July 23, 2015

Vacation Knitting

When I visited New York City a couple weekends ago I knew that it would be a whirlwind trip and only brought my Indigo Dreams Sweet Fiber Yarns socks to work on.  That was the right move as I barely had time or the energy to knit. But every now and then I get to go on a holiday where I know there will be plenty of time for knitting.  My husband and I are taking such a trip.  We are venturing out to Vancouver and taking a driving trip to tour around the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. Yes a driving trip means lots of knitting time.  Yippee!  But as every obsessed knitter knows the real question is what should I bring to knit?  I always like to work on more than one project at a time and I definitely don't want to run out of yarn.  However, I don't want to take up too much space in my suitcase with yarn.  So here is what I am thinking:

Pure Worsted by cabinfour 
I want to knit the simple shawl with Woolfolk Far that I picked up at Purl Soho. I cannot tell you how incredible this yarn feels and luxurious it would feel around your neck.  It is made up of ultimate merino and is a chainette construction. You can read about Woolfolk here and a yarn review here.  I think this combination of yarn and pattern will be amazing.

Woolfolk Far

Next on my list is a shawl I have been slowly working on that deserves some attention, Sidere, a lace weight shawl by Hilary Smith Callis.  For this pattern I am finally using my Merletto yarn by Julie Asselin, a gorgeous blend of 75% merino, 15% cashmere, and 10% silk in the colourway Coraline. 

Julie Asselin Merletto:  Coraline

Now if I want to go a little crazy I could bring yarn to start my next sweater project.  Here are the two patterns that have made it to the top of my queue.

Lake Effect by Amy Miller is a pattern that I have written about on my blog before.  This lacy cardigan would be perfect with my Sweet Fiber Yarns Super Sweet Sock Yarn in Chartreuse.  However, knitting a lace pattern always takes a lot of concentration on my part.  Maybe I could just get it started?

Lake Effect gauge swatch

Sweet Fiber Super Sweet Sock

The other pattern that I am all set to knit is Mailin by Isabell Kraemer.  I have been wanting to knit a pattern by this designer for some time.  I have found the perfect yarn to knit it in:  Plucky Knitter Scholar, a 75% Merino 25% Cashmere worsted weight yarn, in the colourway Twill.  This pattern is much easier than Lake Effect but it uses heavier yarn and I know the temperature in the Okanagan is quite hot.

Plucky Knitter Scholar:  Twill

I am not sure what I will decide to bring but hopefully I can show you some progress when I return.  I find it hilarious that I am spending all this time planning my knitting but no time on what I am packing to wear!  But I know you knitters totally understand.

I hope you all find yourself with some holiday knitting time.  Happy knitting everyone!

July 19, 2015

Store Find: Fishs Eddy NYC Part 2

It's so much fun to discover a new store when you're travelling.  Next to visiting knitting stores I enjoy kitchen stores.  And did I ever find a treasure in New York City.  Fishs Edy, located in the Flatiron District, carries a huge variety of dishes and everything else imaginable for your kitchen.  All the products are displayed in a fun and edgy way.

I could have poked around the store for hours.  There were so many unique pieces. 

Go ahead, have a look around:

These pictures only capture a fraction of what they had displayed.  If you love kitchen stores as much as I do this place is definitely worth a visit next time you're in New York City.  I can hardly wait to return!

July 14, 2015

New York City: Summer of 2015 Part 1

Every now and then my husband and I love to go away for a fun-filled weekend in New York.  

Of course every visit to New York has to include Purl Soho.  It never disappoints. Look at all this yarny goodness in the front window:

Walking around this store just makes me happy.

Purl Soho
Our hotel was literally around the corner from a number of bead, ribbon and button shops.  As every knitter knows good buttons can make a sweater.  One place I visited was M&J Trimming.  There were so many buttons to choose from. I ended up not buying any...the selection was overwhelming!

