Monday, December 24, 2007

Heiligabend

What's there to say? Still keeping with German tradition we'll unwrap our presents tonight. There's a package from my Mom and one from my sister.

Our present to each other (and a bit to the environment) was a new car - a Honda Civic Hybrid. We already unwrapped (used) it and we both are enchanted. Having to dig it out of a heap of snow last week was less so. It still is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

I am woefully behind everything. After a baking marathon on Saturday - we baked four different kinds of cookies - I still have to finish (decorate) half. Christmas knitting? What's that? Honestly, there's nothing like that going on here.

Everyone, happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Shop Talk

One thing I never felt compelled to knit is baby clothes. I can't really say why, it just did not appeal to me. Now that I come to think about it, I rarely knitted small things but socks. I say "knitted" since when my job required to design some baby/kids garments, it wasn't as difficult as I'd thought and now that I have to think of some more I find myself enjoying the process.

One reason - or rather: four reasons - is the yarn I get to work with. Reynolds came out with a Kids line this fall, and there are four different yarns that really give you every excuse you want to knit small things.

- Wash Day Wool (psst, my favourite!) is a superwash 100%, very soft wool yarn in a fingering weight



- Sunday Best is a 51% cotton/49% viscose mix in a fingering weight, soft and shiny



- Cottontail is a worsted weight, 60% cotton and 40% microfiber - which gives the good ol' cotton a new, soft twist



- Play Time is a very reliable and soft worsted weight mix of 80% acrylic and 20% wool



There are 12 colors of all four of them, you'll find the pastels (cream, light pink, light blue, yellow), brights (red, orange, pink, green) and, of course, neutrals (indigo, charcoal, chocolate brown, camel), to mix and match as desired. All the colors go well together, there's almost no end to the variety of combinations.

To celebrate the newly created kids' yarns we have a whole book with 42 designs - accessories, toys and garments, ranging in sizes from 0-3 months to 4 years.


The coolest thing I haven't even told you yet: when choosing the yarns we made sure that they can be substituted with each other. Any design in Cotton Tail can be knit in Play Time and the other way around, or, and I've tried it, in Wash Day Wool doubled up - and I get gauge with two strands of Sunday Best, too. Any Wash Day Wool design can be knit in Sunday Best and vice versa. (No, we couldn't think of a method to substitute the fingering weight with the worsted weight yarns, but you didn't really expect that, did you?)

The Kids line is dear to me,  and I do hope you will enjoy looking into it, too.

BTW, the yarn works also well with "adult knitting". Wait, that doesn't sound right...Well, you know what I mean!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Snow and more snow

With much dread I watched the snow falling yesterday. There's a lot of shoveling to be done yet.

See:


That would be our car in that big honking heap of snow. That's the top of the car with a rearview mirrow sticking out, just in case you really can't see it.



That's our deck. Good thing we don't want to have a BBQ any time soon, eh?

Knitting content is soon to recommence chez "Knit stricken".

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Isn't she lovely?

Though spindles do not tend to have a gender, to me it's always a 'she', just like boats are always female. Looking at the size of this particular she, I just cannot imagine her to be a 'he'.



I got this one at Golding Fiber Tools for which I've had a weakness for quite some time now.





This particular model I chose since I wanted to make sure I'd be able to spin as finely as I wanted to - and boy, it works like a charm! I wouldn't call the outcome 'thread' but it's close. "Tsunami" (that's how the spindle is called) weighs only 0.5 oz, and spinning the merino/bamboo mix is as easy as pie.




This is my first trial with the new spindle. I don't know what the fibre is, I was given a sample with the merino/bamboo mix but I suspect it's a superwash 100% merino. It is sooo soft - and I managed to get a 2-ply laceweight.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

All shall be revealed...

...once my camera is ready to take pictures again, since it chose - as ever in the most inopportune moment - to run out of juice and I only figured it out just now.

But, do not fear. There is something to tell: y'all have been knitting the "Barcelona Sock", inspired by one of my favourite architects, Antoni Gaudí.

The intensity of his structures, the intricacy of the details, sometimes the seemingly wacky construction - all this is a wonderful basis to built a sock on, isn't it?






Look closely and you'll find the inspiration of each design element of the sock in one of the pictures. I don't believe in translating elements one-to-one, but rather take the general idea and run with it.

My own sample sock is knit with a quite utilitarian chocolate brown yarn - chosen with the recipient in mind. Looking at the explosion of colour used by all the knitters out there who made the sock might be a way better idea. 

