Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pre-release: The Big Four socks

I've decided to do a pre-release of The Big Four while it is being tech edited. (It has already been test knit.) For a limited time, the pattern is $3.50 while it is being tech edited. The final version will be released around mid-February for $4.50.

The Big Four is a cabal of global super villains against whom Hercule Poirot pits his wits in a series of vignettes in the novel The Big Four, by Agatha Christie. Who are the Big Four? Will Poirot be able to bring them to justice or will he meet his end at their hands?

The Big Four pattern is an endless repetition of squares nested within each other and outlined by cables How many 4-sided shapes are there in each sock? That’s a mystery for you to solve.

E-book Details:
This pattern is part of an e-book series, The Agatha Christie Series, Volume 2 (The Poirot Collection). Follow along as I create designs inspired by Agatha Christie novels featuring Hercule Poirot.

This e-book represents a savings over purchasing the patterns separately. And the earlier you buy, the more you save. Patterns will be delivered approximately every 6 weeks, beginning January 2014. Your Ravelry library will automatically be updated with the new patterns.
Buy in January & February 2014: $15
Buy in March & April 2014: $19
Buy in May & June 2014: $23

Sizes: Medium (Large), with an 7.5” (10.5”) leg circumference, blocked
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner. Must be familiar with sock construction and knitting in the round. Some cabling experience recommended
  • Approximately 425 yards (388m) of SweetGeorgia, Tough Love sock yarn , (1 skein= 425yd/388m per 3.5oz/115g), , or similar.
  • 1 set of 5 US #1 (2.5 mm) double-point or circular needles, or size needles required to obtain gauge.
  • Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Monday, January 27, 2014

Oh Captain, my Captain

The Captain Hastings knit-along is coming along and we're seeing more and more finished socks. You can see them all here on Ravelry.

I love the blue of this pair:
missbarbara2's Captain Hastings

Thursday, January 23, 2014

CathedralGrove Yarn Caddies - Now Available!

The CathedralGrove Etsy shop is now live, with a lovely selection of hand-crafted yarn caddies available.

In today's world of Big Box shops and plastic gizmos, I find that it is the quality products that catch my eye and my imagination. When something is hand-crafted, made of natural materials, I feel a bit more of connection to the object. Perhaps because of the beauty inherent in the grain of the wood. Perhaps because I see it as a more permanent and valuable object. And perhaps because I can imagine the hours spent planning and creating it, paralleling the time, care and enjoyment I will experience while using it as I knit.

These days I find myself balancing the price of an object with the joy and pleasure it will bring me. I spend a lot of time knitting, so why not use beautiful tools which will bring me pleasure when I look at them and when I use them? And quality tools tend to last longer and look beautiful when not in use.

I can't decide which is my favorite: I love the rich cherry wood color, but the maple matches my hardwood floors, and the red oak has a nice grain...

Red Oak

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Everything Old is New Again

The other day I enjoyed a nice visit with my Mom. During the visit she showed me the gloves she was wearing. Not usually something noteworthy, right?

But these gloves are definitely noteworthy. They were knit by my great-grandmother in Germany many decades ago. And they are still in tip-top shape! My Mom had to darn a tiny spot, but that's it.

I asked my Mom if she knew how old the gloves are, but she's unsure. My great-grandmother passed away at age 86 back in the early '70s, so sometime before then is all we know. I'd guess they're at least 50 years old, if not more.

Update: My mom just noticed that today would have been my great-grandmother's 126th birthday. How fitting to showcase her handy work today!

I'm completely in awe, not only of the evident skill but that these gloves have survived the decades.

Look at that detail on the thumb!

The yarn is incredibly fine and the gauge is very tight.
They must have been knit on tiny needles.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Yarn Caddy - Sneak Peek

For the past few months I've been collaborating with my brother to help him create some handcrafted yarn caddies.

A creative genius when it comes to woodworking and building things, my brother has written feature articles for Canadian wood working magazines, reviewed products and taught workshops across Canada at various wood working events.

