Coal Olwyn Sweater

 

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My Olwyn design

Hallo!

How are you!

It’s a lovely, warm Sunday afternoon here on this island.  The birds are singing after a couple days of cold, grey rain.  The resident red squirrel is running through all the tops of the pine and I am just sitting here with the window wide open, drinking some Kombucha and listening to the chimes!  We have been so busy lately, that I have not had the time to dedicate to sharing this lopi sweater.  Finally, finally the time is here and I can move ahead with a clear idea of my creative world.

And so, in the bleak mid-winter, I cast on a Charcoal Lopi Sweater with the intention of having it completely finished in January, blog finished – etsy listing and all, my how time flies.

This sweater travelled to Nova Scotia with me, where I knit it accompanying my sister in her last trimester of pregnancy.  After spending time with Meaghan, I took the bus to Northern NS.  It was here that I finished it, back in February!  We did not see very much snow this winter, however I did manage to have a slightly snowy fire in the woods in Nova Scotia.   My father built this little setup in the woods with benches and a stone pit.  I love this spot, surrounded by the swaying spruce and the thick, squishy moss.

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To pack my backpack with tea, knitting and a pack of matches – collecting birch bark along the way.
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Something warm and colourwork – it was relatively mild this winter at times
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With my family, after a snow in Nova Scotia
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Chain lake, Halifax – to the left is an overpass and believe it or not, a city.
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Roots of dreams

 

In the warmth of spring, it’s hard to believe winter happened at all.  It’s almost strange looking back at these photographs.  Winter, summer… I find living with seasons so magical and so much like dream recollection.   Despite months of battling arctic winds or basking in summer’s sun, the other feels like a faded dream too strange to truly have happened.

Today, as I post this, the early flowers are blooming and I filled a seashell with sweet water for the bees.   I am genuinely happy and if it doesn’t rain, will go out soon to collect some maples and put some plants together for friends and family.

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May 6th, Crocuses!
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some coffee before photos, not chilled just so perfectly content and trying to get Hugo to show his face, not his behind (failed as you can see!)
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Finished!  Feeling fae like in this sweater and love how you can match these under overall dresses.
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I got a picture of HUGO!
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The bees are busy with these Siberian Squill – every year they spread and I love them!
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Home sweet home, there is nothing I like more than taking more morning tea/coffee and walking around the yard greeting my plant friends, especially these century old Sugar Maples!
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But I am getting side tracked, this is about this Icelandic Sweater that I made and is now available in the shop!

 

In other parts of my world, my knitting has come to a grinding halt.  I don’t have a  lot of time to dedicate to knitting the way I use to.  The outside world to me is the most important thing and it takes time, time and patience and a lot of love.  I also am doing some custom artwork again, reading books, working part-time in town.  So my knitting is still happening but the way I use to knit – just a little bit, while watching a show or having a cup of tea.  Slow and steady but how can I stay inside when the earth is awakening! My moods ebb and flow so I’m sure I’ll be overcome at some point with an obsessive knitting period 😛

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Front yard, the field is farmed in the summer months and you catch a glimpse of the river!

So friends, the thermometer says 16 Degrees C with the possibility of rain so I am going to get outside before the rain comes 🙂  I hope you enjoy your day!  I am so happy and excited to see what the next couple of months bring 🙂

Green Blessings on you all ❤

A favourite Irish Gaelic Song for you ❤

 

Simple Grey Lopi Sweater

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Preparing the order to be shipped to BC 🙂 Stamped Woodland Cards now available in the shop but the sweater has been sold 🙂

 

Good Morning to you!

The sun has yet to rise and I am on my 3rd cup of tea.  With headphones in and the fairy lights on, I am sending this out to the universe.  I wrote this blog post yesterday, but as I sat down and read it over, I felt totally different and just scraped the whole thing.  Yesterday was rainy and I had coffee (coffee makes me a little crazy, which is why I tend to stay away from it!).  Today, is so full of opportunity! A calmness and herbal tea (okay.. I might be having earl grey at this point, it is not yet 6am!), a fire started from the embers of yesterday (that sounds metaphorical and it can be, but I mean it literally, ha).  And so, finally… this Grey sweater that was sold a couple of weeks ago to a lovely artist in B.C.

 

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Léttlopi Greys and Golds

I Started this sweater in January, with my Lopi Stash.  Greys and Ivory, Black and Gold.  Similar to the landscape and skies of winter here.  Knit in the darker times, helping to illuminate the long nights.  The colours reflecting the ever changing sky in January, February even March.  Between PEI and Nova Scotia.  In the woods, along the river, in a car, over a very long bridge.  In a fire lit basement, listening to the wind and a slow yet quick crackle of birch!   I chose wooden buttons and used a vintage, strong German made thread that accompanied my sewing machine gifted to me by my aunt.

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On a walk in the woods, I brought this sweater to do a little weaving in the moss, weaving in the magic of the woods.  You can really see the texture of Lopi here ❤
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Tea and Knitting with Drift wood and snow
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After a snowfall, some of Henry’s happiest times of the year
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Backyard after one of our few snowfalls
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Two Lopi Sweaters, slowly knit over the course of a busy winter.  Henry sitting on the couch we are now sitting on!
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it fits!  But so much left to do…
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After a snowfall this winter, an adventurous Pangur
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To weave in the ends in the mossy Conifer forest!
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At home, to attach buttons, herbal tea and my latest stamped Chickadee Card
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Winter fire, Tea and snow
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February day in the moss
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Blooming Succulent, I’ve been watching this slowly bloom since January and now look!

