sunday mornings are often often filled with pancakes for brunch. patrick whips them up for us around lunch time. this morning i made an apple breakfast cake. quite simple and tasty - it is based roughly on this recipe from d*sponge - theirs is still about summer fruit while i used fall-friendly apples and pears. i used more fruit 3 or 3 1/2 cups (theirs called for 2 cups of berries) and added pumpkin pie spice. it took a little more time to bake. oh and i would suggest sour cream or some yogurt with this - yum!
we are solidly into autumn here - the sweaters (rather than light summer cardigans ... they don't really count as sweaters) are out - these are the lighter pullovers and cozy cardigans ... not the massive ones .... hmm seems i have many classes of sweaters, but in my defense i do live north of 60: Fall arrives at the end of August; i scrape frost off the windshield most mornings now but thats OK - i don't need a coat yet!
here are a couple shots from my apartment patio. i'm going for a little hike this afternoon so may bring my camera as there are some lovely reds out right now too.
so yes ... i hate to admit it but i do have a closet of wool. here is a very old project .... from the last winter olympics in fact! this was my olympic knitting project when i lived in dawson .... but i never finished ... as it was coming together, it umm was a bit blah. but when i saw new free pattern downloads yesterday from interweave i found inspiration to dig up that project, pull it apart and start on a cozy fall cardigan.
so i have it all balled now and you know it is really quite a lovely colour deep greens with some teal and clay hints. the pattern: Side-Way Ribs Cardigan by Norah Gaughan is quite simple and normally too boring to knit but it is going to be quick and has an interesting construction!
so i'm still working on that edging ..... 2.5 sections out of seven .... sigh on my trip to dawson last weekend i cast on for a simple shawllette (placing beads on lace yarn in the car .... not that do-able) .... very satisfying to finish a project in the car there and back!
this is textured shawl recipe available on ravelry. i subbed in a bunch of other stitches and rows of stockinette between the lace
it is fairly small but it is perfect for this rustic pretty handspun wool that i bought in inuvik. hard to see but there are beads randomly glittering too
while in Inuvik i was able to take a spinning class ... well almost the class was full but they let me watch and listen. I learnt alot! and it gave me confidence to try drop spindling. that is the photo above: my drop spindle. it is a lovely little thing cherry wood and very light so i can spin lace weights. can should be in quotes ... so i could spin lace, once i get better - right now it is mainly fingering (sock) weight .. but there are fair chunks of thick and thin
here is my fibre .... Spunky Eclectic Spunky Club Roving: Romney wool, Pansy colourway our instructor gave lots of tips - ie good begining fibres - romney, corridale are two goods ones as they have long grabby hairs/fibres. also variegated colours help too so you can see the twist.
and here is my first 4oz or 100 grams of hand spun wool!!!
so i've had a few questions on how my current sweater is constructed. it is basically a giant circle. i cast on 7 stitches (centre back) and every other round i increased by 7 stitches.
step 1: knit the circle step 2: knit the edging step 3: sleeves
so right now i am on step 2 - the edging is basically a fancy bind-off, or in other words to cast off one stitch i have to knit 40 to 48 stitches. around the edge is about 550 stitches to cast off .... i don't want to do the math so lets just say it is a lot of knitting. Unfortunately it is kind of boring knitting which is part of the reason i'm adding beads to make it more interesting !
see what i mean how the colour shifts? here the beads appear copper .... a post or two below and they look amethyst
just to clarify i haven't pre-strung the beads rather i add them to stitch with a crochet hook - whoever figured this out was brilliant. it works really well! you just need to find a tiny hook!
well i've done the body of the cardigan now onto the edging. to help the monotony of it (twenty stitch saw tooth lace edge) i've decided to add beads - i picked out gold seed beads in Inuvik but i haven't been able to find a crochet hook small enough to add them to the yarn. so yesterday i went to our great local dollar store and found these larger beads and a size 14 crochet hook (0.60 mm smallest i've been able to find in whitehorse). The beads are a clear amethyst purple with a copper foil lining - the copper glints in the light and also makes the beads appear brown in some light. i really like how they shift colour - sometimes a pale grey-purple, bright copper, or dark warm purple/brown.
i have to admit i'm a little worried that they will add too much weight to this light floaty cardigan (wool will weigh about 100grams) and/or distract from the lace - however they are really pretty and it is fun to knit with them!
