cowl

Radio Silence

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Yep, it’s been radio silence here on the blog for almost two months now – I know, it’s totally unacceptable! But as you may have guessed, things have been busy again both at work and at home, and I also couldn’t really post pictures of most of the tings I was working on in the last couple months as they were intended to become Christmas presents, and you know how much I hate spoiling surprises 🙂 As the holidays are now over, I am now pretty excited to show you the result of my hard work AND of my little Christmas shopping spree, but first things first I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! 🙂

Now, let’s talk knitted presents. For my mom, I made an Iron Maiden shawl using an almost full skein of Tosh Merino light in color “Shire”. The shawl came out pretty big, and my mom was so happy she made a little dance when she unwrapped it 🙂 I made a few small changes to the number of repeats for each section that are detailed on my project page here.

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My brother’s girlfriend received the Call & Response cowl I made over the summer, that you may (or may not) have seen posted on the blog here – it was a wonderful test-knit for Sarah Schira.

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For my step-brother’s girlfriend, I made a Fidra hat using a skein of Katia’s Peru in a very pretty olive green (the actual color looks more like the picture on the left). I am currently working on completing the set by making a pair of wristers that’ll probably appear on a blog within a couple weeks, using the second skein I have of the same yarn.

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Lastly, for my sister in law, I am working on a very purple Star Anise hat to match the infinity scarf I made her last year. I’m hoping to finish it and get it in the mail by mid-January, since I ran out of yarn and couldn’t finish it while we are here in Ohio. I still love the pattern as much as I did when I made one for my brother’s girlfriend last year, but this time I downsized to 2.75 – 3.25 mm needles instead of the recommended 3.25 – 3.5 mm since hers turned out a little bit on the large side. I am using a purple Baby Luv 100% acrylic yarn bought at Walmart in Canada, the very same one I used for her scarf. I don’t usually like to work with acrylic, but it seemed to be the best option here as I wanted both the scarf and the hat to wash easy and not shrink or wrinkle, and my sister in law finds wool to be very itchy so this baby soft acrylic seemed to be the perfect option.

As for me, I guess I have to admit that I was spoiled rotten by my mom in law who offered me a very nice adjustable sewing dressform (more precisely a Dritz Celine Standard Plus) and a yarn store gift certificate, to which a very funny story is attached. Since I didn’t have time this year to make her a little handmade something for Christmas like I usually do, my honeybee and I stopped at a little yarn store when we arrived in Ohio so I could get her a little present and a gift certificate – I thought is was the perfect idea since she also likes to knit and weave. The store we stopped at is Yarn Cravin’, a cute little yarn shop in Perrysburg, OH that I happen to really like shopping at when we’re in the area. Funny thing is, my mom in law actually remembered I had mentionned liking this store, so she had also bought a gift certificate for me for the same store! We laughed so darn hard! Either way, I made good use of my present this week and came back with these little lovelies here:

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There’s 2 skeins of Dream in Color’s Wisp yarn, which is a 2 play lace weight yarn in a 50/50 merino-silk blend, 2 skeins of Berroco’s Folio yarn in color “Raspberry coulis” and 8 skeins of Plymouth’s Nettle Grove yarn in color “Mermaid”, which is a nice sport weight Cotton/linen blend yarn that will be more than perfect for a summer top.

Once we’re back in Quebec, I’ll make some time to prepare my 2016 recap and review the good and the bad shots of the year. Stay tuned! 🙂

Texture, oh texture!

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Things have been a little hectic lately for many reasons; namely here wedding planning in full swing, various knits in progress, tour de fleece and a week-long vacation spent visiting my soon-to-be in-laws in Ohio. I won’t bore you with all the details, but let’s just say that it’s been a little hard to keep up with everything.

First thing first, I want to share with you all my happiness as I found a fellow knitter on Ravelry who was sweet enough to send me her Cascade Heritage’s leftovers so I could finish my Dessine-moi un mouton. Yay! I started working on the sleeves last week and should very soon have something interesting to share with you guys so stay tuned!

In other news, I also just recently finished test-knitting this gorgeous Call &Response Cowl for the lovely Sarah Schira and I am in love with it! This design hasn’t been published yet, but I’ll make sure to update this post with the link as soon as it is.

