Tag Archives: Knitting

Travel Projects – Yarn Love Challenge

I bring something to do with me not only on long trips by car, plane, boat or train, but even from upstairs to downstairs in my own home. It’s just this funny habit I have of carrying around something with me in the event that before I go to sleep I decide I want to knit a little, or if while watching a movie, I might want to spin a bit of yarn. I have this bag I carry things upstairs and downstairs in.

When I travel by anything other than car, I tend to really enjoy bringing along one of my long term projects – my Beekeeper’s Quilt – and I knit hexipuffs for it because they are small and easy to carry everywhere with me.

It has been to a lot of places with me – all along the east coast of the United States and the east coast of Canada.

I also tend to keep my hands busy on car trips, and I am lucky enough to have had some kind of folding or portable spinning wheel that allows me to spin in the car while the husband is driving. I find it breaks up the monotony on those not-so-interesting sections of long drives.

I also tend to do a lot of travelling in order to knit, or work on things, especially in nice weather. It’s one of the most relaxing things in the world for me to work outside on my projects in some nice location. Here’s one of my favourite:

Oldest Stash – Yarn Love Challenge

My yarn stash lives in 4 double tall giant Ikea basket towers in my studio. It is organized by colour and I try not to think about the age of my yarns. My tastes have changed a lot over the years and I do go through my yarn every few months and often take some to Knitomatic’s monthly yarn swap. I pull from it often to use random yarns for different things and I am not stressed about my yarn stash; though I do feel a sense of accomplishment whenever I finish using up a skein of yarn. It’s this concept of ‘1 down, ??? to go’. I have always laughed at the term ‘SABLE’ – Stash Aquisition Beyond Life Expectancy – but at the same time it helps me not worry too much about what to use my yarn for. I no longer feel like I have to qualify a project’s greatness to use that precious skein of Wollmeise or whatever. The truth is my favourite knitting is done with my own handspun. I also no longer go insane for yarn – because I have so much. I still buy yarn to support small producers, and for major projects. I will always buy yarn. I am a firm believer in if you want something to be there, support it! This applies to local business – bookstores, libraries, museums, art galleries, independent things, farmer’s markets, theatres – the things that keep us unique as a species, the things people put their hearts in to.

What often strikes me however, is the endurance of certain projects. I work on a lot of big, long-term projects, that I pick up and put down. The Beekeeper’s quilt by Tiny Owl Knits is a really good example of this. I still love making the hexipuffs for it – but I need about 1200 for a King sized quilt, and I think I have about 550 completed. It’s a great project to work on in confined spaces or when you don’t need to think hard.

Another long term project I am working on is a weird carpet I am weaving in circles. Last year I bought a larger round weaving loom so I will likely begin to work on it again.

When it comes to my own yarn that I dye and spin, if it doesn’t sell, I don’t let it hang about. I repurpose things in many ways. Lately I have been auditing my handspun art yarns and found a few that have managed to not find a home for a couple of years. I think it’s important to always have fresh things for people to appreciate at shows, and select for their own. So lately I have been crocheting hats out of the older yarns – and giving them their potential to become beautiful things. This is currently the yarn that has hung out the longers – almost 2 years…with no love. So, it’s becoming a hat.

 

Stripes – Yarn Love Challenge

I really love the look of striping in knitting, and understand the craze of self-striping yarns. I have dyed some self striping yarns myself, but I find the process somewhat too time consuming for an indie dyer. The trouble with self-striping is that you have to dye a continuous strand for a good amount of yardage in a single colour, before changing colours. This is because otherwise you will get the dreaded pooling that can make it so that some yarns can’t be used for certain projects with happy results. The part that makes this kind of dyeing challenging is that when a yarn is in ball form, it can’t be dyed properly – and when in skein form, the loop itself is not formed in a way that you can dye one long section, and use many colours. As such, you sort of have to divide the skein into the number of colours you want and dye them seperately ensuring not to contaminate each colour with any drips or drops of other dye colours. So, it’s a bit of a dance. I do it in small batches but without some kind of technology (I have ideas and drawings) I won’t get very deeply into dyeing this kind of yarn.

