Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Campfire Cardigan: A Journey

This was an epic knit.

It was started so many years ago that I can't even remember. Maybe three? That's just a guess. But I do recall that I wanted to stash down, and had a grand pile of Patons Classic wool that I thought would make a rather handsome, basic sweater.


I had initially intended to experiment with cables and texture, and ignore any shaping at all. Just knit on and knit on, and create something super comfy and oversized.
But something shinier and newer must have crossed my path lo those many years ago, and I put down the sweater (already knit up to the armpits and with about half of one sleeve complete).

A couple months ago I resurfaced this WIP from the deep depths of the abandoned projects. There's at least five other knits languishing in there, but this one seemed to scream its perfection for the summertime, and I started to dream about wearing it around campfires and being all cozy and whatnot.

I picked it back up and completed it in about two months. Though part of that speed was due to my abandonment of the central back cable panel and acceptance that I was going to be winging the raglan shaping and guessing at the collar and front edging.

With these risks came the inevitable downfall of errors, but errors I decided to embrace as challenges and skill-building exercises. Example: I didn't decrease enough between the shoulders. I had quite an excess of fabric that meant that the sweater had a very annoying habit of sliding off and hanging in a most unattractive way. The solution was this pretty little pleat, sewn in afterwards, with the perfect amount of fabric being deleted within the top of the central panel frame.

I feel so good about finishing something that's been a UFO for so long!

What's the oldest UFO you've gone back and completed?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Summertime Funtime

This summer's been great! I've been knitting away and keeping busy. Earlier this month I visited a cottage with my family on the beautiful Carson Lake in Ontario's cottage country.

While it rained a bit on a couple of the days, that just gave me extra knitting time. Oh yes, and time to stuff my face silly with all the bad foods. Also: I put a concerted effort toward learning how to make the perfect mojito. I'm thinking the secret is some powerful ginger beer. More experimentation may be required, though!

Reflections galore on Carson Lake.


Greedy red squirrel comes for a cashew visit.
Lakefront hot tub? Oh yeah.
Hot tub sitting. Yessss.
Campfire!
Sitting on the dock.

 Have you been on a vacation yet this summer? Let me know how it went!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Indie Designer Revisit

Designer: Christina Harris
Blog: doodles in string
Rav ID: Doodle
Some Great Designs: Doodle's Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: January 21, 2011

Super quality is no surprise from this designer, and I'm certainly not surprised that her work has been published in both Twist Collective and Sweet Georgia Yarns since I first profiled her in 2011.

The piece in Twist Collective is Whirlpool, from Winter 2012. It's a beautiful, classic colourwork vest that can be worked either flat or in the round with steeks. (Eeek! Steeks! Such bravery and skill. One of these days I'll try them!)

Nest is the cozy, crew neck cardigan published with Sweet Georgia Yarn. Can you imagine how lovely that cardigan feels in that yarn? Perfect for something that snuggles right up to your neck, and shows off the textural panels on the front and back.

These are certainly not the only pieces she's published in the past three and a half years; she has a large number of self-published work as well, including one of my favourites and the most recent, Rhizome. I love how she describes it, "...a  sinewy cabled hat..." I agree!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Knit with Holla Knits!

The lovely Allyson over at Holla Knits is hosting a K+CAL. This includes patterns from last year's Crochet Collection and this year's Home Collection.

Check out this link for more info.

So I'm here to invite you all to jump on this particular bandwagon and knit yourself up a cute, fun, and totally winning What's Your Sign pillow from the Home Collection.

Pssst: they make good gifts! And I hear it's the prepared knitter who starts, and then gets to finish, all her/his December-y time gifts in the summer! ;)

Here you can see six of the twelve zodiac constellations stitched on to the pillow.

Virgo

Capricorn
Clockwise from top  left: Aquarius, Aries, Cancer, and Gemini

The K+CAL will run from August 4th to August 29th. And the really fun part? Each WIP and FO will earn you votes to help pick next year's special collection theme!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Sewing

I talked briefly on the podcast about doing some wearable muslins to test out patterns as well as teach myself a bit about alterations. Well, here are a couple of the results.

They're based on the same, quite simple, retro pattern.
This particular gem (which you can see part of in the mosaic below, second row from the top, and the furthest right) is actually meant for knit fabric, but served perfectly well for these quilting cotton remnants.

