Knitting Feeds

W is for Winter and Wool

Yarn Harlot - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 16:32

Yesterday, before I drove home from up north, Jen and I drank a pot of coffee while conducting surveillance for the wild turkeys we were lucky enough to see one morning, and congratulated ourselves on a near perfect weekend. In fact, the only reason we are not calling it absolutely perfect is because we don’t want to make you too jealous. We hiked, we wished for snowshoes,

we skated on the forest trail at Arrowhead, lit by torches.

We knit, we cooked, we ate, we walked by Georgian Bay, frozen and perfect, and saw what passes for a sunset on the beach. (We admit, you may need a bold Canadian heart to find the romance in a winter beach sunset. There are waves. They’re just frozen instead of lapping.)

We talked, we laughed. Jen tried to teach me how to stop on skates. (Skating is not a strong suit of mine. I like it, but I’m not great, and my entire deceleration technique involves snowbanks.)

After some careful coaching by Jen, my technique still involves snowbanks. We also knit, and knit, and knit. Everywhere.

Jen agreed to model the fabulous cowl I just finished, and we were able to expose a whole new region of Ontario to the mystic practice of hanging knitwear in trees for photos.

Pattern: Bonfire. Yarn: Freia Fine Handpaints, Sport weight, in Flare and Charcoal.

I love this project.  It was grand fun to knit, and the finished thing is so nice that I can’t stop snuggling it, and every time Jen saw it in the cabin she said “Oh that’s so beautiful.”

I did not give it to her.

The astute among you noticed that there was what appeared to be a hat in the last post, even though I distinctly said a few posts ago that I was never knitting another hat.

It was a hat, or more properly, a chemo cap. Life happens, people need things, knitting is still a good way to store and transport love, and it turns out there can’t be rules about hats.  This particular love container is 100% Cashmere, and if that and the care I put in every stitch doesn’t help, I don’t know what will. (Chemo excepted.)

How’s your winter?

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Copse Reimagined

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 11:00

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Original Pattern: Copse Knitter Extraordinaire: Matthew (Ravelry ID) Mods: Instead of the cabled rectangular wrap, Matthew used the cable design and Incorporated them fully into a sweater of his own design (no, there’s no pattern! I know, it’s amazing and I want one too). Also, to get gauge he held 3 strands of fingering weight

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Close Call

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 23:19
As a fiber fanatic of the first order, I had a close call this week.

A friend contacted me with a nearly irresistible opportunity. A friend of hers had discovered 30 or more skeins of yarn that had belonged to her mother. The friend knew I was a knitter, so if I was interested, I could have it all, no strings attached.

This was a truly generous offer, and as an added bonus, the yarn appeared to be wool and featured some of my favorite colors.


Frankly, the timing couldn't have been better. I'd just reorganized my stash cupboards (more on that another day) and wouldn't you know it? The reorg was so effective, I had plenty of empty containers and clear shelf space ready for an infusion of new yarn. 



Need I say it? The temptation was strong, because much like nature, stash cupboards abhor a vacuum.


Luckily, a glimmer of common sense began to break through the heady prospect of fresh yarn. Some rather intensive sleuthing revealed several important facts. Produced in Sweden, the yarn was indeed 100% wool with a tight twist and sturdy but prickly hand. It was spun as rug yarn and designed for weaving or tapestry work, not hand knitting.

In the end, it was indeed a close call - like many makers, I find fiber in all its forms is so very tantalizing - but this yarn needs to go to someone who can help it find its proper destiny.


Connecting with the linkups in the sidebar.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Finding joy in knitting...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 14:40
Hello there! This morning finds me quite smitten with all the projects on my needles. This after a much needed frogging party over the last couple of weeks. Don't you love it when the you replace the guilt of having projects languishing that you don't love with those you are... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Runaway

Yarn Harlot - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 19:39

Well before Christmas, Jen and I were on the phone, and we were talking about Jen’s latest placement. She’s in her third year midwifery, and one of her student placements is up north. (Not that far north, the Near North. That’s actually the name of the region, to tell it from the Far North or the Arctic, which of course would be the North North.  This is Canada. We’re almost entirely made up of North – we’ve got a lot of ways to describe it.) She asked if I would come visit during the month that she lived up there, and I said that I would, but I wasn’t sure if I would. I mean, I thought I would like to, but she hadn’t come up here yet and she didn’t know what it would be like yet or if she would be busy or if the little cabin she rented would have two coffee cups or… You know. It seemed to me like there needed to be details.

