Rainbowllenics Socks

With two pairs of socks (and a hat) all finished in the past week, I've been thinking about what to cast on next.  However, a perfect storm of events all came together to inspire me to cast on my next pair of socks for me, my Rainbowllenic Socks.

First, Felici Fingering has been discontinued by KnitPicks so I had six pairs of socks worth of Felici show up this week.  I've been wanting to knit another pair of Felici socks.

Second, I've been constantly tempted to wear the Jaywalkers I made for my mom's birthday socks (and I showed off last time).

Third, I was checking out the Ravellenic Games 2014 rules and found a category for "The Rainbowllenics Parade".  The description for this category is "This parade is to celebrate rainbow projects! No matter your reason for choosing to craft a rainbow (any rainbow!), be it for LGBTQ solidarity or pride, a personal protest against the anti-LGBTQ laws in Russia and elsewhere, or you just like rainbows, here’s the place to share your beautiful work with the group at-large."

All this came together into making my Rainbowllenic Felici Jaywalker Socks.  I will be casting on in a couple of hours with the start of the Opening Ceremonies.

I'm not participating in the Ravellenics in any sort of formal way.  Actually I was planning on ignoring it, and the Olympics, all together this year because of Russia's anti-LGBT Propaganda laws. But this approach seems like a nice balance, a small, insignificant statement in support of the LGBT individuals currently being persecuted in Russia and I get some awesome rainbow socks out of it.

Catching up WIP Wednesday

I haven't done a WIP Wednesday in ages, and this will probably be a one-off to get you caught up on my current WIPs.

First, my knitting productivity has taken a nose-dive recently. Not surprisingly this has coincided with the arrival of Jack, my kitten.  He is doing as well with my knitting as can be expected from a 3-month-old kitten, but he would rather I be playing or snuggling, rather than playing with pointy sticks that he's not allowed to play with as well.

Napping is on Jack's list of favorite activities for us to do together.

However, I have some pressing (and long past) knitting deadlines I need to meet.

The big project is the Christmas Stockings I'm making for Carla and Jim (my sister and brother-in-law). I finally have the yarn and the right size so I'm making swift headway. However that I'm only on the first cuff of the first (of three) stockings.  This one has a firm deadline of December 24th, as Carla and Jim plan on filling these stocking for each other on Christmas Eve. 

Well at least the turned hem cuff is just two rows from being done.

Another deadline I've missed by a long shot are the birthday socks for my mom.  Her birthday was back in October (the weekend after the wedding that was also Thanksgiving) and so I would like to have these done before year-end. Also because I have to make Jim's birthday socks by the end of January.

I'm halfway down one leg and have the cuff done of the other sock.  At least I won't have second sock syndrome.

The final project I'm actively working on right now is a design I've been working on. This is a quick-ish bulky blanket knit in KnitPicks Billow, which is an incredible thick/thin cotton that has a great feel and is totally fun to knit with.

The fabric of this blanket is just incredible, I picked up more during the KnitPicks Big Sale to make another.

I should probably get back to knitting, as I have miles to go before I sleep on all my projects!

 

Seven Weeks of Summer

Growing up my parents always had some good sayings from my Great Oma (my father's maternal grandmother), the main one was "we are too poor to buy cheap things" and another was "you don't want to be a musician because then you are working while everyone else is having fun".  I firmly believe in the former statement, I only want to buy things once and as a result I have nice equipment but I don't feel the need to replace it frequently. As to the latter, this summer has been a great example of this. Living and working in a place where people go on vacation is both fun and frustrating.

The fun comes from the fact that I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world (at least according to National Geographic).

IMG_1106

IMG_1106

The frustration is more around trying to accomplish things when everyone else just wants to be at the cottage and far away from computers and cell phones.

IMG_1105

IMG_1105

So on Saturday I ended up on a magical mystery tour, which is what my mom would call it when we would go off to an adventure to find some specific spot that was outside our usual stomping ground, or when we would get lost.  Magical mystery tours would often start with a goal and then have a moment of "hey, I wonder where this goes".  When I was in university I would do this on the bus and on foot in Kingston (Ontario) and always had a good time.  This time I needed to go to the Village of Rosseau and instead of heading straight back I decided to take the twisty road that runs between Lake Rosseau and Lake Joseph.  Then I saw the sign for Abbey's Bake House, which is a bit of a local landmark, and I'm so glad I stopped.  Not only was it beautiful (as you have seen above) they have AMAZING butter tarts. No raisins or nuts and all butter tart goodness.

