Sunday, 28 June 2015

thunderstorms and energy

summers in the prairies always bring with them the intense power of thunder and lightning. the past week and a bit has been filled with fierce thunderstorms, which start and quickly explode and nearly as quickly move on. it's magical.

A photo posted by Ash Alberg (@sunflowerknit) on

my days these past few weeks have been long. i get up early, do some knitting, go to work, then either come home and knit until after midnight or to rehearsal, then home to knit until after midnight. i'm still sleeping more hours than i have in similar situations in the past, but the days are definitely long.

it's all for such exciting projects that i can't be upset about it, though! we're down to less than three weeks before fringe opens, which means ramping up rehearsals. i also have another pop-up trunk show the day after we open, then i head to vancouver shortly after that for a working vacation. 

and all the rest of my time is devoted to knitting. i'm trying to finish off two more designs for when nature fought back along with a secret knit before the end of the month (three days…i don't know that it'll happen, but as close to the 1st as possible would be ideal). then july has seven projects (one mini-collection and four pieces for the photo shoot in september), and august has five projects for the photo shoot. somewhere in there, the patterns will actually be published too. actually, i have a lot of paperwork to do in the next little while. and my website is in a sad and sorry state. sigh.

i've been hanging out with/picking the brains of several other (very talented and wonderful) creatives in my life recently, and we all seem to be in the same boat. fourteen balls up in the air at once, long and short term projects constantly on the go, and a million plans just sitting in the wings for their chance to fly. it's important to be making work, but more than that, i think we just can't imagine not making work. moments of inertia are terrifying, regardless of their length. there is a difference between breathing space and stagnation, and when you feel things start to slip to the latter, it's intimidating and not in a fun way. so we do the opposite - we run full bore into as many projects as possible in an attempt to avoid that in-between space of "what next?". maybe it's not the healthiest, but personally, i can't imagine any other way of living. 

so my postings in the coming weeks will probably continue to be infrequent, and eventually i will be able to share with you all the many exciting results of my endeavours. in the meantime, you can follow me on instagram for more current updates. 

Sunday, 21 June 2015

summer solstice & dye dates

happy summer solstice, lovers!

A photo posted by Kelly Ruth (@kelly_ruth__wearable) on

today is also national aboriginal day and father's day here in canada, so it's a day of many wonderful things. i spent it in kelly ruth's backyard, where we nerded out all day about natural dyes and craft and the industry of handmade and all the many projects we want to do ourselves and together. we had an indigo dyeing date, because i have another trunk show to get ready for, and kelly only has a few weeks left before she launches her naturally dyed clothing line at the winnipeg folk fest!

A photo posted by Ash Alberg (@sunflowerknit) on

i'll have more gradient cakes at this summer trunk show (at tara davis studio boutique once again!), this time dyed with combinations of indigo, cochineal, logwood, dandelions from my neighbourhood, avocados from my compost, mulberries, black walnut hulls, and hopefully more onion skins.

A photo posted by Ash Alberg (@sunflowerknit) on

i have more shows scheduled for the fall/winter, but this will be the last show until after school starts back up again (for those of you on a school schedule). my other focuses include the fringe festival (i'm stage managing this show), my trip to vancouver next month, and finishing off the when nature fought back collection for a september photo shoot with some truly lovely people. oh, and throw in the publication of a mini baby collection in there. no rest for the wicked, as they say!

A photo posted by Kelly Ruth (@kelly_ruth__wearable) on

tomorrow, i'm having a belated father's day supper with my parents, so that will be lovely. rumour has it that my beloved ukulele úlfur has finally made it back to winnipeg. not that i have time to play it any time soon, but it's comforting to know it's within arms' reach.

i hope you spent the solstice in the company of good friends and sunny/starry skies!

Friday, 19 June 2015

drool-worthy #17 - colour wheel knits

hi folks! i'm not the greatest lately with posting regularly, and it's been ages since the last drool-worthy post, but things are exciting and busy and i won't apologize for it! my hands are purple from logwood dyeing, kelly and i have an indigo date on sunday, i've just planned out the next three months of projects to finish off when nature fought back (plus a secret design and a mini baby collection), i received the BEST snail mail from julie asselin, and cooperative press published veera valimaki's lankaleikki in english. i have been coveting colour wheel knits for multiple years now, so the fact that it's available in english as well as finnish is basically the best news ever. 

this is the book i dream of publishing myself some day - gorgeous photos, detailed patterns, bits and pieces of stories amongst the designs, and over 150 very drool-worthy pages. i only bought the pdf version, but based on the whole look of the book, i'd be willing to bet that the physical copy is a luscious weight on creamy paper (book porn at its finest, am i right?). 

these days, i tend to use other designers' patterns more as guides for my own to cross-reference measurements, compare styles of layout, photos i find attractive versus ones that don't quite hit the mark for me...but i desperately wish i could find time to knit so many of the patterns in this book. the details are stunning, the use of buttons is fun and clever and modern and classic all at once, and there are knits for every body, wee through big, that all play with colour. 

there are 22 patterns in this book, and i feel like it would be very difficult to not fall in love with at least one of them. half of them have been living in my ravelry favourites since i first discovered lankaleikki, and i'm sure that someday, at least one will end up on my needles. once i stop mentally creating three new collections for every one i'm working on...

i leave you with the cutest image of all...