 

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Off she goes! – a New forest inspired stamp, if anyone is interested, I can put a little pack of these in the shop!

And Voila!  A Simple Grey Lopi Cardigan! I have a feeling this sweater will find a kindred in Northern BC! I think it may be time for me to order some more Lopi wool, I am almost out!  I am hoping to make myself an Icelandic Cardigan in Rough Seas with metal buttons.  Perhaps my summer project!

I hope you have a lovely weekend!  The sky is growing lighter and the birds are singing!  I have a busy day of working in the library and going to my favourite store… the hardware store!  Gardening things are slowly peaking out and I need more seed trays.  We also get to pick out the tiles for the bathroom (eeee, I can not wait to have a shower again!).  What are you planning to grow this summer?  I’ll post more about that very soon because there is just so so much.

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Smiles and wool 🙂  

 

 

Here is a favourite folk song for you!  Planxty’s version of the Blacksmith.  This song and actually this video really propelled my love for folk music.  Such a vast world of music.  Steeleye Span does a version of this song as well, definitely worth checking out as it is SO different and also, awesome. The song is very tragic, telling the tale of a woman who fell in love with a blacksmith only to learn afterwards that he is married.  I’m not sure the origins but many of these songs are traced back hundreds of years.

Slán !!

Julia

Snowdrop Fingerless Mitts

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Fingerless Mittens indoor on a very cold day – so much more pleasant to share from the indoor world, free of the wind and cold.

A very happy Imbolc to you!

I am very excited to share this little post with you!  I finally wrote out a wee pattern in my notebook and decided to snap some photographs and share it with you.  If you are interested in attempting to follow my wonky instructions, then please by all means do! I decided to simply photograph my notebook and tried to be as clear as possible but just send me a comment on this post and I’ll see if I can sort anything out or provide any help.

Before I launch into knitting – I wanted to share a little more about what we have been up to.  I have been working part-time in town, starting seeds, thinking about seeds.. watching videos about seeds.  Really, plants have taken up most of my brain power.  I am thinking of starting a new instagram account just to share plants and this beautiful earth rather than making it *me* focused.

This winter weather wise has been bizarre.  There has just been a dance between freeze and thaw.  Yesterday it was above 0, huge puddles formed in the yard, blue jays and starlings everywhere!  Today, it is minus 27 with the wind that whips up from the river.  The yard is a solid sheet of ice, we could probably skate if it was more pleasant outside.  Jamie and I ran to the back to take a couple of photos this morning of these mittens but it was SO difficult because of the wind and cold.   I think I generally look a little uncomfortable and poor Jamie, clicking away!  As you can imagine, we could only stay out for about 5 minutes.

Regardless of the strange winter weather, the path of the sun and moon remain the same!  The days are growing longer and I feel a definitely revival.  With that little bit of extra light, I made these colourwork mittens.

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From the Stash!  Alpaca from We are Knitters and  Rowan Tweed that I found tucked away many moons ago in my Mom’s closet (she doesn’t miss it..).

My attempt at a pattern – I hope you like it!  If you do try it, please proceed with caution – everyone knits differently and I am not a very technical person in anyway – I think of myself as a very intuitive person in most of what I do.

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My notebook, a sleepy dog and some finished snowdrop fingerless mittens
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The Ribbing and attaching COLOUR B which for me was the alpaca – knitting in the round can be deceiving in the beginning – trust Aslan that they will indeed fit a human hand once a couple more rows have been completed.

 

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After a couple of rows – The Rowan wool I chose to use has varying thicknesses which is why it appears a little bit bumpy – it was really lovely to work with though.

 

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Painting some mittens!  I actually switched this room around today and once it is completely completed (not redundant at all, no sir) I will share a post with you!
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The first pair!  Just using forgotten stash wool
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Placing the thumb on the double pointed needles and attaching the 2 colours without tying any knots

 

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All the weaving left to do

 

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A bath in a chipped bread bowl – using No-Rinse Wool Soap
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Painting ❤
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A little Chichadee – I spotted a couple in the pine trees outside of our house and made sure to greet them, hello!

 

My notes!  I don’t really anticipate anyone trying to make these but in the case that someone is brave and wants to feel that satisfaction of using abandoned, forgotten wool – please take heed of a couple of things!

  1. This is one size, if you would like to make a larger size cast on 44 stitches.  The only issue with this is that the bottom pattern is composed of 8 stitches so it will not be completed properly.  However, if you only make Pattern 1 using one of the 4 stitch designs, you will be good to go!  The size entirely depends on what size of needles and the weight of your wool – so bigger needles will make a larger size, etc.
  2. I didn’t include pattern 2 on the thumb – this is because it was different for each thumb and I trust that you can intuitively look at your knitting and decide where the Colour B stitches can go.  I am not even a slight perfectionist as you can probably guess.  Life is too short! Too many seeds to plant, books to read, cats to pet… 😛
  3. I didn’t post anything about the thumb…. because it’s so easy!  Just divide the 11 stitches on 2 needles, pick up 5 stitches on a 3rd needle at the gusset and attach the 2 colours.  Knit 7 S E V E N 7 rounds in Pat. 2 and cast off with Colour B.

