Knitting Feeds

Color Does All the Work

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 02/03/2019 - 23:39
Not long ago, I stumbled across a Kaffe Fassett profile in Let's Knit Magazine. (It's well worth the read, so I hope you'll take time to check out the link.) 

I've never knit one of his designs, but I've admired his work for longer than I care to admit. Like countless others, I've always found his jubilant use of color inspiring, albeit a bit daunting with all those ends to weave. Much of what he shared in the profile resonates, but one quote really captured my attention:
Because my main interest is colour I feel no need for fancy stitches like lace and raised textures. The colour does all the work, particularly in good pattern structures ... 
Whew, what a relief! 

While I admire and respect knitters who delight in intricate shapes and complex lace or cable designs, these are not the things that continue to fascinate me after decades of working with needles and yarn. 

Instead, I'm drawn to designs that feature simple shapes, subtle textures and a focus on color. I'm not now nor shall I ever be in Kaffe Fassett's league, but if pursuing these qualities is good enough for him, then it's more than good enough for me.

To see all posts related to color, click here.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Under the Wire

Yarn Harlot - Fri, 02/01/2019 - 16:43

With my plan for the Self-Imposed Sock Club in place for this year, at the beginning of January I dutifully went to the downstairs Stash Cupboard, and pulled a bag. That’s how it works, the Sock Club, I’ve got everything all sorted into bags, ready to go, and on the first of every month I am reaching in, pulling a bag, and whatever that is, that’s what I’m going to knit. No swapsies, no takebacks, no do-overs. The rules are the rules. I meant it too, except for one thing. I went to the cupboard, reached in, and pulled out this.

Never mind what the pattern was, it doesn’t matter. I looked at that grey, I looked outside at the grey, I thought about the long dark tea-time of the soul that is January, and I thought about my friend Denny, who always says not to knit too much grey in the Winter because it’s just too hard on your heart, and knitters…. I swapped it. I took that bag and I shoved it bag in the cupboard and I pulled another one, and then put that back and then I kept going until I got something that made me want to live a little.

Spring Forward is the pattern, an oldie but a goodie (11 years!) it never stops pleasing me, this one. Looks fancy but is easy to memorize, and travels well as a result. It went most places with me this January.

The yarn is Valley Yarns Charlemont, a standby sock favourite of mine. Wool and silk make it warm and soft, and the silk and nylon mean it wears well.   This one’s the hand-dyed variety – a long defunct colourway, sadly.  It reminds me of tulips and pink hyacinths and other promises the spring holds, once we trudge through January. (And February, and March, and probably April.)

It was a pleasure knitting them – so much so, that this morning, it being the first of February I marched gleefully to the cupboard, pulled a bag, looked at what was inside, looked at what was outside (which is another unbelievably cold day, even for here) and tossed it back again. There will be February Sock Club Socks, and they’ll be worth braving the cold for,  but it’s my club, and I make the rules. I’m off to the yarn store.

PS. Because one of you will ask, the tea towel in the pictures (I’m using it as a spinning cloth at present, so it was handy for the pictures) is from Tilly Flop.  I found two of them in my stocking this year, courtesy of Ken Santa Claus. I love them.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 02/01/2019 - 11:00

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week The 7 ways to hate a book. Speaking of books, this little library made out of a tree stump is pure magic. A brie(f) history of cheese – such a great 5-minute video! A fascinating look at the evolution of the English alphabet. How to make your salads

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Book Review: My Favourite January Reads

Knitted Bliss - Thu, 01/31/2019 - 11:00

As I think everyone knows by now, I went to Havana earlier this month and fell in love with the city- it’s gorgeous, gritty, and full of hidden treasures and secret beauty. January’s favourites reflect this entirely. The novella that you’ll breeze through but is actually one of the best books ever: The Old Man

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

What the heart wants

Yarn Harlot - Mon, 01/28/2019 - 19:44

I am sure that this has happened to you with yarn, and maybe (whether you are a spinner or not) maybe this has happened to you with a fleece. You are minding your own business, living the cheery life of a textile artist, surrounded with all the yarn (and maybe fiber) that you could ever want (or more) and one day, there it is. Yarn, or fleece or fiber or whatever it is, leaps into your life and proclaims a destiny mingled with your own.

