Art! Yarn! (not Artyarn!)

We have been very busy lately. Last weekend our co-conspirator in knitting pursuits, Maureen, had an opening at The General in Almonte.  Here is Maureen (incognito in her shades) enjoying the sunshine with another artistic friend, Diane Lemire.  I am acquiring quite a collection of Maureen’s pottery, well whatever my husband and son don’t break inadvertently.1IMG_1704

Back on the home front, it’s SPRING! (Although with a week of 30+ degrees, Summer is trying to elbow its way in).

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This is the view from our studio. It looks just like our yarn, Wasabi! Should have called it Dandelion Field??

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Kathryn has been furiously working away to create pieces for the upcoming Artists Studio Open House in Farrellton, and then next weekend, the art show in the Glebe. I’ll be helping out Friday night at the Open House, so come by for a glass of wine! Or a painting, or a skein of yarn – we will have a yarn table 🙂  You can also come by on Saturday or Sunday.1IMG_1731I think this is one of my favourites:a1IMG_1733 This rooster seems to be saying “You will be MINE” or at least those crumbs on your shirt will be.

I have been dyeing to add to our own stock for summer markets and upcoming fibre events. We have a few new colours and once Kathryn is back to dyeing more often, she will work on more new formulas. Here is a fun lemony one: Poppy Seed Cake (the name “Ants in Lemon Curd” was a close runner-up). 1IMG_1734

I will tease you with more pictures of piles of yarn, waiting to go to a good home (who needs puppies and kittens when you can have yarn).

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I actually have lots of knitting to show but will write a separate blog post about that.

I will leave you with more nature… in my driveway! A fawn! Molting! (We have lots of deer around here but it’s still exciting when they come to eat my weeds).

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Working on the weekend

I guess knitting with our yarn to make a sample could be considered working? Even if it is fun? And you can drink wine while doing it?  I dyed up some MCN lace in Cobalt & Rust recently. There was an underweight skein (90 gm), so I used it up to knit a versatile cowl. IMG_2373

This was yesterday (I started it on Friday), with my friend’s dog, Playa, offering support (and soulful eyes). And here it is today, all washed, blocked and dried. (Some day I will remember to look at the lens).

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It is super easy, using the Old Shale pattern.

Old Shale Cowl in MCN lace:

Gauge isn’t terribly important, I had 18 stitches per 4″ or 10 cm.

With 4 mm circular needles, cast on 216 stitches. Place marker and join in the round.

Round 1: purl

Round 2: knit

Round 3: purl (place markers every 18 stitches, this will make it easier to see what you are doing for the old shale pattern, this will also make it easier to drink wine and not totally screw up the pattern).

Round 4: [k2tog (3 times), *yo, k1* (6 times), ssk (3 times)]  repeat till end of round (a total of 12 times).

Round 5: purl

Round 6: knit

Round 7: knit

Repeat rounds 4-7 until desired length. I used about 3 gm of yarn for every repeat. Make sure you have at least 8 gm of yarn left before ending.

Finish on round 7 then repeat rounds 1-3 and cast off using a lace bind off, or your favourite stretchy bind off. I used this one: knit the first 2 stitches, put those 2 stitches back onto the left needle and knit them together through the back loop (k2tbl). You now have one stitch on the right needle and all the rest on the left, knit 1 stitch from left needle (2 on right needle now), put those 2 back on the left needle and knit them together through the back loop. Continue like this until all the stitches are bound off.

I’ll leave you with a few more craptastic shots!

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Enjoy!

 

Life’s mysteries and then some knitting…

You might already know that my daughter had another baby (sporting the OpArt blanket).

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You might think from my title that I will wax on about the miracle of birth, life, babies, etc… Actually the greatest mystery to me is the mind of a young child.

