Monday, December 11, 2017

Sweet!

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:


THE DETAILS

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

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Short but Sweet Blog Post

The elves at River City Yarns must be mind readers.  How did they know about my sweet tooth?  And, how did they know that I'm particularly fond of Jelly Belly candies?  I was lucky enough to visit the factory in Fairfield, California last March.  These candies won't still be around on the 25th!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Notebook, A Tree and a Finished Sweater

Today's surprise was a handy little notebook, 5.5" x 3.5" and the smallest highlighter I've ever seen, 2.25" - perfect for tucking into a knitting bag.  On the cover is the quote, "A lady never discusses the size of her yarn stash".  I guess that my friends and I are not ladies as our stashes are often a topic of conversation!!



Yesterday's box contained the pattern and yarn to make Christmas trees.  Last night I completed the first one.  The pattern was easy and fun and the tree turned out just the way it was supposed to.  I'm very pleased.  Now, however, I'm wondering if the tree needs some decorations.  It's looking a little bare. I'll give that some thought.  The second tree, made with the eyelash yarn, is on the needles.


My goodness, I'm more behind in reporting FOs (finished objects) that I'd realized - I'd missed a sweater.  Back on May 13th I talked about struggling with the colors for a striped sweater that I was making.  The yarn came from the stash of a dear friend who had passed away.  I really wanted to make the sweater using only her yarn, but had to give in and order one skein to finish.  I knitted and ripped and knitted again, trying to make the most pleasing striping sequence.  I tried adding in other colors, but adding some beige, greens, grays or blues, etc.. just didn't work.

I'm pleased with the end result.  The sweater fits well and gets plenty of use.  I think that P. would have been pleased.  She was a huge fan of Plucky Yarns.  I think of her when I wear it.


THE DETAILS

Pattern:  I called this "A Very Plucky Pullover"
I adapted the pattern A Mermaid Darkly by Yelena M. Dasher

Needles:  
US #3 / 3.25 mm

Yarn:  1 skein of each 
The Plucky Knitter Primo Fingering - Color Rye 
(this is additional skein that I bought to finish the sweater)
The Plucky Knitter SNUG Fingering - Colors: Rye, Noisette and Brulee

Ravelry project link:  
A Very Plucky Pullover

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Jolly Juniper Trees

Around this time every year I want to knit Christmas things:  elves, ornaments, decorations, etc.  This morning's Advent Box contains a knitting project - just the kind of thing that I'm in the mood to make.  If I get a chance, I may make a tree today!


The green yarn is some of River City Yarns' house brand:  Epic, an aran weight wool.  The trees should be quite dense as the pattern calls for 3.75 mm/ US #5 needles. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Maple Tea and A Finished Hat

Today's Advent Box surprise goes hand in hand with yesterday's silicone tea bag.  It's Maple Tea from River City Yarns.  How very unique and very Canadian.  The ingredients are:  black tea, brittle (sugar, hazelnut), maple syrup, flavour.  It sounds like it'll be sweet, which is fine by me.  One of the reasons I'll normally only have one cup a tea in a day is because I like it sweet.  I can't wait to try this Maple Tea.

Click on the photo to enlarge
(c) Skacel
I'm continuing to play catch-up with recording my finished projects - and they aren't all socks!  This time it's a hat that I made for my granddaughter, Alyssa, for her second birthday on October 15th.  I found a skein of amazing yarn called Abracadabra by HiKoo.  What's amazing about it is that it appears to be white when you are inside, but when you go outside in the sun the color changes to pink very quickly. 

There was just enough yarn for the hat - about a yard left over.  I followed an excellent pattern called Whorl. It's well-written, a quick and easy pattern with just enough interest to keep it from being boring.  I expect that I'll make another Whorl hat someday.

Yarn contents:  35% Superwash Merino, 50% Polypropylene and 15% Nylon.  It's a DK weight, 100 yards in the 50 gram skein.

The yarn is not terribly soft, feels rather plastic-y.  I expect that's down to the polypropylene content, but it's not unpleasant.  The yarn is now discontinued and I was glad that there was enough yarn for the hat and that I didn't run out.

