October 4, 2015

F.O. Mailin in Plucky Knitter Scholar

Did you ever knit a pattern where every moment spent on it was so relaxing and it simply made you happy?  That's what happened when I was knitting this beautiful sweater by Isabell Kraemer called Mailin.  The pattern was well written and easy to follow, and the combination of pattern and yarn just worked out beautifully.  The yarn I chose for this project was the colourway Twill in Plucky Knitter Scholar, a lovely combination of merino (75%) and cashmere (25%). 

Plucky Knitter:  Scholar
Although I had other projects on the go, including two other sweaters, it was this project that I wanted to knit the most.  This pattern was straight forward, which I really appreciated, as my work life was extremely hectic during the time I knit it. Scholar was lovely to work with and I have found that a sweater knit up in this yarn is soft, lofty and warm. Knitting in a worsted weight yarn is so satisfying as you feel like you are making quick progress.  

I used three circular needles to knit the sleeves instead of the suggested dpns. I find that when using dpns my gauge gets much tighter and I have to adjust either the stitches and/or the needle size.  But using three circular needles completely solves the problem and I knit in a gauge that is consistent with the rest of the sweater.

Using circular needles on my sleeves
Instead of using the suggested M1R/M1L increases in the sleeve area I choose to use lifted increases as recommended in the Craftsy video:  Essential Techniques You Should Know by knitting expert Sally Melville.  It is Sally's preferred increase. This video is an excellent resource that I highly recommend…I use it over and over again and I think even the most experienced knitter would discover some helpful tips.

Anyway here is the finished product...I am so pleased with it.  This is one of these sweaters that I am looking forward to snuggling into as the days get cooler.  And I will always remember how knitting this sweater, during one of my busiest times at work, really helped me relax after a long day.  Knitting is magical, don't you agree?

September 20, 2015

Caterpillargreen Yarns

Sometimes when I get new yarn, it stops me in my tracks and I leave it on my desk where I can admire it.  This is the yarn that I am currently enjoying:

Of course, it didn't arrive in that state.  It arrived like this, hiding it's inner beauty:

 But then when it was opened up this gorgeous rainbow of colour appeared.

This beauty, my friends, is Caterpillargreen Yarns created on Vancouver Island located in British Columbia.  I was lucky to grab a skein during an online sale in order to make the Playground Shawl by Justyna Lorkowska, a free pattern available on Ravelry.  It is MCN Fingering yarn in the colourway Concrete & Tulips, a 70% superwash merino, 20% cashmere and 10% nylon blend.  So soft!  If you have never seen the Caterpillargreen Yarns website, I highly recommend you check it out.  The yarn sold on this website is self-striping and comes in many gorgeous colourways.  They are not made available very often so you have to be quick.  However, you're in luck if you live in Vancouver or nearby. Caterpillargreen Yarns will have a booth at Knit City October 2-4. 

As for me this yarn will stay on my desk for some time where I can admire it.  


That's all I have to say : )

September 13, 2015

Fall Knitting: Sweet Fiber Yarn, Baby Cocktails & Much More!

I just love this time of year.  Are you like me?  The days are becoming cooler and I start eyeing my hand knits, wanting to wear them once again.  There is the excitement of new patterns popping up on Ravelry, and ideas about what I want to knit this fall are swirling around in my head.  

One item I will definitely be knitting is socks, using the latest installment of Sweet Fiber Yarns Sock Club called Stepping Stones, which arrived in the mail this week. Isn't it lovely?  If you haven't knit with Sweet Fiber Yarns before here's your chance.  Melissa Thomson keeps hinting about an upcoming shop update selling Cashmerino DK...so stay tuned. If you look at her Instagram account you will see some of the photos of this most gorgeous yarn. And then to top it off Baby Cocktails has blogged about a pattern that she has designed using Sweet Fiber Yarns. (If you click on the link I provided to Baby Cocktail's blog you will see the orange knit..maybe Spiced Pumpkin?).  I confess that I am not good at waiting so I emailed Thea Colman of Baby Cocktails and asked what kind of pattern it was.  She told me it was a scarf using four skeins of Cashmerino DK. She is an amazing designer and the combination of Sweet Fiber Yarn and this pattern will be stunning.  Hopefully the pattern will be released soon.