I’ve been down in Cape Cod for a month helping out, here is my to-do list, including such things as “watch Dinotrux” (grandson’s suggestion), “express anal gland” (of dog, and politely declined on my part), “no knitting” (ha! nice try), and “potty training.”IMG_1958

We’re sprinting to the finish in toilet training (please do not tell me how your child was trained by the age of 16 months). Things are going well, but what is it with pooping??? Why the resistance? (I know there are probably thousands of studies on this, thank you Dr. Freud). Why does he deny doing it in his pants? Or after you have just finished cleaning him up, defiantly say, “see, no poop”, implying you are an idiot. Or when you ask if he just farted (a harbinger if ever there was one), replies “the farting has stopped,” like some public service announcement. Why does he say, “I not pooping” with his obvious poop face on, and then 30 seconds later say, “I pooped”. Even when a toy he has been coveting is hung on the wall opposite his potty, and he is excited about the fact that if he poops in the toilet/potty, it will be his, and as he is lovingly gazing at it, imagining all the fun he will have with that toy when he poops in the potty, he poops his pants. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHY????

So I got my daughter these:

shitshow(More hilarious items can be found here).

He knows the alphabet, a dozen dinosaur names, he can count to 20 (well, sort of, if 18 actually came after 13), he can follow Lego instructions, he understands what the word “transparent” means and shows you all the time, except when it comes to the WORKING OF HIS MIND.

I have no memory of how I toilet trained my kids, an indication perhaps of how traumatic the process was? I just have some old grainy pictures of a cousin or two sitting on the potty while tied to their cribs. I’m sure this method would be frowned upon today, if not actually being an indictable offence, but it is starting to look pretty freaking brilliant to me.

Now on to knitting! Despite having “no knitting” on my so-called to-do list, I did get some in. I bought this little sweater second-hand for grandson #1 some years ago. The bottom of the sweater was once also just white, but something got to it and chewed it up. So I ordered some navy and white worsted weight cotton, cut off the bottom and knit a stripy finish.

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And with the leftover yarn, knit this little sweater:a5

I also managed to work a bit on my “Serenity”, in the colourway Dusk. I am determined to finish at least another three projects showcasing our yarn, so there is knitting monogamy in my future.

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And lastly, a fun acquisition:

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Because you can never have too many knitting-related kitschy items!

 

A short round-up

Well, I am off to Cape Cod soon, to wait out the birth of my next grandson and help out over the next month once he’s arrived. I finished up some more baby things and a toy for grandson number one. I must say that I am all baby-knitted-out for the moment. Fiddly little things tire me out.

I knit this Baby Falling Leaves blanket from some machine washable cotton/acrylic. I like the end result but the knitting wasn’t very enjoyable since I only had written directions and I much prefer charts. It says there are charts but I didn’t receive any in my pdf download and only discovered this alleged fact, after the fact, so to speak.IMG_1857(And a gratuitous Frankie shot!)

I whipped up another little blanket and this dinosaur toy. The blanket is a free Knitty pattern from 2008, OpArt. I think this is the third time I’ve made it. Easy-peasy, good TV knitting. The toy is made with Knitpicks Swish and it already looks worn. It pills if you look at it too sternly, it pills if you sneeze. I embroidered little blue dots where the stuffing shows through the knitting (knit front and back into one stitch + short row = little hole) and then threw in a few random dots to hide the fact that I was hiding holes. I can still outsmart a 3 year old. I am, however, so sick of knitting short rows in the round that it will take some time before I make another one in a better-wearing yarn.IMG_1945

All this means that I am abandoning Kathryn. I feel guilty. I feel guilty for leaving but I also feel guilty for not being able to help out with my grandkid(s) more. I think we’ll just have to form a yarn-dyeing-grandkid-daycare commune in the Eastern Townships.

So, speaking of yarn! We have so many beautiful new colours and lots of ideas for more. If you haven’t seen the pictures on Instagram, here are a few (some new and some old):5CD3D06A-B79C-403F-8325-40955A207C18

(Hell’s Kitchen, Wicked and Little Burgundy – all new)

AND

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(Goa, Blueberry Pie, Amethyst and Sailor). Of course my pictures don’t capture the depth of the colours, so you’ll just have come see for yourself! Or check out the etsy shop, better pictures there.

