Knit City 2016

I am currently writing from our last day in Vancouver. It’s been a long week, yet somehow it feels much shorter. We’ve completed KnitCity 2016 and done quite a bit of vacation things afterwards. Next year, my goal is to have everything completed when we get here so I can do more socializing before and during the show.


There was quite a bit of self-striping that needed to be wound and I knew this in advance so I was able to pack all the equipment I needed into the checked bags. Friday night and Saturday night was a huge unwind-and-rewind-the-yarn-fest so I didn’t really get a chance to interact and socialize with too many people. I did manage to power through quite a bit of supernatural though.


In the end almost everything got wound and was in time for the show! Which was a great show, as per usual. There were a couple more people from Toronto area this year which was good to see. Passionknit was there. I had to take a double look at their sign because I knew I was familiar with that name but I couldn’t remember from where. They were our booth neighbours across the hall from the Knitters Frolic. We made from new friends, like Katie from Nekozuki Knits and saw a lot of vendors from last year! I didn’t get to walk around as much as I would have liked, but I was able to troll around a bit to see new things. In the end the only things I picked up were a wedge bag and needle cover from Katie, and some roving to make thrummed mittens.


I did start a new shawl while I have been away. There were two colours of yarn sitting beside each other talking to me about how much they wanted to be striped together. I’ve started the Neapolitan shawl by Kay F Jones on Ravelry. It’s a very easy pattern, which is EXACTILY what I want right now, so I’ve been getting some pretty steady progress done on it.

To do a quick skim over, the rest of the weekend Paul and I went to the Capilano Bridge, Stanley Park, and Granville Island. Everything was ah-mazing as per usual. It’s really hard to get on the plane and not stay here and eat all of the things.

Kitchener Waterloo Knitters Fair!!

The Kitchener Waterloo Knitters Fair was this weekend and I am glad to have it out of the way! It was an excellent show, lots of people, both new friends and familiar faces. This is the first show Stitch Please ever went to so it holds a special place in my heart. It was also one of my favourite shows to attend as a customer.I know it’s been a while since I’ve written, again, but I’ve been swamped with show prep! I also had some minor surgery on my feet which gave me some solid knitting time. I had a sweater I was working on, with miles and miles of stockinette stitch. The idea was to finish it for the KW show but it got away from me a little bit. I don’t think I realized just how much stockinette stitch there was exactly. I was also trying out a new technique for sleeves two at a time. I don’t think it was for me. I love the idea of being able to put the decreases in the exact same places on both sleeves, but it seems really fiddly. There are two separate balls of yarn rolling all over the place, they were getting tangled around one another while I was knitting. I worked about 3-4 inches in stockinette before I gave up and put the sleeves on their own separate needles. They ended up going much much faster after that. I’m making progress on the second sleeve then I’ve got about 10 inches of body on the sweater to do.


The Celestarium shawl is looking quite beautiful, but I have a hard time finding time to work on it. I need a designated time and place to sit down and knit it. With the beading and the randomness of the pattern it makes me a little nervous. It’s definitely not car knitting. I can’t wait to get it going, it’s going to be beautiful when it’s done!


I don’t know what is going on, but I have the mad urge to knit nothing but shawls. I don’t even wear shawls, but I am thinking I might start. With Fall coming up who knows what could happen. It’s mostly the thought of no swatching that is appealing to me at the moment. The last sweater I tried was an unmitigated disaster so I may or may not be slightly scarred by it. The sweater I am knitting now is looking a lot better and I think it will end up being lovely. I can’t wait to steek it. I think I am going to try to sew the steek with my sewing machine. I am ever about trying new skills and this is one I have been putting off for a while. The last time my mom was down she even showed me how to put the walking foot on the sewing machine. It’s actually still attached so everything is all set up. I just need to finish off the knitting itself.


Knit City is coming up in a couple weeks so I am really looking forward to that. It also means that the Etsy shop will be shut down for two weeks. I don’t like to leave it up and running while we aren’t in the province for obvious reasons. I am sure I will, once again, be horrible with posting until the BC show is over with, but I promise a post about it when it is over! I’ll try to keep you updated with the progress on the sweater, hopefully it will be done by the time we head out for Knit City in Vancouver!!

Dying Dying Dying

What I’ve been doing lately! A ton of dying really. I’ve started making sure I experiment every time I dye or else I am never going to create anything new. I’m getting everything ready for the next show we’ve got as well; Kitchener/Waterloo is coming up as well as Vancouver’s Knit City. I’m looking forward to both because they’re both really good shows!

