WIP Update

I have nothing so dramatic as the newly completed Bear Lake Pullover to share this week, but making and creating continues. There are three projects on the go right now: a pair of socks, a baby cardigan and some spinning.

Lets start with the spinning – gosh, this one is so exciting to me. Looks kinda dull and boring eh?

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Actually, it’s Qiviut. Never heard of Qiviut? It’s the softer-than-cashmere, down from Arctic musk-ox. Yes, it’s also crazy expensive and everything they say about it is absolutely true. This is a bag of soft. Is that a thing? I don’t know but that’s the sensation when I touch the roving. This preparation came from Noble Fibre Mill just down the road in Almonte and I’m really pleased with it. The current plan is to make this into a two ply yarn that will become some fluffy, lacy neck thing. I know – not painting much of a picture with that but honestly, the fibre hasn’t quite told me about what it wants to be.

What else do I have? I have this adorable little cardigan.

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The pattern is called Jessica by Linda Whaley (Rowan) and I’m actually using the recommended yarn for the knit! Does anybody else do that? I don’t normally – I have a substantial stash so I often shop there first and fudge the numbers if my gauge isn’t quite right – but I’m just so pleased with how this looks that I just might use recommended yarn a little more often! I’m knitting this for a little miss who is due to make her debut at the end of November. This is a 6 – 9 month size so I was hoping she could wear it next spring or summer. That said, it looks awfully small to me. We’ll see how it goes. It may end up being a layering piece this winter.

This knit was the first time I’ve ever used a picot cast on and I have to say, I’m smitten with it. It’s kinda fussy and I’m not usually one for frills (hazards of being a boy mother) but I really do adore the little bit of flounce on this cardi.

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And lastly, there is a pair of socks. The pattern is Hermione’s Everyday Socks and you can download it here for free. These are made using a traditional top down, flap-heel construction and this is the third time I’ve knit these socks. I like how the pattern is simple enough that it’s a relaxing knit but isn’t boring.

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But mostly, I like how these socks fit. Do you have a favourite sock pattern? Drop me a note and tell me about it!

Bear Lake Pullover

I’m so pleased with this! Really, I can’t say enough good things about it. This was one of those knits which was started on an impulse, I picked what I thought would be a good yarn out of the stash and after a halfhearted gauge swatch, I cast on. The knitting Gods smiled and the whole thing worked. Don’t ask me what the yarn is, I don’t know. I bought it 10 years ago in a bag with no label, just a lot number from a going-out-of-business shop in Ballarat Australia. I’m pretty sure it is mostly if not all merino.

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The whole thing knit up quite quickly and my son is thrilled to have a new sweater.

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I did an initial fitting for this right off the needles and while I knitted exactly to gauge (no really – I did – stitch AND row! I was so excited!),  I found the fit a little off for my son. I’m a big fan of Amy Herzog’s Fit to Flatter and frequently adjust patterns for myself, but it’s been a long time since I’ve knit a sweater for him. Come to think of it, it hasn’t actually been that long but while he was growing the way only a teenage boy can, I wasn’t about to knit him something he would outgrow before I finished the first sleeve.

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I don’t know why it never occurred to me to actually measure him and compare with the schematic – I did a chest measurement to select a size but that was it. He’s tall and thin with long slender arms. I’m happy with the fit of the body but I really should have adjusted the arms. I may yet take them off and re-knit them to be longer and narrower.

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On the other hand, blocking fixes a lot of problems.

If you want to knit this too, the pattern is in Fall 2016, Interweave Knits or can be downloaded from Ravelry.

Apples

You’ll never believe this but I have to share it with you all. We’ve lived in this house for 5 years and in the past three weeks, we’ve found two apple trees on our property. Not little sticks-with-two-leaves kind of trees, but enormous have-been-there-for-a-hundred-years kind of trees.

In my defense, we have 6 acres and the fence line is somewhat overgrown. One of the trees was found almost in the ditch on the road (OK – this is a relatively small tree) and the other was found on the back fence, crowded by all kinds of scrub. This isn’t a small tree. The trunk is bigger around than I am. We’ve also collected windfall from one of the neighbours who has different apples. We now have a lot of apples.

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That’s a lot of apples

I can only make so much apple crisp or pie and I’m not a great fan of applesauce but I love cider! And – it just so happens that we have a cider press we got at auction about a year ago. I’ve never made cider but I have made beer so I have an idea what the process is and I have buckets, carboys, pressure valves, bottles and all the assorted bits and pieces necessary for brewing in the kitchen.

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Cider Press – with the barrel upside down!

Now the thing about buying items at auction is you may or may not get all the original parts. Pieces from different machines may end up together in a lot and we discovered – after much cranking, and cursing, that the hopper/grinder we have is for grapes. Not apples. After much trial and error, we’ve discovered a relatively good way of prepping the apples for the press and slowly, we’ve figured out how to do this.

We’re now at the stage where we have one primary fermenter active and a second will be added to it shortly. One batch will be a sweet, still cider and the other will be drier and sparkling. It should all be ready in time for Christmas!

Reboot

I’ve started and stopped blogging a few times. I’m not sure why I stopped the first time – I suspect it was because life just got away from me – but the second time it was because I didn’t have a focus.

I’ve given this some thought, and learned a bit. Actually, I’ve learned a lot. Learned about myself, what matters to me, what I want to share (without oversharing ’cause nobody likes that) and even a little bit about photography. I’m still not great with a camera, but I’m better than I used to be.

So what do I do? I knit, I spin and I weave. I run, am new to yoga and I have a big garden. I live in an old stone house in what had once been a major center of textile production in Ontario and am keenly interested in the return of local fibre production. I’d like to use this space to spread the word on what is happening in my area.

Welcome to the reboot.