The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home


Baby Love, and then some

My cousin’s baby shower was in Toronto this past Sunday.  As soon as she announced her due date of December 27th, I knew that they would be needing warm knits…

… for the winters are a given in Ontario!

The patterns are from Sandi Rosner’s Bella Baby Ensemble in the Knitter’s Book of Wool.

The yarn is Fleece Artist – a beautiful Sea Wool for the body, and Silky Wool for the accent.  In gender-neutral colours that remind me of the Caribbean Sea.

My modifications were simple – I used the German twisted cast-on; slipped every 1st stitch; and didn’t size-down needles for the trim.

It was 10 days in the knitting (along with me-projects).  Only last minute stuff to do?  Buttons, and a final block & wrap.

The expecting parents both loved the gift, and there were lots of questions from everyone else at the shower.  My basic answer?

Yes, I will take commissions.

Next-up is the Aviatrix Baby Hat by Justine Turner.  It is a monster pattern on Ravelry with almost 6,000 projects to date.

Made for my friend Meg‘s little Monkey, so naturally I dug out my old stuffed monkey for modeling.

It’s true that I did this all a year ago.  However.  We are still current… Monkey is just starting to wear it now.  And, dear blog, therein lies a story.

I was giving a hand-spun knit.  It’s Targhee wool top dyed by Natural Obsessions… I was trying my 1st long-draw… The skein clearly illustrates 2 main things:

  • Both yardage & time were short.  Not enough for ear-flaps much less a swatch; and
  • My 1st long-draw was mighty uneven.  Turns out the thick won over the thin.

This Targhee wanted to be big (I am told that all Targhee does).  It was not tamed to size by tight knitting on 3.5mm needles.  I learned something the hard way.

Yes, the Monkey Aviatrix is a little big

To her credit, Meg did not laugh me to scorn.  She was kind about this lesson I was learning.

Just this past week Meg mentioned me with Twitter pics of both Monkey and his big sister, Alligator wearing this hat.  It is a communal hat.  Alligator looked even cuter than her brother in it too.

Another one off the bobbins!  It’s approx 676 yards, 2-ply of a 80% wool/ 20% mohair/ 20% bamboo blend.  If you saw me posting about my experience fishing out lost ends in bobbins… this is the culprit.

It was all spun on Earl, my Spinolution Mach2 wheel, and I am no longer mad at either the bobbins or the yarn.

The rose bush that could!  Have a great day and take heart.


Words with thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!  We spent the Canadian holiday hosting a young cousin from the States.  Irony of ironies his visit happened at the same time as another procedure for me.

We managed to keep that which is personal private, and be hospitable.  What got lost in the crisis was a formal Thanksgiving.

An awesome friend hand-stitched this for me.  She makes bookmarks while watching her daughter play soccer.  In our last conversation she listened, and said:

It’s okay to complain.  What you are going through is difficult.

Her gentle words said in kindness pushed out all the “I shoulds” with the bravery.

It’s been a beautiful fall, rich for creativity and walks with Sir Toby.  These are my favourites.  You know, as opposed to What I Should be Telling You.

I finished my 1st handspun sweater.  This is the Redhook Tunic by Jared Flood, started during the Summer Olympics.

Clearly, I am a little pleased!  It was finished in time for my classes with Deb Robson at the end of September, and gets its fair share of wear.

The shawl collar is double-width.  It still feels a shade short, so I don’t use the top button.  My favourite part is the colour sequencing through the upper body & collar.  It took some juggling & weighing but was so sweet to work.

That’s an Also-Ran for a 1st hand-spun top…  The yarn is my Icelandic dyed with red lac powder.

One fitting proved the waist was not working.  It had no definition, and the shaping was all wrong.  Also, the tog & thel Icelandic?  I could feel it through the under-garments, and not in a good way.

Hard to frog but easy to know what it really wanted to be – a warm Icelandic shawl.  Or in other words, I went back to Plan A.

It is Evelyn A. Clark’s Sigridur Shawl pattern with a modified border.  It’s one Dayflower repeat for the border – I charted the instructions from Barbara Walker’s Second Treasury.

It was finished in time, and went up for our Guild’s summer display at the Queen Elizabeth Park Community Center.

What I now have back home is my warmest shawl for its weight.  The 60″ wingspan is perfect for cool mornings, and dashes outside.

Yet again, socks have been my go-to project for the stress.  Mandie’s Iron Man colourway kept my interest, and I finished them in just over 2 months.

In mid-September, I started to ply my Bronzed Chai spindle project.

Awful lighting but I have approx. 980 yds with an extra singles ball to spare!

It’s a goal met:  I am also worthy of my spindle-spun laceweight yarn in this quantity.  From 4 ounces.

It’s what I am looking forward to for this season – a cove on the coast of Negril, Jamaica… and All the People/Places/Things.

Right now we still have time left for talking, spinning, knitting and Thanksgiving.