Friday, 17 November 2017

The Drop In!

So this is a picture of last nights Thursday Night Drop In Knit for Fun with Amy and Dierdre!
Kewloi huh?!? It was fun πŸ’–We all stitched and Chatted and Snackie Wackied up a storm! As you can see it was a full house... But more are always welcomeπŸ˜€ Don't worry if you are just a beginner knitter! Come anyway. Everyone will help you for sure.

Look at these gorgeous things! They are going to be head bands. Nice cabling huh? It's gorgeous. The yarn is Malabrgio. My favorite. The purpley one is Lisa's and the tealy one is Judy's. They are coming along beautifully.

Here is Lisa in her beautiful Poncho that she designed and knit herself! It's gorgeous don't you think? And guess what? You can get the pattern for it here at Great Balls of Wool if you would like to make one like it. Just come in and ask for Lisa's Poncho Pattern.

This is a children sweater that Julie is kitting. She always has something interesting on the needles! It's knitted from the top down. Gorgeous color huh. It's going to be just lovely. Im sure the little girl it's for is just going to love it.

Here's Judy modeling her new hat she made! It matches all her purple stuff she has on today. She said it knit up super quick and she is very happy with it. It looks great on her too. And there you can see her head band that she is holding up as well. 

This is Shery's Moebius cowl. It's knit out of Malabrigo. This is a super popular project. It's very impressive looking and is an opportunity to knit something with Malabrigo. Which is soft and gorgeous. The pattern is very beautiful and it's an interesting knit. It is knit with the twist in it from the center out. People really enjoy this project. It's interesting and a bit of a challenge. The class is recurring so if it looks like something you might want to try keep an eye out, classes will be offered regularly.

Last but never least take a gander at Julie's gorgeous Cowichan vest. Look at that hummingbird! The details of this vest are just to die for. It's really gorgeous. Roisin offers Cowichan sweater classes regularly so you could learn how to do this too! Or if you just want a quick taste of the techniques involved she offers Cowichan hat classes too.
Ok so that's all the eye candy I've got for you this Friday afternoon. It was a pretty busy Friday Drop In! The room was packed. Show and tell was awesome. Feel free to drop by and drop in and come show us your knitting! 
Until later...
πŸ’–Happy KnittingπŸ’–

Monday, 13 November 2017

Marvelous Malabrigo!!!

Hey everyone 😊
Today is Monday. It's a holiday. There's no classes to show you today. No drop in to show you. It's kind of a quiet day. So I thought I'd take advantage of this quiet moment to share with you about something I love. It's yarn of course. But not just any yarn. It's Malabrigo yarn!
So I took some yummy eye candy photo's of the sacred Malabrigo tree here at Great Balls of Wool to illustrate my ramblings...

Basically I just want to go on and on about how great Malabrigo is! 😍

Malabrigo comes from Peru and is a small company that tries to produce a high quality product ethically. It is committed to happy sheep and a small industrial foot print. Which is all super duper cuz it means you get to shop guilt free! But the thing that makes me loooove Malabrigo so very much is the color! 

I am a hand dyer. I think I first started dying things in about 1992 maybe? Way back then I was hand painting clothing with fiber reactive dyes. That was so fun. It's the thing that eventually lead me to try dying wool starting about 2005 or so.There is nothing for sale from the big distributes that is quite like the effects you can get by hand dyeing in small batches. With exception of Malabrigo. There are small companies doing small dye lots that are imitating the effects that hand dyers are well known for selling through indie maker platforms like Etsy and Ravelry. But Malarigo is in a class by itself. 

Malabrigo is kettle dyed. This means that it is dyed in small lots. Of course not a small as a hand dye artisan is going to be doing. But in terms of the massive dye lots that are turned out by the yarn industry Malabrigo manages to produce an effect that is stunningly beautiful and almost indistinguishable of hand dye. It's also brilliantly soft and reasonably priced considering what it is and how it's made.

