Sunday, May 30, 2010

Drop Spindle and a Day in Costume

I've maintained that I need no further reasons/excuses to compile heaps and hoards of crafting accoutrement, but this Saturday saw me get bitten by the spinning bug.
Here you see me, with my sad and silly little attempt at spinning.

I was fortunate enough to be asked to participate in a "historic day" of sorts - an event held by one of the local museums I work for, wherein they have folks dressed up in costume, performing historic tasks (of which spinning and knitting are one!)
You know, of course, this is an opportunity I would jump at. Playing dress up for a beautiful afternoon? Yes please!

They even had some delicious scones and jam for us all to nibble on - these being the BEST scones I've ever had! I've been promised the recipe. If this ever passes into my hungry little hands, I'll be sure to post it :)Photobucket

A few days ago I got the rather exciting phone message that I would be "situated with the spinners, next to the sheep, ducks and rabbits".

It takes a special breed of person to be excited by this news.

And I was ├╝ber excited when I found out that these were no ordinary bunnies. I saw me some famous rabbitry (the stars of the Telus commercials!) as well as a pair of angoras, one of whom was kind enough to pose for the camera.

Tofu, seen right, is an English Angora - a show bunny, thank you very much!

And yes indeed, the spinners next to me were spinning with some of Tofu's donated fur.


The sweet wee duckies (who's breed I have sadly forgotten) were not as inclined to pose, but damn if they aren't totally cute.

Incidentally, it was a self-made, first-sewn garment that I wore on the day (of which I have no presentable photographs). It was supposed to be my Halloween costume for last year, but I chickened out in the end (thinking I'd be the only one dressed up at the party).
It's a Regency-style dress, not really all that historically accurate, but easy enough to sew. I felt oh-so-Austen.

Hope you all had a happy weekend too!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Vanessa Clinton
Etsy: V yarn by Vberry
Rav ID: vberry
Some Great Designs: vberry's Rav Designer Page

This week's designer has a lovely etsy shop with some fab yarn (see link above), and has begun designing as well!

Here you see one of her two patterns, Jackson. I enjoy the Slouchy Hat, and this one has the cool spin of having interesting texture - I love how it seamlessly merges with the ribbing for the edging.

And, demonstrating further talent in her application of texture is the Fire and Ice Pillow. Done in crochet, this pillow adds visual interest with an all-over texture, as well as a cool diamond inset pattern.

I'm looking forward to more of her designs!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Knitting Forecast: Hot, With a Chance of a Stitch or Two

While the May 2-4 weekend (explained wonderfully by the Yarn Harlot) generally signals the start of summer up here in Canuck-land, I really think Madam Nature has taken it a bit far.
Witness, dear readers, the temperatures for today.
It's days like these that I:

1) feel glad that I work in a heavily air-conditioned environment
2) begin to wonder just how all you lovely people in hot climates deal with the cocktail of knit-love and, ostensibly, its mortal enemy, hot hot heat.

I have great admiration and respect for you all! I doff my proverbial hat.

And, in a fun, non-knit related sidenote, I thought I'd share with ya'll a few of my favourite summertime stories.

1) It may come as a shock to some of you, but many, many elementary/high schools round these parts do not have air conditioning. This always seemed very ill-advised to me, since it does indeed get hot in May and June (see evidence above!!) and even September.
So, on to my story.
Way back whens in 1996, when I was a mere 8th grader, I went to one of the aforementioned un-airconditioned schools. It had been a record week of hot hot heat. We were all dreading having to sit in class, practically incapable of learning anything at all.
They tried giving us the treat of popsicles for a day or two. I believe that met with mediocre success.
They tried an oscillating fan, but again, not very efficient.
With no other resources left to reign the class in, with no other method to cool us down, the teacher brought the whole of the class out on to the front lawn.
The turned the garden hose on us - to great shouts of joy from us hordes of happy students!

