Day 3 - My Knit and Crochet Hero

Blog about someone in the fibre crafts who truly inspires you. There are not too many guidelines for this, it's really about introducing your readers to someone who they might not know who is an inspiration to you. It might be a family member or friend, a specific designer or writer, indie dyer or another blogger. If you are writing about a knitting designer and you have knitted some of their designs, don't forget to show them off. Remember to get permission from the owner if you wish to use another person's pictures.

I have a whole bunch of respect for so many crafters out there, but there is no one single hero. One of the thing I enjoy about the fiber community is while there folks who are often considered knitterati, it is quite the egalitarian group.  Any knitter can publish a pattern that could become a runaway success, someone who runs an Etsy shop out of their basement can create for themselves a livelyhood by hitting on a target market.

I think my Heros are all the knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, designer and dyers who are helping to shape the community.  Without them, and places like Etsy, Ravelry, Twitter and blogs I would just be a person who knits with acrylics and Patons yarns using pattern booklets available at my local fabric store.  I wouldn't know the difference between MCNs and BFLs and when to use alpaca yarns.

I wouldn't have ever started spinning, (thanks to the Phat Fiber crew), or weaving (thanks to the Yarn Harlot) or desireing a drumcarder (thanks to Interweave's videos).  I wouldn't use handdyed yarn, or have interchangeable knitting needles (or do magic loop for that matter), I wouldn't know how to use handcards or why it is fine to have both a turkish and top-whorl spindle.

Thanks to the community we have created for ourselves, not only can I make a sock pattern designed by a PhD in Hamilton, when I run into a problem I can send her a tweet about that pattern and have an answer within minutes.

Or perhaps my hero is the internet, because it is the glue that holds my fiber world together and provides me with friends, patterns, yarn and a community of likeminded people.

So thank you to all of you who are reading and writing in KCBW, you are my heros by providing the content that make our fibery world go round.

Day 6: Something to aspire to - 2kcbwday6

Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant? Is there a skill or project that makes your mind boggle at the sheer time, dedication and mastery of the craft? Maybe the skill or pattern is one that you don’t even personally want to make but can stand back and admire those that do. Maybe it is something you think you will never be bothered to actually make but can admire the result of those that have. For me the aspiration is to create something from start to finish with my own hands and creativity.  I was inspired by reading the Fiber to Yarn to FO thread in the Phat Fiber group on Ravelry where fiber artists show off the projects they have spun and knit.  Around the same time I was reading in the Ennea Collective about the International Back to Back Wool Challenge that calls for a group of seven to complete the entire process, from shearing to spinning to knitting, of turning a sheep into sweater in a single sitting.  While I don't want to do this process in a single sitting, I am interested in acquiring fleece, cleaning it, carding or combing it, dying it, spinning it, designing a pattern for it and knitting it, so that I can have something that I have created in its entirety, something I can look on with pride.

I know I am many years away from this project as I have never washed fleece, never carded or combed wool, never dyed wool, nor have I knit my own handspun, never mind that I have never written a pattern or even knitted without a pattern.

It is the notion of making all the decisions myself that appeals to me.  I am a wilderness traveller at heart (canoeing and sea kayaking) and I enjoying having the ability to just take my gear and go and be on my own, making my own decisions and making my own mistakes.  Allowing myself to get up with the sunrise, to go to sleep with the sunset or stay up and watch the stars.  That or I am just a gigantic control freak.

Maybe it is to create something tangible in a world of communication without contact and touchless "pokes".

Testing ... 1, 2, 3

So for the two weeks I have had only one thing on the needles, a shawl, Reverb by Melisa McCurley. This was a test knit, which means I was a guinea pig, but it was such a beautiful,  asymmetrical shawl which is likely to go back in my queue at some point to be made out of a solid or tonal sock yarn. Here are some of its beauty shots.

Full details on the project can be found on its Ravelry project page (which is viewable even if you don't have an account).  It had a hard deadline of being blocked and photographed by October 6th, and so it was tough this week because I had so much fun stuff show up in the mail.

