Nov 19
2012

Last Minute Christmas Knitting Project? Check!

I swore I wouldn’t do it again… and yet! Knowing I have to mail my gifts home within 2 weeks, I just started some Christmas knitting. At least this time around, it’s a small project for my niece, so there’s actually a chance I’ll finish on time. We’ll see…

Sep 11
2012

The Day is Over!

Yes, you heard right! You’ve seen me blog about projects lingering in UFO status for months and even years. Not this time, though. I started Stephen West’s Daybreak shawl on August 20th. Last night, a mere 3 weeks later, I finished casting off!

The pattern calls for fingering weight, and I chose to do it in laceweight, so I figured I’d have to change it a bit to get a decent size. In the end, I made less changes than I anticipated. The patter includes three sizes, so I did the large size for the initial solid section. By the time I got to 12 stripes, which is how many are called for in the smallest size shawl, I realized it was getting to be a decent size, so I did only two more, placing it somewhere between the small and medium size for that section, then did the full large size border section. In the end, I got a scarf/shawl that is over 46″ wide before blocking, so I’m guessing I’ll have something in the neighbourhood of a 50″ wingspan in the end. And the whole thing ways less than 55 grams, so I can wrap it up under my coat as a scarf without it being too bulky. Yay!

What do you guys think: should I block it like this with soft points, or with a smooth, rounded edge?

PS: Forgive the bad photos; they were taken at night, with bad lighting and a flash. Colour is closest to second photo, though maybe slightly cooler.

 

 

Sep 2
2012

It’s a new day

Remember that green laceweight yarn I talked about getting at the stash swap? Well, I paired it with some black Malabrigo and began Stephen West’s Daybreak shawl, as I had dreamed about. The bad news? The Malabrigo is a lot thinner than the Knit Picks, so while the gauge was great for the main colour, it’s a little too open for my taste in the black. That being said, I decided to continue on, hoping that the Malabrigo will bloom a little after blocking it. It’s been slow going, but this day off thing is fabulous! I got tons of knitting done today (not to mention lots of Stargate watching), and it’s now over 30″ wide and 10″ deep! See?

 

Aug 24
2012

Stash Swaps

Have you been involved with a stash swap before? I participated in one in Calgary, and loved it, so we decided to host one ourselves this year. What a blast!

We took over the shop on a Sunday afternoon while it was closed, and gave everyone a table (or two, or three… apparently I have a large stash). It was all very casual, and we chatted and bartered and pet and squished and oohed and aahed, and it was awesome! I walked away with an entire vacuum storage bag less of yarn (yay for much needed space regained), a fair wad of cash from people who just shopped rather than swapping, and several new skeins of yummy yarn!

I finally get to try some Madelintosh Vintage, which I’ve been eyeing for a year now. I’ll need to find the perfect project first, but that was the trade I was most anticipating (isn’t stalking friends’ stashes on Ravelry fun)?! I also picked up several sock and shawl fingering wreight yarns. Lately, though, I’ve been in the mood to knit larger, simpler projects, so I also picked up a few skeins of Mirasol Sulka. I think the most surprising swap was probably 250 grams of bright tonally variegated green laceweight that I had originally traded with the roommie last year, and traded back for this year. See… I have this plan. I’ve had a vision of a bright green and black scarf or shawl. I’m thinking Stephen West’s Daybreak (or possibly his Clockwork). I may be insane for trying it in laceweight, but I don’t need a big shawl, so I think it will work out… and I can’t wait to cast on!

Aug 22
2012

Ribbons, Ribbons Everywhere!

Well, our fall fair ended a week or so ago, and I didn’t even update you guys on all the fall fair knitting!

Last year, we were sad as we walked around and saw very little knitting, and some categories with no submissions at all. This year was a different story! One of our knit night regulars lit a fire under us all to submit tons of projects, and it worked. There were about twice as many items entered, and most of them were projects we recognized from our own knit night! It was so fun to look at all the ribbons and prizes, many for people from our knit night, and even some from the new knitters we taught this fall! I won in the handspun knits category for the Amanda hat in my previous post, as well as coming in second for a yarny christmas ornament, but nearly every category was won by one of our ladies or gentlemen! I think the best part for me personally, though, was to see one of our regulars from knit night win the socks and mitts category, since we provided the gift basket for that one from our shop!

Aug 5
2012

I Spin, I knit… Something Else!

Remember that handspun entrelac scarf in my last blog? I really liked how it was looking. You know what I realized though? I really dislike knitting entrelac! I’m thinking I’ll hone my knitting backwards skills, and then try again, but for now the constant turning is too annoying for a project I wanted done in time to submit  in the fall fair’s handspun knits category.

