About anikoknitter

I mostly think about knitting and spinning and have been lucky enough to find some friends in my village as obsessed, or almost as obsessed as me.

Ba-a-a-a-d blogger (in your best sheep voice)

I could self-flagellate (preferably with some squishy yarn!) for not blogging often enough, yes, I am a bad blogger, but enough of that and let’s just dive right in instead.

Busy days! I was in Cape Cod for this little guy’s first birthday:

And why yes, I did knit those sweaters for him. The first one is Berroco Comfort sock held double, one red, one blue. I used a free Tin Can Knits pattern called Harvest, but decided to make a wrap front with ties. The other sweater is also Berroco sock (the red) and Berroco Comfort Baby (which I think is discontinued) and some gansey patterns from a Knitting Traditions magazine. I knit it bottom-up. See the little eyelets? those were buttonholes. I did them on both sides because I wasn’t sure which side to put the buttons. Turns out I needed to put the buttons about 1.5 inches further out from the button band, haha. (How can a 1 year old have a beer gut?) Now those buttonholes are a design feature. I always bring extra yarn for adjustments. I also finally got to give him the double-knit blanket:

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It turned out to be a perfect match for his birthday cake decoration:

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I really enjoyed knitting this double-knit blanket. I kind of winged it, not too much planning, used mostly free pot holder charts but charted out the waves myself. I used Berroco Comfort DK (see a theme emerging? – machine wash and dry).

Speaking of machine wash and dry. Grandson #2 did end up with yet another sweater. Not meant for him.

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This WAS Grandson #1’s sweater. Beige cotton and olive bamboo and cotton. Or so I thought. Until I washed it. And the olive felted. Completely. Olive was bamboo and wool. Not at all washable. So read your labels well. And remember what they say.

This was a Rowan pattern. I really like the look, but it is all knit in pieces and seamed and the button band is seamed and it was a lot of seaming for a little sweater, that shrank. So I will knit another, in 100% cotton, and do it top-down. The sleeves could have been a bit wider and longer anyway. Sigh.

This one turned out great though:

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Enough room to grow. I made up the anchor on the front and it washes and dries up like a dream, in a machine.

As soon as I got back, we had a knit night at the Fluevog store in Ottawa. Great fun! Great turnout. Forgot to take pictures, too busy. We had minis to hand out in our special Vog On colourway, and I knit some socks to wear for the occasion. I am totally in love with afterthought heels. That is where hubby wears out all his socks. This way, I can unravel and knit a new heel (with reinforcing wool/nylon thread). I added some increases before the heel placement and then decreased after for a bit more gusset room (thick feet? high arches?)

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It was mayhem about 10 min after I took that picture and people starting showing up. We had free coffee, tea, and cookies. Knitting happening, yarn shopping happened and shoe buying happened (cough, cough – it was almost my birthday).

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Eventually I finished another Find Your Fade, for Kathryn. Similar to mine but she went with a brighter beginning and slightly different ends. What can I say. We have similar taste. We get along. It’s a good thing.

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I also knit up Dipping Edge from Knit’n Rain Designs.

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I used Spring Fling and Verdigris. I switched back to Spring Fling in the lace sections (not in the pattern) and really like the effect. It is a fun and quick pattern and all the short row counts are bang on!

I am also working on another Natalie Servant design, Cormier Grille Shawl. I love the pattern. It is completely reversible (great when you are knitting for a non-knitter because they always have the wrong side of the shawl showing). I am knitting this in our MCN lace, Ballet colourway (the little rust flecks don’t show very well in this picture), as a sample. I think I will have to knit another one though for myself.

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I also decided to knit up minis that had knots or came up short weight-wise into one loooooong tube, increasing and decreasing, so people can see how the different colourways knit up, as socks anyway. This will be good mindless knitting at shows and fairs, appointments, Netflix subtitled movies, etc.

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AND, because I don’t have enough WIPs and project bags, I have a new WIP and project bag!

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I couldn’t resist this project bag from Mrs. Browns Bags on Etsy (she is one half of the Grocery Girls podcast). The bags go pretty quickly so I was lucky to nab one for myself. And I had dyed up a pile of Chartreuse 8 ply supersock to knit a retro cardi. I chose Escape from Kim Hargreaves. I’m pretty sure there are piles of errors in the ribbing section but I am too exhausted from casting on and frogging and reknitting the back (until I abandoned it for the front  – easier to figure out where the errors are) to list them all. Once you get past that point, it is easy sailing.

