Garter Spectrum Stripe Blanket CATCH UP!

Since I last updated my garter stripe blanket progress, well… I’ve made a lot of progress. (Picture heavy ahead!)

I got busy working on the second repeat of the spectrum…

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I took the blanket with me on the bus, and to work…

2

But then it got a bit unwieldy. So I worked on it at home…

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And then! I got to the second True Blue stripe! This one felt extra special, because I got to use both the last bits of my own leftover True Blue, and some in the same colourway sent to me by my extremely kind friend Amber :)

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5

6

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Then… a calamity. I ran out of navy yarn just three rows away from the end of the stripe.

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So, I wove in ends for a while, to keep busy until I could pick up more navy yarn.

8.5

LUCKILY, the navy yarn is Berroco Vintage, easily acquired at one of my local yarn stores. Thank goodness it wasn’t a rare hand dye!

photo

Before I picked up more navy, I also started thinking more seriously about the edging for the blanket. I’m going to use some natural, undyed Juniper Moon Farm 100% cormo wool yarn that I happen to have… so I wound that up.

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It smells aaaaahmaaaaaazing, feels wonderful and lanoliney, and is going to make an amazing edging.

Next time I update, I should be showing you the finished spectrum-ey portion, and be all ready to start the border bits :D

Yarn Blog Digest!

Decisions, decisions…

So, you may remember, I posted a little while ago that this year, I’m entering some items in my local fall agricultural fair. I LOVE fall fairs, and I’m so so excited about being even a small part of this one!

I still plan to post about (and take some new photos of!) the knitted things I’m going to enter, but I’m also going to enter into one of the spinning categories (ooooh scary)!

I’m a fairly inexperienced spinner. I took a class at one of my local yarn stores about two years ago (I think) to learn how to spin on a drop spindle, and then my amazing woodworker brother-in-law subsequently turned me a ton of different spindles to use and play with. (I know, I really married into a family of awesome skills, eh?) I’ve spun lots of singles, and have tried both regular plying (just plying 2 singles together to get a 2-ply yarn), and chain plying, which yields a 3-ply yarn.

Still, I only spin on spindles, not a wheel; and I’ve only finished a very small number of yarns.

I do not expect to win anything in the spinning category I’m entering in the fair, but last year when we visited the fair, one of the women staffing the craft entry room chatted with me a bit as I admired the spinning entries. I admitted that I spin a little bit, and she encouraged me to enter even if I thought my yarn wasn’t great yet. She said many categories have only a few entries, and it helps them to maintain interest in the fair if they have many entries. I totally get that! So, I’m going to enter some yarn this year just for fun.

Since I’m not particularly pleased with the singles I’ve turned out, I’m going to put in one entry into the “plied yarn” category. And that’s all the catalogue says: “Handspun yarn, plied, not less than 25 yards”.

I’m debating between these two finished yarns:

fair spins 1

The top yarn is made from Fleece Artist merino sliver that I picked up on sale, on a whim, just to practice with. I learned how to chain ply with it! Even though it’s still certainly “advanced beginner” yarn, I am very proud of it, on a personal level. It’s proof that I learned a new skill, and to me, it really has that round, bouncy, “real yarn” look.

The bottom yarn is from an anonymous Corriedale braid that I picked up when I took my spindle class. It’s my best go at 2-ply, but it still has rather a lot of inconsistencies and uneven bits.

fair spins 2

There are things I really love about both yarns, and I feel good about them for different reasons. But, there also weaknesses in both: the gray 2-ply is a little bit crunchy, and the pink 3-ply is probably a bit overspun (I’ve been thinking of it in positive terms as “bouncy”).

I’m still deciding which of these I’ll enter (I can only enter one!)… and getting really excited about the fair!

The Fiber Factor: Challenge 4 Progress!

Are you following the Fiber Factor?

