Knitting Feeds

Peak sweater season

Knitting to Stay Sane - Fri, 01/13/2017 - 16:57
Friends, this right now is 100% my favourite time of year for knitting. It’s just after Christmas, which means holiday knitting has passed, and selfish knitting time is fully welcomed. If you live in the chillier parts of the Northern Hemisphere, as I do, this is also the perfect time for sweater knitting. If you […]
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Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 01/13/2017 - 11:00

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Now here is an inspiring New Years Resolution List! How two words can change your life- say thank you. Money is a tricky subject, and lots of us don’t feel comfortable talking about it or managing it. But that doesn’t make it go away, so if you need

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Yarn Harlot - Wed, 01/11/2017 - 21:26

The Christmas is coming off the house. The tree is down, an epic struggle to gather up all the needles begun. I keep finding them all over the house. I’ll vacuum, sweep, and heave a sigh of relief that it’s all done, and then there will be more. Stuck to the bottom of socks, down the side of a chair that was by the thing, two in the curtains by the window, and as I wrestled it out the front door, it appears to have shed the equivalent of a small shrub into the shoes on the shoe rack. The decorations are all put away, stocking stuffers are making their way into drawers and coming into use. The cookies are all eaten, and in a desperate attempt to end it all, I threw away three candy canes yesterday. I don’t even know how they got here. It’s starting to be the end of Christmas for knitting too…

Only a half a sock (and two heels -I’ll do afterthought ones) stand between me and being totally finished – it’s another big man sock, so it’s going on forever, and I’m thinking about having a party when this pair is done. I have this wild fantasy that as soon I finish it I’ll immediately cast on something for me, but some sensible part of me wonders if I shouldn’t begin a huge pair for next year straight off. At least it couldn’t come down to big man socks again. (It is worth noting that I don’t think I have it in me to do this, but surely I can be awarded points for considering it.)  Joe’s socks were blocked and dry this morning, and he put them on for a test wear.

Yarn: Alisha Goes Around, Descent of Woodpeckers – fingering weight. Needles: 2.25mm Pattern: Barrel Riders.

They fit, he loves them, and I am ready to knit something bright, colourful and… small. There’s a reason that my friend Denny says that this time of year isn’t for neutral stuff. The world outside is drab, to say the least. Bright and sunny days are few and far between, the days still short, the nights still long. As lovely as that colourway is, it has too much in common with my frozen garden and the bare trees all around me, and I’m glad it’s over.  Now is the time to knit a rainbow.


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FO | Tikkyn Flagstone

Knitting | Work in Progress - Wed, 01/11/2017 - 11:00
From the beginning, I always envisioned a neutral version of Tikkyn as a nice counterpoint to the colorful rainbow version.

I also wanted the light, lofty warmth of wool, which is so very welcome this time of year. To accomplish this, I chose Amherst (Valley Yarns), because the color palette offered a nice variety that included greys ranging from light to charcoal.

I've been enamored with this simple slipped stitch for too many years to count. It's fast, it's easy, and it creates a textured fabric with two different but very attractive sides. 

On the front, the main color (charcoal) dominates, while dots of grey and burgundy appear in disciplined rows and columns. On the back, the contrasting colors are more prominent, forming a chain-like design lightly woven with charcoal.

(Forgive the lumps and bumps. I'm so pleased to have this finished, I'm jumping the gun and sharing this afghan in its unblocked state.)

While Tikkyn Rainbow featured an all-over block strategy, for Flagstone I wanted something different, so I used the Diagonal 2 layout included in the pattern. 

The result is a series of burgundy focal blocks that travel from the lower left to the upper right corner, dividing the top left (charcoal and light grey) from the bottom right portion (charcoal and ash).

On the back, the blocks travel from the upper left to lower right, and the colors are more prominent.

To keep things simple, I opted for narrow seams and trimmed only the far left and right edges. The cast on and bind off resist curling, so there was no need to trim the top and bottom.

Afghan | Tikkyn Flagstone
Yarn: Amherst (Valley Yarns)
Needles: US 10 (6 mm); US 11 (8 mm)
Size: Small (baby)
Dimensions: 28 x 36 ins
Yardage: 984 yards (approx.)

I promise to get better photos once it's blocked. Meanwhile in this stitch, the Amherst yarn created the light, lofty fabric I envisioned with a satisfying drape and feel. Through handling, steaming and blocking, the surface has developed a slight halo that adds to the soft, cozy appearance. 

