December 30, 2014

A Look Back: 2014

First of all I want to thank all the readers who take the time to read my blog.  It always thrills me to find out that there are actually real people reading what I have to say.  I am still excited (my husband would say obsessed) with all things yarn and I just wish there were more hours in the day, less demands at work and that I was a faster knitter.

I thought I would take this time to reflect on my blogging year and recognize what stood out for me in 2014 in the world of knitting:

Best Yarn Shop:  I had the pleasure of visiting many yarn shops this year including the Gingertwist Studio in Edinburgh, Beehive Wool Shop in Victoria and Purl Soho in New York City.  Of course there are all the terrific Toronto based yarn shops which I visit frequently.  But if I were only able to visit one of the yarn stores again it would have to be Knitty City in New York City. The variety and the amount of beautiful yarn was spectacular.  I still regret not buying a yarn I had my eye on when I was there.  (As an added bonus there is a bookstore down the street for patient husbands to sit and wait).  I must go back.

Table display at Knitty City

Best Online Shop in Canada:  The service was excellent and the delivery was fast from any online Canadian yarn shop I ordered from this year.  However, is one that I have used several times as I find their prices are competitive and they offer a huge selection.  Also delivery is free if you spend over $100.  But I have found that it is worth my time to shop around as prices do vary from site to site.

Best Shawl: As I am becoming a more experienced knitter I am getting very picky about what shawls I will knit.  I have knit some beautiful shawls in the past that I find are challenging to wear comfortably.  I prefer to wear shawls that can be worn a number of ways and that don't overwhelm my shorter height. With that in mind the shawl I find myself turning to again and again is Algiers by Kristin Kapur which was part of a Fan of Through the Loops Mystery KAL.  Knit in the beautiful Black Trillium Fibres Studio Pebble Sock yarn it really is the perfect shawl for me.  This shawl also represents the first completely lace shawl I have knit. When I started this KAL I had no idea what the finished shawl was going to look like.  Each week I was sent the next part of the pattern.  I think if I had seen what the finished shawl had looked like before I started I would have felt intimidated and not tried it.  It really was not that difficult and it helped me gain confidence in my knitting skills.  I am currently knitting another one in a solid colour.

Algiers by Kristin Kapur

Best Cardigan:  This one is an easy one to choose.   Grace by Jane Richmond knit in the most beautiful yarn by Sweet Fiber Yarns Cashmerino Luxe is my top choice of the year.  I had tried knitting this cardigan in the previous summer and had no luck getting through the lace part at the beginning.  This summer I was able to get through it and make a sweater that fits great and is so soft to wear. I love everything about it.

Grace by Jane Richmond

Best Knitted Accessory: Tanis Fiber Arts Snowfling Mittens knit during the Olympics.  The red cashmere lining with the beautiful black and white snowflake pattern were well worth the time and effort.
Snowfling Mittens by Tanis Lavalee

Best Yarn:  Well this is the trickiest category so I will break it down:

Best Yarn Colour:  The colour in Pigeonroof Silky High Twist Sock in Railroad Stake is incredible to me.  I am hesitant to knit with it because I want to pick a pattern that does this colour justice.


Best Yarn Brand:  Seriously there are so many I could choose.  But I have to say Sweet Fiber Yarns has to be my top choice.  From the consistently beautiful colour to the quality of the yarn I can't get my hands on enough of it. The owner, Melissa Thomson, has announced that she is expanding her business by moving to a much larger workshop.  I also had the pleasure of test knitting some of her patterns this summer and it always impresses me when someone can both dye yarn and design beautiful patterns.  I am excited to see what she comes up with next.

Sweet Fiber Cashmerino Luxe and Coastal yarn

Yarn That Surprised Me:  I knit the Colour Play Mohair Scarf in Rowan Kidsilk Haze, a 70% Mohair 30% silk blend.  I had never knit with mohair before and I was worried that the yarn would be itchy to wear.  It did not itch me at all and turned out to be a warm, light scarf that is a pleasure to wear and looks great.
Colour Play Mohair Scarf

Best Lookbook:  Can there be any contest?  Brooklyn Tweeds Lookbooks created by Jared Flood are highly anticipated by all knitters.  The photography paired with the beauty of the patterns and yarn are hugely impressive.

Best Knitting Book:  Although I have bought a few books this year I only wrote about this one on my blog as it really stood out for me.  The 150 patterns are cleverly written top down, bottom up, back and forth, and in the round.

All-Around Stitch Dictionary by Wendy Bernard

Best Knitting Blog:  There are so many beautiful blogs that I like to follow it was very difficult to choose. It really amazes me how much talent is out there.

Best Yarn Store Blog:  Purlbee  This is one gorgeous blog.  Each week a new project is shared and most patterns are free. The photography of the yarn and the finished products are stunning.
Best Canadian Blog:  This is a tie between Tanis Fiber Arts and Julie Crawford's Knitted Bliss.  I have been a longtime fans of both.  Both of these women are innovative, highly skilled crafters and have a fantastic eye for colour. The fact that they accomplish everything they do in addition to having young children is impressive to me.  I look forward to their postings every week.

Well there you have it.  The knitting world is growing by leaps and bounds and it's such a great time to be a knitter.  What are some of your favourites?

I wish everyone a Happy New Year and lots of crafting time in 2015.  I hope you come to visit my blog in the New Year.  I always look forward to your comments.

All the best!


December 14, 2014

Christmas Knitting: Borough Market Mitts & Vector

Christmas is fast approaching and, like many other knitters, I am trying to fit in knitting a few gifts.  I have lots of projects that I would like to complete but there are so many other interruptions. However, I have been able to finish a couple projects this week. This first project, Borough Market Mitts, by Alex Tinsley was highly satisfying because it was knit in two nights and used Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label in Royal Flush, Charcoal and Natural, yarn that was in my stash already.  This aran yarn knit up to be a cozy warm pair of mitts.  I like how the top cuff of the mitts can be folded up or down depending on your needs.

Borough Market Mitts

 The next gift I have been able to finish is a pattern my friend requested called Vector by Tanis Lavalee (of Tanis Fiber Arts).  This pattern appeared in the infamous Brooklyn Tweed's Wool People Vol. 7 in both a wrap and a scarf version.  I chose to knit the scarf using this beautiful yarn by Black Trillium Fibre Studio.  The gradient colours are absolutely beautiful in person.  You may recall that I knit Algiers in the colourway called Grasshopper earlier this year, one of my all time favourite patterns.  The only modification I made was knitting each colour only once in the scarf.

Black Trillium Fibre Studio Pebble Sock

The result was a garter stitched scarf that shows of the gradient yarn beautifully. 

I used pretty much all the yarn and the result was a long scarf that you can wrap around your neck a couple times.  Hopefully my friend will be happy with it.

And on a funny note, I guess my grade six students realize how passionate I am about knitting.  Here is a part of a poster one of my students made, with me in the sled.  It really made me laugh.

I hope your preparations are going smoothly and you are finding time to enjoy yourself (including some knitting time)!