You want a hand knit lace stole??

I’m stealing this from Yarnpiggy because she’s smart and I don’t have time to go around finding cool things to repost… So thanks Hilary!

Okay, so go HERE and put a bid on one of the most beautiful shawls you ever did see!  It’s lace and it’s Wollmiese, which for you knitters need not be described, but for you non knitters, just know that it’s one of the most sought after and ridiculously hard to get items out there.  They’re fundraising for the Ride2ConquerCancer and both their hubby’s are riding hundreds of miles a day in order to raise this money!
So, get over there and make a donation.  Not only will you win the stole if you’re the highest bidder, but you’ll get a tax reciept and the fabulous feeling of making a contribution to a disease that touches everyone, regardless of borders, economic status and gender.  Screw Cancer!  Now go!

Sometimes what you pay for is awesome!

Okay, you know the saying ‘you get what you pay for?’.  Usually it’s said with negative connotation that you didn’t pay enough for the ‘thing’ and therefore you deserve it’s crappy quality.  Uh, not so with Knitpicks yarn.  Lemme tell you, it’s some NICE yarn for very little $’s.  I knit up my Gaenor, shown below in my first skein of it, which was hand dyed by a friend.  The hand dyeing would do nothing to change the quality of the yarn, so I’m convinced that it was essentially exactly like it was off the warehouse shelf.  It’s soft, it’s springy, it’s even and it’s not splitty.  I loved knitting with it!  It was 75% merino and 25% nylon, which would give a nice durability to socks… It’s also superwash, which means that it will be more difficult to felt.  I say ‘more difficult’ because I wouldn’t put anything past me!  The cost of the 462 yards of fingering is $6.29.  Not too shabby!

So on the heels of that I am VERY excited to knit with my new Knitpicks Tonals.  They’ve gone above and beyond and delved into the realm of semisolid (forgive me if they already had that… I’m new!).  I bought one skein of the Stroll Tonal, shown here in Canopy to make Undine.  The yarn is absolutely gorgeous and unbeliveably well priced at $9.99 for 462 yards.  It will have the same percentage of merino to nylon in it and it’s also superwash.  It’s a bit more blue in the picture than in real life where it’s a gorgeous deep green.

I also bought two skeins of my very first laceweight yarn ever! (not including the cashmere ball that my friend in Florida sent me, but lets not talk about that because it makes the other yarn jealous! ) I don’t know what I’m going to make with this but the colors were too amazing to pass up!  It’s Shadow in Gypsy and I bought 440 yards of it for $4.29 (well I bought two skeins… details!).  it’s gorgeous and I can’t wait to make something amazing with it!

Part of me wants to put a black streak in it, but I don’t think I will….

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a MILLION yarns that I’m in love with that Knit Picks doesn’t have and never will, but they’re really awesome for some stuff and you certainly get a LOT more than what you pay for.  I recently bought the yarn to make knee high ribbed legwarmers which are on the cover of the Joy of Sox book… the Alpaca that they call for would have been over $50 but I got 100% wool from Knitpicks for less than $18US!  Plus, I think Alpaca will sag, and I’m not interested in saggy baggy legwarmers.  I also got some wonderful bulky weight yarn for my friend in Manitoba to make me a crocheted Totoro toy.  While I now know the basics of crochet, I’m not good at it enough to make this toy and she really wanted to crochet him, so for the cost of a ball of sock yarn, she’s making me my toy!  I’m so excited for him!

Here’s a wee picture of the cartoon.  I don’t think mine is having teeth…

That’s all in my world… except for that I’m sticking to my plan of knitting one pair of rows of Girasole every day… in fact, I’m five days ahead of schedule since I’ve been knitting two pairs a day… wish me luck to keep going.. the thing is getting heavy!  when it’s done it’s going to weigh 2.2 POUNDS!  Yikes!  That’ll be a sucker to wash and block… lucky I think I’m doing it at my friend’s house and then we’re taking it to her studio to pin…she has a washer, which should make the whole thing easier… and it won’t take a week to dry!

