December 03, 2008

Spin therapy?

I've taken the next natural step as a knitter. It's been a long while but it started with figuring out: how to knit and purl then learning how to follow simple scarf and hat patterns making the jump to following a sweater pattern continuing to knit more challenging patterns starting to design small projects starting to design larger projects learn to use a hand spindle learn to use a spinning wheel I took a spindle class on Oct 25th and the beginner's wheel class on Nov 1st. What have I been doing in the past month?

Here's the first set of 'learner' yarn. The top picture shows Ashford merino in Green Tea (fingering weight, 2ply), Fleece Artist BFL (sport weight, Navajo 3ply, 12 wpi) and Ashford merino in Grape Jelly (fingering weight, 2ply). The bottom picture shows my first handspun ever done on a spindle, Coopworth spun on a Louet Julia (a pleasure to spin on), undyed BFL, Ashford Corriedale in Kiwi (worsted weight, 2ply) and Ashford Merino in Raspberry.

I've got a few projects planned for these, mostly hats because they aren't any more than 100gr each. I've spun all of these on my new Lendrum DT (thx hubs!). I love this wheel. On another note, a good friend of mind happened to give me a used Ashford Traditional (I believe from the 60s) that I intend to use. I'd like to update this with the new standard flyer with the sliding hooks, and maybe the double treadle conversion kit.. but all in due time. I'm just enjoying the learning process at the moment.

My next project? I've got another hank of Ashford merino in Spearmint spun that's drying at the moment, so I'm hoping to make Transition gloves from ShibuiKnits. I'm also planning to spin this:

I'm looking to make myself some mittens. It'll be my first go at spinning from the fold. I'd like to start blending colour projects, but I wanted more practice on technique. I was lucky enough to score a fast flyer for my Lendrum, so I'd like to try using those drive ratios soon as well. At the moment, I'm glad I've been able to spin thin singles. So far so good!

Back to spinning!

October 26, 2008

New gear

Christmas came a bit early for me. I've been looking for an adjustable dress form for a long while now but never wanted to spend the large amount to buy one new. Sure enough I found one for the right price and my DH bought it as my Christmas gift. I put it together and used it for my recent design. Ironically, I don't have any designs at the moment to use this but I'm happy to have one.

Another design aide I've acquired is my yarn counter. It's essentially a fishing line counter. I picked it up after reading on some forums that other yarn counters out there were fishing line counters. It's in feet, which isn't an issue since I just have to divide by three. I haven't measured it out exactly, but based on the weight, it's about right. It'll help me figure how much yarn I'll need for a project. It was a lot cheaper then the commercial yarn counters out there too.

I'm also the type of person that has one or two (or three) projects with me all the time. Neurotic maybe, but I've had times wear I'd go places without a purse with me and I'm just waiting for something to start, itching to knit. I used to carry a cute tote with me that was large enough, but as totes go, never had any compartments. I'd be fishing around, looking for keys, lip balm, umbrella, and feel completely frustrated that I've emptied out my bag. The answer? My very own Namaste Laguna in Olive green. All of my everyday items have a place in it. It's really all I need in a purse and I love the fact that if the bag is more empty, that the top folds over.

I'm still working away at Christmas gifts (which explains not having any designs on the go). Seven more weeks until Christmas!!! I've started working on the Icarus shawl (that isn't pretty enough to post a picture of yet). I have completed another new beret but I'm just in the process of putting the pattern together as well as needing to take nice action shots of it.

Happy knitting!

September 11, 2008

Oh L'illo

Ain't he a cutie?

Kudos to anyone who tries to take pictures babies/mini-tots. He was a bit drooly which required some wardrobe changes and a hairdryer. After a while, I had my sister with tissues in hand to catch anything before it fell. It was tough but I managed to come out with some charmers.

Pattern: L'illo by Susan Power
Source: Knitty Fall 08
Materials: Rowan Cotton Glace (4 skeins)

I've definitely been bit by the designing bug. I've got a few designs/concepts that I want to create, just need the time to do it all. It does have it's downside that I don't have much to show on my blog. Designs have to be kept on the down low until it gets published, whether it be by wonderful knitting magazines to self publishing. I do try to keep other WIPs with me, the Noro striped scarf goes with me whereever I go (that allows me to take knitting with me).

