Thursday, September 15, 2016

A summer of lace, part one

G'day all!

I thought I should do a knitted finished object post - I've been knitting like crazy for the last couple of months.

I've been taking part in a knitalong my favourite group on Ravelry (RemRants), Summer of Lace 2016.  I guess it isn't so much a knitalong where you all do the same pattern as a group encouragement thing where we show off what we've been knitting and it should have some lace in it.

A couple of weeks ago I took some of my new knits down to the beach and did a photo shoot of them and a quilt I finished months and months ago.

First, for your delectation and delight, we have Dawn:

Convenient driftwood, and colours match the shawl!

The pattern is Girdle of Melian by Raven Knits Designs (links go to Ravelry).  Light yarn is aptly named Dawn, in a silk, wool and seacell blend by Fidalgo Artisan yarns.  Its colour is more subtle than my pics show.  It really looks like that clear blue light of just before sunrise.  The darker edging yarn is Mora, 100% silk, in Azules by Mmmmalabrigo.

More driftwood! 

Convenient old piling.

This one was actually a knitalong in six or seven parts.  I took it with me to Glacier National Park and knitted frantically on it during the evenings.  (Did I mention we went to Glacier?  Probably not!)

The yarn provides a lovely drape

Next we have Deepwater, my version of Waiting for Rain.  This was an interesting knit, very wordy pattern mind, that you can customise to be how you like it.  So of course instead of being a single colour, I immediately used a gradient set of mini skeins (Graphium in Iachos by A Hundred Ravens - apparently I'm the only person to have ever put it on Ravelry).  The dark colour is Madtosh Stargazing in Twist Light.  My phone pics (and the big camera pics) lose a bit of the subtlety of Stargazing - it is really a dark blue with lighter blue and bottle green bits and very yummy.  Actually the phone pics also lose the beautiful shades in the Graphium minies - a couple of the colours are absolutely gorgeous IMO, subtle variants of blue and green with a bit of mauve thrown in.

Left end

So long.  Rightish side

This is truly a very long shawl.  It is over two metres from tip to tip and as such, terribly hard to get shots of!  Very pretty though.

It spans all of the roots of the driftwood tree!

Third, but by no means least, is my version of Anemone canadensis, another design by Raven Knits.  This one is a design that is meant to stand up to variegated yarn, so I pulled out a skein I bought in London and had at it.  Yarn is Ziggy Stardust by I knit or dye.  Colourway?  None was given.  Pink, mauve and deeper pink.

A nice size shawl, fits over the shoulders and onto the front
This was a test knit so I did it exactly as written.  This was a fairly easy knit for me - once I had the lace pattern established in my head, I could zip along.  The pattern changes at the edging but again, it becomes obvious after a while, at least for me.  There's beads along the lace border - that slowed me down a bit!

There's mauve beads and pink beads there

This one doesn't match the scenery.  That is fine!

A rare modelled shot.  Yes the back is on my front.

Now what to do with the shawls?  They aren't really a thing to wear with tie dye tshirts, though maybe I could get used to them worn that way.  They are warm, surprisingly warm for such light and delicate things.

Finally, here's a sneak peek at a shawl that is still waiting for its soak and blocking.  Do you like the little glass turtle?  I think he is gorgeous.  He was made by Beau Tsai.  I have another shawl just off the needles and a third one only needs another hour or two of knitting before it joins the other five I've completed this summer!


PS if you are a knitter or crocheter or have interest in the fibre arts including dyeing and weaving and are not already on Ravelry?  GO!  Join!  It is free!  Free, do you hear me!  There's no catch, except you might get soul-sucked into the world of Rav and never resurface.  Your fibry world will never be the same again.  There are fora for chatting about your favourite patterns or techniques or designers or yarns and your fan-person tendencies, you can look at patterns until your eyes fall from your head in amazement, you can look up yarn and look at other peoples' finished much good stuff!

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Life happens, even when you aren't looking!

G'day all!

Time is slipping through my fingers.  How did it get to be near the end of the day already?  How can I not have blogged for all of August?  How can it be September already?  Signs of autumn are showing up everywhere - stressed trees are losing their leaves, non-stressed trees are starting to go orange and red....

No, not yet, I'm not ready!

My garden is going bonkers but I'm starting to worry that I won't get many more tomatoes ripened.  I've got many many green tomatoes, like I'd say at least 20 kilos/50 lb of the things are still green.  The weather has been pretty average the last week or so, though it is meant to become a bit sunnier now.

Thriving, half-fallen over tomato

Big tomato!

Little plant, many capsicums/chillies/bell peppers


I would like my eggplants to keep producing/start producing.  The little finger sized ones have been going great guns but the bigger ones have only really just started getting into it.  The capsicums are coming along nicely though I'm learning not to expect too many fruit off the one plant.  I only seem to get three or four capsicums off many of the plants.

But I have been getting some good yields even with the weather being bonkers - hot one week (30C+) and cold the next (struggling to get to 20C).

