January 15, 2018

F.O. Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West

Pattern: Boneyard Shawl  (free pattern)

Boneyard Shawl

Designer:  Stephen West

Yarn: The Blue Brick Niagara MCN (70% merino, 15% cashmere, 15%nylon):  discontinued  500yards (457 metres)

Colourway:  Iceberg
Needles: 4.0mm
In progress

Glacier colourway

my notes

Added Notes:

This is such a basic pattern I almost feel silly blogging about it.  However, I am choosing to write this blog to draw your attention to how beautiful the Blue Brick yarn is.  The reason I chose to knit such a simple pattern is because this yarn is so pretty, I only needed a very basic pattern to showcase it.  I love the passion and work of Shireen Nadir and her husband Tito of The Blue Brick, two Canadian hand dyers.  Each yarn they produce is based on a photo that this talented couple has taken, often from nature.  The Blue Brick's specialty is handpainted, ombre and gradient yarn, as well as tonals. Check out all the beautiful colourways available here.  I knit the Starshower by Hilary Smith Callis knit in The Blue Brick Killarney Sock in the gorgeous Labradorite colourway.  Have a look:

Killarney Sock:  Labradorite colourway

Starshower in progress

I had the pleasure of meeting Shireen at the Frogpond Organic Winery Art Show in Niagara-on-the-Lake last summer.  

Wearing my Starshower knit in The Blue Brick Killarney sock
I have been a long time fan of Shireen and have admired her many skills (including knitwear designer, photograper, and jewellery designer to name a few).  If you read The Blue Brick's blog or follow them on Instagram, you would have seen many pictures of their two gorgeous dogs.  I was so touched when I read the adoption story of their dog Sammy last year. I encourage you to check it out.

It's true that owning your own business has its challenges, but Shireen and Tito had an exceptionally hard year last year, as described on their blog.  Hopefully 2018 is better for them. I look forward to seeing The Blue Brick grow their business, and create new colourways and products.  So much talent!

January 11, 2018

F.O. Clarke #2 by Jane Richmond

Pattern:  Clarke Pullover
Designer:  Jane Richmond
Yarn: Julie Asselin Hektos (75% merino, 15% cashmere, 10% silk)
Colourway:   Brume:  7skeins (two colours in one skein)
Romance:  1 skein (for ribbing on cuffs, hem and neckline)
Julie Asselin Hektos

Colourway:  Brume

Colourway:  Romance
Needles: 4.0mm & 4.5mm

Ravelry: my notes

Clarke Pullover
Added Notes:  
When I visited the Julie Asselin both at Knit City, my eyes were instantly drawn to the Brume colourway.  Somehow I missed the fact that I was purchasing two separate colourways, that were joined together, to look like one skein.  When I got home and opened the skeins, I saw to my surprise, two colourways.  Luckily, I didn't mind at all, as these two colourways were gorgeous.  However, I had to rethink my choice of pattern for this yarn.

Surprise!  Two colourways!

I immediately thought of the Clarke Pullover.  Of the many sweaters I have knit, the Clarke Pullover is one of my most frequently worn.  I knew that it would work well with two colourways, producing a much more subtle stripe than the original one I knit.  Also, the cashmere and silk content would produce a very different fabric.  (You can read about that sweater here). 

Clarke Pullover #1
I cast on Clarke for a second time.  The original pattern calls for ten rows of the main colour and four of the contrasting colour.  Having only bought seven skeins I knew I would not have enough of the main colour.  Instead, I knit ten rows of the main colour, followed by six rows of the contrast colour. That turned out to be a good decision, as I only had a tiny amount left of the main colour when it was finished.  I used a third colour (Romance) for the hem, neckband, and ribbing on the sleeves.  I am very happy with the result, and I can see myself wearing this sweater quite a bit. The yarn was a dream to knit with and creates a luxurious fabric, one that I can't wait to wear.

