Relay for Life 2014

Once again I’m participating in the Relay for Life on the Downtown Knit Collective‘s team.

We’re currently in third place for top fundraising team!!! (PS: if you feel like helping us get to number one, and donating to a very worthy cause you can donate by clicking here)

I’ve participated in the past (see here), but this year is particularly meaningful to me because my grandmother is fighting her battle with cancer. The same grandmother who taught me how to knit ❤

This year also marks 10 years of the Downtown Knit Collective relay team. To celebrate we will be hosting a Fibre Arts Activity Area at our Team Site at the Relay. As you may remember, in order to help the relayers stay up all night there are various activity areas. In 2012 canadianchia and I got to wrestle in sumo suits (pics here). We are thinking of using our activity area to teach other relayers things like arm knitting and finger knitting, making a pompom, corking/spooling, knitting on a giant scarf, crochet, making a flower, demos of spinning on a wheel and needle felting.

There is also going to be a marketplace this year and we have been offered a table. We will be selling small items in the range of about $1 to $5, such as hand-knitted cancer ribbons.

I’m SO excited!!!

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Tools of the trade

I recently was given some coupons for some good deals, so naturally I decided to get some tools I’ve had my eye on for a bit. Regular household items like a steamer and a kitchen scale…

  

Except that I have ulterior plans.

Sure, they will come in handy for cleaning pet stains, steaming wrinkles out of clothes (I HATE ironing, so this is good) and measuring recipe ingredients. However their main purpose will be yarn related. The steamer will help me block with greater ease, and the scale will help me figure out how many grams I have of a particular yarn. There is nothing more annoying than having to guesstimate because you want to cast on for a project that needs 120 grams and you have the perfect yarn for it but you no longer have the ball band and/or used only part of the skein in an earlier project and so have absolutely no idea how many grams you have left.

Too often for coincidence

She always manages to sit right on top of my pattern or knitting.

Always.

Come to think of it, he’s started following suit…

Oh cats…

Knitter’s Frolic

So this past weekend was the annual Knitter’s Frolic. I went with some members of my knitting group, and we had a lot of fun.

  Above photos from CanadianChia.

And saw some amazing things.

  CASHMERE ROVING. IT FEELS LIKE CLOUDS.

And when it comes to shopping, I made out like a bandit this year. A bandit who pays for all their loot, but a bandit nonetheless.

Everything there was just SO AWESOME this year. More awesome than it already normally is. Plus I got more back that I thought I would with my tax return, so happy early birthday to me.

Here is the pile, in all its glory:

IMG_0533

And now for the breakdown, minus the Addi Turbos and the Indigodragonfly project bag with the hilarious print.

First we have some beautiful lace weight. Seriously, the picture does not do the emerald tones of this skein justice. It’s Shalimar Yarn‘s Breathless Lace in Loden. Handpainted! 850 yds! $30! 😀

I plan on making this beauty with it.

Then I stopped by a family-owned farm‘s stall and grabbed me some more hand painted goodness:

Once again, my camera does not do the deep hues of this yellow any justice. I normally don’t go for yellows, but it was so gorgeous it had to come home with me.

The Black Lamb (another local yarn producer) had this at their booth:

Merino mixed with angora rabbit! Get in my shopping bag now please!

Then at the booth for Gateway Fibreworks (another local outfit that makes yarn from Ontario alpacas – noticing a “local” theme yet?) I saw this skein, the last one they had of it’s colourful yet undyed (these are natural alpaca fleece colours) kind and had to have it.

While I was there I grabbed these mini skeins because alpaca mini skeins.

I’m thinking it should be enough for fingerless gloves.

So that’s it for the local fibres. I had planned on buying only local, normally-hard-to-get-your-hands-on stuff, but then…

Classic Elite Yarns Provence on sale for 30% off at EweKnit‘s booth.

Since I needed some DK weight cotton for this vest, I figured I might as well buy it while it’s on sale.

This Habu skein was also 50% off at Unraveled. I’ve always wanted to try Habu (the ones that brought you yarns made from paper, steel, and etc) and at this price for a little skein I figured why not?

