Friday, April 22, 2016

TPCT: Tester Testimonials!

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There were a grand total of fifteen kind, talented, and dedicated test knitters who worked up their own TPCTs. I want to share with you their fantastic FOs and their thoughts about this pattern.



Annika
Annika's TPCT
pssst: Check out Annika's fantastic blog post, where she pairs her TPCT with a bunch of great sewing patterns to create whole hand made outfits!


Testimonial
I added short rows so I could make a smaller size because my waist and shoulders are much smaller than my full bust. Customizing was easy and intuitive. The only change I am likely to make for future TCPTs is slightly lengthening the waist ribbing, just for my comfort. I have a 40” high bust measurement and 44” full bust (I wear a 36G/H bra), and I knitted the size 41.



LauraLish
Laura's TPCT

Testimonial
This was an easy, enjoyable, and quick knit! It would perfect for a first sweater project, but by taking advantage of the mods available even the most seasoned knitter could get a kick out this one.
I’m loving the yarn I chose, Miss Babs Yummy 2-Ply. It worked perfectly and the variegated colorway, Surprise, was exciting to see knitted up.
This top is great when styled with a pencil skirt for a night out. You could also wear it over a spaghetti-strapped dress for the office. For a more casual look, you could wear it with a pair of loose fitting boyfriend jeans and show some tum :)


Sheila
Sheila's TPCT

Sheila used a self-patterning yarn. Look how cool it turned out! This sort of yarn would be a great way to get a complex look with just a simple stockinette stitch.
Also note the extra sleeve length Sheila added. I REALLY like the way the self-patterning yarn looks on her sleeves.

Testimonial
I must say that when I followed the pattern correctly on my second try with the right type of yarn suggested in the pattern I was very happy with how this TCPT worked up.
Considering it’s the first (& 2nd) time I’ve ever done an actual article of clothing, I’d say the designer did a bang up job and I am now much less afraid to forge ahead with grown up clothing!
I can’t thank canarysantuary enough for letting me participate in this test knit, and I seriously believe if I can do it, anyone can…. The pattern has so many options to make this cropped top whatever way your comfortable knitting, whether you prefer top down or bottom up, long or short sleeves, and clear instructions on where you can throw in your own designs or alterations!



kriss77
Kriss's TPCT 

Testimonial
The TPCT is a great little number. Easy to follow instructions and a quick knit. I actually knit mine while traveling overseas. Being a crop top means less yarn to carry around. My top ended up being slouchy because my gauge differed from the swatch. I love it though. It still works as a short top with high waisted skirts but also with shorts and jeans with a tiny bit of skin showing. Or I wear it over a dress instead of a cardigan.
There will be more of those in my knitting future - the next one in correct gauge for a different look. This is a versatile pattern that can be worn in lots if different situations.



Reagan


Reagan stash busted with a stripey TPCT. She mentioned she would've liked to make the sleeves longer, but ran out of yarn for this option.


Caite
Caite's TPCT


Testimonial
I really wanted to knit canary sanctuary’s TPCT because I followed her on instagram and everytime she would post a finished top I knew it was something I would wear. She styled it with cute skirts and that appealed to me as that’s something I wear a lot of in the warm weather.
I jumped all over test knitting it for her, I did the top down version in a bamboo silk. My problem was knitting it in the dead of winter and not being able to wear it for a long time. I decided to wear it one day over a tank top and with a cardigan. I just buttoned the cardigan a bit so you couldn’t tell it was cropped. I love it I’ve worn it that way a few times waiting on warm weather.
I would knit this top again and again.
Angie
Angie's TPCT

Becky
Becky's TPCT
Becky was a very enthusiastic tester! She's made up 4 TPCTs so far, each with a new mod. Linked above is one of her colourwork TPCTs, where she worked a lovely fair isle pattern around the yoke as well as across the body.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

TPCT: Modification Options

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TPCT is designed to be modified.

I wanted to give knitters the ability to do exactly what they want with this pattern. The pattern includes:
  • elbow length sleeve option
  • blank yoke charts for your own cable/lace/colourwork
  • top down AND bottom up instructions
  • centre front bust shaping
  • notes on lengthening the body

I made a total of eleven TPCT samples. Here below is a bit of info on the ways I made my own modified TPCTs.