To finish off the hat I added a furry pompom that came from The Loopy Ewe in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Alyssa loves anything soft and her hands went immediately to the pompom:


Later, out on the playground, her hat was pink:

(c) Jessica Montague
The only difficulty I had was sewing on the pompom.  It very dense at the core and it was hard to get a needle through.  Next time, I'm looking for my thimble as I have another pompom for another hat (for me) yet to do.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Tea For Me

Today's package in the River City Yarns Advent Box is not directly knit-related.  It's something that I'd heard about and thought I would buy if I saw it in a store somewhere.

It's a reusable silicone tea bag - an infuser.  To use, remove the black cover on the bottom and fill with loose tea.  Reseal, then use like you would a regular tea bag.  That's the River City Yarns' logo on the end of the 'string'.


I'm anxious to see how well it works.  Normally I drink what I call "plain old tea", but every once in a while I'm curious about a flavored tea which often comes packaged as a loose tea.  I'm hoping that there is no plastic taste infused into the tea, and I'm guessing that there won't be any.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

In the Little December 2nd Package

The December 2nd surprise in the Advent Box was in a very small brown bag.  I couldn't imagine what I was going to find.

Inside were two little tags with the word "H♥NDMADE" on each of them.  They are very cute, made with a heavy fabric, perhaps a heavy demin or canvas?  I've never seen these tags anywhere before.  I think I may sew each of them onto a couple of afghans that I'm making.



I'll be catching up on finished objects for a little while - mostly, but not all, socks.  Next up, socks using the exclusive monthly colorway from The Loopy Ewe.


THE DETAILS

Pattern:  Cast on 60 sts, 2 x 2 ribbing,
stocking stitch leg, short row heel, stocking stitch foot, shaped toe.
(My usual "recipe")

Needles:  US #0 / 2.0 mm

Size:  Medium

Color exclusive to The Loopy Ewe:
"This Old Barn"

Each month The Loopy Ewe offers an exclusive colorway.  This one is from November, 2016.

Ravelry link:  This Old Barn

Friday, December 1, 2017

Advent Box

It's hard to believe that December is here now and that Christmas is only a few weeks away.  It sneaks up on me every year without fail.  Who doesn't love an Advent countdown to the 25th?  How many of you have a chocolate Advent calendar that you're starting today?

River City Yarns in Edmonton, Alberta produced an Advent Box for knitters.  What a great idea.  They sold out very quickly.  I picked mine up when I was in Edmonton for the Roger Waters concert.  More on that in another post.

Today I took the box off the shelf and removed the brown paper wrapped around it to see this festive box:

Click on the picture to enlarge
I realized when I took the picture that the box is actually upside down, but the top looks the same, so I didn't take a second photo.  I cut the tape and opened the box to see this inside:


There is card with an introduction to the Advent Box, also little boxes, paper bags and cloth drawstring bags.  Each has been stamped with "Don't open till .... and the date".  The elves at River City have hand picked and hand packed each day's gift.

The theme this year is "O Tannenbaum", from a German folk song.  Loving Germany as I do, I'm now even more eager to see what inside each day and see if it ties in with the theme.

So, today, I can open the first box.  Ta-dahhhh!!   Wow....this is cool and what a great way to start the month.  Inside were 3 mini skeins of their exclusive sock yarn called Hat Trick as well as a pattern to make Mini Stockings.  These will make adorable ornaments for the tree, even if they don't represent my team, the Colorado Avalanche.  It's hockey, it's knitting, it's all good and I'm really liking the first gift.  Which reminds, me.  I have a large skein in the Avalanche colorway in my stash.  After I make myself a pair of socks, or whatever, I can make an additional Mini Stocking later on.


I don't know if everyone gets the same hockey teams represented by the minis.  I think that mine are, from left to right:  Vancouver Canucks, Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

I wonder what's coming for December 2nd.  Check back again if you'd like to know, too.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Getting Back To Life

It's been quite a month since my accident but everything is going well.  My bones are mending, my vehicle has been replaced and in just over a week, I'll be returning to work.  I've been knitting a little more, but still not "up to speed" yet, but I'm getting there.

I have finished a couple of things and I'll start catching up.  The socks for October are complete, so I'll start there.  

Thanks for coming back and visiting.


