Knitting Feeds

It happened to Picasso too

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 04/29/2021 - 00:07

I’ve deleted a thousand posts because they all sound a bit sad and whiny, which I suppose is a little accurate- Toronto is still in a stay at home order and lockdown and I am rather sad and whiny about it, especially when I see my friends and colleagues to the south and across the pond slowly finding a way out of this thing. Still, it doesn’t do my heart any good at all to be jealous, and it makes no sense to compare Canada to the vaccine producing giants that are the US and UK. We’re making progress compared to  most countries that don’t have any domestic vaccine production, and I am so grateful for that. Still, after enduring that long and lonely Covid winter I had hoped for a little more freedom this spring – but the ICU’s are rammed full, the crisis is deeper than it ever was, and every healthcare worker I know would love to beat the everliving snot out of people who can’t honour the restrictions right now while they struggle to keep people alive, so here I sit.

I received my first vaccine three weeks ago – but Canada is separating the first and second doses by four months to make the most of the supply we have. I get it, as the variants savage the place it makes a lot of sense to try and give as many people as possible some protection, but it does mean that we don’t know anyone that’s enjoying the perks of being fully vaccinated. Hell, we don’t even have guidelines for those people yet, since it’s only 3% of the population. I know there’s an end in sight, but gentle readers, it just seems so far off.

Was that too sad? Whiny? I think it’s okay, I’ll leave it. The truth is that we’re holding on, despite Toronto enduring one of the worlds longest lockdowns (for the third time) and we remain pretty grateful that we’ve been able to be as safe as we have been – and that the hardest thing we’ve been asked to do is stay home and miss our families. Elliot’s dad and Sam are both essential workers in public facing jobs, and both unvaccinated as of yet, and I worry about them a lot. My hair is enormous and wild (salons and barbers closed at the beginning of the pandemic and were only open for about 7 weeks last summer, same as our restaurants) but I am used to that now and it helps that everyone I see looks the same, and frankly my own wild mane is a small price to pay for the glory that is Joe’s fantastical tresses.  I know he’ll get it cut the minute a barber opens, but for now it’s a big part of my pandemic entertainment. If I didn’t think it would be a gross violation of every vow I’ve ever made to him that would surely result in divorce, I’d show you the pictures I’ve been quietly taking each morning.

The big news though, is that something shocking has happened here, and I don’t know quite how to explain it. I have been knitting up a storm. I mean, just heaps. I think it helps me see forward movement and change in the face of all of this, and while knitting heaps isn’t odd, something else has been happening. First, I knit Elliot a blue sweater.

That’s Dogstar (rav link) again, I’ve knit him two now, though the look nothing alike – such a great pattern) and the yarn is Peer Gynt, a favourite worsted weight of mine. Hardworking, non-superwash, inexpensive, comes in a thousand colours… good stuff, that.  Now, there is nothing at all unusual about me knitting a blue sweater…for someone else. Me? My palette is famously more 1970’s appliance colours- or anything the colour of a dish you could get at an Indian restaurant.  I like korma pink, saag green, biryani yellow, … you see where I’m going with this. Dirty colours. I am not much at all for the pastels colours of spring, or the vivid tones of a summer, or even the cool crisps of the deep winter. I am fall. Autumn, the reaping and the gathering. That’s my jam. Now- that’s not to say that fall is my favourite season, far from it, actually.  I am a summer child, and I’ve always found fall to be a little bit sad since it’s the end of all that I adore and the beginning of the long-dark-tea-time-of-the-soul that is the Canadian winter, but I digress.

The last Love Note I made for myself was perfect for me. I loved the sweater, I loved the yarn and it was exactly, absolutely the right colour. (Lichen and Lace Marsh Mohair in “Shrub” and 1-ply fingering in “Woods” held together)

Now, I loved knitting that sweater so much, and I wear the finished product so much and the yarn was so fun that it made heaps of sense to me that I would knit another one, and so it wasn’t at all surprising that I found myself back on the website ordering more. What did surprise me was that I ordered this:

Same yarn, but this time in beautiful blues -the mohair was “calm waters” and the fingering “rainy day”.

