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Hyrna, an Icelandic Shawl, & Continental Knitting

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Completed Shawl!

My time spent in Iceland last year holds a special place in my heart.  So many good memories of such a beautiful country, warm people and happy sheep!
I keep meaning to write more blog posts about my trip…they ARE coming…but as I’ve said before, it’s so hard to capture the experience in pictures and words.
Recently though, I completed a shawl from a yarn kit I bought while I was in Reykjavik.  It was a yarn kit created by Gudrun Bjarnadottir, the owner of Hespa.  Gudrun takes Einband, a single ply Icelandic wool yarn, and dyes it naturally, mainly with native Icelandic plants.
Perhaps letting her speak for herself is a better idea:
“I teach Botany at the Agricultural University of Iceland at Hvanneyri. I spend all my spare time collecting plants and coloring yarn. I also make my own yarn from the Icelandic wool. Plants, knitting and nature are my favorite things and I am so lucky to be able to combine them all in my work and life.” (Etsy Owner Description)
At the end of  our Hiking with the Elves tour, we had a workshop run by Gudrun.  She explained her process and discussed the various plants and lichens used to create the various colours of yarn. Continue reading Hyrna, an Icelandic Shawl, & Continental Knitting

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Winterizing Crochet Scarves Pt 2: Dr Who style

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about wanting to winterize crocheted scarves.  Crochet tends to create a fairly open weave, especially if you’re using longer stitches (double crochets, treble crochets, etc) so it isn’t always the warmest it could be, regardless if you’re using natural fibres such as wool or alpaca.
I wanted to try sewing a layer of fleece or some other fabric to the back of my scarves for added warmth.
Yesterday, I finally did it!

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Fleece backing sewn to a crocheted Dr Who scarf

It’s an exciting project for two reasons.  One is because I finally tried my winterizing idea.  Two is because the scarf in question is a Dr Who scarf!  Who can’t be excited about that! 🙂 Continue reading Winterizing Crochet Scarves Pt 2: Dr Who style

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Winterizing scarves

December 13, 2015: Winterized my first crocheted scarf!  Finally!  A Dr Who scarf.  A dalek on one side, a Tardis on the other and fleece backing for extra warmth!
So, I have had a thought…and it has been bouncing around in my head for over a week now which suggests to me that it’s a good thought and should be acted on.
Many of you know that I make scarves, skull scarves specifically.  They are crocheted and whether I use large or small hooks, the one problem I find with traditional crochet is that it doesn’t create a solid fabric. Each stitch stands alone with a bit of space between it and the next stitch, which allows for air flow.
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Tunisian crochet or knit fabrics are denser but the nature of the skull scarf pattern is such that it requires traditional stitching, so one could argue that they aren’t as warm as they could be. (Especially around the actual skulls which are effectively big holes in the fabric!)
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In certain weather and during certain seasons this wouldn’t be a concern, but I live in Canada and in the middle of February you want a scarf that will block all manner of frigid air currents.
This brings me to my idea.
I’m going to try to winterize my scarves by adding a second layer, perhaps a layer of fleece, to them.
Sewing fabric to a crocheted piece is going to be challenging but I’m up for it! 🙂
Now I have to figure out the best way to attach two pieces of different fabric. Which stitch to use? Machine sew or hand sew?
If anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears!
December 13, 2015: Winterized my first crocheted scarf!  Finally!  A Dr Who scarf.  A dalek on one side, a Tardis on the other and fleece backing for extra warmth!

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Super Bulky "Outlander" Cowl – Free Knit Pattern

I recently made a number of awesome SUPER bulky wraps.  They are quick (only took a few hours each) and easy (Can you garter stitch?  You’re good!)
Some of these are available in my Etsy store but if you are a knitter, scroll down for the pattern.
black and white super bulky cowl
My adventure starting during a recent trip to Michael’s Crafts where I picked up a set of the biggest knitting needles I have ever used! (Also known as vampire stakes…but that’s another story) Continue reading Super Bulky "Outlander" Cowl – Free Knit Pattern

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Fibrearts: What can you make in 5 hrs?

Yesterday,  B and I drove to the Ottawa Valley from Toronto.  It’s about a 5 hour drive, a drive we have done many times before and I decided to focus on crocheting and knitting the whole way…just to see how much I could do.
It wasn’t for speed necessarily…I didn’t want to go as fast as possible and have errors in my work…but it was more for the challenge of the whole thing.  Not to mention, I will be vending at the Hamilton Pagan Harvest Festival in a couple of weeks and so, more stock? …that’s a good thing!
I didn’t get through as much as I expected, but still, it was a productive trip!  And hey, we have a five-hour drive coming up on Monday as we head home so I have another chance to beat this record! (It also means I can’t take a turn driving…..Shhhhhh!)

