Friday, July 22, 2016

Jumbled Up in July

A part of me is sort of freaking out. There's only ONE week left of July. 

What?!? How did this happen??

I have seriously accomplished nothing this month. Nothing. Or, at least, that's how I feel. I probably feel this way because most of the month has been filled with unexpected visitors from out of town plus a weekend visit from the in-laws thrown in (meaning: crazy house cleaning was in full effect on top of my attempts to try to hide ALLLL the knitty and sewing related things...yeah, that last part didn't work out so well). All of this meant that my knitting and sewing times were drastically cut short, and then there were a handful of days where bag production had to be stopped completely. This was not only a major stress-inducer for me, but also the reason why I broke my self-imposed "cold sheep" plans and bought myself some yarn. I have a feeling these next few weeks are going to be hectic. Very. As in I'll be spending my nights holed up in my sewing closet frantically sewing like a maniac while overly caffeinated and thoroughly sleep deprived. I had tried to schedule it so that I wouldn't end up like this but I guess I truly do work better under intense pressure. 

Another reason why I haven't done much of anything lately: Pokémon Go. I know...I know... Since downloading the app on Sunday the Kiddo has been obsessed with the game and completely preoccupied with "going on hunting adventures". I really can't criticize the game though because not only are we learning a lot about our little city, but we've clocked a lot of kilometres roaming around our area and a few parks in search of Pokémon, and have spent more time outside this past week than we have all summer thus far. And the best part of all: the Kiddo hasn't complained once about all the walking. It hasn't dawned on him just how much we walk and the only time he gets cranky is when I have to call it a day...because seriously, the sun has set and it's already past his bedtime. But it makes me happy to see him wake up bright and early the next day, eager to walk another 10km just so that we can 'hatch' another egg or two because he so desperately wants to get Pikachu. We've been walking so much that by the end of the day I've been crashing on the couch, barely able to keep my eyes open enough to do any kind of crafting! It's a bit sad too though because the only solo time I have is after 9pm, when the Kiddo is finally in bed, the house is cooler, and I can actually sew uninterrupted. I just wish the rest of the house weren't such early risers/morning people so that these super late nights wouldn't take as much of a toll on me as they already are. Le sigh.

My only respite during the day is when we stop for a picnic lunch or when we make our weekly trip to our local library and it's only during these precious, precious moments that I'm able to knit a few rounds here and there. Sometimes, first thing in the morning before anyone else wakes up, I can sneak in some quiet "me time". But those moments are very far and few between as the Mister has to be up by at least 6am and he has no idea what quiet means (he's the definition of a bull in a china shop, I kid you not!). I honestly cannot wait for August when we go on vacation and I can hunker down and get some serious knitting time in.  

Until then I've been slowly plugging away on my socks, finished a sleeve on one of my Breathing Spaces, cast on and finished a baby sweater and a pair of fingerless mitts, and most recently I've cast on another baby sweater (which you can see in the photo above). Between all these knits I was working on a project using a hank of super bulky yarn but have frogged it so many times that it is officially in time out until I can sit down and actually concentrate on what I'm doing. For now my brain can only handle truly mindless (and portable!!) knitting.

I'm actually surprised that I haven't gone bonkers from the lack of real knitting time, like I did back when my CTS first flared up. I'm not even anxious over the fact that I haven't been able to post regularly on Instagram due to the aforementioned shortage in knitting opportunities - cause really, cutting out and pressing fusing onto fabric isn't the most photogenic activity in the world. Total yawnsville, according to Instagram. But I'm unusually ok with all this. If anything, my hands have appreciated the knit-less intervals and the mini breaks from the computer. I didn't realize just how much CTS and heat do not mix until my hands started to swell up from time to time and get uncomfortable enough to do anything. Luckily I don't mind soaking my hands in icy cold water in this heat! 

Who else thinks this month has flown by really fast? Are you chasing time as much as I am?  

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Knit In Progress: Wild Flowers

There are times in my knitting where I feel completely overwhelmed at the amount of WIPs that I currently have on the needles. Then there are the times in which I feel like I have absolutely nothing to knit on, even though I have a handful of WIPs scattered around on my coffee table. There's the rare time in which I'm just simply bored of every single project I'm working on. Like I said, it's rare, but it does happen. Then there are those times where I'm rummaging through all my projects trying to suss out which among them is the most mindless and easy to tote around - only to discover that all the projects are either too big and cumbersome, and/or at a stage where they need a bajillion stitches picked up or require some chart reading (the latter being not the best for running errands and for quick stitching here and there). This last point is the reason why I decided to cast on another pair of socks.

