Sorry, I have been out of touch. I had a spell of ill health, but things are looking up!
2016 is a year of new fibre challenges for me. I lucked into a barely-used Leclerc Dorothy 4-shaft table loom just before Christmas, which is the loom I learned on a number of years ago. The last two years I have devoted to weaving on a rigid heddle loom, so it is fun to expand into multi-shaft weaving again.
making the important cross
measuring the warp
My husband gave me a number of cones of beautiful fine merino yarn for Christmas and I have successfully wrangled the wool onto the loom (not without challenges!) and have begun to weave a scarf. It feels great to be weaving twill weaves again!
I can see a pattern!
Another challenge I have embraced is the new skills involved in knitting socks! I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would. Sure, it takes a lot longer to knit with such fine yarns, but I love the appearance of the fine stitches–and that squishy heel flap! I don’t think selling socks is economically feasible, due to the length of time it takes to knit them, but some family members might be getting a little surprise in their stockings.
So, with the prairie weather doing its cold bit, I foresee lots of time inside working on my new loves.
Until next time–stay warm!
Sure is windy out there. I mean, REALLY windy. I’m glad to be inside on a mid-week vacation day, sleeping, Ravelry-surfing, favouriting pics in Instagram. Everything but knitting and weaving.
I do have a few works in progress. I finished the teal was-going-to-be-a-neckwarmer-but-turned-into-a-headband a while back. It’s made from one of my favourite alpaca and wool blends. I bought some beautiful pottery buttons from Nancy Blokland Pottery to finish it off. I’m leaning towards the birds-on-a-wire button. The other one is a polar bear (we’re from Manitoba, home of the polar bears), but the design is a little hard to see in this photo. What do you think?
Yep, the more I look at it, the bird button is the one. Now I can’t get the Bird on a Wire song by Jennifer Warnes out of my head.
I also finished off the Ndebele Hat (Lisa McFetridge) in dramatic black and white superwash wool. I love the pattern and plan to knit it again in other colours. This one will fit a child under 10.
Next up on the needles is a neckwarmer in a beautiful lofty and lustrous aran wool from West Yorkshire Spinners. It’s an imported British natural ecru wool from Bluefaced Leicester sheep. Yummy. My nana was from Yorkshire so of course I had to buy the wool–it would have been wrong not to.
I am knitting it up in the Cable Neck Gaiter pattern from Christine Vawker. Sadly her blog disappeared right after I copied down the pattern so I hope I have it right. It’s a delicate cabled pattern with shifting cables. I quite like the effect.
and from the cat gallery…
Here is youngest cat on the hairy cat chair watching me take photos on the Trusty Trunk. If it weren’t so blasted windy, I would have ventured outside into the natural sunlight, but that’s for another day.
Well, that was close. For near on two weeks, I completely lost my knitting mojo. Maybe it was the endless winter, or maybe I had done the same pattern over and over too often, but I couldn’t bring myself to pick up the needles. Or the loom. It felt over. Nothing inspired me.
So, I sat back a bit, reduced my steady diet of social media and dug into reading. I went to the conservatory, listened to music, took myself out for coffee and hung out with my family. And didn’t you know it, I found myself looking through my Ravelry library for something new.
And here it is…the Ndebele hat, based on South African motifs. When I bought this pattern a little while back, profits were going to the Ebola elimination effort. So, not only does it look great but it feels great to knit as well.
Momma’s back. Life is good.
Here in the Canadian prairies, winter goes on and on forever, cold, windy and long. But in one short weekend, we have turned the corner and almost all of the snow has vanished!
Which, it is to say, makes it harder to focus on winter knits. IT might be time to switch to woven cotton scarves!
In any event, here is what I have on the needles currently. Didn’t realize I was on a bit of a blue run!
Sandinavian style mitt in 100% Peruvian Highland Wool
Braided Cable Neckwarmer in wool and alpaca
in my last post I shared my progress on a new endeavour–Scandinavian-style knitting. Well, now I’m completely enamoured of Aimee Alexander’s Snow Ghost series of patterns (available on Ravelry).
In case you were worried, my wonderful and patient friend Nancy did receive her left mitt to go along with her right one and she loves it!
I then made the Snow Ghost Slouchy Hat in worsted weight, and, like the other patterns, I am going to have to increase my needle size a fair bit, but this hat will make some child happy!
The beauty of this pattern is in the details–look at the crown! Love.
Obsessed as I am, I have started a new set of mitts in a beautiful blue and cream. So, on our first warm day in weeks on the Canadian prairies, I am knee-deep in Peruvian Highland Wool.
I set two goals for myself this year: to master stranded knitting and to learn the Brioche stitch. Having taken a workshop on Brioche, I now feel comfortable enough to start a brioche stitch cowl really soon. I would have made one already but I have been fighting with my latest obsession, the Scandinavian mitten.
My original goal was to get back into Fair Isle or Icelandic style of colourwork, but I got side-tracked when I started reading about the origins of knitting in Scotland and the Faroe Islands. Which of course lead to many hours of scouring Ravelry for patterns, where I came across my new favourite: Scandinavian-style knitting. Oh…the triangular ends, the two-colour stranding, the red-and-white colour and wonderful designs! While I have many, many stored in my Ravelry library, it is the Snow Ghost Mittens and Hat patterns by Aimee Alexander of Polka Dot Sheep Publications that I fell in love with.
The whole endeavour wasn’t without its challenges. I started the right mitten no less than five times to find the right size, with increasing sizes of needles and even a brief foray into a thicker yarn. But, at long last, success!!
What seemed so complicated at the beginning fell into place with all of the extra practice with the pattern. The rounds got faster and the mitten grew. so here it is: the right hand mitten!!!
the bottom side
the top side
I haven’t washed and blocked it yet so the colours will even out a bit. I am showing today it to my friend Nancy, who claimed the mittens as soon as I showed her the pattern. I am thinking she might expect a left mitten too, so back to the needles.
Happy Knitting, Happy Life.
Today, in the frozen land that is Central Canadian prairie, the daytime temperature made it to the
lofty high of -21 C, with a windchill of -29. Just a little frosty, and even that pales in comparison to Northern Manitoba.
I’m not complaining (okay, I am) but this is pretty much standard fare for these parts, where cold descends in November and dissipates in April, give or take a May blizzard.
Hence the preponderance of warm woollies in my Etsy shop. But just because it’s cold doesn’t mean we have to dress in ten layers of clashing woollens–no, we can be fashionable AND warm. And warm doesn’t always mean bulky either. With lightweight options like alpaca and llama, outerwear can be sleek and stylish.
Fibre from the camelid family (alpaca, llama, camel and the like) is not only lighter-weight but is up to seven times as warm as sheep’s wool–and is often better tolerated by those with allergies to the lanolin found in sheep’s wool.
Alpacas…more than just pretty faces.
I love knitting cables…right, left, braided and woven. They add depth and interest to a garment, and add extra warmth as well. And in a climate such as mine in central Canada, that is no small consideration.
For Christmas, I received the book Aran Knitting by Alice Starmore and it is well worth the read for lovers of cables. In her book she details the history of Aran knitting and provides many beautiful and timeless patterns. I haven’t started any yet but I’ll get there one day. In the meantime, here are a few cables in my history: