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.

Advertisements

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.

 

 

Day 4: Color Review

8603356856_44e7142b6f

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 …

IMG_0010

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

8603356856_44e7142b6f

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.

Inspiration to Spin

Amongst my spinning people

Amongst my spinning people

My wheel and I have had an up/down relationship, but thanks to a Spinning and Colour workshop yesterday held by the Trillium Hanspinners and Weavers I’m feeling much better about my spinning.

The first thing is, my wheel is not the best fit for me.  So I’m going to start looking for a new wheel and a new home for my Ashford Traveller (if you are in Muskoka/Parry Sound and are interested in a really great wheel leave me a comment and I will get back to you).

My Ashford Traveller

My Ashford Traveller

However, I’m still able to make some pretty amazing yarn on it.

IMG_0865

But with respect to the workshop, it was great to actual learn from a spinning teacher, in person.  I’ve been able to find lots of great books, videos and online instruction but they don’t “talk back” or help you correct errors, like criminally under-plyed yarn.

IMG_0866

Properly plyed (or even slightly overplyed) yarn just off the wheel

The theme of the workshop was Spinning and Colour and while the color instruction was helpful, for me it was learning way more about the wheel.  But on the color front I learned a few tricks for combining handdyed and solid rovings to help stretch special yarn.

The original multi on the far right, the two samples are on the left, where it has been plyed with a cerise red or a dark blue.

The original multi on the far right, the two samples are on the left are mine. I plyed my single  has been plyed with a cerise red or a dark blue.

I decided to give it a try with some of the leftovers on random bobbins from past projects, and I’m not totally sold on the high-contrast handspun, I prefer a painterly tonal look, but it is something different.

IMG_0867

The pink from the yarn showed above plyed on the Opuntia braid I spun up a couple of months ago.

So I’m going get back to my wheel and see what other beauties I can whip up before she finds her new home and I find a new wheel to make friends with.

P.S. The 4th year of the Knit and Crochet Blog Week is starting tomorrow and I’m going to be participating, so don’t be surprised that there will be posts here all next week.

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.

Just Another Saturday

Eggs, spinach, tea, socks and Instagram, breakfast of champions.

This week has been a big one for me, I’ve been working on my first real attempt to lose weight and increase my fitness/health level in many years.  However, that has meant I haven’t had a whole lot of time for fiber crafting this week. Today, however I decided to make knitting (and getting caught up on my dishes) the priority today.

I’ve had the Felici Sport socks that you see in the top photo on the needle since the beginning of October and they are starting to annoy me.  By lunchtime I had turned both short-row heels and now I’m working my way up the legs. I’m hoping to have them done before the end of the weekend.

I’m really quite excited to get these socks done.  Mostly because I want to wear them, but also because there is no way I’m going to make my goal of 15 pairs of socks this year if I don’t finish a pair soon.  I haven’t finished a pair yet this year, and working on the pair today I’m wondering why.  I LOVE knitting socks, I get real satisfaction from knitting socks and living in Ontario there is rarely a time when you can’t wear socks (even in July and August you might need to wear socks to bed).  Also, they wear out and get lost, which means that you can keep making them forever (and even if you have too many of them, they really don’t take up much space in your drawer).

So, overall it’s been a delightful Saturday and I still have a few more hours of knitting, and watching old episodes of Psych, ahead of me yet.

FIFO, FIFO, it’s off to knit we go

IMG_0694

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.