August 11, 2014

Pebble Beach Shawlette

I really had high hopes that I would do a lot of knitting this summer but I haven't got as much done as I thought I would by this point.  One pattern I did finish and really enjoyed knitting was the Pebble Beach Shawlette by Helen Stewart.  This pattern was the winner of the Unwind Brighton Design Competition in the U.K.  It uses just one skein of fingering weight yarn.  Here it is:
Sweet Fiber Yarns Cashmerino Luxe in  Temperate

I was going to show you a picture of this shawl before it was blocked but I was so excited when I finished that I forgot to take a photo!  Using Sweet Fiber Yarns Cashmerino Luxe really made this project special.  The variegation in it is so pretty and the yarn blocked beautifully. It is extremely soft and is the perfect size to wear (53" x 15").  I liked this pattern so much that I might make a bigger version.  The directions were very clear with stitch counts after each row which really helped keep things on course.  It was a lot of fun as far as shawl knitting goes and is a perfect pattern for a special skein of yarn.  You should check it out!  It's Woolercoaster approved : )

For more pattern notes see my project page.

August 3, 2014

Victoria Yarn Shops

I was fortunate enough during my visit to Vancouver to take a day trip to Victoria.  I could show you all the pictures of the lovely scenery I took that day but you can find much better pictures than mine on the internet!  What I would like to share with you yarn lovers out there are some photos I took of my favourite yarn stores that are located in the province's most beautiful capital city.  First up was Button & Needlework Boutique .  This lovely store carries a nice selection of yarn, pattern books, stitching products, buttons, and embroidery kits.  Some yarns you can find there are Swan's Fingering, Spud & Chloe, and Blue Sky Alpacas to name just a few.
Buttons & Needlework Boutique, Victoria

Patterns by Brooklyn Tweed & Knitbot

A good variety of yarns

Many stitching samples.  I just love this pillow.
A wall of embroidery yarn by Appleton

I stocked up on buttons for several planned cardigans that I hope to do this year.  It was very hard to choose as they had such a wide variety.

Then it was off to the Beehive Wool Shop.

Beehive Wool Shop, Victoria

This shop is excellent for many reasons.  First off they have many knitted samples of popular patterns. I don't know about you but I love to see how different yarn knits up before deciding which yarn I will invest in.  Secondly, the variety of yarn in all the different bases is one of the best I have seen.  I also really like that they featured many Canadian dyers such as Sweet Georgia Yarns, Sweet Fiber Yarns and Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts, just to name a few.  The sales staff was very knowledgeable and willing to answer my questions, but also let me browse as long as I liked.

As soon as you walk in the door you see this stunning display using a variety of yarns. (By the way if anyone reading this wants to know a particular pattern's name I have that information!)

The yarn variety was wonderful:

Sweet Fiber Sweet Sock 

Sweet Georgia Silk Mist and Shibui Silk Cloud

Sweet Georgia Cashsilk Lace

Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts

Well stocked Brooklyn Tweed Loft & Shelter yarn
This is just a small cross-section of what is available.  The Beehive Wool Shop is the only Canadian store selling Brooklyn Tweed yarn and has made it available for order online which is great news for Canadian Brooklyn Tweed fans.

This shawl was one of my favourite samples.  It is a modified version of Viajante using only two skeins of Sweet Fiber Super Sweet Sock.  I would love a cardigan knit in this was beautiful.
Viajante in Sweet Fiber Sweet Sock in Verve
And then to top off my shopping experience, when I was paying for my purchases, I spotted the Brooklyn Tweed Winter '14 Trunk Show.  These are all the knitted samples from the beautiful Brooklyn Tweed Winter '14 LookBook, including the beautiful Channel Cardigan by Jared Flood.
Brooklyn Tweed Samples including the Channel Cardigan in Hayloft

It was a wonderful day and if you have never had the chance to visit Victoria I would highly recommend it.  There is so much to see and do including  Butchart Gardens, another favourite place of mine.

Good-bye Victoria I hope to see you soon.