I’ll leave you with a shot of Shelma who goes back home this Easter weekend. We had so much snow this winter that even she (who seems to have flippers rather than legs) was able to hop over the fence to raid the cat food for the feral cats (we had them fixed), which made her into a very farty dog indeed.

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You win some, you lose some

Ah, knitting, she can be a fickle mistress, giving you so much hope and happiness, and then snatching it away, but sometimes she lets you hang on to it. Case in point: my son’s sweater (apologies for the blurry pic, I’ve been having issues, as they say, with downloading my camera pictures).

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Looks pretty good, right? WRONG. The sleeves are WAY to wide at the top (I will rip back halfway and cease increasing). Too many buttons, it would take him 20 minutes to button up this beast. But the worst of it, which doesn’t show, is that the front (although in theory and by row-count is the same length as the back) actually measures 34″ from the shoulder while the back measures 30″. Why? WHY, you may ask, as I did, almost sobbing. Well, a number of factors. Back neck shaping. DON’T DO IT, when knitting a v-neck cardi with pockets. Not to mention that the back neck was way to wide. (I was following a pattern and should have listened to my gut – even if that is what George W. Bush recommends).

The pockets add weight, hands in pockets add even more. The v-neck is open and loosey-goosey compared to a crew neck, so that the back shaping slides up to the back of the neck, dropping the centre shoulder seam forward and the whole front slides down. Now I understand why for some sweaters you just cast off across the whole back or even add some shoulder shaping, RAISING the back neck (which is what I have done now). This way the back has no where to slide, because it is already snugly against the neck. In addition, I threw in a couple of short rows on the front to raise it, so when hands go in pockets, or the sweater starts to sag a bit from the weight of the pockets, it will all lie straight.

You have figured out by now that I am reknitting about half this sweater. Yes, I cut off the buttons, unraveled the collar, cut all the seams and ripped back as far as was needed. In addition to the changes mentioned above, I’m moving the v-neck higher, adding depth to the shawl collar and reducing the number of buttons. The knitting muses were conspiring against me this time, but I must say, I learned a lot from my mistakes. Even though it seems easy to just follow a pattern, it’s better to just use it as a suggestion and make the changes you think are necessary. As good ole George says, listen to your gut (except when deciding to wage war). I will take another pic when it is properly finished.

On to happier news, this! THIS!!!

31759904_unknownOMG, I am so happy with this shawl! It is called Find Your Fade, hugely popular on Ravelry (1450 projects so far). I knit it to showcase our yarn, Kathryn is picking her colours and I will knit another one – Kathryn does knit, but my fingers fly faster. Check out our Instagram feed for more colour suggestions.

img_3902I used a combo of yarns, singles, 3 ply sock, 8 ply sock, and MCN sock. It looks fine. Don’t be afraid to mix. The colours are (from right to left) Ghost, Sailor, Poppy Seed Cake, Scarab, Wicked, Twilight and Bewitched. I had a bit of crocking with Wicked and Bewitched (on all my right hand fingers too):

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There is a lot of dye in these colours and a layer of black, but the dye did not bleed at all. The first colour only uses about 20 gm of yarn, so you could use a couple of minis. I did make some changes to the pattern, I only did single yarn overs, instead of doubles; I skipped a few rows (could have skipped more) and I knit tightly so when it was washed it wouldn’t stretch out too much. The shawl as written is HUGE. Mine is a nice size I think. I even threw it in the dryer! I did not want it to stretch out. And it looks fine.

I will include one more pic because I am so freaking pumped about it!

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I also have some totally mindless knitting, also known as knitFlix:

img_3740This is the gorgeous pattern Helsinki (got the kit from Debbie Wilson at Sheeps Ahoy). It is a bottom-up sweater, but I have decided to do all my yoke sweaters, yoke first. I didn’t have the patience to recalculate to do this top-down so I cast on provisionally for the body and knit 3″, did the same for the sleeves, then joined them as per the pattern instructions and knit my yoke. This way I could try it on, make sure the armhole depth was good and now I just have to knit downwards and watch Netflix. I can easily decide how wide and how long I want it by trying it on as I go (I wasn’t sure if wanted to make the 37 or the 40, I knit a 37 yoke but might widen the body, we’ll see). I plan on doing all my Kate Davies sweaters this way too. I just love the colour choices, the yoke positively glows. Of course with all my other projects on the go, I should be finished just in time for summer, yay!