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(And a few more oldies, Vandyke, Hot Bricks and Spring Day)

We are still working on knitting up little triangles to make a banner. Here is a pile of skeins and yarn drying, they are just so pretty! We’ve also been doing lots of speckled yarn and have ideas for new colours.3E7401B1-ECBE-454F-A42C-C1119025318FI’ve started yet another sweater in one of the new colours. The colour is Dusk, a lavender/taupe mix, and I am making Serenity (which would have been a good name for the colour too!) I am also knitting a chevron scarf from Tangerine and Amethyst. Kathryn is making herself a sweater with our DK yarn dyed in Storm, the pattern is called Laurie.F836121A-D01A-456A-B6F3-E4E0205A4E17We are so excited about having lots of new offerings this year! I’ll be taking some of my projects down with me to Cape Cod in the delusional belief that maybe I can get a bit of knitting done, hahahahaha.

Even though it is March (and I know it is technically still “winter”) all this snow somehow feels so wrong. The dogs, however, are having a ball:IMG_1905

And after much frolicking… a much needed nap.IMG_1907

The adrenaline rush of knitting

Ok, once you stop laughing, hear me out. Although knitting is associated with calmness, meditative repetition, low blood pressure (then why am I on medication???) blah, blah, blah, it can also give you a rush. Sometimes it’s like mountain climbers pushing for the summit, the thrill of making it up there. But without that subsequent realization of  f$&@, I have get back down alive. (Although the thought of seaming or weaving in ends does elicit the same reaction in some people.) Plus I get to feel pumped in the comfort of my warm house, probably on my couch with a glass of wine and not clinging to a crumbling glacier in a snowstorm. Really, who is crazy here?
Anyway, I’m talking about knitting something that comes out EXACTLY as you envisioned it. This is the case with my last three projects. My hand-dyed sweater that I showed in the previous post, my just finished hap and a baby blanket. Two of these projects were finished in record time because I just couldn’t put them down (the baby blanket not so much, but I rallied at the end).
Here is my hap, folded in half and keeping me toasty warm.
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I spun all the yarn for this, in about a week. The gradient border is mostly some Shetland yarn from southern Ontario, Hopeful Shetlands, the moorit middle is British Shetland I bought from the Fibre Garden, the darker midsection is some US Romney I spun up about 3 years ago, and the deep chocolate brown is some unidentified wool I bought in Almonte from Fortune Hill Farm. The pattern is Gudrun’s Hansel (and I knit it in about 4 days!) And it turned out exactly how I planned and even blocked out perfectly. I was a bit meh about all that brown at first, feeling very 70’s, was worried I might be tempted to go out and get new appliances in Avocado and add a burnt orange shag rug, but I controlled myself, and I quite like the natural shading.
I used almost all my yarn. I weighed the moorit that I used for the centre because I knew I wouldn’t have enough. At a bit less than the halfway mark, I switched to the romney, and then ended with the rest of the moorit. This is what I had left at the end of the centre square:
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This just goes to show you that a digital kitchen scale is your friend (while a bathroom scale is NOT). Get one for knitting, if you don’t have one already (throw the bathroom one out). Here it is in all its brown squarish glory:
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I should have added more stitches when picking up for the lace border since that yarn was a bit thinner than the rest but blocking fixed that. Remember, blocking can fix just about anything, well maybe not a broken washing machine or marriage, but pretty well anything else.
This project and my sweater were especially thrilling to finish. I was just so darned happy with the result, hence my little (compared to the above-mentioned mountain climbers, but what do they know) shot of adrenaline.
And it is not just about making things for myself, I do get a thrill from making things for others. (Hopefully they will be just as thrilled to receive it, otherwise you might see me on season 2 of Making a Murderer, just saying). So speaking of making things for others (no worries, lucky recipient, haha), although it was a slog, so many steps… I’m very happy with the result. Another Sleepy Monkey Blanket, (notice my hap photobombing):
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I sewed on a flannel backing (enough knitting already!) I used Cascade Cherub (machine washable and dryable – acrylic/nylon – I know, stop gagging). Not sure how it will hold up, it seems rather loosely spun. Fingers crossed. I knit it in the round, sewed it 3 times on each side of the steek and cut it! And it’s fine! I made one a couple of years ago for my daughter in Berroco Comfort DK (also acrylic/nylon – stop gagging) and it has held up just fine. I only knit in machine washable/dryable yarns for babies, unless I know the mother is as anal retentive as I am, because I KNOW it will end up in the washing machine and the dryer along with all the other puked upon blankets and jammies.
Kathryn was also pretty relieved to finish this project, more relief than adrenaline, I think. It is Solaris, made mostly with our Riverside Studio merino fingering singles.
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It was a long and not terribly exciting knit, she tells me, but I think it turned out quite beautifully!
I am working on Secret Garden, in one of our new colours, Wicked (which I have utterly failed to capture here). I really like the pattern, but am adding an i-cord-like border along the garter edge. Looks much neater and won’t over stretch.
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It was quite an ordeal getting this yarn into cakes (Merino/cashmere/nylon sock, BTW). They were oversized leftover skeins with knots and I managed to make this unholy mess of it (maybe that was my inner-kitten coming out):
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Well that’s it for now, it’s my shift to shovel snow. I’ll leave you with Frankie looking like a sugar donut. He quite likes cold weather and snow, if only I could teach him to shovel…
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Lack of focus