I’ve been watching the videos and keeping track of the progress since the beginning, and really enjoying it! Although not all of the designs are things that I’d like to knit or wear myself, it has been kind of astounding to watch what the (very talented) contestants have been able to think of and produce with such difficult time constraints and restrictions.

Challenge #4 is probably the one I would find the most difficult so far – participants have to use an Addi knitting machine to create significant components of their garments. Yikes! At first, I though, bleh, this challenge isn’t going to interest me, I’m not into machine knitting.

But! Watching the progress videos, I kept thinking how creative, thoughtful, and interesting all the projects seem in this challenge. The Fiber Factor put together a very convenient to watch playlist with all the progress videos. Check it out!

I have way too many thoughts to share them all, but here are some reactions:

  • Jenette’s speeded-up video is SO neat, and her strategy for increasing stitches beyond what the machine allows is super creative!
  • John’s PLAID looks sooooo awesome. I love the shape and vibe of what he’s working on, too, and since I live in the Canadian part of the Pacific Northwest, I’m rooting for this design, big time. I also wear a TON of gray, soooo.
  • Steve’s idea to create new, more textured and heavier yarn using the machine blew my mind. I would never have come up with that.
  • As usual, I love Natalie’s esthetic, the colours she chose, and her design perspective. In just about every challenge so far, Natalie’s designs have been the ones I would like to actually make and wear.
  • TERRI’S HUNGER GAMES INSPIRATION OMG!!!!!! I am sooooooooo excited to see how her garment turns out. I am a huge Hunger Games fan. I can totally see Terri making something with an over the top, Capitol Chic vibe! Something Effie Trinket would have in her closet.
  • Jodie’s perseverance is totally impressive. We didn’t get to see much of her design, so I’m curious!
  • I felt like Talitha is working SO hard in this challenge, and I’m really impressed by how tailored it looks like her garment will be. Also, those cables with the colourwork detail? Genius.
  • Katie’s pants are so creative, and such an excellent surprise – and an overdue contribution to menswear!
  • I had to laugh when Meaghan said she just moved and didn’t have a table yet – I have TOTALLY been in that position :)
  • I’ve been waiting for someone to make some other types of knitted garments aside from sweaters and tops, so I’m really looking forward to seeing Lauren and Rachel’s skirts!
  • Watching Tracy’s progress video, (it’s last, but well worth waiting for), I actually said OUT LOUD “oooh, intriguing!” I’m picturing something really dramatic and hollywood glam-ish, with tons of volume. Tracy has been a frontrunner, so it will be interesting to see what she comes up with this time!

Which of the projects are you most excited about?

Garter Stripe Who’s Who!

One the things that’s making me very happy about my stripey garter stitch blanket is that nearly all of the yarn I’m using is left over from other projects!

First, I feel virtuous using up extra yarn that’s otherwise just hanging out in my yarn closet with no particular future to look forward to.

Second, I’m thrilled with the esthetics of how it’s turning out, and I keep forgetting that it’s mostly coincidence that I even had these yarn colours in the first place. Get ready for a long & picture heavy post… Here’s a who’s who!

Stripes by number!

1. Crimson: Cascade 220 Heathers in Crimson Heather

(This colourway isn’t listed on the Cascade site anymore, but that’s what it says on my ball band!)

I used this yarn to knit a Christmas stocking for a friend, at her request! I striped the dark red with natural white and a little bit of sparkly silver. I had quite a bit left over, and red isn’t a colour I use very much, so it has been languishing in my stash until now!

CRIMSON

2. Bright Red: Patons Classic Wool in Currant

This yarn made my very first felted project ever! The ubiquitous and adorable French Press Slippers (pattern by Melynda Bernardi) came out perfectly in this very feltable wool yarn. I added buttons from my very favourite button store, and voila! In person, the colour reads more like dark coral to me, but it’s probably red.

