Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A summer camisole

It has been a super long time since I've knit this camisole.  I just checked my files, and I think I designed this as "lace camisole" for Knit Picks in 2006, when they had just started their design program.  They asked me to use a novelty yarn, which resulted in a red camisole and a neon yellow/green one.  Then, when the copyright reverted to me, I released it on Ravelry as the Turkish Lace Camisole.

I seemed to remember it as a quick, satisfying knit...and bear in mind, 4+ years without sleep means I can't remember much of anything!  So, when I happened upon some lovely linen yarn at a local yarn shop's sidewalk sale, I decided to give it ago.

I've started a knit-along in my Ravelry group in case anyone wants to join me for a relaxing knit and summer chat session...but for now, I'm finding it delightfully airy, cool, and fast.  Who knows?  I might even get to wear it a couple times at the end of the summer, if summer hangs on long enough in Winnipeg!

In other news, I'm canning.  So far?  Apricot, Nanking Cherry, and Blueberry-Plum-Vanilla jams.  I'm hoping to fit in some pickles, salsa, and chutney later on.  As the summer progresses, I'll be doing more chasing of twins, as we don't have much childcare scheduled...so all bets are off as to how much will actually happen!  We might have to go to the wading pool instead...and I might have to wear a new cover up.

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Heat and knitting

It got a little steamy around here this weekend.  Hot enough so we went to the wading pool and certain twin preschoolers got to have ice cream from the ice cream truck for the very first time!  Both the professor and I have memories of hearing the truck going down the street, the music playing, and rushing up to stand in line to buy something cold on a stick.  (I used to buy mine at the swimming pool, too)  Both boys concluded that it melted too fast and that the stick approach made it all "floppy loppy."  They seemed to prefer good old ice cream in a bowl that they get at home. :)  
We also spent a lot of time in the yard, feasting on the Nanking cherries (the bush is covered with ripe cherries), snow peas and gooseberries from the garden.  I'd say that we alternated between enjoying the heat and having absolute meltdowns because of it.  Bear in mind, it was only about 25-32C here, (mostly in the 80s if using Fahrenheit) but it was humid, and the local weather predictions called that a humidex of 40.  (104F.)
It was hot, but it wasn't all that hot, since the professor and I used to live in hotter places like North Carolina and Kentucky.  That said, we don't have air conditioning, so when it cools down at night, we position the fans in front of open windows just so.  During the day time, we close the curtains to keep in the cool.
Except, not all of our windows have those kind of darkening curtains.  You may remember this Knitted Curtain from my book?  Well, it fit really well in a window in my house in Kentucky.  It doesn't fit so perfectly on the window here, but I hung it anyhow because I love it!  Here it is, above, doubled up to keep out the heat.

I'm also running a little sale over on Ravelry for people who have favorited or queued my designs, but I'll let you in on it too....until the end of July, all of my patterns (including my eBook, Three Ply!) are on sale for 20%.  Use this coupon code:

to get the discount.  

In the meanwhile, if you're in a hot place, well, stay cool!  Drink iced tea.  Sit in the shade.  Splash in the pool.  And, if you are twin over here, try not to melt down too much into a tantrum.  We had one doozy which involved a kid screaming.... "IT'S TOO HOT!  TURN ON THE COOL!  TURN ON THE COLD!" 
Little Canadians--indeed. :)
PS: I'm still knitting, of course. :)  A little heat doesn't deter me from spinning (wool!) either.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2015

It must be summer...

We all come to realizations about ourselves...and sometimes we have to realize it over and over.  I'm just not much of a joiner.  That is, I seem to do things in my own time, but not really when everyone else does it.  So, it has come as a surprise to me that even while other people have started their "Tour de Fleece" in style, I have been managing to spin, card, or knit every day...all on my lonesome.  The Tour de Fleece is an event for spinners, where people watch the Tour de France (or not) and try to commit to spinning every day during this period in July.

To be honest, I didn't see myself doing this.  First, I watch very little TV, and much of what I do watch is kid-related.  Second, the 10 days between preschool ending and camp beginning had me very busy with twins and without childcare...but to my surprise, there were brief moments for spinning.  I did some wheel spinning as we played in our basement play room, and a bit of spindle spinning while we played in the yard.  Unfortunately, we spent a lot of time struggling with a summer cold, an ear infection, and feeling unwell due to the smoke from enormous forest fires, even though they were hundreds of miles away, in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Then, summer camp started this week and I threw myself into getting both my work life and our household back in order.  Again--I had my own set of surprises.

I wrote articles...and then had not one but two editors indicate that basically, I was on vacation because they were.  Yup, no articles coming out right now in July, because, uhh, there's no one there to receive or edit them.  Maybe next year, I should ask for folks to tell me their vacation dates and social calendars?!

Right.  So, even though I could work really hard to produce new contacts, pitch to new places...odds are they are also either on vacation or operating on summer autopilot.  hmm.  Also, I have been the lucky last person in the household to get over this bug, so as the boys went off to camp, I discovered that I really wanted to take a little rest, which was not to be.

I have changed a lot of bedding, done some grocery shopping, frozen some berries, and attended to a lot of other minutiae.  So, perhaps despite the fact that I did not show off shiny mounds of roving to be spun this month, or make any broad commitments towards what I planned to accomplish, I am finding a few minutes to play with fiber most every day.  I'm carding (with hand cards) a chocolate brown Border Leicester fleece, and spinning it up.  I'm plying some white Romney wool.  I'm spindle spinning some ancient brown Merino that has been in my stash for 16 years now...

I'm spindle spinning some white Rambouillet cross lamb wool that required combing (by hand) and so I only spin a very small amount at a time.  There's no sparkly stuff with sequins, no roving processed for me, but turns out I'm participating --again, in my only special way.

