Marimekko Love!

Bold prints, bright colours, lots of nature, and general happy-making: that's how I would describe Marimekko, a Finnish design company. This weekend, I got to check out the Marimekko exhibit at my local art gallery - total delight! I had a really great time. I love Marimekko's design esthetic and loved seeing some of their work up close and in person. The exhibit tour also raised some great questions and got me thinking.

The docent for our tour group asked us consider whether items produced by Marimekko, things like fabric and clothing and housewares, are still art. She told us that Marimekko sometimes called their fabric "Art by the yard". Does being on a purchasable commodity or consumer product mean that their images are no longer art? It seemed that nearly everyone in my tour group felt strongly that Marimekko's work IS art, absolutely, even though apparently some tour guests (in previous tours) had argued that it wasn't art and did not belong in a gallery at all. 

I wish I had participated in the discussion more. The casual but thoughtful chat reminded me in a very visceral way of grad school seminar discussions. In particular, it reminded me of that feeling of being able to have an opinion in response to an idea, and then to articulate it coherently, with both respect for dissent and discussion as well as confidence and excitement. I love the exhilaration and adrenaline high of exchanging ideas like that, where if you're quick and thoughtful at once, it feels like a huge victory.  Discussion groups were really what I enjoyed most about grad school.

Anyway! The gallery docent's central questions for us were around the relationships between art, craft, and consumerism, especially since Marimekko creator Armi Ratia's explicit intent was to create "a lifestyle", not just things for people to buy. I feel really strongly that wearable, usable, tangible objects CAN be and are often art. Why shouldn't they be? If they bring us joy, if they stimulate an emotion in us, if they challenge us or make us think, then to me, that brings them into the realm of art. Our docent quoted William Morris: “If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Yep, that seems like a pretty excellent thing to strive for.

 A little bit of Marimekko gift shop swag. Who could resist? A couple of notebooks and a cool postcard in my favourite green. I think these are both useful and beautiful.

A little bit of Marimekko gift shop swag. Who could resist? A couple of notebooks and a cool postcard in my favourite green. I think these are both useful and beautiful.

I'll also say that I think clothing and self-fashioning are important and can be deeply meaningful, artistically and creatively. Just because you buy something and use it or wear it doesn't empty it of meaning and value. On the contrary - I think that choosing items to put on your body and then to go out into the world can be a powerful moment of meaning-making and of communication. (It's not always: sometimes clothes are for utility or safety or necessity. But clothes can be rich with intentional and chosen meaning, if you have the means and opportunity for them to be.) When I choose clothing, what other items have I chosen to pair with the thing I bought? How do I wear them? Where? Why? How do I FEEL when I wear them? How do others feel? Wearable art isn't just a cliche. Not everything we wear at all times has to be art, but the point is that it CAN be. 

 Dresses: 100% fantastic. Where can I get some? :)

Dresses: 100% fantastic. Where can I get some? :)

The Marimekko exhibit also raised themes around feminism and freedom in dressing, which I love thinking about and wrestling with. Armi Ratia intentionally chose simple, non-fitted silhouettes for her garments, at a time (post WW2) when fitted waists and skirts with volume were much more dominant. Both as a historian (I study beauty and body history in Canada during WW2) and as a woman who gets to choose what I wear, thinking about why and how people, especially women, have chosen to dress and style themselves, as well as the societal constraints and freedoms around clothing, gender, and style, feels natural and meaningful for me. A few months ago, I read Women in Clothes, a book which gave me SO much to think about (worth checking out if you're into these ideas!) I find the shapes, boldness, and brightness of Marimekko's clothing exciting and compelling; I also really admire Ratia's original intension, for women to have clothing that they can feel free in. Of the dresses they had on display at the gallery, I would enthusiastically wear all of them.

 The far right print seems like it's ripe for knitting imitation!

The far right print seems like it's ripe for knitting imitation!

Finally, textiles in general are especially meaningful for me, as a person who sometimes gets to make her own fabric with yarn and needles, or to make her own yarn with fiber and a spindle. Seeing these fabrics was a real pleasure. One of the prints on display even struck me as a perfect inspiration for a knitted blanket, in the same vein as Angles by Martina Behm. I just find colour and pattern to be so powerful and stimulating! Definitely art. Important, joy-making, art.

