Olympic gold!

The Olympic medal count for Canada seems to have been increasing at an amazing rate, although some of the games have made me rather nervous. There’s still more heart-stopping hockey to come.

Here at home I’ve finished my knitting and I’m awarding myself a gold medal. My Scatness Tam is finished (except for the blocking). Once again, I’ve had a blast knitting a Kate Davies pattern in Shetland yarn. The great news is that I have a whole lot of it left over!

Top of Scatness Tam, pattern by Kate Davies

Pardon the slightly crazy eyes in this shot.

Scatness Tam, pattern by Kate Davies

And the inside is relatively tidy. At least all the ends are tucked in.

inside of Scatness Tam

If you look carefully, you might see that in the single-colour rows I’ve used a second strand of the same colour. The one thing that bugged me about my Sheep Heid hat was that I only used a single strand in a few rows, which changed the thickness of the fabric. This time around I alternated 3 stitches from  the inside of the ball and 3 stitches from the outside of the ball and it’s got a lovely consistent feel to it. I’m sure someone passed this tip on to me (or perhaps I read it somewhere), and it worked well.

The only thing that I haven’t done from the pattern is the I-cord around the bottom edge. I’m liking the fit right now and I’m a little worried about fiddling with it. Perhaps I’ll feel differently after the hat has had a proper bath.

My other Olympic project (that Indigodragonfly merino/silk sock yarn shawl with beads) is already finished and blocked, but it needs some proper beauty shots. I’ve passed it on to my lovely model Francine to see what would be best to wear it with.

In the mean time, I’ve cast on another version of the unnamed shawl, this time in lace weight. It’s bright red and I’ve got a million miles to go before I hit the beaded section. I’ve got no idea what colour I’m going to use. I think it’s time for a trip to the local bead store!

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Downtown Ottawa Art Deco

A couple of weeks ago I used a lunch outing as an excuse to go check out a building in downtown Ottawa I’d been meaning to visit: 109 Bank St. This building was originally built for Ottawa Hydro back in 1934 and it was designed by W.C. Beattie, the architect who also designed my two favourite hydro substations in town (#3 on Carling & #4 on King Edward).

Front of 109 Bank St. Ottawa, Ottawa Hydro HQ

The building downtown was the HQ for Ottawa Hydro for a number of years. Now it contains a coffee shop on the lower level, but it still has a pretty nice feel to it.

Deco details at 109 Bank St.

The lobby is still lovely with some great details. I must go back once winter is over and the floor mats are up!

109 Bank St Deco lobby

The silver, black & red interior of the elevator was a surprise. What was fun for me was seeing the fountain grille, because my brother took a picture in Regina for me of the same grille in the elevator of the Federal Building.

109 Bank St. interior of elevator

I also nipped down to Sparks Street to get a shot of the lovely foxes on a moderne building that now houses a jeweller, but used to be a bank.

Howard Jeweller - Moderne building

crest with Art Deco animals

On my way back to the car, I caught a back view of the Medical Arts Building at 180 Metcalfe Street. It was finished in 1928 and was designed by W.E. Noffke. He was also responsible for the Blackburn Building that I visited a couple of years ago. Since I was parked close by, I went to get a few more shots of the yellow-bricked building:

Medical Arts Building, Ottawa

It was a cold and windy day, but all that walking really got the blood flowing. What capped this off as a great photo trip for me was that I only spent $2 for metered parking on the street!

 

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Sunday spinning update: skein of Spelsau

The Spelsau is finally finished. I’ve got about 315 yards now in around 100g. It has extremely long colour runs because I was enjoying spinning it so much I couldn’t really bear to break it into smaller chunks.

I’m not sure what to tackle next in spinning but I’ve got lots of options!

This week it was Ron’s birthday & the kids each decorated a cupcake for him:

I made 19 cupcakes. The next day there were 3 left. Ron & I hadn’t eaten a single one at that point, so the kids made out quite well. There was a small amount of cupcake withdrawal the next day, but the kids survived. Of course next weekend there will be more cake for Zoé’s birthday, so they won’t be deprived for long.

 

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Olympic sidetrack

I started off the Olympics planning to knit the Scatness Tam from Kate Davies. It went so well at the beginning that I was afraid I’d be done too quickly. This fear allowed me to succumb to the call of the Indigodragonfly Merino Silk 4 ply sock yarn that I showed you on Monday.

I barely touched the tam this week, but the sock yarn shawl project quickly grew to fill my lap, took on some beads, and kept growing.

Shawl progress with Indigodragonfly Merino Silk 4 ply sock yarn

A week after casting on, it’s already off the needles and blocking and I only have a small 10g ball left. Hopefully it’ll be dry some time tonight and I’ll get to have a proper look at it to see how it turned out. There is some texture (knits & purls) as well as the lace & beads. I’m planning on darning in the ends pretty quickly, but getting proper pictures may take a while and the right kind of light. Fingers crossed.

I think it’s time to go back to the hat knitting now!

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Olympic update: in the fun bit!

I cast on my Scatness Tam on Friday while watching the opening ceremonies. I chose a purple sock yarn (shown in the middle) for the inner brim. I thought it went well with the colours of the hat:

On Saturday I finished the brim and was finally able to see whether or not it fit my head. Bingo! Going down a bit in needles was the ticket. I tend to be a loose knitter and I am using the same size of needles that I used for the Sheep Heid hat a while back.

Now I’m into the colourwork and it’s fun. I think I may have to limit myself to a few rounds on it a day so that I don’t find myself tired and hungry at the end of a day with nothing to show for it but a lovely Shetland tam.

