Saturday, January 09, 2016

When all else fails...lower your standards

My grand plan to post more frequently in 2016 didn't quite pan out. When life moves at warp speed, only the top 5 things tend to get done. As it turns out - I have a significant FO to reveal. You'll recall that I was working on the Swedish Heartwarmer Shawl out of Bugga. The colours I chose are below. Tomato Frog, Blue Metalmark, Sooty Dancer and Bog Fritillary.

I cast on several years ago and became bored with the stockinette section. With a little help from Dr. Steph, the colourwork finally showed up and I became completely enamoured. She has a fabulous video on her blog to show how to knit and strand backwards. It made a huge difference in how the project flowed.
I finally finished it 5 hours before Rhinebeck opened. Those French Knots almost did me in but they really finish the shawl beautifully. Here's the shawl amongst the autumn leaves in Rhinebeck.

Here's me modeling the shawl. The Agent Carter hat was purchased at Beau Chapeau in Niagara on the Lake.

And Judy gets to wear it most days but it allows me to display it so I can see it daily - not store it in a closet or something.
I have lots of exciting things to blog about. Madrona is coming up, I have a lovely Hansen mini spinner and I've just registered for the Weaving Workshop by Rose Valley Textiles. Hopefully, blogging can make it higher up on the list this year.


Friday, January 02, 2015

Begin as you mean to go on

I imagine that this is the point where I say that I intend to make 2015 the year I blog regularly! Of course that's what I intend to do but in all honesty - I might or I might not. You see, the one thing I can say about 2015 is that I intend to spend less time fretting about what I should be doing and more time getting on with it. Blogging will happen...or not as things unfold.

I can say that 2014 wasn't my most favourite of years. Not the worst but definitely a difficult one. January brought us news of my mother in law's sudden death and we raced to Quebec for the funeral. The winter was (as Katy from the Stitch Sisters podcast points out) "Game of Thrones bad". Our son was diagnosed with Lupus in April and work, while still wonderful, has at times been..."Game of Thrones challenging".

On the upside - I had a great time at Madrona in February and then a magical time at Rhinebeck. I got a new car, we saw Fleetwood Mac live in concert and renovated the kitchen.

Through it all, my fibre pursuits kept me grounded and gave me joy. I made a custom fit cardigan but my measurements were off so it wasn't a success. I'm now making Tucci - also an Amy Herzog design and also a Custom Fit pattern. I'm using Indigodragonfly Polwarth Silk in "Is that a bird in your hand or are you just happy to see me?" (Club colourway) and "You Punched the Highlights out of her Hair" as the contrast. I love knitting with it so much I had to make the front panels twice. Long story but they are currently blocking and I should have an FO soon.

I got a new spinning wheel - that does deserve its own post and I adore it. The wheel was made by Andrew Watson and is a Kirsten Wheel crafted from Black Walnut and Hollywood accents. Spins. Like. A .Dream. I spun some Polwarth Silk to christen the Kirsten. Then I made the Botanical Shawl by Alana Dakos...and gave myself Tennis Elbow getting it done for the Five Counties competition.

Oh yeah, and we competed in The Royal Winter Fair Sheep to Shawl competition. Our team name...Agents of Sheep. Aren't we bad ass? We actually got re-tweeted by Clark Gregg! We came in 5th out of 9 teams. We done good.

As I contemplate which project to tackle in 2015 - I find myself coming full circle. Several years ago, I bought some Bugga to make the Swedish Heartwarmer shawl. My buddy Steph made one that is so dangerously gorgeous it's show-stopping. This year at Rhinebeck, we struck a deal...she would finish the plain stockinette I was stalled on and I would get on with it. And so- I am now working on the first pattern repeat and I'm even knitting and stranding backwards (check out Steph's how-to video here). The shawl's design depicts the long dark winter (plain stockinette) emerging into the sun's return, followed by blue skies, roses and summer. It seems fitting that I come back to this project now. Years that end in "5" tend to be good ones so knitting myself into the sun is exactly how I mean to go on.




