Monday, March 23, 2015

fibre a comin'

I've done a lot of rediscovery since returning to dyeing and Canada. Rediscovering my own yarn stash (whoa, so overwhelming!) rediscovering techniques I liked to use (and NOT) rediscovering how etsy works (that was scary considering how technologically challenged I am - most days I'm amazed when I manage to log into my e mail). Lots of rediscovering is the point. At the forefront of my rediscovery has been fibre dyeing!

I discovered a bunch of fibre tucked away in a safe hiding place about a month ago. Dyeing yarn has always been my preference - but I couldn't resist the chance to put more colour onto something, so I set about dyeing it all up. Well, I have also rediscovered why I don't dye fibre very often, I make a right old mess of it! 

Some utterly brilliant (I think) colours emerged, but they are not the tidy tops that I stuck into my dyepots. They are perfectly spinnable, however. SO, what I have decided to so (after a brief period where I considered being very greedy and keeping it all for myself - so bad!) is to offer what I have, but make sure that everyone knows to expect a slight mess. 

Some tops have broken, and I will state that in their listings. Some are just a bit lumpy. For this, I apologize. I will offer all of these tops at a hearty discount, to compensate for their slightly tufty and unkempt state. But if you are anything like me, you may enjoy tidying those oddments of fibre chaos into a lovely handspun delight!

 Without further adeiu, here are just a couple of my favourite colourways. There are plenty more for the update (data and time TBA)...

superwash merino in white caps

merino top in sunset

merino/silk top in liberty

 I delight in nothing more than turning odd bits of things into one beautiful finished product, so in case you want a bit on inspiration, here's a look at what I've been spinning. I took 3 different hand dyed tops (2 superwash merino and 1 corriedale...very different, I know, but I decided to go there). I've spun each superfine and with lots of twist. Am now thoroughly enjoying folding them together into this beautifully bonkers marl. The finished yarn is a light 4 ply weight. I'm chuffed and can't wait to cast on something in my 'crazy tiger' yarn...that's what I'm calling it!


Saturday, March 21, 2015

a finished jumper

It's about time that I finished this little jumper up. I started knitting it at the beginning of the summer, almost immediately after I bought the yarn. I always feel so smug when I cast on yarn that I've just bought, it lets me pretend (just for a minute) that I'm one of those people who knits really quickly, finishes projects and doesn't accumulate more yarn than they could ever dream to knit in their own lifetime. That person is obviously me, but at least this little jumper let me pretend I was someone organized for a moment. 

The yarn is from Unwind. I tagged along with John and Juliet who were there with socks and yarn golore. It was SUCH a fun time, but I'm much too late to tell you about Unwind because all the organized people have already talked about it. 

I visited the Old Maiden Aunt stand late on the last day, and loved 3 colourways that remained only as single skeins. I love the challenge of making lots of little bits work, so I instantly decided to knit a bitty jumper combing all 3 colours. As soon as I arrived back to my North Devon home I set about planning the little jumper. And this is what I got...

 I love seed stitch. I love knitting it and I love the way it looks, so that was an easy choice! I also knew that I wanted to keep the shape simple, so there is a very slight 'A' line shaping in the sides of the body, and a super simple drop shoulder. I picked up stitches in the armholes and knit the sleeves down to the cuffs. Ran out of yarn at the elbow of the second sleeve, so there's a little bit of Viola merino fingering in Slate to finish off that last sleeve. 

I've been wearing this all over the place, and absolutely love it! It's inspired another crazy garment experiment...

....Which is this cardigan. I'm doubling Viola mohair lace with a 4 ply 100% alpaca yarn. Knit entirely in 1/2 brioche stitch, this crazy cardigan is going to have really deep batwing sleeves (in a different colour, because once again I have run out of yarn!) Shall keep ya posted on the mental mohair progress. Lots of great knitting going on these days!


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

the Store

I've been back in Canada for 4 months now. Time has passed quickly so far, although it still feels like I left Devon yesterday. Strange how that goes. Canada sure has been busy over these past months. Spending time between  two homes - good ol' Toronto and the new house in Mooresburg. My parents bought the house just over a year ago, and I have been enjoying as many visits as I can fit in. The house itself is beautiful (of course, I seem to have forgotten to take a photo of it...too distracted by sticks and snow). It used to be a general store, and is filled with beautiful old bits and bobs. Spending time there feels like stepping back in time slightly; cooking on the wood stove, entertaining ourselves without the internet (gasp!). Long walks and lots of wildlife. It's lovely!