That, and well, I couldn't resist this gorgeous skein of sock yarn any more!! Can you blame me though? It's so beautiful that I kept the skein right next to my keyboard as a gentle reminder that I should knit it. And soon. The yarn is by indie dyer, Lichen and Lace, from the East Coast of Canada in the province of New Brunswick. I also decided to switch things up a bit by knitting this pair of socks with DPNs. For my birthday last month I decided to treat myself to a set of Addi FlipStix. I figured that since my hands weren't loving the motion of sock knitting that maybe I'd try knitting them up in differently. Using DPNs forces my hands to not only hold the needles and work a little differently from my usual way, but also without the "death grip" that I typically have on the needles (re: leads to major cramping). 

Aside from the above factors, I wanted to try out the FlipStix because I liked the idea that these ultra lightweight aluminum needles had a super pointy lace tip on one end and a more rounded Turbo tip on the other. I realized with my previous DPN knitting attempts that I was using needles that hindered my knitting and lessened my enjoyment. I found that I didn't like sock knitting with wooden needles because I felt like I was going to snap them in half at any given moment, some metal needles just felt too heavy and cold, and other needles were comprised of two different materials that resulted in a join somewhere along the shaft that caused my knitting to snag with each stitch. I hoped that with the FlipStix I won't encounter any of these issues. So far, they've been great. But we'll see when these socks are finished.

I considered knitting up another pair of plain vanilla socks because I really wanted to show off the beautiful colours of the yarn, but decided against it because I was starting to get bored with plain vanilla. Not to mention that the current socks on my needles, Vanilla is the New Black, is plain vanilla (with a twist) and I'm also working on the sleeves of both my Breathing Spaces, which sort of feels like sock knitting too. So I took a quick look at my sock queue and library and immediately picked out Business Casual by Tanis Lavallee (of Tanis Fiber Arts). I've always wanted to knit this pattern but you know how it goes, you queue a pattern with every intention of knitting it but then more and more patterns come along that you want to knit, and soon the patterns just pile up and you just simply forget what's at the bottom. Well, not today, my Friends!

I think, or at least hope, that the colours are light enough to show off the stitch pattern and that the stitch pattern will be able to highlight the colours with the two-stitch cable. So far it has been a complete joy to work on these socks and I find myself trying to sneak in a round here and there. Everything about this project has been fun and addictive - the yarn, it's so gorgeous that I want to keep knitting to see what colour pops up next and how it will look stacked up on the others; the pattern is really easy to knit and to memorize, and found that halfway through the first repeat I didn't have to refer to the pattern for every round. Even now, I only look at the pattern when I get to the round where the cables meet and I need a refresher as to which way the cables are crossing.

As for the needles, well...I haven't converted to DPNs but I must say that I'm thoroughly enjoying these Addi Flipstix. They are fantastic! I'm loving the pointiness of the lace tips and get such a kick out having different colour needles - which is so superficial but hey, it makes me happy! 

I've always known that I'm a tight knitter and usually it's sock knitting that reminds me to loosen up. I noticed that a couple of my DPNs have a slight arch to them...Oops! Not unusual for me at all, cause if you look at some of my sock needles, a lot of them are no longer straight! I'm also not using a cable needle or even the fifth DPN for the cables. I usually try to not use cable needles whenever possible (I'm pretty comfortable up to four stitches, after depends on the cable). I find I work much faster without a cable needle and it's a lot less fussing around.

I have to watch myself to make sure I'm on track with the height of the leg, as I'm pretty sure I could keep on knitting before realizing I've made the leg too long. As of this post I'm almost finished with the last repeat before you're suppose to start the heel. I haven't decided if I should add an extra repeat or to keep the height as is...which means I should probably put this project down for a bit before I end up with one long argyle tube, and knit on say, one of my Breathing Space tunics. After all, Stash Dash is still going on and I'm barely breaking 1k. So sad. I have a little over a month to get to that 3k finish line!

Put first, let me finish this round...


Monday, July 4, 2016


Summer is officially here!! Well...sort of. You wouldn't be able to tell by the weather my area has been having these past few days. I'm totally not complaining cause it simply means I can still wear a hand knit from time to time! Don't get me wrong, I love summer, I'm just never prepared for summer. And by that I mean I hold onto my woolly cardigans and pullovers for as long as I can and thereby never have any warm weather attire at the ready when the heat strikes. Heck. I still don't. But let's not get into that. Ok?