Oh, and something new… please go sign the Guestbook… 

Two in one day??

Just came back from a lovely evening out.  We went out of sushi at our favorite sushi restaurant Tokyo One on W 10th and Trimble.  It was great.  We know the owners and they’re fantastic!   Anyway, right beside there is the new Urban Yarns shop, so we went in and hung out with the ladies for their grand opening in the new store!  The new store is beautiful!  There’s a crystal chandelier and the walls are a lovely icy blue with a HUGE painting of the Eiffel Tower hanging behind the register.  They have their yarn beautifully organized into sections (such as the ‘sock section’ and the ‘Sirdar section’, so things are super easy to find and there’s WAY more room in there!  Love it!  That’s the location that Smungkee Bean hung out in for a week and the minute I walked in the door they asked for him to come back. I agreed, since he is pretty cool and his job of holding down and protecting the knitting area can probably be taken care of by me and the cat for a duration.

I also finished another shawl, as mentioned below, so I thought I would post a couple pictures.  Please ignore the hole I knit into the shawl…it was an accident and I will probably try and fix it (hide it) at some point…

It was 3’6″ wide and 16″ deep when I took it off the needles and it was 6′ wide and 2′ deep when I took it off the blocking board.  It’s sprung back a bit with wearing, but it’s superwash, so I knew it would.  The color is true in the top picture.

My friend and I are going for a walk around the Stanley Park Seawall tomorrow… 10km at the crack of dawn… can’t wait!

Challenges and Chastising

I have now had one 20oz dark roast coffee with two shots of espresso in it and one 12oz Americano… I’m trying to use caffiene to scrub from my mind that I was chastised about my knitting at 8am this morning. Okay, well it’s not as bad as it sounds, and to be honest, it did give me a thought provoking moment, but at the very second that the words were flung, I sort of wanted to lunge out of my chair and attack the offender…

So in the last two months… well since March 25 till now, which is a month and a half, I have finished two WIPS and started and finished two more shawls…. I now have a stack of shawls and scarves to pick from each day. Which I think is just awesome! And I have enough yarn to make a million more, but I got to thinking… even tho it’s an enjoyable thing to churn out shawls, am I not ready to learn something new? Or try something harder? The problem for me is that I subscribe to the philosophy that if the pattern is well written, I can make it. Not clothes, because I’m not mentally ready to make clothes, but any lace shawl/blanket/stole is just a combination of two stitches and some placement of yarn, so it’s not as tho any pattern feels out of my reach. Anyway, the chastising was along those lines. Someone from my office remarked that I am now speeding along with my knitting and perhaps I wasn’t doing anything particularly difficult if I could start and finish items so quickly. That perhaps I should knit a lace tablecloth… I mentioned that I have no desire to knit a table cloth because you need to knit it with cotton or linen and I don’t like knitting with them because they’re not stretchy and the remark of note was ‘I guess you’re just not willing to challenge yourself’.
I did think about that…. the last thing I made was a garter stitch shawl with a knitted lace border. It’s amazing and quite large, but it realistically only took me about 10 days of actually working on it to be done… Purling really slows me down, but I don’t find it difficult, so it’s not like stockinette is a challenge… I’ve been easing more purling into my knitting projects… there are whole chunks of stockinette on my WM shawl and I made two Feather and Fan patterns that involve purling, so it’s not like I never do it…
So I continued to think about what would be a challenge for me… how could I challenge myself in my craft. And the answer was already sort of decided for me/by me last week when I decided to finish everything on the needles before starting new projects. That means I have to finish my WM shawl with the purling and the ridiculously twisty yarn, the 7′ bulky weight lace blanket that will soon have 640 stitches around, the crochet on my round shawl, the silk scarf for my sister and the beaded lace shawl I started in June last year. I made a deal with myself that I wouldn’t start new projects or buy more yarn until these were done. Now, to be fair, the blankie won’t be done until around July or August, so that one, so long as I’m working on it diligently can be a WIP ongoing, but the rest of this stuff is getting done! It annoys me that I can finish a 6′ wide triangular shawl in 10 days but I’ve let the beaded lace (with no purling btw) languish for almost a year… that I really wanted to snuggle under my blankie this winter, but it wasn’t done…
So my challenge to me is to finish these things that for some reason or another have sat around for some time… some longer than others but none ever having had dedicated attention. That blankie would have been perfect this winter if last year I had set my 2 rounds a day goal. I will grant myself that I am faster and more proficient now than I was then, but even if it had taken me ten times as long, it would have still been done.
This brings me to a bit of an analogy in my life. Every day that I agree to be unhappy (if you’re not disagreeing, you’re agreeing) with my weight and my health is another day that goes by… nothing happens when you don’t make stuff happen, and every day that I didn’t knit on my blanket, was a day longer that it wasn’t done. and every day that I don’t get up and go for a walk is another day that nothing happens… so it stands to reason that I will challenge myself… because if you don’t challenge yourself, aren’t you just standing still?