 

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To have a red roof… sigh.
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Brrrrrr….
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Tea outside with below 27 weather?  Let’s just imagine it’s not so cold and ideal for fingerless mittens (hello tomorrow and above 0 temperatures A G A I N!)
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Studio window sill – Completed and now on Etsy!

There you have it ❤

I work today and tomorrow so am a little rushed to get this out to you!  I do hope you enjoy the process and my photographs.  I will have more up tomorrow on the etsy and have a plan to make a blog post about my latest Lopi Sweater (just needs buttons and a button band… so will probably be ready in a couple of weeks!).

Welcome February 😀

As I have enjoyed doing, leaving you with a favourite tune, yes it’s from a children animated movie and yes, the theme is probably one of my favourite tunes.  I actually enjoy the version with the child singing even more but this is just a taste for you 😉

 

 

A New Year

 

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From my studio window on The Winter Solstice,

Happy New Year!!

Hope you are all well and enjoying the rising of the sun.  I have been feeling very content with a general good feeling about times to come.  2017 was a very big year for ourselves and my family and I am so excited and honestly just motivated this year!

This winter has been strange as anything.  We have been bombarded with frigid temperatures that keep you inside for days.  Breathing is difficult, my lungs grasping for air in the face of arctic winds!  The river was completely frozen.  Just the other day, as I was walking Henry through the fields to the river, I saw snowmobiles in the middle of the river, darting all over the ice like flies on south-facing windows.  We even saw some seals hanging out, lazing on the ice in the sun.

Today – today was 13 degrees Celsius… fog rolling up the river that has completely melted.  My boots sink in the mud and the animals need to be wiped down with a towel when they come inside.  We took advantage of the lack of ice and mild temperatures to bring wood in today.  Tonight we are expecting freezing temperatures again and for the foreseeable future. I would love a good snow storm…

I just wanted to share with you a couple of photographs from the past couple of weeks!  I have been totally absent from social media and strangely excited to get back into the swing of things.  I will have to ‘upgrade’ this website soon and hope to just be more active with getting my art available again.  I have been busy working at the central library branch in town and just other things that I don’t even know really!  I feel like I’ve been saying this for months but I honestly sense a change.

 

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Henry’s Spot ❤ ❤ – watching the sunset on the Winter Solstice
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Working away on little stash mittens
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Before the frigid temperatures – we were going out for wonderful walks – sadly the temperatures have been around -30 C with the wind chill and it’s difficult to breath
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Just around 0 C!
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working by the bridge for an afternoon
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home ❤
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A small island journey
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Up West to this Gem
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Loom Machines when you enter the door!  Not running for the Holidays but the store was still open
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lichen pink
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Home – MacAusland 2 ply for some Maritime inspired folk mittens – time to rearrange my wool!
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All of my wool – slowly getting down there!  I LOVE using up things that I have – part of my frugal spirit
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New Colours to be put away !!!

STILL LIFE…

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Botanical “Knowledge” cards – this being ST JOHN’s WART (and now I’m looking for a St. JOhn’s Wart – Hypericum perforatum – seed supplier in Canada) One step closer to the Harry Potter Universe if I can learn all of the latin names 😉
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Christmas at home this year – my mom made some crochet ornaments for us (hardened with sugar water:)
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The steps down to the basement
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Sent home early due to storm the other week
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Up on my list of happiest moments just the quiet snow, setting sun
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New Sin Eater, one of my favourite contemporary artists hoodie (thankyee, i will try my best to keep it from animal hair)
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Stash Mitts!!  I made this little sweet pair up using two different types of wool that I found in my stash!  ALSO “The Good People” by Hannah Kent, I think she and I are somehow connected, ha.
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Mild Day by the frozen river
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My heart literally melts
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tiny simple paintings just to clear my mind – meditative for me
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One more view ❤

And I apologize for the overload of Photographs!!  Tomorrow I plan to post again so I can keep up with having more trimmed and neat posts that consist of one central topic (like this weekend – oops might be a little broad but less so than pictures from the last 3 weeks).  The Etsy shop will be updated tomorrow along with this little blog here of mine).

Thank you everyone so much for your time and positive thoughts.  I wish you all a very blessed New Year, full of creativity, joy and peace!!  I’m so excited to share more with you and hope you enjoy one of my favourite renditions of favourite medieval song : )

Julia ❤

Our little shop

Home
Home in the fog

Good Evening Kindreds!

It’s so dark!  I am sitting by the fire, the room lit with fairy lights and a cup of black tea piping hot beside me.  A friend of mine gave us some lavender sugar and I find it so delicious in a strong cup of black tea ❤  It is so late for me to be drinking caffeine but I am oh so tired and I very much felt like sharing a couple of things with you.