I have had some fun with dyeing self-striping yarns, but in different ways – such as the sushi yarns that I made a couple years ago.

I also find that I don’t mind working with multiple yarns to create stripes, or if using only two colours, carrying each colour along the project so that I can create stripes. I know some knitters don’t like having to carry a strand, or sew in multiple tails at the end of the project – but these things don’t really phase me. I purchased a really nice kit from Lovelyarns in Baltimore, MD, dyed by Knitted Wit, and I loved working with it – all squooshy and worsted. I knit up this adorable sweater from the kit that came along with the yarn – it’s called Rainbow for Frances. My wee one is almost big enough to wear it and I can’t wait!

Back to what I was writing about using multiple yarns. I had always been looking for ways to use up my leftover sock yarns from the various projects I knit so I designed a simple Totem Pole Sock pattern that is available for FREE on Ravelry and will produce fun striped crazy socks and use up that extra stash.

I also really enjoy spinning self-striping yarns and have a line of yarn that I spin called ‘Transcend’, usually spun up in 5 complimentary coloured fibres. They are fun to spin and knit up really nicely. They are a simple bulky yarn.

Mistakes – Yarn Love Challenge

I suppose I make the most mistakes when I am following a pattern, which is not that often for me ¬†— but almost always happens when working with either complex lace or colourwork, of course. I have never found that the recommended tool of a lifeline does me very much service – but that’s mainly me. So, I typically rip all the way out and start over, or end up freeforming the rest of the project, if it so allows.

It’s been a while since I have made a devastating knitting error thankfully, but the last one I made was this hat and I totally didn’t notice until I took this picture of it. The chart somehow ended up 1 stitch off, but only for one side and then magically corrected itself. In the end, it’s not that big of a deal, but looking at the picture totally annoys me. ūüôā

Kitsch it Up, Water it Down!!

kwkg fair badge vendorThis weekend is Kitchener-Waterloo’s annual KW Knitter’s Fair! ¬†We will be there in booths 69 and 70 and I will have a ton of new things for this show – including a few new small batch lines of yarn and some other goodies!

The  the map can be found below:

KW Fair vendor outline 2015

Peeping From Under the Covers…Frolic Time!

Well, it’s been a busy, quiet Winter, and I have developed some bad habits but despite this unrelenting snow, I am¬†going to kick my life back into gear. I guess we all feel this way at this time of year. I have been wasting my time¬†doing so many things…facebook….playing games on my iPad where I am far too committed to building fake towns, and feeding fake animals and destroying blocks and things. That…needs…to….stop! Now! But, the good news is that I have not¬†only been wasting time. I have been doing a lot of cool things that don’t happen on the internet.

I have been a supreme hermit and I am pretty sure that my friends are likely convinced that Mike is keeping me in a cage¬†in my studio, but that’s not the case. Trust me, I am still shaving my legs and making art and having fun. I have really¬†fallen in love my our new home and I have been working on it most weekends and evenings. I have been reading more, watching¬†lots of documentaries, having date nights, playing with my dogs…including our new rescue dog and so much more.

But, it is time to balance and come back into the light. I have a bunch of plans to accomplish things I have been wanting to work on for some time, and I have an action plan.

So, this period of quiet is over, starting with the upcoming Knitter’s Frolic. So, I am going to start blogging again, and updating my site. I am planning on scaling back some parts of Studioloo…things I need to abandon to create anew. Looking forward to growing and changing more and more.

DKCposter_halfsizeAlso, my show schedule so far is updated: http://www.studioloo.com/upcomingshows.htm

 

 

Apparently…I am crazy when stagnant!

My poor little pup, Toasty, developed some kind of illness in the middle of last week and through the weekend so I stayed home with him…all….weekend. I have really come to the point in my life where I can’t ever stay inside the house for an entire day. I don’t know why…but it makes me insane…and makes me think about how I could be doing a million different things but I just sit there…and watch TV. ¬†It’s bizarre but I think a testament to the human body and mind needing nature, activity and stimulation.