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The pattern was every shade of perfect;  it’s easy to follow, it’s fun and interesting to knit and it’s got lots of changes so it’s never boring. I also love the fact that the cowl is tapered off towards the top, creating a very flattering shape around the shoulders. Awesomeness!

Among other cool things, I’ve also been spinning along a little bit as the tour the fleece is progressing, but I must say that I have been making very, very little progress on the gorgeous Merino/Tencel roving I started. Since the tour is almost over already, I think it’s obvious by now that I won’t finish in time but I’m fine with that – a little spin is better than no spin at all, isn’t?

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On the personal front, we’ve been enjoying the summer weather and people’s company; hanging out with my honeybee’s family, going to the zoo & attending my very first Air Show at the Toledo airport on the 16th. Much much fun in very good company! 🙂

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Enough about me now, how’s been your summer so far yarnies?

Double First

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Earlier this week, I finished this amazing Askews Me Dickey cowl from Stephen West for my good friend Alex, and I couldn’t be more pleased at how it turned out! This project is a double first for me, it’s the first time I knit anything from (the VERY popular) Stephen West, and it’s also is my very first brioche stitch project.

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Although it felt a little strange at first since I’ve never knitted brioche stitch and also because I don’t knit very often with more that one color at once, I must admit that I loved every single stitch of this amazing cowl; the pattern was easy enough to follow for a first-time brioche knitter, the yarn and pattern combo was perfect and the construction of the cowl itself was very interesting. As a bonus, the pattern also features my all time favorite I-cord  bind-off. Sweetness! All in all, I had a lot of fun making this project, and I can foresee many a brioche stitch in my future. I actually loved this cowl so much that I think I’ll make one for myself one in a different color some time this year, I’m very much looking forward to it!

Yarn A: 1 skein of worsted weight merino yarn, hand dyed by the lovely Yana from Artfil
Yarn B: 1 skein of Berroco Vintage yarn in black

Needle: 4.5mm caspian circular needle

And sometimes, magic happens!

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For the longest time, I’ve been wanting to make a project using some of the handspun yarns I have. I’ve been spinning for a couple years now and during this time I’ve made several yummy handspun additions to my stash.

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I must confess though that aside from my unsuccessful BlueSand Cardigan attempt currently wasting away in the slumber pile, I had yet to finish a project using any of those gorgeous handspuns, and I thought it was such a shame! But earlier this week, inspiration stroke as I was going through my friend’s activity feed on Ravelry, and noticed someone had made an Arika Cowl. The pattern immediately piqued my interest because I thought it would be a perfect match for my Cheshire Cat purple handspun; it was the right yarn weight and yardage combined with a fun and unusual construction for a cowl, with an amazing fringe as a bonus.

I got so excited that I immediately bought the pattern and cast-on on Monday. Tuesday, the body was done, and I still had a full skein left so I thought I could make a matching hat. Since I had decided at that point to make the cowl with buttons instead of a seam, I quickly went around the pattern database looking for a hat pattern with a button in about the same yarn weight, and found the (free!) Moss Stitch Hat pattern from Erin Anton. Just perfect!

And following this streak of sudden inspiration, magic happened…

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2015 in numbers

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2015 came to an end, which means it’s time for me to look back on what I accomplished and set new goals for the year to come.

2015

In 2015, I used 9372 yards of yarn in a total of 17 projects. Out of those 17 projects, 16 were knitted, 1 was crocheted and 0 were woven.

These numbers are telling me that I used 8.9% less yardage than last year, but I’m still satisfied by my performance since I made more project (17 compared to 16) and that most of them were knitted (16 compared to 11); and as most of you know, knitted items generally tend to use less yarn and more time than crocheted ones.

Now let’s review the resolutions I posted here last year and assess whether or not I was able to achieve my goals in 2015. Drumroll….

