Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pacafiesta, a great way to lighten your wallet

Pacafiesta was great this weekend. I got a lot of spinning done, the best part was there was no small kittens leaping and jumping at my wheel the whole time! It really enhanced productivity.

There was lots of Alpacas there. Here they are lining up to be judged. The one lying down was really funny, the poor girl kept trying to make her stand up, but she just wanted to lye down. I guess she had a long weekend, and was sleepy.

I enjoyed the giant rope knitting they had on display. I guess they used a crochet type system to make these beasts. There was at least 4 of them.

I finished spinning the bamboo merino I have been working on. There's about 3.5 ounces there, and I have another ounce or so in another skein. I will post the deets when I get it washed up and measured.

I also started spinning some 75% alpaca, 12% merino, 8% bamboo and 5% buffalo that was gifted to us spinners as a thank you. The fiber is from Legacy Lane and is spinning up like a dream!

I scored a new knitting book called Knit so Fine. I was interested in this book because a lot of the spinning I have been doing as been in the sport weight range, so it had lots of patterns I could use the yarn for. I really like this one, and this, and this, and this, and this. I think I will get a lot of use out of this book. I also picked up this sweet little felt art and a spin off magazine.

As for fiber, I may have gone a little bit crazy.

First I saw this lovely oatmeal merino roving. I thought it was quite a bargain at $20 a pound. I have been wanting to get enough to make a sweater, so I bought three pounds to be safe. I have had several people tell me that I can probably make 2-3 sweaters from that, but that's ok! I can always dye some of it.

Then I saw this superwash merino that is apparently a mill end, but it looks fine to me. It was... brace yourself... FIVE DOLLARS A POUND!!!! I know, I was blown away. I also got three pounds of this, so if I get even two sweaters out of it, that's $7.50 a sweater... not too shabby.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Tomorrow is the day! Pacafiesta! I couldn't be more excited. The best part is that I have been recruited to spin there. I received an URGENT email from Sharon Orpin who received one from the organizer saying that they needed spinners desperately. I am always one to help out when any kind of yarn/fiber emergency happens! I will be there tomorrow from 10-4 spinning away. It's going to be great. Hopefully there will be some of these:

And maybe some of these....

And if we are oh so very lucky there might be a couple of these:

I plan to take lots of pictures and update tomorrow! If you live in the HRM hope to see you there!

Monday, September 22, 2008

What I was going to post

I was going to post some pictures of the finished shawl. I was even thinking about being very ambitious and going outside to take some pictures. Unfortunately though the kittens have made themselves comfortable, and I didn't have the heart to move them. I swear this is not posed, I lay the shawl out on the bed and they both made themselves comfortable. The shawl turned out a lot bigger than I thought it would. At first I thought that I might have used too small needles, but now that it is blocked it looks good.

Progress continues on the butterfly blanket. I am starting to think it is going to be blanket sized when it is done. Honestly I am being kind of lazy on this one, since the yarn is handspun and the pattern is flexible, I am just going to keep knitting until I run out of yarn. It will be what it will be!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sheep Shawl - Done!

I sat down today with some good bluegrass/roots music and set to work on the sheep shawl. Nothing like a little Old Crow Medicine Show, Old Man Luedecke, Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams, and Amelia Curren to get the productivity flowing. The sheep shawl is now being blocked!

I know that it is really hard to see the pattern with the colorful yarn and foam, but if you look closely you can see the sunshine, then the orchard, then the houses, the sunflowers, grass and sheep. I love it. This is going to be a fabulous fall scarf for me.

I typically do not keep the lace that I knit, usually I sell it or give it away, but this one is special to me. I love farms so much, and I want to own one, so for now this will the next best thing.

So the completion of the Sheep Shawl allows me to do what I really want to, knit with my handspun. I have to say, I don't think that there is anything better than knitting with your handspun. The whole thing just feels more intimate. As a spinner it is great because I am able to better evaluate my yarn and see how I might improve upon it.

Here is the beginnings of the Butterfly Garden. As you can see I have changed the garter stitch to stockinette, so far it looks good!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Tidying up

I am giving the house a deep clean today. I am not just tidying, I am tearing this apart and dusting those tiny little corners that often go missed. As a knitter this means controlling the stash. It tends to escape its storage bins slowly, and leak into the active knitting spaces. What I mean by the active knitting spaces, is that I have a couple baskets around that are meant for works in progress only. Over time though other junk tends to accumulate in there, and I have to push it back into its place.

During this process I noticed that I had an almost empty tupperware available for Yarn. This was very exciting for me and I began to reorganize the stash into this bin. Mike commented that the stash was like a gold fish, and would grow to fit into whatever environment it was provided.