CURRANT

3. Pink: 2011 Juniper Moon 100% Cormo CSA Spring Yarn Share in Nantucket

This is one of several bits of leftover Juniper Moon share yarn in the blanket. I’ve been lucky enough to have always renewed my share since the first time I was gifted one, in 2010. It is AMAZING yarn, and Juniper Moon is run by amazing, amazing people (who I consider to be friends :) ) I made a cozy cabled sweater out of this yarn – the Dark & Stormy cardigan by Thea Colman!

NANTUCKET

4. Sherbet: Berroco Vintage in Grapefruit

I bought this yarn especially for the blanket! I have some yarn in my stash of a very similar colour (as you may recall), but it ended up being too heavy to use. So, I picked this up to round out the warm end! I’m so glad I did.

Cantaloupe Twins!

(Vintage is on the right!)

5. Yellow: Cascade 220 in Gold

I used a little bit of this bright yellow to accent some school-team-themed fingerless gloves I made as a gift! (See #10 for a picture of the finished gloves :) )

GOLD

6. Green: 2012 Juniper Moon 100% Cormo CSA Spring Yarn Share in Ojai

This is probably my favourite yarn that I have ever owned or worked with. Soft, extremely squishy, not too heavy, excellent stitch definition, and really the best colour imaginable :) I used this yarn to make a Hooray Cardigan (pattern by the genius Veera Valimaki) that I really treasure. I’m so glad this yarn is in the blanket.

Button detail

7. Emerald: Patons Classic Wool in Emerald

Another yarn that I bought specifically for this project! I love this colour (and I hear it’s in style this year!)

Ojai green and emerald green!

8. Blue: 2010 Juniper Moon 100% Cormo CSA Spring Yarn Share in True Blue

This yarn is from the very first year I was a Juniper Moon shareholder! It’s so so special to me. This yarn also travelled quite a long way – due to a post office mixup, the package first went to Colombia before being re-routed to my home in British Columbia :) (I want to emphasize that this was 100% a POST OFFICE mixup, the correct address was on it from the start!) So, this yarn has seen the world. I also knit it into a sweater that I really love, Tea Leaves by Melissa LaBarre.

TRUE BLUE

9. Navy: Berroco Vintage in Dark Denim (I think!)

I can’t share the project this is from, because I used it to make a gift that hasn’t been given yet (and I don’t want to spoil the surprise!)

navy skein

10. Purple: Cascade 220 in Conchord Grape

This bright purple was the main colour in the sporty fingerless gloves that feature the bright yellow yarn from stripe #5! I remember buying this yarn with team colours in mind and thinking I would probably never have a use for the leftovers. I’m so glad I thought of one.

CONCORD GRAPE

I’m still thinking over which yarn and what strategy I’ll use to finish the edges of the blanket once the spectrum-ey stripes are finished, so there might be more yarn yet to come! I’m so looking forward to seeing how this project turns out.

The Fiber Factor!

So, friends and knitters. Have you been watching the Fiber Factor?

It’s Skacel‘s knitting and design competition, running (for the first time) right now. The participants are all knitwear designers, at different stages of their careers, taking part in different challenges and creating some very impressive things in the process.

I’ve been watching since the beginning of the contest, and it’s really interesting! So far, participants have completed three very different challenges, and they’re partway through the fourth challenge. For each challenge, the designers post a progress video showing some of what they’re working on. At the end of each challenge, the judges – including Karen Skacel, Cirillia Rose, and guest judges each time – post a video in which they evaluate the different submissions and choose a winner!

Alex Tinsley (of Dull Roar) and Sarah Wilson (The Sexy Knitter) have also created a recap podcast tentatively dubbed “Sexy Roar!”  where they talk about their reactions to the submissions and the judging.

For challenge #4, participants have to incorporate the use of a knitting machine into their creations. I can’t imagine designing anything, let alone having to learn and use a completely new piece of equipment at the same time!

Check out photos of past challenge submissions, videos, and more over at the Fiber Factor website. 

I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with for Challenge #4!