Flagstone took about two and a half months from the first stitch to the last woven end. It sounds contradictory, but that's remarkably fast (comparatively speaking), since it was my pick-up-lay-down project while I worked on patterns, mitts (Kintra, Wyndfael), and a flurry of Christmas trees in a range of sizes, shapes and configurations.

This time of year, I'm typically drawn to saturated shades that counter our gloomy winter weather, but for some strange reason, I'm still craving neutrals. That may explain why a neutral shawl has already jumped onto the needles, but we'll save that discussion for another day.

The Tikkyn Reversible Afghan pattern is available, so you can:

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Just knit faster

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 01/10/2017 - 20:40

For a few days, I’ve been knitting the second to last pair of socks that I owe Christmas. (So there, you have it. I didn’t finish on time – by a lot.) One pair is for someone I haven’t seen over the holiday, so no rush there, and the other is a pair or socks I’ve been knitting for Joe. I explained to him that if we went skiing, he wouldn’t get socks until after the trip, and for some insane reason he chose the skiing. (I think maybe he has too many pairs of handknit socks for them to be proper leverage. I may withdraw supply.)  Have I ever mentioned that his feet are enormous? Hear me now, young knitters, If I had my life to live over again, I think I’d work harder at cultivating affection for small men. Near the end of every pair of big socks, I imagine the glee of a knitter who’s mate has tiny feet.  Big socks aren’t just a thing because they go on so long (although that is certainly something) but there’s a yarn problem as well.  A single skein doesn’t usually cut it for the people in my life with snowshoe feet, I usually end up with a contrasting heel and toe, adding another skein, something – but the point is that I can’t just walk into the stash, grab a skein of sock yarn and think that I’m going to pound out a pair of socks for Joe. I’ll run out. I know I will.

For the pair I just finished for him, I decided to chance it. I had a skein of yarn I really liked (Alisha Goes Around –  Descent of Woodpeckers. No link because I think she’s done making yarn, is she? Bueller?) I was going to hunt up something matchy for the cuff, heel and toe, and then I noticed that the pattern, Barrel Rider, said that it would be enough yarn. Now, I’ve been tricked by that before, but I was feeling wild, so I went ahead. I finished the first sock on the plane home, and sat there – remaining ball in one hand and the sock in the other, trying to be a human scale. Was the sock heavier? Maybe? I started the second one (because I was on a plane. What choice did I have?) and resolved to weigh things when I got home and make sure I wasn’t wasting my time. Well, when I got home, it turned out that the battery in my scale was done, and going to the store for another seemed really traumatic. (Did I mention I have a cold? They make me alternately angry and sure I am unloved. Neither of those people should go to the store.) I decided to keep going, and told Joe that if I ran out of yarn I would knit a pink toe on it.

I’m pretty sure he thought I was kidding. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t. The game of yarn chicken continued, with me knitting faster and faster, trying to outrun the yarn, and up until just a few rows from the end, the suspense was killing me.

I don’t know why I worried. There was tons left.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Finished Knit: Bright Heart Hat

Knitted Bliss - Tue, 01/10/2017 - 11:00

First finished knit of the year! Ravelry project page can be found here.  Pattern: Take Heart, by Fiona Alice  Yarn: Briggs & Little Heritage in ‘Magenta’ After all the great feedback on pom pom colour from this previous blog post, I went with what seemed like the popular choice- the light brown pom pom, which

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Autumn Geisha - Tue, 01/10/2017 - 02:07
Thank you for all of your well wishes. Happy to report that my back is slowly getting better. I ended up taking all of last week off from work after not being able to get out of bed the day after New Year's Day. I overdid it the week before and ended up with a ruptured disc in my lower back which was pressing down on a nerve. It had gotten so painful that I couldn't sit up and could barely walk. So the first week of 2017 ended up being a pretty dull affair with no knitting accomplished. On the bright side, I managed to get a head start on my reading goals. 4 books in one week!

