Knitting Feeds

Houston, We Have a Problem

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 08/20/2017 - 10:30
In 1979, the phrase "Houston, we have a problem" entered the American vernacular when the astronauts aboard Apollo 13 discovered a major electrical fault that threatened their lives and their mission.

Luckily, knitting is rarely a life and death endeavor, but because we feel passionately about the things we make, it's easy for knitting problems to gain exponential importance. 

My current issue is all too familiar: There are too many projects in progress, and it's driving me bonkers. Here's a quick roundup.

Herlacyn Heatwave is is the assembly stage and would soon be finished, if I could get a couple blocks of concentrated knitting time.



Herlacyn Breeze is ready to cast on as soon as Heatwave is done. Technically it's not on the needles yet, but the selected yarn waiting in the wings is now clamoring loudly for attention, so it feels like a WIP.


It's in the 80s today, but winter is hovering on the horizon, so I'm knitting the lovely Grignasco Champagne into a simple gradient cowl or scarf (haven't decided yet) ...



and the first of a complementary pair of Colsie gradient mitts is already on the needles. (It's subtle, but if you look closely, you can see the colors shift from lake to teal.)





Working with the soft, delectable Champagne is so enjoyable, I couldn't resist casting on a shawl-wrap. There's not much to see yet, but it will feature a tonal gradient that glimmers thanks to the metallic flecks in the Blue Heron variegated yarn.



To counter the sea of blue, teal and green, I felt the need to cast on a Christmas Tree in bold, bulky red.


I know, I know. That's only six WIPs counting the one waiting for cast on, but for me that's way too many. Two weeks ago, there were eight, but I managed to buckle down and finish both the Colsie berry and mirror gradients mitts. To add to the problem, I keep stopping periodically to swatch for a future project. The motley assortment below represents just a smattering of the many stitches I've tested in the search for the just-right stitch.


The solution, of course, is obvious: Stop casting on projects. Stop browsing through stitch dictionaries. Stop swatching for future projects, and focus on what's already on the needles.

It's time to stiffen my knitter's resolve and make it happen. Heatwave is the largest project but it's close to completion, so this week's goal is to finish the seams and start the borders and trim. When I need a truly mindless knit, I can pick up the mitts and see if I can bring them closer to FO status. 

If I hold off casting on the second Herlacyn, that will effectively take me down to three active projects. And for WIPs, three is my magic number.


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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Knit chat and fun knitterly things...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 08/20/2017 - 07:33
Hello there, loves! We meet again, on another beautiful Sunday. :) Always happen to get a chance to chat with you all. Knitting has been happening due to a strong desire to dig deep into the WIP basket and finish up some things. For instance the sock above I started... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Rest

Yarn Harlot - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 20:56

I have been taking a few days off. Well, I’ve been sort of taking a few days off – I think they only feel like days off because I’m not riding really far, and putting up a tent and taking it back down again and trying to manage email and doing nine jobs all at once. Instead I’ve been riding my bike a little, to get around town, and to the beach, and to the marina to sail with Joe. The house is a still a disaster, the mountain of neglected work on my desk needs my attention now, but it has felt good to snuggle a baby, come up with a plan of attack, and enjoy the summer a bit. Also – knit. Not little bits of knitting found here and there, not just a plain sock because it’s all I can muster, but real, proper knitting – done in nice chunks, with a fancy pattern and beads and concentration and without worrying that the needles will puncture an air mattress.

I’m tackling Snow Angel (a little ironic for a summer knit, I know) and it’s lovely. I had about ten million balls of Findley left over after Elliott’s blanket, and it’s such a pleasure to knit with that I’m using it again. (It’s got 730m per ball. I can’t explain the yarn insecurity that led me to buy so much. I’m rather glad I like it, because I’ll be knitting with it for the rest of my life.)

I’ve still got a pair of socks running in the background, because beaded lace isn’t exactly the sort of knitting that goes well with taking the subway or walking or going to meetings, and also I’m me, so I wouldn’t quite know what to do with myself without a pair of socks in my bag, but I’m mostly knitting on this, and hoping to get it bashed out pretty quickly. The first section went by so fast that I got optimistic about it only taking a few days, but as with all things top-down, that initial thrill’s worn off as the rows get longer.

I’ve got just a little time to knit on it today before I head out for a meeting (and I have to do something about the kitchen. It’s sort of sticky. All of it. I don’t know how cupboards get sticky, but they are.) Maybe I’ll finish the first big chart – but I’m already dreaming of what I’ll make next. Shall I finish the paper/linen Habu thing? Maybe a pair of fancy socks? Perhaps a sweater for one of the littles, or a hat for the Christmas box, or… What are you making?

I promised I’d wrap up the Karmic Balancing gifts when I got back – so here’s a start. (It’s going to take a bit. You’re a generous bunch – I’ll do as many as I can each day.

Mary S found a wonderful way to give this year, she went for a nice long stash dive and came up with five (yup, five) beautiful presents for her fellow knitters. (Doesn’t she seem like a lovely person? Good taste in yarn, too.)

2 balls Suri Merino Luxury Indiecita, 55% suri alpaca, 45% extra fine merino (deliciously soft) for Lori N.

3 balls Woodland yarn, 65% wool, 35% nettles for Sarah M. 4 skeins Plymouth Earth Alpaca “Ranch” she’ll be mailing to Ariela G. 10 balls Libella Ballet, 74% viscose; 26% cotton for Cindy M. 1 hank Berroco Hip-Hop, 100% Wool for Flannery C who I hope makes a hat. (It would be gorgeous.)
Categories: Knitting Feeds

FO | Colsie Mitts Mirror Gradient

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 08/13/2017 - 10:30
Knitting time has been scarce, so I've continued to focus on small, manageable projects like simple mitts and swatches for designs in the pipeline. On one hand, this is good, because small things are getting done. On the other hand, it means larger projects like Herlacyn Heatwave are languishing from temporary neglect.