So, I looked at my to do list from last post…let’s see how I did:

1. Update Art Yarn page in the shop with all new art yarns.
2. Finish reading driving manual and look into booking test.
3. Review required updates to pottery guild website
4. Think about trip to US and PR stuff with husband, start a plan.
5. Determine packaging for wooden buttons and start packaging.
6. Dye sock yarn.
7. Photograph and update Ravelry with rebranding on new yarns.
8. Work on cowl pattern.
9. Walk every day.
10. Work on documentation database for work.

Ok, not too bad…I finished 4 of 10 things but also managed to finish a few things not on the list…like teaching the husband to weave the rope rug I have been working on so he can help me and as a result I finished 2 more circles and he finished a couple. Here are mine:

 

And, I made really good food, including lovely beef short ribs. Here’s a photo mosaic of the process:

On Sunday I finally broke down and had to take a walk. Toasty was starting to feel a lot better but still just wanted constant sleep so we packed him up in his own little, cuddly crate and walked the beach. It was a nice, inspiring walk and was very nice in that I felt like part of a busy, artsy city. It was quiet and had freshly snowed.

The swans that I visited throughout the summer were there. I photographed these babies in various stages of their growing up process. Now they just look like baby swans but in an adult size.

There were guys filming a music video, singing and playing guitar. They had a cool, little rolling track that the camera could move farther and closer on.

There was even a lady letting her wee bunny take a run around on the beach. He was wearing a cute, little purple sweater and I even got to give him a little cuddle but I only managed to photograph his butt.

Then I collected a lot of amazing drift wood, some charred and a bit piece that looks like a bird head from Beetlejuice or something. I love it!

 

And there was much knitting hexipuffs for my ever-loving Beekeeper’s quilt.

And, in the shop there is a big new art yarn update! Check out the shop here: http://www.studioloo.com/handspunartyarn.htm

Take a peek at these handspinnies!

Also, I am in the middle of re-branding, dyeing, and photographing a ton of new sock yarn and other yarns. But, my best friend, Mat of Manspun fame has also written a lovely sock pattern for use with my yarn. ¬†It’s called Man-Tastic Socks! and works for men or women. It’s a fun knit and great with variegates, solids or semi-solids!

Pick up your copy here! http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/man-tastic-socks

 

Where did Summer Go?

It has been a while since I have blogged but life has been really busy. It was a nice summer though, and I am excited for autumn to be peeking it’s face into this part of the world. All I feel like doing is going for long walks, hiking in the woods and taking photos.

I have so much to write about…first of all – I finished my Citron shawl. This is my largest finished knit object and I am really pleased with it.

I spent Worldwide Spin in Public day at The Black Lamb with a bunch of great friends and we had a lot of fun. I got lots of yarn spun, and I have been spinning a lot in general lately. I think it is with the passing of summer that I start to feel more like nesting and creating.

I also received a cute little felted gnome and an adorable pair of socks in a Grimm’s fairytale swap I recently took part in.

These days I am kind of overwhelmed with work and stuff but I have a feeling it is going to get better and there are other fun things happening in life which will hopefully be a representation of the everyday soon enough. Meanwhile, I will putter onward. Rhinebeck is only a few weeks away now and I am totally stoked. Maybe I will run into some of you. I will wear my Ravelry button but I am not one for showing up to planned events when I am at fiber festivals. I get too into the experience. ūüôā

There are plenty of new yarns in the shop – so take a peek- http://www.studioloo.com/handspunartyarn.htm

A Car Chase to Great Thrifting and Fun Hunting!

This was a completely good and awesome weekend. I got lots done and it was relaxing and full of good things. Friday night I went out for dinner and knitting with some friends to a great local raw food place, Raw Aura. They serve amazing raw food – lactose, sugar, gluten free – yum! I had a really amazing falafel wrapped inside a big green leaf of…oops I forget! And…taboulleh. Dessert was an awesome chocolate ganache – with hemp ricotta and I had an awesome creamsicle smoothie of hemp milk, bananas and vanilla – it was all divine.

