Wednesday, March 28, 2012

3-Ply, Oh My!

I hope Spring has been as nice in whatever neck of the woods you're in as it's been in mine.  Beautiful.  Warm. I love it.  As much as I love Winter, I think my brain really wakes up in Spring, around about the same time as the Maple trees start running.  Maybe it has something to do with being Canadian.....eh.....?  With a reawakened brain comes inspiration and I'm seeing inspiration all around me.  The kind of inspiration that makes me want to translate everything I see into a knitted stitch.  In the last couple of weeks I've created a couple of hat patterns and a scarf pattern....I'd hate to tease you with that information but you'll just have to be patient because they will be available in the Fall (and I think they're worth waiting for).

What I can share with you is my new love affair with a yarn I've had and used for years.  I've written about MacAusland's Yarn before and told you all about how useful it is.  What I hadn't really worked with before is their 3-ply bulky weight.  Having a nice amount of it in my stash I thought about creating some patterns with this yarn instead of my go-to 2-ply (aprox. Aran) and 2-ply fine (aprox. worsted).  With a 5.5mm needle my gauge worked out to 3.5 stitches and 5 rows to the inch which makes an accessory sized pattern knit up at the speed of light.


This yarn is a pleasure to knit with, the stitch definition is terrific which makes it ideal for Aran style knitting....seriously... cables just pop!  It's a fairly dense yarn also and is made from mixed wool breeds so some lots are softer than others and all plys are available in a variety of natural and dyed colours.  It does bloom or full nicely when washed and is excellent for felting.   As well as being a versatile, all purpose wool yarn, it's also a very affordable yarn making it quite perfect in my book!

I am a little biased because this Woollen Mill also happens to be my LYS, but I am serious about how I enjoy working with it.  I will be branching out and working with other, more well known yarns so that people can relate better to my patterns, but I will always have MacAusland's in my stash.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Improvements

I've been working on improvements to the blog....just some stuff that I've wanted to do for some time but hadn't yet figured out how to...until now.

As you can see, at the top left hand corner there is a link to my Ravelry page, you can view my page and patterns from here but to navigate around Ravelry you must create an account and login.  It is free, it is easy and if you do so, you will be joining over 2 million other knitters and crocheters all over the world.  It's a great site and worth your time.

Second, you can purchase any of my patterns from clicking on their picture in the column down the right hand side of the blog.  You do not have to have a Ravelry account to purchase from these links (but you should get one anyway, because you really don't want to miss out on all the fun).  Just in case you don't know, Ravelry is a website for knitters and crocheters.  It's a place where you can find people that live close by that share your interests, find out about swaps, meet ups and knit-a-long.  It's a resource with links to tutorials, designers, blogs, yarns stores, websites, patterns to purchase, patterns for free.  Seriously, it's just a terrific place.

Hope you enjoy the improvements I've made, I think they will make things easier to navigate.  Oh, and Happy St. Patty's Day!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Practical Things

I would have to say that I'm a prolific knitter.  That being said, I always have lots of finished pieces kicking around.  Although most of them are earmarked for one of my retail spots, I do end up with a goodly amount of pretties left behind.  Most of the pretties I get to keep are either prototypes of "sale" pieces or test knitted pattern pieces, some of them I don't get a lot of use out of as I'm not really a hat wearer, but my bags and cowls to get a great work out.  This has been a very mild winter for us and March has been no exception but with the milder weather comes mud in our lane and for a brief time every spring we park the vehicles at the road end of the lane and walk to and from the house.  This spares damage and ruts to the laneway that can be costly to repair every year.  Ruby has come in very handy on these little jaunts, not that the walk is long, but if there is a strong, cool wind... being wrapped up properly can turn something otherwise unpleasant into a lovely walk.  Thank you Ruby for being just what I need these days.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Time Passes.....

It was a year ago today that we lost our sweet old cat.  Kitty has been missed and not a day has gone by that I haven't thought about her, she was such a great friend.  I am so happy that I got to have her in my life for so long...almost 18 years.  I was watching a cat food commercial today that said to switch your cat over to "seniors" formula at age 11....11!!!!!  So if that's considered old age, I figure that Kitty was actually working on immortality like the Goddess that she truly was.  Maybe bitten by a vampire....who knows, I'm just so grateful for all of the adventures that we had.

Kitty, hope you found your brother Buck waiting for you on the rainbow bridge.
xoxoxoxo love,  "The Lady"



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesdays

Tuesdays are always way too busy with things that I don't really want to do but have to anyway.  I did manage to get all of my "have to's" finished in a reasonable amount of time today which left time for a little swatching and a little more sketching, even felted swatches.

