Kourtney Robinson – Dollybird Workshop Rotating Header Image

An Interview… with me!

A while ago, I was approached by Robin of http://knittingrobin.blogspot.ca/  (knittingrobin on Ravelry).  She designs and teaches around Toronto, and she has an ongoing series of interviews with different knit designers.

My interview went live on February 14th – and because the kids were on a long weekend, I didn’t get a chance to mention it until now!  The link is here – http://knittingrobin.blogspot.ca/2014/02/an-interview-withkourtney-robinson.html – Robin asked some interesting questions, and a couple of them really made me think.

She’s a frequent blogger, and I like her view on things; I’m quite struck by some of her designs – there’s a vest that might just be perfect for me, and some patterns that use cotton – which is perfect for mom.

Hope you enjoy the interview on Robin’s blog!

February De-Stash Madness (Installment Two – Spinnah, Please…)

Destash month continues.  As I noted, it seems appropriate to use to a brief month to help abbreviate my stash. I loved all this fiber, and in some ways I still do, but they aren’t going to hit my spindle or wheel.

I’m offering them to you, dear reader; email me at kourtney (at) dollybirdworkshop (dot) com ; I accept paypal and I’m willing to mail anywhere. Or meet up in Calgary. I’m guessing for the cheapest shipping; if you want it tracked or something fancy, the extra will be, uh, extra. I’ll update as things sell. Oh, and all prices Canadian :) Right, and the house has one cat and two kids, but no smoking and I’m quite zealous about keeping everything in plastic bags in bins in cupboards. Except for my pet skeins. Which I look at in the office, and will never destash…

1. First, 100% tussah silk dyed by Sweet Georgia, in the colourway “Honey Fig”.  50g, originally cost me $15.95.  Yours for $12, with $3 shipping to anywhere in Canada or the US. PENDING

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2. Ah, two bumps of Pigeonroof Studios 70/30 superwash BFL/silk in “Summer Twilight”.  One is 4.3 oz, the other 4.1 oz.  They cost me $24.50+23.17= $47.57 in USD (plus shipping, whatever that was).  Yours for $40 cute little Canadian dollars, plus $6 shipping to Canada or the US.  PENDING

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3.  These two bags of Shetland fiber are actually a pair of mittens in my dreams.  Sadly, reality is never going to catch up to my imagination – plus I have mitten trust issues (whole other story).  These were both $15.95; and I tore off a little hunk of the light grey to sample.  So, cost me $31.95 new, less a bit for my sampling; yours for $20.00 plus $6.00 shipping to anywhere in Canada or the USA.

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4.  Muffin tops!  Turns out I like muffins but not this top, so much.  So this interesting fiber can go to you – 4oz of 70/30 BFL silk dyed in “Citrus Ginger” colourway.  It was…. I can’t recall.  Probably around $25.00?  Yours for $18, with shipping of $4 to US or Canada.

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5.  And this was an installment of Hello Yarn’s Fiber Club – does it sing to you?  Do you love it?  I hope so, because I opened it and thought “meh”.  It’s 75/25 BFL wool/tussah silk top; 4 oz.  I think about $30; yours for $20 with shipping of $3 to Canada or the US.

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That’s all the spinning fibers for now… I’ve got to go make supper, but the third instalment will be… SOCKTACULAR!

February De-Stash Madness! (First Installment – Sweaters and More…)

Yes, I’ve decided that February is de-stash month.  It seems appropriate to use to a brief month to help abbreviate my stash.  I love all of these skeins, but I’m not going to knit with them in the foreseeable future.  Either my tastes have changed, my goals have changed, or the yarn fumes have faded enough for reality to creep in… I’m offering them to you, dear reader; email me at kourtney (at) dollybirdworkshop (dot) com ; I accept paypal and I’m willing to mail anywhere.  Or meet up in Calgary.  I’m guessing for the cheapest shipping; if you want it tracked or something fancy, the extra will be, uh, extra.  I’ll update as things sell.  Oh, and all prices Canadian :)  Right, and the house has one cat and two kids, but no smoking and I’m quite zealous about keeping everything in plastic bags in bins in cupboards.  Except for my pet skeins.  Which I look at in the office, and will never destash…

