Wednesday, August 29, 2012

finally found a use for it!

Way back when, Needles generously gifted me with some lovely local (to her) Alberta alpaca. It's a gorgeous, fawn coloured wool. slightly more than fingering weight, and about 300 metres. Delicious stuff. I've been looking for the right pattern for it - I was definitely thinking scarf or shawl, knowing how nice the alpaca would feel around the neck, but nothing really spoke to me. Until this. This would be the Suncrest Shawl, from Tanis Fibre Arts. I saw it on her blog, and fell in love with it. (check the blog pictures - I think they show it off better than the actual pattern pictures).
But... problem. There wasn't enough of the alpaca to make the shawl. I knew I could make the shawl bigger, but I didn't want to make it smaller. So then I was on the hunt for something that would co-ordinate - I could use the alpaca for the garter section that will fall against the neck, and something else for the shell lace part. I found a couple of things that could work (Come on, the Yarn Store was having everything at 50% off! off course I bought a few options...) But nothing seemed quite right. So I stopped into Needles and Knits, to see what Tove could find for me. We looked at a few things - some alpacas, some sparkly things, but again, nothing was quite IT. Until Tove brought out some chocolate brown silk. That was IT. I knew as soon as I held them together.

The milk chocolate colour of the silk was the perfect tonal quality to bring out the lushness of the fawn colour in the alpaca.
I added enough stitches to add 4 more repeats of the shell lace, and used up most of the alpaca. I bought one ball of the silk, but halfway through it, realized I needed another, so I dropped back in to Needles and Knits, and picked up the other one. It's perfect.

I can't wait to see it blocked out, to see the lace all stretched out. Plus, that spaghetti-like mess on the edge of the fawn coloured garter stretches out and the join is great - it just looks like hell right now, but trust me, blocking will do wonders!

Monday, August 27, 2012

drive time and baseball games...

...equals lots of sock knitting time. I've finished one pair in Cascade Heritage Silk Paints (85% Merino Superwash Wool, 15% Mulberry Silk), and started another. the yarn is THAT nice...)
The completed blue toned ones will probably be a Christmas gift for my boss - he did not hide his admiration for this colourway during the time I knitted them as a passenger in his car. I actually prefer when potential gift recipients state their likes for something - makes it so much easier!

The second pair is as yet unspoken for - it's a lovely, earthy combination of colours. It could go to my father in law, or my husband, or maybe my son.
Can I speak to this yarn? The colours are spectacular, there's no pooling (perfect for Nancy...) there's a slight patterning, but it really just comes across as random. And the 15% silk content gives a sheen to the finished item. This is something I expect from an indie dyer, something I'd be happy to pay upwards of $25 - $30 per skein, yet it's Cascade, and it's $19.99 at the Yarn Store! (and during their 50% off sale last week, I may have stocked up a bit...)
Plus it's 400 metres, so we're talking about a substantial amount of very pretty yarn...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

weaving 3

And... the third weaving project.
Once I took the blue scarf off the loom, I immediately dove into the "basket o' odd balls" and came up with this combo. I ball of Pink kid silk laceweight, and some multicoloured silk laceweight I got from Grand River Yarns years ago.
I again entertained some people by warping the pink across our screened porch, but the difference this time is in the heddle (that slotted white thing in the picture below). The Cricket originally came with an 8 dent heddle - meaning there are 8 slots per inch. An 8 dent is perfect for fingering up to worsted weights (and probably bigger, but I haven't woven anything bigger than worsted). I knew I wanted to weave some finer weights of yarns, so I asked Tove if she could order me a 12-dent heddle, which she did, and I picked up the day before we left on our vacation. This heddle is perfect for laceweights, so off I went.

Of course, weaving with laceweight is taking a MUCH longer time, but I'm loving how it's coming out. I've got a lot more than this done by now, but weaving has stalled a bit - I haven't touched the loom in a week or more - looking at these pictures, I really must get at it again - it really is lovely to work with the silks.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

weaving 2 - two days!

Once I cleared the green silk off the loom, I immediately started digging in the basket of odd bits and pieces of yarns I brought up to the cottage for possible weaving. (that was a fun basket to put together - tossing the stash for odd balls here and there, and then seeing what could work together).
What worked first was this three way combo of three blues.
Two separate alpacas in a light blue and a medium blue, which I striped in the warp (I made it about 6 feet long...) I used up almost all of these little odd balls...
Then the weft was some Fleece Artist (I think) merino silk (I think) with maybe some mohair (which leads me to believe that it may be from Wellington Fibres instead of Fleece Artist), but whatever it is - it was almost a full ball of tonal blues with some purples and greens tossed into the mix.


