Monday, April 14, 2014

Oh, Mondays!

Knitting Basket

I'm not a fan of Mondays.  I don't get "the case of the Mondays" or anything like that.  I just don't like Mondays.  I'm not sure if it's because Mondays means the weekend is over, or that it signifies that I need to get my butt into gear, stop slacking off, and get back into the work game.  It's so easy to let things slide over the weekends - routines, bed times, and just time in general.  Maybe that's why it's so hard for me to get back into the daily routine of life?  I'm SO not a morning person.  At all.  And maybe that's another reason why Mondays are just so hard for me.  I actually have to wake up at the crack of dawn and get the day, and basically the week, going.


Seriously.  Can I just crawl back into bed??  And take my knitting and a pot of coffee with me?  No?  Fiiiine.  Because of that, you're going to get a post of randomness.  That's my compromise.  Take it or leave it.

♥ Super late Friday night I managed to finish one of the not-so-secret secret projects!!  YAY!!  I'm extremely happy with the whole project and can't wait to get it blocked and ready to donate to the kiddo's school.  I had Instagrammed that I was having second thoughts about giving the finished knit away because not only was it a fun and satisfying knit, but the colourway that I had used turned out gorgeous.  I promise that I'll blog about the FO sometime next month.

♥ You bet I had cast on a new project the second I had bound off that last one!  I've got a lengthy list of knits I want to knit up, there's not a minute to waste!  Again, I've already Instagrammed the yarn I'm using and there's a progress photo up as well (from this morning!).

♥ Because someone will ask, I've cast on a Daybreak shawl using Knit Picks Chroma.  I think I'm the last knitter on Earth to knit one up!  Right now I'm all about the easy knits that utilizes yarn with long colour repeats to turn the knit into a more complicated looking project (especially to those that don't knit...HA!).  I'm thoroughly enjoying the pattern, which is a really good thing since I plan on knitting a few more - for both myself and for gifting.

♥ With the Daybreak shawl, I'm testing out a pair of new-to-me needles - the Knitter's Pride Karbonz fixed circular needles.  Has anyone else used these needles before?  What do you think about them?

♥ I've barely touched the fabulous Unikitty socks.  I think I've knit maybe a few stitches here and there all weekend.  A little enough each day to honestly say that I've been sock knitting on a daily basis.

♥ As you know (or maybe not, but now you do) I like to always have a pair of socks, a shawl, and a cardigan or pullover (sometimes both!) on the needles at all times.  Yeah, I'm definitely not a monogamous knitter!  But lately, as in the last few months, I've been horribly slacking in the cardigan department.  It's not from the lack of patterns that I want to knit either, more like I'm in the need of instant gratification projects like socks, whereas cardigans  take me a month to knit up at a leisure pace.  I think I need to remedy this.

♥ The one cardigan that I've had on the brain for months now: the BlueSand cardigan.  I'm just dying to cast on but I'm waiting on some yarn before I can start.  What's that?  Did I buy more yarn?  Technically, yes.  But it's to supplement what I'll be using from stash.  So that doesn't count, right?  I've got yarn in the stash to use as the main colour, but need yarn for the contrasting stripes.  I suppose I could use stash for that, but then that will mean breaking up sweater quantities and really, who does that??  That will just cause more problems and means more yarn buying in the end.  Might as well nip that issue in the bud from the start.  Yeah...

♥ In Etsy shop news: I'm s.l.o.w.l.y getting through the pile of cut fabric that I've cut out weeks ago.  I don't like to do one giant shop update, cause for some reason that just stresses me out, so I've been updating as the bags are made.  I'm hoping the next few days will mean a lot of bags will be sewn and ready to go!  In the meantime, just a forewarning to those waiting for new bags to pop up in the shop: Canada Post has increased their shipping prices again, and so I've had to update my shipping as well.  Orders to the US and International have definitely been affected by this, and I have yet to see how it will be for within Canada on the large bags.  Sorry guys!!  This is totally out of my hands!!

What have you been working on this past weekend?  I just realized that Easter is this coming weekend, I guess I better have a conversation with the *ahem* Easter Bunny as to what's going on...and I guess I better plan out some Easter related activities and treats!

Ok, speaking of activities and project bags, I better jet and see if I can get at least one seam sewn today!  I really wish I could cart my sewing machine outside so that I can enjoy the beautiful sunshine that we've had all weekend long here on the island.  And I think I need to (constantly) tell myself to put the knitting down and get sewing!!  Ack!  

♥ Happy Crafty Monday! ♥

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Knit In Progress: Princess Unikitty Socks

Princess Unikitty Sock WIP

Woah Nelly!!  It's only Wednesday and already this week has proven to be an exhausting one already.  The Mister is out of town - again - and so I've been parenting solo for the last few days.  Again.  I'm totally not complaining though.  The Munchkin has been on his absolute best behaviour so far (knock on wood!) and I've actually been able to get a good amount of knitting time in - all thanks to the several doctors appointments, a school "family meeting", and the Munchkin falling asleep pronto every night (YAY!!).  To make it completely all good in the hood I just need to find a way to get more sleep... Hmm...

