Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Public Service Announcement

This past Christmas, I unwrapped a yarn bowl. And I'm not going to lie... I was sort of like "Uhm... OK. That's weird. But a pretty obvious gift for a knitter like me, I guess."

I must confess... up until Christmas day, I had never used a yarn bowl before. Of course I had seen them, heard of them, and pretended to enthuse over them when people told me about them... but I really had no interest in acquiring one for myself.

But as I was coming down from my Christmas Day high while cozied up in my chair with a new project all ready to go, I reached for that yarn bowl and popped in my freshly wound ball of yarn.

And low and behold... it was like magic.

My dear friends and knitters... I eat my words. This beautiful bowl has quite quickly become my most beloved knitting tool. No knitter should be without!

No more am I allowing my yarn to roll around the floor all willy-nilly-like! It now stays in one place and smoothly provides me with just the right amount of yarn as my needles require it. No tangles, no knots, no crawling under the couch to retrieve a rogue ball. It's all there, right in one place- in my pretty purple bowl.

So go and buy yourself one. And then buy one for every knitter that you know! (That's the public service announcement I promised you in the title of this post). You will surely fall in love with yours, just as I have mine.

 Yarn Bowl by Rosemary Jenkins- potter extraordinaire

 As if working with yarn wasn't beautiful enough... a beautiful yarn bowl is just the cherry on the already VERY delicious cake.

It's so cold, it's PURPLE out there! Just like my yarn bowl...

Be warm dear knitters!

Monday, January 13, 2014

It's My Party And I'll Knit If I Want To

Back in mid-November, I turned thirty. I didn't really make a big deal about it. There was no massive party, I didn't wake up in tears that my twenties are now officially a thing of the past, I didn't go to Vegas (well, at least not in November I didn't)... I just turned thirty.

I woke up on the morning of my birthday, just like any other day, and came across an email from my mom which said "Why don't you take the day off work and just knit?"

Best. Birthday gift. EVER.

So, that's exactly what I did.

I conveniently had a project that had been sitting next to my knitting chair for a while that was just begging to be cast on. The needles, the yarn, the pattern, even the fur pompom. It was a project that required some focus and attention and since most of my knitting these days seems to be in the evening, I have a hard time branching out much beyond just plain old stocking stitch (more on that project later). In my old age, I have apparently become a morning person and I'll be darned...

So I got out my crochet hook, did my provisional cast on and tackled this brilliantly constructed toque, designed by the ever so talented Jared Flood. (SWOON!)

This hat looks like the perfect excuse to take up skiing
As it happens, this turned out to be the perfect project to ring in my new decade. I learned some new techniques (tubular cast on anyone?), I was able to exercise a technique that I already know and love (more cables please!) and it all resulted in a beautiful accessory to boot.

I will be the first to admit that I have been lazy with my knitting lately. I have been craving the simple things, and while I have no problems with continuing to do just that, this project was a nice reminder that it's ok to push myself. While I do love myself some stocking stitch... I am capable of so much more. All knitters are! And it's important to challenge ourselves from time to time, if even just a little.

 As for the pompom... it was a souvenir from our whirlwind trip to Switzerland last September. My sisters had been on the hunt for decent fur pompoms FOREVER... And if you can believe it... a tiny town in the Swiss Alps called Leukerbad is exactly where these pompoms were finally discovered. I bought four, and gifted half of them at Christmas to my sisters, which leaves me with one more- a green one! But this seemed like the perfect hat a pop one on.

Perhaps I should resolve to get a half-decent camera at some point this decade???
Dirty Thirty Details

Pattern- Forge by Jared Flood
Yarn- Two balls of Airolo by Lang in shade 60
Needles- Lots of them...


May this thirtieth birthday hat of mine remind me to stay open to new challenges, to continue to re-visit and exercise the things that I already know and love, and to never stop accessorizing- especially with pompoms.

So keep knitting my friends.

This season isn't finished with us just yet.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

A Christmas Knit for Mary

Each and every day that my mom and I are at the yarn shop, we fall in love at least seventeen times over with various knitting projects. Either projects that customers bring in, projects that we come across in new pattern books, projects that we eagerly show one another on Ravelry... there is simply never a shortage of inspiration when you spend your days at a yarn shop.