I am very happy to have had the opportunity of doing a mystery sock - maybe I'll do so again since most knitters seem to like the outcome. Thanks to every participant, I hope you enjoyed it! 

Thursday, November 22, 2007

No more mystery after this...

The fourth and last clue to the Mystery Sock can be found here.

Yes, it is possible.

Happy Thanksgiving south of the border!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Saturday, November 17, 2007

You spin me right round, Baby, right round...

It's addictive. But it has gotten to the point where my left pinky finger hurts all the time now, and my brain tells me to stop spinning, whereas my gut tells me to spin more so I can knit something with my handspun. I am not even sure if that would be remedied by a wheel, since it would be faster - less time drafting?, that's where the pain comes from - but I would make up for it by spinning longer, so same time drafting. More yarn in the end, though.

I have not much (in quantity, that is) to show off, but here's some of the stuff I have produced:



The Merino Silk all done - 36 grams.





Some Corriedale top, very nice and shiny. One thing I cannot get over is the way the roving looks, and then how it comes out when all spun up. Can't get enough of it. It's only 26 grams so far, but I have 15 oz. left.




A sample of BBF Merino roving, 21 grams.



And this is what I am spinning now:



BBF Corriedale roving. It's quite soft and nice, but there's a Blue faced Leicester roving waiting that's even softer...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Third time's the charm?

This should be an easy one. Here's the 3rd clue for the "November Mystery Sock".

In the meantime I'll be sulking away. Sulking mingled with being sad because it is Thursday and I won't be having the usual Thursday lunch date with my friend Nadine. She is on a big roadtrip to San Francisco, together with her other half Oscar and her husband, too. (Oscar is the knitting companion, of course.) And, should you wonder, no, no more Thursday lunches EVER. She's moving there, and the trip back and forth is just a tad too far to undertake every week. So sulking it is.

You might want to check out what she does for a living. Every single piece she creates is fabulous, and her skill in wire knitting is fantastic. (I've tried. It's damn hard.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nada Net, nix geht

My internet connection at home is shot. Nothing works as it is supposed to. Which grates on my nerves because I likes the nets, I wants the nets.

Not to mention the third clue for the "November Mystery Sock Tour" that I have to post tomorrow. No fears, I am going to do it, but it will be a bit later than the others before.

In the meantime have a picture of what I knit on the weekend:


Fingerless Latvian Mitts from "Knitting Classic Style".

I used yarn from my stash, Harris Tweed and Jamieson's shetland 4 ply. I wish the contrast between the burgundy and the red was a bit more pronounced, otherwise I am very pleased.

8 p.m.: I am very pleased to announce that our internet connection seems to work flawless once again.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I made yarn!

136 grams of it. (60% Alpaca, 40% silk)


You can't really see the subtle variegation in the yarn - there's green, turquoise, periwinkle...the roving changed colour gradually, it looks great when plied.



This is a 4 mm needle - just so you get an idea of the weight.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Ze Update of ze PDF

I had a couple of minutes today where I was telling myself I should hide in a hole and not come out for quite some time. But where would be the fun in that, really.

So here are the corrected charts, including the instructions in written form, which might help some of you who don't think that charts are the knitter's best friend.

I sincerely hope that this time around I don't screw it up anymore than I already did.

UPDATE

Size M chart correction



I can't update the pdf right now. I will let you know once I do.


Excuse me while I go hide and not come out for a while. *sigh*

I know you're waiting for it

Find the 2nd clue here.


Thank you for your comments, they helped. Let's see what you think now...


Edited to add:

No, it doesn't hurt to shorten the leg, but it should be shortened by a whole repeat, otherwise the pattern doesn't work out.


Apparently I have put 17 rows into the S/L repeat chart for the sock, though the repeat is only 16 rows high. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Soon

Two more days and I am going to post the next clue for the November Mystery Sock. I am really happy that people seem to like the design so far, and also incredibly worried if participants are going to like the upcoming part of the sock. (I hadn't realized that there is a certain amount of pressure building up in the week between clues.)

Someone please tell me "everything is going to be alright". Thanks.


By special request: That would be now.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Piece o'cake!!

Knitting the Baby Cable Vest from the Vittadini Book No 30 was a piece of cake. I finished quite a while ago, but took the pictures only today.

I used Artful Yarn "Jazz" from my stash instead of the recommended yarn, so I had to fudge the numbers a bit.


Lara complained that it is too big on her, but I convinced her anyhow to pose with it.


Preparing this was not easy as pie. It took quite some time, but I did in honour of Rolf's birthday which was yesterday.


