Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Fall Flowers Hat

My Fair Isle Hat, which I've re-named my Fall Flowers Hat, is finished and has already been worn out in public several times. I wore it to the woods with Chris and Stella the other day to take FO shots, I wore it last night when I had to go out and I was having a really bad hair day... the hat is awesome for making unruly hair look just slightly disheveled and like you did it on purpose. It goes with the whole bohemian vibe that this hat has.

Fair Isle Hat

This pattern is from the Fall 2010 issue of Vogue knitting, designed by Sheila Joynes. I wrote about yarn choices and needle size here. The colours came together really well, and though that makes me happy it's not much of a shocker since I chose my colours to match the hat in the magazine. I really like the classic pairing of navy, burgundy and mossy green. For me, it's boho-chic, yet sophisticated.

Fair Isle Hat

Though I am very pleased with how this hat turned out, and I know I'll wear it a lot this fall, there are a couple of changes that I made and a few more that I would make were I to knit it again. First, the pattern calls for sport weight yarn, I knit mine in fingering weight yarn and am very glad that I did, it's light yet warm and I wouldn't have gotten gauge comfortably with thicker yarn. Second, I changed the pattern ever so slightly for the decrease crown section. The way it's written is a little bit messy, like a checker board that doesn't really line up, so I changed it to make sure to line up my check pattern properly.

I find this finished hat just a touch too big for me in every direction. A tad too long, a tad too loose around the brim... my next version will be smaller. And, oh, trust me, there will be a next version! I am so inspired by the possibilities that this shape of hat holds that I've already spent a fair amount of time scheming and swatching for my next slouchy fair isle hat.

Fair Isle Hat

I love accessories to experiment with colours and techniques. To knit a full sweater in this pattern would be a long and exhausting road, but this hat took only one weekend and was finished before I could get tired of it. It's almost even better than mittens because you don't have to knit a second one!

 Fair Isle Hat

Now that I've knit this hat, what I'm thinking of as a prototype, and I've figure out all the things that I like and don't like about the pattern, I'm dreaming up my own version of the perfect fall flowers fair isle hat. This is what my dining room table looked like this morning at breakfast.

I love this part! Drawing and colouring with hi-lighters! It's all so fun and exciting. I've got a couple motifs worked up that I'm quite happy with and I have a colour palette in mind, now I've just got to do a little more colouring (yay!) and a bit more math (boo!) and I'll be ready to start!

Ravelry project page here.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

TFA Tuesday - Grannyknits4u's Sprossling

I have been a big fan of Anne Hanson's design's for some time now. Her blog is full is beautiful WIP's and she's forever working on a new masterpiece. I don't know where she gets all her brilliant ideas, but I don't question it, I just sit back and enjoy the gorgeous designs that are the fruits of her labour. 

This week's inspirational knit is by grannyknits4u (blog). She's knit the beautiful Sprossling (rav link) pattern out of TFA Blue Label yarn in the Peacock colourway. Just look at that perfect fit! Doesn't it look amazing on her!? Here is the link to her project page, she's got lots of helpful information there as to how she made her decreases.

This is a really great yarn to pattern pairing. The pattern is textured and interesting, but not too overwhelming to hide the subtle shadings in the yarn. I wish I had this sweater. I think it would become an instant favorite that I would throw on exactly as it's pictured, over a t-shirt and jeans. And in such a fabulous colour, it really brings an outfit to life!

I've already added it to my list of "must knits". That list is getting awfully long.....

photo credit: grannyknits4u ravelry project page.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Website Updates

Wow! You people sure do love a giveaway! I'm floored by all the comments! I am touched that so many of you stop by to check out what I'm doing, thanks so much! Remember, the giveaway is open until Friday, so if you haven't already done so head on over and leave a comment for your chance to win!

Speaking of winning and giveaways, I recently won a giveaway myself! And it completely made my day. I won a book from the Through the Loops blog. In return I sent Kristen some of my yarn, and a new knit-blogger friendship was born! I can't wait to start her TTL mystery sock knit-a-long. Are you all participating? I've never done a KAL but am very excited about it.

The past couple of days Chris and I have been extremely busy doing some house keeping of sorts. Not house cleaning, our house is still a mess, but the website looks good!

We've been updating the website. You can now find Glenna C's Allons-Y shawl pattern as well as a link to my Prism Shawl pattern on the patterns page. We've also added the notecards to the website, which has me very excited. My mail is usually just a stack of bills... yuck! I love it when every once in a while a friend brightens up my mail with a lovely little card or letter, it would be the cherry on top if that little note were written on a lovely knitterly card!

