Friday, August 22, 2014

What would Stevie wear?

It's amazing the things that you come across on Facebook

I was nosing around when Vogue knitting posted a link to an interesting little contest - Design a shawl for Stevie Nicks
What an opportunity! I've always been a fan and it would be amazing to make a garment for her

Normally when I come across contests like this, I've missed the deadline, or I've got too much going on to get an entry together in time.

Fortunately for this one, I only have to submit a sketch by the deadline. I could conceivably design and knit a shawl in 30 days, but I'd have to drop everything else. I did consider that briefly, but I don't really want that level of stress. I'm an artist - I can totally make a sketch that conveys what the finished project will be. And if I don't win, I have plans ready for a pretty shawl design!

There are two prizes: $2,000 to the designer that Stevie chooses. And $500 to the designer voted most popular by the internet community.

I've got several ideas swirling around in my head. It definitely needs to be a big, twirly shawl. I'm thinking Twisted Slinky Cat - in a deep moody purple like Black Orchid
It's definiteyl going to be lace (that's just my thing) and beaded - with something metallic
After this weekend I'm going to start sketching things out. I'll share my progress here and I hope you'll join me on this adventure (and maybe vote for me too!)

There's probably little chance I'll actually win  - but the process is going to be a lot of fun!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Double rainbow

As you can probably guess from recent post content, there hasn't been a whole lot of knitting going on lately. I've put a row or two on the shawl here and there. And I've added to the Garden Path socks on my lunches, but there's not much to show in either department - it's just been one of those weeks.

But on Tuesday, we had a large department meeting at work and my U.S. counterpart flew up from San Diego to attend. She's a fantastic coworker and she's also pregnant (due in December). I'm planning on knitting her a blanket closer to when baby is due, but I thought I'd knit her up something now to say congratulations.

I don't know the gender, so I just decided to go with ALL the colours! And with sparkles for good measure!
White Birch Fiber Arts Sparkle in "Nothing says screw you like a rainbow."
Sadly, these socks took me THREE days to knit! It's insane  - they are baby socks. But I just couldn't get them to work out the way I wanted. The first one got frogged then reknit so I could get it to stripe the way it did. Then the second one got pulled back three times to get it to match. I just did not have my knit mojo on last weekend

But they are done. They are adorable. And she loved them... so it was all worth it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Surprise yarn

When I first moved out on  my own, I was so excited about having a place with a room just for my crafts. A place to store my yarn and supplies, a place to sew, and paint....

Well reality is often much different then we imagine it, isn't it? The studio (the one at my house - they dye studio is at Mom's) has become the bane of my existence. And it's totally my fault. I started out with good intentions, but I just can't seem to keep the darn thing clean.It doesn't help that I often use it as the room to hide things when company is coming over and I need to tidy up quick. Just toss it in and shut the door.

But I really want to get started on sewing some bags for the shop. Not to mention some presents I have planned. And I wouldn't mind getting back to making jewellry - but none of that can be done until I get the room under control.

So on Sunday, I was determined to get a handle on things. I set to it under the careful supervision of Mr. Rocky.
I didn't get it finished - Dave still needs to hang some shelves so I can organize my beading stuff. But I can get in an move around again. And there is enough room to sew, so hopefully bag production will begin next week.

One big accomplishment was the reorganization of the yarn stash. I have a whole bunch of yarn to redistribute (to friends and/or charity). And I found some yarn I'd completely forgotten about.

I have a whole sweater quantity of Elsebeth Lavold Cotton Patine
The picture does not do it justice - it's a lovely shade of pinky-browny-mauve. And it's just made itself a serious contender for the Braid Hills Cardigan.

I also have 13 Balls of Jo Sharp Aran Cotton in a deep navy blue
This might end up as a baby blanket for a coworker.

There was also some sock yarn from Barking Dog Yarns, and some Alpaca Lace from a local farm. One thing I learned for certain after going through everything - I don't need any yarn any time soon. In fact, it may be time for another stash-down challenge.

Right after I add these two new House Cat skeins to my stash that is...
Okay... bring on the stash-down!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Treasure hunting

Dave and I don't get a lot of time off together. He works every weekend now, so it's mostly just holidays when we are both free - but then so much is closed, or crazy busy, that's we don't get out much together any more.

