Sunday, 22 April 2012

All Hail Hemp. . .

Happy Earth Day!

I've been reading Adria Vasil's new book Ecoholic Body with great interest and some trepidation.  It's a bit scary to think of how many toxins and pollutants reside in products that we use every day.  Yesterday I went out and bought an eco-friendly, ceramic, teflon-free frying pan. I love the colour!

One of the chapters I've been most interested in is on clothing.  I'm trying to follow the Slow Clothing tenets this year and keep my purchases to those garments made out of natural fibres that are biodegradable. I've also cut way back on clothes buying (yarn purchases are a completely different matter!) and really digging into my wardrobe to rediscover clothes that I've had forever but still have plenty of wear in them.  When I read that hemp is "king of green" due to its low pesticide use and the fact that it utilizes much less water in its production than cotton, I really wanted to try knitting with the fibre.  Lanaknits is a Canadian company that produces hemp yarn.  I used several skeins of their fingering allhemp3 for my Grellow version of Color Affection.

I love working with hemp.  It's a bit rough to start (though not as much as some cottons I've worked with), but it softens up with washing and has a lovely drape.  I've been wearing this more as a scarf and I can attest that it's really cozy around the neck, without being too hot.  I think it's a lovely fibre for summer knits and so I've cast on for Flaming June, by Vancouver designer Cheryl Naimath.  It's knit also with the fingering hemp.  Off on a business trip later today - this will be great airport knitting!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Banishing the April Blahs. . .

Completely overwhelmed with work and I'm just getting over a bad cold and cough so I've been feeling quite blah lately.

But I just got my bike back from the shop after its annual tune-up, the weather is getting warmer, the city is quite beautiful in all its new shades of green and today the new Twist Collective Spring and Summer Book came out!  Just gorgeous, gorgeous patterns.  I don't normally get excited about summer knitting as I'm not enamoured of knitting with cotton or linen, but I have been exploring some softer cotton blend yarns, and now I'm completely inspired to try something from this collection.  My favourite is Sanderling.

But I also really like Laresca:

And Brookline is very pretty too:

And that's all it took to get me out of the doldrums.   Hitting the yarn shops this weekend. 

Thursday, 5 April 2012

WIP Wednesdays . . .

I decided to get a head start on my tax return, filed online and to my delight, my return was in my bank account in five days!  It really pays to get it done early. Since I always consider any return a lovely little bonus, I had to celebrate, which of course meant heading to the yarn store.  I indulged in a little hand dyed merino luxury:

And a little summer whimsy in cotton and silk:

And I've been yearning to knit the Color Affection Shawl that is taking Ravelry by storm.  I knew exactly what colours I wanted - cream, yellow and grey - but the only fingering yarn I could find in the exact shades I wanted was in 100% hemp.  I was a bit dubious, but the staff told me it would definitely soften when washed, so I've cast on.  It's a bit rough to knit with, but I do like working with it better than cotton and I think it will make a lovely summer shawl.  Addictive knitting for sure.

Monday, 2 April 2012

WWI Knitting Songs. . .

I don't know where she unearthed all these wonderful songs, but Melanie Gall, professional chanteuse and half of the Savvy Girls Podcast, has just released a CD of WWI knitting songs from Canada, the U.S., Britain and France, and it's just marvellous.  I have numerous recordings of WWI songs, mostly those sung by soldiers or rousing patriotic ditties, but I've never come across any of these songs before. There is a wide range in style - some are humourous, some sentimental, and some just get me tapping my wooden dpns along to the music.  My three favourites are the gossipy "Knocking at the Knitting Club", the motivational "Gertie Get On With Your Knitting" and the catchy "And Then She'd Knit, Knit, Knit" which could only be Canadian with the following lyrics:

"She even knits while out in his canoe. She knits while Billy tries to bill and coo. . ."

 Knitting All The Day is currently available on iTunes or CD Baby but she hopes to get it distributed in yarn shops as well.

Treat yourself - this is so much fun to listen to!