After realizing that the due date for fundraising items is fast approaching, I've been feverishly knitting away on one of the not-so-secret secret projects, which I'm mega happy to report that I'm only 12 rows and quite the substantial bind off away from completing.  Oh, and I've cast on another pair of socks...which means that the glorious Hudson socks are done.  Yep.  You read that right.  The Hudson socks are done.  D-O-N-E.  Done!!  Hopefully I'll be able to snap some proper photos of them sometime this weekend, weather permitting, that is.  In the meantime, let's talk about these new socks I've got on the needles.  I'm pretty sure you already know what socks I'm talking about, but in case you don't, I give you...

The Princess Unikitty socks!!!

Princess Unikitty Sock WIP 2

I'll give you some forewarning right now: all photos regarding this project - the yarn, the knitting of, the progress, everything will always contain a Unikitty minifigure and maybe (but most likely) Cloud Cuckoo Palace.  Just a forewarning.

But can you blame me?  Unikitty is pure amazeballs.  And just look at how fun Cloud Cuckoo Palace is!  Can that snail be any cuter?!?  And this yarn...these socks...this entire all just goes hand in hand with all things Unikitty.  Cause well, everything is awesome!!  I think I get too overly excited talking and even thinking about this project!!

Unikitty - Closeup 3

Yeah, I have that song stuck in my head pretty much all the time.  It sure doesn't help that my kidlet wants to listen to the song on a daily basis.  On repeat.  Luckily for me I don't mind the song at all.  And despite the amount of times I've listened to the song, I still find The Lonely Island's rap bit hilarious.  I love Andy Samberg!

Anyways, about the socks.  I'm knitting them toe-up, as I usually do when I knit with self-striping yarns, using my go-to plain vanilla sock recipe.  I thought about using the fish lips kiss heel for these, as I've been seriously dying to try this technique out for quite a while now but I couldn't get over the idea that the stripes might not be equal on top of the foot.  I'm weird like that.  I like my stripes to be somewhat even.  None of that fat stripes with one tiny little line of a colour thrown in there.  No thanks.  Unless that's the way it's suppose to stripe.  Then maybe I can deal.  I think I'll give the fish lips kiss heel a try on another pair of socks that aren't self-striping.  For now, I'm going to stick with the afterthought heel (I've used this tutorial when I first started knitting this heel).  

Unikitty - Closeup 2

I'm using one skein per sock and plan on using up every last inch of this yarn.  The length of the leg might be a little awkward and weird, but I don't care if they end up slouching a bit from being too long on my short legs.  I'm not about to let a single inch of this yarn go to waste!

I know I said this about the Hudson socks too, but I'm going to be one sad little kitty when this pair is finished.  It's such a fun colourway, perfect for this time of year too, and who doesn't get a kick out of knitting with self-striping yarn in general?  Luckily I've got my hands full with knitting for the kiddo's fundraiser, so it'll be a while before I can finish these socks.  I honestly don't mind admiring them as they sit in my knitting basket.  But when I do get the chance to knit on them, you can bet I'll be Instagraming the craptarts out of them!

Ahhh...everything really IS awesome!


Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Haul :: VKL Seattle 2014

VKL - Haul

TA-DA!!  As promised, my haul from the Vogue Knitting Live Seattle trip.  Not shown is my booty from Trader Joe's, but I really didn't think you'd want to see the copious amounts of chocolate that I was hoarding consuming.  And let's face it, we're all here to see the pretty yarn, right?  I know I am!

So let's dive in, shall we?  

I came home from VKL with 11 skeins of yarn to add to the stash.  12, if you count the skein that I was suppose to gift but later on discovered that it wasn't going to be right for the recipient.  So that's 12 skeins of new yarn.  Exactly 10 skeins more than I had originally planned to come back home with.  Oops!  And I was doing SO well on those first two days too!  I think I had mentioned in my recap post but on the Friday I actually went back to the hotel almost empty handed.  Get this: I didn't buy any yarn!!  The only things I bought that first night was the highly coveted "High Fiber" tote bag and a small packet of brass safety pin removable stitch markers by Fringe Association.  That's it.  Aren't you proud?

On the Saturday though, I did buy some yarn.  Oddly enough, it was all from the same booth - the Neighborhood Fiber Co booth!  Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of lovelies from other booths that wanted to come live with me but the majority of them were either yarns that I was able to get back home, or that I was already familiar with and can easily find if I really wanted them badly enough.  Like last year, my main mission was to find new-to-me yarns that I've never seen in person and can't readily get (unless I want to dish out a fortune in shipping!).  And Neighborhood Fiber Co definitely fit the bill.  So in the photo above, in the bottom left and the skein on the bottom right, is my lovely Neighborhood Fiber Co yarns.  It was SO hard to narrow down the field, in both base and colour, as to what was going to come home with me.  In the end I decided on the Studio Worsted - the put up is amazing!!  Each skein is a whopping 400 yards!!  So I got 2 in a purple/grey called Lauraville, and 1 in a beautiful deep pink/red called Charles Village.  The purple/grey I plan on eeking out a cardigan with, although if need be I can always use the pink to supplement, even thoughI plan on using that skein for a hat and maybe a cowl.  The caked hot pink yarn is Capital Luxury Lace in colourway Mondawmin (yarny tidbit: Mondawmin, like the other colourway names, is a neighbourhood in Baltimore, Maryland where the company is located).  