I want to get into spinning my own yarn (non-knitters tend to laugh at me when I mention this, thinking I'm too knitting obsessed) and into sewing, although it requires a big purchase of a sewing machine that I'm not quite ready to make. I need a better camera for taking better indoor pictures and possibly a dress form first.

September 02, 2008

time for scarves yet?

It hadn't really felt like Toronto had a summer this year. I don't even recall putting on the air conditioning once this summer. With all the rainfall we received, it's like we never left Ireland in June. I finally got around to blocking my star stitched scarf, perfect timing since it feels like fall and the dreaded winter comes around. Don't get me wrong, winter can be great. Knitting sweaters, scarves, mittens, all things to help us brave the big bad winter... but once February rolls around, I've about had it. Especially with the amount of snow we got last winter. Here's the first piece of my artillery:

As for my Noro Striped scarf, it's coming along quite well:

On a non-knitting front, a good friend of my husband, who also wonderfully did our photography for our wedding, revamped her website. For anyone in the London area, I highly recommend hiring her talent! If only she wasn't on the other side of the pond, I'd ask her to take pictures of new designs for patterns. Take a look-see: and yes, that's me on that page :) Some of our wedding photos are on her weddings page.

Back to more designing. Will post soon =)

July 30, 2008

Anyone else thinking Christmas?

I know, it's only July (and nearly August, oh my!) but I'd rather get a start on present planning than waiting until the last moment and feeling the pinch. The first WIP for this is the Noro striped scarf made popular by Jared Flood. I love how the two skeins colours transition the way they do. It keeps me wanting to knit more, just to see how the colours will transition together.. just like the entrelac (Danica) scarf I made a few months ago. *whisper* I might just keep this for myself...

This next object is my first go at doing socks. It was only a matter of time for me to try knitting socks. It was a bit tricky beginning the darn thing, but after scratching my head for a good hour, I was on my way to creating a new sock. This pattern is called Tiger eyes from the book Socks, Socks, Socks. Had this book for a couple years, glad I've been able to use it finally.

I'm glad that I've been able to post something on this blog, but I don't quite like posting about WIPs, just because I don't like how they photograph. If you just take a look at the post before this, the WIP pic of my Patti sweater is in a word... horrendous. I have been designing more, which also makes it hard to post. I'm planning to self publish a project in about two weeks, I need to get the photos just right, so far.. no such luck. On the blocking board is my star stitched scarf *finally*. I still don't like the finishing aspect of a project, even thought I'm *that* close. But I was blocking something else, so I figured... I might as well. So sounds like I'll be posting within the next month. *yay*

June 11, 2008

Where the *blank* did May go?

I'm sure a lot of you out there are thinking, where the heck is the time going?? Bad blogger am I but I'm here to fix that. I've got three projects on the go, concentrating more on this first one.

It's my own pattern, the second pattern to go on the Knit Therapy patterns page. I've got 90% of it to go but I'm pleased so far. Feels so nice and soft.. got to resist picking up the needles until I finish this post!

I'm still working on the Patti Cardigan. The WIP unfortunately doesn't picture well.. I took a few photos and figured it can't look any more exciting than it does... it's just a flat back piece.

I really wanted to cast this on after seeing Girl Kae's version of it. Absolutely stunning, ain't it? I picked up a copy of Rowan Studio 1 in Auckland, not realizing it was available for download, but was happy too. I bought it from this lovely shop called Alterknitives. I'll be sure to stop by there again if I'm ever in that part of the world again.

The last project is this star stitch scarf which is screaming to be blocked. (yep.. just procrastinating) but there's no real urgency since it's way to hot consider wearing this beautiful colourway outside in this hot and humid weather. It'll be winter in Toronto in no time.

Kept this pretty short.. it's knit therapy time =)

April 23, 2008

Baroness Beret

I'm excited that I posted my first free pattern on =) I'm planning on posting some more so stay tuned.. but for now:

Pattern: Baroness Beret by Susan Power
Source: free pattern section
Materials: Nashua Creative Focus Worsted in Rust
Needles: 7 US/ 4.5 mm and 5 US / 3.75 mm

Good in the city and out in the country. I love wearing this hat! My hair can get a bit much sometimes... so the hat works when I just let my hair do it's thing. Despite how it looks like in pictures.. it isn't naturally straight. I'm completely addicted/dependent on my flat iron.. in fact I've got a few in case any of them break down. I also love the fact that this beret doesn't give me hat hair like most hats I own.

