September 25, 2016

Fall Favourites on Ravelry

As a knitter I love this time of year.  As the air gets cooler, I reacquaint myself with my handknit shawls and sweaters that I haven't been able to wear for some time. Knitting turns to cooler weather projects such as my Clarke Pullover by Jane Richmond, which I am getting closer to finishing.  But as I remain on sleeve island for the next while, I wanted to take this opportunity to focus on a few new things in the knitting world.

Clarke Pullover by Jane Richmond
Have you noticed how many new patterns have been appearing on Ravelry this month? Everytime I look at Ravelry there are new patterns to check out.  Here are just a few that have caught my attention:

Baby Pattern
Mabel:  a free pattern by Fiona Alice for Loop Knit Lounge.  This is a sweet aran weight cardigan sized for children up to four years old.  I love all the details in this cardigan, especially around the neckline.

Copenhagen Callling:  a cowl knit in DK weight using two colours in three different patterns.  This knit is designed by one of my favourite designers, Isabell Kraemer, who is known for her beautiful and wearable patterns.  I like the fact that the cowl uses DK weight, which would knit up quickly and be warm for the cold days ahead.

Brooklyn Tweed has recently published their Fall 2016 pattern book.  The concept for this pattern collection is that each design comes in a male version and a female version.  The stand out for me is Mohr by Norah Gaughan.  This worsted weight cardigan, knit in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, is knit bottom up, combining lattice cables and ribs. The shorter length of this cardigan really appeals to me too.

If you are looking for a beautiful cabled sweater to knit this fall, look no further than Alina Schneider's (Gift of Knitting) newest pattern released this month, called Journey.  I like everything about this sweater.  The cables Alina chose for her design complement each other well and her attention to detail is wonderful. I think this is one of those sweaters that would look great to wear no matter what the occasion.

photo by Gift of Knitting

photo by Gift of Knitting
Plucky Knitter came out with Field Trip- A 2016 Plucky Knitter Collection containing a variety of patterns.  One that caught my eye is Alpenglow, a lace and cabled bulky shawl.  That would be a fun knit and I think I have the perfect yarn for it, some Super Soft Merino by Purl Soho.

Andrea Hungerford, of Blueberry Hill Craftingis publishing a new Serial called By Hand. I have been a fan of Blueberry Hill Crafting for a long time. Every picture that Andrea publishes on her Instagram or Blog is of the highest quality and I am sure By Hand will be no different. There are three issues planned for the first year. Her goal is to create a virtual travel guide for fiber and fabric enthusiasts describing makers around the country.  The first issue focuses on makers in Portland, Oregon and contains interviews with Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed, Woolfolk's Kristin Ford as well as independent yarn dyers such as Bumblebirch and Canon Hand Dyes.  I am very excited to check it out. Order information is here

It really is an incredible time to be a knitter. We have so many options with different yarns and patterns to choose from.  What are some of your favourites this fall?

September 18, 2016

WIP: Clarke Pullover by Jane Richmond

Knitting Challenge: 
Problem #1:  To find a sweater pattern that would suit a variegated yarn.
Yarn:  Malabriogo Rios:  100% merino (worsted weight)
Colourway:  Piedras
Needles: 4.5mm

Problem #2 No skeins are identical and two of the skeins I own are very light coloured
Malabrigo Rios
Note:  I have no idea why how I didn't notice a leaf on my yarn!

Light skein on the left, darker skein on the right

I wasn't sure what to do with this variegated yarn.  I knew I wanted to knit a sweater, but I was worried that a sweater knit in solid Piedras might be too busy for me.  After searching through Ravelry, I thought the Daelyn Pullover by Isabell Kraemer might work.  I really like the back of this sweater as it is knit in garter stitch, which always makes a variegated yarn look great.  But I believed that, in order to get a consistent colour in my sweater, I would have to alternate a lot of skeins. Who wants to do that?

I made the decision not to use the two lighter skeins and to find a pattern that I could use with just my four darker skeins.  This meant that I would not have enough yarn to knit a sweater.  I knew I needed another colour to work with Piedras. 

That's when I found Cocoa in Malabrigo Rios.

Problem #3  Find a pattern that would well with two colours.  

I had another look at the Clarke Pullover by Jane Richmond, which had been in my queue since the pattern first came out.  Most people on Ravelry knit it with two solid colours and I wasn't sure that it would look good with variegated yarn. I just went for it, knitting big stripes in Piedras, alternating with four rows of Cocoa.  I am really pleased with the effect.  This pattern is so well written and easy to follow. It's also a great sweater to knit if you are a beginner, and I am sure it will get a lot of use.