These last two pictures are of Malabrigo Rasta which particularity blows my doors off. I think I love Rasta so much because as a hand spinner I strive to spin bulky super soft underspun super chunky art yarn. Rasta is a similar weight to my art yarn. But the feel of it is beyond soft! As a spinner I can appreciate the artistry of creating such a luxurious super bulky soft underspun yarn. Granted it's not made the same way. But the creativity behind it is what inspires and impresses me!  And then there's the color! Impressive dye lots. Just really super beautiful. I think as a dyer Malabrigo has a similar asthetic to what I strive for in my own dyeing. There's a picture of some of my hand dyed sock yarn on the right to compare to the pictures of the Malabrigo which was my inspiration.

Okay well that's about it for today! We are open until 5pm every night if you care to come look in person. Until you find the time to pop by! 
πŸ’–Happy KnittingπŸ’–

Friday, 10 November 2017

Friday HELP! day

Its Friday HELP! day at Great Balls of Wool and the Loopy Lounge is packed with knitters getting help with their various projects. Petra is here today in an unofficial capacity. She teaches the felted slipper class that everyone loves and is a great teacher! But today she is getting help with her cast on for another Moebious cowl that she is making for a friend. It's going to be gorgeous. I don't have a picture of her work today because she hasn't started yet. You can see her in the photo below though. She's sitting in front of the window there..

Here's Judy C. showing us her newest project! It's a very simple scarf she is knitting out of JCBrett Chunky Marble. She was inspired last week by Kathy's scarf that she was knitting out of the same color way in the same yarn. Isn't is lovely??? As you can see she is all set up with her knitting lamp and her cup of tea! Comfy and cozy in this winter weather. Soon she will have a warm scarf to wear too!

This is a little boys cardigan that Julie is knitting and it is really super cool. You start knitting from the cuff of the sleeve and go up the arm and down the body where there is some cabling. Really different. Its a super cute pattern. The wool is really beautiful. She is doing a great job!

Debbie is modeling her new cowl that she is working on. Its based on one of Roisin's patterns however she has adapted it a bit to suit here own taste with some encouragement from the group πŸ˜‹ She has added a seed stitch border along each side to help it lay flat at the edges. It looks great. She hopes to have enough yarn left over to make a pair of matching wristlets.

Judy Y. is working on this lovely lemon number called Southern Comfort! Yum! Its a pattern for a summer top knit out of Butterfly cotton which is supper deluxe stuff. She started it earlier this year and has been working away at it. It's coming along beautifully. She will love having this beautiful new garment to wear next summer. I will have to get a photo of her in it for the blog this summer!

This is Lisa's sweater that she is working on. She has knitted herself to a stand still and it has been laying on the table waiting until she could bring it in to Roisin to get help with a tricky spot. But look how much she has gotten done! And it's gorgeous! Super duper deluxe wool and a great pattern. She just needs a  bit of assistance joining the front to the back. That can be tricky.

This project is also Lisa's. Is this beautiful or what? This is Malabrigo Rasta. Malabrigo is soooo.... it's the best. I just love Malabrigo. It has the best color. The dye work in Malabrigo is really the best. It is comparable to hand made, small batch, artisan yarn. I really can't think of another commercial yarn that does it better. Their product is just mind bogglingly amazing. I think this project is going to be a head band but really I was so busy drooling over how beautiful it is that I kinda was distracted from what it is actually going to be 😜

So there you go... a little sneeky peeky at whats going on down here at Great Balls of Wool this gray winter afternoon. That's not even all of it. There are more projects still! And I cannot convey through writing all the laughter and conversation ringing through the room. You will have to come down and hang out yourself to get the full experience πŸ˜‰
Hope to see you soon!
πŸ’–Happy KnittingπŸ’–

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Wednesday Slipper Day

So today is the first day of felted slippers with Petra! Here are some pictures of past slippers that have been made here at Great Balls of Wool πŸ’– This is a very popular class and a very good slipper pattern. Everyone who tries it loves it. The slippers are beautiful and durable and machine washable. The first picture shows you some of the yarns available here at Great Balls of Wool for making felted slippers. Then the next two photos are of the slippers front and back. They are a felted clog style. Super cool! I have taken the class twice 😜 they are addicting to make. 

