Previously on …

So I’ve been having a wild and crazy month, and after enjoying/squandering my day watching the new Arrested Development I feel the need to do a bit of a recap on my life for you folks.

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L to R: Sudden Valley, Rita, Hey Brother, Caged Wisdom

So after learning about Nancy passing away I went on a bit of a yarn binge and bought a whole bunch of the Arrested Development themed sock yarn from Cakewalk Yarns.  She was having a sale and I was having a rough day and I ended up placing an order.

I also placed an order with Tanis (of Tanis Fiber Arts) and got more yarn. And the May club shipment showed up as well, but Carla and I did a swap so that each of us could make a large shawl out of the club skeins.

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But I did finish a pair of socks, this pair is from the TFA Year in Colour Club shipment.  The color and the pattern were named Patina.  The color is exclusive to the club but the pattern will go on sale sometime next year.

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Meet my new wheel, Claudia. She is named for Lady Bird Johnson, who was actually named Claudia and founded the Wildflower Center in Austin where I worked and does amazing work. She was a neat lady and it seemed a good a name as any.

I also have a new addition to the family.  I had a Monday off a couple of weeks ago and I made the drive to Gemini Fibres to try out different wheels and figure out which one I wanted.  Instead of waiting, I decided to take home my new wheel, a Schacht Ladybug.  I strongly considered the Lendrum Double Treadle wheel, but the Ladybug really was the best fit.

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We are already making beautiful yarn together.

 

I’ve also cast on for a new pair of socks, but my knitting mojo is totally bleh right now.  Which is very unfortunate because I have some serious knitting to get done.

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I’m looking forward to knitting and wearing these socks, the pattern is Harvest Dew by Rose Hiver and the yarn is Muskoka Sunset from Blueberry Pie Studio.

On top of that knitting I have a wedding shawl to knit for my sister and a shawl for me to wear at her wedding.  I had cast on several weeks ago with the beautiful gold yarn she had ordered from Sweet Georgia Yarns, but I couldn’t make myself knit it.  However, my reticence was a good thing, because after some serious wedding planning with Carla and our mom last weekend we realized that it would be better for me to knit a pi shawl out of a cream colored yarn to be used as a veil rather than a shawl. The pattern I’m using is Heliotaxis Pi Shawl by Renata Brenner and the yarn is an undyed silk from Handmaiden Yarns that Carla bought on her trip down east last summer. I ordered a second skein so that it will be a full sized pi that can be used for future big events, like babies.

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Another big thing going on is that I’m now a proud owner of two boat shuttles, because I’m borrowing one of the Trillium Handspinners and Weavers Guild Dorothy table looms for a workshop with Jette Vandermeiden in June.  The guild had the  loom but not shuttles, but now I’m worried I’m going to enjoy multi-shaft weaving a bit too much and want a table or floor loom.  Also, the guild has a brand spanking new website, www.trilliumguild.com, which I created.  It’s still a work in progress, but this is a big step forward.

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The biggest thing going on, and a likely cause for my lack of crafting mojo, is that I’m moving on June 1st.  I found an apartment in Downtown Bracebridge, within walking distance of work with a balcony that faces the Muskoka River.  I’m currently in the process of packing all my things and getting ready to go.  But living in the mess I’ve created is really impacting my mental health.  The new spot is amazing.  It doesn’t have nearly as fancy floors but it has closets and cupboards that close and I can store my yarn in a far more useful and attractive way. I can’t wait to get moved into my new place and get my life back to normal again.

So, today was a great day of packing, Arrested Development and an impromptu visit from Carla and Jim (which included lunch at the Old Station, a peek at my new office and a trip to the Muskoka Brewery’s new location). I’m hoping this week goes quickly because I wanna get moved and get out of the mess I’ve made for myself in my apartment.

 

 

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

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.

FO: Sleep Tech Dressy

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I had been holding this post back in hopes of getting better pictures of the socks, but now I’m back in Bracebridge and the socks have already been worn several times, so we go forward with the pictures I was able to take in my dark apartment.

For me knitting fits well into the old adage “if I like you, I’ll do it for free and if I don’t, not for all the money in the world”.  So giving Jim, Carla’s boyfriend of about 6ish months, a pair of socks for Christmas shows that I’m happy he is dating my sister.

This was another project I completed during the November TFA KAL along with the Winter Bloom and Moonset shawls. And these make 13th pair of socks for the year, which is quite impressive if I say so myself.

