Sunday, August 30, 2015

Serendipity

I was off--by a little.  Yeah, I took a calculated risk and increased the number of stitches in my shawl (by about 16 stitches) in the hopes of making it larger.  The original pattern required just over 300 yards.  I had well over 400 yards and thought that would be just enough yarn (thought it would use up every last bit).
Leftover DROPS Fabel--not enough for 3 more rows plus cast off :(
But I was wrong--close, but still wrong.  I had a wee bit of yarn left when I realized I still had 3 rows left to go plus the casting off to contend with.  What was I to do?  I was not going to rip back--no way, no how!
Patons Kroy in solid red
So I took a gamble and searched the local Five to a Dollar department store.  They carry Patons Kroy sock yarn and hoped to find a solid red or some reasonable facsimile.  And I did!   I found a solid red!
Edging detail
The colour seemed to be a good match, but the Kroy was a little thicker than the Garnstudio DROPS Fabel, even though both yarns are rated as fingering weight.  Still, it worked.  The slightly thicker yarn and solid red added a nice edging to the shawl, emphasizing the lace edge.  
Finished shawl
I've still got to block, but I must confess: I love it!  Serendipity!  Gotta love it when the fates conspire to work together--for a change. ;)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Little Progress

A little progress goes a long way towards finished items.  Yup, there be knitting at my place--and lots of it!

It started with travel knitting.  I knew I'd have no online access during my vacation, so I needed something to occupy my hands (and my brain, especially during the flight.  Have I mentioned how much I dislike flying?).  I brought along 4 projects: my current project, two long-standing projects that had fallen by the wayside, and a new project.
The growing Cashsilk Fern Scarf
The current project was the Cashsilk Fern Scarf which has grown by leaps and bounds.  It's about 38" at last measure.  I'm aiming for 50", but not sure there's enough yardage for that.  I'll need to leave enough for the border (2 rows of stockinette followed by four rows of moss stitch).  A good blocking should help with the length.  If it still runs short, I'll look for a pretty shawl pin to wear with it.
The still untouched Cranberry Neckerchief
I had brought my dandy Cranberry Neckerchief, but in the end, I didn't really touch that one (You can read more about that project from an old blog post dating back to summer 2011).  To be honest, I hadn't really left good notes about where I was in the pattern (although I could easily have frogged it and started anew since I wasn't too far in).  It definitely is something I'd like to revisit--and eventually finish.
A finished sock and the beginnings of the second
My other long-standing project was the Aquaphobia Socksfinished one sock and started the second one.  That pattern also had little in the way of any written pattern mods or notes regarding where I had left off (you can read more about my initial attempts with this project in a post from Feb 2014 and one from Dec 2013.).  If I'd had internet access, I could have more easily deduced my mods; instead I was forced to deconstruct and experiment (again!) to figure out what I'd done with the first sock.  Rest assured that everything was written down this time.  Ha ha!  After all, I may use the pattern again because it nicely controls the dreaded colour pooling that sometimes plagues variegated yarns.
The pretty coloursin my first lace shawl
And of course, there's the new project, my first lace shawl (aka the Oaklet Shawl which is a free pattern on Ravelry).  This has been great "mindless" knitting--a good take-along project when watching a movie or chatting over drinks at the cafe.  Sometimes it's just nice to do something simple that doesn't tax the ol' brain cells too much (although that'll probably change once I get to the lace border).

Now it's time to get back to the knitting.  There's lots to finish . . . 
Later, ;)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Who Loves a Bargain?

It's so nice to add to my Rav stash page as I do it so infrequently--and it helps me stay on top of everything.  Love how Ravelry looks through your stash and makes suggestions about which yarns might work for a pattern you're checking out.

