Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WIP Wednesday - Yoga Socks and Me

This is not a typical Work in Progress posting: this one is special. I have been feeling a bit down the last few weeks and I know One year ago today, I was released from the company I had joined 28 years before. Actually, it was exactly 28 years and 3 months to the day.

Notice I said "released." Yes, I was let go (one of two dozen that week) and, yes, I was surprised. However, I did feel released as I drove home that day. My position hadn't been quite a comfortable fit for a while, and I had been trying to figure out how to fix that. Being released with a (fair) package meant I could now pursue other things.

Of course, I had no idea that three weeks later my youngest sister would enter the hospital having learned her breast cancer had metastasized into her lungs. So whatever sense of release I had was immediately kicked aside and replaced with the worry and pain and joy of spending time with Irene, our sister Shelagh, and her husband Vrej.

When one door closes, another opens, as the saying goes. I was released so I could spend almost every one of Irene's last days with her.

Since Irene's passing, though, I've been trying to regain that sense of release and opportunity I initially felt that November day. That feeling had also been tempered by my time with Irene: I knew I wanted a to live a different life.

One joyous outcome of the three sisters spending time together was our renewed pleasure in knitting. Shelagh and I spent so much time together that a plan was hatched: selling our knitting. We talked about it with Irene, too. (We wrote about it in our first post.) Since then, we have loved every minute of figuring out our business and spending time together.

But something else was pressing on me. Something I had been talking about for a few months before November 2013. Becoming a yoga teacher.

I had a wonderful personal trainer named Kat. She helped me get into shape and she also taught yoga at my gym. Through our many sessions, I grew to love her knowledge, her passion, and her personalized care of me. I knew I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. She told me about her yoga teacher and urged me to contact her. So this summer I did. And I was accepted into the Fall yoga teacher training class.

I have been attending class--and trying to keep up with the reading!--since early October. I love every class: Ruth is an amazing teacher. I am struggling to get back into student mode--I haven't studied in about 30 years! But I am so happy when I am in that class.

So how to thank Kat for helping me, leading me to this next stage? Well, she asked me for some yoga socks, so that's what I am making. Yoga socks are the perfect combination of two things I love to do.

Now this is not easy: I had tried my hand at making yoga socks earlier this year but didn't enjoy making them: 3.25 mm needles are not the size I like. After looking for other patterns, I finally decided to make up my own using 5 mm needles. And they look pretty darn good if I do say so myself. Sure, I know where I purled instead of knitted one stitch. And I should have started decreasing the K2 P2 to K1 P1 over more stitches. So, yes, they are less than perfect.

But so am I.

And the pattern is a work in progress.

But so am I.

However, they are being knit with love and thoughts of blessings for Kat.

And I am working on sending myself love and blessings. But today, I will mourn--and acknowledge my feelings about--that closed door. Tomorrow, I will walk wholeheartedly through the newly opened one.

Monday, November 17, 2014

New and Exciting Yarns!

Well Margaret and I spent a couple of days together last week. We wanted to photograph a few items with  a "winter" themed background. Although we liked what we were doing, the photos didn't turn out like we hoped, so we'll re-take them in the next week or two.

While we were together and checking through our personal FB pages, Margaret and I both saw a posting from a fibre artist we follow in the U.S., Serene Fiber Arts:  she had marked some of her yarns for sale in her Etsy shop! Excited? Yes, we were! Amanda French is the woman behind Serene Fiber Arts; she is an artisan who spins and dyes beautiful yarns using Merino, silk, alpaca and more.  She makes a variety of yarn types: some that are 100% one fibre and others that are blends.  We have loved Amanda's colour-ways for a long time and often thought about how those lovely natural fibres would feel to work with.

Margaret and I have been following Amanda on Instagram and Etsy for almost a year, eyeing and drooling over the absolutely beautiful dyed rovings and spun colour combinations she posts. When we saw she had put some of them up for sale in her Etsy shop, we discussed actually purchasing some. We went through every item listed for sale, checking the yarn content, weight and colours. We wrote down our favourite ones.

Then we went for a walk to mull over the choices. It seemed to be the last warm day before the cold weather arrives and we wanted to enjoy it. We walked into town to my (our) LYS, (Local Yarn Store) Soper Creek Yarn. Margaret and I had a good look at everything, inhaled some yarn air, touching and feeling the yarns (which always gives me chills). I did buy some sale yarn--it is difficult to go there and not buy anything!

By the time we got home, we had cleared our heads and knew we wanted to make a purchase. So, we  went through the yarns again in her shop (check it out at We ordered five different skeins.

So now the waiting now begins. It will be about 2 weeks before we get them. So, Margaret and I are spending that time talking about all our project ideas for each skein. Check back in a few weeks to see what we have decided to make!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

WIP Wednesday - Jamie Crescent Shawlette

I enjoy making shawls but as you know from my post about my first shawl, I have always steered away from shawls that start at the top. There is something about casting on over 200 stitches that usually makes me turn away from a pattern. So when my husband brought me back a few skeins of wool from an Ottawa business trip (yes, he's well trained and he's mine, ladies!), I knew I had to "get over" my aversion because some of the yarns were perfect for a shawl.

One of the skeins he brought me was Baby Boo Lace from Turtlepurl Yarns, which is a 2-ply 80% Merino and 20% Bamboo. It is a lovely gradient of aqua blues to green and suits the name "Wanna Go for a Swim?"--don't you love some of the colour names? This Baby Boo Lace has 875 yards, so I can actually make a couple of small shawls or triangle scarves. And being Merino and bamboo, it's so soft and just eases through your fingers onto the needles.

So I found a pattern that was not an overly large shawl: the Jamie Crescent Shawlette designed by Julie Farmer courtesy of Red Heart, which I found the pattern in Creative Knitting of Spring 2013. It is the Easy Everyday Openwork & Lace pattern.

A couple of starts, a 243-stitch cast-on, and 10-stitch markers later, the cast on row is done and the shawl is under way!

Funny thing is, this pattern does start at the bottom, as most of my favourite shawl patterns do, but because this one is crescent-shaped (rather than a triangle) the wide bottom means I have to cast on a large number of stitches.

Unfortunately, so many projects on the go means something's gotta give. So, birthday knitting, consignment knitting and finishing other smaller projects have taken my time. But I will get to this eventually. I have to because it is sitting in my knitting room looking at me when I am working on other projects! It keeps saying, "What about me?" and making me feel guilty me when I pick up another project!