On Saturday I Went a’Frolicing

This weekend was the Toronto Knitters Guild annual Knitters Frolic.  It was the 18th annual event, and my first time attending.  I left with an armful of yarn and a much lighter bank account.

Dozens of vendors attended, including indy dyers and yarn shops, and I was impressed at how geographically diverse it was!  There were plenty of vendors from the GTA, but also from the east coast and British Columbia!  I spent some time browsing in the morning, and in the afternoon, I met with a friend who I know from my LYS’s knitting circle, and we discovered we were each other’s yarn-enablers!

In actuality, I could have done much, much worse.  I bought more Turtlepurl sock yarn, this time in their Serenity colourway.  Kinda cunning, dontcha think?

Turtlepurl Turtle Toes - Serenity
Turtlepurl Turtle Toes – Serenity

I was also able to pick up a skein of Sweetgeorgia sock yarn for a good price; I had been eyeing this colourway for months now, simply loving the teals and browns.

Sweetgeorgia - Rockwater
Sweetgeorgia – Rockwater

I also fell in love with cotton yarn from Dye-Version, based out of Mississauga.  I debated what colour to buy, and they had so many options to choose from.  I settled on this lovely black and red yarn, two skeins of it with which I’m envisioning making a lovely summer scarf.  We spent time admiring the creativity of the colour names.  Mine is called Vampire Kiss.  So fun.

Dye-Version - Vampire Kiss
Dye-Version – Vampire Kiss

Finally, I was able to buy four skeins of Cascade 220, which is earmarked for making a Sontag.  What is that, you ask?  A Sontag is a style of wrap that was all the rage in the 1860s, named for the singer who popularized it.  I work for a Museum, and on occasion I have to wear a Victorian style costume, and this Sontag will provide extra warmth in the winter months.

Cascade 220 Heathers - Galaxy
Cascade 220 Heathers – Galaxy

The pattern I will use was first written in the 1860s, and another local museum, Pickering Museum Village, updated the pattern and re-wrote it into modern language.  Once I start the project, I’ll update my progress as I knit along.

The link for the PMV pattern can be found here.

Side note, life has been very busy and out-of-routine for the last week or so, so yes, my post is a day late!  My OCD side is rather irked by this inconsistency!!  See you next week blogging friends.

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Dishcloths Galore!

Last week, I finished the second of two Harry Potter Gryffindor Scarves.  Molly Weasley would have been proud, if I do say so myself.  The scarves were delivered on Friday and there were two very happy Gryffindors who got to wear them.  They sent me an adorable video thank you over Facebook, and it truly made my weekend.

Year 1-2, left, and Year 3-4, right
Year 1-2, left, and Year 3-4, right

After finishing these scarves, which had been on my needles for almost two months, I turned my focus to projects that will give me immediate satisfaction and completion – dishcloths.  From the quick results to the fact that they are just so darn functional, dishcloths are a great project.  I also love the bright colours of the yarns – surprise, surprise right?

I got three dishcloths knit this weekend: The Aunt May Dishcloth, The Right Angles Dishcloth, and a Feather and Fan dishcloth, pattern from the ball band of an old ball of Bernat cotton yarn.  I love the angles and the unique textures that the first two patterns give, and the feather and fan, I knit simply because the pattern was conveniently close when I was ready to cast on!

Feather & Fan, Right Angles, and Aunt May
Feather & Fan, Right Angles, and Aunt May

I will be making a big, grown up decision in the next day or two.  If all goes to plan, these cloths will come in handy.  More details next week, knitting friends.

Because yarn makes me smile – something I will need today

If you’re a frequent reader of my little blog (thank you if you are), you might have noticed I add my new posts on Mondays.  I’m a creature of habit.  I will often pre-write my posts on the weekend, when I have a little more time or if I know I won’t have time on the Monday to get something written.  I will not have time this Monday.  This Monday is going to be a very hard day.  Saying goodbye to someone who left us too early is one of the hardest things to do.

On Monday, I’m going to need smiles.  Yarn makes me smile.  Pretty colours are happy things.

So here are pictures of my pretty sock yarns, some in progress of becoming something even more beautiful and others with their potential waiting to be realized.

Maybe you need a smile today too.