So… time for a new project! Enter the trusty Amanda Hat (Ravelry link). I’ve knit two of these before, and loved them, and I was confident it would be fairly easy to modify the pattern to work with my bulky handspun. And it was! I finished it with enough time to spare that I’m planning on making two other small items before Wednesday’s submission  deadline. It doesn’t look like much right now because it hasn’t been blocked yet, but I’ve had so little knitting to show off lately that I wanted to show you. I like it, although I think this particular pattern looks better in the lighter weight yarns. That’s ok though. It will be warm, and I still have almost 100 grams of handspun left for another project (maybe the Sulka Bulky Hat). Anyway, here’s my very first handspun knitted project!

Jul 17
2012

I spin, I knit

In my last post, I mentioned spinning, so I thought it was time to show you some proof!

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It’s not great, but I’m happy with this giant skein of yarn. It’s 167 grams and about 420 yards of bulky, navaho-plied (sort of three ply out of one strand of singles looped on itself) yarn.

I struggled to find a project that would use most of the yarn without the risk of running out, and that I thought would highlight the handspun nature of the yarn. In the end, I went with a basic entrelac scarf, which is a technique I had yet to try up to this point. I love it!

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Jun 17
2012

I Done Yarn Maths

I started this shawl (pattern: Vlad, yarn: Araucania Ranco) on Thursday and it is just flying off the needles!  Lace is a refreshing change from all of the baby stuff I’ve been doing lately — lots of mindless stockinette and ribbing, but not a lot of challenge — and I’m loving how the pattern is growing.

But I just hit the point where I should be starting the edging and I realized that I had a LOT of yarn left. As in, more than half of my skein. So I wondered if I had enough yarn to add an extra repeat. I know that edgings can take a deceptively large percentage of yarn, so I booted up my handy-dandy spreadsheet and went to town…

[SIDENOTE: I do know that the transistion chart isn’t exactly the same as the first 6 rows of the body chart, but it’s pretty damn close. I can easily drop down that middle stitch and turn it into 2 stitches instead, if I do decide to add an 8th repeat of the body chart.]

I figured out exactly how many stitches were in each row and I estimated that the bind off would be the equivalent of twice as many stitches as the last row (possibly a high estimation, but the absolute last place you want to run out of yarn is DURING the bind off!)  So, the pattern as written has 17,711 stitches and at the end of the transition chart you have completed 11,220 of them. Which is 63% of the yarn.  Okay, I’m definitely going to have a ton of yarn left over.

But, if I add that 8th repeat of the body chart, am I then going to screw myself over and run out of yarn?  HERE COMES MATH TO SAVE THE DAY!  If I add in the 8th repeat, the shawl will then have 20,951 stitches (which means it will take 18% more yarn than as originally written!) and I am still at 11,220 stitches. So that means that I have used 54% of the yarn that I will need to complete the shawl… but when I weigh my yarn I still have 56g left of a 100g skein, which means I’ve only used 44% of it. So Math informs me that I should be just fine to finish this shawl — and that I’ll still have some left over to do a couple of squares for my mitered square patchwork blanky.

Some days I forget just how much of a nerd I am. Some days I remember just fine, thanks.

P.S. Yes, I know it’s been a year and a half since I posted here. I am *so* good at this blogging thing…

Feb 4
2012

Finished projects!

That’s right, not just “the knitting is done” but actual finished projects! Granted, they’re small projects, but they’re done nonetheless. The first was a staghorn cable coffee cup cozy I knit up out of a tiny bit of leftover Bernat yarn from years ago. I actually finished the knitting part a week or two ago, but I only stitched it together and wove in the ends at this week’s knit night. The second is the first of my charity knitting for the year: a basic 2×2 ribbed beanie. I don’t have much heavy yarn (my stash is nearly all lace and sock weight), so I went to one of the local shops and picked up a skein of Bernat Jacquards. I’m not usually a fan of self-patterning yarns, but the colours and price both appealed, so I thought I’d try it. As it turns out, knitting it at a different gauge than it calls for breaks up the patterning just a bit – enough that I quite liked the results, and went out to buy a second ball! I finished knitting this one at knit night too, and also wove in all the ends. Woo! I’m on a roll!

Jan 26
2012

I rock the knitting resolutions this year!

Well, maybe not rock, but… I did start the first of my charity knitting projects for this year: a Just Your Basic Beanie (Ravelry link), and only after finishing another project, so I’m on top of at least a couple of my knitting resolutions! And I’m blogging about it, so there’s a third. Now, if only I could remember to take photos during the day so I had some visual appeal to my posts, I’d be set!

I promise I’ll post with pictures by this weekend… The days tend to get away from me when I’m at the shop.