I had wound the lace at the VKL Marketplace because in the spur of the moment my friends and I had decided, after seeing the insanely gorgeous sample at the booth, to do a knit-along for the Imagine When shawl by Joji Knits.  I had planned on purchasing a pair of needles at VKL so that I could cast on while there, but none of the needles struck my fancy.  Good thing too because I ended up going down 3 needle sizes!  In the end my friends and I (there are 8 of us all together!) had decided to cast on the shawl a week after we got back from the trip.  But hey, at least I'm actually knitting with one of the newly purchased yarns!  I can't say I've even touched any of the skeins I had bought last year...


VKL - Haul 2

Hey, let's talk about the other yarns, yes?  

So Sunday, the day we had to head back to the island, that was the day I fell.  My friend Rebecca and I were given a strict half hour deadline to get back to the hotel so that we could hit the road pronto (that didn't happen.  It wasn't our fault!).  I had gone back to the Marketplace to pick up a pair of Hiya Hiya kitty snips for a friend and ended up tripping and getting back up with an extra 3 skeins of yarn in my hands.  I don't know how it happened.

I went back to the Neighborhood Fiber Co booth and got a sport weight version of the Lauraville, which I had originally planned on gifting.  I then followed Rebecca to where the skeins of Socks That Rock (by Blue Moon Fiber Arts) were, and even though I have several skeins stashed away at home, I couldn't resist both the colours and the name of the one that snuck into my handbag.  Seriously, could you resist a skein named "It's About Me. It's All About Me All The Time"??  Exactly.  Neither could I.  So now you can see why it came home with me.  Then I got sucked in by the Instagram photo that the lovely ladies at Stash Local had posted about their custom dyed Hazel Knits.  They had 3 skeins left of the dreamy Divine base in their colourway, Estuary.  Um...merino, cashmere, silk?  Custom colourway?  Only 3 skeins left?  Isn't it obvious that one of those babies had to be mine??

I'm so glad we had to leave the Marketplace and hit the road, or else more yarn would have ended up in my luggage.  Not purchased at VKL but the items had snuck into the photos: washi tape purchased at Target (because who can resist washi tape??), my favourite tea from Churchmouse Yarns (Autumn Blend, in case you're wondering.  My friend Arika went to the actual shop, we didn't have the time to make it over there), and some more lovely stitch markers and a few awesome zipper pulls by my fabulous friend Aja of Akin Jewels.

VKL - Haul - View 2

Before hitting up the border we just HAD to stop by Tolt Yarn and Wool in Carnation, Washington.  I think it was a unanimous decision that out of all the places we wanted to see, Tolt was the place that we couldn't miss out on.  And so glad we didn't!!  I won't go into detail about Tolt since I already gushed a fair amount about the shop in my VKL recap post and in the March Obsessions post.  But let's just say I spent way more than I had planned to.  My wallet and credit cards officially hate me.  But I figured since I was already doing a lot of damage, I might as well go big.

So, revert your eyes to the photo above.  That basket?  From Tolt.  I've been on the lookout for years for a basket like this, but could never find one in colours that I liked.  There's a shop here in Victoria that sells this exact brand/basket and I used to check in on a regular basis to see what new colours had arrived.  Nothing had ever stood out (and because I know someone will ask, the shop is The Good Planet Co on Fort).  When I went to visit my parents last summer I scoured the night markets and every "hippie shop" in search of a basket.  I always came up with nothing.  But when I spotted this hot pink and purple one?  Oh.  It had my name written all over it in yarn.  Yoink!  Mine!!  It now houses all the WIPs that I'm currently knitting on.

VKL - Haul Closeup

Other items purchased from Tolt: more safety pin removable stitch markers (but in black) in the large tins, some cool snag-less stitch markers (in the small tin), and of course one of those coveted ceramic Tolt mugs that look like those tin camper cups.  I wish I had bought 2 mugs, or at least one in red too, as the Mister has been using the mug more than I have!  If I haven't mentioned it before, I'll mention it now, I absolutely
love the Tolt branding and aesthetics.

Ok, and now for the yarn.  In all honesty I wasn't really planning on buying any more yarn, especially in sweater quantities.  But lo and behold, what did I do?  I bought a sweater's worth in a DK weight.  But once I saw the insanely gorgeous greys that Veronika of Yarn on the House, and now of the yarn line, YOTH (which is currently only being sold at Tolt), I just knew I had to get some to make a sweater out of.  I had posted a photo on Instagram about the three different greys that I was having a heck of a time deciding between.  If I was crazy enough with a bank account that could handle it, I would have bought all three colours.  And while I'm crazy, I don't have the bank account to support the crazy and so I struggled on trying to decide on which of the greys to take.  It didn't dawn on me until much, much later that I should have bought enough of each colour to knit either a gradient style cardigan or something striped.  But I wasn't thinking logically at the time.  Instead, I went to the bathroom, I took a stroll around the shop, and when I went back to the YOTH display I discovered that a few of my friends had picked up two of the greys I was eyeing.  Perfect.  The decision was made for my by process of elimination!  Done!  So this is what I came back to Victoria with:

Tolt - YOTH

This here is an incredibly soft MCN blend called Big Sister in Poppy Seed, a beautiful grey with brown undertones.  I had thought about being sensible and buying only a few skeins to make a cowl or something small, but I already have a crapton of single skeins that are destined to be shawls and cowls.  Did I really need another accessory?  Even though you can't tell as of late, but I'm actually more of a cardigan knitter.  I would feel overly guilty if I had bought this yarn to knit a cowl, just to knit and rarely - if ever, wear it.  I would definitely get more wear out of this luxe yarn if it were knit up in cardigan form.  So in my warped way of thinking, I told myself that I'm actually saving money by purchasing a sweater's worth.  Does that make any sense to any one else?  Or am I really that crazy??  I'm dying to knit this up but I really have too much on my plate to cast on a new cardigan.  That, and I haven't been able to find the perfect pattern just yet.