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Most of the dying I’ve been doing lately is for Yarn Crush. It’s a yarn club where you receive a skein of yarn in a warm, cool, or neutral colour. I am lucky enough to be the chosen dyer for their September box! It’s been lots of fun making custom colours for these boxes, but I am now getting to the point where I have to actually dye a lot of the yarn. I can’t wait to share with you the colours and actual names I came up with, but I am not going to give away the secret sauce. I’ll just tell you it’s awesome, as you should have guessed.

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I’ve been experimenting with self-striping sock yarns more and more. There are going to be a lot more colours coming up for these shows! I am really looking forward to see what everyone thinks. I’ve been using Harry Potter as an inspiration since all of my friends have read the Cursed Child… except me. I really need to read it before the shows because I know people are going to want to talk about it if I have HP inspired yarn. The only thing about dying all sorts of new yarn is the fact that you have to knit all the swatches to show off the stripes! I think I am going to start a course of positive reinforcement to deal with all the swatch knitting. I usually knit up the whole sock, but that is going to get getting slightly ridiculous very fast. I have so many socks where I have only knit the first sock as a sample and not the second sock. I’ve currently got Debi knitting one sock for me in one of the other colours I gave a try.

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I do have a knitting machine, but it is generally better with thicker yarns. I might try it on its smallest setting to see how it knits up, but I think I am going to have to knit them all by hand. The knitting machine is named Rosita and she is very temperamental. I would go so far as to suggest bipolar; one second she is happy as a clam, the next, she’s pissed. There were a lot of yarn snarls and dropped stitches. Once I passed the handle over the hooks and all the stitches came off. I looked at it like…. “I think I found the emergency release.” Unfortunately, I wasn’t ready to bind off so I had to meticulously put all those stitches back on.

Since I’ve got the knitting machine I’ve been able to experiment with gradients as well. I think I am getting the hang of them. I may or may not be having a lot of fun trying them out. Be prepared to see a lot of them! I did a gradient in an aran weight so I am excited to see if that works out in a really slouchy hat. I’ll have to take the time to knit it up and see how I did. I think it is going to work out really well.

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I’ve also been cleaning out my craft room for the first time in three years. I used to keep all the sock yarn in this room, which is not a large room, so there was never any room to do anything. Now we keep the stock in another part of the house. However, there was an accumulation of random stuff in that room to the point where you weren’t able to walk through the room. I took a day over the weekend and started going through everything. I set up a table with my mom’s sewing machine on top. I sorted through the huge amount of things that were just plain garbage! There were extra wedding invitations, programs, etc from my showers, the wedding, and a large amount of random things that should just be thrown out.

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Luckily I took before pictures, because this is the type of job that you need something to show how well you’ve done afterwards. It was a huge undertaking and I am very proud of it! I am trying to figure out how I would like everything set up. I think It’s looking good, but I might keep moving things around. I put up a peg board to put my leftover bits of yarn on. Hopefully this will serve as inspiration for my sock yarn blanket. I feel like I could use about three more of myself to go over everything in that room again. There are still some drawers that have way too many things in there. I’ll have to take everything out, throw away what needs to be thrown away, and see what is left.

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I’ve still been working on it in little bits and pieces. The key is to quit while you’re ahead, when I start to feel like I am done with all this organizing or if it starts to feel hopeless, I stop; walk away. There are lot of things I could do with this room and I don’t want to rush it.

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Anyway, I think I have talked your ear off for now. I’ll post again soon. I am looking at my sample collection for the fall and thinking I need to beef it up a little bit. I’m looking at starting those projects relatively soon so watch my Ravelry page for updates!

An Uncanny Amount of Knitting

Another post already! Lets be honest, this is happening people. I’ve been listening to knitting podcasts monogamously and that usually gets my knitting mojo up and running. Although now I am slightly depressed because all I want to do is knit, but it’s getting onto to busy season and I’ve got tons of stuff to do.


I’ve actually sewn a couple things. Yes, sue me, sewing. My mom got a new machine so I’ve ‘borrowed’ her old one to work on building some skills. While we were at Quilts at the Creek I bought a couple different fabrics and my mom and I made a bag. It’s a knitting project bag and really quite large, as I intended it to be! I used some of the scraps to make a smaller bag. I think I have enough for one more even. I’ll have to check when I have a spare second.


