Busy Weekend

It’s been an amazing few days.  I’ve been completely overwhelmed by the response to my Petty Harbour pattern, released last week when my new blog launched.  (Don’t forget to leave a comment on Friday’s post for an entry in the contest to win a lovely skein of Sundara Sock!)  I have received so many wonderful compliments and so much encouragement.  In fact, all the warm, positive energy spurred me to finish my newest design on the weekend.  I am hoping to have that released in a few week’s time so stay tuned!

The weekend also saw a road trip with friends to the Knitter’s Fair in Kitchener-Waterloo.  I promised myself I’d be conservative with my purchases, and finding out Waterloo Wools was going out of business didn’t help that resolution.  I also dropped by Georgian Bay Fibre Company‘s booth for some Carla’s Pengallie Fingering, and snagged a new wedge project bag from Zig Zag Stitches.

Gift knitting continues apace, the schedule thrown off only by my mom’s weekend request for “black” socks.  I am a definite “colour” person, so after last year’s “brown socks debacle”, I swore off brown knitting for quite a long while.  Since Chase has requested charcoal mittens and I was looking at knitting myself a dark grey half-Pi shawl, that moratorium may very well apply to black knitting soon.  In the meantime, I have some great nearly-black indigodragonfly Merino Nylon Sock wound and ready for another pair of Petty Harbour socks.  It’s testament to how much I love my parents and my husband that I am willing to knit them all so much black and brown ;-)

By Christmas, I have a feeling I am going to be in desperate need of a nice colourful knit..some bright stripe-y socks, maybe.

Book Launch! Rebrand! ZZzzzz…..

It’s rebranding week, it seems!  My dear friend, Shireen, who was almost entirely responsible for my new look last week, has now done a makeover on The Blue Brick.  It was lovely before; it’s even more gorgeous now!

Plus she has released an awesome update to her resin jewelry book.  Go take a look…it’s a wonderfully informative book just filled with more pretty than should be legal!

Book Launch! Rebrand! ZZzzzz…...

Congratulations, my friend! <3

An Announcement, A Free Pattern and A Contest!!

For the past year or so, I have been steadily increasing my creative endeavours.  I have started dyeing my own yarn and fibre, albeit at this point in a mostly experimental fashion.  I have resumed spinning on my Lendrum wheel and produced some very happy-making results.  I have also started writing knitting patterns.  My first was a take on an ankle sock for (and named after) my friend Shireen, and my second is a simple textured sock for my husband, Chase.  My third, another sock pattern which is currently being test knit, is my first foray into designing with cables.  I have several more designs swimming about in my head, and those will come very soon, I hope.

While writing up the second pattern, Shireen and I talked about whether or not I wanted to stay with crystaldiva, (a name inadvertently given to me almost a decade ago by a client in Florida) or whether I wanted to rebrand to something that had a bit more meaning to me overall.

As most of you know, I am an ex-pat Newfoundlander, and if I am to be truthful, even after 14 years in the Toronto area, my heart still really belongs near the sea.  In fact, I grew up some 500 metres from the Atlantic in a tiny town near the capital city of St. John’s, where the town crest boasted “First To See The Sun”.

So today, I am excited to welcome you to First Light Handcrafts!

I am thrilled that the new name and the new look reflect my east coast heritage.  Even the iceberg that graces the top of my new blog is courtesy of my dad, Jerry, who is an amazing photographer of Newfoundland scenery.  (Go check out his artistry at his Pbase site!)

In honour of my rebranding, today I am releasing the sock pattern created for my husband.  It’s called “Petty Harbour”, after another of our favourite towns in the St. John’s area, and it looks great in solid, semi-solid or variegated yarns.

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It’s available for free here on Ravelry.

I am also holding a contest – a giveaway of a lovely skein of Sundara Sock yarn in a blue called “Wistful Longing” (anyone sensing a theme here?).

sundara

To enter, leave me a comment.  Tell me what you would do with the yarn, or what yarn you’d knit Petty Harbour from…or just say hi!  If you re-tweet or share this post, leave me a comment telling me that too, and I’ll enter your name more than once!  As my friend Carla says…stack the deck in your favour!  Contest closes on Friday the 19th.  Just make sure that I have some way of contacting you to get your mailing address.

I hope you’ll stick around; it’s shaping up to be a busy time!

FO: Patrick’s Watch Cap

A couple of years ago, a young colleague of mine admired a cowl I was wearing and mused that he’d love to have one.  I don’t tend to knit for just anyone, but a cowl requires so little work so I told him that if he was prepared to buy the (good quality) yarn, I’d knit it for him.  He didn’t bat an eyelash at the $30 a skein price tag, so I knit him a Stonehenge Cowl.  Every time he wore it, he came by my desk gushing about how much he loved it.

