Looking back/Looking forward

March 25th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s incredible how time flies. This time last year I was knitting a sea otter for a co-worker of mine’s first child, and then a couple other small projects for friends before I took off travelling. Which I meant to inform my lovely crafty blog-readers about, and kind of failed to do so. For 13 weeks, I lived out of a big rolling suitcase and moved about every 3-7 days. I went to London, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Morocco by myself. If you are curious about my adventures, please feel free to enjoy the ride by reading my travel blog at www.1womantraveling.blogspot.ca (I recommend going to the beginning and working your way forward, unless you are the type that likes to jump around – well, then be my guest 😉  ).

I had one of those “best laid plans of mice & men” moment when I decided to pack two knitting projects for my trip. Guess how much I managed to get done while I was away? About 35% of one of the projects. Derp.

Since I have been back, I’ve been working on finishing up some WIPs – including that spinning project I started over a year ago. I’m happy to say that I’m 67% complete on that “Firefly” spinning project for a friend, and here’s a photo of what some of it plied on a niddy-noddy looks like:

3-ply (Navajo) “Firefly” coloured yarn that sings a song of flames yearning to burn brightly.

I still have another 4 ounces of this fibre yet to spin, so I’m expecting/hoping that the yardage is enough for my lovely friend Rebecca to knit a sweater or cardigan out of it. I have to say, this yarn is damn-near perfect in terms of grist (a true worsted!), smoothness, and lack of knots due to no breaks during plying. It’s nice to feel like I’m really becoming a master spinner.

Since I have come home I have managed to finished 5 knitting projects. So let’s get caught up to the present on some of my projects, shall we?

First up, my Wannabe Vintage Mitts, which was one of the projects that I had initially taken on my trip with me that didn’t evolve all that much. To tell the truth, I was so enmeshed with where I was on my travels that I didn’t feel like pulling out the knitting. Especially when there was always something to do: a free walking tour, sangria hour, meals with hostel-mates, bike rides, beach time, or the availability of interesting foreign novels for free at most of my hostels. When I came home I realized that it was high time that I get a move-on and finish these fingerless mitts because I had cast them on in late July and was feeling like a bit of a failure languishing knitter.

I’m really pleased with the way these fingerless mitts turned out. I was even told by a fellow Raveler that my photos were clearer than the “model” ones used on the main pattern page on Ravelry. I’m tickled pink by that comment!

My Wannabe Vintage fingerless mitts. I must say, they really are stunning! I love the delicate cable detail.

Project Notes:
Pattern name: 
Wannabe Vintage Mitts by Jennifer Buettgen (free Ravelry download)
Yarn used: Stricken Smitten Sinful Socks in “Scheherazade’s sky” colourway
Yardage out: 150 yards out with points for stash-down!
Needles: 3 mm dpns
Notes: I decided that the cuffs in this pattern are too short. I did 3 repeats of Cuff A, and knit 2 repeats of Cuff B. I unfortunately didn’t extend the thumb cuff, but I would extend it if I knitted these mitts again.

Next up, something really cool and a bit nerdy if you are into Marvel comics etc. Last year, a B-rated movie called Guardians of the Galaxy came out. The movie was just so-so, but one of its characters (“Groot” played by Vin Diesel) was really fun and audiences were more into this character than any other. Spoiler alert: Groot is a baby at the end of the movie (I won’t say why or how). The dancing baby Groot has inspired no less than 21 knitting and crochet patterns on Ravelry! I mentioned that I had seen Groot patterns to my boyfriend (yes, we are back together) and he said that he wanted one. This was just 5 days before Christmas! So I had to get my butt in gear and get knitting.

The actual knitting of this item wasn’t all that bad. The devil was in the details though…embroidery, safety eyes, moss, planter’s foam, I even spray-painted a pot white to “plant” Groot in! I’m super happy with how my Groot turned out though. His arms are bendy, so he can “dance” (with help from a human of course). My bf has this guy on his desk at work to help cheer him up when he needs it on busy days.

Baby Groot! So cute!

Project Notes:
Pattern name: 
Baby Groot by Meghan Munro (paid pattern – download)
Yarn used: Elann Peruvian Highland Wool in “Sable” and Noro Takeuma in Olives for the embroidery/trimmings
Yardage out: 40 yards out with points for stash-down!
Needles: 2.75 mm and 4.5mm dpns
Notes: The directions for the bark crown are a bit strange so I kind of winged it. I also had a devil of a time trying to slide pipe-cleaners through the i-cord arms. I recommend bending the sharp end, and making a looser gauge i-cord to make pipe-cleaner insertion easier. Instead of feeding the excess yarn tail through the i-cord, I whip-stitched it down the arm. This also allowed more room for the pipe-cleaner. I inserted two toothpicks into Groot’s body to help keep him sturdy and upright as his head is a bit heavy for his body. I placed a rock in the bottom of the pot to add more stability. I glued the rim of a half-circle of potting foam flat-side-up. Then I glued moss and baby Groot with a glue-gun.

