About Rayna

Newfoundlander, returned home from Toronto a few years ago after 14 years in exile! Knitter of pretty string, spinner of fluff (mostly wheel), sometimes designer and newbie dyer. Occasional stringer of shiny rocks. Wife, and doggie mom.

WIP Mania

So, as mentioned in yesterday’s post, inspired by Shireen over at The Blue Brick, I decided to inventory my current WIPs.  It’s not pretty, let me tell you.

Currently on the needles I have:

Socks – 5 (including a secret project and a new design).  In all fairness, two of the remaining three have been cast on in the past two weeks and are mindless knitting.  The third is Margaritaville…one of the many items I want want to own, but apparently don’t necessarily want to actually knit.  I even purchased special Key Lime yarn for this project.  But it’s on sharp US0/2mm needles and it just does not call to me.

Margaritaville Socks in Blueberry Pie Mostly Solid Sock Yarn

Margaritaville Socks in Blueberry Pie Mostly Solid Sock Yarn

Scarves – 3. There are two for me, and one for my Mom, all in fingering weight yarn, strangely enough.  They are all lovely patterns that had been in my queue for ages in gorgeous yarns; one project, my Aria Delicato, has actually been OTN for nearly two years and may be my oldest WIP.

Aria Delicata in indigodragonfly Merino Sock

Shawlette – 1.  A shawlette pattern I adore (Canyonlands by Very Busy Monkey) in a stunning OOAK colourway from Tanis Fiber Arts.   What is my problem?

Boot toppers – 1.  A pair of Jax, modified to be knit in the round and worn with my jeggings.

Jax in Socks That Rock Mediumweight

Cowls – 3.  These include one crazy cabled one from Lucy Hague that I dearly love but is quite time consuming, one that started as a test knit just before I moved but didn’t get too far, and one in a chunky yarn that I think I may frog as I was using it to practice continental knitting after I took a class and then completely fell off! (Sorry, Kate!)

Fingerless mitts – 1.  I cast these on for Chase.  At least with these, I can tell you exactly why they are not done.  I am unhappy with how the first mitt turned out and realized I have to rip it back to the wrist to add thumb gussets.  The original pattern did not have them, and as a result, they are terribly ill-fitting (note to self: don’t ever knit mitts or gloves without thumb gussets ever again!).  So the project sits and languishes.  There’s that problem with frogging I mentioned.

For those of you counting, that 14 WIPs, only one of which I have an immediate plan to frog.  I am wondering if I broke it into manageable chunks, say, by vowing to knit a repeat a day (or 10 rows or some arbitrary number) would I make it through some of these.

For those of you who actually let your WIP basket get out of control, how do you get it back under control again?

The State of the Studio

I have already seen a few posts listing New Year’s Resolutions and such, and they made me take a look at what sort of year it’s been from a fibre/yarn standpoint.

This is a hard year to judge, mostly because it involved getting a loom, re-starting spinning, and moving halfway across my (not exactly small) country into a new house.

I lost two months of crafting, essentially, to the move and the setting up of our new house, and I lost a month of knitting this summer to Tour de Fleece.  In both cases, I regret nothing.  But it sure does show in my FO’s!

The past few years, I have knit 26-or-so items; this year’s number came in at just over half that – 16 in total, nearly half of which were socks.  (Yes, I know, you’re shocked.)  There were also two hats, a scarf, two shawls, two cowls, some washcloths and a single sock that was test knit, but where the mate was never completed because the yarn I chose was a terrible match for the pattern.

Now, in all fairness, the year also included the completion of two small-ish woven projects, and five skeins of handspun, and the publication of two original sock designs.  So, I’ll take it.

The issue seems to be my start-itis, and my general unwillingness to frog, well, anything.  I have 14 (I know, insane, right?) knitting WIPs, 2 spinning WIPs, some laceweight on my loom (I am patiently awaiting a stand for that, to be delivered in January), and a sock design that has not made it past the first leg.  So maybe, like Shireen, it’s time to either finish some of these or make the tough decision to frog.

Maybe tomorrow, I too will take an inventory and take a good hard look at where 2015’s knitting is going.  But take note: I will NOT be addressing the amount of yarn and fibre I acquired in 2014.

Some things are just too scary to put out there.

It’s beginning to look a lot like…

Actually, no, it’s not.  And it’s not feeling much like it either.