Clarke Pullover by Jane Richmond

I have to admit that I like a yarn challenge.  It was fun for me to look try and find the perfect pattern for my yarn.  Hopefully I will have enough yarn to complete the sweater and that it will look great when it's done.  Trust me when I say that I do not go through this much thinking everytime I pick out a pattern to knit.

What will my next knitting challenge be?

September 11, 2016

F.O. Vitsippa by Joji Locatelli

Although I came up with a list of what I wanted to knit next, I surprised myself by picking up a hat that I had started way back in February.  When I originally started knitting it, I was very concerned that it was going to be too small, so I had put the hat away and let it hibernate for a few months.  However, I could not resist this pattern and colour combination any further and finally started over, knitting Size 2.  Out it came, and once I started I couldn't put it down.

Pattern:  Vitsippa from Pompom Quarterly Issue 12:  Spring 2015
Designer:  Joji Locatelli

Yarn:  Tanis Fiber Arts Purple Label Cash Sillk Single (75% merino 15% cashmere 10% silk)
Colourway:  Papaya (from the Year in Colour Club 2013)
Yarn:  Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light (100% merino)
Colourway:  Antler

Size:  2
Needles:  3.25mm & 2.25mm for the brim
Modifications:  I made the brim slightly smaller than the pattern suggested, as I did not want my hat to be too slouchy.

1)  Tanis LavallĂ© of Tanis Fiber Arts creates the most beautiful colourways in my opinion.  TFA Purple Label, a single ply yarn, is lovely to knit with. I think this particular colourway is quite striking, and I had this yarn in my stash for quite a while waiting for the perfect pattern to showcase it. Once I saw Vitsippa I knew it was a great match and I am so happy with the result.

2)  I love knitting any designs by Joji Locatelli.  When you knit one of her designs you are assured of a well written, high quality pattern with great attention to detail.  For example, when I finished closing the crown I was surprised to see a flower right at the top.  I was not expecting that.  I was going to add a pompom to this hat, but I really like this flower too much to hide it.

3)  Have you tried knitting any patterns from Pompom Quarterly?  I am such a fan of this magazine, and have quite a few of the patterns in my queue (Fika, Catchfly, Waterlily, and Campside to name a few). Do you have any favourites?

And finally, thanks to all those that entered my three year blog anniversary contest.   The winner is  Alina from The Gift of Knitting.  I will be sending you the copy of Home and Away by Hannah Fettig.  Congratulations!

September 4, 2016

F.O. Antiquity by Alicia Plummer & A Giveaway!

Pattern:  Antiquity

Designer:  Alicia Plummer

Yarn:  Camellia Fiber Company CFC Flax DK (50% Alpaca 25% Flax 25% Silk

Colour:  Rose Quartz

Needles:  3.5mm KnitPro Karbonz Double Point Needles

1)  I usually knit with merino or wool blends so knitting with such a unique combination of fibers was quite an experience for me.  The yarn has a lovely sheen to it, a smooth texture and the alpaca gives it a lovely bloom.  I can't imagine how amazing a sweater would be in this yarn. Andrea, of Blueberry Hill Crafting, sweater made a Clarke Pullover with this yarn.  It must feel so luxurious to wear.  I would totally recommend this yarn and I am interested to try knitting with other yarn from Camellia Fibre Company.  Their yarn seems very unique.
2)  This pattern was easily memorized and I am so pleased with how the mitts turned out.  Since they are knit in a DK weight this pattern would be perfect for a quick gift.
3) As mentioned in a previous post this yarn was given to me by Blueberry Hill Crafting.  She posted a picture of it on Instagram and offered it to the first person who commented.  It was my lucky day.  Thank you Andrea!

In the spirit of giving, and in celebration of my three year blog anniversary, I would like to hold a giveaway for a copy of this book called Home & Away: Knits for Everyday Adventures by Hannah Fettig.  This book has so many beautiful sweaters, such as the Calligraphy Cardigan, Rosemont Cardigan and Georgetown.  To win this book simply comment below, adding your Ravelry I.D. and I will pick a name using the Random Number Generator on Sunday, September 11th and announce the winner

Home & Away by Hannah Fettig
I would like to thank all the people who take time to read my blog and I really appreciate those who reach out by commenting.  One thing I have learned since I began blogging is that the knitting world is full of the kindest people.  I have not only enjoyed writing my blog these past three years, I also have learned so much and been inspired by other blogs I read weekly.  Although I enjoy the speed at which I can post an Instagram photo, there is still something appealing about slowing down and writing a blog, documenting what I am working on.  So thank you everyone for stopping by!

