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Ok, it’s not that cold here yet. But I’m ready. Last winter, ears cold, I had the shocking revelation that I only have one toque/beanie/winter hat. It’s a ratty old crocheted thing that I bought in the university SUB about, oh, five years ago. I’m almost embarrassed to write this. For all my knitting, I’ve never managed to produce a hat for myself. And then, in that way we tend to overcompensate, I had visions of dozens of hats to choose from, one for each winter outfit! That’s not going to happen, but at least now I have one.

I owe much of the inspiration to start knitting again a few years ago to Rowan (and to Felicia at Sweetgeorgia, but that’s a story for another time). The first pattern magazine I bought was a Rowan. It was in 2007, I don’t know where I got it, and I was totally shocked to find that people were writing fashionable knitting patterns. Really amazing patterns. Despite an early slip-up buying a gross railroad yarn (which I still inexplicably have in my bottom desk drawer, and which I find every few years and am still surprised that I would have spent any amount of money on), I was quickly hooked on Rowan Felted Tweed before I was much of a knitter at all. And then Kidsilk Haze, and Kid Classic, and etc. For all my support of artisans, tiny companies, slow movements, and locally made…big ol’ Rowan is my desert island yarn, the one I would choose if I could only have one.

So, I bought a ball of the new Rowan Drift about two minutes after it went on the yarn shop shelves. You saw the start of my Rapunzel hat here, and now it’s done. It’s a little large, but not at all unwearable. I hope we get four feet of snow this winter!

>>You should know that this pattern included long braids – not my thing, but go for it if your mom always cut your hair before it got past your shoulders, and you’ve always wondered what long princess braids are like.

Pattern: Free Rapunzel! by Tiny Owl Knits (Ravelry link here)
Yarn: Rowan Drift (100% merino wool) in 908 Shore

Also, I’m excited to go to Knit Social’s yarn swap next Thursday evening in Vancouver, and have been going through my stash ruthlessly. Hope to see you there. I have some railroad yarn to trade.

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Whoops – time to get this project up on the blog; Alexa beat me to it and it’s already up on the Urban Yarns blog! What a generous post, I’m very flattered. I’ll just give a few more details:

I saw a Duck Soup sample at another yarn shop a few years ago, and have been trying to get to it since. I think this is an ingenious design: it’s a jacket or sweater, depending on the size. Because babies grow so quickly, you’re meant to make it a couple sizes too large, rolling the hood and sleeves for a good jacket fit. Once baby is larger, unroll those sleeves and it’s a sweater. A cozy, handknit sweater! Economy, meet luxury. Brilliant.

I still have not had the pleasure of meeting Neko, the jacket’s recipient, but I hope it’s a gift that he & mom get a lot of use from. The frog closures were fiddly but fun, and they really made the project. It was a clever pattern, knit from the top of the hood down. The hood was kitchenered up the centre and the knot tied last.

Pattern: Duck Soup by annypurls (ravelry link here)
Yarn: Spud & Chlöe Sweater (55% wool, 45% cotton) in Moonlight
Mods: Frog closures – did 3 stitch i-cords in the same yarn (instead of sock yarn), but made them each about an inch longer than recommended

Maybe you can tell how excited I am about a project by the amount of time it takes me to blog about it. Usually, I finish something and I’m so thrilled that I have to get a photo right away and post it.

My Damson shawl was finished back in May, and you might recall that I was lukewarm about the colour from the start. By the time I had finished and blocked, the colour had grown on me. But it turns out my real gripe is that it’s tiny* and I found myself adjusting it every 20 minutes so that it doesn’t fall off. A shawl pin would help…I think I’ll have kinder feelings towards Damson once fall weather rolls around.

The yarn, on the other hand, was so soft and springy; I enjoyed working with it, despite what I’ve recently learned about the superwash process. Are you reading, madelinetosh? I’d love it if you offered more non-superwash yarns…

Pattern: Damson by Ysolda Teague (Ravelry link here)
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Earl Grey

* Not sure if tininess is the problem, or if it’s more of a length vs. depth issue. The top edge of Damson has increases on both sides, not just the right side as with other shawls I’ve knit. This gives it a deep v-shape at the neck, yet the ‘arms’ still aren’t long enough to get a good wrap-around. Get it?

