I’ve clearly had too much coffee today because when I was researching for this article I fell down a black hole. I didn’t get as far as cat videos, but it was a close call. So coffee! I used to hate coffee, and thought I was totally justified in this because it was ‘bad for you.’ Now there is a lot of research that says it can actually be healthy for you. Here are some of the facts I found. Click on the photo to follow through to the whole article.
Please click though and check out the webpages on the other end of the links, they did all the awesome graphics and research. Lots of fun facts about tea as well, coffee doesn’t have a monopoly on health and caffeine. Now that I have shared my love of coffee and probably made you want one more cup, my work is done! If you haven’t signed up for our newsletter you can do so here. We are going to be revealing our next self-striping colourway in June, so if you’re interested…
Miracle of miracles Wednesday has come again! This week is going entirely, really, very not well; so I am glad we’re over the halfway point. On a positive note, this week is my blogging week for KNITmuch. I’ve done five articles for them about Red Heart’s new yarn Scrubby. It’s made special for dish cloths and is ah-mazing, head on over to check out those posts.
This week I managed to finally finish Paul’s Socks of a Different Colour! Yaaaaay! It’s nice to have them off my pate and get into something new. Of course by something new, I mean continue working on my Grandmother’s Sweater! I am on the last sleeve. I am actually scared to start working on the body again, but, maybe I’ve built it up in my mind as really tedious and hard work? Right? Right?
I think having all the sleeves done will help to motivate me into getting the second back and both fonts done. There are four pieces to each sweater, total of eight for both, if four sleeves are done and one back that means I’m more than half way? Right?!
I’ve written before about how I keep a pair of socks in the car to knit on, and I had an interesting surprise when I went to knit them yesterday. One of my dpn’s was broken in half! I had thought one of them felt a little bendy as I was knitting with them, but that could have been a figment of my imagination. I probably kicked it or dropped something on it at some point.
I usually align all my needles parallel to each other to prevent things like this from happening, but I guess something got jostled in the bag. Luckily I usually only use four needles but they come in packs of five or six. There are a couple spares floating around.
Hopefully next week I’ll be able to show you some updated progress on my Grandmother’s sweater! I need to have this one off my mind! If you haven’t heard about it in a while, keep me honest and BUG ME ABOUT IT!!! This sweater is going down!
One of the most versatile knitting techniques I have ever seen is the i-cord. This can be used to create a nice edge either on the cast on or bind off side of things. You can also use it to create a stand alone tube which would serve well in any kind of toy knitting.
I think this i-cord bind off would look fantastic on the end of sleeves. In the video the maker mentions a whole slew of uses, any one of them would make hand made garments look more professionally finished.
This is the same cast on I used for the Tanis Fibre Arts Fiddlehead Mitten pattern. It was one of the first modified cast on’s I ever tried, but I absolutely love it! It gives such a nice clean edge, which I am always a fan of.
This is i-cord added on after to clean up the edges of your knitting. I would use this on scarves, button bands or anywhere you have an edge that you wish looked a little neater!
Finally here is the stand-alone i-cord. This is what I used for the arms and legs of the Mochimochi toys I was knitting in Chicago.
There are thousands of uses and these are only four of the videos out there catering to i-cords. Give them a try and see where they take you. I feel like i-cords are something of a gateway to really interesting knitting. They look much more difficult than they are and look really great!
The newest TV show on the docket for my knitting is called Psych! This was recommended to me by a friend at work who, very energetically and enthusiastically, acted out most of the first episode. After watching said first episode, I was totally hooked! Later, Paul was looking through ‘best shows on Netflix’ and it was up near the top.
This show is totally and completely hilarious; it’s really light hearted and actually laugh-out-loud funny. I would actually advise against drinking anything while watching just to avoid the whole soda-through-the-nose thing.
The show is about Shawn Spencer who is highly observant, thanks to his cop father. He is immature and unemployed, but makes a bit of money leaving crime solving tips at the local police department. Head Detective Lassiter and his partner bring Shawn in for questioning because his tips are just a little ‘too good’. Pressed for an explanation, Shawn claims he gets the information through his psychic ability… hilarity ensues.