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shaking hands, blurry picture but our forest cat is beginning to embrace his nature

The weather continues to promise snow but only to cruelly trick us with rain.  I guess that is life living in a maritime climate.  Today has been a wet day and we have chosen to stay home, only to take Henry out in the trees behind our house.  The cats are venturing outside each day.  They stick right around the front door, guarding the entrance to their domain (or perhaps waiting for us to let them back in?).  A day inside finally means I can sort the latest knits for our shop!

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Latest Knits to make listings for : ) My work desk a wee bit disorganized 

I have been having a lot of fun lately, working with my stash of lett lopi.  I have a very strong desire to actually use all of my wool stash before continuing to buy new wool.  I love using everything that I have and don’t really like buying anything without a real purpose behind it.  I currently have enough wool to make 3 sweaters and several pairs of fingerless mitts/mittens what have you.  This winter I will focus on the small bits, some of which have been set aside for several years!  I first knit an Icelandic Sweater with Lett Lopi in 2013 and believe I may still have some from this time.

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I have three small bags full of bits and bobs of lett lopi – I love using them and seeing this stash dwindle
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New work space – Jamie put the shelves up and painted the room ❤ I absolutely love it in all it’s simplicity.  Current Wool Stash – I would love to free up the top shelf for only plants.
Decisions.
Decisions, Decisions!
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Handknit stripped socks
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Fingerless Mittens in Heaven Blue and Hazel Heather
Woodland
Woodland trail
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Maritime Folk Mittens – Prince Edward Island Wool and Flying Geese pattern, knit by my very special Mama
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“New” Cedar Chest for all the woollens and a beauty kitty
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a couple of tags for our handknits
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Another pair knit by my Mom
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New knits, a cozy chair, Arthur Rackham Fairy and my little fairy cat, Pangur.

 

Only a couple of pictures that I have captured over the last couple of days.  I am currently looking at 2 weeks before my next shift in the library (unless I am called in) and Jamie gets 10 days off from his work for the holidays! I am definitely feeling like hibernating while simultaneously desperately wishing for snow to play in.  Jamie and I are getting snow shoes for eachother for Yule so we can continue to walk our favourite trails despite the amount of snow we usually receive in the deep winter.

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I have a lot of tiny knitting projects planned.  My wordpress account is almost at the full capacity for storage space so I will be changing my account to a ‘business account’ soon (unlimited space) so I hope to raise the funds to support this little website with my knits.  I hope i can come up with some wee special mitts, etc. I will be busy sitting by this fire, thinking up colour combinations with the remaining lopi 🙂

Hope you are all well, we are nearly at the solstice to welcome the lighter half of the year!  So much hope.

As a farewell parting gift, A beautiful Scandinavian Folk song for you:

Gjallarhorn – Ye Ride so Carefully

Blessings to you ❤

Julia

Dyeing Wool with Mushrooms!

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The woods by our house – autumnal glory

Hello and I hope you are well!

It has been awhile.  I am SO inconsistent, especially because I have been drawn into a place and time sans social media or blogging or even e-mail.  Of my own choosing… I didn’t go to an off-grid camp or anything like that (although.. I would love to :))!  Sometimes, I just love to detach and it’s beginning to feel like such a luxury, so wonderful to be “offline.”  It’s funny because I feel as though going back online is returning to “the real world” when in fact, it’s anything but!  But… it’s the reason why I feel like I’m not alone in my musings, my hobbies, the way I see this world!

Alas!  I have SO much to share.  The first is that our dear orange tabby, Petey, is well!  After my last post, we had to bring him back to the vet.  He was put on a catheter and had to stay at overnight : (  I was so worried about him…. but knew that we could not do what the vet could at home. He is much better and is drinking fluids and peeing.  He slept curled up against me the whole night that he came home ❤

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Walks close to home and a haven for red squirrels, fox and mushrooms!

I have been making and gardening quite a bit.  Jamie and I planted garlic this morning.  Our wood is almost completely split and stacked and we had our first frost and consequently fire yesterday.  I love fall so much, it’s so fleeting.  On our walk this morning, most of the bright red sugar maple leaves were already under our feet.  The earth is damp and the north winds strong.  Henry and I have been walking down a beautiful wooded path to the river that we live by every day.  The mossy parts of this wood are replete with beloved mushrooms.

Mushrooms…. the reason why I write to you today.  What amazing specimens they are!  Not only are they adorable and surrounded with fairy lore, they are beyond healthful and practical!  A couple of months ago, I posted on instagram about wanting to dye a pair of socks with lichen.  A user suggested that I use a type of mushroom: Cortinarius Semisanguineas or red-gilled webcap.  On one of our walks, I was looking very closely (okay, on my belly in the moss looking up at the gills…not weird at all) and noticed how beautiful the colours of this mushroom was and it clicked.  It was the very mushroom that the user had suggested! I got so excited and went back to the spot with my knife and a basket to collect and experiment ❤

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Cortinarius Semisanguineas!  How beautiful are these colours?
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Warm Autumn Day in The east of Canada
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Collecting – I sliced the mushroom so not to damage the root of the mushroom in order to grow and thrive next year.

