Christmas is fast approaching

Christmas is fast approaching so all knitters and crocheters are thinking about who would appreciate a handmade item. Who is worth the time and energy that goes into a hand knit gift? Who will really appreciate it? They are gifts made of love and time and hence are priceless but will the recipient think so?

I can’t remember a Christmas that I haven’t given at least one hand made gift. I am often knitting Christmas Eve to finish off a gift. I have also made a miniature version of a sweater when I knew I would not finish it before Christmas. It is now an ornament for our tree.

All of our Christmas stockings are handknit – mine by a great aunt and my husband’s and children’s by me. I copied my original stocking but each one is a little different, having different coloured heels or toes. I think they are special and will give a lifetime of memories.

I have given many hats, scarves and mittens as gifts. They have all been appreciated. When my brother was a pilot flying up north, the thick wool mittens I knit him were the only things that actually kept his hands warm. He still wears them 30 years later out working on the tractor. They have had the thumbs reknit but other than that they have held up very well. How many store bought items can you say that about?

My main problem is not starting to knit soon enough. It always seems like there is lots of time, until there isn’t. I always admire those, who in the summer, say they are working on Christmas gifts but it doesn’t seem to work for me. I would probably make it and want to give it right away.

So you have probably figured out I haven’t knit any presents yet or even thought of what I will maybe make. There is still another month and a half to go.

So is it going to be hats with that nice cashmere yarn or maybe some new mittens?

 

Fall knitting is back

The days are getting shorter and the nights are cooler which means fall knitting is back. There are many of us who knit throughout the year but for some their knitting and crocheting takes a hiatus while the warmer longer days are around. When fall returns so too do the knitting needles and crochet hooks.

Fair Isle mitten knit with Berroco Mercado

The question then becomes, what should I knit? It may be going back to finish off an item from last seasons knitting or more exciting, a new project. How do you decide what to knit? Maybe you take  look at Ravelry to see what is new and interesting. https://www.ravelry.com/patterns.

It may be that you have been thinking about a pattern and have finally decided to try and tackle it. Perhaps you are the type to go into your LYS and see what inspires you. It may be the feel of a certain yarn or it may a great colour that calls to you or one of the fantastic hand-dyed yarns.

You could also check out classes are being offered by your LYS. You will be able to see samples of what is going to be made in the class and look at the yarn being used to make the item.

Brioche Knit Cowl

Brioche knit cowl using Berroco Vintage Chunky.

At Rose’s Fine Yarns we have 11 different  knitting classes and 2 crochet classes being offered this fall. http://www.rosesfineyarns.com/classes/. There is everything from Beginner Knitting or Crocheting to projects such as cowls and hats. Maybe you want to learn how to make a sock and have been intimidated by the tiny needles or double pointed needles. If you take  class you will be able to ask questions and learn the tricks to make a great project. Some of the classes will teach you a new skill like different ways to cast on and off and some classes are project classes where you are working on a specific project.

Saltwater Classics knitting pattern book

Another way to get inspiration is to look at new patterns books such as the new Saltwater Knitting book. This is a book of knitting patterns for mittens, hats and socks from Newfoundland. Not only are there patterns, but also beautiful pictures of Newfoundland and stories of life in Newfoundland.

Wherever you find your inspiration, now is the time to pick up those knitting needles and crochet hooks and make something warm and snuggly.

 

 

 

 

Spring Yarns

Spring is finally in the air and with that comes the arrival of spring yarns. Many think knitting and crocheting is only for the winter months but there are lots of great things to knit and crochet for the warmer months of the year or for those of you who are lucky enough to live in a warmer climate.

For the warmer months there are great cotton, linen and plant- based fibres which are great for lighter garments. Check out all the great patterns for tees and tanks on Ravelry http://ravelry.com.

Queensland Dungaree – a DK weight cotton based recycled yarn

One of the newest spring yarns is a cotton yarn by Queensland called Dungaree. Dungaree is a DK weight yarn ( 22 sst over 4 inches on a 4 mm needle) made out of recycled jeans. The yarn is 95% cotton and 5% other fibres. With 200m in a 100 gm ball there is a good yardage in these skeins. There are 12 different colours in heathered tones with a good selection of neutrals and more vibrant colours.

Juniper Moon Farm also has a new spring yarn out that is a blend of linen and silk

Juniper Moon Farm Pollock

Pollock is 55% silk and 45% linen and has 320 m in each 100 g ball. It wtonaill make a beautiful summer shawl or top. The yarn is tonal and has beautiful variation without being striipey. 2 or 3 balls are all that are needed to make the pattern called Natalia, a nice sleeveless longer lengthed top.

Natalia, knit with 2 to 3 balls of Pollock

The final yarn I am going to talk about today is Ella Rae Eco Organic Cotton which is a sport weight yarn with 250m in a 100 g ball. We have 11 different colours in stock. It is 100% organic cotton with a nice twist and soft hand. Wouldn’t a baby blanket knit from this be beautiful? 4 balls makes this Seraphina Blanket by Andrea Babb

Make this the year you try a spring or summer knitting project and try out some of the great plant based yarns that are available.