I was saying yesterday on one of the Ravelry boards I participate in that, in spite of the fact that I have everything to be happy about this year, I have no Christmas spirit at all.  None.  And it seems I have several friends in the same headspace, which is stranger still.

I am listening to Christmas music every day in my office.  One of the benefits to working from home: you aren’t bothering anyone else with your musical choices.

I have done no baking.  In fact, my mom showed up with a crate of it for me the other day, saying that because I am working full time and we are just finishing up the house, I probably don’t have time to do any baking.  She is right…the fact that I have totally lacked the inclination is an altogether different matter.

There is no decorating done beyond the tree and some lights that my husband put up outside.  He is pretty excited to have a house for Christmas.

Packages were sent this week to people in Ontario, and one of hubby’s gifts just got ordered on Monday.  I know it will get here before next week, but still…

Maybe 11 degrees Celsius and rain just isn’t conducive to Christmas spirit for me?  That was the weather here on Monday.  Maybe, as someone so kindly pointed out on the aforementioned Ravelry board, I am just plain exhausted.  It has not exactly been an uneventful year.

Last night I decided to cast on a new project.  None of the dozen or so I had on needles were calling to me at all, and I wanted something bright and cheerful, darn it!!  So I hauled out my bin of wound yarn and saw my skeins of Turtlepurl Striped Turtle Toes, in “Polly Wanna Cracker?”.  Orange, yellow, green and blue.  Perfect.  Just the colours to lift my spirits.

While polishing off season 1 of The Blacklist (OMG, SO good!!) I got a big chunk of the leg done.

Plain Vanilla Sock in Polly Wanna Cracker?

Plain Vanilla Sock in Polly Wanna Cracker?

In the mean time, I ask this question…what do you do to get into the holiday spirit?

Starting to Feel Like Home

Settling back in to life in Newfoundland has been quite the process.  The pace of life here is so much slower than what I am used to in Toronto.  I mean, I drove through the middle of downtown at 8:15 AM a few weeks back and I could have tossed a bowling ball down Duckworth Street and not hit anything.  Very odd.

In addition to getting used to a new/old city, we also changed our lifestyle in that we bought a house.  No more apartment-dwelling for us.  Nope…we bought a townhouse, ridiculously close to hubby’s work.  As in, when he was in orientation, he came home for his coffee breaks.  Yep, that close.

The thing I decided when we bought a house was that I wanted a craft room.  In addition to my fibre-y pursuits, I also have metal-working tools, some polymer clay implements and supplies, and just a little bit of cross-stitch stuff from when that was my main hobby.  We chose the middle-sized bedroom, as the smallest room was set aside for my office, now that I am working from home.

When we moved in, I had my Dad take a picture.

CraftRoomEmptyI cannot recall the exact dimensions but if you are at all familiar with IKEA furniture, they will soon become apparent.  I also took a pic of the room with all the stuff in it, but not really arranged.  (Even if I had remembered to take a pic of the room at its worst, I don’t think I’d have shared it.  I do have some pride :P)

craftRoomBeforeIt was at this point that everything was in the room but that I was sure I’d never get it all together.  I then started on the weekend and put some serious hours into it to get it finished and I have to say I am pleased with how it turned out overall.

wallThese two Besta cabinets and the Expedit in the centre pretty much hold all my supplies, books, tools etc.  And what didn’t fit in them, did fit ON them.

ExpeditThe Expedit holds my basket of variegated sock yarn, all of my in-progress spinning projects, and two pottery vessels, handmade by Shireen,

CornerIn the corner sits an IKEA kitchen counter that there is NO room for in my new kitchen so I have set it up as my dye station when I get back to dyeing yarn and fibre.  On it lives my crock-pot and in the drawers are supplies and undyed fibres.   Also inhabiting the room are an arm chair from my living room and some other special items.

FullSizeRender(2)Those special items include my beloved maternal grandmother’s rocking chair, a reminder of my childhood days in her kitchen, that Mom and Dad kept for me here in their basement after she passed away in 1997.  This room is also home to my much-loved Lendrum spinning wheel and my spinning chair, handmade by spinning guru Alvin Ramer before he retired a few months ago.

There are still some finishing touches to be made…I need some craft-y art work for the walls and I still have an IKEA bench to set up with my ball-winder and swift so I will have a permanent winding station.

