WWKIP

On Saturday morning, my friend Liz and I set off on a short road trip…destination: Shall We Knit? in Waterloo for their annual World Wide Knit In Public day.  They had hosted quite the gathering last year, and we thought it would be a fun way to spend a day and see some fibre-friends.

Outdoor tents abounded, including one with Super-Kate Atherley at the wheel offering up advice for the knitter-in-need:

Kate and Beth Graham

Kate and Beth Graham

Kim and Ron of indigodragonfly were on hand for a dyeing demo – proceeds going to the Canadian Breast Cancer Support Fund.

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

DSC05276

Cardinal Ruby – one of the four colourways to be auctioned off for charity!

The only picture I got of Marit’s Gobstopper hand-dyed gradient yarn is one of the skein(s) I purchased myself.  The colour is so much more awesome than this picture shows.  I can’t decide if these will be socks, or long fingerless mitts.

gobstopper

And I may have fallen down on some yummy merino tencel fibre from Waterloo Wools.

Mmm...Spice Trail

Mmm…Spice Trail

I even won a door prize!  Thanks so much to the lovely ladies of Shall We Knit? for hosting such a lovely day!

L-R: Lynne, Karen and Cari

L-R: Lynne, Karen and Cari

FO: Reunion Cowl

Sometimes, a gal just needs mindless knitting.  There are knit nights, lunch hours with a friend, airports and parent visits.  These things all require knitting where I am not trying to remember where the cable crosses are, or how many knit stitches between the YOs and k2togs.

Enter, the Reunion Cowl.  Utterly brainless knitting that can be done just about anywhere.  And when it’s done with indigodragonfly MCN Lace (now known as MerGoat Lace), it’s pure pleasure to knit.

This is my second of these; the first was knit in a OOAK blue-green colourway in late 2012.  But I was always wishing for a red one and Kim and Ron created this lovely colouway a few years back that just cried out to be my newest cowl.

MCN/MerGoat Lace in "Only The Exact Word Word I Used Was 'Don't'"

MCN/MerGoat Lace in “Only The Exact Word Word I Used Was ‘Don’t'”

It took a while to knit up, mostly because it was my carry around knitting so I wasn’t entirely devoted to it.  I love the way it turned out.  Long enough to double up for extra warmth and wonderfully soft and squishy.

reunion1

I made a couple of alterations, including knitting the first set of garter rounds as flat rows and doubling up the number of eyelet rows to add both visual and knitting interest.

reunion2

I am sure this won’t be my last one of these.  They are a nice change from plain-ish socks when I am looking for easy knitting.

Pattern:  Reunion Cowl by Natalie Selles

Yarn:  indigodragonfly MCN/MerGoat Lace in “Only The Exact Word Word I Used Was ‘Don’t'”

Who Was It Made For?  Me

Were There Changes Made To The Pattern?  Added extra eyelet rows to alleviate boredom, and knit the first garter section and seamed it to help avoid twisting my cast on and to avoid purling.  I have an unnatural aversion to purling, especially when the rounds are some 300+ stitches long.

Did I Learn Anything New?  No

Anything Else?  Not that I recall.

Would I Make Another?:  Likely!

Best Laid Plans

I woke up Saturday morning with goals…several of them, in fact.  DH was working 7-3 both Saturday and Sunday, and this meant I had lots of time to do what I wanted, so I made plans.

I had planned to knit my Dad a pair of Anne Hanson’s Sign of Four socks.  So determined was I to cast them on, that I started the Rav project.  That’s commitment, right there.  If I build it, it will cast on, right?

I had also determined that I was going to re-start my spinning, so again, one Ravelry project coming right up!

And third, I had determined that my Reunion Cowl in a stunning red indigodragonfly MCN Lace that I had been working on steadily since Christmas was coming off the needles, by hook or by crook.  So I queued up Season 4 of Angel, and settled in, feeling pretty good.

Right.

I once heard an expression: “Man Plans.  God Laughs.”  Yep…that was my Saturday.

The Reunion Cowl took a lot longer than I expected to finish and cast off.  There were a few reasons, the largest of which was that my adorable dog decided she wanted all. the. attention. and needed to go outside an unprecedented 5 times in 8 hours.  Now, there are a few things to note here.

1) You can be in the apartment for hours, and never know Kayleigh is there.  She sleeps a lot and is generally like a cat in the amount of attention she wants.  Nope.  All day long she was in my face looking for attention.  If I picked up needles…there she was.  No way I was knitting on her watch.