That said, I've managed to complete another pair of mitts, and like so many of my projects, they're both functional and experimental. 

They feature a mirror gradient worked in one of my favorite stretchy reversible slip stitches, but there is a twist. I discovered that introducing a minor modification to the plush, rounded rib (left) produced a more compact rib (right). Look closely, and you can see the subtle differences. 




Both stitches are attractive, stretchy and fully reversible, and on the hand these differences are nearly imperceptible. (Plush rib, left. Compact rib, right.)


Colsie Mirror Gradient Mitts
Pattern: In development
Yarn: Champagne (Grignasco)
Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm)
Yardage: ~100 yards

This yarn is delicious. The blue undertones in the Teal accentuate the hint of blue in the icy Cloud yarn, which comes and goes based on the lighting, as you can see from the photos. This yarn also knits up beautifully, and looks great even without blocking. And thanks to the superfine merino and silk blend, the mitts have a soft sheen and feel like a dream, which means I'm already fantasizing about wearing them when fall weather arrives. 

Meanwhile, I'm so enamored with this combination of yarn, stitch, color and mirrored gradients, I'm thinking of casting on a complementary cowl or scarf. Long ago, we agreed there's no such thing as too many mitts, and I'm beginning to believe the same is true for soft and cozy coordinating shawls and scarves.

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

August Indie Dyer Feature~ Dragon Hoard Yarn Co.

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 08/13/2017 - 07:32
Hello there! Here we are in August and that means I have the privilege of featuring another brilliant dyer, Dragon Hoard Yarn. I can tell you the first thing that attracted me to this beautiful Esty shop was the fact that Trysten had a huge selection of Harry Potter themed... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Sheltered

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 20:35

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I am pretty much a coward. I spend a lot of time worrying, and a lot of time being afraid, though I am afraid of regular things, I think. I am afraid of getting hurt physically- when I ski I worry about falling, about hurting myself (mostly I am afraid of breaking an arm. If I broke a leg I could still knit, so I think it would be ok.) I am afraid of not fitting in. I am afraid of love or respect extended and not returned. I am afraid of spiders. (This one I don’t worry about. I think that if you’re not afraid of spiders you just haven’t thought enough about it. They can walk on the ceiling. That’s not right.) I am afraid of not measuring up, of doing my best and still falling short of the mark. (There’s a joke in there about how I’m only 5’1″, but let’s leave it.) I am afraid of disappointing people, I am afraid of letting them down. I am afraid that trust will be given to me, and my best self won’t be good enough, and I that I won’t be able to rise above petty thoughts or small mindedness, or that in a wild effort to live a really decent life, I’ll miss things, or grow old with regrets that all this fear held me back from amazing events, and that I’ll be some old lady with a pile of things left undone, because my cowardice kept me home. I worry that when handed a microphone I will say something stupid, or that I will hurt someone with my words, and I am always afraid that I won’t understand someone else well enough to spare them pain, or find enough understanding for them to ease the fear I feel they must have – because I have it. I worry that we are all afraid, and I don’t want us to act out of that fear, personally, socially, or politically.

All this was on my mind on Sunday, when Jen picked me up, and we gathered the few essentials we hadn’t put in the trucks the day before, and we drank coffee quietly in the backyard, reflecting on the challenge ahead of us. Let me be absolutely clear about this next one… riding more than 600km doesn’t get easier with time. As a matter of fact, I’d say it gets harder. The experience you have from the times before is enough to give you the screaming willies, and the two of us sat there knowing exactly what was ahead. “It’s going to be okay,” Jen said. “We’ve done it before. We can do it again.” Then we strapped our bikes to her car, gave a nod to the fear we both felt,  and drove to the departure point at Allan Gardens.

The minute I arrived, I remembered everything. I was nervous, and scared, and my back hurt already, and I started to be afraid of all the things I always am. (In the short term, I worry that upon departure, as a whack of riders all leave together, I will do something stupid, mostly I worry that I will fall off my bike and become a human speedbump. This has never happened – to me or to anyone, but I still think it’s a real risk, and if anyone is ever going to do it, it’s me.) Meg, Alex, Amanda and Elliot turned up to say goodbye, and we took a group shot, and I darted out for a whole rally selfie, covering (as I so often do) my nerves with humour. Then we left, and almost immediately, it started to change.

My friends were with me. Not just the ones that I have every day, like Ken and Jen and Cameron and Pato (and when did he grow up enough to be my friend?) but the magic of the Rally that over the course of six days, makes everyone present your friend.

For six days, you are a small travelling town. A group of people committed to one thing, all living the same life, and all held by one goal, one experience. From the fastest rider to the slowest, we’re the same. We’re all trying to ride our bikes to Montreal – we’re all in debt to our donors, to the people who put faith in us to make this happen (that’s you) all of us trying to fulfill a contract.  I’ll do this hard thing, if you’ll help me by contributing. There’s nobody on the Rally who doesn’t feel the honour or the pressure of being the midpoint of those donations – and nobody who isn’t in it for the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation as the end. There were moments when the gratitude I felt to all of you is overwhelming, and moments when only the deal I’d made with you kept me going, and I know I’m not the only one.

I know I’ve written about this before. I’ve told you that every year is different. One year it’s about perseverance. (Or rain.) One year it’s about the people I know who are HIV positive, and and making a personal commitment to making their journey better –  one year it was even about loneliness, about finding strength within myself to do it by myself, a fear I freely cop to. This year, the theme was apparent from the word go. It was friendship.

Jen gave me a ride that morning so I didn’t have to ride an extra 14km. Cameron changed my tire on Day two. He knows I can do it, but he can do it faster, and it was a gift of friendship to do it for me. Jen knows I was struggling with my back, and was generous and sweet with her patience and words – cheerful to the end, that one. (You should all be so lucky to have a friend as deliberate with her love as Jen.)

