Sunday, May 7, 2017

Spring Blooms

Spring is popping up around here. It's been cool and damp, but flower are blooming in the garden and I love that!

It's been ages since I've posted and time is flying by quickly. I still have my foster cat, Mya. I don't think I mentioned -way back when- that she was diagnosed with a tumour last November. All things considered, she's doing well. As it happens, the animal rescue group I volunteer with had a Gala last night to raise funds for our rescue work with dogs and cats. It's not often I get out of jeans these days so that was certainly an occasion to do so.

Back to blooms. It seems to me that the small amount of effort it takes to plant bulbs one fall is disproportionate to the amount of delight they offer for years to follow.

Tulilps. My fondness for them likely comes from a childhood in Ottawa and the annual Tulip Festival.

A touch of blue.

Sunny blooms in the backyard.

A spring medley. Here's to this season of rebirth! 
Do you have a favourite plant that gives you pleasure this time of year?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Noro Kureyon: Bring on Some Colour!

I was surprised and intrigued when a representative from Yarn Canada contacted me to ask if I'd review Noro Kureyon yarn. In the interest of trying new things, both the yarn and a review, I accepted the invitation and offer of yarn. From the forty Kureyon options available (yes, forty), I chose three skeins which were promptly sent my way. The only request made by the representative was for my review to include a link to the beautiful colourways available.

With a black jacket and purplish parka in mind, I decided on #359 (Green, Blue, Grey, Purple). I tend to lean more towards monochromatic garments and thought theses hues would add a smidge of much-needed zing to my winter outerwear.

The hand-dyed, worsted-weight yarn has luscious colours. It's 100% wool from Japan and feels soft on my skin. The 50 gram (1.7 oz) skeins are 100 metres (109 yards) in length and 4.5-5 mm (7-8 US) knitting needles are recommended. The gauge is 14-16 stitches and 22-24 rows per 10 cm (4 inches). In other words, it wouldn't take ages to knit up something cozy, even though my skills are more comparable to those of the proverbial tortoise as opposed to the hare.

Picture winter walks in the woods and strolling by the lake under a big, azure sky on a crisp day. Mulling over ideas of what to make (a cowl or scarf came to mind), I landed on the idea of mittens. I have an ancient pair of heavily insulated mitts for frigid days but thought a pretty pair for less polar-bear-weather strolls would be welcome.

The pattern is free on Ravelry. I've dubbed them my Meandering Mittens but their proper name is ABC (Awesome Basic Cable) Mittens. I had wondered if the cables would show to advantage with the self-striping Kureyon and I think they do. Looking at the palm side, it's evident that plain knitting would be lovely too as the colours themselves create a pleasing design. I used 4.5 mm needles for the mittens, with a slightly smaller size for the ribbing because my wrists are small. Initially, I had been a bit taken aback by the thickness of the yarn in some places and the more tightly spun thinness of it in others. I needn't have been concerned because it knit up beautifully.

Originally, my plan was to try to match the mittens, but given the way the colours changed and the individual nature of each skein, I decided to embrace my burgeoning funky side, merrily knit, and see what happened! It paid off. Who says symmetry is always best?

Having used most of 2 skeins for the mittens, I thought a hat might be in order with the third one. Sometimes the hood on my parka or a toque pulled down over my ears is a bit more toastiness than is needed. The top of this hat, along with the rolled rim, appealed to me.

This pattern is also free on Ravelry and is called the Noro One-Skein Hat. I knit the top/down version on 4.5 mm double-pointed needles, switching to a circular one when it started to grow. Round and round it went, the Kureyon colours allowing an easy pattern to turn into a snazzy little wearable item!

C'est moi sporting my new chapeau.

Three skeins, three items. I enjoyed working with the Noro Kureyon yarn and love the finished projects: a colourful rolled rim hat and some fun and funky mittens. Anyone up for a walk?

To see some other Noro Kureyon colourways, please pop over and visit Wendy at September Violets. She's been working on a scarf in warm, rich tones and it's beautiful.

Thank you for visiting.


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