Thursday, December 3, 2009

I did it AGAIN

I think I have to give up on posting regularly. I love to blog, but when it cuts into knitting time I suppose I choose to knit more often than not. There has been one other rather large distraction...the boyfriend and I split up about a month ago, so moving my stuff, etc. has taken quite a bit of time and energy.

I'm just starting to get my dyeing stuff set up again so that I can pick up where I left off with Viola. The first little batch of yarn sold quite quickly at the shop, and I'm really excited to dye more! I'm hoping to be able to put some yarn and roving up on Etsy soon too. My little store looks so sad with nothing for sale!

Since I have even more catching up to do that my last post, I'll just show you some recent FO's

this is easily the most exciting; on the weekend my AWESOME father bought be a Majacraft Suzie Pro from the Black Lamb (a lovely yarn shop in Port Hope)! And here is the first thing I spun with it...

...4.8 oz of corriedale roving from Pigeonroof Studios! You have listened to me go on about how much I love Krista already, so I will spare you this time (she's awesome!) But I will tell you how much I adore this little wheel...a lot! I have elaborate plans to sew a cute little bag for it, and have been dreaming of bringing my wheel with me everywhere I go and spinning non stop!

Too bad Christmas knitting is getting in the way of my ambitious spinning goals...

...a Drops short rows baby jacket knit in 2 different colours of Koigu, Indigo Moon fingering weight merino and Dale of Norway Baby Ull. A lot of yarn, but this turned out to be so cute. I have yet to sew on the buttons...horrid un-fun job! You can find the pattern here.

...a Tomten Jacket knit in Cascade 220. I'm doing applied I cord around all the edges a la Elizabeth Zimmermann, and afterthought pockets...perhaps this could be called a Tomten with "the works"

Oh, and take a look at this massive sweater that I recently finished for the shop....

its Wisteria by Kate Gilbert. I used i think 6 skeins of Malabrigo worsted in the saphire green colourway. This thing took me ages to knit, just because of all the goings on at the shop. Now that its done, I think I quite like it

That's all for now!

Friday, October 2, 2009


Well, I certainly never intended to abandon the blog for so long...almost two months! But I suppose it's no surprise, I am easily distracted at the best of times, and I think that the past few weeks have been quite busy. Anyway, I won't attempt to go over all the crafty things I've been up to...there have been far too many, and I can't even remember half of them.

Here is a short recap anyway...

I've been dyeing yarn like crazy, and am actually in the throws of setting up a little line of hand dyed yarns! This has been quite exciting, and I'm realizing more and more that I just won't be happy if I can't be creative in one way or another. You can count on lots more yarn photos in the future anyway! And here is a look at some of the most recent colours to come out of my dyepot...

...they are, from the top down, blot, marigold and pearl. I'm having such a great time playing around with colours and constantly being surprised by what appears once the yarn is dry (it is almost never what I expect!)

In case you are curious I am not speaking with my paper dolls sweater. I have decided officially to rip out the lumpy yoke, but can't bear the thought of it, so the sad little sweater is buried at the bottom of my yarn trunk. I'm sure I'll get around to fixing it, but likely not any time soon. And thanks to everyone for their encouraging words and messages...but jeez, what a bummer!

In the world of spinning all is well. I plied, set and began to knit my lovely Pigeonroof Studios roving, and it is just stunning! I Navajo plied my singles, which turned out quite well; the yarn is light and airy, yet warm and squishy! I decided to knit it into a hat, which it looking more like a light bulb than a hat at the moment, but I'm not terribly concerned...I think It'll be OK once I am able to put it on my head...

...unfortunately I haven't had the time to devote to much of my own knitting, as I've been working on two identical shawls for my mom to give as gifts. I'm knitting both in Tanis Laceweight superwash merino. The yarn is quite lovely, and you know how I feel about her colours, but I think that superwash merino just doesn't make a very appealing yarn for lace. Of course I only came to this realization after I was half way through the 2000 yards that I'm knitting! I have decided, however, that laceweight yarn should be more luxurious; I want silk and cashmere and all those other goodies, not superwash merino! Of course I have quite a lot in my stash that I still want to knit, but I think I'll be taking a break from lace weight for a little while anyway.