Christmas Miracle Yarn

Now, these socks were half of a “Gift of the Magi” like scenario.  I gave these socks to Jim made from an exclusive OOAK Tanis club color way and Jim got me a skein of TFA Blue Label in Cranberry.  If you are a TFA fan and wondering why you aren’t familiar with Cranberry, thats because it was the November 2011 club skein.  I used it this spring to make Staked, however, after many months I had to admit I had made them way too small and gave them to Carla.

Staked Socks

 But I loved the skein and wished I could get another, but I know they are few and far between and I didn’t want to make the effort to hunt down a skein.  However, Jim (and Carla by proxy) was able to get a skein from Tanis.  I’m not sure where she conjured it up from, but she helped make for a very special Christmas surprise for me.

I know Jim likes his socks and I hope that it is the first of many pairs I make for him, as he seems to be a really great guy and he seems to make my sister happy, which in turn makes me happy.

– Details –

Project Name: Sleep Tech Dressy

Pattern: Business Casual Socks by Tanis Lavallee

Recipient: Jim

Yarn: TFA Blue Label in Truffle (January 2012 Year in Colour Club)

Modifications:

  • One less leg repeat, which is good because I would have run out of yarn

New Skills:

  • None, I’m really starting to get a handle on sock knitting

Feedback:

  • Yarn – Blue Label is fast becoming my favorite sock yarn, and was perfect for this pattern and recipient.
  • Pattern – Clean and simple.  I am getting to a point with socks where I use the designers pattern as a jumping off point that I can tinker with to make them fit well.

Re-Knit?: Just maybe, because the choices for man socks are few and far between and this is a nice pair.

FO: Boxing Day Hat

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After a December of crocheting toys, a cold that would just not let me go and some changes in my plans, I didn’t really feel like I had accomplished much.  After binding off Flukra, a lace shawl I have been working on since August, I felt like I had earned a quick project.  After seeing the nice hat Carla made for Jim’s sister for Christmas and remember I had brought along the skein of indigodragonfly MCN Worsted I got as my October mystery skein with me to Parry Sound a plan was formed.

This hat worked up very quickly and is fits pretty well as either a slouch or as a tight toque with a folded up brim.  However, I might not get the chance to wear it.  My mom, who is more than knitworthy and has hosted me for Christmas going on 10+ days now, who does not seem to own any hats asked if she could have it and I have a hard time denying her a new knit now and then.

Boxing Day Hat

I need to tuck the ends and give it a gentle blocking and see if I can get another skein of nice sproingy MCN worsted to make another one for me!

– Details –

Project Name: Boxing Day Hat

Pattern: The Big Easy by Vivian Aubrey of spindleshanks

Recipient: Well it was supposed to be, but I think it will go to my mom

Yarn: indigodragonfly MCN Worsted in Rusty the Rooster (a deep archive Special Edition)

Modifications:

  • None

New Skills:

  • None

Feedback:

  • Yarn: This is my first time using a non-fingering weight indigodragonfly yarn and it is a nice sproingy MCN.  I got a bit of dye on my fingers as I knit (I have harsh body chemistry), however I don’t expect any bleeding when I send it for a bath.
  • Pattern: Clean, simple and a nice FO, what more can a person ask for in a pattern.

Re-Knit?: Yeppers, I want one for me!

FO: Winter Bloom

Winter Bloom 2

This might be one of my most favorite FOs of the year, tied with Moonset, both are soft, beautiful and fun to knit and wear. I was really down on shawls for a while because I wasn’t sure how to wear them, and also my gauge issues made all shawls into shawlettes which makes them even harder to wear.

Now that I’m better with gauge and learning how to adapt patterns when I’m not making things to finished sizes.

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Not only did I think this was a great project but I was also able to win 3 skeins of Sweet Fiber Yarns Haven in Spanish Coin in a KAL.  Sure it was a random draw that won me the yarn, I like to believe it was how beautiful the shawl is.

I love supporting Canadian dyers (Tanis, Quebec) and designers (Melissa, British Columbia) and it’s even better when it turns out this beautifully.

– Details –

Project Name: Winter Bloom Shawl

Pattern: Autumn Bloom by Melissa Thompson of Sweet Fiber Designs

Recipient: Mine, mine, all mine

Yarn: TFA Orange Label in Frost

Modifications:

  • None

New Skills:

  • Knitting shawl edging sideways and picking up the body stitches – it worked fine and I’m happy to do it again.

Feedback:

  • Yarn – OMG, Orange Label (merino/cashmere/silk) is fantastic.  Soft and sleek without being too heavy.
  • Pattern – This was the first time working one of Melissa’s patterns, and it was great.  I look forward to working more of her patterns as she releases more in the future, as well as the fun ones from earlier.

Re-Knit?: Just maybe, it is really quite nice and lots of fun to make.