Sweet Fiber Yarns Super Sweet Sock in 'Stepping Stones'
There are so many lovely pattern collections that have been released recently.  Have you had time to look them over? Here are a few that caught my interest:

Fall Back:  A Plucky Knitter Collection
Amirisu Issue 8-Fall 2015
Knitty Deep Fall 2015
Sweet Georgia Fall 2015

And then, of course, Brooklyn Tweed Fall 2015 is coming out on September 16th which is always gorgeous.

But before I start any new patterns I need to work on the Slade cardigan I am knitting for my son.  I wanted to show you the swatch I knit for it using Harrisville Watershed.  I love how the yarn bloomed after blocking and the specks of colour in the Granite colourway adds a lovely dimension. I can hardly wait to see what this pattern will look like knit in this yarn.  (For those of you interested in buying this yarn in Canada you can order it online from Urban Yarns in Vancouver).

Harrisville Watershed swatch
I am also slowly working on my Mailin knit in the lovely Plucky Knitter Scholar. This is a simple and relaxing knit, a perfect pattern for me  to work on when I am so busy at work.  I can easily pick it up and knit a couple rounds even when I am tired at night.

Mailin progress

And if I wasn't already in the mood for fall knitting I was lucky enough to attend the annual Knitter's Fair held in Kitchener/Waterloo. There were so many beautiful yarns, knitted samples and knitting bags.  Here are a few things that caught my attention starting with the big photo on the left and working clockwise:

1.  Dream In Colour Yarn Classy with Cashmere (Needle Emporium)
2.  Bare Naked Wools:  Better Breakfast (Shall We Knit)
3.  Magmatic Boom knit in Party of 5 Kit from Sweet Georgia (Needle Emporium)
4.  A gorgeous sock yarn blanket by Passion Knit
5. Madelinetosh Merino Light (Needle Emporium)
Sights at Knitter's Fair in Kitchener, Waterloo

And as for my purchases I could not resist String Theory Caper Sock in Kiwi, 80% merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon blend from Shall We Knit. 

String Theory Caper Sock
I really seem to gravitate toward green. I have no idea what I am going to knit with it but I am looking forward to figuring it out.  So happy planning everyone...I look forward to seeing what you all create.

September 7, 2015

F.O. Lake Effect

Have you ever looked at a pattern for the first time and knew you had to knit it? That's what happened to me as soon as I saw Lake Effect by Amy Miller.  

Sweet Fiber Super Sweet Sock in Chartreuse
I knew exactly what colour I wanted: Sweet Fiber Yarns Super Sweet Sock in Chartreuse. I fell in love with this colour after I knit my Cladonia.  It is a hard colour to capture on camera but, trust me when I say, it is gorgeous.   


I joined the the Very Shannon Summer Sweater Knit Along and got knitting. This KAL began at the end of July and ran until Labour Day Weekend.  I love this annual KAL as there are many enthusiastic participants and it is very motivating for me.

The pattern was easy to follow. Knit from the bottom up, using a 3.5mm needle, I used markers in between lace repeats which helped me spot my errors easily. 

When knitting the sleeves I went up a sleeve size as I always knit so much tighter when using dpns.  Unfortunately my first sleeve still came out tighter than I would have liked.  My friend Judy suggested I try knitting the second sleeve in the round.  That triggered an idea.  Instead of trying Magic Loop I decided to put the second sleeve on two circular needles....half the stitches on one circular needle and the other half on another.  Then taking a third circular needle I started knitting the sleeve.  Not only was I able to knit faster using this technique, but when I measured the width compared to the first sleeve, the second sleeve was turning out wider.  I switched back to dpns at this point as I didn't want to have two different sized sleeves.  However, this was a lightbulb moment for me as I realized that I would definitely use three circular needles for sleeves in the future as it would prevent me from having tightly knit sleeves and would speed up my knitting. So thank you Judy! 

One sleeve to go!

I love the comparison of the photo above pre-blocking and then the photo below after blocking.  Do you see how the lace just opened up?  Blocking is the best part of the knitting process for me.

All blocked

Now the weather just needs to cool off so I can wear it!  I hope you all are having a wonderful long weekend and are getting excited about the fall knitting ahead.