Well, fast forward to last week and Jen’s been two weeks living by herself in a little cabin in the woods with a hot plate and no bathtub,  studying at a midwifery practice and keeping weird hours, and she was starting to sound a little bit weird.  When the internet crapped out and she lost that lifeline to the outside world, I firmed up my plans.

Yesterday I packed up heaps of knitting, pulled together a menu I think I can serve off of a hot plate, and headed out the door. I arrived yesterday, and while Jen’s on call and so we can’t stray far, we we’ve set ourselves an ambitious agenda of hiking, eating, knitting and tea drinking.

The weather is perfect, cold, but not too cold, wintry but not vicious, and we are made for adventure.

Also, it turns out that this midwifery clinic has a great yarn bowl.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

exploration station

Autumn Geisha - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 03:58
Hello and welcome to a fresh new year! I hope that everyone is having a gentle start to 2018. We have been enjoying some quiet weeks being cozy inside in the midst of quite a cold and snowy (for Maryland) winter. It feels so good to hibernate a little with some good books and wooly projects. I have been putting off making any plans and goals for the new year but now that we are heading towards the end of January, I can feel the beginnings of the need to de-clutter and clean up some loose ends from the previous year. You know that it’s time to start re-organizing when a recently finished shawl goes missing and is finally located underneath a pile of mini-skeins waiting to be knitted into various blankets-on-the-go.



I had completely forgotten to post about my Exploration Station which was finished sometime in October. All the yarns used were from a failed attempt at the Find Your Fade Shawl. It is a testament to the utter gorgeousness of the Uncommon Thread’s Everyday Singles yarn that I didn’t mind knitting another shawl right after frogging a massive one.



I have waxed poetic before about my love of Stephen West and his designs but I must say that he reached another level of brilliance with this shawl pattern. I absolutely loved every minute spent knitting on this project and couldn’t be more thrilled with the finished shawl. It’s colorful and fun but also very wearable. I would highly recommend this shawl pattern for a Stephen West newbie. There will definitely be another one in my future.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

A wolf in the hand

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:46

Just a quickie from me today – I’ve got a little free time here at the end of the day, and in this ocean of a busy week, tonight’s got knitting written all over it – I’m on a roll – there’s so much knitting going on.  Heaps of it, things falling off the needles – that magnificent cowl is finished (I’ll show ya later) and that sweet pair of Wild Wolves, knit for Meg.

The photos are courtesy of Meg, as you can tell by the photo assistant.  (Meg said he wanted them so badly – as soon as she put them on he was all over it.) I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but Meg’s married family name is “Wolf” and so technically our little Elliot is being raised by Wolves (though he’s one too, so one assumes he’s fine with it.)

This was a super fun knit, and very quick, just an evening for each of the pair, if that, and I made only one change to the pattern.  There’s two rounds on the foreheads of the wolves that have three colours per round, and I gave that a resounding nope.  I used the two colours (background and light grey) for those rounds, and then began using background and dark grey when it was those two colours per round, leaving a long tail both when I started the dark grey, and when I ended it.  When I was all done I went back and used the tails to duplicate stitch on the few stitches in the rounds prior that needed to be that colour. Easier for sure.

I really love them, but for one little thing, which is that the pattern has you go in and embroider the nose and eyes of the wolves after the fact, and the eyes are french knots. That was easy enough, but I can see from the pictures Meg took that the knots (one in particular, if you spot the squinty wolf on the right) aren’t all staying on the right side of the work. I forget what you’re supposed to do to make them stay put (a piece of felt on the rear? Splitting the plies of the fabric?) but the wolf with the missing eye looks a little dodgy to me.  I’ll see if I can fix it.  Do any of you know the magic trick for making them stay on the right side?*

*Really, I can look it up, but what’s the point of having the blog in my life if you aren’t one enormous brain trust.

PS. The mittens aren’t just good looking, they are Elliot Verified Delicious.

 

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Chocolate Nephele Sweater-in-Progress

Knitted Bliss - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 12:51

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I haven’t even posted about a bunch of knits finished in 2017, but I’ll catch up eventually. Right now I want to talk about the Nephele pullover I started in December. I’ve loved the look of the Nephele sweater since I first saw it – it has a simple, chic design to it and the

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Is This the One?

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 22:15
It's difficult to believe, but over the course of the past year, I've worked more than 25 swatches in an effort to find The Right Stitch for an afghan design that's been rattling around in my head and portfolio for several years. 


