Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Spins #3 - On Tour!

Happy Sunday everyone!

What a fun start to the Tour de Fleece!

It was amazing yesterday to keep track on Ravelry and see all the different fibres and spinning that was going on. I am really enjoying being a part of the Rookies team and Especially Team Must Stash Podcast.

I am continuing to spin my 100 grams bluefaced leicester roving  from Dragonfly Dyewerx on my drop spindle. I started the day with 70 grams to go. 


It is a hot Canada Day long weekend here in Calgary and I wanted to make the most of both the weather and my chance to spin. The only solution? Backyard spinning!


Yesterday, I spun 14 grams and am almost at the halfway point of my roving. I want my final product to be a two ply yarn so I will wind off the single from my spindle to a bobbin (aka toilet paper roll) soon.

To celebrate to start of the Tour de Fleece, I have another 100 grams of of hand dyed BFL from Dragonfly Dyewerx for one of you! This lovely wool is soft with a long staple and is great for any level spinner. Just leave a comment a comment to this post and I will randomly draw a name next Sunday. Please include either your Ravelry name or email so I can contact you. As always, I'm happy to ship anywhere.


Finally a bit of housekeeping...

With the demise of Google Reader and my url change I would appreciate you following me on Bloglovin or your new RSS feed reader

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Happy Sunday spinning!

Cheers, Nikki


Friday, June 28, 2013

FO Friday #76 - Spring Fling

Happy Friday everyone!

I have a new top! And I really love it... now.

I really made this simple and lovely knit so much harder than it needed to be! Perhaps we will just go with "the ends justify the means" on this one.

Pattern: Creme Brulee by Juliet Moody
This simple pattern is written bottom up in the round. I really like the loose style that makes it ideal for summer because it suits a light drapey yarn and is perfect for layering with a tank top.

83% cotton 17% silk
dk weight

This is a lovely yarn to knit. I choose it mostly for the colour but throughly enjoyed working with it. The yarn has a very slight fuzziness and is not as shiny an many pima yarns. 

Before sweater surgery
My experience with cotton yarns is than they grow a lot. I didn't do a gauge swatch with this one because I didn't think it would truly represent the behaviour of the whole garment when washed. And maybe it wouldn't have. I didn't want my top to be huge, so I knit the small size and knit the body just a little short to allow for that growth I knew was coming... except of course that it didn't come. My finished top was definitely wearable but I felt like I wanted to keep tugging on it. Because it is knit bottom up, I thought I was stuck. 


 The owner of my LYS suggested that I cut off  the cast on edge and the ribbing and then put it back on the needles to make it longer. Say What!?!  I knew I wouldn't be happy with it the way it was so I I gave it a go. I was a real mess but it absolutely worked.
*pro tip* you really need to cut (yes, with scissors) all the way to the row before the one you want to put on the needles. The yarn will not just unravel like with normal frogging. So, you will save a lot of time if you cut right up to the row you need - ask me how I know ; )

I am thrilled with the final result. It was certainly worth all the work. it has already become my go-to summer top.

I triple dipped this sweater in 3 podcast KAL's: The Must Stash Podcast, The Knit Girllls and Fat Squirrel Speaks. So fun!

Be sure to check out more FO's through Tami's Amis and come back here Sunday for my spinning post as I kick off Tour de Fleece with a giveaway. 

Cheers, Nikki

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

WIP Wednesday #97 - School's Out

Happy Wednesday everyone!

School is over for the year, and suddenly I am feeling the full weight of being a stay-at-home-momma of three. Not to mention, the flood has put a serious damper on my strategies for keeping the kids occupied. Hiking in the mountains? Nope, the highway is washed out. Zoo? Closed for three weeks - also I'm a little freaked that the hippos almost escaped.  Community splash park? Dry until the water restrictions are lifted. Yikes!! I'm relying on playdates for now... ok and maybe the odd movie (or two).

