Knitter’s Frolic 2017

It’s that wonderful time of the year: the grass is getting greener, the flowers are starting to bloom, the temperature is rising, and in Toronto, the knitters are frolicking.  The end of April means the Knitter’s Frolic, an annual event hosted by the Toronto Knitter’s Guild.

This is not my first time frolicking. I’ve attended this event in 2015 and in 2016, but this is the first time where I’ve debated attending. In an effort to be ‘financially responsible’ and making ‘adult decisions,’ I actually thought hard about not attending, but I’m glad my irresponsible (or should I say fun-loving) side won out, not for the things I bought, but for the chance to hang out with friends.

The Frolic is a wonderful event for those who are addicted to all things woolen. Walking around the Japanese Cultural Centre, you know you’re among your people. Overheard phrases include ‘stashes’ and ‘skeins,’ and I giggle to myself every time I hear an ‘knitting-ism.’

I met up with two friends at the Frolic (one of them is the delightful Knitter Nerd) and we had fun looking at all the different offerings from suppliers, and Amy pointed out every time we got ‘Atherley-ed’ (meaning we walked past Kate Atherley, one of the workshop instructors, knitwear designer, and all around cool knitter).  We all left with a little less in our wallets, but I was proud that I stuck to the budget I allowed for myself, as finances were the big reason I was hesitant to attend.

So, the good stuff! What did I purchase? Two skeins came home with me that day, this amazing skein from Dragon Strings – I immediately had to untwist the skein to see the colours and how it was dyed. I also bought myself a skein from Dye-Version, something which is now becoming a Frolic tradition as I have bought from them every year.


What didn’t make it home with me immediately was the skein I bought from Indigodragonfly.  Every year they make a special Frolic colourway and I fell in love. Really, how could I not. But, I was able to order a skein which will arrive right at to my door.

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Image ©Indigodragonfly, from their Facebook Page
All three skeins were from indie dyers, which I love and makes me love my purchases even more. I don’t know yet what they will grow up to be, but in the meantime, I can admire them, waiting for the perfect pattern to come along.

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Frolic – 2016 Edition

How much do I love the Knitter’s Frolic?  I posted last year after attending what was my first Frolic, the knitting event hosted by the Toronto Knitter’s Guild.  It’s essentially ComicCom for knitters with the market place open on Saturday with vendors from all over the province and sometimes beyond, and there are additional workshops that one could register for where you can learn all sorts of techniques.

After last year, I knew how dangerous this event could be to one’s bank account, so I had been squirreling away spare cash for weeks and intentionally left my credit card at home.  I am so very happy with my new purchases.

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Before showing off the yarny goodness, I’ll start with the book I bought – Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, better known in the knitting community as the Yarn Harlot. I just picked this book up from my library and fell in love with it, so when I saw a copy for purchase, it had to come home with me.

Yarn Harlot was actually at the Frolic this year, leading some workshops, and I had a yarn fangirl moment when I saw her around the Frolic a number of times! I was sorely tempted to kinnear her, but I resisted – follow the link to find out just what kinnearing is!

Now for the good stuff!

My cotton DK from Dye-Version, based in Mississauga:

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The colourway – Blue Steel! I couldn’t resist

From Shelridge Farm in  Durham, ON, two skeins of fingering wool, Peacock colour, and a pattern that I can (and will) make with it.

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And from Stitch Please (how can you not love that name!!), fingering merino, colourway Men in Tights.

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I am so suckered in by fun names…

I also tried something new this year and I volunteered! It was a last minute decision on my part to send the email and commit, but I am so glad I did!  I spent two hours winding yarn from skein to cake, and it was so much fun! I was able to chat with people, something I love to do, and I got to see all the lovely yarn that people were buying! And besides, winding yarn is fun.  I’d love to help out again next year at the winding station, and I won’t wait until the week before to commit!

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Christmas Round-Up #3 – 504 King West

I love this project as much as I love the story behind it.

My sister has recently moved back to the suburbs after living in Toronto for two years, not a decision made lightly. She loved her neighbourhood, from the convenient location to transit, to the quirky little shops located a few blocks away, her favourite coffee shop, and her favourite bar.

For Christmas, I knew I wanted to make her a shawl. I bought a stunning skein of Manos del Uruguay Alegría; I grappled back and forth with the choice to be selfish and keep this beautiful yarn all to myself, or do I use it and make something just as stunning for someone else. Gifting won out, and I’m so glad it did.

