Monday, September 01, 2014

The 80s Come to Roost

A short while ago, a friend of mine had a mini party wherein she busted out her fantastic collection of 80s toys and we played. We played like the five year old version of ourselves that we've always been.

Evidence!
Pony circle of power!

Sugarberry!
Applejack!

Did you know there was a SHEEP My Little Pony?
And it had balls of yarn as its symbol!
Remember these guys?


Do you collect anything? Yarn stash totally counts!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Indie Designer Revisit

Freyr
Designer: Kayla Dyches
Blog: The Yarn Bearer
Rav ID: TheYarnBearer
Some Great Designs: TheYarnBearer's Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: December 4, 2009

Lighthearted, with a sense of humour and a good dose of design talent.
Those are a few of the reasons I dig this month's revisited designer, TheYarnBearer.

There's the deliciously cabeled Bitter End and Rutland (so cozy!). The eye catching Gaia Revisited and Night Circus. And then there's possibly my favourite, Freyr (keep this one in mind for the soon-to-be-here cold weather!)

Don't miss the whimsy of Gnome Hat for Pets. I need these for my neighbourhood cats!

And then there's her fun, possibly NSFW pieces. But check them out (at home, perhaps?)
Clam Hands
Peen Chart

And many more! Hop on over to her Rav Designer Page and bask in the fun glory that it contains!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Events!


Ya'll might know, I started a podcast back in February. And boyo, wasn't I flattered when the organizers at the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair invited me to participate in a speakers panel about knitting-focused podcasts!
Daaaaamn excited!

I always thought it was cool (and yet, a shame) that the podcasts I listen to list all the events they'll be at. Cool because, hey! Going to events and being able to meet podcasters is cool! A shame because, well, I'm never, never local to any of the podcasters I listen to.

Until now!

The podcasters on the panel are all from Southern Ontario. Let me introduce you to them!

Knit 1 Geek 2
Karen and Maggie guide you through the wide world of geekery and knitting.

Spin Doctor
Sasha Torres provided fantastic info for the handspinner from 2010-2013.

If you're interested in attending, put this Saturday, September 13 in your calendars. Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 25, 2014

From Skein to Sweater: A Rhinebeck Adventure

The road to Rhinebeck starts here.
Well, it started at last year's Rhinebeck, but we'll get to that in a minute.

Rhinebeck is the location for a much celebrated sheepie, fibrey, yarny festival in New York State during the most beautiful time of year.
A powerful gathering place for knitters from all over the continent (and dare I say, even world!?), books have been written about it and the specific magic and drive that is: The Rhinebeck Sweater.

I've been to Rhinebeck twice; the first trip was sweater-less, but I cottoned on for the second year and am now riding high on inspiration and am going for the third.

Along with my friends at Handknit I'll be heading down for the whole weekend, hopefully bedecking in a very new, very lime green, sweater. At Rhinebeck 2013 I fell in love with this yarn (pictured: it's Maple Creek Farm Yarns "Sherman" in Lime; 80% superwash wool, 20% nylon, 400 y / 3.5 oz).
You knew I would, right? Totes. This is an amazing colour.
I was a bit trepidatious, if you can believe it; I did question at the time of purchase, "Will I be able to wear this in a sweater and not feel... overdone?"

Well my knitterly friends, I have the solution. To balance the eye-searing beauty that is this neon green, I've decided to go pretty damn traditional with the accompanying pattern.
I'm thinking a basic, classically-inspired aran sweater will do the trick.

With this is mind, I've been searching Ravelry for some cable-inspiration, mostly hanging around Alice Starmore's portfolio (designs like Eala Bhan and St. Brigid) and the lovely Vika by Veronik Avery (and I do indeed know it's for kids. I'm digging the cable combinations).

As for the shape and construction of the sweater itself, I'm thinking of my favourite sweater elements: a wide and deep scoop neck, top-down seamless, with elbow or 3/4 length sleeves. Maybe even get creative with the waist/bust shaping. We shall see. But certainly it will have some negative ease and my loveist of ribs, the 1x1 twisted.

I'm excited! And possibly ill-advised. Start a sweater NOW for mid-October? When I have plenty of other knitting that needs to be done? AND a Christmas present from last year that remains incomplete?
Naaaaah. I'm good. I'm gonna indulge. Because I don't believe it's technically a Rhinebeck sweater if you aren't stressing over it and desperately weaving in the ends during the road trip.

Magic, I tells ya. Magic.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Jen Hintz
Blog: FibroFibers
Rav ID: jenhintz
Some Great Designs: jenhintz's Rav Designer Page

Texture and fun! That's this week's designer's work.

