Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Bag For All Seasons

Introducing "Spring", I hope you like her....

Day Four: 31st March. Where are they now?


Whatever happened to your __________?
Write about the fate of a past knitting project. Whether it be something that you crocheted or knitted for yourself or to give to another person. An item that lives with you or something which you sent off to charity.

I have knit a large number of items to date, especially since I've only been at it for about 6 years.  I've knit squares for blankets for the oncology clinic that a family member was treated in, I've knit many gifts for family and friends, and I also knit for profit.  My most memorable "Whatever happened to" project was from last summer.  I was working in a Spa at a local hotel and a client came in for an appointment, she had a wonderful time and had a very relaxing treatment.  When it came time for her to leave she showed me a couple of lovely hats she had purchased from the woollen mill just down the road.  Much to my delight, one of the hats was mine that I had both designed and knit (basic cabled hat pictured at the top of my blog).  This hat was destined for the other side of the country as a Christmas gift for her daughter. 

Most of my knits have been sold, I've lost count of how many hats, bags, mitts and now carpets I've made.  I'd like to think that they will eventually find their way to every corner of the globe:)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Studio



"How do you keep your yarn wrangling organised?...if you are organised, blog about an aspect of that organisation process, whether that be a particularly neat and tidy knitting bag, a decorative display of your crochet hooks, your organised stash..."

This is my Studio...


.....it's a fantastic space that my Husband helped me put together.  You can't see all of it in this pic but there is space up here to have a large table with a knitting machine on each side of it, and a sewing table.  The little square table you see above is where I keep my swift and ball winder, always at the ready and always in use, the small, white shelving unit to the right houses all of my knitting books and magazines, as well as jars filled with needles, notions and what nots.  To the left is my awsome yarn cubbie that my husband built for me.  It's duel purpose in that it keeps my yarn (hehe some of it) organized and visible and it is an actual solid wall that keeps me from doing a header down the stair well.  I wanted to share this space with you here because I'm anxious to get back into it after being locked out by snow and a less than adequate heating system.  This spring will see a major clean up, revamp and the addition of a much better wood stove so that I'm ready for next winter.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Skill + 1UP – 2KCBWDAY2




Skill + 1UP – 2KCBWDAY2Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?.

Looking back over the last year, I guess I can say that I have learned a few things.  That's the nice thing about textile arts is that you never have to stop learning.  The only one holding you back from picking up something new is yourself.  This past year has witnessed me branching out into machine knitting to assist me in "knitting for profit".  Within the world of machine knitting, I've learned that with some manual manipulation, your machine can do a lot more than just knit rows.  I was also recently taught the "two at a time" magic loop method of sock and mitten knitting by my pal Jobo from Jobo Designs.

One of the most interesting things I've learned in the past year (or so) has been the use of mixed techniques. like using crochet to embellish knitting, or knitting lace edging to embellish knitted felt.  This has led to a desire to want to mix upcycled fabrics with knitted and felted fabrics to make truly unique finished pieces.  One of my favorite upcycled/crocheted/woven fabric mixes has been my spicy tie bags seen here:

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Tale Of Two Yarns



Ok, so today is day 1 of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week and the topic is, my two fave yarns.  Yarn number 1 for me is MacAusland's Woolen Mill yarn from PEI Canada.  I wrote all about it a couple of weeks ago in my post "An Ode To Yarn". I love this yarn with all my heart and all the finished objects pictured on my blog so far have been made with this yarn, both in 2 and 3 ply weights.  It is sturdy and warm and comes in a nice variety of colours (naturals, solids, heathers, tweeds and ragg).  I love that it's a locally produced product for me and a very quick car ride turns into a trunk full of this stuff.  I have also had success in felting every colour I've tried to date (that's almost all of them) and because their white yarn is natural white and not dyed and treated, it felts like a dream also.  Check them out here http://www.macauslandswoollenmills.com/

My number 2 yarn is from Belfast Mini Mill, also on PEI Canada.  I love all of their yarns so I'm not going to choose just one.  They mill all sorts of fibres from many varieties of sheep, angora, mohair, cashmere, husky, qiviut, jeez I can't remember all of them.  They produce these yarns (and fibres for the spinners out there) in all colours imaginable.  I once picked up the last 5 skeins of a lot of beautiful merino 3 ply in Lilac which I fell madly in love with.  Unfortunately I was ill prepared for this post and don't have a picture to show you.  Just know that it is springy and smooshy and very wearable next to the skin.  Check them out here
http://www.minimills.net/

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Just For The Fun Of It!

Ever hear of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week?  Well neither had I until today.  It sounds like fun and also a great way to find other blogs to read that you hadn't already.  I'm going to participate (note the pretty banner to the right) and you can too!  Read all about it and sign up here http://eskimimiknits.com/ .

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pluggin' Away....

Keeping busy is good medicine, so I decided to do so to help me through my less than pleasant week.  On Tuesday I took a spin (teehee) up to my local mill and purchased enough 3 ply wool yarn to make 14 more rugs.  I did get those other rugs finished, but in my grief I forgot to take an "after" shot of them before shipping them off (I kept one for myself, the one that Miss Kitty really, really liked, so happy that I did).  So here's a pic of a new one...unfinished, sitting atop my knitting machine.  I've made 1 per day since Tuesday....gooood medicine.  More pics will follow.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

In Memorium

Today I'm breaking a rule, my own rule.  This blog was created to journal about my adventures in creating and running a small, cottage, textile business.  My one rule was to always post about the adventure, the creative process, the finished objects, etc that pertain to this journey, but never was I to publish a post of a personal nature as this is not what this blog is about.  Today I'm breaking the rules, just this once, and for a very good reason (well at least to me).

