December 29, 2013

Year End

Well Christmas has come and gone.  I managed to finish my son's scarf and my mother-in-law's Marin shawl in time.  I used Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Tart.  My mother-in-law wore the shawl on Christmas Day...she seemed to really love it which made me feel great. It was worth all those early hours of knitting before anyone else woke up in the house.  I proved to myself that I can knit fast when under pressure because I basically finished this shawl in about two weeks.  The fringe on this shawl took was supposed to be four inches, but after three inches I was happy with how it looked and cast off.  This pattern makes a cozy shawl that is big enough to snuggle into on a cold day.
Marin in Madelinetosh DK Tart

My son asked for a scarf that was not too long.  I used the pattern called Forever Ribbed, a free pattern by Julie Hoover using a yarn called Mirasol Paqu Pura and combined it with Madelinetosh Prairie in Charcoal.
Forever Ribbed

The one thing I didn't finish in time was my Christmas wreath.  Time just got away from me.  It was very easy to do but just time consuming.  I ended up finishing it on Boxing Day.  I basically took a styrofoam wreath, wrapped a beautiful ribbon around it and then glued some lovely glass ornaments on it. (I bought all those ornaments for $6, a real bargain).  I am very happy with how it turned out and now I will have it ready for next year.

My husband gave me a great gift.  Just look at it below.  It is a circular needle case from Della Q.  Just looking at it makes me happy.  Look how cute the outside is:
Della Q Circular Needle Case
There is so much space to organize a variety of needles.  Usually my needles are kept in a box spilling out all over the place.  The only downfall with this case is there is no velcro to keep the individual pockets closed.  I think I may add velcro will really help keep the pockets closed that have more than one needle.
Look at all those pockets!

I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and all the best in 2014. Thanks for visiting my blog this year and I hope you pop by again in 2014.

December 22, 2013

GTA Ice Storm Images

The GTA has been hit with an ice storm.  Many areas are without power.  Here are some photos of my yard:

Most of the damage we sustained is nothing compared to some of our neighbours, a couple streets over:

 The ice is absolutely stunning to look at but oh so destructive.  It will be sad to see the extent of the damage once the ice melts.

December 21, 2013

Christmas Crafts With Children

Now that my own two children are older they have lost interest in Christmas crafting with me.  But, luckily, I am teacher and I have my thirty grade six students.  This year we had lots of fun in my class getting ready for Christmas.  After being inspired by Color 'n Cream's blog I decided I would do the same craft with my class this year.  I was surprised to hear how few had ever sewn on a button or even held a needle before.  I knew I had to do something about it.  I started by working with a small group of students who told me they had a bit of experience.  I can't tell you how many times I had to thread their needles for students told me I had a lot of patience!  We started with the trees so that I could teach them all the fundamentals.   Here's how they turned out:

The next day the rest of the class had their turn to make the trees, assisted by the group that had worked with me.  They were so proud that they were able to help their classmates.

Then this second one was very easy for them:
By this point most of them were able to sew independently.  The best part for me was when I laid out some assorted felt (purchased at Michaels Craft Store last year) and they made their own designs. Here are just a few:

I can't tell you how proud they were that they had learned how to sew. Many of them told me they went home and showed their parents their new skills.  So thank you to Color 'n Cream for the inspiration!

We also had fun making these trees...I wish I had a group picture of them all.  Just using construction paper, marker and glitter can't go wrong!

December 8, 2013


This time of year just whizzes by with all the shopping, baking and preparing.  That's why it is important to have a way to relax and for me that has always been some knitting time.  Even when its knitting that has to be done for Christmas gifts!  I was able to use up some of my yarn stash on the two presents I was making.  My favourite hat I finished was Bough by Leila Raabe in Wool People Vol. 6. Although my yarn was probably a bit too variegated for this pattern I am still very pleased with the outcome.  The pom pom just makes it I think.  I definitely would like to make another Bough with a plainer colour.  Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label yarn really softened up once blocked.

