February 12, 2017

Simple Woolfolk Hats

Sometime simple is better.  If you take a basic pattern and combine it with some luxurious yarn, such as Woolfolk, you can create something very special. Take for example the last two hats I knit.  I am so happy with how they turned out. They were an easy knit and  are wonderfully soft, warm and I can guarantee you, will get a tremendous amount of wear. 

For extra notes on these hats check out my Ravelry page.

Pattern:   On the C Train:  my Ravelry page
Designer:  Espace Tricot
Yarn:  Woolfolk Får 
100% ovis 21 Ultimate Merino
Colourway:  02
paired with 
Yarn:  Shibui Knits Silk Cloud
60% Mohair 40% Silk
Colourway:  Ash
Needles: 4.5 mm and 5 mm

Notes:  This is a free pattern by Espace Tricot, a yarn store I have on my bucket list to visit.  Thanks to Espace Tricot I am now hooked on knitting patterns combining mohair and merino yarn.  I tried this technique with a pair of mittens designed by Tin Can Knits and I was thrilled with the result.

Next I knit a hat for my husband:
Pattern:  Saku Hat:  my Ravelry project page
Designer:  Olga Buraya-Kefelian
Yarn:  Woolfolk Får 
100% ovis 21 Ultimate Merino
Colourway: 11
Needles: 4.5 mm 

Notes:  I knit this hat longer than written in the pattern so that my husband could fold the brim.  

And, then, since my husband loves his Saku Hat so much I started one more as a gift for my brother-in-law:

Woolkfolk Får:  Colourway 4

Pattern:  Saku Hat:  my Ravelry project page
Designer:  Olga Buraya-Kefelian
Yarn:  Woolfolk Får 
100% ovis 21 Ultimate Merino
Colourway: 04
Needles: 4.5 mm

I am such a big fan of Woolfolk Yarn.  If you haven't had the chance to try it I highly recommend it.  Trust me when I say you will love every minute of knitting with it, and your finished project will be so incredible you won't want to take it off. If only I could invest in a sweater's quantity.  I need to start buying lottery tickets! But for now these small projects bring me a lot of joy.

February 5, 2017

Knitting Bags

When I first started knitting all I needed was a skein of yarn and a set of knitting needles.  It was simple.  However, as my knitting expertise grew, so did my desire for other products.  From knitting needles to notions, to yarn, the options available for knitters are endless.

One accessory I don't mind investing in is a good knitting bag, and there are so many gorgeous ones to choose from.  I love the bags I have collected over the years, and I enjoy using each one.  Here are a few of my favourites:

1.  This Della Q bag is great for carrying socks or other small projects in.  The handles are the perfect size to put over your arm and knit as you go.  

Currently it's holding my Saku Hat by Olga Buraya-Kefelian that I am knitting in Woolfolk Far.

Saku Hat in Woolfolk Far

2.  Every knitter needs a waterproof bag (don't they?) and I bought this one (made by Decodelire) because I loved the size and the fun print. This came from the Needle Emporium and can hold a sweater quantity of yarn.  

3.  Then there is my collection of linen bags by a Canadian printmaker named Jenna Rose. They are well made, can be used for many purposes, and come in a variety of sizes.

Fits one skein of yarn
Fits 2-3 skeins of yarn

Fits 2-3 skeins
Fits 2-3 skeins

This is a big bag that can hold  around 15 skeins of yarn.  I store all my yarn for projects in my queue.

4.  Who doesn't love a Fringe Supply Bag?  My husband was sweet enough to give me one for Christmas from Purl Soho.  I just love how vibrant the colour is. It is so well made and contains lots of interior pockets that are so useful.

5.  Finally my latest purchase...a Hedgehog Fibres Invisible Project Bag available from Espace Tricot.  It's amazing how many skeins of yarn it can hold, and I will never forget what I put in it.  
This bag fits at least 7 skeins!

I am constantly impressed with the variety and quality of bags available.  Do you have any favourite sources or brands?

