Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Snowy, Knitting Kind of Day

Good morning Vancouver! After our nice little dump yesterday, we have some nice wet snow - perfect for snow balls and snowmen. Better than that dry small popcorn snow (little balls that look and feel like packing material). Much better. Ok, so this is nothing for a Canadian winter, but for Vancouver - well, this is enough to shut the city down.

Makes it all the more fun to be inside and knit!

Yesterday the sis and I took a trip out to Richmond's Fabricana (if you're in to fabric, this has EVERYTHING - two floors - need I say more?) Although I am not into sewing in the slightest, my sister is great at it, and it's fun to look at all the colour:

We had a great crafting afternoon yesterday - I finished my Susie's Mittens up to the point of seaming (still cannot bring myself to do this yet - blocking will happen thereafter.

 I did not start the Damson, that will wait for another day, but the Brandywine Shawl by Rosemary (Romi) Hill:

For the life of me, I cannot get this picture to go upright - so it will just have to remain sideways. I am checking off two ticks with one knit: this will be using up 3 skeins of Malabrigo Silky Merino in Blackberry from my stash (yay!) and this will be my third shawl of 2011. I was greatly inspired by Gussie's Brandywine. Mmm, delicious.

I am back into reading again (knitting seems to distract me from this). In fact, look at my treasure of a library I found all at Value Village last weekend:

Lots of good stuff! Can't wait to go atter. No library fines this way too - and as I may be moving this year, I really have to get through these fast to decide what will stay and what is worth moving.

The other day, I came across the blog Yarn Bombing, with a request for cherry blossoms to decorate the tree outside of the Historic Joy Kogawa house. As the deadline was March 1st, and flowers are relatively simple, and I love cherry blossoms, I did up this little guy - took about an hour:

As I live in Vancouver, I am going to drop this by today or tomorrow. Knitting and crochet patterns are all included on the blog. Great project!

Spring is coming!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Madelinetosh Sock - Merry Christmas to Me!

This arrived in the mail for me today. A box full of Madelinetosh Sock from Valley Yarn in Langley.






My stash for 2011 is looking better every day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Springtree Road = Stashbusting Enemy

KT - tell me about it!

If you don't want to use up your stash, or you are trying to use up your stash, but are just a glutton for punishment, check out Springtree Road.

Pictures are worth a thousand words.

Enough said.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Yarn Love

Well, Happy Monday everyone. And it truly is another great Monday for me: I received my second package of sock yarn from Impulse of Delight, the online store based in Whistler, BC. It is sure nice being able to support the local yarn folk, especially when these three little darlings were waiting for me on my doorstep tonight:

I really wanted to try out all of her sock yarn weights and bases, so I think between the two orders I have covered them off: (from left to right):

1. Superwash Merino - 2 ply fingering weight in Blue Velvet
2. Bluefaced Bliss - 100% Bluefaced Leicester in Twilight
3. Mere Sock - 80% merino/10% cashmere/10% nylon in Dark Amethyst

Can't wait to knit up these skeins also.

Goal #2 this week was ship off everyone's Christmas gifts (yes, for last year). Well, almost there. 2 more to go - and that I am determined to be tomorrow.

Knitting this week has gone by a little slower. For instance, Hippo is still not done yet (I have to admit I'm not a big fan of stuffing), and I only completed one of Susie's Reading Mitts:

But I am determined to get the pair done this week.

Getting an opportunity to meet little Lewis, I did up a cute and quick Sprout toque - 6 month size ish. We'll see how big his head gets :) Pretty tiny right now!

I did make it up to Three Bags Full this evening, braving the crazy traffic in the light Vancouver blizzard to pick up some US 8 circs to start on the Brandywine Shawl by Rosemary Hill. Love it. And majority of the pattern sales go to Haiti, so this is good. I fell in love with Gussie's Brandywine Shawl on Ravelry made from Malabrigo Yarn Silky Merino in grey. But I am going to do mine in blackberry to use up 3 skeins in my stash, to make me eligible for prizes in the group 12 in 2011 (knitting 12 items from your stash in one year).

As you might have noticed, I am changing things up on the blog a bit this week - more inspiring links and a cooler background - love how the raindrops come up.

