Monthly Archives: February 2013

Volume 2, Part 1

Last winter (yea verily, just slightly more than a year ago now), I launched the first patterns in my Urban Collection set (on Ravelry, on Patternfish), and lo and behold, I’ve decided to come back for another round. This week I’m kicking off the Urban Collection, Volume 2, with two patterns just right for the final months of winter. All patterns are once again featuring beautiful yarns from Tanis Fiber Arts, and are intended as a versatile collection of pieces for the contemporary knitter. All of the patterns will be available for sale individually at any time, but if you’d like to take the plunge and pre-order the entire collection for $5 less than the final collection price, you can do so now on Ravelry any time between now and April 15th. You’ll then receive all the new patterns as they are released, automatically. Updates to the collection will happen about a month apart, so the next patterns will arrive towards the end of March. (The collection will be available in full and individually once it is complete, some time in May.)

DukeSt3

This time around the collection will include 3 sweaters and 4 accessory patterns, with an emphasis on pairing sweaters with lacy accessories (scarves/shawls and cowls). I’ll be starting with the warmest yarns in February and then as we get closer to spring will start to bring in the DK and fingering weight yarns, for variety and versatility. The first two pieces both feature worsted weight yarns, for relatively quick knitting as compared to lighter yarns, and also for comfort and coziness.

First up is the Northside Pullover, in TFA Green Label Aran. This year I’ve been wanting to try out more darker shades for the dressy visual effect they have, and so I wanted this pullover to be something that would work equally well with both pale and darker colours. It’s shown here in Olive, which is not a colour of Tanis’ that I’ve worked with before, but I think it’s safe to say I’ll be doing so again!

Northside6

Northside3

This pullover uses a combination of cables and garter rib for a nice vertical pattern that’s a little rustic but also classic, and I’ve no doubt it would work well with tonal semi-solids as well as solid colours or heathers. The same garter rib combination is shown on the long cuffs to complete the effect, against a field of stockinette on the sleeves and at the side. The sweater has long sleeves and is full-length to the hips, is worked from the bottom up in pieces (seams are helpful when using superwash wools – they like some additional structure!), and then sewn before working the collar to finish. I’ve come to enjoy pullovers because they are so warm so instantly, and the finishing takes up much less time than cardigans. (Rest assured, though, a cardigan will make its appearance in the rest of the collection). This uses a stockinette gauge of 20 sts/4 ins on 4.0mm needles, or your preferred needle size to obtain gauge.

As a warm layer accompaniment to the pullover, I offer the Duke Street Shawl (Ravelry link), a quick and warm triangular shawl. It might be worn around the house as an extra layer (such as I often find myself doing in the afternoons when I’m at home), or more snugly around your neck when you leave the house. It features Orange Label worsted, which is a luxury blend including some silk and cashmere, and I would happily knit with it any day of the week – but other wool-based worsteds would work just fine in its place.

DukeSt2

DukeSt6

This is a top-down triangle with a lace pattern around the edge, measuring about 50″ across at pattern gauge, for a slightly loose and drapey fit. Whether draped around the shoulders or bundled around your neck, it’s warm and fairly quick to knit, which is exactly the kind of thing I like for this time of year! I also really like being able to bring some lace knitting in to the cooler parts of the year, rather than just leaving it for the summer.

In another month’s time I’ll update the collection with the next couple of patterns, and in the mean time these ones are good for keeping cozy with. Many thanks to Tanis for the yarn support on this collection, and for these patterns I am grateful to Kate for technical editing support and Austen for modelling. Thank you all, ladies!

I hope you’re all having a good Wednesday – catch you next time with more knitting adventures.

*

*

14 Comments

Filed under cables, design, lace

A good colour for winter

So, about a month ago we had a pretty decent cold snap around here. In Southern Ontario we do generally spend a few months at or below freezing, and then the rest of the country gleefully mocks us for whimpering about it, but winter last year was so mild that I can’t even remember whether we even had any snow at all. And then after a while it was April and the sort-of-winter oozed into probably-for-sure-spring, and we forgot about cold weather for a while. Well, back in January we spent a week hovering around -20C, even during daytime temperatures once or twice, and I think even the rest of Canada hesitated a little bit before rolling their eyes at us. -20C is chilly.

I retaliated the only way I could – bundled up in as many knitted things as possible, and ordered a sweater’s worth of bulky yarn in bright red. I remain pretty comfortable about that decision.