Things I learned:

  • You need to look more deeply into proper fitting for raglan sleeves! I've never tried this type of construction in a sewn garments before, but I likes it!
  • Remember: If you have a zipper that doesn't split apart, it can't be positioned with the base at the smallest part of your body!
  • This is a great pattern for possible future tops OR dresses. 
  • I need to invest in a stash of bias binding tape. I'm too lazy to make it properly, and so the edges with my "binding" don't sit quite right. There's a reason you need to cut it on the bias!
  • My love for my homemade duct-tape dress form has been reinforced. I can't recommend getting/making ones of these for yourself enough. SO useful!

You may recognize the fabric in the top photo. It's from this dress last year. And the too-cutesy one below? That's some fabric from a few years back, when I went to Europe. I don't know what compelled me to buy bright yellow fabric with white polka dots and red mushrooms, but there you have it.

Winners!

Just popping on to announce the winners of the Holla Knits Blog Tour giveaways!

The random number generator has selected Bonnie as the winner of the zodiac profile, and Zombie Queen as the winner of a copy of What's Your Sign.

Congratulations! I'll be in touch soon with your prizes.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Alicia Plummer
Blog: two little plums
Rav ID: AliciaPlum
Some Great Designs: AliciaPlum's Rav Designer Page

This week's designer says her aim is to, "design things that have the down home comfort of New England but are also everyday items that someone can grab and throw on and still look good."

She has absolutely, totally, and thoroughly, even, reached that goal.

Let's look at the evidence/awesomeness:

Palmer: A "gently fitted" and quite simple tank, I think this is most certainly an every day summer time piece. I love so very much the effect of allowing the colour choices to be the design focus of this piece. They do a lot in a little way.

Wharf: Eyelets and colour combine in a great, airy dance of a cowl. Perfect for this time of year, when you just might need a touch of warmth on a seaside stroll.

East End: Graceful ease at its best. I'm not sure I can imagine a more lovely summery piece. Classic and classy, this is the sort of knit you'd keep in your closet for ages.

And people, those are just some of the warm weather knits! You need to dream about the cold weather and see how fast her DownEast, Knotted Pine, and Wyeth jump into your queue!

See her joint group Plum Dandi with fellow designer Melissa Schaschwary for more!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

October Wedding Collection Teaser

October Wedding Collection update!
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I'm working away on this very timely collection, and here's some proof for ya:


Sometimes there's nifty design ideas that pop in to your head and you just get so damn excited for them. This is one of them. I can't WAIT to wear it. And I can't wait to show it to you! (but I will. I will wait. Because that's part of the fun. TEASER! Hehehe).

The beautifully lofty yarn you see here is Berroco's new Ultra Alpaca Chunky and it's SO lovely to work with. Mmmm....

Monday, July 14, 2014

Holla Knits Home Collection: Blog Tour

Capricorn constellation on What's Your Sign
I'm very excited to be featured in the latest issue of Holla Knits. With a focus on items you can knit for your home, it's filled with fun patterns that are the perfect complement to this warmest of knitting seasons. Cause really, if it's possible, I'd totally be knitting on something small and portable in the hot hot heat of summer!

My pattern, What's Your Sign, is all about astrology.
Now, if you've read my blog before, you may know I get a kick out of the baseless personality profiles of the zodiac. It's fun! Imagine if it were that easy to know someone's personality!

And it doesn't matter what your view on the astrological signs are: just about everybody knows where their birthday falls. What's Your Sign makes a great gift for just that reason. It's a small, portable knit that's great for gift-giving (and for keeping for you too!). You get a does of relaxing stockinette and simple texture, plus the healthy dose of duplicate stitch for those pretty constellations.

I'm quite excited to offer TWO giveaways on this blog tour stop!

FIRST: The pattern
Virgo constellation on What's Your Sign

Want to win a copy? Just comment on this post with the word "pattern".

SECOND: The personalized horoscope reading
Put me to work for you! I'll comb the internet and my copious astrology book collection to gather all the data about your birthday! Want to win this prize? Just comment on this post with the word "zodiac".

Winner will be drawn on Monday July 21.

Click over to the Holla Knits blog for more on What's Your Sign.

Keep up with the rest of the blog tour!

July 7: Launch
July 8: The Sweatshop of Love - pattern giveaway and SEG: Kit
July 9: Jean Chung - pattern giveaway
July 10: Emily Ringleman - SEG: Kit
July 11: Klever Knits - Louet Linen skein of winner’s choice + pattern SEG: 4 skeins CotLin in Canary
July 14: Canary Knits - an amateur's personalized horoscope for one winner
July 15: Louet Blog - pattern giveaway
July 16: Laura McDougal - pattern giveaway
July 17: Knits in Class - pattern giveaway

Friday, July 11, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Karen Juliano
Blog: Short Story Long
Rav ID: Karenzeph
Some Great Designs: Karenzeph's Rav Designer Page

It's baseball season, folks! Check out this week's designer and her very cute baseball-inspired handwarmers, Double Play. A great gift for any baseball lover, and certainly customizable with your team's colours!

