Sunday, September 25, 2016

New Sweater Sunday

I have a new sweater! This is Argo, knit from my souvenir yarn from MacAusland's woolen mill in PEI. The three ply yarn is rustic and heavy, which required a simpler pattern when knit at a large size. I would love to see what it looks like worked up in cables though. It's not a soft yarn, but I expect long-term durability from it.

Sometimes it takes awhile to get around to the buttons, but a sweater isn't really finished until the last button is sewn on. It changes the personality of a cardigan, to be able to button it up. Actually I think of this as more of a jacket.

I performed all sorts of mods to this pattern to get a fit that was right for me. You can read the details on my Ravelry page. This is a top-down pattern, and once again, being able to try on as you go really proved invaluable to me. I had to rip back a couple of times, but it's worth it to get the fit you want.

I am almost looking forward to cooler weather so I can wear it out.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Laurie Goes a Swatching

It's too exciting, starting a new colorwork project. Even more exciting that finishing up a project in progress. My Argo sweater is nearing the finish line, but for weekend fun, I allowed myself to stop and swatch. The only problem with swatching is now I'm eager to start the sweater.

I'm going with the first color way. The one with all the blues. This is because I look best in blue reds. It tracks just as well as the lighter ones in monotone. Jim and the boys thought the middle one was best, until they saw a pic of the whole sweater. Then they understood where I was heading with it. Which just goes to show the importance of context once again.



Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Western Fair Results

Disappointing results for me again at the Western Fair. Unfortunately, the judging does not give you feedback to explain their decision or what the knitter should do to improve their work. My best guess is that the judging at the Western Fair is subjective, based entirely on what the judge likes. I have pictures so you can draw your own conclusions.

I entered two knit items. Up first, knitted sweater. In this category, I knit Jim a Shetland jumper weight sweater, which didn't place. This pic shows my sweater on top and the first place sweater below.

Second place:
Third place:


The second category for knitted items was non-wearables. In this class I entered a knitted dragon, named Oolong. He took second place.

First place was a knitted hedgehog, made with fun fur. I didn't get a usable picture of it, but this is pretty close to the same thing.

And third place was a knitted pig. Note the tiny teddy in this picture. Incredible knitting!

I am trying to be a gracious looser. I really shouldn't be disappointed, because I know what the judging at this fair is like. I think it is time I stopped entering my knitting. I know I am a good knitter, I don't need a ribbon to prove it. The biggest reason to enter is to promote the craft of knitting. But how does it help educate the public when the judging results are so odd?


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Home Again

What a wonderful vacation, but oh my! It is good to be back home. Luke and Cooper were very glad to see us. I took Cooper for a walk first thing, and now he just follows me around the house everywhere. It's sweet.

I promised some friends to show what I bought while on vacation. PEI is a great place for sovenirs, because there are so many wonderful shops selling so many beautiful things. Of course, I stuck to wool but I was also careful to only buy yarn that I can't get at home, that had some connection to the maritimes.

My biggest souvenir was a MacAusland's wool blanket for my bed. Practical and beautiful, it is made on the island with local wool and it has a label stating where it was made. I shall fall asleep petting it, and dreaming of the island. From MacAusland's I also bought enough yarn for two sweaters and a bit for socks. My sweater is already in progress. I'm making Argo.

I also visited Cricket Cove in Moncton which was a lovely and lively little LYS, and Northern Watters Knitwear, which sells sweaters they make in the shop as well as other sovenir items like slippers made of moose hide, handmade pottery and, happily, Fleece Artist. Between the two shops, I have this happy pile of colourful sock yarns. The darkest one is for man socks for Jim, the next is green for Luke, but the rest is all mine!

On the way home, we stopped in at Briggs and Little. It was an hour out of our way, but my guys knew how much it meant to me. I didn't get to tour the mill, as they were closing early, but I did have enough time to pick out yarn for a colorwork sweater which was a ridiculous amount of fun. I can hardly wait to start swatching for my version of Next year in Lerwick. Mine is going to be red, with blue accents. I have way more yarn than I need here, because I wanted to make sure that I could swap out colours if I needed too. At only $5.95 for a 4 oz skein, I felt free to throw in a couple extras.

Now I just need another round of vacation days, so I can knit it all.


Tuesday, September 06, 2016

A Quiet Summer's Vacation on PEI

I am vacationing on PEI. This is the view outside my backdoor. It is Mill River, located in the northern end of the island.

It is a beautiful spot to sit and knit and watch the river. I knocked some items off my bucket list too. I dipped my toes into the ocean, walked the back woods on red trails, saw a seal, watched a sunrise, sun set and the stars at night. You can't see the stars in the city.