Both of them rode sweetly behind me on Day two, when my back really hurt, and I pulled ahead for a bit to have what I was hoping was a secret weep, and though both of them could easily have caught me, they lagged behind, knowing I was crying, knowing I’m afraid of that weakness, and letting me have that time to pull myself together. Darling friends.

Ken, faster than the rest of us, came into camp early each day, and together with the faster riders, collected our bins, and set up our tents, making sure that by the time Jen and I staggered into camp, things were as beautiful and welcoming as they can be if they are also covered in spiders.

For the first time too – a special little treat, knitting was normal on the rally, even desired – two more riders asked to be taught as we travelled along, without anyone making fun of it, or suggesting it was an old lady thing, or anything other than a way of making and being and doing. (Note to self, pack more yarn and needles next year. Best to be equipped if the plan to take over the world is finally taking hold.)

It was more than this though, it was watching everyone do the same thing – over and over and over, fear and struggle and concern were met with kindness and a gentle word, and respect and a soft touch. Struggling riders were encouraged, crew was thanked, flat tires mended, patience given, smiles offered at the port-a-loo lines, coffee fetched, complements freely given, and so quickly, kindergarten rules took hold. Take turns, be gentle, use your words, big ones take care of the little ones… anyone who strayed from the path of this softness was taken for how they were in that moment. Tired, overwhelmed, exhausted, wet, hot, afraid… and their problem, rather than their behaviour – was addressed with compassion, and do you know, it worked the way with grownups that it does with little kids when you hold who they are, rather than how they are behaving in your mind.

Quickly, over the course of the six days, this world took hold. They don’t call it the Friends For Life Bike Rally for nothin’ I remembered – and the power of friendship moved all of us, so much so, that by the last day, when the heavens opened and unleashed a torrential downpour upon us, the whole Rally pulled into a the shelter of a gas station and stood there, wet, cold, our final approach spoiled, the moment of glory delayed, the lot of us drowned rats by at the side of the road, it would have been easy to feel sad, or disappointed, or afraid, or something negative, but friendship had owned us all by then, and there was singing, and laughing, and smiling faces, and arms round cold riders and a grand explosion of joy as applause and bike bells rang out. Together was enough. Friendship was enough. Doing the right thing for PWA and the clients who need us was more than enough.

Eventually the rain stopped, and we rode on, those few kilometres to the end, and were welcomed in in grand style, and there was Kim – from Indigodragonfly, who’s own sense of friendship and commitment had led her not just to donate the profits from her Rally themed yarn, not just to sponsor our tee-shirts, but to actually turn up to hug and welcome all of us. She’s a grand friend, and a good person.

All week long, I felt it. Moments of fear supplanted by camaraderie and friendship. We are all cowards in some way. Me, I’m a dumpy middle-aged grandmother who has almost no business cycling 600km. Jen’s a mother of two walking away from her family for a week to model fierceness for her young daughters. Pato’s a young man trying to shape a world that he wants to live in, Ken is still recovering from the shoulder surgery that put him back together after his accident and showing up anyway. Cameron packed his work laptop and somehow carved out the time to do his job and the Rally – and everyone else riding met their own personal challenges. Again and again, why we were doing it came up. At dinner, at breaks, at our celebration in Kingston… and the thing we talked about was this: People are living longer with HIV/AIDS. It isn’t the death sentence that was when the Rally started. There are good drugs, help, and a sense of hope, and most of us realize that presents a challenge. In a way, supporting people with HIV/AIDS used to be sadder, but cheaper, not to put too fine a point on it. People didn’t live long enough to need years of support. The crisis was clearer, it had people’s attention. Now it must seem to so many people as though that time has passed, and it has – only to be replaced by a different need. Now grownups and children with HIV/AIDS may need a lifetime of support. They need years and years of medication, years and years of help living with the stigma that it brings, years and years of our help and belonging. It is still important.

We all shared this fear. That even though there are still a very great many people who need help, that they will be forgotten, and that sense of fellowship further strengthened our resolve, and made us braver. For me and Jen, we reflected often on the ride that so often, given the way the world works, women lack the personal power to make choices in this way, and that riding for them felt like something a woman in a strong, privileged position could do to help lift other women up too. It felt… feminist to us. It felt like the right thing to do, despite our own fears.

It was, despite the rain, the work, the fear, the pain, and the difficulty… a wonderful ride, and I spent much of it reflecting on if I’d done the right thing. Not just in riding, or in fundraising, or in doing my best to be kind all week, but in thinking of a decision I’ve made that will shape a part of the next two years of my life.

I’ve been accepted as a Co-Chair for the Rally. I’m putting my time where my heart is. I am pretty young, and pretty strong, and pretty privileged, and I have time and energy to put towards being the change I want to see in the world. It was a big decision, but I’m doing it, despite fear, despite being a great big chicken, and despite the fact that inevitably someone is going to hand me a microphone and I’ll say something stupid.  I’ll have to count on my friends when that happens.

I do this because the rally is the world as it should be, for six small, wild and wonderful days. It’s why despite the difficulty, so many of us suffer the “Bike Rally Blues” when it’s over. The Rally is challenging, scary, disarming, powerful, heartwarming, supportive… so many ordinary people doing an extraordinary thing, all powered by nothing but friendship to moderate your cowardice, and that is a strong thing indeed. Blog, my dear ones, thank you for being my friends on this side. Thank you for the donations, the comments, the emails… All the kindness in the world is meaningless in this without you, riding is meaningless without you, no change happens without you. You’re the magic that makes this work.

You are amazing.

(PS. Obviously I signed up for next year.)

(PPS. I am going to knit the snot out of the rest of this month.)

