Thursday, May 31, 2012

Spontaneous Projects Are Best

My mom and I have the same discussion every time one of us goes on a vacation. It goes a little something like this.

Mom-"Isn't it funny how as soon as you know that you're heading off on a trip, you obsess over what knitting projects you're bringing with you???"

Me- "Tell me about it. Who cares about what bathing suit I'll be wearing on the beach, I just want to know what I'll be knitting on the beach!" (I only have one bathing suit, so I guess that helps a little).

Mom- "What's weird though, is that it's the project you grab last minute as you're running out the door that you end up working on the whole trip- and loving!"

She's right... remember that acrylic baby sweater that I knit last summer while camping? I can't say it was a project that I had been dreaming of... I just wanted to knit with the confetti style yarn at the very last minute- so I did!

While I haven't been on vacation in the very recent past, when I have a day off without any commitments, I look forward to that day (full of knitting, of course!) as though it is a tropical week away.

This project, is a result of one of those days.

I was sitting in my recently assembled Ikea Poang chair, surrounded by yarn galore. In the midst of all the chaos, this one little ball spoke to me from the deep, dark depths of my stash. It's not a yarn that I had been thinking about, it's not even a project that I had been thinking about... But it spoke to me that day and I powered through this project like a house on fire.

It just goes to show you that often spontaneous knitting is the best kind of knitting. (It also goes to show you that yarn hoarding isn't such a bad thing- you just never know what wool will speak to you).

I bought two balls of this yarn many moons ago, and knit the first ball for my Mom for Christmas 2010. I decided to knit the second ball up for myself this time around. (I'm really just trying to freak out my siblings who are all dumb founded that I am slowing morphing in my mother- RIGHT BEFORE THEIR EYES!!! But let's be honest... who isn't!?!?!?)

So you ask, did I love this yarn any less the second time around?

Oh no... not at all. My ultimate #1 fave kind of yarn to knit with is...(are you ready for this?) scratchy, scratchy 100% wool.

You can keep your cashmere and baby alpaca. I want my wool that smells like it`s fresh off a sheep. (Uhm... this doesn`t mean I'd turn away any cashmere that you`re willing to offer up).

I'm just saying that if I was told I had to pick only one kind of yarn to knit with from now until the end of the world, scratchy wool would be it.

And you know what's so magical about scratchy wool like this??? A little bath in Eucalan and it transforms into the most beautiful fabric ever. Scratchy wool is beautiful to knit with, but not always so beautiful snuggled up against your neck. That of course, depends on the person however.

This scarf/shawl is exceptionally difficult to photograph I have found

Yarn-150 grams of Kauni Effektgarn
Pattern- Hitchhiker by Martina Behm (available for download for $3.80)
Needles- 3.25mm Addi Turbo
Mods- The pattern says to knit until 42 'peaks' have been completed. I just knit until I had used up every last inch of that 150 gram ball. I have yet to count the peaks I ended up with...

So, since the weather outside is far too beautiful to be enjoying my new scarf, I am taking some time to enjoy the peonies instead.

The shop is surrounded by them... and I just can't seem to stop snapping pictures- kind of like I'm on vacation!

I hope you had the good sense to plunk a peony plant in your garden at some point... and if not- get on it! It's too late for blooms this year I suspect, but you'll thank me next year.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Because It's Never Too Early For Wool

This past weekend, Mother Mary and I made the trip up to Ottawa to take part in a shower to celebrate my sister's upcoming nupitals. (She is engaged to a darling man who reigns from our country's beautiful capital- just in case you wondered what the heck we were doing throwing a shower for her all the way up there).

It was a quick trip- up Sunday and back Monday. While seeing my dear sister being showered with love was more than worth the miles travelled, it didn't hurt that we managed to end our trip with a quick (way too quick, if you ask  me) pit-stop here.

Now, how badly do you want that sign for your front lawn!?!?!
My mom had been here before several years ago and picked up some beautiful sheep skins for all of us for Christmas that year. Mine lies next to my bed and is the first thing I wiggle my toes into each morning.

Nothing like starting your day off with a full dose of wool...

Now that's what I call a delivery of wool!

Which is exactly what we did.

We felt riiiiiight at home.

Bales and bales of wool
Mary is a 'get up and go' kinda girl, so we found ourselves on the road rather early. Too early to browse the retail yarn and wool goods shop. Lucky for us however, this operation is host to more than just one store... They also sell sheep/wool faming supplies! 

For those of you who weren't aware, farm supply stores open really early. Like... early enough so that nuts like us who want to shop before 9am still can. I guess they think that only farmers get up early... and knitters don't? (This is the real reason why Mary opened her own shop you know- she wanted to go yarn shopping at 6 am and had a hard time finding a shop that could accomodate that).

So, we went shopping really early in the morning for wool farming supplies (heaven only knows that we don't need more yarn!)- and fortunately, we were able to get our hands on another sheepskin for a darling new baby that we know and love.

Nestled among the sheepskins were other neat things such as sheep shearing posters.

And tags for sheep. 
Sheep earrings

Everything sheep-y you could possibly ever need or use, if trying to raise your own wool.

I'm thinking that perhaps Mary's Yarns should consider expansion? Mary could work the early morning shift.

And I could drive a truck like this.

Beautiful clematis at the TBG

Happy knitting, knitters!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Warm Thank You

I just wanted to check in quickly to extend a heartfelt thank you to you all for your kind words regarding my news last week.