The next pattern I completed was from the Great Oddments Knitdown called the Fairy SnowCap out of some Berroco Ultra Alpaca.  The pom pom was great fun to make.  Romi Hill is going to come out with fifteen to eighteen patterns in the next year using odds and ends of yarn.  That is a good help for me.  When I first became obsessed with knitting I was quick to single skeins of yarns that caught my eye.  Now I seem to have a collection of theses single beauties but I am not always sure what to do with them.  So I am interested to see what ideas Romi comes up with.  I am thinking more and more that in 2014 one of my goals should be to make a dent in my stash.
Fairy SnowCap

Then I finished Julie Crawford's Pemba mittens as part of the final instalment of the TFA 2013 Year in Colour Club.  This pattern was fun to do and kept my interest.  I am looking forward to what Tanis has in mind for the club in 2014.  She has such a wonderful eye for colour and unique patterns.

I have also been knitting a scarf I for my son.  I think I will be knitting it just won't get long enough.  However, it is good for those times when a harder pattern is not doable.  So I plug away.  I am trying to get it done before he returns for Christmas from university.  I will hopefully show you the finished scarf next time.  I still have grandiose ideas of finishing a few more projects before Christmas...we shall see.  How is your Christmas knitting going?

November 17, 2013

The Holiday Season

If you are a knitter, at this time of year, the possibilities are endless.  The number of new patterns cropping up on Ravelry are so tempting to try as well as the lure of KALs to join. Then there is the decision about whether you should knit some Christmas presents.  Who would appreciate a knitted gift, what can be made in the crazy, busy weeks before Christmas and how many are possible?  I feel a bit overwhelmed but in a good way.

I used to be the kind of knitter who could only have one project on the go at a time.  Those days are long gone!  So far I have started two Christmas projects.  The first one is the ever popular French Cancan shawl in Madelinetosh DK Tart for my mother-in-law.  I have finished the main garter section and am about to start the border.  However, I am hesitating as I am wondering if the shawl will be too small.  I only have two skeins of Tart and the directions say to do the body with one skein and the border with another.  The other option I have is to make the shawl bigger, using the second skein, and then use some Tart Madelinetosh Lace that I have for the border.  I wonder what the lace would look like doubled up?
French Cancan

The next project I have on the go is from the new Wool People's 6th e-book called Bough.  I am participating in the Tanis Fiber Arts Holiday KAL and am making the hat in Olive using TFA's Green Label.  This will be a gift for my sister.  Have you had a chance to look at the patterns in this book....they are absolutely gorgeous.  The photography is also amazing.

My son has been begging me for a scarf too.  I tried making the Noro Striped Scarf pattern with Plymouth Yarn Kudo, a cotton, rayon and silk blend but the yarn was kept breaking as I knit so I gave up.  As my son wanted something very plain I used Julie Hoover's free pattern, Forever Ribbed, which is a ribbed pattern using Paqu Pura yarn (100% alpaca) by Mirasol.  I also added in a skein of Madelinetosh Prairie in charcoal.  The scarf feels soft and I hope he doesn't find it itchy.
Forever Ribbed

As a member of the Tanis Fiber Arts Year in Colour Club I received my final instalment of this year's yarn and pattern.  The yarn is the Yellow Label in Saffron.  Yellow is not a colour I usually buy but then I received the pattern Pemba Mitts by Julie Crawford...who could resist such a sunshiny pattern that would brighten even the darkest days of winter?  New memberships are available for should check it out.  So now I have another pattern I would like to get done before Christmas.
December TFA Club yarn

I also recently bought an e-book by Romi Hill called the Great Oddments Knitdown. This subscription lasts a year. As all avid knitters know there is a always a variety of leftover yarn in your stash.  Romi's goal is to use a box of yarn she has to create various small items creating a total of 15-18 items.  If you are interested buy it quickly as the price will go up in the next fews days from $10 to $15.  It will be interesting to see what she comes up with.  Also I couldn't get over how friendly the group boards are for Romi's Studio site on Ravelry.

I hope you enjoy the upcoming season.  I look forward to seeing everyone's projects.  What are you working on?

November 10, 2013

Fall Knitting

Knotted Pine

I finished my Knotted Pine earlier this week and I was very happy with the result.  The ending of the pattern was a surprise since you basically graft together all the stitches and then sew the two corners of the hat together on the inside.  It actually lays quite well when worn.  As the weather turned colder this week I was able to wear it and I am sold on Juniper Moon's Herriot.  It is warm and soft, the perfect ingredients for a hat.

We are reaching the end of the pretty part of autumn here as most of the trees have lost their leaves. This is the tree in the front of my house.  When I went to work one morning this week all the leaves were still on the tree.  By the end of the day they had all fallen into this beautiful circular sea of golden leaves.  My photo really doesn't do it justice.