1. First up – the glorious Madelintosh Vintage in Tomato.  I adore this luminous colour.  It’s a brilliant red-orange; it’s more orange than red, although this photo is making it look fairly red.  I took this in bright natural indirect light with the flash.  Mostly because I couldn’t figure out how to turn off the flash. Sigh.  There are seven skeins of Madelinetosh Vintage (100% merino, 200yd/183m per skein).  Original price $183.38.  Yours for $140; shipping to anywhere in Canada or the US will be another $15.  (It’s likely going to be more, but whatevs.) (Also, these are definitely orange.  A bright, intense, reddish orange.  Not a true red, like item#3 below.)

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2.  This is an Italian version of kid-silk haze – I got it in Florence, as I recall, and while it’s lovely, I’ve learned my lesson about mohair.  (It does not agree with my knitting desires.)  Will it agree with yours?  I have no idea how many euro this cost… There are two skeins of “Soft Dream” by BBB Filati; 70% kid mohair, 30% silk.  220m/25g ball.  I’m going to say… $10 for the two skeins, plus $4 shipping to anywhere in Canada or the US.

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3.  More Italian kid-silk haze – again from Florence.  I am never knitting a mohair sweater.  There are four skeins of “Soft Dream” by BBB Filati; 70% kid mohair, 30% silk.  220m/25g ball.  I’m going to say… $20 for the two skeins, plus $6 shipping to anywhere in Canada or the US.  (Colour is a true, intense red, maybe slightly more blue that orange – it’s like a firetruck.)

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4.  I don’t know what to say about these.  Actually, I do: my love of grellow overcame my awareness of my knitting preferences (wool, baby, wool).  That, and a juicy sale price must be how I ended up with thirteen skeins of Cascade’s Pima Tencel (50%peruvian cotton, 50% tencel; 109yds/50g ball – they are now a slightly smaller put-up).  The sale was somewhere along the lines of $4.50/ball; which means that my price was $58.50. Yours for $40.00, with shipping of $10.00.

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5.  Continuing the alternate reality of knits, this is really a lovely striped sweater – probably Tempest, by Ann Weaver.  Get this – this is even the yarn that Ann used when she published Tempest in Knitty!  So.  Two skeins of Fleece Artist’s Blue Faced Leicester 2/8 – one in Stone, one in Earth.  Each skein is an enormous 500m; 100% wool (I had to split each skein into two cakes).  I believe it’s calling itself a fingering, although it’s a light fingering to my mind.  New, they were $72 + tax.  Yours for $55, plus shipping of $12 to the US and Canada.  Act fast – I’m half tempted to knit that darn sweater after all..  (And yes, these are already caked.  Trust me, with about a thousand meters of almost-lacecweight, I’ve done you a favour :)  I guess I could reswift them if you really want..)

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6.   Another sweater; more fantastic yardages.  This is Cascade’s Eco; I know of a number of coats that were knit from this and then fulled  (felted).  It might pill a bit if you knit it at a loose gauge, but for an original price of $19.95 for a skein that has 437m/478yds per 250g skein, come on!  Knit it big and felt it.  It has been called a bulky, but I think it’s closer to an aran.  Still.  Originally cost me $39.90, both can be yours for $30.00.  I’m not going to split them up – worst case scenario they can go back into my stash and perhaps become a lovely natural coloured granny square afghan.  SHipping will be $12 – these are BIG.

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7.  And this, this was going to be a baby sweater.  My babies are no longer so small, and need more than just five skeins of Malabrigo’s Silky Merino to cover them.  Silky Merino is a single ply, dk yarn that is 51%silk, 49% merino.  Three skeins of purple, one of green, one of acqua.  All caked up.  Probably they originally cost me around $50-60; I *think* they were maybe $12 a skein.  (Each skein is 150yd/137m in a 50g ball.)  They can be yours for $25, plus shipping of $10; please give them a good home.  I feel so guilty that they are still waiting to become… anything…

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And I’m going to say that that’s the last of this post!  Next up: For My Spinnahs!

