It’s a Saturday morning and I’m sitting in a local coffee shop with my husband. We walked over (about a 20 minute walk) and will walk back home. Here we sit with our beverages enjoying some time together - just the 2 of us. Yes, we have our tech toys - I have my MacBook Air and he is reading a book on his iPhone. But it is lovely to have someone you can ‘just be’ with; someone you can talk to, but you don’t have to fill the silences because you are both so comfortable with each other. A perfect Saturday morning.
A few weeks ago I was off to Meg Swansen’s Knitting Camp. I have been going to this Camp since 2002. It has become a gathering for friends, old and new, as well as a place to learn and talk about knitting at all levels. This year Camp really got my knitting mojo back in gear. Talking with other knitters who are passionate and knowledgeable about knitting does wonders for sparking knitting creativity and helping you over hurdles in current projects. I can’t show you any pictures of Camp this year because I didn’t take any. I was too busy being immersed in the experience to take the time to record it.
A few things have come off the needles recently. Anna Dalvi hosted a mystery knit-a-long in April/May and introduced us to her new pattern Mystic Supernova. I knit mine in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift (fingering weight) in colour 187 Sunrise (15 balls) which is my favourite colour in that line. For the curious among you, Mystic Supernove is a circular shawl knit from the center out.
I also completed my third Feather and Fan Triangle Shawl from Cherly Oberle’s book Folk Shawls. I think this one may be mine. The other two have gone to appreciative relatives for Christmas presents. I knit this with 8 balls of Jamieson & Smith’s Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight (4 of 2009 Yuglet, 2 of 2003 Shaela and 2 of 2001 White).
And now I am working on Natalie Servant’s Peloton Shawl, a lovely semi-circular shawl with motifs to remind you of the Tour de France. This one I am knitting in Shelridge Soft Touch Heather (5 skeins) in the colour Cajun Spice. I hope to have this one off the needles soon.
While I was at Knitting Camp, I started Janine Bajus’ Starry Night Cardigan. Janine is a friend I met at Knitting Camp many years ago. Her knowledge and expertise in stranded knitting and design is very evident in this pattern.
And finally, I am enjoying our new deck this summer. Last fall we tore out the old deck and had it replaced with this one (same basic shape with lots of nice new added touches). Mike and I spent a good bit of time applying stain to it early in the summer. Now we just have to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labour. This is my summer office - many happy knitting hours have been spent out here. In fact, all of the pictures in this blog post were taken out on the deck.
So, I suppose I must close up the MacBook Air, head home and get back to work, knitting on the deck. Yes, I am enjoying the summer weather.
Well here we are, over a week since the Olympics have ended and nary a peep from me on what was going on here. Well, it was exciting and I'm not just talking about the hockey or the curling.
First of all, I know I speak for many people when I say how proud I am of our Olympic athletes - every one. Just to be part of the Olympic team takes a huge amount of dedication and work. It is something to be very proud of.
I did spend a lot of time glued to the television and streaming video on my computer and listening to the radio to keep up-to-date on how our athletes were doing. My favourite sports to watch were the curling and the hockey. I don't usually watch NHL hockey, but Olympic hockey is completely different - no fights, smart, fast hockey. And the curling, well let's just say I couldn't possibly position those rocks that accurately.
My Olympic knitting was the Scatness Tunic by Kate Davies from her book Colours of Shetland. Here was the scene the night before the Opening Ceremonies
I got all the yarn together as well as the pattern (which I had read several times) and the necessary needles. Then, with the Opening Ceremonies, I cast on and knit like fury! By the Closing Ceremonies, this is what my Scatness Tunic looked like
I had finished the body, sleeves and yoke colour work and was almost finished the neck.
Today, I have finished the neck (but not the neck ribbing), grafted the underarms, unzipped the provisional cast on at the bottom to prepare for finishing, cast off the bottom of the steek stitches and I'm ready to cut the steek. Now I need a period of relative calm to actually do the cutting. Soon, my pretties, soon.
Today, my Scatness Tunic looks like this
Not much different, but we are progressing.
The other exciting news is that Sheeps Ahoy has moved. We are still in my home but now we occupy a room at the very base of the stairs leading to the finished downstairs. It is a bigger space and much less intimidating to get to. I have posted pictures to the carrousel on the Sheeps Ahoy home page of the new space. As before, please call ahead if you wish to come over and shop. This is part of our home.
Stay warm and keep knitting.
As many of you know, there is a knitterly movement afoot, whereby many knitters pledge to cast on and complete a project through the duration of the Winter Olympics. For many of us it is a sign of solidarity for the talented athletes that represent our country. And it also gives us a reason to sit down and spend time watching and cheering on the edge of our seats as these hard-working and extremely disciplined people pour all they have into the events that span such a short period of time.
This year, I have three projects that are in contention for my attention during the 16 days that comprise the Winter Olympics.
Here, in no specific order, are the three possibilities.