It's really cool how they start out huge when you are finished knitting them and then shrink by half when you felt them! All you do to felt them is wash them in hot soapy water in a top loading washing machine. Putting them in a bag like an old pillow case is recommended. Then you wash them a bit, check them, wash them a bit, check them, and when they have shrunk as much as you want you take them out and try them on and you can stuff them with something to hold their shape as they dry. Super simple!

So that's whats going on down here today πŸ˜€
Tomorrow is knitting for fun night with Amy and Deirdre. Its from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.  That's them below in the messy bun hats! I thought that was a super cute picture of them. I'm going to be there. I have a second slipper to knit so I can get them felted. I need them now, it's winter out! Come on out and join us 😊 Bring whatever you've got on the needles... there will be snackie wackies and tea and of course knitting too.

So fun! Next Wednesday I will have more pictures for you of the slippers people are making as they progress. Today is the first day so there is not much to see of todays slippers yet. More pictures is better I think so on Friday drop in I will have more to show you when people bring in whatever is on their needles to hang out or get help. 

Allllrighty then.... have a super happy knitting day and hope to see you at tomorrow nights drop in!

Friday, 3 November 2017

TGIF!!! It's Friday!

Hey everybody 😊
Above is a picture of Thursday nights free drop in and knit with Amy and Dierdre!
We had nine people.
And there was snackie wackies! Tea! And of course knitting!

Look at this treasure trove of knitted and felted slippers that Petra made! She is going to be selling them at the Italian Hall craft fair this craft fair season so go check it out and buy a pair for your very own! All different sizes and colors. Yum!
So the picture above is of the matching hat and fingerless gloves that Roisin knit out of one skein of my hand dyed sock yarn. She paired one strand of sock yarn with one strand of mohair to make this gorgeous set! The hat is made from a free pattern off of Ravelry called "Flower Garden" and the gloves are something she cooked up in an evening out of her head. But it gives you an idea of what you can do. She actually got one more hat out of the one skein of sock yarn too. Its very versatile and goes a long way. Petra is going to be making a Moebius cowl out of one strand of hand dyed sock paired with one strand of mohair. I cannot wait to see what it comes out like!
Look at Belinda in her new Sidhe Hap! It's super soft and warm! Its knit out of baby alpaca with lovely wooden accent buttons. The pattern is one that Roisin designed and sells here at the store. It's a super practical little garment that Roisin got inspired to make after Brenda brought back a book on the Haps that women knitters used to make in Scotland. The idea of the garment is that it keeps your back and chest warm but leaves your arms free to work and does not fall off or get in your way. You can buy the pattern here and design your own Sidhe Hap or Roisin has made Sidhe Hap kits that take out all the guess work! You can just buy the kit and you are good to go!

Look at this beauty!!! This is Nan's linen stitch scarf inspired by the sunsets we get here in Powell River. It's just stunning and it's almost nine feet long! She did an incredible job. It is just gorgeous! That's a heck of a lot of linen stitch. Roisin said it's probably the largest linen stitch project she has ever seen. Congratulations Nan on completing such a massive project. It's a smashing success!
So this is the beginning of a beautiful thing! Its Sue's latest project. She is knitting a simple top down sweater out of Malabrigo. Because Malabrigo is so deluxe and very inspiring and she was looking for a project to make out of it specifically so last week she went through pattern book after pattern book and this is the beginning of her newest journey! I will have to take pictures as it grows and keep you posted. Maybe when it is done she will model it for a photograph πŸ˜πŸ’–

Monday, 30 October 2017

The Sockista Method

Hi there everyone 😊 So today I thought Id talk about socks. Well specifically hand knit socks. Great Balls of wool has a huge selection of sock yarn and needles to choose from so if you already know how to knit socks then you are all set! 

But if you do not know how or have never knit socks on circular needles or want to learn to knit two identical socks at the same time then you might be interested to know that Roisin teaches her own unique method of sock knitting here at GBOW. She has named it The Sockista Method. It is super duper easy to learn and there is  more than one opportunity for you to learn it from her. 

