Neon Confetti Irresistible!

Hi! Happy January! Is that a thing that people say? Happy January anyway :)

So far I’ve spent quite a lot of this calendar year eating nachos (YES) and watching the West Wing on netflix (YES) with my favourite person :) I have not been doing any knitting (broken record: no-crafting-for-wrist-healing-for-as-long-as-I-can-stand-it-so-that-hopefully-it-really-heals-this-time).

But! I did do a little bit of knitting back in mid-December that I haven’t shown you yet. (It was a bad idea wrists-wise, but I can still show it to you. Yeah!)

Remember this neon yarn that I gushed about (from Vancouver’s RainCityKnits) which I picked up at this summer’s Fibrations festival in Victoria?

Neon!

I love speckley, sprinkley yarns like this one, even though I sometimes have a hard time finding patterns that really make them shine. I’m using it to make (Guelph’s) Ash Kearns’ pattern, Clincher, and I’m still pretty obsessed with it. (Also kind of pleased that both the yarn and the pattern are by Canadians :) )

Neon!

I think the combination of yarn and pattern here is FANTASTIC. Kudos to RainCity dyer (and lovely person) Krista for doing such a beautiful and non-pool-ey dye job!

Project glamour shots time? I think so.

Neon!

Neon!

Neon!

Neon!

Neon yarn + simple, addictive pattern + bright happy project bag = COME ON

Neon!

Finally, regularly scheduled cat leg cameo:

Neon!

Yeah. I really, really love how this yarn is knitting up, and when I’m back in fighting form knitting-wise, I’m going to be all over this prettiness. It just makes my heart happy!

The best: I won some yarn!!

Yarn contests. They are ALL over the internet. Blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter, and even Instagram: they’re all fertile spaces for bloggers, yarnies, indie dyers, and designers to share yarn, patterns, and other prizes with the people who follow them. I can’t even count the number of yarn contests I’ve entered over the years. A couple of weeks ago, I WON ONE!

This package arrived…

Yarn win!

…with my prize in it!

Yarn win!

The contest I won was run by Anna from Mythic Yarns, and my prize was this gorgeous skein of merino, cashmere and nylon yarn (Anna also very generously added some delicious chocolates to my package!). The colourway is called “The Golden Fleece”, and I REALLY love it! The golden, slightly mustardy yellow with little hints of white throughout is super super pretty. Miss New Zealand definitely approved!

Yarn win!

Yarn win!

Yarn win!

Yarn win!

I am SO excited to use this pretty pretty yarn. It’s totally my kind of yellow, and it’s lovely and soft as well! You should definitely check out Mythic Yarns. (Here’s their etsy store!) I love a lot of the colourways – and their names! Like, “Aphrodite was made of seafoam?” and “LEPRECHAUN BARF”!! – so creative :)

Yarn win!

I feel crazy lucky to have won!! Yay :) Yarn is the best thing you can get in the mail, I think.

By the way, Anna, the dyer at Mythic, is also a pattern designer. She recently released a very pretty fingerless glove pattern that would pair perfectly with my winning yarn, or with most fingering weight yarns you might have in your stash. Check out Twisted Scarlet!

And on that note, I wish you all excellent luck in entering yarn contests in the future; I hope you win something someday too!

To Sale Shop or Not to Sale Shop?

Hi! Are you keeping an eye out for yarn sales right now? I’m not a big fan of the craziness of Black-Friday-Weekend-Whatever shopping, but I have noticed some pretty tempting yarn and fiber sales being mentioned on twitter…

For example, did you know that RainCityKnits (a huge favourite of mine) is offering 20% off ALL of their yarn for the next few days? AAAH! See this tweet for the deets!

I’ve been plotting and planning to order some RainCity Merino Worsted for a while now. I want to make the NEON SKI BONNET with it, for several reasons:

1. Neon.
2. Cool stitch patterns and construction
3. POMPOM RIGHT?!!
4. It will make me look even more like an adorable tiny child.