Now that my back is truly on the mend, I'm excited to cast on some new projects. But before looking ahead to what this year will bring, I wanted to briefly reflect on some things that I learned in 2016:

15 pairs of socks, 3 cowls, 2 sweaters, 1 shawl, 1 ornament

Socks Socks and more Socks: I will fondly remember 2016 as the year that I got bit with the sock knitting bug. It has been so much fun learning a couple of different heel techniques (Afterthought & Strong heels) besides the traditional heel flap. Plus I gave toe-up socks a try. Designing a pair of tabi socks was also a highlight. But the number one most satisfying thing that I learned from a year of sock knitting is being able to do the Kitchener stitch without having to refer to written instructions or diagrams ever again.
Improvising a top-down sweater: This was a huge accomplishment for me. Still can't believe that I managed to pull it off. I learned so much in the process, such as the importance of planning but also being flexible when certain parts of the plan didn't work or needed to be changed.
Thank you for all of your support and kindness! Even though my blogging has been sporadic at best this past year, I still treasure all of the wonderful connections that I have made here. Looking forward to what this new year will bring for all of us! Hopefully lots of love, good health, beautiful yarn and shiny new projects :)
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Like she says

Yarn Harlot - Mon, 01/09/2017 - 19:11

I have a young friend, she’s pretty little, and we have heart to heart conversations from time to time, and when things are extra meaningful to her, when she really wants you to understand that what’s she’s saying is important, or that you’ve come to the significant part, she’ll tell you and then tack on “IN REAL LIFE.”  I don’t know if it’s because kids today are so well acquainted with all the ways that something can be not real life, like TV or movies or games or cartoons or that maybe the world is getting strange enough that a little kid could be concerned that you thought that things weren’t really happening to her, but to her avatar, but her choice of words always makes me smile. “And then, Auntie Stephie, the big wave came, and it was so high, and it was coming nearer to me, and then it knocked me down.. IN REAL LIFE.”

I was going to come here and apologize for being gone so long, and explain that it was the holiday and then Joe and I went to Edmonton just before the New Year for his work and then we went skiing at Jasper and that whole time that I wasn’t at home the IP address I was at was blocked and the stupid helpdesk who could fix it had a 4 hour wait (because secretly, I think this was a worldwide plot) and I couldn’t connect to the blog from away, and then when we got back late on Thursday night I had a cold and… I thought about telling you all of that, but the truth is that I probably could have gotten here… except for the IP thing, but for one thing, and that was that things kept happening to me IN REAL LIFE.

I would be walking towards the computer, and something would happen. A person who was present would be in front of me, and they’d ask me to do something with them, or for them, and I’d glance over at my laptop, then at their face, and then I’d think “I’ll get to the blog later. They’ll understand.” and off I’d go. Over and over things like this:


It was all I could do to keep up. IN REAL LIFE. In any case, I’m back, and my cold’s a lot better and I think I’m mostly caught up on the madness and it’s been about 30 minutes since someone asked me to do something, and I have bags of knitting to show you, and I think I’m finally going to take down the tree before it’s nothing more than a stick with ornaments on it,  and can you tell me what happened to you this holiday, IN REAL LIFE?

See you tomorrow. I mean that.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Orange Cloud Sweater

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 01/09/2017 - 11:00

Original Pattern: Cloud Bolero  Knitter Extraordinaire:  Keri (Ravelry ID) Mods:  Lengthened the bolero and added sleeves to transform into a full cardigan. Details can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: Long term knitters, do you remember the original pattern? It was a little over 10 years ago when the Cloud Bolero debuted

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Stashbusting Strategies (Part II)

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 01/08/2017 - 13:30
For many of us, the start of a new year brings a renewed focus on stashbusting.

We tidy our yarn bins and flash our stashes. We analyze how much yarn we processed last year, and compare it to the number of new skeins that sneaked in the door. We log new yarn into our stash database, create spreadsheets and swear on our favorite fiber bible to knit first from stash. We begin scouring the internet and sites like Ravelry, searching for stashbusting designs and useful strategies to help us transform stash yarn into something pretty and purposeful.

For some, that's where the whole thing begins to unravel. They're sincere and committed, but have difficulty translating that commitment into action. If that statement resonates, this post is for you.

Color is a very powerful stashbusting tool, so that's where we'll focus today. And because examples are always helpful, let's use the Lucben Reversible Afghan to illustrate some basic approaches. The stitch is easy, the concept is classic, and the blanket is worked in strips rather than blocks so it comes together quickly. As an added plus, the pattern adapts to any yarn weight, and it includes detailed yardage breakouts for each block, strip and finished afghan to make adaptations easier.

