Friday, January 30, 2015

Indie Designer Revisit



Designer: Melinda VerMeer
Blog: Melinda VerMeer
Rav ID: gldelx
Some Great Designs: gldelx's Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: March 18, 2011

Since her original profile in 2011, Melinda has created so many more designs that play with shape and drape.

Her most recent design, Mossy Pathway Shawlette, is a pretty piece that plays with texture and short rows. It's part of a three-pattern ebook, Exploring in the Woods.

Fluctuate was published in Knit Picks' 2013 Spring Collection. It features a delicate, breezy and simple shape, with the understated detail of a slight cowl neck.

She's had her work featured twice in Knitty. First Nymphalidea, a shawl that plays with wedges of mesh interspersed with solid lines of knitting. This makes for a fluid, pliable, drapey accessory that's quite versatile.

Then there's Rosarian, published in Knitty Sping/Summer 2014. I really love this pullover. It's both batwinged and flattering, with an expanse of fabric that encircles the torso, narrowing down to a fitted waist.

NOTE: Check out her Rav Designer Page for a coupon code, good now through the end of January 31, 2015!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

For Children? For Adults!

A few weeks ago, Amy shared this fantastic pattern with the words "it's totally appropriate for grown ass woman, right?" I say YES. Forever yes.

I knew I recognized this designer's work; I realized I first wished her kids knits were for grown ups two years ago on an indie designer post. And now, she offers some of her designs in grown-up sizes too!

Pattern: Sly Fox Cowl
Designer: Ekaterina Blanchard
Yarn: Cascade Eco wool (cream and brown) as well as my own very first hand spun!

Things I love about this pattern:
  • seamless wonder!
  • fun short rows
  • the double-knitting made easy, and functioning as a sleeve for the tie
  • the fact that I got to use my terribly thick n' thin spindle spun
  • the fit: you get a warm head without hat hair!
  • THE PAWS! Man, do you see the cuteness of the paws?!
So go and knit yourself one right now! Grown ass women with fox cowls unite!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe: The Prep

I officially start my capsule wardrobe on February 11. It's so close!
I've been keeping busy with some prep work:
  • cutting out patterns
  • finding matching zippers, threads and buttons
  • organizing my sewing space
  • making sure I have some new needles
  • oiling and cleaning my machine (check out this free Craftsy class for tips!)
  • checking for advice, mods, and any errors for my chosen patterns (with google and Pattern Review)


Some of the patterns I'm hoping to sew are pieces I've never tried before. And some are retro patterns (like the image above).
I'm no expert on sewing patterns, never mind the history of them, but I find it interesting that all of the pre-1980s patterns I have come with only ONE size. Modern patterns are multi-sized. Anyone know what gives with this? (that said, here's some interesting info/tips on retro patterns).


I also wanted to share: a few weeks ago I asked for you all to vote on which shrug I should knit. The winner by a landslide was Radial!
So I'm looking forward to downloading the pattern and finding the yarn!
 ___________
1Join me and create your own capsule wardrobe for this spring and summer!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Knitting Tool Profiles: The Needle Gauge

This is the first in a year-long series. I'll post a new one on the last Tuesday of every month, with facts, photos, and further resources about twelve knitting tools. First up, the needle gauge.

Occasionally one comes upon a mature needle gauge in which the holes have actually become enlarged through constant use, or by forcing through of too large needles.
This all points to the admonition not to take needle sizes too seriously..."
-Elizabeth Zimmermann, Knitting Without Tears

The Needle Gauge
A selection of needle gauges
From top to bottom, left to right: 
1950s metal bell gauge, acrylic peacock gauge from Hip Strings
Fancy Tiger Craft wood cat gauge, wood brain gauge, and Lambert antique ivory gauge from S. Williams book.

What is it?
A knitting needle gauge is a device that allows you to measure the size of your needle.

