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.

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Foiled by Meterage Yet Again!

How is it that it’s Monday already? I have not intentionally fallen behind on my posts, but it feels like I’ve just blinked and June has somehow ended.  Anyone else feel this way? Just me? Great.

I’ve been busy, making really great progress on my Doodler shawl by Stephen West. See:


I’m done Section 1 and am well on my way with section 2, and all in all I’m really happy with this project.  That is, I’m happy I’m no longer playing Yarn Chicken, a game I woefully lost.

Remember weeks ago, when I wrote about my Captain America shawl and didn’t pay attention to required meterage? And remember when I had to frog almost half a hat because I, oh that’s right, didn’t pay attention to meterage.  Well, I wasn’t about to do that again.  Pattern called for 325 metres.  I had 345 metres in my skein of Mineville Wool Project.  I’ll be great, I foolishly thought.  Only a handful of rows to go, and I ran out of yarn.  A trip to the yarn store later, I find a skein that’s as close of a match as I’ll be able to get, so I work a few rows, and the new yarn sticks out like a sore thumb.  It was painfully obvious that the skeins didn’t match.  So I frogged the entire wedge, rows and rows of work, and I re-worked the wedge alternating the two skeins.  It worked, and with the cabled edging being worked along the top, I don’t think it will be as noticeable.

The full skein on the left is my new one – the colour difference is clear between that one and my original colour…

After two painful instances of not paying attention to meterage, I thought I did good and was in the clear. Maybe this is my trend this year. Oh I truly hope not…

On being okay with the simple things.

Saturday morning. I’m curled up in my favourite chair, sipping my first coffee of the day, while reading and knitting.  I’m working on my Worsted Boxy, a pattern which calls for inches upon inches of simple stockinette.  While watching my first skein deplete at a satisfyingly rapid rate, I found myself  blissfully aware of how much I’m enjoying this project.  Round after round of nothing by the knit stitch, something that I’m sure would drive other knitters crazy with its monotony, meanwhile, I’m falling more in love with this ever growing fabric.

There is something really satisfying about a ‘vanilla’ project. For some, it could be the simplicity of a single repeated stitch, while for others, it could be watching the item grow exponentially.  I love these simple projects because it’s something I can work on while accomplishing other things, like reading or watching television.  As well, vanilla projects make for great movie theatre knitting – there’s no need to track where you are in a pattern or differentiate between a knit or a purl. You just keep knitting over and over.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I adore cables, admire lace and envy those with the patience to tackle projects I have yet to delve into, but on that Saturday morning, coffee in one hand and yarn in the other, I couldn’t help but love the simple stockinette. And I was okay with that.

Skimmer Socks

The desire to knit down my sock yarn ends continues in a very fun way.  Meet the Skimmer Socks:

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Okay, Simmer SOCK, singular, because Sock #2 is still in progress. But, please allow me to rave about this pattern for a few minutes.

The pattern I used was Skimmer Socks Revisited by Sheila Toy Stromberg (revisited as she revamped a popular pattern of hers written a number of years ago).  This pattern popped up onto Ravelry’s Hot Right Now around the beginning of May, and when I saw my purple and blue left overs together, they were just destined to become these socks.

The pattern was VERY clearly written, and if anything was unclear, like my confidence in doing short rows, she has a corresponding tutorial on YouTube. To make it even better, Stromberg has marked the timestamps when that particular technique is shown in the video.  While the tutorial is around an hour, I fast-forwarded to the parts I needed clarification on and then happily resumed my knitting.

For my high-arched feet, I made size large which required around 140 metres of yarn, and the fit is great. I can certainly see myself making more of these socklets in the future, with my only major mod would be making the insole shorter so that they’ll be slightly more no-show when I wear flats.

To everyone in Canada, I hope you are having a fantastic Victoria Day long weekend! To everyone else, Happy Monday!

On knitting up those pesky left overs

It’s inevitable. You find a pattern, buy the yarn, knit the pattern, and unless you end up playing an epic game of yarn chicken, you’re going to end up with left overs, those few grams of yarn that really, what CAN you do with it? A few weeks ago, these odds and sods were my focus and using them up in creative manners my mission.

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Well, first, I took over 100 grams from 5 different sock yarns and turned them into a lovely asymmetrical shawl.  I used the Ex-Boyfriends pattern and now have a shawl in browns, greens and a pop of purple. I felt highly satisfied when it was finished because those were 5 small cakes out of my stash.

Like many knitters, I also have quite a bit of acrylic kicking around. You know the yarn, the stuff you bought before you discovered your Local Yarn Shops and the wonderful and unique skeins they carry. Don’t get me wrong, acrylic has a time and place, but those small remnants were just taking up space and annoying me just enough to find a solution.  Enter my ‘Ugly Slippers.’ I took my favourite slipper pattern, divided up what was left of an orange and yellow into two, and finished off with the red, which I had significantly more of. The colours are out of order for me to call them ‘Jayne Cobb slippers’, but they are rather cunning, dontcha think?

For a final stash busting attempt, I discovered a new kind of torture. I had enough Opal remnants to make a smallish pair of socks, and tempted to try a new method, I bought 40″/100 cm circulars and started a pair of toe up two at a time socks. I. Hate. It. With a passion I didn’t know existed. The almost finished toes were lying on the top of my knitting basket, and we were in an epic showdown. My dilemma was: do I persevere and keep on, hoping that this method will grow on me, or do I face ‘defeat’, realize life’s to short to knit something I’m hating, and re-cast on with a different method, like my 9″ circulars which I LOVE? The desire for movie knitting won out, and I transferred one of the two onto my beloved 9″ circulars… Life’s too short to knit something out hate, right?