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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Stash enhancement

This past weekend a friend and I took a lovely drive out to Merrickville. Our main purpose was to see Beckie at Unraveled, but there are lots of lovely stores to poke around in.

I found a lovely little print by Larry Thompson of Greyweathers Press in The Grotto Artworks, a great little store featuring all kinds of things made by local artists and creators. I couldn’t resist this little print with its architectural detail (Vaulted Heights – Salisbury).

Greyweathers Press - Larry Thompson - Vaulted Heights - Salisbury

I did, of course, do some damage at Unraveled.

I picked up some more great Canadian yarn from Sweet Paprika Designs: 2 skeins of their Messa di Voce fingering weight in Cafe au Lait and 1 skein of Arietta lace weight in Rumplestiltskin.

I picked up something else rather special on this trip, but I’ll have to tell you about it later when all is ready to be revealed.

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Late spinning update

Last week went by in a blur. It started out with cake when someone turned 7:

Birthday boy is 7

I really don’t know what happened the rest of the week, but I did manage to get some spinning done. The merino got plied into a skein:

Turtlepurl Merino - spun into gradient yarn

And it’s an amazing yarn. I just don’t think I’ll volunteer to spin a skein that is that much brown again.

Turtlepurl Merino - spun into gradient yarn

Now I’m onto some lovely BFL in greens (Foggy Meadow from Southern Cross Fibre). I’ve split it into 4 lots and I’m going to go for a 4 ply yarn. It’s spinning up into very skinny singles, so it’s taking a long time to spin. Here’s bobbin 1 (of 4):

BFL in Foggy Meadow from Southern Cross Fibre, bobbin 1 of 4

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I do still knit

It seems like I’m always knitting, but it’s usually something that’s not finished or that can’t be revealed right away. This week, that’s changed. A friend of mine just had twin girls and I felt the need to knit.

I managed to avoid second sweater syndrome and I made both of these little Jubilee Cardigans (by Cecily Glowik MacDonald) in a matter of weeks. It helped that both major parts of the sweater are simple enough to take to the park and work on from memory when the kids are playing.

The yarn is a DK superwash wool that’s been in the stash for quite some time. I didn’t have quite enough of the peach, so that’s why I went with a slightly darker border. I then did the same thing on the green sweater, thinking that at least that way it looks intentional. I’m quite happy with the result.

This is a sweet little pattern (I had it from Interweave’s 2010 Holiday Gifts edition) and I’d probably make another one. The 6 month size was a quick knit.

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Sunday spinning update: Yarn!

I am feeling victorious today. I’ve finally made some yarn since the big house move. This was mostly thanks to the daily spinning prompt of watching the Tour de France.

First of all, I finished spinning the merino singles that have been on the wheel for too long. I will need to chain ply this into the lovely colour-shifting yarn it wants to be. I should have that done some time this week:

Then I gave myself a break and spun up two smaller (55-60g) bags of Shetland that I’ve had around for a while. What made it even easier to get these skeins done was that a lot of the tradespeople were in the house fixing things for the second half of the week. I couldn’t leave the house, so I decided to spin rather than knit. The noise was incredible and the spinning is easier to stop at a moment’s notice to deal with things around the house.

Both skeins are about 210 yards and I’m thinking that this nice fingering weight yarn would make a lovely pair of stranded mittens. I don’t know that I’ll ever do that myself, but it’s nice to have something in mind.

Once I finish the job of plying the merino, I’ll go and snoop through the fiber area of my closet to figure out which beautiful items I get to play with next.

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Saturday spinning update: Tour de Fleece

I did manage to watch the first stage of the Tour de France today. This year I’m doing a sort of laid-back Tour de Fleece. I don’t have specific goals. I’m just trying to spin more. Today I brought the wheel downstairs so I could watch and spin at the same time. Here’s where I’m at now (same merino from weeks and weeks ago):

Although it doesn’t look like I’ve done much, trust me, I’ve made significant progress. I only have half an arm-length of the brown to get through before I get to the turquoise.

I’m excited to have the Tour de France to prompt me to spin daily. I have no idea what I’ll move on to next, but my stash area is overflowing and I need to keep on spinning!

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Spam, spam, spam

I felt like I was in an awkward position today. Canada has brought in some new anti-spam laws with hefty penalties. Although my mailing list was created as an opt-in list with confirmations required to sign up, I felt compelled to create a new clean list. Then I had to send a message to the old list about the new list.

Yes, that’s right. I essentially spammed my old list to avoid punishment for spamming.

Join my sparkly new mailing list (with options to tell me what types of knitting patterns you’re interested in). I typically send out 5 or 6 emails a year. Plus if you’re on the list, that puts you in the “Spectator” category for my annual Tour de France KAL.

Happy Canada Day (tomorrow), Happy Fourth of July (Friday), and I’ll see all you folks knitting along to Peloton on Saturday in my Ravelry group.

Bonus art from the end of school clearout – too cute to throw out just yet:

Cat picture done by Sam


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Variations on a theme

First, I have to show you this postcard that my Aunt Viv sent me from England:

One more week to go until the Tour de France! Yes, they’re getting all excited over there about the start of the tour being in Yorkshire. The back of the card reads as follows: “Stage 2 of the greatest cycle race in the world in the greatest county in the world – God’s own country”. I’ll see all you KAL folks in my Ravelry group soon. I’ll be setting up the special threads for the KAL next week.

What I wanted to talk about today was inspired by an email asking about my Khufu shawl. The person was interested in knitting it as a scarf or stole instead of as a triangular shawl. The next day I drew up some small sketches of ideas that came to me, and I wanted to share them with you:

These 3 ideas can easily be put into action with a bit of swatching and some simple math (based on the number of pattern repeats + garter stitch edging). It’s a good thing my knitting mojo is back and I’m busily knitting away on other things or I might feel compelled to try out #2 or #3.

It’s totally ok to rearrange an existing pattern into something that suits you better. These are 3 ideas that came to me right off and I’m sure they aren’t the only ones. I want to encourage you to decide what’s right for you and not feel tied to the way something is done in a pattern. Personally, I’ve been mulling over knitting a sweater with a boat neck for a long time, but I know that when I knit it I will try to make it more of a V-neck, because that’s what works for me. What have you done to modify an existing pattern into something that works for you?

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