Monthly Archives: April 2012

Goodies

That whole thing I was doing for most of the month of April where I was blythely knitting away on whatever I wanted? Yeah, that might be starting to level off now. Now the knitterly debts are coming to collect and now I have about a zillion 75% finished projects that need finishing, and preferably right about NOW since I have so many more new things waiting to get their turn. This is, of course, only exacerbated by new yarns brought home this weekend from the Knitter’s Frolic.

I’ve been getting lace on the brain more now that spring is here (as one is wont to do, when one is a knitter in the spring), and so I knew I wanted to bring home a few new skeins of laceweight. I made sure to snag a couple of skeins of Tanis Fiber Arts pink label laceweight, and I think this bright ‘royal flush’ pink is actually going to get on deck for a Miralda’s Triangular Shawl from Nancy Bush’s Knitted Lace of Estonia, for later this summer. The two skeins of teal are for…I don’t know what that’s for yet. Maybe if I get done the Miralda’s shawl real quick and need to cast on a Crown Prince Square or something like that right away, now I’ll have enough to work with just in case.

Apr30-Yarn1

I also snagged a couple of skeins from Turtlepurl Yarns, a Canadian indie dyer who is relatively new to me. I’m not sure what the pink stuff will be yet, but that orange skein is 1300 yds of alpaca/silk/cashmere goodness and might have “another Pi shawl” written all over it. Looking forward to seeing what it becomes.

Apr30-Yarn2

Last but not least, shortly before I left the Frolic I ran into knitter and runner friend Kathy, formerly of Kingston now of somewhere near North Bay. She showed me these pretty yellow socks she’d knitted, and I said “oh, these are nice, are they yours?” and she said, “no, they’re yours!” and I was all, “what??” She knows how bummed I was when I got hit with a hip injury last summer and how frustrating it has been for me not to be back at the running yet, and so she decided to knit me some sunny yellow socks so I could have some sunny cheerful feet until my feet are out on the pavement again. GEEZ, KATHY. I was all set to be cynical forever, and now you’ve gone and ruined it. THANKS FOR NOTHING. (Um, but also, thank you for the socks.)

Apr28-KathySocks

So now my friends, I am hoping this week will have some project finishing in it – this girl’s got some new yarns to play with. Happy Monday and may your knitting and a refreshing beverage be waiting for you at the end of it!

.

.

12 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Frolicking

If you’re reading this blog and you’re a knitter from somewhere in the vicinity of southern Ontario, I can only imagine that you must have been at the Knitter’s Frolic in Toronto, today, and therefore I feel I must apologize for stepping on your toe/bumping into you that one time/accidentally shoving you with my shoulder bag. Wow there were a lot of us knitters crammed into that place, and even more yarn there to distract us beyond belief. Everyone made it out in one piece, right? Okay good.

When I say it was busy, I mean that most of it sort of looked like this:

Apr28-Viola1

A sort of delighted but blurred knitting frenzy. It was a lovely time to see so many knitting friends (inasmuch as one can visit with knitting friends while trying to shop in five different places at once), and so for now I’ll just post a few pictures from the day – more later about my few delicious purchases! And my knitting continues to wait in the wings, and all those many works in progress still wait to be finished.

I hope your weekend is knitterly and enjoyable, wherever you are!

Apr28-Frolic7

Apr28-Frolic15

Apr28-Frolic14

Apr28-Frolic10

Apr28-Frolic4

Apr28-Frolic9

Apr28-Frolic2

Apr28-Frolic11

Apr28-Frolic12

25 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Tools of the trade

Every so often, over the course of posting photos of works in progress, I get questions in the comments about the kinds of tools I’m using – knitting needles and so on. So, I thought I’d show off a few of them while they’re being deployed. (It helps that I currently have approximately eleventy million projects in progress). This is what I use – it’s not necessarily the same stuff that you should use, of course, but it’s the tools rhythm I’ve developed over a few years.

