Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Happy Holidays & First WIP Wednesday

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday filled with family, friends, food and festivities. We had a special, while unorthodox, Christmas at our place, with my mom, step-dad, dad, step-mom, grandmother and my guy. It was very strange as this was the first time we were all together, but it couldn't have gone better or been more fun. I feel very lucky to have the family I do. However, when everyone cleared out on Boxing Day there was a sigh of relief as sharing our two bedroom apartment with four other people was a bit of a spatial challenge!

I'm going to make a effort to post more frequently, so I am going to try and stick to a WIP Wednesday in which I feature one of my "Works In Progress". This week I want to share my new sweater. The Shiny Green Monster has officially left this world and I have a sense of invigoration and freedom in the realm of sweater knitting. I had originally picked out a cardigan from the wonderful book Coastal Knits, but when I was in Portland I visited a great shop called Knit Wit Yarn Shop where I fell in love with Quince and Co. Yarns and their pattern for the Kara Cardigan.

The Kara Cardigan designed by Cecily Glowik MacDonald. Pattern information can be found on their website or on the ravelry pattern page. Photo from the Quince and Co. website. 
I purchased enough of the chickadee yarn (a sport weight wool) in the lupine colourway; a rich medium range purple that I love.

My yarn just waiting to be turned into something beautiful and wearable. 
On Boxing Day, once the Christmas knitting was complete and everyone else was out shopping, I curled up on the couch and casted on. So far I have finished the bottom ribbing and 2 lace pattern repeats. This is moving along a lot faster than I thought and I am enjoying the all over lace pattern. I am hoping that with blocking it will open up and become a bit larger, but am hopeful that it should fit well in the end. 

'til next time, knit on!


Friday, 23 December 2011

The Long and Winding Road

We are finally home from Maine. I say finally because the trip today involved 11 hours in the car as we drove through Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Quebec and Ontario on our journey home. We woke up this morning to a Maine Winter Wonderland and drove through snow, rain and sleet, but we made it. I even managed to finish Kevin's Christmas socks and start a baby hat. Glad to be sleeping in our own bed tonight and excited for the Christmas festivities to start tomorrow.

With 11 hours in the car I tried to make a few excuses to stop for photo-ops hence the following black and white series: the long and winding road.

The view from the house in the morning snow: a true winter wonderland. 

Ski slopes covered in the good stuff.

White Mountains National Park

Now these are some icicles 

A waterfall. not completely frozen. Did you know a waterfall could also be called a flume? I learned something new today. 


Thursday, 22 December 2011

An Afternoon in Portland

On our last day in Maine we explored downtown Portland and the surrounding coast. 
Matt wanted authentic New England Clam Chowder so we went to Gilbert's in downtown Portland for lunch.

In the restaurant Matt and Dad looked at an old navigational map of the Maine coast. 

Matt and his clam chowder, brimming over in a bread bowl. 
After lunch we headed to Portland Head Lighthouse at low tide. 

Under the lighthouse.

Old wood at the Lighthouse.

We left Portland Head and went to Twin Lights where we explored a bit of the park and coast line. These burrs were similar to the ones that were stuck in the alpaca fur from a few days ago. 

Lichen growing on the rocks.

Dad and Matt in the waning light.

Rocky shore line. 

Dad explores tide pools at sunset. 

Matt and Dad searched for sea glass.

Matt gets ready to dip his finger into the Atlantic...


The sun sets on another wonderful day. 
I even managed to fit some yarn shopping in, at a great local shop called KnitWit. I will share my yarn haul from another local company, Quince and Co. in a later post.

Long drive home tomorrow.


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Good Karma in Maine

Yesterday marked the first official day of our Maine vacation. The guy and I flew in late Monday night and met with my Dad and step-mom at the airport. We awoke yesterday to a beautiful, crisp Maine morning. I have been wanting to visit Good Karma Farms for about a year now, since I first felt their fiber at a Knitty Yarn Tasting at the Purple Purl in Toronto. When I read the label and found out they were located in Belfast, Maine, about two hours away from my Dad's, I knew I needed to go. 

And go we did. The small family owned farm was in full operation, and Josh and owner Jim were more than happy to give us a tour and lesson in how their yarn goes from fluff to fantastic fibre. After seeing the machines in action, Jim took us out to the fields to meet the animals: chickens, alpacas, 2 llamas and a one-eyed cat. It was freezing cold, but the time flew by as Jim answered all of our questions and the alpacas put on a show for us. Below are some of my photos, be warned there are a gratuitous number of alpaca photos. They are so cute, I couldn't help myself! After the tour I bought a bunch of their awesome hand dyed and spun yarns and a needle felting kit to take home. It was truly an experience I won't soon forget!

Loved the vintage look of the signs out front. Taken with Vintage Cam.
First stop on the tour was seeing the raw fibre. After it is washed it is put through a machine that removes all of the burrs and other vegetation. Then it goes through the drum carder which removes the shorter fibres and aligns the fibres nicely. 
After running through the drum carder, the result is undyed roving. 
Good Karma Farms does and additional step and runs their roving through this machine which further removes short fibres so it will be less likely to pill and felt.
Yarn is then spun by this machine. We saw it in action making yarn for a blanket company.
This little guy was very curious about what we were up to. 
Out in the alpaca fields with the female alpacas and the babies. This sweetie was Phillipe, born in May this year. He was no so interested in a kiss from this other alpaca because he was very curious about the lady approaching him with the camera. 

Phillipe is unsure about me. 
But he warmed up eventually. 
The girls were aloof at first but as I got closer they were more curious about my presence. 
This is Dolly, one of the two llamas. She galloped over to say hello. 
After visiting the girls we went to the next field to visit the boys. They were much more curious, friendly and boisterous.

These two brothers put on quite the show, jumping and wrestling in the late afternoon light. 
Being stared at by alpacas.
I love their fuzzy, sweet faces. 

I may have bought some yarn. So gorgeous!