Wednesday, July 31, 2013

WIP Wednesday #102 - On the Road Again

Happy Wednesday everyone!

As nice as it's been to be home the last few days, I'm excited to hit the road (or sky) again tonight. This time I'm taking the kids on my own to see my parents in Vancouver for a week. It's pretty col that we will be playing in the waters of both the Atlantic and Pacific in less than a week while our actual home city is landlocked ; )

I've had just enough time unpack and put everything away before it was time to pack again. Oh well.

Most importantly, of course, is the knitting to be packed (or re packed as the case may be).

Since putting down my Citron (which I suspect is headed for the frog pond), I've had time to make a good start on Monkey's sweater. I've just started on the colourwork. After many hours of soul searching, he's settled on helicopters.


I'm also at the heel of my first Vanilla Latte striped sock. I've just undone the waste yarn for the afterthought heel placement.


As for my trip, I'm thinking I need some brainless project options so I've pulled out some Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud lace as a potential Citron replacement. 


And some Fleece Artist Kidazzle for a Sockhead Hat (all the cool kids are doing it and I know the designer from the LYS in Canmore so I want to make one too). 


I also got out the yarn for my long queued Seashore Cowl as it will fit the bill for my LYS's August AlphaKAL...

Apparently, my startitis isn't quite over yet. 

I did finish something! Be sure to check back Friday to see it.  

Cheers, Nikki

As always, I linking up with Tami's Amis. So many great projects in progress!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Spins - Homecoming

Happy Sunday everyone!

We got up at 3:45am yesterday to travel home from Halifax. By the time we walked through the door at 11am mountain time, I had already been up for 10 hours. I was, shall we say, feeling very kind of just a wee bit cranky.

Fortunately, my mood brightened when I got the mail. Look what was waiting for me:


BFL and nylon punis and a 4 ounce braid of BFL in the Memphis Blues colourway from the Unwind Yarn Company!

The fridge might of been empty and the kids might have been be jumping around like they had been freed from a cage but I just sat down and squished my fibre with a smile on my face.

It's good to be home.

Cheers, Nikki

Friday, July 26, 2013

Fibre Addiction Fridays #1 - He Gets It!

Happy Friday everyone!

I thought that I would start a new post for the Fridays when I don't have an FO to share. I'm calling it Fibre Addiction Fridays but it really will be all things related to knitting/spinning/crocheting enabling and not just fibre (What can I say, I like alliteration titles).

This week I'm excited to show you what I have picked up on my trip to Nova Scotia. Mostly at Baadeck Yarns (of Yarn Harlot fame).

First, a short story of how I got to go to this fabulous yarn shop. My husband planned a weekend excursion during our trip to the family home near Peggy's Cove. When he said we were going to go to some historic sites on Cape Breton, I mused about whether they might be any yarns shops on the way. My darling husband told me that he had found one in Badeck and made sure that we would be going through there when the shop was open. We went on to have a conversation about vacation yarn and my considerable substantial  adequate yarn stash. He told me he viewed my yarn stash like his wine collection. It has a purpose and it may linger for a while but part of a collection is enjoying the story behind its acquisition and looking forward to using it one day. I swear I could hear singing from above. He gets it!!!

Anyways, onto the shop, and of course, the yarn. (Remember, we are all friends here so no judging. Honestly, this yarn store laughs in the face of any knitter's yarn diet resolve and I wasn't trying that hard.)

What a lovely shop. We stopped in on a lovely Sunday afternoon and I went inside while my kids went stir crazy outside. The owner, Pat, made me feel so welcome. I wanted to stay in there forever... yes, partly to avoid my nutty kids but mostly to be surrounded by all that lovely yarn.

I was on a mission to buy Fleece Artist yarns, which are local to Nova Scotia. I certainly stuck to the program and picked up some lovely skeins, both in Baadeck and at LK Yarns, a very nice LYS in Halifax.

this photo is completely untouched - I am sure going to miss having granite to take pictures on when we go home

In order from left to right:

Fleece Artist Saldanha Two - a lace weight superwash merino 800m/100g from LK Yarns

Handmaiden (Fleece Artist's high end label) Casbah - fingering weight 81% merino, 9% cashmere, 10% nylon 325m/115g
The colourway is Cape Breton Highlands. Baadeck Yarns has colourways that are dyed exclusive for them by Fleece Artist and this is one of them. To top it off, Casbah is one of my favourite bases.

Fleece Artist Trail Socks - fingering weight 80% merino, 20% nylon 325m/115g In the Baadeck Yarns exclusive colourway First Flight

Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 - fingering weight 100% merino 350m/125g from LK Yarns

and the piece de la resistance...
Handmaiden Marrakesh - lace weight 70% silk, 30% baby camel in the Baadeck Yarns exclusive colourway Blueberry Mist

The palette of blues and purples was entirely by accident but it held true when I discovered some Fleece Artist Fibre at Baadeck Yarns as well.