Fun Facts
  • The earliest known gauges were created in the 19th century. In 1843 Frances Lambert wrote in My Knitting Book that she had invented a standard filigree to gauge the size of needles and hooks.
  • As a general rule, the greater the number of sizes on the gauge, the older it is. Victorian gauges could have up to size UK 28, reflecting the contemporary interest in fine gauge knitting and crochet. As the 20th century progressed, interest in the finer knitting waned, and many of the smallest sizes were left off gauges.
  • It may seem contrary that the finest needles had the highest numbers but this is because it relates to how long a piece of wire was stretched out to be. A size 2 needle means that the wire was stretched twice as far as for a size 1 needle. A size 28 means the wire was stretched 28 times as far.
  • The advent of chunky yarn in the 1950s added new sizes to needle gauges (UK 00 and 000)
  • The first needle gauges were made from ivory, bone and wood, but were quickly overtaken by metal (not only because it’s a less expensive material, but also because it’s easier to pierce in the creation of the gauge holes). The first plastic to be used in needle gauges was Bakelite, invented in 1907.
  • In the late 1950s, manufacturers began to add metric sizing to needle gauges in anticipation of the switch to the metric system.
  • In the mid-late 20th century, needle gauge manufacture reached a minimalist, mass-produced standard, with simple rectangles in petroleum based materials and aluminum taking place of the more attractive shapes. The golden age of needle gauges can be said to have ended in the 1950s.
  • Or has it? A quick look at online/specialty retailers shows that now, with the resurgence of interest in knitting, the market is able to support and is interested in artisanal gauges in a variety of shapes, finishes, and materials.
  • The Viyella needle gauge and knitting counter was created between 1936 and 1940. The two ends of the drum are pierced to form a needle gauge. The ends rotate numbers are revealed through piercings in the sides of both drum-ends.
  • There's an app for that! The iKnit Needle Sizer displays an image of needle widths that you can use to size your needles!


Read More
The History of Knitting Pin Gauges, by Sheila Williams, Melrose Press, 2006.
Knitting Tool History Timeline
Great collection of needle gauges
Vintage gauges on Pinterest
More about the Viyella gauge
Milward Gauges

Shop
Fancy Tiger Crafts
Hip Strings
The Cottage Needle
Katrinkles
Succaploki
FillyGumbo

Monday, January 26, 2015

Neon, Neutrals, and Triangles: Preview Two


A while back I announced my collaborative project with Emma Welford and Sarah Hurwitz.
This is the six pattern ebook that will feature two designs per designer, with each of us contributing both an accessory and a garment. And of course, it's thematically structured around neons, neutrals, and triangles.

Just wanted to pop back here to give you a wee preview of my garment for the collection.

I knit my samples myself. And of course, I tend to have samples sitting around my house that are still in the pre-published stage. At this point I'm itching to wear it. It's exciting to finish something! But, I'm always just a little bit worried about doing that. What if I spill something on it? What if it gets caught on something? What if I have an unusual run in with a nasty gang of ruffian clothesmoths who decide to seek revenge on me and my anti-moth ways by eating my sample?!
Unfounded fears? Possibly.
But next time you're walking down a dark alley, and you hear an unusual flapping creeping up behind you, hang on to your woolens!! It's them ruffian clothesmoths!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Valérie Miller
Blog: KnitBug
Rav ID: KnitBugVal
Some Great Designs: KnitBugVal's Rav Designer Page

I love to profile my fellow Canadians. And a fellow Ontarion, even!

Valérie has a beautiful bilingual blog (to help me with my cereal-box Français). She says that it's techniques that drive her design process, her work evolving with each new skill she learns.

I know you all have your eyes on the pretty Fileuse. How could you not! Those spinning wheels make such a stand-out colourwork element, dancing around the yoke of this classically-shaped sweater.

I also really love her most recent patterns; there's the Spinster Cowl and Slouch, an accessory set that use flowing, luscious texture to create an attractive finished object.

