Knitting Feeds

Tonal Gradients Tame Variegated Yarns

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 07/23/2017 - 12:30
Unfortunately, I'm going through one of those annoying phases where yarn fumes have so clouded my brain, I can't seem to stop casting on projects great and small. This is true, even though as a slow knitter, there are already enough WIPs on the needles and in the pipeline to keep me busy for weeks if not months.


Instead of doing the rational thing and focusing on finishing the tasks already at hand, I got a bee in my bonnet and decided to experiment with variegated yarn and tonal gradients. 


Variegated yarns can be tricky, so pairing a closely related solid with variegated yarn is one of my favorite tips and tricks. It's an easy way to prevent pooling, and here I've simply taken it to the next step.



Tonal gradient: Colsie Mitts (WIP)

Yarn. Happy Feet (Plymouth), Charlemont (Valley Yarns), Babe (Knitting Fever)
Stitch. This 3x2 slipped rib creates a stretchy fabric perfect for fingerless mitts.

Strategy.  Each section is worked in alternating two-row stripes. To achieve a similar look:
  • Choose one variegated yarn and three related solid shades that blend with the variegated.
  • Treat the variegated yarn as your MC, because it will appear in each section.
  • Work section 1 with MC and CC1.
  • Work section 2 with MC and CC2.
  • Work section 3 with MC and CC3.

                  The variegated Happy Feat incorporates shades of red, orange, pink and purple, so I choose rosy solids and worked them as follows:
                  • Section 1: Variegated with burgundy
                  • Section 2: Variegated with red
                  • Section 3: Variegated with rose

                  Overall, I'm happy with the outcome. The three related solids create a pleasing tonal gradient, and it was fun to see how each one either accentuated or obscured different colors in the variegated yarn. As an added plus, when these mitts are finished, they'll make a nice complement to my Dojeling Wineberry shawl.
                  I've said it before, but it bears repeating. DIY gradients are one of the most effective ways to leverage yarn from stash. So, if you have lovely variegated yarns that pool in patterns you find unappealing, try tonal gradients, they're the ideal way to tame virtually any variegated yarn.

                  To see all ombre and gradient posts, click here.
                  Connecting with the linkups in the sidebar.
                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  Making our knitting life easier...

                  My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 07/23/2017 - 07:14
                  Hello there! Guess who is back after missing a week chatting with you. I can tell you I am feeling much better, it was just a little Summer cold. I think it is gone in large part because of all your well wishes- thank you! Looking forward to catching up... Andi
                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  They don’t really talk to me anymore

                  Yarn Harlot - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 17:42

                  Joe left this morning for a business trip, leaving me all to my own devices for the weekend (so far I have really cut loose and vacuumed the bedroom) and as soon as he was gone, I remembered that I’d forgotten to get him to help me with sock pictures.

                  Undaunted, I decided to engage in another episode of a game I call “weird textile things I’ve done on my front steps that make my neighbours nervous.”  (Previous entries have included direct warping a little loom because the neighbours fence was the right distance away, hanging skeins of yarn from the cherry tree for photographic purposes, and nestling various works in progress amongst the greenery to document their progress.)*

                  Today I decided that I’m a reasonably flexible person and there’s a timer on my camera, so I figured it wouldn’t be that hard to do it myself. I have tried this before and taking pictures of your own feet that don’t look weird and show off all the parts of a sock is really hard.  This time though I thought that I had it figured out. I set the timer, ran over and stood in front of the camera and…

                  No good. (Don’t my coral bells look beautiful though? All that rain.) I looked at the picture, decided that I was standing in the wrong spot and just needed to move over, marked that spot with my mind, and then realized I’d screwed up by picking up the camera without noticing where it had been, and swore a little. I took a few other test shots, and finally worked out that what I had to do was stand in the right spot, then lean forward, sort of downward dog style, push the button for the timer, and then stand back up again without moving my feet.  This is quite difficult, and means you’ve got to stick your arse way up in the air, and from the time that I push the button, I’ve got ten seconds to execute the manoeuvre, quickly walking my hands back and standing upright.  My neighbour down the street walked by at this point, and said it looked like a good stretch. I think she thought it was the worlds most awkward attempt at yoga. On the stairs. In socks. Anyway, things improved then.

                  (Yarn: Gauge Dye Works, a club yarn I got a few months ago.  Pattern: my own Sock Recipe. Needles: 2.25mm.)

                  After that I got bold and attempted a bending-over-arm-extended-like-I-am-another-person shot.  Less good.

                  But I improved.

                  Sort of.

                  *I have been doing this kinda thing on the porch, warping looms, photographing yarn, projects, hanging hats on trees, arranging hats on posts, draping blankets over fences, taking pictures of various family members and myself wearing knitted stuff year round for about 15 years now. I live in the city, and those steps are about 1m from the sidewalk. Tons of people walk by every day, and never, not once, ever (and I mean it) has any human being ever asked me why the %$^&*$ I have mittens in a tree.

                  I think they’re afraid.

