December 28, 2010

end of year calm

We're enjoying a quiet week off after the excitement of Christmas and luckily the weather is fantastic (we haven't had the blizzards so many others have lately). Today was warm and bright and the perfect morning for a walk in the woods.

We're lucky to have a 700 acre oak/aspen forest and marshland right near our house, which is where we walked today with our little friend Kira who we're dog-sitting for a week. She's wonderful and fun.

and some knitting content...

When my Mom saw my Shadow cardigan she wanted one too, so I made this for her. The yarn is SweetGeorgia Yarns superwash sport in 'Blackberry'. I love this yarn and will definitely use it again. They're in Vancouver and sell roving as well as yarn bases in many gorgeous colourways.

I hope you're having a great week too.

December 23, 2010

I think I have a thing for snowmen

I hope your holidays are full of joy and the coming year brings you many wonderful things. See you in 2011.

December 14, 2010


So today's my birthday (as it is every year) and, like every year, it's a weird mix of freezing cold weather, excitement and stress about the upcoming holidays, and a burning desire to just sit and breathe deeply for a minute and enjoy the day.

Since my last birthday I finally got off my butt and put to paper some of the designs I had in my head and I'm really grateful for your support and feedback. So for my birthday I thought I would make my patterns 50% off for the next week ('til midnight on the 21st). The discount should appear at checkout.

I have many many more in the works, so next year's sale should be more significant. Thanks, you guys. May you have a peaceful and joyous december 14th.

December 5, 2010

everybody (yeah), rock your body (yeah)*

* stuck in my head after seeing the Backstreet Boys on the American Music Awards. My daughter guessed every single winner correctly minus the Alternative category. She knows music.

The body is done! The topmost rounds were a bit tricky working on 4 dpns, but it's snug and safe on a circular now waiting for the sleeves to join it.

What's also done is the painting. Finally.

So, I'm doing OK at getting ready for the holidays, but I'm a little stuck on a cute, homemade project the kids could make for their teachers, friends, etc. Any ideas? (Speaking of homemade, we have several of these guys hanging out at our house from a few years ago. I have a thing for snowmen). I'm thinking bookmarks? ornaments? pencil toppers?

Happy Hannukah, friends! Hope your weekend's going great.

November 28, 2010

how many times can I bore you with pictures of the same sweater....

It's really because I'm test knitting this that I feel I should do a weekly check-in on my progress, so I apologize for dwelling on the same thing every week (feel free to change the channel). Which is convenient because there are other knitting things going on I can't talk about anyway (isn't it always like that this time of year?), so here's week #3 of this. I was really hoping to have finished the body by now, but alas. I was also hoping to have finished the house painting by now, but there are still drop sheets in my photos, so no need to say anything more. Sigh.

You can see the various steek setups here - the neck in the middle and the two sleeves at the sides. Shaping is occurring at various rates on either side of them, so some paying attention is needed.

We've had almost a winter's worth of snow already, so getting around this week was cumbersome. But this time of year and the snow make me think of sweaters with reindeer and toques with birds like in this book. As I don't have time to make such items myself right now I would have to pay someone to knit them for me which would just be silly, so I won't. I actually had the thought 'I hope winter lasts really long this year so I have enough time to knit everything I want to'. Obviously, the cold is addling my brain.

Happy snowy weekend to you.

November 20, 2010

november's too busy. maybe december will be quiet....

Week #2 progress shot of Sant'Angelo. Still loving it. Wishing I didn't have hockey games, swimming lessons, meetings, etc. every single night of the week so I could work on it more, but still progressing (I went to a hockey game with my son and 4000 other school patrols last night and had the thrill of standing in line for an hour to meet Nathan Kress of the tv show iCarly. Even though I'm not 12 I still thought he was super cute). I haven't resorted to taking the sweater and its cones with me to these functions (to my son's relief, I'm sure) but I may still. I need a good pair of socks or something as I'm completely lacking in travel knitting at the moment but I'm afraid to start something else.

There's also those plastic drop sheets on the floor in the photo. Painting is still going. Taking awhile due to the vast geography to be covered, but looking good.

Hope you're good, too. Happy weekend.

November 14, 2010

winter's coming. need a warm sweater.

