Sunday, May 22, 2016

Jasper Trip

A week ago, I went on a knitting retreat to Jasper.

       




We stayed in cabins near Miette Hot Springs, and had a lovely dinner Friday night, and met with knitters and spinners from Edmonton, Jasper, Hinton, Edson, and other areas. I had a great time meeting so many great people, and enjoyed my first ever event as a vendor. I sold my patterns in hard-copy format, and really enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere and all the support from my fellow knitters and spinners.


I mostly indulged in spinning on the weekend (after all, knitting really has become my job, so spinning felt like more of a vacation), but also went for a nice little hike up to and beyond the source of the hot springs with Alison of Dandelion Fuzzies. There is nothing quite like hiking with an indie yarn dyer to explore all the colour and texture in our surroundings! She dyed the pink silk that I started spinning Saturday night.












I took almost no pictures of actual knitting and spinning, mostly because I was too busy spinning, visiting, laughing, and enjoying myself, but I did get some nice (phone camera) pictures outside, including a few snaps of Bighorn Sheep, and one of a Black Bear that Alison snapped for me (from the safety of the car and a good distance of the bear, who thankfully showed no particular interest in us. Trust me, if it had, we would have continued driving without a pause).








The best bit was definitely the potluck dinner on Saturday night; lots of thanks to the wonderful women that hosted!




             











Friday, April 22, 2016

Zephirine Tunic Re-release!

The Zephirine Tunic that I had designed for Knit Now Magazine issue #50 is now available for purchase in my Ravelry store






About a year ago, I was putting the finishing touches on the sample and pattern. Now, the tulips are starting to bloom in my garden again, and it's time to think about Spring and Summer knitting (and Fall and Winter knitting, but I'm not sure we ever stop thinking about those). Zephirine is knit with Yarn Stories Fine Merino 4ply, which is an excellent yarn with great stitch definition and a lovely drape.



You don't have to be a Ravelry member to shop on Ravelry... just head to my patterns page and click the "buy now" button.

Happy knitting!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Romney Swatch

Back to the Breed Swatchalong with Romney!

First, the sheep (so lovely!):

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Found via Wikipedia.

This swatch took a little longer than the others due to interruptions.

First, I ran out of yarn. As I had spun the yarn, it was a little more work to get some more, as I had to find spinning time before I could try to find knitting time.

Then, I had several work projects on the go, which is good, but doesn't leave as much time for swatching just for fun.

After that, my only excuse is that I kept forgetting to do up the notes, so I'm giving it a go today, though I'm afraid they won't be as thorough as usual!

Here are my initial notes:

Breed: Romney from New Zealand, coloured Romney (listed as light grey, but I’d amend that to nice warm brownish grey).

| Wool Category: “Medium”

| Brand (if applicable): my handspun from sliver bought from A Curious Spin.

| Form (fleece, fibre, yarn): Sliver; spun semi-worsted

| Preparation (if known): Sliver, woollen prep

Feel: slides nicely through the fingers, and, while not my most consistent spin, is decently even on average. Not precisely soft, but I keep using the word “nice” to describe it; I like it rather a lot.

Cast on: 58 sts, working in a 2x2 Garter rib



Today's notes:

The swatch was a pleasing pattern, but I maybe could have gone up a needle size for better drape. Road-test wise, I could see the spot where I switched yarn batches a little more clearly after the second wash, but that's more to do with my spinning than any inherent properties of the wool itself. I did find this one mostly too itchy for next to skin in more sensitive areas (so, not really for scarves or for garments without an undershirt), but it wore well, and feels nice enough on the hands anyhow. I'd be inclined to use it for hats, outer layers, maybe a nice bag, mittens. Nice stitch definition, and I enjoyed spinning and knitting it.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Spring Break

Just a quick post to say that it's Spring Break over here, which means people living in my office, which means I'm keeping work to the very basics so I can enjoy spending time with the family (and I have been enjoying that very much). Luckily I can work on sample knitting while doing other things at the same time, but on the whole, next week will be a busy one for catching up!

