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!

Happy Christmas!

Happy holidays, no matter what you celebrate! I hope you’ve had a good break, or at least some time with family, some tasty food, and some rest. Ideally, I hope you’ve had hugs and lots of yarn to squish :)

My holiday has been lovely, with so many good things, and LOTS of snacks. No knitting (wrists, ugh), but lots of Ravelling and thinking about future projects.

xmas!

xmas!

xmas!

xmas!

xmas!

Aside from all the holiday niceness above, I also got this package in the mail yesterday…

Yarn win!

It contained yarn :) I’ll show you what was inside soon! Happy, happy holidays.

FIBRATIONS Recap!

On the weekend, I got to do one of my very favourite things – attend a local fiber festival! I’m lucky to live in a place that has a thriving, excellent local yarn and fiber culture. Our most awesome local event is called Fibrations, and it’s pretty delightful. Vendors, artisans, and community groups set up at St. Ann’s Academy, and there is tons to see and do and buy (and eat – there are even food trucks)! The whole thing is run by one of our best local yarn shops, Knotty by Nature.

Unfortunately, every year I end up getting sidetracked by all the yarn and fiber and taking too few and mostly terrible photos.

Terrible photo of vendor tents!

Raffle Ticket Tent!

See? You can’t really tell how awesome the event is from those. Oops. This one is a lot better:

Humming Bee Farm's incredible banner

Isn’t Humming Bee Farm‘s banner AMAZING?

Even though I did not take great photos, I had SO much fun :)

Excited Fibrations Face!

I DID take lots of photos of the yarn and fiber that came home with me. Here’s my haul!

Fibrations Haul woooooo!

Let’s break this down, shall we? My first stop was the RainCityKnits booth. I’m a pretty unabashed RainCity fangirl – I even knit a sample sock for them last year in their Local Sports Team colourway. Krista is the mastermind behind the company, and she is SO sweet! She was totally lovely to chat to :) I had planned to get something neon and solid coloured from them (I want to make the Neon Ski Bonnet for myself this winter, and obviously RainCity is the place to go for NEON!), but in the end I was seduced by THIS, which is on a merino/tussah silk base:

Rain City Neons + Vic skyline

RAIN CITY AMAZINGNESS!

AAAAH NEON SPRINKLES!!!! I loved this skein SO MUCH that I kind of walked around the festival with it around my shoulders. Isn’t RainCity’s needle gauge cool, too? I love it! If you haven’t seen RainCity’s full neon awesome line, check it out right now! (Warning, everything is beautiful and vibrant and you are going to want all of it basically.)

My next must-see stop was JOMA yarn, new to me and sooooo full of gorgeousness. I picked up a skein of stunning one of a kind hand dyed sock yarn (the CRAZY BEAUTIFUL colourway is “Wild Child”, and the base is Glam Panda – merino, bamboo, and nylon) – it’s greeney and yellowey and has spashes of teal and bright happy red/pink and yeah I love it. I also got some mini skeins at the JOMA booth, because they were beautiful and super affordable and perfect for my Six’es blanket!

Joma, huge new crush.

The mini skeins are (top to bottom) are Circus Clown, I Fought the Law, and She Wore a Raspberry Beret. So darling!

I also got some spinning fiber. First, from Humming Bee Farm, 2 ounces of green, hand dyed Corriedale wool! This may be a surprise but I am into green ;)

Corriedale from Humming Bee Farm

From Ba-a-ad Ass Textiles, I also got 4 ounces of super pretty Romney wool!

Fiber scores!

The colour makes me think of winter ocean at Dallas Road :)

Even though I’m still only knitting and spinning a tiny tiny bit because of my sensitive, sore wrists, I’m really excited about my new yarns and fibers. Ahhhhh, fiber festivals :) I’m already looking forward to next year!

The good kind of spoiled!

Hi friends!

Life has been BUSY! I had some work related travel, and was able to squish in some family visit time as well. I also had a birthday, and was throughly spoiled with gifts and kindness (and home made desserts… including pie, cheesecake, and my favourite, piecheesecake – which is a bottom pie crust, fruit pie filling, a layer of sort of cheesecake [cream cheese, whipped cream, and sugar I think], all covered with chocolate. It is. Amazing.)