Even though I’ve got a million things on the needles I did bring some more yarn downstairs with the intent to think about what to do with it. I chose a lovely blue Merino Silk 4 ply Sock from Indigodragonfly (Kathleen Turner Overdrive). Initially, I thought it could sit on the side table encouraging me to finish something else first. That plan was cancelled with the advice of some ever-so-helpful people on Twitter. Instead, I’ve wound it up:

I’ve already started working on a project and I have my fingers crossed that it works out. Hopefully I’ll show you a bit more of that later in the week.

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Sunday spinning update: aaahhh, colour

I have been working on some Spelsau from Southern Cross Fibre:

This stuff almost spins itself! I am finding it a whole lot like spinning Shetland. It’s great stuff. I’m planning on chain-plying and perhaps it’ll end up as some fingerless mitts or something. It’s an enjoyable diversion. I’m not sure what I’ll tackle next for spinning because I’ve still got a bit left to go on this, plus the plying.

In fun family times this week, the kids have found a couple of moments to play well together. This puzzle started out being a diversion for Sam to forget that he’d lost his electronic privileges for the day, but then his sister wanted to help:

And Ron brought his magic 8 ball home from work and it ended up being a great hit with the both of them. How could it not be awesome? It’s got “magic” right in its name.

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Olympics: resolving my internal conflicts

The flurries of ongoing issues around the Sochi Olympics and the state of the treatment of LGBT in Russia have left me feeling a little “meh” about the Olympics. Luckily today I saw that Bristol Ivy has put together an effort for knit/crochet designers to raise funds for gay, trans and human rights organizations during the Olympics. There are quite a few designers on board and links to quite a few organizations, should you be moved to make your own donations.

This was a no-brainer for me. For the duration of the Olympics (Feb. 7 – 23), I’ll be donating 50% of my pattern sales to Egale Canada. Egale is ”Canada’s only national charity promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) human rights through research, education and community engagement.”

My fellow Canadian and online friend Maureen Foulds is also in on the action, donating 75% of sales on the opening & closing days and 25% on the other days, as she explains on her blog.

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Saturday spinning update: lovely laceweight

I finally finished spinning up the North Ronaldsay. Those are the hardy sheep that live in the Orkneys and spend a portion of the year eating mostly seaweed. When I wound up the singles I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to ply it, but I kept going.

The resulting 2 ply is about 385 yards in 54 grams, which to my mind makes quite a nice laceweight yarn. It’s a very plump skein. It makes me want to run out and buy more fiber right away, which is crazy given how much is still waiting to be spun. Must resist….

For now it’s going to live in my stash, like so much of my yarn, waiting to find out what it wants to be.

So that makes 2 new-to-me breeds I’ve already spun this year: Herdwick and North Ronaldsay. Up next, I’m taking on the December club shipment from Southern Cross Fibre. It’s Spelsau, which is something else I haven’t spun. It is time for me to play with colour again, and I’m looking forward to it. Plus how cool is it to be spinning a fiber that was once used to make sails for Viking ships?

This has been a week of fort creation at home, both upstairs and down. Blankets and chairs have been moving around in a crazy way.

Yep, I think she’s playing chess on the iPad.

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Grafting: a useful free Craftsy class

I’ve gone on about the classes on Craftsy before (like the Brioche one that I still haven’t made much progress on), but did you know that they have some free mini classes? I watched a new one this week and I wanted to share it, because I found it very useful.

I don’t mind doing grafting, but I find that I always want to look up in my reference books how to graft a particular fabric before I attempt it. It’s ok, because life is an open book test, but it had sort of annoyed me that I couldn’t really understand *why* I was doing what I was doing.

While I was knitting on Monday afternoon, I watched Anne Hanson’s Ins & Outs of Grafting. The basic stockinette grafting was very familiar to me, but what helped me was her treatment of other fabrics. I really felt like I understood what was happening and how to approach grafting any fabric with mixed knits and purls.

In all, it’s a little over an hour’s worth of videos and it might just be what you need to get grafting to stick in your head instead of needing the reassurance of a reference book each time you go to graft.

In family news, there’s not too much going on. School continues and the kids are back in swimming lessons. There have been no new collections in pockets in the laundry. That’s likely due to two reasons: 1) it’s winter (so there is less fun stuff to pick up and also there is no access to the pants pockets due to snowpants) and 2) most of Sam’s pants don’t have pockets. It’s a self-protection thing.

Here’s a little something that I snapped Monday night. Usually it’s Sam who arranges all kinds of things in his bed, but the other night when I went to tuck in Zoé she’d turned herself around in the bed and set up a separate little area for all her little Beanie Boos to cuddle beside her. I couldn’t resist taking a picture:

They’re just so darn cute when they’re asleep ;)

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Belated spinning post, mysterious knits, and Olympic dreams

Well hello there! That last week and a half just flew by in a haze of various people being sick and not enough sleep. I’m still here, knitting & spinning when I can.

I’ve started spinning a new little bag of North Ronaldsay from Spirit Trail Fiberworks. I knew right away that I was going to enjoy this one.

It’s a little like Shetland and I’m able to spin it quite fine. This will most likely be a 2 ply laceweight yarn. Even though I’ve only got 2 oz to spin, it’ll take some time to get through it at my current pace.

I am knitting, but it all seems to be things for later. This glowing thing on the couch is going to be a shawl:

This is the start of a hat I’ve had charted out for months:

And this is what I’m contemplating doing during the Olympics:

It’s a lovely kit from Deb at Sheeps Ahoy with all the yarn I need to make the Scatness Tam. And I already had Colours of Shetland by Kate Davies, which is the source of the pattern. Given that Kate’s Sheep Heid is my go-to hat this winter (and last winter), it couldn’t hurt to make another of her hats.

And then I happened to notice how some of the colours matched the handspun shawl I was wearing around the house to keep off the chill:

No wonder I want this hat!

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