Sunday spinning update: spinning mania

I’ve been looking at the yarn on my wheel for quite a while. I haven’t really touched it since November. I had 3 shawls to knit and very little time to spend spinning. This weekend, with the deadlines done I finally made up for that. First up, I finished spinning and plying the batt from Into The Whirled:

I have over 500 yards of chain-plied yarn! It goes from silvery to violet to purple, green, then turquoise.

Then I went crazy and made a thick and squishy 4 ply from some merino that I had in the stash from Turtlepurl. This one is called Purple Rain. After plying it’s around 100 yards and it reminds me of velvet:

Merino isn’t my favourite breed to spin, but this skein was a success. I’ll have to remember that for next time. Perhaps it’s time for a break with something I love like BFL. I don’t know what’ll happen next on the wheel because this week is Christmas.

I’m working this week, including on Christmas Eve morning. The kids are going to a day camp. I’ve got the forms and required items all set aside for tomorrow. There are still presents to wrap and some non-urgent knitting to do. Also there are patterns to write up, but I’m thinking that can at least wait until the end of the week.

Merry Christmas to all & I hope you get a break over the holidays, no matter what you do. I aim to return to the blog before the end of the year for a look back at 2014. Here’s something the kids made recently (small amount of knitting-related content):

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Yvieknits Yarn

Yvonne Leduc is the force behind Yvieknits Yarn. We have both been going to the same sit and knit sessions for quite a few years – before she was making her own yarn. I have the lucky honour of having purchased the first skein of hers: Marmalade sock yarn. I eventually turned it into a Tudor Ruffles Scarf.

For the Cormier Grille Shawl pattern I asked Yvonne if she could dye up a silvery grey colour on sock yarn for me, and she suggested Pewter. It was an excellent choice!

Yvonne’s been growing her business since 2009, adding wholesale accounts, doing lots of local shows, and holding a semi-annual open house for her local customers. Here’s what she says about dyeing yarn:

My preferred dyeing method is hand-painting since I find that it gives me the most control over the final results. I love that it is easy to create short bursts of colour and that I can create subtle variations within each colour from the differing pressure of my brush on the yarn. I carry yarns that contain the types of natural fibres that I enjoy knitting with the most, like merino and BFL (blue-faced Leicester) wool, silk, alpaca, and cashmere. I love experimenting with colours adn I get my inspiration in a variety of ways.

I created the Pewter colourway with my brother, Ryan, in mind and I used the first skein of this colourway to knit his Christmas present (a cowl) in 2012.

The best way for people to place a custom order is to email a request to yvonne@yvieknits.ca. She can make more Pewter just for you, or the colour of your dreams!

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Turtlepurl Yarns

Today I’m here to tell you about Turtlepurl Yarns. You can find their wares on Artfire as well as Etsy. I’ve been lucky enough to have known Genevieve Noel from Turtlepurl Yarns for almost as long as she’s been dying yarn. At that time she was almost local to me. Now she’s living and working in New Brunswick.

I used Turtlepurl’s Angel Lace in Lothlorien for my Cormier Grille Shawl, and you can get a skein to make your own!

Here’s what my skein looked like before:

Lothlorien on Angel Lace from Turtlepurl Yarns

And here’s what it looks like now!

Cormier Grille Shawl by Natalie Servant - yarn is Turtlepurl Yarns Angel Lace in Lothlorien

I’ve knit quite a few projects in Turtlepurl yarns. I first used one in my designs when making Strand of Pearls. I’m sure that I bought the yarn when I was supposed to be selling it to others at a retreat! And I used the larger worsted version of that yarn when I made the lovely red sample of my Wrapped Ribs scarf.

Here’s a so-so picture of Gen with her wares at one of the many fiber festivals:

Genevieve Noel of Turtlepurl Yarns

You’ve probably seen Turtlepurl’s awesome striping sock yarns, which have been featured recently on some popular blogs and podcasts. I’m in love with Poison Apple, and one day I’ll find the time to knit with mine. It’s all wound and ready to go. Here’s Trenchcoat:

Trenchcoat self-striping yarn by Turtlepurl

(c) Turtlepurl Yarns

Turtlepurl Yarns also offers some amazing spinning fiber. I’m a big fan of her BFL and her Shetland. Here are some of my past Turtlepurl spinning projects:

merino gradient skein spun from Turtlepurl Yarns fiber BFL skein spun from Turtlepurl Yarns fiber silk gradient skein spun from fiber by Turtlepurl Yarns

I’ve still got more in the stash to work from! Next up I’ll tell you about Yvieknits Yarn, the other yarnie that I went to for yarn for my January design.

