Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Yarn Challenge 2017

Yarn Challenge 2017 was a long time ago, way back in February. Projects were made and voting tabulated. Winners were announced.

This year we chose a yarn from Berroco: Remix light, a recycled mix of Nylon, Cotton, Acrylic, Silk and Linen.  We loved the yarn, many are using again.  The yardage is amazing at 400 meters in 100 grams.


These are the entries in no particular order.  The numbers were the ballot entry numbers.









These were the winners:
Catherine's baby Jacket, Dress, Hat and Booties:

A Lovely Blanket Created by
Sharon
and Jennifer's childs sweater was 3rd place.
Thanks for waiting to see them, it is August?


Saturday, May 20, 2017

If I can just make it through this week....

You may have noticed I haven't blogged in a really long time! I really don't know where the time has gone, I must admit I have been using Facebook as a way of communication, but it's only a quick fix.

Every week since January has been fillled! The shop, home, family and life in general. All good things, we are all fine!

It's time to catch up! I will try this week to get a couple of posts done!

Today I am in the waiting room of a car repair shop as the car is in for an oil change, the iPad remembered the wifi password!

I brought a bit if knitting, homework this time as it's a shop sample.

The yarn is a new gradient cotton blend, Sping Rainbow from Katia. One ball makes a lightweight summer scarf wrap.


It took me the rest of the week to figure out how to get this one photo onto the page!

Needless to say I won't get much blogging done this week, bear with me!

Thanks everyone for waiting...



Monday, January 2, 2017

Long time!

The blog has been silent for a long time, I am not sure where all the time has gone.  Days in the shop are busy, homelife has been hectic too!

As you may know the well at home went dry, I am happy to report that after drilling for almost 3 weeks we now have lots of water.  Our front lawn however looks like a giant rodent has run a tunnel through the grass.  Good thing The Girl and The Boy are both experienced landscapers it will be next spring before we can make everything presentable again.

The shop celebrated its 8th Anniversary and we are making plans to make our 9th filled with new and  better learning opportunities.  Our Knit a long Mondays have been popular. The first Monday of every month we meet at the shop and begin a new project.  I try to pick something relatively small with a new technique, knitting only however.  So far we have covered cables, working in the round and thrums.  Next month. (January 9th) we take on a project that uses 'magic loop'.

I wrote the previous bit a while back, somehow finding time to fit everything into the day has been a challenge.

Christmas is done and the New Year begins, we will try to do better in 2017!

This is the year that I want everyone to challenge themselves to a 'Fearless"  project.  Try something new, take a small step or a giant leap!  Knitting is not brain surgery, it is very forgiving!

See you Soon!



Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Never say Never

Remember how I said there was a lot going on, well I didn't really tell you everything.

Earlier this year we became an Ashford Dealer, weaving looms and spinning supplies.  We have a couple of looms but avoided the Spinning Wheels as The Black Lamb in Port Hope is better equipped to teach spinning. 

During the summer we had someone come into the shop with a spinning wheel. Helen, who is a spinner, checked it over and decided that it needed some work and we sent him off to another shop for better information.  It made me think about Spinning?

You see I have a lot of people in my circle of friends who spin and they all invited me to learn.  I would always say that knitting is weird enough and why would I make yarn when there is so much beautiful yarn available.  I was determined to not have another craft in my home!

Maybe I was having a week moment but one day out of nowhere an Ashford spinning wheel was made available to me, the person selling it just used it a few times and found it beyond her needs. Not wanting to miss out again and knowing that if I didn't want it anymore I could easily use it as a store prop, lend it out or sell it on.



The biggest issue I had now was admitting to all those who thought I would enjoy spinning that I was even considering it. How could I learn without telling anyone I needed a lesson or seven!  A quick call to Laurie at the Black Lamb and we spent a Monday morning together, talking shop and she gave me a quick lesson.