IMG_1107

IMG_1107

While sitting there, watching the lake, eating a butter tart and knitting I overheard a grandfather mention to his grandson that there had already been "seven weeks of summer" and asked if he had enjoyed them.

At that moment I realized that there had been seven weeks of summer and I haven't gone swimming yet, or really done any summery things.  So I'm not sure what I'm going to do about this, but all I know is that according to calculations there are only about two weeks left of summer left and I want to get out and enjoy them.

And for those keeping track, I finished Carla's shawl a week or so ago and I still haven't picked a final pattern for mine as the one I wanted to make has a stupid cast on and I'm not burdened with an over-abundance of patience these days.

Wait, when did June end?

There really is a Toshie picture for every possible situation. This is the question I have been asking myself for the past week.  June has been an absolutely crazy month, first I moved my apartment, then two weeks later we moved the office.  Both these moves happened during the hottest, humid-est days we've had in a very long time.  It made for some very long days and some very early evenings.

Gifts from Muskoka I took home to Parry Sound for the long weekend.

Also, I haven't finished anything (knitting or spinning-wise) in ages.  I'm hitting the part of the year where my knitting drive is at its lowest and I'm in the middle of a bunch of really long projects.

However, I did finally increase to the 576 stitch round on Carla's wedding veil/pi shawl and so I figure I'm about 1/3 of the way done the project. It's enjoyable knitting (and the 100% silk yarn is really nice) but I really want things to be perfect so I really have to focus on it. Also each round takes about an hour to complete at this stage.  While I have till end of September to finish it, I have to knit myself a shawl for the occasion and I really don't like leaving things to last minute.

But June (and early July?!?) have brought all sorts of fun, on top of all the trouble.

On June 20th I got a chance to take a weaving workshop with one of the best teachers around, Jette Vandermeiden. Jette is a well known member of the weaving community and an excellent instructor.   The workshop was designed to teach Summer & Winter, a block weaving technique, but I used it as multi-harness weaving 101.  I'm eternally thankful to my fellow guild members who lent me a guild loom, loaned me a warping mill, taught me how to wind a warp, then how to warp the loom.

Summer & Winter block weaving from the workshop.

Jette was great to learn from, she not only taught (or re-taught) us how to hold our shuttles, deal with our selveges, but also the theory behind block weaves so that we can not only weave what she brought for us, but other block weaves.

I was interested in the sampler but I wanted to get more of a handle on weaving in general and thanks to the Craftsy class "Floor Loom Weaving with Janet Dawson" I have a whole bunch of twill drafts so I decided to cut off my Summer & Winter sample and re-threaded for a twill and keep playing.

IMG_1054

I tried out a few different patterns but found that I really enjoyed the look of a 3/1 Point Twill so I kept playing with that technique.

IMG_1057

But it hasn't been all weaving.  Yesterday, I made my way to the Rosseau Market, which is an amazing market with farmers and hand crafters and bakers and my favorite booth, Pondering Rock Farm.

Pondering Rock Farms

Pondering Rock Farm is the family farm for the Darlingtons and produce yarn/fluff, handknit socks, honey and amazing nature photography.  Heather is the one who manages the sheep and yarn and is a wonderful shepherd, spinner, knitter and fellow guild member.  I stocked up on some yarn and fluff from her sheep.

Pondering Rock Treats

The yarn is a worsted-y weight wool/alpaca (75%/25%) blend that comes from a sheep named Nipper, who is grey but blended with a tan/fawn alpaca.  I also got 200g of that fleck-y creamy coat from Angel, one of Heather's sheep who died in the spring, there are little flecks of grey and dark brown in her cream coat.  The last bundle of fluff (400g worth) is from Mocha, which is a great description for his coat.  My plan is to spin it into a fingering weight yarn and use it for a Brooklyn Tweed pattern in place of Loft.