Another major update was to add a bit more info to the Clubs page. I've finally ironed out just about every last wrinkle in my plan to launch a club for 2011! I am extremely excited about it and will have all the details for you in the coming weeks. We've got some amazing designers lined up, people that I was nervous to even approach because I thought for sure that they would say no. Subscriptions will be available starting in October. I'll be sure to keep you all up to the minute on developments.

While we were at it I also went ahead and made a little improvement or two to this good ol' blog of mine. I've created a new page where I'll be adding each new FO as I finish them along with a link to the FO post. From now on in my FO posts I'm going to make sure to include all the pertinent information about the project, like needle size, yarn, links to previous posts about the project and to my Ravelry project page etc. It's been fun putting all my projects together on one page. I've only done an FO's 2010 page so far, but I will probably be doing one for 2009 soon. I just love being organized.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Happy weekend & GIVEAWAY!

I am quite smitten with my new Deep Sea cashmere Haruni Shawl. So smitten, that I just don't think it's fair that I'm the only one who gets to cosy up to something so lovely. So, in order to make things right I'd like to giveaway one skein of my Purple Label Cashmere Sock yarn in the Deep Sea colourway to one lucky winner!

The winner will receive the center-pull ball of yarn pictured above. The crystal plate, the decorative ceramic birds, and the labeled skein are all just props to attempt to make that photo a little more interesting... To enter simply leave a comment on this post, be sure to include your e-mail address so I can get ahold of you should you win! A winner will be chosen at random and announced next Friday Oct. 1st. OMG I can't believe we're this close to being October! Crazy. Time flies! You'd better start knitting your cashmere scarves and shawls quick if you're going to have them ready by the first frost!

Happy weekend!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Cashmere Haruni

Cashmere Haruni

My cashmere Haruni Shawl. How do I love thee! I love the soft, squooshy cashmere blend yarn. I love the rich turquoise colour, I love the airy crochet cast off that flows so beautifully out of the flower petal border...

Cashmere Haruni

This pattern is just flawless. I love how seamless and incredibly smooth all the transitions are. From the leaves in the body pattern to the border to the cast off... it's like a waterfall of beautiful lacy, petal-like shapes.

Cashmere Haruni

This shawl was knit on 4mm needles using TFA Purple Label Cashmere yarn in the Deep Sea colourway.

Cashmere Haruni

I knit a smaller version of this shawl. Instead of the recommended 12 repeats of the body pattern I did 10. That way I had just the right amount of yarn to knit this shawl with one skein. After a good blocking, it's still a very reasonable sized shawl. I'm petite, so I don't need/want massive shawls that overwhelm my frame, so this size is just fine for me. After blocking this shawl measures about 45" across and 24" from neck to tip. Just right!

Cashmere Haruni

I am a very big fan of aggressive blocking for most of my lace projects, specifically shawls. I'm sure that there are some instances when a gentle blocking is better, like if you were knitting a lacy garment that had to fit your body, but when it comes to me and lace shawls, I like to block it to within an inch of it's life! Especially when I'm working with a wool yarn (double especially if that wool is superwash) because I find that it always has a tendency to bounce back to a more relaxed shape anyways. So I block the lace wide open and then let it do it's thing.

Cashmere Haruni

This little bit of yarn is all that I had left after my cast off! I hadn't realized just how close I had come, but there is something extremely thrilling and gratifying in knowing that I used up almost every last inch of yarn for this project. I hate wasting yarn, hence my love of projects like this and this to use up leftovers!

Cashmere Haruni

Here's a tip, if you tend to knit a lot with blue/turquoise yarn, and you want a lovely coordinating backdrop for taking your FO shots, why not paint the door to your shed turquoise! But try not to do what I did and take your shots in the afternoon when the sun is shining bright and you get all these weird shadows over your face and knitting... it's not helpful.

Ravelry project page here.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Slip Jig Socks

Have you ever knit a pair of socks with mediumweight yarn? With 56 stitches around on size 2.75 mm dpn's these socks are just flying off the needles!

Slip Jig Socks

I knit this first sock in two nights, I've cast on for the second... should have it done by the end of the week! This yarn (BMFA STR mediumweight) knits up into a nice, thick sock. Perfect for wearing around the house on chilly winter weekends. I used to be slightly skeptical of thicker sock yarns, I didn't think that they would actually make very good socks, but I have been very pleasantly proven wrong!