August 30, 2015

A Knitting Store Adventure

As summer comes to an end I wanted to share a funny yarn story with you all. When travelling to B.C. this summer, my husband had to first make a business stop in Calgary.  When we arrived he went off to the Calgary office and I decided I needed a long walk to stretch my legs.  Of course, a walk with yarn at the end is highly desirable.  I found a yarn store called Stash which was about 2.5 km away from the hotel we were staying at.  No problem, I thought.  It was a lovely sunny day, a perfect day for a walk.  

However, I noticed as I walked that the clouds were getting darker in the distance.  By this point I was closer to the yarn store than I was to the hotel.   By the time I made it to the yarn store and took a quick tour around, it was getting really cloudy, and clouds in Calgary are much bigger and darker than here in Toronto!  When I asked the young girl at the shop if there were any cabs around, she told me they really didn't get out this way very often.  I made a quick decision to head back to the hotel.  I started off jogging, but then ended up in a full run as I could hear thunder and then see lightning. Now, I have to admit I ran by people that didn't look concerned at all so I probably looked like a crazy woman. There was really nowhere I could take cover as the street only had apartment buildings, a park and a parking lot. Then when I looked up in the distance I saw a funnel cloud.  Yes, that's right.  A real funnel cloud.  I ran faster!  Thankfully, the tornado never hit the city and I got back to the hotel before the rain hit.  Now, to prove to everyone that I was not hallucinating here is a picture I took of the news in the hotel bar. This is exactly what I had seen in the distance.  My husband bought me a drink (or two!) and we had a good laugh about my adventure.  

It's been one of those weeks.  I really wanted to finish my Lake Effect cardigan as part of the Very Shannon Summer Sweater KAL (knit-a-long) I am taking part in.  I have until September 9th to complete it.  But instead of finishing up that last lace sleeve, I started knitting my Mailin in the gorgeous Plucky Knitter Scholar in the Twill colourway.  Knitting a cardigan with worsted weight is so much faster than fingering weight.  It is the kind of relaxing pattern that will be perfect as I head into September, which is a very busy time for me at work. I guess I really needed a break from lace knitting.  Hopefully by next weekend I will have finished my Lake Effect and have a F.O. to show you.

Plucky Knitter:  Scholar

After I finish Lake Effect I will cast on a Brooklyn Tweed pattern called Slade, by Michele Wang, for my very patient son who has been waiting for me to knit him a cardigan for a long time.  When I chose this pattern I knew exactly the yarn I wanted and when I was out in Vancouver I visited one of my favourite B.C. yarn stores called Urban Yarns to buy it. They carry a yarn by Harrisville Design (the same company that produces Brooklyn Tweed's yarn) called Watershed, a 100% wool worsted weight yarn. This yarn is described as a softspun, minimally processed heathered woolen yarn. The shade I chose is called Granite, a medium gray flecked with an interesting combination of colours.  Have a look:

Harrisville Designs: Watershed

Colourway:  Graphite

Depending on the light I can see red, blue, and yellow flecks, to name a few. This yarn is very lofty, and I am really interested to see how it will knit up. 

And lastly, look at this interesting skein of yarn that I could not resist buying recently from the Madelinetosh store.  It is called Electric Rainbow in DK Twist.  I am thinking of some mittens or a hat for one of my nieces.

Electric Rainbow: Madelinetosh DK Twist

I hope you all have some exciting knitting projects set up for September.  Fall knitting here we come!

August 23, 2015

Kate Atherley: Custom Socks

Check this picture out:

Knitting two socks at the same time!!!

That's right my friends.  Your eyes are not deceiving you.  I am knitting two socks at the same time using two needles.  No double pointed needles are in sight. Think of how this new found skill will change my knitting life.  I could knit two sleeves at the same time or how about two pairs of mittens?  Think of the possibilities.  And how did this magic happen you may be asking yourself?  If you have read any of my blog entries lately you will know that I am totally a newbie sock knitter and have only knit two pairs of socks in my life. The person sharing this bit of knitting magic was the one and only Kate Atherley.