Window displays are an art – there are a several shops in town whose displays I often admire. They change with regularity (every few weeks, or every few months) and often combine unique props with their own store goods. They have a theme that’s usually seasonal or event-related. And they’re always beautiful to look at.

There’s a lovely flower shop in Kits called Garden Party. I could hardly wait to get down there last week to see Lisa’s window display.

I contributed the crocheted vase holders that Lisa paired with the shop’s amazing flowers. Peonies and sweet peas just happen to be two of my favourites, and I love the light and summery feel of the whole display.

Despite bringing a polarizing filter for my camera lens, it was tough to shoot through the windows…until twilight. Which seems appropriate, since there’s a bit of a Midsummer Night’s Dream thing going on. I love it, and I love that crochet and flowers are together at long last!

Pattern: Vase/Pot Holder by Marie Wallin (ravelry link here)
Yarn: Rowan Handknit Cotton (100% cotton) in Seafoam (green) and Atlantic (blue); Rowan All Seasons Cotton (60% cotton, 40% acrylic) in Cassis (pink)

It’s hard to believe how busy I am since quitting my office job. The transition has been pretty good, although I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I could benefit from a bit more structure (and money…). Some mornings it’s tempting to just sit on the balcony in my pyjamas knitting.

The last weekend and week have found me doing my regular work, plus camping on the Sunshine Coast, frantically crocheting (my proud new skill!) for a special project, and finishing Isaac’s belated birthday monster. I think it’s cute but Isaac wasn’t so sure, giving Monsieur Monster a cold evaluating look before running and hiding. I’m told that, as 2-year-olds do, he has developed strong toy opinions: if it doesn’t have wheels it’s a non-starter.

I should note that, although I am fonder of my monster creation than dear nephew, this project HURT to make. It’s knit on 3.75mm needles, instead of the recommended 5mm needles, to keep the fabric tight for stuffing. I developed a strange pain in my right elbow – is it possible I gave myself tennis elbow from knitting too tightly? Back to yoga, I guess. Maybe I should develop a yoga class for knitters!

Pattern: Penelope the Empathetic Monster by Rebecca Danger (ravelry link here)
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton (100% cotton) in Seafoam and Dandelion

 

Not quite dry yet…and I still can’t decide about those colours.

I knew I needed my 4mm needle for the upcoming Rock Island cast on, so even though I was using it for the Damson shawl, it was no big deal. I was going to put it on some waste yarn. Then something came over me: why not just finish Damson to free the needle?

I put in so many knitting hours this past week that I finally had to teach myself to knit continental to save my poor cramped right hand. I predict a Carson Demers workshop is in my future – the one on how to knit without hurting yourself.

Still trying to reserve judgement until I can wear it, but I’m fairly unenthusiastic about this one. The size is a bit small, which I knew going into it; usually I find more substantial shawls to be more stylish. Good thing my needle is free to start gargantuan Rock Island tonight.

Yes, we have socks! Dad’s birthday socks are ready to be wrapped.

Those pink threads are life lines in case the socks need a little lengthening or shortening. Doesn’t Sweetgeorgia dye the best dark blue around? In some lights it looks a bit blue-grey, in others blue-green, but it always looks complex and beautiful. In a manly way.

Pattern: Retro Rib Socks by Vintage Vogue (ravelry link here)
Yarn: SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock (80% superwash wool, 20% nylon) in Riptide

Enough with the pink already! I’m not a huge fan of the colour, it just happened this way.

These are the first pair of socks I’ve made, and they’re so cozy. I don’t recall ever having a pair of handknit socks; if I’d known how nice it is to have my feet wrapped up in these little gems, I’d have finished knitting them six months ago. Actually, they’re a tiny bit too large, so the next pair will be made with one size smaller needles.

My wise spinning teacher, Irene, once warned me to always knit socks with yarn that has some nylon content, for strength. I don’t normally endorse synthetics but I don’t want to wear holes in my socks by next week. So this will be my test – the SweetGeorgia yarn I’ve used has 20% nylon. I might try to make a pair in the future with a yarn that has some silk content; silk is tough and I suspect it might be just as effective as nylon.

Pattern: Retro Rib Socks by Evelyn Clark (ravelry link here)
Yarn: SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock (80% superwash wool, 20% nylon)

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