If she didn't weight 40+ pounds, the rest of her would have been in my lap!

If she didn’t weigh 40+ pounds, the rest of her would have been in my lap!

2) We live on the 14th floor of an apartment highrise.  So this means that there is no “letting her out”.  Nope…you have to get dressed, dress her up in her coat, go all the way down stairs etc etc…  This is a very time consuming activity.

So much for my nice quiet Saturday.  I did manage to get the cowl done by the time DH got home but that pretty much covered it.

Saturday evening, I was determined to get my other two goals accomplished so while catching up on some TV, I cast on Dad’s socks…SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock in Espresso.

Socks…more brown socks.

I swear there will be a moratorium on brown knitting and 1×1 ribbing the minute these are done.  Then when DH turned on a hockey game at 8:30 or so, I hauled out my wheel for the first time in at least six months.  I only spun for half an hour, and it was not a good start (I appear to be having issues with underspinning and my yarn keeps falling apart) but it was a start.  Hooray for determination!

Sunday, I didn’t anticipate getting a lot done.  I was awake half the night with the aforementioned puppy, and slept in a little.  I did finish the cuff of Dad’s sock but that was about it.  I woke up to an email from Christina over at Lone Maple Studio, with her new pattern attached for test knitting, so I went stash diving for the most cheerful sock yarn I owned.  By the end of the evening, I had decided on a discontinued multi from Tanis Fiber Arts in a colourway called Tulip.

tulipTestKnit

I figured when I need a break from the never ending socks of brown, this colourway will be spring-like, with it’s teal, purple and yellow.

So, I did manage to get my goals accomplished, although I am still not entirely sure how.  It does, though, go to show that the best laid plans of mice and me often go awry.

Knowing When to Say “I Give”

In the summer of 2011, the indigodragonfly group on Ravelry hosted a summer KAL.  It was a lot of fun for me as I was a mostly new knitter and had never done one before.  I didn’t win the prize for “Most Overcommitted” but I did win the prize for “Best Enabler”.  In addition to enabling others, I managed to squeeze in some time to knit a few things for myself, although admittedly far fewer than I had planned.

One of them was a lovely cowl from MCN Sport, a most lovely and squooshy DK weight yarn that I have adored ever since, using a Chrissy Prange pattern called “It’s Only Geometry”.  I had purchased two skeins of a gorgeous burgundy red called “When I Bit Into Him, I Could Hear The Ocean” (fans of the TV show, “Angel”, will recognize that as a Drusilla quote from the Season 2 episode, “Darla”), and used most of one skein for the cowl.

Geometry Bites

Geometry Bites

I kept the remaining skein, promising myself I would make gloves from it to go with the cowl.  I dutifully put the cowl away in a drawer, so that when the gloves were done, the cowl would be pristine and I could wear them as a pretty set.

Fast forward approximately two and a half years…you have three guesses where that second skein of yarn is.  Yep…still right where I left it, in my stash.  This morning, I felt like wearing red in honour of Chinese New Year, so I went into my drawer and hauled out the cowl and wore it.  The yarn has been queued for months now for a pair of fingerless mitts, but maybe I will use it to design my own “matching” pair of mitts.

Or maybe, this time next year…the yarn will still be sitting in stash.  Yep…that seems a lot more likely.

FO: Hofner Socks

One day in August, I received a very flattering email from one of my knitting idols.  The wonderfully clever Kate Atherley emailed to tell me she and Kim of indigodragonfly were in cahoots on a pattern collection, and might I be interested in knitting a sample for them?  Gee, let me see, one of my favourite designers paired up with one of my favourite indie dyers…how could I possibly resist?

The collection included a hat, a shawl, fingerless mitts and lacy socks, all interesting, but still easy to knit.  Kate asked if I might be up for the socks.  I picked up the yarn from Kim at her annual Fibre Fling that weekend (Merino Nylon Sock in a heavenly orange called “Safety Pin or Safety Pint: Discuss”) and cast on before the weekend was out.

The one catch?  The whole project was sooper seekrit so my morning Starbucks ritual of tweeting my WIPs was out.  No progress pics posted to Rav…nada.

As a result, pics like this one taken at 30,000 feet got tweeted:

Image

Flying the friendly skies…in seekrit!

As with all of Kate’s patterns, it was easy to follow and I encountered no issues.  Once they were completed, I was in love!

Completed Hofners!

Completed Hofners!