Booth 1 Booth 2

There were Unfortunately Heather's booth isn't quite as jampacked with fantastic wools as in past years, as she had much of her fleece at Belle Valle when they had the fire.  She lost a huge portion of her 2011 shearing she was telling me that she will be pretty well wiped out by the end of the season.  Although she is already talking about next year's blends, including a wool/alpaca blend lace (well light fingering/heavy lace) that will be a great substitute for Loft.

So that should have us pretty well caught up to the present, hopefully I will be getting a few more things done in the next month.

Previously on ...

So I've been having a wild and crazy month, and after enjoying/squandering my day watching the new Arrested Development I feel the need to do a bit of a recap on my life for you folks. IMG_0911

So after learning about Nancy passing away I went on a bit of a yarn binge and bought a whole bunch of the Arrested Development themed sock yarn from Cakewalk Yarns.  She was having a sale and I was having a rough day and I ended up placing an order.

[gallery link="file" ids="3208,3209,3210" orderby="rand"]

I also placed an order with Tanis (of Tanis Fiber Arts) and got more yarn. And the May club shipment showed up as well, but Carla and I did a swap so that each of us could make a large shawl out of the club skeins.

IMG_0893

But I did finish a pair of socks, this pair is from the TFA Year in Colour Club shipment.  The color and the pattern were named Patina.  The color is exclusive to the club but the pattern will go on sale sometime next year.

IMG_0902

I also have a new addition to the family.  I had a Monday off a couple of weeks ago and I made the drive to Gemini Fibres to try out different wheels and figure out which one I wanted.  Instead of waiting, I decided to take home my new wheel, a Schacht Ladybug.  I strongly considered the Lendrum Double Treadle wheel, but the Ladybug really was the best fit.

IMG_0912

 

I've also cast on for a new pair of socks, but my knitting mojo is totally bleh right now.  Which is very unfortunate because I have some serious knitting to get done.

IMG_0892

 

I'm looking forward to knitting and wearing these socks, the pattern is Harvest Dew by Rose Hiver and the yarn is Muskoka Sunset from Blueberry Pie Studio.

On top of that knitting I have a wedding shawl to knit for my sister and a shawl for me to wear at her wedding.  I had cast on several weeks ago with the beautiful gold yarn she had ordered from Sweet Georgia Yarns, but I couldn't make myself knit it.  However, my reticence was a good thing, because after some serious wedding planning with Carla and our mom last weekend we realized that it would be better for me to knit a pi shawl out of a cream colored yarn to be used as a veil rather than a shawl. The pattern I'm using is Heliotaxis Pi Shawl by Renata Brenner and the yarn is an undyed silk from Handmaiden Yarns that Carla bought on her trip down east last summer. I ordered a second skein so that it will be a full sized pi that can be used for future big events, like babies.

IMG_0925

 

Another big thing going on is that I'm now a proud owner of two boat shuttles, because I'm borrowing one of the Trillium Handspinners and Weavers Guild Dorothy table looms for a workshop with Jette Vandermeiden in June.  The guild had the  loom but not shuttles, but now I'm worried I'm going to enjoy multi-shaft weaving a bit too much and want a table or floor loom.  Also, the guild has a brand spanking new website, www.trilliumguild.com, which I created.  It's still a work in progress, but this is a big step forward.

IMG_0945

 

The biggest thing going on, and a likely cause for my lack of crafting mojo, is that I'm moving on June 1st.  I found an apartment in Downtown Bracebridge, within walking distance of work with a balcony that faces the Muskoka River.  I'm currently in the process of packing all my things and getting ready to go.  But living in the mess I've created is really impacting my mental health.  The new spot is amazing.  It doesn't have nearly as fancy floors but it has closets and cupboards that close and I can store my yarn in a far more useful and attractive way. I can't wait to get moved into my new place and get my life back to normal again.

So, today was a great day of packing, Arrested Development and an impromptu visit from Carla and Jim (which included lunch at the Old Station, a peek at my new office and a trip to the Muskoka Brewery's new location). I'm hoping this week goes quickly because I wanna get moved and get out of the mess I've made for myself in my apartment.