Monthly Archives: March 2013

New Design: Jackson Creek Cardigan

Dear knitters, it’s been about a month since I introduced you to the first Urban Collection, Volume 2 patterns, which means it’s about time to add more to the mix! I’ve got a new cardigan pattern to show off to you today (never fear, it will shortly be followed by some accessory-sized companions as well). Presenting the Jackson Creek cardigan! (Ravelry link – pattern is currently available on Ravelry only while the collection builds to completion, then all patterns and collection will be available on Patternfish as well, in May.)

JacksonCreek6b-lighter

The collection patterns are getting gradually lighter as we move towards spring, and nothing is quite as satisfying as a new spring cardi. 3/4 sleeves! Scoop neck! DK-weight yarn instead of worsted or chunky! All signs point to spring comfort. And I am told that spring will indeed arrive eventually around these parts, despite the grey clouds and lingering patches of snow that seem to persist around here.
No matter, for we have yarn and can knit our way into a new season!

JacksonCreek4b

This cardigan takes its name from a public trail in Peterborough, one of my favourite knitterly towns in Ontario. It’s the place to be when the weather gets warmer, and can take you from a park in the downtown right on out towards the marshes and rural routes. All in all a nice spring image to knit by, no?

I’m keeping the cabled love going and showing off some nice fluid, vertical, flattering vertical cable panels on the cardigan front, and keeping the rest simple with stockinette sleeves and back. It’s worked in pieces (always an ideal option when making sweaters with superwash wool) from the bottom up and then seamed together before working the button-band. Although I’ve used 3/4 sleeves here for a spring/transitional season style, this could easily be modified for full sleeves for an even warmer look.

JacksonCreek2b

The Jackson Creek cardigan is written for eight sizes, between 32 and 53 ins at bust circumference (when worn closed), and I recommend this for zero ease or slight negative ease, or to preferred comfort. It’s a comfortable but flattering option for your wardrobe, perhaps for workdays or cafe visits, or whenever you feel like a cardigan-and-jeans kind of day. (I have already road-tested mine as a cafe cardigan. It works.)

Thank you once again to Tanis for the beautiful yarn (shown here in Yellow Label DK in sand), to Austen for modelling (in unfortunately less-than-spring-like temperatures, even), and Maureen Hannon for technical editing.

Enjoy, dear knitters! And have a great weekend. You’ll be hearing from me again soon. ;) Happy knitting!

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Other kinds of work in progress

For the last year and a half or so I’ve been expanding my digital photography skills through courses at the local college, and it’s been a useful exercise to say the least. My photography has certainly improved and it’s been good to get out and be forced to practice new techniques in order to complete assignments. (Some days this is also a frustration. Often this frustration overlaps with days that also involve poor weather or fatigue, interestingly enough.) It’s also been a useful exercise in learning that is both very applicable to knitting (creative processes are always mutually beneficial no matter what they are, also I get to take better knitting photos than I used to), while still being potentially not related to knitting at all. Some times a knitter just needs something altogether different to infiltrate her time, even if it takes time away from the knitting.

This week I finished up a course on Urban Landscape/Documentary photography, and my chosen subject was Bay St. in downtown Toronto. The final project had 25 photos in total as a photo essay, and I thought I’d share a few of my favourites with you here.

11BayAdelaide-CyclistB

22AirCanada-PeopleB

8BayKing-PeopleCornerB

5FrontStPedestriansB

Photo1-UnionStation

3TTC-ReflectionB

Rush Hour

What other creative pursuits compete for your time alongside knitting? I definitely hope it’s something fun. Until next time, knitter friends!

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The cure for March

Last Friday some Toronto knitter friends took a day off and came and picked me up and we drove off in search of yarn and wineries. As you might imagine, it was a very long, hard day. (Note: it was not actually a very hard day.) It occurred to me that it was almost exactly a year ago that I did virtually the same thing with Elspeth when she visited here for a week – our trip included Niagara Falls instead of wineries, but hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

I think everyone has just generally been suffering from “March.” We’re all tired of our winter coats, tired of cloudy chilly days (days that, were they to arrive in November we would totally think of as harsh and foreboding, but in March we are seriously considering how much we still need the winter coat because dear God don’t make me put that same coat on again), and overall wanting something different to snap out of it. So when a gal gets a message saying “hey, we’re going to look at wineries and yarn on Friday, you in?” well, there really is only one answer to that question.

We tasted some wine…

March22-Wine1

…had delicious lunch (and pie)…

March22-Lunch

…and tasted more wine.

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(We were really very discerning about the wine).

March22-WineTasting

Through sheer luck and awesomeness on the part of a local alpaca farm, we ended up getting to see a tiny little baby alpaca. (Admittedly, the mama was less interested in us).

March22-BabyAlpaca

And then to finish the day, we bought some yarn. (At Stitch, in Jordan Station, and also a visit to The Fibre Garden across the street).

March22-YarnStitch

And to top it all off, I got to finish my Chilly Podster mitts, which I haven’t managed to photograph for good yet because they’ve taken up swift residence in my handbag to be worn while it’s still winter.

