Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Need For Some Speed

Since the shop closed at the end of May, I can honestly admit to being VERY proud of how well I have stuck to my Soumak shawl. Not exclusively of course... as you have seen the few things that I have churned through other than the Soumak, but I have done pretty well. Actually, let me rephrase that- for ME, I have done well. When it comes to knitting... monogamy is not something that I feel too strongly about. But as it turns out.. not many knitters do. Which is exactly why I like knitters so much.

While I am loving every stitch and every colour of my shawl, I must admit- it is taking WAY longer than I could have ever dreamed possible. As in... it is safe to say that I have never devoted so much time to a project in my entire knitting career.

To be fair, it's huge. Like... MASSIVE. Which is exactly what I wanted! So who knows why I am so surprised. The needles are only 3.75 mm, and the yarn is not exactly what one could classify as a 'chunky' weight. So, yeah. That's what happens.

So how do you think I am going to keep myself motivated with this project?

You guessed it.


I am going to cast on a quick and easy project with a pair of 12.75 mm needles and watch something just FLY off the needles for a change of pace.

While patience is a virtue...

My Dad in the garden, also practising some patience

Instant gratification is sometimes good too. 



Friday, July 25, 2014

Because Red Is Best

I love the colour red. And do you want to know something? I didn't even realize how much I loved red until a friend of mine pointed it out a few years back. This particular pal gave me a red necklace and said "I thought you would like it since it's your favourite colour". While I appreciated the thought that went into the gift, I did find myself thinking "Really? It is? Red, eh?" 

How absolutely stupid is that??? I didn't even realize it at the time... but red is a colour that I just tend to gravitate towards like crazy. The chairs in our family room are red, my Kitchen Aid stand mixer is red, my toaster is red, red is my preferred nail polish shade (this one in particular)... Red is best. What can I say? 

So, remember that trip to New York that my sister and I took over the May long weekend? Well, I have something to show and tell from that trip- other than my chevron baby blanket, and it is (no surprise) red. 

As soon as we had dumped our bags in the hotel, we marched out the door and went straight to Purl Soho. They happened to have a sample of a vest knit up in the shop, I promptly fell in love with it, so I bought the yarn and cast on that evening.

While I was standing in Purl, humming and hawing over the vast colour selection that was literally right at my finger tips, the lady at the desk said "You should totally get the red", to which I replied "Yah? And why is that?"

I realized it was a stupid question as soon as I saw her eyes lower right down to the bright red pants that I was wearing.

Oh.

Of course.

Red it is.

Why yes I did take a picture of this vest on a mannequin out on my roof.
What of it?

I will just have to keep in mind not to ever mix this vest with those pants.


I used the yarn that the pattern called for, Purl's own super wash merino. It made it seem like a pretty solid souvenir of our trip that way. A yarn that couldn't I possibly buy anywhere else (well, as far as I know...) So, it is officially what I will forever and always affectionately refer to as my "Bright Red New York City Vest". Not the least bit creative... but it will never be confused with any other vest that I might own.

It's the collar that prompted my 'love at first sight' reaction

It knit up quickly and quite honestly, was one of those projects that made me a little sad to sew the last end in on. I wouldn't say that anything about it is all that exciting... it just worked.

And that alone is worth it's weight in red yarn.

The charming buttons were from the shop- Mary's Yarns

Details for all of you red-yarn-lovers out there

Pattern- Purl Soho Cardigan Coat and Vest (maybe I will even make the 'coat' one day???)
Yarn- Purl Soho Worsted Twist in shade 1140, Red Zinnia
Needles- Addi Turbo 5mm, 80 cm
Mods- Absolutely none what-so-ever

And speaking of red... Check out my good friend who has taken to spending his afternoons in the backyard with me these days.


This guy knows where he's welcome. 

And that would be right here.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Every Time A Knitter Cuts A Steek...

An angel gets it's wings.

And if that's the case, then I am surely responsible for a little set somewhere out there.

But despite that very pleasant thought however, cutting into my knitting just goes against everything I ever knew to be true about knitting-up until that day.

