Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Lismore Sheep Farm

Chris, mom, Grammy and I made a short trip to Lismore Sheep Farm yesterday. We saw the sheep, we bought some wool, a great time was had by all!

I'll go through my photos and try and do a proper post on it when I get back home to my computer, but for now I'll tide you over with this adorable little lamb. There were at least 10 baby lambs when we were there, one of which was born the very day we visited and several others were only a few days old. They were shaky on their feet and so cute!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

TFA Tuesday - Knittinging's Blanket for the Newt

Lately I feel like I've been seeing a lot of beautiful baby blankets being knit out of TFA Green Label Aran weight yarn, and I'm sure that more and more will be popping up on TFA Tuesday in the future! I usually think that baby blankets are the perfect place to use lots of colour and cute stripes or patterns, but I also love the idea of knitting a squooshy baby blanket in a big, all over lace pattern. And that's exactly what this week's TFA Tuesday is all about.

This blanket was knit by Knittinging (project page), in TFA Green Label yarn in the Spearmint colourway. Its the Baby Chalice Blanket and it just looks so lush and lovely.

Knitting lace is always fun, but I usually knit lace shawls, or lace details on socks, both in small yarn on small needles, this big lace looks like a fun change of pace and like it definitely makes for a lovely blanket to wrap around a wee bundle of joy!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Vacation Knitting

The first two days we were here at the cottage the weather was beautiful. Sunny and breezy and perfect for sitting, sun bathing, swimming and walking on the beach. Today, it's rainy, just a lazy grey day. Hopefully we won't get too many days like this, but once in a while I almost welcome them, its the perfect day to sit inside and knit, without feeling guilty about not being on the beach! Chris still managed to fit in a swim, but I opted to stay warm and dry with my knitting instead. I've cast on for a Shedir hat. I knit one a couple years ago and both Chris and I love it and wear it all winter long. Last Fall when I bought the lovely, creamy, soft and shiny Baby Bamboo to knit my god-daughter her flower girl cardigan I couldn't resist picking up a few balls of this gorgeous red colour. I had no use for it at the time, but I just loved the colour so much that I knew I'd find something to do with it. Red is my mom's favorite colour, so if all else fails I know she'll love it.


Chris is also working steadily away at his first ever knitting project. He graduated from swatching to a hat! He should be finished tonight and I will definitely be posting very proudly about his first FO as soon as I get the chance.

Mom is knitting too, but I didn't get a photo of her before she took off for a walk with the dogs. This is my kind of vacation!

Friday, 23 July 2010

We're on vacation!

Chris and I woke up yesterday and thought to ourselves: "why are we waiting until Saturday to drive to the cottage? Why don't we just go now!?"

When we couldn't come up with one good reason why we had to stay in Montreal for two more days, we packed up and drove East! And I'm soooo glad we did! We spent most of the day on the beach today and plan on doing much of the same thing tomorrow.

In past years, Stella has been pretty weary of the water, but this year she seems to have overcome her fears and dove right in! I think it has a lot to do with the swimming lessons I gave her in my friend Christine's pool. She's much more comfortable now.

I did bring plenty of knitting. Perfect for quiet nights and rainy days.

Hope its sunny wherever you are too!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

TFA Tuesday - Janiegrl's Myrtle Cardigan

We all know how much I love socks, and using sock yarn for socks is just perfect, but for some reason I just can't help but get overly excited when I see people knitting things other than socks with sock yarn! Shawls, scarves, fingerless gloves, we see these types of things knit in sock yarn all the time, but a cardigan! That always makes my day! And today was no exception, I was searching for an inspirational bit of knitting and found this beauty:

The Myrtle Cardigan knit by Janiegrl (on Ravelry, project page). This impressive little number was knit in TFA Blue Label Fingering Weight yarn in the Mallard colourway.

Isn't it a stunner? I really like the leafy lace pattern done in this colourway, I think its a perfect match. I'm also a big fan of the choice of buttons. Buttons can really take an FO from great to grand, and its always worth investing a little extra energy into the search for the perfect set.


Sunday, 18 July 2010

summer skies

Last night the clouds were big and billowy and bright. So beautiful!

Though the Montreal sky is lovely, nothing beats a Nova Scotia sunset. Here is a picture my friend Lisa snapped earlier this summer. I can't wait to get to the cottage next week! Isn't it spectacular!?

Friday, 16 July 2010

Deep Seaflower Haruni Shawl

Surprise FO! Last weekend I had big plans to do some spinning. But, I didn't touch my spinning wheel. One reason for not spinning: the heat! Sticky, sweaty fingers don't work well for spinning. A second reason for not spinning: I like to have a large block of time in which I can sit and spin, uninterrupted, we entertained on both Saturday and Sunday and there was just too much to do to, I couldn't just sit around and spin all day. Third and final reason: I was completely swept up by the urge to cast on for the Haruni Shawl! So on Sunday afternoon, right before my dad was coming over for his birthday dinner, I cast on for this shawl with a skein of Dream in Color Smooshy that had been sitting around in my stash for far too long.

