fiber

Texture, oh texture!

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Things have been a little hectic lately for many reasons; namely here various knits in progress, tour de fleece and a week-long vacation 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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Enough about me now, how’s been your summer so far yarnies?

The Good, the Bad and the Pretty

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Earlier this month, I started a modified version of Dessine-Moi Un Mouton, a wonderfully textured sweater pattern written by La Maison Rililie. I didn’t have enough sport weight yarn on hand to make it but I had plenty of fingering weight yarn, including a soft and squishy gradient pack of Cheshire Cat yarn from Frabjous Fibers that I had been dying to use. Consequently, I decided to follow my instinct and cast on this sweater on a modified gauge using fingering weight yarn.

First, the Pretty. So far, this sweater looks (and fits) amazing. I worked a certain number of mods that are detailed on my project page, but basically other than the modified gauge, I changed the color sequence, made the body much longer and added some short row shaping around the back. Look at that!

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Then, the Bad. As soon as the idea struck, I bought 2 skeins of Cascade Heritage yarn in color “snow” for this sweater before I had actually took time to read the pattern through – I foolishly believed that 2 skeins of Cascade Heritage would be more than enough for it (it’s 874 yards, folks!) but then, I realized that the color stripes were actually worked by alternating the main and contrasting colors every row. Oops.Turns out I don’t have enough to make the sleeves. Problem much?

Lastly, the Good. Luckily for me, Cascade Heritage is a readily available yarn; it’s nothing hard to put your hands on so I should without a doubt be able to find someone on Ravelry destashing it or, worst case scenario, buy another skein at my LYS. Since it’s such a light and natural color, I’m really not worried about the skeins not matching, plus the pattern alternates MC & CC so even if the color was a little off, it just wouldn’t show.

If all goes well, I should have a finished sweater to show you guys soon, so keep your fingers crossed! 🙂

Sock weather

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Last week was really hot and humid so all I really wanted to knit was quick small projects like toys… and socks. And that’s great, because earlier this spring I received a couple skeins of Artfil Coktail self-striping sock yarn in color strawberry-almond from the lovely Yana. I thought the yarn was so deliciously scrumptious that it deserved to become something a little special to me – so I used it to make my first (ever) toe-up 2-at-a-time sock design.

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I had a lot of fun making these socks, they are relatively basic and feature Judy’s magic cast-on for the toes, a moss stitch instep&leg and a slipped stitch German short-row heel. The texture and construction is perfect for self-striping, speckled or variegated yarns, and they can be made as long (or as short!) as you want them to be to fit any yardage you have on hand.

If you’re interested in the yarn, you can visit Artfil’s website to find a retailer near you or subscribe to their sock yarn club, it’s available in 3, 6 or 12 months subscriptions.

And if you’re interested in the pattern, it is currently being tested here on Ravelry, so be sure to check it out and send me a message if you’re available to test, I’m still looking for testers in every size 🙂

Have a great week all!

Monsters in the closet

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My very best friend just recently had a baby so I’ve been on a rampage gathering all sorts of baby-related patterns and things, and let me tell you that it is candy for the eyes! There are so many cute, adorable baby things out there, it’s like a knitter’s paradise!

You may (or may not) remember that I finished a gray baby blanket earlier this spring, and you may (or may not) remember that my honeybee gave me Rebecca Danger’s Big Book of Knitted Monsters for Christmas. Well wonders happened, and I put together a little gift for my friend including those two little beauties here:

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This is the very first time I’ve ever knitted a plush toy, and it was so much fun that I can foresee many-a-plushie for me in the future. The yet-to-be-named little monster (or Hugo the couch potato monster, as referred to by the author) was an easy, quick and fun knit, that provided lots of instant gratification and allowed me to combine two (otherwise unusable) small 50g skeins to create a unique, playful and soft toy for someone’s special little person. In this case, I used a little over half a skein of blue Malabrigo Silky Merino yarn and ¾ of a skein of gray Louisa Harding Grace Silk & Wool yarn, leaving some room for (maybe!) another smaller monster in the same color palette. Who knows?

Looking through the book, I fell in love all over again with all those adorable monsters and I can tell you that there might soon be an Angus the Attic Monster, an Irving the Icebox Monster, a Dot the Dress Up Box Monster or a Bea the Basement Monster in the works. Hurray for babies (and plushies)!

Fickle spring

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Last Monday was very cold, we even had a little bit of snow in the morning and a whole lot of rain. Since I was feeling a little chilly (and because Melanie Berg’s Any shawl KAL was going on), I decided to cast on a handspun, lace weight version of the Sunwalker. Even though it’s May, it seemed like a good idea at the time – but now, only one week later, I’m done with my shawl but it’s sunny out and the temperature rolls in the 80s so there’s just no need for a shawl anymore. Oh well.

Either way, here’s my Sunwalker Shawlette made out of my Rusted spaceship hanspun yarn, made last summer during the Tour de Fleece.

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I used every little bit of this scrumptious yarn down to the last 4 to 5 yards, and I am SO happy at how it turned out! The Sunwalker pattern is very versatile and easy to adapt to different gauge, weight yarn or yardage, and it allows you to showcase a yarn with both a lace and a texture section. I will definitely use this pattern again, and if you plan on starting a shawl this spring or summer I highly recommend you give this one a try.