Sadly, I do not have a picture that will do either shawl justice. The gifting date passed before I could finish either; one was completely knit, but needed to be blocked and the other was just partly knit. I don't think I'll ever get to block the first because the receiver was so happy to get it she doesn't want to give it back! The pattern I chose to use is Bridgewater from the Made in Brooklyn book by Jared Flood, but I knit the shawl as a triangle instead of a square, and I'm glad I did because I'd be knitting until I died otherwise! Oh, and the colours are Sand (can't seem to get away from it!) and Olive.

I have managed to start one big project recently (though I certainly don't need to) and it is my first ever granny square blanket! I have no control when it comes to combining colours, so I finally settled on these eight shades of Cascade 200, some heathers and some solids.

I'm still quite smitten with this project, and have been doing my best at weaving in my ends as I go, but man, what a crappy job! It takes longer to bury the ends than it does to make a square.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

planning ahead

Over the past few weeks I have been attempting to plan and begin my Christmas knitting. Every year I get caught in the all too familiar trap; Christmas season arrives, everyone else is planning and finishing gifts and I realize about a week before the 25th that I want to knit everyone a sweater! It has never ended well. Usually one or two people get their gifts, the rest have to wait until I finish them sometime in June (and they are lucky if I DO finish them). I think that makes me a terrible gift giver...hmmmm....yes it does!

But this is the year that I plan to change all of that. I've already cast on a sweater for my mom, and a shawl that I hope to give to my sister! Woot! My dad is the most difficult family member to knit for. Not because he is at all picky, in fact he is happy to receive anything I make. The problem is that I want to be knitting frilly pretty things, and he is just not going to go for that...obviously! I THINK that I'm going to knit him a plain and simple sweater, but construction is yet to be determined. I have a bag of beautiful Cascade 220 in a beige/green colour that will do the job nicely, now I just have to decide what to make.

I start to run into trouble after I cover my immediate family, and begin thinking that I should knit for everyone else and their brother. I would love to make a bunch of vanilla socks, and just hand them out around the holidays. It sounds great right now; I'll use up a bunch of stash yarn (awesome) and I'll always have a good travel project at hand. But I know better than to think I can pull that off!

Right now, all I can report is that the sweater I'm knitting for my mom is moving along nicely. It is very plain, which has allowed me to knit it while watching TV in the evenings. the pattern is Sally, from the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Collection and I'm knitting it in Henry's Attic Prime alpaca. I picked this yarn up when I was in L.A. a couple years ago from Wildfiber in Santa Monica (a lovely store, by the way). At the time I was totally in love; it felt great, each skein had 600 yards of sport weight yarn and came in a lovely selection of natural colours. I grabbed a bunch of it for sweaters and it has sat in my stash ever since. I love knitting this yarn, but I have to say that it is VERY scratchy, certainly not the soft delicate alpaca I thought it was. The colour I'm using for Sally is "Nutmeg",

but I also have 1 skein of black and 2 skeins of "Fawn" that I recently overdyed this colour...

I am seriously hoping that the colour I'm knitting now came off a very prickly alpaca, and my other colours will be softer, because I planned to knit them into shawls, and no one wants a prickly shawl!

I've also been doing a good amount of spinning. Pigeonroof studios has been all-consuming of course, and I'm almost through spinning the 4.1oz of corriedale in the "Collision Course" colourway. So pretty. I have yet to decide how I want to ply it; initially I wanted to go for a 2-ply, to maximize yardage (as usual). However, I need to work on planning ahead, why on earth did I not split the roving into quarters before I started spinning?? I don't predraft at all, so I just dove in, winding the singles off my spindle when it got too full. I'm almost finished spinning and I'm going to end up with three balls of singles, not as simple when one wants to make a 2-ply yarn!

One more thing before I go...I've been having great fun dyeing roving! I still am just guessing at what results I'm going to get, and so far I've only tried painting them. Here are my latest attempts...

...the blue is a baby alpaca roving. I had expected it to be much darker than it turned out. And the reddish braid is mohair. I LOVE this one and was even more surprised at the way it turned out. Before I stuck it in the pot to steam it was covered in pink...where the heck did that go?!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pomatomus Done!

At long last, my Pomatomus socks are finished! I know for a fact that I've gone bonkers because I'm already planning another pair. Its just, the second sock was so much fun, and I finished it up so fast...I can totally knit another pair, right?

