Spring is for Fling

Spring isn’t in the air. Snow is everywhere. But what do you expect from Northern Ontario, really?

However, I must admit that when the sun shines, it doesn’t feel like a Winter sun. It feels warm, and it’s bright.

Spring for me this year means FLING! That is the Spring Fling 2013 in Fort Collins, Colorado, hosted my The Loopy Ewe. I attended my first Spring Fling in 2010. I remember thinking at the time how I had rarely ever has so much fun on a vacation.

It was relaxing. And I was surrounded by like-minded, knitting-and-yarn-obsessed people… just like me! I now understand why people flock to hobby-related conferences. Never in my life would I get a similar reaction from my husband when I show him some wonderful new yarn I found. But at the Fling – I can expect the enthusiasm and admiration a pretty skein of yarn deserves from my fellow flingers!! Don’t get me wrong, my husband supports my love for all things yarn and fibre. But it’s just not the same.

Spring Fling is in April, but it feels as though it starts earlier. There is some preparation needed, and it takes time. For the past month or so, I’ve been sewing, spinning and knitting up a storm to prepare for it.

I’ve sewn some pretty project bags to give as gifts to a few people.

Japanese knot bags

And I’ve been knitting to have pretty things to wear when I’m there! I’ve finished my Marin, by Ysolda Teague, which is knit in Wollmeise 100% Pure Merino.

Marin, pattern by Ysolda Teague

I’ve spun some yarn for a special friend. It’s a Rambouillet-cross I got from a booth at the NY Sheep and Wool festival. It’s surprisingly soft and very lofty. I spun it into a rougly dk weight single.

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And I’m knitting Viajante, which is knit in Wollmeise Lace-garn.


Nice Cool Ass!!

A woman is standing in the checkout line at Target. Another woman, who is standing in front of her in line, is wearing an intricately knit bright green hat. The woman behind her recognizes that hat immediately.

She says, “Nice Koolhaas!”

A non-knitter is standing behind the admirer eavesdropping, and thinks: OMG, did that woman just say to that other woman that she has a “Nice Cool Ass?”

The woman wearing the hat responds: “Yes! I knit it in Madelintosh Vintage“.

The eavesdropping non-knitter hears “Madeline’s Tush” and is beside herself, but can’t stop listening in.

The ‘Koolhaas hat‘ wearer says: “Are you on Ravelry?”

The hat admirer responds and says, “Yes! What is your Rav name?”

Enter here the non-knitter whose mind is just bustling over this conversation: “Excuse me, but what is Ravelry?”

Koolhaas wearer responds with a glint in her eye and a smirk forming at the corner of her lips: “Ravelry is like drugs, you just know it if you’re on it.”

This is my ode to Ravelry. The place where I met (and continue to meet) amazing friends, and where I found great yarn, fibre and patterns. With Ravelry in my life, my knitting escapades are just that much easier. Thank you Ravelry, thank you.

Cranberry to Evergreen

Last night I stayed up way too late plying some handspun on my Ashford. But when you’re at the very end of hours of spinning, you just can’t stop. It’s nearly impossible. It took me over a week to spin this (I have two kids and a full time job as well).

The fibre is a merino/silk gradient dyed by Fiber Optic Yarns in the Cranberry to Evergreen colourway. I bought the roving in Rhinebeck, N.Y., in October 2012. Here is a picture with a few more colourways my friends bought.

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I decided to try to get as much ‘yardage’ as possible, therefore spinning it thread-like, and used a Navajo-ply technique to keep the colours together. This is a great technique when spinning pretty hand painted yarns.

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I will probably knit a pretty scarf or shawl for the fall with it. Still looking for ideas…

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Bulky Texting Mittens

I designed these Bulky Texting Mittens with Winter texting in mind. It’s cold up here in Northern Ontario, and I wanted mittens that I don’t have to remove to answer the phone, make a call or text. These are really just regular mittens with a hole for your forefinger. You can easily sneak out your finger and slip it right back in to its toasty haven.

The size is easily adjustable since there is no ribbing. You could easily cast on 28 or 34 stitches instead of 32. If you have shorter or longer hands, simply reduce the number of rows between the thumb and tip of the mitten. And as for the ‘texting hole’, I recommend situating it at the level of your forefinger knuckle, or slightly above.

Bulky Texting Mitts

Surgery and socks

On January 11, I underwent breast reduction surgery. I was wearing a size 38 G, which translates into back and shoulder pain. And when you’re a knitter, back pain is a B*/?%ch! I also found that exercise was uncomfortable, so a vicious circle ensued – back pain, less exercise, more weight gain, back pain because of weight gain, and so on.

One of the advantages of surgery, which I wasn’t expecting, is lots of post-operative knitting time! In the past 3 weeks, I was able to knit 4 socks (two pairs).

The first are plain toe-up Vanilla socks. I added ribbing for structure and a slip stitch heel because of the 100% wool content in the yarn. The yarn is fingering weight Wollmeise 100% ‘pure’ superwash merino dyed in the Die Auster (We’re Different) colourway. I bought the yarn about two years ago but could not decide what to make with it!! I had started knitting a shawl, but frogged it. The socks rock though.


The second pair is knit in Schoeller+Stahl Fortissima Mexiko, a nice commercial yarn with wacky colours. The pattern is Hermione’s Everyday Socks, but I used a short-row, yarn-over heel technique that I found in the Nutkin pattern. This technique uses yarn-overs instead of wrap and turns! How can you NOT love that?


Handcarding vs. Drum Carding

My hand cards have been hard at work carding mini batts for spinning. My Corriedale X fleece is so fluffy and soft, it is a real pleasure to feel the wool between my fingers as I flick and card them.

Hand carding Corriedale fleece.

Hand carding Corriedale fleece.

Hand carding is a long process though, so I’m also using the drum carder, which is so much faster, although the results are the same.

Fleece carded on Drum Carder.

Fleece carded on Drum Carder.

The staple length of the fleece is roughly 4-5 inches long. It has a light grey / oatmeal colour which my friend Sarah says takes acid dyes beautifully. But that part will come later. To be continued…

From Sheep to Finished Object

Hiatus over. My youngest daughter is now nearly two and a half and I do believe I’ll have more time to write.

I thought I’d start with an idea I had to show the process of how an FO (finished object — completed knitting project) is made all the way from the start – from the sheep! This will of course be possible because I bought fleeces on my last trip to the New York State Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival in October 2012.

My friend Sarah and I bought two fleeces which we split in half.

The first is a naturally greyish/light brown fleece from a Romeldale/California Variegated Mutant sheep. The fleece grade is categorized as a ‘fine’ wool fleece (like a merino, or even Cashmere).

Unwashed raw Romeldale Fleece.

Unwashed raw Romeldale Fleece.

The second is from a Corriedale/Border Leicester cross breed. This is considered a medium wool. It is soft, but a bit coarser than the Romeldale.

Raw Corriedale/Border Leicester Fleece.

Raw Corriedale/Border Leicester Fleece.

I’ve decided to spin from my Corriedale/Border Leicester X to knit some cabled fingerless mitts. I plan to dye the yarn before knitting them. I will also be designing the mitts.