Here's a little something I was working on a couple of weeks ago, I ripped it and started over a bunch of times and although it's only a swatch, I know it needs to turn into something.


These are not the same leaves I was working on yesterday.  Those babies are still in the mystery pile.

It would be so nice to be able to give all of my time and energy to this textile obsession.  Maybe some day.  Until then I think I should organize my week so that I do specific fibre related things on different days of the week.  That will only leave a little time for each thing (having to go to my job and all) but if I schedule the time, maybe I'll actually do some things that I haven't made time for in a while.  Like pick one day a week and spend just one hour spinning...my poor spinning wheel is sitting in the corner not able to remember what it's purpose is.  Sadder still is the sheer volume of fibre I have to spin that is sitting in bags.  I have mohair, kid mohair, my own wool roving from my own sheep, merino, silk, seacell, pollworth, angora and, and, and I know I've missed some.  I'm not just talking about a few ounces of this or that either....I'm talking pounds worth of most of them!!!!  Oh right, I forgot about the 3 lama fleeces I was given last summer by my neighbour....oh it's worse than I thought.  Well at least they're all well packed so no critters will get into them.  I think I'll put an hour aside on Sunday to do just that, spend some time spinning just for the joy of it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Got My Thinkin' Cap On

I've been really tired and busy lately and that has hampered my knitting.....then all of a sudden, early this afternoon, I had a flash of inspiration and dashed off to the studio to get my pad and coloured pencils.  I was so determined that slipping on the ice, falling flat on my back and jarring my neck would not stand in the way.  The day has been spent sketching and swatching and as much as I'd love to show you, I'm going to keep it a secret just for a little while longer.  Just think leaves, lots and lots of leaves.


This isn't a pic of my current project, rather an old pic of some leaves I had knitted and later felted for a different project.  Just want to keep you entertained:)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ruby.....two ways

Hello Ruby.....two ways (sung to the tune of Ruby Tuesday)!

Ruby has arrived and is available for purchase on Ravelry or on the top right hand corner of this blog.  I am so happy with how this pattern turned out and I've been sketching and dreaming about how many different ways I can use the Picot Edge Bind Off...soooo pretty!






That makes three patterns now available for sale, does that mean I'm a knitwear designer?  I can't rank myself with the likes of Anne Hanson, Kate Davies or Ysolda Teague, well not yet anyway.  I so admire the work of these women (and so many more) and I have to say I owe them a nod of gratitude for inspiring me to follow my own creativity and translate my thoughts into stitches.  Knitting for me is the outlet of my creativity, that I can take a thought and turn it into something tactile, comforting and wearable.  I was de-cluttering the last closet the other day and tucked way in the back was the first pair of mittens I ever made.  Still in good shape, no holes yet to mend, I was so pleased to see them.  There is something so special about  being able to make and wear a simple, useful garment.  Ruby turned out to be one of those simple, useful garments....she's also very pretty:)

P.S.  If you look up at the top right hand side of this blog you will see the pattern links (they are all working properly now), you will also see links to tutorials that I've posted on youtube, the tutorials are free and I hope you find them useful.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

This Is Thursday....again!

Wow, have I been a busy Lady!  This week marked the passing of that time of year when my day job requires all of my attention to do a whole bunch of math and paperwork, and now that that is all passed in for another year I can focus a little of my attention back to textiles and blogging.

I absolutely love soft, smooshy wool yarn...you know, the kind you can wear against your skin and it feels so warm and good.  Merino wool is one of my favourite yarns for this very purpose and I have been working with it to design and make pretty cowls.  Although I love textural knitting, I sometimes find a larger project that is highly textural to be difficult in holding my attention, but a cowl seems to be just the right size to make as many complicated, textural stitches as you like without feeling overwhelmed by the size of it.  That's why I enjoyed making the Elizabeth Cowl so much and I know there will be so many more textured cowls and other accessories to come.

Elizabeth


My latest offering, Ruby,  is textural, but not complicated at all and it will be available for purchase on my Ravelry Store by the end of the week.  The body of this cowl is worked in a simple Seed Stitch pattern and the edges are dressed up with a Picot Edge Bind Off giving you the option of using either the same colour as the body or changing it up a little.


 Ruby



Ruby


This pattern includes both sizes shown above, the first measuring 54 inches in circumference so that it can either be worn as one long loop around the neck or doubled up for warmth, the second measuring 20 inches in circumference.  I've pictured the 20 inch cowl with a variegated yarn for the Picot Bind Off.

All of my patterns are or will be available for purchase on Ravelry.  You can also purchase them by clicking on the pattern name on the top, right hand corner of this blog page (I am currently experiencing technical difficulty with the click option for Elizabeth but it is still available for purchase directly from Ravelry).