  1. I want to learn how to relax more.
    This one is a work in progress, and although I think I was able to make some time for myself this year, I think I still need to make a few more changes in my everyday life to make it more zen.
  2. I want to start less and finish more.
    Ok, maybe I didn’t ACE this one, but I think I did a pretty good job. I still have 3 WIPs on the needles and a couple projects hibernating in my closet, but at least I was able to go through my WIPs, frog the ones I knew wouldn’t go anywhere and concentrated my efforts in projects I was actually interested in and finished them. In my book, that’s a good thing, so I call this one a success.
  3. I want to knit from stash.
    Last year I promised myself I would try to knit from stash as much as possible, and buy yarn only for specific projects I didn’t already have suitable yarn for. Hm. Let’s look at the numbers and see. This year, 51 skeins (12 209 yards) were added to my stash. Thrown out just like that, it’s 8 skeins (2837 yards) more than what I actually used in the entire year, but let’s break it down and see what the REAL damage is. Out of those 51 skeins added to my stash, 7 of them (1736 yards) were gifted to me. Let’s be real, although I didn’t want to buy yarn, I certainly won’t turn it down if it’s offered to me for free – so those shouldn’t be counted. To that number, we also have to subtract 35 skeins (7018 yards) that I bought for specific projects that were started or even completed in 2015, which I was allowing myself to do so that’s also all good. Considering all that, the damage really isn’t that bad. Turns out I bought only 9 skeins (3455 yards) of yarn “just because”, which is a definite improvement compared to the 64 skeins (15076 yards) of yarn I bought in 2014 that are still collecting dust in my stash. Although it doesn’t look that way at first, I think I think I did a pretty good job on this resolution this year, and I definitely want to keep it going in 2016. I also want to add an additional challenge, and try to USE more yarn than I actually BUY/GET. Wish me luck!
  4. I want to weave more.
    Ok, this one I miserably failed. I did buy some more weaving yarn, but I failed to use my loom even once this year. Why? I think I simply had to much to think about considering I wrote 2 new designs, made most of my Christmas presents and renovated 2 rooms in the house. A failure is not the end of the world though, and I will give this resolution a second chance in 2016.
  5. I want to keep this blog going. 
    Well, this one I sure did. I’m still here! And let’s hope it will continue in 2016, because I really enjoy sharing my little stories with you guys!
  6. I want to publish more designs.
    In 2015, I DID publish my Sea Breeze Sweater pattern, and I have another sweater pattern currently being tested and a basic headband pattern all written out, ready to be tested. Yes!

Looking back, I guess I didn’t have a “perfect” craft year since I couldn’t achieve all the goals I set myself in the beginning of the year, but I feel very satisfied and accomplished, and I think that’s what matters the most.  So cheers to the new year! 🙂

Oh, and I can also now safely post the last few projects I made in 2015 that were meant to be gifted on Christmas. Exciting!

There’s my mom’s Casu Cowl
Casu Cowl

My brother’s girlfriend’s Anise Hat
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And my sister-in-law’s infinity scarf, no pattern used – but maybe another design coming? Who knows!
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And you guys, what’s your 2015 recap? Any resolutions for the new year?

NaKniSweMo 2015

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Hey guys! Are you feeling this winter-y vibe? This familiar sensation that comes with colder days, closeness of the Holidays and this strong desire to cuddle around the fire with a woolen sweater? Well I most certainly do. And although I know the few weeks left before the Holidays will be insanely busy, I just feel this urge to knit myself a cozy, warm sweater.

In all fairness, I must say that NaKniSweMo has the BEST and the WORST timing at the same time – I most certainly DO want to participate and indulge myself in a new, fun, warm and cozy sweater, but I know I definitely SHOULDN’T. Which is why I have been debating whether or not I should participate this year. And… well… This happened:

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I decided to try it, although I will give priority to the Christmas presents and getting the house ready for the holidays. The sweater I’ll be making is Laurie by Josée Paquin, and I’m using Classic Elite Yarns’s Soft Linen in the color Smokey Rose. I am absolutely, positively thrilled about this project, and although I know chances are slim that I’ll be able to complete it before the end of the month, I’m hoping I can at least finish it before the Holidays. Please cross your fingers with me!

New project

In the meantime, I also just finished the Casu Cowl, using some Berroco Element yarn I had in stash. It looks fantastic, and I’m absolutely delighted by the pattern/yarn combination. This pattern written by Galia Lael is elegantly simple, exquisite in the small details. I especially like the raised edge between the moss stitch and lace sections and the elegant slip stitch borders. And the yarn just brings out the texture beautifully, so I couldn’t be more satisfied with this project.

Casu Cowl

What do you guys think? Are you participating in the NaKniSweMo this year? What are you working on? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are up to 🙂