Elbow Length Sleeves
Not everyone likes capped sleeves! The elbow length sleeve instructions included work with both the bottom up and top down constructions.


Bust Shaping
The pattern as written includes bust shaping with two different options: either in two sections across the front, or gathered together in the front centre. Both are pretty, and relatively minor. Both options for front bust shaping happens on just one row about 1" above the ribbing. This photo shows you the two sections option.



Colourwork
As you can see from this photo, I didn't consider the pattern-breaking-up effects of a variegated yarn! I think it looks lovely nonetheless. All I did was use the blank TPCT yoke chart for my own size and work this stranded colourwork along and around the whole yoke.

In THIS sample, you can see that I went a bit wild with the colourwork, extending it down from the yoke all the way around the body. This is a very simple step to make, because the shaping that happens around the body section is minimal and easy to either ignore or account for in your colourwork. Join the TPCT KAL and share your ideas and get support for YOUR own colourwork!

Cables
I went very light on the cables here; it's really more of a play in texture. But it gives you an idea as to how you can insert cables and the possible looks you can get with the blank yoke charts.

And possibly my favourite option... Getting the Yarn to work for YOU
I did a couple of TPCTs where I got a cool ombre effect simply because of the yarn I used. This one you see below was from a gradient kit I picked up several Rhinebecks ago from Fiber Optics.

And this TPCT is much more stripey than the gradient one you see above. Stripes are fun! You can achieve lots of cool looks for your TPCT by just relying on a gradient kit, ombre yarn, selection of fun colours, embrace the speckled yarn trend, or even just use a self-striping yarn.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

TPCT: Tips and Ideas on Styling

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I made a grand total of eleven TPCTs for myself. I found the simplicity and modification ability of this pattern to lend itself to multiples.

And along the way, I discovered how versatile a crop top can be. Here's a few ideas on how you can style your own TPCT.

Over a Dress


With Pants/Leggings


With Shorts


With a High-Waisted Pencil Skirt


With a Full Skirt


Other suggestions from testers include:

Over a Button-Down Blouse

Under a Full-Length Cardigan

As a Quick Beach Cover Up

With a Mini Skirt (and leggings)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

TPCT: Selecting Yarn + Yarn Substitutions

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TPCT's yarn info is deliberately focussed on gauge and yardage:

Yarn Any that is approximately a heavy fingering weight that will give you the proper gauge, preferred fibre content is 50%+ wool, approx 122 (195, 205, 222, 236) 256, 274, 296, 312 grams

Needles 3.25 mm (US 3) circulars (approx 16” / 40 cm length) and 3.25 mm (US 3) dpns or size to obtain gauge

Gauge 24 sts and 28 rows = 4” / 10 cm in stockinette To ensure the best fit, please check your gauge

I wanted knitters to be able to easily dive into their stash and grab gauge-matching leftovers. Because this is a smaller-than-normal sweater, you'll be using much less yarn than you're used to for a garment, making TPCT a good option for an economical knitter!

But you might be wondering: a crop top in WOOL?

Let's talk a bit about different fibre options and what they can do for your TPCT.

WOOL
The first TPCT I knit was in a nice, sturdy 100% wool. The characteristics of this fibre are:
  • great elasticity; will hold its shape well and the ribbing will be tidy and remain so 
  • keeping you warm; wool is great at retaining warmth
  • stitch definition; the particular yarn I picked shows the kfb increases across the yoke very clearly
 A wool crop top is a great option; there's a wide selection of yarn in this gauge and fibre. It'll be easy to find really fun yarns/colours and will open many options for you.
We'll talk in more depth about styling your TPCT tomorrow, but a quick FYI: crop tops CAN be a season-crossing garment. They are great for layering under or over other clothing. As you can see in this photo, I'm wearing this crop top over one of my favourite dresses.