(PPPS. When I came home, tired, bedraggled and with all our camping stuff in disarray, Joe had cleaned the house, filled the fridge with my favourite food and wine, and bought me flowers. It takes a big man to support ideas this wild. He’s wonderful, and my friend too.)

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

shawls and 80's hair bands

Autumn Geisha - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 23:34
find your fade
I finally finished my Find Your Fade shawl! The journey from 6 skeins of yarn to what you see above was very similar to the plot lines of the hair metal power ballads that were the soundtrack of my youth. In the beginning, it was total infatuation fed by all the gorgeous fades that took over instagram and the blogosphere. The riot of colors were too hard to resist and I quickly jumped needles first into the color party, totally seduced by the fun to be had when each color melted into the next. But as with most large sized shawl projects, the first flush of excitement soon faded into a monotonous poisonous rhythm of garter stitches and yarn overs. But onwards I knitted, until the eventuality of a 7 skein project being knitted with only 6 skeins came to a head: I ran out of yarn with just 10 rows to go. Don't Cry indeed.

There followed a brief moment of intense cursing introspection. The asymmetric shape and massive size of the shawl overwhelmed my petite frame. I had a difficult time finding a comfortable way to wear the shawl since it was pretty heavy. I even contemplated using it as a lap blanket but the yarn was too precious. So I finally decided to cut my losses and keep motoring. But don't feel too sad for me....because here I go again:

exploration station
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Stop, knit, breath and repeat...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 18:30
Hello there and happy Sunday! Pattern~ Lode Yarn~ Hill View Farms in the color Ballet Slippers Sorry for the late Sunday posting. I feel like I am playing a bit of catch up and was running around for the last 4 hours trying to get all things done. Then I... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

FO | Colsie Mitts Berry Tonal Gradient

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 12:30
It may be August, but fall is on the horizon and winter won't be far behind. With that in mind, I'm making simple fingerless mitts to add to my collection. It's no secret how much I love mitts and how often I wear them, so for me they're the ideal quick knit, something to occupy my hands as a respite between larger projects or when my brain needs a soothing knit after a taxing day.



As simple as they are, this pair incorporates several small elements that helped keep things entertaining. The first, of course, is the tonal color combination, which fades from rose and red into deep burgundy, and was featured in this post about tonal gradients and variegated yarns.


The second fillip is the stitch, a plush reversible slipped rib that's become a favorite, because the stretchy fabric produces mitts that hug the hand without the need for shaping. To change things up a bit, I began experimenting and came up with an adaptation that produces a slightly boxier reversible rib that's as simple, stretchy and attractive as its sibling.

Colsie Mitts | Berry Tonal Gradient
Pattern: In development
Needles: US 8 (5 mm)
Yarns: Babe (Euro Baby), Charlemont (Valley Yarns), Happy Feet (Plymouth Yarn)
Yardage: ~100 yards


As an added plus, these mitts coordinate nicely with my Dojeling Wineberry shawlette, a fall and winter staple, so they'll see lots of wear once cooler weather arrives.


There's nothing like a fresh FO to boost the spirits, which may explain why there's another pair already on the needles. I want to test how my stitch adaptation works in a different yarn, and we all know in my world there's no such thing as too many mitts.


What's on your needles right now? Summer things? Winter things? A mix of both?


Looking for the mitt pattern? It's in development and nearly ready to send to the tech editor.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pattern | Valere Reversible Afghan

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 07/30/2017 - 12:30
With striking triangles and clean geometric lines, Valere is a versatile unisex afghan packed with possibilities.


Latin for valiant or worthy, Valere features jaunty banners perfect for every occasion. Whether you’re valiantly knitting for a worthy little knight or princess, anticipating a new arrival, or celebrating the heroics of a favorite team, simply shift the color strategy to adapt Valere to any circumstance or recipient.


Fast, easy and reversible, this afghan sports a subtle texture on the front and plush texture on the back. The compact triangles are great for mini or partial skeins, and one easy color change per row creates crisp diagonal lines. Strip construction keeps your project contained and portable, while the modified three-needle technique makes seaming a breeze and preserves drape.
With Valere, the:
  • Crossed stockinette stitch is easy to execute and creates a stable fabric with an appealing texture.
  • Color work is a breeze and one easy color change produces crisp diagonal lines.
  • Strip construction keeps your work compact and portable, so you can work on your afghan anytime and anywhere.
  • Elements like simple accent stripes allow you to tailor each pair to your tastes or those of the recipient.
  • Pattern is simple enough for any moderately experienced beginner. It's concise but complete, and includes directions, stitch counts, yardage and dimensions for three sizes.
  • Yarn is worsted weight or its equivalent, so your project grows quickly.
  • Design is versatile and unisex, suitable for all ages, and can be worked in different yarns and countless combinations. 


Valere Afghan  | Fast, Easy & ReversibleSkill Level 2: Easy
Yarn: Worsted weight; adapts to any weight and multi-stranding
Shown: Cotton Fleece (Brown Sheep)Needles: US 8 (5 mm)
Sizes: 3 sizes (baby, lapghan, throw)Yardage (approx.): 765 to 1315 yards                                   
The pattern includes three popular sizes from baby and lapghan to throw. Written for worsted weight yarn, it readily adapts to other weights and multi-strand strategies. Work the pattern as written or use the handy Quick Reference guide, schematic, tips, tricks and easy modifications to tailor it to your tastes.
The version shown features cheerful rainbow shades, but the design adapts to whatever color strategy suits your style. Work the banners in one color and background in a closely related shade for a tone-on-tone effect. Choose soft shades for a baby or team colors for your best guy. Or create an eye-catching effect using self-striping yarn for the banners and a solid, contrasting color for the background.


Vivid and bright or subtle and sophisticated, the only limitation is your imagination. 



