Jan 1

A yarnie looks back…

In 2009, I started dyeing yarn, opened an Etsy shop, and made my first wholesale order to an LYS in town. I swore that since I could now buy yarn and dye it in colours I wanted as I needed it, I would drastically cut down, if not cut out, my other yarn purchases. Apparently, 2009 was a year of grand delusions! :)

Dyeing yarn made me realize that I love the intrigue on one-skein-at-a-time, unique colourways. Despite the fact that  I am normally all about process, formulas and spreadsheets, dyeing for me is an outlet for my creative side, and I prefer the surprise of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach.

On the knitting side, it wasn’t really a stellar year. I started 10 projects and finished only 4: 2 pairs of socks, a scarf and a clapotis. I also finished 3 single socks that are waiting for mates, worked a bit on a few old projects that had been set aside, and started and abandoned a baby hat, 2 pair of socks and a blanket. I am happy with what I did finish, though, and in many ways, it was a year of firsts.

These represent my first test-knit and completed top-down sock, the first acrylic/nylon project that I love, my first project with a singles yarn, my first bamboo project, my first project wth corn yarn, my first attempt at designing my own heel, and my first bulky project, which also doubled as my first slam-dunk as far as gift giving is concerned.

bubbly toes jul09-2 red hedera and a shoe magic socks done clapotis july 22
maizy socks kenkyos
non-man scarf done

Here’s to a 2010 filled with joy, peace and prosperity (that is dyeing, knitting, and yarn)!

Dec 4


Remember these? They were well loved. Today, they abandoned my feet to the cold of a Calgary winter. Both socks went to Safeway with me, but the left heel never came home… it disintegrated as I pulled off my boots. It was a sad goodbye, but since these were a gift, I don’t have the rest of the yarn, so fixing them isn’t an option.

my swap socks

Nov 29

A year of socks? Or perhaps, ein jahr von socken und handschuhen?

I have a problem with socks… I love knitting them, but I get bored. It often takes me a couple of days to knit the first sock, and yet months later, the second one is still lingering in my stack of UFO’s. That being said, I love wearing the pairs of handknit socks I do have completed; I just need a little extra motivation to finish them. Tonight, I found it. Much of my stash is sock yarn, and I just discovered that I have nearly 50 km of yarn in my Ravelry stash right now, and that some of my sock yarn is not even in there yet.

Good friend Annarose was talking about doing a personal sock club: bundling up patterns and yarns already in her stash, and then knitting those as a sock club next year. It sounds like a great idea to work through your stash, and rediscovering previous yarn finds is always exciting, so I think I might try something similar, but with a little tweak.

I’ll be going through my stash – probably over Christmas – and bundling up 6 kits (I knit slowly, and only when I can chat with others). For each kit, there will be enough yarn to complete either a pair of socks or mittens. Quick aside: did you know the word for mittens and gloves in German – handschuh – is literally “hand shoes”? How cool is language! But I digress… Along with each kit of yarn, I’ll include a pattern, or perhaps two, for either mittens of socks. I’ll allow myself to knit other stuff if I’m not in the mood for the kits, but it will have to be from my stash, and preferably something I’ve already started.

Maybe I can get down to 45 km of yarn by next Christmas, and get some cozy socks and mittens to wear, or have Christmas gifts ready ahead of time, too. Maybe. I’ll definitely be giving it a try, though!

Oct 27


Packages are so much fun! Remember me mentioning I won a contest on Gingersnaps’ blog? I was thrilled to get this package in the mail today! She was so generous, and this gift was definitely customized to me.

There was a whopping 4.2 oz/120 gram skein on Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Peacock, and the colour is absolutely perfect (the colour appears a bit darker than it actually is – I had to play with the flash and exposure as it’s dark so early here now).

She also included a can of maple syrup from the Beauce region of Quebec, which is where my family is originally from. Yum!

And as if that wasn’t enough, there was also a big container of “sucre à la crème”. The ingredients vary from one recipe to another, but basically, it consists of sugar (usually brown or a combination of brown, maple and icing sugar), cream or evaporated milk, maple syrup, and a bit of butter. In English, it’s apparently called maple fudge, which always strikes me as odd since the French for fudge (“fudge”) refers specifically to chocolate.

Winnings - madelinetosh toshsock in peacock and maple stuffs

Oct 16

I won! I won!

A friend recently posted a bit of a contest on her blog, and was looking for suggestions for a good workhorse yarn. I had to pipe in with my love of Lambs Pride Superwash. I don’t like the original – the mohair, it is not my friend – but the superwash is awesome. It isn’t shiny or silky, but if you’re looking for a smooth, non-itchy yarn that is machine washable, holds up well to frogging/reknitting and washing, has awesome heathered and solid colourways and is relatively inexpensive, get thee to a yarn store to buy some, post haste!

As for the winning part, well, that may be a bit of a stretch: no one else posted a suggestion, so I won by default. So, if you don’t already read it, go grab some gingersnaps with tea.

On the knitting front, there isn’t much going on.

