Grey*

Remember way back in the Fall when I mentioned I would stop colouring me hair and see what my natural colour was?  It's done and it's pretty spectacular.

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Aside from my regrowth roots, I estimate that I haven't seen my natural hair colour since just after I had Alexander in 2000.  I cut it very short and then in a fit of sleeplessness and a "OMG I have two children" moment, I bleached it (which turned it pumpkin orange) and then tried to fix it (which thankfully, the sleep deprivation has wiped the results of that out of my memory) and I've been colouring it ever since.

When I made this decision (inspired by the fabulously awesome Julia Farwell-Clay) I went looking for photos of women in their 40s with grey hair.  There aren't many--though there are a million photos of Jamie Lee Curtis who looks amazing--so I thought I would take a picture after each hair cut so that those of you considering this could see how the grow-out goes.

Having pixie-short hair makes this an easier process.  I made the decision in October and I was 99% colour free by June, completely natural after my July 29th cut.  I get my hair cut every 5-6 weeks (which seems economical since I stopped paying for professional colour) so it's a fairly fast process.

October (just had a cut and colour for Rhinebeck):

Brandied orange

In mid-December my stylist suggested adding light blonde highlights just to the top to even things out and hide the obvious root line.  It looked great, but I probably could have skipped this step.  It was December and cold and I usually have my head covered.  I think I panicked a bit.

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January: sorry for the bad lighting. I really have just a bit of re-growth and I discover I'm not as grey on top as I am on the sides.

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March: mostly blonde on top.  Stylist kept the top longer to maximize my colour investment.

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April: sides and back are natural, still have blonde colour on top.  It did look a bit weird by this point, but the fabulous white streak I discovered in the front made up for it.

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I just happened to get the chance to have some professional head-shots done a few days later (and the photographer insisted on a knitting one!).  I'm still mostly blonde on top.  

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May: I started loving my hair at this point. It was a mix of grey and blonde and I started getting it cut shorter which I personally prefer.  I was feeling good about my decision to ditch the colour.

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June: I'm grey.  Both greyer than I thought and perhaps, not grey enough.  My natural colour is pure ash-blah.  I remember when my hair went from blonde to this non-colour and how washed out I used to look.  The silver gives it a pop and I like it, but it there are moments where I feel I look old or perhaps not so stylish (dowdy would the word fashionable people might use, but that's too-judgemental--greying men don't get told they look dowdy.)

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That white streak is amazing though.

July: My hair is natural and pretty fantastic.  I like it.  I really like colouring my hair for fun, but feel much better not HAVING to colour my hair to hide the grey or maintain a shade that isn't mine. Natural hair colour has far more depth and shade going on--I'm a hand-dyed yarn compared to a commercially-dyed one :)

I also like the quiet (or perhaps not so quiet) fuck you to gendered ideas about aging that comes with showing my grey.  I was referred to as "the silver haired woman" recently and after the hit of feeling old, I decided it was an okay description because there aren't many silver-haired 45 year old women around. 

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If I get bored, I can add some colour.  Something fun and completely unnatural.  I'm thinking electric blue.  

 

 

*I just have to say that those books and that movie have totally messed with my desire to use the term shades of grey to refer to my hair.  A quick google tells me that grey is the newest trend and all the cool kids are dyeing their hair.  WTF?


Since I last Blogged

Work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work...

Attended lots of year end school things for the kids including Emma's fabulous school dance night:

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And Xander's music night and honour roll night and volunteer recognition event:

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Work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work.  

Then Emma performed in her musical theatre show.  She was Maisy from Suessical (here she is with her besties--she did all their makeup):

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Then more work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work until I started to get grumpy.  

I did sneak in some knitting, but sometimes not for days at a time which makes me kinda sad because knitting is a thing that makes me happy and when I'm really busy, it slows me down.

The good news is, on my birthday I unpinned this scarf from the blocking board.  It was a treat for me purchased at the Toronto Knitter's Frolic (after a week of 15 hour days!).  The yarn is from Shirley Brian and it comes in a plastic take out tub.  It's a four ply cotton and at intervals, one thread is swapped out for the next colour giving it the nice striped effect.  I knit the pattern that came with it--Mariner--and it was just detailed enough to keep me awake after all the work work work work work.

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Perfect for summer (I'm on a navy kick so it works with my wardrobe nicely).

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Will work be less crazy this month?  Hopefully.  It's summer and I want to enjoy it.


Knit Worthy


Last weekend the whole family got together to surprise my cousin France for her 50th birthday. It really was the whole family. France is one of eight kids and she has lots of nieces and nephews, aunts, cousins, in-laws etc.