THE DETAILS

Pattern:  Cast on 60 sts, 1 x 1 ribbing,
stocking stitch leg, short row heel, stocking stitch foot, shaped toe.
Needles:  US #0 / 2.0 mm

Size:  Medium

Color exclusive to The Loopy Ewe:
"Happy Dance"

Each month The Loopy Ewe offers an exclusive colorway.  This one is from October, 2016.

Ravelry link:  Happy Dance

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

I'll Be Back To Blogging Soon

There's been a bit of delay in my blogging lately.  I hope you'll check back here in a week or two.  I'm better now after a week in the hospital - some broken bones, torn ligaments, lots of bruises, but I'm recuperating well at home - and starting to knit.

The picture doesn't really show just how much damage there was to my 2003 Nissan Xterra, which I liked a lot - whole lot.  It's been a good 15 years.  This was just a quick photo.


Guess who's going to be going car shopping one of these days?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Aspens

And another pair of socks is finished.  This time it's the September 2016 colorway from The Loopy Ewe.  If I can knit quickly, I just might have the October socks finished by the end of the month.  I'd cross my fingers, but that's counter-productive to knitting.


THE DETAILS

Pattern:  Cast on 60 sts, 2 x 2 ribbing,
a circular rib on the leg, short row heel, stocking stitch foot, shaped toe. 
The pattern for the leg is on my Ravelry page.

Needles:  US #0 / 2.0 mm

Size:  Medium

Color exclusive to The Loopy Ewe:
"Aspens"

Each month The Loopy Ewe offers an exclusive colorway.  This one is from September, 2016.

Ravelry link:  Aspens

Sunday, October 15, 2017

I Couldn't Resist

There is a yarn shop in Centennial, CO that has more temptations per square foot than any other shop I've ever been in.  It's Colorful Yarns and the owner, Tiffany, has an amazing talent for bringing in yarn, needles, books and gadgets, some you won't see anywhere else.  There is literally something for everyone.  On top of that, her knitters' gathering on Friday afternoons is the best.  There is lots of room to sit and knit and the knitters who come are a joy.

I was in the shop last June and a skein of sock yarn was "speaking to me".  I really don't need any more sock yarn, but this one was calling my name and I couldn't resist.  It's just a fun colorway.  I called these socks "Pink, Blue, Yellow, White".  Very original, don't you think?  :-)


THE DETAILS

Pattern:  Cast on 60 sts, 2x2 ribbing
stocking stitch leg and foot
short row heel, shaped toe.
This is my go-to pattern for socks.

Needles:  US #0 / 2.0 mm

Size:  Medium

Yarn:  Schoppel Cat Priut Admiral
Color:  #
2319 Wunschkonzert
(Translated from German:  Request concert or request program)


Ravelry link:  Pink, Blue, Yellow, White

Saturday, October 14, 2017

August Socks

It's time for me to get caught up on the socks I've finished in the past couple of months.  First up are the socks for August, using the exclusive colorways from The Loopy Ewe in Fort Collins, CO.


THE DETAILS

Pattern:  Cast on 60 sts, 1x1 ribbing, stocking stitch leg and foot, short row heel, shaped toe. 
In order to help break up any potential pooling I purled every 14th and 15th rounds on the leg and top of the foot.

Needles:  US #0 / 2.0 mm

Size:  Medium

Color exclusive to The Loopy Ewe:
"Dizzy With Color"

Each month The Loopy Ewe offers an exclusive colorway.  This one is from August, 2016.

Ravelry Link:  Dizzy With Color

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Prairie Fiber Festival

It was a beautiful, warm sunny day last Sunday when I headed north to the town of Lacombe for the Prairie Fiber Festival.  It was the first year for the event and the organizers did a great job.  While somewhat small, the variety and quality of vendors was excellent. They are off to a great start and I can only see it getting better.

I was there when the doors opened and some of the vendors were still setting up.  I had read online that some of the vendors would have limited stock, so I wanted to see everything.

It was good to see what local dyers, spinners, woodworkers, etc. had to offer.  Poppy Yarn and Fiber, from Calgary, had some gorgeous colors and pattern support.

Click to enlarge
Also from Calgary was Sea Turtle Fiber Arts had a lot of temptations for me and I didn't resist - and added more when I got home.  I was inspired by an incredible sunrise earlier in the day and they had a set of minis that I thought were a good representation of the sky that morning.  More on that another time.


