Monday, December 30, 2013

I've Been Busy...

Wowwa...busy and fun!  We've had another lovely Yule/Christmas here at the homestead, full of both good food and much needed rest.  We didn't have as much time off of our day-jobs as we usually do, but we made the best of the situation.  After all, I was able to spend two whole days at home without even having to go outside.  Not that I don't usually like to go outside (especially in this awesome snowy weather), I've just been really, really under the weather for 5 whole weeks now and those two days on the sofa were exactly what I needed.  I made a trip out yesterday to look for pom pom makers.  I couldn't believe how much they cost but after giving them a go, I was very pleased with the result.




So, even though I've been away from the blog and weakened by plague...I have continued to stitch.  In the past few weeks, I've managed several knitted hats, stitched blanket stocking, stitched blanket cushion (shown above), and of course a couple of big, fluffy pom poms.  Have you managed to make anything in past few weeks?  I'm putting the kettle on, why not pull up a chair and tell me all about it.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Wild Thing

Our tree is up and decorated and it is WILD, a wild balsam fir, shaped perfectly by nature herself....and wow, does it smell good!!!



I added something new this year and I've decided that it isn't just for the Holidays.


A burlap wreath with ribbons of my favourite mustard and olive paisley fabric.  I do see from this photograph that the loops of burlap need a little more flouncing and staging though!  It was pretty dark when we put it up last night.  It added some lovely texture to the living room, and after the new fireplace is installed in the mantle, the whole look will really come together.  It has taken a lot of time (time that we don't  have to spend on the house) to make our house feel like a home with touches of texture, colour and individuality...but we're happy with the direction it's taking.  I've decided to put many more home made touches into our living space, and since I spend all of my time (even at work) making hand made household decorations and personal accessories, it's high time that I made some for myself instead of selling every piece.  

Speaking of sale pieces....of course I have a blanket fabric Christmas stocking fresh off of the crochet hook and a sweet mustard stocking cap on the needles.  What are you making right now?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Felted Holiday Scarf

I am very pleased to announce that I've finally found time to sit down and write the pattern for my Holiday Felted Scarf and Autumn Leaves Scarf.  As you can see to the right of the screen, it is now available for purchase through my Ravelry store.  This is such a fun and fast project to knit and would really help knock down your holiday list in a hurry.  There is still time to make several of these beauties before Christmas arrives.  The pattern instructions make both scarves.

Felted Holiday Scarf


Felted Autumn Leaves Scarf


Both scarves before felting.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Yikes!!!!!

Oh my goodness....I'm still here and alive and I do have some blog worthy fodder to share but my health has had me out of commission for a wee spell.....

I'm much better now, and after being robbed of over a week of stitching/making time, that's finally back on track too.  I'll post a proper post in the next couple of days...promise.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Rose Cottage

There's a lovely antique and gift shop opening today in Summerside, PEI.


Rose Cottage Antiques and Gifts
401 Water Street
Summerside

902-724-3399

Here is a little look inside.....


 Pretty dishes and crockery.



A charming display of my very own knitting things.



Hand sewn aprons and tea towels.


Antiques.


Things to keep you cozy.


Treasures tucked into every corner.


More antiques.


Did I mention there is a goodly bunch of antiques?

If you're in the area, you simply must go.  It is truly beautiful shop and the ladies will be so happy to see you.  I am one of the fortunate, local artisans who have been asked to join Rosemary in her venture, of course I gladly accepted and you can now find my accessories here.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Coming Soon....

Coming soon, just in time for the Holidays..............

A sweet, easy pattern....no wait...it's two patterns in one!  You can make either the Felted Holiday Scarf or the Autumn Leaves Scarf.....




.....very soon.....

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Story Of My First Knitting Project

When I think back to my first real knitting project it makes me chuckle.  My Mother had taught me how to cast on and the Knit Stitch when I was about 5 years old, and during my few failed attempts at actually knitting something, I had accidentally taught myself the Purl Stitch.  It wasn't until I was in my 30's that I was actually struck by a desire to knit, until that time I simply thought of it as tedious.  Crochet was more my speed...literally, as it seems to go along at a lightning pace compared to knitting.