                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  summer festival socks

                  Autumn Geisha - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 22:13




                  Continuing with the seasonal socks theme, I'm thrilled to have my summer festival socks off the needles. These were such a blast to knit, mainly due to the interesting stitch pattern. I find that patterned socks knit up much more quickly for me than vanilla socks. The grey yarn is KnitPicks stroll in dove heather and the brightly variegated contrasting yarn is from KnittyAndColor. Not sure what the name of the colorway is since it was part of a miniskein set. It's funny how these socks came about: I had originally knitted the yarn into my cozy memories blanket but found that the bright colors didn't jive very well with the surrounding squares. I ended up ripping out the square and randomly throwing it in a bag with the grey stroll yarn. Something about the color combination caught my eye and prompted me to go on a Ravelry search where I came across this fun free pattern, appropriately called Froot Loop. It's funny how inspiration strikes like that. I am feeling like my sock knitting mojo is finally returning and can't wait to cast on another pair.

                  Things here have been pretty quiet of late. The little guy is at summer camp for the first time. He is having a fun adventure and making new friends. The hubby is starting a new venture of his own by exploring how to mine for cryptocurrency. It was hilarious how excited he was to mine $2 worth....in 24 hours. Oh well, it keeps him out of trouble. Meanwhile I've been getting lots of knitting and podcast listening in. My current faves are Little Bobbins, Yarngasm and Inside Number 23. Do you listen to knitting podcasts? Any favorite listens at the moment?
                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  Swatch Stories: The Search Continues

                  Knitting | Work in Progress - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 14:08
                  The Valere pattern is almost ready for release and Herlacyn Heatwave is perking along in the background, Meanwhile, I'm diligently experimenting with stitch patterns destined for a fun, colorful afghan design I'm itching to cast on.


                  In a perfect world, said stitch would be fast, easy and reversible (of course!), have an interesting texture, and be attractive in both one- and two-color applications. I want this to be a quick knit, so I'm planning to use bulky yarn. This adds an interesting fillip, because not all stitches hold up well when worked in heavier weight yarns.

                  These photos leave a lot to be desired, but you get the gist. As you can see, I've worked my way through quite a few options, and while several have potential, I've not yet found the one that clearly says, I'm the one.

                  While the search for the right stitch continues, I'd value your feedback. Try to look past the wobbly edges and curling borders (these things can be fixed) and focus on the stitches themselves. If you spot one that catches your fancy, let me know.


                  If all goes as planned, Valere will be released on Sunday, so mark your calendar and take advantage of the substantial savings!

                  Connecting with the linkups in the sidebar.

                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  It started with a boo boo

                  Yarn Harlot - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 16:23

                  A few days ago, before I rode my bike 120km in the pouring rain (I am not even kidding. I’ve never had to ride in conditions like that. At one point I was going up a hill with Jen and Ken, and it was raining so hard that the water was coursing down it, and we all looked down and burst out laughing – none of us had ever ridden “upriver” before. It was nothing short of epic. My riding shoes are still wet, a whole day later.) I hurt my finger. I was making dinner, and moving fast, and a tiny mistake with a knife put a tiny cut in my thumb. I cursed, cleaned it, whacked a little band-aid on it and thought no more about it until I sat down to knit about and hour later.

                  Every stitch I made hurt the cut and stuck to the band-aid, and I sat there, trying and trying, but the cut was in exactly the wrong place. The smallest little thing, bugging the snot out of me.  I decided I could live with the annoyance and tried for a  little longer, but then I had a pretty good idea.  I went upstairs to the stash room, and came back down with this pretty bit of business.

                  It’s a 80/20 Merino/silk blend from Fiber Optic Yarns – an old colourway I think, called Cyprus. (That’s an old page I scrounged up on their site – might work!)  I split the roving in two lengthwise, and started to spin.  I’m aiming for a 2 ply lace/light fingering, and so far, so good.

                  A few days later, I’ve got the first half spun, and my finger is healed just fine (it really was a tiny cut) but I can’t seem to stop. It’s been a while since I was at my wheel, and I’d almost forgotten the peace of it.

                  Karmic Balancing Gifts? There’s a ton, so let’s bomb through a bunch! (If you’ve forgotten how this works, or you’re just tuning in now, this is a fundraiser for Team Knit – that’s Me, Cameron, Ken, Jen and Pato, and we’ll be riding our bikes to Montreal (that’s 660km) in just under two weeks – and we’re all working on fundraising goals.  We’re raising funds for PWA, it’s the People With Aids Foundation, and it provides practical, essential support for people living with HIV/AIDs. What we’re doing here is simple. You help – either by donating to one of us, or by helping to spread the word, and then send an email to me at stephanie@yarnharlot.ca with the subject line “I helped”.  (That bit’s important. It sends it straight to the right folder.) Tell me if you’re a knitter or a spinner (or even if you’re a non-knitter) and add your address. Then I draw names and other people who are awesome just like you send you presents. We’re balancing out the karma and making the world the kinda place we want to knit in.)

                  First, five lucky knitters are getting a free pattern from Emily Wood Designs. Teresa Y, Nicola R, Dana G, Carol S and Maggie S, good luck choosing. There’s some beauties.

                  Next up, Ann has found it in her heart to part with 8 ounces alpaca silk roving from Gale’s Art in the Scarab and Peacock colorways – and they’ll be making their way to newbie spinner Doreen S’ house.

                  Ann’s also letting go of 8 ounces Wensleydale wool top by Hello Yarn in Smells of the Sea colorway… and she’ll be sending that to Scharleen O.

                  Carrie went into her stash and found three gifts she’d like to say thank you with.

                  Sundara Yarn – Sundara Lace in Chocolate over Salmon, 100% Silk, 1000 yards/100g for Catherine M.