Sunday, July 27, 2014

Orange you glad I didn't say Sparkling?

I have made an excutive decision. I've decided to devote the following year to an exploration of sparkling wine. I have the privilge of working in the wine industry and for a winery that makes amazing sparkling wine but I want to go deep. My plan is to roam with my taste buds seeking out sparkling wines from all over the world to taste and research. Rather than keeping my notes in some dusty journal - I thought I'd document them here. Of course, the yarn pairings will be part of it so this could take some interesting turns.

I thought I would start with one of the classics...Veuve Clicquot. This is one of the oldest Champagne houses started around the time of the French Revolution. It was built to promenence by a woman named Barbe-Nicole Clicquot - also known as "The Widow Clicquot" (Veuve means widow in French). Generally, using the word widow in the name of a product isn't adivised unless you're marketing black veils or Kleenex. This Champagne is made in the traditional method meaning the second fermentation occurs in the bottle. It has amazing notes of baked apple, warm bread and a crisp finish. I had my glass with pear slices and Cheddar Cheese.

As a marketer, I've long envied the way Veuve Clicquot is so closely aligned with the distictive colour of yellow/orange. The colour was first used on the bottle labels in the late 1800's to make it easier to see in the dark cellars. For those keeping score, Pantone 137C is its closest match.

I happened to visit Julie at the Needle Emporium yesterday and on the 45 min drive to her store, I was listening the "The Widow Clicquot" audiobook. If you love history and wine - I highly recommend it.

With orange on the brain and a desire to make this lovely new design (Ravelry link) by Julia Trice called Reverie; I was drawn to the new yarn line Julie carries called Mrs. Crosby. The line has a beautiful sport weight yarn called Hat Box (merino, silk, cashmere) with a shade of orangy/yellow that's Veuviliciously amazing. It's called Spicy Habanero.

Sparkling wine is alive, complex and like Post It Notes and Penicillin, the result of a mistake that actually turned into something beautiful. If that isn't a metaphor for knitting, I don't know what is.






Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Big Schlep

This past autumn was a whirlwind of finishing. September presented our ususal 5 Counties guild competition. We were assigned a piece of art for our inspiration. We were assigned this tea pot.

Our guild thought the tea pot was quite whimsical so we chose an Alice in Wonderland theme. Combining the colours of the tea pot with the Alice theme - I decided to make a twill scarf from the cover of the book Twill Thrills. It featured a heart design with snowflakes in between. The original design was black and red but I took the blue and pink from the tea pot to create my scarf.

The lovely Jane Stafford recommended this fine silk 30/2 and the colours Blue Suede shoes (second from right) and Passion Fruit (far right pink).

The yarn is 10% silk and it was tricky to warp but boy does the shuttle fly on the smooth silk and does the pattern ever glow!

Here is a glamour shot my husband took of the scarf with his Nikon D7000 and one of me wearing it taken with my iPhone. I love wearing it and as always learned a lot about weaving and about my own creative process. Sometimes a few parameters make for some pretty great results and that's whaat competitions like this teach us.


Friday, June 07, 2013

Princess meet Pumpkin

It's hard to believe that 8 glorious days have come and gone. This trip has been just what the doctor ordered. For different reasons, my father and I are in a very similar place emotionally. We are both busy taking care of others and get very little time to just chill and do what we want to do. For the last week - it's just been the two of us. We've sometimes gone for hours without speaking. We've talked politics, family and taken long walks and sipped wine. The weather has been glorious. And now; I have to get up at 3:30 am to catch a plane back to Toronto. On the up side - I'll adjust back to Ontario time quickly.

The other thing we did was shop. Dad was very generous in taking me to my favourite fibre haunts. The first stop was to see Jane Stafford on Salt Spring Island. Her weaving retreats are amazing. I've taken her pushing the boundaries of plain weave and would love to take the one on colour theory. I picked up some cones of her organic cotton to make dish towels. These are some of the happiest colours I've ever seen and Jane kindly wrote out the warping order for her dish towels.

