Water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.

I just peeled myself off my living room floor, where I was surrounded by yarn, patterns, and a lack of inspiration.  Last night, I cast off my Doodler shawl and blocked it (pictures are forthcoming; it’s too pretty not to take proper pictures), and despite having a few socks on the go and my Boxy sweater, I was feeling the urge to cast on something new.  What that something would be was the challenge.  My lunch hour was divided between eating and chatting with co-workers and passively searching Ravelry for inspiration.  I kept looking at all my pretty skins, every one would make a lovely shawl, sock, cowl or hat, but not finding the right meld of pattern and yarn.  This has happened on occasion, where I find I’m lacking completely and utterly in inspiration, despite having so much around me with which to find inspiration, and despite my desire to start something knew, of desperately wanting to be knitting. What’s the saying, ‘water everywhere but not a drop to drink’? I completely agree.

I may have found a  pattern and a skein to match.  Let’s see if I make it farth past the cast on. If it’s right, it’ll continue.  We’ll see.

Happy Knitting!

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Shawl to Cowl Experiment a Success!

I know I’ve already professed my love for bandana cowls on this blog, but it bears repeating, I think.  I love this accessory, so much so that one of my latest projects turned a shawl pattern into a cowl.  Any that I’ve made before have all been patterns for this particular style, but there aren’t a lot of patterns on Ravelry, at least, not a lot of patterns easily found with searches.

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Knowing the basic structure of the cowl, I took a shawl pattern and adapted it to become a cowl.  In a nutshell, I knit flat, increasing 4 stitches every other round until a certain length, then I joined in the round, increasing 2 stitches every other round, at the centre of the cowl.

It worked really well with the Jocassee pattern, a free shawl by Kemper Wray.  It features garter sections and drop stitch sections, and because it didn’t involve any super fancy stitch designs or lace, it was a good shawl to experiment with.  I’m rather happy with the finished cowl but am looking forward to cooler weather before I can wear it more often.  It’s far too hot here in Canada for any extra wool around the neck!

I’d also like to try this again, perhaps with a more complex stitch design and see if I can replicate my results.  

How Do You Organize Circulars

This seems to be a very common problem for which everyone has their own creative solutions: How to store circular needles.

After knitting for several years, it’s inevitable that one’s collection of tools will continue to grow.  A boon of needles purchased at a thrift shop for a dollar each is a big contributor to this problem… a good problem, but a problem nonetheless.

Until last week, my storage for circulars was an accordion file, intended for receipts.  It worked well, with each size having its own pouch to be filed away in, and the different cords held in place and organized with binder clips, labeled with their size. With all my new needles, however, my patience with this system was waning, because the file was practically bursting and the elastic holding it in place was under great strain.


There happened to be a very timely thread on Ravelry talking about different ways to store circular needles, and this was the inspiration I needed to change my storage.  So I headed to a dollar store, and I bought pouches:

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These pouches fit inside a three ring binder, are clear, and are closed with a snap.  So, Thursday evening, I took my needles from the receipt folder and unceremoniously dumped them on the couch:

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Now, each size (2mm-2.75mm; 3mm-3.75mm; 4-4.5mm, etc), have their own pouch, and the cords are still remaining orderly thanks to the binder clip.

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I’m much happier with this storage system.  They are easier to access but just as organized and orderly.  I think the only change I will make is to the binder they are currently in; the 1 1/2″ just isn’t big enough for these needles.

This is just a glimpse into what works for me. How do you keep order for your circulars?

The Great Toronto Yarn Hop

Let me tell you about my Saturday.

For the last 12 years, there has been a giant yarn crawl in the City of Toronto, a fundraiser for an organization called Sistering: A Woman’s Place, “a multi-service centre for homeless, at-risk and socially isolated women in Toronto.” Recently rebranded as The Great Toronto Yarn Hop, I bought my ticket back in June and eagerly awaited this event!

