Wild Rose Wrap

Oh My! It is finished and I confess … I finished this long ago ~ A while back I was raving about how absolutely magic this yarn felt.
It truly was a continually wonderful sensation to knit with this yarn.

The big surprise was that this finished wrap totally has that same magic feel as when I was knitting it!
For some reason, I imagined that special feel would fade but it did not… and as I think about it, why would it? I guess I thought that the energy would dissipate or something.
It’s there as strong as ever.

It is kind of hard to explain
It is just one of those amazing wraps
that warms and comforts and supports at the deepest level
and lucky me, I have more yarn from Wild Rose Farm

Comfort Food

Imagine knitting your favourite comfort food. This is what it’s like to knit with wool. From Willapa’s and RedBird’s wool ~ honey ~ butter ~ long summer evenings ~ like knitting poetry ~ telling these 2 sheep’s stories. 

Beginning 

I have discovered. 
The most amazing yarn. 

From Wild Rose Farm on Whidbey Island Washington

There is something so magical about this yarn I cannot even put in words. 

I am making s wrap and and when I cast on the first time I over shot about 2’ extra yarn…. so I re- cast on so as not to waste an inch of this precious substance.

I am ready to begin … come with me 

arrows & sparrows cowl

finished!
and I love it
arrows & sparrows
Arrows-Sparrows cowl-1It was a fun knit with the perfect amount of brain power required to get me going in the early mornings (with my coffee of course). I’d much rather challenge my mind with a knitting pattern and finger dance than tap away at a brain exercise iphone app! Just as I would rather go for a hearty walk up and down hills than work out on an exercise bike.
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It’s long enough to be an elegant wrap

 and long enough to double up to express various choices of colour placements

Arrows-Sparrows cowl-3 Sweet Georgia Yarns
3 Colours ~ Charcoal, Silver & Pistachio (the kiss of Spring)

Arrows and Sparrows Cowl

This is a Great Knit!
It has the perfect balance of rhythm and cruise control
and
it will be Beautiful
IMG_2180I bought my yarn from my current fav yarn providers Sweet Georgia Yarns
3 Colours ~ Charcoal, Silver & Pistachio

In the beginning, knitting the charcoal and silver matched our grey cloudy dark days
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but now I have started the Pistachio
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and I can almost see the spring buds patiently waiting for light in my mind’s eye.

This Cowl will march me right into Spring!
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A new look!

This is a Fantastically Beautiful New Knitting/Crochet site! And her kick-off garners a SALE! I give this 5 Stars! (ok, maybe I am a little bias but it Really is a great site)

The Knitty Knitty Gritty

I am so excited to announce the launch of my new and improved website!  thecraftyjackalope.com

the crafty jackalope

I have been working on this since the summer and what I thought would take a month or two took me five intense months.  If you can’t remember what the old site looked like, well it was basically a hub of information with the ability to sell only PDF patterns through Ravelry.  As much as the old site had its certain charm, it has nothing to do with the new site.  Today I can offer not only knitting & crochet patterns, but ALL the products we offer!

Like knit kits!

knit kits 2

Knit notions!

stitch markers

Knitting needles!

needles

Project bags!

bags

To name a few…….

It is with great pleasure, that I invite you to take a moment to check out the new site.  I sincerely hope you enjoy it and it inspires you to create and make.  The website has a built…

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Loose Ends

as promised … The French Braid solution to all those loose ends

and I had a Really bad case of Loose Ends!

First I had to tidy them up, then I cut them to around 3″
IMG_1644Then I placed each one on it’s proper side. My thinking here was that it would be too bulky to have one big long braid traveling down the one side, so I decided to make 2 french braids on each side of the seem.

(it kind of reminded me of Alpha’s parted hair in Spanky and our Gang)

IMG_1648It turned out a bit wabi-sabi but that is fine with me
It’s my style ~ live and let live ~ and leave perfection to the machines

(not that I don’t strive do make thing well)

These braids lay pretty flat on the inside and I don’t feel any bulge or bulk when I am wearing it

I finally mustered the courage to block it and it is drying now, It looks like it will be fine.
I can’t wait to wear my Lidiya dress Pattern on Ravelry inside out

Invisible time ~ Stolen moments

I finished this wonderful knitting project a little while ago … on October 2 in fact. I started it in January and mostly knit this in my spare time ~ morning coffee, movies & series, on the bus, waiting for someone or something or visiting. Invisible time ~ Stolen moments

I was careful to carry my colours no more than 2 or 3 stitches on the inside so I could wear both sides

and I will

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My daughter Amanda (The Craftyjackalope) sharing our booth at KnitCity 2105

The Fabulous knitting event Knit City 2015 in Vancouver Canada was the first time I wore it and Wow! That was fun! I’ve never pulled up my hem to show my seaming and the underside of my dress to so many strangers and friends in my life! Lots of fun Show and Telling! And the good news?

It fits PERFECTLY

I have one more blog on this Lidiya dress and it is all about french braiding the hundreds of ends in.

so stand by

(oh and you might as well knit while you wait :-)

more here on my Lidiya dress on Ravelry

The sanity and delight of knitting

My friend J found the healing side of knitting and made many beautiful scarves, colourful musical scores. She has given most of them to her friends ~ the generosity of knitting goes on and on.

