This technical Tuesday is not going to be as technical in a knitting sense. As you might have noticed, last week I completely lost track of time and managed not to do any posts. I wasn’t heading into the office on Wednesday, so I definitely forgot to write my posts until Wednesday because I thought it was the weekend. Then I just would have had Thursday’s post up, but at that point it seemed a little pointless as Thursday is my off-topic day.
The latest self striping sock I dyed for Halloween. Colour name: Witches Britches.
Every January I re-assess the blog, what I am writing, when I am writing etc; I am going to be doing that again this January. I do this to keep up with my needs and what is working for me at that point in time. The past two months have been so crazy busy that I am going to take the rest of November and December to go back and just post when I feel like it.
Schedules are great and I am definitely a fan, but when you’re too dependent on the schedule sometimes content starts to feel too planned. I am going to take some of the time I would be writing and put that time into knitting. Then WRITE ABOUT it! It probably won’t be a whole lot at first, but I do have some fun things still planned. I’ve been sent a product to review, so that will be coming up very soon. I’m currently still testing it out!
As most of you know, the current kitty count went down by one a few months ago. Recently, Paul and I have welcomed two kittens home. The story is kind of twisty, but it starts by getting added to a Siamese cat breeder’s waitlist.
There wasn’t originally supposed to be an opening until early 2016, but as it turns out there were a few people on the list ahead of us who wanted to wait. Paul and I went for a meet and greet and picked out our little kitten. We picked her out in the middle of September, but had to wait till she was 12 weeks to bring her home; that landed us on October 30th. Over the next few weeks, we decided to name her Luna, because the Thai name of Siamese actually translates to moon diamond; so it is fitting.
In the beginning of October Paul and I were talking about Luna and when she was going to come home when Paul made the suggestion that perhaps she would need a friend. Our other cats were all a similar age, within a year of one another, so they all got along and had a similar energy level. They’re older, and introducing a kitten now would be a bit of a different story. I started looking for kittens at shelters who were Siamese or Siamese mixed. Siamese cats have a very high energy level which lasts past the kitten stage, I was hoping for two kittens with a fairly even energy level.
I had sent quite a few emails about kittens, but most were already adopted or there was an adoption pending, when I finally found this guy.
On the Petfinder page his name was Caleb, I immediately sent an email about him and set up a time to go see him. The lady who was fostering him told us about his past situation, he was rescued from a hoarders house who had 40 cats. He wasn’t socialized very well so he would take some time to come around. We brought him home on October 24th and decided to name him Solaris. He was very nervous and hid under the bed in our spare room, I realized that he wasn’t socialized well so he wasn’t going to come out on his own when either Paul or myself was in the room. We started to handle him more; pick him up from under the bed and sit beside him and give him lots of pets. The very first time we did this, he started purring almost instantly. He is a very sweet boy who loves to play. He slid in with the other cats almost seamlessly, if one of them hisses he moves away but is totally unfazed. In the week we had him, he went from hiding under a bed to running around and playing like he owned the house.
On October 30th we picked up Luna; this could not have gone more differently. She was fine in her room with Paul or I, but as soon as one of us would leave she would start screaming. It’s amazing how such a loud sound can come from such a small cat. We followed along the steps for integrating a new cat into your house, but whenever we got to the point of seeing other cats, even if there was a gate between them, she was hissing, spitting and growling like crazy. I wasn’t sure what to do because, when we weren’t with her, she was either hissing and spitting at the other cats or yowling about being alone in a room. She would not calm down either, I tried to let her cry a bit to see if she would settle down, but she just got more and more worked up. So we let her out.
Took out the gate separating the cats because the larger cats weren’t hostile towards her, she was the one making all the noise. The other cats just looked at her like’ you don’t even weigh a pound, what are you talking about?’
Solaris was a perfect little gentleman and would follow Luna at a distance, when she noticed she would turn around and hiss at him. He would lay down where he was and when she started walking again he would keep following her. He wants to be friends so badly. He finally got tired of being patient and he would run up to her and pounce, then run away. She finally realized that he wasn’t hurting her and chasing each other around was actually fun. They’re totally friends now. Playing and running around. Paul thinks they were cuddling the other day, but got up when he walked in the room.