This happened to me a while back, at a retreat at Port Ludlow, when I was helping Judith to spread about thirty (30) fleeces out onto tables, so that she could acquaint some knitters and spinners (and proto-spinners) with various different kinds of beast – so they could learn the differences between them, tell which kinds were good, and generally huff a some wool fumes. I was taking the fleeces from the bags, and Judith was directing me. “That one’s a long wool” she said, waving a hand at the fleece in my hands “put it with the Leicester.” I did that, and then reached into the bag for the next one.

That’s when it happened. I pulled out the next fleece, and it was a little one (I like the wee ones, for starters) and I think that as I lifted it from the bag, I knew.  I might have even made a little noise. A sort of involuntary “Oh…” and Judith looked over to see what I’d found, and she smiled.  “Isn’t that a perfect little Jacob?” she said, and I mumbled something like “Oh yes it is perfect…” and then somehow, I put it down on the table and went back to my work.  It was too late though.  The heart wants what the heart wants, and I wanted that. Never mind that it was not mine. Never mind that it was not for sale. Never mind that it belonged to Judith and that she loved it too. I wanted it with a burning passion, and in my mind I knew what it could be. I could see it, entire. In the two seconds that I’d had that fleece in my hands, I had already fully realized it’s destiny, and it was with me.

I have a weakness for Jacob fleeces.  Not all of them, but… most, to be fair.  I find the idea of one sheep with several colours on them really fetching, and the wee spotty sheep with their charming horns are right up my alley. They look wild and a little sketchy, and I love that too. I thought about all of that, and I thought about how to get that fleece from Judith, but I didn’t.  It was hers, not mine, and I even helped her bundle it up neatly at the end of the evening, though not before a bit of a cuddle.

Fast forward to the next retreat, when Judith arrived and began unpacking a thousand things from her car,  and she thrust a soft package, neatly wrapped with gold paper into my hands.  My heart skipped a beat as I hefted it. I peeked in the corner, and lo – it was the Jacob. Freshly washed – because Judith knows you’re not supposed to take raw fleece across the border.  She said she could see from the look on my face when I first spotted it that it was an accident of fate that it was in her stash and not mine. I think I kissed her.

I brought that little fleece home, and it and I spent some time in the backyard. It took the better part of an afternoon, but I sorted it – lock by lock, into all of its individual colours. Locks that were white, ones that were darkest brown, and then the ones that were grey, or a mix.

Then into the house – and over the course of several days (in which I had the entire dining room jacob-ified) I ran all of it through my little drum carder, and made batts.

When I was done, I had five shades of Jacob – ranging from cream to chocolate, and I started getting organized to spin them all up. Then The Rally happened, and then after that I broke my wrist, and then Christmas and I didn’t exactly forget that I had the Jacob, but I didn’t move it to the top of the pile either. Last week I was tidying the stash (I watched that Marie Kondo show and the reverberations were felt all through the house) and there it was. All the Jacob, in sweet little batts, and my heart skipped a beat, and I moved it back to the dining room. (The astute among you will note that this action thoroughly undid any impact Marie Kondo had on that room, because I’ve watched that whole series, and she never has an allowance for fleece in the dining room, carded or not.)

The largest grouping, the cream (there were four batts of that, and only two of the four other shades) is now all spun up.

And I plied it, and it’s now about 180m of a really lovely laceweight.

I’ve started the next shade – and if all goes well, I’ll have it all done by the end of the week. (Or tomorrow. I’m a little obsessed.)

I think I know just what it’s going to be too – and I’ve known since the minute I saw that fleece. The heart wants what the heart wants. I’m so glad Judith knows that.

As an aside (and since it’s those retreats that brought that gorgeous thing into my life) it’s my pleasure (and Debbi’s too) to let you know that the Spring Strung Along Retreat is open for registration.  There’s details here – and we’re doing something a little different this time.  Our June retreat is the only one that doesn’t have spinning, and the November retreat is already full (so’s June, just about) so this one is the only Retreat with room still, but we know that many of you would love to come, but don’t know how to spin, so we’ve got you. The day before the retreat proper begins, Judith will be teaching an optional “learn to spin” workshop. It’s suitable for rank beginners with no idea what they’re doing, and by the end of that day – you’ll have skills enough to take you through the rest of the retreat quite easily.  There’s limited space in that workshop, but if that sounds good to you, give that page a read, and send us an email. We’ll get you all sorted. (There’s room without the workshop if you already sort of know how to spin, of course.)

