Friday, December 23, 2011

All is calm

christmas lights
All is bright.

Phew! It's been a busy busy December. Thank you to everyone for your kind words about everything that is going on over here. I'm very excited to see what 2012 will bring.

I will be taking a little break till the new year, to rest, visit loved ones, and have a bit of fun in the snow (if my white christmas wishes come true). But I certainly won't be putting my knitting needles down! I just received a shipment of beautiful yarn, and have all kinds of ideas for Gris Handknits.

I wish you a beautiful holiday season. May you all bask in the glow of the people and the things that you love.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A flurry of activity

There's been a flurry of activity over here (but no actual flurries. Winter, where are you?) Lots of exciting happenings here behind the scenes (and very little sleep):

- I'm knitting another wonderful Knitbot sample, this time with beautiful Quince & Co. Tern
- My toddler knits will be featured in the upcoming B.A.H. magazine. Which is so exciting! B.A.H. is one of the best online publications, and is created by the wonderful Arounna of Bookhou.
- My Gris Handknits line is now carried in two amazing bricks-and-mortar shops: Bookhou of course, in Toronto, and ABK Custom Leather Craft in New York City (if you go to NYC, you MUST check out ABK. Alya makes the most beautiful leather bags, shoes and accessories. I own a bag similar to this one, and adore it. Worth every penny!)
- I just mailed off a few pieces to Jenny Gordy, the creative force behind the delicious Wiksten line. I am SO thrilled that she asked me to be part of her lovely shop! Jenny has made her own beautiful knits.
- I just opened my very own Gris Handknits Etsy shop! Right now it's a bit bare, but I'm working hard to stock it with all kinds of handmade goodies to keep everyone warm this winter.

Now if the snow could just come...

(Oh and before you think I am a poster child for industriousness, let me just say that my house is completely trashed, I've run out of clean underwear, we've been eating peanut butter sandwiches for diner, and I haven't even dug out my Christmas "box" from the basement yet. Such is the glamorous life of a knitter)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Rocky Coast cardigan

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Here's my latest sample for Hannah Fetig. It's the uber-popular Rocky Coast cardigan from Coastal Knits.

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I can see why this pattern is so popular. This is a gorgeous garment. And it was a really fun, quick knit. It goes without saying that didn't want to send it off, especially because this is one of my all-time favourite colours.

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I will definitely knit one for myself, one day. But first, I have tons of Gris Handknits knitting to finish.

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For details, visit my Ravelry project page.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday morning procrastination

This Sunday morning I'm completely ignoring the dust bunnies, dirty dishes and heaving piles of laundry. Instead I'm:

Breakfasting on oatmeal with rhubarb compote.

Making headway on a pile of Gris Handknits orders.

Trying (rather unsuccessfully) to resist my new obsession in life.


(To answer those who inquired about my horizon socks, I didn't have a pattern. Just my basic sock "recipe" with the addition of stripes.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Horizon socks

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When Liane from Enhabiten put out a call looking to swap with someone for handknit socks I jumped at the chance.

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She asked me to surprise her in terms of colour and design, so I indulged in my favourites: neutrals in stripes.

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I love Liane's shop and was thrilled to receive two of these beautiful cross pillows They're filled with buckwheat and balsam and smell absolutely divine! Thanks Liane for the fun swap!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


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strange fungi


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I did manage to get out and take quite a few photos during my stay at the ermitage, despite feeling a bit under the weather (much better now, thanks). I'd like to do a couple of posts to share with you my experience of doing a silent retreat.

First off, the place itself. L'Ermitage de Warden is situated in a very beautiful area in Québec called Les Cantons de l'Est (the Eastern Townships). It's about an hour's drive from downtown Montréal. A retired couple turned their 19-acre country property into a getaway for harried city-dwellers and peace-seekers.

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Their land has six very cozy and clean cabins, each outfitted with a woodstove, a single bed, a rocking chair and a small table.


There is no electricity or running water in the cabins. Meals and washrooms are accessible in a common building. The owners prepare lovely, mostly vegetarian food which is available on a self-serve basis in the common kitchen.

