fiber

Tour de fleece-ing (ish)

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As many spinners do every year in July, last month I bust out my spinning wheel to spin along the cyclists of the Tour de France, which was held July 6-28th. I gotta say that with the move and everything that’s going on in my life right now, I didn’t set any expectations to put out a good production, I was really just looking forward to spending a bit of time on a different activity for a little while, no pressure. And I’m happy to report that I did just that!

I set out the spinning wheel in the living room and putted at it every few days while watching the new season of Queer eye. Bliss!

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All in all, I was able to spin about 5-ish oz. I spun (and plied) a Manos del Uruguay pink and purple 100g merino roving into a cute chain plied sport weight yarn, very soft and springy.

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I also started spinning a green 4 oz merino-silk roving from Ashland Bay, But since I’m only about a quarter of the way through I decided to keep the spinning wheel out and I’ll keep on working on it here and there throughout the summer, and hopefully have another handspun to show you this fall.

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To stay in the spinning spirit, I also started working on a cowl using my Flamboyant Flamingo handspun yarn, made during the tour de fleece a good 5 years ago. I wasn’t sure at first how it was going to turn out since the yarn is a 2-ply barber pole and quite think and thin since I still was pretty new to spinning, but it’s actually turning out pretty well with the structure of this wonderful cowl pattern. I will give a more through review of the Lissome pattern once I’m done, but let’s just say that I am really (REALLY) loving this design from Susan Pandorf.

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Snowflake

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So many projects, so little time!! Last weekend, I finally finished a sweater that has been on the needles since May 2017 (ahem!..) and I’m so happy it finally came together! Not only is it another project I can check off the WIP list, but it’s also a really pretty and cozy sweater,  right on time for the cold season.

The pattern is (of course!) Tin Can Knits’s beautiful Snowflake, and the yarn is some Berroco Folio yarn I had in stash in color “Raspberry coulis” and “tan”. Since I had only a couple skeins of each, I decided on a striped version of the sweater to maximize the use of every yard. I ended up using all but 3 grams of the tan and 13 grams of the purple. As always, all the details on the yardage, striping sequence and mods can be found on my project page so take a look at them there if you’re interested!

Now this is my second snowflake sweater, but I haven’t been able to wear the first one that I made 4 years ago at all recently because I’ve lost a lot of weight and the bottom half of the body has been incredibly loose and shapeless. I’m very happy to have this model on my sweater rotation again, but I’ll definitely have to do something about the older one at some point this winter.

I think it should be an easy fix, since I could probably just pick up stitches around the waist where it still fits, frog the bottom half and re-knit it with less hip increases (or none at all). Whatever I do, I’ll make sure to keep you posted on my sweater surgery, so wish me luck!

Now if you don’t mind I’ll go back to my needles, because I definitely got some catching up to do before the year is over!

Cheers 🙂

Orange Crush

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Guys, I’m so excited to show you the shawl I’ve been working on for almost 5 months now, it’s finally complete! Although it’s been a bit of a challenge, I’m so happy with the result!

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Let me share a bit of a story to go along with this knit, because I think it deserves it. I’ve always been a huge fan of Melanie Berg, I love all of her designs and I’ve been eyeing Rheinlust since it first came out more than 2 years ago. To showcase the beautiful texture going on there, I wanted to use a solid or kettle dyed yarn to avoid any unnecessary visual distractions, so I opted for a couple skeins of the soft and beautiful (single-ply) Airy yarn from The Woolen Rabbit that I got at the Squam Art Fair in New Hampshire some 4 years back. It is a beautiful deep orange color, and mixed with the wavyness of the Rheinlust pattern, this shawl (to me!) looks like yummy gorgeous waves in a sea of orange crush pop! Don’t you guys feel the same?

