Saturday, December 29, 2012

New books

No knitting news today but...
look at what came in the mail yesterday!
I ordered two books from Amazon and it took only 5 days to get here.
I listened to doctor William Davis speak about the issues with the wheat that is produced today on the Doctor Oz show a few weeks ago and he convinced me enough to purchase his book and read more about it.
He writes ''Eat more healthy whole grains'' is among the biggest health blunders ever made in the history of nutritional advice.
I'll read this book and try some recipes and let you know how I feel about his claims.
But this book is the main reason why I placed an order on Amazon on Christmas Eve. We watched a movie on DVD and like all DVDs it starts off with a whole bunch of soon-to-come-out movie previews. One movie really caught my attention. The movie is called The Intouchables.
This memoir, written by Philippe Pozzo di Borgo served as the basis for the film.
(Taken from the back cover)
As the descendant of two prominent French families and director of one of the world's most celebrated champagne houses, Philippe Pozzo di Borgo was not someone in the habit of asking for help. Then, in 1993, right on the heels of his wife being diagnosed with a terminal illness, a paragliding accident left him a quadriplegic.
Passing his days hidden behind the walls of his Paris townhouse, Philippe found himself the modern equivalent of an ''untouchable'' - unable to reach out to others, as others were afraid to reach out to him. The only person who seemed unaffected by Philippe's condition was someone who had been marginalized his entire life - Abdel, the unemployed, uninhibited Algerian immigrant who would become his unlikely caretaker. In between dramas and jokes, he sustained Philippe's life for the next ten years.
I look forward to time spent by the window reading this book, preferably with a cup of tea when there is a huge snowstorm going on outside.
It always seems like such a great time to sit by a window and read.

Then I'll go rent the movie!

Friday, December 28, 2012

After knitting the little Lovebug booties last week,
I decided to cast on for a little baby knit that I've had my eye on for a very long time.
Milo is a sleeveless top made from the top down with no seaming whatsoever!
My kind of knit.
 I've been knitting on Milo on and off during the many days of Christmas fun.
I have about 2 inches to knit BUT do you see that little ball of yarn on the left hand side? That's what is left of my skein and I am going to run out anytime now. I'll make a trip to the LYS tomorrow to see if they have another one. Guess I should have made the booties after the vest.
Tin Can Knits is giving out one free pattern of your choice from their pattern collection. You must choose yours by Jan 1st. The coupon code is available here. Let me know which one you got!

I chose Antler Cardigan. The size range in this pattern goes from 0-6 mths all the way to 4XL!!  And I have the perfect yarn to knit myself this cardigan.
This yarn was purchased as a kit to knit the Imogen cardigan. But I will use it to knit the Antler cardigan instead. It's a great colour that changes from grey to a dark blue depending on the light. Since I'll be putting the little vest aside till tomorrow (or until I find another skein of yarn), I guess I have no choice but to cast on the Antler tonight!
After 5 wonderful days of family gatherings and celebrating, it feels like luxury to sit down and knit!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Family Christmas

We had our family Christmas dinner last night.
With two adult children and their partners in the workforce, it's bound to happen once in a while that they cannot be with us on the 25th.
So we decided to celebrate yesterday and call it our Family Christmas Day!
Lots of food, wine and good laughs made it a wonderful day.
Not to mention the wonderful thoughtful gifts given and received.
I can now show you the few knitted items given to the two grand children.

These little booties were knitted for our little 7 mth old grandson. A very quick knit, knitted in one piece, so no picking up stitches anywhere. Only a seam on the bottom sole but this is done as a three needle bind off so no problemo! Project info here.
I will be making him more of these.

Our grand daughter's favorite hat at the moment is one I made her last year and it's clearly too small for her now. But she loves it because she can put it on by herself and there is no ties to bother with.
I hoped that a sparkly light purple yarn might be fun enough for her to want to put aside the old and accept the new!
I like this pattern because even though it doesn't have ties it has short-rows earflaps.
The tassle was a big hit with her. Project info can be found here.