Introducing the Kalmer Triangle!

This is such a simple project; it’s hard to credit how long I tinkered with it to get it just right.  I’ve just released it; it’s now available on my Rav pattern page for $6.00USD (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/kalmer-triangle)

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This wide, triangular scarf is knit from the tip up, with increases at the beginning and end of every row.  Variegated yarns will be flattered, as will almost any weight and fiber content.  

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Be sure to swatch to ensure that you like your knitted fabric; try going up two to four needle sizes from what is suggested for your yarn.  I’ve listed my gauge in stockinette & pattern to give you an idea of how much the stitch pattern will draw in.    

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16 sts/22 rows = 10cm/4” in stockinette stitch; 22 st/42 rows = 10cm/4” in pattern.  Available now here:  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/kalmer-triangle

As always, happy knitting!
K.

Doo-dey, Doo-dey, Doo.

(That’s the noise I always imagine as the soundtrack for somebody up to nothing in particular…)

Well, I’ve been busy.  The man was away on a business trip last week, to South Korea, which is much further and was much longer than his usual trips.  We all missed him, especially me, particularly because I had the flu last week, too.

I’ve been knitting*.  I’ve done some extensive swatching for a Mega-Project that I’m pleased with, but I don’t want to share those photos yet; they’re still too much a ”Work In Progress”.  I’m trying to get some projects off the needles so that I can start Mega-Project with a clean(er) slate – a pair of socks, a hat, a sort of shrug or sweater thing, and a shawl.

The shawl I’m enjoying very much – it’s “Cousin Violet” by Keiran Foley**.  I have nothing against knitting other designer’s patterns; I actually buy quite a few, just for the read.  Before I commit to knitting a project, I like to closely inspect the pattern & see the schematic***.  Cousin Violet has been a treat; I’m using some Cephalopod Yarn’s (now discontinued) Nautilace, a delicious silk/camel laceweight.

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(This is a really wretched picture that I took at night with flash, and it’s sitting on the pink highlighted pattern.  The yarn is variegated and lovely, with wee beads.  I’m including it mostly so that you can all ‘oo’ and ‘ah’ when I show you what it looks like blocked!)

The main reason that I’m trying to finish the shawl is because I want the needle that it’s on.  I worked my swatch for the Mega-Project on 3.25mm; and I want to reswatch on a 3.5mm.  Which is what Cousin Violet is on, of course.

This is a problem that monogamous knitters never face, although it comes up in my life all too often.  Sometimes projects need a time out… and sometimes the time out ends in a frog, because I’m not pleased with the project, and/or I need the needles and/or yarn for a different project.

This is why I don’t usually count how many things I have on the needles.  There are some in the time-out box that have been there for years… and are likely to stay that way for a while longer!

I’ve also been working on a couple of patterns, to release & re-release.  And on that note, I should get back to work!

*What a shock, eh?

**http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cousin-violet

***There should almost always be a schematic.  Unless it’s a perfect square, rectangle, or circle.

FINISHED PROJECT ACTUALLY SIGHTED IN WORKSHOP!

Of course, the finished project isn’t what I said I would be working on… the sweater is still sitting in its basket.  Of course, the sweater is also currently undergoing a mental review of the shoulder construction.  This is why I haven’t done anything but look at it.  YET.

I have, on the other hand, finished a spinning project!*

Last fall I bought this lovely blended fiber bat from Nunoco on Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/nunoco?ref=l2-shopheader-name ).  I actually got two of them, the colour interested me so much.  I think I recall that before I ordered this, I’d spun from a bat and enjoyed it very much. (This is Bazaar, it’s Trilobal Nylon.)

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I haven’t spun from many batts; I split these roughly into three colour sections (yellow, orange, pink) then split each colour pile in half.  I then spun the first pile up in fairly short order.

