December 28, 2011

cowichans for tiny tots

So, the 'losing my mind by deciding to knit two sweaters a week before Christmas' comment had to do with these.....I figured they wouldn't take long since they're bulky weight and for small guys. 

Pattern:  White Buffalo Tiny Tot's Sweater and Toque
Yarn: Briggs and Little Country Roving in 'black', 'white' and 'dark grey' for the larger sweater and in 'sheep's brown', 'white' and 'medium brown' for the smaller one  

A size 6 for my niece's older son

And a size 2 for his little brother

They were fast and fun to knit. The only mishap was buying the zippers before I started because I overshot the length for the bigger one by just over an inch so when I went to sew it in on Sunday night I couldn't. I dug out all the zippers in my stash. Then I dumped out all my wooden buttons, but had nothing useful. So I had to wait until the fabric store opened at noon the next day to rush there while simultaneously getting ready for a big family party. Happily, the zipper got in and they got their sweaters in time. I hope they keep them toasty.

I should also mention that my Expectation pattern that was downloadable from Sanguine Gryphon is temporarily unavailable because Sanguine Gryphon is no longer in existence as of the end of this month. Sarah and Gryphon are re-opening as two separate yarn companies in the next few weeks, so the patterns' rights reverted back to the designers. I need to re-knit and re-format, so it will be a few weeks before I can get it up again.

Hope your week is going well.

December 27, 2011

phoenix socks

pattern: 'Clandestine' by cookie a
from: Knit.Sock.Love
yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Sock in 'tiziano red'

I was so proud of myself for starting this Christmas present way back in July but ran into a small snag when I realized the cuff of the first sock was too snug. However, thanks to your encouraging comments I tinked back and re-knit the cuff and then completed the second sock in time to send them to my stepmom a few weeks ago.

I really love this pattern, this yarn, this colour. They were somewhat challenging, as I only occasionally knit lace, but epitomized what I love about the sock paradigm: you can get through anything when it's only 14" long. It was so nice to have socks to knit for carrying around again and I decided I will continue to do so forever more. Nothing beats them for bleacher knitting. I'm happy Santa gave me some new sock needles for this.

After lots of family, fun and food we are relaxing at last. I hope you had a great time, too.

December 23, 2011

peace and joy

I found these Christmas action photos my daughter took on the camera. Sorry for the holiday knitting-induced silence over here. I lost my mind a bit a week ago when I decided I could make 2 sweaters before the 25th, but everything's going fine. I'm looking forward to seeing our families and enjoying the gorgeous weather.

I wish you the happiest of holidays.

December 11, 2011

crazy month post

December and June are always such madness. I have been knitting like a fiend, but I can't show you much. Except for a sweater I hope to post soon because it's not a surprise for its (very patient) recipient. I hope your holiday knitting isn't overwhelming you.

In the meantime I thought I'd pass along this charming video. Because really. There's nothing cuter than singing lambs.

I also decided when I braved the mall yesterday that I'm really loving the current trend of 'outdoorsy' wear - plaid flannel, cabled sweaters, fair isle. I've always loved this stuff but now it's everywhere (including lots in acrylic that I know would be sooo much better in good wool...). This is truly my favourite season, knit-wise. I saw some springwear in one store and thought 'Already? Let me enjoy the wintery stuff a bit longer!'

Oh - also, I'm reading all your great blog posts, everyone, but not commenting because recently Blogger refuses to let me, for some reason. I've been through all the (so-called) Help info and can't find the problem. So, I'm mute and frustrated. But I'm here for you.

Happy weekend.

December 4, 2011

out of this world

explorer ani

Look around you, in this extraordinary Country, and contemplate the various Shows and Diversions of the People, and then say, whether their temper or mind at various periods of our History, may not be collected from them?

G.S. Eckham, 1840, Exhibitions of Mechanical and Other Works of Ingenuity

We went to Orlando last week. It was the first time we've gone there and it was utterly perfect. Off-season, so not a lot of standing in lines, great weather and lots to do and see. Seaworld was fabulous, as was Disneyworld. Kennedy Space Center was a nice diversion. Even met a real shuttle astronaut, though my favourite part was the IMAX movie shot on the Hubble Telescope. We conquered all the crazy rides. Even the classic Space Mountain. It's a Small World was cool from a retro graphics perspective, but oh, that repetitive song. I can't imagine working in there.