  

CASHMERE
Yes, I did knit a TPCT in cashmere. This was a precious skein I had in the deep stash for years. I love this TPCT because the cashmere makes it feel soooo nice, but there are certain ramifications to picking a yarn with a fibre base (either 100% or a blend) like this:
  • cashmere will feel reaaaally good next to your skin
  • it makes for a very lightweight TPCT
  • this fibre is NOT good with elasticisty: take a look at the photo and you'll see that the ribbing is not tidy and snug against my body, and the stitch definition isn't great either
All those things don't make this a bad option, just a different one. As long as you're alright with the stretching that will happen with a non-elastic fibre like cashmere, then it makes for a great TPCT!



ANGORA
This TPCT, as you see, saw me have a LOT of fun with stash remnants. All of these were of varying fibre content, but the MC white colour is a 100% angora. You can see that it behaves a bit different from the other TPCT fibre blends on this post:
  • the angora, like the cashmere, isn't great with elastic memory. That means the ribbing ends up being more decorative than function ie: after a few wears, it began to hover out, away from my body
  • it has a verrrry pretty halo; it creates a nice textural effect
  • it's WARM; I wore this TPCT all through the winter, and to be honest, I'm not sure I can imagine wearing a full length angora sweater even in the deepest winter! It would just be too hot!
 Another thing this particular TPCT sample is great for is showing you how you can combine stash yarns of different fibre bases AS LONG AS they give you the same gauge. I'd still suggest being cognizant of the characteristics and behaviours of the fibres you're combining. See  Clara Parkes' The Knitter's Book of Yarn for a thorough fibre run down.

SILK
The photo you see here is a bit of a blend of yarns and fibres. The white yarn MC is a silk/wool combo. Making a TPCT in this fibre mix has shown me:
  • silk has a nice drape; a silk/silk blend yarn will wrap around your body differently than a straight up wool yarn. Note how the outline of my undergarment is visible with this silk blend yarn
  • silk has a lovely sheen; I'm not sure how well you can see that in this pic, but the yarn almost shines, it's lovely
  • if there's a lot of silk in your yarn, it will affect the elastic memory of your TPCT (which means it might stretch out and the ribbing will eventually stop sitting super close to your body)
  • silk will also be a lighter-weight option (both literally and thermally!); silk will keep you cooler than an animal-based fibre
 Again, all these things don't make silk or a silk blend a bad option for a TPCT, just a different one! You might want some of these characteristics in your TPCT. Don't let the fibre content dissuade you.

COTTON
I have not knit a cotton or cotton blend version of TPCT, but that doesn't mean that you can't! Some characteristics of cotton to keep in mind:
  • this fibre isn't great at elastic memory; that means it will stretch out after use (kind of like a pair of jeans). There exists out there on the internet certain options and suggestions for snapping the cotton back to its original shape. I have not tested these. If you are relying on this, I'd suggest making a gauge swatch and treating it the same way you'd treat your TPCT to see how it'll behave.
  • cotton is great for warm weather
  • maybe look for a cotton and elastic blend yarn; that'll give you the best of both worlds

Cotton will give you a really great warm weather TPCT, as long as you're cool with its lack of elastic memory. I'd heavily suggest testing your cotton by making a gauge swatch (including ribbing). Measure it. Toss it in your bag and carry it around for a few days. See what happens! It may stretch out, and that might be exactly what you're looking for!

Have other questions about different fibres? Please ask away! I do recommend going to the fantastic source that is Clara Parkes' The Knitter's Book of Yarn. It'll give you great insight into the behaviour of fibre, and allow you to make an informed choice about your yarn for TPCT, and all other fibre options in your knitting future!

Monday, April 18, 2016

TPCT: Crop Top Love

Making and wearing crop tops is a small way I embrace body positivity for myself. I feel so great that I'm not allowing repressive cultural standards to keep me from making and wearing something I want to. Even though for a long time there was a horrible judgey voice in my head that told me I couldn't wear that. I'd look gross. It looks great on OTHER people, but not me because of X, Y, and Z flaws.
One day about a year ago I decided I'd had enough of letting that mean girl voice in my head dictate what I wore. I WANT to make and wear crop tops, and so I shall. I quashed that mean voice. I embraced my body as it is now.

What I REALLY hope is that I can encourage other people to do the same. When people say “oh, I can’t wear that! It’s a crop top!” I feel a sadness. Why can’t they? If they really want to?

