Works in Progress Wednesday

BFF goes to New Brunswick on vacation.
BFF brings back two skeins of yarn from Briggs and Little as a gift for me.
BFF reinforces BFF status.

img_4461

Yarn in my stash that was being eyed for one project suddenly has a new purpose.

After buying new needles (which, by the way, I’m in love – I may have a new favourite in Lykke needles!), I’ve cast on what will be my first felting project, a garterlac purse, inspired by the Garter Striped Square Bag pattern. I’m apparently rather ambitious as I’m hoping to ultimately add a lining and perhaps a few pockets. I’ll first see how the felting goes.

The first row of any entrelac project always looks a bit wonky, but here is my project after a few hours’ work:

img_4557

Advertisements

Summer’s One Last Hurrah

Today is Labour Day, the last long weekend for summer 2017. Here in southern Ontario, Mother Nature is being kind, as the sun is out, the wind is blowing, and the air temperature is just right.

Me? I plan on spending today outside as much as possible, relaxing, not worrying about what this week will bring, and of course, I’ll have yarn in my hands.

Enjoy today, wherever you are. Enjoy the moments. Enjoy what summer can bring.

Taking Your Knitting for a Walk

I consider myself to be a fairly multi-tasking knitter. I can knit while accomplishing other tasks: watching TV/a movie, drinking, talking, and reading (if using my e-reader). Despite my multi-tasking ways, I never would have thought of knitting and walking at the same time, and then I read a post by blogger Andrea who blogs at This Knitted Life.  In this post, she gives ten tips for knitting and walking at the same time, ranging from try it and try it again, tips for logistics (what to carry said knitting in while getting in your steps and ideal projects).

With this sage advise in hand, I grabbed my vanilla socks, my iPhone with awesome podcasts in the queue, and my obscenely bright walking shoes and headed to my favourite walking path.

I. Am. Hooked.

I had some trepidation at first, the same feeling I had the first time I knitted in public, but hesitation subsided and I got into a good groove. My yarn lives in a simple canvas shoulder bag for the walk, along with my iPhone and car keys, and it felt really great to walk, take in the lovely scenery (as my favourite walking path is along the shore of Lake Ontario), and still get in quality knitting time.  One morning, I must have walked over 5km (or over three miles for those familiar with the Imperial system) and through my hour+ walk was able to knit over 20 rows.  One kind gentleman remarked as we passed ‘you’ll surely be finished that sock by the time you are finished!’  He wasn’t far off the mark, as I completed a good chunk of  the foot during that walk.

Thank you so much, Andrea @ This Knitted Life for showing me I can add to my knitting multi-tasking repertoire. Being able to combine two things I love, walking and knitting, makes the experience even more awesome.

Now, if someone could now show me how to knit while housecleaning, washing dishes, completing yardwork, or some other horribly mundane task, I’ll be set.  Knitting always makes things better, whatever the task may be.

Not sure about knitting and walking? Please give the post a read over at This Knitted Life!

A Scrappy Update

What to do with those leftover bits. We all have them in our stash: those remnants from pairs of socks or shawls that didn’t need the whole skein. I’ll be honest, for my Type A (plus plus) personality, these little balls of yarn, not big enough to make anything with, drive me a little crazy.

One way to use them up is my Sock Yarn Memory Blanket.  I started it in May 2016, and now it’s 25 squares big – not large at all considering how big I’d like for it to eventually be.

As of today, this is what it looks like:

img_4054

With the exception of two, every skein of fingering weight yarn from a completed project will be on this blanket. If you were to take a look at my WIPs and stash, I’ll be able to add many more squares. Because I’m a bit crazy detail-oriented, I’ve also started a journal for this project, and in it I’m adding the yarn tag with a snip of the yarn, noting where I bought it and what project I made with it.

Slowly but surely, this blanket is growing, and part of the excitement when finishing a new pair of socks or a shawl is not just the FO, but being able to add to the blanket.

Don’t discount those bits and bobs from skein remnants, because you never know when they might just come in handy. My latest shawl is a perfect example of this.

img_4052

The MC is a newly purchased skein of Sweetgeorgia, and the CC is left over Madelinetosh that I first used for a pair of Erica Leuder Socks.  A simple asymmetrical garter stitch shawl, but the contrast makes quite a statement.  For those keeping score at home, the pattern is Graphic Kerchief by Ce Persiano, with some modifications.