And so!  What did I do?  Welllllll, I first collected mushrooms.  I have read a lot about dyeing wool and nothing intrigues me more than using what grows close to you rather than what you can buy from a grocer.  I am not despairing the use of avocado or yellow onion skins (I plan on trying both!) I just don’t find the process as exciting, rewarding and directly engaging with this eco-region!  Something that naturally finds its home and is nourished by the same rain water that falls on my skin, on the earth that grows our food.  I want so badly to be more entrenched in the land around me. Dyeing is such an ancient way to connect to the land, to even represent the region you live!  I remember as a Celtic Studies student, learning that Scottish tartans began to be associated with certain clans simply due to the plants that were available in their region!

I first boiled some water with Alum and Cream of Tartar.  Once boiled, I added the wool and let it simmer for a short while (This is a mordant.  A mordant is the chemical composition that holds the natural dye to the fibre, otherwise you could end up with very washed out colours after exposure to the elements or a wash). I used pure white wool from MacAuslands here on PEI and an angora wool from We are Knitters.  once this wool was dry, I collected a small basket full of mushrooms (I only like taking a portion of what the earth provides), boiled them on the fire in the backyard and added the wool with the boiled mushroom broth in a mason jar.  Cortinarius Semisanguineas are actually poisonous so be cautious when handling!  They will not harm as a dye but they are not edible and I wasn’t crazy about having them in the house for long, especially with 4 wild ones about.   I repeated this process 3 times, hanging the experimental wool in a crab apple tree to dry.

I have looked at quite a few pictures online.  I believe it was the amount of the mordant that made my end result significantly paler than what I have seen and the amount of mushroom caps that I used.  Other examples are such a deep orange or red!  I really like the salmon shade that these turned out. I did try one strand of wool without a mordant and it was significantly darker.

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A Little mushroom study – The drawing on the right is a result of humidity, it looks a little strange but honestly, this is what they looked like!  This door was closed to critters while I worked with this fungi!  I love to draw plants and fungi that grow close to home.
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Drying outdoors after their first dye bath
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A closer look
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A second dye bath – I started to do most of the process outdoors – partly because red-gilled webcaps are poisonous
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After a second dye bath – in our crab apple tree
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Beauties after the 2nd bath
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Beneath the mother white pine ❤  This tree is wonderful
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A third dye bath never hurt anyone…. with the straw and wood for a couple of nights – a deep red!
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Finished Result, I brought it back to the woods where I found the mushrooms to show them what wonders they do for us ❤
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End Result – My sorry attempts at twisting a skein of yarn and my mushroom study

There you have it!  My first experiment with a close to home fungi!  I am SO excited about this project.  It was a lot of fun and very inspiring.  I hope you enjoyed this, even if you just looked at the photographs!  In our yard is a beautiful horse chestnut tree and I hope to use the husks to actually make a pair of fingerless mitts using the two colours 🙂

Autumnal blessings to you and I hope this post finds you well, inspired and happy ❤ I would love to hear about your own experiments or even desires with natural dyeing!

Hazel Heather Pangur Bán Handknit Sweater

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Hello 🙂

I wanted to share a few pictures of the latest Pangur Bán sweater.  I have it all ready to be shipped off to California but wanted to document it as much as possible!  It’s a funny thing, dedicating countless hours to knitting a garment and then shipping them off to their new homes – you so often forget about things that you have knitted!  Instagram has been good in a lot of ways to go back and remember different things that I’ve made in the past, however I find blogging about it just a wee bit more personal.  And I don’t feel like there are these silly rules about how many pictures I can post 😀

You can see the wool (Léttlopi) I used on the Alafoss Website.  The main colour is hazel heather and the contrasting colours are beige, black heather, oatmeal heather.  I guess I didn’t take too many pictures of the process, so I hope you enjoy the few that I did 🙂

And so, without further ado, here are some photos of my latest handknit sweater (you can read more about the design of this sweater in one of my first posts!).

Sleeves
Still winter and so much snow when I started this knit!
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Finished sleeves – I had the mug pictured here for such a short period of time 😦 it was chipped and cracked after it fell off the coffee table and now is home to an English Ivy
Knitting
Sunroom Knitting
Working on the yoke
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My knitting basket and Pangur ❤
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It was windy – I started with my hair up and it slowly falls out 😛  But in this photo, you can see Shipwreck Point Lighthouse and below are red rocks and the ocean
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Feeling the wind by the Ocean (i.e. just posing for a camera :P).
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Colour Contrast
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The blocked yoke
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Laid flat on the old
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packaged up with a card and a little bit of extra wool in the emergency situation
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The workroom has been completely taken over by plants!
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Lastly, stamped handmade bag !

Off she goes today!  I am being swamped at home right now with chores upon chores to do before we catch our flight in Halifax this Friday.  I can hardly believe that in a week’s time, we will be driving on the left side of the road and in the country of my ancestors.  I have a lot to share with you all before we go and will likely afterwards as well!  We have had a lot of rain which has made the PEI country side so lush and wonderful. It’s hard not to be happy in the midst of all the green and warmth!  Especially when hiking in the mountains on the other side of the Atlantic is just before us!

