Raindrops keep falling on my head…

May 26th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

“But that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turning red…” because I have plans.  I haven’t been blogging too much as of late due to some rather frustrating chronic pain flare-ups preventing me from doing any kinds of crafts.  My ongoing ribbing project of DOOM is still in a state of stasis (alliteration FTW!) and has been giving me side-eye (if a knitted item could do so) and taunting me with thoughts of “YOU STILL NEED TO KNIT A WHOLE ‘NOTHER MITT LADY!”  Ah, the dreaded second-mitt-syndrome.  One of these days I’m going to learn how to do 2-at-a-time in the round projects for mitts/socks.

So even though I can’t craft much due to pain, I can still plan.  And I do have plans, lovelies…

Firstly, I think its high time that I knit myself another pair of socks.  Its been awhile since I knitted myself socks – the last pair I knit were from summer/fall of 2012!  One contender for these socks is Wraptor (free pattern from Knitty).  I have lots of self-striping sock yarn, and this would be a good project for stash-busting.  They will be a challenging knit as they are constructed flat on a diagonal and then knitted together.  They do look oh-so cool though!  Observe:

Wraptor – wrap your head around these!

My second choice is Paraphernalia (free Ravelry download) which would look good in a solid colour (and I just happen to have a lovely skein of plum-coloured sock yarn that I could use).  Probably more straight-forward than the Wraptors, but still classy with all those cables. Check em out:

Paraphernalia socks

I have other sock patterns in my queue (28 in all!), but these are the two that stand out to me.  The jury is out which I shall knit though.  Feel free to bribe the judge  😉

In other news, I’m planning a 3 month sojourn to Ireland, Portual, and Spain starting this August.  And I thought that I should have a knitting project to take with me on the road.  So I thought, why not make a “travelling sweater?”  It would take me almost that long to knit it and I would be able to wear the thing if I finish it before I come home.

The sweater: “Raindrops” by Tin Can Knits (Ravelry link).  I think its a flattering shape and would fit my body type well.  I’m going to do it pretty much in the same colour, only I’ll probably be using something like Cascade Heritage Sock in hyacinthe rather than Sweet Georgia’s yarn.  Here’s a view of the back of the sweater:

Raindrops

My first stop of my trip is London, England where I’ll be meeting my penpal & fellow Raveller Gavin to take in a few days of museums and yes, yarn shopping.  Its possible I may find a yarn for this sweater in London, but it may be better to play it safe and order the yarn while I’m still in Canada.  Then I’ll be in Ireland for about 2.5 weeks before heading to warmer climes in Portugal and Spain.  I don’t foresee buying yarn on the trip, but who knows?  I could find an amazing knit & stitch shop somewhere and fall in love with exotic yarns that I cannot source in Canada.

If anyone knows of any “must-see” things in Portugal/Spain, please leave a comment below.  Suggestions for yarn shops included!

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Lightening up with Lace

May 2nd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Spring and summer are times of lightening up, shedding layers, and embracing the warmer days ahead.  It stands to reason then, that knitting should also “lighten up” during these sunny months.  Its no fun dragging around a wool sweater project that weighs what feels like a metric ton in one’s bag, and making one sweat while it sits in one’s lap during knitting.  Yuck!

Enter, lace.  Lace is basically any fabric that has an open “weave” to it (or to put it in low-brow terms: has holes in it 😉 ).  According to the Lace Guild, what we know as lace came into existence during the 16th Century CE.  For knitters and crocheters, lace is fast and fun and can be very simple to OMG complex depending on the person’s skill level.  Here’s and example of “easy lace” (based on a Ravelry pattern search):

Bias Scarf – easy lace (skill level 1 out of 10)

And here’s and example of OMG-I’m-losing-my-sanity-so-complex! lace:

Lilie tablecloth (skill level 9 or 10 out of 10)

And yet, both of these projects utilize the same lace components to make an airy fabric that is just gorgeous.  Knitting, purling, increase/decrease, and Yarn Overs (or YO for you non-knitting folk) is all you really need to make this fabric.

