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Unfinished Yarn Projects: I have ten…how many do YOU have?

Anyone who crafts knows what it’s like to have unfinished projects around the house.
Especially my fellow knitters and crocheters.
You know the projects I’m talking about.  They’re a bit too complex, requiring more attention than you can provide or they’ve proven to be too simple, unable to capture your attention for any length of time.
I got thinking this morning about the various projects I have in my home that are unfinished, and the various reasons why they remain that way.
I knew I had a few around the house.  I don’t think I realized exactly how many.
TEN!  I found 10 unfinished projects! (Oh and I should add that these photos do not include yarn bagged with a pattern that simply hasn’t been started yet, nor does this include any orders that are underway.  I also hazard to say that there is likely one or two projects I missed that are presently giving me the stink-eye.  When I find them, I promise to edit this post and give them their moment in front of the camera! 😉
So, yes, unfinished projects in various states of completion.
They sit patiently, each in their own bags with their printed pattern (yep, that’s the Capricorn in me), on shelves, in bins or on  the couch next to me, waiting for me to pick them up again.
For inanimate objects, they really know how to guilt trip a person.  Every time I see one, I mentally placate it. “Tomorrow you and I will hang out.” “This weekend.  I promise!  I’ll make some time for us!”
Sometimes I do, but often, they continue to wait.  Silently.  Begrudgingly.
So, today I decided to pull them out and give them a bit of freedom.  A bit of sunlight.  A chance to show off for the camera and maybe, just maybe, by showing them off to the world, I will be inspired to start things up again with each of them!
It also gave me a chance to reflect on the various reasons why we don’t finish certain projects.
So, without further ado, my guilt-ridden…ahem…inspiring, yet unfinished, projects:
Continue reading Unfinished Yarn Projects: I have ten…how many do YOU have?

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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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Communal Scarves & Happy Customers: Vending at the Hamilton Pagan Harvest Festival

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Skull ornament on sale at Hamilton Pagan Harvest Festival

Last weekend, a friend and I had a booth at a nearby festival, the Hamilton Pagan Harvest Festival.
I have sold at a market once before but this time we approached it properly, as though we were attempting to set up a small pop-up shop.  We discussed displays and stock items and I ordered a Stitch Noir banner! 🙂
Having a physical presence, even for a short time, was a lot of work.  Well, having an internet presence is a lot of work too, but this was work of a different kind.
Stitch Noir booth at the Hamilton Pagan Harvest Festival
Stitch Noir booth at the Hamilton Pagan Harvest Festival

I can work on photos and try to ensure that they really show off the product for my etsy store, but displaying product on a table or in a tent…completely different world.
Continue reading Communal Scarves & Happy Customers: Vending at the Hamilton Pagan Harvest Festival

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Fastest Skull Shawl on Record!

A few days ago I received an order from someone in the United States.  They are to be in a play and came across one of my items on Etsy that would be perfect for the character.
They wanted this skull shawl:
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…but in a variegated purple.
Not a problem as I had colour options available on my Etsy listing.
It was a rush order, as they needed it as soon as possible, so yesterday morning around 9am I started work on it.
Last night at midnight, I finished!
Variegated VioletNot sure how I managed it but I’m thinking it’s thanks to the beautiful day yesterday (nothing like sitting with some yarn and a book out on the porch!), the couple of hours of commuting I had to do for work (sometimes having to ride the subway is a productive thing), the few hours spent watching Back to the Future Part I & II last night (with friends who were cool enough to be down with my crocheting through the movie) and the fact that the shawl was made with a super bulky yarn 🙂
I think it’s the first time I have finished a complete project of this size in one day.  New record!

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Knit Cast On – Reverse Longtail Tutorial – Great for stretchy fabrics!

Recently I went to Iceland.  For 10 days.
Six of those were spent on a hiking and knitting tour.  Yup.  Hiking and knitting.
More to come about that very soon…but let me just say that it was beyond fabulous!
For now, I want to share one of the handy dandy cast ons we learned in one of our workshops.  I filmed this on site in the mountains of Eastern Iceland because I didn’t want to forget it and I couldn’t seem to write it down in such a way that I would remotely understand it 5 minutes later 🙂
This video starts off with the typical Longtail Cast On, which I demonstrate three times, followed by the Reverse Longtail or German Twisted Cast On, which allows for more stretch. Perfect for mitten cuffs, socks, ribbing…any cast on edge that requires some stretchiness. 🙂
Enjoy!

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The Magic of Hand Carding

In all the time I have been spinning (you know, that whole six months of time!) I have only completed a few skeins of yarn. I have SO many bobbins on the go as I experiment and play that they take a long time to get beyond the spinning part and become skeins! ….BUT I did just finish a skein of red/teal 2-ply yarn that I’m pretty proud of.  Sure, it has its issues…overplied in places and too loose in others…but it was made by me and that makes it pretty darn awesome!

118 yards of handspun 2-ply merino/alpaca
118 yards of handspun 2-ply merino/alpaca
This skein was made possible by some new toys I purchased….hand carders! Continue reading The Magic of Hand Carding

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To Spin or not to Spin…Red & Turquoise for the win!

I spent a good chunk of today sitting on my front porch with Maddy, my spinning wheel.  It was a gorgeous day and I wanted to be outside…but I also wanted to spin, so I did both.
It got me a few looks as vehicles passed by and my neighbour paused at one point to ask if “that thing really works?” to which I said “Uh huh.”
I forget sometimes how odd spinning seems to those who know nothing about it.
So, I sat on my porch and started working with a heathered red 100% wool roving.  A good amount of time was spent fussing with the tension as the darn yarn kept breaking as though I hadn’t spun it enough to give it strength.

All the ends that kept breaking....
All the ends that kept breaking….

Continue reading To Spin or not to Spin…Red & Turquoise for the win!

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Alpaca Day

Sunday was Alpaca Day!
It is my opinion that you should not have been working or been otherwise occupied…you should have been in Orangeville, Ontario to see the amazingly cute and squishy alpacas at the 14th Annual Alpaca Spring Show!
I went with two friends and we had a fantastic time!
I’m not a “squeee!” kind of girl…but I freely admit that alpacas bring me close to squee-ing.  I have no words for how darn cute and cuddly they are.
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Just look at that face!
Look at it!
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I just can’t express how adorable I find these creatures.
I have always thought they were pretty darn awesome and then today…. I heard a number of them communicating by humming low and soft!  So endearing!
Continue reading Alpaca Day

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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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Arm Knitting – Go Pee First!

Last Friday, a friend came over for a crafty evening and we decided to give arm-knitting a try!
We used this video:

and, no word of a lie, 45 mins later, we had cowls!
If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s simple and fun.  The initial start was a little rocky, but that’s pretty much like any new craft.  The first time it’s awkward.  You need to check your tension, concentrate on what you’re doing so you don’t miss a step, be prepared for some chafed wrist skin (hand cream afterwards is a bonus)…oh, and
GO PEE FIRST!
Nothing more awkward than yarn hanging everywhere while you try and do your business! *blink blink*
Now that we have that out of the way….Pictures! Continue reading Arm Knitting – Go Pee First!