Now, when I sat down to watch episode one, Paul was sitting with me. Laying on the other side of the sectional in fact. I looked over part way through and saw he was a sleep… not only that, but he had a hole in his sock. For some reason, he has a hard time throwing out socks that have worn out. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and make it very easy to trash this sock and warn him about falling asleep too close to me in the middle of the day. Moral of the story, never trust a knitter with scissors!
He has now started to build a defence… I’m not sure if this will work out better or worse….
The past couple weeks have been so insanely busy I’ve felt like I was neglecting my knitting. Not only that, but I really didn’t have too much to tell you about the past few Wednesday’s! I did some work on the next self striping sock I am going to release next month and I even had time to work on the second sock for the set I am doing for Paul.
I am giving the photo in black and white because I want the colours to be something of a surprise! I’ve been hard at work in the dye lab coming up with new and exciting things. The best part about experimenting is the mistakes you make! Sometimes you have something specific in your mind and you set out to accomplish that task, but you accidentally create something so much better than your first thought! It’s a constant learning process and I really enjoy it!
Now, have I got a story about Paul’s second sock! This sock keeps trying to wander off on it’s own. The past weekend was Victoria Day and, therefore, a long weekend. My parents always have fireworks out on their farm, so we went down for the weekend to hang out with all my aunts, uncles and cousins. I was sitting outside, next to the fire pit, knitting along on the socks. When the time came for fireworks everyone moved their lawn chairs over to the field to watch. At this point I set my knitting bag, with the socks, needles and yarn, on my lap. I didn’t knit during the fireworks because dropping stitches is just going to happen way too often when you violently jump at loud sounds.
After the fireworks, everyone moved their chairs back over to the fire pit. I stood up and followed suit completely forgetting the fabric, knitting bag on my lap. Through my thick sweater I didn’t notice it fall to the ground. At this point I was totally wiped out and ready to sleep, so I immediately made my way to bed. The next morning I had some problems finding my knitting. Re-tracing my steps I realized I must have left it outside and went out to get the poor damp, dew-soaked knitting bag. It was a sorry sight and looked at me reproachfully as I brought it back in the house, but after I left it in a warm place for a few hours, it was good as new… okay maybe not ‘new’, but dry at the very least.
This was the most spectacular episode of this knitting running away from me, but certainly not the only one. I dropped it in the laneway of a friend’s house when I was walking in and failed to notice it fall. Luckily I am constantly knitting and instantly noticed it’s absence. Once again at my parents place, I tossed it in a corner with my purse when my mom needed something and couldn’t find it when I went back. It turned out to be behind the bag beside my purse, but that was only after I had spent a good 10 minutes going ‘I KNOW I threw it into this corner. I REMEMBER IT!!!’
I am really close to being done this sock, but I am going to have to keep an eye on it. If the current chain of events continues who knows where I will end up leaving it?!
One thing I am not asked very often, but think it is worthwhile to know, is the difference between a ball, cake, skein and a hank of yarn. This might not seem like a true distinction, but I assure you, they are four totally and completely different things. I admit that I do know the difference but am a terror because I interchange skein and hank as well as ball and cake.
Let’s start with the easiest; a ball. The most common place balled yarn comes from are those without swifts and yarn ball winder. Those who buy yarn from a store take it home and rewind it by hand. Before I had my swift and baller it was a common occurrence for this to be happening in my house. Either me or Paul would be balling yarn in the living room. It wasn’t near as quick as the process with a yarn ball winder so Paul would usually start before I actually needed the yarn. By the time I knit up to the point where I needed another ball, it was done! Click here to read the story about Paul and 1000 yards of lace…
When you end up breaking and heading out for a swift and yarn ball winder, you’ve progressed to the cake! I would suggest if you are looking at a ball winder, you either get a swift at the same time or get a swift first. It is near impossible to cake yarn on a ball winder when it is not on a swift.
I use ball and cake interchangeably because sometimes cakes are referred to as ‘center pull balls’ because you can start using the yarn from the center of the cake, which will allow it to sit in one place while you’re knitting. With a ball, you need to put it inside something like a yarn bowl, bag or yarn buddy of some king. This was a real problem with me and my cats. Sometimes they would steal it right out of the yarn bowl!
