teacher’s pet

So, some people didn’t go to Rhinebeck. More specificially, *I* didn’t go to Rhinebeck. And I am not bitter about it at all. Noooooooo, not me. Bitter? HA! Ha, I say. I say this to you.

But some of us did go on yarn-related roadtrips all the same. More specifically, *I* went on a yarn-related roadtrip. Last Tuesday. With my husband. And he didn’t even complain (that much). Yay roadtrip!

Okay, so it’s not as awesome as Rhinebeck, what with the sunshine and the animals and the babies and the knitting royalty. Tuesday was a pretty crappy day, and the leaves had fallen off all the trees. I took a picture, but it doesn’t want to upload, for some reason, and two days of fighting with it are enough. But it really doesn’t matter. We didn’t go for the view.


We came for the wool.

Camilla Valley Farm is about a 90-minute drive from where we live, and took even longer coming home with all the traffic and stuff. But it was worth it. I got all the Jamieson DK I’ll need for my nephew’s zip hoodie aaaaaaaand a little extra. They had Fleece Artist Sea Wool! I am not made of stone, people. But I limited myself to two skeins. This time. Sock yarn doesn’t count, right?

In case you decide to visit Camilla Valley Farms, this is the shop.


There’s no sign or anything (that I noticed), but it’s reasonably obvious that the house isn’t the shop and the barn isn’t the shop and the grain silo *probably* isn’t the shop either, so this must be the shop. Here is my darling husband carrying nearly $200 in yarn with nary a complaint to be heard (mostly because the Nephew Sweater was his idea in the first place, and he is very interested in each stage of its construction. But he didn’t make a peep about the Fleece Artist, and that is to his credit).

The weather was pretty bad in the early afternoon, while we tried to navigate our way to CVF with EZ-style pithy (but clear and concise) directions along nearly-deserted roads that ended up covering 60% of the car in mud (to the point where you wouldn’t have been able to tell the colour of the paint underneath!) However, the skies had started to clear by the time we were on our way back, which made the trek back to “civilization” a pleasure:




As for actual knitting, I seem to have that starteritis bug that I hear is going around. I was suddenly and unexpectedly obsessed by Saartje’s Bootees (link to pdf on the sidebar of that page) and whipped out three adorable pairs until I could stop (they’re so easy! and quick! and addictive!) But as I have not yet found the perfect tiny little buttons for them (I need to start a button stash, stat!), they are not FOs and as such will not be shown yet (the crisscross straps flap about too much to allow the audience to fully appreciate the cuteness without buttons). So, instead, check this out:


Yes, the picture of me making a weird face was the best picture of my finished (if slightly modified) Circular Shrug. Always ends up that way, doesn’t it? Ah well. It’s still one of my favourite-ever (and easiest-ever) knits!

I think the shrug looks great from the back, too, even if it does pucker weirdly a bit and give me faux-backfat (I have enough of my own, damnit!)


I thought I’d decided not to put in sleeves, but after about ten minutes of wearing the things I realised I really, really needed them, if only to have something to anchor the shawl collar thing so it doesn’t ride up and get all mussed every five seconds. So it’s not an FO as such, but I still wanted to show it off. I am still so so so in love with Dream In Color yarn! Here’s another closeup shot, in situ:


Now, I don’t know if everyone’s browser does this, but when I roll over the pics on my blog, it shows the filename. If yours does this, too, you might notice that all the shrug pics have the name ‘Julie’ in the title. That’s not my name; it’s what I’ve taken to calling this piece in honour of one of my all-time favourite musicians, Julie Doiron. She’s been a successful solo artist for the last decade or so, but before then, she was in the seminal Canadian indie rock band Eric’s Trip, who broke up in the late 90s but have gotten together again a few times over the years for some “reunion” shows. I was lucky enough to catch them in 1996 just before they dropped over the horizon, and was there to welcome them back again in 2001 when they started playing together again, “just for fun”. While I was knitting this shrug, ET was touring southern Ontario, and I talked my sweet, indulgent husband into travelling with me to London and Ottawa to see them on two different weekends (and driving some of the way, so I could knit in the car). Of course, the anticipation of a reunion tour inspired me to make like three different mixes of ET and side project tracks, which I have been listening to obsessively for almost a month now (I can be sort of OCD about stuff sometimes — what? knitters often have OCD tendencies? whoda thunk, right?) Anyway, the link between the yarn and the band came pretty naturally if you remember the last proper album they put out: Purple Blue. It’s an ET album, not a Julie album, but Eric’s Shrug didn’t seem right, somehow…it seemed wrong to give such a feminine knit a masculine name. So, despite my serious doubts that Julie herself would ever wear a garment like this, it has come to be called Julie Shrugged in my head, and in my Ravelry notebook.

The proper title of this blog is knittingmixtapes, which I meant to be both a (lame-ass) pun on ‘mistakes’ and an allusion to music; I envisioned this as sort of a crafty mp3 blog. I haven’t done that until now, but then again, no other post or knitted object has ever been more closely related to a piece of music. Songs like the one at the bottom of this paragraph are why I love Julie’s music so much, and probably why music in general is so important to me. I discovered Eric’s Trip when I was fifteen, and their music became sort of enmeshed in my own personality, my psyche. Like the music, I’m kind of selfconsciously sentimental and naive, incredibly introverted but self-revelatory at the same time. I’ve gone months, even years, without listening to any ET or ET-related music, but every time I dust off the albums, I feel very much myself. This song has meant a lot to me over the years, but never more than after I met my husband. I dream about him often, and through the course of our relationship there’s been a lot of time when all we could do was dream about each other; being in a relationship, even a marriage, with someone from the other side of the world comes with its own peculiarities and challenges.

