Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Shelagh's Back from Florida!

My sister is back from her three-week trip to Florida with her husband--and I am so excited!

I mean, we still texted and Messengered each other daily, but it's so great having her back and only a 25-minute drive from me! Thank goodness for technology! I think I would have gone crazy if I couldn't have chatted constantly.

And something else cool about technology is that you can scope out local yarn shops at wherever it is you'll be spending time. So, of course, Shelagh did that before she left. And I'm glad she did because she found a very cool yarn shop in Sarasota called Picasso's Moon. Debra is the mastermind designer and dye-queen. Shelagh just raved over her yarns!

Even though Debra wasn't there, her friend and business partner Catherine--aka Rose of Indigo--was and she gave Shelagh the scoop about Debra's work.

Did Shelagh buy any?

Of course!

And, lovely sister that she is, she gave me two skeins! The one above is called "Strawberries & Poppies and is the most-sumptuously soft superwash Merino bulky loveliness. That one I'm saving for myself because it has all my favourite colours in it: ranges of pink from deep raspberry to pastel, oranges, yellows, and hits of green. I'm thinking a lovely, snuggly cowl.

The other is called "Peacock Hues."  Gorgeously green in a variety of shades ranging from off-white to a forest green. I'm so in love with this it's going to take me a while to "see" a pattern for it. In the meantime, I'll just drool over it as I watch Spring bring green back to our neighbourhood parks, lawns, and trees.

I'll try to talk Shelagh into writing an account of her travel knitting--of which she did a lot!--for next week.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Rainy Days and Mondays

The weather this April has affected my creativity. I'm just feeling blah. Very non-committal about my projects.

I know the saying “April showers bring May flowers” and I generally don't mind. But after a not-so-bad winter, this April seems to be playing an April Fools prank: I think we've had worse weather since the end of March—cold, windy, snowy, icy—than we had all Winter! I know for a fact that February was nicer because my birthday is in February and we slept with the window open that night. It was the first time in my over-50 years that I awoke on my birthday to fresh air and birdsong.

All this grumbling is to simply to say that I am far behind on projects that are underway.

If you are a maker, a creative person, you know what that feels like: the unfinished project sitting waiting for you. But all you can feel is . . . blah.

So, I am trying a few things.

  1. A little online Spring cleaning. By that I mean, I am finally catching up on what has become an almost unwieldy inbox. I had subscribed for so many e-mails, I haven't been able to keep up. So I'm putting all the e-mails from the same source together, going through one by one until they are done. Then I'm going to decide if I want to stay on that e-mail list.
  2. Saying “yes” to most invitations. Particularly those that will expand my social circle. Just the other day I went to a friend's birthday party. It was so much fun seeing her and some mutual friends. What's really cool, is she and many of the others are at least twenty years younger than me. I love being around that energy, hearing what they are passionate about. It's really eye opening to discover either something new or something unexpectedly in common.
  3. Thinking about other creative ventures. I think if I try something different creatively, that might give me the spark to continue on with my projects. I participated a tiny bit in an Instagram sketch challenge, where participants draw something every day for a month. I only did about half a dozen, but it was fun and I really felt it gave me a little boost for my other creative projects. Right now I have an idea for another sketch, but this time incorporating a knitted piece I made.

What have you done to bust the blues and get your creative spark back?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Five Things I'm Loving Right Now

Me in Tree Pose last summer after I hurt my arm.

 Shelagh is enjoying warm weather in Florida for a few weeks, so I'm writing this as I prepare for a few days volunteering at The Yoga Show and Conference. This is the biggest yoga show in Canada—seriously, it's crazy big!

This is my second year volunteering and I love it! But I still get the "what if I forget something" anxieties creeping up on me now and then. Never mind that I'll be in a major city and will be able to get anything I want, organizing myself and packing is still fraught with potential crises until I walk out my front door.

What that means is I'm not really focusing on any of my knitting projects or our social media accounts. So, no we haven't dropped off the planet. And no, the changes to Instagram haven't affected our feed. 

So I thought I'd do a quick roundup of what I'm loving right now:

  1. Yoga and meditation – I mean, of course!
  2. Goodreads – Have you checked out this site? I want to read more, and this site lets me (a) list everything I have ever read in my life and continue to add to it; (b) interact with friends who read; and (c) set and track a reading goal for myself every year. This year my goal is 20 books and I'm already at 7 complete and two underway.
  3. Podcasts – I know podcasts have been around for a while, but I really discovered a bunch last summer while I waited for my arm to heal and couldn't knit or do yoga. My favourites (in no particular order) are "Question of the Day" with James Altucher and Stephen Dubner (of Freakonomics fame); "Happier" with Gretchen Rubin (of The Happiness Project); "Magic Lessons" with Elizabeth Gilbert (the focus is on creativity); and recently "The Lively Show."
  4. Video Podcasts – Two of our knitting circle friends have begun a very cool podcast on Youtube called "Dye Another Day." If you are into knitting, are interested in patterns, dying yarn, KALs (knitalongs), then these two smart, funny ladies are worth checking out. You may already know them as The Yarn Enabler and The Cozy Knitter on Facebook or Instagram. If you start from the first (they've done about five or six so far), you will also discover other knitting Youtube podcasters that they follow.
  5. Netflix – Yeah, I'm late to the game here too. My husband and I have begun binge-watching House of Cards when we heard so many good things about the show. What an amazing show!
Do you like some of these same things? Do you have any suggestions for books, podcasts, binge-worthy shows? Let us know below.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Travel Knitting: On the Road to Florida

Shelagh and her husband are enjoying themselves in Florida this week. But last week, she busy getting herself organized. Of course that included figuring out what projects to bring along! 

