Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas is all but Wrapped Up!

It's not often that I can boast about having my Christmas packages all wrapped up early! But it's a fact. Last week I sent them by airmail hurtling towards their final destinations in Australia. God's speed my little boxes of goody knittedness!

Just because my Aussie Christmas knitting is done, doesn't mean I can rest on my roly poly butt! I still have a little knitting to do for my mother out law ... AND ... can you believe that there are three birthdays around Christmas I have to knit for too? One on Christmas Day, one on Boxing Day, and one just a few days after Christmas.

Since my last post I finished those darn socks for Mum. Excuse the language, but bloody hell! I thought these socks would never end. I used up all but about 30yds of the availalable 437yds! Why is it that the older parents get, the longer they want their socks? The sock style was a pretty generic sock construction, and I improvised the pattern from a cable pattern book.

Gerlinde Cable Socks

Following my sock madness, I needed some project satisfaction, so I cast on my gorgeous cashmere/silk yarn for the Darkside Cowl by Sarah Fama. I had exactly 100yds, and when I cast off, I had exactly 1yd to spare! Weird thing is that you knit it inside out...there is no outside pattern....and that was a little deceptive cos I kept thinking I was making mistakes!

Chocolatey Darkside Cowl

Last week I went with Maria and Barb to Shall We Knit. We'd signed up for a two hour workshop entitled Candle Flame Cowl by Julia Allen. I didn't need to learn how to knit a cowl, but I did need a good road trip and fibre fix! I knit my cowl from left over yarn from the Central Park Hoodie. A very fast knit, easy pattern to remember, and very effective.

Ozmoss Candle Flame Cowl

After I cast off the cowl, I cast on for a pair of Aran Felted Mittens #132 by Shirl the Purl . The pattern is by Cabin Fever and sized for a medium lady's hand . This project was a bit of stash busting of Cascade 220 from all those Ayla back packs I made for my nieces! I followed the pattern fairly closely; just made a few mods for a man sized hand. Final thought: if you don’t like to purl, then I would suggest you probably not knit these mittens. It’s ALL purling except for the cabling. And I don't understand why you would purl the palm with stockinette on the inside....I get it if you garter stitch the palm for's a mystery!

Jaran Mittens

Whilst the mittens were drying, I cast on for a last! I've been wanting to knit Hilja by Niina Hakkarainen, for quite a while. I dyed the yarn three weeks ago, but the Christmas knitting had to be finished first! Remember the caramello yarn??

I searched books and Ravelry for hours trying to find a simple pattern I could incorporate into this mindless stockinette vest. The difficulty is that this is a fitted vest. The front and back increases and decreases are made six inches in from the sides. This left me with only six inches available in the middle.....which would have been OK if the vest had not been a deep(ish) V neck.

I contemplated a cable on the sides, but the cable would have gone wonky where the knitting joins in the round. I thought about off-setting the cables just an inch in from the sides, but that woulda looked a bit weird!

Then I thought about a celtic symbol cable in the middle of the front, but since the largest vest size was for a 36" bust, I will have absolutely NO wiggle room for a cable that has little to no stretch.

Now I coulda put a cable on the back, but since I'm such a cold fish, it would be covered up most of the time.

So, stockinette simplicity it is:

Hilja Caramello

Now, in between all this vest contemplation, I decided that I loved the Jaran Mittens so much that I want a pair. And then Nick saw the Jaran Mittens drying and told me he wants a pair!

Since he's a Christmas baby, I told him I'd knit him some for his birthday, and that he could choose any colour other than black, dark brown, dark blue or dark green. As much as I love those colours, I do most of my knitting at night in front of the TV, and it's simply too much eye strain for this blind bat. So he suggested silver and dark silver??? What the....?

I went through my stash three times....I just didn't have any worsted weight yarn that was the right colour with the required yardage. the dye pot OzB!!

Here is the yarn for I dyed last night for Nick's mittens. He likes it, and that's all that matters in the end:

Silver Bells

Phew!! I've been busy!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dried Dyed Yarn

Huh....try saying that three times fast!

As promised here are the photos of my dried skeins of yarn.

I LOVE THEM ALL! The colours are just so perfect - exactly what I was hoping for.
Black Forest (will become a Hilja Vest)

Butter and Thanksgiving (will become socks or mittens)

Pomello and Black (will become Fiesta Mittens)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I Dyed Yesterday

Saturday, 14th November, 2009 ...

I had the fabulous opportunity to go on a road trip with Sharon and Louise to Shelridge Farm near Durham, Ontario.

Shelridge Farm has been producing fine yarns and custom knitting kits for hand knitters for almost 20 years now. They started out as an integrated sheep, wool and yarn business, and while they no longer own the sheep, they continue to focus on 100% wool and wool-based knitting yarns that they call Shelridge Soft Touch yarns. They have their yarns spun at a few select mills in Canada and the U.S., but perform all the rest of the manufacturing operations - skein winding, washing and hand-dyeing.

Our hosts were Buffy and Don Taylor. Buffy has developed a yarn production business featuring a wide range of yarn types and a large selection of hand-dyed colours. She's been dyeing yarn for about 20 years now.

Our mission: learn how to dye yarn.

What a fantastic day! I enjoyed every minute - the gloriously warm sunshine, the dyeing process, the puppy dogs, lunch in the workshop, Buffy's expert tutelage, and the very warm hospitality.

The cost of the course included the dyes, workshop and six skeins of yarn!

I dyed three skeins of light worsted and 3 skeins of fingering.

The three worsted skeins will be for the Hilja Vest by Niina Hakkarainen. Two of the fingering skeins will be for the Fiesta Mittens 220 by Lucy Neatby. The other two fingering skeins will be for socks - pattern not yet decided upon.

Who wants to see pics???

Louise dyeing sock yarn for the Tug Boat Socks by Lucy Neatby.

Worsted skeins for my Hilja Vest.

Fingering skeins for Sharon's Stained Glass Sweater.

Shelridge Farm Yarns

Group efforts

When the skeins are dry, I'll post more pics :-)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Will ya Look at This Weather?

I mean...c'mon! What lovely weather for this time of the year!! Who could possibly complain about 17C and 18C days - and what's more - combined with sunshine!

Nope, not even this Ozzie can find fault with the weather.

So, I've been taking advantage of it. Besides working outdoors to get ponds ready for winter, I've been Fall cleaning and dyeing yarn!

The following yarn is worsted weight Highland Peruvian wool. There is about 660yds - just enough for Hilja a lovely little vest I'd like to knit. The variegations didn't quite come out the way I wanted, but I still love the colour. Entirely my fault...I put a bit too much overlay colour on the base colour. It's all good though - I'll know for next time.


Then I piddled around a little bit with some Kool Aid dyeing. I've never used this method before, having always preferred the vibrant shades attained with Jacquard Acid dyes. I'd also heard that KA dye produces soft pastel shades. Hmm.....

Kool Aid Skeins

Christmas knitting is almost complete. The last pair of socks are on the needles and I'm about half way done with them.

Theresa's Easy Goings

Dad's Huberts

Mum's Gerlinde Cable Socks

Stay tuned for my next exciting adventure at Sheldridge Farm!

And because it's Fall....some pics!