I’ve been steadily knitting along on my Galaxy Bone Yard. I went to a cottage weekend with friends this past weekend and brought it with me. When I am the ‘host’ of something like a cottage weekend and am sleeping in a strange place I don’t sleep well, so I was up at 6am both days. I just sat out by the lake and knit on this shawl. I think I might have accomplished a lot, but it’s really hard to tell. I’ve been used to knitting things that self-stripe where you can really see the progress. I’ve got over 800 yards of this yarn designated for this shawl and I intend to knit it all.


The Galaxy yarn is a darker colour as well, so it is a bit boring because of that as well. I really like how it is knitting up though. There are little pops of colour here and there.


I’ve also cast on another project. I had an unfortunate happening with the last sweater I made… it was really complicated, the size was off, etc. Whatever could have gone wrong with this thing, did. I was going to make the Rocky Coast Cardigan but thought it was a  bit complicated and the yarn wouldn’t lend itself well to this project. The yarn is a baby alpaca so I am looking for something that will not look bad once it grows a little bit. I found the Breezy Cardigan which is open and lovely so I am knitting up that. I am knitting it on size three needles so it might take a while. I am actually insane.


I did a lot of yarn dying this past weekend as well and got to experiment with a couple things. I’ll have to knit up those samples sometime in the near future. Considering I have five socks to knit up and only two hands… this is going to get interesting. I really really need that sock machine right now. I’ve been looking for one that is on sale, but I might just need to seek out someone who is simply willing to knit me some socks on the one they’re not willing to part with.

It’s getting to be that time of the year again and I will see everyone at our next show, the Kitchener/Waterloo knitter’s fair. It’s always a good time and I’m starting to dye stock for it now so we will have a full truck coming there. I think I picked an auspicious time to re-start blogging, but it will have to do!

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Hello…. Is It Me You’re Looking For?

Alright guys, I know it had been a long time. I may or may not have failed horribly at my free style posting schedule. There were a few times I went to sit down and write a post, but something got in the way or I was sidetracked over to another project. The fact that I am writing this post right now means I am procrastinating something else in order to get this done. I haven’t posted in a long time though and I miss updating everyone with my progress.

I haven’t knit a lot in the past few months, mostly because I’ve been so insanely busy, but I am going to go over everything I’ve knit up to this point. I am also going to update my Ravelry page as well as the knitting history pages here.


My long overdue fair isle hat from Tanis Fiber arts, turned out nice. I made it a bit too small so I am going to go up a needle size or two for the next one. At work some of my knitting friends kept asking if I was done their hat yet. It is a really nice hat and a very lovely pattern, I do encourage you to go check it out! Here is a link for the pattern and TFA website.


I know, someone who dyes yarn promoting other yarn, what is this witchcraft?! No tricks or ploys, it’s something that I have knit with and is excellent quality. I thoroughly enjoy the yarn over at TFA, but I have a shameless plug for my own yarn now. I needed a project with my Aran weight yarn because it wasn’t selling and I have tons of it. I am going to stop carrying it after I sell it because noooooooooobody wants it, actually I have a clever idea to get rid of this yarn and I am not going to share my marketing genius here yet. I thought if I could get a really good project going with this yarn it would motivate people to buy it, especially since I dropped the price on it just to get it moving. No dice. I started a linen stitch scarf in the Topaz label, which is 100% BFL. I was going to do it in the Amber, which has some baby alpaca mixed in with it, but I figured that yarn would sell itself with the power of my awesome sample behind it.


I cast it on the long way, so there are a total of something like 450 stitches on there. I worked on it pretty steadily at first, but then got onto writing posts for other publications. I actually think that project bag has gone slightly askew; no idea where it is. I am going to have to dig it out and get it rolling again.

The first knitting show of the season was the Creativ Festival and then the Knitters Frolic, which was a last minute cancellation invitation. I know that wasn’t clear, but someone cancelled last minute and we were given a call. We went with less stock than I would have liked, but made lots of new connections. I had a great time there. I also met yarning friends! At the CF I met Sarah who was interested in the process of dying yarn. With the CF and the KF so close together (one week apart) I needed all the help I could get so I just invited her over to pitch in with the process. This way, I get an extra pair of hands, and she gets to learn about dying.