Weird, right? I mean, me in blue? Me even knitting blue is a little odd, but for myself? A rather odd glitch I thought, but these are strange times.  I was confident that whatever this was, it was an isolated event. You could have knocked me over with a feather then, when mere days later, I ordered and received this:

For another sweater, for me, and yes, there were other colours available. There was even a properly yucky green that should have been what came over me, but look at that.  This time I’m after making Woven Shadows and even though I am only just past the swatching phase, I am entirely besotted and it’s the colour that’s most of it.  I tried to knock some me back into me by knitting a green sweater – but then I helplessly added blue at all the edges.

It’s like I don’t even know myself. (That’s Ellie, in Limepop. It’s a classic, as is his pandemic hair.) The crazy thing is that all this blue is delighting me.  Instead of rain and winter all I see in these blues are the things I long for, love and miss. The blue sky of Alberta and Saskatchewan, the ocean in Port Ludlow, Vancouver, Halifax and Spain, the bluebonnets in Texas at DFW, the cornflowers and lupins of summer here.

I can’t explain it and it’s so unlike me, but I’m wearing that blue sweater to bits almost every day and all this blue is making me so happy. It seems so funny to me right now that blue is associated with being sad, because here it’s uplifting. Oh – here’s a picture of the finished sweater. It’s not awesome because there aren’t a lot of photographers around, but here’s a selfie from my walk today. I propped my phone on a fence but screwed up the timer.

Anyway – just so that you know some things still stay the same?

Orange socks.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 03/26/2021 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week This is such a great idea- every hotel should have a book butler! How to support someone when you are also struggling. I love these illusions made from everyday objects! So creative, and cute. The most beautiful people. My Favourite Pins This Week When I was in my

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 03/19/2021 - 12:52

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week I had a poem recently featured on Poetry Pause! It’s called Viral, but funnily enough I wrote it years before the pandemic. Give it a read, won’t you? You saw this jaw-dropping Crochert art installation, right? So fantastic. Notting Hill is one of my favourite romantic comedies EVER

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Happy Birthday Charlotte

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 03/16/2021 - 16:10

I woke up very early this morning and it was almost exactly the time that Charlotte was born.  I wished her a  silent Happy Birthday, and lay there thinking about that beautiful morning.

As this day approached, I have been working hard on my heart. It is so easy to let myself slide into heartbreak and loss, and while there’s no getting around that,  I really wanted today to have some measure of joy, to focus on all that went right that day and how perfect things were for a little while, and spend time thinking of how lucky we were.

 

I remind myself that some people never get to know that kind of happiness, the kind I felt when I watched Meg give birth to Charlotte, when Alex held his daughter for the first time, when Elliot welcomed her – when she settled warm and soft into my arms, so heavy and perfect and present. I don’t think I’ll ever forget exactly how it all was.

Not everyone gets that, I remind myself. Some people will never be that happy. Even as we have dragged ourselves through this horrible pandemic grief year, I have never wished that day away – I’ve never wished it didn’t happen. It has been hard to watch my daughter suffer, but I know that for all the pain she’s endured, she’s grateful for every moment we had with Charlotte too. No matter how much it hurts now?

Goodness, what a wonderful day that was.

Happy Birthday my little Charlotte.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 03/05/2021 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week How to write a gratitude letter, and why you should. This was a very interesting read – “I tracked down the girls who bullied me as a kid, and this is what they had to say”. Ooh a movie club! This sounds like a great idea. “I forgot

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 02/26/2021 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week I adore Sarah Stockdale’s newsletters, and this one about an experiment with men who were watching their calorie intake was mind blowing. Hey, let’s check out some adorable little pandas at a zoo! A zero-cost room refresh idea. In case you are getting a little tired of some

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 02/19/2021 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Not that you’re probably doing much clothing shopping these days, but if you are – 13 questions to ask yourself before buying new clothes. If you miss going out to bars and restaurants, this website is amazing. Customize your bar ambiance! Want to identify clouds? Here you go.

