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

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

 

Busy days

We have been very busy lately. This will be a long post about our retreat, upcoming events, vintage purchases and more! Warning: picture heavy.

First off, Kathryn will be at the Montreal Knitting Guild tonight (October 14th) giving a talk and selling her wares. Then she will be at the Ottawa Knitting Guild’s vendors’ night on the 27th, at the Christmas craft fair at Vorlage (in Wakefield) on November 8 and 9, and at the Idle Hands fair in Ottawa on November 23. Then I think she should put her feet up for a little while.

We had our little knitting retreat at the end of September, the weather was fabulous! So were the participants!

IMG_2064We  hold the retreat at “The Barn”, sort of literally, it once was a barn…

IMG_2065 But it doesn’t look like a barn on the inside. Here are some hard-working knitters:DSC_1784

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Maureen cooked up fabulous meals:

IMG_2069 That was just lunch, I didn’t even get dinner shots because excessive drooling was hindering the operation of a camera.

And there was dyeing! Always a very popular activity and this year’s yarn was particularly beautiful:

DSC_1780 IMG_2075 IMG_2066 We even had this participant who came with her 5 month old baby! Who was a doll and was happily passed around and initiated into the obsessive world of knitting. She should be casting on by 9 months.

DSC_1779 And drooling over checking out the yarn…

IMG_8337 (2)Kathryn and I are enjoying a little downtime. There was a baby just off screen, hence the smiles.

I also had a surprise for our knitters, bracelets!

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Made from old knitting needles that I scored at Value Village!

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You just drop them into a pot of simmering water, push them down as they become soft (like spaghetti), after about 5 minutes take one out with tongs and with heat-resistant gloves, twist them into a bracelet. Hold until cool (which is very quick – so just do one at  a time). If it is too big or too small, drop back into the pot. Voila. Crazy knitters’ jewelry!  I just picked up another 40 or so knitting needles and plan on making a pile for the next retreat that I’m attending. I even bent a 10 mm one, I kept that one for myself, it’s so hardcore! Not all old plastic needles work, one broke, another just sort of melted at the tip but 98% of them worked.

Next year we will be holding our retreat in the spring again, it seems to work out better for everyone. I’m thinking of teaching double knitting again, that was a fun class and I plan on writing up a cowl and hat pattern to hand out (based on some Hungarian embroidery work from my grandmother).

This past weekend, we celebrated Wool Day at the Saturday farmers’ market. We brought spinning wheels and spindles and Kathryn’s yarn, of course! By chance, the owner of Wool Is Not Enough (Vancouver) stopped by and bought bags of Kathryn’s yarn. So keep an eye out for it in Vancouver!

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DSCF3965 This was the tent next to ours, felting with Hannah Ranger, a very talented local felter. I bought something from her for my daughter’s birthday, but I’m not telling. And this picture segues perfectly into my next series of pictures…

In preparation for all these upcoming events, I helped Kathryn for a day in her studio (hopefully someday soon it will be more than just a day here or there, still working on the logistics of that…) And who should greet us at the studio but this little guy:

DSCF3938 Hannah’s new Australian shepherd puppy, Django! Of course I cheated on Frankie, what’s a dog lover to do??

DSCF3940 When a puppy offers up his belly to rub, you’ve got to go for it!

DSCF3945 He also came for a little visit every once in a while (after this very proper and staid picture he threw himself on that bag of roving, good sheep dog that he is). And then on me, melt…

DSCF3947 Although he might have just been confused by my cow-print apron.

I did do a little dyeing for myself. I had some alpaca/wool in an ugly beige (well ugly for me) so I over-dyed it blue and less-ugly-taupe for this sweater: Laszlo cardigan.

My colours are more subdued. It went from this:

DSCF3943  Which doesn’t show it’s truly ugly beigy-ness. To this:

DSCF3949 And it is knitting up fabulously:

DSCF4004 Everything I knit lately has to go with with jeans, hmmmm, I think I have “retirement” on the brain, well semi-retirement since I do plan on doing other things. And in addition to this wondrous dye-job, Kathryn gave me this freakingly beautiful yarn!!!

