January 26, 2014

Beating the January Blahs

Well as you all have heard it is freezing in this part of the world. The good news is it almost the end of January and I am hopeful that February will see temperatures a little warmer.  To help pass the time I have been staying in and knitting.  One item I have finished is this Checkerboard Lace Scarf, a free pattern from Purl Soho.  In the past I have not had much luck with patterns involving lace.  I guess my knitting skills must be improving because I was able to finish this scarf and actually enjoyed the process. You know that feeling when the pattern and yarn go so well together...well that's what happened with this scarf..the combination of pattern and Madelinetosh Merino DK in Baltic was fantastic.  Preblocking the scarf was 54" in length, and then, after blocking, it grew to 70" and the lace just opened up, making the scarf light and airy.  It was a magical thing.

Checkerboard Lace Scarf

I received this Precision Pocket Scale from Lee Valley Tools, a bargain for $16.50.  I used it for the first time knitting this scarf.   I weighed my yarn when I was nearing the end of the project and I was trying to decide if I had enough yarn to complete another row.  The scale can measure the lightest of weights making it a perfect tool for all knitters.  I definitely see a future using this scale quite often...it just takes out the guesswork and eliminates unnecessary ripping out.
Precision Pocket Scale from Lee Valley Tools
Another pattern I managed to finish was  Fallow Mittens by Melissa Schaschwary (dandiliongirl).  It is a lovely pattern, however, I am not a fan of this yarn.  It is Fyberspates Scrumptious DK and I bought it on a trip to Bath, England a year ago.  It is a 50% silk and 50% merino blend.  I found the yarn split easily and the one time I had to rip back a few rows it was challenging.  However, the yarn has a nice sheen to it and the mittens feel quite warm.

Fallow Mittens
I am also knitting an Easy Folded Poncho using some gorgeous Juniper Moon Farm Herriot, a DK-weight baby alpaca yarn.  This is a plainly knit rectangle that when completed is sewn to make a poncho.  I am almost halfway and I just pick it up when I have a couple minutes as it doesn't require any concentration.

If you live in my part of the world I hope you are finding something fun to do until it warms up.

January 12, 2014

Big Birthdays

Well the birthday I have been dreading has come and gone and I have to say that I actually enjoyed it. Somehow it turned into a week long celebration with lots of lovely moments.  One of the highlights was a gift that my friends surprised me with.  They wound 50 balls of yarn and strung the balls together to make a lovely garland.  That's right folks, I admit it, I turned 50.  With the exception of one of these friends, none of these ladies are knitters, so the thought of them sitting there winding up 50 balls of yarn for me really touched my heart!  Over the years these friends have patiently listened to me go on about my latest knitted projects, when I am sure they were wondering when I was going to talk about something else.  Here's a photo:
My lovely garland
Isn't it wonderful?  I will have to find a special place for it that's for sure.

Even my non-knitting sisters got into the knitting mania that is my life and got me the cutest little knitting bag called the Rosemary Bag from Della Q.  Honestly it's the perfect size to carry around a skein or two of yarn and a knitting project.  And they even picked the one that matched my circular needle case that I showed you in an earlier blog.

Rosemary Bag from Della Q
My husband sent 50 tulips to my work which were just gorgeous

50 tulips!

and gave me a gift certificate to Tanis Fiber Arts (as did my sister-in-law).  I guess I am known for my knitting obsession!

Speaking of Tanis she held a Boxing Day sale on Etsy and I was happy to be able to purchase a few things. Her yarn is so hard to resist as she has such a lovely way with colours.  The Red Label (75%merino, 15%cashmere, 10%silk) is incredibly beautiful to work with.

Red Label in Slade and Fjord
I also got two Snowlfing Mitten kits which I intend to knit up for the 2014 Ravellinic Games which is held during the Olympics from February 7-23rd. Will you be joining the fun?

Snowfling Mittens kit
I feel so fortunate to have such lovely friends and family in my life and I am very grateful.

My lovely children and the birthday girl.  Cheers!