There you have it.  My Vogue Knitting Live Seattle 2014 haul.  What do you think?  Too much yarn?  Not enough?  Disappointed?  I'm pretty happy with what I got and surprisingly enough, I don't have buyer's remorse about anything.  I feel slightly guilty for buying more yarn (cause do I really need more yarn??), and my only regret is that I didn't get more from Neighborhood Fiber Co.  But all in all I love everything that I got and am more than happy that I've already started knitting with at least one of the skeins bought!  In my eyes, this all equals a successful knitterly trip!

Now to just keep knitting...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Recap :: Vogue Knitting Live Seattle 2014


Ok, so I had promised a recap of Vogue Knitting Live and so here it is.  Practically a month after the event!  Oh well, better late than never, right?  But I have to forewarn you, I'm totally lacking in the photo evidence department as (surprise, surprise!!) I either didn't take any photos or I just downright forgot that I had a smartphone that was capable of taking photos.  I thought I took more than I actually did, but no...I didn't.  It was all lies.  I took a ton of photos last year and had to weed out the ones that I wanted to put up on the blog.  This year?  I have a measly four photos.  So, so sad.  But as I was going through my phone's camera roll, it dawned on me why I didn't take that many photos: my phone had refused to connect to the internet the.entire.time I was in the convention centre!  Last year I had absolutely no problems.  This year?  Either the wifi signal was weak or my phone really is on the brink of dying, whatever it was I had NO internet.  But the second I was out of the convention centre's range and mere megabytes into the hotel's (which was only a few blocks away), I was back up and running again on the internet.  The internet on my phone would work everywhere but at the convention centre.  What's up with that?  Messed up, is what it was!

Anyhoo, the photo you see above and the one just below this paragraph were taken on the Friday "preview" night of the market.  The only time my internet had worked.  Unfortunately I did not take any notes about the knit above.  I've had several people ask me about it and all I can say is to check out the Winter 13/14 issue of Vogue Knitting.  Otherwise I have absolutely no other information about it.  Sorry!

Where Does Your Stash Live

Let's get to the recap part, shall we?  I promise I won't go into every minute detail, it will be a quick rundown.  I swear. lovely knitty friends and I had left Victoria before the crack of dawn on the Friday (March 14).  Living on the island means that we have to catch a ferry to get to the mainland.  Now some people dread the ferry, but me?  I totally view it as knitting time.  So I really don't mind the ferry at all.  And when you're in a car full of knitters?  Of course it's going to be a fun ferry ride!  I was really hoping to knit like the wind on the way to Seattle (well, Bellevue.  Since VKL isn't actually in Seattle), but halfway through the car ride all the caffeine I had consumed that morning had already passed through my system and I had passed out (but I wasn't the only one!).  The snooze fest was short though, we made quick jaunts into Target and my very first trip to Trader Joe's, where I had purchased my weight in chocolate.  Oh, I bought some fruit, coconut milk yogurt, and other healthy stuff, but the chocolate was the main focus.  Seriously, I'm the world's biggest chocoholic there is.  I think the only other person to vie for the title is my friend Jane.

The Friday was pretty chill.  My friends and I didn't have any plans in mind other than to chill out and to check out the Marketplace to see what this year's offerings were (and maybe to pre-plan the next day's big shop?).  Since the day was so chill we took the opportunity to head over to Lot No. 3 to grab a bite to eat, and if you're all-out hard-core about your pulled pork like I am, this place is definitely a must.  Not everyone was a fan of the place but those who tried the pulled pork were definitely swooning!

Now onto the VKL Marketplace.  The preview night.  My initial thoughts: the crowd was way smaller than last year.  But then again, we had arrived on the late side and maybe the crowds had shown up as the doors were opening and by the time we got there they had already gone?  Either way, it definitely felt much quieter and as a result, I didn't feel so stressed out that all "the good stuff" was going to be taken.  I'll admit it here, right now, that I was also a smidge disappointed.  Last year there was so many new-to-me yarns and brands, a lot more indie dyers were being represented, and on top of that there were a lot of new things in general.  This year, it felt like practically every booth had Madelinetosh on their shelves, Hazel Knits was everywhere (which was good since they didn't have their own booth this year), and nothing new popped out at me.  Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough?  A few of my friends and I had agreed that we felt a little...underwhelmed.  Don't get me wrong, we had a ton of fun but maybe we had set our bar higher than we thought we had?

VKL - Cats

By the end of the Saturday it dawned on me what felt so different about this year's event compared to last year's.  Unlike last year, there was no big deal gala dinner; there was no speed knitting competition (which means my friend Liisa is still the reigning champ!); Skacel wasn't the main sponsor and so they didn't have the huge booth front and center as you entered the Marketplace, with the massive Addi circular needle statue that you could pose and take photos with; and there was no music pumpin', high-energy, full of life and love Steven Be booth either.  Actually, it seemed like there were less vendors this year and to make up for that the booths were made a fair bit bigger (which I'm totally not complaining about by the way!). 

