First Post 2017

I am all lit up for reams more crafting this year! As if I needed any incentive, this will be my first full year participating in Eat.Sleep.Knit’s ‘Yarnathon’ 2017. The team at ESK put together an inspiring number of events, geared for a wide range of crafters. Our theme this year is ‘Candyland’. My 2016 team – the Starsheep – won 1st in the overall standings and I’m looking forward to another great year with the Peppermint Ponies this year.

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My queue will be monopolized with much ESK competitive and achievement knit and crochet because… competitive 🙂 Y’all know about winning the pair of socks in less than 24 hours x2 story. The year long project is ‘Persian Dreams‘ and the Q1 project is any pattern designed by Melanie Berg, one of my favourite designers. I’m currently yarnless in Ottawa – says the woman with a +700 skein stash – but I’ve ordered my Q1 yarn for ‘Moonraker‘  and hope to start next week. I’m still planning colours for ‘Persian Dreams’. Mine will be non-traditional shades so as to coordinate with my very Zen household colour scheme.

I’m continuing to work away at ‘Side Effect‘ to kill time and stashbust until my Q1 package arrives; soon to pick up the sleeves and I’ll work at the 2016 WIP stragglers as attention span permits. I am very pleased at how many FO’s I was able to complete this past year, with several items gifted and some sold in my Etsy shop. I found that embracing some new (to me) techniques made finishing SO much faster, much more enjoyable and definitely was a factor in getting things off the needles and 100% complete. I may be adding the ‘Product’ card to my ‘Process‘ wallet after all these years!

I’ll be updating the tab at the top of the page with all of  my 2016 projects a little later and I hope you’ll pop back to check them out – most are linked to Ravelry, if you’re looking for construction details – which reminds me! If you’re a Ravver, feel free to add me. I’m KeiB / Pointe Shoes Punk Rock And Purl. If you aren’t a Ravver and have trouble viewing any of those green italic links to projects, send me a message (tab above) and I’ll be happy to adjust settings for you – I sometimes forget to make them public.

Merry Christmas & Blessed Yule

Baking like a maniac today, family arrives tomorrow, love and happiness ensue!

From my home to yours, have a Blessed Yule, Merry Christmas and may all the joy of this season be yours ❤

santa

Source: http://giphy.com/gifs/christmas-santa-squeeze-l41YaWrBaLybnkQbm

If Starting New Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right

Eep! Started this post a week ago and never finished it either ~ Startitis is strong with this one! ~ Anyway, I’m not going to waste a perfectly good draft so here’s the beginning and I’ll pick up the thread pun definitely intended, further on.

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Startitis

I have a low-level version of this all the time but – holy crap! – it’s out of control right now.

I’m trying to maintain my usual circuit knitting method, going back and forth so that all is eventually finished but there’s just too much shiny in my queue and items I want to finish to take with me to Retreat in a few weeks.

My Starburst hat is finished, just need to buy some balloons to block it out to its proper Rasta dimensions, a Solace cardi, and a KeiB Design crochet project (for more ESK badges) and my Dulce de Leche, also poor, sleeveless Ruisseaux – so close and yet so far.

So, I’ve pretty much psyched myself out with my own nonsense and the perfect remedy for that? Start a crochet project of course!

I’m working on Kleine Blümchen, a lovely, filet-crochet shawl in some newly acquired (Shush now!) Malabrigo Sock on “Lotus”. It’s flying off the hook and I love it – can I say that? This one I’m keeping for me 🙂

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So, Kleine Blümchen is finished and submitted for achievement points in the 2016 Yarnathon, the other projects are on a temporary hold while I try and sneak in one more points-worthy project: Aurora Borealis Scarf / Stole. It’ll then be time to start organizing and packing for Needler’s Retreat 2016. Woot! I can’t believe it’s that time again and am especially grateful to be participating this year as I’m going on scholarship. Feeling very fortunate indeed. Follows are the photos of KB Shawl and Frozen Lake shawl – finished for some time but just blocked. Poor Starburst hat is still not blocked but I did buy the balloons I need to block it properly and finish! 🙂

Kleine Blümchen Shawl:

Frozen Lake Shawl Details:

Provisional Parlance

My two most current WIP’s use a provisional cast on and I thought I’d share a little pictorial of how I do it. My favourite of the many provisional cast on methods is the crochet method and it’s one of many reasons that I think every knitter should have some basic crochet skills – there’s lots of time to entice you to the dark side!