There's also Cadboro, a garter stitch and knots tam. The pattern will be available on her blog for free until Februrary 1st, after which it will be available for $2.00. All proceeds from sales of this pattern will go to two foundations: Doctors Without Borders (Médecins sans frontières) and Free the Children (Enfants entraide).

Monday, January 19, 2015

Vana Shrug

It was near to a year ago when I was working on my sample for Vana, my new shrug pattern in Knitscene Spring 2015.  My backyard was all green, the weather was warm, and I was sporting my favourite seagull-based dress.
This pattern is part of a Golden theme. All the pieces in this story are all (or at least part) yellow.
I'm a big fan of this colour, and wear it often. I understand, though, that some people might find it a difficult colour to incorporate into their wardrobes.

Want to insert some bright colours into your handknits? Give this a shot:
  • go to a clothing store and try on the colours! (Try to focus on the colour, rather than the style)
  • start small: accessories (or even a shrug?), maybe some touches of colourwork with bright pops
  • try different shades: not EVERY yellow is going to be the best
  • and remember: it's nice to try out new colours, but our clothes should make us feel happy and confident. If something's doing the opposite of this, then maybe it's just not a great fit for you

And if you're wondering what I think is best to pair a golden yellow shrug with, I'd have to suggest a blue dress with rain-slicker-wearing seagulls as an optimal choice.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Monika Sirna
Rav ID: mdcim
Some Great Designs: mdcim's Rav Designer Page

I love Monika's delicate, feminine patterns for both adults and children.

Boronia Lane (pictured) is a pattern with options. You have the choice of three weights and two styles for this sturdy yet lovely piece. Something that's perfect for a chilly time of year!

There's also the chunky cool Pogonip Hat. You have to know I'd love this one because of its giant pom pom and interesting stitch texture.

I have to point out the Sonoma Shrug, a pretty, delicate piece for adults. And, the Seedling Shrug, a similarly textured accessory for little ones!

If you're a regular Canary Knits reader, you'll know I rarely feature children's patterns. But I couldn't resist pointing you to Kveta Capelet. It does come in adult sizes too, but the feature photo of it on a little girl is really great.

Oh! And don't miss Splendid Glory, a gathered skirt for adults with lace trim along the bottom edge. I love knitted skirts!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Styling White Horse Hill

There's something about this wee pattern! It's always been one of my favourites. Despite this, White Horse Hill hasn't seen regular rotation in my wardrobe.

Then one day it hit me! The gentle ruffle of the wrap/wee poncho is perfectly paired with my ruffled black skirt.

Do you wear wraps? What do you usually pair them with?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Neon, Neutrals, and Triangles: A Preview


A while back I announced my collaborative project with Emma Welford and Sarah Hurwitz.
This is the six pattern ebook that will feature two designs per designer, each person contributing both an accessory and a garment. And of course, it's thematically structured around neons, neutrals, and triangles.

Just wanted to pop back here to give you a wee preview of my accessory contribution.
I'm really excited about this; as you can see, it's three of something... mystery!

Friday, January 09, 2015

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Carolyn Doe
Rav ID: carolyndoe
Some Great Designs: carolyndoe's Rav Designer Page

Look to this designer for accessories with interesting shaping.

First I'll point you to her Waves of Lace Hooded scarf
(pictured). I really like how simple this shape is; Carolyn has used the drape of the yarn to help create this hood in an otherwise flat knit.

The Bulky Topless Toque is a great hybrid hat/earwarmer. It's got a cozy, deep brim and interesting cable that would show off some warm, wooly hand dyed yarns beautifully.

Her Swan Creek Beanie uses ridges and folds to create a really cool texture in an otherwise simply shaped hat. Contrasting coloured yarn can be used on the ridges to highlight the shaping, which is visually interesting and unique.

And finally I'll point you to her Winfly Hat. It's a sturdy cloche shape with a brim cable and ruched look to the crown. The split in the back brim allows you to get creative with button options.

