Monday, November 24, 2014

Dr. Sheep

Last night I justified last Yule's gift-to-me.  I needed to justify last year's purchase so I could free myself to potentially gift-to-me some more. Because I'm the only family member who seems to believe me when I say I WANT YARN AND FIBRE AND KNITTING OR SPINNING TOOLS FOR GIFTS.

I started with the sheep intended by the kit.

This was my first time working in 3D felting. It was fun. Not a perfect looking sheep, but I don't entirely blame myself because the instructions were crap.

There was plenty of fibre leftover, but all I had next to me while watching the TV was the black. So I started this...

And today he was finished.

He'll be flying down to KW as an Uptown Knit Mob Stashdown prize.
Yes folks, you read that correctly.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fluffin Snow

There are big fluffy snowflakes falling.
So thought I'd have a quick sale on wintery knits.
Use code FSnow for 50% off my wintery knits - found here in this bundle on Ravelry.
(There is an ongoing sale on my Dragon knits too, FYI).

Good thing I already made kiddo this fluffy cowl - using the Really Want You in my World pattern - well, based on it. This one is wider.

She loves it. It can do all sorts of cool things, she says.

Yes, it can even double as a baby-doll sling. (Baby not shown here.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


The Battle-Weary was re-blocked to keep me warm with this dress on.

I was so very excited to be able to wear this dress again. I've had it for 16 years... why yes, since my highschool grad.

Back in the day.

This is the dollar store mask I upgraded for the event.  The sparkles already matched my dress perfectly.  Removed the useless ties and added a stick to hold it up with.  Most importantly, I crocheted several motifs (mostly Irish style) using black crochet cotton and leftover Montague lace from the shawl and glued them on. I'd debated doing something more complex - such as a full lace mask - but I decided to be realistic. Even these did not glued on until 2 hours before the event.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Battle Worn Dragon

This morning I decided I should reblock my Battle Weary shawl to wear tomorrow to a masquerade ball - where I will be wearing a silver dress.
It's the only thing I have that will remotely coordinate with the dress.  I've realized I need a  "little black lace stole".  There was not time to knit one, even though I have the black lace yarn.

As I was stretching it over the mats I discovered this:

 So I dug out this wee bit of leftovers

 then I added a new scar -this one is horizontal and not part of the design.  Have you ever tried to duplicate stitch over a slipped stitches and garter pattern in fine yarn?  Yeah, I knew it was hopeless to try and match it, especially with the yarn drying and toddlers waiting impatiently.

 The scar stands out more right now as the item is wet but the scar-yarn is dry.

 I'm going to chalk it up to battles. It's more character...

Friday, September 12, 2014

Fall Knits

Ah, sweet fall.
(Which is not how I describe it most mornings.)
Full of opportunities to wear handknits.
(Looking at the bright side; but we deserved a longer summer after the incredibly long winter.)

A season for fingerless mitts - before we shift to full-on mittens.

Eldest needed her own pair.  I've not knit any for her since she was a toddler. (And where are those so I only need to knit one more pair for twins?)

Whipped up these ribbed lovelies that should grow with her for a few years. I was going to knit them longer as arm warmers, but she wanted them done and insisted they are long enough.

Started with a simple 2x2 ribbing with leftover fingering weight yarns and 52 sts. Worked them two at a time on 2.5mm circs.  Added a stockinette panel to duplicate stitch the heart on to and worked the ribbing on the opposite side with an alternating eyelet pattern for a bit of lace and texture. Thumb area is worked back and forth for about 18 rows. I deliberately worked the stockinette pattern to stop ribbing from pulling in the thumb area.  Another Koigu orphan all used up.

Friday, September 5, 2014

There May Be Dragons Here

I've been sitting on a couple of dragon-inspired designs waiting for the cooler weather.  Of course, I didn't want to wait too long, because folks need time to knit all the dragon-y goodness before the last installment of Smaug - I mean, The Hobbit.

First there is the Dragon of Fearn.

In this shawl, texture and unique shaping combine to create a ferociously-fantastic design.  It is designed in a tutorial style to accommodate a range of sizes. In its origins it was designed to use 4oz of handspun singles, which is what I have used for my shawls, but it can most certainly be knit with your favourite yarns ranging from fingering to a light DK weight.