Head to your favorite yarn store to select precisely the colors you prefer, or use partials and leftovers to turn Valere into the perfect stashbusting project. Whatever approach you take, the end result is a striking afghan so inviting and versatile, you may find yourself making one for everyone on your knitting list.

Valere is fast, fun and easy, so whether you're welcoming a new baby or getting a jumpstart on holiday knitting, buy the pattern now to save 30% (through midnight Aug 2 EDT). Enjoy!

To read more about this design, see FO | Valere Summer Rainbow and FO | Valere Vivid Rainbow.
To explore different rainbow color schemes, see 7 Cheerful Rainbow Color Combos.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

What the heck I had the shorts

Yarn Harlot - Sun, 07/30/2017 - 10:43

It’s 6am on Sunday, the day of the Bike Rally departure, and I’m sitting at my desk, drinking coffee, and wearing my cycling clothes, because I have decided to give it a shot. My back isn’t great, but neither is AIDS, so I guess the decision was simple, in the end.

There’s always some way that the Rally gives me the willies every year – either it’s the distance or the time away or the fundraising or, something, but there’s always a new way to scare me, and somehow, I feel like this year it decided I should be worried on every level. I am stepping from here into the arms of my Bike Rally family, and Team Knit, and I know that there won’t be a kinder place for me if I struggle, and I have a lot of yarn in my bag.

Despite a thing for Shetland Lace, I’m not really into pain, so I’ve got heaps of drugs with me, and the repeated assurance from my doctor that I can do myself no permanent harm, nor cripple myself for months to come, and so not trying feels like cowardice, which is a fault of mine, but one I try to resist.

I am so grateful to each and every one of you for your support, and your help, and your kind words and for being the people that I have to tell things to. In a lot of ways, if I am ever able to be brave, it is because I don’t want to tell you I wasn’t.  Thank you for everything, I know that PWA is as grateful to knitters as I am, and so are their clients. You guys are great, you are changing the world, and literally lives are being saved with your yarn money, and it remains one of the greatest things of my life to tell  people that it’s knitters who are doing it.

I’m going to put our links here one more time, in case you’re moved over the next week, as we make our way across Ontario.

Me

Ken

Cam

Jen

Pato

I’ll try to post here, but it usually doesn’t work from my phone – for sure you can watch us all go at my instagram (@yarnharlot) or by tracking the hashtag #f4lbr.

I’m going to go ride my bike now, and try to be brave.

(PS there are a million Karmic Balancing gifts left, I promise to do them when I come back.)

Categories: Knitting Feeds

July Loves and giveaway winner...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 07/30/2017 - 07:58
Hello there and happy weekend to you! Pattern~ My own vanilla sock pattern Yarn~ Dragon Hoard Yarn in the color~LeviOsa, not Leviosa Do you realize before long...Fall will be here? Believe me I am counting the days until baking all the things and casseroles and pumpkin flavored everything. Till then... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Diversion

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 22:11

I might have spoken too soon when I said I was feeling better, so let’s just do Karmic Balancing gifts and try not to think about it. I’m taking today and knitting a sock, and working on catching up on paperwork, and trying to put my business to bed for the week that I’ll (hopefully) be away, and I’m trying not to whine. Thanks for the donations my petals, you guys are so amazing that I’ve now met my public goal – I’m looking now to blow it out of the water. Last year you guys took me way, way over my private and public goals, and I know that there’s no force out there like knitters. None. Every ding on my phone makes me feel a little better, and makes me more hopeful that this is going to be okay. Let’s hope that Karma works, and that trying to put something good out there does something good for how I feel. A miracle cure by tomorrow would be nice.

Anne at The Twisted Fleece has two beautiful gifts the first one is for Grace T:

100 g of handdyed Shetland roving. Dyed by Anne, and the fleece came from her friends’ flock. Comes with a handcrafted (again, made by Anne) orifice hook, of sterling silver, embellished with a handcrafted lampwork bead.

Anne also has 3 skeins of 100% merino worsted weight yarn. Dyed using food safe dyes. 120 yards/skein, 1.75 oz, 50 grams, and she’ll be mailing those to Kay W..

Belinda went for a stash dive, and came up with these two beautiful skeins of Malabrigo Lace. Turns out they’re for Helen H. Enjoy!

The Oswego NY Coffee Connection knitters would like to donate two skeins of Berroco Weekend in colors 5947 (salmon swimming upstream) and 5966 (blue sky in summer). They’ll be mailing it out to Peg L, and I hope she loves it.

Helle has two beautiful skeins, going out into the world to make a little magic. Heritage Yarns 100% tencel, colour is Sunrise Serenade 8 ounces; 1680 yards for Donna G.

and Knitted Wit Worsted, 100% Super wash Merino, Colour: She Persisted (how appropriate) 4 ounces, 200 yards for  Lisa B.  Thank you Helle!

Our good friend Kathleen Sperling has three lovely gifts of e-book pattern collections. First, her blanket trilogy, consisting of Cervelli, Around the Block, and The Celtic Knotwork Baby Blanket. That’s for Donna B.

Then an Accessories Quartet, that’s Dambrod, Balthazar’s Jumper Socks, Jianzhi cowl, and the Addis Abeba shawl. Those are going to Jessica R.

Last, but not least, she’ll be sending her Darling Layette eBook to Maggie B.

Tim has a set of four 3 X 4 1/2″ wonder wallets, each with five pockets. They are great for extra credit cards or cash or for giving gift cards. Those are going to Pippi S.

Next, a copy of a great new book from Tracy Purtscher, Dimensional Tuck Knitting.

It’s not out until September, so there will be a tiny delay in getting it, but when Tracy H does, I hope she loves it.

We’ve got a few from an amazing person who would like to be an anonymous Balancer, one 8oz bag of Elsie’s Discount Roving & Dyes “Amethyst”, and one in purple. The secret Santa will be mailing those to Rhea K.