It’s all a happy kind of chaos and the older ladies are just happy the kittens have each other to entertain themselves.
Well all the shows are now complete, it’s been an absolutely crazy two months. I feel pretty burned out from all the prep-work of getting these shows together so I haven’t been working on too much knitting. There have been a lot of mundane things like cleaning the house, restocking the cabinets, a lot of meal prep for the next couple months. I’ll write about that on a Thursday though, I am way too proud of myself to keep that from you!
I have been working on socks, of course, what else would I be working on? The purple gradient sock I dyed is starting to knit up nicely, the colour-shift near the toe is a bit harsh, but we will see what it looks like on the other one. I would post photos of it but Paul has ABSCONDED with my knitting yet again.
I should be fair, this is the sock that I keep in the car. I always knit on it when we are in transit from one place to another. I don’t know if I have mentioned, but Paul and I work at the same office. The other day, he had some training at another office location. This presented something of a problem because we drive to work together; I would have no way home. Thankfully there was someone there who goes home the same way as me and she was able to give me a lift. The crucial part of this story comes when I went out to the car to grab my knitting, so I could knit on my lunch break. Paul had left a half hour before I thought he was going to, so he went to do this training with my knitting in tow.
Instead of sitting and knitting on my lunch break I was now sidelined to surf instagram and the like. Which leads to online shopping, which leads to stash enhancement, which leads to needing a larger house. Let’s just say there is no good ending here! When my knitting friend came across me and noticed I was NOT knitting, I had to inform her about Paul ABSCONDING with my knitting bag.
As I write this post, Paul has taken the car with the knitting in it. I guess this is the downside of car knitting. There usually isn’t a great time when you’re in the car to take photos, but when you want to show off your work, you have to make sure you’re able to grab it out of the car. I am sure this sock will be completed soon and I’ll be able to show FO photos of at least one sock!
I also wanted to mention a couple of prospective projects I am thinking about. I heard about this one on the Knit1Geek2 podcast. A Little Knit Music by Julia Blake. This is a sweater that you knit the treble clef into the yoke of the sweater and put beads where the notes would be. The best part is, they actually make up a melody. As Maggie and Karen suggested, you could knit your own adventure with a melody that means something to you. Their suggestions fell on the geek side, which I heartily approve of, but you could really do it with just about any song!
I also want to get going on a couple hats I have the yarn for. I’ve had this yarn for two years and have been meaning to knit up fair isle hats, but just haven’t had the time or motivation. I’ve got short hair now and it doesn’t cover my ears. I am thinking hats will be an essential staple of my wardrobe this year. I have a few different patterns that I am going to try out. I am going to do two of the Four Seasons hats by Tanis Fiber Arts and give the Whale Watch hat by Kate Gagnon Osborn a try as well. Those are just a couple that I have picked out of a line up. I have sooooo many saved in my Ravelry library, I feel like this will be a slippery slope.
One of the first skills you realize is important is weaving in the ends. Its something that can take your garment from looking home-made to hand-made. Everyone strives for the hand-made look; we’re talking fine Italian suits that are $1000 made by nuns, not a garment that was glue-gunned together in someone’s kitchen.
There is a different kind of weaving for many different kinds of stitches so I’ve also linked the Very Pink Knits videos for garter stitch.
If you’re anything like me and hate to weave in ends at the end of a project, you can always weave them in as you go.
If you’re having problems with your ends staying woven in, check out that first video for sure. It’s an excellent technique and very well explained. It’s almost like back-stitching in sewing. You’re going back to the previous stitch and locking that yarn in even tighter. This is one of those things I learned the hard way, but once you’ve got it, you’re golden!
I know it is a little bit past, but October 18th, Paul and I celebrated our one-year anniversary! It was on a Sunday and that was the day after Creativ Festival and Woodstock Fleece and Fibre, so we mostly celebrated by NOT doing any yarn things.
It doesn’t seem like that long ago that we were in full wedding craziness. There were a few weddings that year in a short period of time, and we were first, which I am glad about. I was able to attend those other weddings and just relax, no worrying about deadlines or getting things done.