Neon Confetti Irresistible!

Hi! Happy January! Is that a thing that people say? Happy January anyway :) So far I've spent quite a lot of this calendar year eating nachos (YES) and watching the West Wing on netflix (YES) with my favourite person :) I have not been doing any knitting (broken record: no-crafting-for-wrist-healing-for-as-long-as-I-can-stand-it-so-that-hopefully-it-really-heals-this-time).

But! I did do a little bit of knitting back in mid-December that I haven't shown you yet. (It was a bad idea wrists-wise, but I can still show it to you. Yeah!)

Remember this neon yarn that I gushed about (from Vancouver's RainCityKnits) which I picked up at this summer's Fibrations festival in Victoria?

Neon!

I love speckley, sprinkley yarns like this one, even though I sometimes have a hard time finding patterns that really make them shine. I'm using it to make (Guelph's) Ash Kearns' pattern, Clincher, and I'm still pretty obsessed with it. (Also kind of pleased that both the yarn and the pattern are by Canadians :) )

Neon!

I think the combination of yarn and pattern here is FANTASTIC. Kudos to RainCity dyer (and lovely person) Krista for doing such a beautiful and non-pool-ey dye job!

Project glamour shots time? I think so.

Neon!
Neon!
Neon!
Neon!

Neon yarn + simple, addictive pattern + bright happy project bag = COME ON

Neon!

Finally, regularly scheduled cat leg cameo:

Neon!

Yeah. I really, really love how this yarn is knitting up, and when I'm back in fighting form knitting-wise, I'm going to be all over this prettiness. It just makes my heart happy!

The best: I won some yarn!!

Yarn contests. They are ALL over the internet. Blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter, and even Instagram: they're all fertile spaces for bloggers, yarnies, indie dyers, and designers to share yarn, patterns, and other prizes with the people who follow them. I can't even count the number of yarn contests I've entered over the years. A couple of weeks ago, I WON ONE! This package arrived...

Yarn win!

...with my prize in it!

Yarn win!

The contest I won was run by Anna from Mythic Yarns, and my prize was this gorgeous skein of merino, cashmere and nylon yarn (Anna also very generously added some delicious chocolates to my package!). The colourway is called "The Golden Fleece", and I REALLY love it! The golden, slightly mustardy yellow with little hints of white throughout is super super pretty. Miss New Zealand definitely approved!

Yarn win!

Yarn win!

Yarn win!

Yarn win!

I am SO excited to use this pretty pretty yarn. It's totally my kind of yellow, and it's lovely and soft as well! You should definitely check out Mythic Yarns. (Here's their etsy store!) I love a lot of the colourways - and their names! Like, "Aphrodite was made of seafoam?" and "LEPRECHAUN BARF"!! - so creative :)

Yarn win!

I feel crazy lucky to have won!! Yay :) Yarn is the best thing you can get in the mail, I think.

By the way, Anna, the dyer at Mythic, is also a pattern designer. She recently released a very pretty fingerless glove pattern that would pair perfectly with my winning yarn, or with most fingering weight yarns you might have in your stash. Check out Twisted Scarlet!

And on that note, I wish you all excellent luck in entering yarn contests in the future; I hope you win something someday too!

To Sale Shop or Not to Sale Shop?

Hi! Are you keeping an eye out for yarn sales right now? I'm not a big fan of the craziness of Black-Friday-Weekend-Whatever shopping, but I have noticed some pretty tempting yarn and fiber sales being mentioned on twitter... For example, did you know that RainCityKnits (a huge favourite of mine) is offering 20% off ALL of their yarn for the next few days? AAAH! See this tweet for the deets!

I've been plotting and planning to order some RainCity Merino Worsted for a while now. I want to make the NEON SKI BONNET with it, for several reasons:

1. Neon. 2. Cool stitch patterns and construction 3. POMPOM RIGHT?!! 4. It will make me look even more like an adorable tiny child.

This image of the hat is from the designer, Lacey Volk's, blog:

Neon Bonnet

Ooooh yes. So! I know I want to use RainCity's yarn and Lacey Volk's pattern. The remaining questions are:

1. Which colour of yarn?!! 2. Should I buy it now, while it's on sale, even though it's right before the holidays (when I should be buying things for OTHER people...)?