It’s called Kibiso silk. It may not look very silky, but that’s because it is actually made from the waste silk, which is the fuzzy bits on the surface one gets when you reel silk from a cocoon.

And last, but not least, we have this skein from Skein (har har). When I saw it at Shall We Knit‘s booth, I had to have it. It’s just so different. The colourway is Tuscany.

I also got a good deal on hand carders from Gemini Fibres. I’ll need them if I ever actually start spinning.

Speaking of starting spinning, I’ve taken a step in the right direction! I took Barb Aikman’s class on the Sunday of the Frolic.

I’ve got a long way to go, but at least it’s a start. I had trouble with the single treadle I was using, so a fellow student was kind enough to let me try her Ashford Joy2. Muuuuch better.

…aaand now I want an Ashford Joy2. It’s a beautiful machine.

But, before I can think of that, or use all this new yarn that is burning a hole in my stash, I must finish the baby knitting (yes, there is still another set of these:

as well as a blanket to go) plus the shawl I’ve started for myself:

I think I needed to finally make something for myself. People are starting to ask why I knit so much but hardly wear any knitwear :S

Luckily this shawl is in worsted weight, so hopefully it won’t take too long.

The baby knitting never ends…

…but dear God it’s cute stuff.

Finished these recently:

and just started the foundation for these cuties:

After that I will be casting on for Knitted Moon Design’s Star Path Baby Blanket:

Other things I’ve been working on:

A coworker and fellow knitter is retiring, so I made her this little keychain pouch and put some fancy stitch markers in it. Pattern is here.

This cute owl coffee cup cozy (pattern is here) was the pattern in a knit-a-long I joined, aptly named the Cabled Owl Cozy KAL. The pattern writer/group admin (Knitphomaniac over on Blogger) was selling the sew-on googly eyes with proceeds going to a local soup kitchen in time for Easter. I opted to gift the FO to my mom, who is a little down lately now that she’s an empty-nester, my grandma has cancer, and my grandpa has had to move into a nursing home.

Grandma asked me to make her a hat for her new bald ‘do. I happily obliged. 1) grandma asked and I love her, 2) knitting is a good stress reliever for me, 3) my grandma is the one who taught me to knit in the first place.

I opted for the sophisticated Lucy Hat by Carina Spencer.

Grandma quickly noticed that her noggin was getting cold anytime she needed to take off the hat to wash it, and so I just finished up a second hat for her – a Tam-o’-Shanter made using Elizabeth Zimmermann’s instructions in Knitting Without Tears.

I’ve been told several times lately that I should start an Etsy store. I was wondering why, and had thought “hey, maybe I’m getting so good people are noticing!” but after writing this post I think it’s more likely because I’ve been churning out so .much lately. Unfortunately I don’t know when I’ll have time to knit for people that aren’t family or babies :S Maybe this summer? We shall see…

Slipper sole tutorial

As mentioned in my last post, I’ve been working on making a pair of slippers for my husband in colours from Fallout, his favourite video game. It’s been a huge undertaking, since I couldn’t find any patterns that were the style he wanted that went up to size 13. The closest I could find was this pattern, which I’ve had to heavily modify. On top of all this, he wanted a hard sole. Geeze, the demands of those who don’t craft and have no idea how complicated the thing that they are asking for is.

Well… I’m proud to say I’m finally done! The pattern to follow soon.

In the meantime, I thought I would share how I made the soles. I also put the tutorial up on Instructables, where you can download it as a pdf.

Supplies:

  • patterned/textured PVC fabric (available at most large fabric stores)
  • craft foam
  • fabric on the thicker side (cotton is suggested, I used an old pair of jeans)
  • cardboard
  • pen
  • quality large scissors (you will be cutting through the PVC)
  • Shoe Goo
  • popsicle stick or other instrument for spreading glue that you are prepared to not get back

Step 1:

Make a template by tracing the outline of the person’s foot using the cardboard and pen. Compare it to the bottom of the actual slipper and make any necessary adjustments. Cut out your finished template and use it to cut out four pieces of craft foam, two pieces of PVC fabric, and two pieces of regular fabric. Pay attention to right vs. left soles as you do this.