This colourway is called Deep Seafower. Its a beautiful blue/purple/turquoise shade. The outdoor shot below shows it's truest colours.

Deep Seaflower Haruni

I loved this pattern as soon as I saw it. Its the crocheted cast off that really does it for me. It was a new to me skill that I am very happy to have learnt. I love the delicate, petal-like effect that the lace paired with the cast-off hoops make. The pattern goes from a denser lace to a super light and airy look, like it's just fading into nothingness, kind of ethereal. Very, very pretty.

Deep Seaflower Haruni

There are just so many awesome shawl patterns out there! I feel like I say this about a lot of the patterns that I knit, but I really do think that I will knit this pattern again.

Deep Seaflower Haruni

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Prism Shawl Pattern

Prism Shawl in Meadow

I originally designed this simple triangular shawl to use a special skein of handspun, then modified the size to use a full skein of multicoloured fingering weight yarn. The pattern is very simple, I combined a few of my favorite shawl construction elements, added some texture, a graphic border and voila! A shawl was born.
Handspun Prism Shawl

The handspun version used approx. 100g, 325 yds (yarn spun from Tanis Fiber Arts Superwash Merino Roving in 'Prism'.)

The fingering weight version used approx. 130g, 500 yds (100g, 400yds of main colour 'Meadow' and 30g, 100 yds of contrasting colour 'lemongrass' for border.)

Both were knit on 4mm (US 6) 24” circular needles.

Prism Shawl in Meadow

To download Prism Shawl pattern simply click the link below.

Ravelry pattern page can be found here.

Handspun Prism Shawl

TFA Tuesday - Gosia's Autumn garden

I've been anxiously waiting for more projects to pop up on Ravelry in my new Cashmere blend yarn. Today, I got my wish! As I was trolling through the pages of TFA yarn projects I found this gem, the Cottage Garden Shawl (Rav link) knit by Gosia (project page) in TFA Purple Label Cashmere Sock yarn in the Amber colourway.

This is a new-to-me pattern and I think it's a real hit. I love simple shawls that are fun to knit, easy to wear and block out to perfect, high-impact, impressive lace. The rich tones of the Amber colourway and the softness of the cashmere make me wish I had knit this shawl myself.

And isn't her photography lovely? I never get tired of beautifully photographed knitted objects. So appealing!

Friday, 9 July 2010

weekend plans

This week in Montreal has been impossibly hot. Luckily, we have air conditioning. We thought that we were tough enough to survive without it, and I'm sure that technically we could have, but oh my gosh we are sooooo much more comfortable with it! Unfortunately, the space that we use as our office does not have air conditioning, so I am sitting at my desk, sweating away as I type in our currently 34C office. Not pleasant.

The heat wave isn't all bad, one of our best friends lives down the street and around the corner from us, she has a pool, and she gave us a key! So, in the afternoons, when we just can't take it anymore, we saunter down to Christine's place and jump in the pool for a relaxing cool off swim. We are so spoiled.

This week I finished knitting another Prism Shawl, this time in Blue Label Meadow trimmed with Lemongrass. I am very happy with how it turned out! I particularly like the contrasting colour border. Even though the pattern is very simple I wanted to knit it again to make sure that I had worked out any possible kinks. This weekend I will finally write up the pattern and put it out there for all to enjoy!
I also hope to do a little bit of spinning this weekend. I haven't touched my spinning wheel since we've moved and I feel terrible about that. Seeing as how the Tour de Fleece is happening right now, I feel like I should do something! So, a bit of pattern writing, a bit of spinning, some bbq-ing and some swimming... this weekend is looking good!

Thursday, 8 July 2010


So, you all know my super handsome husband Chris, right?

He's pretty much the best dude ever. I know, I know, there are a lot of great guys out there, but Chris is #1 (tied with my dad of course!) Anyways, he cooks, he cleans, he loves to vacuum, he makes the best cappuccinos, the list goes on and on...

Recently though, he has added three new qualities to that list that put him completely over the top!

1) He has learned to dye yarn. He loves to do it and is very, very good at it.
2) When he sees a bunch of yarn that he thinks is pretty, he takes it upon himself to take a photograph. I love that!

3) Last night, he asked me to teach him to knit. Maybe its because he has been watching me do it for years, maybe its because he has been listening to me talk about it for years, or maybe its because he has been secretly taking knitting lessons and last night he only pretended like it was the first time he had ever held a needle... but for whatever reason, the guy is good. This is his first swatch so far.

Flawless! Yup, pretty much the best husband ever!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

TFA Tuesday - Purrlescent's Garden Gate

Good morning knitters! This week's TFA Tuesday post is a pair of socks that I wish I was clever enough to have designed and knit myself. But alas, I am not that clever, but luckily Purrlescent is! She designed and knit these socks using my Blue Label Fingering Weight yarn in the Jewel colourway.

On her Ravelry project page for these socks she promises that she is working on writing up the pattern. I really hope she does, because these socks are fabulous.

And isn't her cat super cute!?I love his little white toes!