DSCF4012 (2) I’ve played around trying to capture the colour, close…

I plan on making another Moroccan Nights with it. I just finished this version, in Wellington Fibres mohair/wool fingering weight. It was a bit of a slog, one skein was darker and had a tighter twist than the others. I was alternating skeins and then switched to just that last skein. But after a hot bath (the sweater not me), it still looked pretty crappy on the bottom, that part didn’t bloom like the rest of the sweater. So I frogged the whole body! And started again, alternating every other row with the two different skeins. It worked out that way, and I am quite pleased. It has a beautiful sheen and is pretty soft for mohair (but I have a high itch threshold).

DSC_1765DSC_1767 This pattern has all kinds of lovely details. Kathryn made one from her yarn and it looks gorgeous. (But she is a bad, bad poster and picture-taker of her own stuff, so you have to take my word). I don’t usually knit the same pattern twice but this is such a fun knit (all of Rililie’s patterns are fun).

When I scored those old plastic knitting needles, I also scored a pile of old knitting magazines! Some from the 60’s/70’s (fantastic) and the 90’s (mostly hideous and hilarious). Here are a few of my faves:

DSCF3985 Yeah, cause nothing says He-Man like bobbles.

And hey, aren’t those guys the Kennedys???

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I dare you to knit this one:

DSCF3987 In baby-blue and olive green, cause those colours go so well together. I don’t understand what the hell is going on with that monstrosity, it looks like some kind of weird moss is taking over and will strangle the poor guy.

DSCF3986 Well, they are just a bunch of scamps, aren’t they? Why do all men from the 60’s have furrowed brows? Worrying about Communists and nuclear war, no doubt. He could save this poor Stepford wife, I think her fake eyelashes weigh about a pound each! Oh my!

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This knitting magazine should have been called Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown:

DSCF3993 Oh my god! the migraine! the migraine from these eyelashes!

And who knew that Mary Maxim was ever this mod!!! Agent 99!

DSCF3988 Except that it goes totally downhill on the inside:

DSCF3989 Wow. I’m kind of speechless.

I kind of like these, from a Danish magazine, where the women seem much happier. I would feel like a pyrex dish though.

DSCF3992And then there were the 90’s. You remember the 90’s don’t you?

DSCF3977 Think I might have to use some of my plastic needles to poke my eyes out.

I actually found a few nice patterns in these 90’s Vogue knitting mags:

DSCF3978 This is pretty adorable. And this is quite elegant:

DSCF3981 But they were few and far between. Outnumbered by the likes of these:

DSCF3979 Ugh.

Well, I will leave you with more pleasing images of fall and Frankie (I did stay true in the end):

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And checking out a highly suspicious looking pumpkin. What kind of a soccer ball is that?

DSCF3969I’m off to Cape Cod soon to frolic with my grandson, so will post again upon my return, with pictures of his new sweaters knit by MOI.

 

 

 

Just catching my breath…

It has been a very busy fall for all of us. Maureen was working flat out for a pottery show that took place in early November, Kathryn has been dyeing yarn no stop for some large store orders, for the Vorlage craft fair which was in early November  and for Idle Hands Art, Craft and Vintage sale which will be on 1 December (St. Anthony’s Banquet Hall in Ottawa). Now that I’m home, I helped Kathryn, mostly grunt work, skeining, tagging etc. So guess where I was?DSCF3709Why yes, that is the ocean and my grandson (in a hand knit sweater)! I was in Cape Cod again, for 2 weeks of beautiful weather and family time. I gave my daughter a few hand knit items for her birthday:darThe hat is from Kate Davies, Colours of Shetland, and the sweater from Melissa Wehrle’s Metropolitan Knits. Both books are fantastic and I plan on knitting virtually every single thing in them.