I bought a skein of yarn that will go into my travel afghan to represent this trip, O Canada.  It had been dyed to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday this year.  One of the things that I liked and I thought was very clever were the little knitted cozies that were around some of the colorways so you could see how the yarn knits up.  The O Canada yarn is in the middle, under the third "w" in the text, above.


The Prairie Dye Studio had lots of yarn  as well as Canadian-themed project bags.  They also gave out little event pins to the first 100 people who came through the door.  I got a cute little orange one.  You can see it in the last picture.

I had seen an advertisement by Flock Fiber Studio a couple of weeks earlier and immediately liked the set of speckled minis in Watercolor.  I arranged to pick them up at the Festival.  

Gingersnap, from Calgary, had cute bags, sock blanks and some yarn.  From what I heard people around me saying, Gingersnap would be sold out of items quickly. 


These are just a few of the indy dyers that were vendors at the show.  All in all, there were probably 20, maybe even 30.  I was particularly taken by the products and incredible quality of the items made out of wood by Danware, from Black Diamond, Alberta.  I learned that "Dan" in the name was a nod to the home country of Denmark (pronounced Danmark in Danish).  I would have loved to take home one of everything that was on display.  The warmth and smoothness of the wood was wonderful.  I picked up a mending mushroom.  I didn't realize it until just last night that the top of the mushroom comes off and you can store your darning needles in the stem.

All in all, I had a very good day.  Here is my haul from the Festival, not too much, just a few very nice souvenirs:


I've found that there are other fiber-related events in the area and the next one is in 3 weeks.  Of course, I'll have to go and check out the Fibre Shindig in Calgary.  I don't think I've heard the word "shindig" since the music show that was on TV in the mid-60s.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Airdrie

It's amazing to me how much time and effort it takes to move when there are some issues involved:  first, trying to have the energy to unpack more than one box after a full day of work and, second, downsizing from a three bedroom townhouse with a full basement and a garage to a two-bedroom condo.  I'm so lucky to have family who are willing to come and help - but I prefer to sort and unpack my own yarn and books.  I'm getting a handle on the unpacking, finally, and ready to start blogging regularly again.

I'm in a new, to me, city:  Airdrie, Alberta.  According to Google, Airdrie is 17 miles north of Calgary.  It doesn't seem that far, and since I work in the north part of Calgary, I'm sure that the distance is shorter and that Google is measuring from the heart of Calgary..  I heard Airdrie described as a bedroom community.  My first impressions of the new city are very good and I'm sure that I'm going to like it here.  It's a good move.  It's named after Airdrie in Scotland, near Glasgow.


I've found three locations  where knitters meet, one is in a coffee shop just down the street from me.  I have yet to visit any of them (did I mention that I'm still unpacking?), but this week I plan to drop in on the Thursday evening gathering at the library.  I'll still continue to go and knit with the ladies at The Loop Kensington, but will switch to their Wednesday group so I can go to both.

Over the past few years I've been learning about more and more fiber-related activities that aren't too far away.  Tomorrow, I'm heading about 89 miles north to the city of Lacombe for the first, ever, Prairie Fiber Festival.


The weather is supposed to be good and I'm looking forward to the raod trip.  More on that, next time....!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

KCVI

I've been looking at photos posted on Facebook for my high school's 225th anniversary.  Everyone looked so young back then.  Can it really be that long (>45 years) since I graduated?  I clearly remember thinking that the high school years would never end!  ☺



Kingston Collegiate & Vocational Institute, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Blast From The Past

When my daughter was little in the 1980s I knit a lot of sweaters for her.  There was a design company which produced the cutest patterns under the name "Knit-o-Graf".  I think that the company had been around since the 1950s and I don't believe that it exists anymore.  

The patterns weren't expensive and I had many of them.  I knit for her and for her friends. There were pictures on the sweaters and it's where I developed my love of intarsia.  All were made in fingering weight yarn and I would mostly buy the acrylic yarns from Patons and the house brand at Eaton's ior Sears department stores.  There were lots of colors available and they held up well to washing and wearing.  A few years later I did a couple more sweaters using superwash wool and I have to admit that they didn't look as fresh as the acrylic ones after a while.  Acrylic has it's place in children's knitting, in my opinion.

