Sunday, December 17, 2017

Dying to Dye

This looks like fun.  There is a small gradient dye kit in today's Advent Box.

I've been interested in dyeing for some time.  I've taken a couple of classes, bought undyed yarn and the dyes as well as rescuing an old microwave that was destined for the garbage to use only for dyeing.  I've read many books, everything I could find at the library.  What I haven't done is take the leap into dyeing on my own.

With this kit, I'm sure that I will.  Not only is this a dyeing kit, but it's a gradient dyeing kit.  I'm looking forward to giving it a try in the new year.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Christmas Tree

There is a little kit in today's Advent Box - the yarn, instructions and a little tea light to make a Christmas tree.

I'm afraid that I won't be making this tree. It requires starch that you can buy or make, but once the tree is completed it is fragile.  It would be lovely for this Christmas, but I just know it will get squashed in the box after Christmas and not look so good for next year.

Not to worry, though.  The yarn will be used for something else and I'm already thinking about uses for the little plastic tea light. 

About a week ago there was small kit to make a little knitted Christmas tree and I wondered if the tree needed decorating.  I think that it does and I found these Christmas lights in Fabricland.  The length of the light, not including the black end, is about a half inch. 

I can't talk about what's on my needles at the moment as it's something for Christmas and I don't want to spoil the surprise.  I wonder how many others are knitting secret Christmas items.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Willow 'n Wool

Today's Advent Box gift is something very useful:  3 wool needles in a handy little plastic case.  This is going directly into my knitting bag.  I like that the case is in one of my favorite colors.

I moved to Airdrie, Alberta from Calgary at the end of August.  It wasn't a big move, only a few miles.  Airdrie is a smaller city and my first impression is how community oriented this place is.  Pretty much all the amenities that you may want or need are right here - except a yarn shop.  I didn't mind too much as Calgary is so close and I really (REALLY) don't need any more yarn.

However, about 3 weeks ago a yarn shop opened in Airdrie.  While I don't need anything, it's nice to know that there is a shop about 5 minutes away from home.  It's called Willow 'n Wool.  I stopped in yesterday and spent a good bit of time talking with the lovely owner, Barb.  She told me that it is a family-run business and what the various family members do in the shop, e.g. her daughter makes the pottery bowls, mugs, etc. which are very nice. 

There is a good variety of yarn - and a nice selection of Canadian brands:  Ancient Arts (one of my favorites), Creek Garden, and Polka Dot Creek among them.  Sweet Georgia is coming soon.  We talked about knitting trends, knitting patterns, furniture for the store, etc.  I totally forgot to take pictures inside the shop.  I'm very glad that Willow 'n Wool has come to town.

By the way, if you watch the Hometown Hockey series on TV, it's coming from Airdrie this weekend.

Thursday, December 14, 2017


In the bag for December 14th in the Advent Box was a River City Yarns magnet.  I've certainly been adding to my stash this month!  😊

And speaking of stash, how would you like to win a Stash jar?  It's a Word Jar from Tumbleweed Pottery.  I use mine as a bank and I put in any loose change, knowing that the money will likely be destined to buy something knitting-related.  But, you could use for anything:  bits of yarn leftover from a project, notions, as a yarn bowl. The possibilities are endless.  

All you have to do to be entered in the contest is leave a comment and tell me what you'd use a Stash Jar for, knitting-related or not.  I'll announce the winner, chosen at random, in a post on January 1st.  What a nice way to start the new year - and, yes, I'll mail it wherever the winner lives, any country. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Today's little Advent Box contained a ball of RCY's Eden yarn and a download code for boot toppers.  While I know I won't wear boot toppers, nice as they are, I won't complain at all about adding some Eden yarn to my stash.  The content is 81% Merino, 9% Cashmere and 10% Nylon.  I think that it's a DK weight and at this time of year, green yarn is always good to have.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

I Think I Can.... I KNOW I Can!

The surprise in the Advent Box today is a very pretty knitting progress keeper.  It from Red Door Designer Gems.  I don't believe they have a website, at least I couldn't find one.  This marks the halfway point for the Advent Box.  I'm curious about what I'm going to find next time.

Have you ever worked on a project that makes you wonder if you even know how to knit?  I've run into just such a project.

                  (c) Kathy Lewinski
When I saw the Santa Pillow on Ravelry I knew right away that I had to make it.  I liked the clean design and the clever way that the beards and the hats mirrored each other.  It seemed like straightforward stranded knitting, a technique I enjoy.

Most of the yarn in my stash is fingering weight, so I went online to place an order for the required worsted weight yarn.  The pattern suggested yarn from Knit Picks, but it was out of stock.  Maybe a lot of pillow knitters out there?  Instead, I decided to use Cascade 220 Superwash as I know that the quality of the yarn to be good. I figured that, if I stuck with this project, I just might have the pillow finished in time for Christmas and that it would look nice on my white leather couch.

