March 30, 2014

Waiting for Spring

There is a slight hint of spring in my part of the world, some melting is happening, but we are definitely a few weeks away from green grass and tulips.  So what's a girl to do?  My answer to that is to look at some pictures I took last year when my husband and I went on a trip to London in mid March. The week we were there Mother's Day was being celebrated. There were flowers for sale everywhere.  My favourite spot was outside the Liberty London Store (if you read my blog entry last week I wrote about the amazing yarn selection found at this store).  Just take a look at the stunningly, beautiful display right outside the store.

Liberty London

How would anyone choose?

Just looking at these photos makes me happy.  How about you?

March 23, 2014

On the Needles: Line Break, Sea Stones, Brush Creek Shawlette

When I got back into knitting a few years ago I was a one project at a time kind of girl.  I was very disciplined and would not start a new project until I finished the one on the needles.  It actually was very motivating to finish the current project when I had found a new project that I was anxious to start. I always marvelled at how some people could have numerous projects on the go.  But, somehow along the way I changed my rules.  Now I always have one mindless project on the that I can pick up when I am too tired to focus on pattern directions.  I always promise myself to knit a few rows daily from this project and slowly, but surely, it gets done.  For the last couple months it was my Easy Folded Poncho.  Now that it is complete I am working on Veera Valimaki's Line Break in Malabrigo Sock in Primavera.  Isn't it pretty?
Malabrigo Sock in Primavera
I love the colours in this yarn and it makes me very happy whenever I pick my needles up to knit with it.

Another project I am working on is Melissa Schaschwary's Sea Stones in Rowan Creative Focus Worsted (75% Wool 25% Alpaca).  I bought this yarn a year ago when I was travelling in London and had the pleasure of shopping in Liberty London.  They have a wonderful craft floor with all the infamous Liberty fabric as well as a huge display of Rowan yarns and patterns.

Just one part of the yarn selection at Liberty
Rowan Creative Focus Worsted

Since I bought this yarn I have looked for a pattern that would suit it.  I started knitting a cardigan...starting with the sleeves first, but I quickly came to the conclusion that I was making a very warm sweater, a little too warm for what I wanted.  I tried looking for a vest or something similar...and then Sea Stones by Melissa Schaschwary was released.  It is a short sleeved cardigan with some A-line shaping.  I have to be honest and admit I am not a big fan of this yarn.  Although I love the colour this yarn splits very easily and is extremely difficult to rip out if you make an error.  It is also very itchy but I think it will work okay with this pattern.

The third pattern I am working on is the Brush Creek Cowlette by Carina Spencer, a beautiful lacy cowlette that looks like a shawlette when worn. The pattern was released this month and it uses three different colours of fingering weight yarn (70m, 90m, 115m), making it a great stashbuster.  Although this pattern is not hard to follow it does require my concentration, which I seem to be lacking lately.
Brush Creek Cowlette

So there you have it...a few projects I am currently working on.  I already have a few other patterns matched with yarn ready to start as well.  If there were only a few more hours each day....
I hope you all find time to work on projects that make you happy this week.

March 15, 2014

Off the Needles: Brickless & Easy Folded Poncho

I have a couple finished objects to share with you.  First up is my version of Brickless by Martina Behm.  I used Tanis Fiber Arts Red Label in OOAK called Fjord.  I have alway been a big fan of Red Label.  It is extremely soft and blocks well.  Plus Tanis is an expert at colourways and, as you can see, Fjord is a lovely combination of blues.  I was able to complete the whole project with one skein which is always a bonus.  This pattern was very enjoyable to knit as the pattern kept changing every few rows.  I also love the length of this can wrap it around your neck several times.

Brickless:  preblocking

The magic of blocking

Second up is my Easy Folded Poncho which is basically one large rectangle knit in stockinette. When I first started this project I planned on knitting a few rows every day so I thought I would be done by the time the spring weather arrived.  Well my husband took these photos of me during yet another snowy day in March.  We had a good laugh as the snow kept blowing in my face and I kept squinting in most of the photos he took.  However, I have hope that the spring weather will arrive and I will actually be able to wear this lovely poncho without freezing.  I cannot say enough about Juniper Moon Herriott yarn.  I kept squishing the yarn as I knitted this poncho and so it took longer to complete than it should! I think this was one of those pattern/yarn combinations that goes well together.  When I put the poncho on it is warm, and yet light, perfect for the spring weather.  Churchmouse Yarns and Teas have recently come out with a Version Two of this pattern.  It really interests me too as I find this poncho very wearable.  If you have a copy of the original pattern you can download it for free from the Churchmouse Yarns and Teas website.