This image of the hat is from the designer, Lacey Volk’s, blog:

Neon Bonnet

Ooooh yes. So! I know I want to use RainCity’s yarn and Lacey Volk’s pattern. The remaining questions are:

1. Which colour of yarn?!!
2. Should I buy it now, while it’s on sale, even though it’s right before the holidays (when I should be buying things for OTHER people…)?

Colour-wise, I’ve narrowed it down to…

Lemon Yellow
Lemon

Electric Coral
Coral

Kelly Green
Kelly

Wasabi
Wasabi

OR Apple Green
Apple

(**ALL images of RainCity’s yarns belong to them and are from their Etsy shop, which you should go and check out!**)

I just cannot decide which colour or whether to hold off until the New Year… it’s not like I don’t have PILES of yarn already, and I have plenty of projects on the needles. Even if I got the yarn now, I wouldn’t have the hat ready super soon or anything. But it’s so pretty!!

What do you think, readers? Would you pick it up now, or wait until later? Which colour would you choose? Leave me all of your opinions in the comments! :)

Saanich Fall Fair 2014!

Finally, the fall fair! We went last weekend, and I haven’t had time to share the news until now (because we also moved last weekend… busy times!) This post has kind of a ton of photos, so I hope you’re into that.

First, I won’t lie, I went to check out the Needlework Room, since that’s where my entries were! (In case you missed it, the post about what I entered is here.) Out of four entries, two won blue ribbons! SO EXCITED! Both the cabled mittens and the Shepherd Hoodie won in their categories :) The other two things just got to be part of the fair, which is also pretty excellent as far as I’m concerned. The Shepherd Hoodie also won the Victoria Knitters’ Guild award for best Fancy Knitted Sweater! So cool. I love fairs. (And if I’m honest I really like winning stuff too.)

Winning Mittens! (The white ones)

Winning sweater! (The white one, again)

My garter spectrum blanket!

Other awesome stuff we saw in the Needlework room: an incredibly cool knitted salmon, a crazy intricate knitted gingerbread house…

Coolest knitted SALMON!

Incredibly intricate knitted gingerbread

The whole room was full of amazing things, which of course I failed to photograph. Oops! I did snap lots of other cool fair stuff though. Vegetable dude!

Incredible vegetable dude

Tiny adorable plants!

Tiny tiny plants

Apples make me feel like fall is right there. Right?

APPLES GALORE!

Beautiful and leafy!

Thanks for the instructions 4-H!

How to Ice a Cake. Thanks 4H!

I ate these. Also mini-donuts which I failed to photograph :)

Hot dog. Onion Rings. Yes.

MOHAIR GOATS!

Regular goats and mohair goats!

ALPACA PARTY! I got to pet one. What.

ALPACA PARTY! I got to pet one.

Sheep haircut time! Just a trim.

Sheep in the beauty chair

Brad: “Do you know why some of them wear coats?” Me: “YES! It keeps their wool cleaner and prevents it from being discoloured by the sun. KNOWLEDGE!”

Sheep in coats

Sheep buddies :) Their faces are basically the cutest.

HI SHEEP FRIEND!

Cows

Sunflowers

Fluffy bunny

Prize winning eggs! This colour is bananas.

Prize winning eggs

Bye fair! I’m already excited and planning for what I’d like to enter next year.

Bye fair!

Is there a local fall or agricultural fair near you? I heartily recommend them :)

GUESS WHAT TIME IT (almost) IS!

It’s aaaaaaaalmost FALL FAIR TIME!

Sign

As you may remember from last year, I am a HUGE fall fair fan. I just kind of love everything about them, a quality which has baffled a lot of my friends lately. But seriously, what’s NOT to love about them? Crisp weather (hopefully), adorable animals of all kinds, deep fried foods, farmer’s marketey produce and products, a midway, and exhibits full of hand made entries! I love love love fall fairs :)

Last year was the first year I entered things I had made into the fair since I was a kid, and it was definitely as fun as I remembered! I even won some ribbons, which was delightful.

