Sunday, 31 May 2009

Ribbon of Hope Socks

I'm finished knitting my Ribbon of Hope socks! I love them!

Knit in Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering Weight in the Sweet Heart Colourway. These socks are being donated to a fundraiser that is raising money for the Montreal General Hospitals oncology unit. I don't think I've ever knit a more important pair of socks. 

The sad thing about knitting these socks is that while I was knitting them and enjoying the pattern I was thinking about people in my life that I could make them for, and I came up quite a few people. I wish I didn't know anyone that these were appropriate for. So many of us are touched by cancer.

On a related note. I got an excited phone call from Connie at Pick Up Sticks last week. She's organizing a February Lady Sweater knit-a-long using a custom colourway of my Green Lable Aran weight yarn in a lovely shade called We Wear Red! 25% of the proceeds are going to the Heart Truth foundation. What a perfect excuse to knit a great pattern in a hot colour! I love a good cause!   

Friday, 29 May 2009

Auntie Beth's afghan

I learned to knit from my mother and she learnt to knit from her mother. My grandmother still knits more than anyone I know, she probably even knits more than I do. She knits mostly for her grandkids, her great-grandkids and her church. Knitting must have run in the family because her sister, my Great Auntie Beth, also spent all her free time knitting. She passed away years ago, and left behind quite a trunk load of yarn and projects, both finished and unfinished. One such project could be found in a box that contained well over a hundred granny squares (Auntie Beth crocheted as well). Some of the squares had even begun to be sewn together, but the project was never finished. Just recently, the big box fell into my mother's hands.

She sorted through all the squares and tried to organize them in a way that made sense. The fun thing about the way that my Grandmother and her sister knit and crochet was that they always used up all of their scraps. Some of the squares were a real mishmash of little leftovers, some had more purposefully chosen palettes, but they pretty much all contained yarns that had been previously used in another project.

After years of sitting untouched in my moms cousin's closet or basement somewhere, my mom was able to finally finish two blankets with all the squares that she had! She returned the finished blankets to her cousin today and I can't think of a more precious or meaningful gift. She knit them together as a favor to her cousin, but it's so much more than just a favor. It's a piece of Auntie Beth that you can touch and feel and know that she spent many a night working on all those squares, and even more nights working on all the baby sweaters, bonnets and booties that the yarns were originally bought for.

To me, these blankets represent one of the best things about the craft I love. There is the labour and love and the hands and heart of the knitter (or crocheter) in every single stitch.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

What's going on

I finished Chris's summer scrap socks. I'm really happy with how the striped section in the middle worked out. I used up scraps from 4 different projects. Using leftovers was such a bonus!

Chris loves them.

I've got lots on the go these days. I cast on these socks last week so I'd have something to knit on the metro on my way to dinner. 

Simple, easy, perfect for public transit knitting. I think I'm going to give them to my soon to be sister in law for Christmas next year. 

I've got the front and the back of my Kureyon Hoodie in colour #226 all finished. Trying to balance out the amount of turquoise to make sure that each part of the sweater has an equal amount is a challenge. Some of the balls don't have any turquoise at all, and it's my favorite part! I wish that I could have gone to a giant Kureyon warehouse and picked through 100 balls of colour #226 to find the perfect 12 for this project... but nobody has that many, so I had to order online and deal with what I got. All the balls are beautiful, but even though they're from the same dye lot, there's just so much variation from ball to ball. I guess that's all part of the fun of it. So far I'm loving it.

I darned these socks for my mom. She's been wearing and washing/drying them non stop since I gave them to her for Christmas. I always hang my socks to dry because I live in an apartment and am too cheap to pay the $2 for the dryer, and my socks last way longer, so we've concluded that air drying is definitely the way to go.  Can you believe the amount of fading that has occured!?

All of these projects have been put on the back burner while I knit these socks for a fundraiser that my aunt is helping to organize to raise money for the oncology unit at the Montreal General Hospital where she works. She called me up last week and asked me if I'd donate a pair of socks, I jumped on the opportunity to do some knitting for a good cause!

I'm using the Ribbon of Hope 2008 pattern and am really loving it. I've got one socks finished and am currently working on the cuff of the second. So much fun to be knitting something or a good cause.