But I had a few extra vacation days so on Monday I took one, bundled him into my car and set out on an adventure.

The main destination was one of our favourite antique/used/old junk stores about an hour and a half away.
But of of course, we hit up every other little barn sale, swap shop and thrift store along the way. Dave found a little tube radio, which always makes his day. I came home with so much more
This unique pewter bracelet...
A vintage mirror fit for a princess (it needs a good cleaning, and perhaps a new paint job, but I just fell in love with it.) a set of 12 vintage mason jars (they will be used for canisters and storing other odds and ends) and an old glass milk bottle that I thought would make the perfect vase for our dining room table.

I also found a Christmas present for my Dad... but I can't show you because it's secret!

We had perfect weather - sunny but not too hot. I was a little bummed to see some of the trees are already turning, but I shouldn't be surprised, they said it was going to be a short summer.

Really makes me wish we had more time off together, but at least we made the most of the time we did have!

Monday, August 18, 2014

It's all green over here

I finally harvested my first Jalapenos
I'm hoping to get enough of these to make a batch of hot pepper jelly. In addition to these two, I have about six juvenile peppers and the plants are flowering again, so things are looking good.

The "real" sunflower is almost ready to bloom. But it looks like I've got another mutant on my hands...
Can you see all those other little buds along the stem? I'm pretty sure those will be flowers too. The plant is also covered in ants. I'm operating under the assumption that Sunflowers are like Peonies and need ants to bloom. They don't seem to be damaging the plant anyway. The top of it now reaches my shoulder, so it's about five feet tall.

Meanwhile, the bees are busy helping my tomatoes
 And they are doing a fabulous job. I've got tomatoes coming out my ears! I think next year I'm going to have to get some regular-sized ones.

And remember that little mini rose that my Dad gave me to see if I could save it? I thought I'd actually lost it, but while Tux was out, supposedly munching away on his cat nip, I noticed he was munching on something, just below the pot.
Yep - that's the mini rose. I doubt I'll get any blooms on it, but it will be interesting to see if it survives the winter!

I moved Tux and distracted him to give it a better chance at life...
That boy loves his fresh nip!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Into the dye pots

After a fruitful morning of thrifty shopping (Clearance sale: Check! 50% extra off clearance prices: Check! Additional $25 savings card: Check!) Mom and I headed back to the studio to do a few customs order and get some stuff ready for the shop.

At 1 p.m. today, Miss Rowan's one-of-a-kind creations are going into the shop (as well as some other goodies).
These colourways can't be repeated so once they are gone, they are gone! (And grandma might have already stolen one...) Be sure to check out the shop today!

We got our custom orders out of the way pretty quick
And then I tackled a bag of Slinky Solo Cat
I love the way this yarn takes the colour. It's hard to see in this picture, but the yarns are full of subtle variations. And the silk just makes the yarn glow. Most of these will end up in the shop in the next few weeks, though some are already spoken for. Keep your eyes peeled.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

FO: Watershed

I realized the other night that I hadn't done a proper FO post for Watershed - but that was because I hadn't gotten proper photos yet.

Mom and I had a shopping day planned today, so it seemed like the perfect time to grab a few snaps. It was starting to rain so we had to work quickly.
As mentioned, I made some minor mods to the lace work, just taking it from garter lace to stockknit lace because the yarn had enough texture, the pattern didn't need it too. The sweater was definitely designed for someone with wider shoulders than me, but other than that, the fit is decent
I didn't enjoy working with the yarn at all (Debbie Bliss Stella), but I love the colour, and the finished fabric is nice and soft. It's hard to say how durable it will be, but this isn't a garment that's going to get a lot of rough wear, so it should be okay.
The construction seemed a little daunting at first (you knit the bottom band sideways first), with sections being put on holders left and right, but taken one step at a time, it's pretty easy - and works up into a nice seamless garment.

All in all, it took just 10 days to knit - and that was only a few hours most days. The resulting vest is a nice little garment to throw over a sundress, but I think it will work well in winter over a long-sleeve tee as well for a little extra style - and insulation!

I've really enjoyed garment knitting, so I think as soon as the shawl design is off the needles, I'll be casting on for another cardigan... which would you choose: Eve's Ribs, Braid Hills or Hitofude?