hermes kelly bag - seriously! the classic grace kelly bag - you can download it and print off your very own coveted bag. they have pre-made designs or a plain white one to decorate. i'm quite tempted to bring it down to to staples and print it out on heavy card ... wonder if you could laminate it??
yoga podcasts - ok many of you might have already thought of this but i just recently discovered these and gotta say i love them - i stick on my ipod and i can have a class at home (or the park ..etc) there are video podcasts but i prefer the audio ones ... the yogadownload ones come with pose guides too .. i also like "hillary's yoga practice" for longer sessions (about 60 minutes vs 20 minutes).
libravox - i have been talking about/loving this site for a while. what is librivox.org? free audio books of anything that is in the public domain. so the classics! feel like knitting to Jane Austen or maybe Dickens? all the books are there read by volunteers ... which means some are better than others but all in all it is great! here is a personal fav: Pride and Prejudice
and yeah there is plenty more out there (like some great knitting patterns) ... nevermind my place: the library! enjoy and share other links!
hardly looks like anything here but it will end up as a lacy floaty cardigan .... this link isn't a great pic but it does give you an idea how it will end up. the pattern is Honeysuckle in Rowan 45. mom has given me a subscription to this British magazine for the last couple years and i love it. it isn't a fast knit ... i'm on row 86 of 130 .... well then i do the edging and sleeves. so i'm getting there but haven't reached the half way mark yet!
mom and dad were here last week. it was so great to have them visiting as they finally got a chance to see the Yukon during our long summer days. they drove up bring my bedroom furniture ( a tall boy chest of drawers and vanity both with beautiful art deco lines from the 30s) and my great grandmothers china ... yes i now have a stunning set of dishes! Blue Mikado by Royal Crown Derby ... this set was once Jennie Cogswell's my mom's mother's mother ... willa also got a beautiful set - from mom's father's mother - unfortunately not all of willa's made it to her complete ... so sad!!!! many broke ... so we'll hunt the internet for replacements. andrea also just received china too from our grandma white - her's has lovely pink blossoms that almost have a botanical drawing feel about them - so perfect for andrea!
back to my trip with mom and dad - they spent a few days here in whitehorse then we drove up to dawson city where we had three nights. there are so many touristy things to do in dawson and it has been a while since i've done them! we did the walking tour(highly recommended by the way as they also take you into restored buildings), the dredge (so big!), and mom and dad also went to robert service's and jack london's cabin .... i had homework to do then so didn't make it to those. we all went up the dome road which is high above dawson to see the sun not set on the 21st at midnight. it is a big gathering spot everyone brings a bottle ... or card table (there were a couple of groups plying poker) ... we looking rather square with out booze and mom and i were pretty tired ... but it is always cool to experience to sun stay high .. or skim above the mountains anyway ;)
ok i'm going to knit a bit more this morning .. enjoy your sunday morning
one thing i absolutely had on my list to bring back was icelandic wool. hee hee no surprise there! the mecca? the Álafoss factory outlet shop/orginal mill (pictured above). willa and i drove there on monday before we started our country drive. and wow! so glad we went. the staff were sooo nice, the selection amazing, and more than just wool lots of knit sweaters/ lace stoles/ kid items etc. oh and great prices - i left with spending just under $40 CA with enough wool to knit a cardigan and 2 or 3 lace stoles/scarves!
i will warn you my knitting/yarn geekness is going to come out here - so feel free to glaze over and just admire the pics.
Like Shetland (northern scottish islands) Iceland has its own breed of sheep. the resulting wool is warm, hardy and water-repellent. its long fibres mean it wears well (merino and cashmere for example have short fibres meaning they are soft .. but are delicate/prone to pilling - this is over simplified but you get the picture) because the long guard hairs are included - this adds to the wind/water resistant quality but also makes the wool 'hairy' looking and many find it itchy - ps a wash/soak in hair conditioner does wonders!