This past week was exciting because I received a few boxes, including my Phat Fiber box, with all kinds of fiber-y goodness.  For those who are unfamiliar with Phat Fiber, it is a big box of fiber, either fluff, spun yarns or a mix of both that is a collection of samples from independent spinner and dyers around the world.  Each artist sends 50 sample to the Phat Fiber Lady (who is totally awesome) in Illinois who packages up a one of a kind box and then sells them through Etsy.

These boxes are released monthly (usually mid-month) and are based around a theme.  The September box was "Farmer's Market" and my samples included all sorts of goodies that had names and colors like "Farmer's Overalls" by , "Bok Choy" by , "Black Beauty Eggplant" by .  It was my first box, so I got a Mixed Box, however, if I were to win another box I would likely get just a fluff box.

Getting a box is very competitive as quantities are limited and you need to be sitting at your computer at the right time in order to get one, and have everything ready to go with Etsy and Paypal. If you are interested in getting one, it is best if you sign up for the email notification of sales.

Not only to you get fiber, you also get goodies like stitch markers, patterns, and coupons. The patterns this month are not to my exact taste, however they are really pretty and I may find myself pulling them out in future months.

I also got my box of Merino Top from CraftyQsPlace, a Phattie (ie. a Phat Fiber Contributor).  I plan on spinning it on my new spindle, which I will reveal when it arrives next week.

However, the fiber which I got on sale (which is always awesome), is absolutely gorgeous. Some of the colorways were from her Phat Fiber box contribution and other were just great color.

The last thing that came this week, again while my hands were tied up in Reverb, was from Eat.Sleep.Knit. This box was filled with wonderful kettle and hand dyed yarns from larger operations like Malabrigo, Lorna's Laces, Madelinetosh, Dream of Color, Sweet Georgian and Squoosh Fiber Arts.  Some of them already have assigned project, other are still to be decided but I added another 5km of yarn to my stash.  Not a good thing, particularly when you have made a promise not to touch the new stuff till you finished your current WIP.

Also, I don't know if I mentioned this, but I got a box from Knit Picks more than a week ago.  Mostly books, they had a great book sale going on, but I am on a bit of a sock yarn kick.  I like that it is thin, but has lots of spring and resilience (and nylon).  I also picked up some more needle felting supplies and spinning fiber.  Now I just need to start doing my own dying because it seems like lots of artistic fun.

Strange Bird, Strange Week/Weekend

So, I have been having a strange week and weekend.  Since August 15th I have seen all but one of my 14 cousins, all of my aunts and uncles.  While this is awesome, it is also super overwhelming.  However, I did compete in the Bobby Orr Triathlon on August 22.  I was the cyclist for a team with two of my cousins. However, this is a knitting blog so I will discuss knitting.

I present to you, Strange Bird.

This is a very small shawlette that I test knit for Wonk of Wonk's Works. It was a great fun knit, which I did in Knit Picks Palette in Golden Heather. I really enjoy working with Palette, mostly because it costs, at most $2.19 a ball, and with more than 100 colors, there is plenty of choice.

I got to use my KP needles, which are still totally awesome.

The pattern, which is now for sale on Ravelry and Wonk's website, is fun.  My only issue is that I HATE fancy bind-offs, mostly because you think you are done and you have to do three times as many bind-off stitches as you think you have to.  A shawl or shoulderette that can be upwards of 300 stitches before you double that number doing a crochet bind-off or a picot bind-off.

Also, they require a whole lot of blocking.

But it sure is a pretty color and the pattern is really interesting.

So, in the end a great knit and lots of fun.  Also I have a beautiful fall shawlette for when the weather gets cooler.

Also, as part of my family weekend I went with my sister and two cousins to see Sarah Harmer.   It was, hands down, the best concert I have seen.  If you have a chance to see her, please, please, please go and support this amazing Canadian singer/songwriter.