Awesome colour…adorable heart-shaped lace pattern down the outside of each sock.  People stopped me when I knit it public and asked to see them.  It pained me to turn them over to Kate when I was done.  I am seriously considering another pair in a skein of the same base I have in a special edition, charity colourway called “Canoe Up To The Beer Store”.

The rest of the Rock ‘n Roll Collection is great as well.   I have at least one other item planned from that collection.  So many things to knit…so little time.

Pattern:  Hofner Socks by Kate Atherley

Yarn:  indigodragonfly Merino Nylon Sock in “Safety Pin or Safety Pint: Discuss”

Who Was It Made For?  Sample for Kate

Were There Changes Made To The Pattern?  None – that would defeat the purpose of a sample knit.

Did I Learn Anything New?  No

Anything Else?  Not that I recall.

Would I Make Another?:  Definitely…finding the time is another story.

Desperate times call for desperate measures

For the past few months, I have been valiantly chugging away at two pairs of fingering weight socks, one for my Mom and one for my Dad.  It all started when I was at home in Newfoundland this summer.  Mom decided she liked the pair of Hermione’s Everyday Socks I was working on, and because she had caught me at exactly the right point in the process and I was not all that enamoured with them, I offered to finish them to fit her.  Once she had them, she told me she loved them and would really love another pair to go with her brown jeans.  My parents have never asked me to knit them anything, ever, so I thought that was the least I could do.

Now, there are two things you should know about this.  My mother has a size 10.5 foot – I have a size 7 foot.  So as you can imagine these socks require an awful lot more stitches than I usually have to knit to finish a pair of socks.

The bigger issue: I loathe brown.  With the fiery passion of a thousand suns.  (That’s a slight exaggeration – indigodragonfly makes a Captain Tightpants colourway that I like, and I don’t mind it in variegated colourways like the ones in my Stillwater scarf…but that’s about it).  So it should be telling of how much I love my Mom when I tell you that I knit a pair of size 10.5 brown socks for her.

It gets better.  I cannot knit my mother two pairs of socks, and not knit any for my father.  That just won’t do at all.  This necessity for equality is come by honestly.  When my brother and I were children, Mom kept a running account of what she spent on each of us at Christmas to make sure the numbers were even.  So I ask Dad what colours he would want, since of course I need to knit him two pairs as well.  His answer?  Dark blue and….brown.  Normally, being the dutiful daughter, I would have asked him which socks he wanted first; I skipped that step and cast on the Sweet Fiber Seastorm ones.  Because one more brown pair of socks might have killed me.  He’ll get the brown ones in the spring.  After which I will be declaring a moratorium on brown knitting for a minimum of six months.

I am at the gusset decreases of the second Seastorm sock.  It’s not brown but it’s still not exactly colourful.  Last night, out of pure desperation, I cast on a Reunion Cowl.  In indigodragonfly MCN Lace.  In the most stunning red in the world, made even better by being named after one of my favourite TV characters…Inara from Firefly.

indigodragonfly MCN Lace in "Only The Exact Phrase I Used Was Don't"

indigodragonfly MCN Lace in “Only The Exact Phrase I Used Was Don’t”

This is my cheering antidote against the current winter blahs.

I regret nothing…

Saturday was the Downtown Knit Collective’s Annual Knitter’s Frolic…my third in a row.  This year, I went to hang out with friends in line at about 8:15 and pretty much stayed to the end.

I met up with Shireen over at The Blue Brick, her partner Tito and our friend/spinning instructor Leslie and we patiently waited until the doors opened at 9 AM.  I bee-lined for the indigodragonfly booth, because I had a bag of single skeins I was looking to co-ordinate, for later use as a two-colour shawl, and I wanted to nab Kim before her booth was swamped by other shoppers.

One of the skeins I was looking to match was a special, limited edition one from Fibre Fling a few summers ago, called “How Many Minions Does It Take To Screw In A Lightbulb?” Kim placed a skein on either side; the blue, she said would be a good choice if I wanted a more muted effect and the purple would be better if I wanted something that would pop.  I took one look…and I was a goner.  Colour Affection, anyone?

indigodragonfly MCN Sock

indigodragonfly MCN Sock

I picked up a few more skeins from her, including one in Octobaa, a new DK weight yarn which is crying out to be yummy socks and proceeded merrily on.

I did manage to avoid buying fibre….even though TurtlePurl’s display nearly weakened my resolve some.

