The Canadian Adventure part 2

Sealionesses
This gathering of lazy female sea lions (surely the correct term for this should be sea lionesses, but shockingly it isn’t) welcome you into the second part of my Canadadian adventure post. Tomorrow morning I’ll be flying back to the Netherlands again, and as expected I’ve taken another gazzilion pictures which first need sorting, but this one kind of stood out for me so I wanted to share. First of all because a lazy sea lioness might be my spirit animal, I felt a strong bond observing them and their undisturbable sleep. Secondly, because this observation was made from a boat during a whale watching excursion. Sounds lovely doesn’t it? Well apparently my lack of knowledge about anything boat came to bite me in the ass, because when I booked this trip on the ‘small zodiac boat’ I had no clue what I was getting into (honestly, I thought the name of the boat was zodiac). If you ever find yourself in a boat trip booking sort of situation, a zodiac might look like a cute rubber boat, but is actually a floating death trap, literally launching itself across a wild and ice cold pacific ocean at a million miles an hour. I probably should’ve known when we had to hoist ourselves into a lifeSUIT, rather than just a lifevest. In any case fun was had, a whale was observed and tears were shed (mostly because of the high speed on rough sea situation).

Beehive

In much warmer and much less wet news, I had a fantastic day in Victoria yesterday and managed to pop into my last yarn store of the journey. If you ever find yourself in Victoria, really do stop by at Beehive wool shop, it is a fantastic store. I stuck to my rules of buying only yarns that are hard to get by at home, and green sock yarn was out of the question. Luckily no rules were made about green anything else yarn so 2 skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter yarn are coming home with me. I’m already dreaming about making either 2 cabled hats or a nice cabled cowl.

Shelter

My second purchase was a skein of true Canadian yarn, Super Sweet sock in the Spanish Coin colourway by Sweet Fiber. The gold is so stunning, I’m really really pleased with this one. Very certain I’ll make a pair of socks with these and it’ll be a great addition to the sock drawer.

Sweetfiber

So where does that leave me at the end of these 3 weeks.. Well, I finished two projects, the Pebble Beach shawl and a pair of vanilla self striping socks, both will get a bath and a block once I’m back home. And before you get all impressed by my swift sock knitting, these were cast on over a year ago! I visited 3 yarn stores (Maiwa in Vancouver, Art of Yarn in Kelowna and Beehive Wool Shop in Victoria) and purchased 5 skeins (Ancient Arts, Sweet Georgia Tough Sock Love, Sweet Fiber Super Sweet Sock and Brooklyn Tweed Shelter). Not bad, eh? (I apologise to all my Canadian readers for that bad joke.. Actually I apologise to all my readers for that joke.)

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The Canadian Adventure part 1

Maligne Lake

Phew, halfway the Canadian adventure and I thought it was time for a little update. First I figured I’d make a little picture post, then I realised I took 15GB worth of pictures in that short amount of time, so I’ll probably have to sort through the best shots once I get home. But at least here’s a pic of lake Maligne taken yesterday evening at sunset. Canada has proven to be a truly magical place so far.

So we’ve been driving, starting off in Vancouver, going to the Okanagan valley, Revelstoke, Banff national park, Jasper national park and starting tomorrow we’ll be slowly making our way back to Vancouver island, where we’ll spend the last week. Days have been filled with driving, hiking and wildlife spotting, so I haven’t gotten that much knitting done. I started on my second Pebble Beach shawl with the beautiful blue Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply yarn I bought in the nick of time before leaving. This is going to be a gift for my aunt and it’ll be one size bigger than the shawlette version I made previously.

PB_shawl

Holiday reading right now is The Bees by Laline Paull, a book described as “The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Hunger Games”, but with bees. So far a very enjoyable read I must say, certainly interesting reading a book from a bee POV!

Now if you think I haven’t visited any Canadian yarn stores yet you are certainly mistaken! In my defence I set up some very clear rules to follow. Rule #1 is that I cannot buy any yarn that I could easily get my hands on back in Europe and rule #2; if I’m going to buy sock yarn (like I ever buy sock yarn!) it should be in a colour that is not yet properly represented in my hand knit sock drawer. The latter rule is mainly to prevent me ending up with only green socks, oh I have such a weak spot for green sock yarn! Also can I just point out that with the current standing of the Canadian dollar I’d be insane not to purchase some yarns.

AncientYarns First stop was when I happened to stumble into Maiwa Handprints on Granville Island, Vancouver. Really a sweet little shop, also featuring undyed yarns and lots of natural dyes, which I considered but seemed a bit adventurous to me. So I ended up purchasing a new to me brand called Ancient Arts Yarns, which is a hand dyed Canadian yarn brand (score!) in a beautiful bordeaux red colour not yet present in my sock drawer (score!).

Now I know this was an excellent purchase because shortly after taking the yarn pics this bird hopped onto the bench right next to me ready to steal my yarnie goodness. Canadian pigeons sure look funny though (just kidding, I obviously know this is a great.. western.. canadian.. arctic.. blackish birdhawksparrow. Ok no clue what kind of bird this is).

birdie

Next yarn-stop was Art of Yarn in Kelowna (thanks for the recommendation Rebecca!). This shop was a huge temptation to all my rules because there was Madelinetosh EVERYWHERE. Sooo much yarn goodness it was hard to be strict with myself. But Madelinetosh can be bought at home, and I managed to walk out only buying one amazing skein of Sweet Georgia Tough Sock Love (colourway Rogue). Isn’t it a beauty?