Each roving is 50 grams of 100% merino. I thinking of plying them together and making some funky mitts or a hat.

Well that's it! I haven't made plans for any of these lovelies yet but I'm sure I will enjoy spending lots of time plotting on Ravelry and remembering our trip when I get home. For now, I'm going to go and make the most of our last day of vacation!

Cheers, Nikki

PS: Linking up for Fiber Arts Friday!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WIP Wednesday #101 - Dilemma

Happy Wednesday everyone!

I keep forgetting that this a regular week for most folks. Losing track of the days is one of my favourite things about being on vacation. Everyday is a Saturday. (Except the last day before you go home. That day is like one long Sunday night. That will be Friday for us. Boo.)

I have, at least, managed to be on time for Work-in-progress Wednesday. Last week we took a long road trip and as I wasn't named on the rental vehicle, I got to knit the whole time. (Note to self: NEVER  get named on the rental vehicle!)

I finished my Noble Cowl but I won't be able to show it until I get home and block it. I made good progress on my first self striping sock with an afterthought heel.


Then, I spent the rest of my time working on my Citron.  

It is much more limey than this photo is showing but it's pouring rain and this is best I could get.

Herein lies the problem. I'm really enjoying the knitting and how the pattern is looking. But... I hate the colour. I'm using Malabrigo Lace in the Mariposa colourway. I like the yellow and purpley-brown flecks but the overall colour is turning out very limey. Lime is definitely not one of my colours.

As I see it, I have four choices. I can:

  • Finish the shawl and give it away 
  • Finish the shawl and dye it (I have never done this)
  • Frog it and dye the yarn (I have also never dyed yarn)
  • Finish it, decide it is gorgeous and keep it.
Thoughts? Advice? Commiserations? All would be appreciated.

I have looked forward to knitting myself a Citron for a long time. Being knit in lace weight yarn, it is a pretty big commitment and I really want to love it.

On a happier note, I have started to catch up on some of the podcasts I missed while I was away in the Land Lacking in Modern Technology and I was shocked to see I got a shout-out on the Must Stash Podcast! So exciting! I have to admit I involuntarily squealed - shh don't tell. Thanks Stacie and Steph!

As usual, I'm linking up with Tami's for WIP Wednesday. I won't be able to show you my FO on Friday so instead I'm going to start a new post for Fridays when I don't have an FO that I'm calling "Feed the Fibre Addiction Fridays". This week will start with my purchases from my visit this past weekend to Baadeck Yarns. Yippee!

Hope your Wednesday is so much fun you forget what day it is!

Cheers, Nikki

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sunday Spins on a Monday (again)

Happy Monday everyone!

I spent much of the weekend in a place with no cel service and little internet access. And we weren't even in the wilderness! We were in gorgeous towns full of people.
I know! Who knew such places still existed?

I wanted to share a little bit of one of the places we went with you. It is a town on the coast of Nova Scotia called Sherbrooke. They have preserved and restored part of the village back to its glory days of late 1800's. You can visit and watch an interpretation of village life as it would have been back then. There are blacksmiths and bakers, doctors and potters. But, of course, what I was really interested in was all things fibre.

Most of the spinning and weaving equipment is very well maintained and still in use. You can buy handmade tea towels and various knitwear at the giftshop for insanely reasonable prices (IMHO).

Watching the woman weaving cloth on the old loom was amazing (and noisy). What I was really struck by was how similar much of the equipment was to what we use today. Obviously the looms and spinning wheel have been modernized but the niddy noddy and swifts are almost exactly the same.

It truly did feel like visiting back in time. I enjoyed spinning that evening on my spindle and feeling like in my own small way, I too am helping to keep the past alive.

Cheers, Nikki

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

WIP #100 - All The Things

Happy Wednesday everyone.

This is Work In Progress Wednesday post #100! Woo hoo! I have to give thanks and a special shout out to Tami for getting me started on these posts.

We left on vacation this past weekend and in the end I did not have a lot of time to gather my thoughts or knitting supplies. I knew what I wanted to spin but after abandoning the "sweaty" vest, I was a bit lost about what I wanted to knit. I feared arriving on vacation and not having anything with me that I fancied knitting. The only solution was to bring All The Things.


I'm at the heel and I'm thinking of doing an afterthought heel so I've paused for a moment on these while I gather my wits. That shouldn't take long (Ha).

image Actually, I have started this twice. I originally picked the mint chocolate chip merino but nine rows in I wasn't loving the result so I tried again. I'm much happier with it now.