Slow and Steady

You commented on the blog, emailed me directly, mentioned it on Ravelry, called the shop, and some of you even visited the shop- thank you for being such supportive people. It means the world to me, and my man.

The peony tree at the shop- Drop. Dead. GORGEOUS!

While it is indeed a pretty exciting time, less than two weeks into this process I am seeing how this whole wedding planning business is going to cut into my knitting time significantly. Oh the horror! I see why some knitters elope.

Price tag? 35 cents.

Us seasoned knitters know however that there is always time for socks- no matter what this wedding prep demands of us.

Are you feeling some wedding socks the way I'm feeling some wedding socks?

No one wants cold feet on their wedding day.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Can I Register For A Black Cat?

As I've mentioned here before, I'm rather superstitious.

Try as I might, walking under ladders, black cats crossing my path, and shoes on the table always leave me feeling a little on the uneasy side.

If you'll recall however, one superstition that I was able to move past (albeit much pep-talking was needed on my part) was the dreaded sweater curse. This was one myth that I found myself willing to battle head on last July, when I cast on a sweater for my dear man's 30th birthday.

You could say that I turned my nose up in the face of that curse and proudly gifted a lovingly knit sweater to my man- all whilst being without 'the ring'. I wanted something extra super special to commemorate his big day and that sweater was not so much the only way, but the best way this knitterly girl knew how. I weighed out my options and decided that I was willing to take my chances.

Besides, I could always ask for it back if things didn't work out- right??? (I conveniently have a brother who is of a similar size).

Now let's fast forward to this past Sunday- May 13th.

At the end of a beautiful hike through the Hockley Valley, just before heading down to his parent's place for some Mother's Day celebrations, my dear man showed that sweater curse who's boss and popped the question.

Let me do a quick recap here my fellow knitters- I knit the sweater, and then I got the ring, on May 13th no less!

Expected date to wed?

Sometime in the Winter of 2013.

Would you look how far I have come!?!?!?

Seemingly, when I go swimming, I emerge from the water with the
same hair-do as my man. Totally a sign that we were meant to be...

Stuff it sweater curse.

I win.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Love The One You're With

I was listening to Brenda Dayne's podcast 'Cast On' last week, and she was conducting an interview with a yarn shop owner in the States. At one point in the interview she asked the shop owner 'So, what's your favorite yarn?' (SUCH a good question!) to which the shop owner replied 'Whatever yarn I'm working with'.

Well, you know what knitters? I get it.

I totally and completely get this lady. And not just because we both have a key to a yarn shop on our keyrings, but because as I was knitting away on my boring-plain-old black socks while listening to that podcast, I found myself thinking  'Holy smokes. This is absolutely my favorite yarn in the world to knit with ever'.

My current love- Waikiwi by Natually Yarns

Last week, my favorite yarn was a variagated cotton.

Next week it's going to be a teal green worsted weight wool.

I feel like I'm a kid again, when my 'best friend' changed more often than I changed my underpants.

Pincushion Proteas Please

Opportunities to knit seem fleeting in this short lifetime my friends, so be sure that whatever yarn you have on those needles of yours- it's love.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Two Hoots For Handmade

As soon as a knitter (or 'maker' of any kind) hears the good news that a new baby is brewing, we start churning out baby stuff pronto. Well at least I do. In this particular case especially. I didn't waste one precious minute. It took me a good number of knitted baby projects before I felt I had landed on the right one. My sewing plans however made up for my knitting indecisiveness. This baby is a pretty special person, and only the best will do.
I have had this fabric in my stash for about three years now. I picked it up at the Creative Festival and despite the price tag, 25 year old me said to myself  "I'm sure I'll meet a baby worthy of this adorable fabric someday". 

Quilt tied with Sheldrige Farms Merino Sock Yarn
Fast forward a few years and sure enough, I was right. Not only am I about to meet a very worthy baby... but when something sits around in your stash long enough, you begin to forget that you ever paid for it, and it feels FREE! (Having said that however, I am pretty sure that you can't put a price on a handmade baby gift.)
So, I got to work piecing, stitching, tying and binding.

I like little sets of things. Or gifts that tell a story. And I wanted to make a whole little ensemble to go with this quilt. I made one attempt at this, but it was a sad lesson in "Lynn, no matter what you think, you don't remember the colours exactly so just bring in the darned fabric already!"

The tiger stripe sweater was originally intended for this babe. When paired with this blanket however, it looked absolutely vile. 'Vile' just won't do for this little person.

When I finally got over my stubborn self, I brought in the quilt top to the yarn shop and VOILA! A match in baby sweater/quilt set heaven was made.

Details for you and your favourite little person
Pattern- Striped Cardigan by Debbie Bliss, found in Baby Cashmerino Book 2
Yarn- Debbie Bliss Eco Baby (a 100% organic, fair trade cotton) 2 balls each in shade 14 and 26
Needles- 3.25mm and 3.5mm

All good stories need a good introduction- something to grab the reader. So because I tend to do things a little backwards around here, I'm going to show you how this little baby-gift-story-line of mine began.

The Village Grocer wins major points in the wrapping paper department

Hey Baby! We love you!

Friday, May 04, 2012

Be Still My Beating Heart

There are few things that I love as much as yarn. Er... let me rephrase that. There are few things that I love almost as much as yarn.

But peonies are certainly up there.

I flippin' adore them.

I walked into my local florist yesterday to see what she had in that flower filled fridge of hers. I literally gasped out loud to the point that the poor merchant of blooms felt compelled to ask me (in all seriousness) if I was ok.

Of course, I'm totally ok.

In fact, I've never been better.