The top shawl was made with two different fibre colours. I bought the fibre as single ounces at Ram Wools Yarn Co-op.  The bottom (first-made) shawl was made from a gradient fibre (lingering in my stash) that I split into two quarters and a half.

Dragon of Fearn starts at the tips (of the darker yarns shown) that are worked towards the center. Next the two sides are joined with the spine. Finally, the stitches along the long edge are picked up and the remainder of the shawl is worked from the bottom up.  The delightful benefit of all this is that there are very few stitches to cast on and very few to bind off at the end. It's all knitting!

Second is the simpler beaded Dragon's Tail scarf, which is a cousin of the Battle-Weary Dragon.

I had to modify the scales pattern, but it is based on the beaded Battle-Weary scales that I loved so much I knew they needed another project.  The scarf -weight yarn (DK-light worsted) requires larger beads. Actually, it was inspired by the size 2/0 silver-lined blue glass beads I had picked up years ago.  After spinning the lavender wool I could see that the yarn and beads belonged together.  I'd tried other projects, but in the end I realized I had the perfect yardage for a scarf.

These two designs bring the count of dragon-inspired designs up to four (five if you count the free fire scarf from many years ago).  I had considered combining them as an eBook, with the possibility of adding to it in the future (because there are still dragons in my head).  However, that would require a great deal of reformatting of the patterns, and I quite simply do not have the time for that - not while I'm busy formatting and teaching a new course at the university while looking after toddler twins and calming a 6 year-old.  Instead I'm using the new bundles feature on Ravelry to group them together.  All my dragon designs can be found at There May Be Dragons Here and because eBooks typically provide multiple patterns at a discounted price, I've set an ongoing sale.  With a minimum purchase of 3 patterns there is an automatic discount of 25%.  I've also set the promotion to include past purchases. That is, if folks already purchased Battle Weary and/or the Hatchling Dragon Shawl on Ravelry, those purchases will count towards the 3 minimum.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Homeward Bound Migration

new shawl is a little big for her

 Two and a bit years ago, as we prepared to move across provinces, I knit my eldest a new shawl. I had promised I would make her something with beads using the remainder of the pink yarn that we had dyed together for my own beaded shawl.
Kiddo's original

there's twins in there

closeup detail of mine

I had intended to size it for an adult later. 2 years later I finally did, but as you can see the final design does not look much like the original.  I tried using the original shaping, but it wasn't working for me with yardage I had to work with and on a larger scale.

My motivating, time-limiting incentive was a competition being run by a local LYS (Wolseley Wool) to choose a shawl design for a KAL in August - leading up to the local Fibre Fest.  I faced one problem - I did not have any yarns they carry in my stash and I didn't have money to buy more.  My solution was to offer to knit a shawl for cost (i.e., the yarn I needed to buy).  A friend from afar jumped at the opportunity and I picked up yarn the next day. I decided to play with a solid and a multi yarn for fun.  The lace border knit up quickly. I already had it charted and written up from the first shawl.  The body is what slowed me. I must have knit that five times.  Ultimately, I am very pleased with the result.  I even snuck in some Koigu I had purchased at Shall We Knit? just before I moved - thus making this shawl a veritable homage to my migration home.

Presenting Homeward Bound Migration shawl

such squishiness! (pre-blocking, but it was still squishy after because garter is wonderful like that)

My design was not selected for this KAL so now I can release it. I'm excited to see what design was chosen and I'm hoping to see other submissions.  The LYS gift certificate would have been nice... but I already had the joy of knitting and designing a new shawl without cost. (The subsidizer and I actually negotiated I'd knit her a different lighter weight shawl with stash yarn, so this shawl is homeless for now. Extra bonus is I get to knit another shawl from my queue - and I was going to do it eventually - and work through my stash thus making space for more yarn when I get a chance.)

 Moving home to Winnipeg was the right choice for me and my family.  Our extended family is here - grandparents and aunt, uncles, nieces and nephews.  I miss my amazing friends back in Kitchener-Waterloo, but I wanted my children (we had one plus two more on the way) to grow up with family around - which I didn't have as a military brat.  It's good to be home (but I'd highly recommend southern Ontario to any fibre folk looking to move).