                  Creatively Dyed Yarn -Voodoo2, DK, in Aim.   350yards/150g for Amy F.

                  Brooks Farm Yarn – Solo Silk, Sport weight, Colorway: Corals & Oranges, 50% Wool, 50% Silk, 400 yards/112 grams per skein – two skeins for Donna E.

                  Next, a big one! Handwork Hardware (I love these guys) are donating TEN gift packs, each pack has:

                  – one of thier needle sorters, designed to provide an integrated knitting needle gauge and sorter contained within a secure storage container for multiple sets of double pointed knitting needles. (And the device that once made it possible for me to mislay ALL of my DPNs at once.)
                  – one of their chatelaines, a pouch suspended from a belt loop or knitting bag handle that holds knitting accessories and other items for a knitting project. They will be sending those out, with my thanks, to Jessie M, Nicole H, Karen K, Emily M, Lorraine M, Laura R, Mary Y, Lisa, Emily V and Mary G. Julie’s stash is a place of wonders, let me tell you that, and Julie’s pretty alright herself. She’s got three beautiful gifts to mail out. Four skeins of Berroco Seduce (I love this yarn) for Lisa W. Beautiful silk/merino top from Hedgehog fibers for Kimberly F. Three skeins of gorgeous Viola MCN sport for Kathlynn K. Here’s a fun one – I wish I had it for myself, so lovely. Ana (Air Illustration and Design)  is giving away two free six month memberships to her embroidery club. (No- you don’t need to know how to embroider, the instructions are really good.)   She’ll be working with Liz B and Sage G to get that set up, I hope they’re as enchanted as I am. (PS, take a look at Ana’s instagram while you’re poking around. I follow her, and it’s really nice.) Naomi’s got two pretty things,290g natural and 242g heather gray pencil roving that she’ll be sending off to Susan C.

                  And 151g lace weight dark wool (black, grey, purple). Apparently her 2.5 year old saw the yarn cake and called it a tire (he’s obsessed with vehicles). I hope Carol T likes tires too. Last, but certainly not least, Caitlin has a kit for her charming pattern Epaulet, that she’ll be sending off to Rita V. I’m pretty wild about that pattern, the little fabric touches are adorable! Rita, if you don’t know any littles who would look cute in that, let me know. I’ve got loads of them over here. Whew! That’s 28 gifts, and I don’t think I really made a dent. More tomorrow, when I’m pretty sure I’ll have finished socks.

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                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  Angles Are Attitude

                  Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 07/16/2017 - 12:30
                  From a dashing hat worn at a daring slant to knit items worked in triangles and diamonds, there's something jaunty and appealing about angles. That may explain why lately, half my projects feature angles in some way, shape or form, and I've been thinking about this quote:
                  Cock your hat, angles are attitude. ~Frank SinatraSuddenly, I started seeing angles everywhere. On the accessory front, there's Alaris, which features four diamond panels and can be worn multiple ways.


                  Dojeling, on the other hand, combines triangular wings with a center diamond panel for a classic triangle shawl worked in an easy but non-traditional manner.  
                  The Grey Daze wrap, with its off-kilter kite and angular wing shapes, produces a longer, more shallow triangle shape that's versatile and easy to wear.


                  Angles abound in afghan world, as well. Angletyn, for example, features a series of classic chevrons writ large ...



                  while Flashpoint is composed of over-sized triangular components accentuated by raised seams and trim.



                  With its bright, cheerful rainbow shades, Valere sports a parade of triangles that resemble colorful banners ready to wave in the next breeze.


                  Then of course there's Herlacyn Heatwave, my current afghan WIP, which uses a series of diamonds and triangles to create a modern take on the classic harlequin design.


                  With so many angular projects in use or underway, you'd think I'd be over this obsession, but subtle and sweet or bright and bold, it's hard to argue with Frank. Angles do indeed have attitude, which is precisely what makes them both fascinating and fun.


                  Looking for the patterns? Valere, with its cheerful rainbow banners, will be released soon, and Herlacyn and the Grey Daze shawl are in development. To see all available patterns, click here.

                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  A quick hello...

                  My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 07/16/2017 - 07:44
                  Hello loves! This lovely Sunday finds me not feeling the best. Thankfully I am an ace at taking care of myself- lots of tea, broth and crackers. While it is always good to chat with you, I am going to spend the day getting rid of the icks and send... Andi
                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  The Trouble with Bringing Yarn on Trips

                  Knit and Tonic - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 00:28
                  So this is me getting ready to leave for a week-long camping trip, but not the peachy skin part--that's a filter (anything orange-y is my favorite, even if it is my skin). Next to me is a stack of socks,... Wendy
                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  WIP | Heatwave is Growing

                  Knitting | Work in Progress - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 10:00
                  We've experienced a few hotspells this summer, but so far nothing on the weather front has come close to a true heatwave. The same can't be said on the knitting front, where my Herlacyn Heatwave is coming along slowly but steadily. 

                  The last time you saw it, the first strip was less than half completed:



                  Since then, that strip has been finished. I know, I know. It doesn't look like much yet, but so far I'm pleased with how it's shaping up. From experience, I know blocking will cure the curl, relax the stitches and smooth out the wayward bumps.