Either way, I'll probably never get around to it, but its fun to entertain the idea; I'm imagining all of my sock yarn knit into pomatomus socks, so pretty! On the other hand, how can I justify knitting the same sock pattern twice? I have countless other socks in my queue, and loads more that I haven't bothered to stick in there yet. Dilemma. Oh, and the yarn I used was Lorna's Laces Shepherd sock solid in the firefly colourway. I'm a big fan of Lorna's Laces, I find that their sock yarn wears very well, and I love their colourways of course!

I haven't been knitting very much recently. The week before last Jeremy and I went up to his aunt and uncle's cottage on Georgian Bay. It was fantastic, though the water was too cold for swimming. I spent most of my time up there spinning, and finally managed to finish spinning my Oceanwind Knits roving. I plied up a little bit of it there before I lost interest and moved on to another roving that I have since abandoned as well. But I will not give up! I just need to be in the right mood to finish that plying, and its so close to being finished, once I get going it won't take me long at all.

Motivation arrived the other day, and not a moment too soon! My Rovings from Pigeonroof studios came, hooray! I have to say that the colours are so much more impressive in person than they were online. I find that the opposite is most often the case when I buy yarn online, I think because yarn out of the stash if far more desirable than yarn in the stash. But I am so much happier to have this roving now that I've seen it in person; I suspect that it's pretty hard to be disappointed with Krista's colours.

I've also done a little bit of sewing, unsuccessful though it may have been; I made Jeremy a tie for his birthday on Monday! I followed the Purl Bee's father's day tie pattern, and managed to make a good looking tie. But I think that I cut out the pattern pieces wrong, and the tie ended up being a good 4" too long. I think I'm going to undo everything, cut it down and then sew it back up again (bleh), but Jeremy was quite happy with it, and I've promised him a few more. I got the fabric from the Workroom, but I forget what on earth it was (sorry!)

In other news, I scored some super cute vintage pins from the St. Lawrence antiques market on Sunday. There were oodles in this little pack and the cute little coloured toppers are glass!

Oh, and these sweet little mother of pearl buttons...

I think thats just about all I've been up to lately. I do have a few finished garments to share, but I have to convince Jeremy to take pictures of me (which takes time). I will leave you with my latest dye attempts...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Etsy Attack

I don't know exactly what has come over me in the past few days, but I like it! I've gone completely spinning crazy; my Oceanwind Knits superwash merino sat in a drawer for months, completely neglected, but the other day I unearthed it on a whim. Since then, I have plied up a spindle-full, and it is lovely!

This is the thinnest I have ever spun, and even though I've put in countless hours of work in the past few days, I still have a LOT of roving remaining from the 4 oz I bought! I think the solution to this problem is very clear; I need a wheel, but more about that later. I decided to go with a 2 ply yarn, because I wanted to get as much yardage out of this roving as I could. Judging by the skein I just plied, the yarn I've got is a very light fingering weight. I suspect that the remainder of yarn I spin will be a bit thinner because I've improved quite a bit since my first attempts...and I seem to be spinning thinner and thinner. So I guess I won't be able to knit this yarn into anything, if each skein I make is a different gauge, but it'll be very pretty! I'm having a great time spinning it either way, and have already been shopping for more roving!

I am a knit podcast junkie, and it seems like there is always someone talking about Pigeonroof studios, whether it be her yarn or roving. After much etsy and ravelry stalking I committed to 4 oz of corriedale roving in each of two colours...

The colour on the top is called Collision Course, and the bottom is Lucky Break

...sooooo pretty! I know that Krista from Pigeonroof goes to some of the big knitting shows in the U.S. (Stitches West I think...) but up in Toronto, I was forced to buy without first seeing anything in person. My life is so hard! Anyway, I am very excited for my rovings to arrive in the mail, but my fiber stash is growing at an alarming rate. I suspect that if I attempted to spin all of my fiber on a spindle it would take me...oh maybe 500 years! This is just not OK. I do not intend to stop buying more fiber, much the opposite in fact, so the only solution I can find is to get my hands on a wheel. Lucky for me, some knitters at the shop have offered to lend me their wheels. I'm hoping that buying a wheel for myself will be easier when I already have an idea of how to use one.

Essentially, I want to buy a spinning wheel so that I can buy more roving and fiber. Is that Insane? I think so. I can safely blame Etsy for this irrational behaviour. I've been refreshing the Pigeonroof Studios store a few times every day...because I have to be there when she adds new stuff so that I can buy it before anyone else! It's like a shopping competition or something.

