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.

May 31, 2015

FO: Caroline

Ta-dah! I finished my Caroline and it fits! When I knit a sweater and try it on for the first time I feel a bit of fear that all those hours knitting were wasted.  I am still at the stage of knitting where I am surprised when I knit a sweater that actually fits me properly.  I am very happy with the fit of this one.  I guess swatching does work!

This sweater was knit for the MadMay KAL, an annual knit-a-long, where during the month of May knitters sign up to make something with the very popular Madelinetosh yarn.  Sweaters are just one of the many categories.  Here are some other sweaters that were completed.  

Cables go up the sides both in the back and front

Caroline, is a seamed sweater, by Amy Miller, knit in fingering weight yarn.  I chose Robin Egg, a newly discontinued colour in Madelinetosh Merino Light. The colour is hard to capture on camera but it reminds me of candy floss. This sweater pattern was a very simple pattern to follow and made for a relaxing knit. However, the main reason I chose it was to practice my seaming skills. The front and back and sleeves were all knit separately.  Before attempting to seam this sweater I rewatched Sally Melville's Craftsy video called Essential Techniques Every Knitter Should Know. This video has helped me so many times with many different knitting techniques.  I highly recommend it.  I am always surprised at how long it takes to seam a sweater. You can do a beautiful job knitting all the pieces of a sweater but it's those last couple hours seaming that are the most important. I definitely want to practice more.

Caroline by Amy Miller

The only modification I made to this sweater was to knit the body in stockinette, instead of the reverse stockinette suggested in the pattern.

I enjoyed the process but I think I need to knit with thicker yarns for a bit before I go onto Lake Effect which will be my next fingering weight cardigan project.  I seem to gravitate to fingering weight sweater/cardigan patterns but knitting them is a slow process.  I need some instant gratification that a thicker yarn can provide.  So the pattern hunt begins!  

May 24, 2015

Sock Knitting: It was inevitable

Well I can't take it anymore.  I have knit sweaters, cardigans, scarves, shawls, hats and mittens.  But I have resisted knitting socks.  I have long admired the beautiful sock patterns available, but the thought of those tiny needles, those tiny stitches, those hours spent knitting something that no one would ever see prevented me from knitting them. Then a few things happened to make me change my mind.  My lovely mother-in-law recently knit me a pair of socks, and once I put them on, I just loved wearing them.

Sweet Fiber Yarns Super Sweet Sock

Then when I saw this lovely skein of sock yarn arrive in my mailbox I knew I couldn't resist any longer.  I decided the time had come for me to join in and knit my first pair with this gorgeous yarn above. 

Wildflowers colourway

I joined Sweet Fiber Arts Yarns five month long Sock Club.  As you all know I am a big fan of this yarn line and I couldn't resist signing up.  This first installment is the May colourway called Wildflowers in Super Sweet Sock.  I thought I would knit shawls, etc. with these yarns.  But once I saw this colourway I knew this was the skein I had to knit socks with.  So I will start out knitting a very basic sock pattern by Susan B. Anderson, nothing fancy.  I think this colourway is so pretty that a simple pattern will really show off the colourway.

I have watched the Craftsy video on My First Socks with Lucy Neatby knitting socks to get me started and received some very good tips there.  Stay tuned and please follow woolercoaster on Instagram as I will be posting my progress.  I hope you are enjoying your knitting as much as I am!

May 9, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all those that mother someone.  I still miss my mother terribly...she passed away nine years ago.  I have had the pleasure of mothering a son and a daughter.  I can't believe how quickly time flies as my son is now 22 years old and my daughter is 19.  I am proud to say how amazing these two individuals are and how lucky I have been to be part of seeing them grow.  So to all you young mothers out there try hard to enjoy each day with your kids because it's so true what they say...they grow so quickly and before you know it they are adults.   Here is what I have learned:

1)  Let your children hear you say that you love them. My husband and I said it so many times over the years to our children, that they are very comfortable and say it often to us.  What a thrill!

2)  Make rules for your children.  They really do want rules.  Don't be influenced by their friends' parents rules...listen to your gut about what's right for your family.  They will thank you later.

3)  Try to really focus on them, put away the technology and be present for your child.  I can't tell you how many of my students complain that it is hard for them to get their parents to listen to them.  They want to be heard.

4)  Celebrate your child's successes.

5) Teach them it's o.k. to make a mistake.  Guide them to learn from their mistakes so they don't repeat the same mistake again.

6)  Let your child explore their interests.  You never know what it will lead to.

7)  Spend time with your kids.  They are really interesting individuals.

8)  Eat dinner together as much as possible.  That dinner conversation is so important.

9)  Don't ever think motherhood is easy.  It's not.  But it's oh so rewarding.

10)  Don't shelter them from disappointments.  It's better to learn early that things don't always go their way.

11)  Teach them, by example, to help others.

12)  Read to them even when they are 12 years old.

13)  Let go of the mother guilt.  The fact that your child is being brought up in a loving home makes them so fortunate.

My sweeties

Well that's just a few of the things I learned.  I could keep on going!  I am sure all you mothers out there could add to my list too!

I hope you all enjoy your special day.  Happy Mother's Day everyone!  xo