December 25, 2013

happy holidays

Peace. Joy. Love.

November 17, 2013


Pattern: Shawnigan from Ram Wools
Yarn: Briggs and Little Country Roving

My sister in law asked if I could knit this for my niece, so that was a good excuse to make a pattern I've had my eye on for years. Briggs and Little roving is so fast to work up and the loose ply traps a lot of air so it's super cozy. I made it in about 2 weeks without a lot of knitting time. The hard part for me was sewing in the zipper.

Fun, fast pattern. I really want one for myself now.

October 31, 2013

indie designer gift-a-long!

About a week ago, a few people in the Designers group on Ravelry had the great idea that indie designers could get together, put our patterns on sale and offer a Gift-A-Long to help knitters and crocheters get a start on making gifts for the holidays.

So between now and November 15th, there are thousands of patterns on sale from indie designers, including all of my self-published patterns.

Everyone's patterns are 25% off when you use the coupon code "giftalong". There's a big KAL/CAL for two months (Nov.1-Dec.31) for these patterns as well. Join us at the Ravelry Group here to participate. There will be hundreds of prizes, fabulous projects, access to your fave indie designers, and lots of friendly, giftie chatter.

The group has a thread featuring all of the participating designers, as well as threads for each kind of project (hats, shawls, socks, pets, etc.) including links to Pinterest boards so you can see all the pattern photos at once. 

Happy gifting and Happy Hallowe'en!

October 4, 2013

orkney finished


Pattern: 'Orkney' by Marie Wallin
Yarn: Rowan 'Felted Tweed DK'
I finished this two weeks ago and forgot to post about it here. I love this sweater. I love everything about it from the fact it's made in one of my top 5 favourite yarns, to the symphony of colour and patterns and the little pewter buttons. I'm generally a pretty subdued dresser, but I love wearing this.

Here's the back. My photographer (the boy) failed to mention the 'blur' on the camera lens. No matter. You get the idea.

I want to start another fair isle project immediately, but I've already cast on 7 things recently, which might be a few too many...

September 23, 2013


I'm so excited to show you my new pattern Nest, which was just released by Sweetgeorgia Yarns. Felicia Lo and her company make some of the most wonderful yarn I've ever worked with and their colours are saturated and stunning. It was such a thrill to be able to use their newest yarn, Trinity Worsted for this project. It's a blend of superwash merino, cashmere and silk so you can imagine what a treat it is to knit with (shown in 'Oxblood').

This cardigan is worked from the top down, back and forth, with set-in, ¾-length sleeves. Short rows shape the shoulders as well as the tops of the sleeves. Nest-like cables are continuously worked on the front and back of the body.

Here are the specs:
  • Chest: 30 (32, 34, 36, 38, 40)(42, 44, 46, 48, 50)” / 76 (81, 86.5, 91.5, 96.5, 101.5)(106.5, 112, 117, 122, 127) cm
  • Length: 19 ¾ (20 ¾, 21 ¼, 21 ¾, 22 ¼, 23)(23 ¾, 24 ½, 25, 25 ¼, 26 ¼)” / 50 (52.5, 54, 55, 56.5, 58.5)(60.5, 62, 63.5, 64, 66.5) cm
  • Garment is meant to be worn with 0-2” / 0-5 cm of positive ease. Shown in size 34” / 86 cm.
  • Skill level: intermediate
  • Skills required: Knitting on dpns, cables, short row
Ravelry pattern link here
Felicia asked me some interview questions about the process, which you can find on her blog here. It was such a pleasure to work with Felicia and her gorgeous yarn. 

September 15, 2013

orkney progress

(photo from Rowan)

As I was setting up the armhole steeks on my Orkney cardigan this morning, I thought I could write a quick post about converting a pattern written in pieces (flat) to in the round. So, this is a fair isle (stranded) sweater, obviously. Traditionally, fair isle sweaters were knit in a circular fashion for several reasons:

- most people have a slightly different tension when they perform a knit stitch versus a purl stitch, so knitting all of them avoids this
- when you're using two or more strands of yarn across a row it is generally easier to be knitting (vs. purling) as you do so
- when you're following a chart, it's easier to see the pattern as it appears on the right side of the work if you're facing it all the time
- if you knit  many colours flat in pieces you have a million ends to weave in at the end. With a steek you just cut them all off

So I'm not sure, quite honestly, why certain pattern companies choose to write such patterns in flat pieces (I'm not anti-pieces generally at all. I love seams for many many situations. Just not here). In any case, this leads me to my topic which is converting such a pattern to in-the-round. It's pretty straightforward.