In 2009 he built a stunning dollhouse for my daughter, which became the cover project for the December/January 2009 issue of Canadian Woodworking Magazine.

In the Fall, when I visited him at his home on Vancouver Island, his attention was caught by the yarn caddy I'd bought at a yarn shop in Kelowna.

I've long been trying to convince him to make yarn-related products. I love using beautiful tools while I spin and knit. And Michael's work is just the kind of thing I like: handcrafted, made with thought and care, and made to last.

Cherry, Maple and Oak: loaded with yarn and ready to go.
The yarn caddy is just the thing. The square base reduces the chances of the caddy tipping over. And the spindle, big enough to hold practically any skein of yarn, revolves smoothly on the metal pin. There's even a tensioning hook to guide your yarn for plying or just while knitting.

I've been using the ones he sent me and I love them. They keep the yarn off the floor and spin easily with the gentlest tug on the working end of the yarn. And I love the fact that my yarn isn't 'locked' in. If I want to take the yarn off the caddy mid-project, I can (unlike some yarn bowls). They'd be great for plying hand spun or for color work too.

For his first batch he's made them in maple, cherry and oak. They're unvarnished, but sanded so smooth that there are no snags or catches. And generous big brother that he is, he sent me one of each!

He's hoping to launch his Etsy shop in the coming weeks. When he does, you can bet I'll be sharing the info here.

In the mean time, I'm trying to decide which one to knit with next. And what other knitterly projects I can convince him to make next. (Lazy Kate? Nostepinne?)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Captain Hastings KAL

The Captain Hastings Knit-along is just ripping along. We're into week 3 and several pairs of socks are either complete or nearing completion.

Here is Captain Hastings in white, done toe up by knittymamad. All photos courtesy of knittymamad and posted with permission.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Tips & Tricks: Smoother Cast Off Corner

Another one from the "I couldn't have said it better" columns. Today in Robin Hunter's blog, Robin talks about 3 methods for creating a smoother cast off corner.

I know I often end up with a little bump (I think the technical term is 'sticky-outy part') on my cast off corner. Next time I cast off I'll be trying one of her suggestions.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Captain Hastings returns

So between the time I posted Chath's photos yesterday and last night, Chath finished her first Captain Hastings socks. And I must say - he looks stunning in blue.

Photos courtesy of Chath.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Captain Hastings salutes!

The Captain Hastings sock knit-along (KAL) is in full swing on my Ravelry group. We have over 50 people knitting along and chatting away. It's great seeing so many different Captains come into being.

I thought I'd share some of the socks as they progress. First up is my friend Chath's version of Captain Hastings. Chath has impeccable taste in yarn and colors. I find myself drooling over everything she knits. Perhaps it's her artistic talents shining through?

Chath is doing the cuff down version of the pattern, using Unwind Yarn Company Journey Sock in the Wisp colorway.

All photos courtesy of Chath.

Monday, January 6, 2014


Saw this on Twitter and thought I'd share, mostly so my friend Geri would see (capybara!).

On a more yarny note - woke up to find that Monkey had been up to more mischief in the night. Another skein of sock yarn unraveled from the office downstairs to the landing upstairs. Sigh - our first cat to ever like yarn this much.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Welcome home, we missed you!

Two 10 hr days of driving. That's what it took to get us from Florida to home. Plus an hour's wait at the border to get back into Canada. We literally picked the one lane that wasn't moving. Once in Canada, we had another 2.5 hr drive to get home.

I was eager to see our cats again. 10 days is a long time to be away from the little fuzzy guys (girls, really). We knew we wouldn't see our dog until Sunday so it was the cat and our beds we wanted.

Apparently the cats missed us too. Especially Monkey, the 7 month old kitten we adopted in November.

Monkey apparently missed me so much that she tried to learn how to knit while I was away. We could see the evidence of this as soon as we walked in the door.

The hallway, leading to kitchen and living room.
 The note from our cat sitters reported at least 4 separate "yarn incidents".