Feb25-Uji

This is Cadena from Knit Picks, in the ‘cranberry’ colour. It’s the exact same yarn and colour I used earlier this winter to knit my Cosmopolitan Set, and I love just about everything about it. It’s a great colour, it’s so warm, and the bit of alpaca blended with the wool gives it the slightest hint of sheen in certain lights and I love it. Since it’s a bulky yarn it also knits up relatively quickly, which means that after only a week of extremely intermittent work on it, I’ve got almost the full back of a sweater finished. I’m working away on the Uji cardigan jacket from the Winter Twist Collective and am really enjoying it so far.

Feb25-Uji2

The only disadvantage with a project like this is that the frequent cabling plus big yarn on big needles turns into a lot more mechanical effort than I’m used to with worsted weight yarn or lighter, and I’m finding myself having to rest my arms a bit more often than I’d like. But still, it’s going to be the coziest sweater ever, and even if spring suddenly decides to show up before I finish it, I’ll be pretty content having it finished in my closet for next season. It’s never the wrong time to start a new sweater!

And speaking of new sweaters, I’ve got a couple of new patterns to show off to you, but I’ll save that for my next post. Have a great Monday!

Pattern: Uji, by Ann-Marie Jackson
Yarn: Knit Picks Cadena, in cranberry

*
*
*
*

22 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Post-travel

It’s been a whirlwind week so far, one that feels like it really is only just starting, so I am rather surprised to discover it is already Thursday. But I suppose when you begin the week finishing a long weekend vacation, come back on Tuesday and then scurry off on Wednesday for a knitting talk in the evening (it was quite fun, thank you Toronto DKC!), well then of course here I am at Thursday finally getting down to all of those other things I meant to have done by this time this week.

Feb19-AirportKnitting

(Waiting in the airport on the way back from DC – that’s my own Ravine pullover, and the closest thing I’ve gotten yet to a modelled shot of it, despite happily wearing it all winter!)

The weekend jaunt was enjoyable, and spent mostly in the company of knitting friends, knitting, chatting, eating, and drinking wine. There was a shopping excursion in there somewhere, when I blinked and suddenly found myself with 3 new pairs of shoes that fit me. (Size 11s, unite!). I managed to visit just one yarn shop (thank you, Looped!), which does seem a bit like a paltry effort, but I came away with two very nice items from it (a house-made project bag and a skein of Madelinetosh sock destined for something unknown).

Feb21-Looped

I finished two projects, started a third, and made progress on two others, so all in all I call that pretty good for a few days’ work. These happy red swatches are from the sweater I just started (for me all me, in a pattern written by someone else), and I’ll be sure to report more progress on that next time.

Feb21-Swatches

I hope you’re knitting something fabulous this Thursday!

*
*
*
*

17 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Dee Cee

I’ve had the good fortune to be spending a long-long-weekend vacation in DC in the company of a few delightful knitterly friends, and it’s been a good time and astonishingly sunny weather. The trip is almost over and I’m ready to go home but at the same time glad to have a slow final evening before heading home. I’ve even managed to get in some knitting time as well as touristy leisure time. I’ll catch you on the flip side, blog reader friends! I hope you’re having a great Monday.

Feb15-Lincoln3

Feb15-Lincoln4

Feb14-Mall2

Feb14-Capitol1

Feb14-Capitol5

11 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

You’re never the only one

I spent the last couple of weeks in the company of Julie’s two kitties in Toronto, while she and her family were away. As a result I got a bit more time zipping around on transit, and did a few more things in Toronto than I normally would get the chance to do. Transit time is knitting time, of course, and so I made sure to get a few rows in on my current socks.

One day on the subway I was knitting along and a friendly woman nearby said, “oh good, I thought I was the only one.” I said “oh no, knitters are everywhere.” She pulled out a bit of yarn from her bag and showed me, reporting that she had just had a trip to Romni, and I nodded in understanding. (Romni trips are serious business, man).

Feb7-SubwayKnitting

She saw I was knitting socks and we compared notes on our needle preferences (she likes using the tiny circular needles, I was using DPNs at the time), and I asked her opinion on the yarn color I was using since I was worried it was looking a bit more bubblegum pink than it had while in the skein (she reassured me it did not). And then, it was time for me to get off at my stop and we parted ways.

