Monday, March 27, 2006

Sweet relief!

Relief that I got one of my rather big Master Spinning assignments back and I did ok. Yeah! Just 1 last one to get back ( the small project one) and then start the research for my wheel paper that gets presented at the beginning of Level 2.

The best part of the research for the wheel paper is that it is a very fine excuse (not that I need one) to go to Maryland Sheep and Wool again this year (my 3rd time there). I want to try out the Robin, and some small/portable wheels (mine is a Lendrum Traveller). What better place to do that than MSW?

What a fantastic place it is - 2 days of looking and trying and watching and buying and meeting people and patting sheep and eating ice cream and spinning and Target (we don't have Target here in Canada).

My favourite thing is the Parade of Breeds on Sunday. They start at "A" (or was it "B") and bring in each breed represented at the Fair 1 by 1 or 2 by 2 and talk a little about where each one comes from. Very interesting and very cute. The first one I went to - when they reached the Shetlands, a Shetland mom came in with her 2 lambs and watching the lambs cavort was so cute. Well worth the longish wait for it to start (12.30 on Sunday I think).

There are wokshops to go to as well that start before the fair but I haven't been to any yet - haven't wanted to take that much time off. I drive down on Thursday (just under 1000Km or 660 miles (I think that is the conversion)) and come home on Monday. There are 5 of us going this year - a good crowd from Canada!).

I finished my Kiri earlier this evening and will block it tomorrow and take some pics. Working on a modular Silk Spun scarf for a sample too and more - all for DKC Frolic April 22nd.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Silk silk and more silk

BIG box of HandMaiden arrived yesterday as expected. Shiny, silky and lovely and very hard not to move some into my stash but I was very disciplined and scanned it all in and shelved it without shifting any to the personal stash shelf.

Started a new sample in Silk Floss - Kiri shawl which I have already knit a version of in Madil Kid Seta in black. The Silk Floss is colour Woodland which is taupey and bluey and I think is my new favourite colour. It is working out well in Kiri as it is a simple geometric with quite a bit of stocking stitch to show off the colour. I am liking it! Will post a picture once I scan it in.

Kiri can be found here

As a vendor and a pattern designer I am a bit 2 minds on the issue of free patterns - I feel that we should support the designers who make their livings designing and above all avoid copying patterns but when mags like Knitty and designers like Polly (I think that's her name) put out fantastic patterns that are free, they also deserve my support. I can't sell them but I can point you to them. I will also support designers like Dorothy Siemans (Fiddlesticks Knitting), Sivia Harding, Lucy Neatby, Fiona Ellis, Sally Melville, Ilga Leja, (all of those are Canadian) and Fiber Trends, Jackie Erickson Schweitzer (Heartstrings) and the many others whose patterns you will find on my website.

I am also going to do another sample of Leaf Lace Shawl (Fiber Trends). I knit one in Hand Maiden Lace Silk that is gorgeous and also want to do another in Angel Hair. Another simple geometric design to show of the colours. I will scan in a small sample of the Lace Silk version that is already done.

Now to a few more Kiri rows

Sunday, March 19, 2006

That WAS the week that was!

What a week! Busily crazy or crazily buzy plus trying to finish up my Basket Case pattern that did not want to cooperate plus DKC meeting to hear the lovely Fiona Ellis and get her to sign my copy of Inspired Cables and see the models for the book, several of which I am now lusting over! Plus a meeting with one of my favourite agents - the one who reps Hand Maiden and Fleece Artist and now also Nashua (great classic fantastics - maybe Fall 2006 for me) and the lovely Hemp for Knitting.

Wanting to have something new and fun for this spring summer and DKC, I ordered a bunch of the DK weight 100% Hemp and Lana's great summer top patterns. I am hoping to borrow a few sample garments to have for DKC so you can see them in person. Nice stuff!

A bit more progress on samples for DKC and have worked out a lacey sock pattern but it has been mostly wrestling with Basket Case so not a great deal of knitting done this week. My fingers feel the lack of a project in their little selves so I will sign off now and tend to my knitting.

Rumour has it that Hand Maiden yarns are on their way but no sign of them yet - perhaps early this week - I hope I hope I hope.

Happy week to you all!

Oh and I saw Brokeback Mountain - Did you see all those SHEEP! Anyone know what breed they are? What other movie directed by Ang Lee features sheep - "period"sheep no less? Great flick by the way - Brokeback that is (the other one too)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Weekend of knitting and frogging

I love weekends! Long hours stretching out before you just begging to be filled with lots of knitting and swatching and more knitting .... and then there's the frogging....

