Category Archives: accessories

Gateway

[ETA]: Gateway is now available on both Patternfish and in my Ravelry store!

This past summer I travelled to San Francisco for several days following Sock Summit – you know, since I was already on the west coast and all. It was a great city to visit and I look forward to going back. One thing that did strike me (as I am sure with all tourists in that city), was how much one does really depend on knitwear even in the summer months. I spent most days with a light commercial-knit sweater, and, most gratefully, my Tibetan Dreams stole. I got used to slinging it around my neck and shoulders and thereafter attempted to achieve that “oh I just threw this elegance together” sort of look that one always wishes for when wearing lacy stoles.

On my second day there, I visited the Exploratorium/Palais de Beaux Arts, then walked all the way across Crissy Fields to the Golden Gate bridge, and back. It was a solid day of walking. (I finished at the Ghiradelli ice cream cafe, and did not care that I was surrounded by tourists doing the same thing. I regret nothing about that peanut butter sundae.) Being on my own as I was, I naturally made many attempts at self-photography in front of the bridge, trying to get a decent shot of myself. The best I came up with was this. (People tell me it’s a good shot. I rather think it was just lucky that the wind was blowing my hair in a way that obscured only half of my face instead of all of it.)

Aug3-GoldenGateMe2

ANYway, back to the knitting. I liked having that bit of lace to keep comfy with on breezy tourist adventures, and I remembered it long enough to want a similar piece of knitwear to bundle up with in actual cold temperatures – not just a lacy scarf, but a nice practical piece of insulation as well. It gets cold in Ontario, but that doesn’t mean a gal doesn’t want to look a little pretty while she’s getting dressed for it. This scarf pattern is the result. Presenting Gateway, my latest accessory pattern.

Nov1-Gateway1

Nov9-Scarf4

I’ve written this up as a scarf in 2 sizes – a smaller, slimmer, version more typical of simple scarves, and a larger, wider version which is the one I’m modelling here. I reached for Ultra Alpaca, which is one of my favourite yarns for the fall and winter. It’s 50% wool and 50% alpaca, which means that even with a few lacy yarnovers in mix, you’re still getting a pretty warm little knit out of it. However, a variety of worsted weight yarns in wool or wool/alpaca blends – ooh, heck, even wool/silk might be a nice option – would be suitable.

The lacy stitch pattern involves yarnovers and decreases on Right Side rows only, and would be workable enough for a knitter with a little bit of lace experience and chart-reading under their belts. Once you’ve done a few pattern repeats, it’s likely you’ll have started to memorize it. This was certainly my experience! I love how the little swooshy twisted ribs and stockinette angles stack up together, slightly disjointed but also elegant. Even a bit reminiscent of the Golden Gate, one might even say.

Nov9-Scarf5

Nov9-Scarf3

I’ve been wearing this all week while here in Edmonton, where the temperatures have actually been cold. (In Southern Ontario we are only just starting to recall this “cold” of which people speak.) In fact, I am led to believe it is rare for there to not be snow on the ground already by this point in November, so that’s a pretty solid reminder that winter is coming. I think I’m going to have to work up some kind of hat to complement it, so I’ll be fully kitted up in Ultra Alpaca warmth.

In any event, the week marches on as do a few more days of family activity here. I’m continuing to sneak in bits of knitting and internet time while I can, and the pace of things continues one day at a time.

Keep your knitting handy, and stay warm!

.

.

15 Comments

Filed under accessories, design, finished object: accessories

November thoughts

Thank you all so much for your comments on Monday’s blog giveaway post! It is wonderful to read your stories of knitting on the go. And I think it says a lot about knitters that so many of us are so prepared with all sorts of different items where ever we go – not just with knitting! But you’ve got to admit, having knitting makes a lot of times a lot easier.