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Here’s how it worked, in a nutshell.  There were several ‘teams’ you could join (and buy your ticket for), and each team followed a particular route visiting a number of yarn shops; in Toronto, there is quite a large number!  At the end of the day, all teams met at a pub where you could compare purchases, and raffle tickets, sold throughout the day, were drawn and prizes awarded.

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I joined Team Linen, largely chosen because I liked the first stop of the day, easy to get to from Transit, located in historic Kensington Market.  Although I’ve been to Yarns Untangled before, I was looking forward to seeing what they had in the shop. After time spent at Yarns Untangled, and a skein of Robosheep Yarns Sock purchased, we jumped on the TTC and headed to Stop #2, EweKnit.

EweKnit was the largest shop we visited, located at Bloor and Ossington, with a large main floor selling yarns as well as fabric and needlepoint kits, and basement set up with looms where they offer weaving classes.  I was good to my budget, only buying a single ball of Classic Elite Yarns Liberty Wool, and it’s already earmarked for a project.

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Stop #3 was Knit-O-Matic, a bright shop on Bathurst, just south of St. Clair, complete with store bird to welcome groups.  This stop was particularly busy as there was another team in the shop at the same time, but I somehow managed to do perhaps the worst damage to my budget here.  I bought two skeins of Cascade Yarns® Avalon, adding to my stash of two and a half skeins. What I had wasn’t enough to really make something with, but adding these extra metres could mean I have enough to make a nice light summer shirt.  I also bought a skein of Manos del Uruguay Alegría:

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With colours like that, how could I not?

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Our final stop was another shop I’ve visited before but was happy to return to Passionknit, on Yonge, north of Lawrence. At this last stop, my allotted budget had significantly dwindled, and my backpack was bursting with yarny-wonderfulness, so my sole purchase was a skein of Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM), in their special colourway released for Local Yarn Store day.

I had so much fun during the Yarn Hop.  Six skeins of yarn, four shops (two new), and I met people from all over Ontario at this event. A cowl in progress was easily accessible during our travels, and I was able to get in a few stitches on transit.

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This was me, on Line 2 (Bloor) line travelling from Stop 1 to 2; stitches in progress, wide stance to prevent falling over.  As I said, so much fun.

Heat Wave

I’d like to know who is propagating the myth that Canada is a cold country, because for the last week or two, southern Ontario has been hit with a heat wave. Temperatures are in the 30sC and feeling like 40sC (which, thanks to a handy conversion online, I can tell you is high 80s/90s in Fahrenheit). It’s hot. It’s especially hot for someone who doesn’t have air conditioning, and while I was able to fare quite well in the first few days, I very quickly lost the battle in trying to keep my house at a normal, comfortable living temperature.  New fans have been purchased, I relish my time at work with AC, and I’ve gone to a movie or two to escape the heat.  It was also quite lucky that we got a reprieve over the weekend and it cooled off somewhat, but summer has most certainly arrived, and she’s come with a vengeance!

This heat has also affected my knitting behaviours. My Doodler shawl, made with wool blend yarns, had to be put aside because working the the fibres was like a strange form of cruelty to myself.  Instead, I’m gravitating towards cottons. My Boxy sweater has come along with me to a few movies.  It’s knit in the round over what feels like a bazillion stitches, and right now I’m working towards almost a foot and a half in plain stockinette. It’s a perfect movie project, being worked in Berroco’s Weekend.  Also getting some attention as of late is my Sanibel Cowl, worked in Cascade’s Ultra Pima Paints.  I’m so in love with these colours, which is why I bought the skein to begin with.  I also adore how soft Ultra Pima feels, with excellent drape.  I’m looking forward to finishing this project, although I have a feeling wearing it won’t be possible until the first few autumnal days.


So, to that person who goes around asking Canadians if they live in igloos and take their dog sled to work, please, come visit the Greater Toronto Area. Not an igloo in sight, although one would be a welcome relief from the heat.

Happy knitting!