Happy Things This Week…

There have been some very happy-making things in my week this week…

Seaglass (and one piece of sea tumbled pottery!) collected at my very very favourite beach.

beach glass!

An adorable and inexpensive pin featuring a Gemma Correll matryoshka cat!

Matryoshka cat!

Tomatoey broth and melty cheese on a rainy day. Yes.

yup, delicious

Awesome yarn bomb seen in the wild!

yarn bombing!

A calm and pretty walk by the water at sunset.

walks by the water at sunset

The best thing that ever arrives in the mail: yarn and a surprise from a dear friend :)

howdy hurray!

What’s been making you smile?

Garter Stripe Catch Up!

I am so excited about these photos! I’ve been making awesome progress on my spectrum-ey garter stripe blanket, because since it’s ALL knit knit knit knit, I can work on it everywhere! On the bus! On my lunch break! While watching TV! Before bed! :D

After the gorgeous greens, I moved on to my first blue stripe – leftover True Blue worsted weight cormo wool from a 2010 Juniper Moon yarn share (I made a sweater with most of that yarn! I’m definitely going to share where each of the yarn leftovers for this blanket came from. Soon!)

True Blue

After the first blue stripe, I got so excited about being nearly finished one full repeat of all the colours! I added navy and purple next.

The cool colours!

I think it looks pretty great folded up…

Starting to look lovely!

But maybe even better all spread out :)

Ta da! Halfway there!

My plan is to knit another full repeat of the same colours in the same order – so, after the purple stripe, starting over again at the darkest red and working through the spectrum again.

Then, I’ll add some kind of border to finish the edges. Spoiler: it will probably involve i-cord :)

Yarn Blog Digest!

Here’s what I’ve been sticking my eyeballs to:

  • Enjoy garter stitch or log cabin knitting but not ready to commit to a blanket? Washcloths!!

What are you reading in the world of knitblogs this week?

Is it fall yet? :)

I did something exciting today!

Fair!

I dropped off my entry form for our local fall fair! It’s still summer weather where I live, but here, the fall fair happens on Labour Day weekend. The fair is coming up in just a couple of weeks, and entry forms were due.

I *really* love fall, it’s definitely my favourite season. So, as soon as summer starts to feel even a tiny bit breezy and cool in the mornings, I get excited.

I also REALLY love agricultural fairs, pretty much across the board. What’s not to love? Tons of cute and/or impressive animals, sometimes doing impressive stuff (one year our fair had an ALPACA OBSTACLE COURSE COMPETITION. OMG.)? Check! Delicious food that might be greasy or might be made from something grown very nearby? Check! Exhibits full of thing that people have grown or made with their very own hands? CHECK! Whimsy galore? Double check!

There is also a healthy dose of nostalgia mixed into my love of fairs. When I was growing up, my siblings and I not only attended but entered the fall fair every year. One year I entered a cross stitch sampler that I was very proud of (it did not win anything, how unfortunate). Another year I entered cupcakes decorated with the logo of the Toronto Blue Jays (those won first prize in kids’ decorated cupcakes – oooo :) My sister was jealous.) And my mom always entered in the adult craft categories. Usually, she entered something Christmassy – beautiful, handmade Christmas stockings with cross stitched scripture excerpts on the fronts, or a set of ornaments made for each child in the family. She often won, and definitely got several of the big flashy rosette type prizes over the years.

This is the first year I’m going to enter any fair as an adult, though. I’m a little bit nervous, but mostly I’m excited – and strangely, right now I don’t care at all whether I win anything. I’m just looking forward to seeing something I made out in the world where other people can engage with it, participating in local fiber arts and craft culture, and getting to eat a ton of corn dogs and mini donuts and probably pie :)

Sometime before I have to drop off my items to be (urk) judged, I’ll share photos of what I’m submitting so you can cross your fingers with me, if you’re the finger crossing type :)

Do you like fall fairs? Have you ever entered, or won? FAVOURITE FAIR FOOD? (Omg I cannot choose just one.)