I self-identify as an intermediate knitter, but I didn’t want to put my head through the wall with a complicated lace project.  I wanted something that would be kind of instant-gratification-like and chose to make an infinity scarf for my dear friend Lalla.  Truth be told, Lalla was over at my house for tea and saw a skein of stunning Indigo Dragonfly Italian silk lace that she draped around her neck.  I knew it was game-over when she co-oped the yarn….I would have to knit something for her.  But really, I don’t mind because the colour looked amazing on her skin tone.  I simply had to knit her something.

Here’s the finished project as it was blocking:

Lace cowl blocking for maximum awesomeness!

And here’s a few on Lalla herself:

Infinity cowl – single drapey loop

Cowl doubled over for maximum warmth

Lalla absolutely loves her infinity scarf and has been wearing it almost daily and showing it off to everyone.  Huzzah!

Project Notes:

  • Pattern name: Palessie Cowl by Diana Rozenshteyn (paid pattern on Ravelry)
  • Yarn used: Indigodragonfly Silk D’Italia in Baldersquash colourway
  • Yardage out: 308 yards (with points for stashdown – huzzah!)
  • Needles: 3.75mm 24″ circular needles
  • Total days of knitting: 23 days
  • Skills employed: basic lace with grafting (Kitchener stitch) in pattern.
  • Project page here

 

I’m still working on the neverending rib project, and hope to finish the first mitt this weekend (hmm, perhaps I’m being optimistic) and get on with the second mitt.  I’m trying to be project-monogamous these days to ensure I carry out to completion my projects…but sometimes its nice to think about (or work on) other projects.  The next project that I will be working on will be a fingering weight sweater for myself, but more on that later.

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Getting my Dye On

July 4th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

I’ve only dyed yarn once before.  It for the Harry Potter Knitting House Cup Challenge (yes, I am that kind of nerd) and the class I was “taking” was Herbology.  So I dyed yarn using eucalyptus leaves.  It made my house smell great!  I used the yarn for a crazy teapot cozy (probably the ugliest project I’ve ever knitted, no joke), and promptly never dyed yarn again.

Until, that is, just a few days ago.  I had my rubber arm twisted by a new knitter friend, Rebecca.  There was yarn dyeing offered during Canada Day celebrations at the Fibre Art Studio on Granville Island.  We found out about it through Ravelry and signed ourselves up for 10:30am – nice and early to escape the crowds & heat! 

The yarn was dyed using dyes from Maiwa Supply (not sure if they were acid dyes or what, this wasn’t made clear at the time).  The event itself was very well organized.  Check it:

  1. They prepared skeins of sock yarn, pre-soaked and ready to dye.
  2. We showed up, buy the prepared skein(s) of sock yarn (75 or 100 gram skeins), and hand-painted them with dyes.
  3. They steamed the yarn for us to fix the dyes.
  4. We picked up your own sock yarn one hour later.

Honestly, the organization made this the easiest yarn dying experience ever!  The staff & volunteers were great, and it was a lot of fun.  I felt a bit out of my element as I’m not predominantly a dyer, so I just played like a kid with finger paints and winged it.

Here’s a pic of me & Rebecca getting our dye on:

dye this shit!

And here’s a close up of my dyed skein wrapped in saran wrap and ready for steaming:

wrapped up

And here’s the final dried creation:

Yarrrrn!

It was tough to get a good photo of the colours.  I have to say, its rather tie-dyed looking but I’m fairly happy with it.  It will be interesting to see how it knits up!  It will likely be a pair of socks for me (goodness knows that I have a lots of sock patterns queued on Ravelry!)  It is 75 grams of yarny goodness.  I suppose I’ll have to update my stash now!

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Gifts for a new nephew

December 5th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

My little sister had her first child just last week, a bouncy baby boy named Ronan.  They live in Ontario, so I had to wait for photos to come in via email/Facebook, and I gotta tell you, this kid is cute.  To help welcome baby Ronan into the world, I’ve made him the most adorable hat & bootie combination that I hope he gets lots of wear out of.