So back in 2004, I brought home a wee flock of 3 sheep, Frederick, Francis and Fiona and I desperately wanted to learn to spin so that I could harvest their beautiful fleece.  And I did.  But at that same time I was wondering if I should learn to knit, really knit, because I couldn't imagine what good it would be to have balls and balls of homespun yarn around the house and not really know anything to do with them.  I wanted to make clothing but wasn't a fan of crocheted clothes, I really have always preferred the look of knitted goods. So a quick call to my Sister (a very fine knitter) to ask her how difficult it would be for someone who knew how to cast on and knit a stitch, to actually knit a sweater...like say a Lopi style sweater.  She assured me that it would be easy peasy and off I went.  I decided to buy some super inexpensive, bulk, acrylic yarn, a circular needle and a simple yolked sweater pattern.  I found that that much knitting to get up the body of the sweater was excellent practice to get my stitches uniform...then the fun began.  I had no idea how to switch colours for the yolk, and I assumed that Knit 2 Together was as straight forward as it sounded (much to my delight it was).  The funniest part of all of it was learning to knit this sweater at work.  I am lucky enough to work at a job where I can do this and even more lucky that one of my customers was quite useful in helping me decipher the colour changes and how they worked into the decreases.  It ended up turning into a community event as each of my customers came in and wanted a progress report.  In the end I ended up with a sweater that was way to wide in the torso and way to tight in the yolk and although so many people encouraged me to rip it and start it again, I decided to keep it just the way it was so that in weeks, months and years to come, I would have a barometer of how much I had improved and how far I had come.  I love that sweater, all lopsided and out of whack, and I truly appreciated that even though my stranded yolk was way too tight, I had worked the pattern correctly and that encouraged me to stay with knitting and become the knitter/spinner I am now.




I have no difficulty now reading patterns, my stranded colour work is much more...well....stranded and even though I feel I have so much more to learn and so much more to improve upon, I do believe I can now knit anything.

I have written and shared my story as a participant in Interweave Knits, Your First Knitting Project , it's a contest where you can blog about your first knitting project and maybe win a lovely prize from Interweave........and below are the books I have chosen for my wish list if I win.

150 Scandinavian MotifsScottish Knits: Colorwork & Cables with a Twist Shades of Winter: Knitting with Natural Wool200 Fair Isle Motifs A Knitter's DirectoryFolk Socks The History & Techniques of Handknitted Footwear Updated Edition

Monday, October 28, 2013

RETREAT!!!!!!

Oh wow, my feet are just landing back on the ground after "Retreat Weekend"!!!  I had such a wonderful time and would like to thank all the Ladies who put it together for us this year, making in another awesome event.

For those of you who have no idea of what I'm going on about, this was our Annual Maritime Spinner's Retreat which takes place in the Canadian Maritime Provinces.  This year, the retreat was here on PEI and we had people that travelled from as far away as Ontario, Maine and New Hampshire!  Of course, just to make it even more exciting, the hosts always pick a theme for the event.  This year was all about the "Mad Hatter", what a fun time it was both making and seeing other people's creations.

There were warm and cozy hats....


There were creatively, zany hats....


There were many, many more hats not pictured here, some for competing in challenges and more still that we knitted for charities.

There were 96 people in attendance, most of which had spinning wheels, a few had spindles and one lady brought along her small loom.  It was terrific to spend the weekend with old spinning friends that I've now known for several years, and of course meeting new ones was also a highlight (Julie, I'm talking about you).

For the most part, I hung out with Mrs. N and her daughter Miss H...great ladies that I met 6 years ago at a retreat in Cape Breton.  Ladies, thanks for a wonderful weekend full of laughs....


Look at them working away!  (you can see the lady with the loom in the back ground)

The goody bags and vendors are also a real blast!  We had all kinds of lovely things in our bags...


....yarn, needles, hooks all kinds of info and a bag of delicious fibre which I turned into the yarn and head band above as part of the weekend's "spin and make a hat out of your goody bag" competition.  I didn't place in the competition, but I sure had fun making and wearing it!

