Monthly Archives: January 2008

You Make My Day!

Melinda made my day last week by having me on her list for the “You Make My Day” Award! Thanks!

You Make My Day Award

“Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times.”

Here are the some of the people, in no particular order, who’s blogs help make my days:

1) My dear friend Kelly, She Who Measures. I’m always intrigued to see what she’ll be up to next, whether it’s building her own spinning wheel, natural dyeing, historical corsetry, or just life with the sheep and chickens…

2) Jo, of Celtic Memory Yarns. Her memory is indeed long, her story-well runs deep. Her Irish countryside is alive with Old Wisdom and new inspiration, and my heart longs to someday walk those paths.

3) Lani the Gadabout Knitter, my first blog-friend and fellow wool-washer, always makes me smile.

4) Glenna, aka the Crazy Knitting Lady — Not only are her designs fun and her knits inspiring, her cupcakes are to die for!

5) Geckogrrl — spinnner, amigarumi-maker, she-who-has-lived-interesting-places, mom-to-be, and all-around cool person.

6) The FemiKnit Mafiaalways seems to be there to remind me knitters are powerful, generous, sexy, strong , and creative women.

7) Ruth, ofKnitting on Impulse has taught me much about colour-theory, following the creative impulse, and her photos of Whistler in Winter are gorgeous!

8) Kathleen’s WIP Insanity helps remind me of the glorious things that a knitter can achieve with enough yarn, determination, and casual disregard for the concept of “too many projects”.

9) Saga In Colours: she does some awesome re-enacting, spins, naalbinds, and knits too!

10) Amy, who’s blog and website are truly inspirational to show how far knitting can take you (figuratively and literally!) if you try.

Thanks for being out in the blogosphere, guys. You (and so many others!) are the reason I’m here too.

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Filed under memes, rambling

Cold season, warm feet

I have been hit with a truly awful cold. Nothing is particularly notable about it — not like that one with the copious snot, or window-rattling coughs, or the many times I’ve lost my voice entirely — yet it is a bad cold, one that has had me take a day and a half off of work, and made wish I’d taken today off as well. In lieu of that, I seem to have taken time off of knitting.

I know that seems rather shocking — I mean, if you were given a free day or two, would you not think you’d spend it relaxing with an audiobook, tea, and your sticks and string? Me too (I thought) but in actuality I’ve spent my time drinking mineral water and reading voraciously. Two novels devoured in as many days! and yet not a stitch on the needles not twirl to the spindle.

My pyjamas-and-books time has not been graced entirely without the favour of knitting, however. I have been made infintely warmer and more cozy as I loaf about, not knitting at all, in my raccoon-print pjs and purple bathrobe, by the fabulous feltedness of my new clogs:

purple felted clogs
Felted Clogs (Ravelry link)

I cannot express how much I like these things, but to say that you absolutely must go out right now and knit yourself a pair, unless you already have some, or are taking time off, like me.

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Filed under felting, FOs, knitting

CocoaSwap: Winter Knitting

This week’s “Topic of the Week” for the Hot Cocoa Swap is:
Now that we’re in the thick of ‘Winter’… has your knitting changed to match the season? Are you moving on from dishcloths, and tank tops to afghans, hats and mittens? Has your yarn changed from silk or cotton to wool, superwash or heavier cottons?

To which I think I can decidedly answer, YES.

Big changes, and smaller projects. I can’t seem to find any concentration, knitting-wise, these days. Many small, warm and fuzzy projects are coming on and off my needles lately!

I’ve knit not one, but two pairs of Fibertrends felted clogs…
felted clogs - purple felted clogs - green

… but haven’t gotten around to felting them yet. I think there is a part of me that really enjoys having these ridiculous floppy things lying around. Also, felting apparently falls under the same category as “weaving in ends”, so I’ve been avoiding it. Also, I am terrified that the felting won’t work.

