Knitting Feeds

Why I Went Back to a Full Time Job

Knitted Bliss - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 09:00

Right now I’m on an airplane and flying to London for work, so this seems like a good time to tell you- I went back to a full time job. This was brewing in 2018, and I referenced it in my reflection on the freelance life in this blog post, talking about what I wish

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Just Bikes

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 11:00

Original Pattern: Birds and Bikes Knitter Extraordinaire: Jennie (Ravelry Profile) Mods: The original design features mostly pigeons with a few bikes in the charted design – Jennie changed that so it was ALL bikes. Details and some helpful chart mods (for those front facing bikes!) can be found on her project page, here. What Makes

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Truth and Lies

Yarn Harlot - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 22:00

My May socks are done, done last week, actually, and it makes me feel pretty heroic that this little plan of mine is coming together so well.  I’ve been so busy lately that I’m surprised anything is working out, but I had a bunch of travel time and voila! The Self-Imposed Sock Club – May installment.  (This, of course, is not a finished sock.  I just love this picture a lot.)

Here are finished socks.  The pattern’s Saxe Point

The yarn’s one of the amazing schemes dreamed up by Catherine at Gauge Dye Works.  (I have spoken at length for my weakness for both this person and her yarn, and this remains unchanged. She’s lovely.) The colourway was called French Beach, though it looks like it’s sold out – but it has been for ages. Things come, things go- though I wish this one would come back. It’s possible to make these socks without that yarn so I guess it’s not really tragic, just not the world as I would have it. (Catherine if you are listening I want the Saxe Point one back more if I get to choose but any of them would be good and I don’t want to seem picky ok cool.)  I knit these as written except for two things – first, I prefer to knit my socks top down, so I reversed the pattern, and mine match, because while Andrea Rangel is very nice and obviously clever, I can’t handle her wild mismatching scene. While I have grown as a person and can now tolerate mismatching socks (for other people mostly) I still love the deep satisfaction of matching socks up to the very stitch. Mine do.

I had leftovers this time, so like last time, the bunny (still genderless, still nameless, preferred pronouns, Megan has informed me are them and they) has another outfit.

I pulled out the colours I needed from the self-striping leftovers. There were more ends to weave in, but it was pretty damned satisfying.

The sweater? I can give you an update.  You know that voice you hear when there’s something wrong with your knitting, and you can feel it? It starts to tell you that something’s not right, and then we all keep knitting for another few days (or a week) while we try to ignore the voice, even though we all know the voice is right. The voice is almost always right.  Usually the voice I hear whispers about the size of things, and this time was no exception. For a few days (okay a week) the voice has told me the sweater is too small, though my washed swatch said it would be okay. “LIES” the voice screamed. “Keep the faith” the swatch told me.

This morning I couldn’t stand it anymore and washed and blocked the sweater in progress, and compared it to a sweater I like for fit, and guess what?

Plot twist, it’s completely fine. This time the voice was a skanky liar, and the swatch was telling the truth.  I tell you, I could live to be a hundred and knitting will never make total sense to me.

I’ll finish it when it’s  dry.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Knit the Rainbow

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 21:55
Our weather has been all over the place. Gray and gloomy. Violent and stormy. Cold and damp. The occasional mild, sunny and inviting days have been so rare, it's clearly time to take matters into my own hands.

When this lovely yarn (Valley Yarns Charlemont) went on sale, the cosmic timing was too perfect to resist. I'm going to knit the rainbow.

I've worked with this yarn before (Dojeling Wineberry wrap), and it has a nice hand, soft sheen and wide range of colors. It also has a healthy 439 yards per skein, so the six skeins below offer loads of options.

While I've not yet decided on a specific design or pattern, I'm certain of one thing. This yarn is destined to become a shawl or wrap, because next to fingerless mitts, they're the handknits I wear most often. In this yarn weight and fiber mix (merino, silk and nylon), the finished piece would be the ideal weight for spring, summer and fall.

Even better, when back-to-back gray days become too much to bear, I can wrap myself in a rich, vibrant rainbow and chase the gloom away. 