I’ll post another blog soon about some more completed projects. Thanks for staying tuned in!

 

 

 

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Spinning for Charity – oh what a feeling!

April 29th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Last night I dragged my spinning wheel on the bus in a large roller-duffle bag along with a bunch of wool fibre, handspun yarns, and other goodies to sell, as well as a basket in my other hand.  Why in the name of all that is holy would I attempt such a thing on a Sunday evening on an overcrowded city bus on a humid night in Vancouver?  For a charity show, that’s why! 

As mentioned in my previous blog post, I’ve been dealing with a lot of chronic pain stuff (and all that it entails) lately and I wasn’t able to make new items to sell at this charity event for the PACE Society.  So I brainstormed and came up with the idea to spin yarn for PACE at $1 for every 2 minutes spun. 

jar

The results?  $28+ was put in my jar, which equates to 56 minutes spun (almost an hour!)  I’m pretty sure I spun longer than that though, as many people were curious about what exactly I was doing.  Part of the reason why I thought the spinning wheel would make a good piece to the art show was because of the fact that it’s interactive.  People asked questions: how does spinning work? Is this what Ghandi used? (the answer to that is no, he used a charka) Why does your spinning wheel look so different than in the fairytales? (it’s a modern Lendrum, that’s why, etc).

Honestly, I love teaching people about spinning (and crafts in general) – it’s a part of our collective cultural heritage.  Where would be we without spinning?  Still wearing loincloths, that’s where!  I also love that I was able to bring in donations via live demonstration.  At one point, my friend Jessie told another friend “I can hear Siobhan making money out there” as coins were dropped into my “Spin for PACE” jar.  And while $28 doesn’t seem like an awful lot of donations, every dollar going to this charity helps. 

Thank you to everyone who came out, who donated, and was curious!

And now, for some photos…

spin it
Getting my spin on!

listening
Listening to questions from donors about spinning.

feet
Many folks commented on the fact that I was spinning barefoot – its the best way to spin as I can feel the motion of the wheel better.

More photos available on my Flickr page.  Thanks to Carolyn for taking the pics!

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What are you doing this Sunday? Oh, just spinning for charity…

April 23rd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

This Sunday, April 28th, I will be participating in a charity event that benefits the PACE Society.  Originally, I was going to knit some cotton hats & some fingerless mitts etc to sell at the show but I had to get honest about what was going on in my life lately.  That is, I’ve been experiencing high levels of stress which has been interacting with chronic pain to make me a rather unproductive knitter lately.  I came clean with my friend Ryan (who is running the event) about how I’ve been feeling but I wanted to still contribute to the charity event in some other format.

So I meditated and came up with this idea: to spin for PACE.

Basically, for every dollar donated in my “Spin for PACE” jar, I will spin yarn on my spinning wheel for 2 minutes. I thought this would be a cool idea as its interactive, I can do some quick “teaching” about how the wheel works, and I can demonstrate how yarn is made.  Pretty cool eh?  I may incorporate this into other charity events in future as I think its a good idea.  100% of the proceeds from the spinning will be going to PACE.  I will also have some handspun yarns for sale at the event with 30% proceeds going to PACE – so come on by and help support this awesome local charity!

Event information here. And poster below.

event poster

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De-stash/Re-stash

January 24th, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

I was hoping to write a blog post this week about my knitting group’s belated Festivus swap and dinner.  Unfortunately, the person that I was knitting for was unable to come to the dinner and thus, does not have her gift package yet.  I’m still trying to meet up with her so that I can give her her gifts and take photos and blog about the whole shabang.

But not to worry, I’ve got other crafty things on the go to write about instead…

Last Saturday (January 19, 2013), I participated in the Knit Social yarn swap at a local library.  It was an opportunity to go through my yarn stash and get rid of some skeins/balls that have been languishing in my stash for ages, and also trade for other yarns that may interest me more.

The low down: I managed to trade/give away 3,271 yards of yarn!  Success! Which is great as it ensures that I’m well on my way for this year’s Stashdown Challenge (Ravelry link only).  I did, however, have an influx into my stash of 2,684 yards due to trades and also receiving the yarn needed for my next cardigan project.  The balance is -587 yards, which is still positive!  Plus as I use up my yarn in projects, that negative number for stashdown just increases.  So I’m not worried about my level of stash at the moment.