All in all, though….this house might just be starting to feel like home.

We’ve Moved!

Well, sort of!  Clearly First Light Hand Crafts has not moved on the web because, well, here I am.  But I (and my family and my stash) have moved.

As Inigo Montoya would say, “Let me ‘splain…no, there is too much.  Let me sum up.”

Sorry for the radio silence, but the past month or so has been spent doing some packing, and clueing up of my life in anticipation of moving back to Newfoundland, and then actually getting here.  Most of you know that Newfoundland is where I was born and raised, and recently my husband landed a job here after graduating from his nursing program in Ontario.  We jumped at the chance to move back to be nearer my family, and because of our precious Kayleigh, we decided that we didn’t want me to fly, necessitating placing her in a cargo hold.  So what did I do?  Enlisted the assistance of Shireen and Tito and drove over 3000 km to get here.  I still regret not having taken a photo of the odometer of the car before I left downtown Toronto two weeks ago.

Fast forward and I have been here for 10 days, and am settled in.  Well, mostly.  We are at my parents’ house in St. John’s until this week, when our house closes.  I am pretty excited, being a late bloomer and never having had a house before.  One of the best things about our cozy new townhouse is that it’s going to have a craft room!  So excited.  And yes, there will be pictures…count on it.

So First Light Hand Crafts has moved back to the province, if not the town, of its origins.  We deemed that Pouch Cove, stunning as it is, was a bit too far from hubby’s job to be practical.  (A thirty minute drive during the summer can be an utter nightmare in the winter, and hubby does not yet drive at all!)

Pouch Cove, beautifully captured by Shireen on her visit here last week!

I am working from home now, and hope to get myself back into the swing of the Internet again.  I have done some knitting but very little…and my Ravelry and Twitter accounts have been overly quiet. I am looking forward to having most everything back to “normal”…whatever that is.

Interviewed!

A few months back, while surfing random knitting blogs on WordPress, I ran across The Sock Monkey…a blog by a 15 year old up and coming designer out of Idaho.  What made this blog even more interesting and unusual is that said designer was a charming young man, named Josiah Bain.  I hit the Follow button on the blog, only to discover a few weeks later that his newest sock design, Mirror, was being published in Knitty, on the same day I released Petty Harbour.

After some weeks of chatting back and forth, Josiah asked if he might interview me for his blog.  Ridiculously flattered beyond any reasonable measure, I happily agreed, and he published the interview yesterday.

Interview with designer Rayna Curtis Fegan.

Big News!

In what will be the first of a few non-craft-related posts over the next few weeks, today’s post is an announcement of sorts.  After 14+ years of living in Toronto, I, along with my husband and Kayleigh-dog, are moving back to Newfoundland.  It’s very happy-making, because we have wanted to go back for a long time now, but it’s also sad-making because we have no shortage of friends and loved ones here in Ontario.

Chase will be headed back very soon to start his new job as an RPN at a facility in St. John’s whereas I and Kayleigh will be driving back, with Shireen and Tito, on a road trip that promises to be an awful lot of fun, and likely will be accompanied by blog posts with photos documenting the several-day trip.

There is so much to do, I don’t know where to start.  I just keep telling myself that it will all just work out.

Right…that’s all the personal stuff for today.  Tomorrow, I am back to crafting posts with my first FO post in way too long.

New Pattern Release: Signal Hill

I love DK weight socks.  Love them.  They are warm and cozy in the winter, and as a product knitter, it pleases me that they are a fairly quick knit.  When looking for DK sock patterns to knit last year, I was surprised at the (relatively) small number of available patterns available…you know, when compared to fingering and sport weight sock patterns.

Earlier this year, Carla at Georgian Bay Fibre Company told me that she would be releasing a new DK yarn in the spring.  She then mentioned that this was a base with a difference: it had nylon, something that is lacking in so many DK weight yarns.  I could not help but jump at the chance to design some socks that would take advantage of her new Kilcoursie DK yarn.

So today, I am excited to introduce my cabled DK weight sock, Signal Hill. (Why yes, I am aware that my ex-pat is showing again!)

DSCF0749Lots of 1×1 cables mean that it’s intricate but that by cabling without a cable needle, it goes pretty darned quickly!  The pattern is for sale exclusively on Ravelry for now.  (Someday, I will figure out other pattern sites!)

Such an exciting start to my week!