More inspiration pages:

1) A Verb for Keeping Warm - a wicked store mentioned in Ysolda's blog this week - fabrics, yarn galore - something I will definitely check out when in Oakland, Cali.
2) The Flying Kettle Etsy Shop - More online goodness
3) Not new, but Sweet Georgia has how to knit fast like the experts videos that I am so going to learn...
4) Miso Crafty - trials and tribulations of knitting.
5) MadBird Etsy Shop - Christmas presents for me... hint hint hint...
6) Joyafibres - makes very pretty buttons too!
7) Hedgehog Fibres - can't wait for more yarn to buy!
8) Fig and Plum - pretty pictures with a next-door-neighbour feel.

See the side bar!

Goals before next Monday:

1) Finish Susie's Reading Mitts
2) Start Damson shawl
3) Finish Hippo
4) Finish Penelope monster if eyes are received


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Check off the List

Goal #1 completed for this week: finally finished Ben's Christmas Scarf. I think it turned out great. I hope he likes it!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Knitting Some Love

Happy belated Valentine's Day! After a serious case of the Mondays at work yesterday, I couldn't have asked for a better evening:

1) When I received a cute little puffy package of yarn from Impulse-of-Delight - my first online, completely blind (aka no touching) order of yarn. And I was NOT!!! disappointed.

The two skeins were:

a) Summit Sock in Winterbark Purples (mimicked after true bark photos):

b) Blissful Sock in Coppergreen:

Delicious. I had so much fun receiving them - I decided to order some more! I love how all the colourways are after mountain scenes.

2) I have finally blocked Ben's Christmas (yes, Christmas) Scarf.One more full day to dry, and it will be done and ready to finally give.

Can't wait:

200 pins later, it has stretched to 6.75 feet x 5.25 inches.

Thanks to my Sunshine for the T-pins - you're so romantic :)

3) Got the most delicious and beautiful homemade Valentine's cookie (you can see it helped me block above) and cutest homemade owl ever! from my sista:

How cute is this guy? I think I will name him Bob. You can learn how to sew this by taking the class at Spool of Thread in Vancouver.
4) Had the most beautiful chocolate cheesecake made for me by my Sunshine, better looking than this one:

So, everything ended well.

Since my last blog, I have finished the Christmas Ishbel:

I actually loved how it turned out. A little busy perhaps, but the grey really balanced out the other colours. Definitely more Christmassy - but can't wait til next year to start wearing it!

I have started my first stash busting knitting project: Susie's Reading Mitts - some fingerless mitts that have a little fancy-dancy added to them. Fellow knitter Kirsten knit them up in Berrocco Lustra, and I decided to do the same:

Pretty and shiny and blue!

Knitting goals this week:

1) Send all Christmas gifts out to recipients.
2) Finish Susie's Mitts
3) Start next project - shawl? I have a hankering...
4) Finish Hippo

I hope everyone else had a great day yesterday!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

2011 Knitting Goals

As you can see from the sidebar, I love lists. Lists make me feel accomplished, as if I have done something by just making a list. I love beginnings, and work, so a list of Knitting Goals for 2011 is something exciting to start on.

My goals this year:

1) Knit 11 Shawls in 2011, joining the group in Ravelry, and actually completing the challenge. I am a big fan of the shawl right now, and I'm already on to #2.

2) Knit one project per month using yarn from my stash. I left a lot of yarn in Africa, so my stash is actually doing pretty good, but if I want to save a little money this year, and be able to buy more yarn, this is a reasonable ambition I think.

3) Knit 1 ADULT sweater. Baby sweaters just don't count. Time to stop being a chicken - this year is the year.

A couple of things to check out:

Knitting online magazine - KnitCircus
New Podcast/Blog - Never Not Knitting

Happy New Year!

Back, Into a New Year

So, my first blog post after Africa. Well, there's tons of things I could go on about, but I'll just chat about the knitting for now.