I was also able to attend with my husband. Paul and I were engaged for almost three years, so it was high time we actually planned a wedding and tied the knot. Our wedding day was everything I could have dreamed for and I got to marry a very good man, who puts up with a lot of sarcasm and yarn.
The marketplace at the Creativ Festival was really good; huge. We were placed right beside Biscotte Yarns. I had heard of Biscotte Yarns before and their sock-of-the-month club is actually on my wish list. It was really great to be able to sit beside them the whole time and get to know the ladies working the booth. Their yarn is really stunning, especially the self-striping, but everyone here knows about my soft spot for self-striping yarn.
I also took the time to jaunt over to A Needle Pulling Thread and say hello. Everyone there was busy, but I still got to say hello and check in with them. I also took some of their awesome KNITmuch cards back to our booth. There was a ruler on the edges and I thought that was extremely clever. We actually ended up having to tell people that they could take them. Customers would walk by, pick one up, look at it and then put it back. I think they thought it was something we were selling.
I know we are light on photos again, but there are lots and lots of links to look at!
I wasn’t personally at Woodstock, but I had a quick re-cap from my booth bunnies. We were right beside the Alpaca, but nothing got eaten, so I count that in the win column.
One thing that everyone was pleased about was the premier of a new colour! I decided that people had been asking long enough and dyed some yarn a plain black. We called it ‘you never go back’. So many people wanted plain colours to mix with all the really bright yarn, so I’m branching out a bit. Watch the shop for a couple more neutrals in the near future.
I’m lining up all the shows for next year and getting all the pre-orders from the past shows sent out. There will also be an Etsy update soon as well. I have to put up the latest self-striping, Witches Britches, and the newest colour, You Never Go Back. If you’re not signed up to our newsletter, here is a link. I’ll definitely be announcing these things in the newsletters!
I had a really good question on our Ravelry group about pockets! Pockets are something that is inherently scary with knitting. There are a lot of fears around putting them in and the stretching that could happen. I wouldn’t suggest carrying anything too heavy in them.
There are quite a few videos out there and I picked these three, but if you’re not able to get what you want from these, just search pockets in knitting. There will be a lot of information that comes up!
I’ve got three videos about how to put in pockets, but the placement is important too. There are generally instructions about pocket placement, but if you’re looking to place them yourself I would add the pocket in after the garment is finished. That way you can look at where it would make sense to have pockets.
If anyone has any specific questions feel free to email me or ask about it on our Ravelry group! There is a thread specifically for things people would like me to look up!
Show season is finally over for this year! I usually really enjoy going to shows and talking to people, but this year there were a lot in a small amount of space and customs wasn’t helping either. I am talking postal service customs and not flight customs.
Last weekend was the Creativ Festival and Woodstock Fleece and Fiber. I don’t think I will ever voluntarily do two shows at once again, but it is a good learning experience to try once.
At the Creativ Festival I was teaching Tuesday-Friday and the marketplace was open Thursday- Saturday. Driving all the way to Toronto to set up was not as terrible as you would think, we’re only about 45 minutes to 2 hours away… depending on traffic. Paul and I also decided to go home each night instead of staying in the hotel. The show was open till 8pm Thursday and Friday as well so that makes for a long day.
Perfectly packed bag for many many classes… it did not look at good by the end.
All my classes went extremely well. I really enjoy teaching and making sure that everyone got what they came to learn. It’s one of my favourite parts of this show. Especially since CF isn’t a knitting-only show; the people taking my class aren’t already expert knitters. This means I get to shape them a little bit. I can plant some of my own ideology of knitting into them and have a hand in the knitter they become. I really attempt to implant fearless knitting and the idea that nothing is ‘too hard’ some things aren’t for you, definitely, but they’re just not a strength. ‘Too hard’ is not a reason that should keep you from trying something!
The classes I taught were Intro to Fair Isle, Don’t Fear the Steek, Cast On’s and Swatch It; with a lecture on using colour in knitting around the middle there somewhere.
Sorry, this post is going to be light on photos because I really didn’t take all that many this past weekend. I feel like I didn’t get a chance to even attempt photographic artistry.
