Two weeks, three pairs

After not finishing a pair of socks for me since last August (during the Ravellenic Games) I finished up two pairs of socks for me and a pair for my sister Carla.

I love making socks, but it took a little kick in the pants to finally get back into the swing of things. I find them the perfect project.  They are small projects (meaning they are quick to finish when I actually work on them), but they can be intricately detailed (but they are knit in the round so all knits), and they eventually wear out which means you can keep making more.  I’m finding I’m reaching critical mass of scarves, shawls and stoles, they spend far too much time in a chest by the door and I forget to wear them.

So I’ve already cast on for my next two pairs, because I really need to alway have a pair on the go.

My latest pair of socks, Patina Socks from the Tanis Fiber Arts Year in Colour Club.

My latest pair of socks, Patina Socks from the Tanis Fiber Arts Year in Colour Club.

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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.

_______________________________________

Projects: Waterloo Puerperium and Ottawa Puerperium

Pattern: Puerperium Cardigan by Kelly Brooker

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

FO: Sleep Tech Dressy

Sleep Tech 2

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: 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: 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.

Why did no one wake me up when November ended?

So, someone asked me for the date and I realized that it was December 5th and I had managed to go a month without looking at my blog.  Woah, I just don’t know where that month went.  However, it was a good month, lots of knitting and cooking.

First off, I managed to get through all my KAL chaos projects, but not much else.

Winter Bloom Shawl

 

I finished my Winter Bloom shawl, in Tanis Fiber Arts’s Orange Label (worsted weight merino/cashmere/silk) in Frost.  Not only did I get a totally awesome, amazing shawl, but I also won 3 skeins of Sweet Fiber Yarn’s Haven yarn (a new merino/silk aran-weight single) in Spanish Coin a gorgeous gold color.

Also I finished my Mooncrest Shawl in Tanis Red Label, another great base and awesome pattern. I wore it today and got lots of compliments.

Mooncrest Shawl

 

Oh and I finished a third item for the Tanis KAL, but it is a gift and the recepient is just too web savvy for me to share the pictures up here.  I will, after they are gifted for Christmas.

Also, I cooked up a storm from the new Smitten Kitchen cookbook a few weeks ago making the Apple Cider Salted Caramels.

Smitten Kitchen Carmels

 

I need to make a few mods when I make them again for Christmas.

Also, I made a batch of what I’m calling Slow Cooker Apple Sauce, or, Christina hates chopping apples Sauce. Where I stew apples in my slow cooker and then blend them with an immersion blender to make them into sauce. It means you get to keep all the nutrients of the skins and all you have to do is core and quarter the apples.

Apples before SauceSlow Cooker Apple Sauce

Of course November wasn’t all rainbows, apple sauce and pretty shawls, I also changed my first tire.

I woke up on a Monday morning, with an hour’s drive to work and I found this…

Flat Tire

 

Turns out I ran over a nail but I managed to get the tire changed all by myself, and end up only 2.5 hrs behind schedule.

So that was November, well plus all the work, and assorted chaos that make up my life.  I’m back into my knitting, although I did take last weekend off from knitting to try out a few different things I have let fall by the wayside, like Tunisian crochet, shuttle tatting, weaving and spinning. But if December even goes half as fast as November did, then I expect to resurface in January unsure of where December went.

I think my eyes might be bigger than my stomach …

Yarns I have wound for this insanity, (L to R) TFA Orange Label in Frost, Shalimar Yarns Homage in Loden, TFA Blue Label in Truffle and TFA Red Label in Dove

So, right now on the go I have five projects in various stages of completion (one just got off the needles since Wednesday), and pretty soon I am going to have 4 more on the go.

Why, yes I am insane!

I’m participating in a second Tanis Fiber Arts KAL over in the Ravelry group. This time we are using TFA Accessories patterns or using TFA yarn for a gift project.

I’m able to enter one project in both categories, Tanis’s Business Casual socks, that I will be making out of the Year in Color club color Truffle. This one is a gift for someone who is tech savy enough to be a reader so I will show them off and hopefully they don’t deduce that they are the one getting them.

Business Casual sock pattern

Photo by Tanis Lavallee

Also, I’m going to try to finish the Suncrest Shawl by Tanis in some spectacular TFA Red Label in Dove that I picked up at the Kitchener Waterloo Knitter’s Fair (which I never blogged about, but short version, it was fun and I met the Yarn Harlot). The pattern is part of the Stella Collection which Tanis and Julie (Crawford of Knitted Bliss) released last summer. You may recall that I tested for Julie last spring and she and Tanis thanked me for my help with the full pattern collection.

Suncrest Shawl

Photo by Tanis Lavallee

So, after making this plan I discovered two more KALs that I wanted to jump on board with, first off Melissa Thompson of Sweet Fiber Yarns & Design released a new pattern Autumn Bloom, and announced an accompanying KAL and I had to get in on it.

Photo by Melissa Thompson

Melissa had an injury earlier this month, so she hasn’t been able to keep up with her dyeing (understandably!) and so I think I’m going to use the TFA Orange Label I picked up at Knitter’s Frolic back in April, which is going to make for a totally luxe winter shawl. Depending

Due to my selfish nature, and that you will have to pry this shawl from my cold, dead hands, it won’t be part of the TFA KAL, because if you are using the yarn but not the pattern it has to be a gift and I’m not gifting this baby.

The last KAL I want to get in on is the Cabernet Sauvignon KAL. Monika Sirna of What Dreams Are Made Of is a new designer to me, but I fell hard for her latest design. I may have missed her up till now becuase she has mostly been designing clothes for little girls, adorable girl clothes, but something I just don’t currently knit. I’m going to make it out of some other yarn I picked up at KW, an MCS fingering weight yarn, Homage by Shalimar Yarns who made the trek to the show all the way from Maryland.

Photo by Monika Sirna

My yarn is a little short of the requirements, but I will just remove keep weighing my skeins and remove a repeat in the center, yay for knitting math.

So the TFA KAL deadline is November 30th and the other two have a deadline of December 15th, and I still have 5 projects on the go, I can totally get them all done by the end of the year, right? Right?

 

FO: Hug Me Cowl

So about that Christmas knitting, it’s best to get it started as early as possible, and getting it done feels good.  Except when that Christmas knitting is from 2011.  Yes, that’s right I finally started and finished my Christmas 2011 knitting.

This cowl was a gift for my Mom, originally the gift was of yarn and the lessons and needles to knit the project (she was interested in getting back into knitting) or if not a new cowl for the next winter.  After a winter, spring and summer it was becoming abundantly clear that she wasn’t going to be a knitter it was time to knit up a cowl for her.

The name of the cowl is telling, the designer called it cocoon me, but to me it is hug me cowl, because that is what I ask my mom to do, Hug Me.  So hopefully, this will be a nice hug for her all next winter.

– Details –

Project Name: Hug Me Cowl

Pattern: Cocoon Me Cowl by Rose Beck from RosyPosy Designs

Recipient: She who hugs me, my Mom.

Yarn: Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label in Sand

Modifications:

  • Converted Garter Edging to Ribbing – I hate garter in the round, so I changed the edging to a 2×2 rib and it flowed straight into the pattern

New Skills: None in particular

Feedback:

  • Yarn: I like Tanis’ colors but Green Label is not my favorite base, there is something about it that just doesn’t work for me.  Also, Sand is a great color.
  • Pattern: Great pattern, love that it’s reversible, but P5Tog is my furthest from favorite stitch and I use a crochet hook to keep myself from going crazy.

Re-Knit?: Nope, the P5tog is pretty much what is keeping me from doing this again,