Apr19-Tools4

I’ve got several kinds of needles in my stash, accumulated over about 8 years of pretty hard core knitting – Addi Turbos (they’re smooth to work with and the cords are sturdy), Knit Picks nickel-plated interchangeables, and the odd set of Chiao Goo red cable circular or bamboo needles. I alternate between them depending on my needs at the time (Knit Picks‘ cords are nice and bendy, and they come in nice sizes and lengths for working Magic Loop socks) and, let’s face it, what isn’t already being used in a project or gone down a rabbit hole somewhere. Most of the needles I use are circular. I use circular needles both for working in the round and working flat, because I like the way the weight of the knitting is always kept in my “lap” when I work that way, and the motion of my arms is kept relatively stable. It also means that one circular needle can do the job of either flat or circular knitting, and I like that.

Apr19-Tools2

The ones pictured in the two photos above and a few other similar pairs of pretty circular needles have been making increased appearances lately around these parts – they are from Signature Needle Arts and I’m here to tell you they are a pretty sweet ride. I hesitate to make you Want Things Like This, because they’re also far from the cheapest knitting needles out there, but I really enjoy their pointy Stiletto tips and the way the needle shafts hold the stitches. I didn’t think I needed these needles in my life, I scoffed last year – heck, I’ve got plenty of needles already and they do fine – and then my hotel suite-mates at Sock Summit last summer bought me one circular as a birthday present (handily, the size I was working with for my sweater in progress at the time), and man, I was toast. I have started adding more to my stash one circular at a time, in the sizes I use most often.

Apr19-Tools3

I also use circulars in small, 16″ lengths, for working hats and the occasional tube scarf. I find these tend to escape into never-never land pretty easily, so I am less particular about what kind they are, as long as the tips are relatively pointy. I’ve got Knit Picks ones and Susan Bates plastic-coated metal ones, and I like ‘em.

Apr19-Tools5

My sock knitting tends to be divided into two categories – ribbed socks (or Jaywalkers), and more-fancy-than-ribbed socks. Accordingly, my sock knitting needle needs are also divided along those lines. My fancier socks tend to be done with Magic Loop – i.e. anything with cabled patterns or something where there is an identical pattern on the front and back of leg where there are essentially two surfaces to the sock pattern. I like Knit Picks circulars and Chiao Goo stainless steel red lace for these the best.

If I’m knitting a simple ribbed pair of socks I still reach for a set of double-pointed needles. I think this is just the way my brain has arranged this, since i started out knitting socks with DPNs and I like the sort of tripod structure of that setup for a plain pair of socks. I prefer to use a set of 4 7″ double-pointed rather than 5 6″ DPNs, because I have long hands (and 5’9″ of vertical height on me, probably these two things are related) and the short needles have just never felt comfortable for me, and sadly my normal purveyors of circulars like Knit Picks or Addi or Signature (last time I checked at least), don’t produce 7″ DPNs. So this means I basically scoop up sets of pretty cheap Unique or Susan Bates DPNs in 2.25 through 2.75mm sizes whenever I can find them (because WHAT IF THEY STOP SELLING THEM AIEEE MUST STOCK UP), and I generally keep them and a ball or two of sock yarn at the ready.

Apr19-Tools1

Any surface at home where I have established regular knitting activity is likely to be filled with a certain amount of clutter, which I am basically okay with. I like things like scissors, tapestry needles, measuring tapes, pens and post-its, stitch markers, and so forth, to be within arm’s reach, and so I generally feel like you can’t have too many of these in reserve. I’m pretty sure most of us have had the experience of rifling around for a tape measure when it feels like we should own twelve million but they have chosen that particular day to hide themselves, so.

In a portable sense, though, I’ve distilled the basic necessaries into a little Altoids tin kit that I carry around with me in my purse. Actually, I’ve started to put together multiple kits like this, because, well, backup options are reassuring. (See also: my entire yarn stash, needle collection, etc). My favourite recent addition to this kit is a little pair of Hiya Hiya snips, in place of scissors. I used to have a travel size dental floss in here as a yarn cutter (also the floss inside works as a lifeline if you need one), then a pair of actual mini folding sewing scissors when I started realizing that nobody in airline security had ever asked me about the contents of my Altoids tin kit (knock wood), and then I came across these Hiya Hiya snips. They’re not very sharp, but they do the job of cutting yarn just fine, and they come in cute colours, so. Done and done.