This is my first F.O. of 2018. Have I convinced you to knit the Clarke Pullover yet?  It is an easy knit and it produces a sweater that you will wear again and again.  It works well with any worsted weight yarn in stripes or a solid colour. What are you waiting for?

Happy Knitting!

December 30, 2017

A Look Back: 2017

Like so many of you, I have continued my obsession with knitting and yarn.  I think there has to be some kind of Ravelry record set this year for the number of patterns published.  It seemed like everyday new patterns were popping up on the Ravelry Pattern page.  It was hard to keep up.  I have enjoyed checking out all the new patterns and yarn throughout the year and the size of my queue is ridiculous.  There are just so many patterns I want to knit.  I think we can all agree that 2017 will be remembered as the Year of the Fade thanks to Andrea Mowry.

I present to you my annual round up of favourites for 2017.

Best Yarn Shop:  Haus of Yarn, Nashville, Tennessee
The variety of yarn, the size and warmth of the store, and quantity of knitted samples was impressive.  I would highly recommend this store to anyone visiting the Nashville area.  You can read about my visit here
Just a sample of what Haus of Yarn carries (Wool & Boon and Old Rusted Chair)
Feyre Shawl by Shannon Cook:  one of the many samples at the store

Best Sweater/Cardigan:  Camira by Carol Feller
I love this cardigan's unique construction and how well it fits.  It is a sweater I wear on a weekly basis, and I think it would look great knit in many different yarns.  
Camira by Carol Feller

Best Yarn BrandWoolfolk
I have knit a number of accessories in this yarn and love everything about it.  It is incredible to wear, and my dream would be to knit a cardigan in this yarn.  I would never take it off.
On the C Train knit in Woolfolk Fär

Best Yarn Colour:  Maize by Tanis Fiber Arts (Purple Label)
One of my favourite things to do is to photograph yarn.  When you have a colourway that looks like this, it is an absolute joy.  Tanis outdid herself when she created this colourway specifically for Knit City 2017.  
Tanis Fiber Arts Purple Label:  Maize colourway

Best Knitted Accessory:   Deep Woods Toque by Kiyomi Burgin
My favourite accessory was a hat I knit for my daughter, using Tanis Fiber Arts' Purple Label Yarn, combined with Sweet Fiber Yarns Super Sweet Sock.  I love everything about this hat.  The colour combination and finished product makes me so happy.
Deep Woods Toque

Yarn That Impressed Me:
 Gauge Dyeworks Merino Twist Classic (colourway All Together Now) 
I knit Martina Behm's very popular Hitchhiker using this beautiful colourway.  I love how the yarn colour switches back and forth.  I think the dyer behind this yarn is super talented.  Just have a look at the shawl below to see what I mean.
Gauge Dyework Merino Twist Classic

Hitchhiker Shawl

Best Knitting Instagram Feed:  1. Clara Parkes (Instagram stories)
If you haven't checked out Clara Parkes Instagram stories you definitely should.  She is so witty and her stories always make me laugh.
2. Instagram Photos:   As for Instagram pictures this is an impossible choice.  The amount of talent on Instagram is incredible and inspiring (and a bit overwhelming trying to keep up to be completely honest).  Some of my favourites are:  espacetricot, quinceandco, boylandknitworks, happycactusdesigns, soveryshannon and mysocalledhandmadelife.

Best Knitting MagazineLaine Magazine
This Nordic knitwear magazine showcases impressive patterns by talented designers, as well as interesting articles.  It is an enjoyable read and totally worth every cent.  If you haven't had a chance to look at a copy yet, you can check out the patterns from the magazine on Ravelry.  

A few of my favourite publications

Best Knitting Vlog/Podcast:  Melissa and Lisa of Espace Tricot wins hands down for me this year. 
This definitely was the year of the podcast. There are so many talented vloggers out there, but the owners of Espace Tricot (a Montreal yarn store) are consistently enjoyable to watch.  Each time I watch their podcast I always learn something new, and end up adding patterns to my queue.  I find them so entertaining and talented.  