                  Overall, the colors are also playing well together and the black background helps the warm, cheerful colors pop. There have been a few surprises. The original scheme included a partial skein of Cherry Moon (bright pink below), which turned out to be just a few yards short of what I needed. Because I wasn't in the mood for yarn chicken, I set Herlacyn aside, ordered more yarn and waited for it to arrive.
                  I get antsy if I don't have something on the needles, so while I waited, I made swatches for upcoming projects and the ombres and gradients series. Now the yarn is in hand, strip two is on the needles and I'm striving to play catch-up. (No photos yet, it's too gray and overcast to get a decent shot.)
                  A real heatwave saps strength and makes everyone generally miserable. My knitterly version, on the other hand, consistently makes me smile. so I'm happy to say this particular heatwave is growing.

                  Looking for the pattern? Herlacyn is in development and the upbeat rainbow Valere is nearly ready for release.
                  Connecting with the linkups in the sidebar.
                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  And I might have another nap too

                  Yarn Harlot - Mon, 07/10/2017 - 20:46

                  Sometimes when I write to you, I sit here tapping my fingers on the keyboard, thinking of what I could be doing that would be interesting for you to read about.  Paperwork? Laundry? Another pair of plain socks because this is Canada and winter is always coming? Then there’s weekends like this one, where I did so much that’s worth telling you about that I can’t decide what to tell you first. I think I’ve got it sorted out now – I’m going to show you knitting – I know, totally shocking.  I was going to tell you about the weekend, Jen and I did our “back-to-backs.”  It’s a training benchmark everyone doing the rally has to meet, and this was the deadline, and so on Saturday we rode about 115km, and on Sunday we rode another 105km and together that’s about 220km or about 136 miles, for my American friends, and after careful reflection, there’s only two positive things I can say about it. We lived, and it didn’t rain. (It is almost a shame it didn’t rain, because it would have taken the edge off of the oppressive heat.) I’d be lying if I said that we didn’t struggle. It was really, really difficult, and I’ve been having a hard time with back pain while I’m on my bike this year. It’s a new thing, and I can’t quite figure out what’s causing it, but I can tell you it’s sorta awful.  (That’s an understatement. It almost makes me cry on my bike, and if you know me, that’s really saying something. I’m not into public tears. I cry in the bathtub like a proper McPhee.) I’m also not into suffering (more than I have to) so before several of you cyclist knitters out there pile on in the comments, know that I’m getting a bike fit (another one) and have an appointment with a sports medicine doc, and I’m working with a trainer, and stretching AND today, I am resting and enjoying the miracle of ibuprofen.  (If I’m missing something there, you can tell me, but I think I’ve got the bases covered.)  I am always, always unbelievably grateful for the donations you guys make to the ride, but I want to specifically thank the knitters who donated on Sunday and made my phone ding. Some of those cheerful little noises came at exactly the right moments, and specifically, Hannah D – you are personally responsible for the fact that I didn’t get in a damned taxi and sob my little way home.  Whether you know it or not, you guys have good timing.  Thank you. I know that it seems like a big deal to train for and do this ride, and you’re right, but it means nothing to PWA without your help.

                  Now, a little knitting? Actually, a lot of knitting. Let’s be fair.  On Thursday night I stayed up late and put the last few rows into the latest baby blanket, and blocked it with Joe’s help.  It was 2:30am by the time we finished, and I have to tell you, there is no love like like that of a non-knitter blocking a blanket in the wee hours.  He’s a good sport, my Joe.  (Also, while he’s a pretty poor knitter, he’s pretty good at blocking.) I put fans on it, and the next morning it spent a little time in the sunshine to finish drying – and then it was done. Completely, entirely-nobody-else-is-pregnant-spare-me-from-blankets-for-a-while-done.

                  As soon as that bad boy hit the water, it was clear to me that once again, I had overshot in the blanket department.  It would seem that no matter what my intentions are, I cannot knit a small one. This is another ginormous beast.  As always with these epics, there is no pattern. I like the idea that like the babies that I make them for, they are one of a kind. This one is for my sweet new nephew Emmett (that’s Joe’s middle name, and quite a compliment, he thinks – though the word on the street is that his brother forgot that was Joe’s name when he picked it, but you’ll never convince Joe.)

                  Like all these blankets, there’s a theme – I chose the stitches to reflect the child, and the family that they’re in, so for Emmett’s blanket, there’s leaves and ripples of water, for their love of the out-of-doors, and canoeing, and trees…

                  and the border is triangles (for the family of three that they were) and squares – for the family of four that Emmett’s birth makes them.

                  The edging is the same one that I put on his sister Myrie’s blanket, waves and waves, for both Chris and Robyn come from islands.

                  Like with Myrie, I know that you’re dying to see Emmett, and he is indeed a beautiful boy – but like his sister, he’s a stealth baby. Chris and Robyn are keeping him close, and private…

                  and maybe someday he’ll choose to be on the blog, but he’s too little to say so today. You’ll have to content yourself with his darling wee feet, swaddled up in a ton of wool.

                  Well, not quite a ton- but remember when I said that I was ordering so much yarn that there was no way I could run out and have a yarn emergency? Remember when I said I’d learned my lesson, and I’d gone way, way, way overboard in the yarn buying department? Knitters, my darlings, I bought 20 balls of it, and my confidence was high.  I spent half of the blanket trying to figure out what I was going to do with all the leftovers.

                  Turns out it’s not that big a decision.  1.75 balls remain.

                  Whoops.  Stay warm, Emmett.  Welcome.

