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.

February 19, 2019

F.O. Vertices Unite by Stephen West

Spring weather is still a distant dream here in the Toronto area, so I decided to cast on a pattern that I knew would help me chase away my winter blues.  Vertices Unite, designed in 2014, by Stephen West is a popular pattern, and has been in my queue since it was published. I felt it was time that I made one for myself.  I dug deep into my stash and chose some speckled skeins I had been saving.  The combination of knitting a Stephen West pattern with beautiful coloured yarn, had the desired effect of putting me into a great mood. 

There are currently 2526 Vertices Unite pattern pages on Ravelry.  The popularity of this pattern is well deserved.  The pattern is easily modified to create any size shawl you desire. It can be knit with a variety of colours or with just one colour and still look awesome. This makes it a great stashbuster.  The shawl is one of those shapes that is easy to style.  Here's my version:

Pattern:  Vertices Unite

Vertices Unite
Designer: Stephen West

Section 1:  Hedgehog Fibres Sock (90 % Merino 10% nylon)  Bubble
Section 2:  Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label (80% Merino 20% nylon)  Lemongrass &
Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light (100% Fingering)  Robin's Egg

Bubble (top) and Bounce (bottom)
Section 3:  Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles (100% Merino) Boombox
Section 4:  Flock Fibre Studio Take A Hike Sock (80% Merino 20% Nylon) Feeling Lucky

Section 5:  Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles:  Bounce
Section 6:  Ancient Yarns Socknado Twister (80% Merino 20% nylon) I Met Stephen West and I Liked It (this was a sample given out at Knit City 2017)

Border:  Madelinetosh Tosh Sock (100% Merino) Button Jar Blue

Needles: 3.5mm

Ravelry:  my notes

Added Notes:  

1.  I wanted to knit a medium sized shawl and so I knit Section One to 76 stitches.  Once that decision is made the rest of the pattern is easy to modify.

2.  Stephen West striped three of the six sections.   I only striped Section 2.

3.  Section One and Section Three used the most yarn.  Some Project Pages list specific weights used of each yarn if you are interested in that information.

4.  I thought the I-cord bind-off border really made the shawl look great.  It is very time consuming to do but so worth the effort. The border used up 13 grams of yarn.

5.  If you are interested, Stephen West has come out with two different versions of this popular shawl.  There is Textures Unite, a shawl knit in fingering weight yarn exploring different stitches for each section, and recently he published the Vertices Unite Baby Blanket knit in DK weight yarn

Vertices Unite
Let me assure you that while I am waiting for spring to happen around here, I will be wearing this shawl often.  It's amazing how knitting a great pattern with some gorgeous yarn can change someone's mood.  Now I will return to finishing up some projects on the needles before I cast on anymore spring projects.  

Happy knitting and stay warm

December 25, 2018

Sweet Georgia Yarns Advent Calendar 2018

I was lucky enough to buy one of the Sweet Georgia Yarns Advent Calendar this year.  It contained 24 boxes, most of which contained mini skeins of yarn such as Sweet Georgia's CashLuxe Spark, Tough Love Sock and Silk Mist.  It also came with a shawl pattern, but instead I decided to knit some Jolly Wee Elves with this gorgeous yarn.  

Advent Box

Pattern: Jolly Wee Elf

Designer:  Churchmouse Yarns and Teas

YarnSweet Georgia Tough Love Sock (80% Merino, 20% Nylon)
Sweet Georgia Silk Mist (60% Mohair, 40% Silk)
Sweet Georgia CashLuxe Spark (80% Merino, 10% Stellina, 10% Cashmere)
Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light (100% Merino) in Antler for face
Rowan Kidsilk Haze (70% mohair 30% silk) #665 Hibiscus (for one of the scarves)

Clearwater in CashLuxe Spark

Whitewater in Silk Mist

Needles: 2.5mm

Ravelry: see notes here

Added Notes:  
1.  I started a new tradition last year and decided that every Christmas season I would knit a few elves to add to my collection.  I don't know what it is about these tiny elves, but I just love knitting them.  It takes me about two hours for each elf, and to me it is worth the time.  I thought the Advent skeins would be perfect for the Jolly Wee Elf pattern.