Tuesday, 9 June 2015


the last week or so has been a strange one. my back was a mess last week, which luckily/unluckily coincided with a couple of lieu days from work. i got a large amount of knitting done during that time, including finishing a second faultline, a couple of swatches, and starting on an accompanying faultline hat which is also now done. then i worked two 14-hour days in a row over saturday and sunday, which included hitting a wall of exhaustion at 6:30pm on sunday night (with another almost 4 hours left to go), and then yesterday and today were taken in lieu again. definitely not my normal schedule, but it's been more productive than usual as well.

yesterday, i went for groceries and found that mangos were on sale, so of course that meant it was time for mango chutney! i think i've made a batch for three out of the past four years at this point. i love it, and so does a dear one who i always get a jar to somehow. i got home and was in a very strange still-exhausted state, and couldn't really face my knitting, so i pulled out my spinning wheel. i ended up in a spinning wormhole and spun two sets of singles before plying them together over about eight hours (i'm a slow spinner still). it's 165 yards of natural corriedale and commercially dyed merino top, and i think it will become a costae whenever i get around to knitting with it.

today was chutney-making day! i have 2 litres of chutney now, with a little bit extra pulled into a tiny bowl and destined to be eaten soon. maybe with grilled chicken and beet salad. i'm back to knitting after cleaning up. it's been a productive couple of days off, albeit not in the normal capitalist way i usually gauge my productivity (i.e. was i dyeing yarn to sell? was i knitting a new pattern sample? was i working on my business in some way?). my friend posted an article about how we assess productivity in our society (within the context of crip theory), and i think it's a really wonderful gentle reminder to everyone that "productive" does not need to equal "monetary value (now or later)".

i got some very, very, very exciting news last week, but will have to keep things under wraps for a while. i can't wait to share it with you all! something i will share with you right now is my discovery/obsession with unité 9, from radio-canada. the first two seasons are on netflix. it's the quebecois version of wentworth, which is the much grittier australian version of orange is the new black. i'm far too involved in all three shows (to the point that i swear at my computer screen throughout episodes), but i think unité 9 is my favourite of the three. i guess this post is a bit more casual/less business-y than usual, but that's the point of a blog, isn't it? speaking of which, my little brother is writing again. you can check out his blog here. he's much more disciplined than i am and is aiming to post every day. 

Monday, 1 June 2015

tttkal 2015 results

very shannon's tops, tanks & tees knit-a-long is just about done for this year, and i wanted to show off my knitting results! and to also take this opportunity to put out a test knitters' call-out ha.

this baby, knit in four shades of shibui knits' linen, is the design result from this year's tttkal. i'm rather pleased with it, i must say! working with linen for the first time was definitely interesting. i really enjoyed this post by hannah fettig about knitting with linen. i also am quite pleased with the gradient created by the different skeins. shibui has a great selection of colours, so you could definitely get a cool, warm, or neutral gradient going for your own version of this tank. 

because i finished it early, and because i actually knit the third size, i wanted to test out the smallest size as well during the kal's timeline. nothing like outside deadlines to keep my designing on track! i'm using malabrigo sock for this one, no gradient, and with some madelinetosh sock in silver fox from my stash for the contrast line. hopefully i'll have it done by june 3rd as well. 

i'm looking for test knitters! you'll have the month of june to knit it up (keeping in mind that i got the third size done in under two weeks and with other projects scattered in there). ideally, i'd like to see a mix of linen yarns and other yarns just to know that it works with yarn substitutions for other folks. there is sizing for chests measuring 30-52". i'd love to have as many of the sizes tested as possible, but especially the larger sizes since i want to make sure that the silhouette still works as the grading goes up. drop me a line if you're interested!

i still have quite a bit of linen leftover from two of the skeins, so i'm going to make a coordinating accessory as well. two patterns out of one - works for me! i'll get that done over the month of june, along with another garment design using this yoth big sister. i cannot wait to get started on that! expect all three designs to appear over this summer. i have a couple of smaller designs in there as well that will likely get worked up as i need mental breaks from the larger projects, and some yarn on the way for an adorable mini-collection. the summer will be full of designs and knitting, that's for sure!

and finally (a bit of icing on the cake), i went to a workshop about a week and a half ago on coast salish knitting with sylvia olsen herself! coast salish is probably most recognizable for the cowichan sweater, but it's a colourwork technique that's fairly specific to british columbia's west coast (sylvia has encountered way more communities with colourwork techniques than i probably ever will, and she's yet to find another group that does colourwork the way that the first nations' communities in the coast salish area do it). colourwork is something i'm still trying to get comfortable with, especially due to my tension, and this technique seems to be solving that issue! so that's rather exciting. i've already designed a pattern using colourwork since the workshop, but it'll be staying under wraps for a while. i'll be sure to let you all know when it's ready for life!