Yesterday I spent from early morning to early afternoon at the pottery studio and had great success throwing some nice big bowls, smaller bowls, and some mugs. They are drying up and I will likely begin trimming them Thursday to work on their embellishment next weekend.

Today was a trip to Port Hope to check out Primitive Designs after a friend recommended it and I totally fell in love with a 1-string guitar she had at her apartment, and I found myself wanting to pick one up.¬† This shop is the warehouse of an importer and there are amazing things there. I kinda spent more money than intended, but nothing too dangerous. I did however get some amazing things…

A Pinocchio marionette!

This teak chest! It was my biggest purchase but I could not resist and it was a steal at the price I paid. This is because I bought directly from an importer and not from some antique store trying to pedal imports as antiques..which is altogether too common.  It has 18 deep drawers which I will soon fill with my button collection Рorganized by colour. I cannot wait. I have totally haunted the presence of every multi-drawered chest I have ever seen. I plan to get larger ones when I am a super rich superstar later in life but for now, this makes me happy.

This piece of bark …darnit I forget the name of the tree it came from – but it’s rainforest reclaim and basically can be used as a non-water vase – so for dried flowers or interesting branches. I love the pattern.

And, the musical instruments – that 1-string guitar, an interesting thing…with tongs that make sounds – again..loss of real name for the instrument strikes me ..sorry, and a SLIDE WHISTLE!! Oh yes, I am going to be the most annoying person around with that slide whistle, lemme tell ya! I picture myself using it when people are doing things like sitting down, standing up, picking things up, etc. etc. etc. – endless possibilities right?

I also have to mention how truly in awe I am at the amazing finds I have had recently while thrift shopping. I swear for a few months now it has been nothing with a capital NO! But, lately has been great! I found these today..check it out!

This awesome wooden bowl:

This vintage mushroom casserole:

This awesome book on Textile Science!

But, today was not all shopping. On the long drive back from Port Hope, we decided to take the long scenic route home and we saw these old cars…

They were cool but when the followed us for a really long time, through a couple of small towns and cities, I started to giggle and Mat started to say things like ‘You’ll neva catch me alive coppa!’ and ‘We’ll Loose them at the Pass, ya See!!’ and other crazy phrases as only likely muttered by the most animated of fifties’ era gangster. It was a laugh. I kept my eye on them while Mat sped…well, around 40km/h anyhow..

The complete normalcy of our Toyota eventually saved our lives..allowing us to blend in with traffic and for the gangsters to move on..

Then, after avoiding certain death, we arrived at a sheepy farm with a donka-donk! Look…they are so cute..then suddenly either the donkey or a weird black faced sheep make a weird honking sound and they all ran away. I laughed at their bums!

Also, after hearing about the awesome, button-organizing teak chest that I got, Laurie from The Black Lamb gave me an awesome assortment of vintage buttons, because she is sweetness personified!

And, I haven’t devoted my time entirely to lollygagging – I managed to spin a couple of yarns!

Well, as I write this I feel my eyes getting heavy so I should go brush my pearly whites and get to bed..it’s going to be a bit of a long week. So, night night.

PS..Hippo says hi!

Catching up to Myself

It has been a little while since I blogged. Life happens..I am really glad I am such an avid photographer though because otherwise I would forget half of what I do in life. So, here goes…the photo memories of the last couple of weeks.¬† I have erected a bird feeder in my backyard that has become a constant source of entertainment, and well, dismal panic. It all started about a month ago, where for two weeks the sole purpose of the feeder was to fatten up squirrels.

Being the lover all of things fuzzy and feathered, I am not one of those people who obsesses with keeping squirrels out of my bird feeder. For about two weeks though, no birds. But I think my complete lack of caring about what the squirrels did caused much gossip in the wildlife community and the birds finally overheard there was a shangri-la in my backyard. So, now I am overcome with mourning doves, sparrows, starlings and from time to time cardinals, crows, and yellow finches. How can this cause dismal panic you ask? Well, the other day I came out to check out the bird feeder and possibly refill it when I found…..a dead bird….a little house sparrow, in the bird bath. My face dropped and I was immediately consumed by the wonder of how this happened, and more like me, how did I cause this? Arg….Everyone around me has assured me that birds just die sometimes and it was nothing to do with the construct of my bird feeder, however, I have decided to remove the birdbath portion. No water equals no possibility of drowning.¬† So I am slowly mentally recuperating from that.¬† Not nice.

