Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Sittin' on the beach...

Watching the sunset is one of the attractions when visiting Saugeen Shores in Ontario...and the Southampton beach has quite the view. It was just a short one-block walk down to catch this sunset which brought to an end the Docknits retreat weekend.

Last year I presented a workshop at the 2nd annual retreat. This year, Mrs. Tischell (my travel buddy) and I decided to go "all in" and booked into the Chantry Breezes B&B for the duration!

I'd booked the "Garden Cottage" which is exactly that...
it was adorable and I loved my tiny home for the weekend!

It is Fall here in Ontario, but it was still summery this past weekend. Lucky for me as I was staying in the Garden Cottage....which while not insulated, was comfortable and reminded me so much of childhood summer vacations when the family would go to a cottage in Northern Ontario. The open beams and whitewashed walls were complimented by turquoise blue, slightly faded by summer sunlight. It was peaceful to be away from the main B&B which I am sure was exploding with inspiration from the weekend activities. I personally love my daily dose of quiet time, and loved having my own little retreat in the garden. Each to their own right? The motel across the road was hopping with what we think was a wedding party....even they didn't disturb the late night too much :)

Don't you just love a cooked breakfast when "away"!
Look at that tiny stack of pancakes!

My first class was an introduction to rug hooking with wool....
just enough hooking to get you started.
This is a project that I hope one day to don't laugh !!!!

Everyone had to decide on their dyeing style....
some did the incremental dunk.....

This was a photo Sarah took of me going for a second
indigo bath on my skeins of yarn. When I got up to move,
I almost took "all in" to a different level!
Luckily, my equilibrium restored itself and all was well!

Here is our dye master Jeffi, with the results of our dyeing efforts.....amazing!
They were going off to be rinsed and steamed!

Jeffi is a fabulous yarn dyer and has an Easy shop, ShantiKnits!
Well, her shop is a bit depleted after a busy summer yarn season,
but she tells me she will be updating it with more yarn soon,
so if you love hand dyed yarn, safe ShantiKnits to your favourites!

Then the freshly dyed skeins were left to dry in the beautiful Chantry Breezes garden.

I love how each dyer created a different result!

The session was rounded off for Mrs. T and I when we participated in a conversation on knitting in general, things that we find daunting (even after many years knitting) and tips on how to deal with these things that somehow hold us back in our knitting. It was great to sit and enjoy the flow of conversation while knitting the afternoon away!

Throw in a dinner or two, and the weekend just flew by!

While getting away is always fun, it is lovely to be home....

Happy Knitting,

x with Lackie and Daisy at her feet 

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Serendipity.....Julie Arkell

Ser-en-dip-i-ty : luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for

let's star with the end...ten little creatures!

I loved the round cheeks on this one! 

my "CBC creation"

I loved this one by Muffie, the writing on the apron fabric,
and look at that hat!
I am sorry that I didn't catch the name of the creator of this one....but she kindly said I could share it with you all here.

The yarn dress, and how the red shoe colour is mirrored in the rose and on the fabric! sigh.....

So here's the back story!

I first became aware (vaguely) of Julie Arkell way back when ads for the yarn shop "Loop" started to appear in magazines.

I couldn't help but notice the adorably cute (or adorably strange) little figure in the background.

This figure attracted my attention so much that when Hubby and I were in London, I had to go find Islington. It was a bit of a trek, on the Northern Line to the Angel station....and then a walk up the street following our London A-Z Map! (Stash Flash: I remember that I fell in Love with Rowan Lima, shade Patagonia, and bought two bags of it....still in my stash.)

Knit buddy Candice and I also made the trek to Loop, which had moved (not far) and was in an adorable new location in which I blogged about here.

All because of this very intriguing figure. It was only when rummaging around on the Loop website that I realized that this was a creation of fibre artist Julie Arkell!

A few weeks ago eagle-eyed knit bud Candice e-mails. "Guess what, Julie Arkell is coming to do workshops in Canada at Stitch, we should go!" I have to tell you, I hesitated! OMG, yes I did! (Well, on my own behalf, I hesitated because I was waiting for a particular date to be set, and I didn't want to have things booked that might interfere.) Luckily everything worked out and we were booked for a full day workshop with Julie.

I can't begin to describe the day.....but I'll try :)

First thing we learned that these little bodies were once blobs, but Julie now called them "creatures". When faced with a bowl full of "creatures" you have to pick the one that for some reason speaks to you...whether it was the facial expression, or the words that you found on the body somewhere, something has to resonate. I loved the big round cheeks of my little creature. (Maybe I thought it looked like me ha ha ha!) After we made our choice, we bonded with our little friends while Julie gave us a summary of her artistic training and career, and just enough detail about how she creates her creatures that I am sure a few attending the workshop will try to create their own!

Julie had simple, adorable knitting patterns for garments to knit for our creatures, in particular those adorable hats that they all seem to wear! We spent the morning knitting away and after lunch, we were shown how to make the simple dress outfits which are actually custom fit and sewn while on the creature body.

Being the knitter that I am, I couldn't resist knitting first a pair of bloomers for my little friend, then a dress!....and as time was running short, I fashioned a head piece to complete the look! 

Yes, I used Rowan yarns (of course!) - Angora Haze (sadly discontinued but substituted with Mohair Haze in the same sublime shades) for those truly luxurious pale green bloomers, Super Fine Merino DK for the dress, and Kidsilk Creation to fashion the bow/hair combination! (Kidsilk Creation was a limited edition yarn that you can still find here and there.) 

I was also inspired by the recent promos about Rowan and Swarovski to bling up my creature with a few Swarovski crystal beads! 

Rowan gives us a hint in their September Row@n eNewsletter....and promises a special edition newsletter in October! 

I call her "CBC" (Carrie Bradshaw Creature) after the one and only Sarah Jessica Parker character in "Sex and the City". Perhaps maybe New York City was on my mind too, it being Friday, September 11.

Here she is, checking out my afternoon tea service! Cheeky isn't she!

CBC is appearing here and there, getting to know her new home....and will eventually reside at my computer desk. I think she is going to inspire me in a huge way!

Julie Arkell on Pinterest.....Warning! It's like falling down the rabbit hole!

Back to knitting next time with a knit that I'm finishing up for hubby right now!

Happy Knitting!

Anne x
with Lackie and Daisy at her feet :)

CBC just can't resist flashing her angora bloomers!