Then I realized I hadn't yet shared my "bargoons" from Romni Wools. My budget was limited because I'd already spent a fair amount at LK Yarns when we were in Halifax a few weeks earlier.  Thankfully Romni Wools' lower level has a huge selection of discontinued yarns. And bonus:  there was a 20%-off-everything sale in the entire store.  Talk about lucky!
Lang Yarns sock yarn
First I checked out the sock yarns--and there was no shortage of colours, brands or fibers.   Decided on a brown mix called Lang Yarns Super Soxx Jubilee Denim.  Not sure about its regular retail rate, but it was marked down to $9.00 with an additional 20% discount at the register.  Not bad for over 450 yards--enough for a pair of socks.
Regia Lace
With the Regia Lace, I scored another great buy.  At over 600 yards, it was marked down to $9.90 with another 20% taken off.  Talk about value!  So much knitting fun for so little money.  And of course, I just love the rich colour.
Fritidsgarn in yummy colour

Then I spied more colours in the Sandnes Garn Fritidsgarn.  At $3.00 a ball plus an additional 20% off at the register, it was a steal.  Perhaps these can make a lovely woolen beret for one of my nieces.  Although both balls look identical, they have different colour and dye lots on the label, but I honestly couldn't tell the difference. 
Yummy candy colours . . . 
The Sirdar Baby Bamboo wasn't really an impulse buy, as I'd hoped to find some yummy colours to pair with some existing stash bamboo yarns in green, lilac and orange for a pretty multi-colour item: perhaps a scarf, shawl or shrug?  I'll figure that out later.  With or without the 20% off, these two skeins were still a great buy because they'll help me use leftovers from other projects.  Don't the colours look great together?
Colourful novelty yarn
My final purchase was a total whim--and whether it's folly or not remains to be seen--but I couldn't resist this fuzzy novelty yarn. The whimsical colours of Alessandra Filati Frizzante caught my eye.  At two bucks a piece, how could I not buy a couple of balls?  Maybe a funky hat for one of my nieces?

Yup, pleased as punch about my finds.  And honestly, it was all about the colours.  The prices were a bonus.  Thank heavens I don't live near Romni Wools, or else I'd be over there, rummaging through the basement bins, on a weekly basis. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Home Sweet Home

Nathan Philips Square decorated for PanAm Games
It was great to finally visit my family.  It had been four years since I'd last been out to Toronto.  And I missed so much!  The city has grown, especially on the periphery where homes mushroom like weeds.  
Old City Hall
There was much knitting as there was lots of waiting in airports, on airplanes (I am not a good flyer--not one bit) and in subways.  And of course I got to shop at one of the best yarn shops--ever!  Romni Wools on Queen St W.  I was so intoxicated by yarn fumes that I forgot to take photos inside the store.  But yarn was bought--and I am happy, happy, happy! :)
Knitting, tea and good company

Most of all, it was good to catch up with family and friends: laughed and giggled with my sisters; chatted with my bro and mum; got to see my nephews and meet my niece; and re-connected with friends (and I mean really good friends.  The kind that when you start chatting, it's like you've never been apart).  Most of all, I got to spend time with my dad. 
Dad enjoying time with family
He's been ill with one thing or another and we had a few health scares in the last 10 months.  So I was happy to spend time with him, just shooting the breeze . . .  

There's still lots of summer left, even though In a few days I'll be back to work.  Hope you're enjoying your summer.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer's Whimsy

There's something rather whimsical abut capturing the colours of summer.  There's always a surprise in the garden, from the wild roses pouring over the fence from the neighbour's yard (these beauties are my absolute favorite with their intoxicating fragrance.  And they require minimal care). 
Staple of Nova Scotia: wild roses
To the wild flowers announcing their arrival and joining lovely green space in the lush backyard (wild phlox and some variation of Queen Anne's lace). 
Nature's natural beauty
Even something as mundane as laundry hanging on a clothesline can be beautiful.
Rainbow clothesline
Beauty lies all around.  You just have to open your eyes and see it.