Now off I go.  It’s a snow day, and my wheel beckons.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Lillian Two

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 01/28/2019 - 11:00

Original Pattern: Lillian Knitter Extraordinaire: Mary (Ravelry ID) Mods: Changed the edging, adjusted the fit to provide more coverage in the front, added afterthought pockets, and played with colourblocking. Great details, including full details on her afterthought pockets, can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: Mary has knitted this pattern

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Living Coral: Color of the Year

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 20:02
Every year, the color experts at Pantone designate a color of the year. For 2019, they've chosen Living Coral (16-1546), a color that hovers somewhere between apricot/pink and peach.

Trend-watching isn't my thing, especially in knitting. I want to make what I want in colors and fibers that appeal to me, regardless of whether or not they're on trend. In fact, one reason we choose to knit, crochet, sew and weave is to create specific items that reflect our personal tastes and preferred color palette. 

That said, I always find it interesting to peruse projects past and present to see how often (if at all) a hot-right-now color appears.

Off hand, the only project that came to mind was this version of Herlacyn, which features a soft coral worked as part of a diagonal gradient that shifts from banana and butter yellow to warm pink, fuchsia and red.

Then I remembered this project, where soft coral also appears in something every knitter needs, a quick pair of spring-weight mitts worked in gradient shades that match the new afghan.

A deeper dive turned up this rainbow Valere, which has a coral banner positioned top and center ...

along with its sibling. It incorporates the exact same coral in the same location (top center), but it's taken on a pinkish hue due to the other colors surrounding it.

In Twegen Harvest, the third and fourth strips pair coral/peach speckled yarns with light and medium clay for very different effects.

That's not a lot of projects, but clearly hints of coral and apricot have been been surfacing in my knits for awhile. I would never knit a specific color just because it's fashion forward, but Living Coral is attractive and versatile. This might be one time where the color of the year deserves to be highlighted in a project of its own.

Going Green
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 01/25/2019 - 11:00

I’m excited to be teaching a class at The Purple Purl this Sunday- all about how to photograph your knits! It’s sold out, but it’s worth keeping an eye on their class schedule if you are in Toronto- they have loads of great options. I’ve got another class coming up in February- How to Modify

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Categories: Knitting Feeds


Yarn Harlot - Wed, 01/23/2019 - 15:58

Fifteen years ago today, I sat down in my living room on an absolutely enormous family computer, and with Ken’s help, I posted the very first entry ever on this blog, and everything changed. That makes today my Blogiversary, and as is my tradition (you know how I love those) I went back to read my previous Blogiversary posts.  I got as far as last year, and then started to lose my scene, and had to drink coffee and knit for a while to get it together.

(Those are my January Self-Imposed-Sock-Club socks, I’d originally pulled a bag at random and the yarn in it was grey, and I looked outside at the deep dark that is a Toronto winter and thought better of it instantly. I put that bag back, and then next one I pulled was “Spring Forward” in this pretty pink.  Much better.)

I’ve got it back together now,  but I had entirely forgotten that I wrote last year’s post to you from a hotel room near the hospital while Susan was so sick – it makes sense now though, and I’m kinda a moron for not seeing that coming, I know it’s been almost a year since she died, and therefore last year at this time my life was on fire, and truthfully, that’s not what set me off.  It was reading the words “This is not the way I expected it to be.”

That theme last year was so hard for me.  I’m not the best at changing the channel – once I make a plan I really like it to happen the way I’ve decided, and the universe and I having such divergent goals and hopes over the last year and a bit has been… well. In the interest of being a positive and optimistic person, let’s just say it’s had a learning curve.  Almost nothing over the last year has been the way I expected it to be – which is not to say that things are bad, sometimes the way I expected things to be was horrible and what I got was definitely better than that, but it’s always different, like my prediction system is broken, and that makes me kinda nervous a lot of the time. It’s like at this time last year, the Universe took one look at me and said “she thinks she knows what’s going on. Hold my beer and watch this.” Then picked up my world as though it was a giant snow-globe, and giggled maniacally while watching all the bits float down into new and strange places as I scramble around trying to figure out which snowflake went where.