January 29, 2017

F.O. Contour Lines by Laura Aylor

Contour Lines is a pattern that I knit, as part of a MKAL (Mystery knit-along) called Just For You, that designer Laura Aylor was hosting before Christmas.  For those knitters who had bought one of Laura's patterns in the past it was free, a thoughtful way of thanking her customers.  For the remaining participants who paid for the pattern, she donated the earnings to a charity of her choice.  Each day, starting December 13th, she gave the participants a part of the pattern until the final clue on December 24th.  I was able to keep up with the KAL until the last two clues where my life was too crazy to find time to sit down and knit. I am happy to say I finished this beautiful cowl in January and can't be more pleased with the result.  Here's my version:

Pattern:  Contour Lines
Designer:  Laura Aylor
Yarn:  Madelinetosh 80/10/10 Worsted MCN
300 yards
Colourway:  Sand Dune
Needles:  4.5 mm

1)  The side I am photographing with the buttons is in actual fact, the back of the cowl.  The front of of the cowl dips down into a perfect "V", making this perfect for wearing under your coat, and keeping you cozy on those cold days.
Back of cowl
Right after ripping out my sweater before the yarn got a good soa
2)  This yarn was previously knit up in a sweater I never liked.  It was way too nice of a yarn to be wasted, so I ripped out my sweater, soaked the yarn and reskeined it all.  I still have enough yarn left to make a hat and mittens to go with this cowl.  Even the buttons are from an old sweater I had many years ago.

3)  And just as a side note, I recently bought a new lens that I am using for this blog.  I visited New York City over the holidays and my husband bought a new lens for my camera at B & H Photo for my birthday/Christmas present.  If you love photography then this is the store for you. The variety of cameras and products available was incredible, I have never seen anything like it.  The sales staff were extremely knowledgeable.  I absolutely love taking pictures and wanted to bring my photography skills to the next level.  I wasn't sure if I needed a better camera.  The extremely knowledgeable employee I spoke to really spent time with me, asking a lot of questions, before giving me advice.  He recommended spending my money on a good lens instead, and to practice with that for a while.  My new lens can still be used on an upgraded camera.  A lot of the pictures I have been putting on Instagram and on my blog recently are taken with my new Sony Macro FE 50mm lens.  I still need a lot of practice, but I am really liking the odd picture that I take.  I am looking forward to practicing and improving my skills.

The knitting world is amazing isn't it?  There are always so many KALs going on at any given time.  However, the Mystery Knit-a-longs are always a bit of a risk, as you have no idea what the finished product looks like.  In my experience I find that if I stick to MKALs hosted by designers whose work I love, then I usually am happy with the finished product.

Linking up with KCCO.

January 15, 2017

F.O. Louise

I am delighted to show you my first finished object for 2017.  

Louise Top Down

Pattern:  Louise Top Down (my Ravelry page) from Madder Anthology 2:  Simple Pleasures
Designer:  Carrie Bostick Hoge
Yarn: Berroco Peruvia (aran weight)
100% Wool 
Colourway: 7104 Taupe (5 skeins)
Yarn:  Quince & Co. Osprey (aran weight)
Colourway: Shell (1.5 skeins)

Needles:  5.5mm and 6mm 
Buttons:  M & J TrimmingNYC

Modifications:  None

This knit made me so happy for several reasons.  First, it only took me ten days to knit.  The beauty of an aran weight cardigan is it is done before you know it. As it was knit top down it was an easy pattern to follow and I was able to keep trying it on as I knit.

Secondly, the Berroco yarn was deep in my stash and there is something satisfying about finally using it.  Berroco Peruvia, being a twisted roving yarn, split easily while I was knitting, but the knitted fabric is very lofty and warm.

Another thing I love about this cardigan is the Quince & Co. Osprey Yarn I used for the ribbing and button band.  I love it.  It is just so squishy and the stitch definition is perfection.   I definitely see more of this yarn in my future. 

I am so happy that I will get to wear it this winter.  This sweater is light weight yet very warm, perfect for those sub zero days that we can have here in Canada.