I hope you’re having a good weekend, knitterly friends! Until next time.

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I was told there would be spring

You know, I really thought I was okay with the fact that winter seems to not want to leave us yet. Last year winter was so mild, after all, and isn’t the Canadian cultural consciousness shaped by our shared experience of a long cold winter? And by knitter standards, isn’t it sort of a good thing to have a long winter, since we get to wear our handknits for that much more of the year?

Then it occurred to me that for the last week or two I’ve had to just about physically restrain myself from starting three new projects (despite having no shortage of things to work on), or haunting the WEBS website for wool I’d like to knit more sweaters with (despite the fact that any sweaters I would start now would not likely be done in time to wear in the current season – or the fact that I also have no shortage of sweater quantities of yarn in my stash). I realized then that maybe, just maybe, this is what spring fever looks like when you’re a knitter. It’s right up there with spring cleaning or longingly reading swimsuit catalogues and buying tickets to sunny climes – that clawing need for something different, whether it’s the immediate surroundings or the knitting project in hand.

March19-Podsters

Rather than give in to those longings, I decided to put on my resolve face and head back to my current projects with new determination. The most satisfying route to new projects is through finishing old ones, and finish something I shall. I started these podster mitts back in February and dangit, at least one advantage of the apparently never-ending winter is that if I finish them this week, I really do stand a chance of getting to wear them this season. (Plus, I lost one of my current gloves when I was in DC back in February, and the ones I’ve been using since then just don’t feel quite as awesome as my well-loved ones. New gloves it is.)

I did at least manage to get a second mitt started, and both are at the same point of needing the thumb and the flip-over mitten top. At this stage of the game, with all the ends from each finger and all the waste yarn holding the thumb stitches and the marked-out mitten top stitches, each sort of looks like a tangled mess.

March19-Podsters2

But I want to finish something, and I want these mitts, so I shall persevere. I am resolved!

What are you most looking forward to finishing right now? Is it something you’ll be able to wear soon? I hope so! Until next time, knitter friends.

Pattern: Chilly Podster mittens
Yarn: Berocco Ultra Alpaca, in beetroot

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The truths no one sees

I’ve been having the sort of week (well, 10 days, really), where I’ve got several different projects on the go and have been trying to make steady progress on them all at the same time. What that usually means, of course, is that you do make progress but in small and gradually incremental amounts, and it’s hard to see it when it’s scattered across so many projects.

But progress is being made, and on Monday I moved on to the first sleeve of the Uji cardigan, having finished the back the week before. By this point I honestly meant to be well into the second sleeve already. It was the knitting I was baiting myself with to make progress on some of the other knitting and, well, it just didn’t quite make it in there for most of the week.

Mar8-Uji

I did do something else with it though, which was to go back to fix a niggling mistake so that it wouldn’t be waiting for me at the very final end of the sweater finishing. See that little orange thingie just above the ribbing, at the side?

Mar8-Uji2

That, my friends, is a dropped stitch.

Back when I cast on for the ribbing, I had the right number of stitches, then after I did the increase row before beginning the cabled pattern, I also had the right number of stitches. Then at some point when I got almost to the very end of a row while doing the pattern, I was missing a stitch. All of the cabled pattern section looked fine (minimal though it was at that point), nothing seemed amiss, so I just increased another stitch and went on my way. A few inches later I did notice it – a cheerful little dropped stitch, sitting there with its loop greeting me right there on the right side of the work.

I could have done a couple of things at that point – including some things much more proper than what I did do. I could have ripped back the 3-4 inches of work that I’d accumulated at that point, and re-knitted with the rescued dropped stitch. I could have used a crochet hook to scoop down through 3-4 inches worth of rows (many including cables) to bring the dropped stitch back up to the row I was working on, then worked a decrease to bring me back to the right number for my row.

I did none of these things. I stuck a closeable stitch marker in it and kept knitting.

Mar8-Stitch1

So then it got to this week and I decided to deal with it in the manner I knew I was going to deal with it. First I massaged it around so that the stitch was now sticking out towards the wrong side of the work.

Mar8-Stitch2

Then I got out a bit of yarn and my tapestry needle…

Mar8-Stitch3

…ran the yarn through the dropped stitch, and through some loops on the wrong side of the work…

Mar8-Stitch4

…and tied that sucker down. (My knots were pretty firm, too.)

Mar8-Stitch5

Now, if I wanted to save a bit of propriety here, I would have woven in those long ends from the safety yarn back through the wrong side of the work, and then trimmed them afterwards. Did I do that?

No, I did not.

Mar8-Stitch6

I snipped the long ends so that two little short ones of about an inch long are now happily sitting there sticking out from the makeshift knot, and I couldn’t care in the slightest that it’s a bit messy. This little knot will be sitting almost directly next to a side seam in the cardigan, where no one will ever notice it anyway. At least, if they haven’t read my blog. But just between you and me, knitter friends, that’s what I did, and I’ll sleep well tonight.

And that is the true story of how I didn’t let a dropped stitch ruin my life. The end.

Have a fabulous weekend, and knit something awesome – it’ll still be awesome even if you drop a stitch. Until next time!

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

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