It was great escapism. I was actually able to forget the holidays are so close. The mall's crowds were a shock when we got back. Maybe I could just get everything online if I hurry? I also have lots of knitting to finish and not enough time. Same as every year. It's so cold here now I'll just put my sandals away, make some tea and get to work.

November 19, 2011

I'm dyeing here...

doing some colour experiments...

and spinning some fibre others have dyed...

and bundling up with the sudden onslaught of winter. But not complaining because in a week we're going south to see the sun.

Hope your weekend is fab.

November 11, 2011


Yes. Two posts in one day. I'm so reckless.

This is something I've been working on lately - a top-down raglan cardigan in Shalimar Yarns 'Breathless'. It's a merino / cashmere / silk blend that is absolutely amazing to knit with. Her colours are wonderful, too. This is shown in 'Glacier' (MC) and 'Gunmetal' (CC).

I have loved welts and ridges for a long time, and I really liked how this yarn felt when folded, so I decided to use welts in my design. The sleeves have three of them which form a sort of extended cuff, and this is repeated on the front edges. Then the top and bottom of the body are hemmed. I think this gives nice structure to the fingering weight sweater, as does the gauge of 26 sts / 4" (10cm). I debated for a time about closures and settled on eyes and hooks on the upper front, so as not to distract from the ridges.

I was also wanting something, similar to the ridge, on the back for interest and came across Erica's ingenius decrease pleat, which she kindly permitted me to use and reverse for a top-down. Overall, pleased.

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada, so we are not at work or school but instead are taking a moment to remember all those who have fought so hard and given their lives to ensure we live in a safe and peaceful country. 11:00 am is the time, specifically, we do so. We wear a poppy over our hearts as a symbol of this. I knit one for myself and 3 others from Laura's pattern and wonderful post here. The size variation of the ones above are due to using and subsequently breaking several of my 2.25mm wooden dpn's (using worsted weight wool; it needs to be tight) and then going up 2 needle sizes and also adding one extra round of stitches on the next ones.

Whatever you're doing this weekend, I hope it's peaceful.

November 2, 2011


Wool. The most wonderful fibre in the world. Also highly misused as a term to describe multiple fibre combinations that contain no sheep's wool at all. There's a campaign this month to inform people about wool and its properties - the amazing Kate Davies is starting it here, and the official website is here and under the button at right. On the heels of Shetland Wool Week, Jamieson and Smith is involved and offering prizes for the Wovember photo gallery - also check out their new book Knit Real Shetland here.

Speaking of wool, Jared has a new fingering weight version of Shelter yarn which looks wonderful.

Winter's coming. Put on some real wool.

October 23, 2011

knitting for menfolk

I have, periodically, offered to knit or been requested to knit for the 2 wonderful guys in my house. It doesn't happen a lot, so when it does I try to be accommodating. I've had a few other things going lately, but next on my list is to finish this zippered cardigan for my husband

and a knitted hockey jersey for my son.

There's been an interesting discussion going on in the Ravelry Designers' group concerning knitting and designing for men and boys and their aesthetic 'limits'. My guys seem to be pretty typical to what others are saying; no bright colours (this is a pretty burnt orange), complicated patterning or shaping, etc.

However, the knitted hockey jersey is a good challenge and fun from a historical perspective, as originally all the game jerseys were knit (by the players' grandmas?).

Then there's the Tragically Hip video for 'Courage' (which I'm unable to find a link to) in which Gordon Downie is wearing a Bruins sweater knit by his mother. Anyway, kinda cool.

My question for you is this: I want to knit this jersey for my 11 year old in worsted weight, and I have the logo yarn colours in this weight as well and was just going to intarsia that part.

Do you think it will be too pixelated? I then considered doing it in fingering weight and sewing it on. Being a 'fair isle circle' that will be a bit of a trick, but maybe look better? case you're wondering, I've already decided not to attempt the little air force wings on the shoulders. Feedback welcome.

Happy weekend!

October 17, 2011

not Rhinebeck. better.

This weekend I went on my first knitting retreat, hosted by Mona and Odessa from my LYS - Wolseley Wool. It was absolutely awesome. I would have on-site photos to show you if I had been able to find room to bring my camera in the 2-loads-to-the-car amount of stuff I hauled there with me (spinning wheel, lazy kate and bobbins, carders, knitting project, yoga mat, deck chair, sleeping bag, pillow, gluten-free snacks, a few clothes).

