Monday, July 21, 2014

Every Time A Knitter Cuts A Steek...

An angel gets it's wings.

And if that's the case, then I am surely responsible for a little set somewhere out there.

But despite that very pleasant thought however, cutting into my knitting just goes against everything I ever knew to be true about knitting-up until that day.

In fact, it is a concept that I continue to struggle with today- in a very BIG way.


Hence... the music selection.

Finished product to come when... I finish it.

(Pssst! Don't hold your breath).

Big thanks to Amy Detjen and my good buddy Tara for holding my hand every step of the way.

I couldn't have/wouldn't have done it without you two.

 ETA- if you are having problems loading the video clip on whatever device you are using, and find that you prefer Youtube, here is the link. Enjoy!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Happy Campers, Indeed

So we're back. And while we have been back for a few days at this point... I have felt jet lagged and groggy and in no place to write anything coherent. Which is weird... because there is only a one hour time difference between home and Marshfield, WI. Who knew that knitting information overload and jet lag could have the same effects?

In any case, I thought that I would wrap up the week with some point form Knit Camp notes.

In short- Knit Camp? So good. Like... SO good. I can't say that I did much research into Knit Camp before setting sail. I just knew that I loved Meg Swanson. But man oh man, am I ever glad that we went.

We met wonderful people, ate some decent food, knit A LOT of stitches and learned even more about those stitches than we knew possible. 

Knit Camp. You're great. 

And readers? If you are considering going at some point in this lifetime- GET ON IT. Do whatever it is you have to do to get there, and then go.

So without further ado, in point form, I present to you a quick summary of what went down in Wisconsin.

As one might expect, we knit.

My colourwork baby bonnet out of Icelandic Unspun held double

And then we knit some more.

Tara is wearing- Juneberry by Jared Flood
Tara is knitting- fingerless gloves out of Manos Alegria

We ate.

Deep fried dill pickles- a Wisconsin speciality.
Or so I'm told...

We then ate some more. (As people tend to do)

Hummus and feta omelette from Meg's sister
Lloie's restaurant "The Kitchen Table"
where Lloie herself was hard at work
We tried on yarn in various states of knit.

Don't try and tell me that you wouldn't have done the same thing...
Yarn- Jamieson Shetland 2ply Spindrift 
We steeked. (For the first time EVER. Video footage to come.)

Tara's colour work baby bonnet.

We took some Wisconsin style selfies.

Some VERY happy campers

 And then got some proper pictures taken with the inspiration behind the Baby Surprise Jacket himself. An experience that truly left me far more breathless than that time I came face-to-face with Mr. T. Oh, SWOON.

EZ designed the ever popular Baby Surprise Jacket when Meg
was pregnant with her son Cully (pictured) in 1968.

 We fondled mountains of gorgeous hand knits.

Gorgeous is an understatement.
 And then had mini heart attacks when we flipped the hemline, only to discover who had actually knit said handknits.

A little piece of knitting history- right there in front of me, just like any other regular day. (NOT!)
Marshfield, Wisconsin- you and your inhabitants are wonderful. 

Fields and farms for miles.

Knit Camp Team- That most certainly includes you.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Camping and Knitting- Together At Last!

As things were beginning to unfold at Mary's Yarns, I found myself experiencing a wee bit of what I think could be called "inner turmoil"- understandably. One morning, while we were in the thick of things at the shop, I woke up and the very first thing that popped into my head was "I really want to go to Meg Swanson's Knit Camp with Tara this summer".

So, I stumbled downstairs, hit the brew cycle on the coffee machine and got on my laptop. Before the coffee had even finished doing it's thing, I had sent off an email to Schoolhouse Press that said "I know that your camp fills up a year in advance, but should you have any openings crop up, could you please keep me in mind? My friend Tara and I are very interested." (Tara just didn't know that she was interested yet...)

Some lovely lady on the other end named Tami said that she would let me know, and I figured that would be the last of it.

Well wouldn't you believe it... not a week later, and that dear Tami pulled through and managed to get us into the first session of the Summer. Well I'll be darned...

I forwarded the email to Tara who promptly booked the days off work, and BOOM.

We were going.

Just like that.

And you know what?

Departure time is bright and early tomorrow morning.

The two of us shall be spending our weekend in Wisconsin, eating cheese and learning how to knit all over again with the wonderful Meg Swanson.