Slip Jig socks

The pattern is Slip Jig and was designed by Irishgirlieknits for the club.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

TFA Tuesday - Indigirl's Munchkin Blanket

We all know Amy Swenson over at Indigirl is a very cool designer. So imagine my delight when she designed this gorgeous baby blanket, the Munchkin Blanket, for a friend and expecting mom out of my yarn!

You can find the details for this blanket here on her blog, here on Ravelry. You can purchase the pattern from her here, or here in her Ravelry store. 

The things I love about this design pretty much go without saying, but I'll say it anyway! I love that it's squooshy garter stitch, I can just imagine snuggling up a little bundle of joy in this cozy blanket. I love that it's reversible! And of course, I love the bright, bold, fun colours. 

This blanket was knit in TFA Green Label Aran weight yarn in colourways Peacock, Lemongrass, Buttercup and Orange Blossom. A bold, citrusy punch.

This blanket would look great in so many different colour combinations. Gotta love stripes!

photo's from indigirl's ravelry project page.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Branching Out

Back in April, on a day when I desperately needed a quick and easy project, I grabbed one skein of my Yellow Label DK weight yarn in Blueberry and cast on for this long and skinny scarf. The Branching Out pattern is simple and easy to memorize, I knit until I had run out of yarn, it took two days and I had a scarf!
Branching Out

It's long (I didn't measure it exactly, but I held it up over my head and it touched the floor. I'm 5'3", so the scarf is longer than that) and it's skinny. Perfect for wrapping around your neck several times before heading out in a chill. I don't know why it took so long to blog about it. I think it's because I didn't block it until August, I didn't take FO shots until last week, and even then I didn't want to blog it right away because I kind of live in fear that I'll have a week where I have nothing to blog about... so I like to keep an FO like this in my pocket in case that happens. The thing is, at a certain point, it's just more annoying knowing that I have projects that I haven't blogged about just looming over me... I have some sort of problem, I don't consider a project officially finished until it's been blogged. Kind of strange isn't it? Knitting must have been so different before digital cameras and blogs.

Tonight I'm casting on for a new pair of socks. I'm knitting them out of this lovely skein:

It's a skein of Socks that Rock mediumweight. I've never used mediumweight before, but the person I'm knitting these socks for is ALWAYS cold, so I figured that the thicker yarn could certainly do no harm. The colourway is called My Wild Irish Girlie and it was the March shipment of the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club. It certainly has been fun waiting for my package to arrive every month!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Fair Isle Hat

I've managed to tick a couple projects off of my WIP list. The major project that got a giant check mark next to it on that list was preparing, attending and surviving the K-W Knitter's Fair! Check, check and check. Now that we are successfully on the other side of such a massive weekend my mind is free and clear to start thinking about new things. Like hats! Like a beautiful, slouchy, bohemian, super cool, fair isle hat like this one from my favorite issue of Vogue Knitting:

Fair Isle Hat

I picked out my colours, a combination of Knitpicks Palette and TFA Blue Label yarn, did a quick swatch and cast on! I'm wondering if the gauge given in the pattern is a little off, I'm using fingering weight yarn rather then the recommended sport weight, and am using 3.5mm needles rather than the 3.75mm needles that the pattern calls for, and I'm getting perfect gauge! Maybe it's just dumb luck, but I'll take it.

Fair Isle Hat

So far so good. I find that colourwork has a way of flying off the needles, it brings that whole "just one more row" knitting situation to a new level. Every new row is different and I just can't help myself. I predict I'll have a finished hat by the end of the weekend. 

Hope you're all enjoying this cooler weather we've been having, it's a knitters dream come true!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Linen Stitch Scarf

I finished my linen stitch scarf the other day. Very simple, very fun! Used up lots of scrap yarn. I used every last inch of 7 different leftover balls of yarn, and made a good dent in a couple more. This is kind of a non-pattern, more like a huge linen stitch swatch.

Linen Stitch Scarf
This is what I did:

With 24", 4mm circular needle and fingering weight yarn, cast on 500 stitches.
Knitting back and forth repeat the next two rows until your scarf is about 5" or 6" wide (or until you're happy with the width.)
Row 1: *k1, slip 1 with yarn in front* repeat to end.
Row 2: *p1, slip 1 with yarn in back* repeat to end.
When you've reached your desired width, cast off on wrong side in knit.

Linen Stitch Scarf

The finished length, not including fringe, is about 65 inches long. Plenty of length to really wrap around your neck on a cold day. I gently blocked my scarf with a steam iron, I don't think it really needs a real wet blocking, I just wanted to kind of flatten out the texture, iron out any wrinkles.