Around the chair legs in multiple directions and heading for the dining room.

The living room - yarn around 2 sofas and around the coffee table back there.

Dining room. Can you see the 2 strands of silver yarn going from the chair to the front right corner?

Me, holding about 8 strands of yarn that lead into the dining room and hallway.
Wondering where and how to begin. Pardon the luggage behind me.

The culprits: Chewy (in front), Monkey (behind). "We had fun Mom!"

The victims included leftovers of Wollmeise, Candy Skein and other quality yarns. I stopped trying to identify the victims. It's better that way.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Southern Comfort

We're taking comfort in the warmer temps of coastal Florida. Today, our last day, the temperature is 25C (77F) feeling like 33C (91F). Back home it's -19C (-2F) and feels like -30C (-22F).

If there were a way we could prolong our stay here, we would. Believe me!

Here's a small sampler of what we've been up to the past few days:

Hamming it up on Flagler Ave, New Smyrna Beach.

View north from our hotel balcony. Best weather we had all week.

Thursday - it hasn't been all sunshine. But it's still warm!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year - Happy New Pattern and KAL!

I see that many of the bloggers I read are doing a 2013 year in review post. I honestly hadn't thought of that. I'm too excited about 2014, which is just going to be bursting with new designs. I accomplished way more than I thought I would in 2013, so I've raised the bar for the new year.

I hope you all had a fun NYE celebration and are ready to start your 2014 knitting. I've set up a Knit-along (KAL) and Read-along (RAL) for January and February in my Ravelry group.

SweetGeorgia Yarn: Colorways Charcoal and Pistachio
When I decided to do a KAL, I wanted it to be fun and relaxing. There's no rush, no pressure - December had enough of that! Relax, enjoy, knit an easy pattern. And it is easy - just knits and purls, with just enough variation to keep you awake. This is the calm after the storm. Knit Captain Hastings. Or knit any of my other patterns. Or just read-along. You don't need to finish. Everyone will be eligible for prizes.

The KAL coincides with the release of the first pattern in my upcoming Hercule Poirot series. The Hercule Poirot series will feature characters or novel titles from Agatha Christie’s novels and short stories featuring everyone’s favorite mustachioed Belgian detective.

Mirrored left & right feet.
Also, each of the pattern samples will be knit in Sweet Georgia Yarns range of sock yarns. You don’t need to use Sweet Georgia yarn, but they are delicious to knit with and come in fabulous colors.

The read-along is optional. We'll be reading The Big Four, by Agatha Christie. Your local library should have it. There’s no need to buy a copy.

Pattern: Captain Hastings

Release Details: The pattern for the KAL will be available for $1.00 for 5 days: January 1-5th, 2014. Then it will be regular price. Or purchase the e-book for a discounted price.
KAL project tag: Please tag your KAL project with PoirotKAL2014 so we can admire all the lovely Captain Hastings being created!

KAL dates: Wednesday, January 1st – Friday, February 28th

  • Have fun!
  • Knit Captain Hastings or any other of my patterns
  • Read The Big Four if you want and discuss.
This is a no-pressure KAL where the goal is to have fun, get to know each other and maybe indulge in some selfish post-Holiday knitting. Finish, don’t finish - just hang out and have fun.
  • Skein of Sweet Georgia sock yarn. Randomly awarded at the end of the KAL from amongst anyone who finishes at least 1 sock.
  • 2 copies of the full Poirot collection. 1 awarded at midpoint randomly. 1 awarded at end randomly.
  • 6 pattern prizes (winner’s choice of pattern) randomly awarded weekly from posters in KAL thread. (That’s 1 pattern per week for 6 weeks.) The more you comment, the more chances you have!
Toe up heel
Cuff down foot
Book: The Big Four, by Agatha Christie. Read-along with me. The Big Four is a fun read, comprised of mini-stories within a story as Poirot tackles a cabal of master criminals known as The Big Four.

Cuff down heel