2) Teenagers do the darndest things... I was certainly no exception.
I was perfectly aware that laying out in the sun was not the best of ideas. But, being at my friend's cottage, what else was there to do?
So we swam ourselves out to the small raft anchored a ways off the shore, hoisted ourselves up and on, and proceeded to lay out. In the mid day sun.
Being all lazy sorts, and now having warmed up from the chilly water, we were all loathe to jump back in and swim ourselves back on to dry land.
We'll wait for the next boat-passerby, we agreed.
That took a bit longer than expected.
I've never been so very sunburned in my life. The backs of my knees could not bend without pain for at least two days, and it even hurt to brush my hair!
Needless to say, I run and hide from the sun now!

3) One of the great memories I've held on to from childhood were the pudding popsicles my dad used to make for us kids. His homemade fudgesicles were never quite the same as the real thing, of course, but much sought-after and enjoyed.
Being all grown up now, I realized that my kitchen is missing something: a popsicle mold! I'm on the lookout for a good one, and am looking forward to replicating that great homemade fudgesicle tradition.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sometimes You Can't Explain Inspiration

Why's there a picture of a bloody, sweaty and arrow-wielding Russell Crowe appearing on this blog? Believe it or not, I do have more than one reason.1

Last night I went to see Robin Hood. I wasn't disappointed - especially since I had something of a eureka-knitterly-inspiration moment while sitting there feasting on the visual delights of said film.

As the characters travel through the beautiful, lushly green English countryside, a great panoramic shot reveals to the viewer grand rolling hills, one adorned with the image of a graceful white horse.
Something about that white horse captured me. As soon as I saw it, a design sprang fully formed into my mind, along with three words: White Horse Hill.2 It sounded so musical!
But what was the connection between pattern, words and image?

My designing system doesn't usually function like this - but I'm going to have to leave the mystery of this inspiration alone for the moment. I'm so excited about this knit, my brain keeps buzzing about it.

Remember, only a few days ago when I posted about my new lovely Madeline Tosh sock yarn? Well, it's found a purpose!
I hope to have some more details coming very soon. Suffice it to say, I'll be winding some lovely blue yarn and knitting like crazysauce over the next few days!

1I've recently come to realize a couple truths about myself.
a) My movie genre, like it or not, is almost anything based in an historic time period. Extra points if it's a romance, or at the very least got a hottie in it.
b) I find "historic role" Russell Crowe to be hot. The more ancient the time period, the hotter, it seems. Hm.

2 For any of my British readers, I'm sure you immediately recognized the reference (as well as anyone more greatly educated in England's history than I!) Obviously, the first thing I did when I got home was google the terms, to mediocre success. None of the (very lovely) white horses looked like the one in the film.
My conclusion? I'm still scoobied as to why they put that particular white horse in the film, rather than the other white horse which, I believe, is the one associated with the county where King John met with his barons.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Beata Jezek
Blog: Fly Along
Etsy Shop: Hedgehog Fibres
Rav ID: beatka
Some Great Designs: beatka's Rav Designer Page

I've discovered that, along with colour, shape and texture are what first catch my eye about patterns that I love.

Take beatka's Abalone (pictured). See the wonders a simple edging of garter stitch can do. See the beauty of a basic stockinette paired with said edging, and (what is obviously) fantastic taste and a great artistic eye in choice of yarn colour.
She has even more fabulous photos on the pattern page, so make sure to check them out!

As of this post's posting, beatka lists only Abalone as a published design. I'm sure I won't be alone in pleading that she keep on designing! Can't wait to see more.

Beatka's also a full time yarn dyer, with beautiful handmade yarns which can be found on her etsy shop listed at the top of this post.

And, for a bit of a taste of her lovely yarn in action, here are a couple of patterns from her projects page, Purple Hat and Supermodel scarf.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Knot Tying 101; Or, How Wedding Planning Comes Along

...wherein I discuss my upcoming wedding, and this time it's the shower!...

Shower - on blog

This past Sunday was a lovely day, heralding the soon-to-be-season; the sun shone happily, my birds squawked noisily, and my sister saw the culmination of her months-long efforts in the beautiful bridal shower she arranged for me.

Needless to say, it was knitting-themed.

The above photo montage gives you a glimpse into the day, including the yarn-basket centrepieces she created, the knit-fabric invites she handmade, the awesomeness of my great knitting buds, and the gloriousness of MacGyvering a swift from the back of a chair.