I keep procrastinating about resoling the socks I made my Dad for Christmas last year. He completely blew out the heel (seriously, I can stick my fist through the hole), so he’ll get the same socks again this Christmas, with double-knit soles and specific instructions: “if you walk on gravel in hand knit socks with no shoes, you will not get any more hand knit socks!”

I’m still knitting on the very basic 2×2 ribbed alpaca scarf. Not very impressive to photograph, but I just finished the first ball of yarn today at lunch.

As for the Summer Solstice cardigan? I was able to get a clarification on the instructions, so I have 5 rows to rip back, and then I can pick this up again… perhaps that will be this weekend’s project… because, really, who needs to work on Christmas knitting?

Oct 9

[insert catchy title here]

I’ve only been posting about dyeing recently, so here’s a quick update on other stuff. I haven’t been knitting much, but I’m nearly finished a pair of socks (not one, but two socks!) for the roommie out of Zauberball in Brombeeren. I also started on a new sweater this week. The irony couldn’t be missed: it started snowing the day after I cast on for Summer Solstice. The construction of this sweater is quite different, but I really like the look of the finished sweater. Here’s how they both look so far:

magic socks nearly done summer solstice at first snow

I also made a few purchases this past week or so. First, I bought some of the squishiest black yarn ever to be used for a scarf for my brother in law… I think! And most recently, I purchased a Namaste buddy case to carry aorund my knitting tools, as well as a Hermosa bag. I’m still debating on this one as to whether I should keep it for myself, or give it as a Christmas gift. What do you guys think?

diamond sport alpaca - bulky namaste buddy case - peacock namaste hermosa

Aug 13

It doesn’t look like much…

but, do you know what this is?

This is a completed sock. Woo! And a delivery of about 25 pounds of yarn! Yah! Now, if only I could start dyeing again, I’d be set!

Aug 4

Another delivery!

Last week, I arranged a purchase on Ravelry for some Lamb’s Pride Superwash Worsted. Although I missed the impatient delivery man, when I got to the door, there was a package on the floor. Wee! The yarn is the most amazing deep red (it’s called “Shane’s Red”) and the ever so slight heathering gives it so much depth. I’ve been itching for a sweater lately, and I think this will be perfect. Must decide on the perfect match, though… I’m tossing around the idea of that Corsica sweater (Ravelry link) I was originally planning for my Noro.

Lambs Pride Superwash Worsted - shanes red

And can I take this time to point out that Americans are crazy when they complain about the US postal service (not that the person I bought this from is one of those)? The parcel took 7 days to arrive despite a holiday in between (4 business days), and it cost less than $11 to ship. For me to ship the same parcel to her address would cost nearly $17 for the cheapest option with no insurance, tracking, guarantees, etc, and their delivery standard is 2.5 weeks (12 business days). And the cost only drops by 50 cents if I want to ship the same parcel to my mother, here in Canada. I do have to admit that Canada Post has improved greatly in the past couple of years at their standard delivery times, but they still lose and damage stuff frequently, and when you’re paying more to start, for a slower delivery time, you tend to have this weird, perhaps unfounded expectation that your package gets delivered. To the right address. Undammaged.

Thump. Stepping off my soap box now.

Jul 30

Coffee break

Working from home today, but currently taking a coffee break, and noticed a link to these new needles in my inbox. They look cool, but I don’t know about the “slightly flexible” bit… I may have to try a pair though; since I already have a set of standard options, it would be pretty cheap to try a single set of tips of these.

Jul 29

No patience for thrums?

Several months ago, KnittingGrammy had been working on some thrummed mitts, and mentioned how tedious it was to prepare each little thrum, and suggested it would be easy for someone  to find a market to sell bags of pre-made thrums. I would never have the patience to prepare each thrum for a pair of mitts that I wouldn’t get to knit, wear, or even see, but ask and ye shall receive: voilà!

Jul 28


I got two deliveries this week; one was more anticipated than the other… Can you guess which?

Wensleydale, Finn, BFL, merino-tencel, merino-seacell... and crutches

Jul 19

Only in Canada!

I can’t believe it! There is a yarn/fibre shop that accepts Canadian Tire money as payment (at full face value). Really. When you click on the “We accept Canadian Tire Money as Payment” link, you get this:

Yes, we really do.  So go dig through the glove box, the MacGyver drawer in the kitchen, the kids’ toyboxes and everywhere else that Canadian Tire Money gets to… now it’s good for yarn and fibre, too!

Jul 7

Skeining, a poll and…

I just finished skeining up a batch of Fixation for my next dyeing session, along with several skeins of a new yarn I’ll be carrying in our shop. “Bliss” is a soft 3-ply worsted-spun lace weight yarn with amazing drape and a soft sheen. The blend is 55% silk and 45% wool, and I love the feel of this stuff!

I’ll be doing a shop update including our standard fingering weight yarns, as well as this new lace weight in the coming weeks. In the meantime, for lace yarns, do you prefer 50 or 100 gram skeins? A 50 gram skein of this yarn would be enough for small shawls, such as Swallowtail (Ravelry link). I was thinking of dyeing and skeining this strictly in 100 gram skeins, but I thought I should throw the question out there to you folks.