Well, no surprise there. I know I have to finish some baby items, within a month. So what do I do? Knit a sweater for myself and start a hap blanket (for myself). This is not nearly as selfish as it sounds. Really. The sweater is totally justifiable. We (Riverside Studio) have a new yarn, a DK weight, 100% superwash Merino. Yum. So I had to dye some up and knit something. First up was a cowl:IMG_1240a

But I needed more! So I dyed up enough yarn (more than enough it turns out) for a sweater. For me, MOI, nobody else! One of my favourite colourways is Sundown, a blue and orange mix. I knit this in nine days, which includes the day I dyed it. Ha, stick that in your pipe and smoke it! (what does that even mean?) Warning, picture heavy:

IMG_1286aIMG_1288aIMG_1278a This last pic is not some smug selfie but to show you how freakingly matchy my earrings are, which I bought, I believe, in 1990? Sometimes fate takes a long time. The pattern is a Vogue Knitting one, #02 Bateau neck (always with the poetic names for their patterns). Vogue lost me for a few years, crazy expensive novelty yarn, over the top designs – wait, I don’t think six different stitch patterns in one sweater are enough, so let’s also make it in 100% Vicuña at $200 a skein! But lately I’ve been liking their patterns (still full of mistakes). I added quite a bit of length to both the body and the sleeves. No crop tops for this middle-aged survivor of the 1980’s!

But back to our yarn… This is a 4-ply yarn, squishy and bouncy with fantastic stitch definition. It didn’t grow too much, but I did wash and dry it mid-way through the back just to make sure. I always do that with superwash yarn since swatches are known to be evil little liars.

Next up is Darsham, a Rowan pattern (love their stuff lately too). I dyed this in our colourway Pond and am using our new 8-ply sock yarn. Another bouncy yarn, just a joy to knit.IMG_1296aI love the clever use of cables and this yarn is great with cables. Next up will be a sweater in some BFL sport weight that we are thinking of carrying. I dyed some up in Goldenrod.IMG_1303a

It is not quite as bright yellow as this appears, I’m having camera “challenges”. But nothing wrong with bright yellow.

My other distraction was spinning. A friend asked for some pointers, so I thought I had better spin a bit before offering up any wisdom on the subject. And then I got sucked down that black hole. I had some Shetland roving sitting around for a couple of years now and decided to make Hansel, a Shetland hap shawl/lap blanket (for MOI, since if I gave to somebody else, who might throw it in the washer, I might have to kill them). I spun it up as a gradient, then spun some other Moorit (brown) Shetland I had, but had to also use some Romney I had already spun (3 years ago?) and some deep dark delicious brown roving, mysteriously called 100% wool, to make sure I had enough (yay fibre stash!).IMG_1289a I am really loving it, even though I realize it might end up looking like a hippy-tastic 1970’s rustic shawl/blanket. I’ll take my chances and start wearing Berkinstocks if it does. I have one more brown rainbow repeat to knit. Woot!