1 - The Scatness Tunic - Designed by Kate Davies and found in her book Colours of Shetland, this tunic cardigan has a fair isle yoke, corrugated ribbing and hand made wheelhouse buttons. I reserve the right to substitute regular buttons but will decide later in the knitting process. This tunic is knit in Jamieson & Smith's 2-ply jumper weight.
2 - Elizabeth Zimmermann's Shirt Yoke Cardigan - This is a seamless sweater knit entirely in the round. It has 3/4 length sleeves. The yoke shaping is the really interesting bit, looking like a man's shirt yoke across the back. I will likely knit this in Briggs & Little Heritage.
3 - The Elizabeth Zimmermann Coat - This coat, originally knit by Elizabeth Zimmermann, has been slightly updated. It is done in garter stitch primarily, with the option for stocking stitch sleeves and a flared bottom edge. I will likely knit this in Briggs & Little Heritage as well.
So, what are your thoughts? Which one do you think I should cast on?
Autumn is a busy season in the knitting world and Sheeps Ahoy is no exception. We have already been to a number of trade shows and will be selling at the Ottawa Knitting Guild tonight (Oct. 21) as they host their annual Vendors' Night.
I thought I would share a few pictures of what autumn looks like in my part of the world. This picture was taken on a recent road trip. We stopped for a moment to look across the Ottawa River at all the colours.
This next group of shots were taken during a walk on a nature trail very close to my home.
And finally, a look across Lake Nipissing in North Bay, Ontario - the town where I was born.
We are having a difficult time right now. Yesterday we said goodbye to our dear friend Lucky.
Lucky has been a part of our family since the day he was born. His mother, Sunshine, was a rottweiller-mix dog we adopted from the local Humane Society. Weeks later she blessed us with a litter of 11 puppies. We always had a special place in our hearts for Lucky. His birth was difficult and he was too weak to breathe at first. With our help, he was able to breathe and then nurse on his own. Despite his difficult beginning, he grew to be the handsome boy you see in these pictures.
Lucky always had an intensely thoughtful look about him. You would look up from whatever you were doing and catch him looking at you as if he was trying hard to figure out what you were doing and how he could be a part of it.
He had a calm disposition and a easy-going attitude. He was happy just to be at your side whether on a walk, on the deck or in the living room. He was great for taking on walks. I seldom used a leash as he loved to wander but was always ready to come to my side if I called him to 'heal'. I would often whisper to him, 'You're the best dog', he was such an easy dog to work with. Often when I watered the garden, Lucky would walk by my side - out of the fenced in yard and back again - just we two, taking care of what needed doing.
Even though he had a mellow attitude, he was one for making his wishes known. He would 'talk' - muttering at you until he got his point across. I remember one walk when Lucky was 'talking' to me so much the owner of the Newfoundlander walking ahead of us had to turn around. "He certainly likes to talk. I guess they want to play." was the response of the Newf's owner. We agreed to let both dogs off leash so they could sniff and play to their hearts' content. Lucky was overjoyed (and so was the Newf).
Lucky's biggest claim-to-fame was his appreciation of my pancakes. Each Sunday I would make pancakes (from scratch - I had the recipe memorized) for all of us. I saved enough pancake batter at the end to make a small pancake for each of our dogs (often we had 2 dogs). Once everyone had finished eating, Mike (husband) would take the small pancakes to the back door where both dogs would be sitting, waiting for their treat. And often, Lucky would be sporting an erection - the pancakes were just that good.
In the end, Lucky picked his time. It was our other dog, George, a black lab and Lucky's constant companion who alerted us to Lucky's changing condition very early yesterday morning. Lucky was unable to get up and in some pain. He refused all food, including cheese or turkey or steak. We couldn't even get his pain medication into him. He was ready to go.
We called the vet, who came to the house. Lucky died at home, with me by his side, quietly and calmly. Godspeed Lucky-dog. You were the best dog.
Well I thought I should give you a little taste of what's on my needles. My main project right now is Puffin from Kate Davies book Colours of Shetland. You didn't think there was only one project on my needles, did you?!
I will confess that there is a lot of black stocking stitch in this project. Here we have one completed sleeve and the body almost done to the point of adding the sleeve:
I have taken to singing when I pick up this knitting (sung to the tune of '99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall'):
99 rounds of black stockinette,
99 rounds of black.
Knit one round, slip the marker and then,
98 rounds of black stockinette.
98 rounds of black stockinette,
98 rounds of black.
George is not very impressed by my singing:
There is something that is really keeping me motoring on this project. Take a look at what's coming up after I finish the second sleeve:
And, if you were wondering, yes both the book and yarn kit for this sweater are available from Sheeps Ahoy.
If you are reading this blog post, you have probably found the new Sheeps Ahoy website. It is a big new adventure for us. The previous website and blog were something my husband and I put together and hosted on servers in our home (with off-site backups). But as this little business has grown, we have decided to let professionals take care of worrying about power outages, server downtime, security certificates, etc. Hopefully this will allow more time for knitting and designing. Stay tuned.