                   

                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  summer traditions

                  Autumn Geisha - Sun, 07/09/2017 - 23:40


                  yes, I started another blanket...more details coming soon!
                  It wouldn't truly be summer without our annual seaside holiday. There is something to be said about little traditions that stay with you year after year: eating at our favorite off-the-beaten track food joints, making sand castles and knitting at the same lovely uncrowded stretches of beach, resting our heads at night and waking up to beautiful sunrises from a familiar spot. It's always bittersweet to leave but there's a reassuring knowledge that we will be making the same trek next summer. Is there a summer tradition that you look forward to year after year?
                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  Tonal Gradients that Glimmer & Gleam

                  Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 07/09/2017 - 10:30
                  If you've been following along, you know I've been having fun playing with various ombre and gradient combinations and sharing how-to tips so you can create your own. I've also been swatching up a storm for various upcoming projects and seeking ways to leverage lovely yarns from my stash.


                  These three yarns recently captured my attention, so the time seemed right to test them in a subtle gradient featuring the two closely related solid shades paired with a variegated yarn with metallic flecks. Here's the result:

                  If you study the swatch closely, you can see how the color shifts from bottom to top. The first two inches are worked in teal Champagne paired with the variegated Blue Heron, the center section is worked in Blue Heron, and the last two inches were worked in lake and Blue Heron. 
                  What doesn't show up well in these shots are the sheen of silk in the Champagne yarn and the flickers of metallic gold that add glimmer and gleam. Here it is again from a slightly different angle:



                  Tonal gradient: Shawl swatch
                  Yarn. Champagne (Grignasco) and Deep Blue Sea (Blue Heron)
                  Stitch. This features the fluted rib stitch, one of my all-time favorites.

                  Strategy.  The top and bottom sections are worked in alternating two-row stripes, while the center is worked solid. To achieve a similar look:
                  • Choose three related colors. 
                  • Designate one color as your MC, because it will appear in each section.
                  • Work section 1 with MC and CC1.
                  • Work section 2 with MC only.
                  • Work section 3 with MC and CC2.

                                  In the swatch, the colors were worked as follows:
                                  • Section 1: Teal and Deep Blue Sea
                                  • Section 2: Deep Blue Sea
                                  • Section 3: Lake and Deep Blue Sea

                                  This super-simple strategy is packed with possibilities. I chose a variegated for the main color, but you could use a solid, heathered, tonal, tweedy or textured yarn just as easily. To deal with variegated yarns that pool in unattractive ways, pick another closely related solid yarn and work every section in two-row alternating stripes. The key is to pick one yarn to carry through every section.
                                  The next time you're choosing a color strategy for a project, consider a tonal gradient with or without the flash of metallic accents. It's an easy, effective way to create a custom ombre or gradient that's uniquely your own.

                                  To see all ombre and gradient posts, click here.
                                  Connecting with the linkups in the sidebar.
                                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                                  July Indie dyer feature and giveaway ~ Wren House Yarns

                                  My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 07/09/2017 - 07:01
                                  Hello there, happy Sunday to you! While I love posting every Sunday and chatting with you, to be able to feature some talented dyers this year has been a thrill. We are just over the half way mark of 2017 and the hits keep on coming. Of course I must... Andi
                                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                                  Turnabout

                                  Yarn Harlot - Wed, 07/05/2017 - 19:20

                                  I started out thinking that this Wednesday wasn’t going to be anything special. As a matter of fact, it started with the Dentist (not my best scene) so I didn’t have high hopes.  It turns out though, that at just about the moment last night that I put down the blanket and turned to Joe to say “I’m pretty sure I can finish this tomorrow” my sister-in-law Robyn went into labour, and today we’ve got a lovely new nephew.  Details to follow, but he’s healthy, and lovely, and his mum is just fine, and they’re tucked up in their bed at home. (That’s where he was born. Quite nice.) Since I have neither a nephew or a blanket to show you, can I distract you (with my thanks, for showing Cameron a little love yesterday) a few Karmic Balancing gifts? I don’t have time for many, I’ve got a Rally meeting to go to, and an comrade in Australia to work that out with (when he wakes up) but here’s a start!

                                  (PS, a few of you have asked for the links for Team Knit again, so here they are.  It’s me, Ken, Pato, Jen and Cameron, and we’re all hoping to meet our goals this year. Jen and I have a ways to go yet.)

                                  From Kate, who’s obviously generous and has great taste, two lovely gifts.  First, a skein of MadTosh DK Twist in Bottle Green, for Maggie K,

                                  and a beautiful MicMar Gradient (they’re Guilty Treasures now) for Catherine H.

                                  Mary, from Mary Rose Designs has a nice gift, any pattern from her store that Jennifer C so desires (except for the Hugs and Stardust hats and cowls, because Mary is so nice that those are already designated for another Fundraiser… check it out.)

                                  Melissa from Prairie Dye Studio has such a charming gift for Monique G.

                                  A Sock sized Craft Fox Wedge Project Bag, a skein of Elk Lake on Anna’s Sock (80/20 Merino Nylon), a Mookaite Snagless Stitch Marker Set, a couple Progress Keepers (1 hook, 1 Locking) and a couple Knitty Button Pins.  (I’ve added links to all that, you should see the Canadian themed bags. Go on. Click.)

