Uh, oh here comes trouble

A Rainbow of Fun

 

Thanks to a few posts by Susan B. Anderson and some tweets I came across Rebecca Ringquist’s Etsy shop, and fell down the rabbits hole of embroidery.

I ordered the starter kit, as well as the paisley, colorwheel and the DIY Love samplers. I like the look of embroidery and also, it doesn’t really take up much in the way of space (unlike the table loom I’m borrowing right now and is sitting on floor in the corner of my apartment because I don’t have space for it).

So today, I headed to Orillia to run some errands and just go on an adventure (including a visit to Target).  One of my stops was at Michaels where they have an amazing wall of DMC threads.

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Also they have some amazing pearl cotton and tatting thread as well as six bijillion colors of embroidery floss.  After feeling quite overhwelmed, I started picking the colors that attracted me.  Then I started trying to balance out the tints, tones and shades to get a good mix.  I think I did alright.

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One of the great things about having a computer in your pocket (aka my iPhone) is that you can use photo software while you are in the store to take picture of your potential stash and convert it to B&W which will let you know if the colors will play well together in the finished object. I heard about doing this from quilters, but it works great for people interested in color work knitting and all the stitching arts where you don’t have a preset color palette.

 

I’m currently watching the New Girl and winding my floss onto bobbins, it is quite the relaxing way to spend the evening.

My spinning is also going well.  I started spinning Angel after finishing up yesterday’s post and I’m already more than halfway into the first 100g bag (which I’m trying to spin all onto one bobbin, so far so good) and her fleece is absolutely beautiful.  There is a bit of VM in the roving, but to me its a great reminder of where fluff comes from, animals.

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I’m not going to be able to make it to the Rosseau Market this coming friday, but Carla will be there so I may have to get her to get me more of this roving, there was one sheep who I didn’t get any from, and I may have to get it because it is such a joy to spin this fluff.

So my dropcloth goodies are getting mailed out this week so I should have them just in time for the busiest day of the year at work, so hopefully I can get stitch on it on my well deserved long weekend following that event.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

 

 

Day 4: Color Review

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What are your favourite colours for knitted or crocheted projects. Have a think about what colours you seem to favour when yarn shopping and crafting.

Only after writing this part of your post should you then actually look to see what colours you have used in your projects. Make a quick tally of what colours you have used in your projects over the past year and compare it to the colours you have written about. Compare this, in turn, to the colours that are most dominant in your yarn stash – do they correlate?

Now think back to your house animal – do the colours you have chosen relate to your animal in anyway – if you are in the house of peacock, for example, are your projects often multicoloured and bright?

As part of the Knit and Crochet Blog Week last year I did a post about my own color confusion.

This is what my stash looked like then …

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Today it looks more like this …

Well, I decided to go to the gym instead of getting photos in the daylight (also it’s raining/snowing here again today so it was a Debbie Downer of a day), so I don’t know what my stash colorwheel looks like today, but here is the overall survey of colors from my exported Ravelry data.

 

So it looks like I’ve managed to make projects in a relative proportion to what I seem to buy.  Also, I’m surprised how proportional my stash is, color wise, I was expecting to see more purple and green.  These are two colors I naturally gravitate towards when I’m putting yarn in my shopping cart (even if I don’t buy it). I would like to expand my palette but that may be more a question of tint and tone rather than hue as I gravitate towards mostly dark, fall/winter shades rather than fun, clear tones.

I wish I could find a way to tie it to my monkey-ness but honestly work has been insane (which is great) and I ended up spending way more of my evening than I would like to admit trying to get the excel file open and doing the data crunching.

So the story of color is that I totally buy on instinct and it seems I’m just as haphazard in using those colors in projects.  Also, as someone who knits accessories (rather than sweaters) I think I have a bit more freedom to be random with my colors because I really doesn’t matter if the color “works” for you if you are wearing it as socks, and I do love me some wild colored socks.

Socky socks socks

Day 3: Infographic – Stash Table of Doom

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There are many ways of conveying information on a blog; text and images being the two most widely used. Many infographics combine both these elements to provide a visual way of presenting text information.

Make your own infogaphic (no fancy imaging software needed, you can draw it on paper and photograph it if you want) to convey any element of your craft(s). It can be just for fun or a thoroughly researched presentation of an idea/finding.

