Sunday, 30 January 2011

well worn weekend

What a great weekend! It was full of action and excitement, mostly due to the fact that my cousin was in town visiting with her two young kids, ages 2 and 5. Man, does a 2 year old boy ever get tired? I don't think so. Because Michelle and her family were in town it was a perfect excuse for my sister to take the weekend off from studying and spend time at home, and for my older brother to come up for a visit with his fiancée Amanda. We spent lots of time chasing after kids, walking dogs, sledding and just enjoying spending time together. And while I had the opportunity I grabbed some FO shots!

Stilwell for Lilia

Lilia was wearing the Stilwell sweater I knit for her for Christmas. It looks perfect on her, she looked very cute with her layered stripes underneath. She wore this the day we went sledding, it was just right for keeping toasty warm until we got back indoors for hot chocolates. I had originally started this sweater for myself, but though I knit the smallest size, it ended up a little too roomy for me. I suspected as much while I was knitting it, there are plenty of very well placed short rows for extra shaping around the bust, the only problem is... I don't need that extra room around my bust! As I was knitting it I kept thinking that maybe I should remove some of the shaping and just knit it straight, but instead I went against my instinct and followed the pattern blindly. The pattern is great, and the sweater fits my sister perfectly, but I've learnt my lesson and from now on will follow my gut and customize patterns to fit my own shape rather than just doing as I'm told by the pattern.

The yarn used in for this sweater is one of my faves, all rustic wooly goodness from the Lismore Sheep Farm
Stilwell for Lilia

Elliot spent Saturday wearing the Trellis sweater I knit him for Christmas. Is there a trick to sewing buttons on sweaters? Elliot lost a button and so did his sister Abby, I must be doing something wrong... It was tough to get Elliot to stand still for a proper photo shoot, but these actions shots do a pretty good job of showing just how cute a 2 year old in a little old man sweater is!

Elliot's trellis

The sweater fits him very well, he's got a little room to grow and the sleeves are usually worn rolled up, but it is still very sweet!

Elliot's trellis

And when we weren't playing games, climbing on couches, colouring, baking cookies (or eating cookies) I managed to fit in a couple hair braiding sessions with Abby. She has beautiful, silky smooth, golden blond hair that looks like a million bucks in a french braid. I used to spend hours and hours braiding the hair on my barbies and my little ponies, having a real live head of hair to braid is so much better!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Dark and Stormy sweater

The day after I finished my Saroyan scarf I decided to buckle down and finish my handspun yoke sweater. I had knit on it feverishly in the beginning, racing through the yoke, the body and most of one sleeve in just a couple of days. But then I started to doubt myself, I had a feeling that the sleeve decreases were happening too fast and that I was going to have to take it back and redo the bottom of the sleeve. It would have been an easy fix, and one of the benefits of knitting top down is that you can try your sweater on as you go. But that would have involved me getting up, taking off one sweater, putting on the sweater in progress, marching up the stairs to assess the situation in a full length mirror and making a decision. Instead I opted to put the sweater aside and reach for a another project. When the scarf was done I realized that I couldn't put it off any longer, I tried on the sweater, and it fit perfectly! I didn't need to alter the sleeve, I was right on track. So I buckled down and knit the second sleeve that night. Thank God I did, because this sweater rocks.

Handspun yoke sweater
The sweater was knit from the top down, using EZ's percentage system. It's the exact same way I made my Dipped Infinity Sweater, only I reversed it since that one was knit bottom up. I don't have a preference really, it's nice to be able to try on the work as you go, which the top down method makes possible. The reason I chose to knit this sweater top down is because I wanted to be able to use up every last inch of handspun. Which I did! I did the collar in my Green Label Aran weight yarn in a one of a kind rather dark version of my Stormy colourway, and then I just started knitting with the handspun and didn't stop until I was all out. It worked perfectly!

Handspun yoke sweater

Instead of the standard ribbing at the cuffs and hem I made the same alterations I used on my Dipped Infinity sweater and knit a folded under hem in a bright contrasting colour, a detail that I absolutely LOVE! It's so nice and neat, it lays perfectly flat and makes for a very modern fit, and looks so crisp and beautiful on the inside, all nicely sewn in. On the cuffs I worked 1 row of purl, then 1 row of knit and then bound off. It's enough to keep the hem from curling and adds just a little bit of texture.