I have promised Monkey a new sweater by the start of school... I'd better get on it.


I have cast on for a Citron with yarn I bought years ago for this very purpose.

The only problem I have found so far with bringing All The Things is that now I want to knit All The Things.

There are worse problems I suppose ; )

Cheers, Nikki

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sunday Spins on a Monday

Happy Monday everyone!

It is a beautiful day here in Nova Scotia. I'm posting a day late and I've totally decided to blame it on on confusions over time change ; ) My kids all travelled well on our red eye flight but I'm still exhausted. Good thing there is nothing to do except enjoy the fresh air and knit and spin (and look after three kids, but really, how much time can that take).

Today is a rest day for the Tour de Fleece but I missed Saturday (time change strikes again ; ) so I'm spinning today.

After finishing my BFL braid, I had planned to move onto some polworth as I had heard that the fibre was a good one for beginners. But the polworth braid I have is purple and really wanted to move onto a new colour. So I've started my tangerine superwash merino. I was worried that I would find the merino tough to spin but the drafting feels very similar to the BFL. Except it is oh so very soft. I feel like I am spinning clouds. Just bright orange ones ; )

In addition to trying a new fibre, I'm also using my new top whorl spindle. I have also split the fibre into three parts to try a true three ply. So much to learn! I have barely scratched the surface.

Here are a few pics from my second week of the Tour de Fleece.


Now I'm off to spin is the sun. (Ha, that sentence auto corrected to sin in the sun - I wish auto correct. I wish)


Cheers, Nikki

Friday, July 12, 2013

FO Friday #78 - M is for Momma Monster

Happy Friday everyone!

I've got to be honest, I will not be sorry to see the end of this week. It's been a rough one in my neck of the woods with the final insult being the flare up of an old back injury. I can barely lift the baby out of the crib and I fear we are housebound for a while as I cannot even imagine getting all three kids into their car seats. Thankfully, my husband starts two weeks of vacation tonight. I just need to make it to six o'clock. 

At least I have today's finished object to cheer me up. It's a fun one. I've made a monster (technically two) for my daughter's upcoming third birthday.

This is my first Rebecca Danger monster. I am sure it won't be be my last (especially since oldest boy has already picked out the one he wants for his birthday - which isn't until next March! He wanted to pick out one for the following birthday too, but I had to draw the line somewhere ; )

I used scraps to put this toy together. Man, it feels good to use up some extra yarn and not spend a penny on a project! The reddish yarn is actually from the very first cardigan I ever made Doodlebug, so that makes it even more special.


What an I say about this pattern really? Rebecca Danger is an absolute pro at toy patterns. Her simple instructions made this so easy. I couldn't find appropriate safety eyes so I went with buttons I had lying around. I probably would have just stitched eyes on with yarn if this was for a baby.

Yarn: Cascade 220 solid and heathers scraps
Great workhorse yarn. Wonderful colours. I needed just over a third of a ball of each.

Needles: 3.5 mm/US 4
Knit Picks nickel interchangeables and also a ChiaGoo red fixed circular with a 32" cord. 

I knit this toy at a very tight gauge as my last toy had some gaps where the knitting stretched and you could see the stuffing. In reality, I probably could have gone up one needle size. I used magic loop for everything and it worked a treat. I did find find it a little rough on my wrists but I suspect that was mostly due to the tight gauge. I also ended up with a mysteriously bent needle about halfway through the project. 


I still have no idea how this happened!

I am very excited to give this to Doodlebug next week. We will be travelling on her birthday and it will be nice to have a gift to give her that is so easily packed.


I hope your Friday is much more fun than mine is likely to be. (How do you begin to pack for a trip away with 3 kids when you can't even stand up straight?) I think I need another coffee and some more Advil before I even start thinking about it! Or better yet, maybe I'll just put on a movie on for the kids and spend some time checking out all the other great FO's being posted today. All in the name of resting my back of course!

Cheers, Nikki

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

WIP #99 - Push Ahead or Toss Aside?

Happy Wednesday everyone!

We are enjoying a crazy week of alternating hot and sunny days with ones filled with torrential rain. It has been wild.

I have been spinning a lot but I am trying to focus some time on my knitting. I am trying to knit the Alberta vest for my husband by the end of July as it is supposed to be my "N" project for my LYS' AlphaKAL (N is for Noro).


It seems to be knitting up just fine but I am suffering from a serious lack of motivation because it just. feels. wrong. to be knitting an alpaca and wool sweater in the middle of this heat!

I am considering abandoning ship. I need to finish it by the beginning of October for our anniversary, but maybe it would be ok to put is aside for just a little bit?