Favourite Designer:  Andrea Mowry  
I have yet to fade anything, but I admire Andrea's talent and prolific designing.  I have many of her patterns in my queue and will definitely knit a few of her designs in 2018.  Here is one of Andrea's patterns called Goldfinch that I knit this year.
Goldfinch by Andrea Mowry
knit in O-Wash O-Wool Sport
I am also super impressed with Caitlin Hunter and her unique designs.  I am excited to see her new designs in 2018.

Best Yarn Show:  Knit City in Vancouver
I have to be honest and admit that I only went to one show this year, but wow, it was a great one!  Everyone involved in Knit City was super friendly.  There was so many talented designers and dyers, as well as amazing classes by talented teachers. Vancouver is my favourite Canadian city to visit too. If you can only go to one show next year this is the show you need to get to.
Designs by Sylvia McFadden

I think it was a great year in the knitting world.  I am excited to see what new designers emerge in 2018 and what's hot.  What were some of your favourites?

December 27, 2017

Christmas Wrap Up

How did you do with your Christmas/gift knitting?  I ended up knitting right up to the last minute.  I wish I had time to knit a few more gifts, but I was
very happy with how the items I completed turned out.  Have a look:

Jolly Wee Elf
Pattern: Jolly Wee Elf
Designer:  Churchmouse Yarns and Tees
YarnScraps of fingering weight yarn
Needles:   2.5mm
Ravelry:  my notes are here
Added Notes:  I actually knit these elves on Boxing Day for myself and I think it will be my new holiday tradition.  I absolutely loved making these elves, and I will definitely make a lot more in various sizes next year.  As expected the Churchmouse pattern is very well written.  These couldn't be easier to knit, and by investing a small amount of time, it is well worth the effort I think.

My Boyfriend Set

Pattern:  My Boyfriend Set  (free hat and scarf pattern)
Designer: Stephanie Boomsma
Yarn: Tanis Fiber Arts Orange Label Cashmere/Silk Worsted (75%merino 15% cashmere 10% silk)
Colourway:  Aurora
Needles:   4.0mm
Ravelry:  my notes are here
Added Notes:  I had to make my husband something for Christmas, as he is so supportive of my yarn obsession.  This is an easy, quick pattern that is foolproof to knit. Tanis Fiber Arts Orange Label yarn is a lovely combination of fibers, perfect for a hat.  And how about this colourway?  Gorgeous!  I would have loved to make the scarf as well, but I ran out of time. 
On the C Train

My two sisters modelling their new hat
Pattern:  On the C Train
Designer: Espace Tricot
Yarn: Woolfolk Fär (100% merino)
Colourway: 00
Yarn:  Shibui Knits Silk Cloud
Colourway:  Ivory
My daughter modelling the back view
Needles:  5.0mm 
Ravelry: my notes are here
Added Notes:  I have now knit this pattern three times and I am sure I will knit another in the future.  It is simple to follow and creates a hat that looks great on everyone.  The combination of Woolfolk Fär and Shibui Silk Cloud is so luxurious. Woolfolk Fär is incredibly soft just like cashmere, and Shibui Silk Cloud creates a beautiful halo.  One of my sisters is very sensitive to wool and this yarn combination does not bother her in the slightest.

Entwine Scarf
Pattern:  Entwine Scarf
Designer: Jane Richmond
Yarn:  Cascade Yarns Magnum (100% wool) Super Bulky weight:  2 skeins
Colourway:  8505 (white)
Needles:   12.75mm
Ravelry:  my notes are here 
Added Notes:   This is the kind of scarf that I want to bundle into on those very cold winter days.  Jane Richmond paired the perfect yarn with her pattern.  Knitting with such big needles in a super chunky yarn resulted in a quickly knitted scarf, perfect for holiday knitting.  I loved this pattern so much this is the second time I knit it.  I made this scarf last year withPurl Soho Super Soft Merino which created a completely different feeling scarf. 