Handspun yoke sweater

I made this sweater a little bit looser and relaxed in fit then my Dipped Infinity sweater, which fits comfortably but is very form fitted. It feels very good to have my handspun for such a simple and effective sweater. I love it and know that I'll wear it for years and years. Its the perfect use for a cherished skein of handspun, however,  sweater like this would be just as gorgeous with the yoke knit in a beautiful skein of Kureyon.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Spring hat

Spring Swallows inside out

I'm almost ready to unveil my first ever for sale pattern collection. Y'know those slouchy hats I've been obsessed with? My collection will include one template, with four different motifs, one for each season. I've already shown you fall and winter, and here's a peak at spring. Spring features swallows. I knit the sample in my favorite colour palette. I'm very happy with it, however now that I'm looking at that inside out photo, I'm thinking it looks so good that maybe I should knit another one with the colours reversed! Right side out I've got blue birds on a white background, and bright lime green leaves on a mallard green background, but the reverse looks pretty rad don't ya think?

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Best laid plans

Yesterday Chris and I were getting ready to take Stella for a walk in the woods, we got her all suited up and then I had the brilliant idea to try and fit in a quick FO shoot since I was wearing my new sweater and a matching hat, it seemed like a great idea! But little Stella was having nothing of it. She had her sweater/jacket combo on and she was ready to go. She jumped into every photo we tried to take. Silly dog.

Thanks to everyone who left encouraging comments about my Button's cowl. I'm in the process of knitting a second one to make sure that my instructions make sense. The pattern will be made available as soon as it's ready. 

Friday, 21 January 2011

Koigu Saroyan

Today's post marks the conclusion of scarf week! It seems like scarves are all I talked about this week, I guess it makes sense since this has been the coldest week of the winter here in Montreal, it's hard not to think about scarves during times like this!

Koigu Saroyan - wrapped twice.

My koigu saroyan scarf is my first FO of 2011. Last night I finished another project too, I'll blog about that one later when I've got some good FO shots of it. For today, it's all about the scarf. This gorgeous, very long, skinny scarf.

Koigu Saroyan - very long and skinny, perfect.

I did 5 repeats of the increase section, knit straight for 23 more repeats, and then finished off with 5 decrease repeats. My finished scarf is 7" wide and 86" long, that's over 7' long! It's long, but it's still very light and lovely. It's exactly what I was hoping for.

This scarf took two full skeins of Koigu kpppm in colourway P118 and was knit on 4mm needles.

Koigu Saroyan - love that edge from the blocking wires!

I blocked it using blocking wires for the long straight edge, and a pin or two in each leaf. I love the way that each loop picked up by the wire creates this gorgeous little lacy edge on the straight garter stitch side. It's so pretty.

Koigu Saroyan

While I was knitting this, I had a couple concerns, the first was that the busy-ness of the yarn colour would distract too much from the leaves, not so, the leaves are crisp and clear! Secondly, I was worried that I should have possibly knit the whole flat section in garter stitch rather then only a small garter stitch border flanking so much stockinette stitch to prevent it from rolling in on itself too much, but in the end, it rolls a bit, but not so much so that you can't see the leaf detail, which is the important part. If I were to knit this pattern again in fingering weight yarn I would consider doing it all in garter stitch (except for the leaves) just to see if it really makes a difference.

Koigu Saroyan - leaf detail

The yarn in lovely. It was my first time knitting with koigu and though I don't think I would use it for socks since it's quite a thin 2 ply and I would worry about the socks durability, the colourway is so interesting. I love the spots of multicolour on the light background, I don't know how they do it, but it's really special.

One of my favorite things about this pattern is the simplicity and straightforwardness in which it's written. You can really alter it to make it exactly the size you want by doing more or less increase sections, and because its knit from end to end and not from side to side, by weighing the yarn used to increase and knitting straight until you have the same amount of yarn left when you start the decreases, you can use up every last bit of yarn.

Koigu Saroyan - just a few yards left

Ravelry project page here.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Buttons cowl - what do you think?

I knit myself this little neck warmer a couple of years ago. It knits up with one skein of Green Label Aran weight yarn, has a really cute bobbly all over texture, and is the perfect way to display some precious pearly buttons (or whatever kind of buttons you fancy, they don't have to be pearly!)

What do you think? Should I write up the pattern? It's fairly simple and I just stumbled across my notes from when I knit it back in '09. 

Monday, 17 January 2011

Most special scarf of all!

I can't believe that I forgot to include this scarf, my most special scarf of all, in my last post about my favorite scarves. I feel so stupid, because I love this scarf! I fell head of heels in love with this print the first time I saw it on Jenna's blog. The scarf is by Jenna Rose and is available in her shop. I love all Jenna's print's but there is just something about this woodland animals print that makes me crazy happy.