There are two crochet-type methods, the most common is where you create a chain length and then pick up your stitches in the back bump of each chain stitch. This is a perfectly serviceable method but even as an experienced Hookster, I find dealing with a long, floppy bit of string to be a pain. I think it would give a novice the vapours!

For control, neatness and ease – once you’ve practised just a little – the “crochet on” method works best for me and I think would be easier to manage for beginners or entrenched knitters. It does require two “sticks” and works stitches in a knitting-type way, so is a more familiar feel. When done the way I do, there is lots of room to correct stitch count before beginning to work with your project yarn without having to rip out and start over. If you’re as OCD as I am, this method really fits the bill.

Below is a photo infographic with notes of how I work this cast on. I can’t be sure if anyone else does it like this, I haven’t seen it in any tutorials or pictorials, so I’ll call this tweaked version “Kei’s Crochet Provisional Cast On”. You’ll need to click the individual photo in order to read the full text of the instructions 🙂

I hope this is as clear as I think it is and if you are trying this out, feel free to message me if you have a question – there’s a “message me” email button up top there ↑

You will find that you very quickly gain a rhythm with this, using your forefinger to move the yarn from the front of the last stitch made and around to the back for the next one. I like giving myself the insurance of a couple extra chains even if I wind up not needing it and the added control that the beginning tab gives me for those first few stitches.

I’m using a ChiaoGoo circular needle, a Prym hook and a smooth cotton fingering weight (a scrap, don’t remember the brand). Smooth cottons are ideal for any provisional cast on.

Hope this will help someone out!

Cheers all! 🙂

FO Friday ~ Jungle Superhero Pram Blanket

Off the hook and going soon to Mama, Papa and Baby.
My project notes are on Ravelry -> here <-

JSPB’s portfolio:

I’ve been somewhat AWOL the last couple of weeks. Mostly to be sure JSPB was finished but also am participating in Yarn Love’s Castra KAL and test knitting a shawl for my friend Anja (it’s interesting and fun – you’ll want it 🙂 ).and will have an update later this week.

I’m working hard supporting the ‘Save Mooney’s Bay‘ community group and this is my priority at the moment.

A member created this wonderful Youtube video that hits the highlights and provides a link where you can add your voice. Your support would be very appreciated.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! 🙂

Make It Monday ~ Late

I am introverting so hard the last few weeks – sorry for not being more interactive with everyone. Even posting feels like a chore lately.

I do have an FO. My ‘Gothic Starfish‘ afghan is finally finished and ready for gifting. Love the end result but so damn glad this is done! It started as a “let’s use this up” and quickly escalated to a “No-o-o-o! I need to buy more acrylic!” Anyway. It’s perfect for its new home and hopefully, I’ll have pix soon of this eclectic piece in its eclectic house.

I’m working on Le Scarabée Bleu and Brise d’été and loving them both. I can work in the back garden now – it’s tidy, old picnic table gone, shrubs shrubbing, flowers flowering and I have a pretty nook to sit at while I knit, hook and daydream – hence my absence from the Interwebs. I can’t recommend strongly enough unplugging, it’s such a gift!

Victoria Day weekend was amazing – more soul restoring with my Bestie and I’ve been getting my butt to the other side of town for ‘Sit ‘n Knit’ at my LYS, Yarn Forward. At this rate, I may even make it to Guild meetings!  I haven’t written a darn thing, nor do I miss it or care – not so much ‘writer’s block’ as ‘this writer don’t give a crap’ – so liberating! My books are still on Amazon and I don’t have to stress about the devolving of WordPress for poets and authors. More time to do the things that make me happy. Win!

I hope your summer is humming along beautifully and feel free to say hi on Ravelry or Instagram – I’m there more often because they’re ‘quick and dirty’ for posting 🙂

À plus tard!

DIY And WIP

Still not anything on the FO front – spring restlessness and the call of the garden are working a different kind of creative spell 🙂

My poor, poor Rheinlust has suffered some ‘dino damage’! A needle pulled out and I don’t have the patience just yet to tackle dropped twisted stitches. I will, but right now, it’s not happening. I have to fibre so snagged another of Hélène’s patterns, ‘Brise d’été‘ and went stash diving for the right yarn. I came up with a cobweb weight, hand dyed, 100% silk from ‘No Two Snowflakes’.

I’m terrified! I’m still far more enthusiast than expert with my crochet and I rarely knit with cobweb weight – dammit Jim! I’m a maker, not a masochist! So far though, it’s coming out okay and I’m a process stick handler so it’s all about that anyway 🙂 The NTS has a silky hand, subtle sheen and the colour is beautiful.