A few days ago, I dropped off my entry form for this year’s fair. Eeeee! Not the actual entries yet, those don’t need to go in until shortly before the fair in a few weeks.

Entries!

So, based on those only slightly cryptic categories, can you guess what I’m entering? (You don’t actually have to guess… I’m going to tell you because EXCITEMENT!)

First, a plain sweater, which can only have garter, stockinette, and ribbing. Remember this guy?

Cozy!

Plain! And cozy :)

Next, a sweater with “fancy stitching”!

Shepherd

Basically, there are 3 categories of sweater – plain, fancy, and traditional aran. Even though this sweater has aran elements, I don’t think it’s a “traditional” aran. Hence, fancy stitching! I’m really really proud of this sweater, so I hope the judges like it.

The third entry is a baby’s blanket. I’m entering this happy thing!

A pop of colour!

I know the difficulty level is very low, since it’s all garter stitch, but I love the colours, so I’m going to enter it :)

Last thing! MITTENS! I’m entering these softie cabley beauties.

Here's to warm hands!

That’s it! I still have a few weeks to wait until the actual fair, but I’m really looking forward o it already. Are you entering anything in your local fair? If you never have, DEFINITELY consider it! It’s really fun, and helps to support agricultural fairs so they can continue to exist. Yay fairs!

Sunshiney Stripey Chevron Cowl!

Remember this stripey cowl I started a while back? I’ve been working a row or two on it when I had the chance, and lo and behold, it’s finished!

IMG_4864

I used Ashley Solley’s snake skin pattern, with some modifications (a different number of stitches, different number of repeats, different number of rows in each stripe…), and Frogtree Pediboo yarn in yellow and natural.

IMG_4819

IMG_4821

IMG_4846

The cowl is knit in the round, and then grafted together at the end. My grafting job is far from perfect, but I’m okay with it!

chevron cowl-1

I’m really happy with how it turned out. At first, I thought maybe I would have liked it better shorter (and snugger around my neck), but after wearing it, I like how it drapes! Great for wearing with scoop neck tops.

chevron cowl-3

And the happy yellow and white stripes! I feel like the vibe is just right for summer.

Gratuitous button photo post :)

I have the BEST button store near me: the Button and Needlework Boutique. It’s a completely charming store that stocks not only a wide variety of glorious buttons, but also tons of yarn for handknitting and supplies for embroidery and needlepoint. I visited recently to choose buttons for my Shepherd hoodie! The staff are excellent, consistently patient and super helpful, with abundant thoughtful suggestions about button-to-garment pairings and a wealth of knowledge about what each button is made out of and where it comes from.

(And when I say they’re patient, you should know that I pulled out a LOT of buttons to lay out on my sweater and probably spent forty five minutes hemming and hawing.) They even wrap up your purchases in tidy, perfect paper packets.

Button love :)

I must have considered twenty different kinds of buttons for my Shepherd sweater this trip. I like to cast a wide net in case something surprises me. I looked at brown buttons (wood, leather, plastic, horn…) of every shade, from chestnut to honey to wheat. I looked at silver and gray buttons (metal, polished wood, ceramic) – gray is really right up my alley.

Button options

I also looked at buttons that more closely matched the cream colour of my sweater. I always have an internal debate between choosing bold, contrasting buttons or subtler, matching buttons. There were rather a lot of very charming cream buttons made from shell, wood, plastic, and even antler.

I’ve used their locally produced, humanely harvested antler buttons before, on my Hooray cardigan (the antlers are shed by deer, and then collected, cut, and sanded into button shapes by a local artisan). They are SO completely charming; I really meant to choose something different this time, for variety, but they looked so perfect and they made my heart go pitter pat, so I gave in. Wouldn’t you have done the same?