I have not forgotten the babies. One already born (almost finished the blankie) and one on the way. I have finished one little sweater, with another in the works, and a blankie. IMG_1293a

Kathryn has also been trying out new colours. Fantastic colours! Hard to photograph colours.

The reds on both ends are actually the same colour, just different lighting. See what I mean? Anyways, the colours are complex and scrumptious, and there will be more.

Well, I will leave you with some cuteness, as always. Shelma, our ward for 3 months, who I couldn’t find and after panicking a bit, discovered her in a carry-on bag. Small dogs, you never know where they will turn up.IMG_1649a

While Frankie observed from our psychedelic Giant Tiger (if you are from the Outaouais you’ll know what I mean) cheapo fleece blanket protecting the daybed, thinking, small dogs, you never know where they’ll turn up.IMG_1648a

 

Snowballs?

Let me first wish everybody a Happy New Year! We finally have snow! I’m thinking of switching to the Orthodox Christmas, not just to take advantage of boxing day sales but to have a better chance for snow? Frankie is loving it, but this is what he looked like after a romp in deep snow:101He also grew a new pair – if you know what I mean. I’m sure he was very pleased with himself 🙂   But then they melted 😦

Sorry I have been AWOL for so long. I was pretty sick before and through Christmas. Lost my sense of taste. My cardamom pumpkin pie tasted like salt (?!) I had to get my son to taste my cooking and then sat down to enjoy a meal basically comprised of cardboard as far as I was concerned. I did however get some Christmas knitting done, after I swore I wasn’t going to do any Christmas knitting. Mostly small surprises, more fingerless gloves in our sport weight yarn, one for Kathryn and one for another studio friend:

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I also knit up this pillowcase for my daughter in the now-discontinued Mission Falls superwash yarn. The pattern is Lyle Owl Pillow by Natalie Servant. A fun knit. I highly recommend her patterns, I have many more to knit up.109 (I’m not sure how I get almost everything I knit to match my wretched couch).

I used invisible floats again:110

I was planning on showing the stranded sweater that I was working on for myself but got side-lined with another project, a baby blanket for my daughter’s sister-in-law who had to give birth much sooner than planned. Everyone is fine. So I am furiously working away on another Sleepy Monkey Blanket (I’ve linked to the one I previously made for my grandson). Again using the invisible floats, through the monkey’s face where there are some very long bits of stranding. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I can’t recommend this method enough.107I also managed to finish some socks for hubby. This is from our new 8 ply sock yarn, such squishy goodness! The colourway was Kathryn’s first take on a request from La Maison Tricotée, grey with flecks of rust, turquoise and brown. Can’t wait to make myself a pair!106

I knit myself this shawl, Elbow River, by Heidi Kirrmaier. It is knit side-to-side and is not quite as simple as it looks. She always has nice little details that make for a better result with your knitting. I used our 3 ply sock yarn in Azulejo and some random reds we had lying about. I’ll have to wear to a Habs game!102This one is for Kathryn, fingering singles in Ghost, Petroleum, Graphite and Ice Blue.103Kathryn gave me this fantastic drawing of sheep! I like how the first one looks like a band member from KISS and the last one like a balaklava- wearing robber. And I guess the middle one is just not amused by it all?111We are back at work now, finishing up an order for La Maison Tricotée and starting on other ones. Kathryn will soon disappear behind that wall of worsted.104We have some plans for the new year, a website, a new yarn line – we hope, and new colours of course. I will let you know as soon as we are up and running!

In the meantime, I have to send off this sweater for my grandson’s birthday. The Teddy Sweater, a very easy knit and easily adjustable for size and other animals. And I have to get knitting for the new grandson on the way, in March. I will be abandoning Kathryn for a month then to go help out my daughter.108I’ll leave you with a bad selfie of me and Henry. Neither one of us understands what it means to actually look at the camera. Oh well, I guess we are too old for this sort of thing. 116

Hope the coming year is kind to you!