Other than the desserts, a lot of gorgeous presents landed on me! Show and tell? Yes!

Mug + tea!

Super sweet mug!

Tea strainers!

Charming tea strainers! (I drink SO much tea. Especially because I’ve mostly gone off coffee in the last 6 months.)

Notions case!

Notions case!

Amazing notions case! So sparkly and green and useful!

Book!

YARN FARMY READING! :D

Leaf bookmarks!

Happy, green, leafy…

Leaf bookmark in action

BOOKMARKS!

Super special hand dye made by mom!

Yarn! Hand dyed! BY MY MOM! IN GREEN AND YELLOW!

Waterloo Wools prettiness!

In the Jungle!

More yarn, from Waterloo Wools, in a colourway called “In the Jungle”, which is super super pretty and amazing!

SO SPOILED!!!

Are you lucky enough to get yarny gifts for your special occasions?

Travel Knitting

Hi! I have good news :) My (dumb) wrists & forearms are starting to feel better! I’m still trying to be patient & cautious and not overdo anything. I’m still not really knitting again, yet. But feeling normal without any knitting is a good first step!

I also have some travel coming up soon, and I’m hoping I’ll be 100% better and knit-ready in time for that. Knitting is one of the things that makes travel fun for me! I always give myself permission to spend any time I’m in airports/waiting in lineups/passenging in cars for a long time/[other travel bothers]… I spent those times knitting, which makes the time pleasant instead of tiresome.

Another special permission I give myself is to choose an entirely new project and START it at the start of the journey. That way I have something exciting to look forward to, and a way to distract myself from worrying about delays or stuff I forgot to pack or the hundred other details I can obsess about.

Travel knitting is tricky though! For me, it has to be several things:

1. Small & lightweight! No use packing the giant, in-progress blanket, or 6 skeins of chunky yarn for a sweater. It must fit into my purse.

2. Exciting! I like to choose new yarn to wind, a new pattern to explore, something that really makes my heart go pitter-pat.

3. Diverse! I do make a point to bring at least two, usually three different things with me, so I can have some variety, especially if it’s more than a day or so of travel. Something engaging for long quiet spans (like lace!); something extremely easy/memorizable (a sock, or a plain scarf or cowl with no shaping); something else that makes me happy…

4. No overlaps! Ideally, none of the projects I bring need the same needles, so there’s no swapping around needed.

I’m having a really hard time choosing, this time. I poked around my yarn closet to see what yarn I was feeling into, and two skeins jumped out. One sock weight, and one lace weight, both in stereotypically springy colours.

Pink & black sock

This one is wool/nylon sock weight, by miss gusset, and I loooove it. I’ve had it in my stash for a while, and it just makes me super happy.

Pink & black sock

Coral Lace

The second skein is beautiful 50% wool, 50% silk lace weight by Vancouver Island’s Sweatermaker!

Coral Lace

I’m having the worst time choosing patterns though, mostly because the yardage for both yarns is lowish.

The lovely sock weight is around 330 yards, and the lace weight is around 380. I’m also thinking about avoiding pooling, with the sock weight, and showing off the beautiful subtle tonality of the lace weight. I’d like to use both yarns to their best advantage! Maybe a simple seed stitch cowl in the sock weight? Maybe the Campanula Scarf in the laceweight, since it looks so great in pink?

What do you think? What would you knit with these yarns? Do you bring knitting with you when you travel?

Garter Chevron Blanket: Yellow :)

Have I mentioned that I really, really like garter stitch? And blankets? And projects that combine those two things? Also STRIPES? Also yellow and green?

I am so excited about this blanket :)

Pictures? Of course!

I used my thematically appropriate yellow and green yarn ball stitch markers.

Blanket nub!

The start of something chevroney

It started to grow really quickly right away!

Crescent!

Triangle!