Want to see more posts on rainbow knits? Click here and your wish will come true.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 11:00

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Habits of lucky people. Um, pigeons are really smart and absolutely awesome. This British orchid is under round-the-clock guard at a secret location. How to untangle your mind with a brain dump. Adorable hamster butts. My Favourite Pins This Week I love this idea for a simple but

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Tecumseh

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 13:46

Original Pattern: Tecumseh Knitter Extraordinaire: Sarah (Ravelry Profile) Mods: Knitted slightly smaller sleeves, steeked the pullover into a cardigan and then added buttons! Details are on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: I’ve seen lots of beautiful Tecumseh sweaters, but doesn’t it look so AMAZING in cardigan form?! I love Sarah’s cardigan version,

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Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 14:47

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week This 2D cafe in Korea is mind blowing. How to build more curiosity into your life. The antidote to armouring up is to stay curious. Here are some amazing question ideas for getting curious instead of defensive, from Brene Brown. Starbucks, Dunkin’, and McDonald’s are trying to find

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

There’s one in every crowd

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 00:49

This year’s winter was long. Long and cold and snowy, and spring feels like it hasn’t bothered to arrive. Sure, the flowers are starting to bloom, there’s crocus up in my garden (though it’s snowed on the poor little things a few times) and my neighbours have scilla and in a few glorious and sheltered spots there is evan a daffodil or two, but they are blooming in chilly temperatures and grey weather, barely above freezing. Spring isn’t a warm and lovely thing this year, at least not yet. (I hear from Torontonians that the weather changed the minute I left. That feels a bit personal.)

As I was waiting for the bus last week, freezing my arse off because I’d done that spring thing where you put on a spring jacket because you can’t stand to wear a winter coat for one more day even though it’s only three degrees out… I snapped. It suddenly seemed to me that if it was still going to be cold and maybe snowing and definitely not spring or warm, that we (Joe and I, he was the willing victim of this last plan) should give up and dive in. If it is going to be winter still, then dammit, winter it shall be, so we got on a plane and headed to Banff.

It is definitely still winter here – complete with a snowstorm and perfect skiing conditions and Joe and I are working in the evenings and early mornings, but spending our days on the slopes, and maybe when we get back home, it will be *(%$^&&ing spring, but that’s not what I came to tell you. I thought you’d care more about the knitting I packed, so here’s a quick tour. I brought four (4) projects for a six (6) day trip. (Two of them are travel days though, so you know. Reasonable.)

  1. My May socks. They’re Saxe Point, knit in French River from Gauge Dye Works – the yarn’s dyed just for the pattern. I knit the first one on the way here, casting off as we left the house, and grafting the toe shut as we sat down to dinner here in Banff. I’ll knit the other on the way home, I think. (I documented that knitter trip on Instagram, if anybody wants to see the blow by blow.) We leave in the morning, and I’ll cast on then and see if I can repeat the trick.

2. We’re taking the bus to the hill everyday, and I needed some plain knitting for kicking around the ski hill, so here’s another one: Just a plain vanilla pair of socks the basic pattern I keep in my head, yarn is Gauge DyeWorks again (huh, just realized I grabbed two of those) in Azurite B.

I don’t think I’ll finish these on this trip, they’ll probably kick around my bag for a few more weeks, being the socks I knit when I’ve only got a minute, or it’s dark out.

3. When I was at the Knitter’s Frolic last week, I had the strangest experience. You know, I really like to knit and wear pretty plain clothes. I like classics, my taste runs in the direction of Amish, and I like tame colours like brown so much I need to occasionally check that I’m not dressing like I work for UPS. You could have knocked me over with a feather then, when I was at the Fair at the Feisty Fibres booth, and she had some yarn that she’d worked up in collaboration with The Yarn Therapist.

Neat, right? The self-striping yokes come from The Yarn Therapist, and then Feisty Fibres makes the co-ordinating solids, and voila. They’re a lot like the self-striping sweater yarn from Gauge Dyeworks, except separate, so I really am rocking a theme this week.) I picked up those skeins there, and then was absolutely stunned when someone next to me asked who I was making a sweater for, and I said “Me.” The colours are a bit bright for me (if by “a bit” you understand that that these are a bit bright the way that Pepe Le Pew is a little bit of a poster child for sexual harassment) and I’m not sure I can wear the resulting sweater, but I’m going to try. I really love it. Since the yarn is bold, the pattern is very plain. Knitting Pure and Simple’s Neckdown Cardigan for Women. Nothing to it.

I’m at the bottom of the body, just about to do the ribbing (or maybe garter stitch, I’m a wild animal, it could be anything) and I think I’ll likely finish this sweater pretty fast. It’s all coming together. (It remains to be seen if I can wear something this bright, but it turns out I can knit it, so that’s step one.)

4. This one’s a bit of sad story. I had every intention of knitting Sea Tangles (that’s Habu’s stainless steel/wool thread) but it’s not working out. I still love it, the pattern is great and I’m still going to knit it, but I have to admit (after knitting the whole front and part of the back – knitter optimism is a terrible thing) that I am definitely not knitting the right size, and I need to start over. I brought this one along just to rip it out, but there’s one project on every trip that I never touch, and this one is it. All the attention it has had is this photo, poor thing.