The skein is probably the word I misuse the most. A skein is actually the form yarn comes in from most big box stores (some LYS’s too, but most common in big box stores). They come in an oval shape and ready to knit, just like the photo below. This is technically a skein
A hank on the other hand is when the yarn is wound in a circle with choke ties holding it together. When this yarn is displayed at your LYS it is twisted together. When I post photos of un-caked yarn, this is a hank… even though I call it a skein. From now on I am going to make an effort to use the proper names for these forms yarn can take!
I’ll tell you a little anecdote to end this post. When I was looking to buy a yarn ball winder, the planets aligned and all the LYS in my area were sold out. I desperation to get one immediately, (because waiting a few days was obviously going to kill me) I called a big box store to see if they sold them. This was a crafting big box store and the lady who was working in the yarn section was unsure what I meant. I described what I was looking for in detail, even the process of hand balling, so she would get my meaning.
At this point a light bulb went on somewhere and she realized what I was talking about. Instead of telling me if they carried this implement, she tried to convince me that nowhere sold yarn in hanks anymore. I assured her that hanks of yarn were alive and well in the world and she steadfastly did not believe me. I ended up assuming they didn’t carry yarn ball winders and, secure in my knitterly prowess, I called my LYS back and ordered a yarn ball winder.
This past week as been so crazy busy I hardly know what to talk about. We are going to be starting a knitting club at work, which is really exciting! I am in the process of writing my next article for Addicted to Sock Knitting and writing something new!
New knitting club at work! Believe it or not, I was totally not the one who inspired this! There were a couple ladies who were thinking it would be nice to get a social group together, but they didn’t knit. An email was sent out to another knitter to see if she would be willing to teach anyone who wanted to learn, but her schedule was a bit uncertain and she referred the email to me.
I think this is a great idea because no matter what kind of job you have, there are stresses involved with it. Just 20 minutes of knitting lowers your heart rate and blood pressure; helps clear your mind and bring on a meditative state. Okay, okay, unless you’re doing something extremely complicated, like short rows or incredibly intricate lace work.
Growing a knitting community is never a bad thing either! I find a lot of the bigger knitting gatherings are too far of a drive. I’ve found a couple in Guelph or Toronto, which are both a 45-minute drive for me… on a good day; with traffic that could be up to an hour, maybe more. I have no doubt there are more knitting groups in the area, it’s just a matter of finding them! Then of course… making time to go!
With the next issue coming up fast, I am all over Addicted to Sock Knitting. This eZine is packed full of everything you need to know for socks! My love for all things sock knitting is not subtle or small, so you can imagine me drooling over all the amazing photos in their facebook group. It makes me want to run out right now and buy yarn… and by run out and buy yarn I mean on Etsy.
There are going to be a couple posts, by me, to the new blog KNITmuch. This blog is coming soon and I can’t wait! There is going to be a lot of great content happening over there! Check out their facebook page as well, around January there are some photos of Vogue Knitting Live NYC 2015 and some yarn stores!
Just from looking at the photos from VKL I instantly wish I could go back, unfortunately I am going to be missing this year’s VKL Chicago. It is happening the first weekend in October when we are vending at Knit Social in Vancouver. I can’t wait to check out some of the BC knitting stores though! It is my first trip there and I am going to make the most of it!!!!!
There must be something in the air lately because I am in a real chevron place at the moment. I have been looking at Grumperina’s Jaywalker sock pattern and these chevron baby blankets!
All the patterns I could find for these blankets had been crochet. Now, my crochet is no better now than it was when I first started knitting, but I wanted a knit pattern! Now it seems there are several out there! As soon as I stumbled across the first video, I knew it was meant to be. I am going to have to make one sometime soon.
I completely understand that even if I cannot crochet, the same is not said about others. The next video is for the crocheters! You will find this is a completely croch-hate free blog!
I actually got the chance to meet Michael Sellick and part of the Crochet Crowd gang at the Creativ Festival. They were super friendly and Mike gave me some great advice! I was wildly jealous of their booth, definitely go on over to the Crochet Crowd website and check them out! They’ve even got some knitting content even though crochet is their main topic.