We all know I'm not a flashy knitter, but I can be a bit finicky. For this design, I wanted a stitch that created a fabric that was attractive on both sides (of course!). Something that offered a bit of texture and handled color well, but was still easy to work (naturally). Something that looked good in a wide range of yarn weights from sport to bulky. (Not all stitches handle such variances well.) 

Several times, I thought I'd found The One, but on further experimentation realized it wasn't quite right. I've shared a few of these with you in the past.



For a time, I was particularly enamored with the syncopated effect produced by this stitch combo.
In the end, it wasn't the best match for this project, but it will eventually find its way into another.

To date, I've knit way more than 200 yards in pursuit of that elusive creature, The Right Stitch, and it's possible I've finally landed on one that could work. The right side is attractive ...



and the back is, too.




Is this the one? Let me know what you think.



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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Process knitting vs instant gratification knitting...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 15:46
Hello there! Tea message: Everlasting impact with compassion and kindness is called love. :) How was your week? Did you get everything you needed accomplished? I would say it was a good week for me. Then again every day that wake up is another good day, right? Knitting and frogging... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Keep the Rabbit out of this

Yarn Harlot - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 16:54

When Luis was born, Joe’s mum Carol lost her mind in the most charming way, and showed pictures of that kid to every single person who lived on earth.  We called it the Nana-cam, and she whipped out snaps of her darling boy at every possible opportunity. On the bus, in restaurants, in the queue at the bank, attending an exercise class… no person and no situation was a grandson free zone. I remember thinking it was lovely that she was so proud and so delighted, but also heaving a sigh of relief that I would never be swept up like that.  I am not that sort of person, I thought, smiling as she whipped out her phone again.

Yeah. Well… wasn’t I cute, because this morning as I started getting this post together I reflected for a moment that maybe you guys wouldn’t want an Elliot post two in a row. I thought maybe I should write about something else, like maybe cables or how to count rows,  and that maybe I should get a grip on myself when it came to the grandson thing and then honest to goodness I swear to the lot of you, I realized that I could not imagine that even one of you did not want to see pictures of him in his new sweater, and as I thought that – I had another thought simultaneously, and it was “Oh no I am the Nana-cam”.

So I guess I am, and look! Elliot has a new sweater!

This is Flax Light, knit in the fabulous new sweater striping yarn from Gauge Dye Works. It’s a thing now.  They made some, it sold out, but they’re making more, because it’s pretty much the coolest ever.

It is definitely cooler than Elliot’s rabbit, which is not living up to expectations. (I am unclear on how the rabbit is disappointing him, but I think we can all agree that his position is clear.)

I’m loving this little sweater, and Megan and Alex are too – it’s soft, thin, wearable as clothes rather than a layer, and looks great on him.  If I can get that yarn in another colourway, I’ll make him another one. Something’s got to make up for the rabbit.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Why we shouldn’t shield children from the dark side of the human experience. 5 words to help you relax: Just do what you’re doing. How to stop self criticism. 18 habits that will improve your life in 2018. Oh man, If I could manage to do more than

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Brooklyn Tweed Winter 2018 Review

Knitted Bliss - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:00

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A new year, and a gorgeous new Brooklyn Tweed Collection! Brooklyn Tweed just launched their Winter 2018 collection, full of fascinating new textures and designs – 5 pullovers, two cardigans, one jacket, one hat, one scarf, one wrap, and one cowl.  There is a lot of diversity in the collection, not just in the items,

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Team

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 21:06

I’m ready to talk about the hats.

A few weeks before Christmas, I noticed that the Tiny Lumberjack hat that I’d knit for Elliot was too small. (He’s really a rather petit little fellow, but growing like a weed.) Meg had it on him with the brim folded down and well… it triggered some grandmother knitting.

I decided he should have a new, bigger one for Christmas.  Easy enough.  I mucked around with the pattern, changed it to worsted weight, and made it big enough to last him a good long time. One evening while I was knitting it, Joe looked over and complimented the hat and said he’d really like one just like it. Then Pato said the same thing, and then I started thinking about how much Sam loves it when people have matching clothes, and an idea was born.  It was a crazy idea – I see that now. I decided I would pound out eight of those hats, one for everyone* knit in time for Christmas.  This idea, as mad as it was, had a lot going for it.

a) this is a very cute hat.

b) who doesn’t need a hat, also they are faster to knit than socks.

c) Sam loves matching things so much that I imagined that when she figured out we all had matching hats, she would probably go bananas.

I started. I bought the yarn (then I bought more yarn, seeing immediately that I didn’t have enough**) and then I just kept knitting them.  At every occasion I pulled out a grey cabled hat with a red and white striped brim, and nobody said anything.

