Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Capsule Wardrobe

In my recent podcast episode 14 (part one and part two) I spoke about the Coletterie's blog series Wardrobe Architect. I've been thinking about it for quite a few months now.

Episode 14 saw me focus on a capsule wardrobe, something I hadn't ever encountered before.

Like many needleworkers of many ilks, I have a backlog of patterns and materials, all purchased with excitement and the best of intentions. I bought these things because I liked them, because I really wanted to do something with them. And the idea of planning a capsule wardrobe just might be the motivation I need.

What is a capsule wardrobe?
A small subset of your wardrobe, something you can plan seasonally.

How do you plan a capsule wardrobe?
1) Choose 1-6 silhouettes for the season.
2) Create a colour palette.
3) Break down your silhouettes and colours into a list of pieces.
4) Organize what to make, what to buy, and what you already own.

All this is taken from the Coletterie's fantastic blog, where you can find details, advice, and fun worksheets (yes, fun!) that will help you along the way to planning your own capsule wardrobe.

I'm planning my capsule wardrobe for Spring/Summer 2015.

Planning begins now and lasts until the end of January.
February onward is the making!

Want to Join me?
Visit the Canary Knits Ravelry group! I think this would be a great way to motivate each other and share our ideas and wardrobe making triumphs! Sew! Knit! Crochet! Whatever works for you!
Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Make your comfy, cozy, squishy-garter-stitch dreams come true with Draperie.

Buy Now

The stretchy, squishy feel of the all-over garter stitch texture provides a fabric that drapes and wraps around your body wonderfully. The perfect item to casually throw on for extra warmth, Draperie can be worn with either side as the top; converting the piece from a cardigan to a more shrug-like piece instantly!

Sizes:  39 (43, 46)” / 99 (109, 117) cm

Yarn: Baah "La Jolla"

You want to knit Draperie because:
  • it's a simple, soothing garter-stitch knitting experience
  • the drape and basic shape make this an effortlessly chic garment
  • the convertibility: it can be worn top side up or down, depending on how drapey you'd like your collar
  • easy adaptability: want it longer? Just knit a few more rows! This garment has no complicated shaping
With more drapey collar worn at neck

Friday, November 21, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Judy Brien
Rav ID: JudyIs
Some Great Designs: JudyIs' Rav Designer Page

This week's designer demonstrates a masterful use of texture and innovative uses for traditional techniques.

Engineered Seams (pictured) is my favourite example. This is "just" a top-down seamless raglan, but just look at the amazing textural detail she's incorporated, done through the use of well-placed short rows. And the cleverly-placed twisted stitches for faux seams! Love it.

X Cardigan is also a simple top-down, but she tweaks the look with a sloping front buttonband, draping collar, and the placement of sweater shaping placement at the back of the garment.

Black Wattle: short rows, mesh lace, chic sweater. SO COOL. All JudyIs' work is so comfy, interesting, and fashionable. I hope I've won you all over.
And hey, she's got plenty of other designs! Just check out her portfolio!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Read Along Begins!

Are you ready and set to start reading? Because today is the official start to our second knitting book read along!

On this thread in the Canary Knits Ravelry group.

Officially: today until February 1, 2015 (though the thread will always remain open for discussion).

We're reading Ysolda Teague's Little Red in the City.

Community! Collaborative, peer learning! And just hanging out.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Meridith Shepherd
Rav ID: MeridithKnits
Some Great Designs: MeridithKnits' Rav Designer Page

Put a fun pop of colour and some bold texture in your cold-weather wardrobe with this week's designer!

Check out the photo here of Daring Diamonds. Need I say more? Winter is precisely when you need this pick-me-up, and Daring Diamonds uses intarsia and super fun colours to make a fantastic scarf.
PS: Scarves are underrated, I think. They make such great gifts, are so useful, and can be great ways to practice and learn new knitting techniques. So, knit a scarf this season!

Are you more of a cowl knitter? Alpha Chi is another example of her exciting colourwork. It's reversible, with one side featuring a Greek key pattern and the other a simple diagonal.

If you're really into cowls, you can pick up Alpha Chi along with Color Infusion as part of an ebook. This is another cool reversible cowl, with bold chevrons and exciting colour combination possibilities!

You need to know: we have a coupon code, specially for you Canary Knits readers! You can Buy 2 get 1 Free with this coupon code between November 14-November 28: canary2014

If you're only interested in purchasing one of her patterns, you can get it for 25% off with the Indie Designer Gift Along from now until November 21. See her Gift-Along bundles here. Go here for more info about the Gift Along.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Swinging by to let you all know the winner of the giveaway from last week's Indie Designer, emount!

