Portuguese Shores progress

Monday, April 3, 2017

I’ve been really enjoying working on my Shore cardigan. I look forward to the evening hours when I can plop on the couch grab my project and knit away while enjoying an episode of my latest Netflix addiction.

Don’t you love it when you are working on a project and every time you dedicate yourself to it, you notice a visible ‘grow spurt”? It’s so satisfying. Of course all this “mindless” knitting can result in a blunder or two. I was lulled into such a good rhythm that I just knitted away without thinking, only realizing too late that I should have tried on my cardigan before finishing the hem. Because when I did, I realized that the model wearing the cardigan in the picture and I are not the same proportions. 

Ripping out 25cm of a project is never pleasant, but unfortunately necessary in certain situations. Luckily I quickly recovered from my mistake and have now even finished both sleeves (no 2nd sleeve syndrome here) and I am about to  start on the neck and button band. 

I cannot wait to give this knit a proper bath and block and then, weather permitting, find the perfect location for some nice photographs.

Style-a- knit Gable

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

My last style a knit project lies neglected in its project bag shoved somewhere in the back of my closet. 

I ran out of yarn you see…and that, as you can imagine, was very frustrating! For something that should have taken no more then a few days of serious knitting due to the large needle size and lofty gauge, the timeline of this project is a complete embarrassment. It will be finished eventually (I have tracked down someone through revelry that had some leftover which will hopefully be sufficient), but the current frigid temperatures do nothing to spur me along in finishing a summer, linen top.

So I've decided to look forward. I am moving on to another instalment of “Style-a-knit”. A new pullover to match my new, more casual style I’ll be adopting once we move to the UK.

I have come to realize that so far I have knit mostly cardigans, and I would like to create a more rounded collection of knits, by adding some pullovers. Also, there is no denying the practicality of a pullover, as it eliminates the need to worry about the layer underneath (at least a visible one).

I was inspired by the outfit below (on Pinterest to be found here) and wanted to find the right pattern to match this yarn. I’ve swatched already and I believe I have found a good pairing. 

I’ll be knitting Hannah Fettig’s “Gable” pattern, and I am fairly sure it’ll become a staple in my wardrobe, a pullover I will reach for over and over. A classic crew neck sweater that goes with everything, dressed up or dressed down. I have high hopes for this one!

A New Adventure Awaits

Sunday, March 19, 2017

I find myself at a crossroads. it's a scary feeling, but exhilarating at the same time.

Oftentimes you look back at your life and only in hindsight are able to pinpoint that moment when everything changed. Our story is a little different, as we were looking, hoping to make a big change. Finally the opportunity has presented itself, and we will be moving to the UK in a few months!

Those of you following me on Instagram may have noticed a few posts from our first visit over there. We spent a week getting familiar with Surrey and the town we're moving to, found  house to live in and just plain basked in some serious spring weather.

It feels like this is the beginning of something great for our family. A grand adventure, a new chapter, a new experience. 

I've lived in Canada for nearly 22 years now and I can honestly say that this is where my roots are. Moving here opened up so many possibilities, and I am incredibly grateful for what this opportunity has allowed me to build. But my heart has always been in Europe, and I am giddy with anticipation at what this new chapter will bring.

And just think of all the new yarns I'll get to discover!!!

Portuguese Shores

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Have you ever visited a place and been overwhelmed by a feeling of "right"? This is the right place for me, this feels right, I'm all right here, better then all-right.
I was overcome with these feelings this summer when we visited Portugal. I loved everything about it, the food, the views, the culture, the people, the atmosphere, and of course the wool. 

Portugal has a rich history of wool and fibre, beautifully showcased by the Retrosaria Rosa Pomar yarn shop. I've already written about my visit to the shop and the first project I made using the yarn I purchased there. I have now found what I believe to be the perfect pattern for the Beiroa yarn I also brought home from Lisbon.

Once again Instagram served as a catalyst for this idea. Not too long ago a fellow knitter with a lovely feed threw out the idea of starting a Portuguese inspired KAL. Whether it'd be portuguese wool, a portuguese pattern, or a project inspired by Portugal, the possibilities are endless. This proposal instantly made me think of the Beiroa yarn I have in my stash. A bit of research led me to decide on "Shore" as my choice of pattern. 

A lot of resource information has already been  shared on the Ravelry thread and I can't wait to learn more, read more about Portugal's knitting history. 

A curious gap

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A knitter’s “career” goes through different stages. There are certain knits that I believe signal a certain rite of passage. I started off with the basics, stockinette, simple construction, then colourwork, some lace, more intricate constructions for garments, but to this day I am yet to attempt making mitts or socks. Crazy, right? 

Mitts were never really on my radar, I never felt that I MUST knit myself a pair of mitts, but lately my Instagram feed was flooded with beautiful images of mitts thanks to Leighsideknits prompt and challenge #leighsidemittskal2017 . And these pictures sparked something. I am not setting the bar quite as high, I won’t attempt colourwork mitts as a first experience (even though a bit of a challenge never hurt anyone, right?). I am going to start with a more basic, reasonable pattern. I have set my sights on the “Ossify” pattern by Stone Wool.

The pattern has enough texture to keep things interesting and is what seems a pretty basic construction. What I also came to realize in researching patterns is that mitts are a wonderful way to use up those lonely skeins of worsted weight wool that you may have lying around at the bottom of your stash somewhere.  My choice for this pair is a skein of Plucky Knitter’s Scholar in Lonesome Highway ( a great name isn’t it??)