These quick projects really are getting me motivated to knit more again – exactly what I’ve been needing lately. And tonight was our store knit night, and it’s exciting to see new people picking up new skills, too… I don’t know why, but someone’s enthusiasm over learning a new technique somehow spills over and reminds me of why I love fiber crafts. Our little group, which was often just 3 people last winter, is now often over 10, sometimes more. While it’s not as relaxing as it used to be (since we’re also running the store at the same time), it is so much fun! The enthusiasm I see in this group and in our knitting 101 students has rekindled my love of knitting in the past few weeks, and I couldn’t be happier!

Jan 21
2012

My first socks…

May they rest in peace…

I went to put these on earlier this week, and noticed a problem:

These socks – my very first pair –

now look like this:

I’m kind of sad… I didn’t love the yarn as I knit it, and was only moderately happy with the socks when I completed them. I wore them once, and accidentally through them in the dryer, but then, suddenly, they were amazing. They didn’t shrink or felt, but they came out so soft and supple, it was like it was a completely different yarn. All of a sudden, these “meh” socks became “wow” socks! And with that first heel especially, there’s really no point in darning the holes, since the whole heel is thin and worn and about to go.

RIP old friends… you will be missed…

Jan 9
2012

It’s a new year…

Time to turn over a new leaf… or an old skein. I don’t normally do the whole “New Year’s resolutions” thing, but this year, I’ve decided to take more time for crafts and blogging. I’ve also decided that I need to tackle some of my oldest UFO’s. To motivate me toward that end, I’m only allowing myself to start a new project once I’ve finished (knitted or ripped out) at least one old one. So… you may begin to see lots more photos and posts about old projects I started years ago. And a few new ones! Or perhaps posts about my forays into teaching knitting and crocheting, or even a few designs that have been stewing in my brain for a while. Mmm… brains! Well, that’s it for now! See ya soon!

Dec 4
2011

More Christmas Knitting?

Well, I was done my Christmas knitting because I had planned to knit something for the adults in my family, and buy something for the kids. I was skyping with ym niece this week, though, and I got this crazy idea that maybe I could tackle one more project before the holidays. Have you seen the “Hey, Mickey” pattern (Ravelry link here and Knitty link here). It’s adorable to start, but I saw better pictures on Ravelry, and it’s just too cute not to try and have it done before I go home!

So yesterday afternoon, I headed off to B&T to find some worsted weight purple yarn. I did some gauge swatches when I got home, asked my sister for some measurements, and today I’m casting on. I think I’ll do it in 2 colours, since perian had a ball of the same yarn in light grey that she’s willing to let me have, kind soul that she is! So, I’m off! Am I crazy tackling another knit Christmas present at this late date? We’ll see!

Nov 23
2011

Christmas knitting done!

Dad’s Toe Armour – now complete!

Nov 7
2011

A Christmas Sock!

One down one to go. Well, I actually finished this sock for my dad about a week ago, and started on the second sock a few days ago. Yesterday, I was happily knitting away, finishing the heel, when… horror! I noticed that my 2x1x2x2 rib was actually a 2×2 rib on the instep of the second sock!! Now to decide whether my dad would even notice, or if I want to start over to match the first one. I do like the look of the first… We’ll see…

Oct 20
2011

Knitting Classes… and more!

We just started our second Knitting 101 class at the shop this past week. I had forgotten how much I enjoy seeing new people get into knitting. It was so much fun. As our friend Anne puts it, we have to “keep spreading the virus”!

The class was an absolute blast. It’s a larger class this time around, so I recruited perian to help, and it was a great success. I can’t wait for Monday to roll around again! I also got to rave about Ravelry as part of the class, which is awesome in all sorts of ways. I think the best part was how enthusiastic everyone was. We provided a 50 gram ball of yarn to start, and one student asked if she knit the whole thing between the first and second class, whether she should tear it all out or if she could get more yarn. Hmm… I sense a challenge! Actually, all the ladies caught on really well, and everyone was laughing all evening, so it was a really fun evening.

Some of our knitterly friends have also been listening to us drop hints about new things happening at the shop. Faking Sanity, which started as hand-dyed yarns and knitting accessories before it was a bookstore/cafe, is returning to its roots. We’re just waiting on our last shipments to arrive, and in the next few weeks, we’ll be rolling out our new yarn and knitting section! We’ll have an assortment of sock and lace weight yarns to start, from pretty but basic Araucania Ranco, to luxurious Malabrigo, to yarns with a more modern twist, such as Tofutsies, or Austermann Step, which is infused with aloe and jojoba. And lots more to come, so stay tuned! We’ll also be carrying an assortment of interchangeable circular needle styles, dpns and crochet hooks. The most exciting addition to the needles for me, though, is the cubic circular needle. I just played with a sample one for a bit last night, and I think I might love it!