We went to a nearby camp and there we spun and knit and had great classes and hilarious conversations and ate the most awesome tasting food. It was made even better for me by the fact it was on Rhinebeck weekend which has always made me a bit sad because I wasn't there, but this was just as fun (and I think I might get a bit irritated by those huge crowds anyway). I spent all of Saturday learning to make fancier yarn (though my attempt is not worth photographing) from Francine of Rovings who is such a wonderful person (she's met Jared Flood and says he's very nice). I did some kool-aid sock yarn dyeing (below) and learned to make felted soap scrubbers. We enjoyed watching deer wander through the camp.

All in all a fabulous time and I'm so glad I went. Being around fellow fibre-lovers for awhile made me feel a bit less obsessed and a little closer to normal.

October 10, 2011

fleece project :: conclusion

Here's a quick recap if you're just joining us...

I received a raw Welsh fleece from my friends several months ago. I don't have a photo of the particular sheep in question, who was very dear to my friends, but I imagine she looked somewhat like this.

It arrived like this

full of lovely oils and farm related stuff, like goat hair

I washed it all (it took about 3 hrs) and it came out gorgeous and fluffy

Here it is some of it carded

and spun into a roughly dk weight 2-ply yarn

and then I knit some mitts

lined with some soft alpaca

and a matching hat

and sent them off to my friends this week as a thank you for their wonderful gift. I hope they keep them warm this winter.

We enjoyed one fabulous Thanksgiving dinner with our family last night and have another to look forward to tonight (winter's coming; we need to bulk up ;). Last night we also had our first NHL home game after losing our team 15 years ago. Our city was ecstatic (hockey is rather big here).

We have much to be thankful for.

October 2, 2011


Thanks to some fabulous testers I now have this pattern up for release (here and sidebar). The yarn is Lioness Arts Smooth Merino Fingering in Mr. Jarndyce (Bleak House Collection) - a subtle and lovely violet-y purple.

I know I've mentioned numerous times my adoration for neck apparel, not liking chilly necks, etc. and I wanted the option of a fairly straightforward but interesting single skein project. This honeybee stitch was really fun to adapt to my needs and I love the airiness of the result.

We've started to have a few nippier mornings and evenings and I find this scarf is great to throw on with my jean jacket for a walk with the dog. It's been super busy around here with classes and activities starting again (and construction season not yet over). I hope you're all busy and happy, too.

September 16, 2011

epic knitting fail

Since I'm currently working on stuff that's taking awhile I thought I would amuse you with something else. About 2 months ago I decided to make cookie a's Clandestine socks from 'Knit.Sock.Love' and I swatched with many yarns until deciding on some fabulous Malabrigo sock yarn in a deep red (tiziano). Putting aside my misgivings about using a yarn without nylon content for durability I succumbed to its velvety softness; likely swayed by the word 'sock' in its name.

I proceeded to spend many hours knitting happily along, progressing through the charts (which are much more complicated on the leg than the foot. By then you're home free). Very time consuming but very enjoyable as well, so I was looking forward to sock #2. However, as I went along the nagging voice in my head persisted and it said "you've knit a million socks. You always cast on over two needles to ensure there's enough stretchiness on the cuff. You didn't this time because you're insane and you followed the instructions to the letter and they just said 'cast on' not 'cast on over 2 needles' and you were busy thinking about the charts and you weren't really paying attention to what you were doing and now you.are.screwed."

Of course, I completely ignored the annoying nagging voice until the very very end when I was confident I could try on the sock without pulling out a needle (thus letting fall a row of lace stitches I would never recover from). And, as you've guessed, there is a certain undeniable tightness to the cuff I am completely unable to come to terms with and the sock has been banished out of sight ever since. It doesn't even deserve a colour photo right now.

I'm starting again. LATER. With something with a bit of nylon, over 2 needles. Because it has to work next time.

September 9, 2011


Pattern: mine
Yarn: Lioness Arts Smooth Merino Fingering in colour 'Mr. Jarndyce'

My plan was simple: come up with a neck accessory that would use as much of a single skein of lovely handdyed yarn as possible. I swatched many many times on many different needles with many different ideas until I got here. I love the honeybee stitch and on 5 mm needles doing it is like knitting acrobatics. Using bamboos helped immensely. It was easy to memorize and fun to make. It has a reckless, loopy quality I love and it looks great on either side. Plus, I used all but a few metres of the skein. Score.