This was just one small sample of the variety of buttons available

We decided to try a three hour walking Greenwich Food and Culture Tour, and were not disappointed.  During this tour we ate the most delicious pizza from Joe's Pizza, munched on a warm cookie from Milk & Cookies Bakery, sampled cheese at Murray's and visited a restaurant called Palma that was just full of flowers, to name a few.  We ended our tour with a an amazing cannoli from Pasticceria Rocco.  This tour is definitely worth taking. In addition to the wide variety of food we tasted, the introduction to many small restaurants, that we would have never known about was invaluable. We definitely will return to them next time we come.

During this visit we stayed in the Archer Hotel, a lovely boutique hotel right in the heart of downtown.  In the hotel is a fabulous restaurant called fabrick by David Burke.  The menu was so interesting and the food was delicious.  Take my Lobster BLT Steamed Bun below.  It was so good, I am still thinking about it!  

Lobster BLT with candied bacon!

The other fun thing to do in this hotel is to go up to the top floor to the Spyglass Rooftop Bar, have a cocktail and watch the sunset over the city and the Empire State Building.  We did this on the last night and it was a great way to end the trip.

I also wanted to show you pictures of a store I visited, the Purl Soho of kitchen stores!  But I feel I have gone on long enough for today. Stay tuned for my next blog post where I will share some details about this store and entice you to go the next time you visit.

July 5, 2015

Sweet Fiber Yarn: Indigo Dreams

What is it about pretty yarn?  I just love to photograph it.  Sometimes I don't even want to knit with it until I have admired it for a while.  

That's what happened when I received my July's shipment of Sweet Fiber Sock Club yarn called Indigo Dreams.

 Isn't it gorgeous?

A Nice Ribbed Sock by Glenna C.

June 28, 2015

Through the Loops Mystery Shawl 2015

Sometimes I think I have an attention problem when it comes to knitting.  One of my favourite pasttimes is to peruse Ravelry.  I love finding the latest released patterns, adding some to my favourites list, and putting patterns that I just have to knit into my queue.  At last look my queue is almost at 150.  A tad long most people would say. I won't even mention how big my favourites on Ravelry is!  I used to have only one project on my needles.  Now I have many cast on at any given time.

But every now and then there is a pattern that I see, that I can't seem to resist. It doesn't even make it to my queue but gets cast on right away despite the fact that I am currently knitting enough to keep a full-time working girl busy.

The latest pattern that fits this category is Kristin Kapur's Through the Loops Mystery Shawl 2015, a KAL which began in the beginning of June.  I completed Kirstin Kapur's Knit a Long last year and absolutely loved it.  The beauty of a Mystery Knit a Long is you have no idea what the finished pattern is going to look like when you start. If I had seen what the finished product looked liked last year I would have shied away from knitting it, because I would have thought it was too hard for me. But I managed to finish each clue successfully and was so happy when I realized I had knit my first lace shawl:

Algiers in Black Trillium Fibre Studio Pebble Sock

I will admit that initially when I read that this year's pattern was a two-coloured half-pi shawl I lost interest as I am not a fan of that shawl shape. But then I quickly changed my mind when I saw what the shawl looked like after Clue 1 and Clue 2 were released. I knew I had to jump in. I had some perfect stashbusting yarn to use, no money need be spent.  It was a no brainer.

I tried to catch up on the released clues but that didn't work too well.  I finished Clue 1 and then I hate to admit it but I reknitted Clue 2 three times and had to rip it out each time.  I don't think that the pattern is too hard for me, it just requires a higher level of concentration which I seemed to be lacking this month, due to my busy work obligations.  So I made myself step away from this pattern until my holidays began which they do now. I hate being so far behind but I have resisted looking at the Spoiler Thread to see what the rest of the Clues knit up like.  I can still be surprised.  Hopefully now I can concentrate fully on this gorgeous pattern.

Ahhhh, first world problems.

Love it.

This is what the pattern looks like after Clue 1:

Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label:  Thrills colourway

In the meantime I focused on knitting my Acer Cardigan as it was more of a relaxing knit.  I am happy to say that the body is done and all that is left is the sleeves and the buttonband and neckband.  Here is the latest picture I took:

I can't give you a more recent shot as it has been raining nonstop all weekend. Good knitting weather, but not good for taking pictures.  

