November 14, 2019

F.O. A Sparkly Ranunculus by Midori Hirose

Pattern:  Ranunculus

Designer:  Midori Hirose
Colourway:  Sapphire

Yarn:  Sweet Georgia Yarns CashLuxe Spark:  80% Merino, 10% Cashmere Goat 10% Stellina (2 skeins)

Colourway:  Sapphire

Yarn:  Sweet Georgia Yarns Silk Fog:  76% Silk 24% Mohair (3 skeins)

Colourway:  Sapphire

Needles: 6.0 mm

Ravelry:  see notes here

Added Notes:

1.  Last year I ordered the Sweet Georgia Advent Calendar.  In the calendar were a variety of mini skeins, including CashLuxe Spark and Silk Fog.  I enjoyed knitting with these yarns (read more about it here) and fell in love with the Sapphire colourway. I knew that I had to knit a sweater with these yarns.
I made a bunch of elves with the Advent calendar skeins (sapphire on the left).
I knit Ranunculus by combining one strand of CashLuxe Spark and one strand of Silk Fog. The resulting sweater far surpassed my expectations.  I have knit with many yarns over the years, and I have to say that this combination is one of my absolute favourites.  The combination of silk, mohair, merino, cashmere and stellina in the yarns creates an incredibly soft sweater with a slight halo.  The silk gives it a sheen and the stellina gives it a sparkle.  Although the sparkle is a bit toned down by the Silk Fog, there is still a pleasing amount of sparkle in this sweater.  I just love it...once I put the sweater on, I didn't want to take it off.  I wish you could try it on to see how great it feels. 
2.  This is the second time I knit Ranunculus.  A top down sweater knit on 6mm needles knits very quickly, and there is just enough lace at the top to add interest.  Another reason I like this pattern so much is that it can be knit in a variety of yarns and weights.  For example, my first version of this sweater was a short sleeve version knit in a DK weight yarn (see blog post here).  The designer has also provided options with the neckline and sleeve length. It is an easy pattern to modify.
Ranunculus knit in Camilla Fiber Co. CFC Flax DK
3.  I really liked Melissa's version (from Espace Tricot) and I followed her modifications.  I knit the body to 10" then worked 3" of twisted rib.  For the sleeves I knit straight for 11" then worked 2" of twisted rib.  The only difference was I knit the smaller neck.  When I blocked the sweater I just lay the sweater out and pinned only the ribbing.  This sweater grew just the right amount and the sleeves are the perfect length for me.  

4.  I found that I preferred the sweater worn with a camisole.  I did not have a store bought cami in sapphire. However, I did have 100% rayon fabric in the exact colour and the Ogden Cami pattern by True Bias.  Have I mentioned that I am working on developing my sewing skills?  This was the perfect opportunity to sew this popular pattern.  As I am new to sewing I found working with the slippery rayon was a bit challenging.  I am really pleased with the result and I love how it feels next to the skin.  I will definitely be making more versions of this pattern.  I have a long way to go with my sewing skills but as long as you don't look too closely it will do.  : )

Ogden Cami by True Bias

Is this my last Ranunculus?  I don't think so.  I have big plans...stay tuned.

November 2, 2019

Visiting Loop London & Shell Cottage Socks

On a recent trip to London I had the pleasure of visiting Loop London, a yarn store located a short walk from the Angel Tube Station.  Although I visited right after the store opened for the day, it was already quite busy, with locals, as well as many tourists like me.  

I don't know what other knitters do, but I have learned to prepare myself before visiting a yarn shop on my travels.  I research what unique items the yarn shop carries that aren't available at home.  I find that having a list helps me focus when I enter one of these stores, as every coherent thought seems to leave my mind as I immerse myself in all the delights the store has to offer.  The list helps me to chose my yarn thoughtfully.

Loop is a cosy, two floored store with yarns from around the world. Fingering and lace weight yarn are located on the main floor, while heavier weight yarns and an awesome collection of books and patterns, are found upstairs. 