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 01/29/2021 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Totally made me laugh, but also wince, because it’s so true: Course Syllabus for Making New Friends as an Adult. 20 joyful activities for staying in. Such a really great list! Utterly hilarious photos abound- animals interrupting wildlife photographs. A list of things that are perfect. Cashmere sweatpants

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Seventeen

Yarn Harlot - Sat, 01/23/2021 - 21:22

The blog is seventeen today.  If this blog was a person it would be in their room blasting obnoxious music and angrily texting all its friends about how horrible I am for not letting it go out during a pandemic and see everyone. (I can sort of relate.)

Last year, I wrote about how much things had changed – how much I’ve changed.  I re-read that this morning while I was thinking about this post, and laughed at how wild it is to look back and think that last year I believed that grief and loss had changed me a bit. I had no idea what was headed our way, none at all.

There is no doubt, my dear blog, that this year I have had trouble coming here to write to you.  I have felt as I did right after my mum died, that I don’t have very good walls up – that at any moment a dam could burst inside of me and I will just type “CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE THIS SHIT” over and over again while weeping and laughing hysterically and honestly, I can’t imagine you want to hear it. (Yes. I swore. I know, I know. I try not to here, so as not to offend any tender sensibilities but I honestly don’t know how to put a cherry on the crap sundae that has been this year of blogging without at least one. There may be another. I don’t know.)

I was so hopeful this time last year – so reconciled to the changes that had happened in my life and I even felt really good about change. I really did – and then Charlotte died, and I don’t have the words (or want to type them) about what it is like to lose a grandchild, or what it is like to watch your child suffer the loss of a child, and then to have the fear, loneliness and separation of a pandemic heaped on top of it. See what I mean? Aren’t we having fun now? I cannot imagine any of you would enjoy a(nother) post even remotely like that. Even if I leave all that out and just keep it light, well you might have noticed that the world is a little pear shaped right now, and besides all that…. I put on proper pants just twice this week – and the only person I really see in a day is Joe and Blog, I feel like the material just isn’t there. It is like we are all in suspended animation, waiting for life to start properly again, and honestly the most interesting thing that happened all week is that I realized that I didn’t order enough yarn for this baby blanket I’m knitting (the west coast branch is adding a member) and I know I’ve written that post before.

For the first time ever my blog, I don’t want to tell you how I’m feeling, not because I don’t want to share, but because I feel like either you feel as I do – that you’re lonely and your life is small (and if it isn’t could you please change that so that we all get our lives back sooner) or that my life will be sad, or simply won’t be entertaining.  I have always come here to tell you what’s going on, and my blog, this year there is just… nothing going on, except for what it’s like to try to buy pants online and I’ve given up.  I was terrible at buying pants even when you could try them on, and now it’s hopeless. I am on the brink of adopting leggings and I hate leggings. Worse than that, I feel like if I do want to ditch all of real life and tell you simply about how I feel about the Channel Island cast on (hint: we are in love) then given that the world is on fire, it will seem callous or insensitive in the face of it all.

Long story short, i know I keep promising that I’ll be better about coming here, and I mean it. The blog has been such a big part of my life for the last seventeen years, and it has always given me the most terrific comfort to write to you, and to read your comments – but this just feels unending and terrible and even when things happen that are really nice and make me happy – they make for boring blog posts because the bar is so low over here. Like yesterday? My bread really came out nicely.

See that? That’s all I’ve got for yesterday – except for the blanket thing, which like I said… it would be a more interesting blog post if I didn’t run out of yarn. That would be the shocker.

I am dreaming, blog, of what things may be like when I write to you on this day next year, when this thing is 18 and legally an adult. Will the pandemic be over? Will the border be open? Will our families be the same size and shape? I know that this has been a year of loss and fear for almost all of us, and I know that things are hard all over, and it’s because I understand this that I find it almost impossible to come here and talk about our family’s suffering – it is no more than yours, and I don’t want to make you look at it while you struggle yourself.  (Especially if you are having the trouble with pants that I am. It is a bridge too far.)