Not just a pretty knitter

But a BAKER too!  Well… I don’t know if you can call it that, but I did make bread!  Two loaves in fact.  Unfortunately I added 1/4 less yeast than I was supposed to, so it should have been lighter and fluffier, but it tasted GREAT!  Wanna see a picture?  Okay!  I have a lot more dough in the fridge and many plans for making more wonderfully yummy things! I got the recipe and the inspiration to be a bread baker from the book ‘Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day’  Basically, without giving the value of the book away (and that would be hard to do since there are hundreds of recipes in it) is that you make a no-knead dough with five ingredients (water, yeast, salt, flour and cornmeal for the bottom), put it in a dough bucket or similar storage device and it keeps for 2 weeks.  As it keeps, it ages until nearer the two week mark there is some serious sourdough wonderfulness going on.  When it’s baking time, you hack off a chunk (very dainty huh?), make it round and smooth with the method they show you in the book, let it rest for 40 min and then throw it into the oven on a hot pizza stone with a tray of water below and bake for 30 min.  Done.  Seriously, it’s SO easy and the bread is amazingly yummy (if a little heavy, given the lack of yeast… my fault!).  I’m tempted to make more right now, but I’d like to get somewhere near the two week mark to see if the sourdough is yummy or not.  Go buy the book!

So that was the first part of my very productive Sunday.  The second part of my very productive Sunday, which the entire ‘productive Sunday’ didn’t start till 5pm, was that I decided to make wool soup.  Well, not exactly… I decided to dye some roving. I bought this roving with my first spindle when I was in the states last year at Northwest Handspun Yarns.  They have a great little shop, lots of beautiful yarn and TONS of beautiful fibre and spinning wheels.  The selection of spindles sucked bobo, so I bought a super huge Ashford plying spindle (little did I know)… wait… I don’t think it did suck actually… I think the girl told me that the spindle I wanted (nice) was too expendy… well anyway.  The reason I bought the spindle in the first place was because about two months before that I bought about 6oz of this beautiful yellow tussah (pronounced tuss aw)/merino blend because I was feeling bad, and it made me feel better, but then I decided I should learn how to spin it… Anyway, I am positive I’ve told this story on here before… so at the time I bought my spindle, I bought some roving to learn on…. and THAT is what I dyed this Sunday.  I pulled off 2.9 oz (because I got a digital scale from Canadian tire for $15 this weekend also!) soaked it in vinegar water, heated some water and then put it in the pot with the water (and more vinegar) and then poured my dye mixtures over top (with more vinegar).  The end result wasn’t as blue as I was going for… I used teal, sky blue and green and it came out mostly green… note to self… more sky blue… less green… a LOT less!.  So I decided that if I wasn’t going to spin it (which I knew in the next foreseeable future, given the amount of amazing roving I have to spin), that I would sell it.  So I threw it up (threw up… hahah!) on the destash fibre board and went to bed.  And by morning I had an offer on it, so I’m selling it to a nice lady that lives in North Carolina.  I think she has a wheel, which will make spinning this much easier… I’m selling her the other 3oz of undyed.  Altho I’m a little sad because I kind of wanted to dye it orange and pink… but she probably didn’t want me to 😉