The main floor:

Yaku Blanket

Snail Yarn

Jamieson's of Shetland


An amazing selection of books and patterns

Ito Sensai Mohair + Silk

La Bien Aimée

Harlequin Blanket

To be honest I had planned to buy a sweater's quantity of yarn from Loop.  But when I converted the cost of six skeins of yarn to Canadian dollars I changed my mind. However, I did not go home empty handed:

I bought a few skeins of La Bien Aimée which I already have planned projects for.
La Bien Aimée Merino DK
Colour:  Doe

La Bien Aimée Mohair Silk
Colour:  Vespa

La Bien Aimée Merino Single
Colour:  Peerie Voe
On the long flight from Canada to London I worked monogamously on my Shell Cottage Socks by Helen Stewart, and finally finished them shortly after I have returned home. I really admire people who knit lace socks at a quick pace.  Everytime I cast on a pair it takes me quite a while to finish. I knit these socks in Hedgehog Fibres Sock in the colourway Jelly.  The pattern is well written using the percentage system that Helen Stewart is famous for.  The lace pattern is easy to knit, but it took me a lot longer to finish them than I originally thought.  This is my first time using Hedgehog Fibres Sock and I was not too impressed.  Maybe it was the particular skein I had, but I found the yarn split very easily, and I needed to knit with very pointy needles to help compensate for that.  The finished socks are so pretty and I know I will enjoy wearing them.  However, I think my next pair of socks will be a plain vanilla pattern.  

Shell Cottage Socks

Lastly, I want to share with you the cutest sheep cup I found in Marks and Spencers.

Of course I couldn't leave London without it!  If you are planning a trip to London don't miss out on Loop London.  It's worth the visit.

September 14, 2019

F.O. Winston Pullover #3 by Jane Richmond

Pattern:    Winston Pullover

Designer:  Jane Richmond

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Solids (80% Acrylic, 20% Wool)

Colourway: Wheat and Charcoal

Yarn: Rowan Big Wool (100% Merino)

Colourway:  Pine Needle

Yarn:  Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool (100% Wool)


Yarn:  Estelle Yarns Gladstone Chunky (50% Merino, 50% Acrylic)

Colourway:  421

Needles: 12mm & 8mm

Size:  38

Ravelry:  see further notes

Added Notes:

1.  Last winter I made two Winston Pullovers, one for me (read about it here), 

and one for my daughter: 

Mine got quite a bit of wear's such a perfect sweater to throw on during those chilly days.  I love it so much that I thought it would be great to knit a cropped version.  I had leftover yarn from the two Winston pullovers taking up space in my stash.  Also, I had picked up three skeins of Rowan Big Wool on sale in my favourite colour green and was ready to get it on the needles.

2.  Modifications:  Using my original Winston Pullover as a guide, I counted the number of rows I would need to knit in order to get my desired length.  The magic number for me was 11 rows for each of the five coloured stripes.  My sweater hits my waist, making it the perfect length to work well with skirts and high waisted pants.  The body measures 12 inches from the underarm.

4.  I needed yarn for the fourth stripe as I didn't have any super bulky yarn in my stash that would work.  After a few false starts I combined two strands of Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool with one strand of Estelle Yarns Gladstone Chunky, in order to equal the thickness of the other yarns I used.  There are flecks of black, green, brown and a bit of blue in the Gladstone Chunky.  I am still wondering if I should have gone with a different colour for that stripe.  However, the feeling of using up deep stash is very satisfying.  Luckily all the yarns in this sweater, although from different companies, played well together and created a consistent gauge.

5.  I am not a fan of acrylic yarns but there is something about the Lion Brand Wool-Ease that I quite like.  It feels warm and cozy to wear and the price is so reasonable.  If you have never tried this yarn before it's worth a look.

6.  I am a huge fan of Jane Richmond and I love every one of her patterns that I have knit.  You would think that a super bulky sweater may not be the most flattering, but Jane seems to know how to design a sweater that looks great on everyone.  I am eagerly waiting the release of a man's sweater that she is currently designing and keeps hinting about on Instagram.