So I designed TPCT to be accessible to newer as well as more experienced knitters. I made sure that I included a whole bunch of modification options so you can make it look as YOU as possible.

I included blank charts for yoke modifications, the option for different bust shaping, notes on where you can lengthen the top, and instructions for elbow length sleeves.

You can pick up TPCT here.
And if you're thinking of knitting it up, please join the KAL. You'll find a great community of knitters and support, and I'll be there to help you with any mod ideas you have.

Stay tuned the rest of this week here on the blog for TPCT Week! We'll be talking about:

  • selecting yarn and yarn substitutions 
  • tips and ideas on styling 
  • modification options 
  • and you'll hear testimonials from some testers about their TPCT experience 
All leading up to the launch of the KAL on Friday.
Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Introducing TPCT

Sixteen months in the making.
Fifteen test knitters.
Eleven samples.

One PERFECT CROP TOP.

(The Perfect Crop Top)





This pattern is designed for customization.
This pattern is designed for new and experienced knitters.
This pattern is designed to give YOU the power to make YOUR perfect dream crop top.

TPCT comes with instructions for both top down and bottom up construction. It's worked in the round, and allows for a number of modification options including:
  • elbow length sleeves
  • centre front decreases
  • blank yoke charts for cables, lace, or colourwork

TPCT is ideal for stash busting, using up leftover hanks of yarn and producing a versatile FO for you.

Stay tuned here on the blog next week for TPCT Week! We'll talk about:
  • selecting yarn and yarn substitutions
  • tips and ideas on styling
  • modification options
  • and you'll hear testimonials from some testers about their TPCT experience

See you next week!

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Geo Delight: Shrug-i-fied

I love shrugs. They're the perfect little thing to throw on over a work blouse or dress, and can be a unifying element for the whole outfit. They're also fantastic for knitters because they're generally pretty small and quick to knit. They don't take up loads of yarn, but they do give you the opportunity to make something interesting with shape, textures, and the opportunity to play with colour and techniques and possibly learn something new to add to your knitting knowledge.


Ever since I first designed Geo Delight about 2 years ago I thought it would be cool to crop it up from a full-on vest to a shrug. Fortunately, this is a pretty easy mod to do! Instructions are below.

YARN REQUIREMENTS
You will need approx HALF the amount of MC yarn called for in the pattern as per the Knit Picks yarn.

SIZE
I knit the smallest size, but that is because I wanted a closer fit. For my full-size Geo Delight, I knit the second smallest size.

Provisionally CO 135 (157, 175, 191, 211, 225, 241) sts - 27 (33, 37, 40, 46, 49, 53) each side and 81 (91, 101, 111, 119, 127, 135) for the back.
Place markers at the sides as per numbers above.

Work your Geo Delight Shrug the same as the pattern beginning at the Colourwork establishing row.


NOTE: I did not (as you see above) work the colourwork, but if you choose to, it fits perfect on the shrug-i-fied version.
NOTE: your numbers for picked up sts along edges will change, but the general instructions to pick up 4 of every 5 along the vertical edges remains true.
NOTE: your numbers for the BOTTOM EDGE ribbing will change as well, as per the provisionally CO numbers.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Geo Delight SALE





Heads up!

Geo Delight is on sale for 50% off this week only!

And stay tuned later this week for details on a cool mod to turn Geo Delight into a shrug.

Monday, March 21, 2016

What's Going On

Hi everyone,

I've been buzzing around with a near constant design schedule these days. It's fun and very exciting, but has eaten into my blogging and podcasting time like wild. I will continue to do both of these, just with a pretty drastically truncated frequency for the next few months.

I wanted to pop on here and let you all know the faster way to follow my exploits and keep updated on what's happening is to follow me on Instagram and/or Twitter.

I've LOVE to hear from you! Hope to see you there. #canaryknits





Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Great Nothern KAL: From Another Place Complete

Hooray! I've completed my own knit of Leah Coccari-Swift's From Another Place Crop Top.


This is one of the sweaters you can currently download, and will be available in the final print and digital copy of Great Northern.

For my own From Another Place top, I substituted a lighter weight yarn which meant I had some gauge math to do!