But do you know what I am doing right now? (Hint- it's definitely not packing).

Knitting more neon socks. (In very bad light, as this picture would indicate).

Queue "I Just Can't Get Enough" by Depeche Mode
And I feel as though it is safe to say that if Elizabeth Zimmermann were still here on earth and monitoring admissions to her beloved camp, that right there would be an automatic FAIL.

EZ and neon? I doubt it.

See you on the flip side friends!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

What's On My Needles

Earlier in the week, a friend asked me "So, what's on your needles?" and it occurred to me that now I am no longer in the shop, it's not something I talk about NEARLY as much as I once did.

And you know what? 

I miss it.

So while I have never been a huge fan of posting my works in progress (because I am afraid that you might ask me about projects that I long ago abandoned and make me feel guilty about it...), I think it's about time that I started. Because heaven only knows... I could make this entire blog about nothing other than "what's on my needles", and have enough content to post every day for the next 14 years.

So without further ado, I present to you the project that has had my (almost) undivided attention for the last little while.


The pattern? It's called Soumak, and it's free on Ravelry. It was also published in Rowan 54, but it would appear as though a British lifestyle magazine included it in an issue, then made it free on the interwebs. I dig.

The yarn? Not what they called for... The pattern calls for Rowan Fine Tweed, and while it is stunning and beautiful and all of that good stuff... I opted to swap it out for some Rowan Felted Tweed in fairly comparable colours. (Or at least I think so!)

I actually started this project this past Winter when I needed some colour in my life in a very bad way, but tossed it aside in favour of... uhm, I'm not sure what. Other knitting? Other colours? But in the past week or two, I have put a major dent it in and made it well past the halfway point. (Pat on the back for me!)

So there you have it. Soumak is what has had my heart for the past week or so.

Oh, and strawberries. 

Local strawberries are my kind of heaven, so I am giving them all of the love and attention that they can possibly handle.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Blushing and Blooming

My good friend Becky and I met while I was attending university in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I walked into the flower shop she was managing at the time to see if they were hiring any students from Ontario who desperately wanted to stay out east for the summer- much like myself. I remember it like it was yesterday... She stood behind her work station, firing flowers into a vase like it was no big deal, all whilst 'interviewing me' at the same time.

As it turns out, not only was the arrangement that she was making simply breath taking, I also happened to get the job. By the end of my first shift, we had bonded over everything from terrible movies to even worse music, fabulous food and vintage clothing. In no time, a relationship much deeper than employee/manager was struck.

Fast forward nine years (WHAT!?!?!? Where does time go???), and we are both living in the Toronto area. I have moved to the 'burbs, and she has opened up her own flower studio in the wonderful west end of the city called Blush and Bloom.

And whoa baby. How absolutely proud I am of her!

She has done well for herself.

Like... VERY well.

Which should not come as a surprise to anyone who has had the privilege of working with her. She has most certainly got the mad bloom making skills to back her success up with.

A few weeks ago, she sent me a text that said "I am doing a wedding next week that just screams LYNN! Want to come help me out?"

While I can't say that I have much of an interest in pursuing a career in the flower world, I can admit to absolutely loving having worked at The Flower Shop with her, and continue to love flowers (not to mention Becky)- period.

However, I suspect that the photos of flowers and gardens that tend to wrap up each post on this here blog have likely tipped you off to that fact...

So, I marched down to her studio, and helped a sister out.

And since I found myself giddy with delight as a result of being surrounded by such beauty all day, I thought I would sneak a few snaps to share with you.

Coral and pink peonies, eh? I wonder why she thought I would dig this wedding? (NOT)

While I cannot offer you the address to a store front (she is by appointment only), should you know of a bride that needs some blooms, look no further. Or perhaps maybe it is you that is hosting a special event and is looking for some flowery expertise! Whatever the case may be...

This girl has got your number.

And each time we hang out and make something beautiful happen...

I am just oh-so glad that I have got hers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Chevron Baby

On our last day in New York, I popped into Purl Soho for just oooooone last look, and I walked out with the yarn to whip up this baby blanket.

I'm not sure why, I don't really know how to happened... but it did. 

And you know what else happened?

I actually knit it.

Babies are happening all around me these days, and I think that it's best to be prepared. So why not start stock piling for when the next buddy of mine says "Guess what??? We're expecting!" 

While there really couldn't be such a thing as news more exciting than that... the fact of the matter is, I just don't always get around to knitting for their wee babes. 