For now, know that I am here as much as I am able – that I love you all and am grateful as ever- that this space is still my online living room, and I’ve got no intention of leaving it, but I’m also having trouble inviting company over while things are so strange. I’m working on getting some better walls up.  Thank you for being there for me, even when I am not there for you.

(PS. It is tradition, though I know this year is different, to kick off my fundraising for the Bike Rally today – in years past we have amused them mightily by donating a dollar for each year of blogging, a load of donations all the same amount (or a multiple) has always weirded the staff out over there, and I like that. That said – two things are true this year – first, while I’m signed up for the Rally I don’t know if there will be one – there’s no way to know now if it will be safe or possible, and second, I know that for many of us things are tight financially – so if either of those things are a deal breaker for you, I get it. If those things are cool for you- that’s awesome. PWA has stayed open during the pandemic as an essential service – even when nothing else was open – they were still running the foodbank for clients, and as you can imagine, there’s more help needed than ever. If you’re feeling it, a $17 donation here will be as weird as ever.)

 

 

Categories: Knitting Feeds

How it started/How it’s going

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 01/21/2021 - 22:08

Time continues to pass in the strangest way – we’re still under lockdown here, with stay-at-home orders in place, and I’m trudging along. Some days fly by and I can’t believe that I ran out of time to accomplish all that I wanted, and some days are like yesterday, where after a long, difficult and full day, I stood up and headed to the kitchen to begin dinner, and suddenly realized it was still light out. I was stunned to discover that it was just a little after noon.

Anyway, this is all a long way of saying that I have no idea how it is that it’s been months that I’ve been meaning to post about Pato and Keanu’s wedding blanket, but here I am. I’d feel worse about it but honestly, I’m pretty sure a lot of you don’t know what day it is, so there.

Way back at end of the summer, when case numbers were so low and Torontonians were allowed to have close contact with a few other people outside their household, Pato dropped the bomb that he and Keanu had decided to marry. Now, this wasn’t shocking at all, after Sam got married we were all pretty sure that they would be next – they’ve been together for years and years and it seemed to still be going well, and if you love someone more than ever after months of being locked down together than honestly you should marry them. What was surprising was that they’d decide to marry in just a few weeks, in the middle of a pandemic, which makes tons of sense if you are confident in your love (and the length of a pandemic) but not so much if you’ve got to knit a wedding something.

We immediately started trying to figure out ways to make it special, even though there were going to be so many restrictions – the gift was the first thing to think about, and Meg and I hatched a plan that afternoon, and ordered the yarn that minute so that we could give finishing by their wedding day a shot. (Spoiler alert we didn’t make it of course.) We decided that we- the whole family would knit Pato and Keanu a blanket.  After much discussion – what would be easy enough for people to help with, what would disguise changing gauges and what would be a good fit for their style, we settled on the Moderne Log Cabin Blanket, (that’s a Ravelry link) knit in neutral shades of Eco wool.  (The pattern isn’t written for that weight of wool but it’s squares. What could go wrong. I’d knit it before so I felt good about our chances.)

Now, the way this blanket works is that it’s a series of squares and rectangles worked off of each other. You knit a squarish bit, and then pick up stitches along the side of it and knit another, and so on and so forth. After a little consultation (and with the knowledge that it would be easier for me to match my gauge to Meg’s than the other way around) we decided that Meg would knit the first square, then give it to me. I’d pass it off to everyone in turn, knitting wildly on it in between, correcting errors and guiding anyone involved who didn’t know what they were doing. Now, I don’t know how this happened, but Meg is the only person I didn’t get a picture of while they were knitting – she beavered away at it, knitting the whole first square, and then gave it to me. This, I will tell you, wasn’t just smart, it was fitting. Our relationship with Pato began with Meg- they met as little snips of things –

and truly have proved to be one of the worlds great matches, just not a romantic one in the end. They’ve stayed the very, very best of friends, and our family didn’t break up with Pato either. From the time they became friends until this day, we’ve just lumped him into the pile of “our kids” and gotten on with it. It was so appropriate that since Meg started our relationship with him, that she should start the blanket. It was passed off to me, and time since time was short I did a crazy amount of knitting while Joe and I were camping.