There's also the breezy looking Beatrice, an open front cardigan with a deep scoop, interesting colour blocking and a great use of a variety of textures.

She's designed a number of hats, all worth clicking over to see and ooo and ahhh over. I'll linky to one here for you: Aisling. I like the undulating cable and perfect amount of slouch.

But I think my absolute favourite of her patterns is Alaskan Moose. A scarf featuring the eponymous critter, this pattern is seamless and uses the very cool technique of double knitting. Note to Meself: drop heavy hints to knitter friends that I wants this for Christmas!

Monday, July 07, 2014

What's Your Sign?

Virgo constellation on What's Your Sign

New pattern release day! Hooray!

My latest is featured in Holla Knits' Home Collection, along with some other fantastic designs for your digs.

What's Your Sign is a fun-to-knit pillow, with relaxing stockinette for those lazy summer days, and some duplicate stitched constellations to keep you on your toes!


It's a lot of fun connecting-the-dots in duplicate stitch.  How did the ancients see a fish in Pisces? I don't get it, but they did!

Decorate your digs with some purty constellation!

Knit one for you! Knit one for a friend! Cause really, who doesn't get a kick out of the zodiac?

Friday, July 04, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Sylvi Design
Rav ID: SylviKnits
Some Great Designs: SylviKnits' Rav Designer Page

Look forward to the cooler weather with the work from this week's designer, SylviKnits.

Her portfolio has a great selection of wintry accessories and sets:

Alessa Hat and Cowl: The hat features great texture and cabling, and has the added advantage of being reversible. The cowl (pictured), is just the right size, with the cable acting as a great focal point to the piece.
Get both patterns together in the ebook here.

Lady Mary's Cloche: a vintage-inspired, bulky-knit hat for both girls and women. Very fun! I can imagine walking through the snow drifts with this on, keeping my ears and head oh-so warm.

Rasta Velvet Mitts and Cowl: featuring a fun use of slipped stitches, these bulky knits a cute, quick, and sized from child to adult. Get these and the Lady Mary's Cloche in the ebook here.

 Her site is currently under construction. I'm looking forward to seeing it when it's complete!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Knitting Book Read Along: EZ's Knitting Without Tears

Just wanted to quickly pop on to the blog here
and ask how your book search is going!

Are you participating in the Read Along? Have you located a copy?

If you already have it in your hands, and want to get a-chatting, just click on over to the thread in the Canary Knits Ravelry group to share.


Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Country Celebrations

© audreyandgem1
I've always thought it was interesting and cool that both Canada and the United States have their national holiday celebrations only days apart. Today is Canada Day and Independence Day is on Friday.

And what better way for me to have gotten geared up for Canada Day than to make myself a Canada Cool board on pinterest? There's some of my favourite Canadian stuff on there, plus a taste of the beauty of this country.

When are your country's national celebrations? If you mark these occasions, how do you celebrate?

____________
1 This beautiful watercolour image is by the great Etsy artist audreyandgem. Find her shop here.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Small Circulars; Hot Yarn

I went stash diving a few days ago.

I'd like to think I have a semi-reasonable grasp on how much yarn I have, and possibly even the ability to remember specific companies, colours, and amounts.

So I rarely get surprised in the stash dive. But I do get "pleasently reminded". It certainly sounds a lot nicer, doesn't it? It gives knitters with big stashes a better image, I think.
"No! I haven't lost all grasp on the inhabitants of my yarn stash! I just get pleasantly reminded every once in a while!"

But I digress.

So yes, I was pleasantly reminded of some fantastic hot pink Jitterbug in Cherry that was given to be my a friend many years ago. This happened to coincide with an out-loud-think I'd been having on my podcast about my dislike for dpns, but my inexperience with wee short little circulars. And like a knitterly angel from the sky came a friend of mine, with an extra pair of 9" Hiya Hiyas I could borrow and test drive. Sweet!

So those 9" circulars and that hot pink Jitterbug will soon begin a relationship that I hope is happy and fruitful. I'll keep you in the loop with my mini circular test drive.

Have you ever used very short circulars? Do you have any tips for a newbie?