Picking up the needles now =)

April 15, 2008

Blocking procrastinator

Wow, it's been over a month since I've last posted. I've been meaning to post but I've been busy with my store I'm so glad it's up and running. There's still stuff to finish up but it is open for business =) I have been knitting in the meantime, it really is my therapy/meditation from stuff going on around me... so I do have updates and pictures to share.

First off, I completed this one a while back:
Pattern: Gretel by Ysolda Teague
Source: Ysolda Store
Materials: Berroco Ultra Alpaca
Needles: 8 US/ 5 mm Denise needles
Completed: February 2008

I finished this one for my co-worker friend that was leaving the company for bigger and better things. It was sad to see her go but we'll hopefully not lose touch.

It took me a weekend to complete. I tried using the tubular cast-on technique that Ysolda Teague shows in a Youtube link from her site. It's very useful and looks less of a hassle than using a scrap piece of yarn in other examples, although I've never tried this. This one works just fine so I'm quite happy with sticking to it. I also tried, for the very first time, working cables without a cable needle. The very thought of doing this intriqued me since I'm very much an airplane knitter. (I've never had a situation where they've taken my knitting away although I am sure to always bring my plastic Denise needles) It's also less hassle to not have a cable needle. I've come close to dropping stitches but never had a situation where I've screwed up royally and had a trip to the frog pond. *knock on wood*

I couldn't for the life of me find a tapestry needle around the house so I tried using the actual Denise needle... and it worked! So yes a weekend it took. I'd definitely knit this one up again.

Second thing to report is that I've finally finished my Equestrian Blazer. It's literally been in a plastic bag, all knitted pieces finished, since early February. I felt the need to start new projects, hopefully designing new pieces so last weekend I aimed to complete it.. and completed it, I did.

Pattern: Equestrian Blazer by Kate Gilbert
Source: Interweave Knits Winter 2006
Materials: Rowan Scottish Tweed Aran in Rust
Needles: 6 US/ 4 mm Denise needles
Completed: April 2008

I'm really happy with this one. No modifications to report and it was really easy to do. Lots of short rows but it made for great shaping in this blazer pattern. I think I'll need to try to press the bottom bit of it. The right edge somewhat flaps up.

I might not have binded off loosely enough as I only had this much yarn after all the pieces are knitted.

I know they always say, "Make sure you buy enough yarn". I bought the yarn online so I figured, well I'm buying the yarn that the pattern calls for. If it says 5 is enough, I'm going to buy 5. I've never run into this problem before. I even bought DMC floss to seam the pieces together. I was able to do the trim on the collar and the body but the cuffs were left undone.. although it isn't too noticeable.

I'm happy to be starting a new project. I've swatched for the Patti Cardigan with the yarn I bought on my honeymoon from this wonderful store called Alterknits. I'm hoping to be done this one pretty quick though I've got other projects on my mind.

I'm planning to finally block the star stitch scarf. I've had it completely knitted but I hadn't yet blocked it (yes.. I'm a blocking procrastinator) and just when the warm weather is starting to come out. It'll be good to wear since there are cold nights here still but I'll at least have it for next winter. I've been wearing it the past couple months unblocked.. which might have been why there was no motivation to finally block it.

I've also worked on another project that I need to write up the pattern for. It'll be the first pattern I post on my store site. I'll put more detail about it when it's finally up.

Now, it's late but I need me some knit therapy.

March 11, 2008

Feeling giddy over Mosey

I'm uber excited over the new Knitty coming out today that I'm gonna chase that feeling for the next little while. So here it is, wee toes and all:

Pattern: Mosey by Susan Power
Source: Knitty
Materials: Patons Classic Wool Merino in Natural Mix
Needles: 7 US/ 4.5 mm Denise needles

These are the other two pics that didn't make the final cut. I was lucky to have my cousin take these pictures for me. (thanks Steph!) I was outside in the front yard trying to take the pics myself but they didn't turn out nice *at all*. I capitalized on the fact that I was out west for Christmas vacation. It would have been worse if I had tried to talk outdoor pics in Toronto with all this snow that's been coming down. I picked up the plaid sneakers in Vegas (I love plaid as you might have guessed from the banner) which matched the legwarmers quite nicely.