I have just started knitting these up, but I am loving it so far and would like to line up a few more patterns to try. Tell me, what are your favorite mitt patterns? Complicated or simple, what else should I try?

Hurray for Baby Knits

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

It’s been a while since our circle of friends has welcomed a baby into the mix, but there’s another on the way, so I was delighted to delve into my list of favorite baby knits to find the right one to cast on for.

I settled on the Little Coffee Bean Cardigan by Elizabeth Smith. It is a classic raglan cardigan, and I feel that any baby deserves such a staple knit in their wardrobe. Yes he’ll grow out of it quickly, yes, it’ll be drooled on, but let’s be honest, is there anything cuter than a baby dressed in hand-knits?

My choice of color was dictated by the mom’s preference and once again, it’s a classic, a beautiful blue for a long awaited baby boy. I’ve been looking forward to this knit, as it should whip up quickly, and I need a satisfying knit at the moment. I’ve been working away on a design of my own for a bit, and it’s proven to be quite the exercise in patience, so a straight-forward, uncomplicated knitting experience is just what I need right now.

I have made a slight modification to the pattern in that instead of making it in plain stockinette I chose to add a bit of texture to the cardigan. I am using the twisted purl stitch to accomplish that. Easy enough I thought to myself, right? Well, as it turns out any "little" change can have a big impact. Yes, it looks lovely, however it turns out that this stitch pattern does not exactly work in the round. That stumped me for a moment, but then to my relief I remembered this genius post by Karen Templer , which saved my project for a reason not even mentioned in her list of benefits!

I am well on my way to finish this cardigan, just one time for the baby's imminent arrival! 

Wool @ Home - Living Room

Sunday, January 29, 2017

We are now living through the coldest month of the year. The days are still too short for my liking, and the temperatures steadily below freezing. To combat the seasonal blues that generally accompanies this time of the year for me, I always make sure that I’m cozy and warm, that a comfy blanket and a knitting project are always within reach. My living room is also dotted with nods to my love of wool.

Reading time, whether it is for me or with the kids is best spent under a great big wool blanket.

Listening to music with a nice glass of wine, after the kids are in bed, is best spent in a comfortable arm-chair right by my knitting basket.

And the occasional nap-time spent on the couch is all the more comfortable if you have a sheep-y pillow to snuggle into.

They are subtle hints to be sure, but for those who know me well… impossible to miss!

For previous instalments of Wool @ Home see here and here

Another Milestone

Saturday, January 14, 2017

I considered not writing this post, but then, I thought to myself that over the years I have shared quite a few milestones on this blog and I want to be consistent. 

So here it is, I turn 40 today! I’ve had a lot of thoughts leading up to this birthday, most of them ending with OH MY GOD I’M middle aged! But with time, I have come to realize that is not a bad thing. It’s scary for sure, because I can honestly say I have no idea when this happened? Where did the last decade go? But I also feel that in many ways the last few years especially, though a total blur, have been the most defining of my life. Being middle-aged means that, while I may still struggle to figure out what I want, I certainly know what I don’t want! So to me, that’s half my life figured out already! And that is something to celebrate. It also means that all those goals, big or small, many of them I am finally reaching, and others are sort of starting to take shape. I have learned some tough lessons, but I can honestly say that for most of them I can see  how they have helped me grow, and that is a valuable point of view.

Sure, I often fall into the well-known trap of comparing myself to others, which only leads me down a rabbit hole of negativity and “woe’s me” thoughts, and if there is one thing I want to focus on for the next chapter is to avoid just that. 

I want to learn to be more appreciative of what I have, and what I have accomplished, I want to learn to be KIND TO MYSELF!

So here’s to another forty years of growing, reaching peace of mind, realizing dreams, and achieving contentment!

Happy Birthday to me!

Fidra - The Perfect Winter Hat

Monday, January 9, 2017

Want a quick satisfying knit? Gudrun Johnston's Fidra hat is just the thing. I've been dying to make it ever since its release last December, but never got around to casting on. I found a skein of Berocco Ultra Alpaca Chunky in my stash that was just the thing for this hat. It came together in only 3 evenings. I picture this hat coming with me on walks through a snowy landscape, then slowly defrosting by a fireplace in a cozy cabin. Of course, I don't actually have time for a walk these days, I don't have access to a cabin and we don't even have a fireplace. The snow however, we've currently got plenty of.

Starting off the New Year - Guernsey Triangle

Monday, January 2, 2017

I used to be a monogamous knitter. Especially when knitting on a deadline. But let’s be honest, sometimes there are projects that cannot wait, yarn that’s just screaming to be knit into something. Oftentimes just the act of casting on, and sneaking in a few rows at a time, is enough to satisfy this craving. 

This is exactly how this project came to be. The yarn is one I picked up this summer in Portugal at Retrosaria Rosa Pomar and I could not wait to transform it into something. I chose to knit the Guernsey Triangle by the ever-talented Jared Flood. I’ve had my eye on this pattern for a couple of years and I felt that the yarn would be a good match as the gauge is similar to Loft and the look of the yarn is comparable as well.

Mé-Mé is a yarn with a rustic feel, in a natural dark gray, that emanates this lovely faint wooly, sheepy smell. I love the way it brings out the pattern and it looks after blocking. 

It's the perfect shawl to grab on cold January days, to keep warm, and cozy. Or in my case it's also perfect accessory to wear at the office when it's freezing and you're wishing you were home knitting.