It's funny how often we fawn over a particular pattern for an entire day, pick out the yarn, the needles and maybe even bring it home, only to completely forget about it the following day. "What was that yarn for again?" is not an uncommon question that happens in my head. I just can't keep up!

One project that Mother Mary just couldn't shake however was a certain scarf called Lark from the Rowan Fine Art Collection. She just kept going back to it, day after day. But each time she would carefully pick the colour of yarn that she would want to knit it in, she would say "But that's $90.00 to knit it you know? I just can't justify that. It's a scarf!".

Now... if ever there was a woman who deserved to not only knit whatever she wanted, but also proudly wear a scarf knit out of $90.00 worth of yarn, it's her. She's been at the helm of a yarn shop for eleven years now, and quite frankly... she can do whatever the heck she wants.

The practical side of her however was having a hard time coming to grips with it all. So each day she would go through the same rhetoric, and each day she would go home sans scarf materials.

This of course, made for a easy easy decision when it came time to figure out what I was going to do for my dear mom for Christmas. It has been a while since I have knit anything for her, and of anyone I know, she is certainly the most deserving.

So, I wound the yarn, and got knitting.

And Ta-Daaaah! I actually finished it. I even finished it in time to wrap it and have it under the tree on Christmas Eve.

I must admit that while this was not a difficult knit by any stretch... it was a rather time consuming one. And I was determined that it be perfect. So that meant that if I discovered I had gotten mixed up with my wrapped stitches somewhere along the way, I would rip back and make it right. Something I wouldn't do for just anyone...

Baby, it's cold outisde

The yarn, is gorgeous. And so it should be! At $30.00/skein, it's pure and utter bliss to knit with, which is quite likely a large part of the reason why I had this completed with time to spare.

Big Thanks to Sister Emma for the photos

Not only that, it is also a delight to have cozied up around your neck as well. As pictured below, you will see that I may have tried this on. What isn't pictured is the multiple times that I may have tried this on.

I simply cannot resist a good knit wrapped around my neck!

Especially when it's cold enough outside that frost quakes become a 'thing'.

Handknit scarf, handknit sweater

For those of you who are already planning what to knit your Mother for Christmas 2014, here is everything that you need to know.

Pattern- Lark by the Rowan Design Team as featured in the "Rowan Fine Art Collection".
Yarn- Rowan Fine Art in shade 304 "Raven".
Needles- 2.75mm, 60cm Addi Turbo (Christmas gifts require that they be knit FAST, so only Addi's will do).

Sweater info can be found right here

Did I make any mods? Well yes, I did. The pattern calls for a 2.25mm needle... but I don't even knit socks that tight! I am a tight knitter, and felt that a bullet proof scarf was unnecessary, so I opted to bump up my needle size just a bit.

Also? I managed to get the length suggested in the pattern out of two skeins, rather than three. Which I think made my mother love it even more...

Stay warm dear knitters.

Mother Nature wants you to wear your wool.

And I strongly suggest that you listen to her.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Happy New Year!

Pair Of Socks for MeSnow and ToesHoneymoon HeelKnitting on a BeachBeach EssentialsValentines Get-Up
cardiheart buttons- HEART!stripesRed nailsFingerless Mittsribbing
The perfect pairKnit Two, Purl TwoWIPToasty toesWarm FeetPerfect Pair
Baby Sailor Sweatergreen hangerwarm and cozy baby sweatergarter stitch detailsthree basketssmall, large, medium

Knitting 2013, a set on Flickr.
A very Happy (albeit belated!) New Year to all of you knitters and crocheters out there!

And apologies for my tardy well wishes... but there has been something in the icy air out there that has left me with little desire to fire up the ol' laptop and write. Instead I find myself curled up under some blankets and just KNITTING. Those of you in this part of the world right now can surely understand this...

I am sure that once the ice melts a little I will be back to my regularly scheduled programming. Heaven only knows that I am producing quite the stack of material for this here little blog.

I hope that you all had a safe, warm and happy holiday season.

Wishing you all nothing but the best for the year ahead.

Be well- and warm!