Going to Malawi for 3 weeks was the reset button I needed. A completely different culture and climate, it was the place I needed to be, and I loved every minute of it. Ok, well, not every minute - but in those trying times (it was hot, extremely sweaty, the bus wouldn't go, or the bus would be going for SO long), knitting saved me, it really did. It provided the necessary distraction from the crazy driving, and the long bus stops where I swear we hadn't been on the road for longer than 30s that we were stopped again. Seriously. And it was hot. 30+ degrees hot. Sweat just running down your back. And all I could think was: "One more row, just do one more row and maybe you can finish a row before the bus gets moving again". These long bus trips, and 1.5 weeks sitting at a beautiful hut in Nkhata Bay really helped the knitting come along. It was hard to keep motivated some days as the snorkelling, napping, and eating really got in the way.

But, after all is said and done, I was able to finally finish the Christmas presents that I just couldn't get done by Christmas:

1) All the Toasts for my girls in Malabrigo Merino Worsted (loved the colourways):

Colourways were - Orchid, Tuareg, Paris Night, and Forest. Gorgeous mottling in all but the Tuareg which I found to be just a beautiful turquoise.
2) My Mom's Chirstmas Multnomah that I seriously screwed up on Christmas Eve, rows and rows to be ripped out, reknit, then knit some more to provide my better size. I used the beautiful as always Sweet Georgia Cashluxe Fine sock yarn in Tourlamine - reminded me of the colours of the ocean, and the feather and fan pattern creates a wave-like effect.

3) An Ishbel shawl for me (yay!!) from Sweet Georgia's Stella colourway in Cashluxe Fine sock yarn, and I am in love! Thought it might be a bit bold to wear, but a) I absolutely love how well laid out this pattern is - very easy to follow - I might check out more of Miss Ysolda's patterns this year ( I am already on to Ishbel #2), b) the size is just perfect, not too short like my lovely but small Simple Yet Effective Shawl, and c) wears great with neutrals. I'm very happy with this. Blocking has helped increase the size a bit also.

God, love this colourway!

4) 3/4s of a hippo from Red Heart icky icky icky!!! acryllic grey and Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton in light pink, the pattern from Susan B. Anderson. Absolutely fantastic, but I need to stuff the parts, and do the finishing.

5) And last, but not least, I ripped out the entire linen stitch scarf for the boyfriend's dad for Christmas, on my last week of the trip. I am not impressed with a) the pattern where if you screw up to pick up the slipped/knitted/purled stitches is quite difficult when there are 280/row b) the yarn - it is so soft, but sheds worse than a camel! and I was very embarrassed to work on it in pubic as I would end up wearing the scarf (not intentionally). But it was good work for the 27 hours in the airplane home (thank god all flights were good to take my needles!!), and just last night have casted off with the last bit of Rowan Coccoon in grey (do not need any more of this contaminating my stock), and need to do the finishing touches and blocking. More pics to come.

I was definitely over ambitious when 1/2 my backpack was full of yarn and needles for my projects - I unfortunately had to leave some behind. But I did trade crafts for them (carvings and such), and taught one of the craft women, Mercy, to knit in the round, which was very exciting. Crochet net hats are very popular there, but there is only black. Now she has some beautiful Sweet Georgia Tourlamine, pinks, and Gourmet Crafter Gourmet Sock in Tofino Fern to work with, and sell something different.It was really hard giving these up though, and I almost cried when she had to tug it from my hand. Mercy obviously caught on quicly - her hands were a blurr. And yes, we were knitting in the dirt.

After getting back, I had a full week without knitting anything (gasp), even though I went into the yarn store the day after I got back, pleased to see more Gourmet Crafter colourways. I scooped up Stanley Park Lights - beautiful yarn that literally looks like she put a bag of M+Ms in a melting pot with the yarn, or Christmas light flickers - very cool - but definitely more of a Christmas yarn feel (good work Alexa)! I have started another Ishbel in it already.

I also had to get another skein of Tofino Fern because I just love it and needed to replace it.

Sweet Georgia called to me on the rack also this week, so I got the Cashluxe Fine (god forbid I went down to the Tough Love Sock level) in Boheme, a beautiful colour that looks like Neopolitan Icecream with it's pink, white, and brown colour ways. Mmm, makes me want ice cream!

All in all, a great trip, and I'm glad to come back to cold weather (ok, not really), just for the fact that knitting is comfortable and I can wear what I make.
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