She has over 60 patterns; you should go check out more of her profile on her Ravelry designer page!

Monday, January 05, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe: The Knits

I originally thought my capsule wardrobe for the spring/summer of this year wouldn't need any knits. Then I decided to dig through my WIPs pile and Ravelry queue. Bam! Plenty of warm weather knits!

One of my WIPs, nearly half done, is my second sample of Estivate. I love me a shrug, and Estivate is a convertible scarf/shrug that I began with a whiteish, light sock yarn. It'd be perfect for pairing with most of the dresses I have planned.

Rummaging through my queue and favourites on Ravelry, I re-discovered The Ruffled Crocheted Bib Necklace. It looks like fun! Crocheted jewellery isn't something I've ever done before, but I have visions of this being a fun and relaxing project. It would work well with about half of the dress necklines I have planned.
Allyson's Pippi Necklace
There's also the adorable Pippi; originally designed as a scarf, it's got mod options to make it a necklace.

But then I started looking at the shrugs I have queued. So many! So, I'd like your help in picking one to knit for my capsule wardrobe. Vote below!

Shrugs: Which Should I Choose?
Clockwise from top right:
Radial image © Laura Kicey  
Verse image © Alexandra Tinsley  
Sirdar Lacy Shrug image © rebeccanorrie 
Funnel Cloud Shrug image © Betsy Farquhar




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Friday, January 02, 2015

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Françesca Gougeon
Blog: Finally! Fran Knitting!
Rav ID: adamantiumknitter
Some Great Designs: adamantiumknitter's Rav Designer Page

First designer profile of 2015!
And this knitter has a couple great hats to complement this cold and snowy Friday.

Autumn Splendor (pictured) is a pretty combination of colourwork and delicate leaf texture. I really like how subtle the yarn overs and leaf shaping are.

Her Ski Toque uses a cool entrelac brim to add interest, and would be a great stash-diving project. Knit on, January knitters!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Dude Sweater COMPLETE!


I wrote a poem to my hope of completing this in time. That was for Christmas last year.
But, I DID get it done for Christmas THIS year!

Pattern: The Dude Sweater by Andrea Rangel
Yarn: Cascade Eco Wool

I was petrified by the prospect of sewing in the zipper on this. As it happens, it was no problem at all. I will repeat that for those of you who may be facing a similar trepidatious endeavour: it was no problem at all.

All I did was hand-baste in the zipper and use a regular sewing machine foot to stitch the zipper in. I perhaps should have used a zipper foot, but I'm already a bit concerned that the knit edges are too close to the zipper teeth, raising the danger of the fabric getting caught while zipping up the sweater. I set the stitch length to be as wide as it would let me. It remains to be seen if this is sturdy enough. If not, I'm at least no longer worried about sewing zippers into knits!

Tonight is New Year's Eve. I hope you all have a fantastic last day of 2014, and I'm looking forward to a great 2015 with you all!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Pony Parade


It's safe.
These gifts have been delivered to their new homes, so I can share the pics with you.

I mentioned on the podcast that I'd been working on these, but had to withhold details.
And yes, even though these are the newest generation of My Little Pony, they've still got  me feeling nostalgic.














I purchased three blank ponies from Amazon; shortly afterwards, I discovered slightly cheaper avenues. Namely, the MLP site itself.

Anyhow, this was a whole lotta fun. I gave these to two of my best friends (those I had the MLP nostalgically-indulgent party with earlier this year). They take inspiration from each lady and morph them into their pony form. Favourite colours and symbols of their personalities, plus a bit of acrylic paint and a lot of nail polish brought these into being.
One thing that was too much work was dyeing their hair. I tried, I really did. I googled around to no avail. The only options that came up were ones that were incredible time-intensive, and out of my pony-modding league.
So I just tried a bit of food colouring on the orange one. It slightly tinted her mane and tail.
And since I had a very limited food-colouring palette at my disposal, I chose to leave the blue pony's hair white. I like it! I think it works.