I used these elves to decorate my table at Christmas time:

2.  This was the first year I have ordered a yarn Advent Calendar, and I found it a great way to explore different yarn bases and colourways.  It was also fun to open a surprise each day during such a busy month. After working with each skein I know I would love to order a sweater's quantity of the colourway Hudson, and to knit a shawl with the colourway Sapphire in CashLuxe Spark.  

3.  Next year I would like to try and knit some bigger elves using different weight yarn.  This pattern is perfect for using up leftover yarns and the possible colour combinations are endless.  What's next up on my needles?  I have two other patterns that I would like to try.  One is the newly published Gnome pattern by Susan B. Anderson.  It is offered at half price until December 31st if you are interested.  The other is Scintillation by Hunter Hammerson, a beautiful star pattern that looks like a lot of fun.  What are your knitting plans to close up the year?


December 22, 2018

F.O. Winston Pullover by Jane Richmond

I have always been a huge fan of Jane Richmond and her beautiful patterns.  I was so excited to have the opportunity to test knit a sweater for her, and was super happy with the result.  Let me fill you in on the details, and I guarantee that you will want to knit one for yourself!

Pattern:  Winston Pullover
Winston Pullover

Designer:  Jane Richmond

Yarn:  Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Solids (80% Acrylic 20% Wool)

Colourway: Wheat (4.6 skeins)

Needles:  12mm for the body, 8mm for the ribbing

Ravelry:  see notes here

Added Notes:  

1.  This sweater has a top down construction knit in super bulky yarn.   I had never knit a sweater in this weight before, and I finished it in five days.  Five days!!!!  It can take me four to six weeks to complete a fingering weight sweater, so to me this short time frame is astounding.  It is a super simple sweater that any beginner could easily complete. 

2.  Now for the yarn.  It is a combination of 80% Acrylic and 20% Wool.  I bought it from Michaels Craft Store and the whole sweater cost under $50.  I admit that I am a yarn snob and have never knit a sweater with yarn bought from Michaels, or yarn that contains acrylic, so I was so interested to see what my thoughts were after the knit was complete.  And I have to tell you my thoughts are super positive...I was pleasantly surprised.  The yarn was easy to work with on 12mm needles.  I have worn this sweater quite a bit outside on cool days and it kept me warm.  I posed for the photo on a day that was -16 degrees Celcius (3 degrees Fahrenheit) and I was not cold at all.  I have also worn it around the house and it is so cozy that I didn't want to take it off.  The yarn comes in many different colours and for the price I am considering making another one. (Jane is currently knitting this pattern in seed stitch...I might try that).  The sweater doesn't feel too heavy to wear either.  And you can pop it in the washer and drier without a worry.  I think having the 20% wool content is what makes the garment feel so great.

3.  I was worried that making a super bulky sweater would make me look bigger than I am.  But here, too, I was pleasantly surprised.  Jane created a design that is super cozy but somehow doesn't look super bulky on.  She worked her magic with the design so that sweater is shaped to compliment the person wearing it.  You can read more about this sweater over on Jane's blog

4.  I would like to add how happy I am to see that Jane is back to designing after her nasty fall, and resulting concussion earlier this year.  I always look forward to seeing and knitting her new designs, and hopefully she will publish more in 2019.  She has such a beautiful library of patterns that you can wear over and over again. Plus many of her patterns are knit in yarn that is budget friendly which is a bonus.  I have personally knit eight of her patterns.  Three of my favourites are the Clarke Pullover (I have knit three versions of this sweater), Grace and the Entwine Scarf.  I wear these sweaters quite a bit.

Clarke Pullover

Entwine Scarf
Have I convinced you yet to knit this pattern?  I am thinking of knitting another version in Rowan Big Wool (100% merino) which I would think would work beautifully with this pattern.  I have three skeins of this yarn in the colourway Pine Needle (077) and I am on the hunt for three more.  I am finding it hard to locate so if anyone knows where I can get this colourway please let me know.  If you are considering this sweater Jane Richmond is offering 20% off this pattern through to December 31st.  So what are you waiting for?

Happy knitting!