My stops at various vendor's tables were quite fruitful...


....I bought a beautiful hand made kitting basket, needles, hand made darning tools and spindle and a set of clips that assist you in making braided rugs.

Just before leaving, Mrs. N was packing up her stuff and I commented on how much I liked her competition hat and that I would wear something like that in public....so she gave it to me!  Lucky me!  I love it and I will wear it as soon as the weather turns cold (not long now).  Thanks N for my lovely hat.  (those are crocheted flowers on the top....adorable).


One last picture to show you, and that is of my competition entry........Fascinating!!!!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Truth

Truth:

I knit a lot.  I also do other creative stitching....a lot.  These little lovelies that I design and create are almost never for me.  In the end, some are for gifts but the majority are for selling to supplement my income.  The revenue generated from stitching is usually used for stitching related past times...like my annual spinner's retreat or to buy more yarn or notions or knitting machines or thread.   I posted last week that I had won a copy of Mary Jane Mucklestone's "Fair Isle Style" and now that I've read it, I really have to put away my sale knitting and pick a few projects out of this book to add to my wardrobe.





It's so hard to decided what to make first, I love that dress, but I also love everything else in the book.  Well, this is a great opportunity to work on my almost non existing, Fair Isle technique.

Yesterday, I was working on some "for sale" stuff that I had been itching to make for some time.  I used 16 inch pillow forms that I had purchased and covered them with MacAusland's blanket fabric, finished with a simple crocheted blanket stitch edge.  They turned out as lovely as they were in my head (that doesn't always happen).  And just in case I was unsure of how awesome they turned out...Penny gave me her full support when she nested her little self into one....


....I am going to have to make one for her.  

Happy Friday everyone, have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Turkey Day

This is Monday...Monday of the long, Thanksgiving Weekend here in Canada.  This is my favourite holiday.  So much so that the Mr. and I were wed on Thanksgiving weekend nearly two decades ago.  There is something that happens to me at this time of year, I've felt it since I was a little girl.  I get nesty and homey and want to make and put away things.  Some people find it a bit depressing that the days are noticeably shorter, but I find it inspiring.  The longer, cooler nights find me wanting for woollen socks and blankets, snuggling with the Mr. and the cats, mugs of hot chocolate and sticky, starchy, warm, comfort foods.

Since we had the day off yesterday, Mr. and I enjoyed a traditional turkey dinner with family.  It was delicious and made with good measures of home grown goodness.  The turkey was store bought but all the veg on the table and fruit that filled our pies, came from our own kitchen garden and orchard.  This little "pie pumpkin" was at the peak of perfection just in time for holiday pie....


....I told the Mr. that I think this little "pie pumpkin" gets it's name not just because it is the perfect variety for pie but also because it made a perfect 2 cups worth of mash which was the exact amount needed for my recipe.

Of course what Harvest Supper would be complete without an apple pie as well?!  After tending a Golden Delicious tree for the last couple of years, trying to return it to good health as it was left to run wild, we were happy to find that the apples were usable!  They are not as healthy as they will be, but, this is our first time being able to really enjoy them.


They made some pretty tasty pies, if i do say so myself.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian friends and Happy Harvest to all of those who celebrate the Harvest!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Something Good This Way Comes

I received a very happy e-mail yesterday from Kirsten Kapur, letting me know that I was the lucky winner of this absolutely beautiful book.


Image taken from Chapters/Indigo site

I am so excited to have won a copy and I cannot wait to receive it.  Yesterday started off to be an unpleasant day, dealing with an unpleasant and painful dental appointment...suffice it to say, I felt much better after having received such lovely news.

Thank you Kirsten for having the contest and thank you to Mary Jane Mucklestone, the author of the book for providing it in the first place.  Every single design in this book is beautiful, there is not one pattern that I would not make and/or wear myself.

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Plan Whilst Dreaming

So, I have a dream that everyone in the world will get along with each other, everyone will return back to a simpler, healthier life and of course everyone will either learn how to knit or at the very least, buy hand knit loveliness that someone else has made.  Ahhhhhh.  Well, I'm only one person so I cannot hold myself responsible for world peace or for the decisions of 7 billion other people, but what I can do is turn my own little space into one that is more in keeping with my Utopia.