Cup cozies!  ...Or are they?
Cup cozies! …Or are they?

So, I worked on a bunch of cup cozies to start.  They’re straightforward and simple so I made half a dozen during the first couple hours of the trip.
At the end of hour 2, the Muse took a moment to drop an idea my way.  Maybe cup cozies aren’t “cup” cozies at all….maybe they’re arm-cozies!
Cup cozy? Or...ARM cozy?
Cup cozy? Or…ARM cozy?

So, I’m still mulling over that idea, but I like the patchwork feel of attaching a variety of colours and patterns together to make arm warmers 🙂
After that epiphany and the completion of half a dozen cozies, I moved on to a pair of long fingerless gloves.
crocheted fingerless glovesI have to admit that I cheated here…somewhat.  One glove was already finished and the other was about 1/3 of the way so I completed an ongoing project.  Didn’t actually make the two gloves within the 5-hr limit.
Pretty happy with them although they aren’t complete yet.  They still require some ties … pics to come.
Lastly, as we pulled up to my mother-in-laws house, I finished a knitted row of a bulky cowl which is now about 1/3 of the way finished.
half a knitted cowl
As a sidenote, I just bought those knitting needles in the picture above.  They are 25mm and they are FANTASTIC!
They make this hollow wooden clunky sound as I knit, which I kind of like, and they also double as a vampire stake…you know, just in case!

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Knitting Tour in Iceland – Hats, Scarves & Wool! Oh my!

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Many of my friends are aware that I’m headed to Iceland next week for a hiking/knitting trip.
*****pause blogging*****
OMIGODS I’m so excited!!!!
*****re-engage blogging brain****
Ahem…as I was saying…next Friday I head to Iceland.  I have joined this Hiking with the Elves tour, hard decision to make as Hélène Magnusson, the tour guide, offers numerous knitting tours throughout the year and they all sound fabulous!
I chose July as my tour because B and I were in Iceland in January.  We loved it but I wanted to experience the country in summer as well.
It’s going to be extra interesting as we will be focusing on lace knitting.  Not only do I have next to no experience with lace knitting, but I am also fairly new to charts.  It’s my understanding that one doesn’t need to have loads of knowledge and experience to take part in these tours.  We shall see.
In between work and my obsessive crochet/knitting/spinning hobbies, I have been slowly prepping for my trip.  (This has included numerous trips to Mountain Equipment Co-op as I had next to no proper hiking gear!)
I decided early on that I wanted to knit or crochet myself a few items to wear while hiking.  A hat and a scarf specifically.  The temperatures are supposed to be approximately 7-13 degrees Celsius so either item will likely come in handy.
As of today, I have completed both projects!
Continue reading Knitting Tour in Iceland – Hats, Scarves & Wool! Oh my!

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Asymmetry and Variegated Yarn – Interesting Dichotomy

I have spent a lot of time looking for asymmetrical crochet patterns online and I have a pretty good library now of possibilities.  Not sure why but such shapes are more pleasing to my eye than the typical triangular shawls…as much as I like making those!
Most recently, I have also learned that asymmetry affects the resulting variegation from dyed yarn…unexpected, but makes sense.
A few weeks ago, I was on the hunt for a new pattern.  I wanted something easy and brainless.  A pattern I could memorize and work on in the car, while travelling, or while relaxing and watching the last season of House.
This one fit the bill!
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So easy to make! A simple sc/ch/ch/sc repetition that created a gorgeous and dense (almost knit-like) fabric. I used a sock yarn, Blue Faced Leicester and nylon blend, which I chose due to the gorgeous popping colours!
What I didn’t realize was that the variegation would slowly change due to the increasing width of the body of the scarf.  You can see the change in the above picture.  The initial tail (top of pic) has some very short, repetitious strips of colour.  They start to fan out slightly until they culminate in three large spots in the middle.  From there, the variegation thins out even more and takes on a more edgy, jagged striping pattern.
Worth noting for future projects….asymmetry will affect the variegated results.
Overall, I continue to quite like the result.  It’s chic and classy!
Oh, and it’s up in my Etsy shop 🙂
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Buttery Soft Yarn that is Organic Cotton – Yep, it's possible! (Too Asymmetrical? Not possible!)

