vibrant colors.  I have a few patterns picked out already, including Ashby by Leila Raabe, which is designed to work with Brooklyn Tweed SHELTER.  I find this to be the closest commercially available yarn to the Pondering Rock Farms worsted weight.

I’m looking forward to making more worsted weight shawls because they are fantastic in Muskoka winters, which are really not THAT cold and it is a rustic, fashionable, local yarn kind town.

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Project notes on Ravelry: Rockberry Triangle

FO: Thyme

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Doing FO posts has been a staple for me since I started this blog, however I haven’t written one in 2013, despite finishing 13 projects, and two yarns, so far this year.  I’ve been finding the prospect of writing all those posts mightily overwhelming and so this will be the last FO post in this complete style I will be posting for a while.  I’m going to do some combined project posts, some mostly-photos posts and some of my usual blogging to get through my project backlog.  The only reason that this and the Tokyo Cream Cowl post, which went up earlier today, were formatted like this was because they were done back in December & January.

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Another challenge I was having with my FO posts was the fact that I live in Ontario, the big windows in my apartment face north.  Which means there is very little direct sunlight with which to photograph my knits and that light is almost non-existant when I’m home (eg. evenings).

So this shawl, which I finished in December and I have been wearing happily ever since, only got photographed this past week, now that the days are getting longer and we are having more sunny days.  SO the lace isn’t as perfectly stretched as it was after it’s blocking, but it looks as pretty to me as when it was first finished.

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– Details –

Project Name: Thyme

Pattern: Flukra by Gudrun Johnston from The Shetland Trader

Recipient: Mine, mine, all mine

Yarn: madelinetosh Tosh Lace in Thyme

Modifications:

  • None – I actually followed the pattern.

New Skills:

  • Shetland Shawl Construction – The center garter triangle is an interesting way to create a shawl and helps break up the monotony of shawl knitting by changing the direction fairly regularly.
  • True Garter Lace – The way the lace section works you are essentially doing garter lace (rather than stockinette) and the patterning is on every row.
  • Knitted on Border – LOVE IT!  As someone who has issues with tight bind offs the knitted on border is kind of genius and I will be seeking out other shawls that use this technique

Feedback:

  • Yarn – This Tosh lace has been hanging over my head for a while, I first wound it into a ball almost 2 years and I made at least 3 attempts to knit it into the first pattern I picked.  However, after getting a chance to actually knit it, I really enjoy the yarn.
  • Pattern – The pattern was great.  There are some tricky parts the pattern (mostly the Shetland construction that I wasn’t familiar with) and the pattern gives all the information I needed to finish the pattern. I’m very excited to try more of her patterns, including more shawls.

Re-Knit?: No, but I have a very similar pattern by Gudrun in my queue and am on the lookout for a nice yarn to make it out of.

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FO: Tokyo Cowl

Note: I have had this project done since October and this is the only photo I have of it, from Instagram and from the fall.  The post has been written since late last year, but I needed to get it out of my drafts folder.

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This was a spontaneous project, I saw a cowl Carla had made and I figured it would be a good use for the skein of Groovy that had been sitting in my stash for far too long.  When I had originally ordered the yarn (we don’t have a decent LYS less than 2 hrs from where I live, so I order 99% of my yarn online) it came a different color that I had expected.  It is a very nice color, but it was basically the color of my peachy skin rather than the nice cream I had been expecting.

After having it live in my stash for nearly 2 years it was time for it to be made into a gift, and I still haven’t found the right buttons or the right person for it, it will find its way to the right person eventually.

– Details –

Project Name: Tokyo Cowl

Pattern: Begbie Cowl by Jane Richmond

Recipient: The Box/Not Sure Yet

Yarn: Dream in Color Groovy in Tokyo Cream

Modifications: None

New Skills: None

Feedback: Easy pattern, nice yarn, but not my colors.

Re-Knit?: Only if I have a single skein of bulky yarns I don’t know what to do with.