If you haven't knit a heavier weight sweater in some time, and you live in a climate where you can wear one, I highly recommend this pattern.  The pattern is also written as bottom up if you prefer that method. (see Louise)

Now back to my fingering weight projects!

January 8, 2017

F.O. Entwine Scarf & The World's Simplest Mittens

My final two projects of 2016 were quick and cozy ones.  First up is Jane Richmond's Entwine Scarf from the newly published Within:  Knitting Patterns to Warm the Soul, by Jane and Shannon Cook.

Pattern:  Entwine Scarf:  my Ravelry project page

Designer:  Jane Richmond
Yarn:  Purl Soho Super Soft Merino
100% merino
Colourway:  Heirloom White 2 skeins
Needles: 10mm 

Notes:  I had been saving this yarn for a while.  It is incredibly squishy and soft, the perfect yarn for Jane Richmond' s scarf pattern. I used two skeins and I started a third one for the fringe.  (The scarf would still be long enough if you included the fringe in the two skeins).  The only thing I wished was that the scarf was wider.  With a width of 6.5 inches this is a skinny scarf.  I played around with the stitches, adding a few additional ones, but I really liked the look of the original pattern so I stuck with that.  The scarf is also long enough to wrap around your neck twice so the width is not really a problem. Jane recommends that the scarf not be blocked so I didn't.  The pattern was very simple to follow and being knit with super bulky yarn was a quick knit. I will definitely knit with this yarn again.

My final project of 2016 was:

Pattern: The World's Simplest Mittens:  my Ravelry project page
Designer:  Tin Can Knits
Yarn:  Tanis Fiber Arts Amber Label DK
75/15/10 blend merino/cashmere/silk
Colourway:  Jean Jacket
Yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Haze
70/30 blend mohair/silk
Colourway:  667
Needles:  3.75mm and 4.5mm

Tanis Fiber Arts Amber Label & Rowan Kidsilk Haze
Notes:  I had a lot of fun combining this two yarns together.  The yarns created the most luxurious pair of mittens with the prettiest halo.  Now I want to pair everything with Rowan Kidsilk Haze.  This is the first time I knit with Tanis Fiber Arts Amber Label and the combination of silk and cashmere was absolutely beautiful.  This pair of mittens was gifted to a young woman who is going through a hard time and I hope she enjoys them.
The World's Simplest Mittens

It's great when you can make something that knits up so quickly like these two projects.  I have quite a few longer term projects on the needles so this was a great break for me.

December 31, 2016

A Look Back: 2016

2016 was a great year for knitters. People were blogging, instagramming and podcasting about knitting and yarn more than ever before.  Everyday there seemed to be either a new pattern, yarn or Knit-a-long.  In honour of all things knitting I present my third annual list of Knitting Favourites of 2016. (You can check out my previous picks here:  2014 and 2015).  I have provided links if you wish to read more about any of my favourites.  

Best Yarn Shop:  I had the pleasure of visiting several amazing knitting stores this year.  Although I loved Fibre Space in Virginia I would have to say Tolt Yarn and Wool in Carnation, Washington is my absolute favourite yarn store. I loved everything about this store.  The staff were friendly, the variety and quantity of yarns were amazing, and the size and layout of the store was perfect. I admit it was quite a drive from Seattle, but I would do it all over again if I had the chance.  I had heard the hype about this store and after going there I truly get it.  It's that good

Tolt Yarn and Wool

Best Sweater/Cardigan:  This was a hard choice for me to make as I knit four cardigans and three sweaters, all of which I love.  I am improving on knitting the appropriate size for myself and picking the right yarn.  I decided to pick two favourites, the one I wear the most and then the one that I enjoyed knitting the most.  The one I wear the most is Madewell by Joji Locatelli knit in Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label (Painted Jeans colourway).  I love the multiple colours in this yarn and the style of this sweater.  It goes with everything.