August 16, 2016

On the Needles: Blue Brick Yarn, Camellia Fiber Company, & Sweet Fiber Yarns

After getting Madewell off my needles I was very happy to pick a few smaller projects to work on over the next few weeks.  I focused on three yarns I was excited to get on the needles, and after perusing Ravelry in search of that perfect pattern match, I decided on the following:

The first skein that was calling my name was Blue Brick Killarney Sock , an ombrĂ© yarn in the colourway Labradorite, an 80% merino and 20% nylon blend.

Blue Brick Killarney Sock

After seeing Julie Crawford's version of Starshower  I decided that I had to get this pattern out of my queue and onto my needles. This lacey cowl, designed by Hilary Smith Callis, is knit back and forth until it is long enough to be joined in the round.  Here's my progress so far.

Starshower by Alicia Plummer
Another skein I have  been excited to cast on is Camellia Fiber Company CFC Flax DK  in Rose Quartz that I have previously showed you.  I only have one skein of this yarn and I really wanted to pick a pattern to showcase this unique blend of fibers (50% alpaca, 25% flax, 25% silk).  I wish you could feel how soft this yarn is.  I have never knit with anything like it before.  After looking at many patterns I decided on Antiquity by Alicia Plummer, a beautiful set of mitts. I love the eyelets and I am so happy with how it's turning out.

Camellia Fiber Flax DK in Rose Quartz
And finally, the third pattern I started is a shawl that I have seen in person, when I was in Vancouver last month.  As mentioned previously in this blog I was quite taken by the display of softsweater's shawls that I saw on display at the yarn store 88 Stitches.  I really think the photos on Ravelry don't do them justice.  A fingering weight shawl called Lanterns was one I knew I definitely had to knit. However, instead of fingering yarn I decided to go with a DK yarn I had in stash called Sweet Fiber Yarns Cashmere DK in Spiced Pumpkin.  I have 800 m of this gorgeous yarn, and I feel that it is going to create a luxurious shawl, that will show off the beautiful stitches in this pattern very well.

Sweet Fiber Yarns Cashmere DK in Spiced Pumpkin


So there you have it, my friends.  That is my knitting plan for the immediate future.  What's on your needles?

August 9, 2016

F.O. Madewell by Joji Locatelli

Pattern:  Madewell, a cardigan designed by Joji Locatelli
Like all of Joji Locatelli's patterns this one was well written, and easy to follow.

Colour: One of a Kind (OOAK) Painted Jeans just a lovely combination of black, with tuquoise, green, purple, brown

YarnTanis Fiber Arts Blue Label  80% superwash merino 20% nylon, 3.5 skeins used

Needles: 3.5mm and 3.0mm for ribbing

Added Notes: Every now and again Tanis has an Etsy sale where she sells some unique colourways (OOAK) and Painted Jeans was one I instantly knew I had to buy.  The first pattern I knit with it was Olivia by Amy Miller in the luxurious Orange Label.

Olivia by Amy Miller
Then on the Boxing Day Sale I saw the colourway available again in Blue Label and snatched it up. 

Painted Jeans Blue Label Fingering
When I saw the Madewell pattern, I knew it would look great in this colourway. A fingering weight cardigan is a serious time commitment, but totally worth making. The resulting cardigan is a perfect weight, and I know it will be worn over and over again.  I chose to alternate three skeins throughout the body, two skeins in the arms, and the ribbing used just one skein.  I was very concerned that I would run out of yarn, but it all ended up perfectly with yarn to spare. The only modifications I made were to make my sleeves about an inch shorter, as I knew the yarn would grow with blocking, and I also omitted the elbow patches.

I have been a long time fan of Tanis Fiber Arts yarn.  In fact, when I got back into knitting five years ago Tanis Fiber Arts was the first hand dyed yarn that I was obsessed with. Many of my first projects recorded on Ravelry, as well as many others through the years, are knit with TFA yarn (29 of them in fact!!).  If you have never tried this yarn before I highly recommend it.  It comes in some gorgeous colourways and a variety of bases, and it is always high quality.  I am especially interested in trying out Tanis' newest base called TFA PureWash merino, a washable yarn that is not coated in chemicals.  You can read all about it here.

One of the first patterns I crocheted with TFA yarn was my Granny Square Scarf in 2011 which still is worn today.

