WIP: Lone/Maple Studio

LM_Logo

So the big WIP that has been keeping me off this blog is getting my business Lone/Maple Studio off the ground.  Now that it is more of an FO I’m hoping you will join me over there where  I’ve resumed blogging (and there are cute kitten photos to be found!). Please update your blog readers to http://www.lonemaplestudio.com/blog.

You will find a full archive of posts at the new blog and I do plan on updating it more frequently.  I have so many things to catch you all up on, like the beautiful Pi Shawl I knit for my sister’s wedding, a few new pairs of socks (and many more in the queue), some amazing embroidery, more details on my new kitten, Jack, and the first class (of what I hope will be many) at the Muskoka Yarn Connection in Bracebridge.

I’ve loved my time as Green Bean String, but now that I’m teaching and developing patterns for publication,  I wanted to have everything consolidated under a single account that matched my business name.

Thanks for making blogging so much fun and I hope to see you on the new blog.

Advertisements

Seven Weeks of Summer

Growing up my parents always had some good sayings from my Great Oma (my father’s maternal grandmother), the main one was “we are too poor to buy cheap things” and another was “you don’t want to be a musician because then you are working while everyone else is having fun”.  I firmly believe in the former statement, I only want to buy things once and as a result I have nice equipment but I don’t feel the need to replace it frequently. As to the latter, this summer has been a great example of this.

Living and working in a place where people go on vacation is both fun and frustrating.

The fun comes from the fact that I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world (at least according to National Geographic).

IMG_1106

Lake Rosseau in Minett

The frustration is more around trying to accomplish things when everyone else just wants to be at the cottage and far away from computers and cell phones.

IMG_1105

Abbey’s Bake House in Minett.

So on Saturday I ended up on a magical mystery tour, which is what my mom would call it when we would go off to an adventure to find some specific spot that was outside our usual stomping ground, or when we would get lost.  Magical mystery tours would often start with a goal and then have a moment of “hey, I wonder where this goes”.  When I was in university I would do this on the bus and on foot in Kingston (Ontario) and always had a good time.  This time I needed to go to the Village of Rosseau and instead of heading straight back I decided to take the twisty road that runs between Lake Rosseau and Lake Joseph.  Then I saw the sign for Abbey’s Bake House, which is a bit of a local landmark, and I’m so glad I stopped.  Not only was it beautiful (as you have seen above) they have AMAZING butter tarts. No raisins or nuts and all butter tart goodness.

IMG_1107

Mmmmmmm…butter tart and knitting.

While sitting there, watching the lake, eating a butter tart and knitting I overheard a grandfather mention to his grandson that there had already been “seven weeks of summer” and asked if he had enjoyed them.

At that moment I realized that there had been seven weeks of summer and I haven’t gone swimming yet, or really done any summery things.  So I’m not sure what I’m going to do about this, but all I know is that according to calculations there are only about two weeks left of summer left and I want to get out and enjoy them.

And for those keeping track, I finished Carla’s shawl a week or so ago and I still haven’t picked a final pattern for mine as the one I wanted to make has a stupid cast on and I’m not burdened with an over-abundance of patience these days.

Wait, when did June end?

There really is a Toshie picture for every possible situation.

There really is a Toshie picture for every possible situation.

This is the question I have been asking myself for the past week.  June has been an absolutely crazy month, first I moved my apartment, then two weeks later we moved the office.  Both these moves happened during the hottest, humid-est days we’ve had in a very long time.  It made for some very long days and some very early evenings.

Gifts from Muskoka I took home to Parry Sound for the long weekend.

Gifts from Muskoka I took home to Parry Sound for the long weekend.

Also, I haven’t finished anything (knitting or spinning-wise) in ages.  I’m hitting the part of the year where my knitting drive is at its lowest and I’m in the middle of a bunch of really long projects.