Fruits of my garden

Today I've done a bit of spinning, plying up about 220m of a rather rustic yarn.  Four years ago I bought some fleeces at Oregon Fleece and Fiber Festival (OFFF).  I had them processed by a couple of different processors.  The dark fleece from a sheep called Odette came back rather full of VM (vegetable matter) and neppy.  After wondering what to do with it for three years, I'm just going to spin it up and deal with it being rustic.  The big lumps of veggie matter and lumps of not-well-carded wool get pulled out, the rest are being spun up.  The result is a quite bouncy yarn, not exactly butter soft but not too bad either.  I think Odette is/was a Corriedale.

I pieced the back of a quilt.  Then I fixed up the front of the quilt.  It is a simple design, some leftover jelly roll strips pieced together then cut into long strips, joined by white.

And for whatever reason, even though all the pieced strips were the same length, by the time they were sewn onto the white sashing strips, the last one was a full inch longer than the first pieced strip.  I had to rip out three nearly 70" long strips....  Who would ever think that such simple things could cause such annoyance?

Remember, pins are your friends.  Pins were the only way I could make those bad boys all play together nicely.

We had some excellent fun on the weekend.  DH's parents were in Vancouver, BC.  They wanted to visit Butchart Gardens.  We managed to co-ordinate well enough that we met up in Victoria on Vancouver Island and went off to the gardens together.  They took a Harbour Air seaplane from Vancouver, we caught Kenmore Air from Seattle.

De Havilland Beaver, from the trip back

It was excellent fun!

The float planes navigate by sight - they must remain low enough to be able to see features in land (or I guess water).  They can't fly through clouds that obscure the ground.  They can't fly if the clouds are too low.  This means the views are amazeballs.  On the way up, we got to see some splendiferous views - the islands and Puget Sound are so pretty.  The mountains would've been pretty too if there hadn't been puffy cumulus clouds in the way.  I was able to recognise where we were most of the way - it is cool being able to tell where you are from your memories of how the roads go and the sights you see along the way when driving.  (Links - take offs and landings, going up, coming back.)

Victoria put on a lovely display for us on Sunday.  It was sunny and so pretty, and a wooden boat festival was on.

Monday was meet up with the parents day and be chauffeur driven in our rather large, double-decker "limo" to the gardens.  They are impressive gardens, I must say, and worth visiting.  (Click the link if you want to see more pics - there's too many to put in the blog.)

Also impressive is that after an incident with a carelessly flailing hand (not mine), my phone still works after bouncing two or three times on some rocks and then PLOP!  Straight into a little man-made creek.  I think some credit must be given to the protective case I keep it in (Tech21's D30) and to Samsung making the phone water-resistant.  It isn't waterproof but it should be okay if it gets rained on or falls in the toilet, etc.  And so far, so good.  I took the case off and dried the cover carefully, then flicked the phone a few times to get water out of the headphone jack, and dried it again, then took the back off and dried any water there (around the speaker in particular).  The phone was still working through all of this, btw.  It only turned off when I, ahem, accidentally dropped the battery on the ground.  Oops.

Impressionist picture thanks to a dunking in the water

My lasting memory of that will be the gasps and the looks of horror on peoples' faces as they watched the phone bouncing straight towards the drink.  I was pretty peeved at the hand flailer, especially as he stood in the way through the whole thing, but also half amused by the aghast looks.

If that isn't a good ad for my now outdated Samsung Galaxy S5 and my D30 case, I don't know what is.

Just as we left the gardens, it started to rain.  Timing, eh?

The in laws then took off back to Vancouver after a spot of arvo tea and a beer, we wandered in the rain to dinner and our second night in Victoria.  On Tuesday morning we looked at the weather with some trepidation - it was grey but apparently not foggy and the cloud ceiling was high enough for the planes to fly.  DH had a meeting to go to at noon and we expected our 9am flight would get us home by 10:30am at the latest.

Just as well the meeting was at noon because our flight was late and then we got caught up re-entering the States (can you believe there were five Australians out of six passengers on our flight?  I didn't even realise it until we got to Seattle - they sounded normal to me and it was only when I saw their passports that I realised they were normal but not American if that makes sense) and it was after 11am before we left Kenmore Air.  Good thing the bus trip only takes 20 minutes and a bus showed up right smartly when we got to the stop.

Canada gave us parting gifts - DH has a cold and I'm fighting it off, though I think it is a losing battle.

Did I buy yarn whilst I was there?  Is the Pope a Catholic?  (Some people will debate this.)  Of course I bought yarn!  I bought yarn of varying Canadian-ness.

Yarn processed in Canada (well roving, Briggs and Little), yarn dyed in Canada (Indigo Dragonfly) and Italian yarn imported and distributed by a Canadian company.

Lovely Canadian woolly stuffs
I must show off some of the things I've been knitting recently.  I've been on a shawl kick even though I forget to wear the danged things.  Do love knitting them though - there's no pressure about them fitting.  As long as they can wrap around your neck and hopefully even your shoulders, it is all good!  Must remember this blogging thing more often.