Which means I need a new "N" project. I am considering knitting A Noble Cowl by Emily Kausalik. Yarn contenders from my stash would be to use some Debbie Bliss Pima in blue, Bendigo alpaca in a blue-green colourway called Oceanic, Louisa Harding's Grace Silk & Wool in a shiny brown or some organic merino in a tonal mint green and brownish colourway.


What would be your choice?
Please help me get through my decision making issues so I can take it away with me on holiday this weekend and knit away my guilt for ignoring that sweaty vest.

Hope you are enjoying some season appropriate knitting in you rneck of the woods. Don't forget to check out tons of WIP inspirations through Tami's Amis.

Cheers, Nikki

PS: In a cause that is dear to my heart,
Yulia Vysochina is donating all the money from her pattern sales from July and August to the Red Cross to support the Southern Alberta flood victims. Click here to view her patterns. Her lace is amazing. I bought her I Want it Now Shawl pictured here.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunday Spins #4: And the winner is....

Meeeeee! I made some yarn!!!!

Happy Sunday everyone.

I finished my first braid of roving. My second real skein of yarn. It took me all week to do. Including, I'm not kidding, SEVEN hours of plying yesterday!

Here are some pics from the first week of the Tour de Fleece...

The final product is a 2 ply BFL. I got 403 yards (368 m) in a thick and thin light fingering.

I'm thinking Hitchhiker. What do you think?

But I am not the only winner this week! One of you is a lucky winner too. Especially if you are SupaSteph! (Somewhat ironically) you are the winner of this gorgeous 100g of BFL roving from Dragonfly Dyewerx as chosen by! Congratulations!!

Happy spinning everyone. Enjoy a lovely day off tomorrow and maybe, I don't know, knit something? ; )

Cheers, Nikki

Friday, July 5, 2013

FO Friday #77 - Teacher Cowls

Happy Friday everyone!

I'm playing a little catch up on FO's this week.

I wanted to make Monkey's teachers gifts for the end of the year. SupaSteph from the Must Stash Podcast suggested to Glam Cowl. I have always wanted to try knitting with a kid-silk type yarn, so I gave it a go. These were very quick and simple to make and I was very happy with the result.


Pattern: Glam Cowl by Jacqui Harding
Free, quick and clear. Perfect for gift knitting

One 25 gram ball each
Light as a cloud and so soft. Oddly, one colourway felt just a little softer than the other.

I did one less repeat than the full pattern due to yarn constraints but they were still a great size.


Unfortunately, due to the flooding, Monkey's last day of school was cancelled. I didn't get to see his teachers open their gifts but I dropped them off the following week. I sure hope they liked them.

This weekend my husband is working, which basically means I'm working too.  (Don't feel too sorry for me though. Next weekend we head off on vacation.)

Hope you have a weekend full of great plans - especially fibre filled ones!

Cheers, Nikki 

PS: This is the last post before I draw for that gorgeous Dragon Dyewerx fibre on Sunday. Leave a comment on last Sunday's post for your chance to win!

PPS: I have a giveaway planned for all knitters very soon. So stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

WIP Wednesday #98 - Sidelined

 Happy Wednesday everyone!

We have been having a glorious summer week here in Calgary. Stampede starts next week and I have already ordered my flood relief t-shirt. There has never been a more fitting Stampede logo.

We have been spending a lot of of time outside. Now that my son is on summer holidays, I'm really feeling what it's like to be a full time mum of three kids! This week my knitting has taken the sideline to my spinning but I have gotten on with a few things.

First up is my current sock. I knit about ten rows on this months ago, but I when I picked it up this week I couldn't really remember what I was doing. So, I just ripped it out and started again. I'm loving watching the stripes appear and I think it looks really good so far. The yarn is the discontinued Felici Sport in the Kingpin colourway and the pattern is Vanilla Latte Socks. I am knitting on size 2 knit picks nickel DPNs.


Next up is just a swatch, but a very important one. This October with mark my 7th wedding anniversary. A good friend told me the other day that wool is the traditional gift for seven years married. Yippee! Fingers crossed that my husband figures this out too!

In any case, I've decided to make my hubby Jared Flood's Alberta vest. I am planning to use Ultra Alpaca and Noro Sinlk Garden (and double dip I my LYS's monthly alphaKAL with N is for Noro). The big challenge with this pattern is that the sleeve openings are steeked. Yikes! I'm just putting that out of my head until I get there.


As usual, I'm linking up with the gang at Tami's Amis. There are some great projects happening over there.

Cheers, Nikki

PS: don't forget to check out last Sunday's post for your chance to win some gorgeous hand dyed fibre!