Yes, it was a knitter's shower extraordinaire!

The wee white boxes were the favours - 2 Lindt chocolates.
There weren't any knitting games, though my sister played with the idea. Unfortunately, not everyone who attended was a knitter ;)
(though, I did get a couple of requests from some wee ones to teach them how to knit!)

Thanks for the compliments on the dress - I can't wait to wear it again.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Christi Wasson
Blog: Knitti~Christi
Rav ID: KnittiChristi
Some Great Designs: KnittiChristi's Rav Designer Page

It's not surprising that the My Striped and Slouchy Hat (pictured) is a very popular design. One of my favourite things to do when I come across a simple, cool design like this is check out other knitters yarn/colour choices. It's fascinating! This hat looks great in all its versions - just check out the projects page on Rav! There's bee-striped ones, ones for kids, and even one with sequins!

And to me, that's the beauties of knitting and designing. So many different hands have so many different takes on the same pattern.

KnittiChristi has a couple more cute hats I'd like to mention, her argyle cuteness called Chaos Theory and the birdy cuteness of Taking Flight. While I'm always a sucker for argyle, I have to say one of my favourite parts of Chaos Theory is the pretty and graceful way she's designed the colourwork for the crown of the hat. Very well done!
Taking Flight offers the knitter two options - either a wee sparrow or a wide-eyed owl. I really enjoy the interesting background of dots around the hat - pairing these with the large graphic of the bird works together beautifully.

And lest you think all she designs are hats, here is a cute little pattern, My Cup Cozy. Not only is it wee and sweet, it's a stash buster, quick present, and a helping hand for our environment - I know I'd rather use this cozy instead of a paper sleeve any day!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's Visceral, Elemental & Totally Unexplainable

PhotobucketSo, there was this awesomesauce and wonderous knitting convention this past weekend. Each time I go (and this was number four) it amazes me how much joy is connected with the event. Being surrounded by all those like-minded knit-ites, all those fellow yarn enthusiasts - the place is always filled with such positive energy.

This year I got to see dear friends come from afar, got to (finally) pick up a superfun swift and ball winder (I have about five yarn cakes already!), and I most certainly got to reinforce and assert my visceral and elemental love of Handmaiden Yarns.

I've got me quite a collection, let me tell you!
Here's the new darlings I've added to the flock.1

First up is the warm and fiery Casbah. 81% merino, 9% cashmere and 10% nylon
What will you become, my lovely? I have two hanks (325m each), and I'm think along the lines of a shrug.


And here are my three hanks of Mini Maiden. 50% silk, 50% wool
With 500m each hank, I believe I might save this for a spectacular shawl.


And here you see my new Madeline Tosh Sock yarn, Fathom (on the left) and Glazed Pecan.

Now, I'm generally not a blue kind of girl (having gone through three years of Girl Guides, I know that uniform was just not my shade!)
But oh my, this blue. THIS blue. Totally gorgeous. Couldn't resist.
So, it came home with me. I only have one hank (360m), and I'm not sure what to do.
And I must add, I don't think I could possibly make this beauty into socks.
Does anyone have any suggestions?

Hope you all had wonderful weekends too!

1I think I ran across a thread about this on Rav a while ago, but: does anyone have a special little name they use for their collection of yarn?

Friday, May 07, 2010

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Thea Colman
Blog: BabyCocktails
Rav ID: babycocktails
Some Great Designs: babycocktail's Rav Designer Page

Ok, so, this is one of those designers that has so many great things that it's really hard to choose the content for this week's post!

I'll start off with her very newly released Cherry Vanilla (pictured. Check out the pattern page for photos from different angles).
Obviously the name rocks. And just as obvious are the rocking skills of babycocktails' designs! With a lovely shaped and detailed neckline, this pattern flatters and is easily customizable for different body shapes.

Another great pattern is the adorable (and free!) Green Apple/Blueberry Mitts. A sweet, quick and functional knit - great for gifts!

And a teaser pattern: still in the test knitting stage is the lovely Calvados. Looking forward to the finished pattern!

Check out her Rav Designer page for oh so much more!