I spent some time perusing on Ravelry for just the right pattern. I wanted a pattern with fingering weight, that was asymetrical, and one that was ideally free. And then I saw 504 King West.

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Being honest, it wasn’t the pattern that sucked me in but rather the name. 504 King West is the name of a streetcar route in Toronto, one that I have taken a handful of times with my sister, a streetcar route that ends around the corner from her place in TO.  This pattern was designed by the Knit Cafe, a LYS in Toronto that I’ve visited with KT. It’s the same LYS she texted me about after exploring her neighbourhood and finding it. As a non-knitter, KT has as little interest in yarn shops as all non-knitters do, but she found this shop, texted me about it, and we visited it on one of my weekend visits.

With this connection to her neighbourhood and its name rooted in Torontonia, I knew immediately this was the shawl for my sister. (Yes, I just made up that word, Torontonia, but if Canadiana and Americana exist as words meaning concerning or characteristic of the country, its civilization, or its culture, then Torontonia can totally be used in the same manner!)

I started 504 King West and worked a few rows while on my cruise. One beautiful thing about this shawl is that it is made with several complementary colours, and I made this one the same way. The variegated Manos is colourful and bright, and it pops against the black Cascade Heritage I bought for contrast. For edging, I was able to use what I have in my sock yarn stash, and I used a self striping yarn; I love that this is the same self stripping yarn that I bought months before at the Knit Cafe.

This shawl was a part of her gift, which also included craft beer from the brewery in her neighbourhood, as well as a photo collage of her neighbourhood favourites and the stunning street art found on Dupont. She might not be physically in her neighbourhood anymore, but now she has a piece of her neighbourhood with her.

Thank you Knit Cafe for publishing such a great pattern with a fantastic Toronto-centric name. It’s a wonderful pattern if you’re looking for a shawl, easily memorized, and very transportable.  Please visit their blog post to check out the pattern and to read the story behind the inspiration for 504 King West.

Christmas Round-Up #1 – The Argos Hat

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you have been enjoying this season of merriment! I had a lovely few days with my family, ate a lot of food, visited with friends, and am currently enjoying a few days off from work.  All is very well right now.

Even with the holiday behind us, I’m still knitting up a storm! My largest gift, which I’ve been working on intermittently since September, is still on going, but Dad now knows he going to receive a lovely forest green sweater.  It is a sleeve and a half away from completion, and I’ll feature it once it’s finished.

As I’ve been hinting for weeks about my various WIPs, I thought I would write a few posts highlighting the finished objects.  I’m starting with the gift for my brother: the Argos Hat.

My brother is always the hardest for me to gift. Since he’s been old enough to work, he’s been able to buy himself whatever he wants and needs. He’s a simple guy who likes gaming and sports. As I know less than nothing about gaming, I tend to give him things related more to sports and/or experiences. Tickets seem to go over well.

Last year for Christmas, I made him a hat, ChemKnits New England Patriots Hat, appropriate as his favourite NFL team is the Pats.  It wasn’t my first project with colourwork, but it was by far and away the most complex.  Brother loved it. As I’m completely unoriginal, I thought I would make him another hat this Christmas, although with a closer-to-home motif.

I used the basic hat structure that ChemKnits designed, but I designed the colourwork pattern, the Toronto Argonauts logo. (Side note for context: in Canada, we have our own football league, the CFL with nine teams. The game basics are the same, although our field is longer and there are only three downs, not four.  The Argos are our local team. Context complete). Whenever he can, Brother goes to games, often with Dad, and whenever a game is playing, chances are it’s on a TV somewhere in the house. Knowing Brother appreciated the Pats hat, I thought a matching Argos hat would go over just as well, and sure enough it did.

Charting the logo proved to be slightly more challenging than I expected, but all in all, I was happy with the chart and happy with the finished object. My design is simpler than the actual logo, but a fan knows what it is and my brother appreciated his gift. I’m still not great at colourwork, and I’d like to spend more time in 2016 practicing this technique.

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Modelling the complete Argos hat

As this will be my last post for 2015, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has followed my blog, who reads my posts, or if you’ve just stumbled across this for the first time on the world wide web. It’s been a great full year of blogging, and I cannot wait to continue sharing my stories, my current projects, and my historic knits, in 2016!