Colour-wise, I've narrowed it down to...

Lemon Yellow Lemon

Electric Coral Coral

Kelly Green Kelly

Wasabi Wasabi

OR Apple Green Apple

(**ALL images of RainCity's yarns belong to them and are from their Etsy shop, which you should go and check out!**)

I just cannot decide which colour or whether to hold off until the New Year... it's not like I don't have PILES of yarn already, and I have plenty of projects on the needles. Even if I got the yarn now, I wouldn't have the hat ready super soon or anything. But it's so pretty!!

What do you think, readers? Would you pick it up now, or wait until later? Which colour would you choose? Leave me all of your opinions in the comments! :)

Saanich Fall Fair 2014!

Finally, the fall fair! We went last weekend, and I haven't had time to share the news until now (because we also moved last weekend... busy times!) This post has kind of a ton of photos, so I hope you're into that. First, I won't lie, I went to check out the Needlework Room, since that's where my entries were! (In case you missed it, the post about what I entered is here.) Out of four entries, two won blue ribbons! SO EXCITED! Both the cabled mittens and the Shepherd Hoodie won in their categories :) The other two things just got to be part of the fair, which is also pretty excellent as far as I'm concerned. The Shepherd Hoodie also won the Victoria Knitters' Guild award for best Fancy Knitted Sweater! So cool. I love fairs. (And if I'm honest I really like winning stuff too.)

Winning Mittens! (The white ones)

Winning sweater! (The white one, again)

My garter spectrum blanket!

Other awesome stuff we saw in the Needlework room: an incredibly cool knitted salmon, a crazy intricate knitted gingerbread house...

Coolest knitted SALMON!

Incredibly intricate knitted gingerbread

The whole room was full of amazing things, which of course I failed to photograph. Oops! I did snap lots of other cool fair stuff though. Vegetable dude!

Incredible vegetable dude

Tiny adorable plants!

Tiny tiny plants

Apples make me feel like fall is right there. Right?

APPLES GALORE!

Beautiful and leafy!

Thanks for the instructions 4-H!

How to Ice a Cake. Thanks 4H!

I ate these. Also mini-donuts which I failed to photograph :)

Hot dog. Onion Rings. Yes.

MOHAIR GOATS!

Regular goats and mohair goats!

ALPACA PARTY! I got to pet one. What.

ALPACA PARTY! I got to pet one.

Sheep haircut time! Just a trim.

Sheep in the beauty chair

Brad: "Do you know why some of them wear coats?" Me: "YES! It keeps their wool cleaner and prevents it from being discoloured by the sun. KNOWLEDGE!"

Sheep in coats

Sheep buddies :) Their faces are basically the cutest.

HI SHEEP FRIEND!

Cows

Sunflowers

Fluffy bunny

Prize winning eggs! This colour is bananas.

Prize winning eggs

Bye fair! I'm already excited and planning for what I'd like to enter next year.

Bye fair!

Is there a local fall or agricultural fair near you? I heartily recommend them :)

GUESS WHAT TIME IT (almost) IS!

It's aaaaaaaalmost FALL FAIR TIME! Sign

As you may remember from last year, I am a HUGE fall fair fan. I just kind of love everything about them, a quality which has baffled a lot of my friends lately. But seriously, what's NOT to love about them? Crisp weather (hopefully), adorable animals of all kinds, deep fried foods, farmer's marketey produce and products, a midway, and exhibits full of hand made entries! I love love love fall fairs :)

Last year was the first year I entered things I had made into the fair since I was a kid, and it was definitely as fun as I remembered! I even won some ribbons, which was delightful.

A few days ago, I dropped off my entry form for this year's fair. Eeeee! Not the actual entries yet, those don't need to go in until shortly before the fair in a few weeks.

Entries!

So, based on those only slightly cryptic categories, can you guess what I'm entering? (You don't actually have to guess... I'm going to tell you because EXCITEMENT!)

First, a plain sweater, which can only have garter, stockinette, and ribbing. Remember this guy?

Cozy!

Plain! And cozy :)

Next, a sweater with "fancy stitching"!

Shepherd

Basically, there are 3 categories of sweater - plain, fancy, and traditional aran. Even though this sweater has aran elements, I don't think it's a "traditional" aran. Hence, fancy stitching! I'm really really proud of this sweater, so I hope the judges like it.