Summer always leads to a sporadic posting schedule, but I already know I’ll be offline next week. When I return, I’ll hopefully have completed projects, new WIPs, and new yarn to show off.

Happy knitting!

Get off my needles, or the tale of the never ending shawl

I’ve hit that moment of a project. You know the one, that moment where you’ve been working on a project for what feels like forever, you think you’re getting close to casting off, but the project just keeps going and going.

img_3802

Meet my Pendant Purls Shawl (the yarn: Shelridge Yarns Soft Touch Ultra Solid in Peacock colourway). I started it on New Year’s Day, and I’ve worked on it sporadically since then.  The first few rows went rather quickly, then I hit Chart A: 32 of rows of lace work, knitting and purling through the back loops, and different increases and decreases. It could only hold my attention for a few rows at a time, but then a few weeks ago, I got determined and have been working diligently away, finishing Chart A last week. Chart B was a series of knit and purl stitches over 8 rows, and they flew by in a few afternoons. Chart C, four rows repeated, and the end was in sight, or so I thought. The shawl is shaped through short rows, and these short rows are the four rows repeated a total of 10 times, increasing after every chart repeat; so it the nature of short rows. I felt so close to the finish by the time I started Chart C, but it just keeps going.

I’m stubborn and determined. This shawl will be finished before the end of the week. That is if the short rows don’t get the better of me.

Stay tuned…

 

Home-Dyed Yarn

Apparently, making things with sticks and string isn’t enough for me as I’ve had the urge for quite some time try home-dyeing.

In Fall 2015, a friend and I went to a dyeing workshop, and under the guidance and supervision of a local indie dyer, we used various chemical-based dyes to create our own hand-dyed yarn.  Here’s the post I wrote about this fun experience, and here are the yarns I dyed:

FORD2171
My finished yarn.

Dyeing‘ to try this again (do you see what I did there), I took to the interwebs to read how I could do this at home. I didn’t want to delve into using the chemicals, so I looked into food-based methods. Kool-Aid powder was a common method, however, they’ve stopped selling the powder in Canada. What I did have an abundance of is Wilton Icing Colours.  I’ve been cake decorating as a hobby for years and my stash of gel icing colour is quite full. And it works quite well for dyeing yarn.

As my base yarn, I used Lions Brand Sock Ease. It’s was easily available at a big box craft store and rather affordable – a huge plus for this new experiment!

I’ve been eyeing Kate Atherley’s Bigger on the Inside Shawl as my next shawl project, but I haven’t found the right yarn. This is how I chose my dyeing colour – TARDIS blue.  The icing colour I used was Wilton’s Royal Blue.

I followed the instructions as posted by Creative Green Living for dyeing yarn in a slow cooker. I soaked my yarn in vinegar and water, the acidity in the vinegar helps the dye bond with the fibre.  I mixed the colour with water, preparing the dye base. I wish I could tell you exactly how much I used, but i just kept adding the colour until it looked like the right shade.  I didn’t need it to be precise; I just needed it to be TARDIS blue.  Yarn and dye base were placed in the slow cooker and cranked on high until the dye became exhausted – this happens when the yarn absorbs all dye, and the liquid that remains behind is clear.  Cool your yarn, rinse your yarn, dry your yarn.

After a few hours in the crock pot, here is my finished yarn:

IMG_3698

It isn’t a solid colour, instead it’s rather tonal, but I like it.  As well, the colour ‘broke’ in a few places. What does that mean? Some icing dyes are made with different colours to achieve their hue. Royal Blue, for instance, is comprised of both blue and red colours. When the colours ‘break,’ it means that one has separated out.  There are more serious instances of colour breaking, but here’s what it looks like on my skein:

IMG_3697

That pinkish splotch is where the colour broke. With this yarn, I wasn’t aiming for perfection, I was aiming for TARDIS blue. I’m beyond thrilled with my yarn.

As for home dyeing? I am hooked. Completely hooked. It was so much fun playing with colour, preparing the yarn, and watching something that is white become something brilliant. In my mind, I’m already planning out other skeins I can dye, different colour combinations, and am just generally excited by the potential of it all.