Happy knitting all 🙂

When life gives you lemons…

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I know, I know – I haven’t blogged in a month. How shameful! But believe me Crafties, it’s not because I didn’t want to but because life had other plans for me the past few weeks, unfortunately.

I have been pretty busy at work lately working nights & weekends in addition to my regular day-time schedule, which is something that I generally never do. I couldn’t really help it, and I knew from the start this would limit my crafting/blogging time, but what I hadn’t anticipated was how much of a toll it would take on me. I got sick not once but TWICE in the last couple weeks, and I think it’s probably related to how stressed I have been. Lots of work, lots of stress, lots of sickness and not much time for anything else is what I ended up with.

As a result, I have been trying to find time to relax and take care of myself. I made very slow but steady progress on my knitting projects, which is why I’ve got only one FO to show you guys today, and that’s my Sidestep Poncho.

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It’s a test knit I’ve made for the lovely Nell from NellKnits using some Berroco Boboli Lace yarn I had in stash. Although I mistakenly twisted the stitches with the cable needle in the back instead of the front resulting in a slightly different lace texture, I am very, VERY happy about how this turned out! The instructions are clear and simple, and the pattern is easy to follow. I love every stitch of this lacy poncho, and I’m sure I will wear the heck out of it all summer. 🙂

Spring has finally arrived!

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The sun has been shining brighter and warmer in the past few weeks, and as surely as it announces the approching spring, it also indicates the time where I switch from winter knits to summer knits.

Today I present to you my friends my Golden Afternoon sweater, made from Euroflax Sport yarn and using Carole Francone’s Clementine Pullover pattern.

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I made a few mods that are detailed on my project page, but it mainly consists of adding length, switching out the 1×1 rib by brioche and adding some short row shaping to the bottom edge to create more dynamic lines featuring a longer back and a shorter front.

As much as I love the finished object and the motif used in this pattern, I must say that I am quite dissapointed by the way the pattern itself was written. It’s the first time this has ever happened to me, but I felt the pattern was… Incomplete. Or rushed. Let me explain a little more what I mean.

First of all, I felt the English version of the pattern needed a lot of polishing. The pattern designer is French so I understand well her struggles (my first language is french too) but there was still a lot of avoidable mistakes, both on structure and vocabulary, making the pattern hard to understand.

Also, I found the pattern was not providing enough details on the construction and shaping of the garment. The best example I can give you is about the waist shaping. The pattern says to keep both side markers to place increases and decreases, but do not provide any information as to how the waist shaping should be worked. It only says to “work them in pattern”, but there is no indication as to how to do that (especially when working an all over lace pattern), and no indication of how MANY increase or decrease rows there should be, or how many rows apart they need to be placed. This is one example, but I’ve noticed instructions (and finishing touches) were missing everywhere in the pattern, including at the separation of the sleeves and the transition from ribbing to lace and lace to ribbing. Somehow I feel like I should have just looked up the motif and wrote the pattern myself. Am I weird? Is it wrong of me to assume that when you pay 5 euros (7.44$ CAN) for a pattern, the designer should have done that part of the work for you? Having written some patterns myself, I would find it absolutely unacceptable to rely so heavily on the knitter to figure things out themselves after making them pay for a pattern.

I feel robbed. Have any of you experienced something like that before?

Peacock beauty

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The last few weeks have been crazy busy for me, both at work and in my personal life, and in my book that generally means dealing with A LOT of stress. As a form of damage control and to let off some steam I’ve been trying to crunch a few minutes of knitting or spinning when I can to (somewhat) try to keep the stress under control. Fortunately for me, it’s been successful on two fronts; I’ve been able to keep stress on a manageable level and I’ve been making great progress on some super fun yarny projects, so yay!

The first thing I want to show you is my last spin, a fingering weight navajo plied yarn I just finished yesterday using some malabrigo nube I had in stash, in color “solis”. It’s 112 grams and 407 yards of yummy merino goodness, and I’m really excited to show it to you because it’s the first time I’ve plied a full skein using the navajo plying technique, I am so thrilled!

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On the knitting front, I’ve also been making pretty good progress on my golden afternoon sweater, an all-over lace pattern called Clementine Pullover, from Carole Francone. I am not thrilled with the pattern, I’ll give you a full review once the sweater is done, but I must say that I absolutely LOVE the lace stitch. To make this the perfect summer top, I’m using some Euroflax Sport Weight yarn in color Goldenrod.

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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

Oldies but Goodies

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Every once in a while I think it’s important to go back to older projects that have been hibernating in your closet for a while and see whether you want to give the yarn a second life as a different project or, in this case, give it the last push it needs to cross the finishing line.

Last winter, I had two pregnant friends who were about to give birth and I must say that I went a little baby crazy – I started all sorts of baby things, some of them I finished and some of them I didn’t. Among other things, there was a cute gray Knotted Openwork baby blanket that was about 60% done – I fell in love with it all over again. It’s an easy stitch and I can always do with more mindless knitting so I decided to give it a shot and try to finish it. And I did! I’m so happy 🙂 One year later there’s no baby in the making anymore, but I can always keep it safely for the next, who knows?

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In  other news, my Feather and Fan lace sweater pattern has finally been released, thank you all for your support 🙂

Feather and Fan lace Sweater