Knitting Slumps

I am in a knitting slump. I am feeling frustrated with a couple of projects on which I am working. Last night I was sitting on my deck ready to work on a project I am hoping to offer as a class this fall. I heard someone say “oh no” then” No, No” and then I smelt a very strong skunk smell. I think my neighbour startled the skunk that lives somewhere in our neighbourhood. So then I had to move everything inside.I love sitting outside in the summer an knitting. I really don’t like having to be inside when the weather is nice.  I worked part of a row and realized I had used the wrong colour so I frogged it. Then I had difficulty figuring out which colours and in what order I was supposed to knit. I knit a row and I was not enjoying it and it was taking forever. I don’t like the yarn I am knitting with and I just feel frustrated. I don’t know whether to give up or keep going. I could finish off some socks but even that has little appeal at the moment. I have some hats I need to finish for someone but they are not my favourite pattern.

On the weekend I organized my needles as they were a mess and I thought it might inspire me to do some knitting. So my needles are all neatly put into a forms cabinet which works perfectly for them. It is a cabinet that has thin drawers that were used to hold legal forms. It looks like the the top section of this cabinet. I have a drawer for my DPN, for each length of circular needle and my straight knitting needles as well as a drawer for my crochet hooksUnfortunately it is in our garage at the moment because I have not figured out where the best spot in the house would be. Some day I hope to have a whole room devoting to my knitting.

We have some beautiful new yarns in the store now and I would love to knit with them but I feel I need to finish what I have already started. Maybe next I need to go through my stash and that will kick start my knitting urge.I think one finished object would make me feel happier with my knitting. I love seeing what our customers are knitting. It often leaves me itching to pick up my needles. Here is one of the new sock yarns we got in- I think I may use it for my next sock class if there is any left.

I do have a long car ride coming up soon and that is always a good place for me to get some knitting done. Hopefully I can fix this knitting slum and get knitting again.

I CAN Crochet

If you had asked me  a month ago can you crochet? I would have said, I am more of a knitter than a crocheter. I have tried to crochet and just not been able to do it quickly and gone back to my knitting. I know how to do a single, a double, a triple and I can read the pattern to help someone with the pattern, but I have never done anything more than a dishcloth. I would try and just not be able to do it. Everyone told me how crochet was so much faster- obviously they never saw me crochet. To add to my crocheting woes, I am left handed and just couldn’t quite get it right.

Ziggy round 21

Well I have embarked on my first actual crochet pattern and I didn’t just pick a simple hat or shawl. I jumped right in with a blanket that starts with a mandela and works out into a square. A 96″ x 96″ square blanket. There are over a hundred rounds and each round is different. It was a pattern I saw that intrigued me. I wanted to do it.

Ziggy round 33

I am going stitch by stitch and round by round and it is coming along quite nicely. I am learning a lot and am gaining confidence in my ability to crochet. I can now say I CAN crochet. Sometimes we talk ourselves out of doing things saying we can’t do it. How are we going to learn if we don’t at least try? As long as you are enjoying the process, that is all that is important. You don’t need to be the best or the fastest. Our hobbies are about giving us something we can do that give us pleasure. It is a bonus that with knitting and crocheting we get a useful finished project as opposed to say stamp collecting or some other hobby.

Sometimes we use excuses – like I am left handed so it is too hard to figure out how to do it from all the right-handed pictures. I think we just need to find the right project, the one that inspires us to keep going. A lot of people ask me what is it I should make now that I can knit and purl. I always ask what do they want to make and what type of knitting is it that drew them to knitting. Do you like fair isle? Cables? Entrelac? Then that is what you should try. You don’t have to start with something complicated. Was it a certain yarn that you liked the colour of? Then get that yarn and knit with it because it gives you joy, not because someone said that it was appropriate for a beginner. I didn’t decide – this is my first crochet project so I am going to use the cheapest yarn possible, I chose a yarn with which I thought I would enjoy working. Life is too short to use crappy yarn or knit or crochet something because someone tells you it is what you should do.

I Finished!

So those of you who read my blog know that I have a problem finishing what I start.  I see a new yarn or project and I am off in another direction. Squirrel! Well, you will be happy to know that I have actually finished a few projects.

I took a few things on vacation with me to knit. Okay, I think I took 7 or 8 projects that I thought I might work on. Of those I finished only one. Sorry market bag and socks I will finish you soon but I had all this pretty other yarn.

I finished my helical hat. That is probably because I needed to see how it worked up because I am teaching a helical hat class in the fall. http://www.rosesfineyarns.com/classes/

I made good progress on the baby blanket I am knitting using Juniper Moon Farm Cumulus.  I am pretty sure I will have that one done by the end of the month.  The yarn is so soft.  I think I will be able to get a blanket out of 2 skeins. That will be a sample for the store. It always help to see how the yarn knits up.

I started a hat but didn’t get too far but I think it will only take a few more hours to finish. Maybe if I knew who I was going to give it to, I might work a little faster.

My Find Your Fade is taking forever. I spent 20 hours working on it and I think I may only be a third of the way done. I added a new colour but I hate it and am going to rip it out but I have figured out which yarns I will use instead.I started to crochet a dish cloth but hated it and ripped it out. I thought about giving it another try but I had this really pretty sock yarn I wanted to try out. I never got to it either.

When I got back my husband asked me to knit a pair of baby booties for his hairdresser who had a baby at the beginning of the summer. Actually he asked me two nights before his hair appointment at dinner.  After dinner we went shopping for a birthday present for our son so I didn’t get any knitting done that night. That left me with one evening to knit the booties. Sorry Dougan, no walk for you. I have to knit. The booties turned out really cute and I might do a class on them because there are no seams and you can make them in an evening!

So I guess I better get back to the market bag, socks, shawl….