Monthly Archives: February 2012

Luck of the leap year

So this afternoon I went over to the Cascade 220 portion of my yarn stash (as one does), to grab a single skein of something that I could use for a new small project. And while I was there I thought “you know, I should really catalog this. Maybe even enter it in my Ravelry stash. I have a lot of Cascade 220.” So I did, marking the first time I have ever entered any of my yarn on Ravelry that is not my own handspun yarn (and dudes, it’s been a while since i had a new skein of my own handspun yarn).

Feb29-Cascade220

And I’ve been working on the hood for my Gwendolyn cardigan, which is basically the last step except for the button band, and sort of eyeing that last skein a little bit wondering if I’ll make it, and do you know what I found in my shelf cubbies of Cascade 220?

I found one last skein of yarn, in the same batch I bought for my Gwendolyn cardigan.

Feb29-GwendolynAlmostDone

I love my stash.

Happy Leap Year!

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Weekend recovery

I spent this past weekend in the company of ten other knitters in a cottage (well, more like a 2-storey rental house, but still), a seems to be becoming an annual tradition. I have to say there are worse ways to spend a weekend.

There was a lot to fit in, though.

There was the eating:

Feb25-Cheese

The drinking:

Feb24-Weekend4

Feb24-WineYarn

The knitting:

Feb25-EmilyJoyce

feb27-Sock

(I finally finished my socks! And started another pair, forthwith)

There was even the occasional amount of outdoorsy physical exertion:

Feb25-Snowshoes2

(Some of it unexpected, as we all pushed our cars out of the snow-and-ice-covered drive on Sunday morning. That is less recommendable but still memorable all the same.)

And while I didn’t (yet) get my Gwendolyn cardigan done, I did at least start the sewing up and the hood. Still looking possible for a February finish. (All fingers are crossed).

Now the only trouble is, I had to get up like a normal person and eat normal meals and things, and that’s just a crying shame. Maybe when I get up tomorrow there will be a three-course breakfast and mimosas waiting for me. (Hey, a girl can dream.)

May your Monday evening be filled with knitting and relaxation!
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Parallel hobbies

Like a lot of other knitters, one of the reasons I love knitting is that it’s very difficult to see yourself getting to the end of the line, once you’re on the train. It just keeps going. There’s always more to do – more yarns, more techniques, more patterns, more yarn shops, more ideas. I am realizing now that photography resembles this as well. Even if you get good at using one concept or technique or camera lens…there’s always more you could do, man. This could get fun.

I’m halfway through my course (essentially, DSLRs 101), and have gotten to learning a few new things and it is very refreshing, as well as having the excuse to get out and practice. Sadly there does not appear to be a course on the curriculum for “Knitting Photography 101,” but thankfully many of these skills are transferable, and other knitters are smart folks. I look forward to more exchange of knowledge and learning in this area.

Here are some of my favourite shots from the last few weeks! More next time – hopefully with an almost-finished Gwendolyn cardi to report about!

Feb20-BankMontreal

Feb20-ListerBlock4

Week5-Stop8

Week5-Stop5

Feb12-TTCRocket1

Week5-Blur2

Feb11-ChucksLunch2

Feb10-MedCentre2

Week3-Vertical9

Happy Monday!

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Event Horizon

You know, sometimes, when you start a sweater and then blink and discover that almost six months have passed since you started it and you still haven’t finished it yet, you then discover that you are actually pretty close to finishing it after all?

Me too.

Feb16-Gwendolyn2

I have started to feel a bit of unease with this project, because it’s been on my needles off and on for so many months now, and I’ve gone and changed the size I’m making halfway through, and then there’s the whole cable on the sleeve fix that I still have to go back and do, and (because I decided my 2011 self didn’t need to worry about that, and I’d let my 2012 self handle it instead)… and it actually occurred to me the other day that should I (stash forbid) end up running out of yarn and needing another skein, this will actually end up being a minor challenge since I’m pretty sure I neglected to keep any of the ball bands with dye lot numbers on them when I wound up all the yarn (self, that was not wise)…

But the thing is, and this is the most important thing, is that I am currently one front piece and one hood away from having a finished cardigan, and that is close enough for me to taste the sense of accomplishment. I have been loving working with this colour (it’s a Cascade 220 Heather, in a beautiful turquoise, edged in a dark reddish brown), and it finally hit me that, wait a second, soon I’ll actually be able to WEAR this colour, not just look at it on my needles.