First up, the hat.  I really liked the peak at the back of the crown for this pattern, as well as the earflaps/chin ties.
hat

Pattern: Norwegian Sweet Baby Cap (external link)
Yarn: Schachenmayr nomotta Micro Bamboo in navy & baby blue
Yardage: used up 80 yards total (forgot to weigh the yarns before and after, oh well)
Needles: 3mm and 2.5mm dpns
Size: 4-8 months (bamboo yarn is better for Spring anyway)

And matching booties!
booties

Pattern: Christine’s Stay-on Baby Booties (external link)
Yarn: Schachenmayr nomotta Micro Bamboo in navy & baby blue
Yardage: used up 63.25 yards total (again I forgot to weigh the yarns before and after)
Needles: 2.5mm dpns
Size: not actually sure!

I get points for stash-down, which is good because I haven’t done any stash-down projects since I finished my Fall Back socks a couple of months ago.

Here’s the package that I’m going to put in the mail today:
gifts for Ronan

In other news, I’m having a Lunch & Learn event at my work this Friday for my co-workers on my crafts.  I’m going to be doing an overview of the crafts I do, including some history, demonstrations, and samples.  Looking forward to it!  I have a certain soft spot in my heart for teaching people about crafts…it fits with my artist philosophy – that craft work keeps us connected across time and cultures to make something functional and beautiful.  So far, I have 11 confirmed coming to this event.  I’ve made my first ever PowerPoint presentation, and I’m going to be hauling in a few things to show off as sometimes pictures just don’t do justice to handmade items.

With regards to my Christmas projects, I have 1 more knit hat to make and I am almost done weaving the scarf for my boyfriend’s mom.  I’m still working on my Emelie Cardigan, and my goal is to have it done & wear it on Christmas Day.  So that kind of counts as holiday knitting, even though its for me.  The pressure is on to get these done!

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Somewhere, over the rainbow…

October 31st, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

So this isn’t exactly a “yarny” blog post but I had to document this project somewhere.  For Hallowe’en this year, I decided to go as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.  A friend of mine had the costume that I could borrow, and this gave us both good earth karma (yea for reusing!)  But one really can’t be Dorothy without the ruby slippers.  I asked my friend how she did her shoes last year and she told me that she spraypainted a pair of heels red.  Hmmm.  I didn’t want to wear heels (I do have a stellar pair of 6″ lipstick red lovelies) as I knew that I would only last an hour or two in them.  So I brainstormed. 

I had a pair of Keds-type runners from a previous year’s costume when I went as a cheerleader.  The shoes were really dirty from running around in the rain on that Hallowe’en.  I was hanging onto them in case I did the cheerleader thing again.  And then I thought, what if I could turn those old shoes into ruby slippers? 

Some options presented themselves to me:

  • spraypaint them red & glittery
  • cover them with sequin fabric – would have to cut to fit
  • glue sequins onto the shoe directly
  • find someone with a Bejeweller and go to town

I went with option #3.  While time consuming, I feel as though the end result was worth it as the shoes really did look awesome.  It took me about an hour per shoe, and chatting with friends on the phone helped pass the time. 

Project notes:
Shoes: size 6 “city sneaks” brand
Laces: red, cost me a whopping 49 cents
Sequins: Starburst shape, used approx 200 sequins, cost me $8 for all
Glue: used hot glue gun on “high” setting (yes, I did burn my fingers from time to time)
Time: about an hour per shoe
Method: started at the toe of the shoe and overlapped the sequins, did sequential building rows and covered the lace holes to give a more uniform, overall shiny look.

click three times

“There’s no place like home”

And for anyone curious to see the whole costume, voilà!

Dorothy

“I don’t think we’re in Kansas any more, Toto”

Happy Hallowe’en!

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Tying up loose ends – Ravellenic Games 2012

September 14th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

The Ravellenic Games have come and gone, and although I’ve posted pictures and written about the trials and tribulations of knitting under pressure, I have neglected to mention something rather fun.  That is, I won a prize for the baby hat I knit!  I did post this happy update on my Facebook fan page but I do realize that not everyone in the knitting community is on that site (or Twitter).  So I failed to blog about winning a prize for getting to the finish line on time.  Ah well.  I’m writing now, and that’s all that matters, right?