 

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Canadian Art Deco Knits!

I know I’ve been pretty quiet for the last few weeks, but that’s because I’ve been putting the finishing touches on a collection I’ve been working on for a couple of years. Now I can finally start sharing it!

Canadian Art Deco Knits e-book

Canadian Art Deco Knits is a subscription e-book for 2015. I’m going to release one new pattern each month (12 patterns in total). All the patterns were inspired by Canadian Art Deco architecture. I’ve got lots of interesting research about the buildings to share too. At the end of the year all of those little blank squares above will be filled up with little black and white design summaries! For $25 USD (just over $2 a pattern), you can join me on this exploration of architecture in knitting.

Canadian Art Deco Knits e-book subscription: $25 USD

This e-book will include 4 lace shawls, 2 double knitting projects (a hat & a scarf), 1 textured scarf, and 5 colorwork projects (a fair isle hat, a stranded cushion, stranded mittens, roositud mittens and hat, and a stranded cowl). If you don’t want all 12 patterns, they will each be available for individual sale as soon as they are released.

January’s pattern is the Cormier Grille Shawl: a reversible lace shawl. I’ve knit it up in yarn from two friends who are Canadian indie dyers: Turtlepurl Yarns and Yvieknits Yarn. I’ll tell you more about them both in the next few days.

I used Turtlepurl’s Angel Lace in Lothlorien for the laceweight sample. I used about 50 grams to make this ethereal shawl:

Cormier Grille Shawl by Natalie Servant - reversible lace with an Art Deco feel

I used Yvieknits Sock yarn in Pewter for my fingering weight sample. I used about 150 grams to make this shawl:

My favourite part of this design is how the light reacts differently on the knit and purled sections.

Cormier Grille Shawl by Natalie Servant - reversible lace with an Art Deco feel

My samples are worked from the top down, but the pattern includes instructions for working a triangular shawl from the bottom up as well as for making a rectangular scarf.

So join me in an Art Deco knitting adventure in 2015! The first full pattern (the Cormier Grille Shawl) will be uploaded by Jan. 1, 2015.

Canadian Art Deco Knits e-book subscription: $25 USD

Cormier Grille Shawl pattern: $6 USD

Thanks as always to my lovely model Francine Hebert, creator of many beautiful things like shawl pins and stitch markers over at Fancy That.

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Rhinebeck Meetup: darkmatterknits (aka Elizabeth Green Musselman)

I’m thinking this will be my final Rhinebeck meetup post. I certainly chatted with a lot of interesting people at Rhinebeck, and there are still more that I haven’t talked about. I’ll find a way to introduce you to some of them soon.

Today I want to tell you about Dark Matter Knits (Elizabeth Green Musselman). She was at the Cooperative Press both at Rhinebeck on the Saturday selling and signing her unique book for boys: Kung Fu Knits.

This fun book is part story, part very cool patterns that boys in your life might just beg you to knit. I think the illustrations would really be attractive to kids. I haven’t tested this theory on my 7 year old boy yet because I don’t have the spare knitting time to make him Nunchucks or a Gi Jacket at the moment!

Nunchuks from Kung Fu Knits by Elizabeth Green Musselman

(c) Elizabeth Green Musselman

As Elizabeth says on her designer page, she likes to work on designs for boys and men. Her thesis is:

  • that guys’ taste in clothing is not nearly as dull as the ready-to-wear market would have you think and
  • that if you knit people what they want, they will wear (or use) it

Elizabeth also hosts a biweekly video podcast that is fantastic. I really like the thought she puts into choosing a theme for each show that relates to knitting (and usually life as well).

And just for pretty, here’s Langstroth, Sr., a great sweater for guys with a geeky historical explanation. It’s an upsized version of Langstroth (for boys).

Langstroth Sr. by Elizabeth Green Musselman (Dark Matter Knits)

(c) Elizabeth Green Musselman

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Rhinebeck meetup: Just Jussi – aka Justine Turner

Before I get into the meat of this post, I’ll remind you all that the Indie Designer Gift Along (coupon code giftalong2014ends tomorrow, November 21, 2014. I’ve got 8 patterns in the sale.