Friday, 22 May 2009

February Lady Sweater Knit-Along at the Purple Purl

I totally realize that I should have posted about this much earlier, but the reason why I've been a little lame on the blog posts this past week is because I've been dyeing up 299 skeins of Green Label aran weight yarn for the Purple Purl. They've organized a February lady sweater knit-along using my yarn! Read all about it in their newsletter. Lots of people are getting in on the action, they've got a thread going on Ravelry under the Purple Purl group. So, though I should have given it a shout out earlier, that's what I've been up to. I am really looking forward to seeing all the finished sweaters! I can't wait to get the final group shot, it's going to be such a thrill to see so many people wearing my yarn! I wish I could be there in person, maybe I'll have to plan a trip to Toronto when they're all done.

Saturday, 16 May 2009


Today Chris and I are attending a wedding, I'm going to wear these fabulous shoes.

Don't worry, I'm bringing a back-up pair. Isn't that heel cool!?

Friday, 15 May 2009

Stella's Day Bed

I am always trying to come up with ways to make our small loft feel more like a home and less like a catch all. I look forward to the day that my TFA studio work doesn't dominate our entire home, but until then I'm focussing on making the most of what little space we currently have. Since I have so much yarn and so many knitting projects (both on the go and finished) and no storage space, a practical solution for storing projects was an issue. My solution, take my childhood bed and turn it into a day bed! Perfect for storing yarn underneath, and for displaying blankets!

In the above photo, not only can you see that there are boxes stored under the day bed and blankets draped on either end, there is also a vase full of sock yarn scraps by the tv and a basket with my current w.i.p.'s on the coffee table.

Stella has totally, 100% claimed this day bed as her own, she keeps all of her toys on it, and can often be found curled up among the pillows. The pillows are still a work in progress, since Stella uses the space so much, everything has to be washable and ideally have some sort of pattern as to not immediately show off dirt that inevitable comes from having a dog. The black and white blanket that covers the bed is perfect for this, as are the two big print pillows that I made using this great fabric. The big white screen that is hanging on the wall was left in the loft by the previous tenant, we have plans of one day painting on it, but until then I think it's a neat graphic touch as is. And the framed photo of Stella might be a bit much, but it's just our little nod to Stella, the day bed is now sort of her throne.

I've decided to embrace an eclectic look, nothing really matches, but hopefully that's ok, I just pick things that I like and hope that they end up going together. At least now we have one corner that I like to look at, and the rest is on its way.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Mitered Square Blanket

Yesterday was sunny and gorgeous and I had the chance to get outside with my recently completed mitered square blanket and take a couple photo's.

I'm very happy with the final result. I think that my initial goal of gradually going through all the colours of the rainbow from corner to corner was achieved. I used 27 different colours in this blanket, and I only had one 50g ball of each colour, so I had to make sure that I really mixed it up and didn't end up with the same colour repeating itself too often in one square. 

My plan was basically to just wing it. I had an original sketch that I used as a pretty strict guide. When I originally drew the blanket using the rainbow gradation I used my box of 92 coloured pencils to colour the thing in, so I had about 7 different shades of pink represented, 11 blues and turquoises, obviously I didn't think I should buy 92 different colours of yarn to match my sketch perfectly, so I just bought what I thought I'd need and then when knitting I used whatever colour matched the sketch closest. It was fun seeing it come together. I often ended up with squares that I didn't particularly like, but then when it was all seamed and viewed as a whole it worked.

The border was knit onto each side separately and then the corners were sewn together. I didn't have enough of any handful of colours to do a continuous border all around, so with the exception of the final 4 rows of garter stitch that were done in light gray on all 4 sides, each side is different. I really like that about the finished product. The border really adds a lot to this project. I still don't have a border on my Lizard Ridge afghan, but after seeing the difference in this blanket before and after border, I realize that I really should get on that. 

This blanket is perfect for curling up on the couch, or for having a picnic! If only Stella would sit still!

Now that that's finally off the needles (after 2 years!) I've started a new colourful project! It's Design 6 from Noro Collection Book 3. It's knitting up really fast and as always with Kureyon, it's always a fun surprise to see how each ball will stripe. It's not really a summer appropriate project, but it's fun and pretty mindless, plus it's Kureyon, just what I needed.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Rainy day news

It's grey and rainy here today, but somehow all my knitting projects are extremely sunny! So here's hoping this can brighten your day a little bit.