You can learn it directly from Roisin by joining the Sockista class here at GBOW. Thats what I call the everlasting sock class. Becuase you pay a one time membership fee and then the class is open to you to drop in on Tuesday afternoon from 1pm to 3pm and get any help you might need. The cool thing about this is that Roisin teaches a method NOT a pattern. Once you learn the method you can make your socks look like anything you want. Any pattern. The method is two socks from the toe up with and invisible cast on, and after thought heel and a ribbed top with a crochet cast off. 

But what if you don't live here??? No problem. Roisins method is available for free on her Great Balls of Wool website in the form of a youtube tutorial. You can watch it as many times as you like. Stopping and starting it whenever you need too until you get the hang of things. Or just learn at home in comfort sitting on your own sofa with a cup of tea.

 The above picture is of some great new sock yarn we just got in a couple days ago. Its the lastest thing. Super soft super wash Merino. Very soft. In this cool speckle dye color way. Poeple are making shawls out of it as well as socks! It's gorgeous.

This is photo is of Noro Silk Garden Sock. Still my all time favorite sock yarn. I have pictures below of two pairs of socks I am currently knitting out of this yarn. Which I will write about eventually. This yarn is also great for knitting shawls out of. Roisin's Chantal Poncho is knit out of one 100g ball of this yarn. 
 Now this yarn is a bit different. This is my hand dyed Opal sockyarn that I make exclusively for GBOW. Its dyed with commercial grade dyed from Maiwa on Granville Island in Vancouver. It is light fast. Wash fast. And fully durable. It will not fade or run color at all. Each skein is one of a kind and completely unique. They are 100g skeins. so they will be enough to make one adult pair of socks or one shawl or a hat and gloves. I will have to share a picture of the matching hat and gloves that Roisin made out of one skein! They are absolutely beautiful. Made with a free pattern from Ravelry.

This is a picture of just some of our sock yarn cubbies here at GBOW. There is lots more in other areas of the store that wouldn't fit into this picture. As I said we have LOTS of sock yarn. You will have so much to choose from you will be in yarn heaven! 
This is the commercially dyed Opal from Germany. We have that too!
Okay so I thought I'd include some stash pix of whats on my sock needles for inspiration and to give you a visual to go along with what I was saying about The Sockista Method. This is my favorite pair of socks on the needles right now. The wool is a relatively fine hand wash angora. It's self patterning. That means I am not knitting the pattern into it. The pattern is dyed onto the yarn at the factory and all I do is strait knit and it comes out patterned. these are just about to the point where I put in the marker yarn to hold the stitches for the after thought heel. so they are almost half way done. The needles are called Karbons. I really cannot say enough good things about Karbons. I just LOVE them. Expensive I suppose but you get what you pay for and good tools make easy working!!!
These next two pair of socks are both made out of Noro. I just LOVE Noro. Like Karbons I cannot say enough good things about Noro!!! It's beautiful. It's comfortable. It's hand wash but washes well. It wears well. It ROCKS. And it's a little thicker so it knits up faster and makes a slightly thicker sock. It's just everything yummy and good. Plus is doesn't split and is a colorful joy to touch and knit. So good. Really. I swear!

 Ok so below are the socks I work on when I want something challenging that really keeps me occupied.That's because this wool is fine and the needles are super duper fine. So if you are thinking of trying sock knitting for the first time... My advice is to choose yarn that is a little bit thicker. Like something you can use maybe a 3mm needle with. You will be so glad you did that in the end. Once you have made a couple pair you will be wanting to try your hand at the fine stuff!😁
Last but not least! This is a picture of my sock cute little sock bag πŸ’– I got it at the thrift store for a dollar. At first I was trying to carry all my knitting with me everywhere but I soon realized that I was going to have to dedicate an entire bag just to socks! I'm so glad I did. I carry my socks with me everywhere. Socks are the perfect tiny little project to have with you at all times for fidget value. I never sit in a doctors office or ferry line up happily without them now!

