June 28, 2015

Through the Loops Mystery Shawl 2015

Sometimes I think I have an attention problem when it comes to knitting.  One of my favourite pasttimes is to peruse Ravelry.  I love finding the latest released patterns, adding some to my favourites list, and putting patterns that I just have to knit into my queue.  At last look my queue is almost at 150.  A tad long most people would say. I won't even mention how big my favourites on Ravelry is!  I used to have only one project on my needles.  Now I have many cast on at any given time.

But every now and then there is a pattern that I see, that I can't seem to resist. It doesn't even make it to my queue but gets cast on right away despite the fact that I am currently knitting enough to keep a full-time working girl busy.

The latest pattern that fits this category is Kristin Kapur's Through the Loops Mystery Shawl 2015, a KAL which began in the beginning of June.  I completed Kirstin Kapur's Knit a Long last year and absolutely loved it.  The beauty of a Mystery Knit a Long is you have no idea what the finished pattern is going to look like when you start. If I had seen what the finished product looked liked last year I would have shied away from knitting it, because I would have thought it was too hard for me. But I managed to finish each clue successfully and was so happy when I realized I had knit my first lace shawl:

Algiers in Black Trillium Fibre Studio Pebble Sock

I will admit that initially when I read that this year's pattern was a two-coloured half-pi shawl I lost interest as I am not a fan of that shawl shape. But then I quickly changed my mind when I saw what the shawl looked like after Clue 1 and Clue 2 were released. I knew I had to jump in. I had some perfect stashbusting yarn to use, no money need be spent.  It was a no brainer.

I tried to catch up on the released clues but that didn't work too well.  I finished Clue 1 and then I hate to admit it but I reknitted Clue 2 three times and had to rip it out each time.  I don't think that the pattern is too hard for me, it just requires a higher level of concentration which I seemed to be lacking this month, due to my busy work obligations.  So I made myself step away from this pattern until my holidays began which they do now. I hate being so far behind but I have resisted looking at the Spoiler Thread to see what the rest of the Clues knit up like.  I can still be surprised.  Hopefully now I can concentrate fully on this gorgeous pattern.

Ahhhh, first world problems.

Love it.

This is what the pattern looks like after Clue 1:

Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label:  Thrills colourway

In the meantime I focused on knitting my Acer Cardigan as it was more of a relaxing knit.  I am happy to say that the body is done and all that is left is the sleeves and the buttonband and neckband.  Here is the latest picture I took:

I can't give you a more recent shot as it has been raining nonstop all weekend. Good knitting weather, but not good for taking pictures.  

I hope you are all finding time to relax this weekend.  And if you looked at the Spoiler Thread for my shawl don't tell me!

June 14, 2015

Sock Knitting: A New Found Joy

There are so many knitters on Ravelry that almost exclusively knit socks.  I have to admit that has mystified me.  Skinny needles, fine yarn, hours spent knitting such a small object that most people would never see....why bother?

I have to admit that I have totally changed my view.

After my mother-in-law knit me a pair of socks recently I realized how lovely they looked and how wonderful they felt on my feet.   Sure no one could see them but me, but who cares?  After joining the Sweet Fiber Yarn Sock Club I knew the time had come.  I had to try knitting my own pair to see what the fuss was all about.  I decided to start with Susan B. Anderson's basic sock pattern.

Here they are!

It is so weird to take a picture of your own feet!
I have to admit that I totally get the allure of sock knitting.  I enjoyed every moment of making them. The combination of a pretty yarn and learning new techniques made me a very happy knitter.  I love the portability of knitting socks and the fact that they are not such a huge time commitment compared to a sweater.  The best thing for me is that there are an endless amount of patterns to try.

And frankly they feel just great on.

Sweet Fiber Yarns "Wildflower" colourway 
The number of resources available to help a new sock knitter out is amazing.  Fish lips heels?  Afterthought heels? Patterned socks? Toe up?  Magic loop?  These are all terms that I have heard and am excited to try out.   I have started my research about the best guides and here are just a few resources that I feel will really help me out on my sock journey:
  •  I like to watch the Junkyarn podcast and on her website she had a helpful article called So You Want to knit Socks which offers step by step guidance as to what patterns to start with and which ones to knit as your improve your skills.
  • Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's book Knitting Rules, which has a great section on knitting socks. 
  • Kate Atherley, a fellow Canadian, is coming out with a book this summer called Knit Socks That Fit.  
The list of resources is endless.  So if you were as foolish as me and haven't tried knitting socks yet what are you waiting for?

June 7, 2015

On the Needles: Acer Cardigan and Herald

Look at this sweet linen bag that arrived in the mail this week from Jenna Rose Handmade:

Jenna Rose Traveller Pouch
The pattern is so simple but effective and I just love it. This bag was available in a smaller size but I thought this bigger size could easily fit at least two skeins of yarn plus the project I am knitting...it was exactly what I was looking for.  The best thing about this bag is it is made in Canada, and I do love to support my fellow Canadians. Jenna Rose hand screens fabric using waterbased pigments on natural and organic materials. Check out this etsy site where you too can buy one for yourself.

After finishing Caroline, my fingering weight sweater, I felt the need to knit with some thicker yarn.  I dug around my stash and came up with this Madelinetosh DK yarn in Copper Penny.  

Copper Penny

I looked through my queue and after doing a swatch decided that the Acer Cardigan by Amy Christoffers would be a good match.  This pattern has eyelets and cables and is knit bottom up.  I am really enjoying this knit although I am having to alternate three skeins of yarn because there is such variation.  Here is where I am so far:

June is an extremely busy month for me workwise, so I am not sure how fast I will get this done, but I shall try and pick this cardigan up and knit a bit everyday.

And since I can never have just one project on the go I also started a beautiful shawl called Herald by Janina Kallio.  Once again I dug through my stash and found this beautiful fingering weight skein of Tanis Fiber Arts Red Label yarn (75% merino, 15% cashmere, 10% silk) in the colourway slate.  This is a very simple pattern where the same eight rows are repeated over and over, and so I challenged myself to knit eight rows everyday.  Hopefully by the time the rows grow much longer my work pressures will lessen as we move through June and I will have time to knit the longer rows.  I think it will block out beautifully.

Tanis Fiber Arts Red Label:  Slate

And if you are wondering what happened to the first pair of socks I was knitting as part of the Sweet Fiber Sock Club I am happy to report that I am almost finished my second one.  I have enjoyed knitting every second of it...come join me next time where I will discuss my surprise at the whole fun of sock knitting.