Catching Up

You know that feeling when you get knocked out of your routine – sometimes for terrible reasons, but sometimes for really great reasons like vacations? Yeah, that is exactly what happened to me. I went to Iceland at Easter. It was amazing. If you’ve been there you know all about it, but if you’ve never been then I highly recommend it.

In this time that I haven’t written a blog post, I’ve often been sitting at the computer, thinking of you all and wondering how on earth I could possibly get it all written down. All the projects I’ve finished, the wips and the things I’m not sure what to do with. I had a Eureka moment last week when I was watching a podcast and thought  “What if I just made a video to talk about everything that’s going on…that would be easier.”

So that’s what I did. If you like this and think I should continue in this format, please let me know – either here or on YouTube. I hope you like it.

 

Beginnings

A few weeks ago, I took this photo and its been in my head ever since.

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We’d had a snowfall and then a strong wind and I liked the texture of the windblown snow.  Later I stumbled across a pattern that reminded me of this windblown snow.  In my mind’s eye, I see this as a cowl with a garter band at the top and the bottom, with the wandering cables in the middle. Possibly with an i-cord (I haven’t decided yet).

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What do you think? I think this will make a great cowl!

Winner!

Wonders never cease.

A couple weeks ago, I was reading a lovely blog I follow called NothingButKnit and she had just updated the template her blog was using. I’m in the process of doing the exact same thing on my blog – working through branding, trying to identify ‘my reader’, and generally figuring out how I want my blog to look. Anyway, as part of her update NothingButKnit2 was asking for feedback and as a bit of an incentive to comment, she decided to make it into a contest where the winner received a skein of yarn from her stash. Since I’m rarely without an opinion on something I took some time and wrote down what I thought but I never win anything and honestly, that really wasn’t the incentive to comment. But as it happens, I won!

The package arrived today and oh, it’s absolutely beautiful. I was thinking I’d probably be frozen by indecision if I had to pick something out of my stash to send to someone I don’t know but she made an inspired choice. The yarn comes from a local-to-her but new-to-me dyer called A Hundred Ravens. This is 400 yards of 2-ply, fingering weight, 100% superwash merino. My favourite. The colour is called Koa and it is so perfectly me. The colours aren’t quite true in the picture, the sections that look plum are actually quite green. It’s absolutely perfect!

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As if this weren’t enough, she also included a set of stitch markers in matching colours which were made by her husband! Aren’t they wonderful!

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I’ve had some good mail days recently, but I think this is the best. Thank you NothingButKnit, for such a lovely and thoughtful package. Now to find the perfect project.

Stalled

I’m stalled on all my projects. I’m waiting on a response to a reported error in the big test knit I’m working on, am waiting for swatches to dry for a design project, got the wrong colour yarn for a shawl that is half finished and am bored with a fussy cardigan for a little person. Couple this with seeing all the lovely things from Edinburgh Yarn Festival (the Perth I live in is nowhere near Scotland, let along Edinburgh so sadly, I did not attend) and I snapped.

I cast on another project.

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This is Antipodes from Truly Myrtle Designs of New Zealand. I did a test knit of Gingerbread, a recent pattern of hers and liked it enough that I’m knitting something else from her. This is a slim crescent shawl that I’m working in Cascade Yarns Heritage Silk. This yarn is an 85/15 wool/silk blend and is lovely to work with. I knit a pullover out of this about 4 years ago and had totally forgotten that I had a leftover skein of yarn in my stash. I love it when I find the perfect thing tucked away in a bin!

I’d like to have this finished for a trip which will likely happen around the end of April – I’ll tell you more as plans firm up but I can tell you that it is to celebrate two big birthdays in my household. Both my husband and son are having milestone birthdays within a week of each other so we’re taking a trip. We used to travel all the time when we lived in Asia and realized that we’ve been back in Canada for almost 10 years and haven’t gone anywhere as a family.

 

Something New

I have the most exciting news to share with you all.  I’m planning to embark on my knitwear design ‘career’ and publish a pattern for socks!  There’s an enormous amount to learn, but it’s also exciting and a bit nerve-wracking as well.  If you’ve been following my Instagram account for a while, you’ll have seen this lattice pattern. It showed up about 4 months ago and after a few revisions, rip backs, re-knits, tears and swearing, it finally all came together.