Ever heard of Lopi? yep that is icelandic wool - available in north america in 3 weights lite, regular and bulky. It is one ply with a loose spin/twist. Pretty affordable a lot of people i know use it for felted items (slippers etc) ......... i've used it a few times often carrying anther fibre like mohair with it to soften it up a bit
but i've been curious about the other icelandic wool out there..... in particular the traditional unspun that comes in "cakes" much like white buffalo used to, and the lace weight. Plötulopi: the unspun wool, it "is fragile to knit; however, due to the length of its fibres, it knits into a sweater that is both sturdy and soft." see the lovely sweater above? I bought one from "Farmers Market" - young design company [profiled here] that is re-imagining the traditional lopapeysa - or icelandic yoke sweater. I love the sweater - i must get a shot of of me wearing it. anyway back to wool it is knit with a single strand of unspun while more traditional sweaters you'd knit with 2 to 4 strands at a time which would make them ready for the elements. but since i'm wearing this inside i love how lightweight and airy the cardigan is - yet still warm.
i love it so much i'm going to knit myself almost the same sweater - this time in a natural heathered grey with cream and purple. swoon! i have soooo many projects lined up but this pretty pretty wool is calling. oh and it smells great - i guess because it is rather unprocessed
and then there is the laceweight: Loðband - if you've been following the blog you'll know i've been really into knitting lace. and based on a beautiful triangle shaped shawl we saw in the shop [here is one that is similar - might be the pattern i'll use] i bought 6 natural shades from the lightest cream to a deep charcoal. i bought extra white/cream and charcoal so i have enough for 2 or 3 projects!
just wanted to give you a few glimpses of Reykjavík - here is willa (basically across from our place on the main shopping street: Laugavegur ) as you can see it wasn't warm - but no snow in town at least (early april)
street names - this was a shorter one!
many murals in town - this was a favourite! notice the palettes/massive sequins - the shimmering as the wind blew them - this was a feature on a few buildings. you know my undying love for shiny things ... so yes loved these giant metallic discs
Kolaportið ......... ah the flea market in Reykjavík. seriously such a great time. imagine a large warehouse divided into to isles and many table/stalls and then add huge amounts of people swarming and trying on sweaters/hats/etc. it's a crazy mix from folks with established tables full of vinyl and band tees, handknit sweaters (lopapeysa), beautiful dishes, to artists selling their work, and many just clearing out their closet. oh and the fish market of course! where we bought the rotten shark and dried fish
what we came away with: jewelery - directly from the artist - stunning lava and silver pieces salt licorice (just a couple pieces as i bought a MASSIVE bag at the airport - i still have loads) a sparkly topshop tank - barely worn a cowl top (again a group of friends selling items from their closets) willa almost bought a sweater dress - but ended up with a great sweater at another shop
easter eggs that come with fortunes. lovecool article here
Bæjarins beztu pylsur (translates to The best best hot dog in town) and yep pretty good! they had a huge amount of toppings: ketchup, sweet mustard, fried onions, raw onions and remolaði, a mayonnaise-based sauce with sweet relish (oh and gravy too i think!) somewhere between like and love
haroifiskuror hardfiskurwind dried fish you eat with butter. it is alright. made a pretty good lunch. although not a quick eat.... lots of chewing. like
Hákari or kæstur hákarl (Icelandic for "fermented shark") yes rotten shark ... why rotten? well shark is poisonous when fresh due to a high content of uric acid and other toxins but may be consumed after it is 'cured' - ie buried in gravel for 2-3 months. It has a particular ammonia smell ... and is umm an acquired taste. Willa didn't mind it .... me? not so much
Skyr (pronounced skeer) is similar to a thick yoghurt, though technically skyr is a very soft cheese. and oh my it is really really good! it is actually made from skim milk which for yoghurt usually means well pretty crap but skyr is very creamy and rich. we ate skyr everyday and even during our layover on our way home! love oooooh and check out colbert eating skyr
Copenhagen is a pretty city .... lots of flowers which is the best. We wandered around shopping today as all the shops will be shut for Easter starting tomorrow(yes including Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday). The big fashion item here are big scarfs - loud bright triangle ones with tassles are hot..... so guess what both willa and i bought today? oh yes mine is almost neon with fantastic embroidery and pom-poms and willas? massive black and white woven square with the biggest tassles ever in yellow, pink, and purple. so great. is it bad i want another one? saw this russian style one ...... good thing those shops are shut for a couple days hey! tomorrow we are hitting museums. looking forward to that. oh and to explain the lack of photos: we have to internet cafe now as our hostel doesn't have wifi and we are still having computer power issues (our power converter blew up - it was quite dramatic .. smoke and everything). so yes this a brief note ..... but we have lots more icelandic and now danish photos to post. you can check out some of our iceland photos at willa's flickr site
umm yep that us .. this picture was taking after about 1/2 an hour of driving sleet. my hair and wet touque is plastered to my face. willa looks a bit better, but then she has always liked horses. when we were kids she was "horse crazy" went to horse camp, drew horses, had posters of horses etc .... me? no. they kinda freaked me out ... ok i should be honest they totally freaked me out esp when they went fast. so willa was pretty excited/surprized when i agreed to a three hour riding trip on icelandic horses. the reassuring thing for me? do you see the size? more like a pony. We went out with Eldhester they are about 45 min out of town and picked us up right at our hotel/apartment. The horses are really well trained. which served me well. going fast still freaks me out so that was the worst part for me yes even above the stinging sleet and walking thru the river. the mountain trail was beautiful (it had started to clear up then). the staff and whole set up was great. they provided a snowsuit plus the bright orange rain gear along with boots (we had our own), gloves/mitts, and helmets. today? a little sore .... feels like my bum is bruised. even after the soak at the thermal pool last night.