So, whether you're devoted to knitting from stash, buying new yarn, or doing a mix of both, here are seven color strategies to try:

1.  Gradient 1  (Lucben Rose and Lucben Tidepool shown above)
Strategy: Use leftovers, partials and mini-skeins
Approach: Create a diagonal gradient using five shades from the same color family
Yarn: 1 MC, 5 CCs

2. Gradient 2
Strategy: Use leftovers, partials and mini-skeins
Approach: Create a diagonal gradient using three shades from related color families
Yarn: 1 MC, 3 CCs

3. Gradient 3
Strategy: Use orphan and singleton skeins
Approach: Create a vertical gradient using three shades from one color family
Yarn: 1 MC, 3 CCs

4. Tone on Tone
Strategy: Use multiple skeins of the same yarn
Approach: Work blocks, seams and trim in closely related colors
Yarn: 1 MC, 1 CC

5. Checkerboard
Strategy: Use multiple skeins of compatible yarns
Approach: Work blocks, seams and trim in contrasting colors
Yarn: 1 MC, 2 CCs

6. Monochromatic
Strategy: Use SQ (sweater quantity) or AQ (afghan quantity) skeins
Approach: Work blocks, seams and trim in a single shade
Yarn: 1 MC (for illustration purposes, seams and borders are shown in a lighter shade)

7. Rainbow
Strategy: Use leftovers, partials and mini-skeins
Approach: Combine a rainbow of colors with a unifying MC
Yarn: 1 MC, 9 CCs

Hopefully, these simple, practical ideas will inspire you to see your stash with fresh eyes and discover new possibilities.

Make the most of yarn on hand by working rectangles instead of squares, adding more blocks, making additional strips, or doing a combination of all three. Be brave and experiment. Mix and match different yarns to achieve the look you envision, just make sure they play well together and have similar care requirements.

Try multi-stranding to use up lighter weight yarns and quickly burn through lots of yardage. (LOSY blanket, anyone?) If you can't find everything you need in your stash, do what I do, and buy the yarn you need to leverage the skeins you have.

If stashbusting is a priority, consider joining the Stash Knit Down group on Ravelry. The folks are fun, supportive and helpful, and it's motivating to see the creative ways they put stash yarn to great use.

Meanwhile, feel free to share your favorite stashbusting strategies, goals for the year and whatever else is on your mind.

PS: If you're seeking more ideas and inspiration, you may find these posts helpful:Stashbusting Strategies (Part I)
Stashbusting? 3 Reasons to Buy More Yarn
Color Talk
Yarn Logic
Best of Both Worlds

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Talking socks...a review and knitalongs.

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 01/08/2017 - 13:14
Hello! Happy Sunday! Today we are talking about socks. I have a review for you as well as some great KALs that are going on that will allow you to get your sock knitting on. If you are like me and one of your New Year's knitting goals is to... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 01/06/2017 - 11:00

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week How meditation can make you more creative. So true. Learning to meditate feels about as exciting as flossing, but yields amazing results (much like flossing, now that I think about it). The key to increasing your luck is to increase the number of people you encounter. An engaging

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Hello 2017!

Knitted Bliss - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 11:00

Where did 2016 go? Other than some massive life shifts, a formal career change, finishing a new book, raising James through the first year of his life while caring for a 4 year old, then taking that family trip to England and Spain, and a side order of some knitting, I’m not too sure what I did

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Knitting | Work in Progress - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 17:04
Knitting is a funny thing, and striking the right balance can be a challenge.

When there are too many projects on the needles, I get twitchy. I feel as if I should be knitting more and certainly much faster, but the quantity becomes distracting and interferes with my ability to focus, so I'm even less productive than I might be otherwise.

Oddly, I have a very similar reaction if there are no projects on the needles and no urgent ones waiting in the pipeline. When that happens I have severe withdrawal symptoms. I'm generally unsettled, I feel cranky and out of sorts, and my fingers itch to see productive action.

That's when swatching comes to the rescue, providing precisely the fibery fix I crave.

This means, sometimes I swatch to test new stitches.

Easy slip stitch (front):

Sometimes I swatch to see how different stitches handle color.

Easy slip stitch (front):

Sometimes I swatch to test reversibility.

Easy slip stitch (back):

Sometimes I swatch to see how different yarn weights and needle sizes affect gauge and scale.

Lucben | Worsted weight (grey) vs. sport weight (cream):

And sometimes I do what normal knitters do and swatch as a prelude to a specific project. 
Tikkyn | Front & back:

Here's my dilemma. I have one project in the finishing stages (Tikkyn Flagstone) and two on the needles (a shawl and afghan), all of which are progressing at a decent pace. 
There's also a new design in the works, which I'm eager to get underway. After several false starts, however, one thing has become painfully clear: The core concept works, but I've not yet landed on the right stitch. 
Since my top priorities this year are to focus and finish, we all know what I should be doing. Instead, I'm succumbing to temptation and indulging in some swatching. 

Connecting with the linkups in the sidebar.
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