The prize?  A gorgeous skein of Tanis Fibre Arts fingering weight yarn (or sock yarn for you non-knitter types) in a variegated teal colourway.  Did I happen to mention that teal is one of my favourite colours ever?!  420 yards of squooshy goodness.  I can’t believe I lucked out!

 ravellenics prize

And no Ravellenic (or, cough, Ravelympic) experience would be complete without the Ravelry Badge of Glory which depicts the Ravelry mascot, Bob the Boston Terrier.  (As an off-topic aside, Bob has his own cult status on Ravelry and has been featured in a few silly films like this one).  Here’s what this year’s badge looks like:

 badge of glory

 

And for continuity purposes (aka POID), here’s the two badges I’ve earned for the last two events!  Bring on the Winter 2014 games in Sochi Russia!

badges

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The Kindness of Crafters

September 10th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

I have this amazing friend Carly.  I met her last year when I bought an older model drum carder from her.  She’s a member of Ravelry, and I became aware of her through the LSG off-shoot group, LSG Spinners and Dyers.  Carly is multicraftural – she dyes wool, spins it, then weaves or knits with it.  She’s also an accomplished woodworker and seamstress and makes the most delectable baked goodies.  In essence, she is a tattooed version of a modern day domestic goddess. 

I was having a crappy morning yesterday, mostly due to being overtired and sleep-deprived, and was feeling lacklustre about heading out to my weekly craft meet-up.  But the promise of nice tea served in fine china and gluten-free baked yummies was too much to resist.  Especially since I had a ride arranged as well!  Excuses done with, I went over with a mending project and to get back to work on my socks (more on that later).

In short, I had a lovely time with both Carly & Monica.  We listened to some music, had earl grey tea, and noshed on some yummy gluten-free pop-overs with butter and Carly’s absolutely divine homemade blackberry marmalade.  I enjoyed it so much, she sent me home with 4 more pop-overs, a jar of said jam, and some spinning fibre that she dyed herself.  Talk about generous! I’m still trying to figure out some way to give back considering Carly knows all (if not more) of the crafts that I do.  Hmmm.

 roving and jam

In other news, my Ravellenic socks so missed the finish line.  I got drunk in mid-August at a picnic (culprit – dandelion wine, but was so worth it) and ended up screwing up the pattern.  I did tink back at the time and then gave up.  So I’m happy to report that I’m moving forward once again on the second sock.  Don’t believe me, check the picture below for proof.

socks on the go

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Ravlete Down!

August 14th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Well the 2012 Ravellenic Games are officially over and I was unable to complete my project for sock put.  I was able to knit about 5.5 inches on one sock, and another 2.5 inches on the second sock before I succumbed to an injury.  The culprit, yet again, my back.  While innocently bending over to remove a piece of straw from my sandal, my lower back went out.  Ravlete down!  I feel sad that I was unable to make it to the finish line for Team Canada, but what do you do?  Injuries of this nature make sitting next to impossible, and most knitters knit while sitting down.  Plus I’m still dealing with some shoulder issues, so its not been the best few weeks for this Ravlete.  However, I am, in true Ravellenic spirit, going to complete my event project.  The Special Olympics are coming up, and I may or may not be able to qualify with this project to attempt completion during these games.

Please send me back saving mojo over the next few weeks, or even just well wishes to keep knitting and complete this event.  I have the motivation, but having folks cheer me on always helps.

Thanks!

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Ravellenic Games – baby hat crosses the finish line!

August 3rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Road trips are awesome for getting knitting projects started and in my case, completed!  I cast on last Friday at 1pm for my baby hat project that I mentioned in my last blog posting.  I knit and knit and knit on this hat while in the car on the way down the Oregon Coast highway.  I managed to finish it by 2pm on Monday, July 30, 2012 somewhere near Lincoln City while still in the car.  I had to wait to come home to weave in the ends and block it, however, as I forgot to bring a crochet hook or darning needle with me.  