Congratulations kayteau!
I'll get you in touch with the designer and she'll send you your pattern.

Erica has also let me know that she's participating in the Indie Designer Gift-along, on Ravelry this year. It Runs from Nov 13 - Dec 31. It’s a KAL with games and loads of prizes. There are 293 participating designers, who will be discounting many of their patterns 25%. The sale is from Nov 13 at 8pm through Nov 21.
More information here.

Thanks all!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Knitting Book Read Along: Little Red in the City

Have you picked up your copy of Little Red in the City yet?

Our read along starts on the Canary Knits Ravelry group on Sunday. I know I can't wait to get started!

Get a Copy
Ysolda's website (where you can get an e copy).
Your local library (my local library doesn't have it, but checking your own is worth a shot!)

Our read along goes from November 16 - February 1.
Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Winter Wardrobe: Knit Now!

It's peak winter knitting season!

While it may not quite feel that way right now (outside it's a balmy 15C right now), being prepared for that first creeping-cold day is ideal.

So bust out your needles now for maximum cold-weather knits (or, on the other end of the globe, warm-weather!).

Might I suggest Geo Delight?

More to come on this puppy in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled! Vests are bests for the cold!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Owl Embroidery

Last Christmas a friend of mine gave me this adorable owl embroidery kit from Kiriki Press.

I finally cracked in to it this summer after I caught the embroidery bug from the totally cute patterns over at Red Letter Day Stitches.

I've made some progress since the days of long sunshine and occasionally oppressive heat, but the owl sits still on my desk, waiting.

I'd never devoted any real time to embroidery before this year. So really, my friend was expressing great confidence in me by purchasing an embroidery kit that's "level 3" as in, the most difficult offered by this particular company.

I sort of ignored that rating level and just jumped on in. And really, embroidery isn't all that difficult! Don't be intimidated! There's plenty of fantastic stitch dictionaries and techniques demonstrated online. I've been referring to this one pretty heavily since I've begun.

There are a number of stitches I've had to practice a few times, and go to a variety of sources to get a better understanding of (french knots!! Tricky but soooo pretty!).
But with patience and a modicum of research, I've found that embroidery is a great brain-resetting sort of activity when I need a break from knitting.

I have a Pinterest board with a variety of needlecrafts pinned to it. Search around for the embroidery, but beware: there's plenty there to distract you from knitting! My current favourite embroidery project is this one, and I reaaaally want to start it now! If only I had some neon embroidery floss...

Friday, November 07, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Erica Mount
Rav ID: emount
Some Great Designs: emount's Rav Designer Page

I have some great patterns to tell you about.
Oh, and a GIVEAWAY!

Yes. But hear me out first. I want to tell you about a couple of this week's designer's patterns.

First up is the pictured Spear Maiden's Heart. A well done colourwork mitten is a great thing. The interaction of geometric and organic-inspired shapes on this duo-chrome design is very eye catching. And don't miss that pretty braid running along the bottom edge!

I'm also a fan of her Moonlit Coast mittens. It's inspired by the beautiful, rocky coastline of Nova Scotia. Check out the pattern page: there's examples in both two- and multi-colours.

Well, as you can see, emount is a strong colourwork mitten designer, and she's very generously offered to give away a free pattern to one lucky reader! Just comment on this post between now and November 13 and let me know which of her pattern's you'd choose. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Big Needles, Big Cozy Part 1

I can't explain it; I appear to be a woman of extremes.

The very second I saw Knit Picks' new yarn Big Cozy I knew I had to design with it. There's just something about a super bulky yarn that gets my heart a-racing.
Big Cozy nom nom!

Many, many years ago, when I first started knitting, I purchased the largest needles I'd ever seen at the first knitting fair I'd ever been to. They're 20 mm needles (US size 36)1, and now I finally have the perfect yarn for them.

Big Cozy is a super bulky weight yarn, with the gauge given as 2.5 sts to 1". On my needles, I'm getting it a bit bigger, and that's all part of the fun. It's a wonderfully soft combination of 55% superfine alpaca and 45% Peruvian highland wool, for which I'm imagining a luxurious, over-the-top, cape/bolero.

I'm sure you can imagine, though, that knitting with needles and yarn this big is something of a challenge. You have to learn new ways of manipulating the yarn and wielding these unwieldy things. So imagine my surprise when, quite literally, the day after I got my hand on some Big Cozy, Mari Chiba posted this guide of tips to knitting with super big needles! Serendipity! If you're thinking of knitting with this beautifully monstrous stuff, I'd suggest you give her brief post a read.