I knit the sleeves first because the good knitters of Ravelry who had knit this before me had left notes about gauge / sizing issues (it ran on the small side), I knew generally what my gauge is in Felted Tweed and working it stranded and knew I needed to go up a needle size. Using my sleeve as my gauge swatch, I cast on the required stitches for the cuff and then once I knew where I was headed size-wise, did a few more increases to get me up a size. Anyway, I worked the sleeves in the round until reaching the decreasing for the sleeve cap, at which point I bound off the underarm stitches, then cast on 7 steek sts to bridge the gap on the next round. I carried on, decreasing on either side of the steek to the top. (Note: you need to cast on sts for the steek by alternating the two colours you're working with, so they both travel across.)

This is the sleeve cap with the steek.

Then I reinforced the steek sts and cut it open. (There are still a million ends to weave in in the sleeves below the steek. Unavoidable on sleeves.)

On to the body. I added together the number of sts to cast on for both fronts and back, cast them on and at the end of the first round cast on 7 steek sts. I worked the body, adding button holes to the right front, up to the underarms. This morning I looked at my notes to see how many right front sts I had, worked across to 7 sts less than that, bound off 7 + 7 for the back (14 under arm total as per my size), then did the same on the other side. On the next round I started my armhole decreasing on either side of those bound off sts, casting on 7 steek sts in between.

Now I'm going to continue working up the armholes, decreasing as I go, until I reach the front neck shaping. Since the pattern says "work the front until you're 26 rows shorter than the back" I had to calculate how high 26 rows is in my gauge and subtract that from the height of the armhole. Also, the buttonholes are worked out by having you knit the left front first, determine where you want buttons, then do the holes on the right accordingly. As I couldn't do that, I took the total height of the front to the neck and determined how many rows apart 9 buttons needed to be. And used the photo as a guide.

Here's the body, with its steek on the right and the start of the arm steek on the upper left. Once I reach the neck shaping I will work another steek so I can continue to the shoulders in the round. Then I'll bind off everything, sew the shoulders together and work the collar and buttonband facings. As this sweater doesn't have buttonbands but inside facings I'll need to trim my steek sts right down, but it should be fine.

I'm doing this as a KAL with my friend Liz and I love every minute I work on this. I'll be sad to be finished, except I'm really looking forward to wearing it. I did so much yardwork yesterday I can barely move my arms, but hopefully I can do some more knitting today. Happy weekend!

September 12, 2013

lineal wristwarmers

Even though the days are still pretty hot around here, I know winter is coming (I face this with a dread I have never felt until this year. I still can't think about last winter without shuddering in horror), so I have been sorting through our cold weather accessories. We don't have a long outdoor fingerless mitt season but I knit in hockey arenas all winter and they're perfect for doing that.

This lovely pattern is Lineal Wristwarmers by Felicia Lo in her handdyed Superwash Worsted  in the 'Cayenne' colourway. I love this yarn and this colour. The sproingy ply gives the cables great bounce. They only took a few nights to make, so if I break my resolve not to knit presents in December I could whip up a few more of these puppies.

Being September, I can't stop wanting to knit ALL THE THINGS. I cast on two sweaters this week and am seriously considering a third. I love this time of year.

August 22, 2013

WOTA Collection giveaway

I am so happy to be involved in this great collection by Knitpicks. It includes beautiful patterns - see them here on Ravelry and here on their site.

I have an extra booklet to give away, if you're interested. Just leave a comment sometime before 10pm central this Sunday. Tell me what your favourite kind (style and construction) of fall /winter sweater to knit or wear is. Cardigan? Pullover? Fair Isle? Long or short sleeves? Pieced or seamless? etc. I'll use a random number generator to pick a winner. Make sure you leave your Ravelry name or some way I can contact you.

Update: And the winner is impossiblyalice! I love cardigans, too. Thanks so much for playing, everyone!

August 8, 2013


I have a new pattern! I've been waiting a long time to talk about this one, so I'm very happy it was released yesterday.

It's called 'Insulate' and it's in the Knitpicks 'Wool of the Andes Collection' found here and here. I'm excited it's also on the cover :). I knit my version of this one over Christmas and wore it a LOT while still keeping it a secret (thankfully, the dog doesn't blog about what I wear on our walks) last winter. Very cozy on cooler days.

I really enjoy working with Wool of the Andes - great stitch definition on cables and super warm. This sweater is worked from the top down, back and forth in one piece, and there's short row shaping on the neck and tops of the sleeves. The cables continue up the saddle shoulders and onto the collar - I like buttoning mine right up to have the extra warmth around my neck.

I'm hating the thought that cooler weather is right around the corner, but cozy sweaters and fall knitting take the edge off a bit.

July 21, 2013

fin de la tour

I guess, technically, I accomplished my meager Tour de Fleece goal of getting back into spinning, but I really didn't spin as much as I could have, or have done in years past. Some knitting, sewing, dyeing, living got in the way of that. However, this managed to turn into this:

Pigeonroof Studios BFL in 'mollusc'. +/- 300 yds sportweight.