Pattern:  Saku
Designer: Olga Buraya-Kefelian
Yarn: Woolfolk Fär
Colourway:  5
Needles:   4.5mm
Ravelry:  my notes are here
Added Notes:  This is my third time knitting this hat too.  Be warned that it does take more than one skein if you want the brim to fold up.  But you know that when you knit with Woolfolk, your recipient will wear it all the time, so it's well worth the investment.

So that's it for my holiday knitting.  I don't often knit the same pattern more than once but I really wanted to knit items that would be well received and worn frequently. I know that these items will be worn time and time again.

Don't forget to check out my blog in a few days as I will do my annual favourites of the year.  Happy knitting everyone!

December 20, 2017

Visiting Craft South & Haus of Yarn, Nashville

My husband and I took a holiday in late November to Nashville, home of the Grand Ole Opry.  After a particularly challenging fall at home, Nashville was just what we needed.  Nashville is a city full of music, artists, bars, delicious restaurants, and cool coffee shops.  We had an amazing food tour that took us to restaurants that I would never have known existed.  We enjoyed walking around the city and seeing the amazing sites including the murals painted in so many places.  Here are a few of my favourite photos:

What Lifts You Wings 

Barista Parlor

Breakfast at Biscuit Love
So many bars are on Broadway with musicians playing
by the open windows
Jack Daniels tour
Of course no holiday is complete without a trip to the local yarn store.  

Craft South was the first place I visited.  Opened in 2014 this store sells fabric, yarn, embroidery supplies and sewing machines, and offers weekly classes in a variety of crafts.

You can tell that each item in this store is thoughtfully chosen and beautifully displayed. Craft South has a good selection of yarn, including a variety of Quince Yarns and Camellia Fiber Co. yarn, which I did not photograph.  I wish I had taken more photos of the yarn and fabric, and trust me when I say, I could have spent a lot more time (and money) there!  Here's just a snapshot of a few things that caught my eye. 

A enormous wall of Koigu

Colour Block Scarf Kits (Manos del Uruguay Maxima)

Christmas Stockings

Huge walls of material

The most gorgeous quilts were on display
Lots of stitching kits
The second place I had a chance to visit was Haus of Yarn. I spent a lot of time in this store and took lots of photos. This was a big store that had a large selection of yarn brands in various weights. The thing that struck me about this store was the huge number of samples.  I love seeing how different yarns knit up as it provides invaluable information to a knitter. 

When I walked around this store I was in a knitter's shock...so many yarns (many which I had never seen in person)...it was a bit overwhelming. I love the size of this store, everything is perfectly displayed and there is plenty of room for the shopper to mill around.  Come have a look:
Brooklyn Tweed Shelter

Brooklyn Tweed Quarry

Plucky Yarn & Pop Beads Shawl

Old Rusted Chair and Woolen Boon

Woolen Boon Yarn

Yoth Yarn:  Best Friends

Tokyo Shawl

Many kits were available
I loved this one full of Isager Yarn

Fringe Supply Co.

Waxed Canvas Field Bag by Fringe Supply Co.

Starting Point by Joji Locatelli

Backyard Fiberworks

Feyre Shawl designed by Shannon Cook
(knit in Cestari Traditional Yarn)

Mason Dixon Field Guides

Spincycle Dyed Yarns

Watercolors knit in Big Bad Wool
& Favorite Blanket knit in Berroco Modern Cotton

Yarns of Rhichard Devrieze

Isager Alpaca 1

There were so many more yarns, patterns and kits I could have taken pictures of.  I was very impressed.

You know you have had a good trip when you are leaving and wondering when you can return.  That's how I felt.  I loved this city. We were there for five days and I feel there is still so much I want to see and do.  If you want a fun getaway this is the place to go If you are travelling to Nashville and have any specific questions please don't hesitate to ask.

If you enjoy reading about different yarn stores here are some of my favourite places that I wrote about on my blog (links provided):   Tolt Yarn and Wool (Part 1 and Part 2), Churchmouse Yarns & Teas, Fibre Space, Looped Yarn Works, 88 Stitches & Ginger Twist Studio.