Then I practiced, watched videos and read a bunch of books and magazines.   The wheel came with a bit of fibre and I played with most of it! I have learned a lot, my hands and feet work well together and the more I practice the easier it gets.

I met my friends as they were Demonstating spinning at Orono Fair, one even said:

'You could learn how to do this you know!'

My response:

'I am sure a could!'

I have new words in my vocabulary: drafting, forward short draft, carded bats vs roving, worsted spun and woolen spun, bobbins, flyers....

A few of my lumpy skeins:





Now I find myself wanting to attempt new fibres and see how they perform.  I may never become very good, but I do like the fact that if someone comes into the shop looking for spinning fibre then I have at least a small bit of knowledge to be able to help with choices.

This weekend was Thanksgiving and "The Girl" was home.  The internet was down and our television reception is down to just a few channels.  I taught her how to card some wool and I spun it into a very lumpy skein.  Coming home is like visiting a Pioneer Village! 

Other then a few people not many know about this, so keep it a secret?

So never say never!  Your brain is always wanting to learn new things, sometimes they aren't easy at first but as muscle memory comes into play before you know it you are doing everything without too much trouble!

See You Soon!







Saturday, October 8, 2016

And then the well went dry!



Wow! It's Thanksgiving weekend.  I can't believe that we have gone through 2016.  Its been eventful at our home, not horrible events just a lot going on.

'The Farmer' had surgery in April, which went well but we would head out early 2 times a week to go to see his physiotherapist. He could go on his own after 6 weeks, but it was just as easy to drop him off and do a few groceries and pick him up. (It wasn't so great when he booked a few on a Monday morning, my day off!) 

We had one little vacation, which got shortened when I popped a rib in my back, sending us home early and I spent a week visiting our Chiropractor to sort this out.  (It was as painful as childbirth!)  Every other opportunity to get away was spent dealing with something happening at home, day trips to find equipment, following big equipment when it moved from farm to farm. 



The weather was a huge factor as crops suffered through the worst drought conditions we have ever seen.  They did produce it's just that everything was early and ready all at once.  Farmers in the area struggled to get enough hay to feed animals, we were fortunate to have had enough to sell to some, we could have sold much more if we had it.



The Farm also does Custom Work, they head off with the big equipment and fill silos, and fill bags with hay and corn.  This year they had many more jobs as feed was scarce and some farmers faced cutting corn early as hay was not available. 

Then one well went dry and this week the main well for the barn and the farm house is completely dry!  Finding enough water daily to feed and clean the cows and the milking system is taking up much of everyone's time.




It's hard to describe why they choose this profession!  When I questioned my 60 plus Farmer why he would take on another custom job his response was:

'If I don't do it John's cows won't have feed this winter!'  

If we don't do it who will?




Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Give a dog a bone!

Last year 'The Boy' was home for the summer for the first time in 3 years, 'The Farmer' and I were on holidays and during  a conversation home he asked:

'Could I get a dog?' (Our beloved Jasper had left us 2 years earlier and this was the first time he noticed how empty our house was without a pet.) 

'If you clean your room?' I joked.

By the time we got home the room was tidied and the puppy was chosen.

'The Boy' and 'The Puppy' went off to school in September. They come home on weekends and we enjoy their company. We agree to look after The Puppy when  it's required.  Last week we had him for a few days while 'The Boy' worked. 

Let's just say that a Labrador Puppy is busy! The only thing that keeps him busy is by throwing things or a bone!  Last Monday I needed to get some things done so off I went to see Jim at Welcome Feeds. A bag of treats and a bone were purchased.  It kept the puppy occupied most of the day.


Knitters (those who crochet, quilt, embroider, paint) are kind of like Puppies, we need to keep entertained and busy. Give us a great ball of our favourite yarn and we can be occupied for hours.