Maybe next week Habu. Maybe next week.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Binge Swatching

Knitting | Work in Progress - Mon, 05/06/2019 - 18:59
For better or worse, my binge swatching streak has continued. It's not that swatching isn't productive, it is. But couple that with a fondness for color play and what-if scenarios, and a full-blown obsession can't be far behind.

In other words, I'm still preoccupied with the syncopated slipped rib stitch in all its forms. It handled the highly variegated Happy Feet so well, I found myself scouring the stash for similar short-print yarns. Eventually, I discovered a single skein of Panda Cotton (Crystal Palace), which rapdily cycles through several shades of blue punctuated with a stretch of black. 

Since one key to taming busy variegateds is to add a closely related solid, I first tried pairing Panda with black Tajmahal (Filatura Cervinia). This combo created interrupted stripes, a look I initially didn't care for, but it's grown on me. I can see how over the course of a larger piece, the irregular stripes could make a simple shawl or cowl dynamic and visually interesting. Working the variegated Panda with a solid blue (Zaffiro by Madril Yarns), minimized pooling but caused the vertical stripes to virtually disappear.

I could've cheerfully continued working through every variegated yarn in the stash, but decided instead to experiment with some color blocking. I've always loved purple and red together, so I combined black (Tajmahal) with violet Aspen (Baah) and burgundy Charlemont (Valley Yarns). The slipped stitches produce an interesting notched or serrated transition from one color to the next, an effect I rather like.

And therein lies the problem. From jewel tones to neutrals, my stash is filled with many lovely skeins that might lend themselves to this technique, which means my fingers are itching to start (yet another) series of swatches.

Perhaps it's time for an intervention.
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Pink Hour

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 05/06/2019 - 11:00

Patterns: Blue Hour Sweater and Colors for a Cloudy Day Knitter Extraordinaire: krumel (Ravelry Profile) Mods: Combined the details of the Blue Hour Sweater for the top of the dress and the cloudy day, lengthened the body and added the curved hem of Colors on a Cloudy Day, without the colours. Details can be found

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 11:00

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Gorgeous ideas for styling grocery store / corner store flowers. 11 of the most beautiful libraries in the world. These good riddance gifs are all kinds of awesome. Peggy is my fave. Every single way to cook an egg, in a single video.  My Favourite Pins This Week

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

A Theme

Yarn Harlot - Wed, 05/01/2019 - 16:25

Here we are, the first of May, and last night I squeaked my April socks in under the wire.  The Self-Imposed-Sock-Club continues to go really pretty well – I stuck the landing in January, February, March and now – boom. April’s socks were finished on time too. A small confession though – I didn’t pull a bag from the Sock Club for these ones.  I’d done that, gone and gotten a bag – I wound the yarn and everything, and then I was at the DFW Fiber Fest and I was in the Must Stash Yarn Booth and I saw the Ready Player One yarn and then…

Yup. Lost it. I dropped that first yarn like it was moth-ridden trash, and these babies simply fell off the needles. I adore them, and they match my current favourite (store bought) sweater perfectly – which upsets me to no end, because I didn’t knit them in my size.  They’re too big – I have really tiny feet, and as much as I wanted these to be for me, I knew that it wasn’t a good fit. That colourway has 32 stripes, and I know I don’t have enough foot length to showcase it. They’re in the long-range planning box now, and someone will be rather happy come Christmas, I predict.

I didn’t use a pattern, just banged them out as a plain tube, with a half round of waste yarn knit in where I wanted the heel to be.  When I was done knitting the foot, I went back, unpicked the yarn, and knit a heel in. (Well, technically I knit in a toe. They’re the same.) I’d call it an Afterthought Heel, but I feel like if you plan one then maybe you can’t say that. I did rig the heels and toes a little bit, pulling out a bit of yarn here and there to keep the stripes equidistant as the number of stitches in a round changed, because I can be picky like that, and I’d rather weave in extra ends than not have them stripe perfectly, all the way to the ends.

Also, I knit the leftovers into a frock for the bunny and I love it almost as much as the socks. I don’t see this bunny clothes thing really wearing off.

That will be all.

(PS. It took almost as long to take those pictures – dashing from the camera to the chesterfield while trying to keep things in focus -as it did to knit the dress, except for the collar. That was %$&ing fiddly.)

(PPS. There’s a few spots suddenly free at our Strung Along June Retreat.  June is the one we call “Knit, Play, Cook” and it’s a day of knitting classes with me and Debbi Stone, a day of dyeing with Judith MacKenzie, and a day of cooking classes with Chef Dan and his team. There’s details here – drop us a line if you’d like to join us. This is, by the way, the only retreat we do each year that’s for knitters – no spinning skills required, and knitters (and cooks) of all levels will do just fine.)