Variety is the spice of life in knitting too! Here are the travel projects Shelagh brought on the road.

So what might be on her needles? Top left is some variegated blue yarn that Shelagh dyed herself: she likes it so much she is going to make a scarf for herself. The pale pink, aqua and blue yarn in the centre is for a baby booties. The pink yarn at top right is for a baby blanket. The raspberry at the bottom left is a scarf she is making for herself.

And the white ball of yarn at the top right? That is to finish up the bathing suit cover up she began just before she left!

With just the arms and hood to complete, Shelagh crocheted away as they drove from the cool north to the warmer and warmer south.

Blocking in the hotel while in transit.

Shelagh showing off the finished coverup poolside!
And ta da! Done and ready to wear poolside!

Follow us on Instagram over the next couple of weeks: Shelagh will be posting occasionally while she is away.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

And Something We Don't Make!

For the last couple of weeks, I told you about some other things I like to make. But this week I want to tell you about some things I discovered I don't like to make. I'm talking about knitting socks.

Have you ever tried knitting a pair of socks? Many of the women at our Knit Night knit sock: lacy socks, striped socks, cabled socks. They are amazing--both the knitters and the socks, that is!

No heel. No toe. Button added to tell top from bottom.
So Margaret and I decided to give sock knitting a try. We figured the most difficult part of the sock would be turning the heel followed by creating a nice--and comfy!--toe. So we started with yoga socks because they don't require either a toe or a heel. I know, I know: that's the easy way out.

We used DPNs (double pointed needles) because we haven't learned how to use the "magic loop" method. Neither of us mind working with DPNs, but Margaret really doesn't like working with needles smaller than 4mm / US 6. And socks use sock yarn, which is usually 3.25 mm / US 3.

We made them! Check out Margaret's take after finishing them. You can read about it here, but she found it too fiddly. And for such small pieces they seemed to take forever--which is the source of her animosity toward small needles. Plus, when you finally get one sock done, there's one more!

However, we decided to give sock-making another try. This time it was pedicure socks: still no toe, but the chance to create a heel. We followed the Mary Maxim pattern, each of us with the correct yarn: mine in pink and Margaret's in blue. I even took mine on a family vacation to Florida. I managed to get my first sock done before Margaret, so we Skyped and I talked her through turning the heel.

Margaret modelling her pedi socks with matching polish. Note heels not showing!

Neither of us were happy with how our heels turned out. And using DPNs showed a little "laddering" effect in the body of the sock. We have heard this will be reduced in the wash. I guess we'll find out for sure because we decided to keep these socks for ourselves.

What's really great is the Knit Night ladies have different options for heels! Who knew there were choices!?!

But, the combination of time, small needles, DPN "laddering" and multiple heel options has meant we probably won't be making socks any time soon.

What are we missing? Do you think learning Magic Loop would help? We'll have to think about learning it! Maybe that will make a difference!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Happy Birthday to You Sale!

Psst! Today is Shelagh's birthday and I got so excited trying to find the perfect gift for her that I got carried away and I decided to offer you a present! How about Free Shipping on every purchase?

Sshhh! It's a surprise even Shelagh doesn't know about! 

Just head on over to our Etsy shop (click the Etsy icon on the right to connect directly) and peruse to your heart's content. Pick something for yourself or a gift--or something for you and a friend!--then head to the check out. Use code BIRTHDAYSHIP to get free shipping.

Woot! Woot!

That's right! We'll ship your items FOR FREE via standard mail!

But act fast! The sale lasts until Saturday midnight Eastern Time.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What Else I Make 2

Last week I told you about the baby blankets I've been making for over thirty years. Something I've been making for about five years is a bit unusual: wedding garters!

It was really a bit of a fluke: a girl I was working with was looking for something very specific for her wedding garter. She wanted her garter to be camouflage and lace. I found some pink camouflage fabric and I crocheted the lace edging. Then I personalized it even more by attaching a dog charm and a pink Swarovski crystal heart. She loved it and her husband was surprised when he went to remove the garter during the reception. He loved it! I just wish I'd thought to take a picture of it.
A pink and a blue garter: as individual as the brides they are for.

When two of my sons got married a few years ago, I made each of their brides her own keepsake garter and a throwaway one for the reception. I put so much work into each garter, I thought it would be nice to make two.

Since then, I've made several for friends and others. They are a fun little project to do.

We currently don't offer wedding garters in our Etsy shop, but contact me (Shelagh) if you would like one or a pair for your special day. I will work with you to match to your wedding colors. Contact me at threesistersknit@gmail.com or DM me through the Three Sisters Knit Facebook page.