In Miles of Yarn

In Miles of Yarn

In yards

In yards

A ratio of 1 means an equal amount of yarn purchased and yarn used

A ratio of 1 means an equal amount of yarn purchased and yarn used

In grams

In grams

1.0 means equal amount of fluff in as yarn made

1.0 means equal amount of fluff in as yarn made

I blogged about the creation of these infographics way back last May, when I created the fiber tracking stash table of doom (or yarn tracking as it is so innocently named in my system).

But basically these are representations of the current state of my stash and is my way of feeling in control of my yarn stash.  These are tools to help me tell myself a story, also for some reason I really like creating tables and working with data.

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.

FIFO, FIFO, it’s off to knit we go

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So, if someone were to look at my workspace, kitchen, dresser, car, hard drive you would make an educated (and accurate) guess that I’m not an overly orderly person.  On the whole whole, my life has taken the “long way ’round”, totally without order or plan.  Which is why my obsession with FIFO (First In, First Out) is so deeply odd.  Although, I do eat the frosting (my favorite part) last when I get cake, so maybe not that odd.

For some reason when I get a new awesome yarn, I can’t just ball it and knit it, I feel the need to keep going with the oldest yarns in my stash.  I’ve been working on this issue, I managed to knit some TFA Red Label in Dove within 2 months of getting it, and it didn’t kill me.

So I’m stating it here, I’m not throwing away my goals for the year, but I’m taking them with a grain of salt.  My tendency would be to attack the list in order (and use the oldest yarns in my stash) and then see what I get to do for fun after the “work” is done.

I have finished, or released myself from, all my obligation crafting (knitting/crochet mostly) and I’m going to do what I want, when I want to.  For the rest of tonight, I think I’m going to sit down at my wheel for the first time in months, and maybe do some reading in my new copy of The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Design. Maybe later this week I will re-warp my loom, or not.  I’m going off script, and the adventure awaits.

Meet the Stragglers

Going into 2012 I had a clean slate of projects, this year is a bit different, I have a few stragglers that I wasn’t able to get done before midnight on December 31st.  They will be either finished or frogged by the end of the year, and probably sooner than that.  Here they are, from earliest cast-date to latest cast on date.

First up, we have the Rockberry Triangle.

Rockberry Triangle

Cast on: September 18th
Percent Complete: Probably about 50%, I am just starting chart D (which is the other design on the body before the edging)
Deadline: I don’t really want to start another big shawl till I get this one done, so it is at the top of the WIP pile.

Next, we have, Opal Bud Crochet Shawl,

Opal Heather Shawl

Cast on: September 30th
Percent Complete: 5% – I’ve barely scratched the surface on this one, as I have 1,200 yds of laceweight earmarked for this project
Deadline: None in mind, I just want to get it done before the end of the year.

Then, soon after I cast on Too Cool for My Socks

Very cool toes

Cast on: October 4th
Percent Complete: 10% – the toes are done and when I actually get to them in my purse they should get finished reasonably quickly
Deadline: I hope to have these done before the snow melts, I have heard rumors that Felici Sport is being discontinued, so I stocked up during the Black Friday sale and will have lots of socks to keep me happy for a few years, so I have no real desire to rush through this pair.

Then after a bit of a gap, I have my Canaries, Castles and Bunnies, Oh My!

Color Affection

Cast on: November 3rd (sorta)
Percent Complete: 0% – I have knit and ripped out the first section about 10 times since I cast on 2 months ago
Deadline: Like two months ago, I need to focus in and get working on this, or find another three-color shawl, cause this one is really hanging over my head.

Then we have one last thing cast on in 2012, Ottawa Baby Sweater

Ottawa Baby Sweater

Cast on: December 26th
Percent Complete: 60% –
Deadline: Right away, I need to finish three more baby sweaters before a shower that I have heard rumors will be in February …

Actually, there was one more in 2012, Pointelle, but I decided to hibernate it after screwing up the first two rows of the cuff too many times.

Then with 2013 starting I have some a new kid on the block, a Raccoon for Toshie

The Start of Rocky Raccoon

 

So I have my work cut out for me, but all projects finished in 2013 count towards this year’s goals.