Because after reknitting my favourite son’s cardigan, I have to get going on this:

img_3917I am almost finished the lobster portion of this double-knit blanket, next, more fish, crabs, and sea shells. I have to get this done for March, when I go back down to see my grandkids, and it’s Oscar’s birthday. And I have to squeeze in a sweater for him too somewhere. I am having lots of fun knitting this blanket. I am using free pot holder charts on Ravelry, and Berroco Comfort DK. This yarn holds up very nicely after multiple washings and dryings. Even if wool is superwash, it will felt up after being thrown in the dryer a number of times (which I know will happen, I’m not judging my daughter, haha, so I use washable AND dryable yarn).

Speaking of yarn… we have some new colours, and more in the works. This is Jewel, I’m knitting up a sample shawl in it. A deep gold, with flecks of magenta, purple and blue.

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We’ll have more popping up on Instagram as we dye them.

That’s all for now, I’ll leave you with Frankie and Shelma hoofing it down our road, well, Frankie is sauntering while Shelma is jogging.img_3755

Happy Holidays!

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Let me start with my “tree”. Here is my cat for perspective. No, my cat is not 5′ tall, the “tree” is 15″ tall, including the pot. I am a minimalist when it comes to decorating although our Xmas lights stay up all year long (yes, we are one of THOSE kinds of people) – albeit inside the house.

I had a lovely 3 weeks in Cape Cod with the grandkids, if you don’t count the bout of norovirus we all had and then a cold that lasted for 3 weeks! The robot sweaters were a hit. And they fit, too well, so I immediately added length everywhere and will no longer trust my daughter’s measurements.

Grandson #1 has room to grow (after I added some to the bottom and the sleeves), grandson #2 does not (even after I added to the bottom and the sleeves).

My daughter’s shrug turned out very nicely (8-ply supersock in Cobalt & Rust). She wears it a lot. Here they are waiting for Santa.

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In between holding this little guy,

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who was very sick with a cold and needed a lot of holding, to the point where I almost lost the use of my arms (who knew I should have been lifting weights in preparation for my Cape Cod stay), I did manage to make these:

a11.jpg The hat is called Deep Woods Toque, an Interweave pattern. I used a new yarn which we might carry, an organic 2 ply merino in Moroccan Spice. The gold is some leftover merino/silk and the green is some leftover sock yarn. I had enough to make a double knit cowl, so cast-on! I wish I had made it bit narrower, so I have since added a fold and sewed a button on it so that the cowl actually stays up on my neck for warmth and not just for fashion.

Here is the inside of the hat, I again used invisible stranding since there are large sections between the trees and I didn’t want the gold poking out. Can’t emphasize enough how much I love this technique. It does work best with wool, I think. I used it on the robot sweaters, but they were acrylic and it still shows to a certain extent. The stitches just don’t bounce back as nicely as they do with wool when you create that extra purl stitch between the knit ones.

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In other news. I am almost finished my son’s sweater. It is for Christmas, but luckily we decided to celebrate with him when he gets back from visiting his sis down in Cape Cod for the holidays. One sleeve to go! and then a shawl collar! and then a backing for the button band and finding buttons! But I will be done before he returns! It probably didn’t help that I wasn’t monogamous in my knitting (although cheating on your main project does help keep you from getting repetitive strain problems in your wrists etc – at least that’s my story).

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I knit up a hat with the new bulky yarn we are carrying. This is in Hell’s Kitchen and the pattern is Fidra. Super quick knit and a lovely soft 2-ply yarn. The pom pom was made from two fingering minis although I think I had enough yarn left from the hat to make one. I will knit a swatch with the rest instead.

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AND, I sneaked this in:

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This fantastic pattern is from Natalie Servant, Cosmic Dust. I took a beading course with Natalie this fall and fell in love with this pattern. I chose colours that would match my rain coat.