The whole time we were camping though, I remember thinking “this looks a little big” and then executing the classic knitter error – which is thinking “Never mind, if I keep knitting maybe it will get smaller” which it never does. It was the only thing I’d taken with me to knit for the weekend (to force me knitting on it) and so I was reluctant to face the truth. Once home, pattern in hand I realized my error.  I ripped it out, handed it back to Meg, she re-knit the first square the proper size and we were off again. (For the sake of Meg’s reputation as a knitter, I will make it clear that the error was mine, and not hers. The only mistake she made was doing what her mother told her and that’s never really wrong.)

Back in my hot little hands, I started making the rounds with it.  Getting it to some people who care for the gentlemen was going to be easy – we had a family bubble at the time, but I had to find a way to get it to everyone else in a way that was distanced, and outside, of course.

The worlds top knitwear model put in her stitches for her brother from another mother – I wasn’t surprised she remembered how to knit – the force is strong with this one. She’s picked up the needles a few times over the years, and the knitting was easy for her.

What did surprise me was that Amanda was flawless. Of all my children she is the most knit-resistant and always has been. She knows how, of course, I mean what sort of mother allows a child to grow up without the most basic of skills, but I don’t think she’s knit anything since she was a child, so when she knocked off her rows with effortless ease, I was really kinda stunned. (This is evidence for teaching them young. It stays with them forever whether they want it to or not.)

Meg’s husband Alex needed teaching – he was a quick study though – as was Sam’s husband Mike. they both picked it up in a snap, and were absolutely chuffed with themselves that they managed it. (Without a word of a lie, they were so thrilled. Several rows from both of them!)

From there- onto the knitters. Jen swung by when she was off call and installed herself in the backyard. I plied her with wine and she knit heaps. We told Pato and Keanu stories.

Amber, longtime friend of the show – I thought I’d have to teach her, but she revealed a secret – she’s a perfectly competent knitter. (This being Canada, you’d be surprised how prevalent a secret power this is.) She ripped by the back garden,  working the stitches with so much affection for her friends.

Maddy! If you’ve been reading this blog a long time, then you might even remember when Maddy learned to knit. Meg and I taught her when she was quite little. Meg, Maddy and Pato have run as a pack since the beginning of High School, and Mads is quite a good knitter now – she doesn’t have a car and the covid-times means she couldn’t subway to me, so I went to her.  It is a pleasure to see these kids grown up and still all caring for each other.  (As an aside, Maddy had so many sleep-overs at our house over the years, that we began to call the trundle bed in the back bedroom “the Maddy bed”. We still do – enough so that even though he has no idea why – Elliot will ask if he can lie on the Maddy bed.)

Cameron knit his bit – putting a little fondness in each stitch for him and Keanu. Bike Rally connection for them – lots of thoughts of Team Knit (and the few times that Keanu joined us on the Rally – so not his jam let me tell you) but Pato and Cam love riding together and I’m pretty glad I taught Cam to knit years ago – it would have been hard to show him how from a distance.

The big challenge for Ken was that his turn came a week or two later, when it was cold. He’s was outside our bubble (by then, things had changed – everyone was) so he bundled up and got it done. (Please note he is wearing a dorky onsie both because it is freezing, and because it was Hallowe’en and he was dressed as a shark to amuse Elliot.) Pato knows how much Ken loves the cold, so feel the love, buddy.

Last – Joe did his share. I won’t lie- he grumbled a bit, but he knows how, and he loves Pato a lot, and so Pato and Keanu became the third and fourth people in the world that Joe has knit for. Me and my mum are numbers one and two, so it’s a pretty elite club.

Somewhere in there – when the blanket was almost done, but not quite, the big day came. Pato and Keanu were married outside, at a beautiful albeit socially distanced wedding with just a few people in attendance, and the rest of us watched on Zoom. Meg was in person-  standing up for Pato (with more than two metres between them at all times) and I was proud of both of them for learning love in all its forms so very well.

