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Knitting Classes!

Are you in the Calgary area and want to add to your knitting skills?  This Saturday Apr. 26 & next Saturday May 3, Alana will be teaching a class at the Loop using my Praline pattern.

You’ll need to call the Loop to register, a copy of the pattern, 180 6/0 seed beads, and 400 yards of fingering weight yarn.  (And  a 0.6 mm crochet hook & a 3.25 mm (US 3) 24″ circular needle).  I do believe you can get most all of those things through the Loop… 403-457-3020 or theloopkensington (at) gmail.com

The class is noted as “Advanced Beginner” and you can work on basic skills plus repetitive stitch patterns, simple color changes, and simple shaping and finishing.  And adding beads!

Full information is here:


PS: I’ve taken several cracks at adding in images as Praline is one of my favorites, but the technology is set on foiling me today.  Sigh.  Here’s the Ravelry page, if you care to follow the link you can feast your eyes on the beauty… http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/praline-2

Confession Time.

There’s something going on that I haven’t shared with many people outside my family.  I’ve felt a little awkward about it, but I think it’s time to share this information.

I’m taking Grade 12 English and it’s kicking my spare time around like nobody’s business.  I’m contemplating re-education and a major career shift in the next several years, so I started upgrading high school English to try and get my mind into the swing of learning.  I also hoped that it would be the easiest class to compress – there’s a trip to Italy in a month*!  The tentative plan is to do other classes over the next year, so when the kids are both in full-time school, I’ll have the potential to do the same.

English Language Arts 30A is quite different than what I remember from twenty years ago in another province.  Granted, most of my memories of 1994 involved the heartbreak of my parents’ marriage ending and the general angst of being seventeen – but I’m delighted with the lack of Steinbeck.  The amount of self-reflection is interesting; I think it makes for a curriculum the student can feel involved with.  It also makes me a little uncomfortable; I’m used to introspection and sharing information here on the blog or in real life, but I’m not accustomed to sharing based on someone else’s assignments and timelines.

The biggest challenge has been coordinating the littles’ schedules and my man’s travel schedule with my homework schedule.  I tried to anticipate this, and went through and customized a schedule which took into account the travel time and any long school breaks.  It worked well for the first month… then there was the flu for all of us, and a cold that turned into a sore throat which was really tonsillitis for the smallest.  Now, I am still technically ahead of the deadlines, but I’m quite far behind my personal deadlines.  This is dual-purpose writing; I couldn’t get my mental teeth sunk into writing a narrative about myself as a learner until I mentally rephrased in terms of writing a blog post.  I’m killing two birds with one pencil, so to speak.

My other challenge is not overthinking.  I’ve decided to upgrade my (previously terrible) high school marks, and all I need to focus on is the next assignment.  I don’t need to roll myself up into a ball contemplating what I really want in life, what my family currently needs, what it will need into the future; if going to University full-time would make my children feel unloved, how much the man’s work is going to intensify in the next decade, if that will impact… I think you see the morass I can think myself into.

So, in the interests of staying focused, I’m going to sign off on this assignment/blog post, and get to work on the next projects for today: getting the kids from school and then finding a turkey.  Have a great Easter weekend!


*I’ll be back just in time for the final.

A New Concept and Word…

I’m a member of a couple different guilds. I got an email from one the other day; it was minutes, reminders about the upcoming meeting, and an attachment from a previous member. She has “many fiber items for sale”. I forwarded the list on to another friend, and then sat down to read through the list a third time.

I realized that I wasn’t browsing to potentially purchase – I was browsing simply because her list of items for sale was so large (and comprehensive) that it made me feel that I’m positively a minimalist.

Yeah, I have a spinning wheel, a small table loom, some spindles, and lots of knitting needles. And I’ve recently deemed a second hand knitting machine a terrible thing, completely recalcitrant and useless. But! I don’t have any drum carders or triple pickers. I don’t have a spinning wheel worth $5,000. (I can only imagine the glory of that wheel – it’s a Mgnus Drudik, Oregon Myrtlewood, numbered… I’m not even going to google for images. Too risky that I’ll fall in love*.)

I coined a new word to describe it:

Stashenfreude - to glory in the collections of others, because your collections look sparse and abstemious in comparison.

If you don’t know schadenfreude (to glory in the misfortune of others), this will make less sense.

It explains why I love to hear about the large yarn stashes of other knitters.  I imagine that we all feel this way.  And on the off chance you have the largest stash of anyone, anywhere, ever… then you’ve won!  And you can feel good about that.


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.

destash 011 destash 009

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.

hello fiber 1 Hello fiber 2

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.)

destash 004

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.

destash 075

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.    

aril2 026 - Copy

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!

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.

violet wip

(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?


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


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.)


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.

photo 1

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.

photo 2

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.

 photo 4

*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.