And a pair of mittens to go with that hat, of course! Project info can be found here.
Life has been quite busy these past few weeks. Hubby had surgery for a hip replacement at the beginning of the month. He's now progressed from the walker to the cane.
He's a strong-willed man very determined to get back to doing what he loves.
Being quite young for this type of surgery, his recovery is going very well.
I must say that I've never quite felt this much anxiety before, I hardly slept for the first two weeks after his surgery. Just worried I guess.
Hubby is hardly ever sick and to see him coping with limited mobility and pain was not too much fun especially since he's the silent type, the type that prefers not to say anything.
But words are not always necessary when you've lived with someone for as long as we have.
So the farm chores are all mine for the time being. The fun ones, like talking to the alpacas and being greeted by them when I step outside and the not so fun ones, like poop scooping.
Who needs a gym when you're carrying hay to the feeders twice a day, cleaning the dog yard, carrying wood in the house and shovelling heavy wet snow?
  But I'm not complaining, we are lucky and enjoying the quiet times together, making plans for next spring and next summer. Down time is not always bad if you decide to make the most of it.
Have a peek at what I received yesterday. It's made by a local artisan. I just love the colour and the fact that it's made with rock and sea glass found on the shores of local lakes. Now to find the perfect spot to hang it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

No news yet

About the photo limit, I've found out very little about it except for what they have to say on Blogger:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Some users are reporting that they're hitting unexpected image quota limits when uploading an image from Blogger. We're investigating the issue and will report back when we have more information to share.
So far, no news. Hopefully they correct this before too long and before I decide to set up camp somewhere else!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Grey Cup weekend

I'll state it right away, I'm not a football fan!
hubby's cousins have been planning a reunion for a long time and they're all going to the Grey Cup, a boy's weekend.
This year, the game is in Toronto. 
So this means a weekend with the house all to myself, my own schedule, the remote control and the meal planning all left up to me!
So I do declare to love the Grey Cup weekend!
On the knitting list, I'm working on a scarf.

Well, seems that I've gone over the limit for photos with Blogger...I need to look into this before I can blog again. I'm not too interested in paying a monthly fee.
Be back when I find a solution!

Monday, November 19, 2012


I'm back from a busy weekend!
The 2-day craft show in Sturgeon Falls was crazy busy. It was great to talk to so many people, people I went to high school with, neighbors of my parents, relatives and friends from the past.
I brought a lot less home than what I left with which is always a wonderful feeling.
My wonderful mother helped me for the whole weekend, it was so much fun to have a partner with me.
The market for alpaca products is still very new in Canada and many don't yet know about the wonderful quality of the yarn or fibre produced by these animals.
Five times warmer than sheep's wool is an important feature in northern climates. Hypoallergenic is also an important bonus in this day and age where so many people have sensitivities and allergies of all kind. And the softness of the yarn will win anyone over.
I met one young woman that told me her hubby wears his alpaca socks all year long on the farm, even in the hot summers. Another talked about never having cold feet on the long hours spent ice fishing on the lake since she wears her alpaca socks. Others had purchased them for a bed ridden relative that was always cold and were looking for another pair.
Great feedback from satisfied customers is always good!
Even though the alpaca products play a large part of what keeps me busy now, I still love to make soap...guess I always will.
I made some gift-ready soap bags this year.
Perfect for teachers, hostesses, friends or a Kris Kringle gift.
My aunt had a table across from me selling her fudge made from a long time family recipe. My grandmother was well known for her sucre à la crème as we call it in french. (It translates to creamed sugar and believe me you'll feel the sugar high with just a small taste of it.) Memère used to make sure there was lot's of it on the table at all times and every wedding had sucre à la crème at each place setting for the guests. Now, my aunt is keeping the tradition going for others to enjoy.
This is not a chocolate fudge, although she had some of that too. It's a butter, cream and sugar treat.
I bet you could not just eat one! Mmmmmmmm!
Next to me was a talented young woman selling super beautiful mittens made from colourful felted wool sweaters. Such an eco-friendly idea.
The name of her business is Northern Smittens, what a great name!
Her new Etsy shop can be seen here! Let her know if you want anything and Josée will be very happy to ship it to you.
(picture used with permission from Josée)
Well, seems the week will be busy, I have a few orders to fill and then I'll get ready for the next show on Dec 2nd.
Enjoy your week!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Craft show season

Craft show season is here!
I'm participating in two shows this year.
I'll be heading to Sturgeon Falls for a 2 day show on November 17-18.
Then the Witty artisan show here in North Bay at the Portage Hotel on Dec 2nd.

I needed a sign to help people identify my alpaca products when they walk into my booth or come up to my table. Since we have not yet decided on a logo for our farm, I used a favorite picture of Alicia taken earlier this fall and had a 20 x 24 poster made from it.
It turned out pretty good.
I'm happy with it.