“While working for Victim Services I went through a period of feeling some anxiety.  I think it was all the being on call that kept my adrenaline up.  So I discovered that knitting helped bring me down.  I’d come home, sit down on my wonderful sofa, turn on some gorgeous music and knit scarves until I’d knit what seemed like scores.  I learned later that the repetitive motion which has a term in therapy speak serves to relax and relieve anxiety.  Somehow I instinctively knew what I needed to do to help myself.  Perhaps it was all those women who have come before me who whispered in my ear. Just thought I’d share that!   J”

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you can almost hear the music

J-scarff detail

One more Increase

at long last I am coming into the finish line. Not at rabbit speed but a slow highly enjoyable tortoise speed.  

  (I am babysitting my daughter’s kitty – my grand kitty – her name Is Kitty) 

 and yes, I Do still love the Inside Out and plan to wear it that way too. In a sense I will have two two two dresses in one! 

Still at it with Lidya Dress

Although I took a break (out of sheer laziness) blogging, I have kept knitting the Lydia dress. Maybe you can read in between the lines that I have distanced myself from her a tiny bit. I am still enjoying it and I even finished the body. But the sleeves …. man oh man! IMG_1235
I have no idea why they are giving me such a hard time! The rows are short and the increases are manageable.

I just lied

The increases are driving me bonkers, and the rows are so short I can never get a rhythm going. I never even knew that I had relied on a rhythm before. I had. And it feels so silly that a little sleeve is throwing me off. I tink all the time, I read and re-read the pattern … where am I? where was I going? where am I supposed to be going?  Why did I drink my morning coffee so fast? But, I know it will find sense in all my nonsense, eventually. When I look at the body, I scratch my head and wonder what’s the big deal with this itty bitty sleeve. IMG_1244I know one thing for sure though. I have found a MUCH simpler direct way to write this pattern sans hieroglyphics. But that is for later. IMG_1245And look at all these loose ends! They are making me nervous. I sure hope the french braiding idea works. If not, sewing all these in will feel like I am making a king size quilt! I just say that because I am feeling a bit daunted by my own lack of flow right now, it will all be fine, I know.IMG_1247She sure looks pretty in my finishing basket though, don’t you think? I am hoping to finish her by early October but we’ll see how it goes. I haven’t been so put off as to not knit a bit everyday … SINCE JANUARY!!!!

IMG_0493I just would like to find a little peace and play, like what I have in my clay work, in the sleeves, that’s all I am asking for …
~ I’ll get there ~

 

5 new designs in 5 days….

Here we go!

The Knitty Knitty Gritty

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Today, day 1: b e l l a   b e e   c o w l

This lace cowl is knit in the round and then the lace edging is knit flat & sideways along the live stitches.  I used one of my favorite brands of yarn, Purl Soho’s Worsted Twist.  What makes this yarn so nice? It is super soft, has a beautiful spin and I just can’t get enough of it!

If you like sets, the b e l l a   b e e   s l o u c h y   h a t  is the perfect match!

You can find this pattern:

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Coming Along

This is only 2 runs of this 100 row pattern! 

I had to split it to do the front and back and the knitting in the round party was over. 

After 3 days of trying to purl 2 to 3 strands with my 2 left hands, I finally can do it with ease.
Can you see the long stranding lines where I started my learning curve? I had to solve this. I want to wear this inside out, weird, I know. I wanted at least every other strand tucked in. I had to figure out how to purl with 2 strands in my right hand and one in my left. 

                     It’s a real Brain Buster

All the directions I found threw me into my left brain and I constantly got fuddled. I just couldn’t figure it out. Then I just gave up and let my hands do the driving and low and behold! They figured it out. All I had to do was to pay attention. 

So I don’t think I have any more sharp learning curves in the road ahead. 3 stranded was the big one for me in this dress. I can cruise along happily again now. 
 

Inside Out

IMG_0618I’m thinking that this specimen is going to be 2 dresses in one. See how Great this looks Inside out?! If I am feeling especially creative and funky, I can just wear it Inside Out and if I happen to slip it on the ‘wrong’ way one sleepy morning, no matter, what the heck!IMG_0619In one of Josh Bennett’s knitting classes at my first Vogue Knitting Live, he talked about a sweater he designed with a beautiful fair isle collar knitted inside out … intentionally! Being the sort to like that kind of knitting blasphemy, I took to that idea …

Ya! Why Not I say! IMG_0616This is not to say that the Front side is absolutely Glorious! I will be wearing it ‘correctly’ a lot I imagine
IMG_0621… and more on this in my next post, but you can see what I have done to temporally corral all these ends, there are many many many ends and since I will be trimming and french braiding them all at the end, why not braid not to keep them tidy and manageable. (I’m seeing that this photo makes the dress look like it is going a million miles and hour) In fact it is slow going but I like that,
it slows ME down in a good way …

Slow Down and Knit
Look at things Inside Out

Back to knitting

I’ve  been busy in my clay studio making Imaginaries. They are little porcelain creatures/critters. Some are silly

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Some are peaceful

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They are little Connectors. Each one has its specialty and they don’t leave my hands until I feel a connection with them and find their story. This interaction assures the possibility of someone else having a connection and hearing a story too.. That’s the plan anyway.

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It can even be a small story like this one. “And I’m just wondering if you you might perchance have a delicious little treat for me in your pocket?”  See what I mean? They are always chatting me up.

This is why I did not knit very much for the 7 days I have been away. But now I am on the ferry home and am happy to pick up this Lidiya dress again. She is getting longer and is coming close to being up to my waist.

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I’m still a enamored with it but as the days grow longer and warmer, I can image a big bundle of wooly dress on my lap on a hot hot day as I finish the arms, so I seriously have to finish this Spring.

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Vogue Knitting

This is a great story, and likely to be continued in her next blog…

The Knitty Knitty Gritty

About a year ago today I submitted my first design to Vogue Knitting Magazine.