Phew. Who knew a person could go on and on about knitting tools.┬áDo you have a favourite knitting tool that you’ve discovered lately? Needles or notions? Enablers always love company!

Happy knitting today, with whatever needles and yarn you love the most.

.

.

41 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

In the thick of it

I have reached a point in my knitting which, I have no doubt, happens to the best of us on occasion, which can more or less be summarized by saying, “I have a lot of knitting to do.” I have been having fits of start-itis over the last few weeks and you know, there’s only so long you can hold off that impulse. To wit, I’m currently knitting my way through my own Hunter Street Cowl (this time it’s going to be huge. I’m going to get through as much of the 1000 yds skein of Tanis Fiber Arts laceweight as I possibly can, if not the whole thing. This is going to be one big lofty squooshy cowl).

Apr17-HunterStCowl

Of course, I’m also still working my way through two sweaters. (Since, you know, spring and summer are coming on.) My Velvet Morning cardi has a body and almost a full sleeve, and my making-sure-the-full-sleeve-revision-is-to-my-satisfaction Royale pullover has most of the body, so that’s pretty great to keep working away on as well.

Apr17-Sweaters

And then, just for kicks, I’ve been staring at my colour-work yarn (aka Knit Picks Palette), and brainstorming some new projects for perhaps getting a jump on the fall items. Since I clearly didn’t have enough on the go.

Apr17-Colourstorming

There is also the ubiquitous travelling sock in progress in my handbag, various lace thoughts swirling around, and you know, I have decided to just lean into it and knit whatever’s going. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t other projects I was itching to start up on and add even more to this whole equation, but I figure the only way out of a spell like this is through it, so I’m just going to keep on knitting. Knitting knitting and more knitting.

Perhaps there is a spring knitting fever going around and I’m not the only one surrounded by mountains of Works in Progress. There’s always more things “up next,” after all. What projects have sucked you in, lately, dear knitters? I hope you find as much time as possible in your week to sink into them!

35 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Urban Collection: Queen St. Mitts

I think I’ve officially lost track of the weather around here. Afternoons are starting to get warm and sunny, but overnight the temperature still plunges towards freezing, which makes getting dressed in the morning a bit of a challenge. It occurred to me that, you know what? This is exactly the time of year that fingerless mitts are meant for. Some days you need that extra bit of insulation around your hands, only to tuck them away in your purse or pocket later on on the day.

On that note, I’m pleased to present the seventh pattern of eight in the Urban Collection (Ravelry link), the Queen St. Mitts.

Mitts1a

Since I wanted the pattern collection to be versatile both in garments and in yarn selection, I decided to use sock-weight yarn for something that wasn’t socks. After all, many of us are frequently tempted by that single skein of sock yarn purchase in a shop or at a knitter’s fair, and some times you want something to do with it that isn’t socks. At the same time, I was having a hard time putting away the aran-style cables that appear in several other pieces in the collection and thought, you know? Let’s just do that on a pair of mitts. Aran sweater styling in miniature, but with the chance to let loose with some crazy colour, too.

Mitts6a

These mitts are worked in Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label fingering weight (superwash merino/nylon), in the bold ‘Lemongrass’ colour. I’ve been wanting to do something with this colour for so long, and decided to break it out for this project. You can get away with bright colours like this more easily with small accessories, since it’s less of a risk than something that might cover your whole upper body like a sweater. (But man, if any of you knit up a full sweater in Lemongrass, call me. I want to know what that looks like.)

The main pattern along the back of the hand is a spring-like combination of cables, bobbles, and texture, while the palms are more modest with a cable and rib combination. I’m quite pleased with how these turned out, and might have to go back for a second pair in another colour.

Mitts4a

I enjoy the way fingerless mitts offer a small and relatively quick canvas to explore various techniques – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how fast these will knit up – and am going to keep it in mind for future projects. More fingerless mitts, fewer cold hands!

Also, it’s fitting that I post about these today, since it’s Tanis‘ birthday, from whom the yarn comes. Have a great day, Tanis!