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The yarn is Shirley Brian yarns, a cotton gradient. It was really fun pattern to knit and I highly recommend it. You cut the yarn at each colour change and string on the beads, it is not nearly as tedious as it sounds and goes quite quickly. Even weaving in the ends was pretty quick. I saved a bit of the cotton in the various shades and sewed down the ends where I weaved them in so they wouldn’t come out.

After I finish the cardigan-that-never-seems-to-end, I will get back to these socks for the hubby. He does love hand-knit socks and wears them so much that he wears through them. For this pair I am holding some reinforcement yarn with the sock yarn for the heel and when I turn the heel. We’ll see how that holds up.

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I splurged a bit this month and went to an open house at my friend Maureen’s studio, and bought myself some cups. The blue ones are by David, her husband, and have impressions that make your hand fit right around the cup and the ones on the right are Maureen’s. Guess why I just had to buy that brown one, haha.

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I hope you all have happy holidays, whatever you might be celebrating (or not) and will try to blog more often in the new year. I will leave you with Frankie relaxing in my knitting chair (until I kicked him out that is).

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No excuses

Well actually, I am looking for excuses for not blogging for so long. Busy? Lazy? Can you be busy and lazy at the same time? I seem to have mastered it. We have had an insanely busy summer, and fall is already upon us (and soon I’m hightailing to Cape Cod in November for 3 weeks to help with the grandkids – sorry Kathryn!)

Twist Festival was great, with loads of people and great vendors. I stuck to buying some roving. We had a much better booth this year, hope we get the same one next year. We brought everything we had in the studio.img_2886

In an attempt to keep the arena cool, they turned the coolant on in the floor. There were so many people that it didn’t make any difference at all.

And then a few weeks later, Almonte! img_2124

We felt a bit cramped so maybe next year we will spring for a double booth. I bought the last of Windblest farm yarn. They have sold everything off after about 20 years in the sheep and yarn business. I will miss their lovely BFL yarns (I have hoarded enough for a few sweaters, not to mention some roving – Wabi Sabi has some Windblest roving, so get it while it lasts – I did!)  This will become a vest.img_2146

There is a new fibre fest next year in beautiful Prince Edward County. It’s just one day, Saturday, May 27, so if you are in the neighbourhood or want to go on a road trip, maybe see you there. We have signed up, now to find a place to stay…

I don’t think that I have finished ANY of the projects in progress in the previous post, but I’m close on a few, haha. I have knit over half of the shrug for my daughter. I might write up the pattern if it turns out all right. Here’s hoping it does!img_2163

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I do love the colours in Cobalt & Rust. I am using the 8ply supersock, one of my favourite yarns. I plan on adding a border, using short rows to increase coverage on the fronts.

I have also knit up a cotton sweater for myself, using some cheapo Value Village discontinued Scheepjes yarn (ah, nostalgia, my mom used to translate patterns into English for them).img_2159

Loved the pattern, Norah Gaughan in Vogue Knitting 2016 Fall. Interesting construction as always. And speaking of Norah Gaughan, she just published a fantastic book on cables. I highly recommend it. There are patterns, mostly original cables from Norah and all kinds of useful information.

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I have finished a sweater for grandson #1, an adorable robot sweater and have already started an abbreviated version for grandson #2. They are still too young to complain about matching ; )  My gauge was different so I winged some of it.img_2162

I used a combination of trapping floats and invisible floats:img_2175

That’s about it for my output so far. We have been too busy dyeing. When digging around for gloves that haven’t sprung a leak (pretty painful in simmering water!) When we notice a leak (usually indicated by a scream), we throw it out. I noticed this:img_3194

There are 7 left handed gloves and 2 right handed ones.  We don’t really seem to do all that much more with our right hands in comparison to our left hands, but this is what we end up with. I guess the only thing to do is to hire someone who is left-handed!

If you want to be kept up-to-date on what we are up to, follow us on Instagram at katsriversidestudio (and if you tag us, use katsriversidestudio, not riversidestudio which appears to be a music studio full of pictures of our yarn, haha).

I will leave you with a feeble promise to blog more, and picture of Frankie, meant to show my super cool leather measuring tape bracelet but which ended up focused on the cuter element, the dog.

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TWIST! and am I bat-shit crazy?