I am still winding down from the crazy busy weekend so I am going to attempt to order my thoughts and write about the Creativ Festival marketplace and the Woodstock Fleece and Fiber Fest later. For now, I’ll say that everyone survived and there was copious amounts of coffee involved.
I feel like I should have more to say about the Knit City show on Saturday, but I really felt like it was a swirl of yarn, people and knitting accessories. I got to wander around a little more on Sunday; although Paul didn’t want me to stray too far in case someone came by with a question that he couldn’t answer. At which point I proceeded to remind him that all these problems will be solved when he gives in and learns how to knit. He was not amused.
Right across the hallway from us was the Spinning and Weaving Guild, they were there both days with spinning wheels and… weaving machines? Looms? At one point I was trying to explain weaving to Paul and the resulting conversation was completely and totally mind bending. I feel like I should have used visual aids. I think he may have said ‘ohhhh, I got it’ so I would stop talking and breaking his brain with my explanation. They were very nice and friendly ladies who were very happy to talk with me when I went over and asked about some NEON yarn one of them had found.
To our left was the Steamer Trunk booth. The lady working the booth was very nice as well. On the Sunday it felt a bit colder than the Saturday and we talked about how it was probably to encourage people to wear their hand knits. Her booth being a button and fabric booth, she had no such comforts. Luckily the booth on the other side of her, Baaad Anna’s, had a knit sample to keep her warm.
To our right, across the hall, was The Black Sheep, which was designated the most comfortable booth at the show. I told them they’ve got it right bringing in a nice cushiony armchair. When I went over to talk to them and complement them on their genius plan, they even pulled out a box as a foot stool for me. I would probably go with most comfortable booth AND most accommodating!
Knit City was a lot more relaxed on Sunday, but it gave me more one-on-one time with people. I was able to actually talk to people asking questions and it wasn’t a mad rush to spit out all the information I could before someone else needed me. Overall I REALLY REALLY enjoyed Knit City! There were a lot of interesting vendors and most of them were new to me! It was very interesting.
That was the conclusion of the knitting portion of the vacation, we did more sightseeing the next day in Seattle. We were over in Seattle for a good 12 hours and saw as much as we possibly could. First we were going to have lunch in the Space Needle, but they were completely booked, so we went to a café across the street then went into the Chihuly Gardens and Glass. This place was really fascinating. Glass sculptures everywhere and most were seemingly abstract versions of plant life. It was very beautiful and the perfect day to be walking inside a garden.
Next we were going to do an Underground tour of the abandoned tunnels under Pioneer square. Unluckily we happened to leave just as rush hour was starting and what should have been a 5 minute drive turned into a 45 minute drive. There was also a Seahawks game on somewhere downtown so people were all flocking in the same direction as us. We eventually made it and parked, but we had to take the tour an hour later than the one we had planned to see. This tour was fantastic! Really rich history, interesting stories and the funniest guide ever! I would recommend this tour to anyone traveling in that area; I would also probably take the tour again.
That is all I have time to write about today! Regular blog posts will resume Next week and I promise you a couple long ones! There has been so much happening in my knitting world that I can hardly keep up!
I hope this post is worth the wait! I’ve never been to Vancouver before and there were a lot of touristy things on my list. We’re about to head home and I feel like I’ve seen almost everything I needed to!
Our flight out was at 6:55am, you’re supposed to be there a couple hours ahead and it is an hour drive to the airport from our house. Instead of waking up at 3 or 4am Paul and I stayed up to do as much re-skeining as we possibly could. When I dye yarn, it gets all tangled up in the dyebath, so I have to re-skein it to make sure there are no serious tangles in the yarn. The self-striping is a little bit more of a process because of the way it is dyed. So Paul and I didn’t go to bed, just stayed up yarning. Paul’s parents are accompanying us on this trip, so they were picking us and to drive to the airport. Luckily, Paul’s mom has a slightly nervous constitution and planned on picking us up around 2:30 or 3am to get to the airport. After we had packed all the bags into the truck and started to set off, there was a strange noise as we were backing out of the parking lot. The truck had a flat tire.