It was a beautiful wedding and I none of the things I thought might happen did – they didn’t feel alone, or like enough people weren’t there, or like people were missing.  I know that they would have liked us all to be there (I think) but in the end this is love, and it is the same as it always is. On their wedding day, the only people Pato and Keanu really needed close by were each other, and we could all see (even over zoom) that it was more than enough.

Naturally, and us being us, we couldn’t leave it there. A mission was launched to give them the closest thing to a reception possible.  Our back garden was transformed with twinkle lights and candles, tables and flowers.

We used measuring tapes to make sure that Pato and Keanu were more than safely distanced from us at a tiny “head table”  we made sure that we had no more than the provinces allowed number of people for outdoor gatherings. (At that time, things were so much more open than they are now, we were allowed ten!)

We set the table with care using our best dishes. We chose a four course menu to please them – we cut the date of their wedding into sourdough and baked it.

We baked a tiny little wedding cake for them,  and little single serving ones for everyone else.

And they got their musical surprise, the same as every other family wedding – this time, over the internet from a family friend who’s an artist Pato adores and (obviously) couldn’t come and play for them.

We did our best to have a proper party – pandemic style. Tiny and distanced (and freezing!) with no hugging and lots of kisses blown from afar. At the time we felt a little deprived, but looking back what a luxury it was to be able to be together even that way.

I have a list of things that I feel this pandemic has stolen from our family, as I’m sure you do too.  The ability to be with each other in times of need, to hold and comfort each other, to walk holding hands, or the ease with which we were able to make connections with each other, and how simple it was to invest in our relationships. Know I add this to the list now – that even though we did our best, and I think it was good enough, and I know Pato and Keanu felt our love and support that day – I will always regret that in that in the moment they were married, they could not look out at the crowd of us, as we were looking at them, and see the complete love, acceptance, pride and happiness we all felt as they committed to each other.

I think they love their blanket, and I hope that when they use it, they can remember what knitting really is. It’s more than a way to make something- it is a love container, and we have all poured what we hope for you into it.

Much love in a long and an happy marriage. Stay warm.

Stephanie, Joe, Ken, Amanda, Megan, Sam, Mike, Alex, Cameron, Maddy, Amber and Jen.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 01/15/2021 - 15:44

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Doomscrolling is exhausting, isn’t it? Let’s try joyscrolling. 20 Soothing short video clips to help you destress through the day. This was a fascinating read on how the attack on the Capitol building in the US will have long term and far reaching impact. I loved this little

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 01/08/2021 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week How to talk to white friends or family about white privilege. I love this – listening to forests around the world. A nice way to enjoy the woods if you can’t get outside. The stories behind Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s most famous collars and jabots. I’m a big fan

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

A New Mod Monday: Vintage Habs Cardi

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 01/04/2021 - 15:19

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It’s been a while, but check out this amazing modification! Original Patterns: Gramps and Spice  Knitter Extraordinaire: Allison (Ravelry profile, Instagram) Mods: Alli combined the top-down Gramps cardigan from the cast on through the yoke, and then began integrating aspects of the Spice cardigan after putting the sleeve stitches on holders. Buttonband and garter stitch

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 12/18/2020 - 15:40

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Facts don’t change minds. But friendship and proximity does. This is a fascinating and important read. How to purge your closet without regrets. This museum of favourite and beloved smells is so fascinating. What would be in your museum? Remember how everyone went and ordered loads of antiracist

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

New Free Pattern – Taddle Creek Mitts

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 12/14/2020 - 19:53

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A quick, cozy gift idea that can also stashbust? Definitely. Pattern: Taddle Creek Mitts Yarn: Berroco Mercado (about a quarter skein of two colours) Needles: 4.5mm (US 7) These are a VERY fast knit and a quick gift idea that works well for stashbusting leftover bits of aran weight yarn, and are big enough to be

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Categories: Knitting Feeds
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