My mum was a huge influence on deciding which design idea to submit.  She reminded me of this scarf I “designed” when I never even thought knitwear design could be an option for me.  I used to knit for pleasure only.  I would go through fazes of intense knitting, to nothing, often I would just make up a pattern.  If you can believe it, there was a time when I didn’t know how to follow a pattern for a garment or accessory,  I  would choose a stitch or cable from a stitch dictionary and just make stuff up; sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.  My design process was never technical, I just did it!  And, I never imagined making a living off knitting…obviously I wasn’t addicted…yet.

Years later, mum sent me this photo, and said “remember this?” …

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One pattern Finished

And thats not a typo, this photo represents ONE run through of the pattern, Uno!

 I started this on January 29th. And I figure I’m not even ½ way done. But I don’t mind, I am Still totally enjoying it and I know I will until I have to split the front and back for the arms. And you know what That means …. PURLING – in living colour. 

I can already hear myself kvetching about the 3 stranded purling. There are some great videos out there so there will be help and you know what? I think I will try to be brave this time. I know it will be new, I know it will be hard (purl continental makes my fingers all goofy) but I will learn something New and my brain will grow … and knowing me, I will start Loving it a few rows in.  who couldn’t… It’s a Colour-Fest!!

But for now? I will savour the last 12″ of knitting in the round before the fork in the road. And then I’ll be back in the round making the sleeves before I know it, and hopefully smarter and more patient by then too. 

Past 1 Foot

 

IMG_0269My Lidiya Dress is coming along, it is easy now and still most enjoyable. I am savoring every stitch. I am even imagining what colours I might use on my Nest Lidiya Dress if you can believe it! Yes, it is That enjoyable.
IMG_0270I take it almost every where with me now
IMG_0194no … I’m not driving here, I’m not a Stop Light knitter … yet
IMG_0101It gets lots Wows from my daughter
and ..it goes very well with the new Australian Flat White coffee

 

I’m a knitting wimp

I cannot believe that the pattern says to start my first decrease on the 3 strand row!

IMG_0034Oh sure I can do it alright but gee, I think this decrease could have been Easily made on the 1 colour row. To a better knitter, this might not even been noticed. Maybe by the end of this dress, it will be no big deal to me either but for now? I say Holy Cow!

more Lidiya Dress here

I posted about this dress over in my other blog , the one that I post Every Monday morning ~

http://nancywalkerstudio.com/2015/02/02/a-little-knitting-project/

5 colour rows in

I knit in the morning while I am waking up with my coffee and in the evening while we are watching something on Netflix.
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At the moment we are watching Homeland, and it’s pretty exciting. I knit while I watch which is working out really well because I miss seeing all the gory parts, of which there are a lot. Knitting smooths out the tension.
I hear it but I don’t see it and I’m just fine with that.

I even am knitting the 3 colour rows as the plot thickens, I can hear my brain calls sprout on those rows.
It’s like patting my head and rubbing my tummy while chewing gum and jumping, but I like the challenge.

Off to the Races

After many days of translating and interpreting and practicing the Lidiya Dress

I began.

but just before I cast on I chickened out and decided to knit this in the round.

I figure there is enough of a challenge in the dress, why add aggravation by purling.

~ life is too short to make it much harder ~

So here I am, training wheels on (30) one every 10 sts so I won’t/can’t get too far off the path.

IMG_9953I have already visited the Frog and I hope that rite of passage is over and done with, but probably not.

I gotta tell you that this dress is going to be a BLAST to knit!

It is already really fun, challenging, engaging, demanding and all those amazing colours are the frosting!

and!

Amanda showed me this Brilliance today .. so I am not even worried about the thousands of ends to tie in at the end.

Take a good gander at this!

Weaving in endsFrench Braid all the ends in! then tie it off at the end.
it takes a day’s JOB and turns it into an hour’s pleasure!

Done!

… to be continued

Step One ~ Backwards

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First I had to decipher the pattern because the chart pattern in the directions quite frankly made me Dizzy!

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A knitter on Ravelry Lucibee is making this dress too and she made a coloured chart which, being a visual, I found to be immensely helpful. So I made a chart for myself. Then I thought to dot my enlarged chart with the colours row by row.

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Since I am not knitting this in the round (I may be crying over this decision later) I now have to learn to Purl continental style.
I can for strand knit with 2 hands (English & Continental) on the stockinette side
but I want to be able to do this in the purl side too.

big learning curve for me

but I’ve always said….

“I get nervous If I’m not learning something new”

Lidiya

I woke up this morning and saw this and loved it SO much I already had the yarn by noon. My basket is full of 17 balls of delicious earthy coloured yarn and I am ready to map out the pattern!

So fast I even surprised myself!

Sorry other patient pending projects, you’ll have to wait a little longer now ….

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I’m even following the set colour pattern because I think it is absolutely Perfect!
It’s a Kaffe Fasset

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I think I will make the collar a bit smaller

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This will be so much fun to knit!
I Cannot wait to start!
knitted dress … I finally found you!

 

Earth & Sky wrap

I was just coming to the 2nd arm opening on my wrap last week as I was knitting in my favourite spot by our front window. Yes, I like to sit facing out at the window which probably looks odd to the occasional passers by…..
So, there I am, happily knitting … knitting …

2015/01/img_94831.jpgmy yarn is changing colours from Sky to Earth

2015/01/img_9482.jpgand I look up at the tree I see everyday and SEE This!

2015/01/img_94841.jpgEarth & Sky … I nearly fell off my cushion!