These are my Rose Ladder Socks.

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The name comes from a mis-translation I saw while living in Asia. One day when I was in a flower market I saw a man selling garden trellises with a hand lettered sign in English which read “Rose Ladders”. I was charmed by this and in some ways, I like the name better.

I don’t have a publication date just yet, but I’d like to have them out by early summer – just in time for the roses.

Testing, Testing

I’ve been quiet lately – longer than I meant to be. It’s not that I have nothing to show you or tell you about, more than I was under a bit of a gag order.

I’ve been test knitting. For those who don’t know, test knitting is when you get an advance copy of a pattern to knit with the goal of finding and reporting all the mistakes and typos to the designer so they can be fixed prior to publication. I find this a fascinating process – it gives unique insight into pattern development and I really like being able to contribute in some small way to the success of someone’s creative effort by helping to reduce the number of errors. It will never be perfect, but I can certainly see the value of this exercise.

So now that two of the three patterns I’ve committed to have been released, let me show  you what I’ve been doing:

Gingerbread

Gingerbread was knit for Libby of Truly Myrtle designs in New Zealand.

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At first glance, this looks like a simple pullover without a lot of detail. But look closer – have a look at the ribbing.

I’ve never seen anything like this! And then there are the details which you only know about if you actually knit the sweater. This sweater uses top down, seamless construction and makes clever use of short rows for the set-in sleeves.

I knit this over the Christmas holidays and it was the perfect knit – it didn’t require much attention from me – just knit. I used Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted in Mallard.

Gascogne Scarf for WOODS – making stories

This scarf isn’t actually available for purchase directly – it’s a bonus pattern if you opt to support the crowdfunding campaign for WOODS – making stories.

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This project is a new knitting book which focuses on breed-specific European yarns and features 11 patterns, designer profiles, and tutorials. For as little as €35, you can get a copy of the book as well as patterns for this scarf and a charming hat. If you are local to Berlin, there are some incredible packages which give access to the launch party (wish I could go to that!) and at the top tier, a yarn day in Berlin. Now that the European Parliament has ratified the CETA trade deal, I expect that these yarns will become more affordable in Canada so I see this as a good introduction to some of Europe’s premier yarns.

The Gascogne Scarf pattern was designed by a French designer called Solène Le Roux and uses a Spanish yarn from a producer called dLana. It is 100% merino spun as a rustic-looking single ply yarn that is so incredibly soft with great stitch definition and can certainly be worn next to skin.

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The scarf works up to a luxurious 8 feet long so it can be either worn very long, or wrapped twice around your neck.

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I have one more project that I can’t talk about yet, and I have nothing to show you anyway because I’m still waiting for my  yarn which is coming from Switzerland. But check back soon – I’ll have some teaser pictures as soon as the yarn arrives.

Looking Forward

This post is part of the #MyFiberStory Instagram challenge. The tag for today is #MyWhy and while it is easy enough to say that I knit and spin because I live in a cold climate and need all the help I can get to keep me and my family warm, there is more to it than that.

During the holidays, I made it out to a yoga class which was part restorative yoga, part vision board and part intention setting.

Intention setting isn’t the same as making resolutions. Its about examining the ‘why’ behind a resolution and deciding to incorporate that why into your life. So for example, rather than saying I want to lose xx pounds, dig a little deeper and discover why. Is it for health, social pressure or vanity? Whatever the answer, keep asking yourself why until you finally get to the little nugget of truth that you can use as a touchstone to guide your decisions through the year.

Part of the class was deep relaxation and during this time, part of my brain went to sleep – but part of my brain was very active. A very odd and different sensation and suddenly I knew, as surely as I knew my own name that this was the year to let go of fear and to stop letting fear hold me back. I admit to a great deal of fear as I write this and put my intentions out into the world, but now I can ask the world for help too.

This is the year that I’m going to really put my fibre-y ideas out into the world. I have a number of thoughts that are still taking shape but I’m quite excited by all of them. They involve connection with other artists, confidence in my skills and belief that I have something to offer, trust in my creativity and honouring myself by saying yes to things that excite me (even if they scare me too) and saying no to things which no longer serve me. This is #MyWhy.