One of the special surprises about this year’s Rhinebeck was meeting up with Justine Turner, who Ravelers may know better as Just Jussi. For those who like to “hear” the correct pronunciation when they read, Jussi rhymes with fussy.

It was a treat to meet Justine at Rhinebeck because she lives in New Zealand. A group of us ended up having a lovely, but perhaps strange to overhear conversation what with Justine (Kiwi accent), Simone (Swiss accent), Andi (British accent) and me (Canadian accent).

Even if the Just Jussi name doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve likely seen Justine’s work. Her fantastic free Aviatrix hat (multi-sized and written for different yarn weights) has thousands of projects on Ravelry. And why wouldn’t you want to make one after seeing this cute example?

Aviatrix by Just Jussi (Justine Turner)

(c) Just Jussi

And for those who already love this pattern, you’ll be interested to hear that Justine’s hard at work on a book of cute adaptations of this pattern (think insects, animals & birds).

Justine’s got all kinds of cute kiddie patterns, so I’d advise you to have a look at her full design catalog. One of my favourites is Japonica.

Japonica by Just Jussi (Justine Turner)

(c) Just Jussi

Right at the moment Justine’s been very busy with a photography course. She’s shifted her knitting design focus to quarterly collections. Her next design collection is coming soon. Justine tells me:

It is called “Little land girls” and is based on a set of tops with a British wartime aesthetic, along with some “mend and make do” style accessories. I am planning the photo shoot for mid December (summer here in NZ) and have been gathering clothing and other items to make the styling as cute as possible!

I’m looking forward to seeing the new collection. Justine’s designer page lists all kinds of ways that you can stay in touch with her on social media, as well as a newsletter you can sign up for to make sure you hear about her new projects.

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Winner, Indie Gift-Along and OwlCat Designs

First off, I’ve got a prize to award. The winner of Andi Smith’s Synchronicity e-book is….. Maureen Foulds. Congratulations! And for those who didn’t know it, Mo’s a great designer and lovely fellow Ontarian.

Next, I need to let you know about the Indie Designer Gift-Along. This is an event that starts tomorrow (Thursday, Nov. 13th, 2014) and runs  through the end of the year. It has 2 parts:

1) A week-long 25% off sale, beginning on Nov. 13th at 8pm EST. The 293 participating designers each have between 4 and 20 participating patterns. I’ve got 8 patterns in this sale.

2) A knit-along of all patterns by the participating designers and associated games. Lots of prizes are up to be won, and you can make progress on your gift knitting. Projects must be cast on after 8pm EST on Nov. 13th and finished by the end of the year (same time zone).

Interested in playing along? Head on over to the Indie Designer GAL group and join in the fun!

One of the other 292 participating designers in the GAL this year is Simone Kereit (aka OwlCat Designs). I met up with Simone at Rhinebeck this year after being in touch with her online for a while. You’ve already seen a picture of Simone in my recent post about Andi Smith.

Simone’s had some great designs come out quite recently. Have a look at On The Forest Floor. This 3-colour shawl has a little bit of lace and applique crochet accents that really make it shine:

On The Forest Floor by Simone Kereit (OwlCat Designs)

Simone also has a new recent double knit hat design that I’m in love with. Odonata is a double knit hat with dragonflies. Reversible and beautiful!

Odonata by Simone Kereit (OwlCat Designs)

Finally, Simone’s Rhinebeck sweater this year made her very easy to find. Fox Crossing is a lovely cardigan, especially if you’re fond of little foxes (yes I am!).

Fox Crossing by Simone Kereit (OwlCat Designs)

I asked Simone to tell me a little about her history with knitting and how she got started. Here’s her story:
When I learned to knit back in Switzerland as a little girl, the way you would learn to make a sweater was very different. There weren’t many patterns available and the way I learned to make a sweater went something like this: After deciding to make a sweater, you’d go look at yarn, find yarn you like figure out the approx. yardage needed. Then you’d take your lovely bag of yarn home and swatch. Block and measure the swatch, measure yourself (if the sweater was going to be for you) and do the math. So when I moved to the US, that’s what I still did. The transition to doing this professionally came pretty naturally after that.