I switched colours whenever I felt like it, usually working back and forth 2 or 3 times with each new colour. When I wanted to change colours I would leave a 6 inch tail of both the new colour and the colour I was dropping, then I would tie the tails together and leave them to hang as fringe. When I was all finished I cut 12 inch pieces of yarn and added them to the edges as fringe to fill in any gaps. There's nothing worse then sad, sparse fringe!

And Voila! A lovely, colourful textured scarf!

Linen Stitch Scarf

I used lots of different colours in this version. But I'm toying with the idea of trying another one with fewer colours, maybe one multi combined with two coordinating solids. I think that it would look smashing!

And as an extra bonus, this scarf looks equally good on dogs as it does on humans!

Linen Stitch Scarf

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

TFA Tuesday - Glenna C's Allons-Y

We're back from the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair. As always it was fun and exciting and exhausting and overwhelming all at the same time! Mom and I are getting used to it, but it was Chris's first show, I'm not sure he was mentally prepared for the chaos that ensues when you put thousands of knitters in one room with lots of yarn!

Saturday morning of the K-W fair brought with it the appearance of the always lovely Glenna C. as well as a beautiful new pattern designed by her, for me! It was love at first sight. What's not to love about a simple, one skein shawlette, especially when the one skein has cashmere in it!

Glenna has been a very busy lady lately, check out her blog to see 3 new designs that have popped up all within the past couple of weeks! This is the Allons-Y pattern, you can read more about it here on her blog or here on her Ravelry project page. The pattern is currently available on Ravelry and patternfish and will be on my website soon!

This sample was knit of out my Purple Label Cashmere sock yarn in the Poppy colourway. I think that it's the first full piece I've seen in real life knit out of this colurway and well, I have to say, it looks awesome! I know I usually lean towards the blues, but for all you red people out there, this is the colour for you!

And cashmere! What could be better to wrap around your neck now that the cooler days of fall are upon us?

I snapped the photo below this morning, I was getting organized to take some close ups of a few FO's, including Glenna's beautiful Allons-Y. My own cashmere Haruni shawl is finished and being blocked (more on that another day) and I took this messy shot of the shawl and linen stitch scarf just sitting there. I was struck by how intensely red and vivid Poppy is. I know this photo isn't particularly interesting, but I just can't get over how the Poppy shawl almost looks like it's glowing!

Happy knitting! Go hug some cashmere if you can.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

They wrote about me in Vogue Knitting Fall 2010

Wow, so cool. In the most recent issue of Vogue Knitting International, the Fall 2010 issue, on page 28, there is a little write up about me!!! Woohoo! Probably the high-light of my professional career. Very cool. Of course, I ran out to buy this issue as soon as I heard it was on the news stands! Keeping in mind the fact that I am very biased because I now definitely think that this is by far the best issue of any magazine... EVER, I'd like to let you all know that I love this issue. I think I'm going to get a subscription to Vogue Knitting from now on. There are several patterns that I'd really like to knit for myself in this issue.

I love this fair isle hat. I've tried to knit the popular beret style hat in the past, and they are just not for me. But this one is a bit different, it's not so much a beret as it is a slouchy tuque. I think that the patterning is very pretty and that this slouchy hat might be just right for me and my curly hair.

This argyle turtleneck is just so fun. I like the striped diamonds on the front and the way that they are tied in with a completely striped back. You can't see it in the photos I've shown but the cuffs are pink to echo the pink stripe in the argyle, very cute. I'm not sure that I will actually ever knit this, but if I do I think I'll have it forever and it would always be a little bit funky.

I love the cables in this smocked cable coat. I would love to knit this jacket in my Green Label aran weight yarn in Stormy or Moss, its military inspired and would really look great in a dark colour.

And lastly, this off center zipper cardi. This piece, like all the other patterns I've selected, is a style that I would be drawn to and definitely want to buy were I to see it in a store, but it's not the type of thing that I would typically knit. I think its because I consider it to be too risky. It's modern and fashion forward and a bit edgy with the asymmetrical hem, I would love to own it, and I'm making a vow right here and now to start knitting more projects like these from now on.

I love to knit, I knit all the time. But it seems like lately I've been sticking to simpler garments and shapes. Or accessories where proper fit isn't crucial. I have not been tacking risks and knitting daring garments that are hip, modern and fashion forward. Garments that are cooler and far more unique than anything that designer shops sell. Off course I'll always have a pair of socks and probably a simple shawl or two on the needles, but I'd like to push my knitting boundaries a bit and branch out. I may fail terribly and end up knitting only plain socks for a year to get over it, but I'm going to cast on for a difficult new knit next.... just as soon as I finish up all my current WIP's.

