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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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

 

What I love about knitting

Because this pathetic storage attempt:

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Can be turned into this:

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And this shoulder tote:DSCF3589used to be a vest my mom made me when I was 10 years old. I turned it into a tote for my daughter. It is lined, has a zipper and a shoulder strap and she still uses it.

And although I knitted what I thought was a size 12/18 months pullover, it fits my 7.5 month old grandson pretty well…

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But the beauty of knitting is that I can add to it! I I have another ball of the stuff (Knit Picks Stroll sport) and am heading off to Cape Cod soon, so I’ll just knit a few extra inches so he can keep growing into it.

Mostly what I love is that knitting provides loads of memories. You remember knitting all those special things. I even remember what movie I was “watching” when I knit a particular sweater. I recently visited my mom and we went through some old photo albums. She remembered the colour and the yarn and when and how she knit every sweater that we looked at. My parents lived through some tough times in communist Hungary and then fled in 1956, leaving pretty well everything behind. While in Hungary, my mother had to be very clever and frugal, usually taking apart old clothing to make new stylish pieces.

She started young:1And quickly got the hang of things. All her sweaters were knit without a pattern, just based on something she saw or used to own, and she figured it all out for herself. Think about that the next time you are searching for a pattern to knit wrist warmers!

This sweater was apple green:6

Here’s a more detailed shot.7Even the button is covered  with knitted material. And it had angled slash pockets, mirroring the neckline. I thought she bought this one, but no, she knitted it, possibly using bicycle spokes the yarn is so fine!

This one was gold, a pattern she came up with on her own, a bit of a Chinoiserie feel to it:19

 

And full body shot:17

It even had a front pouch for pockets.

This one was blue, with sweet little rows of eyelet and a zipper:20

 

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Look at that collar! I mean, look at it!

And this clever construction resulted in a striped V front:9

She knit another version of this once they were in Canada, in yellow and white, because she left the other one behind:4And even knit a clever sweater for my father:

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All these sweaters were knit with incredibly fine yarn, and completely professionally finished. A bit later in life she worked in a knitting store in Montreal. She brought in some of her garments to show her level of knitting ability and was hired on the spot.

Here is the dress I mentioned in an earlier post, again knit in fingering weight yarn, it was rusty orange with black flecks:2

The neckline is a zigzag sewn on at each point. Later she added sleeves and then later yet she took the whole thing apart and my sister used the yarn to knit herself a shawl-collared pullover. My mother was never overly sentimental about her knitted things and routinely unraveled them to make new things.22My sister and I had matching knitted jackets, when we outgrew them, she frogged them and knitted one houndstooth patterned jacket out of them.

And this dress later became a sweater, she just adjusted the little skirt part of it (and that is some LITTLE skirt, yay 60’s)5I won’t be unraveling and reknitting any of my sweaters any time soon (unless they turn out to be truly wretched) since I can afford not to, but I love the idea that I can. And I can make something new or something better. It drives me nuts when I hear people say they are “afraid” to try a technique or a style or whatever in knitting. If it doesn’t work, tear it out and start again, for crying out loud! What is there to be afraid of??? The yarn won’t be wasted and actually your time won’t be wasted either because maybe you’ll learn something new.

So get out there and KNIT!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

More projects than you can shake a stick at

New projects just keep piling up! What’s a girl to do??

1. I must finish birthday knitting for my sister, which at this point is almost a month late. In my defense, this project has decided to become difficult and I had to figure out a way to tame it into submission before I threw it across the room to the cats. I have it figured out, but now I have to finish it. The cats are disappointed.

2. I’m going to be a grandma! (which really should be in first place on my list but I have till January to get all the baby knitting done). I have already completed a baby blanket, a variation on Sunbreak, and am working on a pseudo-matching sweater (matching only in yarn):

3. I want to knit virtually everything in these two books (this will be one well-dressed baby):

Despite having an enormous stash, I ordered machine washable yarn from KnitPicks. It’s always great when you have a legitimate reason to order more yarn. Guilt-free yarn, how is that even possible!

4. These are two shawl/shawlettes I am knitting with Kathryn’s beautiful yarn. The pattern is mostly written up but I have to finish the red shawl, block the shawls and revise the pattern. Hopefully it will be finished this month. (oh, and a sock pattern and a pair of sample socks with her yarn).

5. I am itching to get to work on a longer-term project. I have many beautiful pillowcases from Hungary embroidered by my grand-mother many many years ago with different Hungarian motifs. They were well loved in my family (read used and abused) and so are now quite fragile. I plan on reinterpreting these designs into double-knitting patterns. I even found some Hungarian embroidery books for sale at our library for 50 cents each!

And to make all this knitting even more fun (how is that possible you ask?), I’ve accumulated a stash of stitch markers from Francine, leaves, owls and citrus fruit.

Of course I have other projects on the go, but admitting one’s insanity is always best done in baby steps, I say.

More retreat treats

I had a great time at our little retreat. Everyone laughed a lot, they were pretty game to sleep with strangers (some rooms had 6 beds) but earplugs helped.  As to actual knitting and dyeing, we split the class up on Saturday, so half dyed yarn and half worked on double knitting. And then we switched it up in the afternoon. This worked well as everyone was able to get individual attention. Here are a few more pictures from the retreat.

Knitters concentrating on their double knitting:

Close-up of some double knitting, you can see a few errant bars across the stitches but those were soon fixed. Everyone did a great job!

Kathryn‘s beautiful yarn, and Francine‘s beautiful shawl pins (and stitch markers) for sale:

And thematic cookies for everyone, made by my baker-daughter (who I may have mentioned in this blog, once or twice, or maybe three times, but whose counting.)

Lastly, Henry bids you adieu (with a little blue and green double knitting poking out from behind him), and says, thanks for the yarn, baby, just try to take it away, come on, try.