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Archive for April, 2009

I’m happy to announce I will be teaching my spinning classes this summer in Ottawa at the wonderful Wabi-Sabi. I love the atmosphere and workshop space at this store! The full list of classes offered can be seen here, with my classes being:

May 24 – Fibre Prep Learn how to choose, clean, and prepare a fleece for spinning
June 21 – Beginning Spinning on a Drop Spindle The basics of drop spindle spinning
June 28 – Spinning 2 More advanced techniques on the drop spindle to create a variety of different yarns

Also coming up at Wabi-Sabi is a fashion show for Twist Collective, featuring guest speaker Kate Gilbert and a number of garments from the winter and spring collections (with a sneak preview of summer!). May 2, from 6-9 pm.

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A few weeks ago I took a quick trip back to Colorado to visit family and friends. I stopped by my old LYS, where I’m pretty sure I ended up leaving Maggie Casey with the impression that all Montreal knitters are drunks. She asked me to say hello to Sally Melville and her daughter Caddy when I got back to Ottawa, which I happily did at their recent book signing at Workshop back in Ottawa.

I also went with my dear friend Naveen to check out the two yarn stores in Boulder that have sprung up since I moved away in 2007. One is Gypsy Wools, at the corner of Broadway and Pine (I think?)–doesn’t have a website yet but the owner assured me one is in the works. Almost all of their stock is unique to the store, from hand-dyed yarns to local fleece sold as batts, with an emphasis on rare and heritage breeds. I snapped up the following batts, made from a prize-winning Merino/Teeswater fleece:

Then there’s this, which excited me almost as much as the fibre:

That’s a salvaged bobbin from an old mill. At a mere $2.50 apiece, I knew I’d found the perfect nostepinne I’d been looking for! The ridges do a great job of holding the yarn and I love that it’s a reclaimed piece (the mills of North America are a fascinating, if often rather dark–child labour laws were enacted partly as a response to the conditions in those mills, part of textiles history). Here it is with a center-pull ball of some organic Shetland wool from Ontario:

Next up, I spin horse hair… really!

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Like every other knitter on the planet right now, I’m making a slouchy beret-type hat. I’m using a variation on purse stitch, an open lacey stitch that in this case is achieved by alternating rows of *yo, p2tog* with *yo, k2tog tbl*. The second row twists the stitches and makes for pretty tight knitting, and I was starting to get pain my left shoulder from trying to wedge my right needle into the loops. Pain while knitting is Not Good, because if you keep knitting through the pain you’re likely to eventually end up with a repetitive stress injury. So, I put the hat down for a while, took a couple ibuprofen, and came up with this idea to make things easier:

I’m using Denise interchangeable needles, and while the pattern calls for US 10s, it’s really only the right needle that counts when knitting in the round–that’s the needle used to form the actual stitches. The left needle serves only to hold the stitches, so it could be any size. What I did was swap in a size 5 needle for the left, which gives me a lot more room to knit the stitches with the size 10. More room = less pain when knitting. (Though I’ve decided that if I knit another one of these hats in purse stitch, I’ll go with a version that doesn’t twist stitches.)

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