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:

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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.

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Excuse me while I geek out. Firefly AND yarn. It’s too much awesome for my brain to properly process.

knitcircus

Joss Whedon’s a genius, and after we worked our way through all of the Buffy and Angel episodes, Mike and I decided to give this Firefly series a try. At first, I thought, “Okay, it’s Han Solo with a new crew,” but after one episode, the complex characters hooked me for good.

Recently, I re-watched the show’s 14 episodes all again, and found myself loving the bright, western-style landscapes contrasted with the ship’s beat-up interior all against “the black,” or deep space.

Big, geeky fangirl? Yep, I even have  a couple of Firefly books. Combing through them for “research” on costumes and characters, no trouble at all.

Firefly fans, or Browncoats, are legendary for their passion for such a short-lived show, and have a reputation for helping out charities and the like. So in the Browncoat spirit, for every Still Flying yarn sold, Knitcircus will donate a dollar to Kids Need to read, a group cofounded by

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Creativ Festival haul

Two posts a tad close together, I know, but I had to share the fruits of my second day at the Creativ Festival. Pics of my adventures as a model for the Fashion Knits show to hopefully come soon.

Voilà my haul of goodies, comprising both days:

Breaking it down, we have the two awesome books I got, more detail in my other post. Both are entirely worth the investment, but I love that I got them at a huge discount from Grantham Books. They’re at the festival every year, and I always come home with something. On their site they list other shows they go to as well as permanent locations.

In the foreground you can see some navy blue DK possum merino. That’s right, possum. It is made in New Zealand, and available in Canada here, the UK here, and the USA here or here. Apparently, “the possum fur is hollow and, when spun with merino wool, produces a hardwearing yarn with superior heat retaining qualities.” Either way, it feels awesome and I am excited to try it. Here’s a close-up.

I also picked up some good ol’ Berroco Vintage Chunky in white from Creative Yarns. It shall one day (soon) become the shrug for my wedding dress. I’ll be using the same pattern as for the one I talk about here.

I think it will be gorgeous. Actually, I know it will be because someone has already done it:

I also got some neats beads, pendants, and a pair of cool glass earrings at this store’s booth.

After much hunting, I was finally able to find a booth that sold Brother equipment for my Brother sewing machine. I got some thread, extra bobbins, a blind presser foot for fancy hems on dresses and dress pants (I have a backlog of stuff to fix…), and a teflon foot and twin needle for sewing onto knitting, so that maybe I can finally get the lining onto my cabled belt from way back.

One thing I did not buy, purely because I have a large enough stash already, is the HPKY I fell in love with. Their website isn’t the greatest, but I believe the yarn is called Lamé. It’s a bulkier weight and has strands of glitter running through it. The booth selling it (called Yarn Deals, LLC) I could not find a website for anywhere, but they had these wicked knitted samples that only need 1 skein:

I especially like the one with the tapered and braided ends. It makes it really easy to wear as a scarf or snood/hood type thing. Gotta remember this design idea for later.

And finally, you may remember Ozzy the Alpaca from yesterday’s post. Today, I leave you with a fortune.

Hi-yah!

Besides the fact that the fiancé and I were sick for a bit, it’s been a good couple weeks. First off, I must take a moment to point out an initiative very close to my heart that I found out about through a post on the wonderful Simply Notable blog:

The idea behind the Purple Stitch Project is to knit, crochet, or sew purple (the epilepsy awareness color) gifts for kids with seizure disorders. These gifts will serve as a reminder that they are not alone — that they have community support. The 2nd goal of PSP is to raise awareness about epilepsy, the 3rd most prevalent neurological disorder (next to stroke and Alzheimer’s). With every purple stitch made and every handmade item worn or carried, perhaps a collective conversation will begin about a disorder that surprisingly little is known about.

As some of you know, my fiancé has epilepsy, hence I am super excited to hear about such an awesome initiative. The fact that it involves the hobby I love helps too.

There are all kinds of patterns listed on Craftsy and Pinterest. Including awesomeness like this:

Everyone should make one!

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In other news, my shrug is coming along well. If I like it, I might also make it in white for the wedding 😀

Isn’t the drawstring square-bottom project bag you see in the photo awesome? I got it, along with another one in a funky pink, gold, and white fabric, from one of my fellow World Wide Knit in Public Day organizers, who made them for all of us who helped plan WWKIP Toronto Edition. It was such a nice surprise!

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On Friday I went to the latest

If you’ve never been and you’re ever in the area, you should go. Click on the Knitty logo/banner for the link to more info, but essentially it’s a great time in one of Toronto’s greatest (and probably coziest) yarn stores, The Purple Purl. You and twenty-nine other knitters get to test and review five new yarns ranging from super luxury skeins to bargain ones. The reviews are used by Knitty for their magazine.

Voilà, the swatch I had at the end of the night. There be alpaca, merino, and even cashmere in them there hills of inadvertent garter stitch.
And their are door prizes! I went home with this:

And the entire store was on sale, so this had to follow me home:

Did you spot my invasive cat in, not one, but both of the pics above? Because, you know, I don’t give him any attention, not at all.

More free things! :

This is chunky/bulky weight wool yarn from Briggs & Little that I got from a destashing friend.

Last weekend I visited family out in the country, and came back from antique shopping with some pieces of handicraft history.

These are two antique yarn bobbins/spools. Well used from the looks of them. See how they would have been used here.

This handkerchief is hand embroidered and edged with crochet. I love the little pieces of detail. And I couldn’t very well resist a four leafed (leaved?) clover.

