Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Weekend Knitting Demonstrations

This past weekend was the Ilderton Heritage Show.  For the last few years I have been asked to demonstrate knitting.  How can this not be a fun weekend?  It's two full days of knitting, talking about knitting, answering questions about knitting and having anyone interested knit a few sts in garter stitch. 
 
 
 An added bonus is visiting with the other vendors and demonstrators showing off their craft.

The Elgin County Hookers were demonstrating traditional rug hooking.

Debbie from Ziraldo Alpacas had yarn, felted dryer balls, felted soaps and other alpaca related items for sale.  These skeins sat on my table for a bit while I decided which ones I "needed".  I decided on the light coloured ones :)
 

Braided rug making was new this year.
 

There was spinning going on (Debbie, this is your alpaca fleece being spun in laceweight!)
 

One of my favourite displays is tatting.  I loved this multicoloured doily.
 
 
I missed a few displays.  There was also weaving, bobbin lace and crochet being done. With all this crafting going on, where else would I have wanted to be?
 
Some of us will be together again for the Canadian Plowing Match outside Thorndale on August 15 and 16 if you want to come see all these projects being worked on in person.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cottage KAL

A couple of my best knitting friends and I have a yearly tradition of spending a girls/knitting weekend away at a cottage.  It's always a great getaway filled with lots of relaxing, walking and of course knitting.

Here is a quick recap of our weekend away.


Sun rise meditations at the lighthouse,

 
 
walks on the beach,
 
 
 
 
 
lots of flowers in bloom
 
 

 
 
 
buying yarn in the grocery store,
 
 
and of course some knitting
 

 this is the Spidery Tank from a back issue of Interview Knits. By the end of the weekend we all had a great start on the project.

 
Thanks for a great weekend ladies!




Monday, June 23, 2014

Making Good Progress!

I'm back on track with both of these knitting projects!

The lace wrap has its pattern zigging and zagging in all the right places again,

 
and the No Pattern Sweater has the armhole shaping finished and just about ready to start the neckline shaping.  The body is almost finished!!

 
The weekend weather here was sunny and hot so this is were I spent a lot of time knitting; in the shade with a nice breeze.  Hopefully I'll have some finished project photos to show you soon.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Tonight is a Night for Problem Solving!

Happy Friday!  I hope that everyone has had a productive knitting week.  It's been fairly slow here this week on the knitting front but I did manage to finish a pair of men's socks that have been on the needles for quite a while.


I'm hoping to step up the amount of knitting time this weekend.  I pulled this sweater out of the corner in the living room where all my set aside WIPs seem to get placed.  I had been knitting quite quickly on this No Pattern Sweater until I reached the armhole shaping and it came to a complete stop as I have to do some more measuring and math before I continue.  Since it seems like I've found my excitement again for knitting this sweater it's the first project I'm going to tackle tonight.


This is the second project for tonight.


This is a fairly easy lace pattern to knit and one that I use in my learn to knit lace classes.  You know, the classes where I talk about the helpfulness of life lines.  What is that saying - Do as I say; not as I do..... note the lack of life line in my knitting.  Also note there is a zig without a zag in the pattern that needs to be pulled back to were the needle is :(  This project found its way to the corner too for a while.

But no more, tonight is the night to tackle these forgotten projects, get them back on track and back into my knitting bag to be finished!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Yarn Bombing/Knit in Public Day

Saturday, June 7 was Yarn Bombing day and the start of Knit in Public week. 
 
 

The Port Stanley library wanted to expand on their yarn bombing display from last summer and had put out a call for knit or crochet buntings.
 

 
Through one of the library's programs a group of young girls had started finger knitting and created this tent to be part of the yarn bombing display.
 
Jen, the group's coordinator showing off the girl's work
 
As for the buntings, it is estimated that between community knitters and local knitting groups there were around 400 donated!

 


 
 
 There were enough to string around the library and into the park beside them.

 
There were more buntings inside the library,
 
 
and this is the view out the back window of the library!
 
 
A few of us from the Knitting Goddesses guild went down to spend the day knitting and to look for the buntings that we had knit.