In the world of knitting, I finished a lacy cabled cape I had been working on and I am now on the fourth section of the Citron Shawl. I am planning on trying to make some progress on it tonight at Stitch n Pitch.

I think I have developed a distaste for working on really large straight needles. It is just not easy to manipulate and kind of makes my small hands confused and clumsy.

A couple of weekends ago, it was the summer spin-in day at The Black Lamb and we had a lot of fun. It was lovely sitting in the garden and spinning with great friends. We had a potluck and it was really yummy.I am always happy to marvel at the beautiful garden that Laurie and Steven have.

I feel like I have my spinning mojo back. It was gone for a while, perhaps just because I have a really big list of things to do, work is really stressful and the weather has been quite scorching for the last while. But, I have been spinning like a fiend since returning from spin day. I think it’s so therapeutic to be around people in a group doing something they enjoy. It’s hard not to be inspired.¬† This is my completed haul of yarns for Tour de Fleece. There are times where I think I really could have gotten so much more done, but I am happy to have finished what I have.

I am also really into corespinning wire right now. It’s a really nice and fun, functional technique. The fibers are spun around a wire and yarn core in a round horizontal motion. The finished yarn is moldable, sculptural, can be bent into shapes and used for art pieces, or for making baskets, jewellery, decor, or really what your creative spirit desires. Here is one that I just finished. I call it ‘Blue Moon Festival’ as inspired recently by an event in a book I just finished reading titled ‘Spinning Forward’ by Teri Dulong. I agreed with the reviews on the book which stated it was really predictable. This is true, but it is also the kind of heartwarming happy ending story you need to read sometimes to rekindle your sense of humanity. The only complaint I had was that the main character was a whiny, spoiled brat – but that is no reflection on the writer. Dulong’s writing has a lot of flow; makes you want to keep the book in your hands, and has a lot of charm, with the perfect amount of descriptive elements.

If you are interested in learning more about corespun wire, I started the August spin-along in the Novelty and Art Yarns group on Ravelry with a focus on this style of yarn. So, jump right in!

I have also been doing a bit of baking. I made banana bread and a dark chocolate bundt cake, which tasted much like a whoopee pie, last week. The cake is now a distant memory but there are a couple slices of banana bread still left, assuming it wasn’t snatched up for today’s office brown bagged lunch.

I have also been able to do a bit of hiking and taking some walks in nature now that the heat wave seems to be over for a bit. I learned something really interesting about young male mallards. I saw this duck and initially thought he was some kind of hermaphrodite or something because he looked very female but had the coloration, sort of, of a male.

As it turns out, and as most people know, when ducks are born, they all pretty much look the same. But, it takes quite some time, a few months, for a male duck to reach the level of maturity that his iridescent head feathers grow in. So, this duck is likely only a few months old and he is still undergoing his path to maturity. I thought that was really neat.  It was also kind of funny to watch this herd of different birds swimming along the promenade, following a little girl with a bag of bread crumbs she was tossing out to them.

I am also growing poppies. I have no flowers yet but I do have some adorable leaves popping up. I have never grown potted poppies before so I am not sure what to expect.

I went to Michael’s yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to find out they are now carrying the Stitch Nation (Debbie Stoller) line of yarns. They were originally only at Joann’s in the US. But, alas we now have them. I picked up a couple of skeins of Alpaca Love in the colourway Cobblestone to make something lacy.¬† It’s nice to see some more natural fibers at a big box store which don’t feel like a yak’s guard hair against your skin.

Alas, it is time to get to work…but I will leave this post with a couple of lovely things…I spun this yarn called ‘Secret of the Walnut’ with some beautiful walnut halves I picked up on one of my walks.

And, I received this lovely package from the Odd Ducks Swaps on Ravelry – the Element theme. Just look at the amazing cowl!