Happy New Year everyone!

 

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.

Yarn and the City

I love living close to a big city.  In just over an hour’s time, I can travel from my home town to Toronto, and while sitting on the train, I make the trip and don’t even break a sweat.  I happily use the time to keep my fingers busy, and socks make the best travel project!  I began a very simple sock pattern using yarn I bought months back, Bernat Sox yarn in a fun Desert Storm colourway – it’s khakis, greens and browns and knitting up in a camouflage-esque pattern.  When I stashed this yarn, I always knew it would end up being socks.

While in TO, I was able to visit two yarn shops.  The first was The Knit Cafe on Roncesvalles.  My sister discovered this shop in her neighbourhood a few months back, and she didn’t wait to text me to say ‘you need to come visit and check out this shop!’  Well, I finally checked it out on Saturday, and it was a lovely shop with very friendly staff and an interesting selection of yarn.  I was very excited to leave the shop with new needles (I have a thing for knitting needles… I just love them and adding to my collection), and two hanks of sock yarn from Turtlepurl Yarns, an ‘indie’ Canadian yarn dyer.  The yarn is their Striped Turtle Toes, and when they are complete, they will be two identically striped socks.  This makes me happy.  They are already wound – any excuse really to use my swift – and they are ready for casting on whenever I am ready for them.

Turtlepurl Yarns, Mystic Topaz Striped Turtle Toes Yarn
Turtlepurl Yarns, Mystic Topaz Striped Turtle Toes Yarn

The other shop I visited was Romni Wools on Queen West.  I once saw this places described as ‘an Aladdin’s cave for knitters,’ and whoever came up with this apt description wasn’t wrong!  A huge shop with great selection, rows and rows of yarn.

After I left Romni, without making a purchase (this time), I’ve realized that I have a hard time buying yarn for the sake of buying it.  I have a hard time justifying buying yarn unless I know that I can use it for something.  Sock yarn is one exception, because it has an obvious project that can be completed with it.  However, buying the odd ball or two, or more even, just to buy it, I just can’t do it.  So I left Romni without making a purchase, but the next time I go back, I’ll have a project in mind and I’ll find the perfect yarn there.  Really, half the fun is in the discovery.

The Symphony and Barenaked Ladies

Went downtown in the cold,
6:30 on a Friday Night,
Just to check out the late night,
Music show…

I don’t think I’ve discussed my deep love of the Barenaked Ladies yet on this blog.  So this post is fairly overdue! There are a few bands that I have loved for decades or more, their music is familiar and comforting.  Along with the Beatles, the Who, and Meat Loaf, the Barenaked Ladies are one of these bands.  Yes, I have a very eclectic taste in music.

With my signed copy of Grinning Streak - BNL did a signing for Record Store Day, so of course I went!
With my signed copy of Grinning Streak – BNL did a signing for Record Store Day, so of course I went!

I was fairly young when Gordon was released, and the pop-y, silly songs on that album appealed to me (Grade 9, Enid, and, of course, If I Had $1,000,000).  The band and the album were vetted by my older, cooler cousin, so obviously, it was a good choice.  I remember buying Maybe You Should Drive on cassette tape.  It was a big deal.  I fell out of the BNL for a time, but I fell headfirst back in when they released Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits.  And I fell hard.  My first concert was with my sister at Massey Hall in 2005; I’ve been to a handful of shows since, and every concert guarantees to be a fun time.

I like giving my sister concert tickets for her birthday.  It’s hard to buy for someone who has a birthday so close to Christmas, but it gives us a fun night out, fun sister-bonding time.  Her past birthday was no exception, and two Fridays ago, we were at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto for their Holiday concert.  What made this concert so unique was that it was with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.  The crowd was slightly more subdued than usual, but the music was outstanding!  A number of their timeless hits were performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.  This brought about a fullness to the songs, and it was such a great complement to the quartet.

Our pic pic after the show at Roy Thomson Hall
Our pic pic after the show at Roy Thomson Hall

Katie and I were also on a mission – we wanted to meet some Ladies.  So after the show, we waited with some other devoted fans, and after an hour or so, the band members took time as they were leaving to meet and greet with the fans.  K and I just wanted to say how much we enjoyed both the concert and their music, and we got photographs with the three members we met!  They were genuine, nice, and so great about taking a few pictures with fans.  It truly made our night, such a simple gesture from them.

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