Carrot update: I've gotten as far as to start a swatch, only to find that I'll need to switch to the needles that are currently occupied for sample knitting, so I'm now using spinning as a carrot until this sample is done. (Nearly there! Hoping to finish up this weekend!)

How's your week going?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Carrot

Sample knitting and pattern writing are keeping me busy enough that I often don't have much else to share in terms of projects, but I'd like to make more of an effort to get both things done. I don't mind that work knitting keeps me so busy that I don't have a lot of personal projects on the go, but I don't much like it if I have absolutely no personal projects happening. So, I thought I should apply that 15 minute rule here too. If I can get through my goals for the day in sample knitting, then I can have 15 minutes after the kids head to bed to work on a personal project. Perhaps if I use it as a carrot, then I can both meet my goals and get a few things done that I've been neglecting.



The current carrot that I have in mind is a project for my younger nephew. I want to knit up Calaway by Jenny Wiebe for him, and I wanted not only to use superwash wool, but I wanted a particular look to that yarn. So, I ordered Knit Picks Bare Wool of the Andes Superwash, and, I few weeks ago, tossed it into the dye-pot. I've just stuck with the food-dyes so far in my dyeing efforts, though I'd love to work from plants someday.





In the meantime, I started with 3/4 tsp of Wilton's Kelly Green, along with rather a lot of vinegar added to the water (a good cup to start, but I went through more than 4 cups throughout).





The first result was disappointingly minty-looking rather than vibrant, so I did it over with another tsp of the dye. After the wool was dry, I checked with my sister if she liked the colour, and she confirmed my suspicion that it was still not quite green enough, so another tsp of green it was. The results are much better, and it does look a touch more vibrant in person than in the photo below.



I didn't meet my goal last night (I was close, but found a mistake that would take just long enough to fix that I was done for the night), but if I can make it tonight, I will at least have a read through the instructions, find the right needles, and set up a project bag. If I have extra time, then swatching, and revising my notion of "the right needles" if need be.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with today's 15 minutes of spinning: Alberta-grown Texel wool.


Monday, March 14, 2016

15 Minutes

Being the first Monday after springing the clocks forward, it was rather difficult getting the kids up and going to school today. I often feel as though, the moment I get back home to my quiet office that the best way to start the day would be to have a coffee break, and today more so than usual. Unfortunately, as nice as this coffee break is, it invariably results in procrastination.

Today, instead of starting with a coffee break, I started with a spinning break.

I do some of my best thinking while spinning (or while running, but I can't do that now with my sprained/slightly dislocated ankle; can't wait until I can run again!), and I found that I've been worrying a lot lately about the things I have left slide lately in order to keep up with work. Sewing, housework, crafts-other-than-knitting, knitting for family members (I keep this down to just a few things, but I'm not even getting these done lately), knitting for myself, and definitely blogging, which it's easy to spot has not been happening here lately at all.



I  realized, during my 15 minute spinning break, that there is no reason I can't do several of these things as 15 minute breaks. Sure, I can still take a coffee break too, but if I can alleviate some stress and worry by taking an extra 15 minutes to work on two or more of those things each day, then it's more than worth it. Working for 15 minutes on a blog post each day (whether it gets published same day or not doesn't much matter; it's just putting the time in), then I'll at least have the occasional post, which is much better than the none that has been going on lately.

Featured spinning: Ashford Silk Merino blend, in Salvia.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

In Point Form

Things that have been happening since last I posted:

-Christmas (which was lovely, and in which I had a chance to enjoy spending time with family).

-I worked on work, and made my deadlines for a couple of submissions and a sample, and nearly finished another sample (which is on schedule for the deadline).

-I bought Fibre: Texel, Romney, Polypay, Corriedale and Ramie (all but the last from acuriousspin.com)

-I have spun a bit of: Romney, Alpaca (a Christmas gift from my Mom), Ramie, Cotswold, and Gotland.