Mr. and I own an old country store, we manage it and also work shifts behind the counter almost like it was done 101 years ago when the store was new.  The stock has changed dramatically since it opened over a century ago based on what the public wants to buy.  Where you used to find horse shoe blanks, stove parts and fabric...you know find potato chips, fizzy pop and chocolate bars.  You can still find carriage bolts and lamp oil in the back though....after all, since we are a country store, we do need to carry more than just junk food.

I have been dreaming for years of how nice it would be to have a little shop with all of my pretty knitted things in it, along with knitting kits featuring my own patterns and a few other interesting things.  I have dedicated a small area in the store for my wee treasures, but this fall, I decided to make a larger, more permanent looking space for it all.  I've been selling knitted accessories and things to other stores on the Island for years, but I'm going to put more time and effort into my own space now.

It's not quite put together yet so pictures of that space will follow, but in the mean time, here are a few pics of the things I've been working on the fill it with.




I was well stocked with hats, but not with mitts so I decided to make a few pairs of "Newfoundland Mitts" as they are very popular around here.  The mittens hanging on the line are some oversized felted mitts that I know some of the men in my area really like.  Christmas is coming after all and I want to have a nice selection of accessories for people to gift.

What kind of knitted dreams are you having?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Normal

Last weekend, much to my delight, my life returned to a state of almost normal.  I spent the entire weekend at home and doing those early fall things that I do enjoy so much.  I didn't do very much textile work through the week though, so I'll have to make more of an effort to find time for that...after all, I still haven't had time to really figure out that sock knitting machine and not finding that time has been a source of disappointment for me.

There was a couple of trips out to the vineyard (giggle), well...the "back of the shed trellis" is more accurate. It is just dripping with pounds and pounds of delicious, purple orbs.



They are so full of flavour and just sweet enough.  They make really, really good jam too.


Perfect for cold winter mornings on hot toast. I like using these jars to barter for other goods, like fruit that I don't grow or preserves that I don't make.....I received about 10 pounds of plums yesterday from my neighbour, today he gets grape jam in return.  This trade between us has been going on for a few years and I'm very grateful because my plum trees are still a little immature to produce.

The smells in the kitchen this time of year are incredible, sugar, fruit, vinegar, spices....ooooo, it really is my favourite time.

There's a certain smell in the air around my community too...it's the scent of potatoes and earth.  Very unique and when it arrives, it's just one more signal to me that Autumn has arrived.


My wheel barrow of gleaned potatoes...cuz that's they way we roll around here.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thoughts On A Thursday

Nothing particularly exciting has happened this week, one day seems to just fall into the next without a whole lot of change.  That's usually a good thing for me as change kind of messes me up.  I like the slow rhythm of life here in the country just for that reason, change usually happens around here with the easy turn of day into night, season to season.  Although some would not agree, I find that the little things that change in our little world to be just about the right amount of excitement I want in my routine.  Take for example the harvest, the harvest starts in late spring with some berries and rhubarb and it goes on for months.  One of the last things to be harvested here is potatoes, it's no secret that I live in potato country (where some of the best root veg in the world is grown) and this week witnessed the early varieties starting to come out of the ground.


These huge tubers are Shepodys, and I have to say they do make an excellent French Fry which is exactly what they were grown for.  After the field behind our house was "dug" the other day, Mr. and I went out and gleaned about 30 pounds.  You don't want to try and store too many of these guys as they don't have any amount of skin on them so I'm sure they won't keep well.  Delicious.

My own wee veg plot has been churning out delicious things, I can't believe how pretty this striped variety of beet is, very tasty too.  I think I still like the darker, long beets best but these beets don't bleed very much when you are adding them to other things, making the dish a little less "muddy" looking.


These one's are not destined for the canner or the pickle pot, I think we'll just continue eating them fresh until they're gone.

Of course what would a blog post be without a little knitting!  I was making a hat the other day and was getting bored so decided to change it up a bit, the fabric is nice but I'm not sure about the overall result.