The third entry is a baby's blanket. I'm entering this happy thing!

A pop of colour!

I know the difficulty level is very low, since it's all garter stitch, but I love the colours, so I'm going to enter it :)

Last thing! MITTENS! I'm entering these softie cabley beauties.

Here's to warm hands!

That's it! I still have a few weeks to wait until the actual fair, but I'm really looking forward o it already. Are you entering anything in your local fair? If you never have, DEFINITELY consider it! It's really fun, and helps to support agricultural fairs so they can continue to exist. Yay fairs!

Sunshiney Stripey Chevron Cowl!

Remember this stripey cowl I started a while back? I've been working a row or two on it when I had the chance, and lo and behold, it's finished! IMG_4864

I used Ashley Solley's snake skin pattern, with some modifications (a different number of stitches, different number of repeats, different number of rows in each stripe...), and Frogtree Pediboo yarn in yellow and natural.

IMG_4819

IMG_4821

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The cowl is knit in the round, and then grafted together at the end. My grafting job is far from perfect, but I'm okay with it!

chevron cowl-1

I'm really happy with how it turned out. At first, I thought maybe I would have liked it better shorter (and snugger around my neck), but after wearing it, I like how it drapes! Great for wearing with scoop neck tops.

chevron cowl-3

And the happy yellow and white stripes! I feel like the vibe is just right for summer.

Gratuitous button photo post :)

I have the BEST button store near me: the Button and Needlework Boutique. It's a completely charming store that stocks not only a wide variety of glorious buttons, but also tons of yarn for handknitting and supplies for embroidery and needlepoint. I visited recently to choose buttons for my Shepherd hoodie! The staff are excellent, consistently patient and super helpful, with abundant thoughtful suggestions about button-to-garment pairings and a wealth of knowledge about what each button is made out of and where it comes from. (And when I say they're patient, you should know that I pulled out a LOT of buttons to lay out on my sweater and probably spent forty five minutes hemming and hawing.) They even wrap up your purchases in tidy, perfect paper packets.

Button love :)

I must have considered twenty different kinds of buttons for my Shepherd sweater this trip. I like to cast a wide net in case something surprises me. I looked at brown buttons (wood, leather, plastic, horn...) of every shade, from chestnut to honey to wheat. I looked at silver and gray buttons (metal, polished wood, ceramic) - gray is really right up my alley.

Button options

I also looked at buttons that more closely matched the cream colour of my sweater. I always have an internal debate between choosing bold, contrasting buttons or subtler, matching buttons. There were rather a lot of very charming cream buttons made from shell, wood, plastic, and even antler.

I've used their locally produced, humanely harvested antler buttons before, on my Hooray cardigan (the antlers are shed by deer, and then collected, cut, and sanded into button shapes by a local artisan). They are SO completely charming; I really meant to choose something different this time, for variety, but they looked so perfect and they made my heart go pitter pat, so I gave in. Wouldn't you have done the same?

Button love :)

Button love :)

Button love :)

Button love :)

Button love :)

Miss New Zealand likes them as much as I do!

Button love :)

The BEST kind of mail :)

I really love receiving mail. Almost anything is good - even catalogues make me smile, usually. But the absolute BEST thing that ever comes in the mail is YARN! Last week, a package came full of yarn that I've been eagerly anticipating. My 2013 Juniper Moon 100% cormo yarn share! If you don't know about Juniper Moon Farm... it's amazing. I've been a shareholder since 2010, and I cannot speak highly enough of their product, their people, or their values.

This year, along with the share yarn, they sent out gorgeous project bags!

Yarn + project bag!

So pretty!

This is some seriously luscious yarn.

Cormo wool and the skyline

It practically glows, doesn't it? Turns out someone agrees with me about how interesting this yarn is...

Interested...

Still interested...

Mmmm delicious yarns

What, this isn't for cats?

I think she's hoping that if she just hangs out near it long enough, I'll let her have it to play with. (NOPE!)

Look what else was in my package!!!

Look what else was in my package!

Holy gorgeous.

Juniper Moon's The Shepherd and The Shearer is an amazing project. I am OVER the moon about this yarn, and the patterns that go with it. I am definitely going to be knitting up The Shepherd (designed by the incredible Kate Davies) as soon as I finish the piece of deadline knitting I'm working on right now!

