Wednesday, April 29, 2015

WIP Wednesday - Spring Greens Shawl

Confession: Although I purchased a fair bit of yarn at the Toronto Knitters' Frolic on April 25, I had already purchased lots of yarn on April 1. No joke!

I couldn't help myself--about one week prior to April Fool's Day, one of my favourite indie dyers announced a sale. So on the morning of April 1, I signed in to the Georgian Bay Fibre Co. site and bought some yarn. Those four skeins at the top of the page are what I was able to get . . . man, they moved fast!

As soon as I received the package, I knew I wanted to start making something with these gorgeous yarns! I talked to Shelagh about a shawl--something I don't have a lot of experience with but she does--and she showed me a bunch of patterns she had. And when I saw the Sunray Shawl from Ravelry, I knew this would be it!

So, I picked the green yarn--a lovely blend of BFL and silk-- and I started on the shawl. I've renamed mine "Spring Greens Shawl" because of the lovely soft shades of green in the yarn: it really looks like fresh shoots of green seen everywhere in the Spring. And the light airiness of this wool makes me think of Spring and Summer.

Starting with a garter tab cast on, the eyelet details in this shawl lead out in a "ray" pattern.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Manic Monday - Knitters' Frolic

Clockwise from top left: two skeins of MerGoat Sock yarn from Indigo Dragonfly; horn and seed pod buttons; two skeins of Tree Wool yarn from Fleece Artist; one skein of Special Edition Merino sock yarn (Pinot Butter) from Indigo Dragonfly; one skein of Athena Sock from Luna Grey Fiber Arts out of Colorado; and one skein of "Copper & Zinc" from Riverside Studio.

Toronto Knitters' Guild organizes a Knitters' Frolic held at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. This year was the 18th year and the first year that Shelagh and I went along. We decided to go because the Knit Night ladies from our LYS went last year and raved about it!

We marked our calendars a year ago--and we were not disappointed!

The colours . . . the textures . . . so much fibre-y goodness!

Five of us travelled with Shelagh in the "party" van (and by party, I mean knitting) and, after figuring out the detours with road closures, we arrived ready to search and shop! (FYI: Toronto has two seasons: winter and construction.)

Shelagh had printed off the floor plan and she and I had already decided we would spend our time looking at hard-to-find yarn, particularly those from indie dyers we had heard about. The photo above is my haul (Shelagh purchased some, but I went crazy). I was thrilled with my purchases: I've been wanting to find yarn from Indigo Dragonfly for a while, and the yarn did not disappoint. I've seen yarn from Fleece Artist--and Shelagh loved making a shawl from some of their yarn--so I wanted to try some myself.

As for Riverside Studio, I hadn't heard of her before but I immediately fell for her colours. It was hard to settle on one, but that Copper & Zinc really spoke to me!

All these new skeins are added to some new yarns I ordered from Georgian Bay Fibre Co. earlier in April. So, now my only problem is: what will I work on first!?!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Knitting On the Road

So my husband and I went away for a couple of weeks. We decided we would drive down to Florida. Once we started planning the trip we realized we have never driven down to Florida on our own. EVER!! We have driven several times when the boys were small and again when they were in high school. We have flown several times with my in-laws, friends, family and ourselves. But driving on our own WOW! Would we survive it being just the two of us? Hubby will do most of the driving but I will take the wheel when needed. Generally I will knit.

My husband takes care of making all the arrangements. We get lots of maps too! No we don't have a GPS. He relies on a good old map and I have become a pretty good map reader.

We usually start staging our packing about a week before. But when it comes to projects to work on while travelling--or sitting by the pool!--I start a couple of days before I leave. I go through my patterns and see what would be appropriate to bring along. I usually have at least four projects with me. One I am generally working on and the others are to start once that is finished or if I want a change of pace. I also ensure I have stitch markers, measuring tape, my Knitters Pride interchangeable needle set, scissors and darning needles. All the little things you might need to complete projects.

Once the destination of the trip is decided I start researching yarn stores in that area. I have come across many a wonderful yarn store that way. I look for ones that carry yarns that area not carried at my LYS and one that might carry a local spinner and/or dyer. That helps write the story behind the project. This trip I found a great yarn store called A Good Yarn in Sarasota, Florida. I found the staff very helpful. They carried many brands I was familiar with and they also carried brands I had only seen advertised in magazines! I asked about locally dyed yarn. They did not have any but they have had some dyed by name brands specifically for their store. They also have a great clearance section too! Who doesn't like getting nice yarn on sales?

I will knit pretty much anywhere. I love sitting by the pool working on my projects. It is a great conversation starter. Many people approached me about the pattern and the yarn. They loved the yarn especially. I let them know that it was dyed by Yarn Enabler! A friend at my local knit night! I had many people this last trip see me on our walks and say, "You're the lady knitting at the pool!" By the time we left, I began seeing other women bring their knitting to the pool.

If you are lucky enough to be able to knit while you are the passenger on a road trip, there is so much you can accomplish.

How do you prepare for a road trip? How far in advance do you start considering which projects to bring? Do you research yarn stores? What has been your favourite knitting spot while on vacation?