I think this weekend will be spent in the kitchen.  Mr. and I have not been eating very well these past few months and it's time to get back into the rhythm of early Autumn with soups and beans and stews and pies...mmmmmmm that really sounds good.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Just Trying And Doing The Best That I Can

When I see a beautiful new collection of patterns made available to the public for purchase, I always have to look and ooo and aaaahhhh at the talent I see.  I also feel in awe of the designer's (or their photographer's) ability to take amazing photographs with just the right light and just the right shadow and just the right background in just the right location.  What I find mind boggling however, is that since these designers are famous in the knitter's world, the rest of us "cottage" designers and our work are often over looked by the general population.  I noticed a beautiful new pattern by a famous knitwear designer that looks an awful lot like my Sweet Cherry Pie hat.  It is a little different, a little more slouchy but all in all, the same general construction.  This new pattern will probably be well received and purchased many time over, becoming a hit in my global knitting community.  That really is a very good thing and if I didn't already know how to make something similar, I would probably buy that pattern myself.  What I wish, what I wish and hope and dream is that all patterns, especially on Ravelry, get the same amount of attention paid to them.

Us small time, cottage crafters don't always have the same resources at hand, but I'm sure the majority of us that are charging a fee for our work have completed at least the making of several projects with their pattern, have had it test knitted by a reliable and non bias person or persons and have put together a well written and photographed finished pattern.

Please give the work of small time designers a look and a chance, we work hard at what we do also.

Thanks

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Produce Isle

Don't you just love it when the closest produce isle is 20 feet from your back door!


A medley of garden veg (carrot, potato, beetroot and onions), seasoned and oiled and ready for roasting.


There's also a little snack to munch on through the evening, I still can't believe that I grow deliciously edible grapes in my own back yard.  I recently watched an episode of The Victorian Kitchen Garden (not sure if I remember the title correctly) and the gentlemen was explaining that in the times of the Victorians and Edwardians, bunches of grapes would be cut and the stems placed in water bottles much like cut flowers.  This would keep the grapes reasonably fresh for months if the water was changed and/or topped up often.  When the cold room in our basement finally is finished, I will have to try that.  I do wash, stem and freeze them to be able to eat fresh/frozen grapes all year, but I think fresh/fresh would be even nicer.  I haven't bought grapes in three years now!

I've been churning out hats...I'm up to 15 now and am eagerly awaiting a call from the mill to deliver, there's something to be said for being prepared.

I've been dreaming about preserves and know that I won't really have time to make anything this month, I truly hope there are still some things that I can do late in the canning season.  I was reminded of just how wonderful these home made gems are last evening when the Mr. and I smothered our ham and scalloped potatoes with mustard pickles and rhubarb relish.  I know I won't be able to make as much as last year but I would still like to get a couple of batches of salsa, cranberry sauce, grape jam and mustard pickles made...maybe I'll just have to count on the larders of generous friends and neighbours this year.

What are you making, feel free to drop by the blog and let us know.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What's The Date? ....No Really!?

I have not posted very much this summer!  Not that I haven't had any blog fodder, I've just been so darn busy.  Life has been wonderfully hectic for the Mr. and I here on our wee homestead, what with home and work and cats.....woooooooooo, I need a nap!

We have been reaping the rewards of a garden well tended....


....peas and carrots and beets and beans and kale.....mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

We've been enjoying watching the interaction between Dave and Penelope also.....


....they take a break from chasing each other from time to time to take a much needed nap, Dave looooves his new kitty!

I've been getting a lot of knitting done also, after rushing out the door on arriving home from vacation to deliver most of my hat inventory...I turned around and made another dozen which I will have to deliver soon. You know this makes me happy.


I'm still suffering a little from Granny Square Fever, I like this playful square but I can make the centre look more like a rose than it does here....


I'm thinking the studio will need a girly, soft coloured, granny square throw to go with the light, airy colours I've picked out for paint.  Even in this heat I can't put down my wool, it smells even stronger in the heat and the smell of real wool is the best aromatherapy ever!