Granny Square Scarf using Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label

I am in the midst of picking out my next knitting project.  I think I will try a couple smaller projects that use thicker yarn.  However, I have to admit I am always drawn to fingering weight projects.  I definitely see another fingering weight sweater in my near future.

Happy crafting everyone!  Have a good week.

August 1, 2016

July Favourites

July flew by so quickly and here we are at the beginning of August.  I thought it would be fun to look back and pick out some of my favourites from the month:

Favourite Blog Post:   Karen Templer, author of the Fringe Association Blog is one of my favourite bloggers. If you haven't read her blog before I highly recommend it.  Karen is hosting a Top down Knitalong running from August 15- September 30. She is challenging knitters to knit a sweater without using a pattern.  Of course there will be lots of support from fellow knitters, tutorials, etc.  For example here is one of the blog entries where she guides KAL members.  Although I would love to join in, I know that I unfortunately do not have the time to commit to it.  However, I will enjoy reading up on all the participants' progress.  How fun!

Favourite Yarn Store Visit:  If you are a regular reader of my blog you know what I am going to write:  Tolt Yarn & Wool.  I think about this store often as it was such a lovely place to visit. The store had such a great variety of yarn, many of which I had never seen in person.  It was extremely well stocked and everything was so thoughtfully displayed.  Can you imagine having Tolt Yarn & Wool as your local yarn store?

Favourite Yarn:  To be honest there is too many to pick from!  However, Andrea Hungerer of Blueberry Hill Crafting, another favourite blogger of mine, gifted me a skein of Camellia Fiber Co. CFC Flax DK which was incredibly kind!  This yarn is a unique blend of 50% alpaca , 25% linen and 25% silk.  One skein is 270 yards (247m) so I am trying to decide which pattern I could use to help show off its beauty.  I love this kind of challenge : )

Camellia Fiber Co.

Favourite Unfinished Object
I started Joji Locatelli's Madewell cardigan at the beginning of July.  It was the perfect travel knitting project as it is a very basic cardigan. The yarn I chose to use is my long coveted Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label fingering yarn in the colourway Painted Jeans.  This colourway is an incredible mix of colours, from browns, greys, purples, blues...very challenging for me to photograph correctly. I think this pattern is a good match for variegated yarn as it's simplicity really lets the yarn colour be the focus. However, I forgot how long a fingering weight cardigan takes to knit!   I am almost finished the second sleeve and I hope to finish the whole cardigan this week and hopefully can show you it soon.

Favourite Finished Object
My favourite F.O. would have to be my Elder Tree Shawl by softsweater in the yarn by Clara Parkes called Clara Yarn CVM/Romeldale 2.0.  This was the first pattern I knit by softsweater (a fellow Canadian) and I thought the pattern was well written.   After knitting with this yarn I am really interested in trying more natural yarns.

The Elder Tree Shawl by softsweater

Patterns that I want to knit
There are so many gorgeous patterns out there that I want to knit immediately. I find it really difficult to narrow it down.  But after visiting 88 Stitches and seeing softsweater's collection of shawls I know that Lanterns is definitely high in my queue.  I think this pattern suits a  natural yarn and I want to make sure I pick the perfect one.

Lanterns by softsweater
But in the meantime, after knitting a fingering weight sweater for the last few weeks, I am in the mood to knit something with somewhat thicker yarn. Digging deep in my stash I found these beauties.  I am trying to figure out a perfect pattern that uses several colourways.  Although it is great that there are so many patterns to choose from on Ravelry sometimes it is overwhelming, isn't it?
Shalimar Yarns, Madelinetosh, Sweet Fiber Yarns, & Cephalopod Yarns

Favourite Video Blog:  Have you checked out Michele Wang's podcast?  As you all know she is a wonderful designer, creating patterns for Brooklyn Tweed, Woolfolk, and Manos del Uruguay to name a few.  Her blog is informative and offers good insight into the knitting world.

Favourite Yarn Related Instagram Photo:
Tolt Yarn and Wool
This is a display of Elemental Affects Shelter Fingering that I took at Tolt Yarn & Wool. What a perfect way to display the yarn.  Sigh.

Favourite Non-Yarn Related Instagram Post

I know, I know...who posts a picture of carrots?  Well I do!  I was so impressed with the way the fruit and vegetable stands at the Granville Market displayed their food.  It is one of my favourite places to visit in Vancouver.  I also find that now that I post on Instagram I am being more observant about what would make an interesting photo...and carrots won that day.  

Granville Market, Vancouver

That about sums it up for my top picks.  Happy August everyone!!