The property is crisscrossed with beautiful paths through mixed forest, open clearings, ponds and along the Yamaska river.

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Benches, swings and hammocks dot the landscape, allowing retreaters to sit and take in the sights, sounds, smells.

Because I wasn't feeling 100%, I spend a lot of time in my little cabin, which was a really healing place. I brought a few comforts from home to make my space more cozy.

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From a window I could spy on the sweet birds that came to snack at my bird-feeder.

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White-breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis

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Red-breasted Nuthatch, Sitta canadensis

Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus

My refuge was the perfect place to stop "doing" and just reeeeest. I let myself get hypnotized by the dancing light of my constant companions—the fire in my woodstove, and the flames of my candles.


I didn't have any major revelations or insights, but I did notice a few interesting things:
- It's very sweet to do nothing once in a while, especially if you crave solitude like I do.
- I loved spending the great majority of 3 days in complete silence. I went with a friend, and we did have some difficulty not speaking when we ran into each other. I must admit we exchanges a few brief, hushed exchanges, but generally just smiled at each other. We are social creatures at heart.
- I very quickly fell into my hardwired circadian rhythm: wake when it's light, sleep when it's dark, eat when I'm hungry.
- That said, I was always extremely curious about what time it was, and had to resist the temptation to look at the time on my tucked-away cell phone.
- Not doing made the days pass by more slowly, in a good way. I could really savour my time off, and was rarely bored.
- Being in complete silence, I could really hear the noisiness of my mind. I noticed that I constantly have music playing in my head. It sometimes got on my nerves, especially if I had the same "record" on for too long. Right now I have Karkwa playing in my head. It's always there, but I never realized it before.
- I loved living more simply. It made me re-evalutate all the stuff I have, buy, do... These things fill up my life in ways that can sometimes be overwhelming. Obviously, living such an idyllic, quiet, and ultimately lazy existence is not doable or even desirable in my real life, but I can make more space, clear the way for more peace and quiet.

Next time, I want to show you some of the woodland treasures I caught with my camera.

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Hope you find a little peace and quiet in your day today.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Coastal Knits winner

Just popping in quickly to announce the winner of my little Coastal Knits giveaway. The random number generator picked Wendy as the lucky winner. Congratulations Wendy! I will email you to get your details.

I'll come back and do a longer post about my silent retreat in a little bit. Unfortunately, the cold I started right before leaving kept me inside my little cabin for most of the weekend, but it was nice knitting by the wood stove, and I certainly got a lot of rest in the peace and quiet.

And I did make some progress on the Rocky Coast cardi. Some of you asked what yarn I'm using. It's the luscious Organik by the Fiber Company.

Ok, back to bed for me (sniffle sniffle).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A quiet long weekend

And this our life exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.

William Shakespeare

This weekend I'm connecting with my inner hermit. I'm headed to l'Ermitage Warden, a place that rents tiny cabins for people who want to spend some quiet time in the woods. I'm looking forward to spending a few days just listening to the wind in the trees, cuddling up by the woodstove, and taking a nighttime walk in the woods.

I will be bringing a little bit of knitting. I swatched for the gorgeous Rocky Coast cardigan I'm knitting for Hannah. Remember that you have till Monday to enter my giveaway to win Coastal Knits, in case you want to knit a Rocky Coast of your own.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Unexpected magic, part 2

Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.

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People often complain that November is a drab, depressing month. Personally I've always been attracted to the subtle quiet of the landscape. Everything is winding down, the colours soften, the bones of the landscape reveal themselves.

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There was certainly no shortage of beauty this past weekend. Thank you Margie for a wonderful visit!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Unexpected magic, part 1

I knew when Margie invited me to her sister's cottage that it would be wonderful. But I wasn't quite prepared for the magic that unfolded in front of my eyes.

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walking behind Margie

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the sun was just starting to rise

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light lit the frost-covered grass

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and colour burst everywhere

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following my friend down the path

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that led to the mist-veiled lake

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we set out for a paddle

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and slipped through the glassy lake...