So the Kiddo and I have been trying to settle into some form of routine. The first week into the summer break was pretty much a free for all in which I just let the Kiddo have fun and enjoy the much needed freedom from everything. But now it's time to buckle up and get into a routine because this knitter has stuff to accomplish. Like building stock.


I'm sure a lot of you are aware and/or even following the news of what's going on with the Canadian postal service and the possible strike/lockout. The deadline was supposedly July 2nd (Saturday) but from what I read this morning there is currently no work stoppage and no 72-hour notice has been filed as of yet. These past few weeks Canadian dyers and fellow enablers knitters have been scrambling to find different means (so far that means UPS) to ship their goods to their customers, many have put their Etsy shop on vacation mode. 

I thought long and hard about what I was going to do. In the end I've decided to put my shop on vacation mode too and will re-open at the end of August, if the strike/lockout has ended by then. In the meantime, I'm going to use this time to concentrate on building up my stock and trying out new ideas because this August I'll be a vendor at Fibrations!! 

It will be a little different this year as I'll be sharing a booth with my awesome sauce friend, Arika, who will be offering up a variety of goods for both knitters and non-knitters alike! It's going to be fun! Fingers crossed that I can plan out a good schedule that will allow me to get as much sewing and knitting done without sacrificing a proper summer break (and fun!!) for the Kiddo. I can do this. I can do this. 

I'll post an official "event reminder" later on this month that will also show a photo of what I will be donating for the fundraising 'Toonie Raffle' (a "Toonie" is a $2 coin for you non-Canadians). For now, here are the details about the event. If you are in the area, or if you're planning on visiting the island during this time, I hope you will check out Fibrations. And if you do, please stop by our booth and say hi!

:: Fibrations ::
August 21, 2016
From 10am - 4pm
The Fairfield Gonzales Community Place
1330 Fairfield Road, Victoria BC
Admission: FREE!!

For more information about the event and for a complete list of vendors, please check out the Fibrations website.

Hope to see you there! ♥

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Hey June!

It's mid-June already, and I'm in complete denial about it. Probably because I'm not prepared for school to be out for summer holidays in a week. And while I should technically be scrambling around trying to get stuff done around here that I otherwise can't really do while the Kiddo is at home, I'm doing what any (in)sane procrastinator would do - I take naps. I do laundry (which, in all honesty, really needs to be done. So maybe that's a win?). I pretend I'm in a movie montage when a cheesy 80s song comes on the radio...which is quite often since I tend to listen to the 80s channel. A lot.


Don't get me wrong, I have been doing stuff. Just not all the right stuff. If that makes sense. A part of me wants to blame "Mom Brain", but another part of me wants to blame myself and putting way too much on my plate. But then, what else is new? Anyhoo, since I'm all over the place and lately I've been living my life in bullet form (thanks Bullet Journal!), here's another hodge podge list of stuff:  

Stash Dash update: I've got nothing. At the start of Stash Dash my hands started to act up and so I had to give them an extra long break. But this past week I've been slowing getting back to it and miraculously managed to knit up and finish the body of my Islay cardigan. All That needs to be done are the sleeves and the I-cord BO around the fronts and neckline. Yay!! Double thumbs up!! At first I had huge doubts that I would be able to get this finished by the Islay KAL deadline (July 1st), but now I'm thinking it just might be do-able! 

Speaking of KALs, there's a few going on that I SO wish I could participate in but can't due to my crappy hands and limited knitting time. Caterpillargreen Yarns is hosting a Playground Shawl KAL that started yesterday (June 15th) and ends July 31st. I think the Playground Shawl is gorgeous and I just happen to have a skein of Concrete and Tulips in the shawl yardage put-up in the stash. And then Tanis Fiber Arts is hosting the TFA Summer Blanket KAL that doesn't start until later this month and you have until the start of September to complete the blanket. I have a handful of blanket patterns in my queue that I would love to knit up, like the Missoni-inspired Chevron blanket, Fly Away, Pop, and Colorful Wedges, just to name a few. One day, one day I'll get around to knitting at least one of these up.

My extra long knitting break has really helped as I now can knit on my socks comfortably again! For a while there my hands just didn't like the combo of tiny yarn with tiny needles. I'm a little paranoid and so I haven't dived right back into the sock knitting but it's nice to actually get some progress happening on those socks. And now a huge part of me wants to cast on another pair...