On the house front, the gardens are coming along well. I had promised myself no plant purchases this year – funds and needing to see how last year’s fill in being the reason – but… I have a few more heuchera and sedum coming and some mini bee balm to keep the bees happy. My living room long term plan got a wee bump up too – curse you Ikea how I love you! The bookcases I’ve had my eye on went on sale and it’s so rare, I decided to go for it. The last bit should be finished by the weekend, super happy that it’s working out for use of space and scale in my little nest 🙂

My Mother’s Day was wonderful as always because… my kids ❤ and my own Mumma ❤ and I hope the same for all the mums who read here.

And here are a few pix of of the WIP’s both wool and wood:

 

Hi! :)

That’s as catchy a title as I can come up with and I agonized over it, believe me!

No FO’s just yet although my ‘Duane Park Triangle‘ shawl is blocking as I type – cursed thing. Remind me to never commit to a pattern that is all garter stitch again. Even the pretty Zen String yarns that I used couldn’t save my attitude by the end.

Happier WIP’s are my ‘Gothic Starfish‘ afghan. It just needs a few rows of black border and it will be out the door to live on my daughter’s purple sofa and my ‘Rheinlust‘ shawl, which I am madly in love with; all twisted stitches and Wollmeise goodness. This is not to say that I now love Wollmeise, I still prefer other yarn bases a LOT but it’s perfect in this pattern.

With spring finally here for real, I’m working hard on my little house and the gardens. Replaced the old mailbox with one that’ll match my new screen door when it goes up and the dead doorbell is on today’s agenda for a new wireless one. Good friends adopted my old wooden picnic table for their cottage and I now have room for an elf-size gazebo in the back garden. Lots of leafy clean up to do before that goes up but it’ll make a lovely outdoor retreat. My little office is coming along too, I just finished the assembly yesterday and am moving files, supplies and all that stuff that’s been living in my kitchen to its proper home.

Finally have my ‘Leaf’ set up and it’s keeping me honest about my exercise goals or err… honest about how much I fool myself! Apparently, knitting does NOT burn many calories… A terrible oversight on the part of our physiology IMHO. Saying goodbye to another dear family member and some irksome ‘girl’ health issues just lately have me wanting to get back to my former athletic self or a reasonable facsimile! I can say that deleting a few of my social media accounts has been a HUGE benefit in terms of stress relief. I mean really? How connected does one woman have to be, right?! 😉

With that, here’s pictorial ‘skinny’ on all of the things :):

Oh! And THIS! A month or so ago, I stabbed my finger with some wicked sharp scissors when I was lifting staples from the back of a painting… I couldn’t even look as I tugged them out and did the first aid thing. Knitting and blocking were really hard for a week or two and now I have a scar! Apparently, I haven’t outgrown this stage…

 

FO Friday ~ Tuscan Medallion Afghan

Not only am I hooked on crochet just lately; I seem to also be a little “star struck” 🙂 ‘Tuscan Medallion’ is another star-shaped afghan, this one with twelve points and big! TMA was started specifically to liberate some old Zen String Bliss Aran from yarn incarceration and to use some odd ball colours of Cascade 220. I was a little leery about the combo at the start – the ZS variegated isn’t “my” colours but as it grew, it did seem a little like some of the pretty tile work that I’m drawn to ie: kitchen backsplash renos on Pinterest! My project notes for this one are on Ravelry -> here <-

TMA’s portfolio:

The additional Cherub DK that I need to finish up ‘Gothic Starfish‘ has finally arrived and I’m back at it to try to wrap it up and get it out the door to the owner of the purple sofa.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! 🙂

Signs Of Spring

Someone needs to tell my next door neighbour to stop lifting weights outdoors. So far, I’ve planted a flip-flop, watered my picnic table and mulched the recycle bins!

My day yesterday ^ as spring is here in full, bringing flowers, motorcycles, sunshine and shorts back to The Capital.

I also managed to block my ‘Jacaranda Shawl‘. This felt like an accomplishment as the blasted spring cold I’ve had refuses to bugger off.  ‘Jac’ has come off the blocking board large but light weight and was a great way to use up some very pretty stash.

Jacaranda Shawl’s portfolio:

It’s technically WIP Wednesday but technically, I’ve had WIP’s since I was five or six! Hopefully, some of those – even the dead boring ‘Duane Park Triangle’ will be done by next week. Could this Process Knitter be changing her ways??? Nahhh….

Happy Hump Day All and don’t double park your camel!