It was a great weekend, she was totally surprised and it was fantastic to see my extended family.

France is totally knit worthy. And 50 is a knit worthy birthday.

France took me to see my first concert, Corey Hart. I was 14 and she was 19. Even though she lived in Cochrane and I lived in Thunder Bay (the big city) she was pretty cool. We hung out and she didn't treat me like a lousy kid.

Now, when five years doesn't matter, we always have fun together. She is easy going, loves to do anything, laughs easily and enjoys life. She doesn't knit and probably couldn't sit still long enough to learn, but she appreciates the craft and knows that it's a skill that requires time to master. She often covets my knitting, so this year was time to make her something.

I found the perfect yarn at the Knitter's Frolic. A gorgeous chameleon sock gradient box from Indigodragonfly.

I decided Unicorn Stripes would be an easy to knit, yet lovely pattern to show off the gradients. And I got to knitting a few hours after the Frolic.

The knitting was fun and easy. The yarn is delicious.

The finished cowl is gorgeous. This one was hard to give away.

The box and lovely poem from Ron of Indigodragonfly (a five line poem for each 5-colour set) make for pretty packaging.

France's reaction: totally knit worthy.

 



Challenge and Reward


I had a challenging week. The good kind of challenging where I got to stretch myself, try new things, learn stuff and remember that I really like my job. But it was also a sixty hour week where I was ON for three days and I was exhausted at the end.

I dragged myself to The Knitter's Frolic and I'm glad I did. Being around knitters and the yarn was restorative. I got to see my knitting peeps and get inspired with new yarn and projects.

I'm sorry if I didn't chat very much when I saw you. I was seriously done with being social. I actually used up all my extroverted self (and if you know me, you'll find that staggering). We should get together and knit some time and I'll make it up to you.

My favourite purchase was a Tornadoz gradient box from Indigodragonfly.

The colours glow. I started an easy cowl and am in the second colour already. I needed a new project to celebrate Spring and getting through my challenge. (It doesn't glow in the dark though--trust me it's beautiful.)

 



Slow Scarfing

I'm a product knitter. I like having finished pieces. I like blocking and seaming and weaving in ends because they represent getting something done, and the opportunity to start another new project.

But some knits start out great and then lose their appeal. The pattern is too complicated for my current headspace or I like the finished project but not the knitting itself. Or the yarn/needle combination isn't right. Or I start a heavy mohair thing in April and can't stand to touch it when the weather warms up (I could probably start a mohair King sized blanket this year because it's never going to get warm).

The beautiful Kirkingwood Paisley shawl I'm working on is one of those slow projects. I feel in love with it the moment I saw it (Fiona was knitting it on my couch the first time we met in person*) and bought the pattern and Indigodragonfly yarn as soon as it was available at the 2014 Knitter's Frolic.

I realize that it's almost been a year since I started the scarf and I'm wanting it's beautiful red silkiness around my neck and I'm only 41 rows into a 70 row pattern. This is slow scarfing. I'm making the biggest size and it takes almost an hour to knit a row.

It's not really a pick up, knit a bit and go stir the soup kind of knit. That's okay, there should be long, slow, meticulous patterns. They're good for the brain and they make very pretty things. Just look at how some cables and lace make paisleys--genius.

To get this done, I'm following some advice I read from some wise knitter: spend 10 minutes a day on the stalled projects to move them along. I don't get to this one all the time, but much like the trick I play on myself to run when I don't want to, just picking up and committing to only a short time with this knit is resulting in some beautiful and enjoyable knitting.

Will I have it done by this year's Frolic? Probably not, but will it sit in the basket for years? Nope. Only 30 rows before the garter stitch. I freakin love garter stitch...


*I don't randomly invite fabulous knitting designers to my house--we have mutual friends who were visiting and we all like good yarn and good beers. Though on reflection, I should invite more people like Fiona over because good things happen.

 


Carnaby skirt


I finished my skirt! I rather like it!



And because the cold weather is never going to stop, I've even happy opportunities to wear it.



It's a good fit, but does stretch a bit. I'm planning to reinforce the waist with grosgrain ribbon, or pick up stitches and do a waistband and add an elastic.



The tweed yarn is perfect. It's not very soft, but it's sturdy and firm. It's a cone from the back catalogue of my stash and I still have enough left for a sweater.


And I know I was pessimistic about ever getting this done. And to that I say:



We will ignore the fact that I finished it weeks ago, had to sew the buttons on 3 times to get the fit right and am just blogging about it now.