Happy knitting this weekend, everyone!

.

 

.

23 Comments

Filed under accessories, cables, design

Challenge is relative

This morning I met up with local knitter friend Dilia, who is currently finishing her first pair of socks. I’ve done a few lessons with her and a friend over the last few months, since they wanted to build up some basic skills and look at doing some projects. Once they got into the building blocks of knit, purl, and even some simple cable twists, they said “how about socks? can you show us socks?” and my answer was of course, yes. Socks are great. More sock knitting can only be good.

Apr11-DiliaSocks

I’m pretty sure there are knitters out there who would pale at the idea of taking on socks for their third project ever, but because I enjoy knitting challenges I am fully in favour of supporting it in others. And I think that in most cases with knitting, if you want the final product badly enough, you will learn the things you need to learn in order to complete it. So, I didn’t tell them until later that knitting in the round with DPNs, turning a heel, and learning two different decrease methods are not the usual early project steps for new knitters. Dude, you want to knit socks? Well heck, let’s knit some socks.

Apr11-DiliaSocks2

And lo and behold, Dilia now has her first complete sock and is half done the second one. (I do believe she is using Malabrigo Rios, so I give her full marks for yarn seelction). Here she’s using my Weekend Socks pattern, which if you’re looking for a relatively quick sock to practice on (or just a quick and warm pair of socks anyway), this one is available free and uses worsted weight wool. My own pair in Louet Gems worsted is a pair I tend to wear in place of slippers on cool days.

Apr11-DiliaSocks3

We then took a brief jaunt to Spun as well (I haven’t been in ages, despite their being more local to me than Toronto – the Toronto pull tends to be strong! – but their yarn selection continues to be pretty great) and she got herself set up with some fingering weight sock yarn and a pair of 2.75mm needles and is all ready to go for more knitting action. (I set her up with my Nice Ribbed Sock pattern as a stepping stone from the Weekend Socks – it’s also free and uses a ribbed pattern for a bit of interest and snug fit)

Anyhow, if there’s something you want to learn how to knit but have been putting it off, think of Dilia and how she knitted socks for her third project ever, and go ahead and knit that project, man. It’ll be so worth it.

Happy knitting this Wednesday!
.

 

.

29 Comments

Filed under socks

Randomly on a Saturday

Earlier today I started thinking about the fact that the Toronto Knitter’s Frolic is coming up, and so I started pondering all the wonderful yarn-purchasing options that await. And then because I am me, and because my knitting brain has been rotating lately between cables and lace and colour-work and just about any kind of project imaginable, I also started thinking about shopping for colour-work projects and the sort of colour combinations I could look for.

And so naturally, I started to wish I had a portable-sized colour wheel to bring along, in case I needed a colour theory consult at a moment’s notice. (As one does).
And so then I decided, hey, I have a box of 96 Crayola crayons and some index cards in my desk drawer, and I can fix this.

Apr7-Wheel2

I have to say this is a pretty satisfying (and also pretty geeky) way to spend five minutes of your time. You get a wallet-sized colour wheel card to take around with you and feel artistic whenever you want (which, let’s face it, can come upon you in the darndest of places), AND you get to play with crayons, so that’s pretty much a win-win.

And do you know what else I learned? The good folks at Crayola have actually made this process pretty easy. They have crayons labelled with the main 6 red-orange-yellow-green-blue-violet colours, which one might expect and is pretty nice. Filling in the next 6 blended hues, though (such as blue-violet or red-orange), I thought I was going to have to sift through all the other crayons to find the right ones (as for example, is ‘macaroni-and-cheese’ more of a yellow-orange or orange-yellow? And where does ‘razzamatazz’ fit in on the red-violet wedge?), but you know what? The Crayola people have thought of that, too.

Apr7-Wheel3

Apr7-Wheel1

Done and done. I expect before the weekend is over I will be yanking out my yarn and pondering some projects as a result, which would be about par for my knitting brain this week.

Apr7-Wheel4

But you know? Colour is pretty awesome. The end.

.

.

15 Comments

Filed under colour-work