                                  Darlene has two skeins of Louet KidLin in the glowing lovely Allspice colourway. Each skein is 50 grams with 250 yards so that is 500 yards of lovely kid mohair (let’s call it what it is, knitter’s crack!?) and linen goodness. (Darlene wrote that, but she’s not wrong.)  We both hope that Karen M likes it as much as we both do. Marin has such a lovely gift for five lucky spinners in the crowd, Louise H, Leah R, Jenny R, Deike P and Lily N are all going to get a brick of Grade A1 White Mulberry Silk. (About 123g each.) So, so nice to spin.   That’s ten gifts, but there’s so much more in my inbox – we’re going to have to have a Karmic Balancing Party every day, I think. See you tomorrow everyone, and smile – there’s a new baby in the world, and my nephew collection is expanded!  (I gotta finish that blanket.)

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                                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                                  7 Tips for Choosing Yarn Colors

                                  Knitting | Work in Progress - Wed, 07/05/2017 - 10:30
                                  As makers, one of the greatest challenges we face is trying to picture a fabric that does not yet exist.

                                  Sometimes, this challenge can feel overwhelming, because we know every choice we make from stitch and fiber to color combinations will affect the end result. By definition, these unknowns mean makers are intrepid folk, daring to go where few are willing to tread.

                                  When it comes to choosing yarn colors, we all have our own methods. My approach is fairly simple, but because some of you might find them helpful, let's look at seven practical tips and tricks.



                                  1. Choose yarn under the right type of lighting.

                                  Typically, natural daylight is the logical option, and if it's not available, aim for full-spectrum lighting (which comes close to emulating natural daylight).Why is this important? It's the best way I know to see how colors appear under normal daytime circumstances.

                                  On the other hand, if you're making an evening shawl that will primarily be worn under artificial or subdued lighting, choose your yarn (and beads) under similar lighting conditions so you can better envision the end effect.

                                  Just like paint chips, you'll want to test yarn and swatches in various lighting conditions ranging from bright to overcast daylight, full spectrum light, fluorescent light, dimmed light, etc., to see how the colors behave.

                                  If I owned a yarn store, I'd invest in good daylight lamps and fabric or tablecloths in a range of solid colors, so customers could audition yarns under balanced lighting against a background similar to its future use conditions.

                                  2. Audition colors against the right background.

                                  If the piece you're making will be worn with black, used against a black background, feature black stripes or modules, or constructed with black seams and edges (something I often do), test colors against a solid black background. I keep a large piece of black fabric near my knitting work table, so I can spread it out as a backdrop for yarn auditions. Black tends to intensify light or bright colors and mute deeper shades, so it's important to see how your colors are likely to behave in their future form.

                                  The same is true with white. If what you're making will feature white (cream, natural), test the colors you're considering against a similar background. White tends to lift and brighten colors, so they appear pure and clear. It can also wash out light or faded hues, creating a subdued effect that can either be pleasing or precisely the opposite of what you hoped to achieve.

                                  Valere is a good example. Four of the colors are the same (coral, light green, fuchsia, deep blue), but they take on different qualities based on the background and other surrounding colors.



                                  Adopt a similar strategy for everything. Making an afghan to drape on a gray couch? Test yarns against the couch or a similar fabric. Choosing yarn for a sweater? Test it against whatever tops and bottoms you're likely to wear with it. Making a pillow? Test the yarn on the couch, chair or bed where it will reside. Making a table runner? Test it on the table surface or tablecloth with which it will be paired.

                                  3. Test all the colors you plan to use.

                                  It seems obvious, but it bears emphasizing: Every color you add to the mix influences every other color and shifts the overall color balance. A butter yellow that seems soft and subdued in isolation picks up intensity when its placed next to another color with yellow or blue undertones.

                                  In combination, colors produce interesting, unexpected effects, some of which may delight and others which may not. For instance on its own, this purple strip knit with two closely related colors worked. When it was placed with its sibling strips, however, it raised more questions than it answered.


                                  The solution, of course, was to frog the nearly-finished strip, keep the deepest shade, and rework it with a lighter color that offered greater contrast and echoed its siblings.



                                  4. Test yarn on multiple backgrounds. 

                                  From cowls and sweaters to afghans and pillows, if you plan to use an item against a patterned background, audition yarn colors against that pattern. The same applies to things you're using on wood surfaces, since the grain and wood tones introduce both color and pattern.

                                  Once you've selected colors you feel work well, test them again on a similar solid background. Confirm they blend or contrast in a way you find appealing, because busy backgrounds can confuse the eye, making it difficult to spot a potentially perfect combination or color clash.

                                  Obviously, the opposite is true as well. If you're making a runner or mat for your table or buffet, test yarns against those wood surfaces to see if they produce the effect you desire.

                                  5. Decide whether you want colors to pop or blend.

                                  In general, warm or light colors tend move to the visual forefront, while cool or dark tones tend to recede. Saturation and intensity play a role in this, however, so it's important to see colors in context. The typical trope is to avoid colors of similar value, but I break this rule on a regular basis. Angletyn Vivid is just one example.


                                  If color value is the key criteria, then this version is a complete failure because the values are so similar. The black boosts intensity, however, and the interplay of red, purple and blue amplifies the effect, creating a look that certainly won't appeal to everyone but which does appeal to me.

                                  6. Shift your color strategy to suit the circumstances.

                                  The most important thing is to adapt your color strategy to the yarn, your tastes, the recipient and the project. Like many of you, I'll cheerfully make gifts using less-than-favorite colors if they suit the intended recipient.

