Finding my September rhythm

We got back from vacation and it’s taken me a few weeks to ensure we were all set for the kids to return to school and to get back into a rhythm. There are still so many things around the house that we’ve still got to unpack and hang up and there’s never enough time for all the things that I want to do with my knitting!

Now that I’m back and somewhat settled, I’ll show you bits of my vacation. I did manage a bit of knitting on the trip, but that was minimal.

Our first stop was in Québec City. We were staying at Mont Ste. Anne (just a bit east), which turned out to be a fantastic choice. Despite the kids having a day where they didn’t seem to want to walk at all, we got to see a bit of old Québec, like the armoury:

Armoury, Québec City

And we stopped in at the church in Ste. Anne de Beaupré:

Ste. Anne de Beaupré

Mosaic floor in Ste. Anne de Beaupré

What drew my interest were the mosaics just inside the doors. The fountain out front of the church was very very tempting for the children on a hot day. I just turned to snap a few pictures and when I turned back they were both a bit wet. Sam, not for the last time on this trip, managed to get his bum completely drenched.

Our next stop after a long day’s drive was Fredericton. We went downtown for dinner at a pub and I caught a bonus Art Deco building in the fading light. It is the former building of the New Brunswick Electric Power Commission.

former building of the New Brunswick Electric Power Commission, Fredericton, New Brunswick

All of this travel was getting us close to our mid-trip destination of Halifax.

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Sunday spinning update: plying and spinning

We’re back from a rather long  vacation (more on that later) and I’ve finally plied up that merino/silk from before. I chain-plied it to preserve the colours and I’m thrilled with the yarn. It’s about 290 yards in about 100g. This picture doesn’t show the shine that the silk gives this yarn.

Meanwhile, I’ve also spun up another skein of yarn this week. It may have something to do with wanting to relax a bit now that the kids are back in school. This is a Southern Cross Fibre club offering called Beyond Time on Cheviot (a new-to-me sheep breed).  It was an easy spin. I went for a 3 ply. I split the whole braid into 3 parts. The first part was split into two & spun (bobbin on the left). The second third was split into 4 parts (middle bobbin) and the third bobbin was split into 8 parts (right bobbin).

The resulting yarn has colours that change subtly and gradually and doesn’t have too much of one colour all in one place. It’s about 300 yards in 96g. Perfect! Mittens, perhaps?

Next up, I’m looking at working with a little more fibre. I’ve got multiple sets of 200g in one colour, and a giant intimidating bag of 360g of one beautiful colour that I can probably do justice to now. I just need to make a choice.

In family life, yesterday my son requested a chocolate pound cake. Rather than run off to the store, we made one together today and it turned out quite well. I may have to do this again! Also, I love baking with parchment paper. The loaf came right out of the pan.

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Ottawa Art Deco: Substation #4

Months ago on a very cold day I went and took pictures of the old Ottawa Hydro HQ building designed by W.C. Beattie and I talked about a couple of my favourite substations which he also designed.

I recently visited Substation #4 on King Edward to get some pictures of my own. Although if you look at old pictures, you might be sad about some of the alterations, I think it’s still very nice.

And I also took some pictures of some street sculptures that I thought were quite good:

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Saturday spinning update: silk & merino, part two

Busy times. This is a continuation of last week’s spinning. Here’s how the bobbin looked after the third strip of singles:

And here it is all full with all of the initial spinning done.

I enjoyed this so much more than I do spinning either pure silk or pure merino. It’s a wonderful blend. The spinning is done, but I’m still wondering what to do next. Thoughts? Do I go for a 2 ply or do I keep the colours as they are and chain ply?

For your reading enjoyment, here is a list of rules for my daughter’s room. Clearly it is aimed at her brother even though he’d have a lot of trouble reading the rules.

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More downtown Ottawa Art Deco

A few months back I showed you some of the Art Deco architecture near the Museum of Nature. Today I’m going to show you some buildings along Wellington. I’ve seen them before when I’ve been out taking photos of other buildings, like the Supreme Court.

My main target was the old Bank of Montreal at 144 Wellington. Built in 1932, it is now the Sir John A. Macdonald Building. Another web site calls it a mix of Beaux-Arts and Art Deco, but the Deco side of it is clear to me. As you can see, it was still undergoing work when I happened by.

This bank was designed by E.I. Barott, who was also responsible for one of my favourite Art Deco buildings in Montreal: the Aldred Building.

Walking along the road, I had to take a picture at 234 Wellington of the Bank of Canada building. Although it is neoclassical I still find it striking and the scale of the vases out front is amazing. Those things are massive.

Finally, there are the East & West Memorial Buildings, across the street from the Supreme Court of Canada.

The two buildings are joined by the Veterans Memorial Arch.

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Saturday spinning update: silk & merino

A couple of years ago I got a lovely batch of silk/merino from All Spun Up. The colour was called Millefiori:

I finally got the nerve to try spinning it. I split it into 4 so that I’d have smaller strips to spin & shorter colours. Here are the singles after I’ve done about half of the spinning:

I think it’s coming up well and it’s quite skinny. Now I’m not sure if it should be a 2 ply with lots of colour contrast or a chain ply to preserve the colours when it’s all done.