we flew at 9pm and arrived in Iceland at 6am ... it was a four hour flight and neither willa or i slept much. the drive in from the airport took us thru volcanic cliffs and lichen flatlands almost looked like tundra at times but with giant lava boulders. once in town we headed straight to the Grái kötturinn (Grey Cat) for a full plate of pancakes and bacon. it was about 3am our time so bodies demanded food or sleep. sleep wasn't an option so we window shopped and trekked around town. we hit most of the major landmarks. Reykjavík is such a walkable city! everything on the map ended up being closer than we thought. however by 3 we were about to collapse and had to nap! ah well we walked around more after dinner. our place is great! we have a studio apartment right on the trendy shopping street. very amazing. it has an awesome little kitchen and big square windows.
look what willa made me! the one on the left is inside out so you can see that it is fuzzy on the inside. they are crazy puffy and warm - i used them today (and it was a chilly -27 this morning!) ooh in case you feel like making thrummed mittens here is a pattern. the thrums are folded bits of fibre knit right into the mitten - and make these suckers amazing hand furnaces
i'm wishing for spring these days ... well maybe not wishing as i do love the bright sun on the snow but i am dreaming of warmer weather and green grass and flowers. so instead of the sweater(s) i had planned, i have been knitting lace. above is the hemlock ring tamknit with "silky wool" - it is wool and raw silk so has this lovely tweedy texture which i think works for this lacy tam. it isn't warm enough yet for this hat .... but maybe in a month or two?
yesterday i cast on for my next lace project: Cobweb Lace Stole by Michele Rose Orne found in last spring's IK Knits magazine. this pattern looks like a bit of a handful! there are no “rest” purl rows in the main pattern/section - but it shouldn’t bore me at least! so far i have the ruffled edge almost done - it reminds me of foxglove flowers
it is for my trip to Reykjavik and Copenhagen in early april with Willa. (squeal!) so i have a deadline i want to wear this light airy for spring in Scandinavia. the wool is from my trip to the east coast with my family last year - it is the prettiest pale coral or salmon pink/orange. it is suri blue a lace weight by Fleece Artist (based in Nova Scotia) - this wool/alpaca is totally lush - the colour has a slight variegation and a soft halo
thanks to my mom (her birthday is Feb 14th), valentines is one of my favourite holidays. ok, i know, i like a lot of holidays - this girl likes decorations! but back to valentines - it has never been a romantic date thing - never any "i don't have a boyfriend angst" - to me valentines is all about heart shaped sugar cookies and little cut out paper valentines you hand out ....... so. much. fun! and yes i still handout valentines. i say it's because i lead a brownie troupe (think of the sad little brownie faces with no valentines!) but (cough) it's really because i love it. this year i have some ones that come with little jewels that you can wear on your cheek - hoorah for sparkly things.
baking wise i'm making mini-chocolate cupcakes with tiny heart sprinkles for frostbite. oooooooo and also in the kitchen look what my lovely boyfriend got me for v.day!squeal! yes it is a cast iron enamel pot! i few years ago i found a Le Creuset (in classic flame) in a thrift shop in here in Whitehorse. for a mear $15. love that pot. now i have this beautiful rich red one too! it's a great size (almost twice the size of my flame one). Patrick gave it to me early as i made a big south african style stew last night. yum. i'm thrilled and he loved the dinner