Just as an example, I know that I’ve told you that I’m the Chair of the Bike Rally this year, which isn’t exactly the job I was after there. The way that it works is that each Co-Chair serves a two year term.  One year they’re the incoming, and the next year the outgoing, and it’s staggered, so that there’s always a new one and someone who knows what they’re doing. Last year I was the incoming, and Ted was the outgoing, and Ted’s turn was up in September, and then it would be me as outgoing, and someone new as incoming, except that through a series of events generated by the snow-globe shake, that’s not what happened, and there was no incoming, and now… it’s me. It’s just me. What was already a pretty big commitment to the Rally is now a huge commitment to the Rally.

This is more than I bargained for. I’m not trying to register this as a complaint, I made the commitment and I’m fine with it, but it is a bit of an explanation for how wild things must seem.  People keep asking if I am in over my head, and the answer is yes. Absolutely. Between my work, our family, and this charity work, the water I am in is very deep, and completely, absolutely over my head.  There are even waves. Possibly a rip tide, I’m not sure, I don’t have time to notice. That doesn’t mean I’m drowning, I can promise you that – but it does mean that I have to keep swimming all the time or I will totally sink, and that is really, really tiring, even though I am a strong swimmer and enjoy the water.  It is not what I expected it to be.

Neither is the new shape of our family what I expected it to be, almost a year out from the shocking exits that Tupper, Mum and Susan made, although I think I am getting the hang.  I still miss my mother acutely, especially as I navigate all these surprises. She gave the best advice, and I think I’d be doing a better job of it all if she was here to help me – although her advice usually didn’t include knitting, and frankly I’d be in prison or at least a court mandated anger management program right now if I wasn’t surrounded by yarn all the time.  (I tried to do that Marie Kondo de-cluttering thing where you get rid of anything that doesn’t “Spark Joy.” It resulted in the purchase of MORE YARN. I feel like I understand that woman completely.)

So I sat there this morning, having a bit of a thing, remembering what it felt like this time last year. Sitting alone in that hotel room, wondering if I had what it took to face what I had just realized was happening, and reaching out to The Blog as I did it… and I realized that there has been one thing that was what I expected it to be this  past year. it was you.

I meant what I said on last year’s Blogiversary.  I could never, ever have predicted what this Blog would become. I didn’t see it coming,  but over the last year my darlings, in the force of a storm that I thought would change everything, there you are, every time I manage to stagger back here for a gulp of air… The Blog. You sure weren’t what I expected in the beginning, but now you’re so steadfast, so reliable, you feel like a safe place for me to land over and over, and every time I do land here lately, I can’t remember why I don’t do it more often. (Except for the previously mentioned combination of perfectionism and lack of time, but I’m working on that.) I know that I haven’t been as present here as any of us wish, and I’m so sorry. I am grateful that you’ve stuck with me, even while it’s really hard for me to type and swim at the same time.

I wish there were words better than Thank You. Words that could convey what a tremendous gift you are in my life, and what your presence has meant to me, and as always on this day, it is so hard to convey what this group of people – most of whom I’ve never met, are for me. You are exactly as I expected you to be this last little while, which is, as always, so much more than I deserve.  I love you.

Thank you for fifteen.

(PS. If you are feeling traditional and sentimental, today’s the day that people make donations to my ride (because I’m still also a rider, even though I’m the Chair) in multiples of the number of blog years I’m at.  While I admit random donations of $13 or $14 was more confusing for PWA (and therefore more entertaining for me) multiples of $15 have a lovely solidity to them. If I’ve entertained you $15 worth over the last 15 years, the link for donations is here.)

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Oh. I think I get it

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 19:28

I have always suspected that many of you are not standard issue humans.  As a matter of fact, sometimes I wonder if it’s a bit of a prerequisite for a) being a knitter and b) being someone I like, and there are those of you I know definitely have superpowers. There’s one among your number however, who I have secretly believed possessed skills that were possibly useful and potentially terrifying, and after years of keeping my suspicions to myself… I finally have proof.   Our Lady Rams of The Comments is a psychic.

A few days ago, I was sitting right here (well, not right here – where I am right now is sitting in the spare room upstairs while Elliot naps so he doesn’t maybe fall off the bed – my house is still largely childproofed through grandparent supervision) but I was right here in this house, and I was leaning over my laptop, head in hands thinking that I couldn’t write a blog post because I had too much to tell you (rather than not enough) and was feeling like I owed you a really huge post to make up for being away, and I got an email from our Lady Rams.  I opened it up and in the email she essentially said that she bet that I was struggling with feeling the need to write a huge blog post and why didn’t I just stop worrying and post and …. yeah.  Thanks Rams.  You were right, and now I’m here, and by the way, I think that as a civilization we should make sure we keep you on the side of right.