Note Cards

Those of you who have shopped with me on my website may have noticed that I've been including a postcard with an image of my yarns in with your orders. I like having a little something extra to add to an order, a little bonus that makes opening a package even more fun. I've decided to take this one step further and put together a collection of four note cards.

I'll be bringing these with me to the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair this weekend, and will have them available online soon.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

TFA Tuesday - Fleury's Squamish

If the point of TFA Tuesday is to inspire knitters (myself included) to want to knit, then this week's selection is a home run. As soon as I decided to post this shawl as this week's project, I also decided to cast on for the exact same shawl myself, only mine will be in Deep Sea.

This is the beautiful Haruni Shawl knit by Fleury in TFA Purple Label Cashmere sock yarn in the Jewel colourway. You already know that I love this pattern, in fact I knit it earlier this summer. Normally I take a bit of time off before repeating a pattern, I usually need a break, but not from this one. I've cast on for a second shawl already, and this one will be for me! The first one will be gifted.

Fleury's version is beautiful! And because she knit a smaller version she was able to complete the entire shawlette with only one skein of yarn, always an A+ in my books!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Wedding Flowers

Weddings are a big deal, and though mine is already nearly three months behind us (wow, time fly's!) I still have lots to share from the day. I think that I just needed to put a bit of space between me and the wedding before I was ready to dive into all the details again. But, now that I'm feeling nostalgic, I've got a couple little things that I'd like to share with you all. Today, I'd like to tell you all about the flowers. I'm quite proud of the flowers for being both beautiful and super thrifty!

The centerpieces for the reception were a total DIY project. First off, we scoured the big box garden centers for reasonably priced orchids. Orchids, though gorgeous, are super expensive if bought at a high end nursery or florist. Chris and I both love orchids, as is proven by the numerous blog posts I've already done featuring our favorite flower... so we wanted the look without the price tag. We were able to find all the potted orchids we needed (pots included!) for under $20 a pop. Since we were able to find our orchids already in terra cotta pots, all that was left was for my sister and I to spend a half hour painting them my favorite colour blue, and ta-dah!
They looked great! We had several different colours, from white, to yellow to fuchsia and even deep purple. And the best part is, this gorgeous specimen shown below still lives in my dining room. Bouquet's of cut flowers are stunning, but it seems like a sin to spend all that money on beautiful flowers that will only last a week. This way, we and a few select guests, are able to enjoy our centerpieces for (hopefully) years to come!

Our table numbers were also a DIY project. We cut butterflies out of white card stock and then glued navy blue numbers on their wings. We then tied the butterflies to the stems of the orchids using the same blue ribbon that we used in the invites and the programs, hoping it would look like the butterfly had just sort of perched himself on the flowers. I don't have a professional shot of it, but we do have a sample butterfly (sans table number) still tied to our test subject. Cute right?
So, that about covers the centerpieces, next up is the bouquets. This is the one area of our wedding that caused me to panic and almost have a meltdown the morning of the wedding. I was a very calm, cool and collected bride. We were so busy in every area of our lives that stressing out over every detail and over planning just wasn't an option for me, which was terrific! Until my my family came home after having picked up the flowers.... we were trying to be frugal and keep the wedding flowers reasonable. We picked a florist who worked from home and was very affordable. We picked the most basic bridal package. All that I asked was that all the flowers be white. I had flirted with having pink flowers, but in the end we decided to go all white. It was simple, easy, affordable, I was thrilled!

And then the flowers showed up... and they weren't white. Parts were sort of lime-green, other parts were peachy. I hated them. I didn't take any photos of them because I was kind of freaking out. But the photographers did snap a shot of the flower girl's basket.
I don't know why, but this "non-white" flower situation nearly pushed me over the edge. I almost cried! But without skipping a beat my mother and my friend Suz grabbed a vase of white peonies that had been brought to the rehearsal dinner BBQ that my parents had hosted the night before, they took a bunch of white ribbon that had come on some wedding gifts that we had already opened, and they started making bouquets. They were stunning!

I love these bouquets! I love that my mom and Suz made them, I loved that they came from my mom's best friend and cousin who cut them from her garden from a shrub that my great aunt (my grandmother's sister) had given her. They were just so much more special. They were perfect! So though there was a bit of drama involved, and I'm ashamed to say that for a split second I thought that my peach flowers were going to ruin my wedding day! In the end, the flowers are one of my favorite memories.

photos by supa studios