Because I’ve used a different needle size from the pattern (I’m using a 5.5mm needle), I’ve adjusted the numbers a bit. I continued increasing the initial triangular section until I had a total of 269 sts (134 sts on either side of the center stitch).

Why 269? That’s when I ran out of yellow :)

Next up? Gold heather!

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Yellow, meet gold!

Matching teapot optional! In just a couple of tea-filled evenings and boredom-filled bus rides, I’ve made lots of progress already.

Matching teapot optional!

The rows are so long that they gobble up yarn like nobody’s business. Already, in just 15 rows, I’ve used up 40g of yarn.

Stripey situations getting started

How wide will the stripes be? More on that next time! It might involve a golden rule…

Hmmm…

Later today, I’m having dental surgery. (Wisdom teeth!)

“No task requiring skill, co-ordination, or judgement should be attempted for at least 24 hours following surgery…”

Does that rule out knitting?!!!

Maybe I’ll just hold a ball of yarn.

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… ;)

Garter Stripe Blanket – Finished!!!

When I last posted about my spectrumey, garter stripe blanket project, it was nearly done – I had finished all the coloured stripes, and I had finished the natural cream wool garter border. Since then, I’ve added a gray i-cord edging, woven in all the ends, and taken a few ton of glamour shots!

First, some details about the i-cord edging. I’m kind of an i-cord fanatic. It’s so simple, but it look so professional and tidy! I certainly could have called the blanket “finished” after the natural garter borders, but I’m thrilled with how the i-cord edge looks.

I love the Purlbee’s attached i-cord tutorial, here. For this blanket, I used a 3 stitch i-cord edge. Whenever the item I’m adding i-cord to is round, I cast on provisionally (I like this crochet cast on), so that when I get back to where I started, I can undo the provisional cast on and graft the two ends together. Be careful – grafting top to bottom a little bit tricker than normal kitchener stitch. The best visualization I’ve seen is on a fellow Raveler’s project page: check it out here!

So! I worked the 3 stitch i-cord edging all around the blanket, skipping an edge stitch every inch and a half or so in order not to stretch out the garter stitch and keep everything nice and tidy. I used Briggs & Little Heritage yarn in medium gray, leftover from an Owls sweater I made a few years ago.

One or two other specs, in case you’d like to make something like this: I cast on as many stitches as would fit on my longest circular needle (174, it turns out). I knit 20 rows/10 ridges in garter stitch per colour, x 10 colours, for 20 coloured stripes. Then I picked up along the long edges of the blanket (200 stitches per side: 1 stitch in each garter ridge), and worked 20 rows/10 ridges in cream yarn. On the short edges, I worked the same 20 rows of garter in cream (I left the coloured stitches live, and picked up 10 stitches from each top edge of the cream borders from the long side). Finally, I added the i-cord.

Without further ado, behold! A TON OF PHOTOS!

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My cat, Miss New Zealand, *really* wants the blanket to be hers. Any time I lay it out, she climbs on and settles in immediately.

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Once I wrestled it away from her adorable napping self, I took the blanket outside for a little photoshoot! I definitely plan to enjoy more cups of tea on my balcony with the blanket.

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I think it works inside, too!

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Guess who popped over for blanket time?

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Lastly, a few shots of the wrong side of the fabric – for full disclosure!

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I think I’ve come a very long way from the very first blanket I ever knit, which I pulled out of the closet this week. I made this old blanket in stages, in 2003-2004. I knit big, garter stitch squares on straight needles, and then seamed them (very, very badly) together. The yarn is this crazy, neon, bouclé stuff that I really loved back then… (Lion Brand Bouclé Multi, to be precise.) I remember many pleasant evenings working on it, while living in university residence and watching Law & Order with my college friends.

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I’m glad I still have it, first because it’s serviceable and warm (and machine washable!), and because it’s nice to compare it to my most recent blanket project and think about how much I’ve grown as a knitter and a person in the ten years between these two big, soft pieces of knitted fabric.

I find blankets to be such satisfying projects, even if they can take a long time. I’ve already started another one, with a different pattern (and a different yarn weight)! More details about that another day :)

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!