You'll be seeing more from me and this huge yarn. I'm hoping to take you through this design process from its first steps through to its last.

For some odd reason, it's all about the super big and pretty small yarns for me (I tend toward sock weight. Who knows why?)
How about you? Do you prefer a particular weight of yarn?
1 As these needles are really unusually large, I thought I better do my research and see if people can ever get a hold of ones this big. Indeed you can, and right from Knit Picks' own website!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Knitting Book Read Along: Our Second Book Begins!

I'm really rather pleased that we got as many votes as we did for the selection of our second knitting book read along. Thanks everyone! Let's keep that momentum going.
All discussion will happen in the Canary Knits Ravelry group.

The Book

Little Red in the City by Ysolda Teague

Where to Get It
Ysolda's website (where you can get an e copy).
Your local library (my local library doesn't have it, but checking your own is worth a shot!)

Knitter's Review
Good Reads
Fresh Stitches
and many, many more!

Get the book between now and November 16, 2014.
Read the book between now and February 1, 2015.
As this book is over 250 pages long, and the read along will extend over what can be a rather busy knitting time, I’ve given us about 3 months to get this book read and discussed.
That said, the discussion thread will never be closed!

No pressure!
Read at your own pace.
Set your own goals.
Participate as much or as little as you wish.
All discussion will happen in the Canary Knits Ravelry group.

Can't wait to get started! I'll see you there!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Indie Designer Revisit

© Jane Heller
Designer: Inna Aleksandrova
Rav ID: Yantarik
Some Great Designs: Yantarik's Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: January 16, 2009

So many years ago! Wow! I profiled this designer before she had any published designs in 2009. I was very pleased to return to her work and see that she's been published in Knitty, Petite Purls, and Twist Collective!

Sigulda comes in both women's and men's. Look at the pretty! These are attractive sweaters that demonstrate a masterful combination of texture (both physical, through stitch definition, and optical, through colours) AND colourwork.

You might think putting those two together would be easily overwhelming. And you're correct! It takes a skilled designer to harmoniously bring together disparate elements, each with the distinct ability to overwhelm the other or create a garment that's "too busy".

These sweaters are such a great balance! I love it.
They were published in Twist Collective Winter 2013. I can only hope that we get to see more work from Yantarik soon!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Rock Quarry: Why the Short Rows?

I've had a few questions regarding the short rows on the recently released Rock Quarry Stole (featured in Interweave Knits Fall 2014).

One of the main reasons people have been asking me about these short rows is because their function doesn't appear to be obvious from the photos published in the magazine.
Fortunately, I've been able to get my hands on a second sample, borrowed with thanks from the fantastic ladies at Handknit Yarn Studio.

Ok, let's get into it!

1) What's the point of the short rows?
I designed short rows into the stole so that it would wrap more comfortably and closely around the wearer's shoulders. See this photo below.

2) These short rows are weird! When do I pick up the wraps?
When I swatched for this pattern I quickly discovered that when you're working in linen stitch, wrapping your stitches (as you would generally do when creating short rows) is unnecessary. The fabric is quite dense on its own, and the function of the wraps isn't needed. Which is great! Cause it makes the knitting speedier.

3) Can I just omit the short rows?
Absolutely! The short rows aren't dramatic or drastic. See the images below for a glimpse at "height" of the curve created through the short rows.

And for good measure, here's the stole, laid flat, seen from above with the RS facing.

And the WS facing. Note: the curve you can see here is because I intentionally encouraged the short rows to curve out. As you can see from the RS photos, it is entirely capable of laying flat.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween is the Greatest!

Coming in #1 as my favourite holiday is Halloween.
There's ample evidence of this preference on this here blog.
And usually I make my costume. I LOVE making my costume. And, I suppose, in a round about way, I did make my costume for this year.

I've decided to dress up as Lucy Ricardo. My mom's going as Ricky. Bam! Family costume! (Really, the biggest reason I wanted her to go as Ricky was because of the little wee conga drum I bought from her in Cuba last year. Score for early costume buying!)

As you can see from these Lucy pics, she's got a big skirted, blue polka dot dress. Serendipitously, I've already sewn myself a retro blue polka dot dress. Bam! Half costume done!

The other half will consist of ridiculous red lipstick and a big blazing red wig that isn't particularly accurate but will have to do.

And as always, I'm planning a big shindig for Halloween.

How about you? Are you dressing up? What are you going as?