Our mystery person also has approximately 20 batts, each weighing about 40 grams, of a creamy white Finn-cross roving. Hand processed by Anonymous Balancer, those are for Robyn R.

She’s also parting with one 40 oz. bundle of Plum Crazy Ranch Fiber Art Mulberry Silk Sliver, and one 1oz bundle of blue-green, hand-dyed Firestar, and mailing it to Linda L.

Last but not least, she’s somehow parting with THREE braids of Upstream Alpaca “Hand Painted Combed Top 100% Baby Alpaca” in “Pinot Noir” – 4 oz each braid. Those will be winging their way to Kelly M.

Emily has an amazing gift. 8 balls of gorgeous blue angora, in its original box. Emily says “It is old, though I don’t know by how; I received it from a fiber artist friend who is retiring and downsizing. Her only condition of giving it to me was that I “make something awesome”, and since you are doing that with PWA and the Rally, it only seems fitting.” I hope Holly W makes something awesome!

Karen Fletcher’s got a good one, TEN free copies of her pattern The Texture Block Cowl.  It’s a good one, takes a single skein of worsted weight yarn, and looks like a charming defense against the elements. (And a good Christmas present, if you’re in the mood.)  She’ll be sending those along to Kathleen R, Cherilyn P, Sarah R, Barbara J, Tara W, Jaime P, Beth W, Maggie H, Alicia R, and Belinda H.

Finally, a gorgeous “Rainbow is the new black” project bag from Jan Smiley. (Peek at her shop, it’s all lovely.) This bag is for Janis M, and I hope she loves it.

Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I’m going to go lie down and wait for my miracle. I’m sure it’s on its way. Cross your needles, everybody.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Gift

Yarn Harlot - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 21:23

Hello Petals, and greetings from the other side of yesterday’s long, dark teatime of the soul. I don’t know if it’s the rest, ice, baths, massage, chiropractic, physiotherapy, drugs, whiskey, homeopathy or donations that helped, but today I feel hopeful and optimistic, and my arse and I have resumed speaking terms. It still doesn’t feel great, but it feels better, that much is sure, and last night I slept the whole night through. It took a lot of pillows, but when I woke up I felt like maybe things are improving for sure. (I will not be getting on my bike until Sunday to be sure, and I’m going to keep doing all the things I’m doing. One of them is working.) I also had a rather fantastic snuggle with Elliot this morning, and the healing impact of his glorious cheeks cannot possibly be understated.  He is the most delicious chunk. Fat and happy, and slept the whole hour his mother was in the dentist, while I walked him up to the drugstore and back, and then, wonder of wonders,  resisted the urge to scream in the car. (This is his favourite trick. He resents the carseat and all that it is, and generally acts like he’s experiencing death by a thousand cuts all the way wherever he’s going, then brightens right up the minute he’s free of it – though a minute before you would have sworn he was starving or had mere minutes to live. It’s really not hard to tell he comes from a cycling family.)

Also, a minor fibre miracle.  The other day, tidying a basket I keep spinning things in, one tucked way back in the cupboard, I found two bobbins of camel/silk singles.

I pulled them out and for a minute, couldn’t even remember spinning them, but then it came back to me. They’re spindle spun, wound onto the bobbins to empty the spindle each time it filled, and I spun them at least ten years ago. Ten years! (Let us gloss over entirely what it means to my housekeeping skills that I can lose things for ten years in a tiny house.) My wheel was still right there, oiled and clean, and so I popped them onto my Kate (I refuse to call it a lazy kate. I has a sexist ring to it. Why is it always a lazy woman? Lazy Susan, Lazy Kate… how come nothing is called a Lazy Gary?) A little while later I had the most delicious tiny skein of laceweight camel/silk. Just a weensie 210m, but still, it’s delicious, and when I told Joe what I’d found and done, I realized that his conversion to Fiber-support-spouse is complete. “Wow honey” he said, “That’s like finding $50 in your winter coat pocket when you put it on in the Fall.”

That’s it exactly.

Karmic Balancing gifts? Let’s do them until I run out of time. Tonight is our last Steering Committee meeting for the Rally, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to say that. It turns out that my dedication does know bounds, and it’s meetings. Only because I can knit at them is this all  possible.

First up, Gauge Dye Works has two beautiful skeins for Virgina Y. One skein of classic sock, one shawl. (Man, Catherine who runs that place is so clever. That’s the yarn my most recent pair of socks were knit from.)

Tia has three skeins of Shibui Knits sock weight yarn in 50’s Kitchen (I love that, it’s the colours of my kitchen!) that she’ll be sending to Susan G.

The lovely Suzanne Visch is donating the pattern of their choice to five lucky knitters. (Lucky is right, what gorgeous things!)  Congratulations to Nichole B, Heather K, Mary Jo M, Anisa S, Jennifer W, and Susan D.

By the way, yesterday’s yarn went happily to the highest bidder, who asked only two things. That I not mention their name, and that the yarn not go to her, but to someone new to knitting who would adore it, and be inspired by it. I love that idea, and I know just the knitter. Thanks to everyone who bid, it was charming, flattering and made the world a better place for people who need help. You guys are amazing.

More tomorrow – It’s a desk day.  Thank you all for everything, you’re my favourite.

 

Categories: Knitting Feeds

sock school 2017

Autumn Geisha - Tue, 07/25/2017 - 23:46
yarn: woolberry fiber co. in the pride and prejudice colorway
school supplies: notions pouch/tuft woolens hand balm/wooden sock knitting tools from little skein in the big wool
pattern: pebble socks
My assignment for this year's sock school is to finally tackle the Fish Lips Kiss Heel. I have had this pattern in my Ravelry queue ever since it was published back in 2013. Coming in at 16 pages, it can appear to be pretty intimidating at first glance, with a lot of detailed explanations on how to create a foot pattern as well as an in-depth review of sock architecture. It also has a visual tutorial on the short row technique used for the heel. The actual pattern for the heel is only 5 pages long and includes both toe-up and cuff-down instructions. I found the pattern to be very clear and easy to follow. The heel knits up so much faster than I had anticipated! Much faster than a traditional flap & gusset. But the true test will be how comfortable the fit is. What is your favorite heel to knit and wear?