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And that’s already it for now! I still have my eye on one particular yarn shop I hope to stop by in Victoria, other than that I’ve shown great self restraint. Ok maybe I’ll share just one more holiday pic then!

Lake Louise

FO: Henslowe shawl

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I’m leaving for my 3-week Canadian adventure tomorrow morning, which means I’ve had quite the hectic week. There were a couple of things that needed finishing before me leaving, firstly finishing my grandmother’s shawl, secondly loads of work stuff that would give me some peace of mind knowing they’d be finished, then I wanted to clean my house and lastly of course I needed to pack my bags. My house is clean-ish, my work is done-ish, my bags are packed-ish, but this shawl is properly done!

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Pattern: Henslowe shawl by Beth Kling
Yarn: Araucania Botany Lace colour 2118

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I’m very pleased with how the shawl came out. It was a super fast knit, except for the knitted on border which was a bit fiddly, and thus time consuming. But I mainly experienced it as such because I was in a rush, I can really recommend the pattern!

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The yarn knit up like a dream, the finished product is so soft and the way it drapes is stunning. It’s been a bit difficult to capture the correct colour in pictures, but in any case it is very pretty. It’s not a colour I’d normally wear, but I’m actually sad to see this shawl go. I can totally imagine myself wearing this all of the time.

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Hopefully my grandmother will love this too and gets to wear it loads this fall. Now I am off to catch some zzz’s before all the travel tomorrow will bring. If anyone has any (yarn store) recommendations in either BC or Alberta let me know!

Selfless knits

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Some 2 weeks ago there was a little family gathering/party at my parents place and the weather was just perfect for me to wear my Pebble Beach Shawl. I got some really nice compliments with a lot of people being surprised this was knitting rather than crochet. Especially my aunt and grandmother expressed how much they loved it and actually wouldn’t mind at all if I happened to make them one. I’m always happy to give something back to these amazing people, so it was time for me to, for the first time this year, cast on some selfless knits.

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In 2014 I apparently knit 7 projects that were gifted, so far in 2015 I have knit.. 0 gifts. Woops! Part of that is also because I got such a big knitting dip after my cat died, so overall I’ll have a lot less projects done. But no more excuses, I should do something nice for the people I love!

Knitting the pebble beach shawl a total of 3 times seemed a bit overkill to me, so I’ve decided to make the Henslowe pattern for my grandmother, in this lovely old pink Araucania Botany Lace that I bought last summer. I’m actually leaving for a long holiday next weekend, so the plan is to finish this shawl within the next week, which seems like a reasonable goal. As you can see in the pictures I’m well on my way and well.. no need to tell you what unblocked lace looks like. A big crumpled pile o’ pink it is. Also keeping my fingers crossed this WIP won’t end in a game of yarn chicken! Henslowe2

My aunt said she loved the Pebble Beach, which I knit in the shawlette version, but wouldn’t mind it being a bit bigger. So I’m going to go one pattern size up and make it a proper shawl. The colour she wanted was blue, so I did my best to find the gosh darn prettiest blue fingering weight yarn I could find. I think I did a pretty good job, don’t you agree?

fyberspates4ply
These are 2 skeins of Fyberspates Vivacious 4 ply in colourway Blue Lagoon. The first time for me knitting with anything Fyberspates was making this cowl (Hyperballad) and I was so in love with it. So I have a feeling the 4ply will also be a hit. Plus, this is going to be my holiday knitting while I drive through Canada for 3 weeks. Given the ease of the pattern I thought that’d be perfect.

Fybrespates4ply2

FO: Vinnland socks

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Pattern: Vinnland by Becca Compton
Yarn: Spun Right Round Superwash Sock 80/20 in colourway Martian Got Moves

I’m back in the sock knitting game with finally another pair added to my collection 😀 I know I sounded particularly grumpy about the toe up construction in the last post, but I got over myself and after initial grumpiness about the toe it was smooth sailing to be honest.

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Somehow the toe instructions in the pattern confused me a bit, so I simply went with this Knitty tutorial for short row toes, only to later find out the designer also made a tutorial especially for the pattern (woops). Anyway, the pattern after that is really simple to follow. With a 16 row repeat it is a bit too long to fully memorise, but after 2 repeats I just needed to glance at the next row and I knew what would follow.

FOVinnland
I used the Fish Lips Kiss heel, which already gave me a good fit in some of my other socks and again I have no complaints (this pattern is really worth the investment if you’re a frequent sock knitter, especially if you occasionally struggle with holes at the sides of your heels). I cast off using this version of Jenny’s surprisingly stretchy bind off. The rest of my pattern notes can be found on the Ravelry project page.

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And do I still need to say anything about the yarn? I already raved about the great colour last week, and gushed about how much I loved working with it when I made my Prairie Spring socks. I think it suffices to say that my love for this yarn remains unchanged. And luckily for me I have another skein lying around that I got gifted for Christmas!

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And I’ve kind of already cast on a new project, I’ll just leave it with this picture of a pile of old pink garter stitch, soon more!

PS: I’ve done a tiny website update, in case you’re wondering what the floaty black square is that is following you around, it’s a menu bar. So far it can take you to an About Me section, the main section of the blog or a list of Blogs I love. If you find any mistakes or missing blogs in the list please let me know! My internet kept crashing while I was linking everything, making me redo the list a gazzilion times and sometimes not noticing the things I lost. I alphabetised the list, and yes I spend an entire evening singing the alphabet in order to do so. I’m also working on an FO gallery that links to the blog, but this requires me organising all my pictures, so don’t hold your breath 😉