But that's not all; I've been browsing pretty batts of fiber as well. Luckily, in his hippie days my father dabbled in spinning, and he kept his set of hand carders. So last night I swiped those and attempted to make a few batts with some fiber scraps...they were hideous! I didn't even take a picture of them. The roving I was using was felted really badly too, and I'm sure that that made the situation much worse than it needed to be. When I get my confidence up again, I'm going to make a second attempt. If all goes well, I'll have one more thing to obsess over on Etsy!

Oh! Look at this mysterious car accessory...

...I spotted these while walking with Jeremy (that's his reflection in the window) around the Queen and Bathurst area. So I am in love with this little radish character, but I've never known what it's deal is. I have the same scowling radish dangling from my camera, but I nearly lost it when I saw these babies! The weirdest part is that the large radishes have smaller radishes on their crotches. I'm not even going to attempt to figure that out!

Friday, July 10, 2009

decision made...mostly

The overwhelming opinion of the knitters on Wednesday night was to not rip. Hooray! So I have decided to move forward cautiously; I'm going to block the sweater gently and hope that the lumps calm down. A rather good sign, I think, is that every time I put the sweater on the bumpiness shows less and less. If, after blocking, it still is too lumpy for me, I plan on frogging the entire yoke, soaking and "unknitting" the yarn and then reknitting the yoke in a smaller size somehow. But I know that if I get to that stage, my beloved paper dolls sweater will sit in time out for quite a while before I work up the nerve to knit that yoke again!

I had a lot more trouble with it that I anticipated, struggling with the most comfortable way to hold the yarn while I knit. I found that holding one strand in each hand worked great for the two colour ribbing, but my tension was very loose when I knit continental, which gave me huge saggy spots! Also, what the heck are you supposed to do when you need to carry a colour along on the wrong side (which happens often with this pattern)?! I wasn't eager to drop both strands of yarn, twist and then pick up again! So in the end I went back to knitting with my right hand was slow.

On a much happier note, the yarn I dyed the other day turned out great! I was quite worried about one skein of sock yarn in particular because it was for a friend. I had dyed it once already, but because the skein was so big (over 500 yards!) the dye just couldn't distribute evenly. So I boldly threw it into the dye pot again, intending to cover its light gray colour with pink to make a dusty mauve. Well, I apparently need to work on my ratios because I stuck in WAAY too much pink and had hot Barbie pink yarn on my hands. In a moment of panic I threw in a bunch of navy, which made the the most beautiful purple. So all was well in the end, and the yarn was very well received. I actually had to hide the yarn because folks at the shop were a bit too interested and I wanted to make sure that this lovely purple skein made its way back to its owner!

And here's a look at the sport weight Briggs and Little that I dyed to a lovely gold colour...

...I'm really happy with the colour, but I couldn't fit all three skeins into my little dyepot. So my plan is to dye up the third skein in a pretty pink (I'm in love with pink and orange lately) and I think I'll knit up a little stripey t-shirt with all three skeins!

I finished the first of the secret socks that I can't talk about, and I'm so happy with it (it's killing me to not take a picture!) but here's the yarn I used, it's Tanis Fiber Arts again, and the colour is called plum...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

i'm a jerk

Despite my many vows to post at least once a week, here I am, after almost an entire month! I think I'll start sending myself reminders on my phone or something...I wonder if I can even figure out how to do that?!

Either way, here I am, and I have some knitting updates for you. I think that my lack of posting motivation has been linked to the serious knitting slump I entered not long ago. Remember how excited I was about my Paper Dolls sweater? I do. Well, it's pretty much finished, but I think I'm going to have to rip out the ENTIRE YOKE! That's right. At the moment I have a perfectly lovely looking yoke, but when I put it on there is a tonne of extra fabric that bunches up all over the front. Now, it may smooth out when it's blocked, or maybe this is just the way the sweater fits, but I'm not happy about it. My plan is to take it into knit night tomorrow and get a few more opinions. Here is a crummy photo of what I'm up against...does it look too lumpy?

After the Paper Dolls crisis, I lost interest in most of my other projects. I didn't even want to spin! Just this week my knitting mojo began to return; I've been knitting a super-fun sock, but unfortunately it's a bit of a secret, so I have to wait to show you! Luckily, the secret sock has brought back my love of sock knitting, and I'm already planning more socks!