Having said that,  I'm am making fast tracks on my M is for Momma Monster. I think I will be at the  point of stuffing and assembly by Thursday. 


Do you like how my project bag matches my monster? Total coincidence but it's got me thinking... wouldn't it would be great to have a matching bag for every project? (If my husband could read my mind, he'd be leaping off the couch right now to chop up my credit cards.)

The monster making has been quick but it has not been without its casualties. 


I have no idea what happened here. I know I tend to knit tighter when I magic loop but this is ridiculous. You can see in the first pic that I'm now knitting with a brand new ChiaoGoo Red fixed circular. The bend at the join takes a little getting used to, but other than that, they are great so far.

Now the biggest question is what to knit next? I have a plan for something I can't start  until July 1st but in the meantime I have a few ideas. The choices seem to fall into two categories: what I want to knit and what I should knit. I guess you will have to check back next Wednesday to see which one wins!

I will finally get to show you my new spring top on Friday and be sure to check back Sunday to see what I picked up at the Olds Fibre Week (hint - there just might be giveaway too).

Hope you are enjoying your Wednesday currently "in progress" - ha, I slay myself.

Cheers, Nikki

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Spins #2 - Getting Ready

Happy Sunday everyone!

Much of my city is still under water but the sun is out and there is a general feeling of optimism. It's going to take a lot of effort but we will get through this. If there is one positive to it all, it is that we are all much closer as a community. It is a very special feeling.

Anyways, that isn't what I'm here to talk about today...

I am getting ready for the Tour de Fleece. I am trying to spin a little every day. I am starting to set my goals for the Tour. I have joined the Rookie team and Team Must Stash Podcast. I may also have made a little fibre purchase... I had to. You can't exactly participate in a Tour de Fleece without a little fleece of your own!

WARNING: Enabling Ahead!

There are many vendors who are offering discounts in the work up to the tour. I went through them all and decided to make a purchase from Tails & Snouts.

First up, I plan to spin this variegated purple Polwarth. I'm currently spinning BFL and I've heard Polwarth is another good beginner fibre.

Next, I plan to try my hand at this lovely tonal Tangerine Superwash Merino.

Hopefully by then I will be up for a challenge with this gradient dyed merino tussah silk blend in the gorgeous Tulip Farm colourway.

I am under no illusions that I will actually spin it all for Tour de Fleece (I'm sure 4 oz is a more appropriate goal - but I think I'm going to try for 6).

Today I am headed to Olds Alberta to their annual fibre festival so the plans mays be... fluid. I'll let you know next week.

Have a wonderful Sunday. I hope you are all warm safe and dry.

Cheers, Nikki

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Friday Preempted

I was all ready to show of my new spring top today...

Things are kind of crazy where I live. Calgary and most of Southern Alberta have experienced epic flooding over the last 24 hours and it's not over yet.

I am fine. We live on top of a hill and the very worst we can expect is a damp basement or a power outage.

Meanwhile, in our city of 1 million people, 10% have been evacuated. Bridges, road and homes are washed out. The city is doing a great job looking after everyone but it is still traumatic. The schools are closed for the first time in the six years that I have lived here. I mean they even stay open when 12 inches of snow falls in a single night.

One hour west, the part of Canmore where we had lunch and went geocaching on Sunday for Fathers Day is pretty much washed away. The highway is completely missing in places. In High River, one hour south, people are being airlifted from the roofs of their homes.

I just can't bring myself to put up my happy-go-lucky post about the trials and tribulations of knitting a summery top. I think I will save it for next week. I'm going to go watch Cinderella with the kids and be thankful for how lucky we are.

I'll be back with my regular spinning post on Sunday.

Cheers, Nikki

PS: If it's sunny where you are, could you send a little our way? It is going to take us some time to dry out.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

WIP Wednesday #96 - Deadline Doom

Happy Wednesday everyone!

I've had to put down my lovely roving this week to finish ip some knitting. Friday is Monkey's last day of Junior Kindergarten and I am almost finished the second Glam Cowl for his teachers.