Anyways, I started this shawl back in May as an airplane knit for my trip to Japan, but I quickly realized it wasn’t the smartest choice, as the pattern turned out to be a bit more challenging than I expected. I love lace patterns, but the way the waves kind of move along the knit got me really confused at first, and it took me a lot longer than usual to memorize the 22 row pattern repeat. Don’t get me wrong, the pattern is very clear and beautifully written,  but my drowsy Dramamine brain had a lot of trouble juggling the yarn, the needle and the chart on the tiny plane tray intermittently taken over by food & drinks and a lot of other junk. Bottom line here, I frogged and started over this shawl 2 or 3 times before I got it somewhat right, and I made quite a few mistakes in the the first third of the shawl, but fortunately they seem to blend in quite well in the wavy pattern. The delicate single-ply yarn, however, didn’t appreciate all the frogging, confusion and messiness and broke in quite a few places in the first half.

Together, these two challenges made me realize that I probably should’ve thought things through a bit more, and chosen a more appropriate knit for the plane ride. An easier design with a simpler pattern repeat and a sturdier two or three ply yarn would certainly have been a wiser choice, but regardless of the knitting challenges faced during the trip, I am so happy that I made this shawl!! It is beautiful, soft and drapey, and every bit as amazing as I imagined it would be. I followed the pattern exactly, but repeated the main body 8 times instead of 9 to accommodate the smaller amount yarn I had available, all the details can be found on my project page as usual. And it worked out perfectly! I mean… Would you look at that beauty?

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Either way, I shall learn from my mistakes and choose a more appropriate travel project the next time I go on a trip, which may come sooner rather than later.

See you again soon folks!

Comfort knitting

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Well, spring hasn’t really been springing lately, what with all the snow and cold weather and everything, but hey! I’ve been keeping my spirits up by knitting up a shawl out of one of my favorite hanspuns!

 

I used the free Bosc Pear pattern from Tetiana Otruta, it’s simple and fairly straightforward, didn’t do any mods whatsoever apart from repeating the main body section once more than the pattern called for, since I had extra yarn. I used all but 4 grams of the skein, and I’m quite happy at how it turned out! As usual all the details can be found on my project page, so feel free to take a look there 🙂

How’s YOUR spring you guys, any better than mine?

Hopeful 2018

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In retrospect, 2017 has been a very, very full year. Although especially challenging in many ways, I feel like I grew as a person throughout. I started the year in a funk fighting off a heavy case of knitting blues, then experienced the loss of my maternal grandfather, hustled through a crazy busy spring and summer at work, spent fall trying to catch up on things and topped off the year with the loss of my paternal grandfather less than 3 weeks before Christmas.

Among those hardships though, I was also blessed enough to experience beautiful moments of happiness with my loved ones and alone as I traveled to Washington DC and Hawaii, celebrated the birth of my best friend’s 2nd son, attended the wedding of a couple charming friends and my lovely sister in law, spent a lot of time with friends and family and moved forward on immigration procedures for my husband to finally become a permanent resident in Canada.

Needless to say, this all had a significant impact on both, crafting and blogging since I had barely any time to catch a breath all year. In 2017, I was only able to complete 7 projects, for a total of 5481 yards of yarn.

2017I can tell you that it is by far the least productive year I’ve had since 2013 but all is well, since 2018 already seems more promising (hopefully!). As the new year rolls around, I just finished spinning a 50% Merino / 50% Tencel fingering yarn I’ve been working on since July 2016 (!!!!!!), and also finished set of placemats I was supposed to give away for Christmas (oops?), and I’m quite happy at how they turned out.

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So now, let’s wish for 2018 to be full of hope and love and dreams and fibery goodness.

Cheers!

 

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! 🙂

More Dresses. Really?

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Well, ok… I guess I’ve been re-garnishing my wardrobe lately. I added three fun dresses to my wardrobe in the past few weeks, and here they are.

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The two sleeveless ones were made using the same princess bodice & circle skirt I have used before from Tanya Whelan’s “Sew Many Dresses, Sew Little Time”.

The third one, in a black & white abstract print, is a copy from a dress I bought many moons ago and liked very much. I carefully un-stitched the original dress, drew the pattern out then reassembled it.

The dress I made using the drawn pieces is very much like the original, I only made two small little changes. First I removed the belt loops that were on either side because I do not intend to wear this dress with a belt, then I swapped the original 6 panel skirt for a circle skirt. Although the skirt is a little shorter than what I usually wear, I am very happy with the result. Hurray!