I also met Debi at the KF and mostly because of her Tardis tattoo. I reached across my table at the show, grabbed her by the shoulders and said, “Is that a Tardis tattoo?! We should be friends! Be my friend!!!”. Okay, okay… I might have screamed it at her. Her response was, “alright.” I don’t feel like I have scarred her irreparably. We made a deal to trade yarn for a knitting bag. I was looking for Doctor Who fabric bags but couldn’t find any. Debi actually had some fabric at home and would trade bag for yarn. Done deal. Debi came over and helped me dye the yarn, and I actually tried out a new technique for dying it. It turned out not too bad!


The most recent show has been Quilts at the Creek, which is not a knitting show (obviously) but we went along anyway. My mom is a quilter so she obviously, and enthusiastically, volunteered to help us out. It was sweltering hot the first day and not much traffic came through, but on the second day there was a steady flow of people. One of which is my new friend Colum, who I immediately shanghaied into helping me dye yarn sometime.


Speaking of salves…. Er…. Friends I mean, I met this really neat lady named Renee in a Tim Hortons parking lot. Mostly because she purchased yarn online and lived pretty close to me so we worked out a time for exchange (which I do for anyone local). We clicked right off and started talking yarn and all things fiber. As it turns out, she is a knit-ware designer. We’ve been keeping in touch via email or text and keeping a solid line open for any really excellent ideas that come this way!

What have I been working on lately!? Well I started a boneyard shawl with the yarn I dyed with Debi. It’s all updated on my Ravelry page, so if you want to check out the colour go on over. I’ve also been working on my grandmother’s sweater. Yes…. That thing. It’s been the project that plagues me and has plagued me for years. I need to get this thing on the go and out of my UFO bin. My grandmother hasn’t been well, so I have been sending good vibes and thinking of her while I knit the sweater. I actually steeked out the one back panel to make it a front because there is no way this was going to happen if I had to do that many cables on the front and back. I am going to do the back plain and get this sweater going. Just call me turbo knitter because I am making TRACKS on this bad boy….. that being said I think I have finished one sleeve in the past several weeks…

That is the highlights reel from the past several months, the next show we’ve got coming up is the Kitchener/Waterloo Knitters fair on September 10th, 2016. I hope to see a lot of people there and I will, hopefully, post before then. Please feel free to tweet, email, rav message me to get my butt in gear about posting. I love the challenge and motivation of knowing other people are out there reading.

 

Posting Schedule

Posting schedule! I re-evaluate the posting schedule every year to see where I am in my life, what the stats are telling me and if I get any general comments about posting. Blogging is an interesting experience because you pour out bits of your soul, put blood, sweat and tears into it and you generally feel like you are blindfolded, talking into an empty room. There is a sense of a presence here and there, but until you get comments, emails or actually run into someone at a craft show, there is a huge sense of “Hello? Is this thing on?” (If anyone feels like they must take action immediately to quash these feelings, we have a Ravelry group where everyone can connect)

This past year has been crazy for me personally, as well as with Stitch Please, Stitches be Slippin’, KNITmuch and Addicted to Sock Knitting; not to mention a personal life that happens somewhere in there. I am a schedule-y person and I like structure, but I feel like I need to give the blog a bit of an organic life of it’s own. When I am knitting a lot, I will write about it, when I am not really knitting, I will post less frequently. I think this is going to keep my posts fresher. One of the things my blog stats were telling me is Wednesday posts were the ones everyone was most interested in. Those are the ones where I wrote about what I was knitting, how things were going with it, likes, dislikes, general plans for future knitting. Those are the posts I really enjoy writing and it seems like everyone enjoys reading them, so I’ll do more posts like that.

Since this is going to be a new format, if there is anything anyone wants to read about, wants me to try, has suggestions at all, please let me know. I am on twitter, Instagram, Ravelry, Facebook, email. Most social media platforms have a way to personal message people, just in case you don’t want to make a public comment.

I’ll also make sure to keep everyone apprised of upcoming shows, events, when I am writing other places. I hope everyone has an excellent New Year and keep on knitting!

2016

I know, it’s been a while, but it was a good time off! I’ve started a hat, kept knitting on a sock sample, I got suckered into knitting something for a secret Santa at work. It ended up being not too terrible and I got to try a pattern that I wanted. I am going to start with that since it is the thing that was most recent and fresh in my mind.

At work, I am kind of the token member of the department. There are 9 people and they all work together, but I work alone. I am just stuck onto the side in order to be part of some kind of department. This being the case, I only know a couple of them on a personal level. Of course I had picked the name of a person who was A) new to the department and B) someone I had next to no interaction with. The whole crux of this secret Santa was that the gift had to be handmade. I may or may not have laughed in a maniacal manner when they said it had to be handmade. I was so prepared for this!