December 10, 2018

F.O. Miromesnil by Cléonis

Pattern:  Miromesnil

Designer: Cléonis

Yarn:  Shibui Silk Cloud (ivory) 60% silk 40% mohair 3.25 skeins
Colourway:  Ivory
The perfect combination:
 Shibui Silk Cloud & Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal

Yarn:  Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal (bronze) 
95% wool 5% cashmere 3.5 skeins
Colourway:  Bronze
Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal

4.5mm & 

Ravelry: see notes

Added Notes:

1.  After seeing Melissa, of Espace Tricot, wear her Miromesnil, I knew without a doubt, that I had to knit one of my own. Although the pattern calls for a worsted weight yarn, I followed Melissa's lead and used a lace and fingering weight yarn together and was able to get gauge with 5mm needles.  I had some Shibui Silk Cloud in Ivory stored safely in my stash already, and was able to pick up Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal, when I recently had the opportunity to visit Espace Tricot in Montreal.  As soon as I got home from Montreal I eagerly cast on.  Have you ever knit something that is a joy from the first stitch to the last?  Miromesnil was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable projects I have knit in a long time.  I felt like the pattern and yarn were a perfect match. I enjoyed each stitch and I was sad to see it come to an end.  Shibui Silk Cloud, a silk and mohair mix, is a dream to knit with and definitely worth the splurge.  When combined with Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal it creates the most beautiful fabric with the perfect halo. 
Check out the halo

The sweater is light weight and incredibly soft, and once you put it on you don't want to take off. 

2.  Miromesnil is a simple top down sweater pattern, that when knit with the perfect yarn, creates a gorgeous statement piece.  This is the first pattern I knit by Cléonis and I was impressed.  There are many options to choose from within the pattern which I appreciate.  For example, you can make the sweater long or short, fitted or oversized, pleated at the front/back with fitted or bishop sleeves, which can either be long or 3/4 in length.  The hem can have a flat or tighter finishing rib.  You  really get your money's worth with so many options.  I chose to knit a mid-length sweater with a subtle pleat in the front with a 3/4 bishop sleeve. I knit a flat 1/1 ribbing for the hem and it lays beautifully.  I knit an 11" sleeve and the body was 12" underarm preblocking.  I love the fit of this sweater and I will definitely knit another version. 

3.  I chose to knit a medium sized sweater with large sleeves.  I can't remember my reasoning for that combination, and if I had to knit the sleeves again I would knit a medium.  I might rip them back a bit as I wanted 3/4 sleeves and after blocking they are slightly too long.  It is my first time knitting bishop sleeves and I really like them.

4.  Hopefully I have convinced you to have a second look at this pattern...I promise you won't be sorry.  If you make one, be sure to tag me on Instagram... you can find me at woolercoaster...I would love to see your version.

September 4, 2018

F.O. Sweet Clover Shawl MKAL by Alicia Plummer

This summer Alicia Plummer hosted a Mystery Knit Along called the Sweet Clover Shawl MKAL.  The pattern was for a worsted weight shawl, and would use two skeins of the main colour, and one skein of two different contrast colours. Beyond that no other information was given.  I dug deep in my stash and found two variegated skeins of Riverside Studio Superwash whose colour I absolutely loved.  The added bonus was they contained 10% cashmere making the skeins super soft.  With Alicia Plummer as the designer I confidently signed up, knowing that I was guaranteed to like the finished product. The KAL clues were given out every two weeks and the slow pace was perfect for summer knitting.  As predicted I loved the finished shawl.

Pattern:  Sweet Clover Shawl MKAL

Designer:  Alicia Plummer

YarnRiverside Studio Superwash (80% merino 10% nylon 10% cashmere) 183m 1.5 skeins
Colourway:  OOAK 

Riverside Studio Superwash
YarnMadelinetosh Tosh Vintage

Colourway: one skein each of Fig & Moss (100% Merino) 183 metres (I used all of the Fig and about 90% of the Moss colourway)


Needles: 4.5mm

Ravelry:  see my notes
Sweet Clover Shawl

Added Notes:
1.  Although it may be hard to see in the photos the lace opened up beautifully after blocking.  The measurements of the finished shawl are 74 x 33 inches, a very generous size that I am super pleased with.

2.  If you are looking for a relaxing knit that works well with any colour of worsted weight yarn, you should definitely check out this pattern.

Now if only the cooler weather would arrive!  I can hardly wait to wear this shawl.