Beyond that I’ve found myself cooking and baking a lot. It’s the fall weather – it is finally not too hot to have the oven on, and nothing is better than long-simmering soup, à la this recipe for Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup I made on the weekend. Pinterest is likely also partially to blame. I’ve been pinning way too much.

Speaking of baking…

We had a potluck at work. One of my colleagues and I are a) very nerdy and b) share a love of Game of Thrones (we’re librarians, so it’s not a surprise). Plus there is my love of all things medieval. This led to us using this:

To make things like this (complete with explanatory notes) :

Whole story here.

I think I’m smart

Before I get down to business after a bit of an absence, I must first direct your attention to…

Felicia Day, I love you. I can’t believe I just discovered Geek and Sundry/the Flog now. Here is Knit Culture‘s take on the encounter as well.

So, basically this post is dedicated to how smart I think I am. I bought some inexpensive tools recently. Inexpensive tools that have proved to be indispensable (for me anyway).

First off, I wanted one of these.

Yarn holder, yarn lazy susan, I can’t find one unified name for it. Unfortunately, any one of the nice wood ones I had my eye on I couldn’t afford (though FYI, the site that that image links to supplies awesome stuff I don’t really see elsewhere).

Then I found this:

Link to the store here (their English could use some work, I'll admit).

Plastic? I don’t care, as long as it gets the job done. The job being preventing this from happening.

Yarn twisting and curling on itself – my mortal enemy. The physics can be found here.

And it turns out it works quite well. I did away with the silly holder. Didn’t really stay on anyway (though I’ve been promised they’re sending something to fix it).

My second stroke of genius came at the dollar store. I had been lusting after Knit Pick’s Chart Keeper, but a) I’m cheap, and b) the magnets worry me – won’t they hurt the electronics in my purse? Then I saw this:

Just a clear pencil case. I’ve already been using row counters to count repeats, so don’t need the magnets. The case does the job of keeping my charts from getting all crumpled in my bag just fine. The only downside is that this is the other side:

Not really my style.

In other news, I finished my belt for the Ravellenic Games!

I even made the buckle. Because I am a wizard (my ego is getting quite the stoking today, I know).

Cut and fitted 'em myself.

Voilà, my medal 😀

Unfortunately, my TARDIS plushy didn’t get done in time to qualify for the British Cricket event. But it’s done now 🙂

The pattern is by Nyss of Pixelated Mushroom and is available for free on her site.

Desmond investigates:

Almost done, I promise. But first…

Lookit my new Hunter boots! (And check out the sexy super pale leg). Yes that is a crocheted cat toy in the background (and yes, it came with the bed). I’m very excited because not only are they awesome and green, but I can’t wait to show off hand-knit socks in these puppies.

I’ll leave you with this lovely colour of Berroco Vintage Chunky (you can see the threads of purple running throughout more clearly IRL), which I’ll be using for the Simple Lace Shrug from This is Knit was scored by yours truly at 20% off at last week’s grand opening of the new Toronto LYS, Ewe Knit, which has opened up practically next door to my knit night group’s pub of choice. Whether this is awesome or horrifying (to my wallet, anyway) remains to be seen. They also appear to be installing an espresso machine. It’s like they know me…

I got my purchase home, set it down, and then this happened… again :

Cat after my own heart.

Ah, the cold!

Ah the cold, I love you and hate you at the same time. I may be stuck in the house with an epic cough, afraid to go outside lest the -25°C (that’s -13°F for you American folk) gusts worsen it, but then again there is something nice about genuinely having a day with nothing to do but hunker down inside while the snow drifts prettily onto the windowsill with    andand my knitting. I’m even still in my PJs, I’m not gonna lie.

And luckily, there is no housework to do. I somehow had the foresight to do it all yesterday on our first day back after the holiday. In fact, we did more than housework, we also did a much-needed purge of stuff to send to the Sally Ann. One of the things we did? consolidate all of my books onto one bookcase. ONE. Those that know me will have an idea of how monumental an undertaking this was. Tears were shed. But look! it all fits now! (sort of)

I’d like to point out that one half of the entire top shelf (how appropriate, since my collection is ‘top shelf’ indeed, har har) is devoted to crafting (95% knitting). Obviously I have a book problem – which reminds me that you should all go read this

My problem also extends to loose-leaf pattern collecting as well. I have a file folder separated by pattern type. I know, it’s a tad on the crazy side, but don’t worry, I am normal to the extent that here is the yet-to-be-categorized pile –>

 

 

 

 

Alas, I have not been able to get much knitting or crochet accomplished over the holidays. Though I did manage to whip this off on Dec 23rd to go with my brother’s girlfriend’s gift.

It’s cute, in squishy 3D, and takes no time at all! I’m so happy with it, I’m making two in lace weight to make into necklace pendants. I may go cross-eyed, but it’ll be worth it.  The pattern is free on Ravelry or here.

What I spent most of my holidays doing is driving to various functions. A highlight was our Dec 31st drive to Newmarket to take advantage of the last day of Unwind‘s Boxing Week sale. What a great store! And a very pretty drive, even with (or maybe because of) the fog.

Between Unwind and Michael’s, I got some pretty good yarn sales over boxing week, including Noro for the Lanesplitter KAL the Toronto 20-Somethings are going to be doing soon. Extra surprising because I only had 15 minutes at Unwind before we had to leave for the next stop on our New Years tour :S Definitely have to go back.

Behold, my booty:

Plus of course there are the gifts I got from my family, who know me well enough to know exactly what to get me 😉

Paging all GTA knitters and crocheters!

Something about “crocheters” always sounds weird…

Anyway, exciting news!

There is currently a Groupon (purchaseable until midnight tomorrow) for Unwind Yarn House in Newmarket.

So happy to see a LYS on Groupon! 😀