Quirky loners?  Is there a Tour de Fleece team for that?  I guess I'm on it. :)

Oh, and I guess it must be summer, since all the editors seem to gone fishing...guess I'd better fill up the time productively.  Maybe with a little spinning...

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A new article and a holiday week...

I just had a new article come out on the CBC.

It's about Winnipeg's urban density and pollution.  The image they matched with the article, above, is what the light pollution in Winnipeg looks like from above at night.  Wow, that's bright.  If city regulations were tightened up a bit, it might make living in close quarters an easier (quieter?!) experience.

...and we're having a long stretch of time off.  Preschool is over, camp will begin in a week or so, and I am mostly busy with twins.  Plus, two of us are still sick...and one of those is me! (Coughing is not improved by hazy smoke from Saskatchewan and NWT forest fires,either...)

We did go to the Canadian Classic sheep show on Friday, and yesterday we got to visit a friend's farm and enjoy the company of some Shetland sheep, a horse or two, a llama and some chickens.  The professor got me a gorgeous Romney/Texel fleece as an anniversary gift this year..17 years of marriage...  I think he's figured out that every year is the fiber anniversary. :)

Alas, my hands have been too full holding on to four year olds to snap sheep photos, too.  Hope you are having a good Canada Day/July 4th/first week in July!

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Friday, June 19, 2015

a drive-by post

It's been a busy time, complete with a a bunch of vaccines (dog and kid), some stitches being removed (from Harry the dog, he had surgery last week, he's fine) and a kid's nasty ear infection.  I've been rushing around from the vet to the pediatrician's office today.  I am beat!

However, here are a couple new articles, one on the CBC online about the province's recent cosmetic pesticide ban...(no secret, I'm in favor of the ban...)

Local food, dandelions, and harvesting the lawn

Another article came out last week, about finding different avenues to prayer.  I actually called it "Davening with the angels," but it's the same article here, under a different name:  (davening means praying in Yiddish)

Finding holiness in different ways

Finally, in celebration of 3 different family birthdays this month, our upcoming 17th wedding anniversary, and the release of my new eBook-- Three Ply--, all my other Ravelry patterns are on sale until June 28th.  They are all 20% off with this coupon code:

OK, that's the news from here!  I'm off to go make tempting breakfast foods for a kid whose ears hurt a lot...and he feels nauseous and hates the taste of the new antibiotic so much that he is yelling "THROW IT IN THE GARBAGE CAN, MOMMY!"  at the top of his lungs.  Gotta admire the volume he achieves, I guess...

Makes writing about dandelions, or better yet, being outdoors admiring them, very appealing about now.  :)

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New Pattern and new eBook!

Here's a portion of what's been going on behind the scenes here!  This announcement will hopefully be going out as a press release today...and these have already been (quietly) launched on Ravelry, too!

Introducing a new Yarn Spinner Story + Pattern --Riverbend Garden Hat. The new Yarn Spinner Story + Pattern series allows readers who knit (or knitters who read) two pleasures at once: downloadable short fiction on Ravelry, accompanied by a pattern that stands on its own. This is a sweet combination for thinking knitters, particularly ones using a tablet or smartphone.
An adult learns his mother’s biggest secret.
Riverbend Garden: A Love Story, features a middle-aged man as he rediscovers the familiar is not what it seems. A mid-20th century teacher, a loving mother, serious gardener and knitter, Dickie’s mom lived an unremarkable, but lonely life. Yet, she has time for one last story; of a dappled river bend garden, an empty marriage, a widowhood, and a student whose love transforms all boundaries.
This story pairs with a hat to fit everyone, from a small child to a grown man. It’s a fast project; knit with super bulky or a doubled worsted yarn. Make an extra to keep others warm; Dickie’s mama would want you to pass one on.

Want more stories?

Three Ply, the first Yarn Spinner Story+ Pattern eBook, is now available for Ravelry download!  It includes three patterns, for a hat, mittens and a cowl, and three stories: Riverbend Garden, as well as The Hole Inside and Knitting for Mother Earth. All three patterns are also available individually for download on Ravelry.
The Hole Inside offers unrequited love from an independent knitter. On a business trip, she’s invited to a knitting group. Settle into a coffee, a college town, and an unsettling surprise from the past.
-Paired with a stranded mitten pattern in 7 sizes, from 2-4 years to XXL
Knitting for Mother Earth catches a young woman on a commuter train. She alerts a fellow passenger to potential danger…and in the aftermath of attempted terrorism, builds a strong bond through knitting.
-Paired with a super bulky cowl pattern, ideal for hand dyed or handspun one-of-a-kind skeins.
If you'd like to check out this new eBook deal right away, click on that "buy now" link, below!  ($15 for three stories + patterns--a discount of more than 25% off the price of the individual patterns.)
As always, thanks for checking out my new design. :) Joanne

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Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Spindle article in Spin-Off!

This issue of Spin-Off Magazine, the Summer 2015, has my article about spindling in it!  It's called 'Slow Spindles?  7 tips for making more yarn.'

 Here are some outtakes--photos that the Professor shot that did not make it into the article.  He took these in the dead of winter.  It was so cold that his camera would freeze up and stop working...Meanwhile, the editor asked if we could catch some shots of me spinning outside!  (Not on your life.  At -20C or below, I require double mitts, and you can bet I am not spinning outside!)

If you have a copy of the magazine, you will see one shot with a spindle on a white background.
That is snow.

Luckily it is warm and green here now.  Whew.  Just when I thought winter would never end...

This is a "spindle" basket, ready to go: I put it over my arm, loaded with fiber, and wander around spinning.  Works very well while watching twins or helping at the Manitoba Fibre festival!

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