                                  7. Swatch.

                                  Please do swatch. It is, of course, the only way to see if yarn, stitch and color interact in a way that appeals to you. And even then you may find, that yes, swatches do lie.




                                  What are your favorite tips and tricks for choosing yarn colors?


                                  For more color talk, click here.

                                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                                  Long Distance Knitting Ninja

                                  Yarn Harlot - Tue, 07/04/2017 - 22:34

                                  I’ve got two feelings about knitting that most of you will have guessed by now. (Well, I have lots and lots of feelings about knitting, but let’s just talk about two today. It’s best not to let all the crazy out of the box at once.) First, I think knitting is a good friend to have. I’m seldom lonely if I have my knitting with me – especially if it’s the right kind, and like all good friends, knitting (usually, let’s not go too deep here) makes me feel pretty good about myself. No matter what else I suck at, knitting can give me a deep feeling of accomplishment, a sense of order out of chaos, and the knowledge that I do a lot of things (just not all things) pretty well.

                                  Second, I think it’s not that hard. Sure, I hear ya, there’s some knitting that’s really hard (and I like that kind too) but mostly I think that it doesn’t take a lot to be solidly mediocre at it. Excellence, that’s harder, I grant you, but I think that most everyone can pull of “pretty okay” at knitting if they give it a go.

                                  Now, keep those two things in mind, and let me tell you a story.  Most of you have met Cameron by way of this blog by now, and know that he’s a fairly recently converted knitter. He asked me to teach him after an incident last year when he rescued my knitting at a pub (I’d left it behind.) When he asked me, I asked him why he wanted to learn to knit, and he said that it seemed to him that I took a lot of pleasure in it, and he wanted to try. (I found that, as I find most reasons for knitting, pretty charming. Ken learned so that he could repay the favour of all the knitted stuff I’ve bestowed upon him, Pato learned so he’d be more valuable in a zombie apocalypse, and Joe asked me to teach him when we were first together, and though it didn’t stick, I’ve always thought it was probably part of why we ended up married. I’m pretty sure that was his reason for it, and it totally worked. I’ve never found any knitting more charming than his.) I taught Cameron, and he’s ended up being a very good, if somewhat come-and-go beginner. (Apparently he has other interests. Odd, but true.) The first thing he made out of the gate was a hat, and then a baby surprise sweater, and then he’s largely plowed through a pair of mittens. (He is reluctant to knit the thumbs. I feel like this is normal.)  By the end of all of that, Cameron could knit, purl, increase, decrease, pick up stitches (sort of) work in the round on circulars and DPNs, and (with some degree of complaining) follow a pattern. I feel like that makes him solidly beginner/intermediate – and no, I don’t think that I started him on stuff that was too hard, and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t mention it either.)

                                  Fast forward to this year, and Cameron and I are Co-Leads of Rider Team Leads (we know, dumb name) on the Bike Rally Steering Committee again, and it’s lots of meetings and lots of time but we don’t mind because we think it’s really, really important, and so we juggle things around, and make it work. We’re friends too, so the work is fun together, and totally worth the way that it sucks up knitting time. (I like to think that working for life-saving charities is a way of giving other people more eventual knitting time. It helps me stick to it in a crunch.) About seven weeks ago, Cameron found out that he was going to have to go to Australia for work, and that he was going to have to go for five weeks. Seven weeks before the Rally, he was going to have to put down his life here in Toronto, and go live on another continent. We worked out how we’d manage the workload with a 14 hour time zone difference (it’s a big deal, especially when things are pressing, or important) and that I’d be doing the meetings for a while.

                                  It was more than that though. He’d miss Pride, Canada Day, most of the short Canadian summer, a few birthdays, and all the fundraising and training for the Rally, all of which was going to add up to me what seemed like a lot of loneliness and a Rally that hurt and didn’t raise as much money as usual in exchange for all that hurt – all while working really hard on his regular job.  (I did not say all this to Cameron. He’s a reasonably smart guy, and I didn’t want to demoralize him. He was being pretty good about it all.) I thought about all of that, and then I did the only thing that I thought would help, considering the two true things that I mentioned about knitting.

                                  I gave him sock yarn, and 2.25mm DPNs.

                                  Now, in retrospect, I see that alone on another continent wasn’t exactly an idea situation for learning to knit socks, but it felt like the sort of personal emergency that only knitting socks could fix, and he had said that he thought that knitting socks was pretty cool and he’d like to do it “someday”, and to a knitter, all that ended up feeling to me like the yarnish equivalent of chum in the water. I got him set up, and he left.

                                  There were a few texts after that, but the socks seemed to be going pretty well, if slowly, but I can forgive a beginner that entirely, but then things sort of stalled out. He didn’t say much about the knitting, and I interpreted that as a signal that he wasn’t lonely, that everything must be just fine, and I didn’t bring it up for a while. I finally asked, in a casual sort of way how they were coming along (brave that, thinking of them as plural) and Cameron admitted that he’d had a “tiny” problem with the ribbing, and didn’t know how to fix it, and he was stuck. I wasn’t sure if we could fix knitting by text – but agreed to try. He sent me a picture of the “tiny” problem.