The reason for all this cleaning is that we are having a little party here tomorrow for my step dad Wayne who turns 60 on Wednesday. There will be people here who have not been to my apartment before, and I would like to trick them into thinking that I am neat and tidy :)

Progress continues on the shawl border. I have to admit, the edging didn't line up with the bottom point like it was suppose to, but there was no way in hell I was going to rip it back so I fudged it a little to make it work. I am sure I can block it out so it won't be noticeable.

Sorry for the horrible pictures, we all now how impossible it is to take pictures of lace in progress.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

ugh... edging

So remember in my last post how I said that all I had to do was the grass lace and the edging on my sheep shawl? I always forget how the edging is often one of the longest and most grueling parts. The edging is knit on from the side in garter. It's very pretty... but doing those little rows over and over again is really tedious. It's really not good travel/lunch time knitting either because there is a wooden dpn involved, and I hate traveling with dpns. Plus I really have to look at it to do it.

I am thinking about starting my next project which will be the Butterfly Garden Shawl (Raverly link). The pattern is knit in garter stitch in the round.... I do like garter stitch, but not enough to go out of my way to make it. In this case because it is knit in the round I would have to purl every other row. So, I think I am going to convert it to stockinette. I think the lace will still work, as there is no lace work on the odd rows. I will be sure to let you all know how it works out! Anyone else have any experience in converting garter to stockinette, or the other way around?

Of course the risk of starting the butterfly shawl, for travel/work knitting, is that I just won't finish the edging on the sheep shawl. Therefore, I think I am going to have to make a strict rule that only sheep shawl knitting will be completed at home, now matter how much more exciting the new project is.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Whisker's Wednesday

I had an invitation awhile ago to join Whisker's on Wednesday, at the time I declined, but when Monica recently invited me again, I decided to take her up on it. Why not? I blog about the kitties almost daily anyway. The idea is that on Wednesdays you can blog about your kitties. For me this may not make Wednesday very different from other days, but at least on Wednesday I can feel a little less nerdy about it.

I caught Chase and Hobbes have some snuggles on the couch today. Chase seems to like to snuggle in Hobbes' butt for some reason... this is not the first time I have found them like this.

I have to admit... I repositioned them for this next picture. I just thought it was too weird how Chase was next to Hobbes' butt. Don't they look cute?

I then attempted to make them spoon. I don't think cats like spooning though as it caused Hobbes to start chewing on Chase. I don't think Chase minded.... she loves her big brother.

I am really happy with what good friends they have become. It's not uncommon for us to come home and find them cuddled up on my desk chair (their favorite chair) or sharing some nibbles. I must say though that I was NOT happy with Chase's behavior last night! She likes to bat at our feet under the covers. Recently she has discovered that she can go all the way under the covers and have full access to our feet. She runs around under there clawing and playing to her hearts content. This morning though I had a serious discussion with her about how I only have a very limited time frame within which to sleep, and that if I don't sleep in that time frame sleep does not happen. I think she understood.

I have made some progress on the sheep shawl, but getting a photo is next to impossible. I have finished the sheep, now I just have some grass lace to do and the edging. yay!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chase VS the Blanket

Monday, September 15, 2008

Kittens = Fodder for the Blog

I am really making an effort to blog more often. I am not sure that I really see the point in having a blog unless I update frequently. For me, I think it might mean forcing myself to update close to daily, because if I don't update daily, I just may not update at all. Or go on another month long hiatus. I am finding it hard to find material for daily posts, I just don't knit enough to have something exciting to show every day. This is especially true now that I am spinning. As much as I love spinning, it does seriously take away from the knitting time, meaning that I now have less show and tell. So, we may be seeing a few more kitty pictures when there is no knitting to display, I think I can bribe you guys with that right?

Speaking of non knitting content, anyone else see Burn After Reading? I loved it, as I have loved every movie made by the Coen Brothers. It was worth the movie ticket price just to see Brad Pitt's dance moves.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Felting Soap

I was inspired today to felt some soap. The inspiration came from Suzy Sells Sea Shells who posted some lovely soap felt on her blog. I found a tutorial here, and got to work. They have it in a about 20 steps, but I think I can cut it down to 4.

Step 1:

Gather needed materials, hot water, soap, wool, and a towel. I used a Body Shop soap in Mango. The wool is Polsworth from London Wul. Although I didn't realize it at this time, removing naughty kittens is also a good idea. Kittens will steal left over wool and run away with it. They will also get their heads stuck in bucket handles, try to drink the hot water, and bat at your face.

Step 2:

Wrap the wool around your soap, make sure that you wrap it both lengthwise and widthwise. I realized afterwards that it is good idea to draft (pull apart) your fiber, it makes it felt better.

Step 3:

Trickle some water over the wool to get it wet, do not dunk the soap in the water or it will fall apart. Gently rub the water into the wool. It will start to get soapy, and you can be rougher once it starts to felt. I basically just rubbed and rubbed it over my hands like I was washing them until it become nice and tight. It's really not difficult at all. I guess it helps if you have a washboard or felting board, but it's not necessary.