The only thing not affected by my knitting slump was yarn sad. My latest acquisitions are 2 more skeins of Koigu and a skein of Tanis pink label (lace) in her stormy colourway, So pretty!

Today, I have set up my little dyeing studio in the kitchen. I'm hoping to get through a few batches, but with just one dye pot, that it proving to be quite tricky! At the moment, 200 grams of a sport weight single ply from Briggs and Little is cooling outside. I think they are going to come out an amber-y colour, which is just fine with me.

that's all for now!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

a dress

I've always wanted to be able to sew. My life thusfar has consisted of little spurts of sewing, each spurt has lead to a lumpy twisted garment/bag/mess because there is something that I just can't seem to get about sewing. It's mysterious to me...just like math...sigh. Luckily, I seem to be blindly determined to learn, and continue to take on projects in spite of the string of disappointing items I have produced. My latest foray into the sewing world has been my most successful. Hooray!

On a whim (this is how I seem to do everything) I purchased a few patterns from the extremely dangerous My highest achievement in sewing previously was a laundry hamper liner, so you can understand the linear progression to a dress...or probably not. To make matters worse, the pattern is Japanese; not a word of English on the entire thing! This little sanity blip can probably be explained by my growing desire to live in Japan, speak Japanese and understand just how the happy iron in my pattern plans to guide me through the project (so cute). Luckily, working at a knitting store connects me with crafty folks from all disciplines, and a friend who is an extremely skilled seamstress volunteered to guide me through the dress. If it weren't for her, my fabric would certainly be in a helpless wad in the back of my closet by now...instead it looks like this...

...So far I have made bust darts, pleats, and some very cool seams (can't remember what they're called!) All that's left to do is put in the zipper, sew the side seams, hem and finish some seams on the inside. And I THINK that will all be pretty simple.
This project has really boosted my sewing confidence, and I'm already planning my next project; another Japanese pattern, this time a skirt. I am dieing to buy the fabric, but won't allow myself until the dress is done. I think it'll be pretty fun to go into the shop wearing my dress. I'm envisioning bolts of fabric and rulers clanking on the floor as everyone in the store drops what they are doing to admire my new dress, but I somehow doubt that will be the case.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

IT'S FINISHED!!!!!!!!!!

That's right, the epic shawl is finally done! I finished the knitting last Friday, and blocked it last Saturday! I gave it away last week sometime, and it was a hit! Hooray! Finishing that up made me feel great! Now I've been fighting the urge to cast on 20 projects at once...somehow that seems like a bad thing to do...

Since the shawl has been done I've finished 2 pairs of lingering socks,

I've returned to my spindle (it was feeling VERY neglected!) and I did all the seaming for my evergreen vest. More exciting than any of these projects is my paper dolls sweater...I started it a few days ago, and it is looking so pretty!

The i-cord cast on took a very long time, but was entirely worth it in the end; it is a beautiful way to finish the edge. I'm doing my best to power my way up the body at the moment, because knitting the paper dolls around the yoke is obviously the most exciting part! As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm using Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label, which is such a beautiful yarn! Her colours are mostly solid, but all have subtle tonal variations that make them so interesting and fun to knit. I'm knitting the entire sweater on 3.5mm needles, which I hope will give me a fabric tight enough that it doesn't become see-through, but loose enough that the garment isn't too stiff.

Yesterday, my knitting came on a little adventure with me...Jeremy is lucky enough to be given press cars every week, and this week he got this itsy bitsy convertible...

...we decided to take it for a spin in the country, so we packed a picnic and chose a destination. In the morning we planned our route to the Kawartha Lakes and drove off! We had a great time driving around once we made it out of the city...and it was a beautiful sunny day (I even enjoyed the sun, which is uncharacteristic). We had planned to take the scenic route up, but quickly got turned around and lost our way. Jeremy had brought along a navigation system, which had no idea where we were either! So it was up to me, our scribbled instructions and my I Phone. We made it there in one piece, but not without a few detours.

Once we were situated with our picnic alongside lake Scugog, we were finally able to relax. We spent a few hours just enjoying the beautiful day, and I got in some great knitting time!

Hopefully I'll be back sooner rather than later, but you never know...I'm getting a bit carried away with this paper dolls sweater (its just SO cute!) I may have it finished by my next post!