Black Wolf Ranch Wrap

This wrap took a bit longer to knit that I expected …. but it is long and it is wide … sooooo …
IMG_9464“it is reasonable it would take some time to knit up. ” I say to my impatient self.
you would think since it is such a simple pattern, that I wouldn’t make any mistakes …

you’d think!
but my little invisible (to me) knitting demon was at it again…. It knit only 10″ instead of 13″ on the first side!

but
My clever self countered with adding the Bear Track lace pattern to this short edge and it was such a good solution, I am now making another wrap with BOTH sides laced with Bear Tracks (blog coming soon)

IMG_9463see that luscious black halo? This is a Possum yarn by Zealana.

This yarn, Rimu DK Natural, is so warm, really soft and light.
The bush tail possum hair fibers are hollow like Qiviut, so they are insulating and not nearly as expen$ive.

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I like how I can wear this Short with a big cozy collar or Long with a smaller collarIMG_9457and of course, it looks great with my blue Whirlie shawl pin
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or little Peaceful Owl, having a little nap in this soft wrap, shhhhhhh

Met a few Beauties today

As I was driving along a country road this fellow with these gorgeous horns was just too handsome to pass by.

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/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/1ac/49669418/files/2015/01/img_9671.jpg We had a great conversation. He likes my idea of knitting a sweater with his coat.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/1ac/49669418/files/2015/01/img_9682.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/1ac/49669418/files/2015/01/img_9684.jpgand who can resist this spunky black sheep?

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/1ac/49669418/files/2015/01/img_9700.jpgI’d like to think this one was just friendly, she was to be sure, but I think she was really wishing for treats.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/1ac/49669418/files/2015/01/img_9706.jpg and this shy one has my next scarf on!

Portobello Cowl

Wow!
Colour!   Splash!   Boom!   Bang!
IMG_9476Bring on WINTER! I Dare you!
IMG_9481This Portobello Cowl is designed by Vogue Knitting designer Amanda Kaffka and if you knit this with the amazing
Rain City Knits hand dyed yarn
call it portoBELLO!
IMG_9478It could Cheer any soul upIMG_9477and if you feel Spring coming on, make it with a lime green splash
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Here is The lace top Amanda designed for the Vogue Knitting Holiday 2104 Issue

Portobello

and you can buy the pattern on Ravelry

Earth & Sky

I am kitting the Earth & Sky
IMG_9415I began with the Bear Track pattern
and I will end with a Bear Track too

IMG_9431I will show this pattern on my Ravelry page when I am done.

I got inspired from the possum wrap I just finished … last week, last year.  But while I was knitting that, my ideas on how to customize this were firing at an alarming rate. That first wrap was just a practice run for some fun ideas.

The first one being knitting with Kauni yarn called Earth & Sky, it was inspiring at first sight!

it’s a nice way to start off this year I think … to make a pattern

from the Earth & Sky and a big spool of home grown yarn from a sheep farm on Salt Spring Island ~ Sunset Farm Studio ~

watch this wrap grow … too be continued ….

Benton V-neck sweater (finally)

Well … at long last …. Hello again

I know (and feel bad) that I have left you hanging by a thread, sort to speak, in the middle of knitting Benton by Brooklyn Tweed. I did finally finish Benton on August 1oth. So with no further adieu, here she is, all finished. and I wear it a lot, and I love it a lot, it goes with everything.

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benton

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Voila!

Mimi Mink Pullover

 

Meet Mimi Mink Pullover

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She is 90% Mink & 10% Cashmere!

I know, I know what  you are thinking ….  no … those cute little minks are not killed for their hair. They live in a massage parlor where they are combed daily, I checked it out not wanting to wear any bad karma.

IMG_9448and the second best part? … this mink yarn was On Sale!

I bought it at Minkyarn.com  Actually my daughter and I bought the mink yarn together and knit the same pattern (her idea, my copy-cat) She got Chambery Crown,  a lovely dark navy colour and I got the Chambery Vampire … you’d think it would have been the other way around.

IMG_9450I made a few changes like keeping a split open on the sides at the ribbing and my daughter made the rest of the changes:

Amanda Kaffka (my daughter) made some modifications to the neck shaping so it wouldn’t be so big. She also changed the ribbing to a broken rib and also went down 1/2 a needle size for all ribbing and turtle neck.

IMG_9452I love this broken rib look

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but thought the cuff I would be a little more snug if I knit k1 p1, which it wasn’t …

but that’s ok

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if there is a next time, I will knit the broken rib in the cuffs …

Just Saying

It’s been pretty exciting around here

my daughter Amanda Kaffka, has had 2 of her knit designs in the Vogue Knitting. The Fall issue and again in the Holiday issue (due in newsstands early November and iPad subscribers can get it now)

I am Playing my Proud mama card big time these days!

IMG_8478the top is in this issue ~

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VKF14_Cables_01_small2 This crazy big Celtic Cable Scarf  looks great in a soft bone colour and can be knit with a thinner yarn.

all photos © Soho Publishing

and here is her Etsy Shop (her Portobello Cowl kits sold out in the first morning of Knit City 2014

~ just saying ~

I’m a Slow Knitter

My daughter on the other hand, knits like lightening! You will see her designs in the Fall AND November issue of Vogue Knitting. …. More on that later.

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I always have a little knit time in the morning with my cup of really dark yummy coffee. It sets me up for my day. I can plan and muse and ponder about how my day can unfold. Knitting is kind of like mind yoga.
When it’s warm I knit outside, it’s lovely.

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I have had needle size issues with this sweater.