After I figured out the basic measurements I needed and mu own gauge, I matched those up with the closest size in the pattern that would give me those numbers.
That ended up being 4 sizes larger than I would have knit!

The yarn I used was Anzula's Dreamy, a lovely soft blend of yarn (and some stash diving success! This was some remnants from my Drift's Ridge sweater!)

I ran out of the contrasting colour near the very bottom, and so the ribbing there is about 1" shorter than written in the pattern. Which works out ok for me, since I'm shorter than the average bear, and my backwaist length is more like 15" than 16" (which is the standard for sizing).
Fun Fact: I'm standing in front of Liuna Station in Hamilton. This is the train station they blow up in the first X-Men movie.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

#GreatNorthernKAL: Cherry Pie Video

I thought it would be good to create some helpful tips and tutorials videos for my Great Northern patterns. First up is Cherry Pie.

Cherry Pie is a cozy colourwork sweater that includes a sewn zipper. Never installed a zipper before? No need to fear!
This is the first video in a set I'll be doing about selecting and installing a zipper into Cherry Pie (and really, you can use these tips for nearly any zipper install).


Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Happy February; Happy KAL Day!

It's February!
Along with the pleasure of getting a new image to decorate my kitchen for the next 29 days, I'll be hosting THREE wonderful KALs over the coming weeks.


CHERRY PIE
Come one, come all to the inaugural KAL for Great Northern! Leah and I are knitting each other's patterns and helping to guide others with KALs for Cherry Pie and From Another Place over the next 6 weeks.
I'll be posting tips and tricks for each week's goals every Monday.
Don't have your copy of Cherry Pie yet? Pick it up for just $6!
#GreatNorthernKAL
 
BOMBSHELL SHORTS
Happily, there's also a grand KAL for Holla Knits! All patterns are included, but I'm hosting two specifically. Bombshell shorts are the pattern that first got me hooked on Holla Knits, and if you can believe it, I've never even knit them before!
So this is my golden opportunity: get a super cool FO and spend time with you fellow cool kids and knit up some pretty cabled shorts.
#HKKAL16


LADY BAT
Spring's almost here, and Lady Bat is a great addition to your warm weather wardrobe! There's so many great FOs of this pattern you can see on Rav, I'm sure I don't have to do much chatting here to convince you that it's a great knit.
Join us in the KAL!
#HKKAL16

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Great Northern KAL

 Exciting news!

Leah and I have finished the first two sweaters from Great Northern, and they are now available for download (all Great Northern backers with $18+ contribution levels will be getting both of these for free!)

I've designed Cherry Pie, a long-sleeved, simple colourwork-yoked zippered sweater with pretty increase and decrease shaping.
Leah has designed a sweater with TWO options! From Another Place has both a long-sleeved, full length version and a short-sleeved, cropped version.


These patterns are now available for digital download for $6 each.


We'll be hosting KALs for both these sweaters from February 1 - March 14.
This 6 week KAL will give you the opportunity to knit these sweaters with guidance, company, and the possibility of prizes!
Sound good?
Hop on over to the Great Northern Ravelry group for From Another Place and Cherry Pie KALs.
Hope to see you there!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

TPCT Test Knit Time!

TPCT is ready for testing!


Interested? Head on over to the Testing Pool on Ravelry
The test will be run through there.


Psst: wondering what TPCT stands for? It's THE PERFECT CROP TOP, of course!



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Crickets here, Crickets there, but certainly not Crickets everywhere!

I wanted to jump on the blog here to give you all an update.

It's been cricket town here on the blog; I've been pouring my time into a few projects.
First up, there's my dreamy dream perfect Crop Top pattern that I'm hoping to have ready for you all in the Spring. Test knitting opportunities for this are coming soon (join the Canary Knits mailing list to get notified of this).

There's also a cool collab I'm working on with the fantastic Allyson Dykhuizen, Lace Explodes.
The idea behind this collection is lace for people who are sick of the same old same old. Lace, done with a BLAMO!! Here's a sneak peek of one of the designs I'm creating for this ebook.

And finally, I'm having a blast working on Great Northern with Leah! I'll be keeping most of the Great Northern news on the Great Northern site; tune in there and to my instagram feed for the latest news!