It was close to Halloween so we dressed the cutey up in an outfit that was his dad’s as a baby. DSCF3775He took his role as Parts Manager (or Farts Manager as his dad suggested) for Gulf a tad seriously but melted many a heart in Provincetown as we strolled along and then topped for a fantastic lunch.

He is 9 months old and starting to walk fairly regularly – even without mom’s helping hands. (oh, and is that another hand-knit sweater?)

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When I came home, I was off to the Gananoque for an annual knitting retreat that I go to with some friends. It was a blast as usual. We had an enormous room, with a living area and a bar and 2 bathrooms! It’s right on the water, this was our view:

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The classes were great, Natalie Servant, a fantastic designer and overall super nice person, gave a class on an Estonian technique called Roositud. It looks like embroidery but you weave the other colour of yarn as you are knitting. It is a great  alternative to intarsia for those of us who hate intarsia more than doing taxes (that would be me). Natalie of course pushed it to the nth degree, knitting 24 little Xmas mitts for her tree. She was working on them all through the retreat:DSCF3850And managed to get them all done! Crazy girl.DSCF3852This a more complicated version of this technique (also knit by Natalie). I can definitely see it in my future…IMG_6148_medium2Natalie gave me a spindle made with what looks like marbles (and there are heavier ones you can substitute these for and spin thicker yarn). I had given her one that didn’t do anything for me, so she reciprocated. Then she even won some roving during our raffle night and shared some with me. How nice is that?DSCF3860Anna Dalvi taught shaping shawls and had many beautiful samples to show. I have both her books and am itching to get knitting on some her shawls (once my Xmas knitting is done).DSCF3845And then there is Mary Pat. She often teaches at this retreat, and sometimes just comes as a civilian, and her classes are always wacky and fun. This year we picked from a list of techniques that she thought should be a part of any good knitter’s toolbox. She wrote and sang a knitter’s version of “A Few of My Favourite Things”. You had to be there. Plus she has the best hair, eyeglasses, earrings and outfits. Always a blast. IMG_6158_medium2

We also have a show and tell. So many beautiful things… this shawl was knit by Noreen in Kathryn’s yarn.IMG_6135_medium2The pattern is Radiance Shawl, and she used yarn that she bought from me at the last retreat (we also have a vendors night). Wouldn’t it look great with a purple or indigo dress? You’d never get lost in a crowd!

And my room-mate Nancy made this one from Twist Collective, Celestarium:IMG_6128_medium2The night sky! In beads! Nancy added that border to make it larger.

We also all come dressed in all our knitted finery. I wore my Kate Davies outfit from Colours of Shetland. The hat is made with Jamieson & Smith, and the tunic with Knitpicks Palette. IMG_6212_medium2

IMG_6217_medium2On the way home, we were already plotting what to knit for the next retreat, it sure gets your knitting juices running, haha.

In other knitting news, Kathryn and I both finished our Toujours, both in her wool/tussah silk blend. We chose very different fits. Her is more fitted and I went with loose and long. Which got looser and longer after washing. Argh.photo (49)I like it but I liked it better before washing. So I washed it again and threw it in the dryer. I kept an eye on it and it tightened up just enough. The yarn held up fantastically well and I probably could have left it in the dryer till it was bone dry but didn’t dare. So now it’s not quite as “wavy” as in the picture.

Here is a peek at the piles of yarn Kathryn dyed up:photo (51)(I’m knitting Ninian with that green yarn – because why can’t a person have 20 green sweaters? – anyway it only takes 2 skeins of Kathryn’s cashmere lace weight/light fingering yarn). Well that was our busy month of October and some of November.

I’ll end this post with a picture I forgot to add to my last one about my mom. It is one of my favourite pictures. The quality isn’t very good. But how prescient is it?IMG_NEWHalf a century before DeadMau5!

