Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Season for Giving

Last week we had out Christmas potluck for the Mid-Island's Weavers and Spinners Guild. My friend, Karin, and I also ran a charity clothing drive for hand knit and gently used clothing that we cold donate to the Sally Ann.
We were overwelmed with the response. Members were bringing bags of warm clothing and some wonderful handknits to donate. We ended up with 2 table filled with cozies for donation.

Thank you too my sister member of the Mid-Island Weavers and Spinners Guild. For all those that are interested, we are alway looking for new members. Our next meeting is January 2nd, 2008. Meetings are held at St. Paul's Anglican Church (100 Chapel Street) and begins at 7:30pm.

Everyone but Pat is allowed to continue reading. Pat, go away, go calculate something!!!!!!
Is she gone yet? OK. I've finally finished my sisters Pat's Capelet. Here's some pics.
Da Front:

Da Back:

Me modeling da capelet:

This is my second from Fleece to Knit 100 Mile Fiber Diet project. It's an asymmetrical capelet that I designed for my kid sister, Pat. I got the alpaca from a local farm (literally just down the road from me). I used both black and white fleece. I dyed some of the white into a light and dark grey. I wanted some depth to the finished yarn colour and not a flat color. I blended the dyed and natural rovings twice through with hand carders so it would be mixed but not homogeneous colour.

She wanted something modern but classic (I don't know where she gets such strange ideas about fashion :P). Because of the dark colour of the yarn and my sister's general preference for simple lines, I opted for an overall stitch pattern that provided clean lines with a bit of texture. The back panel is the same pattern for a scarf that I made her.

The stitch pattern for the body of the capelet is "Overlapping Waves" from the Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns from Sterling. The back panel is "Column of Leaves" from the same book.

I aimed to make a structured capelet, as opposed to flat, drapey piece like a poncho or shawl. She wanted something she could wear in her perpetually AC-blasting office. By literally sculpting in shoulders with short rows, she could just throw this on just to keep the chill off and it would stay on without needed to be pinned closed. It also won't slide all around.

Also, because like me, my sister is short (though way cuter than me), most shawls and capes make us look stumpy, I made sure that the overall length of the capelet wouldn't swallow her. By making it asymmetrical and having a bit of length in the front, it elongates the central body line. However, because the sides are shorter, and the bottom hem is a diagonal upward, it accentuates the torso and doesn't chop her body up into pieces.

I also made her a hooded scarf with some Aran wool I found in my stash:

The scarf pattern is "Column of Leaves" from Sterling's Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns. It's the same pattern that I used for her capelet back panel and one that she really loves. The hood was formed by picking up stitched along the edge of the scarf. Just wrap the scarf around your head and that's how much of the scarf edge you pick up. Knit up a few inches then start forming the hood with short rows. Decrease 2 stitches per row until you reach the centre. Wrap the stitches if you want, don't bother if you don't want to. Then start increasing, 2 stitches per row until you've pick up all the stitches again. Knit up a couple more inches just to provide an ample brim.
The brim edge is from The Harmony Guide to Aran and Fair Isle Knitting. It's pattern 4.7 and 4.8 which are mirrored versions of it. I used one for one half the brim (from scarf edge to centre) and the other one for the half. It makes for a symmetrical edging for the brim that probably only I will notice. The pattern naturally folds and so it provides a nice textured rolled rim which makes for a nicer finish for an edge.
I hope she loves them as much as I loved making them for her :)
Have a great season of giving!


Monday, December 3, 2007

Carving Her Own Paddle

My back has been ever so slowly healing from injury & re-injury to my back & pelvis over the last 2 years. I'm not the most patient monkey and the sitting around the sidelines as everyone else got to play really got to my spirit. Finally, my body is strong enough to return to my traditional qayak training, along with my mountain play. Though, not completely healed, I'm optimistic and looking forward to returning to being able to train as intensely as I did before the injury. I'm now clumsily working away at my qayak rolls and other techniques, however, I'm thrilled that I'm not having to face a week of screeching back and screaming abductors as result of a day on the water.
I've been whittling away a stick to make myself a Inuit qayak storm paddle so I can fully advantage of the winter storm paddling conditions and not be stuck treadmilling on the waters of Piper's Lagoon. A "Me" sized storm paddle will also make it easier on my body to paddle in the bluster and waves as my body finishes healing and to maintains it's healthier state.
My wonderful DH went and bought us his and her's cedar 2x4s to make new paddles with. He paid a stiff $$ for local cedar clear of knots but he insisted, being the cool, romantic water jedi that he is. This will be my second paddle but my first cedar storm paddle. Not only to I get to use local fibre to make my paddle but I also get to make it sans power tools.
Here's my stick. It happens to be the perfect length for a storm paddle for me. Basically it fits nicely in my hands with my arms stretched out to either side.

With a string, pins, pencil and ruler, I map out the shape of my paddle.

Here's the paddle all mapped out. Quite frankly, this whole drawing lines part is the hardest for me. Somehow I always manage to mess it up. This time, all my lines crossed as they should with each other but they crossed about 4 inches short of where they should have crossed, which is supposed to be the middle the paddle. Thank goodness of pencil and bulk packages of erasers and for husbands who will gladly run down out to procure such supplies as I have a meltdown over my wonky, unexplained mess of paddle layout. Double thank goodness for husbands who don't make fun of you for said meltdown or paddle layout mess.

That's me armed with a hand saw cutting kerfs to shape the loom. You see those $50 Canadian Tire boots on my feet. Those are the boots that took me up Liberty Bell in the North Cascades and numerous climbs in Squamish, including the apron on the Stawamus Chief and a couple of seasons of ice climbing & mountaineering. I love those boots just for those awesome memories and experiences as a novice climber and great adventures that my DH took me on. Of course, now those boots would probably not make it up Mt. Benson they're so pooched.

Kerfs are basically notches cut into the wood. In this case they're used to make chiseling out the excess wood easier.

With a chisel and rusty old hammer, I knock off all the excess wood from the loom. See how the kerfs are make this an easy and simply job.

Loom's basic shape is finally taken form.

Here I am working with a block plane to shape the edges of the paddle blades. Instead of having it clamped down onto the workbench, I opted to work the paddle freely in my hands. The yellow foamy protects the end of the paddle and also helps provide some friction as I work the plane. By working it in my hands, I can rotate and whittle away with ease.

Here's my view. All that wood on the side with scribbles over it needs to come off.

It's starting to look like a paddle!

A bit more planing and the beveled shaping of the blades is starting to take form. Mind you there's still lots of planing and sanding down before I can take this baby out for a ride!

Here's the mess I made: bags and bags of shavings. These cedar shavings will find a new home either sewn into little sachets for moth repellent cedar pockets or as tinder for a good friend's wood stove.

In case you wondering, I have managed to squeeze in some knitting in, mostly charity knitting.
Here's my wonderful DH showing off one of my EZ inspired baby jackets.

My weaving and spinning guild is doing a charity knitting project and so I'm knitting up a bunch of EZ based baby things and socks. This one is based on EZ's Practically Seamless Baby Jacket from the Knitter's Almanac. Mine is completely seamless.
I opted to do EZ patterns as a way of commemorating the anniversary of her departure to the Great Big Yarn Stash in the Sky.
BTW, in the background of the above photo, to the right of my handsome husband are a couple of our finished qayak paddles.

Have a great week everyone!