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?

May 17, 2019

F.O. Miromesnil by Cléonis

Pattern:  Miromesnil

Designer:  Cléonis

Yarn:  Shibui Silk Cloud (60%% Mohair, 40% silk) 2 skeins

Colourway:  Shore

Yarn:  Tanis Fiber Arts Pink Label Lace Weight (100% Merino) 2 skeins

Colourway: OOAK (it was super close to the colourway Midnight)

Needles: 4.5mm and 5mm
Size:   M1

Ravelry:  see notes

Added Notes:  
1.  This is the second time I have made Miromensil, and once again I enjoyed every minute of knitting it.  I dug deep in my stash for the two skeins of TFA Pink Label Lace Weight yarn, pairing two strands of the lace weight yarn with one strand of Shibui Silk Cloud.  I am a big fan of both yarns and the combination is heavenly. Silk Cloud is super soft, feels so luxurious, and is not itchy at all.  The skeins of lace weight contained 914 m which was was not enough yarn for long sleeves.  I decided to make a short sleeve version and it's perfect for spring weather. 
Love the halo
2. The designer gives you many options to choose from when knitting this top down sweater.  Here is the first Miromesnil I made with a front pleat and long sleeves. 

Miromesnil #1
This time I chose to make the the cropped version and knit until the body was 12.5 inches, finishing with a flat ribbing for 12 rounds.  I feel like you really get your money's worth because of how many pattern options the designer gives you.

As you can tell I am super pleased with this sweater and I know it will get a lot of wear.  I am currently knitting another sweater paired with Shibui Silk Cloud.  I can't seem to get enough of this yarn.  Anyone else obsessed with Shibui Silk Cloud?

April 25, 2019

F.O. Lumpy Space by Stephen West

Pattern:  Lumpy Space

Designer:  Stephen West

YarnAnzula Sebastian (70% merino 30% Sea Cell)

Colourway:  Cantaloupe
Anzuala Sebastian

YarnFiber Optic Yarns Foot Notes Paintbox Gradient (80% merino 20% nylon)
Colourway:  Neon

Fiber Optic Yarns

YarnHedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles (100% Merino)
Colourway:  Poppy
Hedgehog Fibres

YarnTanis Fiber Arts Red Label Cash Silk Single (75% merino, 15% cashmere, 10% silk)
Colourway:  Papaya

Needles:  3.75mm

Ravelry:  my notes

Added Notes: 
1.  Okay I get it now.  After knitting several of Stephen West's patterns I can understand why he is such a popular designer.  The patterns are fun to knit and keep you motivated to knit quickly, as you want to sees what's happening next.  Stephen's patterns are easy to follow and always teach you a few new things.

2.  Over the last couple years I have tried to find a pattern to showcase the Fiber Optics vibrant gradient kit that I had bought at Rhinebeck several years ago.  I tried a few other patterns with this yarn but had no luck finding the right match.  However, once I decided on Lumpy Space for my Fiber Optic yarn everything seemed to work.  I used the reds and orange skeins from the gradient kit and made a fade in Section One and Two. I used a speckled Hedgehog Fibres yarn that worked will with the Anzula Sebastian yarn.

I found some leftover Tanis Fiber Arts Red label that I had used on this gorgeous hat by Joji Locatelli called Vitsippa.  It was the perfect combination of pink and orange for the picot edge.  I love it when everything comes together like that.  

Section 1:  Fiber Optics Yarn alternated with Hedgehog Fibres
Section 2:  Fiber Optics Yarn
Section 3:  Hedgehog Fibres alternated with Anzula Sebastian
Picot Edging:  Tanis Fiber Arts Red Label 
3.  This shawl is knitted in different sections as you can see above.  I completed Section One with no problems.  Section Two was challenging for me. I knit the first part of the diamond shape with no problem. Then I had to join the second part of Section One and that's where the trouble started. The sections kept getting twisted.  After a few failed attempts I decided to leave that second half of Section Two and complete Section Three and the picot edging.  Once that was done it was quite simple to complete the second half of Section Two.  The pattern is very well written with lots of photos to help knitters.

I am so pleased with how the shawl turned out and will be bringing it on my holiday to Amsterdam.  I will be there during the national holiday called King's Day where everyone wears orange so I think this shawl will be perfect to wear.  I am hoping to visit Stephen & Penelope on my visit and I will be sure to share my pictures here on my blog and over on my Instagram account.  So stay tuned! Don't forget to check out Stephen West's gorgeous collection of patterns and make sure to sign up for his newsletter so that you can get the latest news and special discounts.

March 31, 2019

F.O. Stronachlachar by Kate Davies

Isn't it just lovely when you get a project off the needles that has been languishing for some time?  I am so happy to have finished Stronachlachar by Kate Davies, a pattern found in the West Highland Way collection.  This is one of those projects where I think I found the perfect match between pattern and yarn, and I am so happy with how it turned out.  Spring is still quite cool where I live, so there is still plenty of time to wear it before the weather gets too warm.

Pattern: Stronachlachar
Stronachlachar by Kate Davies

Designer:  Kate Davies
YarnWest Yorkshire Spinners Bluefaed Leicester DK (100% Bluefaced Leicester 223 meters):  4 skeins

Colourway:  2 Natural Light Brown 

Needles:  3.5mm (ribbing) & 3.75mm (body)

Ravelry:  see notes

After Blocking

Added Notes:

1.  Blocking is my favourite part of the knitting process.  Check out the difference:
Before Blocking

Once blocked the cables opened up and the yarn bloomed.  If you are new to blocking, all I did was soak the sweater in some water and wool wash.  Then I gently squeezed out the excess water with a towel, and laid it to out to dry, making sure the measurements given in the pattern matched the third size I had chosen.  I used a few blocking pins along the ribbing, and by the next day it looked like this:

Blocking magic

2.  One reason this sweater took longer to complete is because I made a mistake mid-body when I switched my needles to a pointier set.  Instead of the required 3.75mm needles, I started using 4mm needles and proceeded to knit many inches.  Once I noticed my mistake I tried knitting a few rows with 3.75mm needles to see if it was noticeable, and it definitely was.  I ripped out the inches I had knit and started over.  Thank goodness I made that choice as I would have run out of yarn with the bigger needles, and the sweater would have been too big.  It doesn't matter how long you have been knitting... you still make dumb errors!

3.  I bought this yarn on a family trip to Scotland at Ginger Twist studio in Edinburgh five years ago (read about my visit here).  Every time I looked at this yarn it brought back a lot of good memories and so I was super pleased to find a pattern that worked well it.  The fact that the designer of this vest is Scottish is a bonus.  

A very simple cable
4.  This pattern, like all Kate Davies patterns, is well written.  The sweater is knit in the round from the bottom up and is then divided at the underarms.  I like the way the sleeves are easily constructed. This pattern is the perfect introduction to sweater knitting with cables. The repetitive pattern is quite simple and the end result, I think, is gorgeous.   Perfect for beginners.