All right so that's about it! Actually I could write tones more about socks but this post is getting long already so I should probably wrap it up about now. 
Have a great day!
Happy sock knitting to those who already have the bug!
And I hope I have convinced a few new people to try it if you have not got the bug yet πŸ˜‰

Friday, 27 October 2017

Friday Drop In

Friday afternoon is drop in day! Anyone needing help with a project. Help with a specific technique. Or just help with your knitting in general can just drop by and for ten dollars you get two hours of help plus you get to hang with the girls 😈 πŸ˜‡Things can get pretty racy in the Loopy Lounge! There's lots of laughter and even a little knitting gets done too.

Our first picture today is of Maria's Apple hat. Isn't it cute? Last Friday it was just beginning and here it is all done! Looks good enough to eat.

Judy's first cabling project is coming along well. Here you can see it has grown at least two inches since last week. Its really coming along beautifully.

Maria has been working on this one for a while. Lots of knitting went into this project. Its ecru cotton and feels absolutely lovely to touch.

Look at this line up of slippers by Petra! Petra teaches the slipper knitting class. She has made a tone of these. She is going to be selling them at the Dwight Hall Craft Fair this fall if you think you might like a pair. These slippers are knitted out of Galway for the solid colors in the sole and cuff and delicious Malabrigo in the upper multi hued area. Tough, warm and cozy. A pair of these should last years and years if cared for properly.

This is Julies first time doing a provisional cast on. She says every time she counts her stitches she counts a different number of stitches. I can totally relate! I did a huge cast on for a Jude Skeers Circular Shawl that I am knitting and it was daunting to say the least! So I have a lots of empathy for Julie struggling with her provisional cast on for the sweater she is going to knit.

Look how much Roisin's gorgeous Moebius cowl has grown! Last Friday it was not half this size. She is really motoring along. The colors in it are really beautiful. The Moebius class is coming along great and the Baby Surprise Jacket class has started up now. Soon there will be a Cowichan sweater class starting, there is still room available in that class and time to register for it. That would be a great thing to learn how to do. And a great way to improve your over all knitting skills.

So I will leave you with a teaser picture for the subject of the next post. Sockyarn. This is a picture of the new sock yarn that has just come in. Very soft and, i don't know if you can really see it in this picture, also very speckled with dots of dye. It's the latest thing...

More on that later..
Have a great day πŸ’“πŸ˜˜πŸ˜

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Moebius Day!!!

Today is the Moebius Class! Everybody is hanging out and having fun 😊 kitting up a storm. Below we have pictures of three peoples Moebius projects. First is Roisin's Moebius which is coming along beautifully. She is the instructor of this class. She knits along with everyone else so they can see the project being made as well as have the hands on experience of making their own.
 Roisin Sheehy-Culhane

This is Maureen Simmonds Moebius. Its really beginning to take shape now isn't it? Love the color! Love that Malabrigo. Such gorgeous yarn. I really cannot get enough of it. The dye techniques used in making Malabrigo really are exceptional. I find them hugely inspiring in my own dyeing work that I do for the shop.

And here is Valerie MacBean's gorgeaous work! She was saying how much she is enjoying knitting this project. supper colors in this one too. She's really motoring along! At this rate she will be done in no time πŸ˜€ I think i may have to try making a Moebius! One of these days maybe. But not right away... I have enough projects on the go. 

4 pair of socks. 1 pair of slippers. 1 linen stitch skirt. 1 Jude Skeers circular shawl and supplies in my stash to knit... 1 Chantal shawl. 1 pair of fan stitch gloves and last but not least 3 more pairs of socks. Heh heh heh... My knitting addiction...
speaking of Malabrigo...
This is Joan Meilleur's absolutely stunning Traditional Irish Cabled Sweater made from glorious Malabrigo Rios Superwash yarn. Rich and buttery soft! Soft as a cloud! So gorgeous! Its made from a pattern she has had in her stash for about 40 years! She made it for her cousin. Apparently she knits all sorts of goodies for her cousin's children and her cousin said "I wouldn't mind a sweater" so she is getting this delicious heritage piece!  I bet she will be totally blown away don't you think?
This is a work of art and something that so inspires me to keep knitting. One day I hope to be able to knit cables like this.

Alrighty then people! Thats your bit of knitty goodness for today! Hope you enjoyed peeking into whats happening here at GBOW 😍
Have an awesome day!