Since we're on the subject of socks, I'm sitting on my hands and trying to convince myself that I do not need the newly released Hiya Hiya Sharp Sock Interchangeable needle set. I just don't. One, I already have several pairs of needles dedicated to sock knitting; and two, I rarely, if ever, knit socks in a needle size other than 2.25mm (US 1). But what a wonderful set!!

Another reason why I haven't been knitting much: canning. There was a huge sale on strawberries at one of my local grocers and so I stocked up and over the course of a few days made over 20 jars of strawberry jam. I firmly believe that canning is an addiction. My massive canner lived on my stove for a week. I was constantly cruising the canning aisle wherever we went. Not that I need more, but I stocked up on even more mason jars. Just in case. And yeah, there was a sale on my favourite brand of jars and I can never say no to that. Not to mention that this week there's a sale on blueberries at my favourite produce shop. I haven't made Blueberry Lime jam in a few years. I see another jam canning spree coming on...

 I'm super excited for my friend, Chantel, her yarn, Mudpunch, will now be sold at Baaad Anna's in Vancouver! Congrats Chantel!! Even though I've been going "cold sheep" lately, I simply cannot resist the exclusive, dyed just for Baaad Anna's self-striping colourway (to see it, click on the Baad Anna's link above and scroll to the bottom). Since it was my birthday a few days ago, I think I'm going to use my birthday money to score myself a ball!

 You can't tell by the weather as of late, but as I mentioned earlier, summer "vacation" will be starting next week. For a while there I was freaking out about what to do with the Kiddo and how I was going to keep him busy all summer. But then I read this article and realized that I didn't need to plan out every single second of the Kiddo's day. I'm not going to use this article as an excuse or reason to do nothing all summer, nor do I really put too much into such articles, but when I thought about my own childhood all makes sense. My childhood boredom had spawned so many fun memories: from recording myself and my cousin reading Archie comics, to choreographing dances with my neighbours, to just riding my bike with friends anywhere we could think of...even if it meant biking 20 minutes to get an ice cream cone. So I'm ok with the Kiddo getting bored throughout the summer. It'll be interesting, in this digital day and age, to see what he comes up with to fill his time (sans electronics, that is. Cause you bet I'll be limiting that!).

What are your summer plans?     


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Skeino Moon Shawl Kit :: Review

Months ago I was asked if I would like to review a knitting project kit by a yarn company that I had never heard of before. I took a quick peek at the company's website to see if the kits were something I would typically knit and wear, and if the yarns were my cup of tea. Right off the bat Skeino had my interest piqued. A few of the designs were very similar to the ones I had in my queue and I was immediately drawn to the gradient beauty that was the Moon Shawl. The description of the yarn used for this shawl really grabbed my attention. An I-cord yarn in which a blend of baby alpaca and merino fibres were "knitted in"? How interesting. So I emailed back with a resounding "yes!! I'm interested!!".     

» First Impressions «
I really had no idea what to expect and so when the package arrived in the mail I was pretty giddy with anticipation. But really, name one knitter who doesn't get excited when they receive yarn in the mail. Anyhoo, I ripped open the box and was taken away by how beautiful the yarn kit was in person. The biggest surprise of all was when I took the yarn out of the box. At first glance I was expecting the yarn to be a little dense and feel somewhat felted. Yeah, no. I couldn't believe how incredibly light and fluffy the yarn was, and how it;s actually super duper soft! So soft, that for a second there I forgot I was holding yarn and thought I was sent a cuddly kitten instead. Seriously, it's that soft. And can I point out just how gorgeously awesome the packaging of the yarn is?

Even though the website specified that "five single skeins are braided into this knitting kit", I was still expecting to get the usual mini skeins or balls that you generally get in a kit. So I was immediately charmed when I pulled out this beautiful braided log of fluffy goodness out of the box. I'm such a sucker for great product packaging! I was so taken with the presentation of the yarn that I almost couldn't bring myself to break it apart to cast on my project. Silly, I know. I'm totally one of those people who buys a million pretty notebooks but can't bare to write in any of them for fear of "ruining" them.

To make it easier on my heart myself I decided to just take one skein at a time out of the braid when I'm ready to knit with it. That way I could still appreciate the lovely gradient beauty in all its fibre-y braided glory as it sits nestled in my knitting basket. It's the little things, right?

» The Yarn «
When I first expressed interest in doing a review of this kit I thought I would knit a few inches of the shawl to get a general idea of both the pattern and the yarn and then write a review. But after handling the yarn and having a really good look at it, I decided that I didn't want to rush it. I don't think I have ever knit with a yarn like this before and I really wanted to give it some proper attention. I wanted to get a full experience in knitting with it, seeing how it holds up to being manhandled, knitted, frogged, and re-knitted. To see if being shoved in and out of project bags would make it look worn before it was actually worn. And how does it wash and block? Would the yarn shed a good portion of its fibres in the water? Would touching the yarn in water make it felt?