So, some postcards? Just to catch up? For starters, did you know I made Elliot an Advent Calendar this year? I know, I know… I said I was going to wait until he was three, but I suspected that he was more than ready this year, and I was right.  Other than a burning desire to hang all the ornaments each day, he was perfectly enchanted with it. Taking down his ornaments and kissing them, and hanging them up again.

He got a lot of the same ornaments that  Luis and Frankie did, and Myrie and Emmett – like sweaters and acorns and Santa’s and bears… and gnome babies and bells…

but I also added things that I thought were really relevant to Meg, Alex and Elliot’s family.

There was the fox (because Alex’s favourite song is “What does the Fox say” which really, I can neither explain, nor condone, but there you have it.) There was a new snowflake this year – this one from here – though just like in previous years, I had to knit it twice to get the gauge right.

There was a dinosaur, since they are really interesting to Elliot right now –

and there was a little dog, knit to match their family dog, Penny.  (That one was really hard.)

And last but not least, I knit a Santa for the 24th pocket – so that Elliot will always know when Santa’s coming.  All the kids have gotten a Santa, though this one’s a little different. His skin tone is darker, like Elliot’s Daddy. (It seemed best, and helpful likely, should Alex get caught filling a stocking or two.)

Other than that, they were about the same and years gone by, and made me just as crazy.

Now, see, that thing is about to happen. That thing where Elliot is waking up and so I’m running out of time but I haven’t put all the links in, and I’m thinking that maybe I shouldn’t hit post because this post isn’t good enough and that’s really what keeps getting in my way, but nap time really is over and I don’t have more time and…

There you go Rams. Thanks. (Coming Elliot!)

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Organizing the Stash: The Result

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 22:52
Last year was a watershed year on the knitting front, not for the number of projects completed or yards processed, but because I finally managed to wrangle the stash into some form of submission. 

Don't get me wrong. As I explained last week, the stash has been relatively functional for some time, but my long-term goal was to find a way to organize it more efficiently to make the most of space available.

After lots of measuring and weeks of research and comparison, I invested in a daunting collection of clear storage boxes from the Container Store in three sizes (women's shoe, men's shoe and sweater boxes). These boxes stack securely and make it possible to see at a glance what's in each container. The shoe boxes are just the right size for smaller quantities and finer yarns, while the large ones — aptly dubbed sweater boxes — hold heavier weight yarns and sweater (or afghan) quantities.

All that planning, measuring and agonizing paid off. Once the containers arrived, I emptied the old bins and began reorganizing the yarn. My strategy was simple: Whenever possible, I wanted same/similar yarns together, so I sorted first by weight, then by fiber, then by quantity and finally by color (weight > fiber mix > quantity > color).

The end result has been immensely satisfying. Sweater quantities occupy their own dedicated boxes. Stash staples like Cotton Fleece occupy multiple containers organized by color type (cool shades, warm shades and neutrals). 

Smaller quantities and mixed colors are stored like with like (shrine of precious, lace weight, workhorse worsteds, etc.), and in some cases, I've tucked in an oddball, singleton or variegated skein that works well with the yarn in question.

The entire stash now fits into two built-in, half-height cupboards that flank the fireplace. One holds all lace, fingering, sport and DK yarns, while the other holds worsted, aran and bulky. 

I've lived with this new system for awhile, and so far, I'm delighted. It's much more efficient and works beautifully. If I want a specific yarn or weight, I know precisely where it's stored, and I can access or restash it with a minimal amount of fuss.

As an added plus, consolidating the stash freed up several large drawers and smaller cupboards. One goal for this year is to reduce the number of knitting-related things that tend to sit out, so I hope to use this storage for WIPs, FOs, knitting tools, swatches, blocking mats and more. But first, of course, I'll need another plan ...