TWO SWEATERS' WORTH OF YARN!

Two sweaters worth of yarn. I cannot even tell you how happy this stuff makes me :) It smells amazing, it came from happy, well-cared for sheep, it was made and marketed by kind, ethical, excellent people, and it's going to be an absolute delight to knit up. I can't wait!!!

If I can get it back from the cat.

If I can just wrestle it away from my cat... ;)

Have you seen The Shepherd and The Shearer?

It's no secret that I'm a huge Juniper Moon Farm fan. I've been very lucky to be a shareholder in the farm since 2010, and I've had the chance to use several of their commercial yarns as well. (The farm sells a limited number of shares in its yarn harvest - from sheep actually raised on the farm - and also runs a line of commercial yarns produced from wool and other fibers produced elsewhere).

JMF's latest project is another knock-your-socks off amazing endeavour: The Shepherd and The Shearer. They announced the project almost a year ago, and I've been following avidly ever since. Susan (The Shepherd) describes the project in these two posts, and designers Kate Davies and Kirsten Kapur both explain their roles in blog posts of their own. (Go check out the posts for LOTS of gorgeous photos!)

The Shepherd and The Shearer kits are about to be shipped out! SO EXCITING! The patterns, and an e-book explaining the process from sheep to shorn wool to yarn to sweaters, are for sale on Juniper Moon's website, along with a very small number of kits including the yarn- these will sell out, probably today.

I love both patterns, but the one I cannot live without is The Shepherd. I'm also an unabashed Cardigan-aholic, and cables are my favourite kind of knitted texture. Not to mention... the hood! The seed stitch! All the little details! I am definitely planning to make The Shepherd as soon as I can.

I'm definitely a fan of harder wearing, and even "scratchy" yarns, too. I guess I'm lucky to have a fairly high tolerance for prickle-factor. I've also owned a number of sweaters in my life that lasted for YEARS and years through tons of abuse, and they really do soften up over time. Soft yarns are great for some things, but I feel very strongly (like Susan & Emily) that there's an important place for rougher wools, too.

So, which of the patterns is your favourite? Or, do you love them both equally? :)

Garter Stripe Blanket BORDER TIME!

Is there anything better than happy colours and squishy, cozy texture together? I've made some great progress on my stripey garter stitch blanket since my last update! After I finished all the coloured stripes, I wanted to add a border of some kind both to make the blanket a bit larger, and to bring in some neutrals to balance out all the colour!

I knew I wanted to use some natural, undyed Juniper Moon 100% cormo wool yarn that I had, both because it's gorgeous AND because it's from my favourite farm! (As I was knitting, I even found one of my favourite yarn features ever - a tiny dot of surprise colour! I think of it as an easter egg every time I find one of these in a yarn :) )

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I considered several different border stitch options. I thought about working a garter border back and forth, in the style of the 10-stitch blanket. I considered doing a folded edge like in this Whit's Knits blanket from the Purlbee. I also mulled over a couple of log-cabin style options: either true log cabin (like these washcloths, for example), or a sort of modified version, where I picked up and knit along both long sides first, and then along both short sides (see scribbly diagrams below!)

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Eventually, I decided to go with that last option - first, garter borders along both long edges, then along the two shorter edges.

I consulted a couple of "picking up stitches along a garter edge" resources, but ultimately my friend Amber came to the rescue with a photo tutorial of her technique. THANKS AMBER!  Once the stitches were picked up, the borders were just as easy and fun to knit as the coloured stripes.

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I really wanted to be able to work on the blanket border on the bus, but it gets a bit crowded (especially now that school is back in!) and the blanket is getting big. So, I've started taking a slightly earlier bus in the morning to make sure I'm on a double decker - extra seating room and definitely better for knitting!

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I'm so happy with how the blanket is coming along!

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I have one more step in mind. My very favourite edge treatment - i-cord of course!

I want to save the rest of the natural cormo for another project, so instead I'm going to work i-cord all around the edges in gray. I poked through my yarn closet and found that I had TWO different skeins of medium gray yarn!