Take Zig. I love Zig! Look how cute! Check out the other pics on the pattern page, because it looks equally great with either the wider or narrower brim, and is fantastically unisex. Now that's a hat that looks great, is fun to knit, and will keep your head warm this cold season!

Stackhouse is an otherwise pretty simple and classic-looking cowl, but paired with its intended yarn of FibroFibers Nightfall sock set and BAM! It becomes and interesting colourwork piece.

And I want to end with a rather summery (and cool!) "No Coaster Needed" Beverage Cozies. They are what they sound like, folks. And a cute idea for some of that summer's-almost-at-an-end crochet to work on while you enjoy the sun (and your beverage!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Camping: Making Along the Way


I've just returned from a fantastic camping trip!I love Algonquin Park, and this is the second time I've been up that way. This time it was me, my sister, and my mom. We stayed at Pog Lake, which had sites far from the highway, with great privacy, tall conifers, and extremely gregarious and brave chipmunks. The critter you see in the photo above actually ran up on to my shoulder!

Hiking, cooking, bonfires, and that special sort of camping coffee was had. Beautiful views, interesting flora, and more than a few minutes to knit on some special socks for both my mom and sister.

I can't explain to you my continued pursuit and engagement with procrasti-knitting; as nice as it is, my mom and sister didn't need special camping socks. And I certainly do have loads of other knitting that needs doing! But camping was vacation, and vacation is nothing if without stress-free vacation knitting.

Incidentally, I had been chattering away (probably on the podcast, and general social media) about working my first afterthought heel sock while on this trip. Those didn't happen. I decided to go with my tested and true toe-up, short-row heeled socks.

I did do a brief amount of digging, and it appears that many people are a bit dissatisfied with afterthought heels because they find that they don't fit well.
Have you ever knit afterthought heel socks? Do you find they fit/don't fit? Do you have any tips to share?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Neon, Triangles, and Neutrals: A Collaboration

People. I can't believe how happy-squee-lucky I am right now. I had the incredible joy of seeing an email land in my inbox a couple months ago from the fantastic Emma Welford . She invited me to participate in an ebook collection along with the talented Sarah Hurwitz of Knit York City.
And while that's fantastic, there's still icing on this cake: Emma thought of me because of the theme they chose. That theme: Neon, Neutrals, and Triangles! GAH! I really, really love that I am in any way one of the designers they think of as being a good fit for neon, neutrals, and triangles.

So right away I painted my nails in the above-mentioned theme and put my thinking cap on. They shared their exciting sketches with me, and I generated a couple ideas of my own for the collaboration.

Here you see a sneaky-sneak preview of the wrong side of one of those designs. It's the accessory. The other design is a sweater, for which I have been very pleased to get yarn support from Cascade Yarns as well as the independent dyer, Zauberzeug.

People. I can't wait to show you the rest! Stay tuned!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Karen Robinson
Blog: KarenDawn Designs
Rav ID: karendawn
Some Great Designs: karendawn's Rav Designer Page

This week's designer has a great eye for texture and cables.

Her matching Lyonet Hat (pictured) and Lyones Cowl use those elements in a way that makes that yarn sing. Such tidy little cables and textural combinations!

Criseyde Scarf is a free, delicate, lacy-looking scarf. Something that would be great for the very early autumn, when the chill has just started to return to the air.

Lady Bertilak Cowl is a classic cowl in two lengths, with a fantastic story about its inspiration. I'm not telling: go to the pattern page and read it. :)

And for a bit of fun, there's the Don't Blink Illusion Scarf. Dr. Who fans take notice! This is a neat illusion scarf pattern. Looking for a quick gift for a Whovian? This would be perfect.

NEW INFO: Just before I published this post I checked for the latest info, and there's a brand new pattern from karendawn!
It's the lovely Astolat Shawl. It features beautiful texture, classic shape, and an in depth inspiration summary on the pattern page. I love when designers let us in on their thought process and various muses!

You can also see some upcoming designs in progress: the Dorigen Cowl and The Wife of Bath’s Cowl.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rock Quarry

© Interweave Knits
Rock Quarry is a wide, sturdy, and cozy wrap, inspired by the beautiful landscape of Ruthven Park.
I wanted to create a textural playground with this sheepy yarn, something that would do well for guests at an early October outdoor wedding. Something fancy, yet functional.

I think it's well established that I'm a defender of the bobble. Here, they're used exclusively on each end of the wrap, happily embracing this distinctive design element.

The most fun part about this stole, besides its seamless design and bobbles, are the gentle needle size increases and soft upwards curve created by the expanding gauge, complemented by ever-so-slight shoulder-hugging short rows.

The linen stitch means that you get to work short rows, but don't have to pick up those wraps on the way back.