The weather is FINALLY getting warmer! FINALLY! FREEEEEEDOOOOOOOM! I feel like I’ve been indoors way too much lately so Paul and I went out to the rail trail in Hamilton and took a bike ride! It was great to get outside and not freeze my tail off! I am not totally in love with summer because I am not a fan of the heat, but spring and summer definitely have their good qualities.
One of which I am enjoying on a nightly basis; barbequing. I know it is possible and perfectly fine to BBQ in the winter, but I am not willing to do it myself and thus far, I have not convinced Paul it is worth it. I find the two of us actually eat a lot healthier in the summer because we just throw some kind of meat and veggies on the grill.
That is what I am really going to talk about today, grilling food! I’ve discovered quite a few marinades and simple 5-minute recipes that make cooking in the summer a much easier task!
This first one, Paul and I actually discovered while prepping for a group camping trip. There were several groups of people and each group was going to cook one meal. We were dinner for the first night so we planned to make kabobs! We had some veggie and chicken, but the steak was the best. Cut into small pieces and put into a bowl with the marinade, by the time we cooked them the meat was so tender. I usually don’t have the patience (or forethought) to marinade meat over night, but this made me a convert. If I’m going to marinate, I’ll do it overnight.
One thing I have done for a few years, is take zucchini or asparagus, coat with olive oil and garlic plus seasoning. Very simple, but absolutely ah-mazing! I almost feel like that is cheating because it is so easy.
I’ve sprinkled a few photos of other favourite recipes and linked back to the original pages. You have only to click on something that looks delicious!
If anyone is following me on Instagram or subscribed to the newsletter, you might have noticed that I finished my rainbow socks! When I was at the Creativ Festival, the finished sock was out on display and I was knitting the rest of the second sock. I had been planning on posting them eventually, but everyone loved them so much I am going to share early.
I’m going to be posting 5 skeins of this self-striping sock yarn in our Sapphire base. The listing will go up on our Etsy store May 16th at 11am. I am going to release a different colour of the self-striping variety next month. I am not ruling out future skeins of the rainbow self-striping, but I have no solid plans to repeat it in the immediate future. I’ve been playing around with a lot of colours and combinations with self-striping yarn and it is a fantastic amount of fun! Keeping me vastly entertained!
I’ve also been working on Paul’s socks. When we went to see the new Avenger’s movie, I brought them and worked on them diligently for a good two hours. After I got out of the theatre, I noticed that the colours were pooling very differently! A few people call these socks cousins instead of twins, but the colours were really different. They had to be more like 2nd or 3rd cousins on your step-father’s side.
I looked at my Ravelry notes and realized I had not only used the bigger needle size, but had increased the number of stitches as well. I usually use 64 but in this case I used 72. I had completely forgotten about this and was happily knitting along at 64 stitches. I immediately ripped out the 3-4 inches of sock I had finished in the movie and set it up so I could pick up and go when I was ready. With so little knitting time, it breaks my heart a little bit to frog so much work.
To be completely honest there were an uncommon amount of mistakes in the ribbing, but I just kept repeating the mantra ‘I REGRET NOTHING’ whenever I knew I had messed up the ribbing.
I am still thinking about what projects I want to knit as samples for the next show. I am looking for some really good one or two skein projects. I think I’ve knit a great many socks, not that anyone could tell by the blog content, so I need something different; a pallet cleanser of sorts. Usually the best patterns are the ones you hear through word of mouth, so if anyone has anything they really liked, please comment or send me an email through the link in the side bar!
I was at something of a loss about what to write for today. Usually when this happens I go on a knitting blog or look at what I am currently knitting and try to think of it from a beginning perspective. Nothing was really popping out at me this time. Procrastination actually saved me for this week.
On YouTube, I actually came across a channel entitled Studio Knit. Usually I focus on one technique and post several videos for that one specific technique, but Studio Knit posts video patterns.
The roses from the pattern above were posted as a mother’s day pattern, but they could easily be used for something else! Valentine’s Day? Simply flowers that could survive the horticultural attentions of anyone possessed of a black thumb.
These videos are only a few of all the ones on this channel, but they are excellent and a small sample of what is posted. If you’re hesitant about any of these projects, there are quite a few beginner videos to help you along the way!