I hope you are all finding time to relax this weekend.  And if you looked at the Spoiler Thread for my shawl don't tell me!

June 14, 2015

Sock Knitting: A New Found Joy

There are so many knitters on Ravelry that almost exclusively knit socks.  I have to admit that has mystified me.  Skinny needles, fine yarn, hours spent knitting such a small object that most people would never see....why bother?

I have to admit that I have totally changed my view.

After my mother-in-law knit me a pair of socks recently I realized how lovely they looked and how wonderful they felt on my feet.   Sure no one could see them but me, but who cares?  After joining the Sweet Fiber Yarn Sock Club I knew the time had come.  I had to try knitting my own pair to see what the fuss was all about.  I decided to start with Susan B. Anderson's basic sock pattern.

Here they are!

It is so weird to take a picture of your own feet!
I have to admit that I totally get the allure of sock knitting.  I enjoyed every moment of making them. The combination of a pretty yarn and learning new techniques made me a very happy knitter.  I love the portability of knitting socks and the fact that they are not such a huge time commitment compared to a sweater.  The best thing for me is that there are an endless amount of patterns to try.

And frankly they feel just great on.

Sweet Fiber Yarns "Wildflower" colourway 
The number of resources available to help a new sock knitter out is amazing.  Fish lips heels?  Afterthought heels? Patterned socks? Toe up?  Magic loop?  These are all terms that I have heard and am excited to try out.   I have started my research about the best guides and here are just a few resources that I feel will really help me out on my sock journey:
  •  I like to watch the Junkyarn podcast and on her website she had a helpful article called So You Want to knit Socks which offers step by step guidance as to what patterns to start with and which ones to knit as your improve your skills.
  • Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's book Knitting Rules, which has a great section on knitting socks. 
  • Kate Atherley, a fellow Canadian, is coming out with a book this summer called Knit Socks That Fit.  
The list of resources is endless.  So if you were as foolish as me and haven't tried knitting socks yet what are you waiting for?

June 7, 2015

On the Needles: Acer Cardigan and Herald

Look at this sweet linen bag that arrived in the mail this week from Jenna Rose Handmade:

Jenna Rose Traveller Pouch
The pattern is so simple but effective and I just love it. This bag was available in a smaller size but I thought this bigger size could easily fit at least two skeins of yarn plus the project I am knitting...it was exactly what I was looking for.  The best thing about this bag is it is made in Canada, and I do love to support my fellow Canadians. Jenna Rose hand screens fabric using waterbased pigments on natural and organic materials. Check out this etsy site where you too can buy one for yourself.

After finishing Caroline, my fingering weight sweater, I felt the need to knit with some thicker yarn.  I dug around my stash and came up with this Madelinetosh DK yarn in Copper Penny.  

Copper Penny

I looked through my queue and after doing a swatch decided that the Acer Cardigan by Amy Christoffers would be a good match.  This pattern has eyelets and cables and is knit bottom up.  I am really enjoying this knit although I am having to alternate three skeins of yarn because there is such variation.  Here is where I am so far:

June is an extremely busy month for me workwise, so I am not sure how fast I will get this done, but I shall try and pick this cardigan up and knit a bit everyday.

And since I can never have just one project on the go I also started a beautiful shawl called Herald by Janina Kallio.  Once again I dug through my stash and found this beautiful fingering weight skein of Tanis Fiber Arts Red Label yarn (75% merino, 15% cashmere, 10% silk) in the colourway slate.  This is a very simple pattern where the same eight rows are repeated over and over, and so I challenged myself to knit eight rows everyday.  Hopefully by the time the rows grow much longer my work pressures will lessen as we move through June and I will have time to knit the longer rows.  I think it will block out beautifully.

Tanis Fiber Arts Red Label:  Slate

And if you are wondering what happened to the first pair of socks I was knitting as part of the Sweet Fiber Sock Club I am happy to report that I am almost finished my second one.  I have enjoyed knitting every second of it...come join me next time where I will discuss my surprise at the whole fun of sock knitting.