I am so in love with my Turtlepurl Striped Turtle Toes yarn.  First time with an afterthought heel... we'll see...
I am so in love with my Turtlepurl Striped Turtle Toes yarn. First time with an afterthought heel… we’ll see…
Wisdom Yarns Naked Sock - Oceanic colourway. I'm making Gratitude socks, pattern from Knitty (http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEff11/PATTgratitude.php)
Wisdom Yarns Naked Sock – Oceanic colourway. I’m making Gratitude socks, pattern from Knitty (http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEff11/PATTgratitude.php)
Detail of the Gratitude Sock pattern
Detail of the Gratitude Sock pattern
Regia Viva Color - Beach colourway
Regia Viva Color – Beach colourway
Berroco Comfort Sock - Beach House colourway
Berroco Comfort Sock – Beach House colourway
Regis Arne and Carlos line - Star Night colourway
Regis Arne and Carlos line – Star Night colourway

Decorating Your Cake, and Eating It Too!

Yeah, I’ll drop all presences and state unequivocally that I enjoy decorated cakes and cupcakes largely so that I can enjoy the fruits of my labour.  Yes, with knitting, I get to wear the finished product, but with cakes, I get to EAT said products!  …I have a major sweet tooth…

My parents hosted Easter dinner this past Saturday, and for dessert, I made my go-to dessert, cupcakes.  A few years ago, I made mini cupcakes, each topped with a few Mini Eggs for a spring/Easter look.

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2013’s Easter cupcakes, complete with chocolate eggs and chocolate bunnies

I didn’t alter 2013’s cupcakes too much for this year, again keeping with a spring theme, topping each cupcake with grass and flowers.  Wilton also sells these fun cupcake wrappers which make the cupcakes look even fancier than they are, and the white picket fence was the perfect way to finish my floral garden cupcakes.

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2015’s Springtime cupcakes

They tasted pretty good too.

Because of the Easter weekend and because April is shaping up to be a busy month at work, I am right now on day 4 of 5 days off in a row, so I have also got a lot of knitting done! I am more than halfway done my second Gryffindor scarf, I finished my ‘camouflage’ socks, and I have finished the leg to my self-striping turtle toes socks.  Lots to keep me busy!

How can you even see my toes with the camouflage yarn?!  Nice warm toes in nice warm socks
How can you even see my toes with the camouflage yarn?! Nice warm toes in nice warm socks

Escaping Into a Good Book

Is there anything better than a good book, to be able to be transported into different times, places, utopias and dystopias?  Perhaps one of the best gifts I have even received was my e-reader.  I was skeptical at first (because there is nothing to compare to holding a book and physically turning the pages), but now my purse is not complete without my e-reader inside it.  At any given time, I have over 100 titles to choose from, over 100 adventures just waiting to sweep me away with them.

If I’m not perusing Ravelry and searching for knitting patterns, I’m often online on Goodreads.  My sister introduced me to it, describing it like ‘Twitter for books.’  Perhaps both Ravelry and Goodreads show that I seem to be searching for inspiration, whether for creativity or for a literary escape.

It is so comforting to re-read certain series; I have re-read Harry Potter more times than I can count, I can usually blow through the Hunger Games trilogy in a weekend, and I have re-read Anne of Green Gables about once a year since I was 10 years old.  The outcome is known, the endings are happy, and our hero/heroines evolve, change, and are ultimately victorious, either over Voldemort, Snow and the Capital, or their own stubbornness and they FINALLY forgive Gilbert.  I will forever ship Anne and Gilbert.

I’m also happy to discover new books and series, and for 2015, I’ve ‘challenged’ myself to read at least one new book every month.  Goodreads allows you to set up challenges for yourself, and this one is mine.  The act of finding new books and getting into them can often be challenging for me, but so far I’m on course for the year.

In January, read Laurence Hill’s Any Known Blood, and I couldn’t put it down!  This wasn’t the first book by Hill that I’ve read; back in 2011, I read The Book of Negroes (or Someone Knows My Name as it was published in the USA).  Before reading this book, I was somewhat familiar with Hill and his family’s history, so when I began reading Any Known Blood, it was clear that the author used his life’s story as inspiration for this tale.  It told the story of five generations of a Black family, all through the protagonist who was searching to know more about his family.  It utilized different narrations and often had the present day in contrast to the past.  As I said, I couldn’t put this book down, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good read.

In February, I quickly read The Farm by Tom Rob Smith.  I’m part of the a Ravelry Knitters group on Goodreads, and this was the recommended group read for February.  It sounded interesting, so I gave it a try. Again an interesting tale, this time told through the eyes of a mother, and while reading it, I found myself questioning the tale if it is true or an invention of an unsound mind.