Step 2:

Essentially you are making a sandwich of PVC on the bottom (with the PVC side outwards so that it will be the very bottom of the sole, the part that makes contact with the ground), two layers of foam, and then the fabric layer on top. Between each layer is a liberally applied coat of Shoe Goo.

I suppose other glues are possible, but I highly recommend Shoe Goo. It is designed specifically for shoes in that when it dries it is clear, solid and non-tacky, but still has some flexibility. Plus the hold is superior. Nothing is going to get your layers apart. It is not easy to work with however as it sticks to everything in its wet state. This is why I recommend using a popsicle stick to spread it. However I ultimately still ended up using my fingers at some points, so be sure to have a good hand cleaner present. Something like Fast Orange is ideal, but I got by with a dish scrubber and some dish soap.

Step 3:

Give the sole a full 48 hours to dry and cure. That was a lot of glue, after all. Then you can finally add the last layer – the slipper itself! Make sure you give it about 24 hours to dry and cure.

Ta-da!

4 months of knitting

It’s been awhile I know. I choose to blame several things: post-wedding craziness, the holidays, and some health problems experienced by both my husband and myself.

This post is essentially just going to be a run-down of things I have been working on. It features some great patterns, including one I am writing myself (my first!). I guess that might be another reason for my lack of blogging: knitting addiction. I state where I got each of the patterns. To see which yarn(s) I used, click on the image to see a Ravelry description page.

I’ll start off with the arm knitting trend. Despite my already large stash, I decided to buy some extra bulky yarn and give it a whorl. I used the tutorial here and followed the guidance of Unwind Yarn House in using Mirasol Ushya yarn held double. I’m pretty happy with the look of the result, albeit it’s not as warm as some of my other scarves, and I’m worried that getting a stitch snagged on something might cause the whole thing to be pulled out of shape. We shall see.

Curious to see what arm knitting might possibly look like in progress? Voilà.

PS: I entered this in the Ravellenic Games, which coincides with the Olympics.

I’m also planning on entering a pair of slippers that I’m making for my husband in colours from Fallout, his favourite video game. I started off following this pattern, but had to make so many modifications due to hubby’s extra extra large shoe size that it’s practically its own pattern now. I’m considering publishing it 🙂

Before these I finished Shara Lambeth’s Dentelle Cowl for my mother-in-law. It’s a lovely short cowl, and I really like the finished result. Though I will suggest that if you plan on trying to make your own that you make the foundation chain very loose. The stitch pattern is very stretchy, plus you will be putting many dcs into the foundation chain, so it needs to be able to give a little.

Being at that age where friends and cousins start having kids, I’ve also been doing some baby knits.

This adorbale pair of booties is based on a Saartje de Bruijn pattern. Albeit I used the seamless version by Fleegle instead, because I hate seams. Hate. I had to learn the Turkish cast-on it order to do it. I highly recommend FluffyKnitterDeb’s tutorial, it’s really easy to follow. A little tricky until you get the hang of it, but I’m glad I’ve learned how to do it. It makes beautiful sock toes, bag bottoms, mitten tips, etc.

One of the babies was born in December. She of course required something more warm and snuggly, hence I made her a hat using the Bulky EarFlap Hat pattern from As the Bunny Spins and booties using Simple Soft Baby Booties from Adirondack Mama.

She might not be so happy about wearing it, but I think her parents are glad she’s warm in these -20°C tempertures we’ve been getting.

Then there was my Christmas knitting.

I made a Jayne hat again. This time it was for my middle brother, and I used this pattern, which I think I was happier with.

Here they both are, sporting their hats in true browncoat style 🙂

And now for my pride and joy of the whole lot. The pattern is Fightin’ Words by Annie Watts of Wattsolak Designs. These fingerless mitts were for my youngest brother, who seemed to get a kick out of them.

My first true stranded colourwork. A pretty awesome pattern, and a pretty awesome job, if I do say so myself.