I knit two pairs of Endpaper Mitts over the holidays — finished the first set on Christmas eve and promptly gave them to my sister, so there’s no photo of that pair (for the curious, they were teal and white). This red and black pair, however, I’m keeping for myself!
endpaper mitts - detail endpaper mitts - red and black

There have also been my Icewine mittens — I’m knitting myself a pair now, with new and improved charts! — and made a delectable cashmere hat…
cashmere hat

…which I really need to rip out the entire top of and reknit to make it just a bit longer. But I don’t want to. I’m going to see if a gentle washing makes it grow first (I know, I know, probably a bad plan; may I refer you to the above statement on having no patience for drawn-out things?)

I’m intrigued by Amy‘s Liberate your Laceweight campaign, as I have now tasted cashmere, it is good, and I have a skein of Fleece Artist 2-ply in my stash in amazing coppers and bronzes, but I’m not sure I can commit to lacework right now.

For the moment, I just want to keep knitting small soft things. What’s your favourite Winter comfort knitting?

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Filed under exchanges, FOs, knitting, mitts, UFOs, Uncategorized

CocoaSwap Scavenger Hunt

Ok, so I’m filling this thing out at the very last minute. But, I swear by all things woolly that I’m not cheating by looking at other swap-members’ answers!

1. Who’s favorite animal is an Otter?
Anne K.

2. Name someone who prefers whipped cream with their hot cocoa
Rachel C.

3. Find 3 people who live outside of the United States
Alex .E, Bianca, Sharon V.

4. Name a fan of Harry Potter
Devin H.

5. Name someone who crochets
Alice A.

6. Name someone who DOES NOT have a healthy supply of notions
Sarah P.

7. Name someone who has NOT put up their questionnaire yet (just put a date with your answer in case they put it up after seeing their name listed somewhere ;-) )
I think they’re all up now!

8. Who likes to have Kahlua, Baileys, or Peppermint Schnapps in their cocoa?
Annemarie M.

9. Name someone who knits fingerless gloves as a ‘quick knit’
Jinxsa

10.Name someone who’s looking forward to gardening this spring.
Lora B.

11.Who’s favorite way to drink cocoa is with a gorgeous Frenchman, while overlooking the eiffel tower from a French Cafe? (I’m right there with you… well at the table next to yours!)
Kris L.

12.Name someone who’s favorite animal is NOT a dog or house cat
Megan C.

13. Name someone who’s favorite treat is NOT chocolate.
Tara K.

14. Who plays Candyland?
Criquette

15. Name someone who DOESN’T get the winter blahs
Katherine S.

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Classtime!

Yesterday at the Purple Purl I taught my first class, and Introduction to Drop Spindle Spinning. Does this make me a “professional” spinner now, I wonder?

I had been very nervous in the morning — I really don’t know why, but I always get “stage fright”, regardless of how many workshops I’ve led or seminars presented in the past. Nevertheless, I think once the class actually got started, things went really well! Once there were spindles whirling and fluff being transformed into Real Live Yarn, folks got more talkative and the time just flew by. Everyone went away with a full length of their own handspun singles, a small bit of 2-ply (spun using the Andean method), and a ‘goodie bag’ of many fun fibres to sample, including BFL, alpaca, and Soysilk!

The class also got their own spindles to take home (what’s the point in learning how to spin if you can’t practice afterwards?). I made them up ahead of time, so I got a lovely ‘bouquet’ shot before they were all distributed:

spindles

Of course, I had to keep one for myself, too!
spindle & soysilk

I’ve been playing with the rainbow-dyed soysilk, which is so surprisingly like silk I’m still amazed. It has sheen, a fair bit of strength, smoothness, the occasional noil, and the same ability to fly apart and stick to everything that silk does! Fun stuff!