Random number November

I’m pleased to report a winner – thanks to the Random Number Generator the winning entrant is #321, which by my reckoning corresponds to Laura, who commented last night. I’ve sent her an email and we’ll get her hooked up with her very own Rio bag asap! Thank you all so, so much for participating. I’m sure I’ll be doing another giveaway before too long, but in the mean time I hope you’ll stick around for some regular-old knit blogging as well. ;)

Knitting continues around here this week, on a few different fronts, and I’m excited to be bringing a few new patterns your way in the coming month! Including at least one free pattern here on the blog. I’m continuing to make way for a few new projects just for myself this month as well, so that I’ll be comfy and cozy for the winter as well as hopefully a few gift recipients. My new Podsters are coming along nicely, and I do believe I’ll post a slightly revised version of this pattern when I’m done. I think there could be a better differentiation between the smaller and larger sizes (so that the small is more…smaller), so look for that soon at the very least.

Nov2-PodstersInProgress

And in other news, November has been dubbed by online knitters as “National Sweater Knitting Month,” or “NaSweKniMo” – an answer to “National Novel Writing Month” or “NaNoWriMo” (affectionately referred to as NaNo) – and while I didn’t cast on for a new project November 1st as the rules would have you do, I do fully intend to finish one of the current sweaters on the needles before the end of the month. I had such hopes for October. While I did get my Rhinebeck sweater finished, it turns out that after carting my Gwendolyn sweater and my as-yet-unfolding Briar Rose Abundance sweater around with me, as November dawns I still have a grand total of…two pairs of sleeves, and one hem.

Nov2-SweatersInProgress

I think I can improve on that progress! Here’s looking at you, November.
What do your November knitting plans include? Will you be casting on a new sweater, or are other projects catching your eye?

Happy knitting this Wednesday!

28 Comments

Filed under accessories, sweaters

Chilly

That flirtation with cool weather we had at the very beginning of the month which then gave us a fake-out of warm weather a week or two later, has now returned in earnest and we are definitely settling into the chilly times. The thermometer is starting to dip below freezing overnight, and I heard tell there have been flurries sighted in NYC to the south of us, so, you know. That means Serious Knitwear Times.

A few days ago I finally rifled through my stash of winter accessories, and as usual came up a bit more empty-handed than I thought I should. I always end up losing a few small hand-knits in the to-and-fro-ing each season, despite the fact that i should know better. This time I’m remembering that I lost my dear Noro Silk Garden striped scarf, and I remember having at least one more pair of gloves than what I found in the basket, which means I’ve got to amp up some accessory knitting plans to include amongst the ongoing deadlines. I was happy to see, however, that my darling Podster mitts (available as a free download – either in my Ravelry store or from my blog post here) are still there and still a pair. I pulled them out and have been glad to have them around this week as a transitional mitt – it’s been chilly enough to want a bit of something extra, but not so cold I need to get out the worsted weight gloves.

And you know, I’m proud of these little guys. They’ve held up nicely.

Oct29-PodstersPair1

Two years later and they’re still going strong – especially well considering that last winter I wore them pretty steadily for running, which translates to 3 days a week for 4 months of sweaty hands and wrists and maybe a few swipes at a drippy nose (what? sometimes I forget Kleenex, okay), and lots of washings in the sink. They look like I could have just made them last week and I am super pleased about that. Dream in Color Smooshy, you’re all right.

Oct29-PodstersPair1b

It’s a nice reminder that all this wonderful squishy superwash stuff and merino and sometimes luxury blend yarn that we’ve come to take for granted now as ‘sock yarn’ – and happily knit squishsy and merino and sometimes luxury socks with – doesn’t always need to go on your feet. Of course, it’s not as though I haven’t already gotten that memo, and you may have already too, but it’s true that my first impulse when I look at my sock yarn stash is to think, “what socks will I make with that.” And I don’t know about you, but my hands appreciate a squishy bit of yarn every bit as much as my feet do, and they do it without giving the yarn the beating of its life against my shoes and my jeans cuff and the occasional too-abrupt pull when coming on or off my feet.