I have had a few folks comment that they haven’t seen items from  Sam’s pockets for a while. It’s been pretty quiet in the laundry, but here’s a few things that turned up recently:

I don’t know why the elastic is around that rock. I’m sure it’s important.

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Sunday spinning update

After doing a very skinny 4 ply yarn last week, I decided to pick out something from the stash that would spin up a little more quickly. I chose a bag of Polwarth/Silk from Southern Cross Fibre. I know from working with Polwarth from David in the past that I like to spin it fairly thick.

The silk in mix gave the singles an extra glow. I even thought about leaving the yarn in this state:

Instead I wound it up and went for a 2 ply. I’ve got about 160 yards of two-ply from about 100g. It was a quick and satisfying spin.

In Tour de France KAL news, I did the draw for prizes in my Ravelry group earlier this week. It was the quickest & easiest settling of prizes I’ve done yet. Everyone wanted a different skein of yarn and they are in the mail now.

My posts & info will be even more sparse than usual for the rest of August because our family will be out & about enjoying the rest of the summer vacation.


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Shirley.Brian Yarns

Do you remember that I posted last week about a trip to Merrickville? Well now I’m going to tell you what motivated the trip. Quite recently, Beckie from Unraveled in Merrickville posted some pictures to her Facebook page that had me intrigued. Here’s what she showed us:

Beckie made a Dangling Conversation sample (with 3.75mm needles & doing the eyelet rows when the colour changed).

I blame Beckie for the fact that only a day later I was off in the car with my friend Janet to check this out. This yarn is a new offering from Shirley.Brian Yarns and you can get your own little tub of gradient yarn from Unraveled or on Shirley’s web site. It is 4 “plies” (separate untwisted threads) of cotton and there are 480 yards in 130 grams per cake.

I got in touch with Shirley and asked a few questions. Here’s what she told me:

“I’ve been obsessed with gradient and ombre yarns for a while now and couldn’t find or get what I wanted so I started to play around with different versions of what I thought would work, found equipment that would enable me to produce it and that’s about it.  I think this combination is exactly what I’ve been looking for.  I will be expanding on the fibre content offerings over the next few months also which I’m really looking forward to.”

Shirley.Brian Yarns - gradient cotton yarn

“I’m trying to build up stock so that I will always have yarn available for sale and hopefully I won’t have to resort to an update type of model.   I’m really hoping that people will like it and that there will be a demand for it!”

“The colours are repeatable and will all be named. Currently they are available at Unraveled and on the web site.”

This beauty is currently living with me, but it might need a friend:

Shirley.Brian Yarns - Pearls Please

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Tour de Fleece

Despite being at home for the Tour de France this year, I didn’t go too crazy with the spinning for the Tour de Fleece. I didn’t officially participate on a team and I just didn’t have time to follow the myriad of posts. I did bring my wheel downstairs and found more time to spin.

I finished up the merino that had been on the wheel for months:

handspun merino from Turtlepurl

I did two skeins of Shetland, 2-ply, around fingering weight:

Two skeins of fingering weight Shetland in natural colours

And this week I did the more ambitious skein. I spun some Southern Cross Fibre BFL very skinny onto four bobbins and turned it into approximately DK to sport weight yarn (about 300 yards in 97g).

Foggy Meadow - BFL from Southern Cross Fibre, 4 ply, approx 300yd in 97g

The Tour de France Peloton KAL participants have all posted their results, and I’ll do the prize draws tomorrow (Tues. July 29th). That gives people a little time to vote for their favourite finishers and their favourite tale of woe (with the (love) button).

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Tour de France KAL – just a few days to go!

The Tour de France is approaching its end, which means that knitters are busy working away on my Peloton KAL. I know some people will be working away right up to the Champs Élysées, but don’t forget to at least put a progress picture up on your project page!

There have been some wonderful early finishers. All pictures below are from the knitters in question and are used with their permission. First up was Anita (yukia), with a lovely striped version:

Anita explained that moths had made it necessary to work in the second colour, but I don’t think anyone would have guessed without her telling us!

Karen (rapunzelrides) used her digital scale to make sure she’d have enough yarn, and it worked out perfectly.

I love what she did with added beads. Here is the explanation in Karen’s words:

I placed red beads at the bottom of each climb to symbolize the lanterne rouge (usually me!). There is also a lanterne rouge bead on the last wheel, a few iridescent beads on the right-hand side to symbolize those riders who have crashed out, and some iridescent beads along the edge to symbolize the stage 5 pave and the destruction it wrought on the race.

Chris (Robebe) completed a multicoloured version, showing that this pattern can look good in a yarn that reminds me of summer gardens:

And Paula (stpaulknitter) rounded out the early finishers with a gorgeous reddish orange with beads in the middle of the lace wheels.

If you’re still knitting away, keep it up! There are still a few more days to go. See you Paris on Sunday!

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