Deadmau5 In Concert At L'Olympia

To Twist and Back

Who knew yarn could be so exhausting! Kathryn, Maureen and I spent the weekend in St-André-Avellin at the Twist Fibre Festival. There were all kinds of knitting, spinning and felting workshops and about 68 vendors with yarn, roving, fleece, pottery, clothing and various hand-made items. Here we are enjoying a beer (as you can see I’ve already “enjoyed” mine) before the insanity began.1Our friend Francine was already there (with the scarf), and we met Stephanie, she writes patterns for children’s clothing and sells knitted items.  2And we met Yvonne, of Yvieknits, she and Francine shared a booth.23They were knitting, we opted to just quaff our beer, knitting would have got in the way! We were all staying at Auberge Petite-Nation, good prices, good beer (but you know that already), clean and simple rooms. Just one drawback… the shower from hell, death by a thousand needles.12I guess this keeps water usage to a minimum, nobody can stand more than about 3 minutes in there, wash your hair, and anything you can stand having the needle-spray hit on your body and get the hell out! I believe this shower head not so secretly desires to be a mechanical meat tenderizer, like this:

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Now back to happier thoughts… We set up on Friday and headed over to the arena before the 9 am start of festivities on Saturday. 9 am to 6 pm. A looooong day. Well worth it but exhausting. Sunday was marginally better, we got to quit at 5 pm. But I did make a sale at 4:55, so who’s complaining.3How pretty is that? All of Kathryn’s batts were gone by 1 pm! She will have loads more for Almonte (more info at end of post). Hopeful Shetlands was next door to us, like last year, with an old sock knitting machine that kept the crowd fascinated.4Kathryn wore the lace-weight tee I knit to showcase her yarn. I will write up some sort of pattern since people are bugging me for it. But since I am not an overly enthusiastic pattern-writer, it will be a guideline of sorts, with advice on how to make it fit (it’s really a pretty simple top-down piece) and I will get it done soon. Promise. Really. Well maybe.22We also inadvertently brought exactly the same skirt, in exactly the same colour. Guess having similar taste helps keep the peace when deciding on what to knit for samples. My dummy was a big hit too. Everyone seemed to really like the shawl (cashmere merino lace) and the pattern (not mine, but Boxleaf Triangle from Anne Hanson) and the top was knitted in Kathryn’s merino singles (just over 2 skeins!), the pattern is Folded.14The woman in the  background was knitting super thick but super soft wool on needles the size of broom handles!

By Sunday afternoon, the booth was getting a bit sparse… Yay!13Since we all know that my yarn somehow miraculously reproduces, filling my formerly-known-as-guest-now-yarn room, I was fairly well-behaved in the purchasing department, looking for yarn I don’t actually have (I know, how is that possible??? yarn I don’t have???)

I got loads of silk (my plan, down the road, soonish, is to knit fingering/dk silk shawls – my design, so no copyright infringement, to sell as a finished product, for a fair amount of $$, and see it they sell. If not, I’ll just look fabulous for years to come, or give them as Christmas presents that can never really be fully reciprocated, haha). Anyway, my silk dealer was Daf at Farmable Fibres, and I bought this:20

Kathryn and Maureen also grabbed some of that silk, who could resist? The silk roving on the side, I plan to spin for myself and I got that from The Roving Spinners booth, she packaged her silk to look like candy, very clever and really, isn’t silk the candy of spinning?6Such beautiful colours:7I also splurged on a sheep mug! Everyone needs a sheep mug! And some ceramic buttons from Laura Sheppard (I know she should change the spelling of her last name, I’ll suggest it next time).8I really liked her yarn bowls too, maybe next year…10I also got some beautiful mohair blend yarn from Wellington Fibres, lace weight in teal/peacock and fingering in a mustardy shade for a sweater. Maureen got a skein of the lace weight in a beautiful shade of purple and Kathryn bought a few boxes of dyed locks. We saw lots of people walking around with Wellington Fibre boxes. Again great value for your $. 