The main reason I picked Natural mix as a colour for Mosey was that I thought it would make for better pictures in seeing the detail rather than going with something dark. I really lucked out with all the sunlight in LA. The temperature was pretty close to what it would be spring time in Toronto. I nearly didn't take the pictures there... the photo shoot happened 30 minutes before leaving for the airport. The colour also made it easier to match it with an outfit in my wardrobe. At the mo, I'm really digging deep orange colours, which is the reason I chose to use the colour Rust for my Equestrian Blazer. That's pretty close to being complete although I haven't touched it at all. It's still waiting to be blocked along with the star stitch scarf. I still need to take pictures of the Gretel beret I made for a friend, but that's all to come =)

February 17, 2008

What are you doing this stat holiday weekend?

This is the winter in Toronto that I remember as a kid (without the January thaw). I'm waiting for the next big snowfall to come down, should be later on this evening.. so they say. When it comes down to it, I prefer the weather as it is rather than it being a sweltering 37 degrees Celsius.

We've embraced the winter and had taken skating lessons. I've finally learned how to stop on skates, and when I say stop, I don't mean slamming into the boards. Hopefully next winter, we're planning to take up skiing.

I'm still finding time going by very quickly lately. Ever since getting engaged, that's where time started to fly by. We got married in September 2007 and I thought time would start to free up and go back to the pace pre-engagement, but no. It has a lot to do with something I've been planning for a couple months now.. it's on the down low but it will all make sense in due time; about a month I say. But because of it, I haven't been knitting as much as I want to.

For the past month, I've been working on finishing another Danica scarf. Slowly but surely. This time around, I'm using Patons SWS in Charcoal. I think the last one I did knitted up quickly because of the colour changes, getting surprised with what colour it will change to next. Oh well, I'm down to the last ball hoping to be done this weekend.

But is this really considered a Danica? My opinion, no. There's no different coloured squares and it follows the simple entrelac pattern that's been done before.

I'm also planning on blocking my pieces to the Equestrian Blazer this long weekend.. hopefully. I do always tend to procrastinate with this part but I want to finish the scarf before I start. So close. I picked up some DMC floss for the seaming for fear I'd run out of yarn for the edging.

However, here's the real prize this weekend. This was my first attempt at making pizza. Turned out better than I thought it would.

I used the bread maker we picked up last weekend. Made two yummy loaves and planning on making another pizza tomorrow with the left over ingredients.

I'm going to get back to knitting now =)

February 01, 2008

It works!

I've been meaning to post this a while back but I was absorbed with trying to finish the Imogen sweater. I have a yarn winder at home but without a yarn swift, winding was a pain in the backside. I had three hanks of Dream in Color yarn to wind and figured, ok... it's time to get a yarn swift.

I didn't want to order it online, especially after I had so much trouble getting a blocking board, that took a month and a half to sort out shipping to me. I also didn't want to spend as much money on it so I toyed with the idea of making something myself. I found good tutorials on how to construct one with wood and all the rest. Even asked the hubby to help me with it. But then... I found the Crafting Jen blog post and thought, I could have my very own yarn swift that night made from Tinkertoy. I looked up toy shops in the Toronto area, one in particular came to mind, checked there site and low and behold.. they had them!

I popped in after work, spent about 30 bucks, got home and put it together. It was simple and it works. Granted, it's a bit wabble-y, but at the end of the day, you get what you pay for.. I paid less than half the price of a new one, I can redesign and change sizes if you wish, and had no problems when it came down to winding.


January 26, 2008

So nice, I'd like to knit it twice

My first Imogen sweater:

Pattern: Imogen sweater by Adrienne Thomas
Source: Perl Grey

Materials: Dream in Color Classy in In Vino Veritas
(less than 3.25 skeins)
Needles: 10 US/6mm Denise needles

This is, hands down, an awesome pattern. So awesome that I've bought more yarn to make another one. I'm looking to make it in Manos Del Uruguay in a teal colour. I'm still trying to get through making the Equestrian Blazer (started the left front today, with two more sleeves afterwards to go). I couldn't resist casting this one on. So I did and finished it in less than a week. The yarn was great to work with, nice and cushy. I definitely want to use it in future projects. The variegated colour worked nicely that there aren't any splotches of colour all over. It's distributed quite nicely.