PEI
Our side of the Ocean ❤

I am on the fence currently about bringing any knitting on the trip.  For some reason, I am hesitant to bring knitting needles on the plane – I have read that it should be fine, but I remember once I had my knitting in my bag when a friend and myself went on a tour of the Parliament Buildings (just for fun one random afternoon when I lived in Ottawa) and they took my knitting from me and sealed it in a bag!  I may go scout out some wooden circular needles tonight (cross fingers that such thing exists in PEI!).  I do hope to, we have a 5 hour lay over in St. John’s and a long plane ride which I will be incapable of getting any rest >.<

Anyhow, my family is coming tomorrow to house sit for us and I have SO much to do before!  Getting very excited!  I may be very stereotypical and post a packing for Ireland blog, if I have time!!!

Slán!!

Simple Knits & Slower Days

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Hi out there Earthlings and Fae Folk!

** It’s now a windy Saturday morning – I wrote this yesterday afternoon with the weather so different than this morning.  It’s strange posting a journal like blog post when you feel so incredibly different than the day before – however I’m going to leave it as it is.  Today, I feel motivated and happy 🙂 **

I am SO incredibly happy to announce.. that is is 12 degrees Celsius.  I can hardly believe it, although it is SO windy.  But look where I am writing this to you! The non-insulated sun room!  We have all been longing to spend time in here since we closed it up in November.  Soon, the windows will be open and plants will illuminate the drafty corners.

Sunroom
Window Seat (I did displace Petey)

So, here I am.  Sat before our whole world with a salty ocean air candle and the music of Eternal Tapestry – pondering how to delve into the topic of the 2 simple knits I recently completed and the beautiful act of “slow” living.  The wind is demanding attention today, my thoughts are with it since it’s essentially yelling at me while I sit in this room.

This winter/spring has been very slow for me in the creative realm.  I have simply been directing my attention to … I can’t even say.  Everything gets a little hazy at that point and all I know is that I was way more productive last year.  I am taking full advantage of the trendy ‘slow living’ tag I see constantly floating around (although, I find it hypocritical because there is nothing slow about our habitual use of technology and our means for occupying a great deal of our time ~*instagram*~ and showing off our dreamy art of *slow living* but obviously I get where the sentiment comes from – it takes time to knit your own garments, to bake your own bread, to grow your own seeds).  In my world right now, I’m not sure if it’s actually a vitamin deficiency or chopping wood or lack of sunshine, but I have been SO tired and fatigued.  I feel unbearably guilty about this and need to listen to my intuition which is telling me to listen to my body and take things slow.

And so… it took me weeks, months even to finish the two knits I am sharing with you – a pair of Alpaca double knit lace mittens and a lace stole, using the same lace design.  A simple design because I had never attempted lace before but it is easy peasy and if you can do a knit or purl stitch – trust me, you can do lace knitting.

Amherst NS
Walks this month in Nova Scotia

A L P A C A  DK  M I T T E N S

This wool is the Alpaca “baby wool” from We Are Knitters (I think I wrote that they were angora… angora is just the A fibre word always in my brain since we had an angora rabbit named Bunny growing up).  Last year, I received a sweater kit from the company.  They give you large 5.5 mm wooden needles and about 12 balls of the wool and a pattern for an item.

 I made the whole back of a sweater, the entire time really disliking the needles and feeling like the wool wasn’t right for them.  Wondering why I was committing myself to something that was bringing me so little joy from one of my favourite things to do. Anyway, it took a long time to make and I could tell that it was going to be just an awkward, oversized strange sweater that I realistically would never wear because of the colour and weight of the wool.  That being said, I have seen others’ version of the sweater and it looks absolutely beautiful – mine just didn’t come close to the other finished gesture sweaters that I have seen on blogs or instagram.  ANYWAY – I decided to take the whole back out and salvage the wool instead.

The wool double knit is so incredibly lovely.  It’s thick and heavy and oh so soft. The size of these mittens run very very small, so I’m going to make a larger pair of fingerless mitts using two strands of wool as well.

I used 3.25 mm dpn needles and just experimented around.  I will have these up too on our Etsy Shop, but keep in mind they run pretty small!

DK knitting
Starting to experiment on a Saturday evening at home
Another Saturday morning
Another Saturday morning when there was still lots of snow
knitting
Knitting something special
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Just the ends to weave in
candles and knits
little flame for company
thumbs
Plain and Simple
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Drawing to accompany a simple pair of mittens – Poppies!
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to paint or not to paint?
Fin
Fin
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Happy Saturday Morning! Knits, tea and an early morning drawing

R O W A N  A R A N  T W E E D  S T O L E

Last but not least, this Rowan Aran Tweed Stole.  The colour I chose is called “Scree” and one of my all time favourite colours. I have about a month left I think to wear this comfortably but soon all my knits will be shed in turn for my thrifted dresses and some handmade shifts (as well as my very dirty gardening clothes… realistically more so than the dresses :P)

Nova Scotia January
What the weather was like when I started this stole
Stole
Rowan Aran Tweed Stole
Life
One fine March afternoon – books, tarot and knitting – life complete
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time to block – the edges still curl though
At a lighthouse
It’s freezing and we are at a lighthouse to share some old fashioned handknit goodness
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For next winter – my new lace stole
Knit
On my mom during one of our late March walks

And there you have it!  2 very simple knits, that took me what feels like a year and a day to make.  I wanted to just slowly enjoy the feeling of some really beautiful and soft wool and feel like I definitely achieved that goal.