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Usually I have a small amount of gifts that were already knit up for just such a purpose as this! Unfortunately I didn’t have anything that would work. I was watching my victim… I mean… giftee, to try to attain the perfect knitted accessory for her. I didn’t have time to do a sweater and she is very fashion forward. I decided to do something in a neutral colour in a shawl for her. That way it would match with everything! The fact that I’ve been dying to try out Hunter Hammersen’s Curls patterns was just a happy coincidence. I picked one of the easier patterns because I really didn’t have time to make something complicated. There was only a week’s worth of time to get it ready and there was a lot of actual Christmas shopping to do before then. I used some yarn from the stash and it worked out really perfect.

That’s not to say I didn’t go through a couple different variations. I tried two different types of yarn before I got the perfect one. I was slightly attached to this yarn, because there was some alpaca in it and it was so SO SO soft. It was black and white and I knew these weren’t colours that I would wear. Finally conceding that this was for a good cause and it would be selfish of me to keep yarn just for the purpose of feeling it up. The curl itself actually could not have turned out more perfect. There were two balls of this amazing yarn so I kept knitting on it right up until the night before I was supposed to give it as a gift. I just needed to do two rows in garter stitch then bind off and block, so I made it as big as I could have. The only photos I have are of it blocking and soaking. I never managed to get a photo of it on her or anything, but it saves me the extra step of attempting to explain what the photo was for and getting her permission to have her image displayed here.  I really loved knitting this curl and I really hope I get the opportunity to make more in the future!

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The hat I was working on is a colour work hat I have been intending to make for about 2 years… possibly 3? It’s one of Tanis Fiber Arts Four Seasons Hat kits, I bought two just before they were out of production. I love colour work. I could work colour until the cows came home, left, then came home again, so it isn’t really surprising that I was all over this like white on rice. I think my gauge might be a little small though. All the people who have ever taken a class from me will gasp in horror that I DIDN’T DO A GAUGE SWATCH!! I know. Take a deep breath, it’s going to be okay. I am really hoping none of my students are actually reading this and if they are… this is one of those “do as I say not as I do” moments.

I think I can block it a little bigger. I am not worried that it won’t fit or anything, but I originally wanted it to be a bit roomy. We will see. I always have the next one if this one doesn’t turn out exactly as I planned. Now that I’ve been keeping my hair short I really appreciate all the hats and scarves that I have knit in the past. Having long hair actually keeps you rather warm, I never realized how much. Mind you, I really don’t miss it. I dislike being too warm, so layering scarves and hats really suits me.

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The sample sock I’ve been working on is something of a prototype for self striping Christmas colours. I am not sure if I want to share it yet, I am going to release it next year. I was thinking about trying to get it out before Christmas this year, but I really didn’t have the mental space to do it.

Look out for my next post talking about the scheduling of blog posts for the next year! If you miss me, it would make my day if you commented or emailed and let me know! I know I missed you!

Technical Tuesday: The Nuts and Bolts

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.

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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!

Kittens

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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It’s all a happy kind of chaos and the older ladies are just happy the kittens have each other to entertain themselves.

The Aftermath

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.

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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.

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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.

Technical Tuesday: Darn Weaving in Ends

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.

And ribbing.

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!

One Year Anniversary!

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.

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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.

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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.

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Still Alive Part 2

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.

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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!

Technical Tuesday: Pocket Styles

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!

Still Alive!

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.

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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.

A Little bit MORE of Everything

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

A Little Bit of Everything

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.’

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Technical Tuesday: Photos

First and foremost I am going to tell you that I am by no means an expert on this subject. I, like everyone else starting out, took horrible photos. I was friends with a couple of people who were really into photography and learned quite a bit from just asking questions.

I don’t have a fancy camera; all the photos I take are on my smartphone. This video gives you a really great founding in the basics of taking photos with your smart phone. The lighting is key. I am really lucky and have some sheer curtains in my living room, which is perfect for indirect natural sunlight. The hardest thing with lighting is getting the colour to show up true. If I am taking pictures of anything for Etsy I have to make sure the colours are perfect because you don’t want someone buying yarn and it being a completely different colour than pictured online.