Step 4:

Admire finished product, congratulate yourself on your cleverness. I also suggest removing the finished product from small kittens, because they will assume it is a toy for them.

I had fun with this. I may make a couple for presents, but I will test drive the soap that I made first to make sure that it works as well as I think it will.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

You can put a pig in a powder blue sweater vest but it's still a pig

We are in full election mode around here. There is municipal election going on (October 18th I think), a Canadian Federal Election, and of course the American Election. Anyone else find it amusing that the Canadian election is happening a month before the American and people are still more excited about the American one? To be honest I am a little sad about the Canadian election right now, I am a die hard NDP and it looks like Harper is going to win a majority. I wonder how much funding our womens' groups, social programs, literacy funding, support for people with disabilities, health care will lose? I hope I don't offend anyone, I just believe very strongly that when we all take care of each other through a strong social safety net, we all benefit.

In more chipper news the fall Knitty is up! Anyone else excited? The fall one is always my favorite. From this issue I really like Twist + Shout, Versatility, Maple, and Interlocking Leaves. I honestly don't know if I will make any of them, but I have enjoyed looking at the patterns.

Lately I have been very committed to my spinning. I really don't understand how people don't knit with their handspun, all that I want to use for knitting is my handspun right now! As soon as it becomes stash it just itches and itches for me to knit with it. So currently the patterns I choose will be based on the yarn I happen to have. Unless of course I am struck by a super fantastic sweater pattern that I just have to knit, although perhaps by then I will good enough at spinning to actually produce a sweater's worth of yarn in the same weight!

Friday, September 12, 2008


We are moving into fall, it isn't quite here yet, but it is definitly in the air. Fall is my favorite knitting time of year. I always feel very productive (in more than just knitting) and motivated to get things done. This is the first fall that I haven't been going back to school, and I am gonna be honest with you, it rocks.

I think I may go a little less crazy with Christmas knitting this year. I have so many projects right now that I just want to do. What I may do is knit some gifts if I see a project I really want to knit and that I know a family member would love, but other than that I may lay off. This is unusual for me, but everyone needs to have the occasional relaxing pre Christmas season.

I have started spinning some of the roving that I picked up at Belfast Mini Mills (aka the greatest place on earth). When I was there I bought a really truly embarrassingly large amount of roving. Now I feel all this guilt to spin it up and then knit it up... I think it's going to take a while. This purply/pink goodness is a bamboo/merino mix. Doesn't it just GLOW? I have been having fun spinning it, It's the first non 100% wool that I have spun, and it is really fun to play around with the different fibers.

Of course though before I spun up the bamboo/merino I had to finish the burgundy merino that I had already started. Wow that stuff took a long time to get through! I think that is about 4 weeks of spinning! No wonder not a lot of knitting has gotten down around here.

That's about 9.3 ounces total and 1112 yards. One of the skeins had exactly 666 yards in it... I am not positive what I am going to make with it but I am thinking the Fiber Trends Butterfly Shawl.

I did some spinning at the fisheries museum in Lunenburg on Wednesday, can you spot the two non-antique wheels?

Monday, September 01, 2008

This really is a knitting blog... I swear

I realized with some level of embarrassment today how little knitting content is actually present in my last few posts. This really is intended to be a blog about knitting with occasional cat content, not a blog about cats with occasional knitting content. Although truthfully this is really becoming more of a fiber blog now that I have my new spinning hobby. I really can't let all of you know though how much it meant to me when I received so many kind comments from you on Sage's passing, it really has been a rough time for us.

Recently I have been knitting the Sheep Shawl from Fiber Trends. I can't even say how much I am in love with this pattern. I love the Fiber Trends shawl patterns that have a theme with changing lace, it really keeps things interesting. The yarn is the Malabrigo Lace that I got in Wolfville, and the pattern I bought at Fibrephilia, which is an awesome yarn shop in Orono, Maine. Mike's parents gave me a birthday gift certificate there and I got some really great patterns and lantern moon knitting basket there.

Right now it just looks like a lace blob, but it will be great once it's blocked. Right now you are looking at the Sunshine Lace and the start of the Orchard Lace.

Here is some Merino Rovings that I also got in Wolfville. Isn't it pretty? There was about double that, but I have turned it into this:

Which combined with a few other bobbins I turned into this:

I must say I am quite pleased with myself about this yarn. It's soft and wonderful and squishy. I can't wait to knit with it. Although I am going to wait to pick a project until I have the rest of the fiber spun. There is about 450 yards there so far, so I should have quite a bit when I am done.

I can't help myself.... I had to put in one more kitten picture. She's so cute! The pictures really don't do her justice.