I'll also admit that I was in a completely different head space this year.  I credit the lack of internet for that as I was kind of forced into a real think-mode, which usually makes me overly quiet and probably not as socially engaged as I normally am at these type of events.  Last year I bought yarn all willy nilly style without putting any sort of game plan into the yarn I was buying.  This year, I had limited funds and so I had put a lot of thought into each and every purchase.  Oh man, you guys would be SO proud of how much restraint I had shown!  And be even more surprised to know that I had purchased only FOUR skeins of yarn during that one day?

Ok, don't get excited.  I did all my damage the next day, moments before we were leaving to head back to the island.  Since we had a border to cross, a ferry to catch, and wanting to get home at a decent time, my crew and I had decided that an early departure was best.  But we still had a good 30 minutes to do one last quickie look-over of the Marketplace before we left.  So my friend Rebecca and I did just that.  It was our downfall.  Or at least it was mine for sure, as I ended up purchasing 3 skeins of yarn that I hadn't intended to buy (in my defense, one was suppose to be a gift).  Maybe I shouldn't have gone back to the Marketplace to get Kitty Snips?

Oh well, there's nothing I can do about it now.  The yarn has been bought, it doesn't go bad, let's move on.  The major highlight of VKL in my eyes was the Neighborhood Fiber Co booth.  I've only ever heard of this yarn via Ravelry forums, the blogosphere, and Joji Knits.  I've never handled any Neighborhood yarns before, nor seen any of their colours in all their vibrant  glories in person.  I don't think any yarn shops in the province even carries Neighborhood Fiber Co!  So to see and experience a massive booth of all their yarns was definitely quite a treat!  Not only was the booth beautiful eye candy (seriously, this photo doesn't do the colours any justice whatsoever!) in yarn form, but there were also gorgeous samples and even the staff were outfitted in the most colourful knits.  This was definitely a booth I kept going back to and where I had spent the majority of my budget.

Neighborhood Fiber Co

Of the few photos that I did manage to Instagram, a fair amount of people had commented how they were unable to attend VKL.  Even a lot of my own knitterly friends weren't able to make the event.  It has been speculated that VKL was just too close in date to Madrona (which was held in February) and there really wasn't enough time for knitters and fibre enthusiasts alike to recover and save up.  I can totally see that.

Regardless of the fact that so many people couldn't make it to VKL, I still managed to spot Tif of Dottie Angel (who I actually met in person and got to talk to later on), and Andi Satterlund of Untangling Knots (who I didn't have the lady balls to go up to and introduce myself to).  Both ladies weren't hard to spot as they both have very distinct styles to them.  I was really hoping to catch a glimpse of Ragga Eiríksdóttir, Mary Jane Mucklestone, and Amy Herzog, but I didn't.  Sad face.  But I did see glimpses of Mr. Brooklyn Tweed himself, Jarod Flood at the Churchmouse Yarns booth as well as at the hotel that I was staying at (and no, I did not say any outrageously inappropriate comments to him.  If anything, I kind of just left him alone), Karen Templer of Fringe Association (I even scored one of her coveted tote bags!), as well as Cirilia Rose (who I also left alone...didn't want to make an arse of myself 2 years in a row!).  Actually, I'm quite proud of myself for not having any "I carried a watermelon" moments!  Fist pump!

But I wasn't all anti-social!  My lovely friend Aja of the Etsy shop AkinJewels (I blogged about her awesome snag-free stitch markers here) made the voyage over (I've only seen her in person like, a handful of times and each visit is ever so short!), and I got to unexpectedly meet a fellow blogger who's blog I've been following for a few years now - Cory of Indie.Knits!  Hi Cory!  Sorry if I seemed so space cadet-y!!

Tolt Sign - Blog

Another major highlight of my trip that has nothing to do with VKL but I thought I would squeeze it in here somehow: Tolt Yarn and Wool (I talked a bit about it in my March Obsessions post).  I don't want to repeat myself too much, but let me just say WOW!  What a beautiful, well curated shop!!  So absolutely lovely that I didn't want to leave!!  It felt like every ball of yarn, every little notion, every pattern and sample, and even the woven baskets were a found treasure.  I really wish I had taken more photos of the shop.  But this will just give me more of an incentive to return!  Right?

I was so overwhelmed, so in awe that I couldn't focus all too well.  There was just SO much to see and take in!  As that wasn't enough, guess who was working behind the counter? The aforementioned Tif of Dottie Angel!  Tif was such a delight too.  An absolutely lovely person in all ways possible, and completely understood what it like to be in utter awe of being in the presence of someone who inspires you and wanting to tell that person just how inspirational they are.  

Then speaking of inspirational, as my friends Jeni and Rebecca and I were comparing colourways against Jeni's complexion, who should walk into the shop?  None other than Susan B Anderson!!  Can you say massive fangirl moment??  And we're not just talking about me, my entire group of friends ecstatic to be in the same shop as Susan B Anderson too!!  And can I say just how utterly sweet and humble Susan is?  So, so sweet!!  She didn't mind the 6 phones taking non-stop photos (she even joined in on the photography fun and blogged about here, can you spot our photo?) and the requests for photos to be taken with her.  I loved how she was Instagramming the yarn shop experience right there in the shop too!

SusanBAnderson - Tolt
The gang and I with THE Susan B Anderson!!
Image shamelessly ripped off of nook.'s Facebook page (and it's also on her Instagram!)