Something this video mentions is to experiment and have fun with it. I take 15-20 photos for every single photo I post. So don’t think that you’re going to take three photos and they’re all going to be perfect. I might think something looks great, but when I look at it on my computer, not so much.
It’s a process and it takes time. I like to look at product photos from others and see what really appeals to me about that photo. Why is it aesthetically pleasing? What makes me want to make that shawl? Is it the colour? The way it’s displayed? Really breaking down other’s photos into smaller chunks can help you with your own photography practice. Best of luck!!

The Whole Vacation Thing

As I mentioned in passing yesterday… I am one of those people who is at the airport WAY earlier than they need to be, with enough supplies to survive in 99% of Earth’s conditions for at least a couple days. I’m going to lay out what my packing process looks like for those of you who are either interested or keen to have a laugh.

Travelling with Knitting

First of all this process is by no means perfected. I only started traveling in the end of 2013, that was my first ever airplane ride! I definitely packed a lot of things I didn’t need for a week trip to Chicago. Paul had to remind me that I was probably going to buy a fair amount of yarn and needed space to bring it back. At which point I looked at him with no small amount of horror. I had almost forgotten to leave space for yarn. No good could come of this so I decided to be much more careful about my packing.

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First of all, I try to roll all my clothes before I place them in my bag. I think about the weather, what it could be, what it is unlikely to be, and just pack for everything. We went camping a lot as children and that was the theory behind packing for a camping trip. What you need to survive anything.
Second of all, I try to imagine the things that are okay to forget. If you’re going somewhere with drug stores, then it’s probably okay not to bring one of everything in your medicine cabinet. If you can reliably buy antacids and Band-Aids, I’m not too concerned.

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A ‘busy bag’ aka, yarn and stuff. I wrote a post a while ago about how I always pack way too much yarn for projects that I could probably start while on vacation. I think about the trip there and if I will end up sleeping or not. I ALWAYS plan to sleep, but don’t always end up sleeping. I also think I will have much more time for sitting and doing nothing than I end up. Although, when we went to Cuba it was the wet season and we spent more time than I thought we would indoors. I don’t bring anything too complicated, just something to keep my hands busy. Usually socks, as I know you are all excited about!
I do all of this, 3-5 days before the trip and plan to throw more things in as I think of them. I usually leave this bag in our spare room or on the floor in our bedroom (although this encourages kitties who think they’re going to travel). If I think of something I’ve forgotten I throw it in! Repacking at the end and taking out things I know I am not going to need!

On the Move

The weather has been getting colder and that more than anything really puts me in a mood for knitting! When the house is freezing and you need to go find socks to discourage your toes from turning blue. That is my favourite weather, right there! I love putting on layers and being able to wear the things I’ve knitted. It really sucks to knit something that you’re really proud of and not be able to wear it.

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I’ve had a few dyeing adventures in the past couple weeks. If you’re following my on instagram you will have seen the gradient I dyed!! I am going to start knitting it up to see how it turned out, right after I finish the Halloween socks I’ve been working on.

 

 

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I know! I am a terrible tease to post them in black and white, but they are going to be at the Vancouver show Knit City. I am planning on taking them to Creativ Festival and Woodstock Fleece and Fibre Festival as well so don’t worry if you aren’t going to make it all the way out to BC.

 

 

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That being said we are leaving for Vancouver in one week. It kind of snuck up on me. We’ve been planning this trip since March so it always seemed so far in the future. There were always other things to be concentrating on as well; writing magazine articles, blogging, preparing for the K/W show. All of the sudden we’re down to a single digit count down! I may or may not be panicking a little bit. I’ve got all the yarn in order, but no clothes or anything packed. I know you look at me like, ‘ummm, you still have a week.’ I am very Type A and have to start packing like NOW. Anytime I think of something I need to pack, I go and put it in the suitcase.

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I kid you not. I started making a list just now and it significantly brought down my anxiety levels. I’ve got lots of advice for places to eat and things to do! I think I may have to go again next year to actually do all of it! I’ve heard Vancouver is beautiful and I have the instinctual feeling I won’t want to leave. Really excited! Has anyone ever been? I am always looking for suggestions for places to eat!!
At Knit City we will be in booth 14, I always look forward to meeting new people so if you’re going to that show be sure to stop by and say hi!! I was looking over the floor plan and there are a lot of people there I have been dying to meet! I am going to have to escape from the booth at some point and wander around. I’ve been looking up some of the vendors I’ve never heard of and it’s looking like it is going to be GREAT!
Super excited, but I really need to go throw a couple things into a suitcase before I have a total breakdown!