You see, my brain kept thinking this yarn was a lightly spun single ply bulky weight. When in reality it's a yarn made up of baby alpaca and fine merino (for memory) fibres knitted into a nylon I-cord centre, which makes the yarn remarkably strong for something that looks so delicate. There's no stretch to the yarn, which worried me slightly due to my tight knitting ways, but in the end it didn't matter and I found that the lack of spring to the yarn actually made me more aware of my gauge.

The colourways available for this yarn, both for the kit and in regular skein form, are all solids in neutral colours. For the kits, the colours are "shaded" from either light to dark or mirrored (going from dark to light and back to dark, or vice versa) to reflect the inspiration of the ever-changing moon. I had a really hard time picking out a colourway for my kit. I steered clear of the earthy colourways since I barely have anything brown or beige in my wardrobe. Although, the White-Musk colourway caught my eye, it's so lovely and I bet knitted up it would look incredibly sophisticated and elegant. But I would not wear it anyways due to the aforementioned lack of earth tones in my closet. So I narrowed my choices down to seven...then to three...then to two...then I hemmed and hawed for a day and gave up and decided to let the company choose for me. In the end I received the Dark Grey-Light Grey colourway (because you'll want to know, the other choice was White-Black).

I chose to hand wind each skein as I needed them, mainly because I didn't think my ball winder could handle it. And yeah...a part of me was a little paranoid that something bad would happen. But I really didn't mind, the yarn is so fluffy soft that it was actually a pleasure to hand wind it and feel the buttery softness flow through my fingers. 

» The Pattern «
Aside from the gorgeous colourway of the sample shawl, the Moon Shawl pattern caught my eye for so many reasons: it's knitted entirely in garter, it's knitted on the bias, it has a simple shape, it looks like it has a nice enough depth to cover a good portion of your upper body, and it has a nice long wingspan. All the qualities I love in a shawl pattern and what all my past shawl projects have consisted of. So to me, picking the Moon Shawl was a complete no-brainer.

The Moon Shawl is a simple, yet elegant shawl that I can see myself wearing a lot during the cooler months, and because of the neutral colourway, would also go perfectly with everything in my wardrobe. The pattern, which is available for free on the Skeino website and on the Skeino Ravelry page, is a super easy and relaxing knit. And if your hands are in great shape (mine weren't at the time), it would be a fast knit too. I think this pattern would suit both beginners and advanced knitters alike. For beginners, as long as you know the knit stitch and can do basic increases and decreases, you've got this in the bag. For more intermediate and advanced knitters, this project would be a perfect mindless knit for social outings, Netflix marathons (or is that just me?), and if you don't mind carrying around bigger projects, is also great for car knitting.

» The Knitting «
The pattern is quite easy to memorize, and found that once I've knitted the first two sections (the solid border and then the striping into the next colour) I only had to reference the pattern once in a while just to make sure I wasn't knitting too many stripes or making the solid sections too wide. If you're knitting with your own yarns I'm pretty sure it wouldn't matter, as long as you liked the outcome, but since my yarn came in predetermined amounts I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to run out. Twice I thought I was going to run out of yarn but in the end I was fine and walked away with very tiny amounts leftover. 

I'm also glad that I didn't break up the braid and pre-wound each skein because I didn't have to think at all about which colour came next. I simply knitted the colour I was using, counted the garter ridges, and when it came time to incorporate the new colour I merely pulled out the skein in line. So easy peasy! After the first colour change the project started to become more like "potato chip knitting". I wanted to see what the stripes looked like, then I wanted to see how the stripes looked bordered between the two different shades of grey, then I wanted to see what the next set of stripes looked like... And the knitting was so mindless that from time to time I had to double check that I was actually doing the increases and decreases at the ends. The knitting had felt way too easy!

As I had mentioned above, there's no stretch to the yarn and I thought my gauge would be extremely tight. But it all worked out and there was absolutely no issues at all. I also thought I would be splitting the yarn left and right with my super pointy needles, like I usually do with some bulky single ply yarns, but this wasn't the case. Not only would the I-cord centre make sure you didn't do that, it just simply didn't happen. This was very surprising to me considering I wasn't paying attention to my knitting half of the time. I was also surprised that my hands didn't hurt working with this yarn. I thought the lack of stretchiness would for sure cause my hands to be sore, but they were totally fine. And even though the project was bulky and grew pretty big with each colour change, the knitted fabric was surprisingly lighter than air. But don't be fooled by the featherweight fabric, this shawl is so warm thanks to the alpaca content. Because of all these elements and the softness factor, the yarn was quite enjoyable to work with.

The only issues that I had with knitting with this kit, which has absolutely nothing to do with the actual pattern or yarn itself and has everything to do with me, was the fact that alpaca fibres would find its way into my already really dry eyes and from time to time I would have to pluck out a fibre from my lashes. I probably looked like a crazy person too to non-knitters. I was constantly rubbing my nose and shooing away loose fibres. And that's not to say this yarn sheds a ton. It's just like any other yarn made with alpaca. I'm just super sensitive. I also wear a lot of black, so I would often have to use a lint brush to wipe off the fibres from my clothes after a knitting session. Again, this is typical of alpaca yarns and if you're a pet-owner you probably wouldn't even notice. 

» The Finished Shawl «
I had actually finished the shawl quite a while ago but got overly lazy about weaving in the ends - which actually wasn't as horrible of a task as I had made it in my mind once I had a few under my belt. The yarn was very forgiving and practically hid the ends for me. I also had to deal with the worst lighting ever. The days when the lighting was decent, were the days when I couldn't drop what I had to do that day to take an hour to take photos. Of course! Isn't that always the case though?

Anyhoo, I kind of cheated when it came to soaking this bad boy. I had filled up my washing machine, added some no-rinse wool wash, and let the shawl soak in there for a while before letting the spin cycle wring out the excess water for me. But I had reasons! One, the Skeino website said that this yarn can be machine washed on the gentle cycle; and two, I should have done laundry first before blocking the shawl and so I was severely lacking the amount of towels I would have needed to squish out all that water. Speaking of water, before I had set my washing machine to the spin cycle, I swished the water around to see if there were any major colour bleeding or clumps of fibre. The water was slightly greyish (most likely due to the grime the project picked up from being worked on in numerous coffee shops and during errands in the truck) and there was a little bit of fibre floating around, but nothing more than any other yarn I've used with an alpaca content. 

With all that said, the shawl did grow a little bit and bloomed beautifully. That's when I realized that I didn't have any room to properly lay out the shawl to block. I stood there in the middle of my living room, freaking out with a wet lump of knitted wool in my hands. Then I remembered a recent episode of The Knit Girllls in which one of the ladies (I think it was Laura?) had mentioned she had blocked a garter stitch shawl along the edge of her ironing board. She had stretched and pinned the top edge of the shawl along the perimeter of the ironing board and had let gravity and the shawl's own weight do its thing without ruining and distorting the squishiness of the garter. So I gave it a try. 

Now, the shawl is actually a diamond shape but I wasn't sure how I would wear that. So I stretched it out on one side to achieve a somewhat stretched out triangular shape. The edge went completely around my ironing board and then some. But not too much, more like the tips were able to cross over each other. Then I opened my balcony door and carried on with my day. This method of blocking is brilliant!! Not only did this bulky weight shawl dry in record time (ok, so it's almost summer here and not the dead of winter), the integrity of the garter stitch was fully intact and not overly stretched out like I've seen in the past, the points of the shawl were gentle and not harsh (re: when you see a stitch stretched out to the max because that's where the pin would've been) - which you can see in the last photo, and best of all: I didn't have to pull out my blocking wires, I don't have a pile of towels, I only used maybe less than a dozen T-pins, and I didn't have to yell out to my family members to "watch out for the knitting on the floor!!". I totally want to knit another garter stitch shawl just so that I can try this blocking method again!! Brilliant!!

Ok, back to the final knit. I'm really pleased and love the outcome. I thought about gifting this shawl but then took that sentiment back a day later. How many times have I said I wanted to knit myself a neutral, possibly black or grey, shawl that can go with pretty much everything in my closet? So.many.times. And I realized that since blocking this shawl, I've actually been using it in the evenings when the Mister and I sit out on our balcony and enjoy the end of the day. Even though we've been experiencing summer-like weather here, in the evenings where I am, it gets quite cool and at times, chilly. The shawl is so cuddly and cozy that I like to wrap it around my shoulders while I sit outside and knit and/or sip an adult beverage. 

Although, if I were to wear this shawl out and about I would most likely wear it either like a scarf or in cowl form, like so:

» Final Thoughts «
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this knitting kit and definitely love the end product. I'm happy I was given this opportunity to try a new-to-me yarn and brand, and to try a project that I otherwise might have never stumbled upon on my own. I might have never given this yarn a second thought (or try) and most likely would've side-eyed the I-cord yarn element. So I surprised even myself to discover that I really enjoyed knitting with this yarn. If the Canadian dollar ever gets better (although, it's doing much better now than a few months ago, that's for sure!), I would love to purchase another kit because the more I look at it, the more I want the White-Brown kit...yeah, yeah...I know, I said I have no earth tones in my wardrobe, but this is SO pretty!! And I would love to knit the Arabella Shawl in the Dogwood colourway. It's so stunning! 

If you would like to give the Moon Shawl knitting kit a try, or would like to know more information about Skeino, please check out the following links:

:: Shawl Details ::
Pattern: Moon Shawl by Skeino
Yarns: Skeino Moon Yarn
Colours: Black-Silver
Needles: Hiya Hiya Sharps Interchangeable Circulars in 8mm (US 11)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Moon Shawl

:: Disclaimer ::
I am not affiliated with the company mentioned in this post. I received no monetary compensation for my review. I was sent a knitting project kit for review purposes in exchange for the possibility of posting a review. The wording and opinions I've written are my own and I will not be receiving any commissions from the links provided in this post.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Stash Dash 2016

Today is the first day of Stash Dash!! For those of you who don't know what Stash Dash is, it's an annual event hosted by The Knit Girllls where, for the next few months, you make a virtual dash to use up as much as your stash as possible and/or finishing some WIPs. You're allowed to knit, crochet, weave, and spin (I believe there are other crafts you can do, but these are the only ones I know of at the top of my head) and there are several different levels that you can participate in, from 3k (that's 3000 metres or 3280 yards) to 15k (15,000 metres or 16,404 yards) - and yes, that's referring to how much yarn you use up during this time. 

The rules are super easy and flexible, to learn more about it all check out the Stash Dash thread on The Knit Girllls Ravelry group page here. And when I say easy and flexible, I mean stupidly easy and flexible. We're talking you can use any yarn that enters your house, even if it's during Stash Dash. You could have knit up a bunch of WIPs and then saved binding them all off for the start of Stash Dash and ALL that yarn that you used for them will STILL count. Heck, you can even rip back a few rows and then knit them back up and yes, all that yarn will still count too. Don't like the WIPs you're knitting? Casting on new projects during Stash Dash is A-OK too. And get this, this year you can count the total amount of yarn used if you hold it doubled! When it comes down to it, it's all about you and what you're comfortable with. You don't even have to make an official announcement as to which level you want to "compete" in until the last minute, just in case you have no idea what level you really can achieve. I just might be in that category. While I would love to attempt the 7k, the 5k seems more do-able, yet my hands may only want to do the 3k. My plan is to wait a few day before Stash Dash ends before I post my "finish line" level.

Even though I attempted to knit a few stitches here and there (ok...and maybe a few wee rounds) throughout the week, I've been letting my hands rest for the majority of the time. I'm hoping I can get a good chunk of knitting accomplished this weekend, like I did last weekend (and am sort of paying the price for now). It all really depends on the hands. But to hold myself accountable, here is my game plan for Stash Dash:

Finish Islay cardigan
Finish both Breathing Space tunics
Knit a baby item using a skein of fingering weight yarn (approx. 366 metres/400 yards)
Knit something that will eat up all 988m (1080yds) of the Patons Classic Wool Roving that has been languishing in my stash since 2010 but can't seem to give away.

There are more WIPs that I'd like to finish for the Dash, such as my Exploration Station and possibly the almost 5-year old Dahlia cardigan, but I don't want to put too much pressure on myself and most importantly, my hands. So I'll play it by ear.  

And so it begins...ready, set, DASH!! 

Are you participating in Stash Dash? What's your goal?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Knit In Progress: Momster & Kids

A super dear friend of mine donated a few hand knitted items to my son's school's year-end auction fundraiser (that's a mouthful). One of the items was a super cute Daphne and Delilah the Momma and Baby Monster stuffies set, which the Kiddo promptly fell in love with (along with the Star Wars Stormtrooper baby blanket that she had knitted up. You can view the photo of these items on my Instagram here). The Kiddo honestly couldn't get over just how cute and tiny Delilah was, and loved the idea that she fits perfectly in the pocket of the mommy monster. In fact, the Kiddo loved the stuffies so much that he actually asked if I could knit him a set!!   