July 27, 2014

Granville Island, Vancouver

I had the pleasure of tagging along with my husband on a business trip to Vancouver.  Our plane landed on a Saturday morning and our first choice was to visit Granville Island.  To get there we took a sea bus to the island.  Granville Island has a farmer's market full of great things to eat, restaurants, artists, and many vendor selling beautiful things.  There is also live entertainment.  It was the perfect spot to wake us up after a cross country flight.

Fresh produce
So many food choices

Flower markets
 Of course I couldn't leave the island without visiting a lovely craft store called the Maiwa Supply store.  This store carries a variety of craft materials such as yarn, felt, dye and many other craft supplies.
Maiwa Supply
Embroidery thread

A lovely assortment of yarn 
Many dyes

A huge assortment of felt
It was a wonderful beginning to our time in Vancouver.

June 30, 2014

Through the Loops Mystery KAL

I took part in the Through the Loops Mystery KAL by Kirsten Kapur during the month of June.  Each week I received a part of the pattern, five clues in total.  Here is the finished shawl:

I can't tell you how happy I was with the whole process.  First the yarn...this was my first time using Black Trillium Fibres and it is so beautiful I cannot capture it on camera.   The colours seem to glow and the slight variegation in each skein was so pretty.  The yarn blocked beautifully.  I will definitely buy more of this yarn, there are just so many pretty colours to choose from.

The pattern:  I have been slowly working on improving my lace knitting skills.  This was the most challenging lace project I have done to date.  In fact if I had seen what the finished shawl looked like before starting it I might have shied away from doing it at all.  By getting a part of the pattern each week it made it feel manageable.  I was happy to discover that there were no tricky stitches and I solely used the charts (although written directions were provided).  For me the difficulty lay when I occasionally missed a yarn over, throwing off my stitch count.  I would then have to go back and figure out where I had gone wrong.  However, I quickly learned that using stitch markers throughout each row, to mark the repeated part of the pattern, was extremely helpful as well as putting in the occasional life line. The directions were very well written with enlarged charts to follow and the pattern was fun to knit.  I highly recommend it.  Look here to see the other finished shawls...each one is gorgeous.

Blocking:  Ahhhh the magic of blocking.  Look at this pattern completed before blocking:

Now look at it after...It was so much fun to block and see the magical transformation.  That's my favourite part of knitting.

After blocking
So if you are looking for a shawl pattern to knit this summer you can't go wrong with Kristin Kapur's design.

June 22, 2014

First Day of Summer

Saturday turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day and my husband and I decided to forget about our weekend chores and simply enjoy ourselves.  It was one of those days where everything fell into place.  It all started when I read the Blue Brick blog.  In a post the writer, Shireen Nadir, mentioned that she would be in Niagara-on-the-Lake in an Art Show at Frogpond Winery selling some of her jewellery.  This blogger is a favourite of mine because not only is she a knitter, but she takes amazing photos and designs very unique jewellery.  So we decided to go down and check it out.  Unfortunately I forgot my camera so I only got a few photos from my phone.  I had the pleasure of meeting Shireen and she was kind enough to take a photo with me.

Shireen Nadir and me!
Here is a sample of her jewellery:
Blue Brick jewellery
 It was hard to choose but this is the necklace I ended up buying:

Since we were in Niagara we couldn't leave without checking out my favourite Ontario winery called Colaneri Estate Winery where we enjoyed a delicious pizza and a glass of wine looking out over the vineyard, followed by a lovely wine tasting.  There I bumped into a very good friend of mine and had a good chat with her.  

On the way home my husband surprised me and stopped by a yarn store that I have always wanted to visit in Ancaster called The Needle Emporium.  Talk about a great selection of yarn, especially the largest variety of Madelinetosh I have ever seen available in the GTA. The store has everything from Madelinetosh, Rowan, Lorna's Laces, and Spud & Chloe just to name a few.  This store also carries the new line of Mrs. Crosby, a brand just introduced by Lorna's Laces.  Here is a shawl called Groovy I just finished in Mrs. Crosby Carpet Bag, a DK weighted yarn in 80% merino and 20% silk blend.  