In fact, it is a concept that I continue to struggle with today- in a very BIG way.

video

Hence... the music selection.

Finished product to come when... I finish it.

(Pssst! Don't hold your breath).

Big thanks to Amy Detjen and my good buddy Tara for holding my hand every step of the way.

I couldn't have/wouldn't have done it without you two.



 ETA- if you are having problems loading the video clip on whatever device you are using, and find that you prefer Youtube, here is the link. Enjoy!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Happy Campers, Indeed

So we're back. And while we have been back for a few days at this point... I have felt jet lagged and groggy and in no place to write anything coherent. Which is weird... because there is only a one hour time difference between home and Marshfield, WI. Who knew that knitting information overload and jet lag could have the same effects?

In any case, I thought that I would wrap up the week with some point form Knit Camp notes.

In short- Knit Camp? So good. Like... SO good. I can't say that I did much research into Knit Camp before setting sail. I just knew that I loved Meg Swanson. But man oh man, am I ever glad that we went.

We met wonderful people, ate some decent food, knit A LOT of stitches and learned even more about those stitches than we knew possible. 

Knit Camp. You're great. 

And readers? If you are considering going at some point in this lifetime- GET ON IT. Do whatever it is you have to do to get there, and then go.

So without further ado, in point form, I present to you a quick summary of what went down in Wisconsin.

As one might expect, we knit.

My colourwork baby bonnet out of Icelandic Unspun held double

And then we knit some more.

Tara is wearing- Juneberry by Jared Flood
Tara is knitting- fingerless gloves out of Manos Alegria

We ate.

Deep fried dill pickles- a Wisconsin speciality.
Or so I'm told...

We then ate some more. (As people tend to do)

Hummus and feta omelette from Meg's sister
Lloie's restaurant "The Kitchen Table"
where Lloie herself was hard at work
We tried on yarn in various states of knit.

Don't try and tell me that you wouldn't have done the same thing...
Yarn- Jamieson Shetland 2ply Spindrift 
We steeked. (For the first time EVER. Video footage to come.)

Tara's colour work baby bonnet.

We took some Wisconsin style selfies.


Some VERY happy campers

 And then got some proper pictures taken with the inspiration behind the Baby Surprise Jacket himself. An experience that truly left me far more breathless than that time I came face-to-face with Mr. T. Oh, SWOON.

EZ designed the ever popular Baby Surprise Jacket when Meg
was pregnant with her son Cully (pictured) in 1968.

 We fondled mountains of gorgeous hand knits.

Gorgeous is an understatement.
 And then had mini heart attacks when we flipped the hemline, only to discover who had actually knit said handknits.

A little piece of knitting history- right there in front of me, just like any other regular day. (NOT!)
Marshfield, Wisconsin- you and your inhabitants are wonderful. 

Fields and farms for miles.

Knit Camp Team- That most certainly includes you.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Camping and Knitting- Together At Last!

As things were beginning to unfold at Mary's Yarns, I found myself experiencing a wee bit of what I think could be called "inner turmoil"- understandably. One morning, while we were in the thick of things at the shop, I woke up and the very first thing that popped into my head was "I really want to go to Meg Swanson's Knit Camp with Tara this summer".

So, I stumbled downstairs, hit the brew cycle on the coffee machine and got on my laptop. Before the coffee had even finished doing it's thing, I had sent off an email to Schoolhouse Press that said "I know that your camp fills up a year in advance, but should you have any openings crop up, could you please keep me in mind? My friend Tara and I are very interested." (Tara just didn't know that she was interested yet...)

Some lovely lady on the other end named Tami said that she would let me know, and I figured that would be the last of it.

Well wouldn't you believe it... not a week later, and that dear Tami pulled through and managed to get us into the first session of the Summer. Well I'll be darned...

I forwarded the email to Tara who promptly booked the days off work, and BOOM.

We were going.

Just like that.

And you know what?

Departure time is bright and early tomorrow morning.

The two of us shall be spending our weekend in Wisconsin, eating cheese and learning how to knit all over again with the wonderful Meg Swanson.