We were very early so the 45 minutes it took the four of us to change it wasn’t a huge amount of time lost. We got to park and take the shuttle into the airport. After shuttle, security and all that jazz, there was only about 20 minutes left before we were to board the plane. I wouldn’t be able to sit and snooze for 20 minutes so I took out my needles and started on a hat that I am making for Paul’s little cousin in Vancouver.
Our plan was to sleep on the plane because there is a three-hour time difference between Ontario and Vancouver. Leaving at 7am and a five-hour flight, it would be around noon Ontario-time. We were actually arriving at 9am so there is some weird time-shift seeming witchcraft happening there. Our plan was to sleep on the plane and get a full first day in Vancouver. Nothing huge planned, but possibly a small amount of exploring around the hotel; get to know your surroundings and all that jazz. I think this plane must have been smaller than your average tiny plane because I felt extremely cramped the whole time. I even took a gravol just before we boarded to MAKE SURE I slept. I did end up sleeping fitfully for all but the last half hour, but it was actually difficult and I am sure the nice girl beside me would have liked to kill me for worming around so much. Dear Nice Lady, I’M SORRY!! I am usually well-behaved on flights and can sit and knit for hours on end. I plug in my headphones, listen to audio books and don’t move AT ALL! My headphones were being finicky and would stop playing if I touched the cord or moved around at all, which is almost worse than not having them. An audio book provides a constant stream of talking, like white noise. I fall into the story, which calms my mind, then drop off to sleep. It’s much more difficult when all you can think about is ‘Don’t move, don’t move, don’t move.’
I also forgot to mention that we are packing all the stock yarn, banners, samples etc. into checked bags. I put all that yarn into the hands of the airline and just attempted to NOT think about all the things that could go wrong. Our flight was direct, so not much of a chance of anything getting lost, but STILL! I made sure to plaster my name, phone number and address all over each case. I also tried to mix each case with an assortment of bases and colours, so if one was lost or a day or two late getting there it wasn’t going to ruin everything. I felt like I had done everything I possibly could to make sure the airline would be able to find/contact me in the event of lost luggage. However when we went to pick everything up, there were no issues. I am not going to lie, I felt like a girl who needed to pack her whole closet to go on a weeklong trip. We picked up our rental van and headed over to the hotel to see if our room was ready. It was very early, but the Atrium Inn had a room ready and we were able to bring our stuff in. After this, I realized I was STARVING and we went to eat. There was a place across the road where everything was under ten dollars so we checked it out before I passed out from starvation. Lunch, well… brunch, was alright and after this I headed straight for bed and slept for several hours.
The next day the four of us trekked up to Grouse Mountain. I did want to see the Capilano Suspension bridge, but someone looked it up and it was quite expensive, so we postponed that to another visit. The day was beautiful and clear so on the ride to the top we could see everything!
There were a lot of things to do at the top including seeing bears, wolves, watching the lumberjack show, just looking around at the ah-mazing views everywhere. We ended up spending a good portion of the entire day there.
Friday was show prep day! We needed a lot of things and spent all day running around and setting up at the PNE forum. Set up went really well, by the end of the day I felt like this was the most prepared we had ever been for a show, but I think that is partially due to the fact that we couldn’t go back to our house after set up and continue getting things ready etc.
Saturday morning we woke up, had breakfast at the hotel and headed over to the PNE building.
This was RIGHT across the street so it was really REALLY convenient. We didn’t have to drive at all, just walked over and managed to not take up any of the parking. As soon as the doors opened there were a lot of people roaming around. The whole first day was an absolute mad house, trying to answer questions and give each customer the attention they deserved. Our self-striping rainbow yarn, Psychedelic Onyx, sold out in 2 hours. There were a lot of people doing the ‘first lap’. I always do this at shows to prevent me from buying EVERYTHING! I tried to warn everyone I could that we only brought limited stock to the show. There is always next time though. Everyone LOVED the pattern markers; they were a really big hit.
I didn’t really manage to talk to a lot of other vendors or people that were teaching because I was so busy, but I will tell you more about day two of the show next post! There is plenty more to tell!