The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home


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Wednesday finishing and nearly so!

Life and writing have not connected in a long time.  For many reasons but the best one is how many projects I have been successfully getting out of inertia.  This post is about giving the finished ones a warm Wednesday welcome!

At the top of last month, I had a lovely time over lunch with my friend, Sasha.  Her first Skein-a-Day April Sheepspot event was here on my needles. 

Knit shawl in progress with Sheepspot sustainable merino fingering yarn

I love this yarn!

The short dye repeats worked beautifully for Susan Santos’ Magical Side to Side Scarf design.  There was no flashing either in the fancy stitch bands or as the scarf sections changed dimension.

Handknit Magical Side to Side Scarf in Sheepspot sustainable Merino fingering yarn blocking

Pattern stripes in nice relief, blocking

Blocking really helped to shape the scarf, and organise the drop-stitch fringe.  It is 69″ x 9″ in this yarn.  I knit with 3.5mm needles.

Finished handknit Magical Side to Side Scarf in sustainable Merino yarn by Sheepspot

Not the intended recipient…

This one is going to a good friend, so I let the stuffed polar bear model it for you.

Detail of stitch pattern in knit Magical Side to Side Scarf using Sheepspot sustainable merino yarn

Love the yarn tones for this pattern!

The pattern stitch was simple to work, and easy to remember. This project took me longer because I ran out of yarn, frogged and needed to come back to reknit the end section.

Tabachek cedar drop spindle with Sheepspot organic dyed Polwarth fibre

A spindle deserves organic Polwarth wool!

Last month, Sasha introduced her dyed organic wool top.  It was such a nice surprise, and I wasted no time in starting a spin.  This is my Tabachek cedar compact deluxe spindle (22.5g).  Couldn’t be happier about this material + tool combination!

State of the socks

Finished handknit socks adapted from Cadence pattern in String Theory yarn

New pair as of this weekend

It’s a real sock début!  I gave these zero air time but they were started at the end of February this year.  The yarn is gorgeous String Theory Caper Sock in vert.

They are knit with 2.5 mm needles and using the Cadence Socks (part) pattern. It’s a good pattern –  I just needed to go mindless this winter, and changed to the 6 x 2 ribbing.

Handknit sock in Hummingbird pattern by Sandi Rosner and Araucania Ranco yarn

After months of neglect, a first sock

This next start date goes back an entire year to February 2013. The disgraceful pace is simply because I pushed through with 2.0 mm needles to get gauge with my Araucania yarn of choice.

Handknit Hummingbird sock leg in Araucania Ranco fingering yarn

Perfect pattern for variegated yarn

The pattern is Hummingbird by Sandi Rosner, and I am hoping to make a second sock soon.  Wanting a pair of socks in this colour has not exactly left the building.

handknit RPM socks by Irieknit in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn

Loved but largely untold: the Revving socks

The first post for these RPM socks was last November, shortly before I finished the first sock.

Handknit RPM socks by Irieknit in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock

Twisted stitch on the soles of these socks

Sometimes work just falls through the cracks.  There is nothing like a tough winter to precipitate the gaps as it were.

Finishing these helped me get my sock knitting mojo back in order.  The old pairs are wearing out, and I promised N that I will work on a new pair of stranded socks for him!

Kettle dyed Colinette Iona yarn skein in stash

New fodder for the needles: a baby gift in yarn form

This year has brought more babies to knit for than I have been able to share.  The youngest cousin (that we know of) is due in January.  WIP clearance has let me cast-on for this now (yay!).

It’s been ages since I have seen any Colinette yarns locally but this is luxury for me.  I also have accent yarn from another Iona colourway, and loved the first night’s work this week.

Saving the weaving news for a later post, and wishing everyone well!


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Worthwhile endeavours

One of my favourite fiber blogs is island sweet out of Newfoundland.  This Monday she wrote this post on her new fresh flowers.  I couldn’t agree more – fresh flowers keep me going this time of year, as island sweet notes this is when “nature sleeps.”  My kitchen orchids are the stars of the household in winter.  This year is the biggest display yet:

Pippi, over there on the left is working up her own spike.

I am torn between spinning this 3rd single for my merino yarn, and knitting the January Lady Sweater.  Singles 1 & 2:  “Are we there yet?”

That’s right, the January Lady Sweater is not gathering dust in a corner.  The gull lace’s row 1 kept tripping me up but I finally got the hang of it, and am going at a bit of a clip.  Just adding a single marker at mid-back is what helped me not knit way past what Finella calls, un petite boo boo.

If you follow the Yarn Harlot, you know that her anniversary post was poignant.  She worries that 6 years in her blog is less relevant in this age of Ravelry.  Followed by a mile-long comment roll from readers (yours truly included) who beg to differ.

Raising my hand to speak now.  Almost 4 years ago, I found the Harlot by hook or by crook.  How many times did I check the blog for respite from the daily big-city grind?  I was on a tight pivot between Knitty & Yarn Harlot.  Who knew there was a knitting scene… in Toronto?!  I was Clueless.  She gets that she grew into a Very Important Blog, and has the banners to prove it.