Frankfurter Kranz - his favourite.

And now we're going to have a piece of it with a nice cup of coffee, just like all Germans do on a Saturday afternoon. (Kaffee und Kuchen is a big thing, believe me.)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

"Go!"

Thus starts the "November Mystery Sock Tour".

Get your first clue here.

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"Set..."

One more day to the "November Mystery Sock Tour"!

Get some sock yarn out (420m/100g), solid or semi-solid for best results.
You'll need a set of size 0 (2mm) and size 1.5 (2.5mm) dpns.


Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"Ready..."

The "November Mystery Sock Tour" will begin Nov 1st. I designed a secret sock for the "Socknitters Anonymous" group on Ravelry, but since not everyone is signed up yet, I'll post the clues here, too, and hope you feel compelled to try it out.

Two more days to go.




Spinning

There's a lot to be learned about spinning. I had never heard of "unbalanced" yarn before. After reading up in "Spinning in the old way" about it, it makes total sense. My yarn is not only unbalanced (which almost all freshly spun yarn is), no, I think mine is slightly overspun. Though I am not 100% sure. More experiments will have to follow.

I plied the brown/white wool, and soaked it, and now it's dry I must say it really resembles something I would like to knit. I'd say it's an aran weight, manageable with 5 mm needles. (That's my guess, I could be wrong, I haven't tried knitting it yet.) My perfectionism won't let up, I need to learn to spin more evenly than the 27 grams I have produced so far.





I also plied the green stuff - Man, I got 26 grams of yarn after all this work. I have to say though, it looks nice. Needs a rinse, so it settles down a bit.



See the difference to the brown yarn? It's still way twisty, or, unbalanced.
I have that one little skein because at one point the single broke during plying because it was spun very thinly. It's a bit thinner than the brown, maybe worsted weight.


But wait, there's more! I also plied the merino/silk stuff (though I should have waited till I have more.) The single broke twice during plying, but otherwise I am quite happy with it. It's not yet rinsed.





That's 16 grams of yarn. Has anyone a good pattern I could try???

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Patience, my dear

I once read a book starting with that sentence. While reading, I thought it must mean "being patient" but few words later it turned out that the heroine's name was Patience. Patience, along with Prudence, Harmony, Faith, April, May, June and Wednesday are not on my shortlist of names if I ever have a baby girl. Just sayin'.

What I really want to say is that one or other similar sentiment has been offered to me by Ted and Lorraine while learning to spin with the spindle. It might not be a big secret to some of you, but I am not a patient person when it comes to my skills. I get easily frustrated and I have been known to throw things across the room when they wouldn't work out in the allotted time. I have gotten better with age, but ever once in a while it might still happen today.



Early efforts. Blah.


After coming home from FFN I spun some more of the brown/white roving but it still hadn't really clicked. Getting bored with the colour I started spinning some of the green stuff. Hey, so much better! And when the spindle got heavy with the green, I taunted myself into trying the alpaca/silk mix. Surprise! Boy, does that stuff spin up well. Almost effortlessly, I am saying, trying not to think about the couple of not so thin parts in my single. I spun half of the roving, thinking I'll split it before spinning so I have the right amount to ply together in the end. I yet have to get to the other half.



Brown/white roving spun at home.




Ready to ply.




Green yarn. Much better.




Alpaca/silk. Was much to my delight easier to spin than expected.


When visiting the Roxham Wool Festival this year, I got some Merino/silk roving because I lurved the colours (try not to laugh, please) - and it is one of my favourite fibre mixes ever. I tried to spin some while still at FFN. Didn't work out that well. Turns out last night was a good night. I found that my hands finally knew what to do with the slick, slippery fibres and I got nice results.



Merino Silk roving. Like the colours?




First efforts at Fibre Fest. Not so good.




Yesterday: Oh, look! You can actually spin this stuff. Spinner's ecstasy!



Well, Ted and Lorraine, my mentors, what say you?


It's about a month since I took up the spindle first to make an earnest effort to produce usable results, but I only had picked up the spindle three times or so until three days ago. If my left hand (ring finger and small finger....ouch!) didn't hurt somewhat fierce (Nadine, I didn't listen.) I'd get lots more done. Now, what was that about a wheel?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Nice weather, eh?

So much for an interesting title. It's true, however, since it is warm, sunny and just a bit windy outside. The sky is very blue on this lovely fall day here in Montreal.