Madewell by Joji Locatelli

My favourite sweater to make was the Clarke Sweater, by Jane Richmond, in Malabrigo Rios (Piedras colourway). I really love how this sweater showcases the yarn.  Although each skein appeared to be similar at first glance, once I started knitting I noticed how much each skein varied. I decided to alternate three skeins of Piedras and that seemed to help. Despite having to alternate skeins I loved knitting this pattern.  I am a big Jane Richmond fan as her patterns are gorgeous and well written.  I suspect I will knit another Clarke Sweater one day.
Clarke Sweater by Jane Richmond

Malabrigo Rios:  Piedras colourway

Best Knitted Accesssory:  My Antiquity Mitts by Alicia Plummer are my favourite accessory this year.  This pattern was the perfect fit with Camellia Fiber Company CFC Flax DK yarn (a combination of Alpaca, Linen and Silk).  I was amazed at how this yarn feels as it is so different from other yarns I have knit with.  I definitely would love to knit with this yarn again.
Camellia Fiber Company CFC Flax DK

Best Yarn Brand:  This year I really became interested in yarn that was not overly processed.  Although I have a lot of superwash yarn in my stash I have enjoyed trying yarn like Targhee-ColumbiaBluefaced Leicester and CVM/Romeldale  yarn.  I hope to continue trying other natural yarns in 2017. One of the coziest sweaters I knit this year is Georgetown by Hannah Fettig knit in West Yorkshire Spinners Fleece Bluefaced Leicester DK yarn.  This yarn is a work horse of a yarn and is the coziest sweater I have ever knit. I would love to try knitting cables with this yarn.

Georgetown by Hannah Fettig

Best Yarn Colour: There are so many pretty yarn colourways.  However, one really stood out for me this year.  When attending Indie Untangled in Rhinebeck I was able to see Voolenvine Yarns in person this year.  Now I see what the fuss is all about.  The colourways are stunning.  Look at this one in Kristen's Wolke base:

Voolenvine Yarns:  Faeirie Hair

Best Knitting Book:  I bought several knitting books this year but my favourite is Take Heart by Fiona Alice. This book was published by the same women who publish PomPom Quarterly and I think they did a wonderful job.  The patterns and photography are beautiful.

Best Knitting Instagram Feed:  There are so many amazing Instagrammers that I follow.  One of my favourites is The Plucky Knitter.  They are always posting inspiring photos of the most beautiful yarns and the patterns that I would love to knit.

Best Knitting Magazine:  I am a big fan of Pom Pom Quarterly.  There are several patterns I find I want to knit from each issue.  I finally got to knitting Vitsippa by Joji Locatelli from Issue 12 and was so pleased with the result.
Vitsippa by Joji Locatelli

Other honourable mentions go to two new magazines:  Making by Carrie Bostick Hoge and By Hand by Andrea Hungerford.  I really enjoyed reading them this year.

Best Knitting Blog: And speaking of Andrea Hungerford, my favourite knitting blog of the year is her Blueberry Hill Crafting blog.  Andrea is a prolific knitter and crafter and is always knitting items that I have in my queue.  She knits with the most amazing yarns, ones that I also have on my wishlist. She is honest in her analysis of her F.O.'s which I find extremely helpful.  You should check her out. 

Best Knitting Vlog/Podcast:  2016 was the year I got into the Grocery Girls podcast, knitting obsessed Canadian sisters living in Edmonton, Alberta.  They are so much fun to watch.  Even Joji Locatelli is a fan of theirs, naming her latest shawl The Girl From the Grocery Store, in honour of them.  I am definitely casting on this shawl in the New Year.

Best Knitting Accessory:  I am still smitten with these lovely screen printed bags created by Jenna Rose, an artisan from Ontario, Canada.  I love giving them as gifts.
Jenna Rose bag
Well that's it for another year.  Thank you for reading through my list of favourites.  I appreciate everyone who drops by my blog and especially those who take the time to add a comment. I look forward to seeing what everyone makes in 2017.   Happy New Year!!!  All the best in the coming year.