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Bad needle karma. Either way too big or the wrong kind … It’s been really weird. But then something good happened! Something good with knitting needles happened!
I found these!

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And I wasn’t even looking for them.

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Carbon Interchangeables! Oh My they are super nice! I knit one sleeve in the round as suggested with, I swear, 3 different needle combos.

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I started that sleeve 4 times before my daughter lent me her sleeve/hat needles.
But this second sleeve? I’m am knitting with my new carbons ….. Back and forth, knit and purl and will happily seam it up. It is BLISS to knit with these!
And they will surely make me a faster knitter …. Not that I’m racing …. Just Blissing!

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Coming Along

20140628-091435-33275574.jpgThe back is coming along nicely here. And here it is almost finished.

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20140628-091829-33509373.jpgand … a side note … A side Question actually …. How do You mark you place on your patterns? I have tried several ways. A magnet board (but it holds only one, maybe 2 pages so I have to keep my pages loose which isn’t a hardship but I prefer to keep them stapled together, especially when I have 13 pages). I’ve also tried a folding case where I slip in my pattern (all pages :) behind a plastic sheet. I can use a erasable pen to mark my pattern. Both these are great and I will get a Lot of use from them … Later. I’m a Visual thinker so when I move along a pattern, I mark it up but try to use just a pencil so it doesn’t end up looking like fireworks! I have found something that really works for me. Highlighter Tape

20140628-095427-35667888.jpg It’s perfect because I can move it along as I go, it’s re-stickable and comes in different colours. (I just wanted to pass that along, I don’t work for them or anything) I find it so interesting how everyone has a different preference for sitting out a pattern.
And so I begin the front.

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A New Knit

20140625-091140-33100703.jpg This is what I am making now. It’s a big cozy V-neck stripped pullover called Benton, designed by Julie Hoover for Brooklyn Tweed. I’m using a light Brooklyn Tweet yarn called LOFT. I chose a handsome pale gray – Fossil and a lovely pale tan called – Snowbound.

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I bought this yarn at the Churchmouse booth at the Vogue Knit Live in Seattle right after Jared Flood himself had just bought a set of my wisdom teeth stitch markers for his dental hygienist Mom. *at the time I didn’t know who he was until I walked away, yarn in hand, and my daughter whispered loudly to me “do you know who that was!?”
I’m clipping along here. It’s a joy to knit!

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And did I mention that this knitting recipe has 13 Pages?!?!?!! But it’s ok, my knitting teacher daughter simplified it for me, but really, it’s a very doable pattern, Jared is just very through and thoughtful in his pattern making.

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and … here is a little peek into my knitting basket. See my little felted chickadee?
More coming soon ~

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End of a Long Journey

I love the Kitchener Stitch.

I know a lot of you out there don’t. I don’t exactly why I love it, but I do.  Maybe it’s because it is kind of mechanical with all that working between 2 knitting needles and a sewing needle….  and maybe it’s that little mathematical pattern that has a nice rhythm to it.

It is fun, plain and simple.

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You might remember from my last post I was fretting a bit over having enough yarn to finish.

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Well, one the very day I was doing my Kitchener stitch, the beautiful mink skein I had jittered over, arrived and the skein was from the same the same dye lot too! Laurel had found one for me!

Needless to say, I DID have enough yarn to finish. Not a much, but enough.

It was actually this much ~

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but, at the time, it seemed like this much

11That’s cutting it pretty close, wouldn’t you say?

Back to the Kitchener stitch, because I have more to report ~

So I there I was happily stitching along, I had counted carefully and I was feelin’ pretty good.

I was almost done when I noticed this!

IMG_7689WHAT    THE    DICKENS  !?!?

That’s a pretty obvious lack of attention! So I backed up. Now the Kitchener stitch is not as much fun when you have to put it in reverse. So I did put it in reverse and started again and ….

it  STILL wasn’t right! What am I doing wrong?!

8I just couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong even when it looked so obvious!

and of course it Was obvious .. and fixable

I was probably just too caught up in finishing.

And finish it, I did

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and as I was washing it the oddest thing happened.

All of the many wonderful experiences and adventures I had and all of the lovely knitters I had met while blogging and  knitting Jasmine Tea,  came bubbling up to the fore. It was almost like they say when one’s life passes before them in their last moment ~

everything thing was there in one powerful vivid moment.

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… and now?

I’m on to something new and exciting so …

Stay Tuned!

 

A Knitter’s Jitters

So the other day……  I was knitting happily along when I decided to check my yarn ball in my basket. I had been pulling and pulling long strands out of this basket for days and I  just wondered ….. AND OH MY!

Do I have enough to finish?

This DOUBT happens a lot, but usually all I need to do is walk down the street and buy more if I really need it.

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But this time?! I might be in trouble because you see I bought this lovely mink mimi yarn at the Handknitting booth at Seattle Vogue Knit Live marketplace. The pattern and yardage said I had enough but That skein is looking pretty skimpy to my eyes.

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Did I save the biz card? Should I order another skein just in case??

Do I trust the pattern and skein yardage???? or do I trust my worry and doubt?? It looks sooooo small and I would hate to have to stop knitting this when I am SO close to finishing! What to do?? What to do??

….. I Caved…..

I found the card (smart me I put it in a logical place :-) and I called the company and even though they were out of my dye lot they had the colour and Laurel though it would be close enough if not exactly the same.

I didn’t care, I HAD to have one. I went ahead and ordered one more skein of the Gainsborough Grey.

Worst case scenario? I would be knitting a small mink cowl …

what could be the harm in that?