This weekend I had the opportunity to take my first class with Kate Atherley at Shall We Knit in Waterloo, one of my favourite yarn stores.  What a thrill!   Kate is a Canadian knitter, designer, lead technical editor at Knitty and author to name just a few of her many accomplishments. She has just come out with a new book entitled Custom Socks.  Kate explains in depth how to knit good fitting socks for all shapes and sizes of feet.  There is also a selection of lovely sock patterns to choose from.

Kate taught us how to knit two socks at the same time, perfect for those people who never get around to knitting that second sock.  This method is easy to learn once you have seen someone do it.  To begin you start by dividing your yarn into two separate balls.  Then cast on.

To start:  Cast on the number of stitches for each sock and divide in half between the two needles

Then:  Use the top cable to knit both top rows in each sock

You always knit from the needles that do not have the working yarn.  It is definitely worth searching a YouTube video on how to do it and it is a great option to use.  Once you see a demonstration it is easy to learn.

I received the latest installment of Sweet Fiber Yarns Sock Club yarn called Riverstone and wasn't sure what I wanted to do with this beauty.  But once I took Kate Atherley's class I knew I that I had to practice my new found skill using this yarn before I forgot what to do.  Isn't this skein gorgeous? 

Sweet Fiber Yarn Super Sweet Sock in Riverstone

I love learning new techniques and I going to enjoy knitting these socks using my new found skill.  I will post my progress on Instagram  if you are interested. But first I must finish my Lake Effect cardigan.  Have you tried any new techniques lately?

August 16, 2015

F.O. Acer Cardigan

Doesn't it feel great when you use up a good amount of stash yarn?  I had some Madelinetosh DK in Copper Penny that I bought some time ago and I decided to knit the Acer Cardigan by Amy Christoffers which used up about 5.5 skeins. 

I really enjoyed knitting this cardigan.  It was a nice break to use a thicker yarn after doing so many projects with fingering weight.
  • the cable pattern is easy to memorize and therefore the body went fairly quickly
  • it is knit bottom-up in one piece 
  • the resulting sweater fits well and looks good!

I found the perfect buttons at Wal-mart!
My Modifications
  • The pattern directed you to knit the sleeves from the cuff up and then seam it into the sleeve hole.  Although I do enjoy the advantages of a seamed sweater I really wasn't in the mood to do it this way. Instead I decided to do a sleeve cap and knit the sleeves in the round.  To get me started I used another pattern, called Capall Dubh by Carol Feller that I had knit before and loosely followed what was written. 
  • I cast on 76 stitches and once the sleeve cap was completed I basically decreased two stitches every ten rounds and them every six rounds once I got by the elbow.  The result was a well fitted sleeve and I avoided seaming.

  • When you knit a sleeve cap, as I did in this pattern, you are sometimes left with a loose looking seam.  Following advice from other Ravellers who knit this sweater I tried a new to me method for tightening up the seam by Paula Ward.  Essentially you add a second coloured yarn on the row where you pick up the stitches around the arm hole.  Then when you have knit the sleeve cap you go back and use the coloured stitches to tighten the seam.  The coloured yarn is removed and you have a much smoother seam.
  • The directions for the collar had some inaccurate information.  When picking up stitches you need to pick up a multiple of 4 + 2 for it to work out evenly.
  • How to do button holes were not explained.  I used a k2together yarn over to make mine.
  • There was little direction given about the spacing of button holes.  I used Amy Herzog's app Knitter's Toolbox for the first time.  One of the helpful features of this app is a button spacer which made it so easy for me. However, when I was inputting the numbers, I forgot to include the number of stitches in the neckband since it is the last thing you knit.  As a result my top button is not evenly spaced.  Rookie mistake. Usually I keep my cardigan unbuttoned when I wear it so I hope no one will notice!
By the way, this app is so helpful and I will definitely be using it more in the future. Look at all the features it has:

Knitter's Toolbox by Amy Herzog

Have you been working on anything for fall yet?  Do you have any recommendations?  I find that the pattern choices are so extensive that sometimes finding the pattern you want to knit is more challenging than actually knitting it. If you are looking for a cabled sweater pattern you should definitely have a look at the Acer Cardigan.  There are almost 800 finished Acers out there so you can get a clear picture of whether this pattern is for you.

Happy fall knitting everyone!

Ravelry notes here.