Week #1 progress shot of Sant'Angelo. I love everything about this project. I also love working with the yarn cones. Just set them on the floor and go. They stay where you put them and don't bounce around like skeins, reducing tangling. No changing balls, either.

I'm thinking of stranded knitting a lot lately, as I'm also reading this book, wherein she describes knitting Alice Starmore's Mary Tudor sweater over the course of a year. I'm having dreams of windswept landscapes dotted with sheep. I love the rhythmic binary process of two colour work. Kate has expressed this experience wonderfully here.

I am also in the midst of painting vast areas of ceiling and walls. My livingroom, diningroom, stairway and upstairs hall were painted a uniform soul-deadening browny-grey by the previous owner of my house. I have learned it was his attempt to eliminate the visual noise of the 1970's era colours of the owner previous to him. But I am ashamed at myself for having lived with it for 6 years with the feeble excuse it was done right before we got here. Now it's becoming a fresh canvas of warm white. I need new artwork now. And some new furniture. Out with the old, I say.

Happy weekend.

November 7, 2010

Sant'Angelo start

I just started test knitting this absolutely gorgeous sweater (sorry - Rav link only) by the brilliant Kirsten Jensen and I am thrilled to be doing it. I'm working with giant cones of yarn, as skeins were unavailable. I like the cones. It feels like a knitting portage when I move about the house with it (I may get more than my usual number of odd looks at childrens' swimming lessons and hockey games. So be it). And I love this yarn - Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport.

We are enjoying a wonderful bout of warm November weather here which is great because we have many construction projects to finish. This time of year is always such a race.

Our extended family had a party yesterday for my parents-in-law who celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary this month. 60th! Hope you're having a good weekend, too.

November 4, 2010

still here

Sorry for the radio silence. I've had a crazy week what with going to Minneapolis and then Halloween happening, all of it fabulous. I'm doing bits of knitting and I'm also spinning the pink blend you see above, intermittently. It's another 3-ply worsted weight. I like how the 3 plies balance each other physically and visually. I'm thinking about doing something with a side-to-side construction for vertical striping. Only 24 more ounces to go.

Hope you're having a wonderful fall!

eta: The fibre is Crown Mountain Farms superwash merino in 'Touch Me' colourway. Gorgeous fibre!

October 24, 2010


Pattern: my own
Yarn: Crown Mountain Farms superwash merino in 'Riders on the Storm' colourway

So I finally got around to knitting up all that yarn I spun last winter. I did this top down with set in sleeves to try to use as much of my yarn as I could, although I only needed about 1200 yds. of the 1418 total I spun. This was from 32 oz spun into a worsted weight 3 ply.

This sweater should have taken me a little more than a week to make. It took over 2 because I ripped out and re-knit the lower 1/2 of the body no less than 3 times and one of the sleeves completely twice. I felt like that guy in the Greek myth who rolls the boulder up the hill every day only to have to start again at the bottom the next. I want to be in love with this sweater and I'm not yet, but it's getting closer.

Anyway, the yarn from this fibre is gorgeous. The colours working together reminded me of an arctic tundra landscape.

Now I'm off to Minneapolis for 5 days to a Parks conference, and I'm trying to decide on the car knitting. Hope you're having a great weekend.

October 16, 2010


Pattern: Shadow (my own)
Yarn: Blue Moon BFL Sport, shown in 'Shadow' colourway
2,(2,2,2,3,3,3,3) skeins); 661 yds/604 m per 8 oz / 226g skein). Actual yardage used: 1075,1150,1200,1300,1400,1550,1700,1800) yds.

To take my mind off the fact I'm not at Rhinebeck, I thought I'd release my Shadow pattern!

It's a lightweight but warm collared cardigan. I've been wearing mine pretty constantly for the past several months and it works in many situations for work or casual wear.

It's knit from the top down in the round with raglan shaping and a steeked front opening. Cuffs are hemmed, and i-cord edges the front opening, forming button loops. Ribbing creates some waist shaping and increases create a slight A-line to the lower body. Link to pattern on the sidebar.

Thanks so much to my tech editor Joeli, and all my fabulous test knitters. You are all very generous and helpful.

Hope you have a great fall weekend!