I found plenty of wool yarn in PEI. For one thing, they sell Briggs and Little at the Dollar Store.

And somehow, the cabin we are staying at is just 5 minutes away from MacAusland's Woolen Mill. I've already been there twice and will probably go again, just for a wee bit more. I bought two of their wool blankets and enough yarn for two sweaters. One for me and one for Luke. The yarn isn't soft, but it blooms on washing into a cushy fabric that looks like it will wear very well. Lots of veggie matter in it too, so you know the wool hasn't been treated harshly. My yarn is turning into a jacket.

I also knit a sock with MacAusland yarn. This isn't a pattern, just me doodling around with some Eastonian stuff.

There is a rustic beauty to this sock that I just love and it feels wonderful to wear.

We only have 3 more days on the island then 3 days to travel back home. Luke stayed home with Cooper and I know they are both missing us badly. But I don't know that I will be ready to leave vacation life....


Thursday, August 04, 2016

All's Well!

Apologies for the cliff hanger! Purldaily pointed out that I never reported back after my surgery. Well I'm happy to say that it went very smoothly and I had a restful time off. I learned a few things about pain, and what it means to recuperate, and I watched a lot of movies. It wasn't fun, but I suppose if I was well enough for fun, I would have been well enough for work.

While I was recuperating, all my focus was on that. I didn't even feel like knitting the first week. When I went back to work it took a while to get back in the swing of things. Then I started an epic knitting project.

See, there was this sweater I really liked for Jim and I was waffling over whether to make it or not. Then it occurred to me that it might just be the project to finally win me a first place ribbon at the Western Fair. I've won second and a few thirds, but I have yet to place first. So if this doesn't do it, I don't know what will!

Project details on Ravelry.

Alex, who is modelling in the shot above, is another Finished Object I suppose. He just turned 20 so we are officially done parenting! Wait, no. I hear that job never ends. Well, no matter. I'm still awfully proud of him. Can you believe he is smiling for me wearing that sweater in 29C weather? What a sport!


Monday, April 04, 2016

Some more socks and surgery thoughts

As predicted, I knit some socks. And as might be expected, I couldn't stick with just one project.

I like to have a plain pair on the go, and colour work is my joy to knit. I started off with knee highs for Jim, abandoned them because the colours reminded me too much of winter and cold. They are lovely though, and I'm sure I'll come back to it:

I thought that this plain pair would be enough of a contrast.

They were lovely to knit, so they are finished, but I had to cast on another colour work pair and these are my current loveys:

I wasn't sure of the colours at first, but I think it's one of those cases where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Tomorrow, I go for surgery. I'm grateful to live in Canada, where I can get good quality care that doesn't strip my bank account. I'm nervous of course, because there is a risk. But then, there is a risk to just step out your front door. We all take so many risks in our lives with out even thinking. I think the only thing different about this risk is that it is not a regularly occuring risk for me. So that makes me nervous. I'm sure the surgeon's nerves are just fine.

On the other hand, this is a bit fun. The people at work were so nice to me today. Wishing me well, buying me lunch and even a gift of chocolate. I had a little shopping spree last week of a new book, and some yarn for a mindless knitting project. And there is a certain pleasure in knowing that I have 4 weeks off work to concentrate on getting well. That's a lot of knitting time!

Wish me luck! I'll talk to you on the other side.


Friday, April 01, 2016

A Poem

So many fibres pass through my hands.

I am the conduit for the grass, and the wind, and the sheep.

I shape the wool to keep my family warm

With socks and hats and sweaters.

They don't know, they haven't touched, each stitch

Each moment of my love captured in wool.

My life, entwined with theirs, tied up in the sheep's fleece,

Monday, March 21, 2016

Sock on

I feel a sock binge coming on. I'm scheduled for a surgery in two weeks, and I don't what I'll feel like knitting during my post-op recovery. Also, I feel a bit nervous. Socks are soothing, just going around and around.

I finished this pair on the weekend. Kroy FX, 64 stitches on a 2.25 needle makes a firm fabric for a durable sock.

I gave them to Luke with a "I love you so I made you this." He loves me back. :)


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Stepping up my game

I've spun yarn for socks before. I've tried superwash with nylon, or with silk. I tried spinning up cheviot fibre. I usually spin a 3-ply, sometimes a chain ply, but I always end up with socks that wear out too fast. So I've stepped up my game by spinning this:

A 4-ply spun from Karakul fibre. This is not soft, oh no. But I've got high hopes that this yarn will make socks that last.