If you Google the words Knit-o-Graf and look at images, you can see why I was so drawn to the designs.  There was Humpty Dumpty, ducks, trains, Little Red Riding Hood, cowboys, dogs and so much more.  I knit most of the designs that they had.  They even had a small catalog.

One of my favorites was a brightly colored cardigan with a clown holding balloons.  I made size 4.  Today I received a picture from my now-grown-up daughter.  It's showed my almost-2 year old granddaughter, Alyssa, wearing the clown sweater.  I'm still smiling at the photo.  Alyssa is adorable and the sweater looks cute on her and it keeps her warm during the family's camping trip.


The patterns were on one large sheet of paper in the size of the sweater.  You could lay your knitting on it and see if you matched the size for the design.  Great idea.  It was fun to pick out little matching buttons with balloons on them.


I'd love to know more about the company.  Who created it?  Who was the designer?  How long was it around?  

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse

Did you see the eclipse today?  With safety glasses, I hope.  In Calgary there was about 90% coverage, it got dark as in the early evening and the temperature dropped quite a bit for a few minutes.

(c) G. Yamashita

I actually saw two eclipses today.  Here's the other one:


I wonder what records are pictured above ~
Dark Side of the Moon?
That Lucky Old Sun?  
Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying?  
Moondance?  
I'll Follow The Sun?
Total Eclipse of the Heart?

I could go on.....  ☺

Sunday, August 20, 2017

July Socks Are Finished

I think I've become the world's slowest packer.  Moving and packing isn't fun, but I'm getting close to being ready for the movers on the 28th.  I can't wait to get to the new condo with the unpacking finished and then sit on the balcony and just knit without thinking that I should be doing something else.  I'm hoping that a knitting friend or two or three will join me.

I did manage to finish my July socks with the monthly yarn from The Loopy Ewe from 2016.  So far I've managed to keep up.  Who knows if I'll finish my August socks before the end of the month.  One sock is finished and the cuff of the second sock is done, so maybe I'll make my self-inflicted deadline.

Here is what the yarn looked like in the skein.  It's based on the colors found in the picture, "Vintage Bike."


THE DETAILS


Pattern:  Cast on 60 sts, 2x2 ribbing,
stocking stitch leg and foot,
short row heel, shaped toe.

Needles:  US #0 / 2.0 mm

Size:  Medium

Color exclusive to The Loopy Ewe:
"Summer Afternoon Escape"

Each month The Loopy Ewe offers an exclusive colorway.  This one is from July, 2016.

Ravelry Link:  Summer Afternoon Escape

More socks are coming up in the next few weeks, and then I'll be getting back to sweater knitting and more.  I'm also looking forward to a fairly local event coming up on September 24th, the Prairie Fiber Festival in Lacombe, Alberta.  You can find them on Ravelry, here.  The lineup of vendors looks very good and I'm looking forward to checking them out.  I'll blog about the Festival next month.  

Sunday, August 13, 2017

How I Spent My Summer Vacation - The Finale

 I'm glad you've come back to visit my blog, especially since it's been so long since I last wrote.  Working full time and preparing for a move is time consuming.  I found a condo that I like a lot and the closing is in a few days, moving is in two weeks.  My yarn is almost all packed up, which is the biggest part of the preparations.  If all goes as planned, it will be housed in my new yarn room/office/den/whatever, that I've named The Makkin Room.  It sounds like 'making' and is the word for knitting in the Shetland dialect.

For tonight, I'll round up my trip to Denver with pictures from the last concert that I went to.  For me, a concert at Red Rocks is the best possible venue to hear music - and the Doobie Brothers and Chicago put on great shows.  I had a wonderful seat, front row center, and got to meet the Doobie Brothers.  What a huge thrill for a fan like me.

So....here are a few shots from that night. First up, the Doobies.  I'll be back to writing about knitting again as soon as I can.

Tom Johnston

Patrick Simmons

John McFee

John Cowan (bass) & Ed Toth (drums)

Marc Russo

It was over too soon.

Chicago filled the night air with their big and brassy sound.

Ray Herrmann

James Pankow

Keith Howland
(love the turquoise shoes & shirt combo!)

Pankow (left), Herrmann and Lee Loughnane (right)

I hope to be back at Red Rocks again before too long.