I've finished my mitered square afghan and it's surpassed all expectations! The border was a lot of work, but so worth it. I'll have a proper photo shoot as soon as the weather clears up, but for now, here's a glimpse at the border.

I've got a basket of leftover's just begging to be knit up into something multicoloured and stripy! I don't have a plan for this yet, but for now I'm content to just look at it in all it's multicoloured glory on my coffee table. 

I'm also slowly working on a Lace Ribbon Scarf in my Blue Label fingering weight yarn in the Plum colourway. It's my first time knitting with this colourway and I'm smitten, this is a great pattern, simple yet striking. I knit most of it on the drive down to the Frolic. It's not particularly summery considering the wool content, but it is light and airy and a fun knit. 

In the spirit of Spring cleaning I had Chris go through my leftover sock yarn bin and pick scraps that I'd knit up into a striped sock for him, he picked very summery shades indeed.

Lastly, in remembrance of the beautiful sunny weekend we had, I've got a parting shot of my two favorite creatures basking in the afternoon sun. They're both sun bathing beauties!

Monday, 4 May 2009

Spring Cleaning

I've now been back from the Frolic for a week. I took a couple of days off to relax after weeks of hard work, but now it's back to business as usual. I'm dyeing and planning and doing all the things that us small dyers do to try and stay on top of our game. Along with work, I've also been scheming about new projects that I'm eager to start. I actually had a night last week where I was up until 3:30 am just going over all the stuff I want to knit and trying to figure out colours and patterns and how to make it all happen! But before I start anything new and big, I thought it best to dust off some of the old WIP's and get them finished off for good so I can start with a clear conscience! I actually don't have that many WIP's, but this first one has been hanging around in my project bin for over a year, it's time to get 'er done. 

I've knit the final 3 squares for my mitered square blanket. 

This finishes off the bottom right corner of the blanket and the purple/pink section. 

I've already started seaming it and hope to have at least part of the border done tonight. Just a couple more sit downs with this big guy and it'll be all ready for it's close up! I'm loving the way it's turning out, it's going to be a lovely blanket.

I already polished off a pair of socks that I'd been "working on" cough*not-working-on*cough since January! I don't know why, but I got side tracked, I knit other socks, other sweaters, projects for the Frolic, and never got this pair done. But now they're done, and I'm wearing them even though it's a lovely Spring day here in Montreal.

I purposefully didn't match up the stripes. I found that the fact that the stripes were so evenly spaced already meant that in order to make them at least a little bit whimsical I needed to mess up the symmetry a little bit. 

It feels good to be finishing projects. Because that means I can start new ones!

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Multitasker Tote

Another successful sewing project complete! A little while ago, after attaining better than expected results from an Anna Maria Horner skirt pattern (not because I thought it would be a bad pattern, but because I have a history of making oddly shaped/ill fitting clothes when I try to sew for myself) I took the plunge and ordered a few more Anna Maria patterns and fabrics, hoping that I'd have the same positive results. Yesterday, I spent the afternoon sewing, and this is what I had when I was done:

It's not just a bag, it's a piece of wall art/home decor! I can't explain how much I love this bag! I love the combination of three fun fabrics that could easily stand alone but somehow work together to make this bright and cheerful bag. I love the construction! As a relatively new sewer, I had a blast going through all the steps and seeing what came next. I never could have figured out the origami type construction of this bag on my own. What I value most about the pattern is it's attention to detail. There are four large pockets on the outside, perfect for cell phones and keys, stuff you need easy access to. There's a lovely pocket on the inside with a pen slip and a key loop. These little details really make the difference and prove how well thought out this pattern was. 

I love the top stitch detail around the pockets and the top of the bag, it makes the whole thing look really finished and professional. 

I used my bag for the first time today. It carried 4 Etsy orders to the dog park and then to the post office. It fit comfortable on my shoulder and added a lot of interest to my boring grey and black outfit. I'm pretty much in love. I've already got plans to make more of this bag as gifts for friends.