Nobody in the family caught on that there were multiples of this hat…

and as the hats waxed and waned across my instagram feed,  progress gained, lost, then gained again… not a single person left a comment that said anything like “Wing of moth, how long is it going to take you to knit that hat”

or “Did you have to rip back? Were you not almost done that beast?”

or “Is this all you knit now?” (Which would have at least been accurate. It was all I knit. Me. That hat.  Morning. Night. By the fire. By the tree. On buses. On airplanes. Everywhere. That hat. All the time.

By Christmas morning I had (almost) all the hats knit. I wrapped them all up, with a label that read “For Joe (and Sam)” “For Meg (and Sam)” “For Alex (and Sam)” and I handed them all out at once. Sam was enchanted and excited….

It was as awesome as I thought it might be, and everyone was so happy, so delighted to be like each other – it got me thinking about teams and uniforms and that maybe Sam is onto something with the matching stuff – maybe it’s comforting to know who’s on your side at a glance.

This was confirmed for me the other night, at our regular dinner with Elliot (and it’s nice to see Meg and Alex too) when Joe wore his hat, and then Ken arrived wearing his, and Elliot looked up at the two of them and you could just see his little mind processing the fact that they had the same hat on, his eyes flicking from pom pom to pom pom.   Ken noticed him looking and leaned in. “That’s right” he said. “It’s the same hat….”

“It’s how you can spot your people.”

*I look pretty phallic in most hats, and this one is no exception. I skipped the one for me.

**Wrong again. I have heaps of leftovers. Yarn insecurity is a terrible thing.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Hybrid Reindeer/Thereafter

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 11:00

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Original Patterns: Reindeer and Thereafter Knitter Extraordinaire: Lesley (Ravelry ID) Mods: Lesley combined two patterns, using Reindeer for most of the sweater, and adding the back panel from Thereafter. Details and plenty more great photos can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome:  Lesley notes that she had both of these

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Sunday knit chat...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 19:15
Hello and welcome to Sunday. :) First off, thank you for words of well wishes, thoughts and prayers. I don't always feel comfortable telling people what is going on in my personal life for fear that I will sounds like I am looking for sympathy or complaining. Because sometimes my... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

FO | Nearly Neutral Kintra Cowl-Scarf

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 11:30
Clearly, it's impossible to have too many handknits this winter. There's snow on the ground, more is on the way, and it's so cold here, we've been breaking temperature records (some of which date back to the 1800s) almost daily.
Between the frigid temps and my vow to make better use of the many shrine-of-precious yarns that reside in my stash, I've been diligently transforming sumptuous skeins into cowls, scarves or a mix of both (cowl-scarf).


At the same time, I've been striving to create pieces that coordinate with my favorite fingerless mitts in order to build coordinating sets.


Last week, therefore, I focused on finishing this cowl. It features a five-stage gradient, so colorwise, it mimics the mitts on a grander scale:
  • Section 1: Black
  • Section 2: Black and grey
  • Section 3: Grey
  • Section 4: Grey and cream
  • Section 5: Cream
I know all-enveloping scarves and cowls are the trend, but I prefer a narrow profile, which for me is less overwhelming and more versatile. Much like the Colsie cowl, therefore, I chose to work this flat with small buttonholes so it can be worn closed like a cowl, open like a scarf, or twisted and draped in different configurations. 


Kintra Reversible Cowl / Scarf
Pattern: In development
Yarn: Tajmahal (Filatura Cervinia & GGH), Charlemont (Valley Yarns)
Needles: US 8 (5 mm)
Yardage: ~400 yards
Dimensions: 4 x 45 ins

This blend of superfine merino, silk and cashmere is delightfully soft, knits up beautifully, and looks good even in its unblocked state, as it is here. The reversible rounded rib is plush and stretchy, and the finished fabric offers the perfect balance of warmth without excessive weight. Plus, the neutral shades blend seamlessly with my equally neutral wardrobe, while the small band of red adds a spark of color.
In other words, I'm so enamored with this cowl right now, I'm ready to make another. All I need to do is spend some quality time with my stash, choose the right yarn and cast on.


Looking for the Kintra Cowl pattern? It's in development and will soon be ready to send to the tech editor.