After several weeks of not touching my dye pots. I spent several days concocting brighter colours and it all started with the red I spoke about here.
And things got crazy after that!
What fun I had!

This is all LACE weight merino which I had not had for some time. They are mostly semi-solids and would look wonderful knitted up with beads...what do you think?
There are some wonderful shawls out there.
It will be available in my LYS and Etsy in the next few days.

Part of my 2012 alpaca fleece harvest is back from the mill as well.
I have wonderful fiber and yarns to get ready!
No time to waste, off I go to play some more!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

By golly, I think I've got it!

Creating the perfect red in my yarns has eluded me completely.
Yarns ended up being too pink or too orange, too light or too dark.
But since red is one of my favorite colours, I kept on trying and last night, the stars lined up just right! The perfect red, or pretty close to it appeared in the dye pot. It's a bright, happy poppy kind of red. I can't wait for the yarn to be dry to I can really see it. This is a lace weight merino yarn.
Do you know Susan B Anderson, the author of numerous knitting books?
I enjoy reading her blog. She's a positive, outgoing, motivated person. From her blog posts you can see that family is number one and that she's passionnate of her knitting. My kind of person!
Her baby hats are so cute!
Susan has a giveaway going on for two Winter Bliss cowl patterns. Get your comment in for a chance to win!

Now back to the dye pots and more poppy red, this time I'm dyeing some fingerweight yarn for MOI! I have a cardigan in mind and I've been dreaming about it since last night! Wonder if I could have it done for Christmas? A girl can dream ya know!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Winter Bliss!

You must think What does she mean...Winter Bliss?? at this time of the year.
Let me explain.
It's no secret, that my favorite time of the year is the winter...the great northern winter with lots and lots of snow and just cold enough to put on all those cozy knits I work on all year.
Well, this time I say Winter Bliss for a different reason. I've ventured out to new pastures!
Finding myself with loads of bulky hand spun yarns this summer, I knew I had better start knitting this stuff before I ran out of bins to store it. Not finding a cowl pattern that I liked, I experimented with a simple design of a very comfortable and cozy cowl for the bulky handspun yarn I kept spinning.
With a bit of encouragement, I've decided to publish this pattern on Ravelry under the name of
Winter Bliss Cowl!
Now you know!
Curious to see what it looks like?
It's knitted sideways and has a back seam. Then folded over, it offers great protection from the winter wind and cold. The back of the cowl is narrow in order to reduce unnecessary bulk.

I had the pattern tested on Ravelry by some great knitters and they offered wonderful ideas and suggestions to make the pattern more accessible to the beginner knitter and a better knit for all.

Lot's of Winter Bliss cowl projects are already posted here.

One knitter even showed us how to wear this cowl as a hat. See here.
I thought this was such a cool idea!

If it's cold enough in your neck of the woods, you might want to make one for yourself sooner than later!
The cowl can be knitted in approx. 3 hours. Making one in an evening is possible.
You could even cross out a few names on your Christmas list.


And I leave you with a picture of Alicia, the most photogenic alpaca we have. She just loves the camera!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Shawl FO

I sometimes lurk in the Free Pattern Testers group on Ravelry to see what's being offered. The idea to knit a beautiful pattern before it becomes public is very enticing. I like the challenge of knitting and finding any errors or typos (usually very minor) that might have found their way into the written pattern or the charts.
About a  month ago I came across a pattern for a shawl that had some beads in it. I just loved the look of that shawl. I thought that this would be a good time to try this new-to-me beading technique.
Ignorance is bliss they say...well is.
It would take me an hour and a half to knit only one small repeat. This section is 24 rows of 42 stitches but it has 51 beads! I needed to knit 23 repeats in total. That's almost 1200 beads.

If it had not been for the dealine on this test knit (and my pride) I'm sure I would have put the shawl away till the urge to knit in more beads would have come again (and we know such urges never do surface again). So my plan was to knit at least one repeat per evening and some days I might start on a second one.

Once the band was done (32 hours of knitting), I picked up quite a few stitches, proceeded to do some short-row knitting and just two evenings later, the shawl that I thought would never see daylight was completed.
WHOA! Am I ever happy with myself! I just love my new shawl. It's for sure the nicest thing I've ever knitted.

The yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh lace in the Oxblood colourway. Once knitted up, I see more pinks and plums than before...wonderful colour.
Matches with my rock completely ;o)

This is the Large version of this shawl. It's not huge, measuring 16'' deep and 94'' along the bottom edge.