I was having a Bad Hair day when I quickly snapped some photos of the sample before I mailed it off to Interweave. Here you see a close up of the edge detail. Love that texture!

And here is a close up of that linen stitch. The fantastic hand of Imperial Yarn's Erin works wonderfully with the simple texture and gentle short rows.
Check out a few more pics of Rock Quarry on my ravelry page.


You can find Rock Quarry in Interweave Knits Falls 2014.


© Interweave Knits

Monday, August 11, 2014

October Wedding Collection

I'd like to show you some peeks at the October Wedding Collection and let you know a bit more about how it will come together.

I was inspired to create this small collection of about four designs through a couple things: the desire to enable and encourage more people to be makers for their own wedding, and to emphasize that the wedding is about everyone who's there. It's not just the bride, and it's not even just the couple. There's all the guests, too. They're special and important enough to the lives of the couple to be invited, and they're an integral part of the celebrations.

So this collection is intended to have pieces that can be used by the couple, but also by any of the guests. And even beyond the wedding day itself! Some of these designs can be worn standing in the chilly autumn air waiting at the bus stop as much as standing in front of family and friends, dressed more formally.
 
Here's a peek at one of the swatches for the collection, in the beautiful Anzula For Better or Worsted. Is that not the perfect yarn for this collection?!

Friday, August 08, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Elizabeth Davis
Blog: P l a i n s t i t c h
Rav ID: bizbis
Some Great Designs: bizbis' Rav Designer Page

Modernist wonderland. Check it out:
Chelsea Morning: Blocks of colour, simple geometric shapes, and even a pocket. Relaxed chic. The photo speaks for itself!

Courage: I really love the simplicity of these. Just stockinette/reverse stockinette and some well-placed ribbing ridges, and this looks like a magnificent deconstruction and reconstruction.

Bogolan: Not only is this cowl striking and designed to be customized (the pattern includes five different fair isle motifs), all proceeds between now and December go to Women for Women International. Knitting and designing for a good cause.

ETA: The latest: Avalanche. YOU MUST SEE THIS NOW! 

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Estivate

I'm excited to introduce Estivate!
Buy Now


Part of the Sock Yarn Scarves Collection, Estivate is a convertible scarf/bolero that’s airy enough to be your summer’s constant companion, whether after the sun goes down around the campfire, or as a pretty accessory added to your formal outfit for those summer weddings.

I had a lot of fun designing this pattern. It's worked in one piece, and is a versatile shape. Great as a loose top, bolero, or even scarf, it has a simple and short repeat of lace that decorates its surface. It's a comfortable and airy knit, something great for this time of year.

Buy Estivate now as an individual pdf download for $4.99, or get the whole collection as a pdf for only $9.99.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Because Beer

It's no secret that I like beer.  Serendipitously, I discovered that my hometown was having its first ever beer festival only days after I started trying to arrange some sort of beer tour. So I quit the arranging, and hopped online to buy a ticket right quick.


The very awesome beer festival, Because Beer, was delicious and gorgeous. Food trucks, live tunes, and twenty-five local craft brewers. The evening was perfect.

Me and my boyfriend, drinking up!


Sliders so good.
And dessert! Bacon creme brulee.
Beautiful sunset over Hamilton Harbour.



I know the beer I like, but I'm no expert. I dig the super hoppy stuff. My boyfriend, not so much. His take on the samplings we had was that "there's a trend with microbreweries making super hoppy beers" and he doesn't care for it. Any beer-lovers out there? Are you seeing this too?

Friday, August 01, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Heidi Rose Knits
Rav ID: ShinyRose
Some Great Designs: ShinyRose's Rav Designer Page

This designer is so new and fresh, she has but one pattern that promises of great talent to come.

The Unraveled Cowl uses the simple textural element of dropped stitches to create a visually interesting (and wearable) piece. I love cowls, and I'm always on the look out for new and interesting ones. It's an accessory that I find I get tons of use from, and so will always suggest cowls for a knitter's wardrobe.

With that in mind, check out her projects page, too. She's got plenty of other photos of Unraveled Cowl, styled and worn in different ways.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Half-Past Summer Hawt Sands

I've been having a fun summer.

Usually this isn't my most beloved season. And that's for a number of reasons, not the least of which being my brain's stubborn incapability to fit knitting into summer. But I've proven to myself it can happen. Yes, Virgina, knitting and the heat can go hand-in-hand!

Witness Hawt Sands in action as a bathing suit coverup. Since I knit this in cotton (and it's designed as a warm-weather knit in the first place) this pattern and summer are made for each other.
I found it super comfy and perfect for its purpose. Not changing out of your suit right away? Just throw this puppy on and away you go!
It's even hula hoop approved!