In related news, I’m very excited to say that I’ve been talking to a yarn shop owner about carrying my yarns too. I won’t give away details yet, but stay tuned! I’m thrilled about the opportunity, and I’ll share more once details are finalized.

Jun 27

decision time again

I’ve been looking at patterns for that red cotton I picked up last week. I’m waiting to get my niece’s measurements from my sister but I’m pretty sure I have enough yarn for any of these in her size. I’m kind of debating between three patterns right now. The first is Karys – a simple stockinette tee with girly, ruffle sleeves – and the second is Lilli – a cute little cabled tank top – both from BingeKnitter. There is also Monica, which is a plain tank top with a ruffle at the top from Knitty.

Monica is appealing because it’s free (I just found out my contract at work is almost certainly not being renewed next month), but Karys would fit her longer since it’s a loose shirt to start, and Lilli is just adorable (or is it just the photo that makes me think that)?

Jun 17

Decision help?

Anybody have advice/thoughts on whether this hat (Little Star-Hat on Ravelry) would be appropriate for a baby boy if done in a different colour? Or, do any of you have suggestions for baby boy knits?

Jun 1

I won! I won! I won!

I never win stuff. Ever. So, when FiberFiend –  the author of my favourite sweater knitting pattern (Corsica) – decided to host a pattern giveaway, I stated my favourites as a show of support more than as a desire to win. And yet, I just had my ears burned on Ravelry, as she magic linked me to say I had won! I’m a little shocked actually… and now I’ll get a shiny new copy of her Seascape sweater pattern. Wee! I really must finish unpacking so I can get to all the knitting, spinning and dyeing I want to do! :)

May 21

yarny swap thing

Tonight was the yarn-related swap night at Make One. It was so much fun to see everyone again, and there is some awesome new stock. And some great key lime muffins! I managed to get rid of some of my Cashsoft DK and some Misti Alpaca laceweight. Both in black – can you guess who got those? I was also happy to see my Malabrigo go. It was a sweater’s worth of Malabrigo worsted in Tuareg – the most amazing blue. Unfortunately, once I changed my mind about the sweater I was going to make with it, I couldn’t think of any others I wanted it for. I’m glad it went to a nice fiber-loving home! I also swapped my Knit Picks Gossamer laceweight in Blue Jeans.

I did pretty well for myself: I got some lovely sock yarn which I already have a pattern in mind for, 4 oz of merino-tencel to spin (oh, how I love that blend) and a pound of Cotswold for spinning (a new fiber!). One of the best parts about the Cotswold/Malabrigo swap is that I got rid of the Malabrigo tonight, and the Cotswold will be flicked/combed and picked up at a later date (read: I don’t have to move it this weekend). Wee!

Apr 1

I’m a Ravelry yarnie!

I just got my email from Ravelry, and my yarns are in the Ravelry database now! Woo!

Mar 26

It’s a good week!

While I’m still recovering from my plaguishness, and there have been a few blips, this has been a pretty good week, and I like to share those! It started out with our Finance Director coming back from Ecuador this week with 60 dozen roses in a riot of colours and varieties for all the staff. They were beautiful, and they’re one of the few flowers that don’t bother my allergies too badly, so I picked a 1/2 dozen various types in yellow, peach, orange, red, white, and white with red tips. I’ve been enjoying them all week.

I’ve also been test knitting a sock. I remember seeing a sample of this sock when it was first designed and loving it. And now, I get to test knit it. How cool is that? I’m loving the pattern. It’s a fun knit that’s keeping my interest, and I switched yarns for a better contrast, which I think was the right decision. These socks are definitely going to be for me! Here’s a little hint at the pattern.

test knit

On the way home tonight, I stopped at the dollar store to get a glass dish for dyeing. They didn’t have anything suitable in stock, so I thought I’d avoid a wasted trip, and pick up a few things at Walmart. I ended up finding a huge 18-quart crock pot for $25, which will be way more useful than the little glass dish ever would have been.

Then, when I got home, I had received a parcel notice: my skein winder is here! I can start dyeing my lace!

ETA: Ooh, and the awesomest roomie ever got us a new DVD drive for the computer, I got a new SD Card for the camera, I had a yummy roast for dinner, and I just remembered I have a bag of Reeses Pieces! Woo!

Mar 14


I’ve been blessed with awesome friends. Yesterday, I came home to a gift from the roommie: bar clamps (with cushioned grips, so they don’t harm the table and because I’m paranoid), so that I can skein yarn more easily. It was very exciting! And this morning I got to try out my new setup. It took a couple of tries to figure out the best way to use them, but this was SO much easier than my previous skeining. I really do have a rockin’ roommie!

I also got to spend the day with the lovely Annarose. We had planned a dyeing day earlier this winter, but it just didn’t work out. Today was so much fun though, so it was totally worth the wait. She brought me chocolate muffins and loads of tips and tricks and new dyeing techniques. One of the “surprise” methods sounded both interesting and terrifying at the same time. We’ll see how it turns out – I just pulled the skein out of the kettle between the first and second paragraphs. I haven’t opened up the skein yet, but at first glance, it looks pretty awesome; I’m hopeful. This was my first attempt with one of my new worsted weight superwash merinos, and I quite like it.

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