However, I did finally increase to the 576 stitch round on Carla’s wedding veil/pi shawl and so I figure I’m about 1/3 of the way done the project. It’s enjoyable knitting (and the 100% silk yarn is really nice) but I really want things to be perfect so I really have to focus on it. Also each round takes about an hour to complete at this stage.  While I have till end of September to finish it, I have to knit myself a shawl for the occasion and I really don’t like leaving things to last minute.

But June (and early July?!?) have brought all sorts of fun, on top of all the trouble.

On June 20th I got a chance to take a weaving workshop with one of the best teachers around, Jette Vandermeiden. Jette is a well known member of the weaving community and an excellent instructor.   The workshop was designed to teach Summer & Winter, a block weaving technique, but I used it as multi-harness weaving 101.  I’m eternally thankful to my fellow guild members who lent me a guild loom, loaned me a warping mill, taught me how to wind a warp, then how to warp the loom.

Summer & Winter block weaving from the workshop.

Summer & Winter block weaving from the workshop.

Jette was great to learn from, she not only taught (or re-taught) us how to hold our shuttles, deal with our selveges, but also the theory behind block weaves so that we can not only weave what she brought for us, but other block weaves.

I was interested in the sampler but I wanted to get more of a handle on weaving in general and thanks to the Craftsy class “Floor Loom Weaving with Janet Dawson” I have a whole bunch of twill drafts so I decided to cut off my Summer & Winter sample and re-threaded for a twill and keep playing.

IMG_1054

I tried out a few different patterns but found that I really enjoyed the look of a 3/1 Point Twill so I kept playing with that technique.

IMG_1057

But it hasn’t been all weaving.  Yesterday, I made my way to the Rosseau Market, which is an amazing market with farmers and hand crafters and bakers and my favorite booth, Pondering Rock Farm.

Pondering Rock Farms

Pondering Rock Farm is the family farm for the Darlingtons and produce yarn/fluff, handknit socks, honey and amazing nature photography.  Heather is the one who manages the sheep and yarn and is a wonderful shepherd, spinner, knitter and fellow guild member.  I stocked up on some yarn and fluff from her sheep.

Pondering Rock Treats

The yarn is a worsted-y weight wool/alpaca (75%/25%) blend that comes from a sheep named Nipper, who is grey but blended with a tan/fawn alpaca.  I also got 200g of that fleck-y creamy coat from Angel, one of Heather’s sheep who died in the spring, there are little flecks of grey and dark brown in her cream coat.  The last bundle of fluff (400g worth) is from Mocha, which is a great description for his coat.  My plan is to spin it into a fingering weight yarn and use it for a Brooklyn Tweed pattern in place of Loft.

Booth 1 Booth 2

There were Unfortunately Heather’s booth isn’t quite as jampacked with fantastic wools as in past years, as she had much of her fleece at Belle Valle when they had the fire.  She lost a huge portion of her 2011 shearing she was telling me that she will be pretty well wiped out by the end of the season.  Although she is already talking about next year’s blends, including a wool/alpaca blend lace (well light fingering/heavy lace) that will be a great substitute for Loft.

So that should have us pretty well caught up to the present, hopefully I will be getting a few more things done in the next month.

Getting to Know You

Morning Sunrise

I’m in my new apartment and it is delightful. I’ve been spending the past two weeks getting sorted and organized in the new place.

I’m right across the road from Bass Rock, a park in Bracebridge right on the Muskoka River.

Bass Rock

Apparently the swimming is really good, but I haven’t been in yet.

Muskoka River

Also, the high water from our spring flooding is still evident in the really high flow of the river.

Not only have I been getting familiar with my new apartment (pics to come once the couch arrives) and neighborhood, I’ve also been getting comfortable with my new spinning wheel.

Claudia, my Ladybug, has been an absolute dream to spin on.  It’s like there was no learning curve to get the yarn I wanted from it, and in fact I have spun up two yarns in the past week.

