The elf hat requested by a friend is now completed. I love how the texture turned out. The random but complementary stripes reminded me of the Mindless Knitting, TV Watching, Scrap User-Upper Afghan blanket project from MaggieLoux on Ravelry I have admired for years. Since my scrap pile would not amount to a blanket I am thinking I might try pillow covers with the same technique. Knitting stripes in the round with multiple yarn types and sizes forced me to embrace imperfection. Even with efforts to prevent the jog at the join the stripes came out a bit lopsided, but I think the overlapping textures soften that imperfection to be less noticeable.
I just started a lace baby blanket called Mountain Chickadee which I find very beautiful. I’m only a few repeats in and I would recommend this pattern to anyone who wants a beginner lace pattern, or someone like me who loves the instant gratification of fast projects. I’ve been knitting while watching Happy Valley on Netflix, which is my newest favourite. The synergy of a good knitting project and good TV creates something greater than it’s parts and I’ve been lost in a positive feedback loop all weekend.
My blog posts have mostly been updates on completed projects and the occasional pattern-matcher post, but I’d like to add a weekly work-in-progress post to the repetoir. I decided a few weeks ago to make that commitment but due to Vancouver weather taking a picture with natural light was impossible. So much rain! The sun sets at about 6:00 pm this time of the year, so by the time I am home from work it already looks like zero dark thirty.
This week I am working on a hat a friend requested an embarissingly long time ago. I’m working from this pattern but I added 20 stitches to the cast-on count to hopefully create the loose brim she wants. I will be adding some length and switching the pompom for an optional tassle. I find chosing the stripe colours to be immensely satisfying. The only down side to stripe knitting is the constant weaving in of ends (so many ends!). My main stripe colour was a gorgeous tweed I used for berets a few years ago, but when I ran out I used a colour matched acrylic.
I am also in the midst of sewing a few curtains (which if you remember from a few years ago, sewing is a bit of a challenge for me). I think I have three sets of curtains to hem and three to create. Just writing that made me think of taking up smoking again. Or maybe I should drink. Let the powers that be send me patience and sewing machine understanding.
Another side project I am working on is trying to come up with enough art to fill our basement suite. We have a closet of frames and mismatched prints that I will be organizing, but I am also going to DIY some art as well. I bought doweling for some wall hanging ideas which I am very excited about, and I also had an idea to try some striping on a canvas. I primed the canvas when we painted our laundry room a couple weeks ago, and my plan is to keep adding varied stripes of colour in matte and glossy paints until it’s visually interesting.
I started knitting this cotton and linen dress for my namesake almost two years ago. I can’t believe Violet is two already! My cousin and her daughter Violet live far enough away that I don’t get to see them as often as I want to but I am thankful for the visits we got to have during the first few years and cherish the memories.
I knitted part of this dress while visiting Violet and her mom, but knitted the straps too short. I think frustration kept me from tearing them back and the dress was abandoned until now. Last night I watched two tutorial videos on YouTube on crochet for beginners and then attempted two scallops that I added a row of double crochet on top of to add some length to the arm straps. It’s passable, right?
I can’t remember the pattern I was working from, but when I do I will add the link [Elsie Sundress by Jane Richmond]. The trim on this dress was my first attempt at crochet. It can be done! As the British say, “I’m chuffed.”
Violet is of course way too big for this dress now, but at least I get to remember her when this was a possibility.
We ferried over to Salt Spring to visit a friend this last weekend. The island is small with a couple windy roads that take you through the moss covered forests to the bays and inlet villages. The island is cultivated in a way that reminds me of the British countryside with the same idyllic farm life and prolific lichen but with an intense creative side. The island is full of artists of all kinds and it appears that whatever a Salt Springer chooses to do, they do with beauty in mind.
Ultimately it is an ideal mini-holiday for someone with my interests: Good food, inspiring art, a killer back massage, and the best damn coffee I have ever had. There is no sacrificing for the country life on Salt Spring – expect perhaps the bright lights and hussle and bussle of the city. To take it to the next level I bought a Joni Mitchell CD for the car. Awww yissss.
To top it off my friend has a wood burning fireplace to knit by, complete with two extremely fluffy Persian cats. Knit in paradise much? While shopping in Ganges I stopped at Elderberry Yarns and picked up all the things I had been looking for and didn’t find anywhere else. It’s like they were all waiting for me in an adorable sea side knitting shop. I found tiny and cheap wooden buttons and even some cape clasps. The luck continued when my friend volunteered to model some of my finished projects.
I’ve knitted two Claire’s Capelets by Shelly Wescott so far but they are so fun to make I know there will be a third. Especially now that I have cape clasps. If you love Outlander you may have noticed this capelet on Claire as she runs around the Scottish countryside. Knitters watching the show certainly did and I am surprised there are only 27 projects currently listed on Ravelry for Shelly’s pattern as it is a perfect dupe for the TV version. My next Shelly Westcott pattern will be the Moto Vest.
Sometimes it’s easy to knit, and sometimes it seems next to impossible for me to find the time. This shawlette came into being only because I had time off and atypically didn’t travel anywhere. That in itself is a Christmas miracle. I enjoyed long days (technically they were very short days as the sun sets in the afternoon) of relaxation and marathon movie watching. A perfect knitting storm.
Perfect knitting storms have been few and far between. It made me think about how amazing it is to actually create something. How this shawl almost didn’t happen, and may never have happened. I had a moment of gratitude for any artistic expression, and the beauty created by talented and dedicated hands. All the things that may never have been if the stars didn’t align. Perhaps overly sentimental for crafts but I have found myself very intrigued by artistry of all kinds at the moment. Immersing in more art is on my 2016 List of Dreams.
This A Loved Thing shawlette was knitted with Purl Soho Flax Down; a blend of alpaca, merino wool, and linen. You can see my notes for more details on the rows I added to the pattern on Ravelry. I improvised the last rows, and then blocked it very aggressively so it would be a little larger. I stretched it to an inch of it’s life actually, but I’m happier with the size and how much it opened the pattern up. The Flax Down weighs almost nothing and the shawlette feels like a cloud around your neck. I love the salmon pink colour too.
This item will also be at Mekkin’s booth for her next market. You can contact her through her facebook page for Hannahmin’s Fibre for her booth schedule.
My partner went on a trip to Iceland and brought me back some yarn! (and also some beauty products I love.) Hands down the best souvenir gift I have ever received. I’m still so stoked about it.
Chris took some time out from his trip to visit the Handknitting Association of Iceland in Reykjavik and pick out some yarn for me. He said he hoped I would be able to make a hat or mitts with his selection and I think that would be exactly what I would want to create. Icelandic yarn is lightweight, water-repellent, and breathable, but it’s pretty coarse. I think I may try double knitting some mitts with a softer wool on the inside. Below are some very staged pictures of the Léttlopi yarn Chris bought me, propped in my garden. I believe the large roll of yarn is unspun lopi. I also have 3 small balls of a black heather yarn that Chris says was spun in the shop from local sheep. I’m still learning about Icelandic wool, but this post on the modern farmer was really interesting, and gives you an idea about the sheep and the tradition of knitting in Iceland in a snap shot.
The pictures below were taken by Chris around Reykjavik, and the Golden Circle. The scenery is really beautiful, and looks like the ideal vacation to me. Picturesque walks through stunning scenery, knitting, thermal springs, and rich local folklore. Perfection! Did you know Iceland has faeries? Who knew? 😉
The Handknitting Association of Iceland Shop sign:
Some Icelandic sheep in action. This was taken roadside traveling along the Golden Circle: