It’s not fair.

The weather that is. We had a Winter that would not go away, a topsy turvy summer and now a chilly Fall?!? IT’S NOT FAIR!

I will break out the handknits before I'll accept wearing my warmer coat. What is with this weird cold Fall? #toosoon #signsoffall

This weather has made me quite rebellious. So rebellious that I’ve been wearing some of my hand knit sweaters this past week (which I never do for varying reasons). I will wear ALL the handknits before I switch to my warmer coat. It’s TOO EARLY!

I bought a sheep…sort of

Yes, I went to the Twist Fibre Festival in Saint-André-Avellin last weekend. It may seem strange but this was actually my first time at such an event. Maybe that’s weird considering how relatively close Montreal is to some of the major ones? I never really had much of a desire to go, and in the past few years, it been out of my holiday budget.

However, I’ve had an idle interest in getting a good quality fleece to play with since I dug out the rather dirty Outaouais Arcott I’ve had for a while and started processing.

And after having such a lovely visit with Kathy Chapdelaine a few weeks prior, I had pretty much made up my mind that going to Twist would be a good idea. Not exactly like going to Rheinbeck, but a good place to start.

So Saturday after work, I hopped on the Metro & met up with my brother & rode all the way to the other end of the line. We took a bus out to Fairview Point-Claire & got a ride from the friends we were staying with who have a small farm near Rigaud, who were also interested in going to Twist to check out the animals.

We got to the festival around lunch time on Sunday. The festival was indoors, inside the community’s hockey arena. At first it didn’t seem like it was that big of a festival, but we it took quite some time for us to make our way through them all.

Jon and I spent a lot of time looking through the books and spinning accessories at the Gemini Fibres booth. He had ordered some hard to find knitting books from them in the past. I probably would have bought some hand cards or other spinning accessories if I didn’t have them already and took a good look at the lazy kates they had. I also looked through their spinning books, but didn’t see much in the “so you’ve been spinning for 5ish years and want to level up” category. Of course this might have been because we were there on the last day.

We stopped and chatted with Céline from La Maison Tricotée here in Montreal and Jon chatted with Julie from La Julie Factrie in Nicolet, QC, both former Effiloché colleagues. Later we also chatted with Kathy & David of Domaine Chambord & saw pictures of his latest rope braiding machine which was pretty cool.

I was happy to see that Céline carries Jamieson & Smith as well as some other hand-dye brands that I have recently come across online Hedgehog Fibres and Jill Draper Makes Stuff.

The yarns at the Absolute Shetland booth were really nice, but it was kind of crowded and I moved on after a bit. Jon bought 2 skeins of their pale & charcoal grey Shetland to make some stranded mittens with. It’s really nice stuff.

From Trailhead Yarns

My first purchase of the day was from Trailhead Yarns & Fibre (who seem to be setting up their online presence). I bought some lovely purple Correidale roving & a screen printed project bag.

I was pretty surprised that most of the roving or top I saw for sale was Merino. There weren’t a lot of other sheep represented which I thought was too bad. But again this could have been because it was Sunday afternoon.

From l'atelier de Pénélope booth

I also bought some really nice 38-count linen from L’atelier de Pénélope and some great neon BFL sock yarn from the Violette Yarn Co. booth.

Super BFL Sock

And my big purchase of the day (mostly because of the size) was this amazing fleece from Hopeful Shetlandsfrom Embro, ON, who seemed to me to be the only ones with raw fleeces for sale. And I was kind of surprised at how many they still had. Though maybe there just aren’t that many spinners?

She had 3 really lovely darker wool fleeces that attracted me right away, one was a BFL Shetland cross, the other two were different shades of Shetland. But I had a hard time deciding which fleece to get, especially as I have no experience in what to look for in a fleece other than it would be nice for it to be cleaner than the Outaouais Arcott fleece I already have. In the end I ended up picking out a different, lighter grey fleece altogether which was so nice that I said “Woooooooooow!” as I unfurled it on my floor to take pictures. I think it will be an amazing first fleece to play with.

I bought a sheep

Want to know how to get immediate cred at a fibre festival? Walk around with a big bag of fleece. It seemed to be a conversation starter for the rest of our visit. This probably would have been more of a normal sight at a bigger deal festival.

Bag 'o' sheep, memories from Twist 2014. #weekendinthecountry #fibredweeb

In the artisanal area, we spent a lot of time at the Infuse booth, from Sutton QC, hearing about they traditional folding & dyeing techniques she uses to make the wonderful motifs on her scarves. I’m often drawn to the soft, light hues that result from working with natural dyes.

Jon also chatted with the woman from Meliooa about the process for her crocheted toques.

We spent some time looking at the animals out front and solved the mystery of the angora goat. We stopped at an LCBO & casse-croûte in Ontario before getting a ride back to Fairview to catch the commuter train back into Montreal.

Imports from Ontario. I better start working on the house cocktail list. #travelontario #weekendinthecountry Lunch break. #travelOntario

Waiting for a train. #weekendinthecountry #cicadachorus

Overall a nice weekend excursion to the country. And I have plenty of fluff to keep me busy for quite a while.

Recent Acquisitions

Somehow in the past few weeks, without much intention to, my fibre and yarn stashes have grown somewhat. Since I currently work as a yarn shop girl, it is an occupational hazard for some yarn & fabric to follow me home, I’ve been very good about it (for the most part).

But besides a ball or two of sock yarn, or a few meters of fabric now & again, I really haven’t added much to my stashed materials in a big way for quite a while. The stash is already quite healthy enough. Most recent additions in the past few years have been from visits to shops while travelling. And this month started like that too.

First of the acquisitions were from a recent trip to the county. While my parents were visiting in early August, we all went out to stay at a house in country near Cookshire-Eaton, QC for a few days.

Without fully intending to, we managed to work in a trip to a small yarn shop to round out our day of cheese tasting, junk shop scrounging & ice cream eating. Because my Mom needed some needles to knit mittens with, we ended up seeking out La Shoppe de Laine in Moe’s River, QC. And I’m very happy that we did.

I guess I should say that this isn’t really a typical yarn shop, mostly because the shop is located in an out building on the farm where Kathy and David raise a variety of animals and have yarn produced from their coats.

While the shop does stock some commercial & locally dyed selections which my Mom was drawn to (she loves angora), I had trouble selecting which of Chambord yarns I was going to buy. In the end I went with a skein of Rambouillet & a skein of Shetland/Baby Doll blend.

Chambord Shetland/Baby Doll Chambord Rambouillet

Also stored in the shop was raw fibre waiting to be processed & spun. Kathy mentioned that she was preparing for the upcoming Twist Fibre Festival and sold me some Lincoln Longwool Locks & raw Rambouillet fleece sort of as a preview to the festival.

Loose Lincoln Locks Rambouillet Raw Fleece

We also got to see some of her husband’s collection of Victorian sock knitting machines that had been set up with dates and information about each machine. He collects & refurbishes the antique machinery and also makes socks & leg warmers for sale. We stayed and chatted for about an hour & even met one of her cashmere goats.

Overall a wonderful discovery.

I think I’ll leave our visit to Twist Festival to another post.

The Secret Language of Hexagons

Once in a while, there’s something in a movie or TV show which will catch my eye. I secretly love when crafting is referenced in pop culture, even in jest.

Heck, I even get excited when really nice handmades gets used as set dressing or costumes (Juno had some awesome sweater vests).

Most recently I noticed this amazing crocheted hexagon blanket while re-watching Wayne’s World for the first time in a loooong time.

I’m sure the average set dresser saw this as the usual ugly granny square blanket that would live in the typical basement rec room. But these be some truly bodacious granny hexagons!

There’s also this wonderful scrappy hexagon quilt used in the movie About Time.

It’s hard to tell from this picture that the fabric here is more than the usual printed cottons. There are some velvets used as well which makes me think this was probably built from old clothing scraps. Oh and nice hexagons too right?

What’s the big deal with hexagons you ask?

Current piece

Well, back in 2009 is when I first became enamoured with the shape. It began with the Jelly Bean Afghan early in the year and continued with the Hexagonal Quilt sometime over the summer.

Little did I know the effect these projects would have on me.

You see hexagons are kind of spectacular. They are one of three regular polygons that can be used to make regular tilings, but somehow don’t seem to be used that much. Or so I thought.

Once I started working with the shape, I began to notice it everywhere. And they are truly EVERYWHERE once you start noticing them. Those who know me in real life have likely noticed me whisper “hexagon” to myself, and perhaps take a picture of something random with no further explanation. Or even with too much explanation. It’s become my own meme of sorts.

At some point I started collecting the results of my personal hexagon scavenger hunt over on Pinterest. Many of the images are snapshots taken while travelling. I’ve had friends and coworkers forward me links to projects, products, articles and images based on their use of hexagons. It’s that kind of thing.

Most often I come across a wonderful old hexagon tiled floor. But strangely enough, hexagons also get used in futuristic settings too. Used in Amazing Spider-Man films (I haven’t seen 2 yet, but it shows up in search results).

And another thing

In the last few years, the infrequent things I’ve posted have mostly been finished things. Or at least I intended to post them. There’s been a lot of catch up. While my making of things hasn’t waned over the years, my reporting of them has. Which makes me reflect on what my intentions are in this space. I have been quite out of the habit of blogging for quite sometime and yet I can’t quite bring myself to call it quits entirely.

Crafty blogs have been quite important to me over the years, which is why I felt the need to start one up in the first place. Even when I haven’t been actively participating by sharing my own content, I have endeavoured to keep up with what other crafters have been posting and taking inspiration from that. Mostly, I read blogs though I rarely comment. It’s tricky when you follow a bunch of them. And commenting is one of the more frustrating experiences to try and do from a smartphone. I don’t intentionally lurk, but effectively I do.

Communities demand a certain amount of participation of their members in order to survive. And as I’ve become a big time smartphone user in the past few years, I’ve shifted to using more immediate forms of posting short commentary snippets, Twitter and Instagram mostly. So that’s satisfied my need to share things in the short term.

While this sharing is more immediate, impulsive and rewarding (with likes & favourites), it’s also less focused or detailed. Twitter & Instagram have been about whatever I’m doing at the moment, and thus not much about crafting. And I find I no longer am keeping track of many details of my projects. I start things to have something to work on. Finish them and use them. I might take pictures & try to remember when I worked on it to put something in Ravelry or on Flickr, eventually. Or often I won’t. Which is fine. Life moves on, we all understand.

But I kind of miss it. I miss delving into the detail of my inspiration. I miss sharing my excitement over a newly learned technique. I miss feeling connected to people who are maybe actually interested in hearing my rambling details of what changes I made to a pattern, or understand why handmade quilts make for the best naps. I miss being a contributing member to community that has been important to me.

And there has been no real reason for me to have stopped.


Now I’ll ramble a bit about a sweater I’m currently working on.

Garter stitch beginings

Back in May, I finished knitting a shawl (I’ll maybe tell you about it sometime). Once the end of the border was grafted to it’s beginning, and it took up it’s current residency on my coffee table, I begun swatching for Candlewick.

I have had this yarn and patterned picked out for sometime. I probably bought this yarn back in May/June 2012 after finishing the Audrey in Unst I knit using Briggs and Little sport (and never posted about).

This is one of the few times that I think I’ve purchased yarn with a specific pattern in mind. And I even started swatching right away. I don’t recall why this was put aside. I probably just got busy at work and continued with something that was further along and didn’t need as much thinking.

Or maybe I was cross stitching? I don’t remember.

Finished back & right front beginnings

Fast forward to May. I knit some new swatches, managed to find the right gauge with this yarn (2.75mm needle). Cast on for the back. Made sure to check the measurements in the schematic and compared them to my new favourite cardigan. And just this morning I finished the back and started on the right front.

Can I tell you something? I am in LOVE with this yarn! 40% Merino, 30% Organic Cotton and 30% New Zealand Possum fibre. I was intrigued by the possum and it’s just knitting up to make a beautiful fabric. There’s a great squishiness to the garter-stitch borders.

It’s too early to really tell, but this might just be the hand-knit sweater that I’ll finally wear. This could even become a favourite sweater (I hope I didn’t jinx anything).

So here’s to getting back into the habit of things.

Mitten Repair Shop

I’ve found myself repairing some knitwear recently. The last few days have been spent working on repairing some wonderful fair isle gloves friends of mine brought back from a trip to Iceland last year. While these gloves are really well knit, they’re a bit delicate for the inescapable winter chore of shovelling snow. Well inescapable for most Canadians.

While fixing these gloves, I found myself returning to the long avoided task of fixing my father’s fair isle mittens which succumbed to a similar fate. I knit these mittens as a Christmas present back over the ’11-’12 holiday break. My dad loved these mittens and I quickly heard back about how wonderfully warm they were, perfect for an Edmonton winter (which is a true test for hand knit accessories).

The downside to knitting these “ultimate” mittens was that my dad wore them for all of his outdoor winter activities, including shovelling the driveway. After 1.5 winters, the exceedingly soft alpaca that they are made from was worn through on many parts and I had to figure out how to fix them.

While I found it wonderful that my dad loved his mittens so much that he was wearing them all the time, it was heart wrenching to see how roughly these mittens had been used. I decided the best way to fix them was to reknit the tops of the mittens & thumbs, not a problem as there was plenty of yarn left over from the first time around.

But there was a bigger problem that was causing me to delay this repair. Sure, I could fix them, but in another year or so, I’ll be fixing them again. I could be set for Christmas presents for life, re-knitting mittens for my dad every year. As much of a hard time as gift shopping can be, I’d rather not knit the same thing year after year.

So the real fix is a bit more that perpetually re-knitting some mittens, it’s the creation of a mitten system. Yes, I am fixing this pair of already beloved mittens, but I’m also going to knit a second pair of “work” mittens out of a more hard wearing yarn. Alpaca is quite soft and warm, but the average Canadian snow shoveller requires fibre that is a bit tougher. Some sturdy wool mittens that will felt rather than fray with the reality of everyday winter chores.

So…what exactly happened in 2013?

Clearly last year’s efforts to try and post projects from 2012 bogged down any kind of posting about more current projects from 2013. So I’m going to do one mega post in point form of what the heck I made last year. Some of these projects have more pictures, feel free to click through to Flickr and have a look around.

SEWING 2013

I made 2 giant yellow tote bags.

Finally finished making a box bag from a thousand years ago.

Made a baby box bag out of the leftover yellow fabric and sent it to my Mom with the previously mentioned gianormous tote. She uses it to keep all her lipsticks together.

Made a set of 3 box bags as a birthday present for my friend Susie.

Started piecing a quilt. Finished the top, sandwiched it around Easter and slowly hand quilted most of it during the rest of the year. I have 4 blocks left to go.

Finally put button holes in 2 shirt dresses. I used the button hole attachment for my old Singer Featherweight. The resulting button holes are really nice.

Almost finished another shirt dress.
Made a 3rd version of Vogue 8728 for myself, with added side seam pockets and contrasting bias edging (didn’t have quite enough yardage).
Made 2 versions of the Amy Butler mini dress for my Mom. Cut out and coached her to sew number 3.
Almost finished sewing DKNY Vogue V1160, again for my Mom. Got stymied on the last step, rolled hem in polyester chiffon. Still have to finish that.
I paused sewing here for a while. Too much sweatshop sewing this summer.
Worked on the ever-growing hand pieced hexagons here and there.

Then did some Hawaiian appliqué during Christmas holidays. I finished a block I’d begun last year, and made it halfway through another block.

SPINNING 2013

I finished spinning a batt I’d started in 2012 (I think). Aspen Grove Farm Batt purchased in Lunenburg during our 2012 summer trip to the Maritimes.
Then I started spinning another batt purchased from Lettuce Knit during a weekend trip to Toronto. It’s still waiting on my wheel for me to finish it.

KNITTING 2013

This was the year of the striped baby blanket. I made 3, and have given away 2. I really like the colour combo on the 3rd one, but fear that most people might find it too ugly? And the 3rd baby’s Dad is a big Montreal Canadians fan…



I started a Damson shawl, then put it away for bad behaviour (not enough yarn and too ugly).

I knit the 2nd Cladonia shawl for my Mom.

I made myself some “early Winter mittens” to wear from 0°C to -15°C, then it’s time for stranded mittens to take over. I started these as cable on the side mittens, but didn’t like them. So I switched to a knit from the top pattern.

I participated in the Westknits Color Craving Mystery Shawl, which ended up kind of giant.

I finally finished my Koigu Pomatomuses. These were going to be flip top, and I did make one of the tops. Then I decided I would find the tops more annoying than useful, so finished them as is.

I decided that after five Winters of wearing the same beret, it was time for a new Winter hat. After scouring all the slouchy cable patterns I could find, I finally settled on Rosebud. And then I knit 2.


I started some leg warmers over the holidays which are still in progress.
And I think that’s everything. Phew.

I made a shawl once.

Begun in the summer of 2012, finished early in 2013 and now eventually blogged in 2014.

Finished & blocked shawl

Left side of shawl

Shawl detail

Right curve of shawl

Pattern: Cladonia by Kirsten Kapur
Materials: Fleece Artist Peter Rabbit & Handmaiden Great Big Sea
Start Date: July 28, 2012
End Date: August 17, 2012
Blocked: February 8, 2013

I made this shawl for my Mom, out of yarn she selected during our trip to the Maritimes in 2012. There’s another version of this shawl with nearly the same yarns in blues that I knit for her in 2013.

I had cast on a version for myself in some non-fluffy yarns, but it sat unfinished for long enough and I finally frogged it last week along with some other long-standing unfinished lace projects.