For those of you in the Toronto area, if you are thinking of trying your hand at drop-spindle spinning but want a bit of hands-on instruction, I’ll be teaching another session mid-February! Just drop a line to thePurple Purl for more information. [End of shameless self-promotion ;) ]

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Filed under DIY, drop-spindle, spinning

Cocoa Swap Questionnaire

What better way to “beat the winter blahs” than with a Hot Cocoa/Yarn Swap?

Cocoa:
1. What is your favorite way to drink cocoa? Prepared with milk? Water? from home made recipe or store bought?, In a tea cup, or big mug?
Big mug or latte bowl, full of freshly stovetop-heated milk with real cocoa…

2. Marshmallows or whipped cream?
…and marshmallows!

Yarn/Knitting/Crochet
1. What is your favorite type of yarn? In what colors?
I love most all natural fibers (wool, silk, etc), as soft as I can find! I am always attracted to autumnal earth-tones and deep, rich jewel tones — burgundies, rusts, charcoals & deep browns…

2. Do you knit or crochet (or both)?
I knit. And spin, too, but not crochet.

3. What are your favorite type of needles, would you like to try something new?
I like the idea of wooden/bamboo needles, but think I actually prefer metals for the sharper points. I would love to try fancy circular needles like Addi or Harmony!

4. Do you have a healthy supply of notions?
I actually m fairly minimalist, notions-wise. Stitch markers, snips, measuring tapes, and whatnot all seem to mysteriously disappear!

5. What one thing do you keep thinking you need to buy for your knitting habit (outside of yarn)?
Knitting books — the Yarn Harlot books are the only ones I’ve bought for myself! I received the Vogue Stitchionary vol.1 for Christmas, and it has reminded me that if I want to start designing my own things, I really should develop a better patterns & techniques library.

6. What is your favorite ‘quick knit/crochet’ pattern (quick gratification)
Monkey socks!

Miscellaneous
1. What is your favorite thing to do in the Winter?
Go for a walk in the evening when fluffy snow is falling, and sparkling from the streetlights…

2. What is your favorite animal?
Fox.

3. Do you get the ‘winter blahs’?
Yes indeed — sometimes it’s just too cold, too bark, too dingy, and I long for Spring.

4. What is your favorite way to beat the blahs?
Comfy pyjamas, a hot drink, a good book, and a cat curled up beside me on the couch!

5. What is the thing you are most looking forward to this spring?
Seeing the tiny, sweet-smelling Spring flowers grow again — crocuses, violets, lily-of-the-valley, and hyacinth.

6. What are your favorite treat?
Predictably, chocolate! Organic and dark preferred :)

7. What is your favorite board game?
The Settlers of Catan.

8. Do you have any children (furry or human)?
Two kitties.

9. Do you have any allergies or special considerations you partner should know about?
Basic dust/smoke/etc allergies, which shouldn’t be a problem! No other considerations that I can think of.

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Filed under exchanges, questionnaires

Icewine

The first deep frosts of winter may not always be welcome, but they do bring about a few enjoyable treats. For South-Western Ontario, those frosts lead to one of the rarest harvests in the world, as naturally frozen-on-the-vine grapes are swiftly cut, pressed, and turned into sweet, delicious Icewine. For knitters, cold weather brings about that sweet time of year when we can show off our knitted winterwear!

With these thoughts in mind, then, may I introduce the Icewine Mittens?

Icewine mitts - front
Icewine mittens — front.


Icewine mitts - palm

Icewine mittens — palm side.

Icewine - motif
The grape cluster motif.

palm motif
The palm mini-grapes (with a tip of the hat to the Bird In Hand mittens, of course!)

Icewine - thumb
The “peasant” thumb and palm pattern.

The original pair has been gifted away, but a second pair is in the works — I have to have a pair for myself! I’m trying to get the pattern ironed out, and hope to have it available soon. To that end, I would love to have a couple of pattern-testers. Anybody up for it? Just send me an email (see sidebar for gmail address).

10 Comments

Filed under FOs, free patterns, knitting, mitts