RELATED

 FO | Kintra Mitts Nearly Neutral  Pattern | Kintra Mitts


Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Apparently a hot bath burns as many calories as a 30 minute walk. So if you need me, I’ll be in the tub. What I learned from a week with no technology. These tiny works of art are incredible! How to do more of what’s meaningful, and less

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Not a hat

Yarn Harlot - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 21:28

In the last weeks before Christmas (and before New Years, I was running late) I knit eight hats, and the hats were all I knit. Morning, noon, night, hats, hats, hats. I’ll show you pictures another day when I can stand to look at them, but the important thing to know about that little streak is that now I am so tired of hats that I’m feeling the occasional urge to slap them off the heads of strangers.

During the last of the hats, I comforted myself by lining up two projects I was going to start the minute it was all over, and when I say that I lined them up, I don’t mean that I sort of thought about what it was going to be and kept them in my mind.  I mean that I took the yarns out of the cupboard, got the needles, organized the patterns and put it all right next to me so that it was literally lined up. I’d knit a hat for a bit, then reach over and pat the reward yarns, quietly mumbling eloquent things like “^%$#%ing hats.”

I started too look forward to the reward knits so much that I worried that maybe I was making too much of it. I wasn’t.  I started both of them, and I love them – Wild Wolves –  I had a kit that I bought at Knit East. It’s entirely charming, knitting up quickly and delightfully not hatlike at all.

Also not a hat?  Bonfire.  I’ve been dreaming of this one for a while – I ordered the yarn ahead so that I’d have it, and I’m so smitten.  It’s Freia Fine Handpaints in Flare, and a solid to go with.

It’s not often that I use the yarn a pattern calls for – I’ve got a big stash and I like to use it, but this yarn is so perfect for this pattern that I couldn’t imagine anything else. My hat free life is so perfect.

I am never knitting another hat.

 

Categories: Knitting Feeds

As you mean to go on

Yarn Harlot - Mon, 01/01/2018 - 20:20

As I was getting ready for the new year yesterday, I was writing a blog post in my head.  I started to write it down too, and then realized that I was totally on the wrong track and deleted the whole thing.  I was writing about how sad it was, caught up in the idea that this would be the first year of my life that I didn’t speak with my mother at midnight, that 2018 would be the first year that she wasn’t alive at all.  I was writing about how this year had been our “annus horribilis” – the worst year of my life,  and as I typed the words, they began to lose traction. That wasn’t all this year was. For sure, this is the first year I won’t talk to my mother – but this year will be the first of many years that I have my grandson. I went back and looked at the pictures I took this year for a little perspective.

(January)

(February)

(March)

When I was growing up, my mum had tons of traditions – for everything. Things you had to do or say or wear at certain times of year, on special days. When I was younger I thought they were dumb, but when I became a mother, when I started to be responsible for creating a sense of family, a team that was going to pull together, I saw the cleverness of it. These little things, these small structures – they give a family its backbone, its character, the ways that they are special to each other, and an enduring feeling of connection. “This is the way we do it… this is who we are… ” It’s strengthening. I’ve clung to those things over the last few weeks, trusting that our traditions would help me feel less lost, and it’s mostly worked. Yesterday was no different, and neither is today.

(April)

(May)

(June)

Yesterday I cleaned the house, did laundry, emptied a drawer, straightened a closet, urged us all to be in good shape as we began a new year.  “End as you mean to go on.” I could year my mum saying it to me – reminding me that the place I was in as the New Year struck would set the tone for the year to follow.  I swept the floor, taking care to throw the contents of the dustpan out the back door – mum says that makes sure you sweep the old years troubles out the door too. We paid our bills, put coins in the backyard for the light of the old moon and the new moon to shine on so we’ll have enough money this year – mum was always very clear on that one.  I shared a beautiful dinner with people I love, and I made sure that the first person across my threshold after midnight was a dark haired man. (As usual, Joe was sent out, only to be admitted back in – though he is getting so grey haired that I wasn’t sure that it would take, so later Sam’s boyfriend Mike came in ahead of her, just to be sure. The concept of a First Footer is vague on the details, as was my mother.)

(July)

(August)

(September)

(October)

(November)

Today I’m doing all the things my mum said were important.  I’m hosting a levee, I won’t wash anything today, to make sure no one in the family is washed away this year. I’ll do a bit of work, to make sure that my work is successful for the next year, I’ll take a moment to tell the people that I love that they’re important to me, keeping them bound to me for the next year. I’ll put the coins from the new moon in my purse, and I’ll drink a toast to the people I wish were here. My grandparents, Janine, Tupper, Mum… I’ll look back, and then I’ll look ahead.

(December)

I’ll begin as I mean to go on.

Happy New Year, blog.

(*PS I totally just cast on something new too.)

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