          Organizing the Stash: The Plan
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Swatching with Caron x Pantone

Knitted Bliss - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 15:41

I’ve been swatching with the new colour of the year, can you tell? These are all the same stitch, one of the carts from Alice Starmore’s Charts for Color Knitting, since whenever I’m playing around with colourwork, I like to try out one of the charts from there. Pantone is the definitive authority on all

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: New Years Cowichan

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 11:00

Original Pattern: West Coast Cardigan and Selja  Knitter Extraordinaire: Karen (Ravelry ID) Mods: Using the charted design from Selja, Karen knit her West Coast Cardigan with a different stranded design.  She also used a yarn that was smaller than originally called for, and held it double to get gauge. Details can be found on her project

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Organizing the Stash: The Plan

Knitting | Work in Progress - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 01:28
January is traditionally the time when we vow to reduce clutter, get organized, and gain control over our lives and surroundings. For many knitters (including me), that means the yarn stash is a prime target.

The good news is that thanks to some diligent stashbusting, my yarn has for several years fit into its designated cupboards and drawers. The bad news is it's been plagued by a persistent problem: It's been stored in various plastic bins of different sizes and brands acquired over time.

As a result, a number of bins that fit just fine in the previous storage areas were now just a smidgen too deep, so they had to be placed sideways on cupboard shelves. After years of use, some bins and lids were beginning to crack with age, while the mismatched sizes meant stacking bins was a precarious business. 
In short, my stash was organized, contained and functional, but it was far from efficient. Retrieving or restashing yarn involved a frustrating juggling act, and the entire setup hogged far more space than necessary. Tools such as the yarn winder, swift, blocking wires and mats often sat out because there was no convenient place to store them.
I was determined to solve these problems, but first I needed a plan. I carefully measured (and remeasured) the primary built-in cupboards that flank the fireplace and smaller ones in the sideboard, where most of the yarn resided. I created only a rough inventory of yarns on hand, because it was evident more efficient storage would allow the same amount of yarn to fit into less space.

Then the hard part began. To find the right containers, I did lots of research, asked for advice from the ever-helpful Stash Knit Down group on Ravelry, and read tons of online reviews. A number of perfectly viable containers were eliminated from consideration because the dimensions were wrong for the spaces in question or the retailer didn't provide actual measurements.
Eventually, I narrowed my choice down to bins from The Container Store. They were clear, so I could readily see the yarn inside, and they came in a range of sizes. After more measuring and lots of calculations, I gravitated toward two options. 

Option 1 relied on a single bin size (men's shoe box) used consistently throughout.

Option 2, on the other hand, utilized three different sizes (a mix of women's and men's shoe boxes, plus sweater boxes) and offered significantly more flexibility. 

Once the details started to come together, I was eager to set things in motion. Ordering a boatload of containers in one fell swoop represented no small investment, however, so I decided to slow my roll, carefully consider the two possibilities, and think through the pros and cons of each. I also took the time to review my stash again, focusing on things like the number of sweater quantities and heavier weights yarns that lurked behind closed doors but which might require larger containers.

After much agonizing over options, alternatives and quantities, I pulled the trigger on Option 2. The outcome was even better than I initially envisioned (a rare thing indeed), so next week, I'll share the results.


    Organizing the Stash: The Result 

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 15:39

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Hey Toronto crafters- I’m teaching two classes at The Purple Purl soon! Sunday January 27th I’m leading a workshop on Photographing your Knits (read the description and sign up here) and on Wednesday night on February 6th I’m leading a workshop on How to Modify Your Knits (read

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Underneath it All- DK Version

Knitted Bliss - Wed, 01/09/2019 - 11:00

(Yes, I am standing outside in the freezing cold, leaning against an icy brick wall and pretending that this is completely normal.) I would have happily blogged about this amazing top earlier, if I hadn’t been so sick at the end of November (through the beginning of December!). Then the holiday rush, and suddenly it

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Snowflake

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 01/07/2019 - 11:00

Original Pattern: Snowflake Knitter Extraordinaire: Mikayla (Ravelry ID) Mods: Knitted the yoke in the round and eliminated the buttons, lengthened the yoke colour portion, and blended in the second colour by adding stripes. Details can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: What I loved about this mod, other than the fact

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Facing Forward

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 01/01/2019 - 20:11

I wrote a to-do list this morning.  I write them most mornings, to be fair – I’ve always loved a nice clear plan and the feeling of accomplishment as you work your way though the list. I love this enough that on days where I really need a boost, or the list has too many things on it that I know won’t get done, I’ll often list things that I know for sure I’m going to do, just so that I’m guaranteed some sort of success, no matter how contrived.  “Drink coffee” and “take bath” end up listed right beside “do something about email” and “sort desk”.

