Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sweaters in the Wild

Sweaters in the wild ..... Above is my niece, Lucy, wearing an old store sample, Tulips. My brother just sent me this pic, probably because:
  1. he just got a new iPhone.
  2. the kid is wearing one of my sweaters.
  3. she seems to be dressing herself - not bad for 20 months. 

I'm glad she likes sweaters and mismatched brightly coloured socks. We are kindred spirits. I will make her more striped sweaters in the future. 

BTW, the yarn I made this with has been discontinued. It takes 8 colours and you can use an Aran or Worsted weight yarn, like:

Fair Isle Fumbles

Above is Drips. I was hankering to make one since I first came across the pattern late last spring. I didn't really have it in me until this fall. I dove in, thinking it would be easy to learn how to do the colour-work. You know that saying, when you 'ASSUME" you make an "ASS" our of "U" and "ME"? Yeah, I forgot about that. Hubris got the best of me. But let me explain ... I don't want to put you off Fair Isle knitting, just please learn from my foibles.  

So I figured it should be easy, sure it's a new technique, but I've seen other people do it, it's 2 colours, and an easy chart to read. What could go wrong? My tension, that's what. There are many projects where tension in fair isle isn't a huge issue, and it's ok if it's a little off. But a hat needs to stretch to fit a head, so the tension has to be consistent. If it's too tight, the hat won't stretch. If it's too loose, you'll see gaps between the colours when it stretches. 

Of course, I really had not thought about any of this, I just said "Hey! Lets make a cool looking hat! Wheeee!" (I did not actually say any of that, inside or outside of my head, but it illustrates my reasoning, or absence thereof). 

I looked up some videos on youtube about Fair Isle knitting, and took it from there. I found that I was most comfortable holding a strand in each hand, so I used that technique. Now, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the tutorials I followed, they were great. I did not learn anything incorrect or bad from them. My problem stemmed from the fact that my tension knitting with my left hand (continental technique) is a lot tighter than my tension knitting with my right hand (english technique). It makes sense, I have knitted English all my life. 

After a few attempts, I threw in the towel. The yarn, Malabrigo Worsted, is a single ply and not resilient. If I kept ripping it out I'd also wreck the yarn. I made a compromise, decided to add the drips to my hat using duplicate stitch (embroidery), and resolved to tackle the fair isle issue again after consulting with a professional. 

I've since consulted with the intrepid Liane, who learned from the all knowing Mairi, that for me, the best way to get a consistent tension on a fair isle hat is to use the method where I hold both strands of yarn in my Right hand. The 2 handed method was comfortable for me, but I could not control the tension. Problem solved, I'll give it another shot later.   

Friday, September 28, 2012

Big Red Cabled Cowl

Above, a finished object for the store. A sample of the Loose Cabled Cowl pattern, made with 2 skeins of Malabrigo Rasta and 15mm-24" circular needles. It was super fast & easy (once I sorted out the needle situation), and the Rasta feels super sumptuous! You know when people refer to things as "yummy scrummy" - that's how it feels.

The weave is loose, so it drapes really nicely (as well as merino will ever drape), and the aesthetic is nice & casual. It'll probably only cover your shoulders like the pic above if you are very small (the mannequin's shoulder only measure 15.5"/40cm - I am a medium, have small shoulders, and my shoulders measure 18" from side to side). 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Camp-Out Mitts

Shona Tova to my Jewish and Jewish literate friends! I should be unpacking and organizing my kitchen today (just shacked up with my boyfriend and I have to try and integrate some of his stuff).  Should. I glutened myself yesterday and don't feel like doing much of anything. My compromise is writing to you. :-)

Ok, so lets get down to brass tacks!  Above is a finished object, Camp-Out Mitts. They only used 1 skein of Noro Silk Garden. I'd say the skill level was around moderate to adept-beginner, but they were really quite simple. I know that sounds like a paradox; the pattern employed a bunch of different skills, but did it in an simple way.  Actually, they would be a good project for a class: skills included 3 needle bind off (or grafting if you want to get technical), knitting on double pointed needles, picking up stitches, casting on in the middle of a row, placing markers, special kinds of decreases. If I've inspired you, you can sign up for one of our Project Workshops and make them as your project. (Sorry, when I started writing I did not set out to plug our classes, but writing is a process and it just seemed like a good idea). 

Anyway, I really like my new mitts and will probably make another pair. :-)

As always, you can kind us at!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Next Freebie: Simple Wristlets

Okey-dokey, so here's another of the fall pattern's I've been working on. More hand things - I'm really feeling the little hand garments right now. These ones are made with a skein of Malabrigo Gruesa (2 if you want a contrast colour).

These wristlets are fast, simple, and very satisfying. They make quick, easy gifts that stand out. Designed with Malabrigo Gruesa, the yarn’s texture and depth of colour works with the simple design to create extra interest and a unique, handmade aesthetic.  

Read more about it on Ravelry
Download for FREE at

They also knit up beautifully using Malabrigo Rasta, using 9mm needles. See the details for the ones we whipped up HERE

As always, you can find us at!

Friday, September 07, 2012

Simple Gauntlets in Noro

Above: size Medium in Noro Odori colour 8

Read more about it on Ravelry
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This is one of the Patterns I've been working away on for you's guys ....  These gauntlets turned out wonderfully!  The yarn, Noro Odori, is soft and the texture is interesting and nice to work with. 

If you want an exactly matching pair you should probably get 2 skeins of yarn, otherwise your mitts will be deliciously randomly matched. If you are ok with them being matchy, but not exactly the same, I think the following colourways will probably work better:
    8 (purple/blue, 1st picture - see my pair)
    1 (black/brown/lt. grey)
    7 (red/pink/rust).
Other colours will turn out less matchy:
    11 (blue/pink/black/teal/green)
    8 (rainbow)
I don’t know about the other colours.

Above: size Large and Extra Large, both in Noro Odori colour 11.

As always, you can find us at!