A few minutes later, the only thing I thought was weird about the encounter was that I forgot to exchange Ravelry names.

Happy knitting this Monday!

Pattern: A Nice Ribbed Sock
Yarn: Sweet Georgia Yarns Cashluxe Fine

*

*

20 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Snow Day

Today, basically most of southern Ontario looks like this right now:

Feb8-SnowDay

So, I am working on some of these:

Feb8-Mitts

I’m working on other things too, truth be told, and I have a “want to knit” list about as long as my arm. (Some of which also overlaps with my “want to design” list, which only excruciates the situation further. Soooo many kniiiiiits. Start-itis is rampant.) But my new beret still wants some matching mittens or gloves, so I do what I can. At the very least I feel pretty comfortable expecting that this wintery weather is not planning to leave us any time soon, so there’s still time to get in a few more winter knits and wear them this season.

Now if the handknits could also somehow magically take care of the snow-shovelling, well. That would be a true winter wonderland.

Happy knitting this weekend!

Pattern: Chilly Podster mittens
Yarn: Berocco Ultra Alpaca, in beetroot
Project Bag: A handmade gift from a friend

*

*

14 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

As you do

For the last couple of years most of my plain sock knitting (i.e. ribbed socks, for me, since I like the way they fit and they require just a smidge more attention than plain stockinette) has been at the movie theatre. I often use them for transit knitting as well but actually now much of my transit knitting has shifted towards pieces of other larger items (sweater sleeves, for example, or shawls while working portions with simpler stitch patterns) which means socks have been relegated largely to the movie theatre. Someone asked last post to hear more about that, this whole concept of knitting at the movies – and often when I do mention that in passing someone does want to know how I do it.

I suppose it is one of those things that comes very easily to knitters who are used to knitting while doing other things. Since very early on in my knitting life I’ve worked on projects while in front of the television, and I think a lot of other knitters can chime in there, too. It’s actually gotten to be such a normal habit to me that if I do not have knitting, or am having an off-day to let my hands and arms rest after a period of heavy knitting, then it takes a bit of time to get used to the idea of not knitting while in front of the television. It makes the time both leisurely and productive at the same time, which is pretty great.

Feb6-TVknitting

It is true, though, that much of that time isn’t dedicated to staring at the screen. Particularly if you’re reading charts or have to examine your work every few rows to check progress or measure things, you may find yourself missing salient details. (Often during season premiere or season finale episodes that are particularly dramatic and tense, I’ll drop the knitting except during commercials. I mean, sometimes a fangirl has to do what a fangirl has to do.)

I know other folks who routinely knit while they do other things, and if you’re not a person who knits while watching television, I’m willing to bet you probably practice knitting as you wait for an appointment, in breaks while preparing dinner, while listening to the radio or podcasts, while attending classes or lectures, perhaps committee meetings or volunteer staff meetings, or other activities that allow you to be stationary. (Admittedly when this starts to blend into group scenarios one often has to take a bit of a read on the social situation – nothing is quite so aggravating as people thinking knitting means you have checked out.) In general I think knitting “as you” do something else is actually a pretty good thing. I know from my own experience that knitting helps siphon off some of that twitchy brain activity that makes your mind wander and helps you pay more attention to whats happening around you.

As a result, I know that if I have a simple knitting in my lap while sitting in a photography class or watching a television show, I can later look at that finished garment and remember what shows I watched while knitting it, or what class I was sitting in. I like that it helps me get knitting done but also help me to use my brain to think about other things that I’m paying attention to. On the surface it might seem like it really shouldn’t work at all, but it does, which is pretty great.

So really, if you can do any of those kind of things while knitting, the only thing standing between you and knitting while sitting in a dark movie theatre, is believing that your hands know what they’re doing. You might not want to bring something that requires continuous consultation or chart-reading, naturally. But plain stockinette or ribbing is something that your hands can figure out on their own, and it is good training for helping you to recognize errors in a tactile way rather than just a visual way. Your fingers can tell pretty quickly if you messed up the ribbing and purled where you should have knitted. I really think that knitting at the movies makes you a better knitter in the long run, and if you can enjoy a movie while still getting part of a sock knitted? Well, that’s basically the dream.

Happy middle of the week! Have you done any “as you” knitting today?

Pattern: A Nice Ribbed Sock
Yarn: Sweet Georgia Yarns Cashluxe Fine

*

*

38 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized