From handspun to shawl…

Hello there? Remember me?! I’ve been M.I.A entertaining visitors for the last couple of weeks, lots of fun, not much knitting! It’s been very good for my elbows though, and I’m back in action again now, with a project to share which will hopefully bump me up to at least second place!
This is some of the fab roving that Emily dyed for my birthday, using neon food colouring. I started spinning it back in April. I wanted to challenge myself to go finer than I’d managed before, with such a generous amount of fibre though, this made for a LOT of spinning!

Eventually, I ended up with this little beauty of singles.

It still amazes me how different fleece can look after spinning. The original roving was really vivid, a real knock out pink. The singles here are much more subdued, the white has toned everything down.

From there on to plying, I’m a Navajo plying addict now, and although I knew I wouldn’t end up with a striping yarn, I really wanted a three ply as I’ve realised that I much prefer the knitted fabric this creates.

Here I am plying away in the sunshine (yep, the sock is still on the wall!).

I love the finished yarn (modest as ever!). Not quite down to a sock weight yet, but I’m getting there slowly. And the skein has a sound  380 yards to play with – fab!

And so……I cast on straight away, and soon(ish) after, I had a handspun shawl to gift to a good friend as a much belated birthday present. The pattern is Multnomah, a nifty little combination of garter stitch and feather-and-fan. Easily memorised yet still effective.






I think the colours work really well with the pattern – hoorah!

So lets see if this project has clawed back a little of my dignity regarding the scoreboard:

380 yards 3-ply handspun = 1140 yards singles = 11.5 points!

Plying = 1 point.  Simple scarf/shawl = 1point. Knitting yardage = 360(ish) = 3.5 points. And the Multnomah is a new pattern for me so that’s one more, giving a grand total of……18 points!  Back in second place, whoop whoop!

Nice to be back with you everyone, and if I can organise a little bowling trip this week, I have a corking project to share with you – watch out ladies, i’m back in the game!   😉

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My latest addiction…

So pretty. So addictive.

A little while ago Julianna posted about her new design. I jumped at the chance to test knit for her! The minute I saw the project I knew I had to knit it! So much fun! A great way to use a skein of special sock yarn (I used Indigodragonfly’s Merino Sock in colourway Ruxpinosferatu — from her April club mailing). I loved every single stitch of this scarf.

I cast this off this morning, waiting for the stove guy to come and fix my stove. I haven’t blocked it yet… Who has time to do that when they just want to share with everyone how awesome their new project is???

Freckles and curly hair, must be summer!


Scarf: 1 point

Yardage – 350 yards: 3.5 points

Stash yarn: 1 point

First time knitting this pattern: 1 point

TOTAL: 6.5!

Keeping me strongly in the lead!

In other knitting news, I have been keeping up with my self-imposed knitting challenge. I have not cast on any new projects. I’ve actually finished another one (which I need to wait to post — it’s kinda a surprise) and ripped out two more. Leaving me with 4 projects! I’m pretty pumped about that!

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Violet Handspun Yarn

This yarn was spun from organic Merino wool that I hand-dyed in shades of blue and purple and then carded with some milk fibre and firestar (nylon sparkle) on my drum carder.

On the drum carder

I just recently acquired the firestar and wanted to try it out.  I took the advice that “a little goes a long way” a little bit too literally.  For the next batts I card using the sparkle , I am definitely going to use more of it!

Violet batt

The finished yarn only has very suble hints of sparkle.  The undyed milk fibre that I carded into the batt gave the yarn a “tweedy” affect.  The final skein is super soft and squooshy.  I have already cast on a hat – top-down this time so I don’t run out and end up with another neck-warmer! 🙂

The skein weights 37g and is 120 yds of 3-ply (chain-plyed) about a sport weight in thickness.


1 point – dyeing the wool

1 point – carding

3.5 points – 360 yds of singles (120 yds x3)

1 point – plying

6.5 points = Total


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Julianna’s New Design

Designing this pattern really stretched me out of my comfort zone and I’m so happy it did!

I’m grateful for this month’s challenge to design because it pushed me to design in a way I hadn’t before, to stretch myself as a knitwear designer and I now feel much more comfortable going forward with new ideas in the future.

This scarf (pattern still unnamed) is different from my previous designs in that it was a lot harder for me to figure out.  Part of the difficulty was keeping things simple!

My goals for the pattern were to make something that would showcase a single skein of sock yarn, would look great in a variety of colour options (solid, variegated, striping) and was more of a scarf than a shawl because that is what I prefer to wear.  I believe I succeeded on all counts!

To find out more about my design process for this pattern, check out my previous post.

I currently have some wonderful ladies test-knitting the pattern for me and I’m also working on a second scarf in a different yarn.  The pattern is being edited and I hope to publish it sometime next month.  This will be the first pattern of mine that I self-publish and I’m looking forward to that next challenge!

The yarn I used for this version of the scarf is Art-by-Ana‘s Sock Garden.

More details are available on my Ravelry project page.


4 points – 407 yds (88g Art-by-Ana Sock Garden)

1 point – simple shawl

1 point – stash

1 point – swatching

2 points – designing, writing up the pattern

x 2 points – May 2012 Monthly Challenge

18 points – Total

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Wool Scarves and Sun Dresses

Summer has hit Canada. And to be honest, I really don’t love summer. I don’t like heat and my hair hates humidity. Knitting in the summer isn’t easy either. Sweaty hands and overheating sure get in the way!

But I have actually finished something:

triangle scarf and bare arms!

Since I started my new job, I haven’t had as much time to knit. My bus ride is too short to pull out the needles and when I get home I am usually exhausted. I try to pick up my needles on my lunch break, but I usually get called away. Therefore I need something really simple. My addicition to bizarre shaping and garter stitch (not to mention my lack of brain power currently) led me to cast on Hitchhiker (Ravelry link) by Martina Behm (I know the blog is in German, but the patterns are available in English). I love her stuff! It’s so simple and awesome and easy to follow. I’ve knit 2 of these now and I love them both.

This pattern involves creating “teeth” by increasing and decreasing in a very Martina Behm kind of way. It’s really satisifying to watch the piece grow.

I really love how this turned out. I used a random self-striping sock yarn from my stash (I think it was Rico Designs Superba Print — which I’m not sure exists anymore.) The stripes are really short and I wasn’t sure that it was going to turn out but I like it. And it looks awesome against black — even with my silly little sundress!


scarf = 1

yardage 400yds = 4

stash = 1


Not too bad!

Love the way this pooled at the end!

The girls and I have decided not to set a June challenge for the Rumblers. We are all really busy (in town, out of town, guests, work, family stuff, general summer distractedness). I have decided, however, that I am going to challenge myself to finish everything on my needles and hooks before I cast on anything else. I’ve tried this challenge before and it has failed, but I have faith in myself this time.

I have 8 projects in the works (socks, 3 scarves, hat, 2 blankets, and a slip cover). Let’s see how many I can crack through in June!

What is your summer project???


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Despite my lack of activity around here of late, I have actually been knitting. Far too mcuh in fact. My right elbow is now protesting, I idiotically kept knitting through the slightly tingly-numb phase, and am into a full on ache now – when will I learn?!

Anyway, before the ache kicked in I managed to finish a project. No, not the baby garment that should have been in the post last week, not the sweater for my mum who arrives in Canada this week (Woop!), not even the birthday present that is now overdue by a month (or more~!). Yes, as the temperatures in Ottawa hit 32 degrees and humid as hell, I completed a 100% wool cowl. My timing as ever is impeccable. But look how cool it is!

The pattern is Parallel Lines, from Lee Meredith’s remixed collection (yes, the wonderful designer we interviewed last month). The yarn is the gorgeous handspun Julianna gave me for Christmas (originally blogged here). A perfect pairing if I do say so myself… I just have to wait for the temperatures to plummet again so I can wear it for longer than 5 minutes……although it does look rather fetching with Emily’s red shades I think you’ll agree:

Look into my eyes, look deep into my eyes…..yep. my secret is out, I actually have four hands!

Points for this woollen wonder?

Well, it is an accessory, as well as being a new pattern to me so that’s 2.

Approx 150 yards of yarn knitted up (1.5 points),….so another 3.5 to my total. Still not catching up, but when my elbow is ready to play again……watch out!!!

While I’m here, and as the clock has just slipped past 8pm, I’ll announce the winner of our fabulous giveaway……the magic random number generator has spoken, and the winner from 168 comments is (drum roll please………………):

harpo716 says:
May 21, 2012 at 5:01 pm
wow you guys have some great things on the go! let’s see,,, I’m knitting Em’s test knit hat, a test knit sweater, some spinning and yarn dyeing…

Congratulations Lil, we’ll be in touch to organize a prize drop off soon!

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Julianna’s Design Prototypes

The concept for my design has been floating around in my head for months, now.

It started with the idea of a leaf.  After researching a bit about leaves on wikipedia, I found out that the leaf shape I was after was between linear and lanceolate.  The venation of the leaf in my imagination was pinnate.

Click here to see a great leaf morphology image on wikipedia, outlining different leaf shapes and characteristics.

At first, I couldn’t get my head around translating the image I had in my head into knitting.  I struggled with thinking about what stitch patterns to use and which increases and decreases.  Finally, I stopped thinking and started doing.  I picked up yarn and needles and knit a tiny version of a scarf.

It wasn’t quite right so I changed the yarn, gauge and stitch pattern and knit another one.  This one turned out to be less right so it made me appreciate the first one even more!

At that point I had a choice.  Was I going to stay in the research and development stage knitting tiny little leaf shapes forever, or was I going to take what I’d learned from the process and move on?  So, I took the plunge and picked up my needles and a skein of yarn and just started.

In the end, the scarf ended up looking less leafy and rather reptilian.  But that is a story for another day 🙂

Here’s a sneak peak of the finished product!

PS:  If you haven’t already, there’s still time left to enter our awesome giveaway!!

Posted in Designing, Knitting | 6 Comments