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Berserker Dragon

Plum Crazy Montague Yarn by Waterloo Wools meets Battle-Weary Dragon shawl.  I suppose that would make it a Berserker Dragon. (Rav link)
Don't mind the self-timer photography.

I love the combination of texture and lace and beads in this design. Actually, not very lacy as the only YO openings are in the edge. It is, however, knit in fine lace yarn. It's not my quickest knit.

This shawl will soon be on it's way to Waterloo, Ontario to be used as a sample display piece.  My original silver dragon shawl was the display piece during fibre fairs until I moved it with me to Winnipeg.

If you want your own... feel free to go knit one :) First you'll want to order some Montague yarn because it's divine.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Over the years

This story starts in the early spring of 2011. It was April. Not quite Earth Day. I was new to spinning. I had my own spindle from Knit Picks (after borrowing a friend's top whorl for my second attempt) and some pretty fibre from ToPly FIbre Arts on Etsy.

I still remember how proud I was of those first "nests" of singles off the Turkish spindle.

 Plied it up. Loosely. I didn't know better.

Then I was eager to knit it! Started a project as soon as I had some 2ply to work with, while still spinning the remaining fibre.

I was in love. It was looking amazing. I mean, look at those colours.  Everything seemed to be going well...
... except design idea was a flop. It didn't do what I wanted. In retrospect, it needed short rows, but I was still pretty new at knitting... I don't think I knew of short rows yet. Well, maybe for sock heels.

After whipping through the spinning and knitting in a few days, I found myself frogging on Earth Day, which was the opposite of my intentions.

New project idea emerged soon after in May 2011. Start from the center and see where it goes. I started with a cute doily pattern online. That part of the pattern uses spaced increases.

Then I worked a spiral stitch stitch after switching to the 'pi' method of doubling stitches every so often.
Again, I was loving it.
And then I ran out of yarn. It was inevitable, I knew.
Thought of spinning up some Romni I had, but it wasn't a good match in fibre or colour.
Clearly the obvious solution was to order more BFL from ToPly Fibre Arts. This time I got plenty of fibre - 8oz (started with 4oz).  I chose a colourway I thought could blend with what I had. Thus Earth Day met Snowy Pines.

By this time I'd started expending my collection of Turkish spindles and I had a pretty blue medium sized spindle from Thomas Creations to play with.

And then disaster hit.  I was happily spinning. Excited to be working on the project again. It was spring of 2012 by now. I was pregnant with twins and had quite a few ultrasounds to monitor them.  During one such visit, my spindle, what fibre I'd spun, and the bit I'd had with me to spin up disappeared.  All I know for certain is it was in my car before the appointment and I couldn't find it when I got back to the car. Did it fall out? I looked, checked various places someone might turn it in near by, posted on lost & found lists.
ANYHOW, (I shall not go down that rabbit hole again), the short of it is I was so upset the entire project was set aside again for a long while.  I don't even know how much fibre/spinning I lost.

Another 2 years later, winter of 2013/4 I finally started spinning again.

And then after that first adorable ball was plied (loosely to match the original yarn) I looked at the large pile of fibre remaining... and took a brief break again for other projects... and then I got a spinning wheel and eventually pulled out the remaining fibre spring of 2014 (3 years after starting this all), whipped it up, and got back to work on the knitting!

After the spirals, the circle turned into a square with the help of short rows. And then a modified candle pattern finished the edge. I had just enough to complete the lace pattern, so that answered my question of what would follow.

Bound off 3/4 of the lap-sized blanket and ran out of yarn! Picked up the stitches again. Considered a sewn BO to save yarn, but that was a long thread! (I did measure/estimate I had plenty for the BO.)  Chose to work a simpler YO BO method that used less yarn than my original attempt. This time I got to within 20 stitches of the end... and sought out some almost-matching yarns in the form of two fingering weights held double.

June 3 I blocked that baby on the shady deck.

Thank goodness for blocking wires for a nice straight edge.

That's my new snuggly blanket. Mine. It was a long term project, but so much fun to play with the fibre and make up the pattern as I went.  I love the sheen of BFL and how soft and cozy it is.