Saturday, January 21, 2017

2017 Let the Year Begin!

So here we are, a brand new shiny year to create, breath, explore, live, dream!  What to do more of this year..........What to change this year......What to do less of.  I will be exploring those topics in the blog this year (hopefully with more regularity) along with a healthy dose of all things fibre and food.

First up a recap of the 2016 Charity Challenge.
Last year the goal was 12 items for charity, I figured then at least once a month I could sit down with my knitting needles and reflect on all my blessings while helping out individuals during a time in their lives when they are forced to deal with difficult situations.

I surpassed that goal in 2016 supporting both Knittedknockers and a last minute call for hats for Christmas Care packages for a local shelter.

2016 Stash Busting
 If only so many pretty things did not follow me home, I would have met my stash busting goal (Rhichard Devrieze, Zen Garden, Brian the Sheep from Niagara-on-the-Lake and all you fluffy Alpaca's across Ontario), you know who you are and what you did to undermine my can I every forgive you! oh look, pretty are forgiven

As you can see I am no where near the 50% mark, so I will let this goal ride for 2017

2017 Charity Challenge
A group of knitters at my LYS, have come together with the promise to delivery 200 hats to the care packages in 2017 (delivery date for November).  Needles are already flying and I believe the group count is up to 22 hats right now.   I had doubled my goal to 24 charity items for this year, but I might have to revisit/increase that in June.

What are your goals, share if you wish, I would love to hear them.

All for now - we will see next month how the goal of regular blog postings go!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

2016 Charity Challenge - Knitted Knockers!

This year, I have challenged myself to knit 12 sets of knockers.  Yup that is right, I am knitting knockers.  I am knitting knockers at Starbucks, I am knitting knockers on the train, everywhere I go its nothing but knockers.  My goal is to complete a minimum of 1 set per month, Jan/Feb completed, working on the March knockers now!

and it is all for an amazing charity:

I urge you to go and take a look at the website and the options that are available for donating.  Even if you are not a knitter you can still support this charity. Perhaps a knitter you know would gladly accept your donation of yarn to knit knockers with and when completed you could help with stuffing them! 

Here is an excerpt from the site:

   Knitted Knockers are special handmade breast prosthesis for women who have undergone mastectomies or other procedures to the breast. These soft comfortable lightweight prosthesis are available for FREE. They are knit with love by our wonderful volunteers.  Some women find traditional breast prosthetics too expensive, heavy, sweaty and uncomfortable. Also traditional prosthesis often cannot be worn for weeks after surgery. Knitted knockers on the other hand are soft, comfortable, beautiful and when placed in a regular bra they take the shape and feel of a real breast. Knitted knockers can also be used to fill the gap for breasts that are uneven and easily adapted for those going through reconstruction by simply removing some of the stuffing. Some women prefer to weight their knocker with a pebble or a small stitch in bra to keep them in place.  The knitted knocker can also be used in your prosthetic bra or in a post-op camisole as a lightweight choice.

If you live in the Burlington area, SpunFibreArts is a convenient drop off site and they also have the preferred yarn available for purchase; Cascade Yarns’ Ultra Pima Yarn  100% cotton; washable, soft and affordable.

So . . . What is your Charity Challenge this year?

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Importance of Matching Dyelots or Why My Sweater Has Short Sleeves

About a year and a half ago I bought yarn to make a sweater for myself.

Fast forward 1 year . . . .

Working away on the top down yoked sweater, finished the yoke and body.  Spent one night working on sleeve #1, working well into the night as I was on a roll.  Finished one ball of yarn, joined the next and kept working away.  I finally went off to bed.

And the next morning . . .

So excited about the progress I had made I practically skipped down to my knitting room hardly able to wait for the coffee to brew and grab a cup so that I could settle in.  I believe I may have let out an audible gasp of air when I saw my sweater in full daylight. 

There it was . . . the line of divide between the dark black and the slightly grey black.  I could not believe my eyes, I dug through the knitting bag and grabbed out the labels and yes there is was, two numbers that did not match for the dyelot.  Oh how could I have made such an error, and even worse a year after the purchase I realized that there would never be a chance of finding a match.

I sat there in disbelief staring at the odd arm, trying to decide what to do.  There was such a difference in the shades of black that I knew alternating rows of colour as I moved from one yarn to the other would not work.

Adding additional colourwork at this point also was not an option, the sweater would have become much too busy.

So after the second cup of coffee I decided that my only line of action was to pull out my work on the sleeve and divide yarn of matching dyelot into two equal balls and that would then define the length of my sleeves.

I am actually quite happy with the finished product (really, what choice do I have).  But I have learned the valuable lesson of double or triple checking those dye-lot numbers!!!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

Well, I hope that however you spent your New Years is was relaxing, fun, and filled with friends and family.

So. . . did you complete any challenges that you posed for yourself in 2015?
Have you made new resolutions for this year?

I had two challenges on-going and perhaps today is a good day to revisit them.