I visited Romni Wools in Toronto this weekend.  I was looking for some yarn to knit for a couple Christmas presents as I don't want to leave this knitting until the last minute.  Romni has a huge assortment of yarn and as the store seemed particularly full there was barely room to get down the aisle. I actually found it a bit overwhelming.  Yes, you have probably gathered by now that I have quite the stash of yarn and that I really didn't need to go to a yarn store and you would be quite right.  However, I really wanted a nice winter colour for a Christmas gift for my mother-in-law and I settled for a Madelinetosh DKweight in Tart.  This is a colour I have wanted to knit with for some really is as gorgeous as I have heard.   I started making a very popular shawl pattern on Ravelry that I have had in my queue for some time called the French Cancan by Mademoiselle C .   It's great to knit a shawl in a DK weight for a change.

French Cancan in Tosh DK

How is your Christmas knitting going?  Have you started anything yet?  Have a great week everyone!

November 3, 2013

Knotted Pine Hat

I finally finished my Pull Me Over.  I enjoyed knitting this pattern although I wish I had not run out of yarn and been able to do the full length sleeves I had wanted to do.  This yarn really grew through blocking and my sweater is a bit big although it still looks good.  Sand dune is the Madelinetosh yarn colour I used but it is very hard to capture on camera.  You can read all about my sweater here.
Pull Me Over

I finally broke out the Juniper Moon Yarn I was saving and have started creating a new hat by Alicia Plummer called Knotted Pine. It's on sale for $2.00 for a short time so don't delay!  Here's what I've knitted so far:
Knotted Pine
There are a lot of pretty stitches on this piece including the honeycomb pattern on the front, embossed moss rib, a braid, and, on the back, a half twist stockinette stitch.  This is my first time using this yarn and I quite like the halo effect it creates.  Not to mention how warm it is.  You should check this pattern out.

Today I took a trip to Toronto and visited Lettuce Knit which is located in Kensington Market.  This yarn store really celebrates Canadian yarn dyers and has quite a unique and varied collection. The lovely woman working there gave me quite a tour and pointed out some of their unique collection.  One yarn I was introduced to was Julie Asselin's yarn called Hektos, a merino, cashmere and silk blend in a beautiful grey called Shining Armour. Unfortunately I do not have, as of yet, a photo to share with you that will do it justice.  I will show you next time!

October 27, 2013

Off the Needles: Quaker Ridge Shawlette

My Quaker Ridge Shawlette is done.  The weather here has been damp, rainy and cold so the best photo I could get was the one below.  It was going to start raining when I took this picture so hopefully I can add a better photo soon.
Quaker Ridge Shawlette by Susan B. Anderson
I am very pleased with how this turned out and as I have mentioned in previous blog entries I love the combination of the two yarns I used.  Ravelled here.

I am feeling under the weather today so I think I am going to spend the afternoon with my knitting.  It's time to start a new project but I am not sure what I am going to do.  Look at this pretty skein below.  I picked up two skeins of this Malabrigo sock yarn in the Primavera colour way and I just love it.  But I don't know what it wants to be yet!  Any suggestions?
Malabrigo Sock Yarn
I am also very tempted to try out Amy Herzog's CustomFit program.  This program will help you design a sweater after you have given them your body measurements and swatch gauge.  I think I will knit a swatch and give it a try.

The picture below was taken through my classroom window.  I think I have the best classroom for scenery!   It was early morning and the sun was shining perfectly on the trees. Canada is so pretty in the fall.  Have a good week everyone.

October 17, 2013

On the Needles: Quaker Ridge Shawlette

Last weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving and I was so busy preparing for that meal that I didn't have a lot of knitting time.  This week I am trying to make up for lost time.  I decided to get started on using that Sweet Georgia Yarns Merino Silk Fine that I bought back in August

 and have started the Quaker Ridge Shawlette by Susan B. Anderson.  Here it is:
Quaker Ridge Shawlette
The softness!  I combined Sweet Georgia yarn with one strand of Filatura di Crosa Superior yarn.  What an incredible combination.  I wish you could touch's just lovely.  I swear I would have a lot more done if I didn't keep stopping and feeling it!  Ravelled here.