TurtlePurl's fibre display

TurtlePurl’s fibre display

I met up with varying friends through the day, which was why I ended up being there pretty much until they closed the place down.  Over the span of the day, I grabbed a couple of skeins of TurtlePurl yarn (she makes some nice self-striping stuff!), and some Cascades 200 Superwash for heavy socks for Chase, along with a bamboo sock-sized circular so that I can take sock knitting on the plane to New York next weekend.

Not including a destash and some KnitPicks items delivered to me from some lovely ladies up North, this was what my day looked like:

Frolic 2013 Haul

Frolic 2013 Haul

I regret nothing.

The Great Fake Boobie Knitalong!

Every so often, as a knitter, a skein of yarn falls into your hands that is truly precious – one that demands you do something special with it, so it becomes an item you always treasure.

One such yarn came along last year as part of indigodragonfly’s World Wide Knit In Public Day Auction, to benefit The Canadian Breast Cancer Support Fund.  The idea was simple.  One could bid on the rights to name one of several one-of-a-kind colourways, and decide what colours were used to dye that yarn.  Then others could bid on the finished skeins.  There were only four skeins of each colourway made, so bidding on some of them turned out to be pretty fierce.

Some of the stories were wonderful, and happy, and sad, but most of all, filled with memories and meaning.  The skein that I obtained, “Yes They’re Fake – The Real Ones Tried To Kill Me” has a story, and I will let the person who named it tell that story.

I’m just me coming through the other side of my year in Hell. I HAD Breast Cancer. I was diagnosed on June 24, 2011. I felt a lump on June 17.   I had a double mastectomy on July 15, 2011.  I had 6 rounds of chemo every 3 weeks, then 33 daily radiation treatments.  Based on the type of my Breast Cancer I had a total hysterectomy and oophorectomy (I had to get spaded so to speak;)  I have had silicone breast implants placed.  I’m doing well now just need to get the final work on the girls, and get back in shape and healthy. Unfortunately my family on both sides has a lot of cancer experience.

In addition to me – I had 4 great aunts, an aunt, a second cousin, and a first cousin who also had Breast Cancer – my Grandmother died of a liver metastasis – we never pushed to find her primary but 3 of her sisters had breast cancer. My Grandfather had a malignant nasal polyp and died following a stroke while having radiation treatment. My mother has had Colon Cancer _she’s still alive and driving my crazy! Her brother – my uncle also had Colon Cancer as well as throat cancer (he died of throat cancer). My Grandmother on Daddy’s side died of Lung Cancer at 52 – but she also had cancer in her ovaries. (We think the Ovaries were primary but have no way to be sure). In March while I was still in the midst of my battle my Father was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic Colon Cancer – he is fighting now too. He had a colon resection and is now having chemo. Doing well but his longterm outlook is grim. Mind you he is sneaking off this weekend to race his car! I joke with friends sometimes that I was gonna have cancer it was just a question of where. We have all just kept on living with everything going on. Some of our fights were harder than others and some of us suffered a bit more than the rest.

Yes They’re Fake – The Real Ones Tried To Kill Me: Reasoning behind the color. I’m thinking mainly gray – for the blur that your life becomes after you hear the words “you have Cancer”. Charcoal bits for the really bad days that you feel like crap and are tired of the fight. Red for the days you come up for air and think “hell yeah I can do this, I can beat this thing”. Finally, pink because it is the color for Breast Cancer.

~Wendy Radcliff/Clsywnch

Wendy tells me that the name came from a T-shirt…she has a collection of smart-assed “Fuck Cancer” T-shirts, that includes another that says “My oncologist does my hair”.

And just to illustrate Wendy’s kindness and spirit, I only have my skein of this very special yarn because of her generosity.  I placed a bid before leaving to take my parents to the airport that day, and returned after the auction had ended, only to discover that I had been outbid several times over, but that Wendy had sent a message saying that she was raising my bid herself and covering the difference.

Yes They’re Fake – The Real Ones Tried To Kill Me in Merino Sock

This long story leads to the KAL that begins today in the indigodragonfly Ravelry group.  We were tossing around ideas as to which pattern would be the perfect one for this yarn, and I threw out Anne Hanson‘s Aria Delicato.  All four of us decided that it was indeed perfect and that we would all knit it together.  And there are even some others joining us along the way, using other indigodragonfly yarns.

Feel free to join us, too!  I will post more as we go along, because there are more amazing stories to be told and I am sure the finished scarves are going to be absolutely beautiful.