My friend Jesika recently invented a lovely and simple – that is an important keyword for newbie knitters like me! Simple! – knitting pattern that results in a beautiful mesh asymmetrical shawl.
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Her initial use of the pattern was with a variegated sock yarn.  I asked if she would share it with me (which she did!) and I decided to experiment with a heavier yarn…an organic cotton by Estelle.

DK variegated cotton 12 wpi
DK variegated cotton 12 wpi

Right off the top, I just want to say that this cotton is fantastic!  Buttery soft, which I didn’t expect, with a lovely drape, which also surprised me.  The fact that it is organic is a bonus!
The resulting shape is also pretty awesome…asymmetrical with a long curling end that wraps nicely over the shoulder.
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Continue reading Buttery Soft Yarn that is Organic Cotton – Yep, it's possible! (Too Asymmetrical? Not possible!)

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Walk Along the Skull-y Edge

A few weeks ago, I found myself brainstorming ideas for new skull shawls.  I wanted to do something a little  different and I decided to try and solidify the pattern of the body while keeping skulls along the edge.
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I think this was influenced somewhat by the skull scarf pattern I shared about a month ago.  In that pattern, I decided to create a solid body around the skulls and this shawl is a sort of extension of that idea.
I used acrylic to create this experimental piece, along with an H hook.  It didn’t take too long due to the thickness of the yarn.
I like the look of it and am curious to see how it translates into a smaller lace weight.   Granted, THAT will probably take quite some time to do.
Now I just have to decide what colours to use next! 🙂

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Hardest Part of Crocheting a Victorian Capelet? Nope, not the crocheting…

I have recently been quite inspired by the various knit and crochet projects coming from the fans of the new “Outlander” show.
I read the first few books long ago, and I admit I have yet to watch the show, but the patterns and the photos are incredibly inspiring!
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What’s more, the costume designer purchase many of the knit pieces on Etsy!  You just never know who is going to be buying your items! ….But I digress.
There are some groups on Facebook dedicated to recreating the pieces on the show, but they also share similarly inspired pieces and patterns.  Amazing resources for those of us fibrefreaks who can’t get collect enough patterns!
I recently decided to experiment with a new yarn and crochet a capelet.  I was thinking it may look traditional, perhaps a little victorian…..
It started as a simple plan…crochet a smallish rectangle and add a button or two.
…but it became much bigger than that!
 

One of many ways to wear this piece
One of many ways to wear this piece

 
The colours in my experimental just-want-to-see-if-this-pattern-idea-will-work yarn turned out to be quite lovely and they deserved….nay, they demanded more than a simple button.
In the end, they required lace crocheted borders, ribbon/netting lace edging, three of my favourite metal spiral buttons and a removable bow.
For the first time in a long time, I had to pull out my sewing machine!  And it felt amazing!
You may think that crocheting this piece was the hardest part of this project.
Nope.
The yarn was quite bulky and the rectangular body crocheted up in a couple of hours tops.
The hard parts were
1) Choosing the lace to use for the edging….
Lace 'splosion!
 
I hadn’t opened my lace drawer in many many months.  At first, it wouldn’t open, but when forced
Lace ‘Splosion!!!
I had no idea I had SO MANY different types of lace in that wee little drawer!  And to make it even more difficult, I only needed two small pieces so even the remnants of lace gone-by were candidates for this project.
One after the other, I held a lace up to the piece to gauge whether it would work.  I considered, I experimented, I asked friends….finally settling on, wouldn’t you know it, one of the first pieces I pulled out!
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So, lace work done, I moved on to….*sob*
2) Choosing the buttons!
Buttons here, buttons there, buttons freakin' everywhere!
I started by gathering the buttons I thought I had.
And I kept finding more.
And more.
In bags.
In boxes.
In purses.
There is no reason for *any* item of clothing in our house to require a button!
Because I apparently have buttons for all occasions!
Pretty awesome, yet to decide on one set of buttons….shall I just say there was some swearing involved.  As well as some “set down the buttons and come back later!” moments.
Which ones.  How many.
I think this part was harder than the darn lace!
But eventually….finally…I chose a set of three buttons that I purchased over a year ago and that have been waiting patiently in a shoebox all this time for a perfect project to come around.
Spiral Buttons
 
The final addition was a bow of lace that I sewed up and added with a pin so it could be removed.
Feeling pretty satisfied with myself at the end of it all.  This lovely piece is now up for sale on my Etsy shop and I’m already thinking about making another.
Although I really wish I could find more of those awesome spiral buttons!!!