The Calm Before The Storm

swatches Going through a burst of ideas is walking the razor’s edge. On the one hand, you get a bunch of ideas and you’re super excited to try them all right now. On the other hand, for me at least, I can get frustrated because my fingers can’t work as fast as the ideas come. Especially when one of those ideas doesn’t go as easily as I hoped, I spend a lot of time on it, and still it doesn’t work the exact way I want.

I think part of the reason that I’ve had a flurry of ideas lately (which I’m all really excited about) is because I’m in a bit of a lull. I have four patterns in varying states – two currently in testing, and two just waiting for the yarn to arrive so I can cast on. I have another that I’m still stubbornly trying to figure out the math on, and two more that are in the drafting stages (one’s going better than the other). That’s a lot of things up in the air, and quite a few patterns (for me anyway) in the drafting stage at one time. I have nothing to actually knit and work on, so my mind is freed up a bit to think more about possibilities than hard concrete projects that are in process.

So, it’s a double edged sword – lots of ideas, but nothing that I’m actually knitting, which makes me feel slightly antsy. Which is why I’ve been a swatching machine lately.

I actually quite enjoy swatching. I get to see how a yarn will react with a particular pattern before I cast on, and I can work out ideas beforehand and see if they need adjusting so I don’t have to do it while I’m making the finished piece (I hate ripping things out, and will avoid it at all costs). It’s nice to finish a swatch too and have a tiny finished piece that didn’t take a lot of time, but still gives me the satisfaction of doing something.

Some day I’ll make the most epic (and possibly ugly) blanket out of all these swatches I have lying around.

Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival Special for Dappled Shade

Are you going to the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival this weekend? Be sure to look up Hearthside Fibers, the yarn sponsor for Dappled Shade, and get a card with a special discount code for the pattern when it’s released!

This coupon code will give you 30% off the price of the pattern, and will only be available to those who visit Lael & Larry at their booth, so be sure to stop by, check them out, and get some of their gorgeous yarn for yourself (seriously, the Champagne Lace is to die for).

Coming Soon: Dappled Shade

Dappled Shade Preview

This upcoming pattern is the embodiment of my garden to me. This time of year is a little bittersweet, because while I’m looking forward to the things that fall bring (mostly warm knits and a house that isn’t sweltering), in my neck of the woods autumn is a relatively small part of the year, and it means the onslaught of winter is coming. Not to be all Game of Thrones about it, but winter can be pretty brutal around these parts.

I made Dappled Shade so I could keep something that reminded me of summer all year round. I’m a big gardener, have been for many years, and I love the play of light that falls through the foliage of my plants. It changes second to second, constantly creating new patterns and shapes, and I wanted something that translated that interplay of light into something wearable. So I came up with Dappled Shade.

It’s a stole/shawl/scarf (a common theme with me for something to be more than one use), and it’s equally lovely as an every day scarf, or a stole for special occasions. It’s knit on a bias, and features two different lace stitches with garter stitch highlights.

I’m planning on keeping it close through the coming winter months, so I can feel like I have a little bit of my garden with me. The count down to gardening season begins as soon as the first frost hits.

The pattern page is located here, and it’ll be updated as soon as the pattern goes live on September 22nd.


Side note: I now have a newsletter! It’ll be low-volume (once every two months, going up to potentially once a month at the most), and your email will be secure and never sold. I’ll have early upcoming previews, interesting tidbits, and special discounts on patterns for subscribers. Scroll to the bottom of any page, or sign up via the form to the right.

Coming Aug 20 – Inis Oírr!

Inis Oirr

I’m excited to announce that Inis Oírr will be available for free through Knotions on August 20th! I’m really pleased with this pattern, and hope you all will be too. Stay tuned, I’ll link to the actual pattern page on Knotions on August 20th, but until then you can head over to Ravelry and like and queue it there.

You can also go over to the Hot Right Now page on Ravelry, where Inis Oirr is sitting pretty at #2.

inisoirrHRN

3 Knits & Some Scones

Lots of goings on lately! I have a thing on the needles (to be self-published in a few months), some yarn coming for a few more planned projects, and yesterday I did a photo shoot for a pattern to be published around November.

The photo shoot went really well, and I’m quite happy. We trekked down to a somewhat muddy, boggy area under the largest bridge in town in order to take the shots – it was a great location, and I’m really happy with the shots. Although, it was a bit of a challenge shooting around all the greenery. Since the pattern is going out in late fall (or if you’re in Alberta – winter), I wanted to create an autumnal feel as best I could while still shooting outdoors. I was moderately successful, thanks in part to my model being a real sport about putting on some layers in the 25C heat and shooting with a big giant woolen shawl.

I can’t show you any of those photos (yet), so instead here’s a thistle:

Marsh Thistle

I believe it’s actually marsh thistle, as opposed to our more pervasive Canada thistle, mostly due to the area we found it. Marsh thistle prefers the muddy, semi-forested area we were in, while Canada thistle prefers disturbed, dry ground in a sunny location. Whichever it is, both are invasive in Alberta, and you can see them growing all over the place, sometimes choking out the native plant life.

So, it’s bad. But, I love it anyway. I love the colours (although I’m generally not a purple person), but mostly I love how tough these things are. Delicate little plumes on leaves that will scratch the hell out of you if you’re tromping through in shorts (as I was yesterday!). Pollinators love them too. It’s a plant that has a lot of duality in it, which I appreciate.

It’s actually inspired yet another knit I have charted out, and one for which the yarn is currently on its way to me to knit after I’ve completed the one I’m currently working on.

Speaking of which, because it’s fun and I haven’t been able to do it with the aforementioned pattern that I went on the shoot for yesterday, here’s a little progress photo of what I have been working on, that I’ve named Dappled Shade.

Dappled Shade

The way the lace and the garter stitch rows work together remind me of the dappled shade in my garden – shadows cast onto the ground by my many (many!) tomato, corn, and bean plants. It’s being knit with Hearthside Fibers champagne lace, which is a really lovely delicate yarn.

I’m actually doing this pattern a bit more by the seat of my pants than I normally do. Generally I chart, and chart, and chart. Then I swatch, and swatch, and swatch. And then, finally, I knit. This one I picked the lace I wanted to incorporate into it and just cast on and went for it. A bit of a different method of me, but I’m really enjoying it. That’s not to say I’ll be doing it that way from now on, but sometimes it just works better that way, so you have to roll with the punches.

So that’s the three knits I’m currently working on, but the other thing tickling my fancy lately is…

Baking.

Cheese SconesSeriously, I’m not a baker. But I’ve been reading about the chemical processes lately (especially with bread baking), and I think I might be ready to delve in. But really the inspiration for this had been The Great British Bake Off, which I’ve been watching.

I don’t know what possessed me to start watching it really, I don’t like cooking or baking shows, but I absolutely fell in love with it and it inspired me to get my hands in some dough.

That’s not to say I’ve never baked before, I make a pretty mean Irish Soda Bread, but nothing much more complicated than that. Last week I made these cheese scones, which are full of butter and fat and are delicious. I actually got the recipe from a co-worker at a newspaper I worked at years ago, but never really mastered them and gave up. Last week, after feeling like I learned a thing or two about baking, I tried them again and was met with pretty good success.

Friday night I made an orange loaf, and while I feel like I could have baked it a bit longer, and put more orange zest in it, it was also pretty successful.

Not to be content with just those two, I’ve decided next weekend I’m going to try a bread. A real bread, yeast, kneading, and all. It might be extremely disappointing, but I’m keeping it very, very simple just to get the feel of it.

Also, I think I’ll like kneading and knocking back white a bit. Anything where I can punch and slap things around therapeutically is right up my alley.

Stay tuned, this blog might start to incorporate a lot more baking than I had ever imagined.