Usually the list is driven by what needs doing (it is a to-do list, after all) but this one is different. It’s a New Year’s Day list.  We have loads and loads of New Year’s traditions in this family – yesterday for example we cleaned our whole house, we paid all the bills, we caught up on the laundry and took out all the recycling, both of us tried to get to a decent place work-wise (or as decent a place as you can while understanding there’s no finish line there) essentially, we tried to be in as good a place as we could be, so that we could end as we mean to go on. Before midnight we put silver (just nickles, dimes and quarters) out in the back garden so the light of the old year’s moon and the light of the new year’s moon could shine on them. (According to my grandparents, that will make sure we have enough money this year – assuming we spend those coins right away.) I swept the floors and tossed the contents of the dustpan out my back door, the direction all my old troubles should go in, thank you very much – and I made sure that I had a First Footer – the first person to cross my threshold in the new year was a handsome dark haired man bearing salt.  (Thanks Joe.)

Today we won’t wash things or throw them away – that’s an invitation for the universe to wash away someone in our family, we’ll wear something new, and we’ll all execute our New Year’s Day lists. My mum (and her mum, and her mum’s mum) all believed that you should spend New Year’s Day doing at least a little of all the things that you’re hoping to do more of, or have success with in the coming year, and since McPhee’s are like that, it turns into a list. Knit is on mine (to make sure I have lots of time for it in the coming year) and email, and sitting at my desk (I’m there now.) and I organized my top drawer, because it’s perpetually a disaster, and maybe I’m just not sorting it on the right day of the year.  I’m doing some Bike Rally work, because that really needs to work out this year, and doing some organizing for the Retreats that Debbi and I host.

I’m writing a little today too, and coming to the blog to remind myself how much I love, miss and need this community. A few paragraphs on a book, and a chat with Elliot, and texts and emails to a few people I think need proper cementing into this year round out the list.

That should take most of the day, but with what’s left of it after that, I’m going to start to re-institute the Self-Imposed Sock Club. Do you guys remember when I did that? It was eight or nine years ago for sure, so it’s definitely time to re-run that particular stroke of genius, and it would put several pairs of socks in my drawer, and into the long-range-planning-box, and make a bit of a dent in the stash. (Okay.  A very small dent. More of a nick.)

I’ll find twelve patterns, and pair them with 12 skeins of yarn I’ve been wanting to use, and make myself twelve kits. I’m going to wind all the yarn, buy and print (or scan, or download) all the patterns – and get them into 12 large ziplocks, and that way I can pull a kit at random every month of the year. It should be fun to surprise myself a little.  I imagine it will take a little time to get this together, but I’ll start today and if you’d care to join me, I’d love it.

If you don’t want to join me, but you want to suggest a pattern? Have at it. (A little tip, if you put multiple links in your comment, then the blog software will block the comment. If you want to suggest more than one, do them in separate comments.)

Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I’ve got socks to finish (because that’s definitely something I want to see more of this year) and I am going for a run. It might just be around the block, but I’m going. Happy New Year to all of you. What’s on your list today?


Categories: Knitting Feeds

here’s looking at you 2018

Autumn Geisha - Tue, 01/01/2019 - 00:29

So here we are, the last day of 2018. New Year’s Eve is always bittersweet isn’t it? We are having a quiet night at home, munching on appetizers and chilling out. I was in the mood for the classic rock music of my childhood so there’s Boston, Rush, Queen, David Bowie & Journey playing in the background as I knit on my cozy memories blanket and reflect on this past year. It’s been a fun one knitting-wise. My box o’ sox for 2018 is filled with twenty pairs of colorful socks. Plus I surprised myself by finishing three sweaters! I am hoping to knit more sweaters in the new year because there are quite a few beautiful patterns in my queue that were set aside amidst the sock knitting frenzy that occurred during the latter half of the year.

I hope that you all have a Happy New Year. Let’s fill it to the brim with lots of fun knitting and creativity!
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Charcoal Chic Mitts

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 12/31/2018 - 05:00

Original Pattern: Loch  Knitter Extraordinaire: Lisa (Ravelry ID) Mods: Having previously knit the Loch hat, Lisa wanted to knit the mittens to match- but changed the mittens to fingerless mitts that are longer and more customized. Details can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: There are a lot of really

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Categories: Knitting Feeds


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