So here are just a few of my favourite photos from my time at 'the Store'. The Mooresburg General store, that is...

Spilled potatoes by the side of the idea...

The Amish schoolhouse. Brave folks were using the outhouse when winter reached -35!

Lucy the dog having just lost a precious stick in the snow. She was not happy.

There is a river running through the property. This is one of the many surprise bogs (that's what I call them) that I continuously seem to be walking into. Lucky it's all been frozen over recently

If I had been missing snow whilst in England, this winter in Mooresburg certainly made up for it. It's been seriously beautiful.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Shop Update this Friday

Friday, February 27th 2015 @ 4pm Eastern time!

Just in case you didn't know, the first VIOLA shop update in a long time is scheduled for this Friday!

Here's one of the latest colours to be skeined up..still to be named. Just thought I'd throw that in as a little sneak peek.

This time around, the update will consist only of merino fingering. A soft and squishy high twist, 2-fold fingering weight yarn. Each skein is 100% superwash merino and approximately 400 yards.

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I've finished something!

After a rather long spell of time in England where I was just not knitting much, I think I can safely say that I have my knitting enthusiasm back! Of course, I do not blame England, or any of my lovely friends and family there - no, they are not responsible for my lack of knitting. I put my knitting lull down to the fact that I wanted to enjoy my last little bit of time in the land that I love so much...knitting time took a dive while there were so many walks to go on, pubs to visit and adventures to be had!

Of course, one of the first things I did upon returning to Canada was to sort through ALL of my yarn...that's a lot. That's 2 country's worth of yarn! I quickly rediscovered 10 whole balls of Noro Kureyon!! It's a yarn that I love, but often the super-bright and totally mental colour combos are just too much for me (I spend most of my days collecting sticks, remember...they are mostly just brown...) But this, most fabulous colour way, I could manage, guess that's why I bought it! Anyhow, I set about deciding what to knit, and quickly realized that I wanted a cropped jumper that I could wear over top of my many flouncy frocks. I have lots of dresses and wear them constantly, but it's just too darn cold in Canadian winter to go without at least one wooly layer.

After lots of swatching and doodling and daydreaming I settled on a design. Deep raglan sleeves, a high neck (it's cozy!) little bobbles in a diamond-y pattern over the whole thing and (my favourite part of all) a brioche rib placket that is knit separately and sewn in. It's just one piece, all the way from the bottom hem to the cuffs! No need for bind-off stitches and grafting armpits and so on! Of course, I did knit the whole thing in pieces. I decided this was the only way to make the stripes do what I wanted...which was to be all higgldy-piggldy and not line up and not be the same thickness. I don't do too well with order or symmetry...

So after an awful lot of nattering, here is the jumper...

check out those side placket-y things!

over one of the flouncy frocks I mentioned

I really am this happy about my new jumper!

Of course, I cannot help but include a couple of pretty pictures. There have been some beautiful winter days by the lake recently...cold, but beautiful. There are just some of the textures and colours that I've been thinking about. 

Just look at that placket thing. I love it!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

a little bit of news

Hello all. I know that most of you are already well aware that I have recently made the move from my North Devon home back to other home. For the time being, it's permanent - although it often still feels like I'm just popping back to Toronto for a visit. After the action-packed 2.5 years I've just had in England, it is going to take a fair amount of settling before I find the ice hockey, Tim Hortons and SNOW normal again. 

In the mean time, I'm keeping myself busy. There are a few little projects I've been working on, and I sincerely hope that I am organized enough to post again about some of them soon (in less than the 6 month window that I usually leave between posting). Anyhow, one of the selection of things I've been keeping myself busy with has been some dyeing. That's right, YARN DYEING! Sheesh, it feels like forever since I stood in that steamy studio, scratching my head and muttering to myself about whether or not to add more blue to a pot. Crazy deja vu, Let me tell you!

Here's a sneak peek at a few of the colours I've been working on.

So here is my plan...

1. I still have more dyeing to do, lots of new ideas and hopefully some great new colours
2. When I have enough yarn (is there ever enough though, really?) I shall announce the date and time of my first etsy update in like 3 years!
3. I'll share more details of bases and colours, along with better photos, as I go along.

So, stay tuned. 

oh yes, and thanks to all who 'liked' my yarny instagram photo this evening. It's all so exciting!