Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Trouble With The Trees

There is unrest in the forest,
There is trouble with the trees,
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas.

Rush- "The Trees"

No 10 on Tuesday, as the subject is "10 Patterns You could Knit Again, and Again".  Well, apart from socks and mittens, I very rarely knit anything twice, so I don't have anything to contribute there.  However, I am planning a knitting project for early fall, and it ties into my subject.

My backyard is really beautiful- not that I am taking alot of credit.  I have an amazing hosta garden, and there is a pussywillow tree, as well as a shade garden, and a small pond.  Not huge, but manageable. There are also a couple of ash trees that have died, due to the insidious Emerald Ash Borer.  Kind of a pretty looking insect, isn't it?  It has destroyed the trees, many years old, and the only shade I have in the back.

By the time we knew what it was, it was too late.  There are only leaves on the ends of the branches, as this bug hollows out the tree from the inside, robbing it of moisture.  In order to save them, we would have had to do something about it last year- last year they looked healthy.
This is actually one tree- a split trunk.  I am a bit more upset than I am letting on.  I am not the only one- there are thousands of ash trees that have died in Toronto, a well as my neighbours trees.  True, it isn't the prettiest tree- I like maples and oaks (pretty much all trees except for those horrid locusts)- but they are large, and majestic, and provided shade.  Well, no more.  They have to come down before they fall down. This is costing alot, both in terms of money and beauty.

So, because Autumn is coming (oh yes it is!) I am going to make a Gnarled Oak cardigan.  I think I love planning and putting together a project almost as much as knitting it.  I have ordered some oak buttons from an Etsy seller*, and will be using this:
I have most of it spun up- it's Fat Cat Knits BFL, in her Sugared Beets colour. It's hard to see, but there are deep burgundies, hints of gold and even sage green. 
The pattern is in this book, and it's the same author of "Botanical Knits".  I love any patterns that have leaves in them, and I have a collection of shawl patterns that feature them, as well as suitable green yarns.  One day I may even knit one of them.
Mr. Tino is happy that Tour De Fleece is over, as he is feeling somewhat neglected.

Fleece out, and give a tree a hug.

* I ordered some Larch buttons too-

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

So Much To Share

So the TdF is winding down. I have my last lot of singles to ply and I will be done. I think I will make some socks with this years yarn- but that may change.
 This is from my 2014 Fat Cat Club fiber, Hula and Bellydance plied together.
And this is BFL/Nylon Headpsin and Jitterbug.

I was sorting through my fiber stash and I decided that I would do a post about what fiber and dyers I like, and why I like them.  Four years ago, when I was a new spinner- I really had no idea what kind of things I wanted to spin, and who I should purchase from.  Not that I am an expert by any means, but I learned a thing or two since, and I wanted to share.  I am a sharer (no- not really)-

1. As you may have guessed because I'm on the TdF team, Fat Cat Knits, is my favorite dyer.  Ginny always has something new and exciting, and offers alot of bases. She also is wonderful and open to custom dying anything that you may dream up, as well as having an extensive choice of semi-solid colours.  Her Mixed Blessing clubs are wonderful, and usually have a theme.  I think this is where she excels- two colours that when plied become magic.  I have never been disappointed with anything I have got from her- and I have GOT ALOT.
Yes, that is one of Rubbermaids larger receptacles*- and this doesn't include what I have spun over the years.  I have also had the pleasure of meeting Ginny on a few occasions and she has a warped kind of humour that I love.

*what movie am I referencing? (it is one of our more modest receptacles...)

2. Next has to be Mary Ann at Three Waters Farm in North Carolina.  Again, always something new and exciting, and her colours are clear and vibrant.  I have ordered SQ's (sweater quantities) of her BFL and one is spun up.  She also works with Lynn Vogel and has exclusive colorways available.  If I won some money, and if there was any left over from buying Ginny out- I would head to Chapel Hill and do some damage.

3. This dyer I discovered early on, and I am in love with her presentation and colors. Into The Whirled,
(clever eh?) is from New York state, and I saw her booth at Rhinebeck (can't remember whether it was before or after the panic attack)- and she has become really successful. To the point where there is a waiting list to join her fiber club (classic and luxe).  I found a kind soul on Ravelry who sold me some of her past club colours, and I do buy the occasional braid.
I got these for a steal.  I want to hoard it all and roll in it.  (but I won't as it may matt the fibers).

4. This Etsy seller, Friends in Fiber is a very creative, as well as extremely nice. (Nice goes a long way in my playpen).  She does some unbelievable gradients, as well as some Autumn shades that I could certainly make room for.
5. This dyer has been around a while, and I am sure most spinners have some in their stash, or have spun with it. Woolgatherings  does some really innovative colorways, She doesn't however, name them, as many dyers do. She also sells exquisite undyed fibers, so if you are looking for a good place to start, you really can't go wrong here.
I am a fan of Polwarth and BFL.  Merino, not so much.

Next time, I will cover some other dyers that are not to be missed. This has all been in the interest of market research, and having a large stash is a public service. Ya.

I have been doing some knitting. I made another mousy.
This is Ice Princess Mousy.
This is before assembly. She has sparkly balls on her head.

I have started a Stripe Study shawl with my Georgian Bay Fiber BFL- and I was trying to think what the darker red pink reminded me of.

Remember those strawberry marshmallows? The kind that you can only eat a few of?

And I know you want a critter pic- this is my new pet bunny:
He's a baby that lives in the backyard.  I haven't seen his mummy, so I hope he isn't orphaned.

Ok- fleecin' until next time.

*answer- The Big Lebowski when they are arranging Donny's funeral.

Monday, July 7, 2014

My 4th Tour De Fleece

Tour de Fleece started on Saturday.  For those of you that are not familiar, it is an event that runs concurrently with the Tour de France, and you spin and rest on the same days as the race. It is great fun, and an excuse to challenge yourself with spinning.  The first 2 I did, I burned myself out, but I am setting a reasonable goal. Besides, when the weather is hot, what better than being inside where it's cool, and spinning some yarn?
Tino is my mascot. Howard eats fibre, and is thereby disqualified.
Saturday was gorgeous, and we went for a drive to Lake Rosseau.  I wanted to visit Georgian Bay Fibre Company, and I sure wasn't disappointed. Carla has a repurposed shipping container for her shop, and just look at all the amazing colours.
I got some of her BFL fingering weight for a shawl, and these pinks are limited edition colours for the summer.  I also got 2 braids of fiber- it is TdF after all.  They have a little Bichon, Tosh, and it was wonderful meeting them and seeing her setup.  Her colours are inspired by the landscapes of Northern Ontario- and Muskoka is truly beautiful.  What could be better?

 I finished some socks for Mr. Man.
 I made this adorable mousie- the pattern is here, and is alot of fun.
And  the boys have made a bed out of my basket that has my handspun and quilting projects.  I didn't have the heart to serve them with eviction papers.

Ok- fleecin' out for now.