PS (I'm on vacation and where I'm going there 's little or no access to internet.  I'll see you on the other side--and yes, I will bring my knitting. )

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Perseverance, Progress and Patience

Every crafter, including me, needs the three Ps: perseverance, progress and patience.  What do they mean?
Finished afghan with completed border
1) Perseverance means eventually I will finish a project given the appropriate effort (i.e. not leaving it in the bottom of a basket hidden in the back of the closet!).  For example, my long languishing Bernat Mystery CAL from 2010 is finally finished!  Yup, got the border done and am now slowly working through the finishing process (i.e. weaving in all those pesky ends--lots of ends!!).
Detail of border/edging
2) Progress means that work continues on current WIPs.  For example, my Cashsilk Fern scarf continues to grow.  It's almost 20 inches which is nothing to sneeze at.  I continue to peck at that daily, even though it's slow going (go figure that thin yarn takes longer to grow, but grow it does).
Halfway for Cashsilk Fern scarf
3) Patience means having to wait before I embark on a new project.  On our last foray into the big city, we visited LK Yarns .  Having been there before, I knew the shop had products at many price points, but some lovely Handmaiden's Mini-Maiden tempted me.  It's ruby colour and soft silken feel whispered in my ear until I could resist no more.  At $30 a skein, it's some of the most expensive yarn I've ever bought (I bought 2 skeins).  Based out of Halifax, Handmaiden Yarns makes luxurious hand-dyed yarns that command a luxurious price.  Lucky for me, most of the Mini-Maiden was discounted, and I suspect it might have been because the labels were missing (So really I saved money.  And periodically repeating that to myself assuages my guilt, LOL). 
Handmaiden Mini-Maiden in Ruby
Special yarn needs a special pattern.  After many hours spent searching for the right pattern, I decided on the larger shawl version of Ashton Shawlette .  Although the pattern was highly recommended by knitters at Ravelry's Beginning-Lace-Knitters Group, I feared the project might be a wee bit above my skill level.  Even with all my lace experience, my projects tended to have simple lace stitches with simple rectangular shapes.  My only shawl project was a simple garter-stitch shawl.   
Drops Fabel in Sunset for first lace shawl
What to do?  Use less expensive yarn (I'm looking at you Drops Fabel) and attempt a simplified shawlette to learn about shawl construction.   The Oaklet Shawl with its stockinette body and lace border should fit the bill nicely.  It'll be my traveling/airport/try-not-to-freak-out-on-the-plane project.  Then when I feel more braver, I can use the expensive stuff.  

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Almost There . . . !!!

Afghan detail
Yup, I've been very good--a good little crafter!  Last weekend I started working on a long-standing WIP from September 2010, Bernat's Mystery Afghan Crochet-along (Ravelry link). It's been sitting in a bag at the bottom of a basket, hidden in the back of the closet.  I'm sure you have similar places in your own home--that place where discontinued or unfinished projects go to hide in shame. 

There were only a few squares left to attach, maybe 4-5.  Much to my chagrin, one sad little square was missing!  Yup, I was one square short of a finished blanket.  One measly mitered square . . . Argh!!
Almost an afghan --minus one square in the upper left hand corner
So I quickly searched for my pattern (it was clue #5), but couldn't find it anywhere.  Seriously?!  I know I packed it when we moved, but heaven knows where it went.  A thorough search led to no pattern.  Was it even still online?

When Bernat became part of the umbrella group at Yarnspiration, the old website went away and the old pattern never made it to the new website.  Thankfully I found the old archived Bernat blog (I think I used the wayback machine).  Follow this link:  old blog.bernat.com entry for Nov 2010 .  It'll take you to the entries for November 2010 (clues 8 and 9 can be found there).  If you click on September through December on the sidebar, you should find the blog posts with links to PDF files for all the other clues, from #1- 10 (last clue is for the border).
Missing mitered square . . . 
With my clue printed off, I proceeded to work the last mitered square.  As I recall, some of the participants complained about how wonky this particular square looked.  Check out the old Ravelry group for that project.  Although not active anymore, there's still lots of useful tidbits and photos shared by fellow Ravelers.  Looking through the comments, I remembered I had used the suggestions to use a larger hook, chain 50 instead of 46 and work the decreases very loosely.

Here's hoping my motivation sees me through to the end of this project!
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