I don't know what detail I like the most... I'm particularly fond of deer, (maybe because I think that Stella looks like a baby deer) but squirrels hold a special place in my heart too (which is odd because Stella has caught a couple squirrels in her day and it's always terrible and gory, you'd think it would have ruined squirrels for me.)

I'm taking the very wise advice that a couple of commenters left on my last post when I said that wearing scarves was hipster, and am instead going to think of scarves as very French. It's just that it seems like every time I go to the mall or to Starbucks or any other place where young people hang out (that sentence made me sound very old) I see gaggles of teenage girls wearing leggings (which I don't believe qualify as pants, worn with a long/appropriate top, great! Worn with a tiny tank and you're just out in public with no pants on) and giant scarves. So I've unfortunately come to associate scarves with that look. But no more! Now I'm going to think the scarf as the very chic, Parisian inspired accessory that it is. My Saroyan is more than half way done at this point. I'm hoping to have it off the needles and blocked by the end of the week.

I thought it would be nice to share a corner of my living room with you. Our house is no where near 'done', every once in a while I sew a pillow, paint furniture, DIY a headboard or re-arrange some art. It's a definite work in progress but there are corners that I quite like. Like this one:

Chris and I built that turquoise "blanket ladder" in the corner. I wanted something to display my ever expanding collection of knitted and quilted blankets. I have several and plan on making more and it seemed like such a waste to hide them away in the linen closet when we weren't using them. I looked at a flea market for an old ladder that we could prop up in the corner to display the blankets but in the end I couldn't find any that were the right scale or proportion, so we built this wide ladder, painted it blue and now I've got tons of space to hang my neatly folded blankets. 

The oak hutch was a great find at an estate sale last spring. The objects scattered above are mostly temporary until I find a permanent home for them. 

The painting on the left is a piece I did in high school, I still love the colours but I'm not as fond of the subject matter anymore. The photograph of the crocheted rocks was purchased at the Resurrection Fern Etsy shop, I love it and think that it will look great in my bathroom some day (once the bathroom is renovated that is). Next to the photo is a little card with a picture of a little whippet (or maybe an italian greyhound) with a cast on it's leg, it's the saddest but cutest image ever. Chris wants to frame it, so it's out on display until we get around to making that happen. The books are my beautiful collection of Penguin Classics and are too lovely not to be on display. The little painting in front of the books was a gift from my friend and favorite artist Sara Caracristi (blog, website, etsy shop). The photo on the left is a fave from our engagement shoot last year, and the beautiful crystal decanter was a housewarming gift. 

Sunday, 16 January 2011

New perfect scarf plans

I know that it's incredibly hipster of me, but I've become extremely fond of the whole scarf as accessory look. I think it might stem from my deep and undying love of turtlenecks. I got this turtleneck love from my mom, she's always wearing one. My sister got the turtle neck gene too. When I was in high school my taste in pants tended toward the very tight and the very wild. I had leopard print pants, several pairs of leather pants, a pair of very bright orange velvety jeans.  My taste in skirts was equally bright and short, the hilarious thing about my whole esthetic (well, the whole thing is pretty hilarious actually, but one of the most hilarious parts) is the fact that I had a coordinating turtleneck for each crazy outfit. My leopard print pants were matched to a black turtleneck, I had a white one for my red leather pants. A pair of burgundy leather pants went with a turquoise turtleneck, my bright turquoise mini-skirt went with a grey turtleneck. I was out of control!  

Anyways, I still have a lot of those crazy pants, and the scary thing is that they still fit. The leopard  print pants may come in useful for a Halloween costume one year... So, bottom line, I love turtlenecks, and when I'm not wearing one (or even sometimes when I am) I am often wearing one of my favorite scarves to compensate. 

The two scarves pictured above are the two that I grab the most. They are both light, both in weight and in colour, are airy, and add just enough warmth and coziness without being stifling. I love them both, and I will definitely continue to wear them both, but I felt that I needed a new scarf to add to the mix, one that was knitted. So I rooted through my stash to find a yarn that would knit up into a light and wearable scarf and very quickly decided on these two gorgeous skeins of Koigu (that link is for a shop that I saw had lots of Koigu colourways, I couldn't seem to get the Koigu website itself to work) in colourway P118.  

Koigu kpppm P118

I have cast on for a Saroyan scarf. I plan on making it quite thin and long, just like my inspiration scarves. 

Friday, 14 January 2011

Always a WIP

We've got another busy weekend planned. We're going to do a little bit of dyeing, hopefully a lot of cooking which will result in plenty of leftovers for the week, but hopefully most of our time will be spent working on our ongoing WIP, the website.