21The picture does not show the true colour. The yarn cake on the side (how perfect is that, yarn and cake??) is cotton fingering Wolle’s colour changing yarn, which I’ve been wanting to try out. Lastly, I did actually buy something for someone other than myself, hard to believe, I know. I couldn’t resist another felted animal head from FeltFactory. For my grandson, in Cape Cod where nary a moose is to be seen. (I myself have actually seen one on our highway, not hit, but freaking out and he did make it to safety).19My mother was worried that it might frighten the little guy, but I figure if you grow up with felted animal heads on your wall, why would they frighten you? Better than clown heads, which are just evil.

Back to Kathryn’s yarn, these lovely ladies carry her yarn in Montreal and they had a booth at Twist, La Maison Tricotée:16And Kathryn will be at the Mississipi Valley Fibre Festival in Almonte (in the Almonte Arena) on September 7 and 8. Hope to see you there!

Back in the knitting saddle

It’s been a while since our last post. Life gets in the way. But then knitting needles its way back into it!

In mid-May I managed to finished a couple of shawls. One for myself from Kathryn’s fabulous yarn, another Color Affection. This time I made it deeper and not so long –  makes it easier to wear. My alpaca one (ridiculously long) could be wrapped around my shoulders 3 or 4 times and seems to grow like a python every time I wear it. 3And Hari, for my sister, for her birthday. I made it quite wide and then twisted it into a faux-moebius so it can be worn as a shawl, a long scarf or a cowl. I used Dye-Guy Paca-Toes. Super fun pattern, watching how the little peaks form. Very clever yet simple.11Kathryn was at our local market a couple of weekends ago. She hasn’t done the market too often this spring, the weather hasn’t been the greatest or she has been busy (moving her studio!) It’s always fun to hang out at the market and knit.1fDon’t you just want to throw yourself onto that table? We did have people petting the yarn (and a few who even bought some!) So Kathryn is now about 10 minutes outside of Wakefield, in what used to be an elementary school, now turned into several artists’ studios. She has enough room to dye yarn and paint. We’ll do a post on that next, just have to get some pictures…

I haven’t been knitting much lately, too busy, surprising great-grand ma and holding my grandson as much as possible. The family, all the family, got together for my mom’s 83rd birthday.1cDue to slight logistical problems, or maybe dyslexia, the cakes pronounced her to be 38! Who wouldn’t want that? (Although I don’t think I’d want to be 15 again). She had no idea her great-grand son would make an appearance. And although the child had to be shared, we managed.1eBut great-grand ma, and grand-ma (that would be Moi) got dibs and got to squeeze him the most.

Frankie was more interested in the local fauna:image (10)Only as a friend, not as lunch. But it was all too much for the little guy and soon he was out cold. Dirt is the best place to sleep, it’s cool and damp and nobody wants you to come back into the house.1dThere was some knitting related occurrences, I did finish a sweater for my daughter:2013_06170114Another Shellseeker, very Cape Cod appropriate, don’t you think? And it is knit from yarn we bought there, but made in Virginia, close enough I say to be considered “local”. She, in turn, brought me a little surprise. Not knitted but made of wool and cotton, so close enough for me!j2I’m a sucker for ocean-themed stuff. The cats like it too (it’s already covered in hair), and I think Henry is fat enough to completely cover the whale. Wonder if that makes him feel empowered (or just fat as a whale).