Feb16-Gwendolyn

Come on, cardi, you and me – and I know I said this back in October, and then November, and then again in January, but this time I mean it – LET’S DO THIS. February is for finishing! (And hey, if Steph’s Gwendolyn can survive a little re-knitting as well as a little singeing in the oven, mine can survive a bit of neglect. Probably.)

What will you finish in February, dear knitters?
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Filed under cables, fearless knitting, sweaters

Urban Collection: Aberdeen Ave. Mittens and Hat

One of my goals as I began putting together ideas for my Urban Collection was to offer a set of patterns with balance; In theory, I wanted a person who might knit all of these items to have a knitted object for any occasion. In other words, if you had all these knitted items, you could get dressed in something knitted no matter what the weather or wardrobe requires. I also wanted a balance of items in terms of required execution time and effort, and as I stagger the releases over a few months, each month’s release will have one larger, more time consuming item, and one or more smaller or less time consuming items. Some times you just need the instant gratification! (Well, or at least, instant-er.)

AberdeenAveMitts2

Some times, like right now around these parts, you also need a few quick and warm things, and that is where the Aberdeen Ave. mittens and hat patterns come in. I knew the Locke St. cardigan would be first up in February, and these likewise take their name from a Hamilton street name – Aberdeen Ave. and Locke St. intersect with each other, and with such Scottish place names to work with as inspiration, how could I resist working with cables? I loved the knotty twists and turns on these so much I couldn’t keep them to just one item, and just had to spread the cabled awesomeness to both a hat and a pair of mittens.

In a collection of knitted items, it would be a crying, crying shame to overlook the winter accessories, don’t you think? And it’s especially pleasing to have a matching pair. There is something very satisfying about feeling put together like that when you leave your front door, even if it’s a blustery chilly day that makes you need to bundle up. I reached for the heavy worsted/Aran weight yarn for both of these, to help with both warmth and speed.  A single skein of Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label Aran is all that’s needed for either the hat or the mittens, and either one would be great for that single skein of worsted or Aran yarn you’ve got hanging around waiting for a project!

AberdeenHat2

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If you have more than a passing familiarity with a cable needle, you’ll have this hat finished in a snap. There’s just enough interest for you on the central cable panel running along one side to keep you from getting bored, and before you know it you’ll be decreasing and finishing up the top and reaching for another skein of yarn to make the mittens to match. If you’re still new to cables, these will be small canvases to practice on while you prep yourself for larger cabled projects.

As with all items in the Urban Collection (currently available on Ravelry – will be made available on Patternfish as an e-book and individual patterns once the collection is complete), both the Mitts and the Hat are available to be purchased individually in my Ravelry store, or as part of the collection. Once you’ve purchased the collection, you’ll receive all patterns that are added to it with each update, until it is complete.

AberdeenHat1

I am grateful once again to my friends Austen (for modelling) and Jane (for photography), and to Jaya Purswani for the technical editing on these two projects. I hope you’ll enjoy them!

Now that I’ve introduced you to all three February releases in the collection, I”ll be happy to report back on some other ongoing knits next time. I hate to jinx things, but I might just be getting close to finishing my Gwendolyn cardigan after all – and possibly even a pair of socks. Dare I say it, I may get some more warm knits finished in time to wear them in the chilly season after all.

Happy knitting this Wednesday!

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Urban Collection: Locke St.

What can I say, folks, but that it’s a great relief to finally get to show off a few designs to you after keeping them under wraps for so long. February marks the first wave of releases of my Urban Collection, which will be a collection of eight knitting patterns in total. Between February and April I’ll add 2-3 more patterns to the collection each month until it is complete. (My previous post gives a good visual snapshot of the first five designs – the rest are in the works!) My goal for this collection was a set of patterns that would sit well in the “urban classic” realm – designs that will be comfortable and wearable now as well as a few years from now.

Locke Street Cardi

Rather than overwhelm you all at once with the whole sha-bang, I’ll be staggering the releases so that they are a bit more seasonally appropriate – as a result, the warmest patterns are the first ones out of the gate in February. Closer to April, you can predict a few lighter accessories and lace pieces to make an appearance. The complete collection will contain two sweaters, two lace items, and four smaller accessories. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do! All of the patterns feature Tanis Fiber Arts yarn, in a variety of yarn weights from Aran to laceweight.