I love our website. We put so much thought into how exactly we wanted it laid out, what would be the simplest, clearest and most effective way for people to shop. I put lots of time and energy into my yarn portraits, but that was over a year ago... and sadly, my photo skills, nor my camera, were quite where I wanted them to be. I'm still not an expert photographer, but I think I've gotten better. And so now, it's time to take on the daunting task of re-photographing all of my yarns, 6 bases, 31 colourways (plus 8 multi's in the Blue Label!) that's 194 shots. This will certainly be an ongoing project, but hopefully the website will be the better for it. 

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011


Have I mentioned that I make bread? Well, actually, that's not really fair, I baked bread three times in one week but haven't baked any since... it was delicious and never lasted more than 1 hour out of the oven. I know that I won't be making it every day, but it's a good trick to have up my sleeve to pull out once in a while. I baked a loaf when we had some family over for lunch the other day and boy was it a hit! It's so simple yet so impressive. 

This is the recipe I used.


Saturday, 8 January 2011


Remember that pretty red handspun I shared earlier this week? When I set out to spin that batt I had high hopes that the resulting yarn would be a lovely, gradual shift in tones, kind of Noro-esque, and that it would be somewhere around a worsted or aran weight so I could use it for the yoke of a sweater. As luck would have it, it worked! In the past most of my spinning was just for fun, and because I couldn't really control the thickness of my handspun I would spin first, and come up with a project for it later. This new approach of spinning with a purpose in mind is very exciting, it's definitely more of a challenge, but also very rewarding when it all works out!

handspun yoke sweater

I was working very steadily and quickly along on my sweater when I got derailed. I only have 1 1/2 sleeves left to knit and then I will have a new sweater, but in the past week I've only managed to knit a couple of rows. The reason? This pile of cotton yarn arrived at my doorstep earlier this week.

elann sonata

I've been wanting to try my hand at crocheted potholders for a long time now. I even mentioned it in an earlier post, I was very inspired by last year's potholder swap and all the gorgeous crocheted yumminess I was seeing pop up all over the internet. I ordered a variety of colours of Elann Sonata and after several failed attempts I finally got the hang of it.


I'm using the potholder pattern by Bea Aarebrot, and I can't seem to stop cranking them out. Truthfully, I think I need more colours, I'm not thrilled with the colour combo's that I'm able to put together with my little stash. When I placed my order Elann had 36 colourways in stock, but I plan on stalking the site until more colourways become available so I can get more dynamic combinations. I need more brights, a poppy turquoise, a sunny yellow, bright orange, zesty lime, hot pink, then I'll really be cooking with fire! 

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


Ok, so I know that posting a photo of a Christmas tree close to two weeks after Christmas is probably a bad idea, people are so sick of Christmas by now and are happy that they don't have to think about it for another year. All the shopping, the decorating, the baking, the eating! Christmas has come and gone, new years resolutions have been made, and I'm sure you're all sick of seeing Christmas trees. But.... I never posted a photo of my tree and now that it's no longer taking up some very precious real-estate in my living room I kind of miss it. So, there you have it. It was lovely, it was full of beautiful multicoloured stars that really brought it to life and made it look beautiful even during the day with no lights on. It was our first Christmas tree in our house and it was very special to me.

But it's gone and I've moved on.

January isn't all bad after all! It's still cold out, so snuggling up on the sofa under a warm blanket with a cuddly dog, a cup of hot tea and a good WIP is very encouraged. And now working late in the office isn't so bad either. This afternoon Chris, Stella and I took advantage of the crisp, sunny weather to ditch work and instead go for a walk in the forest. We had a great walk and tonight we're spending the evening in the office, with the fire blazing, making up for an afternoon of playing hooky.  

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

red handspun

Lots of business to attend to today. First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRIS!!! Chris is a very low key kind of birthday day, we're planning on going out for supper and then maybe a movie, that's all the birthday hoopla he wants. He's so easy going, I love that.

Second order of business, the giveaway winner! The lucky recipient of the lovely blue skein featured in Saturday's post is "Island Sweet". Congrats! You've been e-mailed, please check your inbox and send me your address so I can get the yarn on its way to you. I had two of these special blue skeins, and I've listed the second in my Etsy shop (I've called it January Blue) so if anyone out there can't bear the idea of not having won the giveaway, there is one more skein up for grabs!

Next up, today is Tuesday, I should be doing a TFA Tuesday post, but I'm not. Sorry, no particular reason for this, I've just decided to take a break for today... I expect I will do another one next week, it won't be gone for good.