I would order beads online next time instead of getting them at the big box store...the beads are not all the same size and many ended up being thrown away but in the end it doesn't really show.

 There's this wonderful little double cable all along and it's just too cute!

The pattern is Everdeen by Jessica Myers.
You should knit one too!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

October days

Yesterday, the sun came out for a bit and I met my daughter and grandchildren at the park for a little bit of playtime. The wind was surprinsingly warm by the lake.
The children wore the Pumpkin hats I made them for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Back home

Wow! We drove back home on Sunday in a constant downpour of rain. They were predicting 40 to 50 mm of rainfall and I believe they were right.
We had a wonderful weekend. Visiting our son is always a pleasure. He's a fine young man making us proud. I'm coming to accept that he's going to live his life 'down south'. But it's not so far that we can't visit regularly and catch up with each other.
Of course, the highlight of the weekend (for me at least) was the Woodstock Fleece Festival. This is a somewhat smaller scale gathering of vendors but I was so impressed with the high level of quality and mostly with the creativity of some of the vendors.
When you work in isolation, it's refreshing to see other people's work. I came back home very inspired.

Of course, I did do some shopping but showed great restraint again this time.

 Little things, gadgets that I've been meaning to get for quite some time.
A pom-pom maker in two sizes, some T-pins and stitch markers in many sizes. But I was mostly happy about the Wonder Knitter. I'll be able to show O how to use it. She's 3 and really wants to knit with me. This might be something she'll enjoy.

 Even though I make lots of soap, I loved this one with the felted roving around it. Perfect for Christmas (which is just around the corner by the way!).

 Some fun stuff to add to my batts. The hand dyed firestar on the left is really sparkly and a little will go a long way. The Sari silk and fun yarn can be added to the crazy batts I want to make again and the gold cotton/metallic thread will be used to ply those crazy yarns I want to make.

 And of course, some lovely fibre.
I'm mostly proud of myself for not buying the usual green/blue blends that I always reach for.

I'm planning on making this outing a annual thing. I really enjoyed it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fleece Festival and more

getting ready for a little weekend away from home,
to spend some time visiting our son,
to do a little shopping at the Fleece Festival happening in Woodstock, Ontario.
The hours of driving are left to hubby while I'll happily knit beside him.
Car knitting is definitely one of my favorite things to do.
I'll bring projects that don't require too much concentration, so that I can take in the scenery and chat away with hubby. (More on this at the end of this post.)

Speaking of scenery, I was blown away by the beautiful sunrise earlier this week.
 The Muskoka chairs are still out on the deck so I bundled up and enjoyed the sunrise with coffee in hand.

And yesterday, sun and rain with a bit of freezing rain thrown in gave a bright rainbow against the dark clouds.
Even at my age, rainbows are still magical.

Still knitting away on my beaded shawl. It's slow going but progress is being made. I only knit one hour or so at a time on the shawl because it demands quite a bit of concentration.
I now have 15 of the pattern repeats done with only 8 more to go. Then I'll pick up close to 300 stitches to knit the top part.

Christmas craft show season is coming soon. I've only signed up for one show this year. I've been adding some handspun hand dyed bulky merino yarns accessories to the bins of stuff I'll bring.
This hat is a quick knit and fits great.

Big fat stitches are a nice change to the beaded lace weight knitting.

This hat with earflaps and tassels is made in hand dyed, handspun merino/silk yarn.

I'll be knitting more of these in the car this weekend along with the cowl I've hinted at a few weeks ago.

What is your knitting all about this week? 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Last call

The farmer's market is on for the last weekend this year! I'll be there from 8am till 1pm.
Stop in my booth and say Hi if you're in the area!

 O and her grandfather heading to the pasture, food in hand to feed the alpacas.
(photo intense)

 The alpacas follow close behind.

The trees are in full colour glory!

Almost there.

O loves to help out. We love spending time with her. She's growing so fast.

Fernando posing.


Curious Carmella.

I'm not a big fan of the autumn but I've been enjoying the change of colours so much this year...surely has something to do with the sunny weather we've had so far.

I'm working on a beaded knitted shawl. Very labor intense with about 1200 beads to knit all along the edge of the shawl. Once this is done, I'll pick up stitches and knit the top of the shawl.
The pattern is not published yet, I'm test knitting it for CraftyChaos on Ravelry.

Tomorrow is the beginning of the canadian Thanksgiving weekend.
Enjoy yours with family, friends or your knititng!