As the patterns are released, you’ll be able to purchase them individually at any time in my Ravelry store, but if you’d like to take the plunge for the whole set, the collection may be purchased now for a few dollars cheaper than the final collection price, and I’ll keep that ‘preview price’ available until the March patterns are posted (around March 12th, a month later than today.) Once you’ve purchased the collection, you’ll receive updates as patterns are added.
(I’m working on making these available on Patternfish as well, as an e-book, for non-Ravelry users – stay tuned for updates there!)

LockeSt2

Since I was working with the aesthetic of “urban classic” in mind, when thinking about pattern names I decided to draw on the cities in which I have lived as a knitter. The patterns are all named after streets that I am familiar with in these cities. The first pattern I’d like to introduce you to is the Locke St. Cardigan. This is named for a favourite street of mine in my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario (if I’m hanging at a cafe or heading off in search of poutine or organic chocolate bars, or even a run to the bank – chances are, this is where I’m doing that.) This is a buttoned cardigan in the style of a classic cabled knit, including modern details like waist shaping and v-neck collar. Using DK-weight Tanis Fiber Arts Yellow Label yarn at 5.5 sts/inch, it is also a little lighter than a traditional Aran cardi might be, which means you’ll be able to get good wear out of this as a layer underneath your jacket in the cold seasons, or wear it as a layer itself when it’s a bit warmer.

LockeSt1

Friends Austen (above) and Emily (in the detailed shots) helped me out with modelling this, and both were pretty comfortable in it. In fact, I think it fit Austen so nicely that I am a little surprised she didn’t try the “hey! look over there!” trick, only to have me turn around and discover she was missing.

How about the cables? Let’s talk about the cables. You want cables, hoo boy, this sweater has cables!

LockeSt-Detail1

I like using symmetry and structure in my designs when I can, and the big show piece of this sweater is the way the cables lend vertical focus and visual appeal, especially down the back of the piece. Two diamond cables twist down the centre and are flanked by a few smaller twists and claw cables, for accent and delicate appeal. There is a blend here of cables and twisted stitches (mostly sneaking in in the ribbing and in between the cable placements – I just can’t give up my precious twisted stitches entirely, it seems!).

LockeSt-Detail2

Sizing for this pattern runs between 35-55 ins around at bust (when closed), and is intended for slight positive ease between 2-4 ins or so, according to preference. As usual, I provide some suggestions in the pattern notes about how to work cables without a cable needle, if you’re interested in that method as a potential way of building speed and efficiency. (Having said that, though, I know there are knitters who are speed demons with cable needles, so choose whatever method floats your boat!)
And also as usual, feel free to consult the pattern schematic and gauge if you prefer to modify your patterns for a more customized fit for yourself.

Thank you again to Jane D. for the photography on this project, and Stephannie Tallent for the technical editing, and to friends Tammy and Kelly for providing test-knitting feedback during the knitting process!

Now that I’ve said a mouthful, I’m looking forward to taking a break for a couple of days to knit and let these February projects be out in the world a little bit. When next we meet I’ll formally introduce you to the Locke St. cardi’s companions – the Aberdeen Ave. hat and mittens. They are just as warm and toasty, and the weather seems to agree – we finally have snow around these parts!

Happy knitting this fine Sunday!
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Worth the wait

Knitting friends, over the course of the last several months (well, almost the last year, actually), I’ve been working away on a big project for myself. It’s finally ready to start getting revealed, a few pieces at a time, and I’m so eager to be able to share it with you.

In my next post I’ll reveal more details about the first patterns out of the gate in this, my first true collection, but for now I want to leave you with a few delicious preview shots of the first five (out of a final eight) patterns in The Urban Collection (winter-to-spring 2012).

AberdeenHat2

LockeSt-Detail1

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Water Street Cardi

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Because you can’t say thank you too many times, and because I want to make sure I do, thank you to Tanis Fiber Arts for the beautiful and generous yarn support, Stephannie Tallent and Jaya Purswani for technical editing,

Jane for the lovely photographs, friends Diana, Kelly, Tammy, Abbie, and Rebecca who have done test-knitting, Austen and Emily for modelling…and probably several more folks who will be recruited before the entire project is complete ;) Thank you, ladies!

More next time! Happy knitting this fine Wednesday.
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