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On the left is Briggs & Little Heritage (a Canadian yarn!), and on the right is Berroco Vintage Chunky. Both are leftovers from other projects! The Briggs & Little yarn is a rustic 100% wool, and the Berroco Vintage Chunky is a blend (50% acrylic, 40% wool, 10% nylon). Both yarns are a little bit heavier than the worsted yarns I used for the body of the blanket, but since they're just for an edging treatment, I think they'll still work. I like them both for different reasons, but I did make a decision!

I'm going to work my i-cord with the Briggs & Little 100% wool. Even though it's not a particularly soft yarn, it's hard-wearing and will last a long time. I'm also loving the idea of gray for the edges, because I think blanket edges can see more wear and tear and possibly staining. Instead of having white edges that might not hold up so well over time, this blanket will have a lovely gray outline to keep it looking great!

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Also I just love gray a lot :)

Feeling like fall

It's starting to feel more and more like fall. gray fall

Some of that might be wishful thinking on my part, since I really love fall, and I'm very ready for summer to be over. But, there are more crunchy leaves around, and more cool mornings. More oatmeal, more handknits being pulled out of the closet, more hankerings for cold weather foods like meatloaf and mashed potatoes and molasses cookies (all of which are on my menu plan this week!)

bright fall

 

I think I would feel really sad if I lived somewhere that didn't have a distinct "fall" season.

Are you a fall person? Or is one of the other seasons the one that makes your heart go pitter pat?

WOOOO FALL FAIR! :D

I really, REALLY love fall fairs. This week, someone asked me what I was most looking forward to at the fair, and I just could not pick only one thing... there is SO MUCH to see and do and eat! (Disclaimer: I should warn you, this post has about one million photos.)

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I also entered some knitting and spinning this year, which was super fun.

Here's what I dropped off on Friday for judging:

A pile of fair entries

That pile has two sweaters, a large shawl, a pair of mittens, and some handspun yarn.

I'm not even going to pretend that I didn't head straight for the handcrafts room once I got to the fair - I really wanted to see whether I had won any ribbons! To my excitement, I did :)

Winning plain sweater!

The yarn for the sweater above is neat because some of it has a Vancouver Island connection! The pink and green yarn in the yoke is from Eastwin Farms, and was hand-dyed by Leola of Leola's Studio. The natural yarn is from Juniper Moon Farm!

Winning Hooray sweater!

The yarn for this green cabled sweater is pretty special too - the 2012 Juniper Moon CSA share yarn!

In the Hand Knitted Shawl category - "Special Mention"!

Winning mittens!

I will definitely aim to enter again next year. Everyone running the fair and staffing the handcrafts room was really sweet, and seemed to be enjoying the fair as much as I do!  The handcrafts section was full of amazing things, from displays with information about wool and knitting to masterpiece creations, like a fully hand knit cornucopia! The genius of the i-cord green onions blew me away completely.

Wool facts! I did know this stuff, actually.

Knitting display

Incredible knit cornucopia on display!

Next up, time for some fair food. I went for a classic: a hot dog with fried onions!

Hot dog - a must!

After that, we checked out the vegetable, fruit, and flower exhibits. I have a totally black thumb, so I was amazed at the gorgeous produce people grew! Everything from giant squash to tiny cucumbers to HUGE kale to beautiful dahlias.

Giant squash!

Giant Kale!

Tiny cucumbers!

Longest beans

Neat tomatoes!

Carnivorous plants

Dahlia!

There was also some incredible baking on display, like this multi-seed challah!

Challah with many seeds

A fair wouldn't be a fair without tons of amazing animals, either. There were sheep, goats, birds, bunnies, and both alpacas AND llamas galore!

Sheep sign!

Whoa, sheep sign!

Sheep butts

Sheep deets

Goat buddies

Alpaca!!

Serious flowing mane action.

Oh hello pretty!

Llama butts

Winner of best hair feathers

Lovely duck

Sweet gray dove

Hello soft rabbit!

OMG BUNNIES

We even caught the end of some recreational agility dog races, which were so fun to watch. I don't think I've ever seen such happy excited dogs and trainers!

Dog races!

We finished out the fair with another must: mini-donuts!

Mini-donuts are integral to the fair!

I can't wait until next year :)

See you next year, fair :)

I like it! - Tin Can Knits!

