Gotta love a busy weekend

I'm getting organized to head out and give my Ravelry 101 talk to the Pinecone Treadlers Guild here in Bracebridge today.  I'm excited to share Ravelry with the amazing ladies in the guild.  I'm a firm believer that anyone can use Ravelry, but I know it can be overwhelming for those folks who aren't as comfortable with web applications as I am.   So I'm hoping today I will be able to give these ladies a few tips and tricks to help make Ravelry work for them.

Ravelry 101 is just one of the talks I have in my ever-growing roster of classes, you can see more about them on my Workshops page.

However, that's not what was keeping me busy this weekend.  I managed to finish off two projects over the weekend.  My Rainbowllenics Socks and a scarf woven on a rigid heddle loom, which I'm calling my Olympics Medal Scarf.


I did get my Rainbowllenics Socks doing during the Olympics, which I ended up watching more of than expected.  I don't have cable, just internet and AppleTV, so watching the Olympics wasn't super easy, however with the Men's and Women's Hockey games being ubiquitous here in Canada I ended up doing some streaming.


I'm really quite pleased with these socks, they fit perfectly and I got to do my first afterthought heel.  


I can't see myself switching over to all afterthought heel, however the fit is good for me so I will probably use it on striped socks to preserve the striping. If you have't done one before and a short-row heel fits you fine, consider an afterthought heel.  I followed the video by The Knit Girlls and found it to be helpful and correct. 


The other project I started, and finished this past weekend is a woven scarf.  I wove it out of a single skein of fingering weight yarn, and I have to say it is the PERFECT use for those high-contrast multis I just don't like to knit with.


I ended up screwing up my calculations so my weft ran out well before my warp, but the scarf is still a nice length.


While I did take nice pictures of it on my lady, the scarf isn't quite finished yet.  I still need to trim and twist the fringe and then do a wet blocking.  When I taught  rigid heddle class back in November the group was shocked, shocked when I said to "block" your scarf after finishing your weaving.  I know there is some disagreement out there around the words, particularly what is involved with blocking.  However, for me, every finished object needs to go for a swim before it is done. 

Think about it.  That project in your hands, the fleece was shorn from a sheep, then cleaned, combed/carded, spun into singles, plyed into yarn and then wound into a skein, where it was wound into a ball and then tied in knots by your needles and hooks or stretched half to death on your loom.  If you had been through that wouldn't you need a bath to get yourself right with the world.  Also, I don't know about you all, but I don't only knit after having washed my hands and always sit in a clean sterile space to work.  I have a cat, he LOVES yarn, my projects are FILTHY by the time they fall off the needles, they need a good washing just so they aren't gross anymore. Even my weaving projects aren't safe from the cat.


So no matter if your item needs pinning/stretching or not, a bath is a very, very important of finishing every project.  Also, if you ever plan on washing it, you are going to be blocking it, might as well know whats join to happen when you get it wet.

With weaving the project "plumps" up, and all those little gaps you saw in the weave will disappear and I will have a perfect, plain weave scarf.

So block your knits, I remember my terror the first time I wet blocked an item, now I can't imagine not sending my finished objects for a swim.

Project Details:

Rainbowllenics Socks
Pattern: Jaywalker Socks by Grumperina
Yarn: KnitPicks Felici Fingering in Rainbow (sady both the colorway and yarn are discontinued)
Previous Blogged: February 7th, 2014 - Rainbowllenics Socks

Olympics Medal Scarf
Pattern: Plain Weave @ 10dpi  - 9.5" warped
Yarn: Fleece Artist Sea Wool in Fire Opal


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.

Birthday Socks

I know many knitters punish themselves between October and December 24th to make Christmas gifts for the knit worthy (and not so knit worthy) friends and relatives.  While I have many family members who would welcome a knit gift, I'm terrible at deadline knitting.

So instead of making all my knit gifts due at once, I've switched over to the Birthday Sock system, where those who have earned the right for knitted socks get a pair around their birthdays.

I started doing birthday socks for my mom in 2011.  Not only were they the first pair of birthday socks, they were only the third pair of socks I had ever knit.They were not a success. I'm not sure if it was the yarn or the gauge or the knitting, but she always found the socks really bumpy on the soles of her feet.

The next year was more successful.  This may have something to do with the fact that it was the 11th pair of socks I had knit in 2012.  She quite likes this pair and I get some joy out of knowing that my mom has a pair of stripey hand knit socks in her drawer.

Sokka Socks (Ravelry)

This year's pair was not what I had planned. I had planned on making her a pair of Jaywalker's in Felici Cochineal (a yarn she had spotted in my stash and called dibs on), however when it got to be Christmas and I hadn't even turned the first heel, I went to plan B and gave her one of my Felici Sport pairs.  For those who didn't get to enjoy the wonder that was KnitPicks Felici Sport, this is a magic yarn.  It self-stripes but is a heavier weight yarn which makes for warmer, socks (and if you knit it at fingering gauge makes socks that don't show any wear after dozens of machine washings and dryings).

I'm not as self sacrificing to use up on of my few remaining skeins of Felici Sport on my mother (who is a rock-star who I love greatly), but it also happened that I managed to make the feet a tad too long and they fit her perfectly.

Her other pair are still on the go. I'm currently working on reducing the gusset on the second sock, so I have just two feet and toes left to knit on that pair, so I'm thinking she might get them for Mother's Day and I will do another pair for her for her birthday in October.

Now, onto the reason I'm talking about this, my brother-in-law Jim's birthday is this Friday and I think he is only going to be getting one sock.  I gave it a good go to have a pair done for him, but a few changes (including me designing my very first pair of socks for him using a new-to-me yarn) have held me up.  

However, I still think the birthday socks idea has merit.  I get to knit socks, something I love deeply, without causing my sock drawer to overflow and because my knit-worthy family members have the decency of spreading their birthdays around the year (January, May and October) I have a fighting chance of getting all the pairs made without making myself miserable.

I already have Carla's birthday pair all lined up. Also, because she likes an afterthought heel on her socks, I will have an excuse to try a very cool technique I haven't used before and know that they will fit the recipient reasonable well.

So what about you?  Do you try to do the Christmas knitting thing or do you spread your gift knitting out over the year?  Or are you one of those who is always knitting for Christmas so when it comes time to give gifts you just have to dive into your gift box and the knitting is all there waiting for you?

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!


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.


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.


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.



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.



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.



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,, which I created.  It's still a work in progress, but this is a big step forward.



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.