Knitting = Me Time

Lots of work and lots of parenting really cuts into knitting. I missed having a hour in front of the TV to relax with my knitting and make something that doesn't involve a computer.

I also realized that not taking that time for myself is not a good thing. I get grumpy when I don't have time for myself to do something that I enjoy. Turns out the Purple Purl newsletter gave me a nudge and I found a project that made me want to take the time and make something.

The Purple Purl was hosting a knit-along of the Seasons Hat.  Gripped by the longest coldest February I've experienced in Toronto, another hat seemed like a good thing to knit and I had yarn leftover from my much-loved Vinterblomster mittens which would make a nice coordinated, but not matchy-matchy set, so I was IN.

Less than a week later, I was almost done the colour work.  Every time I do a colour project I remember that one of the main reasons I knit is COLOUR.  I love pulling out the yarn and figuring out what colours to use.  This time I had the three Vinterblomster colours and added orange and a lighter grey.  

I find it hard to stop knitting when I start colour bands--I want to see how they'll turn out.  I also just enjoyed this yarn, the ease of the project and gave myself the time to get it done.

It took a mere 10 days.  It's perfect. 

 My photography is not so great.  I seem to always finish things at night!

 And this hat became part of my favourite instagram selfie ever.

I accidentally hit the button while turning to get better light.  (Let's keep that as our secret.) 


A List

1. Julia in KW was the winner of the Burton Hills Coat pattern!  Hooray Julia!

2. I am never going to finish my Carnaby Skirt.  Ever.

3. I don't know why Carnaby is such a slog, but right now everything else wooly is tempting me.  

4. Temptation One: A headband for my SIL.  Elisbeth in Shelter.  So nice to knit with.  Fun pattern.

5. Temptation Two: I liked it so much I made the hat for myself with another odd ball of Shelter. 

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6. Temptation Three: Seasons Hat whereby I joined the Purple Purl KAL and almost finished it in a weekend except that I decided to finish Carnaby dammit.

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7. Did you know I didn't type temptation properly in any of the above?

8. I'm at the buttonholes for Carnaby but it will never get done. 

9. I really want to finish this skirt so I can wear it once before Spring.  The yarn on the cone covered in spinning oils is unpleasant to work with, but washed up it's perfect--brown, hardwearing, tweedy.

10. I'll shut up and go knit now.

 


Burton Hills Coat: From Folly Cove

If you've been following the From Folly Cove Blog Tour, I'm betting you've been drooling over the beautiful designs from Julia Farwell-Clay.  Butterflies, a dress, a skirt, shawls and wraps, snazzy-dress-to-impress-pieces and cozy-frolicking-in-the-garden-knits.

While I want to embody the gorgeous style that is the cover piece of Julia's book (featured yesterday on Getting Stitched on the Farm), I'm not really the flowing hair, ribboned-beret type.  

Today's featured pattern, the Burton Hills Jacket, IS me.  It's an innovative knit that makes a wear-anywear jacket.  I'm also not willowy, so the proportions and lines of this coat suit my figure.  

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Julia is a SMART woman and a CRAFTY knitter.  This is interesting knitting.  It's got an element of challenge, but it's not a follow-every-square-on-the-chart difficult.  

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I love the swooping lines and that touch of a colour change which gives those lines some emphasis.  I'm also a sucker for the woodsy colours.

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It's knit in Blackthorn by Classic Elite Yarns.  This would be an awesome kit to have and Classic Elite is giving away yarn to a lucky winner who comments on their blog at the end of the tour on February 6th (I'll wait while you go and bookmark their blog).

And this week only, the all the patterns in the From Folly Cover collection including the Burton Hills jacket are 10% off on Ravelry using the code: FFC10.  

And!

One lucky commenter on my blog will receive a free copy of the Burton Hills Jacket pattern.  

So tell me what kind of knit you like to wear vs what kind of knit you sorta wish you wore and I'll choose one of you at random and let Classic Elite know you're the winner!  Comments close at midnight EST on February 6th.

While Burton Hills is going into my queue, I'm also excited about the Natti pullover which will be featured tomorrow on Ana Campos' Toil and Trouble blog.  Be sure to check it out.


Blogging like it's 2007...A Blog Tour!

The fabulous and talented Julia Farwell-Clay has a new book out and she's cleverly organized a blog tour to promote her beautiful designs. Remember blog tours? I loved reading them!

The book is called From Folly Cove and is full of lovely wearable knits. I'm one of the last stops on the tour so I don't want to say too much. But there are contests! And discounts! Classic Elite, the publisher of the collection is even giving one lucky winner yarn to knit whatever design from the book they choose.

Check it out on Julia's blog or Ravelry.