The knitting gods had other ideas and this project started kicking my butt:

1.  I was good and did a gauge swatch which told me that I needed to go down a needle size, from 4.0mm to 3.75mm.

2.  I cast on the 216 stitches and joined the knitting to work in the round, taking care not to twist the stitches.  I worked all across the round, doing the 12 stitch repeats.  But...when I got to the end of the round I had one stitch left over.  The repeat for the first round is 11 red, 1 white stitch.  It turns out that I can't count to 11.  In the third of the 18 repeats, I had done 10 red, 1 white.  Since it was the first round I just ripped out the entire piece and started again.

3.  I was now moving ahead, up to round 8, but I was bothered by the fact that, where I was catching the red stitches behind the white beard, they were showing.  I didn't like the little bits of red.  I hadn't put the catches all in the same place, so it looked like speckles over the beard.  The white stitches behind the red hat were fine.  Rip, rip, rip.  Start again.

3.  This time I didn't catch the stitches behind and had very long floats - over 11 stitches in some rounds.  This will probably be okay since the floats will be on the inside of a pillow cover and not in a sweater.  However, my stitches were not as even as I wanted and I can be kind of particular.  It was a case of somewhat slippery yarn and slippery metal Addi needles.  I didn't want to wait and see if blocking would improve the look.  Rip - start yet again.

4.  I ordered a set of wooden Dreamz needles and started again and they were working out very well.  My stitches were even, as I wanted, and the knitting was much more comfortable.  At the end of the 4th round I took a look at my piece and realized that I'd dropped a stitch earlier in the round...all the way to the cast on.  Oh no, rip again.

5.  I have the pillow on my needles again and I'm on round 3.  So far, so good.  I won't have this project done for Christmas this year.  I know that, but it's okay.  My new goal is to have it finished for Christmas 2018.  I'm okay with that.  I will have a finished pillow that I'm happy with, no matter how many times I have to reknit.  I really do know how to knit.  Really.  This project has just been a test of my patience and I will win!!

Monday, December 11, 2017


This is a sweet start to Monday with this homemade candy in the Advent Box today.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Goal for 2018

Today's package in the Advent Box was a set of cable needles, useful tools.

I might end up using them before long as I have declared, for myself, that the coming year is:

My plan for the new year is to focus mainly on sweaters.  I'm curious to see how many I can complete before December 31, 2018.  Some of these sweaters have already been started and I'm looking forward to finishing and wearing them.  My key word for the year is COMPLETION.  I'd like to have 4 new sweaters by year's end and it should be do-able since I'll be retired.  But, I'm hoping for more than 4.

First up:  The Hairst Yoke Cardigan.  It was originally started in 2016 but my gauge was off so I restarted in July 2017.  One sleeve (my new gauge swatch) is done.  I bought the main color, a lovely cobalt blue (#18) at Jamieson & Smith in Lerwick, Shetland, in September 2015.

I haven't decided on the colors for the yoke yet.  I have a great range of Shetland wool in my stash to choose from, thanks to what I had and the generosity of some friends (P, M, J and P - thanks ladies).  I'm open to suggestions.  After taking the fair isle workshop with Janine Bajus last spring, I think I must swatch to see what colors go well together.  It's not enough to put them side-by-side in the balls.  You have to see how the colors interact with each other.  Speed swatching is your friend!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Snow Queen Wristlets

December 9th has brought another little kit, the Snow Queen Wristlets.  I don't know if I'll ever make them (the queue is so long), but if not, the yarn will go into my stash and used for another project.  The yarn is beautiful.  It's River City Yarns' house brand - about 25 grams of Adam & Eve:  81% superwash merino, 9% cashmere and 10% nylon.  I've used Adam & Eve before and it's wonderful - highly recommended.

Friday, December 8, 2017

I Got Socks For Christmas

For December 8th the elves at River City have a little project for crocheters.  I'm not one, but it's a chance to get out my thinking cap and come up with another use for the yarn and angel form.  The pattern is "Angel-ah". 

I decided that I needed a pair of Christmas socks and had this yarn in my stash.   

It turns out that "Twist" isn't just the name of this colorway, it's also the way the yarn knits up in a sock.  For the most part it twisted around the leg of the sock, similar to the way stripes wrap around a barber pole - more on one sock than the other.  The feet turned out quite differently from each other.  It makes the socks more interesting. In order to emphasize the twist, I worked a twisted rib pattern on the legs.

and on the other side, quite different:


Pattern:  Cast on 60 sts, 2 x 2 ribbing,
twisted rib stitch leg, short row heel, stocking stitch foot, shaped toe.

Needles:  US #0 / 2.0 mm

Size:  Medium

Color:  Peppermint Twist
Fusion base:  100% Superwash Merino

Ravelry link:  Peppermint Twist Socks