Now to knitting. It’s been raining all day here so I finally dug into my knitting basket to prioritize my madness. And speaking of whales, I’m back at  my whale cardigan, which I think I blogged about LAST summer, but never got it done. I wasn’t keen on how the pattern began, you have to start the left and right fronts from the top down, then the back and then join them up… I wasn’t sure about the sizing etc. so it just sat there. So instead, I’m doing a pattern mash-up. I started with Slanted Sleeven, which is a top-down cardigan using the contiguous method  (so you get the look of a set-in sleeve) and has a self-made button band too. I’m guessing at the size and fudging numbers since the Sleeven pattern calls for 22 stitches/4″ and my yarn and the other pattern knits up at 24 and row counts are completely different, but so far so good, it fits my dress form at rate. I’ll try it on once I join up the body and if it doesn’t fit, it’s back to the drawing board, but I have feeling all will be well.j3See how nicely the sleeves are forming, and the whale tails, and the beautiful band. It’s like cooking in a crock pot, you just throw in everything at once. Here it is from the front:j4I’m using Araucania Itata, a fingering weight wool/bamboo/silk blend, which looks like crap when knitting (bottom half of sweater) but really nice once you block it (top half).

I’m also working on a sweater with some yarn that Kathryn had dyed, a wool/tussah silk blend. Kathryn is making the same sweater, in the same yarn but a different colour. I chose this fantastic green:j1It will be Toujours, a nice loose casual pullover. It’s pretty mindless knitting, good for watching Netflix by.

I’ll end it here, since at this point I’m sure you feel like these two… and are thinking, enough already!12

Whew!

It has been a whirlwind 3 weeks (for me, Julie, at least). So  I will go backwards in time…

THE RETREAT!

We just had our little retreat in Wakefield (first weekend in May). It was a blast. There were 16 of us, 12 participants and 4 worker bees. We hold it at “The Barn”, which used to be somebody’s very funky home but is now rented out for events of all kinds:

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8714931231_cd6afeae2d_z (2)You can see why it is called the Barn. Despite a bad cold, Maureen cooked up a storm, with help from her daughter (and Kathryn). Although I’m not sure that we had enough food, I mean sometimes an entire half hour went by when we didn’t have something to eat.

8716056788_3ca5576111_z (2)Although it was a beautiful sunny weekend we spent a lot of it inside knitting… A few keeners, concentrating hard…

2013_05050030There was lots of sharing, and all I can say is thank god for iPads and free wifi! I might have to get one…. When we weren’t knitting, we were scrolling.

2013_05050031There was also some relaxation and lots of laughs. Although as you can see, some people can NEVER put down their knitting needles.

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I gave a class on two-handed stranded knitting and another on yarn substitution, Kathryn gave a dyeing class. Here is some yarn steaming and simmering on the stove (conveniently located outside).

8714946167_98c5c47347_z (2)And drying on the line, yarn couldn’t have a prettier place to hang out and dry.

8716063654_f7c2398fc3_c (2)There were also oodles of Kathryn’s yarns for purchase:

8716061996_5003525f2c_z (2)Because every knitter knows, you CAN’T have too much yarn, despite what other people might say (who know NOTHING, by the way).

On our final day we took a group shot, unfortunately two of our participants had already left, but they have their yarn and memories…

8716052482_2e313feb93_b (2)We think everyone had a good time (at least they tell us they did) and that some new things were learned and shared, including lots of food and probably a few extra pounds (if I could share those, I would!)

And one of our participants, Josée, sent me this picture just after the retreat, well on her way knitting her stranded mittens!

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Before the retreat, I went to visit my daughter and grandson in Cape Cod. First time I met the little guy (who was 2.5 months when I arrived and 3 when I left). I came prepared with all kinds of knits (which will surely humiliate him later in life). Every baby needs an octopus hat.

1Mother and son in knits, knit by me. I know, I know, it’s not always about ME (knitting) but actually this blog sort of is. Note the Peter Rabbit buttons…

3He is a very happy baby:

2013_04290026And we managed to spend a bit of time at the ocean, windy but nice. The baby just slept through it all, he’ll have years and years of ocean fun ahead of him (with more crazy sea creature hats, I’m sure).