Friday, April 10, 2015

FO Friday - Baby Hat

About 15 years ago or so, I began visiting a registered massage therapists to help with the tension in my shoulders that caused headaches. Over the years, circumstances have given me three different therapist. I've loved them all!

When Natalie, my current RMT, told me a while back she was pregnant, I was really happy for her. And then last week I saw her and we realized I wouldn't see her again until after her maternity leave! Natalie told me she was having a girl, so I decided to make something with some leftover pink yarn I had in my stash: a baby hat!

I found a cute pattern and knit it up: seed stitch border and stockinette for the body. Really straightforward but lovely.

You know what I love about hats? That "swirl" that appears at the top from reducing stitches. It's so cute! and it looks like a flower.

So I dropped it off on Wednesday and Natalie was surprised . . . and delighted I'm happy to say.

I can't wait to see a photo of her little girl wearing it.

The "flower swirl" at the top.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

WIP Wednesday - Summer Wrap

I know, I know! It doesn't even feel like Spring and I'm working on a summer wrap. Well, I can't help it . . . the few sunny / warm days we've enjoyed just make me so happy. As does the beautiful yarn I bought last year when Shelagh and I visited The Frayed Knot yarn store in Savannah.

The yarn is 630 yards of gorgeous cotton rayon hand painted by Blue Heron Yarns out of Maryland. It's got a lovely shiny and matte look to it. And the colour is called Deep Blue Sea. Cotton. Aqua. Deep Blue Sea. Summer, right?

But what to make? In my mind I picture a lovely summer shawl, a wide rectangle in waves of blue to throw over your shoulder when the air conditioning is a bit much at the office . . . or out at dinner. And because it's cotton, it could be wrapped like a scarf over a bright white T-shirt with a pair of comfy jeans. Something lacy but not too precious.

After looking for patterns in stitch guides and online--I even started a few rows of the ubiquitous Seafoam pattern--I finally found this unnamed stitch. The site considers it to be part of the lace family. I've done a few rows and I really like it . . . but should the entire wrap be done like this or maybe break it up with some stockinette to show all the lovely qualities of the yarn?

I'm going to do a few more rows like this and then decide, but I'd love some feedback: knit an entire wrap like this or add some stockinette to break it up? I'd love to hear from you!

Here's the openwork stitch. Can you see an entire wrap done like this?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Manic Monday - The Yarn Yogi

Back in February, Shelagh and I made yarn bowls at a local paint-your-own pottery place. We each had our own approach to painting our noodle / yarn bowl, but we had so much fun just painting and talking. So when my friend Susan told me she would be taking a week's "stay-cation," I told her about the fun we had.

Susan knits as well and, as I thought, she was up for doing something a little different. And I wanted to do another bowl anyway.

Again, we each had our own approach, but it was fun!

As you can see, I came up with an idea to blend my two passions: knitting and yoga! The pink-haired yogi in easy seated position is me, knitting with her heart. And I got really creative by painting the ball of yarn inside the bowl to flow out easily.

I think this yarn bowl painting is becoming addictive!

Friday, April 3, 2015

FO Friday - My Catching Fire Cowl

Yes, I read all the books in The Hunger Games series before the first movie was out. I loved them! Who doesn't love a strong lead woman character? But I'm not really a movie-goer, so it was a while until I saw the first film.

I had seen patterns for a really cool-looking "cowl" referencing Katniss and the series on Ravelry. I always liked these unusual cowls, but it wasn't until I saw Catching Fire on Netflix that I knew I had to make one for myself. Remember the scene near the beginning of the movie when Katniss is hunting in the restricted area outside of her town? She is by herself, exploring, listening to the quiet of the natural world. And she is wearing the most amazing gray cowl that is perfect for an archer.

Starting on the pattern.

Back to Ravelry, where I settled on Ashley McCauley's Catching Fire Cowl, which I set it aside until I could find the right yarn. And a few weeks later I found some beautiful superwash chunky by Sweet Georgia in the colourway "Terra Firma": gorgeous earthy burgundies, which suit me more than the gray Katniss wore.

The pattern calls for a Bulky yarn and my chunky made the finished version a little bit smaller than it could have been. And I have to admit it seemed incredibly tiny while I was working on it! But, once Shelagh added the crocheted edging, it seemed to be a more "normal" size. (Note to self: learn to crochet, willya?)

I'm thrilled with the way it turned out! What do you think? Do I look like an archer?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

WIP Wednesday - More Yoga Socks

You're probably wondering why I've posted a photo of pretty autumn flowers when we are still looking forward to any sign of Spring here in southern Ontario. Well here's the story. My new friend Wendy has inspired me to take on another pair of yoga socks. She has begun working on a pair for charity and asked me to help guide her through the beginning stages. Just getting that yarn on the needle reminded me of all the sock yarn I have in my stash: sparkly wool, calm blue bamboo, stretchy pink. Although I don't love making socks, I am itching to use up this yarn. And I seem to get a positive response on the yoga socks. So, hey, why not give them another go.

So, Saturday night I cast on my Berroco Sox Metallic. It's superwash wool and nylon--Warm! Strong!--with a metallic thread running through it--Oooh! Shiny!

Once I had been working with the yarn over the course of Sunday, I was reminded of a photo I took back in September 2012. Wow! Another inspiration! Now I am really enjoying working on these yoga socks.