Once Susan left the shop (she had a class to teach), we continued on with our shopping.  I may or may not have bought a sweater's worth of a yarn that is being sold exclusively at Tolt, dyed by someone who I was really hoping to meet in person: Veronika of Yarn on the House.  Again, maybe next time when I make a much longer visit to the shop.  And hopefully by then I'll have that sweater's worth of yarn all knit up in an actual sweater!

There were SO many lovely yarns in Tolt, that it was extremely hard to not pick up one of everything and take it home with me.  In the end I proudly stuck with my game plan of buying only yarn that I wouldn't be able to get back home.  Yay!!  Because it's not "souvenir yarn" if you can buy it at home, right?  And then after seeing all the gorgeous cakes, balls, skeins, and hanks of rustic and tweedy yarns, I really wanted to go home and pull out everything that I had that is rustic and tweedy and just start knitting!  But then the heaps of WIPs that I still have on the needles brought me back to reality.  Phew!

Tolt Collage

So all in all the VKL trip was a great one.  Much different from last year's event, but still a ton of fun.  I've never been on a road trip with these friends before and it was great to see that no cat fights broke out, claws were all kept intact, and everyone came home still friends.  I shared a hotel room with Jeni and Rebecca and I'm SO glad that I got to spend this much quality time with them and got to know them more!  Even if it meant Rebecca and I keeping Jeni awake until the wee hours of the morning gabbing away!  And strangely enough, no knitting was involved during our gab-fests... Hmm...and no pillow fights erupted either, cause I know some of you are wondering that too!  But thank you Jeni and Rebecca for the extra fabulous time!! ♥  And of course to Cate and Theresa for the poops and giggles!

Now, this post is just getting way too long, and I haven't even started talking about my haul.  So you know what that means.  Yep, a separate post.  It will happen within the next day or two.  I swear!!  Sorry kids.  But I've got a fancy donut date with the Mister to jazzy myself up for!  You understand, right?  Time with your Love AND donuts??  Come on!!  

Ok, until then...

♥ Happy Knitting! ♥

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

March Obsessions

Obsessions - Pinks

Does this ever happen to you: you're all "YAY!!  It's Spring!!", but your body is all "oh crap no!  Not Spring!!"?  Cause that's what's currently going on with me.  I love that Spring is here.  I really, really do.  I love that when I wake up in the morning it's actually light outside; I love it that I don't have to completely bundle up in a million layers just to go check the mail; and I love it that when I head to knit night it's still light outside and I can still see the roads (and spot a parking spot faster!).  I just wish I didn't have to wake up with my eyes glued shut with sleep; that I didn't have to walk my kiddo to school with watery and itchy eyes; that my sinuses didn't feel like they were constantly caving in on itself from all the pressure; and that I didn't get so many headaches that have been bordering migraine territory (I'm assuming from the sinus pressure?).  Oh Mother Nature, why must you torture me so?  I can't complain too much though because allergies aside I've also been enjoying beautiful sunny weather while watching nature bloom back to life.  Not everyone across Canada (or North America in general) can say the same.  

I'm still feeling a little off from the time change, but more so with my days and rather than timing - thanks to the Munchkin's strict routine!  But I'm completely in awe that it's already April.  Really?  Crazy.  I guess I should start planning out what we're going to do about Easter.  Especially since the kiddo isn't much into crafts (much to my dismay).  And I think I should start cracking down on getting some of those not-so-secret secret projects whipped up and ready to go.  

In the meantime, let's get on with the whole purpose of this post, shall we?  Here are some of the things that I've been obsessing over all March long:

1. Tolt Yarn and Wool

Tolt Sign - Blog

I have yet to do my recap post about my Vogue Knitting Live 2014 trip (oops!) but it's coming, don't worry!  Even if I have to make it short and sweet, it will happen, I promise!  But here's a little spoiler: one of the biggest highlights for me was the chance to visit Tolt Yarn and Wool in Carnation, Washington in person.  I had met Anna Dianich, the absolutely lovely proprietress of Tolt, at last year's VKL when we took the same class taught by Gudrun Johnston.  Since then I had followed her on Instagram and felt like I was there as she photographed the early beginnings of the shop - from finding a location, the renovations, the restorations of the fabulous vintage and rustic finds, to the unveiling of the wonderfully branded Tolt merchandise - all the way to being the hottest LYS that every knitter MUST visit in the West.  I could only begin to imagine, judging from the Instagram photos, just how the shop was like.  I was seriously in for a treat!!  

The shop was so, SO much more!!  I absolutely loved everything about it, I don't even know where to begin!!  Let's just say Anna did a beyond fantastic job of creating a beautiful space that both inspires and makes you want to create.  The atmosphere was open, yet cozy and inviting.  The furniture was stunning, the displays rustic and oh so eye catching.  The staff were lovely and helpful, and you can just tell that they love just being there.  The yarn selection...oh, the yarn!!  How I wanted to buy it all (luckily I didn't or else I'd be living on the grassy knoll by my house in a fort made of yarn)!!  The yarn selection was simply amazing and so very...Tolt.  Everything about the store went perfectly hand in hand.  I was even supremely impressed with how well thought out the knitting spaces and bathroom were.  The area by the fireplace enticed all that walked past to sit and knit for a bit, or if there were more of you the long table outfitted with comfy looking chairs enabled a bigger group to gather and knit and converse.  The bathrooms were equally spacious and contained baby-changing stations with enough space outside the bathrooms for prams of all sizes.  You can tell a lot of thought and consideration went into the layout of the shop.