Monday, 5 July 2010

DIY China Cabinet

My maternal grandparents would be married 66 years this December. When they were married they received a beautiful set of hand painted china. My mom recently inherited the set when my grandmother moved from her house into a seniors apartment, so I've been able to see it and appreciate it first hand for what it is. My grandparents wedding china carries so much sentimental value for my mother, its the china that she ate any and every special occasion meal on while growing up, it represents her parents and their long and happy marriage. Now that she has it and we get to eat all of our special occasion meals on it, the importance and sentiment of it is even more pronounced. Its a family heirloom, passed down, with meaning, from one generation to the next. 

So, when it came time to register for our wedding gifts, Chris and I were armed and ready with a very specific plan. Some couples register for a ton of stuff, everything from linens, to towels, to spatulas, to crystal glasses. This is not the approach we wanted to take. We already had all the linens and spatulas that we need, we wanted to register with a purpose! We knew we wanted to pick the most special, beautiful china we could find, and hope to pass on our own family traditions and heirlooms one day. We shopped around quite a bit, finding a china pattern that really spoke to us was a challenge! We almost gave up, and then we found this. The Aureus pattern from Villeroy & Boch. So beautiful, so interesting, so colourful and so "us"! It was love at first sight.

After our wedding it quickly became clear that this china was too special to just hide away in a cupboard, we needed a china cabinet! A place to store it where we could see it and appreciate it even when we weren't using it. We began a new search, this time for an affordable cabinet, with the right scale and proportions to fit our dining room. We definitely couldn't afford something expensive and fabulous, so we searched for a second hand piece that we could DIY.

After some searching, we found this:

Wild isn't it!? Fancy, faux-bois inlays, a real feast for the eyes! Once again, we had a plan. We washed, sanded, primed, painted and wallpapered. Now we have this:

I have to admit, I am beyond pleased with the result! It took a lot of elbow grease, but I think it was worth it. For me, the key was finding a piece that wasn't too precious to paint, but was sturdy and had good bones worth investing time and energy into. The cabinet has glass shelves and glass doors, it has a built in plate rail and a light. The doors all open and close smoothly and fluidly, there is no weird sticking or squeaking. Finding a solidly made piece like this is definitely key. 

We wallpapered the back with a textured wallpaper that we then painted blue. My favorite colour and a perfect accent colour to highlight the china. I think that it adds a lot of interest and really makes the piece special and personal.

We removed the knobs and were planning on replacing them with something new and sparkly, but after we had it all set up, we realized that the doors function really well without knobs. They stay closed when they're supposed to, yet are easily gripped on the side and opened. We will likely still install knobs on the bottom cupboards, but for now it works just fine as is. No knobs also keeps the lines simple and I like that.  

The china looks terrific, the entire cabinet functions as a piece of art. On the opposite wall in the dining room we've hung our awesome painting from Sara

This was the first of many DIY projects we've got planned! I just love putting our stamp on our own little slice of paradise!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Wedding Photos

We picked up our cd of photos from our wedding photographers this week. A CD with almost 800 shots on it! I managed to narrow it down a bit and made an online album of my top 128 pictures for my friends and family to view. So, since you are all considered friends, if you are so inclined and would like to take a peak into our perfect day please visit here.

I am really looking forward to spending more time will all the shots and composing a beautiful wedding album that we'll cherish forever. I love the photo books that are out now, but there's just something about actual printed photographs with photo corners and album pages that I love.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Yay knitting!

Knitting is my favorite way to pass the time. I love knitting, 98% of my free time is spent knitting. But I have a secret, a strange aspect of my personality that I don't understand. The thing is, in my regular life I knit for pleasure, for relaxation, for fun and I knit all the time, but every once in a while, when life is crazy hectic and then I finally get a rest, I can't seem to make myself knit! Its weird, I've noticed it in the past when I'd go on summer holiday with my family at my cottage. I'd pack a weeks worth of knitting and then not touch it the entire time I was away. Or over Christmas, I'd be busy and stressed out for weeks before Christmas, but really looking forward to time off to sit and relax and knit, I'd line up my knitting projects, and then go a week without even so much as looking at my knitting bag. At any other time, a week without knitting would be torture! But for some odd reason, when I go full out for months, and then finally get a week off for a break, I pretty much go comatose, as a knitter at least.

Thats precisely what seems to have happened to me since my wedding. I was looking forward to getting back to life as usual, having my free time back to spend knitting interesting projects. But I couldn't! I couldn't force myself to want to knit. I would sit, nap, watch tv, garden, sit outside, draw, paint furniture, read (I read all 4 Twilight novels in roughly a week! Awesome!) but I could not knit. I was actually starting to get a little worried that for some unexplainable reason my married self was no longer interested in knitting!

Slowly but surely I started to get the spark back. I was inspired by a few colours of yarn sitting next to each other on the shelf and tempting me to come up with a plan for them (which I have by the way!) I started to re-focus on my summer knitting goals, I carefully wound a skein into a cake and sat it on the arm of the sofa next to some needles just waiting to be cast on.

Finally, it worked! Yesterday I woke up, shook myself out of this daze that I've been in, promptly cast on for 2 projects and worked out the details of a third. I'm back! And I'm so excited about it!