But do you know what I am doing right now? (Hint- it's definitely not packing).

Knitting more neon socks. (In very bad light, as this picture would indicate).

Queue "I Just Can't Get Enough" by Depeche Mode
And I feel as though it is safe to say that if Elizabeth Zimmermann were still here on earth and monitoring admissions to her beloved camp, that right there would be an automatic FAIL.

EZ and neon? I doubt it.

See you on the flip side friends!





Thursday, June 26, 2014

What's On My Needles

Earlier in the week, a friend asked me "So, what's on your needles?" and it occurred to me that now I am no longer in the shop, it's not something I talk about NEARLY as much as I once did.

And you know what? 

I miss it.

So while I have never been a huge fan of posting my works in progress (because I am afraid that you might ask me about projects that I long ago abandoned and make me feel guilty about it...), I think it's about time that I started. Because heaven only knows... I could make this entire blog about nothing other than "what's on my needles", and have enough content to post every day for the next 14 years.

So without further ado, I present to you the project that has had my (almost) undivided attention for the last little while.

                                 

The pattern? It's called Soumak, and it's free on Ravelry. It was also published in Rowan 54, but it would appear as though a British lifestyle magazine included it in an issue, then made it free on the interwebs. I dig.

The yarn? Not what they called for... The pattern calls for Rowan Fine Tweed, and while it is stunning and beautiful and all of that good stuff... I opted to swap it out for some Rowan Felted Tweed in fairly comparable colours. (Or at least I think so!)

I actually started this project this past Winter when I needed some colour in my life in a very bad way, but tossed it aside in favour of... uhm, I'm not sure what. Other knitting? Other colours? But in the past week or two, I have put a major dent it in and made it well past the halfway point. (Pat on the back for me!)


So there you have it. Soumak is what has had my heart for the past week or so.


Oh, and strawberries. 

Local strawberries are my kind of heaven, so I am giving them all of the love and attention that they can possibly handle.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Blushing and Blooming

My good friend Becky and I met while I was attending university in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I walked into the flower shop she was managing at the time to see if they were hiring any students from Ontario who desperately wanted to stay out east for the summer- much like myself. I remember it like it was yesterday... She stood behind her work station, firing flowers into a vase like it was no big deal, all whilst 'interviewing me' at the same time.

As it turns out, not only was the arrangement that she was making simply breath taking, I also happened to get the job. By the end of my first shift, we had bonded over everything from terrible movies to even worse music, fabulous food and vintage clothing. In no time, a relationship much deeper than employee/manager was struck.

Fast forward nine years (WHAT!?!?!? Where does time go???), and we are both living in the Toronto area. I have moved to the 'burbs, and she has opened up her own flower studio in the wonderful west end of the city called Blush and Bloom.

And whoa baby. How absolutely proud I am of her!

She has done well for herself.

Like... VERY well.

Which should not come as a surprise to anyone who has had the privilege of working with her. She has most certainly got the mad bloom making skills to back her success up with.

A few weeks ago, she sent me a text that said "I am doing a wedding next week that just screams LYNN! Want to come help me out?"

While I can't say that I have much of an interest in pursuing a career in the flower world, I can admit to absolutely loving having worked at The Flower Shop with her, and continue to love flowers (not to mention Becky)- period.

However, I suspect that the photos of flowers and gardens that tend to wrap up each post on this here blog have likely tipped you off to that fact...

So, I marched down to her studio, and helped a sister out.


And since I found myself giddy with delight as a result of being surrounded by such beauty all day, I thought I would sneak a few snaps to share with you.


Coral and pink peonies, eh? I wonder why she thought I would dig this wedding? (NOT)


While I cannot offer you the address to a store front (she is by appointment only), should you know of a bride that needs some blooms, look no further. Or perhaps maybe it is you that is hosting a special event and is looking for some flowery expertise! Whatever the case may be...

This girl has got your number.

And each time we hang out and make something beautiful happen...



I am just oh-so glad that I have got hers.