Now with the change of season, I feel like I really need to speed up my activity and growth.  Shed my winter skin and become just a little more active.

F  I N & A F T E R T H O U G H T S

All in all, I am really happy with the two knits that I shared with you today.  I am also not feeling as down on myself for my very slow progress these past few months.  My body and mind have been calling for a slow approach to everything in life and I finally obeyed them.

I’d love to hear how you deal with slow, unproductive weeks on end!  Or if that even happens to you >.<  I am really hoping to blog more and will probably be revisiting Instagram for at least one weekday to see how everyone is doing and share a latest blog or knit or what have you!

** Today, we plan to take Henry to the ocean for a walk (if the dirt roads aren’t too muddy), knitting and watching movies

Sláinte mhaith!

Julia

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Fiddling with water colours – it won’t be long yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,yeah,yeah
Henry
Henry got a new bed!  Much how I feel lately Henry
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Walks on the beach with Henry
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Jamie and Henry to the beach
Fairisle on the beach in PEI
The latest Fairisle – handknit by Liz Reddy – available in Ways of Wood Folk Etsy Shop

Preparing Shop Orders & More Snow

 

Back Yard
Henry among the snow

And it’s back.  A foot of snow, freezing temperatures… the chickens refuse to leave the coop and boots full of snow.  We can at least take heart that it is technically *spring* and this won’t last.  But for now, my nose is running and my feet are damp.  I feel like watching The Ken Burn’s documentary about the Civil War and not leaving the couch… eating brownies and drinking peppermint tea. But first, before I succumb to these whims, I thought I would be somewhat productive and share some photos I took the other day while I was preparing for Etsy shipments.

This week, I prepared the folkloric Lopapeysa, A Fairisle pull over  and some hand-pressed cards.  I have been feeling SO lethargic and just “blah” this past week (I think a combination of the blizzard and monthly times), such little drive to do anything at all.  Last week, I baked like 5 different types of bread (2 loaves of french bread, 2 loaves of whole grain, 2 peasant loaves, 12 buns and some naan bread!) and was just on a wild spree of being a productive human being.  I even read one of my favourite books, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and picked out some new books to pick up at the library.  I felt SO good and happy and this week has just been the exact opposite.  I have just been down in the pits or as my girl Anne says, in the depths of despair.  Winter melancholia.

But alas, it is sunny and sometimes, it’s so difficult to feel anything but hope and happiness when you are basking in the sun.

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Folding the Fairisle

P R E P A R I N G

To get out of a funk, I enjoy the creative process of simply packaging up orders.  I wanted to share a couple photos with you since I am much better at that than descriptive writing!

I make wrapping paper for the cards, using hand-carved stamps.  Last weekend, I bought some red ink for a different look (what do you think?).  I really enjoy wrapping up cards and tying them up with string. Simple pleasures that I hope bring a wee bit of happiness to the person that receives them! I stamp the brown paper based on what type of artwork has been purchased, for instance if it is a botanical or fungi print, I make sure it is plant based wrapping paper.

E T S Y   O R D E R S

Wrapping
Pressed Paper for wrapping cards! I just bought some red ink and love it!
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Cards to be shipped out!
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Farewell
Snow on March 24th
The view from my workspace  – snow and wind (and some flies that have taken refuge)
Ways of Wood Folk
Choosing a tag
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Wrapped up with a handmade card
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Details of a sweater – lettlopi wool
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Bound up with some extra wool for any potential mending and a hand-pressed card
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a tag with some wool

 

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Envelopes
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Snooow!!!
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Saturday Hike with Henry and Jamie to Strathgartney, PEI
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Beautiful Pine tree, one of my favourite trees ❤
WOodland
Snowy Woodland at Strathgartney

N A T U R A L   W O R L D

Jamie and I went on a really beautiful walk in Strathgertney Provincial Park yesterday.  Luckily, there was a path to follow made by snow shoes rather than us struggling in our winter boots in the snow.  The park is beautiful, with a range of different woodlands, walks along the West River.  We only met two other people and were free deep in the woods from the sounds of cars on the nearby highway.  I can not wait for the snow to melt and the mud to dry up so we can freely walk in the different beautiful spots on this island.

A  NEW  WEEK

This week, I am hopeful that the temperatures will rise, that the sun will come out, that we will be free of blizzards and impending storms. My Mom has graciously agreed to come stay with me for the week since Jamie will be going to Ontario for work and I would love company living out in the country during my bluest time of year.  For some reason, the “Winter Blues” descends upon me in the beginning of “spring” rather than the winter.  I feel very alive and happy in the winter months but March often sees me down.

I see the light though, because April, April is next Saturday!  Praise the Gods!

I hope you all enjoy your last week of M A R C H! Bye Legions!