My friends and I had spent 2 very short hours in the shop and there were still so many more things we all wanted to see, but most of all, we had all wanted to sit and knit in one of those very inviting spots.  But sadly there were borders to cross and a ferry to catch.  But I definitely plan on making another visit!!  You can count on that.  I just wonder if there's any way I can convince a group of friends to embark on some sort of yarn shop crawl of the Pacific Northwest?  Hmmm...

I could seriously go on and on about this shop, but I won't.  Since this post is a mere list of things that I couldn't get enough of during a month.  But if you have the time and the chance to be in the area and can go visit Tolt, I HIGHLY recommend that you do.  You seriously will not regret it!!  If you do make the trip there, say hello to Anna for me!

2. Caterpillargreen Yarns

CaterpillarGreen Yarn - Ocean Sunset
:: Ocean Sunset ::

I first learned about Catepillargreen Yarns at last summer's Fibrations event here in Victoria.  It was at that very same time that I had met the very lovely Cat, the owner and dyer behind this local-to-me label.  Cat's colourways are seriously s.t.u.n.n.i.n.g.  They're all self-striping in either classic stripes or long colour repeats, and all dyed on a smooth, soft and lush MCN fingering weight base.  You'll seriously not want your project to end when you're knitting with this yarn!!

I know a few of you eagle-eyed readers will recognize the above colourway as something that I was knitting up last fall (hint: you can find photographic evidence in my Instagram feed, and more about that knit later).  Since then I've been dyeing to knit more with Catepillargreen Yarns.  Just one look at their website (which is here) and you'll see why.  I simply cannot get enough of Concrete and Tulips, G Biv, and Skyline!  They are are SO drool worthy!!  I really hope that they'll have a booth again at Fibrations because I'm determined to add every single one of their colourways to my stash!  So I better get knitting if I want to make some room!

Do you have a skein of Caterpillargreen Yarns?  Which one?  

3. Kiss My Face Moisturizer

Image via Kiss My Face

I have naturally dry skin and so winter and spring are the worst for me.  I feel like I've been on a life long quest in trying to find just the right moisturizer.  I was finding lotion that was either too heavily scented (which would have been fine in my younger days), too greasy, too sticky (which is different from greasy, trust me), or just downright didn't moisturize at all.  So frustrating!  And now that I'm a knitter (versus the aforementioned younger days when I was merely just a seamstress), finding the right lotion for my insanely dry hands is even more important than ever.  After all, I'm a huge fan of delicious luxury yarns - like the yummy Caterpillargreen Yarns MCN listed above - and the last thing I need is for my sandpaper hands to rat up and ruin such beautiful fibres.

I thought I've tried every hand lotion there is on the market, from your typical drugstore finds to the expensive high end department store goods, and even a few independently made-in-the-kitchen concoctions.  Then the Munchkin developed eczema and everything made his overly sensitive skin break into a rash.  I had to venture into health food stores to find anything organic and natural that could soothe his raging skin.  In the process I discovered this little gem that works miracles on my dry skin: Kiss My Face Olive & Aloe Moisturizer.  It's fragrance free (or if you do want scented, they are pleasant and not overpowering), light, non-greasy, and most importantly a little goes a long way AND you don't have to keep re-applying!  Ah...finally, a drink for my skin!

4. History Channel's Vikings

Image via History

I've always had a love of vikings.  I don't know why, I just do.  It's not something I really go into detail about.  But I'm always drawn into anything that involves vikings - the history, the legacies, the myths, you name it, I want to know more about it.  So it's no surprise that I was drawn into History Channel's Vikings series.  And yeah, it also doesn't hurt that one of the main characters is insanely hot and is very, VERY easy on the eyes.  FYI: that would be Ragnar Lodbrok (played by Travis Fimmel...who looks eerily similar to Charlie Hunnam).  He can go behind my shield wall any day.  Oops!!  Did I just say that out loud??

But it's not all about Ragnar.  The shieldmaiden, Lagertha, is my new heroine.  Not only is she gorgeous, she can kick ass.  Literally.  She doesn't take crap from anyone and can definitely hold her own.  I don't want to give anything away, but I'm really interested in how this character plays out in the rest of the series, which is currently halfway through the second season.  Just recently a third season has been added.  YAY!!

So, that's March.  What caught your eye in this first month of Spring?  Let me know!!  I'm excited for what April has in store, I'm really hoping it's a lot more knitting!  But I guess we'll find out!  Until then...

♥ Happy Knitting! ♥ 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

It's Going To Happen

Oh yes.  You bet this is going to happen!!

Unikitty socks!! 

And I screamed that with such glee and girly enthusiasm that I'm pretty sure my neighbours think I've definitely gone bonkers.  All I know is that the Universe was listening.  Or at least had read my February Obsessions post and decided to take mercury on me and guided me to where I needed to go in order to find Unikitty-like self-striping yarn.  Because shortly after I made that Obsessions post I had a dream, a dream in which I was knitting in a hammock and eating pickles and olives (hey, I did say this was a dream - cut me some slack), when all of a sudden the yarn I was knitting with turned into this pastel-y hue of self-striping yumminess.  The ball band magically appeared (as things usually do in dreams, no?) and all it contained was the Knit Picks logo.  Nothing else.