Julie Doiron – Tell You Again

In less sentimental news, my “knitting students” are getting on quite well. As well as can be expected, anyway. It’s a busy time of year. But I did meet up with one of them (Fair Isle Vest) for a shopping spree and mini-lesson over the weekend. We fondled many yarns in Lettuce Knit, scoured the wall for needles at Romni Wools, and repaired to the Just Us Cafe for bagels and tea and hot chocolate and knitting.

Unfortunately, that pic isn’t uploading either, so we will have to do without it for now. Dudes, I think something is seriously wrong with something somewhere. I’m not sure if it’s my wordpress account (I bought more room! I’ve only used 7%!) or my internet connection (it’s been patchy since some dude came over to “fix” it) or an unsympathetic alignment of the stars or what, but I’ve been writing this sucker for two days and it’s time to post it. Maybe there will be more Amateur Hour next time. And maybe even some progress on The Nephew Sweater. And if you’re really lucky, maybe it won’t take me two weeks to post again! We can only wait and see.


So, recently I started trying to create knitting friends out of regular friends. By their individual request, of course. It’s going pretty well, actually, but I wish I’d had my camera when three of us — (me and two have-never-even-held-needles students/friends — were browsing Romni’s pattern section. “Can I make this?” one would ask, holding up a pattern for a Fair Isle vest. “Yes,” I replied, “but maybe not for your first project. “Oooh, I like this one!” another would exclaim, pulling down a pattern of a seed-stitch tailored jacket. “You could make that too,” I told her, “but maybe not for your first project.” Romni Wools is huge and slightly intimidating when you have no idea what you want to make or what you want to make it with, so after a long hour or so of searching and deciding and weighing options, we decided to just buy one skein each and a pair of needles, repair somewhere quiet and learn how to cast-on. Unfortunately, that “quiet place” ended up being the Seed Stitch Jacket friend’s condo where Ugly Betty was playing, but I think they got the hang of casting on.

Of course, I couldn’t be the only one not buying yarn. They had just gotten in a new shipment of mercerized cotton, and I couldn’t resist these colours:


I was pretty tired by the end of our shopping expedition, so by the time I noticed the cotton wall I could only remember than I wanted some, but I couldn’t remember why. After I got home (and had a good sleep), I remembered that I wanted to try my hand at some crochet hexagons…which means I need a third colour. Oh well! It’s a longterm project idea anyway.

Fair Isle Vest and I have plans to meet up next weekend at Lettuce Knit to pick out some yarn for the circular shrug I’ve been making, because I am still so in love with Dream In Colour yarn, and I think she will be, too. Teaching two friends at once also introduces a slight competitive element to the learning process, which I hope will motivate them both to finish at least one project before they decide whether or not knitting is for them. It’s a pretty steep learning curve, but such a satisfying skill! At least, I think so.

Speaking of DiC yarns and LK, I finally made it down there again to pick up another two skeins to finish my own shrug, but I couldn’t make the time until Saturday, two full weeks after my first visit. Two weeks of other people petting the skeins and exclaiming at colours. Two full weeks of other people picking out yarns for their projects. Two full weeks…

“Oh no. Are you out of Dusky Aurora worsted weight?” I asked the lovely shoppeople worriedly. How was I going to finish my shrug without more yarn?? I knew I should have bought more than two skeins!!! Even if they just had one, I could at least finish the lace edging, it doesn’t need sleeves, but oh, I really wanted sleeves, I guess I could order some from somewhere online but it would certainly be a different dyelot but does that really matter with variegated yarns and damnit I knew I should have bought more than two skeins…

[Triumphant Music Played Here!] Luckily, The Awesome Laura was on duty. She got a “hmm, let’s see” gleam in her eye, rummaged around in the bottom “Unlit Pit Of Doom” shelfcubby, and produced NOT one, but TWO skeins of Dusky Aurora!!


Since then, I’ve only gotten through another inch or so of the lace, so no pics yet. But at least now there will be a shrug to finish!!

In other pictureless news, I have ordered a small truckload of Jamison Spindrift from She Ewe Knits to start swatching for my 2 1/2 year old nephew’s Christmas present. He and his parents are going to be living in Scotland for the next couple of years, and he could really use something light but warm and water-resistant to keep off the drizzle, so I’m planning to make him a little lined zip hooded sweater jacket thing with a bit of colourwork. And by “lined”, I mean I intend to buy some fabric, whip up a little coat, and attach it to the inside of the sweater. It’ll be my First Real Sewing Evar, so I hope it goes well! We’re going to be visiting with them in Edinburgh for most of December (my family has had the last two Christmases, it’s the inlaws’ turn this year), so hopefully I’ll be able to get him to try it on as I make it. Obviously I plan to make it a little on the big side, but I have a tendency to make kids’ things too small, which would be completely useless. So hopefully that will go well.

So many things to look forward to, so few pictures to illustrate them! So in closing, I’ll share with you some pictures I took a couple of weeks ago, but never got around to blogging:

Could it be…?


Heck yes!


It’s Andre the Mini-Mantis from Soto SoftiesEtsy shop! He spent quite a few happy days in my mom’s garden before the weather turned, but has since come inside for the season (dudes, it’s getting chilly bananas outside. Which I love, but is also giving me a cold. Thanks, dusty forced air furnace). Right now he’s sort of living on my bookshelf with all our other “important things”, but he needs a proper home, and soon. Lots of things around here need proper homes. My yarns, they live in shopping bags. But I guess we should get a home before we get furniture, no? So many plans, so few ways to bring them to fruition…