Oct29-PodstersPair2

So I decided enough was enough, and did what I’ve been saying I was going to do for the last year, and cast on a new pair of Podsters for myself for everyday wear. I had a skein of Tanis Fiber Arts cashmere sock yarn (teal) wound up for quite a while and it’s been waiting ever so patiently, so here we go. It’ll replace my travelling sock project for a bit. Perhaps it’ll be followed by other accessory knits after that, while my full sock drawer contents itself with its ample supply for the time being.

Yep, i’m pretty sure cashmere sock yarn will make a pretty awesome and snuggly pair of gloves. I’ll take it.

In my last post I alluded to doing a blog giveaway – and I do indeed have one coming! But will wait until next week. Have a lovely and restful weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side of it. Knit some awesome things!

14 Comments

Filed under accessories

Just in time for some colour

I think it’s safe to say that fall has arrived. The chill blew across Ontario this past weekend and I’m sure more than a few knitters were happily reaching for their knitted socks and sweaters. I know I was! Uh, how quickly do you suppose I can knit five more sweaters?

Last week several of you were asking about the hat pattern I was working on, and I’m pleased to announce it’s here and available for sale! The instructions give you not just a hat but a hat and mitten set, and the option of working the hat as a plain cap or with earflaps. (And also the option of the pompom. I know people have very strong opinions about pompoms.)

Oct1-Frostbite2

The Frostbite set is available for download through Patternfish, or in my Ravelry store. Let me tell you, this is a pretty quick little undertaking. The plain hat took me about an afternoon, so if you’re new to colour-work and want something to ease you in slowly, this would still be a project you could have done in short time! In the pattern notes I also offer resource suggestions if you are new to the technique. If you’re already familiar with colour-work, though, you’ll easily have this done in a weekend. And once you’ve got the hat, then, well, of course you need the option of matching mittens, right?

Oct1-Frostbite3

This is worked up in bulky yarn – here, Mirasol Kutama, a 50% wool/50% alpaca blend that is pretty delicious to work with – and a variety of yarns suitable for 14-16 sts/4 ins would work well, like Araucania Nature Wool Chunky, Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky, Cascade Eco, and probably many more that I’m forgetting at the moment.

Oct1-FrostbiteEarflap1

I need to thank Bridget at Needles in the Hay for her hat modelling turn when I was up in Peterborough this past Saturday. I must have done a good job of getting her used to being accosted for knitwear photography when I lived there last year, because this time she didn’t bat an eyelash.

Oct1-ColourworkClass1

I was there this past Saturday for a fabulous all-day teaching extravaganza, with colour-work in the morning and then steeking in the afternoon. It was a ton of fun and we practiced lots of technique, talked about colour, and then cut up some knitting at the end. All in a day’s work.

Oct1-ColourworkClass2

If you’re interested in joining me in a class, I’ve got several more coming up this fall and my Teaching page is up to date with several in the Toronto area.

And finally, I hope your Monday is getting your week off to a good start – or at the very least not too painful a start. Keep the knitting close by!

17 Comments

Filed under accessories, colour-work, design, teaching

You never can tell with knitting

You know, I often say that I love knitting because you can never really see the bottom of it. There’s always something more to learn or something new to knit or some challenge waiting around the corner. Sometimes that challenge involves designing your own Rhinebeck sweater as you knit it, with less than 4 weeks from start to finish.

Other times, that challenge involves figuring out exactly how big (or not) and floppy (or not) you should make the pompom that’s going to go on top of your chunky earflap hat.

Sept28-PomPom

That knitting, man. It’ll keep you guessing. (And I do love the pompom, even if it might be a little bit too floppy.)

18 Comments

Filed under accessories, colour-work

Catch-all

1. A few days after working up all the finishing on the Dusseldorf Aran, I finally gave it a bath and laid it out for drying/blocking. But it is still a wool/alpaca sweater drying in a basement apartment, and is thusly taking approximately twelve thousand years to do this. (Or, possibly, 2 days instead of just 1.)

