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Thursday, March 29, 2012

On My Needles // Goldmine Socks

In an attempt to be one of those knitters that always has a small project stuffed in her purse, I've cast on a pair of socks. I am by no means a "Sock Knitter" due to lack of experience and frequency in knitting them but I do fully appreciate the practicality of sock knitting. I actually began this here blog, some 2 and a half years ago, with a long winded post about why knitting socks is so worthwhile. 

Now I just need a teeny tiny pouch to replace my ziploc project bag :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Classic Raglan KAL // Week 4

My Classic Raglan Pullover was the only project I brought with me on our Fibres West trip last weekend but to be honest, I didn't knit nearly as much as I thought I would. Partly because this is a big project to lug around. Arika had a small project stashed in her purse so while we were waiting at the restaurant, sipping coffees at Starbucks, or taking hours to make yarn buying decisions, Arika would just pull out her knitting. I was so jealous, it made me want to cast on socks :) I was also really exhausted from the early morning and the running around that by the time we crashed in our hotel I was like a zombie, I only had enough energy to stare at the tv. You know it's bad when you're too tired to knit. 

Another reason for my slow progress this week is the crazy amount of swatching I've been doing since arriving home with all of my loot. I have big plans for my Sweet Georgia Yarn, I'm like a mad woman, I can't stop! I'll prove it to you...

This is what my hand looked like after a full day of swatching with Riptide. You can actually see how I hold my yarn by the blue marks on my fingers... Clearly I am a thrower who uses her pinky for tension :)

As for my Classic Raglan Pullover... I bound off my first sleeve this morning. Considering this project needs to last me through the 6 week duration of this KAL, I think the slow down was just what I needed to keep pace.  

Are you knitting along? How's it coming?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fibres West 2012

5 of us piled into my little car and hopped on the ferry to attend Fibres West 2012. 

We had to get up really early on Saturday to catch the 7 am ferry, and even though I felt totally scatter brained from my lack of sleep I do have some highlights to share with you...

. . .

I was really excited to meet Fiona and Amanda of Knit Social. They are the driving force behind Knit City, a fibre festival in Vancouver slated to make it's debut October 13 & 14 of this year (thank you ladies for choosing weekend days!!!). Knit City will be the first Vancouver fibre festival (that I am aware of) and boy is it overdue. I can't even imagine how much work is involved in organizing an event like this but after meeting Amanda and Fiona I am positive it will be 100% amazing. It was so refreshing to meet such forward thinking, enthusiastic knitters embracing the benefits of Ravelry and social networking, they have fresh ideas and great energy. They even made the trek to Stitches West to see first hand what makes a fibre festival successful. If you live locally or plan on visiting the area I encourage you to check out their site because they have so much more going on than just this one big event.

Sarah picked up a skein of rainbow sock yarn from Everything Old and I couldn't take my eyes off of it. This yarn was like a rainbow over our heads the entire trip, every time it came out of her shopping bag we all gushed about how vibrant it was. Yum....

The Fraser Valley Knitting Guild was winding yarn again, thank you Holly, which meant Sarah was able to cast on her rainbow socks immediately!


The most luxurious selection of yarns is always at the Valley Yarn booth. Julie has the best taste and I always spend most of my time between her and Sweet Georgia trying to decide how to spend my money. Honestly, it's just one of those booths that is stocked as if you had hand selected each yarn yourself, I only wish I had a bigger budget. I was so tempted by all of the gorgeous Madeline Tosh but I walked away with something that was actually on my list, care to take a guess?

That's right, I found my rainbow skein of Malabrigo Rasta, because one can never have too many Marians, right? 

I was so excited to visit the Sweet Georgia booth. Felicia had knit up a gorgeous sample of Georgia in Raspberry! My first year was Fibres West 2010 and so began my obsession with Sweet Georgia Yarns. That year I purchased Tough Love Sock in Cayenne which later became the Georgia Cardigan. At last years event I wore Georgia to show Felicia and picked up Tough Love Sock in Goldmine which later became Audrey as well as one show stopping skein of Cashluxe Fine in Saffron which morphed into many things before it finally became Rae. This year I wore Audrey and picked up one yummy skein of BFL Sock in Deep Olive.