First the knitting.

Finished Magico sock in greens - very pretty and very much my colours

Started another Mega Boots Stretch sock - this was a sample ball that my supplier gave me. I am half way down the heel flap (this one is a top down - the Magico was a toe up). Lovely rich pumpkin with changing ply of green to yellow to bright orange to mauvey taupe.

I sketched out a summer top a month or 2 ago when I was working on Congo (see Olympic knitting projects). My plan was to make it modularly from the neckband then on to the body and finish up with side panels in Scheepjes Cotton8. I have done the neckband (twice actually - didn't like it in white sticking stitch so did it again in soft yellow) and in garter stitch in a mitred circle with a deeper "V" at the front and a more gentle sloping back neck.

I am knitting the body vertically in garter stitch (think "Mermaid") in a V that connects to the neck band and tapers from just under the arm to centre front (and back) at about the waist.

The yarn is lovely to knit with - have only done socks with it before - should have known it would drape beautifully.

The colours are:
Soft and pretty

Then the frogging - I'm frogging Peacock Feathers as I messed up somewhere and it is tink back for hours or just frog and start over. I will be useing a safety line next time as I have had a couple of problems. The pattern isn't the problem (Dorothy's patterns are fantastic!), it is definitly my brain (in spite of those fabulous stitch markers)

Just finishing up my Basket Case pattern - double checking the directions and getting it ready to print out tomorrow

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Socking along

Finished the Mega Boots Sock colour is #705) last night and am loving the subtle change from geyish green to orangey red to red and back to greyish green

The pictures that are on the ball bands and the material that my supplier sent me don't do this yarn justice. I plan a few more colourways in the not too distant future - it is so pretty and subtly tweedy when knitted up.

Fiddlesticks Peacock Shawl is still a lump of blue.

Note the fine and fancy stitch markers (Goody hair elastics)

Started the Inca (#1525) sock as a toe up with a garter stitch short row heel for some variety - interesting colour combination and neat stripes and fair isley bits

Back to my knitting - more to come. Knit on!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Back to my knitting

With a show coming up in April (DKC - Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre - April 22nd) my thoughts turn from my personal knitting projects to knitting samples.

As well as the 4 (3 Hand Maiden/Fleece Artist and 1 Fiddlesticks) garments I am also part way through the glorious Fiddlesticks Peacock Shawl in Admiral Zephyr.

At the moment it looks like a lump of blue but through the miracle of blocking it will turn into the glory in blue that it is.

Many sample socks on the go too - Mega Boots Stretch is turning out to be quite an interesting ombred deeper brown through rich red with a hint of orange. It doesn't look like the ball at all.
Other sample socks are coming in Meilenweit green blue(2523), Inca(1525), multiringels (5121 - pinky and 5110 - green, pink yellow & orange).

Sweet relief that all of my sale orders are processed, packaged and in the hands of Canada Post!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Well not me but Red Bird Knits turns 5 today. My but time flies when you are having fun!

At the ripe old age of 50, I decided that 25 years of working for someone else was plenty. Since the other half of my years had been spent studying it seemed like a nice symmetry to start a business to take me through the 3rd quarter of my life (Yes I plan to live to 100)

After long deliberation and finding great help from Mihalyi Czikczentmihalyi (if that is even close to the right spelling I am satisfied) and his book "Finding Flow" (Sally Melville talks about him too in her Knit Stitch book) as well as a romp through "What Colour is Your Parachute" (there may not be a "u" in colour - I think the book is from the US), I narrowed my choices down to 3 - music, gardening and knitting.

I've played the cello since I was 8 and possibilities included teaching (somewhat hard to get into), performing (very hard to get into) and further study (no thanks - not on the scale (pun intended) required) so that idea was discarded.

I was in the process of becoming a Master Gardener at that time and had almost finished the course requirements and was closing in on the 2 year apprenticeship but gardening is so seasonal and I don't do too well in the heat plus Landscape Architecture was another 3 at least years of study that option was discarded too.

Aren't you glad that knitting won the race! I sure am. I designed my first sock (Cobblestone) while I was still working for someone else and that was the springboard for my business. Regia self patterning yarns were just hitting the market and when I couldn't find the Regia Ringels that were being talked about on the lists ( I had joined Knitlist and Socknitters list by then), I went out searching for a source and the rest is history.

I now have more than 50 sock patterns of which I have sold 3300 to date and I am now into my 4th year with my Sock of the Month Club. What a ride it has been.

Oh by the way I am having a sale to celebrate but then I am trying not to be sales oriented on the blog - go to my website if you haven't already and you can get the details there.