Erin and Jen from the Port Stanley library,

Erin, organized this yarn bombing event

 Even on a sunny June day, there were knitters wearing their hand knit socks.



 Just because the official knitting at the library finished at noon, that didn't stop us from carrying on at one of the local restaurants,


Then down at the beach for the rest of the afternoon.

 
 You can't get a day much better than this!



Saturday, June 7, 2014

Modular Knitting Workshop at Ziraldo Alpacas

I was asked to teach an afternoon knitting workshop at Ziraldo Alpacas last Sunday.  What a great group of Knitters these ladies are!  This was the 3rd time we have been together for classes and we always have lots of fun.  The first time we were all together was for me to teach learn to knit classes. 
How far these Knitters have come!
 
The first order of business was having everyone pick their skein of Rainbow Lopi alpaca yarn.  As you can see, this was not an easy task; there were so many great colours to choose from.
 
 
Winding the skein into a center pull ball on the yarn swift and ball winder was next.
 
 




 
 Now we were ready to cast on and give continuous modular knitting a try.
 
 
 
Below is the same Rainbow Lopi yarn just knit in regular garter stitch.  The colours knit up as you would expect from a variegated yarn, in strips of colours. It's pretty, but it's still just plain old garter stitch.  This would knit up into a functionally warm and pretty scarf but when you switch up the garter stitch into modular sections of triangles and rectangles.....
 

 
 
THIS is what you get.....a scarf with a fun, super cool look!  Piecework knitting is a great way to give those variegated yarns a different look!
 

 
 
This is a fun technique to learn in an afternoon and this group of Knitters caught on quickly to the process. Everyone had their own scarf started and well on its way by the end of the workshop.  I'm looking forward to seeing the finished scarves in the fall when we get together again.  Happy knitting ladies!
 




Thursday, June 5, 2014

Indigo Dyeing

Last month Debbie from Ziraldo Alpacas and I gave indigo dyeing a try.  It was a full day of fun!

The morning was spent making up our dye stock and skeining and soaking our wool and alpaca yarns and fiber.  Preparing the dye stock is a lengthy process with lots of waiting time in between each step.

 
Once the dye was ready to work with and our dye pots brought up to temperature, in went the yarns. Yes, they really did look lime green which is concerning when you know indigo is blue!!


Next in was some beautiful alpaca fiber


Here it is turning green!


We let our yarns sit in the dye pot for about 15 mins before removing them.  The instructions were very clear about handling the dye pots in such a way that very little oxygen was put into the water as this would deactivate the dye.


 
The skein above is ready to come out of the dye pot even though it is still green.  Watch in the following pictures what happens as the skein is pulled out of the water and into the air.  Magic!




 
In a matter of seconds, the colour turns from bright green to a wonderful blue as the oxygen in the air hits the yarn!  We didn't find too much difference in the shade of blue when we compared the white wool and white alpaca yarns.  Debbie dyed some fawn coloured alpaca and I overdyed this skein of Patons Classic Wool that I had previously dyed with Marigolds or onion skins. These skeins came out a darker blue. You can see the results of this overdyed skein in the last picture.  It's the skein on the bottom right.  There is still some gold showing through in places but that is the fun and beauty of dyeing your own yarns!
 
 
We also experimented with 2 different pots.  One was stainless steel and the other aluminum.  One we kept on a camping stove to maintain even heat and the other sat without a heat source and again there wasn't too much difference in the yarns that came out of either pot. 
 
My only word of caution when doing this dyeing is to wear gloves and a mask through the whole procedure and work in a well ventilated area as there are strong chemicals involved.  We did this dyeing at Debbie's farm so we were able to work outside in the barn. 
 
Below is my finished wool skeins from the day and Debbie had a tray as well filled with her alpaca skeins.   We had the odd skein  come out of that wasn't perfect and may need to be redyed but overall I think our dyeing was a huge success and I would definitely do this again!


 
I have one more skein that I dyed that I haven't shown you here.  I'll show that one to you in the next post.  It looks totally different than the rest.