Groovy in Mrs. Crosby "Carpet Bag"

I really enjoyed knitting with this yarn. The colours available are quite beautiful and the colourway I chose is a slightly variegated turquoise blue called Sunset Regatta.  The store is definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the area.  I really like that the owner had a huge amount of knitted samples which helps when making yarn buying decisions.  Once we got home we had a delicious barbeque and then I sat and knitted outside until the light started to fade.  What a peaceful day.  I hope you enjoyed the first day of summer too.

June 15, 2014

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.  Although I lost my mother a number of years ago my dad is still doing well and I look forward to a nice visit with him today.  My father-in-law is also a healthy, active man.  My family is so fortunate to have both of them in our lives.  To celebrate Father's Day, in my grade six class this week, I had the students pick a character trait that best describes their dad and make a picture depicting that trait. Some of the students made a picture of their dad as a superhero...hopefully the dads will like them.

Look what I got in mail.   A new copy of Wendy Bernard's Up, Down All Around a beautifully made Stitch Dictionary.
New book by Wendy Bernard

 I already have my eye on a specific pattern that I would love to make up as a scarf. Have a look:  I think it would look great in a beautiful colour of Madelinetosh Light.

I also liked this interesting edging.  It would be beautiful at the bottom of a sweater.  This is a clearly written book which I can see myself using again and again.

I have been plugging away on my two shawl KALs, challenging myself, by trying to complete two different lace patterns. I made it through Clue 2 of  the Through the Loops Mystery Shawl.  I am learning the value of using markers and checking my work frequently for stitch counts.  For each clue that is given I use a darker gradient of the colour of the Black Trillium Fibre colourway called Grasshopper.  It is a very subtle shift between colours which I appreciate.  I will enjoy seeing what the third clue brings today.  Stay tuned!
Through the Loops Mystery KAL
I hope all the dads out there have a wonderful day!  Happy Father's Day!

June 1, 2014

Off the Needles: Jackson Creek Cardigan

I finished this sweater by Glenna C. for MadMay with the exception of the buttons.  I am very excited to know that I can knit a sweater in about three weeks as I have never done that before.  I always say that I am not a fast knitter but I am an enthusiastic knitter!   I was very happy with the fit as well....those gauge swatches really work.  This pattern was knit in pieces and then seamed together.  All the seams look okay except for the shoulder area.  I may have to rip that part out again to see if I can get the sleeves to lay flatter.
Jackson Creek Cardigan
I have put the cardigan aside for now so that I can focus on these two fun patterns.

My projects for June are two KALs....This one is a swatch for Through the Loops Mystery Shawl KAL (knit-a-long) by Kristin Kapur.  Once a week through June a part of the pattern is sent to each participant to knit.  What the final shawl looks like remains a mystery until you receive the last clue.

Swatch for the Mystery Shawl

I am using Black Trillium Fibre Studio Pebble Sock in the colourway Grasshopper.  I have to say that I am very impressed with the vibrancy of the colour, my photos do not do it justice.  It is a gradient hand dyed yarn in one of my favourite just makes me smile when I look at it.  Each skein is about 127 yards.  The colour choices in the Black Trillium Etsy store are simply beautiful.  I definitely see more of this yarn in my future.

Black Trillium Fibre Studio Pebble Sock in Grasshopper

I have also joined the Tanis Fiber Arts Shawl Knit-a-long.  The goal is to knit a shawl throughout June completing it by the end of the month.  For this KAL I chose a skein of TFA Silver Label (100% fingering silk yarn), one of the yarns from the 2013 Year in Colour Club called Boysenberry.  I decided to do a shawl called Fine Vine by Marisa Herandez. 

Fine Vine
 It is a lacy pattern and one of my goals is to improve my lace knitting skills.  This shawl, as well as the Through the Loops Shawl, should really help me on my way to meeting my goal.
The interesting thing about this KAL is that each participant can choose whatever shawl pattern they want.

If you have never thought of joining a KAL you should really consider it.  When you join a KAL you can receive support and encouragement when needed on Ravelry.  Each KAL has a discussion group.  It's fun to see what other people across the world are knitting.  Also a KAL is very motivating because there are usually deadlines that you are trying to meet.  Before you know it the KAL is over, and you find out that you have finished another knitted item, and met (virtually) some nice people along the way.