Left: 2ply semi-woolen Aran weight - Shetland - dyeing by Northbound Knitting, color Pablo Honey. Right: 2 ply semi-worsted sport weight - blended batt of merino, BFL, bamboo, and angelina - dyeing by Bohoknitterchic.

Left: 2ply semi-woolen Aran weight – Shetland – dyeing by Northbound Knitting, color Pablo Honey. Right: 2 ply semi-worsted sport weight – blended batt of merino, BFL, bamboo, and angelina – dyeing by Bohoknitterchic.

The yarns turned out just the way I wanted them too and I’m really excited to actually make them into something. Because they have such similar undertone colors, and totally opposite textures, that they would make for a really interesting woven scarf. I’m not sure who wants to be the warp and who wants to be the weft, but they go together nicely.

My Ashford wheel has found her way to her new home.  One of the women in the Trillium Guild was looking for a more modern wheel to spin on because her heritage wheel is a little fragile.

So I’m getting settled in to my new spot and I’m enjoying the sound of spring peepers and my little deck from which I can see glimpses of the river and I can spend the evening reading or knitting and enjoying the wonder that is summer in Ontario.

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.

IMG_0911

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.

IMG_0893

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.

IMG_0902

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.

IMG_0912

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.

IMG_0892

 

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.

IMG_0925

 

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.

IMG_0945

 

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.

 

 

And on the seventh day

I have enjoyed many of Paulo Coelho’s books, starting with The Alchemist, his best known work.  I heard it first when I was at summer camp as a teen and it was read out loud to us each day at lunch.  I know that sounds cheesy but it was an amazing opportunity to take a mid-day break and stories read aloud are really special.

Paulo has written many other books over the years and most are variations on a theme but one theme (and set of books) I have been thinking about is his “On the Seventh Day” series where he drops the reader into the life of a character for just a week as the protagonist experiences transformative change. The idea being that everything can change in just one week.

While my week has not exactly been extreme, it has been a “helluva” week (for lack of a better term).  Last Saturday I was at the Knitter’s Frolic in Toronto and enjoying a wonderful day with my sister.  Sunday was equally quiet, but then Monday I found out I got a new apartment in Bracebridge, which lead to a week of signing a lease, notifying my current landlady, making arrangements for moving and all that.  At work I was in 5 days and working like mad because we had two big events this week, saw the new office space we are moving into in June, making plans for the other large events we have coming up in the next few weeks.  And the big bomb dropped Thursday, when I found out that a woman who I sang with in the choir had died of cancer that morning.

Well, that pushed a busy week into an overwhelming week, oh and cancer fucking sucks.

Nancy, who was in her 60, was a friend of mine.  We were in the same section of the choir (2nd Soprano/Lead in barbershop arrangement) and often butted heads about pitch and timing.  She was a incredible, wild, amazing woman who gave so much to her community and sang her heart out, despite only being on pitch some of the time.  She knew she wasn’t a gifted singer, but what she lacked in natural ability she made up for a thousand times in spirit, caring and general gusto.

Since finding out on Thursday I’ve been intermittently crying (which I am right now as I write this) and singing some of her favorite (and a few of her most hated) choir songs.  Her funeral is tomorrow and so I’m heading to Parry Sound this afternoon to spend a bit of time with my sister today.  I will be singing with the choir at the service.

It feels like a lifetime ago that I found out I got the amazing apartment.

Oh and knitting, I do that too, but with all the upheaval this week and spending time at the gym I haven’t made it very far into my knitting.  I’ve nearly finished another pair of socks (half a foot and two toes) but I started up a new shawl with some of the madelinetosh Tosh Merino in Astrid Grey I got at the Frolic.

Astrid Grey

 

I also rescued a few items from the frogging pond, and already had several other project on the go.  Oh and I need to make sure that I have Carla’s wedding shawl done before the leaves start changing color so I have time to make my shawl as well.

So, seven days.  A whole lot can happen in seven days.

Learning to run …

Blog Header

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.

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.