Yesterday, at 2:00 in the afternoon, we said a tearful goodbye to our beloved girl cat named Kitty.  For any of you animal lovers out there, you understand.  I've heard so many people say "they're just like our children", I disagree, I don't think they are just like our children, I believe they are "just like our beloved pets" who are in their own right, very special family members indeed.

Kitty, against all odds (she had many conditions), lived to be almost 18 years old.  She was my first true pet and the longest lived and a very happy, warm, loving creature. 

To you Kitty, I miss you, I love you and I will never forget you.  My cat, my friend, my constant companion, my teacher, my healer and my knitting partner. 



Kitty Jelley
June 1994 - 14 March 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Quiet Night

I'm at my non-knitting job this evening and since it's a slow one, I've been puttering away on my knits.  I did finish those rugs I was working on and I have some I-Chords on the go right now to finish up another batch of bags.  I'm enjoying the easy pace because tomorrow I have to finish my year end at my non-knitting job and that isn't going to be a whole lot of fun at all.  Especially since I won't be able to work on anything textile related!  But the good news for me is that once the year end is done, it frees up an awful lot of time and head space to be able to concentrate on design and marketing.  It shouldn't be legal to have this much fun while trying to earn a living.

So no pics to post today...and probably not for the next few days.  But I'll be back!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Well my garden is buried under a Canadian winter so I've had to be a bit more creative.


A garden of felted leaves and flowers!!!!  If you think those green leaves look familiar, you have been paying attention as they are the ones shown in my earlier post "Evergreen".  Only difference is that shown above is post-felting, shown in the earlier post is pre-felting.  I'm very pleased with the way they turned out and they ended up looking exactly the way I had in my mind....and this is what I'm going to do with them....

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hey...I'm swatchin' you!

I am having sooooo much (maybe a little too much) fun playing and swatching on my knitting machines.  I've made another "braid" as per recipe in the user's manual and I tried  picking up stitches along the side of a knitted fabric to knit in the opposite direction.  Both techniques worked well for me, of course I still need practice but I'm confident that I will be making more advanced and complex garments on the machines in no time.

Speaking of machines.....I have to have the greatest luck when it comes to acquiring knitting machines.  One day a couple of years ago, my Husband and I stopped at a yard sale and HE found a Singer 360 Punch Card knitter complete with ribber attachment and accessories for a really good price, so we bought it.  20 minutes later, at another yard sale we picked up a Singer 151 Chunky Knitter for a really, really good price.  A year later I bought 5  155 Chunky Punch Card Knitter, 2 ribbers for them and a brand new, never been used, still wrapped in protective paper Singer 360 Punch Card Knitter for an even more ridiculously low price.  Deep breath...and I have another knitting machine on the way, for free, from my Sister (xoxoxox) that comes complete with Intarsia carriage!  I would tell you how little I paid for the lot, but you'd only want to poke me with your knitting needles:)  Let me just say, that at such a low, low total price...I am convinced that the Universe is sending me a message.  That in fact this is what I have been waiting for and what I am meant to do.


picked up stitches and 9 stitch tuck braid



4 Stitch Cable

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hope Restored!

Ok, so all is NOT lost....I did manage to learn something new today.  My first Tuck Stitch on the Knitting Machine!  It's a 5 stitch "braid" and I love it very much, so much in fact that I'm thinking it needs to become a handle on a felted bag.  I should take another picture after using a lighter yarn, this is a very dark green and it makes the pattern hard to see.


What the wind blew in...

We have been enduring the most condensed winter that I have ever witnessed.  The Maritimes are used to some pretty extreme winters (that we haven't had for several years), but this one started late then all arrived at once.  I love winter (I think all knitters do) but this one...as pretty as it has been, is woopin my butt!  It has been one of the nicest winters with beautiful sunny days and a much shorter than usual cold snap BUT THE SNOW ALL ARRIVED IN ABOUT 6 WEEKS!!!!  We have had about 5 months worth of snow compressed into 2 months!

Since we have awesome snow removal from one of our neighbors, we've been lucky.  But.  With the accumulation it has been very difficult to get in and out of my studio which is separate from the house.  In theory it is very romantic to don snowshoes to get to work, but in practice...not so much.  So the last couple of weeks have not been as productive as they should be but I know that this won't last.  I wish I had pics of finished rugs to show you today, but this will just have to do:)

Place gratuitous knitting shot here....



A close up of unfinished rugs:)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Procrastination

Sometimes I seem to have trouble finishing what I've started.  I love finished pieces but I enjoy the bulk of the work more than the fiddly finishing stuff.  (Or maybe it has more to do with a desire to start something new or work on something different....I have the attention span of a moth:))  So today is all about the finish line, finished a pair of mitts that have been on the needle for several days and I am committed to finishing the fringe on 3 rugs.  Considering every piece of fringe is hand-knotted, it really doesn't take that long to do and wowwa the end result is beautiful!!!!

3 rugs, sans fringe

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Evergreen

I guess I've turned over a new leaf....

....these beautiful leaves are going to be felted and added to the felted bags in such a way that if you don't feel like wearing roses and leaves that day, they can be easily removed and refastened when you do....