The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home


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Dips in.

Having an early trip has brought on all kinds of stellar organization.  I’ve had my moments but it does feel good to honestly say that cousin Charles is the only one without a gift on my list – and it’s not even December 20th!

Mark you, I do have quite a lot of packing to manage…. not there yet!

The cost of getting life in order was missing a few sit & knits.  I did make it back to The Wool Bin this Monday afternoon.  Boy oh boy was that a good move!  The turn-out was good & Fenella brought ginger shortbread cookies for all of us!  Let me tell you.  These were not just any old home-made cookies.  These cookies would make any pastry chef weep.  They even came with a back-story.  We were told that the recipe came from the sole Scottish keeper.  It must not go back to Scotland while the keeper is still alive (and she is).  Fenella promised not to pass on the goodness (potential profit!) until the keeper dies & then to just 1 person.

Ginger is in the fudge topping and the shortbread.  Man!

All of a sudden, my knitting picked-up pace!  Sugar highs are very good for that.  On my needles was the Slouchy Copy Cat Hat by Terra Jamieson.  Free to you here.

I finished it off last night & it’s going to my cousin, Amanda.

So, I’ve been going on (& on) about my self-directed Christmas.  The gifts that are now to hand/ in stash and queue are:

As good a time as any to learn a new knit knack, right?  Socks from the toe up courtesy of Wendy D. Johnson:

My general idea is that I’ll be ready when I have spun passable sock-weight yarn.  The Poems & its stash-mates will do in the meanwhile.

The next sweater project has also been facilitated!  It’s not just teeny projects around here folks!  We have 4 balls of Diamond Galway Heather wool yarn.  DH gets full marks for coming to the yarn store with me on Saturday and waiting while I touched everything remotely sweater-like.

DH also got me the Interweave pattern Notre Dame de Grace by Veronik Avery.  Doesn’t it look snuggly?

Snuggly sweaters are my answer to February in Canada.  That and long bouts of spinning yarn.

In case I drop out of the blog over the holidays, I want to wish everyone a very happy and safe season!


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Yardie Yarnie

This blogger might just be the world’s first yardie yarnie.  Just to be clear – I do not want this getting back to my Mother, Father or in-laws.  In this regard, TKK is counting on her dear brother to remember who kept all his tattoo news to herself.

It’s a long story the upshot of which is that in a few hours, I will acquire ½ a fleece.  Raw, untreated & probably rather unclean wool.  Shorn from a genuine Romney sheep here in Ontario this June.  The fleece of a champion grey sheep.  What possessed me?  Ahh well…

  1. The price was right.  $25 for this much wool – hello?!  Sirdar’s 100% undyed virgin Eco Wool dk yarn sells for $6.99 around here.  That’s $6.99 for 1¾ oz.  How much does ½ a ram yield you ask?  This one is 7 lbs for $25.  I am not skipping the part where I’ll have to wash, dry, and then comb the locks into the actual raw wool.  Then turn my hand at spinning.  I know. I know.  But still.  Listen, if someone else does the dirty work the roving from Romney fleece starts at $25 per lb.  My seller says she paid double for the raw fleece.
  2. Even my clueless yardie self knew that Romney wool is, to quote Martha, a good thing.  It has an even crimp & is relatively low on the lanolin.  That was my intuition.  Boy was it a relief to then look it up & see many a yarnie recommend Romney as the starter wool for spinning!
  3. I liked the fact that it is natural grey wool.  For all of this madness, I draw the line at spinning.  Dyeing isn’t pulling at me.
  4. Yonder farm is inside of 100 miles by half.  I am meeting my seller in the next town over.
  5. Drop spindles captivate me.  In the same way knitting used to before I got the knack.
  6. Felting projects have been occurring to me over-night.  Baby Sierra’s room might do well with a grey felted bunny, and so on.
  7. DH okayed the madness.  He was shocked at the offer price – he’s caught on to what a sweater’s-worth of yarn costs.  He wanted to trade permissions – I get this wool & he gets his coveted video card.  Well that effort flopped – the video card is 10xs that wool!

All of which is very true.  However, this might be a tad more bitten off than is chewable.  Where/ how shall I store this baby?  Can you hide 7 lbs of wool from a visiting in-law?  FIL arrives in a week!

Baa Baa Black Sheep have you any wool?

No sir, no sir I’ve given it away

Three bags to a crazy yardie

Irieknit is her name

Back in the now… My Hottie Hottie tank top hit an equipment roadblock.  My longer 4.0mm circular needle went missing.  For all the searching, it was well & truly lost.  One thing led to another, and now I have an Addi Turbo 4.0mm circ.  Talk about getting the knit knack!  Light, bright & beautiful.

Addi Turbos give you wings!

Addi Turbos give you wings!

Of course, I found the old aluminum needle the very next day… outside, chilling on the patio.  How rude!

While I was in the LYS why not stash for my MK Carroll Tillie Cloche Hat?

Just as a parting pic – this here is a backyard butternut!

Aint she a beaut?

Ain't she a beaut?


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Learning curve

The first attempts were sad little puppies but I loved them!

  • The pink streamer (little scarf to my mind) was in the yarn-to-hand school.

    Pink streamer - until I ran out of remnant yarn.

    Pink streamer - until I ran out of remnant yarn.

  • The blue tube scarf was really disappointing, even with Margaret’s kind words.  I was starting to learn that left to my own devices the stitch gauge would be all over the place.  It’s a veritable triangle that scarf:).

    Not quite a scarf

    Not quite a scarf

  • Next, we invested in some Walmart yarn, in purple.  Labels were still a mystery but I had a book!  I learned to take all of the pattern/ book directions to heart after this one.  The ‘how to hold working yarn’ instruction really made sense when I saw the thick boucle magically become ‘airy’ in my loosey-goosey hands…  This hat was a thing of joy.  I proudly wore the hat for a couple dinner dates.  Hubby was more than amused, especially when ‘airy’ and snowstorm met…  Friends were a little underwhelmed to my mind.  It wasn’t a curly tube, and for that I was happy… Purple hat has a place of honour on my dresser.

    Yes, a hat

    Yes, a hat

  • Last of the sad puppies is the matching purple mits.  What a pair they are:)  The picture should show the asymetry & how I managed to lapse into garter stitch by mistake.  They might have fit my hands at age 10 but not now.  That was Gauge 101 in my trial & error year:)

    A thumb & a half

    A thumb & a half

  • Of course, I flunked Gauge 101, so we have the Needle Sock.  So named because the lovely sock will never fit a human foot.  Produced thanks to my buying the only bamboo DPNs in the yarn store – size 1.  Yes, I finally managed the DPNs on bamboo but this sock refused to go past my big toe.

    Needle sock!

    Needle sock!