(I had planned to publish this post yesterday but at around 1:30am Monday morning, we woke up to a tornado alert on our cellphones. We didn't even have time to make it downstairs to our safe spot before the house started shaking from the impact. It happened so terrifyingly fast. Feeling thankful and blessed that my family and loved ones are safe. My thoughts and prayers go out to those on the island who lost their homes. Thankfully there were no fatalities)
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pollyanna

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 07/25/2017 - 21:59

I have been accused, more than a few times in my life, of being overly optimistic. You wouldn’t think that such a thing could be a negative, but it works against me from time to time, as I persist (usually in the face of terrible odds) in thinking that most things will work out just fine if I apply myself to the problem.  If something is properly doomed, this can occasionally spell heartbreak, and that’s what I’m thinking about as I sit here writing to you with an icepack on my left arse, chock full of pain meds, and pondering my week.  The Rally begins on Sunday morning,  and while I’m sure I’ll be able to ride, I’m not sure I won’t be able to do it without some suffering, and I’m reaching for my optimism a bit.

I’ve done everything I can think of for the last few weeks to try and clear this up. Apparently it’s my SI joint (didn’t even know I had one, but there you go) and I’ve had a bike fit, seen a sports medicine doctor (I know! I laughed all the way there. Me! At a sports clinic. I kept thinking they’d look at me like a sloth that had wandered into the gazelle pen at the zoo, but it turns out that when I told them how much I was riding, they wrote down that I was a “serious cyclist.” I almost had to bite myself to keep from laughing out loud.)  The doctor prescribed physiotherapy, and I’ve been doing that, and all my exercises, and I felt like maybe things were getting better, but Sundays’ ride has left me whinging and limping around – and it’s hard for even me to be optimistic under these circumstances. Today after the gym I thought about having a bit of a weep.

I can’t tell you how disappointing it is to prepare for this for months and months, and then get a small but miserable injury right at the end. The whole reason I train is to prevent suffering. This week I’ve been prescribed rest, ice, baths, sleep, massage, anti-inflammatory stuff and… no bike. We’re going for maximum healing before Sunday, when everyone agrees that the worst thing that can happen is pain. I won’t do any permanent harm, and the great thing about going to a sports medicine clinic is that nobody has suggested I don’t do my sport, which is pretty reassuring.  (I believe them too, the dude who has the appointment before mine is an Olympian. They must know what they’re doing if he’s there.) I’m going to pack, eat well, do as I’m told, reach for that optimism, and hope for the very best. I’m also going to keep my eyes on the prize, and that’s fundraising. Me on my bike doesn’t help PWA- it’s the donations that give it power, and they’re behind in the money department this year. I’ll heal, but a lot of the people that look to the agency for important help won’t have a the same chance, so – I’m going to focus on why I do this, and not let the circumstances get me down.  I want to thank you all for your support and donations over the last while. It makes a huge difference, and I’m so grateful.

Enough of that, want to see some spinning? Sure you do. It’s way more interesting than my arse.  Remember this?

It’s that gorgeous braid of Fiber Optic Yarns merino/silk.  I sat down at the wheel with it when I had that devastatingly tiny cut on my finger, and worked at it a few hours a day.  I wanted to preserve the gradient, and I tossed around the idea of spinning it all into one long single, and then chain plying it, but I was really hoping to get decent yardage, and a laceweight.  I decided I’d split the whole braid down the middle, lengthwise, and then spin each half as it was, and ply them together afterwards.  This sometimes works, and sometimes not so much, but I was (see above) optimistic. I launched.

When I was done, I had two bobbins full that I hoped were more of less equal, and then started to ply.

This is where the whole thing can go sideways.  If I hadn’t split the roving equally, I’d have more of one of the other, and it wouldn’t match up as I went along. That happened a little bit, but as I plied, if it started to not match up, I’d break the single from the offending bobbin, pull out a metre or two until they matched again, and then rejoin and keep plying.  (I had to do that three times, which is pretty good, considering that I’m human. One bobbin was about 10 metres longer than the other.) When I was done, voila.

It’s about 450 metres (492 yards) of a really lovely laceweight. Well, it’s a little heavy for laceweight, but it’s quite light for fingering, so I’m going with the former.  It’s the tiniest bit wonky, like all handspun, but I’m totally in love with it. It is soft, and strong and pretty, and it’s going to make a beautiful… something.

I don’t know what it will be though – because I’m not going to knit it.  You can, if you want. If it calls to your heart, let me know, and let me know what it would be worth to you. The knitter who makes the best offer of a donation gets it. Email me at stephanie@yarnharlot.ca (subject line “that yarn” please) and tell me what you’d be willing to donate to my fundraising, and the highest bid gets it mailed to their house.  (I’ll choose tomorrow afternoon. I’ve got to babysit in the morning.)

Happy Tuesday everyone. See you tomorrow, and I’m sure everything is going to be just fine.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Tonal Gradients Tame Variegated Yarns

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 07/23/2017 - 12:30
Unfortunately, I'm going through one of those annoying phases where yarn fumes have so clouded my brain, I can't seem to stop casting on projects great and small. This is true, even though as a slow knitter, there are already enough WIPs on the needles and in the pipeline to keep me busy for weeks if not months.


Instead of doing the rational thing and focusing on finishing the tasks already at hand, I got a bee in my bonnet and decided to experiment with variegated yarn and tonal gradients. 