October 9, 2010

sea princess

Pattern: 'Sea Princess' by Elena Nodel (not yet released)
Yarn: Cascade 220 in colour 8912

I spontaneously decided to sign on to test knit this lovely pattern last week and I'm happy I did. Elena has made a very versatile sweater - sized 6m-14 yrs., 2 sleeve length choices and 3 back cable choices (this is the most elaborate version). She'll also be releasing an adult version. She also has patterns for similar pants and a skirt. Here is her designs page on Ravelry. Super cute collection!

I wanted to make something purple and warm for my sweetie as she's had a hard week. Sadly, we had to make the decision to return Gracie the dog to her home on the farm. We all miss her.

Hope you enjoy your long weekend. It's gorgeous and warm here and we have most of the dreaded leaf raking done already, so we can relax. Later, peeps.

September 26, 2010


Pattern: my own
Yarn: The Fibre Company Terra in 'Shale' (40% baby alpaca, 40% wool, 20% silk)
Needles: 7.5mm

As I found my last post somewhat depressing, I thought I would show something happier. Thanks for your thoughts on the pink sweater. I'm going to put that project in a time out until I decide what I'm doing. I have many projects going right now that are taking awhile (yes. I know that the first of those things results in the second) and some have their 'issues', so I needed some instant gratification for a change.

I found this wonderful yarn the other day and decided to see what I could make with only two skeins. I've mentioned before my dislike for chills in my neck region and I've had the habit lately of wearing lightweight scarfs/shawls indoors, so I'm putting together a collection of such accessories.

I used 7.5mm needles for a super drapey feel, cast on 26 sts and sat in front of the tv for some completely mindless stockinette. I stopped when I was almost done the second skein and it wrapped around my neck twice. Then I bound off, seamed the two ends together and then seamed the whole thing into a tube. All ends hidden, no need to block and no need to tie together when worn. I wanted a simple way to showcase this soft and textural yarn and this is perfect.

September 25, 2010

things what are pink


is currently turning into this:

It's another sweater's worth of CMF fibre and it's going to be awesome. It's all sketched out and everything. I know I haven't knit up the last sweater quantity batch of CMF fibre, although it is started. I decided not to make the Tea Leaves cardi with it but something from my head instead. Just to continue the 'making it from scratch' theme, I guess. And I'm intrigued about designing for handspun at the moment. Anyway, more on the above once the 32oz are finished spinning.

I've returned to my bad 'multiple-WIPs' ways lately after a few months' attempt at knitting monogamy. So as not to overwhelm you, I'll just talk about something else that's pink.

It's top-down (obviously), raglan, steeked, and stranded. The pattern will change in an inch or so again, increasing in scale as it goes down the slightly A-line body. It's for my daughter. It's going fine except I cannot.stand.the.yarn. At least in this particular application. It's Knitpicks telemark and I'm knitting it to its usual gauge but the thing is it's just too densely spun a yarn for my liking here. And it's resulting in a fabric that's too dense and generally un-drapey. I wish I'd used Lamb's Pride sport; same gauge but a more loosely spun ply.

I'm trying to decide if I should continue and just live with the fact it's a denser sort of sweater (for outdoors?). And maybe try thrashing it against some boulders at a creek to soften it...

Or do I frog?

And if I continue should I keep with the small pattern down the arms, or switch to plain light pink for a layered effect, or omit them altogether? Thoughts?

Happy weekend!

September 18, 2010


This is our sweet new housemate, adopted from our niece. We love her already and we hope she likes living with us, too.

Hope you're having an awesome weekend.

September 13, 2010

1/4 lb. Cowl

The 4!Ounce!Challenge! on Ravelry was such a great motivator to come up with a way to use 4oz. of fibre, since it's such a common amount to buy. Here is the finished version of my pattern - it's available free on the sidebar.

I made two versions - one in dk-weight with button holes and this one in worsted weight which has button loops. This Hello Yarn Falklands top in "Grouch" colorway which the fabulous Lisa generously sent to me was such a wonderful thing to spin and knit with. You fiber club people are (as I always suspected) extremely lucky!

Winter is coming. You need a warm neck or you'll get sick. Happy knitting!