So, I don't know about you, but I spend a lot of time poking around Ravelry and reading knitting and fiber blogs. I have a Ravelry queue that's a brillion items long. Even though I know it's unlikely I'll actually make the majority of those things, I really enjoy looking at the colours, shapes, and ideas circulating in the fiber arts world. With their west coast aesthetic and simple, high-impact designs, Tin Can Knits is one of my favourite design collectives right now.

I'm really intrigued by their new Simple Collection, with patterns intended to help walk newer knitters through learning some key skills, but also appealing to experienced knitters. There's an amazing image showing the patterns in the collection and the skills they'll help with here.

Although only the Wheat and Malt patterns have been released so far, I'm really looking forward to seeing the rest when they're available!

Tin Can Knits has several other collections besides the Simple Collection - I'm especially partial to Pacific Knits, and I'm hoping I can squeeze a Low Tide Cardigan out of a couple of skeins of Sunshine Yarns Classic Sock (in green, of course!) before the summer is over :)

Sunshine_Yarns_medium2

Have you knit or queued any Tin Can Knits patterns? Which designers or design collectives are making your heart go pitter-pat these days?

I like having a chance to win free stuff! No joke.

So, I'm a huge and unabashed Juniper Moonie. Meaning that I moon over basically whatever Juniper Moon Farm does. (Too cheesy? Moonie? No? Yes? PUNS?!) And they're having a really, really awesome contest right now. There are instructions on this blog post over there for what to do (very easy)... to get the chance to win a TON of gorgeous patterns! For freeeee! Free stuff. I'm saying, free stuff is good.

Full disclosure: although I'm pretty much just a huge fangirl, I've tested and sample knit some of their patterns in the past. They are lovely patterns (here are all the ones available digitally right now - there are more in print booklets that might be at your LYS!), and even lovelier people running the company.

Check out their stuff! Juniper Moon! Go go go! :)

Honey & Hurraw

So, I ran out of honey. Since it's the season of yogurt-for-breakfast (in contrast to the other half of the year, which is oatmeal-for-breakfast season), I needed to pick up more honey asap. I like plain greek yogurt with honey and Susan Gibbs inspired granola best!

(I also needed to get the last dregs of honey out of the empty jar, and found this clever and tasty solution - which is GENIUS!)

So, I popped over to my local small grocer and picked up some of my favourite: Babe's Honey! I have to say, although I don't always buy locally produced food, I do try to... and when I tried local honey, the taste difference was SO HUGE that I haven't bought mass produced honey since.

honey & hurraw

I also picked up some new lip balm! After reading about Hurraw balm on another excellent and local-to-me knitting blog, I was totally intrigued. I had to try it! I chose the Earl Grey tea flavour; how could I not?!

Growing up, I thought Earl Grey was just "regular" tea - it's all my mom ever drank or had in the house. I still remember ordering tea in a restaurant as a semi-adult teenage person, and being stunned when Orange Pekoe was what came.

Anywho! I really wanted to try the Grapefruit flavour of Hurraw too, it smelled amazing. I think it might be coming home with me next time!

I like it! - Brooklyn Tweed MEN!

Hi friends! So, pretty much all of the design work (and yarn) that comes out of Jared Flood's Brooklyn Tweed line is amazing. The designs are simple, creative, elegant, and exciting at the same time.

In the past, I've knit a couple of Brooklyn Tweed patterns, including (a barf green) Bridgewater and the Tweed Baby Blanket, and any time a new BT Wool People lookbook comes out, my Ravelry queue explodes a bit.

Bridgewater-19

I've also the chance to knit with some of Brooklyn Tweed's yarn - I made some lovely cabled (also barfy green) mittens out of Shelter in the Sap colourway, and I've been saving up some Loft in my stash for something special.

Today BT came out with a new lookbook and pattern series all designed for MEN! I really, really love the collection, and several pieces went directly into my queue.

I think the t-shirt inspired Redford sweater, designed by the extremely talented Julie Hoover, is my favourite of the bunch, and something my fashion-conscious and very picky spouse might actually like and wear! Timberline, designed by Jared Flood himself, is basically stunning, and I'd love to make a version for myself, to be honest.

If you haven't checked it out yet, definitely take a look! There is a dearth of stylish, interesting, excellent knitting patterns for men out there - this collection helps to solve that problem :)