I still haven't told you all about Fibre Fest North. Here's the rest of what I brought home with me:


In the upper left corner you'll find two balls of Jojoland Harmony lace weight. I have been drooling for two years over this yarn and finally got some. In the upper right corner you see something that drew me in colourwise, I had never seen it before and when I touched it I wouldn't let it go again. Morehouse Merino lace weight. (Notice a theme here? Lots of lacy things to come...)
Then there are two skeins of Oceanwind Knits Merino sock yarn. My brandnew friend Lori is just a wizard with colours, I like everything she does. Since I couldn't decide between the green and yellow, I bought one of each.



I told you. They drew me in, these spinners. When visiting the Lindenhof Wool Mill and learning how they make yarn, I had the opportunity to buy roving. Nice roving. The one in the back is a 100% wool in green, in the front there's an alpaca/silk mix in blue-green.



In the meantime I am still using some other wool roving of which I got to bring some home, too. That would be the one on the left. In the other bag there's some brown wool, and the white is some mix of wool and cotton. If I remember correctly. My other brand new friend Lorraine (who is a kick-ass spinner and spinning teacher and has together with her team, the Toronto Spiders, broken the Canadian record in the International Back to Back Wool Challenge, going from unwashed fleece to finished sweater in six hours and 18 seconds!!) told me to write it down and make a note of the ingredients. I think I have that sliver of paper somewhere. I just couldn't find it today. So much for my organizational skills.



And, last but not least, here is my new spindle made by Tracy Eichheim. After Ted (who I like to call "friend" now, too) called my Louet spindle a "boat anker" I kinda got the idea why my efforts alone at home didn't work out that well. Apart from the fact that it's so much easier when you have loads of super-spinners at hand to show you how it works. And that's why I should mention sweet Emma, too. She showed me how to catch the spindle between my knees and...oh, get your minds out of the gutter! She showed me to use the stored rotational energy to spin some more and not have the spindle twist backwards.


Oh, yeah. This is what happens when you try to get a picture of another brandnew friend, Katherine. She tries to avoid being on camera by all means as Rolf found out.


Which, in return, made it all the more interesting to try and catch her unawares. In the end she even let me take a picture of her and me together and allowed me to post it here on my blog. Now, that's what I call courage under fire! And no, I won't post the other picture. Our still delicate new friendship needs to be nourished and cultivated yet. (The whistling gnome agrees.)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

It's called a cold

I got myself a nasty cold and everything that goes with it. Today is the first day since Wednesday that I kinda feel like myself again.

Let's see. There's still FFN to be wound up, and today is a bright day so it's picture taking time!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It was a long trip

But it was sweetened (at least for me, Rolf was a very good sport!) by yarn buying and very good tart apples.

When I looked up the venue for FFN on the map and discovered that Pick up Sticks is practically on the way I planned a stop in Bradford. Since we left early enough on Friday morning, that was no problem at all. The ladies - Connie and her sister - are very friendly and of course I forgot to bring my camera and take a picture. But here's what I bought:



Then, later on, on route 26 along the coast of Nottawassaga Bay we stopped to buy apples. And some strawberry jam and elderberry jelly. The apples taste great. I bet they would be perfect in a pie.



Upon arriving at the Waterview Resort Ted had a goodie bag for each participant. I almost laughed out loud when I saw the colour of the lace yarn he put in there...(by the end of Saturday, everyone knew of my colour preferences. My, I hate to be predictable...) Well, to own the truth, when I asked Ted about it, he said he had planned to put a burgundy skein in there, but some or other happened to it and so it was...orange! Yay. Couldn't have been a better choice. It's from Shelridge Farms and feels very soft and lovely.



Also, there was, or rather is, a jar of chutney, made by Ted himself (can't wait to try it), very good chocolates from Mill Creek (two boxes, but Rolf and I had one already) and something I always wanted but never ordered so far: coilless safety pins! There was also lots of info about the area and and and...



More fun to come. I bet when I am done you'll wish you were there.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I'm baaaack!

From Fibre Fest North in Wiarton, ON. It was great! I met a lot of lovely people, learned how to spin, stocked up on yarn and roving (yeah, I got sucked in) and bought yummy apples from a fruit stand.

I have to take pictures of my loot, but here are some shots from the weekend:

The resort:



Willie's den where everything happened.



Fibrery invasion.



Me "spinning". (I do better now! and apparently somebody dressed me up with some fibre dreadlocks...)



Ted spinning ever so effortlessly.



Yeah, sometimes it didn't go too well.



DeeDee's fabulous spindles.



Thanks so much to everyone who was involved in planning and organizing this!