September 1, 2010


So that merino I spun needed to be something and the 4!Ounce!Challenge! is on and Lisa, bless her heart, has sent me some absolutely fabulous Hello Yarn falklands fiber to enter the contest with so I've been thinking about what one can knit with 4oz of fiber and all I can think of when I think towards winter is how cold my neck gets and how much I hate a cold and drafty neck. A cowl is a humble and ordinary sort of project, perhaps. But there it is. A prototype in the stuff I dyed while I finish spinning the real thing, which is this:

Isn't it gorgeous? I know. I love spinning this. Thank you, Lisa. You totally rock.

August 29, 2010

girl day

This is what my daughter called yesterday, as it was the day we got up early and headed over to the salon to have our hair done for my niece's wedding, then dressed up and hung out with the bridesmaids while they had their makeup done. We had the backstage pass because my daughter was the flower girl; an honour she accepted with much seriousness and anticipation.

Her main job turned out to be ensuring the adorable 3 year old ring-bearer made it down the aisle with the rings, which they both managed to pull off. The wedding itself was beautiful and full of fun and my children never let the dance floor grow cold.

I did manage to find something to wear and not finding something summery to wear to a summer wedding until the very last minute of summer meant it was also on sale. :)

Knitting-wise, this is my current obsession, in between working up a pattern for some incredible fibre Lisa sent me. More on this later.

Happy weekend, peeps.

August 23, 2010


Pattern: Shiraz by Thea Colman
Yarn: Knitpicks Swish worsted in 'Dublin'

You may recall I was testknitting a lovely sweater back in July - here it is! Thea has released another fabulous and totally wearable design. Last week it cooled down enough (momentarily) for me to actually wear it and it was super comfy. Now the heat's back, so it will have to wait.

My Shadow cardigan pattern is back from the tech editor - please let me know if you're up for testknitting. Do not fear the steek! It's easy as pie and I'll walk you through it.

Edited to add: I have enough test knitters for the Shadow cardigan now. Thanks for your help!!

Hope you're enjoying these last days of summer.

August 14, 2010


Pattern: my own
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL Sport in colorway 'Shadow'
Needles: 3.75mm and 3.25mm

The black blob of the previous post is now done. It's a raglan shouldered top-down cardigan knit in the round, with a steeked front opening. The cuffs have a turned hem and the front opening has an attached i-cord edging with button loops. Some waist shaping achieved with 2" of ribbing.

Despite the heat, this was an extremely enjoyable knit. Sitting right next to the air conditioner helped. It went really fast, as it's all right-side stockinette and it was great to be able to try it on as I went. I made this one with zero ease (36"), as Amy is often saying zero ease in the bust is a good thing. I frequently default to +2" or more; maybe it's my mid-80's grunge highschool self talking there.

I am so pumped/pimped for fall. Happy weekend.

August 7, 2010

insane in the membrane

It's hovering around 30 degrees celsius (86 F) most days here with a high humidity level because it's wanted to thunderstorm every 12 hours for the past 3 months but I'm knitting with wool. Black wool, no less. And a whole sweater's worth; no fooling around on a little hat or sock. But I had an idea and for some reason I have to knit it up. Right. Now.

I am also thinking about some quick projects using handspun. There's a cool contest going on right now on Ravelry for just that. I don't happen to have any of that particular fibre in my stash (I don't know how that happened) but I'm thinking of doing it anyway and just not submitting.

If I can manage to switch my thinking to small, quick and light on my lap.

Happy Saturday!

July 30, 2010


So that merino top I dyed

spun up into 256 yds. of 3 ply worsted-to-dk weight

I know I said I was shooting for fingering. Didn't happen. Mostly due to the nubbiness of the top, which is somewhat evident in the photos, which made it much less smooth to spin and control while doing so. I was picking off nubs every few feet. This was due to my forceful dye job on the roving several years ago when I was new at it and beat the daylights out of the wool, turning it into a near-felted dense mass which no amount of drafting could smooth out completely. I don't have carders. I need carders. No matter. It's spun. Not the greatest yarn in the world but I'm thinking it would make a lovely cowl or something where the individual stitches are not so important as the overall texture.

Anyone have a favourite neckwarmer/cowl/any other pattern that would work? I know that's what Ravelry searches are for, but I like getting recommendations. Next you can help me find something to wear to my niece's wedding cause that's killing me (just kidding :).

Have a great weekend!