Well. Today is Saturday and the extra skein did not arrive  last week (lament to Canada post) and I just have one more shoulder to go, I am looking forward to finishing. I love that feeling when I get so close to finishing that it seems like I can’t stop. The finish is going to happen. That finishing line is motivating enough to knit like crazy to the finish….. but then again, this has been such a lovely garment to knit and we, together, have had so many adventures and met so many lovely people, I am torn. I am excited to finish yet I want to linger.

But I know I will finish it tonight … even before that extra skein of yarn arrives in the mail.

and Yes … I will have enough to finish, the pattern and skein yardage was correct …

silly me

and now it looks like someone will be getting a mink cowl

lovingly knitted from that knitter’s jitters skein

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Ya Hooo!

imageedit_12_7006808090I’m pretty Excited!

My Lace is coming along nicelyIMG_7538I have really sunk my teeth into this now.

IMG_0225It’s getting pretty exciting

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Easy – Peasy

My daughter, my knit designer daughter, Amanda Kaffka, had a go at my well traveled knitting yesterday.
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She is an amazing knit designer (fashion design grad, sews & designes couture) and a fantastic much loved knitting teacher. She can teach any age and tackle any problem. She has a wonderful relaxed, positive, creative manner about her that keeps her busy with her devoted students. She will be teaching at the now huge Knit City Fiber Event here in Vancouver this Fall. And we will be sharing a booth there too! We are a Mother Daughter Team!

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I taught her to knit long long ago. We were in the country, far from any shop, so I carved her 2 knitting needles from the beautiful Arbutus tree.
5351652432_1ee1ee45e9_zSHE was one who taught me to read knitting patterns! It came easy to her ….. but me? I had been intimidated by them to the point of not knitting at all …. I had a really bad case of knit pattern fear!

                                                          It was all “k3p5*yok5sskk2t*ogpassok2*…” to my eyes

I had actually gotten as far as to put stitch markers in my top, ready to start the lace pattern, at the airport while I was waiting out that thunderstorm in Chicago.

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But then when I got home, and you know how it goes, I put off this challenging bit to settle back in. The grass had to be mowed, laundry  ……. So my knitting was stalled…
But today I AM READY to dive in again, now that Amanda has knit a row and put in her stitch markers

Amandaknits
And she did her teaching magic again with this top. She suggested I make some flash cards for the lace pattern. Brilliant!

I love things like this. It  makes a potentially confusing step …
20140523-171940-62380684.jpgEasy-Peasy

Talking Clay ~ Etsy Shop

TheCraftyJackalope ~ Etsy Shop

Two Steps Back, One Step Forward, Life Line

We had a little delay on our train ride, coming in 3 hours late but I’m always amazed that they can even schedule arrival times on such a long long journey! We ran 5 hours late until the last section and then arrived only 3 hours late. It’s kind of like that way it goes with knitting; I think I will have knitted up to a certain length by a certain time, but it never happens. If I was a train, I’d always be late. I truly thought I would have finished this mink Jasmine Tea Top and be deeply into my Jared Flood V-Neck!
Not Even Close!
Travel can be like that. I think I will be in a certain place at a certain time. But this trip? Traveling on 4 flights?
Not Even Close!
I now know I have been incredible lucky with my air travels in the past, because this time? EVERY flight I took, I had to take Two Steps Back. (sparing you all the gory details) But I was OK with it all because I am used to Frogging (when you rip out a whole or part of your knitting project and start over). Frogging has a Zen quality about it. You just have to do what is in front of you, even if it is going backwards, and you can’t be attached to results. Kicking and screaming simply won’t fix the problem. This skill served me well in my travels.
Do what you can do, Allow events to unfold.

So there I was, frogging in the airport, waaaaay behind my imagined finish date, not even close to the lace section and loosing ground by having to frog.

At least I remembered to sew in a Life Line so that little step back probably saved me the embarrassment of crying in public.
My flight finally took off but I was the LAST ONE onboard because I had been concentrating so hard on my frogging, that I did not hear the gate change announcement. What I DID hear, luckily, was my name called over the loud speaker to “PLEASE PUT YOUR KNITTING DOWN AND GET ON THIS PLANE!” (well it felt like that). The insane thing is that I picked up ONE MORE STITCH and Then got on! We knitters are hopeless!
. . . . . . . . .

Traveling with my knitting was like having a front row seat ticket into the lives of so many people around me. It was my ticket to meet them and get to know them a little, and if there was time, to really connect.

I met with my dear dear long time friends Nicki and her Mum. Nicki was my best best friend in grade school, a connection that never diminishes and Miriam, her mum, is like my 2nd Mum. They travel all over the world together and both possess a keen and lively zest for life! Neither of them knit but they do follow my blog so they were so keen to be part of this!

Now their touch is knitted into the memory of this top and that will always be there ~

The last people I met on my trip were Will and Wendy Thomson. I spotted Wendy happily knitting during our last 4 hour flight delay while we waited out a thunder and lightening storm in Chicago O’Hare. I went over to meet her to ask about what she was making but it was her husband that got all excited over my mink top, asking tons of questions, holding it, feeling it, wondering all about the mink. He proudly told me that he used to knit in his younger days. In the early 40’s he would took ferry to school with 5 girls who knit. One day, he said to them, “Bring me knitting needles and some of that wool, I want to learn too!’ Wendy knits doll clothes and baby blankest all year long for the Children’s hospital here in Vancouver, she says that Every new born baby receives a home made knitted quilt made by the knitting guild she is part of. She had kindness written all over her face, so did her husband.
Knitters are a Fine Lot!