Project details:

Pattern: Gooseberry Hat (its a free Ravelry download)
Yarn:      Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK in bright red – almost 1 full skein used up
Needles: 3.5mm DPNs (or double-pointed-needles for you non-knitters)

Ravellenic  Events:
– Baby Dressage
– Hat Dash
– Synchronized Stash Busting

I’ve filled out all “finish line” postings and am just waiting to be called to the Podium for my “medal.” Woohoo! One project down, one more to go.  Here’s a pic of a cabbage patch doll modelling the hat:

red gooseberry
and from the top:
gooseberry on top

As I managed to finish up the baby hat, I then got to work on the lacy sock project. I’ve managed to knit 5.25″ of one sock so far, and had to buy more DPNs today so that I could start sock #2, thereby avoiding the dreaded SSS (or Second Sock Syndrome) that so many Ravlethes and knitters fall prey too.  I know that I said I was going to knit these socks on long circular needles, but given my time frame (i.e. panic), I figured I would play it safe and do what I know.  I’m going to get on with casting on for the second sock tomorrow while I’m enjoying the Dyke March festival as part of the Vancouver Pride celebrations here in my city.

Pic of sock in progress, because it DID happen:
sock in progress

Go Team Canada!

 

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On your mark!

July 26th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

placeholder

The Ravellenic Games are now less than 24 hours away at time of this blog post.  I’m not frantic (yet).  Actually, I have to say that I’m calmly prepared for these games, this time around.  I’ve got my patterns picked and printed out, needles and stash yarn (yeah for stash busting) at the ready, and I’m just waiting for 1300 hours tomorrow to cast on and begin the process of hopefully finishing these two projects in 17 days.  Go Team Canada!

Projects I have chosen:

1. Gooseberry Baby Hat (Ravelry link only).
Its a really cute baby hat knit in sport weight on 3.5mm needles.  Should be a breeze to knit, and its going to be a gift for my coworker Jen C., who’s expecting her first baby in September (a boy).  This hat has been entered in the following events: “event baby,”  “event hats,” “event stash” (for stash busting).  I’m using up some lovely Snuggly Baby Bamboo in a bright red colour.

Gooseberry Hat ready to go

2. Spring Forward Socks (Knitty link for everyone to click!)
Lovely lacy socks for me because I haven’t made a pair of handknit socks for myself in forever.  The pattern says that they are knit from the cuff-down and in the round on 2.25mm needles.  I don’t think I have DPNs in this size, but I do have some circular needles that I may use to try doing the magic loop method with these socks.  I’m trying to become more comfortable with the magic loop method as one day I want to learn and master 2-at-a-time-toe-up socks.  Several of my knitter friends are accomplished in this method for knitting socks, and its about damn time I learn it and master it.  I do love sock knitting so! 
This project is entered in the following Ravellenic events: “event lace,” “event socks,” “event stash.”  Here’s a pic of the yarn colourway I’m planning on using for these socks.  I really hope that the lace pattern doesn’t get lost in the self-striping…

Regia
The yarn is Regia Stretch Colour.  No colourway name, but I think it looks a bit like beachy sand and surf colours.  Very pretty, and Regia sock yarns wear like iron.  I will have these socks for a long time. 

I’m heading down the Oregon coast this weekend with my mom, so I’m sure to get a fair amount of knitting done on both projects in the car.  Yippee!

In other news, I’m sort of stalled on my Emelie Cardigan.  I was doing so well until I had some back pain (curses) and then problems with the pattern.  I had knit to the shoulders and did the 3 needle bindoff to make the shoulder seam more durable (and to avoid the dreaded seaming) and was about to pick up stitches for the sleeves, when I noticed that something seemed a bit off.  I had bound off (BO) 11 stitches under each arm, and the pattern was telling me to pick up 25 stitches on either side of the shoulder seam + the 11 stitches and that should = 65.  Well I don’t know about you, but in my world, 11 + 50 does NOT equal 65.  I had a few other people take a look at it, and they couldn’t make heads or tails of it either.  Go figure.  I ended up picking up about 72 stitches, and then tried to decrease down to 65 on the next round, but it still seems a bit gape-y for my liking.  I’m thinking to put this project down and just focus on the Ravellenic Games over the next 17 days instead. Better to just chill out and come back with a fresh mind, methinks.

Emelie in progress
Note: the cardi is MUCH greener in real life.

 

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