Twist Festival is this weekend!! We are bringing loads and loads of yarn and we have a new label, with a logo and everything. This is not all of it….

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New label! (there is a pale stockinette pattern on the background)

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Piles of samples!

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I finished my sweater! I’m loving it so much, I won’t even mind when the weather cools.

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Now for the bat-shit crazy part:  the pile of stuff I have to finish. Three sweaters (all for me BTW, cause I’m selfish like that).

Ambergris, love the whale tails.

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These you have seen already, I’ve been distracted…

Three shawls, samples and/or for me/ who knows…

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Two more shawls and a scarf, samples and/or for me, depending how greedy I’m feeling.

Socks, definitely for me and/or sample, depending how dirty I get them (in new colour Oxidized – darker than photo).

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Shrug for my daughter (in perennial favourite Cobalt&Rust) – I do knit 1 out of 100 for someone else.

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I did finish this hat and cowl set, with one skein of worsted singles in Sand and the stripes are sock yarn held double. Pattern is Windschief.  It is a sample! So, maybe 2 out of 100 are not for MOI.

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These are just the WIPs from our own yarn. You have NO idea how many I have with other yarns (because I am a tad promiscuous in my love of yarn). I will get these done, this fall, by the end of the fall, for sure, I swear. Then I have family obligation knitting, grandkids – fast, yay!, son – not so fast 😦   and a vest for hubby if I recover in time from not-so-fast-son knitting.

Anyway, come to Twist and check out our yarns and samples. I hear there might be a few other vendors 😉  Don’t miss this cornucopia of yarn! Loads of new colours!

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But if you miss it, we will be in Almonte at the Mississippi Mills Fibrefest 10-11 September. However, after Twist and before Almonte, I’m heading down south to see my munchkins. This little guy says, “See you later”.

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FOs and WIPs

I have been working hard at my knitting. I am a knitter possessed. I have been wanting to knit up certain colours for such a long time. It’s almost all I’ve been doing. Thank god for audio books (at the moment, Annie Proulx’s Accordion Crimes). So let’s start with some FOs (warning, this is a picture-heavy post!)

This shawl is Uncia by Lucy Hague. I couldn’t put this one down, it took me 6 days to complete. Although the yarn is somewhat variegated, it turned out well enough to see the beautiful cabled details.

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Here is a detail shot.IMG_1819

Lucy Hague has other gorgeous cabled shawls, I plan on making this one  too, maybe in Verdigris:

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I have already started another Uncia in a solid pale blue/periwinkle yak yarn I have, which will end up more scarf/shawlette sized. I also knit up Gavrinis from Natalie Servant, a retreat knitting friend of mine. She has many fabulous designs, many of which are in my queue but this one became a bit of an obsession. I used undersized skeins of singles fingering, in Petalite and Graphite on the bottom (btw, I always use the Russian join for my shawls – even with singles, especially with silk – instructions here).IMG_1848

I liked this design so much, I started another one, this time a rectangle, but which I then joined after about 14″ so it will be a shawl/poncho. My initial enthusiasm took a hit when I discovered this:

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I didn’t quite catch all the stitches in a knit 3 together. Rip! But then I was well on my way.IMG_2658

Isn’t it a beautiful design? At this point I began knitting across the two sides, I just have 2 pattern repeats to go, so about 100 rows. I’ll block it again before casting off to see if it is the size I want. I know I will wear this a lot. I’m using singles fingering again, in Ghost, a very pale grey.

This hat is knit in our DK and is a free pattern from Joji. I added extra rows between the decrease rows in the crown. This is currently one of my favourite colour combos, Spring Fling, Teal and Chartreuse.IMG_2559

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They look fabulous together!

Now on to WIPs, so many… I am working on two more shawls (I will post pictures when I am further along), and three sweaters, and a shrug for my daughter (there are more but I don’t want to seem completely ridiculous). In my defence, although most of these are for me, they are also “samples” for festivals and shows, really they are. IMG_2683

This one is Antler, I just used the neck part from  the pattern and then added stripes and a textured pattern and am knitting it a bit A-line. I love our colour Little Burgundy, but burgundy as a colour makes my skin look jaundiced, so I decided to start with Mushroom (in MCN, a test skein) and the rest is in our 8 ply supersock. I think I might live in this sweater after the summer, although a close runner up will Breathing Space:IMG_2682The main body is in Sailor and the stripes are a mix of Indigo and Denim (using up odd skeins again). I just finished all the short rows and now I’ll just be knitting round and round. Good TV knitting. I realize I have to start getting rid of some of my clothes, a  lot of my clothes, since I keep adding to my wardrobe. I expect at some point everything I own will be hand-knit. Well, maybe I’ll stop at underwear. Maybe.