2. Now that the club members have had a couple of weeks head start in getting their packages in the mail, it’s safe to blog about the sock design I did for the Tanis Fiber Arts ‘year in colour’ yarn club. And in fact, Tanis lovingly beat me to the punch!

April14-MarchingOn2

It’s her Purple Label cashmere sock, in a club colourway called ‘Clover’. At the time that she handed the skein off to me, though, it was simply labelled as ‘March’, as that was its calendar designation. It’s funny how the yarn name works in combination with the colour, though, because as I pondered the colour during the winter months I just kept thinking March March March March, green Marchy goodness… And I knew the idea I wanted to bring to it, it was just a matter of fine-tuning in execution until I got what I wanted. Bright, leafy, viney, knotty socks were just the ticket – and a reminder that spring does return, and winter does in fact, recede. I called them ‘Marching On’.

April14-MarchingOn

3. Not that I’m enabling you or anything, but you can sign up for Tanis’ yarn club at any time in 2011, and you’ll get all the past subscription installments of the year when you sign up. (In 2012, all the patterns revert to designers and you can still have a crack at them even if you weren’t in the club).

4. At the very moment that Tanis was blogging about the socks on Saturday, I was in fact, going 2-for-2 on Saturday knitter encounters in Toronto. As I breezed through the Eaton Centre, Natalie was doing the same thing and we chatted and laughed for a bit. She was even in the presence of cute hand-knits, though believe me it was actually warm enough (finally) that we could genuinely consider ditching them. Hard to believe that time of year is on the horizon!

April9-Natalie

5. Speaking of yarn clubs, if you’re looking for snarky smart-ass yarn clubs, there’s still time to sign up for Kim’s over at Indigodragonfly Yarns. I can personally verify the quality of said snark content is 100%.

Happy Thursday! And happy knitting.

11 Comments

Filed under accessories, design, finished object: socks

No time for unfinished objects

I am trying as much as possible this week to alternate busy-ness with knitting work, in an effort to end the month of December with fewer unfinished projects (or at the very least, a different set of them) than what I have now. Thus, I am just about ready to start on the yoke of my Elizabeth Zimmerman yoked fair isle sweater that I had meant to complete in November (though Lisa reports she has also chosen to “observe Novecember” in completing a project or two belatedly, so, cool. Novecember is my new favourite knitting holiday).

So I was happy to get a quick hat and cowl done last week. I don’t usually knit with super chunky anything, but dang, getting a slouchy cowl and beret out of 3 skeins of yarn in 2 days is pretty darned awesome. And since i had to walk out this afternoon to deal with the post office and other annoyances, I took the opportunity to at least get a quick photo-shoot out of the deal. [And as an aside, this almost-Solstice winter light is trippy. It's like there are three settings: late-afternoon bright (but at any time of day), cloudy, or full darkness.]

Dec15-Beret1

The beret is the Speedy Cabled Beret, modified to add an extra cable repeat so that it is genuinely more beret-like than cap-like. I blocked it out over a dinner plate for good measure, and I’m happy with the final result.

Dec15-BeretCowl3

The cowl is simply 76 sts of mistake rib (Mutiples 4, work Row 1: *k2, p2. Row 2: *p1, k2, p1.), worked on 10mm needles until I felt like it was a cosy enough height. It’s pretty nice all crumpled up around my neck under my coat at the moment, but I suspect when the temperature decides to be something warmer than -15C, I’ll be comfy wearing it more loose and drapey. All in all, not bad for a quick pair of winter accessories. If I can manage to make myself a pair of lined mittens I’ll be extra pleased.

Dec15-BeretCowlFO

And, because there’s a lot of snow on the ground around here and I just can’t help myself, here. Another Simon’s Cat video, just for the occasion.

Happy winter knitting!

12 Comments

Filed under accessories