I had hoped to pick up a few options in Tough Love Sock for an idea I'm working on but would you believe that on Friday, someone had purchased Felicia's entire stock of Tough Love Sock. Seeing as I had convinced 4 ladies to jump on a ferry, book a hotel, and spend a weekend in Vancouver, based on the premise that they would have more than enough Tough Love to fondle at the event, I can honestly say I felt like crying :(

{ Shannon made me a business card holder in My colours for the trip! Love it! }

It was so much fun seeing familiar faces, meeting new people, and connecting with online friends in person. I think the highlight of the show for me was just talking to people! And because we had to wake up at 5 am to catch an early boat, I really felt too tired to focus on big yarn buying decisions. I think we all felt that way. A huge shout out to Rebecca Danger and friends, it was so fun to meet up with you, I'm glad you made the trek and let us fondle your yummy yarn purchases! A special shout out to Swelldove and Mum, it was so great to see you both again this year, glad we could share a burger and laughs :)

. . .

Day two was even more fun than day one! 

We had a blast running around Vancouver. After a much needed sleep in our awesome 28th floor hotel room with incredible views of the city, we started our day at Sophie's Cosmic Cafe. Because my favorite yarn store wasn't open until noon we headed to Granville Island to wander. 
We ended up wandering into this place...

I don't know how this shop is new to me, it was absolutely breathtaking. They stock an enormous selection of dyes and I picked up these gorgeous hand carved stamps for block printing. 

I also found a shelf's worth of Tanis Fibre Arts! Score! I picked up an incredible skein of Blue Label in Sunset. It's not a colour I would normally wear but it inspired me and I couldn't leave without it, it screams Spring and Summer, I wish you could see it in person, it's so lovely.

There was also this yarn, which I can honestly say, took my breath away... 

We received the most friendly service in Maiwa, it is a very welcoming and inspiring place to be, thank you for having us, we thoroughly enjoyed it!

After Granville Island we made a bee line to...

This was my favorite stop during Yarn Harvest last year. The girls were so impressed with this shop, I'm really glad I could share it with them. Urban Yarns is one of those stores that stocks only the yarns you love and nothing you don't. Honestly, we could have spent all day there, it looked like we were moving in...

Alexa and Kynna were working and made our visit great! Both girls have great energy and were so much fun to talk and laugh with. They even pulled out an enormous stash of Sweet Georgia for us to pick through and wouldn't you know I was able to walk away with a skein of Tough Love after all! 

I was also pressured into buying this little lovely (thanks Shan, I have no regrets), this colourway is so coastal I just had add it to my stash...

We recharged our batteries at Starbucks and took inventory of what we had aquired that day, there was some definite yarn hugging going on....

All in all it was an awesome trip with fantastic company, thanks for the laughs ladies! 

...can't wait to do it all over again for Knit City :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Classic Raglan KAL // Week 3

You may recall that last Friday I was on the last repeat of hip shaping. After that I did have a slight fall back, I tried the pullover on and realized that the hip shaping was a little high on me. My last Classic Raglan was a 34 but since I would like a fitted sweater for Spring I am knitting a 32. What hadn't occurred to me was to follow the lengthwise measurements of the larger size, especially since I am long in the body. I ripped back at Knit Night which was painful (and painful to watch I'm sure, I wore my sad face the whole time), but it didn't take long to recover the lost stitches and once again feel ahead of the game.

I am currently half way through sleeve number one. I knit the collar on when I was halfway through the body, I always do this, it's easier to assess how well the garment is fitting this way, it sort of pulls everything together. 

I'm loving the way the entire sweater is fitting, I can't wait to wear it when it's finished, it's going to be a wardrobe staple. 

How is your Classic Raglan coming along?

Hop on over to the Canadian Living craft blog and check in! We're also talking about it in our Ravelry group.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Off the Needles // Twiggy Cardigan

The Twiggy Cardigan has been off the needles for quite some time. It was a super fast knit, I think it took me three days to complete, wow!

It took me a while to release this pattern because I struggled a little with the fact that the yarn I had used is now discontinued.

At first I thought I would hunt for a replacement. I struck out big time, I guess super chunky yarn is a seasonal item in yarn shops, so I ended up at Micheals. I walked away with a sweaters worth of Loops & Threads which was super soft and fun to knit with but I didn't feel solid about making the switch.

So this is what I've decided, rather than sit on the design and hunt for the perfect yarn to go with it, I'll leave it open. Most people substitute yarns anyway, using what is available to them. Maybe you have more options to choose from than I do... Maybe you have a heap of super chunky yarn in your stash :) What ever the case it just felt right to stick with my original sample and leave the yarn choice up to you.  

It's a fun knit and provides an excellent base for modifications and the end result is so comfy to wear. I hope you enjoy this knit as much as I did!

Thanks again Shannon for naming Twiggy and for the new Spring cover page! I'm a lucky girl to have a friend like you!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In the Garden // Sprouts

 I've started my first round of seeds indoors. Last year I sowed way too many seeds of each variety (I seem to do that every year), only to realize on transplant day that there is only so much room in the vegetable garden, I only need a few of each variety, and I don't live on a farm :) By the end of last years growing season I was bound and determined to be way more organized this year. So from the seed catalogue I also I ordered labels and a special wax pencil, I've made extensive spreadsheets to keep me on track and I've filed all of my seed packets in accordance to sowing times. 