Easy Folded Poncho

The snow was blowing around me

I have been off on holidays this week and have had the luxury of a week with no big commitments.  I had time to organize my yarn stash (how did it get so big?), my favourites on Ravelry and plan a few future projects.  I really want to knit a few cardigans but I am nervous about picking a pattern and matching it with the appropriate yarn and gauge.  I have knit a few cardigans in the last few years that have not fit me as well as they should.  Have a great week and hopefully spring will spring upon us soon.

March 2, 2014

NYC: Knitty City and Purl Soho

As my children grow older and have part time jobs it has been harder and harder to have some family time, with all four of us together.  We celebrated Family Day on Monday a couple weeks ago so my husband and I decided to whisk away the family to New York for the long weekend.  We had a blast creating many new family memories.

We learned very quickly to never arrive in New York on Valentine's Day evening.  We ended up lining up for 1.5 hours waiting for a cab.  Since business is so brisk on Valentine's Day taxi drivers have no motivation to drive to the airport.  Despite that small glitch in our plans everything else went smoothly.  We decided that each family member could pick out at least one activity to do.  My son decided on the MET as he is an ancient civilization fan.  He had a great time poking around the museum, teaching his parents some of what he has learned in university.

My husband wanted to go to a basketball game in Madison Square Gardens and we saw a great game between two university levels teams:  St. John's vs Georgetown.  The crowd was a lot of fun as there were so many cheerleaders and band members keeping everyone's spirits high.

My daughter wanted to go to the Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken from the Cake Boss show.  What a cute bakery and the treats she picked out were delicious.

And as for me....well you can probably guess, I wanted to go to some NY yarn stores that I had always admired online.  One store is Purl Soho and the other one I got to visit was Knitty City.  Both yarn stores are very different.  Purl Soho is simply beautiful to browse through. The yarn is displayed in such an elegant way.

Store Window at Purl Soho
 The staff there was very helpful and I made a few purchases.  I picked out some yarn for a crewel project (Appleton yarn).
A few skeins of my Appelton Crewel yarn

After I found the Appleton yarn I have to admit I got overwhelmed.  I had a few ideas for yarn I wanted in specific colours.  The colour I wanted was not available in as many skeins as I needed.  So then I had to go to Plan B.  Unfortunately, I didn't really have a Plan B but I didn't want to leave empty handed.  So I ended up making some impulse purchases.  One yarn I had to buy after touching was the incredibly soft Purl Soho's Super Soft Merino Wool.
Purl Soho Super Soft Merino

I bought some Purl Soho Line Weight yarn, a fingering 100% merino wool.
Purl Soho Line Weight

Then I got some Brooklyn Tweed Shelter to make a shawl in Plume.
Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Plume
My husband suprised me on the Sunday by suggesting we go to Knitty City.  While my family was enjoying browsing through a Barnes and Noble bookstore I went to Knitty City for the first time.  How I wish this yarn store was in my neighbourhood.  I could have easily browsed through this store for hours.  Knitty City was not as classy looking as Purl Soho but the yarn selection was incredible and it had such a wonderful welcoming feeling.  The owner stocked so many yarns I had only ever read about.  The incredible assortment included yarns from Malabrigo to Fibre Company to Madelinetosh (the best assortment of colours I have ever seen), and Blue Sky Alpacas to name just a few.  The owner even carried some Canadian dyers such as a Sweet Georgia Yarns and a Quebec dyer named Julie Asselin. She had a huge selection of both.
Julie Asselin yarn

Blue Sky Alpacas

Many comfy areas to sit and knit
The staff were so helpful and the selection was incredible.  Here are just a couple skeins I bought:
Madelinetosh Dk in Espadrilles 

Celaphod Yarns Skinny Bugga in Blue Tailed Damselfly

Celaphod Yarns Bugga in Flourescent Millipede
We had a great weekend and I appreciate my husband supporting my knitting habit!  He even carried my knitting purchases for me...what a great husband.  : )   I look forward to knitting with all these incredible yarns.
My husband carrying my Knitty City bag through Times Square.