So, this is my solution.

Get knitting... Long before conception even happens.

Now is that sneaky, or what?

I swapped out the gorgeous soft shades that Purl suggested for some brighter, slightly more stain resistant primaries, but everything else stayed the same.

The suggested yarn, the suggested number of stitches, the suggested needles. Yup. That's what I did.

Maybe kind of boring in a blog post... but it worked.

The pattern? A beautiful free-bee by Purl Soho themselves, which can be found right here.
The yarn? Blue Sky Alpaca Worsted Cotton, held double throughout in shades (from dark blue to dark orange) Jasper #636, Caribbean #630, Azul #628, Lemonade #608, Dandelion #638, Poppy #601, Pumpkin #622. The softness of this blanket is truly mind boggling.
The needles? 8mm Addi Click Long Lace. It was my first time using these puppies... and it's LOVE. Like... True love. Mad love. Deep love. If don't own a set, run- DON'T WALK!- to your nearest local yarn shop, and pick yourself up some. Just do it. TRUST ME.
Thoughts? So fast. And so soft. That's a win/win in my books!

Sorry... I should have straightened out the left edge before snapping this pic.
So, who knows where this little blanket will eventually end up...

All I do know is that from start to finish, this baby blanket really was just the sweetest little thing to churn through.

Magnolia Bakery, NYC

And we all know how I feel about 'sweets'.

Monday, June 16, 2014

SunIce, Ice, Baby

Historically, Mary's Yarns has always had a booth at the Knitter's Frolic, a weekend long event held at the Japanese Cultural Centre, which is chock full of fibre related vendors, classes and people. It's always a riot of a time, and while I come home from it more exhausted than anything else in the year... I always adore being there.

The knitters, the yarn, the old friends, the good times, it's a ball.

This year however, had a different tone to it for me. And not because of anything the show organizers did wrong... but because I knew what was lying ahead of me in the days that were to follow.

This year, the Frolic was held on Saturday, April 26th, and on Tuesday, April 29th, we let the world know what the future held for Mary's.

While I typically love to do a good walk through the show and chat with all of the other vendors whom I know and love, I opted not to this year. It felt sneaky to answer with "Everything is great thanks! How are things with you???" when they asked me the obligatory "How are things going?" question.

So, I kept to myself, and stayed safely tucked into the back end of our corner booth.

My good buddy Lynn. M was kind enough to join me for the duration of the show this year, and when there was a moment that it felt safe for her to slip out of the booth and have a browse, she did. Before she snuck out however, I handed her some cash and said "Please buy me the most neon sock yarn that you can find. I think that Regia makes some..." and man, oh man, did that girl ever DELIVER.

Matching neon socks- yeah... YOU HEARD ME!
I cast on that night and I simply couldn't stop. I didn't move from my couch the day that followed the Frolic and when the sun started to set on that Sunday, I had one sock completed, and the cuff of a second well on the way.

Something that I discovered throughout the closure of the shop, was that colour was my therapy. It always has been... that's no secret. But during what was such an emotional time, I found that I just had to knit very simple patterns, in very colourful yarn. So that explains my need for these socks- not to mention the recently painted pink spare bedroom in my house (but that's a story I shall save for another day...)

Regia Fluormania Color in shade #7188

These socks remind me of my first SunIce ski jacket that my mom bought me when it went on sale when I was a kid. I couldn't believe I could own something so cool... and it was in these shades exactly. Apparently, neon has always had a huge place in my heart, so thumbs up to my mom for letting me run with it, even when she was the one in charge of outfitting me.

And you know what? That was the warmest dang ski jacket I ever owned. A very good thing when living in this beautiful country that for whatever reason prides itself on it's never-ending winters.

Something tells me that these socks might be not much different than that jacket as far as keeping me warm is concerned.

Now if only that jacket still fit... I would find myself with a matching set.

As for who is going to wear these absolutely out of control socks, the recipient is little ol'  me- and for two reasons only.

1- I cast on in such a haze that evening, that I just went into auto-pilot mode and accidentally found myself with a pair in my size. Little thought was really put into it... but I am quite tickled with the end result.

2- I only know of one other person who might wear such insane-o neon socks, much like these ones.

Our peony bed before it POPPED this week

So it certainly is a good thing that I happened to give Lynn. M enough cash for two balls of neon sock yarn that day...