October 6, 2013

Off the Needles: Tanis Fiber Arts

I have been a member of Tanis Fiber Arts Year In Colour Club for the past two years.  Six times a year Tanis mails out a skein in a new colourway with a pattern.  I always admire Tanis' skill with colour. This colour, Mosaic, is one of my favourites this year.  It is a combination of "gold, spice and dirty denim" to quote Tanis.  The yarn is in Orange Label which is a mix of cashmere, silk and merino worsted weight yarn.  It is so lovely to knit with and this colour looks spectacular in the sunshine.  The pattern that came with it is called the Framed Slouch.  This hat pattern has cables and was a fun knit. The brim can be folded up if you want less slouch.  I will be definitely knitting another one and I am sure it will prove to be a very popular pattern once it is widely released.
Framed Slouch

Another knit that I finished this week is the Inspira Cowl: the Steampunk version.  I bought the yarn at The Knitter's Fair in Waterloo a couple weekends back...check out my info here.  I love working with a yarn that changes's so much fun to see what colour combination is coming next.  I used the recommendation from the owner of the The Needlework Emporium and cast on 150 stitches and didn't do any decreases.  I really like the way it turned out.
Inspira Cowl

There is nothing like a fast knit!  As for my Pull Me Over sweater I have run into a bit of trouble.  As I mentioned in an earlier post I had decided to knit long sleeves at the last minute and sadly did not have enough yarn.  So I ordered more Madelinetosh hoping that the dye lot would be very similar to the yarn I already had knitted.  Unfortunately the yarn that arrived this week looks too different to use.  So I have been ripping out the one long sleeve to make it 3/4 length and adding that yarn to the other sleeve. I am not sure if I have enough yarn to make that second sleeve 3/4 length.  I will work on that sweater later today and see what I can do.  Very frustrating.

September 29, 2013

The Rhinebeck Sweater Book and Other Great Patterns

There are so many new patterns cropping up on Ravelry that I wish I didn't have to work and could just sit and knit all day!

Here is a list you should check out.

First up is Ysolda Teague's The Rhinebeck Sweater book and e-book.  If you go to her website you can look at all the patterns and preorder.  Pumpkin Ale is one of the patterns I am excited about.  This book contains patterns by many of the top knitting designers like Thea Colman, Gundrun Johnston, and Cecily Glowik MacDonald just to name a few.  The book and e-book will come out November 6th.

Another pattern that I quite like is called I Heart Cardigans by Tanis Lavallee (of Tanis Fiber Arts). This lovely worsted pattern has cables and looks like the perfect fall sweater.  Love it!

I am a big fan of Amy Herzog (who by the way has a cardigan pattern in The Rhinebeck Sweater book) and she has come out with a pattern called Dalriada in sport weight yarn.  It looks like a very flattering style of cardigan that will suit many different body shapes.

Gabbro by Carol Feller is another sweater pattern that looks lovely to me.  It is a fingering weight sweater with some pretty lace work.

And then there is CustomFit which is a new venture by Amy Herzog.  Basically you pick your yarn, knit a swatch, take your measurements and through Amy's program a sweater/cardigan will be designed for you to your exact measurements.  I am on waiting list to do that as they are unrolling the program slowly.  You can see what some test knitters have made using Amy's program here.

I find the knitting industry so exciting right now.  There is so many ideas, designs, yarn choices...the possibilities are endless.  It really would be a great industry to work in and I envy those that do.

Pull Me Over in progress
As for my knitting status I have stalled on my Pull Me Over sweater pattern. I decided I really wanted to do long sleeves and I ran out of wool.  A new skein of Madelinetosh 80/10/10 worsted is on its way to me so until then I am working on a fun little pattern called the Inspira Cowl using some Classic Elite Yarn Liberty Wool.  It's a fun pattern and is knitted with two different coloured multicoloured skeins so the yarn colour you are knitting with keeps changing.  Here are my details here.
Inspira Cowl

So happy knitting to all of you.  What patterns are you excited about?

September 22, 2013

My Fitbit Motivator

Although this is not an exercise blog I just had to share with you a little device that has surprisingly changed my exercise habits.  As knitters know it is very easy to get caught up in a knitting project which requires a lot of sitting time.  I knew I wanted to get more active and a friend of mine encouraged me to get a Fitbit.  