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Maybe it’s the tail

Yarn Harlot - Mon, 04/29/2019 - 18:48

I like to think of myself as some sort of higher-order knitter.  I know, as I type it, that this is quite vain. I can feel that – the little tingle in the back of my mind urging humility and saying “Oh, well now, don’t you think you’re all that and a bag of chips.” Understandably, that voice sounds exactly like my mother, though I don’t think she ever said that to me, I’ve just posthumously assigned her the role of judge and jury. Like I said, I know that it’s vanity, but as a woman who is perfectly well aware that she is neither stunningly beautiful, nor smokin’ hot, I am perfectly willing to invest my personal dose of egotism in this one area and say that I am a good and proper knitter – top notch really.

As this sort of knitter, I am occasionally surprised by what captivates me. Enter – the bunny. As Elliot’s second Easter approached and I realized it was the first Easter he would really care about or maybe remember, I decided I would knit him a bunny.

Let me be clear. Things were normal at this point. It was Easter, I have a grandbaby, I would knit him a bunny… super normal. I proceeded to search for same (it was not hard, this bunny was already in my queue.)

Halfway through the knitting of the bunny, I realized that I wanted the bunny gender neutral. Elliot should decide if the rabbit in question was a boy or a girl, so I swapped out the legs and feet with this boy bunny.  When I was done, the bunny was neutral. Not a boy or a girl, but decidedly bunny (see attached photo of bunny bum.)

Now here’s where it got odd. I decided I should knit the bunny some clothes, so he/she/it may cover itself in the manner of its (or Elliot’s) choosing, and as I decided what clothes I should knit, I felt an odd bit of knitterly obsession take hold.  As I cast on for a pair of bunny short pants, it happened.  You would think that this sort of knitting would be captivating, would you? It should be entrelac that gets me, intricate lace, cables that twist and turn all over a pair of socks, but instead here I was, obsessing over the hem of a tiny skirt and only wanting more. Should the bunny have pants? Should it have a sweater? Should there be a dress? A skirt? A CAPE? I rooted through the stash for appropriately tiny buttons. I cackled as a I finished the wee sweater.  I BLOCKED IT.

I started equipping a bunny for all possible life choices.  Is the bunny a girl in a dress? A boy in a sweater and short pants? A boy in a dress? A girl in trousers? The bunny needed options. The bunny craved choices.

In the end, Elliot was the one to decide.  It is a bunny.  It wears clothes. It is genderless, and simply likes to go for walks, and to look good while doing it.

He was clear, I think, though he’s still not much for wordy communication.

Me? Here I am, a knitter proud of my skills and abilities, and I’m trying not to knit a bunny a bear costume.*

*Only difficulties with the ears are holding me back.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: The Kind That Likes Flowers

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 04/29/2019 - 11:00

Original Patterns: Birkin and Colors for a Cloudy Day Knitter Extraordinaire: Sally (Ravelry Profile and Blog) Mods: Sally combined the yoke and body of Birkin with the hem detail of Colors for a Cloudy Day, and then modified the hem construction as well- great details can be found on her project page, here. What Makes

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Swatch Stories: The Saga Continues

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 04/28/2019 - 18:24
In retrospect, it was totally inevitable. What began as a quick experiment turned into much, much more. 

It started quite innocently, as these things often do. My initial objective was to work a series of  small swatches to demonstrate how very different the same stitch can look in various yarns and color combos. The swatches featured the syncopated slip stitch which can be used to create vertical stripes.

One swatch was worked in the two deepest shades from the ombre mini-skein set above (Mad Hatter Shillings & Pence by Wonderland Yarns). The result was attractive but understated, because the vertical stripes were almost indiscernible in such closely related colors.

And this is where things began to go sideways. There are plenty of projects on the needles clamoring for attention, but I simply couldn't resist taking the experiment just one step further. So, I paired the medium shade with the lighter of the two deepest colors, and worked another section.

Uh oh, that new section looks rather appealing. Surely I should try just one more combo and blend the medium with the second-lightest shade, just to see what happens?
Well look at that, the third section is also attractive, perhaps I should just keep going? For one full day, I held firm. Then I buckled and started working the last section with the two lightest shades.
The good news? I love the overall effect, and for sheer versatility and stashbusting potential, this stitch is definitely a keeper. 

The bad news? The Mad Hatter yarn is technically slated for a different project, but I may have to rethink that plan. Meanwhile, I'm already searching through the stash to see what other yarns and combos might lend themselves to this approach. 

The reality? The saga continues. (And I see lots of swatching in my future.) 
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