And lastly, I HAVE to rave about the most wonderful thing I got in the mail today!  It’s called a Bubu Bag and it’s from a company called Element Botanicals.  They don’t have a link to the Bubu bag on their site, but she’ll send you one if you email her.  Here’s what the description on the hangtag says:

This incredibly comforting bag has been stuffed with oganically grown
flax, rice, lavender and peppermint.  Wam it up or freeze to help alleviate muscle strain,
headaches, migraines, nausea, stiffness, cramps, hangovers, sleeplessness and more!

Now!  If you know me at ALL!  You know that this is like the cure for everything that ails me!  It’s SO amazing smelling and strong and refreshing that my mailbox smells good!  It permeates with mint and lavender and is soothing just to smell!  The girl (Amber) that owns it picked out fabric for me based on what I described as liking, because they have tons of nice options and what I got was a pink backing (I love pink!) and a blue front with little space people!  It’s very retro and SO cute!  Just what you would think of when you were thinking of your Bubu bag!  (pronounced booboo as far as I know).
 If you’re wondering, the round box behind the Bubu Bag is my new Thai jewelery box.  It’s made out of smoked mango wood and you can actually open it up and take a huge whiff of this most amazing smoked mango scent!  Sometimes I put predrafted bits of roving in it so that when I’m spinning, it smells yummy!  If you’re in Vancouver, you can find all the amazing imported Thai home accessories at Spirithouse on Main Street.
they have amazing lighting options, small accessories, thai massage items, art, furniture… it made me sad that we haven’t gone back to Thailand in a long time because I LOVED it there! 
I hope you find something interesting from this blog post… either a bubu bag, a cookbook, some thai home decor or maybe you’re inspired to dye your own roving. Or you want me to dye it for you… which can also be arranged 😉

That was kind of rude, don’t you think?

Okay… so I went to an art opening tonight.. it was a blast. While we were standing outside under the tent (inside was blazing hot) we happened to be standing in front of a sewing ‘lounge’ type place that is going to open this month… we were sort of chatting and I was looking through the door to see what they were doing… they had tons of nice fabrics and stuff already… anyway, after standing around for about an hour, my friends convinced me that it would be okay to knock on the door, since we could see the two women inside. And this is what transpired:
Me: Hi! I just was noticing your store and was wondering when you were opening. I have had this idea to do a similar thing with a knitting lounge where people could bring their wheels and spin or sit and knit etc… it’s a great idea you have and a great space.
Her: Uh, ya… thanks. Here’s a card. (sort of ushers me out the door)
They paper up the fricken window on the door so that we can no longer see inside!
Obviously she was less than interested in having people show an interest or talking to people, but it was super rude I thought to then go to the effort of papering up your window… I was rather offended.
Then the following conversation took place between our group of people as to whether me trying to show common ground by saying I wanted to do a ‘fibre lounge’ was rude, or that they were just not interested. Thoughts?
All I know is that I have no real intention of patronizing their shop when they open… and I sort of want to say who they are here, but that seems rude…

Aside from that, the opening was fabulous, I loved all (most) of the art, I met some nice people, we had some great (apparently obnoxious) laughs and I drank a LOT of hoppy beer!  

WHAT? Really?