The colours above are pretty true - the modeled shots below are not even close - it's very blue, not grey tones as shown. And as the title says - it took me two days! I warped it in our screened porch one afternoon (it turns out our screened porch at the cottage is the perfect size to warp a scarf...). This was the source of much amusement from family members and friends - my husband and son are pretty blase about seeing great lengths of yarn strung across a room, but others were fascinated by the process...
The next day I wove it, using up all the Fleece Artist/Wellington Fibres whatever it was..., and fringed it the following morning. Less than 48 hours, and during that time there were also meals, sleeping and general cottage merriment.

Next up - the third weaving project which is going to take me longer to complete...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

weaving 1

A few weeks back, when we were at the cottage for a week's vacation, I brought my Cricket loom up to clear a few projects. This was already on it when it came to the cottage, so first on the agenda was finishing this.
It didn't take long (weaving rarely does), and now I have this luscious green silk beaded scarf.

The colour is a bit in between both of these pictures - not as gold as the top one, but more vibrant and earthy green than the bottom one. The silk means it's got some heft to it, and the beads have placed themselves on both sides of the scarf randomly, so it is a very wearable piece. Again, like the jeweled cowl, I haven't decided if this is a keeper or a gift!

Details - I skein of Tilli Tomas pure silk fingering weight for the warp (I used about half, so still have about 150 metres left), and one full skein of Tilli Tomas beaded silk for the weft - used it all! I bought both of these skeins at the Kitchener Fair about 3 or 4 years ago and finally used them up. Makes me feel better about what I will probably buy at this years fair!

Monday, August 20, 2012

modeled jeweled cowl and an explanation

First off, the explanation of my absence...
Work has been, shall we say, difficult. I love my job - the people, the flexibility, the work I do. Love it all. Well, actually I loved it all until about 2 months ago. Now I just some of it. About 2 months ago, we acquired some new divisions. This is a good thing - I like being busy, and setting up the logistics of this is part of what I do, and I like doing it.
But, one of the divisions is Electronics - and we acquired it when a company went bankrupt, and we inherited 3 people - the ex-owner, the director of sales and a sales rep. Herein lies the problem. They have come on board and tried to change how we do things to the way they do things. Whereas we assume they will change their way of doing things to match our way, as I have a number of divisions to manage, and I need them to all function in a reasonably similar way. It's been a nightmare. Without going into too much detail - the main issue is the director of sales. He doesn't respect me, he tried to undermine me, he doesn't copy me on important things, when in a meeting, he won't listen to me, but when my boss says what I have just said, he gets it. It's very frustrating, and I've spoken to my boss, and he has spoken to the jerk. Numerous times. The jerk just keeps apologizing, saying he forgot to include me. Really. How stupid does he think we are?
And the ex-owner, now a VP of our company, is lobbying for a bigger role to play in our company, beyond just electronics. It won't happen, because he's not really trustworthy, but still - it's out there.
It's funny at times, but some of the time, it's very frustrating and almost disheartening. I know I have the support of my boss, and the CEO (who is a friend of the ex-owner, hence the reason we threw them a life preserver when they went bankrupt...), but still. It has sucked the life out of me lately, and I just haven't had the spare time to be online as I would like to be.
Having said all that, I'm getting a better handle on things, and hope to be more of a presence around here - I've been doing lots of knitting to relieve stress!!

Going back to an oldie but goodie project - may I present the green jeweled cowl?
(the colours are much more vibrant in real life)

I've shown this before in stages of development - but wanted to show it in use - It's so soft and drapey, and the beads add a sparkle that just sets it off. This is going to be hard to give away, and honestly, I haven't convinced myself to do so!

Friday, August 10, 2012

why our cottage has become a tourist attraction...

Yes, I'm back, and I do apologize (I do that a lot lately...) I have some great knitting and weaving to show you, as well as a bit of an explanation of my absence, but all that can wait.
We're headed back to the cottage tonight for the weekend and to see the boy after not seeing him for 10 days - he's been at the cottage with the neighbours and my brother in law and his cousin for the past week and a half, living the life of Riley. And if given the opportunity, I believe it's a life all 13 year olds should be so lucky to live...
I have a quick picture to show you for a laugh (and god knows I could use a laugh these days...)
As the backstory - we had a small water leak at the cottage last winter - nothing major, my husband and I fixed it without much effort. But this leak did make it's way to the ceiling tiles, and left a water stain in a spot between our dining table and the door to the deck - in other words, right smack in the middle of the action at a cottage. If you look up, it's what you see.
Our kids think it's hilarious, and have invited their friends over to see it. We think it's equally funny and have shown it off to our friends. My Mother in Law is mortified by it, and wants to change the tiles (no way!)
I'll leave it to you to determine your own reaction...