See Will?! He knew just how to start knitting my top! They didn’t mind the flight delay one single bit!

Knitting it self is like a Life Line

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Mum & Me ~ 2014 visit ~ Two Steps Forward

My Etsy Shop is now OPEN!

also check out my daughter’s Etsy Shop The Crafty Jackalope

Mother Yarn

My mum has knit many amazing sweaters. She has knit each of us 3 kids an Aran sweater and she knit me a beautiful Norwegian grey and white sweater ( I’ll post pics when I get home). She taught my sister and I to knit and embroider when we were little. She’s 86 now and she says she is done with knitting. I can’t understand that now, but I’ll re-examine that when I am 86. At my age, I am thinking that knitting will balance out all the rigamarole of aging. But what do I know?

But ….
When I showed her the striped mink top I am making, she got pretty interested. She placed it her on her lap and felt its instant warmth. I handed my knitting over to her. I just wanted to see it in her hands. At first she resisted but when she picked it up, even though she kept Saying she doesn’t knit anymore, her hands Knew what to do and they started knitting! It was really amazing and interesting to watch the split between her mind and her body! (what ever it was, it was fascinating and filled me with questions)

She naturally and easily wrapped the yarn over her finger and knitted a stitch, in spite of her self. I am so glad this top has one knitted stitch by mum in it. That stitch will always be there.

Then ….. Then when I showed her the silly picture of me at the end of my long train trip with my knitting on my head and she laughed and laughed. I asked her if she wanted to do that too and she was game!

Do I not have a cool mum or what?! I just love her spirit! We had a such a great giggle looking at this photograph of her! She may have Dementia and progressing Alzheimer’s but she sure still has her spirit and sense of humour! I am taking notes for my upper years.

She has had a separate visit from all her 3 of her children this week and I can tell she is over the moon but….. pretty fried. It’s a lot of disruption of her contained little world, even though she has so loved our visits. My dear sister was there for Mother’s Day and this photo makes my heart burst with the love of it all.

And on this note I will say a good night. Not a bad note to end this day on. Yes?

Shop opens May 21
Etsy.com/shop/talkingclay

Reward!

I am in Biz Class! I was patient with the customer service person who had been dealing with the disappointment and drama in a long long line of people, and she gave me 1st class, at least, I am going with that story. Air Canada has an iffy reputation at best but all the workers do work hard.

Ok. Roller coaster ride update. We are delayed 2 hours. Ha ha they let us all in then popped the news! Weather is ruling now.

OK, I won’t bother you with anymore gory details of my travels and travails unless I get into lace part if the pattern.

nancywalkerstudio.com

Passing Through

I’m now on my way to visit my watercolor mum in her Alzheimer’s home. I have been blogging her water color birding sketch books for 4 years now. She is (was) good.
And talented. I even put an image of her country rose on the back of my biz card. She loved that. You can see her sketch books here.
Watercolorsbymum. WordPress.com

There is knitting a garment and there is knitting life. Maybe I am a life knitter….. It almost seems the same to me.

I am traveling (flying this time) to see her and for the first time have had connection problems. But as a knitter and taichi practitioner, I never stressed. It all sorted out, as it does, and hours later, 12 rows are done, and my back aligned, All that by standing in line.

I know I’ll be doing the lace section on my Jasmine Tea top on this trip! Do I double the gray or not is my biggest dilemma now. Not too bad of a position to be in, eh?!
And to balance it Allllll ….. That through all that waiting and re-booking and re-imagining, this happened for me!

My Notifications are ringing off the hook!! Thank you All dear knitters! Thank You dear VK! I hope to keep you entertained!
And VK featured re my daughter’s cowl I was knitting! Which, bty … turned out great! Thecraftyjackalope.com. I gave it to my dear friend who celebrated her 70th, she Loved it!!

I’m finally off to Boston then a bus to Manchester NH. It’s all worked out as it always does. Sometimes one just has to go for the ride life gives you. Today? Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
nancywalkerstudio.com

On Land

Now I can show you the top I’ve been working on.

I might double the grey for the top lace for a lite more structure. I’ll see.

I have been actually knitting more here on steady land than I had on the train and now I realize just how much I was nose to the window on the train. The constant passing scenery is mesmerizing. Maybe we are wired that way. Our eyes seem to latch onto a moving object. So …. A train moving through the landscape, or shall I say, a constantly moving landscape out the window is hard wired into us. I didn’t have a chance!

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But my knitting is coming along now that the windows have stopped moving!

Maybe it’s Enough

Getting closer to the city. There is a mix of wilderness and communities, you can tell when a group of houses are coming up by the junk near the tracks. The farms, for the most part are pretty tidy

except for a few pieces of abandoned equipment.

We still pass a few areas of birch trees. If you look way into the woods, you’ll see a few birches laying down, fallen. They are still white and they look like fallen soldiers to me.

I’m all packed now and am just sitting in my roomette getting a few more stitches in as I watch the world go by.

I’m feeling kind of funny, I’m not sure I’m ready to make the transition into a big city.

~ But my dear, it’s clearly time to go ~

Last night on the Train

We had a short stop in Hornpane, Ontario while we were having dinner last night, so we couldn’t go outside. But this was our view where the train stopped.

It looks like I photoshopped this image but I really didn’t.

See those broken windows on the 2nd floor? This is an old train station. I think it would make a nifty place to fix up to live in.

And we continue to move forward…..

We are in birch and lake country. I’ve seen snowdrops and trilliums, many many marshes with beaver dams, lakeside cabins and someone saw a moose …. but I missed it.

Ok …. I did boost the colour on this one ….