-My youngest made her first yarn! (I helped manage the amount of twist entering the fibre as she drafted, and mostly managed to keep myself from assisting with the drafting).



-I am knitting, a scarf (pictured below) for my New Year's Knitting (why make resolutions when you can just pick something to knit for yourself?), using my handspun from this post:


-I sprained my ankle playing soccer and am hobbling around on crutches (but it is getting better; I could just fit my boot on over it today!).

-I finished test-driving this Dorset swatch, and have less extensive notes than usual, but here they are in brief:

Breed: Dorset
Weight: Worsted (handspun)
Stitch pattern: Stockinette with Garter Border
initial thoughts: Goodness this is elasticy and bouncy! Rather dry and raspy to the touch though. (audibly raspy)
observations: The swatch is somewhat fuzzier and the purl bumps are somewhat flattened. Very little pilling (just a wee bit at the very edges). Still rather dry and raspy to the touch, and swatch is rather more cohesive now.
would use it for: I think this yarn would be nice for blankets, and for anything requiring good elasticity and sturdy woolliness. Outerwear would be a good bet as well.

-I forgot to eat lunch todasy, so I'm off to do that now!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Christmas!

I've felt that I've been managing pretty well at balancing work (I have third-party deadlines that are underway, but thankfully, quite reasonable ones) and getting everything ready for Christmas while still taking the time to slow down and spend time with the family, but I've realized to make it work I have got to let one thing go for a wee bit, and that's the blog. I've been wasting a lot of time putting "Blog!" on the to-do list and not actually doing it. It's not that I don't want to blog, but I'm apparently not leaving myself enough energy to get on here and do it. I'm giving myself permission to take a vacation from this and come back after the holidays. I'm hoping I can renew a bit of energy and with it, renew the blog too. In the meantime, leaving you with a wee corner of Christmas in my house (not much light this time of year, so all the more reason to add cheerful baubles), I'd like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Friday, December 11, 2015

Whittling Down the List

Oh goodness, is it Friday already? I know I promised a Swatchalong post, but it'll have to wait until Monday now. Of course, at least then I can get some notes together and put the swatch through the test drive, so that's something anyhow. In the meantime, here's a photo of the Dorset swatch:



I've been getting together a gift for a Christmas party that I'm off to tomorrow, and I'm on the finishing touches on almost all the woolly gifts (there's one that is just over half finished; hopefully it is ready for finishing touches by the end of today)! Also, I have picked up a commission to write up a pattern (yes, taking on work over December; madness...), but I'm nearly ready to cast on the sample, so that's exciting (for me anyway; can't tell you a thing about it other than what I've already told you). Anyhow, I am slowly but surely whittling down the list; progress is steady at least.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Re-Swatching

My family was sick over the weekend, and really, I still am not quite 100%, so I'm not up for much today. Since I took yesterday off (not being well enough to get any actual work done), I didn't really want to take today off too, but I'm definitely having to keep things to a light bit of work, or I probably won't be much use tomorrow either. So, I'm sticking with a bit of swatching.

Really, it's more of a re-swatching. I know lots of people would rather skip the swatch and head right to the project, but swatching can do so much to save you so much trouble in the long run. In this case, I'm starting to suspect from my grading spreadsheet that I should really double-check my gauge for accuracy, since it seems like a lot of stitches for the thing that it is (sorry, can't be more clear! Top secret and all that.) I've made a small change to the stitch pattern, but even small changes can make big differences over lots of stitches. 

The deciding factor was when I remembered I will need to change needles for the actual sample from the ones I swatched with the first time so that I can fit the whole thing on the needles. Both sets are labelled the same size, but I have learned the hard way that there can be a very small difference between needles of the same diameter that will impact your gauge enough that it is noticeable. 

So, to be sure, it's time to re-swatch, so long as I can find those needles in this lot...


In other news, while Xmas gifts are ongoing but secret, my Dorset swatch is blocking at the moment, so expect a swatchalong post soonish!