One of the best trades I made on Saturday was a bunch of yarn in exchange for 3  gorgeous braids of Two Sisters Stringworks 100% Colonial wool roving in a fiery colourway that I’ve nicknamed “Firefly.”  Stunning.  The colours transition from a fiery red to a range of oranges to soft apricot.  No idea what I’m going to knit from the yarn that I’ll spin from it, but its a nice change from all the green & blue I seem to knit with…
firefly roving1

And a close up of one of the braids:
firefly roving2

And an obligatory shot of the yarn in process on my spinning wheel:

spin firefly

Nice huh?

Oh, and about that new cardigan project.  Its going to be a green-yellow colour (Knitpicks Wool of the Andes in Green Tea Heather colourway, to be exact) and its going to be a challenge to knit.  I’ve done some research on Ravelry, and this cardigan is not a cakewalk.  There are design elements like lace, darts, applied i-cord, etc that will certainly keep me from getting bored.  It has less stockinette stitching than my previous cardigan project as the lace goes across the entire neckline and shoulders.  Perhaps I should show you what exactly I’m talking about:

Talahm

Only image it in this yarn:
green tea

Yes, I’m aware that its more green, but a red-head has gotta knit with whatever looks good with the hair, yanno?

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The Eagle has landed

November 29th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Tweasel

Well, its finally come to pass.  The LSG NSFW (for you non-Ravelry folks, the acronym is Lazy, Stupid, and Godless; and Not Safe For Work) 2013 calendar has been coordinated and is now ready for purchase.  Some of you may recall that I had done a photoshoot last year for the 2012 calendar, but for reasons beyond my and others control, it never got done nor printed last year.  Cue a very sad/downhearted me.  This year, the calendar was better organized and my photo from last year got voted in again.  Cue happy me!

The calendar is now available for order and the proceeds are going to Heifer International which is a charitable organization whose “mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth,” (quote from their site).  They do this by fundraising initiatives by folks around the world (or 6000+ LSG knitters in this case) and purchase livestock appropriate for the climate/ecosystem that they are donating the animals too.  In some countries, owning a few chickens or goats means the difference between life and death.

So do your part, and order a LSG NSFW 2013 calendar, it would make a great giftmas gift.  There are some lovely ladies on there in poses of dishabille with crafty goods that are quite lovely.  Just check out June’s gorgeous model 😉

Link for purchase here: LSG NSFW 2013 Calendar for purchase
Coupon code REDEMPTIO for 30% off your order.

And yes, that weasel (or tweasel) is our group mascot posing most languidly.

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On the wheel again…

June 22nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I haven’t been spinning much in recent months.  Actually, I take that back, I haven’t been spinning at all in recent months.  Mostly because I’ve had issues with my back (flare-ups causing crazy amounts of pain = no crafting for me!) and also because I’ve been rather absorbed by certain knitting projects with deadlines.  I’m happy to report that I’m back on my wheel again – although I still have to be careful about my back.

My project for last Wednesday evening was to finally finishing Navajo plying some lovely FatCatKnits Falkland wool singles into a 3 ply yarn.  This is the same yarn that I was spinning in my LSG NSFW calendar photo.

Short Digression: this year’s LSG NSFW Calendar has gone to seed (= never happened), so I’m going to resubmit my photo from last year and perhaps take a new one for next year’s 2013 calendar.  Wish me luck – voting is in November, so I’ll do up a reminder blog to vote for me, if you are indeed an LSGer.

The yarn gave me the impression of driftwood and sea glass on the beach, so that’s what colourway I’ve dubbed it.  The colours move from sandy deep browns, to dusky amethyst, to aqua blue, to sea-greens.  I’m not planning on selling this handspun, mostly because I’m in love with the colours and I adore how Falkland feels.  I honestly do not recall when I originally began plying this project, but it was several moons ago.  I was beginning to get a afraid that my singles would lose their twist and that the plying would be hellish.  So, with a fair amount of determination, away I went to work plying these single yarns.

The result?  I managed to ply and and skein two hanks, one with 115 yards and one with 151 yards (total yardage count = 166 yards).  I’m quite pleased! 

Here’s some photos of the yarn created:

plied on a bobbin
on the bobbin

skein it up!
Skeining up the yarn on my niddy-noddy

bathtime!
Bath-time for yarn!

drip dry
Drying over the sink…

And finally, the finished skeins in their hanks:

finished skeins

I still have another 4 ounce bump of Falkland roving to spin up.  Meaning that when all is said and spun, I’ll have around 500 yards of lightly worsted yarn to knit with.  The next question that follows, is what should that 500 yards become?  Please leave your suggestions in the comments below, I’m seriously stumped!

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