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Bye Friends!  I’ll be out here for the week (Song of the Sea, 2015)

 

Links to our Shops:

KNIT WEAR ETSY SHOP : Ways of Wood Folk

ART WORK ETSY SHOP : Wood Folk Prints

 

 

Knitting a Folkloric Lopapeysa

My Sketchbook :)
Sketching away to keep the winter blues at bay

 M A K I N G   A   L O P A P E Y S A

March!  Oh March!  The month I feel the most conflicted over.  Here on the East Coast, it is a time balanced between spring and winter with winter as her favourite.  This winter has been inconsistent – a constant tantrum between freeze and thaw.  I am so ready for spring, eternal spring.  A lasting thaw.  March has left me unmotivated, uninspired and lethargic.  My fingers are itching to work with plants, with the soil so I have been re-potting the indoor plants and starting some lavender and pumpkin seeds… because I am desperate.  My creative world is only now slowly beginning to peak above the sleeping soil, I am ready.

I thought I would start by sharing with you my latest Lopapeysa sweater.  I quite honestly made this one blindly without any idea of what would emerge.  It’s a result of a deep winter longing for spring.  It began during a snow storm in early February.  I just wanted to knit and not think about anything, let myself rest with the earth. I started with the sleeves since they are so quick and I enjoy finishing them first.  I made just a basic design at the cuffs and used the oatmeal heather since I didn’t think I had enough of the main colour for a whole sweater (planning ahead ;))!

The sleeves took I think about a week to finish, maybe even a little less. It’s strange remembering time frames in the winter, my memory gets hazy and often all I can think is either “that went by so quickly” or obviously, the opposite.

I started the body during a week of storm after storm after storm.  We were house bound for around a week and I accomplished a lot during this time!  The white landscape inspired me to make a flower based design (perfect sense, right?).  I actually had some difficulty with some of my wool – it kept on tearing which drives me absolutely crazy.  I was splicing again and again (what are you doing to your wool Istex?).

This sweater went on a small trip with us as well.  I made sure the sleeves were attached to the body before we drove to Nova Scotia.  We rented a cabin in Cape Breton and then I stayed an extra week at my parents house since my sister was visiting from Toronto. There, I made much of the main design in the yoke – a flower reaching toward the sun. During this time, we had such mild weather.  Lisa and I sat on our front steps having our morning tea, basking in the sun and feeling the warm wind from the sea.

Below are some photographs I took of the process.  Including my colour inspiration, blocking and my sketchbook!  I am planning to put this sweater up on our Etsy shop; however, it won’t be until I have my vlog post ready (if that works out) and get some photographs of it out in the big wide open world rather than just my house.  This weekend, the wind is cutting right through our windows and I have no intention of going outside except to check on the chickens (it’s around minus 20).  My skin is chapped and I have a chill right in my bones.  I’ll be spending the full moon day right by the fire, chapping my skin more but at least my bones will thaw ;).

First Sleeve
In the beginning, a sleeve
Lopi Sleeves
And then there were 2
Closer Look
Snow, tea and knitting
Splicing
One ball of this lett lopi kept on tearing so splicing away!
Spliced wool
These stitches have been spliced together, can you tell?
Storms Witch
A lot can be accomplished when you’re working with a storm
Packing
Joined before setting off to Nova Scotia
Cheticamp
February driving
Starting the colour work
In Nova Scotia, I started the yoke. This is the only early photo I took!
Knitting outside during a thaw
During late February, the temperature reached plus 10 degrees! Here, I was knitting on the clothes line platform in the morning.
The river is breaking up
Walks along the river during the thaw
Shelf Fungi
Pretty pretty pretty Shelf Fungi
At home on PEI
Finishing up!
All the weaving and grafting left
a Simple finish to this flower power inspired sweater
Loose ends
Weaving in those ends – so close to being finished!
Kitchener stitch
Kitchener Stitch
Grafted
Underarms grafted together!
Colour Inspiration
Colour inspiration – Tangerine Quartz found near my parents home in Nova Scotia – The colours of the quartz match so perfectly!
Tangerine Quartz
Close up with wool pieces in the background!
To be blocked
Working location
Sleeping Baby
A helper
Blocked
Washed and blocked – now to dry
Blocked
All blocked ❤
After a long day of work on the thistle farm
My sketchbook detail – a gnome walking home after a long day at work on the Thistle Farm
Details
Details from my sketch book – a guardian and her plants
The final sweater and Pangur
Pangur and the finished sweater – now to be tucked away until someone claims it.
Final
Just put it on to share with you the fit! and of course my mug 😉

F I N A L  T H O U G H T S

In my head, I was imagining floral designs based loosely on old world Scandinavian embroidery.  I didn’t have anything really to model it on so just began to sketch away and make a thistle like design (influenced by my Scottish ancestry and the thistles that abound in the East Coast).  I wanted it both delicate and blocky in the yoke.  The simplicity actually came from not having enough black wool to make a full detailed yoke!  Meaghan gifted me with the rust heather which I am so very grateful for – I love the contrasting colours!

All in all, I am really happy with the final design of this folkloric lopapeysa!  It really for me encapsulates this winter – frigid temperatures interspersed with warm thaws  – extremities free of stiff wool to flirt with the wind!  The promise of spring dangled before us on a string.

T H A N K  Y O U & B L E S S E D  B E

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and look at the pictures of my latest sweater.  It has been around a month and a half in the making.

This morning our clocks sprung forward while the moon waxes for the last time of her cycle.  Another turn of the wheel, this time hopefully for a change in season (despite a warning for a blizzard this Wednesday!).

A birch
Beautiful birch bark