Variegated yarns can be tricky, so pairing a closely related solid with variegated yarn is one of my favorite tips and tricks. It's an easy way to prevent pooling, and here I've simply taken it to the next step.



Tonal gradient: Colsie Mitts (WIP)

Yarn. Happy Feet (Plymouth), Charlemont (Valley Yarns), Babe (Knitting Fever)
Stitch. This 3x2 slipped rib creates a stretchy fabric perfect for fingerless mitts.

Strategy.  Each section is worked in alternating two-row stripes. To achieve a similar look:
  • Choose one variegated yarn and three related solid shades that blend with the variegated.
  • Treat the variegated yarn as your MC, because it will appear in each section.
  • Work section 1 with MC and CC1.
  • Work section 2 with MC and CC2.
  • Work section 3 with MC and CC3.

                  The variegated Happy Feat incorporates shades of red, orange, pink and purple, so I choose rosy solids and worked them as follows:
                  • Section 1: Variegated with burgundy
                  • Section 2: Variegated with red
                  • Section 3: Variegated with rose

                  Overall, I'm happy with the outcome. The three related solids create a pleasing tonal gradient, and it was fun to see how each one either accentuated or obscured different colors in the variegated yarn. As an added plus, when these mitts are finished, they'll make a nice complement to my Dojeling Wineberry shawl.
                  I've said it before, but it bears repeating. DIY gradients are one of the most effective ways to leverage yarn from stash. So, if you have lovely variegated yarns that pool in patterns you find unappealing, try tonal gradients, they're the ideal way to tame virtually any variegated yarn.

                  To see all ombre and gradient posts, click here.
                  Connecting with the linkups in the sidebar.
                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  Making our knitting life easier...

                  My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 07/23/2017 - 07:14
                  Hello there! Guess who is back after missing a week chatting with you. I can tell you I am feeling much better, it was just a little Summer cold. I think it is gone in large part because of all your well wishes- thank you! Looking forward to catching up... Andi
                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  They don’t really talk to me anymore

                  Yarn Harlot - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 17:42

                  Joe left this morning for a business trip, leaving me all to my own devices for the weekend (so far I have really cut loose and vacuumed the bedroom) and as soon as he was gone, I remembered that I’d forgotten to get him to help me with sock pictures.

                  Undaunted, I decided to engage in another episode of a game I call “weird textile things I’ve done on my front steps that make my neighbours nervous.”  (Previous entries have included direct warping a little loom because the neighbours fence was the right distance away, hanging skeins of yarn from the cherry tree for photographic purposes, and nestling various works in progress amongst the greenery to document their progress.)*

                  Today I decided that I’m a reasonably flexible person and there’s a timer on my camera, so I figured it wouldn’t be that hard to do it myself. I have tried this before and taking pictures of your own feet that don’t look weird and show off all the parts of a sock is really hard.  This time though I thought that I had it figured out. I set the timer, ran over and stood in front of the camera and…

                  No good. (Don’t my coral bells look beautiful though? All that rain.) I looked at the picture, decided that I was standing in the wrong spot and just needed to move over, marked that spot with my mind, and then realized I’d screwed up by picking up the camera without noticing where it had been, and swore a little. I took a few other test shots, and finally worked out that what I had to do was stand in the right spot, then lean forward, sort of downward dog style, push the button for the timer, and then stand back up again without moving my feet.  This is quite difficult, and means you’ve got to stick your arse way up in the air, and from the time that I push the button, I’ve got ten seconds to execute the manoeuvre, quickly walking my hands back and standing upright.  My neighbour down the street walked by at this point, and said it looked like a good stretch. I think she thought it was the worlds most awkward attempt at yoga. On the stairs. In socks. Anyway, things improved then.

                  (Yarn: Gauge Dye Works, a club yarn I got a few months ago.  Pattern: my own Sock Recipe. Needles: 2.25mm.)

                  After that I got bold and attempted a bending-over-arm-extended-like-I-am-another-person shot.  Less good.

                  But I improved.

                  Sort of.

                  *I have been doing this kinda thing on the porch, warping looms, photographing yarn, projects, hanging hats on trees, arranging hats on posts, draping blankets over fences, taking pictures of various family members and myself wearing knitted stuff year round for about 15 years now. I live in the city, and those steps are about 1m from the sidewalk. Tons of people walk by every day, and never, not once, ever (and I mean it) has any human being ever asked me why the %$^&*$ I have mittens in a tree.

                  I think they’re afraid.

                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  summer festival socks

                  Autumn Geisha - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 22:13




                  Continuing with the seasonal socks theme, I'm thrilled to have my summer festival socks off the needles. These were such a blast to knit, mainly due to the interesting stitch pattern. I find that patterned socks knit up much more quickly for me than vanilla socks. The grey yarn is KnitPicks stroll in dove heather and the brightly variegated contrasting yarn is from KnittyAndColor. Not sure what the name of the colorway is since it was part of a miniskein set. It's funny how these socks came about: I had originally knitted the yarn into my cozy memories blanket but found that the bright colors didn't jive very well with the surrounding squares. I ended up ripping out the square and randomly throwing it in a bag with the grey stroll yarn. Something about the color combination caught my eye and prompted me to go on a Ravelry search where I came across this fun free pattern, appropriately called Froot Loop. It's funny how inspiration strikes like that. I am feeling like my sock knitting mojo is finally returning and can't wait to cast on another pair.

                  Things here have been pretty quiet of late. The little guy is at summer camp for the first time. He is having a fun adventure and making new friends. The hubby is starting a new venture of his own by exploring how to mine for cryptocurrency. It was hilarious how excited he was to mine $2 worth....in 24 hours. Oh well, it keeps him out of trouble. Meanwhile I've been getting lots of knitting and podcast listening in. My current faves are Little Bobbins, Yarngasm and Inside Number 23. Do you listen to knitting podcasts? Any favorite listens at the moment?
                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

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