IMG_0745 (2)And despite some worrying and a desperate search for lower-back painkillers, it turns out that walking a lot and carrying a 12 lb baby around for 2 weeks actually does wonders for the back. For mine at least. Maybe when I go back to my cubicle-rat job, I should periodically rock a 12 lb bag of flour at my desk. If nothing else, maybe I can get myself forced out for mental health issues? I’ll have to dress it in an octopus hat…

I even managed to pump out a Cape Cod sweater (a tradition I seem to have started with myself). I didn’t think I’d have time, but I knit this up in one weekend. Norah Gaughan’s Route 1, knit in Berroco’s Remix. It took less than 4 balls!

1 (2)Just before I left for Cape Cod, this was the weather here:

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But while I was gone, my little Magnolia tree actually blossomed! I received this last year from my son for my birthday and I didn’t kill it!

2013_05070019And a moment of magnolia zen for Frankie:

2013_05060010Which lasted until he noticed this visitor, up a tree:

pA chubby porcupine! I love porcupines, they are like Dr. Seuss characters come alive. Frankie has yet to be quilled and he couldn’t get near this guy (yay fence!) but I think he would learn his lesson if he ever did (he would just want to play, no aggression in this guy).

I’ll leave you with some human cuteness this time:

photo (31)Might Finn be thinking: “where’s my Canadian Grandma??” But more than likely he’s working on a fart (a few which, by the way, I have on video) – kids these days have no idea of their future torment with every burp, fart and sneeze digitally captured.

Big Beautiful Batts

A brand new toy (ummm, I mean tool) came into my studio last Thursday. A Patrick Green Big Batt Drum Carder. The excitement!!! The anticipation!!! I spent Friday dyeing up bits and pieces of fibre so there would be something to experiment on. Julie and I set a date for a carding party, and on sunday we spent the day in fibery heaven. We opened Deb Menz’s Colour in Spinning up to the the carding section and then we got busy.

The carder in motion

The carder in motion

 A batt being formed

A batt being formed

The finished batt!!

The finished batt!!

another batt

another batt

yet another

yet another

Monday we spent the afternoon spinning up our new treasures.

All spun up. 50 grams of incredibly soft gorgeous yarn.

All spun up. 50 grams of incredibly soft gorgeous yarn.

Our spinning companion

Our spinning companion

Now it’s back to the studio. Stay tuned for more beautiful batts, soon to be available at katsriversidestudio.etsy.com

In the dead of winter, a middle-aged woman’s fancy turns to thoughts of …. the spring knitting retreat!

It is snowing, it will be -20 something all week, but I’m just thinking about the first weekend in May, our little spring knitting retreat. We’ve already booked The Barn, and now is the time to start thinking about our classes. I’ll give you a hint:

6and

7and

4and finally

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Yes! The basics of stranded knitting. I’m in love, in love with stranded knitting, and like anyone in love, you just have to share that warm fuzzy glow of knitterly love. So in our class, once you figure out how best to hold the yarns in your hand/hands (I knit double handed), we will focus on colour dominance with some exercises, and tension/floats. I am going to try to complete all my stranded projects so I will have lots of examples and I’ll knit up little samples too.

Kathryn will do her dyeing workshop and talk about colour theory, especially as it pertains to stranded knitting, what to think of when deciding on foreground and background colours.

Then on Sunday, I’ll give a class on yarn substitution. Things to consider when substituting yarn in a given pattern and you want the yarn to be similar to the original, and ideas for making substitutions that are completely different from the original (I knit a jacket at the original gauge with fingering mohair when the original called for worsted/aran weight wool). I’ll bring plenty of examples.

As it is a new year, I counted the number of projects I knit last year:

11 cardigans ; 3 pullovers ; 5 scarves/shawls ; 8 baby things ; 2 short sleeved tops ; 3 hats. Keep in mind it wasn’t all for me. Mostly, but not all. Especially the baby stuff.

Well, back to my knitting, so I will be prepared for May. I leave you with pictures of Frankie discovering the joys of eating ice:

mmm, what’s that?

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well maybe just a taste…

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Oh, yeah! fantastic! but could use a soupcon of cat poop…

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