Things I Have Learned from Weaving

You might remember that I have been relearning how to weave on my four-shaft loom–what I have learned, though, had more to do with me than the loom.

  1. Weaving makes you realize you aren’t the multi-tasker you thought you were. Turns out, I need complete silence to keep track of the pattern. Yeesh! This is when I realized how loud our house was (when did we get so many pets? And why are there birds inside it?)
  2. Weaving teaches you humility. Exactly how many times have I taken this weaving back?
  3. Weaving teaches you patience. See #2.
  4. Weaving teaches you about making good colour choices. Sure, blue and green reminds you of sea glass, but seeing the pattern as you weave is another thing entirely.
  5. Weaving is for pet-free homes.    
  6. Weaving takes a looong time. Don’t give up the day job just yet.
  7. Weaving is good for the soul, when all is said and done. 
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A Windy Day’s Works-in-Progress

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.

cool, eh?

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. 

Momma’s Got Her Groove Back

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.

I think I’m in Love 

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. 

Ah…life.



Facing the Seemingly Impossible

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!!!

image

the bottom side

the top 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.

Creating a life one stitch at a time

For many years I didn’t create anything. I didn’t write creatively, didn’t draw, knit or weave. I’m not sure why–maybe I was too busy living, working, playing. Or it didn’t seem cool.

I had forgotten what it felt like to watch a garment fill the space between the needles, hear the gentle click-click-click of metal on metal, feel the satisfaction in giving something handmade and well-made.

I had learned to knit as a young child by my English mother, who learned at a young age from her mother, and so on, back through our heritage. I returned to knitting in my twenties, sweaters mostly, given to friends, or, in major lapses of judgement, to boyfriends who never seemed to last as long as it took me to knit the sweater. Ahhh youth.

Mostly I stayed in my comfort zone, knitting sweaters, using the only yarn I had really been exposed to — acrylic — available everywhere you looked. I firmly believed I was allergic to wool, despite having never really worn anything else.  Then one day I wandered into a good wool shop and found a new world of yarn, wool, all types of wool. I wasn’t an instant convert, as good wool isn’t cheap, but I ventured into Icelandic sweaters, mohair and cashmere blends.

In my mid-twenties I had had the good fortune of meeting a new friend who owned her own four-shaft floor loom. I was entranced, and even had the opportunity to buy it but didn’t have the space. But a seed had been planted deep in my soul, and a few years later, I took a weaving course, and felt a whole new world open up to me: the rhythm of throwing the shuttle and beating the weft, cloth made from my own bare hands.

It was a few decades before I was to own my own four-shaft floor loom, a Lecelerc Fanny from Canada. I added to it two rigid heddle looms from New Zealand and a weaver was born.  I also found a new favourite wool shop that opened my eyes and hands to beautiful wool from all over the world; wool that I wasn’t actually allergic to, wool that slipped through the fingers like silk, soft, squishy and beautiful.

Now I knit. I weave. I pore over books and websites for new patterns and ideas. I stockpile yarn like there might be a shortage next week. And I sell what I make to keep the yarn coming.

And now I write. Please join me on my journey, creating a life one stitch, one thread, at a time.