Tuesday, 24 January 2017

2017: It's Going to Be All About Colour. . .

Hello again.  Happy belated New Year.  I can't believe that January is almost over, but I had a bit of a ten day hiccup in my usual routine. I had to travel back to Toronto to help my Mum move up to Sault Ste. Marie, where my brother lives.  It all was a bit sudden but definitely the right move; her new apartment is gorgeous and while it will take a little while to settle in, my brother is only ten minutes away and everyone I met was so incredibly friendly.  There is a lot of snow and winter can last into May, but the summers will be lovely without all the humidity and smog that has become the staple of a Toronto July.

This is what the St. Mary's River looked like when I was there, although I thought the grounded tugboats looked rather jolly in the bleak landscape.

There's quite a nice cultural scene in the Soo (Mum has already been to a concert), and there is a lovely yarn shop - Shabby Motley - located on the main downtown street, which also includes a cafe. I took Mum there when we were exploring downtown and we had lattes and homemade raspberry scones.

Shabby Motley carry a Canadian brand of yarn that was new to me - Sugar Bush Yarns.  I couldn't help buying two balls of their soft, chunky Chill.  Okay, I fell for the name as much as the colours.

It was then slightly surreal to get back to Liverpool and see my back garden; the camellia bush is already starting to bloom.

These may not be far behind. . .

The Liverpud and I -  amateur gardeners that we are - bought about two hundred bulbs of varying kinds last autumn and just scattered them around the backyard and in a few containers.  There are definitely daffodils, bluebells, snowdrops, tulips and some irises.  No real pattern, we just planted them and we'll see what comes up.  I am hoping for constant colour all spring.

And speaking of colour, that is my mantra for 2017.  Which is not to say that neutrals and greys won't still feature in my knitting.  I was thrilled with my final knit of last year, which I've forgotten to post here.  I have worn my Snowflake sweater by Tin Can Knits constantly this winter and just love the pattern and how the speckled Hedgehog Fibres and the Rowan Tweed work together so well.

But I'm equally in love with my first knit of 2017 which I finished just before heading to Canada.  This is the Lausavisa Jumper by Karie Westermann, knit in Ístex Léttlopi.

It was a really quick knit on 6mm needles, knit from the bottom up and I had such fun knitting the yoke. The yarn is airy and so, so, warm and light.  It was the PERFECT travel jumper, keeping me cozy on the plane and keeping the windchill out when I was in Canada.  Ironically, I felt colder in Toronto than further up north in Sault Ste. Marie, because the wind tunnels created by all the skyscrapers is just bone chilling.  This Icelandic yarn also blocks beautifully and all the stitches smooth out to really show the pattern.

I have caught the colour bug AND the colourwork bug.  My travel project was the First Fair Isle sweater from Amirisu magazine.  There are some beautiful colourways on ravelry but I really wanted to use some stash so am knitting it with Rowan Felted Tweed (the stone and dark green colours) and some Scottish Rowan Tweed (the more vibrant green).  This is a great design - it's knit top-down so there is no steeking involved.  At the moment, I haven't yet decided whether to make it a short-sleeved top, or to do the full fair isle long sleeves.  I will finish the body with its' colourful ribbing and then make a decision.

But before I could finish it,  Kate Davies' next pattern in her Inspired by Islay project came out - the Carraigh Fhada vest.  Oh MY!  I had to cast on right away.  Originally, I wanted to knit it with Buchaille in the exact colourway that Kate presented, because quite frankly, it's perfect.  But the BlackerPodKAL was also starting up and I hadn't yet picked a project. So I did a little stash digging and (hopefully) have found enough Blacker DK to knit this beautiful pattern.  For my main colour, I'm using 4 balls of Westcountry Tweed which I've had in my stash for at least five years.  The newer version of this yarn has far more flecks of different colours in it; my earlier version is quite smooth and uniform in colour.  For the contrast colours, I'm using Tamar in Camel and Gwindra, and the dark black is a ball of Pure Breed Zwartbles.  Here's how it looks knitted up so far:

I know I need to get back to my First Fair Isle, but I'm just having so much fun with this vest.  I'll be going to the Shetland Islands for the first time in August and all I want to do these days is fair isle.  I'm hoping that after these are finished, I can also tackle the Crofthoose Yoke sweater, designed by Ella Gordon and then  Next Year in Lerwick, designed by Tori Seierstad, which just seems so appropriate for this trip.  I know a few of the women I'll be travelling with are planning to knit this too, so it would be fun to see all our different projects together.

I am going to be busy!