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The second pile took longer, and had at least three months of staring at me accusingly before I finished spinning the singles on Friday night.  I let it rest until Saturday night, then plyed the singles together.  I wound it into a skein, gave it a soak and a WHAP! on Sunday, and it’s probably going to be dry by tomorrow.

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I’ll give it until Wednesday, just to be sure it’s dry though.

I’m pleased overall – given the long break from the project, my spinning tension varied pretty wildly on the second bobbin.  But it’s handspun, right?  The differences create visual interest.

That, and I try to keep my spinning projects pretty stream-of-consciousness.  I don’t overthink, so I might over- or under-spin.  I’m not really concerned.  The yarn is sort of secondary in the whole process – which explains why I’ve given so much of what I have spun away.

This one, though, precious, is all mine.  MINE, precious.  We loves it, yes we does.

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*Yes, I realized that a completed spinning project produces yarn.  And to a knitter (which is certainly how I self-identify), yarn is an unfinished project.  Ignore all that for today.

The First “along” of Dollybird Workshop!

A word to the non-knitting, non-Ravelry using public:  A knitalong (KAL) is a project where multiple people commit to making the same project at the same time.  It’s a fun way to support each other, get help with any questions you may have, and be encouraged to actually finish things.  KAL*’s have evolved in several different directions, and for the first one that I’m hosting in the Ravelry group**, “Dollybird Workshop”, we’re going non-traditional and having a UFO***-along.

What qualifies? Any project of yours that has been in progress for a while, but is stuck for whatever reason. A knitting project that got put in the bad knitting box for a time-out, a spinning project that was superseded by holiday deadlines, a crochet project that you set down and just haven’t got back to… heck, for the first ‘along’, we’ll accept any projects. Paper mache? Macramé? Woodwork? If it’s something that you’ve started and would like to actually finish, go for it.

Because we are picking up projects that have already mated yarn and pattern (or whatever), we’ll start off today; and it will run until Saturday Feb 15th (six weeks, ish). I’ve decided to make things a little fun, and have a little contest. A random winner will get their choice of one of three skeins of yarn. (I’ll troll through my destash box when I get home, then post a pic.)

To qualify for entry in the contest? Post a photo of your UFO in it’s current state, and post an photo of the progress you make with it. (Some projects do meet completion in the frog pond, it’s true.)

I also want to hear about why you began the project, if you remember why it’s been in a time out, and why you’d like to finish it up.

I’m hoping to finish my version of Zigmund – I spent a lot of time deciding  on the colours; I knit almost to the armpits, and then…. I put it in a bag and set it under my desk.  For no reason that I can recall.  Maybe it was full summer and a worsted-weight stranded sweater was too hot to sit under as I knit?  At any rate, it’s the perfect weather to wear that sweater now… so I’m going to get it done!

I’ll add photos in the next post.  All of my stash (for prizes) and UFO’s (for shame) are at home, and I’m currently ensconced in the glorious silence of the public library.  I’m so glad school is back in session.  The holidays were lovely, but the lack of schedule wreaks havoc on my productivity.

*KAL – knit along, CAL – crochet along, SAL – spin along, etc.

**I started a Ravelry group, http://www.ravelry.com/groups/dollybird-workshop .  There’s the “along”, a thread all about cute animals we know or covet, an errata thread, etc.

***UFO – Unfinished Object.  Although you could be very meta and start knitting a flying saucer… that would be pretty funny, actually.

Well, We Hit The Road…

Yes indeed.  We covered 1800km in about a week, and saw our families.  The weather cooperated, mostly.  I have all sorts of photos and projects to share, but first…

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The road.

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Or, the view from the side window.

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The sun setting…

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High pretty clouds.

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A sock in progress – but with the road in the background, so I think it belongs with this grouping.

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The most astonishingly clear sun dog I’ve ever seen.  It was amazing, and enormous.  Also, effing COLD.

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Blowing snow.

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Less blowing snow.

I’m the passenger – the man did all the driving.  He’s happier as the driver; I’m happier napping and knitting and keeping the littles occupied and fed.  These were all just quick snaps with my phone; Saskatchewan really does have an amazing sky.