7.  If I haven't convinced you yet to knit this sweater here is my last point.  Super bulky yarn knits up super fast. You could easily knit this sweater in a week.  What are you waiting for?  Look in your might have exactly what you need and don't be scared to combine yarns.  Just knit a sample swatch and experiment with your yarn.  Happy knitting!

July 7, 2019

F.O. Ranunculus by Midori Hirose

Pattern:  Ranunculus

Designer: Midori Hirose  (website:  Knit Cafe Midori)

YarnCamellia Fiber Co. CFC Flax DK  (50% Alpaca 25% Linen 25% Silk) 270yards (2 skeins)
Camellia Fiber Co. CFC Flax DK

Colourway:  Cenote

Needles:  6.00 mm

Ravelry:  see notes

Added Notes:

1.  I have had Ranunculus in my queue for some time but I couldn't figure out what yarn I wanted knit it with.  I finally spotted, deep in my stash, three skeins of Camellia Fiber Co. CFC Flax DK that I thought might work well.  I got gauge on 6mm needles and I loved the fabric it created.  This yarn consists of such an interesting combination of fibers, creating a fabric that is airy and drapey, with a beautiful halo, and so soft against the skin.  Surprisingly this pattern uses up very little yarn and I ended up only using two of my skeins.  If Camellia Fiber Co. yarn is new to you check out their website here.  The yarn is absolutely gorgeous and hand dyed in small batches.

2.  This pattern was fun and so quick to knit, taking me only about a week.  The pattern was well written and easy to follow, and I can see why many people have made more than one version. This is definitely not a beginner pattern as there are a number of techniques used that are not beginner friendly, such as German short rows, as well as lace stitches.  However, the pattern is so well written that an adventurous beginner could figure it all out, using the video links in the pattern to assist with the tricky bits.

3.  I knit the short sleeved version of Ranunculus.  The only modification I made to the pattern was to add length. I knit my sweater 10 inches from the underarm with a twisted rib of 3 inches.  After blocking the length only increased by one inch and I was super happy with the fit.  The original pattern comes in one size but there is also an added modified pattern for larger bust sizes 38 to 48".  There is also a long sleeved version.   

4. Is there another Ranunculus in my future...absolutely!  It is one of those patterns where you have instant gratification as it is so fun and quick.  I definitely want to knit it again, experimenting with a different yarn.  There are so many beautiful versions on Ravelry I definitely recommend you have a look for inspiration.

May 25, 2019

Stephen & Penelope Yarn Shop: Amsterdam

I have dreamed about going to Amsterdam for so many years and my wish finally came true.  I was so happy to visit this amazing city.  First on my list was a visit to the Keukenhof Gardens to see the tulips.  I was not disappointed as  the beauty of this place far surpassed what I had imagined.

Second on my Amsterdam list was a visit to Stephen & Penelope, a cozy yarn store situated in the heart of the city, owned partly by the infamous designer Stephen West. This store had an impressive variety of brightly coloured yarn from Europe and North America.  Of course I wore my orange Lumpy Space shawl designed by Stephen West which I had knit for this trip. 

Even though Stephen West was not in the store I enjoyed every minute of my visit, admiring the many gorgeous skeins of yarn.  Here are a few of my favourite photos:

West Wool:  Tandem

Stephen & Penelope St. Magnus DK Orkney Angora
La Bien Aimeé: Westknits Goes to Paris

Fru Valborg
Qing Fibre
Qing Fibre
Qing Fibre
Garn Stories


A huge wall of Hedgehog Yarn

Lingarn Yarn

I really enjoyed seeing all the Stephen West design samples.  Here are a few of my favourites:

Mohairino Medley:  this shawl is definitely going into my queue

It was very hard to just pick a few skeins to take home as there were just so many lovely choices.  I picked some skeins that would be hard to find in Canada.  This is what ended up coming home with me:

Walk Collection Kid Mohair Lace

Undercover Otter:  Otter Pup

Qing Fibre Melted Baby Suri

Walk Collection Kid Mohair Lace

I am looking forward to knitting with these skeins as whatever I knit will always remind me of this special place.  Amsterdam was truly a wonderful city and I enjoyed every minute of my holiday there.  Now what should I knit with this yarn?