In Nanaimo at Ewe Knit, I bought a skein of Shepherd Sock by Lorna's Laces. This is a beautiful tonal yarn in greens called Skyway. I keep thinking it's called "Skyfall" instead so I think I'll rename it. It's somewhat manly so I'm hoping to make a pair of socks for dad (shhhhhh).

Lastly, I stopped in the Loom yarn store in Duncan BC. I snagged 17 balls of the recently, dearly departed Rowan Denim. I've always coveted the Mary cardigan from the original Rowan Denim book. It's apparently a nightmare of a pattern with lots of errors and one size only but it's gorgeous and this shade of blue is stunning.

We'll see if I can keep up the blogging when I get home. The bloggin app helps - just gotta make the time.


Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Blue Skies

I can't quite believe that it's now day 6 of my vacation. Somewhere around 9:23 Monday night I managed to begin to decompress and detach. Not checking work e mails on my iPhone helps. I can't really be that important.

Royale by Glenna C is blossoming into a beautiful sweater. I'm working with an Aran weight yarn by Indigodragonfly in the colourway "Then Buffy Staked Edward...The end.". It's a lovely, smoky teal with kisses of a purple veil. I'm alternating skeins to ensure an even distribution of the variegation. This is a semi-solid shade but I

like to ensure that pooling is mitigated by alternating skeins. This project and I had a few false starts. It was totally me. The pattern is just fine - very well written. I just kept losing my focus when I cast on. First I dropped a stitch and then tried to pick it up and didn't like it. Then I used the wrong size needles for the ribbing. Next I twisted the join and didn't notice for several rounds. I think I made every mistake twice and the sixth time I cast on seemed to be a charm. I'm zipping along and all seems fine. The twisted stitches are lovely and I can't wait to finish it. I had a chance to try on Glenna's sample a couple of years ago at Rhinebeck. It's one sexy sweater!Every morning I've taken to trekking down to the waterfront near where dad lives. The incline is about 80 degrees so walking back up offers a nice workout. This morning I decided to go and sit by the water and listen to my favourite knitting podcast Knit 1 Geek 2 whilst working on Royale. Knit 1 Geek 2 is hosted by a couple of my knit night buddies Karen and Maggie. If you haven't listened to it yet - go for it. You'll enjoy it I promise.

I took a few glamour shots of Royale by the ocean. I'm taking advantage of this time to play with my camera a bit more. I have a D3100 by Nikon. It's more camera than I need right now but I'm hoping to grow into it. I took this shot of this lovely orange flower because I liked the way it looked next to the rocks. I'm playing with depth of field too - hence the slightly out of focus background. Here is Royale beside the orange flowers just to tie it all together.

I ended up sitting by the water for a couple of hours. I say it was the fabulous view, podcast and knitting project but truth be told - I was not looking forward to the walk back up.


Sunday, June 02, 2013

Gone Fishing


I'm a bad,bad blogger...but then you knew that already. Life continues to roll at warp speed. I fall down the rabbit hole at regular intervals. I work - long hours and have a busy family life. My fibrey pursuits often take a back seat to duty (sigh).

Currently, however- I'm off the grid. I've flown to Vancouver Island for a week to hang out with dad and sleep and knit. Dad prodded me earlier today to blog more so as I sit on a sunny coffee house patio it occurs to me that this might be a bloggable moment. Here is my sock. read that right. A. Sock. I've only ever finished one pair and I gifted those when I needed a last minute present. I believe that the holy trinity of pattern, needles and yarn make for a successful finish. If the pattern is too boring or too complicated- other things will attract me. I think I've found the right combo. Here I have Turtle Purl sock yarn in the Purple Purl anniversary colourway. The needles are the lovely Signature double points (expensive but worth it) and the pattern is the Vanilla Latte sock by Virginia-Rose Jeanes.

Blissfully alone with the sunshine, my latte and my knitting. Life's good.