Summer Slump

For the past couple of years I’ve found myself slowing down with my fiber habits and this year is no exception.  In the past I’ve associated it with different things, like a new job, always being on the trail, or just starting up with new hobbies, but I think after a third year of this I think I just don’t have mojo in the summer.

Work has been crazy and the last two weeks particularly so and while the heat from last week has broken, I’ve been totally listless in my fiber doings.

The one bright spot, is that I’m making some serious headway on Carla’s shawl.  I was hoping to have it done by August 1st, but that’s unlikely considering the week I have ahead of me, however I do expect it to be done in the next couple of weeks.

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Also, my Dropcloth samplers have arrived, and I’ve been playing around with embroidery, which has been lots of fun.

Four new samplers

Four new samplers

Just starting out

Just starting out

Getting the hang of the stitches

Getting the hang of the stitches

Doodling on my own

Doodling on my own

 

I’ve been sorta spinning.  I got a new coffee table (and a television) two weeks ago and I haven’t figured out the best spot to spin with the new furniture. But I’m making some headway on spinning Angel.  I want to have it done before our first guild meeting in September so I can show it off to Heather (the shepherd).  I don’t think I’m going to make it back to the Rosseau Market this year, so I may have to email her to see if she has fluff for any other of her sheep because they are an AMAZING spin.  Also, there are little bits of VM (vegetable matter, mostly grass) in the fluff which reminds me of where yarn come from and makes me smile.

 

Angel on the wheelI also tried to distract myself with a bit of crochet and for some reason I wanted to make the African Flower hexagons.  They are fun to make but my heart just wasn’t in it, so now I have some motifs with nothing to do, I might make a couple more and sew them together and give them to my friend Kristen’s two-year old daughter Taylor who can use them for a doll/stuffed animal blanket.

Crocheted Hexagons

I’m hoping to get Carla’s shawl/veil done soon because I still need to knit myself a shawl as well as I haven’t made a pair of socks in ages.  I’ve put most of my other knitting on hold to get this shawl done and I have a few things that have been taunting me for ages and stash that is just dying to be knit up.  However, my stash acquisition hasn’t been too bad this year (and I’ve been destashing slowly) so I’m not feeling the relentless push to keep up with my stash this year, which is probably good for my mental health.

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Six Months From Now

Toshie

This little puppy, Toshie, is going to have married parents.  My sister Carla and her … Jim …  (I find the word fiancee a bit overwhelming and betrothed is just pretentious) are getting hitched on October 5th, and I’m so excited and happy for them.

So I have a big project ahead of me, I’m knitting her a wedding shawl. It is 100% silk lace custom dyed by Felicia Lo of Sweet Georgia Yarns and it showed up late last week.  I’m not sure of all the logistics from the dyeing, I’m just the knitter, but her shawl is a gorgeous gold color.  As a gift to me as her Knitter of Honor (and also I’m signing for her) she got me some silk lace yarn to make a shawl for myself in the other wedding color, aubergine.

So I’m still finalizing the pattern I’ll be knitting both these yarns into, but there are so many choices and I really want it to suit the dress (which is super pretty but a secret until the big day). So I will be spending a few more hours trolling Ravelry and deciding what I want the gorgeous yarns to become, but I will be casting on soon because I need this to be done by the mid-summer so I can finish up my own shawl and whatever wedding knitting comes my way.

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: 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.

Winter Bloom 3

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.

FO: North Plum Hat

North Plum 2

Yet another story of girl sees pattern, girl buys yarn for pattern, girl realizes she doesn’t like pattern, and girl wonders what she will do with the yarn for that specific pattern.  Thanks to the Sweet Georgia Pattern KAL I found a pattern that went nicely with Sweet Georgia Merino Silk Fine and I no longer had to feel guilty seeing it in my stash.

I’m finding I really quite like slouchy hats, I just need to figure out how to wear them properly so as not to look like too much of a doofus (which is a risk for most people and knitted hats). North Plum

– Details –

Project Name: North Plum Hat

Pattern: North Wind Hat by Felicia Lo of Sweet Georgia Yarns

Recipient: Me

Yarn: Sweet Georgia Yarn – Merino Silk Fine in Black Plum

Modifications:

  • None, but I should have gone down a needle size for the brim ribbing, after blocking (read: soaking and laying smaller) I found it a bit too large, but still quite comfortable.

New Skills:

  • None

Feedback:

  • Yarn: Merino Silk might not have been the ideal yarn for this project, it is warm and comfortable and I need to run some elastic through the band.
  • Pattern: Felicia has well written patterns with excellent layout (which doesn’t really affect the knitting pattern, but does make using the pattern more enjoyable).

Re-Knit?: Maybe, hats get lost so I expect to be remaking this hat some day.

FO: Moonset

Mooncrest Shawl

On very rare occasions I see a pattern and actually make the effort to get the suggested yarn, this was one of those times.  I had the good fortune to test knit a pattern, Solaria Cowl, from The Stella Collection designed by Julie Crawford and Tanis Lavallee. Also, in that collection is the Suncrest shawl designed for TFA Red Label, a fantastic merino/cashmere/silk fingering/sport weight fingering.  When I was at the K-W Knitter’s Fair in September I had a chance to chat with Tanis and pick up a skein of Red Label in Dove, which is absolutely gorgeous.

Then in October, Julie announced on the Ravelry board about the November TFA KAL, it seemed like I should break my personal queue and knit it up.  And it was the right choice, it is a fantastic shawl and a beautiful yarn and so soft to wear.

– Details –

Project Name: Moonset 

Pattern: Suncrest Shawl by Tanis Lavallee

Recipient: ME!

Yarn: TFA Red Label in Dove

Modifications:

  • Somehow my body was narrower than called for so I did three extra lace repeats to max out the skein.

New Skills:

  • Not a whole lot, but this is the first time picking up just one of the loops on a shawl, it makes a really nice edge.

Feedback:

  • I love it when a pattern and yarn look as good together as the sample/pattern version 

Re-Knit?: Probably not, but I need to make others from The Stella Collection, and I’m looking forward to the 2013 TFA club as it will be one long Stella Collection as we will be getting different weight yarns and all the patterns will be designed by Tanis and Julie.