...I've also planted only a few seeds for each variety.

After growing everything my heart desired last year many things proved to be not worth my time, not well suited to our plot, or problematic (our entire Brassica crop got mites and had to be pulled up and disposed of). This year I've decided to be really picky about what I grow with a major focus on tomatoes. I really like West Coast seeds because they are fairly local to us which means they share a similar climate to ours. They also offer varieties that are proven winners for coastal gardens, because it's a challenge that not every gardener faces I am really thankful for region specific varities :) I don't even want to talk about how sad the tomatoes were last year :( 

Elsie and I planted an entire row of peas mid February only to have every last sprout cleared by slugs! Argh, pests! I would love, love, love to hear how you keep your veggies safe from slugs! Anyone have useful tips?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Classic Raglan KAL // Week 2

 My Classic Raglan Pullover is flying off the needles. I've actually had to slow it down because I would like to be an active participant for the duration of this knit along.

I'm on my last repeat of hip shaping. 

Are you participating in the KAL? How is your Classic Raglan coming along?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 | Gemini

I am really excited and honoured that my Gemini top is part of the Spring + Summer issue of Knitty.  

I don't normally design for spring and summer so when the idea for this top came to me I knew I wanted to submit it. The insane thing was, at the time, there were only 3 short weeks until the submission deadline! I was bound and determine to get my submission in. I have never done so much non-stop knitting in my life but the hand cramps and muscle aches paid off because I finished just under the wire. 

The photos were taken the day before the submission deadline and I am so thankful it wasn't pouring rain, as it normally does in the middle of winter here on Vancouver Island. My awesome sister ran all over town with me to take the photographs, we were chasing the sun as it was late afternoon and time was running out. Our final shoot was at the beach along Dallas Road, onlookers must have thought we were crazy! We would run from one spot to the next, literally run, like crazy people. At each location on the beach I would take a test shot of B, if I liked the light and location I would tear off my coat and huge scarf and start posing in my tee shirt... I even took my shoes off and walked in the surf... yup, we definitely looked crazy! 

I'm really glad I was able to pull it off and I am excited that after all of the madness it was accepted.

 Thank you B for taking the pictures on that crazy cold day, Shannon for the name, and Knitty for the awesome opportunity!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dyeing to Get Some Colour.

If you've been reading this blog for even a short amount of time you've probably already picked up on a few obvious facts about me:

a. I love colour
b. because of (a) I love Sweet Georgia Yarns
c. because of (a) & (b) I've always wanted to learn to dye yarn

So, knowing this about me, can you think of anything better than having my first lesson in dyeing with Felicia Lo of Sweet Georgia yarns? I can't.

Felicia is teaching a dyeing workshop at Place Des Arts in Coquitlam and I have snagged one of 10 limited seats in the class! You should have seen me scramble to register when I read this post.

I am so excited!  

Has anyone else taken a dye workshop? Any pointers for me?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Classic Raglan KAL // Week 1

 They are hosting a Classic Raglan Knit Along over on the Canadian Living Craft Blog and because my first Classic Raglan Pullover gets so much use I thought I would join in and make a second! 

The Details ::
Start | March 2nd, but feel free to jump in anytime!
Duration | 6 weeks.
Join | Leave a comment on the Canadian Living blog.

My Progress ::
I purchased my yarn on Friday. I bought this gorgeous blue green colour but after recharging over coffee, Rebecca let me try on her Classic Raglan Pullover and I fell head over heals with the rustic Straw/Mustard colourway she had chosen. We packed up and returned to the store where I made the quick exchange.

I cast on at 9 pm on Friday night and after 5 straight hours at Knit Night on Saturday I have completed the first round of waist shaping.

My first Classic Raglan Pullover was a size 34 (zero ease) because I wanted a comfy pullover that I could hide out in this winter... something really cozy but not baggy. It's now a wardrobe staple and I absolutely love it but spring is on the way and I'm ready for something a little more fitted. I've cast on a size 32 (2 inches of negative ease). My desire to wear the finished product is very motivating... I think I might have this one finished quite quickly!

Join In :: 
This is going to be a really fun knit along, the pattern is really well suited for a KAL, so join in on the conversation over on the Canadian Living craft blog:

Ready...  //  Set...  //  Raglan!

We're also chatting about it in the Jane Richmond Group on Ravelry... come say hi! And remember to use the tag ClassicRaglanKAL when you add your project to Ravelry, it's an easy way to link us all together :)