                                  Yeah. I know. I’ve been over that in my  head a bunch of times too, and let me tell you this: I have been teaching knitting for a long time, and usually it only takes me a minute to work out how someone got into trouble, and to figure out how to get them out, but that? I still have no idea how he managed to to it. It’s one of the most creative ways to screw up that I’ve ever seen. Did he change direction? Did he drop a stitch and…. I don’t know. Maybe he gave it to a kangaroo for a bit, but that knitting was a mess. He sent a few more views, and they were pretty breathtaking. Here is where it gets suspenseful. Thanks to the time zones, and the fact that I sleep at night and he does too, there would be a huge delay. He’d send a picture, 8 hours later I’d send one back. Pictures with arrows and indicators and “Step one” written underneath, and telling him what to do with A and B and C.

                                  He’d do what I said (8 hours later)  then send another picture. I’d look at that (8 hours later) and send back more instructions.  The first one I sent said “The way I see it, you’ve got three problems.”  I didn’t say anything about his chances.  See my second point above. I hoped that if I didn’t mention that this was black-ops level fixing, that he wouldn’t know and he’d just…. do it. I believe firmly that if you don’t tell someone something is hard, they might not notice. I didn’t praise him, nor act for even one little minute like it was remarkable, or amazing that a brand stinking new knitter on his fourth project would be making a repair like that without another knitter sitting alongside. I was afraid to shatter the illusion – like pointing out to a bumblebee that flight is actually impossible for them and then having them crash to the ground.

                                  Back and forth we went over days – Cameron dropping stitches, rearranging them and following directions

                                  (mostly – there was debate that was pretty fierce about tinking back half a row – or as fierce as debate can be, considering the lag) until finally, yesterday, he sent this.

                                  It’s fixed. Cameron has a friend in Australia again. He did it, and now that it’s done, I feel like I can tell him this. That, buddy, was pretty impressive, and I still don’t know how you did it.  See you in a few weeks. Hang in there, and knit. It’s a good friend.  If it doesn’t feel like that, do it more.

                                  (By the way, if you’re impressed too, you can show him with a little donation to the ride. He hasn’t made his goal yet. Doing that might make the riding hurt a little less.)

                                  PS: Happy, Happy 4th of July to all my American friends. Enjoy!

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                                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                                  Oh, Canada

                                  Yarn Harlot - Tue, 07/04/2017 - 00:05

                                  I bet you thought I wasn’t going to post for Canada Day this year, but here I am, what may seem like a few days late, but it’s not. Our family had ton’s of commitments this weekend, but luckily the grand occasion of Canada’s Sesquicentennial fell on a Saturday this year, and that means that today’s a Statutory holiday as well, and bingo – there was our Canada Day together.  We had a little party with a simple premise. Bring Canadian food.

                                  Blog, we had the loveliest time. Poutine, ketchup chips, Hawaiian Pizza (that’s pizza with pineapple on. It’s a bizarrely delicious and Canadian idea) and Caesars and Nanaimo bars and butter tarts and oysters from PEI, and maple (and sprinkle) donuts from Tim Hortons.

                                  The kids laughed and played (except Elliott, who wasn’t really into Canada Day, but his dad stuck a flag into his carseat to make it look like he was in the spirit) and we all had a great time in each other’s company, and unbelievably, it didn’t rain. It was perfect.

                                  I always wax a little poetic on Canada Day – I’ve written so many posts where I listed wild and wonderful facts about this beautiful place, but this year, we found ourselves talking more than once about the wonderful advantages all the little people in our family have, by virtue of having the good luck to be born here.

                                  They live in a safe country, one that prizes inclusion, diversity, fairness and being a refuge for people all over the world. They live in a country with health care for all – a system so good that only 3% of Canadians will ever get health care in another country in their lifetimes, and most of those times are when they’re on holiday. Canadian life expectancy is 6th in all the world. (We’re beaten out by just five countries, Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Australia and Sweden.) My grandson will live well into his eighties, if he’s average. (I like to think he’s way better than that.)

                                  He and Luis and Frankie have had the good luck to be born in the most educated country in the world, one where the literacy rate is over 99%, and the only country in the world where more than 51% of all citizens have a tertiary education –  and they will most likely be bilingual (or in Frankie and Luis’ case, trilingual.) Because they’re Canadian, they’ll probably be avid travellers, and welcome all over the world.

                                  Thanks to being born here – Their parents will enjoy a full year of paid parental leave (even if they were adopted) with the option of extending it to 18 months.  As they grow, they’ll enjoy the beauty of our country, no matter where they live in it, and clean air (the third cleanest in the world) and they’ll be treated with fairness, no matter who they choose to love, who they say they are, or what faith they profess, if any.  On top of all of that, they live in the same country as Santa Claus.

                                  Hopefully they’ll learn to love the winters…

                                  because that’s the only downside we could think of.

                                  Happy Sesquicentennial Canada. We’re so grateful to live here. Bonne fête!

                                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                                  Summer Vacation

                                  Knitted Bliss - Mon, 07/03/2017 - 11:00

                                  www.knittedbliss.com

                                  Last summer, I had been feeling really overwhelmed with a lot of big decisions and transitions, and it’s amazing when I see how different my life is now from then. But one thing is the same – I’m feeling the need for a break. So I decided that I’m going to take a little summer

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                                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                                  June Loves...

                                  My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 07/02/2017 - 15:27
                                  Hello there! Pattern~ Birdie Yarn~ The Yarn Collective Pembroke Worsted in color Pyrite. We are now in July...amazing. Despite looking forward to cooler months, I would like life to slow down just a smidge. Wouldn't that be lovely. Even lovelier I am so happy to be enjoying a four day... Andi
                                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

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