And these leftover polwarth dyeing experiments from 3 years ago became these:

I have about 550 yds sportweight between them, so I figure they'll make a cute pair of striped socks someday.

There is also a small update of polwarth combed top in the shop.

Happy weekend!

July 4, 2013

back on the horse

I can't believe it's been two months since I last posted here. Well, actually, I can. Because May and June always kick my butt with their mayhem and this year was no exception. I feel like I haven't had a lot of knitting time. But I did knit something I can't talk about yet in a stunningly gorgeous yarn. Then I knit the girl a sock in some Manos Alegria but I'm ripping it back because her foot has grown a lot since the last time I made her socks. I guess that was awhile ago. And I have a sweater idea that is holding my brain hostage so I've been working on that.

And it's Tour de Fleece time again. I was going to sit out this year, but Odessa enticed me back to my neglected wheel. She has been spinning like a maniac. I have meagerly managed to get half of this:

to look like this

   More soon. Happy 4th of July, US friends!

May 5, 2013

TACOL testknit

Pattern: Taking a Chance on Love by Connie Peng
Yarn: Ecotone  (a new base I'm dyeing) in 'Why Don't You Marry It'

I couldn't resist asking Connie if I could testknit this freaking gorgeous shawl when she made it a few weeks ago. I think the cables winding over the lacy pattern are fantastic. She's written it for three sizes, so you can make it as big as you like. I made the medium and used almost 600yds of a light fingering/heavy laceweight yarn I started dyeing a few weeks ago.

It has a nice tight, smooth 6-ply construction that was perfect for lacework. It also has an extra big, 150g / 750 yd skein so I could use just one for this shawl. I'm really happy with it.

I'm looking forward to wearing this over a t-shirt now that it's finally warming up. I had forgotten how much I love knitting shawls.

April 24, 2013

spring sale

I'm in house cleaning mode and that includes the Etsy shop, so from today until May 1st get 20% off with coupon code SPRING13! (Go here)

April 7, 2013

spring socks

Pattern: Monkey socks by Cookie A
Yarn: Doodles in String Sock in 'Edamame'

I know I just finished making this pattern for my friend but I finally wanted a pair for myself, so here's my third iteration. Because of all my practice I can make this pattern in about a week, plus I have an undying love for sock knitting, plus I wanted to try my Sock yarn on an actual pair socks, so I really couldn't resist.

 I took numerous pictures in an attempt to capture the yellow/green/fresh plant shoot colour of this yarn. The light kept changing. Since we still have 3' of snow around here I was desperate for something in this colour.

I'm really happy with this yarn base for socks - great stitch definition, good twist, soft but with lots of strength from the nylon, and good yardage. I think it will definitely be my go-to yarn for socks from now on.

April 6, 2013

Bohus hat

Pattern: 'Red Light Hat' by Kersten Olsson
Yarn: Bohus Angora-Merino by Solsilke

This is a project dear to my heart that has only languished in the WIP pile for too long because it's very lightweight (though warm due to the angora in the yarn) and in these parts we have hot summers, cold winters and not a lot of mild weather in between in which to wear such a thing. However, this winter is taking its sweet time leaving, so I'm wearing it right now.

The Bohus Stickning movement was started in Sweden in the late 1930's as way to provide employment for knitters in hard economic times. There's a good summary here as well as some images of the amazing garments that were designed, knit and sold. This Red Light Hat was designed in 1959, and she recreated the design in turquoise and blue as well.

The hats, as well as cardigan and pullover versions of this design are available as kits through Solveig Gustafsson on her Solsilke site here - click on 'Bohus Stickning' at the top to see kits.

Solveig dyes all the shades of yarn herself and this laceweight blend of angora and merino is really gorgeous.

I'm glad my motivation to finish all WIPS this year has given me such a fab hat.

March 21, 2013

autumn frost 2

Pattern: Autumn Frost Socks by Susi Ferguson
Yarn: St. Denis Boreale in 'Chalk Blue', 'Fjord', 'Black' and 'White'

I started these almost a year ago and got one done before other things took over and they were put down. I want to finish off as many WIPs as possible this year, so two nights ago I grabbed this bag and knocked out the second sock. It's a highly entertaining pattern (I've made them once before about 2 years ago, for my Mom), written by Susi who designs amazing stranded things of all shapes.

This is one of my favourite yarns of all time, and it's very sad that it's discontinued. If you ever get your hands on some I highly recommend it for colourwork, especially.

I've felt really unmotivated about blogging, dyeing, spinning, knitting etc. lately. I suspect it may be this unending winter and the constant flow of low grade flus/colds going around my house. I'm not sure. I hope spring weather and regular running will bring back my mojo and focus. In the meantime, knit on!