We’ll be posting an announcement once we launch this, but wanted to give our loyal readers the opportunity to hear it here first!

In somewhat related news, we’ll be starting a Ravelry group for the shop to discuss all things knitterly, so let us know if you would like an invite to the group once it’s up and running.

Oct 9
2011

Christmas gift #1!

I’m trying to make Christmas gifts for everyone on my list this year. We’ll see how that goes, since this is only the first complete one, and I haven’t even figured out what the others will be. There may be books in store for the several of them! 😉

At any rate, my first Christmas gift is done, and I even got the ends woven in, which is a big deal for me. Oh, how I hate finishing! I do love this pattern, though; it’s such a fun knit, and quite quick given the worsted weight yarn, and the fact that I can do the cables without a cable needle for this particular one. I used some handspun I purchased at a Fibrefest a few years ago for this Koolhaas for my dad. I like the result: the lines are much softer than they would otherwise be, but the effect is still pleasing, and my dad will love the colour. And yet, now that I think about it, perhaps this could be for my brother in law, while my dad gets some worsted weight socks? Hmmm….

Aug 15
2011

Knitting and Ribbons and Fairs, oh my!

It’s fall fair season! Our little Faking Sanity knit night group submitted several items to the Dawson fall fair this year. I was sad when we went to look at all the handicrafts that there was so little submitted, though. There were so many categories without a single entry.

Given the categories available, and my limited knitting time these days due to long hours at the shop, all I had to submit was a shawl. I finished knitting this one in February this year.

While the shawl design itself is quite simple, I’m proud of this one because I dyed the yarn as well. In a fair with more competition, it might not have gotten much notice, but it was good enough for a third place ribbon in the “fancy knitted sweater or other clothing” category up here in Dawson.

Because I was so dissapointed at the lack of participation in the handicrafts competitions this year, I’ve promised myself to submit something in at least one more category next year (hopefully more). Now, it’s your turn! I’m challenging the rest of our little group to do the same. Half the fun of the fair was walking through the buildings to see all the exhibits that were there. Let’s make sure we do our part so that these competitions and exhibits continue in the years to come!

Jul 10
2011

Here be dragons!

Way back in 2007 I started a Dragon Scale Scarf by Bad Cat Designs (ravelry link). I stopped working on it pretty quickly as I was bored with it, but I just picked it up again after 3 years or so in hibernation. As with pretty much any pattern I knit, I made a few modifications… I changed the border from 4 to 6 stitches on either side and 4 to 6 rows on each end and cast on 65 stitches instead of 40 to make it a bit wider. I also changed from a lace weight to some Lorna’s Laces sock weight. See?

The yarn is nice enough to knit with, but the colour isn’t really me. It’s a little less orange than in the first picture, but more so than it appears in the second. Also, the purples and browns appeared pretty subtle in the skein, but show much more once knit up. I’m not sure this colourway is the best fit for this project. My grandma and mom both love oranges and reds, though, so I’m thinking this one will be a gift once it’s complete.

Jun 17
2011

Spinning!

A while ago, I thought I’d try spinning. I bought some beautiful bamboo to spin, then I signed up for a class. Then, I bought a spindle, and another. After that, I bought a wheel. Then another wheel. (And a shwack of fiber throughout). Then I packed to move to BC, and started a new business and haven’t spun since. Boo! Hiss!

Tonight, though! Ah! Tonight, I put my wheel back together for the first time in a year, attached a leader and started playing. First I spun some soft, fuzzy brown jabob. Then, I dug out some of my more exotic spinning fibers for show and tell tomorrow at the store, and thought, “Hey, I haven’t tried spinning that corn silk yet” and spun some of that. I don’t know what I’d use the yarn for, but it’s so shiny and pretty, and very easy to draft. Then, I dug out the remainder of the original bag of BFL that Spinknit gave me with the wheel I bought from her, and now, I have the pretty on my bobbin. I love BFL. I love how it drafts, how it looks, how it feels. I love that this blue/pink/purple batch reminds me of my friend whenever I pick it up. I love that I can still spin “with” her, even though she is so far away!

PS: It really was very little spinning of each, as it’s been kind of hectic at the store. Tomorrow is our WWKIP/yarn bombing event, so we’ve been busy crocheting and knitting and decorating the store with all our handknits (which meant weaving in millions of ends and blocking thousands of projects… or so it seemed)! Check it out over at our store blog: Faking-Sanity.net. I promise though there will be a knitting and crochet related post soon, as we got some new stuff done for the store event tomorrow, and I’m slowly making progress on my Phoenix Rising shawl, too.

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