Okay… I failed miserably on the blog week thing… I got three out of seven done… not even 50%. In my defense, I hardly ever write more than once or twice a week, so it was a success in that. but then I got bored of the questions and when I wanted to copy and paste sections out of other people’s blogs, that’s when I knew that I was probably tired of doing it.
Boy finally got a day off that was also my day off… Except for one day in February, we haven’t seen eachother during the day since Boxing Day. Let me do the math for you. Prior to yesterday, we got to see eachother ONE day in 19 weeks! NINETEEN! That means that I hang out by myself on Saturday and Sunday until five or so and he hangs out by himself on Tuesdays and Thursdays until I get home around five or so and then the other days we both work till five or so… it makes quality time hard to come by… and this makes me sad 😦

Anyway, we DID get to hang out together yesterday and it was great. I got up at the crack of dawn tho and got all ready to go out to sit in a lineup and knit with my friend Leone for a few hours before the craft fair we were going to opened. The first 30 people in line were to get a skookim swag bag with items in it from each vendor in a hand made bag… When we got there at 745 (the show opened at 10), there were already over fourty people in line… FOURTY! That’s crazy. I mean crazy as in completely ridiculous! The first batch of people had been there since SIX AM! Now, I know we were planning on being there early and waiting in line and for both of us, it was more for the social aspect.. quiet morning, nice cup of coffee and some knitting and chatter. When we walked in, there were already so many people it felt like we were half asleep and they were shouting ‘party’s started!!!’. So anyway, there were a goodly chunk of people that waited in line for FOUR HOURS to get this freebee. In my personal and slightly hostile opinion, I hope the people that showed up there at six am were wildly disappointed! Not because I think the freebies should have sucked, because they shouldn’t, but being THAT competitive sort of sucks the joy out of the whole thing. We found out that person 30 and 31 actually sprinted… as in RACED to get the 30th spot. Um, what? Come on! Anyway, Leone and I left and went to Bon’s for breakfast and since their service is rather slow, we managed to get our coffee inspired knitting on…

At tenish I went home to pick Boy up and we went back to the craft fair, hit up another one, went down to Chinatown, Downtown Vancouver, Main St and then out to Coquitlam to get my car ( which now doesn’t drive like it has a square tire) and I had a nap, we had dinner, watched a bit of tele and then went to bed. All in all, a very nice day that we spent together!

Now. Here’s my other beef about something that happened yesterday at the craft show. When we were waiting to get our admission, there was a woman there who was doing a fund raiser for VoKra (Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Assc.). This woman was the editor or owner or employee or something of the Vancouver Fashion magazine (which I’ve never heard of). Anyway, she was selling a magazine she paid her own money to print and all the proceeds went to Vokra. Nice idea and how generous!. Except! She said she printed two years of the magazine into one copy as a limited edition thingy and that’s what she was selling. Um, two years of fashion? Really? Because fashion changes quarterly if not faster and I do not understand how you can print two years of fashion… unless it was the last two, in which case, why would you want that? Is she pioneering enough to know what fashion is going to be in two years? Is she psychic? Is the the one that decides what fashion trends are going to look like? Because if not, why would I want a two year subscription to a fashion magazine all printed up three months ago? I don’t get it. I would have gotten it if she said ‘here’s a double issue’ or ‘here’s a look at where we think fashion is going based on the europeans’ or something, but what she said is she printed up two years worth of fashion… No thanks!

There’s a chance I’m being a big jerk, but I sort of dont’ care. I mean I”m not a jerk, obviously, but I feel like being snippy today!

In knitting news, I’m knitting what may possibly be the most fabulous shawl you’ve ever seen! The yarn (dyed by my friend), the color, the gauge, the pattern and everything are working perfectly to give me what appears to my eyes (maybe not someone that can predict two years of fashion trends) a fabulously vintage shawl. Honestly, it’s my consuming passion at this point! Loving it!

The weirdest thing just happened. I sit on the sixth floor of a six floor building. The wind just blew a delivery slip for the Globe and Mail onto my window sill and then held it there, against the window… for like a minute… how bizzare!