Jaw. Dropped.

The Kiddo rarely asks me to knit him anything! Shocked, surprised, so many emotions flowed over me. My heart almost exploded when he started to go through a pile of yarn that I had by the coffee table, trying to pick out colours that he thought each stuffie should be. Before I got too excited over his request though, I had to make sure that he truly wanted these before I cast on anything. So I showed the Kiddo all the knitted toys Rebecca Danger has on her Ravelry designer page (and hoping he doesn't change him mind for something way more time consuming or elaborate!!) and he was quite persistent that no other monster would do. He definitely had his heart on Daphne and Delilah.

Alrighty then.

I pulled out a bunch of yarns and leftovers and let the Kiddo go at it. He decided that the Mommy monster should be out of Caterpillargreen Yarn Concrete and Tulips (it was a "seconds" skein, so it's a little different from what you would buy from the website), and the babies should be from leftover Knit Picks Felici and Regia Fluormania. And yes, I said babies. Plural. The Kiddo thought the baby would get lonely and didn't like the idea that it would have no one to play with, and so it should have a sibling. An older sibling. Since the Kiddo constantly talks about having a brother or sister, he was sure to point out that single kids "get lonely with no one to play with them". Le sigh. Kids...

Anyhoo...I had cast on Daphne and managed to get her knitted up within a few days. I'm sure if my hands were feeling better I'd be able to get her done faster. Not that it would have made a difference since it has been days since the knitting has been finished and I have yet to sew her together (which, admittedly, I'm sort of dreading). And it took me a while to find my stash of safety eyes. 

As it stands today, I still haven't sewn Daphne together. I know eventually I'm going to have to bite the bullet and just do it. But for now I'm going to procrastinate for as long as I can. After all, I still have the babies to knit up (and then sew...but baby steps steps...). 

I had cast on the legs for the first baby and started knitting them together, but then frogged back to separate them when I realized that I didn't want two different coloured legs. The Kiddo loved the idea that the baby looked like it was wearing "pants" on the original set so I thought I would try for that look too. I'm in no hurry to get the babies done anyways because I discovered that I didn't have any smallish safety eyes within my stash and had to order some online. Not to mention that my hands are currently not loving the idea of knitting with tiny yarn on tiny needles.

So far this project has been an enjoyable knit. It's quite a bit more fiddly than I'm used to in a knit but I take solace in knowing that all these ends will get hidden away inside the stuffie. The pattern itself is pretty straight forward but I did do a few mods and plan to make another on the babies. On the mommy monster I had cast on the legs using the typical (and called for in the pattern) long tail cast-on and joined in the round. I wasn't loving how the ends looked and how there was still a small little hole, regardless of how tight I pulled on the yarn to get it to close. I ended up having to go in there and sew them closed with the tail. So for the arms I tried out the Pinhole cast-on (tutorial by Tin Can Knits here) and loved the outcome. I think it will be my new go-to cast on method for anything closed and in the round. 

I also changed how the stitches were picked up for the pocket on the mommy. Instead of going through a leg of a stitch in a row of stitches, I opted to pick up and knit from between the stitches (like in this tutorial by Ysolda). Honestly, there's no right or wrong way to do this, I just prefer the look of going between the stitches.

The one thing that I absolutely didn't like: the decreases on the head. The first time around, I didn't even notice and had bound off all the stitches. When I flipped the monster inside out I saw how wonky and gaping the decreases looked. I thought I could jimmy the stitches closer together by tugging at the stitches and evening them out. Yeah, didn't work. I got so annoyed by them that I ended up ripping out the 3-needle bind-off and frogging the decreases. I was super careful with how I was knitting the decreases but no matter what I did there was still a gapping hole. Grrr...I got to a point where I just decided to say "screw it!" and bound off the stitches again. I went onto Ravelry to see if anyone else had issues with the head decreases and discovered that I wasn't alone. It wasn't me, it was the nature of the stitches and how they were placed. A lot of knitters opted to knit a stitch between the two sets of decreases to eliminate the gap. Duly noted. I will try this with the babies.

I keep telling myself, "this is just a toy...this is just a one, especially the Kiddo, is going to notice the decreases on the head...just breathe!". For once, I'm actually listening to myself!! So while I'm not in a hurry to finish this project, the Kiddo has been patiently waiting. The safety eyes are due to arrive this weekend so I'm using that as a sort of deadline. I plan on giving my hands a break from knitting these next few days but I'm hoping to get at least the knitting finished by the end of the week. I'll worry about the sewing up later...

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