Multiple Choice Question:

Okay, pop quiz.

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Are these:

a) a sign of laundry day?

b) a sign of impending major holiday?

c) a radical new way to polish floors

d) a multi-sized sock that saves a little’s afternoon?

or e) all of the above?

Hint: they do come up to her knees…

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(The answer is all of the above, of course!)

FREE!, Now With Added Kitten!

Well, it’s the last day of the free pattern gift that I spontaneously set up… and you knitters, you have knocked my socks off.  If you haven’t yet, you’ve got until midnight to pop over here –> http://www.ravelry.com/designers/kourtney-robinson and use the code ‘Free1′ for a free pattern.

I’m still reeling (in positive delight) about how many of you have downloaded a pattern!  I wanted to cheer myself up, by cheering others – and holy wow.  I’m still downloading the file from Ravelry so that I can make a pivot table to see how many people, how many patterns, etc.  I’m probably going to make charts.  Because you know, I love Excel.  And pivot tables.

I don’t need Excel though, to know how much awesome there is.  LOTS.  Far more that I anticipated!  Saturday was a ridiculously busy day – eye appointments for the kids and a pupil dilation and retina exam for me – we’re all fine, although I spent a bunch of Saturday squinting and reeling, until my pupils came back to normal.  After the eye exams, we travelled to Canmore to see family and have a mini-Xmas.  Luckily, my pupils had calmed down by the time I needed to help build a Lego van and bbq set… Then home, supper, bedtime…

I’d popped on to Rav and seen that my patterns were doing amazingly well*, and I saw that there were a whole pile of messages in my inbox.  It was around ten pm when I updated my blog.  Then it was about 11 when I started reading through my Ravelry inbox.  I plan on replying to all the messages, but I’m still  tad too overwhelmed (again, in a good way).  In person, you could see me making goldfish faces and flapping my hands, but that doesn’t really come across all that well in text.

Anyways,  a couple people let me know that it looked like they could download all my patterns, as long as they did it one at a time.  A couple more people sent messages, genuinely horrified that they got more than one free.  I replied to them that it was okay; no big deal.  And after some thought, I altered the offer so that you need to enter a code (Free1) and it’s limited to one pattern per person.

Now, I didn’t (and don’t) want to be stingy – but I wanted you, dear knitter, to know that I set value on my patterns.  I wanted to give each of you a gift of a pattern.  (If you took advantage of the electronic loophole, I am not upset.  I’m not mad.  Enjoy the knitting.  Don’t feel bad.  Pay it forward somehow.)

I wanted to create a feeling of a gift.  I didn’t want things to feel like the flyers that get dropped off on the steps every week – they are free, but I don’t feel like they have much intrinsic value**.  Sometimes, when things are free, their value is eroded.  It’s s fine line; I put a lot of effort and energy into even the simplest of my patterns.  I’m glad to have thrown open the doors to the library, so to speak.  It was an impulse, but a good one.

Years ago, when I was still working in an office environment at an engineering firm, I was having my annual review.  My boss asked me about my five year career plan, and I goggled at him.  “I don’t have a plan.”  Then he goggled at me.  I explained that I don’t do too much firm planning; I believe in keeping my eyes open for opportunities as they present themselves.  If I’m too focused on a single goal, I may miss chances that present themselves.  I try not to overthink things.  That said, I think that the Universe is showing me an opportunity here – so I’ve started a group on Ravelry.

I’ve been thinking on and off for a while that it’d be nice to have one spot where people knitting the same design can discuss things, post progress shots, and we can all help each other answer questions.  The group is here: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/dollybird-workshop , and I’m going to pop on over and start a couple topics.

I’m very excited because I plan on showing you all SQUEAK, who is S___’s new kitten.  And utterly adorable.

Yes, I’m becoming one of those people who put pictures of cats on the internet.  Don’t tell me that you’re really surprised.

*You might have heard me saying “SQUEEEEE!”

**Unless I’m looking for washing machine sales.  Etc.