First there is going onto Ravelry or diving into our patterns to find the right project,  Then we get to find a comfy place to sit and off we go. Sometimes we can take our 'bone' with us as we sit and wait.  It's funny how people we comment thatwe must be very patient as to be able to knit. But really we knit because if really aren't patient at all, without something to keep us occupied would be fidgety, distracted and perhaps a bit of a pest!


The cooler air is beginning to remind us that we live in Canada. Not only will we need those woolly things we also will be looking for ways to fill those long evenings stuck inside our warm homes!

The shop is filling up with all sorts of treats to keep everyone occupied!

See you soon!


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Questions?

Can I ask you a silly, stupid, simple question?

Asking questions is a good thing.  If you don't know how to do something the only way to find out how is to ask.

When my children were small I remember someone telling me that at about 5 years old a child will ask you what seems like 100 questions a day.
We get a lot of interesting questions at the shop. 

Here are some, with the answers:

What is DK?

DK or double knitting is a thickness of yarn that when knit with the correct needles will give you 22 stitches to 10 centimeters. (That is where it is designed to be at its best for wear and texture and drape). You don't have to knit it double or do anything different it's just the name.  Just like fingering, sport, Aran, worsted, chunky!  

Circular needles? Does that mean you can only use them to work around? 

Until someone come ups with a better term, circular needles are designed to help you work your knitting into a tube. They really are just 2 needles joined by a flexible cord. You can work back and forth to create very wide flat pieces.  Knit to the end of your row, then switch the needles into opposite hands and start back in the other direction.  This keeps the weight of the knitted fabric off your hands and into your lap.

The pattern calls for a 29 inch needle mine is 32 inches can I use it?  

As long as the needle diameter is the same, a 4 mm for example, a 32 inch is only 3 inches longer than the pattern calls for. Unless you are making something that is less than 32 inches around then it would work fine.  If you are making a blanket then the 32 will just give you more room for your work.

I have been knitting a lot now my neck, arm, shoulder, hands or elbow hurts?

Even a simple task like knitting or crochet can create repetitive strain injuries! Be mindful of your posture and give yourself time to recover.

What is Blocking?

Blocking is setting the shape of the garment.  Not everything requires blocking.  Natural fibres respond to blocking beautifully as it remembers that shape, acrylics and other man made fibres not so much. 

Lace shawls and garments require blocking to help define the fabric and smooth out the stitches.
Blocking garments before sewing together makes seaming easier.  It also gives you the opportunity to check your work.  Measuring each piece to the sizes given in your pattern. 

To block a wool garment:  Soak for at least 10 minutes in cool/warm water with a little SOAK or Eucalan.  (No rinsing required)  Drain the water and gently squeeze out as much moisture as you can.  Find your thickest towel, lay your damp project on it and gently roll it up.  At this point I usually stand on the roll (take your socks off first) and let the towel absorb the moisture.  Find a nice flat surface.  (Those play mats for kids that link together like puzzle pieces work perfectly) Pin into shape.  Sometime you have to smoosh the garment slightly smaller as some fibres grow when wet, but will dry to the original shape if pushed into it. 

Blocking a lace shawl requires the same prep but you can watch your creation evolve when you pull the garment open and allow the stitches to lock together.  (don't get over ambitious you don't want to break the fibers.)

For acrylics and blends you could get away just rolling the pieces in a damp towel and then once they have absorbed some of the moisture smooth the pieces into shape and pin if needed.

I do wash anything that has been dragged around for a while, especially baby garments.  Wash using the directions on the label (I always wash on Delicate and cold for all hand knit items!)  Lay flat to dry or in the case of super wash wool tumble on low heat for a few minutes.  Dryers are horrible places for fabrics, the heat and the friction will cause added wear to your garments.  When you think of how the previous generations could keep baby clothes looking so new is that everything was hand washed and dried on the line. 

The oddest question I have been asked: 

How do I make the scarf not so long?

Really, I did not laugh (out loud) but if you don't know or understand then you don't.  So please ask questions all the time.  (I can answer most about knitting anything else not so much!)


See you Soon!