The first challenge that I created for myself was to have all items off needles by midnight.  I may have raised the bar a bit to high on this one and I definitely did not factor in my Christmas gift knitting. (so I have given myself a 3 month extension)

The list 3 months ago was:
1. Evenstar Shawl - just started last chart - 100 rows, then the border is left
2. Crescent Shawl - on lace trim section (Stash Buster #7)
3. Lace Cardigan style vest - actually up to the armholes
4. Infinity Scarf (Stash buster #6)
5. Gift Item for Christmas (can't ruin the surprise)

The list as of this morning:
1. Evenstar Shawl - just started last chart - 100 rows, then the border is left
2. Crescent Shawl - on lace trim section (Stash Buster #7)
3. Lace Cardigan style vest - actually up to the armholes
4. Stranded Yoke Sweater
5. Sock scrap blanket

Hmmm - apparently still the same number of items, just changed it up a bit.

Perhaps we need to take a look at challenge #2:

Goal is to have 50% or more of my stash used up by the end of 2016 (a bit more realistic with timeframes on this one).  As you can see the stash busting is moving along a bit better than completing projects. And now that Christmas is over with I can share how I managed to get this amount of yarn busted! 

Approximately 120 different yarn groupings to use up, as of today 32 have been removed from my inventory.

Marilynn's Hat
Mom's Hat
Cattia Sample
Pear Tree Cowl
Dryer Balls for all (emptied almost at 17 gallon bin)

Socks for Mom

Adama cowl
toque for workmate

Star Shower Cowl
Noro Silk Scarf
Star Shower Cowl

Cattia Cowl
Pear Tree Hat (Before pompom)
Border Hat

To Shy for Photo's
Will's Hat
Dad's Socks
Mom's Ruffle Scarf

But my most favourite knitted item of 2015 was created using the Hollow Acres Alpaca, a gift of yarn given to me by special friends on a special b-day.  It took a few years to decide what to make, but I am truly happy with the outcome.  

 The hat is a diamond and double moss stitch pattern with a large ribbed edge which the scarf coordinates with.  The faux-fur pompom's complete the look.  Now if winter ever arrives I am ready!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Challenge: Ring in the New Year with all projects completed; plus Stash Buster Update

Here is my challenge to you - no matter what your craft of choice is, ring in the New Year with all projects completed.

Imagine the feeling of freedom and clarity you will have when, on January 1st, you enter your craft/hobby room and can start that project that you have always wanted to do but you had to wait until all other projects were cleared out.

Why not finish up those projects from years past and hand them out this year over the holidays to those they were originally intended for, or perhaps for that new person in your life or donate them to a local shelter/charity.  However they are distributed, what a great feeling you will have!

So the first step in this process is actually to admit what you have on the go . . . so I guess since I have thrown the challenge out there, I must be the first to step up on the podium to confess.  I am doing much better than that year when I had 18 projects on the go, no really I am!?

1. Evenstar Shawl - just started last chart - 100 rows, then the border is left
2. Crescent Shawl - on lace trim section (Stash Buster #7)
3. Lace Cardigan style vest - actually up to the armholes
4. Infinity Scarf (Stash buster #6)
5. Gift Item for Christmas (can't ruin the surprise)

Okay, so that is just under 2 months to complete 5 items - should not be an issue at all! LOL

Alright everyone - somewhere, whether twitter, facebook or just a note on your fridge; publically post your unfinished project list.  Trust me, crossing items off will be the best feeling ever!

And now on to a Stash Busting update. (red "x"'s are the yarn used, photo's of completed projects appear below)  See you next month for the next Stash Busting update.

Now back to knitting like the wind!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Show me the Stash

I am not speaking about the Movember Stash, but I will support you if you grow one!  No. . . I am talking about those bins under my desk and the cupboard drawer that I have to lean on to get it to close properly.

I have decided it is time to stash bust, so my goal by December 31, 2016 is to use up at a minimum - 50% of my current stash.

The photo below shows all stashed items that I have logged and tracked thus far, anything new will be added in.

When, and only when the project that uses a stashed item is off its needles will I place a red X over its picture.  I do plan on updating monthly so check back and see how I am doing.  There may even be some photo's of the finished items!

Finished projects will be posted to  with the title Stash Buster #_____

Saturday, October 3, 2015

It all started in November of 2013 . . .

I was on Ravelry reading the postings in the designers group  way back in November of 2013 when I saw a call for submissions for Little One Skein Wonders.  I am a fan of the One Skein books and was excited to have the chance to design for them.

Off to my stash I flew to see if I had anything that inspired me. Now I may have had one or two (ahem . . . okay maybe 5) skeins that would have worked, but we all know we love an excuse to go browsing for yarn.   I had an idea for a little boys vest, how adorable would that be!  And as soon as I walked into Spun Fibre Arts I knew I had found the perfect yarn!  There it was, Sweet Georgia Superwash DK in a lovely semi-tonal denim blue named Coastal.

Back home the designing began, first with the dreaded (but very important) swatch.  I loved the way that the semi-tonal quality of the yarn gave the textured pattern a well loved look.   The yardage was such that I was also able to add a hat to complete the ensemble.   

How cute will that special little man in your life look when he is sporting his new vest and hat, paired with a crisp white collared shirt and his first pair of blue jeans!  I know that this will be my go-to baby shower knit gift!
The Claredon Baby Vest and Hat is now available in the newly released One Skein Wonders for Babies. And I am very proud to be not only a One Skein Fan but now also a contributor!