It's funny, this is the exact same yarn as the first one but somehow if feels just a little less soft. It still lovely though and I think they are going to be nice gifts.


I'm down to the wire to make something for this month's AlphaKAL with my LYS, The Loop. I haven't missed a month yet so I'd hat to miss one now. We are up to M so I'm going to try to make a Daphne and Delilah the Momma and Baby Monster in the next ten days. The plan will be to give it to Doodlebug for her third (what?!) birthday in July. The pinky yarn in the combo I've chosen is the leftovers from the first cardigan I ever made her.


That's all I've got today because I finally finished my summer top and I will finally be able to show it to you on Friday. Yippee!!

Hope to see you then.

Cheers, Nikki

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday Spins #1 - Getting Started

Happy Sunday everyone!

And a very special Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there in North America and the UK (is it Father's day in Europe and Asia? I know it isn't in Australia). I wonder if there are any dads who read this blog... I'm a little doubtful ; )

Anyways, this the first post of my new series Sunday Spins.

I decided to start with some cheap roving for my first spin. I wasn't sure it would be knitable at all. I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes roving.

My first 30 grams is the kind of nightmare you would expect for a first attempt. But hey, it kind of looks like yarn!


I have started learning to spin by taking a spindling class through Craftsy (which I managed to snag free with a coupon code - yippee!). I had gotten a drop spindle for christmas. As I took the class, it became readily apparent that I would need a few more tools to successfully make yarn.  I don't want to make any expensive purchases until I'm sure I'm going to keep up with the craft so I made a few workarounds.

First up was figuring out a way to ply my singles together. There is nifty tool called a Lazy Kate but I don't have one. I Andean plied my first spin and now I have MacGyvered my own Lazy Kate of cardboard, chopsticks and toilet paper rolls.


It will even fit my spindle too, for when I'm winding onto the toilet paper rolls.


Next I needed a Niddy Noddy. This tool is used for winding your yarn into a skein and for measuring its length. They are not that expensive but there was no way I could wait weeks for one to show up in the mail. I went down to Home Depot to get the parts to build one from PVC. The guy that helped me was completely unfazed by my craziness and even cut the PVC piping and build it for me!


It works a treat!

The rest of my first batt went better. I two plyed it which really helped every out the thick and thin and ended up with about 85 metres of something between aran and bulky weight. I'm hoping it will be enough to make a pair of Highly Regarded Mitts.


I'm well on my way. I can already tell my next spin is much thinner and more even. I'll show you my progress next week!

Cheers, Nikki

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

WIP Wednesday # 95 - Distractions

Happy Wednesday everyone.

I've been pretty happy with the way I have managed to keep knitting despite have a new baby in the house since January. But now there is something in my life that is really interfering with my knit time...

My spinning!

I'm already addicted. How did this happen??

I finished the rest of the green batt I started last week and this little beauty is my reward.



I'm really excited about how much my consistency is improving.

This is the last of my spinning you will see on Wednesdays because I've decided to start a new series of post I'm calling Sunday Spins. So, I will show my first finished gloriously wonky skeins on Sunday.

I am getting some knitting done. This is a teacher gift I'm knitting up for Monkey's teachers. I need to have two of these finished by next Friday.


The pattern is Glam Cowl by Jacqui Harding. It was suggested to me as a great teacher gift by Steph from the Must Stash video podcast. If you haven't seen Steph and her partner Stacie in action yet, I highly recommend you check them out!

I thought I would have an FO for you last week but I hit a major bump in the road with my Spring Fling. I hope to have it ready to show you and a story to tell (with a happy ending - fingers crossed) on Friday.

Until then, I hope you will get the chance to check out all the summer projects going on through Tami's Amis.

Cheers, Nikki

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

WIP Wednesday #94 - A Whole New World

It's not pretty, but it's a start.


Cheers, Nikki 

PS: Happy Wednesday everyone : )