Button love :)

Button love :)

Button love :)

Button love :)

Button love :)

Miss New Zealand likes them as much as I do!

Button love :)

The BEST kind of mail :)

I really love receiving mail. Almost anything is good – even catalogues make me smile, usually. But the absolute BEST thing that ever comes in the mail is YARN!

Last week, a package came full of yarn that I’ve been eagerly anticipating. My 2013 Juniper Moon 100% cormo yarn share! If you don’t know about Juniper Moon Farm… it’s amazing. I’ve been a shareholder since 2010, and I cannot speak highly enough of their product, their people, or their values.

This year, along with the share yarn, they sent out gorgeous project bags!

Yarn + project bag!

So pretty!

This is some seriously luscious yarn.

Cormo wool and the skyline

It practically glows, doesn’t it? Turns out someone agrees with me about how interesting this yarn is…

Interested...

Still interested...

Mmmm delicious yarns

What, this isn't for cats?

I think she’s hoping that if she just hangs out near it long enough, I’ll let her have it to play with. (NOPE!)

Look what else was in my package!!!

Look what else was in my package!

Holy gorgeous.

Juniper Moon’s The Shepherd and The Shearer is an amazing project. I am OVER the moon about this yarn, and the patterns that go with it. I am definitely going to be knitting up The Shepherd (designed by the incredible Kate Davies) as soon as I finish the piece of deadline knitting I’m working on right now!

TWO SWEATERS' WORTH OF YARN!

Two sweaters worth of yarn. I cannot even tell you how happy this stuff makes me :) It smells amazing, it came from happy, well-cared for sheep, it was made and marketed by kind, ethical, excellent people, and it’s going to be an absolute delight to knit up. I can’t wait!!!

If I can get it back from the cat.

If I can just wrestle it away from my cat… ;)

Pretty Fall Yellows

Yellow is one of my absolute favourite colours – right behind barf green, of course :)

In my neighbourhood, trees are changing colours, and a few days ago I felt like gorgeous, golden fall yellow was all around me.

Stuck in a grate!

Above :)

A rounder grate!

Floating

 

If it’s fall in your neck of the woods, I hope you’re enjoying all the colours, too :)

Have you seen The Shepherd and The Shearer?

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Juniper Moon Farm fan.

I’ve been very lucky to be a shareholder in the farm since 2010, and I’ve had the chance to use several of their commercial yarns as well. (The farm sells a limited number of shares in its yarn harvest – from sheep actually raised on the farm – and also runs a line of commercial yarns produced from wool and other fibers produced elsewhere).

JMF’s latest project is another knock-your-socks off amazing endeavour: The Shepherd and The Shearer. They announced the project almost a year ago, and I’ve been following avidly ever since. Susan (The Shepherd) describes the project in these two posts, and designers Kate Davies and Kirsten Kapur both explain their roles in blog posts of their own. (Go check out the posts for LOTS of gorgeous photos!)

The Shepherd and The Shearer kits are about to be shipped out! SO EXCITING! The patterns, and an e-book explaining the process from sheep to shorn wool to yarn to sweaters, are for sale on Juniper Moon’s website, along with a very small number of kits including the yarn– these will sell out, probably today.

I love both patterns, but the one I cannot live without is The Shepherd. I’m also an unabashed Cardigan-aholic, and cables are my favourite kind of knitted texture. Not to mention… the hood! The seed stitch! All the little details! I am definitely planning to make The Shepherd as soon as I can.

I’m definitely a fan of harder wearing, and even “scratchy” yarns, too. I guess I’m lucky to have a fairly high tolerance for prickle-factor. I’ve also owned a number of sweaters in my life that lasted for YEARS and years through tons of abuse, and they really do soften up over time. Soft yarns are great for some things, but I feel very strongly (like Susan & Emily) that there’s an important place for rougher wools, too.

So, which of the patterns is your favourite? Or, do you love them both equally? :)