I didn't think much of the dream, other than the fact that I must be knitting a lot or why else would I be dreaming about my hands knitting?  A few days later, with the dream still fresh in my mind and unable to leave me alone, I checked out the Knit Picks website (more so out of curiosity).  I quickly spied the Felici fingering yarn and lo and behold.  What do I see?  Jellybean.  Jelly.freakin'.bean.  Visions of Princess Unikitty of Cloud Cuckoo Land started floating in front of my eyes.


This is it.

Whatever they had left in stock was going to be mine.  All mine.  Ok...not really.  I thought I had ordered 6 skeins but less than 24 hours later I was notified that there was an error and only 4 skeins were available.  That's ok.  I can deal with that.  A few skeins were still coming my way.  That's all that matters.  And besides, do I really need 6 skeins of this colourway?  What was I going to do with 6 skeins??  Just like what would one do with 12 skeins of a rainbow self-striping colourway?  Not that I have 12 skeins of that in my stash...

Ok, so maybe I do.  But that's not the focal point here.  This magnificent Jellybean colourway that should be renamed Unikitty is the focus here.  Just breathe Melissa, just breathe.  Your dream of knitting Unikitty socks is about to become a reality.  Just breathe.  But oh my glob.


Oh yeah, they are definitely going to be the socks that will grace my knitting needles next.  You can count on it.  It's going to be glorious.  It's going to be epic.  It's going to change lives.  Ok, we won't go that far.  But you can see just how much these socks mean to me.

Ahhh...excuse me.  I'm going to sit here for a bit and bask in the awesomeness that is this future project.  Then I better bust a move and get knitting so that I could get the equally amazing Hudson socks off my needles.  But before I go, I just want to put it out there that if anyone has a skein or two (or three, or four...) of Jellybean in their stash that they are willing to part with, I'm totally prepared to take it off your hands and can either buy it off you or even trade you with any of the skeins of Felici I have in my stash.  Just putting it out there.

Alright.  I've got some sock knitting to do.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Knit In Progress: Hudson

This week has been a killer week for both the Munchkin and I.  We're dealing with getting back into school mode, establishing new routines, and for the kiddo - a more concentrated workload.  It's exhausting us both out and as a result I haven't been able to knit as much as I would like to and not much sewing (if any!) has happened yet this week.  I've been spending a lot of time at the school, curious as to how the Munchkin is responding to activities that don't involve playing (like practicing "math" and writing) and that are a bit more structured (like actually sitting at a table and working).  I always bring my knitting with me, of course, but find that the kids get overly curious and distracted whenever I do whip out my socks to knit on.  I have been attempting to knit after the Munchkin goes to bed, but realized last night that I've been making mistakes left and right due to being overly tired - which can be a little on the frustrating side considering that these socks are a basic plain vanilla sock.

I also realized that I haven't done a proper post about these socks yet!  Yikes!  I'm sure a lot of you already know about them, but for those who don't follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, let me introduce to you my Hudson socks!  Check out the yummy yarn before it started its transformation into the fabulous socks that they're about to become:

Canadiana Yarn

Utterly awesome, right?  Now this skein was dyed by my friend Em, formerly known as Everything Old, and is now EmmaKnits (read her post here about her changes and why).  This colourway is called Canadiana, and is inspired by those famous and well-known Hudson Bay blankets.  Em had cleverly concocted a scheme so that you can either knit yourself a pair of socks where those famous stripes will end up on the leg of each sock, or a scarf and have the stripes on both ends.  Just like the blanket!!  So, so cool.

I bought this skein at the first Knit City in Vancouver and had been too nervous to knit it up.  Why?  I have no clue.  I'm weird like that.  But then last month I had an obsessive itch to dig out the skein and cast on a pair of socks.  So here we are.  Sadly, Em no longer dyes yarn.  BUT don't fret.  For those of you who want a skein to call their very own, Em had given the rights to this colourway to another dyer.  Yay!!  So if you desperately need to add a skein of this fun yarn to your stash, head on over to Fishknits Yarn's Etsy shop here and snag a skein while you can.  Do me a favour and tell Jo that I sent you!

Ok, so the socks.  Here's how they're looking so far:

WIP - Hudson

A part of me is wishing that I had made the leg taller, almost 80s tube sock knee high style, but I'll most likely get more wear out of these in my usual sock height.  To ensure that all 4 coloured stripes are included in the leg and not part of the 2x2 ribbed cuff, I made these top down.  I haven't properly established a trusty top down plain vanilla sock recipe just yet, as I usually knit all my plain vanilla socks from the toe up.  Some of you might ask "is there a difference?", and to me, there is (which I'll explain in a different post).  So I'm using these socks as my guinea pigs.  I think it's going well.  I have to admit that I'm a little annoyed that it's taking me somewhat longer than usual to whip these bad boys up, but have come to the conclusion this morning (after ripping out my heel for the fourth time) that I'm no longer a product knitter and am now a downright process knitter.  Or maybe it's because this is a plain sock in a fairly light colour, and so any and all mistakes will be that much more noticeable to me?  Either way, I'm really hoping to get these off my needles before the week is over.  I just need to stop ripping out the heels.

Or maybe I just need to stop knitting on them so late at night?

Meh.  I guess you'll find out next week!


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