I definitely will not be knitting the Jared Flood V-neck stripped sweater. I will be lucky if I finish knitting this Jasmine Top (by Amanda Bell on Ravelry). I guess I have done more looking than knitting.

You can see we are coming into some serious civilization. Can you tell we haven’t seen a much human activity in 2 days? We’ve been in the semi-wilderness.
It will get busy from here in out. Our journey is coming to the last act. I still have lots of images to post so I will continue posting even though my feet will be on the ground in Toronto.
Meanwhile I will leave you with a little movie of the view from my roomette window.

…. And remember …. All I had to do while lying in bed was open my eyes!
I will really miss my little roomette!

Last Day

There has been a lot of train talk about our delay. The freight carrying grain and oil and commodities have track priority. So much oil is moving that the grain was fermenting in the silos waiting to get to market. There was serious talk about maybe even having to have lunch on the train if we would be that late getting into Toronto …. Much wringing of hands, much murmuring and guesses about just how late it will be.

Well we got the diagnosis this morning.
We are 5 hours late!!!! There is a lot of disappointment on the train, missed connections, boredom …..
Me? I AM THRILLED TO BITS!!!! 5 extra hours on this baby!
I get to do this!

We are in the Sudbury area, once so barren that the astronauts practiced moon walking here until the Sudburians thought to plant a bunch of trees.
We are here ~

We Should be here ~

Cheryl, the knitter on board, is traveling with her sister Gail who is crocheting a blanket for her grandson in his football (soccer) team’s colours. We all sat together up in the dome car yesterday like a knitting magnet.

Apparently there is a 90 year old knitter on the train but I never saw her.
By the 3rd day folks were really settling in, the in changing landscape also allowed us to remove our noses from the windows too.

Judith was painting.

Bird lecture was happening …. Did you know that the Great Horned Owl can retract its ears!? It just raises them like antennas to communicate. And! Because they don’t have a sense of smell, they can eat skunks! …. And they do!!

There was a beaver here, but it missed the photo op.

We have mostly been off line which is a lovely reprieve but a bit disruptive for my blogging efforts. A few posts were rushed off before I could edit them because we were passing though a town with internet connection. But towns like this are in the dark.

Some one is a bright light here!

Textures

So many lakes, and each one has it’s own particular texture and design. The wind and temperature dictates the design.

These textures are getting me thinking about my clay work and knitting designs.

Take for instance …. These visual ideas.

This is a close up if that very old grain elevator.

Lots of ideas here.

nancywalkerstudio.com

Day 3

We got on the train in Vancouver on Friday evening and will arrive in Toronto Tuesday morning. This is our last full day. I have been savoring every day. We are in Ontario now, coming into Sioux Lookout.

I woke up at 5:30 to this, a whole new landscape. It’s blue and bumpy and wet.

We are on the great Canadian Shield. It’s all grey rock, blue lakes and birch & fur trees for most of Ontario and Quebec. Look out the window once and you’re done for the day, it’s all the Same ole view. Just kidding …. there will be lots of nuance to see and I am hoping for a moose.

I think I knit about 4 rows yesterday. I have to be careful that I don’t knit too high up, this pattern is meditative enough to keep knitting beyond the lace transition point and easy enough to keep looking out the window.

This little chickadee always lives in my project bag of the day. My daughter felted her years ago so she has seen me through many knitting projects.

Last night we were still on the prairies. During dinner we past this.

A VERY old grain elevator. So much history and stories here!

Built right next to an old grain elevator.

The modern one was just a ways up but it’s not interesting looking. I know we have to progress and we figure out how to do things better (or more profitably) but the new ones don’t inspire me. I can’t see their stories….. so they don’t get their picture taken.

The prairies gave us this spectacular sunset show last night while we were in the dining car having dinner.

And this incredible color was at the door between the cars. The vestibule is the link holding the cars together. You have to cross them of course but you are not supposed to linger there. But the sounds/music of the train is there and there is fresh air and the coolness of the outside.

So I linger

See?! It’s been 3 hours and it kind of looks the same out the window.

Rocks. Lakes. Trees.
We have arrived at Sioux Lookout. I’ll go outside for a short walk.

Afternoon on the Praire

I have settled into some serious knitting. I’m all cozy in my little roomette watching the world go by. I’ve just re-counted my stitches and I’m right on target! 129 st each side. Right after I did that we pulled over to let another freight go by and I made contact!

I gave him the wave

And got this back!
That freight train car had 110 cars! Mostly oil, grain and new cars, so much oil is now being transported by rail, it has increased the congestion on the tracks, it’s worrisome. Now we are waiting for yet another freight train to come through which makes it #3 train in one spot. That one had 111 cars … Or did I add a stitch?! We stopped for about 45 minutes so I got familiar with this one little patch of land and I noticed that there is only the one bright white birch tree in a nest of gray birches.

Maybe it got better nutrients …. ? It’s odd

I’ve only met only one other knitter on the train so far. Cheryl from Brisbane Australia. She part of a knitting group that knits blankets for a hospital.

One woman looked at me knitting longingly and said that she wished she had brought hers.

So I knit on……

I can’t tell you how much I am enjoying this mink yarn. I’ll post the link to the pattern when u can get attached to some reliable internet connection. So I carry on …. Knit knit, look look ….

The clouds seem to be at the same height and they just go on and on forever. And the sky is so so blue. This would make a lovely wrap, hmmmm and maybe in mink with its softening bloom.

An abandoned farm

An abandoned grain elevator.

An endless dirt road

This is our train

I haven’t counted our cars yet.
~ It’s a counting afternoon ~