This is a user friendly pedometer.  It clips onto your clothing or slips easily into your pocket.  It measures many things, including number of steps taken each day, calories burned, number of active minutes and distance travelled.  It syncs easily to your computer and iphone.  It sends you messages to tell you that you are almost at your goal and you receive a weekly report about your progress in your email.  You can set any goal for number of steps although it starts you off at 10000.  There are also ways to track your weight, how much water you have consumed as well as other things.  It has really motivated me and made me become aware of how much I am actually moving.  The best thing is that I got my husband one as well and if either of us have not met our daily goal by the evening we end up going for an evening walk just to get the mileage in.  I got my Fitbit from Amazon.  It comes in a variety of colours.  Try it out!

September 17, 2013

On the Needles

I am currently working on a sweater called Pull Me Over.  After my last two failed attempts at other patterns this is turning into a delight to knit.  I got gauge right away, the pattern is easy to follow and I really like the way it is turning out.  I've even tried it on and it fits very well.
This is Madelinetosh 80/10/10 Worsted in Sand Dune.  This is the first time I've used this yarn and it won't be the last.

September 14, 2013

Knitter's Fair 2013

This weekend I went to the Knitter's Fair in Waterloo.  This is a one day yarn shopping bonanaza where various vendors bring their yarn to one location so that shoppers like me can spend way too much money and buy more yarn than they need.  I was so excited. Every year I go I bring a list of the kind of yarn I am looking for to keep me focused.  This year I wanted to find some sport weight yarn to make some of the fabulous cardigans I see cropping up on Ravelry.  Do I stick to my list?  You can guess the answer to that.
Well I did buy a sweater's worth of sport weight Madelinetosh Pashmina in baroque violet.
This is the first time I have ever bought Pashmina and I have to say it is incredibly soft and will make a stunning cardigan.

I also bought Madelinetosh DK in copper penny.  Although it is not sport weight it was such a beautiful fall colour I couldn't resist.
I also couldn't resist two skeins of String Theory Caper Sock in Skye and Avalon.  If you have not yet tried this yarn I highly recommend it.  Soft, beautifully is a real treat to work with.

My last purchase were three skeins of Classic Elite Yarns Liberty Wool to make an Inspira Cowl.  It is a free pattern on Ravelry and I thought it would be fun to knit with such colourful yarn.

I was really missing the Tanis Fiber Arts booth as they did not come to this show.  It is one of my favourite Canadian yarn lines but Tanis had a baby in the spring and chose not to come this time. Hopefully she will come back next year.  Next time I will show you what I have been having fun knitting.

September 2, 2013

Knitting Disasters

I named this blog "Woolercoaster" because as many knitters know knitting is full of ups and downs. Well, my friends, I am in a bit of a knitting slump.  Two projects I have recently been working on are ready to be frogged although I have not had the heart to do it.  So they are sitting sadly in a bag waiting to be ripped out.

Disaster #1  I bought this yarn (Rowan Creative Focus Worsted) on a March Break trip to London and in my mind I was thinking I would knit some kind of vest with it.  Instead of listening to my gut I picked a lovely knitted sweater pattern by Glenna C. called Dundurn. After knitting a swatch I was all set to go.  I decided to knit both of the sleeves at the same time.  As I was knitting the sleeves a little voice in my head told me that this was going to be a warmer sweater than I first anticipated and/or desired and I should go back to my vest idea.  However, I ignored that voice and kept on knitting until I was about 3/4 done the sleeves.  By this point I finally listened to that voice and put down the needles.

Disaster #2  My next project I decided to do was the Grace Cardigan by Jane Richmond in a lovely fingering yarn called Caper Sock by String Theory.  After reading other knitter's comments on Ravelry I was warned that the lace section at the beginning of the cardigan was challenging for some.  Well it was challenging for me.  Without going into all the details I will just say that after several attempts I could not get the lace to go perfectly.  I usually do not give up on a pattern but I have spent way too many hours accomplishing basically nothing.  It's time to switch to another project.

Here is one project I did finish between Disaster #1 and Disaster #2.  It is the Chevron Hat by Kate Gagnon Osborn found in the knit.wear Spring 2013 magazine.  It was a very quick knit and I was very pleased with how it turned out.  I used a combination of Madelinetosh Chunky in Fathom and Fyberspates Chunky Scrumptious Solid.  You should try it.

Now I have to pick another pattern to work on. What do you do when a pattern is not working out?