I tend to get bored easily, and designing lace shawls and doing complex chart math for sweaters keeps me excited about a project. I know to some this might sound odd, but yes, I do enjoy the math and logic that goes on behind the scenes of a knitting pattern.

I tend to do a lot of different things design wise, there is just so much to knitting, why limit yourself? A unifying force behind all that variation is probably that my inspiration tends to come from the outdoors. i love to go hiking and backcountry camping, I just recharge being outdoors!

My ebook collection ‘over mossy stones…‘ is inspired by woodland creatures and shady walks in the forest. And currently I am working on a Shawl Club for next year, it’s not out yet, coming soon.

Thanks, Simone, for sharing your beginning & your inspirations with me. You can sign up for Simone’s newsletter to stay up to date with her releases!

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Sunday spinning update

It’s been a wonderful weekend for me. I spent a relaxing and fun time at the Needler’s Retreat in Gananoque. I spent about half of the week preparing to go, it seems, so I didn’t quite have enough time to spin up a full skein of yarn. I am working my way through one of the beautiful batts that I got at the Into The Whirled booth at Rhinebeck.

The Cat's Pyjamas batt in progress (from Into The Whirled)

This one is called The Cat’s Pyjamas. I’ve already made the transition from light purple to dark purple to dark green. I’ve just got to get through this green shading into light teal, and the singles will be done.

And now I’m going to head for bed to recover from all the fun and excitement of retreat. More soon!

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Rhinebeck meetup: Andi Smith

When Andi Smith isn’t tech editing or teaching, she’s working on beautiful designs of her own. Andi (aka knitbrit) had a bit of an exciting lead up to Rhinebeck because she did a quick last minute bit on Knitting Daily. Here I am at Rhinebeck  with (from left to right) Simone Kereit (OwlCat Designs), and Justine Turner (Just Jussi) and Andi (of the colourful hair)Simone Kereit (OwlCat Designs), Justine Turner (Just Jussi), Andi Smith (knitbrit), Natalie Servant

Andi is the author of Big Foot Knits: a great book that can be used by everyone to figure out how best to customize socks to fit. My favourite pattern from the book is Pavarti:

Pavarti socks by Andi Smith (in Big Foot Knits)

(c) Andi Smith

Earlier this year Andi released Synchronicity: a beautiful e-book of two-colour cable patterns. I bought it, not because I was under any particular delusion that I’d have time to knit anything from it right away, but because it was gorgeous and inspirational. I love the Salt Hill scarf:

Salt Hill scarf by Andi Smith (in Synchronicity e-book)

(c) Andi Smith

And check out the Black Bunny cowl.

Black Bunny cowl by Andi Smith (in Synchronicity e-book)

(c) Andi Smith

While I haven’t knit from this e-book yet, I do have the Volkerding pattern printed and in a project bag with needles and yarn so I’m ready to make the next needed baby gift. Soon, perhaps!

Volkerding hat by Andi Smith (in Synchronicity e-book)

(c) Andi Smith

Andi’s got lots of plans up her sleeve for the new year. Apart from refreshing her web presence, she says:

The main thing I have planned for the new year is a new book. Cables and cardigans with a twist and writing about the whole process as it happens. I think knitters would be interested to know about the whole process from design and knitting to production.

I’ll be sure to pass on the word when this launches! Andi has generously offered a copy of Synchronicity to one of my blog readers. To win, just tell us in the comments email natalie@natalieservant.ca which of Andi’s designs you’d put on the needles first by Nov. 10, 2014, at 10am Eastern.

(comments seem to be a little broken at the moment)

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Saturday spinning update: yarn!

At long last I finished spinning up the Briar Rose BFL yarn. I filled the 3 bobbins and plied them together using my wonderful smooth TravelKate.

Briar Rose Fibers BFL on bobbins

The result is about 370 yards in 175g. As usual, I’ve got no particular plan for it, but it’s a wonderful colour and I’ve got plenty of it.

Briar Rose Fibers BFL - handspun 3 ply, 175g, 370yds

After such a long spin, I decided to take a break and spin up a small 50g amount of BFL from Fleece Artist in beautiful greens. This seemed to want to be thicker, so I’ve ended up with a 2-ply yarn that is about 80 yards in 58g. It’s nice and light and fluffy – perfect for a hat or something like that.

Fleece Artist BFL

Fleece Artist BFL handspun, 58g, 80yds

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