I also started a side-to-side shrug for my daughter in Cobalt & Rust. I am using a broken seed stitch pattern to help mix up the variegated colours a bit more.IMG_2654

This colourway has a lot of turquoise in it. Turquoise often crocks, in that it comes off on your fingers:

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But I soaked my knitting thus far in some Eucalan (soap for knits that you don’t need to rinse out). The water was slightly coloured, but hardly at all, and certainly not enough for the dye to run into other colours.

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We have been working hard in the studio, even in 30+ degrees celsius weather, and have all kinds of new colours we want to try out. We also now have minis, when you want to add a stripe of colour but don’t want to buy a whole skein.IMG_2539

We have lots more colours to skein up for these.

This is another recent favourite, Dark Chocolate and Trail.

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In between dyeing and knitting, we often do our local Saturday market. Our tent is a riot of colour and knitted objects.IMG_1820

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Our friend Mie has sent us a new shipment of knitting bags all the way from Japan. We will have them for sale at Twist Festival. I might have to buy myself another one, haha. It’s hard keeping my hands of the merchandise!

Well, I’m off to work on my Gavrinis poncho and to keep an eye on this guy:IMG_1881

He was very well behaved, no ducks were harmed in the making of this picture. He only wants to herd them, not to eat them, and he has finally given up on the notion all together.

 

 

What would you pay?

I’ve decided to make a few shawls to sell. We are constantly being asked at shows if the sample shawls are for sale. Now, I have no real idea what people are thinking when they ask this. I am sure if I said $200, they would say WHA? and if they offered me $60 I’d say WTF? Nevertheless, I’ve decided to knit up a few shawls and cowls. I’m using fingering- weight 100% silk, which I dyed and which I knit from my own patterns (which mostly reside in my head). The cowls will be knit from merino, and merino/cashmere. I am planning on charging between $80 and $170, depending on the complexity and size.IMG_1771

Notice the beaded bind off…IMG_1774

This one also has beads.

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I’m quite proud of this one, a crescent shawl. I used a German lace pattern for the bottom half. (My camera needs to be recharged so these are from the iPad).IMG_2485

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I think my prices are still a bargain. I am not counting the hours of knitting lest I stain these shawls with my tears in figuring out an hourly wage, haha. But I enjoy knitting them, and coming up with my own ideas, and I am curious to see if they will sell. If they sell like hot-cakes, I might up my prices, if they don’t, I won’t lower the prices, I’ll just prance around the house in all my silk-shawled glory, and if family and friends are really nice to me…

I have even managed to knit for myself. This tunic, Serenity, has been finished for quite a while. I used our fingering singles in the colour Dusk. I really love it, and I don’t look quite as fat in real life as I do in these pictures, although this IS an excellent sweater to hide all kinds of lumps and bumps.

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(Frankie never worries about the size of HIS ass).

I also knit another cowl, which goes fabulously with my tunic. I used Mushroom and Damson & Denim in merino/cashmere/nylon lace. I have enough to knit another, which I might sell.

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I still have another sweater to finish before the Twist Festival in our 8 ply sock, and a few more shawls, I hope.

(a wee update to the post – another sweater I knit!) I completely forgot to add this sweater to my post, Persimmon:

1aIMG_1744 I used Berroco’s Indigo, a yarn from recycled jeans. I really like the feel and love the colour (and I love matching my bag!) I changed the top pattern since the original just uses garter stitch. This yarn is not terribly bouncy and the garter stitch part was much wider, so I ripped back and substituted another pattern. I also knit an i-cord at the beginning of the garter stitch edges. It makes for a much neater edge.

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Since I’ve already given you gratuitous Frankie butt shots, I’ll leave you with this cutie, can’t wait to see him again. He’s rocking that electro-static hair look!e