This same young man came to me a few weeks back and asked if he could commission a hat.  He, like my husband, has a particularly large head and told me that every commercial hat he tried on was too small.  I normally would have knit him the same hat that I have knit multiple times for Chase but because he wanted it less slouchy, I decided on the Squared Away Ribbed Watch Cap.  It’s been in my Ravelry favourites for a while; I liked it because of the originality of the crown decreases.

Generally speaking, the males in my life ask for things in various shades of brown, black and grey…but not Patrick.  He told me he wanted bright and colourful.  I sent him to the Madeline Tosh website and told him to pick a few colours – he chose a red, a green, an orange and a blue and upon calling Romni Wool, discovered that the only skein in stock of the four he had chosen was Baltic.  Done!  (The fact that I adore that colour was a lovely bonus!)

It took me a grand total of about a week to knit.  He wanted it to be good and long to cover his ears when folded up, so I knit it for as long as I thought I feasibly could before starting the decreases.

It turned out beautifully.  Plenty long enough to be folded up once or even twice if he wants.

Madeline Tosh Vintage in "Baltic"

Madeline Tosh Vintage in “Baltic”

And I can’t say enough about how much I adore the decreases in this hat.  So clever and I am totally enamoured with the result!

Thanks, Patrick for lending me your head! :-)

Thanks, Patrick for lending me your head! :-)

Pattern: Squared Away Ribbed Watch Cap

Yarn: Madeline Tosh Vintage in “Baltic”

Who Was It Made For?  Patrick

Were There Changes Made To The Pattern?  No

Did I Learn Anything New?  No

Anything Else?  No

Would I Make Another?:  If I ever have the need to knit another worsted style hat, I will definitely use this pattern.  My only concern would the 96 stitch cast on, which might prove too large for some heads.

FO: No Purl Monkeys

Sometimes, the mood takes me, and I knit. A lot. And I can finish a pair of socks in a very short amount of time. This was one of those times!

I started these socks for the indigodragonwedding…Kim and Ron of indigodragonfly got married last September and the wedding invite specifically said, “Knitting encouraged!”  So I located a long-stashed skein of MCN Sock (later rebranded as Mergoat Sock) and cast these on, two cuffs on two needles, and off I went.

I knit exactly one 11-row repeat and laid the project down…to this day,  I have no idea why.   And while winter and spring came and went, these barely-partly knit socks sat and sat.

A few weeks ago, the spirit moved me to haul them out of my WIP tote bag and start them up again.  I have said it before and I will say it again; I don’t know what it is about this pattern but it practically knits itself.  I completed the first leg on a Sunday afternoon, and the entire pair in under three weeks.  If that’s not a record for me, it’s darned close.

cordeliaMonkey2

The colourway is named for a Buffy the Vampire Slayer character named Cordelia – the quote was one of many snarky ones for which Cordy was famous.  It’s wonderfully variegated with several different purples running through it.

"Don't You Have An Elsewhere To Be?"

“Don’t You Have An Elsewhere To Be?”

One more pair to add to the pile for when autumn starts in earnest in a few weeks!

Pattern: No Purl Monkeys

Yarn: indigodragonfly Mergoat Sock in “Don’t You Have An Elsewhere To Be?”

Who Was It Made For?  Me

Were There Changes Made To The Pattern?  I don’t think so, but I knit them from memory so it’s possible.

Did I Learn Anything New?  No

Anything Else?  Not that I recall.

Would I Make Another?:  I am sure I will…what can I say?  I am a creature of habit.

So much going on…

And so little I can really show or write about :-)

I have a freebie sock design completed, photographed and laid out, and being test knit as we speak.  A second design has been drafted and test knitters are all lined up!   A few more designs are spinning about in my head and will have to wait just a little longer.

While all this is ongoing, most regular knitting has been suspended with the exception of my indigodragonfly No Purl Monkeys.  These things really just knit themselves!

Sock 1 complete!

Sock 1 complete!

I am actually ready to start the heel flap on Sock #2 and plan to have these done soon so they will be ready for when the weather turns.  Until today’s 30 degree high, there are many that might have argued that had already happened, but I digress.

I have also done little to no spinning.  That has to be remedied soon so as not to lose the consistency I have gained.  Plus I really miss the soothing, zen feeling that it brings.

What have you been doing now that autumn is just around the corner?