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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Knitter’s folly

This post will again go backwards in time. Mostly so I can keep the cutest pictures for last (hint: not furry and four-legged).

I just got back from the Eastern Ontario Needlers’ Retreat in the Gananoque (their 25th Anniversary!), held at the Glen House Resort. This was my fifth or sixth year, I’m not sure, it’s all a blur. There are almost 70 of us, so it is a pretty raucous time. Many of us only see each other once a year at this event. The poor sole (non-knitting) male at the bar didn’t know what hit him when we all congregated in the pub to sign up for our classes, have a few beverages and pet each other’s knits (which we were wearing at the time but that is sooo allowed). People imagine us knitters to be quiet types, grannies-in-training, but we are a naughty, naughty bunch. I go with three other friends, and shared a room with one of them. We even had a little sitting area in our room (which quickly became a knitting/wine drinking nook):

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and this was the view from our room:

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Friday night, after dinner and a few drinks (we are very naughty and I am very stupid, knocking over my red wine and splattering some on my WHITE sweater), we have show-and-tell. It is great fun and very inspirational to see everyone’s work. Here is a gaggle of knitters who all knit Natalie Servant’s Peloton pattern.DSCF4150Now, this is a knitting retreat, so yes, you guessed it, we knit. All the time. At breakfast, lunch and supper (we had to ask the staff in the dining area to turn up the lights since we weren’t there to date each other but to KNIT, so none of this romantic mood lighting for us). Notice the clever use of coffee cups:

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So what did I end up doing the day BEFORE the retreat? (Hence the title of this post). Knit, knit, knit. I had to finish my sweater. I promised my friend Robin that I would come with the sweater I made from her yarn (from her sheep and which you can buy here.) I used Elderberry Pie, spun from Polwarth sheep. Here I am talking about it (before the red wine incident).IMG_8004_medium2I spent the rest of the evening washing out the spots, first with white wine (between a few gulps) and then seltzer water and then a full bath in shampoo and conditioner and it worked! Post-wine proof (and post-tea-dribble proof – maybe I shouldn’t wear white or only drink white wine, even for breakfast):DSCF4156I took the textured stitch pattern from Winnipeg Pullover in Interweave Winter 2014, and used a cable from another sweater in that issue and then knit it top-down.

I also finished my Betty Mouat cowl. I wasn’t expecting to finish before the retreat but in a moment of madness decided I could do it. I grafted 399 stitches the night before the retreat, until just past midnight. Then I had to soak it and block it. It was still slightly damp when I headed out with it. But that’s what knitters do.

Excuse my expression, I was caught mid-whine about grafting 399 stitches. Which by the way is a few repeats less than the pattern calls for. I’m glad I made it shorter, it is plenty long and fits very well this way. Besides then I would have had to graft 504 stitches and that is just crazy!IMG_8005_medium2

This is how it looks on, twisted double around my neck:

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and three times:

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and notice my fantastically matching Hermaness tam! I am currently making the slouchy version of the Hermaness hat, in Brooklyn Tweed Loft, in the colour Camper. It matches the mid-red Jamieson & Smith almost perfectly. Although my attempt at actually capturing the colour has failed again.

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I was also a vendor at the retreat for Kathryn’s yarn, and I did very well indeed. I kept myself under control and the only yarn I bought was again from my friend Robin (I did however win 7 skeins of Briggs & Little Heritage!!! in blue!!!! enough to make a sweater/coat!!!! which I have already started!!!) This time I bought her fingering weight Elderberry Wine which is wool, alpaca, silk and nylon. It is delicious. I’ll do some kind of colourwork sweater with it. Again, the blue is much richer than my pathetic photo would have you think.

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I also ended up with some silk hankies ( I had to, they were for a class taught by the lovely Francine). You draft a hankie and then knit straight from it. We were making chunky cowls, but you can draft it thinner and make fingerless gloves or whatever you like! The hankies were dyed by Yvonne of Yvieknits Yarns. I picked an acid yellow/green to go with my bright royal blue coat.

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So now that I am back home I am full of inspiration and have even more projects on the go. I started another Moroccan Nights in Kathryn’s Riverside Studio Merino Singles (a rich brown/rust colour):

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and Such a Winter’s Day in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter:

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I am knitting it in three big blocks of colour, grey, grey/blue, and blue. Can you tell I’m into blue lately??

But before all this knitterly excitement, I was in Cape Cod to visit a certain someone…aP1160102A happy little fellow (yes I knit that sweater, this is a knitting blog). The yarn is discontinued, Knitpicks Felici Sport and the pattern is Boatneck Pullover from 60 More Quick Baby Knits. He was also edible adorable in his new hoodie:DSCF4063It fit him perfectly! with room to grow. (Of course I bored everyone to death at the retreat with pictures of my cutie, but it was just to show the sweaters, I swear!)

Well that was my month and a half, hope yours was good!

Kathryn and I will be at the Idle Hands Craft Fair on 23 November at St. Anthony’s Banquet Hall, 523 St. Anthony Street, Ottawa (just off Preston) with loads of yarn.

Hope to see you there! (I don’t abuse exclamation marks, do I?!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Working for the weekend…

Haha, do you have that Loverboy song stuck in your head now? It was earworming me for a couple of days after I found out that they are coming out with a new album. The 80’s: been there, done that, have the t-shirt. And I’m not going back, especially for the hideous t-shirts.

But back to OUR actual topic… Kathryn HAS been working for the weekend, for the Twist Fibre Festival weekend, 25-26 August.

Some yarn and fibre drying:

BFL roving, we both love BFL, love to spin and knit with it (don’t you just want to pet it?):

She even had her visiting mother, an acclaimed artist and teacher, working! Slave driver!

Some gorgeous wool and silk yarn:

And a box bursting with roving!

I was busy too. I put down some of my latest obsessions and got to work on samples for Kathryn. It is a new shawl pattern – the green one is knit with BFL and the red one is from Kathryn’s fingering weight merino singles. I haven’t come up with a name for it yet because I suck at coming up with names (like I suck at taking pictures) but I will by the time I make it available. (Then again, I could be brilliantly inventive and original like Vogue Knitting magazine and name it “#05 Lace shawl”.) I am also working on a slightly different version in Kathryn’s sport weight alpaca/soy yarn, but that will still be on the needles and in the experimental stage for Twist.

If you have a idea for a name, let me know!

And hope to see you at Twist!