Finally, and this is going to make me sound bad, but I forced myself to read The Chrysalids… Yes, I know! It’s a classic!  I found myself struggling to truly connect to the story and to follow the narrator.  But, I read it, making it three new books I have read in the first three months of 2015.

What’s next?  I’ve just started Oryx and Crake by the incomparable Margaret Atwood.  It usually takes me a few chapters to get into an Atwood book, but once I’m in, I cannot put it down.  If you haven’t read Handmaid’s Tale or Alias Grace, stop reading this immediately and go read Atwood.

I’m always looking for good book suggestions – have you got one for me?

My First Crafting Love

Like many other crafters, I don’t knit exclusively.  I’ve enjoy creating and have enjoyed it since I was young.  I think I was still in elementary school when I found my first crafting love, cross stitch.  Mum did it, so I thought to take it up.  It was fairly easy to learn, just make little ‘x’s using the perforated fabric, but there are so many other little tricks and tips I learned over the years.  You should have seen the back end of my first project, a star shaped Santa Claus ornament, which I believe my grandmother still has to this day; I just decided one afternoon that I wanted to give it a try, found a pattern and some aida cloth, and started making little ‘x’s.  Because I took it upon myself to learn (apparently that’s the way I do things), no one told me you had to weave in the ends at the back!  They say you can tell a lot about the skill of a cross stitcher not by the front of the project but from the back, and thank goodness over the years my skills improved.

Before I was knitting, cross stitch was the creative outlet that kept me sane.  During university exam season, I was cross stitching when I needed a sanity break from studying.

I very rarely cross stitch these days.  I find that it requires much more attention to detail, following the pattern, than knitting does.  I can passively knit and purl away at a scarf or sock while watching TV, but when I try that with cross stitch, I barely pay attention to anything else around me.  But on those rare occasions when I pick up a much smaller needle and DMC Thread, I’m in my wheelhouse.

On sites like Pinterest, I’ve noticed the trend seems to be keeping the finished project inside the hoop, and I really do like this look.  Within the past year, I’ve finished two projects, and rather than ‘framing’ them, I’ve kept the hoop as the frame, a more rustic finish.

For my sister, to whom I owe my addition to Supernatural, I made her this:

A Dean Winchester quote and the Supernatural Anti-Possession Mark
A Dean Winchester quote and the Supernatural Devil Trap

And for my mother, who I am sure loves our Border Terrier, Tucker, more than her children*, I made this:

Border Terrier Sampler
Border Terrier Sampler

Very simple, self-designed projects, both bringing me back to my first crafting love.

*Please accept this for the sarcastic, not at all serious comment that it is!  Although, if you’ve ever met my dog, you’d understand why he does rank fairly high for our affections.  He’s pretty awesome.

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Sockspiration

I got home from work on Tuesday, and all I could think about was my Turtlepurl yarn.  I bought it a few weeks ago in Toronto, and it’s been waiting patiently for me, alluring, perfectly wound into a cake.  The colours, the possibilities… So naturally, I got home, made a coffee, turned on the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (which I have been unashamedly marathoning), and started searching Ravelry.

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Yarn, coffee, and Ravelry – what else do I need!

 

I’ve had two sock patterns in my queue for quite some time, the Hermione Everyday Socks, and the Petty Harbour socks, but neither of them seemed quite right for this yarn.  I thought long and hard about the Petty Harbour pattern – I liked the pairing of a Canadian dyed yarn and a pattern named after a place in Newfoundland, but ultimately, with a vibrant yarn, I felt that I needed a subtle pattern, and I decided on Laura Linneman’s Afterthought Heel Sock, a basic sock which won’t disrupt my stripes at the instep.

The thing is, I really shouldn’t be starting another project.  I am more than two-thirds of the way finished with Gryffindor Scarf #1, and I really want to finish it within the week, and I have two other pairs of socks already on my needles! I have a very simple, plain sock that is excellent for when I’m travelling into the City, and the other is a more detailed, intricate lace pattern, which required full attention and only a few rows get done in one sitting.

But when you have yarn as pretty as my Turtlepurl is, just sitting, waiting to become something even more beautiful, the cast on was inevitable.

Just look at that sweet self striping action!
Just look at that sweet self striping action!