Now, I’m not raising my voice or anything when I type… It’s not a thing of the past, Ms. Pearl-McPhee!  Seriously.  Let’s fast-forward to September ’09.  There I was sucking-up Ravelry, and You Tube like you wouldn’t believe.  I was almost done cleaning Peter-Tosh-the-Fleece & was gearing-up for the Kundert spindle’s arrival.  Excited like crazy… but. Essentially. Clueless.

Clueless that is, until I caught sight of a post on a certain blog about a Field Trip dated September 2nd.  The one I speak of is  here.  What did I learn?  Why that the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is a very fiber-friendly place.  Now all good things in my life happen in chains & this is no different.  The Harlot-Induced Chain went like this:

  • Man, I have to get to this winter’s Royal!
  • And so I did (true story).  It wasn’t just about a day at a fair though.  I was bowled-over by the Guilds and the drop spindlers.  So much so that I dropped the shy act & actually spoke with any available person.  They told me amazing things (funny how that works, isn’t it?!).  Like how there’s actually an Oakville Handweavers & Spinners Guild.
  • Just last week I acted on that information & wrote to Guild President, Ixchel Suarez about attending a meeting.  Now I’ll be going on Friday.   They haven’t even met me yet but are already extending a welcoming, helping hand.

It all started because of a blog post.  Whatever she decides, I have the Harlot to thank for enriching my life like this.  She’s at the receiving end of brutal reactions but should also know about the good that comes of her blog.  Hey, she brought me out of my shell over and again.  That’s something!


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Full day ahead

Eden’s baby kimono is wrapped & ready to go!  She’s 3 weeks old now, and I’m hoping to go meet her this afternoon.  Of course, I’m pretty nervous about this but no backing out now… I did my best on this one.

I took the pic out on our back patio.  The poinsettia was from this Christmas but the other pots are newly planted.  All part of the Beautification Project.  There’s a growing clamour for us to throw a BBQ this summer & well, it is summer now.  The tall terra cotta pot has 6 or 7 mint plants that were supermarket-bought sprigs who smiled on my efforts.  Auntie G the Master Gardener has advised, and hopefully they will fill out the pot soon.  As for what I’d do with so much mint?  Not too sure!  The patio table is also full of my other containers.  Quite proud of this all.  Two paragraphs later… the picture:

Edens baby kimono - wrapped & in good company

Eden's baby kimono - wrapped & in good company

Tonight’s also Knit Night at the Pub.  It’s interesting to be in any post-high-school group much less a group of knitters.  The shorty socks are still where they were at my last posting (more or less) but I’m taking the birthday yarn.   The pattern calls for a fraction in the gauge.  Try as I might, I couldn’t get it exact.  I have 26 stitches per 4″ rather than 25.5 stitches.  Been down this sweater road enough times to know that will make a difference.

Here’s where it’s at.  The edge is curling.  I do like the Blue Sky Alpaca Silk yarn very much.  The skein’s label says, “polished sheen & sumptuous handle.”  It’s pretty cool but that may be overstating it a tad.    For tonight, it’s a good take-along.  Just plain stockinette stitch with some shaping to be done now.

First bit of Cocoon Cardi - yes, it curls.

First bit of Cocoon Cardi - yes, it curls.

Also shown are my 2 fav stitch markers.  The sheep is from Knitty’s store & the blue bead is from Lettuce Knit.  Makers unknown.


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Birthday love or converting the fam

Mamacita came up for my birthday & what a week we’ve had!  Toby for one has been in 7th heaven with all the attention, and I got spoiled rotten.   For all the lovely treats this gift was the best:  a sweater’s-worth of yarn!  It’s the same colour of our (now fading) clematis:

Blue Sky Alpacas Silk & clematis petals

Blue Sky Alpacas Silk & clematis petals.

It was pouring rain but she insisted we go to a Toronto YS for my gift.  No brainer for me – Lettuce Knit!  Now Mom is not a crafty soul.  She’s the consumate intellectual.  Knitting (and mine in particular) perplexes her no end.  So you have to understand this gift was an act of love.  I’m not exactly the swiftest of foot in a YS.  She had a look, and then just quietly stood by the door as I did my thing.

These 8 skeins are gonna become Connie Chang Chinchcio’s Silk Cocoon Cardigan:

Knits Spring 09 pattern spread for Cocoon cardi

Knits' Spring '09 pattern spread for Cocoon cardi

I’m cardigan challenged, so the wrap construction is right up my alley.  I figure it’ll be great for the fall.  The yarn is equal parts alpaca & silk – both are warm and cozy.

Reading Knitty last week had me itching for some Jennie the Potter goodness.  Hubby was open to my gift idea but had a pained look that said he had a cunning plan already.  Now, LK was out of the coveted mugs but I grabbed this:

Red Knit pendant, Jennie the Potter

Red Knit pendant, Jennie the Potter

Please don’t think less of me for that wall colour.  I didn’t paint it!  Yes, it’s gotta go!  Just using for contrast in the pic.