Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Your secrets are safe with me

Warning: rambly post up ahead.

What fun it was to read all of your secrets. Some made me laugh, some made me want to cry, and some made me go "Whaaa???" Thank you all for taking the time to share your stories.

What's no longer a secret? The name of the winner:

Congratulations Denise!!! Please send me your mailing info at so I can mail you your toasty wrist warmers.

As luck would have it, Denise's story struck me as the most dramatic, so I was "secretly" sort of hoping she'd win, but I swear, the random number generator knew not of my bias.

In other news, here's what I've been working on, as I cough, wheeze and sniffle my way out of a really bad cold:

My first ever toe-up sock!!!


I don't have the hang of it yet, but I hope eventually that toe-ups will become my go-to sock pattern. I can't say I enjoyed knitting the short row heel, but I do like the way the stripes "miter". And I LOVE the fact that I can use up the whole ball of yarn. I've only finished one sock so far, and I highly doubt that I'll get the other done before the end of Socktober. Oh well, c'est la vie!

Regia's Kaffe Fassett collection, in Fire

And on another, completely random note, this is what it looked like outside my backyard window this morning. Isn't that crazy? Happy Christmas, uh, I mean Halloween!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Secret knitting - Part 3

Ok, this isn't technically secret knitting. These wrist warmers were originally knit for me.


But sadly, I've discovered that the skin on my inner forearm is extremely sensitive. The yarn I chose is an incredibly soft mix of bamboo and baby alpaca, and still, I get all red and itchy after 5 minutes of wear.

Maybe one of you would like them? Ok, here's where the "secret" part comes in. Leave me a comment divulging a "secret" related to your knitting. It could be a favourite knitting tip of yours, an admission on how big your stash is, or perhaps a story about a garment that didn't turn out and that you didn't even want to blog about.


You have a week to comment, and then I'll divulge the (randomly chosen) winner.

By the way, if these wrist-warmers look very familiar to you, they should. They're based on ones featured in the latest Toast catalog, made famous in the knitting world by Leslie's amazing version. Truth is (since we're divulging secrets here) I was similarly inspired, and probably cast-on for mine around the same time she did. Like-minded "friends" perhaps? Kudos go to her for actually writing up a fantastic pattern and taking such beautiful pictures. I'm way too lazy for all of that.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Secret knitting - Part 2

Here's another gift for a dear high school chum of mine turning 40 this year. Sadly, we don't have the chance to see each other very often now, but when we do, it's as if no time has passed. A special friendship.

Forest Canopy Shawl

Or rather "shawlette". I only used 1 skein of Misti Alpaca Handpainted sock yarn in Azulichen. It's large enough to completely cover the shoulders, and would be worn more as a scarf than a shawl.


Though I love the fall colours in this yarn, I'm not totally sold on the results. Once again, I was lured by the loveliness of the variegated skein. Knit up, it has a vague camo effect that I'm not crazy about. But these are all her favourite colours, so I couldn't resist. I don't think I'll be knitting with variegated yarn again, with the exception of plain socks. But she seemed to really like it, and that's what's important right?


All that said, Forest Canopy is a great pattern (have a look at Heather's gorgeous version.) Quick, easy to memorize and very pretty. I'm planning on making one for myself, but this time in some heathery, tweedy solid!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Secret knitting - Part 1

Here's a cowl and hat set that I knit for a friend's birthday. I'm headed to her party tonight, so it's now safe to reveal:

Pattern: Brooklyntweed's Turn a Square
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden (#272) and Mirasol Quina (Charcoal Black)

If you don't know Mirasol yarns, they're a really lovely company with beautiful yarns and a social conscience. Quina is a blend of Baby Alpaca and bamboo and has a softness and sheen to die for.

Pattern: My own made up design
Yarn: Luxury Baby Alpaca Sport (#403).

A quick modeled shot

I love Mother of Pearl buttons, but I feel a bit guilty about buying them. Our oceans are taxed enough as it is with overfishing, pollution, and climate change. One way of satisfying my button love is by combing charity shops for used clothes with shell buttons. I can usually score 5-7 buttons for a couple of bucks, which is often much cheaper than buying them new. I've amassed quite a nice collection over time, so my button box is always ready.

Well, gotta go, I have a card and some wrapping paper to buy. Hope all you Rhinebeckers are having a grand ole time. Wish I was there with you!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rhymes with "safe asset"

Man, there's been TONS of knitting around these parts: a lace shawl, a cardigan, some wrist warmers, a hat, a cabled cowl, mystery socks... All of it is secret, but the items will be gifted soon, so I'll show you in the next couple of days.

In the meantime, I had the great fortune of attending a Kaffe Fassett/Brandon Mably lecture and day-long workshop. I've been a great admirer of Mr. Fassett since the early days. I have most of his books and videos, and whenever I get the doldrums, I dip into his rich tapestry world for a visual uplift. Never mind that I've never knitted a pattern of his (some of it is a bit too "Cliff Huxtable" for me) but the workshop sure gave me a hankering to start going BOLD with shapes and colours.

Glorious Colour!

The gist of the workshop was to take a simple pattern (Persian Poppies in this case), choose tons of colours from the pile, and just start playing. As you can see, we all came up with wildly different results. Brandon was a fun teacher, gently teasing us when our swatches would start looking like "bland porridge" or "slices of muddy potatoes". With his help, we all stepped out of our comfort zones (acid yellow and amethyst purple? Yum!) with dazzling results. I learned a lot.

Kaffe working on a gorgeous scarf

Hanging out with the technicolour master

If you get a chance to participate in one of these classes, I highly encourage you to do so! And you may get lucky like I did. There was a door prize and I won!!! I still cannot believe it, but I got a Brandon Mably book, and a kit to make a sweater called Caterpillar from Kaffe Knits Again. That's 24 balls of 4-ply Rowan Scottish Tweed in 12 colours, people! I was SO chuffed!