I stuck to the pattern although I added some small changes. I added a selvedge on the bottom edge of the sweater. I decided to go with the invisible cast on instead of unraveling the cast on. It's the first time I've used this cast on and worked out great. No signs of uneven stitch tension. I also added two extra stitches when picking up the front stitches to hide the holes at the armpit. I nearly completed the sweater with three skeins but at the very end broke into the fourth skein to finish the collar edging.

The bottom edge kept curling so I ended up ironing the bottom half of the sweater. I dampened a piece of cloth and placed that over the knit. Worked out well, the sweater flattened to the perfect length. It was the first time I tried this technique. Normally hovering the iron above the knit worked for me but the sweater resisted.

January 12, 2008

The little ones count too

My instant gratification project:

Pattern: Butterfly Mobius by Clara Parkes
Source: Knitter's Book of Yarn
Materials: SRK Ovation in Camel (2 skeins)
Needles: 5 US/3.75mm

No mods to report, it was simple and straight forward. This one was finished before the holidays and took maybe a week and a half to complete. I was planning to take pics of it in a warmer LA but I hadn't worn it out. I definitely like how this finished off but I'm unsure if I'll actually wear it when the warmer weather comes to Toronto.

I think it's amazing, yet slightly crazy one week there's a big ol' pile of snow that makes me try to think back when it last snowed that much and now... all the snow is gone. In the past week, the temperature in celsius has gone up to 15 degrees and for the next week, the daily highs are lingering around the zero degree.

In preparation for the winter months, I've casted on a scarf for myself. I picked up two skeins of Manos Del Uruaguay in a sumptuous colourway called Stellar. I had planned to make the "My so called Scarf" but I felt it's been done so many times. One of the things I really like about knitting your own gear was avoiding the dread of seeing someone else wear the same exact thing you are. Granted, that's going to happen and really, who really cares... it's just less likely when it's something you've made yourself. For the most part, every FO is like a snowflake. The same generic pattern may be used being used but people knit differently, make different yarn choices, make modifications! Maybe I've put too much thought into it.

Anyhoo.. here's the startings of my scarf. I started looking at stitch guides to avoid working the My so called scarf and remembered this star stitch pattern I loved from an Urban Outfitters scarf that on their site is selling as a crocheted scarf. I wouldn't have paid the amount they were asking for it, especially since it was all *cough* acrylic but it still looks lovely. I added a two stitch gartered chain selvedge to clean up the shape.

I've also come to think there should be different types of WIPs on the go. The only other project I've been working on right now is the Equestrian Blazer but it doesn't travel well because of it's complexity. I like having a project with me where ever I am so the scarf was a good choice. I could pack in my knapsack or purse even and the pattern is easy enough to remember.

January 02, 2008

Onward home

Sitting in the airport lounge, wanting to get home already. This trip home was the first canceled flight I've had but luckily things are looking good to get home. Luckily, there's free wi-fi here so I can finally post these FOs.

Pattern: Saartje's booties
Source: Saartje's Knits blog
Materials: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Teddybear
Needles: Susan Bates 2.75mm
Made for: an expecting cousin

These were newborn size. I tried them on my nephew who's 7 months but they didn't fit. They were fun to make and absolutely adorable.

Pattern: Danica by Jesse Loesberg
Materials: Paton's SWS in Natural Russet (3 skeins)
Needles: Denise Needles US 8 (5mm)
Made for: Christmas present for cousin

This Danica scarf was a quick knit. I love the colours on this one and am considering making one for myself. The entrelac was quite tricky because at one point I didn't make sure there were 10 stitches on the needle for every square. I was able to go back a few blocks safely to fix the mistake. I think I'd like to make the "So-called Scarf" for myself next. It's going to be a couple of cold months in Toronto. It's warmer in Vegas and in LA and I don't think I'm prepared to feel the winter in a few hours.

Vacation was relaxing and was great to see family. Christmas lunch was delicious but I can't imagine anyone finishing that portion. (see below) Can't wait for the next one although I can't stand airports anymore.

Happy New Year!!!