And lastly, I've got some spinning to share! I spent the last couple days of 2010 spinnging this gorgeous batt:
Dyak Craft Colorways club - Jan. 2009

Into this gorgeous yarn:

dyakcraft colourway club - Jan. 2009

The batt was the January 2009 shipment of the Grafton Fibers colourway club, however they have since changed their name to Dyakcraft, and I can't find any info about the colourways club (does it still exist?) or any fiber for sale at the moment... hopefully they are just taking a short break from making these beautiful batts, they really are special.

dyakcraft colourway club - Jan. 2009

When spinning this 2-ply, I tried to keep the colour shifts gradual yet pronounced and not too muddy. It worked very well, the yarns runs smoothly through shades of purples, reds and back to purples with bits of blues and browns thrown in. Very pretty.

dyakcraft colourway club - Jan. 2009

This last picture is funny. It shows a bit of the behind-the-scenes aspect of my yarn photography. I just shove everything down to one end of the dining room table and shoot my object on the clean end. In the background of the photo below you can sort of make out bags of roving, skeins of yarn, place mats, salt and pepper shakers... 

This yarn has already been worked up into the yoke of a sweater. But more on that another day. I hope you've all started 2011 with a new and exciting knitting project that you love!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Goodbye 2010, I'll miss you!

Now that we've officially started the new year off right, it's time for a proper new year's post. Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011! I won't be doing a recap of all of my 2010 projects, if you'd like to peruse all of last year's knitting please see the FO's 2010 tab at the top of the page. Pretty much all of last year's projects have been added to the page, with a few exceptions. I have yet to blog about my Stilwell, I finished this sweater back in October, but I gave it to my sister for Christmas and haven't had the chance to do a proper FO shoot for it yet. Hopefully that will come together this week. I also knit a few pairs of simple socks and Grammy's mitts that got given away as Christmas gifts without a blog post... I've been pretty good at documenting my projects on my Ravelry project page though, so anything that I might have missed here on the blog you can find over on Ravelry.

Ah 2010, you were good to me. Last year I bought a house, my dream house, it's in our ideal neighbourhood, with perfect white and grey walls and endless possibilities. I got married, my wedding day was without a doubt the best day of my life so far. Chris and I are so happy and so lucky. I spent 18 days at my family cottage in Nova Scotia, what a treat! Last year was busy, we spent a lot of time and energy just trying to stay afloat. My biggest goal for 2011, other than the usual work hard and play hard goals, is to just enjoy the year. Sounds like a lame resolution right? But it's exactly what I need. I want to savour every day instead of wasting every day planning for the next, I want to enjoy this house that we worked so hard to find, and I want to enjoy lots of Chris and Tanis time before life sneaks up on us and we get too busy again.

Of course there are lots of plans for TFA in 2011, the first year of the Club is a big one, I'm very excited about that! We're also working on new patterns and new yarn bases and new colourways, which inevitably leads to new one of a kind colourways in the Etsy shop! Speaking of which, I've got another new addition to the o.o.a.k. Etsy shop today, a sweaters worth of a deep, blue/teal/black colourway in my Green Label Aran weight yarn. I'm ashamed to say that I've been hoarding this yarn for a while because I love the colourway so much! But I've decided to be less selfish in 2011 and share the yarn, even if it is my favorite.

Here's hoping 2011 is filled with as much happiness (but a little less chaos!) as 2010.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year! And a very BLUE Giveaway!

Here we are, 2011! Let's start off with a bang shall we? How about a giveaway? Sounds good to me!

Leave a comment on this post to enter to win one skein of TFA Blue Label Fingering Weight yarn in this very yummy BLUE colourway: 

What better way to start off the year? I love blue. A winner will be announced on Tuesday, January 4th, which also happens to be Chris' birthday!

But if by some crazy twist you are not as mad about blue as I am, have no fear, I've just added several non-blue skeins of yarn to my one of a kind Etsy shop!

This bunch of Purple Label Cashmere Sock yarn in this very interesting brown/purple/pink combo will be very difficult to part with. So hard that I had to put one skein aside just for me. The other 4 are up for grabs though!

I'm also rather fond of this batch of DK weight yarn in Dark Sunset. The name says it all, it was supposed to be my Sunset colourway, but I went amiss somewhere and got this luscious, darker, more uniform version instead. It would make a great pullover.

I've got some new spinning to share with you later on next week, which inspired me to list some roving in the shop as well. I really like this braid in the Rhythm colourway. I wish I could dye roving's more often, they are so fun and squishy and are a joy to spin, but are just too labour intensive for me right now.

Here's to starting off the new year on the right foot. With blue yarn in hand of course.